Abracadabra – Harry & Hermione’s Magic Wands

Hermione and Harry never go anywhere without their magic wands. 

Logo/Sign at Ollivander’s Wand Store, Universal Studios

Every Hogwarts’ wizard goes to Ollivander’s to choose his or her magic wand. 

Magic Wands at Ollivander’s Wand Store

While doing research, I was surprised to see that many of the wands in the Harry Potter series were rather lackluster.  I expected wizards to have exquisite, highly personalized wands to express their personalities as well as their power. 

Wooden Chopsticks

For this project, we will transform wooden chopsticks into magic wands for Hermione Grainger and Harry Potter.  Use these techniques to create a wand for any character and add whatever embellishments feel right to you. 

How to Make Hermione’s Magic Wand:

Inspiration

Hermione’s wand has a fairly simple design, consisting of English ivy wrapped around a monotone magic wand. 

Supplies

Supplies:
Wooden Chopstick (9” long x 3/8” thick)
Acrylic Paint: yellow ochre
Bottle fabric paint: glow-in-the-dark white
Paintbrushes
Clear Spray Paint: Matte Finish
Optional 1) Faceted rhinestone & Acrylic Paint: metallic peridot.  See “Advanced Painting” below.

Painting Chopstick

Step 1 – If the chopsticks are lacquer-coated, you may need to prime the surface first, and then apply two coats of acrylic paint.  Puncture a hole in a box to hold the wand upright for drying, but don’t forget to paint the tip later.  To prevent fingerprints and scratches, handle with a tissue. 

Painting Vines & Leaves

Step 2 – Starting at the top, use three-dimensional paint to create an ivy vine wrapping around the wand.  Add an interesting twist by using glow in the dark white paint, but if you prefer, you can use plain white.  If you want to be true to Hermione’s original wand design, wait until the 3D paint dries, and then paint the vines with yellow ochre to match the rest of the wand. 

Hermione’s Finished Wand

To seal the paints, spray the wand with clear spray paint.  At this point, the wand is complete.  If you have been following this blog for a while, you know there is usually an enhanced version, which is shown below in the “Advanced Painting” section. 

How to Make Harry’s Magic Wand:

Inspiration

Harry’s wand has a textured, two-tone design.  Rough “tree bark” at the top serves as a handgrip, and the rest is smooth wood. 

Supplies

Supplies:
Wooden Chopstick (9” long x 3/8” thick)
Acrylic Paint – licorice black, coffee bean brown
1) Bottle fabric paint – brown
Paintbrushes
Clear Spray Paint: Matte Finish
Optional – Glue gun & 1) Faceted rhinestone. See “Advanced Painting” below.

Creating Texture

Step 1 – Using three-dimensional paint, draw long lines at top to create the basic texture as shown above. 

Adding More Texture

Step 2 – Fill in with more texture, to create a rough tree bark appearance, including pointed edges across the top of the wand.  Allow paint to dry overnight. 

Painting Black

Step 3 – Paint the entire wand with black acrylic.

Dry Brushing Brown

Step 4 – Dry brush the rough bark with brown acrylic paint, allowing the black recessed areas to show through, as they do with real bark.  Seal the paints with clear spray paint. 

Harry & Hermione’s Finished Wands

This photo shows the two completed wands side by side.  I wanted to take this project to the next level by creating more texture on Harry’s wand and more visual interest for Hermione’s. 

Advanced Painting:

Hermione’s Wand – Defining the Leaves

Step 1 – Make the leaves more prominent by applying a thicker coat of the same three-dimensional glow in the dark paint on each individual leaf. 

Close-Up Vines & Rhinestone

Step 2 – Create a glowing cap on the end of the wand and place a rhinestone in the center as shown.  In case you didn’t know, fabric paint can be used in place of glue. 

Glowing Wand

Step 3 – After being exposed to light, the vines, and leaves glow in the dark.  You can test the glow by holding the wand under a bright light for several seconds and then switch off the lamp.  Adjust the paint as needed. 

Accent Painting the Leaves

Step 4 – Something still needed to be added, but I didn’t know what it was.  Finally, I decided to apply a soft pastel green to the leaves, providing color as well as a subtle shimmer.  Seal paints with clear spray paint.  By day or night, this wand has stylish and surprisingly powerful. 

Harry’s Wand – Creating Thicker Tree Bark

Step 1 – Using a glue gun, add long lines for more texture upon the handgrip. 

Roughening the Texture

Step 2 – Use brown three-dimensional paint to roughen up the smooth lines of glue, to resemble tree bark more closely. 

Painting Black

Step 3 – Paint the entire wand with black acrylic.

Dry Brushing Brown

Step 4 – Dry brush only the rough bark handle with brown acrylic paint, allowing the black recessed areas to show through, as they do with real bark.  Use glow in the dark fabric paint to attach a rhinestone to the end of the wand as shown above.  Seal paints with clear spray paint. 

Harry’s Finished Wand

The thickened “tree bark” looks better, and the sleek black wand is the perfect choice for a powerful wizard. 

Harry & Hermione’s Finished Wands

These two wands work well together, just like Harry and Hermione. 

Close-Up – Both Finished Wands

I hope you have found a few inspirational ideas to create your own wands.  Do you have a favorite wizard, or a favorite magical literary character?  What kind of magic wand do you think that character would choose?  Please let me know in the comments section.  Enjoy the creative process, and let your ideas run wild. 

