Monday, October 31, 2011

11 things to do with an old dictionary { inspiration file }

Yes, dictionaries can be repurposed into beautiful objects of art.  Take a peek!

  1. Decoupage a focal wall { source:  Apartment Therapy }
  2. Whip up some paper flowers { source:  Junk Shop Bride }
  3. Wear your words { source: Silver Trumpet }
  4. Craft a wonderful wreath { source:  Just Drink a Coke }
  5. Create some silhouette art of your pets { source:  Crafted Niche }
  6. Transfer an image onto a melamine plate { source:  Black Barouque }
  7. Make some quirky and lovely 3D art { source:  Celadon Home }
  8. Make a beautiful butterfly mobile { source:  Royal Buffet }
  9. Punch out some thank you or gift tags { source:  Crafty Clementines
  10. Refinish a dresser { source:  Mod Podge Rocks
  11. Print a vintage image out for some instant art { source:  Black Baroque }  

    Saturday, October 29, 2011

    Lampshade transfer { inexpensive DIY shade }

    I'm all in to transfers lately.  Mostly because they're an inexpensive way to make something ordinary, look beautiful.  My latest project was an image transfer on to a lampshade.

    I've been wanting to do this for a while, but I really get nervous, and lampshades aren't cheap if you mess up.  I saw a few tutorials about using Citrasolv, but I didn't go that route.  I started to freak out about the long term affects of having a chemical sitting on a shade that would be heated.  I've had some experience with Citrasolv and the smell is very strong.  Supposedly that comes out once you wash the item, but you can't wash a lamp shade and I didn't know how long the chemical smell would linger. 

    I also wasn't too sure about the type of lampshade that would work best.  I love drum shades, but I worried that trying to get an image on a curved surface may distort it.

    Anyway, here is what I learned about adding transfers to lampshades.  Please leave a comment and share if you have any tips too.

    I started off with a very ordinary lamp shade that I got for $5 from a discount store.  The important thing here is that the shade is completely fabric.  There is no inner plastic liner in this one.  This was important to my success, and I'll show you my craft fail later in the post to prove it.

    Next, I found an image on etsy and purchased a digital download.  I chose a bee motif from Graphique. I'm a big fan of their images, prices, and quick service.  I printed the image out on Avery light fabric transfer paper with my ink jet printer.

    I cut around the image leaving about a 1/8" margin around the design.  I set my iron according to the transfer instructions and stuffed my shade with towels.  Heat and pressure are what makes the image adhere to the shade.  The towels give you a little extra backing and when you need pressure, and you can put your hand in and push from the back protected by towels.

    Going slowly, I ironed on the transfer.  Pushing from the back and pushing down with the iron as much as I could, keep ironing until the paper is easy to pull off and the image remains { below }.  It will start curling and almost start to come off itself.  Take your time.  This takes longer than you think because it's tough to apply pressure.  I put a transfer on each side of the shade.  Here's a tip:  I started with an "all over" iron to set the design so it wouldn't shift.  I then focused my iron on a few inches of the transfer at a time and worked from one side to the other.

    Now on to why it's important to use a fabric shade with no liner.  Here is my craft fail with a fleur de lis design.  I melted the shade liner { below }!

    Here is my finished product.  The large inside areas on the image have a slightly different sheen due to the transfer.  When you turn the light on the shade, you cannot tell.  (Sorry I forgot to take a pic with it displayed on a lamp that was turned on). 

    I didn't have, and haven't heard of, any issues with transfers on shades melting.  I wouldn't use a 120 watt bulb in the lamp just to be safe, but if the transfers require very high heat to set, I'm confident they can handle a 40 watt bulb over extended periods of time.

    Thanks for stopping by!

    I'm linking this up to: 

    Friday, October 28, 2011

    Silhouette art tutorial { inexpensive art DIY }

    Silhouettes are hot right now, and I wanted to share this awesome tutorial from Under the Table and Dreaming.  Stephanie took old bargain bin canvas paintings and reinvented them into awesome two tone silhouette art.  Buying a canvas painting no one wants is a cheaper way to purchase canvas than buying blank canvases at the craft store...genius! 

    Please visit Stephanie's blog for the full tutorial on how to make these lovelies.

    { photo:  Under the Table and Dreaming with Stephanie Lynn }

    Thursday, October 27, 2011

    A beautiful fall wreath { inexpensive wreath DIY }

    Here is a great way to repurpose kraft paper for the fall - make a wreath!

    I found this beautiful wreath over at the Happy Clippings blog and have been smitten ever since.  This was originally posted as a spring wreath, but I think it looks great for the fall too.  Pop on over to the Happy Clippings blog for the full tutorial.

    { photo:  Happy Clippings blog }

    I've pinned this one on to my "Crafts I Simply MUST Do" board on Pinterest and hope to get to it soon.

    Tuesday, October 25, 2011

    Owl art and two free printables - DIY

    I went to the Craftsmen's Classic over the weekend.  It's a juried craft show where most of the artists are from the east coast.  While I was there, I met a talented photographer who owns Slonina photography.  I purchased a great matted owl photo and he now has a home in my office, watching over me as I work.

