Sunday, September 13, 2009

Done Paintin'

Rats, had to get back to painting! I am so close to being done – this morning I got almost all the remaining trim done – still have the fascia board on the front of the house and the post and beam out by the sliding glass door to do, but that’s it. I applied the new stick-on house numbers – we’ll see how long they’ll last. Wanted to get them somewhat properly aligned, so, I did them first in – you guessed it - a Word document.

Nice new lights are so bright against the light colored house that dining outside at night is a well-lit delight!

Decided that by next summer we’ll have these wonderfully decorative AND shady frames on the other two areas (east, south) of the house where we get blasted by summer sun.
Oh look, isn’t that cute? They painted their house to match their trailer!!! Truly, I was going to go with a darker green for the trim, but every time I thought of matching the trailer it made me laugh, so figured what the heck!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Bottle Cap Jewelry

DISCLAIMER: Any sisters coming to Kernville, STOP NOW IF YOU WANT TO BE SEMI-SURPRISED BY WHAT'LL BE HANGING FROM YOUR NAMETAG! (Which IS still a surprise!) Yeah, that'll work!

Any of you who know me well, understand that when I have a keyboard at my disposal, I babble. A lot. So, if you want to do this “project”, read the whole thing first, because I have included everything that went right... as well as everything that went wrong. I found all kinds of stuff that wasn’t in anyone else’s instructions – at least not in the places I looked!

I first saw bottle cap jewelry when I was browsing through ebay to find some really neat silver earrings to wear to my first BIG Sisters on the Fly event in Arizona in 2007. I stumbled across a bunch of these:

They all had this caption:

“Frida Kahlo is a renowned Mexican painter known for her self portraits and preoccupation with female themes.”

Halfway thought about making something for Halloween, then forgot about it. Then a sister at our Ventura event this year had a bottle cap necklace that I really liked, so that got me all interested again and I thought I’d make some to hang as charms on the nametags for our Kernville event. I found a bunch of how-to sites, ordered my stuff, and I was on my way. Craft-wise? Nothing I start ever seems to be as simple as the instructions lead me to believe. It must be me. But, I thought I’d share what I learned!

First thing I learned was NOT to buy bottle caps that have the little plastic seal in them. Find ones that are plain, plain, plain, unless you want your image on the outside, which I did not. I found them in lots of 50 on ebay, every color under the sun. I had hubby drill holes in the edges with a 1/16” drill. Took him no time at all. I’d’ve needed bandaids and words bleeped out.

There are a zillion places to buy “inchies” (those little one inch round images) but I made my own by finding an image online and then copying and pasting it onto a table in Microsoft Word. Make sure your image isn’t copyrighted in some way. My page had 0.5” margins all around; table had 5 columns, each 1.5” wide, and 6 rows, each 1.75” high. Cells were all centered vertically and horizontally. I then set my “zoom” to make the page on the screen the exact size as a piece of real paper. On my flat screen, with my resolution, that means 62%. Yours will probably be different. Paste your image in the first cell and then resize it to fit your one-inch circle. Print the page, cut it out, and test it in your bottle cap. Once you are happy with it, copy and paste it in all the other cells, set all the borders to invisible for printing and there you go - thirty inchies ready to print!! I’ve printed this one for you to see what it looks like before I set the borders to invisible.

I printed them out on a nice piece of buff colored copy paper, punched them out with my one-inch craft punch, and was ready to start gluing them into the inside of the bottle caps. Whoops! Forget to flatten the bottle caps! I used hubby’s metal work table (really sturdy) a rubber mallet, and a block of wood about 3” x 3” x 1”. I placed each bottle cap right side up on a CLEAN paper towel (work table is not what you’d call “clean”), put the block of wood on it, and carefully pounded until the edges of the cap rolled back and it looked like a little picture frame!! How cute is that? They are not totally flat, but I understand some projects do use the really flat ones.

Untouched bottle cap on left, semi-flattened and drilled one on right.
Inside of same bottle caps.
Next I used a fast drying glue to secure my inchies to the inside of the cap. Seemed to work fine, so later that day I applied a “clear dimensional embellishment” to fill the cap and seal the image in there. 3D Crystal Lacquer in some, Glossy Accents in others. Oooo, looks like it’s going to work!

Came back to semi-disaster.

The images had lifted and warped, the dimensional stuff had permeated and discolored the paper, and they were just ugly. Back to the drawing board. Two trips to the local scrapbooking store and here’s what I learned. Copy paper is too lightweight to stand up to the dimensional stuff. Use card stock. The glue I used was not right, so this time I used ZipDry Paper Glue by Beacon. Note: This would be my glue of choice to effectively conceal fingerprints for a bank job… JUST KIDDING!! Place a few of your “inchies” face down on a piece of I’ll-never-use-this-again paper and smear a drop of glue over the entire back of it. Make sure it is completely covered, clear to and beyond the edges. As I placed each one carefully into the bottle cap, (no rapid assembly line here) I noticed the images were STILL lifting! Oh, wait! When I flattened the caps, they did wind up a little “bowed” in the center which you need to push back down – not unlike a badly sealed canning jar lid. I just did this by hand (50 times) but you might want to tap with a padded dowel, or something else. So, that done, I started over, again, and held each image in place (with the one remaining finger NOT covered with glue…) remember – edges are critical!

Once they are all dry, you apply the dimensional stuff. Crystal Lacquer is thinner than Glossy Accents, but both look great. Carefully cover the image making sure all the paper is covered all the way to the edge of the cap. Keep a supply of straight pins handy; you may get tiny bubbles… (Oh great, now THAT song is stuck in my head for like the next week…thank you, Don Ho…my mother is swooning in heaven, I can feel it!! Pearly shells… from the ocean… aarrgghh! Make it stop!)… which will need to be popped by the pin. I did four caps, and now I’m watching them dry… exciting, huh. Stay tuned.

Woohoo!! It worked!! All four came out perfect! No bleeding, no lifting, no warping, perfect.

I just did the other 46 and this time I did not use the little applicator needle-like tip on the Crystal Lacquer. I just carefully poured a dime sized pool/blob in each cap and slowly moved the lid around until the stuff sealed the edge all the way around. Way faster, no bubbles - and no song! Just be careful not to apply too much. Since the Crystal Lacquer is a bit thinner, you can always go back and add another coat since everything is sealed so nicely. I’ll try the thicker Glossy Accents on my next project – Halloween necklace! Muuuaaaahhhaaaahhhaaaa!!!

You will need:
Plain bottle caps, with no plastic seals
Indestructible hard surface for pounding them flat
Small block of wood for same
Rubber mallet for same
Drill to make hole for your size jump rings. (I had to use 13.5mm ones because I also had to hang 1/8” thick birch plywood nametags on them.)
Cardstock for printing inchies
1” craft hole punch
Zip Dry Paper Glue by Beacon
Scrap paper for glue mess
3D Crystal Lacquer Dimensional Glue Effect or,
Glossy Accents Clear Dimensional Embellishment