For more Harry Potter crafts, please check out this post: “Harry Potter’s Magical Creatures.”

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

Birds of a Feather – Decorative Wood Crafts


For some reason, I often find myself drawn to the wood crafts aisle at my local hobby store. Maybe it’s the quick reward for very little effort at an inexpensive cost. Who doesn’t enjoy a little instant gratification? There’s always something new to discover. New trends and seasonal favorites compete for your attention on the shelves.

Painted Inspirational Words
The popularity of the television show, “Fixer Upper,” has brought farmhouse chic to the forefront of home design trends. As a result, oversize wood letters and words have become very popular wall art. If a particular word or phrase has special meaning for you, spell it out on a wall as a daily inspiration to share with your family and friends.

Birds on Wire
Looking for a quick and easy way to add some pizzazz to any flat wood surface? Apply contact paper or left over wallpaper for interesting colors and patterns.

Wooden Bird & Fish
For a distressed look, keep the color palette soft as if they faded over time, allow the paint to dry, and then use sandpaper to “age” the surface.

Painted Wood Boxes
The base coat for decorative boxes can be painted using brushes or spray paint. Intricate details and complex designs can be applied using fine point paint pens in solid or metallic finishes. Rhinestones and beads will provide a touch of sparkle.

Wood Owl
This adorable little owl has a painted face and the patterned wings were created with contact paper. For clean, crisp edges on the eyes and beak, use stencils.

Wooden Eggs
Painted eggs are a tradition in many cultures. Applying wax in intricate patterns and dipping the exposed areas into dyes created these beautiful designs.

How to Paint a Wooden Flamingo
Now that you’ve seen several woodcraft examples, it’s time to try your hand at decorating. Craft stores and Dollar Tree stores have several freestanding wood animals, including a flamingo, rhino, hippo, stegosaurus, peacock, elephant and more.

Flamingos
As with all projects, it helps to have a little inspiration. Seeing live flamingos really helps with color and feather pattern decisions as well as basic biology.

Raw Wood Flamingo
As you can see, the thick wood has been cut out in the shape of a flamingo and has the advantage of strong, sturdy legs, making this a freestanding, three-dimensional piece. Both sides and all the edges will need to be painted. Due to the raw nature of the wood, it may require a little sanding, especially along the edges.

Supplies:
Wooden Flamingo (7-1/2” high x 4-1/2” wide x 1-3/8” thick)
Acrylic Paint – orange, black, & white (plus optional yellow for eyes)
1) Bottle fabric paint – orange
1) Bottle fabric paint – pink
Paintbrush
Sandpaper

First Coat of Paint
Step 1 – Paint the flamingo with orange acrylic paint, including both sides and all edges.

Second Coat of Paint
Step 2 – Apply a second coat of orange acrylic paint, and add details to the face. The legs have been painted gray.

Textured Paint
Step 3 – Create a feathered texture by applying orange fabric paint. The paint on the head and neck was applied in a random dotted pattern because these areas are smoother than the lower body. Use long strokes on the torso, ensuring to go in the direction of the feathers. Refer to the inspiration photo as needed. Allow the paint to dry overnight. Using a small paintbrush, and orange acrylic paint, add the thin leg and feet details on the sides, front and back of each leg. This gives the illusion of thin legs like the live birds.

Second Coat Textured Paint
Step 4 – Create more texture by repeating the orange fabric paint process in Step 3. Add additional details with pink acrylic paint: Dot the pink over the head and neck, and create the wings on the torso. Refer to the inspiration photo as needed.

Finished Flamingo
Step 5 – Apply a second coat of pink fabric paint, thickening the wings and increasing the pink highlights on the head and neck. Allow the paint to dry overnight. Using a paintbrush, give the beak a second coat of white and black acrylic paint. To give the eyes more dimension, add a large dot of yellow fabric paint. Remember to add a black dot in the center of each pupil.

This completes your flamingo project. He may not take flight, but the bright colors and cheerful expression are sure to make you smile.  For more painted wood crafts, please click here.

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

Harry Potter’s Magical Creatures

Diagon Alley
During frustrating travel restrictions, wouldn’t it be nice to wave a magic wand to restore order once again to our lives.  I suppose the next best thing is delving into a magical book or watching a movie about everyone’s favorite teen wizard, Harry Potter.

Harry Potter Owl & Griffin
While I appreciate all the characters created by J.K. Rowling, I must admit my favorites are the mysterious, magical creatures that inhabit that fantasy world.  Whether real or imagined, each is endowed with exceptional powers and abilities – some for good and others not so much.

Harry Potter Goblin & Dragon
Don’t you just love goblins for balancing the books and dragons to keep it interesting?

Fire Breathing Dragon
Fire-breathing dragons are awesome, but perhaps we need to find something a little less flammable? lol

Harry Potter Monster Book
Every Harry Potter fan dreams of living in his magical world. You have read the books and seen the movies, but to experience it in the real world, you’ll need to make the trip to Universal Studio’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter. If travel isn’t on your agenda, perhaps you could bring a piece of Harry’s world into your own.

Harry Potter Monster Book
You can’t be a wizard without a few enchanted books. Who could forget the ferocious monster book? Ever wondered if you could make one?

