DIY

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How-to: Make Faux Chocolate Decoden Cabochons with Hot Glue

Published April 27, 2013 by kurolace

That’s right! Hot Glue isn’t just for fake sauces…. you can use it to make faux chocolate / candy cabochons for your decoden project! Its super easy and fast! And you only need a few supplies for it.

Glue sticks, molds, and glue gun

Glue sticks, molds, and glue gun

Here’s the list:

  • Opaque colored hot glue sticks (available at Hobby Lobby or on Etsy)
  • Glue gun (cool can be used, but medium/hot will give a better result – just make sure it doesn’t get hotter than the mold’s max temperature)
  • Silicon Rubber Mold (Made by you, or purchased – check out Etsy for a ton of sellers – remember simple shapes are best for this)
  • Sparkle / Glitter Nail Polish (optional)

You do need to make sure you are using a mold which can tolerate high temperatures. I think most silicon molds are good up to 400F. If it can be baked in the over, its probably okay.

There are two methods for doing this. The fastest way is to use the glue gun w/ glue stick to fill the mold. This works well with simple (smoother) shapes, especially if you are using a low temperature glue gun (the glue may start to cool before it can fill all the tiny details of a complicated mold).

I have yet to master the skill of holding the camera in one hand, and working with the other hand.

I have yet to master the skill of holding the camera in one hand, and working with the other hand.

The other way is to cut the glue stick into tiny pieces, fill the mold, and then place it in the oven. The Oven method can be used with more complicated shapes since the glue has more time to spread out. Set your oven to about 350F. Bake the mold with glue in it until the glue has completely melted and spread out in the mold.

Let the glue and mold cool completely, then pop the finished item out! If the glue overflowed anywhere, you can use a craft knife to trim it off.

I used a low temp glue gun, which is why there are so many imperfections. That's okay, because I can always cut them up and melt them via oven.

I used a low temp glue gun, which is why there are so many imperfections. That’s okay, because I can always cut them up and melt them via oven.

 

I had to change glue sticks half way through this, but otherwise it looks very much like a chocolate!

I had to change glue sticks half way through this, but otherwise it looks very much like a chocolate!

 

An optional step is to paint some glitter nail polish on the finished piece to add some sparkle.

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Kawaii Macaroon Charm Necklaces

Published April 26, 2013 by kurolace

Hi! Here are some macaroon charm necklaces I made using paper clay. Next time I think I’d use resin clay to try to give a little more weight to them (they are extreme light weight), and maybe try to make the macaroons a bit flatter…. I haven’t put these in my etsy shop yet, but I think I will… just cause I don’t know what I’d do with 6 necklaces like this, lol.  What do you think?

Handmade paper clay macaroons with little gem decorations...

Handmade paper clay macaroons with little gem decorations…

 

 

Etsy Finds: Nails

Published January 11, 2013 by kurolace

Hiya! I’ve been away for a while because I’ve had a rough week. A week ago I started having some weird feeling in my chest on the left side, and actually ended up going to the ER on Friday night / Saturday morning. They did an EKG and blood test, which all came up normal, and told me I was probably having anxiety or something… But then less than 24 hours later I had chills and a fever, and ended up in bed for like 3 days. I’ve gotten a little better, but still am getting a sensation of weight/pressure in my chest. I spoke with a nurse on the phone for a while yesterday, and she relayed all my symptoms to my doctor, who said it seems like I have a viral infection or something. It’s a week until I can actually go to the doctors office… so I am supposed to just rest and not go outside much until then.

I missed some work at the beginning of the week since I was still really weak, so now I have to work extra to make it up… So while dragging myself through the extra hours of work I decided to go on Etsy and enjoy some browsing. I had a few search terms of course…. but I finally decided to do this post on the search term “nails.”

You’ll find that a lot of people sell nail stuff on Etsy these days. A few years ago, there wasn’t nearly as many people seeing acrylic sets or other nail items… I haven’t included any nail polish (which plenty of people are selling), but some other interesting nail items. 🙂

Holds about 144 bottles of polish!

Holds about 144 bottles of polish!

To start out with, I found some organizers. I don’t know about anyone else, but I have bottles of polish all over the place, lol. Especially around my computer, since that’s were I often paint my nails (while working, lol). But recently I’ve been thinking it would be nice to get a rack to store my polishes in. The nicest one I found on Etsy is the “Hanging wrought iron nail polish rack” from daisypam2011. I love the scroll work and elegant design. Its a bit out of my price range though, at $275. There are larger ones available as well.

This one holds about 27 OPI bottles.

This one holds about 27 OPI bottles.

Quite a bit more affordable is the “Petite ‘Nice Rack’ Floating Polish Rack” from BeautyPopShop. Its available in black or white and costs 25.  The petite rack is probably just about big enough for my current polish collection, but the shop also carries larger ones with different numbers of tiers. There are also some colorful racks available.

