Monday, September 18, 2017

Watercolor Rainbow Butterfly Cards

I participated in a card exchange at the end of the summer and decided to make my cards. I knew I wanted to use my new butterfly punch but I couldn't figure out how to use it. I figure you couldn't go wrong with combining it with rainbow paper. I didn't have any rainbow paper in my scrapbook stash, so I decided to make it.

I taped some watercolor paper to some foam board and mixed my colors with quite a bit of water to make a rainbow gradient across the paper in the traditional ROYGBIV order. This was a lot of fun and didn't take too much time. It really got me itching to paint some pictures again. I ended up making a few sheets of rainbow paper, but you could make 4 cards with one regular sized sheet of watercolor paper.

After my paper had dried, I cut it into fourths. I just folded the paper to guide my scissors, but you could also use a paper cutter to make it even neater. Then I used my butterfly punch to cut the silhouette of a butterfly out of the rainbow paper. I was then left with a lacy little butterfly to attach to the inside of the card.

Since I was just going for a blank notecard look, I kept it simple. I selected colored cards that seemed to correspond with the rainbow paper--peach for one side of the rainbow and blue for the other side.

I tried to use some double stick tape to attach the paper to the card, but it didn't get along very well with the watercolor paper. I also tried mod podge, but it wasn't very cooperative either--just too wet. Someone had recommended this glue in the photo above for paper: Tombow Mono Multi Liquid Glue. It definitely worked, but it was NOT user-friendly. I was used to glues that would wipe away with gentle rubbing when working with paper, like glue sticks or rubber cement. This stuff was permanent when wet and left big dark smears if you used a little too much near the edges. If left to dry, it remains super sticky, so it can be used like a post-it note and reattached. I'm sure there are situations when this stuff would be awesome, but I didn't care for it for general paper gluing purposes, so I'm still on the lookout for a good paper glue. 

So I glued the silhouette rainbow paper on the front of the card and the lacy butterfly on the inside. Then I wrote a quick note on each one. The ones without smeared glue on them turned out great, and I can't wait to get back into painting.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Recycled Tin Can

We bought a giant can of peanuts a while back at Big Lot. After my husband devoured them, I was about to toss the can in the trash when I realized it wasn't the usual foil lined cardboard, but was instead a full fledged corrugated metal can. It looked just like a big old coffee can with its resealable lid and all. So I knew I had to save it, if for nothing else than to throw nails in it in the garage. In my mind, I thought I could do something a little snazzier, though.

Probably the hardest part of this project (and not all that hard) was a step that I didn't get any photos of--removing the glue after I ripped the label off. It was that hard non-sticky label glue. My usual go to for excess glue is goo-gone. I sprayed it on the glue and waited a minute--nothing happened. So then I grabbed a butter knife and started to try to scrape it off. I didn't make much of a dent. Then, I decided to run the glue under hot water. This made the glue tacky again and I was able to scrape off most of the glue with a little bit of elbow grease and a pan scraper. After the hot water and scraping, most of what was left was sticky residue. Then I was able to use the goo-gone since sticky residue is its true strength. After I got the glue cleaned off, I set the cleaned can in a box and selected some spray paint.

I sprayed several light coats. The paint I selected is a hammered bronze. It has a bit of a texture to it, so it took a little more paint and a little extra drying time to cover the can than I'm used to.

Once it was dry to the touch (took about an hour and a half instead of the usual 10-20 minutes), I brought it inside to cure. I set it on a piece of tinfoil to dry for several days. The can turned out pretty good, but still looked very much like a tin can, so I knew I had to jazz it up somehow. I selected a striped washi tape from my stash and wrapped it around the top and bottom of the can (on the flatter sections). The great thing about washi tape is that I can peel it off and try out a new tape if I get sick of the stripes.

So now I have a can that I can store things in inside the house and not just in the garage. I'm pleased with how it turned out, but if I get another giant can of peanuts (or coffee) I'll probably decide to paint it a bright non-metallic color to further the illusion that it is no longer a "tin can."

Monday, August 28, 2017

Solar Eclipse Box

School has just started back up here, so the only thing I crafted last week was a solar eclipse viewer--a pin hole box. On solar eclipse day, it looked like the above photo for most of the morning. It rained almost 3 inches that day. We needed the rain, so it was hard to be upset about it, but we were supposed to get a 95% eclipse, so it was a bit of a bummer.

Right around the time the eclipse was supposed to be peaking, the sun started popping out here and there between the clouds. The photo above is from about 5 minutes before the sun hit 95% 90% plus :). Some folks even were able to see the crescent with the clouds as a filter. But I did notice, after the fact, that a solar flare in the photo down near the bottom shows the crescent quite clearly. It's amazing how much light comes off of such a tiny sliver of the sun.

So when it looked like I might be able to see the eclipse, I quickly whipped up a pin-hole viewer. I'm glad I did. It was really easy, and I was eventually able to see the crescent in the box. All you need is any cardboard box. Put a piece of white paper on one end (I just scotch taped a piece of copy paper in the box) then on the other end, cut a hole in one side to view from and a hole in the other side for your pinhole. You could, theoretically, just jab a pin through the box, but tinfoil works very easily and can be pierced with a paper clip or tooth pick too. Tape the tinfoil in place over one of the holes and leave the other one open. If you had any open flaps on the box, tape them all shut and that's it.

