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


Crystalline Light

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In honor of the Winter Solstice this week, I thought I’d show case that ~Winter Aesthetic~ today with some really lovely crystal light fixtures designed by Melbourne Australia artist: Christopher Boots.

All his work is made by hand and with real metals and naturally formed crystals. Much like a traditional jeweler, he will spend hours scouring crystals to find the ones with just the right hardness/crystalline structure/fracture/transparency. A lot of his work plays with the organic yet geometric form of his medium and the results are just wonderful to behold.

You can find more of his work on his instagram page, as well as see glimpses of his upcoming projects/inspirations. Worth the follow if you have the app and are an art lover. ^_^


Felted Decor and Ornaments

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The Holidays are always the time to show off your best crafting skills. The one time of the year you can fill the house with what you love and no one will bat an eye; they’ll simply call you festive. 😉 I’ve got 2 artists today that both specialize in wonderfully detailed hand felted items that work great on a tree or even around your home!

Miri of Noristudio specializes in making adorable woodland creature who often have an adorable acorn beret on their head. I personally loved this little hedgehog, but you can find a whole collection of them in her shop, including a set of ornaments to hang up in your home! Another thing I love is that they’re interested in bringing new people to the medium with their DIY kits for beginners. Something that could make an excellent gift for the crafter in your life that’s seeking a new and challenging medium to tackle. 🙂

The second artist is just as exciting with their dedication to realism in their pieces. I mean, if I didn’t know better, I’d swear some of these pieces were real.

Made by Natalja of TaFiOLand, these pieces are really quite wonderful. They are a German based artist of quite some talent, imho, and I just find their precision with the medium to be considerably well honed. Several of their pieces can be used as table decoration or hanging on your tree, but there are even a few pieces that can be used for lighting fixtures around the home. Really just lovely work that I highly recommend checking out. 🙂


DIY Wax Luminaries

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Good morning, Thursday readers.

I found a really cool tutorial from Candle Tech that caught my eye and initially I thought it might be a little silly, but the more I looked at it, the more I liked it. Tea light/votive holders made from wax. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but what makes it work is the type of wax used. And plus, they look really cool.

You do need some supplies and tools: High-melt paraffin wax – IGI-1260 – (this one is super important – don’t use something that isn’t high melt), party balloons, a double boiler and a cookie sheet with parchment paper. You will need to start by filling your balloon with tepid water.

Your next step is to melt your wax in a double boiler. The best temperature for this project is 180 degrees Fahrenheit.  Using a double boiler will help to keep things from overheating, and you can use a thermometer to double check if you have one.

Slowly dip your balloon into the wax to just below the water level inside the balloon. If you go past the water level, your balloon can pop. Hold the balloon in the wax for a few seconds and then slowly lift it out. Let it cool between dips, but you’ll need to do this a few more times to get a good thickness of wax on the balloon.

When the wax is still fairly warm, put the balloon on a piece of parchment or on a cookie sheet. This will allow a flat bottom to be created so it’s level and won’t topple over. Allow to cool a little, and then repeat the above process a few more times. You’re going to want a thickness of about 1/4 to 1/2 an inch of wax on your balloon. Set it aside again to let it cool.

 

When the water inside the balloon and the wax are completely cool, holding the wax portion so it doesn’t fall and aiming the mouth away from you, pop the balloon over this sink with something sharp to let the water drain out and toss the deflated rubber.

If the top of your luminary isn’t level, that’s okay. There’s an easy fix, since you’re working with wax. Just heat up a cookie sheet in the oven and place the luminary top down onto the hot metal (you can put some parchment paper down to catch the wax) and melt the edges until it’s level. You can wipe the paper with a paper towel if you’re going to need to do it a couple times.

