Saturday, July 30, 2016

Upcycling - Make a Woodland Themed Terrarium

In a throw away world we produce a mountain of landfill so it's good when you find a way to re-purpose the fancy packaging that often comes with our purchases. Today's project takes a Lindt Maxi Ball and upcycles it into an adorable woodland terrarium.
woodland creatures in a mini terrarium

In case you don't know what a Lindt Maxi Ball is, it's a large clear plastic ball filled with delicious Lindt chocolates and you usually find them around Christmas and Easter when they're packaged up like a giant bonbon.

A Lindt Maxi Ball alongside regular Lindt Balls

So, how do you go about turning one into a terrarium?
Lindt Maxi Ball container filled with mini ferns, bright green pebbles and rabbit and toadstool figurines.

Well, here's what you'll need to make this cute woodland themed terrarium:

You'll also need some scissors and a small pot that you can use to scoop the soil into position and a spray mister filled with water.

Before you can begin, you need to empty the plastic bonbon sphere of all the Lindt chocolates. The best way to do this is to eat them!
Store display of Lindt Maxi Balls

One half of the bonbon sphere is flat so it's perfect for the bottom. The other half conveniently has a hole in the top which will be great for plant respiration. Set the lid aside.
Empty clear plastic Lindt Maxi Ball

Pour a 1cm (3/8") layer of gravel in the bottom.
Green gravel being poured into the bottom of the clear plastic sphere

Cut the fly screen to fit on top of the gravel without being visible.
Trim the fly wire to fit the bottom of the sphere

and position it on top of the gravel.
Place the fly wire over the gravel

Pour a layer of charcoal over the fly screen. If your charcoal is chunky like mine is, remove the larger pieces.
Add a layer of fine charcoal over the fly wire.

Next, fill the bottom with potting mix.
A layer of potting mix being poured the charcoal.

....and tamp it down. I've filled to within 2cm (3/4") of the top.
Tamp the soil down with your hand

Gently remove the plants from their pots.....
Gently removing a fern from its pot

....and then make a hole in the soil large enough to place each plant in position.
The sphere is half planted out with ferns.

Fill with soil up to the crown of each plant.
Pouring additional potting mix around the base of the plants.

Pour another layer of gravel on top of the soil.

Pouring a layer of green gravel over the soil

Position your figurines amongst the greenery. Mist the plants with water and then place the lid back on the sphere, taking care that the leaves don't get caught.
Positioning the lid of the sphere on the base, being careful not to catch the leaves.

And that's it! Now you can justify purchasing that giant foil wrapped bonbon filled with everyone's favourite Swiss Chocolate!

This is such a simple and fun project that you can do with children. Let them get involved by personalising it with their own theme such as dinosaurs or fairies to help make it their own.
Upcycle a Lindt Maxi Ball into an adorable woodland-themed terrarium. Or, let the kids personalise it by adding dinosaurs or fairies.

'Til next time.....

If you can't get enough of My Tutorials and you want even more inspiration, click here to find my books and printable pdfs

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

From Failure to Triumph - a Friendly Plastic Pen Success Story

Workshops don't always go to plan. Sometimes, things go wrong and you end up with a less than successful result. It's always a disappointment for the student but I'm equally disappointed when someone doesn't have success.

I had one of those workshops last week. We were making Friendly Plastic Pens. Here's some of the pens which turned out really well.

But here are some pen barrels which turned out less than perfect.

So what do you do when things don't turn out as planned?

Well, I gave it some thought and came up with a Plan B. I decided refoiling the Friendly Plastic would give us a better result.

But alas, Plan B was a big failure - the foil wouldn't stick to the tacky adhesive we'd applied to the Friendly Plastic no matter how much we burnished it.

So it was on to Plan C - applying an iridescent finish to mask all the previous layers. And the result is spectacular - the ugly duckling has turned into a beautiful swan!

Now I have a new technique to play around with and perfect (and perhaps a new workshop to teach!). It just goes to show that even experts have craft disasters. But it also shows you that with a bit of creative thinking, you can turn a failure into a triumph!

'Til next time.....

If you can't get enough of My Tutorials and you want even more inspiration, click here to find my books and printable pdfs

Monday, July 11, 2016

Gold Vermeil Earrings

These elegant dangling earrings will add a touch of golden glamour to your evening wear. The lentel-shaped beads dangle gracefully from delicate chains allowing them to move and catch the light, accentuating the lovely soft gold vermeil finish of the beads. Vermeil beads are a little more pricey than gold base metal beads but I'm sure you'll agree, they look fabulous!
Golden vermeil lentil earrings dangling from fine chain

Here's what you'll need to make these:
6 10x4mm gold vermeil lentil beads (mine are from Feeling Inspired)
6 gold head pins
11cm (4 3/8") fine gold chain
2 6mm gold jump rings
2 gold earring wires

String each of the beads onto a head pin and turn a 90° angle with flat nose pliers.

