Halloween Upcycle Project – Neon Skulls In A Jar

Check out this fun project I’ve been working on…

I had these old plastic skull Halloween decorations that looked a little less than spooktastic so decided that instead of showing them to the trash I’d give them a little TLC.

List Of Items I Used…

Clean Un lidded Glass Jar (Medium Size)
7 Small Plastic Skulls
Pink Fluorescent Neon Pink Paint
Black Sharpies Permanent Marker Pen
Selection Of Flat Backed Crystals And Gems
Illuminator Paint (Glow In The Dark Paint)
Black Netting (Type You Get Marbles In)
Plastic Black Spider Ring
Jet Black Paper Ribbon
Mosaic Adhesive

First I painted all my boring skulls a Fluorescent neon pink (total of two coats, leaving to dry fully in between).

Then I used my sharpie permanent marker pen to highlight and add bone structure and additional features.

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Once complete I used a good strong Mosaic adhesive to add some bling into the eye sockets of all skull. As you can see some got blue gems others got green, some even got heart gems making them more a sugar skull than a scary skull.

I left eyes to fully set for at least an hour before giving all skulls to coats of Illuminator paint (this dries clear so if you try this yourself then don’t panic!)
Be sure to let dry a few hours in between coats or you will cause the first layer to go funny.

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Once fully dried I carefully arranged them into my jar and covered it with the black netting. I secured the netting by twisting it and adding a little spider ring. To finish I added my black curly ribbon.

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Display in or out their jar

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These are UV reactive and will glow in the dark (charge with a UV torch).

The skulls are available in my etsy chic collective store. I made one for myself and one for the store. Go grab it or have a try at making your own.

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Vintage Refurbishment – Indian Wooden Letter Rack And Key Hanger

I found this little gem at an auction and knew instantly what I wanted to do with it. Refurbishing smaller items is just as enjoyable as working on those bigger pieces and for this little project I decided on a two colour theme and the addition of some crystals to really shabby it up to its full potential.

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This vintage letter rack and key hanger is beautifully made from thick wood and features a stunning carved out leaf pattern. Its stickers indicate that the product was handmade in India, though these stickers were somewhat difficult to remove so have now been painted over in Annie Sloan chalk paint. As this rack is made from real wood, certain areas have been untreated (areas between the wood carving) so as to ensure the product was splint free I gave it a quick firm sanding over.

The wood was then wiped with warm soapy water and then covered in a coat of Annie Sloan Paris Grey chalk paint, with the carved cut out areas being left untouched because to these areas of the rack, I would be applying a second colour paint! For this project I decided upon Farrow and Ball ‘Pale Hound’ a lovely cream colour with hints of yellow.

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I wanted to achieve a real shabby appearance so wasn’t too careful with my painting, only taking more care where the two colours met to avoid overlap. Some areas received two thin coats of paint where other areas were left with one to help produce that old shabby hand-painted effect. It was important that the cut out areas really stood out and remained the racks main focal point. I think the cream contrasts really well with the grey and by making the cut out areas this colour it has helped me to achieve that.

Before applying my white flat backed 4mm crystals I gave the entire piece a good wax using Annie Sloan clear wax and then slightly distressed areas of the rack with 100 grit sand paper before giving it a final coat of wax.

The crystals were then applied to areas of the cut out carved wood, being placed randomly on corners and tips of each leaf.

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I’m really pleased with the end result and feel that although this was pretty before the refurb, its now more fresh and interesting and will have little problems getting noticed, making a statement on any hallway wall.

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This piece is now for sale. Remember you can email me to see where I’ll be selling each weekend or buy online using PayPal. Plus I’ve opened an esty shop called “Chic Collective” and I’m in the process of listing all items so be sure to browse whenever desired. Remember refurbished furniture makes each piece a one of a kind, making it truly unique to you, your personal taste and personality.

