Monday, November 27, 2017

Mod Podge Princess Bride Ornaments

I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving! The weekend after Thanksgiving is often filled with shopping and decorating for the upcoming Christmas season. We got our lights put up outside, the stockings hung on the mantle, and the tree is up with lights on it--but it isn't decorated yet. I have a ways to go to be ready for Christmas, but at least we're headed in the right direction. Every year I make new ornaments to add to our tree, but this year I was involved in an ornament exchange with an online group, so I also needed to send an online friend an ornament. We are both big fans of the Princess Bride movie, but it's pretty hard to find Christmas ornaments with characters from that movie on them, so I decided I should make my own.

I went to Michael's looking for ornament blanks, but I couldn't find any round or square ones, but they did have these fancy ceramic ones--and they were on sale, so I grabbed a few. I went online and printed out some screenshots from the movie in roughly the right size for the ornaments.

I figured the easiest way to get the printouts the right shape would be to cut around them with a craft knife, but that didn't work out quite as planned. The craft knife didn't cut the curved shapes out neatly and carved bits of the ceramic off in the process.

So I switched to plan b and used a pencil to trace the shapes and cut the paper out with a scissors. The proportions weren't completely symmetrical, so I had to flip the ornament over to trace the image I planned to put on the back side, but otherwise, this method worked pretty well.

I cut out 6 images to make 3 ornaments. Most were screenshots from the movie, but the one above might be fan art inspired by the movie poster. I erased any pencil lines that were left on the images before I moved on to my next step.

I gave a coat of gold paint to the edges of my ornament blank before I glued on my images. You can see the pencil lines from tracing the paper on the edges of the ornament. The gold paint covered the pencil marks and gave it a finished look.

Next, I used a foam brush to paint a thin layer of mod podge onto the ceramic blank. I painted on a smidge more than I would on a less porous surface because I was worried it would soak into the unfinished ceramic. It didn't soak in too bad, and I was able to adjust the paper to fit the ornament after I put it on the glue.

I smoothed the paper out from the center to make sure any excess glue would work out to the edges. The paper remained pretty smooth, but if you use too much glue, you might have some bubbling or wrinkling. Don't panic if it wrinkles a bit--they usually disappear as the paper dries.

I repeated this process, gluing all 6 images onto both sides of the ornament blank. I then let them dry before doing anything else. The paper can become fragile when it's wet with glue, so it's best to let it dry to avoid ink smearing or paper tearing, etc...

After letting them dry for about an hour, I came back and trimmed the paper that hung over the edges of the ornament. Tracing the ornament got the paper close to the right size, but there were excess bits. Any larger overhangs, I trimmed with my scissors, but the rest, I did my best to file off with an old nail file. The picture above is mid-filing. I didn't get all of the paper off with this method, and I scuffed up the paint in the process, so when I got it as cleaned up as I could, I came back over the edges with my gold paint to clean everything up.

Once the paint had dried, I used my craft knife to cut out the holes in the ornament, then I painted a thin layer of glossy mod podge over the ornaments to seal them.

I painted very thin coats to provide a more professional finish. Since they were so thin, I painted both sides of the ornament twice, allowing it to dry in between. On my last coat, I also painted over the gold edges to seal them and make it less likely to chip or ding the ornament.

Once the mod podge was dry, I strung them up with some gold cording to match the edges. These turned out great. They were pretty easy aside from the shape of the ornaments. The irregular shape caused some extra steps but made for a cute finished ornament. I hope my ornament exchangee likes her ornament, and I can't wait to hang mine on my tree.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Mod Podge and Scrapbook Paper Fall Tin

I have just enough time to squeeze one more fall craft in before the onslaught of Christmas begins. So with my remaining time, I decided to decorate a Christmas tin with pumpkins out of sheer defiance. Last summer a converted a Christmas tin into a decorative tin that I keep playing cards in, but this time, I definitely wanted to go a bit more Fall/Thanksgiving in nature. I picked out some cute pumpkin scrapbook paper and tried to find a spray paint that coordinated.

