Tuesday, September 27, 2011

#30 Haunted Tree

As I have mentioned before, I am doing a Haunted Forest/ Faerie Tale Witch Cottage theme in my kitchen this year.

So I awoke one night and realized I must have a haunted tree dividing my kitchen from my living room! I became obsessed with the idea, and immediately started trying to figure out the best way to do this.

First I decided I wanted it to be compact and capable of being broken down in two parts for storage.
It also needed to be tall (my ceilings are 10 ft) but incase I move to a shorter or taller house one day it needs to be adjustable. I also wanted the branches to sprawl across my ceiling. 
I had a lot to consider!

So I decided to use concrete pour molds for the base. 
They are around $10 each for the 12" size. The two I bought, one was actually a little bit smaller and fit snugly inside the other, perfect for what I had in mind!

I thought about using chicken wire, but I really hate using the stuff and if I can avoid it I will. 

I found some flexible black irrigation pipe in our garage and decided to use it as a stopper for the top tube to rest on. 
I hot glued it just a little to hold it n place (about 6" from the top)  then went over it in Gorilla Glue to really make it strong. 

PS. The bottle exploded and made a huge mess. I still have glue on me! 
 See, what a Mess!

I wanted a strong base since its so tall. 
I forgot to get a cheap piece of plywood when I was at the store, but I was into the project by now and not wanting to run back out, I grabbed a round plywood circle I already had laying in the garage and gorilla glued it on the bottom.

When all was dry, I crumbled up newspaper to taper it down. I also cut out a hole for my uplight to go in the back.

For the roots I crumbled up balls of news paper in varying shapes using masking tape to secure them.

I coneccted them with more paper at the joints and more tape.

When I figured out the shapes I wanted the roots, I started filling in gaps with more crumpled paper and tape. Then hen it all got several coats of paper mache and then several more until the base was super strong.

On the top half I started the face.
 I just drew on a face and cut it out with a serrated knife.

Here it is sitting in the bottom half.

Next using Celluclay I built the facial features

I started building up ridges in the tree with twisted up newspaper and tape, then went over in 
more paper mache.

I tried to match the bottom ridges to the top as best I could.
Also, I used tape as a guide on the top half to show me exactly where it met the bottom.

Here are the two halves apart all paper mached 
 and together

For the top branches I used coat hangers and taped them to the tree really good before buliding up and then paper maching over the whole thing.

I wanted to make more branches but I really am behind schedule right now, so it got only a few for this year maybe I will add some next year..

For the bark I decided to use more celluclay because I have a bunch of it. I used a whole bag on this tree.
I would just glob it on and then smooth it out a little in sections.
Then I would get my fingers a little wet and scrape it to make my bark texture, clumps and lumps are a good thing.

Here it is finally dry and ready for the paint.

I used a base coat of a charcoal black color I had on hand called fittingly called  'black magic'.
As I was going I would brush on and blend in (while it was still wet) a brown color in the highlight areas, just to give it a little more depth of color. 

Lastly I dry brushed on a lighter taupe color. 
No closeups of that...Hmm I need to take a good bark pic too and add it here.

I decided for now to just use some tissue paper tacked behind the face diffuse the light a bit.

For the top branches crawling across my ceiling, I can't make them permanent because like I said it needs to store and I don't want to be married to this height incase I move. 

So I took some old branches I had saved from the last tree trimming, using eye hooks and fishing line I attached them to the ceiling with the bases just resting inside the top of my tree.

 Now they have the appearance that they are coming out of the tree but they are really just hanging from the ceiling over it. Also, this way I can add more branches and fan it out as far across my ceiling as I want.

I will be adding some green to the branches as well soon,
 but for now I need to go put away that laundry in the picture.

I will be adding pics soon of the finished tree and it's creepy hanging greenery. 
Also maybe a cleaner house in the next picture.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

#29 Vintage Witchy Recipe box

For a while I have been meaning to organize all the Halloween recipes I've collected over the years in a fun way. 

So I was feeling crafty the other day as usual.
On all of my big projects either the paper mache was still drying or I didn't have supplies to continue, and it has been so hot I just didn't feel like going out and shopping.