Note: I’m in the process of displaying my items including vintage jewellery and nicknacks on their own pages within the blog too. These should be ready soon. You can visit my instagram which currently displays images of some of my items.

Email clairelouise.tss@gmail.com for more info.

Tutorial – Papier Mâché and Mod Podge Makeup Bag

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This fabulous simmering bag has been put together by combining Papier mâché with mod podge. Its base that started as a cardboard box in Hobbycraft has received some super restyling, resulting in this handy storage bag for makeup.

Here’s what I used

Paper Mâché Box Bag (Hobbycraft)
Black acrylic paint – PoundLand
Mod podge gloss – Hobbycraft
Dark blue course glitter – Baker Ross Ltd
4 x Lace sequinned embellishments ( the type used for clothing and upholsteries)
Vintage Black bead and silver necklace
Small glass embellishments – PoundLand
2x small black bows – PoundLand
Old vintage broken brooch
Bag charm attachment (minus the charm)
Thick black lace (about 20 cms)
Extra strong glue dots (strips covered by plastic) PoundLand
4 metal bag feet with connectors (available from craft stores)
Electric blue felt -Baker Ross ltd

Additional tools needed

Paint and glue brushes
Paper plate ( to mix paint and mod podge)
Jewellery crimpers
Scissors
Large screw
Cork hammer

First take a paper plate and mix 4 parts mod podge with 8 parts black paint. You can add more paint or Mod Podge if required! You don’t want the mixture to turn grey, so it is important to add double as much black paint to that of the mod podge.

Once you have the mixture as it should be (gloppy and black) add a generous amount off your glitter. Because the mixture is so dark making it hard to see the glitter when mixed does mean its difficult to judge how much glitter to add! I tend to only know I have enough glitter, once my mixture has formed a very gritty texture. At first your mixture may seem dull and not very shimmery. This is only because the mixture is still wet, as it dries the glitter will become much more sparkly.

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Now, prepare your box for painting by removing the current paper handles. Just cut these with scissors and discard off.

With a medium size paint brush, apply the mixture directly onto the box. (excluding the inside and bottom base). Leave to dry between 30-60 minutes dependent on room temperature. You will know your box has began to dry as the glitter will start to come through and twinkle. You will need to apply two coats of the mixture to the box.

Once dry you can now decorate.

Work on one side at a time starting with the 2 biggest sides!

Take 2 of your sequinned upholstery embellishments and decided how you would like these to be placed on one side of your box. Once you are sure how you want them placed, secure them to the box with mod podge covering both the top and bottom of each embellishment.

Add some small glass embellishments at the same time and sponge over with mod podge to secure.

Once dry cover the entire design with a second coat of Mod Podge Gloss.

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Once this side is complete and fully dried, you can now start on the opposite side.

Again place the remaining 2 sequinned embellishments how you want them before finally securing with mod podge as before.

Add your 2 black bows to your design and then cover these with mod podge to secure in place.

Lastly cover the entire design in a layer of Mod Podge Gloss.

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When your two main sides are completely dry, its time to start work on the two small sides of the box.

Add a strip of black thick lace so that it runs long ways, down the centre of each off your two sides. You should do this by securing with Mod Podge by adding it directly to the box and over the top of the lace. You can cut any excess lace from your box once it has dried (this is easier as the lace won’t slide about)!

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Now leave to dry.

While your box is drying, its time to start work on your handle.

First take the charmless bag charm attachment and your old vintage brooch. I was able to secure the old vintage brooch to the attachment as it had a metal loop attached to the back of it, allowing me to just attach it to the keyring part of the bag charm. If your charm has no loop to attach the bag charm attachment then you can either attach one using some jewellery finishings and a solder or attach to the front of the attachment with some super glue. Once done place to one side for later.

Next, take your old bead and metal necklace and carefully break this in two equal halves, ensuring you break it where the metal connectors are and not the beads.

Use some jewellery crimpers to open the metal loops of the the beaded necklace on each end of your 2 pieces.

