DIY: Lap Desks

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Good morning Thursday Crafthackers!

I have a great no-sew DIY for a great lap desk that can be used to have a solid, hard surface for laptops, homework, reading, colouring, or whatever you’d like to use it for. The original tutorial can be found here at A Beautiful Mess.

You will need some supplies: A wooden lap desk top (You can buy one like this, or if you’re super crafty with wood and wood tools, you could make one), a foam square – fabric stores will often carry this, and craft stores might as well. You’ll need some fabric (1/3 – 1/2 a yard, depending on the size of your lap desk top), and trim. As for tools, you’ll need a few. Scissors, fabric glue, staple gun and staples (make sure they’re shorter than the lap desk top), wood stain and brushes (optional).

Your first step is to place the lap desk on the foam and trace the pattern. When you cut the foam though, cut it a little smaller than the top. You can use the scissors to cut the foam, and if your edges aren’t perfect, don’t panic. You’ll hide them. 🙂

If you’re choosing to stain the desk, now is the time. You can stain the tops and the sides of the lap desks. Let them fully dry.

Next, place the foam over the bottom side of the lap desk top (you might want to glue part of it down in the centre so that it stays put) and lay your fabric over top of the foam.  Try to make the edges look clean and pull the fabric tight as you staple the fabric to the desk top, stapling the fabric just underneath the foam to hold it in place – don’t fear stapling some of the foam down as well – this will just attach it more firmly. If any of your staple ends poke through the top of the desk, remove them and try again. No one wants to be bitten by rogue staples when trying to do work. It’s very distracting.

Trim any excess fabric and if you so choose to make a nice clean line at the seam where the fabric was stapled in place, glue some trim at the seam, and wait for it to dry.

And you’re done! Customizable lap desks that are great not just for laptop users, but for kids that like to colour and draw.

Happy back to school!

~ Megan


Polymer Glitter Clay

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Happy Wednesday, and welcome to Crafthackers! Its been a couple of years since Polyform introduced their new Premo glitter clay lines, and they’ve been giving us some great projects and ideas on color combinations when working with it. They are a lot of fun, but also require extra care.

What is glitter clay? It is polymer clay that has had glitter or flakes added to change the color, texture or composition. The full list can be found here. 

The main colors I am talking about are opal, rose gold glitter, yellow gold glitter and white gold glitter. These have larger glitter inclusions. It is important to feel the clay before you purchase it, so I would recommend buying these clay variants in person. The texture should be softer, and allow indents when pressed. When not working the clay, keep wrapped in plastic or waxed paper. This clay must be completely conditioned before working. The glitter is large enough to make the clay harder to work. You can still combine it with other colors, just make sure it reaches the same consistency as the other clay or it will break while working it. Because of its stiff texture, its best to work the clay in one session. It seizes up easily, and projects can be damaged.

Have you worked with glitter clay? Let me know how it goes!


Jumanji Board Replica

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With the new reboot/remake of Jumanji coming soon, this felt like a timely addition to the site. I’m nervous how this new one will turn out giving how much I enjoyed the original. It was probably one of my favorite movies as a kid.

Youtuber Steve Richter has done what many of us in the 90s only wished we could; build his own replica of the game completely from scratch. Sadly he seems to have skipped the steps that enchated  it into a magical world altering game, but hey, it’s certainly better then the crappy standard boardgame they released after the movie came out. I’ve included the 15min time lapse version of it for you all the pine over with me. 😉

 


Hand-Knitted Ear Warmer/Headband

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The days and nights are getting chillier. Fall is just around the corner. And beyond that…winter is coming… (Sorry, had to make *some* mention of the Game of Thrones finale).

For the knitters out in our little crafting world, I wanted to pass along this very simple pattern that I came across on the interwebs. I have adapted this a bit to custom to varying head sizes. This pattern works best with chunky soft yarn. I prefer the Lions Brand Hometown USA. Whichever yarn you use, make sure that it has a little give because you will want the headband to stretch.

You’ll want to have US size 10 needles and a pair of scissors and a yarn needle handy as well. You will need two different color yarns; one will be what you knit the band out of and the other will be your accent color to finish the warmer. If you want to dress up your headband, you can also have a plastic or fabric flower handy or some felt shapes cut out to be stitched to the band. This is also a slightly more difficult pattern in that it uses the seed (or moss) stitch. This requires knowledge of the knit stitch and the purl stitch.

First thing to do is the make sure you’re spotted. I like to have a knitting buddy for this.

Just make sure your buddy doesn’t try to play with the yarn. *wink*

Cast on 10 stitches. On row 1, start with one knit stitch, then purl. Repeat this to the end of the row.

