Category Archives: Tutorials

Make a Storage Box Out of Recycled Mat Board

 

storage box out of recycled mat board

When matting artwork, it’s common to have a lot of mat board scraps left over. I had a number of scraps that were large enough to make small open top storage boxes. If you would like to make one similar, here is how I did it.

You will need:
5 square mat board pieces of equal size
An assortment of collage papers
An assortment of tools for decorating paper – I used stencils, rubber stamps, paint, printmaking ink, markers and colored pencils
Yes Paste
Clean scrap paper
Bone folder or Squeegee multipurpose tool
Old credit card or your favorite glue-spreading tool
Acrylic medium
Paint brush
Tim Holtz Idea-ology Metal Box Corners – they come in a package of 8 and you’ll need 4 corners per box
Pencil
Awl
Chunk of old wood
Metal corner braces
Old belts or strips of leather or faux leather
Metal brads

First take your five mat board pieces and decorate both sides with collage papers combined with the paper embellishing techniques of your choice. Use water resistant inks because you’ll be applying acrylic medium over your collages later. Yes Paste is my favorite glue for sticking down large pieces of paper that have to look flat and free of wrinkles. I apply the glue with a credit card to get a nice thin layer then after laying down the paper piece I’m gluing I put a clean piece of scrap paper on top and burnish with a bone folder or Squeegee tool to get a tight, flat seal.

While working on this project at Perennial, another member asked me where I get my paper ephemera. The short answer to that question is that I’ve been collecting papers since the year I first got turned on to making collages – 1985! A more involved answer is to suggest some of the following sources of interesting papers:

  • Old magazines and catalogs.
  • Is someone you know doing some major cleaning? Offer to help in exchange for keeping interesting papers. This is a good way to get old graphic design samples, newspapers, books, maps, photos, negatives, stamps, envelopes, tickets – all kinds of neat stuff.
  • Purchase some reproduction ephemera from a craft supplier.
  • Save your art and paper craft “failures” and experiments. Whenever you have extra paint or ink, add a little more embellishment to your scraps until you get something you like. Toward the end of this article are examples of some great results I got using this method – Fun With Stencils.
  • Check thrift stores, estate sales, garage sales, flea markets, etc.
  • Shop a teachers resource recycling center like Leftovers, etc.
  • Make your own with any paper technique that you like, or a combination of techniques, such as rubber stamping, stenciling, painting, printing, making paste paper, rubbings, handmade paper, computer printouts, cyanotypes or drawing.
  • Use the decorative paper pads commonly sold for scrapbooking. There are designs for every taste and decorating style.

When you are satisfied with your designs, brush both sides of your mat board pieces with acrylic medium for durability and let dry.

Next start assembling your box from the bottom up, using the box corner hardware and the metal brads included in the package. Use a pencil to mark where the holes go and punch out the holes with an awl. An old chunk of wood is handy for protecting your work surface from the awl point. Be carful with the awl and aim it away from yourself while pressing down and through. Push brads through holes and spread the tines from the inside of the box to assemble the four bottom corners.

At this point the top four corners are loose and flapping so you’ll need something to stabilize them and keep your box shaped like a cube. At Perennial I rummaged through the spare hardware bins and found a couple of metal corner braces which worked wonderfully when attached with brass brads. There were only two available so I looked for something else for the other corners. You can buy metal corner braces at a hardware store and use them on all four top corners if you like.

Storage box with pieces of old belts on the corners
Storage box with pieces of old belts attached to some of the corners with metal brads

At Perennial there is a box of old belts and belts have holes! Idea! I selected some to cut down and use on the other corners. Attached with brads, they work well with the “grunge” look of my boxes. If you lack old belts, you can use a variety of materials that can be cut into strips and have holes poked in it – plastic from old lids, scraps of faux leather, scraps of real leather, thin metal – what do you have lying around that you want to try?