Now place to one side with your finished bag charm. We will fit the handles as one of the last steps before finally completing the bag.

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Bring forward your box which should have dried after around 30 minutes or so. With a medium size paint brush paint the entire inner section of your box in black acrylic paint. Leave to dry for 30 minutes or so.

Once dry turn upside-down and paint the bottom of the boxes base in the same black acrylic paint. Leave to dry for 20 minutes plus.

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Once all paint is dry take some electric blue felt and cut slightly smaller then your base like so. Now apply to the base using ‘Tacky glue’ leave to dry for a bit before cutting another piece of the same felt to fit the inner base of your box. This will line the box and provide padding for its intended contents. This doesn’t need to be glue in place, it should just simply slot into place but before adding it, you should secure your feet in place.

To secure the feet in place I used a long nail and a cork hammer. Turning the box upside down I banged a hole in each of the bases 4 corners. You will need to apply some pressure as you need to penetrate the felt too. Now push a foot through each of the 4 prepared holes. The feet can be secured inside the box by opening the metal connectors and lying them flat against the box. Once you have done this for all 4 feet, add the blue felt you prepared for the inner section of your box so that it covers the feet connectors and provides some cushioning for your makeup.

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Now take one piece of your necklace and thread the metal through one of the holes in your bag, pushing it flat against the box. Now cover the metal directly over the top with 2 strong glue dots leaving on the plastic.

Thread the remaining end through the opposite hole (like that of the original handles) and connect in the same way with the glue dots.

Do the same for the remaining necklace and the remaining 2 holes.

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Now cut through the charms loop and tie this to the loop of your bags handle nearest the bags body. Tie a double knot before finally cutting off any excess thread.

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Your makeup bag is now ready to fill and display!

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Here’s mine in action!

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Tutorial – Handmade Sweets for Valentines Day

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Its fun to make your own sweets, especially with the children.

My toddler had equally as much fun making these with me as he did eating them.

I’ve included 3 types of sweets that we made, each very easy make.

All would be greatly appreciated by anyone this Valentines day.

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Chocolate Dipped Peppermints

Ingredients…

200g Icing Sugar
1 Egg White
Plain or Milk Chocolate
Peppermint Flavouring
Green Food Colouring

Equipment…

Foil
Mini Sweet Cases
Mixing Bowl
Bowl (to melt chocolate)
Knife
Board
Tray/Plate
Spoon (for mixing)
Microwave (optional)

1: Add around 100g of your icing sugar to the mixing bowl, followed by one egg white, 5 drops of peppermint flavouring and 10 drops of green food colouring. Mix together well.

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2: slowly add the remaining icing sugar to the mixture and keep stirring until you see the wetness/stickiness disappearing. The mixture should be thickening up into a dough like consistency that you are able to knead into a smooth ball. You may not require the whole 100g of icing sugar you have remaining or you may need to add a little extra.

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3: Now make your mixture into a log shape and cut into disks. If you want the sweets smaller you can break each disk in half, roll into 2 smooth balls and slightly flatten with your thumb.

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4: Now break up your chocolate and add to a non metallic bowl. Melt your chocolate in the microwave for around 30 seconds (adjust the timings if your chocolate is very hard or unrefrigerated). If you don’t have a microwave, then place your bowl in a pan of boiled water and stir till melted.

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5: Lay down some foil on a board. Take each peppermint disk and half dip it into the melted chocolate. Lay it down on the foil.

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6: Once all are done, cover a plate in a new sheet of foil and transfer your disks to the plate. Place the plate in the fridge for an hour.

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7: Once your disks are set transfer them to your mini sweet cases. They will be firm but still mouldable so squash & mould a little if they don’t fit.

8: Place back in the fridge for 20 minutes and they are then ready to eat.

