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1  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 97 ENTRIES / Chalkboard Bottles on: April 02, 2014 06:32:25 PM
After my first failed project for this challenge (which we don't speak of.  Let's just say it involved melted plastic and burned fingers), I decided I wanted to try something with bottles.  I looked around for different ideas and saw that some people made chalkboard bottles.  I wanted to try something like that, but fancier.  I got a hold of a couple of maple syrup bottles that had a nice shape and went to work, and eventually ended up with bottles with shaped chalkboards.


First I cleaned the bottles and removed the labels.  You can see the shapes that will be the chalkboard.  I had read that when painting glass, it can help to rough it up a little, so sanded it just a little bit to help the paint stick.


I gave them 2 coats of spray paint with this gorgeous turquoise I had on hand.


After that, it was time for the chalkboard paint.  You can find it in jars and sprays, but I used a spray.  I covered all the places where I didn't want it with painter's tape and plastic.


I ended up with this on the front:


And this on the back:


During handling and removing the painter's tape, some of the color came off.  I was going to touch up all the problem spots, but decided I actually like the slightly distressed look, so left some of spots untouched.  Still, it looked a little plain, so I added a twine wrap to the bottom and neck.


At this point they were done.  I could write some quasi-motivational nonsense on them...


But I prefer something a little more Whovian.


Or maybe something Browncoat.


2  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 95 ENTRIES / Old jeans to 40's inspired apron on: February 07, 2014 02:27:21 PM
One of my very first sewing projects was an apron refashioned from a pair of jeans inspired by this tutorial.  Of course, I had no idea what I was doing, didn't finish my seams properly, and it eventually fell apart.  That was a few years ago and I've come a long way.  Aprons are now among my favorite things to sew.  I have quite a collection of pretty, frilly aprons I made, but I needed something more rugged for heavy work, like scrubbing tile and gardening.  When this challenge came around, I had the perfect opportunity to revisit an old project.



The main body of the apron is made from an old pair of my husband's jeans that have been in the top of our closet for years.  The trim, straps, pocket, and cherry appliqué is made from a red fabric with white polka dots that was given to me by a friend from a project she had done.  I really wanted to get the polka dots in there.  Cherries and polka dots reminds me of 1940's photos, but I can't quite put my finger on why.

I cut off the leg, and cut it open along the back (as opposed to along a seam), and adjusted it to a basic apron shape.

The before:


The basic shape with a rough placement of where I want to put the pocket and cherry appliqué:


I placed the binding and straps, then the pocket and appliqué.

Pocket:


Appliqué:


And another action shot:


I really didn't love this project the first time I did it years ago, but this time around I'm very pleased with how it turned out.

3  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Pine Cone Wreath with Tutorial on: November 26, 2013 08:05:31 AM
I made this wreath last year, but after so many door openings and closings, and being moved around when I stored the Christmas decorations, some of the pine cones fell off and others settled so what used to be a full wreath had tons of room.  I made some new pine cones to fill it out for this year, and figured this would be a good time for a tutorial on how I did it.


What you'll need:
Lots-o-pine cones
spray paint and sealer
hot glue
wire coat hanger
wire, craft rings, paper clips, or other bits you can make into a small circle
ribbon and bow to finish

I took the kids to gather pine cones along a nature path (only fallen ones, of course).  But, since we live in a very sandy area, every pine cone is covered with sand.  I rinsed them off, laid them out to air dry for a few hours, then oven dried them for a bit longer on a low temperature to remove the rest of the moisture and kill any bugs.  I used a really, really low temperature, around the 150F mark.  If you oven dry, make sure you use a low temperature and don't leave it.  You don't want an oven fire.

After the pine cones are dry, spray paint them, follow with a sealer, and allow to dry.  You will have to turn the pine cones at some point, and don't forget the underside.


