DIY: Mosaic Tray

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Good morning Thursday Crafthackers!

I have a tutorial for you today from Sand and Sisal to make a sea glass mosaic serving tray. You can find the original post here.  What I love about this tutorial is that it’s a basic tutorial that doesn’t have to be applied to only sea glass. You can use tiles, flat stones, flat glass tiles, or broken plates. This process can be applied to anything you’d like to turn into a mosaic, which is possibly why I love being able to write about a process like this.

For this you do need some specific supplies, but they are things that you might have lying around, or they’re easy to find at any hardware store. You’ll need a wood serving tray (you can buy one new or you can check second hand and vintage stores to see what’s around), spray paint, enough sea glass or tile to cover the area of your tray, some ready to use tile adhesive, premixed grout, a toothed trowel, a pallet knife, a rubber tile float, and a sponge.

Your first step – if your tray has been finished, is to sand the tray with 100 grit sand paper to remove any shiny lacquer.

Your next step is to give the try a couple coats of the (wood suitable) spray paint in the colour of your choice.

With a toothed trowel, apply a thin coat of adhesive to a small part of the tray base and comb the teeth through the adhesive. If you’re using a large trowel, you can use a pallet knife to spread the adhesive into the small corners and edges, and then comb it afterwards.

For the best result, try to work in small sections. It’s important that the adhesive is applied in a thin layer. you don’t want it oozing over the tiles. Start pressing your sea glass (or other tiles) into the adhesive. The tile should sit about half way in the adhesive.  Follow the package directions for the adhesive to set up.

After you’ve placed all your tiles, you can pull out the grout. Put some grout on the float (the rubber scraper thing) and start pressing  and smearing it into the sea  glass so that it gets into all the crevasses and into the edges. Don’t worry about smearing it on top of the glass – it will be smoothed and wiped off the top later.

Once your tray is covered, scrape any excess grout off the top with your float.

Your last step is to clean up that mess! Use a wet sponge to clean up the edges of your tray and to remove the layer of grout from the top of the sea glass or tile. When it looks mostly clean, let it dry. When it’s dry, the glass will look a little dusty, and this is when you can take a clean, damp sponge and buff the glaze off the glass to let it shine.

Et, voila! Your tray is done and ready to be used, or gifted to some lucky friend.

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


Recycled Gifts to Warm the Heart

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Happy Sunday, all!

There is only one week left until the big holidays hit so if you still have some gifts to find, I have a few suggestions that are not only budget and environmentally friendly but also rather thoughtful. First up is a tutorial to help you make a nice new pair of warm mittens out of old sweaters:

Just think about how many mittens could be made out of some thrifted ugly sweaters!

Just think about how many mittens could be made out of some thrifted ugly sweaters!

Even if you don’t have many older sweaters to use, the second hand stores (pun intended) should have plenty in all kinds of awesome patterns. One sweater usually has enough fabric to make a few pairs of mittens OR you could use this tutorial to make a matching hat.

So now that you’ve made some gifts to keep warm outside, I think an inside warmer is in order. Let’s make sure that it’s fun and stylish, too! A tea wreath is a cute present for those tea drinkers in your life:

This may also help to get rid of some of that excess tea in the cabinets. Or is that just me?

This may also help to get rid of some of that excess tea in the cabinets. Or is that just me?

Using recycled cardboard, old clothespins, and bright paper with some colorful teabags would make a wonderful, functional decoration. Maybe tea isn’t their thing? How about music? I don’t know about you but my ear buds always get tangled or lost in my purse. I could really use something to keep them contained and I bet others could, too. This earphone holder made from a recycled mint container is just right:

Super adorable and just the right size. No more tangled cords!

Super adorable and just the right size. No more tangled cords!

I think the only issue would be mixing up mints and earphones when digging around in the carry-all. The last tutorial I have pains me a little because it requires you to cut up a book but I think the prospect of “saving” an old book from the trash is incentive enough to make this neat portable art case:

Never fear, the tutorial also includes links to further crafts you can use the pages for.

Never fear, the tutorial also includes links to further crafts you can use the pages for.

Any artist on-the-go should be well equipped with it in hand. So there we are, folks! I hope one of these at least inspires an idea or two for that hard to buy for relative. I’ve got a lot of crafting to do in the next week so I’d better get to it. See you in a week for the big day!

