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1  MASTER CRAFTSTERS / Elmer's Products / Christmas Tree Wall Art - featuring Elmer's products on: November 01, 2012 11:48:07 AM
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* To see the overview of this Master Craftsters campaign, click here.
* To read more about the tools and supplies used in this project, explore Elmer's website here.

Christmas Tree Wall Art - featuring Elmer's products

  • Picture frame for 3.5" x 5" picture
  • Elmer's CraftBond Permanent Dot Runner
  • Cardboard
  • Elmer's CraftBond Permanent Scrapbooking Tape
  • Elmer's Precision Embellishment Glue
  • Elmer's CraftBond Gel Pens
  • Wood Stain Pens (Golden Oak and Mahogany)
  • CraftBond All Purpose Glue Stick
  • X-ACTO X3252 Designer Series Gripster Knife
  • Crystal Snow
  • Book Pages
  • Painter's tape or masking tape
  • Elmer's Painters Bright (optional)

This project started with a $0.50 picture frame that I picked up at a thrift store and a desperate need for some Christmas wall art.

I knew I wanted a simple and vintage design -- I started in Illustrator:

(You can download the two-page pattern at the end of this post. You must be logged in to access it.)

Once I had finalized the design, I took two sheets of standard printer paper and used blue painter's tape to affix pages from an old book (an old law book that was another thrift store purchase) -- this makes it easy to print onto the book pages. Now, I've never had the blue painter's tape get stuck in my printer (can't say the same about duct tape), but this probably isn't a manufacturer recommended process, so use at your own risk.

Once printed, I used wood stain pens to age my design.

I then used Elmer's CraftBond Permanent Dot Runner to run lines of "sticky" on the striped page. The Dot Runner is super easy to use and makes a line approximately 1/4" wide (the same width as the red and white stripes). Once I had the page prepped, I sprinkled on the Crystal Snow and tamped it down. I decided I wanted some "clumping" of the snow, so I rubbed the Dot Runner lines with my thumb. This pulled the glue up a bit (it is a tape-like strip of glue) -- I sprinkled on more snow, did some more tamping and there, I had my clumps.

I set the striped page aside and began working on the tree. I used Elmer's CraftBond Gel Pens to doodle ornaments and garland. These pens are fabulously sparkly and easy to use. As a non-glitter person, they're perfect -- just the right amount of shine with none of the mess of loose glitter. I then used the CraftBond All Purpose Glue Stick to glue the tree to a piece of scrap cardboard.

Initially, I intended to glue the tree directly to the striped background, but once I had the pieces in front of me, I decided I needed a bit more depth. A small piece of scrap cardboard and Elmer's CraftBond Permanent Scrapbooking Tape to the rescue.

I spent some time sanding and re-staining the frame -- I also added miscellaneous spots of paint (to add to the distressed look) with an Elmer's Painter's pen. (The great thing about the Painter's Pens?  No paintbrushes to clean up, an excellent perk.)

I then glued the piece into the frame and Elmer's Precision Embellishment Glue was perfect for getting into the groove of the frame -- no need for applying dabs of glue with a toothpick -- very nice.

2  MASTER CRAFTSTERS / Elmer's Products / Christmas Matchbox Wrappers - featuring Elmer's products on: November 01, 2012 11:45:58 AM
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* To see the overview of this Master Craftsters campaign, click here.
* To read more about the tools and supplies used in this project, explore Elmer's website here.

Christmas Matchbox Wrappers - featuring Elmer's products

I've offered matchbox wrappers for download on my blog, but the offered designs are seriously lacking Christmas spirit. Which is sad given how often we want "just a little something" for a gift or stocking stuffer.

So I'm correcting that now.  Cheesy

Wrapped matchboxes make the perfect size box for stocking stuffer baubles and are an easy project for kiddos who are making up inexpensive pressies for for classmates.

Using the wrappers is easy-peasy.


