Category Archives: Upcycling

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

Fun at Perennial – a place, not a plant

Mary with two of her jewelry display boards that she built
Mary with two of her jewelry display boards that she built

Perennial is a non-profit community workshop and store with the mission of building a creative culture of sustainability and turning discarded items into valuable resources. As an artist and craftsperson who already is enthusiastic about using recycled materials, I was delighted when my friend Mary (pictured at top left) invited me to meet her there and try out one of the community workshop sessions.

I met Mary at a Creative Arts Fellowship last year and got to know her better at some subsequent events. Mary’s art and mine have a lot in common – we both like upcyling materials and taking apart old jewelry to make new. I enjoyed teaching a class with Mary recently at one of her Women’s Upcycled Jewelry Jams. I’m looking forward to more opportunities for Mary and I to collaborate. A gifted artist and teacher, Mary creates under the name Sanctified Studios.

I knew I’d love Perennial after being in there for about two minutes! Seeing all the nice work space, supplies and tools was exciting but what really sold me was the console stereo! Clearly my retro-loving, thrift-shopping, dumpster-diving self was going to feel comfortable here.

Look at all those wonderful woodworking tools!
Look at all those wonderful woodworking tools!

At my first work session I cut up some wood for an upcoming class I’m going to be teaching on building garden pollinator houses. Then I put together a wood tray that I’ll be finishing and writing about later.

You can become a member of Perennial to access the work space and use the tools when they hold open sessions. Different levels of membership also give you discounts on classes and other events. Perennial accepts donations of materials. You can trade or purchase some of the materials for what you think is a fair market value. They also make craft kits that are for sale in the shop.

Some of the supply stash on the left and the sewing area on the right.
Some of the supply stash on the left and the sewing area on the right.

Art and crafting can often be lonely activities. Working around other artists is really healthy for social interaction and for the stimulation of being around new ideas. I’m looking forward to many happy times while I enjoy my new membership!

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

Upcoming class: Make an Antique Key Necklace

Make an Antique Key Necklace
Make an Antique Key Necklace

Make an Antique Key Necklace

Decorate an antique look key with faux pearls and crystals! I’ll show you how to select and assemble components and attach your key pendant to a chain or cord. Suitable for beginners. All materials are included and jewelry tools are available to borrow. Each class attendee will receive a printout with a written tutorial for that class so if you forget anything we learned you can refer back to it later.

NEW! At each class, there will be at least one door prize randomly awarded to an attendee – probably a craft supply item of some type that relates to the theme of the class. Past prizes have included a necklace kit, a polymer clay frame kit and a craft stencil. That’s my way of saying thank you for coming!

What to bring
It’s not necessary to bring anything, but if there are any special beads and charms you want to add to the necklace please bring them.

What will be provided
Antique look keys, faux pearls, crystal beads, chain, jewelry findings, jewelry pliers.

Make an Antique Key Necklace
Date: September 24, 2016
Time: 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Location: Strange Folk Festival
Lafayette Square, Space TBD
St. Louis, MO, 63104

Class Signup

Image Transfers on Wood Jewelry

Image Transfers on Wood Jewelry
Image Transfers on Wood Jewelry

Class Info
Make amazing lightweight pendants by transferring found images onto wood. You will be supplied with the materials to make four pendants and two necklaces (one chain and one cord) for wearing your interchangeable pendants. You will learn the basics of transferring images with gel medium and attaching a clasp to a cord necklace.

Each class attendee will receive a printout with a written tutorial for that class so if you forget anything we learned you can refer back to it later. Jewelry tools will be available to borrow during the class and some tools and supplies will be available to purchase if you want to continue working on your own.

The class time is kind of long but the pace won’t be hectic – there will be breaks while we wait for things to dry. You will have time for lunch and there are lots of good places to eat or pick up food in downtown Maplewood.

NEW! At each class, there will be at least one door prize randomly awarded to an attendee – probably a craft supply item of some type that relates to the theme of the class. Past prizes have included a necklace kit, a polymer clay frame kit and a craft stencil. That’s my way of saying thank you for coming!

What to bring
It’s not necessary to bring anything but it’s a good idea to wear old clothes in case there is a paint mishap. You can bring or buy snacks or lunch. We have a refrigerator for storing food.

What will be provided
I will provide wood pendant blanks, paint, gel medium, images, findings and parts for four pendants and two necklaces, tools to borrow during class.

Image Transfers on Wood Jewelry
Date: July 2, 2016
Time: 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Location: Studio:art, 7403 Manchester Road, Maplewood, MO
More information and registration: Class Signup

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

On my work table right now: cuff bracelet prototypes

I’ve been working on some prototypes for cuff bracelets made from upcycled fabric, ribbon and faux leather. I’ve had a lot of fun stitching ribbon to tubes made of fabric and pieces of faux leather. I’m embellishing some with beads and buttons. My next step will be working out how to finish the backs and attach snap fasteners. So much fun!

Cuff Bracelet Prototypes
Cuff Bracelet Prototypes

A Road Trip Journal for Dad – Part 2

For this past Father’s Day I made my Dad a blank 6 x 6 journal for a trip we took to Toronto and New York City. Dad wrote notes about our activities in the journal during the trip and we are slowly filling the book in with photos. I’ll be sharing some of my favorite layouts as we go.

Because the pages are 6 x 6 inches, I’m using a smaller than normal photo format. Using Photoshop, I am making 4 x 6 inch photo montages that I am having printed at a local drug store. I cut the prints apart and end up with images that are small enough to fit several on a 6 x 6 page. We took a LOT of photos and I’m adding a lot of embellishments, so this book will probably eventually turn into several books.

Two page spread of 6 x 6 scrapbook pages that use discarded photo negatives as a decorative accent.
Two-page spread of 6 x 6 scrapbook pages that use discarded photo negatives as a decorative accent.

A client of mine threw out a bunch of old photos and negatives, so I saved some of the interesting ones to use in mixed-media artwork. The tiny negatives shown above have nothing to do with the subject matter of these two pages shown here but they are so small you can’t tell and I was intrigued by them as a design element. I decided to include some on these pages attached by tiny brads.

To unify the look of the pages, I downloaded some free digistamps and altered them into a frame graphic which fit my printed photos. I had the frames printed out on clear transparency film and layered the film over my photos with more of the brads. The “Beautiful” stamp and the decorative papers I used are from 7gypsies and the other rubber stamps are from my own Carolyn’s Stamp Store collection.

Links to some of the products I used:

Tim Holtz Idea-ology Mini Fasteners

Months of the Year Rubber Stamps

Photo Caption Word Stamps for Road Trips

Year Numbers Stamps 2