Monday, October 19, 2020

Alcohol Ink and Laminating Film Pumpkin Suncatchers

Last spring I had the novel idea of inking laminator pouches. They turned out great and I made star suncatchers and shamrock suncatchers. So now that the holiday crafting season has begun, I decided to revisit inking laminator pouches.

I found a pumpkin template online and printed it out on some cardstock and got my alcohol inks, crafting mat, a can of air, and some laminating pouches out. I also set up my laminator and turned it on to warm up.

The 3M laminating pouches are two pieces of film attached at a seam on one of the short sides of the film. It can be opened like a book. The inside has a bit of a texture to keep the items you're laminating from sliding around. This textured surface keeps the ink from spreading a ton, but otherwise, it's like putting ink on any other plastic surface. I got out all of my shades of orange and a couple of shades of yellow ink and started dripping it on the film.

I added more and more ink and occasionally spread it around with the canned air. It doesn't spread much because of the texture, but it helps to dry the layers of ink out a bit as you apply them.

I kept inking until the sheet was mostly full of oranges and yellows. The pouch flapped shut a few times in the process (especially while using the canned air), so I got ink all over the other side (of the inside) of the pouch. It didn't seem to make much of a difference after laminating it, though.

I set that sheet aside and opened up another one (always a good idea to do two so you can pick the one that turned out the best :)). This time I managed to get less on the other side of the laminating pouch.

I left them both to dry for about 15 minutes and then ran them through the laminating machine. It's so satisfying to see the blotchy frosty plastic turn crystal clear and colorful. I ran it through the machine twice just to make sure there were no bubbles.

My two sheets of orange ink turned out awesome! I picked the one that I thought had the most distinct shapes/bubbles of color to make my pumpkin suncatchers.

I grabbed a black sharpie and a scissors and started tracing my pumpkins.

I filled my sheet with traced pumpkins and then carefully cut them out.

I decided to leave my black outline on the suncatcher, but you could also use a paper towel and a little rubbing alcohol to remove your sharpie lines after you've cut your pumpkins out. I used a hole punch to punch a circle into the stem of each pumpkin so I could hang it up.

I hung my pumpkins up on some little hooked suction cups. I'm really pleased with how they turned out. Inking laminating film is a ton of fun, and I look forward to finding more uses for this inked plastic!

Monday, October 12, 2020

Halloween Craft Collection

 It's that time of the year again. Check out the collection of Halloween and Fall Crafts from Sarah Jane's Craft Blog.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Mod Podge and Washi Tape Stick Pens

The inspiration for this week's craft came from an unusual place. I was cleaning out some digital files and came upon an untitled document file. When I opened it, all it said was: decoupage tissue paper or fabric on stick pens. I don't remember jotting that down, but I thought, hey, that's not a bad idea. Especially after last week's post with jazzed up binder clips, I guess I'm starting a series on office supplies...well, probably not, but here goes nothing.

So, I gathered my supplies: Mod Podge, Stick Pens, a foam brush, a scissors, some patterned tissue paper, and a large paper plate to keep the glue off the table.

I cut my tissue paper the length of my stick pen and a couple inches wide. I crumpled this paper to see if it made a different with the finished texture (it did not, so you don't need to do that).

I used the foam brush to spread the mod podge onto the pen, then I lined the pen up on the paper so it would be straight.

Then I rolled the paper onto the pen, spreading glue as I went. Try hard not to get glue on your fingers. They'll stick to the wet tissue paper and tear it, so stop and clean your hands if you need to.

Then I spread a layer of mod podge on the outside of the tissue paper and set it aside to dry.

I cut my other tissue paper squares a little smaller (not as wide) so that it would only go around the pen once with a good bit of overlap as I was having a hard time keeping my fingers dry (and tore the paper) on the striped one. So I completed my other two patterns and set them aside to dry. The striped colorful tissue paper looked the best, but had tore, and the other two looked a bit like wet toilet paper. I was not confident that this craft would turn out. So, I left them to dry and decided to make a safety craft.

I had a bunch of these red stick pens (I got them for 14 cents a pack one year after Back to School...years ago), so I decided to try another method for decorating these pens, just in case. I used washi tape on last week's binder clips, so I figured it would work on the pens, too.

I chose some black and white washi tape (which seem to have a lot of). I started the tape at the top of the pen and then ran it down the pen and trimmed it with a scissors. I smoothed the tape down and then flipped it over and covered the other side. Super easy! Well, I did learn a couple of things. The cap pushed the tape down on the top, so for all the rest of the pens, I started the tape a little farther down. I later came back and re-taped this pen (I peeled the tape off and applied it again a little lower down. It was very easy to re-tape, so no worries if you get it on crooked, you can always redo it).

This pen time I started it a little farther from the tip of the pen. That 1/4 inch or so made all the difference.

With the cap on, you can't tell that the tape is lower down the pen and the tape and cap don't interfere with each other.

