March 04, 2020

DIY Craft: Paper Mache Trinket Box

DIY craft time! A free tutorial for you on how to make this paper mache trinket box.


This tutorial featured recently on alisaburke.com. Here it is on my lil old blog, but in a different colour way.

Paper mache is wonderful as it’s super cheap to make any sort of shape, limited only by your imagination! I wanted to make a small trinket box.

You will need:

-foam core board
-thick card (that can still bend easily)
-newspaper
-blank newsprint or butchers paper
-masking tape
-PVA glue
-craft glue
-air dry clay
-gesso
-acrylic paints
-gold acrylic paint (optional)
-gloss varnish

I started by finding a small bowl to use as a template for the lid and base of the box. Trace around and cut 2 from foam core board. 



I then cut from thick card a length 2” wide, and a small strip 3/8” wide. Make sure these are long enough to fit 1/4” inside the circumference of your base and lid. Tape the wider one into a circle, then tape this circle to the base using masking tape. Do the same with the 3/8” piece, keeping in mind that it needs to sit in a smaller circumference than the base walls, also taking into account a bit of padding from the paper mache layers. My inner rim sits about 1/2” in from the lid.



Using newspaper strips and a mix of PVA glue watered down slightly with water (approx 1:1) cover all over the base and lid, making sure you overlap the paper strips as you go. I then do another layer in plain newsprint so I can see where I’ve already covered. Let dry.


Using air dry clay, roll out a small slab to a little under 1/4” thick. Cut a leaf shape out with a blade, and smooth the edges using a bit of water and your finger or a clay tool. Roll three small balls of equal size for the feet and gently press down with something flat to make the balls slightly flat on the top and bottom. Let dry.


Once the clay pieces are dry, use clear craft glue to glue the feet onto the base, and the leaf shape to the lid. Allow to dry.


Gesso the whole box and lid, inside and out, including the feet and handle.

Now it’s time to paint! I chose to draw some simple leaf shapes, then painted around them and added wiggles, stripes and dots. You can copy my designs or come up with your own! Adding gold paint around the rim is a fun touch too. 






After decorating, I used water based gloss varnish everywhere except inside the box, and the inner rim of the lid, as my varnish can get a bit tacky when varnished pieces touch, as I discovered in my sketch book!



Now you have a gorgeous box to stash some special treasures!

Jules :)

February 18, 2020

Sewing Table DIY Furniture Upcycle

Hands up who likes a before and after DIY furniture story!?

The finished table...

I am loathe to spend too much money on stuff inside the house. It seems like wasted money sometimes and if I can come up with a cheaper way of making things look good, well then, why not?

And as much as I love interior design shows, it all seems very wasteful to throw away things and get new stuff, just because we like a different look or style. I mean, some people in the world live in tin shanties and huts, and we need to rip out our old tiles because the colour is a bit daggy? We are very spoilt!

I am no saint and we do a lot of things in our house requiring new materials and funds, and I won't rule out ever removing tiles in my home, but I do love to think creatively when it comes to what I already have.

I had this sewing table that I bought for $4 from the op shop. It's nasty! I bought it quickly when we were setting up our house as I just needed a table. I was pretty proud of the cost :) Though recently I was looking into new ones and was going to throw this one to landfill, when I started wondering if I could save it.

(insert horror screaming soundtrack!)

Painting this thing would've looked terrible due to the worn away veneer revealing chipboard, so my solution was to cover it with oilcloth, which is essentially fabric covered in plastic, and nail it on with some upholstery tacks. I stretched the top piece on (after ironing on low) like a canvas, stretching it and tacking it from the middle one way then the other, and then working my way out to the edges of the table.

This is the desk upside down

I wrapped oilcloth around the drawers and tacked it on from behind. I glued the drawer back together with PVA, and spray painted the brown plastic handles. New handles probably would've looked nicer, but once again, it had handles, and this challenge was after all about not sending bits of it to landfill.


And now I have a cute little sewing desk! The bonus of which is anything you're sewing glides easily over the oilcloth and doesn't snag on that terrible rough chipboard that is now sneakily hidden.

Now if anyone could come and un-jam my sewing machine from me letting kids use it, I would be most grateful!! 




 Jules :)


December 09, 2019

DIY Craft: Rhubarb Concrete Stepping Stones

Hello!

I have a DIY concrete craft for you today: rhubarb concrete stepping stones.


This post contains affiliate links (see bottom of post for explanation).

I have by no means come up with this project. I've just seen it done so many times and wanted to make some for our backyard and I'm sharing our experience.

It's sumer here! I am so happy the weather is warming up which means we're heading outdoors much more as a family on our one acre block. There are always jobs to do (so many weeds- ugh!) and big projects to work on that Jimmy has started. We are currently working on some crazy paving using slate in a new fire pit area. We have an electric cement mixer here (which I dubbed Jimmy's thermomix) and I decided to steal some of the mix so the kids could be outside alongside us working making stepping stones.

We laid out some plastic sheeting on an outdoor table and the girls picked some large rhubarb leaves from the garden. (See Jimmy, rhubarb IS useful for more than just apple and rhubarb pie :D)

The leaves have lots of cool veiny texture which captures really well in the concrete.


We had some pretty tough wire that we used for reinforcing (which you can see in the bottom left hand corner above), which Jimmy cut with a grinder. You will need some sort of wire to reinforce the stepping stones, if you need to cut by hand just use the thickest wire you can manage to cut by hand.

