Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Freebies: Pumpkin Carving Templates

While I was shopping at Kroger this weekend, I noticed that they already had pumpkins out. I was tempted to buy one but didn't look so good!  Here are a few free templates to get you started on your own carving.  Simply right click and 'save picture as...' then print them out.   Each of the links below also takes you to even more free templates.  Some time next week I'll be posting all about pumpkin and Jack o'lantern care and maintenance.  So check that out and keep your pumpkins looking fresh and spooky!

Monday, September 26, 2011

How To: Shrinky-dink Charms & Buttons

Oh the things you can do with Shinky Dinks!  Charms, buttons, and even pin heads are just a few of the things you can create.  They even have shrinky dinks now that you can send through the printer for a nice polished look.  For a solid background you can either use the frosted ruff n'ready or the new black shrinky dinks.  But if you want a transparent black ground they also come in  crystal clear.

STEP ONE:  Trace a line drawing from a previously created illustration or freehand a drawing right onto the paper.  You want to make sure you use a permanent marker, or else the colors will run when it goes into the  oven.  To add color you can also use colored pencils.  Many people have started using rubber stamps as well, but again, you MUST use a permanent ink.  I highly recommend StazOn.  It is a bit pricier, but it last much longer than other ink pads and you can virtually use it on ANYTHING (paper, plastic, metal, wood, glass, aluminum foil, leather and acrylic) without worrying about the colors running or smudging.

STEP TWO:  Cut out your drawing.  You can also use a die-cut machine or paper punch for a more uniform and clean cut.  If you need to cut out an interior, use an Xacto knife to make a cross then use manicure scissors to use away the unwanted pieces.  NOTE:  if you are making charms or buttons, don't forget to cut those holes as well.  Everything will shrink, so even the holes will become much smaller.  When in doubt, larger is better.  The average shrinky dink shrinks to a third of its original size.

STEP THREE:  Bake!  Preheat at 325 degrees F.  Make sure to use parchment paper to cover your cookie.  Watch your shrinky dink shrink.  This usually takes about 3 minutes.  Make sure that you have some chopsticks or some type of non-stick utensil incase your shrinky dink sticks to itself while shrinking.    Once you are finished baking, press your shrinky dink to make sure it stays flat while it cools.  Alternatively, you can use this opportunity to shape or twist your shrinky dink.  If you take your shrinky dink out of the oven too early, it may not flatten all the way, like the tree above.  However, you can just stick it back in the oven for a few more minutes and it will flatten out again.

As you can see, my charms have holes in them because I intend to link them together on a bracelet.

For more great projects using shinky dinks, check these posts out!

Kimanh @ Paper.Scissors.Wok has a great tutorial on how to make clothing buttons using shrinky dinks.  I credit her for my color choice of black white and red for my charms.  She also has a post on how to create decorative pin heads.

Click here to see my inspiration for my charm bracelet @

For the full tutorial, click below.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

You're Invited to Carve-a-thon 2011!

Join us every Friday in October for some pumpkin carving goodness!

To sign up, please leave a comment below with your blog address letting me know you want to join in the fun!

Just a few simple rules:

1.  Please link up to my page using the Carve-a-thon banner in this post or the one posted to the left.  I'll also add you to my list here so others can visit you as well!

2.  Every Friday in October, myself and others will be visiting your blog for some festive pumpkin inspiration.  Please post something pumpkin related: carving, decorative pumpkins, photos of last years or this years pumpkin you carved, treats made from pumpkins, pumpkin beauty secrets, wear a pumpkin on your head!  Ok scratch that last one!

In addition to posting your blog on the left, every Friday I'll post my favorites here and link back to your page!

The sky is the limit so have fun and get some spooky inspiration in the process!

How To: Make your own Vintage Spools and Thread Labels

If you are a serious crafter like me, you probably have tons of ribbon and thread laying around.  The worst part is they come on those ugly paper spools that take up so much room.  Its hard to find a place to not only store them but also access them quickly.  And...what if you loved all this beautiful ribbon so much that you wanted to be able to display it in a tasteful way?

