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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Flower Light Strand

An extremely popular decorating accent right now is corded lights. For a Christmas present for my friend Heather I decided to add flowers onto a regular strand of white lights that she could decorate with. These are normally pretty expensive in stores but I found this project on like I do with most of my projects. There was no tutorial but just a description explaining that the flowers were made from an egg carton. 2 extra large sets of eggs later it was time to craft some flowers.

2 18 count egg cartons made of cardboard
Hot glue gun
Hot glue refills
Strand of lights (white or green) **make sure they work**
Acrylic paint (desired color. I used purple and pink for an accent)
Paint brushes
Expo knife
Cutting board (or in my case an old ceramic coaster)

Step 1: Eat the eggs
SOO many eggs. lol. I had scrambled eggs almost every day for a while. Or an egg sandwich. Or even baking things that use eggs. You can do this. Its a good source of protein ;)

Step 2: Cut the cartons
Use the scissors to cut the cups out of the egg carton. It doesn't have to be neat but has to be straight lines. Try to make sure you don't rip any of the cups when trying to cut. I would suggest using the scissors that have the rubber in the handles and make sure they are sharp. Your hands will start to hurt after a while.

Here are the cups cut straight from the carton. Note that some of them have specific shapes. You will want to use their shapes to your advantage when deciding on how to shape the flowers.

Step 3: Creating petals
After you have all the cups cut out you will want to shape the cups into flowers. To start with, cut slits in the cups vertically from the base. You can cut either 3 or 4 slits for how many petals you would like them to have. I suggest doing a good mixture of both. Once you have cut the slits in the cups you will want to round off the individual petal edges. This is more challenging because if you pull the cardboard too far it will rip.

When I cut and finished a 4 petal section I would place it in the discarded lid. Then I would work on a 3 petal section to stack on top. You will want to have 2 or 3 layers for each flower. Use your judgement in deciding how many you need. Depending on the way the cups had to be cut some looked bare with just 2 cup stacks, while others only needed 2 cup stacks.

Here are the flowers after they have been rounded off and stacked. You can see that the petals are aligned so that it fills in the gaps between the petals.

Step 4: Painting
Be prepared to make a mess. When you start painting you will want to do each cup stack one at a time. When starting to paint do the bottom cup first. You will need to paint the entire piece. This is where the messy part starts. It is inevitable that you will have to hold onto a painted section in order to cover the whole thing with paint. Once you finish the color that you want to be the main color you will want to add an accent color to the inside of the petals. This will add the illusion of being a real flower. I used purple for my main color and then a hot pink to accent with. You will add the accent color to the bottom center and the center of the petals from the bottom until about halfway up. Do this in a rounded area that matches the roundness of the petal. You wont have to use a lot of color. Just enough that you can see the color difference. You will want to do this for each layer and stack the flowers exactly how they originally were once you finish them.

This is an image of the flower after the next step, but you can see that the color is painted all over and then there is a slight accent to the center that is the pink I added. The cardboard likes to absorb the paint so when it dries like it did here it fades a lot. If you are looking for more dramatic effects then I would let the first layer dry before adding the accent color.

Step 5: Cutting the center
This is the hardest part of the project; cutting the hole in the center of each flower petal. Before you start slicing I would count the amount of flowers stacks you have made and see how you want them laid out on the light string. When I did mine I didn't have enough flowers so I had to create some out of the 3 petal stacks. In the end, I had a flower on the light closest to the end and then every 4 to the other end. So there were 3 empty lights in between each flower.

Once you know exactly how many you will need you can start cutting. Use the cutting board as a base so you don't cut into your table. Grab your expo knife and carefully create circles in the very center of the petals.

Words of Wisdom: You can always cut out more if you make them too small, but if you make them too big it is going to be harder to make them fit the cord. Some light strands have bigger lights and some smaller. In my case, there were actually some different sized bulbs on this strand so one hole for one would not always fit the next. Air on the side of caution.

I also suggest putting them on the cord and seeing if they fit. You can create a line in which you will have them on the cord. So then you can try it out, make sure it fits, then start on the next one. If there are 3 stacked on top of each other the holes will be different sizes because one will have to be pushed back further than the others. These will be the things you will start to notice.

Here is what the flower should look like once you get all the petals on the light bulb.

Step 6: Hot gluing the flowers
Prepare for pain and I mean that in the happiest of ways. lol. Hot glue and I have a love hate relationship. I love it and it hates me. A bit one sided, I know.

