Thursday, March 28, 2013

Craft tip today #2-- Let’s get tacky

Just a couple of the many tacky glues available

Lets be honest, tacky can be a negative adjective, but not when you are referring to glues. As you walk down the glue aisle in your local craft store you may get a bit overwhelmed by the choices that are available.  So many glues, but which one is right for you and your project?

Tacky glue:

A staple of any crafter’s supply closet is Tacky glue.  Tacky is different that white or school glue since it has a thicker consistency and due to this fact it is perfect for working with felt since it will not bleed through the felt. Tacky glue is also best for Styrofoam since it will not eat it away as many other glues are apt to do. Heat or cold doesn’t affect the adhesion like it sometimes can with hot glue.  There are many brands of tacky glue but if it says tacky glue on the label it all works pretty much the same.

Q: But Crystal, there are lots of different kinds of tacky glue which one should I buy? 

A:  It’s pretty simple really.  Regular tacky glue is the basic tacky glue.  It is probably all the glue you will ever need. But what about all the different kinds you may ask? Think of it like this—you can walk down the drink aisle at your grocery store and see any number of water beverages, some with added vitamins, some with electrolytes, and some with caffeine.  They are all water, but you fit it to your specific needs. While you can use regular tacky for a myriad of gluing uses, you may wish to upgrade to a specialty tacky glue, like turbo, fast drying, thick, thin and more. 

Tacky glue know-how is a great craft tip today.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Duct tape Camo Easter (basket) box

When it comes to Easter baskets I always like to think outside the box, or in this case outside the basket.  This box whips up quick as a wink and makes a great box for any boy to keep in his room for small trinkets after Easter.  I even found Camo colored Easter grass and you can take the theme even further and get some Camo colored plastic eggs to fill!

And who says you have to be a kid to get an Easter basket (box) full of candy fun?  This one is going on its way to North Dakota for my son in the air force. 

You will need:

Camo duct tape (available in craft stores)

Rounded rectangle paper mache box



Small paintbrush

Gold acrylic paint

Camo or regular Easter grass

Candy and small trinkets for filling

Plastic cutting mat is nice to work on but not necessary

1.     Paint the inside of the top and bottom of the box with the gold acrylic paint.  Let dry.

2.     Cover the top of the box first.  Measure the top and bottom of your box.  Cut strips of the Camo duct tape to fit across with a little overlapping.  Continue adding strips till the entire top is covered.  Trim the excess duct tape flush with the edges.

3.     For the side of the top of the box (Mine was 1 ¾” deep) it is easier to work with smaller pieces than to wrap it around all in one piece. Cut pieces of duct tape to fit around and line it up with exactly the same amount of excess on both sides.  Make small slits with the scissors in the excess duct tape on the top edge and then press down.  Repeat with the other edge folding to the inside. (See photo)  Top finished.

4.     For the bottom of the box Attach pieces of duct tape across and trim the edges all around like you did for the top of the box.   

5.     Starting from the bottom edge add pieces of duct tape all around the sides leaving an excess at the bottom.  Cut small slits in the excess duct tape all round and fold under. 

6.     Continue to add pieces of duct tape around working from the bottom to the top.  When you reach the top edge leave about ¼” excess and cut some slits around and fold to the inside.  Bottom finished.  (See photo)

7.     Fill with Easter grass and candy.


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Easy recycled hanging cat scratcher

If you’ve been saving your corrugated cardboard like I do you have a ready supply for a quick and easy hanging cat scratcher.  You only use a few supplies, many are on hand, so it costs practically nothing to make.

You will need:

Corrugated cardboard (you can get flat pieces at your local warehouse store, but you can easily use discarded boxes. 

Scissors--or a guillotine style paper cutter if your have one

Ruler and pencil

Glue gun and glue sticks

About 18 inches of scrap cord

Hole punch

Masking tape

Piece of craft fur (optional)

1.     Cut strips of cardboard approximately 1 ¼” inches wide by however long you can make it.  You will be rolling it into a circle and adding strips as you go so it doesn’t matter how long you make the strips.  Note:  It is important to make sure you cut the cardboard strips so that the ribs of the cardboard facing the correct direction and are bendable. 

2.     Heat up your glue gun and begin to glue and roll the cardboard.  (See photo) As you reach the end of each strip, attach a new strip with hot glue meeting end to end and continue rolling to the size you would like your cat scratcher to be.

3.     On the final piece of cardboard carefully work the hole punch into the center and punch a hole.  You may have to squeeze the cardboard a bit.  Wrap both ends of the cord with masking tape.  This step will make it easier to and feed them through the hole. knot the ends together.  Wrap this final piece around the edge adding hot glue as you go as before.  When you get to the area where the knot it located add some extra glue and press for a few seconds longer to set the glue.  Continue wrapping and gluing until you reach the end.

4.     If you would like your cat scratcher to be undecorated hang on a doorknob and let your cat enjoy her new toy…or your can optionally glue a strip of craft fur all around the edges for an added decorative touch.

Floor cat scratcher:
           Q:  My cat likes her scratcher to be placed flat on the floor, what can I do?
           A:  Easy!  Simply continue to add cardboard strips to make the circle much bigger,
            and eliminate the hanging cord on the last strip. Place flat on the floor for your cat's enjoyment.  

Is that a cat smile?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Craft tip today

This blog’s focus is offering my free original craft tutorials and will remain as such. I am, however, adding a new recurring post entitled “Craft tip today.”  Every so often I will share a craft tip or suggestion gained through trial and error from my many years of craft designing. 

