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1  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / Day Of The Dead Christmas Nutcracker (Written Tutorial) on: December 05, 2013 03:50:59 AM


I recently made this nutcracker for SweetYetEvil, my partner in the Christmas Stocking Swap:
http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=427490.0#axzz2hVVDFaMj

And, I made him for LESS THAN $2 WORTH OF MATERIALS! Here's how you can do the same:

1) Purchase a wooden nutcracker at Dollar Tree, or another discount or thrift store.
2) Strip the nutcracker of all accoutrements, including beard/hair, etc.
3) Spray paint nutcracker FLAT BLACK (Walmart 97 cent brand).
4) Paint details with acrylic--whatever style you like.
5) Seal nutcracker with clear gloss spray paint (Krylon).
6) Once dry, glue on beard and hair...I used faux fur I had, but you could reglue the same hair it already had if u saved it from step #2).
7) Glue on any ribbons or additional items Smiley

Here's more shots of the one I made:











Thanks for looking!
2  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Discussion and Questions / Mod-Podge-ing UNPLAYABLE Guitar, Mounting On Wall to Display: Thoughts? on: August 01, 2013 01:56:33 PM
So, I found an acoustic guitar at Goodwill for $30, it needs serious bridge repair among other issues...
After a bit of research and consulting with a couple knowledgeable people, it's clear that it would take time and money to get this guitar into playable shape...then there's the time it would take to LEARN TO PLAY...and expense of the whole thing...

Oh, what the heck, I'll just make it into an art object!  Grin

I have been looking at pictures of other altered guitars online, and here's my tentative plan:
--lightly sand guitar to remove shiny finish (ventilated area)
--decoupage entire guitar with papers and ephemera using mod podge, and finally, acrylic sealant
--embellish fret-board with oil paints
--adhere small, light found objects with crazy glue
--build a small shrine, and set it INTO the hole in the front of the guitar (most excited about this step)
--mount for wall display

But here are the questions coming up for me:
--what is the best way to sand this thing? do i NEED to sand it?
--WHERE and HOW should the wall mounts go in the back?

Anyone on here ever attempt a similar project? How would/did you affix the guitar to the wall? Products you used on it?

I don't care anything about "damaging" the guitar, but I do want the finished art object to be sturdy and long lasting....

I am even thinking of re "stringin" the guitar with yarn or pretty thread once the surface is decorated and the shrine is set inside....
oooooo....i have a battery-operated string of tiny LED lights that I can hide inside if a put a hole in the back, which could illuminate the shrine....

i just got a WHOLE lot more excited about this thing  Shocked
3  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Beatific Bald Goddess from Discarded Thrift Store Doll on: August 01, 2013 09:57:32 AM
Hey everyone--forgive the mediocre pictures in this post; I can't get my camera to capture this piece properly...oh well   Undecided

Here's something I made recently: a bald goddess/icon to watch over my apartment...made her using all thrifted supplies, plus a small mini canvas I bought:



Her backstory:
About 6 months ago, I was very obsessed with art dolls while I was doing the Junker Jane Swap.
So, I was buying up any dolls, or parts of dolls, that "spoke to me" at the thrift store.
Here's a pic of the "bald goddess" when she was still a tiny, ugly little ornament/doll I bought at Goodwill:
(she's the doll in the middle)



So, I tore her clothes off  Roll Eyes removed any decorations, and found that beneath her tiny Dylon wig, she had a beautiful bald head.

After rotting away in my "to-do" bin for several months, she was grabbed out, wrapped in ribbon, embellished with paint and found objects, and glued to a small canvas:



The other materials I used on the canvas include:
--a giant bag of mardi-gras type plastic bead necklaces (hot glued down to form the background "mosaic")
--gold spray paint
--acrylic spray paint
--a small tin baking dish (hammered flat on one side to form her "halo")
--beads, copper paint, wire edged ribbon, decorative ribbon around the edge, etc
--pipe cleaner to "bulk out" the legs
--wooden beads for the feet (each toe is a bead)
--HOT. GLUE. high setting for strong bond.

