DIY: Suncatcher Wind Chimes

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Good morning Thursday Crafthackers!

I have a really neat DIY project for you. I was looking around at DIY wind chimes, as I absolutely love them. I grew up with someone in my family who always had them, and though I can’t remember who it was, I am always transported back to that time. There’s quite a few different tutorials online for making your own wind chimes, and I might post another one next week. But I came across this:

… and I just fell in love with the idea of suncatcher wind chimes, and thanks to this tutorial from Hands On as We Grow, there’s an easy way to make them, and not just that, but to have it be a project that you can do with your kids. You will need some supplies to do this though: Contact paper (you will want transparent rather than a patterned one) that can be found at any craft store, and maybe even some kitchen stores, scissors, a marker or pen, rings (your choice of size) from mason jar lids, string or cord, and a sturdy stick. Outside of these materials, you will need to go in search of foliage to actually keep inside the suncatcher portion of these chimes.

Your first step (other than collecting flowers) is to cut a piece of contact paper and trace mason jar rings onto the paper side of the stuff. Do as many as you have the rings for. Then you’ll want to peel the adhesive off and – very carefully – lay it on the table with the sticky side up.

When you have your foliage where you would like it, peel the other contact paper, and try to stick it as smoothly as you can over your creation. Cut out the circles.

Tie a knot around the rings using the string, and then simply push the suncatcher circles into the ring. They might be the right size enough to fit, or you might have to tape them in place. Then just attach them to a stick to turn them into some beautiful windchimes to hang near your window.

Hope you enjoyed this easy and beautiful tutorial.

Happy Crafting,

~Megan

 


Finch and Cotter: Personalized Gifts

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Good Morning Thursday Crafthackers!

I have a small business feature for you, and this is one that I just used myself to buy a gift and I was so thrilled that I had to share it with you all. Especially given that everything can be done online and not only that, but this business was started by a husband and wife team that employ a small team of employees.  You can check out their website here to see their full range of products, but they specialize in custom printed pillows, prints and maps, and I can tell you that what they offer is all reasonably priced and of quite a high quality.

Their personalized pillows are amazing they make it easy to create something custom and meaningful to you or your gift recipient. You choose from a gallery of templates for a design that will best suit what you’re looking for and you can give them your own information to fill in, or to add into the design.

You can personalize places, names, coordinates, lyrics, almost anything you like that is meaningful to you. And this trend travels across their full range of products.

Personally, I bought a star map of the night’s sky. You can select a particular date, time and place to be immortalized on your wall and they will produce it for you, framed if you desire, in custom colours, with custom details – I ordered mine without a grid on the sky, but including constellations.

What is even better, is you don’t have to just rely on your information being taken and processed correctly. Finch and Cotter will send you a proof so that you can OK your design before they create your beautiful piece. I know it made me feel very secure in my ordering and I appreciate the personal touch – this really screams small business  in the best possible way. If you pay a little extra, they’ll even gift wrap your gift for you.

Please check these guys out. They are so great, and their product is so sentimental and amazing, I just love it.

Happy crafting!

~ Megan

 


Easter Eggs, Dyed Naturally.

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Good morning Thursday Crafthackers!

I was thinking about the traditions we had when we were kids with dying eggs that were hidden for us in the morning by the Easter bunny. When I was a kid, we always used the little vinegar/food colouring pellets. In the last few years, I’ve done Ukranian egg dying, which was entirely different and special also (you can see the post about it here). Today, I found a tutorial for how to not only make your own dye from natural ingredients, but how to dye these eggs with reliefs of interesting leaves.

The original tutorial is from Cynthia Weber and can be found here for the full tutorial. The dyes are made from cabbage, onion and beets, and as you can see, the colours that they make are pretty darn awesome. To do this, boil separate pots of chopped up red cabbage, onion skins and chopped beets (covered with enough water that when you add eggs later they’ll be covered). Allow to boil for about twenty minutes and let them cool slightly. Add 4 tablespoons of vinegar to each pot.

 

While the pots boil, you can get your eggs ready. You will need nylons, twist ties or string, and some interesting pieces of foliage either from outside or from the herb garden. Use thin nylons for this, as if they are too thick, you won’t get enough of the dye to the egg to do it’s job. Cut the toes out a few inches to make a pocket (you can use the rest of the nylons, just cut pieces large enough to encircle your eggs). Place your interesting herb or flower into the nylon and lay the egg on top. Tie the nylon off so that the plant is held tightly against the egg.

When your eggs are ready, put them into the dye of your choice, and bring that pot back up to a slow boil and boil them for at least 20 minutes, though for more vibrant colours, you can let them sit in the bath for longer.

