Embellished Painted Mason Jar Fall Decor

I’m so excited! There’s a big 3 day happening in Central Iowa this week-end.  If you like treasure huntin’ and junkin’, you won’t want to miss this one.  Check out @Back Roads Junk-it Trail to print off a map of all the wonderful places to go, and join in the fun!!

My Thanks to @Gypsy’s Alley, in Nevada, Iowa, for graciously accepting me as a new consignee recently so I can participate in the event.

I have a few gourd projects to finish up, and some cool junk pieces to load up too, but, stained glass leaf sun catchers, garden stakes, and garden chandeliers have already been delivered. Its a good thing I was in a hurry when I stopped by to make a delivery the other day.  The place was filled to the hilt with so many new things, and awesome displays, that I know I would have spent the whole morning there and surely brought home more than I took!

With re-purposed and painted Mason jars being so trendy these days, and with a little time to spare, I thought I’d make a little fun Fall decor to take too.

Last spring, I had saved some jars because they were embossed with a small checkered design on three sides, and had a smooth front, which I’m assuming was probably for a label.  I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with them, but I liked the texture, and remember thinking the front might offer a nice surface for a tiny mosaic.

After rethinking it a bit, I still liked the idea of a design on the front, but scratched the idea of a mosaic with grout, and choose to go with a fused glass tile instead.

I measured the smooth surface on the front to determine the size of the clear glass tiles I wanted, then drew a simple leaf pattern to fit on top of the tile piece.  My drawing skills are not what they used to be, so this was definitely the most difficult part of the project for me. You could also find a pattern to trace if you like.

I picked out some fall colors of glass, and cut and ground them to fit my pattern. I had three jars, so I changed the leaf colors around so they were not all the same. All of the pieces were cleaned, then fired in a tabletop kiln, up to 1700 – 1750 degrees, just until the edges were rounded.  My glass was all 96COE, but it doesn’t have to be.  The only pieces that need to be COE compatible would be the middle leaf and small brown dots, nothing else is fused together.

20160910_143910  20160915_133804

20160910_144110  20160910_162555

20160910_140347

Wanting my jars to be dark brown, I waited until I could take a piece of fired brown glass to town to match it.  A brown spray paint would work too, but I opted to have a small sample sized can mixed for about $3.00.

Each jar was washed and given a quick wipe of alcohol, then painted with a foam brush.  I did 4 coats for nice coverage. In between coats, I wrapped the end of the brush in a baggie and clipped it closed, so I only had to use one brush.  After the jars were completely dry, they were speckled white.  Once the speckling was dry, they were sprayed with clear matte sealer. Even though the paint is sealed, they may still scratch easily, so handle gently.

20160915_143930  20160915_144209

20160918_124024  20160923_130905

A fired leaf arrangement was traced inside the traced shape of a clear glass tile. Remove the leaves and replace the clear tile in it’s place over the leaf tracing. Following the traced pattern, glue leaf pieces in place with E6000.  Let dry completely.

20160922_130304  20160922_131032

Lay a dry tile on the front of the jar to determine where your leaves will be located before gluing. For the best adhesion, scratch off a very small amount of paint in the areas that the leaves will cover.  Put a small dab of E6000 on the scratched areas, lay the tile in place, and press down very lightly, obscuring the glue.  Be careful not to use too much glue or it will seep out beyond the leaf and be seen through the glass.  Let dry overnight.

20160923_131654  20160923_132631

Knot a length of raffia around the neck of the jar. Fill with fall flowers, a pretty napkin and tableware for an informal fall gathering, anything you like!

jars-2-feature

Gosh, I really like these colors … one of these may have to stay here …   Happy Fall!

 

 

Show Stopper Shadow Box DIY

This project actually began last November when I was looking for a storage box for the pear gourd wreath shown in my October 2015 blog post. The dried flowers were pretty fragile and I was a little leary about packing it away. That’s when I thought of a shadow box. Why not frame it as wall art?  I could make a box .. something eclectic… maybe a combination of scrapbook paper and aged mirror.

