Monday, August 29, 2016

Duct Tape Mini-Wallet

A few weeks ago I went to the State Fair for the first time in a few years. I knew I needed to bring a purse, but I wanted to bring something smaller than I normally carry. I had the perfect small cross body purse, but my wallet was too big for it. I ended carrying my cash in my pocket and everything else I needed in my purse (cell phone, car keys, ID, etc...). So after I got home I decided to make a mini-wallet out of some duct tape. I wanted it just big enough to fit my driver's license, a credit card or two, and a bit of cash. You could stick it in your pocket or in a small purse or larger phone carrier. After a couple trials, this is what I came up with.

From my past duct tape projects, I knew that using a rotary cutter and a cutting mat is the easiest way to work with duct tape, so I grabbed those and some coordinating duct tape, a piece of thin cardboard from a food box, and some adhesive hook and loop circles.

I cut my box (one side of an Emerald nut 100 calorie pack box was the perfect size--but a cereal or cracker box would work great too) using a gift card as a template. I cut two pieces the same size as the gift card and was left with a slightly smaller piece at the end to use for the wallet's flap. I laid them out on my mat with a bit of space between them to get the size for my duct tape sheets (it ended up being 4 inches by 7 1/4 inches).

I then laid out three pieces of black duct tape along the lines of my mat and then I centered a piece of patterned duct tape over the top down the center.

I used a straight edge and my rotary cutter to clean up the edges.

Then I made a second sheet the same size, but all black (as it will be the inside of the mini-wallet).

I laid out my cardboard pieces onto one of the sheets of duct tape with the two card sized ones on the bottom and the smaller one at the top. I left a bit of a gap between everything for folding and tape adhesion.

I also made another one with no cardboard in the flap. I laid it out with the two card sized pieces of cardboard on the bottom.

Then you put the other sheet of tape onto the cardboard covered piece. Be careful when you're setting it down since duct tape to duct tape is really sticky and hard to pull apart. If there's a tiny bit that doesn't line up, that's ok, it will be covered with edging tape.

Fold your duct tape sheet where there isn't any cardboard so the patterned duct tape is on the outside. Then measure the side of the mini-wallet with the flap open. Mine turned out to be about 4 1/2 inches. I laid out a strip of black duct tape and cut it in half (and trimmed the edges neatly).

Then I laid the tape on both sides and folded it over the edges.

Then cut a piece of black tape in half that's the width of the wallet (4 inches in my case).

Then use a scissors to cut the edging tape along the opening of your pouch. On the first one that I made without the cardboard in the flap, I edged the short side first before taping the long sides down. I didn't like how that edge was unfinished after I trimmed the opening, so this time, I put that tape on last.

I taped along the top edge and along the pouch opening. It was a bit tricky to tuck it into the pouch, but not too bad.

I ended up with two mini-wallet pouches--one with a cardboard flap and one with a soft flap. They both seem like they'll work just fine, so time to find an enclosure.

You could hot glue on snaps or make a button closure or some kind of belt strap type closure, but I went with the easiest option, sticky velcro circles. Stick the two sides together and then stick it to the pouch. Then all you have to do is close the flap to stick it to the mini-wallet.

I can't wait to try these little pouches out. Maybe for when I don't want to take my purse to work or to the concert I'm going to next month. They seem like a perfect fit.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Spray Paint and Mod Podged Tin

Have you noticed that the more realistic they make Mr. Peanut, the creepier he looks? Maybe it's just me, but I had a holiday nut tin with Mr. Peanut in a sweater printed on it's lid that just had to get covered up. The tin was a great size and had a lid that fit perfectly (not so tightly that you have to pry it off but not so loose that you're worrying about it popping off), so I knew I wanted to recycle this bad boy into something amazing. A while back I refashioned another holiday tin into a decorative storage tin. It worked perfectly, so I knew I wanted to do something similar.

I grabbed a can of oil rubbed bronze spray paint and a cardboard box to catch the spray and I got to work covering up the slightly creepy peanut.

I made several light passes at the tin and let it dry before coming back and making several more passes. Then I turned the tin and repeated. The key to good spray painting is lots of light coats. The impatient person in me hates this, but it turns out way better if you make dozens of light coats than spray the paint on heavily a few times--trust me.

