RSS Feed

Category Archives: Houseware Crafts

Spooky Halloween Lantern

Spooky Halloween Lantern

I really shouldn’t be allowed to go to Michaels with a great coupon but no plan.

So, having said that, let’s all agree to pretend that this project is EXACTLY the project I had in mind when I started and that everything went swimmingly.

Are we all on board?

Great!

Welcome to a tutorial about exactly the thing I planned to make.

It all started when I saw some lanterns at a ridiculously low price and scooped them up (knowing, as you’ll recall,  EXACTLY what I was going to do with them!).  I also grabbed a bag-o-skulls (fun to say) at a great discount.  After getting everything home I gathered some other supplies got to work.SUPPLIES

  • Lantern
  • Skulls
  • Tealights (the kind that change color – available at Michaels)
  • Painters tape
  • (because this is EXACTLY the project I had in mind I ended up using a bunch of different paints and other supplies after I took that picture)

  • Folk Art Coastal Creations
  • Waverly Super Premium Craft paint
  • Flat black spray paint
  • Gold paint
  • Texture Paint
  • Dowels cut to length
  • Velcro tape

All my paints – with the exception of the black Spray Paint and Frosted Glass Paint – were supplied to me by Plaid as part of their Ambassador program (although I sort of fear I’m not using things the way they had in mind – sorry!)

The lanterns were a great shape but not very Halloweeny.

After removing the glass panes and hardware I painted the interior black.

On the exterior I wanted a decrepit, textured look so I grabbed my new favorite paint – Folk Art Coastal Creations – and dabbed on some white

After letting it dry I went back in with Waverly Black and darkened things up by dabbing and rubbing it into the textured white paint until I got the look I wanted.

I then worked on the metal tops, first painting them with Folk Art Brushed Antique Gold.

And then going back in with Folk Art Painted Finishes Rust to, again, add texture and decay.

Then it was onto the skulls.

Being me, and somewhat overly dedicated to things lighting up, I wanted them to…..light up!

The skulls are hollow but had a hole in the bottom that was just big enough to insert a tealight.  However, the white tealight base looked like exactly like what it was and the light tended to shine through the white plastic.  So after taping off the “candle” part

I gave them a quick coat of flat black spray paint.  

This helped focus the light and also made the candle base “disappear”.

For a bit more “glow” I then drilled out the eye holes.

(PLEASE NOTE:  if you do this you would be wise to brace the skull in some way rather than just holding it with your hand…..or so I’m told…. I mean it’s not like I had a bad experience with the drill slipping….why would you think that?! who told you that?!  Also, unlike this picture implies, you do not want to drill a hole in the eye socket with the tealight already inserted… that would be stupid and neither I nor any of you are stupid.)

I created different levels for the skull by just painting out some random bits of dowel and, because I wanted them to be stable but still be able to access the on/off switch on the lights,  attaching the tealight/skull to the dowel using some velcro tape.

I then did a quick, light coat of Frosted Glass spray on the glass panels  – just to dirty them up a bit really – and re-assembled the lanterns.

After some careful arranging I was done!  Spooky, light up skulls

As I mentioned some of the tealights change color so still pictures don’t quite capture the shifting, glowing effect.

I think they’d make a fun centerpiece 

or perhaps some mantle decor.

OK, I’m ready for my next project.  And I know EXACTLY what I’m going to do!!!!  Trust me!

 

 

 

Advertisements

Easy Halloween Garland

The other day I was wandering around at Michaels enjoying perusing all the Halloween stuff* and lookng for inspiration.

I did come across this – which made me think that perhaps someone needed a refresher course on how, exactly “clearance” is supposed to work…**

and I was about to leave when I stumbled upon these:

“Interesting!”  I thought.

“What would you do with them?”  I wondered.

“Oh!  They light up!” I realized

“I MUST HAVE THEM!!!!!”  I decided.

