DIY: Antique Flatware Rings

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Good morning, Thursday Crafthackers.

I have to say, I have always loved flatware rings. Whether it’s spoons or forks. There’s one catch though: they need to be silver. Which means you can check out your local antique stores or you can order them on Ebay. I’m using this tutorial from Kristen Danielle Designs as my reference.

So, you do need some specialty tools, but this is also a specialty DIY. You of course will need a sterling silver spoon or fork. A metal cutter, hacksaw or jewelry saw, file or sandpaper – coarse and fine, a dowel or ring mandrel, a paper and pen, a hammer or mallet (optional) and a butane torch (also optional but good for creme brule also). You’ll also have to decide what type of ring you want to make. You can make one that wraps up your finger, like so:

Or you can make one that wraps around itself, like so:

You can make whatever you like, you just need to make the wrap ring (the top image) a little longer.

When you’ve picked out which ring you want to make, pick out your cutlery and make sure it’s sterling silver – it will be stamped on the back of the spoon (900 or 925).

Next, measure your finger. You can do this by cutting a strip of paper and cutting it to measure or marking the overlap. If you’re doing a wrap ring, add an extra 1/4 inch for the overlap. If it’s the other type, you can just wrap it on itself.

For the next step you’ll need your saw or cutter. If you’re making a wrap ring, you’re going to want to cut the handle at the length you measured. The other ring, you can cut it just below the bowl of the spoon. File/sand the cut tend with a metal file or coarse grit sandpaper, and work your way down to fine grit sandpaper to get it super smooth so you don’t cut yourself or others.

Your next step is to bed the spoon. You can bend it around a dowel using the force of your muscles, you can hammer it around the dowel, or you can heat it with a butane torch before you bend. I would test which method works best for you.

If you are going to use a hammer, to avoid scratches, wrap the head of the hammer in a folded dishtowel. If you torch it, you’ll need to heat it for a little while, but don’t let it start glowing orange, that’s bad. The last step is to buff or polish the ring to get it to shine.

And voila, you have rings that you can give as gifts, or sell if you’re so inclined. Have fun!

~ Megan

 


DIY: Teacup Makeup Stand

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Hello Thursday readers.

I found something I thought was rather lovely, and I thought I’d share it with you. At first glance it’s really cool. But on top of that, it’s actually pretty useful for the intended purpose, which is even better. You will need some supplies and tools and a little technical know how: A plate, bowl and cup (it’s really nice if they match, and you can totally find some on the cheap at second hand and vintage stores), a threaded rod for lamps with nuts, 1/2″ (hole) washers, 1/2″ diamond drill bit and drill, spray primer and paint, a drawer knob and 8-32 machine screw for the drawer knob. You can find the original post here from Design by Studio C, if you’d like to check back for reference or check for some other awesome posts.

Your first step is to mark the position of the holes to be drilled into the pieces. You can find the original poster’s video on how to do this here. Using the diamond bit, drill holes and then set the dinnerware to the side. Keep in mind, if you want to add any decor, such as decals or any paint, or you want to decorate the plates on your own, this is the time.

Determine the height of the organizer (and take into account any room needed to grasp the top to move the thing) and cut a length for the rod. You can use a metal primer to prime the metal bits (including the nuts, rod and washers) and you can spray paint them a particular colour, if you so choose.

 

Thread a nut onto the rod and leave it as close to the bottom as possible. Add a washer and then the plate. Add another washer and then a nut to hold the plate securely in place.

Thread a third nut onto the rod and add another washer. Adjust the height for where you would like the bowl to sit. Leave a little room so you can get your hands underneath it to access anything that gets pushed closer to the middle. Add the bowl, another washer and a fourth nut to secure it in place.

Do the same with the cup.

Remember that so long as you’ve left enough height, you can adjust things at this point so that there’s enough space and every piece is at the height you’d like it to be.

Insert the machine screw in the bottom of the drawer knob, making sure the head of the screw will fit through the opening in the rod.

The last step is to glue the drawer knob to the top of the rod inside the cup so that it can be a functional handle. Voila! your project is complete. Super easy and makes a really beautiful gift.

Happy crafting!

 

~Megan

 

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Feature: 42 Nerdtastic Place

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Happy Monday, Hackers!

Today I want to tell you about a wonderful place you should all visit: 42 Nerdtastic Place.

