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1  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / 7 inch Light Up Safety Pin Christmas Tree ~~ Easy to do! on: December 08, 2010 10:22:57 AM
Light Up Safety Pin Christmas Tree

A couple of years ago I made these for all the ladies in the office.  They didn't have enough green beads at the time, so I went with white which I think gives off a lot of light.  I used a small light bulb that can be found in any craft store especially around the holidays.  To make sure it sits flat it is better to put the cord through BEFORE you finish the bottom.  Found that out the hard way. 

Here is the pattern I used.


Finished Tree

Close Up

From the bottom. 

Let me know if you have any questions!  Happy Crafting!

2  Archive of Past Craftster Challenge Entries / CHALLENGE 49 ENTRIES / Marilyn in Pink on: April 07, 2010 06:37:21 PM
This is my first contest entry.  I've always been fascinated by Sand Painting.  I don't have THAT kind of paitience but thought pasta may make a good medium for trying something similar.

For the project I used Pastina pasta, which are essentially tiny stars.  Recently I have been obsessed with pink and black so I went with those colors. 

I checked a lot of websites about dyeing pasta.  All had the same basic directions, rubbing alcohol + food coloring + ziplock bag + pasta = colored pasta.  The difference came in the amount of time the pasta remained in the solution.  Some said 10 minutes others 30 minutes. 

I did some experimenting and found that the amount of time it soaks doesn't matter as much as how much food coloring you put in.  I put the same amount of pasta, food coloring and rubbing alcohol in three bags.  I let them sit for 10 minutes, 8 hours, and almost 24 hours.  Each turned out the same color in the end.  The true color doesn't really come out until the pasta is completely dry.  I used rectangular baking pans with sides and wax paper to dry the pasta instead of cookie sheets because I was worried about the excess rubbing alcohol spilling over the edges.  My pasta dried in one piece but it was easy enough to break up with my hands when it was completely dry.

After the soaking time you drain the rubbing alcohol and place on cookie sheet to dry.  I usually did mine before bed around 11 pm and checked and stirred them before work in the morning (6:30 am) and by the time I got home around 5 pm it was completely dry.

I did a three-toned photo so I needed three colors but had real issues with getting the middle hue of pink.  After almost 2 boxes of trail and error, I finally came up with a color I was okay with.
Here are my formulas, I mixed the food coloring in the rubbing alcohol:
Light Pink- One drop of pink food coloring + 1 cup rubbing alcohol + 1.5 cups pastina pasta
Medium Pink- 1.5 cup of already dyed and dried light pink + One drop purple food coloring + 1 cup rubbing alcohol
Dark Pink- Eight drops of pink food coloring + 1 cup rubbing alcohol + 1.5 cups pastina pasta

This is the dark pink after I drained the alcohol.

Here is the starting image.

I used photoshop to alter to three tones and then made them pink.  This was great because it gave me a good idea of what it would look like when I was done and a color guide.

Here are two others I toyed with doing.  Einstein is a great example of one that wouldn't work too well unless you used more colors.

I printed the final photo in sections and taped them together.  I do have access to a large format printer but I wanted to make it so anyone could do it so I used basic letter paper.  I used blue painters tape so it wouldn't leave marks or sticky spots on the canvas.

I am not a great free hand artist so I used carbon paper to transfer the image to the canvas.  I taped the carbon paper to the canvas then the photo on top of it.

I traced it with a blue pen so it would show up against the black.
When I purchased the canvas I actually got two, so I put the photo I used to trace on the other canvas.  This was nice because the side by side comparison helped with color reference when painting.

I then went through and painted with acrylics the outlined shape.  I figured this would make it easier to apply the pasta and if there were some "spaces" they wouldn't be as obvious.  Above are the steps of each color.

After painting I used white school glue to affix the pasta to the canvas.  I found it easier to trace the outside of the area I was going to glue and then fill in.  Be careful not to create large globs or add too much glue.  When you put the pasta on top of the glue it seems to seep a little.  That is why I started on the edges slightly back from the true edge and worked out then inward.

I used a fan paintbrush to move the pasta around and "sweep" away extras.  I also used my fingers, and touched the pasta but was careful not to push it into the glue too deep.  Make sure the area you are going to add glue to doesn't have any loose pasta.  If you begin to put the glue down near that loose pasta it attracts like a magnet and creates huge glue globs on the tip of the bottle.  Very frustrating

For application I either used my fingers and sprinkled the pasta then pressed it down gently into the top of the glue.  For more precise areas I used "the soon to be patented folded piece of cardboard."  This is a nod to the monks and their method a grain of sand at a time.  I would load up some pasta as seen above and gently tap the sides.  To clean up or to form tighter borders around the pasta colors I again used the fan paintbrush.

I sent the pasta and glue overnight to dry.  I then used a 50/50 glue/water mix and poured it from the glue bottle onto the dry areas.  It was a little messy and it kinda reminded me of cereal in milk.  I used the corner of a paper towel to soak up the overflow.  When it dried it locked the looser top layers in place.

Final Product!

I thought of adding black pasta to the black areas but not sure exactly how it would change the look and I am currently very happy with the outcome.  Let me know what you think.
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