January 19, 2014

Geeky Tissue Box

Filed under: Paper Craft,Papier Mache,Upcycling — sarah @ 10:03 am

Circuit board tissue box

For this tissue box I used PVA glue watered down – 5 parts water for one of the glue, graphs and circuit diagrams cut out of an old technical manual (pages have to be thin and not glossed for this to work well), and a tissue box that I picked up in a cheap shop in Cheltenham. It would be relatively easy to make the box yourself if you have a jigsaw etc…

supplies to make the geek tissue box

I cut out the pictures I wanted to use – large graphs for the main background, circuit diagrams and pictures of transformers for the images. I used a paint brush to paint the watered down PVA glue onto the box, then I painted a picture at a time with it and laid the ‘painted’ side down on the box. Using the paint brush and my fingers I smoothed any wrinkles in the paper out.

To make it extra neat and prevent flacking edges, I wrapped the paper up underneath the bottom edge of the box and made sure it was smoothed off on the in side, I tried to avoid edges of pictures occuring at corners and edges.


For the hole where the tissues will come out I cut little slits into the pictures along one edge before pasting them on. For the more curved bits I the lines into the picture radiating for the some point on the edge of the picture. Both these ways of cutting the edge of the picture gave me flaps I could glue into place though the hole in the inside of the box.

For the corners I cut the pictures in half up until the middle of the image so I ended up with a piece of paper with two ‘legs’. I then pasted it onto the box with the legs sticking up from the sides I folded them over one at a time so that one leg sat over the other.

I then left it to dry raised up on some plastic cups. For a longer life I am going to attempt to vanish it.

Geekery tissue box craft

August 5, 2012

Week Two of Workshops

The Wild Cherries at Bead Workshop Centre Arts Cheltenham

I had my second and final week of running Centre Arts in Cheltenham – and boy did we pack alot of stuff in! We had crotchet, knitting, weaving in the circle, mini pompom making, a fantastic turn out for my story tree, weaving paper to make bags and baskets, creating cards, bookmarks and hanging plant pots. We learnt two different types of stitch in bead work and my cake baking improved drastically with feedback on what worked and what didn’t 🙂

These ones even got mistaken for being an art display!

Tennis Ball Cake

Recipes and decoration how to for the cakes is here.

Here are some pics of what we got up to 🙂

Alaric working hard on the tea cosy Alaric Crotchetting Jeans upcycled vase Butterfly sparkle Pretty sparkle flower tin can planter Jean's cardboard Olympics Ammonite picture before the rain Ammonite Rain Picture Jean making a rain picture o a dry day Blurred hearts rain picture purple woven flower for head dress Needles galore! Jeans spiral snake card weaved bag Easter Egg Card Spiral snake Asleep snake Jean making a pompom herringbone pattern White toddler cardi Royal Sarah Jean's book mark Blueberry book mark made from a graze box grass bookmark made from a graze box Jean weaving paper weaving card

And of course more cake pics.

English Rose Cakes Rose Cake close up White Flower topped strawberry cake Strawberry and white chocolate sport and GB cupcakes Medal orange cupcake Orange cupcake Orange gold medal cakes

My little girls loved it all too and proved time and again that kids really can make a noise with anything!

Jean and Mary making street music Jean playing a pokimon box Jean and Mary with cake Queen Jean

July 29, 2012

One Week of Running Workshops

I spent the last week doing craft and writing with people at Centre Arts. And boy have we crammed it in!

We made cards, Olympic torches and medals, decorated volcanos, made leaf garlands, sock puppets, upcycled skirts out of old t-shirts, beaded rings, made hair bands, pom poms, created cardboard looms and wove, knitted and crotcheted, plaited/braided, worked on story ideas and comic book sketches, we made pencil pots, templates and phones.

Here are the photos 🙂

Tin can yarn wrap pencil pot Festival Sheep at Centre Arts Cheltenham Alaric making a tin can phone for Jeany Jean on her home made telephone Little wool flowers Landscape tin can Wool covered tin can Weaving still on the cardboard loom Alaric still making the tea cosy :) Jean's tin can pencil pot Jean's wool braid hair bands Olympic rings pom pom hairband Upcycled skirt from t-shirts Jean plaiting lime green crotchet cardigan Jean finger knitting tinsel Skirt segments cut out of t-shirts Sarah Snell-Pym with skirt made from old t-shirts Jean writing her story The Shy Spy Jean thinking Putting leaves on the Story Tree Baby Mary going shopping Ferfer and baby Mary making sock puppets Fun with fabrics The sewing machines

Eating CAKE at Centre Arts Mary eating cake Mary enjoying herself Cardboard medal about to have the silver facing added on Jeany and her cardboard gold medal Jean with her Olympic Torch The torch bit of the cardboard Olympic Torch Jeany cutting out the flames for her torch Mary with the paper punches Jean having fun with glitter Brick Stitch Decorated papier mache volcano Jean colouring her volcano

And of course we had CAKE! The who to of which is on my cooking blog.

