This is a guest blog post from Heather Barber from Moosethemint on Etsy. She offers quirky eco-friendly gifts she makes from upcycled materials. Her guest blog post today is a Cord Necklace Tutorial. She recently made one for me for my ill-fated attempts at buying a blue agate pendant….
Cord Necklace Tutorial
1. Gather your tools – 2 set of pliers, scissors, ruler.
2. And your equipment – wax coated cotton cord, 2 jump rings, 2 cord ends, 1 lobster
clasp and whatever you are going to put on the cord – I’m using a music pendant.
3. There are a variety of different kinds of cord ends, often called bead caps, and
these ones have 2 fold over ends like a tri-fold wallet.
4. Cut the cord to a suitable length, I normally go for 18 inches. The cord is easy
to cut with scissors.
5. Line the cord up with the edge of the end cap, and then using the pliers, fold
over one side and then the other, clamping the cord in place, and give it one
6. Repeat on the other end.
7. You need to check what you are going to hang from the pendant will fit over the
lobster clasp – if not, add it to the cord now before adding the jump rings.
8. Open the jump rings – these should always be opened with the ‘open gate’ movement,
don’t try and pull the ends apart as they will not reform afterwards. You will
need 2 sets of pliers to do this.
9. Feed one end of one jump ring through the lobster clasp (make sure that it fits,
as jump rings can come in different thicknesses) and then through the
10. Feed the other jump ring through the other cord end.
11. Using two sets of pliers close the jump ring, again using the ‘open gate’
12. You should have a closed ring on one end of your cord.
13. And you should have a lobster clasp on the other end joined by a closed ring.
14. The lobster clasp can now be fastened to the loop so you can wear it.
15.I have added a music pendant to the cord.
I’ll have to give this a go, I have a great bead shop not far from me…
Here is another Guest Blog Post, this time from Becci Gott from Bumblebee Lane Crafts on Etsy. She’s written a great post on how to decoupage a mannequin head – I think this would be a great craft to do with old books or vintage comics!
This tutorial has been a long time in the planning – I took the photos over a year ago with every intention of writing this up over the following weeks. Life always takes over though and it wasn’t until Denise asked about guest bloggers that it gave me a proper kick up the bum to get it all written.
First, I feel like I should introduce myself. I am Becci from Bumblebee Lane bumblebeelanecrafts.etsy.com) and I often feel like crafting is in my blood. In my first memory of my best friend, we were about 3 years old and sitting underneath a table together at a craft show that my Mum was hosting in our family home.
From that day forward, a lot of my childhood memories revolve around hanging out at craft shows, meeting my Mum at her craft shop, digging through her buttons and from a very young age, developing my own vocabulary about how certain fabrics feel. I learnt almost everything that I know through watching my Mum, despite not really sitting down with her and learning in any formal way.
I am, however, an anomaly. I am also a massive geek. For 14 years, I worked on a career in data analysis – writing code every day and presenting data in a way that made it easy to understand. In 2014, I made the decision to step away from the 9-5 in order to focus on my creativity and my family.
When I walked away from the structure of the 9-5, I knew that my business would be textile based. I love exploring other crafts but my love of fabric runs deep – at least I now have a great excuse for the fabric stash that I have accumulated over the years.
Although I have now moved to selling entirely through the internet, to start with I was exhibiting at any craft fair that I could fit into my schedule. The thing that you don’t think about when you first start at craft fairs though is that you can’t just lie everything on the table and hope for the best. Your stall needs height and different elements to show you wares off to their best.
Luckily, I have always been a bit of a hoarder, so I was able to add shelving, crates and boxes to give my stall a nice eclectic feel.
Over the various shows, I have also added more and more items, but one of my favourites is my mannequin head. I use it to display eye masks, but it could just as easily be used for displaying hats and hairbands – or even just as a feature in a bedroom. So, without further ado.. here is the tutorial for sprucing up your own polystyrene head!
DECOUPAGE HEAD TUTORIAL
Polystyrene head (I bought mine from eBay for around the £6 mark)
2 x Patterned napkins (again, I bought mine from eBay)
Old pot / jar
1) Cut your napkins into 1 inch squares (approximate is absolutely fine). I used 2 different designs on the napkins that I used, but made sure that they were similar styles. Using 1 design would also work absolutely fine. You can also buy decoupage paper in craft shops, but I personally like the way that the napkins are pliable around a curved shape.
2) Add some glue to the bottom of your old pot/jar – as I said, I am a hoarder, so have always got jars lying around for this sort of project. Add some water to the glue (about a 1:1 ratio) to thin it up a little and mix. I like to use a foam glue brush for this sort of project, but any soft brush would work just as well.
3) Working with a small area at a time, spread some of the glue mixture over the polystyrene. Start adding your squares of tissue, making sure that the edges overlap.
