A New Batch of Silicone Dipped Bulbs & Country Night Lights

It’s been a few years since I’ve made these country night lights with silicone dipped bulbs. In case you haven’t seen my old post on how to make them, here is a refresher! They are cheap to make and great items to sell at craft shows, or for your booth at a craft shop or co-op. For some reason they make me think of Fall, and I love to make them this time of year!

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First, get your night lights at the dollar store. I got these at The Dollar Tree. The bases come in all different colors. I tend to do mostly black and white, but this time I threw in a few blue and aqua ones.

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Don’t mind my ugly carpet background…was crafting in the basement last night. Along with the night lights, I picked up these packages of extra bulbs. I like to make extra bulbs and sell them as replacements.

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For the bulbs to cure, you need to hang them immediately after dipping. I ran a piece of twine between two shelves and used clothespins to hold them in place.

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Your supplies for the bulbs consist of silicone, a little cup for dipping, cinnamon (optional) and a disposable stick to mix with. I add the cinnamon for a warm, primitive look. You can leave the silicone plain too. I use the basic Walmart brand of silicone. Some brands will work better than others – it’s all trial and error. I’ve had the best luck with this stuff. It seems to be just the right consistency.

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You also need one of these gun thingys, to squirt out the silicone. We happened to have one but they are available next to the silicone in Walmart.

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I ended up tossing my flimsy plastic cup and used a glass cup. It was easier to hold on to while dipping. I find that it works best to fill the cup up completely with the silicone mixture. Take the bulbs and dip them down in and turn them slightly to get the silicone to cover the base of the bulb. Then pull out quickly to create the long “tip”. This can be really challenging and takes some practice.

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You must work quickly because the silicone starts to cure and becomes more difficult to work with. Within 15-20 minutes, the silicone in your cup will probably be stiffer and less pliable. Hang them upside down with your clothespins and let them cure for at least 24 hours.

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When I was done with the bulbs, I worked on the bases. I tied on little strips of homespun fabric, finished with little rusty stars and hearts. For the hearts and stars, I just hot-glued them on. Don’t worry; the night lights to not get warm enough to melt the hot glue.

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Here they are all assembled!

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I love the warm look you get from the cinnamon. Unfortunately they do not smell like cinnamon though.

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For a display, I used an old cardboard box and covered the inside with scrapbooking paper. Punch holes through the cardboard with scissors for the little metal part to stick through.

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Don’t get discouraged if you try it and can’t get the bulbs to look right. The brand of the silicone makes a huge difference, and also practice makes perfect. I’ll sell these for probably $4.50 each at the co-op. Hope you have a great Labor Day! 🙂

Mini Jar Candle Wedding Favors

After a loooong miserable winter, I think it’s safe to say that Spring has finally sprung! Just as I knew it would, the nicer weather has motivated me to get back into the crafting groove and also do some “pickin” at the local thrift stores. Lately, my big project has been mass producing these country jar candles as wedding favors ~ 120 to be exact! You may remember them from one of my very first posts, and they are still just as fun, easy, and inexpensive to make. They are somewhat time-consuming (when doing a large quantity like this) but each jar only costs $1 at Wally World, making for a very economical set of favors!

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I like to use these particular jar candles because they come with an “Easy Peel” label, which allows you to very easily take off the label for crafting. They also smell really great and come in a variety of colors.

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For mass production, I found its easiest to tear all your homespun strips ahead of time. Mine were about 1″ wide and I just tore them, to get that raggedy primitive look. For those who don’t have fabric on hand, I usually get mine by the yard at Joann Fabrics.

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I then use a glue gun to apply the homespun strips. Just a little dab will do ya!

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I don’t worry about having perfectly clean seams where the fabric comes together, because I plan on wrapping them with twine which camouflages the spots that were glued.

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I then pre-cut a bunch of pieces of twine and wrapped them around the candles a few times and tied them in little knots on the back. I glued on rusty stars and hearts on the front of each candle using E6000 glue. I do not like to use hot glue for the rusty pieces because I find they very easily pop off – hot glue doesn’t stick well to the rusty tin. It also melts as the candle heats up!