Anyway, I found an old unfinished recipe box (they sell them in the unfinished wood section at most craft stores). I've had it for a while actually just never could decide what to do with it.

My first thought was  to decoupage on it. So I started looking up vintage Halloween images online. Here are a couple I really liked...

But then I saw an image on a vintage paper hat for sale for $100!
(hmm can't find the link anymore.)

I just fell in love with it. 
So I decided to hand paint the box with a similar design.

First I simply painted the box black and the top of the lid orange with acrylic paints.

Then eyeballing it, I drew the image on in pencil and went over in black paint.

Added more details until I was satisfied.

I glued on a pretty ribbon as trim around the lid, and then sealed the whole thing with a matte varnish.

For the inside dividers, I made tombstone shaped tabs out of black card-stock and wrote on them in white pencil. 
I will probably redo these a little better soon with some of the pretty Halloween paper craft stuff they have out now.

Lastly I just I printed up the halloween recipes on cardstock in the appropriate sizes.  

Now all my witchy goodies are in one organized space. 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

#28 Silhouette Plates for a Witch's Kitchen

  So I am doing something a little different this year each room has a theme. The Kitchen is going to be a Faerie Tale Witches cottage, a lot of green and black, moss, branches, a real haunted forest feel. 

Usually in my wall plate holder I display my vintage happy pumpkin plates, but that is not going to work this year so I started thinking of what I could put up there instead. I have all these green plates that I over bought on clearance a few years back. They are the perfect witchy green shade for the kitchen too. 

        So I decided to do the silhouette plates I have seen for years, always liked, but never tried. 

   The first time I saw this was in a Martha Stewarts magazine. So I grabbed out my old Halloween issues and started looking. They have a variation in about every issues, with templates galore. She also has tons on her website or you could use any clip art you like. 
    Now I have to take a moment to defend Martha. When I bring her name up many people tell me how evil she is. But to me she is a great champion of Halloween and her Halloween epidoes were always something I looked forward to every year. So maybe she comes off as a B to some people, I don't know her personally to answer that, but she has some fantastic ideas.

Also you really start to question life when a guy dressed as Leather Face, in a bloody apron, carrying severed head lectures you about the Evils of Martha Stewart.  Please, Don't ask.

    So anyway I was drinking my glass of wine on a mellow saturday night and sometimes when I have a glass of wine I feel a little craftiness coming on. At the same time I am inpatient and want quick results.  
So therefore this tutorial is of what I like to call My Drunken Crafts. Maybe I need to make a new category on here.

I could have printed the clip art or copied the magazine images, but I was again impatient. 
Luckily I can freehand alright, so I just copied images from the magazine on regular paper 
in a size that seemed right for the plates.

Getting the image on the plate, there are a couple ways you can do this.
For this one I cut out my shape and traced around it with a sharpie.
Luckily I noticed the below picture was off center before I started. 
If you mess up a little, the sharpie does come up if you rub hard enough right away.

Next I filled it in with ceramic paint. 
As you can see it was kind of hard to get it smooth. 
The brush left brush marks and the sponges left bubbles. 
This is were patience and sobriety would have come in handy. 
I managed to get it to smooth out better by doing a second layer with the brush the next day.

The other way I did it was the opposite.

 I wanted the plate black and the witch green. I have seen this technique before where you can print the image on adhesive paper, but I didn't have any so I used a glue stick and covered all the edges really good and stuck her on the plate. 

Oh is that a glass of wine in the photo? Why yes it is.

Quickly, but with a light amount of paint (to avoid bleeding) I covered the edges
and then the whole plate in black paint.

I pulled up the stencil very gently. and it came out almost perfect, very little bleeding.

Any parts that did, I scraped off before it dried with a blade.
Again here you can see the bubbles I had to fix with a brush coat.

The colors are not as bright on camera for some reason but it's a nice witchy green in person. 
Even though it was all turned out fine, I would not recommend drinking and crafting. 

Also as soon as I can I am going to make some chargers to go behind these. In case you don't know what those are, chargers are big decorative plates that go under regular plates.  I have several ideas
in mind that involve natural materials, to the shabby up the display a bit.

