Sunday, November 30, 2014

Envelope #334

November 30, 2014

Marbles. This took forever!

It's the beginning of the end. Only 31 days left in this challenge.

Christmas in November #30--Acrylic Painted, PearlEx and Glittered Ornaments

Side View
For this project, I decided to add Glitter to the process. I discussed using glitter in this post, Yesterday, I discussed using acrylic paint and PearlEx powders.

Today, I wanted to use the draining cup solution that I had left over from yesterday.

For this project, I used a plastic ornament. Pour the black Gesso/gold PearlEx from the draining cup from yesterday and rotate the ornament until the interior is covered. Once satisfied, place the ornament upside down on a Dixie Cup to drain. Once drained, add a second color of acrylic painted thinned with the Flow Release/water solution. Since I was pleased with the coverage, I dusted the interior with a different color of PearlEx (the pink PearlEx you see below).

While still tacky, add the glitter of your choice to the interior of the ornament (I used gold ultrafine glitter that I had left over from a previous project). This is a great way to use small amounts of leftover glitter. Cover the opening with a paper towel and shake the ornament, Repeat adding glitter until you get the coverage you like.
Top View
If want to start the process from scratch and don't have leftovers in your drainage cup here are the steps:

Prepare your ornament with the vinegar/water solution and let dry.

Prepare black Gesso with the Flow Release/water solution. Add an extra drop or two of the solution because you want this super runny. Coat the interior of the ornament.

Turn upside down and place on a Dixie Cup to drain.

Add the PearlEx of your choice and shake.

Add another layer of the extra thin black Gesso solution and rotate the ornament to cover the interior. Let this layer interact with the PearlEx powders. Turn upside down and place on a Dixie Cup to drain.

Add a second color of thinned acrylic paint or a second PearlEx color. Drain if necessary.

Add the glitter and let air dry. Replace lid.

I have a container of multi-colored glitter that I add small batches of unused glitter that are too small to complete an entire project. I can use this glitter for this project so just use the remnants of leftover glitter.

If you don't have a Gesso/PearlEx solution leftover, don't try and speed up the process by adding PearlEx to your Gesso directly because this mixture will get gloppy and less pourable.

This completes the 30 Days of Christmas in November. I hope that these projects have been helpful and enjoyable. Happy Holidays and Happy Decorating.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Envelope #333

November 29, 2014

Christmas in November #29--Acrylic Painted and PearlEx Ornaments

Side View #1
In a previous post, I discussed using PearlEx powders. Yesterday, I discussed using acrylic paints to decorate ornaments. Today, I wanted to see what happened when I used both products. The materials and assembly instructions are the same so I won't repeat them here.

Ornament #1 is a glass ornament where I used the blowing technique. After preparing the ornament with the vinegar/water solution, I added undiluted red acrylic paint and disbursed it using a straw. I did this a second time.

The second step was to take black Gesso (I used Golden) and thinned it with the Acrylic Flow Release/water solution. I added a little extra of this solution to the Gesso because I wanted it to be a little thinner so that parts of the glass would show through. Once I spread the entire interior of the ornament with the black Gesso, I turned it upside down and placed it on a Dixie Cup to let the excess drip out.

Once the excess has dripped out and the interior is still a little tacky, I took Gold PearlEx powder and added a little to the interior of the ornament. I covered the opening of the ornament with a paper towel and shook the product. Repeat using a straw to place powder where there are bald spots until you are pleased with the final product.

Place on a Dixie Cup in an upright position to let air dry. Once dry, replace the handing top.
Top View #1
Ornament #2 is similar to the ornament #1 except I used a plastic ornament and used the poured technique rather than the blow technique. The result is a little more subtle and you have to change a couple of the steps.

Prepare the ornament is the same way as above. Pour the first color into the ornament and rotate the ornament to coat as much as of the interior as you want. I used undiluted acrylic for this step. Turn over the ornament and place on a Dixie Cup to allow the excess to drain out. Repeat with the same or different colors as desired.

Step Two is the changed step. Take the PearlEx powder of your choice and add it to the interior of the ornament, Cover the opening of the ornament with a paper towel and shake. When you are satisfied with the coverage move to the next step.

For step three, add black Gesso (that has been thinned with the Acrylic Flow Release/water solution) to the interior of the ornament. You want this solution to be very flowing so you might want to add an extra drop or two of the solution to your Gesso. Rotate the ornament so that the Gesso solution covers the entire interior of your ornament.

