basket weave vases
April 21, 2011 § 45 Comments
Tomorrow is Earth Day! In order to celebrate and honor our planet, I’ve salvaged some cartons and jars from being thrown into the landfill and woven the cartons into this pair of bright vases.
I made them in theme of the beautiful colors of our globe: the warp and weft are in cool blue and vivid green hues, and the vases are topped off with beautiful white clouds of hydrangeas. Just the kind of décor my kitchen table needs this spring!
For each vase, you will need two milk or juice cartons of the same size and a jar, some paint and a hot glue gun.
1. Cut the cartons to preferred height, making sure that they are taller than the jar for containing the water for your bouquet. Paint the cartons. If you want your vases to be a single color, you may skip this step for now and paint after the cartons are woven.
2. For each vase: cut one carton into 1/2″ strips vertically, making sure not to cut out the bottom, and cut the second carton into 1/2″ strips horizontally.
3. Start weaving by sliding the horizontal strips into alternating vertical strips.
4. Continue weaving until you reach the top and glue the top pieces together so the basket weave does not come undone.
5. Fill your jar with water and place inside the woven carton and arrange your favorite spring blooms.
Happy Earth Day!
carrot treat boxes
April 5, 2011 § 8 Comments
Today, you will find me crafting over at CRAFT. Head right over to their site and check out my super simple tutorial with free printable, so you can make and give away these cute carrot treat boxes this coming Easter (or any day this sunny spring season!). Enjoy!
easter egg carton chicks
March 19, 2011 § 178 Comments
Here’s a fun and simple Easter craft that you can do with the little ones. Repurpose those egg cartons to make these cute candy-filled chicks.
You will need scissors, glue, and the following:
a. Egg carton
b. Yellow paint and black marker
c. Yellow and orange card stock
To make each chick:
1. Cut two egg carton cups. Glue a 1/2″ x 1-3/4″ piece of paper to each half, acting as a hinge.
2. Paint throughout.
3. Take small pieces of card stock, two yellow and two orange, each measuring approximately 1″ x 1/2″. Fold a 1/4″ flap from the edge. From the fold, cut into triangles.
4. Affix one yellow triangle on each side of the inner bottom egg carton cup. Affix one orange triangle on the front of the inner top and another on the inner bottom egg carton cup.
5. Cut orange card stock into feet and adhere to the bottom cup. Take a black marker and draw small eyes.
Fill with candy treats, give away, and watch your loved ones chirp with delight.
potted paper shamrock
March 12, 2011 § 4 Comments
I’m sorry. I had to do it. I gave the Irish shamrock a tropical twist. Blame the artificial potted orchid sitting conspicuously in my stairway for planting the idea in my head.
I hesitated on this craft all week, but finally dared this afternoon. I’m happy I did. I think the end result is a successful variation on St. Patrick’s Day décor, for those not looking for the obvious.
From across the room, there’s no telling about the holiday. But the paper shamrocks are a charming surprise up close.
You will need: bowl or pot with Styrofoam block, two dried rose stems and two dried filler flower stems (lucky I only lazily considered disposing of my dried up Valentine’s Day bouquet from O.T. without actually doing so), two shades of green cardstock, scissors, tape, hot glue gun, and glue sticks.
1. Using tape, attach a dried filler flower stem close to the top of a dried rose stem to create a curved (almost horizontal) stem extension . Most filler flowers have skinny, curved stems and make for a good stem extension.
2. Cut cardstock shamrocks in various sizes. Make two shamrocks per flower: one large (outer) and one small (inner), some with stems, some without. I noticed that orchids have the gradation starting from a darker center to a lighter edge, so I made the inner shamrock darker than the outer.
3. Glue together the shamrocks. I placed a rhinestone in the center of each. It’s gives a nice dimension, but it’s not necessary.
4. Glue the shamrocks on the stems.
5. Carefully insert the stems in the Styrofoam block.
6. Fill the bowl or pot with gold coins. I thought the coins would give enough character, but I felt it was still lacking, so I finished it off with a rainbow ribbon.
