Archive for the ‘Arts & Crafts’ Category

As I have mentioned previously on this blog, I am a total craft junkie.  Crafting is my therapy.  There is something very soothing to me about the act of creating something new and letting my creative juices flow.

I also recently had an absolutely AMAZING experience at a local yard sale.  I had been drawn by all of the advertisements suggesting that the sale would predominantly feature a large amount of craft supplies for cheap.  If there’s anything I like better than making crafts, it’s buying craft supplies.  As it turned out, the sale was being run by the stars of Creative Juice on the DIY Network, selling excess supplies from their studio to make room for new product.  It was so fun to meet them, and I picked up 6 or 7 different varieties of Mod Podge to play with (along with some fabric paints, acrylic paints, chalkboard paints, and a few new rubber stamps) – all on the cheap!

I’ve only recently discovered that awesomeness that is Mod Podge.  In working on craft ideas for my MOPS group next year, I’ve started experimenting with it.  Today, I thought I’d share one of my favorite Mod Podge projects to date – photo coasters.

To give credit where credit is due, I first saw this idea on Frugal Girls:

Frugal Girls – How to Make Photo Coasters

Basically, all you need are some photos, some single ceramic tiles from any home improvement store (usually less than $0.16 each), paint for the edges, mod podge, a brush, some acrylic sealer, and felt and a glue gun.  This is a ridiculously easy and inexpensive project to do.  I recommend starting with painting the edges of the tile to give it a more finished look, then cut and hot glue a piece of felt to the back side of the tile.  This will prevent your coaster from scratching the furniture.  Then, paint a layer of Mod Podge on the front of the tile and center your photo on top.  Paint over that with a layer of Mod Podge and allow to dry.  Finish with a generous coat of acrylic sealer (to keep the moisture from glasses from ruining your coaster).

The process sounds a bit long and drawn out in that tutorial, but it doesn’t have to be that way.  I found that a single medium-thick layer of Mod Podge on the picture was sufficient.  It takes a little while to dry, but it doesn’t necessarily need multiple coats over multiple days.  I do recommend painting the edges of the tiles first and allowing it to dry.

Here’s a photo of the coaster I made featuring a waterfall on the Big Island of Hawaii (ignore the unpainted edge there – I failed to follow my own advice…):

Enjoy!  Hope this inspires you to get creating (if that’s your thing)!


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Today I attended a ladies’ craft day at my church.  The women’s group periodically holds these events for ladies to come and make items to sell as a fundraiser at the church’s holiday boutique.

I generally volunteer to make greeting cards as my contribution to the cause.  I have to say, I was pretty pleased with how my creations came out today:

I’m not sure where the paper is from – it was donated by one of the women in the group.  The foundation is a plain 5″x7″ white card, available in value packs at most craft stores.  The floral stamp on the left (done in silver) is by Hero Arts, and the other floral stamp is by Li’l Davis Designs.  The ink is from a ColorBox cat’s eye pigment ink queue in metallic colors.  The card on the left has an added piece of white organza ribbon and a square brad by Recollections.

My apologies for the less-than-stellar photo.  I had poor lighting and only a cell phone camera to work with…

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Are you a child of the ’80s?  Do you remember Shrinky Dinks?  I know I sure do!  I still remember coloring and baking some awesome My Little Pony shrinky dinks for display in my room.

Well, those fun little shrinking plastic sheets are still available for lots of crafting fun, although the craft seems to have lost some popularity over time.  Sheets of the shrinky dink plastic are still available in some craft stores and online through sites like Amazon.com.

In my continuing quest to find new, useful, and unique projects for my MOPS group, I came across this blog post on WhiMSy Love detailing steps to make water bottle tags out of shrinky dink plastic.  These were just so cute, I had to try them for myself!

After giving it some thought, I decided that what I need instead of a water bottle tag is a name tag for my son’s diaper bag.  When I leave him in the nursery at church or in childcare at MOPS meetings, I often leave his diaper bag as well.  Different groups have different systems to keep the diaper bags straight (or no system at all!).  So, I thought that having a tag with his name on the diaper bag and maybe his sippy cup would help with keeping his items together.

