Thursday, October 14, 2010

Annual Pumpkin Beer Pub Crawl House Party Craft

Due to the distance that separates us, the Knitting Triangle could not come together to create a party favor for the 6th annual PBPCHP. However not finding the lack of handmade goodness to be acceptable, I decided to dive in myself and make a craft.

Let's get one thing out of the way: I have always wanted to have an excuse to etch glass.

Etched pint glasses seemed the obvious direction to move in. A trip to the Dollar Tree yielded twelve shapely pint glasses for $12. No complaints there. A trip to Joanns did not have such success. I was led down a bad path by a sales associate who tried to convince me that frosting spray paint is the same as etching cream (it isn't) and that plastic sheets would work fine on the rounded surface of a glass (it didn't).

Two botched glasses later I was back to the Dollar Tree and then hit up Michaels, the craft store of the gods, where I was rewarded with the proper supplies, although they cost a pretty penny - etching cream ($12), flexible plastic stencil sheet ($7).

I designed my own stencil and cut it out of the sheet - easy. Very forgiving material to work with. And it stuck to the glasses like magic - goes to show that having the appropriate supplies can make or break a craft. Dabbed on the cream, waited 5 minutes (LITERALLY) and it was done. And all of my party guests took home a beautiful hand made glass that they can use to consume Pumpkin Beer until the next party.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Handmade Wooden Blocks

Kids love blocks.

From the time they are very small, babies love the feel of wooden blocks in their hands (and mouths!), to stack, knock over, push around, etc. Imaginative kids will use blocks as food, as game pieces, as buildings, as virtually anything their little minds can create! That's why I think wooden blocks are one of the absolute best gifts for young children. And handmade wooden blocks? Even better.

I set out to spend $0 on this project. Sure I love my nephew but gift giving is expensive (and of course I bought him clothes, stuffed animals, books, etc etc it never ends!) So I wanted something that was both cheap and handmade.

I started with scrap wood from my dad's workshop, and had him cut it into perfectly square blocks. Then I sanded the blocks which probably took the bulk of my time. But it's really important that they are nice and smooth for little hands. A couple of coats of acrylic paint were thrown on top, and I hand painted the letters of the alphabet. This wasn't a project I did alone either - my boyfriend and I enjoyed working on it together in the evenings.

Finally we coated the blocks with Non-toxic shellac. This was really important considering my nephew is only one and these blocks will spend most of their time in his mouth. In the future I would have made a bag to store them, but I simply ran out of time.

Total actual cost: $5 for the shellac. Not too bad for a toy that should last years to come!