Let this fun potted paper shamrock liven your desk or windowsill or add more green to your St. Patrick’s Day party spread.
kill bill: sword push pins
March 2, 2011 § 30 Comments
This week on Iron Craft — Challenge #9: …and the Oscar goes to…. The challenge is to create something reflecting any movie that is special to you, not necessarily one from this year’s Academy Awards.
Now, Kill Bill was never nominated for the Academy Awards (it did, however, get best actress and best supporting actor nominations for the Golden Globes). But it was the first movie that popped up in my head after reading the challenge description, perhaps for various reasons. First, I truly enjoyed the Kill Bill movies, lauded for their visually graphic, push-the-envelope, cheeky, not-take-itself-too-seriously approach. Second, I had already crafted a Kill Bill papier maché project many years ago, back in 2003 when Vol. 1 came out and my group of friends decided to dress up as Kill Bill characters for Halloween.
I was Gogo and I devoted a few hours into making a ball and chain weapon using a balloon, newspaper, glue, metallic paint, and a few feet of metal chain from the hardware store. I don’t ever know what happened to that craft and I only have these pictures to remember it. There I am in my cheap black wig, almost eight years ago, flailing my papier maché ball and chain.
Well, I didn’t want to remake the ball and chain from Vol. 1. I feel its duplication would rob me of the experience of creating something entirely new. And sometimes, I really don’t know what overcomes me to come up with some very random crafts. But after googling Kill Bill for this challenge, I wanted to make use of the graphic conveyed in the poster for Vol. 2, and the thought process transpired as follows: death list — grocery list — sword — push pins. Just like that, this one idea came within seconds, which does not happen nearly often enough in my culling of ideas.
The thought process of how-to came rather quickly, too. I had a paperclip right beside my keyboard, and I knew instantly that a miniature sword push pin could be constructed by the simple bending of a paper clip, some 1-1/2″ square paper scraps, glue, black electrical tape, and faux-metal Con-Tact paper (which I’ve recently used to make a faux metal bib necklace and faux metal flowers).
To create your own sword push pins:
1. Stretch a paperclip and bend in half, ensuring that the sides are straight, parallel, and 1/4″ apart. Apply glue on one 1-1/2″ square scrap of paper. Place the paperclip along the edge of the paper and roll, making sure the bend is covered and the two paperclip ends are exposed.
2. Cut a 1-1/2″ x 3/4″ piece of Con-Tact metallic paper.
3. Wrap the Con-Tact paper around the paper-covered paperclip.
4. Cut a 1″ strip of electrical tape. Fold 1/8″ from the edge, sticky sides facing away from each other. Snip 3 little triangles. Unfold and you’ll have 3 diamonds.
5. Affix electrical tape on the top end of the paper-covered paperclip. Again, snip 3 little triangles to appear on the back side.
6. Wrap electrical tape around and trim any excess. This makes the handle.
7. Cut a 1-1/2″ strip of electrical tape. Fold in half, sticky sides facing each other, to make a double-sided square of electrical tape.
8. Cut electrical tape square into a circle. Cut a 1/4″ slit along the center.
9. Slide the paper-covered paperclip through the slit until the circle reaches the bottom of the handle. Trim the circle and round the corners of the handle.
Now, tack onto your cork board to help you attack your lists of to-do’s!
bean-by-number: venetian mask
February 25, 2011 § 4 Comments
Lent and Mardi Gras are right around the corner, always preceded by The Carnival of Venice beginning this weekend. Although I’m nowhere near that side of the world nor am I going to a masquerade, I just had to fulfill the urge to craft a Venetian mask.
Back in November, I mentioned my big aspiration to design a series of bean-by-number crafts, and started with the bean-by-number Turkish tiles. Well, it’s been long overdue, but I finally have a second to add to the series. This Venetian mask is embellished with black-eyed peas and black turtle beans.
You can download the bean-by-number: venetian mask template here. I designed the template with the intention of using a third bean, but I decided to stick with only two types in the process. Of course, you can use whichever beans and as many varieties as you’d like.
On a related note, I often burst out in song, the likelihood of which is Broadway. It’s in fact not a rare occasion that I’m repeatedly singing the most catchy line from Phantom of the Opera: “Masqueraaaaade, paper faces on parade. Masquerade. Hide your face so the world will never find you… ” 🙂
cardboard cuff bangles
February 22, 2011 § 11 Comments
Cardboard is one of my favorite things ever invented. Anything made of cardboard has guaranteed character. And what’s fun about cardboard is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously, even with a little spray of metallic copper. Like this pair of cardboard cuff bangles.
