kill bill: sword push pins

March 2, 2011 § 30 Comments

This week on Iron CraftChallenge #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.

Source: Global Prints (

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!

cn tower building blocks

February 23, 2011 § 7 Comments

This week on Iron CraftChallenge #8: Hometown.  The challenge is to craft something representing your hometown.

This week is for you, my Toronto!  What a significant coincidence that I’m also writing a Travel Crafty article on Toronto for Craft tomorrow.  It’s all a great reminder for me just how spectacular this city is.

We, Torontonians, have had the greatest pride and fortune of being home of the tallest tower in the entire world, the CN Tower, for thirty four years.  Only recently (in the fall of last year) was this title replaced by the Canton Tower in Guangzhou, China.  From 1976 to 2010, the CN Tower held the world record with a height of 553 meters (1,815 feet) — that means the tower stands half a kilometer high into the sky, or a good one-third of a mile!

So I thought it fit to craft building blocks of Toronto’s most famous icon with simple permanent markers, 1″ cubes of wood (pre-sealed with a coat of clear polish to avoid bleeding), and an abiding love for architecture.

Here are a couple of views of Toronto’s skyline showing off the incredible height of the CN Tower.  To the left, O.T. and I took a shot of downtown Toronto from across the lake in Centre Island.  To the right is a view of the CN Tower at night from a regular city street.  Every night, the tower is lit up with changing colorful lights.

These are views from right beneath and atop the tower when we went up two years ago.  The CN Tower offers a fantastic 360-degree view of Toronto, with views as far as Niagara Falls on a clear, sunny day.  What you see here is the view of Toronto’s financial core (most of those skyscrapers are banks).  Notice that O.T. and I are lying on a glass floor on the observation deck.  Yes, about half a kilometer or a third of a mile directly below us is a combination of grass and pavement!

If you love heights, Toronto is waiting for you!

Stay tuned for more on Toronto on Craft: Travel Crafty this week!

valentine tic tac toe

February 2, 2011 § 7 Comments

This week on Iron Craft: Challenge #5 “Be Mine”. The challenge is to create a Valentine craft.  After harvesting keyboard keys to create framed Valentine messages, I thought the X’s and O’s couldn’t be more perfect for a pocket-size Valentine tic tac toe game.

You will need to make customized keyboard keys (you can find the previous tutorial here).

You will need the above pieces of cardstock to make the box.  The final box measures 3″ x 3″ x 3/4″.  The pink sleeve is 3″ x 8″, with score lines at 3″, 3-3/4″, 6-3/4″, 7.5″ (there’s a 1/2″ allowance for double-sided tape).  The black pull-out box is shy of 4.5″ square, with score lines at 3/4″ from all edges.  The red tic-tac-toe board is shy of 3″ square, and each white square is 7/8″.  You may decorate however you like.  I used a simple 1″ red strip with white hearts with x’s and o’s.

1. Fold the black pull-out box.

2. Turn the box upside down.  Affix the red tic-tac-toe board.

3. Affix the white squares to make a grid.

4. Decorate the front of the sleeve.

5. Add embellisments.

6. Fold the sleeve and affix with double-sided tape.


Don’t forget to check out Iron Craft for many creative Valentine crafts made by so many talented crafters!

x o x o

belted cup cozy fringe

January 26, 2011 § 12 Comments

This week on Iron Craft: Challenge #4 “Get Cozy”. The challenge is to make a coffee cup cozy.

My version is fashion-inspired, using patterned felt, given some fringes, and secured with a camel microsuede belt.

You will need felt, microsuede, and a belt buckle from an old, unwanted belt.

1. Cut the felt to size.  I used the paper cup cozy as a template.

2. Cut the microsuede to size.  This will be the belt.

3. Punch a hole and insert the prong.  Glue shut.

4. Glue the belt on the felt.  Create a narrow strip for the band.  Punch holes (make sure to wrap it around the cup to ensure the placement of the hole is accurate and the belt will be snug).


Head over to Iron Craft to check out the wonderful creations by many creative crafters.

army draft dodger fights the chill

January 12, 2011 § 29 Comments

I love a great challenge.  Iron Craft’s taunt, “1 year, 52 challenges…are you creative enough?”, is one I am not willing to dismiss!  I discovered the site last week, the day before the first deadline and scurried for the challenge: “Lighting the Winter Gloom”.  I hit the clearance bins that Tuesday night for white Christmas lights and they were sold out.  But I didn’t leave empty handed.  I snagged red lights, despite that my shining idea is deferred to another time.  I couldn’t submit — red lights weren’t going to work for me on Iron Craft, not with the unusual idea I had in mind.   Instead, I crafted a Valentine’s-themed wall lamp and am heartily pleased with the outcome even with my lack of submission.

Now, this week, it’s all fair game.  The challenge is: “Stay Warm” and make a draft dodger (a clever cloth contraption to keep the cold air at bay).  I read the post and my idea instantaneously dawned.  Draft dodgers fight the chill.  Army men are drafted.  Army men fight…well, the idea came together quite orderly (Yessir!  Pun intended, sir!).  These are not the type of  “draft dodgers” evading enlistment!

My army of soldiers fights the chill on this crafty draft dodger.  Of course, I have the step-by-step tutorial so you can recreate this project!

You will need:

a. A 3″ wide strip of foam, the length of your door or windowsill.

b.  Brown burlap and natural burlap.  It may seem counterintuitive to use a fabric that has a loose weave, but burlap in fact possesses proficient insulating and protective properties. explains some uses of burlap, including as energy efficient curtains.  Convenient that it’s inexpensive.  I spent just over $1 on this burlap, and have remnants to use for small future projects.  Perfect, too, for my army barracks!

c. Beans.  I used less than $1 worth of soy, as they are some of the cheaper options.

d. A brave army of toy soldiers.

1. Cut the brown burlap to size (enough to wrap your strip of foam with an allowance for seams).  Fold in half.  Sew the length and sew one of the short ends.

2. Turn the tube inside out.  Carefully feed the foam through.  I used two long dowels to aid in this process.  Sew the end shut.

3. Sew small squares and rectangles and fill with beans.  The best way is to sew long, narrow pieces (about 1-1/2″ to 1-3/4″ in width) into tubes, then cut into shorter lengths (between 1-1/2″ and 2-1/2″).  For each piece, sew one end, then fill, and sew shut.

4. Arrange and adhere the small bean bags using a hot glue gun.  Or you can sew them on.

5. I opted to glue thumbtacks on the bottoms of the soldiers, to give them the freedom to huddle and arrange positions.

Now my windowsill is armed and guarded.  Is it snow or an oversize white flag I see blanketed outdoors?!?

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