DIY Ring Bowls.

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Hey Thursday Readers!

Still being in the throws of wedding season, I thought another DIY gift would be in order. You can make something like this for a shower before the wedding so that the couple can use it on the day of their wedding, or it can be a gift for after that they can leave by the sink to put rings in while we wash dishes. This project was taken from Intimate Weddings, so feel free to check the full tutorial here.

For this beautiful and simple project, you’ll need:

  • 795 gram package of White Oven Bake Clay (which should be available at any local craft store.
  • Letter Stamps (also should be easy to find at a craft store)
  • Rolling Pin
  • Bamboo stock or chopstick for to use as an awl to poke holes.
  • Lid to cut out the shape (like a lid for a tub of ice cream)
  • Fine sandpaper
  • Parchment paper.
  • A smallish oven safe bowl (like Pyrex)
  • Spray sealant and paint for finishing if you would like it.
  • A fabric doily

Your first step is to form your dough into a ball and place it on the parchment or silicone liner. Roll your dough out with your rolling pin until it is about 1/4 inch thick.

Place your fabric doily where you would like it to appear (you can put it in the centre or off to the side and either way it would look fabulous). Roll your rolling pin over top of it to press the design into the clay.

Use your lid to establish how big your bowl will be and to use it as a centre point to choose where to put your letters. You can do initials, or names, you could even do a small poem if your letters are small.

When you’re ready to cut the shape, peel off your doily to reveal the beautiful imprint.

Use your lid to cut the clay and form your circle. Save any excess clay for future projects.

After you remove the clay and the lid, you’ll have a circle that’s ready to be moulded into a bowl.

Use your awl tools to poke two holes at the top of the plate if you’re thinking of giving this as a ring bearer bowl at a wedding. You can omit these if it’s to be used as a ring dish at the sink or elsewhere.

Next you need to form your birds (if you’re making birds) or any other accents that you would like. If you’re making something you’d like to have stand on the side of the dish, use an existing dish to form the clay underneath them so they will be easy to adhere to the bowl.

Place your soft clay plate into the bottom of your oven safe bowl. Remember, it should be big enough to create a bowl, but not so small that your bowl is a teacup.

Place oven-safe bowl (and birds) on a cookie sheet and put into the oven for approximately 30 minutes (use the baking directions on the package, please!). When it’s done, remove from oven and let cool inside bowl for 20 mins. When cool, turn bowl over. It should pop right out.

Sand down the edges of your bowl until they are nice and smooth, as well as your birds. A sandpaper sponge would be ideal for this as opposed to regular old sandpaper. Use a little superglue to adhere your birds to the dish.

And you’re done! Well. If you’re inclined to paint your project, now would be the time, or add accents in paint or gold leaf or anything fancy like that. If you’re adding extra touches at the end, or if you’re going to be having this dish be for ring removal when you’re washing, I would make sure to use a good spray sealant so that the paint is sealed on, and the water can’t get in.

and you’re done! A beautiful gift, that takes just a little creativity.

Happy crafting!

~Megan


Using Molds and Texture Sheets

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Its Wednesday again, and after constant storms and rain, the yard is starting to get green again. I am back home after three days at a local event, and working hard on new stock for my upcoming show.

When I am working with clay, two of the most invaluable tools at my disposal are molds and texture sheets. There are some things you simply can’t make on your own, or would take too long, and these are very handy for that. Texture sheets allow you to change the appearance of the polymer clay’s surface. The photos below are pieces I have made with the help of texture sheets and a pastry mold.

They can be plastic, silicone, metal or ceramic. The flexibility of silicone or plastic can be easier to work with, as the clay typically releases quickly from the imprint you make of it. You can buy pre-made sheets and molds, or create your own. I do both. There are some great two part silicone kits that will let you imprint texture or design into them. You can recreate the texture of leather, linen, scales, or even a raised pattern on a rock or a piece of pottery. GF Art Store has great sheets and cutters.

A mold good for polymer clay are mostly from silicone or a soft plastic. a hard mold will not release the clay. I have seen some instructions for baking in heat resistant molds, but I generally change up the piece I am molding enough that the flexible variety are best for my work. From molding pastry shells, dog bones, feathers, shells, or frames for a piece, and even molding doll parts, there are thousands of molds to inspire you. I have found several excellent shops on Etsy with great pre-made silicone molds. The Mold Studio is one.

Another is Sweet Treat Collections. They also carry baking supplies and cutters. If you make any projects with molds or texture sheets, please link to them. I would love to see what everyone comes up with!


Feather Cane Tutorial

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Happy Wednesday everyone! We are firmly in art show and ComicCon season and I’m spending every spare minute sculpting pieces for upcoming shows. This Saturday you can find me at a small local event in Shelby, NC. It’s a great little con with tons of dealers, a Pokémon tournament and a costume contest.

One of the things I like to make are flamingos. I found an excellent tutorial for feather canes by Donna Kato. It’s extremely time consuming, but the results are stunning. Plan to spend between 2-4 hours on this project. You can use any colors, but I went with the suggested pinky-peach blend for my flamingos. The results give you enough for several projects

You can find the tutorial here.


