How-To: DIY Tiny Hand Brooch Pin

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I needed to stop fawning over little creepy expensive hand brooches, so I made one, ok two. No surprise here. They look kind of like one of those ridiculous hand shaped backscratches I used to see selling in neighbourhood homeware stores. Not the wooden ones, but the plastic ones with red fingernails that make a funny sound when you tilt it. I always wondered who bought them. I guess I would have if they were gold in colour, haha! Also, I have to say anything spray painted into a solid shade of gold can make even the most hideous of objects look expensive.

Lately, enamel pins have been showing up all over my instagram and I love them! There’s something about adding a little pin to your plain outfits to really give it that extra pizzazz. They make awesome conversation starters if they are hilarious, out of this world or just batshit crazy. Bad at making small talk? Make these pins work for you! To be specific, make this creepy hand pin. Read on to see how you can get your own faux gold hand brooch in no time! (P.S. I’m not reliable for any questionable looks that might start coming your way.)

 

Materials

Doll Hands | Spray Paint | Brooch Pin | Glue

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1. Dismantle your doll parts. This might make you feel sad, but it will be worth it! These plastic hands are from old flea market man toys like G.I Joes or other character type military dolls. They are ball jointed so removing their parts is easy as pie!

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2. Stick the hand somewhere, make sure it does not budge or topple over during the spray painting process. You can use toothpicks or skewers.

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3. Coat the hand evenly with your chosen fancy schmancy colour. Leave it alone till it’s dry to the touch and then coat a glossy varnish or sealant over it.

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4. Stick your brooch pin with superglue or E6000 onto the back of the tiny hand. Leave it to dry for 24 hours. Note – I tried using these brooch pins but realised that it does not sit very well when pinned. I would recommend using butterfly clasps pins instead.

 

And there you have it, a superb way to stop hiding in a corner, create a conversation and break some ice!

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Dinosaur Island Screenprint Stencil

Woah nelly, dinosaurs, again! I have been bitten by the prehistoric bug and it’s going to be a while before you see anything else but dinosaurs from me. If you ever wanted to try your hand at screen printing but can’t bear the thought of investing in emulsions and drawing fluids, you should give this a go! It’s a quick surefire way to get you addicted to your very own hand pulled art. I love doing what I call “cut and paste” art, where I use simple shapes to form funny scenes. It requires very little resources, all you need is a big imagination! Get your game face on and go get cracking!

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Materials

Plain Cotton Bag | Screen print Ink | Screen print A4 Mesh Board | Squeegee | Adhesive Paper

Download

Silkscreen Design

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1. Print out the silkscreen design onto a piece of adhesive paper and cut the shapes out.

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2. Arrange them according to your preference. Remove the backing and stick them on to the front side of the mesh board.

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3. Put a piece of cardboard inside the bag to prevent ink from seeping to the back. Flip the board over and place a good amount of ink at the top of the board. (Psst, I overloaded on mine, sorry!)

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4. Get someone to hold the side of the board for you. Using a squeegee or a piece of cardboard, pull the ink from the top down and then back up again.

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5. Gently remove the board from the fabric. Transfer any excess ink back into the tub or print on another bag if you wish too! Wash the screen as soon as possible.

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6. Leave the ink to dry completely. Once it’s dried, heat set the front and back with an iron for 10 mins. This will ensure you seal the ink onto the bag. Ta-dah! You got yourself a plesiosaurus dinosaur swimming around volcanoes!

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#jurassiczookeeper #dinosquad #prattkeeping (hehe, just kidding!)

Photos of me by my sidekick.

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DIY Dinosaur Placemats

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After watching Jurassic World a few weeks back, I was hit by a wave of childhood nostalgia and a teeny bit of dinosaur fever started creeping back up on me. The days where my brothers and I would collect Jurassic Park stickers, or the times I would watch The Land Before Time for the millionth time instead of doing my homework. The Land Before Time was probably one of my favourite movies as a kid, it was so sad but damn was it good.

After reminiscing about my time as an imaginary dinosaur keeper, I decided to come up with a handful of dino-inspired DIYs. To start the ball rolling, here is a relatively simple DIY tutorial (but might require you to have pretty confident sewing skills). This is very similar to my previous cloud mat tutorial, but let’s just say this is better.

Materials

Thick Vinyl | Leatherette | Stiff Felt | Glue | Teflon Footer

Download

Triceratops Pattern

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1. Cut the shapes of your Triceratops out following the pattern in the link above.

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2. Use fabric glue and piece the layers together. Allow to dry for 15 to 30 minutes.

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3. Once that’s dried, glue the entire piece onto a piece of stiff felt. Allow it to dry fully according to the instructions on your fabric glue bottle.

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4. Follow the shape of your dinosaur and cut the excess fabric off.

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5. Trace the shape of your dinosaur onto a piece of clear vinyl and cut that out. If you want to get rid of the black ink marks after, use some rubbing alcohol to wipe them off.

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6. Place the vinyl on top of the leatherette and secure them together using binder clips before sewing. This will ensure that the pieces do no move around during the stitching process.

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7. Sew everything up using a teflon footer. For heavy weight fabric, you should sew with a longer stitch length and a needle size of 16/100 or 18/110. Always test on scrap pieces before sewing the actual piece. You might also need to switch to using the hand wheel when you come across tricky areas.

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Go ahead and have a little party with your newly made dinosaur friends! Have a roaring good time!

