Tuesday, May 9

Animal earrings in polymer clay DIY

Ever experienced the thrill of wearing something you made with your hands? It could be a dress, a cap, a necklace, a pair of earrings, anything...

Learning to make and appreciate the value of labour is the need of the hour in today's consumerist world. My friend and the ever-dynamic Sankgetha Sripathy who runs Smudgy Trove, has shared a tutorial of making cute animal earrings with clay.  She has used polymer clay to make the stud earrings that you can easily learn and keep aside for a toddler, teen or wear yourself to show off at a party. 

These simple pieces are conversation starters.

What you need:

-- polymer clay black, and white

-- super glue or multi-surface glue 

-- knife

-- jump rings

-- cutting plier (jewellery tool)

-- nose plier

-- black stud with screw

-- headpin (jewellery finding)

-- and of course a must for these projects, an OTG oven

It's best to share one that a friend has bought if you do not have one yet and do not want to buy right away.

Roll two tiny round balls from the black polymer clay, using your palms and fingers. Press one ball between your palms and flatten it slightly. Repeat with the other ball.

Roll two tiny white balls and fix on the flattened clay to form an animal's eyes. You can add a super tiny ball to fix near the eyes, for effect.
For the eyes, use another set of black polymer clay dots and fix to form animal expressions.

Poke using a headpin to form its mouth, a little below the eyes and between them.

Use another little mound of the clay to roll a cone.
Repeat for other earring. Flatten the cones a little to form your animal's ear.

Fix the ears on top of the animal head that has come to shape.

Now insert the headpins through another cone that you roll, bigger than those weeny bit ears and the face, to form the creature's body.
Roll tiny balls and fix below this body-cone, to form legs.

Go back to the head or face now. Roll two tiny balls and place under the head.

Bake these two pieces that are ready, separately in the OTG oven for about 15 minutes. Allow them to cool down

Time to take the stud, glue it using the super glue on to the rear of the face.
Repeat for the other earring too. Move over now, to the body pieces, where the headpin is protruding from the body. Use a nose plier and bend the piece that is jutting out, into a loop, towards the body. And then insert the stud through this. Use a stud screw to fasten to your ears.

The earrings are ready for use. You can experiment, and make them with animals of your choice, in different colours.

These earrings make for great personal gifts. They can be worn by teens and adults alike. And make for perfect gifts.

PICTURES COURTESY: Sankgetha Sripathy of Smudgy Trove

Content by  Sankgetha Sripathy and Radhika M B

Tuesday, May 2

Travel tic tac toe case from Jewellery box DIY

What do you generally do with the jewellery cases from stores? I have forever been fascinated by the size and sturdiness of the jewel boxes that would find their way to mom's large cupboard made of iron, and get hidden away from prying eyes.

A box of that size can be put to umpteen uses after its original purpose gets served. I decided to embellish it, but not much. I love, love and love tic tac toe games.I love making tic tac toe boards. And the jewel box obviously came in handy. I have seen this game get used in umpteen spaces.

What I used for the piece:

-- a jewel box

-- cardstock to match or contrast it

-- optional is a thick felt sheet

-- a pair of scissors

-- hot glue gun loaded with a glue stick

-- embellishments are optional

-- paint pen (I chose metallic silver) to match the jewel box

In the jewellery case that I had at home, the velvet piece covering the hood of the box on its inside was missing. The other half it was half stuck on the inside. The first step, was to glue hanging pieces towards the cardboard.

I cut out a piece of cardboard from the cardstock I had. You get cardstock the width of large bookmarks. It is about trimming it to fit into the box. Insert it on the surface. I did not want to glue away everything. Just inserting worked.

Once you have adjusted them, use a paint pen to mark out the lines for tic tac toe game.

I used a popsicle stick, or an ice cream stick to mark out the straight lines.

For a tic tac toe box of this size, we would need small items to make it for the game. So the best bet for me was buttons.

You can also use beads.

If you noticed, there was an ugly sticker on the box. I just cut out another piece from the cardstock and stuck it on top of the jewel box. And your on-the-go tic tac toe case is ready. Tuck it into your bag or slide it into your pocket with the wallet, and indulge yourself with a fellow player on that plane, train or automobile.

Pictures and content: Radhika M B

Tuesday, April 25

Luggage tag using scrap fabric DIY

Every household has hidden scraps of fabric that go unused for umpteen reasons. Sometimes the reasons are obligatory, at other times sentimental. But it's not uncommon to find that piece of fabric or T-Shirt you thought would be useful and never really used.

I found such a piece I had picked up from the temple at a throwaway price because it was an offering to the deities there. I had once thought it would make for good altar decor. Now I have second thoughts, and want the fabric to be useful somehow. The memory of seeing those huge suitcases at the airport luggage belt - with handkerchiefs, satin ribbons, and sometimes torn rags hanging from the handles, prompted me to try a luggage tag. It's a failed piece to be honest, but I managed to salvage it, and I bet it will be useful to me or to a friend soon someday.