Wide cuff bangles are all over the runways, and I thought to whip up a quick and fun little project with what little time I’ve had recently. The unusual angle of the photo combined with my bird-bone arm makes the bangles seem remarkably oversize. But I promise they’re actually reasonably wearable in person, if you’re a cardboard enthusiast like me.
You will need a mailing tube, X-Acto knife, cardboard, scissors, white glue, and spray paint.
1. Cut the mailing tube in any length desired (I cut 1-1/2″ and 2″).
2. Cut cardboard along the grain the same size as your section of mailing tube. Cut cardboard in 1/4″ strips against the grain.
3. Apply glue on mailing tube in small sections and affix the strips of cardboard.
4. Spray paint in desired color. Rose gold is very trendy these days and Krylon’s metallic copper gives a comparable hue.
“you maki me happy” sushi card
February 9, 2011 § 7 Comments
If you share the love of sushi with the love of your life, this greeting card craft is designed for you!
Sushi is one of those foods for which I acquired the taste quite late. I remember my first experience of sushi as a child, around the age of seven, an era long before sushi catapulted into trend status. I was impressed by a plate of such pretty and colorful food. But one big bite had me wondering if there was a tragic mistake! My then seven year old palate assumed it was to embark on a gastronomy of pure candy and had little ability to equate an appealing sight with the taste of fish. I wonder now if my parents explained what it was made of (I’m pretty sure they did), but I failed to listen, mesmerized by the prettiest food I did see. I remember deviously pretending to wipe my mouth with a napkin in which I tucked away my half-chewed maki. I avoided sushi for nearly fifteen years until one afternoon in the Toronto subway, a friend insisted in sharing her packed deli sushi for the long commute. I declined repeatedly as much as she insisted repeatedly, and I now thank her for it. My life just wouldn’t be whole without sushi.
To create the sleeve of this card:
1. Cut a 7″ x 9-1/2″ piece of cardstock. Score and fold at 3-1/2″ and 8-1/2″.
2. Print the chopstick holder template I whipped up for you here. You may superimpose a message using a photo editing program. Cut the shape. Score along the length, 1/4″ from each edge, and fold the edges up, printed side down.
3. Using double-sided tape, affix the top of chopstick holder to the bottom edge of the 3-1/2″ section of cardstock.
4. Fold the sleeve and affix the bottom of the chopstick holder to the top edge of the 1″ section of cardstock.
To create the inner card:
5. Print your greeting on a 7″ x 9-3/4″ piece of cardstock. Score and fold at 3-7/8″ and 8-3/4″.
6. Punch out six 1″ circles of each: black cardstock and white cardstock. Trim the white circles by 1/8″ using a pair of scissors, creating a more organic shape. Cut small squares of pink and green cardstock.
7. Arrange the circles and squares on the front of the card to make six maki. Break apart a pair of disposable wooden chopsticks. Using white glue, affix the top of the chopstick along the top seam and the bottom of the chopstick along the bottom seam.
Insert the inner card into the sleeve.
Now go and maki someone happy this Valentine’s Day!
dim sum steamer lantern: circus carousel
February 2, 2011 § 13 Comments
Yay for snow days! So how many of us here have been stranded at home because of the storm? Toronto was delivered a foot of snow today, and I was blessed with an entire day off, allowing me the opportunity to finish the circus carousel version of my dim sum steamer lantern.
Of course, you can opt for your colors of choice. I wanted to make the most of the gold that I already used on the previous Chinese New Year dim sum lantern, which I have since taken apart to make this version. The carousel turned out almost as well as I hoped, with a slight oversight — I didn’t do a color test of the horses and only realized after the sticks were glued that they didn’t print as intended. If you have a photo editing program, you can alter the colors as needed. I’ve already designed the horses in a template for you to download here.
You will need:
a. 7″ bamboo dim sum steamer.
b. 12 wooden stir sticks.
c. Battery-operated tea lights.
d. 2 sheets of white vellum and sheets of colored cardstock.
e. Acrylic paint and a paint brush.
f. Hot glue gun and white glue.
