Saturday, April 9, 2016

Tutorial: Stools

I've been making these little stools for awhile and thought I'd do a tutorial on them. They're quick and easy to make and can be used in your dioramas as bar stools, plant stands, or just decoration.

Materials needed:

wood circles
wood dowels
skinny sticks
glue gun and glue sticks
nail file
acrylic paint of your choice
paint brush

The first thing you need to do is take a skinny stick and cut it into four equal sections. 

Gently sand the edges of the sections with a nail file and then lay them out on the circle to make sure they fit and don't hang over the sides.

Next you are going to hot glue the skinny sticks into a square shape. This box is going to support the stool's legs.

Don't worry about any excess glue because it'll get cleaned up later.

Now you have to decide how long you'd like the stool's legs to be. The package of dowels I bought are about 4 inches long which ends up being a good size for a stool for a 12 inch doll. You can cut the dowels to any length you'd like though.

Okay, so now is the only tricky part. To get all of the stool's legs to stand at the same angle you have to hot glue each leg in right after the other and quickly flip the stool over to position the legs into place before the hot glue hardens. 

The first thing I do is drop a dot of hot glue in the boxes's corner and press the dowel into it at a slight angle making sure the dowel rests in the boxes's corner. I hold the dowel there for a couple seconds until it can stand by itself and then I move on to the next one until I've done all four. Once I've done all four I turn it over and position all the legs so they're evenly spaced out.


To secure the legs in place I go back in and add hot glue over the dowels and along the sides of the box. 

I used too much but no one is going to see underneath the stool.

When the hot glue hardens use a pair of tweezers to scrape off any excess glue that may be on the legs or on the outside of the box. I'm using a polymer clay needle tool but sharp tweezers work just as well.

The only thing left to do is paint the stools. I decided to paint this trio of stools bright blue shades. Instead of using the Apple Barrel matte finish paints I usually use, I used their Outdoor Indoor Gloss finish paints. The color payoff is great and they're quick drying just like the matte paints are. 

I hope this tutorial was helpful. Until next time! 

Left to right: Bahama Blue, Real Blue, and Turquiose

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Tutorial: Liquor Cabinet

Okay, so I finally put together the tutorial for the liquor cabinet I talked about previously. 

I do have to do a disclaimer though because it wasn't until after I posted the sneak peek I thought it might be misleading. I said that the liquor cabinet would only cost around $3.00 to make and that is true--if you already have all of the supplies on hand and are only buying the pencil boxes and candle cups. If you're starting entirely from scratch it will cost more. Having been a crafter for ions I've got tons of this and that in terms of craft materials so I only had to purchase the pencil boxes and candle cups. 

So with that being said, on with the tutorial!

Materials needed:

2 wooden pencil boxes (You can find them @ AC Moore for $1.00 each)
4 candle cups (You can find them @ AC Moore for $1.29)
hand mitre saw
nail file
glue gun and glue sticks
brown acrylic paint (optional because you can use whatever color you like)
matte Mod Podge (optional)
gold acrylic paint (optional)
scrapbook paper or cork sheet (optional)

The first thing you want to do is find the middle point on the pencil box's sliding door and mark it with the pencil.  

Next, using the hand mitre saw cut on the marked line.

Do that to both boxes and then smooth the rough edges with the nail file. I kept the extra pieces that I cut off the pencil box's door to use later for another project. I think they'll make good wooden signs. You can keep them or toss them.

Now time to paint!

Truthfully, you can use whatever color paint you want to, but I like the idea of stained wood for liquor cabinets so that's what I did. It's really easy to make your own "wood stain finish" using acrylic paint and Mod Podge.

For the first cabinet I made I used a medium brown color that gave the wood a chestnut colored stain. I liked it, but wanted to try a darker brown for the second cabinet. 

So I used a deep dark brown for a rich walnut colored stain. My "recipe" for the wood stain was roughly one part paint to two parts Modge Podge. I prefer using matte Modge Podge because I find the glossy version still feels slightly tacky even when it's dry and attracts dust. 

Once both boxes are painted, set them aside to dry, and paint the candle cups which are going to be the legs of the cabinet. I painted mine gold but you could also paint them with the "wood stain".

Assembling the cabinet is easy. Just hot glue one of the boxes on top of the other and then glue the legs on.

Here are both of the cabinets side by side.

At this point you're basically done, but there is one more thing you can do if you want.

You can add extra detail with scrapbook paper or a piece of adhesive backed cork.

You can find the cork in the scrapbook paper section usually with the textured papers.

Now your girls and guys are ready to entertain.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Tutorial: Butterfly Shadow Boxes

I made these butterfly shadow boxes recently for a new diorama I'm working on and thought I'd share how I made them. 

If you're interested, keep reading!

Here's what I used:

-skinny sticks
-sheet of canvas (found in the scrapbook paper section usually with the textured papers)
-sheet of translucent vellum paper
-paperboard (you can also use recycled cereal boxes)
-hot glue gun and glue sticks
-two pairs of scissors (one strong enough to cut the skinny sticks and the other small and sharp to cut the vellum paper)
-acrylic paint
-nail file
-light colored scrapbook paper
-black fine-tipped pen 
-ruler (optional)

The first thing I did was Google images of butterfly collections and choose one to use. I tried to pick one with a variety of different butterflies and then I printed it onto the vellum paper. Then I carefully cut out several butterflies, folded their wings upward from their body, and set them aside.

Next I decided how big I wanted the shadow box to be. I didn't measure out each box but you could if you are into precision (which I'm not) by using a ruler.  I just eyeballed how big I wanted the shadow box to be and cut out the canvas and paperboard accordingly. I then hot glued the canvas to the paperboard using a glue gun. You could use regular craft glue but I don't recommend it because the wetness in the glue will warp the paperboard.

After I had the canvas/paperboard foundation prepared I cut the skinny sticks that would be the frame of the shadow boxes. I sanded their rough edges using the nail file and painted them with a quick drying matte acrylic paint. 

Once the paint dried I glued the skinny sticks onto the canvas/paperboard foundation skinny side down.

Now it was time for the fun part!

Adding the butterflies!

Using tweezers to hold the butterflies, I carefully applied a very small dot of the hot glue to the body of the butterfly and then glued it into the shadow box. I made sure not to get any glue onto the wings so they would "stand" up and wouldn't be flat.

Once the shadow box was done I aged it by rubbing it with the nail file.  I also made little labels using small strips of beige scrapbook paper that I scribbled on. 

Overall, I really enjoyed making these shadow boxes. Most of the materials I already had at home from other various craft projects and they don't require a lot of skill because I'm not at all mechanically inclined (there's an unfinished dollhouse in a corner of my living room that can attest to this). 

I'm thinking I will try making some beach-themed shadow boxes next. If I do I'll be sure to share them here.

Thanks for stopping by!