Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Spot Light ~ Art Club Project

I, from time to time, share art projects my kids make here at home, or at school.

Today, I am putting the spot light on my 14 year-old daughter, who is a member of the school's art club.

Her club made these adorable chip keychains.  How cool is that?  Take a snack size chip bag, shrink it in the oven, and punch a hole in it.  Add a key ring, and you have a useful item.

There are instructions all over the internet on how to make these, but if we do make some of these ourselves, I will be sure to update this post, and add which method we used.  The temperature is the key, from what my daughter told me.  They can't be rushed, or the bags will burn vs. shrink.

Another factor is the size of the bag.  She said the Dorito snack bags got very long.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

How to Make a Gumball/Toy Capsule Christmas Tree Ornament

Kristina N

Make these cute snowman ornaments using recycled gumball capsules, recycled packaging materials, and Sculpey clay. Here are the directions to make your own. Make them for Christmas or exchange one at your next ornament exchange party.  These resemble a snow globe, when you leave a bit of styrofoam loose on the inside.

Items Needed:
  • plastic gumball/toy bubble container, washed and dried
  • tiny recycled styrofoam packaging to resemble snow, or fake snow
  • red, black, white and orange Sculpey Polymer clay (see pattern links below under step 1)
  • E6000 glue or tacky glue
  • Versa-tool
  • silver craft string
Step 1:
Make your snowman using the directions found at Sculpey's Web site (however, since the ornament was created, Sculpey removed the pattern from their site).

Here is a similar "how-to" but making a mini penguin or Santa.  The idea is somewhat the same, but different shapes.  I also included a link for an AngelClaus.

We made ours with a snowman, but you could place any miniature clay figure inside these capsules.  If we make new ones, I will be sure to take photos and update this post.

Step 2:
Glue finished snowman inside the plastic gumball capsule lid and let dry.

Step 3:
With your versa-tool, melt a tiny hole in the center end of the capsule to run your string through, knotting the string on the inside of the capsule. Dab glue to hold knot to the top of the capsule and let dry.

Step 4:
Fill your capsule with a tiny amount of fake snow or tiny packaging materials to resemble snow. You can also cut a packing peanut into tiny pieces for your snow.

Step 5:
Snap your capsule together and hang. You now have a very unique, handmade Christmas ornament for your tree or to give as gifts.


  • Make different items from Scupley's Web site to glue inside your capsules.
  • Shop at local S.C.R.A.P. stores to find plastic capsules for your craft.
  • Parental guidance may be required when baking your Scupley ornament, or using the versa-tool, when making this craft with children.

Monday, October 21, 2013

How to Make Scrap Fabric Christmas Cards

Create handmade Christmas cards (or use the same technique for other occasions), by cutting pieces of scrap fabric, and attaching them to cardstock.

I apologize in advance for not having a complete tutorial, but I can explain how I made these fun cards.

Items needed:
~cardstock, color of your choice
~scrap fabric
~paper-backed fusible web 
~buttons, color of your choice
~hand sewing needle and thread
~fine tip black permanent marker
~ironing board or work surface
~white hankie or other material suitable (Step 3) 
~optional: rubber stamps and ink for the inside of the card

1. Cut a piece of cardstock in half, width-wise.  Fold each piece in half, creating two cards.

2. Christmas tree:  Cut 3 heart shapes from scrap fabric.  We used cookie cutters to trace onto the wrong side of the material.

3. Using fusible  (see updates below) web (paperbacked), attached the hearts to the cardstock with an iron.   Follow the instructions that come with your fusible web.  You can also view many YouTube tutorials on using fusible web.  I placed a thin piece of material between the cardstock and the iron when I ironed them on. I used a man's hankie.

4. Hand sew buttons to each corner.

5. Draw a design on the outer edge, making a dot dot, dash pattern, using a black fine tip permanent marker.

6. Use rubber stamps and ink to add words and embellishments on the inside of the cards.

Note:  For the other cards, we simply cut out patterns that were already on Christmas themed fabric. 

Here is an updated photo of more cards made with scrap fabric:

We used a thin black marker to draw dashes around the fabric.  Make several cards using different themes and gift them.  Stamp the back "handmade by..." or sign and date them.

Another update to guide you on the application of the fusible web:

 I like to iron the fusible web to the fabric back, then trace my pattern (vs. trying to trace the template onto both fabric and webbing, and trying to line them up together), and cut the piece out.

Now the fusible web is ironed onto the fabric (backside), template is traced, and cut out.  Simply peel off the paper, and iron onto the item you are attaching it to.  You can see a milky color when you peel off the paper.  That is the side you iron with the right side of the fabric facing you.

Here is another larger piece of fabric I ironed fusible web to, and I have started to trace tulips onto it.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Uses for Plastic Absorbing Charcoal Container

My mother handed me this container and said, "Please find a use for this. I can't recycle it, and I hate to throw it in the garbage."

So I did.

I will be adding more recycling (and reuse) ideas, that do not pertain to "art" but help keep our landfills from filling up.  

I washed and dried the container, and used the upper lid for a dish scrubbie drainer.  I used two small suction cups with hooks to hold the lid to the inner side of my sink.   Simply place your sponge or scrubbie inside, to drain and dry, when not in use.