Stay crafty!

~Laura


Stockings to be Stuffed

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Hello Sunday readers!

We now have some ornaments and wreaths that have been made out of recycled materials so to make the place even more festive, let’s make some stockings! I’ve seen a lot of tutorials on upcycling sweaters and this one is pretty straight forward:

Super cozy stockings for lots of swag.

Super cozy stockings for lots of swag.

Or how about that favorite pair of jeans that you just can’t seem to part with but have holes in embarrassing spots? Let’s make them into a festive memorial:

More pockets = more room = more treats!

More pockets = more room = more treats!

Do you still have some ties leftover from last week’s wreath project? Use them to make a matching/accenting stocking:

So colorful!

So colorful!

This last one was actually pretty near and dear to my heart. What if you have a quilt that is just so old and loved that it is literally falling apart? You don’t want to completely trash it and there is really no saving it so make part or parts of it into some beloved stockings:

Just don't pack it too full unless you line it with something heavy duty!

Just don’t pack it too full unless you line it with something heavy duty!

So now that you’ve got all of these lovely stockings to hang by the chimney with care, what if you don’t have a mantle, let alone a chimney? There is a recycled solution out there for you, too. It involves an old headboard, paint, and some pegs:

Just make sure to mount it properly otherwise there will be new holes in the wall from the weight of the loot!

Just make sure to mount it properly otherwise there will be new holes in the wall from the weight of the loot!

The whole place should be looking cheery and festive now! There’s only one more Sunday before the big day so I’ll be back next week with some recycled gift ideas.

Stay crafty!

~Laura


Put a Wreath Around It

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Greetings Sunday readers!

I promised recycled holiday goodness and I aim to please! Last week I offered up some recycled ornaments so the next progressive step to decking out the home for the holidays should be fairly easy – a wreath for the door. I had some fun finding a variety of different materials to use while just staring around the house at possibilities. The first and most obvious for me is magazines. We don’t have as many physical subscriptions as we used to but we still get enough to put some solid weight at the bottom of the recycling bin. This first DIY is one of the more time intensive ones on the list but the results are just lovely:

Gardening or floral magazines would work best but even junk mail catalogs could work!

Gardening or floral magazines would work best but even junk mail catalogs could work!

Really, you could probably just use any kind of paper you have laying around for this but I think the glossy paper in magazines give it that shiny, leafy realism. Ok so now I’ve used some of the old magazines up, what else? In the kitchen I have…corks! We don’t drink nearly the amount of wine in this house as beer but we still occasionally bring out a bottle with the evening meal. I definitely have enough to do a slightly larger wreath than this:

This would make a great gift for those wine enthusiasts in your life, too.

This would make a great gift for those wine enthusiasts in your life, too.

I keep all of the corks and bottle caps I want to save in a clear jar on the counter under the cabinets. What’s in the cabinets? I have some canning jars that were used for projects/preserving last year and they have lids. So what could be better than candy-striped canning jar ring wreaths:

We always re-buy the lids every year so I have a ton!

Remember to use a couple for those shadow box ornaments from last week, too.

I wandered into the closets at this point and thought about all of those old ornaments we had packed away that are getting replaced with handmade ones. What should I do with them? Toss them or donate them? No! Let’s make them into another wreath!

You could even ask the parents or grandparents for some of their old sets for nostalgia purposes.

You could even ask the parents or grandparents for some of their old sets for nostalgia purposes.

While in the closet, I had some of the husbands clothes brushing the top of my head and I wondered if there were some cool recycled clothing wreaths out there (of course there are). He’s not really into wearing ties so we’ve accumulated quite a few that were gifts. I think there are enough colors to do a variation on this:

If you don't have enough/any, I'm pretty sure the local thrift store does.

If you don’t have enough/any, I’m pretty sure the local thrift store does.

Whew, not only did we get some great craft ideas but it allowed me to clean out a bit! Just in time to receive more gifts and start the cycle over. Have a great week, crafters and next time we’ll try our hand at some recycled centerpieces.

Stay crafty!

~Laura


Recycling for the Season

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Hello Sunday readers!

Now that all of the turkeys have been eaten here in the US, it’s time to start gearing up for the next round of holidays. This means it’s time for some decorating! But instead of just going out and buying a whole bunch of things, what about recycling some items you may have lying around the house? Maybe you’d like to start small because it really isn’t even December yet, so how about some recycled ornaments?

