Recycled Tin Can Wreath DIY Tutorial

This rusty, country style wreath may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it looks right at home in my rural garden, so I’m sharing it just for fun!

While going through old garden magazines last year, I caught just a glimpse of the side of a tin can wreath hanging in the picture of a garden, so of course I felt the need to make one. I threw a bunch of dog food cans in a tub of water to soak outside for a few weeks and start the rusting process.

After dumping the cans to dry, I creased them in the center with the side of my foot, and drilled a ½” hole through them.

I used twenty eight, 22 oz. cans for my wreath, and a 5 ft. length of heavy fencing wire. Cans are heavy, my wreath still sagged a bit, but the fencing wire helped it hold a circular shape. 

A small loop was bent in one end of the wire to hold the cans as they were threaded on.  I did a pattern of three as I threaded .. two with the crease one way, them flipped the third, but they can be put on any way you want. 

 

After all the cans were threaded on, the wire was cut close to the end, a hook was shaped to go into the loop, and squeezed tight.

That’s it, easy peasy.  

My wreath has been hanging in the garage for the last year, out of sight, out of mind, until now.   An awesome find of a big bird nest, dislodged from one of our pines during a recent thunderstorm, prompted me to adorn my wreath with Mother Nature and hang it in the garden.  A step out to the gravel road provided a few stones for makeshift eggs; a little surprise for my four year old granddaughter when she sneaks a peek … she’ll be delighted!

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Rustic Garden Wreath DIY Tutorial

I love the look of rustic art in the garden, don’t you? Being a collector of lots of glass things, wire scraps, rusty junk, and all kinds of tidbits, I’m excited when I can gather some of my pieces that all work together, and make something eye pleasing for mine.

With salvaged art, there’s no rules, right or wrong, that’s the fun of it. Just do what works best for you.

Duplicating the items I used is not feasible, I know, but, I wanted to share some tips and tricks I used in hopes of spurring inspiration for fellow creatives. 

I asked my husband to save a pile of heavy springs when they showed up as salvage last fall.  I’ve walked past them 100’s of times and always had the same thought; I’m gonna make a wreath out of one of those someday.  I knew there was a metal flower collecting dust in the garage that would look great on one, I just never got going on it. 

 

Recently, I was breaking down some bottles for other projects when the idea of glass leaves popped into my head… that was it, now it was time to make a wreath.

Tackling the heavy spring was the first step. It was about 30 inches long and wouldn’t hold a circular shape on it’s own.  A length of heavy fencing wire was shaped into a circle and inserted inside the spring for support. The ends of the fencing wire were hooked together and squeezed tight to secure.

The funky ends were cut off of the spring.  With the help of a screwdriver, a scrap piece of wire was wedged into the first end rings of the spring so they could be held open for wiring the ends together flush.

 

The barbed wire stem was cut from the flower,  For added interest, a short, chunky spring was wired into the center of the flower.  A long wire was used for this step so it could go through the flower and be used to wire the flower on later.

 

Pieces of a Captain Morgan bottle were used for leaves.  I smoothed the edges of the glass with a glass grinder, but a piece of emery cloth, or a Dremel tool with a diamond grinding bit will work too.

Arrange the leaves and flower on the wreath, covering the wired spring ends.  After deciding placement, wire the leaves on first with a thin pliable wire, then the flower, covering the wired ends of the leaves. 

Take advantage of any small curves in the glass leaves to help hold the wrapped wires tightly.  As an added precaution I glued chunks of glass, or washers, near my wires to prevent any slipping.  Washers can also be glued between the spring and flower/leaf arrangement to tighten or brace an area.

The ends of my heavy wire leaf shapes were difficult to bend.  I opted to attach a thin wire on one end of them, then thread it through under the flower and between other wires.  Secure the wire to the other end of the leaf shape. Arrange and tighten until snug.

Before finishing up, I decided to add another glass leaf, used E6000 to add a couple interesting rusty bits, and tuck in one of my salvaged art blooms.

    

I do believe, this is just what that little corner of my garden needed!

 

 

 

 

Little Upcycled Bucket DIY Tutorial

Well, I’d say its about time I found my way back to my blog!  Its been a year, way too long!