  • Matchbox
  • Matchbox Wrappers
  • X-ACTO Knife or Precision Scissors
  • Elmer's Craft Bond Stick Glue
  • Elmer's Precision Embellishment Glue
  • Heaviest grit sandpaper you happen to have on hand

Optional Supplies
  • Wooden Clothespins
  • Elmer's Painter Pens, Elmer's Gel Pens, Wood Stain Markers, Stamp Pads, Acrylic Paints
  • Beads, brads, rhinestones, etc.


Print and cut out one of the wrappers (see the download link at the end of this post).

To prep the matchbox, remove the "drawer" and peel the outer sleeve apart at the seam.  Use the sandpaper to scuff up the the painted/coated side of the matchbox.

Use the Elmer's Glue Stick to glue the painted side of the matchbox to the back of the wrapper.  It's important to get this step correct, because otherwise you end up decorating the inside of the box sleeve.

*knowing nod born of experience*

Allow time for the glue to dry. So many people don't think stick glue needs to dry and barrel on ahead -- those people end up with buckled and torn paper.

*knowing nod born of experience*

Re-glue the seam using the Elmer's Embellishment glue (the seam gets a lot of pressure from the drawer moving in and out and needs the stronger glue).  For projects like this, you just can't beat using wooden clothespins as clamps.

For the simple version, that's it, you're done.  Or you can use the extras included in the PDF file to add dimension and detail to your wrapped gift box. In the top pic, the matchbox on the left is "wrapper only"  and the matchbox on the right has been embellished with additional cutouts, Elmer's Gel Pens, stamp pad inks, and beads.

I even used one of the included graphics as a template for a simple clay ornament that fits perfectly inside the matchbox.

Here are the eight designs included in the download at the bottom of this post. (You must be logged in to access it!)

3  MASTER CRAFTSTERS / Elmer's Products / The Happy Hippie Shack - featuring Elmer's products on: November 01, 2012 11:43:39 AM
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* To see the overview of this Master Craftsters campaign, click here.
* To read more about the tools and supplies used in this project, explore Elmer's website here.

The Happy Hippie Shack - featuring Elmer's products

When is a lovely and elegant paper strip Christmas ornament a Happy Hippie Shack? When the creator of the paper ornament decides that the rules aren't for her.  Cheesy

It all started when I saw this tutorial. Isn't that a lovely ornament? And such clear instructions.

So, the first thing I decided was I wanted the strips to be shorter. Secondly, I decided they shouldn't be quite so wide.  

The second change was my downfall.

I started out with a piece of cardstock, I printed light guidelines of the strips and started hand-coloring them with Elmer's Gel Pens.

There are twelve strips. While hand-coloring them seemed like a fantastic idea, it also seemed to be taking longer than I expected.  About halfway in, I timed myself -- 30 minutes per strip. Did I mention that there are twelve strips?  That's six hours of coloring.

But I was committed by this point. So I finished the coloring and assembled the ornament.  And so discovered the error of my ways.

The skinniness of the strips meant the whole ornament was pretty gap-a-docious and the strips simply would not stay in place.  

And so, after too long trying to Make. It. Work. I gave up and the Happy Hippie Shack was born.

The strips became siding and trim (the trim pieces were toned down with an Elmer's Blue Painter Pen).

Oh, and the back?  The back is covered with classic rock posters from the 1960s. Wink

4  MASTER CRAFTSTERS / Elmer's Products / DIY Washi/Fancy Tape - featuring Elmer's products on: November 01, 2012 11:42:57 AM
Sponsored Content
* To see the overview of this Master Craftsters campaign, click here.
* To read more about the tools and supplies used in this project, explore Elmer's website here.

DIY Washi/Fancy Tape - featuring Elmer's products

I love the idea of Washi/Patterned paper tape... and I love my game table that I covered in paper tape.

However, I have (once again) discovered that I am a fussy Craftster -- at any given moment, I never have quite the right pattern/color/style of tape. I think that even if I had every available pattern/color, I would end up not having the right tape at the right moment.

And that got me thinking... because I do have this nifty role of Elmer's Scrapbooking Double-Sided tape.