Last month, I was working at a convention out in Schaumburg, IL for the television show, Gotham. It was a small show, it only had a few vendors but there was a new booth that I hadn’t seen before. I was intrigued. A friend of mine and I went over to check it out on Friday night during pre-registration and the young woman I spoke to was an absolute delight. She told me all about her products and that they are all handmade. I told her about my quest to become truly cruelty-free in my product usage and asked about that. She said that not only are her products cruelty-free, they are 100% vegan. What caught my eye was the comprehensive selection of lip balms she had out (and it wasn’t even all that she offers). I had found out that the balm/chapstick I had been using most of my adult life wasn’t something I was comfortable using anymore (short version: the company itself is cruelty-free but the parent company is not). So I had been looking for a balm to replace it and was finding it difficult. You don’t want to spend money on something like that only to discover you hate it and you have this whole tube of it you won’t use. So a lot of the online options I was finding, I was hesitant to purchase. But here, I had testers.

Long story slightly less long, I fell in LOVE with these balms. It was like smoothing silk onto my lips and the scents were unique but still heavenly-scented. The best part was that they are GEEKY. This woman taylors her recipes and products to a myriad of fandoms.

I walked away from that convention with four new lip balms (two of which were Gotham-themed).

Now, I want to share this fabulous person and her equally fabulous products with you all!

Amanda Mayer launched 42 Nerdtastic Place on Etsy in 2014, starting out with fandom-themed jewelry and coasters. But Amanda’s crafty mind didn’t just stop there. She branched out, wanting to provide a plethora of items for shoppers. She started making other items, like scented candles and melting waxes, lip balms, room sprays, etc in addition to original items like necklaces, bracelets, and bag clips. Her site’s About page states that they “wanted the feel to be of a place you would go to when shopping for your Hogwarts school list or a place you might go to cozy up to fellow enthusiasts.” Amanda and her crack team have accomplished this goal resoundingly!

42 Nerdtastic Place sells both online and maintains a presence at local fan conventions so you have different ways to purchase products. They are also always expanding. The Gotham blends, for example, were created specifically for the Gotham convention (though Amanda had been asked by shoppers in the past). And it doesn’t just stop with television and movie fandoms. There are products that feature animation (both American and Japanese), fantasy creatures, literature, even musicals (I personally need to try the Forgotten Spot in the Caribbean – Hamilton body spray).

42 Nerdtastic Place offers the following items: Bag clips, bracelets, necklaces, Hogwarts House combs, air fresheners, candles, hair care & grooming products (like Asgards’s Finest Beard Oil…You too can have the beard of a god!), lip balms and lip sheers, perfumes, and wax melts. They also have some lovely gift sets and they offer samples (not something you come across for online stores much, in my limited experience).

Amanda has also generously provided all our Craft Hacker readers a discount code for 15% off any regular priced items. Simply input code CRAFTHACKER15 to receive 15% off any of their regular priced items!

Hope you all enjoy as much as I do, Hackers! Be beautiful to each other.


Flower Crowns and Horns

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I know it’s become a big ~thing~ on the internet to give bad guys flower crowns but sometimes you just want your own real flower crown to feel pretty yourself. If that’s you then I’ve got a great shop to recommend.

Hand made in Europe by Katerina Metamorphose, these flower crowns are some of the best I’ve seen. Each flower is made by hand from varying textiles and can be custom tailored to fit your needs. Not into flower crowns and more of a laurels or leaf person, she’s got you covered! You can also find unique horn wreathes, antlers and Unicorn horns to accompany a wide variety of costume possibilities. Yes you’ll have some wait time if you live outside of the EU, but man is this quality worth it. I highly recommend giving her Etsy store a look thru if this at all strikes your fancy. 🙂


Fall & Halloween-Themed Knits

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Happy Eve of All Hallow’s Eve, Hackers!

With this being my favorite season and tomorrow being my favorite holiday of the year, I decided to focus on some cute, themed knitting patterns for today’s post. (I am focusing my post on knit patterns since we have some other, more experienced posters to focus on crochet patterns.)

I may not have human children of my own (and my cat, Helo, isn’t thrilled about wearing things I knit for him) but I just love some of the adorable ideas that people come up with for babies and toddlers. For example, this pattern for a little fox hat and baby mitts is not only one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen, it also is a fairly easy pattern. Both beginners and experts would have little to no difficulty following this pattern and this would be a fantastic shower gift for a baby due in the fall. You will need to have knowledge of your basic knit and purl stitches but you shouldn’t need to go in to the detail of increasing/decreasing stitches. The pattern is currently marked down in price but even at it’s regular price, it is pretty affordable.