Watch the magic happen: The Gesso solution will start to interact with the PearlEx and change into a glowing lava flow that will then start to marbleize with the base color. It is a much more subtle effect but it really is pretty.

Turn the ornament upside down and allow to drain in a Dixie Cup.

Let air dry overnight and replace the top.
Side View #2
You should really wear safety goggles/glass when blowing into the ornament. There is a possibility that product could blow up into your face if you look directly into the ornament while blowing into it. If you don't have goggles/glasses then I suggest that you buy the bendy straws for this purpose. Hold the ornament in an upright position. Bend the straw so that it is at a 90 degree angle to your face. Insert the straw into the opening and blow. While you have less control of seeing the splatter pattern it will be safer than not having safety goggles/glasses.

If you don't want to blow into the ornament, you can used canned air that is readily available. Be sure to use the directing straw that is attached to the can so you can control where the air is directed. If you use canned air then you MUST wear safety glasses/goggles.

When using PearlEx powders, be careful not to inhale them. Also, it is helpful to wear latex craft gloves and clear your surface. I speak from experience, you DO NOT want to drop a container of PearlEx powder--declutter your work surface before using these powders.

Also--a little PearlEx goes a long way. Work in stages by adding a little at a time.

Top View #2

Friday, November 28, 2014

Envelope #332

November 28, 2014

Christmas in November #28--Acrylic Painted Ornaments

Poured Acrylic--Side View
I have never had very much success with acrylic decorated ornaments so I decided to try them again this year. The most important aspect of this project is patience.

Materials Needed
Plastic or Glass Ornament (I used a glass ornament)
Liquid Acrylic Paint (I used Golden Liquid Acrylics)
Acrylic Flow Release (I used Golden brand)
Vinegar/Water Solution
Dixie Cups (for drying and mixing)

Take off the spring loaded top and clean with the vinegar/water solution. Let dry.

Either rinse the interior of the ornament with Flow Release and let drain OR follow the instructions and mix the flow release, water and acrylic paint in a Dixie Cup. I mixed the Flow Release with water in a separate Dixie Cup (10 parts water to 1 part Flow Release). In a separate cup, I poured some of the acrylic paint in a Dixie Cup and added the flow/water mixture to get a spreadable paint.

Mix as many colors in this manner that you want to use (I used two colors--orange and red).

Pour the spreadable paint mixture into the open ornament. Rotate the ornament until it covers the area that you want. Repeat with the second color. Rotate the ornament until the entire interior is coated and the colors have mixed.

Turn upside down and let the excess paint to drip out.

Leave turned upside down to air dry (at a minimum, overnight but maybe two days).

Poured Acrylic--Top View
For an alternative, repeat the above steps. After pouring the first color, rather than rotating the ornament, blow into the ornament with a straw to spread the paint. Let the paint get tacky and repeat with the same color to get a different spatter pattern. Repeat this with a second color. Be sure to leave some open spaces without color. Let dry.

After the color(s) have dried, take Gesso (I used white) and coat the inside of the ornament and rotate the ornament until all areas are covered. Turn upside down for the excess to drain out and let air dry.

Blown Acrylic--Side View

Blown Acrylic--Top View

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Envelope #331

November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving Day
(for U.S. Readers)

Christmas in November #27--PearlEx Ornaments

Side View
The last four postings in this series will deal with the plethora of glass and plastic ornaments that I have accumulated over the years. Today's ornament will be the simplest of the final offerings. This is the PearlEx Ornament.

Materials Needed
Plastic or Glass Ornament (I used the glass ornament)
PearlEx powders
Drinking Straw (with the tip cut off on the diagonal)
Glitter-It or Golden Acrylic Flow Release
Vinegar/Water Solution (discussed here)
Dixie Cups (to use for drying and holding the ornament upright)

Prepare the ornament with the vinegar/water solution and set to dry in one of the Dixie Cups.

Use the adhesive product of your choice (either the Glitter-It product or the Golden Acrylic Flow Release)  and coat the interior of the ornament. Set upside down in the second Dixie Cup to allow the excess to drip out. Allow to dry upside down in this cup.

Use the drinking straw to take the PearlEx from the jar and place the PearlEx inside the ornament. Work in stages. Cover the top of the ornament and shake the ornament to distribute the PearlEx. Repeat as necessary to get the desired effect.

Once completed, replace the top on the ornament.

Top View

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Envelope #330

November 26, 2014

Christmas in November #26--Stuffed Ornaments

This is another of those non-project projects in that it is so simple that it seems like cheating when including it in this series--the stuffed ornament.