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For gifts place Peppermints directly into a jar, place cases in a cute homemade box or bag them up with pretty heart cellophane bags tied with ribbon

Chocolate & Coconut Cherries

Ingredients…

Tube of Glacé Cherries
Packet of Grated Coconut
Bar Of Plain or Milk Chocolate

Tools…
Mini Heart Foil Sweet Cases
2x Bowls
Mixing Spoon
Cocktail Sticks or Fork
Microwave (optional)

1: Add some coconut to a bowl

2: Add Chocolate to a bowl & melt the chocolate as I did above.

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3: I used my meat fork as didn’t have any cocktail sticks. First pick up your cherry with your stick, roll it in the chocolate and then the coconut.

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4: Gently remove from stick and place in your heart foil case.

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5: Do the same for all your cherries and then pop them in the fridge for an hour.

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Chocolate Coconut Hearts

Ingredients…

Plain or Milk Chocolate
Coconut

Equipment….
Bowl to melt chocolate
Mini foil heart cases
Microwave (optional)
Spoon to mix chocolate

1: Melt chocolate as above.

2: Add coconut to the melted chocolate and mix well.

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3: Spoon mixture into heart foil cases.

4: Sprinkle with coconut.

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5: Place in the fridge for 1 hour.

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Shabby Chic Wire Beaded Hearts For Valentines Day

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We are currently in the process of decorating my daughters bedroom and even though its nowhere near finished I’ve already started making those finishing touches.

Myself and daughter sat down together and made this very sweet metal beaded heart that she plans to hang above her bed. Its very shabby chic and has been created using different beads, buttons, ribbon and more.

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Here’s a round up of the items we used to create our heart and what you’ll need to create one of your very own.

Memory wire
Selection of beads
Selection of sequins
Selection of buttons
Wired gingham red and white ribbon
Selection of ribbon ( 3 colours)
Thin craft wire
2x mini craft pegs
Red string

Tools
Pair of wire cutters or sharp scissors
Extra strong glue dots.

Step 1 Choose your beads buttons and ribbon. Cut enough wire to make a medium sized hanging heart and bend in half so you have the point of your heart and two equal size sides. start treading on the different items. Really mix things up. Big buttons and small beads in no particular order look great.

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2. Thread different items on each side of the wire but make sure one side isn’t more heavy than the other. Shape your heart as you go.

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3. Bead just a little over half way on each side. Then take some more wire and wrap it around the remaining memory wire to make the top of your heart stronger.

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4. Now join the two ends together by twisting them therefore making the top of your heart shape.

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5. Wrap some thin ribbon around the exposed wire and tie into a knot. This will cover shape pieces of wire if there is any.

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6. Now cover that ribbon with thick wired gingham red ribbon securing with an extra strong glue dot. This wired ribbon will make the top of your heart extra strong and very shabby looking.

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7. Randomly add different pieces of ribbon to your heart, tying them in random areas and leaving them to dangle down from your heart.

8. Hang more buttons or beads to the heart by attaching them with the thinner craft wire.

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9. Tie a bow at the top of your heart with some ribbon, adding some buttons to the middle with thin craft wire.

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10. Now, cut some red string (I got mine from Ikea) and attach to the top of your heart with your two little wooden craft pegs.

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Its now ready to hang.

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These are great and there are so many designs you could make either by adding different items or even creating different shapes with your memory wire.

These would also make great little valentines gifts and are suitable for older children to make alone.

For bigger hearts with heavier embellishments use florist wire. This is strong but still easy to shape.

Easy Handmade Christmas Cards

Its lovely to make your own cards as it shows those you intend on giving them to, that you put effort and thought into it. In my opinion homemade cards are so much nicer than shop brought and I know which one’s I’d rather receive.

For my tartan Christmas card you will need…

Silver shimmery card
Tartan paper
Holographic dots for boarder
Green ribbon
Tiny plain white gift tag
Glue dots
Green glitter pen
Luxury White paper (for the inside of your card)

Firstly you need to fold your silver card in half then cut a square from your tartan paper measuring 10 by 10cms.

