Monday, May 30, 2011

Resin Bottle Cap Pendants

I made a ton of resin filled bottle caps a while back, and then promptly forgot to do anything else with them.  (Well, some didn't turn out well, so I probably "forgot" on purpose.) 

I pulled some of them back out a few weeks ago to turn into necklaces.  I think they came out pretty cute.  I am going to have to make more of them soon, but I always seem to drag my feet when doing resin-casting.  Probably because I have so many items NOT turn out, compared to the few that do.   




With All My Heart
(Heart image from The Graphics Fairy)

Bones and All
(Skull image from The Graphics Fairy)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Monday, May 2, 2011

Doctor Who Reverse Stencil Tote - with Mini-Tutorial

I recently Angeled in Round 5 of the Doctor Who Swap.  Since my partner had already waited so long for a package, only to be flaked on, I wanted to make her Angel package as quickly as possible, but with maximum adorability.  I decided to make her a stenciled tote bag with the TARDIS traveling through the Vortex on it. Instead of stenciling the TARDIS itself onto the bag in blue paint, I decided to instead get a blue tote bag and stencil & paint AROUND the TARDIS.  Here's a mini-tutorial of how I did it.
Start by finding a stencil shape that you like.  You will want to make sure that it has some details to cut from inside it to give the image some definition, and that it has a clearly defined outline.  I cannot seem to find the source for the exact stencil I used, but if I do, I will add a link here.

Next you will need a sturdy canvas tote.  I found this one at Hobby Lobby for just a few dollars.  They come folded up, so be sure to give it a good press with your iron, and don't be afraid to use some steam.  You really need to flatten out those fold lines or you won't get your stencil to stick as well as you would like.  Also, don't be afraid to iron it a few times, letting it sit for a few moments between pressings.  Wrinkles and fold lines in cotton can be tricky!  If you really can't get them out, then try this trick used by costumers:  Put equal parts distilled white vinegar and water in a small spray bottle, and give it a shake.  Spritz onto your problem wrinkles, then iron.  The vinegar helps relax the fibers, allowing them to press flat.  As for the vinegar smell, don't worry.  It will fade and disappear in no time.  Allow the bag to sit a few minutes to cool and dry out from any vinegar and steam.
 Figure out where you would like your TARDIS (or any other object you wish to stencil!) to be.  Be sure to remember that when you fill the tote bag with stuff, the bottom will be bulging, so those bottom few inches of fabric will actually be on the bottom of the bag, rather than the sides!
 Once you have your placement, go ahead and iron down your stencil.  Make sure to get into all the tiny corners and edges.  If they are not ironed down securely then you will have color bleeding around your image.

Now we're ready to do our first color of paint.  I chose to start with the windows and the light spilling out from the open door.  Give them a coat of white fabric paint.  If you don't have fabric paint, you can use craft paint, mixed with Fabric Medium.  (Which is found near craft paint in your local craft store.  Mix according to package directions.)  Depending on how dark your base fabric is, you may need to give lighter colors of paint more than one coat for good coverage.

Second color of paint!  Instead of a stark black, I chose to go with a very dark purple-black for the recessed areas of the TARDIS, as well as the Police Box sign.  With darker colors you generally only need one or two coats of paint for nice even coverage.
Now, while you've got the dark purple paint out, let's start the shadowy parts of the Vortex.  Use a piece of natural sea sponge to get irregular and organic shapes.  You may need to test this out a few times, and blot some of the excess paint off of your sponge before moving onto the fabric.  I recommend testing it on some brown paper.  I went with concentric circles of color, to show the twisting and turning of the Vortex, and left some space blank.
During all of this, be sure to be careful not to drip paint onto the white areas of your stencil!

Next, it's time to add some highlight to the Vortex.  I mixed up a light blue paint, and again added concentric rings, filling in the space I left last time.I went light on this coat, so that I could add in some metallic paint in the next step.
To give the tote more dimension and depth, I added a layer of metallic silver.  Instead of using a metallic paint however, I used the same light blue highlight paint, and added in Jacquard PearlEx Metallic Powder.  Go lightly over the highlighted areas, and blend some gently into the darker shadowy areas as well.  You want the colors to be layered and blended, not sitting in neat rows beside one another.
After a first light coat of silver paint, give it a few minutes to dry.  When the shine of the wet paint begins to dry, you will be able to see just how much of your metallic pigment is visible.  After letting it dry for a little while, be sure to turn the project, as the silver can look more or less heavy depending on how it catches the light.  If necessary, add another coat of metallic pigments.  Remember, you can always do a second coat, but you can't take off a coat that was too heavily applied.
Check back once you think you are done, and note any areas that might need touching up.  Once you are happy with your paint job, go ahead and let it dry completely.  After it is dry you can peel back the stencil.  It will likely rip into pieces, and this is normal.  You will not be able to re-use the freezer paper stencil.
Now, stand back and admire your new tote bag!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Doctor's Companion Charm Bracelet

A few months ago a poll was put up on the Jewelry & Trinkets board on Craftster, asking for suggestions for the upcoming J&T Challenge.  "Craft Your Favorite Book, Movie, TV Show or Song" won by quite a few votes, and I was super excited.  I knew what I wanted to craft the first time someone put the suggestion forward, and kept my fingers crossed that I would get to.  And so work began on my ode to my newest obsession, Doctor Who.

