Monday, March 31, 2014

Alcohol Ink Bookmarks

Well, I'm finally moved all downstairs. So my first project in the basement craft room is with alcohol inks (of course it is). I loaded up my homemade applicator with a piece of felt and dripped some dots of ink onto it.
Next I set up a transparency film (overhead projector film which I actually picked up at the pay by weight thrift store) with the piece of tissue paper it comes with underneath it so I could see what I was doing.

Next I just started stamping away.  I added and changed colors in sections so that the sheet would change color and mix together throughout, and I would end up with very different colors once I cut the sheet up into bookmarks.

Below is the sheet after I stamped and stamped my little heart out.  As you can see from the photo above, the ink will look water-colorish sometimes.  If you want it to look blended like that, stamp it less.  If you want it to be more stippled as it is below--keep stamping.  It changes as you go.  Just stop when you like what you see.  If you don't like it, keep stamping.  If the ink is starting to dry, just load up some different colors and go right over it.  It's a very forgiving process.

When I was all done, I waited a few minutes for it to dry and then sliced and diced my sheet up with my paper cutter.  I cut the sheet in half the long way (5 1/2 inches) then cut it in two inch strips after that.

After they were all cut up, I searched through my bag of paper scraps and found some different colored cardstock that I could use to make the film stiffer and provide contrast behind the ink.  I just laid each strip on top of the different colors and picked the ones I liked the best, then I cut the cardstock the same size as the transparency film.

Then I matched up the film and the cardstock pieces and put them between the layers of my transparency pouches. You could also cover these with some contact paper if you don't have a laminator.

I was a bit worried that the transparency film might melt and do who knows what in the laminator, but they came out perfect.  I just trimmed around the bookmarks and they are ready to go!  They would make great little gifts to anyone you know who loves to read.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Very Best of Sarah Jane's Craft Blog

This week's usual project post has been interrupted by the Big Craft Room Move of 2014 (makes it sound epic doesn't it?). This last week was spring break for me, so I took it upon myself to start a big project that I have been wanting to start for several months.  I decided that it made more sense for me to set up all of my crafting stuff in the basement where I'd actually have room to do projects. Previously, all of my crafting supplies were in the upstairs guest room.  They were spilling out of the closest, and the room was always disheveled from me grabbing supplies and not getting them put back in their spot in the closet.  There wasn't enough room there to do any projects upstairs, so everything was hauled down a level to the kitchen table, where another mess was often created.  I'm hoping that leaving all of the supplies in one area with table space will allow me to have only one messy area--and no one cares about an unfinished basement being messy (right?).  At anyrate, this big project has kept me from getting a crafting project done this week.  Rest assured, everything has currently been hauled downstairs, so next week's project will be on schedule. Meanwhile, I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to reflect on the craft projects I have completed so far.

So we'll begin with the #1 most popular post on my blog: Alcohol Ink Washer Necklaces. This post is very popular on Pinterest and wins this category there too.  It was a very easy and very satisfying project.  If you're just starting out with alcohol inks, it's a great starter project!

#2 on the most hits list is my Water Crystal Neck Coolers.I had wanted to make these ever since I saw someone wearing them at the State Fair when I first moved to Iowa.  It gets awfully hot here in the summer times, so I was really excited to see that you could get the water absorbing crystals all over the place now. This one is a very easy sewing project--so if you have any sewing skills at all, you should be just fine making these neck coolers.

The next most popular craft post, coming in 3rd, on my blog is these cornstarch dough ornaments. This one being so high on the list is a little surprising to me.  This project was a bit of a pain, and I still have ziploc bags full of these ornaments waiting to be painted years after making these; however, if you're looking to make white ornaments, these are whiter than most salt dough recipes and with fewer cracks in them as they dry.  If you like making roll-out sugar cookies, this project is for you.

The 4th most popular craft post on my blog is this easy magnetic pin dish. I think this one is popular because of how easy it is.  People pin it and visit the blog because they know they can make it themselves.  I bought this dish at the thrift store and just glued a couple of neodymium magnets on the bottom--easy peasy!

And the 5th most popular project on my craft blog are these alcohol ink coasters.  Alcohol Ink projects are very popular on the web.  I think people buy the inks (or are inspired to by the projects they see) and then want to get ideas on how to use them. Decorating ceramic tiles to make coasters is such an easy project (you can even go the tissue paper or scrapbook paper and mod podge route with these too), and white ceramic tiles are super cheap!

Honorable mentions go to the projects below (in 6th, 7th, and 8th place): Tissue Paper Covered Candle Holders, Fleece Rope Bones, and the Crystal Light fridge container.

Here's to another two years of crafting! I'll be back with new a project next week!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Crafting Revisit: Tissue Covered Fried Onion Container

A while back I covered one of these French's Fried Onion Containers in tissue paper.  The project turned out so well that I thought I'd make another one to store crafty bits and pieces.  For full instructions, see the original post here.

The whole project is pretty easy.  Simply cut 2 rectangles of tissue paper to wrap around the container (I used a rotary cutter to do this).  Then carefully apply the tissue paper to the container using Mod Podge. I apply a second coat for durability and to cover up any oddities and overlaps from the first layer.  Be careful when applying the Mod Podge to the tissue paper for the second layer as the tissue paper is wet and can tear.  Waiting a little while between layers is your best bet.  Then when you're all finished, add a coat or two of Mod Podge to the top to seal it all up.

