When we go upstate for the weekend I get all crazy with craft stores and spray paint. This is barely a project, but it was lots of fun and you get fast, easy results. Which sometimes, is just what the crafter ordered.
Honestly, the most difficult part of this project was deciding which $1.49 wooden l-e-t-t-e-r-s I was going to use!
A little primer, a little spray paint, let it dry and you’re done. To make it absolutely perfect, you may choose to run a little fine grain sandpaper over the letters before you prime.
We had a great time this weekend digging through the memory boxes for stones, shells and sea-things collected from our travels to make aquatic habitats for our new Marimo.
All you need is a glass container, filtered water, Marimo and decor. We chose to use pieces that we picked up at beaches, lakes and bays while traveling. Be sure to wash or boil your treasures before adding them to the habitat to make sure they are free of salt water and bacteria. It’s a good habit to do this with your shells and collectable items when you return home from a trip nonetheless- so they don’t smell or bring uninvited pests into your home. Rinse your Marimo balls, give them a good squeeze, roll them around in your hand a bit and them drop them in their new home.
Keep in mind that Marimo are alive. They need partial but not bright sunlight and every now and then it’s a good idea to freshen the water. You will notice that the Marimo rise to the surface and sink back down again, this is normal and a part of the fascination with having a living plant-ball in your habitat. If your Marimo never moves, then you may want to use a chopstick and roll it over every now and then to maintain its shape.
So what’s a Marimo? It looks like a tiny ball of moss, but in actuality it’s filamentous green lake algae that, at times, grows into fuzzy velvety looking balls. Read more about them here and watch this video to learn how to care for (and replicate) them.
And when making your own, keep in mind that a Marimo habitat would also make a great gift
Here’s the other one we made:
These golden animal ornaments are so beautiful, it’s crazy how easy they are to make. This project is also a great way to preserve old memories by turning your kids toys into family ornaments that will last a lifetime. And while spray painting is not the best project to elicit help from the little ones, giving the toys a nice sudsy bubble bath before you begin, is.
You will need clean plastic toy animals, small eyelets, primer, gold spray paint, a small hammer. Once you have collected all the essentials, it is time to set up your work area. Find a large, open, well-ventilated space and spread out some cardboard.
Start by choosing an animal and finding a nice balance spot for inserting the eyelet. Hold the eyelet against the spot and tap a few times with the hammer to make a prick in the plastic. This will make it easier to twist in the screw. Repeat with your animals until the entire pack is ready to go.
Spread the animals out across the cardboard and apply the first coat of primer. I always start with my animals lying down on their side so I can get the undercarriage. Once that coat dries completely I stand them up and apply a layer covering the rest of the piece. The same principle applies when doing the topcoat. Start with the bottom, spray and dry and then do the top. The most important part of spraying paint, aside from good ventilation, is to keep a few feet away so the paint goes on evenly and to allow each layer to dry completely before proceeding to the next step.
Once the ornaments are dry, thread a piece of twine or gold string through the eyelet and your new handmade dazzling gold trophy pieces are ready to go. I am wrapping mine up as gifts, individually on a bed of shredded paper in little white bags tied with ribbon and tiny gold painted pinecones.
Creating a simple, natural looking fall wreath is as easy as cleaning up the yard. Lucky for us, the talented artist and designer Matt Lanci came by the other day to show us how it’s done.
A quick survey of the brush and tangle growing at the edge of the yard revealed a key ingredient for a festive fall wreath: grapevine. That, coupled with the bag of pine cones that Matt rescued from the forest floor and we had the makings for a beautiful wreath.
After pulling a pile of dying vine down off the back trees, Matt set to work.
Simply pick a vine, find an end and form it in to a ring about the size of the wreath you wish to create. Sometimes you will be wrapping one piece, other times several branches at a time will be wrapped around, it just depends on the way the vine grows. Fold the vine in and out as you go, creating a tight twist. When you come to the end of a piece just tuck it inside of the tangle to secure (see images below).
If pieces are jutting out or making points instead of rounded edges you want to shape them back into place. You don’t have to be gentle. Every few wraps around grab the edges and make sure they are continuing to form a circular shape.
To accent the completed wreath, we affixed a few pinecones with twine and weaved some bushy pieces of field grass from the wetlands near the yard. String to hang with a piece of ribbon or twine and you have the perfect handmade holiday display.