And you’re ready to go with a tea light or a votive (remember, votives need some kind of container to keep them from melting everywhere). So long as you’re just using those types of candles, the luminary won’t melt. Remember, it’s high temp wax, so you need more heat to melt it. If you want to add some colour to your wax, you can add some crushed crayons (though it might make them a little less transparant). You can also think about adding glitter or even doing a few white layers of wax as a base with a couple colour layers over top. You could even dip the top rim in glitter once you’ve melted it to make it level or you might want to carve your creations afterwards… but regardless of what you end up doing, they do look super cool!

Happy Crafting!

~Megan

 

 

 


DIY: Vintage Light Fixture Revamp

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Hi there Thursday Crafthackers!

I found a DIY that looks much more complicated than it is, and it is a great way to bring vintage into your home  – or your apartment. The best part is, is that it uses the base of light fixtures that I see in almost every apartment that I’ve been in, and they’re in my apartment right now.

You can find the original tutorial here on A Beautiful Mess, and you really can do any colour you prefer, given that you can use spray paint to either match the pieces to each other or do do it in another colour entirely. You do need some supplies and tools, though. You’ll need a sunburst mirror frame, like this one. You can use any mirror frame as long as it’s easy to remove the mirror so you can use the base. You’ll need a ceiling flush mount light small enough to sit inside your mirror frame, like this one. You will also need gold (or your choice of colour) spray paint, painter’s tape as well as screws and a drill.

As always, we recommend safety first, so since we’re getting into working with light fixtures, you can do this project together with an electrician or a friend with experience, or you can use this guide to help guide your experience. Please make sure that your power is off whenever you’re working on a light fixture. We don’t want any mishaps.

So, depending on what method you choose, you may need to remove the existing light fixture. Since this tutorial uses a light that is a few inches smaller than the mirror frame, paint was added to the ceiling area that would be showing in between the fixture and the mirror. All you need to do is place each fixture where it will go, trace around them and tape off the area that you’re not painting. If you’re worried about using spray paint and the fact that it is airborne and can go anywhere, you can use a liquid paint and brush. Remove the tape when dry (see above).

Using the same paint, paint the base of the light fixture. Just make sure to tape off the back so that there’s no electrical parts that get painted. Add your light bulb and globe shade.

On the mirror frame, you can bend back any tabs that hold the mirror in place and remove the mirror and any backing material from the middle. Just give this frame a coat of the same paint that you used for the rest of the project so that it looks like one unit and there’s no odd colour difference. You can just use 4 screws and wedge them between the spokes of the frame to hold it in place.

When your light fixture is secure, you’re done! It looks fabulous in the gold, but if you’re going for a different kind of retro vibe, you could use a beautiful teal spray paint, or copper. Whatever colour suits your mood and decor!

Happy crafting!

~Megan


DIY: Wine Bottle Chandelier

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Hi there Thursday Crafthackers!
I have for you a super cool tutorial that is relatively easy but still will take some time and some tools. The end result is super cool, and there are a number of different ways that you can do something like this.

There’s a number of different styles, and a number of different complexities in doing the electrical wiring for this. I thought this one was super cool. To do this you will need wine bottles – these ones were clear and then painted for colour, but you can absolutely do regular wine bottles if you like the green/brown hues.  If you’re liking the look of this (the original can be found here at Mod Podge Rocks Blog), and others like this tutorial, you might need this previous post on how to cut bottles safely. Make sure you follow the steps to sand down the edges, and if you would like to take any labels off, now would be the time.

This tutorial uses Mod Podge sheer colours, but there are methods to make the colours yourself with just one jar of Mod Podge (see if you can find a sheer one) and food colouring. You can find my tutorial for the ratios and the how to on the colour here (including how to set it). Use whichever you have the time and comfort level for. You’ll need the basics of the world of crafting, so craft paper/wax paper or a non stick craft mat, a craft knife, and you will also need the pendant light hardware kits which you should be able to find easily at any hardware store, or at an online retailer like Amazon.

