Monday, February 24, 2014

Tissue Paper Covered Disinfectant Wipes Trash Bag Holders

This fall I covered some of these empty wipes containers to put grocery shopping bags in, but recently I thought it would be a good idea to just fill them with rolls of trash bags: great to throw in the trunk of the car--or even better--to take camping.  I wanted a more flexible and durable cover for the trash bags than scrapbook paper, so I reverted to a method I used before to cover some plastic French's fried onion containers. That project used a couple of layers of tissues paper on plastic.  The Mod Podge really loves tissue paper.  It soaks right through the paper and creates a good solid bond and good seal over all of it.  It's also remains very flexible and won't crease or wrinkle (well the finish is a bit wrinkled intentionally) if the container is squeezed or dented.

All you need is some colorful tissue paper, empty disinfectant wipes container (with the label removed), Mod Podge, a foam brush for the glue, and something to cut your tissue paper with.  I found that a cheap rotary blade works really well since it's hard to cut tissue paper in straight lines. Start out by measuring your container.  Each container is a little different in size.  The one above is a Target brand and it's a little wider and taller than the Lysol brand ones. I just used my craft mat's ruler to get an idea of how long it needed to be, then after I had cut a strip, I measured how long it needed to be to get around the container with a little overlap. Cut two strips the same size for each container you cover so that you can layer them. I cut my paper a little taller than the container so that I could wrap the edges around the bottom. I think it's easier to wrap the cut edge than try to get the measurements and the cutting perfect so that it looks good. I use the factory's edge along the top of the container.

After your strips of tissue paper are cut, swipe an inch or so of Mod Podge over any glue remnants left over from the original label.  I start in this spot on the container so that the overlapping tissue paper will cover any excess glue. After you've put that thin layer of glue on, stick your paper to the container.  Line the straightest side up at the top of your container.

Once you've gotten the paper started, then you can spread glue thinly over 1/3 to 1/2 of the container and carefully press your tissue paper down. Be careful not to use too much glue that the tissue paper becomes fragile. 

Then finish gluing the paper onto the container--just keep being careful of the top edge. You can see in the above photo that there's a little overhang at the bottom.  I just added a little glue to the edge and pressed it down when I was done sticking the paper on. 

Be careful when you are spreading glue over the tissue paper to overlap your seems.  The wet tissue paper can be very fragile. The more saturated in color your tissue paper is, the more sturdy it will probably be (at least that's been my experience).  This pink and purple paper seen in the photos, was pretty sturdy. The other paper I used (in the finished photos) was white with polka dots and was a bit more delicate to work with.

After you have your first coat of paper and glue on, you can decide if you want to put on a second layer.  I like to put on a second layer as it makes the area where your paper overlaps look more natural and the thinner tissue papers get a nice layered look.  It also makes it so if you weren't perfectly straight or if you got a little tear in the first layer, you can cover it with the second. Whatever you choose to do, you'll want to let the first layer dry for a few minutes so that it's not as fragile.  Then spread on your Mod Podge, either for your finished seal, or for your next layer. I put two coats of Mod Podge on after my second layer of tissue paper, and once it's dry, it turns out quite durable.

Next I dug out a roll of cheap trash bags that I had relegated to the utility closet and peeled off enough trash bags so that it would fit into the container. The trashbags I peeled off the roll I was able to wind up and put in the second container I covered. 

I think these would be perfect for camping, and that's where I plan on using mine, but they'd also be great in the trunk of a car for wet clothes or messy cargo. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

As Seen on Pinterest: Oil and Vinegar Wood Treatment

A while back I saw a post on pinterest claiming that you could use canola oil or olive oil with vinegar to remove (or at least reduce the appearance of) scratches on wood.  I figured I had to try this out.  Sounds super easy and uses ingredients I have on hand.  I had some misgivings about the idea of using food-grade oil on wood.  I was worried that it might develop a smell.  So instead of trying this with food oil, I pulled out a container of furniture oil (seemed like a logical choice).  I had some Old English Lemon Oil on hand.  I grabbed a disposable plastic container and put in about 1/4 cup of the lemon oil (I eyeballed it) then I added 3/4 cup of vinegar (which I measured). I swirled it around in the container to mix it and grabbed some paper towels.  I then proceeded to find the most scratched up piece of wood in our house: the window sill of our picture window in the living room.  It's at doggy height and our pup is constantly jumping up on it to see out the window.  It looks like a mess.  We just figured we'd have to replace it or sand it and refinish it at some point, so I figured this treatment couldn't hurt.

As you can see in the before photo (click on photo to enlarge) the finish is almost completely scratched off. After liberally applying the vinegar and oil mixture, the scratches darkened and became less visible. I just gently rubbed it on until the scratches darkened.  The sill is still scratched to pieces, but at least it's a lot less visible now.

Since it worked pretty well on the sill (and that's a worst case scenario), and I still had plenty of the mixture left, I thought I'd tackle our old buffet (which has been moved so many times in the last 15 years that it's looking pretty banged up). The edge of the top was worn and the top had several dings and scratches. After applying the oil and vinegar, the scratches nearly disappeared and the lemon oil gave it a nice polish.