If you don’t have many nail polishes, perhaps you’d like to try your hand at Frankenfrankenkit Polishes? Making Franken Polish is particularly good for people who like glittery polishes… since that is the easiest way to Franken a polish. (Mixing colors is a bit more tricky). I found this great “Franken Nail Polish Kit” from SillyLilyPolish. It would make a great gift for someone else, or for yourself! Its $35 and includes lots of different glitter, tools, and 15 mini polish bottles with clear “glitter suspension” polish  to make/store your creations in.

2mm Rhinestones are perfect for nails.

2mm Rhinestones are perfect for nails.

If you’re interested in doing 3d nail art, you’ll want to stock up on supplies like these 2mm Glitter Flatback Rhinestones from colorfuldaysdiy. There are 12 colors in a wheel-style case…2400 pieces for under $7! I like to add rhinestones to my nails, either to enhance a sticker or decal design, or just on their own. Just make sure you coat the whole nail with clear polish afterwards in you want the rhinestone to stay on a long time.

Ice cream, chocolate, and cake, oh my!

Ice cream, chocolate, and cake, oh my!

Polymer Clay slices are a popular design element on Etsy. You can find a huge range of them, pre-sliced, or sometimes in cane (un-sliced form). I prefer getting them pre-sliced and in the wheel storage boxes. I have some fruit ones, but there are a lot of other designs available. Check out these cute Food & Cake Slices from zacoo. There are ice cream cones, cupcakes, roll-cakes, and more. 120 pieces for $1.50. I would recommend using acrylic nail glue (which I never use to apply fake nails – but more on that another time) to attach these (over dried nail polish – use a clear coat if you have bare nails). The slices don’t like to bend to fit your nail, so they need that extra strength to keep them on.

Lots of other designs in the same store!

Lots of other designs in the same store!

Of course, if you are too lazy to do your own nail art, you can buy pre-designed acrylic nails. I have several sets of these from my favorite Etsy nail tech, nevertoomuchglitter. Her nails are top notch quality and she can do custom sets if you want them. The only issue for me is that the “active length” nails are too short to cover my natural nails, but the “medium length” are too long (particularly in the thumbs). But I think that “active length” is usually appropriate for most people. Check out the Alice in Wonderland Silhouette nails that she has hand painted. The set of 22 nails costs $10.

If you want to try making your own acrylic nails, you can buy the blanks on etsy.

Try your hand at nail art.

Try your hand at nail art.

The blank nails that are on a “spine” are easier to handle while painting than individual blank nails. Here is a Make Your Own Fake Nails kit from SweetenedWithLove. It includes 4 sets of nails with optional base coat painting, nail glue, and some two-sided nail stickers for temporary wear. $7

BTW…The nail stickers are what I would recommend for applying acrylic nails, because they don’t damage your nail – however, they do start to come off after only a day or two (depends on how often your hands get wet). The other option for temporary application is Ducato repeating nail glue, which you can buy from nevertoomuchglitter, as well as some other etsy sellers. Using these temporary adhesives means you can use the nails again and again.

Okay, thats all! Hope you enjoyed!

 

 

Christmas Gift for Dad – Embroidered Hankerchiefs

Published December 23, 2012 by kurolace

Here’s the gift I’m giving my dad this Christmas. He does actually use handkerchiefs, and asked for some new ones. I found some blank cotton ones at Sears in the men’s department. 6 in a box, Docker’s Brand. There were some fancier ones there too, with Monograms on them. Well since I have an embroidery machine, I figured, why not monogram them myself?

Of course, this was a learning experience and they didn’t come out perfectly. But none were ruined either! The main issue was centering the design… I couldn’t find my hooping aide / template thingy, so I sort of eyeballed it…. wrong, most of the time, lol. The other issue was that there is a decorative “ribbon” stripes on the handkerchief, and the pile was apparently different than for the rest of the hanky, so there were some stitch issues there too…

I don't particularly like 3 letter monograms, so I just used my dad's first initial.

I don’t particularly like 3 letter monograms, so I just used my dad’s first initial.

Next time I’ll try to plan ahead and either make some from scratch (which is kind of a pain, IMO), or buy the embroidery blanks type (special items meant to be embroidered). Then maybe it’ll go a little bit better!