In truth, I was partially motivated to purchase them because they were 30% off and I had 20%-off the-entire-purchase coupon burning a hole in my pocket.

…..of course they were only $2.99 to begin with so I may not be vacationing on my savings but it still felt like I’d successfully played the system!

So, since I had no plan I must apologize for the fact that this isn’t one of those projects that has a nice, pretty, organized picture of “all the stuff you need.” I just kind of made it up as I went along.

But here is what I ended up using:

  • Light Up Coffins (why not?!)
  • Waverly Craft Paint and Brushes
  • Velum Paper
  • E600 glue
  • Eye screws
  • Black spray paint
  • Ribbon

I am lucky to have a lot of paint on hand courtesy of the good folks at the Plaid Ambassador Program and for this project I used their Waverly Super Premium Line of paint and brushes.

(OK, I try not to be too “salesy” but I really do love this paint and these brushes.  The paint comes in great colors, goes on beautifully in one coat and the various brushes are the perfect size for a lot of different projects)

After removing the hardware I painted the lids and boxes in alternating colors.

So far so good.

I decided that, while I loved the “lights up” aspect, you could actually see the bulbs and it didn’t look quite right to me.

So I grabbed some Velum paper which would add a frosty look and diffuse the light.I traced the inside of the lid

cut it out and stuck it in place with just a little spot of E6000.

I had decided at this point that they would make a cool garland and, after painting some eye-hole screws black and screwing them into the top I hung the whole set on a black ribbon.

They look just fine as is but they pop quite a bit you light them up (it’s hard to get a picture partly because the lights themselves flash and change colors and one always seems to be cycling off while the others are cycling on)

Ah! there we go!

So this is the first of what I hope are several Halloween themed ideas I’ve had lately so stay tuned.

*I can’t help on occasion, when perusing the shelves  at Michaels, picturing the Chinese factory workers looking at all  this stuff that they know is headed to America and thinking “those people are very weird.”

** also, sorry, am I wrong that when I think of “clearance” prices a 50 cent savings (regardless of how you’ve filled out the price sticker) isn’t exactly what I have in mind?

 

Rustic, Distressed Paint Finish with the Folk Art Coastal Paints

Rustic Utensil Caddy image transfer

The good folks at Plaid sent me some more paint: Folk Art Coastal

The paints are super-thick and you can use them to create a textured, weathered effect. I was eager to try them out.

I just needed a project and that’s when things got….complicated.

So I ask you to bear with me as this project goes in a lot of directions.

I landed on the idea for a little silverwear caddy but since I always want to do everything RIGHT NOW and stores were closed (4th of July) I decided to make my own.

I’m not actually recommending you make your own – there are plenty of them available to purchase – but just to be thorough – here is how I made mine.

I cut some 3/8″ scrap wood down to size:

  • 2 front panels 4″ high by 10″ long
  • 2 side panels 4″ high by 6″ long
  • Center divider 10″ long, 7″ high with a handle I cut out with a jigsaw
  • Divider panels 4″ high by 2.5 wide.
  • bottom panel cut to size (not shown….I may have forgotten about that little detail until the last minute…..)

To make things easier I pre-painted the interior after marking where the joints would glue together.

I used my pin-nailer to attach the interior dividers first

Then added the end panels

Then the middle divider and the back side.

Ok, NOW it’s time to talk painting (which you may recall was the actual point of this whole endeavor)

The paint is thick, fun to work with and easy to use.  I wanted to use two colors to create that, aged, layered, crumbly effect and I started off with the blue

I laid down a base layer – fairly smooth – just for coverage then, while it was still wet, loaded up my brush and splotched/smushed more paint on to create some texture.

Once that had a couple of hours to dry I went back in with the white.

Again, I just kind of played around with it, smooshing and splotching until I got a look I liked.

THEN I decided I wanted to see how all that fun texture would work if I tried to add some graphics.

I put together a quick BBQ Restauant image

and headed into my go-to image transfer technique using polycrilic.