1. Paint the steamer.
2. Paint the stir sticks.
3. Print two copies of the template on vellum. With white glue, affix the stir sticks at 1-1/2″ intervals across both copies, connected.
4. Place the vellum in the tray, with the stir sticks facing out. Using a hot glue gun, affix each stir stick to the inner wall of the tray. When you reach the end, trim off any excess tissue paper and affix the seams together using white glue.
5. Cut cardstock into diamonds and circles and glue in a pattern around the tray.
6. Cut a 10″ circle and fold into 16 segments. Cut out 5 segments. Using a second color of cardstock, cut additional segments to use as an alternating color.
7. Fold the circle into a cone and glue to the top of the lid.
8. Punch cardstock into 1″ circles and affix in alternating colors to the inner wall of the lid.
Place the tea lights, cover with lid, and no one will ever guess your carousel lantern is made of a bamboo dimsum steamer!
dim sum steamer lantern
February 1, 2011 § 8 Comments
Crafting with a bamboo dim sum steamer has long been on my list and this week’s Chinese New Year gave the nudge to do finally do so.
If you don’t already have an old bamboo dim sum steamer to repurpose, you can go to your Chinatown or Asian superstore and pick a brand new set (a tray with lid) for as little as $3 or $4.
You will need:
a. 7″ bamboo dim sum steamer.
b. 12 wooden stir sticks.
c. Battery-operated tea lights.
d. Red tissue paper and a pair of scissors.
e. Gold acrylic paint and a paint brush.
f. Hot glue gun and white glue.
1. Paint the steamer.
2. Paint the stir sticks.
3. Measure the circumference of the inner wall of the steamer. Although my steamer was sold as 7″, it actually measures 6-1/2″ in diameter. The inner wall is 5-3/4″, giving it a circumference of about 18″. That measurement is the length of tissue paper needed. Cut the height of the tissue paper slightly less than the height of the stir stick. Using white glue, affix each stir stick at 1-1/2″ intervals. You only need the left edge to have a stir stick.
4. Place the tissue paper in the tray, with the stir sticks facing out. Using a hot glue gun, affix each stir stick to the inner wall of the tray.
5. When you reach the end, trim off any excess tissue paper and affix the seams together using white glue.
6. Place the battery-operated tea lights and cover with lid.
I realize there are endless ways to decorate a dim sum steamer. After seeing the end product, I was inspired to create another variation of this lantern for those, like myself, not celebrating the Chinese New Year. I’m hoping to make a golden circus carousel lantern! Hopefully it works out and I’ll have it posted in a couple of days!
Kung Hei Fat Choy!
Update: I’ve completed my circus carousel lantern and you can find it here.
no-fuss paper roses
January 30, 2011 § 68 Comments
I promise these are the easiest paper roses you’ll ever make!
The ornamental design of paper doilies is what makes these roses so naturally exquisite. Because the beauty is intrinsic in the material, these paper doily roses require little fuss to look beautiful.
1. Take an 8″ red paper doily and cut a straight line to the center.
2. Roll the doily, making sure the wrong side faces up.
3. Twist the end.
4. You may use floral tape to create a stem, but I used what I found at home — green painter’s tape.
5. Optional: you can cover the stem with ribbon for a more polished look.
There you have it — a paper rose in seconds! These paper doily roses are not only simple to make, they are also very inexpensive. I managed to pick up half a dozen red paper doilies for $1 at the dollar store.
A bouquet of these is certainly a stunning substitute for bows when wrapping gifts, but, with the help of some glue and magnets, I also fancy having a beautiful collection of paper roses on my fridge!
high heel treat box
January 14, 2011 § 34 Comments
Here’s a sweet step to a sugar high in preparation for Valentine’s day — a paper shoe filled high in the heel with candy treats.
Perhaps you’re beginning to catch on to my obsessive need to design boxes after the itsy bitsy spider box for Halloween, Thanksgiving’s harvest candy corn boxes, and the crazy Christmas advent lego-inspired boxes ( which may have led you to the conclusion that I may experience lapses in sanity). :p
Conveniently, all I had to do was some digging into the coffers for Valentine’s. I designed the first version of this high heel box almost a decade ago — I was still doing my undergrad in architecture, not yet knowing that my future will not be as an architect but as a stationery designer and crafter (oh, if my old self could talk to me now…she would not talk to me). Thanks to Leo Mascariñas who helped me style and photograph the above shot a couple of years back, which meant today, I only had to worry about the tutorial pictures!
