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11  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Miniature Aged Spell Book With (Cheaters) Picture Tutorial (Photo Obese) on: May 17, 2013 02:50:05 PM

I've been working on making some books for a roombox scene and thought maybe I should actually post a little something about the process I'm using in case anyone else wants to try it out. Above is the finished product, a book I made just for this tutorial - larger than my other books for photography's sake as I don't know where my macro lenses are.

A magazine that is glued - not stapled and the thickness you want.
A ruler
An Xacto knife
Tacky Glue
A clothespin or something to hold the book shut
Paint (various shades of brown and black and gold)
Material of some sort (I used a black kitchen clothe that had nice texture)
Cosmetic sponge
Paint brushes
A candle
A lighter
A crafters cutting board
Cardstock in any colour
Toothpick or something to spread glue
Gamer ink
Wood glue/cement

Grab your magazine, ruler (I recommend a metal one), Xacto knife and cutting board. Instead of making "signatures" and doing proper bookbinding, we're cheating. We're using the magazines already glued binding for the inside of our spell book. This does mean, however, that the pages won't be blank inside. If you need blank inside pages and still want to cheat - get yourself a notepad. The kind you rip the pages off and is glued at the top.

Using your Xacto knife (and ruler for straight edge), start scoring the pages of the magazine at the size you want your largest book to be. Remember that these are the inside pages and the cover will be a little larger. It will take a while if you're using a smaller knife like the one I have pictured - if you have a blade that has a large flat base, it will go by much quicker. I was dumb and didn't take a picture of that one, though.

Next, you're going to decide how tall you want your book pages to be and start scoring those pages out. The pages can get everywhere!

Then you've got your completed detached inside binding pages. Much quicker than making signatures and binding them and doing it by hand.

What I do next is take the "book" and line it up on some card stock. This card stock will be the base for the cover of the book. Leave a little on the top, bottom and each edge.

Then, using the magazine as a guide I mark the spine - it is VERY important to leave space in the spine on either side when marking the book so that it has space to bend, you're not just marking the magazine tight against the spine here - just leave a teeny bit of space. Then finish on the other side.

Take the ruler, using your lines as a guide and bend along the lines of the spine to create your cover.

It will look something like this...

What I do next is sort of roll the spine in my fingers to make it take a more rounded shape, like it's been sitting on the shelf for a bit.

Here I've cut out a bit of the dishcloth I want to use and have painted one side (the more textured side) a dark brown. The paint is from Dollarama...nothing special going on there.

Using Tacky Glue and a toothpick, I spread glue on each cover of the card stock but not the spine.

Place the cardstock on the non-painted side of the dishcloth and patiently wait for it to dry. I put some weight on it while I waited as I was afraid it might curl - you may want to do the same.

Once dry, I cut the dishcloth like so - make sure you cut the spots at the spine - I found it helps with the overall look.

This was a choice I made - and something you may not have on hand - I used wood glue/cement for attaching the dishcloth inner bits to the inside of the cardstock. It dries very quickly and once dry, that stuff is solid.

After it was glued, it looked like this - yours will probably look neater - hehe

I used the Tacky Glue to glue the magazine into the cover - next time I would probably only use the cement as it dries quicker and stays solid.

Now is when your art skills start to come in. I used about 3 different shades of brown paint (including the base brown) and a cosmetic sponge (shown) to get the paint on. You can go to the dollar store and get a pack of 24 for a buck - no big expense there. What I do when doing an "aged" look is start with the darkest colour and start dry brushing the lighter ones on. So dark brown, lighter brown, tan, etc.

Something I've also done is taken some black paint and a flat paint brush and dry brushed in, on both sides a black line where the spine would start on both sides, sort of exentuating it.

The next part is time consuming, smelly and can sometimes hurt. However - it looks amazing when you're done.

Grab your candle, lighter and incense. Light the candle and the incense. (Please excuse my paint covered fingers) Grabbing small bits of pages as shown with your lit ember incense (use a scent you like because you're going to smell it a lot!), roll and burn the edges of the paper. You're going to have to repeatedly re-light your incense, which is where the candle comes in. Just relight with the candle (rather than the lighter each time). It will take a while. Be careful. I burned myself a couple of times. The things we go through for the love of craft!

Don't let the picture fool you, it's actually a giant clothespin I bought in the craft section of Dollar Tree specifically for this purpose. Once you've burned all the edges of the book paper, your book is NOT going to want to close. Some of you may want and like this look - some of you may not. If you don't, not to fret, simply pin the book. I left mine for an hour or so and it was fine, but I left it overnight anyway just to be sure.

You can see here how the pages look once the book is closed.

