Argyle Candle Holder

This is another project that I didn’t have to purchase anything for. All you need is mod podge (or slightly watered down white glue), tissue paper, a sharpie or paint pen, and a jar. I was originally going to attach the tissue paper directly onto a pillar candle (which does work, I’ve done it before) but I didn’t have any pillar candles at home and I was too cheap to buy one. But I did have an empty jar, so I decided to use that.

The first thing you have to do is a little math. Measure the height of the jar. I didn’t include the lip of the jar because I didn’t want my argyle pattern there. My jar was 4-3/4″ tall minus the lip. That will be the height of your diamonds. Then measure the circumference of the jar. Mine was 9-1/4″. Since you’ll be making 4 diamonds, divide that number by 4. That measurement will be the width of your diamonds. On a piece of scrap paper, make a symmetrical diamond with these 2 numbers you’ve just figured out. This piece will be a pattern. With this pattern piece, cut out a total of 4 diamonds in whatever colors you’d like. Use either 1 or 2 colors. I used 2. You may want to cut out some extras just in case.

Take a third color of tissue paper and cut a piece large enough to cover the whole jar. It’s a good idea to use something light like white or cream. You can use a color, but remember if you do, when you put your diamonds on top of it, it will change the color of the diamonds. So make sure that the changed color will be attractive. For example, if you use a base color of yellow and then put blue diamonds on it, you’re finished product will feature green diamonds. If you cover that yellow base with purple diamonds, you will most likely get a hideous brown. I used cream.

Working in sections, put mod podge on your jar and place your tissue paper on the top. Brush a layer on top of the paper, too. Try not to make too many brush strokes or your paper will start to fall apart. As I started this step, I made sure my tissue paper was nice and straight so I would have a nice, neat seam in the back. I left a little flap of excess paper at that seam so that once the mod podge was dry, I could easily cut off the excess. Once your jar is covered, cover the whole thing with mod podge. Wait for the jar to dry and put another coat on the jar. Trim off any excess once the jar is dry.

Once it’s dry, apply more mod podge where one of your diamonds will go. Then place a diamond on your jar and cover it with more mod podge. Do the same with your other diamonds. I only did 2 before letting it dry so that I wasn’t trying to hold the jar where it was wet. Once it was dry, I did the remaining 2. Since the base layer has been thoroughly coated and is dry, if you make a mistake during this part, you can just wipe it up and start again without damaging the base. Wait for everything to dry and then put a few more coats of mod podge on it. Make sure to carefully line the diamonds up when you place them. I thought about measuring them to make sure it was straight, but it was pretty easy to just do it by eye.

Once everything is dry, make very small marks at the center of each diamond and the center of the bases of the triangles (the cream ones for me). It’s difficult to see here. Click on the picture below to enlarge it and you’ll see what I mean.

Using something flexible with a straight edge (I used a piece of cardstock), connect the dots as pictured below to create an argyle pattern. Connect them with a dotted line. I used a sharpie, but you could use a paint pen, too.

Then I had to figure out how to cover the lip of the jar. I took 2 pieces of tissue paper, lightly covered them with mod podge and stuck them together. Then I put another coat on the top. This left me with the appearance of 3 colors. When it was dry, I flipped it over and coated it again. I end up folding it to get the right thickness. What I ended up with is basically a tissue paper/mod podge ribbon. I did this step on a piece of plastic wrap so it was really easy to peel the paper off when it was dry. Because I used my 2 diamond colors, it gave it an interesting striped appearance. Once it was dry, I hot glued it to my jar. I followed that up by tying a black ribbon around it.

The only thing left was to put a candle in it. I think it turned out pretty cute. I think next time I’ll do it directly on the candle.

Transparency Image Transfer

This is a really simple, quick way to create some art. While it’s really easy once you get the hang of it, there are a few very important steps you need to follow. All you need for this craft is an inkjet printer, transparency film (the kind that’s not supposed to work with inkjet printers), a smoothing or burnishing tool (I used a dense piece of cardboard-actually, it was the same one I used to smooth the fabric in my last craft), and something to transfer your picture on to. I used a piece of bristol paper. First I tried watercolor paper because I really like the texture of it. But there was just too much texture and it didn’t work at all. Go ahead an experiment with what you use. Certain canvases or fabrics might work or even a piece of fairly smooth wood. You also need a digital photo. I used some vacation photos, but an old family photo would be neat, too.

