Category Archives: DIY – Do It Yourself

Junk Mail Paper – Part Two

It’s time for another installment in my Junk Mail Paper series!  In the first post, I showed you the simplest version of how to recycle your junk mail and unwanted paper into new paper .

Junk Mail Paper - Part One(If you missed the first post, you can find it HERE.)

If any of you actually tried this, I would LOVE to hear about it or see pictures! Share them in the comments!

Now I’m going to show you one of the things you can do with your new paper – making easy-tear notepads out of it!  I also have a fun reusable notepad holder to show you!
Junk Mail Paper - Part Two of a series.
Isn’t it cute? Let’s get started!


The Supplies
Junk Mail Paper - Part Two of a series.
For the Notepad
1. Homemade junk mail paper (not pictured)
2. Paper cutter or scissors (not pictured)
3. Chipboard
4. Wide Painter’s Tape
5. Two pieces of wood that are taller and wider than your paper and at least a half inch deep.
6. 2 four inch C-clamps (not pictured)
7. Clear 100% silicone sealant – for window/door/attic
8. Magnetic tape or button (optional)

For the Holder
1. DIY 5×7 Chippendale Frame from Oriental Trading Company
2. Scrapbook paper
3. Mod Podge
4. Paint
5. 1 magnetic button
6. 1 small washer
7. Hot glue and gun
8. Sand paper (optional)
9. Primer (optional)

The Directions
Junk Mail Paper - Part Two of a series.
Start by trimming each piece of your homemade junk mail paper to the same size.  Make sure you flattened it first by following my instructions in Part 1.  If you have some pieces with worse deckle edges or more uneven edges than the other sides, trim those sides first.  Save those trimmed edges to recycle into more paper! My paper has been trimmed to 3×4 inches.  By the way, I FINALLY found my paper cutter! Yay! You might remember me talking about how frustrated I was about not being able to find it for 2 years in a previous post.  Anyway…

Also trim a piece of chipboard to the same size.  I have actual chipboard.  T, my hubby, brought home a HUGE box a few years ago from work, and I still haven’t gone through the whole thing.  I LOVE free stuff! You could easily cut out a piece from a cereal box or other similar food box.

Junk Mail Paper - Part Two of a series.
To assemble and make the notepad, first cover the edge of each board with Painter’s tape.  It should generously cover around each edge, touching 3 sides, like the picture shows.  I used shelf inserts from our TV stand for this.  Get creative! You don’t have to go buy wood scraps to do this!

You need to carefully stack your paper and chipboard.  The chipboard serves as a sturdy backing for your notepad. I find it easier to add the chipboard last, but you might find it easier to start with it.  If you’re recycling a food box to use as chipboard make sure the printed side is facing up and you stack the paper on top of it to hide the print.

To stack the paper, carefully line up each edge that will be at the top of the notepad.  If a piece lays lower than the rest, it won’t be touched by the glue and will just fall out.   I suggest doing it piece by piece and not just tapping the stack on a table to get them even.  Pinch the top of the notepad tightly so the papers won’t slip, line it up with the taped edge of one board, put the other board on top lining it up with the paper and first board, and then tightly secure the C-clamps around everything (use the picture above as a guide). Make sure your paper didn’t move while you put the clamps on.  It needs to be as straight as possible.

There are lots of different glues you can use to secure your notepad, but I’ve found that I really like the clear 100% silicone sealant the best!  It creates a nice thick binding and the paper tears off so easily.  It also doesn’t bleed into the paper like some other glues will.  Apply 2-3 layers of glue to the top edge of your notepad.  I like to wear a glove and apply it with my finger. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for drying.  The Painter’s tape will protect your boards from glue and keep the notepad from sticking.

Junk Mail Paper - Part Two of a series.
This is the only picture I could find of one of the notepads I’ve made in the past.  This one was a gift for my mom a few Christmases ago. It has varying Christmas themed paper and a magnet on the back.  You can add a magnetic button or piece of magnetic tape to the back of yours to stick it up on your refrigerator.  However, if you want to make a notepad holder, don’t add a magnet, and keep reading!

Junk Mail Paper - Part Two of a series.
Oriental Trading Company let me pick out some items for review, and I just HAD to have this DIY 5×7 Chippendale Frame!  It comes unfinished, so there are so many crafty things you could do with it!  It also come in an 8×10 size.  I started by disassembling the frame.  There are 3 inner pieces: the glass, the chipboard, and the filler paper.