I ended up going with the oil rubbed bronze again, but this time I used this Rust-Oleum Hammered Bronze. It gives a nice finish, but it's a bit more finicky to work with. It goes on thicker and takes longer to dry than typical spray paint, so if you pick up a bottle, keep that in mind when you're working with it.

The spraypaint gives pretty good coverage, but it took several coats to get all the edges and sides of the tin covered well...and since it takes longer than usual to dry, it took a few days of me popping out to the deck to spray it and then bringing it in at night before I was happy with it.

After it was painted and dried, I found a plate that was really close to the same size as the indent on the lid and then traced around it with a pencil and cut it out as carefully as I could with a scissors.

After the circle was cut out, it was as simple as painting on a layer of mod podge, smoothing the paper onto it, waiting a few minutes to let it dry just a smidge (wait longer if your paper is thin) and then giving it a sealing layer. It will bubble a bit less if you wait for it to dry completely, but most bubbles and wrinkles will smooth out as it dries unless you used way too much glue. It is dry to the touch after about a half hour, it but takes longer to dry all the way.

The mod podge will cure in a few days in this lovely dry fall weather, but the spray paint will take longer--I will wait a few weeks before I smoosh that lid down snuggly to avoid it getting painted shut as the spray paint continues to dry. But now I have my last gasp of fall decorations sitting on my buffet, and it's just the right size to put some paper pie plates in for Thanksgiving dinner.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Spray Paint Marbled Holiday Paper

A few years ago, I did a couple sessions of spray paint marbling. It's a really fun and fast project, so I thought it would be a great way to kick off my holiday crafting season. Also, it was nicer out today than it has been in a long time (it's been unseasonably cold here), so I thought I'd take the opportunity to get out on the sun-warmed deck and decorate some paper.

For this project you'll need: a plastic tub big enough to hold a couple inches of water and a whole sheet of paper (and it needs to be ok to get paint on it), some spray paint, some vinyl gloves, and some card stock (or other heavier paper that can get wet without tearing). I'm not generally bugged by getting paint or dye on my hands, but I strongly recommend using gloves for this project. Spray paint is very stubborn to get off skin and even more stubborn to get off your nails. The first time I did this project, I had paint under my nails for weeks. My favorite spray paint for this project is currently Rustoleum 2x paint. It sprays out a bit more paint and doesn't dry quite as fast as some other brands. Any spray paint will work, but I'd generally avoid any that say "faster drying" or "half the dry time" on the can. The cheap-o blue label spray paint from Wal-mart (Color Place brand I think) actually works pretty well for this too--so no need to drop a lot of cash.

I started out by spraying a nice layer of green paint on the water. I took a few passes to get the water completely covered.

I added some silver paint and red to the you can see, it didn't look bright red--it created a bit of a void in the middle of the water.

So I came back with some green spray paint to fill in the void.Then I jostled the edge of the bin to get the paint to mix a bit and dropped in a sheet of paper.

I got some good swirls, but there were some areas of dried paint and some voids. This is mostly because I was messing around with pictures--you gotta work fast to get the paint to stick to the paper before it starts to dry a bit. I usually flipped the paper over to get any remaining paint out of the water (and to get a little bit of a design on the back side of the paper). After this sheet, I set my camera down and made several more sheets. 

I made 11 sheets when it was all said and done. By the time I was done, the water was getting a bit goopy, and I was running out of places to put the paper to dry. If I had wanted to make more, I would have needed to change the water and my gloves, so this seemed like a good place to stop.

5 or 6 hours later, the paper was just a bit damp. Keep it flat until it's completely dry. The paper won't be completely smooth and flat unless you press it before it's entirely dry. I don't mind it a bit wrinkly, I think it gives the paper some texture like watercolor paper. But if you want it flat for card making or something fancy, I'd let the paper dry until all of the paint is dry to the touch and no longer tacky and then place it between some parchment (for each sheet), and then set something heavy like a book on top of it. 