Such a long break was never planned.  Initially, my sister, who was newly retired last year, and I, began going to a lot of flea markets and sales last spring. I think we’re guilty of having had so much fun hanging out, and shopping for awesome stuff, that we didn’t leave much time for creating.  Before I knew it, it was time to start working on fused glass Christmas ornaments. which kept me busy until after the first of the year, and then it was time to make inventory for a June vintage market event.  Anyway, I’m back, and ready to get back in the groove of making things!

Several new pieces were made for the market we participated in.  I’ll post some pictures of them later, but first, I’d like to begin by sharing a favorite … an upcycled, little, bent galvanized bucket that was almost headed to the scrap yard.  I’ve just fallen in love with it, and it was so easy.  All it took was two sample sized colors of exterior water based paint, hide glue or crackle medium, J-B Weld, a small metal flower, one button, and a fan (opt).  I’m impatient, the fan speeds up drying times.

Just a little note about crackle mediums before we get started.  They are readily available in just about all home improvement and craft stores, and easy to use.  Hide glue is my choice for crackling.  You can find it in hardware stores for around $9.  Always painting something, I usually have some mixed and ready to use.

For a crackle medium, mix 1/2 C hide glue with 1/3 C of very hot water, stirring well.  Store unused medium in an airtight container.  As a rule, the thinner the crackle medium, the thinner the cracks.  If bigger cracks are wanted, use less hot water.  Regardless, the mixture will be watery thin, and splatter easily.  Make sure your floor and work area are protected well.  Crackling is a lot of fun, but can be touchy.  It doesn’t like to be re-brushed as you put it on, single strokes are needed. If you’ve never tried it before, you may want to play around with it on scrap wood first to get the feel for it, or catch a video on YouTube.

After giving the bucket a good wash, it was wiped down with a little rubbing alcohol to remove any oils left on it’s surface.  I began with a base coat of red, let dry.

Next, the crackle glue.  Let the crackle glue dry until it is still slightly sticky to the touch, approximately 45 minutes, sooner with a fan.  Top with light blue paint, let dry completely.

Sprigs of metal flowers are something I keep my eye out for at garage sales and flea markets.  Their flowers and leaves are easily snipped off to incorporate in crafting projects.

Lightly burnish the metal flower with steel wool before painting.  I used the light blue as a base color, and the red as the top coat, with crackle in between.

J-B Weld is a two part epoxy, and a wonderful product.  Please read and follow the manufacturer’s directions on the package.  Per directions, the surfaces to be glued must be free of paint.

After deciding the placement of the flower, I scratched a small circle of paint off of the bucket, and also made sure the bottom of the flower was paint free.  I used a wooden skewer to stir a small amount of epoxy together on wax paper, and let it rest about five minutes to set up a little.

With the bucket on it’s side, I laid a small mound of epoxy over the cleared area, then sit the flower on, propping it in place to dry for 24 hours.

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After the epoxy was completely dry, a metal button was added to the center of the flower with a small dab of E6000.  I finished with a spray of clear sealer, which is optional.

What do you think?  I had garden art in mind as it was being made, but now, I think it would be cuter than the dickens lined with a red and white checkered napkin and holding tableware at a barbecue!

Hope we are all blessed with sunshine and beautiful weather for the upcoming holiday.  Have a safe and Happy 4th of July!

 

 

 

Garden Cloche DIY Tutorial

I’m sure I’m not the only one using tomato cages, or garden fencing, to protect plants and new sprouts in the garden and yard.  Rather they’re protecting from animals, grand kids, or an inattentive mower, they can sometimes stay put most of the summer. That’s what made me think of a large garden cloche; if you’re going to look at it for months, why not make it more attractive? And, no one else will have one like it … that’s always a bonus, right?

My garden cloche design got a jump start when I stumbled upon a pair of wire planter baskets at a local thrift shop for a dollar. The wire spacing on them was similar to a discarded air conditioner guard I had tucked away at home.

I quickly realized I could not bend and shape the steel AC guard to match the 14″dia. of the planter basket with just my hands. After searching around, I finally found an old milk can of that size to roll, wrap, and shape it around. I used bolt cutters to cut the length of guard needed, then connected the ends together by wrapping the entire length of the seam with thin wire, crisscrossing the wire at the intersections, for a smooth seam and firm connection.  Cut the wires from bottom ring, leaving prongs to push into the ground.

