Saturday, 25 August 2007

How to Make Paper Mache Pulp

Actually I wanted to write a post on making different kinds of paper mache items. But right now I don't have pictures of the things I made and am too busy to make anything new and then take a snap and post it here.
On the other hand, I was feeling guilty that I haven't posted for so many days here, though I talked about crafter's block , it didn't do anything to lift my spirits and send me to my craft table.
Any ways here I am sharing with you some methods to make paper mache pulp.

1. Fuller's earth : This is my favourite technique. Soak newspapers in a bucket for about 2 weeks. Change water every now and then. Take out the papers, put them on floor and pound them with something heavy. I use stone. When the mash is fine, add fuller's earth and mix it properly.
 Your designer paper clay is ready. My grand mother used to make bowels through this method. It's an old technique being in use for many centuries in Haryana, a small part of India where I live.If you don't want to wait for too long, you can soak the paper overnight and then boil it in water for at least 2 hours. This way the paper will break down to fragments. Another alternative for pounding with stone is the mixer. You can strain the fragmented paper and put it in the mixer( ask mama first).

2. Flour : You can make your vegan pulp by adding flour.It's easy to make as you can get all the items in your home. But I don't like this method because the pulp may get moulds.( even if you add salt to prevent molding). If you still want to go ahead with it, here is how you should do.
Mix water,corn starch,salt and four slowly and remove all the bumps. You will know you have got the required consistency through a few tests and trials. If you are using tissue papers, then the pulp should be thin. With newspapers, the pulp you use can be thick. Just immerse the paper in the pulp and then stick it to the mould ( form) you are using.
Or alternatively you can add this flour pulp in the mashed newspaper mix and straight away make things using it.

3. Adhesive: The method of making this type of pulp is similar to no. 1, except that fuller's earth is replaced by glue or any adhesive of your choice.Bleach is also added to prevent the paper from rotting.

4. Egg Carton: This is the easiest recipe for paper mache pulp.Egg cartons are useless after we have consumed what was in them (eggs, silly). Make them useful by tearing and mixing them in water.leave it overnight. When you wake up in the morning, you will find your pulp ready to be used. You don't need to put adhesive in it because the carton already contains a fastening agent in it.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Origami : Facts and forms

-My first introduction to origami was through children's magazine years ago. I clearly remember that the front cover of that issue was the drawing of a girl and paper swans. The girl in the picture was Sadako, who fell terminally ill after the Hiroshima bombings. According to a legend if you make thousand paper swans, your wish is granted. She started making swans but her wish to remain alive was never fulfilled, she died before she could complete 1000 swans! I still remember this story. Her classmates folded the remaining cranes for her after her death and placed them at the foot of a monument constructed in Sadako's memory in Hiroshima's National Peace Park. The statue depicts Sadako holding a golden crane in her arms. At the base of the statue a plaque reads, "This is our cry, this is our prayer, peace in the world." Each year, on August 6, thousands of origami cranes from all over the world are placed beneath Sadako's statue.
-Origami in Japanese means Paper folding ( oru= fold, kami=paper).
-It's origin is Chinese (not Japanese as popularly believed).

-You can eat origami. I mean dried sheets of seaweed can be folded in to origami models.
-In 1998 a 207 feet giant crane was made in japan.
-"Tea Bag Folding" refers to the folding of tea bag wrappers, not the soggy tea bags themselves.
-In the movie Hannibal, Anthony Hopkins (Hannibal Lector) folds questionnaires in to origami.
-Origami is being promoted as mental health therapy tool, as it conveys the feeling of acceptance when you take time to demonstrate or teach. Though as a therapeutic tool it was first used way back in1914,when an Englishman Charles Gibbs became tutor to the nine year old tsarevich, youngest child of Russian Emperor Nicholas II. The boy was withdrawn and had difficulty communicating, so Gibbs showed him how to make something from a piece of paper. This encouraged him to speak.
- Traditionally, square paper was used for origami, but certain shapes are now made using rectangles and even dollar bills or other currency notes.
- Akira Yoshizawa is considered to be the greatest origami wizard. It was Yoshizawa who introduced the world to the amazing art of origami.
- In Japan a smallest flapping bird competition was organised and A. Naito won it. She folded a flapping bird from paper a mere 2.9mm square. The bird was only about 2mm from beak to tail. Naito placed it on a needle inside a transparent globe. But it was still very difficult to see so a contact lens was fitted to the outside of the globe through which it could be viewed.
- A waistcoat and hat was made from origami units by another origami maestro Maarten van Gelder. The life-sized waistcoat was made of 814 units and it was pretty warm too (paper is an insulator of heat).