Junk Mail Paper - Part Two of a series.
Then I just painted the frame in Canary Yellow.  You could sand and prime it first, but I wanted some of the wood grain to show through.  A helpful tip to keep paint from getting all over the edges of your can is to put a piece of Painter’s Tape over the top and wipe your brush on that instead of the edge of the can! Neat, huh?!

Junk Mail Paper - Part Two of a series.
I cut a piece of scrapbook paper to the size of the chipboard that came with the frame and glued it to the chipboard with Mod Podge.  The paper I used is part of the Black and White Monochromatic Paper Pack from Oriental Trading Company.  I love the variety in this pack.  If you scroll back up to the supplies picture, you can see the designs it comes with.  I especially love the music themed paper!  This pack is the standard 12×12 scrapbooking size. They have MANY other paper designs and paper packs besides this one. Can you tell my foam brushes get a lot of use?!

Junk Mail Paper - Part Two of a series.
How you reassemble the frame is up to you, BUT I chose to layer it with the glass on the bottom, the paper in the middle, and the chipboard with the scrapbook paper showing on top. You can reuse your frame by layering it this way.  You will be gluing something to the top layer. So if you don’t put the glass on top, you save it from the glue and can use it as a regular frame in the future.  I didn’t want a shiny front for mine either, which is also why I chose to layer it this way. You need to put all the layers in there to make it nice and snug.

Junk Mail Paper - Part Two of a series.
Use hot glue to attach the washer to the notepad and the magnetic button to the scrapbook paper.  Don’t do it the other way around.  This is what makes it reusable.  It is A LOT cheaper to add a new washer than a magnet to a new notepad.  You might even be able to reuse the chipboard backing if you carefully pull off the remaining glue!

Junk Mail Paper - Part Two of a series.
Embellish your paper and frame! I made simple paper roses out of the scrapbook paper and stamped “notes” onto the bottom of my paper pad.

Junk Mail Paper - Part Two of a series.
I also used Mod Podge to line the edges with the same scrapbook paper.  I know some people think the gray and yellow combination has been overdone, but this is my first time using those colors together! I couldn’t resist! 🙂 I even put yellow thread in the paper to give it a little more character.

Junk Mail Paper - Part Two of a series.
That’s it! You now have a cute reusable notepad holder with a homemade notepad!  Even better, these frames come with attached hanging hardware and can be hung vertically or horizontally.

Oriental Trading Company
If you haven’t heard of Oriental Trading Company before,  a visit to their site will definitely be worth your time!  Everything is affordable, and they have a Lowest Price Guarantee.

Here are some great links to get you started:
1. Shop OTC
2. Sign up for email savings
3. Request a free catalog
4. Sign up for Oriental Trading Rewards
5. Explore free project ideas

Oriental Trading Company

**This post is sponsored by Oriental Trading Company.  I received a gift card to put toward products for review.  No other compensation was received.  All opinions and reviews are written with complete honesty.  The entirety of this post is comprised of my own thoughts and words.**

Remember, if you post about this project, please be sure to give me credit and link back to me or grab a button from the sidebar. Thanks!

Your opinions and thoughts mean a lot to me.  I would love for you to leave me a comment below.  Thanks for stopping by today!

6 Comments

Filed under DIY - Do It Yourself, Paper, Reviews

Washer Suncatcher/Wind chime

I made it through ANOTHER round of the One Crafty Contest! I still can’t believe I was voted in as a contestant let alone that I’ve made it so far! Thank you to everyone who has been voting and sending me kind words of encouragement. You can find all my past projects and read about my participation in the contest HERE.

DIY Washer Suncatcher/Wind Chime
The latest round required us to use glitter. My entry was this washer and cookie cutter suncatcher/wind chime. It was NOT, however, my first project, and was really only half of what I wanted my final entry to be.

DIY Washer Suncatcher/Wind Chime
(it’s  hard to make out the letters without the glitter coloring each letter)

I worked SO hard on garden art made out of washers. I spelled out the word “bloom” with different sizes of washers and made the curves of the letters into flowers. I had the whole thing glued together (I even super glued my finger to a cookie sheet in the process). I had the washers glittered, but then I moved it to keep it safely away from my kids, and the whole thing broke since the super glue wasn’t set yet! I had planned to make it the top of my wind chime instead of the rod I used. So instead, I added the cookie/fondant cutters to my final project so it wasn’t so plain. I guess it was meant to be though, because the final project was good enough to put me in the top 5!

This project was actually pretty easy, but really time consuming. It required A LOT of drying time.

