Call ‘em what you like: Hama, Perler, fuse, melty. These little plastic beads are weird, but I dig them. I like how traditional cross-stitch patterns translate perfectly to melty-bead peg boards.
I sketched a vaguely Scandinavian pattern on graph paper, and then tried it out with different color schemes of melty beads. The plastic squares turned out to be a good size for coasters, and they have a satisfying chunky density to them.
Paper chandeliers (and some pom-pom varieties) are popping up on all my favorite Pinterest bulletin boards. They are so celebratory, so cheerful. I can imagine the paper creations draped decadently all over my apartment–or the big-windowed, high-ceilinged library where I work. The chandeliers are pajaki, literally “spiders of straw,” a holiday folk art that originated from the Lowicz region of Poland.
I found a DIY from A Beautiful Mess. The instructions call for wooden straws, which seem hard to find, but apparently Swedish straws will do–you can purchase them at Imagine Childhood.
The super-fun pom pom chandelier comes from Small for Big, which offers complete DIY instructions.
Or you can buy one! They ain’t cheap but would make a happy purchase, I’m sure. I found some on Ebay for $150 or at the Polish Art Center for $125.
I’m not patient enough to take a Before Photo. Once I have a project-induced adrenaline surge, I can barely pause to snap a decent photo or two. So here’s my best:
You get the idea. Vintage black card file drawers. Actually, I think they were originally army green, and I painted them black a while ago when my husband and I were going through a “drag any old discarded file cabinet off the sidewalk” phase. Does everyone go through this phase? Is it developmental? It’s definitely a pre-kids condition. Anyway, I was inspired by this Land of Nod item to dig the old thing out of the closet and give it some new paint.
After spraying the file drawers with enamel white paint (and then laying down for a while due to resulting asphyxiation), I got to work on the fun part. I used tiny bottles of model paint to color the drawer fronts.
The After Photos:
I don’t know if you can tell but there are actually two different file boxes with two file drawers each. The top box is made of wood, the bottom of metal. They sit on top of each other nicely though, and their differences add to a general funkiness, I think. I haven’t quite figured out where to put the drawers–they are 17″ deep!
Still Life with Fruit. Or Fruit Series #1. Or Strawberry on Blue. I’m not sure how best to describe these mini masterpieces. These petite paintings were a product of a craftathon weekend with our cousins. Our fruity theme inspired a modeling-clay cornucopia of summer produce as well (and one slice of pizza, above).
Except one cousin, a true artiste, who went his own way. May I present to you: Man with Scythe.
I bought the 2 x 2″ canvases at my local craft store, but you can get them online here at Blick Art. The canvas comes prepped for acrylic paint (or oil paint if you have a lot of chutzpah/hubris). You can also purchase little easels for display–very sweet.
This is such a fun, easy craft for kids–and it’s doubly rewarding because you get to use something from your recycling box! You know those little foam trays that your grocery store uses to keep your veggies comfortable? Trader Joe’s, in particular, seems enamored with the excess packaging. Anyway, wash that foam and save it because now you’re going to need it.
Zeke and I spent a happy morning making prints. Make sure to cover your work space (I used paper bags–more recyclables!) because kids love to roll the paint around, and things can get messy. Also, if you want to write words in your design, remember to write your letters backwards. We actually used a hand mirror to make sure we were successfully mirror writing.
DIY Easy Printmaking
Recycled foam trays
Washable block printing ink (you can substitute acrylic paint, but the block printing ink is thicker and works better)
Blunt-ended pen or paintbrush
Step 1: Cover your work area. Printmaking gets messy!
Step 2: Trim off the curved edges of your foam trays so you have a flat surface.
Step 3: Plan your design (remember words need to be written backwards). Draw your design, pressing into the foam with the a blunt end of a pen or paintbrush.
Step: 4: Pool some paint and run your roller through it a few times so that the roller has an even coat of paint. Now roll paint over your design.
Step 5: Invert your design onto a piece of paper. Roll the back of the foam, evenly pressing your design into the paper.
Step 6: Gently lift your design. Voila! The roller and the foam should easily wash off with water.