To glue the petals to the light bulb base you will start with the bottom petal. Add some glue to the part below the light bulb. Take into consideration how many you are stacking. If it are stacking 3 the bottom petal should be a bit lower than if there were just stacking 2. When adding them they do not have to be very low, just low enough that the top petal is below the light bulb. You would have seen the correct distance when you practiced in step 5.

Once you have put some glue in a ring around the bulb base then put on the bottom petal. Repeat this for the rest of the petals used.

Now comes the painful part. You are going to want to make sure that the petals are all securely glued to both the light bulb base and each other. I suggest pushing (lightly so not to rip the flowers) the petals into each other. You can push from both the top and the bottom This makes sure they are all stuck together. I find that I often stick the tips on my fingers right into the hot glue. If you haven't ever used hot glue before you will see that it burns pretty bad immediately when touched but cools very quickly. It will not do serious damage and rolls right off. Even though it causes me to girly scream in pain every few minutes or so it is important to make sure to get them on there good. Wouldn't want to have to do it again

Step 7: Touch up
Now that you have all the flowers glued on you will want to go back through and make sure there are no places missing paint. Like I mentioned before, the cardboard absorbs the paint. There is a possibility that the brown or white is showing some. Also, I noticed while my flowers were drying that some parts would get stuck together and remove paint or stick to the base I had them sitting on to dry. You don't want to give someone a gift that has paint missing.

Here again is the final image of the flower light strand. On the left is the image I found on pinterest. Theirs were a little different than mine in both shape and color but overall I really liked my end result. Especially when I didn't have a tutorial to follow. Just kind of wing it and hope for the best.

If anyone has any questions let me know! Would love to assist anyone who would like to try out this craft!

Disney Silhouettes

"I don't know if it's art, but I know I like it" - Walt Disney

This project was for one of my best friends. Danielle and I have known each other since 2002. Through high school, college, distance, marriage, and now these awkward 20s we have made it through. One of the big similarities that we share is our love of Disney. You will never meet any other women that fangirl over meeting Disney characters or basically run through the entrance of Disney world, in full costume I might add, more than the two of us. For a combination birthday and Christmas present in 2013 I made her a set of four Disney Silhouette paintings.

Canvas of any shape or size. I used a size that would fit basic printer paper. 
Computer/printer access (if you are feeling adventurous you can free hand. I took the easier route)
Acrylic paint (desired colors. I used black, red, lime green, yellow, turquoise, purple, and gold) (desired texture. The black I used was a gloss but the colors were matte)
Paint brushes
Clear coat (optional)

Step 1: Choosing an image
Deciding what images to use is a task in itself. There are a few characteristics that need to be kept in mind while choosing the image...
1- How will it look on the canvas? Make sure it is one that is recognizable and will fill the entire area you want filled.
2- What color could be used? There are so many options for silhouette colors. I chose to use highlighted elements already in the image. There is also the option of a solid color for the entire image or multiple colors including the background.
3- How will the images look together? When choosing my images I knew that Snow White and Ariel/Eric would be with red accent. So when choosing the other images I wanted to use multiple colors in both. 
4- What is the layout of the image? I messed up when picking my images and didn't realize that three were horizontal with one vertical. The symmetry is off. I have an IOU for another vertical image to make the set more rounded in the layout department ;) 

Step 2: Tracing the image
This step can be done one of two ways. I chose to trace printed images. This saved time and created accuracy in the representation. There is also the option of hand drawing the image. This would be helpful if you wanted to do a larger size and couldn't print it.

I cut out the part of the image I wanted (make sure to be thorough with hands, feet, eyelashes, anything you want to be on the canvas) and laid it out making sure it was aligned how I wanted it to look. Once the image was correct I lightly traced the outside with pencil.

Here are the images I selected. I only had a black and white printer but I had the original images pulled up on my computer screen in order to know the colors for later.

Here are the images once they have been outlined (with the exception of Belle in the bottom that I had already drawn in the details to the image).

Step 3: Drawing the details
After you have finished tracing the images it is time to draw in the accent that you would like to use. This again is optional if you find you would rather do a solid color. Anything in the image can be highlighted. These are usually things that are particular to the character. Ariel's red hair for instance or Snow White's apple. If you want to highlight in all one color you can do all the red in the scene. This is what I did for The Little Mermaid. There is also the option of using colors that go together well or are closely related. This is why I chose to do both the yellow for Belle and the lime green of the mirror. Again, lightly draw the area that is to be highlighted.

 Here are the images with all the details drawn into the image

Step 4: Painting the solid color
For this step you will paint everything in the image that you do not want to highlight a solid color. I went with black but any color would be nice.

