Monday, August 31, 2020

Two Toned Spray Painted Tin with Corner Decal

Two Toned Spray Painted Tin with Corner Decal

This has been one of those projects that was a lot different than I expected it to be. There were several twists and turns before I finally ended up with a finished project.

It all started out with a Starbucks cocoa tin that I rescued from the recycling bin. I hate throwing out tins. I always want to try to reuse them whenever possible, so I figured I'd just throw some spray paint on it and call it a day. That was a month and a half ago.

The first strange thing that happened was that the spray paint reacted with whatever paint they used for the label on this tin. I've never had that happen before. I've spray painted quite a few tins over the years.

After the paint dried, it was lumpy, crackled, and the indented Starbuck's logo was quite prominent. So I thought, hey, it's already kinda ruined, why not test something out. So I grabbed a jar of spackle and filled the logo in and grabbed my sandpaper (and a damp paper towel).

I rubbed off most of the excess spackle with my damp paper towel, then I sanded the whole tin to try to remove the texture from the paint reaction.

Then yet another twist, the spray paint I used to do my first coat was completely clogged and wouldn't spray (anyone have tips for unclogging spray paint cans?). So I switched to a different shade of purple.

I sprayed over the newly smoothed surface as best as I could and let it dry.

The surface was still pretty rough and the Starbucks logo was still visible (unfortunately, I didn't get a good picture of it).

So I let it dry and sanded it down again and spray painted another coat.

I spread on some more spackle to try to fill the logo smoothly. I rubbed away the excess with a damp paper towel and then sanded the surface again.

I tried to smooth out as much of the rough paint as possible and I left a little more of the spackle on the logo than I did the first time.

Then I sprayed on more of the grape spray paint.

The surface seemed a lot smoother, but now there was a bit of a lump over the logo. I decided that it was as good as it was going to get.

To make it a bit more interesting, I decided to add another color on the bottom of the tin. I grabbed this teal spray paint and sprayed the bottom and around the sides (trying to stay close to the bottom of the tin).

I let it dry and then tipped it back up and sprayed around the top edge with the purple so it wasn't too green.

The two toned spray paint turned out well, but there was still a lump where the logo was.

So I dug through my stash of vinyl decals and chose one that would cover (or at least disguise) the bump. I cut a piece of transfer tape the size of the decal.

I applied the transfer tape to the decal and burnished the edges. This decal was only in two pieces, so I didn't have to be too careful. I peeled the paper backing off the decal.

I applied the decal so that it was centered on the corner (so it would look like the Enterprise was flying right at you). I burnished the decals edges and peeled off the transfer tape.

The corner effect turned out great and the decal mostly covers the logo lump. So even though it took me forever to get this tin painted and semi-smooth, in the end it turned out great! So even when you think a project isn't going to turn out, there is hope!

Monday, August 24, 2020

Flamed Alcohol Ink Square Candle Holders

Shortly after I started lighting alcohol ink on fire, I decorated some of these square candle holders using the method. They worked really well because of their nearly flat sides. So when I found a pair of these candle holders in my craft stash, I knew I wanted to fire the ink again.

I set my table up with a heat resistant craft mat, a cork trivet, a small sheet pan covered in tinfoil, and my lighter. After this photo, I set my alcohol ink well off to the side.

I started out with some Wild Plum and Purple Twilight. I dripped the ink in a couple of spots and then lit the ink. The fire will spread the ink out and then the flame will go out as it runs out of alcohol to burn. It often moves towards the center of the ink, creating those lights or dots in the middle of the ink.

I continued to add drops of ink and light them on fire until the whole side of my candle holder was filled.

Then I switched candle holders and set the other one aside to cool and dry a bit. The ink sets when you flame it, but it stays tacky for quite a while. So each time I finished a side, I'd switch candle holders to let them dry. I tried some larger swaths of ink on the second candle holder, but I finished it off with smaller drops of ink for more interest.

The large blog of dark purple was too dark for this project, so I used some rubbing alcohol (dripped on with an pipette) to lighten it and then added some pinks and lighter purples over top to make it more translucent. 

I kept adding dots of ink and lighting them on fire and alternating candle holders until they were completely covered. They turned out so bright and fun!

When I took them outside to take some brighter photos, they cast these pretty colored shadows! After they've dried for a couple of days, I'll spray them with some clear glossy engine enamel, so they are shiny and heat resistant. They'll look great with a couple of candles flickering away inside!


Monday, August 17, 2020

Pressed Paper Log Update


It's been a hectic week here, so I thought I share an update on how last week's project turned out. The weather here was a fairly steamy and stormy for a good portion of the week, so the bricks only got a couple days out in the sun outside. Even with the lack of sunshine, the bricks dried in about a week. I suspect if the weather cooperated, it would have taken even less time

We also found out that our receipt paper bricks blackened a bit in the sun. I was kinda hoping the thermal receipt paper would react a bit, but it wasn't terribly spectacular.

I've bagged up all the bricks from my first two batches in a gallon zip top bag. I've left it unsealed for now, just in case there's any moisture left inside. As they dry, the bricks/logs go from wet and squishy to the touch, to damp/cold and spongy to the touch, then to dry but slightly spongy, and lastly to dry and hard as a rock. I'll be sure to share photos when we get a chance to burn these homemade logs, but if the test brick/log was any indication, they should work just fine.

For more information on how these logs were made, check out last week's post: DIY Pressed Paper Logs.

