Sunday, October 16, 2016

Painted Glass Shade - A Metallic Makeover

Hi there!  Today, a little light fixture makeover that made a big difference in my room.

This project is kinda fun in that there are two 'before' versions.  Here's the story.

In my rustic Tuscon adobe house, there's a natural-log loft above the living room.  The two fixtures under there were not right at all!  But I wasn't sure what I wanted, so for years there they hung, looking like Cutesy and Kitsch (two of the lesser-known Dwarfs).


See what I mean?  Meh.  Not terrible, but just not in harmony with the wood elements.

Then recently, I found a couple of potentially nice, mass-produced fixtures on sale.


Hmm...maybe!  I liked the curvy branch base and the dark bronze color.  My hopes were high and I bought them.  My husband installed one, I stood back to look, and...

NOPE NOPE NOPE.  I hated it!  The ruffly glass mini-shades looked like those other guys, Silly and Wimpo.  And too starkly pale against the wood.

My poor long suffering husband took it down.  I almost marched those fixtures right back to the store.  Then I had a crafty little thought.

I took the glass shades off and hung them up outside.  Grabbed some dark bronze colored spray paint...

They got about four thin coats of paint.  Plus a light blast on the inside.

Now check out what a difference it made!


It almost looks like the shades are made of the fixture's bronze wrought iron, doesn't it?  I think it is awwwesome.  (And for realsies, it looks like it cost way more than I paid.)

Tip: if you're using hot incandescent bulbs, you should probably use a high heat spray paint (although colors are very limited with those), OR use glass paint from a craft/art supply store.  But for modern, low wattage bulbs, a basic good quality spray paint works just fine.

Have any of you ever tried painting a glass shade?  It never occurred to me before, but now it's definitely something I'm going to have fun with.  Point me to the nearest boring tulip shade and stand back!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Mystery Thing Revealed: Antiqued Silver Shield

Hi, all! Last week I posted a Guess The Mystery thing challenge. I wondered how many of you could identify the weird little found object in these upcycled necklaces:

The Mystery Thing is that silvery, oval shield-like item. Does it look a teeny bit familiar...or not? Take a sec to think about, fix your guess in your mind.

Okay, then - time to reveal The Thing. Ready...set...scroll!






I have to say, you people are hella smart. Comments on the challenge post were running about 90% correct! I am very impressed.





And the answer is...





It's the plastic shield that protects a stick of deodorant.

Did you guess it? If so, you are awesome. To everyone who commented last time: thanks for playing, guys!

Want to DIY? Here's a mini tutorial.

To adapt the shield for jewelry, you need one quick trick that allows it to lie flat when worn. It's this: use wire snippers to trim off a bit of the curve in back. Like so:

Next steps: I melted holes in the flanges, spray painted everything silver, and added two jump rings for attaching a necklace. Here's what it looks like in back so you can see what I mean.

See, not hard at all! After that, I had a delightful time embellishing with elephants, dragons and frogs.

For attaching the animals, I made some extra holes, strategically placed, and simply wired them on.

Since my teeny critters are made of rubber, I didn't trust adhesive to hold. More about these cuties in my next post...elephants, dragons and frogs, oh my.

See you then!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Guess The Mystery Thing: Blue Dragon, Silver Shield

Hello!  Ready for a new Guess The Mystery Thing challenge?  Come one, come all!  Test yourself against my fearsome powers of obfuscation!  

The challenge piece: this nifty dragon necklace.

Your mission: identify that silvery, shield-like setting surrounding the dragon.

Here it is naked, hung from three strands of peridot with pearls:

Looks familiar, right?  Or does it?  Bwah ha ha ha.

And hey, while I have you here, I have been trying to decide between two versions of the peridot necklace.  Should it be a leetle frog in a nest of greenery?

Or a tiny 3-D elephant?

Help me out!  Which would you choose?

Leave your guess and your vote in the comments.  Honestly, I'm not sure if this Mystery Thing is ridiculously easy or fiendishly difficult.  How quickly can you guys solve it?  I guess we'll find out!

Check out the thrilling reveal HERE!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Hand-Painted Denim Pendants

Hi again!  While I'm on the subject of recycled denim jewelry (see last week's post with roses made from blue jeans), I thought I'd show you an updated version of a different style of blue jean pendant.

Today's necklace is madly simple to make, hand-painted, and eco-fabulous.

Just paint and then Sharpie on a scrap of denim.  Like this...

And you end up with...cuteness!

There's a hidden bail in the back, made of felt.  In my original version, I used little metal nailhead studs to connect the pendant to the bail.

A really fun, casual chic look.  Here my sweet friend Kim models one so you can see it on.

