Thursday, December 10, 2015

Bottlecap refrigerator magnets

Quick and easy Bottlecap refrigerator magnets 

So for this project you will need an assortment of bottle caps from either microbrews or smallbatch soda pop. Preferably selecting bottle caps with interesting designs. You will also need a hot glue gun, magnets that will fit inside the bottlecap, and something to use as a spacer such as a piece of Styrofoam, sliced wood dowel or piece of plastic.
 Place your bottle caps upside down on the work surface as shown in the photos below. Hot glue your spacer inside the bottlecap. Make sure your spacer sit evenly with the edge of the bottlecap in thickness. If you do not have a spacer fill the bottlecap with hot glue and let cool. The reason for letting the glue cool is that if you place the magnet on the hot glue while it is still hot the magnet will sink out of sight.
You will want the magnet to set above the edge of the bottlecap so if the bottlecap magnet gets moved it is less likely to scratch the refrigerator. If you're concerned about scratching the refrigerator apply a small bead of hot glue around the sharp edges. Another option is to buy a cookie sheet from the dollar store and use it to display your magnets on.

 Once the glue has cooled the magnet is finished and ready to use or give as a gift.
The following is a short video on how to make the magnets.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Creative micro bottles with handmade stoppers

    Miniature craft bottles can be had from an array of sources. E_Bay, and Amazon just to name a few, but I avidly recycle and believe nothing should go to waste. To that end I found that red ginseng comes in these little glass amber bottles. Ginseng can be found in your local health food store or Asian market. They come in delightful cardboard boxes, 10 or more to a box, that I also use in my craft projects, but that's another story.
    As for the cost of the miniature glass bottles, it may be cheaper to simply buy them on eBay, unless you're like me and you're already using ginseng. After you have consumed the contents of the bottle, it is a simple  matter of using a pair of pliers to carefully remove the metal cap. Once you have removed the metal cap, thoroughly rinse the inside of the bottle. Note: The ginseng once dry, is harder to remove, so it is easier to clean if you rinse the bottle right after consuming the contents. 
    When you have accumulated several bottles, soak the bottles overnight in a bowl of water. This will loosen the label and make it easy to remove by simply rubbing the label off with your fingernails or popsicle stick.
    Once you have your clean bottles obtain a wood dowel that is slightly larger than the diameter of the mouth of the bottle. Cut the dowels in 1 inch lengths and sand one end to snugly fit the mouth of the bottle to make your bottle stopper. A pencil sharpener may work also, but you may want to sand afterward with fine sandpaper to smooth any rough edges. Then using a rotary tool, or sanding disk you can shape the top of the bottle stopper to a half round or a smaller dowel shaft on which you can affix your pony beads. Remember that the upper shaft needs to be just small enough for the beads to slip on with some glue. Don't make your shafts too small or you might break the stopper when you try to remove it from the bottle. I have found that the half-moon design( bottom left ) is a more sturdy design and saves the expense of using beads and is easier to grip when removing the stopper. That said, the bottles with the beads are more appealing, and are a better seller.
Once you have your stoppers complete you can paint them or add beads depending on the style stopper created. 
    When your bottle is finished it is ready for whatever you may want to put in them, dry spices, trinkets, talisman,etc. keep in mind I have not tested these bottles with liquids such as oils or perfumes and if your stopper is not a perfect fit they may leak. 
    So there you have your crafty little bottles that are perfect for decoration, little love notes, wishes and more. They make a great conversation piece or decoration with ribbons and bows on packages.

So happy crafting, and have a great day from the Nevada Crafter at

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Thursday, November 5, 2015

DIY crafts micro clamp from clothes pins

Do you need a micro clamp but don't want to spend the money? Here's a quick DIY micro clamp made from clothes pins.

Micro clamps can be made cheaply from a package of close pins purchased from the dollar store. As you can see they can be made in an assorted shapes and sizes to meet your custom needs.

 You can use a belt sander, disk sander, Dremel or whatever you happen to have. I have even used a scroll saw to cut various shapes and sizes. My preferred method is still to use a belt sander with a course grit but that is only because it is quick and easy.