Download the high heel favor box template right here. You will see there are two parts.
1. Trace the heel template onto black cardstock. Cut, score, and fold according to the lines.
2. Fold in all four trapezoids and adhere with double-sided tape.
3. Your heel box will look like this. Set aside.
4. I added a small gingham graphic pattern and name directly on the sole template file before printing on cardstock. You can print just the template if you want to use scrapbooking paper for the sides of the shoe (the circles) and write or stamp the name instead.
5. Take a circle and tape under the shoe, with the pattern facing out. Repeat for second circle.
6. Punch a hole on each circle, close to the top middle edge. Tie with ribbon.
7. Tape the sole to the inner wall of the heel, opposite the lid.
8. I would suggest creating a brace for the bottom of the shoe to prevent any flopping around. Instead of a brace, you can even make a small, shallow “shoe box” to sit the shoe on as a brace…just randomly thought of that now and wish I did before I took the pictures…
Since my life has revolved around the wedding industry this past half a decade, the box was tweaked for bridal showers. But now, I’d like to give it new breath for Valentine’s. Or a Sweet 16. Or a super-stylish-sexy Sex and the City party. There are many, many ways to celebrate women. However way you choose to celebrate, don’t let your guests walk away without these shoes!
leopard lunch bag luminaries
January 10, 2011 § 1 Comment
As promised, I set off on a potato-stamping spree. I made for the kitchen in search of some less-likely candidates to pre-exist in leopard print. The lunch paper bag beckoned!
I’ve been wanting to fashion some type of luminary craft over here, and my freshly carved leopard potato stamps were leaping to be used.
All you’ll need are said leopard potato stamps, brown paper lunch bags, scissors (if you want to have luminaries of varying heights, as I’ve created), dark brown paint, and black paint. If you are just tuning in, I carved leopard prints out of russet potatoes yesterday, and you can click here to see how I made them.
I think these leopard lunch bag luminaries may be a brilliant choice to illuminate a chic outdoor party or even a bridal shower for the trendy bride (maybe on the rooftop?)!
*Now, lunch bag luminaries have made themselves present over the past decade, and I haven’t unearthed horror tales of fire mishaps using these things. In fact, I have been to a successful party where at least 30 paper bag luminaries were lit, in the backyard of course! The bags were filled with an inch of sand which acted both as niche for the tea light (in a tea light holder) and as a fire retardant (in case the luminary is accidentally budged. I wouldn’t suggest using these indoors.*
leopard potato prints
January 9, 2011 § 18 Comments
You know, potatoes are getting sleepy-eyed, bored by their star-stamping existence. I empathize with the potato’s woes. There’s much more to potato prints than that. And so, right here, right now, I’d like to give the plain potato a chance to be in vogue, turn heads, and catch(more) eyes.
When leopard print made its comeback on the runways three years ago, I really didn’t anticipate it would hit the shelves and racks of mainstream shops as pervasively as it has. To my shock, leopard is massive these days (I thought the big trend would be velvet, but I’ll delve into that another time). You can find the print on nearly anything that has a surface.
Here’s how you can convert every known object into a lovely leopard. Take some small, skinny potatoes (I used russets, which were conveniently growing sprouts in my cupboards, yearning to be used as stamps), and cut them into blobs and blotches that look like the above.
A great tip when carving the center: use your knife to mince the center and a butter spreader knife to scoop it out. The butter spreader knife has a great edge for this purpose: not too dull that it can’t scoop and not too sharp that it will accidentally destroy the areas that you need.
You’re ready for stamping! When stamping, I first used my large blob stamp, randomly placing it on the page, using brown paint. Then I used my small blob to do the same thing. Then I went over the large blobs with my large blotch stamp, using black paint. I finished it off with my small blotch stamp. And it’s done!
Now, excuse me while I go on a stamping-spree!!! Over the next few days, I’ll post found household items roaring for a leopard identity.