First, I don’t know about you but I get a ton of holiday cards around this time of year and quite frankly, I don’t know what to do with them. I mean, I know most people don’t expect us to keep them but it seems like such a waste to throw them away. In this lovely tutorial, we are presented with an alternative to that waste that creates a lovely keepsake ornament in the process:

Festive, artsy, and responsible!

Festive, artsy, and responsible!

If you want to bump up the wow and interactive factor a bit, might I suggest this recycled card “shadow box” ornament:

A little bit of snow and 3D thrown in for more fun.

A little bit of snow and 3D thrown in for more fun.

Now I’m not one to dismantle books because of my great love for them. But if I were to “rescue” some that were bound for the bin, this Swedish-style star ornament would be the best way to keep those pages in the house:

The folds are a lot less complicated than they seem.

The folds are a lot less complicated than they seem.

Finally, I used to love puzzles as a kid but inevitably at some point, pieces would go missing. What do you do with a puzzle with missing pieces? Recycle them into ornaments, of course:

I'm sure snow or gingerbread people could also be accomplished using pieces.

I’m sure snow or gingerbread people could also be accomplished using pieces.

These were just a small fraction of recycled ornament ideas I came across in a quick search. There are plenty more, I assure you! I plan on featuring a few more recycled holiday ideas in the coming weeks so stay tuned.

Stay crafty!

~Laura


Unique Little Book Purse, DIY Style!

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Good morning, Thursday Crafters!

Today I have a nice little tutorial for you that I thought was super cool. It is all about finding a great hardback book and turning it into a purse. How, you say? Well I’ll show you. This tutorial is from Instructables, and you can find the whole thing here, though there are many tutorials that float around online.

First you need to find a book that you like. There’s a few really good places to go to find unique, hardcover books. Thrift stores will be one of your best friends as well as antique and used book stores. A lot of them are pretty cheap too, so you shouldn’t have to spend a lot of money to get a super cool book to be the cover of your purse.

You will next need to remove the pages of your book. Use an exacto knife/box cutter to remove everything cleanly. If you selected a book with really cool images or you’d like to reuse your pages, there are several tutorials floating around (and maybe I’ll post another one next week) where you can use the pages as a crafting material. You will need to cut a piece of fabric of your choice in the same size as the book cover, fold the edges in 1/2 inch and iron the fold so it will stay.

Your next step (you can skip this if you’re planing on making a clutch) is to get your handles ready. At many fabric or craft stores you can buy purse handles separately. But keep in mind this isn’t your only choice. Keep your eye out in your closet for purses you don’t use anymore or you can even check out the second hand or vintage stores to see if there is anything you can easily take apart. Every set of handles is going to be different. You will basically need a way to attach your handles to your purse, so if you only have metal D rings or places for straps, you’ll need to get creative and buy/make your own (as seen above).

Glue your fabric strips to the book. You can use a glue gun, though I prefer stronger industrial adhesives (like E6000) for things like this.

You will also need to glue your fabric with the fold side down onto the cover, covering the handle straps.

Use a large piece (or a couple frankensteined small pieces, and tracet he cover of your book onto the paper, making sure to MARK both ends of the spine of the book on your paper.Measure the width of one side of the book, and draw a line that is that same length about 75 degrees from where you marked the beginning of the spine.  This angle controls how wide your purse will open.    The smaller the angle the wider your purse will open.

You will need a mirrored image on all the other sides, and you can do so by strategically cutting and folding at the centre lines so that you don’t need to keep finding angles. 🙂 When you’re finished, cut two pieces of lining fabric out of this stencil.

Next you will want to sew the angles that you made to the straight sides with the right sides facing each other. This will help to create a box-like shape for the inside of your purse.

Do the same with the second piece, and then when you’re finished, turn one of the pieces inside out (so you have a result like the photo above).

Put the right side out piece inside the wrong side out piece, and sew around the top edge.  You need leave a hole big enough for you to put hand though so that you can…

… turn it inside out! You will need to seal the hole you used to do this, so you can either slip stitch it by hand or do a neat little top stitch on your machine.