How to Make a Monster Book Fit for a Wizard:

Raw Wood Book Box
Unfinished Wood Book Box
The moon and the stars must have aligned to make your wish come true with the discovery of this wooden book box, available through Michaels for $6.49. It’s the perfect size and thickness, and offers a strong foundation for building a monster book. As a bonus, there’s a secret compartment inside for storing your favorite spells (recipes), magic charms (office supplies), or wizardly collectibles.

Supplies:
Wooden Book Box (9.75″ x 7.5″ x 2.88″)
Black Paint – brush on Acrylic or spray paint
Sharpie Metallic gold marker – medium point
Vampire Teeth
Faux fur
4) Packing peanuts
4) Glass marbles – orange
1) Bottle fabric paint – black
1) Bottle fabric paint – white
1) Leather or vinyl belt
Glue gun
Scissors
Paintbrush

Book Box Painted Black
Book Painted Black
Paint the box black, inside and out. This dark color will make a great contrasting background for the gold paint applied in the next step.

Gilded Pages
Gilded Pages
To create the appearance of gilded pages, draw horizontal lines along all three sides of the book, using a Sharpie metallic gold pen. Don’t worry about crooked lines. Pages in old books become crinkled and curled. Imperfect lines will provide an aged look.

Toothy Expression
Attach Teeth
The next step is attaching teeth. Center the mouth as shown. The large fangs are from Fire Mountain Gems, and the smaller teeth are actually clear quartz crystal chips, painted to match. To simplify this step, purchase vampire teeth at a Halloween store or Amazon.

Hair Club for Monsters
Fur Cover
Faux fur from JoAnn Arts & Crafts is the perfect color and texture for this monster. Cut the piece large enough to allow a hem on all four sides. Be sure the fur will not interfere with the operation of the hinges. Please note: the raw edges of fur shed like crazy. Once they are hemmed and attached to the book the shedding stops. (Yeah!)

Faux Fur
Trim & Hem Fur
The sides could be hand sewn, but these hems were made with a glue gun.

Shaped & Glued Packing Peanuts
Packing Peanuts as Eye Sockets
I decided this monster would have four eyes. To make the eye sockets, use four packing peanuts. Each peanut is pinched in half and glued to hold its shape. Glue the four together end to end as shown.

Painted Black
Painted Packing Peanuts
Paint the foam with black fabric paint. Use a toothpick to keep the paint off your fingers.

Orange Glass Eyes
Marble Eyes
I found four orange glass marbles with red streaks resembling bloodshot eyes. Each was glued into the sockets, and outlined with white fabric paint. A white dot was added to each marble to give it that creepy glint in the eye appearance.

Final Assembly
Attach Eyes & Fur
Attach the eyes to the fur, and then secure the fur on top of the box.

Accessorize
Finished Monster Book
Last step: Wrap an old leather belt around the book to keep your monster under control.

For diehard Harry Potter fans with model building and wiring skills, there is one more step that would take this monster book to the ultimate level: mechanization!  Hide a motor inside the box to operate remote controlled wheels and hinges for the jaws.  Unleash the beast!  lol

Congratulations!  You’re now the proud owner of your very own Monster Book.  Be sure to keep it on a short leash because we all know how much it loves to shred – shoes, feet, paper – anything within reach.  For decades, kids have been telling their teachers, “The dog ate my homework!”  With a monster book as a pet, this excuse might be believable!

Do you have a favorite Harry Potter creature?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section.  Until next time…

For more Harry Potter crafts, please check out this post: “Abracadabra – Hermione & Harry’s Magic Wands.” 

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

Painting with Stickers

Paint by Sticker Cat

Ever heard of “Paint by Numbers?”  If your answer is yes, you probably recognize the style of this long-haired cat, but there is a new twist.  Now, instead of applying paints, you apply stickers. 

“Paint by Sticker Cats”

Over the last several years, “Paint by Sticker” and “Color by Sticker” books have been produced in an interesting range of themes for everyone from kids to adults.  Let’s see how it works:

Kitten Close Up – Before

I chose an adorable kitten.  As you can see, the image has been broken up into varying size pieces, and each one has a corresponding sticker with a unique letter & number combination. 

Kitten Close Up – After

After all the stickers have been applied, this is the finished kitten. 

Sticker Pages 1 & 2

The “Paint by Sticker Cats” book contains twelve cat images, and each has two corresponding pages of stickers, divided into four sections (A, B, C, D) with unique numbers. 

Close Up Detail of Sticker Page 2

The front of the book contains large finished images so that you know exactly how the completed image will look.  All pages are perforated for easy tear out.  This will save you a lot of time flipping back and forth. 

Apply Stickers – Sections B & A

Start anywhere you like.  I chose Section-B stickers and applied all as shown above left.  Make sure the stickers fit against each other to prevent the white background paper from showing. 

Apply Stickers – Sections C & D

Apply the remaining stickers from Sections C & D. 

Finished Kitten Image

Pros:
Portable; No tools; No supplies; No fumes;
No clean up; No batteries; Inexpensive;
All ages; Fun; Easy; Colorful;
Frame-worthy artwork;

Cons:
Struggle to peel & stick a few of the smallest stickers (may need tweezers)
Tiny print may require reading glasses

Summary:
Each of the images are broken up into pieces like a jigsaw puzzle, however this puzzle tells you exactly where each piece goes by using a unique letter and number combination.  How easy is that? 