After the container is sealed and dried, it's quite flexible and durable and ready to store whatever you need to.

Monday, March 10, 2014

As Seen on Pinterest: Baking Soda Oven Cleaner

All over pinterest there are DIY recipes for cleaners made from inexpensive household products.  Baking Soda is one of the most popular ingredients (that and vinegar). I have seen a couple of recipes for oven cleaner made with baking soda, but recently I saw one that called for just baking soda and water  That's it. Nothing else. I figured it couldn't possibly work, but since it was so easy, I had to give it a whirl.

This cleaner is billed as being able to clean your oven door and window to a clear shine.  All you need to do is cover the door in baking soda and water paste, let it sit for 30 minutes, and wipe it off.

So I sprinkled baking soda all over the door and then I tried to use a wet dish brush to make the paste (so as to get a little scrubbing in even though the instructions didn't call for it), but there wasn't enough water on the brush to work.  So I got a paper towel wet and squeezed it out onto the baking soda a couple of times and then used my hand to smoosh the paste around the door so that it covered all over.  As I did this, the baking soda started turning from white to off white, so it was cleaning up the grime (not that surprising since I didn't even wipe the door off with a damp cloth before hand).

Then I let it sit. I left it for about 45 minutes (for good measure).  It was still mostly wet but had set up just a bit.  I wiped as much of it off of the door with a dry paper towel as possible.  It took several trips to the trash can before it was sort of cleared off.  Then I had to go in and scrub off the remnants and the streaks of white with a damp paper towel, then again with a wet wash cloth after nearly all of the baking soda was removed.

As you can see, it definitely cleaned my oven door.  It's a heck of a lot cleaner than it was before.  But what you can't see in the photo is that the oven window (and a few places on the door) are still dingy and discolored.  

I am giving this a "sort of works" verdict for two reasons.  It was nowhere near as easy as the instructions made it out to be.  There was a lot of clean up and wiping off and scrubbing involved. And because the door didn't come miraculously clean. 

However, if you are looking for a less caustic way to take a layer off of your oven door, this could be a good option. There are also some recipes floating around combining baking soda, vinegar, and dish soap that I may try after my oven door gets good and dirty once again.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Tinting Jump Rings with Alcohol Ink

So I bought some cute skeleton key charms from the dollar section at Michael's a couple of weeks back and I knew I wanted to make some necklaces out of them, but two of the keys were gold and my jump rings were silver.  Almost all of my jewelry is silver, so I wasn't about to go and buy a new set of jump rings just to make one necklace, so I used some alcohol ink to tint the silver rings gold.  I used some gold and a little bit of yellow/orange ink.  I dotted on my application block as normal and dabbed  it all over the rings.  Then I flipped them over and did it again. It worked like a charm except that the rings would sometimes stick to the felt.

When I was all done I dropped them onto some white cardstock so it would be easier to see the color they turned out.  I was pretty pleased that I didn't need to run to the store, and I look forward to coloring them in other colors just for the heck of it now that I know that it works (like purple!).

Monday, March 3, 2014

DIY Shrinky Dinks and Alcohol Ink

So I've made a few projects with out of DIY Shrinky Dink plastic made from number 6 plastic containers (the containers I'm using are from the local grocery store's bakery department), and I've made a few projects with alcohol ink. This time, I used alcohol ink to decorate shrinky dinks. Have I exhausted all possible projects with these two media--not even remotely. They are both so easy and fun to work with.  I promise that they'll be back again.

If you want to make your own decorated plastic pendants, you'll need to start with some number 6 plastic.  I cut apart the container using an electric scissors to keep my lines as straight as possible since I was making squares and rectangles.  I punched holes at the top of each piece of plastic with a regular hole punch so the plastic could be strung up after it was shrunk.

I laid the plastic pieces out onto a cookie sheet lined with foil (it's never stuck before, but just in case).  I preheated the oven to 350 degrees and popped the plastic in for 2-3 minutes. It happens just that fast. After 2 minutes it was mostly shrunk, but I left them in another minute just to make sure they were all laying flat.

When the plastic was cooled (just a couple of minutes), I dumped them out onto my working mat to take stock.  They all shrunk to less than half their original size, and you may have noticed some wavy side pieces on my pan--they all flattened out (with slightly jagged edges, but flat nonetheless).

Next, I dripped small drops of a few different colors of alcohol inks onto my homemade applicator and stamped away until the colors mixed the way that I wanted.  I used the method that has worked in past projects of inking a few colors on each end of my applicator and then mixing them in varying amounts.  It worked well again and allowed for more variety without having to switch to new felt every few stamps.

My plastic pieces were a rainbow of colors when they were all finished, but some of the pieces were crooked or had ragged edges, so I brought out the dremel with a grinder tip and smoothed out the edges.  I even used the dremel to round the edges of a couple of the pieces.

In this photo, you can see the yellow-green piece has the top rounded and the bottom is still jagged.  The blue-ish piece above it was so crooked that I made a wavy design with the dremel.  After I was finished smoothing the pieces out, I used jump rings to string some of the pieces up on some suede cording.  I also made a couple with some hemp cord strung through the pieces with a loop.  They turned out a little more rustic looking than inking up the plastic Tim Holtz charms, but since they are made out of recycled plastic, they are quite a bit cheaper and just as fun and easy to make.