Making this marbled paper with spray paint is super satisfying. It's fast and comes out with some crazy random designs. Hopefully you'll see this paper work it's way into a few holiday crafts this year!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Cartoon Strip Cereal Bowls

A while back I bought some Dishwasher Safe Mod Podge with the intention of using it to seal some alcohol ink projects (go figure), but when I came across these nice big glass bowls, they were just begging to be decoupaged. So I thought it might be cute to decoupage cartoon strips from the Sunday funnies onto the bowls. I knew this would be the perfect test of the dishwasher safe part--because who's going to use cereal bowls that can't be safely washed?

I found the cereal bowls at Big Lots. I'm sure I bought them on a 20% off day or something like that, so they were pretty inexpensive if the ended up being sacrificed in the name of an experiment. I grabbed a copy of the Sunday funnies and a foam brush and I was set to go.

I cleaned the labels off of the bottom of the bowls and then read the instructions on the mod podge. They recommend cleaning smooth surfaces (like glass and ceramic) with rubbing alcohol before gluing anything to them. Fortunately, I buy rubbing alcohol in bulk (for the alcohol inking), so I had plenty to wipe them off with a paper towel. I let them dry and moved on to my comic strips.

I cut one or two squares (or panels) out of each comic strip until there weren't any whole ones left. I tried to feature the comics I enjoyed the most and picked the most interesting panels. I just used a regular scissors to cut them out. One Sunday's worth was just enough to cover my two bowls.

Next, I applied the mod podge with a foam brush. I was generous with the glue so that the paper would adhere to the glass well, and so that it would soak the glue up a bit and become pliable enough that it could be wrapped around the curved surface a bit more easily. You can spray paper with a bit of water to help make it more flexible and avoid some of the wrinkling when using mod podge, but this only works if the paper is pretty sturdy. Tissue paper can't be wetted down without tearing. Newspaper print is somewhere in between tissue paper and copy paper. It's fairly porous and delicate, but not as delicate as tissue paper. I opted not to wet the paper down because I wasn't sure how fragile the paper would become when wet. I didn't have any problems with ripping from just the glue, but I did have some issues with wrinkling and shrinkage (the paper shrinking after it dried completely).

I worked my way around the bowl, adding panel after panel and gluing both under the paper and coating over the top with the glue. I made sure to turn the panels upside down as I was gluing them so that they'd be right side up when the bowl was flipped over. When I got to the edge, I lined the panels up with the edge of the bowl and tried to glue them down as neatly as possible.

When I was done, I was left with a pretty wet wrinkly mess. At this point, I wasn't sure at all how this would turn out once it dried.

After gluing on the paper, my fingers were covered in newspaper print ink that had been glued to my fingers with the mod podge, it took a bit of scrubbing to get them clean.

After the first coat dried, it hardly looked like it had been sealed at all. Some of the paper had shrunk as it dried. I had to go back in with a few small squares to cover some gaps that became visible when the paper dried. Several corners of the paper were also peeling up, so I glued them down before adding another sealing coat. The bottle suggests 2-3 coats with at least a few hours of dry time between coats. I coated the bowls 3 more times allowing at least a day to dry between each coat.

So the final verdict--I can't tell you yet if this stuff works. The bottle calls for at least 28 days of curing (drying) before it can be washed. So I'll have to update you later. The paper is glued securely to the bowl, and after a few coats, it does finally start to look a bit sealed, but the dishwasher-safe stuff doesn't provide the same kind of coating as regular mod podge. The glue is thinner and soaks into the paper more. I'm tempted to put another coat or two on to make sure all of the little wrinkles and edges are securely sealed before I let it cure for its 28 days. As long as they don't turn into a pile of wet glue-y paper after being washed, I've at least made some cute candy bowls. Cross your fingers with me that these can actually be washed, and I'll be sure to let you all know how it turns out when I do.

Update Jan. 2017: Will it wash? Check out the result here: Dishwasher Safe Mod Podge?