Row 2: *p1, k1; rep from * to end of row.

All odd numbered rows will start with a knit stitch; all even numbered rows will start with a purl stitch. I highly recommend using a stitch counter to track your progress. You can lose track of which stitch you need to start on very easily if you’re not paying attention. Your seed stitch should look like this.

Continue this pattern for 70 rows. You’ll want to keep your tension loose so that the headband will still have some stretch and give. If the tension is too tight, the headband will not fit. Once you get to row 70, bind off your work.

Then stitch the ends together to make a knitted circle. Then take the ends and tie around the ends to bunch the band in one spot.

 

Once that’s tied off, you will take your accent color and pull it through the center of the band. I usually have about 3 feet of yarn on each side, then wrap it around in a chunk. Once you have it fully bunched up and covered in your accent color, you will tie off the ends and snip it close. Then tuck the knot into the threads to hide it. Flip your band inside out and you are finished! You can decorate the band with anything you choose; buttons, flowers, whatever ideas you can think of.

This pattern can also be adjusted for head size by either increasing or decreasing the number of rows stitched. It can be completed in a couple hours and make great gifts!

(Note: you also may want to make sure your buddy doesn’t fall asleep on the job. LOL).

~Scribe Sarah~

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DIY: Marbled Planters.

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Good morning Thursday Crafthackers!

I have a beautiful, easy tutorial for you to spice up your balcony garden, or any place where you’ve got plants. Actually, what I love the most about this tutorial is that it can be used on more than just planters. You could use it on almost anything you can dip. You can find the original tutorial here, and check out how cool this looks…

The best part is that you can walk into any dollar store or craft store and find something you can dip. These can make amazing gifts for birthdays, bridal showers, or even just to give your home a little colour. Just remember that with this particular technique, you’re using spray paint, and so you will want to make sure this all stays on the outside of whatever project you’re doing. I wouldn’t say this is food safe.

So, your first step is to get spray paints of the colurs you would like to marble. RustOleum is recommended if you’re looking for metallics, but the rest is up to you! You will also need a container deep enough for whatever you want to dip. So a bucket or a tote would work very well. You might also want to test your dips before actually working on your piece, so some paper cups would come in handy. You’ll also need some painters tape, if you’re wanting to have some sharp edges. And that will be your first step (see above), to tape off any areas you do not want dipped,  or not, as you prefer.

Start to add your spray paint to the water filled tub. You will need to do this quickly, so read everything first and then start. Make sure to hold your spray can about 10 inches from the water, so you don’t get bubbles that will show up on your finished piece.

Add as many colours as you’d like, and spray them in in different places.

When you’ve added all of your colours, give your bucket a very gentle couple of taps on the side to make waves (not bubbles) to swirl the paint around.

Slowly dip your project into the water. If you go too fast or if your paint is too dry (see my comment about working fast above), the paint surface will break and you will have gaps with uneven edges.

Dip the planter into the water as far as you’d like and hold it there for about 30 seconds while you lightly fan the paint surface to quicken drying. If you used painters tape, it will make it so that any wiggling that would put more paint on in that area, will be removable.

Use a spoon to wipe away all the remaining paint floating on the surface of the water (you might want to use a plastic spoon for that). This will allow your project to come out with a clean design.

Let everything dry completely before you remove your painter’s tape. And voila! You’re done. You might want to give a spray with a sealant if you’re planning on using these outside, so that inclement weather doesn’t have any ill effects on your work of art. Hope you enjoyed the tutorial!

Happy Crafting!

~Megan

 


Etsy feature: gorgeous flower hats by FilcAlki

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Good. Opening and happy Wednesday! This is Kim with Fantastical Menagerie. I’ve spent most of the last five weeks on the road going from show to show, and I’m finally on the way home for a few weeks of much needed rest.

Yesterday I felt in need of a pick me up. I wandered through Asheville, did some shopping, and ate at a few local little places with great food. I also browsed a bit through Etsy and debated getting myself a treat for my hard work. I stumbled upon an amazing shop with some gorgeous felted hats. The Shop is FilcAlki, and she is an artist based in Poland. Her work is vibrant, crisp and bright. She offers hats, gloves, and some felted scarves. It’s the hats that really shine to me.

Her flower hats are sassy and bold.

Also in love with these architectural gems.

I have worn felted hats with a great coat and scarf in winter, as an addition to a cosplay, or simply to celebrate the season. Reasonably priced, handmade and unique, I’ll be adding more of these to my personal collection!

