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Category Archives: Houseware Crafts

Spooky Halloween Candle Tutorial

I would be a lousy scientist.

I don’t like to experiment – I like to execute ideas perfectly the first time.

This, of course, has never happened but I just know I would like it more.

My spooky tealight holders took a lot of experimenting.

I tried small jars (too small!).

I tried red paint dripping down from the top (too silly looking)

As we know, I took a brief ill-advised, foray into glitter (too…ponies and unicorns!)spooky, glowing eye Halloween candle holders by Cheltenham roadI tried mason jars (too – “hey that’s a mason jar”).

I tried using velum for the images (too – um, the toner slides off when you try to mod podge it).

It all made me too – cranky!

But I kept at it and refined it a bit and I think I’m ready to present my final take on making spooky glowing eyed candle holders.

Halloween Decoration Tutorial

They are actually very easy to make but, for some reason, kind of wordy to explain so hang in there.

PLEASE NOTE: these are designed to be used only with electric tealights

Here is the round up of supplies I used:Make creepy candle holders for halloween

  • Glass Candle Holders or jars (can you see them?  sorry.  glass! hard to photograph). Mine are from Dollar Tree. I used only straight sided holders and looked for a variety of heights and shapes.
  • Matte Mod Podge (not pictured)
  • Spray Paint. I used black, grey and some window frosting paint I had lying around. Any color that appealed would do – the cheap stuff is perfect.
  • Rag: the more texture on it the better. It probably won’t survive the process so don’t get too attached.
  • Print outs of dour or un-photogenic Victorians (laser/toner based prints)
  • Foam brush
  • Sand Paper
  • Sharp craft knife

Finding Photos

Flickr is a great source for old photos and I stuck mostly to Daguerreotypes as they tend to be very clear (you can find great collections here and here.)

I looked for distinct faces and prominent eyes. The larger the eyes are to begin with the easier this process is and the better the results. Also, while a whole crowd of glowing eyed spooks sounds awesome – it gets less a lot less awesome as you sit there cutting out tons of little tiny holes. I learned to stick with pics that featured one or two people.

After downloading my faves I resized them to suit my candle holder dimensions and printed them out on plain paper.

Paint the Candle Holders

This part has to be done pretty fast before the spray paint dries.

Working with one candle holder at a time spray the top and bottom pretty thoroughly but just let the over-spray take care of covering the middle (it makes life easier and less messy down the road).Halloween DecorationThe moment your done spraying wrap the candle holder in the rag pressing it into the paint with your hands.Easy DIY Halloween Centerpiece Tutorial Cheltenham RoadGive it just a second or two and then remove the rag.Easy Mod Podge Halloween CraftYou’ll have a nice, decrepit texture.

Using the same rag repeat that process with as many candle holders as you want in as many colors as you want.

EYES!!!

While the candle holders finish drying take a craft knife and cut out everybody’s eyes! (upsetting sentence #1).

I learned to go a bit wider than the subjects actual eyes – removing the whole eye socket is best (upsetting sentence #2).Creepy, Glowing Eye Halloween Decor

I focused on using pics of children this time around because my brother-in-law sent me an email after the last blog post saying that I needed more little kids because “glowing eyed evil children are better” (upsetting sentence #3) (also, what is going on with my family?!  They are kinda creeping me out)

Applying the Photos

In my first attempt at these I painted the whole candle holder solid black and then just scraped away where they eyes went.  Result? Glowing eyes but, when the lights were dimmed that was all you could really see – the faces disappeared.  So, in order to get the whole face to glow a bit along with the eyes I found that if I painted the middle lightly and then, using sandpaper, scraped away some more paint it worked out great. Creepy Glowing Eyes Halloween Decor Tutorial Cheltenham Road I didn’t sand away every trace – just most of what was there.  The streaks that remain add some nice dark spots when the candle is turned on.

A quick dry-check to make sure I sanded the right spotSpooky Halloween Decoration Tutorial and it’s time for Mod Podging the pic in place.  Halloween Luminary TutorialI applied one image at a time working my way around the candle holder, smoothing out the image and wiping away any excess Mod Podge.

