Wednesday, July 31, 2013

As Seen on Pinterest: Spray Oil Manicure

I'm testing out another one of the popular Pinterest DIY posts today.  This time I'm trying out the spray oil manicure.  The original pins suggest that spraying Pam (or a similar aerosol spray oil) will "instantly dry your manicure."  Well, it doesn't do that--not even close.  

What it does do is create an oily buffer on your nails that makes them a little less likely to get nicked or smudged.  Awesome, right?  Well sure if you're hands weren't covered in slippery oil....and it only works if you put on a relatively thin coat of nail polish....glob on too much polish and the Pam will leave little bubbles in your manicure...not to mention that things that would normally be a no-no when your nails are drying are still a no-no--it's no magic bullet.  But heck, if you have a bottle of spray oil that's about to expire, chuck it in the bathroom cabinet, it could help save your manicure on a busy day--but be warned it's slippery stuff.

P.S. It's really hard to take pictures when your hands are covered in Pam.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Silver Sea Shells

Spray Painted Sea Shells

In a pile of stuff destined for a thrift store, I rescued a bag of sea shells.  I wasn't sure what I was going to do with them, because let's face it, there's a lot of really tacky sea shell art out there, but I knew I wanted to craft something.  I saved a few of the prettiest shells and put the rest in some cardboard boxes to spray them silver (like you see at Pottery Barn and what not).

I sprayed them with my Rustoleum Metallic Silver spray paint.  I applied two light coats on the tops. I left them outside for about an hour in between coats.

Then I flipped them over and put a good coat on the bottom side.  They were pretty well covered at that point.  I set most of them aside to finish curing inside.  Some of the shells had more nooks and crannies and needed to be sprayed again to get into all of the little corners.

I let them dry inside overnight and then put them into a glass vase.  I picked up this one (which is about 10 inches tall) at Wal-mart for only $3.99.  I think it looks great on my mantel!

Spray Painted Sea Shells

Friday, July 26, 2013

Food Coloring Spray Paint

For my last post, I marbled paper with food coloring, today I'm going to create a spray paint with it. I had no idea that food coloring could be used so easily with paper--the possibilities seem endless. This project is a super cheap and easy way to create that misty air-brushed look.

You'll need:
Liquid food coloring
Small spray bottle 

Put about one inch of water into your spray bottle (you can find these for about a dollar in the travel section of most big box stores).  Add several drops of food coloring and shake.  About 3 drops will create a water pastel, 5 or 6 drops will create a more saturated color.  I used white cardstock on a cookie sheet to help with overspray.  You'll want to wipe down your table after every few sheets (or put down some newspaper).  As long as the food coloring is still wet, it wipes up easily.  Be sure to run clean water through the sprayer before switching to new colors.

After you've experimented with color intensity and patterns, try making some stencils out of your card stock.  In the picture above you can see a grass pattern at the top of the photo and a wave pattern at the bottom.

My favorite pattern was created with blue spray that I then added a few drops of green to and layered on top of the blue spray.  It created a sort of aqua ombre effect.  I used it to create the thank you card below.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Shaving Cream Marbling

I wanted to do some paper marbling, but after reading several online tutorials, they all required special products (thickeners, special paints, powders to make the paint stick, etc...) and tools (combs, trays, etc...).  So when I read a tutorial for using shaving cream, I figured it was worth a whirl since I had all the stuff on hand.

You'll need:
Shaving cream
A tray or cookie sheet
Liquid food coloring
Spatula or plastic ruler
Chopstick or skewer
Paper (I used cardstock)

Squirt a layer of shaving cream onto your cookie sheet or tray.  I used a cookie sheet that I picked up for less than a dollar--pretty worthless for cooking on--but good for craft projects.

I smoothed it out using a spatula.  You could use a ruler or piece of cardboard.

Start by dripping your food coloring on and starting to drag your chopstick or skewer through the shaving cream.

Once you have a pattern that you like, you can make a print.  Just drop your paper on top and gently press it into the design so that you don't have voids.

Peel your print up and let it sit for a moment before scraping the excess shaving cream off.  I used quite a bit of food coloring to get nice saturated color, so I had a little smearing when I scraped the shaving cream off. So scrape your shaving cream off in the same direction so that if it does smear, the smearing looks intentional.  The great thing about this kind of marbling is that if you like your print, you can make another one right away.  You can also adjust a little and try again, all without having to start completely over.  The food coloring is also pretty easy to clean up as long as you catch it before it dries.  It does stain the fingers a bit, but I think this is a totally kid friendly project.