This next pattern does have at least a little crocheting, however, you can adapt it with a knitted strand instead. This too-cute pumpkin hat for babies is simple and wouldn’t require a ton of your time. And with a little change here and there, you can make it for toddlers or even adults as well.

One of the things I am most obsessed with in the fall is that it’s the perfect time of year to wear shrugs and ponchos. And for those of you who are big-time Outlander fans, this pattern from Ravelry for a Claire-inspired shrug will give you that Sassenach look with little effort and time. Find the free pattern here. (This may be the next thing on my “to knit” list since I think it’s simple and elegant and because my office building is usually set to sub-arctic temperatures.) Depending on the type of yarn you choose and the pattern, shrugs and ponchos can be worn year-round as well.

Because the fall weather can be crisp, I wanted to share one more pattern to help keep you warm from head to toe: leg warmers. While this may bring some of you flashbacks to the days of Flashdance, these simple items are a great way to keep toasty in the brisk weather, whether going out on a blustery day or just bumming around you home with a mug of tea or cocoa. A lovely pattern for chunky yarn leg warmers can be found here.

The best part of fall is the crisp, clean weather, in my opinion. Knitting and crocheting provide stylish ways to keep warm and it’s a great skill to have and hone. And as usual with my posts, these items all make for great gift ideas too!

Keep warm, Hackers! And stay stylin’.

~Scribe Sarah~

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DIY Tie Die Dog Leash.

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Hi there Thursday Crafthackers!

Love this little tutorial from StudioDIY, partly because it’s super easy, but also because it involves some minimal materials to make a great gift for you and your pooch or for another dog lover. I also love that it uses tie dye paint, which is meant to have things dipped in it, and is also meant to blend with the other colours, so makes something like this super easy.

Your first step is to get some tie dye paint – you should be able to find some at any craft store but it can also be ordered. Mix the dye with water in the bottles according to the package directions. The dyes are super bright when made this way, and if you want a bit of a softer colour, you can squeeze some into glass bowls and mix with additional water (1:3 ratio). It just depends how bright you’d like your piece.  You’ll also need to buy a white cotton leash from any pet store.

 

Next, choose which colours you’d like to use, and how long your leash is. If your leash is 6 feet long, you could choose 6 colours, one for each foot. But you can do whatever combination you’d like. Just organize everything beforehand so you don’t have to be fiddling with dye in the middle of your project.

Lay down some protective plastic, make sure you’re wearing some gloves so you don’t dye your hands, and then start dying the handle end of the leash first. Dip it into your first colour and let it sit for about one minute. Remove and continue with the next colour.

The colours will (and should) blend together, so don’t worry if there’s some bleeding or overlap. If you have an extra pair of hands, this will make everything easier, so you might want to phone a friend to come by. When you’re done, let the colour sit in the leash for 8 or more hours before you give it a thorough wash in the sink.

And that’s a super easy way to make gifts for your animal loving friends, to to have a fantastic dog leash for yourself.

Happy crafting!

~Megan


The Cheap Dye That is Surprisingly Decent

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Dying things can be a long and expensive process sometimes. Not to mention all the steps you have to go through to prepare it so that it’ll stay. Thankfully, the internet has come to our rescue once more! Today I’ll be sharing the secrets of using the cheap drink brand Kool-aid as your all purpose dye.

I first started looking into this when I can across a post were a leather user talked about how they decided to try this just for laughs while making a drink:

I was making a drink while cutting the snaps off some new straps for my pauldrons and I got curious, so I tried it, thinking, “ok even if this works, it will just wash out.”

Nope.

It took the “dye” (undiluted) in about 3 seconds. After drying for about an hour and a half, it would not wash off in the hottest tap-water. It would not wash out after soaking for 30 minutes.