Basically, this piece was all about hot glue  Grin



4  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 89 ENTRIES / Ten-Minute Art Deco TIN EARRINGS! No sharp edges! :) on: August 01, 2013 09:15:08 AM
I was on a 6-month Craftster hiatus (busy with work), and the only thing I missed more than Swaps were the CHALLENGES! So, here I am, back with another fun tutorial:

TIN FEATHER EARRINGS that you can make in 10 minutes, with stuff you probably already have, and which won't give you any SCRATCHIES  Cry because the "tin tape" is backed with soft vinyl  Grin
Plus, they are suitable for vegans, or others who do not use feathers due to allergy or preference!

Here's a close-up of what the finished earrings will look like:



And here's what you will need to make these earrings:
--"Tin Tape" (I used ShurTape brand)
--a scrap of faux leather or upholstery vinyl
--scrap paper for template
--dry erase marker for marking the tin tape
--scissor
--pin
--two earring wires



First, coat one side, and then the other, of your vinyl with a long strip of tin tape. Make sure the tape lines up on both sides (ie: you have evenly coated front and back with tin tape):




Next, using a paper template you have created, and a dry erase marker, trace off two "feathers" onto the tin-tape-coated vinyl. If your feather is asymmetrical, be sure to flip template to get "mirror-facing" earrings:



Once the earrings are cut out, draw a center line down each with the dry erase marker, to give yourself a guideline when cutting the "fringe" of the feathers:



Begin cutting in from the edge TOWARD the center line (NOT thru it) on an angle...the spacing and angle of your cuts are largely a matter of personal preference...do NOT cut all the way TO center line...leave a thick "rib" down the middle, like a feather would have, for stability:



Once you've cut in from both sides of both feathers, use your finger or a tissue to wipe away the dry erase marker guidelines. Then, poke small holes at the top of each earring with a pin, and thread an earring wire through:




You will notice that these earrings are SUPER LIGHT, quick and cheap to make, they catch the light beautifully, and NOT SCRATCHY (somehow, the vinyl backing makes for a nice rounded tip on each fringe, even though BOTH sides are tin tape)....

I made my quite large, but you could really do any size you like:



YAY for awkward, unflattering selfies!  Grin

INSPIRATION DISCLOSURE: Though this project is completely my own design, I DO think I got some inspiration from a crafting book I read a couple years ago, The Big Ass Book of Crafts by Mark Montano...
In that book, he uses HUGE sheet of metal, and strong tin-snips, to create large "feathers" to decorate your home in vases, etc. His feathers were just made of jagged metal, and so could never be used for jewelry, but nonetheless, I am sure his project was inspiring my subconscious mind when I created these earrings  Kiss

His book is awesome, and can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Big-Ass-Book-Crafts-Mark-Montano/dp/1416937854
5  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / TRANSFORMED: Thrift Store Cloth Doll into ARTSY KITCHEN WITCH GYPSY on: January 09, 2013 04:37:33 PM
Okayyyy...so, joining the Junker Jane Swap has given me DOLL FEVER!

I went to the Goodwill yesterday, and bought up some crappy cloth dolls in need of a make-over.
Using one of the dolls I bought, a tacky little "country angel" type thing, I crafted all day today and transformed her into this:



But wait! Get this: the doll started out looking like THIS: (drumroll, please!)



What would possess me to buy such a thing, you might ask? First, it was only $1.00, and second, it had these really cool little "laces" stitched onto the front of its feet. From that one detail, it knew it was meant to be re-born.
Here's a better shot of its feet; it is sitting with other dolls that will be recon-ed very soon:



PROCESS:

--I stripped the doll of all its accoutrements: cut the dress off, threw out the twig-wings (  Roll Eyes ), and generally stripped it down to its bare body. This was not hard; it was mostly held together with hot glue.