Monday, 6 August 2007

How To Make An Eggshell Vase

This is a very easy to make craft. Hollowed-out eggshells make naturally beautiful vases for tiny flower arrangements. Save that egg shell from breakfast and make a sweet little posy vase for tiny flowers. This looks lovely on the breakfast table, on a breakfast tray or in any corner that needs a little splash of bright color.
You will need an egg, some fabric colors, beads/mirror pieces( small)/eyelets/brads, craft wire, and some glue, plasticine clay, candies or jellybeans (mm sounds deliciously interesting!), tissue paper in color of your choice.
We will take this exercise in steps:
1. To make them, carefully break open egg near the top (it will be the mouth o the vase) so that a small hole appears. Empty the content of egg in a bowl. Lay it aside. You will need it to make French omelet after you finish with your project.
2. Roll the plasticine clay and glue it around the bottom of your vase. This will give stability to the vase and it won't wobble. Alternatively you can put a small screw in the egg if you don't want to "disfigure" the egg or place it in an eggcup for stability.

3. Now you have to decide how you want to decorate the vase. You can paint some motifs, designs or draw a simple smiling face; it's all up to you. But if you want to put in more labor then you can use beads, mirrors/ eyelets or brads. You may like to use them singly or all of them collectively, it's again up to your imagination.
4. Another way of decorating the eggshell vase is to decoupage it with colored tissue paper. It is a process of gluing pieces of paper, pictures and other thin materials to an object. Through the use of many layers of the glue medium, the finished product appears as though the work has been painted on, instead of simply glued on.
5. Our vase is ready!
Now we need something to put in the vase. Fill it with jellybeans or other small candies or use it to display small floral arrangement.
6. If you want to add flowers, then craft paper can be cut into different flower shapes and wire be pierced in it, which will be the stem.
7. Flowers can be made of beads also.
8. Better still, Cut a few short stemmed flowers and arrange in the eggshell. There is nothing more wonderful than lovely smelling fresh flowers.
9. Put your vase on your T.V. or a bookshelf and enjoy your work while taking a bite of French omelet.

Friday, 3 August 2007

How to Make Natural Skeleton leaves

skeleton leaves

Ever tried your hands on making skeleton leaves craft? Haven't? Then you must, because they make lovely gifts and apart from being beautiful, they are also inexpensive, light and easy to post. A skeleton leaf is a leaf in which you have removed the leaf part and only the skeleton remains.

You can buy artificial skeleton leaves in craft shops or online. They are convenient, sometimes economically priced, robust, and easy to preserve. You can also buy genuine skeleton leaves but they are costlier and frail. But, you can make your own skeleton leaves easily, and there are a couple of advantages in doing so. First, the price is right. It costs next to nothing to make your own skeleton leaf. Secondly, you can choose from a variety of leaves and color them any color you want.
I have always used the simplest method to obtain skeleton leaves. All you need is patience, leaves of your choice and a bucket of water. Place leaves in bucket and let them lye there for a few days. But you must remember to change the water daily and remove whatever pulp gets collected over the days otherwise the leaves may start decaying. After 10 days or so, when you get the leaves out, half of them will have the pulp removed already from them ( if you have been watchful). So clean them with care by washing with plain water and put them in sun for drying. See, it's as simple as that.