After taking my box outside, I added some foil over the corners near the paper and across the seam on the top to keep even more light out, but I could easily see a cloudy light blob in the box immediately, even with a little bit of light getting in the box. Stand with your back to the sun and tilt the box until you see a defined light. At first, I was getting the shape of the poked hole. If you tilt it, you'll eventually see the light from the sun.

Every time I saw the sun start to peak out, I ran out and looked, and eventually, towards the end of the eclipse, I finally saw the crescent.

Just for reference, this is what the sun normally looks like through the pinhole on a nice sunny day. Now that I know how to make one of these boxes, I can't wait for my next chance to view the solar eclipse--but who knows, maybe for the next one, I'll be able to track down a pair of the elusive eclipse glasses. :)

Monday, August 21, 2017

Alcohol Ink Candle Plate

Just sharing a really quick project with you today as school is starting this week. A few months ago I grabbed this textured candle plate at Dollar Tree with the intention of figuring out a way to ink it. Well, after living with it a while, I decided I really liked the texture and didn't really want to obscure it with color, so instead, I just jazzed up the edge a bit.

I grabbed some of one of my favorite colors of alcohol ink--sailboat blue--and my craft mat and applicator. I dripped some blue ink onto a felt and stamped around the edge of the plate until it started to separate just a bit and created a sort of mottled look, but still had good coverage.

Then I let it dry and that was it. It was a super simple project. I plan to use the candle plate as a catch all for jewelry or coins, but you could certainly still use it for candles. If it's going to be in an area near hairspray, perfume, or alcoholic beverages, be sure to seal your creations with mod podge or clear acrylic spray so the ink doesn't run.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Alcohol Ink Glass Gem Necklaces

My most popular project on this blog are these glass gem necklaces. I have revisited and rehashed this project several times in an attempt to perfect it and create new versions. In today's latest version, I hope to answer some of the most frequently asked questions and--in a first for this blog--I've included a video of the stamping process.

These are pretty easy to make. All you need are alcohol inks, a surface to work on, an applicator and felt, and some larger flat glass gems.

I didn't have a fancy set up--just my cheap cell phone camera on a tripod pointed at my work surface, but hopefully seeing the process will help answer some of the questions folks have about how long to stamp and what it looks like as you're stamping. If it's not dark enough, keep stamping and layer in my colors until you like it.

This is raw from my phone. I took a few different videos and picked the one that showed the most without too many hiccups--so no editing. I'll get the hang of this stuff eventually, but I thought you'd all like to see what the gems look like in process.

I've also included a picture of the gems drying with my pile of felt so you can see approximately how much ink I used and how many felts are used to create 11 gems. After the ink dried, I painted on a thin coat of glossy mod podge (I've also used a clear acrylic spray to seal them) and then used E6000 glue to attach bails. Then I threaded them with ultra suede cording.

I also wanted to include a picture of the necklaces completed on a darker surface. Sometimes the images are misleading in how much contrast appears on the gem. They are still very translucent. If you're not liking the look of the see-through color, you may want to consider backing the gems with paint or foil tape to get the colors to pop.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Fried Onion Container Refashion

It's been awhile since I covered a French's Fried onion container. Long enough that I had two empty ones in my recycle craft box. So it must be time to whip a couple up. These containers are the perfect size to store bits and bobbles and the lid sits on the top securely, so I just can't throw them out without re-using them. The tricky bit is that they are curved, so aside from just leaving them white, mod podge (or other decoupage glue) is a must. Tissue paper is one of the easiest things to decoupage that will curve a bit. You could also use decorative napkins in much the same fashion. I cut two strips of this silly dog birthday tissue paper that I picked up at Tuesday Morning to the size to cover my containers and grabbed a foam brush.

I usually start these on the side seam in the plastic. I just spread a very thin layer of glue and curve the paper along the surface. Be sure to keep the top straight and avoid getting your fingers too glue-y or they might stick and rip the paper.

I like to let the edge hang over and then glue it down. But you could trim your paper (or be more precise when you cut out your original square). I just use the foam brush to put down some glue and then fold the paper over the edge.

Since the bottoms had glue on them, I left them sitting upside down on their top openings to dry just long enough for the tissue paper not to be wet and fragile. Let them sit for 5-10 minutes or over night, but let them set up a bit before spreading on a layer of sealing glue.

Now I have two more cute storage containers. These are going to be used for dog treats. I think my pup will approve.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Spring/Summer Candles Refresh

After this week's project where I punched butterflies out of tissue paper for a candle holder, I had leftover butterflies. They're fragile, so they are hard to store and keep for later, so I thought I'd use a few of them to jazz up this old project (pictured above). The colors matched the pattern on the tissue paper perfectly.