Next, take your craft rings or bits of wire and hot glue them onto the tops of the pine cones.  It doesn't matter if you get them centered.  They'll just lay differently on the wreath.  Don't be stingy with the glue, especially if you intend on using the wreath on your front door.  It will see a lot of shaking and needs to hold up to that.


Take a wire coat hanger, form it into a circle, and untwist the top.  Thread the pine cones onto the coat hanger through the loops in the top.


Arrange the pine cones as you go.  It takes more than you'd think.  When you can't get any more on, close the top of the hanger, make a final arrangement on the pine cones, and wrap the top and hook in a decorative ribbon.  Add a bow.

Ta-da!  If after a few days you notice the pine cones are moving around too much with the door opening and closing, you can add a bit of glue at different points to hold the pine cones in place.

4  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Pomander balls with tutorial on: November 25, 2013 08:56:48 AM
I love making pomander balls.  They smell so fresh and wintery, and are quick to put together.  The idea is that you put cloves into fruit, cover in a spice mixture, and allow to dry.  As they dry, they release their scent, and can last between a few weeks and a few years.

Here's this year's batch, but I'm sure I'll be making more.  These are tangerines and lemons.


What you'll need:
Lemons, tangerines, oranges, limes, or apples
Whole cloves (Cloves are rather expensive, but I found them cheaper in the international foods section of my supermarket instead of the spice section)
Spice mixture (think pie spices: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, etc.)

Make sure the fruit is free of dirt and dry, then stick in the cloves in any design you choose.  In the past, I've mostly covered the surface of the fruit.  This year, I went a little lighter.  If you are having trouble getting the cloves stuck in, use a sturdy toothpick, skewer, or other pointy object to make a pilot hole.  My toothpick kept breaking, so I used a mechanical pencil that had a very sharp tip.

Here's a lemon I've covered in cloves, pre-spice mixture.


After the cloves, I rinse the juice off the outside and pat dry.  I have no idea if this step is actually necessary, but I do it anyway.

Next, roll around in the spice mixture.  I like to put the spices in a large bag and shake it up.  Then knock off the excess.

You could go ahead and attach a ribbon at this point and hang it, but I'm going to lay mine out for a few days before hanging.

And, in case you are looking for proof that these dry, not rot, here's a photo of an apple one I made, oh...maybe 4 years ago?  I hung it in my closet as an air freshener and forgot about it.  The scent is long gone, but you can see that it dried, not rotted.  The color of the fruit is from the stain of the spices and drying of the skin.  It's not rotted at all and feels kind of leathery.
5  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 90 ENTRIES / Tiny Exploding Tardis "painting" with fabric on: September 03, 2013 09:07:36 AM
I wasn't going to do this challenge, but then I had a really fun idea to make Doctor Who's Van Gogh Exploding Tardis painting with fabric scraps.  If you aren't familiar with Doctor Who, you can see the original image here.  After 3 or 4 crafting marathons (totaling about 15 hours), I give you the mini Exploding Tardis!

The first photo is taken from a bit of a distance so you get the whole picture instead of the individual bits of fabric.


And now, some in progress photos!  Of course, working with bits of fabric I had to do it in layers, so I studied the painting to figure out what would go first and layer up from there.






And one for scale.  It's about 3" x 2".


And a closeup to see the details.  Lots and lots of little bits of fabric.  Eventually, I was just seeing blobs of color and had to ask my husband to check my work.  Kind of like when you say a word over and over and it stops making sense, except with swirly colors.


6  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / Shirred sundress with halter ties on: August 31, 2013 01:14:37 PM
I made this super simple, easy dress from some thrifted fabric.  It's still ridiculously hot here, and will be for another few months yet, so I decided to go ahead and make another sundress!  I've made shirred dresses that were just a smidge bigger than I am around (before shirring), and ones that were double my size.  It appears the best measurement is 1.5x your bust measurement (before shirring).


