Summer is on it’s way (no, honestly, don’t laugh!) and getting rid of the thick jumpers and scarves is just the excuse I need to indulge in some costume jewellery. If you love outfit coordinating jewellery and hate spending lots of money on it, this is the tutorial for you. It uses Polyshrink (Artists Grade Shrink Plastic) and basic jewellery findings to make a range of bunting jewellery products so you can have one for every outfit!
Materials You Will Need to Make Bunting Jewellery:
Tools You Will Need To Make Bunting Jewellery:
How To Make Your Bunting Jewellery:
Take your sheet of Polyshrink and sand the surface on one side with a fine grade sandpaper. That allows your printer ink to stick to the sheet instead of running off of it. Make sure that you get all areas.
A tip; the harder the lead in your coloured pencils, the rougher the sheet needs to be for it to show.
If you want to make all the options of this jewellery you will need to prep two sheets of plastic for printing. If not you will need to print accordingly.
Draw out your bunting flags. I used pencil and a ruler and mine were 4.5cm wide (at the top) by 4.5cm long (along the centre line. I used a penny to be the outer line of the peace logo.
Use your coloured pencils to colour in the pennants that you want for your piece of jewellery. My advice is to enjoy this bit with a glass of wine in front of the TV!
Use scissors to cut out your flag shapes and diagonally trim off the corners so that they don’t rub a sore spot whilst you are wearing the necklace.
Use the single hole punch to punch holes in the corners of each flag. Don’t put the holes too near the edges as this will distort the shape when you shrink it.
I then used Sharpie markers to colour the edges of my bunting flags to match their main colours, (excuse the appalling photo quality, I had to zoom right in and set the timer!).
Step Seven (Version 1):
Pre-heat your oven to 177º C/ 300º F. Place all your flags onto a baking tray on top of some baking parchment. Place in the oven. You will find that the plastic curls up as it shrinks and then flattens back down when it is fully shrunk.
You need to keep a close eye on the tray because occasionally the plastic curls up in such a way that it sticks to itself. If that happens you’ll need to sort it out.
The Polyshrink website says:
“Expect PolyShrink to curl and move during baking. Occasionally a piece may stick to itself as it shrinks. To separate, allow the piece to cool slightly and pull gently. You’ll hear a “snap” as the joint comes apart. You can now reheat the piece and finish shrinking”.
Step Seven (Version 2):
Use an embossing heat tool to heat the piece of plastic and heat proof tweezers (or disposable chopsticks!) to secure the plastic in place and apply heat as shown in the video below.
Using pliers twist one of the jump rings to open them (don’t pull apart as they never line up again, and besides twisting is easier!) thread two of your shrunken flags onto the ring and then use the pliers again to close.
Repeat this until all your flags are linked.
Use a jump ring to link one end of your chain to one end of your row of flags.
Position the row of flags into the position that you want to wear them around your neck. Loop your chain around the back of your neck and figure out where you need to cut the chain to get the look you want.
Cut the chain using wire cutters and join that end to the opposite end of your bunting with another jump ring.
Find the middle of the chain section of your necklace and cut on that spot with the wire cutters.
Use a jump ring to attach the clasp to one side (which one you will prefer depends on whether you are right or left handed) and attach a jump ring to the other side.
Et voila! Your necklace is complete.
If you want to make earrings you can hang shapes from a ball wire or kidney wire fitting or you can use glue to stick shapes to studs.
Welcome to this post on starting needle-felting and what you need to know.
This is the second post in a series that gives you the facts about a craft before you commit to buying kit, or possibly even before you try it. This post aims to be a “fact file” with the answers to the most common questions.
(Please note that the prices I quote are correct at time of publishing and they are from (almost) universally available sources like Amazon. You may well be able to find cheaper versions by shopping around!)
Starting Needle-felting; what is it exactly?:
Needle-felting is a process that is used to make two and a half or three dimensional decorative objects. It involves using barbed needles to stab wool fibres again and again which causes them to lock together and the object to become denser, keeping its shape as you work. This happens because wool fibres have scales on them which lock together when they are rubbed against each other. The image below shows a merino wool fibre (top) viewed under a microscope alongside a human hair (bottom).
Photo courtesy of CSIRO [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The material produced as these scaled fibres rub together and lock is what we call felt. As you know if you have ever washed a “hand wash only” jumper in the washing machine it felts because the fibres are rubbed together by the washing process and lock together into a denser textile.
