Room for growth

Hey Everyone!

So I know its been a long time since I posted…. I’m not a very devoted blogger. My problem is not a lack of inspiration or creativity. The first problem is the time to do these crafts, the second is to find the time after to write the blog!!

Well lets get straight to it shall we! This craft was something I dreamed up probably 2yrs ago. The concept behind it was an old book that had been thrown out and started to decompose. As it started to rot a new tree started to grow out of the book-essentially a tree because of the paper. So it was based off the life cycle and products of a tree.

I got so many compliments on it, I have since made 2. One was for my sister as a present, and the other was for a charity raffle. The one I made for this blog was commissioned by my friend Courtney. πŸ™‚

 

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(The one in the picture above is the very first necklace tree that I made for myself! πŸ™‚

So to make this “Necklace tree” you will need:

  • Tin snips (or metal sheers)
  • Metal mesh (I found mine at Home Depot- its a type of subfloor 24″ x 48″??)
  • An old hard cover book
  • Some copper wire (I used 2 meters of 5 strand- if you want more branches than mine I would suggest 3 meters)
  • Some gloves
  • A screw gun (or something you can drill holes with)
  • Wire Cutters

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Step 1: Cut the metal mesh with the sheers into a strip approx 6″ x 24″ (24″ is automatically the width because of the sheet size)

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Step 2: Tightly roll the metal into a roll. I laid down a towel to protect the floor. I accidentally cut off a piece too big so I rolled it and cut off the excess.

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Step 3: Cut 4-5 slits in one end of the “tube” of metal and bend them out to create a base.

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Step 4: Cut a small strip of the mesh and wrap it around the top of the tree. Then cut slits in it and flare them out. This will create the “top” of the tree.

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Step 5: Using your glove squish the flared parts to create “mini” branches.

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Step 5: Cut varying lengths of the copper wire and folding back and forth and twisting it create branches. Leave enough copper at the end of the branch to be able to attach it to the tree, by bending it on.

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Step 6: Attach the branches to the top of the tree. There really isn’t a technique to this… its just kind of how ever you can mash them on there and get them to stay. Haha.

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Continue doing that until it looks something like this….

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I also added reinforcements aka copper wire that I ran up the tree and taped- just to give it some temporary stability. The hardest part about this stage is the tree is going to want to tip over because its top heavy without much of a base.

Step 7: Tear some pages out of your book and rip them in strips. As a note… don’t rip all the pages from one section of the book because it will look funny later. Just tear a couple of pages- skip a couple of pages- tear a couple of pages (You get the idea). You could use newspaper if you wanted… but the ink gets all “smeary” when you try to paper mache it. Plus I like the idea that this whole project came from one book.

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Step 8: Paper mache the crap out of the tree! (Mache is just flour and Β warm water mixed together until its the consistency of pudding). For your first layer just wrap and twist the paper around the branches so you cover everything. Let that dry over night and then do a second layer. The second layer is where it gets its strength. I couldn’t take pics of this stage because my hands were all covered in goo. But heres what it should look like.

***Do not use mod podge!!!***

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Step 9: Stain your tree! Using an OIL based stain and a rag (or brush if you want) brush on a thin layer. I used Varathane’s Dark Walnut colour. I like these little jars of stain because they come in LOTS of colours and are about $5 (again another a Home Depot special). I would advise wearing gloves if your the type of person who wears more of their dinner then they do eat it. As well I laid down some plastic so I didn’t end up re-staining the table. Haha. Who knew that my go to craft shop was a hardware store.

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Step 10: Open your book to the middle. Drill 4 holes in your book- BEING careful not to drill through the cover. 2 holes on either side of the page.

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Step 11: Wire the pages shut using a smaller gauge copper wire. Hot glue the wired clump of pages to the inside of the hardcover. Essentially making the book into one solid platform.

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Step 12: Trim the excess paper around the bottom of your tree, and hot glue it into the book covering the wire in the pages.

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Step 13: Using some left over paper strips hot glue them on the base of the tree and book to make it look like the tree is growing out of book.

