Fun Friday – Crayon and Sandpaper Iron-On Transfers

I am notoriously bad at crafts.  I think Pinterest is the devil because my crafts NEVER turn out the way they should, regardless of how easy someone claims the project is.  As such, I have just about given up trying homemade things lately.pinterest 2

However, I discovered a website (The Crafty Collaborative) that features several daring women who try out various crafts and recipes and then let you know the honest scoop on how “easy” they really are!  You get pros and cons from multiple ladies who are testing out the same craft so you know if it really is something worth trying!  I appreciate this on so many levels!

Their most recent art project was making a homemade iron-on design using only sandpaper and crayons!  This looked like a legitimate project to me and the ladies all testified that it was, so my kids and I sat down to attempt it too.

*To try this yourself, you will need the following items:

  • Crayons (old crayons would work great because they will get worn down on the sandpaper)
  • Sandpaper
  • An Iron
  • Paper Towels
  • A plain t-shirt, tote bag, pillowcase, etc. that you can put a decal on

I love that the materials for this project are all things that you probably have just lying around the house!  Cheap and easy? YES, PLEASE!

The kids sat down and colored a design on their individual sheets of sandpaper (we used the thin grit so it was easier to color on).

I forgot to take a picture of their pictures before I ironed, but you can see how well the sandpaper held on the colors even after transferring

I forgot to take a picture of their pictures before I ironed, but you can see how well the sandpaper held on the colors even after transferring

When they were finished, I flipped the paper over, lined it up on an old white t-shirt, and ironed it on.  It only took about 5 seconds to get the picture on the t-shirt!  Then, I put a paper towel over the t-shirt picture and ironed a few times to get the excess wax off.

A specially designed t-shirt in just 5 seconds!

A specially designed t-shirt in just 5 seconds!

Voila; new art shirts for school (we purposely tested this out on daddy’s old t-shirts because they would be used for messy art projects anyway and I was still a little skeptical of the outcome, given my history of crafting).

showing off their shirts

showing off their shirts

You do have to push down on the crayons a little harder than usual to make sure that the picture is really bright on the sandpaper or the picture will be faint (notice that my son’s shirt is not nearly as bright in certain spots because he didn’t color as hard).

And, if you want to put any words or numbers in the picture, you have to remember to write them backwards on the paper or they will show up backwards on the shirt.  My son forgot that rule and had to adjust his picture accordingly (BUT MOM, HOW DO YOU DRAW A FOOTBALL PLAYER WITHOUT THEIR NAME AND JERSEY NUMBER?! – a question that should have been asked before he started drawing seeing as though I only had 2 pieces of sandpaper at that time), which is why his looks a little wonky – he tried to turn the numbers/letters he drew into helmets on a football field, but he gets his artistic ability from his mama so it is what it is.

The whole point of my rambling is that the project was SO simple and required very little preparation, no specialty tools, little to no money, and very little work on my part – HOORAY!  pinterest 1It is definitely something that I would recommend trying with your kids the next time they get “bored” or if you need a cute gift for a grandparent or family member.

Thanks The Crafty Collaborative for reviewing this fun idea so that I was brave enough to try it myself!

Button Bowl (Pinterest DIY Semi-Success)

This past weekend, the kids and I decided to try out one of the crafts that I posted about on my recycled crafts blog party post to see if it was really doable for the Summer Camp crowd.  I had all of the supplies on hand (or at least worthy enough versions of the supplies) so we got them all out and sat down to create our masterpiece.

As it turns out, this is a pretty easy craft to make (I am about to share the instructions for you to try); but, having said that, please know that I had four extra “helping” hands and a toddler who was doing his best to steal the buttons and roll in the glue every 10 seconds so our final outcome wasn’t as pristine as I had hoped.  It did come out in one piece though and after so many epic failures from Pinterest, I have to mark this one in the “success” column.

Anyhow, here’s what we did!  Hope you get a chance to try it yourself (I’m sure yours will turn out much better).  These actually could make really cute gifts.

what we were aiming for

This was the example bowl – ours does not look like this

First, we gathered up the necessary supplies: a balloon, buttons, white glue, a paintbrush and a bowl.

the goods

the goods

Next, we blew the balloon up to a reasonable size, tied it and placed it in the bowl so that it would be balanced.

The balloon "bowl form"

The balloon “bowl form”

You’ll notice that I drew a line on it with a sharpie so that the kids knew where they were supposed to stop with the balloons (or start, however you want to look at it).

Then we used the paint brush to cover the part of the balloon that was above the line with glue.  APPLY LIBERALLY.  I cannot emphasize enough that the more glue, the better.  I actually took a picture of what the balloon looked like after we added the first layer of glue, but then quickly realized that you couldn’t see it in a picture because I used a white balloon like the genius that I am.  I recommend using a darker color so you can see how exactly where the glue is going.

