Hey, it's what I do! Welcome to my creative arts blog!

Welcome to my Maker's blog, where I feature my own unique creative projects. I'm eight years out from breast cancer and counting my blessings.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Etching Glass is Easier Than You Think

For years I was daunted by glass etching since it seemed borderline dangerous,
 what with the acid needed to "burn away" the image onto the glass.

But then I discovered Armour Etch creme and etching glass is one of my favorite ways
 to make personalized gifts for family and friends. 
I name Armour Etch only because it is the most widely available creme 
for this purpose and it is very simple to use.


Once you've picked out your glassware, you will need rubbing alcohol,
 contact paper (any print will do) and the etching creme.

Use the rubbing alcohol, NOT glass cleaner, to thoroughly clean the glass area you want to etch. 

Cover your work area with newspaper and wear latex gloves are advisable.
 
Done correctly, you need never touch the etching creme
 with your bare skinat all.


I chose a nice elegant font for these two steins and printed them out. 

I taped them on top of the checked contact paper that is stuck to the glass and 
ready to cut out with a razor knife. 

I've already cut the "t" in Whit.

 I had this checked contact paper in my stash and I like how the squares 
help me keep my design straight.



You can see how I've simplified to font for a cleaner look and also made it  much easier to cut.

 Remove the paper pattern and you're ready to etch.


Do NOT touch the creme to your bare skin!

 It contains hydrochloric acid in a creme suspension and it will burn you! 

It smells like rotten eggs, too.

Be sure to work in a well ventilated space. 

Only cover the cut out areas of your stencil and don't be stingy. 

You want a good layer of creme to get a good pattern.

I use cheap Dollar Store q-tips to apply the creme. Usually the creme is a greyish
 white when new and also has a bit of grit, but this is an older jar.

 Don't be put off by the color of the creme I am using. 
I bought this jar several years ago and it is a long way from being used up. 

Exposure to air over time turns it brown but it works perfectly fine. 

Without removing the contact paper, set your glassware
 aside for 5 to 10 minutes so the acid cream can do its work. 

Better to leave it on longer for a good etch. 

It will not hurt the glass or burn through the contact paper in that time span.


Before peeling off the contact paper rinse your creme covered glassware in cold running water. 

Rub the creme off with a paper towel or an old toothbrush til it is completely gone. 

Pat your glassware dry. 

Here comes the fun part!

 Peel the contact paper from your glassware and grin like an idiot 
when you see how the etched glass looks. 
Yeah, I do this every time.

I made these for a young couple whose birthdays are very close together. 
They loved them! 

And now they report that they use these steins
 for root beer floats or just pack 'em full of ice cream.

The etching creme is available at crafts stores and with a coupon is very affordable. 
The Dollar Tree stocks cheap contact paper. 

Once you have these two items you can etch glassware for years 
and make beautiful personalized glassware for very little money but quite a bit of impact. 

The Dollar Tree and thrift stores are chock full of unique glassware. 

Just think of the possibilities.

You can do this!









Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Wintry Snowflake Chandelier-Dollar Store Decor

Okay, here is the early 90's brass and glass chandelier in my dining room. 
I'll give you a moment to bask in fond nostalgia.


Yeah, well, we're still living with this chandelier until I find exactly the right fixture and can wave a big ol' bag o' money at it, so right there it is going to stay. It's just so....brassy and perfectly functional and by the way, The Welding Man loves it just the way it is! 

So here are a couple of my ideas for coping with it's golden funkiness each season. Dollar Store to the rescue! 


Years ago I saw Martha Stewart's pretty hanging autumn wreath light and it stuck with me.
 So in October I decided to make my own version with several autumn leaf garlands around 
and around and around my light's brassy framework but
 without the candlelit mini pumpkins.
 We tried it with and without the glass panes and the glass just 
gave it some extra shine at night, so they stayed. 


Ooh! I like it alot and it is a sure sign of Autumn in my house.