How to Raise Mealworms For Your Backyard Birds


Mealworm larva, pupae and adult

Life stages of the mealworm beetle in my hand – one larva, two pupae and one adult

Late winter and early spring are good seasons to attract desirable bird species to your yard. Birds are not brooding eggs yet because they need to wait until later in spring when there is enough insect food to feed their young. However, they are now engaged in, well, getting engaged! In other words many birds are scouting out nest sites and selecting mates if they haven’t done that already. Some of the most sought-after backyard bird species are heavy insect eaters. Raising live mealworms is so easy, I started by accident!

Read more on the Schnarr’s Hardware blog:
How to Raise Mealworms For Your Backyard Birds

How to recycle candle scraps and stubs

Votive candles made from scraps of old candles
Votive candles made from scraps of old candles

To learn how to make interesting candles out of old candle scraps and stubs, read my new article on the Schnarr’s Hardware blog – Make Old Wax Candles Into New Candles

Make Four Different Valentine Cards

I have four free templates you can download to make these card designs!

Tool and Supply List:

Cardstock
Clean scrap paper
Bone folder
Metal ruler
Craft knife (X-Acto or something similar)
Palette (could be a real ink palette or plastic lid, piece of freezer paper, etc.)
Cutting mat
Pencil
Eraser
Rubber stamps (Valentine themed, postal themed, alphabet stamps)
Stamping ink pads and re-inkers in the following colors: Black, dark brown, rust brown, red, lt. ochre, hot pink, lt. gray, lt. tan
Acrylic stamp mounting blocks
Scoring tool
Double-sided tape
Paper cutter
Heart shaped punches
Alphabet stencil (optional)
Markers (optional)
Colored pencils (optional)
Standard hole punch
Scissors
Decorative scissors with postage stamp perforation pattern or deckle edge pattern
Glue stick
Masking tape
Unused white plastic eraser with flat sides (like Magic Rub)
Small heart cookie cutter (for Card 4) or heart punch or stencil

vcard_4_web

Card 1 – Faux Postage Valentine

    • Download template “Faux Postage Valentine” and print out on cardstock if you are able, otherwise print on text-weight paper.http://www.carolynsstampstore.com/catalog/members/valentines_2016_1.pdf
    • Cut out the two viewfinders and if you printed out the template on text-weight paper laminate to scrap cardstock or chipboard with a glue stick for durability. Cut out the two centers and keep for tracing.
    • stamped_strips_webStamp background stamps in a variety of light to medium colors on light colored papers. For my samples I used inks in the neutral range on pastel and neutral papers.
    • Use the viewfinder labeled “Viewfinder for inner piece” and trace in pencil on the backs of your stamped pieces a number of rectangles for the inner pieces. Make more than you need in case you make any stamping mistakes and need extras. Cut out pieces.


inner_pieces_web

    • Choose ink colors for the edges of the inner pieces. Squirt a little ink onto a palette and use your flat-sided eraser to apply to all the edges. A color of medium intensity or darkness is a good choice.
    • Next we will be adding the letters L, O, V, and E to these pieces. An easy way is to stamp the letters with alphabet stamps in black.
    • A variation is to stamp a plain heart stamp in red and pink in the pieces first then stamp a smaller alphabet set in black. Make sure the heart ink is dry first before stamping the letters or the ink may blur (see below).


vcard_1_web

    • Another option if you want to use a smaller stamp set is to stamp hearts in brown then glue on heart shaped punch-outs that have been stamped with letters in black (see below).

vcard_2_web

    • If you have an alphabet stencil in the right size range you could also add the letters by tracing with marker and coloring in with marker and colored pencil. Markers can make some rubber stamp inks smear so test first before coloring (see below).

