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41  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Discussion and Questions / Re: cold fabrics? Fabric divas need your help on: January 07, 2007 12:35:56 AM
Have you ever grabbed a nylon winter coat after wearing it outside and realized that that sucker stays cold?  Nylon!  It's not the best wearing fabric but it certainly stays chilly for a while.  For that matter, tiles do warm up after a period of sitting on them.  You might want to try nylon over fleece or something of that sort.
42  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Discussion and Questions / Re: About melted toy bowls on: January 07, 2007 12:31:32 AM
I posted a tutorial about melting plastic soldiers to make a bowl a while back.  My heat gun actually doesn't have temperatures-- it's a bunch of numbers relative to something or other.  I keep it on a medium temperature.  I'm sure that your gun will be perfectly fine.  You just have to play around and watch.  If your toys are melting very fast, I'd suggest that you turn down the heat.  You want them to melt just enough to stick together without them turning into mush.  You'll get it. 
43  KNITTING / Knitting: Discussion and Questions / Re: Michael's 40% off coupons? on: December 15, 2006 08:16:03 PM
If you sign up for their e-mail notifications on their site, they'll email you coupons every few weeks.  You can keep them in your inbox AND you can print multiples for the next time you visit.  That's what I do because I don't get newspapers. 
44  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Discussion and Questions / Re: Army bowl on: August 16, 2006 01:38:44 PM
I saw these bowls on a fancy design website for about $250.  I knew I could make them and set out to do it.  I read everything on Craftster and looked through some other websites. 

In the end, I did what I knew and it worked perfectly!! (I'll try to post pictures later.)

Here's what I used:

Buy a stainless steel bowl about the size you'd like your bowl to be.  I got mine at Target for $5.  I tried thrift stores and dollars stores- no luck.  Make sure that the bowl doesnt have any sort of weird ridges unless you want your bowl to have such weird ridges.

Buy some sort of plastic figures-- army men, dinosaurs, sea creatures, ninjas (I used all of those).  You want the toys to have relatively hard texture.  The ninjas I used were a bit flexible and smoked like crazy when I heated them then stayed flexible after they cooled.  I wouldn't suggest flexible toys at all unless you have a gas mask.

The secret to doing this is A HEAT GUN.  They're a little pricey.  I think they're around $60 at Home Depot.  My dad had one that I had been using all year to bend acrylic.  Seriously though, once you have one you'll find yourself melting and bending a lot of plastic things.  Hair dryers and blow torches are not going to work well.  One's not hot enough and the other's too hot.

I suggest doing this outside if you can.  It's summer. Get outside!

SERIOUS TIP HERE: WEAR HEAT RESISTANT GLOVES.  THE BOWL GETS VERY VERY VERY HOT AND SO DOES THE TIP OF THE HEAT GUN.  I burned my arm because I wasn't being incredibly careful when I was putting a second round of army men in the bowl.

Now for the steps:

Suit up- get on your gloves, plug in your heat gun, and put your bowl on a heat resistant surface (think cement, concrete).

Place a layer of army men at the bottom of the bowl like a candy dish.  You don't want to give it height yet!  Try not to place the toys directly on top of each other while trying to give arms, legs, and little pieces overlaps to lessen the gaps.

Put on your heat gun and pretend you're drying hair.  You want to move the heat gun back and forth evenly.  Otherwise, you can end up with bubbling and that's not pretty.

You'll see the smaller pieces--arms, legs, weapons-- melting.  It takes a few minutes for the pieces to fuse together.  They'll look shiny and squishy when they're really coming together.  When you think it's about done, give it a shake test.  If anything appears loose, heat that area a little more.

If you're fine with a candy dish, stop about here. If you want a taller bowl, you're going to have to CAREFULLY tilt the bowl so that the side of the bowl becomes the bottom.  Lay army men along the edge that has become the bottom.  Heat this area in the same manner that you heated the bottom of the bowl.  Let these cool a little bit before you turn the bowl and repeat. 

Continue to add army men, turning and heating, until you have the height you want.

Put the bowl somewhere where no one will touch it (It's still hot!!) and let it cool for about 1/2 an hour.

Carefully pull the plastic bowl out of the stainless steel bowl.  I've never had a problem getting them out.  The secret is to make sure that the bowl's completely cool before trying to take it out.

Put your bowl where everyone will see it and enjoy!

Hope this will help someone out there!!!
Have fun and be careful!

45  IMAGE REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES / Stenciling: Discussion and Questions / Re: photoshop help on: April 05, 2005 08:21:26 AM
ok, here's the image... sorry about that

46  IMAGE REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES / Stenciling: Discussion and Questions / Re: photoshop help on: April 05, 2005 08:18:18 AM
I've played around with photoshop quite a bit and I tried to figure out the simplest way to make a stencil out of any picture.

So here it goes.

Take your picture, open it in photoshop.

Click the image tab at the top, and look for the mode tab (it's the first option in CS). 
In the mode tab, set the image to grayscale. 
It will probably ask if you want to discard color info, just click OK (but if you want to keep a copy of the picture in color, make sure that you do a "save as" and rename this file)

Next, open up the mode tab once again and look for the option that says "adjustments" (2nd option down on the list in CS)
Under adjustments, open the posterize option.  It'll bring up a little window that allows you to put in a value anywhere from 2 to 255. 

The numbers have to do with the amount of grays and such-- all you need to know is that 255 is what the picture looks like before you posterize it and 2 will give you black and white without any grays-- PERFECT FOR A STENCIL!  So type in 2, click ok, and craft away  Smiley

Keep in mind that the edges may be jagged- so after printing, get out a Sharpie and smooth the lines if you find that easier than simply cutting.

I have a picture but I can't figure out how to post it.  Eh, if you want to see it, let me know.
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