DISCLAIMER:  I had to photograph all this early in the morning which led to a lot of artsy shadows so please forgive the “film noir” effect.…..Although it does add a certain drama to the whole thing and I came to think of it as Patsy’s BBQ! – you know, where the murders happened!”

After reversing the image I printed it out using my laser printer.

(I seem to be having some serious problems with the whole backwards thing lately.  So, while one does want to PRINT the image in reverse one does not actually have to photograph said image upside down to add to the confusion.  My apologies.)

I laid down a good coat of polycryic

put my paper in place and used a brayer to make sure I had good contact (cleaning up any poly that I squeezed out).

After giving it a few hours in the sun to dry I rubbed away the paper using a damp rag.

This technique works so well – a bit too well actually – I actually wanted a bit more distress so when I moved over to do the other images I added some cracks to the actual graphic, used a bit less poly and rubbed a bit less aggressively.  That gave me the perfect look.

I liked it.  Loved the texture but it looked a bit too clean so I used some Folk Art Home Decor Antiquing wax.

Easy to use – just add a tiny amount to the brush and rub it in in a circular motion.

Suitably rustic.

I really like the textured layers the paint provides (especially keeping in mind that I used MDF wood which has no grain or texture of its own)

The only downside?

Now I’m hungry for BBQ and, of course, I can’t go to Patsy’s…..partly due to the fact that it doesn’t exist but more importantly because they never managed to get the blood stains off the floor.  So unappetizing.

Disclaimer: Plaid Enterprises provided me with the paint and brushes for this project as part of their Plaid Ambassador program.  The idea for the project and all opinions are totally my own.  I received no other compensation.

Library Card Book Ends

It has been a great couple of weeks for commerce – tons of Etsy orders, custom jobs and new stores carrying my work.

I’ve been plugging away in factory-mode but a little bit short on the “new ideas!” side of things.

Happily,  The Muse (Geralyn) has her head in the game and came up with a really fun idea for some very easy-to-make, inexpensive bookends.

And I came up with a good way to mess it up! (more on that later).

Here is what I used:

 

  • Metal Bookends (from Staples $7)
  • 2 pieces of 1/2″ MDF cut to 4.75″ by 7″
  • 2 library card prints done on a toner based printer
  • Waverly Super Premium black acrylic paint
  • Matte Mod Podge
  • Foam Brush
  • Lock-Tite glue
  • Painters tape (not pictured)
  • Craft knife (not pictured)

I started off by marking where the metal bookends would connect with the MDF panels.

After painting the back and sides with the Waverly Paint I set them aside to dry.

After they’ dried I used Matte Mod Podge to attach the vintage library card graphics to the MDF smoothing out any wrinkles or bumps with my fingers.

Once that dried I trimmed away any excess paper using a sharp craft knife.

So far so good!  Everything was going swimmingly and I could sense the wave of praise that would come my way when it was all done.

All I had to do was glue the wood part to the metal part.

Child’s play!

……..I think we know where this is going don’t we……

Now, I’m sure your thinking, “David it’s just some industrial strength glue that allows almost no-margin-for-error.  What could go wrong?”

To which I say: “you must be a new here.  Welcome to Cheltenham Road!”

OK, so I applied the glue to both the metal bookend and the unpainted back of the MDF and then stuck them together.

I used some painter’s tape to hold them in place tightly as they dried

Can you spot the minor problem?

Yeah – they’re backwards.

I glued them together backwards.

The long sticky-out part of the bookend supposed to go UNDER the books…..

Upside?I did’t glue myself to anything and I can testify now that that glue works really well!  They are super attached!

Downside: they are super attached backwards.

Ah well.

But they still work and you still get the idea.

And, of course, Geralyn’s concept could be adapted to suit any interest:

You could use copies of actual book covers, tickets, photographs, favorite quotes, copies of children’s drawings – the sky is the limit!