Sew some velcro into this section of the purse so you can close it (or you can improvise and glue a clasp or tie across the top of the book when it’s done… or both)

Your last step is to glue the inside pocket of your purse to your binding. And voila! You have just made a pretty cool book bag. Literally, a book that’s a bag. Love it.

Happy Crafting!

~Megan


99 Bottles of Beer…

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Hello all.

This Thursday’s post is brought is not for the faint of heart, nor is it for someone who is accident prone. There are several ways to try this DIY and I recommend this SAFE tutorial on HowChoo, but the end result will be the same. Beautifully crafted, indie label beer (or liquor) bottles that have been turned into amazing glassware.

No, I’m not joking, it’s a thing. When it’s done correctly, it’s both safe and beautiful and can also be made into gifts for… for… for any occasion, really. I’ve seen some that were crafted by artisan glass blowers at a handcrafter’s market, and they end up being such a neat gift. Now, the process to make them in the hope isn’t too difficult, but it does take a little bit of know how.

The process is all pretty simple and this is a way to do  this without using fire. You do need some specific tools for this, and please make sure you have them. You’ll need some heat resistant gloves. If you’re using oven mitts, please be careful with how you’re holding the bottle and make sure that they have grip so that you don’t lose yours. You’ll also need a bottle cutter (you can check at your local hardware store or you can find them here, here, or here), as well as a large stock pot to boil water and a tall water pitcher (that can fit your bottle plus ice).  You will also need some sandpaper (60 grit and 120 grit – so you can get a soft edge on the bottles), bike chain lubricant, or whatever your hardware specialists recommend for the bottle cutter blade), water, ice and your beer/liquor bottle.

One of the several bottle cutters that can be purchased.

So the process is simple! First, select bottles that have the labels “painted” onto the glass. If you can peel it off, it will not work. You can always find this on Corona bottles, and often micro-brewers will also often do this. They shouldn’t be too hard to find if you have a friend who loves craft beer. You should also wash your bottles before you do this so you can keep your tool clean. Use your cutter below the neck of the bottle so you can get the widest mouth for your glass. Be advised that glass cutters must be at a 90 degree angle to your glass so that it can cut properly, so make sure you’re not moving up the neck and making it more difficult to achieve this. Please follow the instructions on your glass cutter, and also use a test bottle first, so you’re familiar with using the tool.

You’ll need to “score” (make a continuous, light scratch) around the bottle and in glass cutting, the lighter the score, the better the separation, but if you score too deep, then the bottle will not separate. You also need to make sure not to go over your original mark either. As you can see, this is a fine art and it may take a couple of test bottles before you get the score you need. Your goal is to produce a continuous, barely audible scratching noise when making the cut. Apply a small amount of light oil to the cutting blade and holding the cutter securely in your hand, rotate the bottle until you’ve made one full rotation. You should hear a faint yet continuous scratching noise followed by a gravelly noise when you’ve circled the bottle entirely and ended up at the same place where you started your cut. Inspect your work: you should now see a thin, hair-like score surrounding the bottle.

Next is a hot/cold bath to use the power of science to help the scored sections separate. . The sudden temperature change will cause the bottle to separate perfectly wherever you’ve scored the glass. You need a pot of simmering water that’s large enough for the water to cover the score mark (with the bottle held upside down) and to not have too much water displaced so that it overflows. The same with your pitcher of ice water. Which should sit on the counter very close to your boiling water.

First, while wearing your protective gloves, submerge the bottle in the hot water so that the water covers the score line. Hold it for 5 seconds and then pull it out and submerge it into the ice bath for 5 seconds. Repeat these hot and cold baths until you hear a “pop” as the glass separates.  If you have done your scoring well, then it should be a smooth edge. If you haven’t it may be jagged or cracked. Please throw any of those out. They’re dangerous.

Safety is very important. You can use a deeper bowl if you need more maneuverability.

Lastly, before you can  use your fine creation, you need to make it less sharp so that you don’t cut your guest’s mouths as they drink from your masterpiece. Remember, safety first.  So here is where you will need your sandpaper. You can use the paper that came with your bottle cutter or you can use regular sandpaper.  Put some 60-grit sandpaper into a shallow bowl filled with water. Using both circular motions and rotations (like you’re putting salt on the edge of a martini glass), slowly rub the sharp edges of your new drinking utencil on the sandpaper. Always make sure you’re sanding in the water.  Sand the inner and outer lips as well – anything that will touch your lips. Sand a second time with 120-grit sandpaper to make your edges smooth so that your work of art can be used without fear of blood loss.