Oh yes, I'm now making my own paper tape.  And not just paper.

As you can see from the picture, I'm preparing to make fancy tape out of a map from an old book, a discarded neck tie, and some green tissue paper.

  • Elmer's Double-Sided Tape
  • Various Papers
  • Wooden Spools (optional)
  • Rubber Bands (optional)
  • Self Healing Cutting Mat
  • Ruler
  • X-ACTO Knife
  • Scissors


This is so simple (and a wee bit addictive).  Mark my words, you will be looking at everything in your stash wondering if you can make tape out of it.

1. Place the desired paper (or fabric) "right side down" on the self healing mat and run a line of double-sided tape on top of it. The most important thing to remember is that you are placing the tape on the "back" of your paper or fabric.

2. If paper, use the ruler and the X-ACTO knife to trim off the excess paper. If fabric, use the scissors.

What you're left with is a strip of tape that has your material on one side and the original white paper backing on the other side.  For simple storage, wrap the tape (white paper side "in") around an old thread spool and secure with a rubber band.

When you're ready to use the tape, just peel off the paper backing and apply. Here's an in progress pic of wrapping the "tissue paper tape" around a plain piece of cardboard.

And as I looked around my stash, my eyes fell on the finely shredded landscaping foam:

Yep, it worked!  Be forewarned, the landscaping foam tape sheds a bit.  This is one I would make on an "as needed" basis instead of prepping ahead.

Overall, I really like the freedom of making fancy tape out of whatever I happen to put my hands on.  Cheesy

5  MASTER CRAFTSTERS / Elmer's Products / HO HO HO Banner - featuring Elmer's products on: November 01, 2012 11:42:22 AM
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* To see the overview of this Master Craftsters campaign, click here.
* To read more about the tools and supplies used in this project, explore Elmer's website here.

HO HO HO Banner - featuring Elmer's products

I have this one window in my house that's an odd size. Actually, there are a number of odd sized windows in my house, but they're not important here. The reason this one window is an issue is because every Christmas I try to add one touch of holiday spirit to this window and they all end up looking... forced. Inelegant. The wrong size.

Obviously, the only answer was to make something.

I created a stencil in my favorite graphics program (Illustrator) and printed it on heavyweight scrapbook paper.  I used an X-ACTO knife to cut the stencils.  

A word on the X-ACTO knife.  I have always used the basic skinny silver blade handle.  It's not that I haven't tried any of the more expensive handles, I just like the way the basic one fits in my hand.  But I have discovered that I keep a lot of silvery things on my workbench and I am constantly losing my knife.  Then I received the skinny pink handle.

I'm not a "Bright PINK" type of a person, but this bright pink I love.  Cheesy

After the designs were cut out, I used the X-ACTO corner rounder.  I found the corner rounder's strength is cutting scrapbook/medium weight paper -- perfect for this project.

I rolled the top end of each card over and used Elmer's Embellishing Glue.  No, I wasn't embellishing, but the glue is strong and squeezes out in a relatively fine line (important because I didn't have a lot of wiggle room).

Everything is strung on a simple piece of twine and the wooden beads are from an old broken garland.  So nice that they get a second chance to fulfill their Christmas Destiny.  Cheesy

6  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Vintage Inspired Halloween Chunky House on: October 27, 2012 11:54:47 PM
When I started searching for inspiration for a vintage chunky Halloween house, I found this postcard. Really, take a look at it isnt it fabulous?

As I started creating the scaredy house, I had no clue what was going to scare the house

No clue at all I thought about it as I worked and wondered where I would end up no ideas, no ideas

and then I remembered an ebay lot I purchased that had the doll you see below.

A giant devil toddler would certainly be scary, right?

His costume is painted and his horns, tail, and staff are made of bits of wire, paper scraps, and Plasti-dip. His trick or treat pumpkin is a hollow bead covered in polymer clay.

I know his costume isnt much by todays standards, but I wanted that vintage underpants-over-tights-homemade effect.

