DIY Stencils with Hot Glue!

Hi friends! Today i am going to show you how to make beautiful custom stencils with hot glue, have a look at this quick video:

I love how they grip the paper and the ink does not seep under. All you need to make them in a hot glue gun, glue sticks and a silicone mat. I recommend using a high temp (or the high setting) glue gun because you will be melting a lot of glue. All you have to do is draw a design on the silicone mat with the glue, let it cool and your stencil is ready to use! How fun is that? I hope you try this tip for making stencils for pennies! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

DIY “Peerless” Style Watercolors Tutorial

Hi Friends! I had a request the other day on the facebook page to make faux Peerless watercolors. Peerless watercolors are dye watercolors that come on small rectangles of paper. They were mainly used for photo tinting but lately stampers have been using them for coloring because it is easy to control the amount of color you get.Here is a card I colored with my faux Peerless palette. The rose stamp is from Lost Coast Designs.

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I really loved the ease of coloring. You can use almost any water-media you have to make a Peerless style travel palette but I had the most luck with my Inktense blocks and traditional watercolors. See how I did it:

The dye reinker and marker attempts never dried fully, even days later. You can also use watercolor pencils and crayons or gouache. If you can’t get the Yupo paper I used try laminating cardstock or use a report cover or transparency. If the paint doesn’t want to stick you can lightly sand the plastic first. Yupo is designed to be used with watercolor so no treatment is required. I liked the sample I made with my set of 12 inktense blocks so much I swatched out my set of 72 and it did not make a dent in my blocks! I love that I can take my full set of colors with me while leaving my set of blocks safely at home. since the Yupo paper is thin I attached it to a file folder.

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This is a great idea for classes and supply sharing too since we rarely use up our watercolor pencils and crayons!

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So you are probably wondering why anyone would buy real Peerless paints if you can make these so easily, well, I reckon that the peerless watercolors have more paint on the swatches and they are super transparent because they are a dye. I will probably have to reload my inktense palette many times to equal amount of use I would get from a stack of peerless sheets. I’d love to try them someday but this works for me and my budget right now! Plus it is always good to use what you have. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

DIY Metallic Paint! {it’s as good as store bought!}

Hi Friends! Sometimes it is a mishap that becomes the springboard of a great idea! Such was the case when I knocked my bottles of powdered mica eye-shadow off the shelf for the umpteenth time, this time the bottom popped off the container and let loose gobs of gold mica on my floor. I was shocked at how much product was crammed in the little pots. The pot of powdered eye-shadow are spill proof (not break-proof though!) and I figured for a buck there was a chintzy amount in there, boy was I wrong! As I scooped up the precious powder from the floor I wondered if I could make paint with it and turns out I can! Boy, was I lucky I just vacuumed before the spill so I was able to salvage most of it. On any other day it would have been mica powder,dog-hair and perler bead soup! Watch the video to see how I made my paint:

The acrylic version of the paint is very durable. I painted some tiles and the paint stuck well and was opaque. I painted on some paper yesterday, then today I bent and creased the paper to see if the paint would crack or flake off and it did not! It is great stuff and the metallic watercolor rivals twinkling H2Os! I bet you could also add watercolor to the powders for more intensely colored sparkly shades too!

Q&A: (questions from YouTubers)

What is Gum Arabic and where do you buy it? It is the binder in watercolor paints. You can get it at an art supply store with watercolor mediums. Watercolorists use it to increase gloss and transparency in their paintings.

What can I use instead of gum arabic? If you want it to be water-soluble you can try clear washable glue (the kind for kids)  or equal parts white glue and vinegar. Make sure if you ware making the watercolor version that you let the paint dry out before capping so it won’t mold.

What can I use in place of Mod-Podge if making acrylic paint? Gel medium, white PVA glue, acrylic sealer/varnish, Future floor Wax (it’s called Pledge now). Make sure if you are making the acrylic version you only make up what you are going to use immediately or store in an airtight container so it won’t dry out.

If you have any other questions you can leave them below. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Easiest Bows Ever!

