Crafts for Assholes

And I'm the asshole who makes them.

I got a sample of faux suede from Spoonflower (pattern by rosalarian) and decided I’d make a tiny book with it.

But I fucked up when I thought I could get away with using the cloth without backing it with paper first.  It wouldn’t stick to the bookboard!  I had to smash the cover under weights for a couple of hours before I could finish the book—and as you can see, the corners are all screwed up.

Not sure what to do with it now..

Spirit Doll

[This project is from Wild With a Glue Gun by Kitty Harmon and Christina Stickler.]

The instructions in this book are REALLY vague. I’m sure if you had a clearer idea of what you were doing or wanted to do with this project, it would come out better. Still doofy-looking, but maybe with a personal meaning or some shit.

But this is what happened.

What you need to make this thing:

  • wire and/or pipe cleaners
  • scraps of fabric (there is no specification in the book, but I’m guessing longer and thinner are better)
  • scissors
  • cotton balls or stuffing
  • embellishments like.. shiny things, I guess?
  • I used glue, but it’s not mentioned in the book so it’s probably cheating

Okay, first you make the body, like so:

Then you add the arms (these may have come out a TAD short):

Give that torso some padding:

Then you wrap the whole thing in scraps of fabric. I had some felt and strips of t-shirt. I used glue to keep the felt where I sort of wanted it. The cotton shirt was easier, and I guess because the glue soaked through, the strips of shirt were also easier to keep in place. I stuffed a couple cotton balls into the head part.

The problem is, by the time I finshed wrapping the doll, I had something best described as “fucking ridiculous.”

And I really couldn’t think of any way to add more shit to it that wouldn’t make things worse.

So I added some eyes and called it a day.

Yeah, I don’t think I’ll be selling this one..

time: about half an hour, probably more if you try to do it right
cost: REALLY depends on what you use to make the thing
injuries: poked my fingers with the wire a few times

A question!

Should I do an “about” page?

If so, what should I put on it?

Magic nose goblins?

In Which We Look At Pictures

It’s been a really busy week for me, so I thought we’d check out some projects I don’t have the money, room and/or courage for—and I’ll try to make you something this weekend.

The Complete Book of Candles and Candlemaking
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What everyone needs in their home is a flammable object covered in candles. It’s festive!

Better Homes & Gardens Christmas: 101 Wondrous Ideas

Make fake, light-up icicles and hang them on your porch, because some of the neighbors STILL won’t cross to the other side of the street when they see you coming.

Upcycling Celebrations
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Don’t have enough bottles around? Turn giant light bulbs into bottles with corks and electical tape! Paint words on them! Have some more wine.

The Practical Guide to Crafting With Mosaics, Ceramics & Glassware
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Cover a chair with shards so it will be REALLY uncomfortable. Give it to someone you hate.

Re-Creative
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Just haul a broken concrete block into your house and stick candles on it. Keep it on your floor. The cats were getting annoying anyway.

This book was a pain in the ass to make.  160 pages.  Heavy, too.  So I hope someone likes it enough to pay for it.

I put all the books I’ve made in their own section in my etsy store, to make it easier to find them.

Pride Pins

It’s the Fourth of July, or Independence Day in the US, next week, and I finally remembered this book of “patriotic” crafts in time to do something about it.

Around here we celebrate the Fourth with cookouts and so many fireworks it’s the best night of the year to shoot someone—but the retailers would also like you to celebrate by dressing like the flag.

I once saw “patriotic” clown shoes in a catalog. CLOWN SHOES.

EDIT: I found them.

[This project is from Celebrate the Red, White & Blue.]

What you need to make these things:
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  • flattened glass marbles
  • acrylic paint in red, white & blue
  • paint brush or two
  • something to put the paint in
  • waxed paper or kitchen parchment to keep paint off the work surface
  • strong glue (I’m using Household Goop again)
  • something to apply glue with
  • pin backs

Okay, you’re supposed to paint your design on TOP of the marble. Not only does this not make much sense, but there is a photo of one pin where the design was clearly painted on the back of the marble and it’s by far the nicest one.

But I am following the fucking instructions here.

The problem with brushing paint onto glass is that it spreads very thinly and you will need more than one coat. However, I discovered that if you use the brush in a dabbing motion instead, you get more paint on the glass and you can skip that second coat bullshit.

This technique IS a little bit sloppier, though.
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Make sure the first color is dry before you add the next one, obviously. Dabbed paint will take some extra time to dry.

Since these are glass you could probably make the design more permanent by using enamel paints and baking the things. But once again, I’m following the goddamn INSTRUCTIONS.

Once the painting is done and dry, smear some glue on the flat side near the top of your design and press in the pins. Jewelry and Metal glue would also work here.
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Let the glue cure, and presto!
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Hmm.

time: about 4 hours
cost: around $6.00 US
injuries: none

You can buy these “patriotic” things here.

