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


World Building Assistance

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Whenever you’re venturing out to create your own world, be it for a DnD game, a book, or even just an art series, having your world fleshed out will always help strengthen your final product. Even if the details are aspects people will never see or read about (see all the lost tales book for Lord of the Rings for example), you knowing why the world has evolved a certain way, or where in it a certain character has traveled can really give your world a bit of realism and grounding; no matter how fantastical it is on the surface.

 

Making notes is a great way to get this process started and, I don’t know about you, but I have a tendency to lose journals/note pads or find them hard to navigate since it’s always being added to, but I can’t add to older sections if they’ve run out of room. To aid in this I’d like to present, notebook.ai.  

Not only does this site help you keep all your notes in one place, it goes much much deeper then a simple notepad function. This site will ask you questions about your world and save your answers. It will check to make sure you’ve made no continuity errors. If you’re working on a group project you can invite others to join and keep all your work in the same place. This site will let you go as deep as you want with your world building and keep it all nice and together for as long as you need. Oh, and did I mention it’s completely free?

There are paid tiers if you’re really into world building (ranging from $9-7 a month) but for the casual user the free subscription will be more then enough. I wish a site like this had existed 10 years ago when I dabbled in writing, lol, but if creating worlds is your thing then I highly recommend giving this site a try. The ease of access and customizing is so worth it.


Miniature Magnetized Handmade Calendars (Year)

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Happy New Year, my crafty little friends! I hope that you all had a very fun and safe celebration to say farewell to 2017 and welcome in 2018. I raise a proverbial glass to new and exciting ventures for us all in the new year!

My extraordinarily brilliant and crafty mother provided me with this week’s blog post in the form of one of my stocking stuffers this year; a small magnetized calendar that she had made herself.

She had gotten the idea from a lady at her church. I though it was such a cute and easy thing, I have sort of reverse-engineered it to share with all of you. Since it is the first day of a new year, this calendar will come in quite handy and can be completely and totally customizable.

All you need is one of those 4×6 plastic picture frames with no border. If you can find one with a magnet already attached to the back, great! If not, you can also purchase strips of magnet with adhesive on one side and just stick it to the back of your frame yourself. You can find some on Amazon.com here. You will also want to have some card stock (white is preferable if you are planning to color and decorate each month but you can also use different colors for different months as well). Also have some markers or crayons or colored pencils (all of the above?) and, if you like that sort of thing, rubber stamps. Other items you can use to really make your calendar unique are stickers and washi tape…maybe even some thin felt or eco-glitter (if you, unlike me, don’t abhor glitter and how it gets all over EVERYTHING FOREVER). Just go the to craft store and look around, the options are endless.

Here is one adaptable part of your project. If you are tech savvy, you can play around with formatting and design of the calendar part on the bottom of each month’s card and then print them out. If you don’t want to fiddle around on the computer or you simply like working with your hands, you can use a ruler and hand-write the month and days into the bottom of the card. You get to decide how much effort and time you want to or can put into this. This adapting applies to the top part of your card as well. As you can see from my mom’s example, you can use the rubber stamps to give fun themes to your months and simply color those in.

You can also use stickers, draw pictures (or have your kids draw pictures!), put inspirational quotes on them, or even print or paste family photos on each month. The sky’s the limit!

Once you have your calendar and picture done, simply cut the card out to fit into your magnetized frame. (You can cut this out before decorating if you wish, it’s up to the creator’s preference.) You will need to make twelve cards total; one for each month of the year. It’s quick and easy to swap out at the change of each month.

These adorable calendars are great for use at home or in the office (the magnet should stick to most metal file cabinets) but they also make wonderful and useable gifts for others. You can make as many as you’d like and if you’re feeling really ambitious, you can get a bigger sized frame and make larger ones. Recommendation though, don’t go above 5×7 as the frame and card stock inside it may be too heavy for the magnet to support. You can try gluing more than one magnet on the back of the frame if you want to try making an 8×10 but there is no guarantee that will help support the weight. But play with it, experiment, make the project your own!

May this fun craft help you keep track of all the busy days 2018 will surely bring us and may it also remind you daily of the simple and fun things we all can look forward to in life. Have a fruitful year, friends!

~Scribe Sarah~


DIY: Salt Water Etching

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Good morning Thursday Crafthackers!

I found a tutorial that I wanted to share, especially since it will be brought to you by SCIENCE! Also by this tutorial from Upstarter Ramblings. But by SCIENCE! Check out how super cool this looks.

So, there are some things you’ll need. First, you will need whatever it is that is stainless steel that you will be etching – this tutorial uses a water bottle… which are pretty easy to find hanging around at your local home, school camping… many stores have them. You will also need a lead set with alligator clips, a stencil of the pattern to be etched, 1/2 C of water, 1/2 tsp salt, 9 Volt battery and cotton swabs.

