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Monday, November 29, 2010

Recycle/Repurpose Christmas Cards, Children's Christmas Art, Christmas Wrapping Paper

Do you love Christmas like me? Do you want every room in your house to reflect all the wonderful red, green, blue and gold colors of Christmas? Then we have something in common.

I decorated today but found I was missing Christmas art for my walls. It wasn't long before I was scrounging around looking for something to scan or cut to size for Christmas wall art.

The first thing that came to mind was wrapping paper. But what to use for frames? Since the Christmas decorations weren't going to be up permanently, I decided I could use existing 8x10 frames housing photographs or paintings that I could put away for a month. After removing the pictures or paintings I searched through my wrapping paper and found two styles I liked. I cut an 8x10 out of each.

Both frames fortunately had backing but if they didn't have backing I would have used the art I originally removed from the frames as support for the wrapping paper. I simply laid the wrapping paper over the backing then put everything into place. They now hang in our kitchen and look great!

I wanted more, though. I remembered a 4x6 photograph of a butterfly I had taken and framed to hang in our bathroom. With the 4x6 size in mind, I decided rather than using more of the same wrapping paper I would use a card I made. I scanned and sized it to 4x6 then cut it out, put in into my 4x6 frame and hung in our living room

But if you don't have a scanner or you don't create handmade Christmas cards, you would be hard pressed to find a place to scan commercially produced cards to repurpose or recycle as wall art. Instead, cut the front of the card off and put it into a 5x7 frame. You could even cut it down to a 4x6.

If your kids drew Christmas art or you have art your children created years ago, Walmart charges under $2.90 to make 8x10 prints. Walgreens charges $2.99. You can bank on spending about $3.00 for an original 8x10 piece of Christmas wall art. And why not give it as a gift to the child who drew it?

Repurpose... Recycle... Get creative.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Handmade Christmas Card and Tag

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Homemade Christmas Gift Tins: Things to do With Cans

What can you do with empty coffee cans? Soup cans? Vegetable cans? Here are some ideas for making Christmas Gift Tins to repurpose cans.
  • Wrapping paper 10 3/8 wide by 4 1/2 for 14.5 oz cans
  • Glitter pens
  • Rubber stamps
  • Glue (I use hot glue)
  • Card stock for the tag
Randomly stamp the gift paper then color the stamps with glitter pens. Add swirls or leaves and flowers. Let dry. Glue paper on to the can. Insert tissue or cellophane inside the can.
Cut out the tag. Use a glitter pen on the edge of the tag.
  • Acrylic paint
  • Card stock (I use plain white) 10 3/8 by 4 1/2 for 14.5 oz cans
  • Brushes
  • Ribbon
  • Glue
  • Glass paint used for dots and stitches
  • Gold felt tip pen
Paint red stripes from top to bottom spaced the width of the brush on card stock. Let dry. Paint red stripes from side to side. Let dry. Using a gold color pen, draw lines two top to bottom in the white space between the red stripes. Draw three gold lines side to side in the white space between the red stripes. NOTE: Don't worry if the stripes are wavy or crooked. Just have fun!

Cut out the tag. With the gold color felt tip pen, draw a few branches then draw "pine needles". With red and green glass paint, add dots randomly. Let dry.
Insert tissue or cellophane inside the can.
I used acrylic paint to paint the rose buds and the flower on card stock. Ran ribbon around the bottom of the can gluing it into place in assorted spots. With green glass paint, I painted "stitches" around the edge of the gift tag. Lastly, I inserted cellophane inside the can.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Hand Painted Repurposed Wine Bottles

I love to decorative paint. I love to decorate items with decorative painting. One of my favorite things to paint is a wine bottle. As long as you still have the cork, decorated wine bottles are excellent for storing cooking oils or vinegars. They are prettier than the plastic container the oils and vinegars come in.
Wash, rinse and let the bottle dry. Wipe down with alcohol. Paint with acrylic enamel paint. No other kinds of paint will stick to the non-porous surface. You can let air dry for 21 days or bake it in the oven. Instructions are on the back of the bottle.

