Making a Custom Sign: Trial and Error

Hello my crafty friends! Summer has kept me quite busy, but I have been able to squeeze in some junkin’ and a few little projects. My latest project is a custom sign I made for a co-worker, with the phrase “Endeavor to Persevere”; a quote from an old Clint Eastwood movie. I haven’t made a sign in a long time, so I had a little bit of a rough go. I thought I’d share my trial and error, and a few tips for sign making.

To start out, spray paint your board with your color of choice. I got this pre-cut board at Lowe’s for $3.

DSC_0230

Sand it to your liking. Go heavy on sanding for a more distressed, country look. There’s no way to mess this up, so just sand away.

DSC_0231

For custom signs, I always use foam stamps. I have had a lot of people ask where I get the large foam alphabet stamps from. They are hard to find, and to be honest, I get them where ever I can find them! All of the stamps I have were ordered online after Googling “large alphabet stamps”. I got them from various sources, such as random online craft stores and people selling gently used stamps on Etsy. Craft stores generally do not sell large stamps like these, so your best option is going to be online.

I use artist grade (thicker, more pigmented) acrylic paint, and I’ll tell ya why in a minute.

DSC_0233

Do not dip the stamp into a big glob of paint. It will be WAY too much and will splurge out the sides when you press down on the stamp. To apply paint to the stamp, use a small piece of slight moist sponge to gently dab on the paint. It seems like a pain, but I promise it’s the best way!

DSC_0234

This was my first attempt. I did not like the way it looked. It looked uneven and my spacing was horrible. I do try to space it out ahead of time by marking the board with little pencil dots, but spacing can be hard to perfect.

DSC_0235

Here’s why I like to use spray paint for the board and heavy grade acrylic paint for the letters. Before the acrylic dries, you can actually wipe off the stamped letters completely.Β  After stamping many crooked letters, I simply wiped them away with a moist paper towel. Then, when I was done, I still did not like the way it looked. I used a wet sponge to wipe off the entire phrase. It came off quickly and easily. I immediately dried the board with a kitchen towel to avoid saturating the wood. It’s definitely nice to know you have this option should you mess up!

DSC_0236

I decided to use a different set of stamps with a clear back. I highly recommend stamps with the clear backing, as it makes it significantly easier to line up your words! You can SEE the spacing and exactly where the letter will land. Again, these are hard to find…I got lucky and found these online at some random craft store.

DSC_0238

I like this wording much better and the spacing is more even after using the clear backed stamps! No need to worry about the excess board on the right. I will saw it off and even it out.

DSC_0239

To clean the foam stamps, run under water and use a sponge (or your fingers) to rub the paint off the surface of the foam letters. Place on a paper towel to dry. This is important, or else the acrylic paint with harden on the stamps and make them difficult to use.

DSC_0237

I cut down the board using a small electric hand saw that I got at Lowe’s ages ago, for small projects just like this. They are inexpensive and great tools to have on hand. I then re-sanded the edge to keep the distressed look even on both sides.

DSC_0242

To finish off the sign, I used a dark brown gel stain to give it a bit of an aged look. I liberally squirt it right on the sign, and then rub it around with a paper towel. Then wipe off the excess. It’s a subtle effect, but it softens the bright white of the lettering. I find gel stains and antiquing mediums in any craft store, next to the craft acrylics in small bottles.

DSC_0243

For the hanger, I always use these easy-to-install metal hangers. They are found in any home improvement store. The little prongs press right into the wood and make for a strong hold.

DSC_0245

Finally, I sprayed it with a clear poly to seal it. Here is the final result. Hope she likes it!

DSC_0225

In junkin’ news, I hit up a barn sale recently and got this incredible stack of old historical photographs. I listed them in my Etsy store and they have already sold!

DSC_0229

I also picked up a small enamel bed pan, a fun brightly colored vintage tin, and a glass flower frog.

DSC_0226

I got this awesome old bowling pin set, complete with a bunch of brightly colored wooden pins and a yellow ball. I LOVE these for country decor. I now have them listed in my Etsy store. πŸ™‚

DSC_0228

Lastly, I got these gems at the Goodwill thrift store recently. The Peter Rabbit coin bank is silver-plated and very heavy. I polished him up and he is now for sale in my Etsy store! I also got a bunch of tin molds that always seem to sell well.