Your first step is to find a design you want to put on your stainless steel thing. It will need to be a stencil that you can cut out on vinyl, a prepared stencil, or one that you make from masking tape it it is a simple design. As long as the stencil is sticky, you will be good as the parts that aren’t stuck to the surface  (the exposed parts) will be what gets etched.

Mix the water and salt together into a jar and stir. Add a bunch of cotton swabs to the jar. Next, hook  one wire from the positive terminal of the batter to the metal water bottle. You can attach it to the open lid with the clip.

Hook the other wire from the negative terminal of the battery to the wet end of one of the cotton swabs. The clip has to be on the wet part of the swab.

Place the swab on the bottle where you want your design to show – in the negative spaces of the stencil, and make sure to dab the entire area.

The tip of the swab will get discoloured as metal is transferred from the bottle to the swab so replace it often – hence the handful of cotton swabs needed.

Try to cover the area evenly and when you’re done, dry off the design and remove the stencil. Wash away any remaining liquid.

And there you have it. A super impressive, super complicated looking project that you can do yourself.

Happy Crafting!

~ Megan

 

 

 

 


Scraps Into Finished Product

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It is that time of year where we get ready for the holidays.   Today, I have two simple things I use scrapbook paper scraps for.   You may not have all the time you want to finish a huge scrapbook page.  That’s okay for today because this gives you a few other uses for that scrapbook paper you have lying around or collecting dust in some closet.  Or let’s say you are one of those people that wrap presents as you buy them and have scraps or the end of the wrapping paper roll with very little left and you don’t think there’s even enough to wrap one last present.   I have some use for that as well.  Holiday cards!

I am one of those people that ends up celebrating Hanukkah and Christmas.   That is why I find things that I can do for both holidays this time of year.   For my first craft, it could be used for any holiday and any time of year.   Cards are a fantastic way to use any scraps of paper, stickers, wrapping paper, ribbon, etc.

I’m sure you will get an idea with the pictures and let your creativity flow.

For cards, you will need the following:

  • Card stock (I usually get the cheap packages at a craft store when they’re on sale)
  • Glue (sticks or scrapbooking style) or double sided tap
  • Pens (I live the gold and silver for the holiday cards)
  • Scrapbook paper (scraps if you have them)
  • Wrapping paper (scraps if you have some)
  • Ribbon (themed or complementary to cards’ design)

Now onto what to do, it is really simple- create a card.   There are a few samples of what I use and a sample finished product.  As you can see, my cats like to get involved.  My parrot will too enjoy trying to snag paper out of my hand or off the table.   I just use it as an excuse to list them in the handwritten holiday greeting.  I also have quite a few friends that also celebrate Hanukkah so I do cards for them as well using blues and silver tones.

For the second craft I have for this week, the holiday colored paper will work well for most of it.   You may just want to snag a few scraps of different shades of orange.  I did this project for the holidays for the gym I used to work at.   I had the fortunate position to play or watch kids while the parents worked out.   We had a huge space to decorate that worked well with idea.    If you don’t have a real fireplace or want to do something for a decorating contest, this is always an intriguing way to get people to look a few times.   I make a fireplace out of scrapbook paper.  I made most of what was necessary while home on bed rest for a week due to medical reasons.  When I suggested that we do the same in my office this year so we can do decorating contests and decorating stockings, the whole office got excited about the concept.

What you will need:

  • A space that works (at office, home, etc.)
  • Scrapbook/construction paper that works for the colors of brick, mortar, logs, fire, and stockings
  • Glue or double sided tape
  • Cotton balls
  • Markers

Directions
Take measurements for the space you’d like to use.  I then make sure I have enough of the paper to use as a background/mortar.  I use that background color to tape or glue the pieces of “brick”.  It makes it easier to prep ahead of time and then when it comes to “installing” the fireplace.  Then cut out bricks.  This works well if you get those random scrap paper packs that have odd sizes too.   One time, I got one that had a lot of red and brown pieces in random sizes that made it difficult to use them.  In this case, I found yet another awesome way to use them.   I create different colors to make it pop out some and look somewhat realistic too.   You can make them any size or pattern you’d like or how supplies permit.

I began with creating the actual fireplace section.   Then I cut out and tape to the black fireplace section the logs and fire. I recommend this first just to make sure you are centered a lot easier before you install the bricks.   Then you can start taping or gluing the bricks to the background/mortar.    If you want you can even create a mantle above the fireplace.  This time, I didn’t do that.   Once you have that all done, you can install on the wall, cubicles, or even a door.   It will likely take some help with installation if you don’t have a small one.

If you aren’t using real stockings, you will want to cut out stockings.  I had some glitter ones for making holiday cards so I used one to use for tracing out some for the fireplace to have my co-workers to decorate for a contest.   Whatever works for you go for it.   When I worked at the gym, I used the glitter ones to give it an added flare for the kids to enjoy.   Cotton balls work well for the white fuzzy part of a stocking.  Once you have for the stockings, hang them on your fireplace.