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This person also wanted the candles wrapped and tagged for her special day. I laid out the text in Microsoft Word, and used my regular ink jet printer to print them out on sheets of brown kraft paper (from A.C.Moore’s). I used a tag shaped punch, but you could also just cut them out into squares or tags and hole punch them!

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Here is the finished product! The baggies are actually candy/baking treat bags.  They are a perfect thin cellophane. I these favors will be just perfect with her country themed wedding!

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I have to share my latest thrift store score because I got some AWESOME items! It just goes to show you that you have to stay persistent and keep going back, even if you seem to have no luck.  After many trips finding nothing at all, I got all these great items that, after a little cleaning up, are some real treasures! Some repro enamelware, tea pots, a crock, and a very cool, vintage looking “Bird Watcher” sign! All will go to my booth at the Carriage Place!

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I got this other amazing group of antique medical items off of Craigslist. I can’t even tell you the incredible freakin low price I paid for this lot because you will literally die!!! I plan on keeping some items for my “oddities” collection, and selling the rest via Etsy and my co-op. They are all from a pharmacy in northern NY. All of the funnels, beakers and bottles are glass, and the mortars & pestles are cast iron and brass. Simply amazing.

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Have a GREAT Easter and happy pickin’ & craftin’!

Single Stem Vases

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all my fellow Irishmen & women! 🙂 Before I get to today’s craft project, I thought I’d share an update on the primitive crate shutter I made. I finally found a little pip berry wreath at my friend June’s antique store, and it was the perfect size to place right in the center of the shutter! Woohoo!

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I used some thin green floral wire to tie it on the shutter, sliding it between the slats of the crate boards, and securing on the back.

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I then used some jute twine, knotted through the pre-existing holes (from where nails held the crate pieces together) to make a hanger.

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It’s heading over to my co-op this week. I am putting $22 on it. It only cost a few bucks to make – the pip berry wreath being the only expense. The rest of the supplies were on hand, and I was able to re-use an old dilapidated crate that may have otherwise gone in the burn pile! 🙂

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Ok, and not for the single stem bottles project. It’s a “dollar craft” because these awesome little bottles are only $1 at Michael’s craft store! The rest of the supplies I had on hand.

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You can accent the bottles with whatever you’d like! I decided to use rusty tin stars, little enamel number plates, and some skeleton keys. You could also use buttons, twine bows, little pip berry sprigs, faux berries or flowers, sea shells, antique broaches…be creative!

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Took a strip of torn homespun fabric and used a hot glue gun to secure it in place.

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Here are the finished bottles! They could be used for general decor or as single stem flower vases! 🙂

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I am going to price them at $4 each and see how it goes!

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And last but not least, some great thrift store finds! It’s quite a random collection of items, but cool nonetheless! I found a mint condition 1957 Chevy model car, a chunky primitive candle, a beautiful vintage brass and enamel bowl, and an old brass Eiffel Tower bottle opener!

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I also found a colorful enamel pot, a wooden wall decor/candle holder, and another little brass elf dude that I could not resist. Vintage brass seems to sell really well on Etsy and in te co-op.

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The major score of the trip was a bag of vintage brass horse buckles / tack medallions, in a variety of designs and shapes. I thought they were trivets at first, but upon further research I found that they are used to decorate horse tacks and bridles. They are collectible and are oh so cool!!! Some will go to the co-op and some on Etsy!

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Hope everyone has a fantastic St. Patrick’s Day! Cheers! 🙂

Salt Dough Snowman Pops

Hope everyone is having a great holiday season so far! All of the festivities lately have gotten me in the mood for some Christmas crafting so I decided to try my hand at recreating the “snowman pop.” I bought a snowman pop ornament at a craft show years ago, and used it as my guide for this project. Here’s the how-to!

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Start with your standard salt dough recipe. I used 1/2 cup salt, 1/2 cup flour and 1 cup water (which you’ll add slowly – you may not need the full cup). It made a small batch, so double it for larger quantities! Mix the ingredients til your dough is firm but not too sticky.

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Treat them like sugar cookies! Use flour if the dough sticks, and roll them out to the thickness you want. Mine ended up being about 1/3 inch thick. I would suggest making them on the thicker side if you plan on inserting the lollipop stick; otherwise they crack or bulge.

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I did not have any round cookie cutters on hand so I improvised with this wine glass. It was the perfect size!