Pull your eggs out, remove the nylons and herbs, pat to dry and rub with oil. The cabbage dye makes a blue colour, and you can make two tone eggs by dying them first with the nylons and the foliage, then taking that out, taking the nylon and the greenery off, and letting it sit in the cabbage pot.

I love the natural colours, and I love the look of the leaves on the eggs. I hope you guys have a very nice holiday, and as always…

Happy crafting!

~ Megan

 

 

 


Salt Dough Easter Ornaments

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Hey there, Hackers!

As the Easter holiday comes upon us, I wanted to share with you one easy and homemade decoration you can use to spruce up your home for the festivities. Now I know that Michael’s and Joann Fabrics tend to have really awesome and beautiful decorations and that they are usually quite inexpensive. However, the downside to this is that everyone and their mother probably also goes to those same stores and buys all those same decorations. All the houses on the blocks become Stepford Easter houses. Wouldn’t you like to add a little unique flair to your abode? Here’s how you can!

Salt dough is a time-honored holiday decoration technique and is great if you have kids in the house. It’s like playing with playdoh! It’s also really easy and cheap to make. All you need is the items listed below:

Ingredients:

1 cup flour

1/2 cup salt

1/2 water

Items Needed:

rolling pin

spatula

straw

Easter cookie cutters

parchment paper

baking sheets

Acrylic or spray paint

Paint pens (optional)

Directions:

Mix flour, salt and water in a bowl until it makes a dough. Kneading the dough helps to make it smoother so don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty.

Once your dough is mixed thoroughly, you will want to roll it out to about 1/4 inch thick. Use your cookie cutters to cut out your ornaments. Using the straw, poke a hole near the top of your cut-outs (make sure it’s not too close to the top or it will break when you try to hang them later).

Cover your baking sheets with the parchment paper, lay out the cut-outs and bake at 250 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 hours. Once thoroughly baked, allow to fully dry and cool. Then you get to paint however you want! Make them colorful and vibrant or light and pastel. Or both! The sky’s the limit.

Once the paint has fully dried, you can use ribbon or twine to loop through the holes in the ornaments and hang around your home.

Happy Easter, all!


DIY: Easy Easter Wreath

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Good morning Thursday Crafthackers!

I have a beautiful little tutorial for you to make an Easter/spring time wreath. The best part is this wreath reuses plastic egg containers that you find all over this time of year for toys, chocolates, and such. So make sure you’re hanging onto the ones that you get, or you can also find plastic eggs in craft stores also.

The original post for this tutorial can be found here, and what you’ll need for this project is relatively simple and easy to find (at your local craft shop). You will need a Styrofoam wreath form, pink (or your choice of colour) streamer paper, and a selection of small, synthetic flowers that match your eggs,  plastic Easter eggs – this tutorial used a package of pink eggs that were purchased from a store, but you can  use any colour you like, decorate your own plastic eggs, or reuse ones that you have laying around from this time of year. You’ll also need a glue gun (low temp to avoid burning) and a wire cutter.

Your first step is to wrap your wreath form in your streamer paper. Just a dab of glue to hold the ends in place will do, and make sure when you’re wrapping, that you’re keeping it tight. You can also use thick ribbon or even tulle for this step. Whatever your preference is!

Start adding your eggs to your wreath. Use a generous dab of glue, and mix up the colours and positions to create a more random style. Make sure to add eggs to the inside and outside edges of the wreath. It’s advised to keep the wreath’s back on a flat surface as you work so that you don’t over egg your wreath to the point of it not laying flat on your door or wall.

Cut your artificial flowers from their stems using a wire cutter, though just make sure to leave about an inch of the stem at the end of the bloom. Add your flowers to the wreath by poking them straight into the foam – this will hold them in place. Fill in any gaps between your eggs with the flowers, and you can put as many or as little as you’d like, and keep adding them until you get the mix of eggs and flowers that you like.

Just as an fyi, this is a better indoor or covered porch wreath as it is slightly fragile. So keep that in mind when you’re looking for a spot to hang. Also keep in mind that if you wanted to add any glitter, or glitter any eggs before attaching them you can do that too!

Happy crafting!

Megan

 


DIY: Marbled Phone Case

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Good Morning Crafthackers.

I have for you a neat little tutorial for making your own marbled phone case. This is a simple little DIY that would be great for teens or for helping you to accessorize your own phone. This is a great way to add your own subtle customization to your phone without breaking the bank while also being durable. You can use your favorite colours and make a number of different cases to switch out in the different seasons, if you’re the accessorizing type.  I’ve used this tutorial from Lovely Indeed, and feel free to peruse their other DIY projects as well.