All the artistic challenges have already been worked out.  Along the way, you may learn enough about light and shadow, color placement, composition, etc. to apply this knowledge to your future drawing and painting projects. 

And when finished, you will have a frame-worthy piece of art. 

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

Froggy Went A-Courting

As a kid, I remember reading a book about a courting frog, which is still popular today.  And who could forget the story of the Frog Prince?  To this day, my mom kisses every frog figurine, ornament, or pendant, just in case it turns into a prince.  Nothing so far, but she remains hopeful.  This week we will be painting a frog in search of a mate.  We will start with a couple of photos for inspiration:

Inspiration

This frog has great patterns, nice mixture of greens and browns, and cool eyes. 

Inspiration

The spotted pattern on this frog would be easy to duplicate. 

How to Paint a Resin Frog:

Original Gray Resin Frog – Front

Talk about having a case of the blahs!  This cute little frog has some nice details, such as the collar, tie and the intricately carved rose.  We have been using it as a doorstop for years, and we never gave it a second thought.  That changes today. 

Original Gray Resin Frog – Profiles

The sculptor did an amazing job defining the frog’s body from head to toe, including adorable, webbed feet.  The rose has layer after layer of petals with curled edges like a living bloom. 

Original Gray Resin Frog – Back

The textured straw hat has been accurately rendered and will need to be carefully painted to maintain its integrity.  Be sure to apply a thin coat of paint, or those details may be lost. 

Supplies

Supplies:
Resin Frog (11” high x 10” wide x 8” deep)
Acrylic Paints – white, red, yellow, blue, green, metallic gold, black, & tan
Small detail paintbrush and thicker brush for base coats
Clear Spray Paint – gloss or matte finish

Note: If you choose to blend several paints to create a special color, be sure to make enough to complete the project because it is difficult to duplicate.  To keep wet paint fresh on a palette or dish for later use, cover the surface with plastic wrap. 

Painted Straw Hat – Front

Paint the straw hat yellow, one rough coat to preserve texture.  My mom painted the hat.  And yes, she kissed the frog too!  (lol)

Painted Straw Hat – Back

As you can see the straw texture is still visible. 

Painted Frog – Front

Paint the frog’s entire body green.

Painted Frog – Profiles

You will need to use a fine brush in areas close to the hat to prevent green paint from marring the yellow. 

Painted Frog – Back

Be sure to paint green all the way around, even in the tight curves and at the edges of the collar, tie and rose. 

Painted Collar & Tie

On the first attempt, the collar was painted white.  I decided the contrast between the green and white was too harsh and should be softened. 

Repainted Collar & Rose

The collar was repainted tan, which has a much softer effect.  Paint the tie blue and the red rose.  The pupils are painted black and will be completed in the next step. 

Completed Painting

Finish the eyes by outlining them with metallic gold.  I experimented with a patterned iris, but he looked scary instead of cute, so I repainted the black.  Add white highlights to give this little guy twinkles in his eyes.  Look over the frog and touch up any areas as needed. 

Frog Ready for his Close-Up

This is the close-up of our leading man.  All he needs now is to find the love of his life.

Clear Coat Protection

To protect the acrylic, I recommend sealing the paint with two coats of clear spray paint.  Notice how much richer the colors become after being sealed. 

Frog Before & After

This froggy’s makeover is complete!  He went from bland gray to fashionably colorful in a few easy steps. 

Frog Royalty

If one day in your travels, you encounter a frog like this one, it might just be worth risking a kiss to find a true frog prince or princess.  Good luck painting your next project, and I hope you find that special someone! 

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

Catching Some Rays

Stained Glass Windows
Have you ever admired the beauty of sunlight filtering through stained glass windows? The kaleidoscope effects are stunning. Given its otherworldly effects, it is not surprising to find stained glass in churches, royal palaces, and many grand architectural structures all over the world. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a similar experience at home?

Stained Glass Entry
Stained Glass Window Entry
If you are in the market for a new front door, there are many glass pattern options for the doors, sidelights, and transom windows. Because it is labor intensive, stained glass is significantly more expensive.

Glass Painting
Glass Painting
If you happen to be an artist, you could paint your own design on a sheet of glass, with special pigments called stains, which must be fired in a kiln to complete the process. Next it will need a frame to be used as a wall hanging, or metal hardware for hanging it in front of an existing window. It can also be installed in a window frame with a protective layer of glass on the exterior side to protect it from wind and weather.

Painted Glass Mandalas
Painted Glass Mandalas
These hand painted mandalas offer the beauty of stained glass without the need for cutting tools or wire.

If you love the look of stained glass, but lack the time and artistic ability, or have budgetary constraints, you still have a few options.

Decorative Window Film
Window Film
Window films are available through many sources including home improvement stores. As you can see, the film provides the color and patterns of genuine stained glass without the expense. Film also provides privacy, and blocks unsightly views.   Be sure to follow the installation instructions carefully. The most important step is ensuring the glass is free of all dust, dirt and debris. There must be a perfectly smooth surface for the film to adhere properly. Failure to follow these instructions could result in air pockets, bubbles and delaminating (peeling film).

