Monday, February 20, 2017

Simple Knotted Suede Bracelet

I bought myself a subscription to Martha Stewart Living last week. It was on sale--I don't usually buy magazines. After I rolled my eyes at Martha's calendar for March (which listed her plans for starting her garden and throwing birthday parties for her grandchildren), I came across a little project for a bracelet that I could do (and had all the stuff to make). Then, I went into my craft stash and got the things I needed and actually made it. Seriously, how often does that happen (and from a magazine no less and not the digital wonderland of Pinterest)? The answer--I can't remember ever making something I saw in a magazine.

Well, there's a first time for everything. I started by fishing some charms out of my bins of jewelry making stuff. I found some skeleton keys, an owl, an Eiffel Tower, a shamrock, and a little blue circle that says "Happiness." I started by using some jewelry pliers to attach jump rings to the charms. If you've never made any jewelry, jump rings are one of the first things you master.

They are just little rings that you can pry open and pinch closed to attach beads and charms to chains or necklaces. They are pretty easy to work with if you have some small pliers. If you don't have a set of jewelry pliers, a needle-nose pliers will work, but it may leave marks on the jump ring.

After I put rings on all of my charms, I strung one onto about a foot of faux suede cording. The magazine suggested a foot, but I found out later that if you have a bigger wrist (as I do) you'll probably need more.

Then I made a loop (the bracelet) and tied one of the free ends in a regular overhand knot over the other side of the cord. Then I repeated it on the other side. (Picture of overhand knot below if you can't see it in the picture above.)

Then you have a bracelet. Just trim off a bit of the extra cording and you can slide the knots to adjust the size of your bracelet. This first one I tried to make turned out tiny. I am not tiny.

So to get a better idea of how big I needed my bracelet, I tied one knot and then slide it onto my wrist and had my husband help me tighten it to about the size I wanted. Then I could tell how much cording I needed, etc... Once you have one made that's about the right size, the rest are easy peasy. I ended up needing about 18 inches (I did not measure, so I'm guessing it was about 18 inches) of cording to make my bracelets (I have a large wrist--7.5 inches tight, 8 inches for a loose bracelet). 

After I knew how long to make them and about how far apart to space the knots, the rest took minutes to make. These should be a lot of fun to wear and easy to stack with each other and other bracelets. Maybe I should try more projects from magazines. :)

Monday, February 13, 2017

Punched Tissue Paper Valentine's Day Heart Bowl

Happy almost Valentine's Day! I'm so glad I could squeeze one more Valentine's Day project in this year! I had one of those heart-shaped glass bowls you can get at Dollar Tree and I wanted to jazz it up. I just couldn't figure out what to do. Years ago, when I first started working with tissue paper and mod podge, I tried to use a paper punch to cut out shapes of tissue paper to decorate a glass candle holder. It didn't work. Not even a little. I totally had to shift gears and work with patterned paper. Since then, I've done tons of tissue paper and mod podge projects. Not too long ago I saw a tutorial for another one of those projects where they punch tissue paper with paper punches...and in my head I was like: nope, nope, nopity nope, can't be done. Then I kept reading. They said they had to layer the tissue paper by folding it over several times before it would punch. I had tried punching a couple layers the first time, but not several. Oops. Time to try again! 

So I grabbed some seasonally colored pink and red tissue paper. I folded three sheets of pink paper over 4 or 5 times, smoothed it out and shoved it in my larger (about an inch) heart shaped punch. And...amazingly, it worked! I had perfectly punched hearts.

I continued punching other colors of paper until I had a nice big pile (I didn't need this many hearts--but I didn't want to have to stop and punch more. I used about half of these).

Next, I used a foam brush to apply a layer of mod podge. I then applied the hearts. I decided to keep mine all facing roughly the same direction and to not worry about the gaps along the top and bottom edge, but to try to fill in all the gaps in the middle by layering hearts. You could apply these going all different directions if you'd like, just pick a method and go with it. As you're applying the hearts, try to keep your fingers dry. You may have to stop and clean them periodically. As soon as they get sticky, that's when you start ripping holes in your tissue paper.

