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Sunday, July 10, 2011

With Glue Gun in Hand…

The last few weeks have proven rather busy and the last week in general has been one of the hottest of the season-a very bad time for the a/c to be on the fritz. Since it was a bit too hot to be in the sewing room amidst piles of fabric, I decided to hide out in the shade sipping margaritas and playing with my glue gun and all things glueable. Just a few words of advice before we get started on glue guns though. Be careful, follow the instructions, don't leave the glue gun on unattended, wearing gloves helps you from burning your fingers, and of course, if you are not an adult, find one and go from there. Also, if you are planning on hot glue gunning while in shorts or a short skirt while lounging in a patio chair, make sure you cover your legs because those hot whispy glue streaks can burn those pretty little legs if you are not careful (and you might spill your drink).

A friend brought by a few bags stuffed full of the cutest silk flowers she came across and they happily sat around in the shop while I fussed on other projects, waiting for their purpose to come about. I seem to have found so many uses for them that I had to share and I have even listed a few on the Craftzies etsy shop so if you are feeling tropical or whimsical, looking for a few items for an upcoming event, or even just need a flower fix, I do have items listed in the shop and new items will continue to be listed until all of these babies have left the building.

Here are a few of the hair clips I have made so far. The first two photos below have been left long-measuring at a length of about 7" (17.8 cm). I know it seems a bit too long but I thought they might look cute at the base of the neck holding together a french braid since the plastic frame the flowers are on can be bent on the ends and tucked in. The longer rose clips also give you the option of holding up a bit of hair while also giving the look of a headband when the plastic flower frame is bend slightly to frame the shape of the head. If you don't want the hair clips that long, you can simply cut the ends and you get a shorter version. I didn't make any small rosette hair clips but I have a few of the pink rosettes on a few magnet clips below to give you an idea of how cute the shorter version is as well. 

As I went through the random Craftzies stash I found wooden laundry clips, hair clips, magnets, coconut shells, and sea shells. If you are looking to make some of these items yourself, I would say try looking at a place like the $ stores locally and possibly $ stores online. If  unsuccessful in either of those places then I would say hit up Michaels and joanns, home decorating stores and maybe even etsy? If I find some of the flowers out there myself I might even list them in my shop unglued for all of your creative ideas.

I found that each flower had plastic pieces between the silk petal layers so in most cases I removed those so that the flowers could be pressed down a bit as I glued them. In some cases I found the center piece in the flower to be too bulky as well, in which case I removed it. For almost all of the flowers I glued, I found I needed to glue the petals down a little bit so they would hold their shape. In some cases a petal just needed a tiny dash of glue behind it to hold its shape. The only ones I did not need to glue down in order to hold their shape were the purple rose hair pieces with the small yellow and pink rose buds below. 

For the flower magnet clips I glued the magnets onto the wooden clips, and then I glued the flowers onto the clips. Once dried, I removed any extra little glue strands. They work really well for decorating bags, decorating tables, fridges, calendar save-the-date reminders easily clipped onto the calendar, and a cute way to keep reminders elsewhere around the home and office. And if silk flowers aren’t your style, well, be creative with it. The fun is in the gluing.

And that brings me to the cutest little decorated coconut shell sets, the last of my glueing aventures for this post. I have been saving these coconut shells for a while now and though I had no idea what I would use them for at the time, they do make cute little shells for decorating inside your home and outdoor areas and also for displaying items such as business cards at shows and for photographing jewelry and other small items. The coconuts were washed inside the shells with just a dab of watered down white paint. This isn’t necessary however it does sort of add to the natural look of the shells in that it looks like a coconut milk wash inside. I just took a little paint mixing area such as a baby jar and added a tiny dab of paint and then more water and swished it around with a paint brush until the paint was a bit foamy and then I tested the color on a piece of paper to dab it a little, added a little more water as needed, and then just added a light wash to the inside of the shells. Remember, for something like this, less is more so go light with the paint wash and have a cloth or paper towel and water on hand to dab any off if you add too much.


Next I wanted to make a base for the coconut shells. They naturally want to rock and that really bugged me so I definitely had to do something about that. When I originally thought about a base for the shells I visualized something like three little feet that were made of clay or maybe little paper machete feet-something to prop the shells up off the ground a little bit to provide some balance. I wasn’t quite sure at first but as I laid down a few pieces of brown kraft paper onto the surface I was working on (brown kraft paper grocery bag to be exact) I figured I would just try making a base all out of the glue. I added it really close to the center of the base in more or less four areas. I then turned the coconut shell into the brown kraft paper (make sure you have a number of safe layers between the brown paper and the surface you are working on-you don’t want to ruin the counter or table you are working on) and pressed down so the glue on the bottom of the shell would dry into a shaped base.

Once you think the glue base you have just made is dry, peel it from the paper and test it on a flat surface to make sure it doesn't rock. If it still rocks, add a little more glue to the bottom and then press the shell down again and let it dry. If the shell does not pull easily from the kraft paper then you have not let it dry enough. If worse comes to worse and you have added too much glue to the bottom or the little glue stand is just too crooked, simply pry the dried glue glob off and start the process over again. If you care enough, you can also paint the base of the coconut shells brown to enhance the shells or add a small brown piece of felt on the bottom as desired.

Now all you need to do is add the shells and the flower. In the photos I put a little tea light in each shell when I took the pictures, and I included them in the sale of the sets in my shop however because the silk flowers are so big, do not attempt to light candles in the shells if you have the flowers glued on. I have included the tea lights in the sale of the shells online but have included tags so the customer knows the candles are only for display purposes and I have also cut the wicks so there is only a small top piece for display/photo purposes. I have not picked any up since making these shell sets but small LED tea lights will work just fine for lighting a small area without being a hazard so if you do want an actual light in each, go with LED lights. The tea lights are not glued down in case you want to use these for something other than as a little candle display set. I have the LED lights on my shopping list so as soon as I pick some up I will get a few photos up with them lit on the back patio during the twilight hours.

Some of the things glued didn’t turn out all that amazing and others went better than I originally expected. I also made a flower magnet set in which I took 4 silk flowers and glued the petals underneath just slightly so the flowers stayed upright a little more and then I glued a magnet to the bottom of each. These turned out cute however I would say the flower magnet clips worked best as the wooden clip made the magnet more useful in that it could hold up fridge material both by slipping material underneath the magnet and also via the wooden clip. It also proved a better base for the silk flowers and I felt the silk flowers were a little floppy with just the magnets. The clips felt much more useful with the clip than without it too. In the end I felt as though I should have gone with the wooden clip/ magnet combo because you can use it in more ways-clip it onto gift bags, you can use it on the fridge, they’re great for keeping organized at the desk and well, the possibilities seem endless.

So, that about wraps this post up. Thanks so much for stopping by and taking a look. If you have any questions or suggestions, let me know ;)