a glasses case re-style – tutorial

Wanna hear the only downside to drawing intricate artworks all the time? It strains my old lady eyes and gives me headaches occasionally.

i have glasses for close-work. i just always forget to wear them.

So here’s a little project i did to try to make my glasses seem more fun…you know, so i’ll want to carry them around with me and sometimes put ‘em on my face. It’s a fun re-style of my boring old glasses case!

i started with the hard, clamshell-type case my specs came in, and cut a strip of canvas a teeny bit wider and long enough to wrap all the way around the case.

i also traced the end shapes of the case onto the canvas and cut. i went a touch larger b/c i knew i wanted to have frayed, raw, exposed fabric edges.

i gave the case a liberal coating of ModPodge and pressed all the canvas pieces in place. i just tucked and glued the ends of the wrap-around piece with more ModPodge and let it dry with some clothespins as clamps.

Here’s how it looked when ensconced in canvas. Do you remember on Seinfeld when George talked about how he’d like to live his life “ensconced in velvet?” Yeah, like that ; )

Once everything was dry, i painted the canvas with a coat of white primer and then a coat of yellow craft paint. See that wooden prop i’m using? It’s a clapper/seam presser for sewing. Do you have one? i highly recommend it for great, smooth seams without burnt fingers…..and also for holding glasses cases open while you paint them ; )

Next, the fun part! My 5 year old and i grabbed Sharpies, my set of Prismacolor markers, and some gel pens and started going to town doodling on the entire surface of the case to add a great colorful background texture.

When all the colored doodles were on, i went back with white paint pen to add some brightness.

The last step was adding a top layer of black Sharpie doodles and a couple coats of clear Polycrylic.

Result? Well, i did this project a few weeks back. And it has actually got me remembering my glasses a little more often!

Doesn’t hurt that my little helper likes to remind me now, what with his vested interest and pride in the whole dealio, yo.

Making a Pinata- tutorial

Coop’s 5th birthday party is tomorrow. He’s having a Green Lantern theme. Party City had zero Green Lantern piñatas….or even plain green piñatas for that matter. So we decided to make one since boys his age really are fans at smacking the beans out of tissue paper candy receptacles.

I had made a piñata once before for Coop’s 2nd birthday. That time we made the sort with hanging ribbons the kids pull until one finally opens a trap door raining down candy. This time, we went more traditional and the kids will annihilate it. SO i’ll admit i didn’t attempt to make this one completely perfect.

But here’s how we did it.

Cut a strip of corrugated cardboard and tape it into a circle. Ours is about 3 inches tall. Cut 2 circles from newspaper,place one under your cardboard ring.

Cut slits into the newsprint or pleat it up around the cardboard ring and secure with masking tape. The pourous nature of masking tape means we’ll be able to paint it later. Don’t use shiny packing tape or scotch tape.

now carefully start adding a bit of strength to the surface of the newsprint “wall” by using matte finish Mod Podge to apply a few layers of newspaper strips in overlapping fashion. Coop sat on the floor and tore these for me : ) Allow to dry.

You want the piñata to be strong enough to hold candy, but weak enough for the kids to break. Don’t go too crazy with the newspaper strips!

Use an awl to make 2 small holes in the corrugated cardboard so you can attach wire for hanging the piñata. My husband is an electrician and so he gave me a piece of sturdy, pvc coated wire. Cut an extra little square of cardboard to layer in for strength. Punch 2 holes in that also and thread your wire through. then twist the tail ends to secure on the inside.

Add another circle of newsprint to the back of the piñata, pleating the edges to make it fit around the edges with masking tape. This time, cut a slit into the newsprint up near your wire hanger and fold back to form a pie shaped opening for depositing candy. Reinforce the edges of the opening with more masking tape. Then repeat the ModPodge-ing of newsprint strips step that you did on the other side. Once dry, take the piñata outside and spray with one coat of primer. If you are more meticulous than i was this time….you can follow up with a topcoat of spray paint in a color that will match the tissue fringe you will be applying later. i was not feeling that perfection was necessary right about now….to much to do!! : )

Cut 2-3″ strips of fringe from tissue paper. Starting at the bottom of the piñata, begin layering the fringe up the sides of the structure. Use a thin bead of white glue. Your fingers will be sticky and filmy if you’re doing it right!

Once the sides are all fringed, dump in your CANDY!!!!

Then cover over the hole with some flimsy typing paper just taped into place. Start at the bottom again and apply layers of the tissue fringe until the entire piñata back is covered and looking festive!

Paint the front of the piñata a coordinate color using basic acrylic craft paint and allow to dry.

Finally, i printed off the Green Lantern symbol onto thin printer paper (11×17 size). trim the art and attach it to the piñata front with spray adhesive. That’s it!

Happy birthday Coop!! This baby will be in shredded bits on the back lawn sometime tomorrow afternoon. i can’t wait!

Tutorial – decoupage trinket trays

TrinketTrayTuteA few months back, i posted some little decoupaged Trinket Trays and saucers. Everyone really liked them, so i thought i’d give you a little tutorial on the process i use to make them. It’s quite easy, you just have to pay attention to detail.

i originally found random little saucers and such at thrift stores and re-purposed them, but eventually needed more than i could find and ended up ordering round soy sauce dishes from KOYOshop.com. At the time of this post, their site was under construction/maintenance, but i got item YW22. 30 little dishes cost me $15. i thought that was a great deal : )

Anyway! onto the tutorial

1- set up your prints. Use a flexible/cloth tape measure to determine the diameter of your dish. the KOYO dishes are about 4″ in diameter. then set up circles with that diameter on the computer. i used favorite art prints and cropped them into my circles. You could also cut your circles from any thin, somewhat porous paper like magazines or wrapping paper.

2- Apply Mod Podge (glossy) to the inside of the bowl. Be neat. Try not to get it over the edge of the bowl and don’t goop it on. you want a nice even layer that won’t squoosh out too much over the edges when you press your paper disc on.

3- i always have a damp napkin or paper towel beside me so i can lightly press the back of my paper disc to it before applying to the bowl. it makes the paper limp and easier to work with as you coax it along the curved sides of the bowl.

4-place the center down first and gently press, don’t rub too much, toward the edges. Then i get into pie-crust mode. i use both thumbs inside the bowl and my fingers behind to work my way around the circumference of the bowl. you’ll get into a groove. Trust me. Make sure the paper is adhered right up to the edge, but don’t bend it over the edge. We’ll trim the excess off carefully with small scissors once the paper is fully dry and “crispy” again.

5- optional – i make a disk for the bottom of the dish with my logo for retail purposes and you might want to do so also…to include a little note or “love, mommy”

6 – Once the bowl is completely dry and trimmed, apply a layer of Clear Polyurethane or other varnish that is non-yellowing. Dry. Apply a 2nd coat.

* since i’m impatient, i discovered that i can poly the inside and bottom of the bowl at the same time and then rest the bowl on a roll of masking tape (the perfect size!) so that no wet surfaces are making contact with the table! so efficient!

7- When everything is completely dry, you can smooth out any remaining rough edges using an emery board or piece of fine sandpaper. i like the emery board. i sit in front of the tv and file away as though i’m doing my nails – haha

So that’s it! Give it a try and make some lovely keepsakes for loved ones. These are perfect for jewelry next to the sink, coins on the dresser, paperclips on your desk, or even your kiddo’s precious lost teeth on the nightstand for the tooth fairy! Just remember that they are not food-safe and also not meant to be submerged in water since they are composed with paper. Happy crafting!!