Thursday, January 30, 2014

Pony Bead Sun Catchers: Valentine's Edition

This fall I made some sun catchers out of melted pony beads using a muffin tin.  Then, I made some Christmas ornaments by melting the beads in cookie cutters.  I made a couple of heart shaped ornaments that look fantastic as Valentine's Day Sun Catchers. Check out the linked posts for full instructions!

Here's a photo of one of the hearts right after I pulled it, cooled, out of the cookie cutter.  It just needed a little love from the dremel (to knock down some edges and drill a hole) before it was hung up.  Whether on the tree or in the window, these look fantastic!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Charger Plate Chalkboard

I stumbled upon some red charger plates leftover from Christmas marked at 75% off.  So I thought that making a chalkboard out of one would be a great project.  Total cost for project: 50 cents.

The people who owned our house before us painted the garage door with chalkboard paint and left the quart behind (along with a bunch of other old paint cans).  The paint is over 4 years old, so I figured it was time to use it up, or at least use it for something.

I started out by roughing the surface of the plate up a bit with some fine grit sandpaper.  It has a shiny finish, and I wanted to make sure the paint would stick.  You could, of course, use a primer, but I was impatient and the only primer I had lying around was oil based. After I sanded a bit, I wiped the plate off with a wet paper towel.

Next I painted a thin coat of the chalkboard paint.  Be sure to stir it well, especially if it's been sitting in your garage for 4+ years. 

I was careful on my first coat to paint along the edge of the plate in a smooth fashion so that I wouldn't have to be as careful with it on subsequent coats. I let it dry at least an hour before coats, and I painted on two more coats (might have been able to get away with just two coats, but it was old paint and I wanted to be sure we had good coverage) to finish it up.

I hung the plate up using Command Adhesive Velcro on a kitchen cabinet door.  It's perfect since the plate is so light, and I can hang it wherever I want or take it down later if I get sick of it.  I decided with Valentine's Day coming up I'd write "I love you because..." messages on it.  But I have also seen these plates used for Advent countdowns around Christmas, and since it's in the kitchen I could write my grocery list or other reminders on it too. Not too bad for 50 cents!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Alcohol Ink Decorated Charms

I've been having so much fun playing with alcohol ink lately. I keep on  looking for new things I can ink up. I figured these plastic charms from Tim Holtz that I picked up with a coupon a while back would do the trick nicely.

I picked out a few that I figured could be made into necklaces or key chains or tags and a couple smaller ones that I could stack.

Then I inked up my homemade applicator with small dots of ink and started stamping them onto one of the larger charms. 

And this is what it looked like after a few passes with the applicator.  It was so quick and easy that I whipped up the rest in no time.  I changed my felt out and tried some different color combinations and ended up with what you see below.  At first I didn't like the gold and blue one (the lightest one), so I stuck with the dark colors, but after it dried and I took a look at it, I think I kind of like it.  I'll have to try some different shades out for my next batch.

When they were dry, I strung some of them up with cording.

I put jump rings on a few and strung them up on suede cording.  The possibilities are endless though.  You could attach them to bags or to your zipper pulls, or you could use them for scrapbooking and cardmaking.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

DIY Light Diffusing Box

The last time I sat down to do some crafting, it was a dismal gray day: cold, dark, foggy, and drizzling. Needless to say, the photos I was going to take for the blog would certainly suffer (especially since I still use a point and shoot).  So, I decided it was time to make a light diffuser.  I grabbed a box that looked to be about the size of a sheet of copy paper.

Since one of the ends of the box stays open to take photos into, I taped the flaps of the box up to make the box a little larger (copy paper sized).  Then I cut rectangular openings in three of the vox sides leaving the bottom and back sides of the box solid.

Then I started taping (with white duct tape) sheets of white copy paper inside the box to cover up the openings I just cut. I'm sure you could also glue the paper down, but since I had the white tape, it seemed like a faster choice.

Then I cut a square piece of white cardstock for the back and the bottom (seen uncovered in the photo above).  I taped them down by rolling up pieces of the duct tape and sticking them on the back of the paper. When I was done, the box was completely white on the inside.