-Heather


Customizable DIY Colouring Fabric.

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Hi there Thursday Crafthackers!

This isn’t quite a DIY but it is a neat little piece of info for those of you who are looking to make things that can be coloured. That’s right, fabric that can be coloured – for clutches, pillow cases, shirts… whatever you like. This is more of a step by step for how to order what you need, but I didn’t realize that this could even be done, so I thought I’d share. There’s a full tutorial on Damask Love, but this post will focus on the resources you need to get this fabric to you.

Your first step is to find a design that you like at a place like Creative Market. If you search the term “seamless” it will pull up all kinds of designs that are appropriate for a colouring item. Purchase your design and save it to an easy to find place in your computer.

Next, hop on over to Zazzle (which also has a Canadian site). On this site you can order all kinds of blank things that you can have images printed on. If you’re looking to make a tote or a pillow or clutch, I suggest searching for “twill” to order some plain fabric with your design printed on it. Note that you can also make other custom stuff, so of course, play around! All you have to do is upload the design, and fidget with the scale if you choose. Since the design is seamless, you won’t have to work with edges or things like that.

After you’ve chosen the design and the fabric, just order it and wait for it to arrive. See? Not so much a tutorial but until seeing this I had no idea that I could order colouring fabric (of course you’ll want to use fabric markers for the actual colouring), or that I could customize it, so I thought you guys needed to know too.

Happy Crafting!

~ Megan


Designing an Embroidered Patch

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So not everyone has a fancy machine and software to whip out patches on a whim, including myself, but sometimes you want to have them for a family/business event or even to sell for your own company without having to learn an entire new vocation. Well my friends, that’s where the lovely people at Stadri Emblems come in.

They’ve created a great guide to get you started on not just what you need to know about patches, but what you need to think about when designing them. Stuff like, does your entire patch need to be made from thread or can some of it be a woven background? They also have a staff on artist on hand that get assigned to each customer so you can work one on one to get the patch you wanted, starting with a free image design and quote.

What if I’m not a designer or artist?

Don’t worry; all of our orders come with artwork set-up for free. Whether your design just needs some small tweaks or you only have a napkin drawing, we have you covered. If you don’t have finished art, here are a few tips for describing what you are envisioning to your artist:

 

1. Be as descriptive as possible! If there are any details that are important to you, let us know!

2. Feel free to send us photos or examples to help the artists know what you’d like.

3. Make a rough sketch, if possible. Even if it’s not very detailed, having a sketch can be really helpful to our artists.

If this is something you’ve considered at all getting done, I really recommend giving this company a look. They’re very straight forward and helpful with the work and the finished quality speaks for it’s self. Now if you’re looking to get into the field with your own machine then this likely isn’t he route for you, but they still offer good tips in their guide that you should take into consideration when working on your own designs. 🙂


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. ^_^


A Quirky Cup Collection

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Since I can taste tannins, I’m not a big coffee. To even enjoy tea I have to add sugar and milk to it. Which is why I think I covet all my tea mugs so fiercely. I hardly get to use them so when I do they need to be something unique. Figuring I wouldn’t be alone in my mug pursuit I wanted to share my latest cup discovery.

Sydonie Baldissera of The Quirky Cup Collective is a 23 year old South Australian artist that loves painting her own custom teacup/mug designs. I’m a sucker for all things Alice in Wonderland so they immediately caught my eye, lol. She of course makes designs that cover a wide range of tastes but it was the exquisite attention to detail that really drew me in. Her line work is wonderfully clean and unless you knew going in, you likely wouldn’t be able to tell they were hand painted at all! I recommend giving her shop a view, as well as looking in her past sales history to see all the amazing previous designs she’s done. 🙂


Color Scheme Assistance

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Taking a break from just posting awesome things or DIYs, I wanted to share another tool for all you artist/artisans out there. When designing a piece, one of the hardest things to do sometimes is color. Now I don’t mean color for something you know or recreating, but picking color from scratch for something new and unique. This can be for anything from a website to a new fantasy creature and it can take hours of slight adjustments to get something the eye sees as ‘right’. Thankfully in this age of the internet, kind people have developed palette designers to help us with this task.

This is a site called Paletton. It’s an easy click and drag way to get you making a color scheme quick and easy. You start with a main color you know you want and then let the program to the work for you, or completely pick out lots of shades and get a fast mock-up of them to see if they work. Great if you have a starting point and just need a little push to get your colors together, but what if picking color schemes is a slog for you? Well I’ve got something for that too. Coolors makes it even easy with randomly generated palettes you can cycle through or explore ones generated by other users.

Both tools are completely free and allow you get the design info you need and get back to work on your beautiful art piece. 🙂