Saturday, January 26, 2013

Monogrammed shrink plastic key chains or zipper pulls

Remember Shrinky dinks?  Well, you can still get them in craft stores.  If you buy the ones that are non-printed you can make your own personalized items.  It’s easy and with some help from a parent during the baking part, makes a great kid’s snow day craft.

You will need:

Clear sheets of Shrink plastic (you can find it in the craft store or the office supply store) 





Permanent markers in desired colors

Scissors or decorative paper edgers

Large hole punch (Keep in mind that the hole will shrink too)


Brown paper bag

Toaster oven or home oven

Needle nosed pliers

Key rings, jump rings

1.     Cut the brown paper bag open and lay it flat to protect your work surface. (Or you can use some newspapers to work on)  Cut a 7-inch square out of the bag and set aside. (You will bake your piece on this paper placed on the baking sheet)

2.     Make your pattern.  The shrink plastic shrinks to about a third of its unbaked size and will be the thickness of a nickel.  To make a heart shape pattern fold a piece of computer paper in half.  From the fold measure 2 ¼” and mark with a pencil.  When you draw your half heart shape the widest point should be 2 ¼”.  Draw a half heart shape (See photo) You can play around with the various shapes, but make sure the widest point is 2 ¼” from the fold.  Cut out.  When you open it will be a heart approximately 4 ½” from one side to the other.

3.     Trace your heart on another piece of paper and use the compass to make a ¾” diameter circle in the center. 

4.     Place your piece of shrink plastic on top of your pattern.  It is a good idea to tape both the pattern and the plastic so that it doesn’t slide around.

5.     Trace your pattern onto the plastic with a permanent marker.  Freehand your initial in the center of the circle.   Turn over and color in your heart on the other side.  Cut out with scissors or decorative paper edgers.


6.     Use the hole punch to make a hole in the top center of the heart.

7.     Preheat your oven or toaster oven to 325 degrees.  Lay the piece of brown paper on a pan and place the prepared plastic colored side up.  Bake for about 2-3 minutes. The piece may curl at first but don’t fret, in about 3 minutes it will lay flat.  If not put it back in the oven for a bit.  Use a spatula to aid in flattening the piece if necessary.

8.     Remove from the oven and let cool.  Twist open a jump ring and put it through the hole in the heart, add the key ring and close the jump ring.

Note: Adult supervision is required when baking.  A microwave oven will not work.  Wouldn't these make great personalized and useful Valentines? You may use acrylic paints if desired but you might want to use a permanent marker to draw the initial.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Easy Peacock feather wreath


Feathers are all the rage.  I happen to just love peacock feathers so that is what I used for my wreath, but you could easily substitute any feathers and have a super result.

You will need:

12-inch grapevine wreath

Peacock feathers

Glue gun and glue sticks

1.      Add a bit of hot glue on the tip of a feather and stick in an open area of the wreath. Work in one direction around the wreath adding glue and overlapping the feathers a bit as you go. 

2.     Continue adding glue to feathers and placing them in the wreath in the same direction around the wreath. (See photo)

3.     When you reach the end add some feathers to fill in any open areas.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Feather Pen

I just love the old time feather quills—they are just so darned romantic.  I can envision myself sitting at an ornate desk, dipping into the ink and writing a letter to my true love…but I digress.  Ok, so it’s not a feather quill pen but it doubles as one for the 21st century so it works for me.  I used peacock feathers, but you can easily substitute regular large size colored feathers. 

You will need:

Pentel Ball point stick pens (the ones that screw off the top)

Peacock or regular feathers (about 5 inches in length)

Awl or sharp nail

Tacky craft glue

Heavy corrugated cardboard to work on

1.     Unscrew and remove the cap of the ballpoint pen.  Use the awl to bore a hole in the top of the cap. Make the hole large enough to insert the feather.  I like to use a piece of heavy corrugated cardboard from a cardboard box to work on.

2.     Add a dab of glue on the tip end of the feather and insert into the cap.  When you replace the cap if the top of the feather end reaches the ink tube, insert it inside. Screw it back together.

Variation:  I like my pen as is, but if you like you can further enhance your feather pen.  Simply cut a strip of printed duct tape 4" x 1 1/4" and attach to the barrel of the pen.  Roll on carefully to prevent any wrinkles. (See photo below)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Recycled plastic bag braided bracelet

Looking for an easy Kid’s craft to make on those long winter evenings?  This braided bracelet is simple and extra special when you personalize it with school colors or just a favorite color.  Each bracelet uses one clear plastic bag that newspapers come in when it’s raining or wet outside.  The ones around my neck of the woods are 21” x 7” or 24” x 8 ½”.  Either size works great.  So make one or a ton, you decide.

Note:  This is a great project for older kids with supervision.  Always keep plastic bags away from babies and toddlers.

You will need:

Clear plastic bag (The ones that newspapers come in when its raining)

Satin cord in desired colors

Clear tape



Sharpie marker

1. Work on a surface where you can tape one side of the bag down.  (Kitchen counter or piece of corrugated cardboard. 

2. Tape the bottom edges onto your particular work surface.  Measure down the bag 15” for small bracelet, 16” for medium, and 17 ½” for large.  Cut off at that mark.

3. Cut three evenly spaced sections up the bag to one inch before you reach the closed edge.  There will be three sections with two layers of plastic in each section. 

4. Cut one length of satin cord the same length as the bag for each section and attach to the top with a small piece of tape.

5. Begin to braid the sections using the middle one as the anchor.  Over and under much like you would braid your hair.  Continue down the bag keeping the same tension.  When you reach the bottom wrap a piece of tape around the ends and cut.  Wrap a piece of tape around the opposite end as well, remove from your work surface and cut the ends even.  Discard the extra cord and plastic.

6. Bring both ends together, one on top of the other and carefully wrap clear plastic tape around to secure.  Press tightly to make sure that the tape has secured the bracelet and add another piece of tape if needed.  

Note:  And for Breast Cancer awareness you can make these bracelets using 3 strands of pink satin cord