Monday, December 29, 2014

Popsicle Stick Starburst Ornaments

Well Christmas has come and gone, but our tree will be up until New Years, so I thought I'd squeeze one more holiday post in before the decorations all come down.  This one's a quick one that you can do with kids or whoever is crafty in your house and needing something to do during their vacations.

Grab some popsicle/craft sticks, glue them into a starburst pattern and decorate--it's a piece of cake.

I glued my 4 popsicle sticks into a starburst pattern with a hot glue gun, but you could easily use white glue or wood glue too.  The hot glue is just faster.  If you've got kids working on this project--a low temp glue gun would be a good option too.

Then I painted my starburst white with some thinned down craft paint (going for a bit of a snowflake thing, but you could paint them whatever color you wanted--or even leave them plain and just decorate them).

After the paint dried, I pulled out some glitter glue, but you could use sequins, plastic gems, regular glitter, or whatever you'd like.

Then I attached a metal ornament hanger to the back of the starburst (in the middle so it would sort of float).  You could also glue a string onto the back with the hot glue if you'd like instead.  These are an easy and fun little project.  Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

The Best of Sarah Jane's Craft Blog Ornaments

Merry Christmas! Today's special holiday bonus post is a list of all of my DIY Christmas Ornament Tutorials.  I hope you have a safe and happy holiday week!

1. Transparency Ornaments Print or copy an image that's just a bit smaller than your ornament onto transparency film, roll it into a tube, insert into a glass or plastic ball ornament and add some glitter or fake snow.  This worked really well with the outline of the nativity!

2. Snowflake Paper Punch Ornament Punch paper with your favorite holiday punch and pin it to a styrofoam ball to cover the ornament in holiday cheer.

3. Button Ornament Pin holiday colored buttons to a styrofoam ball for this cute ornament.

4. Painted Glass Ornaments Swirl craft paint inside glass ornaments.  Turn as they dry and you'll have a stunning ornament for your tree.

5. Glitter Ornaments Squirt a little floor wax into a glass ornament, drain excess, and then fill with glitter and shake until covered.  These are super cute and really easy!

6. Cardboard Tube Snowflake Ornaments Cut cardboard tubes into half inch pieces, pinch into an oval and glue together into a snowflake/flower shape.  Then you can decorate them however you'd like!

7. Cornstarch Dough Ornaments This ornament post includes a recipe for cornstarch dough that you can roll out and use cookie cutters to create.

8. Alcohol Ink Ornaments These glass balls get ink squirted inside them and blown around with canned air. It creates a beautiful transparent rainbow colored effect!

9. Paper Strip Ornaments  Cut paper strips and connect them with metal brads to create paper orbs.

10. Scrabble Tile Ribbon Ornaments Glue scrabble tiles to ribbon with hot glue to create these cute ornaments.

11. Melted Pony Bead Ornaments These ornaments are created by melting plastic pony beads inside cookie cutters.

12. Clothespin Snowflake Ornaments Take apart some clothespins and glue them together into these snowflake shapes and then decorate!

13. Felt Meeple Ornament Cut out your favorite shapes from felt and stitch them up to create simple felt ornaments.  I made mine in the shape of a meeple!

14. Alcohol Ink Ornament Revisit I got some metallic inks so I tried out the alcohol ink ornament project again (it ends up being a cross between the regular alcohol inks and a paint finish--less transparent).

Monday, December 22, 2014

Craft Popsicle Stick Snowflake Door Decoration

My mom gave me a giant box of craft sticks (aka popsicle sticks) this summer and I've been trying to figure out what to do with them.  I stumbled across a project to make snowflakes with them and knew I had to give it a try.

You'll need:
A glue gun
craft sticks (42 to make this design)
paint of your choice
a flat area covered in parchment or newspaper to work on

After deciding which design I was going to use, I laid it out on the table to get an idea of how big it was going to be and make sure I knew what I was doing. I stopped short of the whole design once I knew I had the general gist and started gluing.

