Monday, June 30, 2014

Alcohol Ink Switch Plates

I recently painted our guestroom a lovely shade of lavender. No really, the paint color is lovely lavender. The room used to be chocolate brown. The previous homeowners, in their infinite wisdom, thought it would be a great idea to paint the tiny extra bedroom all dark chocolate brown. In some lights it looked almost eggplant in color. It was really dark. It wasn't offensive so much as it was oppressive. However, since it's in our guestroom, it isn't something we look at everyday, so it took me 4 years to get up the gumption to paint the darn thing. It took 4 coats (2 of primer, 2 of top coat) of paint to cover that brown, but it's finally a lovely shade of lavender.

While we were putting the switch plates and outlet plates back on, I noticed one was cracked and the switch plate had a couple of stains on it. Now was as good of time as any to replace them. We picked up a stack of replacements at the local Home Depot for about 20 cents a piece. Since they were so cheap, I knew I had to try out alcohol ink on them. A nonporous glossy surface, check! So I grabbed my paint chip (the shade in the middle is the one we chose--light and airy for a tiny room).

I grabbed my alcohol inks and picked out my purple selection, an applicator, rolled out my craft mat, and I was ready to go. You may also want some extra felts and some rubbing alcohol to clean up any mistakes.

I decided to try my eggplant and purple twilight. I had to stamp quite a bit to get good coverage and a stippled look, but I was happy with the color  Most of the alcohol inks will look a bit brighter when you're applying them than when they dry, so don't panic.

Then I grabbed my stained switch plate that used to be on the wall and grabbed some aqua ink (sailboat blue and stream) to cover up that scuff mark and match the colors in our master bedroom. This one turned out very bright and I knew I had to tone it down, so I added denim and gold over top to make it a bit darker.

It still came out pretty bright, but nice and saturated.

Then I wanted to try out a dark red one to match the decor in our family room. I used terra cotta, cranberry, and watermelon. I went over it with just the cranberry when I was done to darken it up a bit. Of all of the switch plates, this one darkened the most as it dried.

I also had an extra plug cover because I bought it in cream and we have all white covers, so why not try something fun.  I went multicolored and used sailboat blue, purple twilight, citrus, and watermelon.  I think it turned out really fun, but be careful when using this many colors because they start to mix and you'll either have to be okay with the colors getting muddy or you'll need to quit while you're ahead. I love the color combo on this one, it's so much fun, but I'm not sure what room it would look the best in in our house.  It would be great in a kid's room.

To finish off the plates, they needed to be sealed so they wouldn't scratch or smear if you had anything alcohol based on your hands.

I used my Matte Mod Podge Acrylic Spray to seal them up.  I did two coats with a good hour between for them to dry.

I hung up my purple one in the guestroom right away, and I think it looks fantastic.  I couldn't get a photo where the paint color looks true though, it always looks white or pink or off white like in the photo below.  I promise it's a pretty shade of light purple.

You can really see how much darker the red plate turned out after it dried in the photo below.  It was a lot of fun to decorate these plates, and they are so inexpensive that I'm thinking of making custom ones for the whole house, but that may be a little overkill.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Alcohol Ink Pillar Candles

This is one of the few alcohol ink projects floating around the internet with some regularity that I hadn't yet tried.  Most of the examples of alcohol ink decorated candles involved just dripping the ink on, but I wanted to try applying it with the applicator instead.  So I bought a couple of white candles at Wal-Mart and brought out my craft mat, alcohol ink, and applicator. I wanted to go with blues (as seen above), but after a first swipe looked really boring, I wiped it off with a napkin soaked in rubbing alcohol and tried again with the colors you see below.  I used 5 Adirondack Ink colors (Purple Twilight, Sailboat Blue, Citrus, Stream, and Wild Plum) to decorate my candles.

I started out by applying the Citrus, Sailboat Blue, and Purple Twilight.  I dropped a few drops of each onto half of my applicator and stamped around the candle to get a nice base color.  

I decided the green looked a bit yellow and replaced it with the Stream color (which is a dark teal) for the second pass and added Wild Plum to kick up the purple a bit. I dropped those colors onto the other half of my applicator and went over the candle a second time.

