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11  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 45 ENTRIES / Ugly foam cooler and box to cool chameleon wall hanging w/secret compartment! on: December 02, 2009 06:58:45 AM
OK, I wanted to do something different, and I really LIKED the idea of turning a couch into a desk, but I couldn't fit one in my car! So, I went to the thrift store and looked and looked and looked, and came up with...turning these junky coolers and little wooden trinket box into a cool wall hanging with a secret compartment for my nephew! And, the price was right--coolers were $0.69 each and the box was also $0.69 so my total investment was $2.07.
After: and Before: .

It has a secret compartment, hidden in it, which is of course something designed for a boy to love:

How I made it:

1. Planning was easy. He likes lizards, so I went onto the Internet, downloaded and printed pictures of Chameleons, and then sketched on the coolers with water color pens.

2. Next I cut each part out using my hot knife (www.hotwirefoamfactory.com)--this is the tool I used the most on the project.

3. Now I started gluing. I got the glue from the same website, you need to make sure you use glue with foam that doesn't eat through the foam, and white glue never dries.  Sad You can use hot glue guns, though.

4. I let the glue dry overnight and then started carving--this is the fun part! I remove all the stuff I don't want. I use the freehand router because it lets me shape the blade and make cuts any way I want, so I can carve out the ribs and round out the edges. I love it because there is no mess.

5. Now I did the coating. I used Foam Coat, which is a hard cement coating. You just mix it up and paint it on. I wanted something really, really tough since it is going into a boy's room, and boys are hard on things. I needed it to be able to withstand being hit by a football or being knocked off the wall onto the floor!

6. I let the foam coat dry overnight. Final step was painting it. I just used acrylic paints. I just did it (the paint isn't really dry, but I took the pictures anyway to put this up!)

I spent about 5 hours total on this project--about 30 minutes at the thrift store, 30 minutes on the Internet, 2 hours cutting and gluing, 1 hour carving and shaping, 10 minutes coating and 50 minutes painting. (Well, I guess 6 hours because it took me an hour to write this and upload my pictures!) It cost me $2 at the thrift store, and maybe $1 worth of Foam Coat, and maybe $1 worth of paint, and my Hot Wire tools (but those were paid for a LONG time ago, I use them ALL the time!) so I would say the project cost about $4 total.
12  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Discussion and Questions / Re: Mural art--paint questions on: February 21, 2008 10:02:14 AM
I was thinking about something like that, but I didn't think the colors would be saturated enough. I think I'll go to the paint store and see what they have and can mix. Thanks for the advice!
13  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Discussion and Questions / Re: Watercolors on Canvas Panels?? [pics!] on: February 21, 2008 06:09:58 AM
Watercolor won't work well on this surface, at least not in a "watercolor" way, where you use the water medium to float and layer color. You could probably use them more like you would use acrylics if you have tube colors, laying them on thick. Or if your watercolors are in blocks, mix them up to a creamy texture and lay on color in swatches, very thick on the canvas, but let each dry and don't let them mix together (as you are correct, they would pool up in the channels and you would get an unwanted texture).

But, really, I would suggest you use acrylics or oil on this surface, or transfer the design to one more appropriate for watercolor.
14  MORE ART, LESS CRAFT / More Art, Less Craft: Discussion and Questions / Re: Mural art--paint questions on: February 21, 2008 05:57:47 AM
Good questions!

It is outdoors and will be in the sun, so light exposure is an issue. I'm creating the base from polystyrene foam with a coating of a hardened substance--a combination of a plastic "glue" and cement--that is used for architectural elements on buildings, so that has been well tested for durability. The color will be applied on top of this, then the whole thing coated with clear coating, once I figure out the paints.

The mural is high on a wall and cannot be touched. It will be about 32 feet wide and 8 feet high. Here's my design:

I know it is hard to see what it is in a small graphic like this. The key figures are whales, dolphins and seals. On  the right is the sea bed with octopus, star fish, sea urchin. Above is a pelican. Various portions will physically protrude from the painting to give it depth. If it was "touchable" I would have to rethink those elements because some might be too breakable.
15  REUSING/RECYCLING/RECRAFTING / What the heck can I do with THIS? / Styrofoam village on: February 16, 2008 09:09:08 AM
Ever wonder what you could make with styrofoam from packaging? I hate to throw it away.

My husband has a small business making craft tools for carving styrofoam into anything you want to make. It is a great way to use recycled packing foam from stuff you buy, and if you go to places like Sears with large items shipped you can often get big chunks of foam. The tools from his company (Hot Wire Foam Factory, at http://www.hwff.com) can be used to easily make displays for Department 56 village houses, like these:

Using a hot wire to craft foam is really not at all messy, unlike any other method of cutting foam. He's got a really big gallery of projects people have done and sent in pictures from, and descriptions of how they made stuff if you are interested:
16  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Re: how i love aunts that live in europe...spanish fan dress! on: February 16, 2008 09:04:32 AM
How innovative! I wouldn't have ever thought of using a fan in a dress! It looks beautiful on you, too. Good job!
17  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: Reconstructed / Re: Chanel and Tuxedo-Inspired Black and Cream Lace Dress on: February 16, 2008 08:57:20 AM
Very sweet! Might be a bit difficult to launder, though. It's difficult to sew lace to stretchy fabric, you did a great job making it lay flat.
18  KNITTING / Knitting: Completed Projects / Re: Snowflake Fingerless Gloves- Pattern Included! on: February 16, 2008 08:53:01 AM
I'm awed. I've never attempted anything with so much color in it--wow!
19  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 24 ENTRIES / Re: Utensil Roll - Saving the World One Fork at a Time on: February 16, 2008 08:47:30 AM
I love it! Not a bad idea for a business, either--get fabric (from used clothing) and flat ware from thrift stores and make completely recycled kits, sell them over the Internet? Hmmm...

Oops, sorry, I'm always looking for business ideas.  Wink My husband and I have had our own businesses forever and we're constantly thinking up new ones, it's a bad habit. I have had success in the past in making good money from my various arts and crafts ventures, though.
20  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 24 ENTRIES / Re: Making good choices--Mixed Media on: February 16, 2008 08:40:12 AM
It's a sweet and precious project. One that you can be proud of and look back on later in life to remind you of who you were at this time in your life. I've done several similar pieces from different times in my life--newly married, with young children, after the children left home--and I like to look at them to remind me of what was important to me at that time in my life. Keep it up!
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