DIY Gifts

Cute Clay Penguin and Robin Tutorial

(This post is part of my Frosty Festivities 2014 Blog Event – see the beginning HERE!)

Here’s a cute couple of ornaments for you – a penguin and a robin…

Cute Clay Penguin and Robin Tutorial at Jennifer Grace Creates

Aren’t they adorable?! I’ve made the penguin to gift to my Dad for Christmas, the robin is for our own Christmas decoration collection!

Want to make some too? Here’s how it’s done…

Step 1: Gather your materials. You’ll need some air-dry clay, kebab sticks, wire cutters. You’ll also want some gesso, paint, paintbrushes, blu-tack/plasticine, mod-podge and sandpaper (not pictured). I printed some images of penguins and robins to refer to as well:

Cute Clay Penguin and Robin Tutorial at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 2: Pull off four evenly sized lumps of air-dry clay:

Cute Clay Penguin and Robin Tutorial at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 3: Roll them into smooth balls:

Cute Clay Penguin and Robin Tutorial at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 4: Use your fingers to shape one ball into a robin shape. Start by elongating it to make it more egg-shaped, then pinch out a beak:

Cute Clay Penguin and Robin Tutorial at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 5: Keep pinching and shaping, including making a little tail, until you are happy with the robin shape:

Cute Clay Penguin and Robin Tutorial at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 6: Repeat with another ball to make a penguin shape, with no tail, a flatter beak, and a taller body than the robin:

Cute Clay Penguin and Robin Tutorial at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 7: Shape the other two balls into fat oblongs, to make bases for the birds, and cut some lengths of kebab sticks to be the legs. Push them together, with short legs for the penguin and tall legs for the robin, and make sure they balance okay:

Cute Clay Penguin and Robin Tutorial at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 8: Wet your fingertips and smooth over the cracks in the clay, until they pretty much disappear:

Cute Clay Penguin and Robin Tutorial at Jennifer Grace Creates Cute Clay Penguin and Robin Tutorial at Jennifer Grace Creates Cute Clay Penguin and Robin Tutorial at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 9: Once you’ve smoothed it all over leave the birds to dry for a few days – I left them standing up for 2 days, and then laid them down for the last day, so the base would dry underneath:

Cute Clay Penguin and Robin Tutorial at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 10: Apply a couple of coats of gesso all over the birds and bases:

Cute Clay Penguin and Robin Tutorial at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 11: Paint two layers of brown paint on the robin and base, and two layers of black paint on the penguin. I used Martha Stewart Satin Craft Paints for my birds:

Cute Clay Penguin and Robin Tutorial at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 12: Take the legs out to paint. You might have got some lumps of paint on them:

Cute Clay Penguin and Robin Tutorial at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 13: If so you can use sandpaper to smooth them out:

Cute Clay Penguin and Robin Tutorial at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 14: Stand the legs in a lump of plasticine or blu-tack, then paint the penguin legs orange, and the robin legs yellow:

Cute Clay Penguin and Robin Tutorial at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 15: While they are drying, paint white eyes and bellies onto the bird. Then paint the penguin an orange beak, and the robin a yellow beak:

Cute Clay Penguin and Robin Tutorial at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 16: Add blue waves to the penguin’s base, and green grass to the robin’s base:

Cute Clay Penguin and Robin Tutorial at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 17: When all that is dry, use a pointy end of kebab stick to poke mod-podge into the holes on the birds and bases, so you can stick the legs back into place:

Cute Clay Penguin and Robin Tutorial at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 18: Paint pupils on the eyes (small ones for the penguin, large ones for the robin), give the robin a red belly, and paint some lighter colours on the bodies for wings:

Cute Clay Penguin and Robin Tutorial at Jennifer Grace Creates

Then your clay birds are ready to gift or display! You could also give them a coat of varnish if you are worried the paint might chip off, the Martha Stewart paint I used is quite sturdy so I didn’t bother:

Cute Clay Penguin and Robin Tutorial at Jennifer Grace Creates

These make me smile!