 Step 5: Paint the highlights
This is only relevant if you want to do highlights of course. If you wanted to do the background a color then this would apply to that.

When doing the highlights you have some options. You can either do a solid color like you will see with the reds or you can do something a little more intricate like in the Aladdin painting. The choice for how detailed really depends on both the image itself and how you would like them to look. Minimalist is just as nice as elaborate sometimes. For me, the Jasmine and Aladdin image needed more colors and details in order to really see the image. But the Snow White just needed the simple red to do it justice. Use your own judgement. You can never go wrong with your gut instinct. Most of the time it is even better than you think. As a helpful tip, I would try the less detailed version first. See how you like it and if you don't then you can add more color. You can always add but it is harder to cover up or take away.

Here are the final images with all colors finished

Step 6: Clear coat
This step is totally up to you. I did not have time to clear coat these before giving them to Danielle but she didn't mind.

When doing a clear coat there are different textures and mediums. There is a spray on clear coat that is in a spray paint style can. This comes in both gloss and matte depending on how you would like the final coat to look. Another option is to use Mod Podge which is gods gift to crafts. Right up there with glue guns. haha. Mod Podge can be used for basically anything. I used it in my previous blog when I decorated my cell phone case. It is a glue substance that goes on white and dries clear. This also comes in both gloss and matte. You would just paint it on and let it dry. 

Here again is the final image of the four silhouettes. They really took no time at all and are the perfect more elegant looking Disney decoration for grown up children like Danielle and Me :)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Paper Rosette Board

                                              MY PINWHEEL/PAPER ROSETTE BOARD

Hello again everyone. In this post I am going to share my experience making a pinwheel or paper rosette board (people call them by both names). I planned a wedding for a friend of a friend. Her wedding was an outdoor, DIY theme. Very mix matched. Yellow, gray, and white colors. A bit of a picnic theme with some 1920s-1950s. Scrolling through my favorite website, Pinterest, for yellow gray and white wedding themes I stumbled upon this:

Stephanie was all for a dessert bar. This idea seemed perfect.

Most of the time when you see things on Pinterest there are tutorials with the images. Not this time. This image went to a link with just images for the wedding setup. So for once, it was up to me to figure out how to do it. I was up for the challenge.

Scrapbook paper (different colors and designs. You will need a lot. I will discuss this further later)
Double sided tape
Hot glue
Foam board
Paper doilies (optional)

Foam board for a size reference

When I bought paper I seriously underestimated the amount I would need. But that meant I didn't over buy which was good. The breakdown is like this:

Large wheels = 2 pieces (6" radius)
Medium wheels = 2 pieces (4" radius)
Small wheels = 1 piece (3"-2" radius)

Once you get the feel of it you can look at what other colors/designs you will need and add up the amounts of paper. Also look for deals! When I bought the paper it was half off at hobby lobby. Don't just buy from one store either. I went to both Joann Fabrics and Hobby Lobby. Be careful with the colors though because a lot of times they look like they could be the same shade and they are not. Take a sample piece with you to make sure it matches. The solids I bought were only available in card stock. It worked but was harder to fold and harder to glue/tape together. Something you can consider when buying the paper. 

Step 1: Folding
As you begin to make the pin wheels you start to see what you need for different sizes. Make the big wheels first, these will be the foundation. Try doing one of each color and design. When you are folding it is fairly simple. Like the accordion fans you made as a child. I did mine approximately 1 inch. They will not be perfect. But it is best to make them as close to the same size as possible since they have to match up with another piece of paper when they are glued/taped together.

Here is an example of the folded piece. Once you cut it to a specified size you can cut the edge of one side to make it look fancier.

Step 2: Glueing or taping
Make sure when putting the sides together all the colored sides are facing the same direction. it is easiest if the sides fold in different direction, but folding is not an exact science. You will see the best ways to make them go together as you tape/glue. 

When I first started I used double sided tape to tape the wheels together. This worked fairly well as long as the tape is a permanent tape and is durable. I later bought another tape that was not as good and it would not stick well enough. At that point I just started hot glueing them together.

Once you glue the sides together the center is the hard part. The easiest way I found was to hold the wheel all together folded up (kinda like a cylinder), lightly hot glue the edge you want to be the center (on the ones with special edges you have to make sure those are on the outside). Using your knee, slowly push and allow the pin wheel to fold open.  Once you have it open put some more hot glue in the center hole. *be careful, too much glue will run everywhere and go through the back to get on your clothes/skin* I then held the edges of the wheel in place, with light pressure on the middle, so the glue would dry. It takes about a minute.

