Saturday, December 26, 2015

Trinket Boxes

Things I Learned:
  • You get what you pay for. The smaller, inexpensive boxes aren't really the best quality. The other boxes were too big for my nieces right now though. If I were to do this again, I might look elsewhere for some similar size, but higher quality boxes. That said, with a little sanding, they came out fine.
  • Flockin' ain't easy. Well, maybe it is, but putting the unused texture back in the bag isn't. The person who originally told me about it suggested that I use a sponge brush to apply the adhesive (bottom left) so that there would be no chance of the brush shedding bristles. The guy at the store handed me some brushes and since he did that, I figured they would be fine for the project. Let's just say that I will be using a sponge brush next time. The actual flocking was fun though (bottom right).
  • Choose your images wisely. Google images makes it pretty easy to find images. If you're making a box with some kind of insert, make sure that you notice whether or not portions of it will be covered and leave a border if necessary. 
  • Choose your design strategically. I made the Minnie Mouse box first and discovered that it was pretty hard to paint different parts of the same section different colors. So both the box and lid had red and black. With the Frozen box, I made the box one color and the lid another color and it was a lot easier to get it painted. Also, I used holes from a regular hole puncher for the polka dots on the Minnie Mouse box. I should have tried stamping snowflakes on the Frozen one but it didn't occur to me until I had already used my star punch.
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This project had a lot of steps and wait time (mainly because of the painting and flocking). It was tons of fun though and my nieces loved them.  #missionaccomplished

Monday, December 21, 2015

Photo Canvas Transfer

So, you may have noticed that I tried to transfer a photo to wood with my boyfriend and the first attempt didn't go too well. The fact that I now have the gel medium and a ton of 5x7" canvases for other crafts, made me want to try the same thing on canvas which I have also seen on Pinterest. I also recently saw a pin where you use Mod Podge to just attach an actual photo to canvas. So . . . in the interest of blogging scientifically . . .  I did the same picture with two different techniques and blogged about the results!

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Here is the picture I started with and you can see how much I had to trim to get it to fit on the canvas without extending beyond it. After looking at the actual version from my phone, I noticed that a lot of it got cut off when I uploaded it and forced it to be a 5x7" on Shutterfly. I may start resizing my images using Lightroom in the hopes that they'll come out a little better.

I started by painting the sides of the canvas black. I bought those "cookies" at a place called Rockler Lumber. They're amazing! No more having to balance what I paint on a paper plate and hoping the item doesn't stick--or worse, balancing it on my finger/hand and hoping it doesn't fall.

Next, I put a layer of Mod Podge on the actual canvas followed by another layer on the photo itself. You can see that I got a little of the glue in some spots, but I didn't worry too much because I knew I would eventually add another layer to seal it.

The finished version is down below. (Please know that it came out better than it looks in the photograph.) 

I like transferring photos to canvas a whole lot better than I do wood. I really like the way it looks with the sides painted black. (I ended up doing the same thing  for two Christmas gifts.) This has made me think that maybe I could sell some of my photographs this way. I'm just worried that my photography hobby won't be fun if it seems like work. For now, I think I'll stick to just doing this for gifts here and there.


Science called. It wanted to know what happened to the other experiment. Look at the picture below (yes, I forgot to reverse it) and then let's never speak of it again.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Photo Wood Transfer "Project"

The boyfriend wanted to craft! Excuse me--I mean, the boyfriend wanted to do "a project."

Yesterday, while we were driving to dinner and I was talking about some crafts I wanted to make as Christmas gifts, he mentioned that he had seen a  photo transferred to wood and that he would like to do something like that for his mother this Christmas. This morning at breakfast, he showed me How to Transfer Prints to Wood: An Awesome Photography DIY Project and we talked about a photo that he had sent me for another craft that failed. (Future blog post!) Two hours later, we were at Michael's getting wood [insert adolescent male joke here] and the gel medium we needed. That's really all we needed for what we planned to do. That and a boning tool [insert another adolescent male joke here].

The Picture: We sized the picture to be as close to 8" x 10" as we could. Before printing it, we also made it black and white and upped the contrast because the site said to do so. He had already started applying the gel medium before I could take my usual nice picture of all the supplies. (He's not impatient or anything.) The picture below was the best I could do.

The Project: He applied a medium layer to the wood with a sponge brush (not pictured) and then placed the picture over it. He smoothed out as much as he could and then went to go lie down, leaving me with a few minutes to sit down and start typing this blog. 