Be Inspired:

Use a robin or a penguin on your next project

Use some clay (air dry or fimo/sculpey) to make an embellishment

Make two of something, one for a gift, and one for yourself

Would you keep these birds for yourself, or do you know someone who would love them?!

See you again in 60 minutes!

Jennifer x

Frosty Festivities Christmas & Winter

Craft Stick Christmas Wood Art Tutorial

(This post is part of my Frosty Festivities 2014 Blog Event – see the beginning HERE!)

Hello, and welcome to day 2 of the Frosty Festivities event! I hope you are enjoying yourself so far? There’s lots more inspiration in store for you today!

We’re kicking things off with a sparkly decoration, a piece of Christmas Wood Art…

Christmas Wood Art Tutorial at Jennifer Grace Creates

I’ve seen a few great wood art projects lately, like THIS ONE by Marie of Blooming Homestead. I thought this kind of thing would be amazing to make, but I wasn’t likely to be cutting up wood planks and getting out nails any time soon. So when I saw THIS PROJECT by Dawn Nicole for  coasters using craft sticks, I was so excited – a wood art project I could do straight away with items I had already – hooray!

The craft (lolly/popsicle) sticks I had were the larger kind, so they’d be too big to make coasters. But I wanted mine to be wood art Jennifer-style anyway, with some pretty sparkly bits on top!

Here’s how to put one together…

Step 1: Grab some craft sticks – mine are by Craft Planet:

Christmas Wood Art Tutorial at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 2: Lay out the sticks horizontally for the main part of the art piece, making sure the good sides of the sticks are facing down, and any sides with imperfections are facing up – as this will be the back of the art eventually:

Christmas Wood Art Tutorial at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 3: Spread PVA or similar sticky glue onto another craft stick – but leave an un-glued bit at the top and bottom of the stick, where it will hang over the edge of the other sticks:

Christmas Wood Art Tutorial at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 4: Adhere the glued stick vertically to the back of the other sticks, and repeat with another stick, so there are two back supports:

Christmas Wood Art Tutorial at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 5: Leave it to dry overnight, then turn over:

Christmas Wood Art Tutorial at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 6: Use removable spray adhesive to stick a stencil at the top of your wood art piece. I used the Deck The Halls Paperchains Stencil:

Christmas Wood Art Tutorial at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 7: Use a sponge to apply Mod-Podge through your chosen design on the stencil:

Christmas Wood Art Tutorial at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 8: Liberally sprinkle fine gold glitter over the Mod-Podge. Leave it to dry for about 20 minutes before pulling the stencil off to clean it (you might have to scrape some Mod-Podge off the stencil), and then leave the wood art piece to dry for another 30 minutes again:

Christmas Wood Art Tutorial at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 9: Shake off excess glitter:

Christmas Wood Art Tutorial at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 10: Choose some embellishments. I used The Jolliest Time Ephemera Card Shapes, plus a couple of wood veneer shapes that I coated with the same gold glitter:

Christmas Wood Art Tutorial at Jennifer Grace Creates

Some of the ephemera pieces are stuck flat onto the craft sticks, and some are added on with 3D foam dots.

Step 11: Wrap some ribbon or twine around the bottom ‘rung’ created by the craft sticks, tying it at the back of the art piece to hold it in place:

Christmas Wood Art Tutorial at Jennifer Grace Creates

Step 12: Check your composition and see if you want to add anything else. I decided it looked a bit heavy on the right hand side in the above photo, so I moved the red&white polkadot flag down a little, and added a couple more embellishments on the left, to balance it all out:

Christmas Wood Art Tutorial at Jennifer Grace Creates

That’s it! Now you can prop it up on a mantlepiece or other display area this Christmas! Or your could glue a bit of string to the back if you want to hang it up. It will look pretty either way!

Christmas Wood Art Tutorial at Jennifer Grace Creates

I do love tinsel, except the little bits that come out all over the floor!