Bollywood Crafts
There are some really ugly things in this book.  The thing is, I can’t figure out if the author really thinks this is an Indian aesthetic or if she’s just fucking with white people.
And I’d just feel kind of weird doing these projects.

Bollywood Crafts

There are some really ugly things in this book.  The thing is, I can’t figure out if the author really thinks this is an Indian aesthetic or if she’s just fucking with white people.

And I’d just feel kind of weird doing these projects.

New book in old cover!

I’m not big on pink, but I made this anyway.  The pages are two different shades.  And the water-drop endpapers go with the cover.

More pictures on etsy.

In Which I Break Out the Duct Tape Again

[These projects are from Stick It! by T.L. Bonaddio.]

Before I start, I just want to point out that the project names are directly from the book. No angry letters, please.

Insane

What you need to make this thing:
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  • duct tape
  • scissors
  • ruler
  • pencil

You know, this one is so fucking simple I think I can demonstrate without words..
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It’s a pencil grip.

There is a MAJOR flaw in this project. Who can see it?

I’ll wait.

time: around five minutes and that included gathering supplies and taking photos
cost: about $4.00 US, more if duct tape is more expensive where you live
injuries: no

You can buy this unsharpenable pencil here.

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Loser

The question isn’t why did the author call this one “Loser” (I think it’s the “L” shapes), the question is: why isn’t every project in this book called “Loser”?

What you need to make this thing:
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  • red & silver duct tape
  • scissors
  • cutting mat
  • craft or utility knife
  • ruler
  • straight edge
  • ballpoint pen or something else that will write on duct tape

Lay out a long strip of each color and cut them into two-inch pieces. Take a piece and fold it so about 1/4 inch of the sticky side is still showing:image

Next, cut this in an “L” shape. I went with 3/8 of an inch because 1/4 seemed too flimsy.image

Make another “L” with the other color and fit them together like so:image

Make another one and interlock it with the first before you stick them together.image

Keep making “L”s and turning them into interlocking rings until the bracelet fits all around your wrist—at which point, make one last link and put it through both the first and last pieces.

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Check out this fucking fashionista right here..

time: an hour or so
cost: 6 or 7 bucks, more if you don’t have the knife or mat
injuries: jabbed myself with the knife a couple times

You can buy this elegant bracelet here.

In Which I Do Horrible Things to Books

I have been having a spectacularly bad week. These things did not help much.

Journal

[This project is from The Repurposed Library by Lisa Occhipinti.]

What you need to make this thing:
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  • book you no longer have use for
  • craft or utility knife
  • scissors (optional)
  • paper for pages
  • ruler
  • pencil
  • cutting mat
  • straight edge
  • rubber bands
  • masking tape
  • marker (optional)
  • clamps
  • scrap wood
  • drill with 3/16 bit
  • book rings

I know a few things about putting blank pages in book covers (see here and here, for example). And this is pretty much the worst way to do it.

But I’m not fully committing to that statement because there is probably something even uglier out there somewhere.

I tried to use a book that has no real value—this was a medical encyclopedia from the 1950s that was pretty beat up and didn’t even have illustrations to use for art.

It’s a good thing I didn’t want to make it into a journal the way I usually do though, because as I tested the bond between the cover and the pages, the front cover just tore off.
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Didn’t even have to cut it.

You don’t have to be super careful removing the text block from the spine here. Just don’t cut off your fingers. Once you have one side cut away from the cover you can usually cut the other side with scissors.

If you ARE looking to preserve the spine when you cut the cover off a book, cut very carefully with your knife and very close to the pages. Try to keep the book upright, and pay attention.

And that was the last useful shit I have to say about this trainwreck.

Cut the spine off the cover and use the knife and straightedge to trim near the cardboard on the back of the book. If your cover is old enough there will be a lot of crumbly shit on your cutting mat.
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Okay, measure the endpaper left in one cover and write that number somewhere. It is all right if you round down. This one’s endpapers went right up to the foredge of the book, so I rounded that measurement down by about an eighth of an inch. You are writing these numbers down because those are the dimensions of your book pages. Usually I just write my dimensions inside the cover, but since we aren’t doing this my way, find some scrap paper.

Mark the top sheet and then cut the whole pile. I got two pages out of one sheet of paper. Unless you have a reliable paper cutter, the pages are going to come out somewhat uneven. Fuck it.
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Wrap two rubber bands around your paper stack the short way and one the long way, and square them up as best you can.
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Sandwich them between the covers and align them any way you like.

I did not use much paper because I didn’t want to waste it on this shit.

For this next part you need two pieces of masking tape about two inches long. Put one at the top of one cover along the spine and one at the bottom of the cover along the spine. You don’t need to align them as long as you remember to measure the cover instead of the tape.

Measure 3/8 of an inch from the spine edge of the cover on each piece of tape and make a line with your pencil and ruler. Then measure 1 1/2 inches along that line from the top of the cover and make a mark. Do the same from the bottom. If your pencil isn’t registering very well on the tape, you may want to use a marker to make the spots more visible.
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Now it’s drilling time. I enlisted my dad’s help for this part. The book has a very elaborate clamping diagram, but he just had me hold the whole thing down with a piece of scrap wood:
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Once the book is drilled, tap off the sawdust and remove the masking tape.

