Merry Christmas from Sarah Jane's Craft Blog! Check out all of my Ornament Tutorials here: Christmas Ornament Collection.
Monday, December 25, 2017
Monday, December 18, 2017
A long long time ago, I bought some printable transparencies (in grad school, like 10+ years ago) back when people still used overhead projectors. Several years ago, I made some ornaments with my leftovers sheets. At the beginning of the holiday season, I bought a bunch of blank ornaments from Michael's. I've been using my plastic ornaments, but I also had some flat glass ornaments...and as it turns out, exactly one leftover sheet of printable transparencies. So I decided to make a set of photo ornaments for my family.
I opened the photo in Word so I could easily see the size in inches. My ornaments were 3 inches, so I used the circle/oval frame to crop the photo to the right size. Then I copied it 3 more times to fill the sheet. It was my last sheet, after all. I wasn't about to waste it.
I followed the instructions on the package of transparencies. There's a slightly rough side that needs to be put in on the side that prints and then I had to let them sit and dry for about a half an hour.
After they printed, I held them up to see how they turned out--a bit more transparent than I'd hope, but successful. Which is good, since I only had one sheet. :)
So I gathered up my ornaments and a scissors and some tools to work the pieces of plastic down into the ornament (a bamboo skewer and a pair of tweezers).
I carefully cut the circles out of the transparency with my scissors. The circle frame from Word was a nice guide for cutting them out.
Then I carefully rolled the plastic up to fit through the opening at the top of the ornament. I rolled it ink side inward so that it wouldn't scratch or scrape the ink off as I squeezed it into the ornament.
A couple of the plastic circles popped right back open when they made it into the ornament. But a couple of them, stayed a bit folded over. I used the bamboo skewer to readjust the transparency and it popped right back open.
If the picture wasn't quite straight, I used the tweezers to tilt it back into place. Generally, the transparencies went into the ornaments very easily. The flat ornaments work very well as the round ones require a lot of adjusting and some stuff (like glitter or fake snow) at the bottom to keep the transparency upright and centered--the flat ones do not.
In the end, the hardest part of this whole project was cropping the photo to the right size and then waiting for the ink to dry--otherwise, it was super easy and quick.
The ornaments did end up a bit see-through on the tree and might work better hung on an ornament stand, but they're still pretty neat.
Monday, December 11, 2017
Last week I shared a project made with a package of clear plastic ornaments I got at Michael's. This week I used the same ornaments with mod podge and some holiday napkins to create some cute ornaments. I saw these black napkins at Walmart and thought the foil snowflakes were really pretty, so I bought a pack to craft with (and maybe use as napkins, we'll see :)).
So I got out my glossy mod podge and a foam brush and two of the plastic ornaments (and a paper plate to work over).
After opening the package of napkins, I found that only the front fold was foil embossed, the rest of the napkin was covered in gold ink--still cute, just not as cute. So I cut out the foil snowflakes from 3 of the napkins for my 2 ornaments (that's 2 napkins' worth on the plate above). I used a regular scissors and cut hexagonal shapes around the snowflakes. The embossed shapes meant that the black napkin was pretty well adhered to the second layer of the napkin. If your layers come apart or are loose once you cut your shapes, just pull the backing off and use the top layer.
Then I spread a thin layer of mod podge onto the ornament with my foam brush. Be careful not to use too much glue--the napkin will wrinkle/bubble and it will be more likely to tear once the glue has soaked in.
I pressed one of the snowflakes into the glue from the center out, creasing the napkin along the edges to get it to wrap around the spherical shape.
Then I just continued gluing snowflakes onto the ball until it was completely covered. I tried to make sure all of the edges were glued down, but there were probably a few loose edges and creased napkin areas that could be glued down, but I let it dry instead so I didn't rip the napkins while they were wet.
Then I worked on the other ornament while I let the first one dry. By the time I had covered the second ornament, the first one was ready to be sealed. I glued down a few loose edges and them put a thin layer of glue over the whole ornament--smoothing as I went.
The photo above shows the first ornament beginning to dry, and the second ornament after I had just finished it's sealing coat. I left them for about an hour and they were ready to hang.
These turned out really cute--a bit wrinkly from trying to wrap something flat around a sphere--but really cute. As I was doing the project on these new ornaments, I realized that you could totally use old beat up colored ornaments for this project too. I may have to find a few old ones to upcycle. Happy crafting!
Monday, December 4, 2017
On my last trip to Michael's, all of their blank ornaments were on sale, so I picked up a bunch of plain ball ornaments. I even got a box of clear plastic ball ornaments. In years past, I have used alcohol ink to decorate glass ball ornaments, this year, I thought I'd try the plastic ones out to see if they worked just as well. I also thought I'd try out using the Pinata Alcohol Inks to see if there were any substantial differences (now I know that doesn't make for a great experiment when I change two of the variables, but bear with me).
