Monday, March 30, 2015

Mod Podge and Tissue Paper Easter Candles

I've been slowly making these decorated altar candles from Dollar Tree for every major holiday.  I started with Halloween, then Christmas/Winter, and Valentine's Day.  I had two left in my stash and I came across some cute tissue paper with Easter eggs on it at Walmart, and I knew what I was doing next. I figured I'd jazz it up a bit by applying a larger egg down at the bottom of the candle. I had already applied colored cut outs to white paper (with the Valentine's candles), but I hadn't tried it over patterned paper.

First I soaked the bottoms of my candles in the kitchen sink to loosen the sticky labels. I used a plastic dish scraper to get the labels off once they were wet, and they came right off--I didn't even need to use goo gone. Then I printed an egg template out on some cardstock that was a similar shape to the ones on the tissue paper and cut out some solid colored eggs to apply over top of the patterned paper. The trickiest part was cutting the thin paper so that there weren't any jagged edges. Then I grabbed a two inch wide piece of tissue paper and lined it up in the middle of my egg template and cut the rounded edges.  Then I cut my zig zags for the center of the egg.

Then I cut my egg tissue paper to fit the altar candles and applied mod podge to the glass candle holder along the seam and tapped the paper in place. Once the paper was on, I let it dry for 10 minutes before applying the egg.

I used the same method for applying the egg, I carefully painted on some glue and tapped the egg into place at a slight angle. Then I let it dry for a few minutes before applying the zig zags.

After the glue had set up a bit, I lined up my zig zags and painted some glue on and tapped them into place. I used a scissors to trim any excess that went over the edge. I then let the stripes set for a few minutes before putting a coat of mod podge over the whole surface to seal all the edges down and smooth everything into place. I may sound a bit like a broken record when I say to wait between each layer to let it set up and dry a bit, but it makes a huge difference on how easy it is to work with the fragile tissue paper. Even if you just let it sit for a few minutes, it's better than diving it and trying to work with the paper when it's wet.

I think they turned out pretty springy and cute, but if I were to make another set, I'd probably use higher contrast colors for the stripes on the eggs and tilt the eggs to be at opposite angles (tilted towards each other would be cute). I might even double up the eggs so they appear more solid over top of the pattern. These new ideas give me a great reason to burn these candles and enjoy them over the holiday so I can make another set a couple of Easters from now. :)

Happy Easter from Sarah Jane's Craft Blog!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Foil Backed Alcohol Ink Glass Gems

A couple of weeks ago I revisited my alcohol ink decorated glass gem project.  I made a couple of necklaces and was still left with quite a few decorated gems.  The first time I made the glass gems I thought it might be a good idea to back them with paper or foil to make them appear a little more solid, reflect light, and hide any magnets or bails that were glued onto the back.

So I tore off a sheet of aluminum foil from the kitchen stash and grabbed my one inch circle punch and made myself some foil circles. (Punching aluminum foil is also supposed to sharpen your paper punches--I'm not sure I believe that, but I guess it couldn't hurt.)

I decided to crumple a few and leave a few smooth to see the difference. I chose the lightest of my gems to put the crumpled foil on. I spread on some mod podge with a foam brush--making sure to put plenty of glue on the gems that were getting the crumpled foil so that it would make a good seal. 

Since there is nothing porous for the glue to soak into when gluing the foil onto the glass, be sure to get it carefully smoothed into place and then let it dry well. I left mine overnight before coming back the next day and painting another coat of mod podge over the top of the foil to seal everything.

Then you can glue bails or magnets or do whatever it is you want to with these gems. The crumpled foil added texture and reflection to the lightest gems and turned out the best (in my opinion).

I took some photos of the finished project in my light box. The above photo is diffuse lighted from all sides, the photo below was lighted from the front with a flash. You can see how much more reflective the foil makes these gems. In regular light they look more like the photo above, you barely notice the foil unless you look closely.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Craft Revisit: Mod Podge Storage Container

Ok, so this one is on it's third time round, but I like the project so much that I just can't throw away my empty containers after the holiday green bean casserole season--I just have to turn them into cute storage containers.

In case you missed them:


The first time I covered one of the French's Fried Onion containers I used some cute polka dot tissue paper that layered really well. Which worked great because the paper was thin and I teared it in a couple spots on the first layer.