Whether  you make your own colours or buy pre tinted Mod Podge, your first step is to get the inside of your bottles covered. You can do this by adding a generous amount of glue/colour to the inside of the bottle and swirling it around inside until it is covered. Try to get as far up the neck as possible so you get consistent colour all the way up. Do this to each bottle. Whether you use the same, themed or different colours is up to you. If you’re making your own colours, remember that you can change your one batch of colour just by adding other colours of food colouring to change the tints. You’ll either need to follow the directions in the previously mentioned tutorial for baking the wine bottles, or you will need to let them dry overnight (sitting on the mouth of the bottle to get maxiumum air flow) After they’re dry, if you want to add any stencils or glitter, now is the time.

The original poster used a light fixture like this. They didn’t use the switch on the cord, and cut the cord before that point since they manually are wiring everything together.

The wiring was cut about 2 feet from the bulb socket base, but you can do them longer or shorter based on the needs of your space. If there is a switch on your fixture, you can cut below it if you aren’t using it. Above if you would like to keep it.

Run the cut end of the cord up through the neck of the bottle so that the bulb socket fits nicely in the taper.

Expose the ends of each of the wires using your wire cutters to peel away the plastic coating (there will be 12 wires, hot and a neutral for each lamp or 18 if the kit is wired for a ground). This tutorial used a room that already had a simple ceiling fixture on a wall switch. This made it easy to take down and I just used the existing junction box and cover plate from the old light to mount my wine bottle chandelier. With the wall switch OFF (throw the service breaker for extra safety) take down the old ceiling light and find the white (neutral), black (hot), and green (ground) wires. Pull them down out of the box and make sure you have enough room to go back with the new wire bundle you’re going to create.

Next, combine all the neutral wires from the lamp kits together into one pigtail. Do the same for the hot and the ground if present. Use some electrical tape to help hold them all together while you get ready to connect them to the junction box. Using an appropriately sized wire nut, connect the white pigtail of the lamp kit to the white (neutral) wire from the ceiling. DO the same with the Black (hot) and ground (green, if present). Carefully push the wires up into the junction box and allow the weight of the lamps to be carried by the bundled lamp cords over the junction box support bar.

Slide the fixture cover you used from the old light up into place to cover everything.

You should be able to flip your switches and bring light! Hope you enjoyed this tutorial and remember to work safely with any electricity!

Happy crafting.

~Megan


D.I.Y Fabric Chandelier.

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Hello Thursday Crafthackers.

You know, when I first looked at this DIY, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. The more I looked at it though, the more I started to like it and started to brainstorm how I might do it a little differently. This tutorial is from A Beautiful Mess and you can find the full tutorial here. Probably my favourite thing about this DIY is that it is apartment friendly! To those of you who don’t have the space to do anything big, the permission to tear down walls or make too many holes in them, or who just plain want to have some nice looking things without the time/space/money investment of buying and installing a super statement piece, this may be for you! I just love how simple the supplies are:

The cooling rack you might be able to find at a garage sale, but you can find them at any kitchen store. Your fabric, any fabric store, but rather than browsing the shelves, I would recommend searching through their bargain bins, and if you’re lucky enough to live near an “end of roll” fabric store or one that has this type of section, then you can get a lot of fabric for super cheap. Your twinkle lights you can find at any hardware store (and if you go after Christmas you might be able to find them on sale). Your lace, you should also check for in bargain bins, or even see if a relative has any lace curtains that they’re getting rid of. You’ll also need 2 hooks that can screw into a wall and a drill.

Your first step of work is to cut your strips of fabric in varying widths, ranging from half an inch to two inches. This will help give depth and make your chandelier more interesting. Next, you can create texture by loosely stitching through them with the embroidery thread and bunching them before tying a knot in the thread. Here’s a video to show you how ruching works with fabric so you can get an idea of how easy this actually is. It can be done by hand for loose gathers or machine for tight. For your ruched strands, spread them out evenly and make sure to leave enough thread so you can tie them to the rack.