The girls then took handfuls of the concrete mix and slapped them down onto the leaf. You keep adding them till you reach near the edges. I get them to wear kids gloves as you don't want skin to come into contact with concrete. 

(For a nice strong concrete mix I like to use 1 part grey cement, 2 parts fine sand, and 1 one part coarse sand and a cement additive (optional) to packet instructions. You can also find suggested mixes on the sides of a bag of portland cement.)


We kept in from the edge of the leaf an inch or so, and shaped our leaves into heart shapes. Once we had one layer of concrete on the leaf, we placed our wire reinforcing in, then added another layer of concrete. Our stepping stones were around 1 1/2- 2" thick. 



The girls tended to make their edges a little thin so I needed to remind them to build them up to make them the same thickness as the centre of the stepping stone.


Once shaped, we let set for 1/2- 1 hour then came back and covered with plastic. I kept them damp and covered for one week to let them cure for extra strength. (A minimum of 3 days would be sufficient.) 


24 hours after they've been made you can peel the leaf off and neaten up any rough edges with a chisel or rasp. 


The kids had fun peeling pieces of leaves back! :) They were really stuck in there, but they come out easily when they're all dry.


I love how they turned out and want to make lots for all around the garden! Jimmy thinks the rhubarb has earned it's keep (he thinks it pointless keeping something that requires a tonne of sugar to do anything with.)



I hope you enjoyed our DIY craft rhubarb concrete stepping stones experience, please drop a comment if there's anything you'd like me to craft out of concrete. It's such a versatile product, and it lasts a long time as art in the garden. Affordable, and no kiln needed! 

Enjoy,

Jules :)

*Affiliate Information: Affliliate links help me earn small commissions on products (at no extra cost to you), which helps support my love of blogging and sharing creative things. I only ever recommend or link to products that I'm genuinely into.





September 11, 2019

DIY Craft: Faux Weaving


Hello Creatives!

I have a fun DIY craft today: faux weaving. 

I'm sorry I have not been around much! *cry* In all honestly I think I was suffering the winter blues and have had a long stretch with no inspiration. It happens to us all!

But something colourful is sure to cheer us up ;) And the sunshine that is out today. Sunshine helps!

This faux weaving was made by sewing wool, threads and trims onto a fabric panel. A look around your craft or fabric store will no doubt find you some interesting options & trims for creating your own faux weaving.

This wasn't a super quick project, but I'm liking the way it turned out and will feel quite happy with this hanging on my wall somewhere. You could squeeze it into a lazy weekend.

You will need:

- fabric for backing 19' wide x 20" high (48 x 51cm)
- various wools/ yarns/ threads/ trimmings/ pom poms etc
- Yarn needle with sharp end
- wooden skewer
- dowel rod (I used a piece of bamboo)


Sew hems 1/2" (1.5cm) down the sides of the fabric. Add a hem to the top making sure you leave enough space for the dowel to go through. I didn't hem the bottom as that was the selvage and will not fray.

Start decorating! Below here you can see I've added long running stitches and then loosely woven thick wool through them. 


Thick roving looks amazing. I stitched it down with vertical stitches as I went across. Once I did a row of this, I went back and did another row, mirroring the way I'd stitched the previous row.


I sewed down some random pom poms from my stash, and then made smaller little tufts by stitching loops in the fabric and then cutting them with scissors. A row of these would look good!


I also included lots of running stitches, sewing down multiple strands of wool, and sewing down thick wool but leaving little loops protruding randomly (above photo).


Lengths of wool looped at the top were added along bottom of the fabric. I found if I only looped over stitches it didn't look as neat, so I used a skewer to pull the loops tight and then sewed them to the bottom, then pulling the skewer out. I trimmed all this bottom hanging wool to a triangle shape.

Overall I'm pretty happy with the result! A fun project if a real weaving seems a bit intimidating for you!






July 23, 2019

DIY Pistachio Shell Mosaic Craft

I have an easy DIY craft project for you today using something that would normally be thrown away.


How can one be creative, and eat pistachio nuts and not hoard those cute little shells for a mosaic craft project!? (Unless you don't eat nuts that is...)

You will need:

-Plywood or masonite panel in your choice of size
-Tile adhesive (I used a premixed indoor adhesive)
-Pistachio shells
-Acrylic paint
-Acrylic gloss sealer/varnish

Start by spreading your adhesive over your wooden panel. I love this part, it's so like icing a cake :)

Press the shells into the adhesive. You can go totally random or do flower or spiral shapes if you like. Let dry fully.


Once dry you can start painting the shells in colours of your choice using acrylic paints.



Add any interesting paint effects like spots, stripes or variations of colour. Keep these colours bright so they will contrast with the darker colour we will add later. (They kind of remind me of easter eggs!)



Once you've painted all of your shells, coat in acrylic gloss and let dry overnight. (You want the gloss to be fully cured as we will be wiping it back and we don't want it to shift.)


For my pretend "grout" colour, I made a runny mix of deep purple paint, and painted it over the surface and then wiped the shells back with a just-damp cloth. Rinse your cloth out when it gets too dirty.



Use the deep purple paint to do any touch ups to your "grout" with a fine brush.


I made a little wooden frame for my pistachio shell mosaic craft, but you can display as is if you want!


I hope you enjoyed this DIY craft!

Jules :)







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