I turned my marbled prints into a thank you card by adding a printed message and some coordinating paper. Next time I try, I'll give this a shot with real paint and see how it works, but I was pretty pleased with the food coloring.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Dowel Rod Loop Turner

This summer I've been making neck coolers.  The most annoying part of the whole process was turning the loop the right side out.  I fiddled with them for what seemed like forever.  I tried making my own loop turner out of a chopstick and a wire, but it didn't really work. So I presented the problem to my husband.  He likes to solve problems. Within minutes, he came up with this idea.

He grabbed a 5/8ths inch dowel rod from the garage (I'm sure a half inch dowel rod would work just fine too).  He slipped the neck cooler tube onto the dowel (in picture above). Then he used a tack to attach the fabric to the top of the dowel rod.  He later discovered that a push pin (with it's slightly longer pin) worked a bit better.  He also determined that pushing it through the fabric where the seam is (and consequently more layers of fabric) help to keep it attached to the dowel.

Once it's attached comes the fiddly part.  Carefully pull the surrounding fabric up off the dowel to get it started.

Keep pulling a little at a time up off the dowel rod.  He held the dowel between his feet while he did this.

When you see the right side of the fabric come out the bottom of your tube (in other words: when you're half way), you can pull the whole tube right side out.  This process allowed us to turn the tubes right side out in a fraction of the time of doing it by hand (and it got my hubby to help out with a craft--miracles have been worked here I tell ya!).

Friday, July 19, 2013

Egg Carton Campfire Starters

It was the summer of 1990 (give or take a year).  My family went camping at Pickerel Lake State Park in  northeast South Dakota.  It rained a lot on that trip.  So much so that I went to one of the park organized events for kids just to have something to do.  The campground hosts were having some craft project like making candles or something...I don't remember the specifics.  But what I do remember vividly is that they had their fire blazing in the pouring rain, and my Mom asked them how they got their fire started.  They said they used egg carton fire starters.  We had no idea what they were, so they showed us.  As an adult now, I've tried store bought starters and various homemade varieties.  If I'm strapped for space, I make the Cotton Rounds starters that I made a few weeks back, but otherwise--these always come with us camping.  They light easily and burn forever.  Plenty of time to get things started, even in windy or wet conditions.

You will need:
A cardboard Egg Carton
Several loads worth of dryer lint (at least 12 loads--probably more)
A pie tin or other vessel for heating wax
Leftover wax

The first step is to save an egg carton and fill it up with dryer lint.  I just leave the egg carton on top of the dryer so I remember to save it.

The next step requires melted wax.  Any kind will do.  When we made these when I was a kid, we used paraffin wax, but I usually just use leftover candle wax.  Pie tins work great for heating up wax on ceramic stove tops.  A thrift store pan would work great too.

Once your wax is liquid, bend the pie tin (while using oven mitts) a bit to make it easier to pour, and carefully pour it over your lint.  Make sure you use enough wax to completely wet the surface of the lint.

Some of the wax will bleed through.  Make sure you have wax paper or tinfoil underneath your egg carton.  When all of the egg compartments have some wax bleed through on the bottom of the carton and the top is completely wetted--you've used enough wax. The egg compartments should not be soupy with wax, but if you push down with your finger (careful, it's hot) some liquid wax should come to the surface. A small pillar candle (like the kind you can pick up for a dollar at walmart or the dollar store) is about the right amount of wax (more than what I have pictured above--I like to melt a little at a time so I don't end up with too much melted).  

Let your waxed egg carton dry and you're ready to camp.  I leave the lid on for transportation.  Just rip off a section (one egg compartment), place it next to your kindling in your fire, and light.  It will probably out burn your kindling.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

As Seen on Pinterest: Vinegar and Listerine Foot Soak

I am one of those people who stops wearing socks as soon as it hits 65 degrees out.  I'm a sandals and barefoot kind of girl.  Which means that I was really excited about the prospect of a foot soak that would allow you to rub loose skin right off of your feet and leave them smooth!  The original instructions call for 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/2 cup listerine and 1/4 cup water.  Now, I know that I have big feet, but I can't see how this would possibly be enough for anyone to soak their feet in for 30 minutes.  I doubled the batch.  It still wasn't enough.  I ended up with 1 1/2 cups listerine (thank goodness I had the cheap generic stuff) and 1 1/2 cups vinegar and 3/4 cup water.

I then soaked my feet for the full 30 minutes.  After which, they were blue.

Alright so that's not that surprising--it is, afterall, blue listerine that I was using.  So I rubbed the solution off with a towel (this is when the dead skin is supposed to just rub right off--it didn't).  Then I hustled my blue feet up to the bath tub and sprayed them off, and then scrubbed them with a nylon Ikea dish brush (yeah, not a soft brush).  The blue eventually came off, but the skin was still rough and attached to my feet.  I'd dare say it looked worse afterwards (I did take a before and after photo--but I decided no one wanted to see my rough feet and then my rough prune-y feet).