There are other methods to make skeleton leaves, which you can try:
Take long leaves and press them between old telephone books. They should remain here in a dry, undisturbed place for several weeks. Make a solution of washing soda, and carefully lay the pressed leaves into the solution. When the flesh becomes pulpy, take the leaves out of the washing solution and rinse them carefully in cold water. Gently brush away the pulp with a toothbrush Washing soda is caustic it is better to use proper protection when handling; the best thing to do is to wear gloves.
You can also use this method;
Place selected green leaves in a pot with 1 tsp Bicarbonate and 1 tsp Baking Powder and cover with water. Boil and reduce to a low heat. Stir gently from time to time. Once leaves have softened, rub off flesh gently. When complete, bleach the leaves and leave to dry on paper towels.
Another method involves using bleaching powder:
Select a fallen leaf. The sturdier the leaf, the better your results will be. Maple leaves are good bets for beginners, if any grow in your area. Clean the leaf, then soak it in a strong bleach solution until it turns white. Be careful not to get the bleach on your skin. Remove leaf from bleach. Rinse gently. Remove soft material by nudging carefully with a stiff paint brush. If desired, dip the skeleton leaf in food coloring or other colorings material. Allow it to dry before using it in an altered book or other craft project.
Skeleton leaves Craft, which you can make:
Make Invitations, greeting Cards from skeleton leaves. You can also make decorative wall hangings. I once painted different animals on leaves and then simply pasted them on the wall of my bathroom in a circular fashion. The assorted jungle looked nice besides the mirror. They can also be used to create matching gift wrap and tags, decorate frames, boxes, scrapbooks and much more!

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Sea shells On A Seashore

She sells seashells at the seashore seashell sale. Repeat three times in 5 seconds :) Didn’t we all tried our hands on this and similar lovely tongue twisters as kids! While writing on my fav subject I was tempted to use this TT again after ages. It feels good to recollect happy memories of the past.
Anyways, I was saying that we as humans have found interesting ways of using almost everything for something other than its natural purpose and sea shells are no exception. There is a whole bunch of nice items that can be carved out of seashells, like lamps, mirrors, wall hangings and many more.

On my trip to Goa the thing I most enjoyed (besides sunbathing) was collecting sea shells. My husband took to this hobby and added to my already burgeoning bag more than I did. Returning home I searched for ideas to make use of these shells. Two I implemented immediately. I had a beautiful crystal vase which was a wedding gift. The vase was lying useless because I didn't find time to look for flowers suitable to put in it. Instead now I arranged different types of big and small shells in it and it really made a beautiful decorative piece.
Second, I draw a picture of peacock and pasted small shells on it and then colored them. Later I used this idea when I started working with kindergarten kids, I would draw small pictures and put glue on outline and kids will put shells and press them. Then they will show off to other older students.
Later in my free time I improvised and made use of things lying around in the house. Here are a few ideas of how to use seashells without many hassles.
- Buy cheap pillar candles, I liked the white. Use the tip of your hot glue gun to melt a spot on the candle and press a shell into the wax. You just have to hold it until the wax starts to set. If you do the bottom half of the candle this way and then tie a piece of raffia ribbon around the centre it makes for a nice accent piece in a bathroom or anywhere.
-You can glue them around a flower pot to make it decorative.
-Drill some holes and string them and make a wind chime (add some driftwood pieces to this if you have them,)
-Glue onto a soap dispenser for an ocean theme bathroom.
-Hang your large shell on the wall using wire plate hangers.
-Make a seashell magnet. Make sure your sea shells are clean and dry. You can paint them or leave them natural. Glue the sea shell to a small magnet! Let dry and stick to your fridge, lockers, or other metal surface!
-For making wind chime, use string to make dowels into an 'X' shape. Glue shells onto several different lengths of string. Let dry about a day. Tie string with shells to dowel rods at all four corners and some between. Hang somewhere you, your friends, and neighbours can all see it and enjoy it. It will also give you a chance to tell everyone about your adventures in collecting your treasures.
- Toothpicks: Make your ordinary toothpicks look fancy and graceful by adorning them with shells. Small shells will come in handy here. Just glue the inside of a small shell and put the rear of the toothpick there and press it till it is safely joined.
- Bookmarks: Take a muslin rope or you can make one using craft threads and braiding them. Drill a hole in a small and fancy shell and pull the thread through the shell. You can add some colourful beads too.

Hi All !!!

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Hi Folks,
I have been blogging for a month now, learning the ropes and exploring this wonderful world of blogosphere. Now I have decided to start another blog for my greatest passion, crafts. As I am not in position right now to indulge in this hobby myself, I will be surfing the web and collecting things for future use.