Crafting To Improve My Creativity

Three Kinds Of Unfinished Wooden Cutouts And Some Ideas On How To Use Them

Posted by on May 24th, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Three Kinds Of Unfinished Wooden Cutouts And Some Ideas On How To Use Them

Wooden cutouts are available at most craft stores, but you can make your own if you have a jigsaw and a router. You may even special order some wooden cutouts from a professional carpenter if you have some unique design ideas you cannot find anywhere else. Here are three kinds of wooden cutouts and some ideas on how to use them.

Positive Relief Cutouts

Positive relief refers to the fact that your wooden cutouts are two-dimensional, full-bodied shapes. They may look like a cookie cutter cut them out of the wood board they were once part of. You can use them in/as:

  • Painted wooden ornaments for a country Christmas tree
  • Signs for doors and decoration for walls
  • Glued together and layered to make a wreath or other three-dimensional object
  • Strung together and attached to the eaves of your home for a “gingerbread house” effect (snowflakes, stars and triangles are popular for this)

Negative Relief Cutouts

Negative relief cutouts are the result of removing a positive shape from the board and doing it in such a way that the board left behind is intact. For example, you want to cut a teddy bear shape out of a quarter-inch thick piece of masonite. If you (or the carpenter) does not start from the edge of the board and cut inward but instead starts inside on the traced shape, then the negative relief cutout is what you get when the shape of the bear has been removed from the center of the board.

Negative relief cutouts can be used in/as:

  • Frameable wall decorations
  • Painting stencils
  • Large, outdoor games like “cornhole”
  • Unique wooden shutters for your home

Bas-Relief Cutouts

Bas-relief combines negative and positive relief cutouts to create an almost sculputural effect. In this case, a positive relief cutout may be adhered to a thicker piece of wood. Then the wood around the positive relief is carved away to give the shape an elevated appearance. You (or the carpenter) can alter and stagger the wooden background around the positive relief shape to create a very unique look.

Bas-relief cutouts can be used in/as:

  • Block printing to make cards or wooden ink stamps
  • Large wooden stamps for wall painting (when you do not trust your freehand artistry)
  • Dimensional wall sculptures that have an almost trompe-l’oeil (fool the eye) effect when they are actually installed in the wall

Try experimenting with some or all of the above projects to get a really good feel for what these three kinds of wooden cutouts can do.

2 Easy Gifts You Can Make Using Stirrups

Posted by on Mar 15th, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 2 Easy Gifts You Can Make Using Stirrups

Finding the perfect gift for that special someone can be a challenge. If your loved one has an affinity for horses and western-themed decor, you can easily incorporate stirrups into your gift-giving ideas.

Here are two ideas that feature stirrups in their design that you can consider when it comes to making a gift for the western lover in your life.

1. Create a picture frame using a stirrup.

Many people have pictures they would like to display in their home, and you can help your loved one carry his or her western decor into their picture display by creating a flip frame using a stirrup.

Start by finding a stirrup with a wide bottom that can serve as a base at a tack store. Drill a hole through the tops of the stirrup skanks so that you can insert a metal rod that will hold the flip pages of the frame. Buy some photo sleeves, and attach them to the bar using some metal rings.

You can paint or stain the stirrup, or add some decorative elements like crystals or filigree, to give your flip frame a more personalized look. These frames are easy to make, and they will look great in your loved one’s western-themed home.

2. Use an old stirrup to make a hanging wine rack.

If your loved one enjoys having a glass of wine on occasion, then creating a hanging wine rack using an old stirrup could result in the creation of a gift that will be appreciated. To begin this project, you need to find an old stirrup with the leather fender still attached. Try looking for old saddles at garage sales or antique stores that can be taken apart and used for this project.

Cut the fender loose from the saddle, and measure the girth of some wine bottles with a piece of leather strapping. Cut the straps to size, and attach them to one side of the fender using a sewing machine designed to work with leather or a sturdy needle and thread.

Once you have attached three leather straps, attach three metal rings that are large enough to hold the neck of your wine bottles to the opposite side of the fender. Sew a strap with a buckle to the top of the fender to serve as a hanger. Your loved one is sure to appreciate the extra wine storage that will blend seamlessly with their western decor.