For the most part, the rest is up to you guys and your own artistic and craftistic expertise! I used so many layers of paint on this, just going over and over with that cosmetic sponge it was crazy pants. Lining the edges with black, then tan, then black again. I also used something called "Gamer Ink" which you can get in hobby stores (I don't know that craft stores carry it, but I could be wrong). It's black and you mix it with water. It really adds to the aged look of the cover of the book.

For the symbol, I just used the alchemical symbol for "steel" and painted it with my teeny tiny (like pin-head tiny) brush in Game Color's "Polished Gold" - again, from a hobby store, not a craft store. I went around the edges of the symbol with some gamer ink and some dry brushed black paint as well.

And just because I haven't included one so far, here's a picture of the back - nothing special, just wanted to show it as well.

So have fun with it! Use some different colours! I totally want to try a red and a blue one!

If you've got any questions or if I've left anything out of the tutorial, let me know and I'll be sure to fix/answer. Hope this was useful....never done much in the way of books before, so go easy on me (please! lol)

Thanks everyone!
12  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Miniature Desk Refinished (picture heavy) on: May 15, 2013 12:27:47 PM

I bought some dollhouse furniture from the local flea market for $5 and this desk was among the "loot". It needed a lot of work before it looked like above.

The desk was missing two drawers, so I cut and carved two drawers out of basswood to fit that are not designed to open, unlike the top drawers of the desk.

The goblin in the background is "Cucumber" an antique goblin dude I keep my sugar in.

The drawers are glued on with a very fast setting wood cement that I now love. The handles are finishing nails cut down.

I did several coats of white paint on the desk so that everything was nice and even.

I started with a dark, almost black, brown and began to dry brush lighter and lighter shades of brown on top.

I love the colour but it just isn't popping and giving me the aged look I want...

So I end up inking in the crevices and am way happier with how it's turned out. (I used "Game Ink")

This is my first attempt at an "openable" book. I chose a spell book because I'm going to be working on a sort of "wizards office". The edges of the paper on the book are gilded with gold paint. The knot and writing are just painted freehand.

Also, I love this cage and might not even paint it because it already looks old and aged.

Just wanted to share - I love how it turned out, though the lighting doesn't give it justice, especially the inking. The inking looks much better in person.

13  CROCHET / Crochet: Discussion and Questions / Crocodile Stitch Driving Me Bonkers! on: January 28, 2013 08:53:20 PM
I'm not bad at crochet - I wouldn't classify myself as a beginner - perhaps Intermediate, but for the life of me, I cannot grasp the stitch I want to learn the most - crocodile stitch.

I've tried for quite some time focusing on tutorials on YouTube and I just can't grasp it - can anyone point me in the direction of a foolproof crocodile stitch tutorial? I want very badly to use this stitch all over crochet-land!

I've tried:

And my apparently thick skull just can't comprehend the turning part and where to go into next.

Please help?

14  CROCHET / Crochet: Discussion and Questions / Slouchy pattern for bulky weight yarn on: December 30, 2011 09:08:32 PM
The usual slouch hat pattern I use (http://crazysockscrochet.blogspot.com/2011/10/crochet-pattern-super-slouch-hat.html) does not, I have discovered, work very well with bulky weight yarn.

Does anyone know of a pattern that uses bulky weight (I used Bernats Roving in bulky) yarn that has an open copyright (ie. I can sell what I make with link back to pattern and/or creator) ?

Thank you Smiley
15  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Scrabble Coasters - Fantasy Edition on: November 08, 2010 06:18:41 PM
I made some coasters similar to these:  http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=222282.0  for a swap I was in and thought that my FIL would love something similar for Christmas, so I made him a set of 6 fantasy-themed scrabble-tile coasters, as he loves all things fantasy and magic related.

I used Weldbond glue, a glossy varnish and the base is a thin plastic-card.


^Ghoul, Harpy, Lich


^Demon, Drake, Elf


^Dwarf, Dryad, Faun


^Satyr, Frost Giant


^"Have at thee!"


^Chain Mail Helm
16  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Discussion and Questions / Metal Rings for Chain Mail Work? on: November 06, 2010 05:55:40 PM
Does anyone on here work with chain mail? If so, where do you order your rings from? I'm hoping to order some for my husband for Christmas and if I ask him where he normally gets them from, it sort of ruins the surprise Wink

17  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Cartoon Keepsake Boxes on: November 03, 2010 12:17:44 PM
I've been working on these boxes for a month or so - they're very relaxing to make. A mix of craft and art, I felt they would be best posted under miscellaneous.