Here is the list of items you need for this craft project:

  • Shrinky Dink Film – I actually found this to be a little difficult to find locally.  According to the Shrinky Dink website, Michaels and Hobby Lobby stores carry shrinky dinks, but I was not successful finding any at my local Michaels.  I eventually found some of the film at a local craft store chain here in California.  I decided to buy the clear for this project, although opaque would probably work as well.  If you can, opt for the pre-sanded plastic to save some time.  Alternately, if you want to be more green with this project, plastics labeled as #6 supposedly shrink the same way in heat.
  • Sandpaper (if you do not find pre-sanded plastic sheets)
  • Scissors – straight or patterned depending on how you want your tags to look.
  • Colored pencils
  • Permanent markers
  • Hole Punch
  • Rubber bands/ribbons to attach the tag

Nikki at WhiMSy Love gives some really great directions for completing this project.  I altered the instructions slightly to fit my own needs.  Here are some of the notable issues I discovered while working on this project:

  • Because I bought 8.5″ X 11″ sheets of plastic, I found it just worked best to cut the plastic into four equal strips of 2.75″ X 8.5″.  These roughly shrunk to the same dimensions indicated in the project tutorial.
  • Both colored pencils and permanent markers created patterns that were bold and interesting.  So, if you have colored pencils at home instead of permanent markers, don’t be shy about using those to create your design.
  • Writing backward is hard.  Really hard.
  • The tip about writing the letters on the front with a dry erase marker and tracing them from the back side of the tag was smart up until the part where no amount of rubbing or scraping was going to get the dry erase marker off the front, clear side of my tag.  I now have a faint purple sheen to my letters, since purple was the only color of dry erase marker I could find.  I would recommend either getting a dry erase marker in a matching color or just using the permanent marker to draw the letters on the front and then tracing them on the back side as well.  I will have to make more and try using some different cleaners to see if they can remove the dry erase marker better.
  • It does seem to work best to use a corner rounder to smooth out the edges of the tags before baking.  Leaving them intact makes them a bit sharp and pointy.

Pictures of my tag:

And a close-up of the completed tag:


I used a cheesy blue rubber band to attach the tag because that was the best I could find lying around the house.  I saw some great clear hair tie rubber bands at the 99 Cent Store recently that would be much nicer for attaching the tags.

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Today I decided to try out making a floral hair accessory as another trial run for a potential MOPS project.  I had bought some spring floral stems at a 75% off sale at Michael’s – so about $0.50 each – and I thought that with a few modifications they would make a super-cute barrette.

I rummaged around in my bathroom until I found this sad, worn, and tarnished hair clip:

Yay for recycling!  This can be a good way to give old items some new life.

It’s really up to the individual crafter what style of hair barrette to use for this project.  I know craft stores generally stock barrette bases with the other jewelry-making supplies.  I opted for a smaller size barrette because that was what I had on hand.  Smaller barrettes will work better for single, small flowers, while a larger barette will give you space to play with arranging multiple flowers or to use larger silk flowers like roses.

I was really inspired by this post at Salty Pineapple on modifying floral stems into layered fabric flower masterpieces.

I selected a couple of inexpensive floral stems that I liked and that had complimentary colors:

From those stems, I removed a couple of individual flowers, being careful to remove all plastic stems from the petals:

Then, I layered the flowers the way I liked and secured the layers together with a flower-shaped brad in the middle:

I cut a small piece of white ribbon to match the length of my barrette and cut the ends at an angle to prevent fraying.  I then heated my glue gun to low and attached the ribbon to the metal barrette.  I decided to use a low setting because the ribbon is fairly delicate.  After some trial and error, I discovered that it worked best to place a small amount of glue on one end of the barrette and attach the ribbon at that spot.  I then continued alternately applying glue and smoothing the ribbon along the barrette.  I found that if I applied too much glue all at once, it dried before I could get my ribbon attached.  Working in segments produced a much nicer and more secure result.

After the ribbon was dry, I applied a small amount of hot glue to the back of my flower and adhered it to the ribbon on my barrette.  Here is the finished project:

All in all, this project took 15 minutes or less and resulted in a cute bow that any little (or big!) girl would be excited to wear!