And for the bottom of the container . . . .

Use the bottom, clear plastic portion, to hold flowers.  Leave the top blue piece on to help display small stem flowers as well.  If you have baskets or other containers that you would love to put flowers in, but cannot put water in, simply place the container (bottom half filled with water and flowers) inside as a liner.

Glue two or more bottom containers together, and allow to dry.  Use them to store and organize makeup and facial brushes.

Use them to store cup coasters.

 Use a few to store envelopes, note paper, stamps or pens.

Updates will always be added as we find more uses for items that can be reused or recycled.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Mushroom Christmas Tree Ornaments

These cute mushroom instructions can be found in several places on the Internet.  This is not my own idea, but wanted to share here, in case you have not seen this idea yet.

I made ours by cutting wine corks in half, using a mini hacksaw (on a protected work surface).

I used a small nail, and hammered a hole in the center top of each bottle cap (over a scrap piece of wood).  You can use a drill too.  I then painted metal bottle caps red, using acrylic paints.  When that paint dried, I used white to make the dots.  After the white dried, I sprayed the caps with a gloss seal.  

To assemble them, I took a simple metal Christmas ornament hanger and straightened one end, leaving the other end as a hook.

I used a drill and bit (size 7/64), and drilled half way into the center of the cut wine cork (cut side).  I inserted the straight end of the hanger into the top of the bottle cap.  I applied strong glue to the cut end of the cork I drilled into, and gently inserted the straight end of the metal hanger into it.  I gently pressed it into place.

Update:  We found that a simple kitchen knife, such as a small cheese knife, works great for cutting wine corks.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Clipboard Art - Boredom Buster for Any Age

(Designed/Painted by my 16 year-old daughter)

Take an ordinary clipboard (not plastic), and turn it into a fun piece of useable art.  They are inexpensive to make, and inspire individual creativeness.  They make fun gifts as well.

We purchased U.S.A. made, fiberboard clipboards.  First, my 16 year-old used pencil to draw her design, then painted it with several shades of acrylic paints.  After the paint dried, it was sealed with a few coats of matte finish spray.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

How to Make a Stacked Yo-Yo Christmas Tree Ornament

Sewing these cute ornaments is a fun way to decorate your Christmas tree.  This is what they look like right after you finish a brand new one.  After awhile, the yo-yo's will stretch out a bit.

This is what the ornament will look like after it's been hanging on the tree.  Many blog followers have see this photo on my other blog.  With requests, I am sharing on how to make these.

Items Needed:
~ 1 -  4 1/2 x 22 inch piece of cotton fabric in holiday print
~ Thread (used to sew each yo-yo)
~ 1/4 or 1/8th inch ribbon, color of your choice, approximately 5-6 inches (depending on how long you want the ends of the ribbon to be)
~ scrap (food box) cardboard, or poster board
~ Compass
~ Hand sewing needle

~ 6- 8 inch length of heavy thread (for sewing the bell on, we used quilting thread)
~ 6-8 inches (or longer) silver or gold thread
~ 1/2 inch jingle bell
~ Glue gun and glue stick
~ Scissors and pen or pencil
~ optional:  tacky glue

1. Create templates.  Use the compass to draw circles of these sizes, onto the cardboard or poster board.  Cut them out.  Quantity is on the left, and size is on the right (below):

   1 - 1 1/2 inches
   2 - 2 inches
   1 - 2 1/2 inches
   1 - 3 inches
   1 - 3 1/2 inches
   1 - 3 3/4 inches 

2.  Use the previously cut templates, and trace each one onto the wrong side of the fabric.  

Cut them out using scissors.

3. Using thread and needle, hand sew each piece of scrap fabric into a yo-yo (see note).  Thread the needle, knot the thread, and sew a running stitch around the wrong side of the fabric.  Gather the thread to pull the material into a yo-yo, and knot your thread.  If you are new to sewing yo-yo's, there are more tutorials on the internet. 

Note:  When sewing the largest circle, place the extra 2-inch cardboard circle inside before finishing it.

4.  Using thread and needle, sew the jingle bell to the bottom of the largest yo-yo.  If you prefer, you can also secure the bell later by adding a dab of tacky glue between the bell and the yo-yo.  You can sew the bell on by running the needle completely through the cardboard and fabric, or simply catching a bit of the fabric.  Attach the bell to the flat side, not the gathered side.  Cut the thread after knotting (see small note in #5 before cutting thread).

5. To assemble, heat the glue gun with a glue stick, and place a thin layer between each yo-yo (just inside the edges), with gathered sides up, placing them on, in order of the next smaller size.  You end up with the very smallest one on the top.

Note:  To keep your ornament from stretching out too much, you can also use the excess thread (instead of cutting after knotting) from the bell, up through all of the yo-yo's and knot at the top after gluing them together.

6. Using your ribbon, form (or tie) a small bow.  Using silver or gold thread, attach the ribbon to the top of the smallest yo-yo.  I simply sewed the bow on, knotted and cut the thread.  I then ran another piece into the top, pulled it through halfway, removed the needle and tied the cut ends into a knot.  Trim the ends of the ribbon to the length you prefer.

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