I gave this one the best possible shot....I used more listerine and vinegar (without ruining the ratio) and I actually scrubbed my feet off afterwards with a brush--and still no loose skin.  I had better luck with a Ped Egg (remember those--they actually sorta work).  I know everyone's skin is a bit different, and this might work for some folks, but I do not recommend this Pinterest DIY.

Update: A friend said she had some success with this.  She used the Alcohol Free Listerine (but the name brand kind) and followed up with a pumice stone. 

Based on other comments I've received on this post's Pinterest pin, I suspect how well this works is based an awful lot on how tough the skin is on your feet.  I have very thick foot skin.  I also wonder, aside from the disinfectant properties and the minty smell, how much the Listerine is really doing.  Has anyone tried a warm water and vinegar foot bath?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Silver Striped Spray Painted Vase

I found this great heavy weighted glass vase/candle holder at the thrift store a couple of weeks ago.  It was really nice--department store quality.  Unfortunately, it had a little defect.  There was a small blob (less than a 1/4 inch) of gray/green glass on the side of this otherwise really nice clear glass vase.  It was marked for 99 cents so I decided to rescue it and spray paint it with stripes.  I had been wanting to do that anyway, and the defect gave me the perfect opportunity.

I set up my stripes so that the paint would cover the defect.  I tried measuring with the width of the tape, but found that between imperfections in the glass and the stretch of the tape, I was better off just eyeballing it.  I filled the vase up with plastic bags to keep spray paint from going inside the vase and gave it a good coat. I used Rust-Oleum Metallic Spray, Silver for this project.

I came back for a second coat and it was pretty much finished.  I just had to let it finish drying inside.  I carefully peeled off the tape and was pretty satisfied with the outcome.  It wasn't perfect, but it turned out pretty well. I needed to clean up some of the edges from bleedthrough (but the paint scrapes off pretty well with just my fingernails).

Normally I'd have a photo of the vase in it's new home or filled with a candle or something...but disaster struck.  I was planning on cleaning it up and using it as my new makeup brush and eyeliner holder.  I filled it part way with clear glass beads and was sorting out the rest of my beads when--out of the blue--the sucker cracked.  It popped right at the defect.  Luckily it stayed in one piece--the paint may have helped.  But the moral of the story is: don't buy glass with defects.  Fortunately I'm only out a dollar and some spray paint. But now I know that this method will work to create relatively straight and crisp stripes.  I just need to find the perfect vase to try it again. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Fun Foam Impression Stamps

Fun Foam Stamps Part 3 (see part 1 and part 2)?  I could make stamps out of foam all day.... :)  But these are a bit different.  They require you to make an impression in the foam and printing the background instead of the foreground.  Fun foam works great for these kinds of stamps because you can use a simple ballpoint pen to create an impression.  I drew a wood grain on one and a simple vine on the other.  I then trimmed the foam and glued it to a piece of cardboard using tacky glue.

After a quick testing, I knew these would work great as backgrounds.  I can't wait to test out the wood grain with some brown ink (unfortunately I didn't have any--so I went with green).

I created a blank/just because card using the vines, and a thank you card out of the wood grain by stamping a leaf overtop and layering it with a cute house stamp.

These have a ton of potential for all kinds of designs.  These were a great proof of concept--I can't wait to think of a more elaborate design to try out next.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

As Seen on Pinterest: DIY Shower Cleaner

DIY shower cleaner made with vinegar and Dawn has been floating around Pinterest since it's early days.  I first tried it out last year when Pins recommended using it in a spray bottle and some recommended warming the vinegar in the microwave and using it hot when you cleaned.  I'm convinced the hot vinegar was mostly to help keep the mixture liquid enough for a spray bottle. When I tried the spray bottle version, I had to thin it down with 2 parts vinegar to 1 part Dawn to get it to come out of my spray bottle at all, and then the spray bottle was clogged with Dawn by the next time I wanted to use it.  However, it did work to clean my shower--it just stunk strongly of vinegar.  So when I saw the version using a dish scrubbing wand--I knew they had a good idea.

I filled my dishwand with 1 part (or halfway) of Dawn Ultra (the standard blue stuff--the old regular Dawn has actually gotten hard to find). Make sure you use a blue scrubber and not a green one--the green scrubbers can scratch surfaces.

Then I filled up the other half with vinegar.  Leave a little room in the wand so that you can shake the mixture up (I filled mine a bit full).

Once mixed, it will be light blue, and ready to clean! Just like the first time I tried this out, it worked to clean my shower about as well as the good store bought cleaners.  The wand method makes it a lot easier to scrub while applying and doesn't have the strong vinegar smell that my spray bottle version did.  