Put a Cork in it: DIY Etched Wine Cork Shadowbox

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Good morning Thursday Crafthackers.

I have a tutorial for you this morning on making your own etched shadow box from Sometimes Homemade. As an FYI, this isn’t a tutorial for creating a shadow box, but there are plenty of tutorials online. Just keep in mind if you’re making one, to leave an opening at the top to pop corks inside. This tutorial is going to focus on glass etching a box that has already been put together, and you can find them online or at craft stores. Just remember to look for a top loading shadow box, otherwise, you’ll need to drill a hole for the corks to be dropped in.

This is a great gift for any wine drinker, as not only does it preserve their great wine drinking memories, but it looks pretty awesome as a piece of art, too. You’ll need some supplies which you may have to visit a craft store for, anyway. You’ll need the top loading shadow box (make sure to get one big enough to hold a number of corks – 12×12 is a decent size), etching cream (Martha Stewart is easily found at craft and hobby stores, and might come with a brush), a medium sized craft paint brush, rubbing alcohol and cotton balls or cloth, and lastly, a stencil. You may also want a box cutter to cut out finer details on your stencil, depending on what you’ve chosen.

The stencil is the cool part. This is one that you can design yourself or print out something to personalize your gift. If it’s a wedding gift, you can monogram the box with the bride and groom’s initials, or give them a logo to go with their last name. You can do this freehand, or if you’re handy with the computer. You can also find lots of different printable stencils online, so make sure to do your research for what you’d prefer to do on this one.

For your first step, you should clean the glass with the rubbing alcohol and cotton, and allow to dry thoroughly. While it dries you can cut out your stencil and temporarily adhere it to the glass where you would like it to be.

Apply a thick and even layer of the etching cream to the glass that is exposed through the stencil. You are going to want it thick, so apply at least two thick layers, if not more. Only put the etching cream where you want the etching cream. You can’t really remove the effects once it gets put on the glass. After the cream is dry/set, about 15-20 minutes (see directions on your product) you can rinse away the residue and you should come out with etched glass underneath. If you’ve missed spots or it isn’t as etched as you like, you can go over your spots a second time and repeat the process.

And you’re done! A personalized, super cool way to give a really neat and affordable gift that is sure to impress.

Happy crafting!

~Megan


DIY: Aged Canvas Prints

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Good morning Thursday Crafthackers!

I bring to you a lovely little tutorial. Given that we are coming into the season of weddings and birthdays, I though that this is something you can do to make a fairly impressive gift that is personalized and awesome. I found this tutorial at A Beautiful Mess and I love that you’re able to do this on a canvas. It’s super impressive!

You will need a few supplies. You’ll need a stretched canvas (8×10 is nice, and you can find these at craft and sometimes dollar stores), a gel medium (like Liquidex), a paint brush and a laser copy of the image you’re wanting to transfer. You’ll also need a spray bottle filled with water.  Your next step is to paint your canvas with the gel, and be generous. Next you will need to press the photo copy onto the canvas and let it dry for few hours, or overnight if you have the time.

After the image dries, use the spray bottle to get the top of the paper wet again, and then rub the surface with your fingers until the paper starts to come away. This will reveal your (mirrored) image underneath. Just be careful not to rub too vigorously, as it might remove the image rather than just the paper. Remove all the paper this way until you can see the whole image. Cover the canvas with an extra coat of the gel medium to seal and protect it.

Remember, that your image may not come out perfectly. In fact, it will probably have a number of spots where the image didn’t transfer exactly, but this is a project where rustic is the name of the game. So that’s kind of the idea. This is a great gift idea for any wedding, or any other occasion where pictures make a great gift but you want to give something just a little bit more.

Happy crafting!

~Megan

 


Polymer Clay Tools

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Happy Wednesday! This is Kim, with Fantastical Menagerie. I wanted to share some of the resources I use to find tools to work with my polymer clay. A lot of us start with the basic tools that can be found at most craft stores such as Michaels or Hobby Lobby. Sometimes you need a more specific tool than what can be found there. In my years of working with clay, I have found some great alternatives for sculpting tools and texture tools.

AmCreatures on Etsy has some nice hand designed tools. They are based in Canada. Their tools are mostly directed at sculpting dolls and faces for puppets, but work well for polymer clay. Some are for sculpting scales, eyes, and tiny detail work. Their prices are very reasonable for custom tools.

If you find that kneading clay fills you with dread, this next tool has great reviews, is simple to use, and does it in seconds. Its called the NeverKnead. Its an expensive investment, but works based on pressure. Instead of spending a great deal of time and pain with clay, try this!

If you need sharper straight blades for your clay, especially for cutting canes, Creative Canes Etsy shop sells tissue blades, which are medical grade and extremely sharp. Flexible enough for cutting curved shapes as well. The shop also offers different polymer clay finished cane projects.

Pottery114U sells pottery clay stamps that help with imprinting texture into your polymer clay. They are inexpensive, durable, and versatile.

When searching on your own, include searches for cake decorating, pottery, and other crafts, since tools may work for other mediums.