Be Inspired:

Get out some craft sticks or cut wood-patterned paper into strips to line up

Put three bits of ribbon/string together to tie around a project

Use glitter through a stencil

Have you seen any good wood art projects? I’m sure I will attempt one on a larger scale one day!

See you again at 11am!

Jennifer x

Cricut Explore

Halloween Hallway with the Cricut Explore

My daughter wanted our house to be creepier for Halloween. We don’t celebrate it in a big way, but we will dress up on the day, and we might get a few trick-or-treaters stop by, so I figured we could at least decorate our entrance hallway. Then anyone who stops by will get a spooky surprise, and the kids can have fun each time they run through!

Halloween Hallway:

Halloween Hallway with the Cricut Explore by Jennifer Grace

Little Miss said her favourite “Halloweeny thing” is bats, so my main aim was to create a colony of hanging bats all over the ceiling!

Hanging Bats with the Cricut Explore by Jennifer Grace

To create this I fired up my Cricut Explore and the Design Space, and chose a bat image (#M2E38A):

Hanging Bats with the Cricut Explore by Jennifer Grace

I dragged the corners to resize it at 9.5″wide, 4.27″ high:

Hanging Bats with the Cricut Explore by Jennifer Grace

Then searched for the Score Line image:

Hanging Bats with the Cricut Explore by Jennifer Grace

I duplicated the score line so I had 3 of them, and then positioned one in the centre of the bat, and one on each wing (turning on the guide lines in the design space can help you place the score lines in the correct place):

Hanging Bats with the Cricut Explore by Jennifer Grace

Once you are happy with the placement of the score lines, you need to drag a box over the bat and all three score lines, and click ‘attach’. This joins them all together so the machine knows to use it as one shape rather than separate layers.

Then click ‘go’ to send the shape to the mat preview. Here you can change it to make 2 projects (you need to click ‘apply’ after altering the number of projects). Rotate the bottom bat so that it’s upside down and manoeuvre it so it’s close to the top bat, this means there’s enough left from a 12×12 sheet of card for you to cut another bat, or use for a different project later:

Hanging Bats with the Cricut Explore by Jennifer Grace

I cut my bats from a variety of black cardstock and black patterned papers. Once the Explore has finished cutting them you just need to gently fold along the score lines, like this:

Hanging Bats with the Cricut Explore by Jennifer Grace

Keep going until you have lots:

Hanging Bats with the Cricut Explore by Jennifer Grace

To attach to the ceiling you can pierce two holes near the top of the bat’s head:

Hanging Bats with the Cricut Explore by Jennifer Grace

Tie through some cotton thread to match the colour of your ceiling. Knot it at the back and leave a long string:

Hanging Bats with the Cricut Explore by Jennifer Grace

To tie mine to the ceiling I first pushed a couple of pins into the edge where the top of the wall meets the ceiling, and then tied some more of the cotton thread to the pins:

Hanging Bats

I had two running in straight lines along the ceiling, and then I tied a few more lines of string across the room so there could be bats in the middle of the ceiling too:

Hanging Bats with the Cricut Explore by Jennifer Grace

You can’t see the strings at all from below, it looks just like they are fluttering above us!

Seeing as the Cricut Explore was already set up I used it for some more room accents too!

I went to the landing page to try out some pre-designed projects, and chose the Halloween Luminaries. I clicked ‘customise’ rather than ‘make it now’, so that I could delete a couple of the lanterns – I just wanted the haunted house one. I didn’t make any changes to the size though. I also chose a Spooky Spiderwebs project to decorate my glass bowl, again I clicked ‘customise’, but this time I deleted all-but-one of the spider webs and re-sized it, to fit at the top of my bowl. I cut it out from black vinyl and used transfer tape to help me place it on my bowl, and repeated with two more:

Halloween Hallway with the Cricut Explore by Jennifer Grace

You can also see a spider, placed strategically on some toy stuffing that I used as cobwebs! The spider is #MA0465, and I cut three of them at 3″ tall and three of them at 2″ tall, from the off cuts of black cardstock I had left from the bats. They look good tucked in a few places around the room, and are surprisingly realistic considering they are made from card, I scared myself with one late last night, seen out of the corner of my eye!

