Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Adventures with Perler and Pyssla Beads

Did you do perler beads when you were a kid?  I did, but I wasn't that creative. I guess at 8-10 years old I wasn't used to thinking of objects as pixellated, and so while I made a lot of designs I didn't make many recognizable pictures.

Enter the modern era.  If I had access to Pinterest when I was growing up I have a feeling that I would have made many more melted bead projects.

While I was on an Ikea trip, I asked Lucky (3.75 yo) if he would like to try the bead projects with me.  When we started out, he was initially a little frustrated but soon got really into filling in his heart board.  It was so much fun!  I was able to make two slightly more complicated designs in the time it took Lucky to fill in his heart, but it was such a calm and focused project for us to do together.  I can't wait to do more!

Thankfully, Lucky only dumped the beads off of my board once.  I was near the beginning of my watermelon, not near the end.  If I had been near the end I might have given up and just made string bracelets out of these beads.

I put my iron on the wool setting to melt the beads.  It took a little longer than I expected, but before I knew it I had some fun coasters.  Lucky was so proud of his heart!  This excitement tempted me to buy more beads with more colors, but I thought it would be worth waiting to see if we keep doing these projects together.

Very quickly I became frustrated by the limitations of my Pyssla beads.  So many things I wanted to make needed gray, and there were no gray beads in this primary color set.  I went to the store and picked up a Perler Woodland Creatures Bucket to add some more colors.  I strongly considered the Perler Neutral Color Bead Tray, but the woodland bucket had many of the neutrals I needed and I wanted to see how much we are doing this craft before investing in something like that.  

While I waited for Lucky to go to bed so I could play with my new perler beads, we made some more Pyssla projects.  Lucky did a turtle all by himself!  He hasn't done any full projects since then (he gets distracted after half a board and then dumps it), but he really enjoys watching me do it.  

In this Littler Mermaid coaster, I used Perler beads for the mermaid and the Pyssla beads for the background and border. I think since the Perler beads are a fraction taller they melted first.  This means that mixing the beads within a design might not work well, but mixing them in greater areas can give cool results.  I think that this makes the mermaid "pop" more.  

I found that the Perler beads are much thicker and slightly taller than the Pyssla beads.  When I'm using perler beads, I like the melted side better.  When I'm using Pyssla beads I like the unmelted side.  I think the melting might be more uniform with the Perler.  Certainly the beads are much more regular when you compare them to each other.  

Keith has had a lot of fun with Perler projects, too.  He has created a Moogle and then designed a 3D pumpkin.  I wish I took pictures of the pumpkin before he assembled it!  This 3D pumpkin doesn't have any glue to hold it together.  He was able to design the sides so they interlocked.  I think it helped that the plastic was still a little warm when he assembled it but it is a super sturdy cube now.  

Here are all of the projects we (Lucky and myself) did in our first week of melty bead crafting.  We had so much fun!  

Which side of the projects do you like better?  The unmelted side (above) or the melted side (below)?

I now want to make myself a huge series of pixellated character coasters.  I have been inspired by a lot of different artists, but Madam Fandom has some of the most amazing characters.  I am so impressed by the designs people have come up with!  

Friday, August 11, 2017

Stars and Fireworks - Another Patriotic Tulle Headband

I had a lot of fun creating a headband for the 4th of July, but the clump of star flowers left me wanting something else.  The tulle shapes looked so much like stars before I arranged them on the headband, and now they look a lot more like flowers.  I loved the simple rainbow flower I created for Pride Month, and I wanted to see if I could take this up a notch.

I had the idea to combine the look of knotted pompom headbands with a star flower in the center. This exuberance might evoke the feeling of stars and fireworks, perfect for the 4th of July!  I wasn't entirely sure if this would work, but I knew that the white star would be beautiful.

I cut 6 strips each of red and blue tulle that were approximately 2" wide and 20" long.  One at a time, I folded the strips in half and then collected them sort of bunched in the middle.  I let the folds all be one one side (I'd snip those at the end).  The reason why I bunched them one at a time is that I didn't want the centers to be perfectly aligned. I wanted it to be gathered to help turn into a flat pompom.

I tied over the center with a piece of thread, and already you could see that it flared out into a circle versus keeping the bow shape.  If I had used more tulle, this would be able to puff into a more 3D pompom but this volume was perfect for my needs.

I snipped the ends folded ends to have all of the edges look even.

To create the white tulle star, I cut 10 - 5" squares out of the white tulle.  I've now exhausted the 1/4 yard I started out with and used for both of these headbands.  My plan was to create one more 5 pointed star (see my first tulle star headband post for step by step instructions) and then put this on top of my red and blue explosion.

This accessory already looked super cute with the star on it, but it was still a little big for my liking.  I could trim the tulle shorter, but I wanted to try something to define the "fireworks" a bit more.  I decided to  knot the ends of the tulle to shorten and give it a more finished look.

You can see that there is a lot of variety in the length of my tulle strips, even as I started to knot them.  I knotted an inch or more down from the tip with the thought that I could trim the edges back later.  