I'll add the picture and how to as soon as I do it. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

#27 Don't Judge a Book by it's Cover!

So here is something I have been wanting to try for a while.
 This craft is so easy and there is no end to the cool things you can do!

I already have about 10 ideas for more books in my mind!

For my first two attempts, I decided to go with replicas from movies I like.

This a simple and easy replica from the Evil Dead 2. 
 I just took an old hard cover book. 
This one is just some mediocre cookbook. 

I drew on the face, just sort of eyeballed it not trying to be exact.

I built up his features and some big wrinkles with paper mache paste and paper towels.
Then I covered it with a skin of paper mache napkins and paper towels.

I let it dry to the touch opened like this for just a little bit.
Then I bound it shut with twine until it was completely dry, for about 2 days.
Unfortunately I didn't take a picture but this step but it is a very important. 
If you don't the book cover can warp out too much.

Yes, that is an ear on the other side.

After he was dry I began the painting. I used raw umber for the base color, red for the mouth parts.

I did a black wash and then dry brushed on gray. 
I highlighted the teeth and the one eye with a dry brush of yellow ochre.

The next is a little more complicated and I got a little carried away.
I started with a large cardboard book box I got on clearance at Micahel's

I know it's pretty, and I am about to destroy it!
I was actually a little sad because despite my dark inclinations, I do like butterflies.

So here I am making the spell book from the movie "Hocus Pocus"

This time I started by covering the book in a skin of tissue paper using mod podge. 
It dries really quickly.

Next using clay I made the seems where the skin is sewn together.
 I used Das red cause that's what I have on hand. 
Paper clay would be good too, or any air dry clay that doesn't shrink.

Using the same tool I poked holes for the stitching.
Here is another hint, add a small layer of the tissue paper over where the clay meets the book. 
I did it on the front but forgot on the back. If you look at my finished photos,
you can see the seams in the back, but the front is blended.

Next I made a little eyeball out of Fimo. 
It wasn't a full sphere. I just a rounded a half circle of a little lump of clay baked it. 
Then hand painted the iris, and added a gloss sealer to make it look wet.

I added the lids using Creative Paper Clay this time.

Oh I forgot to mention after the book and clay was dry I painted it with a mix of raw umber, and raw sienna. then I did a black wash, and dry brushed on more raw sienna. 

Next I glued my eyeball on the box.

Then I used more paper clay and blended my eyeball into the rest of the cover. 
And of course painted it to match.

Next I started work on all the metal embellishments.

Using fimo I sculpted one of the snakes and baked him.

Then I made a base.

I pressed my mostly cooked snake on top and baked it again until it was done.

There are four of these babies on the book, so instead of sculpting all of them. 
 I decided top make a mold, and do copies.

I used silicone for the mold and two part resin for the copies. 
All available at most craft stores. Good time for 40% off coupons.
the mold kit is about $20 and the resin was like $15. I used about half each kit for this.

Sturdy resin copies in no time!

I painted them with black spray paint and a light spray of silver over top.

Next I made the clasp that goes around the eye.  
In the fimo again, I made a ring that fit around my eye and baked it.

I wanted it to be a functioning clasp so I used these tiny hinges from Lowe's.

I made a brade of fimo

        I smushed it in and attached it to my hinge. 
Also (not pictures) I stuck a piece of coat hanger 
through the entire thing to make it strong, and then baked it.

I attached them with gorilla glue and then covered it in fimo to make it all one piece.

For the little hand on the back I used coat hanger pieces and just sculpted over it with fimo.

All these pieces when done received the same coat of black and silver paint.

There was is also a long snake on the spine of the book.
I forgot  to take picture as I was sculpting , but he is also fimo.

After all the silver pieces are glued on I did a wash of watered down raw umber,
 to make them look aged and tarnished. 

 I still need to add the threads, and there is some detail on the spine, and a couple jewels. 
But that is all easy and I need a break form this book for a little while. 

The back

the side

opening it 

I may need to do something about the inside though.....

Edit: And we have stitches....

I used 13.7m hemp cording I had on hand 
(you can find it in the jewelry section at craft stores ). 
I simply cut and glued the stitches in. 
I pushed it in the holes with an extra large sewing needle.