Anytime you work with alcohol inks, cover your work surface with a craft mat or parchment paper. Once the ink dries, it does stain. If the ink is still wet, you can wipe up spills with rubbing alcohol. So I laid out my craft mat and my inks. You can use Ranger Inks for this project too (and they are more widely available at craft stores) if you'd like, but I thought I'd try out the Pinata ones.
I grabbed green, because Christmas, and made three small squirts into the ornament.
Then I grabbed some canned air and stuck the straw nozzle into the ornament and gave it a few good squirts. The ink spread out pretty well, and it covered a lot of the ornament. If your coverage isn't quite that good on the first try, add a bit more ink and repeat. I then tipped the ornament over onto its opening to let it sit for a minute to dry a bit and let any excess ink drip out. I made a second ornament while I waited. Since Pinata doesn't have a red in their set, I used a drip of pink, orange, and yellow and spread that around the ball with the canned air. I had to add some additional ink to this one and decided to go with the gold.
It looked so festive, that I tried the gold out in the green ornament after it had dried for a bit. The ink dries really quickly, but the colors can mix together if you add wet ink to dry ink. The gold spread out pretty well and didn't mix too much with the green ink, so I was pleased with the results.
The Pinata Inks worked well for this project. The ink is a little more vivid and a little bit thicker than the Ranger Inks which actually works better for this particular project. The ink was darker in the ball than the Ranger Ink was in the glass balls. The plastic ornaments also worked well. The ink behaved very similarly to glass and the finished project was glossy and transparent just as you'd expect from glass without them being breakable. So I'd definitely make more of these ornaments with the plastic balls and the Pinata inks.
Monday, November 27, 2017
I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving! The weekend after Thanksgiving is often filled with shopping and decorating for the upcoming Christmas season. We got our lights put up outside, the stockings hung on the mantle, and the tree is up with lights on it--but it isn't decorated yet. I have a ways to go to be ready for Christmas, but at least we're headed in the right direction. Every year I make new ornaments to add to our tree, but this year I was involved in an ornament exchange with an online group, so I also needed to send an online friend an ornament. We are both big fans of the Princess Bride movie, but it's pretty hard to find Christmas ornaments with characters from that movie on them, so I decided I should make my own.
I went to Michael's looking for ornament blanks, but I couldn't find any round or square ones, but they did have these fancy ceramic ones--and they were on sale, so I grabbed a few. I went online and printed out some screenshots from the movie in roughly the right size for the ornaments.
I figured the easiest way to get the printouts the right shape would be to cut around them with a craft knife, but that didn't work out quite as planned. The craft knife didn't cut the curved shapes out neatly and carved bits of the ceramic off in the process.
So I switched to plan b and used a pencil to trace the shapes and cut the paper out with a scissors. The proportions weren't completely symmetrical, so I had to flip the ornament over to trace the image I planned to put on the back side, but otherwise, this method worked pretty well.
I cut out 6 images to make 3 ornaments. Most were screenshots from the movie, but the one above might be fan art inspired by the movie poster. I erased any pencil lines that were left on the images before I moved on to my next step.
I gave a coat of gold paint to the edges of my ornament blank before I glued on my images. You can see the pencil lines from tracing the paper on the edges of the ornament. The gold paint covered the pencil marks and gave it a finished look.
Next, I used a foam brush to paint a thin layer of mod podge onto the ceramic blank. I painted on a smidge more than I would on a less porous surface because I was worried it would soak into the unfinished ceramic. It didn't soak in too bad, and I was able to adjust the paper to fit the ornament after I put it on the glue.
I smoothed the paper out from the center to make sure any excess glue would work out to the edges. The paper remained pretty smooth, but if you use too much glue, you might have some bubbling or wrinkling. Don't panic if it wrinkles a bit--they usually disappear as the paper dries.
I repeated this process, gluing all 6 images onto both sides of the ornament blank. I then let them dry before doing anything else. The paper can become fragile when it's wet with glue, so it's best to let it dry to avoid ink smearing or paper tearing, etc...
After letting them dry for about an hour, I came back and trimmed the paper that hung over the edges of the ornament. Tracing the ornament got the paper close to the right size, but there were excess bits. Any larger overhangs, I trimmed with my scissors, but the rest, I did my best to file off with an old nail file. The picture above is mid-filing. I didn't get all of the paper off with this method, and I scuffed up the paint in the process, so when I got it as cleaned up as I could, I came back over the edges with my gold paint to clean everything up.
Once the paint had dried, I used my craft knife to cut out the holes in the ornament, then I painted a thin layer of glossy mod podge over the ornaments to seal them.
I painted very thin coats to provide a more professional finish. Since they were so thin, I painted both sides of the ornament twice, allowing it to dry in between. On my last coat, I also painted over the gold edges to seal them and make it less likely to chip or ding the ornament.