This looked awesome.  So poofy and fun.  Too poofy?  I'm not sure.  I thought that I would shorten the "explosion" but decided it was worth securing it to the headband first.  If I think it is too much when it is on my head then I can trim the ties a bit.

I put the star on top and fell in love.  This looks fantastic!  I just needed to secure it to a headband and then see if it was too much on my head.  

I hot glued the accessory to the headband in two steps.  First, I glued the red and blue "explosion" to the headband.  I made sure the glue went all the way around the headband to help it stay secured.  Next, I glued the star to the center and pressed it down as it cooled to help the glue soak into the tulle a bit.  Finally, I glued a large rhinestone (not shown) to the center of the star.  

This wasn't too big at all!  This is a delightful, whimsical, almost hat-like accessory for the 4th of July.  

Initially I was afraid that this would block my view, but I could see just fine.  I proudly wore my homemade tulle headband around on the 4th of July as we went downtown with our friends.  I've heard some people say that hot glue can melt in the sun, but this headband stayed intact through a whole hot morning outside.  

For the evening, I changed out of my awesome watermelon dress and into some sparklers leggings.  Lucky liked my headband so much that he started wearing the original tulle 4th of July headband that I made.  

It is really hard to get your leggings in a selfie!  

Now I just need to pack this headband up and hope that I can keep it from getting too squished until next year.  I'm so happy that I had my own patriotic outfit this year.  I love our country and I want to fight to help move our country in a direction that is supportive of everyone who lives here.  

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

More Dinosaur Party Crafts

When I was pregnant with Ryder, and planning Lucky's Halloween Housewarming Birthday Party, I decided that I was going to go big for my kids' first birthday party and after that I will do fewer DIY projects.  Lucky got a big second birthday party because I knew I could re-use Halloween decorations every year.  Plus, we moved back to Massachusetts so we were able to have a large party with a lot of our family.

In the run down to the final post on Rowdy's first birthday party, I wanted to share the other Dinosaur non-edible crafts I did for this party. (Check out my dinosaur themed party food!) Many of the projects got their own posts, but the ones here are simpler to execute.

Dinosaur Foot Tissue Box

Sometimes when I find a project I need to try it right away.  I knew that decorating a tissue box to be a dinosaur foot would be super fast and make people smile.  (Remember when I made pumpkin toilet paper roll covers?)

I covered a tissue box in two pieces of green construction paper.  The width of the paper was the exact length of the tissue box. I glued paper to the small ends and then the big ends.  I folded the pieces over the top and glued them down.

Next, I cut out 3 yellow triangles and glued them to the top of the box to make a dinosaur foot.  This is way cuter than I could have imagined!  Looking at the tissue box it made me think of a costume a kid could wear, which brought me into my next project.  

Foam Dinosaur Feet

How cut would it be to be to hand out dinosaur foot covers for the guests at the party?  Of course, it would depend on how durable the food covers were, but I wanted to give it a try.

You could freehand cutting out the dinosaur, but since I found a free printable template for the dinosaur foot I figured why not follow it?

The template itself was a little short for my feet, but it would probably work nicely for kids.  (I have big feet!) 

I elongated the shape and got nice foot coverage.  Unfortunately, the foam felt like it could rip at any moment.  I think I would try to find a way to incorporate these into my decor that doesn't involve wearing them.  Rowdy would rip these off of my feet and destroy them in about 45 seconds of me walking into a room.  

I made three different colors of feet and I rotated the toe nail color between them.  They were super fast and easy to make.  maybe if I made them out of a stiff felt they would have been sturdier to wear around a bunch of toddlers and preschoolers.  

Dinosaur Egg Favors

To share my DIY rainbow dinosaur crayons with our guests, I filled some clear Easter eggs with tissue paper confetti and place one dinosaur so it would be visible in each clear half.  I couldn't decide if I should include these in favor bags, have a decorate your own favor bag station and let kids fill them up, or if I should have these near the crafting area for kids to open up and use. 

It would have been nice to give each kid multiple crayons, but if I put more than one dinosaur inside the egg you couldn't really tell what was inside.  It is hard to photograph these favors because of the glare, but when you pick them up you can really see the little dino crayon peaking out.  

Hopefully no one will mistake these crayons for candy!

When I went to order plates and other party supplies, I realized that Oriental Trading company sold dinosaur crayons.  What was funny is that these crayons (which were solid colors) are the EXACT SAME SHAPE as the ones that I made myself.  Isn't that hilarious?  


Dinosaur Food Labels

I found some packages of flat wooden dinosaurs at Dollar Tree leading up to the party.  I got a few packages because I knew that I would find some way to incorporate them into the party decor. Why not use them as food labels?  I painted the wood pieces green and then wrote the different dinosaur party food names on them.

I wanted to make the labels stand up because it would look better for pictures.  I cut some paper straws into quarters and then glued part of the straw to the back of the dinosaur with a hot glue gun.  

