Here we go! Without further delay, let me tell you about 2012′s holiday season of DIY. I would consider there to be quite a few successes (“You MADE that?!”) with some minor disappointments as well. Let’s begin…
The Sharpie Affect
Instructions: Use permanent Sharpie markers to draw/write on white ceramic dishes. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees to permanently set your design.
Aimee’s observation: This was a project I will absolutely do again. Not only are white dishes super easy to come by (Dollar Store, Christmas Tree Shop, etc.) but this was a fast, fun, and easy project with unlimited potential.
A bit of advice: Purchase an extra dish or mug to allow for a test-drive. I found this particularly helpful as some colors changed considerably through the baking process. For example, most turquoise and lime colors turned brown, but pinks/oranges/purples held true. Also, keep Windex handy to erase imperfections prior to baking.
The Etching Experiment
Instructions: First, purchase a glass etching cream such as Armour Etch. (This is available online or through most craft supply stores.) Please be aware that this is a chemical, and it’s important to follow the directions specified. Next you will want to create a stencil of some sort. Mine were made by printing an image from my computer onto sticky paper. I then stuck this image onto vinyl contact paper and used scissors/Exacto knife to cut out my image. (Printing or drawing directly onto the contact paper did not work as the ink was not absorbed by the vinyl.) With your stencil complete, you are ready to position it to the glass to be etched. Liberally apply etching cream to stencil with a brush. Allow cream to set for at least 10 minutes before rinsing completely under running water.
Aimee’s observation: Super fun! The cream is a bit pricey, but I will get my money’s worth for sure. Originally I picked up a few 50 cent glasses at the Salvation Army to practice with. Again, this has oodles of possibilities and glass is very easy to come by. Be prepared to practice quite a bit before having consistently perfect results.
A bit of advice: Be sure to press your stencil down VERY well before applying the etching cream. As far as how long the cream should sit, there was conflicting information so ended up going with 10 minutes because it felt like long enough. I know, that’s not very scientific of me… Pieces that sat longer didn’t necessarily etch better. For what it’s worth, I recommend keeping your stencils simple – not only because they can be a pain to cut out, but complicated patterns allow more opportunities for error.
The Bleach Technique
Instructions: (You will need a bleach pen for this project.) Begin by creating a vinyl stencil as described in the previous post. When your stencil is ready, prepare the T-shirt by placing a piece of cardboard and/or aluminum foil inside the shirt (you don’t want the bleach to go all the way through). Now you are ready to apply the stencil to the shirt and “color in” with the bleach pen. Allow the bleach to sit for 20 minutes before rinsing off. Complete by washing as normal in a washing machine.
Aimee’s observation: This project was one of my failures… The bleach seemed to seep around the stencil vs. altering the center of the stencil. I’d say it’s worth another try though.
A bit of advice: Mistake #1 = I didn’t practice . Rather than test the process on a rag of some sort, I jumped right to the shirt I had purchased for this gift. Mistake #2 = I repositioned my stencil probably 2 or 3 times before applying the bleach. I think this is what allowed the bleach to seep around the stencil.
The Glitter Treatment
Instructions: Generally speaking, I think there are two ways you can approach a glitter project. You can 1) spread your adhesive then sprinkle your glitter, or 2) add the glitter to your adhesive and then spread. For this project, I utilized the latter. In either case, you will want to use an adhesive that will dry clear (good ol’ Elmers in my case). Allow the adhesive to dry completely before repeating the process for full glitter coverage.
Aimee’s observations: In this situation, I added glitter to an otherwise boring mirror frame. Of course my niece loved it, but Perfectionist Aimee was a little disappointed by the chunky, bumpy finish. Things may have been different if I went with glitter application #1, but that may have also resulted in a constant glitter sprinkles. Oh well.
A bit of advice: Again, I did not think to practice here. I struggled with whether to use Elmers or Modge Podge - it pretty much came down to the flip of a coin. I’d love to hear any other advice or tips on the subject.
Your Standard Singer
So what else can I do? Well, you can add a simple sewing project to the mix. What you see here are flanel pillow cases to use with ice packs. What makes these so special is that I added straps to them to help hold them in place. These were a great gift for my parents, and I’ll probably end up making a few for active/Weekend Warrior type friends of mine. Not to mention a couple for yours truly…
There’s no doubt about it – I come from crafty people. My mom is a creative guru with a number of talents, one of which is basket making. Having grown up around it, I have woven a few in my day, but a good 15-years have likely passed since last I tried. Overall I’d say it came out pretty well.
Sugar Scrub Solution
Ingredients: 1 C white granulated sugar, 1 C brown sugar, 1 TB honey, 1 TB vanilla, 1/4 C olive oil.
Instructions: Combine sugars in a bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Store in air tight containers. Apply to hands, feet, or body. Rinse and pat dry gently.
Aimee’s observations: It seems like I did quite a bit of research/experimentation for this project. Originally I wanted to do a lemon scrub of some sort, but couldn’t get a robust lemon scent that was to my liking. Many similar recipes exist if you are interested in modifying this one. This is a very reasonably priced gift, especially if you hold onto glass jars as I did.
A bit of advice: Be careful about adding too much olive oil as it may leave you feeling greasy, and your shower dangerously slippery.
That’s it! Let me know what you think