So my verdict: Mostly works.  It doesn't remove scratches, but it definitely makes them less visible.  It's quick, really easy, and the ingredients are inexpensive and go a long way (I still had about half of my mixture left after doing the top of the buffet and the window sill). I was worried that the scratches would reappear after the mixture dried an hour or two later, but it's been a day and a half since I treated the scratches and the wood still looks good.  Even if the scratches do reappear over time--this is a pretty quick and easy fix to reapply.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Alcohol Ink Glass Gems

Always looking for a new way to use alcohol inks, I decided to try them out on glass gems.  You know, the kind you buy at craft stores to fill up jars and vases (or as point markers in board games).  I have amassed quite a collection of glass gems for crafting and game playing.  I pick them up when they go on sale at Michael's or when Dollar Tree starts selling new varieties.  I think the large clear gems I have below are from Dollar Tree, though I'm not sure. They are sold most places that sell craft supplies.

I picked out some gems that were relatively flaw free and set up my work space with my craft mat. Using my DIY applicator, I dripped ink onto both ends with two different mixes of colors.  I found that this method worked well and allowed me to try different combinations and layers on each gem without having to reload my applicator multiple times.  The bolder colors seemed to show up the best through the gem, and smaller patterns of colors seemed to look the most impressive.  Just keep stamping until you get colors that look nice. The colors will become more defined the longer you stamp them. If you don't like how one turns out, just wipe it off with a bit of rubbing alcohol and start over.

I found that I really liked using my gold and silver alcohol ink on these gems. They were such fun and went so quickly that I made a nice pile of gems.  I let them dry for a bit (doesn't take long) before flipping them over.

When I took the photos below, I was really pleased with how they turned out, but I noticed they were leaving some marks on the white cardstock I had them sitting on for the photo.

So I flipped them back over and applied a thin layer of mod podge to seal them up. (You could also use an acrylic sealer, but it's 5 degrees out and there's a foot of snow on the ground--so not really spray paint weather here.)

When they dried, I glued some flat bails onto the back of a few with some E6000 glue.

Then I strung them up with suede cording. I picked some of the darkest colored gems to make into necklaces since they looked the brightest and would show the bail through the design the least.  The next time I make these, I may play around with putting a layer of foil or paper behind the design to make it pop and keep the bail from showing through.  Even with being able to see the bails through these gems, I think they turned out pretty cool, and I can't wait to wear them.

Update: I've revisited this craft several times--check out those posts for more information. 1. To make magnets 2. To try new colors 3. To back with aluminum foil 4. To back with aluminum tape 5. To back with white paint

Monday, February 3, 2014

Paper Strip Heart Decorations

I wanted to make a simple decoration to hang on my light fixture above our kitchen table for Valentine's day. I had seen these paper strip hearts floating around the internet and figured they'd be pretty easy.  They were pretty easy once you got the measurements and the directions to stack up your paper strips all down.

So here's what I did.  I cut strips 1/2 an inch thick.  I think if I did it again I'd go with wider strips--3/4 of an inch or maybe even an inch wide. I tried out a few different sizes, but cutting strips in 5, 6, and 7 inch increments seemed to work out pretty well and gives you a nice sized heart.  You could do 4, 5, and 6 or 6, 7, and 8 inch hearts for slightly larger or smaller decoration without out any changes to the instructions.

Cut two strips of paper for each heart in matching scrapbook paper.  Then choose paper that coordinates but is different for each of the smaller sets.  So you'll end up with 2 strips at 7 inches, 2 strips at 6 inches, and 2 strips at 5 inches. There's enough paper strips in the photo above for 4 heart decorations. It works the best if you use two sided scrapbook paper--but the strips I cut in the photo are all one sided--they turn out pretty cute too, you just have to pay attention to the direction you are stacking them when you put the hearts together.

With single sided paper you will stack the strips in this order (starting with the bottom): small strip white side down, medium strip white side down, large strip light side down, whatever you are using to hang it (out the direction of your strips, not the staple), large strip white side up, medium strip white side up, small strip white side up. Once you have them all stacked in this order, line up the side you are going to staple and make sure the ribbon or string is positioned so the staple will catch it and staple it. 

If you're using double sided paper, just make sure the matching paper is facing towards each other (facing towards the middle or facing to the outside--not facing up or down) so that your hearts are all made of out of the same design (I made this mistake on one, and since the designs all used the same color schemes--you can only tell they are mismatched if you look at it closely).

Now that the cutting and stacking part are done--it's a piece of cake. Just flip the strips over to create a heart.  I found that stapling the top of the heart with the staple vertically and the bottom with the staple horizontally works the best.  Staple the bottom of each heart and you are set.

Here's one of my single sided hearts all stapled with curling ribbon coming out the top.  When they were all finished, I tied a bunch of them to my light fixture and curled the ribbons.  A fast (once you figure out the directions thing should be laying), easy, and inexpensive Valentine's day decoration!