Creating a whole other messy room

I finally broke out some of my miniature kits that have been collecting dust.  The one I plucked out of the stack was a miniature craft room which is just crammed to the gill with stuff.   Why clean my craft room when I can spend time creating a whole other messy room right on my desk?

finished piece to my miniature sewing room kit

I forgot how long these take.  I’ve already spent several nights and I only have a few pieces put together.   It isn’t helping that these kits are usually from china, so the instructions are usually more confusing than helpful.   I’ve already messed up big once and ruined the two side pieces to this shelving unit.  I had to run to the store and buy more wood to make and paint those boards to match everything else.

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The Cricut knife blade has been a disappointment

cricut knife blade cutting chipboard

So far, the Cricut knife blade has been a disappointment.  As I mentioned in my last post, I was taking my template idea back to the drawing board.  Maybe I started with way too intricate of a design.  Let’s start over with a random polka dot design.

cricut knife blade cutting chipboard

I loaded my polka dot SVG into the software and pushed start.   Right away it started the same stabbing motion and slowly started stabbing out my circles.  So far what i’m noticing is that it’ll cut lines and slight curves with relative ease.  Which, makes sense when you’re sliding a flat knife through a rigid material.  Some turns will not be possible.  I was hoping that it could at least cut a nice circle though or at least cut the first few layers quickly until it gets deeper into the material.

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Trying the Cricut Maker Knife Blade

I’m finally ready to try out the new Cricut Maker Knife Blade.  It’s been sitting next to the machine all week and I have some time to play with it.

cricut maker knife blade

The knife blade is made to dig in and cut thicker materials, like the 2 mm chipboard materials being sold.   I went back to one of my never-started projects collection and grabbed a bag of cashmere scarves that I planned on dyeing at one point and I thought I’d make a template for that project.  I wanted to use chipboard so I could use light-sensitive dyes.  Even if the dye liquid bleeds into the material, UV rays wouldn’t be able to penetrate the board keeping the image sharp on the scarf.

In the past week, I had put together some files I wanted to use as a template.  One of those templates was a Damask stencil we’ve probably all have seen a thousand times.  If it can cut this out of the chipboard then I should be able to pretty much cut anything.

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Making a Wallet with the Cricut Maker

Finished Faux Leather Wallet

One of the things I’ve really been wanting to try was was making a wallet with the Cricut Maker. A few days ago I began scouring the internet for patterns. I wanted something free and simple to try things out. When I came across the MakeSupply company’s website, I was pretty much in business. They offer free templates you can download and even videos on putting them together. I downloaded a Bi-Fold wallet template, converted it from PDF to SVG images and uploaded it to the Cricut app.

faux leather on cricut maker

I have real leather to work with but I pulled out some faux leather instead. This is my first wallet, after all, I didn’t want to waste more expensive materials. Faux leather is pretty thin and the machine easily cut through it with perfect cuts. Continue reading “Making a Wallet with the Cricut Maker”

Custom Order Out The Door

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gift wrapping large canvas

Last week, I had my wisdom teeth removed.   I had put it off long enough that they were starting to cause problems so I finally got it done.   It went surprisingly well.  I just took a little nap and woke up with fewer teeth.  And much to my friend’s dismay, I didn’t even wake up groggy.  He couldn’t even take any embarrassing videos of me!

I had a long weekend at home (on painkillers) to wrap up some projects.

First, I got my latest painting out the door and delivered to the customer.   Have you ever tried to wrap something the size of a dining room table?  It’s not so easy!  Hopefully, after Christmas, I can post some pictures of it in their house.

Then, I played with some Metal Earth sculptures.  You’ve probably seen them around.  This one was a train from Harry Potter.

metal earth hogwarts express

I did a couple of them and I think I got those out of my system.   They’re a bit too delicate and flimsy for me, but I had fun.

Then, I got out some of my watercolor sets and doodled out some stuff on my watercolor pads.

bob's burgers - Mort watercolor

Turns out, I’m not a watercolor-er.   I’ll keep trying and see if I get better at it.

After a few more doodles I think I’ll break away and start putting together more miniatures.  I have a few kits laying around that still haven’t been put together.  The first one I pulled out is a sewing room:

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Shrinky Dink Pins

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I saw a youtube video a while back that was about making jewelry pins with shrinky dinks.  I checked out my local stores, that had some, but not the ink jet printable films.  While I do plan on drawing my own pins, I wanted a quick project to see if this was something I could get into and want to do more of. The printable film would make this pretty quick and easy.

I jumped on amazon and order some Grafix Printable White Inkjet Shrink Film and got to printing.  These will shrink to about half the size, so make sure to size your items appropriately.  My prints were all about 3 – 4″.

I picked out some cute things from an image search and got out my Copic markers (though you can use any permanent ink) and started coloring and doing some simple shading.