What you need for this project (hold it, it's not a quickie. You need loads of patience):

-- less than half a square foot of scrap fabric

-- embellishments to either stitch on to the fabric, or stick such as cloth flowers, buttons, beads...

-- a pair of cloth cutting scissors

-- marker pen, fine tip

-- an object to use as stencil - a rectangle, or circle or oval...I used a needle-case cardboard that came with it from the store

-- a piece of satin ribbon

-- cotton for fill or batting

-- Needle and threads of different colours to match the fabric or embellishments

-- optional is a velcro-tape self adhesive piece

-- quilting pins or ball headpins to hold cloth for sewing

I started by marking out using a needle case cardboard packaging as stencil, on the fabric.

I then pinned the ball pins about an inch and half from the marked lines, so it would make it easier to cut the fabric. The next step was to mark another dotted line along the marked line, about one third of an inch wide.

Cut along the dot-marked lines, and leave some space on what you want as the top of the fabric piece for luggage tag, so you may fix a hook, velcro tape or press-button.

I stitched up a button hole using the button hole stitch, but it did not really work out. It was because there was not enough fabric above the button hole, for accomodating both, stitches and a button after it got inserted.  You may use a velcro tape, or a press button set.

On what I wanted as the front side of the tag, I stitched up cloth flowers. I chose flower colours to match one of the different colours on the fabric print.

The next step. Use a running stitch and stitch along the original marked line. Leave a one inch or two inch gap, ideally on the top or bottom of the to-be tag.

It was time to fill the cotton batting in.

I stitched the end of a six inch piece of satin ribbon (about half an inch or less wide) on to the rear inside of the would-be tag. It was a bit of a push and pull here. because of the faulty button hole. The stitched button was not so great to look at and its stitches showed on the rear of the ribbon, so I fixed a cloth flower to cover it up.

Now, this is not exactly a button-able piece or stickable one because of the velcro tape complication. But it will come in handy in the most unexpected of ways, as my life as a homemaker in our own home has been teaching me.

Use this tag for your own personal travels, or gift it to a teen.

For permissions write to: radiscribe@gmail.com

Tuesday, April 11

Nursery mobile with cardboard roll, DIY

One of the trends that has made me gape in awe is the sheer magnitude of products for babies these days. As a new mom wanting to give my baby the best, I am obviously tempted to buy more for the bundle of joy. 

But let's not forget that for every plastic toy we collect in the name of a child's learning and play, we add that much more to the earth's toxin burden. Sometimes these toys are a mere phase, leaving you wondering what to do with them. Nursery mobiles are a fad with parents. From colourful to sophisticated, they are a must for any nursery with a baby and crib.

For a change, I decided to make my own nursery mobile. I am not so satisfied with the resulting piece, but it's given me loads of confidence to make more of the kind and gift to babies.

It may sound a surprise, but the project really did not cost me a fortune. I had to make use of household craft stash.

What I used:

-- a pair of scissors

-- a duct tape ring leftover after using the tape up

-- embroidery skein of the same colour as the wrapping paper or ribbon or plarn to cover the duct tape ring
 (I used parrot green colour thread)

-- a needle and white thread

-- cloth flowers of accented shades

-- punches - circle and flower type

-- patterned paper, sequins, some household cardboard if need be

-- craft glue

-- soda can pull-tab...always keep these handy, you never know what they can be useful for

I began by wrapping the cardboard roll with plarn (plastic yarn that I made before with plastic shopping bags). You can try wrapping it with satin ribbon or some patterned paper. If you plan to glue up decorative paper though, make sure you have sufficient glue for it.

I let its end stay for a while, lest I would need it later. Now came the need for my embroidery skein. A white or jute twine could be your alternates here.

I started off by leaving some thread, about half a feet, and fixing sequins on it. To fix sequins, I picked up a pair, squeezed glue on to one of them, placed the thread over it to run through its center, and stuck on it another sequin of the same shape and size.

I used the craft punches to cut out circles and flowers from the patterned paper. Some flower shapes I had in stash earlier from mail trash. I left space of a few inches on the thread, and glued together another pair of circles from the patterned paper, and some flower shaped punched pieces from magazine recycle.

After this it was about tying the thread on to the cardboard ring. Try leaving irregular spaces, and do not stick to the same length each time you cut a piece of the embroidery skein. You can fix about five such pieces on to the roll. Add some pieces of ribbon and maybe knot it up on the ring to hang down alongside the threads.

I used long pieces of ribbon to tie through the roll for a handle on top of the mobile, and inserted the bunch of four lines of the ribbon into the soda can pull tab for buckling up.

Your nursery mobile is ready. This is a rather simple one. I hope to improvise though future projects. I am sure my baby will love this. The piece took some time to make, and was taxing, considering how busy the little angel keeps me these days. But it was worth the effort. I am waiting to see the reaction on her face when I hang it near her bed.

For re-use, write to: radiscribe@gmail.com