How Much Time Per Week Will Needle Felting Take Up?:
To be honest, like embroidery, starting needle felting can take as little or as much time as you want. Its sister activity wet felting takes a lot of set up and clearing up but needle felting can be done at any table and the kit takes minutes to get out and clear away. I suggest that you felt onto a surface that will not matter if it gets marked but apart from that small 3D projects can take an hour or less (Hobbycraft have some kits that make a good starting point, I particularly like the penguins). More detailed projects like the ones the amazing Mrs Plop makes take hours each to do (if not days) and require a lot of practice!
The simple needle-felted hearts that you can see in my images are done using a mould to help shape them (a bit of a cheat but it works!) and take about 15 minutes each.
However starting needle-felting should come with a health warning. It is SERIOUSLY addictive!
Do I Follow Patterns Or Do I Have To Make Up My Own Designs?:
There aren’t really “patterns” as such for needle-felting but if you search “Needle felting tutorials” on Pinterest you will find hundreds of “how to’s” for every animal and object under the sun. You can use these as your guide when starting to needle-felt.
Once you get confident you can spread your wings a bit. Knowing basic stuff like pipe cleaner “skeletons” or adding detail with a single needle will give you the confidence you need.
How Much Money Does It Take To Start Up?:
This isn’t the cheapest of crafts. You can buy a packet of felting needles for around £7.00 and use them as they are. However I find it a lot easier to mount the needles in a felting tool. I like the Pen Style Felting Tool by Clover which comes with needles and costs £8.25. I prefer the way this feels in my hand and it has better control for detail. A lot of people get on just as well with the more traditional style tool though, which is a similar price.
As an absolute minimum to start with you need a felting tool, some wool roving and either a brush style felting mat or a piece of dense foam to use as a surface to work on. Everyone has an opinion on which they prefer. A brush mat like mine can be bought for £10.63 and a piece of foam is around £5.60. Personally I prefer the foam for 3D work as it helps hold and shape the object being felted. Having said that the foam doesn’t last as long because the constant punching from the tool breaks it down.
Wool roving (also known as “Tops”) is available in loads of colours and quantities. A quick search on Amazon for “wool roving” yields around twenty pages of results with prices starting at £1.46 for a 10 gram bag.
Any additional moulds etc, are entirely up to you and the tutorial you are following.
Total cost to produce a simple first design is around £15.31 (around $21.85). This only gives you one colour of roving to work with though so you may want to factor in a few pounds for extra colours. This cost also is for the foam mat rather than the brush mat.
How Quickly Will I See Results?:
Quickly! As I mentioned before the small hearts take around 15 minutes each. The basic shape of the item you are felting emerges really quickly but the really fine detail takes time and patience (an usually use of a single, fine, needle).
What Previous Knowledge Do I Need?:
No previous knowledge needed at all. There are lots of tutorials and projects out there in cyberspace but I think some of the best are Hawthorn Handmade’s written guides to different parts of the process and their video tutorials.
It depends on the project. The more detailed the project, the more dexterity is needed to get that detail. Although small my felted hearts take very little dexterity because there is no detail. When I tried to turn one of them into a Conversation Heart considerably more dexterity was needed to add the wording. I used a single needle and almost needed a magnifying glass (I know I’m getting old!) Even then I wasn’t entirely successful!
How Much Brain Power Does It Take?:
Not a much unless you plan to take it to a very high standard or make your own designs. It’s also very cathartic after a stressful day to spend some time stabbing something!
One word of warning though. The needles do snap if you are too rough with them. As they are fairly expensive to replace try and avoid that by paying attention to where you are putting the needles.
How Much Room Will It Take Up?:
(I’ve added this category from the last post at the suggestion of one of my readers who pointed out that she has little storage space at home and this would be a factor for her choosing a craft to try).
Needle-felting takes up a small amount of space. I can keep all my kit and materials in one box (like the one below) from Ikea that measures 27x35x20 cm.
(photo courtesy of Ikea UK)
Needle-felting is great fun and addictive but I would recommend that you try in for the first time in a class. The kit is then often provided for you to take home (either included in price or for a small extra fee). You should find it quite easy to find a local beginners class and take it. There are quite a few around and learning in a group is always less intimidating.