  

Cut and remove the crossbars from the bottom of the basket. Once I cut them in the center, they just snapped off.

Spray both of the wire pieces black with an exterior paint recommended for metal. Let dry completely.

    

I gathered some odd lamp pieces and a short piece of threaded rod to stack and build a large finial to adorn the top of the upturned basket. One lamp piece (the base piece) will need to fit nicely inside the basket below where the crossbars were.

Spray paint the base lamp pieces black, let dry.

  

Beginning with the painted base pieces on the threaded rod, stack and build the lamp pieces. Leaving room for a small finial, use tape to mark where the threaded rod will need to be cut. Remove the rod to cut, restack the pieces, add a dab of E6000 to the tip of the rod, and twist the small finial on to tighten your pieces together firmly.

  

 

  

 

    

Cut back all but 6 or 7 of the wires on the top ring of the AC guard, these will be used to bend over the wire ring of the basket and hold it in place. Touch up the cut wires with black spray paint. Attach the basket to the top and its ready for the garden.

   

Kind of gives the garden a little majestic touch, don’t you think?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making Poppies DIY Tutorial

A quick post to share a new rustic poppy design.
Not too many supplies are needed for these fun flowers; salvaged thin metal sheeting, fiberglass window screening, thin wire, small flat bead, 8 to 10 mm glass bead, and paint. I went back to Lowe’s and bought one of those cute 8 oz Valspar paints again, this time “Oh So Red”.
Like many faux poppy patterns, stacking three layers of petal pieces makes this easy. The base piece is the largest and the other two get smaller in diameter as you go up. My base was about 2 3/4″ diameter.

Before getting started, some fiberglass window screen had to be painted.   This was my first experience painting screen and it took me some time applying the paint and getting all those itty bitty squares to stay filled in; when you brush over them, they open back up. I painted in layers, drying with a fan, and discovered laying the paint on was more productive than brushing most of the time. If anyone out there has a secret or helpful hints for painting screen please do chime in.

Flatten a piece of scrap metal sheeting (as in The Spirit of Christmas). Trace and cut out the base petal piece. Paint it red. Dry. Sand lightly with fine grit sandpaper to reveal some of the metal.

Hold the top two petal pattern pieces in place on the painted screen and cut around them.

Cut a small circle, a little larger than a quarter, from the window screening.  Darken it with black paint.

Sand the screen petal pieces with fine sandpaper to reveal the texture of the screen. Do not sand the black center piece. This is a good time to put a light black speckling on your pieces, and let it dry before spraying all the pieces with a clear matte sealer, front and back. I forgot, and didn’t speckle until my flowers were done, then had to respray them.

Trace three poppy leaves on the thin metal, flipping your pattern to trace one face down. Cut, paint green, sand, speckle, and seal.

On a board, drive a finishing nail through the stacked flower petal arrangement.  You can shape and bend the flowers first, or keep the petals flattened and shape after. Remove the nail.

Center and twist a glass bead on a length of straightened thin wire. Thread the black screen circle on to the wire stem and shape it around the bead. Add a small flat bead with a dab of E6000. Slide the other petal pieces in place, applying a small amount of glue between layers near the wire. Arrange and form the flower to your liking before pushing firmly into a piece of thick foam to dry. You can do more gentle bending, shaping, or trimming on the petals after the flowers are dry if needed.

    

I think this makes a cute, versatile little flower to have some fun with. Change the shape of the petal a bit, the color, and the bead, and you’ll have a whole new look.  Another layer of petals could be added for a larger flower.

I wired my poppies to a basket for a pop of color, then glued on the leaves, but they could easily be wired, or glued, to wreaths, canvas art, frames, or wood.

  

It makes me feel good to find uses for salvaged, and reclaimed materials.  Keeping anything out of the landfill is a plus.  Hearing from my readers makes me feel good too, please leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts.  Enjoy your week!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Salt Shaker Decorative Plant Stake

Okay, I couldn’t help myself, just one more. I don’t want to run a good thing into the ground, but this one is just so quick and easy I had to do it! I promise to move on after this …. really!

As I was cleaning up some of my latest messes, I came across this small pair of shakers. I picked them up at a garage sale somewhere along the way, thinking at the time that they would be cute on a small plant stake. So, since I had them in my hand, well, you know …..