Take an ornament of your choice, remove the top, and stuff the ornament with something pretty: tinsel, beads, sprinkles, nonpareils, or candies, In my case, I used cinnamon candies.

I apologize for this appearing early but I mistakenly entered the wrong date and time for this posting.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Christmas in November #25--Snowball Ornaments

View from the side
This project started off as an experiment with a new product. In a previous post, I evaluated the product Glittered-It. It was recommended that fine or ultra-fine glitter be used for best coverage. Since I had so many difference varieties of glitter, I wanted to see if the product would work with the chunky glitters. In this case, I wanted to see if it would work with the translucent disco glitter which is a snowflake, large cut glitter.

I am calling these Snowball Ornaments.

New Materials Needed
Glitter It product
Snowflake Glitter (I used Random Disco Glitter Flakes by Chenille Kraft)
Ultrafine Glitter (optional--I used WOW Silver Glitter)
Golden Light Modeling Paste
Plastic offset palette knife
materials from the Glitter It previous post.

Prepare the ornament as previously discussed. Rather than use the original ultrafine glitter, use the glitter flakes instead. Allow to air dry.

Return the ornament top to the glittered ornament. Apply the modeling paste with the palette knife, Apply the paste as if you were putting meringue on a pie, with peaks and valleys. Use as little or as much as you prefer.

Once satisfied with the look, apply the top coat of ultrafine glitter (optional, depending on the look you are seeking). In my ornament, I used both the glitter flakes and silver ultra fine glitter.

Allow to air dry (do not heat set since it might melt the paste or the glitter).

View from above
As a reference, I decided to apply the same technique to the glittered glass ornament from the previous post. Here are the results using the modeling paste and the original glitter.

View from the side
View from above
I am very pleased with the way these turned out. The Glitter It product worked well with the glitter flakes although coverage is not as strong as with the ultra fine glitter, although I enjoy the translucent look of the ornament.

In the future, I might color the modeling paste by mixing liquid watercolors to a small batch of modeling paste.

Be sure to use small portions of the modeling paste at one time. I have a large jar that I remove into a small work area. The paste dries out very quickly so work fast. If you leave the larger jar open to the air, it can dry out and ruin your product. If you need to work in a large batch (especially if you color the paste), put the working product in an airtight container. If you need to work with the colored product out in the open, take a slight dampened paper towel and cover your working product if you have to step away (similar to covering puff pastry with a dampened tea towel while working with it).

Envelope #329

November 25, 2014

Project #47--Disney Projects: Pooh

This is the continuation of the Disney series. The official story is that I made this for my friend who is a Pooh fanatic. The unofficial story is that I made this for myself since I am an Eeyore fanatic but don't tell her.

I can't believe that it is already the end of November. Where has this year gone?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Christmas in November #24--Glittered Cutouts

Since I had the glitter out for yesterday's glass/plastic ornaments, I decided to glitterate some cutouts. I had these cutouts from Michaels (the white ones below), I had some cutouts of my own (the black snowflakes below), some random chipboard letters and a thick felt mitten (also from Michaels).

Assemble the materials
Step One: Assemble the materials to be glitterated.

Step Two: Set up your glittering station. Once I open a jar/tube of glitter, I keep them in these shallow see-through containers. I always try to use containers a little larger than the element being glitterated. I also have a pair of long arm tweezers solely dedicated for glitter. After each use, I wipe them clean with an alcohol wipe.

Step Three: Apply a gluing agent. I find that spray adhesive works really well for me.

Step Four: Apply the glitter. I  take the glued item and put it face down into the glitter container. I then shake the container so that the glitter spreads all over the item.

Glitteration happening
Step Five: Remove glittered item with tweezers. Shake off excess glitter into the container.

Step Six: Place glittlified item on a piece of newsprint/wax paper (glitter side up) to dry.

I was a little surprised at how the felt accepted the glitter so well.

Drying Station

Envelope #328

November 24, 2014

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Christmas in November #23--Glittered Ornaments

Today's project is Glittered Ornaments. I have tried to do this project on so many difference occasions across the years but I just couldn't tweak it just the right way. I have scoured the Internet to try different methods but just couldn't get the glitter coverage that I was seeking. Either I was using the wrong gluing method/product or the wrong glitter.

So as I was preparing for this series, I decided to try again. I had tried ModPodge, Mop-n-Glo, Future floor polish, PVA, Methyl Cellulose and Elmer's glue. I then came across the product Glitter-It and decided to try it.