4) The messy bit is when you get to the details like the eyes, nose and mouth. You’ll find that you need to get some of the glue mixer onto your fingers to encourage the tissue into the hollows. It is worth taking your time over these bits to make sure that they are perfect!
5) When you get near to the bottom of the neck, leave to dry for 30 mins – 1 hour.
6) Once dry, add an extra layer of tissue to overlap the bottom. You can completely cover the bottom if you like, but I opted for just the one layer so that it looked great when stood up.
7) Allow to completely dry, then apply a coat of PVA glue over the whole head to seal the tissue paper and give it a more hard wearing finish. If you prefer a more matte finish, you could apply a matte varnish at this stage instead of the PVA.
I’ve neglected you all lately…. I’m going to try to get a bit more active on here for you all.
We give son’s teachers gifts at Christmas and Year-end. This year we decided on decorating a plant pot and picking out a pretty plant for his teacher and the teacher’s assistant. I try to pick something that he can make or do most of and he likes making gifts and really tries to get them perfect.
It’s an easy and cheap craft that looks wonderful and you can put a lot of thought into the kind of plant and the style of decoupage you want to do when you choose the tissue paper.
The plant pots were 89P each, the saucers were 99p. The pack of tissue paper was £2.20 and a bottle of PVA glue was £1.50. I know we had some around here somewhere but I couldn’t find it!
Son picked out a pretty blue, orange, yellow & pink flower tissue paper. As the paper had a white background, I painted the pots white with some wood paint I already had. We used a flat cardboard box to paint and glue on, but newspaper would work too.
Once the paint was dry, We took 1 sheet of the tissue paper (it was about 20″ x 30″) and ripped it up into pieces – tiny ones and big ones 2-3″ across.
We piled them up and I poured some glue into a plastic container, then used a clean paintbrush to brush it onto the pot. I did a section at a time and then son started to add paper to it, overlapping a bit and mixing up the flower colours and direction. I think if he was a bit older, he could do the gluing as well as the sticking but at 6, I thought he might get covered in more paper than the pot….
I smoothed down any bits sticking up and added another coat of glue. We did about 75% of 1 pot then switched to the next.
We went around and glued, papered and reglued that one too. We let them dry for an hour or so then went back and finished them off; this time I held the pots on my hand upside down. I’d say that each pot took about 15 minutes to cover. I’ll trim off the excess paper once the glue is completely dry tomorrow. We’ll repot the plants, and then give them to the teachers on Weds.
We only used a small amount of the glue and about 2/3 of the paper we ripped up for the 2 pots; we probably have enough ripped up to cover another pot.
Son’s already picked out which pot is going to which teacher even though they are pretty much identical!
Of course, you don’t have to put a plant in them – add a scrunch of tissue paper to the bottom of the pot and a bog-standard box of chocolates taken out of the box and piled on top look much more expensive. Or a collection of stationery – pens, pencils, a ruler, glue etc. Or pop a goodie bag of home-made treats – cookies, brownies, caramels, home-roasted nuts…. what would you put in it?
I usually don’t knit the 1st row of stitches in a knit-in-the-round pattern joined up so it doesn’t twist, I join after that and then stitch the row together when weaving in the ends.
But I just found this blog post that shows you how to untwist when knitting in the round! The caveat is that you can only do this fix after the 1st row – so all you have to do is check after that row. Simple and easy to do, why don’t more people know about it?!
I’m really getting interested in reusing old clothes or fabrics to make something new and useful and this is my first tutorial.
I found these jean legs a few weeks ago while I was making shopping bag holders out of fat quarters and I got the idea to make some out of the jean legs. I used patchwork that I’ve hand-embroidered on to decorate the legs and elastic to bunch up the top and bottom.
If anything isn’t clear or you’d like more photos, please let me know!
What I did:
assorted fabric patches to fit the leg, mine have been cut with pinking shears
embroidery floss to match the fabric
1/2″ elastic, about 30″
1″ white double-sided ribbon, about 20″
Vilene or other fusible web, enough to iron to the patchwork patches
Step 1: Arrange your patches on the jean leg however you like. I’ve used 5 but you can put on as many as you like. Then cut out pieces of the fusible web about 1/4″ smaller all around than the patches. Mine were originally smaller than that as you can see in the photo, but I added more as the edges moved too much when I started to sew the edges.
Iron on the fusible web onto the patches according to the directions, let cool and take off the paper. Put back on the denim and iron the patches onto the denim.
Next pick your colour of embroidery floss – the one I used on the holder in the photos is a lilac colour that matches the patches. Use 3 strands, with a sharp-pointed needle, and knot one end, leaving the other end loose. Bring up from the back, about 4-5mm in from the edge, and stitch down along the edge of the patch, then come up 4-5mm from the 1st stitch. Sew along the edge of each patch, going through both patches if you have overlapped them like I have and stitch along the edge of the topmost one.