DSC_0225

Can’t wait to give my friend her sign. She plans on hanging it in their cottage up on the lake. Hope everyone has a great week and Happy Crafting!

Dyeing & Stamping Wood Clothespins

I’d like to preface this post by saying it was half craft FAIL and half craft win! It’s okay though, because now you can learn from my mistakes. You’ll see what I mean shortly. πŸ™‚

I started out with two different sized wooden clothespins – the small ones from Walmart in the office supply section, and the large ones from the dollar bins at AC Moore. That would be why I have it classified as a “Dollar Store Craft;” the rest of the supplies you will likely have on hand!

DSC_0199

DSC_0208

For the large ones, I simply soaked them in some really strong coffee. I did end up putting a glass bowl on top of them to push them down, so they were completely covered. I left them soak for about 2 hours.

DSC_0209

For the small ones, which I wanted to be multi-colored, I followed tutorials found online at random craft blogs. I used regular food coloring with a dash of vinegar. I’m not sure what the vinegar does, but the website looked legit so I figured there must be a reason. lol. To help the colors adhere better maybe?

DSC_0205

I filled up mason jars with hot water and added about a 1/4 cup vinegar to each one, and about 20-25 drops of food coloring. I also did a batch of the small ones in the coffee. I let them all soak for about 2 hours.

DSC_0210

Then lay them out on a paper towel to dry. Be careful to protect your counters because the food coloring tends to stain.

DSC_0195

I let all of these guys dry for about 3 days to make sure the large ones were dry all the way through.

DSC_0197

Here’s where the “FAIL” part comes in. The various tutorials and instructions said to remove the metal springs before dyeing. However I was feeling lazy and decided to skip that part. And now I see why you SHOULD! They rusted pretty bad and then the rust seeped into the wood, creating a lot of dark streaking. They look pretty yucky. I am sure I’ll find a use for them but I did not think they were nice enough to stamp and sell in my Etsy shop as I had planned! 😦  Other than that little snafu, the actual dyeing seemed to work great! I shall try it again some day!

DSC_0196

For the large clothespins, I wanted to make some stand-up photo holders.

DSC_0197 2

I found it was easiest to apply the ink to the stamp, and then lay down the stamp on the table and press down the clothespin onto the rubber face of the stamp.

DSC_0199

I did them by sections, above and below the spring, since the stamp wasn’t tall enough to cover the whole thing. πŸ™‚

DSC_0200

I did the same thing with the small clothespins – the ones that were coffee stained. For some reason those did not rust liked the colored ones. Maybe it was the vinegar that did it??? Hmmm….

DSC_0203

And here are the final products that I photographed to go in my Etsy store. I love the results!

DSC_0207

DSC_0205

DSC_0211

They were easy and fun and would make a great product for craft shows. Thanks for stoppin by and happy crafting!

Country Mason Jar Center Pieces

I had to share this fun little endeavor I’m working on! I’m honored to be helping a friend with the decor for her upcoming country-themed wedding this Fall. I have been chipping away at favors, and she recently asked me about doing some center pieces. With dark purple as her main color, she asked for something using “mason jars and burlap” and I immediately visualized these!

DSC_1499

So easy, not to mention economical!!! Strips of burlap (cut from a burlap bag), hot-glued onto the mason jar. Then on top, a purple ribbon (Michaels). Finished off with some raffia and/or jute twine. You can find mason jars at craft stores, thrift stores, Walmart, or even the Dollar Tree!

DSC_1501

DSC_1502

She will put 3 gebera daisies in one and a candle in the other! It will look so pretty flickering against the burlap. πŸ™‚ I can think of a billion ways to personalize or customize these. The possibilities are endless.

  • Add a wooden tag or skeleton key
  • Glue on a faux daisy or flower on the front
  • Change up the ribbon color
  • Use homespun fabric or lace instead of burlap
  • Use different colored twine or raffia
  • Add stamped grungy hang tags
  • Add a metal wire around the neck and hang them up
  • So many ideas! Be creative!