--I also washed it by hand, and put it through the dryer. Here is was when it was all clean and ready to be crafted:



RECON: I basically just crafted in frenzy all day. Here's the essence of what I did:

--Hot glue ribbons and fabric to the dolls body to make clothes.
--Paint the face with acrylic, after shaping a bit with stitches.
--Replace its arms with steel wire and seed-beads (thanks for the idea, LovesClutter!)
--Crackle finish.
--Make and glue on "wig" made of this great yarn I got at the Dollar Store...PLUS, the yarn is acrylic and nylon, so it's VEGAN, yet looks like wool!!!
--Wrap wire to define doll's "waist" and create a loop on back for hanging.

Here's more shots of the doll. It is over a foot long; one of the pics shows the doll near large tarot cards on the wall to help with scale:









And the little shoe laces detail which first drew me to the doll, and which I preserved:



Thanks for looking! C&C and questions welcome Smiley

#######EDITED TO ADD:

UPDATE ON THE DOLL:

a couple weeks after posting this last summer, i was contacted by a woman in the UK (i am in US) who titled her message with "Your Doll Looks Like Me!"...long story short, a friend of hers had been searching craftster, and stumbled on my doll, which apparently looks a lot like the woman (Ginger).

anywho, Ginger arranged to buy the doll, and I packed her up for her long trip across the pond. I asked Ginger to send me a pic of her WITH the doll, but she never did Sad

but somewhere, the doll is living a new life!!!
6  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Completed Projects / My First Art Dolls: Tips and Tricks TUTE from Doll-Making Newbie :) on: January 08, 2013 07:18:08 PM
Hey everyone!!! I recently participated in the Junker-Jane-inspired doll swap, and in gearing up to make my first real "art doll", I did TONS of research, learned a lot through trial and error, and generally had a blast. My swap-mates really liked the doll I made, and seemed interested in some of the techniques I used, so here is a very informal (written) tute...no real "process" photos, so if u have questions or just need clarification, just post in the comments section.

Also, I HIGHLY recommend u visit the site:
http://clothclaydolls.ning.com/
You DO have to pay to access the content, bit it's only $8 or so for the year, and I learned A LOT!

Here is the Junker Jane inspired doll I made:



And, the JJ-Doll had a friend, the "practice doll" (see explanation below):



BASIC ASSEMBLY PROCESS:

--Gather some non-stretch woven fabrics to make the base of your doll. I used scrap linen from a thrift store dress, but any linen/cotton/silk/woven would work.

--***SAVE A PIECE OF YOUR MATERIAL TO USE AS A "TEST" SWATCH FOR ALL PAINTS OR FINISHES U WILL APPLY TO DOLL. Having a test piece of linen prevented me from RUINING the doll when I accidentally bought the wrong crackle finish.

--Draft your pattern on paper. Lay on fabric, and cut out. Sew right-sides-together, clip and turn, and stuff and assemble doll (arms should be kept as separate pieces until very end). THIS IS YOUR PRACTICE DOLL. Now, decide if u like how the pattern shapes up. Make revisions to pattern, cut out and sew once again: THIS IS YOUR "REAL" DOLL.

--You should have a body with head (one piece), with legs attached. Arms will be put on practically last.



EARLY SURFACE TECHNIQUES:

--You need to prep the doll to receive paint and finishes: SEAL DOLL COMPLETELY WITH CLEAR ACRYLIC GESSO (LIQUITEX BRAND). Apply one coat, let dry. Apply another coat, let dry. Repeat until u have 3 or 4 coats of gesso on doll...allow about 24 HOURS DRY-TIME between coats.

--SAND doll with very fine grit sandpaper (what u would use on polymer clay; can be found in auto repair shops)...400 grit or higher. Sanding with result in a silky smooth finish to the dried gesso. Doll is ready to receive paint.

--Paint the doll using acrylics...create a striped shirt, basic facial features (as seen on my "practice" doll), stockings, anything. Always test on scrap fabric, let dry between colors, and be bold!



FINAL SURFACE TECHNIQUES: DISTRESSED CRACKLE:
(JJ doll has crackle, "practice" doll is left with naked acrylic paint job)

--To achieve the crackle finish on my doll, only ONE crackle product worked properly (always test on scrap fabric):
"DECO ART: ONE STEP CRACKLE: CRACKLE FINISH". Others were gummy on scrap, did not crack, etc.