Decorative Window Film
Window Film
There are two types of window films, which differ by installation. The first adheres to the glass via static cling and the second uses adhesive. The films shown in these two photos are the static cling type. Personally, I prefer static cling film, instead of adhesive, because it’s easy to install and more importantly can be easily removed. The films come in a wide variety of styles, including the more traditional “stained glass” and some very contemporary geometric patterns.

Sunburst Stained Glass Suncatcher
Sunburst Suncatcher
Genuine stained glass requires specialized skills. Due to precise cutting required, sharp glass and metal edges and joint soldering, this process is not suitable for children. There’s an inexpensive alternative, which is an easy, family-friendly project.

How to Make Colorful Acrylic Suncatchers:

Unpainted Suncatchers
Unpainted Suncatchers
These suncatchers look like glass, but are actually clear acrylic with raised black ridges, which create compartments for holding individual stain colors. One big advantage is that the acrylic is not fragile, like glass, so if you accidentally drop one, no harm is done.

Suncatcher Stain Kit
Suncatcher Stain
Some stores sell the stains separately, while others offer kits, which include a suncatcher(s), several stain colors and a paintbrush applicator. When the stains have dried, the surface hardens and the vibrant colors are translucent, just like stained glass.

Suncatcher Stain Application Process
Staining Progress Detail
Using the provided paintbrush, stains are applied one drop at a time. No blending, no special brush strokes and no extra supplies are required. It’s that easy! There are no other steps. Simply let them dry and they’re ready to hang. Below are examples of completed acrylic suncatchers.

Butterfly & Hot Air Balloon Suncatchers
Butterfly & Balloon

Balloon Bouquet & Cat Suncatchers
Balloons & Cat

Dog & Bluebird Suncatchers
Dog & Bluebird

Tropical Fish & Cardinal Suncatchers
Fish & Cardinal

Mirror with Applied Suncatchers
Framed Mirror with Suncatchers
Suncatchers can be hung upon windows or mirrors using suction cups on the glass, or hung with ribbons looped over window locks. I purchased two divided mirrors and screwed them together to create the eight-panel wall hanging shown in the photo above. The suncatchers were glued in the center of each square. The mirror allows natural and artificial light to reflect through the suncatchers. Because it resembles a window, I placed it above my stove to give me something pretty to look at while I’m cooking. It can also be hung in an interior room that needs a boost of color along with a “view.”

Anyone can make colorful suncatchers with very little effort, beautiful results, and they make great gifts at a very affordable price.

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

Flower Power

Multicolor Flowers

Arranging flowers is like painting a masterpiece.  Instead of paints on canvas, you place fresh-cut or silk flowers and leaves in a vase, bottle, or bowl.  Before you begin, you have some decisions to make.  What colors will choose?  How will you create visual interest?  Do you prefer balanced or abstract designs?  What will be your focal point(s)?  Do you have a container in mind?  Would you like to include a few accents, such as berries, or butterflies?  Feel overwhelmed?  Below are several pointers on flower arranging to help you get started. 

Complementary Colors:

Orange & Blue

Complements Orange & Blue

Complementary colors provide maximum contrast.  They say opposites attract.  Maybe that is why this orange butterfly found a blue flower irresistible. 

Yellow & Purple

Complements Purple & Yellow

Yellow shines brilliantly alongside its complement, purple.  This combination is associated with spring as well as Easter. 

Red & Green

Complements Red & Green

Red immediately grabs your attention.  Set against green it really pops.  Although red and green are hallmarks of Christmas, they are perfect any time of year, especially with other accent colors, as shown in the above photo. 

Exotic Focal Points:

Bird of Paradise

Exotic Bird of Paradise

While you are selecting flowers for a new arrangement, consider your focal point(s).  A few exotic flowers bring bold colors, shapes, and textures to your design. 

Dahlias

Exotic Dahlias

Dahlias offer amazing variety.  Check out the gorgeous pink and white dahlia in this photo.  Many people believe the ombre-effect was manmade, but Mother Nature thought of it first. 

Hibiscus

Exotic Hibiscus

Although hibiscus is a readily available flower, the rich, blended colors and delicate details appear to be hand-painted by Mother Nature. 

Monochromatic:

Pinks

Monochrome Pink

Monochromatic designs do not have to be boring.  Choose a variety of flowers in shades of your chosen color and arrange them in a visually pleasing way. 

Purples

Monochrome Purple

Dramatic contrasts in color as well as shape are the keys to this arrangement. 

Multicolor:

Tulips

Mulicolor Tulips

Jewel-tone tulips stand on their own as an easy and attractive centerpiece.

Assorted Flowers

Multicolor Flowers

Pastel colors and small-scale blooms blend harmoniously in this lovely springtime bouquet. 

Floral Design Balance:

Symmetry

Symmetry Asymetry Heart

This arrangement has elements of symmetry and asymmetry.  The heart shape and three roses are symmetrically balanced, while the assorted perimeter flowers are asymmetrical and yet still fit within the overall heart shape. 

Asymmetry

Asymmetry

This asymmetrical centerpiece is an abstract art lover’s dream. 

Floral Accessories:

Cute Critters

Accessorize Birds & Flowers

You might want to include a few well-chosen characters to adorn your floral creations, including birds, butterflies, ladybugs, geckos, and fairies. 

Bouquet Holder

Accessorize Heart Bouquet

Give a floral bouquet an upgrade with a special themed holder, such as this heart for Valentine’s Day, which can be paired with a vase, and reused for years to come. 