The Outcome: We had to wait overnight for it to dry. When we revisited the project, we wet a sponge the way I saw in another video and between that and his fingers, my boyfriend did his best to wipe the paper away. As you can see in the picture below, he was able to pull off big strips of the paper. 
What we eventually discovered, however, was that there major areas where the photo didn't really transfer. There's a good chance that we didn't use enough of the gel medium, because subsequent videos on Youtube have shown people using a good amount of it and encouraging us to do so. It might also be because the wood was too soft. I watched a video with two British guys who had a similar result and commented that the wood was too soft. (Am I the only who thinks it's hilarious that "soft wood" doesn't work?) Then I watched another video, where the lady said to use birchwood because it has a smooth finish and will transfer the image nicely.

The pictures below show the project in various stages of "being done." While I had initially convinced my boyfriend that the some of the imperfections were perfect and part of the project, he eventually convinced me this was not something we could give his mother for Christmas. He started another one and I will either update this blog or do an entirely new one because I used the same technique and gel medium to try this on an actual canvas.

As fun as it was to "project" with him, I think I enjoy crafting solo a little better. My boyfriend is just as stubborn as I am and leaves my office/crafting room a mess. I can't complain too much though: the wet sponge he left on my long desk (not pictured) soaked through the bottom of the protective paper and ended up helping me take off some glue I thought was stuck on there permanently. Maybe I will let him "project" with me more often. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Melted Crayon Art

I have been waiting to post this because I didn't want to pin it until the birthday girl had actually received and opened her gift. Six months later, I STILL haven't given it to her, but I have been dying to share this post about my first time working with melted crayons!
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I have been wanting to try melted crayon art FOREVER so when I saw that a birthday was coming up, I decided to try it out and make a gift. I had 2 pins and a lot of ideas so after simply skimming some websites, I decided to jump in and do it.  After trial and error (the best teacher?), my directions are below, along with some notes . . .

Step #1: Assemble your materials. If you prefer bulleted lists, I have a more complete one below the picture.
  • canvas
  • crayons (the cheaper, the better?!)
  • cardboard
  • heat source
  • craft knife
  • stickers (optional) 
  • tweezers (optional)
  • newspaper/canvas to protect your work area

Step #2: Set up your canvas by applying the stickers. I chose to do a word, and I was really happy to see the letters I bought included lowercase ones. (I hate gratuitous capitalization!) You could also do shapes or even leave the canvas blank and simply melt the crayons on it.

Step #3: Choose your colors and line up your crayons. I've noticed some people choose to incorporate them into the art and attach them directly to the canvas. I chose not to so I taped them to a piece of cardboard. I ended up applying another strip of tape (not pictured). Some people suggested taking the crayon labels off and I do wish I had done that now. If you choose to do that, make it easier by using your craft knife to make a slit down the label--the longer, the better!

Step #4: Use your heat source to melt the crayons. I propped the canvas up at an angle (against a candle that I have in my office) and simply held the cardboard with the crayons above it. I used my embossing gun, but next time I might use my hair dryer so that I have different heat levels. 

Step #5: Use tweezers to remove the letters soon after you finish applying the heat. The finished version is below. Please keep reading for my second (and more successful) attempt.

Step #4 DO-OVER: Hold a peeled crayon over the wax and apply heat to melt it. Once you have some wax on the canvas, use the heat source to move it around. I actually found that some cheap crayons worked better than the name-brand ones. (You know what name I'm talking about.) Keep doing this and cover most of the canvas. If less really is more, than a few white spaces are probably okay. 

Step#5 DO-OVER: Again, use your tweezers to pull off the stickers (if you used some). The area may not have been perfectly masked, but I think this one of those projects where a little messiness is part of the beauty. (I suppose you could use white paint to make it perfect if you really wanted to.)

Step #6: Clean up the back of the canvas with the craft knife. The edges of my canvas had some drips and I left those, but I did get rid of the chunks of wax that had re-solidified where they had pooled. Be careful not to cut the canvas. If you are very careful, you could also use the knife to clean up the area that was masked. Again, be very careful.

Caution: I noticed I was creating smelly smoke while applying the heat. Knowing that crayons are in the hands of kids, I'm hoping it was non-toxic. I did feel a little "funny" while I typed up this blog so just to be safe, you should probably do this outdoors in a well-ventilated area.