DIY Washer Suncatcher/Wind Chime
I covered cookie sheets with aluminum foil and then put wax paper on top. I started by laying out the different sizes of washers until I had a pattern I liked. Then I decided how many colors of glitter to use and what order they would be in. I filled the center of each washer with Mod Podge. It worked best to fill it with a thin layer, but not so thin that it would pull away from the sides as it dried. To prevent drips, I filled a children’s oral syringe with the Mod Podge. It worked perfectly! I filled the cookie cutters the same way.

DIY Washer Suncatcher/Wind Chime
Then I sprinkled on the glitter and waited, and waited, and waited for it to dry. Because of the deadline for the contest, I ended up putting the cookie sheets in my oven on the lowest temperature to speed dry the Mod Podge. The cookie cutters were especially slow to dry, so they spent several hours in the oven! I would have preferred to let it all air dry. The oven made some of the wax paper fuse to the back of the washers. The ones that did air dry popped right off the wax paper.

DIY Washer Suncatcher/Wind Chime
(here you can see the wax paper that fused to the back of the washers and some undried glue in the cookie cutters)

When it was mostly dry, I shook off all the extra glitter. The Mod Podge dries clear, so it created a little window in the middle of each washer with suspended glitter (unfortunately the pictures don’t show this well). Then I laid out all the washers the way I wanted it to look in the end, but upside down so I could glue strong fishing line to the back of each piece.

DIY Washer Suncatcher/Wind Chime
I primed and spray painted a wooden dowel in a metallic silver to match the washers. I tied on each string of the wind chime, measured carefully so they were evenly spaced, and then glued each of the tied strings to the dowel so they wouldn’t slide around. All that was left to do was hang it up!

DIY Washer Suncatcher/Wind Chime

DIY Washer Suncatcher/Wind Chime
(So pretty! I actually used ultra fine iridescent cosmetic glitter for all the white pieces to give it extra sparkle!)

Remember, if you post about this project, please be sure to give me credit and link back to me or grab a button from the sidebar. Thanks!

Your opinions and thoughts mean a lot to me.  I would love for you to leave me a comment below.  Thanks for stopping by today!

4 Comments

Filed under DIY - Do It Yourself, One Crafty Contest, Spray Paint, Upcycled

Washi Tape – Flowers, Butterflies, Hearts, and Spires!

Beaded washi tape vase with washi tape floral embellishments.
I made it through another round of the One Crafty Contest! Another big thank you to everyone who voted! You can read about my participation in the contest here and see my round 1 paint project here. We had to feature washi tape in this round.  I had never used it before, but can now understand why people get so obsessed with it!  The above picture was my entry.  I’m now in the top ten! I’m excited, but nervous.  It’s getting more serious each round, and I’m up against some amazing talent.  Our next project has to feature glitter.  Make sure to check back to see what I make!

Beaded washi tape vase with washi tape floral embellishments.
Here is the description I sent in with my entry:
“I really wanted to do something different for this round besides just sticking my tape on something and calling it a day. I decided on a craft where I could use the washi tape in several different ways. I hand stitched pearl beads to each layer of the tape that covers the vase. Then I staggered the layers to create a cascading effect. Using two different colors of tape, I folded little accordion style spires. I also hand stitched AB beads to tape and stitched little washi ruffles out of it. I made tiny, two-toned, six-petaled washi flowers. They have stems made out of jewelry wire that are wrapped in green washi tape. The spires, ruffles, and flowers are all staggered throughout the floral arrangement. This project required a lot of stitching, a lot of little folds, a lot of patience, and a lot of time spent in front of the TV! I think it would make a fun addition to any spring decor.”

Washi tape floral embellishments. Tutorials with lots of pictures.
I didn’t take any in-progress pictures for this project (oops!).  I was too busy trying to get it to look just right.  So instead, I made some more of the embellishments, took pictures, and have the tutorials for you! I’ve already received a few requests for a tutorial on the flower.  So we’ll start with that.

This is a really simple folding technique that I found by Kara at scrapbook.steals.com. She gives credit for her post to fancypantsdesigns.com.  While they used paper to make flowers, I used the folding technique to make washi tape flowers, but I also realized I could use this technique to make butterflies and hearts!

The Supplies
1. 3 colors of washi tape (2 the same width for the petals and 1 for the stem)
2. ruler
3. scissors
4. choice of clear drying glue (I suggest high temp hot glue or mini glue dots)
5. jewelry, craft, or floral wire – 20 to 24 gauge
6. wire cutters
7. nylon jaw flat nose jewelry pliers (optional)

I made my flowers 2 toned.  One color of washi tape is on the front and the other is on the back.  I love how most washi tape has some sort of see-through pattern.  If you want yours 2 toned too, choose colors and patterns that will look good together.  For my contest entry, I did light pink and dark blue, to get lavender flowers.  For this tutorial, I am using red and yellow.