Once everything dried I added a sealing coat of Mod Podge.

I then went back in with my craft knife and scraped away around the eyes one last time for extra glowiness.

I think they make their case in regular light.  They’d look good as a center-piece or on a mantle.Haunted Halloween Candle Holders by Cheltenham RoadBut dim the lights a bit and let the spooky really kick inGlowing Eyes Candle Holder for HalloweenYou can see how the textured paint allows some of the light through both behind and under the pictures.Dollar Store Halloween CraftsI discovered it was best to get the light up to eye level so for taller candle holders so I used a chunk of wood, a dowel or even a plastic cup to elevate the electric tealight.

Someone at Scare LA suggested that, rather than old pics, you could use pics of ex boyfriends, or your mother-in-law.  Mean! but funny!Glowing Eyes Candle Holders for Halloween by Cheltenham RoadI hope this is helpful.  If I’ve left anything too vague let me know and I’ll address it.

 

DIY Photo Display and Global Economics

Easy DIY Photo Display Project Cheltenham RoadSo, one of the symptoms of my DIY-illness is that I seldom see something in a store and think “I should buy that!” Instead I almost always think “I want to make that.”

I also want to drop everything and make it RIGHT NOW!

That’s fine but the downside is that I often find myself really, really chomping at the bit to make my version of something that is already being mass-manufactured overseas – which can feel a bit silly. I’m not keen on falling into the category ofwhy make itBUT! (you knew this was coming)

When you DIY it you can customize to make it your own.

That’s my justification and I’m sticking to it.

Such was the case when my friend Aimee pulled me into Michaels, pointed at one of those Maker Market photo display and asked if I could make one for her but in different colors.

“HAH! Perfect justification!” thought I – and got to work. The project also doubled as my latest Mod Podge Rocks Tutorial – so you can see all the steps if you are so inclined.  Spoiler Alert: There aren’t many.

It proved to be fun and sooooo easy and versatile that I actually made several. Some using scrap book paper,Easy DIY Photo Display Tutorial

some using prints of old postcardsPhoto Display Tutorial by Cheltenham Road

and some just painted and distressed.

Shape, size, color – they sky is the limit on these!  So why buy them?!

Cheltenham Road: Undermining the Chinese Economy One Project At A Time

Knick of Time Inspiration Party

New Products, Puttering Around and PIE!

Thanks very much to all who entered the Big Book of Mod Podge raffle!

I had added the question about “where did you hear about Cheltenham Road?” out of pure curiosity and had anticipated that most people would say “I’m your sister’s friend.”

I did not anticipate that many of you would simply say really, really nice things (I didn’t expect you to say mean things either I just didn’t expect the compliments). It wasn’t my intention to go fishing but boy the fishing was fine and VERY much appreciated.

The lucky winner (randomly chosen by Rafflecopter) was Suzanne who did admit that her husband is an actual factual magician so there may have been some Harry Potterness going on there but I’m not going to question it.

July is usually a pretty slow for me but this year has been a good balance of steady sales (keeping my one-man-factory chugging along) and time to toy with new ideas.

The latter is truly the most fun – just puttering away and playing the “what if I…..” game.

Would you like to play along?

I’m getting ready for the big Scare LA show in a couple of weeks so my thoughts have turned to Halloween.

I love the graphics on Ouija boards and thought they’d make fun coasters. But I can’t decide if I like the ones I made that show the full boardvintage Ouija Board Coaster Set by Cheltenham RoadOr if I prefer the style that just captures a section of the board.fun Halloween Coasters by Cheltenham Road

Thoughts?

All I know for sure is that the packaging should say something like, “useful for summoning dessert.”

Well, actually it should be “useful for summoning spirits” (meaning alcohol but I can’t figure out how to make the joke work).

Or perhaps just “not for use at graveyard dinner parties or in homes where the host has recently been murdered.”