Let that glue dry for 15-30 minutes, depending on how much glue you used.  As long as it is dry to the touch, you’re good.  Then add another layer of glue on top of the first layer.  This creates the base of your bowl and is what ultimately will help hold everything together.

Next, we started the fun part: adding the buttons!

buttons, buttons everywhere!

buttons, buttons everywhere!

As you can see, the kids chose buttons of different sizes (which will still work if that’s what you have laying around the house, but it’s not as easy to keep them in a straight line for purposes of the top of the bowl) and they didn’t plan any kind of color pattern but hey, they did it themselves and that’s what counts, right?  Just make sure that all of the buttons are touching for a more even look (and because it helps the glue adhere better – we had issues so learn from us).

We let these buttons dry overnight just to make sure they were on there good, but a few hours should do the trick if you have the time to glue them on and then come back.  Once the buttons are tightly glued on, you use the glue to paint over the buttons.  Again, the more glue, the better.  We used a sponge brush and found it somewhat difficult to get the glue in the spaces between the buttons so when we do this at the Summer Camp, we will be using regular paint brushes.  It is really important that the glue covers EVERYTHING including those spaces or the bowl will fall apart.

glue on top of the buttons

glue on top of the buttons

Once that glue dries, you repeat the “glue-over” process 1-2 more times, just to add those necessary extra layers of protection for the buttons.  Yes, this is a drawn out process because of the drying time, but it is very simple and the gluing only takes a few minutes each time so it’s a project you can do in between other tasks because you can walk away from it if you need to.

Finally, once all of the glue is dry, we sliced a small hole where the balloon was tied.  This slowly let the air out of the balloon without popping it, which allows the balloon to slowly pull itself away from the glue of the bowl without breaking the bowl.  You don’t have to do a thing until the balloon is completely peeled off.  You may have some jagged glue edges at the top if you weren’t careful about the glue around the base/where the buttons stop (my kids weren’t – SHOCKER) but I had no problem just slicing it off with some sharp scissors or exacto knife.

Our button bowl

Our button bowl

And there you have it.  A bowl made out of nothing but buttons and glue.  Obviously, the bowl isn’t made to be used for anything edible or heavy, but is sturdy enough to hold light things or for decorative use.  We loved this fun way to use old buttons (and some new ones because we didn’t quite have enough just from my sewing kit) and I hope you are inspired to create an even better version of this “green” craft!

Warning: Pinterest Can Be Hazardous To Your Mental Health

pinterestI’m not an artistic person.  I like to do arts and crafts but my skill level is comparable to my 3 kids (ages 7, 5 and 2).  When Pinterest first came out, I was in awe of all of the cool craft ideas for gifts and holidays and basically just everyday life.  Many of the crafts that had been pinned were done by normal people, not Martha Stewart, so this made me feel quite confident that I could also accomplish everything that I repinned to my boards.  Confidence was mine and everyone I knew was on a list to become a recipient of my great creations.

A few months in and many attempts later, I quickly realized that these projects really were not meant for me.  I managed to get a few things done and blamed the technique on my kids so people forgave the catastrophes.  But the more things I tried, the more frustrated I became because I finally became privy to the knowledge that the I am NOT Martha Stewart; I am not a member of her staff; I am not even on the same level as her beloved dogs – this was a tough thing to admit, but it had to happen eventually.  As such, I can’t even accomplish what the normal people on Pinterest can. Great.

As Valentine’s Day was approaching, I found myself being tugged back in the direction of Pinterest in search of the perfect homemade Valentine project to do with my kids.  I just knew that no other mother would buy Valentines this year, solely because Pinterest exists.  I found so many cute ideas and even made a board for them.  Then I had a PTSD flashback to last Valentine’s Day when “we” made little inchworm Valentines from a “simple” printable that I found where?  You guessed it, Pinterest.

It was a much bigger pain than I thought and I almost broke my hand (not joking, ripped a tendon in my wrist) punching a billion holes in cardstock.  What was I thinking when I even considered homemade valentines this year?!  Oh, I know; I saw all of the posts from all of my friends and their friends about the cute things they were making with their kids and of course I felt the pressure to “be a good mom” and keep up with the fantastic gifts that everyone else was making.  It’s so easy to feel that pressure, isn’t it?! Especially with wretched Pinterest making me feel so inferior.  Curse you, Pinterest!