To take my first photo, I put some gem magnets onto a cork trivet and set them inside.  Then I turned a desk lamp on so that it lit the box up from the top.  You can still see the glare from the light in the gems, so I have some fine tuning to do, but the photos were definitely brighter.

Here's a photo of the finished box with the light turned off.

I used the photo box to take some pictures of Monday's project. That turned out pretty well.  I look forward to using this box more during these dreary winter months while I wait for the sun to come back.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Alcohol Ink Decorated Vase

Alcohol Ink Glass Vase

One of the first projects I saw online using Alcohol Inks was a candle holder.  It looked like stained glass, and I was so excited to try using the inks out on glass.  When I got my first alcohol ink, I tried a couple of projects just dripping the ink on and using a little rubbing alcohol as a mixative--one of those was some small votive holders. After making my felt stamper and using it to make washer necklaces and coasters, I knew I had to use the stamper on glass, and it became even more necessary after Hubby got me two packs of new alcohol inks for Christmas.  I had a small vase/large candle holder in my cabinet.  I had picked it up for 99 cents at Goodwill, but I'm sure you can pick up something similar at a dollar store or discount store.

I decided I wanted to use mainly blues and greens on the vase.  So I squirted little dots of all of my blues and greens onto my little homemade applicator stamp felt. Then I started stamping.  I knew I needed to try to make it all around the vase since getting the color combination the same with additional inks is near impossible, so I stamped all around the vase with the same ink to get a base coat of greens and blues.

After the base coat was on, I noticed it was pretty green--so I decided to throw in a little magenta as an accent color and some blue to bring that color out.  I even threw in a bit of silver (though I think I liked it a bit better without it as it's not transparent like the rest of the colors).  So I took my applicator and made a second pass around the vase.  After that, I just tried to make sure there weren't any splotchy or overly symmetrical parts--I just stamped a little over a couple areas and it was done.

Alcohol Ink Glass Candle Holder Vase

Since the vase is an in between size and I knew it would look pretty with light inside of it, I dropped a candle into it and lit it up so I could admire my creation.  It was a pretty easy project since you just need to stamp a couple of coats of color on it and the ink dries pretty fast so you don't have to wait long between coats.

Alcohol Ink Glass Candle Holder Vase

Monday, January 6, 2014

Storing and Using Clear Stamps

Santa brought me some crafting supplies this Christmas. I received a lovely craft mat from my hubby and my sister gave me a bunch of clear stamps. I've never worked with these stamps before, so I thought I'd document my first attempts. Luckily I had picked up a set of sticky unmounted stamps and a handled acrylic mount for them from a Fiskar's Kids Craft liquidation at TJ Maxx (not someplace you usually find discounted craft supplies).  So I had a basic block to put them on to try some of my new stamps out.

The coolest things about the unmounted clear stamps is that you can place them wherever you'd like on your block, you can leave room for layers of other stamps or embellishments, and you can see through the stamps and the block for better placement.  The stamps themselves are also cheaper to purchase.

After I tried my stamps out, I washed them off with some warm water and a little soap and put them back on their plastic sheet.  I figured now would be a great time to whip up a storage device for these new stamps.  I grabbed a 1 inch binder, some sheet protectors, and some card stock (all readily on hand in my teaching/office supply stash).

I put a piece of cardstock in each sleeve and stuck my stamp sheets in on either side.  I read a tutorial where someone had used double stick tape to keep the sheets from sliding out of the protectors, when I tried it, it created more problems than it was worth.  The slick sheets they put the stamps on are not conducive to sticky tape, so they came free, and the side with the outline should be facing out so that you can read what the worded stamps say and really see what's in the binder.  A couple of my stamp sets didn't come with sticky sheets for both sides, so there was no way to tape them down in the end, I just slid them in there loose; it works great as long as I don't tip the binder over.

Next, I printed up a sheet for the front of the binder so I know what's in it.  When I was all organized, I whipped up a couple of winter cards (perhaps thank you cards for the great gifts I received) with my new stamps.