Don’t worry, no real animals were harmed in the making of this craft… only some plastic kids toys. Instead of wondering what to do with your old grimy kids toys, give them a good dish soap bath and then hack them in half for ‘Heads and Tails’ Animal Magnets. Plastic animal lovers (and personal friends) should close your eyes now, because the pictures in this post may very well disturb you (or reveal your holiday gifts).
Here are the steps, mostly in pictures.
You will need:
- Plastic animal or dinosaur toys if you have old kids toys, this is a great way to hold on to the childhood memories, otherwise take a trip to a yard sale or toy store
- Primer, spray paint (primer is important in order to get really bright metallic colors)
- Copper (or gold) spray paint
- Hack saw with a fine blade (you should have seen the guy at Home Depot look at me when I whipped out a moose and said I wanted to saw it in half, that was FUN)
- 1/2 inch, strong hold, small ceramic magnets
- Hot glue gun, or another strong adhesive glue
NOTE: If I were to do it again, I would have bought a vice grip for holding the toys while sawing. It would have been much easier and safer if I had.
Make sure to do all of your spray painting outdoors or in a well ventilated area. And wait for the paint to dry COMPLETELY before applying another layer.
I Love Them Sooooo Much!
Here on the east coast the days seem shorter and the air is brisk, leaves have been falling and the trees are almost bare. The time has come for enjoying cool weather hikes and cleaning up our yards in preparation for winter chill. And as we do, we come across a bountiful and natural selection of potential holiday decorations.
Last weekend a friend came bearing bags of pinecones from small to large. He taught me how to make wreaths and centerpieces out of dying vines and tall grass. We added pinecones as accents and decorated the house for fall. After we were done, I found myself with over half a bag to pinecones to spare. So this weekend, I bought a can of neon paint and brightened them up a bit. Here are the results.
These neon pinecone ornaments are so easy and yield such popping results that you’ll want to make them for everyone you know. The two most important things you need are primer, so you really get those neon brights, and an open space in which to work.
For a little extra pizazz, I added a layer of silver glitter spray paint to the cones once the neon color was dry. It’s so easy to get carried away!
Wrap fishing wire around the end of each pinecone, double knot and hang.
I can’t wait to hang some on a real tree, and give the other half away as gifts!
This last weekend was a craftacular activities weekend. And while there are some pretty awesome projects coming up on the blog, these simple Astro Rocks were like an added crafting bonus. I mean, when your outside with an awesome can of 24K Gold spray, paint it’s easy to get carried away.
These astrological symbol stones also make great gifts for both the upcoming holidays and, of course, birthdays.
All you need is an outdoor workspace (for spray painting), a few rocks, gold spray paint, black acrylic paint, a brush and a chart of simple astrological symbols. Have fun and make tons…. literally.
After a nice long summer of travel and beaches, there’s nothing like settling back into the snuggly fall weather with a little home updating. After hanging the awesome Chris Marley owl butterfly we bought over the summer, we moved on to the air plants we brought back from Cape Cod and the beautiful hexagonal terrarium. I have to say, there is nothing easier to make and maintain than an air plant terrarium. They are simple to assemble and the plants only need an occasional spritzing or a weekly dunk in water to thrive. I love our new terrarium and our warm and natural corner redo.
All you need for this is a container, gardening moss and a few air plants. Simple is better, but you can also add a favorite rock or mineral, shells collected on a favorite vacation, driftwood twigs, etc.
While the possibilities for oven bake clay are virtually endless, we always find ourselves going back to the same type of project with ours. We like to make toys for our toys! This oven bake clay bowling set is just one such example. Simply mold a set of bowling pins and a ball, bake, cool and then enjoy hours of entertainment watching the kids play with the “toys” they just made. Strike!
When it’s time for some rainy-day after school fun, sit down at the table for another craft that doubles as an activity.
Using heavyweight paper, we outlined our designs in black ink then filled it in with watercolor. Starting with a flat piece of paper we designed the yard, fully equipped with toys and a bowl.
Draw a dog, paint, dry and then cut it out. Use another small strip of paper to construct a stand to prop your puppy up, and glue it into place. When everything is dry have fun with the kids setting up house and playing pretend. We brought out the Playmobile toys for added fun and hours of entertainment.