Sunday, July 22, 2012

Cornering the Market on Cheap Artwork

Apparently, I've gotten really picky in my home decor as I can't seem to find anything out there in this large mass-produced world that I like. I see things on etsy all the time that I like, but then it comes down to how much do I want to spend. I'm not necessarily saying I'm cheap, but, sometimes, those sellers are asking a LOT.

I recently found a saying I really like, and I couldn't find it just the way I wanted it. So I made my own. It didn't take any time at all as I was able to use an open source image editing program (GIMP 2) that's pert near Photoshop and some clip art. I also utilized one of my other favorite tools, I use this font website ALL THE TIME. They have the greatest typefaces, and the one I chose for this project was Sybil Green. I got the funky frame at Hobby Lobby for $7 since they were on sale for 50% off.
I put this in our kitchen since it's (our kitchen) severely lacking in personality. It has these weird soffits that hold these frames really well. I made these prints to fit in a 5" x 7" frame and printed them on high quality cardstock.

After putting this one up, there's another empty weird soffit right across the way from it. So I had to come up with another cute little saying. We drink a LOT of tea in our house, and it's kind of a religion so I came up with, "I Love You More than Tea" and added some cute clip art to go along with that.
I used all the same tools to make this one, the frames were still on sale at Hobby Lobby, and I'm sure it took a grand total of about 20 minutes in front of my computer to make these. And they're very personal to our family. If you see a cute little saying you like somewhere, don't be afraid to make your very own typographic artwork. Happy Crafting!

Friday, July 20, 2012

DIY: Trendy Baby Decor

I'm going to apologize for this "tutorial" right now. Yes, I'm implying it's not really a tutorial. It's more like half of one. I wasn't entirely sure this was going to work out when I started it, but, as it turns out, I really liked the end result.

I think we've all seen those beautiful chandelier butterfly mobiles that are pretty popular right now. They're all over etsy, pottery barn has one and you can find them on amazon. The only problem with these is 1) they're usually between $50 and $80 and 2) butterflies are really your only decorative option. Enter... the brain trust...

Trendy Chandelier Mobiles: a la Rayna

colored papers for die cutting
die cutting method (cricut, punch, freestyle with scissors, etc.)
metal ring (I used 10" diameter)
.5mm stretch magic beading string
18 gauge wire
wire cutters / curlers
coordinating ribbon for wrapping exposed metal wire and ring
* I used 1/4" for the smaller inside wire
* I used 3/8" for the larger outer ring
various adhesives
*I used glue dots for adhere birds to stretch string
*I used scotch tape to wrap loose ends of stretch string around exposed wire and ring
*I used Aleene's Jewelry & Metal Glue for adhering wire to ring and ribbon to wire / ring
various clamps for holding wrapped ribbon when your hands start to cramp

I first had to strategize how I was going to lay out my mobile. This probably took the longest amount of time for me as it was a LOT of trial and error. I designed it as an outer metal ring with a 4-point inner crossbar. In the end, I ended up with these specs where the red dots represent where I tied each chandelier string:
  • 1 middle string: 24" long
  • 4 strings radiating out at 21" long
  • 4 strings radiating out at 15" long
  • 16 strings along outer ring at 12" long
With the spacing I chose and the die cut sizes (birds: 2", clouds: 2-1/2"), the individual string specs worked out like this:
  • 24" string: 6 die cuts (2 clouds, 4 birds)
  • 21" strings: 4 die cuts (1 cloud, 3 birds)
  • 15" strings: 3 die cuts (1 cloud, 2 birds)
  • 12" strings: 2 die cut birds 
Phew. Now that that's over... 

1.) I first made my inner crossbar with the 18 gauge wire and adhering it to itself with  the jewelry and metal glue. Be careful with this stuff. I almost bonded my fingers together about a million times. But it works some serious magic with the wire and the ribbon. I wrapped the outer ends of the crossbar around the outer ring with the wire curlers and also used the glue to adhere these 4 points in place.

2.) Using the specs listed above, I then attached all the die cuts to the chandelier strings and then attached the chandelier strings to the crossbar and outer ring with the stretch beading string.

3.) I used the scotch tape to wrap all the stretch beading string loose ends from the chandelier strings around the inner crossbar wires and outer ring.

4.) After all the loose ends are taken care of, wrap the inner crossbar wire with the thinner wire. I fastened the ends of the ribbon to the wire with the jewelry & metal glue. Pure magic. Just don't glue your fingers together. This step serves to hide all the loose ends of the stretch beading string so you don't have those ends hanging out and looking gross.
5.) I then used the thicker ribbon to wrap the outer ring. I used more technique for this one as it will be more easily viewed.

6.) I then tied 4 20" pieces of stretch beading string to each junction of the inner crossbar and the outer ring by which I could hang the mobile. In doing this, I ended up with loose ends again so I used a cool 4-point wrap technique to hide the ends and also add some decorative flair to these junction points. And I used lots of jewelry and metal glue!

7.) After all that, you just have to gather your 4 hanging strings and be very careful about making sure they're all level so your mobile isn't hanging all weird and crooked. Unless, of course, you want it that way. :) Hang it, and you have a perfectly beautiful (and cheap) trendy baby mobile with the die cuts of your choice!

I will admit that I had a lot of these supplies to begin with, but the beauty of this project is that you can really make it with whatever you have on hand. I ended up making it myself for less than $15. It's much more personal, fitting her room perfectly, and I got to choose the colors and shapes I wanted. I also wanted those clouds in there, and I couldn't find any that were just the way I wanted. Again, I'm picky like that. Know any babies coming your way? This would be a really fun and very personal shower gift for that new little bundle. Happy Crafting!