And, of course, heres the scale shot:

7  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Chunky Halloween House: Le Chat Noir on: October 20, 2012 02:27:20 AM

When someone mentions black cats (as Sonjaboo, my partner in the Halloween Chunky House swap, did), it brings to mind two iconic images. My inspiration for this project comes from second of those two icons. More on the first later, but for this project, The Black Cat Poster or, Thophile Steinlens 1896 advertisement for the cabaret, Le Chat Noir:

The Cabaret on the right was located at 68 Boulevard de Clichy, Paris-Montmartre. What a great building for this project. Heres my Halloween-influenced interpretation of Le Chat Noir:

The windows are isinglass (thin sheets of mica). All of the trim is wood.

One of my favorite bits:

And the Le Chat Noir Moon sign:

I loved working on this project, because everywhere I turned, I was reminded of the first iconic black cat image for me, my buddy-boy, Spike (1982-1991):

8  IMAGE REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES / Other Image Reproduction Techniques: Completed Projects / Tutorial: Duct Tape Image Transfers (InkJet) on: October 17, 2012 02:43:29 AM

If you’re sitting around puzzling about the basic premise behind image transfers using a InkrJet printer (and, wow, who isn’t), let me put your mind to rest: it’s all about “floating” ink on a non-porous/semi-porous surface and then using some sort of burnisher to transfer that floating ink to a porous surface where it will sink in and dry, effectively “staining” the porous surface.

If you've read my blog, you know I’ve had my issues with image transfers, so when I was working on yet another project requiring a transfer, I decided that until I found a quick and easy transfer method, I would not rest.

Which is, of course, when I realized that the answer to my puzzling was the familiar and comfortable answer to so many of my puzzlings: duct tape.

This realization led me to experiment with a wide variety of tapes (two types of duct tape, clear packing tape, tan packing tape, blue painter’s tape, white artist’s tape), and, frankly, all of them work to a certain degree.

Any of them would do in a pinch. Okay, not the white artist’s tape, but all of the others.

After way too much experimentation, there were three tapes closely ranked as the top performers: 1) Standard Silver Duct Tape (I happened to use 3M brand), 2) Nashua brand Transparent Duct Tape, and 3) Blue Painter’s Tape. These three tapes had the least amount of problem with the ink “beading up” and causing blotches in the transferred image.

The #1 limitation to image transfer by tape is the width of the tape. If you butt strips of the tape together, you end up with tiny strips of no ink (at the butting). If you overlap the tape, too much (and even a little might be too much — this is highly dependent on the image), you end up with hills and valleys of ink making an extra dark or light strip.

Which may be why the blue painter’s tape did not win in this experiment — it works extremely well, but I only had a very narrow roll and quickly became irritated by the inability to print even a small image without attempting to compensate for the “hills and valleys”.

Besides, duct tape is inherently cooler than painter’s tape.


- InkJet Printer
 - Ordinary Printer Paper
 - Image to be transferred
 - Duct Tape
 - Burnisher (for the most part, I used a wooden tool designed for sculpting clay, but a wooden clothes pin, a credit card, and an acrylic roller also worked)

STEP 1: Print the image(s) you wish to transfer. This gives you a guide for placing the tape and will help with lining up the image when you wish to transfer it to a new surface.

STEP 2: Cover the image with duct tape.

STEP 3: Print the image(s) again, this time on the duct tape covered paper. At this point, I’m compelled to offer two bits of advice and a caution: 1) always leave a border of plain paper (no duct tape) on all edges (particularly the lead edge that feeds into the printer; 2) before placing the duct tape covered sheet of paper in the printer, remove all other paper from the loading bay — this prevents the duct tape (even the non-sticky side) from “grabbing” the paper below it; and 3) Odds are that all InkJet printer manufacturers recommend against running duct tape through your printer… do so at your own risk.

STEP 4: Place the printout, duct tape side down, on the surface you wish to transfer to — in this case, orange and white checked cotton fabric. Hold the paper down with one hand and rub the back of the image with a burnisher of some fashion.