The biggest dilemma was finding a suitable box. Who knew finding a 10 x 10 x 2.5 inch box, with a lid, would be so hard?  I was even willing to buy a fancy box of chocolates, had the box been right. Sometimes, I get a bit antsy when I’m itching to do a project and can’t find just that certain thing I think I need. But, I’ve learned that a little patience goes a long way, and if I just wait, something always seems to show up.

My daughter and I were checking out the clearance aisles at Burlington Coat Factory last month. I wasn’t really shopping for anything, just entertaining my toddler granddaughter in the cart, when I saw a pile of magnetic clasped boxes on the shelf.  So unexpected, and more than PERFECT!  A clasp option would make the box easily accessible to switch out whenever you wanted.   I was reenergized, this was going to be fun!

DSC09455

With the clasp at the bottom, I measured in 5/8″ from the top and bottom of the lid, and 3/4″ on each side, to cut out a frame opening. Cut nice straight lines by running a sharp utility knife along a ruler’s edge. Seal the box with gesso. Let dry.

DSC00251  DSC00263

A 1/4″ sq. craft stick was mitered for the frame opening.

DSC00271

Trace the box on a piece of foam core board, and draw an arch at the top. Lie flat, on padding or cardboard, and cut out with a utility knife. Fill in rough edges of foam board with lightweight spackling. When dry, sand lightly to smooth. Seal board with gesso. Let dry well.

DSC00295  DSC00300  DSC00289

Paint the box, frame pieces, and foam board with black primer or craft paint. No need to paint where the box and foam board will be glued together. The second picture, below, may look a little strange, but the foam board will curl when painted.  I laid mine over a container, weighing each end down, past center, to dry. Once dry, I turned it over, laid it flat on my worktable, and weighed it down to flatten again. Trust me, please, it works.

DSC00316  DSC00368

I knew I had been saving a cool, striped C.J. Banks clothing sack for a reason. After smoothing it out with a warm iron, it covered the long foam board with no seams.

Place the foam board on top of the striped paper to center the stripes, and trace it with a pencil. Hold the paper up to a bright window, face down, and retrace your line on the back of the paper. This pattern line will help keep your stripes centered when gluing. Cut your pattern out larger, away from the line about 1 1/2″. Do not cut on the traced line.

DSC00389  DSC00394

Paper may stretch when wet. Wanting to achieve the smoothest surface possible, I glued and dried small sections at a time, using a plastic gift card and brayer to work out air bubbles.

Lay foam board face up. Beginning at the bottom, brush on a light, even coat of thinned white glue, going up about 3 or 4 inches. Turn the glued foam board over, and position it face down on the backside of the striped paper, within the retraced pattern line. Press it firmly in place, turn it back over, face up, and smooth out air bubbles. Weigh down to dry. Continue to glue until covered.

DSC00395  DSC00397  DSC00402

Use a fid, or paper folding tool, to wrap paper tightly around edges before gluing. Trim away excess paper for neat corners, and cut some darts around the arch. Glue and weigh down to dry. Glue may seep at edges, as a precaution lay a sheet of wax paper over the glued area before weighing down. A piece of light weight brown paper was added for a finished look.

DSC00415    DSC00424 DSC00437  DSC00452

Fortunately for me, my youngest daughter downsized recently, and stored a treasure trove of scrapbooking paper in my basement. I chose three patterns I felt would compliment each other and my wreath. Pieces were cut to the appropriate sizes to cover the surfaces of the box.

A little black and metallic gold craft paint was mixed together to match the papers. The mixture over the black base paint almost created an olive green tinge, an added plus!  I painted the front and back of the lid, the folds of the lid, all corners, edges, and frame pieces.

DSC00512  DSC00476  DSC00487

I love the look of aged mirror. I had a few pieces I had aged, with some of the backing completely gone, and thought bits of the decorative paper would look awesome peeking through them. I cut two pieces for the outer sides and a square for the inside.

The paper pieces were glued on with a thin layer of white glue. After they were smoothed and air bubble free, I clamped the mirror pieces and spare foam board pieces over them to ensure they would dry flat and stay smooth. Glue the paper accent on the arch and weigh down to dry.