Come Christmas time and wintry weather, I hit my stash of Dollar Store decorations again and found many different styles and sizes of snowflakes. 
We took off the glass panes and hung the snowflakes willy nilly,
 just like they would be in a blustery winter storm.


With just a few icicle strands here and there and oooh! I like this alot, too! Even in the daytime in natural light the layered textures of silver, white, and glittery gold and silver pack a beautiful festive punch.
Even The Welding Man, who does not like it when I mess with "his" light, thinks that this is very pretty!


Note-If you hang enough Dollar Store snowflakes on a brass light fixture you can mostly hide it's golden shininess!


And kapow! Here she is all lit up! She is dazzling!

        


Ooh aah! So pretty! And with the cold, wet, rainy, snowy winter weather hanging on, I'm leaving these snowflakes on my chandelier at least until Easter!


Which version is better? Daytime or night time? I like them both but the daytime 
chandy looks more wintry to me. 

Go figure.

The Welding Man will be glad to know  I won't be replacing his chandelier anytime soon. 
But I can sure mess with it and make it pretty, can't I? 
 And maybe I'll learn to appreciate it's brassy vintagey vibe? 
We'll just have to wait and see, lol!


Thursday, December 3, 2020

No Vinyl Cutter? No Problem! Make Freezer Paper Stencils for Tee Shirts this Christmas

 


I made this cute Yoda tee for my son's birthday. I decided to go for something a bit more complex than just a simple "nerd" tee shirt, and boy, do I LOVE how this came out!


First I  found two designs online that I knew he would like. The design on the left is from the movie Pacific Rim and it is the insignia for the Jaeger warrior robots. I decided to go for Yoda with the headphones.


I printed the design in black and white then taped a piece of freezer paper (shiny side down
) over the top. Make sure your freezer paper is a generous size so you 
won't have any designs cut too close to the edge. 
I used a razor craft knife which gives me a new, sharp cutting edge just by breaking off
 the blade at pre marked sizes. I also tape my design and freezer paper 
to a mirror for good light and a nice sharp edge on my cuts.


I simplified the design a bit and premarked with an x for those parts which would be "free floating" and not attached to the rest of the design when I ironed it down. I prefer to do the floaters this way, other makers make narrow bridges to the rest of the design and then hand paint the bridges out on the tee shirt once the stencil painting is done. It is up to you!



Here is Yoda ironed to the tee shirt, using a hot iron on a padded surface and NO STEAM. The wax paper layer on the freezer paper adheres nicely to the tee shirt when it is ironed, giving you a clean and immovable stencil.


I prefer a mottled look to my tee shirt projects so here I have mixed black and 
white acrylic craft paint with  some textile medium (which is clear). I use a third of each
 and use a make up wedge to mix them up.


Place a piece of cardboard inside the tee shirt then straighten it out on your work surface. Here you go!
Pounce, or bounce, your painting sponge, or brush, straight up and down in each area of your stencil. Do NOT rub back and forth or you will lift the edges of the paper. Put on a light layer at first then go back and add more paint until you like the coverage you have. Remember, the paint will dry a lighter shade.


Do not wait until the paint is completely dry. Your stencil will stick to the paint! While your paint is still damp, carefully peel the freezer paper away from the tee shirt.  
Oooh aaah!


I always add dry brushed high lights to give the designs a bit of dimension. This gives the already custom tee shirt design an even more unique look. As for laundry instructions? I wash these tees just like I do regular tee shirts but I turn them inside out. Cold wash, tumble dry. They hold up quite well and over the years the slight fading doesn't detract from the design. All in all this is one of my TOP favorite craft projects.

Our family gives out a TON of custom tee shirts at Christmas and this year will be no exception. In fact, I am starting to get special requests for sayings on tee shirts that will only have significance to the close family. Gotta love that! 
This is a simple and inexpensive project for gifts or home decor all year long. You should try it out. You can do it and then you'll be hooked!