One last thing! I wanted to announce that I have finally re-opened my Etsy store and have a made up a special coupon especially for my blog peeps! Upon check out, enter in the following code into the “apply coupon code” section, for 20% off your total order of $10 or more. Enter it exactly as shown; no spaces. πŸ™‚

Screen Shot 2013-06-25 at 12.27.10 PM

I have added a few new things like porcelain knobs, rolls of burlap, metal letter stamps, and more skeleton keys. I also have much more to add in the upcoming weeks, so stay tuned! Thanks and be back soon! πŸ™‚

DSC_1373

DSC_1456

DSC_1474

DSC_1489

DSC_1490

Dollar Store Salt Shakers + Vintage Buttons = Button Flower Bouquets

It’s me again! I am on a crafting BINGE! I don’t know what’s gotten into me! Maybe because it’s been sunny and “Spring” feeling these last few days? I don’t know, but I’m going with it! πŸ™‚

I have a fun “dollar store craft” for you! I made these cute little vintage button bouquets using Dollar Tree salt shakers (you can also find some at the thrift store for super cheap, like the ones here on the left) and some buttons and wire that I had on hand. So easy and a perfect Spring craft!

DSC_0124

I also used twine for a bow accent, and shredded paper (also found at Dollar Tree) to stuff inside the shakers and help hold wire stems in place. I suggest using a pair of pliers that have a cutting edge on them, so you don’t jack up your scissors while cutting the wire.

DSC_0159

To make the stems, you are going to twist the two sides of the wire together. Fold the wire piece over and cut it roughly the length you want the stem to be – keeping in mind it will be a tad shorter after twisting it together.

DSC_0134

Layer your buttons to make fun, colorful little “flowers.” Slide the ends of the wire through your button flower and start twisting them together tightly, to create a sturdy stem. Cut off the excess wire.

DSC_0125

DSC_0127

Stuff a small amount of shredded paper down in the salt shaker to help hold the stems in place. You could use more buttons, beads, floral foam, or nothing at all…whatever you want!

DSC_0130

DSC_0132

Make as many flowers as you’d like! They are fun to make!

DSC_0135

My first bouquet is a red and brown theme

DSC_0137

And my second bouquet was a blue and black theme

DSC_0149

I photographed them for Etsy but decided at the last-minute to bring them to the co-op. They are currently in my booth at The Carriage Place. I can’t wait to make more!

DSC_0139

Last night I photographed a ton of new stuff I am putting in my Etsy store, and I wanted to let all my fellow crafters, that have booths or small shops, know that I am going to be selling these word blocks in groups of 6 at a wholesale price. I ordered way too many of them, so they’ll be in my shop this week at some point. They would be a great little item to resell, if you’re into country/prim decor like me!

Β Β  DSC_0218

DSC_0227

I also wanted to share a few great thrift store finds from today! A great enamelware tin pan, an apothecary style jar (these sell like hot cakes in my booth!) some wooden plaques for future craft projects, vintage tin molds, and a small wooden platter with a glass cloche. I am going to paint the wooden base – probably black with a yellow prim star in the middle.

DSC_0367

I was also sooooooooo excited to find some unique Scrabble tiles from a “Deluxe” edition of the game; 100 tiles for only $4! Best of all, they are maroon colored! I love that they are different from the regular Scrabble tiles, yet are a great color for country crafting!

DSC_0120

And lastly, I had to share this find…..these brown kraft boxes were only $1 for a bag of 6!!! If you have an A.C. Moore’s, go grab some before they are discontinued!!! I was “that person” who depleted their inventory. Hehe. I am going to stamp them eventually. Love the variety of shapes!

DSC_0369

That’s all for today! Have a great weekend and Happy Crafting!!!