I liked the way it turned out, so I tried to do the same thing for my larger candle, unfortunately because I had to reapply ink to the pad for the larger candle, the colors blended together more which meant the two candles don't match even though I used the same colors in the same order.  If I try this again, I'll make a point to switch to a new piece of felt to try to match the candles.

The larger candle has a much more blended and saturated look.  It's pretty, just very different from the first candle.  So I probably won't be displaying these candles together, but they are definitely easy, quick, and turn out cute.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Recycle Craft: Washi Tape Storage Bin from Pretzel Container

I had this plastic container with a jar lid leftover from buying some peanut butter filled pretzels.  I knew the container would work great for storing something, but I didn't have a clue as to what.  Then I found some inexpensive washi tape on clearance and suddenly the container I had been using to store washi tape in was just too darn small.  So cue the perfect use for this container.

I spent a good deal of time cleaning the goo off of this container from its labels.  I think I used 3 coats of Goo Gone on each label before it came squeaky clean.

I poked around the internet looking for free frames and stumbled upon this one.  Then I used a font that had a similar line and printed it out so that it would be just the right size for my container. I printed it on cardstock, but it was still white, so I knew it would get dirty and smudged without a sealer over top, so I coated the back of the cardstock with mod podge and then stuck it down.  Then I covered the whole thing with another layer of mod podge to seal it.

Then I grabbed some coordinating black washi tape and trimmed the container with it.  Now I have plenty of room for my washi tape collection to grow.  And, the opening is plenty wide to reach my hand in and grab a roll.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Tissue Paper Photo Transfer (Decoupage)

I saw some decoupage this week and decided I absolutely needed to try to print something onto white tissue paper and see if I could do a photo transfer.  I grabbed a couple of pieces of pine tae kwon do boards that my husband had saved (we usually just burn them in the fire pit after they've been broken, but this seemed to be a better use) and set them aside.

Next I did a bunch of searching for public domain art and graphics.  I found a few that I thought would work and downloaded them.  I ended up choosing a graphic of some skeleton keys and a photo of the Eiffel Tower being built. Next I cut some large pieces of tissue paper into quarters and carefully taped them to some card stock.

I decided to run the covered cardstock through my old trusty Canon Pixma printer (it's 9 years old and the best printer I've ever had) as our newer Brother printer jams very easily, and I figured this tissue paper covered cardstock would be a nightmare to run through it.

Here's the skeleton key image as it was coming through the printer.  There's black ink from the rollers or something smudging all over the place, but most of the smudging I was able to cut off.

I didn't see an easy way to clean my printer out, so I went ahead and ran my next design through.  This time it only smudged on the bottom of the page.  I'm sure if you have a newer printer that hasn't been through as much as my trusty old Canon (I printed my thesis on it about 5 times) you will probably have better luck with the smudging. If I do this printing on tissue paper thing again, I'll probably use a q-tip dipped in alcohol to clean some things in the printer beforehand.

The next step was prepping the pine boards.  I wanted them a bit darker than their ultra light natural tone and I didn't have any appropriate stain lying around, so I made a paint wash with some brown craft paint and water.  I thinned the paint and brushed it on with a foam brush and then wiped the paint off with a paper towel. I was pleased with the color they turned out.

Then I spread a generous layer of Mod Podge onto one of the boards.

Then I carefully laid down my tissue paper with the keys printed on it (after having cut the design out and off of the cardstock).  This part is tricky, I intentionally ripped the places in the middle of the design (as they had printer smudges on them), but it's very easy to rip the tissue paper once it has any glue on it, so lay it down in the right place and carefully pat it down with dry fingers.  If you get glue on your fingers, take a moment to wipe it off before rubbing or patting down the tissue paper again, or it will stick and rip.

I ended up having to reposition the keys once and so it ripped in a couple of minor places and didn't get as much glue under it as it needed to turn more transparent.

I went ahead and covered it with a coat of mod podge to seal it and hoped it would turn more transparent as it dried.  The eiffel tower I was able to get in the right spot on the first try.  I put a layer of mod podge over top of it too and left them for a few hours to dry all the way and become as transparent as they were going to.

When I came back to them, the Eiffel Tower was pretty good; a little opaque, but not too bad.  The keys, on the other hand, looked messy and quite a bit opaque.