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I decided to get in on the marble magnet craze and make some for myself.  After reading a couple of different tutorials around the web, I thought that this looked like a good craft to try for our MOPS group next year.  Really, I just wanted to find an excuse to buy some Mod Podge and play.

I primarily used the tutorial at Frugal Girls.  There’s also a good tutorial at not martha, although she uses a different adhesive.  I’m sure there are tons of other tutorials for this project on the internet, but I thought I would share what I did and learned in the process of trying out this project.

This is an incredibly easy and inexpensive project to do.  Here is the supply list:

  • Flat, round marbles – usually stocked with the floral supplies.  I found a bag of 20-25 clear marbles at the dollar store.  Craft stores also carry these, but they may be more expensive there.
  • 1/2″ or 3/4″ round magnets (depending on the size of your marbles) – I bought mine at the hardware store, but I found them to be cheaper at Michael’s.
  • Scrapbooking paper scraps, magazine clippings, stamped paper – whatever you want to use as the background for the magnet.  Small, bright prints and pictures work best – especially images and prints with high contrast, although it depends on the look you want.  Photo paper does not work well with the Mod Podge, but another type of adhesive may work better.
  • Mod Podge – I used matte, but glossy would also work.  The large 16-ounce jars run about $10 regular price at our local crafting stores, so around $6 with the usual 40% off coupon.  Smaller jars are naturally cheaper.
  • Glue gun
  • Scissors
  • Foam brush

These are generally the steps that I followed to create my marble magnets:

  1. Select the paper you wish to use as the background for your magnet.  Lay the marble on the paper and center over the design as you want it to appear on the finished magnet. 
  2. Use a pencil to trace the shape of the marble onto the paper.  Cut slightly inside the lines.  Trim down your paper as needed to fit the shape of the marble.  It doesn’t really matter if the edges of your paper are perfectly round because you won’t really be able to see them from the front of the magnet.  As I made several, I found it was just as easy to hold the marble and paper together and cut free-hand around the perimeter. 
  3. Apply a thin coat of Mod Podge to the flat side of the marble.  This is about how much I applied:
  4. Adhere the right side of your paper circle to the marble, adjusting the paper to the orientation you prefer while wet.  Wipe up any excess Mod Podge on the marble.  It’s okay if a little bit dries on there – it’s pretty easy to scrape off with a fingernail.
  5. Allow the marble to dry before attaching the magnet.  I found that it generally took around 10 minutes for the paper to be set enough to glue on the magnet.  Without time constraints, it’s probably preferable to allow the marble to dry for 20 to 30 minutes.
  6. Using a glue gun set to “hot,” attach the magnet to the back of the marble.  Allow ample time for the glue to harden before using your new magnet. 

Here are some pictures of magnets I completed:

I really liked the pink paper, but the pattern is almost a little too subtle to be viewed from a distance.  Ultimately, I thought that the high contrast of the black & white paper worked the best for my refrigerator magnets.

A note of warning with images printed on photo paper: For some reason, the Mod Podge does not seem to want to dry and harden on coated photo paper with this project.  I tried a photo paper magnet, and it still looks like it hasn’t dried 24 hours later.  I’m still waiting to see if it will completely harden over time or if the coating on the paper is going to completely prevent the Mod Podge from hardening correctly.

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MOPS Crafts!

After finding out a couple of weeks ago that I am going to be the new Crafts Coordinator for my MOPS group, I’ve been busily researching ideas for our meetings next year.  This has been a great excuse to peruse the archives on some of my favorite crafting blogs as well as searching out new blogs for material.  Gotta love having a reason to waste hours trolling the internet!

I think this is going to be a really fun creative challenge.  The way our meetings are set up, we have approximately 30 minutes for crafts at the end of each meeting.  When you also factor in the fact that we have to plan for 20-25 moms to finish the craft in that time, it makes for some challenging constraints.  Plus, not all of our moms are very interested in craft time, so projects have to appeal to a wide range of skills and interests.

With all that in mind, I’ve started working on some trial runs of different craft ideas that I have found across the internet.  I have to say, I’m feeling pretty good about the crafts I’ve found so far!  I’m hoping to provide a wide variety of project ideas to keep our moms interested and engaged in craft time without alienating the non-crafty types.  I’m also looking forward to blogging about some of my trial runs here!

Stay posted!

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