The second time I made this handy storage container, I  I used a thicker tissue paper that probably could have worked just fine with one layer, but had a nice shadow effect with two layers.

My third attempt was with this cute multicolored striped tissue paper. Just like with the first two, I cut two rectangles of tissue paper that were just barely taller than the container and long enough to wrap around with a bit of overlap. I spread some mod podge onto the container with a foam brush and put my first layer on. Like with any mod podge and tissue paper project, keep your hands dry and tap the tissue paper down being careful not to tear it. Then let it dry long enough to set up and you can choose to put on a second layer or just seal it. I opted for a second layer.

I wasn't sure how the stripes would work over the curved sides, but it turns out the second layer was just what was needed. With the shadows from the first layer, everything looked fairly straight. After the second layer dried a bit, I covered the whole thing with a coat of mod podge and let it dry, then I filled it with my stash of wooden spools.  These containers are great for storing small collections of craft stuff, and I can't wait to make another.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Crafting Revisit: Alcohol Ink Glass Gems

A couple of weeks ago I dug out my old decorated glass gems and whipped up some magnets.  The project reminded me just how rewarding decorating glass gems with alcohol ink is. And since I have more colors of alcohol inks and some new glue-on bails since the last attempt, I thought it was worth a revisit (original post).

So I grabbed some 1 inch glass gems (which I picked up at Dollar Tree), my inks, and my applicator and got to work on a craft mat. I remembered from last time that the brightest and darkest colors work the best, so I used a variety on the backs of the gems.

I just dropped a few different colors onto the felt and stamped and switched colors until I liked what I saw. And just like last time they turned out so pretty so quickly!

After they had dried (and I had taken some photos), I flipped them over and mod podged the backs to keep them from smearing or scratching.  A clear sealer would work well for this step too, but it was cold out when I was crafting, so I opted for the mod podge.

Then I grabbed my new bails. I ordered a big bag on Amazon so you'll definitely be seeing more necklaces from me in the future. I used some E6000 glue to attach the bails to the back.  These were a bit smaller than the ones I used the first time around from Michael's, so they didn't show through as much. But for good measure I still chose the gems that had the darkest designs to make into necklaces.

After the glue dried, I grabbed some ribbon and some suede cord to finish them off.

They turned out fantastic and I can't wait to wear them!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Tissue Paper "Stained Glass" Candle Holders

I had two more leftover Glade candle holders to makeover and I decided to give them the "stained glass" treatment with tissue paper. I collected the brightest colored tissue paper I could find in my stash to try to shake me from my winter doldrums (seriously, when is winter going to be over...).  

I chopped my colored paper into various sizes of squares and rectangles.  I just tried to cut up a bunch so I wouldn't have to pause while gluing to cut up more.  I ended up cutting more after the first candleholder was covered (my first pile is pictured below), but I had a bunch leftover when I was all done, so it was probably just the sizes that I liked the best that I happened to be out of.

After I had a nice pile of randomly cut squares, I used a foam brush to paint about 2 inches of mod podge onto the candle holder.  This was about the largest area I seemed to be able to work in before the glue would start to dry before I could get my squares positioned.

Then I tapped down some squares of colored tissue paper onto my glue, staggering the colors and overlapping the squares as I went. Don't worry too much about paper hanging over the top and bottom, you can trim it or glue it down when you're done. Also, don't worry about little gaps. Once I had everything mostly covered, I went back in with smaller pieces and covered any gaps.

Once your squares are glued on, I set the candle holders aside to dry for about 10 minutes. Just long enough for the glue to set up so that the tissue paper wasn't so fragile and easily torn. Then I did any trimming I needed to.

Once I was sure the tissue paper was trimmed and had good coverage and patterns, I carefully painted on a layer of mod podge over the top of the tissue paper.  Be careful of all of the edges, it's easy for an edge that wasn't stuck down carefully to flip up or flip over when painting the top coat on. 

Once the glue was dry and clear (about a half hour), I popped some LED tea lights in them and tested them out.  They give off such a pretty glow in those springy colors.

These are a pretty easy and quick project, but if you've never worked with tissue paper and mod podge, be careful when you are first gluing it down. As soon as the tissue paper gets wet, it tears very easily. So when you are first gluing the tissue paper down, try to keep your fingers as dry as possible and and just tap the paper down. Don't worry too much if the edges aren't all glued down, it's easier to glue them down after the initial glue has set than to risk tears.