Monday, April 28, 2014

Alcohol Ink Picture Frame

Alright, so I know I've been making a lot of Alcohol Ink projects, but they are just so darn much fun (and they are usually pretty quick).  After I spray painted some picture frames to give them new life a couple of weeks ago, I thought--hey I bet I could alcohol ink over silver spray paint....and yep, I was right, you totally can.  I grabbed a flat photo frame from my stash to give new life to.  This one is from the 90s.  It has flowers painted all over it and is a lovely shade of neon yellow-green.  Needless to say, it didn't really go with anything in my decor.

So I grabbed the same box and spray paint from the last silver spray paint project and got to work.  I taped up the glass on this one instead of taking it off the frame as it's a shadow box frame.  The glass is held in place with wooden strips inside the frame.  I didn't feel like ripping the whole thing apart, so I taped the glass.

The finish on this frame is odd.  It's painted a bright color, and then hand painted flowers over the top of that, and then some sort of lacquer or sealer on top of the flowers, so when I spray painted it, the finish did some weird things.  I needed a few coats just to cover the flowers (as you can see above), and then as I applied more paint, the finish started pock marking.  Then when you add more spray paint you get drips and ripples, but I got it as smooth as I could and let it dry for a few days for good measure. 

Next, I laid the frame down on my craft mat (I peeled off the tape to make sure that it would come off without peeling the paint off the edges and that a bunch didn't bleed through on the glass, I just taped it back up again when I was ready to ink it up) and got my alcohol inks out.

Above is a photo of what my applicator looked like as I started inking.  I knew the inside of the frame was still lime green, so I wanted to use a some green in the alcohol inks so that it would coordinate.  I stamped around the whole frame with my first collection of colors.

I added more ink to the applicator and one different color to get some more dimension, and stamped around it again.  I wanted a fairly stippled look, so I kept on tapping my felt applicator over the colors without adding any additional ink until I got the look I was going for.  I let it dry for a bit and went about finding a photo.

The task of finding a photo was harder than I thought.  The frame is so busy that I think I'll need to switch to a black and white photo or put a white mat in the frame to break up the color, but I love the way the frame came out and even though the paint finish wasn't perfect, the ink hides most of the flaws.  I definitely proved the concept and can't wait to decorate another photo frame.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Alcohol Ink "Dyed" Easter Eggs

This week's post is a day early because it's EASTER.  Happy Easter!  I thought I'd share the project I made a few days ago now instead of waiting for a year to share it before Easter.  

I was going through some links to alcohol ink projects online trying to come up with something new I could try with my inks, and I kept seeing the same projects over and over again, and I suddenly thought, hey plastic Easter eggs are smooth and non-porous, I should totally be able to use alcohol ink on them.  So I dug out some cheap plastic Easter eggs that I'm sure I bought after Easter on clearance in the last couple of years (since I used all my old ones up when I made my Easter Wreath).

So I grabbed a bunch of eggs and my inks and my craft mat and got to work. I left them split in half so that I could set them on the table without them rolling and I used a couple of toothpicks through the holes in the egg to help move them around and hold them. I put a piece of felt on my applicator and dotted it up with bright springy colors of ink. 

Then I started stamping away. Even with the toothpicks helping out, these eggs were a bit of a pain to get inked up without them rolling all over the place or getting fingerprints on them. I got an awful lot of ink on my hands as I stamped them up.

Above are my first two eggs.  The yellow one from the earlier photo is the bright reddish tinted one on the right. The yellow eggs turned out the brightest since they were the lightest color to start with. The pink egg next to it on the left was inked using the same applicator after it had inked the yellow egg.  There's a big difference in the colors of the ink and the texture of the ink.  I found that the eggs turned out the best when the ink was fresh. I ended up adding more ink to the felt for each egg, and switching colors and felt every two eggs seemed to work the best.  I ended up inking over the egg on the left in the photo above so that it would be more saturated in color to match the others.

Here's the mess I was left with after I was done inking up my eggs.  They really inked up the mat and my hands, but other than keeping them from rolling onto my jeans and the floor, they were a pretty easy project. Rubbing alcohol cleaned up most of the mess and left my hands just a little dyed.  

These really are the adult version of dying Easter eggs. I don't get to eat hard boiled eggs afterward, but the eggs should last for several Easters.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Washi Tape Photo Mat

This weeks project was a Trash to Treasure makeover of some old picture frames.  I figured I could do one better and make some cute photo mats for the frames to jazz them up even more. 

I grabbed some regular white card stock and popped the glass out of the frame and used it as a template.  I cut around the glass with an x-acto craft knife.

After I had my frame sized card stock, I pulled out some washi tape that I got at Target on clearance (just over a dollar for 3 rolls of black and white washi tape--sa-weet!).  I taped it along each of the edges, not worrying about the ends because I was going to be mitering the corners with my craft knife. It's also not a big deal if the tape isn't perfectly positioned along the edge of the card stock since that will be covered by your picture frame--just get the tape on straight and you're good to go.

The easiest way to do the corners is to just overlap the tape and cut a straight line from the inside corner to the outside corner.  Then you can peel back the excess.

After the line is cut I peeled off the first edge.  Then just peel up the other edge to get the excess tape that's underneath.  When you're all done, you're left with a neatly mitered corner--easy peasy!

And voila! A tidy taped corner.

Repeat on all four corners and all you've got left is to trim the inside of the mat out.

I grabbed my metal ruler to help keep my edges straight and cut along the tape with my craft knife to get rid of the center.