Well, about the time that I would have started the process of making Valentines, everyone got sick and after that week-long germ fest, I just didn’t have it in me to do homemade.  So, I cautiously asked my kids if they would be ok with just buying cards this year (meanwhile I was praying fervently for the answer that I wanted).  They both quickly agreed to just give me ideas and let me find the closest thing while they were at school.  SERIOUSLY?!  I hit the jackpot!  That meant that I could just run in and run out (albeit with my 2-year-old in tow) and not have to wait 3 hours while they carefully examined every possible option 30 times.  My son wanted sports – DONE; my daughter wanted Barbie – DONE; and my baby immediately picked out the Muppets as soon as he laid eyes on the box.  Perfect.  I bought a bag of valentine-colored sixlets to add to their cards and we were set.

money well spent!

money well spent!

Naturally, the morning of Valentine’s Day, my son woke up sick – even more stress!!  So, his sister took his cards to his class and picked up his bag at the end of the day so he wouldn’t miss out completely.  As they sat down at our table that night to show me all of their cards, I held my breath.  I was positive that there would be so many cute homemade cards that other kids had made with their moms and I would feel that horrible wave of guilt, even though I knew the choice was right this year.  To my great surprise, the only people who made their Valentines were the teachers!  Sigh of relief!  I guess all of the other moms came to the same realization this year!

I will most likely try to make something next year (probably something “easy” from horrid Pinterest – ugh), but for now, I am very happy that this year, both my tendons and my sanity are still in tact!  Success!  Happy Valentine’s Day to ME!!!  (And to you too – hope yours was a little less stressful than mine!) 🙂pinterest 2

Oh Pinterest, How I Loathe Thee (AKA – More DIY Party Woes)

When I first heard about Pinterest, it sounded like such a fantastic idea!  Now I wouldn’t have to try to remember where I saw neat birthday party ideas for my kids or make a list of the websites which I would certainly lose 10 minutes after writing it.

we are now frenemies

However, instead of just helping me find exciting things to do for my kids so that I maintain my status as Supermom #1, it also points me directly to websites of much more talented people than myself who make me think that I can do what they do, which of course I can’t, thus leading me into the dark abyss of inadequacy (which also leads me to imagine these marvelously artistic people sitting behind their computers snickering in a sinister manner at the thought of poor souls like me even attempting to copy their magnificent efforts).

I am currently in such a state due to yet another attempt of mine at a DIY party for my soon-to-be 5-year-old daughter who has requested an Alice in Wonderland theme for her upcoming birthday.  Why did I agree to such a thing?  I am still trying to figure that out (I assume it’s because I did the pirate party in the fall for my boys and I want to make sure that I spend as much time and effort on her birthday – oh, how the guilt of potentially not splitting my time and energy equally amongst my herd of kids can just suck me right back in).

Now, there’s A LOT of ideas out there for various Alice parties, from vintage to Disney to Tim Burton; you’re set with the help of Pinterest.  However, once I started writing a list of all of the “money-saving” ideas that I was planning on doing, I realized quickly that these so-called “DIY parties on a budget” are nothing of the sort (ie, they are neither cheap nor do most of the people actually do-it-themselves). Since I must mostly rely on my abilities alone, I went in search of other people like me who had ideas that I might be able to actually pull off.

It’s much more difficult to find the less-talent-required party ideas than those with the “wow” factor, sadly, which leads me to this rambling blog.  I am determined to share the disastrous process I am going through with others so that I might be able to make some other struggling mom feel better about herself (and perhaps provide a laugh) when she masters what I am trying to do much better and much quicker.

To give you a mouth-watering taste of what is to come over the next few weeks, we will begin with the invitation!  This is what I was going for:

something cute and handmade, yet still elegant

How cute are those little antique keys?!  Well, just a 6-pack of those can run you $4.99 or more and we’d need several packs….and that’s just for the keys.  Um, no thank you.

This is what we actually came up with (a special thanks to our local Michael’s store for randomly having what I was looking for in their dollar bins!  You should know that my luck is not usually this good) :

I was oh so lucky to find this and pair it with an Alice-colored blue envelope!

The inside, well, it’s not so cute.  I typed out the cutest words I could come up with, mentioning random characters from the story, and printed them out, along with a picture of the white rabbit.

I had to lose the card outline because it was too big for the store-bought card (naturally) but I did add "to the queen" after the rsvp part because I deserve to be queen for my efforts, even if it is the crazy queen

I then used my favorite adhesive, scrapbooking squares, to keep the printouts in the card.  Yeah, I’m that good.  They are now addressed and waiting to be sent to the lucky people chosen to attend what is shaping up to be the party of the year.  Obviously, I JEST.

Stay tuned to see how Pinterest continues to make me feel inferior as I keep trying to make the difficult things I see on there for this party……BLERG!