Monday, April 29, 2013

How To: Mother's Day Paper Mache Vase

Meet my granddaughter, Olivia. She's the budding artist behind this beautiful flower vase she made for her mommy. Olivia couldn't wait to return from her soccer game so she could begin painting the vase. It seemed like it took forever for the Mache paste to dry (at least in her mind).

Four year old, Fischer, also had to get his hands into the messy, gooey paste. I think the kids favorite part was playing in the goop. I was cleaning up dried flour paste for days.

We used plastic bottles from Daily's Bloody Mary mix. When working with a four and six year old, plastic was the better choice.

My honey-man brought home old newspapers from the tire store (he was there getting his tires rotated). The newspaper was torn into strips, some long, some short and dipped into a mixture of flour and water.

The paste was made with 2 cups flour and 1 cup water. These measurements aren't exact, but close. The Mache paste should be the consistency of cake batter with no lumps.

Apply the paper in layers covering the entire bottle.  Allow layers to dry before the next application. The waiting is difficult for the kids, but you can generally apply the next layer within 15 minutes if you haven't over-saturated the newspaper with the mix.
I did mention messy, didn't I?
We found three layers worked well. The third layer was plain white paper, though this isn't necessary. It does, however, offer more painting options. Let the bottle dry overnight before applying paint (the kids used tempera paints).

A word of advice...cover the work surface with plenty of paper. I keep a big roll of Kraft paper on hand for these messy projects.

Once the paint was dry, I gave them a thin coat of clear acrylic spray to seal the paper coating. Fischer didn't want any added embellishments on his vase, but Olivia was all over the idea (must be a girly thing).
I hot-glued coordinating grosgrain ribbon around the bottle and added a colorful sun catcher to the bottle neck. It was a sun catcher left-over from another project I did with the grandkids. What mommy wouldn't love to receive this colorful vase on Mother's Day? I know I would.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

How To: Mother's Day Sun Catcher's

This year I am committed to giving handmade Mother's Day gifts. The grand kids are excited about these colorful sun catchers that we made by melting plastic beads. You can find beads at just about any retail craft or online store. I used leftover beads I had from other summer craft projects I have done with the grand kids.

This short tutorial gives instructions to make these colorful sun catchers. If you're looking for something to craft by hand for Mother's Day, this might fit the bill. The cost will also fit your wallet. One 8-inch round sun catcher cost me under $1.00 to make.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

How To: Easy to Make Tull-ific Door Wreath

My six-year old granddaughter (soon to be seven, as she will quickly point out) is all things 'girlie". If it's pink or purple, she owns it. If it's anything that sparkles it's hanging in her closet. I'm fairly certain she will embrace this Tull-ific door wreath I made for her over the weekend. It has 4 interchangeable signs that hang in the center of the wreath. She can flip to whatever sign suits her mood. There should be a 5th sign that reads: DO NOT ENTER... I'm in Time Out!

The first step is deciding on your color palette. I selected colors in my granddaughter's bedroom, but you can do a autumn, Christmas or colors that match your d├ęcor.

I used pre-cut tulle on rolls. You can purchase tulle by the yard at fabric stores and cut into strips if you are so inclined. I find the rolls easier to use and store.

My wreath uses 19 and 24" lengths (the tulle rolls are 6 inches wide). 

For added interest I also used three different grosgrain ribbon patterns; solid, dots and striped. The white Styrofoam wreath is 18" in diameter; a 12" diameter will also work.

The finished wreath has roughly (42) 19" tulle strips, (36) 24" tulle strips and (12) 15" cuts of ribbon.  I cut about 1/3 of what I thought would be needed until I got a feel for how much area each tied piece would cover.

This is a craft that is ideal for camps, vacation bible school, after school activities or in a classroom. No water, glue or messy clean-up is involved; just a pair of scissors and a ruler.

 I noted a couple of different techniques were given for attaching the tulle to the Styrofoam. The first method of threading the tulle through a loop didn't work. It took less time, but the tulle didn't stay attached to the ring. That method is shown below.

First looping method did not work well.

The best method was wrapping the tulle around the ring twice (as shown below) and then tying off in a knot. It's really that simple. Continue wrapping and tying the tulle strips until the ring is completely covered. You can embellish with flowers, painted wood cut-outs, ribbon, bows...there are countless options.  
I placed six, 24" strips between seven 19" strips, alternating in color sequence around the ring.

Example: My six 19" strips consisted of dark purple, light purple, dark pink, light pink, dark purple, light pink. The 24" strips consisted of glittery pink, white, a strip of ribbon, white, glitter pink, two strips of lime green.

Fill in any sparse areas after the wreath is finished. I left the tulle edges straight on the shorter pieces and made a v-cut on the longer pieces. You can even round the edges if you want.

Here is the wreath hanging.

Here is the wreath lying flat.

Here are the door hanger signs for the wreath. I made them using a photo editing program and then printed on card stock. A scrapbook punch was used for the hang-hole. A hook attached to the back side of the wreath will allow my granddaughter to switch out the signs at will. My honey-man is making the hook. Not yet sure how or with what, but he promised he had a plan.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Update on the Dr. Seuss Truffula (Lorax) Tree Project

Dr. Seuss Truffula Trees from Lomax

Here's one of the finished Truffula trees for my grandson's party. Right now it has to be propped up until the stands are made to hold it upright. I'm not going to support the entire trunk. I want it to lean slightly, so the wooden dowels being inserted in the 6 foot tubing will be cut into 4 1/2 feet lengths.

The shorter trees will be made with 4 foot tubing and the dowel inserts will be cut to 3 feet. My post about making the trees is found here.