Howdy folks! A couple weeks ago I asked my husband to make a stick of wood with some holes for dowels so that I could tie bows on it. He obliged and I liked it so much I asked if he would be willing to make more to sell. He said sure and I made this video and listed them here in my Shophandmade shop. Here are the Bow Making Jigs in action:

The original jigs were made from an extra walnut and maple chess board he had made. The thin strips of hardwood were glued on Plywood and strips of that were on a cherry base. I loved the way it looked but the amount of orders we received in the first two days completely used up our supplies! Then we started branching out into better woods, here are the new bow making jigs in walnut and maple.

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They are hefty at a pound a piece and are very easy to use not to mention pretty enough to leave out. We kept the price the same but had to charge a bit more for shipping due to the weight.  You can buy your very own Bow-making jig for $20 plus $6.75 S&H in my shop! (international shipping is more, sorry :( ) Bust since I HATE charging so much to ship it I decided to throw in another bonus, you will get my Pretty Packaging and Box Bonanza SVG & Printable template set, an $8 value,  with this purchase along with the $4 of free digital product you earn ($1 for every $5 spent in my Shophandmade shop) normally. The template set and free product of your choice will be emailed to you so be sure you look for my email after ordering.

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So, if you want a beautiful hardwood USA made bow-making tool made lovingly for you and shipped with the utmost care please check out the ones my hubby made! Thanks so much for enduring my shameless promotion tonight and til next time happy crafting!

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DIY Gelato Blending Tools!

Howdy friends! Today I will show you how to make the best blending tool for your gelatos, gel sticks, water-soluble oil pastels and inkpads. All you need are clothespins, white craft foam, cotton balls and rubber bands. Let’s whip up a batch of these useful tools!

Fun huh? I use these all the time and I hope you like them too. Happy crafting!

DIY Enamel Dot Success! & Paper Feathers Without a Die!

I have lots of crafty goodness for you tonight! After my ill-advised and potentially dangerous attempt of making enamel dots from Perler beads last weekend I came up with something better and far less toxic:

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A reader, Viki B., mentioned using embossing powder in a comment on that post and I thought Ah-ha! I can dome scrapbook paper and coat it in UTEE! Best of all you can use up scraps leftover from a  project to make embellishments that match perfectly! Watch the video to see how easy it is!

I love making these “on demand” and as needed, not to mention no toxic fumes or potentially burning down the house. That’s what is known in the craftng world as a “win-win-win!”

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I also was admiring some of the feather dies out there but I hate to buy something that is trendy because when the trend is over you are stuck with a die you may never use again. I’ll show you how to hand cut feathers. It’s quick and easy and no two will be the same, it’s like having an infinite amount of dies for zero bucks! Here is the video tutorial:

What do you think of approaching the project backwards? First make the envelope (I used a Kreate-a-lope from Green Sneakers) then make the embellishments. Hardly any waste so it is perfect for the paper we have been hoarding and so cute and useful! They would make great gift sets too I think!

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I wanted to share my first embossing powder attempt. I first thought I could stamp dots on my card and emboss them with colored powder but the result was kinda flat so I added more powder but I lost the definition. I punched out those attempts and adhered them to the above card. I was not happy with that so then I tried punching patterned paper, doming it and coating with UTEE. much better. See we rarely get it perfect on our first try, keep at it, you will get it! 3rd time’s a charm right? I hope you give this a try, thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

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This craft is ill advised…

Have you ever seen that blog that shows Pinterest fails? It’s funny if it isn’t you. I think I might submit this doozy of a craft fail because if it not good for a craft it is good for a laugh. First let me show you what I was trying to make:

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The few that turned out well…

A facebook friend had posted a tutorial on on Thefrugalcrafter Community, she said she saw it and thought of me and I thought it was a really neat idea. DIY enamel dots made by melting perler beads. Hey, it was on Pinterest so it has to be easy…right? Now the above photo are the few that turned out well, here are the rest:

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“Let’s make enamel dots by melting Perler beads” they said, “It will be fun” they said…