In an attempt to even the key design out, I put a second layer of tissue paper over top of the design to diminish the look of the holes and edges of the design.

I laid one of my quarter sheets over top of a glued surface, patted it down, trimmed the excess, and then carefully painted a sealing coat over top.

Well, it didn't turn out too much better, so I sanded the surface and got my craft paints out.  I created a color wash for the whole surface out of thinned down brown paint, and then I added a little gold paint and tapped both colors around with the foam brush and a paper towel until I achieved a faux-leather look.  It turned out much better than I anticipated after looking like it had dried toilet paper stuck to it. :) I also did one quick swipe of the watered down brown paint over the Eiffel Tower photo to help it blend into the wood a bit better, and it was good to go.

Things I learned from this project:
  1. This decoupage with white tissue paper thing would work much better on a light colored or white background.
  2. If you really want the design to disappear into your (darker) surface, trim around it carefully with a sharp scissors before applying it to the surface.
  3. Wet tissue paper rips really easily (I knew this one from previous projects, but I just wanted to point it out again for folks).  Be patient with it and let it sit for a few minutes after you set it onto the glue before covering it with mod podge (or your favorite decoupage glue).
  4. Paint can fix a lot of mistakes.
  5. Just when you think all is lost, it often turns out ok (true of many things in life, but especially experimental craft projects).

Monday, June 9, 2014

Quick IKEA Clock Makeover

I just put up a new curtain in my kitchen and wanted to redo the clock that hangs above my kitchen window. So I grabbed this $1.99 clock from IKEA that was just sitting in my basement and got it ready for its makeover.

I couldn't figure out an easy way to take the clock apart, so I applied painters tape to the front of the clock and used my fingernail to crease it along the edge of the clear plastic clock face.

Then I grabbed a sharp utility knife and carefully cut the tape along the edge. There is a bit of a gap between the plastic body/frame of the clock and the clear plastic face, so I just placed my blade in that space and it cut pretty easily.

Next I grabbed a box that already had spray paint on it and went out to the patio.  I sprayed a very light first coat of Krylon Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint. It's better to be safe when spraying on plastic, you don't want it flaking off or scratching easily later, so the first coat won't cover the whole surface, just get the paint started so the rest of the coats will stick.  I let the first coat dry for 15 minutes or so and then came back and put a second coat on that covered most of the clock frame.  Then I let that dry about an hour before coming back and applying a 3rd coat to make sure every inch was evenly coated.  After the last coat was dry, we were good to go.

IKEA Hack Spray Painted Clock

The oil rubbed bronze classes up a cheap clock pretty quickly.  It easily looks like an $8 clock now instead of a $2 clock. :) 

IKEA clock spray paint

I hung it up above my kitchen window and it's a huge improvement over the blue plastic one that was hanging above the window before (I used to have a blue curtain on that window--it made sense at the time), and this one turned out so well I may give the oil rubbed bronze treatment to the blue clock too.

Monday, June 2, 2014

As Seen on Pinterest: Bathroom Cleaning System

I went to Dollar Tree and picked up a caddy and a basket.  I put a disinfectant spray, glass spray, and toilet bowl cleaner and a bunch of rags in my caddy.  Then you can quickly hit each of your bathrooms without having to stop and start and look for cleaners.  When you're done with your rags, just toss them in the basket to put in the laundry.  With a fresh supply of rags you can keep cleaning even if one gets gunky or full of hair--just grab a fresh one.  The whole process made cleaning my bathroom a breeze! 

I purposely shopped for smaller bottles that would fit nicely in my caddy.  The canned glass cleaner works great, but you could easy put the cheap stuff in a smaller spray bottle too. I did notice, though, that I wanted some disinfecting wipes, so I added that to my caddy.  My caddy would be better if it were just a smidge bigger, and I'd love to have a caddy that fit neatly into my basket so I could store the whole thing in my linen closet and grab them both when I am ready to clean, but otherwise the whole setup works great!

I picked up one of these microfiber cloths for cleaning glass at Dollar Tree (they come in a blister pack on blue cardboard and are usually found in the cleaning section) and it worked so well that I took a picture of it. (I also bought two more of them.)  They would be a great addition to your cleaning caddy.