The Gir Box:


The Lenore Box:

The Bender Box:

The Cheshire Cat Box:

...and that's it for now. I'll update this conversation as I create more keepsake boxes.
I'm considering putting them on Etsy, but I don't know what to price them at. Something for me to mull over some more, I suppose.
18  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Miniature Tudor Home (Extremely Image Heavy) on: September 29, 2010 05:34:55 PM
*drum roll*

This has been my project over the last two weeks, give or take a couple of days:

The house is a Tudor style wattle and daub structure. It's two stories, the bottom being smaller than the top. The bottom is a 3x3 inch floor and the top is a 3x4 inch. Each floor comes apart and is decorated inside. This means the house is "enterable", which also includes miniature stairs from one floor to another.

To begin with, the walls are made from foam core. You can get foam core from Dollarama in Canada if you want to go on the cheap (Maybe try Dollar Tree in the states?), but if you want a better quality, go with the Elmers foam core you can get from Staples. It will have a more secure top coating, will cut easier and straighter and you will end up with a better finished piece over all.

^ Here are the floor and walls after just being cut out.

^To keep the dimensions, I cut into the foam core, leaving only the paper bit remaining with an Xacto knife so that the walls can slide in easier. Here's what it looks like with all four:

^Before the walls go in, I do the floor - for this, I've used wooden stir sticks that I get from Party Packagers.

^When the floor is done, I take a black pen and add nail marks on all the boards.

^Then, instead of painting the floor (which you can do, I just prefer doing it this way), I take a stain pen (you can get them at Michaels, other craft stores and probably other home improvement places), here I've used a cherry stain pen. Something I would also recommend doing, though I forgot to do it here - is to first paint your floor black so that you don't see the white beneath. But that's me getting very picky.

^Here's the first floors walls up, and I cut out the area where I want a window to go.

^For the stairs, I cut out two pieces of foam core, measuring how high they needed to go and where in the house it would fit - and then used stained stir sticks, gluing them into place to create lovely wooden stairs.

^Here I've begun to use balsa wood as the wooden support and decorative beams of the house. I've also put "wallpaper" inside the house, which is actually a very pretty blue sheet of scrap booking paper with a nondescript design on it.

^The top floor slides into place on top of the bottom. I have covered the seams with balsa wood so it does not look like it comes apart.

^For this project, I did not want to cut out the windows and do it that way - so what I did was take small squares of cardboard, box it with round toothpicks, paint it black, and then paint the middle white, and then drawing a criss-cross pattern in black. And then on the *inside* of the house, where the windows would be, I made "curtains" out of a fat quarter of fabric I bought from Wallmart. I used a (painted black) toothpick as the rod for each curtain and simply glued them in place.

^ I used dried parsley as the ivy that covers the house - I will definitely use it again as it looks way better than flocking or static grass. It makes it look much more detailed as well.

^The completed stairs inside the house. They are not glued on, in case I need the stairs for another project.

And now for completed project pictures:

^And the roof is once again a cereal box, with some foam core, balsa wood beams, covered in long slits of more cereal box, painted with many coats and then flocking on top to look like a mossy older roof.

(My apologies if any of the final pics are a bit dark - it was thunder storming outside and I was taking them on the back porch)

I'm quite happy with it over all. At first I was just going to build a house for looks and not make it usable for D&D/wargaming, but the husband talked me out of it. Hopefully this looks okay Smiley

Feel free to ask any questions you have, post any comments, etc.

Also...I'm always up for some swapping Smiley
19  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Medieval Miniatures (Extremely Picture Heavy) on: September 18, 2010 05:36:20 PM
Now...if there's one craft above all others that I have more fun with and know I can do really *REALLY* well, it's building miniatures. I can do buildings as well as nature scenes and the nature scenes are probably my favourite as they don't take measuring and math as much, which I am terrible with.

These are built and designed for Dungeons and Dragons campaigns, and are on scale with D&D miniatures (people, creatures, etc.). These are MUCH much smaller than dollhouse scale.

Look for the Canadian penny in the pictures, as well as the Cultist for sizing reference.

First up is a Tudor style cottage. This was the first miniature building I ever built, but I still like it none the less.

^ The base is pink foam from Home Depot, which is more normally used to isulate houses. The walls are white foam board, the roof is popsicle sticks, the "rocks" are carved and painted pink foam again, the grass is static-grass and flock, the tudor style is made with wooden stir sticks, painted. The white wash is antique white paint with gravel and sand mixed in for texture.

^The ivy covering the cottage is made from tree stuff for model trains.

^The pink foam rock. Painted various gray shades and finished with white. Carved with Xacto knives.

^The inside of the cottage is floored with popsicle sticks, painted and carved. This makes for very large planked floors. The walls are sand and gravel paint on the bottom, with patterned scrap-booking paper on the top. While I have made some furniture, most of it I am not happy with and remains incomplete, so for now the house is empty. Working on this scale for furniture is *very* difficult.

^ The roof, as stated before - is popsicle sticks that have been carved, painted and stuck onto white foam board that has been painted black.