I also wanted to try a slightly different version of the Glowing Eyes Luminaries I created for Mod Podge Rocks last year Last Minute Mod Podge Halloween Decoration Tutorial Cheltenham Road

but use smaller candle holders.spooky, glowing eye Halloween candle holders by Cheltenham road

I played around with adding glitter to one but I’m not sure I’m ever actually in favor of glitter. I was hoping it would make them kind of ethereal but it strikes me as more of a “yay! Unicorns and ponies!” effect than a “creep me out” effect at the moment.

I do kinda like the “blood” dripping down the side though – always pleasant.

I’m a bit stuck as to size. Small tea light size or bigger so they have more impact?

Of course, not everything was Halloween based as I was getting my next Mod Podge Rocks project goingDIY Photo Display Tutorial Cheltenham Road for Mod Podge RocksAnd finally, though this is not a food blog I did make these beauties for a Sharknado 3! viewing party.peanut butter pretzel chocolate pies

It’s a long standing gathering – a group of us have hooted through all previous versions and I’m often in charge of dessert.

Chocolate, peanut butter pretzel pie.chocolate peanut butter pretzel pie in a jar

I put them in jars to make life easier.

The recipe was courtesy of Becky Sue at Baking the Goods  and it was very easy to make.

OK, back to puttering – and perhaps the gym since I ate about four of those pies (good cooks test their food!)….I should probably clean the house too.

Or I could putter some more!!!!

Father’s Day Project Tutorial and Calendar Challenges

Simple Father's Day Project Tutorial Cheltenham RoadDid you all know that the Patchwork Long Beach Festival that I had signed up for was, in fact, NOT on June 14th but rather on June 7th?

You did?

How funny that you didn’t mention that.

I myself did not realize that fun fact until Monday.  The 1st.  Monday the 1st is when it suddenly became clear to me that I did not have two weeks but rather had five days to restock what had sold at the Santa Ana show.

I, of course, approached this crisis with a Zen-like calm and poise.

My week was filled with with stressed out panic chamomile tea and brunching with chums.

In the midst of brunching and chatting I got this idea for a Father’s Day Project and, as we know, when I get one of these ideas I feel overwhelmingly compelled to make it. Luckily it came together very,very fast leaving me time to lounge at the pool consuming bon-bons as I am wont to do.

I started out with the followingSimple DIY Father's Day Project by Cheltenham Road

  • Three 2″ wood blocks from Michaels
  • Two 3/4″ nuts
  • Wood Stain
  • E6000 glue
  • Mod Podge
  • 8 graphic prints (more on that at the end of the post) sized to 1.75 inches square
  • Electric Drill with a good sized bit
  • Sandpaper

I gave the blocks a light sanding just to smooth things out and marked the center of each.

After quickly drilling the hole in the center I stained the blocks, allowed them to dry and applied my graphics.Quick Father's Day DIY Pen Holder Project by Cheltenham Road

The graphics went on three sides of what would be the end blocks and just on the front and back of the center block.  Once they had dried I sealed them with another coat of Mod Podge

A little E6000 got the bolts in their place and I used two books to brace them while the glue dried.Pen Holder Project for Father's Day by Cheltenham Road

Done! Easy and quick.Easy Pen and Pencil Holder Project by Cheltenham Road

I, of course, used patent prints for my images because patent prints are all I can think about these days but there are so many options.DIY Pen Holder Desk Accessory Cheltenham RoadMaybe use scanned family or school pictures?  Perhaps scan and reduce kid’s drawings?

Scans of cool, old stamps would be fun.Pen Holder Tutorial Cheltenham Road

Or, getting away from Father’s day what about fruit crate labels, or tea label graphics (not that dads cant like fruit or tea)?  The blocks could be painted white and scrap book paper applied. It just seems like there are a lot of fun possibilities.

So there you have it.  And now I’m off to lie down for a little while several days because, you know how it is – all that relaxation can be soooo draining.

PS:  The show went great!  I was a bit groggy and the basic math skills required to run a booth did, on occasion elude me, but the weather was perfect, tons of stuff sold and the crowd was awesome (and I had the assistance of my terrific niece Sabrina who charmed pretty much everyone that came along.  I’m a very lucky, if calendar challenged, guy!).

 

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.

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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.

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