The Directions
Washi tape flowers, butterflies, and hearts. Free tutorials with lots of pictures!
First you will need to cut and measure one of your flower colors.  I found I liked the way my petals looked by cutting a piece that is 1 3/4 inches using standard sized washi tape (15mm wide).  Just stick the end of your tape at 1 3/4 inches on the ruler and let it hang off the edge to cut it.  Line up the cut tape, with the sticky sides together, on the second color for your flower.  This might take a few tries to get it straight, especially if you don’t have obvious patterns or your ends aren’t cut straight.  No worries though!  The tape will easily come apart to try again! Cut the second color where the edge of the first color ends.  You can pinch the tape with your finger and thumb and swipe with your thumbnail to smooth out any wrinkles or creases. Repeat until you have 3 of these little strips. Or 3 x the number of flowers you’re making.  Stack the 3 strips on top of each other to do any necessary trimming to make sure they are all the same length.  Make one more smaller strip that’s about the size of a square for each flower.

Washi tape flowers, butterflies, and hearts. Free tutorials with lots of pictures!
Fold a strip in half so that the short ends meet.  At this point don’t worry about what color is on top or bottom.

Washi tape flowers, butterflies, and hearts. Free tutorials with lots of pictures!
Then fold it in half length wise.

Washi tape flowers, butterflies, and hearts. Free tutorials with lots of pictures!
Turn it so that the short side with the fold is on the left, and the long side with the fold is on the bottom.  Starting at the bottom right, cut a small curve going up to the top.  This will be the rounded part of your petals.

Washi tape flowers, butterflies, and hearts. Free tutorials with lots of pictures!
Unfold the entire thing.

Washi tape flowers, butterflies, and hearts. Free tutorials with lots of pictures!
Now fold it in half length wise with the color that you want as the FRONT of the flower on the INSIDE of the fold.

Washi tape flowers, butterflies, and hearts. Free tutorials with lots of pictures!
Grab one of the 2 flaps and fold it back up to meet the edge of the last fold you created.  Turn it over and do the same thing.

Washi tape flowers, butterflies, and hearts. Free tutorials with lots of pictures!
It should look a little like an accordion.

Washi tape flowers, butterflies, and hearts. Free tutorials with lots of pictures!
Now fold the whole thing in half.  You should see a crease line as a guide from the first folds you made.

Washi tape flowers, butterflies, and hearts. Free tutorials with lots of pictures!
Make petals out of the other 2 strips using the same steps. Cut a small circle out of the 4th strip you made. This will be the base of the flower.

Washi tape flowers, butterflies, and hearts. Free tutorials with lots of pictures!
Add a very small amount of glue (I suggest hot glue or mini glue dots) right inside the last fold you created to keep the 2 petals next to each other.  Do not glue the entire length of the petals.  You want them to flare out some from each other. Hold each set of petals by the middle fold with the front color facing up, and run a finger underneath each petal to shape it by pushing up on the center fold.

Washi tape flowers, butterflies, and hearts. Free tutorials with lots of pictures!
Glue (I suggest hot glue) and arrange the 3 completed petal pieces on the circle.

Washi tape flowers, butterflies, and hearts. Free tutorials with lots of pictures!
The length of the stem is up to you.  It works best if you can get your wire really straight.  If you have a nylon jaw flat nose pliers, straighten out the wire using the pliers while it’s still on the spool. If you cut it first, you’ll have a hard time holding onto it.  Once it’s straight, cut the wire.

Washi tape flowers, butterflies, and hearts. Free tutorials with lots of pictures!
Unravel some of your stem colored washi tape and place the wire close to the edge of the tape.  Leave just enough space to fold the edge of the tape over the wire.  Cut the washi tape from the roll.

Washi tape flowers, butterflies, and hearts. Free tutorials with lots of pictures!
Fold over the small edge of tape you created and crease it against the wire.  Now just roll the wire and tape until you can’t anymore.

Washi tape flowers, butterflies, and hearts. Free tutorials with lots of pictures!
Glue it to the back of your flower (again, I suggest hot glue).

Washi tape flowers, butterflies, and hearts. Free tutorials with lots of pictures!
That’s it! You can bend the wire to arrange the flowers.  Make a whole bunch in different colors and sizes to create a bouquet.

