Beach Combing For Sea Glass

We have just got back from a lovely weekend away at Butlins Bognor Regis. Right outside the Butlins complex is a rather lovely pebble beach. So on Saturday myself and sister took the children to the beach during low tide. The perfect time to beach combe.

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The toddlers beach combing

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The kids love collecting bits and bobs in their buckets. We collected some interesting pebbles, a few stuffed with Quartz crystal, some pretty shells and best of all some lovely pieces of sea glass for jewellery making.

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It was my daughter Alice-Sara who had the best eye for finding sea glass. She found mostly clear glass (which now has this frosted white appearance) and some pieces of green glass.

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So just what is sea glass?

Here’s a Wikipedia definition for sea glass…

“Sea glass or beach glass is physically and chemically weathered glass found on beaches along bodies of fresh and salt water. These weathering processes produce natural frosted glass. Sea glass can be collected as a hobby and can be used to create jewellery”

We found that looking for this special glass during low tide produced greater results. We sat and used our hands to search through the pebbles along the tide line.

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We didn’t find loads of the glass but did find a few nice pieces, enough to make a few nice items of jewellery.

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Other pieces we found were lovely but not ideal pieces for jewellery, purely because these had some chips and were a little irregular. However these would look awesome if used for a mosaic project.

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Here’s a few other bits the children found…

Natural formed quartz crystal the images fail to show just how sparkly this really is

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<em>Huge shells and crazy looking pieces of sea plants

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Tiny shells found by the toddlers

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Some strange yet interesting rocks

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How To Make Jewellery From Shrink Plastic

Shrink plastic is a very versatile medium. Its fun to work with for both children and adults alike and its available from most good craft stores and online.

Today I’m going to show you how to use shrink plastic to make these two lovely pendants…

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The materials you will require are…

2 x frosted sheets of shrink plastic
Black permanent marker pen
Gold metallic gel pen
Gold metallic pencil
Silver metallic pencil
Length of black cord or leather
Thick silver memory wire (for choker)
10 4mm flat backed crystals (white)
2 x Charlotte crimp bead tips (silver)
1x jump ring
Flat silver charm (like a tag)
2 silver pendant attachments
1 necklace clasp
Small amount of silver tiger wire

Tools

Scissors
Mini hole punch
Access to a pre heated oven or heat tool
Flat nosed pilers
Wire cutters
Super glue

To make your round pendant use your permanent black marker pen and draw a circle that goes into a swirl on the rough (frosted side) of your shrink plastic.

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Next decorate the edging of your swirl with a petal like pattern like I have.

Use the gold gel pen to colour in groups of the petal like decoration like so.

Decorate any other way you wish.

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Now cut out the shape and use the mini hole punch to make a hole in your pendant (not to close to the edge).

If using an oven preheat this to the temperature stated on the manufacturers instructions on your shrink plastic. Follow the guidelines to shrink the plastic.

If using a heat tool, place your plastic, frosted side up, on a ceramic surface and hold it with a pencil tip as you apply the heat.

Within seconds the plastic should start to shrink. It will all fold up into a ball before finally opening back out to reveal its smaller self. This process takes seconds.

The plastic will now be 7x smaller and much more thicker than it was previously.

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Once the plastic has cooled use super glue (a tooth pic or similar) to glue one crystal to the centre of your swirl and three more crystals like I have in the image below.

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Now fit a pendant grip through the pendants hole and thread the black cord through the hoop.

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Its now time to finish of your necklace using the jewellery findings!

Thread a charlotte crimp end to each end of your thread. Tie in a knot to secure and use flat nosed pilers to crimp the thread securely inside the body of the Charlotte.

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Now, to one end of your thread add a jump ring to the Charlotte crimp end and to the other end attach a clasp.

Your first pendant is now complete.

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Gold and silver pendant

Cut your shrink plastic into a thickish strip.

Use your gold and silver pencils to add swirls of both colours to the rough side of your plastic. Ensure your swirls overlap one another like so…

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Once your design is complete again cut down your plastic remembering that it will be 7x smaller once shrunk. Your finished pendant will need to measure at least 2-2 1/2 centimetres in length.

At this stage you will also need to round off your edges to ensure there are no sharp corners.

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Turn your plastic long ways up and use your mini hole punch to make a hole both at the top and bottom of your shape.

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Now place in the oven shrinking your plastic as you did before (instructions above).

Once your plastic has shrunk and it is cool to touch use you super glue to glue on five of your crystals randomly in the centre of your swirls.

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Attach a pendant grip to the top hole like so.

Now take your flat silver tag and glue on one more crystal to its centre.

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Thread a small piece of silver tiger wire through the loop of your flat pendant and then through the hole at the bottom of your shrink plastic.

Twist using flat nosed pilers and cut of any excess with wire cutters.

Your flat silver tag should now dangle from the bottom of your plastic pendant.

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Lastly mould the memory wire into a hoop and thread the pendant onto the wire. Secure the end by forming two loops using flat nosed pilers.

And your finished.

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Alice loves wearing these home made creations and the shrink plastic has done well to impress us both.

