Eye Candy & Memories – Creating Collages

Camera Collage
A collage is a themed grouping of images artfully arranged on poster board or mat board. This clever piece has a camera “lens” in the center of photographs placed in concentric circles. Although it’s a visually interesting composition, the individual photos would be difficult to view, especially since the majority are sideways or upside down.

Butterfly Collage
Themes can include anything from vacations, family photos, nature’s beauty, or anything else that inspires or brings you joy.

Water Lilies Collage
The first rule of collage making is…there are no rules! Anything goes! The background can be white or any color you prefer. You may want to overlap the images in a freeform design, or divide the board into a grid, showcasing each individual photo.

Postcard Collage
When you travel, you often collect magazines and postcards as souvenirs, which typically end up stuffed in a drawer. Why not create a collage? Every time you walk by you’ll relive your vacations.

Fabric Elephant Collage
Collages don’t have to be limited to photographs. Here’s an example of a fabric collage in the shape of an adorable elephant. The blue mat board complements the fabrics and brings a cheerful element to this playful character.

Seashell & Feather Collage
You could also use silk flowers, leaves, feathers, or seashells. When using heavier materials like seashells, be sure to use a strong backer board for support.

Duck Collage
If you prefer more organization, the geometric precision of a grid can be created using a T-square or a ruler and triangles. In the above example, white space around each photo defines the composition.

Travel Collage
For a freeform collage, lay the photos out upon the board, make adjustments until you’re satisfied with the arrangement, and then glue the photos down one at a time with Elmer’s Glue Stick.

French Sightseeing Collage
Usually poster board, mat board, or collage board serve as backing, but you could also use a wood plaque, a shadow box frame, or a framed slate board. Whatever you choose will personalize your creation. If you plan to frame the finished collage, be sure to select a board size that will fit into a standard frame.

Seasonal Fall Collage
Scrapbooking paper can be used to add colors, patterns and textures (e.g. faux wood grain), to an otherwise plain background. You could also hand paint details.

Collage Frame
If cutting out pictures and gluing them down seems like too much work, the simplest and quickest way to create a collage is by using a collage frame. Place a few photos in the frame and your done. No muss or fuss!

Scrapbook Vision Board
If wall space is limited or you prefer a more portable option, a scrapbook collage (vision board) can be developed over time. As your dreams and goals come true, there are plenty of additional pages for future inspirations.

How to Make a Collage / Vision Board

A vision board is a collage with goals and dreams to be manifested into your life. It gives you a daily reminder to focus your thoughts upon making your dreams come true.

Supplies:
Photos, postcards, color copies
Scissors
Elmer’s Glue Stick (All Purpose is permanent, or the Washable formula is adjustable)
Poster Board or Mat Board
Poster Frame (optional)

Magazines
Collect brochures, magazines, photos, and color copies of your wishes and dreams. Carefully cut out the pictures. It’s fine to have an assortment of various sizes, because these will fit together like puzzle pieces with overlapping edges. Lay the images upon your board. Move them around until you feel the composition is coming together. Think about the colors, contrasting textures, and patterns. It’s okay to have empty spaces.

Preliminary Vision Board
This photo is a progress shot showing the initial photo layout. Glue each image in place. Now fill in the gaps with smaller photos or inspirational words.

Completed Vision Board
Layers were added to enrich the composition, which completely covered the background. After leaning this vision board against a wall for a few weeks, it was inspirational, but the poster board was starting to bow. I had a new 24” x 36” gold metal poster frame, and decided to use it for the vision board to protect the images behind glass and to give it a more finished look, ready to hang upon the wall. I had to add approximately 8” to the length of the poster board on the right side to fit the oversized frame. Additional images were then added to blend with the existing. Now that it is framed, this simple project has become an attractive piece of art.

What kind of collage are you thinking about making? Do you have a theme in mind? Please share your ideas in the comments section.

Happy Crafting!

Spring Cleaning the Craft Studio

Organized Art Supplies
Spring is a wonderful time for renewal. We all like getting a fresh start. To that end, I decided the Crafts  Inspire Me website needed some freshening as well. Please check out the new “Crafts by Topic” page. It is divided into categories, similar to the departments found in a craft store, to make it easier to find the types of projects that most interest you. Here is a small sampling:

Baking & Candymaking

Beaded Jewelry

Floral & Home Decor

To see the new Crafts page, please click here. You will also find a new page entitled, “Color Theory,” which contains information on the magnificent variety of colors in this world, and their effects on our daily lives.   I hope these changes will inspire and entertain you. Please let me know what you think in the comments section. In case you missed a recent post, there is also a “How To Projects” page with complete instructions for all kinds of creative projects. As always, questions and suggestions for future projects are welcome. Thanks for reading.