Washi tape flowers, butterflies, and hearts. Free tutorials with lots of pictures!
Use the same folding technique and stems to create butterflies and hearts!

~~~

The spires I used in my contest entry are really easy to make.  I have to give credit to my parents (not sure if it was Mom or Dad) for teaching me how to do this.  When I was a kid, my parents would take my brothers and me to Pizza Hut to get our free personal pizzas from the Book It school reading program.  Do they still do this? Anyone know what I’m talking about?  I’m sure they no longer use the big pin on buttons they used when I was in grade school!  If you have no clue what I’m talking about, THAT IS OK! The point is, while we were waiting for our pizza and sipping on our sodas, we would take the empty straw wrappers and make these fun little spires to pass the time. Confession: I STILL do this anytime I have straw wrappers at a restaurant! Fun fact: Pizza Hut was where T took me on our first date as a couple, and I clearly remember doing this to calm my giddy nerves!

The Supplies
1.
1 -4 colors of washi tape all the same width (the tutorial uses 2 colors)
2. clear drying glue (I used Mod Podge)
3. a Q-tip or small paint brush for the glue
4. scissors

The Directions
Washi tape spire/chain.  Tutorial with pictures.
Fold the washi tape over on itself lengthwise to create a long strip.  I found it easier to keep it on the roll.  Do the same with the other color of washi tape.  The length of the strip will affect how long the spire will get.  Cut both strips to the same desired length.

Washi tape spire/chain.  Tutorial with pictures.
Glue the ends together to create a 90 degree angle.  To make it look more uniform, have your folded edges on the outside.  If you’re using one color, you only need one strip and can fold it in the middle to look like the red one in the picture.

Washi tape spire/chain.  Tutorial with pictures.
Once the glue is dry, take the strip that is on the bottom (the yellow one)  and fold it over the top strip (the blue one) creasing it where it meets the edge of the top strip.  The blue one is now on the bottom.  Fold it the same way over the yellow one.

Washi tape spire/chain.  Tutorial with pictures.
Continue folding this way until you reach the ends.  It’s best to hold onto the completed folds while you work and keep them squished together.

Washi tape spire/chain.  Tutorial with pictures.
If the end pieces are too small to complete a fold, just cut them off.  Glue the ends together.

Washi tape spire/chain.  Tutorial with pictures.
Let go of your folds and it will spring out into a fun spire!  You can also make larger, 4 colored spires by doubling 2 colors of tape for each strip. Think of all the fun ways you can use these!  Cards, scrapbooking, washi bracelets and earrings, and of course as floral decorations!  These can easily be made using strips of paper as well.

Hope you enjoyed these tutorials and have learned some new ways to use your washi tape!

Remember, if you post about this project, please be sure to give me credit and link back to me or grab a button from the sidebar. Thanks!

Your opinions and thoughts mean a lot to me.  I would love for you to leave me a comment below.  Thanks for stopping by today!

14 Comments

Filed under DIY - Do It Yourself, Free Tutorials, One Crafty Contest, Washi Tape

Junk Mail Paper – Part One

I love it when you can take something completely useless that you would otherwise throw away and make it into something functional and beautiful!  One of those useless items is junk mail!  Usually it’s covered in print, so it doesn’t make good scrap paper, especially if it has personal information on it.  Then it’s straight to the shredder or rip it up before tossing it.  You COULD give it to your little ones and let them have fun scrunching it and tearing it up, but that’s about all it’s good for, right?  Well….. I’m going to show you a few awesome things you can do with your unwanted mail.  This also includes any used scrap paper, old bills to be shredded, leftover homework, tissue paper that no longer looks pretty, toilet paper (unused!), paper towels (unused!), and almost any type of paper that you would otherwise throw away.  I’m going to do this as a series of posts, so this doesn’t get super long!

First off, we’re going to recycle that paper into new paper!  Already recycle your unwanted paper? Awesome!  Unfortunately, we don’t have recycling pick up services in our area, and recycling ANYTHING means hoarding big piles, lugging it to the recycle bins at the dump, and waiting in line since everyone seems to do it on the weekends! So, to be honest, we don’t recycle as much as we used to since living here.

Junk Mail Paper - Part 1 of a series.  Paper making and other ways to recycle junk mail!
Have you ever seen that pretty homemade paper that looks like linen?  Or has colorful thread or dried flowers in it? Or maybe you received a wedding invitation on plantable paper with seeds in it?  Most of the time what you’re looking at is homemade paper.  And what is homemade paper?  It’s just the process of recycling old paper!  And that’s what I’m going to show you how to do.

Don’t get overwhelmed by this.  It is very easy.  Once you have all of your tools and supplies assembled, it’s really easy to pull them out each time you want to make paper.