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These are the lollipop sticks I used. They can be found in the baking/candy making section of any craft store.

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Don’t forget to pre-poke your lollipop holes before baking!

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I also made some chunky little noses. I made them after I was all done with the snowman faces. When I went to stick them on, the faces had already dried a bit, and they would not stick. I decided to glue them on after baking. If you want to stick them on, do it while the dough is still a little sticky.

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Bake at a VERY low setting (100-150 degrees) for 3 hours. Flip them and bake for another hour. Too hot and they will burn, so be careful! Once dried, I used some artist acrylic paints. These will also help seal the ornaments.

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For the faces I did a white wash (watered down white paint), as these acrylics are really thick. It soaked into the porous surface quite nicely. I then glued on the noses with regular craft tacky glue. I’d recommend doing this BEFORE painting the faces white, as they did not stick well with the layer of white paint…oops. Now I know!

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I decided to stick with rosy cheeks and little dotted eyes, and that’s it. These are the more “prim” looking snowmen that I love!

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Next, insert the sticks. Put a dab of craft glue on the end of the stick, and carefully stick them in the pre-made holes. Use a gentle twisting motion to stick them in; be careful not to crack the thin walls of the snowman head.

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For the tags, I used heavy stock kraft paper from A.C. Moore. I used our regular ink jet printed and Microsoft Word to write “Snow Pop, 5 cents.” You could write any holiday wish you’d like, or even put someone’s name on the tag!

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I hand cut them into little tag shapes and punched a small hole.

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For the wrapping, I used pretzel baggies, which are also found in the baking/candy making isle at the craft store. They are actually made to package chocolate covered pretzels, but my snowman pops fit in them perfectly!!! They are tied up with homespun and twine, and each have their own little tag. I also made some candy swirl ones where I just free-handed a red swirl. I like the snowmen better but I guess they’re kinda cute too.

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The other lady had inserted a string through the top plastic wrapping to hang them up. I decided to leave them as is and just prop them up in a jar of buttons or marbles. They’d made great favors for a Christmas dinner with all of the guests names on the tags!

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So what do you think? There are many directions to take these. Try different faces, use other types of tags or ties, or try gingerbread men or Santa faces!

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I will probably sell them in my Etsy store, for around $3-4 each. If you give these a try, please send me a pic and I will post it here! Thanks and hope to be back soon!!! 🙂

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Marble Magnet Wedding Favors

I know I have done marble magnet posts before but I really haven’t had much else going on in the crafting department, so I thought I’d do a step-by-step post again as a “refresher course” if you will. I also came up with a new and different way of packaging them, which I thought may be an option for those wanting to make these for craft shows! 🙂

First you have to decide what your content will be. I created 1″ customized images for a friend’s wedding, using Photoshop. You can really use anything to create your magnets – magazines, scrapbook paper, or create your own themed images.

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Here are the main supplies I used. Magnets (Walmart), clear silicone (Lowe’s), clear plastic cabachons (allstarco.com) and a plastic tool thingy that I found in my utensil drawer. You can use anything to apply the silicone – a toothpick works just as well.

You can use different supplies, like clear glass marbles (from the Dollar Tree) instead of the plastic cabs, but I highly recommend that you use the silicone shown here. Others use Mod Podge, craft glue, etc., but I have had absolutely awesome results using this clear silicone. It is also very strong and will make your magnets last for years.

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I also used a 1″ hole punch to make my images the exact correct size. You can cut them out if you’d like, but this is definitely a great tool if you’re planning on mass producing these things.

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Put a pea-sized dab of silicone on your image…

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And smush down the cab or marble, applying even pressure. Any excess silicone that spills out the sides can easily be wiped off with your finger or a paper towel. The image is instantly magnified.

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I use the same silicone to apply the magnet. A little less than a pea-sized dab will do. It is very strong!

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Next, for the packaging, I used a large tag-shaped punch and some heavy stock craft paper (both from A.C.Moore). The tag punches are very expensive, so I will always wait for a 50% off coupon before purchasing something like that. It is well worth the money though, because it’s a great tool.

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Again, you could use a heavy scrapbook paper or whatever material you’d like. I printed out a poem on mine, which will be the back of the tag. Use the open side of the punch to line up your text/image before punching.