That’s all there is to it. Here are some examples of duct tape image transfers:

Overall, I was extremely satisfied with the duct tape as a quick and easy way to get digital images onto fabric as a pattern for embroidery, needle felting, fabric paints, etc. Sometimes, as with the pumpkin images on the wool blend felt, image adjustments are needed for a solid transfer (in this case, thicker lines).

While both the silver and Nashua transparent duct tape worked well, the transparent tape repeatedly edged out the silver for transferring small details in photographs.

I’m pretty happy with this quick and easy transfer method — after all, who isn’t happy when using duct tape?

All right, one last transfer image:

Now if I could just suss out a way to use WD-40 for image transfers…
9  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / DIY Silicone Clay on: September 28, 2012 02:28:41 PM
In one of Michael DeMengs online classes, he mentions Sugru an amazing air-cured silicone-based clay. Its perfect for making items that need a little bounce like octopus tentacles.

Unfortunately, I dont currently have a need to make octopus tentacles, so I couldnt justify the cost of a packet of Sugru to play with but Michael also mentions DIY silicone clay. I started googling and ended up at this Instructables page that uses a combination of 100% silicone caulk and cornstarch to make an inexpensive Sugru substitute.

Working from that tutorial, I started playing with silicone and cornstarch (not expensive at all) and found that to make a suitable/moldable clay, the best mix ratio is approximately 1:1 (e.g., 1 tablespoon of silicone and 1 tablespoon of corn starch), heavy on the corn starch.

 100% Silicone Caulk (there are mixed reports on whether the GE Silicone Brand works with this method)
 Corn Starch
 Food Coloring (optional)
 Popsicle Stick for Mixing
 Container for Mixing
 Rubber gloves to protect skin

 1. Place equal amounts of silicone and corn starch in container.
 2. Add 1-2 drops of food coloring.
 3. Use popsicle stick to mix thoroughly. Add cornstarch to reduce stickiness, silicone to increase stickiness.
 4. Mold into shape as desired.

It really is that easy.

One difference between the 1:1 clay and Sugru? It doesnt stick to anything, not even itself. So if you want/need to avoid using an additional adhesive to attach your clay object to something else, youll either have to pony up the bucks for the real Sugru or increase the amount of silicone and decrease the amount of corn starch which makes it sticky and much harder to work with.

The clay sets up much too quickly for me to have much success with sculpting elaborate details. Additionally, since the 1:1 mix doesnt want to stick to itself, I found I had to add a bit more silicone (to increase stickiness) any time I wanted to add more clay to the working piece. Not particularly convenient.

The original Instructables page uses linseed-based oil paints to color the silicone I used the food coloring because I happened to have it on hand and it worked great.

Oh, and keep in mind silicone does not like acrylic paints (they flake/rub off). I knew this and still gave it a shot with a couple of different brands of acrylic paints guess what? They flake off.

The following video demonstrates the sproing-factor of the cured clay.

So now Ive played. I still dont have any use for silicone clay at the moment, but at least Im prepared for the moment I do.

Thats a relief.
10  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Flowerchild Paint Brush Man and a Bird on: September 25, 2012 03:07:41 PM
Sometimes I have no idea the source of my inspiration not so this time.

In the way of the web (meaning I dont remember how I got there), I ended up at artist Michael Demengs site, Assemblog. As I looked for more of Mr. Demengs work, I discovered an old listing for a workshop (by Demeng) on altered paint brushes. I was inspired.

Another thing that inspired me? Mr. Demeng uses a lot of motion in his pieces crank and pulley fun. I had to give it a shot.

The face and the hummingbird are both sculpted from polymer clay. For an idea on scale, the push-rod ends (the thingies that hold the wooden thingie (with the hummingbird on it) to the metal crank thingie) are the hands of a watch. The tattoo design is a combination of glass microbeads and screws from old watches.

For a better idea of scale, you can watch the video of the movement. It may seem simple, but Im actually quite proud of the movement. I went through a lot to get there, lol. http://youtu.be/u33ePcNzmqE

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