Monday, November 30, 2015

Popsicle Stick Button Snowflakes

Last week I made some cute Christmas tree ornaments with my stash of popsicle/craft sticks, this week I'm making some button snowflakes. Last year I made some starburst ornaments using a similar method, but this time, instead of decorating my sticks with paint and glitter, I used a hot glue gun and buttons.

I started with 4 popsicle/craft sticks. Glue them into a starburst buy layering them and putting down a drop of hot glue (or you cute use white glue or wood glue too).

Next I grabbed my box of white buttons. My mom rescued these lovelies from my Grandma's house when she moved into an apartment and got rid of most of her stuff. My mom was nice enough to gift them to me (yay cool old buttons!). There are all kinds of buttons in this box, but I saved the real mother of pearl buttons for another project and focused on different sizes and shapes of white and off white plastic buttons.

I glued a larger button in the center and then alternated sizes and colors and finished off the end of the stick with a slightly larger button.

Be careful to glue the buttons on straight (that one crooked one in the picture is driving me nuts). After I finished covering up the sticks with buttons, I glued a gold cord onto the back of each of the snowflakes, and now they are hanging on my tree.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Craft Stick Christmas Trees

My mom gave me a giant box of popsicle/craft sticks a while back, so I have been trying to come up with crafts that use them ever sense. Last year I made a great giant snowflake for our door and some starburst ornaments, so this year I'm making Christmas trees.

You'll need 3 popsicle/craft sticks for each Christmas tree (and a 4th if you decide to use popsicle sticks for the trunk). I laid out 9 sticks on a paper plate to paint.

I painted them a shade of dark green with some craft paint and a foam brush. I thinned the paint by wetting the foam brush before loading it with paint and then painted both sides of the sticks. After they had dried, I touched up the edges of each one.

I also cut about an inch off of both ends of another three sticks (so 6 one inch pieces) and painted them brown. I tried to take a picture of this step, but they turned out blurry--so you'll have to use your imagination. I cut them with a pair of diagonal pliers, it didn't cut all the way through, but far enough that they could be broken off fairly cleanly. If someone knows of a better way to cut popsicle sticks without heavy equipment, let me know in the comments. 

After all my painted sticks had dried, I laid them out into my triangle pattern and warmed up the glue gun. You could also use white glue (like elmers') or wood glue for this step, but the hot glue dries in seconds. If I were doing this project with kids, I'd probably just use the elmer's and some binder clips to hold the corners in place.

I made tiny dots in the corners of my popsicle sticks so that they wouldn't ooze all over the place and quickly placed the sticks.

Then I gathered a bunch of festive colored buttons. Most of the buttons I used were from an inexpensive bag of craft buttons I bought at Wal-mart (and used to make a button ornament a couple years ago). I did select a few (like the star buttons) from my stash of saved buttons. 

Then I glued buttons randomly along the sticks as "ornaments." Be careful not to burn your fingers as you're placing the buttons (the glue likes to seep through the holes in the buttons). Apparently I also forgot to take a picture of applying the one inch trunk sticks to the tree. The trunk will magically appear in the later photos. I just lined up the 2 one inch sticks and glued them with my hot glue on to the center back of the bottom stick.

Then I cut some green cording and glued it to the back of the ornament. I put a dot of glue down and then set the knot into the glue, pushing down on it with a craft stick, then I added a bit more glue on top to secure it.

I continued the process with my other two sets of sticks and made myself a trio of cute Christmas trees. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Shrinky Dink Snowflakes

It's that time of year again--time to start crafting Christmas ornaments! I decided to give something a little different a try. A while back I used #6 clear plastic from cookie containers and take out containers to make homemade shrinky dinks. I decided it would be fun to make ornaments using this process. Snowflakes seemed like a good idea since they are clear-ish in the real world.

So I gathered up some supplies--a craft knife (I used an xacto brand craft knife, the box cutter also in the picture didn't make the cut--literally), a scissors, a cutting board, my #6 plastic sheets, and some print outs of snowflake templates that weren't too intricate. I picked some from a Google search that used all straight lines, and then I blew them up in Word so they were about 5 inches wide. I knew from experience that this plastic shrinks a lot so I wanted a pretty big snowflake.

I first cut my plastic out to the shape of my snowflake, and then I followed the lines with my craft knife. It didn't cut all the way through in most places, so it was just scoring the pattern.

Once the pattern was scored, I could very carefully snap the cut pieces out of the plastic. I found that bending with the cut and not against it made it much easier to snap out. Any place that the plastic didn't want to pop out, I cut again by dragging the craft knife over the area.

Once the snowflake was all cut out, I cleaned up any edges that tore when I was removing the plastic and punched a hole using a regular hole punch so that I could hang a string from it after it shrunk. If it isn't perfect at this point, don't panic. The shrinking will hide a lot in the way of slightly crooked cuts.