Why not give those above a try or simply use your imagination to create your own style of shrink plastic jewellery.

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Tutorial – IKEA Mirror Upcycle

You too can take one of these Ikea mirrors…

And jazz it up for someone special…

Mine has been personalised for my daughter who absolutely loves it.

To upcycle the Ikea mirror just like mine you’ll need…

Metallic Purple Acrylic Paint (Baker Ross)
Various size brushes
Black permanent marker pen
White/glitter decals
Black/glitter butterfly decals
Mod podge gloss

Tools
Glue & Paint Brushes

The mirror was actually rather glossy in its texture which meant I really should have striped it down to ensure the purple acrylic paint would stick to the frames surface.

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However, I decided to try something different! One… I was being lazy, and two… Because I wanted to experiment a little with painting techniques.

So, I applied my paint directly on top of the mirrors frame. For the first coat a very thin layer was applied with a sponge applicator. For the second layer I applied another thin layer in the opposite direction I painted the last.

For the final layer I swirled the paint with the tip of my sponge to gain the effect shown below.

I then let my frame dry for an hour

For the next part of this upcycle I took a black permanent marker and with it I wrote my daughters name (Alice Sara) at the top and bottom of my frame like so. Alice has a double barrel name but you could maybe use the first name followed by their middle name or surname.

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I then left it for a further hour just to ensure the pen was fully dry to ensure I didn’t smudge it during the next step.

I then decorated my frame with the decals. I applied some decals to my wording as to give a 3D impression.

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My last few steps was to cover the entire frame in mod podge gloss and
fit the mirror back into the frame to finish.

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If you don’t fancy trying this yourself I’m happy to create one for you. All you need to do is email me the name you want to use to personalise the frame and any other requirements… boy, girl, colour, design etc. This maybe created on a different frame dependent on howmany of this type I have left. All will be of similar sizes and of good quality.
Prices start from £10
Email clairelouise.tss@gmail.com
Payment taken via PayPal

Tutorial – Decopatch Friendship Heart Pendants

Over Easter I shared with you all some crafts inspired by Polystyrene eggs. While shopping in the town centre when enjoying a recent holiday to Butlins in Bognor Regis, I popped into the ‘Works’ Where I uncovered these cute little polystyrene hearts.

Having recently used polystyrene miniature eggs to create Egg pendants with the children, it gave me an idea for a crafty project for these hearts.

The idea… Heart Friendship Pendants!

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If you fancy a go at these yourself, they are relatively easy to make just a little fiddly if anything. Its the perfect craft to do with bigger kids. Alice who is 10 had lots of fun making hers.

Here’s what you’ll need to make two pendants like ours…

2 designs of decopatch paper (your choice of design and colours)

Decopatch Glue

Mod Podge Shimmer (gold)

Glue/Decopatch Brush

Tiger Wire/Craft Wire

fishing Wire

Tiny Gold Beads

Glass beads

Glass crystals (colours to complement Decopatch paper)

5 x 4mm flat backed crystals (colours to complement decopatch paper) I used white and blue.

Jewellery Findings (couple of crimping beads and crimp covers, 2x pendent attachment, jump hoops, 2x clasps & catches)

Tools…

Crimping tool
Brushes
Scissors
Nail (to pierce a hole through hearts)

Here’s how to put it all together to make your heart pendents

1) Use a sharp nail to pierce 2 small holes opposite one another, right at the top of your hearts in the centre, like so…

2) Cut papers into small manageable pieces. Decopatch your hearts using your paper pieces and decopatch glue. This is done by simply adding glue directly to the heart and over the top of the paper. Cover one side of pendants, allow to dry for 30-40 minutes before doing the other sides.

When it comes to covering the sections of the hearts where the two holes are located, do this using the nail to locate the holes and piercing the paper.

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3) Once these are dry use a clean brush to apply a thin layer of Mod Podge gold shimmer. Apply to one side of the hearts, leave it to dry for 30 minutes before adding the shimmer to the opposite sides and again leaving to dry.

4) while the pendants are still wet, secure your 3 4mm flat back crystals in a row down the centre of one side of one of your pendants and the remaining crystals onto your remaining heart pendant in the same way. Now leave to dry.

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5) Now take your two tiny gold beads and insert into the two holes with the holes facing up.

6) next take your pendant attachments and fit them to the hearts via the holes on the gold beads.

7) Next, take some fishing wire (enough to make desired necklace length) and thread it through each of your pendants hoops

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8) Now thread on your glass beads and crystals like so. Five on each side looks nice. Do the same for your second necklace in a different style.

9) Make a knot on both ends of the wire while you prepare your findings.

10) Finally connect your crimps and covers, jump loops and catches. Sit back and admire your work.

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We made 2 heart necklaces as Alice-Sara wanted to make these for herself and best friend as friendship necklaces.

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The thing I love most about this project is the endless possibilities it brings. You can make a different heart for each day of the week just by changing the paper style or beads and crystals on your necklace.

What’s more, with the magic of Decopatch glue and Mod Podge your polystyrene heart is now stronger and much more solid, but still super light to wear.

