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Showing posts with label garden. Show all posts
Showing posts with label garden. Show all posts

Craft Tutorial: Irish Euro Shamrock Pendant

Transform a foreign coin and shamrock into a keepsake necklace

Ireland is a lovely country. We visited back in 2005 and had a delightful time. The people are friendly, the countryside is green (a stark contrast to life here in the desert), the food was savory, there are plenty of castles and historical attractions, and the woodlands are magical.

After our trip, I had a couple Euros left in my pocket. I didn't really think about them much until this year. Somehow, even though we live in the middle of the Sonoran Desert, I have a large patch of shamrocks that have taken over one of my flower beds. It seemed to me that my Irish Euros would be the perfect background for a shamrock pendant.

Materials




Directions


The first step is to collect and press some small shamrocks. If you are not lucky enough to have a shamrock patch, many nurseries carry indoor shamrock plants in the spring.

The pressing and drying process can take anywhere from a few days to a couple weeks.
Once your shamrocks are ready, tear off a piece of packing tape that is long enoug to wrap around the edge of your coin about 1 1/2 times.

Cut a strip of tape about 1/2 inch wide.
Wrap the tape tightly around the coin. You can fold down a small edge of the tape so it is easier to remove later.
Make sure to press the tape firmly down around the edge of the coin.

The tape makes a sort of bezel that can be filled with resin.
Tiny dried shamrocks are very delicate. Tap a cotton swab on your tongue then use the swab to lift your shamrock.
Place the shamrock onto the center of the coin.
Use a toothpick to slide the shamrock into position if necessary.

Make sure your coins are on a protected work surface before you begin using the resin. I like using parchment paper to cover my surface, although a plastic plate will also work.
Mix the resin in a disposable cup according to the package directions. Stir the resin gently to minimize the formation of bubbles.

Resin is very sticky, messy and hard to clean up so again, make sure your work surface is protected.
Carefully pour the resin onto your tape-wrapped coins.
The resin should be approximately the same thickness as the coin.
After about 20-40 minutes you may see that your shamrock has floated to the surface of the resin. If this happens, carefully use a toothpick to gently submerge the shamrock halfway between the coin and the resin surface.
Now the hard part. Do not move or touch your resin covered coins for 24 hours. The shiny resin surface is irresistible but keep your hands off.

After 24 hours, remove the tape from the coin.
You will notice that the resin is very smooth across the center of the coin, but there is a ridge along the edge.

Use a scissors (at about a 45° angle to the resin) to trim away the excess resin.

Don't worry if it looks a little uneven at this point.
Use a piece of very fine grit wet/dry sandpaper to smooth out the edge of the resin by holding the coin at a 45° angle to the paper and rubbing the resin on the paper.

This process takes a little time and patience, but is well worth the effort.
The coin on the left has been sanded, the coin on the right has not.

There is still a slight lip around the edge of the resin, but we’re going to call that a design element.
Once you have smoothed down the resin edges, it's time to attach the bail to the back of the coin with G-S Hypo Cement.

Again, work on a parchment covered surface.
Fill the depression of the bail with G-S Hypo Cement and wait for about 15-30 seconds. Position the coin onto the bail.

And then, the hard part, again. Do not move or touch the pendant for 24 hours while the glue cures completely.
Once the glue has dried, simply slide a chain or cord through the bail and your necklace is ready to wear.

Transform a foreign coin and shamrock into a keepsake pendant

Happy St. Patrick's Day!




Tutorial: Pressed Flower Pendant

Craft Tutorial: How to press flowers and make a simple resin pendant necklace.A few months ago, I bought the most beautiful flower press from BKInspired on Etsy. (If you haven't seen this shop, I highly recommend a visit.) Not only is the press pretty, with an intricate design burned into the wood cover, it also came with a nice set of simple instructions for pressing flowers.

Shortly after my flower press arrived I headed out to the yard to collect some flowers. That was the easy part. The hard part was waiting for nature to take its course and flatten the leaves and petals once they were placed into the press.

Fast forward a few weeks and my flowers were sufficiently flat and ready to be used in some sort of crafty project. What could be better than pressed flower pendants? This project is ridiculously easy and inexpensive, but you do need to have a bit of patience because there is a lot of waiting involved.

Materials


Directions



To begin, you get to go outside on a nature walk and collect a few small flowers or leaves. I used ice flowers and shamrocks because that's what was growing in my yard. You'll need flowers that are roughly smaller than a quarter.
Position your flowers on a sheet of pressing paper and make sure the petals and leaves do not overlap. Close up the press and wait. Depending on the thickness of the plants you are using this could take 2-4 weeks.
Finally, the big reveal. Open your press and check to make sure the flowers are paper thin and completely dried out.
Before you make your pendant, notice that the bezel is not level when you place it on a flat surface. If you put the resin in it like this, the resin will slide to the lowest point. Not good.
Place the bezel on a small stack of coins so that it is level.
Carefully set a flower into the bezel. The petals should all be flat on the bottom of the bezel. If the flower is too big, choose another or carefully trim the petals to fit inside the bezel.
Now it's time to mix the resin. This part goes pretty quick. Make sure to protect your work surface. You don't want to get the resin on your skin or damage your table or counter. It's also good to work in a well ventilated are because the resin does not smell nice.
Carefully squirt the resin into a small, disposable cup. Make sure you have enough to fill the bezel. Use a couple toothpicks to mix the resin for one minute or the length of time recommended on the label.

Try not to make bubbles while you mix.
Carefully pour the mixed resin into the bezel.
You want to use just enough so the resin slightly domes above the bezel, but not so much it overflows.