Ribbons & Twigs

Accessorize Ribbon Sticks

The bright yellow daffodils contrast well with purple ribbon, woven with other blooms upon a twig base.  In autumn, pinecones, and berries are attractive additions. 

Floral Display Containers:

And the Envelope-Please

Accessorize Ribbon Sticks

Flowers look beautiful no matter how you choose to display them.  For the cute arrangement above, you need to “think inside the box!”  An envelope-shaped box is a sweet surprise and wonderful conversation starter. 

Martini Glass

Container Martini Glass

A new use for an old friend – this martini glass, with an extra-long stem, is a great idea for providing floral beauty, while still enabling guests to see each other across the table. 

Old Fashioned Ceramic Jar

Container Simplicity

For country chic, choose the simplicity of a ceramic jar filled with a few fresh cut blooms.

Water Bowl

Container Bali Floating Flowers

Who needs a vase when you have a water bowl?  A floating mandala design sets a relaxing tone.  If you are having a party, each table could have a unique floating centerpiece to show off your creativity. 

Floral Design Influences:

Religious

Bali Design

This Balinese flower offering exhibits many of the design principles discussed in this post including symmetry, focal point, all six complementary colors, multicolor flowers, and a unique flat design display.  A large outdoor table, in a shaded area, offers a great opportunity for a flat floral centerpiece. 

Cultural (Before & After)

Tropical Rain Forest Before&After

Tropical flowers grow in abundance in Hawaii and are an integral part of their cultural history and traditions.  This beautiful arrangement has a nice selection of exotic flowers, but two elements throw off this design: 1) The red roses do not belong in a tropical arrangement.  2) The metallic silver vase is too contemporary.  To fix it, add more red ginger and anthuriums, and use a Hawaiian drum to conceal the vase, unifying this Polynesian theme. 

Architectural

Architectural Floral Design

A large interior space requires an equally strong floral display, and this one meets that challenge.  These organ pipes have strong vertical lines, multiple levels, sculptural scrolls, and decorative arches, which are echoed in the grooved, scalloped urn, tiered flowers, curled leaves, and bell-shaped flowers.  High contrast of complementary colors can be found in the purple flowers with bold yellow centers, and the blue flowers against the tall orange-red stalks.  Exotic lilies serve as focal points, drawing the eye in toward the rich lush greens and purples and pulling your attention upward, much like the heavenly organ music floating upon the air. 

Sculptural

Sculptural Floral Design

Seashells and lotus blossoms automatically make you think of water.  Beginning at the top, invisible water flows diagonally, from leaf to leaf, making its way back and forth across the arrangement until it reaches the bottom, only to begin the journey anew.  Textures in the seashell are repeated in the leaves.  Whether you spend the day at a pampering spa or have a luxurious soak in the bathtub at home, this soft color palette and gentle flowing movement soothes away your cares bringing peaceful relaxation to body and mind. 

Take your time finding inspiration, developing ideas, and planning your design.  Choosing flowers and creating a unique floral display will shine with your artistic flair.  Enjoy the process and best of luck! 

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

Want to Make Beaded Earrings?

Assorted Earrings
Making fine jewelry requires years of special training in gemstones, precious metals, and jewelry design. Materials and tools are very expensive, and mistakes can be very costly. The invention of beaded jewelry created beautiful designs in a much more affordable way, and put the jewelry making possibilities into everyone’s hands. If you’ve ever wondered how to make a piece of jewelry, now is your chance.

How to Make Black Onyx & Tigerseye Earrings
Tigerseye Black Onyx Earrings
These 2” long gemstone earrings are fashionable and easy to make.

Required Beads & Findings:
Earring Supplies
Supplies:
To make this pair of earrings you will need:
2) Silver plated Head Pins – 2” length,
2) 8.5mm Granulated Round Pewter Rondelles,
2) 8mm Tigerseye beads,
2) 10mm Black Onyx beads,
2) Silver plated Round 4mm Spacer beads
2) Silver plated Surgical Steel Fishhook Earwires with ball & coil

(Please note: Head pins are the foundation of these earrings. They are inexpensive and come in big packages. Be sure to have several on hand just in case. Craft stores carry jewelry making supplies, including beads, accents, and tools. If you get hooked on jewelry making and yearn for the ultimate selections, look no further than FireMountainGems.com)

Jewelry Making Tools:
Round Nose Pliers
Round Nose Pliers – the smooth, round tips on these pliers make it easy and safe to manipulate wire, pins, and small jewelry metal pieces known as findings. Please don’t use standard pliers, which have teeth that will damage delicate precious metals.

Jewelry Wire Cutters
Jewelry Wire Cutters – a sharp pair of wire cutters makes jewelry making so much easier. Do not use them for other crafts, such as floral arranging, which can damage the blades.

Earring Making Instructions:

Bead Layout
Step 1: Stack the beads in sequence on the head pin as shown. This is the dangle part of the earring.

Grip with Pliers
Step 2: With the round nose pliers in your right hand, grip the wire just above the top silver bead. Be sure the beads are close together with no gaps in between. Hold the pliers in this position for the next step.

Grasp Wire with Fingers
Step 3: Grasp the end of the head pin with your left thumb and index finger, and bend the wire toward you.