This design starts with a six pointed star. The hardest part of this project was making sure the star was even.  I worried about the flake laying flat since I had all six craft sticks stacked on top of each other in the center, but it worked fine. You could also cut out some cardboard circles or something like that to glue your sticks to so that it lays perfectly flat if you'd like, but it worked out just fine to glue the sticks to each other.

I hot glued each joint and adjusted to make sure it wasn't crooked while the glue was warm and drying.  You could probably use other glue for this project, but hot glue dries quick, but not so quick that you can't adjust, and works really well with wood. Once the flake was all done, I decided it needed to be jazzed up a bit from the unfinished wood tone.

You could decorate the flake however you'd like, but since I have a black door, I opted for classic white.  I squirted some white craft paint into a plastic bowl and added a little water to thin it down so it would go on quickly and easily make it into all the nooks and crannies.

I painted both sides, just in case. Then I hung it on the door.  I thought about using a bow to attach it to my wreath hook, but ended up just hanging it up without the bow. The great thing about this decoration (aside from being inexpensive and easy) is that I can leave it up through January! 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Craft Revisit: Alcohol Ink Glass Ornaments

Last November I decorated some glass ball ornaments with alcohol ink after seeing a video online posted by the Ranger folks (the ones who make the alcohol inks), and I simply had to try it.  They were super easy and quick and turned out really neat, so I knew I needed to try it again this year with some variations.

So I grabbed two glass ornaments, a can of air, some rubbing alcohol, and some alcohol inks and set it all down on my craft mat.  I chose two shades of blue and silver for one ornament and red, green and gold for the other ornament.

One thing I tried this year that was different was that I started with a wet ornament.  I rinsed it out with rubbing alcohol and then dumped the excess out.  This made the inks much thinner and easier to mix and cover the glass.  If you're looking for a more solidly covered ornament, this will definitely help.  The other thing I did different was that I used the metallic inks.  They work really well for this project. As you can see above, I started by just squirting some red (watermelon) alcohol ink into the glass ball.

Then I used the nozzle straw to spray the canned air into the ornament.  As you can see it went from just a dribble to covering the whole ornament.  Then I set it aside for a bit to dry, but it didn't set up much. 

Next I squirted some gold and repeated with the air can.  The metallic inks really cover well and look stunning.  Then I squirted in some dark green (bottle) to finish it off and add some contrast.

The two blues I used for my blue ornament were denim and sailboat blue (and are part of the sets linked above).  Then I squirted in some silver and blew the air into the ornament and voila!

Because these ornaments were a little wet on the inside, I did turn them for a few hours as I let them dry so the ink wouldn't settle.  If you start out with dry ornaments and don't use too much ink, they'll dry almost immediately.  I think I like starting them dry better, but I definitely liked the metallic inks--they turned out very festive.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Duct Tape String Garland

4 years ago I got my husband a giant sequoia in a can. We were able to get a sprout that grew into a seedling that has continued to grow very slowly in the house. It's almost big enough that it would survive outside, but we have no idea where to plant it based on it's potential size. To be honest, it was a novelty and I didn't think it would last this long. At any rate, it's starting to look like a little miniature Christmas tree, and I really wanted to decorate it this year. Unfortunately the branches won't hold ornaments--not even tiny ones, so I decided to make a light little garland.

I grabbed some red string and my red and white duct tape, but I found out that duct tape has a shelf life of about 10 years (or at least this particular roll did). I had a red roll that I bought right after they started making colored duct tape probably about 12 years ago. When I tried to peel it, half of the sticky residue stayed stuck on the lower level of tape, so I had to settle for just white. I cut squares of tape using a cardboard template so I would cut the same length each time. Then I cut the tape in half widthwise and folded it over the string at the half as best as I could.