The process of designing crafts sometimes becomes a road with many forks.  A project that seemed viable at the moment of conception, often takes a detour in an opposite direction.  Especially when your mind sometimes thinks way outside the proverbial box.  I hope you enjoy the craft tip today.

Corrugated cardboard:

When you are looking for a great source of recycled material, think corrugated cardboard.  You can use corrugated cardboard for so many projects. They can back a frame or be the base for most anything.  They even work great as a work surface for small painting projects.

When looking for good flat pieces of cardboard head to your nearest warehouse store, like Costco, Bj’s or Sam’s club.  Since they don’t bag groceries they always have bins that contain boxes and heavy cardboard pieces from the packaging, free for the taking.  If you don’t have a warehouse store nearby, why not ask your grocer to save you the flat pieces of separate cardboard. 

Corrugated cardboard is a great craft tip today!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Space decoupaged Easter egg

This was a previously published design from my other blog Crystal clear but since Easter is right around the corner I think it needed a re-visit. So cover your table with paper to protect it and grab the kids because solar eggs (don't stop at just earth)  makes a great Kid's craft!

I never think inside that box.  My (slightly loopy) mind always looks to shake things up.  Ancient mariners were surprised to discover that the world was not flat. So I started thinking of shapes the earth could be…in different solar systems of course. My eyes spied some undecorated Easter eggs and I thought that it might be fun to make my egg look like my dear mother earth…from space!  I know it sounds weird but wouldn’t it be a really cool conversation starter? 

If you want to make some egg shaped worlds yourself, it’s easy peasy.

You will need:

A wooden or paper mache egg 

Decoupage glue (Mod Podge gloss is my favorite)

Computer and printer


Small paintbrush

1.     Search on your computer clip art programs for pictures of earth from space and print two or three versions. 

2.     Cut out the motifs and then cut in smaller pieces.  This earth is definitely not flat so you need to just layer and add small pieces to the egg.  The only rule is to make sure that you put the predominately white pieces on the top and bottom of the egg (North and south poles of course)

3.     Spread some decoupage glue on small sections of the egg, add a piece of clip art and smooth with your fingers (its gets messy but it all washes off!)  Smoothing with your fingers helps remove some of the wrinkles.  It doesn’t matter if there still are some wrinkles as it give the piece added dimension.  Once the piece is stuck add more glue on the top. 

4.     Continue working around the egg until the entire egg is covered.  Let dry.  When it is dry you may brush another coat of decoupage glue on the top for added shine.

Protect your work surface with some scrap cardboard and waxed paper.  If you are really ambitious you could make an entire solar system!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Revamp an Easter basket

You know I have a lot of Easter baskets stored in my basement. The dark, storage area is very conducive to basket growth.  As I take them out though, some of them seem a bit worse for wear. What is a gal to do?  Feathers, glue gun and just a few minutes is all you need to re-vamp it in style!

You will need:

An old Easter basket

Some dyed guinea feathers or regular colored feathers

Glue gun and glue sticks

1.     Heat up your glue gun.  Start adding feathers to the rim of the basket, overlapping as you go.  Make sure you attach the feathers in the same direction.  Vary the colors.  Note: Glue gun glue is very hot!  Be careful not to touch the places where you add the glue.  The feathers will stick pretty quickly.

2.     Work all around until you reach the first feather.  Add a dab of glue onto the base of a feather and stick it under the first feather to cover. 


Saturday, March 9, 2013

St Patrick’s Day Blessing Heart Plaque

I always decorate my foyer with a seasonal theme so I like to design things I can hang or just set on the entry table. There are so many St. Patrick’s Day blessings and Irish proverbs that you can use.  Simply search the Internet and decide on one or use the ones I have provided. 

You will need:

Home computer and printer

Printer paper

Heavy corrugated cardboard scrap

Laser cut rectangular wooden frame with hanger (available inexpensively at craft stores)

Mod Podge decoupage glue

Metallic green acrylic paint

Small paintbrush

Tacky craft glue



Wax paper to cover work surface

1.     In any word processing program, set your font size at 36 pt. and the color green.  You may want to make the words bold type. Decide on a quote, blessing or proverb. Choose your font.  There are even quite a few St. Patrick's Day fonts that you can get for free on the interent. Use your home printer to print out the page on all-purpose computer paper.  This will be your decoupage print.

2.     Place your frame on top of a piece of heavy corrugated cardboard.  You can pick up lots of heavy cardboard free for the taking at any Costco type stores. My cardboard was white on one side and tan on the other. Trace the inside dimension of the frame with pencil.  Cut the cardboard rectangle out making sure you cut out ½” larger around than the pencil markings. (See photo) Just follow the outline and with a ruler measure ½” bigger.

3.     Protect your work surface by covering with a sheet of waxed paper or newspaper.  Brush on a coat of metallic green acrylic paint on the front of your frame.  Let dry.  When it is dry apply another coat and let dry.

4.     Place the corrugated cardboard rectangle on top of the computer print out and trace with a pencil around.  Cut out

5.     Brush some ModPodge on the cardboard rectangle and immediately place the prepared printout on top.  Smooth with your fingers, and then apply another coat of the Modpodge.  Let dry.

6.     Turn the wooden frame to the back and run a bead of tacky glue around the edge.  Attach the decoupage rectangle onto the back and let dry.

7.     If the frame has a hanger attached you are done, glue on a piece of ribbon or

A well-known Gaelic blessing follows:

May the road rise to meet you

May the wind be always at your back

May the sun shine warm upon your face;

The rains fall soft upon your fields

And, until we meet again,

May God hold you in the palm of his hand.