Supplies Needed
Glass and/or Plastic Ornaments (I used one of each)
Ultra-Fine Glitter (I used WOW glitter, on sale at Target)
Glitter-It product
Drinking Straw (cut one end on the diagonal)
Dixie Cups to hold your ornaments/excess
Newspaper to plastic to cover your surface
Wax Paper cone (optional)
White Vinegar/Water solution (I used 1 part vinegar to 2 parts water)
Latex craft gloves

Rinse the inside of your ornaments with the vinegar-water solution and let dry. I don't know how necessary this step is but the product instructions said to do it and I wanted this to work.

Cover your surface with newspaper and/or plastic.

Use two Dixie Cups for each ornament.

Remove the spring loaded tops and and set them aside.

Pour the product into one ornament and swirl. Work in a rotating fashion and take your time to get an even coverage. Place upside down in one Dixie Cup.

Take the second ornament and repeat the above process. Take the first ornament off of the "draining" Dixie Cup and place it upright in a second clean Dixie Cup. Take the second ornament and place it upside down in the "draining" Dixie Cup. The instructions say to let each ornament cure for 20-30 seconds before adding glitter. By the time you get a second ornament ready with the product the first ornament will be ready for glitter.

Returning to the first ornament in upright position, put glitter in this ornament. I used the drinking straw because it allows more control but feel free to used a wax paper cone. Keep in mind, depending on how much glitter you use some of it will clump up due to the amount of liquid still in the ornament. Once you get a feel for the correct amount, you won't waste too much glitter. Swirl the glitter in a rotating fashion to cover the ornament. It is easy to add glitter to bald areas by using the straw to place glitter directly where you need it.

Place this ornament upside down in a third Dixie Cup. This will be your "glittering" cup. Return to the second ornament and place it upright in the second Dixie Cup. Return any liquid product in the "draining" cup to the product squeeze bottle.

Take the first ornament from the "glitter" cup and place it upright in the fourth Dixie Cup. Take the second ornament and place it upright on the "glitter" cup. Put glitter in the second ornament and rotate until satisfied. Turn this ornament upside down so the excess glitter drains into the "glitter" cup. Once the excess is removed, place it upright in the second Dixie Cup that should be clean.

When you are finished with one set, you should have the "draining" cup, the "glitter" cup, a dry cup with the upright ornament one, and a dry cup with the  upright ornament two. Toss away any remaining glitter in the "glitter" cup because you probably won't be able to use it again.

Glass Ornament
Plastic Ornament
I found this product to be amazingly useful. I had no problems with the coverage and the adherence of the glitter. I purposely used a low-budget glitter because I didn't want to waste my good glitter should this project not work. This glitter worked fine with this product.

The product worked well on both the glass and plastic ornament, much to my surprise. There were no discernible differences between the two results.

I will next try on some of the off-shaped ornaments that I have to see how these directions work. I have hearts and boxes to try and will report back.

Be care when working with glitter with children because the glass glitter can be very harmful if it gets into cuts, etc. Also, be careful when handling the glass ornaments once the spring loaded tops have been removed. I was very happy to report that the edges has been rounded and were not sharp to the touch. Because of this, I felt comfortable placing a finger over the opening and shaking the glitter. In past years, I have actually cut my fingers on the sharp edges (which was one of the reasons why I switched to plastic ornaments).

I found it very helpful to use latex gloves when working with this glitter project. I seem to have kept the glitter monsters at bay but only time will tell how truly successful I was.

Envelope #327

November 23, 2014

This ends the week's  background series. I was amazed how comforting I found it working with repetitive patterns.  Today's pattern is supposed to represent a spotted koi fish. Spotted koi are highly desired in Japan for pond purposes. The more colors a koi has the more expensive it is. The blue lines represent the water in which the koi is swimming.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Envelope #326

November 22, 2014

Christmas in November #22--Pillow Boxes

I have always been infatuated with these pillow boxes. There are now scoring boards that allow you to make them. The only problem with the scoring boards is that they only allow one width for the pillow box. I wanted to make the boxes myself for the dimensions that I wanted.

I knew that it would be a matter of mathematics and construction but I had some extra time on my hands and felt up to the challenge.

First order of business was deciding what I wanted to include in my pillow box. I decided to make some boxes to hold a gift card. The gift card is 2 1/8 inches by 3 3/4 inches. So I cut out a rectangular piece of card stock 5 1/2 inches (width) by 5 3/4 inches (height).

