Saturday, March 24, 2012

Easter Wreath

I took down my three St. Patrick's Day decorations (Hubby and I aren't Irish, so it's no big to-do around here) and put up my Easter decorations this week. Most of my decorations were purchased during the short time that I worked at Wal-mart (between college and Grad School) about 10 years ago. I have upgraded my Easter baskets since then, but I have a bunch of tired plastic eggs and plastic grass that I was getting sick of unpacking each year, so when I saw this adorable idea, I knew it was time re-purpose some of the old decor into something new and fabulous. The only new thing I had to buy for this project was some cute Easter ribbon (that was half off at JoAnn's for $1.99 for the roll, and I still have enough left to make another smaller bow).

For this project you will need:
two 12 inch rounds of cardboard (I used an old box) and something to cut them with
42-46 plastic Easter eggs
a bag of plastic grass
hot glue gun and glue (be sure to have about 10 sticks on hand--I went through lots of glue)
1 1/2" to 2" wide wired ribbon for the bow
wire or pipe cleaners (to attach the bow and make a hanger on the back of the wreath)
pencil or chopstick (for poking the grass between the eggs)

Cut your circles out of cardboard and then cut a smaller circle out of the center to create a ring. I used a 12 inch pizza pan and a 9 inch cake pan to make my circles. If you don't have pans those sizes, you can use the push pin in the center of the cardboard with a 6 inch piece of string tied to a pencil...but that's a lot more work :). Once your rings are cut, laminate them together with your hot glue to create a sturdy base for your wreath.

Then you can begin gluing the eggs with their smaller top ends facing outward. I chose a recurring pattern of colors to follow so I wouldn't end up with the same colors next to each other. I glued the egg to the cardboard and to the egg next to it. Try to glue the base of the egg to the cardboard so that you still have room to glue your inner circle of eggs. Mine were cutting it a bit close.

Once you have good string of eggs on the outside, you can start working on the inner ring. Glue the egg to the cardboard and the surrounding eggs. I used the same recurring color pattern, but since you use so many fewer eggs, the colors ended up getting very close together, a random pattern may work better for the inner ring of eggs. Leave a gap at the top of your wreath where you plan to place your ribbon so you can save a little on eggs.
Once you've finished with the outer and inner rings, you can place the last group of eggs vertically on top and between the two rows. I alternated the direction of the eggs and tried to angle them to fill in the gaps and make it look a little more random.
Next, I made a hanger out of a pipe cleaner that I tied knots in the end of to stick to the hot glue. I also added a little hot glue along the edge of the inner circle of eggs since it was hanging over the cardboard a bit more than the outer ring, and I wanted to make sure they'd stay put.

Now to hide all of the gaps and the cardboard rings with plastic Easter grass. I used some old purple grass that had been in the bottom of a plastic Easter basket for years. It worked great--glad I didn't throw it out. :) Shoot a little glue into each of the cracks between eggs and shove a little clump of grass into it with a pencil or chopstick. The wreath will look like a hairy mess while in process. I went around the outside, then the inside, and then filled in the bottom gaps to cover the cardboard.

When you're finished filling all of the gaps with grass, pull off any excess and begin trimming all of the long pieces away. Trim away until you think it looks good. It will create quite the mess.

After it's all trimmed up, you can attach your bow. I used a pipe cleaner to attach the bow, so it would be very easy to switch the bow out if you get sick of it, or if it begins to look a bit crushed. I'm so pleased with how my new Easter wreath turned out. I'm also really glad I got to make it from mostly old decorations that I had lying around.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Scrabble Tile Necklace

There's a wealth of crafting ideas out there that use scrabble tiles. I just happen to have an incomplete set of scrabble tiles that came from my husband's I thought I'd give one of those ideas a try.
You will need the following:
pictures, clip art, or scrapbook paper
your favorite paper glue (I used rubber cement but mod podge or Tom Bow mono multi glue would work well too)
an emery board or fine sandpaper
flat-backed bails (available at most craft stores)
glue for the bail (I used E6000 but super glue would also work well)
cording or a chain for the pendant

Start out by finding some good pictures or art that you want to put onto a pendant. I found some art using a Google search. Remember that art found this way should only ever be used for personal use. An even better option would be to use some of your own photos or art or you could use scrapbook paper or images from magazines. At any rate, print out (or cut out) whatever you want to put on your pendant. I used Word (since it has a feature that allows you to see exactly how large your pictures are in inches) to print the images out. Scrabble tiles are about 18 mm wide by 20 mm tall, but there are slight variations, so you may want to measure them out before printing your designs. The usually end up being about .8 inches tall by .7 inches wide.

Cut out your paper and glue it on to the tile using rubber cement or mod podge. Once the paper has dried. Use a piece of fine sandpaper or an emery board to smooth off your edges.

Next, apply a layer of paper glaze or dimensional magic to your scrabble tiles covered in paper. The paper glaze will go on cloudy and turn clear as it dries. Pop any large bubbles with a toothpick and use a lighter to pop small bubbles while the glue is wet. It will take several hours for the glue to dry to a clear finish.

When it's all dry, there will be a clear coat of glue that's almost like a shellac.

Then you can apply the bail (I got these bails at Michael's) with some E6000 or super glue. I used the E 6000 because it allows you to wiggle the bale around and make sure it's on centered.

When the glue dried, I strung up my Eiffel Tower pendant with faux suede cording. You could easily swap out the cording for a chain or ribbon--whatever you have on hand.

The most expensive part of this craft is the bails so you may want to opt to order those online. It's a fun and fast way to turn just about any small image into a necklace. I can't wait to make more!