Why not try it yourself, experimenting with different papers and beads as you go.

Hope I’ve inspired you to get creative with Decopatch papers… Enjoy.

Kids Crafts – Painting Pebbles

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We, meaning myself and the kids, collected lots of pebbles while on our recent trip to the seaside. Once we got them home we decided we would paint them for the garden.

Our pebbles would be used to brighten up flowerpots and flower beds. Here’s what we used…

Various Pebbles (collected from the beach)
Acrylic paints (various colours)
Mod Podge
Googly Eyes
Glitter glue

You can paint your pebbles anyhow you like the possibilities are endless. This is a great little craft project that you can do with the kids. My very own toddler loved it.

The activity held my creative little three year olds attention for over an hour. He painted in various colours before adding different coloured googly eyes and painting on red smiles.

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His little stones were painted and glittered… Messy but fun.

Once the toddlers pebbles were dry I added a layer of Mod Podge to give them a shine as well as a protective layer.

Yourself, along with the kids, can let the imagination run wild painting & creating allsorts of designs and patterns from funny faces to dinosaurs, dots to hearts.

We also made some pebble bugs using paint and googly eyes. For our bees and lady birds we used some foam pieces to form the wings. For our spider we used some garden wire for the legs. These are currently busy drying on the window pane, but I’ll be sure to post another little update once they are dry and ready to display.

As for Harley’s wacky face pebbles, we plan to place them around the flower beds in our garden today (given it remains bright and sunny that is).

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Hope we have inspired you to have fun with paints.

Remember… Painting on paper is fun but painting on pebbles is awesome!

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Upcycle – Transform Chocolate Trays into Nail Polish Storage

Would you have ever of thought it, that a chocolate tray from a dairy milk tray box could come in this useful?

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How about this for a little upcycle project… Use the chocolate trays from a chocolate box to make perfect sized drawer inserts to store all your nail polish in. The variety of shapes cut out for the chocolates are great to fit your different polish bottles and will stop them rolling around in your dresser.

Here’s what you will need to make one for yourselves.

Tray From A Chocolate Box (mine is from a milk tray box)

Acrylic Paint. (I used a chocolate brown colour, how appropriate)

Mod Podge Gold Shimmer

Tools…

2 Glue Brushes
2 Sponge Applicators (Small)
Plenty of Nail Polish in Need Of Storage.

This idea is very simple to pull together. Here’s what you do.

Give your chocolate tray a good wash in warm soapy water to remove any yummy chocolate flakes. Be careful not to spilt the plastic. Dry fully.

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Next, take your chosen paint and one of your sponges and apply the paint to your tray. Use a paint brush for the hard to reach areas.

Give your tray a total of two coats of paint with a 20 minute drying time In between.

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Once your tray is dry use your second sponge to add a coat of Mod Podge Gold Shimmer. Use a brush in the hard to reach areas.

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Add thicker coats of shimmer to certain areas to give the tray both vibrant and subtle tones of gold.

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Once dry you can try it out for size, placing nail polish bottles in all the different compartments.

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Its a great little upcycle that not only cuts down on waste but also provides a pretty convenient storage solution that’s so easy to create, a toddler could do it.

Thanks for reading and have fun.

Tutorial – Shabby Chic Crackled “Love” Hearts

20130415-190916.jpgSo cute but so so easy.

To make a small crackle heart in this pretty shabby chic style you will need the following materials…

Small Paper Mâché Heart
Folk Art Acrylic Paint (940 Coffee Bean)
Mod Podge Shimmer (Gold)
PVA Glue (Mixed with water)
1 4mm White Flat Backed Crystal
Acrilex – Tinta Craquelex Branco (basically white crackle paint)
Black Marker Pen

Tools
Glue & Paint Brushes
Heat Tool or Hair Drier
Sponge Paint Applicator

First paint both sides of your heart in the coffee bean paint.

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When dry apply one thin coat of mod podge shimmer to both sides of the heart.

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Once dry mix 4 parts PVA to 2 parts water. The mixture needs to be thin but still tacky (apply more glue or water if you need to).

Apply the mixture to your heart with a sponge applicator. Don’t apply to thickly.

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Now blast your heat tool or like me, your hairdryer, over the heart. Don’t dry the glue fully! It needs to be tacky but not wet.

As soon as this is done use a brush to dab the Craquelex over the tacky glue (do not reapply over the same area more than once as this stops the effect from appearing. Be sure to work fast as to avoid the glue over drying.

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Once your heart is covered blast the hairdryer on to the heart and watch as the cracks begin to form.

Let the heart now sit for an hour before taking your permanent maker and writings the word ‘Love’ in which ever style you desire across the front of your heart.

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Leave to dry for a further 30 minutes as to not smudge the ink on the next step.

Now applying another coat of mod podge shimmer gold. At this point also apply the 4mm flat backed white crystal to the bottom point of your heart.

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Leave to dry and then hang and display.

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If you love these hearts but don’t want to make them yourselves please email me and I’d be happy to create these for you. Prices start from £2.50 and can be made in various colours.
Email clairelouise.tss@gmail.com
All payments are taken via PayPal