The finishing touch was the ‘Happy Halloween’ sign and skeleton stuck on the door at the back of the room:

Halloween Hallway with the Cricut Explore by Jennifer Grace

The words (#M39CD8) are cut at 11.39″ wide from orange cardstock, and the skeleton (#M44F29) is cut at 11.59″ tall from more black cardstock – I’m going to need to replenish my black cardstock after this!

A cackling witch and a roaring monster have already tried the room out:

Halloween Hallway with the Cricut Explore by Jennifer Grace

They declared it very spooky!

I’m linking up to a few linky parties – Inspiration MondaySpooktacular Halloween, and Show & Tell Wednesday.

Do you decorate your house for Halloween? Would the bats and spiders freak you out?!

Bye for now,

Jennifer x

DISCLOSURE: Cricut have provided me with a Cricut Explore Machine, some materials including vinyl, and access to the Image Library, to help me write this post. However ALL opinions in this post are my own and not governed or controlled by Cricut in any way. I’m also entering this into a Cricut bloggers Halloween contest.

Frosty Festivities Christmas & Winter

Spool Ornament Tutorial (Crate Paper ‘Bundled Up’)

(This post is part of my Frosty Festivities 2013 Blog Event)

I have wanted to make a spool ornament for a couple of years (after seeing THIS ONE by Linda Auclair). I finally got round to it for this event, and I have a feeling I’m going to be making lots more, as it was so easy and ended up so pretty! Here’s mine…

Vintage Spool Ornament:

Spool Ornament Tutorial by Jennifer Grace

Want to know how to put it together? Here you go:

Step 1: Find a wooden spool. I bought mine at a vintage fair, it had thread on it then but I’ve used that up by now! It measures approx 1¼” tall by 1¼” diameter:

Spool Ornament Tutorial by Jennifer Grace

Step 2: Peel off the labels, and cut circles of patterned paper for the top and the bottom of the spool, inking the circle edges with a gold ink pad (my papers are from a Crate Paper Bundled Up 6×6 pad):

Spool Ornament Tutorial by Jennifer Grace

Step 3: Stick the circles onto the spool (I used a glue stick), and pierce two holes in the centre of each circle, over the hole in the spool centre:

Spool Ornament Tutorial by Jennifer Grace

Step 4: Use a darning needle to thread bakers twine through two buttons at the bottom of the spool, then up through the spool centre, and through two buttons at the top of the spool. If your button has four holes you only need to go though two of them:

Spool Ornament Tutorial by Jennifer Grace

Step 5: Tie a knot above the buttons at the top of the spool to hold the bakers twine in place:

Spool Ornament Tutorial by Jennifer Grace

Here’s what the bottom of the spool looks like:

Spool Ornament Tutorial by Jennifer Grace

Step 6: Decorate the rest of the spool as you like! I used some more Bundled Up paper (stuck on with a glue stick again), and a bit of gold trim hot-glued around the top. I altered a piece of Bundled Up Ephemera – glittering the edge using Mod Podge and American Crafts White Spark Glitter, and adding a red gem to the centre, before hot-glueing it to the spool:

Spool Ornament Tutorial by Jennifer Grace

I can’t wait to hang this on my tree! Little Miss has asked if she can make one too. Have you ever made a spool ornament?

Be Inspired:

Stick a gem in the centre of a snowflake

Alter a vintage item

Pile up some pretty buttons

That’s the last post for this evening, but I’ll see you again tomorrow at 10am GMT for a day filled with inspiration, challenges, and another sponsored giveaway!

Jennifer x

P.S. If you are enjoying this event, I’d love it if you can support me by sharing the projects you like via Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter or however you like! There are sharing buttons below to make it easy for you – thanks! (Not obligatory but appreciated!)