Before I get into the steps, I’ll just explain how this project works. It’s really very simple. Usually when you print with an inkjet printer, the paper absorbs the ink and when it’s dry, the ink adheres to the paper and it’s more or less permanent-just don’t get it wet. When you print on a transparency that’s not intended to work with an inkjet printer, the ink just sits on top of the plastic. Even when the ink is dry, it just rubs off because it’s not able to properly adhere to the plastic. But that’s what makes this project work.

The other think I need to mention before we get started is how a printer prints. A printer only prints where there is color. If there’s a white section, there is no ink there-it’s just the white paper. If there is a light section, there is very little ink. If there is a dark section, there is a lot of ink. This is important because when you print very dark areas on a transparency (which won’t absorb the ink) all that ink is very water and runs together and makes a big, blobby mess. So, it is very important that your images are lighter rather than darker. Not that there can’t be any dark areas in them, they just need to mostly be light.

Ok, that’s enough preface. The first think I did was go to my computer to find some photos I’ve taken. I made them the sizes that I wanted and lightened them a bit, just to be safe. I also put a vignette border around one of them. I did one in color and one in black and white, just to see how they both would work. Remember that your transfer is going to be a mirror image, so you may want to flip your image, especially if it has text on it. I loaded my printer with a transparency and clicked print. Here’s what it looked like right after I had printed it:

Then, flip your image over on to your paper with the ink side down. This step needs to be done pretty confidently. You’ve only got one shot at it. Once that ink hits the paper, that’s where it’s going. I used oversized paper that I planned on cutting so I didn’t have to worry about lining up the photo.

With my burnishing tool, I firmly and carefully pressed the image down. Make sure you have one hand on your transparency so it doesn’t slide around. The only reason I don’t, is because I had a camera in my other hand. If your image shifts on you, it’s going to smear the image and you’ll have to start again. That’s not that big of a deal, especially because you can wash the ink off the transparency and use it again.

Then I carefully peeled off the transparency. The ink on the plastic became very faded. This is how it looked:

Because of the way the ink settles on the transparency, it creates a pointillist sort of effect. Here’s a close up of the color photo I did:

I was surprised that the ink in the color photo was not as bright once it got on the paper. And that’s ok, just something to be aware of. If you want a brighter print, you may have to turn up the saturation.

From there, I trimmed my paper. Instead of doing a straight, cut edge, I wanted a torn edge. On the front where I wanted it torn, I took wet paint brush and painted water where I wanted it torn. I used a straight edge to guide me. Then I folded it along that line. I flipped the paper over and painted water in the crease on the back side. After flipping it back over, I very carefully tore the paper on the line.

And here are my two finished prints ready to be mounted and framed.

Mail Holder

Lately, I’ve been trying to get organized. One of the things that’s bothered me for a long time is that we don’t have anywhere to put the mail. I just gets set on the front table in a big messy pile and looks awful. I wanted to buy a wall mounted mail holder, but any that I liked cost more than I wanted to spend and any that were in my price range were not very attractive and too small. So I started thinking about how I could make one. This project was made entirely out of items and with tools that I already had in my home.

The first thing I did was go into my little craft closet. Now, I was a student for a very long time, and I’ve acquired a mass quantity of 3 ring binders-the cheap plastic covered ones. I looked at them and thought that would be perfect. I opened it up and cut about 4″ off one side with an Xacto knife. I peeled the plastic off the loose piece and set it aside for later (this will be the sides of the mail holder).

I noticed the plastic on the binder side that had been cut was really loose and not very attractive. I carefully cut off just the outside layer of plastic. I removed the cardboard core. Then I cut away most of the inside layer of plastic leaving only about 1-1/2″ left on the binder. Then, I glued the larger piece of cardboard to that plastic flap on the binder. I glued it so the plastic was on the inside. The plastic on the side of the binder that wasn’t cut was really taught and smooth, so I didn’t worry about removing it.

I tried really hard to remove the rings at the center of the binder. They were riveted on and it just wasn’t going to happen. I decided to just cut the rings off with bolt cutters so they wouldn’t be in the way. I put some hot glue over the remainder of the rings so there weren’t any sharp edges. You may want to use safety glasses for that part.