These clamps can be made in a minute or less and not only do they come in handy for various projects, I have also found them to be in demand at craft and trade shows. I usually sell them as an assorted package of 4 for a dollar.
They can be used for various projects such as holding projects while I'm painting them, or holding parts together as they are being glued. Uses are many, and if you know a crafter in need of clamps, they make a great gift.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Vintage Suitcase into craft or activity box

   Setting up at a craft show can be a pain, carrying boxes and totes can be cumbersome and sometimes hard to manage. And then there are times we just simply want a convenient place to carry our crafts when we are on the go. Or maybe we want a special place to put children's activities when they come to visit.
    One of my favorite haunts are yard sales and flea markets. I am constantly finding items to be upcycled, or restored into something new and wondrous. On one such trip I came across a couple of vintage suitcases that were in very poor condition. Although I may have restored them to their original condition I had something less expensive and much better in mind. Going to a craft show with a couple of suitcases seemed much easier than carrying several totes.

I started by painting the outside of the suitcase with a quality exterior house paint. This would help hide any blemishes and give a good protective coating to the outside of the suitcase. Once I had a good protective coating on the outside, I began decorating. First by using one of my favorite stencils to stencil a favorite slogan on the top of the suitcase. This personalize the suitcase and gave it more character. Later I would paint the brass fittings with a nice nail polish to protect them and to make them stand out.
    The inside of the suitcase was in pretty bad shape, with the original felt extremely well-worn and in some places holes. The only option here was to replace it with new felt, which I got at the local fabric store. Using a spray adhesive I cut and placed new felt over the top of the old felt. Once the new felt was in place I tack down the edges with hot glue. I hid this seems by brushing the edges of the seams with a stiff toothbrush.

     I continue to add embellishments from time to time, such as these butterfly stickers. Decorating the suitcases is a matter of using your imagination. One could use a theme such as Alice in Wonderland or use a vintage theme such as travel stickers or decoupage old newsprint or even sheet music. The uses for these suitcases are many, such as costumes and activities for kids or just plain storage for your arts and crafts projects and tools. The possibilities are limitless and should you ever become bored with what you have created it is simply a matter of putting on a new coat of paint and changing the style.

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Thursday, October 15, 2015

3-D pen Costume Masks

3D pen Halloween or Mardi Gras mask

    As I have said before the only real disadvantage of the 3-D pen is its precision, but it makes up for that in its versatility and scalability. Take for instance creating costumes or costume accessories. The pen is not limited by a print table size. I can create a mask or wardrobe accessory of any size. To offset its accuracy I use a form such as a cardboard mask in the photograph below.

The mask can be found in just about any craft or costume store. It is designed as a blank mask to be decorated but I have found that it works much better as a form. It is not plastic but pressed paper or cardboard which makes it perfect because it is heat resistant. The extruded plastic will stick to the paper which helps your work from moving around uncontrollably. The plastic mask I have found are usually far too thin and would melt. 
Using various artisan hash designs like those that you would use in sketching or drawings work very well for the 3-D pen. Here I have used circles for the bottom half and ?'s for the upper half. You may want to practice or try out different designs on paper with a pencil first. Practice making the same shapes until you are consistent with the size and shape you want. Keep in mind that the 3D pens work very similar to a welder on a micro scale. Practice using the pen forward and backwards or a back-and-forth motion when you are extruding filament. Using the pen in different directions will give you different thicknesses in the plastic that is extruded. Also keep in mind that as you are working, you need to periodically lift the mask off of its form using a artisan palette knife, painting knife spatula or thin flat blade screwdriver. The plastic will have a tendency to stick to the mask which is a good thing as it will keep your work in place, but if you wait until you are completed, your project will be extremely difficult to remove from the mask without breaking it. And if you should break any part of the mask just remember that can weld it back together with the 3-D pen. Be sure and save your blank form for repairs or modifications should you need to make changes at a later date.
    Once you have completed your mask you can now sand and paint it a different color or add any embellishments, such as beads jewels etc. I use embroidery floss or ribbon to hold the mask on, as this gives it a Victorian style or feel. This looks more professional and will fetch a higher price if it doesn't look like a kids toy with an elastic band.
It should be noted that these masks can be modified and updated at a later time. Being able to change or modify what you create is one of the things that appeals me, not to mention being able to make repairs to anything that is damaged. What this amounts to is a costume design that will not only last a long time but a design that you will never get bored with.
Modified and updated mask with added eyelashes and flower.