It was harder than I thought it would be to get the tape on straight, so I had to trim some of them. The tape also stuck to the scissors even though I was using a non-stick scissors.  

After the flags were all trimmed straight, I cut them into little pennants by cutting a triangle out of the bottom of each tape flag.

Then I carefully draped my little red and white garland over our small giant sequoia. It doesn't weigh the branches down and gives it a festive flare--so success!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Duct Tape Pencil Pouches

A quick project this week as I'm in a total end of semester crunch.  I saw this idea while browsing on Pinterest and knew I had to give it a try.  I gathered up some colored rolls of duct tape, a scissors, and some gallon sized slider storage bags.

Next I folded over the storage bag to create a crease that I could use as a guide to cut a straight line.  I just eyeballed about how big I wanted my pencil pouch (or makeup pouch or whatever you use it for) to be.

After my bag was sliced, I put a contrasting piece of tape along the top edge (I tried one starting from the bottom and this seemed to work a bit better). Make sure to leave enough room for the slider to slide without catching on the tape.

Then layer on more tape.  Keep it as straight as possible. When you're done with the everything except the bottom edge, flip it over and do the back side.

After you've taped both sides, trim off the excess (much easier to trim with a scissors when the tape isn't sticky).  Then tape up the sides by folding a piece over the edge and tape up the bottom the same way.

When you're done you've got a sturdy functional storage pouch.  Easy, cheap, and quick...just the way I like my crafts.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Felt Meeple Ornaments

It's been so cold here this November. This weekend we had a warm snap and we put the Christmas lights up on the house for fear it would be freezing from here on out. We usually wait until after Thanksgiving, but we weren't alone. Several of our neighbors put up lights too. So it's officially beginning to look a lot like Christmas out there. So I knew I wanted to do another holiday craft this week.


Since I needed to drag my tiny sewing machine out to fix dear husband's Tae Kwon Do uniform, I figured I'd sew up some felt ornaments that I had cut out and waiting to be sewn. I actually cut these out years ago. I finished one of them to give as a gift and the other two just sat waiting to be completed. These felt cut-outs are in the shape of Meeples, which are popular game tokens for strategy games (especially Carcassonne). I found a meeple outline online and adjusted the size of it in Word, then I printed it out on paper and cut around it. I used the paper meeple as a pattern. I pinned it on top of two layers of felt and cut my shapes out.

With my two meeple shapes pinned together and a ribbon pinned between the layers for hanging, I top stitched around the edges very carefully.

I tried to guide it as best as I could, but when going around the arms and head, I had to stop with the needle in the fabric and lift the presser foot repeatedly to complete a curved edge.

I stitched all around the edge (a little sloppy on one of the arms, but not too bad) and left one of the legs unstitched along two sides so that the ornament could be stuffed with polyfill stuffing. 

Above you can see my stitched meeple with the leg left unstitched.  Below you can see me stuffing the ornament.  I used a stick pen to stuff the stuffing into the arms and the head (a pencil or chopstick would also work well).

When I was done stuffing, I carefully stuffed a little bit into the open leg and shoved it under the presser foot of my machine and top stitched the opening closed.  

When I was finished with the sewing, I trimmed the tiny bit of filling that was sticking out and any uneven felt edges.

My purple meeple ornament turned out about as well as the one I completed a few years ago, good with just a few crooked stitches. The green one was a tricky little ornament though. Apparently the two felt meeples weren't exactly the same shape, and I kept on having to restitch areas because it would be safely on the felt on one side, but not on the other. This is a pretty rare problem with felt--it doesn't move too much when you're sewing because it sticks to itself so well, so as long as your meeples are the same size and shape, you shouldn't run into that problem.

Fortunately, since the thread is pretty close to the same color as the felt, it would be a pretty easy fix to hand stitch some contrasting embroidery thread over the edge in a blanket stitch to jazz it up and hide the stitches, but I think learning how to do that will probably have to wait until next Christmas.