Monday, November 25, 2013

Alcohol Ink Glass Ornaments

Last week I watched a video from Ranger (the folks who make alcohol inks) of a project where you drip ink into a glass ornament and then spray it around with a can of air.  It looked easy and fun, so I thought I'd give it a try!

If you want to try it out too, you'll need: alcohol inks, glass ornaments, and a  can of air with a straw on the nozzle.

Start out with your plain glass ornaments. Drip 3-5 drops of alcohol ink into the ornament. You can then swirl it around a bit if you'd like, or you can just stick the straw from the can of air into the ornament and spray and see what happens.

You get something that looks like the pink ornament above once you've blown it around with the air. I left the pink one alone for a few minutes while I worked on a second ornament so that I could let the pink ink dry a bit and not mix quite as much with the next color I put in the ornament. Then I layered the ink until the inside was covered.

I ended up with beautiful rainbow colored ornaments with a swirl of transparent color inside.  They took just about 15 minutes to make two ornaments--so it's a quick and easy project.  I wish I had some inks that were in more "Christmasy" colors, but the rainbow effect turned out very pretty and I can't wait to hang them on my tree when I set it up this weekend.

I made some more of these great ornaments with some slightly different techniques.  Check out the revisit here.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Crafting Revisit: Alcohol Ink Coasters

The first time I decorated tile coasters with alcohol ink, I had just started using alcohol inks--I was a total newbie.  I had read a tutorial online that just dripped the ink on the coasters and mixed with rubbing alcohol, so I gave that a try.  It turned out well enough (though not like the example photos) to encourage me to play with the inks more.  After making my own applicator (because I'm too cheap to buy the real one), I learned how much quicker and easier applying these inks could be.  So I thought I'd revisit decorating ceramic tiles to make coasters--this time using an applicator.

So this time I took out my homemade applicator and dripped on the alcohol ink. I used all 6 different colors (because that's what's in my current stash--I have the Nature Walk and Farmer's Market sets).

You can squeeze multiple drops in one spot or single drops all over. The "blotches" you'll get will change a bit in size. Once you start "stamping" the alcohol ink on to the tile, just keep stamping until it looks the way you want it to.  It's super easy.

The above sequence of photos will give you an idea of what the tile looks like as you work. Using the applicator with the ink from the above photo, the first photo shows the tile half stamped, then the tile once it's been filled with a single layer of ink, then the third photo shows the tile after I had gone over it again with the applicator to create a second layer and fill in the gaps. You can keep stamping to break up the color or to cover any white spots until it looks the way you want it to.

The above photo is the finished product--still wet. The color darkens a bit as it dries. This one turned out quite bright--and quite pink (and hubby says it's his favorite of all four coasters because it's the brightest :)). I used the same stamper to create my next tile (I didn't add any ink to the applicator--just kept stamping) and it was darker in color from the inks starting to mix on the applicator. I also found that I liked the look of smaller dots of ink--but both looked so much better (in my opinion) than just dripping the ink onto the tile. If your "blotches" are larger than you'd like, layering the ink by stamping over it can help to break it up.

Once the ink has dried, I cut squares of felt to glue onto the bottom of the tile with tacky glue so that they could be used as a coasters. I haven't sprayed them with clear acrylic sealer yet, but I plan to before I start setting my wet drinks on them.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Washi Tape Pencils

A few weeks ago I spotted a cute craft that I knew I needed to try: Washi Tape Pencils! They looked quick, easy, and cute--that's my kind of craft.  So I picked out some smooth round hardwood pencils from my stash of office supplies (What, you don't have a stash of office supplies?  Well then these are the ones I used.)

Next, I picked out some washi tape from my collection that I thought would cover well enough that you wouldn't see the black of the pencil (or the printed logo on the side of the pencil) through the tape.  I then stuck the tape along the metal eraser edge of the pencil and ran the tape down to the end, being careful to center the pencil in the middle of the tape as I went so it wouldn't go on crooked. I trimmed the tape off with my scissors.  Then I smoothed the tape onto the pencil and repeated the process on the opposite side.

When I was done I had a covered pencil.  Cute for jazzing up any office pen cup and putting a smile on your face the next time you need to use a pencil. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Paper Strip Pumpkins

Just in time for Thanksgiving decor--out with the jack-o-lanterns and spiders and in with the pumpkins and gourds--I made some paper strip pumpkins.  I read a few different tutorials for these online (even one from Martha Stewart), but I ended up adjusting the instructions slightly to minimize the amount of paper needed.  

To create two large pumpkins and four small pumpkins you will need:
2 orange 12 x 12 sheets of scrap book paper
1 sheet of green scrap book paper (for the leaves--an 8 1/2 x 11 sheet or some scraps should work)
12 metal brads
two green pipe cleaners
one paper lunch sack
hot glue gun

Cut your 12 x12 sheets of orange paper into 7/8 inch thick strips.  The first piece of paper I chose had an ombre effect that took the pattern from yellow to dark orange (so it looks like different piece of paper--but it was all cut from the same sheet).  

You should end up with 14 strips of paper.  Cut the strips into 8 inch pieces with 4 inch pieces leftover.  The 8 inch strips will be used to create the large pumpkin and the 4 inch strips will create two smaller pumpkins.

Next, use a hole punch to punch holes in both ends of the strips.  Try to get them in approximately the same place on the strip, but if they aren't exact, don't panic, you should still be able to wiggle the brad through the holes.  Put the brads through the holes on both ends to connect all 14 strips of paper. You may end up with some slight bowing like in the photo below, but that's ok, it will still work just fine.

Next, pick up your strips and bend them in half to start your pumpkin.  Start carefully pulling the strips apart to create your sphere.  With the long strips, they should come apart very easily.

Next, repeat this process for the smaller pumpkins, but only use 7 of the strips for each small pumpkin. The smaller strips will be harder to pull apart, but once you get it started, they should be easy to arrange into a sphere.

Next I cut some leaf shapes out of some green paper.  I used the template on the Martha Stewart project page to get a general idea of the shape.  After that, I just winged it for the smaller ones.  When I was done, I used a green colored pencil to draw some veins on the leaves to give them a more realistic look.  Then I folded the leaves in half (along the long vein) and bent them a bit so they wouldn't be completely flat.

Next I wound some pipe cleaners around a pencil to create the little spiral vines. I left a little tail at the end to glue on the pumpkin and cut it with a scissors. The hardest part of this whole project to me was figuring out how to make a stem for the pumpkins. I ended up rolling up strips of brown paper from a lunch sack and then trimming it off. I glued the pipe cleaner down first, then the leaf, and then the stem on top of it. Once the hot glue dried, I adjusted the pipe cleaners and trimmed off the stems. In the end, I think they turned out pretty well.  Making the spheres was the most gratifying part of this project, and I look forward to messing around with width and sizes to make some holiday ornaments very soon. :)