Happy Crafting!

What do Pigs & Cats have in Common? Decoupage

Spotted Piglet
Look at that little face! Is he cute or what? The inspiration for this project is an adorable spotted piglet. In a previous post, “Year of the Pig 2019,” I mentioned my brother’s affinity for pigs. We usually find a way to include a pig at any gift-giving occasion. Sometimes it’s just a card, or a flying pig ornament for the Christmas tree. We all share the same sense of humor, and the more ridiculous the pig, the greater the laughter.

Pig Plaque Details
For my brother’s birthday this year, I decided to combine two of his favorites: pigs and cats. Believe it or not, he and his wife share their home with 11 feline fur babies. Yes, you read that correctly. That’s a lot of mouths to feed! Each cat started out in life under very difficult circumstances, but after being rescued, they live comfortable, happy lives filled with play and lots of tender loving care. Such an unusual family deserves an equally unique family portrait.

How to Create a Wooden Pig Photo Plaque
On a recent visit to AC Moore, I noticed a large wooden pig plaque. It was really cute, but I held off buying until I could come up with something my brother would appreciate, and ended up liking the idea of a family portrait. The pig is large enough to accommodate photos of all eleven cats with my brother and his wife in the center. Any  size or shape plaque will work as long as it is large enough to fit all the images. You could also create a plaque to commemorate a special event, such as a graduation, a birthday, or your favorite vacation. Let’s get started.

Raw Wooden Pig
You may need to do some light sanding to ensure the surface and edges are smooth.

Pig Photo Plaque Supplies
Supplies:
Wooden Pig (20-1/2” wide x 11-1/4” high x 1/2” thick)
Acrylic Paint – tan & black
1) Jar of Mod Podge Gloss
1) Oval Mop Paintbrush
1) Elmer’s Permanent Glue Stick
2) Paintbrushes – one for base coat, and a fine brush for details
Heavyweight Matte Finish Photo Paper
Sandpaper
Scissors

Photo Layout
You might want to print a quick draft version of your photos to make it easier to layout on the plaque. This will also give you a chance to experiment with different ways of cutting them out to make your design look more attractive. Be sure to reprint your photos on heavyweight paper for the final project. If you try to use regular printer paper, it will bubble and curl as soon as you apply the Mod Podge, and you’ll have to peel it off and start over. How do I know this you ask? Because it happened to me! It was awful!

How NOT to Complete a Photo Plaque
I watched a tutorial video to learn how to use Mod Podge for decoupage. They made it look sooooo easy, but looks can be deceiving. They mentioned you could use laser printer color copies but said nothing about needing heavyweight paper. All my photos had been meticulously cut out, and glued down using Mod Podge on the backs. Initially there was a little bubbling, but it smoothed out as it dried. While the Mod Podge does dry clear, the recommended sponge applicator leaves streaks behind and it dries that way! Instead I recommend using an oval mop paintbrush, which produces a smoother finish. Next I applied an even coat over the entire plaque. This should have been the finale, but I knew I was in trouble after the first few cats had been coated. Within seconds, the photos bubbled and curled up into little blobs! It was horrifying! They didn’t mention that in the how to video! Frantically, I scraped the photos off and then used soap and water to clean the surface of the plaque. Back to the drawing board!

The Correct Way to Create a Pig Photo Plaque
This time I suggest a few changes to the process:
First, print your images on heavyweight matte finish photo paper.
Apply one coat of Mod Podge over the entire page of photos, using an oval mop paintbrush.
Allow drying time.
Cut out the individual photos. I chose to cut out the cat’s ears and round the bottom edges so that they would resemble spots on the pig.
Lay out the photos upon the plaque.
Trace the photos to determine the locations of the spots.

Painted Black Spots
Paint each of the black spots a little larger than the photos. I ended up making all the spots solid black to prevent tan paint from peeking out from behind the photos.
Paint the pig’s face, ears, hooves and tail. A painted smile goes a long way to give this little guy some character.

Glued Photos & Sealer Coat
Trim the photos and/or adjust the painted black spots as needed.
One at a time, paste each photo using Elmer’s Glue Stick.
Place a clean sheet of paper on top and firmly rub the surface and edges to ensure a good seal. Repeat this process. Let dry.