Then you're left with an instant mat.  Be aware that it's a very thin mat--the tape is 5/8 of an inch thick and the frame covers up a bit of the edge. But it's cheap, easy, can be changed out in a snap, and the possibilities of patterns are nearly endless!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Trash to Treasure: Spray Painted Picture Frames

When I was cleaning up in the basement to make room for my crafting stuff, I came across some boxes of picture frames. I went through and sorted them into three piles: get rid of, keep, and make into something new. The "make into something new" pile was filled with frames that were dinged up or missing glass--ones that would probably end up in the trash if they were donated to a thrift store. So I figured I'd show them some love, or end up up throwing them out myself.  

This pair of matching frames was at least intact. The back pieces were all there and in good shape, both frames had glass, but they were dirty and dinged up.  So, time for a quick makeover!

First, I took off the backing and took out the glass and set it aside to be cleaned. Then I wiped off the old frames with a damp cloth and went over the dings with an emery board. Some fine grit sandpaper would probably work even better.

Then I propped the frames up in a box and took advantage of the much nicer spring weather we've been having and sprayed them with some shiny silver spray paint.  It took a few coats since I had to keep turning the frames and letting them dry.

After they were completely covered, I let them finish curing inside, and they were like brand new picture frames!

I printed out some black and white photos and made some cute homemade mats to frame the photos out and jazz up the plain silver frames.  I'll explain how I made the mats in a bonus post on Thursday. These frames make a cute addition to my mantle next to my spray painted sea shells.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Six Pack Picnic Carrier

It's trying to be spring here.  Not quite, but it's getting there.  Forecasts have this week being in the upper 50s to mid 60s, which is about where we're supposed to be at this time of year (and warmer than it has been). Though it's not toasty warm, we've been grilling for weeks. The first warm snap of the year and we were off to swap out our empty propane tank for a new one. Hopefully I'll be able to use this weeks craft soon to eat outside, but until then, we'll just say I'm well prepared. I did hear that next week might be in the 70s, so picnic time might be just around the corner.

I snagged a 6 pack carrier from the claws of the recycling bin and decided to give it a second life.  I grabbed this cute camping themed scrapbook paper from my stash (you'll need two matching or coordinating sheets) that I got in a packet from Tuesday Morning a while back.

Next I measured each of the faces of the carrier with a ruler and cut the rectangles out with my paper cutter. Each carrier has slightly different dimensions (taller, different shaped handle, etc...), so you'll have to measure yours.  I wanted to be able to flatten my carrier for storage when I wasn't using it, so I cut two panels for each of the sides so it could fold, and I didn't cut any paper to cover the bottom.

As you can see in the photo above, not all of the sides were perfect rectangles, so I cut the paper to fit the tallest part of the side and trimmed it with a craft knife after I had glued it on. Be very careful when cutting the paper if it is wet with glue--it has a tendency to tear--so you may want to wait until it has dried.  I also cut some of the corners and along the edges to make sure it wouldn't bunch up when folded flat, and I had to cut the paper out of the handle of the carrier. After all of the sides have been glued on with Mod Podge and trimmed up, then you can put a nice coat or two of Mod Podge over the top to seal it all up.

This project is pretty easy and quick and you're left with a very functional recycle craft for the cost of a couple of pieces of scrapbook paper. I can't wait for our first picnic of the year!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

DIY Alcohol Ink Applicator

A while back I made my very own alcohol ink applicator because I'm cheap, that and I didn't want to wait to have one shipped or drive across town to buy one.  Instant gratification can be a good motivator. That applicator worked so well (and is the long one in the picture above), that I decided to make a couple more to refine it just a smidge.  The scrap of wood I used in my first applicator is a leftover piece from a set of shoe shelves.  It came with these little connector pieces to link the shelves to another set.  I threw them in my scrap bin figuring I'd use them for something. So the first one I made by gluing the hook side of some hook and loop tape to a chunk of wood.  

The process remains the same, but this time I wanted to make the applicator smaller. I often end up using only one end of the old long one (it's about 3 inches long) and if you're working on a larger surface, that can mean waste--waste of ink and waste of felt. So I figured I'd cut another one of these blocks in half.  I decided it might be a good idea to make one just like my first--simply gluing the velcro on. The other half of the chunk of wood I wanted to try something a little different. This time I glued a piece of thick craft foam (double thickness of the regular sheets--I picked it up at Michael's to make some DIY stamps) to it between the wood and the velcro to give it a bit of give when I was working on surfaces that weren't flat.

To get started I needed to cut the piece of wood in half. I decided I'd just use a little hacksaw. No need to drag out power tools (however if you have a circular saw set up--that would take like two seconds and this did take me a few minutes to cut by hand).

I measured the half way mark, made a cut, and then proceeded to cut along all of the faces of the wood. When I finally had it cut enough, I just broke it in half (as shown in the photo below). This method works well when you're working on a surface that you don't want to cut with a hacksaw, and keeps your wood from splitting as you finish cutting.

I sanded off the rough edges and got out my glue. I decided I'd use E6000 this time as the edges of the velcro were starting to peel up a bit on my first applicator where I used tacky glue. E6000 also was my preference for working with the craft foam as the E6000 works so well with multiple types of materials. If you are not using craft foam, a hot glue gun and a chunk of cardboard to smooth the glue out before you lay the velcro down would work well too.

I cut my velcro strips (hook side only) the length of my blocks and grabbed a little piece of cardboard to smooth the glue out and stuck it all together.

When I was all done, I ended up with two blocks pretty similar in size to the applicators you can buy. I just cut some white or light colored felt squares to stick on there and I'm ready to go. These new blocks use less felt and are easier to maneuver.  I already tried out the regular small one when I made this week's post about alcohol ink bookmarks, and it worked great! I can't wait to try out the cushioned one.

Update (July 2015): These have held up great through many projects over the last year. The "cushioned" one with the craft foam is my favorite applicator--I use it for most of my projects.