But, if you wanted to make these exact ones then here are my library card designs Hardy Boys Nancy Drew Bookend Print Sheet

Just, um…. glue them together the right way and you will be golden!

 

Ikea Lazy Susan Becomes a Versatile Chalkboard Serving Tray and I Eat a lot of Cheese!

Penmanship is not my forte.

At all.

I was once told by a friend that I had “the handwriting of a serial killer.”

It could make a guy self-conscious.

I include a handwritten notes with every Etsy order I send and I always picture the customer opening the package and exclaiming: “oh look honey!  Jeffrey Dahlmer sent us some coasters.  How thoughtful!

So, while I have admired all the cool chalkboard art and lettering that you see all over the place it seemed pretty thoroughly out of reach for someone with my, um, limitations.

But the folks at Folk Art have come to my rescue!

As part of my Plaid Ambassadorship they sent me Chalkboard Paint, their new, smudge-proof, erasable, liquid chalk as well as line of stencils that let you create that cool, handwritten text. 

I was eager to try them out but not sure what to make.

A while back, on a whim, I’d picked up a $10 lazy susan from Ikea and I thought it would be cool to make a versatile, chalkboard, lazy susan for parties and such.

The chalkboard paint was easy to apply – two coasts with a light sanding in-between and then a 24 hour cure time.

I liked this product (I’ve used chalkboard spray paint in the past).  It went on smoothly and dried quickly.

Once cured, as directed,  I tempered the surface by rubbing some actual chalk over it and then wiping it away.

Now it was stencil time! …….. And learning curve time!

The stencil set is by Lily and Val and it’s actually a two-parter. 

To create the hand-lettered effect you lay down the first stencil and apply the liquid chalk. 

After a few minutes of drying time you lay the other stencil over it and complete the letter.

It took me a few tries to get the results I wanted (more on that in a sec) but I’m happy with the final look.  And  I like that the set also includes versatile shapes  – like the banner around the “enjoy” text.

It does, however, take a while to lay out a word (no Gorgonzola at this party!).  To speed things along I ended up mixing an matching with some other Folk Art stencils I had on hand.  And, of course, it’s just paint – you don’t have to use a stencil at all if,unlike me, your free-hand skills are solid.

I am not a very practiced stenclier and while the bottle of liquid chalk comes with a spouncer attached I could never, for the life of me, get it to work satisfactorily so I switched over to a standard stencil brush.

The main  learning curve for me was the amount of paint needed.  Even after I thought I’d removed a lot of paint from the brush I still ended up with paint bleeding under the stencil (Bright side!  it was easy to wash away the paint and try again).  Once I took almost all the paint off the results were much better.

And then came the test!

The claim is that the paint won’t smudge or fade but that you can easily wipe it off and do a new design.

My idea was that this would be a versatile piece.  It could be a cheese tray at one party and then a dessert tray, or condiment tray at another.  This, of course, wouldn’t work if the paint “ghosted” when you tried to remove it.

So, I let everything dry (sitting in a sunny window actually) for a couple of days.

I couldn’t rub the paint away with my fingers no matter how hard I tried.

But, a quick wipe with a damp towel and it was gone.  No ghosting.

The chalkboard doesn’t look used and grey – just back to good-as-new.  Perfect!

So, I have a multi-use serving tray AND I got to eat a lot of cheese!  BEST. PROJECT. EVER!!!!!

NOTE:  The Chalkboard paint is dishwasher safe and non-toxic.  It is not, however, labeled at “food safe” hence all the cheese is on wax paper and the crackers in containers.

The liquid chalk paint and stencils are available at JoAnn and A.C. Moore stores (Michaels carries the stencils but not the liquid chalk for some reason)

Disclaimer:  The folk at Plaid have provided me with the chalkboard paint, stencils and liquid chalk for this project as part of my Plaid Ambassadorship.  There was no other financial remuneration.  The idea for the project and the opinions expressed are 100% my own.