Another thing I learned is that the 15 mm (.6 inches) washi tape works better than 1/2 inch washi tape. The 1/2 inch washi tape is exactly the right size, so if you get it on the pen a little crooked, it will leave a gap. I pealed that tape off and replaced it with the slightly wider tape on the left and it provided just enough wiggle room that I didn't have to apply the tape perfectly straight. The narrower tape will work, it just needs to be precisely applied.

It was very easy to whip up some cute black and white tape-decorated pens.

After I finished my washi tape pens, my mod podge pens had dried.

They were looking a bit better (but still not great).

So I applied a second layer of tissue paper on all three pens.

Then I applied a layer of mod podge to seal them and let them dry.

In the end, they didn't turn out too bad. I might try this again with some darker tissue paper. The striped pen turned out the best (after I covered the torn paper) because it was almost solid colors.. The two with mainly white backgrounds might work well on white pens, but only looked ok after two layers of paper on the red ones.

So there you have it, two ways to decorate stick pens. So, what are you waiting for? Your home office needs some more color (or pattern)!

Monday, September 28, 2020

Washi Tape Binder Clips

Like many of you, I'm working from home right now, so I thought I'd revisit a craft project from several years ago to upgrade some of my office supplies and add some color to my home office. I used washi tape to decorate some tiny binder clips (that were the same width as my wider washi tape) back then, so this time I wanted to try to decorate some larger binder clips.

So I got out some well used binder clips and my bin of washi tape. I used both a scissors and a craft knife in this project. The scissors worked better when cutting off the role and if the tape was very paper-y. But the craft knife worked well for cutting the tape when it was on the binder clip.

I tried applying the tape horizontally on the binder clips, but the edges wanted to peel at the corners, so vertically worked better. I used two pieces of tape on the wider (3/4 inch and 15mm) rolls and 3 pieces of tape for the narrower rolls of tape.

After I applied the tape along the edge of the binder clip, I flipped the clip over and cut the washi tape along the top edge.

Then I smoothed the tape down and into place. The tape that had non-geometric patterns seemed to look the best with the overlap. I guess you could measure the tape to the exact right size and trim it, but that didn't seem worth my time to jazz up some old binder clips.

I used a craft knife when cutting along that top edge, and it worked very well on some of the tapes, but on the more paper-y tapes, it would tear. This half inch roll cut very neatly with the craft knife.

I whipped up a bunch of these cute binder clips in about a half an hour. I had a lot of fun, and now all of my binder clips are cute and colorful!

Monday, September 21, 2020

Patio Door Handle Refresh

The interior handle on our patio door broke last week. We found an almost exact match to the old handle online, but when it arrived, the exterior handle was quite a bit different from the old one on our door.

However, the old one looked like this (photo above), so my husband put the new handle on the door and took the old one off. I put the broken handle straight in the trash, but after I saw how the new exterior handle fit the door, I saved the old one.

In addition to the handle leaving a hole that would need to be patched from torrential rains and freezing temps, it also sat a quarter of an inch off the door.

It was hard to get a picture of this, but the new handle had posts that didn't fit into the existing holes, so without drilling larger holes (which may not solve the problem) or cutting off the posts (which would solve the problem, but would be a pain), we'd have a gap and a hole. And even if we did get it sitting on the door properly, there's still a hole above the handle. Safety aside, the darn thing would probably freeze up during the first ice storm of the year, so it needs to be fixed.

So the easiest thing to do is just to put the old handle that covered all the holes and fit snug on the door back on. It was dirty and chipping paint, so I enlisted dear husband to clean the handle with some warm soapy water.

Then I tore off a little section of 200 grit sandpaper and roughed up the paint and smoothed out all of the chipping paint (and made sure no more would chip off). After I got the surface fairly smooth, I washed the paint dust off the handle and dried it with a paper towel.

I grabbed a cardboard box and went out on the patio with a can of white gloss spray paint. It was excellent spray paint weather today (70s and breezy), so I was able to spray a few light coats on the handle to get a good base coat of paint.

You could still see the areas where the paint had chipped off after spraying it, so I knew it would need more coats. I let it dry for 15 minutes or so before coming back to spray it more.

I propped the handle up on the side of the box so I could get the sides of the handles covered with paint. I let it dry and then came back out and flipped the handle over and sprayed it again so I was sure to get the other end of the handle. So after 3 or 4 trips outside and about an hour of dry time in between coats, the handle was looking good, but not done. I brought it in and sanded any bumps or drips or places where the paint cracks were still visible. I wetted down the spray paint to get a smoother sand, and then I took it back outside for one last coat.

Once the paint had a chance to dry, I brought it inside to finish drying. The handle looks nearly brand new, so I can't wait to put it back on the door. I'll give it a day or two to cure a bit (it was still a bit tacky) before we see if it solves our door handle problems.

After it dried, we put it back in it's old spot on the door. I'm really satisfied with how the handle has turned out so far. Of course, now I need to find a magic eraser to clean off the door jam because the handle is so white! But, it's such an easy little project if you have an exterior handle that needs a little bit of love.