Use flush cutters to trim each head pin to 1cm (3/8").

Line the cut end of the head pin in the round nose pliers so that it is flush with the jaws and rotate your wrist inward as far as you can comfortably turn it. This forms the first part of a simple loop.

Reposition the head pin in the pliers so that you can rotate your wrist again to complete the loop.

Cut two pieces of chain, each of the following lengths: 13mm, 18mm and 23mm (1/2", 5/8" and 7/8")

Set one of each length of chain aside for the second earring. Open the loops you formed in the previous step sideways and slip on a length of chain.

Hook the other end of each of the three chains onto a jump ring with the longest chain in the middle and close it.

Open the loop of your earring wire and hook on the jump ring. Make the second earring to match.

Wow, that was quick! A gorgeous pair of earrings in no time at all!

'Til next time.....

If you can't get enough of My Tutorials and you want even more inspiration, click here to find my books and printable pdfs

Monday, July 4, 2016

Stars and Stripes Sof-Suede Bracelet

Patriotic leather lace bracelet in cranberry, sandy beach and cadet blue studded with silver star charms and featuring a crystal studded heart focal.

Red, white and blue....Stars and Stripes. Today I'm putting my spin on Stars and Stripes for the 4th of July.
Suede leather lace bracelet in shades of cranberry red, sand and cadet blue create the stripes dotted with silver star beads. The focal is a crystal studded heart slider bead.

Silver Creek Leather recently added some new colours to their Sof-Suede colour range and two of them are just perfect for the nostalgic feel of this bracelet: Cadet Blue and Cranberry. Combined with Sandy Beach, and you have a soft vintage look.

To make this bracelet, you'll need:

Silver Creek Leather Sof-Suede Lace: Cadet Blue, Cranberry and Sandy Beach (Michael's is also carrying these new colours)
Brass and Crystal Heart Slider (Hobby Lobby)
2 13mm silver ribbon crimps
10 6mm silver star beads
28g silver wire
adhesive tape
2 4mm silver jump rings
Silver press stud clasp (aka hitch and ball)

Tools: flush cutters, chain nose pliers

Cut two 8" pieces of Sandy Beach and one piece each of Cranberry and Cadet Blue. Thread one of the Cadet Blue pieces through the heart slider diagonally from the top left hand hole, down to the second bottom hole on the right.
Cadet Blue leather lace is strung the the heart slider diagonally.

Insert the Sandy Beach lace from the middle hole on the left through the bottom hole on the right.
Sandy Beach leather lace is strung through the heart slider diagonally alongside the Cadet Blue lace.

Now repeat on the other side using the second piece of Sandy Beach lace. It should pass under the Cadet Blue lace and over the first Sandy Beach lace.
Sandy Beach lace is threaded through the heart slider and woven over and under the other laces.

Insert the Cranberry lace in through the middle hole on the right hand side of the slider, over the Cadet Blue lace and under the Sandy Beach lace, exiting from the bottom hole on the left.
The Cranberry lace is threaded over and under the Cadet Blue and Sand Beach laces, parallel to the 2nd Sandy Beach lace.

Cut a 15cm piece of wire. Flip the heart slider over to the back. On the right hand side, wrap the wire around the Cranberry and Sandy Beach laces so they lie side by side.
Wrap the wire around two laces to bind them together.

Bring the wires to the front and insert the wires through a star bead. Wrap the wires around the back of the laces and bring them back to the front again. Insert them through the star bead and then repeat twice more so that the star bead is secure.
A star bead is strung on the wire and sits on the laces.

Trim each of the wires close to the bead. Repeat this process with the Cadet Blue and Sandy Beach laces.
Using flush cutters to cut the excess wire close to the bead.

Add additional stars evenly along the Sof-Suede so that it looks like this.
The leather lace stripes has been strung with star beads.

Align the laces so they are sitting flat and place them on a piece of adhesive tape.
The leather lace ends have been placed on a piece of adhesive tape to keep them aligned.

Trim the ends evenly to the length you require for your bracelet. Remember to take into account the space the clasp will take up.
Using flush cutters to trim the lace ends to the required length of the bracelet.

Place the ribbon crimp over the ends and press the teeth into the suede lace until the laces are secure. Repeat at the other end of the bracelet.
Using chain nose pliers to flatten the ribbon crimp over the ends of the lace.

Attach one half of the clasp to each end of the bracelet with the jump rings.
Connecting one half of the the press stud clasp to the bracelet with a jump ring using two pairs of chain nose pliers.

Happy 4th of July to all my American friends!

Pin this project!
Stars and Stripes leather lace bracelet inspiration sheet

Stylish DIY Leather Valentine's Bracelet inspiration sheet

'Til next time.....

If you can't get enough of My Tutorials and you want even more inspiration, click here to find my books and printable pdfs