    I love owl art, especially around this time of year.  Owls have the most piercing eyes and they just seem to be able to look inside you.

    A few weeks back, I made some owl prints for my space in a local antiques shop.  They're extremely simple to do, and you can repurpose some frames that you already have or purchase them from discount retailers (Home Goods, Marshalls, ROSS, TJ Maxx).  Whenever I'm in any store, I run to the frame aisle.  Sometimes you can find really great deals on clearance items.  Buy what you can and save them for a project like the one I'm about to show you.

    First, I scanned in one of my vintage images.  I also highly recommend The Graphics Fairy if you need copyright free vintage graphics.  I won't get in to copyright here, but make sure the image you're using is your own, you have permission, or it's copyright free.  I'm using Audubon prints and encyclopedia images from the 1800's and all images are copyright free.

    In Adobe PhotoShop Elements, I made the background transparent, removed the words, and trimmed up the image. Next, I digitally added a coffee stained high resolution textural background.

    Next I resized the image.  I had an 8 x 10 frame and wanted a 1" card stock border around all sides, so my owl image was 6"x8". I printed the image out on my ink jet printer (or you can get a laser print made) and used dimensional foam tape so the owl image would sit up a little above the background, creating a shadowbox effect { shown below }.  

    That was really it!  Quick, framed spooky Halloween art.

    Aside from putting the pictures on top of a cardstock "mat", I also used dictionary pages and made some pictures of bones for Halloween { shown below }.  I played around with the sizes of the pictures and mats, but found I liked the brown card stock and dictionary pages best.

    I have two printables you can use if you'd like to make similar owl art.

    Happy Halloween!

    I'm linking this up to:

    Sunday, October 23, 2011

    Mini canvas art project { inexpensive art DIY }

    Lately, I've been attracted to art that's either huge, or really tiny. Giant canvases really fill up a space and I feel like you can really inspect each piece of the artwork.  Similarly, I love small artwork because it requires you to interact with it and really inspect its intricate details.

    I found some cute 2.5" x 2.5" canvases at Wal-Mart (land of the cheap craft supplies) and I knew I had to snap them up.  What I would do with them, I wasn't sure, but I knew at $4 for the duo (just $2 per canvas and easel set!!!), I had to have them.

    In short, what I did was printed out a favorite saying and decoupaged that on the canvas.  For the white canvas prints, I painted the sides black.

    Here is the more detailed tutorial using MS Publisher, if you're interested...

    I'm a novice at photoshop, so I used MS Publisher for this project. First, I created a blacksquare that was 3.6" x 3.6". The front of the canvas is 2.5",and each side is .5" wide. This gives me enough to wrap up the sides aswell. You could just put an image on the front and paint the sides; reallywhatever you want to do.

    Next I created a second square that was 2.5" x 2.5". At this point,you can fill that second square in black or white and change your font color toblack or white depending on if you want a white canvas with black letters or ablack canvas with white letters. It was easier for me to visually see the whitebox with black letters and change it later on.

    To make sure both squares are perfectly aligned horizontally and vertically, Iwent to the Arrange menu, then Align or Distribute, then Align Center. Then Iwent back and went to Arrange, Align or Distribute, and then to Align Middle.

    Now go to the white box and right click, selecting "Add Text". Typeyour text in. Now you can play with fonts and sizes until you find somethingyou like.

    It's important that your text isn't sitting right at the margins of the canvas.So you can right click and go to "Format AutoShape". Now go to the"Text Box" tab. Your vertical alignment should be middle. I usedmargins of .25" on the left, right, top and bottom. Hit OK. Now my sayingisn't hitting the margins and there is nice white (or black) space all aroundit.

    Print out your image. I'm lazy and just use my inkjet printer and I haven't hadany problems. Yes ink will smear if try to reposition things several times orget globs and then try to wipe them off. If you think you may be a littlemessy, just take the file to your copy shop or your work (oops, did I just saythat?) and have a laser print made.

    I positioned the saying in the center, put a thin coat of matte mod podge onthe front of the canvas and placed the image (right side up) in the center. Ithen covered the image with wax paper and used my brayer to smooth things out.I did an envelope fold for my corners and glued the sides as well.

    I put a thincoat on the top of the image and all four sides set aside to dry.

    And here is a grainy picture of the result!

    *Note, if you're doing a full black background with white lettering, this iswhen your inkjet print is most likely to smear. Let your inkjet printout fully dry before you do anything (I waited a 1/2 hour).  Just work carefully, use thewax paper when smoothing anything out, and wash your hands. My hands lookedlike I'd been playing with an ink pad, but the project itself didn't smear.

    Friday, October 21, 2011

    My seven lucky and unassuming crafting tools { tools }

    I love it when craft tools can do double, or even triple duty.  I must have a million craft gadgets and supplies, but I find myself reaching for the oddest things when I'm making something - like the time I solved the mystery of punching holes in paper ornaments by using a cake tester, or when I was making a hundred magnets and organized everything in a cupcake tin.  Here are my favorites, which have become part of my crafting tool box.