DIY Father’s Day Ideas and an All Ice Cream Diet

Well, for a while there I was rocking that Every-Sunday-Blog-Post thing.  It felt good!  I felt like a responsible grown up blogger…. and then….I hit the creativity wall.  Has that ever happened to you?  I just drew a blank.

Now, the standard good advice about times like this is that you should go outside, talk to friends, peruse Pinterest , re-energize and get inspired!

I chose to sit quietly, talk to no one and focus on how many different things I could find in my pantry to put on top of ice cream (my current favorite is pretzels, caramel sauce and chocolate chunks).

Sooooo…..not  much new to share at the moment.  And I thought if I presented another tray or “vintage” sign you all might rise up in (understandable) craft-mutiny.

However, the fog seems to have cleared  because I’m excited about a new project and I hope to post about it on Wednesday (I’m out of pretzels  I have to do something!)

Sneak peek – it involves an Ikea lazy Susan, chalkboard paint and a new product from the folks at Folk Art.

In the meantime Father’s Day upon us!

During my…. let’s call it a sugar-coma lull…. I did keep busy with custom projects.  I worked with a customer on a fun variation on my baseball field Subway Coasters for her dad who is a big LA Dodger fan.  So, Dodger Blue rather than black and his favorite players.  I hope he likes them!

And I realized I’ve done several Fathers Day themed projects over the years so I thought I’d do a quick review in case anyone is stuck for ideas.

I did this project for Mod Podge Rocks last year and I’ve made a few more since.  They are fun, pretty straighforward and inexpensive – click the picture for the link to the full Mod Podge Rocks tutorial.


Father's Day Gift Idea

This little pen holder is  easily customized and simple to create with inexpensive odds and ends.Simple Father's Day Project Tutorial Cheltenham Road

And finally, this photo display is made from affordable metal switch plates and plumbing fittings for a kind of industrial/rustic vibe.

OK, back on Wednesday….unless I make it to the grocery store…..

The Best One Year Anniversary Gift Idea

I’ve talked a lot about my family’s creativity.  Dad, mom, sisters – all do terrific work.

Happily, the gene doesn’t skip generations.

You may recall, a few years ago, my niece, Maggie did a guest blog post here detailing her makeover of her office.  It was wonderful!

Well, it was wonderful until she got more comments on her post than any post I had ever done and then Maggie was, of course,  DEAD TO ME.

So, while that was unfortunate and we all miss Maggie I’m happy to report that my sisters were thoughtful enough to produce several other offspring and up to bat today is the wild-card.  The only nephew.  Jordan!

Jordan is sort of the quiet one who comes up with unexpectedly great suggestions that immediately make me think “that’s brilliant!  I will totally pretend it was my idea!!!”

However, this time there is photographic proof.  And a wife. So…….

Welcome Jordan!

Jordan got married last year to the truly wonderful Kate and they have spent the year living, at least according to Instagram, the life I want to live – great meals, travel, theatre, movies, sports and extremely on-point (finger)nail art (Kate not Jordan on that last one but if he wanted to I’m sure he’d be able to pull it off).

They hit the one year mark recently and since that is traditionally the Paper anniversary Jordan had a pretty terrific idea.

He collected all the paper memorabilia from their first year together – tickets, playbills etc

He picked up a frame from Michaels.  And a matte that had a fairly small opening and a lot of surface space.

Using the paper that came with the frame as a template he laid out collage design and used a sharp craft knife to cut out the details around the matte opening.

After adhering all the pieces using double sided mounting squares (again from Michaels)

He let the the cardboard backing and the glass sort of smoosh them together into a smooth layer.

And voila!  A pretty awesome one-year Paper Anniversary gift!

Cotton is Year 2 traditionally and I’m keen to see what he comes up with (the bar is pretty high here Jordan – you might want to purchase the sheep now just to get a jump start.  Oh wait, that’s wool…..ok, I’m out of ideas – you’re on your own dude).

 

%d bloggers like this: