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Category Archives: Houseware Crafts

Comic Book Superhero Coaster Tutorial

DIY Comic Book Coaster SetIt’s not quite Thursday but it’s time for a flash-back.

A project I did a loooong time ago for Mod Podge Rocks has been getting some attention and I wanted to do a little updating.

As you know my Etsy shop is all about coasters.  I also love comic book graphics but can’t make comic book coasters (pesky copyright law) and I thought it would be fun to share a way to make a set of that’s easy and doesn’t break the bank.

In the electrical/lighting section of Home Depot, I came across these metal blanks that are made to cover up unused outlets ($1.40 each).DIY Comic Coasters Cheltenham RoadYou can, of course,  buy round chip-board blanks for coasters and they are fine but a bit too light weight maybe.   A lot of people use ceramic tiles which are great (and could certainly be used here) but seem a bit large and heavy to me.  So I liked these outlet covers – sturdy, thin, moderately heavy and inexpensive!

For this project I usedSupplies for DIY Superhero Coaster Set

  1. The blanks – they come with a rubber gasket that will come in handy
  2. Outdoor Mod Podge (update! Mod Podge now comes in a dishwasher safe version which would be great!)
  3. Foam Brush
  4. Copies of comic book pages made with a laser printer
  5. Glue (not pictured – I used E6000)
  6. Spray paint (optional)
  7. 220 grit Sand paper

Step 1 Painting.

I wanted a white coaster so after lightly sanding the blank with some 220 Grit sandpaper (just to rough up the surface and give the paint something to stick to) I just popped them on top of some plastic cups and used Heirloom White spray paint.Geek Gifts Comic Book Coaster Tutorial Cheltenham RoadStep 2 Images

For my images I used cut-outs from a book about comics (I found it on a remainder table) but you can scan any comic books that you like and just print them (or have them printed out) on a laser printer/copier.  Do not destroy actual comic books!  It makes the nerds very angry.

Sometimes I find it hard to visualize what a section will look like when it’s cut out so I used my Fiskars Circle guide to get a sense of where on the page I wanted to cut. You could do the same by just cutting an appropriate sized hole in a piece of paper.Comic Book Coaster Set Cheltenham Road Tutorial

There are two screw holes in the blank and your paper will need to cover them. I chose to leave a little edge showing but it would also work to cover the entire surface with paper. If you go that route cut a circle a little larger than the blank and after applying it and allowing it to dry cut away the excess paper with a craft knife

STEP 3 MOD PODGING

After checking to make sure that my images were the right size and would cover the screw holes it was time to Mod Podge.

I like to dampen my images before attaching them as it reduces the bubbles and wrinkles that plagued me in my early Mod Podge attempts.

I fill a container with water and drop the image in to soak while I spread the Mod Podge on the outlet covers.

Super Hero Comic Book Coaster DIY Tutorial Cheltenham RoadWhen I pull the image out of the bath I run my fingers along either side of it to remove any excess water. After that I lay it on the surface and gently smooth it out pushing out any air that gets trapped or any excess Mod Podge (having a paper towel handy is helpful) and allow it to dry.

STEP 4 TOP COAT

After about 20 minutes I top coated the coasters with a layer of Mod Podge and allowed it to dry. I like to use a fairly thick coat as it minimized the brush marks – but, be warned, that method is a little messy.DIY Coasters with Vintage Comic Books a Cheltenham Road Tutorial

After that top coat had dried I  gave it a light sanding and applied another coat of Mod Podge.

STEP 5: GLUE ON THE BACK

I glued the foam rubber gaskets that come with the blanks onto the back using E-6000 glue. The gaskets are just a tiny, tiny bit bigger than the blanks so if you don’t like that look just use cork, some felt or some self-adhesive furniture pads.

And that’s all there is to it.

Vintage Comic Book Graphic Coasters Cheltenham Road Tutorial Just make sure you give the coasters plenty of time to cure before using them – several days to a week is best especially if you live in a humid climate.

If you use the diswasher safe Mod Podge they will be even sturdier – just don’t, you know, put them in the dishwasher.Superhero Coasters a DIY Tutorial Cheltenham RoadIf you wanted a truly hard surface on the coaster that would be more heat resistant you could use  Envirotex Lite – you can find it at Michaels.  It’s easy to work with just be sure to follow the package directions precisely.

I hope you found this useful and if you do make some coasters please make sure let me know

 

 

UWUG Project 4 Knife Holder and a Learning Curve

Vintage Sign Knife Holder tutorialMy parents are Life-Long-Learners. In their 90s they are taking classes at the local college – history, literature etc. Always learning. Very admirable. I, on the other hand, am not a learning fan.  Or, more specifically, not a fan of the learning curve. I want to know exactly how to do everything right out of the box. I don’t want to look at the map I want to know where I am!  I want to come up with an idea for a project and execute it flawlessly. Weirdly, it juuuust doesn’t seem to work that way (I get lost a lot too). For UWUG Project #4 I thought it would be cool to make a knife holder that was a vintag-y sign. Simple!  Totes know how to do that! And then the dreaded learning curve kicked in. OK, supplies: Another piece of that old  dresser (another of the drawer sides like I’d used for the scrap wood trays) painted and distressed.Trash To Treasure Dresser Project Cheltenham Road Some magnets I had lying around for…..no apparent reason (where do these things come from? Who buys them and why do they keep leaving them at my house?) and a few strips of scrap wood.Magnets for DIY Knife Holder Cheltenham RoadI laid out my knife collection on the board and drew around them just to get a rough placement.How to make a vintage sign and knife holder Cheltenham Roadthen came up with a simple graphic – just textVintage Sign Knife Holder Tutorial Cheltenham Road I printed it out in reverse and, using the Lenk tool, transferred it to my painted wood base. I used scrap wood strips to make a little red frame around the sign just to give it some pop. Just strips of wood painted red and glued around the edges – butt joints again – nothing fancy. I marked where I wanted my magnets to goHow to make a vintage sign and knife holder Cheltenham Road drilled shallow holes with a forstner bit Scrap Wood Sign and Knife Holderand glued them in place using trusty E6000. Done! Nope! It turns out that the wood surface is a bit uneven so my carefully drilled holes weren’t all the same depth. That wasn’t a problem for the knifes that only had one magnet to hold them in place but for the bigger knives I’d used two magnets which were now at different levels and….no worky. So I drilled them out and did it again.  All nice and level. Done! Nope! All the knives gave a solid, reassuring click when placed on the magnets and then, when I tilted the sign up like you would on a wall, all the knives just gently slid down and crashed to the floor (no I did not stab myself in the foot…..I came close to stabbing myself in the foot which is VERY DIFFERENT!….Nicki…..) Awesome. Why hello drawing board. I have returned!  Did you miss me? I had some more magnets (still no clue why) – smaller, more intense. More holes were drilled. Small magnets were glued.knife holder tutorial Cheltenham Road Done! Nope! These magnets were so magnetty that when I put the big knife on it it defeated the glue and yanked the magnet out of the wood. More glue and more drying time solved the problem. Done! For reals! I had learned. I had curved. And next time will be super easy.Vintage Sign Knife Holder Cheltenham RoadNo, the knife on the end didn’t fall off.  I had created a tableau – cause I’m artsy like that.  I picked flowers!  I baked banana bread!   But then realized I couldn’t quite get the tableau in the picture. Better. Make a vintage sign and use it as a knife holder  Cheltenham Road tutorialOK.  Learning Curve Summary.  Notes for next time.

  • Small, super strong magnets are better.
  • Two magnets per knife
  • Drill all magnet holes to the same depth
  • I sealed it with wax which is great…..just do it perhaps, I don’t know,  before you glue the magnets in place (I got ahead of myself)
  • Give E6000 lots of drying time
  • wear shoes.  just in case.

YTTSMain5hostsHome Stories tutorials-tips-button

UWYG Project 4 – Make Rustic Wood Trays from Scrap Wood

Make a tray out of scrap wood tutorial by Cheltenham RoadI have a billion projects going on at once.  It’s great and I thought “oh perfect I’ll be able to post regularly and a often!”  My goal was to do posts on Mon, Wed and Friday.

Happy Friday everyone…….and welcome to my second post of the week -because I think hat having goals is awesome but meeting them is totally over rated.

So you may recall my whole Use What You’ve Got Challenge started when I decided that, rather than trashing this old dresser, I’d see what I could make out of it.  Trash To Treasure Dresser Project Cheltenham Road The first thing I made out of it was a big pile of crap.scrapwood pileSo many possibilities! (including tetanus – man there were a lot of old rusty nails)

I thought the (former) sides of the drawers  might make good trays so I grabbed them and a few lengths of  1/2″ x 1.5″ lattice strips that were leftover from a previous project.Scrap Wood Tray by Cheltenham RoadI sanded and painted the scrap a basic white.*Image Transfer Tray Tutorial by Chelteham Road I decided to make them speak French and after perusing the ever-valuable Graphics Fairy website I had a couple of fun designs and one of my own creation.

Once the paint had thoroughly dried I printed out my reversed graphic and taped it in placeImage Transfer to Wood Tutorial Cheltenham RoadI’ve become a fan of my semi-dangerous Lenk tool – it’s easy to use once you get the hang of it (you can my more detailed Lenk tutorial here) Lenk Tool for Image Transfer  Tray Tutorial by Cheltenham RoadAfter the transfer was done I sanded away around the edges of the piece and sealed the whole thing with a coat of Matt Mod Podge.  French Flower Market Graphic Image transfer to wood tutorial by Cheltenham RoadI’d previously cut and painted the lattice pieces for the edges so now I just  glued and nailed them into place.  I opted for simple butt joints rather than miters.

My intention was to pour a coat of Envirotex Lite on the trays so I needed to really make sure the seal between the base and the sides was solid.  Envirotex is awesome but it will find any tiny gap and pour through it with alarming and messy speed.  I just ran a bead of Mod Podge along the inside edge filling in any voids or gaps.  The Mod Podge will dry totally clear so, once the Envirotex is poured you’ll never see it.Seal the edge with Mod PodgeAlso, because I recently found out that Envirotex won’t stick to basic, transparent tape I ran some along the edges on the bottom just in case I’d missed any gaps with the Mod Podge.Tray Tutorial Cheltenham Road After all the Mod Podge sealing was dry I poured the Envirotex.  Envirotex is easy to work with but only if you follow the manufacturers directions to the letter.

For efficiency I actually made three at once in different colorsFrench Ephemera Scrap Wood Trays TutorialFrench Flower Market Scrap Wood Tray by Cheltenham RoadAnd I used the leftover drawer handles from the dressers for the tray handles.DIY Tray Project from Salvaged Wood by Cheltenham RoadSo that’s Use What You’ve Got project number 3!Image Transfer to DIY Salvaged Wood Trays by Cheltenham Road

*Other thoughts and a Learning Curve:

1) The Lenk tool is great but it does work via heat.   For my first attempt I had under-painted the tray base.  I did a coat of green paint then white paint then sanded away the white so some of the green showed through.  It looked great but the heat from the Lenk tool melted the paint a bit and caused discoloration and a tackiness so I had to sand everything off and start again.

2) My graphics are printed with a laser printer.  I don’t believe the Lenk transfer process will work with an ink-jet.

Knick of Time Inspiration PartyHome Stories tutorials-tips-button

Let (Me!) Eat Cake!

DIY Cake Stand Cheltenham Road I like cake.

A lot.

I like a lot of cake.

Mathematically the situation this looks like this:

Cake EquationHowever, I am limited for storage of said cake plates

Cake SolutionSo my quest is for the easily store-able cake plate and I think I’ve put one together!

It’s my latest Mod Podge Rocks Tutorial project and you can see all the details over on Amy’s site.

Basically it’s a tart pan and some plumbing pipe.DIY Cake Stand - Cheltenham RoadBut what makes it great (for me) is that I can take it apart so it doesn’t always have to be out.DIY Cake Stand Tutorial by Cheltenham RoadIn truth, while I do like cake I’m actually more keen on these as a way to display stuff at the Craft Shows I go to. I’m enamored of the idea of having everything laid out on all the different levels. I’m going to make more so be prepared (warned) for variations on this theme.

In the meantime I’m on another one of my “clear it out!” kicks. I’m determined that, during what is a very predictably slow time for the Etsy Cheltenham Road store, to make mad use of all the various bits and pieces of stuff (scrap wood, leftover project parts etc) that’s lying around.

First up this crappy dresser that came with my house when I bought it.Trash To Treasure Dresser Project Cheltenham RoadJust plywood and not all that great. It has been in the garage for years but had to go. I was preparing to haul it to the curb and I thought “wait, how many things could I make out of that?” so that’s my challenge.

Question: Can you dumpster dive your own home? (Question: Did you hear that in Sarah Jessica Parker’s voice too?)

Stay tuned (spoiler: the answer is “yes!”…….referring to the dumpster diving part not the sounding like Sex and the City part).

Back soon with my first project.

In the meantime – linking up to a few great parties:

Knick of Time Inspiration Party

My Christmas Decorations Are Still Up

Soooooo….my Christmas decorations are still up

BUT!!!

I have a good justification reason!

OK, here’s the deal. The holiday season was great for me business-wise. Busy, busy, busy. So….yay!

However, I seem to be Seasonally Creative -by which I mean the ideas for a season only seem to really flow DURING that season. That’s fine but it always leaves me running way behind. Everyone else in blog-land is posting great Christmas ideas when I’m still eating my left-over Halloween candy

It’s a problem.

So, I decided to use the post-holiday time to get in gear for next year and I left my decorations up so I could snap pictures.

See? Perfectly justified!  It has nothing to do with laziness or a childlike need to make Christmas last forever.  Also a certain sister who shall remain nameless has not yet sent presents and as I’m sure they are coming AT ANY MOMENT I wouldn’t want to open them in a non-holiday setting.  Just sayin’

So now, please allow me to share ideas that I won’t elaborate on for 12 months.

I’ve wanted to test out how my new Lenk tool worked when transferring color images (spoiler: GREAT!) and I thought I’d make a stand for the cake pops I serve each year at my holiday dessert party.

I made a design based on a vintage record album cover and used one of those one dollar wood plaques from Michaels.Retro Style Cake Pop Stand Project Cheltenham Road

I maaaaay need to rethink where the holes go. It kinda looks like a sniper took Santa out.

(no I didn’t make those cake pops – Thanks Starbucks! Yes, I did eat those cake pops….somebody had to)

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I keep being tempted by those cheap wooden sleds they sell at Michaels each year and when I found one at 70% off I saw my chance!Tutorial Christmas Sled Project

I wanted to see if I could vintage it up to make a kind of serving pieceChristmas Sled Serving Piece Cheltenham Road

I think it has possibilities.

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Over the years I’ve collected those ubiquitous apothecary jars and, like others before me, filled them with ornaments. They look fine but I was getting a bit bored. I thought, ‘why not use some scrap wood blocks and scrap wrapping paper and to change things up a bit?’A New Idea for Christmas Apothocary Jars by Cheltenham Road

I also cut up a paper bag and some printer paper for that “brown paper packages tied up with string” look.*Easy DIY Christmas Decoration Apothocary Jars Cheltenham Road

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And finally , for some reason, I keep seeing in my head just letters spelling out the word HOLIDAY. (no this is not a “war on Christmas” thing. I just really like the word Holiday. I like the movie “Holiday” with Cary Grant. I like saying “holiday.” I wish I was English so I could, when leaving on a trip, announce grandly that “I’m going on Holiday.” It’s just a great word!)Holiday Sign

I figured they could stand on their own or maybe as a banner/bunting thing.HOLIDAY Bunting Vintage Christmas Style Cheltenham Road

And I have about a dozen more ideas as well although I may not get to those. I’m a little Christmassed out here in January. I’ve reached that tipping point where the decorations go from “how fun! and festive!!!” to “get this crap out of my house!”

Happy 2015 everyone!

 

*when did that “My Favorite Things” song become a Christmas song? They kept playing it on the radio this year. I mean, I get it….mittens, packages, snow on my eyelashes….but I don’t recall it being Christmas in the movie.

A New Way To Transfer Images to Wood

A New Way to Transfer Graphics to WoodAs you know I’m always looking for good ways to transfer images.

I ‘ve used Mod Podge Transfer

I’ve experimented with Blender Pens

I’ve used Liquitex Gel.

I have to say all the results were satisfactory but each had drawbacks either due to expense, time or versatility.

So, when I read about the Wall Lenk Transfer Tool that transfers images to wood I thought it sounded awesome!Wall Lenk Transfer Tool I read about it, researched it and, quick as a flash, plunged right in and bought it online.

It arrived!

I was so intrigued and excited I immediately set it aside!

For a year!

(honestly I had no idea it had been a whole year until I checked my Amazon order history.  I thought, maybe, 6 months ago……time flies when you are running a sweatshop having fun!)

But, I have now opened it, tested it out and am here to make my report.

First off, you get what you pay for ($17)…..it’s veeeery basic.  So basic and so potentially hazardous that it makes you wonder how this is allowed to be sold.  Or, more specifically,  given my history, how it is allowed to be sold to someone like me.

It works via heat transfer and, to put it simply, the metal end just gets super hot and then you rub it on your image and that transfers the ink to the wood (or fabric or whatever).

There is no “on/off” switch.  It’s either plugged in and on its way to being insanely hot or it’s unplugged and just lurking around being a little bit less insanely hot.  I didn’t have any moments like I did with the heat gun but the potential for disaster seems to be there.

So, onto the test.

While I was home in Ohio my sister Paula and I, intrigued by all the cool yardstick projects around but dismayed by the insanely high cost of “vintage” yardsticks began to toy around with the idea of making big, faux, versions.  I thought “This is the perfect project to try out my  brand new year old tool!”

I got right to work!

And just three short months later I did it!!! When I get excited about an idea nothing gets in my way!

So, I started out with some poplar wood cut down to size, painted, sanded smooth and a bit distressed.  I wanted it to look like two different rulers so one side was light blue and the other white.Faux Vintage Yardstick Cheltenham RoadTip Number One  – to optimize the transfer the wood must be very, very smooth and the paint (if there is paint) must be given lots of time to dry.