Once the mod podge was dry, I strung them up with some gold cording to match the edges. These turned out great. They were pretty easy aside from the shape of the ornaments. The irregular shape caused some extra steps but made for a cute finished ornament. I hope my ornament exchangee likes her ornament, and I can't wait to hang mine on my tree.
Monday, November 20, 2017
I have just enough time to squeeze one more fall craft in before the onslaught of Christmas begins. So with my remaining time, I decided to decorate a Christmas tin with pumpkins out of sheer defiance. Last summer a converted a Christmas tin into a decorative tin that I keep playing cards in, but this time, I definitely wanted to go a bit more Fall/Thanksgiving in nature. I picked out some cute pumpkin scrapbook paper and tried to find a spray paint that coordinated.
I ended up going with the oil rubbed bronze again, but this time I used this Rust-Oleum Hammered Bronze. It gives a nice finish, but it's a bit more finicky to work with. It goes on thicker and takes longer to dry than typical spray paint, so if you pick up a bottle, keep that in mind when you're working with it.
The spraypaint gives pretty good coverage, but it took several coats to get all the edges and sides of the tin covered well...and since it takes longer than usual to dry, it took a few days of me popping out to the deck to spray it and then bringing it in at night before I was happy with it.
After it was painted and dried, I found a plate that was really close to the same size as the indent on the lid and then traced around it with a pencil and cut it out as carefully as I could with a scissors.
After the circle was cut out, it was as simple as painting on a layer of mod podge, smoothing the paper onto it, waiting a few minutes to let it dry just a smidge (wait longer if your paper is thin) and then giving it a sealing layer. It will bubble a bit less if you wait for it to dry completely, but most bubbles and wrinkles will smooth out as it dries unless you used way too much glue. It is dry to the touch after about a half hour, it but takes longer to dry all the way.
The mod podge will cure in a few days in this lovely dry fall weather, but the spray paint will take longer--I will wait a few weeks before I smoosh that lid down snuggly to avoid it getting painted shut as the spray paint continues to dry. But now I have my last gasp of fall decorations sitting on my buffet, and it's just the right size to put some paper pie plates in for Thanksgiving dinner.
Monday, November 13, 2017
A few years ago, I did a couple sessions of spray paint marbling. It's a really fun and fast project, so I thought it would be a great way to kick off my holiday crafting season. Also, it was nicer out today than it has been in a long time (it's been unseasonably cold here), so I thought I'd take the opportunity to get out on the sun-warmed deck and decorate some paper.
For this project you'll need: a plastic tub big enough to hold a couple inches of water and a whole sheet of paper (and it needs to be ok to get paint on it), some spray paint, some vinyl gloves, and some card stock (or other heavier paper that can get wet without tearing). I'm not generally bugged by getting paint or dye on my hands, but I strongly recommend using gloves for this project. Spray paint is very stubborn to get off skin and even more stubborn to get off your nails. The first time I did this project, I had paint under my nails for weeks. My favorite spray paint for this project is currently Rustoleum 2x paint. It sprays out a bit more paint and doesn't dry quite as fast as some other brands. Any spray paint will work, but I'd generally avoid any that say "faster drying" or "half the dry time" on the can. The cheap-o blue label spray paint from Wal-mart (Color Place brand I think) actually works pretty well for this too--so no need to drop a lot of cash.
I started out by spraying a nice layer of green paint on the water. I took a few passes to get the water completely covered.
I added some silver paint and red to the mix...as you can see, it didn't look bright red--it created a bit of a void in the middle of the water.
So I came back with some green spray paint to fill in the void.Then I jostled the edge of the bin to get the paint to mix a bit and dropped in a sheet of paper.
I got some good swirls, but there were some areas of dried paint and some voids. This is mostly because I was messing around with pictures--you gotta work fast to get the paint to stick to the paper before it starts to dry a bit. I usually flipped the paper over to get any remaining paint out of the water (and to get a little bit of a design on the back side of the paper). After this sheet, I set my camera down and made several more sheets.
I made 11 sheets when it was all said and done. By the time I was done, the water was getting a bit goopy, and I was running out of places to put the paper to dry. If I had wanted to make more, I would have needed to change the water and my gloves, so this seemed like a good place to stop.
5 or 6 hours later, the paper was just a bit damp. Keep it flat until it's completely dry. The paper won't be completely smooth and flat unless you press it before it's entirely dry. I don't mind it a bit wrinkly, I think it gives the paper some texture like watercolor paper. But if you want it flat for card making or something fancy, I'd let the paper dry until all of the paint is dry to the touch and no longer tacky and then place it between some parchment (for each sheet), and then set something heavy like a book on top of it.
Making this marbled paper with spray paint is super satisfying. It's fast and comes out with some crazy random designs. Hopefully you'll see this paper work it's way into a few holiday crafts this year!