vcard_3_web

  • Next select some patterned papers that would make good edges for your lettered pieces. This is a good way to use up some scraps if you have them in harmonious colors. Use the viewfinder labeled “Viewfinder for edge piece” and trace in the window in pencil on the backs of your patterned papers. cut out an assortment of rectangles with patterned scissors – stamp perforation and deckle edge patterns are particularly effective for simulating the look of a postage stamp. See what inner pieces look best on which outer pieces and glue down when you’ve made your choices.
  • Arrange your letter pieces on a piece of scrap paper and stamp some accents with small stamps that reinforce the postal and Valentine themes.
  • Choose a piece of cardstock that would make a good ground for your card and cut it into an 8″ x 5.25″ piece. Score it down the middle and fold in half. Flatten well with bone folder.
  • Choose a background stamp that is about 3″ wide and stamp it on the front of the card at an angle according to the sketch. If you don’t have a suitable background stamp you can glue on a piece of decorative paper instead.
  • Cut a 1″ wide strip of light colored paper with decorative scissors and glue it across the card front according to the sketch. Trim off the edges.
  • Glue down letter pieces on front of card as indicated on sketch.
  • Stamp a faux postmark in a dark color at the upper right, or a different stamp that fits the theme if you don’t have a postmark stamp.
  • If you like, stamp a credit stamp on the back of the card.

Card 2 – Valentine With Three Postal Collages

trimmed_card2_web

  • Download and print out template.
    http://www.carolynsstampstore.com/catalog/members/valentines_2016_2.pdf
  • Cut out and make viewfinders as you did for the first card.
  • tag_bg_webTake half of an 8.5 x 11 piece of cardstock and stamp all over in a light neutral color with stamp that fits a Valentine or postal theme.
  • Glue down four real Love themed postage stamps. If you don’t have any real stamps you can make some Valentine Faux Postage or use Valentine themed stickers. Some faux postage is here: http://www.chasenfratz.com/wp/valentine-faux-postage/
  • Punch eight small hearts out of variety of paper scraps in harmonious colors and glue down.
  • tag_collage_bg_webStamp a variety of postal and Valentine themed stamps in a medium color such as rust brown. This type of collage can be used in a variety of projects so while you have all the parts out you might want to make several collages.
  • Use viewfinder to choose and cut three pieces (1.25 x 1.5 in) out of your collage.
  • Glue these onto three pieces of paper (1.5 x 1.75) cut out with decorative scissors.
  • Stamp edges in a dark color with the flat sided eraser.
  • Highlight with postal themed stamps in a dark color.
  • Choose a piece of cardstock that would make a good ground for your card and cut it into an 8″ x 5.25″ piece. Score it down the middle and fold in half. Flatten well with bone folder.
  • Glue a 5.5 in x 2.25 in piece of decorative paper across the front of the card.
  • Stamp a border accent stamp above and below the paper strip. You could also use a sticker or a rub-on.
  • Glue your collages down.
  • Stamp credit stamp on the back if you want to.

Card 3 – Valentine Tag Card

Valentine Card by Carolyn Hasenfratz

  • Download and print out template.
    http://www.carolynsstampstore.com/catalog/members/valentines_2016_3.pdf
  • Cut out tag and envelope templates.
  • Trace tag onto back of collage and cut out tag piece. Punch a hole where indicated.
  • threetags_webStamp edges of tag with dark colored ink with a flat eraser on both front and back of tag.
  • Stamp around hole in a dark color with small heart stamp or a circle stamp if you have one.

  • iloveyou_tag_webStamp a light colored heart on the back of the tag followed by a sentiment in a dark color.
  • Tie a piece of string or ribbon onto tag.
  • Choose a piece of cardstock that would make a good ground for your card and cut it into an 8″ x 5.25″ piece. Score it down the middle and fold in half. Flatten well with bone folder.
  • Cut a 1″ strip of decorative paper and glue it down the left side according to sketch. On this strip or any of the other paper strips you can use decorative scissors if you want to.
  • Cut out a wider strip of contrasting paper and glue it down at an angle across the top of the card.
  • Cut out another 1″ wide strip in a light color and stamp a sentiment on it. When ink is dry, glue in the middle of the wider angled strip.
  • Use pocket template to trace on decorative paper and cut out. Trim if needed and burnish glued pieces well.
  • Fold down flaps on pocket.
  • Trace the small heart cookie cutter with pencil (or use a punch or a stencil) and cut a small heart shape out of the front of the pocket.
  • Put double-sided tape onto flaps, trim if needed. Press pocket down on the front of the card. Burnish with bone folder with a piece of clean scrap paper between.
  • Stamp the back of the card with a credit stamp if you want to.
  • Slide tag into pocket.