Don’t be afraid to get creative when crafting western themed gifts. Incorporating stirrups into your projects is a simple way to make western-themed gifts your loved ones will enjoy.

What To Look For In A Butterfly Knife

Posted by on Mar 13th, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What To Look For In A Butterfly Knife

Butterfly knives, aka fan knives, have a certain allure because of the action required to expose the blade. Manipulating a butterfly knife as you swing the handles around is always fun, even if you have no practical use for the blade. But, many people actually carry butterfly knives around as a form of protection. Of course, in some states, it is illegal to carry a concealed knife. In some states it is perfectly legal. Whether you want and knife for protection, or just for the novelty of it, there are a few things you want to consider to ensure quality and safety. Whether you are purchasing on the Internet or at a store you will need to be over the legal age limit within your home state. This article explains what to look for when shopping for a quality butterfly knife.

Stainless Steel Blades and Handles

You definitely want a knife with a stainless steel blade. This allows you to sharpen your own blade and maintain it with ease. Of course, you still want to keep your knife dry to prevent rusting. Most blades have stainless steel handles, but many have wood or rubber padding for a more solid grip. This is especially important if you have sweaty hands. A slippery handle when opening and closing a butterfly knife can be very dangerous. You will spend hours perfecting the technique and making it look as effortless as possible. After all, this is a unique part of owning a butterfly knife. So, it is understandably dangerous if your handles don’t have a good grip.

A Working Latch

A solid latch is also important. If the latch does not keep the handles securely closed, there is a major risk of the blade being accidentally exposed. This can be dangerous whether you are just reaching for a knife in a drawer or in your pant pocket. Some knives use magnets instead of latches, but these are definitely more temperamental.

The key to having a useful butterfly knife is making sure the blade is sharp and the handles are secure. You don’t need to invest a ton of money to get a quality and durable knife. You can get a durable knife that will last for many years without spending too much money. The pivot pins can get dusty and hamper the operation of the butterfly effect, making it hard to open and close the knife.

For more tips, check out places like Discount Knives and Swords.

Tips For The Successful Application Of Chalkboard Paint

Posted by on Jan 8th, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Tips For The Successful Application Of Chalkboard Paint

Chalkboard paint isn’t just for the classroom anymore. It now comes in a variety of colors instead of plain black. You can use it to create an accent wall in a child’s room, a place to take notes in an office, or you can add it to the back of a door for a quickie bulletin board. The trick to a great-looking wall or accent with chalkboard paint is all in the application. These tips can help.

Tip #1: Start With a Clean Surface

Oils from your skin, dirt and dust, or the thin film of grease that builds up on kitchen walls can prevent the paint from adhering properly. Dust the area you are planning to paint with a microfiber dusting cloth. Then, wash the area thoroughly with a cleaner that contains a degreasing agent. Allow it to dry completely before painting.

Tip #2: Prepare Your Surface

Chalkboard paint will adhere better to a slightly roughened surface. This is especially true if the old finish on the wall is glossy. Lightly sand the area with a fine grit sandpaper, and then wipe off the sanding dust with a slightly damp rag. Next, apply a coat of primer. Use a dark primer for a dark shade of chalkboard paint or a light primer for a light color of paint. Once the primer dries, sand it lightly.

Tip #3: Apply the Paint

A short nap roller works well with chalkboard paint because it gives you the smoothest finish. Apply one coat of the paint, rolling it onto the surface vertically. Allow this to dry, and then apply a second coat by rolling it on horizontally. This will help prevent streaks. You can use a small paintbrush to get into any tricky areas.

Tip #4: Cure and Condition the Paint

Make sure the paint cures, or dries, completely. Three days is a safe choice, although the paint bottle should provide an exact specification. You can also ask the craft paint supplier for their recommendation for the specific brand. Once cured, condition the surface by chalking over it completely. To do this, hold a piece of chalk flat against the surface and roll the chalk all over it. Next, erase the chalk. Now, repeat the process but roll the chalk perpendicular to the first application. Once this is erased, the chalkboard is ready to use. You can clean it with a damp sponge when needed.