I thought I might need to do something a bit more complicated to get these to stand up, but the simple straw post worked great.  I could have trimmed the top and bottom of the straws to make it look a bit cleaner, but this was super functional so I was happy.  

I think that I've finally made it through all of the major crafts and projects I did for Rowdy's first birthday party.  My final party project is to edit the pictures and write up a post for you!  (I haven't yet shared Rowdy's smash cake photoshoot, but that is a separate event from the party itself.)  Someday I'll be all caught up on my writing again, right?  

This post contains Amazon affiliate links but I was not paid to feature any specific product.  All product selections and thoughts are my own.  

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

DIY Mickey Mouse Baseball Hats

I've been having a lot of fun making my own Mickey Ears for my family's upcoming first trip to Disney World.  (Some of these projects may have posted, others are in the queue.  Stay tuned!)  I knew that Lucky would be really excited about his ears, but wouldn't want to spend too much time actually wearing them.  I wanted to create something that the boys could wear at the parks that would also protect them from the sun.

My plan was to make these hats following the technique I used to make the hooded dinosaur sweatshirts. I cold cut a two sided ear, stitch up the center and then stitch them closed.   

I purchased two plain red baseball hats from a local craft store.  These are adult sized hats but my boys (16 months and 3.5 years in the photo) can wear them just fine with the adjustable velcro back.  Thankfully Rowdy (the younger one) loves wearing hats, and posing for photographs.  I also bought some 12x18 craft felt in black.  The larger sheets of felt are more expensive ($1.99 vs $0.39 locally), but the felted material is thicker and stiffer than the less expensive versions.  I used thinner felt for the dinosaur sweatshirts, but the stiffer the material the better your ears will stand up.

For the template, I used one of our drinking cups.  For the Mickey Ear Headbands I created, I used a plastic take out container as the template.  I wanted the ears on the hats to be smaller, which is why I picked a smaller cup.  

I drew the template by tracing two overlapping circles onto some cardboard and then cutting this out with my craft knife.  The whole stencil is just under 6.5" x 3.75".  

Next, I needed to trace the template onto the felt and cut out two ears for each hat.  On black felt, I like to use a water soluble white marking pencil.  I wish that they made air soluble marking pens in white so they could be used on dark fabric, but being able to wipe off the pencil marks with a damp cloth is useful.

I drew some lines down the center to help give myself a guide of where to sew.

I folded each hat in half to get the approximate center of each side and pinned the center of the ears onto this line.

I've been sewing a lot of Mickey ears lately, and to keep from having to create new bobbins and change the thread frequently I've been sewing with clear thread.  Black thread would have been perfectly appropriate for this project, but I didn't bother switching it out.

After sewing the first seam the ear felt a little floppy.  Therefore I stitched two more seams, each a very short distance from the center line.

One seam
Three seams

I pinned the two sides of the ear together and stitched around the outside edge of the ears.  I tried to sew as close to the edge as I could without leaving any gaps.  (There are some small gaps near the hat but you can't tell unless you look really closely.)

I had the second ear pinned and ready to go but was forced to wait because the boys woke up.  If I didn't get interrupted I would have been able to finish both of these hats in very little time.  You could easily make multiple hats for your entire family in an afternoon.  

I can feel the ears move when I move my head, but the ears are standing up nice and straight.

This project went by so quickly.  It would be really simple to add ears like this to the top of a hooded sweatshirt, too.  Place them just a little beyond the front edge and do a similar stitching technique for each ear.

I'm having so much fun making Mickey Mouse accessories for my upcoming Disney World trip.  Will these keep me from buying a lot of souvenirs while I'm at the parks?  I'm not sure.  But you really can't beat two custom Mickey hats for under $5 each.  

After I had the idea to make these simple hats, I started thinking of many ways to make the hats more complicated.  I could add velcro to the ears and then make detachable felt decals to add to them depending on where we were headed that day.  (I might still do this!)  Alternatively, we could keep the hats simple and classic looking.  Now that I think about it, you could just add the hook side of velcro to the back of the embellishment and leave the ears themselves plain and it should still stick just fine.

When I was researching what we would need to pack with us to bring to the parks, I made a few discoveries.  There are dozens, well maybe hundreds, of smooshed penny machines around the parks.  I've collected these since I was a child, so I'll need to start saving up pennies and quarters.  I also was reminded that the Disney characters will sign autographs.  There are a lot of DIY options to make fun autograph books, but I'm not even sure that my boys will want to go up to the characters, let alone ask for an autograph!  These hats are a perfect solution.  I'm not carrying around a book that will get smooshed, ripped and unused.  If Lucky and Rowdy are super excited about the characters, they can have them sign their custom baseball hats.  This idea isn't unique, there are tons of autograph shirts out there, but this is a way to (potentially) repurpose a project that I was already committed to making.  

I mentioned to Lucky that he might be able to get characters to write their names on his hat... and boy was he horrified.  He doesn't want ANYBODY writing on ANY HATS.  At least he thought the hats themselves were cute!

This post contains some Amazon Affiliate links.  All product selections, thoughts and opinions are my own and were unsolicited.