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3D Pen Holiday Ornaments


Using a 3-D pen with a tennis ball used as a form

   One of the big disadvantages of a 3-D pen is the lack of precision. Unlike a 3-D printer the 3-D pen relies not on a computer but on how skilled you are with your hands. However you can compensate on some things by using a form rather than just creating freehand. Here I am using a tennis ball as a form to create a Christmas ornament, but realize that any ball that can withstand the heat from the pen can be used. And any size ball can be used to create even more than just ornaments, such as using a basketball to create a lampshade. You may wish to cover your ball with masking tape or some other material so the plastic does not melt into the ball. I'm using the tennis ball basically because that is what I have handy and the plastic adheres enough to the ball to make it easy to control. The disadvantage of using a tennis ball is all the small fibers that the plastic adheres to. This can make removing the finished ornament rather difficult. The trick I use to overcome this is the use of a old painter's palette knife. Using the knife as I work, I periodically carefully lift the plastic off of the tennis ball. A thin blade screwdriver could also be used in the same manner. Just be sure to lift the plastic as you work rather than trying to do it all at once at the end. If you try to wait until the end, it becomes extremely difficult to lift the plastic without breaking it.

    Once you have removed your ornament you then can began to remove the fine hairs with a lighter or hot knife. Be sure and move quickly so as not to melt the plastic ornament you're working on. Most of the ornaments that I create are shaped similar to a half finished death Star. If you wish to create a full sphere, you need to create two halves and then weld them together after you have removed them from the tennis ball form. One trick I use is to create the ornament using the lines on the tennis ball, rather than a straight half circle. This also helps hide any seem that is created when I weld the two halves together, as it is not a straight line.

     So here we have our finished ornament and all that is left to do is to add a bit of thread or ribbon to hang it by. We can also add lace, beads, crystals or other decorations to the ornament as well as sand and paint the ornament as needed. The type of artwork you use is up to you and I have personally created ornaments for all the seasons, not just Christmas. So have fun and enjoy creating a little bit of artwork with your 3-D pen.

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Monday, August 31, 2015

Custom decorated keys

    So there has been many a time I've gone into the hardware store to get a new key. And there on some rack you see displayed decorative keys. You think to yourself "How nice it would be to tell the difference between the different keys on your keychain." But when you look at the price of a custom key you find sticker shock, or you find that your key does not come in custom designs. So here's an idea on how to decorate your own keys so you can tell the difference between your house key, your car keys or whatever.

(1)  First you want to roughen up the surface of the area that you're going to paint. (Do not sand or roughen the part that goes into lock, as you may change the shape of your key. As a result, the key may not work. ) You can use emery cloth or the tip of a screwdriver. The reason for ruffing up the surfaces is so that the paint will stick better.

     A Dremel with an abrasive tip works best.

(2)  Find some cheap nail polish to use as your paint. Dollar stores are a good source for this. I have found that nail polish actually works better than most paints and comes in a much larger variety of colors including metallic and glitter.

(3)  Once you have your colors picked out simply layer your design on the key. With some nail polish it is possible to get a stained-glass or enamel effect.

(Note; The brush that comes with the nail polish is big and bulky and may make getting fine detail difficult to impossible.) Use a fine tip paint brush to get detail. Just be sure to clean your brush after with nail polish remover.

(4) Once you have your key painted be sure and let it thoroughly dry. Preferably letting the key dry overnight. Then simply repeat the process on the other side of the key, to get both sides.

There you have it, a custom miniature piece of art on a key.  So go out and try different things and let us know how your artwork turned out. Be creative and inspire the world!

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Monday, August 10, 2015

DIY book marks plastic, wood, tile, metal ect.