Bend Wire
Continue bending the pin over the tip of the pliers until it touches the Black Onyx bead.

Reshaped Wire
The reshaped pin will look like the photo above.

Trim Excess Wire
Step 4: Cut off the excess wire. Leave enough wire to form a small loop above the silver bead. This may take a few tries. Don’t worry if you cut it too short. Simply use a new head pin and repeat the steps.

Shortened Wire
This photo shows the trimmed wire, and beside it is the scrap piece to be thrown away.

Attach Earwire
Step 5: Hook the dangle earring onto the loop on the bottom of the fishhook earwire,

Loop Closeup
and close the loop using the round nose pliers.

Finished Earrings
Congratulations! You have successfully made your first pair of earrings.

These skills can be used to create many styles, which at first may appear to be complex, but are actually fairly easy when broken down into basic steps. Let’s take a look at a few examples below.

Blue Earrings
Blue Bead & Pearl Earrings– If you look closely, you’ll notice the same elements we talked about before: head pins, stacked beads, and earwires. The choice of silver earwires and accents with faceted blue crystals and Mother of Pearl creates a cool, summery vibe. This pair of earrings utilizes a different type of earwire known as lever backs, which prevent the earring from falling off – no more lost earrings!

Fossil Earrings
Fossil Earrings – The natural spiral design and intricate details of these fossils make great focal points for these earrings. You can purchase charms and pendants such as these and simply attach earwires to the provided loops on top. How easy is that?

Triangle Earrings
Triangle Earrings – These earrings are a simple progression from the fossil earrings above. The triangles are merely charms. Head pins, which are available in many lengths, are the keys to this design. Attach the three beads on the bottom of each triangle using pliers. The yellow beads are also attached with head pins. Cut the head off a pin, and use the pliers to make a loop above and below the yellow bead and then attach to the triangle on the bottom and to the earwire on the top.

Jasper& Pearl Earrings
Jasper & Pearl Earrings – Gemstones come in an amazing array of colors and shapes. The accent beads can be mixed and matched in infinite combinations. Experiment by laying out the beads to test your options. The nice thing about earrings is that you can place the beads on a pin and hold them up to your ear to see how they look, with no commitment whatsoever. Don’t like what you see? Try another combo.

Jewelry making is a fun, creative hobby. Best of all you get to wear and share your creations with your family and friends. For more information on beaded jewelry, please read “Designing Beaded Jewelry.”

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

Alpacas versus Ewoks

Alpaca & Ewok

On a scale of 1-10, who is the cutest – an Alpaca or an Ewok? 

Multicolor Alpacas

My apologies to all the Star Wars fans, but this week our craft project is all about Alpacas. 

Baby Alpaca

This baby alpaca looks so soft and cuddly like a stuffed animal. 

Adult Alpaca

Adults have long shaggy fur, which is used to make yarn for blankets, sweaters and other garments. 

White Alpaca

Some have monochromatic fur, such as the one pictured above. 

Brown & White Alpaca

Alpaca fur tends to be thick and plush in a variety of shades and a few fashion-forward combinations.  Whatever your preferences, you can’t go wrong applying those creative choices to this fun project. 

How to Paint a Wooden Alpaca:

Raw Wood Alpaca

Alpaca Raw Wood

Thick wood has been cut out in the shape of an alpaca.  Both sides and all the edges will need to be painted.  Due to the raw nature of the wood, it may require a little sanding, especially along the edges. 

Supplies

Alpaca Paints
  • Supplies:
    Wooden Alpaca (6-1/4” high x 4-1/2” wide x 1-1/2” thick)
    Acrylic Paints – gray, white, black
    Bottles Fabric Paint – brown, white, black
    Paintbrushes
    Sandpaper
    Black Sharpie Marker or pencil

Paint Base Color

Alpaca Gray Paint

Using acrylic gray paint and a brush, paint both sides of the body and all the edges. 

Paint Accent Colors & Draw Eye Detail

Alpaca Gray & White Paint

Apply white acrylic paint with a brush on the head, neck, lower legs and tail.  With a pencil or marker, draw the eyes. 

Define Facial Details

Alpaca Facial Details Painted

Using a combination of acrylic and fabric paints, add the eyes, nose and mouth. 

Textured Fur Detail

3D Paint Leg Fur Detail

Creating thick, three-dimensional fur is easy with fabric paint.  You must start at the BOTTOM and work your way up using short downward strokes.  Keep the placement and stroke size random, layering new fur over the previous sections as you work your way to the top.  Allow the paint to dry overnight because it shrinks as it dries.  Repeat this process until you achieve the desired appearance. 

Paint White Textured Fur

3D Paint Fur Legs & Tail

This photo shows the completed white fur on the legs and tail.  Repeat this process on the other side. 

Note: To achieve a very thick fur coat, you may need several bottles of fabric paint. 

Paint Brown Textured Fur

3D Paint Fur Torso

Apply brown fabric paint on the torso, and upper legs, using the same textured process described above. 

Paint Additional Layers of Textured Fur

3D Paint Fur Layers Torso

Repeat the painted fur process as many times as needed to create a thick fur coat. 

Paint White Textured Fur

3D Paint Fur Neck

Once again using the white fabric paint, start creating the fur at the bottom of the neck and work upward. 