Card 4 – Collaged Heart Card

vertical_card_4

  • Download and print out template.
    http://www.carolynsstampstore.com/catalog/members/valentines_2016_4.pdf
  • Cut out the two hearts on page 2 to use as templates.
  • Make a collage of Valentine themed paper scraps on cardstock.
  • Cut a heart shaped piece out of your collage using the inner smaller heart on the template as a guide.
  • Choose a piece of cardstock that would make a good ground for your card and cut it into an 8″ x 5.25″ piece. Score it down the middle and fold in half. Flatten well with bone folder.
  • Choose a piece of decorative paper that contrasts well with your collage and the background of your card. Trace around the larger heart and cut out.
  • Glue the smaller heart onto the larger heart and glue all to the front of the card.
  • Trim card and stamp the back of the card with a credit stamp if you want to.

Build a Mosaic Plant Stand

Finished mosaic plant stand

In this article I’ll show you how to make a stand to show off a special container plant. Raising a planter off of its surface can really enhance the appearance of a single specimen or help you create an attractive container plant grouping by providing elevation to some containers. Such a stand may also help protect the surface underneath by allowing air circulation under the pot so the surface can dry out between waterings. This stand is designed for both indoor and outdoor use. It is designed to let water from the plants run off, rather than catching it. This stand can also be used as a sturdy trivet indoors or outdoors.

Read more on the Schnarr’s Hardware blog – Build a Mosaic Plant Stand

Stencil a Sofa Shelf Made From Distressed Wood

Sofa shelf made from distressed wood
Sofa shelf made from distressed wood

I had a lot of fun using stencils that I cut to decorate a piece of distressed wood. I made the plank into a shelf for behind my sofa. My living room looks a lot better and I have more room to display some of my favorite plants and Mid-Century Modern collectibles.

Read about it on the Schnarr’s Hardware blog:
Stencil a Sofa Shelf Made From Distressed Wood

Decorate a Terra Cotta Plant Pot with Acrylic Paint and Stencils

Terra cotta pots decorated with paint and stencils

Painting and stenciling terra-cotta pots is a fun and inexpensive way to enhance your patio or garden decor. Younger and older crafters alike can join in. Small decorated pots can be used as party favors. Medium-sized pots might provide the base for a table centerpiece. A large pot could function as a gift basket that you can fill with items for a loved one who likes gardening. Gardeners can always use extra small items such as gloves* (they tend to wear out with regularity), seeds*, bulbs*, bug repellent*, gardener’s soap, hand lotion*, sunscreen*, lip balm* and plant tags*. You can also throw in a gift card* so they can get exactly what they want!

To learn how, read my article on the Schnarr’s blog: Decorate a Terra Cotta Plant Pot with Acrylic Paint and Stencils

Make a Seed Packet Bouquet

A bouquet of seed packets

Here is a way to give a bouquet of flowers that is a little different from the usual! Mount seed packets on skewers in a vase for a festive gift. Such arrangements can also be used for table centerpieces or party favors.

Tools and Materials

Packets of seeds, either purchased or handmade

Seed packet holder templates
Laminating sheets (optional)
Scissors
Cardstock
Cutting mat
X-acto or craft knife
Metal ruler
Pencil
Double-sided tape
Small hole punch
Wood skewers (available in grocery stores)
Decorative paper flowers
Needle tool or awl
Decorative flower-shaped brads

1. Download the template Seed Packet Holders. It includes two holder templates. Cut out and if you like, laminate for durability.