Dr. Seuss Truffula Trees from Lomax

Sure hope it doesn't rain the day of the party. Tissue paper isn't exactly waterproof. I do have an indoor plan B, just in case.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

How to: Make Dr. Seuss Lorax Trees (Truffula Tree)

Well it's that time of year again, grandkids birthday parties. They always count on NeeNee to make their celebration special and, of course, I do. My five-year old grandson, Fischer, decided he wants a Cat in the Hat party theme. Party decorations are very important to him; so, I'm tend to go a little over the top.

Pictured above are the invites I made for his party. Below are photos of the colorful tree toppers I will use for the Lorax trees. The toppers will be seated atop six and four foot foam pipe insulators (the kind with a slit running down the length of the tube).

My son-in-law is making stands to keep the trees upright. The hollow insulation tube will slide over the wooden dowel and yellow duct tape will be wrapped around tube every eight inches. A light-weight wire will secure the tissue toppers to the insulator tube.

 What you need:
  • 16 x 20" sheets of tissue paper (any color)
  • Thin wire or string
  • Scissors
  • Yellow duct tape
  • Pipe insulator tubes (2 inch diameter x 6 feet or 4 feet)
  • Stands to keep the trees upright (you can tape to a wall or posts if you don't want to make stands)
 Fold 8 sheets of tissue paper accordion style (begin folds on a short end). Fold the tissue in half to find the midway point, then tie with a string or piece of wire. Trim the ends into a point.

Fan out the folds and carefully pull four layers of tissue from each side toward the center.

Flip the tissue over and do the same for the other half. Once all the paper has been pulled toward the tied center, fluff out the tissue pieces to form a uniform looking ball.

It's that simple! Try layering different colors of tissue paper for added variety. Hang from the ceiling in different sizes. Just cut the tissue paper width by a few inches. Each tissue ball cost me 50 cents with string/wire added in the cost. If making the Lorax tree trunk, the insulator tubing runs under $2 at Home Depot.

When the party is over, I'm donating the Lorax trees to a local library for a Dr. Seuss display.

Friday, April 05, 2013

How To: Creating Vintage Paper

I don't know about you, but I can't get past the price of a store-bought card. Why pay $3 to $5 for a card when I can make my own? Not only can I make it, I can personalize it any way I please. So with Mother's Day rapidly approaching, I'm in card making mode.

Retro and vintage items still seem to be in vogue, so I opted for the latter, a vintage look. The card making process will be posted in steps with this being step one; how to make paper look old. It's easier than you might think.

Step 1
Tear out pages from an old book. Shop thrift stores and garage sales. Look for books in various sizes with interesting text and pictures.
Step 2
Heat the oven up to 200 degrees while drinking a morning cup of black coffee. Reserve a portion of the coffee for this project (at least that's what I did :))
Step 3
Place paper pages on a cookie sheet. Pour the reserved coffee over the pages. A quarter cup will probably do; you want the pages covered but not totally drenched. Make sure the entire page is covered with the coffee. Let pages set for a few minute to soak up the coffee, then pour off any extra coffee liquid from the pan.
Step 4
Place cookie sheet in oven and let the paper heat through until nearly dry. About 5-7 minutes. Remove before the edges start curling.

Step 5

Scoop out a few grounds from the brewed coffee filter. Using your fingertips rub the grounds onto the baked paper. Shake off excess grounds over the sink or onto the cookie pan.

Step 6
While the paper is still moist, gently tear some of the edges to add to the aged look. Burning the edges of the paper slightly with a lighter also lends authenticity to the vintage look.

Step 7
Place paper on paper towel to fully dry. Place a couple of books or magazines on top of the paper to keep the pages from curling while drying.

Now that the vintage paper is prepared, I can begin working on my vintage cards. I'm still kicking around ideas but will definitely be sharing the end results.

I tested how the page would feed through a laser printer. Worked like a charm. I think I will be using this technique often.


Small Gift Packaging: Make a Paper Tray

Mother's Day is just around the corner. We've been playing around with some gifting idea for small products... namely, soap! The wrapped box is one of GPE's soap boxes wrapped in Kraft packing paper. I love the simplicity of Kraft paper and the countless ways it can be embellished for just pennies.

The orange band is scrapbook paper that was cut to size. A paper heart doily was trimmed to fit the corner of the box. A scalloped circle was stamped out from vintage paper and a craft button added. The technique used to make the vintage paper is easy and I'll share in a future blog post.

The tray box was made using a 6 x 6 inch piece of double sided scrapbook paper. Two opposing edges were stamped out with a border stamp and then scored for folding.

I've given the steps below to cut and form the tray box. Where you make the folds and cuts will vary depending on the product you will be placing in the tray.

I sized my folds to fit two, one-ounce bottles that I will fill with lotion and shower gel.

 1) Stamp two opposing sides with a border stamp.

2) Use a scoring board to make score lines for folding.

3) Cut the corners as shown and make fold along all score lines to form the tray.

4) With an Exacto knife or box cutter make two small cuts on each end of the box (the ends without borders).

5) Insert the borders sides into the cuts to make sure they fit well. Use double sided tape on the corners of the tray (near the slits). Slide the bordered edges into the slits and press down on tape to secure in place.

Fold along score lines.

 Fill the tray box with coordinating shredded paper and position your product for display. The small trays are ideal for showcasing soap and small bottles of toiletry product at craft shows or in retail settings.

You different papers to create seasonal trays for Spring, Fall, Easter, Christmas or Thanksgiving. Experiment with different border stamps and paper sizes.

At most, this decorative paper tray cost about a nickel. Your only investment is a border stamp, but they are reasonably priced at craft stores and it can be over and over again. Consider it an investment.

 You can adapt this same box tray technique to make a small lidded box. Just make the box lid slightly bigger so that it slides over the base of the box.