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Tag Archives | Embellishments

CHA Summer 2011: Petaloo

At CHA we spotted beautiful floral embellishments at Petaloo.

Petaloo embellishments are made from sturdy recycled cotton paper.

The recycled cotton used is old t-shirt cotton!


Petaloo has these nice Flora-Doodles in color coordinated packs to match up with your projects.


I love seeing crochet!


I really liked their Color Me Crazy line.



These use the same sturdy recycled cotton paper and are ready to be colored, painted, stamped, stained, or dyed in any color you choose.


So many customizing possibilities!

Vendor Spotlight & Giveaway!: WireLace and Alacarte Clasps (day 2 of 2)

Reported by Susan Reidy

I’m not usually a jewelry maker, but lookie what I made.

Ohh, ahh. It’s so pretty, sparkly and girly. I love it! And, it was pretty easy to make, even for this novice.

My beautiful results were all thanks to the WaterLily Necklace Kit by Alacarte Clasps. It had all the materials I needed to make the necklace, and super simple, easy-to-follow directions.

One of the stars of this necklace–the ingredient that gives it the airy, ethereal feel — is the WireLace. WireLace is ribbon woven with very fine wires of brass, copper and/or aluminum that is bonded with an enamel coating in a rainbow of colors.

A unique aspect of WireLace is its ability to expand to about three times its width. Here it is straight from the package all shiny and silky.

Now, I grabbed it on either side and pulled gently to make these awesome waves of ribbony goodness.

And if you don’t like how your waves look, you can smooth it back out and try again, and again. It’s also a tube, so you can gently open one end and put things inside, like beads. I had tons of fun stretching it out, making different shapes, and then smoothing it back out. It’s really addictive.

My example here is the 6 mm (about 1/4 inch before expanding), but it’s also available in 1 mm ( about 1/32 inch, which doesn’t expand); 2.5 mm (1/8 inch); 12 mm (1/2 inch); and 20 mm (7/8 inch). WireLace is available in 31 colors.


It’s nickel-free, which is good for people with allergies to nickel, it’s waterproof so you can use it in items that might get wet or need to be hand washed and it’s heat resistant (although some colors will change slightly when heated).

Don’t the delicate, airy appearance fool you. I stretched the you-know-what out of a small piece, as you can see below.

I was still able to smooth it back out into its original shape. It did fray slightly at the end, as you can see above, and some of the fibers started unraveling, but I did handle this piece quite a bit as I was testing it out. When my testing was done, the piece was still usable; I just snipped off the fraying end.

With all WireLace can do, it’s no wonder that it’s famous. It’s been featured twice by the Queen of Craft, Martha Stewart. During her March 2 Crafts Hour, Martha and Kristin St. Clair showed how to make this awesome mesh ombre necklace, putting the tube properties of WireLace to good use.

On Martha’s Eggcellent Easter Special, this Egg Garland with WireLace was featured.

You can buy WireLace by the yard, in 10-yard spools or in complete kits for making lots of awesome jewelry pieces. I decided to start my actual WireLace crafting (I did do lots of playing first) with the WaterLily kit.

Here are all the goodies included in the kit, which retails for $69. It includes Swarovski crystals in teal, green and violet; Italian glass silver seedbeads, wire, turquoise WireLace, crimp beads, end caps and a teardrop shaped clasp. All I had to add was G-5 Hypo Cement, a two-part epoxy and needle nose pliers.

First off, I had to twist the ends of the WireLace into a point, and add some of the Hypo Cement. This makes it into a nice point to make threading the center beads easier. You can see the nice step-by-step directions, with full-color photos. Even if I didn’t fully understand a step, I just had to look at the photo, and it all made sense.

I had some trouble at first getting my beads through, but I just kept twisting the WireLace until the point was thin enough.

This is the first bead to go on, right to the center of the WireLace.


Next, you have to strong the wire through, being careful not to snag the WireLace on the way. This was a little tricky, but I found if I pulled down on the WireLace, there was plenty of room to sneak the wire through.

I added the rest of the beads for the center piece, and strung the wire through twice to make a circle.


I pulled on the wire to pull the beads into a circle and added the crimp beads to keep it in shape. It’s a tight squeeze; needle nose pliers are a must.

Here’s the center piece all finished, looking just like the directions!


Next, it was time to string on the violet crystals, every inch and a half.

After the crystals are all strung, separate the WireLace that is between each group of crystals. This was a fun step.

Then it was time to string the seedbeads. I’m not sure why I don’t have a photo of this step; maybe it’s because I was going cross eyed from stringing a bazillion teeny tiny beads. Ok, I exaggerate, but it was a lot of beads, and was probably the most time consuming part (but it wasn’t difficult). The beaded wire weaves in and out of the WireLace poofs. I love that look.

Once that’s done, I added the crimp beads to the ends and trimmed down the extra wire and WireLace.

I mixed up my two-part epoxy and filled up my end caps before adding them to each end.

I added the clasp and it was all done. Alacarte Clasps has all kinds of kits available for necklaces, bracelets and earrings.

I love how simple it was to follow these directions, and come up with such a professional looking necklace. The materials are a wonderful, top-of-the-line quality.


Since I thoroughly enjoyed my jewelry making experience, I wanted to see what I could on my own. I also wanted to incorporate it into my first love, papercrafting. I decided to make a free form flower. I made two sets of petals, twisting them in the middle, and then securing them with wire. I added some pearls to the middle, again with some wire.

Here are the leaves I added after the flower was assembled. I decided to wire a pin to the back.

Here it is all finished. I just shaped my flower from the WireLace, but you could also put a wire inside the WireLace, and shape it that way.

I took another piece of WireLace, stretched it out, and added some pearls to the inside, working them down the length with my fingers.

I thought it made a nice border for my Mother’s Day card, which also includes my flower pin. It’s a card and gift in one!

I enjoyed the WireLace shaping so much, I wanted to try making a butterfly. I made one poof, twisted it in the middle, and made another poof.

I made two of these.

And wired them to my butterfly’s body, which I also made from wire. I’m thinking this little guy will be perfect for some home decor, or a scrapbook page. I keep thinking of more custom embellishments I could make for all my papercrafting.

I really enjoyed working with this product. It’s unlike anything I’ve have ever used before. I can’t wait to make some more jewelry, and incorporate it into some scrapbooking.

Pros:
  • Unique product that can be stretched to three times its width, and then smoothed back into its original shape.
  • Tube-like shape, so can add beads inside the WireLace.
  • Super versatile. Great for jewelry making, papercrafting, polymer clay, even sewing projects.
  • Complete kits are available, with quality components and step-by-step, easy to follow instructions.

Cons

  • On the pricier side at about $5 per yard for the 6 mm size, and $50 and up for complete kits.
  • You’re going to love playing with it so much, you’re going to want lots and lots.

GIVEAWAY! 
Our friends at Wire Lace and Alacarte Clasps have given us a kit to give away. Just leave a comment answering the following question to be entered to win.

Have you tried WireLace? Which of their kits do you like the most?


One comment per person, per day (this is day 2 of 2), please. Winner will be selected on Saturday, May 14, 2011.

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

Vendor Spotlight& GIVEAWAY!: Ephiphany Crafts Shape and Button Maker (day 2 of 2)

Reported by Susan Reidy

Several years ago, I bought a bag of clear buttons with the intention of creating my own embellishments with patterned paper, cardstock, etc. It turned out to be a rather messy and time-consuming process, and my finished buttons always had ragged edges.

So I was more than happy to try out the Epiphany Crafts Shape Studio and Button Studio line of tools. They promised a simple method for creating my own epoxy shapes and buttons. I’m happy to report, they delivered.
Using these tools pictured above I was able to make round epoxy shapes and heart buttons with patterned paper, cardstock, photos, tamped images, layered punchouts and even doilies.

Epiphany Crafts has 10 tools — six Shape Studio and four Button Studio. The shapes include Round 14 (about 1/2 in.); Heart 14 (about 1/2 in.); Round 25 (about 1 in.); Oval 25 (about 1 in.); and Square 25 (about 3/4 in.).

The Button Studio includes the Round 14, Round 20 (about 3/4 in.), Heart 20 (about 3/4 in.) and Flower 20 (about 3/4 in.). The primary difference between the Shape and Button studio is that the Button Studio tool makes button holes.

Coordinating with the tools are the same-sized epoxy shapes and clear, self-adhesive buttons. Other embellishments also are available; more on that later.

For those of you short on space and questioning the need for another tool, it’s worth noting the size of each shape tool. They are relatively small, as you can see in the picture below the Shape Studio next to a tube of flowers. I think they store nicely in a basket, given the round shape.

So how do they work? Basic instructions are included with each Shape and Button Studio tool, and more information is available online, including step-by-step written directions, videos and even a way to virtually try out the process.

I started with the Round 14 Shape Studio.

I was very impressed with the thickness of the epoxy shapes. These are much thicker and sturdier than the epoxy shapes that I found on the market several years ago.

I decided to try it out with a heart doily. I wanted to use the center part of the flower and some of the individual hearts.

The reach of the Shape Studio tool isn’t very deep, one of the cons I found with the tools. But, I solved that by trimming my doily so I could get to the part I wanted.

Next, I inserted the doily in the tool and lined it up.

I removed the sticky-backed epoxy circle from its backing sheet and placed it in the hole of the tool. Be careful handling the epoxies; I had one pick up a hair (or cat fur) and couldn’t use it.

Next, I put the insert tool on top.

And pushed down.

I repeated that process again on a different part of the doily, and here are my custom-made embellishments. It didn’t take as much pressure as I thought it would, and the edges came out clean in both cases.

Super cute added to the center of a flower:

And then on a birthday banner for my youngest daughter.

One tip I learned — if you are lining up a very precise spot, once you get the paper in position in the tool, apply a little pressure so it doesn’t slip out.

I did find some ruffling of the paper on the back of the shape, especially when I started using thicker papers/photos. But since I was adhering the shapes down onto something else, this didn’t bother me.

Epiphany also has a line of embellishments that coordinate with the Round 14, including three lines of plastic vintage-like settings and three types of felt flowers — star flowers, spring flowers and frayed flowers — each in three different color schemes.

Here are the Marina Frayed Flowers on the left and the Chocolate Strawberry Spring Flowers on the right.

These are the Vintage Settings in Clubhouse. The package includes two of each color. The Round 14 shapes nest perfectly inside the settings.

I was anxious to try these out, so I punched out a butterfly from black paper, adhered it to some Basic Grey patterned paper, and turned it into an epoxy shape. The tool had no trouble punching through the two layers. I adhered the shape into the green Vintage Setting, and attached it to a ring base.

Here’s the finished product on my finger. Epiphany does offer its own rings and charm settings that are sized for the Round 14 shape.

Next, I wanted to see how the tool would handle something as thick as photo paper. One thing I wish the tool did include was a template with the size of the shape. That would make it easier to move around your paper and see how much of the design will show. I solved this by using the tool to punch through a piece of paper, without an epoxy shape in place.

I used my template to see how my index print photo would fit in the shape. The photo was a little small, so I cut it out and attached it to cardstock before making my final shape. Once again, the tool had no trouble cutting through the heavier photo paper; my edges were nice and smooth.

And here’s my youngest again, all snug in a green Vintage Setting.

I used E6000 to glue a super strong magnet to the back.

Threaded some twine through a washer.

And made a necklace that I can change out when I feel like it (or when my other two daughters complain that I’m not wearing their photo).

I really had fun with the Vintage Settings. They take an already cool custom embellishment to the next level. These would also make great refrigerator magnets, thumbtacks, scrapbook embellishments — the possibilities are endless.

I next turned my attention to the button maker. This tool requires a few more steps, some of which I skipped the first time around.

Again, look at the nice thickness of these buttons.

I stamped an image on my patterned paper first, and created my own template again to see how the final button would look.

I lined it up in the button maker.

Took the backing off the button and laid it adhesive side out on the inset tool prongs. You have to be careful not to push through the adhesive; just lay it on top. I was skeptical this would hold once I put the button in the tool, but it defied gravity and held on.

After the button is in place, and before punching, you’re supposed to remove the insert tool, and push down firmly on the button so it adheres in place. I skipped this step, and my paper scooted out of place.

Once the button is adhered down, put the insert tool back in place, close the lid and push down.

After my first punch, here’s what my button holes looked like. They didn’t go all the way through, and just made an indentation.

I put it back into the button maker, and pushed again. This is what I got the second time.

The holes were bigger, but I still needed to use my paper piercer to make the holes larger so I could get my twine through.

Here’s my finished button. You can see how it shifted a little, probably because I didn’t push down on the button before punching through with the insert in place.

Here I added it to my scrapbook layout. I made another Round epoxy shape, and added it to the top of one of the felt flower embellishments. I removed the brown layer, since I had no brown on my layout, and will save it for another project.

And here’s my finished layout.

I really had fun with the Epiphany Crafts Shape and Button Studio tools. The results were so much more professional, simple and fast compared to my attempts to make my own customized buttons without the Epiphany tools.

I can’t wait to get my hands on some more of the tools, especially in the larger sizes.

Pros:
  • Simple, fast way to make custom embellishments.
  • Works on a range of materials including cardstock, patterned paper, photos and layered paper.
  • Great accompanying embellishments including Vintage Elements and Felt Flowers.
  • Shapes can be used for scrapbooking, cardmaking, jewelry, home decor and more.

Cons:

  • Can get a little pricey if you want all the tools, which retail for about $19.95 each.
  • You’ll have to keep buying the epoxy shapes and clear buttons in order to use the tool. Epoxy shapes have various amounts per package, depending on size, and are $4.99. The buttons come 20 to a package and are $4.99.
  • The tools have a short reach, but you can cut your paper down to size if you want to reach a certain spot.
  • The button maker didn’t punch the button holes as large as I needed for threading twine, but it was easy to expand them with a paper piercer.

GIVEAWAY!


The great folks at Epiphany are giving away this amazing prize package to one lucky reader. Just answer any of the following questions in the comment section of this article on this blog to be entered:


Have you tried the Epiphany Crafts Shape and Button Tools? If you had one, what would you make? Which shapes do you love the most? We LOVE to hear from YOU!

One comment per person, per Vendor Spotlight: Epiphany Crafts article (this is the second of two).You have until Sunday, May 1st at 6pm CST to leave your comment.

Disclosure.

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!