DSC00523  DSC00538  DSC00537

Cut a thin piece of clear glass for the frame opening. Stand the box on it’s top and fold lid down flat. Position the glass on the inside of the lid, covering the opening. Slowly, lower the box down over the glass to make sure it fits inside the box and doesn’t hinder closing. Use small dabs of E6000 to glue the glass in place. Be careful not to use too much glue or it will seep to the front and you’ll have some cleaning to do. For cushion, and to help even out weight, lay a couple pieces of foam board across the glass before weighing with books to dry.  I squeezed small dabs of E6000 on the backside corners and edges of my mirror pieces, and clamped them on the papered sides while the glass was drying.

DSC00549  DSC00552  DSC00564

Gorilla Glue was used to adhere the foam board to the back of the box. Gorilla Glue swells as it dries, be careful not to apply it too close to the edge, it will seep out and get ugly.  Apply it to the backside of the box, in a thin line, at least 1/2″ away from the edge, and a few swirls in the center. Remembering to keep the clasp at the bottom, position the box very near the bottom of the striped foam board piece, leaving about 1/16″ of the stripes showing.

Squeeze small dabs of E6000, on the backside corners and edges of the square mirror piece and glue it to the inside of the box. Weigh it all down to dry. I found a smaller box that fit in, on top of the mirror, then weighed the box down. Let dry overnight.

DSC00589

I’m going to rely heavily on Gorilla Glue to hold prong hooks for hanging.  I bent the tops of the hangers out a little, before gluing, to accommodate a nail head. A sheet of wax paper was laid over the glued areas, before weighing it down to dry, so nothing got stuck and damaged the brown paper.

The frame pieces were held in place with painter’s tape. I removed them, one at a time, brushed on thinned glue, and clamped them down to dry. They shifted easily, so I waited until one was secure before moving to the next. You may have to touch up a little paint where you used painter’s tape.

DSC00596  DSC00606

To complete the look, an old drawer pull was added to snazzy up the arch.

The wreath was laid in the box, with small dabs of E6000 in a few places on it’s backside, where it touched the mirror, and left to dry overnight.

860 watermark   771 watermark   DSC00682 DSC00687

I’m pretty sure that shadow box making has just nudged it’s way onto my favorites list. I think the hanging element can be improved with a little more forethought, but, I am so pleased with the way this project turned out.  Although it was time consuming with all the gluing and drying, I believe it was worth it. Any time you can learn a little, have fun, and have something to show for it, is time well spent!  Don’t you agree?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Vintage Style Christmas Tree – Part Two

I thought it would be fun to make some colorful ornaments to brighten up my tree.  They are all pretty simple … System 96 glass with some noodles and stringers. I fired everything in my small tabletop kiln, on kiln paper. All of these were taken to about 1700 degrees. I like to watch the action through the little window so I don’t over fuse and get that muddled look.

There had to be a stocking, of course! I used two pieces of thin white for the stocking top.

DSC09644

Something circular would be nice, but not just solid and plain. I’ve found the easist way for me to save some grinding time, on something like this, is to drill the hole first. Then center the hole under your clear plastic pattern, trace and cut out.

How to combine glass and metal had me stumped for a little bit, until I noticed a pile of little bells I had laid aside to rust .. hmm? Wouldn’t it be neat if they could dangle in an ornament somehow? I started with 1/4″ wide strips of glass, and laid them out as shown below … it worked! I may have to make some of these on a larger scale for my big tree!

The little candy canes are time consuming, but so stinkin’ cute! These are 2 1/8″ long, and made the same way I make larger ones for patchwork candy canes. I’ve read many tips for keeping marks on glass while using a glass saw, but using my scribe and marker has never failed me.

After tracing your pattern, go over your line with a pencil scribe. You could probably use an electric engraver for this too, but I haven’t tried it yet. Fill in the scribe line with black marker and let it dry a little bit. Lightly wipe the marker off, leaving a noticeable line for saw work.

DSC09903 DSC09906 DSC09917

All of the cutting can be done on a ring saw, but I like to use a band saw to cut the inside line of the cane. Use a regular glass cutter to cut the outside line. On a ring saw, I shape and grind the inside arch and side of the cane first, then go to the glass grinder for the outside edge. Decorate and fire.