I painted a thin layer of mod podge onto the candles and placed my butterflies on carefully. Then I waited a minute or two and painted a thin layer of glue over the top. It took maybe 10 minutes to add the butterflies, so it was a great way to use up a few before tossing the leftovers.

The butterfly additions are pretty subtle. The lime green ones disappear almost entirely, but it's nice to add another layer of dimension to an old project to freshen it up.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Mod Podge and Punched Tissue Paper Candle Holders

This past spring I discovered that you could, in fact, use a paper punch to cut tissue paper. Way back when, I saw a project online using the punched paper, and I was pretty miffed when I couldn't get it to work. But I made a heart shaped bowl with heart shaped paper decoupaged onto it with pretty good success. So, when I found some new paper punches on sale at Tuesday Morning, I knew I had to try it again.

Tuesday Morning had a good selection of Martha Stewart punches. Even this big butterfly punch (which makes a 1 1/2 inch butterfly) was only $4.99. What I learned from the last project was that the only way you can get the tissue paper to work with a paper punch is to fold it so you are punching multiple layers at once. How many layers it will punch depends on the punch. So there will be some trial and error. Sometimes it feels like you've folded too much, only to find out that the paper will only punch once you've folded it some more. So, if at first you don't succeed, try different thicknesses until it works.

After I had punched out some larger butterflies, I grabbed a smaller punch (this time a Fiskars punch) to make some smaller butterflies to hang out with the bigger ones. I ended up punching small and large butterflies in three different colors. Then I grabbed my mod podge and a foam brush.

Next, I applied a very thin coat of mod podge and gently tapped the butterfly onto the glue. Don't try to move it or press it too hard, it will probably rip or tear. Just get it onto the glue as best as you can. Try to keep your fingers as dry as possible during this process so there's less of a chance that your fingers will stick to the paper and tear it.

I moved around the candle holder applying a thin layer of glue and tapping the butterflies onto the glue. I placed one large butterfly and then two smaller butterflies of the other two colors and repeated until I had them sprinkled almost all over. I then added 2 or 3 more small butterflies in any places there were gaps.

Then I put the candle holders down and walked away from them. I let them dry overnight, but letting them dry until the glue is completely clear should be enough to keep them from ripping easily when applying the seal coat.

The next day I carefully painted a thin layer of mod podge over the entire candle holder, making sure to glue down any loose edges that may not have gotten glued down well when applying the fragile paper. I paid special attention to getting the brush strokes even and all in one direction in the final coat since they'd be visible when they dried.

This is the first time I've ever mod podged tissue paper on glass and didn't cover the entire surface. I kind of like the glossy hazy look that the glass takes on once the mod podge dries. It will look beautiful with a candle glowing through it.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Alcohol Ink and Plastic Wrap Flower Vase

This is now my third project using plastic wrap to apply alcohol ink to glass. My first attempt was a decorative wine bottle from the dollar store. Then, I applied it to some altar candles to try out a smoother surface. It creates a neat crinkled look, but it takes a bit of fiddling to get the surface completely covered and looking good. Hopefully, I've got the process pretty much down pat because when I saw this perfectly smooth cylinder vase, I totally wanted to plastic wrap it.

I grabbed my inks and a craft mat (or two) to get started. Then I tore off a piece of plastic wrap that was a bit bigger than my vase. I've tried a couple brands of plastic wrap and haven't noticed any difference in the result yet.

I chose ink colors that were close to each other on the color wheel so they wouldn't turn brown when they mixed together. I dripped 4 or 5 dots of each color onto an area roughly the size of my vase.

Then I set the vase down on the edge of the ink and rolled it onto the wrap until the plastic wrap was wound around the vase. I then set it aside for a few minutes to dry a bit so the color wouldn't all pull off of the vase when I removed the plastic.

After probably about 10 minutes, I removed the plastic. The colors were pretty light and didn't cover the whole vase.

I knew I wanted to get the vase more coverage, get the colors a bit darker, and try to get a bit more texture to appear, so I dripped some more of the same colors onto the same plastic wrap.

This time, I intentionally rolled it onto the vase wonky. I wanted it to be crooked and a bit crinkly. Then I unrolled it right away and reapplied the plastic in a different location to transfer as much of the ink onto the vase as possible before it dried up. I would usually apply about 3 times each time I added ink to the plastic as I worked my way around the vase trying to add color to places that were light or bare.

Once it was mostly covered, I then applied a dot or two of ink to the plastic to provide contrast to make the design a bit more interesting. With my color choices that usually ended up being pink or dark blue.

Once I was satisfied with the look of it, I set it aside to dry for a few minutes. If you plan to handle your vase a lot or store it near any alcohol based liquids (like hairspray, perfume, etc...) you'll want to seal your alcohol ink masterpieces. On glass, you'll want to use a glossy sealer like glossy mod podge or glossy acrylic spray. If you plan to use it only as decoration and don't plan to handle it much, it may not even need to be sealed, but when in doubt, seal it.

These projects with plastic wrap have been such a fun experiment in alcohol ink. I think they turn out looking really cool in person, but they are a bit difficult to photograph. I hope these projects have inspired you to try it out!