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!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Embossing Foil Tape

Earlier this month I embossed aluminum foil with my Cuttlebug, so now I want to try to emboss aluminum tape (like the kind you buy at a hardware store) to see if it's as easy and has results that are as good as the regular aluminum foil.

Because of the paper backing on the tape, the foil holds its emboss very well. All you have to do is cut a piece to fit inside your embossing folder. I ran it through using the traditional plate order for embossing: A spacer plate, B plate, embossing folder with your tape inside, and another B plate on top. It gave a nice clean emboss with a single run through on the machine.

After I had successfully proved that the foil tape ran through the machine perfectly, I thought I'd try to cut out a shape using a Cuttlebug die. It didn't cut as neatly as the foil did. The edges weren't quite as neatly cut, but the shape came out without any problems.

Now that I know the foil tape runs through the machine so well, I can't wait to use it in more projects--especially with it's sticky backing--the sky's the limit!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Cuttlebug Embossed Napkins

I had some 4th of July napkins leftover and decided it might be fun to try embossing them with my Cuttlebug. This particular napkin is "dinner sized" but has a wide embossed border. So I lined my embossing folder right up along the embossed edge of the napkin.

It was wider than the machine's opening, so I folded the edge over. I was worried there would be a pronounced crease after running through the machine, but I was pleasantly surprised. I stacked the plates up in the regular embossing order: A spacer plate, B plate, Embossing folder with napkin inside, and another B plate on top. It ran through the machine perfectly.

The napkin came out great. I have tried a couple other larger napkins with less luck, but the wide border on this one made for a perfect emboss. I expect that solid color napkins that are narrow or smaller in size (like cocktail napkins) would work even better.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Splatter Resist Alcohol Ink Tile

I still have some ceramic tiles left from my last run to the hardware store, so when I remembered I had saved the contact paper heart from my Valentine's Day Glass Etching project, I knew exactly what I wanted to try.

I grabbed some bright alcohol inks, canned air, a 6 inch ceramic tile, and my contact paper heart. I originally cut it out free hand by folding the contact paper, so it doesn't have to be perfect, but I'm sure if you have a cutting machine you could use that to make whatever shape you'd like in contact paper or vinyl.

I squeezed out a drop of alcohol ink near the edge of the heart and used canned air to blow the drop out from the center of the tile. I usually hold the can with my right hand and a plastic lid with my left (I use the lid from the small plastic box I keep my inks in and then just wipe it off with rubbing alcohol when the project is done). A paper plate or piece of cardboard would also work, but unless you're crafting someplace where you don't mind stray drops of ink getting everywhere, you'll want to hold up some sort of shield in the direction you are spraying your canned air.

I worked my way around the tile with drops and blowing the ink. I tried to stay rainbow ordered-ish so that the colors next to each other wouldn't mix and turn into unpleasant shades of brown. I still had quite a few gaps after one trip around the tile. There were places where the colors didn't blow out nicely or where the ink drop squeezed out very different amounts of ink.

So I filled in as best as I could, just adding drops in places where there were big white spaces and blowing the ink away from the center until the tile was mostly covered.

Next I used a technique that I first used when testing rubbing alcohols earlier this year. I used a glass eye dropper with some rubbing alcohol to get tiny little drops to form in the ink. Find a small bowl to pour some rubbing alcohol into (I actually used the lid of my box again, it has a lip and needed rubbing alcohol in it to clean the splatters anyway). You don't need very much rubbing alcohol because the technique requires the dropper to be empty. I dip the droppers tip into the alcohol and suck some up. Then I squirt it all back out. Then I squeeze the the dropper over the ink to expel any tiny amounts of alcohol that are left in the dropper and it creates a pretty splatter pattern.

When I was all done going around the tile and splattering, I was really pleased with the pattern. I let the tile dry for a couple hours to make sure I wouldn't smear it when I pulled up the heart, and then I carefully peeled it off. There was one small area towards the bottom point of the heart where there was a little bleed through from the ink. I used a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to clean up the bit of ink that seeped in along edge of the contact paper and we were good to go.

If you don't plan to handle your tile at all, you can probably just set it on a shelf and forget about it, but of all the surfaces that I've inked, ceramic tile is the most likely for the ink to smear, smudge, or flake off of, so I'd recommend sealing it. I used an acrylic spray. The spray will react a little bit with the ink, so to minimize that reaction spray a very quick light layer on the tile to set the ink and then let it dry before coming back and getting a couple of good coats on. You could also seal the tile with Mod Podge sealer if you like.

I stuck a set of little felt circles on the bottom of my tile to keep it from scratching any tables you set it on and I was all done. I have also cut a square of felt and glued it onto the bottoms of my tiles in the past--either would work.

I think my tile turned out really cute, and I can't wait to try out more resists.