After I made my way around the bowl once, I was fairly pleased. There were just a few gaps I wanted to cover up and a few places where there were too many of the same color in the same area, etc... So I let it dry for a couple minutes so that I wouldn't tear anything when working with it.

Then I carefully dabbed glue onto the areas I wanted to add hearts and layered them over top. The above photo was after I finished applying hearts. It doesn't look too different.

Then I let all the hearts dry for about a half an hour and applied a layer of mod podge over top to seal it. Be sure to check any of the hearts that were layered over top of others to make sure they are all the way glued down, then apply a thin layer over the top of everything. Let it dry and you're good to go.

So I was pleasantly surprised that I could finally get the paper punch method to work, and now I can't wait to try it on other projects. Maybe I'll finally make the candle holders I wanted to make 3 years ago. Happy Crafting!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Alcohol Ink Decorated Valentine's Day Canister

A couple years ago I found a metal flower pot at Dollar Tree and decorated it for Halloween. I've used it every fall as a candy dish and it's held up really well, so when I saw another one of these metal flower pots at Dollar Tree, I grabbed it and decided to make a Valentine's Day Canister.

I started out by grabbing my alcohol ink supplies (inks, rubbing alcohol, applicator, felt, craft mat). I got some new craft mats (mostly so they'd be less dingy looking in the blog photos). In addition to my inking supplies, I also grabbed a roll of painters tape. I laid out some strips of tape to make a small sheet on the craft mat, and then I used a permanent marker to freehand a heart. It was a bit sloppy, but I knew it would get the job done. 

I carefully peeled the sheet of tape up off of my mat and cut it out with a scissors. I had to go back over a couple spots with my scissors because the tape had stuck to the blade and left some uneven lines. After it was cut out, I stuck the heart onto the metal canister as close to the center as I could.

Then I started stamping the ink on. I used 4 colors of alcohol ink: Raspberry, Watermelon, Wild Plum, and Salmon. These color names aren't terribly descriptive. Raspberry is a hot pink, Watermelon is a pinky red, Wild plum is slightly purple magenta, and salmon is a coral-y pink. The ranger inks have several shades of pink, so I'm sure other color combos would work just as well. I have quite a few of the sets from Ranger, but I don't have either of the sets that have a truer red, or I could have gone that route instead. But the pink came out beautiful and bright. 

I made one pass over the canister with the felt and as I ran out of ink, I added some rubbing alcohol to thin things out and finish covering the whole surface. Then I grabbed a clean felt and added more ink and stamped over any of the areas that seemed too washed out or smeared from the rubbing alcohol. Then I had to put some ink along the edge of the felt to stamp along the rolled edges of the flower pot on the top and bottom.

Considering how much ink it looks like I used to cover this fairly large surface, it wasn't that much--probably about 20-30 drops of ink all told. After I had covered all of the nooks and crannies, I set the pot aside to dry for a few minutes.

Alcohol ink dries pretty quickly, so after that few minutes, I was able to carefully peel up my heart. Since it was such a simple shape, there was hardly any bleed-through. I didn't even have to clean up the edges. But if you do have some ink bleed under the edge of the tape, just put some rubbing alcohol on a q-tip and run it along the edge to clean it up.

I think it turned out great and was a fairly simple and quick project. It turned out such a vibrant shade of pink, too. I can't wait to fill it with goodies!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Valentine's Day Collection

This week's post has been interrupted by a nasty cold, while I'm getting better, check out a collection of Valentine's Day craft projects to improve your winter spirits.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Alcohol Ink on Mirrored Candle Plate

Last week I tried alcohol ink on a surface I hadn't tried before--a textured bowl. This week, I'm trying another new surface--a mirror. At Dollar Tree, they sell these little mirrored candle plates, so I picked one up to try as an experiment.