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Cat Mecha Kitty Condo

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Since cats are clearly the superior pet (see all of the internet), I had to share this adorable bit of engineering Japanese toy Designer, Kuramochi Kyoryu, designed for his fur babies.

Sadly I cannot read the twitter feed to know why he decided to build this adorable play house for his cats, but he went the extra mile when he did, making a to scale design sketch for it. Not to mention the fact that it’s made entirely out of cat product card board boxes. 😀 He also shared a short video of the cats playing with each other as one tried to overtake the current mech driver. ^_^ Really this is all proof that with sound engineering you can build anything for your pets out of cardboard, lol.


Etsy Shop Featurette: Identity Metals

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Who loves jewelry? I know I do, especially fandom-inspired things. I have a TARDIS necklace that is just the best. So when I stumbled across this little Etsy shop, my eyes just about popped out of my head.

Identity Metals is run by Katie Hroncich and is all about hand stamped metals. Every piece is unique in the smallest way. Katie explains in her Etsy bio that hand stamping means that no two pieces will ever be aligned or straight and that the pressure of the stamp gives a different depth and alignment to all the characters. These pieces are truly original and best of all, they go with everything.

There are bracelets, necklaces, and earrings. Fandoms featured include Supernatural, Teen Wolf, Game of Thrones (I personally adore the Game of Thrones Inspired – Moon of my Life, Sun and Stars Keychains), The Walking Dead and more. The best part of Katie’s shop is that she does customized pieces as well.

I highly recommend this shop to anyone who loves to wear their fandom heart on their sleeve…or neck…or ears. You can browse through the wonderful items at Identity Metals here.


Yarn Project Totes

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Happy Sunday, all!

As we are at GenCon this week, once again I thought we could take a look at travel totes but this time around focusing on yarn projects. The issues I usually run into when bringing along my crochet projects often include tangled yarn and/or carrying the right hooks (but not all of my hooks), so I’ve been looking in to DIY patterns to solve these or at least reduce them.

This first one from SewMamaSew is an all-inclusive type that can fit at least a couple skeins of yarn and has pockets for both patterns and other utensils (hooks, stitch markers, etc.):

This second one from JustCraftyEnough could be placed inside of a larger tote for portability because it definitely solves any tangling possibilities. I really love the idea of essentially having a portable yarn bowl:

This last one from CherishedBliss is probably my favorite, not only because of the clever graphic but also because of the clever construction with multiple grommets and pockets:

 

I hope these inspire many happy traveling craft shenanigans.

Stay crafty!

~Laura


DIY Travel Checkers

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Good morning, Friday Crafthackers!

We are in the middle of road trip season,  and you know what that means? It means keeping people entertained. In a car. For hours on end. So I bring for you a beautiful little diy that can be brought with you anywhere! You can find the full tutorial here for how to make a travel checkers kit.

You’ll need some supplies: Felt – two colours, 1 piece each at 8″x 8″ for the board. Two colours, one piece each for the tokens at 4″ x 5″. You’ll need one colour of  8.5″ x 8.5″ for the board, and one more colour, two pieces of 9″ x 11″ for the bag, if you’d like to make one. Cotton:  1 piece of 10″ x 23″, to line the bag so it can slip easily in and out. You’ll also need thread, a hot glue gun and glue (optional), buttons (12 of each of two different colours), 2 one yard measured drawstrings that can be made from whatever you like. 2 Pony beads.

To make your checkerboard, cut 8 strips of each colour for your board at 1″ wide and 8″ long. Cut the background piece of felt to 8.5″ x 8.5″. On a flat surface, lay background piece flat and weave the strips together to form the board on top of the background. This can be done by weaving over and under, and centre the board on the background piece so that you have a background border of about half an inch.

Stich the pieces down with a wide zigzag strip, going around the pieces that have been woven to make the board. Make sure to test each strip when you’re done to make sure they won’t pull up, especially ones hidden by the edge strips. Give the edges a second go over if you’re finding anything pulling.

For your tokens, use a quarter or another 1″ circle and trace 12 circles on each of the two different colours of felt you chose for your pieces. Cut the circles just on the inside of your traced lines so you don’t see the ink. Attach your buttons to the circles either sewing by hand or using hot glue. The felt tokens will cling to the board and when they are kinged, you can flip them over and put the two felt sides together and they should cling there as well.

You can follow the directions on the page for a drawstring bag, and there are directions here for a fabric bag. You might also just want to stick this in a little ziplock bag, and be done with it, if you’re anything like me.

Another interesting take on something like this would be to print symbols for chess, and glue them to round buttons (instead of anything else) on the pieces. You could even make two sets of tokens, one for chess, one for checkers.

Happy crafting!

~Megan