When you stop laughing I will continue. Are you quite done yet? OK. So apparently there has been a huge amount of people melting Perler beads and pony beads in their oven and making fake enamel dots that look just like the ones they charge big bucks for at the craft store. Personally I don’t even like enamel dots so that makes this whole project even more ridiculous. I guess I thought I’d like them better if they were free (I already had more Perler beads in my home than I care to mention) so I grabbed a tub of beads, parchment paper and my craft toaster oven and I was off to the races. I followed the recipe to the letter: Place the beads hole side up on the parchment paper and bake at 275 for 30 minutes, what could possibly go wrong? Let me tell you. The parchment paper burnt, the fumes were horrible and the beads turned into mangled doughnuts and not the lovely dots I was seeing from all of these other crafters. OK, new plan! I remembered that I had a heavy duty silicone mold that I used for clay and the back side was flat so I placed the beads on that and tried again figuring that the parchment paper was my trouble. The beads were not melting so I decided to leave them in there until they melted. 35 minutes later, nothing, 60 minutes later some had melted but still a lot of doughnuts, 75 minutes later the dots had discolored and were dull, not shiny, and some still had not melted. huh.

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The big beads were pony beads that were ironed with parchment paper on top then blasted with the heat gun and the ones on the blue mat were ironed then baked for a few minutes. The cluster on the bottom were the 75 minute batch and the flatter ones in the middle were ironed with parchment paper on tops then I removed the paper and hovered the iron on top. That was the best technique I tried.

OK, new plan, when you iron Perler beads they only take seconds to melt so why not get them started with the iron them put them in the oven. Nope. OK, Iron them then prop the iron over them so it will make the tops glossy and domed (this actually worked the best, I used steel rods I had for glass bead making to hold the iron a millimeter over the dots.) I was working on my silicone Silpat mat, I’m not incompletely crazy after all.  Then I thought “I know, I’ll iron them and then blast them with my heat gun to make them glossy!”  The regular stamping heat gun did not do the trick so I grabbed my new $8 Harbor Freight heat gun on the low setting, no dice, so I switched it to high and it melted the tops of the dots but look what it did to my table…

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This is was under my heatproof silicone mat that I had down for protection. I was totally freaked out because my table was hot! I was worried that it might burst into flames, I actually have checked it many times just to make sure it completely cooled off, I put water on the table and it made steam!  How come other crafters made successful dots and I did not? I think it was the toaster oven, maybe the heat was too direct or intense because everyone else used a full size home oven. I do not like that idea, the fumes were bad and I think it is unwise to do this craft in your oven especially when in the directions for using Perler beads properly it says not to even sort the beads in a container used for food unless you are going to be sure to wash it properly. I think today’s experiment was probably equivalent to chain smoking 2 packs of cigarettes…I have no scientific data or experience with smoking to say for certain but it can’t be good! I am officially done with this craft, as I said I was never in love with enamel dots in the first place, I just love a good experiment, plus a few years ago I came up with a way to make dew drops with a glue gun and you can see the photo below and if you like it you can watch the tutorial here. Be warned, that tutorial is 5 years old, I wasn’t always this smooth and professional:)

Best of all hot glue is meant to be melted! I think if I was so inclined I could paint he hot glue dots too but I really do not feel that inclined. I hope you enjoyed my epic craft fail, we all have them and it is only a failure if we don’t learn from out experiences. I have to say that $5 for a pack of  60 seems like a real bargain to me now :D That is if I even liked them in the first place…I clearly need my head examined, and probably my lungs after today. If you can’t be a good example at lease you can be a horrible warning right? Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Parchment craft…well, sort of…

Hello friends. I often admire fussy, tedious, time consuming crafts but I know that I would not enjoy them. I really wanted to get the look of parchment craft (an elaborate embossing and paper piercing technique on vellum also known as pergamano) so I improvised a quick fix:

I later learned that if you emboss 2 sheets of cheap vellum at once it won’t crack.  Also if you have the same Spectrum Noir markers that I do and find that some have dried out (before you even used them) you can make them juicy again with this quick tip:

That trick will work with any alcohol based marker. Many people asked if it will work with rubbing alcohol and the answer is maybe, I have not tried it so if you do leave a comment and let me know! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Thefrugalcrafter on Facebook and a Fun Technique!