7  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / Salmon Tank with Lace on: June 18, 2013 10:18:23 AM
I've been making t's and tanks from the Ottobre 303 pattern for a while.  After I made a full bust adjustment and added a little length, they fit great!  Here is my newest salmon colored tank.  To add a little flair and to keep it from being too plain, I added some white stretch lace around the neck.  Something about it kind of reminds me of Anthropologie, but I'm not sure why.



And a close up of the lace.  Shh...some uneven stitching.  I won't tell if you won't.

8  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Super Simple Tank Top Refashion on: June 06, 2013 03:40:27 PM
I tend to sew my own t-shirts because with my bust, a lot of shirts just end up too short.  Even if they fit in the store, after a couple of washes they get shorter, even if I'm careful with their care.

I have this lime green tank top that I've only worn a few times.  It's way too short.  I also had some scrap of this adorable bird fabric.  I used it to lengthen the shirt and added a small bird applique.

Here's the before:


And the after:


A closer look at the applique:
9  CLOTHING / Shoes: Completed Projects / Cheap flip-flop refashion with mini tute on: June 06, 2013 03:07:21 PM
Around this time of year, tons of stores are selling rubber and plastic flip-flops for $1-5, but the plastic part that goes over your feet hurts me.  Like, a lot.  I have scars from the last time I attempted to wear ones with the plastic.  A couple of years ago, I started grabbing up a couple of pairs a year and refashioning them.  Sometimes I cover the plastic, sometimes I remove it and replace it with something else.  Here is my first pair this year.  For this, I wrapped the plastic so it doesn't make contact with my foot.



For this project, I used strips of scrap fabric, and this stuff I found.  I've tried to use hot glue in the past, but it didn't work very well.  This stuff seems to hold pretty well after the 24 hour cure time.


First, take a little bit of your scrap fabric.  Cut it down so it is no taller than the toe part, but long enough that you can wrap it a few times, but not too many.  If you wrap the fabric around the toe too many times, it will be too wide to fit between your toes comfortable.  Use a bit of the glue/adhesive (you should probably use gloves for this) to attach the end of the fabric, wrap tightly around, and add more glue underneath the end.  I also took a Q-tip and rubbed some of the glue across where the fabric ended to tack down the edge.



Next, you are going to attach the end of a long strip of fabric to the end of where the plastic foot portion starts.  Tack down with glue the same way you did the toe.



Start wrapping around the plastic foot portion, making sure you overlap a little each time you go around.  Keep the wrapping tight.  When you get to the end, tack it down with the glue underneath the ending edge, and a little more over the top to get the edge where the wrapping ends.  If you'd like, add a bow, flower, or other embellishments.



Done!


10  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 69 ENTRIES / Angry Birds Playset on: December 06, 2011 08:37:17 AM
My kids (4 and 7yrs) are just nuts over Angry Birds right now.  First off, credit where credit is due.  This project was inspired by one I saw at Obsessively Stitching: http://obsessivelystitching.blogspot.com/2009/01/make-it-for-you.html  I loved her project, but I made a few key changes.  First, I used a different material.  She used fleece, I just used craft felt.  It's cheaper, and if my little ones destroy it, then it cost me about 50 cents in materials and I can just make another.  It's not as stretchy, though.  Second, I didn't appliqué the pieces the way she did.  She sort of sewed extra on and then cut away the excess.  I just appliquéd pieces that I pre-cut and attached with a satin stitch.  Third, some of the sizes were adjusted.  Forth, any tiny pieces (like eyeball dots) I hot glued on, as my sewing machine would eat it.  I also did an extra zig zag edge stitch on the inside seams to give it a little extra sturdiness, since they will probably be thrown around quite a bit.

So, here we go, this year's Christmas present!  First, a couple of group photos.



And here is another shot of the big pigs.


And the baby pigs.


Red and blue birds.  And by the way, I swear the blue bird bottom is even.  I think it got squished when I was hiding them from the kids.

Same birds, different angle:


Black and yellow (all the same birds, different angles).


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