2. Use the template that is the correct size for your seed packet and cut out a piece of card stock of a color that is harmonious with your seed packet. Fold it in half.

3. Lay the holder piece flat on your cutting mat and place the template over it. Cut four diagonal slits through both your template and the front of the seed packet holder. When you use the template again, if you like you can draw lines through it with a pencil to indicate where to cut on the front of the holder.

4. Push a wooden skewer through the back of the holder so that the blunt end of the skewer ends up inside the holder butted up against the fold. Tape in place.

5. Slip your seed packet into the front of the holder and poke a hole with a needle tool or awl in the holder piece at each corner of the seed packet.

6. Take four small paper flowers in colors that go well with your seed packet and position them inside four larger paper flowers. Poke a decorative brad through each flower to make a flower center. Push the brads through the holes in each corner and fold brads over on the back. If you can use the brad tines to help hold the seed packet in place as you spread them that is a bonus.

7. Put double sided tape along the sides and bottom inside your holder. Fold the front down and press halves together.

8. Arrange your packets in a vase. You’re done!

Spring Faux Postage #2

Card and envelope decorated with spring faux postage

Fake “postage stamps” are a lot of fun to make and are good decorations for greeting cards or mail art!

Make the Template

Tools and Materials
Square Faux Postage Template PDF or Rectangular Faux Postage PDF
Acetate
Tape
X-acto knife or Mat knife
Self-healing cutting mat
Metal Ruler

1. Download and print out one of the faux postage templates.

2. Tape a piece of acetate over the printed template.

3. Using a metal ruler as a guide and with the self-healing cutting mat underneath, use your mat knife or X-acto knife to cut out the squares on the template. You will cut through both the acetate and paper layers as you do so.

4. Remove the paper from the acetate. Now your template is ready to use.

Make the stamps

Tools and materials
Dye-based rubber stamping ink
Light colored cardstock
Colored pencils
Faux postage stencils
Sponges
Water container
Palette
Rubber stamps in a spring theme such as flowers and butterflies
Word rubber stamps for backgrounds
Tiny faux postage rubber stamps or other tiny word and number stamps
Decorative edging scissors
Heat tool

1. Tape a piece of light colored cardstock down on your work surface. Tape your acetate faux postage stencil in place over it, hinging it at the top with tape so you can lift the acetate between steps.

2. Squirt a few light analagous colors of rubber stamping ink on a palette. For example, light yellow, ochre yellow and light orange, or light pink and light peach. Sponge these colors inside the openings in the stencil while blending. Try to get the colors lighter toward the middle and darker toward the edge.

3. Lift the acetate (this is so that you don’t melt the stencil) and dry well with a heat tool. Stamp a word stamp as a background in a light taupe or light tan color. Dry the ink again.

4. Outline the inside edges of each opening with an analgous color of colored pencil – for example orange with the yellow inks, magenta with the pink inks.

5. Select a stamp for the main part of your image and stamp it toward the middle of each opening in burgundy ink.

6. Select some tiny faux postage stamps and stamp them in black around the edges.

7. Cut stamps apart with a decorative paper-edging scissors.

Following are the stamps I used in each sample.

faux postage with butterflies

The background stamp is by Stampington. Butterfly stamps are from 7gypsies then in black I stamped the following stamps from Carolyn’s Stamp Store:

faux postage with flowers
The background stamp and flower are both by 7gypsies. In black I stamped the following stamps from Carolyn’s Stamp Store:

faux postage with flowers
The background stamp and flower are both by 7gypsies. In black I stamped the following stamps from Carolyn’s Stamp Store:

faux postage with bee
The background stamp, bee and Fig. 13 are by 7gypsies. In black I stamped the following stamp from Carolyn’s Stamp Store:

If you would like to read my first spring postage tutorial, here is a link:
Spring Faux Postage