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Voila!!

Step 14: Decorate with your favourite jewellery! I works really well to help keep your jewellery untangled as well. Below is the picture of the one I made for my friend with all her jewellery. πŸ™‚

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Well thats it! I also think they make great art, or book ends.

Let me know what you think below or if you have any other suggestions on how to use them! Keep it crafty guys!

-Pearl

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Not just your average photo collage!

Hi Guys!

Sorry for the mass posts lately, its just that I have a bunch of projects that I’ve already done that are lying around the house just begging to be put online!

So this project is pretty simple… I just bought a bunch of photo frames from a dollar store ranging from $.75- $2 (I wouldn’t spend any more than that because you need a lot of them.) I then just arranged them on the floor how I wanted them to look and began transferring them to the wall. I chose an A-symetrical design because then I will be able to add more photos later to it. The only difference between a regular collage and mine is that it wraps around the corner! What a perfect way to spruce up a boring hallway!

The beauty of this project is that NONE of the frames have to match and there are no rules! Also if you have ugly things i.e. a thermostat, or an intercom system you can kind of blend them into the collage, so you don’t see them as much!

In the last picture there is a silhouette of a little bird surrounded by a tan foreground… that is another one of my crafts that I have to make a post about. I’ll let you know when that gets posted.

Finally because I used dollar store frames most of them didn’t come with a hook on the back, and being that they are mostly plastic I couldn’t use a picture hanging kit because there was nothing to nail into. So…. pinterest here we go! I found a post about using a pop tab as a hook, but in the pin it said to screw it in. They could because it was a wooden frame, and they needed to because the weight of the frame. I sort of cheated and just hot glued the tab onto the back of my pictures. It worked like a charm!

Well…. there you have it! A little something to spice up that bland corner of yours! Plus you can add to it! Cool hey!

Let me know what you think down below, and any suggestions for future crafts!

-Pearl

Forget Silk Screening!

Hi Everyone!

So today I made my first shirt ever!! And when I say “made” I mean designed. I have sewn a lot of shirts and various other garments in my day, but today I played with paints! πŸ™‚

My brothers birthday is coming up on August 2nd and I really wanted to make him something that he would think is cool. But what do you make a 17yr boy? And it came to me in something that I pinned on pinterest. It was a T-shirt design.

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My only problem is I couldn’t figure out where to buy it because the pin ended up leading me somewhere else entirely! (Don’t you hate that!) Plus with his birthday is days away, and I couldn’t wait for shipping. So… what else was there to do except say… “I could make that!” So I surveyed my craft box and grabbed my car keys and headed out. There were a couple of things that I needed that I didn’t have.

First things first… you will need:

A T-shirt to paint on (I found mine at The Super Store for $8- I know that Michaels also sells shirts for about the same price)

An fabric medium for acrylic paint (I used GAC900 by Golden- I found it at an artist store)

A very fine paint brush, along with some cheap dollar store brushes in various shapes

Some acrylic paint in whatever shades you want (I got mine for $1 a bottle at the dollar store)

Some dishes to mix the paint in

A pencil

And some scrap cardboard

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Step 1: It is VERY important to wash your shirt first in very hot water. This will get rid of any starches or additives it has in it when it left the factory, and to preshrink it so your design won’t look funny after. Make sure to dry it on the highest setting afterwards as well. Once you have done that you are going to need to iron it to get our all the wrinkles (if there are any.) Trust me… you don’t want to try and paint over wrinkles- Nightmare!

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Step 2: If you are going to be putting words on your shirt you need to figure out what font and size will look right for your project. Print it out on some paper and slip it under your shirt in the location that you want it at. You should also at this time place the scrap cardboard in-between your shirt at this time. This will help give you a hard surface to write on, and later when you paint, will stop paint from seeping through to the back of your shirt. (You can see the cardboard in the shirt in the picture)

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Step 3: Trace your words on to the T-shirt lightly in pencil (if you are using a coloured T-shirt this might be difficult.)