First of all, you will need a mold and deckle.  Huh? What’s that?  For your benefit, I’ve included a glossary of terms at the very end of this post. Go check it out.  I’ll still be here! You can purchase a mold and deckle kit at most craft stores.  However, I’m going to show you how to make one for a fraction of the cost.  If you would rather buy one,  skip down 3 pictures, and start reading where it says, The Supplies.

paper1
The Supplies
1.
two empty wooden frames – one bigger than the other (check your thrift stores and yard sales!) I recommend small frames for beginners and then working up to a full size sheet of paper.
2.
window screen
3.
hammer and short nails or a staple gun
4.
scissors

The Directions
paper2
Place the window screen on top of the larger frame.  Nail it down or staple it while pulling the screen tight in all directions.
You can see in my picture that this frame once had a screen on it.  It got a lot of use and wasn’t as tight as I wanted, so I put a new screen on.

paper3
Using a scissors, cut the window screen around the frame.  You now have a mold!  Easy right?  Put the mold and deckle (smaller frame) off to the side while we get our paper making supplies together.

The Supplies
1.
paper to be recycled
2.
a plastic tub that is wider and longer than your mold and deckle and preferably has a lid
3.
large spoon
4.
a blender
5.
heavy towels (like bath towels)
6.
several thick sponges
7.
several pieces of white felt
8.
water
9.
heavy books or equivalent (optional)
10.
a paper shredder (optional)
11.
an iron and ironing board (optional)
12. wire kitchen sieve (optional)
13. Ziploc bags or similar (optional)

The Directions
I recommend doing this outside. You can do it inside. Just pick a place that has water friendly surfaces.

paper4
If you have a paper shredder, awesome! If not, you can tear your paper into small pieces.  I would try to stay away from really thick paper especially if it has shiny print.  Remove the plastic from envelope windows. Magazines and newspaper are ok!  The mix of paper you use will determine what your new paper will be like.  You can mix different kinds to get different thicknesses and textures.  What I’m going to show you is the SIMPLEST form of paper making.  There are so many fun ways you can do this and things you can add to your vat or mold.  Let’s keep it simple for now.

paper5
Fill your tub with warm to hot water.  A lot of people skip this step and go straight to the blender.  Trust me, it’s worth it.  Your blender won’t have to work so hard and you’ll get smoother pulp.  Add your shredded paper. This is an awesome kid activity!  M did a lot of this himself.  Obviously, children should not use a paper shredder, and young children should not use a blender.

paper6
So I’m going to stray one step from simple, but it’s still easy.  One of the easy ways to color your paper is to add a little bit of shredded, colored tissue paper.  This batch will produce lime green paper.  I have a lot of junk mail envelopes with the blue security print in this batch.  Basic color mixing: blue + yellow (tissue paper) = green. If you use white printer paper with a lot of black print on it, your paper will usually result in an off white color (linen).  Just like most things that are wet, your pulp will be a lot darker in color than what your finished dry paper will be. Use a large spoon to push all of the paper under the water.  You can definitely use your hands if your water isn’t too hot.  M loved this!  The paper will stick all over you though.  Let the paper shreds soak in the hot water until they are soft.  This only takes minutes for regular printer paper. Thicker paper will take longer.

paper9
This batch will come out gray and will be featured in other parts of this paper making series.

paper7
Scoop your softened paper into the blender.  M’s open mouth expression.. “Ohhh, cool!”

paper8
Add some of the hot water.  There are no specifics to this.  You just need enough liquid to help puree the paper. You don’t need to add anything else.  The bonding materials in the original paper are enough to bond new sheets of paper. Blend it up. Yay for outdoor outlets! For beginners, I suggest blending it as smooth as you can.  Add more hot water as needed and stir it once in a while (while it’s off). If you’re worried about dulling your blades, use a separate blender just for paper making (again, check your thrift stores and yard sales). Keep the leftover water in the tub.

paper10
I’m not going to lie to you.  The pulp is going to look pretty disgusting. Especially if you’re not using fun, bright colors. This is the gray batch again and will be in the pictures from here on out.

paper11
Pour the pulp back into the tub.  Don’t worry if you have a few leftover shreds of unblended paper in there.  It will just add character to your new paper.  Just pour a little at a time.  You’re going to have to experiment with how much you need when you make your first piece of paper.  I always add more warm water at this point too.  It helps to have several inches of the water/pulp mixture in the tub.  You’re going to be sticking your hands in this, so warm verses cool water is a personal choice. Put a thick towel folded in half next to your tub.  Have your felt and sponges ready.

paper12