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In the mean time, let your marble magnets dry thoroughly before packaging. I let mine sit overnight.

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To get the magnets to lay flat on the tag, and not cling together, I used removable Glue Dots. Simply stick them to the backs of the magnets and stick them to the tag. This way you won’t have a nice package with a little ball of magnets that are all stuck together.

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You could leave them as is, or bag them up. I used candy-making treat bags because they come in a variety of sizes and are very inexpensive.

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Unfortunately I could not find the exact size I needed, so I had to improvise. I folded the excess bag over to the back and applied a small piece of clear scotch tape.

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Then finish off with ribbon, jute, homespun fabric, or whatever you’d like. For these I did purple ribbon and a jute twine bow.

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I got a chance to swing by the thrift store yesterday and boy am I glad I did! The key is to go often, because merchandise changes a lot in those places! I got some goodies that are already priced and ready to go in my booth. Cast iron candle holders, a counter top glass container, and some cute little country decorations. I also got some great brand-new rubber stamps, which will go in my Etsy store.

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We all know how expensive stamps are, so this was a major score!

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I also picked up some apple pie casserole dishes. They are not exactly my cup of tea, but these types of things sell very well around Fall time. People are thinking about Thanksgiving, comfort foods, etc., and always seem to be looking for casserole dishes.

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Have a great day and hope to be back soon! 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. 🙂

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!

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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.

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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?

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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.

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

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

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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!

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

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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.

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

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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….

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

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

Dollar Store Spoons Turned Primitive Kitchen Decor

I have done some posts in the past using this same technique on dollar store spoons, but this was the first time I did a large batch and did a variety of colors with the intent to sell them in groups.

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They were easy and fun, but a bit time consuming. I started with a bunch of spoons from various dollar stores, all of which were 4 or 5 to a pack.

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Instead of just sticking with black, I spray painted them in all different colors including this fun beachy blue-green. 🙂

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Here are the exact brands/colors I used just incase anyone was wondering. I would highly recommend NOT using the American Accents Midnight Blue (the navy one) because it took a million coats to get it close to the cap color, and they just did not come out well. After distressing them, parts of the spoon had an “electric blue” look, and not really the Americana blue I was going for.

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Let them dry thoroughly for a good couple days before sanding them. Sanding tacking paint is NOT fun!

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Now time to “distress.” I used sanding block which are easier for all the little nooks and crannies. I would recommend a medium to coarse sanding block for a quicker sanding. All I had on hand was the fine grit, which worked well, just took a little longer. There is no way to mess up sanding, so just go for it! Imperfections don’t matter since you’re going for the primitive look anyway!

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Once they were all sanded, I wanted to grubby them up, for a primitive, country look. I used this antiquing medium (the brand Folk Art) found in the paint section of the craft store. You also could use regular brown paint or stain, as you’re going to be rubbing it on and then rubbing it off again, to stain the exposed wood left from sanding.

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Here’s my solution to keeping my table clean…I use rolled out brown kraft paper, also found at the dollar store, as a work station. It’s quick, easy, disposable! Great for the messy crafter, like me!

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Simply rub a generous amount of antiquing gel all over the spoon, and then wipe off the excess. It will soak down into the unfinished edges left from sanding, to create an old, worn look. Paper towels or old rags work great. I used a soft car drying cloth (also found at the dollar store; can ya tell I love that place?!?!).

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The difference is more noticeable on some colors than others. Obviously the lighter colors are going to show more on the light colors. Here are some examples of the difference – before and after using the antiquing gel.

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And here is the “set” I plan to sell in my Etsy store. Tan, red, grayish-brown, minty green, yellow, and black. I love the end result and the color combo. Kinda glad the blue didn’t work out!

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There are many ways to display these spoons. Throw them in an old can or mason jar…

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Or add some pip berries, tin stars, or other fun accessories.

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My friend Lisa over at Booth #555 did an awesome batch of spoons with a similar technique if you’d like to check them out! http://www.booth555.com/2012/11/primitive-kitchen-themed-wooden-spoons.html. Here is an example of Lisa’s kitchen themed spoons!

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If you give these a try, email me a pic and I’ll be sure to post it here! I love seeing different interpretations on the same project! Happy 4th of July and hope everyone has a great weekend! 🙂

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