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Step 4: Prepare your paint! Using your dish and acrylic paint, blend the fabric medium in with your colour at a 1:1 ratio. The GAC900 was about $14 for the bottle and I didn’t need to use very much, which is a bonus because now I can make tons of other things with it! I think it will be one of my craft box staples from now on.

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Step 5: This isn’t really a step but I was a little leery about the consistently of the mixture and was worried about it bleeding, so I tested it first on a piece of scrap fabric I had laying around. Turns out it didn’t bleed and was the perfect consistently! This was also good practice for me in how the brush would react with less or more paint. I would advise testing your designs first as well.

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Step 6: Begin to carefully fill in your designs! You will notice I said CAREFULLY because I wasn’t. Being the innate klutz I am, I had barely started when the brush slipped out of my hand when I when to reload it, and of course landed on my shirt. CRAP! I tried to use a pin I had found a while ago on how to get acrylic paint out of clothing by using rubbing alcohol. (Thats what the wet spot is around it) No luck… I think because it has a fabric additive; it did what the product claimed and stuck to the fabric. Well… being an artist… I’ll just blend that in later. I would maybe recommend laying paper over top of your shirt while you paint in the areas where you DONT want paint… just in case. Make sure to watch your hands to so that they don’t get paint on them and accidentally transfer to your shirt later.

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Step 7: For the blood design I needed it to look realistic so I mixed up 3 different shades of red, ranging from a burgundy to a slightly less bright red, to blend together. I then used a combination of brushes and in the end -my fingers to get the look I wanted. (I found the brush strokes to precise) At this point I used some of the red paint to cover up the black splotch I had made earlier from my slip. Oops! Oh well… it all worked out in the end. Sorry I didn’t take a pic at this point as my fingers were all mucky.

Also as a side note.. I find it really difficult to remember to stop and take picture of what I’m doing because I am one of those people who just looses themselves in a project, and is so focused that if a bomb went off beside me I probably wouldn’t even blink.

Step 8: I used a straw to help me create some realistic splatters along the edges of my design. I did this by sucking up one of the 3 colours -one at a time (just a little bit… you don’t want to drink it, or flood your T-shirt.) and then carefully blowing it onto the T-shirt. I would suggest that if you have writing on your shirt that you don’t want to get paint on that you cover it with some paper or something. Also make sure your cardboard is in place! I used a lot of paint in this area and it did happen to bleed through.

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Step 9: Lay it flat somewhere to dry. I put mine in the sun so it would dry faster. A piece of wax paper wouldn’t be a bad idea either on top of your cardboard in your shirt. Because there was so much paint, it seeped through my shirt and when it dried the cardboard had stuck to it. Luckily for me though the scrap cardboard I used was an old frozen pizza box and the inside of it was waxed to keep the food fresh I guess.

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Step 10: Iron, Iron, Iron! I guess depending on what type of additive to your paint you use it might have different instruction. The GAC900 said to iron over your design for 3-5mins on a high temperature.

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Additional Step 11: I decide to wash my shirt again after I had ironed it because I had used so much paint in the one area It had gotten a little stiff. Also this is a good way to test if your shirt is going to bleed and a good way to prevent it! I used 1/2c of salt and 1/2c of white vinegar in a pot of water that I had simmering on low. (Just so that little bubbles form on the walls of the pot but not enough to boil.) I then chucked my shirt it and stirred occasionally for 30mins. After that I dumped it all into the sink and washed in regular detergent (just to get rid of the vinegar smell) and dried it.

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Voila! A shirt that cost less to make that to buy! And if I do say so myself, I think looks just as good as the original! So forget expensive screen printing! All you need is a little GAC, some paint, and a little bit of a “can do” attitude!

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Let me know what you thought down below, and if you are a teenage boy if you would wear something like this. (I explained in my brothers bday card that I thought he needed something that he didn’t have to worry about getting dirty, and that let everyone know how awesome he is. Haha… He is always pulling stunts that leave him in the hospital.) And if you have any ideas on what fabric I should paint next send me a comment and I’ll make a post about it!

-Pearl