Get your mold and deckle.  Put the deckle on the center of the screen on the mold.  Hold it by its sides so you’re pinching the 2 frames together. Try not to touch the screen.

paper13
This next part might be hard to understand.  So if you have questions, please ask in the comments below.  While holding your mold and deckle, submerge your hands into the vat.  Gently swirl and stir the pulp to try to evenly distribute and suspend the fibers in the water.  Don’t create large waves. Now lift your hands out, and with the water moving, scoop the mold and deckle down to the bottom of the tub. In other words, start with the mold and deckle at a 90 degree angle with the deckle facing away from you.  Insert it into the water starting at the side of the tub closest to you, and using a scooping motion, move it to the bottom of the tub so it is flat again.  The goal is to get underneath as many of the fibers as you can.  Then gently stir the water again, moving your hands towards you and away from you.  Take the slightest pause in the middle of the tub and immediately, but gently, pull your mold and deckle straight up out of the water while keeping it level.  Whew! Did you get all of that?  Again, if you have questions, please ask!

It’s actually really easy!  That whole process only takes 5 – 10 seconds. If you can get your pulp evenly distributed, and pull straight up, you’ll have an even sheet of paper on your mold.  This is where you’ll need to decide if you should add or take away pulp to get the desired thickness of your paper.  The more paper you make from one vat, the more pulp you’ll need to add.

paper14
Let the excess water drip off of the mold while you hold it over the tub.  You can tip it slightly to let water run off the corner.  While keeping it straight, lift the deckle straight up and off of the mold.  Put a piece of felt on top of your newly formed sheet of paper. If you’re making small paper, put it close to the edge so you can fold the felt on top of it in a later step. You can also turn your mold upside down and put it on felt that way.  The paper won’t fall off and will stick to the mold.  Put it on the towel.  The felt should be in between the towel and mold so the back of the mold is facing up.  Take your sponges and start sponging up excess water.  Squeeze them out periodically into your tub.  Switch to dry sponges and let the damp ones dry to speed up the process.

paper15
Next is to couch the paper.  For beginners, the easiest way is to keep sponging and replacing the towel if needed until the mold pulls away leaving the paper on the felt.  If you have little patience like me, you can sponge it to a point where you can peel the paper off the mold.  This is a little bit risky.  The wet paper will easily tear and it might fall wrinkled onto your felt.

paper16
Here is a fully couched paper.  See the wrinkles?  Oh well.  It’s also normal for some to stay behind on the edges of your mold.  This is especially true if your deckle wasn’t flush with your mold.  In this case, my nails were too long and prevented the deckle from completely touching the screen. Once you get the hang of it, you can really produce a lot of paper fast.

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All that’s left is the drying process!  You can let it dry naturally or do a few things to speed it up.  I like to fold my felt over the paper.  I can usually fit two pieces of paper per piece of felt.  If your paper is bigger, just place another sheet of felt over it.  With an iron on low – and I stress LOW! – you can  iron over the felt to dry more of the water. Craft felt sheets are synthetic and will toast if your iron is too hot.  Ask me how I know!

From here you can leave it in the felt to dry.  You can also stack the felt and put heavy books on top to help them dry flat.  Let me tell you, your paper will take days or even weeks to dry this way! So another option is to open up the felt, tip it over, and let them peel off onto a water safe surface to dry.  I like to use my ironing board, because once they are dry, I iron them flat (iron on low!).  This is similar to ironing sewing patterns if you’re a sewer.

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(This picture shows wet verses dry)
You could really speed up the drying process by using the iron directly on the wet paper.  This takes practice and skill.  At all costs you want to avoid actually ironing the paper, but instead press it with the iron (again on low!).  Trust me, your paper will crumble and stick to your iron if you at all rub the iron on it while it’s wet. Always leave a corner peeking out of the iron so you have something to grab onto to pull it off.  Your paper won’t evenly dry this way and you may end up with some scorch marks.  But it’s a good method for the brave and impatient!

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Experiment with different colors and textures.  Veer away from the simple and add embellishments to your paper!  You’ll have a nice pile of paper like this with natural deckle edges! Some of these have some yellow thread in them.

Now, don’t throw away your vat of pulp!! First of all, you can save it and make more paper with it in the future or mix it in with other vats.  Second of all, I’m going to show you some awesome things you can do with that pulp in other installments of this series. I’m also going to show you what you can do with your new paper.