This step takes the longest. Make sure your patches stay flat where they meet up and overlap. I kept 1 hand inside the leg and put the needle into the fabric along the edge then brought it up into the patch for the bottom of the next stitch, pulling through, with the other.
Next, stay-stitch the top rough edge of the leg, I’ve used a straight stretch-stitch but you could also use a narrow zig-zag too. You can hem the top instead.
Measure the elastic for the bottom just above the hem of the leg, adding on 1.5″- 2″ more than the width.
Hand sew the elastic ends together overlapping about 1cm. Turn the leg inside out and pin the elastic just above the hem. To do this, mark the elastic loop into 4, I’ve used the seam and 3 pins. Pin the seam to 1 seam on the jean leg, then pin the 2nd pin on the other side of the elastic circle to the other seam. Pin in between the seams, pulling the elastic so it’s flat to the denim. Sew with a straight stitch, going back and forth on the overlap on the elastic and pulling the elastic and denim as you sew. Take your time.
Step 7: Repeat steps 5 & 6 with the elastic to the top of the leg. You can hem the top first, or leave it as I have.
Step 7: Cut the length of ribbon as long as you want, I made it long so you can put things inside the leg without taking it off from where you have it hanging. Run the edges through a lighter so it doesn’t fray then fold over about 5mm twice. Stitch to the inside of the top of the leg, about where the elastic is.
Ta Da! You’re done. Depending on how big the jeans were, you can put shopping bags, small toys, scarves and gloves, tea towels….
If you’d like the ones in the photos, they are listed in my Folksy Shop here and here.
Today’s Guest blogger is Laura from Pink Flamingo Crafting. She makes lovely gorgeous cards, bags and other papercrafts on Etsy and we are both in an Etsy team – Team GB, which is for UK sellers. Here’s her great tutorial:
How to make a paper gift bag
I love to make little gift bags to make presents even more personal for loved ones. I thinks it’s a great idea as you can choose the pattern on the paper and accessories to match the recipient. And if you’ve seen my blog and work you’ll know how much I love crafting and present giving occasions!
The small gift bag I’ll show you how to make here is perfect for jewellery and other small items.
The instructions below will make a small gift bag measuring 10cm high, 8cm across and 3cm in depth. You can of course adjust the measurements to suit your needs.
You will need:
· 1 piece of good quality paper measuring 14cm x 23cm (if it matters which way around the pattern goes, make sure you cut the paper so the longer lengths are top and bottom – landscape)
· A score board or scoring tool
· A hole punch
· Ribbon, a small piece of card to make a tag, any other decoration you want to add
Place the piece of paper in front of you with the longer sides top and bottom and the side you want to be the inside of the bag facing you. Use your pencil and ruler to gently mark lines at (from left to right and running vertically) 8cm, 11cm, 19cm and 22cm.
Now lightly mark with your pencil lines running horizontally (from top to bottom) at 1cm and 11cm.
Use your score board or scoring tool to gently score along all of the pencil lines.
Step 4 a
Now place the paper with the longest sides top and bottom again. You are going to cut some slivers out of the base of the bag to make the base easier to fold. At every scored vertical line on the bottom 3cm strip, cut a little triangle out (as shown in the picture).
Step 4 b For the corner piece on the right hand side cut away the entire piece marked by the vertical and horizontal score lines.
You will need a hole punch to make the ribbon holes now. Fold the top 1cm strip downwards so the patterned side can be seen. Measuring along the top of the paper where the top 1cm has been folded down, make a faint mark at 4cm and 15cm measuring from the left hand side. Now punch your holes here.
Next you will need to fold where you’ve scored. For every scored line carefully fold the paper inwards to make the shape of the bag. Gently press the folded lines to help keep them in place.
Now to glue it together. Place the bag in front of you again with the outside facing down and the two longer sides top and bottom as before. Make sure the 1cm strip at the top of the bag and the 1cm strip of paper down the right hand side is folded inwards so the patterned side is visible. Spread glue down this side patterned strip.
Fold the bag into shape and stick the glued strip to the inside of the left hand side of the bag. I find it useful here to lay the bag on its side on a flat surface and run my ruler down where the flap has been glued to help it stick in place.
Now fold one of the longer base flaps into place. Spread glue onto the plain side of the other long flap and stick this to the other one. Again you can stand the bag up on a flat surface and use your ruler to press down on the inside of the bag.
Spread glue onto the plain side of the two smaller flaps of the base and stick these onto the longer flaps, again using your ruler to help press them down from the inside.
Gently squeeze the top of the bag together to press it into shape.
All that’s left to do now is decorate the bag – my favourite part! Thread ribbon through the two punched holes at the top, slide a tag down one side of the ribbon and tie in a bow. I also like to add paper flowers, gems and other embellishments. You can see how to make a paper rose like the one in the photo on my blog.