Finished Plaque
Apply a coat of Mod Podge over the entire plaque. Congratulations! Mission accomplished!

This is a fun and unique way to display family photos. Although pigs may not be for everyone, there are plenty of interesting wooden plaque shapes to match your family’s unique style and personality. Deciding which photos to use is a fun and adventurous activity. Let your creativity soar and be open to new possibilities as you create this memorable family portrait for everyone to enjoy.

Happy Crafting!

Save Room for Dessert

Assorted Desserts
There’s a reason they say: “Life is short. Eat dessert first.” It really is the best part of the meal. Now that spring has arrived, there will be plenty of entertaining opportunities. Why not offer to bring dessert? Many people don’t realize that craft stores have large baking departments with specialty pans, cake decorating tools, glassware, cake plates, fondant and many other useful tricks of the trade to make your desserts the hit of the party.

Apple Pie
Apple Pie – Hot apple pie a la mode is a favorite any time of year. Layering the apple slices across the top in a creative spiral design adds to the visual appeal.

Birds Nests
Chocolate Birds Nests – Kids and adults love the taste of Rice Krispie Treats but these have a wonderful springtime chocolate twist. Simply follow the recipe using chocolate rice cereal.  Drop spoonfuls into cupcake wrappers and shape into nests. For the finishing touch, place a few malted milk eggs or jellybeans on top as eggs.

Brownie
Brownies with Heart – Everyone has a recipe for brownies. To make them extra special, bake them in a specialty pan with individual compartments. Cut out a paper heart and set in on top, and then sprinkle with powdered sugar. It’s so much more impressive than the usual square cut brownie.

Caramel Flan
Caramel Flan – This delicious egg custard has a caramel glaze poured over the top.

Raspberry Cheesecake
Raspberry Cheesecake – Any flavor of cheesecake is a delicious choice year round.

Chocolate Fudge Cake
Chocolate Fudge Cake – This chocolate lover’s dream has a thick layer of chocolate fudge icing, chocolate filling and a chocolate graham cracker crust. Yummy!

Chocolate Roll
Red Velvet Roll – Moist rich chocolate cake filled with vanilla cream and topped with chocolate shavings, coffee beans and a dusting of chocolate powder – Who could resist?

Chocolate Truffles
Chocolate Truffles – To make these decadent truffles, you will need to fill the candy mold one layer at a time. Form the outer shell by coating the mold with chocolate. Next add the filling. Popular favorites are hazelnuts, butter cream, peanut butter, caramels, chocolate liqueurs and cream fillings. A piping bag can be used to make filling easier. Refrigerate the mold to allow the filling and chocolate to solidify. The last step is adding another layer of chocolate to fill any remaining voids and seal the top of the mold. Refrigerate and carefully un-mold. If you want a more colorful treat, dip each truffle in melted chocolate and then dip in candy sprinkles.  Your candy making skills will be the envy of all your guests.

Cookies
Assorted Cookies – Dress up your next batch of cookies by using fanciful cookie cutters, and embellishing with icing, sprinkles, nuts or dipping chocolate.

Cupcakes
Cupcakes – These are easy to make party favorites and kids love to help with decorating.

Fruit Tart
Fruit Tart – This is a beautiful, eye-catching dessert. It’s all about the pattern and colors. The brightly colored plate creates the perfect frame for this artistic piece.

Fruit Yogurt
Yogurt Parfaits – What could be easier than mixing yogurt and fresh fruit?

Muffins
Muffins – Decorative paper wraps add pizzazz to simple muffins and cupcakes. Use a piping bag to apply whipped cream icing and top with a few berries and a sprig of mint.

Raspberry Vanilla Pudding
Raspberry Vanilla Pudding – While this may appear fancy, it’s easy to make. You’ll need an empty egg carton to hold the glass dishes at an angle. Mix the pudding, pour it into the tilted dishes and refrigerate. Puree raspberries and pour onto the firm pudding. A little whipped cream, a few chocolate pieces, a fresh raspberry and a mint leaf complete this visually intriguing dessert.

Strawberry Cream Puffs
Cream Puffs – Two dessert favorites in one: cream puffs and strawberry shortcake.

So many delicious choices! What’s your favorite? The only challenge in making dessert is preventing your family from devouring it before the guests arrive. Oh well, you can always make extra just in case.