To save your pulp, you can just cover it up, but only do this for the short-term.  Otherwise, pour the contents of your tub into a wire sieve.   Do this outside and NOT over your drain please.  The sieve will collect the pulp the same way the screen on the mold does.  You can use your fist to squeeze a lot of the water out.  It doesn’t have to be perfect.  Store your wet pulp in an airtight Ziploc bag or something similar.  So far, I’ve had batches of mine keep this way for 3 years and counting.  I just use what I need when I want it.

If you’re not already following me or subscribed by email, make sure you are so you are notified of other installments of this series!  You can find the email subscription link on the top right side of this page. And one more reminder: if you have questions about this project, PLEASE ask, and I will do my best to answer them.  Now start recycling your junk mail and I’ll meet you back here for Part 2!

Glossary of Terms
Mold and Deckle
– A 2 part frame used to make the paper.  The bottom part is the mold.  It is larger and has a screen on it.  The upper part is the deckle.  It determines the shape and size of the paper.
Pulp
– A mix of plant fibers and water.
Vat
– The container that holds the pulp from which the paper is produced.
Couch
– (pronounced “cooch”) The process of transferring a newly formed sheet of paper from the mold to felt.
Deckle Edge
– The natural, untrimmed edge formed on the paper by the deckle.

Remember, if you post about this project, please be sure to give me credit and link back to me or grab a button from the sidebar. Thanks!

Your opinions and thoughts mean a lot to me.  I would love for you to leave me a comment below.  Thanks for stopping by today!

20 Comments

Filed under DIY - Do It Yourself, Free Tutorials, Kids' Crafts, Paper, Upcycled

DIY Sticker Stenciled Wall Art – Stickers from Oriental Trading Company

The Earth Without Art DIY Wall Art | https://craftandrepeat.wordpress.com
I love this quote, and knew for a while that I wanted to make some kind of wall art with it and hang it where I do my crafting.  I really like the reverse stenciling technique, where your fill color is under the stencil and your background color gets applied around it.  An easy way to do this with letter stenciling is to use stickers.  I really like this sticker pack you can get from Oriental Trading Company.  It comes with 12 sheets of stickers.  Each one has several letters of the alphabet, symbols, and punctuation. They also come with 3 different letter sizes and several styles.  So they are perfect for creating a unique looking quote.

The Earth Without Art Wall Art
The Supplies
1. canvas
2.
stickers
3.
acrylic paint
4.
painting supplies
5. painter’s tape (optional)

The Directions
The Earth Without Art Wall Art
1. Paint your canvas however you would like and let it dry completely. This will be the color of your letters.  If you want each line of the quote to be a different color, measure, and paint stripes.  You can get really creative with this step!  I chose to make mine look like Earth, to match the theme of my quote.

The Earth Without Art Wall Art
2.  Spell out your words using the stickers.  I found that these stickers aren’t very sticky, so I used a hairdryer to melt the sticker glue a little once they were in place.  For stubborn stickers, I applied a really thin layer of Mod Podge under them and around the edges.  I also added some strips of vinyl so more of the first layer would show through. You could also use painter’s tape.

The Earth Without Art Wall Art
3. Paint over everything.  Make sure this layer is contrasting to your first layer, so the words really stand out.

The Earth Without Art Wall Art
4. Let it dry and remove the stickers.  Make sure you pull them straight back over themselves to get clean edges and not straight up or at an angle.

Oriental Trading Company is my go-to place for online craft supplies.  They have over 30,000 products in hundreds of categories.  Besides craft supplies, you can find party, wedding, scrapbooking, teaching, holiday, Sunday School, VBS, kids’ craft supplies, and so much more!

If you haven’t heard of Oriental Trading Company before,  a visit to their site will definitely be worth your time!  Everything is affordable, and they have a Lowest Price Guarantee.
Here are some great links to get you started:
1. Shop OTC
2. Sign up for email savings
3. Request a free catalog
4. Sign up for Oriental Trading Rewards
5. Explore free project ideas

**This post is sponsored by Oriental Trading Company.  I received a gift card to put toward products for review.  No other compensation was received.  All opinions and reviews are written with complete honesty.  The entirety of this post is comprised of my own thoughts and words.**

Here are some other wall art projects you might enjoy:

DIY Wall Art- Textured Mixed MediaDIY Wall Art- You Don't Have to be an ArtistDIY Love Note Frame

Remember, if you post about this project, please be sure to give me credit and link back to me or grab a button from the sidebar. Thanks!

Your opinions and thoughts mean a lot to me.  I would love for you to leave me a comment below.  Thanks for stopping by today!

 

6 Comments

Filed under DIY - Do It Yourself, Reviews, Wall Art