Starting about 5 rows from the outer edge, fold the ends of each strip of fabric over the rod, and hand stitch each foldd flap to the strip (see the photo above to see what words have trouble saying). You should vary shades, textures and thicknesses, but on the inside rows you should use more thicker ones. They will need to cover your lights and add density to your chandelier. Tie a knot at the end of the row (you can just sew continually without having to tie off on every strip) and trim  your thread. Repeat this until the outer 5 rows on each side have been covered. You will want to use thinner strips and lacy fabrics on the outer row.  Add 3 or 4 strips of fabric along the middle rows, just at each end (again, please check out the photo. You will be making a box of fabric). You will end up with a big hole in the middle for the lights to hang and for some thin strips to be added.

. Use a thin strip and wrap it around the edge of your sheet to cover the exposed metal. Stitch together at each end to secure, and do the same on the other side. It’s just like wrapping coat hangers to give them a little more pop.

Carefully attach your twinkle lights. Start with the plug near the back left (or right) corner and tie it near the top with a thin strand of fabric or with white twist ties. Continue to tie up your lights in three or four places, but be sure to let them hang down so that you will get light through the whole chandelier. Just don’t let them hang down below the fabric.. Cut 3 strips of fabric measuring about 2.5″ in width and stitch them together at the end, and do this 3 more tiems. You will need 4 sets of 3 pieces stitched together. I would start by making them double the length that you will need for hanging, as you will be braiding them and it is easier to trim fabric than it is to add. If you want to skip these steps entirely, you can just use sections of chain that you can buy at any hardware and even fabric store.

Pull one strand through the corner, and then braid the three strands together. This will support one corner. You’ll need to repeat this step for all 4 corners. If you have the patience to do the fabric  braiding, it will help hide the cords for the lights. You can attach your extension cord to the plug on the lights (which should be attached at one corner already), and braid it with the strand on that corner. Draw all 4 strands up so that they are equal in length and then tie them in a large knot.

Drill a pilot hole in your ceiling and hang a strong hook where you’d like to hang your chandelier – or you can use a hook you might already have. You may want to drill a second hook to hold your extension cord away from the light, and then you are ready to plug and have a statement chandelier! You can trim your fabric to be any height you like and you can do varying lengths if you prefer.

It looks pretty neat photographed in the daylight, but I think it would look so amazing at night. So to keep in mind, you don’t need to use cream fabric, if cream isn’t your thing.  You can always mix and match different colours, just be aware of how thick or transparent the fabric is. Black and red would look amazing, but you would need to make sure that your blacks are a little more transparent so that it doesn’t just block out all the light.  If you don’t mind seeing the twinkle lights, you could use lace, chiffon and other semi-transparent fabrics. If you’re feeling super arts and crafty, you can add rhinestones, or crystals, and if you’re a fan of things being rainbow, consider using multicoloured lights with cream. I hope that you enjoyed this simple and yet impressive tutorial.

Happy crafting!

~Megan

 


DIY – Exploding Death Star Lamp

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So I found this awesome little Gem over the weekend that I just knew I had to share with my fellow geeky crafters. 😀 It’s a fairly low cost project, but it will take you some time, and lots of painting.

Here’s your materials list:

  • IKEA PS 2014 Lamp
  • Light Grey Spray Paint
  • Masking Tape
  • X-acto Knife
  • Dark Grey Paint (either acrylic or spray depending on color options in your area)
  • Sealant Spray Paint

You’ll find the full step by step instructions over here. The quick and short of it though, is you’ll be spray painting the whole lamp shell with the light grey spray paint first, and marking and using masking tape to block certain areas off once it’s dried. After that you paint the whole thing again; with the darker spray paint if your lucky, of by hand if you’re not. Do one more round of spraying (2 if you’re paranoid) with a sealant spray and you’re done! It’s a pretty simple project that could easily be done in the afternoon if you have all the materials. 🙂 Then you too will be able to explode the Death Star whenever you like!