Stamped Sculpey Clay Ornaments

Yay, the world didn’t end! That means we can keep crafting! πŸ™‚ I’ve wanted to play with oven-bake clay for a while now so I picked up a package of Original Sculpey oven-bake clay at A.C. Moore’s the other day.Β  This stuff is great – it’s very easy to work with and only took me just a minute of kneading it for it to become very pliable. I can see why it’s good for kids crafts as well! DSC_0497 I decided to try stamping the clay. I broke out a bunch of random stamps including a set of small alphabet stamps. After some experimenting, I would recommend using stamps with heavy lines. The stamps with fine details didn’t work as well. DSC_0498 I see these small letter stamp sets in the $1 bins at all the craft stores! I’ve even seen them at Walmart. Scoop ’em up when you see them, because they work AWESOME for this project! Helpful tip: write the letter / number on each side of the stamp so it’s easier to find the stamps you are looking for when they are strewn all over your craft area! πŸ˜› DSC_0499 Since I do things the ghetto-fabulous way, I used different sized wine glasses / flutes as my ornament cutters. You could also use cookie cutters, which I did not think of until after the fact…duh! (Disclaimer: I would not recommend doing using glasses that you plan to drink out of, because I don’t want to be responsible for getting you sick! Same with using knives and cookie sheets…technically you are supposed to keep your clay and food/cooking tools separate. Honestly, I just wash them really good and use them again like normal, and so far, I’ve lived!) DSC_0501 I rolled out the clay to approximately 1/4″, cut out the circles using my glasses, and then stamped them. There were many re-do’s and mistakes…I found some stamps worked well and some didn’t. You gotta just play around and see what looks best! I poked a small hole in the top of each pendant using a toothpick. I’ve seen others use a straw for a bigger hole. DSC_0506 Follow the Sculpey directions on the box to baking times. I baked mine at 275 Β°F for 15 minutes, and they came out great. After letting them cool completely, they were quite hard and durable. DSC_0507 And now for painting! Again – experimenting here. Upon tons of Googling, I found you should use water based acrylic craft paints, unless you are going to seal them first, which I didn’t want to bother with. I used the acrylic craft paints below, which happen to be super cheap too. I think these pains were $.50 each from the craft store if I remember correctly! πŸ™‚ DSC_0513 I tried a couple of different techniques with varying results. Technique #1 was painting over the stamp indents to get paint down in the creases, and then wiping off the surface with a DAMP paper towel. DSC_0515 Here are they results (below). They come out good if the stamp is deep enough. Otherwise, the paint easily wipes right out of the indented areas. See the middle of the bird cage on the left? I didn’t evenly press down the stamp, so some areas show up better with the paint than others. The key one came out pretty good! DSC_0519 Technique #2, which I really like, is to paint the whole surface and then wipe off the paint with a DRY paper towel. This leaves some paint on the surface, almost like a “stain”, while also leaving paint down in the grooves of the stamped design. DSC_0520 Here’s the result. I like this better, because the color on the surface kind of covers up any imperfections and adds to the “vintage” look. πŸ™‚ DSC_0521 Another way to do this would be just paint the surface with the desired color and then wipe, faced down, on the dry paper towel like this:

DSC_0525

That seemed to work well in keeping the paint down in the grooves but leaving a nice over-all color stain on the surface. I also found you can do this, let it dry, and do this technique over again to get bolder colors! Here is the result of doing it twice:

DSC_0531 Technique #3 was doing the 1st method (paint then wipe off with a damp paper towel) and then letting it dry…then doing a light “wash”, if you will, with another color. I started with black lines: DSC_0527 And then diluted some green (with a bit of water) and painted over it. I then wiped it with a dry paper towel to leave some green staining on the surface. DSC_0528

The result is the one in the picture below, on the bottom left. The same technique was used for the other two in this pic, but different colors. This is my fave I think! Love the two-tone look!

DSC_0537

After they dried, I sealed them with the hard coat Mod Podge. It dried with a very subtle matte finish, and you couldn’t even tell it was there. The sparkle Mod Podge would be cool too, especially for Christmas ornaments, but I didn’t end up using it for this project.

DSC_0514 Here are some close-up’s. I used thin jute twine I had lying around to hang them up. I think for a first try, they came out pretty neat! DSC_0535 DSC_0541 DSC_0540 My mind is spinning with ideas…these would be great as custom Christmas ornaments, tags for gifts, wedding favors, or just little ornies to hang around the house! Small ones for jewelry pendants, wine glass charms, or big ones as coasters! If only I had more time! DSC_0539 I found some other craft blogs with some variations on this project: Clean, simple, white ornaments from Little Lovelies: ornaments10 Or these fun, colorful little doodads from Neat and Tangled: ClayFinished And some more great personalized Christmas ornies from Then She Made:

O_paint

Hope you were able to get some ideas from my day of fooling around Sculpey and the links I have posted above! There is so much potential here! I can’t wait to work on some more and maybe create some ornies to sell in my Etsy store! πŸ™‚ Also coming soon to my Etsy: tons of awesome real antique skeleton keys, bulk rose hips, cinnamon sticks, and more! Stay tuned!!! Oh yeah, and Happy New Year!!!!!!! πŸ˜› Cheers!

Easy Dollar Store Craft: Sharpie Decorated Christmas Ornaments

If you are on Pinterest, or frequently peruse craft blogs like I do, then I know you’ve seen some variation of this Sharpie project! Porcelain mugs, plates, bowls, and more…simply drawn on with Sharpies and baked for 30 minutes to make the designs permanent. Talk about easy and FUN! I love this idea – the possibilities are truly endless!