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. AC Moore has an excellent selection of 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.

Happy Crafting!

In Search of Inspiration?

Inspiring Hot Air Balloon
Everyone knows inspiration can strike at any time. Sometimes it’s obvious, such as a sunset or a pretty vista. Other times it’s a subtle feeling. Occasionally inspiration sneaks up on you when you least expect it, but there are some very frustrating times when it seems nowhere to be found. Below are a few examples of project inspirations to get your creative ideas flowing:

Artwork on a Case of Beer inspired…Cold Beverage Coasters.
Cold Beverage Coasters
These coasters were easy to make. Cut out the artwork and laminate each piece. Seal the edges with black duct tape. Glue each coaster to a cork backing and you’ll have a nice little gift for the beer lover in your family.

A festive Fox Toy inspired…Santa Claws Guiding his Sleigh.
Foxy Santa
In this case it was the missing items, namely a tail and a hat, which inspired this Santa Claus centerpiece. Foxes are known for their thick, beautiful tails. Who knows why the manufacturer neglected to provide one? It was easy enough to fix with a little faux fur. The hat was an obvious necessity, since the fox was already decked out in Santa’s finest coat, pants and boots.

Love of Chocolate inspired…Homemade Crispy Chocolate Caramel Bars

Who doesn’t love chocolate? It’s amazing how tempting a little piece of chocolate can be. These candy bars are so easy to make. I’m inspired to make a batch right now, but I better finish this post first! For instructions, please click here.

An ornately decorated Easter Wreath inspired…an Ocean Wreath.
Ocean Wreath
The colors, textures, and intricate details were eye-catching and beautiful, but an Easter wreath has a very limited time frame. By switching to the aquatic theme, the wreath can be displayed throughout the spring and summer. For instructions to make this ocean wreath, please click here.

For more inspirational project photos, please click here to visit the new Inspiration page on our website.

I hope these photos will inspire new project ideas. Magazines, online searches, and a visit to the craft store are also great resources. With an infinite supply of inspiration and a few well-chosen supplies, you will be on your way to creating your next masterpiece.

Good Luck & Happy Crafting!

Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Monster Book

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. 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?

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 $5.99. 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.

How to Make a Monster Book Fit for a Wizard:

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 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
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.

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.

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!)

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

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

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.

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

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

Congratulations! You’re now the proud parent 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 actually be believed!

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

Happy Crafting!

Crowning Glory – Create Beautiful Floral Crowns

Party Animal
Raise your hand if you wore a crown as a kid on your birthday. Come on, you know you did! It was fun being a prince or princess for the day. From the moment I awoke on that special day until I climbed into bed that night, the crown was on my head. I know it was only plastic or cardboard with glitter, but to me it was precious metal and gemstones. Ah to be a kid again!

You’ll be happy to hear that crowns are making a comeback – for adults. Instead of visiting a party store, you can make your own headbands and crowns with fresh-cut flowers and silk foliage. For a unique approach, accessorize with beads and shells.

Red Roses
Bold red roses and a frilly red dress are sure to be noticed at any occasion. To make one, you’ll need floral wire and tape, wire cutters, and enough fresh-cut blooms to conceal the wire. Make sure the roses have long enough stems to attach to the wire. You can trim them later when the crown is complete. And while it’s probably obvious when working with roses, don’t forget to remove all the thorns.

Casual Crown
By simply gluing silk leaves and flowers to braided twine, you can create a laid back, casual look, perfect for a summer barbecue with friends.

Ivy & Berries Crown
English ivy and red berries lend a wintry vibe to this crown. If time is limited, choose silk garlands, which can be cut to size and secured with green florist’s tape. Be sure to hide the ends with leaves or flowers.

Rosebud Crown
Lavender rosebuds beautifully coordinate with this model’s makeup.

Green Leaves
Wearing matching green leafy crowns is an adorable way for a bride and groom to start their new life together.

Shells & Nuts
A readymade strand of woven seashells and nuts is a nice alternative to flowers in this attractive crown.

Blue Flowers
Lush blooms in vibrant blue celebrate the joys of springtime.

Hyacinths Crown
Hyacinths and daffodils are a great combination with a heavenly scent.

Wild Flowers Crown
Nothing says summertime like wildflowers in the sun.

Dried Flowers Crown
This headpiece can be worn again and again thanks to the use of dried flowers.