To calculate the dimensions of the card stock, I doubled the size of the width of the item (2 times 2 1/8 inches). I added 1/2 inch for the flap that gets glued to the inside of the box, I then added 3/4 to allow for the filling of the box. For thicker items, you might want to add a little more to this dimension.

For the height, I took the height of the item (3 1/4 inches) and added an one inch to the top and bottom (added a total of two inches) and then added an extra 1/2 inch for clearance.

Scoring guidelines and
Step Two: Score the card stock. Score along the long edge 1/2 inch from one edge. You can score the card stock again 2 1/2 inches from the same edge if you like. I simply took the opposite edge and folded the paper to the first score line to get an exactly half measurement.

Step Three: Round the edges and miter the flap. Take a rounded object and align one end to the left edge of the card (the left edge is the edge opposite the flap as shown above). Align the top of the curve to the top of card stock. Mark the curve until it meets the center crease. Move the rounded object and align the end so it meets the center crease. Again, align the top edge and mark the curve until it meets the crease on the right. Continue this mark so that you have a right triangle on the top right corner of the card stock.

Rotate your card stock 180 degrees. Repeat the above steps but reverse the order. In other words, work, right right to left. Your first markings should always be opposite of the flap so that the right triangle is the last item to mark.

Turn your card stock over (patterned side up). Repeat the same steps opposite of your cut lines but SCORE rather than mark your lines. The resulting shape should look like an eyelid.

Step Four: Take a half round punch and punch the center panel at both ends.

Step Five: Using your markings as a guide, trim the card stock.

Trimmed and punch
card stock
Step Six: Assemble the box by folding on all score lines. Apply glue to the top side of the flap (the pattern side). It is easier to shape the curves while the box is unglued so pre-form these creases.

With the flap to the right, fold the flap to the inside of the box (starting pattern side down to begin with as shown above). Bring the left panel to meet the edge formed by the folded flap. The glued flap should adhere to the inside of the left panel.

Form one rounded end by folded the punched out center section into the box. Take the remaining flap and fold down. Turn the box over and put your gift card inside. Close the box by folding down the punched center section and fold over the top section.

Traditional Pillow Box
Alternately, you can press both sections of the box simultaneously until the top flap catches the center punched section. This takes a little finesse but I prefer this look because it maximizes the shape of the box.

Alternate closing of pillow box

Notes: There are several YouTube videos which show both the score board and handmade versions of these boxes. The problem I had is that none of them showed how to determine the dimensions of the box.

For the rounding of the box, I used a plate and a jar lid. The best item that worked for me was a set of acrylic French Curves that I had. I was able to mark them with a Sharpie so I could consistently get the same curve within the project and every time I make this size box. In the future, I will probably make a template of the curve out of chip board so I can quickly get the measurement each time.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Christmas in November #21--Snowflake Cone

A couple of people mentioned that I wasn't creating anything for Hanukkah, at which point I commented on how the series was called "Christmas" in November. Next year, I will do a Hanukkah series. Anyway, I decided to do something that could be used for both celebrations: a Snowflake Cone or shortened--A Snow Cone.

Using the traditional colors of silver and blue, I decided to cover a Styrofoam cone with ribbon and then overlay it with punched snowflakes.

Materials Needed
Wire Edged Ribbon (I used a 1.5 inch silver satin ribbon)
Styrofoam Cone (I used a 2 7/8 inch by 5 7/8 inch cone)
Card Stock in the colors of your choice (I used five shades of blue vut in 1.5 inch strips)
Snowflake Punch (I used a 1 inch snowflake punch by Marvy)
Color Ball Pins (lots and lots of pins--I used multicolored ball pins)

Punch out your snowflakes. Punch bunches of snowflakes. For this cone, I used over 200 snowflakes.

Take your ribbon and wrap once around the bottom of the cone. Overlap the ends and trim the ribbon to size. Take one pin and snowflake and pin it in place.

First row of ribbon
As many of you already know, it is difficult to get ribbon to not pucker when formed around a rounded surface. To ensure that the ribbon lies down, pinch the top edge of the ribbon to tighten the edge against the cone. Since these areas will be covered with the snowflakes, it won't even show on your final result.

Just a little pinch
Once you have covered your entire cone with ribbon, fill in all of the areas with snowflakes

Finished product

I used a lot of snowflakes on my product (over 200). I didn't realize how many it would take. 

I haven't tried the pinching method without wire edged ribbon but the wire edged ribbon really lies flat when using this method.