Next up is a jail. This jail is inspired by a jail in the oooold DOS game Ultima VII: Black Gate that I still love playing.

^ It's the same Tudor style as the cottage above. Many of the same techniques were used. The jail has no roof because...well, I hate roofs. They are complicated and you just have to take them off to see everything inside anyways. It wasn't necessary, so I didn't make one and have no plans of making one. So there. Nyaaaa Tongue~~~

Though, instead of stir sticks for the Tudor style, I used various thicknesses of balsa wood, which is much more expensive, but sooooo much easier to use.

^The windows are sliced stir sticks surrounding, and all of the black metal bars are black straw-like stir sticks. The tapestries on the wall are made from toothpicks and cardboard. The guard desk is made from balsa wood, the floor planks are popsicle sticks again, and Mr. Cultist has a new job!

^The jail walls and doors are made from black straw stir sticks. They are fastened to a thick plastic board that has been cut in strips. The stir sticks actually go *through* the plastic slots, which have been created via a scroll saw. All of the doors actually open and close - though they do not lock. But I highly doubt little plastic people are very inclined to try and escape.

Next is a forest hovel. There is a flat roof, but I couldn't find it while I was taking pictures. Essentially, this is the lowest of the low. The occupant may have a sleeping bag and a small table, but is essentially a hermits home. Dirt and grass, very basic.

^The base is pink insulation foam, covered in sand paint, flock and static grass.

^ Mr. Cultist sure has come down in the world, as you can see here. The walls are made of bamboo skewers cut and molded, the entry ways are lined with balsa wood. The ivy growing is flocking.

Next we have ruins. Mr. Cultists seems to have stumbled on some ruins - let's home he can find some treasure while avoiding goblin attack!

^Base is pink insulation foam, as are the buildings bricks.

^ The grass is static grass, the moss and ivy is various flocking colours, the rocks are small gravel pieces, painted; and everything is held together by lots and lots and lots of GLUE! I use Weldbond glue. It's the best multipurpose that I know of. Strongest I can think of as well. You can get it at craft stores or Home Depot.

^Many many different coloured coats of paint will give you a nice realistic looking finish.

^Another view

^Please disregard the dog hair. >< Argh!

And last but not least (and the most fun to make), is a ritual ground atop a mountain.

^Our Cultist has finally found his calling....being a cultist! (We knew he wouldn't last long as a jailer, right?) This entire base is pink foam. Every bit of it. I spent hours and hours carving it and painting it to look like a stone cliff or mountain and I am quite tickled with how well it came out.

^These steps took forever to carve. Like...seriously, forever. Because they are so small, messing up on these was far too easy, so you really have to go slooooowwww.

^Pink foam is not designed to be carved into or molded. It is designed to insulate your house - a purpose for which is just not as much fun as this is!

^And again I've used flock and static grass for the lush grass and mossy effect.

^This is what the full ritual ground looks like, assembled. Each piece is separate and does not need to be added if it is not needed.

^This is a black rune obelisk. It is pink foam carved, sanded and painted with some skull plastic pieces added on and painted.

^This stone slab structure is pink foam again. Yaaaay...pink foam!

^Front view of the stone slab structure. Please...ignore the dog hair. These have been sitting on a shelf in the basement for a while and I apparently didn't catch it all.

^And the stone and tile base for the ritual space is pink foam, painted and then a cereal box, cut into small squares creates this tiled look.

Aaaand....a sneak peak of something I'm working on:
This is a mausoleum for a medieval cemetery I'm building.

^Front of mausoleum. walls are white foam board, painted with VERY thick sand in paint and the flocking adds a mossy ivy. Roof is a cereal box made to look like roofing tiles.

^And the back view.

I'm very much open to questions and comments - I don't know of a lot of people who do this sort of craft Smiley
20  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Completed Projects: General / Quote Notebook (Very Picture Heavy) on: September 18, 2010 04:20:02 PM
This was for a swap over on Swap-Bot (which unfortunately looks like there may be quite a few flakers) where we had to make a notebook and fill it full of quotes in various categories for our partner. My partner had a nicely filled out profile and she absolutely loved her book (in fact she said it was the best swap package she had ever received!) which just tickled me bright pink.

I took a lot of inspiration from Teesha Moore's journaling style - I painted the pages with a watercolour paint first, then created borders out of scraps of scrapbooking paper, wrote the quotes in various colours via marker and then (and this is what took FOREVER) outlined every letter in black to really make them pop.

The book itself is cardboard cut from a giant waterheater box that is on our back porch at the moment. The spine is pink duct-tape and various types of cardstock are used throughout. It took me a while to make, and I kinda liked how it came out. It's the sort of thing I would like to receive, which is always important.

^(Her name is Nikki)

^Empty space to add her own quotes

c&C welcome and encouraged.

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