Open one book ring, put it through the whole thing and close it. Now open up the cover and take off the rubber bands, then re-align everything and add the other ring.

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Yeah, wow. I guess you can add and remove pages as much as you want, but you can just buy a goddamn binder for that shit.

Okay, so it’s kinda ugly. But what’s it like when you open it?
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Jesus wept.

time: an hour or two
cost: around five bucks, BUT the book rings were a gift from my brother. Depending on what you buy, book rings can run you 5 to 15 dollars.
injuries: bleah!

You can buy this ugly book here.

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Hot Plate Novels

[This project is from Wise Craft by Blair Stocker.]

What you need to make these things:
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  • hardcover books with pages you no longer need
  • craft or utility knife
  • waxed paper or kitchen parchment to protect work area
  • acrylic paint
  • paint palette
  • paintbrush

This one just tied in too well with the first one. Plus it is really simple.

We went over cutting the textblock out of a book above. If you really like the endpapers of the book, tear them off and keep them.

Figure out which side of the book you want to be the top and paint it. You can do designs or whatever.

Here’s what I came up with. Keep in mind I’m really sleep-deprived, please.
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You put your pots on them to protect tables & countertops.
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Which seems really impractical. What if you spill something on it?

Oh, wait: ”If there is a spill, simply rip off the top page …”

What the fuck? Then I paint it again, I suppose, thus turning a fairly simple project into never-ending busywork. What fun.

Then again, I suppose if you have kids, or have access to kids, your problem is solved. Not only does their artwork get displayed for everyone to see, they get to do a new one almost every day.

Plus kid art is probably way better than that shit I came up with.

cost: varies wildly, depending on the cost of the books and the paint
time: around 3 hours with drying time
injuries: none

You can buy these ecological marvels here. If you want to. Weirdo.

New book in old cover!

Buy it on etsy.  Please.  I kinda want to keep it and I haven’t written in my diary in almost a year.

Decorative Lace Vase

[This project is from Pulp Fiction by Mark Montano.]

Today we make a vase out of cardboard and paper. Because, you know, practical.

What you need to make this thing:
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  • patterns from book
  • thin paper or tracing paper
  • pencil
  • scissors
  • cardboard
  • cutting mat
  • utility knife
  • straight edge (ruler)
  • tape (book says painter’s tape)
  • white glue
  • waxed paper or kitchen parchment
  • book pages or newspaper
  • decoupage medium (optional)
  • bowl for glue
  • brush for glue
  • spray adhesive (you want the kind that’s repositionable or the kind that does both)
  • scrap of lace bigger than vase pattern that you don’t mind fucking up and throwing away
  • newspaper
  • black spray paint
  • varnish

First trace the patterns in the back of the book and cut them out.
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Next, trace them onto cardboard and use the ruler and knife to cut the pieces neatly. Score and fold the big pieces as shown.
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Tape the pieces together to make a vase-type shape. The book calls for painter’s tape but I don’t have any, so I used scrap duct tape still stuck to my cutting mat.

Then you squeeze glue all around the edges to seal them or something.
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It wasn’t until I looked at the instructions again that I learned you were only supposed to glue the fucking triangle on. Oh well. Can’t see how it bloody well matters.

It will take a few hours for the glue to dry. When it does, you have to pick off the drips.

Tear your book pages into pieces and cover the vase with them, including inside the mouth. It was here that I learned the author only wants you to use the decoupage medium as a varnish at the end. But I only have less than half a bottle of his favorite glue and a LOT of Mark Montano to get through. I did the first layer with glue:
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And since you need more layers I did the other two with the medium. I have more medium than glue.

Once you’ve gotten that done (three layers takes about seven standard paperback pages) and dried, take your newspaper, your spray glue, your spray paint, your lace and your decoupaged vase outside. I got the kind of spray glue that becomes repositionable, so I sprayed the lace with it and waited a few minutes. Be sure to have newspaper under the lace when you do this. Apply lace sticky-side down to one side of the vase. I had to prop the thing up to do this—it IS trianglular, you know.
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Make sure the lace is firmly on there and then hit that fucker with the spray paint.
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When you remove the lace, it looks like this:
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Or thereabouts.

Do this on the other two sides (you shouldn’t have to respray the lace with glue).

Since Mod Podge dries sticky (and this thing is enough of a fucking dustcatcher already), I opted for a coat of varnish instead. You know the drill. Brush it on half the thing, let it dry, flip it over and brush the other half.

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It, um. Looks sorta Lovecraftian from some angles?

Still not clear on what the fuck you do with a vase you don’t put water in.

Also kinda curious what would happen if I tried it.

time: about three days. Probably less if it isn’t raining all the fucking time.
cost: around $15.16 US
injuries: fume headaches

You can buy the vase that you can’t get wet here.