But if you're not an artist, you can either use stencils or let the kids have some fun

Friday, November 19, 2010

Repurpose Candle Wax & Tin Cans

Okay, you're not into candle making but you hate to toss candle ends or remnants from jarred candles. Here's the easiest thing to do to repurpose candle ends and remnants.

If your jarred candles are small enough to set on a fragrance warmer, that's all you have to do: Set it on the warmer.

If the candle has no fragrance or if you want to enhance the fragrance, head to Wal-Mart or a local hobby store. Be sure the fragrance is for candle wax and not for soap or lotions. You can even add a different scent to the fragrance that's in the candle. If it's a floral scent, I stick with florals. If it's an herb scent I stick with herbs. For instance, if you have a lavender scented candle, add a rose fragrance or other floral fragrance. Shoot, to lavender you could even add linen scent.

If you want to remove what's left of the candle in the jar, you'll have to use the double-boiler. I don't have one but I do make a substitute. Instructions are below.

Soak a tuna and vegetable can (or another tuna can to use on your fragrance warmer) to remove the label. Wash but be careful of the inside rim; it's probably sharp enough to cut your finger. You'll use this in the double-boiler to melt the wax.

Substitute double-boiler: I use either our fondue pot or some other large pan. Something large enough to put a smaller pan into.

I set up my make-shift double-boiler, fill about half way with water then sit my smaller pan into the water. Put the heat on low. We want about 160 to 180 degrees or just low enough to heat the water good without simmering or boiling.

Next, drop the candle bits into the tin can and put the tin can into the smaller pan sitting in the water. If you're melting wax in a jar, just set the jar into the smaller pan.

After the wax melts, add the fragrance then (using an oven mitt or pad to hold the can) pour the wax into whatever you're using on your fragance burner. You could repurpose a mayonnaise jar, baby food jar, old canning jar, etc. on the fragrance burner.

You could even simply melt the wax in the tin can or jarred candle on the fragrance burner, entirely skipping the double-burner method.

Hint: Want color? I add a little bit of crayon.

Paint the can with acrylic paints or leave as it. I wouldn't use ribbon, paper or scrap material to cover the can. I've never tried it so I wouldn't recommend it.

That's it. If you have any questions, please leave a comment.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Repurpose Stemmed Glasses into Candle Holders

Repurpose port or brandy glasses
Painted with enamel glass paint, these glasses purchased at a donation store for 49 cents each can be turned upside down (or upright) and used as candle holders. Just hold the candles in place with a dab of plumbers putty.

Repurpose Computer, DVD, or CD Cables

Keeping Costs Down

One way to keep the cost of my crafting down is to find and repurpose materials around the house and - recently - at Goodwill. Later, I'll be writing about the clear glass items I found. 
But today is about wire. I was finishing a project and wanted to adorn it with copper wire. After thinking for a moment my husband informed me that old unused computer and cable cords have copper wire internally. Between the two of us, we had stored several away. Perfect! I can repurpose copper wire out of old cables.
Using my pair of needle nose equipped with a cutter between the handle and the very tip, I set to work removing the rubber casing. Once that was removed I discovered wire mesh that I also removed.
Sure enough there in the middle of all the layers was pretty copper wire I wanted to use to adorn wine bottles I had painted.
 I cut a length then bent it into a circle and slipped it over the neck of the bottle. It wasn't enough... needed something more. I cut another length then bending it I shaped it into a heart that I slipped onto the copper wire ring on the bottle.
If you can't find the materials to repurpose around the house, before you go buy them mention what you are looking for to your significant other. They just might know where you can find hidden treasure.

Homemade, Handmade: Make Your Own Wall Art

Bronze metallic spary paint
Black spray paint
Water color paper
Leaves, sticks, grass from yard
You will have to decide how big you want your art then cut the water color paper to size.
Make sure to shake your spray paint cans to mix the paint.
Spray a base coat of Bronze Metallic on the water color paper. Let dry.
Place your leaves, sticks, grass or whatever you have gathered on the water color paper.
Lightly spray Black over the materials you collected. Remove the materials and allow the paint to dry.
Now frame it! You're done...