Thursday, November 27, 2014

DIY Cardboard Fireplace

This Christmas season I decided to build a fireplace out of cardboard boxes so we could hang our stockings properly.

- 5 cardboard boxes the same size
- several large pieces of cardboard
- small pieces of cardboard
- masking tape
- white glue
- paint (black, brown/red, white)
- cardboard tubes
- photo or printout of flames/fire

1. Stand up three of the boxes on end side by side, with the bottom of the end ones facing forward and the bottom of the middle one facing backwards. Glue and tape them together. Let the glue dry.

2. Lay the remaining two cardboard boxes on top of the three, with the bottoms facing forward, and glue in place. Let the glue dry.

3. I turned this part around and reinforced inside all the boxes to increase the strength, but if you won't have anyone trying to climb on it, you could skip this.

4. Glue a sheet of cardboard to the back to cover it. You can skip this step but it helps with stability.

5. Glue long pieces of cardboard to the top and bottom to make a mantle and base. I had saved some 1-inch-thick "boards" of cardboard that were perfect for this. You can layer sheets of cardboard to make a thick slab. Feel free to paint them.

6. Paint the inside of the center box (that is backwards to the other four) black. Once dry, glue your flames to the back (optional).

7. My boxes were white, so I just painted the "bricks" over top in brown. You could leave your boxes brown and just paint the white "grout" or paint them white, mark off your grout lines, and then paint brown or red over top for bricks. You can paint any pattern or colors you prefer - match your decor or recreate a beloved fireplace from your childhood.

8. Glue cardboard tubes of different lengths inside your black center box. I used half tubes in the bottom first, then stacked full tubes randomly on top. I rolled up strips of cardboard and glued them in the ends of the tubes to fill them, but that's optional.

9. DONE!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Loki Wooden Chest

This was a rather unexpected project that came together really well...

I love the character Loki from the "Thor" and "Avengers" movies. Tom Hiddleston is a fantastic actor and the costuming is beautiful. I saw a Loki helmet pendant necklace online and ordered it, but when it arrived, I discovered that it was much larger than I had expected. The pendant is solid metal and very nice, but simply too big for me to ever wear as a necklace. I realized that the top loop of the pendant would actually make a great screw-hole and the pendant could easily become a unique accent to a piece of furniture.

While searching for the right place for my Loki helmet, I remembered the wooden chest that my grandfather had built for me when I was a kid. I had painted it purple and Mom helped me line the inside with black velvet. Deep down, I knew this chest was the perfect place for my Loki helmet.

After removing all the hardware, which was already brass and matched the pendant, I gave the chest a new black and green paint job:
GREEN: lid (inside and outside), front, right side
BLACK: interior, bottom, back, left side

I removed the black velvet lining for painting, then glued it back in after.

Next came some carefully cut strips of a broken black leather belt, glued on the left side and back of the chest, emulating Loki's armor.

Finally, I reattached all the hardware. DONE.

I plan to add some more brass accents, as I find the perfect ones.

UPDATE: More brass accents! I hammered brass diamond-shaped studs into the left side by the leather pieces, emulating more of Loki's armor. I got a little rough with the hammer on some of them and I like the effect - makes it look battle-damaged.

And some PERFECT brass corners for the top of the box. They look like the designs on Loki's armor plates as well as his helmet/horns.

Monday, September 1, 2014

DIY Disney CARS Piston Cup

In preparation for my son's Disney CARS themed birthday party, I built a Piston Cup for a centerpiece. 

Here's how:

- plastic containers (I used one margarine and one sour cream container, plus their lids)
- foam core board (optional)
- cardboard
- paint (gold, black)
- scissors, glue, pencil, other basic supplies

1. I started with a photo of the Piston Cup and enlarged it so the size matched my plastic containers. I created templates for the side "wings" and the stem of the trophy. I cut six of each piece from foam core board (cardboard would work also). Glue all six layers of the stem together. Glue two sets of three layers of wings together to create the two wings.

2. I made the base of the trophy by stuffing the margarine container full of balled up newspaper (to make it less squishy) and gluing the lid on it, then gluing the lid of the sour cream container onto the bottom. Flip the entire thing over and paint it completely black.

3. For the "cup" of the trophy, I made a cylinder of cardboard and glued it around the sour cream container. For the bottom of the cup, I cut an oval of cardboard and curved it to fit.

4. Glue the wings to the sides of the cup and the stem to the base of the cup. Paint the entire assembled trophy gold. Add the accents, stripes, and words.

5. Glue the trophy onto the base. DONE.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Dragon Bottle

While walking last summer I found an interesting green liquor bottle. It was too pretty to take to the recycling depot so I kept it for a craft project. Here is what some polymer clay, floral wire, charms, and acrylic paint turned it into:

I started with a blended cane of polymer clay and cut it into equal sections, removing every second one and keeping both piles in order, so I could do both sides of the bottle the same.

I started at the bottom of one side, pressing the little cylinders I had cut into teardrop (dragon scale) shapes and beginning to layer/stagger them.

Next I made the "label" for the front of the bottle, mixing a couple colors of clay and rolling it smooth, then distressing it. I used rubber stamps to do the letters and added the embellishments by pressing them right into the soft clay. After baking the bottle to harden the clay, I rubbed some brown acrylic paint over the label and allowed it to pool in the indented areas while wiping it away from the smooth parts.

For the bottle cap, I covered the entire cap with a thin layer of clay, making sure that it covered all the metal but not letting it extend too far below the cap, so the bottle can still open. I pressed a plastic gem into the center of the top, then added the four "claws" to hold it in place. Thanks to the fact that polymer clay is baked at such a low level, the plastic gem was not damaged by the heat from the oven.

After baking, I used two colors of floral wire to decorate around the bottle neck.

I also added a little dragonfly brad to one side before baking the clay.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Cardboard Disney's "Cars" Tow Mater

What did you do this weekend? I built a model of Tow Mater from Disney's "Cars", that's big enough for my kid to sit in, entirely out of garbage. It was a lot of work and I may add a few more details, but here are some photos to inspire you to try it yourself. (Also, this actually took me several evenings as well as part of the weekend, so don't place unrealistic expectations on yourself to do it in a certain amount of time. Glue and paint have to dry.)

Some tips:
Use white glue AND masking tape wherever possible. You can also use the tape to temporarily hold pieces while the glue is drying.
Reinforce everywhere that kids might climb on, step on, sit on, or bend.
Build from the center out.
Perfection is NOT the goal - Mater is rusty, falling apart, and dented. Use banged up boxes, leave raw edges, be messy with the paint, improvise...
Use your imagination, and scissors and an exacto knife.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Go Canada Olympic Gold Medal Mini-Cupcakes

Inspired by the Canadian curling and hockey teams gold medals (both men's and women's), as well as all our athletes and medalists, I present gold medal cupcakes!

Start with red velvet cupcakes and top them with white icing. Then add two blue stripes and an upside down butterscotch chip to create the medal. DONE.

(Sorry the photo is sideways.)