Well, there I took the plunge and make a facebook page for frugalcrafter fans…you can check out The Frugalcrafter Community here. I have been getting a lot of comments lately by readers who want to share their paintings, cards and crafts that were inspired by my tutorials and i love seeing them, problem is not everyone has (or wants) a blog but a great majority are on Facebook so I hope it is a place you can all enjoy. Feel free to share crafty tips, photos of crafty projects, ask craft questions and socialize with other frugalistas (that’s what Kathy thinks we should call ourselves) ;) Many YouTube viewers have told me how isolating it can be when you don’t know anyone who crafts, well, let this be a cozy place to craft and chat no matter what side of the globe you are on! So feel free to go “like” the page and introduce yourself, don’t be shy, we a re small in number now but who knows, we could be dozens by tomorrow:)

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I also wanted to share a bit of messy crafty sciency fun with you. All you need is cornstarch, white glue and food coloring, rubbing alcohol (or liquid watercolors) and some cardboard (open up boxes from your recycle bin, lots of the prepackaged food boxes have nice white chipboard on the inside!) The kids will get a kick out of the way the ink flows and if you make this on some nice paper, matboard or canvas you might have the perfect background for your next piece of art!

I let one of my girls run wild with supplies and she created piles of art and even more impressive she cleaned up afterwards! Well, that’s it for me tonight, one side of my neck is still sore, thank you for the notes of concern but I’m sure I’ll be fine in a couple of days and thank you Sue Cole for the tip on making the alcohol/water ice pack, I am doing that tonight!) Thanks so much for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Tutorial: Using Chalk Pastels to Stamp!

Howdy folks! My crafty mojo made an appearance today while I was playing with my chalk pastels.

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It got me to thinking, chalk ink is expensive but you can get  set of student grade chalk (aka soft) pastels at the craft store for cheap (48 for $10) so I used said cheap pastels to stamp with, have a look:

Extra bonus, this is a technique that I would use the expensive inktense blocks with and the pastels work just as well and they are more in the price range of average crafters. What’s more most of us have some type of pastel or decorator chalk in our stash from 10 years ago when it was all the rage (yes, if you can pop those suckers out of the palette they came in you can use them!)

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I love that you can stamp on dark-colored cardstock with these too! Is there no end to the fun we can have with these inexpensive goodies? Now, I got a lot of questions on YouTube about whether the stamped image needs to be sealed. Well, before I took the photos I rubbed may hand over the images, no smudging at all. Another reason I would not seal them is that it might darken the color or make them disappear on dark cardstock, also sometimes fixatives will make paper brittle over time (especially if you are a cheap skate like me and use Aqua-Net as a sealer LOL!)

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So there you have it! Another use for an old product you probably already have, if not you can obtain them cheaply. I spied many sets that looked pretty good for under $10 at my local ACmoore. Look for rich, vivid colors and you can’t go wrong. In case you are wondering if you should spend big bucks on artist grade pastels ask yourself this: Are you going to paint a picture with them? Do you have children who will share them with you? Do you have proper ventilation? I love artist grade pastels and I paint with them. The colors will last longer because they contain pigments, some of which are toxic such as cobalt, cadmium, and other baddies and you shouldn’t breathe the dust. You don’t have to worry so much about student grade products because they are non-toxic, I don’t recommended breathing the dust on purpose or anything but they are a lot safer and the results will still be lovely. Chances are if you are using them in a scrapbook, journal or card they will not be hanging in direct sunlight for an extended period of time either, the cheap stuff is fine for this, BTW all of the chalk in the scrapbook “archival” aisle is the cheap stuff with a bigger price tag. You’re welcome.  I hope this project unleashed some creativity in you today, feel free to share what you have created by leaving a link in the comments, I’d love to see! Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

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