I came up with a couple of ruler designs in PhotoshopFaux Yardstick Design By Cheltenham Road

 

Faux Vintage Yardstick Pattern by Cheltenham RoadI reversed them and printed them out.

Tip Number Two: the prints need to be laser copies or prints – ink jet prints won’t work.

I plugged in the Lenk and, following the directions  gave it about 8 minutes to heat up.

I had read in the Amazon reviews that you needed to “burn off” some of the heat unless you were actually trying to start a small fire.  I burned off the heat by just touching the tool to a piece of scrap wood.  As you can see by the photo it took quite a few touches before it stopped burning the wood –Image Transfer with Wall Lenk Tool Cheltenham Road

But it didn’t take too long.

After that it was just a matter of rubbing it slowly over the image.   You can see where, even though I’d burned off some of the heat, it still scorched the paper a bit.Transfer an Image to Wood Cheltenham Road Tutorial I found that applying a light pressure worked well and going back over the image a few times was also key.

There is no real way to tell if you’ve succeeded or not until you peel away the paper.Transfer an Image Tutorial Cheltenham RoadOn the plus side though, if you peel away the paper slowly you can see if you’ve missed a spot and it’s very easy to just lay the paper back down and give it a few more rubs.  I did this in a couple of spots and it worked out just fine.

In a few places, where I guess I pressed to hard or let it heat too much, the paper stuck to the wood.Image Transfer Tutorial Cheltenham Road

But it was very easy to just dampen a cloth a bit and rub it away.

My box was 24″ long so I couldn’t print out the full ruler on one sheet of paper so I did it in sections and just lined them up.  Once again it was pretty easy.Make a Giant Vintage Yardstick Cheltenham RoadAfter that, I gave my “rulers” a quick coat of wax and assembled the box using a pin nailer (screws or regular nails would work just as well).Easy image transfer tool Cheltenham Road TutorialTransfer Images to Wood - Tutorial Cheltenham RoadThe images transferred very nicely – I like the level of distress and you do have some control over just how distressed you want it to be

Image Transfer Vintage Yardstick TutorialI think, other than the possible risk of burning your house down, this tool offers a lot of advantages.  The transfer takes place quickly (no waiting overnight) and once you buy the tool there is nothing else to purchase.Vintage Ruler Image Transfer Project Cheltenham Road

Also, it’s a true transfer – you don’t end up leaving a thin film of paper so that frees you up as far as background color(s) etc.

Now that I’ve tested it out I’m already thinking of tons of other possible projects (which you will be subjected to I assure you).

 

Please check out these link-parties for more great ideas:link-party-palooza-banner

Knick of Time Inspiration Party

 

Spooky Halloween Luminary Tutorial

Last Minute Mod Podge Halloween Decoration Tutorial Cheltenham Road Halloween is almost here and I was in need of  some quick, easy, and spooky decor.

I grabbed some .99 vases from the local thrift storeThrift Store Jars for Spooky Halloween CenterpieceDownloaded some stern looking VictoriansMod Podge Halloween Decor Projectand BAM! a two-fer.  One glowey eyed centerpiece for me.  One new Mod Podge Rocks Project for Amy!  Halloween Centerpiece TutorialIt was fun to put together, took about two hours (drying time mostly) and cost almost nothing – just what I was hoping for.  If you’d like to see the full tutorial head on over to Mod Podge Rocks for the details.

Actually I should amend that.  It took two hours to put together and then about three hours and six stores to find anything to put around it (I ended up with that green, licheny stuff) because it seems every store has moved on to Christmas.  Argh!!!!!  My new goal is to open the “You’ve Procrastinated and We’re Right With You” store – where holidays are in synch with the actual calendar.

In other news you may remember I was gearing up to do the a Halloween Window for one of my favorite local shops – CoOp 28.

Well, unfortunately, there was a scheduling mishap (not mine but I can understand why your mind would go there) and it didn’t happen.  So I’ve contented myself with Halloweening out my table a bit.Halloween Table at CoOp 28 by Cheltenham RoadUsually I’m very regimented and linear with my displays but this time I tried mixing it up a bit just to see if that might appeal.Cheltenham Road Halloween Table at CoOp 28We’ll see as the holiday approaches if I have snagged any fellow procrastinators or if the Halloween crowd is really just so together that they’ve already done all their shopping.

Meanwhile on to Thanksgiving!….Christmas!!!?…..no?…..Ah!  New Years!  There we go – now I’m up to speed.  Happy New Year!

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