After I had a good coat of paint on the tin, I let it dry for a few days before moving on to my next step. Spray paint can take a while to cure, so be sure to leave your lid loose for a while, especially if it's a tight fitting lid, so you don't end up with a painted on lid. I picked out some scrapbook paper that had some bronze/brown color in it and looked a bit like a mosaic. I measured the flat part of the lid and cut out my paper to fit. I used a rotary cutter because I had mine out, but a paper cutter or a sharp scissors would both do the trick.

After my paper was cut, I grabbed my Mod Podge, a foam brush, and a paper plate to rest the brush and to put the lid on while it was drying. You could put down some newspaper instead if you like.

I brushed the lid with enough glue so that I could readjust the paper if I needed to once I set it down, but not so much that the paper would bubble up.

Then I adjusted and smoothed the paper onto the lid.

I let the paper dry for a few minutes and then applied a top coat. The paper bubbled quite a bit when I spread the glue on over the top of the paper. If this happens to you--don't panic! Different paper reacts to the glue differently, and small ripples will almost always flatten out as the glue dries. Don't try to flatten or press them down--it will crease the paper. I put a second coat on once this coat had dried and that coat rippled a bit too, but both times the paper smoothed out as it dried.

Once the Mod Podge dried, I had a great little tin (sans creepy peanut). It was the perfect size to store decks of cards and a notepad and pen.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Duct Tape Covered Canister

Totally true confession: It took me three tries to get this project right. What started out as a quick easy recycle craft to decorate a dishwasher pods container turned into three different attempts and a trip to the store to buy more black tape. But, in the end, I was completely satisfied with how it turned out, so I guess it was worth the trial and error. And of course it means I can show you the best of my different attempts so you can do it in one attempt (hopefully)  if you try it. 

As awesome as duct tape is, it's not terribly forgiving--sticky, yes; strong, yes; water resistant, yes--forgiving, not so much. Based on my previous experience working with duct tape, I knew that my best bet was using a rotary cutter and a cutting mat and and making sheets of duct tape. Rotary cutters work wonders on duct tape. Since you're cutting from the non sticky side, they roll right through the tape, cut a nice straight line, and you don't have to deal with the it sticking to scissors. Laying out the tape to create sheets on the mat allows you to work with larger areas of tape with fewer wrinkles (attempt #2 involved me applying strips to the container to deal with the tapering corners--wrinkle city) and minimizes seams. It also gives you the opportunity to see what your tape will look like and line up patterns or create straight stripes, etc...

So I measured out my container and knew I needed 21 inches of tape (I believe this one holds 90 pods--it's the one from Costco). So I laid out a top border of black duct tape on my mat along the 6 inch line (as my finished sheet needs to be 6 inches tall). I went a bit over the edges of the 0 line and the 21 inch line on the sides so I could trim it to a clean straight edge when I was done making my sheet.

Next I put two stripes of the cherry patterned tape down, each with the edge overlapping the piece I just stuck to the mat by about a quarter of an inch. I tried to match up the stripes in the tape, but I didn't bother with the cherries. I picked the cherries because I needed a fairly busy/dark pattern so the printed label wouldn't show through and one with a bit of darker green in it to match with the green lid of the canister.

Once my sheet of duct tape was finished, I used my straight edge (any sturdy ruler will do) to trim the the tape sheet to exactly 21 inches long and 6 inches tall with neat and tidy edges.

My first attempt at covering the container used a solid sheet like the one I just made. I measured wrong (2 inches short because I measured the bottom of the container not the top and it tapers) and was having problems with the tape wrinkling on the corners. So I remeasured and came up with a solution for the corners--cut the large sheet into 4 smaller sheets, one for each side of the container. For this sized container, I cut two 6 inch by 6 inch sheets and two 4.5 inch by 6 inch sheets.

I peeled up the shorter sides first and placed them both on the containers. I started with the shorter sides so that the seam at the corners would end up on the short sides when we were finished and look a bit more polished.

I lined up the tape along the bottom edge of the container and smoothed it out towards the top. It worked perfectly, so I applied the other short side.

Then I peeled up the longer sides from the craft mat and applied them to the container from the bottom up.

When I was done, the old label was completely covered and the duct tape was completely smooth. It may have been a bit of a pain to get to this point, but I am really happy with the way it turned out. This container would work great for storing craft supplies like washi tape or wooden spools, but I think I'll use mine as a little trash can for my car. If you have any other ideas for great uses for these dishwasher pods containers after they've been gussied up, let me know in the comments!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Faux Stained Glass Squares

This week's project was inspired by my roll of aluminum tape. I used this tape in some embossing projects a couple weeks ago, so I thought I'd try out another possible use for the tape--faux stained glass leading.