I fell in love with the Doctor shortly after crafting my TARDIS Matchbox for Spidermom in the Matchbox Swap and haven't looked back since.  I knew I wanted my bracelet to be a bit eclectic, full of bits and bobs of various origin, rather than a very homogeneous design and all standard charms. I soon started refering to it as my "Doctor's Companion Bracelet", or as the Doctor might say, his "Plus-One Bracelet".

The beads are a mixture of glass, crystal, and freshwater pearls in TARDIS blue, and the black of empty space, with a few clear AB crystals.  Overall the color palette was taken directly from the TARDIS itself, but it also reminds me a lot of the designs for the episode "Midnight", set on a dark and barren diamond covered planet.  The charms are a mix of Tibetan silver, pewter, and handmade bezels.  The clasp is a VERY sturdy lobster style clasp.  I had wanted to pick out something pretty and decorative, but being the Doctor's Companion does require an awful LOT of running, so I figured a secure clasp was better in the end.  :D

The charms include:
Hope Bead: "Oh, I always live in hope." - The Doctor
Star: Part of the wonders the Doctor sees in his travels.
Fob Watch: Also known as the Chameleon Arch, a pocket watch in which the Doctor can store his memories and personality, while becoming temporarily human.  “Martha, this watch is me!” - The Doctor, Human Nature (Handmade charm)
Two Hearts: My favorite alien has two hearts.  A condition which can save his life, but also lead to twice the sorrow when they are broken.  "Only one heart working... how do you cope like this?” - The Doctor, The Shakespeare Code
Planet of the Ood: Also called the Ood Sphere, whose inhabitants will sing the song of The Doctor-Donna for ages.
Union Jack: "And Rose...  Love the tee shirt!" - Capt. Jack Harkness, utterly incorrigible flirt, The Doctor Dances
(Also part one of that episode: "And I'm looking for a blonde in a Union Jack. A specific one, mind you, I didn't just wake up this morning with a craving." - The Doctor, The Empty Child 
Bad Wolf:  "I am the Bad Wolf. I create myself. I take the words... I scatter them, in time and space." - Rose Tyler, The Parting of the Ways
Angel Wing: One of the most terrifying creations in science fiction history.  Angel statues that can kill you, but ONLY when you aren't looking at them.  "The angels are coming for you, but listen, your life could depend on this: don't blink. Don't even blink. Blink and you're dead. They are fast, faster than you could believe. Don't turn your back, don't look away, and *don't blink*! Good luck." - The Doctor, Blink
the TARDIS: Time And Relative Dimension in Space; the Doctor’s wonderful Police Box shaped time machine & spacecraft; aka the sports car of time travel. (Handmade charm)
Stethoscope: [Donna looks shocked as the Doctor pulls a stethoscope out of his rather fitted suit pocket.]  "They're bigger on the inside." - The Doctor
Teacup: “Tea! That's all I needed! Good cup of tea! Super-heated infusion of free-radicals and tannin, just the thing for healing the synapses... “ – The Doctor, the Christmas Invasion
Wonderful token: "He's like fire and ice and rage. He's like the night and the storm in the heart of the sun. He's ancient and forever. He burns at the centre of time and can see the turn of the universe. and... he's WONDERFUL." -Tim Latimer, describing the Doctor, The Family of Blood

Handy Spare Hand: “My hand there. My handy spare hand. Remember? Christmas Day. Sycorax. Lost my hand in a sword fight. That's my hand. Hello.“ – The Doctor, Journey’s End
Masked Lady: Clockwork robots in the Girl in the Fireplace
Earth: “And when you go back to the stars and tell others of this planet, when you tell them of its riches, its people, its potential, when you talk of the Earth, then make sure that you tell them this... IT. IS. DEFENDED!“ - The Doctor, saving the planet once again in The Christmas Invasion (Handmade charm)
Key to the TARDIS: 
Doctor: "By the way, you'll be needing this." [reveals a TARDIS key hanging on a string]
Martha Jones: "Really?"
The Doctor: "Frequent fliers privilege."  - The Doctor, 42
Banana: “ Well, among other things, I *think* I just invented the banana daiquiri a couple of centuries early. Do you know they'd never seen a banana before? Always take a banana to a party, Rose, bananas are good.” - The Doctor, The Girl in the Fireplace

I am so happy with how the bracelet turned out!  Even though I never manage to keep any of my bracelets for myself, I have held onto this one.  Even managed to make it through the day wearing it to work a few times since making it.  (Bracelets usually end up taken off and put in my purse while I'm at work.)  And the best part?  I won the J&T Challenge!  PLUS, I've had a few people contact me through my Etsy, asking me to make them a Companion Bracelet too.  Looks like I'd better get cracking!