 

Your materials and tools are simple. All you need for this DIY is a clear plastic phone case, nail polish in 3 different shades, a large bowl filled with water and a toothpick or paintbrush.

You need to start with a bowl of clean, room temperature water. When you start this project, you will need to work fast so that the polish doesn’t dry out too quickly, so read to the end of the tutorial before you begin.  You will want to have your nail polish ready and open and within arms reach. Take your first colour and use the nail polish brush to let a few drops drip onto the surface of the water. Drop from about an inch above the surface of the water as much higher will make the polish sink to the bottom of the bowl rather than sitting on the surface. It will begin spreading when it hits the water.

Use the same technique with your other colours, putting a few drops of each over top of the first colour in random spots. The colours should start to mingle and swirl around each other. Use a toothpick or the end of a paintbrush to swirl the colours together to create a marble effect in the water.

Hold your cell phone case – without your phone in it, of course – so that the outside of the case is face down towards the water’s surface. Gently touch it to the surface of the water so that the nail polish adheres to the case. You shouldn’t need to fully submerge it.

When the case is fully covered, remove it and let it dry. If you find there’s any water droplets that got captured under the nail polish, just lightly press on the areas that have a little bubble of water and help work it out towards the edge of the marble effect where you can absorb it with a piece of tissue.

Remember, you can use whatever colours you like. Just be aware that ones with heavy sparkles may sink. You can also do as many colours as you like, just keep in mind, too many may make the marbling just seem a little too messy. Hope you enjoyed!

Happy crafting!

~Megan

 

 

 

 


DIY: Concrete Lamps

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Good morning Thursday Crafthackers,

Last week we looked at making vases out of concrete. Today, with a tutorial from Brit + Co we will be looking at using concrete again, and using them to make some stylish hanging lamps. You will be able to find the full tutorial here, should you need some more info.

I love that these projects have minimal materials cost and are pretty stylish and sleek. They also recycle some garbage and use it to make these awesome things! Most of the materials are fairly inexpensive and available at most hardware stores. The original poster used Quikrete 5000 concrete mix, an electrical socket, switch and cord, two plastic bottles (one larger and one smaller – think 2 liter and 1 liter… something along those lines), a threaded tube and nuts (3/8th inch diameter tube), 3 1/2 inch deck screw, 120 grit sandpaper and a metal can. Your tools are also pretty simple. A box cutter or knife, a cordless drill with 3/8th diameter standard bit for drilling holes into the caps, wire cutters to cut the cord and strip wires.

First, poke a hole in the soda bottle with a box cutter and use scissors to cut off the bottom of the bottle. Next, drill a hole in the caps of both bottles, which is made significantly easier by keeping the cap on the bottle. The hole should be just big enough to screw the metal tube through.

To connect the bottle caps together, screw the tube through both caps and use nuts on either side of each cap to hold them in place.

Screw both bottles into their caps.

Use the desk screws to keep the bottles stabilized.

Mix the concrete to the manufacturer’s directions and fill the mold. It might be easier to use a spoon to get it in there rather than pouring. Shake and tap the mold after each spoon to make sure everything settles without air bubbles. Use the metal can to stabilize your mold.

After you’ve given the concrete time to dry – I would say at least a couple days, but again, follow the manufacturer’s directions, then it’s time to remove the bottles. You can cut the external bottle away using a box cutter and scissors. With a hair drier you can heat the internal bottle to make it a little softer so you can pull it out with pliers. Sand any rough edges.

Cut the socket end of the wire and thread the cut end through the bolt hole. Strip the wires and twist them together. Cover the exposed metal with electrical tape or wire nuts and make sure the pendant is securely fastened. You can find brackets from furnishing stores with which to hang and the one in this tutorial came from Ikea.

You can mix concrete colours, use different bottles and even change  the way you pour the concrete to get some different and really cool effects.

 

Happy crafting!

~ Megan


DIY: T-Shirt Rug

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Good morning Thursday Crafthackers!

I came across this tutorial and loved it because it reminds me of old rugs that grandparents had and it is a great way to upcycle your old tshirts. The original tutorial can be found here at My Poppet and your supplies are pretty minimal. I’ve posted some pictures here but be sure to visit the original tutorial for lots of other shots!

So, to prep, you’ll need to cut your t-shirts into 2″ strips to make into “yarn”. If you are mixing thinner and thicker fabrics, cut the thinner t-shirts into wider strips so that they will be a little more substantial. Here is a tutorial to follow if you have not made t-shirt yarn. And roll your yarn into balls. You can absolutely make a ball of yarn per t-shirt.