Monday, August 10, 2020

DIY Pressed Paper Logs

Ok, so this is kind of a weird one, but it's been a weird summer. So here we are. I usually do a post each summer where I make fire starters for our annual camping trip. Since cabins were closed until the week before we normally would go camping, I didn't risk making a reservation, and alas, no camping trip this summer, even though it's probably the safest vacation you could go on this year. At any rate, we've been having fires in our backyard--usually to clean up after yard work. That coupled with cleaning out our file cabinets this spring and putting a ton of stuff in boxes to shred or destroy, here I am making pressed paper logs. Because, why not|?

I made a test batch of these to make sure they worked last week, but each time we make more logs, we come up with better ways to do it. Using a blender is the easiest way to get your paper slurry. You could soak paper for a day or two and then stir it until it breaks up, but I'm super impatient, so blender-ized it is. If you use your blender a lot for daily smoothies, you might want to pick one up at the thrift store. I rarely use the blender, and all that is going in here is paper and water, so I'll just clean it out really well when I'm done. I filled the blender loosely with paper torn into roughly one-inch squares.

I used the giant pink cup to fill the blender with water up to the quart line. If your blender is struggling, add more water. It's better to have a loose slurry than to burn out your blender motor. Pulse it to get started and then run it until it looks sorta smooth.

After about 30 seconds, it will look like a scary paper smoothie.

Pour the paper smoothie into a colander lined with a flour sack towel style dish towel. Then bundle up the edges of the towel and lift it up to drain some of the water off of the paper smoothie. Squeeze the paper to create a ball and keep squeezing out water until it feels like play dough and then open the towel back up.

Plop your paper dough into a loaf pan (preferably one you have two of in that size--you'll see why later). I used the smaller banana bread loaf pans--but any loaf pan should work. You may have to adjust the amount of paper dough that you use in different sized pans.

You can make thin boards with one batch of the paper dough, but we wanted to make something a bit more log/brick like, so we went with two blender-batches full of paper dough per loaf pan.

I mixed the two batches of paper together a bit and spread them semi-evenly along the bottom of the loaf pan.

Then my husband took the pans with the paper in it and an empty second pan out to the deck and squeezed excess water out of it to create a brick. They do sell presses for making logs like this, but two loaf pans was a much more economical choice.

He squeezed the second loaf pan into the one with the paper until water stopped coming out. You could do this over the sink, but sometimes little dribbles of paper come out, so we did it outside.

I ran a butter knife along the edge of the paper brick in the loaf pan and then turned it over. I had to thwap it a few times to get the brick/log to come out of the pan, but it came out onto our drying rack eventually.

Since getting it out of the pan was a little annoying, we made a sling out of parchment paper (we tried wax paper first, but it soaked up the water and started to tear when we pulled it out of the pan).

We repeated the same process as before with two batches of paper from the blender and squished it into the loaf pan. The parchment paper sling worked great. It was a little wet, so we made a second sling so that they could dry out between batches.

After a few logs, you start to get the hang of it. We even made 2 batches with nothing but receipt paper. After each log/brick was complete, it was set on a rack to dry. When the rack was full, we put it outside in the sun to dry. Our first batch took 3-4 days to dry, but they were thinner (made with just one blender full of paper), so I'm expecting these to take about a week to dry--depending on conditions. Be sure to bring them in to dry if it's super humid or if there's rain in the forecast. 

We successfully burned one of the test bricks in the fire pit, but it was when the fire was good and hot. I can't wait to report on how these work when starting a fire. We'll keep you posted!


Monday, August 3, 2020

Galaxy Spray Paint Tin with Serenity (Firefly) Decal

Over the years, I've had some practice at spray painting objects to look like a starry night. I've painted boxestrays, altar candles, and even composition notebooks. So when I came across this tin with a Terry Redlin scene on it (probably a Boy Scout popcorn tin from ages ago), I decided it needed the galaxy treatment.

I got a cardboard box and a can of black spray paint and took the tin out on my deck.

I gave it a couple of good coats of black paint and let it dry between coats.

After the black paint had a chance to set completely, I came back a few days later and a ton of colors of spray paint.

I splattered and sprayed purples and teals and blues and pink paint all over the tin until it look like 1991 threw up on it. It darkened a bit as as it dried, but it was still pretty ridiculous.

After the colors dried, I came back and knocked them down with some black and silver paint sprayed over the top. I continued to layer and splatter paint until I liked the way it looked.

I let the paint dry for a few days (with the lid off) and then came back to add some stars. I found that you can spray a puddle of spray paint onto a paper plate and use some round toothpicks dipped into the paint to make some stars.

I tried to position the stars randomly. Everything in me wants to make them symmetrical and evenly spaced, but they look better in little groups here and there and with different sizes of stars (the stars will get smaller as you run out of paint on the toothpick). I even made a little comet on the lid to commemorate comet NEOWISE that made its appearance this summer.

After letting the stars dry, I decided to add a decal from my stash of holographic decals I cut earlier this summer. I had a few ships, but I selected Serenity from Firefly and turned the tin to the plainest/least colorful section. I cut a section of transfer tape the size of my decal. I selected the stickier variety because this decal has lots of little separate parts. 

I peeled the backing off of the transfer tape and tried to center it over my decal. Then I burnished the design with the handle of my scissors. I rubbed over each piece of the decal as carefully as I could to make sure it would stick to the transfer tape.

I peeled the backing off of the decal, a few pieces didn't want to stick to the tape, but I caught them backed up in time to get them to stick. Then I applied the decal and transfer tape to the tin. I burnished the decal again with the scissors handle and carefully peeled the transfer tape off of the decal.

Shiny! I love the way my tin and the decal turned out! It's pretty cunning, dontcha think?