They then go on to talk about how it took boiling the dyed leather to even slightly remove the dye. O.O That’s some pretty powerful stuff there. So, what can we learn from this and apply for ourselves? Well, after some experimenting and reading on my part, I’ve found that Kool-aid as a dye works pretty well for a variety of natural fiber mediums such as leather, wool, cotton, hair, flax, jute, silk and so on. You’ll also need to make sure that you’re not just making Kool-aid proper and then adding your items to it. It needs to be the flavor only packet/liquid as the pre mixed once have sugar. The sugar will make your end product sticky and unusable down the line. That’s no good for anyone

Also, you’ll want to heat the dye water up, just like you would with commercial dyes. This helps stimulate the molecules and ‘activate’ the dye to help the color permeate. Once it’s set for 20-30mins, let it dry and then rise in cold water to remove the excess. 😀 Several people have even made charts to help others achieve desired colors! A quick google search gave me this one, but there are loads more, including yarn results which very much so appeal to me, lol.

So there you have it. Never think that dying something it out of your budget as long as you have access to Kool-aid. ^_^


Vintage Sewing Resource

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With Halloween just around the corner, I know I’m not the only one with costumes on my mind. Half the problem though is looking for what you want as not all patterns are easily available or you have to flip through endless catalogs to find what you need. Well, if you are in need of something 25+ years old, have I got a resource for you.

This Wiki is without a doubt of the best resources for quickly looking through real manufactured patterns for your vintage needs, and they just uploaded over 83,000 this summer! :O I’ll let them tell you a bit about themselves:

We are working to create one location online where people can go to browse through vintage patterns starting from the year 1992 and older and share information about them, including:

  • Links to sellers who have particular patterns in stock
  • Reviews by people who have made the patterns (share photos!)
  • Links to blog posts about particular patterns
  • Wishlist of people who want to buy or trade particular patterns
  • Searchable ‘categories’ on patterns (like ‘cocktail’, ‘wrap dress’, ‘peter pan collar’ or whatever)

So yeah, really good stuff to be found here for the period accurate costumer. The pattern will likely not be free in the end, but at least it will be official as a majority of the patterns located on it come from many long standing brands such as McCalls and Serendipity. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve been thinking of making a Linkle cosplay myself and I wonder if they have anything to help me make that cape of hers…


Fall is in the Air

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Happy Wednesday! This is Kim with Fantastical Menagerie. Fall is in the air here- I can smell it! While it doesn’t get as cold this early in the season here, I still love fall. Pumpkin spice everything, leaves changing, sweaters and crisp evenings. I have been searching Etsy, and these are some of the things that reflect my love of the changing leaves.

This leaf handbag is the perfect blend of autumn tones. LA Boutique Art has this gorgeous felted bag. The colors are vibrant and the bag looks soft and cozy.

The Leather Fan Shop on etsy has gorgeous, brightly colored fans in multiple shapes, including fall leaves. They can do custom fans as well. These can be hung on your belt, or carried to your favorite Renn Faire or ComicCon.

 

Folk Owl has some amazing felted leaf belts. These would be great with a gorgeous skirt or a maxi dress. I love the colors, the texture. It can also be a headband or tied around a leather top hat.

This Leaf Shawl is amazing. the work, the colors and the shape is really pretty. NatKaLV on Etsy has some lovely things.

What makes you think of fall? Let me know!


Tons of Tentacles

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Happy Sunday, all!

I’m not sure how much I have expressed my love of all things with tentacles. I am also not sure where this obsession started, save perhaps vague memories of the large octopus sculpture at the Shedd Aquarium. So I figured this week I would highlight some of the lovely pieces of cephalopod paraphernalia I’ve come across lately. First up being all of these wonderful clay pendants from Indolent Jellyfish:

The teeny pink dumbo octopus is soooooooooo cute! I also adore the sweet purple octo and the awesome vampire squid. The artist also has a plethora of very life-like nudibranchs, nautilus, cuttlefish, and (of course) jellyfish. I would like one of each, please. Up next, I wouldn’t mind giving our living room a bit of a bump with some gorgeous pyrography from Glenouther Crafts:

The patterning and shading really makes it!

Or perhaps if you or someone you love has a special occasion coming up (or maybe an important interview), consider one of these beautiful ties from one of my all time favorites, Cyberoptix:

It comes in the shade of your choice, of course.

Last but most definitely not least, I present a mug I’ve been lusting after ever since they made their debut…tentacle mugs from Dryad Pottery:

I love the blue ones best.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my tentacle-y romp this Sunday, next week will be a perfect time to start thinking about fall décor (yes, I can’t believe it’s that time, either).

Stay crafty!

~Laura