Image courtesy of College Envy

Also, it should be noted there are tutorials that will teach you to do this using fire. I recommend the safer method that doesn’t have the potential to burn down your building.

And voila. You can make a set for you. For your friends. For your parents. For your siblings. For me.

Happy crafting!

~Megan


A New Spin on an Old Record

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Ever since I can remember, my father has collected music. He has shelves upon shelves full of cassette tapes, 8 track tapes, CDs, DVDs, and of course, vinyl records. He’s the reason I often find myself drifting toward those stacks of lovely plastic treasure at the resale shops. It seems like I just can’t help myself! Sadly, though, there will always be some LPs that just don’t make the cut. Some are just so scratched, so warped, so beat up that that don’t play anymore. It’s probably time to let them finally have their well deserved rest, right? OR how about breathing new life into them with this amazing trend I’ve had come across my craft dashboard lately: vinyl record wall art!

The Chicago skyline on Chicago's greatest hits!

The Chicago skyline on Chicago’s greatest hits!

Some genius out there decided to upcycle some of their old vinyl and we get to reap the benefits! Whether you want to commemorate your favorite city (as pictured above) or immortalize your favorite album, there are plenty of options out there.

Now your poor copy of Thick as a Brick can live on...as a clock!

Now your poor copy of Thick as a Brick can live on…as a clock!

They aren’t limited to just bands, either. Think soundtracks or other fandoms and the possibilities are endless!

VinylArtStarWars  VinylArtLotRClock

I was very impressed with some of the fine quality art that a simple Etsy search turned up! If vintage is your type of thing, I highly recommend indulging in this super cool trend.

See you next Sunday and stay crafty!

~Laura

 

 


What About the Cork?

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Hello Thursday readers!

Since my last couple weeks’ posts were a little complicated, I decided to blog a DIY that is a little simpler and a little easier but by no means is any less cool. So if you are a wine drinker, or if you know a wine drinker – and I’ll bet a dollar that you do, then you’ll have run into the problem of the corks. Especially after a party, there’s corks lying around everywhere! I know that you have been searching for a solution to this problem since it began, but search no longer, for I bring you something awesome.

First, you need to stop throwing out your corks. That’s right, I want you to put them in a bag and start saving them.  You will need a frame, and you can either build a very simple one using wood from a hardware store, or you can find one in a second hand store or even buy one new. If you are building one from scratch, it doesn’t need to be fancy, though it can be thicker, which will change which way the corks are facing. I’m going to give you a tutorial for the easier version, with a bought/found/re purposed frame, that way, you can even feel great about recycling something. So you will need the frame, a glue gun and glue, a ruler and an exacto knife. As well as your corks.  I’ve taken this tutorial and it’s pictures from Makezine, but you can find many around the internet. I found this one had the simplicity and the recycling factor that I was looking for, so I thought I would share this one.

Your first step is to choose a frame and remove everything but the back board, which it is recommended that you glue into place so you don’t need to worry about it falling off. You will need to decide on a pattern to place your corks in. Simple and repetitive is the key. Take a look below.

Before you actually start gluing your corks, if you find that they smell of wine still and that you can smell it pretty clearly, you can treat the corks by soaking them in a mixture of water and vinegar for a couple hours, but be sure to let them dry thoroughly before using them.

Next is the fun part. You can start gluing down the corks onto the board in your pattern of choice. It’s recommended to start away from the edge as that will give you a more natural flow. Try to select shapes that work for your pattern. If you’d like to be more economical but messier, you can cut your corks in half to get more bang for your buck.

When you have fit all the full corks into your frame that you can, this is where you will need to carefully cut the corks to fit to the edge of the frame. The neater they are, the nicer it will look so don’t rush and please try not to cut your fingers off.

When you are finished you may have little globs that spilled out or that left a trail from your glue gun. Don’t worry. Just pull them off to clean it up. The corks should stay put.

Your last step, though it isn’t necessary, will help seal and make the texture of the corks more noticeable. A few coats of a clear gloss will do the trick.

And voila! You’re done. You can place this beauty in your own home or give it as a gift to someone you love very much, because you drank all that wine for this, of course.

Happy crafting!

~Megan