 


Knit Your Own Wonder Woman Sweater

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Wonder Woman movie got you feeling like you need to fill your wardrobe with something to match? Well one woman has seen fit to help us poor mortals out by not only releasing an easy to adjust knit sweater pattern; she also did it for free.

Here’s what you need for this project:

  • Medium (4) Weight yarn – 1456 – 1872 yards (1331 – 1712 m): Cascade Yarns Hollywood recommended
  • US Size 10 (6mm) knitting needles (or size needed to obtain gauge)
  • Natalie Bursztyn’s awesome pattern

Now I’m not a knitter so I can’t weigh in on how easy it is to read or not, but my guess is this would be intermediate level of difficulty. Worth it to dress your self in awesome Wonder Woman garb this winter though. 😉


Displaying your jewelry designs

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Good morning all. This is Kim with Fantastical Menagerie. My summer season has started with a great bang, and for those of you who also make jewelry, I’m sure you think about how best to display the unique pieces you craft. Whether it is at home or at a show, it can be tricky to come up with ways that show your pieces to their best advantage, and let others know how unique your things are. I’ve found some excellent craftsmen on Etsy that make some excellent displays, ship, and are happy to customize them.

WhatWeMade is based in Arizona, and has some unique designs. Their necklace bust is gorgeous, wooden, and striking with any silver pieces you have.

DalesWoodandMore has a lovely wall unit that would be great for personal collections, or hanging on grid for a nice table display.

If you want to go more metal, BlackIronIndustrial has some unique shelving and bar selections.

I also love this wonderful travel case from Canoa Naturals

It is versatile and pretty. If looking to make your own display, there are a number of tutorials out there to make it a snap for any crafty person!


 


Summer Sweetness

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My favorite time of year is strawberry season. I live in North Carolina, when they are in season at the end of April through May and the beginning of June. There is nothing I like better than all the yummy things I can make from them. Strawberry pie, shortcake, muffins, Strawberry juice, and jams. There is a farm nearby where I go to pick them by the pound, and bring them home. Some get eaten immediately, some get canned or frozen.

If you like strawberry jam, its one of the easiest recipes to make, and requires very few supplies. My favorite recipe can be found here:

https://www.freshpreserving.com/strawberry-jam-%7C-making-strawberry-jam-%7C-ball-fresh-preserving-br1265.html

Once you make it, and it sits overnight, its perfect on biscuits, added to the filling of a cake, added to marscapone in some winter crepes, and even on top of goat cheese with some lovely wheat crackers. Its light and summer sweet, and the perfect way to introduce yourself to canning. There are other recipes, including for freezer jam and without pectin, but I rarely have extra freezer room and I find that typical canning methods preserve the jam longer.

If you don’t have a farm nearby, check out your local farmer’s market, Whole Foods or even Food Club. Smell the berries, and check for any bruising or mold. The recipe calls for five cups of crushed berries, which means you will need more whole berries as they condense down. Make it a family event, as children or parents can come and help, and everyone goes home with jam!


GenCon Classes

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GenCon Classes go live on Sunday for sign ups!  GenCon is the original longest running gaming convention in the world and it happens in Indianapolis August 17-20.  They are unique by allowing you to pick and choose your classes and events ahead of time by securing tickets.  No waiting in lines!

Nicole, Toni, and Marc will be at GenCon again this year and Toni and Nicole will be teaching classes again!

Toni will be teaching two English Paper Piecing classes.

 

English Paper Piecing Quilt Technique

Description: Learn to English Paper Piece, or get help with an existing project you are working on. In this class we will start with the basic hexagon flower using scraps of colorful and character fabrics (like Dr Who or Comic Books).

Class Length: 2 hours

Date/ Time /Game ID:

  1. Thursday, August 17th/ 10:00am /SPA17103527
  2. Friday, August 18th/ 10:00am /SPA17103528
  3. Saturday, August 19th/ 9:00am /SPA17103529

Cost: $18

English Paper Piece a Catan Board Quilt

Description: Learn to English Paper Piece by creating a small version of the Catan board, 9″ wide to be exact. In this class we will start with the basic hexagon shape and add on triangles (for sand) around the edges.  Options for finishing your miniature quilt will be discussed.

Class Length: 2 hours

Date/ Time /Game ID:

  1. Friday, August 18th/ 7:00pm /SPA17103534
  2. Sunday, August 20th/ 12:00pm /SPA17103535

Cost: $34

Nicole will be teaching Crochet classes again.

Crochet a Hogwarts Infinity Scarf

Description: Learn the basic crochet techniques in scarf making along with custom techniques for making an almost seamless infinity scarf. Materials will be provided, but if you have different colors/hooks you’d prefer to use feel free to bring them. Novice and first time crocheters will most likely not finish during class hours, but tools will include a pattern to take home so that everyone can finish on their own time.

Class Length: 2 hours

Date/ Time /Game ID:

  1. Thursday, August 17th/ 12:00pm /SPA17103530
  2. Friday, August 18th/ 11:00am /SPA17103531
  3. Saturday, August 19th/ 2:00pm /SPA17103532

Cost: $28

So head over to GenCon and sign up for some classes!