Then I took the smaller piece of cardboard and cut it to the same height as the shorter side of the binder. Then I drew a diagonal line down it lengthwise to make 2 identical trapezoids. One corner of it should be a right angle. The bottom of it should be the same width as the binder center. Here’s how it should look:

Then I went through all my fabric scraps and found some that would look nice with the colors in my kitchen. I cut pieces big enough to cover one side of the two little trapezoids, one side of the uncut binder (the back will be against the wall) and both sides and bottom of cut binder side. That last piece also needs to be wide enough to cover the width of both trapezoid pieces. Make sure all your fabric pieces are at least 1/2″ larger on all sides so the fabric can wrap around the edges of the binder pieces.

*Spray glue is very bad for you-please use it outside*

Then I took some spray glue and coated the large (uncut) side of the binder. Cover what would have been the inside of the binder-the other side will be against the wall. I used a leftover cardboard piece to smooth the fabric on. Then wrapped the edges of the fabric around the binder and glued them on the back. Then I covered 1 side of the trapezoids. Make sure they are a mirror image of each other. You’re only covering the insides right now. I only wrapped the top (the wide end) of the trapezoids and then trimmed the excess fabric.

Then I sprayed the inside of the small (cut) side of the binder, lined the fabric up and smoothed it on. I used masking so I didn’t get glue all over the sides that had already been covered with fabric. Then I sprayed the outside of that piece and folded the fabric over the top and smoothed it down. Make sure you pull it tight so you have a nice and crisp top edge. It is very important that you don’t get any glue on the fabric that is going to be covering the sides of the holder-use masking.

Then carefully cut just the inside layer of the fabric at the edges of the cardboard.  When you unfold the cut fabric, this is what it will look like:

You can trim those pieces so they’re about an inch taller that that side of the binder. Then fold that fabric out of the way and glue in your side pieces like this:

Please note that the fabric covered side is on the inside. Also, the side that has right angle on the skinny end goes on the uncut binder side. Then I folded over the loose flaps of fabric onto the sides. I folded the excess at the top under, quickly pressed it, then glued the sides.

Next,  I folded the bottom corners like wrapping a present and glued them.

Then I made sure all the excess fabric was folded over and glued on the back. In order to hang it up, I used a hole punch (I have a leather punch that worked great) to put 2 holes in it and threaded a ribbon through. I put some washers at the back for added stability.

I added more of the same ribbon as trim. Then I sprayed it with a water/stain repellent spray to protect it. I put a nail in the wall and hung it up. Since I didn’t want to see the nail head, I super glued a pretty button I had on it. I think it turned out pretty well and I can finally get the clutter off the front table.

Paper Flowers

I did this project when I stumbled upon a paper punch of a hydrangea at Michaels. When I saw it, I couldn’t help buying it. I had a cute ceramic vase at home that I wanted to fill, and I decided to fill it with homemade flowers. My first attempt at this project was with fabric. I got some really pretty pale blue sheer fabric. It was a miserable failure. A while later, I decided to revisit the project, but with paper, instead.

I decided to use watercolor paper because it has a nice texture, and I also wanted to paint the flowers. You could also probably use bristol board or another thicker paper.

First, I went to town punching out flowers. I did them as close as I could so that I wouldn’t waste any paper. I just estimated how many I would need. My vase wasn’t very big, but I wanted them to be pretty dense in there. When I thought I had enough, I layed them all out. I mixed up some paint. I used watercolor because when you look at a lot of flowers, they look like they’ve been painted with watercolor paint. If you want to, you can use acrylic, but thin it out so it looks like watercolor paint. I decided on a pale, dusty blue because my living room has blue accents. A pink or spring green would be very pretty, too.

Then, working just a few flowers at a time so they don’t dry out, I brushed clean water on them. I then painted them, keeping most of the color to the outside. If you get it wet first, the paint will bleed into the white of the paper giving it a nice, soft look. Don’t worry if they’re not all exactly the same, some will have more paint, some less, some may be slightly different colors if you run out of paint and have to mix more. That’s all okay, and makes it look more random as in nature. Once you’ve painted all your flowers, let them dry, flip them over and paint the backs. I know this step seems like it would be really tedious (especially when you see the quantity you’ll have to paint), but it goes really fast. Especially if you don’t worry about them all being perfect, which you shouldn’t.