In this new version, I used the same method as in my denim roses, i.e., a headpin with a flat spacer, like this:

The updated method allows for a fancier, flowery center...

I punched up the look with metallic necklaces, to echo those mixed-metal centers.

Okie dokie!  I hope you get inspired to grab your denim scraps and play.

Friday, August 26, 2016

No-Sew Recycled Denim Pendants - With A Hidden Metal Underwire!

Hello, my friends!  Today I have a fun and flowery upcycled jewelry idea to show you.  Denim rose pendants!

The unique thing about these roses: a secret metal structure underneath, that keeps the petals from drooping.  Just like an underwire bra!

Not that any of us know anything about underwire, no.  No droopy petals here.  We are all naturally perky.   But I digress.


My rose has four graduated circles as the main petals.  There are two hidden metal components to the structure.  Ready to learn the secret?  OK!

Support secret number one: the largest petal has an actual underwire.

To make it: referring to the photo above, poke four holes in your largest circle.  Thread craft wire through the holes.  Form a loop so the denim is slightly gathered.  Pinch one end of the wire tight to secure.  On the other wire end, make a small loop.

Support secret number two: stiffen the three smallest circles with my favorite stuff - aluminum duct tape.

Add a piece of tape to the back of each denim petal, then pinch them up in the center.

Flip them over and they now have subtle ruffles!  See?

To assemble the rose, first put a small flat spacer on a headpin.

Poke a hole in each petal and stack them onto the headpin.  Add a bead cap.

Add a scrap of denim, which will be the tiniest center petal.

Trim the headpin short.  Use round-nose pliers to twirl the wire down into the center.  Twist it as tight as it will go!

And huzzah, that is your finished underwired rose.

Here is the back.

Use that small wire loop as a built-in bail, to hang your pendant from a strung necklace.

My concept was to contrast the rustic denim pendants with  elegant semiprecious stones.  These are strung with natural quartz crystals, Czech crystals, lapis beads and freshwater pearls.

They look amazing dressed up or dressed down.  Aw, go on, you know you want to make one...and wear it like the natural-born Blue Jean Queen that you are.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Decorative Antiqued Silver Houses - From Recycled Cardboard

Once, long ago, I made some teeny little silver house ornaments, using recycled cardboard.  These new ones are a bit bigger, with a fresh technique and several different uses.  And...antiqued!

They can still be used as ornaments, but they are also fun turned into fridge magnets...

...or greeting cards...

...or standing up anywhere: your mantel, a side table, even the kids' room, hee hee.

They are eco friendly and so fun to make.  For tools, all you need are scissors, a pencil and wire cutters.  Materials:

-cardboard scraps
-aluminum duct tape
-double-stick tape
-shoe polish
-craft wire

Ready?  Here comes the DIY!

Cut a little house from scrap cardboard.

Roughly cut out a tiny a cardboard door and some windows.  They don't need to be straight or the same size!  Lay down short strips of double stick tape, then stick down the doors and windows.

Cover the front with duct tape.

Trim away most of the extra tape.  Cut slits at the corners so you can fold down the excess in back.  It will probably look something like this:

You can cover the exposed cardboard with more tape - but only if you plan on seeing the back.

Lightly burnish down the tape around the cardboard cutouts, using something rounded like a pen cap (or just your finger.)

Now to etch in the details.  Use a blunt pencil or a ball-point pen - very sophisticated tools, eh?  Outline the raised door and windows first.  Then add cross-hatched windowpanes, a doorknob and roof tiles.  Maybe a few bricks on the chimney.

Remember, you are going for cute and rustic, not precision architectural drafting.  Mistakes are okay.

Make a wire smoke plume, to look something like this:

(For the detailed smoke plume tutorial, go here.)

Bend some curves in the wire stem, and tape it to the back of your chimney like so:

And that, my dears, is a super cool shiny silver house!   Adorable.

If you like, you can stop right there.  I actually love the shiny silver version as-is.

But wait, there's more.  The antiquing step is next, and it's so simple.  Just rub on some solid shoe polish, then buff it out until you have the amount of antique finish you like.  See the difference:

To make an attached stand, cover a scrap of cardboard with silver tape, then attach it to the house with more tape forming a hinge.  Here you can see the stand in the mirror:

Here's one more thought I just have to share: a wonderful gift idea.  Make a replica of a real house, and present it to the owner!  Wouldn't it be awesome for someone moving into a new home?  Or a senior who is moving to a smaller place?  Yes, it would.

To make a replica house, refer to a photo of the house front, and approximate the main features with your cardboard cut outs.  Then proceed as above for a custom mini house!

Well, that's the dealio!  Hope you like it.

Thanks for coming by, friends; see you another day.

P.S. If you made one, what would you do with your mini house?