 To make your own bookmarks start with a semi-transparent milk jug or water jug. Cut out a large flat plastic piece from your plastic jug and then lay the plastic over the following patterns and trace them out. Once you have your pattern traced, simply cut it out either using an X-Acto knife or a pair of utility scissors, which can be purchased at most dollar stores. Be sure and use a cutting board if you are using an X-Acto knife. Once you have your outside pattern cut out you have the option to use the X-Acto knife to cut out the designs or you may wish to simply paint the designs.
    If you're going to paint your designs on plastic, it is recommended that you use either nail polish or plastic model paint. If you have a problem getting your paint to adhere to the plastic, you may wish to use a little bit of sandpaper or a file to rough up the surface you are painting.
    Stickers or plastic gemstones with adhesive are also an option that can be used to decorate your bookmark but keep in mind that the bookmark needs to fit in between the pages of a book or magazine.
    You can also add a tassel made out of embroidery floss or ribbon by using a paper punch or leather punch to punch a hole at the top of the bookmark.
    Once you have your plastic bookmark cut out. you can either use it as is or as a template or pattern to make your bookmarks out of other materials such as wood, laminate, photographs, metal or any other suitable material.

The above pattern is designed to be printed out on a 8 1/2" X 11 standard paper in landscape mode. The bookmarks are 5 1/2" tall and 1 1/2" wide, but you can print what ever size you want. 

Please keep in mind that the patterns are copyrighted and intended for only your personal use or small-scale production. Any production over 1000 requires a 10% royalty be paid to Nevada all foreign entities are required to pay a 15% royalty or negotiate terms with Nevada

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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Parts bin and scoop made from plastic jug.

Plastic jugs can easily be recycled or up-cycled into usable products. This plastic jug was an almond milk jug. Orange juice also comes in this type of jug. The line drawn on the jug is where you make your cut. The lines can be adjusted to meet your needs. Each jug depending on its shape may determine where you cut your plastic and it is more of a judgment call than an exact science.
 A dremel saw blade( or any Rotary tool with micro saw blade) such as this works easily and quickly to complete the job. Be sure and use all safety equipment such as goggles and gloves if necessary. Utility scissors may also be used or a very good box knife used with caution.

Once your cut is complete your project is essentially done. The half on the right becomes a feed scoop, or string dispenser and the half on the left can be used as a parts bin that can be either stacked or mounted on the wall.
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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

How to make an I.Q. rock.

I.Q. Rock

This is a simple project that even as a kid I used to make money at. It makes a great practical joke and quite entertaining.
For this project you will need:
  1. A rock (preferably flat )or other object that has four sides.
  2. Paint  (The color you choose is up to you. I chose black and white because it's easy to read. Also use an exterior paint if you plan to leave these outside.)
  3. A wide paintbrush to cover large surfaces (a half inch or one inch brush will do.)
  4. A fine paintbrush with a good point to do your lettering
  5. old newspapers to work on. ( I use baking cooling racks over a large aluminum pan. These can be had at dollar stores or keep a lookout at yard sales.)

 Okay once you have your rock and your paint give your object (rock) a good coat of paint on all sides. This may require you to paint one side at a time and letting each coat of paint dry thoroughly. Once you have a nice background for your lettering your ready to start putting your words on your stone. On the top write the words turn-over and on the opposite side (bottom) write turn-over.

  In small letters on one edge write I.Q. Make the lettering large enough to read but small enough not to be noticed.

On the opposite edge write the word TEST and once again make your lettering as small as you can but still readable. At this point if you'd like you can add little border flowers, leafs or some type of crosshatch to frame your words.
Once your work is completely dry it is ready to place in an inconspicuous but noticeable place. Such as a rock garden or someone's desk and then sit back and watch the fun. Most people will pick up the rock and read it, turn it over several times before realizing it's a joke.
At craft shows I uses to get 25 or 50 cents but later I learned I could get as much as $5 if I put the rock in a gift box with a joke book or printed a rating sticker on the inside lid.
The rating sticker went something like this. "Turn me once your I.Q. is good turn me twice you're not looking so good, turn me thrice and you need to go back to school, turn me a fourth time and there is no hope for you." So have fun making your IQ rocks and remember to check out

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Monday, June 22, 2015

Put a chalkboard on your clay pots.

This is a simple crafters garden project. 