I cut out 5 snowflakes. 3 Large ones and two slightly smaller ones out of some thicker plastic. The thicker plastic ended up having to be cut out mostly with a scissors. It didn't work well to score it and then snap it off with the thicker plastic. When they were all cut out, I layed them on a foil lined cookie sheet and popped them in a 350 degree oven for 2 minutes. If they are curled up, leave them in the oven for another minute before pulling them out.

The snowflakes all shrunk a ton--almost 1/4 the original size. The snowflakes cut out of the thicker plastic didn't shrink uniformly and ended up all wonky. But the three larger snowflakes turned out great! I was worried that the intricate cuts would curl up or something would go catastrophically wrong, but for the most part they turned out perfectly. If you don't want to waste your time cutting out flakes that shrink up crooked, you might want to test shrink some of your plastic to see how it goes.

After they had cooled, I decided to decorate a couple of the snowflakes with some nail polish. I tested several colors on one of the wonky snowflakes and decided on these two inexpensive varieties: a silver fine glitter polish from Sinful Colors, and a multi-colored gold tone glitter polish from Sally Hansen.

The most intricate of the snowflakes I left without adornment and the other two I painted with the glitter polish to give them a little shimmer. It was pretty minimal like I wanted after one coat--if you want more bling, try adding additional coats.

Lastly I used some gold cording to string up the snowflakes through their tiny shrunken hole punch holes. The holes were just barely big enough for this thin gold cording. Now these ornaments are ready for when I put up my tree in a couple weeks.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Printable Thanksgiving Banner

I needed a little something to decorate my mantel for Thanksgiving. It's always easy to find Halloween and Christmas decor, but Thanksgiving is often left out. Well, time to show Thanksgiving some love. I found the printable banner/garland on the At Second Street blog that read "Give Thanks." With just a little bit of tweaking, I had a great banner for my mantel.

I printed out the letters (which print 2 to a sheet) on some cardstock. All I had was white, so that's what I went with. The inspiration website used some brown card stock. I used to have some off white card stock with speckles that would have worked perfectly, so just use what you've got. I cut the letters out with a scissors leaving a 1/4 inch border of white along the edge.

After the letters were cut out, I cut a slit along the brown border on each side towards the top with a craft knife to run some ribbon behind each letter to string it up. I'm sure there are other ways to do this, but the slits allow you to move and adjust the letters to suit your needs. I used some narrow brown ribbon, but you could make just about any kind of ribbon work.

I strung up all of my letters by running the ribbon through the slit and passing it behind the letter and out through the slit on the other side.

After I strung up the letters, if felt like it needed a little something else. So I went looking online to find some fall leaves that had some dark brown in them and that could be cut out with a white border around them to match the letters. I found these fall leaves. I made them a smidge bigger and printed out two sets of leaves on cardstock. I cut slits along either side of the stems to string them up between the words. To angle the leaves, I placed my leaves on top of the ribbon on my cutting board at the angle I wanted them and then poked a hole above and below the ribbon just along the stem. Then I flipped the leaf over and used the craft knife to connect the dots.

I had to unstring "Give" to get my leaves on the middle, but I think they really jazzed up the banner. I'm pleased with how it turned out, but the slicing and stringing took a bit longer than I expected, so it's a good thing that the whole project cost just a dollar or two in paper and ink.

Monday, November 2, 2015

French's Fried Onion Container Lives Again as a Holiday Gift Container

If you follow the blog, you know that this isn't my first (or second or even third) time covering a French's Fried Onion Container with mod podge and tissue paper, but I had an empty container and it was just begging to be covered, so here it goes. This time, I found some adorable holiday tissue paper that I had floating around in my stash and created a cute holiday gift container. Wouldn't this work out perfectly for gifting some treats to a co-worker or neighbor? Be sure to run it through the dishwasher so that your cookies don't end up tasting like onions and you'll be good to go.

To make this gift/storage container, you'll need an empty French's Fried Onion container (snip off the plastic shrink wrap label and wash it out), some cute patterned tissue paper, a jar of glossy mod podge, a foam brush, and a scissors (and a paper plate or wax paper to set gluey brushes or the drying container on would be a good idea too).

Cut your tissue paper into a rectangle that will cover the container with a small bit of overlap on the ends. If you are using particularly thin tissue paper, you may want to cut a second rectangle and put on two layers. This tissue paper was fairly sturdy, and I've done this a few times, so I went with one layer.

Glue your tissue paper onto the container. I like to start my seam on the side and paint a section of the container with mod podge at a time. I line my top edge up as straight as possible and leave just a smidge to hang over the bottom edge. After you've glued on the paper, let it set long enough that you won't tear the paper by handling it or applying glue. If the paper is thin, let it dry all the way (30 minutes to an hour). I let this paper just sit for a few minutes before moving on. Also, make sure your fingers aren't covered in glue before this next step, if they are, you'll probably snag the paper and tear it.

So after washing and drying my hands and letting the glue set for a few minutes, I spread a nice thin layer of mod podge over the top of the paper to create a sealed and covered container.

This striped reindeer pattern is adorable, and the container serves as a nice first holiday craft of the season. I can't wait to fill it with Christmas goodies.