Example of a glued pinwheel

Again I made about one of each color/design of each size, just to start out with.

Here is an example of sizes. These are just held together with paper clips since I was just looking at the size differences. This picture also shows the doilies I used to give it a more elegant aspect as well as the different edges paired up. It just gives it a little something different. 

Step 3: Layout
Lay them out so you can see where things will be going. There is a lot of mixing and matching which makes the layout very tedious. I attempted to copy the color separation on the original image but eventually just started placing them where I thought looked the best. It will not be exactly the same as the original so why not just do your best and see what you like.

These were the first few I glued on. I started doing it on the easel but my glue gun wouldn't reach and the glue runs some. Later I laid it flat on the floor and arranged them all. After I was satisfied with the layout I glued them on.

Here is the laid out version. Still moving things around and trying to cover all the foam board showing.

And here is my final product again!

Something else to take into consideration is, where are you putting it? Letting the wheels hang over the edges looks nice. I had mine on my easel and then a small ledge at the wedding. But if you plan to have it flat on the bottom you would have to make sure it can sit flat.

If there are any questions feel free to ask! It tried to give as much detail as I could. Here is a website that shows a broken down description of making the pinwheels/rosettes. There's are a little different than mine and use more material. The idea is virtually the same.

As soon as the photographer posts the photos I will upload the entire dessert bar for a comparison.
Until then, happy crafting ;)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Glitter Cellphone Case

I can not resist anything covered in glitter. A friend of mine painted the back of her cell phone case with mod podge mixed with glitter and I knew I had to do it too.

Materials used:
Gloss mod podge
Junk paint brush
Nail polish clear coat
Painters tape
Aluminum foil

Step 1: Taping
Tape the case. I have an otterbox commuter case for the iPhone 5. This case is a rubber layer then a hard plastic layer. I took the hard plastic layer off and taped the edges off. I did the camera section and outside but not the middle where the hole is.

Step 2: Glitter
I poured some mod podge in the bowl with aluminum foil around it so it will be easier to clean up. I started pouring the glitter (i went with iridescent. 90s chick) in with the glue painting it on. I made sure it was a thick layer. The mod podge is white while it is wet but I promise it dries clear. After some deliberation I decided the glitter would cover better if I sprinkled it directly on the case in the glue. That helped a lot for coverage. 
(Before I sprinkled the glitter)
(After sprinkled the glitter)

Step 3: Patience
This stuff takes a while to dry. And by a while I mean a whole day. I let it sit for about 30 minutes to an hour then removed the tape. When removing the tape I had to be very careful not to rip the glue. You have to pull small sections at a time and often times hold the edge as you pull the tape.

Step 4: Clear coat
After the glue has dried enough put a layer of clear fingernail polish on top. This adds more gloss as well as seals in the glitter. The thicker you make the topcoat the smoother it will be to the touch when it dries. I ended up doing 3 coats but it was mostly to let it dry then feel where it needed more.

And here is the final product. Super glittery homemade cell phone case!! 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Painted Wine Glasses

Another day, another special occasion, another fun art project. This time it's a birthday. A 21st birthday  which is a big one. I knew the perfect gift for Dilara was painted wine glasses. I had never painted glasses before so I was a little nervous how it would turn out. 

Materials used:
Americana gloss enamel paint (purchased at hobby lobby)
Medium/small paint brush
Wine glasses (Walmart for $1 each)


One of these sources is a tutorial so I could see the basics for painting the glass. The other was the image I wanted to recreate. 

Step 1: Cleaning
Wipe the glasses down to get residue off. I did not have any alcohol like the website said so I used water. Better than nothing.  

Step 2: Painting
Layering. With this image parts would overlap. The yellow center would come first. Then the petals. Lastly the green stem/leaves. 

To do the petals I used white and purple slightly mixed together. I would get a dab of white then a dab of purple. This made the colors uneven to give it a good contrast. I started with the biggest petals and then went back in to fill with the smaller petals. Being streaky made it look more realistic and like the image. 

For the stem I simply painted the wine glass stem green. Then made leaves on the stand. I then added a little greenery to overlap the yellow. 

You can see in this picture the green overlap. I don't know if I loved that you could see the green. Part of me wished I hadn't. But either way I do like it.

Step 3: Baking
In the tutorial it said to bake the glasses for 30 minutes at 325 degrees. At hobby lobby the gentleman also said that I should bake them and that this paint would be perfect for it. 

Finished product:  
On the left is the template. The right is mine. For my first crack at it I have to say I like it. Hers are darker and shorter glasses. But I am pleased with my replica. Let's hope the bday girl is too.