New Embroidery Machine

Published June 28, 2012 by kurolace

This cat arrived packed perfectly – complete with Styrofoam bumpers. 😛

Hello 🙂 …

I’m afraid I’ve been absent for a while, haven’t I? Worry not, sweetlings, I still exist! Its just that the summer heat has hit in full here… and I am busy wilting most of the day 😛

Its been a bit over a week since my 25th birthday… which was back on the 15th. I feel so old saying that… What ever happened to 20? or 17 for that matter? …. Well, besides thinking depressing thoughts about how my life isn’t nearly what I hoped it would be by 25… I did have a nice day. We didn’t make much of a big deal out of it. My mom baked a delicious pineapple-upside-down cake, and we went out to a Japanese restaurant for sushi. Seeing as I don’t really have many friends here in my hometown, I didn’t do anything besides hang out with my family.  This year I completely failed to think of gifts that people could give me, so I ended up with all monetary gifts, which was just fine by me. After a lot of consideration, I finally decided to buy an embroidery machine.

Actually its a sewing-embroidery combo machine. The Brother SE-400. It only can do small (4x4in) embroidery, but that’s fine. The larger machines are significantly more expensive (like $2,000 plus), so I figured I’d start small and see if I even like machine embroidery enough to someday invest in a larger machine. So far I haven’t had much luck with using the machine… I am completely new to machine embroidery, so I’ve run into my fair share of newbie-errors. Also, accumulating all the necessary accessories has taken some time and an additional few hundred (the machine was $300).

I’ve already indulged in buying some cool goth-y embroidery patterns … so once I finally successfully complete one, I’ll post a few pics!

I’ve also been working on some sewing projects lately, including a tiered skirt and a flannel children’s blanket (shaped like a flower). I went on a bit of a fabric buying splurge and now my room is stuffed with bags of supplies again XD … If only I could have a little studio or craft room!

“Foolish Human, this is MY sewing project”

 

Other exciting news: I’ve finally decided to open an Etsy store! It will have the same name as my blog…. and I ordered some business cards yesterday! 🙂 In the next few days I need to get my act together and photograph some of my items.

 

Book Review: Crafty Superstar

Published May 5, 2012 by kurolace

Scan of the cover.

Author: Grace Dobush, 2009

Publisher: North Lights Books (Cincinnati)

ISBN-13: 987-1-60061-320-3

This book was an unexpected discovery I made one day while browsing the arts & crafts section at my local used/new book store.  I was actually looking for stitching patterns or crochet books, when I saw this book laying out in the book shelf’s “display” section. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about setting up an Etsy shop, or maybe doing some consignment arrangement, in order to sell a few of the many crafts that I’ve made. It was a used copy, and marked down 50% of its “new” price, so I went ahead and bought it.

While I haven’t read straight through it, cover-to-cover, I have browsed it extensively. Its a very useful and practical guide to setting up a small craft business. I particularly found the parts about branding, copyrighting, and pricing to be useful (although, for copyrighting, the book basically says “get a lawyer”, lol). The book is peppered with various “case-study” type examples collected from successful artisans. Additionally, there are multiple appendices filled with lots of useful links and information at the end of the book.

Here’s a brief summary of each chapter:

Chapter 1: Do you DIY?

This chapter discusses the handmade / indie trend’s history and popularity, as well as suggesting that you do some serious thinking regarding your expectations and motivations for getting into selling.

Chapter 2: Biz Basics

This chapter is focused on all of the small and big things that you need to take into consideration when naming, organizing, and running a small business. Topics include pricing, boosting production, organizing a workspace, and keeping track of income/expenses and legal issues like taxes and copyright.

Chapter 3: Selling Out

This chapter includes information about different ways to sell your products. For instance: online sites like Etsy vs craft shows vs consignment shops. It also talks about building a website and customer service, and even bartering your crafts for services and goods!

Chapter 4: Indie Craft Shows

This entire chapter is devoted to the notion of selling at craft shows, which, despite the rise of the digital era, is still probably one of the most popular and most utilized methods of selling crafts. The chapter talks about things like applying for shows, prepping products, creating displays, networking while at the show, and hosting your own show.

Chapter 5: Get Noticed

This chapter is all about marketing your business and building up a customer base. There are some suggestions about getting coverage in magazine and blogs.

Chapter 6: Finding Balance

This final chapter is about balancing your day job, family, and craft job, as well as maintaining your inventory. It has a few recommendations regarding either reducing your crafting business, or increasing it to a full time gig.

There’s also a brief Epilogue, and then the following appendixes:

  • Appendix A: Forms and Templates
  • Appendix B: Craft Communities
  • Appendix C: Awesome Craft Blogs
  • Appendix D: Craft-Friendly Publications
  • Appendix E: Small Business Resources
  • Appendix F: Reading List
  • Appendix G: Online Consignment Shops
  • Appendix H: Samples
  • Appendix I: Major North American Indie Craft Shows

In A Nutshell: I am happy with is book and it was totally worth the $18 original price (I paid $9 – so, double yay!). Sure, you can find similar information and suggestions online, probably for free – but I appreciate having it all together in one place. Its sorta like having check list to work on item-by-item. If you are considering selling your crafts and want to do something more than just a one-time craft show, then I think this book and a worthwhile investment. 🙂