--How to: on a completely dry and clean doll, apply a generous coat of Deco Art crackle with a wide flat brush. Work quickly...do NOT keep brushing or smoothing the clear liquid, u will disrupt the crackling.

--A few hours later, when crackle has dried, it looks like shiny "crazed" glass with webs of cracks all over. Perfect!

--Mix brown or black, or copper, acrylic paint with water until u have a wash about the consistency of milk. Working in small sections, brush this dark watery wash over sections of the doll, and IMMEDIATELY wipe away with a slightly damp dish towel. The "stain" will remain in the cracks.

--The doll does not need to be sealed in any other way.



OTHER MATERIALS AND EMBELLISHMENTS:

--There are LOTS of materials used in these dolls: JJ Doll: eyes are made of polymer clay and attached with crazy glue, center chest ornament is a bottle cap and vintage button, rubbed parts with Rub N Buff Blue Patina, skirt made of wire edged ribbon, bits and stuff everywhere...

--The main goal is to do what YOU like, use the objects around you, and experiment

Hope these tips are helpful! Smiley



7  TOYS, DOLLS AND PLAYTHINGS / Toys, Dolls and Playthings: Discussion and Questions / Baking Cloth "Stuffies" in the Oven? After Painting with Espresso? on: December 10, 2012 06:58:11 PM
Hi--

I am about to make my first cloth doll as part of the Junker Jane swap once I get my partner (yay!), and so I have been researching some art doll and stuffie techniques...

I came across something cool and strange, and I am curious if anyone on here has tried it:

A crafter was telling me that she makes cloth dolls, stuffed, sewn, and all painted with acrylics, and then paints them with a wash of strong espresso and cinnamon. Then, she puts the dolls in the oven (low temp, i guess) to kind of bake in and "set" the stain...

anyone try this stain? anyone put dolls in the oven?

thanks Smiley
8  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / Polymer Clay Christmas Ornaments: Nautical Steam Pirate, with BRIEF WRITTEN TUTE on: December 07, 2012 05:42:30 PM
Sometimes the best inspiration really does strike at the most unexpected moment:

I sat down last night to make an ornament for a friend/fellow polymer artist that I am doing a private swap with. I was planning to make a flat ornament shaped like a bird. Yet, before I even knew what I was doing, I grabbed a vintage red glass ornament from my ever expanding "To-Use-Soon" craft closet, and began covering with polymer clay. After some experimentation, and a whole lot of patina, here are the results:







To make your own:

--Cover glass Christmas ball in thin sheets of polymer clay, blending edges of "joins" with finger tips
--Once whole ball is covered, use a pointy tool (needle, paint brush handle) and, "stabbing into" clay, swirl around and outward to create jagged "barnacle" holes.
--BAKE
--Paint entire clay surface with Sophisticated Finishes copper paint (real bits of copper in there).
--IMMEDIATELY follow with SF's Copper Patina solution (green) as per the directions on bottle.
--You are DONE!

Happy Holidays Smiley

9  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 81 ENTRIES / Thread Mache Mask: Using Only Thread and Glue! JUST THREAD IT, with TUTE! on: December 04, 2012 07:02:06 PM
As a mask-maker, I KNEW I wanted to give myself the challenge of creating a mask using THREAD for the Just Thread It challenge. Here's what I came up with: a "thread-mache" mask that uses only black crochet thread, Elmer's glue, gold wax paste, and a little ribbon and elastic (which are made of thread mostly!)