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Nail a pilot hole in the lid. Drill a 1/4″ hole. Use small pliers to straighten out or bend jagged edges, just until a length of 5/16″ threaded rod will fit through it easily, you don’t want the hole any bigger than it has to be. My rod was a scrap piece, 20″ long, so I just left it that way.

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I like to experiment quite a bit, and have a habit of throwing odd little pieces of glass in a kiln to see what they will do. It was in some of my trials that I found a wonderful pale green bottle spout, PERFECT!  I got to thinking about all the bags of pretty round, resin napkin rings I often see at sales, they might work in something like this. Might have to start giving them a second look.
Find two nuts that fit the rod threads, and run one a couple inches down the rod. On the rod, stack and arrange your gathered pieces as we did in my last two posts, until you have something to your liking.

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I found an awesome new glue last week. It looked like it would work great on a lot of the projects I do, so I grabbed a tube to try. Otherwise I would have used E6000 or another silicone glue.
Stack your design loosely on the rod. Stand the rod in a heavy bottomed bottle or a bucket of sand. With a toothpick, apply a liberal amount of glue inside the shaker lid tip and around the nut. Push the shaker lid up firmly over the nut.
Apply more glue to the threads of the lid and screw the glass shaker on solidly. Gently push the rest of the pieces up to the shaker and tighten the nut. Leave to dry overnight. Don’t worry about getting everything lined up perfectly at this point, the important thing is for the glue to dry. After it’s dry, you can loosen the bottom nut a bit to center things up if needed.

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There! Enough of the garden stakes, for this year anyway. Thanks for bearing with me as I worked through my obsession.
Just a reminder, glass and metal expand and contract at different temperatures, so please store them indoors during cold winter months. I stand mine in a bucket of sand, in the garage, through the winter so they don’t get iced over.
Now, moving on …..

 

 

Chandelier Garden Stake

There’s no doubt about it, the old world charm of the crystal garden chandeliers has me totally captivated! I’m not sure if its the beautiful results or the fun of making something so unique and striking with reclaimed and repurposed materials, but whatever it is, I’m hooked.

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After last month’s post, I was anxious to try a chandelier garden stake. After laying out all of my glass and lamp pieces to see what there was to work with, I noticed several glass pieces were votive/candle holders, small saucers, and odd pieces without a hole. Playing around with stacking the pieces is the funniest part of this project, so I decided to grab the drill and 1/2″ diamond core bit to drill holes in pieces before getting started.
There’s a bunch of videos readily available on You Tube or Pinterest about drilling holes in glass. It is pretty simple really, just a little time consuming. Besides being very mindful of safety issues with water and electricity, the most important thing to remember is to keep the glass wet and cool so it doesn’t overheat and break.

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Although the pieces are different, the garden stake is stacked and made on a lamp pipe following the same steps as in last month’s post, with one exception. Instead of marking it with tape and cutting it off, mark it with tape, add 8 inches, then mark it with tape again for cutting. The added length will fit into a piece of conduit.

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Because of the crystals dangling, I wanted the stake to have some height, so I cut a piece of scrap 1/2″ conduit, four foot long.
Approximately 1 inch from the top of the conduit, mark a spot for drilling. With a center punch, make an indentation on the spot. Drill a hole through the conduit with a 5/32″ bit.
Insert the 8 inch added length of lamp pipe into the conduit until you meet the hex nut. With the lamp pipe and conduit held firmly, drill through the conduit holes again. This step works best with two people, one to hold the conduit and one to hold the lamp pipe, as you drill through the second time. Run a small bolt through the holes and tighten on a nut.

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I noticed the hex nut didn’t cover the opening of the conduit pipe completely. I could have left it, but, didn’t like the look, so I added a flat, rounded edged lamp piece between the hex nut and conduit opening.
While holding the conduit in a vise, cut off the excess bolt length. Remove it from the vise, lay on a solid surface, and hit the cut bolt end with a hammer a few times to rivet it on.

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Replace your stacked pieces to the top of the lamp pipe, tightening when you screw on the finial. Once together, I found it helpful to stand the stake in a bucket of sand when adding the crystals. Pretty! Pretty!
No crystals? No problem! Garden Stakes can have a character and style all their own without the bling!

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