Paint Additional Layers of White Textured Fur

3D Paint Fur Neck & Tail

Repeat the process to achieve desired thickness.  Remember to thoroughly cover the edges too.  You may also want to add more fur on the tail as well for a bushy effect.  Allow time for the paint to dry between coats so that you can see which areas need more work. 

Finished Alpaca

Finished Alpaca

Congratulations!  You are now the proud parent of an adorable alpaca! 

Finished Details

Finished Alpaca Details

As you can see in this photo, the fur continues up over the top of the head, including bangs on forehead. 

Alpaca – Before & After

Alpaca Before & After2

We started with a plain wood figure, and with little effort and patience during drying times, this cute alpaca is ready to adorn your home or be given as a gift.  Either way, smiles are sure to follow. 

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!

The Art of Cake Decorating

Chocolate Cream Cake

White icing, piped details topped with maraschino cherries and chocolate shavings make this Black Forest cake outstanding, but the real showstopper is the chocolate latticework wrapped around the sides. 

I have a confession to make – researching and writing this post made me hungry for dessert. Before you continue reading, I suggest having a treat ready to eat, or grab the car keys and run to the bakery. Okay, now let us explore cake decorating.

Icing Piping Bags

Icing Decorating Bags

Cake decorating bags can be filled with a variety of icings and each metal tip creates different designs, from flowers, to ribbons, stars and many more.  Piping bags can also be used for fillings in pastries and donuts. 

Piped Flowers

Floral Cupcakes

The piping bags shown in the previous photo produced these unique floral motifs. 

Buttercream Roses

Buttercream Roses

Piped buttercream frosting is a colorful and flavorful choice for cake decorating. 

Owl Fondant Cake

This adorable owl cake is decorated with fondant, which is made from sugar paste, rolled out into sheets, and then cut into any desired shapes.

Glazed Icing

Confectioner’s Sugar drizzled over this cake is quick and easy.  The clustered cherries hint at the fruit filling hidden with this single layer cake. 

Marzipan

Marzipan is made from almond paste and is a favorite candy treat, which adds a bit of whimsy to cakes as well as cupcakes. 

Modeling Chocolate

If you always wanted to try sculpture, here is your chance to create a beautiful art piece and it’s edible too!  While smaller decorations can be made with fondant or gum paste, modeling chocolate is much stronger, enabling the creation of larger figures, such as the Disney characters shown above. 

Rainbow Layer Cake

An easy way to add color to any cake is by using rainbow colored layers.

Orange Cheesecake

This cheesecake has a translucent topping and center filling made from orange juice concentrate and sugar.  An unexpected block pattern is only revealed when sliced. 

Red Velvet Cake

Rich red crumbles hint at the alternating layers of moist chocolate cake and cream cheese icing hidden within this decadent dessert. 

Strawberry Shortcake

Fresh fruit garnishes and a little powdered sugar are all you need to top off this summertime favorite. 

Chocolate Tarts

Most people love chocolate and this dessert does not disappoint.  Chocolate whipped cream is sandwiched between the layers of cake and is also piped on top, garnished with chocolate shavings and raspberries. 

Marbleized Cake

A marbleized effect is achieved by piping chocolate frosting over vanilla and then running a knife or spatula through it. 

Fondant with Piping & Roses

This lovely wedding cake has pink and white fondant, with piped icing details and fresh-cut flowers.

Star Wars Theme Cake – (Fondant & Modeling Chocolate)

Special occasions present perfect opportunities for themed cakes.  Any child would be thrilled to have Yoda at his or her birthday party.  A few “big” kids would love it too! 

Mosaic Fondant Cake

This cake and display tray have been covered with chocolate fondant for a seamless look.  Multi-color fondant sheets are cut into circles of various sizes and individually placed in an intricate mosaic pattern. 

Modeling Chocolate Lego Cake

The figures and Legos are modeling chocolate, while the white icing is fondant.  Isn’t it amazing how realistic the Lego blocks look? 

Designer Cakes

These wintry snowmen are decorated with modeling chocolate, piping, and macaroons.  Sprinkled granulated sugar resembles the snow and ice. 

Designer Cakes

Want to know the secret to making large decorations like the giraffe, the zebra and the turtle’s head and legs?  Rice cereal treats are covered with fondant to seamlessly blend with the cake. 

Designer Textured Cakes

Both of these cakes offer incredible color and texture.  On the left, the ombré effect of the piped roses leads the eye toward the sparkling glass bride and groom topper.  Piping, stamping, gum paste, and candy making techniques have been beautifully combined in this unique garden gazebo.  

Designer Bold Colorful Cakes

Bold colors are certainly eye-catching.  The first, known as a topsy-turvy cake, is wrapped in fondant and decorated with geometric and floral cut fondant.  The floral cake has been hand-painted with edible inks, creating the look of stained glass. 

Designer Pastel Floral Cake

This floral cake is a real labor of love.  Each gum paste flower, leaf and butterfly is made by hand and set in place to create the cascading garden.  As the design nears completion, iridescent edible inks are brushed on to provide depth and realistic details in this incredible wedding cake. 

I hope you are inspired to give cake decorating a try.  A visit to your local craft store will give you additional ideas, and you will see an amazing selection of the candies, pre-mixed fondants, and gel icings, as well as tools of the trade and specialty pans to make your next dessert a masterpiece.  

Thanks for Reading & Happy Crafting!