I started out by dripping some red (watermelon) and orange (sunset orange) onto the mirror. Then I added a drop of rubbing alcohol to help thin the ink out.

Then I used a can of electronic duster air to spread the ink out. I used a plastic container lid as a shield to blow the ink towards so it wouldn't get all over my table.

When I was done, I ended up with something that looked like the one above. If looks a little blurry from the reflection of the mirror. I wasn't pleased with my first try, so I tried it again and again and again. I think I wiped it off with a paper towel and rubbing alcohol about 5 times.

This one (above) was my best--sadly, I kept adding ink after this photo was taken, and ended up redoing it again. So what I learned from this experience is that mirrors are not a terribly forgiving medium for alcohol inks. I might end up trying mirrors again with a different application method in the future.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Alcohol Ink Decorated Pressed (Textured) Glass Bowl

I was at Dollar Tree the other day, and I was looking for things to use alcohol ink on that I hadn't yet. It's a strange sort of affliction: "Could I put alcohol ink on that?" "What about that?" I was looking for a plain glass plate as I haven't inked any plates yet, but they didn't have any, but they did have this pretty pressed bowl. I haven't done any bowls yet, and I certainly haven't inked anything that had this much texture, so I figured it was worth a dollar for the experiment.

I grabbed some inks, my craft mat, my applicator (I made my own) and some felt.

I picked twilight purple, sailboat blue, and pool to start. I dripped the colors onto my felt (three or four drops of each color to start).

I made a first pass with those colors and wasn't getting too much coverage. I had to stamp a lot and press fairly hard to get it onto all of the raised areas of the bowl's design.

I kept adding drops of ink and added a few additional colors to add depth to the colors (raspberry, clover, and a tiny bit of watermelon). It took quite a bit of stamping, but since I kept the colors all on the cool side of the color wheel, I was able to keep the same felt for the whole stamping process.

You can see after I got most of the bowl covered, there were still some raised areas that weren't inked. I had to go back over with more ink to make sure that all of the raised areas had color on them. Then I added a couple dots of raspberry pink to brighten up some of the darker areas. When I was finished with adding color, I put a little rubbing alcohol on the corner of a paper towel and I cleaned up any ink that got on the glass above the textured pattern.

I was really happy with how it turned out. It took a bit more ink and a bit more pressure than most glass projects do, but it came out really cool. The ink sits on top of the textured design and highlights it. It turned into a really neat decorative bowl. If you plan to handle your bowl or keep it near any alcohol based liquids, be sure to seal it with some spray sealer or mod podge.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Layered Cut-Out Bookmarks

It's been a pretty cold and dreary start to 2017, but I did manage to make a project with some of the cardstock I marbled with spray paint ages ago. It was so much fun to make, but I always forget I have it to make projects with. Well, since I'm trying to get better at using my Silhouette for projects, I thought this was a perfect excuse to use some of that cardstock to make some bookmarks.

So I used one of the free designs that Silhouette gives you--a tag design. I stretched it out so it was about six inches long and grabbed a couple other free designs to cut out of the bottom of the tag. 

They cut out very easily. I was worried since the cardstock is a bit thick and just a smidge wobbly from the water and paint. I just dialed the blade up one notch from the recommended cardstock setting to compensate for the paint, and it worked perfectly. You could easily cut out the bookmark shape with ascissors and cut out a design with a paper punch if you don't have a cutting machine.

To make the bookmarks more rigid and provide some contrast for the cut-outs, I layered them on top of some colored cardstock. I traced around the bookmarks and cut the paper out.

Then I had to figure out how to adhere the two piece together. A good quality glue stick would be a good choice, but I didn't have any, so I went with some double sided tape.

I applied my tape to the back side of the marbled paper and then stuck the two sides together. Then I used a regular hole punch to make a hole in the blue cardstock and attached a ribbon. These would be a great candidate for running through my laminating machine to preserve them, but they're pretty sturdy as is. I look forward to learning how to make more projects with my cutting machine.