 There has been many a time when I found myself trying to figure out what was growing in the pot that I planted. Tags and plant labels get lost, popsicle sticks get moldy and can't be read and buying plant labels can be quite expensive.
  So I bought a chalk paint that I found in a dollar store. Chalk paint can be found at most hardware stores or try ordering it online. I painted the upper lip of the clay pot on the outside only with the chalk paint and let it thoroughly dry. As I did not want to interfere with how the clay pot works I only painted what I needed to. Then using a chalk marker or a piece of chalk I labeled and decorated the outside of the clay pot rim. You can also use a stencil to paint leaf shaped label areas or other designs, just use your imagination. But remember not to paint the inside of the pot and leave the majority of the outside unpainted as well. One of the advantages to using the clay pot is that the clay helps distribute and wick away excess moisture.

What you will need for this project:

  1. clay pots
  2. chalkboard paint
  3. a good paintbrush
  4. a chalk marker or piece of chalk
  5. optional: stencils of favorite shapes or designs. This is used instead of just painting the rim. Note: be sure and use a design that is large enough to write on.
So there you have a simple craft idea that would make a great gift or a great item to sell at a crafters market.

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Soda can pinwheel or wind spinner

Soda can pinwheel

    [ Disclaimer ]
    First off let me explain that this is a conceptual presentation and may not be complete instructions. One should use all safety precautions and proper tools in constructing this craft item. It is not intended as a child's project or toy and should not be placed within reach of children as the edges of the metal can be sharp if not properly sealed or bent over.

    First we start with two aluminum cans of the same size diameter and a coathanger, brazing rod or any rigid piece of wire. You will need also a hot glue gun and for pony beads. A drill and a small drill bit or a nail and hammer. (Drill bit or nail should be same diameter as wire being used or slightly smaller.)

    Taking one of the cans we use a fabric tape measure to measure the diameter of the can and divide it into equal widths. (For this Arizona tea can it came out to 1 1/8 inch) remember to mark both ends of the can and draw a line from top to bottom between the two marks using a marker. When your project is complete you can remove any unsightly marks with rubbing alcohol.

    (NOTE: smaller cans will require different measurements. It should also be noted that shorter blades for the propeller will work better in stronger winds.)

    With a pair of scissors, box cutter or pocket knife carefully cut the top off the can. We recommend wearing leather gloves for this as a precaution.

    Here we are using utility scissors and it should be noted we do not cut all the way to the bottom. End your cut about 3/8" to a 1/4" off of the bottom, above the curve as marked in the above photo.

    Bend the blades out and slightly twist all the blades in the same direction forming a propeller.

    For this next step we are going to use the other can. Measure a half inch to an 1"off the bottom of this can and cut it off. Slightly bend the edges of this bottom inward so as to fit it inside of the backside of our propeller. (Inside the bottom of the other can) try to keep it as even as you can. Then place it on a level surface with a scrap piece of wood underneath it. Use a BB or marble or even a drop of water in the indentation to find the center of the can and drill a hole slightly smaller or the same size as the wire you are using. This does not need to be perfectly centered but the closer the better. If you are using the nail and hammer to create your hole you may want to punch the whole with each half separate.

Make an L-shape out of your wire and thread the short length through both bottoms using two pony beads on either side. Hot glue the outer beads in place, as shown above, and leave the inner beads loose to act as washers for the propeller. (Note: make sure the long side of your wire is long enough to place in the ground or on a fence post and still allow propeller to spin freely. I used a spoke from a bicycle which isn't long enough to put in the ground but can be mounted on a fence post.) At this point you may wish to glue the two can bottoms together. You may also wish to coat any sharp edges with nail polish or glue. You can use a pair of pliers to bend the edges in so there are no sharp edges, but I have found this very time-consuming.

So there you have your soda can pinwheel.  Please feel free to leave constructive ideas and suggestions.

[Note; as of 6-11-2015 a strong thunder storm came through and blew the wind spinner apart. So a redesign is needed. Shorter blades or reinforce blades would be more apt to survive high wind gusts. And at present I cannot recommend this wind spinner for anything other than light winds with the present design.  We will try to come up with design improvements and update this post at some point in the future. Constructive suggestions are welcome.]

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