I’d love to know if this post is useful to you and I am more than happy to answer any questions you have via the comments, Facebook or Twitter.
I am really excited with this project and completely thrilled how this turned out!
We fitted a new restaurant style swinging door to our kitchen recently but it was missing the finishing touch of some funky finger plates to stop it getting dirty finger prints everywhere.
I looked all over the internet, DIY stores and Ebay and I couldn’t find anything I really liked without shipping it from America at huge cost. Then we discovered these floral beauties in a local antique/bric-a-brac shop for £1.00 the pair!
Whilst they are quite pretty, they are not really my style but they were a complete bargain so I started thinking what I could do with them. I didn’t want huge amounts of fuss and bother and so one thought sprang to mind…spray paint!
Looking around for inspiration I stumbled across one of my holiday photos from last year.
I have always loved French enamel street signs (this one means “broken neck road”!) and thought that a touch a French chic might be just what was needed.
I wanted a white base and the floral transfers would have show through. I bought this paint in matt white, night blue and a clear top coat.
As luck would have it the rain stayed away and I put the plates inside a box we had left over from our new kitchen clock to avoid me spraying the lawn white!.
Tip; make sure the wind is behind you, spray outdoors if at all possible and it is also a good idea to wear a face mask as the fumes are pretty strong!
I sprayed several coats of the white (enough to empty the can) using long smooth movements across the entire piece. Lots of thin coats are better than thick ones for the finish. The white did not completely cover the pattern but it was enough for an undercoat where only parts of it would show through.
The lid of the clock box came in really handy for keeping insects and bits of leaf off of the wet paint whilst it dried.
After the white paint was completely dry (around four hours). I used card making stickers to mask off a simple border and the words “Bonjour” and “Au Revoir”. I used a strip of masking tape to line up the letters so they were (almost) straight!
The scalpel or a pair of tweezers were essential as the stickers are pretty delicate and can distort if you don’t take your time.
Finally they were ready for the blue stage.
Using the blue spray paint in the same way I added about four coats of the night blue and again left it to dry
I left the paint for around eight hours before trying to remove the stickers. I used the tip of the scalpel to lift the edges and just in case I had to cut the paint layer in order to lift it without wrecking the paint.
However it was easier than I expected and the stickers came away easily with no damage! The paint had crept under the adhesive in a couple of spots but it was easily scraped gently away with the tip of the scalpel.
I then sprayed four or five coats of the transparent top coat onto it because I realised that these plates were going to take a lot of abuse from people going in and out of the kitchen all the time.
This time I left them a full twenty-four hours to dry.
I LOVE the result, it makes me smile every time I go through the door! What do you think a little bit of Oh La La?! What else could be done with other ones if I can find them?
Welcome to my month of “making do” with crafting using only things I already have. Money is a little tight this month so I have decided to make things, or finish things that I already have. First up – my stencilled garden feature wall!
Some of you reading this will know that last summer Boffin and I started a programme to improve our back garden and make it a more relaxing, sociable space.
Neither of us are natural gardeners so complicated planting schemes are out and we both work full time so a lot of maintenance isn’t ideal either.
The garage wall sides onto our garden and for many years I had a football goal painted on their for the kids to fire at without danger of breaking windows. Last year, inspired by someone’s shed cover up on Pinterest I decided to paint over it for something more attractive. So I decided to bring the indoors out of doors and make a stencilled garden wall.
I used an ordinary paint roller and tray to roller on the green base coat ( Weathershield smooth in “Green Ivy”) and then used masking tape on the corners of the stencil to position it.
When I started this at the end of last summer I used cut up pieces of sponge dipped in Sandtex Smooth Masonry Paint (Chalk Hill) to stipple the design on. In the end I found that the stencil clogged and wouldn’t wash well. I ended up breaking it and ordering a replacement.
Unfortunately delivery on this was delayed and summer was over before I could use it to finish the wall.
It actually stayed rolled up in its packaging until I unwrapped it this morning and discovered a lovely little surprise. The company had included a free stencil brush (I assume because the order was delayed but I don’t know for sure). I was really chuffed I hadn’t fancied using the sponge again as it was messy and ruined the stencil for me.
I have to say that the brush was a BIG improvement. Much faster, cleaner and the stencil washed up perfectly at the end of it all!
I love the result and look forward to enjoying our garden this summer.