I recently got so fed up that I wrapped mine all around small rectangles of card board.  I wanted to use those beautiful vintage spools you see in second hand stores.  But if you are anything like me, you probably wonder how something so small can cost so much!  If I need 30 spools and they cost from $4-$6 dollars a piece....just wow!

So I was thrilled when I came across these two posts while stumbling the other day.   Beth @ Home Stories A2Z teaches you how to make the authentic looking vintage spools that you see above.  And Cathe @ Just Something I Made helps you top them off with some amazing labels (see photo below).  With these two DIY yourself projects, you'll have beautiful vintage spools that you can use to show off all that ribbon that has been hiding in your craft closet!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Grab a Halloween Scrap Pack Before They're Gone!

Need a little inspiration to create your own amazing Halloween layout?  Start with the LPD Halloween Scrap pack.  This scrap pack is choke-full of stickers, die-cuts, chipboard frames, sticky Halloween ribbon and tape, and of course a great variety of papers!  Most of these items also have glitter, embossing, flocking, and foil features.  Get it here.

Head on over to the LPD shop and get yours today for only $10.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Halloween Freebies

Halloween is soon approaching and its time to get a little crafty.  Here's a little something to get you started.  Use this free clip art for labels, digital scrapbooking, halloween cards or invitations to your halloween party!

Step 1:  Right click and 'save as' to your computer.  Step 2:  Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

3D Collage Art

I LOVE making collages and as I've 'grown up,' my collages have become more sophisticated.  I started experimenting with three dimensional collages about 2 years ago when I made one of these for my sister's birthday.  Through much trial and error and a few of my students willingly acting as guinea pigs (really they loved really!), I finally figured out the best materials and, more importantly, how to make my collage structurally sound.

To start you'll need a few things:

+framed canvas OR corrugated cardboard OR cardboard from a cereal box (this works best for small collages)
+hot gun gun and glue sticks
+magazine clippings OR photos OR pieces of abstract art you create yourself OR scrapbook paper (the possibilities here are really endless)

The first step is to create your base.  This would be your canvas/corrugated cardboard/cereal box.  You can create a collage on your base or paint your base.  For this project, I chose to paint my base a solid color.

Next you want to work on your supports.  These are the pieces that will hold the 'floating pieces' of your collage out and away from the base.  Depending on the size of your collage, you will also want to make your supports aesthetically pleasing.  You have many options here.  You can paint your supports the same color as your base so they 'disappear.'  Make them stand out by painting them a contrasting color.  Continue your collage of magazine clippings right onto the supports.  Again, use your creativity and let your imagination run wild!

For smaller collages, the inside of the supports will not be seen.  So if you want to save time/effort/paint/glue/money, only focus on making the outside of your supports pretty.

To me this last step is the most fun.  You can build your floating pieces as you go or all at once.  Just remember that you will connect your floating pieces to each other, resulting in some overlap.  Go wild here.  Experiment with different shapes, textures, and colors.

Now its time to start building.  Let your hot glue gun warm up while you cut your supports.  Your supports need to be equal in length for each level that you build.  The shorter and wider your supports, the sturdier your collage will be.  If you are concerned about your floating pieces being too heavy, you can make an X construction with your supports to increase the soundness of your construction.

Lay out all of your levels, on top of one another to make sure you know where they will sit as you start to build.  Use a pencil to mark the place of each support to help you remember where each one goes and to prevent mistakes.  Now start gluing like crazy!  Glue your supports for your first level to the base at a 90 degree angle (perpendicular to the base).  It should not take long at all for the glue to dry.  Place your first layer of floaters on top of the supports to make sure they will be sufficiently supported.  This is the time to go back and add extra supports if need be.  If your floaters are well supported, secure them to the supports the same way you did the base.  Then build, build, build!  Repeat the above steps until finished.  Remember, the higher you build up your collage, the further it will stick out from the wall once it is hanging, and less structurally sound it will be.

Click below for a full video tutorial!

Here are the results of my student's alphabet-scavenger-hunt collage:

cutting supports

pre-gluing a floater

building the base

gluing floaters

 Ting doesn't like having his photo taken

drawing a base shape

layering the base and floaters

floaters waiting to be attached to the base
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