I picked up a few boxes of Memory Glass on the cheap at Tuesday Morning a couple of years ago. I used them to make some sun catchers with embossing powder a while back, but hadn't used them for much else. This project was perfect for these little glass slides. So I grabbed some alcohol ink, my applicator, and my craft mat and got to work.

I dotted my applicator felt with a few different contrasting colors of ink and got started stamping. You don't need to put that much ink on your felt for such a small square of glass...I went a little overboard, but you get the idea.

I stamped the glass a few times to cover the whole square with ink and it looked like the photo above. It's sort of blurry and water color-y. When working with glass, I will stamp it more so that it looks more stippled and has darker edges around the blobs of color. Stamp away until you notice the change.

After dabbing the glass about a dozen times, it starts to look darker and the spots get smaller. If you don't like the way the colors look at this point (the one above looked pretty good), you can add ink to your applicator in a contrasting color and stamp it over top your existing colors. If you think you've totally messed it up, you probably haven't--try a different color or a new piece of felt. If it's a totally brown mess, then maybe it's time to start over, which is really easy--just squirt some rubbing alcohol onto a paper towel and wipe off the tile.

I made stamped quite a few squares and a couple oblong pieces. I even added some silver ink to a few. I chose colors with the intention of making these into jewelry. I went with darker colors and chose more coordinating colors rather than contrasting ones for most of the pieces.

After they had dried completely (usually just takes a few minutes, but if you're going to handle them, you may want to wait 10-20), I grabbed a clear piece of glass and cut a strip of aluminum foil tape the length it would need to be to wrap all around the edges. I cut the strip about 3/8ths (or about a centimeter) of an inch thick. 

I stacked the clear piece of glass on top of the side of the glass that I inked and carefully wrapped the tape around the edge, making sure it was centered as I went.

I tried a couple of methods for folding the edges, but found that tucking them into a diagonal miter as I wrapped them around the glass, worked the best. This process was a bit fiddly. I did end up getting one piece of tape completely crumpled and had to make a couple little patches, but over all it looks a lot like stained glass leading.

These turned out great, but I wasn't quite sure what to do with them. I think I might make a couple into suncatchers or wrap some with wire and some matching beads, I haven't quite decided.

But, in the meantime, I picked my favorite of the long slides and glued a a bail onto the back of it using E6000. I strung up the pendant with some suede cording and made a necklace.

If you have any ideas for other uses for these faux stained glass squares, let me know in the comments!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Alcohol Ink Decorated Gift Bags

If you've been here before, you know I'm always looking for new surfaces to use alcohol ink on. So, when I was cleaning out my drawer full of gift bags and found these two white ones, I knew I had to try inking them.

I found two used white gift bags in my stash...I'm sure at least one of them is from our wedding (10 years ago), so it was definitely time for it to have a new life. Then I grabbed my craft mat to keep my table clean (parchment paper would work well too) and some canned air to go along with my alcohol inks.

I started out with the bag that was a little less glossy (more of a satin finish). I squeezed a stripe of sailboat blue ink onto the bag and sprayed it with a burst of air. The ink didn't spread much, but more than it would on say a sheet of cardstock paper, so I knew there was potential for the project.

I continued to put stripes of ink on the bag and blow them with canned air. I had a little pooling on the crease of the bag and a little bit of speckling from the spray. You may want to use the side of the bag that isn't creased and using a shield for the spray would help with some of the speckling. I layered on a little more ink before I finally called it quits on the first bag.

The second bag was a bit glossier, so I hoped that the ink would spread a little more. I used the same basic process, but instead of one line of ink at a time, I squeezed out a series of lines before spraying with the canned air. The ink sat on the surface of the bag a bit better and spread around a bit more with the canned air. I was also able to wipe of a smudge or two with a paper towel soaked in rubbing alcohol.

I layered on several cool colors of alcohol ink before I was satisfied, and then after that, I added some silver (visible in the finished project below).

I was very pleased with these as a proof of concept. If you're out shopping for gift bags to give this a try, the glossier the better. The white worked well, but I bet yellow or pink bags would do the trick too. I'm excited to find some new glossy gift bags so I can try out some other inking techniques--stay tuned!