Wait 8-12 hours for the resin to dry. Don't touch or move the pendant until it is completely dry.
Add a simple chain or cord and you have a lovely pressed flower necklace!

Craft Tutorial: How to press flowers and make a simple resin pendant necklace.

Of course there are a couple variations you could try, besides just using different types of flowers or bezel shapes.

First, the flowers tend to float up slightly in the resin. I think it adds some dimension, but if you would like your flower to remain flush against the bezel you can glue it down with a tiny dot of Elmer's glue. Let the glue dry before you mix and pour in the resin.

Second, the bezels are quite shiny. if you would like a more muted background behind your flowers you can cover the inside of the bezel with a layer of acrylic paint. It's difficult to brush the paint evenly over such a small space, so simply pour a dot of paint into the bezel and use a toothpick to spread it around. Of course, let the paint dry before adding the flower and resin.

Craft Tutorial: How to press flowers and make a simple resin pendant necklace.

Happy crafting!




Tutorial: Recycled Bottle Hummingbird Feeder

DIY a hummingbird feeder with recycled glass bottles and wire from the hardware store.A couple years ago I shared a tutorial about making wine bottle hummingbird feeders. It's a really simple and fun DIY project for the yard, but if you don't have a lot of hummingbirds in your area, it can take a long time for the hummers to finish off a bottle.

The good news is, you probably have lots of smaller bottles in your pantry right now that would make perfect hummingbird feeders. So here's your excuse to go clean out the fridge and pantry in the name of crafting.

Materials


  • glass bottle
  • 2-4 feet of 6 or 8 gauge copper electrical wire
  • wire cutters
  • pliers
  • electrical tape
  • hummingbird feeder tubes

Directions


Head to the kitchen to find your perfect bottle. Think hot sauce, vinegars, oils, soy sauce, soda or even small liquor bottles. I'm using a Patron Citronge bottle. The only requirement is that the hummingbird feeder tube needs to fit into the opening.

Wash the bottle and remove any labels, caps, safety rings, stoppers, etc.
I'm kind of a wimp, so I need a pliers to bend the ends of the copper wire. The only problem is that the grippy grooves on the pliers can mar the copper. So, I wrap a couple layers of electrical tape over grooves to prevent scratches.
Use the pliers to bend one end of the copper wire into a loop that fits over the neck of the bottle.
Slide the loop over the bottle neck.
Wrap the remaining wire around the bottle until about 6-inches remain. Give yourself some space for this part so you don't poke anything around you with the length of wire while you work.
Use a pliers to bend the end up into a hook so you can hang your feeder.
Finally fill your feeder with the nectar of your choice.

Please note, this type of hummingbird feeder can be prone to leaking if it is not filled properly. Luckily, I have some quick tips on how to fill your feeder as well as a video to show you exactly how it's done.

Once it's filled, you can hang your feeder outside and wait for the hummers to start snacking!

DIY a hummingbird feeder with recycled glass bottles and wire from the hardware store.




Tutorial: Plastic Bottle Shamrocks

Kid's Craft Tutorial: Add some luck to your garden with DIY recycled plastic water bottle shamrocks for St. Patrick's Day or any day.Happy St. Patricks Day! A couple years ago I wrote a tutorial about making plastic bottle flowers and it is one of my most popular posts. Even though I do not do a lot of holiday themed crafting, I thought it would be fun to put a little twist on the design and show you how to make lucky four-leaf clovers with plastic water bottles.

This is a fun project to do with your little leprechauns, but you may need to help the wee ones with the cutting part.

Materials

Directions


Start by removing the labels from your water bottle. You can leave the cap on.
Use a sharp pair of scissors to carefully cut around the top ring of the bottle.
You only need the top section of the bottle. Recycle or repurpose the bottle bottom.
Next, make four, evenly spaced cuts from the cut edge to as close to the spout as possible. You can use the seams of the bottle as a guide for where to start cutting.

If you don't need as much luck in your garden, go ahead and make a traditional three leafed shamrock by making three cuts instead of four.
Fold the leaves back, almost like you are folding the bottle inside out.
Use a scissors to round out the edges of each leaf.
I'm leaving the cap on for the painting part, but you can remove it if you like. If there is still a thin safety ring on your bottle that held the cap in place, now is the perfect time to remove it.

Pro Tip: If there is any printing on the bottle, like a freshness date, it can be removed with a cotton ball and a little nail polish remover.
Place the shamrock on your work surface so that the bottle cap is facing up. You will be painting what used to be the outside of the bottle.

Use a light green or even white paint to paint some rounded triangles on the tip of each leaf.
See how it almost gives each leaf a heart shape?

Let the paint dry. Apply one or two more coats of paint over the same area letting it dry completely between coats.

If you want to get fancy, add a line of dots down the center of each leaf from the point of the triangle to the bottle cap.
Add a 2-3 coats of dark green paint to each leaf. It is fine to paint over your light triangles. You'll be able to see them through the plastic on the  other side of the shamrock.
Make sure to let the paint dry completely between coats.

If your shamrocks are going to be outside, I recommend adding 1-2 coats of Mod Podge to seal the paint and protect it from chipping and cracking.
Once everything is nice and dry, wrap a piece of floral wire around the gap where the safety seal used to be to form the stem.
Place your lucky four-leaf clovers in the garden or in pots on your patio and keep an eye out for leprechauns!

Kid's Craft Tutorial: Add some luck to your garden with DIY recycled plastic water bottle shamrocks for St. Patrick's Day or any day.

Happy crafting!