Creepy Glowing Pods

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Hi there Thursday Crafthackers,

I come to you today with another super cool tutorial for a funky Halloween decoration. These glowing pods look kind of like irradiated spider sacs, which seems super gross but is awesome for this creepy holiday. You can find the full tutorial here at DIY network.

Your materials and tools are quite simple. You’ll need white craft glue and water balloons that you will inflate, coffee filters – the round ones as opposed to the cones. a paint brush (at least an inch wide) and if you’re feeling super ambitious, some white/nude nylon stockings (keep it cheap and do yourself a favour by buying these at a dollar store).

Your first steps are quite simple, you’re going to inflate balloons (about 4-6 inches) and mix paper mache paste which is 4 parts white craft glue to one part water. Mix this mixture until it’s well combined and smooth. Cut your coffee filters into quarters.

Paint a layer of the glue mixture to each side of the coffee filter and apply it to the balloon. Cover each balloon with 4 layers of coffee filters.

Cover all your balloons with 4 layers of coffee filters, then tie strings to the ends, and hang them (at least 5 inches apart so they don’t bang into each other and stick) so that they can dry overnight.

Once your balloons are fully dry, you can cut the knots off of the balloons. This will pop them and you will be left with a lovely shell. You can choose to hang these in two ways. one, you can pierce two holes at the top of the balloon so you can thread some string to hang these beauties (seen above), or you can use the nylon pantyhose to create a little hammock by tying an end, and inserting the pod inside. With the nylons, you can hang them directly to a tree so they will look even more like a spider sac.

Crack a glow stick, drop it in each one – from a low height so you don’t break through the bottom – and hang at varying heights from your trees, house, or even just have them laying around the garden or stuck in a bush!

Hope you enjoyed it, guys, and happy crafting!

~Megan

 


DIY: Moroccan Candle Holders

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Hello Thursday readers,

It’s time for another easy yet satisfying DIY tutorial.  If you’ve read my posts, you’ll know how much I love doing things with plain glass, whether it be frosting, painting or drawing. I bring to you another project which you can do in mason jars, stemless (or stemmed, if you prefer) drinkware, or any other plain glass jar or container that you think would look great with a candle inside it.  This tutorial comes from Creme de la Craft and is super easy and looks a lot more complex than it actually is.

You will need a few things for this project, and all of them you should be able to find at your local craft store. You will need transparent glass paint in two different colours (you can get a few and mix and match as you see fit), puffy paint (sometimes called dimensional paint) in whatever colour you wish, but silver/gold/black seem to look the best, in my oh so humble opinion. You’ll also need a paper plate so a mess isn’t made, and your oven.

First thing you’ll need to do is pour your first colour of glass paint into the bottom of the glass so that the bottom is completely covered. Start tilting and turning your glass so that gravity can pull the paint up the walls of the container. Feel free to add more paint if you find you don’t have enough to swirl. While still holding your glass on it’s side, you can add your second colour of paint to the walls and continue to rotate the jar so that all of the walls have some of the second colour of paint on them.  Rotate the jar a little bit more to get the paint moving, and then turn the jar upside down on the paper plate and the excess paint will roll down the sides of the jar.  After a few minutes, if the walls aren’t fully covered, you may need to add a little more paint and repeat this step.

Let the excess paint drip down for about an hour, though you should rotate your jar every 15-20 minutes so that it doesn’t actually dry and stick to the plate. After the hour has passed, turn the jar upright and let it dry.

For a durable finish, let dry for a full 48 hours then bake the jar for 30 minutes at 200°F in a non-preheated oven. Allow to cool with the oven door open. (based on instructions from paint manufacturer – please follow the directions on whatever paint you buy.)
Using the applicator tip on the dimensional paint bottle, paint your desired pattern onto the bottle. For best results, first sketch a design on a piece of paper and practice using the paint before applying onto the jar. You can also search for designs. I find that Indian henna designs are a great inspiration and look fantastic when they’re done.
Happy crafting!
~Megan