Joann Fabric had the perfect piece of fabric for my tree skirt. But, in all honesty, my sewing machine has not seen the light of day for probably two years. I don’t hate sewing, it’s just not in the list of my top 10 things I like to do. With that being said, I asked our close family friend Alison to make my tree skirt for me. Fantastic Job Alison!

My daughter graciously offered her collection of small glass vintage Christmas balls. They’re lovely, old and faded, and in all the right colors. I’m just guessing here, but I’ve seen her eyeing my garland .. She’ll probably want to borrow it next year to go with her Christmas balls. I know how these things work.

The bay window in my kitchen doesn’t offer much of beautiful view this time of year, just out buildings and empty fields. But it does offer a lot of light to shine through the beads and glass, and it will be safe from little curious hands.

I’ve never decorated one of these trees before. There’s a lot of empty spaces, and a little different with no lights, but I’m pleased with the way it turned out. It’s been raining here all day, really dreary. I’m looking forward to seeing it in a whole new light tomorrow.

It was not a good day to take pictures either, I’m afraid. I worked for hours trying to get a real clear shot of my tree. I added light from lamps, a snow blanket background over the window, nothing helped. I waited until dark and tried again. Sorry, they aren’t fantastic, but better than the earlier ones, and the best I have for now.

I invited some little elfish friends to play under the tree.

I hope you and yours enjoy a wondrous holiday season.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

 

 

 

 

My Vintage Style Christmas Tree – Part One

“Kitschy” – 1) A style of decorative art and design in which ordinary objects have vintage appeal, “old-fashioned” characteristics. 2) Art, decorative objects or design considered by many people to be ugly, lacking in style, or false but enjoyed by other people.

A lull in activity, last week, afforded me some much needed time to catch up on a few Christmas orders and start making a little something special for myself too!

Over a year ago, while making garden garlands, the vision of a smaller, beaded, Christmas garland began forming in my mind.  I could just see it draped on one of those little foil trees; not the bright silver one, but the darker, tarnished looking one.  Ideally, it would be glass and metal, with a vintage, bohemian, kitschy look.  But, although I had plenty of beads, crystals, and such, I didn’t have an outstanding metal element.  That was, not until I set eyes on a lovely old, tarnished silver necklace in a popular local shop, Reclaimed Treasures on Main, in Haverhill Iowa. It could not have been more perfect!  Isn’t it sweet?

DSC08871

I loosely draped a string around my tree, and measured it, to determine that my garland needed to be about 90″ long to look it’s best.

Not wanting to disassemble the necklace before having some sort of plan, I laid out a mess of beads and baubles, in the colors and sizes I thought I might use, and gave them a good look over.

DSC08893  DSC08909

I decided the best way, for me, to approach this project was to break it down into small steps, and watch my progress as I went along.

I removed the jump ring that connected the necklace ends together.

To add some length quickly, I linked together 9 beads that I liked.  There were enough beads to make six identical lengths, but I wasn’t really concerned about them matching exactly, I would have substituted some if needed.  I inserted one of these beaded lengths after every other solid orb in the necklace.

Most of my beads already had wires, which was a huge plus. If there wasn’t a wire, I robbed one from another bead or made one. Some reclaimed crystals were added between the other silver orbs, and two of the little floral ovals were moved to each end.

DSC08945  DSC08957

I loved the look of the grungy pearls, so I went back and added another one beside the small purple crystal beads.

Repeats of some of the beads I used were added to each end before going back and securing all the connections.

I thought I was done here, but as I was putting things away, I came across some awesome pale green pearls, and couldn’t resist tucking them in next to some of the red crystal beads.  Now, its finished, well … for this year anyway.  I have a sneaky feeling this piece will be a tempting one to keep adding to, don’t you agree?

DSC08963   DSC09403

garland with watermark    DSC09874

We’re not done yet, the real fun is just beginning!  There’s decorations to find, a tree skirt to make, and ornaments to get in the kiln.  I hope you’re able to join me as it all comes together this week-end for Part Two of My Vintage Style Christmas Tree….  Enjoy Your Week!