For the centers of the flowers, I picked up some flower stamen. I think I got them in either the floral section or wedding section of my craft store. They come in white, which would have been fine, but I decided to quickly brush on a little pale blue acrylic paint on them. It’s so pale, you can’t really see it in the pictures. Then I disassembled them.

Once my flowers were dry, I took a large sewing needle and poked a hole in their centers. Next, I threaded the centers through. Then came the tough part. I took little pieces of wire to make my stems long enough and using floral tape, I attached the wire to the little stamen. The stems just need to be long enough so your flowers are tall enough for your vase. I find working with floral tape really difficult and I never really got good at it. But I got it “good enough”. The wire stayed on and you can’t really see that it’s not the most beautiful taping job in the world once you put your floral arrangement together.

Then comes the fun part. I filled my vase with floral foam and arranged my flowers. I kept them pretty close together. I didn’t want to see any of the foam or any of the stems. The arrangement turned out really pretty and I have a little bit of spring all year long.

Painted Vases and Candleholders

Here’s another craft I did a couple years ago. My bedroom was feeling a bit bland and I wanted to add some coral colored accents to brighten things up. I have 3 boxes of glass vases that I used as candleholders for centerpieces at my wedding reception. I decided those with a little glass paint would do the trick.

I used Delta Air-Dry PermEnamel paints. The first thing I did was wash the vases in warm soapy water then rinsed and dried them. I placed strips of masking tape on my self-healing cutting board. The strips need to be long enough to go all the way around the vase. With a ruler and Exacto knife,

I cut randomly sized strips. Make sure you measure the width of the strips well, so that one strip is the same width its entire length.

Carefully wrap the tape strips around the vase. You can space them evenly, or keep it random. To keep your lines straight, wrap a piece of tape around the vase and use it as a spacer. Then peel that piece of and use it elsewhere on your vase.

Once you’re happy with the placement of the tape, apply PermEnamel Surface Conditioner to the exposed glass. This acts as a primer. While the conditioner is drying, mix up some colors. Of course you can use them straight out of the bottle, but they didn’t quite have the colors I was looking for. I mixed up a light, medium, and dark coral. Once the conditioner is dry, apply the paint. I didn’t apply it in any particular order on the large vases. On the smaller one, I wanted to do something more ordered. Put on as many coats as you like. I put on a few because I didn’t like the look of streaky paint for this project.

Once you’re happy with the paint, apply the PermEnamel Glaze. I used the satin one. Then you can peel the tape off and see how it looks! Don’t put pieces through any hard wear quite yet, though. The paint and glaze won’t be fully cured for 10 days, so be careful with them. I think Delta may have a glaze that can be heated in the oven to cure faster, so look at the instructions before you buy.

And there you have a pretty simple craft to brighten up a room in your home.

Easy Wreaths

For my first post, I thought I’d talk about a project that I did several years ago. I made a couple of these wreaths in the early stages of planning my wedding. I never used them because I ended up slightly changing the color of my flowers. I’m not sure why I didn’t go back and make new ones, but I didn’t. I guess I was too busy tying little bows on mini bubble bottles (seriously, that took forever and I don’t recommend it). Anyway, I thought they turned out so nicely that I kept them as décor in my work space.

It’s a really easy project. All you need in a wreath form, flowers, and ribbon. I used a 6” wreath form to make a really sweet little wreath. I used hydrangeas, one of my favorite flowers, but you could use pretty much any flower you want. The nice thing about hydrangeas is you get a lot of little blossoms for your money. Unfortunately, you’ll just have to guess how many flowers you need. It depends on how big your wreath is, how big your flowers are, and how close together you place them. The first thing you do is cut them all apart.

Make sure you keep the plastic center piece intact.

Then you just jam the little plastic stem into the Styrofoam. Place them close enough so you can’t see any foam peeking through. Then just cover the whole wreath. You may need to glue them in. I didn’t use any glue and seven year later, I still haven’t lost any blossoms.

With the ribbon, make a pretty bow. Flip your wreath over and hot glue the tails of the bow on the back of the wreath form.  You could probably do this by eye, but it might be a good idea to measure them so you don’t end up with a cockeyed wreath.

And there you have a very simple, inexpensive wreath!

Hello!

Hello, my name is Katie and I just started this blog. In this blog I’m going to give you some inexpensive craft ideas from my own head and from around the web.