Work with the yarn like you would braid some hair. You can choose if you want to braid and sew the rug as you go, or if you want to finish all the braiding before you sew. To start and change colour you can either sew your strips of fabric together or use a no sew option of making a little hole in one strip and looping the other colour through.

When you’re braiding, think about how you want the rug to look – for solid bands of colour, two of the three strands of braid should be the same or similar colour. If you want a more random look, you can do whatever combination you like.

You can sew a circular or oval rug. For circular, start rolling from one end. For oval, circle around a straight length of your braid. The initial length will determine the final shape, so adjust accordingly. When you lay out and sew your rug, run the new braids clockwise around the rug so that you will always have a small piece of fabric in the space underneath your machine. Start sewing where the arrow is pointing (see photo) and use the widest zig zag stich and a medium stitch length.

Push together the edges of the braid and use the zig zag stitch to hold them to each other. When you get to the first turn (the first end), loop the braid around, and tuck the start of the braid underneath and sew around it to fasten the end. Continue sewing around until you have the size that you like!

Finally, to finish off the rug, just tuck the end under and sew it so that it will be held in place.

And there’s a lovely tshirt rug and it’s a great way to use some old clothing.

Happy crafting!

~Megan

 


DIY: Valentines Day Ornaments

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Good morning Thursday Crafthackers!

I have a couple small tutorials for you for making some Valentine’s day ornaments. I think that it’s a neat idea to have a little “tree” where you can hang themed ornaments. Now we’re not talking a Christmas tree. I mean branches gathered into a vase to give you a bare tree. My mother always has done those and I just love the idea of themeing those trees to the season. So here are a couple wee tutorials that are super cute and pretty easy to dress up the trees.

This first one is from Dozi Design and you can find the original tutorial here, as this will be a condensed version of it.  Basically you will need some coloured construction paper of your choice, and you will need to cut a 4″ x 4″ circular spiral – you can also make different sizes for different flower sizes.

You’ll need to cut out your spiral and then begin rolling it up to look like a rose starting from the outside, rolling to the middle, and then gluing it closed. Just make sure you’ve left enough room in the centre for it to be popped onto a branch.

The second tutorial is from Some the Wiser and the original tutorial can be found here. In this tutorial, you will be using a corn starch glue to mould some yarn ornaments. You will need yarn of your choice of colour cut into 12 inch pieces, heart shaped cookie cutters in the sizes of your choice, parchment paper and ribbon. You’ll also need to make a corn starch glue which is done by combining 1/4c of cornstarch with 1/2c of water and some glitter of your choice. Combine the cornstarch and water in a saucepan and stir until smooth. Heat over medium heat, constantly stirring until it’s thick and smooth. Remove from the heat, stir in 1-2 tbsp of glitter and allow it to cool enough so it’s cool to the touch. If the glue becomes too thick, just add water a tsp at a time until it is easier to work with.

Lay your cookie cutters on parchment, and when your glue is warm, rather than hot, coat a piece of yarn with the glue. pull the yarn through your fingers to remove any large clumps and then arrange your yarn in the cookie cutters. Keep adding gluey yarn to the heart until it’s the thickness you’re looking for.

Add more glitter,and then remove your heart mould. Repeat until you have as many hearts as will fit on your parchment paper (that’s on a cookie sheet). Place in a warm oven (150 degrees F) for 2-3 hours until the hearts are hard. Remove from the cookie sheet, let them cool, then string them up to decorate with ribbon.

Hope you enjoyed these quick and easy ornament tutorials.

Happy crafting!

~Megan


A Beautiful Light in the Darkness

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Happy Sunday, all!

I know I promised a tutorial this week but that is going to have to wait! I have found a new artist that I must bring immediately to your attention! This passed week I was introduced to Brittany Cox AKA Britt the Badger and I am simply blown away by her creations. Brittany makes paper cut “dreamboxes” out of what appears to be magic and rainbows.

It feels like you just walked into this secret fairy hidey hole.

Seriously, though, her very intricate scenes come to life through custom LED light setups hidden behind layers and layers of laser cut paper in surprisingly small (for all the detail she achieves) shadow boxes.

Just look at the depth (pun intended)!

The part I am especially in awe of is her artistic vision when it comes to those layers. These pieces are not just beautiful in the dark.

 

She draws and plots out each of the images and then figures out how many layers and what goes in each one plus the lighting effects (which she also wires herself). She also does original paintings and drawings of equal beauty.

The watercolors here just make the cuts pop so well.

So if you would like one of these absolutely gorgeous pieces for yourself (or commission a custom piece), Britt can be found on her website, Etsy, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. If you would like to watch one of these emerge step by step, you can follow her on Twitch under brittthebadger.

Next week, I will attempt the tutorial, I promise!

Stay crafty!

~Laura