Close-up detail of the mask, to show thread texture:





YOU can make this super-easy mask as well...all you need is patience for drying time! And the following supplies:
--1 plastic mask face from craft store
--some crochet thread or ANY OTHER THREAD (thick is better and faster)
--Elmer's Glue All
--scissors
--Treasure Gold Wax Paste (the faux gold leafing type stuff, comes in a tiny circular jar)
--elastic and ribbon, hot glue gun



First, you need to cut the thread into a bunch of short, even-length strands...this is much easier if you wind the thread around something (I have used a small picture frame here) and then shimmy it off and cut both sides...u will know what I mean when u do it Smiley


(you can see the tiny jar of Treasure Gold in this picture here: up near the top inside a round cookie cutter)

Next:
--Make a mixture of 3 parts glue to one part water in a disposable tupperware.
--Grab a hank of threads, and dredge through the watery glue.
--Lay across the face in any pattern you like (I created a kind of basket weave, celtic knot, over-under kinda thing...this only "came" to me after several tries doing other patterns I did not like. If you wanna imitate my pattern, just refer to the photo...or, try creating your OWN pattern--that's the fun of it!)
--Keep adding glue/water soaked clumps of thread until you create a pattern you like:



As you can probably tell from that picture and the next, after the pattern is done, u wanna squirt EVEN MORE GLUE over all the strands, adding extra at any joins or overlaps...don't worry, this stuff dries crystal clear.



FOR THE FIRST 3 OR 4 HOURS: keep adding new glue whenever it looks like it has all soaked in. I used 3/4 of a bottle on this project.

FOR THE NEXT 3 DAYS: Let your mask dry until it is BONE-DRY...u will tempted to take it off and try it on: don't! You CAN move things along with a warm hair dryer...but the mask needs at least a couple days to dry!

FINALLY: Carefully pry the mask off the mask form. This is a time to added any needed glue (and blow dry it), etc.

FINISHING: Hot glue gun two pieces of elastic onto either side of mask. Wrap with matching ribbon (and more hot glue) to hide the elastic join.

ADD GOLD: Rub some Treasure Gold on your finger, and pass over the mask, highlighting the thread-y texture.

Enjoy! Show me your thread masks too--have fun crafting! Great to wear to a ren-fair or something! Kinda looks like leather--nice and cruelty-free leather!  Smiley






10  POTTERY, CERAMICS, POLYMER CLAY / Polymer Clay: Completed Projects / Polymer Clay Wreath: Shabby Chic Nautical Stars, WITH TUTE! on: November 29, 2012 12:30:56 PM
I needed a holiday wreath for our front door (fast), and the inspiration for this project hit me.
It's a bit of a quick-and-dirty, held together by a glue-gun-and-a-prayer kinda number, but I think it should do nicely for the next month or so!





The key ingredient for this project is a bunch of polymer clay stars. I made these for a craft fair I worked recently, and though a lot of them sold (yay!), I was still left with a TON of stars. With the holidays nearing, I figured I needed to put the stars to good use.



TO MAKE THE STARS: Roll out a sheet of white Sculpey (the cheaper stuff in the large package) on the thickest setting of pasta machine. Using a star shaped cookie cutter, cut out the star. Using the dull edge of a blade, lightly impress the edge onto the star to make the "nautical" pattern: point to opposite corner, with little "slashes" along one edge of the star. Then, distress with acrylic paint, powders, etc...sand for a nice finish, etc etc BAKE!

ALTERNATIVE: Unless you already have the stars made, making these stars turns this afternoon project into a bigger undertaking. Feel free to substitute polymer clay ornaments that you already have, or flat store bough ornaments. Anything flat will do.

BEGIN ASSEMBLING WREATH:

Using a charger plate or other round object as a template, lay out the stars, making sure you have enough, and working out an order.

Then, working around the arrangement, hot glue gun each star to the next, stacking them in a scale-like arrangement:



Next, flip over the star wreath (which you will notice is somewhat flimsy; this is reasoning behind this next step), and glue gun some popsicle sticks around on the back. Place them in such a way that they anchor all stars to one another, and create a sort of supportive backing:

(confession: i hate the schlocky look of popsicle sticks here...i feel a subtle shame...but it was the quickest easiest way. colored popsicle sticks might give a nicer look:



Add a decorative bow using wire edged ribbon:



Proudly display your new wreath using a plastic wreath hanger:





NOTE: Polymer clay does not survive well when left in direct sun for long periods of time, even once it has been cured. Therefore: use a budget-friendly clay, and be prepared that this wreath may only be a one-season type deal. This is why using polymer ornaments you already have, or store bought flat ornaments, makes sense.

Questions: let me know!


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