Now for the embarrassing picture of my dirty shower.  I scrubbed for just a couple of minutes and turned on the shower to rinse the soap away.  Worked like a charm!  Once you've invested in the wand, it becomes a fraction of the cost of most shower cleaners and is more effective than a lot of them (and probably less toxic too).  This is one Pinterest DIY that's exactly as stated!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Quick Craft: Washi Tape Tea Lights

This is one of those crafts that when you see it, you think, "Well, why the heck didn't I think of that?"  It's super simple and super cute.  All you need is a roll of washi tape and some tea lights.  Washi tape seems to be all the rage in crafting these days.  It's basically designer masking tape.  Washi is the name for a decorative paper in Japanese.  This washi, or decorated paper tape, can be used for all kinds of crafting.  Because it is so popular, it's been a bit spendy.  But more and more American companies are making their own versions of this type of tape.  I was lucky enough to pick up a few rolls at Big Lots (3 rolls for $3).  So now I've been looking for fun things to do with it.  These decorated tea lights were the perfect project.

I bought a bag of bulk tea lights a while back, and I seem to have two different sizes.  One is a little narrower/shorter, and one is almost exactly the same width as the tape.  The black and white stripe version is narrower than the tape.  I simply aligned the top edge of the tape and the top edge of the metal candle casing and folded any excess under the bottom edge.

My other tea lights were almost the perfect size.  I wrapped this bright green tape around the larger tea lights.

I then used them as a pop of color in my glass star tea light holders.  In holders like this--you don't see the tape so much as the color--but they are still a fun change of pace from the plain silver variety.

Next I tried out this black and white floral pattern tape on the larger tea light--it worked perfect and I knew I wanted to showcase the pattern.

So I dug out a plain votive holder to jazz up.

These are so much fun, I can't wait to find more washi tape to try out.  Of course, I don't know how heat resistant this tape is--so as with all candle projects--keep an eye on them.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Two Frosted Glass Spray Paint Projects

We had quintuple credit card rewards at Home Depot this when we were in the spray paint aisle, I knew I wanted to try out some frosted glass spray paint to see if it's any easier to use than glass etch for decorative projects.

I started out with a glass cylinder vase that I had picked up at the thrift store for 99 cents.  I had originally tried to use my circle punch on some painter's tape, but even when I stuck the tape to wax paper, it didn't get a clean punch, then I remembered I had these circle stickers for color coding some school stuff.  They don't always peel off of surfaces very easily--but I thought it was worth a try.  I spaced them evenly but randomly on the glass.  When I was done sticking them on the glass, I went back and pressed each sticker down to make sure it was stuck to the glass well.

I figured that since I was already spray painting the vase, I might as well spray another project at the same time.  Stripes on a small mason jar seemed like the perfect project.  I had been looking to turn this one into a matchstick container anyway.  So I eyeballed some stripes using blue painter's tape.  I wish I had some narrower tape to make more stripes, but I worked with what I had.

Before I sprayed the glass I cut out a circle of sandpaper to use as a striker in between the seal and the ring of the lid. (Use a dull pair of scissors, I hear cutting sandpaper can help to sharpen them a bit.)

Then I took both pieces of glass outside in a cardboard box to catch any overspray. It was a very warm and humid day, so I ended up having to wipe down the glass after I brought it outside.  It was covered in condensation just from the cool inside-the-house air.  

I sprayed a light coat all around the jar and vase and let it dry outside for about 15 minutes before bringing it inside to set (since it was so humid out).  Then after about an hour, I checked the coverage.  I needed a second coat.  This time I flipped the jar and the vase over and stuffed them full of plastic bags so I wouldn't get spray inside the jar and the vase.  After the second coat set, they were good to go.

I filled my little mason jar with wooden matchsticks and screwed the sandpaper lid on top.  This would make a great water resistant holder for a camper or just to keep in your kitchen cabinets. (Note: You will need "strike anywhere" matches.  The ones in this jar are strike on box matches that are being used as place holders until I get to the store for the right ones. :))

After I peeled all the stickers off of my vase, it turned out pretty cute.  The stickers worked pretty well, though I did scratch the paint a bit on the edges of some of the more stubborn stickers, but they peeled off better than I expected. 

The spray paint is a little easier to work with than glass etch cream (no need for gloves, etc...) and if your tape or stickers or contact paper bleeds through a bit, and you can scratch off excess spray paint pretty easily.  I'm not sure how durable this frosted spray paint will turn out to be.  I thought about spraying it with a clear sealer, but I was afraid it would turn the frosted spray paint translucent.  I'll report back if I have problems with scratching or if I try sealing them.

Update: One year later and this spray paint has held up surprisingly well.  No need to seal unless it's going to be handled a lot.