    1.  The straight edge razor blade seems to be handy when I need to quickly cut something, and it's so handy for scraping paint or glue off of flat surfaces.

    2.  Good ol' baby wipes are perfect for quickly wiping up dripped paint or glue, wiping up over spray, or removing an oopsy, before it becomes one.  I keep baby wipes all over the house for runny noses, to pick up messes, and help wipe counter tops...not all in that order       : )
    { photo:  keetsa }

    3.  In a pinch, I use a credit card or old plastic gift card like I would a bone folder.  It burnishers, helps score, and can help you maintain straight lines.
    { photo: Microsoft clip art gallery }

    4.  I couldn't find anything that would thread ribbon through a small hole for some ornaments I made. Enter the cake tester!  This baby is strong and can help reach places that my fingers and other tools just can't.

    5.  I love using bamboo skewers when I'm doing any kind of sewing project.  They're especially great for pushing corners out when making pillows.
    6.  Baking tins are great for organizing large quantities of small things.   They provide great access to items (much better than screwing off the tops of tiny jars and tins every few seconds).
    { photo:  Add More Beads blog }

    7.  Wax paper always provides a great non-stick work surface for me when I'm doing crafts, especially when gluing or working with Mod Podge.  If something is accidentally glued down, I find the wax paper gives instead of tearing off the paper, which saves A LOT of heartache on paper projects.

    What weird (non-traditional) gadget do you find yourself reaching for when you're crafting?

    Thursday, October 20, 2011

    A cool train station bench { inspiration file }

    I work at The Old Lucketts Store in Leesburg, Virgina a few times a month as well as take pictures of the shop and post them weekly.  The store offers endless inspiration, and truly unique examples of recycled and repurposed furniture.

    I wanted to share an awesome bench I featured on their website this week.

    The owner purchased an antique train station bench.  She painted the bench and added a utilitarian fabric to the seats and back to make it more comfortable.  The result is a wonderful three seater bench that would look perfect as bench seating in a dining room, entryway or large living room.

    Here's what the bench likely looked like before the redo...

    { photo:  The Arts and Crafts Society forums }

    And here it is after some new life was breathed in to it...

    { photo:  The Old Lucketts Store }

    Wednesday, October 19, 2011

    No sew image transfer pillow { inexpensive DIY pillow }

    I've wanted to do a pillow transfer for quite some time now, but I was feeling paralyzed looking at all of the transfer methods out there.  A good entry level transfer for me was the Avery printable transfer sheets.  My second dilemma is that my sewing machine is buried in my basement; so I needed a no sew option to make a quick pillow for a friend's birthday.

    Unless you have a huge craft stash, you're going to need to buy some supplies.  I used canvas fabric from IKEA, a pillow form / old pillow, Avery light fabric transfers, iron on fusible webbing tape, your computer & printer, an iron, assorted ribbon / trim, and pins.....whew, breathe!

    As far as images go, there are lots of free ones out there and in the public domain.  Pick an image you like and edit it or resize it however you'd like in your graphics program.  FLIP the transfer image in your program and print it on your ink jet printer.  Trim the excess paper up to the image, leaving at most 1/8" margins.

    I use Avery's transfers for light fabric (product #3271 so there's no confusion).  I've used them successfully on t-shirts, canvas bags, and pillow covers.   This product allows you print with your inkjet printer and iron the transfer on light fabric.  If you're using dark fabric, Avery makes a transfer for dark fabrics, and it's usually sold right next to the light fabric transfers.  I've purchased my transfer sheets at Staples and Wal-Mart.

    I got my 12"x16" pillow form from Joann Fabrics (with a 1/2 off coupon!).  You could just as easily use an existing pillow you don't like or find one at the thrift shop.

    My fabric was a lightweight cotton canvas.  I'm usually very precise with my measurements, but I totally eyeballed this one and it turned out okay, so I was thrilled.  My pillow was 12"x16" so I put a 1" seam allowance around all the edges, so my front piece was 14"x18".  (Tip: you may want to iron down your 1" allowances before you involve the fusible tape, it will make your edges more crisp and easier to work with).  I folded each edge over 1", and sandwiched the fusible web inside, ironing the seams down according to the directions. I then put my transfer face down and ironed it on to the center of the pillow cover.

    For the back, I wanted my pieces to overlap so I needed a few more inches on the horizontal sides.  My two back pieces measured 11" wide by 14" high each.  Again, I ironed a 1" seam allowance using fusible tape.  Finally I lined up my front and back pieces (bad sides touching), ran another line of fusible tape around all the edges and ironed them together.  The back should have a nice overlap now.

    Now it's time to add your trim.  I pinned both my fusible tape and my trim down framing the image.  Use the edge of your iron to iron down the trim.  Work carefully, especially if you have rayon trim.

    Carefully insert your pillow form, and voila!  You're done!

    This post took me longer than it took to do this project, although I regret I didn't take more pictures in process.  I've started to write a more comprehensive post about image transfer techniques and will be posting that shortly.  There are so many ways to transfer an image (some are washable / some aren't; some involve chemicals / others don't, etc.) that I've spent a while trying to navigate that monster, and I'll share my tips in another post.

    I'm linking this up to: