Friday, March 26, 2010

How-To: Make A Birds Nest Spring Wreath

This was so easy to make with the help of a grapevine wreath and some foam eggs!

You'll need:
  • An 8 inch grapevine wreath. (10 would be ok too)
  • 6 blue foam craft eggs (I got mine at Michael's but if you can't fine these you could use blown out goose eggs or even plastic eggs.. you'd just have to finish them differently).
  • Some cream craft paint
  • A brown ink pad
  • Hot glue gun and one glue stick
  • Handful (or two) of grapevine and sticks

I mentioned that I picked up these eggs at the craft store. They are made from the same semi-ridged foam material that faux craft pumpkins are made from (you know, the kind you can carve).

I gave them a quick wash with a cream craft paint to dull down the brightness of the blue. I used about 50% water to 50% paint. This was really runny and I put it on pretty light. It looks kind of sloppy and watery- but that's a good thing. (Don't throw away your watered down paint just yet... save it in an airtight container for the next step)

Once they were dry I was happy with the color but they had a few dark spots where the paint had been too thick that I didn't like. Using a paper towel I was able to rub down some of these areas and it blended nicely by the time I was finished.

Next I wanted to add some brown speckles on the eggs and did something a bit unusual to get semi-transparent speckling.

I stuck a paint brush that had a stiff bristle onto a brown ink pad.

Then dipped it into the water/paint mixture and blended that into the ink.

I used my fingernail to flick the paint brush and speckle the egg.

It's a subtle but important difference to get speckling that looks like it's part of the egg rather than a spot on top of it.

While the eggs dried I worked on transforming my wreath into a nest.

I cut a hand full of twigs and grapevine from my yard. If you don't have grapevine in your yard (and can't find it wild in the woods) you can always purchase some grapevine garland.

To start I made a few connections with straighter sticks from one side to the other.

I got some help with this part of the project...

Which meant I needed a second handful of sticks and vines from the yard.

Then- I began to fill in the spaces by weaving the grapevine in semi-circles or just back and forth. There was no real pattern or skill to how I did this (in fact I think random makes it look more realistic) I just tucked it here and there and made sure they stuck in place. I didn't use any glue here- there were plenty of places in the wreath to secure the new twigs and vines.

I felt a little funny doing this outside- like all the birds in the yard might be watching me with a critical eye.

Now with the nest build and the paint on the eggs dry I arranged them in the center and used a little hot glue to secure them.

I hung this up as a wreath but it could make a really cute spring centerpiece as well. You could place it directly on the table or even put it on a cake stand to give it a little height.

Note- my wreath is in a covered area. If you wanted to hang this exposed to the elements I might not use the foam eggs I don't know how they hold up in rain. They seem pretty sturdy-so you might just need to spray them with a matte sealer to protect the paint.

You could also make this very easter-y (not a word I know) by using different colored eggs. These foam ones come in 3 or 4 colors. But I wanted a little more of a natural look so I went with all blue.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Egg-cellent Things

I found these bright teal eggs in the craft stored.

They are made from the same foam type material that all the faux
pumpkins you can get every fall.

I see a ton of possibilities with these... but I'm only working on one of
them right now. It started by giving them a wash of cream colored
paint to dull down the bright color a little. (It's subtle in the picture
but the one on the left is white washed. In real life it's a
dramatic difference.)

I can't wait to show you what I have in mind... it might be done

I also picked up this egg pump.

The pysanky teacher recommended. And at only $8 dollars I was more
than willing to pick one up. You can empty out (and rinse) the egg all
while making only one hole in the egg.

I can't wait to try it! (I've never actually blown eggs before- the idea of
putting my mouth on them and trying to blow them out always
seemed so gross). I'll let you know how it works.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Woven Flower Pot- Part 2

Today I finished my woven pot project. I haven't done much weaving but it was kind of relaxing once I got into a groove. (It was the perfect TV watching project).

To recap, I started with a pot that I painted a creamy yellow. Then I used an all purpose craft glue to attach some of my favorite ribbons onto the bottom of the pot.

My first idea was to weave wide ribbon around the pot too- but soon realized I couldn't get the ribbon to lay flat on the tapered shape of the pot.

After experimenting with a few different ribbons and strings I settled on using jute. Which turns out made this look so much more like a basket (which is what I wanted) than my original idea.

I continued weaving the jute over and under the ribbon, pulling it tight and adding a tiny dot of hot glue every so often.

Marking my starting point ribbon by putting a small arrow on the bottom of the pot helped me keep track of each round. (So glad I did that!)

I only glued the jute down when I was going under a ribbon, never over, and I tried to keep the glue off the ribbon so I could pull it left and right to straighten it as I wove.

I also kept turing the glue gun on and off so the glue was warm instead of hot. There were two advantages to that:

1. The glue was easier to control- I only used the tiniest possible dot of glue (about the size of a round plastic head on a pin). To do that the glue can't be so warm that it oozes out of the gun like hot glue usually does.

And 2. No hot glue burns- not even one!

So I wove,

and wove... and wove some more.

But when I was done- the clay pot was totally transformed.

I'm pleased with the way it ended up and with some more experimenting I think I could get a bunch of different results using the same basic idea.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Working on a Woven Flower Pot- Part 1

It's been so warm and sunny this past week. The leaves are starting to bud and it's put me in the mood to get the flower pots out and the garden going.

But at this time of year I know the warmth won't last and it's still too early to put most plants outside. So I did the next best thing... this weekend I cleaned out the flower beds and started a garden related craft project.

I started by painted a clay pot a creamy yellow. I wanted to somehow give this a spring basket look. But I was totally unsure about how I was going to make that happen.

I tried gluing some of my favorite green and teal ribbons all around the bottom.

And after some experimenting came up with this...

weaving jute through the ribbon.

You'll have to wait until tomorrow to see how it turns out... I have a lot of weaving to do between now and then. If it turns out well I'll post the step by step.
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