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Working with Cyanotype Fabric

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Just last week, I wrapped up my last cyanotype workshop for the month and I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll get to continue on another similar project soon. It will make my year really special if it happens, but I’m not going to talk about it for fear of jinxing it! Anyway, a while back, I procured some washi tape when I popped by one of my old work places. We were just catching up and I can’t remember what transpired out of our many conversations, but we ended up wondering if the prints on washi tape could transfer successfully onto a cyanotype print. I gave the tapes a run for their money at one of my workshop classes and they came out beautifully. Spurred on by all the fun everyone was having, I made a mental note to make a blog post documenting the cyanotype process.

So, here it is!

Materials

Cyanotype Fabric | Plants | Acrylic Sheet | Chipboard | Binder Clips | Water | Hydrogen Peroxide | Almighty Sun

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Take a walk around your local park and find some interesting plants to work with. You need to press them in between heavy books for about a week to get rid of moisture and ensure they are completely flat.

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Arrange your plants on the pre-soaked cyanotype fabric. I cut mine in a circular fashion because I wanted to fit them onto an embroidery hoop. You have to work in a dimly lit room because the cyanotype fabric is light sensitive. It will start developing once it has been exposed to sunlight. Cyanotype fabric can be bought at Blueprints on Fabric or you can choose to get an Inkodye kit (not cyanotype, but it works in a similar way).

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I played around with layering in a constellation pattern I made and also created a washi tape sampler for future reference.

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Once you are done sandwiching your print in between the acrylic sheet and chipboard, clip them tightly together with binder clips. Choose a spot with the strongest sunlight and place your board right there. The above picture is obviously not being sunned in strong sunlight, it is in the shade because that makes a nicer picture. Time needed to sun: 10 minutes. If the sun decides to play hide and seek, leave it out for a longer period of time.

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Gently remove your plants after the time is up and quickly chuck them into a tub of water.

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You need to go through three washing stages. 1) Initial Water Bath consisting of only distilled water. 2) Hydrogen Peroxide Bath consisting of water plus a small cap full of hydrogen peroxide 3% solution. 3) Final Rinse Bath which is constant running water.

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Wash the fabric in plain distilled water for about 5 minutes. You can see the intensity of the blue is pretty meh here.

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After the first bath, get ready a fresh tub of water that has been filled with hydrogen peroxide and watch it magically darken to a lovely prussian blue! Once that finishes, prepare to wash it in another tub of constant running water for approximately 10 minutes.

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And voila! You are done! Hang your fabrics out in the sun to dry and iron it to get rid of the wrinkles.

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If you are feeling crafty, you can create mixed media artwork with your fabric pieces! Cut out little fishes and have them swim around your globe shaped aquarium. Or get out some embroidery threads and fill in the blank spaces.

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The embroidery stitches used here are the french knot and a ribbed spider web stitch. They make great imaginary dandelion plants. Once you are done, hang it on the wall and enjoy your new piece of art!

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Cactus Matchbox Diorama I

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The first time I attempted doing a matchbox diorama was through a swap on swap-bot 2 or 3 years ago. I remember making a mini television and filling it with all things purple, pink and sparkly. Thinking back, it sounds awfully bubblegum pop. I am obsessed with miniatures, so it’s no surprise that I enjoy making dioramas and decorating them. My dream house would be filled with miniatures hidden in every nook and cranny, waiting to be discovered by my guests! I’m really excited to share this simple matchbox diorama tutorial, but it’s long winded, so I will be splitting it up into two posts.

Today’s post is all about making mini cactuses and I made use of the following materials:

  • Polymer clay
  • A nail dotting tool
  • Nail polish or acrylic paint
  • Small caps from used tubes
  • White glue

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I made my clay green by mixing shaved down green chalk pastels into it. My matchbox is around 3″ by 2″, so make sure your cactuses are much smaller in size. To make the cactus, roll up a small ball and slowly roll the sides into a bean shape!

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Roll another two small balls into a pill shape, these are for the arms. Attach both arms to the side, you will need to use your finger to mould the end of the arm into the body. Just be gentle and patient in smoothing out the lines. Make sure that it’s completely seamless!

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Lastly, you need to push the stiff arms up and there you have it, a cactus! Now, pop this in the oven to bake as instructed for your brand of clay. It should be as hard as a rock when it’s ready.

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Now, we are not going to be doing a realistic looking cactus with spiky thorns. Instead we will be adding polka dots to represent the thorns! A little yayoi kusama inspired, perhaps? Get ready your nail polish and nail dotting tool, you can easily substitute these with paint and a toothpick as well.

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Start off with a tiny drop of white nail polish and use your chosen dotting tool to start dotting the cactus.

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Finish up one side and let it dry before starting on the back. It’s fine if you choose not to do the back too because you wouldn’t be able to see it when it’s sitting in the matchbox.

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Next, get your cap from any used tube (for example; a toothpaste tube, a mini travel lotion bottle cap, an antiseptic tube). Remember to wash the caps clean and dry before applying glue! Bust out your glue and apply around the rims of the cap. I used E600 glue, but white glue would suffice honestly. I chose E600 as it was conveniently lying around. I hate how smelly it is! Plus it says on the backing that it can cause cancer, why the hell am I still using it?!

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Hold your breathe in and push the cactus tightly into the cap. Leave the sucker in to dry for a couple of hours.

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And boom girl, you got yourself some baby cactuses to fawn over! Hold onto them till we get to part II!

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