DSC_0395

Though it’s not technically a dollar store, these porcelain ornaments were only $1.00 at A.C. Moore. I betcha you could find some similar at the Dollar Tree. If not, I know most dollar store have porcelain coffee mugs and plates that would work great too. You could also look around the thrift stores and score some cheap porcelain “canvases”!

DSC_0369

I looked online at graphics and clip art and got some ideas on what I wanted to draw.Β  It’s hard to see in the picture below, but I did draw a rough outline of my design with a pencil before taking a Sharpie to it.

DSC_0374

I love this little folk art snowman! I copied him from Chestnut Junction Graphics. I did purchase the graphic for use on other projects as well…he’s just too cute!

DSC_0379

Helpful tip: While working on your designs, don’t fret if you make a mistake. A little rubbing alcohol will “erase” the Sharpie marker on the porcelain (before baking, that is). I used Q-tips as a way to touch up and re-do some areas.

DSC_0376

Here are some of the designs I came up with for my ornaments! I free handed these but you could easily use a transfer method or a stamp as a base for your design if you’d like!

DSC_0378

DSC_0377

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes to make the Sharpie designs permanent. After baking, they look exactly the same. They do not brown or fade!

I cut off the tacky gold string and replaced it with some ribbon and twine. You could use jute twine, baker’s twine, homespun fabric, ribbon, or wire to hang your ornaments. Go with whatever compliments your designs!

DSC_0380

Awwwwww, love my lil’ snowman hanging on my lil’ country Christmas tree! What a great, cost-effective idea for Christmas gifts or party favors!

DSC_0384

And I hung up the crow themed ornie on my crow shelf. I love crows…can ya tell?!?

DSC_0393

And now for something even MORE fun than crafts…FREE craft supplies! I realized that since I started my blog I have never done a give-away! Shame on me! I have so many loyal readers and crafty friends that I thought I’d give away some fun stamps to say THANKS for reading my blog! πŸ™‚ Leave a comment on this post with your name and you could win one of these 3 stamps!

A large “script” stamp, which would be great for tags or scrapbooking…

DSC_0350

A Victorian looking skeleton key

DSC_0352

Or a set of 4 vintage “Ladies In Hats” stamps, as you may have seen on my little grubby tags! I have my own set of these pretty ladies!

DSC_0351

I will use a random number generator to pick 3 numbers and match those numbers up with the list of comments. For example, if you’re the 3rd person to leave a comment, and one of the randomly generated numbers is “3”, then you’ll win one of the stamps! I will draw 3 numbers a week from today, which will be on Christmas Eve! I’ll email the winners and mail them out just in time to start off 2013 with some fun new craft projects!!! GOOD LUCK! πŸ™‚

If you give the Sharpie Ornies a whirl, I’d LOVE to see pics! I’ll even post them here! Thanks! Happy Craftin’!

How to Make Your Own Stamped Gift Tags

Happy Fall!!! We just got home from week in Orange County, NY, for a Police K-9 Seminar that Greg was sponsoring, and boy was the weather and scenery spectacular! Upon getting home I realized there is just one month to go before my craft show and sooooo many things left I want to do…crap! I wanted to share some stamped gift tags I made because I think they have potential to be really great craft show sellers!

For these cute lil gift tags, I used a heavy stock brown kraft paper, which I got out of the scrapbooking section of the craft store. It was likeΒ  $.20 a sheet or something ridiculously awesome like that.

I cut the card stock into strips and used a small tag punch to punch out tons of tags. I got this at one of the craft stores (Michael’s I think?) for about $12, after using a coupon. It was originally around $20, but TOTALLY worth it since you can make an unlimited amount of tags!

I used a tiny hole punch to make the holes and some black string for the ties.

I made a TON more than are shown here…they are so versatile! For gifts, price tags, decoration, craft show sellers, or general crafting! You could use different thin ribbons and different colored inks / papers…there’s soooo much potential!

I decided to leave some blank and stamp some, both for my craft show. I chose this cute little gnome stamp which sorta passes for an elf for the holidays…

And of course, Santa!

Β I packaged ’em up, 4 to a bag. I am thinking $1 per bag. It’s a descent profit for me, but a great deal for customers too. What do you think?

A

Previous Older Entries Next Newer Entries