Now use a glue dot in each corner to stick your paper to the middle of you’re silver card.

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Use your silver holographic dazzle dots to boarder your tartan square

Now take your green holographic dazzle dots and without separating them into individual dots, cut 2 strips (one measuring the length of you’re tartan square and the other measuring the width). Now stick one piece of the boarder down the middle of the tartan square and the other across the middle of your square (they should meet and cross in the centre as to create the effect of a ribbon tied around a gift).

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Now, you will need to cut some green ribbon and tie this into a bow. Then cut a smaller piece of the same ribbon, enough to wrap around the centre of your bow. Secure this piece of ribbon with a glue dot. This will make your bow look more neat and tidy.

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Now with a glue dot secure the bow to the centre of the tartan square where the holographic boarder meets and crosses.

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Once done, place your card to one side and bring forward your very small gift tag. Write a message in the centre of the tag with a black marker (I wrote the words “Just for You”). Now, decorate the tag a little around the edges using your green glitter glue before finally leaving it to dry.

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Right, So thats your cards design almost complete. Now, you will need to take your white paper (you know the type you get on the inner section of an expensive Christmas card)? Make sure your paper is that bit smaller than your card as you will need this to sit nicely within your card, it shouldn’t be visible before the card is opened.

Fold the paper and add four glue dots to the four corners of the back of your folded paper and stick it to your card where you would usually write your festive message. Be sure to fit the paper so it opens up in the same direction as your card.

Now lovingly hand write your message to that special someone.

So, Now all that’s left to do is fit the tiny decorated tag to your tartan gift design. For this you will need to take a piece of thin ribbon that is the same colour as your bow (I had to cut my ribbon down to achieve this)! The piece of ribbon should only be a few centimetres in length. Now… thread the ribbon through the tag and join the two ends together to form a loop. Secure the loop with a small blob of tacky glue just under one side of your bow. You can either leave your tag to dangle from the card or secure it with a little embellishment sticky tab like I did.

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And that’s it… Your card is now fully complete and ready to be packaged and sealed for that special receiver.

Don’t forget that given you have created the card yourself there is the possibility that a standard envelop won’t be compatible with the size of your card or that of its design.

A great tip is to create your very own handmade envelops with the use of vintage paper or wallpaper. I actually really like using vintage material for mine.

Here’s some other cards I have made… The Christmas tree card is made from sequins and different glittery card pieces. I’ve used other pieces of glittery card scraps for the other two cards too.

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Something Pretty For The Princesses Stocking

Every little girl deserves something pretty in their Christmas stocking and what better then a pretty hair accessory to go with that pretty festive dress they’re be wearing this Christmas.

The Dolly and Jack range of handmade hairclips are truly beautiful and worn alone make a stunning statement piece.

My daughter Alice is wearing one of the clips from their range called ‘Stella Butterflies’ which is a beautiful delicate sequin butterfly fully lined with grosgrain ribbon made specifically for baby soft fine hair.

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The clip is dainty and pretty with just enough sparkle for the party season. We found that the clip didn’t catch or break the hair, it was as easy to put in as it was to remove.

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This specific clip is available in a good range of colours to suit all hair colours and complexions.

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Other clips in the range that really stood out for me are that of MIA SKULLS with its ultra sparkly design that also has that added edginess about It.The skulls are so beautiful and are that bit different from your typical bow clip.

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Another fun design Is that of the MINNIE MICE Range. These sequin Minnie Mouse style, non-slip hairclip, come with or without a bow and again these are sold in a good selection of colours. These are extremely cute and would look beautiful on a toddler.

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Dolly and Jack offer a vast selection of pretty little sequin embellished clips. Here’s just a few more of my favourites…

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Dolly and Jack hair clips start at as little as £3.50 inc VAT.

Visit the Dolly and Jack website for more Gorgeous designs and full pricing information.