Monday, July 27, 2015

Scrabble Tile Art Magnets

I have to start off this post with some sad news, because it was that news that inspired this week's craft project. My 94 year old grandma passed away. In her later years, she took up drawing and painting and really enjoyed it, so I wanted to do a craft that used some of her artwork. This ended up being quite challenging. Our scanner that does a good job with documents and and an ok job with photos, did a terrible job with her colored pencil drawings. They came out completely washed out and overexposed. So I took some photos of the art, which turned out ok, so onward with the project. I used Word to shrink them down to 3/4 of an inch (the size of scrabble tiles) and printed them out onto some matte photo paper. 

I cut the little pictures of art out and mod podged them onto the blank side of the Scrabble tiles.

After they were dry, I used an old emery board to remove any excess paper or glue along the edges.

Then I put a layer of Diamond Glaze onto the tiles. I was in a hurry to complete this project before we got in a car to drive two states away, so I did a sloppy job and ended up having to fix it with a second layer of glue. 

Be sure to apply the glue to the edge of the tile carefully and then fill in the center. Try not to pick up the nozzle from the glue stream--that creates bubbles which are a pain to remove. I have used Paper Glaze to cover scrabble tiles in another project and that was a bit easier to work with. The glue was thinner and less likely to bubble. Of course that meant you needed to put 2 or 3 coats on to get a nice clear glaze over the top, whereas with the diamond glaze 1-2 coats would work.

After the glue dried to a clear finish, I decided that these would work the best as magnets--I had hoped to turn them into necklaces, but they didn't turn out as clear or as vibrant as I would have liked. But they will look really cute on my fridge and remind me of Grandma every day.

I used more of my tiny neodymium magnets and some E6000 glue to attach them. Just be careful to place your tiles far apart when you're gluing these magnets as they are very attracted to each other and will want to come flying out of the glue if they are too close to each other. Happy crafting!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Recycled Christmas Cookie Tin

Every Christmas it seems that I end up receiving (or buying) nuts or cookies in one of those Christmas tins. I save the cute ones thinking I'll give someone cookies in them, but if I don't use them the next year, they often end up in basement oblivion. This cookie tin got dragged out of the basement and repurposed.

I grabbed a cardboard box and a can of black gloss spray paint and went out onto the patio. I put several coats of paint on and let them dry 10 or 15 minutes between layers (sometimes less, as it was hot out and drying pretty quickly).

The photo above was after 3 or 4 coats, and I probably put 3 or 4 more coats on after that. Multiple thin layers works best. When I was done, you could still see some raised areas from the design on the lid of the tin, so I decided to cover it with some scrapbook paper.

I'm sure I bought this scrapbook paper on one of those 6 for a dollar sales that they have every now and again at Michael's. It seemed like a good choice as it would match most decors. So I gathered up my Mod Podge jar and a foam brush and got to work.

I flipped the paper over and traced the lid on the back. There is a rolled lip on the lid, so I cut inside the line (using the outside edge of the scissors as my guide). Unfortunately, that was still not enough to compensate for the edge of the lid.

After trying to fix it freehand, I was left with a very wobbly looking circle, so I scoured the cupboards for a plate or bowl that was close in size to the circle I was trying to cut. I ended up using a Corelle saucer plate.

After tracing around the plate and carefully cutting along the line, I wound up with a much smoother circle, and I was ready to glue.

I painted a layer of mod podge onto the lid and onto the back of the paper with a foam brush. Putting the glue on both surfaces allows you to slide and readjust the paper a bit, but if you put too much glue on the paper, it will bubble and wrinkle, so don't over do it, and gently smooth the paper out from the center to avoid big bubbles and ridges as you apply the paper to the lid.

If your paper looks pretty smooth, you can go ahead and put a sealant layer on right away. If you end up with some bubbles, it might help to let it dry first before putting on the sealant layer. Many bubbles and wrinkles will smooth as the glue dries.

Once the glue dried, I was left with a cute little tin that I can use as a decoration and/or as storage for any little bits and pieces lying around--so much better than it quietly rusting away in the basement.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Duct Tape Covered Six Pack Carrier

We were shopping at the local Wal-mart when I saw this adorable new "Happy Camper" duct tape with retro campers and pink flamingos on an aqua blue background. I knew I needed to have the duct tape, but I wasn't sure what I should do with it. Then I remembered the six-pack carrier we got from World Market when we picked our create-your-own six pack of sodas this spring. It folds flat just like the six pack carriers you get your favorite flavor of beer in (which I've covered before with scrapbook paper), but it's made from much thicker cardboard which made it ideal for covering and using as a picnic carrier.

I grabbed a couple rolls of solid tape to go along with my Happy Camper print and got started.

At first I just flattened my carrier and taped straight along the bottom. The bulk of the carrier was covered very quickly. When I got to the top of the carrier, I taped over the stair step openings.

Then I simply cut slits with my scissors and folded the tape over (as seen in the photo below).

Then I taped the handle. This was the hardest part of the project. After taping straight across the top, I slit the tape and folded it around the handle hole. Then I cut smaller pieces to cover the areas behind the step down openings.

Then I cut a couple of strips of white tape in half and used them as contrast (and a cover up for any seams) along the edges. Now the carrier is ready for silverware, condiments, etc...or bugspray and sunscreen, or whatever you fancy.

I did the whole project with a scissors, but about halfway through, the tape started sticking to the scissors and making it difficult to cut. If I make another one, I'll use a rotary cutter and a craft mat to help keep the cuts straight. I didn't tape the bottom of the carrier at all, so it still folds completely flat and can be stored conveniently on a shelf or in a drawer.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Embossing with a Cuttlebug

I had some Amazon gift cards saved up, and I knew just what to get with them: a Cuttlebug. A Cuttlebug is an embossing and die cutting machine. It looks like a little purse, but weighs about 10 pounds. When you set it on your table, you fold down the flaps on the front and back of the Cuttlebug to suction to your work surface. Then you can start embossing.

The Cuttlebug comes with an A plate (which looks like a cutting board) that acts like a spacer and two B plates. The base Cuttlebug does not come with a C plate. A C plate is used for die cutting (especially with the thinner dies made by brands other than CriCut/Cuttlebug). I don't have any dies yet, so I started out learning the basics of embossing.

The A spacer plate goes on the bottom, then you put one B plate on top. Then the embossing folder with a sheet of paper in the middle, then another B plate on top. They call these "sandwiches." You place all the plates on the Cuttlebug and gently insert it into the machine, then you turn the handle on the side and out the back it comes.

Then once you pull everything apart, you're left with a piece of embossed paper--easy peasy. It was so quick and easy that I had to try every folder that I had on hand. The flower embossing folder is Cuttlebug brand and comes with the machine. I also had a few freebies from crafting magazines and a couple Darice brand ones that I got on sale at Jo-Ann's (the paw print and wood grain folders). All of them worked perfectly in the machine.

Now I have to get busy using these beauties in cards or in scrapbooks. I'll be sure to report on new things I learn how to do with this machine as I go along. Happy Crafting!