Daisies & Cornflowers Crown
If you are on a gluten free diet, this is not the crown for you. Yellow, blue and red flowers form a delicate balance with the wispy texture of wheat in this sweet bountiful style.

Seashell Crown
A seashell necklace can become the perfect accessory for accentuating this pretty pinned up hairdo. Simply double the strand and drape it over the top. What could be easier than that?

Hibiscus Crown
Contrasting hibiscus flowers, in red and white, beautifully frame this young woman’s face. You could easily create the same look by attaching silk tropical flowers to a purchased headband.

Whether you’re celebrating a birthday, a special anniversary, getting married, or having a fabulous time on a tropical vacation, why not don a crown? They’re not just for royalty. Think of all the things you do for friends, family, co-workers, and acquaintances each and every day, all year long. Wear the crown. You’ve earned it!

Happy Crafting!

From the Heart – Jeweled Box

Finished Box
Treasure chest? Jewelry box? What could it be? There’s something so exciting about starting a new project. Sometimes you start out with one thing in mind, which slowly transforms into a beautiful butterfly. Originally. I intended to paint geometric designs all over this box. A roll of rhinestone ribbon became my inspiration, which revealed my hidden need for a lot of bling. Who knew? Where will your inspiration take you?

How to Decorate a Wooden Box:

Plain Wooden Box with Heart Shaped Window
Plain Wooden Box
When selecting a box for your project, look it over carefully for damage. Check for splinters or dents, and test the functionality of the latch and hinges. I often find smudges of glue on the glass/acrylic. If necessary, compare several boxes side by side at the store.

Wooden Box with Open Lid
Plain Box - Open
This box, available through AC Moore, is wood inside and out.

Painted Lid
Painted Lid
I liked the look of the natural wood and kept most of it as-is, with the exception of the flat top, which was brushed with white acrylic paint to create a high contrast background.

Project Supplies:
Beads &; Paints
You will need a bag of loose rhinestones and fabric paints in turquoise, black and brown.

Additional Project Supplies:
Marbles & Rhinestone Ribbon
You will also need a bag of turquoise flat glass marbles, a roll of 1/2” turquoise rhinestone ribbon, Elmer’s glue and a glue gun. The rhinestone ribbon and marbles are available at dollar stores.

Outline the Heart with Rhinestones
Beaded Heart
Apply a large dot of fabric paint at the edge of the heart. Use tweezers to push a rhinestone down into the wet paint. Alternate the fabric paint colors to create your pattern. Repeat the process until the outline is complete. Just as reminder: the rhinestones are clear. It’s the paint that determines the color.

Apply Rhinestone Ribbon
Apply Rhinestone Ribbon
Rhinestone ribbon is glued in horizontal bands across the top of the box. Use Elmer’s glue because it will allow you to reposition as needed. Use scissors to cut the ribbon to fit. At the end, fill in any blank spaces by cutting rhinestones from the ribbon and hand placing them with tweezers and Elmer’s glue.

Completed Beading on Lid
Completed Lid
As you work around the center heart, you may need to pry off individual beads to make the ribbon fit. They say hindsight is 20/20. If I had to do this over, I would probably apply the ribbon first and then outline the heart.

Apply Flat Glass Marbles
Apply Flat Marbles
A glue gun will make this step quick and easy. Apply marbles on all sides. Ensure the marble placement will not interfere with the opening and closing of the lid. I found are marble that had broken in half, and placed it under the latch to complete the pattern, which you can see in the next photo.

The Completed Bejeweled Box
Completed Bejeweled Box
Large turquoise hearts are glued in each of the four lid corners. These hearts are actually jewelry pendants. A black onyx bead has been glued to each heart to cover the hole on top.

I’m considering lining the inside of the box with felt or velvet. It all depends upon how it will be used, and frankly I haven’t decided yet. What would you do? Please make suggestions in the comments section. I look forward to hearing your ideas.

Happy Crafting!

Catching Some Rays

Stained Glass Rose Window
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.

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
Decorative 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
Decorative 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 Stained Glass 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
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 & Hot Air Balloon Suncatchers

Balloon Bouquet & Cat Suncatchers
Balloon Bouquet & Cat Suncatchers

Dog & Bluebird Suncatchers
Dog & Bluebird Suncatchers

Tropical Fish & Cardinal Suncatchers
Tropical Fish & Cardinal Suncatchers

Mirror with Applied Suncatchers
Mirror with Applied 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.

Happy Crafting!