Things I noticed:   If it’s a large area, it’s probably better to print the color.  Markers tend to streak and they definitely look like they’ve been colored with a marker.  This isn’t normal paper and it will look different than any paper you usually draw on.  I was pretty sure things were going to turn out even if they looked a bit streaky.

I cut them out and placed on paper.  They specifically say within the instruction to not put the film directly on metal, but you can put down some paper over metal – which seems to work best.  I tried just putting cardboard down on the rack and that did not work well. Things did not bake evenly and I had to flip them over and bake them much longer that I should’ve.    This batch I had learned that lesson and these worked out great.

Once they bake for a few minutes and stop shrinking.  Remove from the oven and quickly smash them flat with a spatula so that they are completely flat.  I recommend doing small batches if you are doing many pieces since you don’t have much time before they cool off and become very solid.  Luckily, I picked very solid shapes and didn’t need to fuss with them much.

I do recommend you check the edges when they cool off.  Several of mine had a frayed look to them that could easily be cleaned up with a nail file.

Next, I used a dimensional glaze on top of each to give it that plastic shiny domed look.  It’ll also protect your design from getting messed up from use.

There are several options in different brands that you can use, this Royal Coat was the one I found at a local store.   A more popular one seems to be Mod Podge Dimensional Magic.  They’re all basically clear glue, so just pick one and give it a try.

I learned several things from putting the glossy coating on:

  • Keep your bottle pointed downwards through the whole process and don’t tip it upwards, this will just trap air bubbles.
  • Squirt some out before starting on something you can throw away. There may be bubbles trapped in the tip of the applicator.
  • Outline the outside of your design, getting all the way to the edge, then fill in the middle.
  • It’s tempting to really put a lot on and try to get a nice glossy dome shape on top, but at some point, the tension of the liquid will be too great and it’ll suddenly leak off the sides and all over your surface.
  • If you mess up, just take it to the sink, gently rise off the glaze and dry completely before trying again (if it’s not dry it will all just run off again).

After the glossy coating is dry (I let mine sit for a day to be sure), get out some jewelry pin backs (or your favorite jewelry findings) and glue them down.   I used my favorite all around glue, E6000.  It’s an amazing industrial glue and wasn’t going to come off these pins without a fight.  E6000 needs to sit for a whole day.

And here’s one of my pins on my work duffle.

I am the craftmaster.

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A few months ago I had ordered the Alvin CraftMaster II Deluxe Art & Drawing Glass Top Table through a local Art Store.  While I am a heavy Amazon user, I do prefer to give local shops my business, especially if they are willing to match or negotiate a little bit on price.  In this case they were willing to match the price if I was willing to wait a bit until they placed their next inventory request which was not a problem.

I used to have a drafting table in my room growing up and I was pretty fond of it.  My previous table was just a really basic tilting wooden table that I think was picked up at a garage sale.  What interested me in the Craftmaster was all the little shelves, organizing cubbies, and the fact that it was steel and glass (and wouldn’t easily be gouged).

I dragged the box up a few flight of stairs to my room and opened it up.  After a long sigh, I pulled out all the pieces and got to work.  I’ve put together many pieces of furniture in my time and I can say this was the easiest.  Everything was labled with letters that corresponded to the instruction manual and pieces were even label front/back and left/right sides.

Even the screws were well labeled.  They also gave you extra of each type.

Putting it together went almost flawlessly.  I did have to find a screw driver for two of those screws they give you (two types were phillips, the rest used the allen wrench they give you) and I would add a few notes to the manual, but overall it was a really solid set of instructions.

Since I had to wait for it to arrive, I had already moved into several other projects, so this desk will have to sit for a bit before I get to have fun with it.   Putting it together now was really more of a way to get it out of the way.  But having this desk sit there and stare at me everyday gives me more reasons to wrap up my current projects.

Black Glitter

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A few weeks ago, Amazon recommended this black glitter to me.  I was intrigued because I didn’t know glitter came in black.  So I had to have it, of course.

When it arrived I grabbed an old pair of dress shoes, some mod podge and got to work.

Working in small sections I covered the areas of the shoe I selected with 2 layers of glitter while it dried a few hours in between layers.  The photo above was taken after the first layer and as you see near the toe one layer wasn’t going to cut it as there are gaps in the glitter.

Once that was done and dried I gave it one additional coat of mod podge as a top coat to seal it all in.  Up until then, it was all quite sparkly and impressive.  Unfortunately the final coat kind of dulled the whole thing and made it look a bit more like some type of rough black rubber that happened to glitter slightly.  But if you want the glitter to stay on the shoe and not slowly knock off and leave a trail of glitter spots everywhere you go, I’m not sure how this can be avoided.

If you decide to do something like this I would caution you from glittering the sides where the shoe naturally bends at the ball of your foot (toe knuckles).  I noticed after wearing them a few times the glitter started to break away in these areas.