Sports cakes Football and flower cakes Citrus burst cupcakes Rugby and Football cupcakes Flowers and Football Cupcakes on the stand Edible Olympic Rings Olympic Coloured Cup Cake Swirl

Jeany has really enjoyed this week and has even been looking after the plant! The baby too has been tiring herself out 🙂 The kids and adults who have come along have all enjoyed themselves 🙂 I shall be running it again next week starting on Tuesday!

Jean tending the lavender plant too much make and do, Mary thinks it's time for a snooze

September 18, 2011

Exhibition in Braille

Giant Papier Mache Coral

I have been making a giant papier mache coral as a piece of textural science art for the Exhibition In Braille which will be on this weekend (Sat 24th September 2011). The idea is that it represents the tree of life and at the end of each zooid or polyp tube is an organism made of different things such as wood, polymer clay, textiles, metal, stone and so on. There is a series of pictures in relief around the base that cannot really be seen but must be felt – these represent the scientific theories of Life’s origin and subsequent evolution. There is also a molecular sand made up of beads which will fit in the pockets built into the sand part of the sculpture and a series of poems which will be played along with it for people to listen too whilst feeling the piece.

June 28, 2009

Box Mask From Logain’s Run

Filed under: Metal Work,Papier Mache — sarah @ 10:02 am


For my husbands 30th of birthday we decided on a Logains Run theme – the film has the death age fixed at 30 (the book at 21) so we made lots of things including hand crystals out of LEDs etc… I decided I wanted to be the robot/cyborge Box but more in lines with the one in the book – this wasn’t as easy to do as I would have liked so I ended up creating a fusion out fit. This is how I made the head/mask.

balloon former

I used a balloon as a former for paper mâché – this was pieces of newspaper shredded and dipped in a solution of watered down PVA/white craft glue. I put Vaseline on the balloon first to make it easier to remove once dry ie it stops the balloon actually sticking to the paper mâché.

off of the balloon

I did 5 layers of paper mâché and used a piece of card taped on for the nose. To keep track of layer I use grey/white newspaper and the pink newspaper (Financial Times) but you can just wait for each layer to be dry before you start the next – I only ever do 3 wet layers at a time as thicker than that can lead to buckling of the structure when drying issues with drying.

draw on eyes

I then drew the shaped of the eyes and used a stanly knife to cut the shapes out.

Side profile

Jean then decided to try it on and we reasoned it was good to go and I covered it in a layer of silver paper – I think of this as a neat coat of paper mâché but it can also be called decoupage.

Jean in the mask

Once dry I painted it with a layer of more concentrated PVA to give it a nice strong top layer.

It was then time for some finishing touches – I wanted metal springs for the eye brows and hair so I got some metal wire and popped it on my wire twister. I did close even springs for the eyebrows and loose slightly larger and messy springs for the hair. The wire twister is easy to use but you can do the same thing using a rode or pencil even.

Twisting the wire wire working equipment spring made working wire double twizzel wire hair finished

The Mouth was also a coil of wire but I put the already coiled up wire wire back onto the wire twister to give it a second coiling.

coil mouth made

I then used a bradle to punch holes into the mask where I wanted the coils/springs/wire to be attached and taped them on the inside to make sure there were no spikes ends to catch myself on.

May 3, 2009

Aladdin’s Lamp

Filed under: My Drawings/Paintings,Papier Mache — sarah @ 8:59 pm

For World Book Day my little girls pre-school was having a Come as a Story Book Character Day so I had to think up a costum. We decided on Alladin and I set to work making an Alladdins lamp complete with genie.

Jeany Aladine

For the lamp I used:

  • News paper preferable two colours so you can keep track of layers

  • PVA white craft glue

  • Scrape card – the sort junk mail comes on!

  • Cellotape

  • Scissors

  • Tissues or loo/toliet roll

  • Hot melt glue gun

  • Pencil

  • Paint brush

  • Pots to put water, paint, glue in – old yogurt pots or dip containers are good for this

  • One small balloon

  • One cup or sturdy pot

First off all I blew up a small balloon to the size I wanted the body of the lamp to be. I then placed this in a cup to stop it rolling around. I laid some of the newspaper on the table as a working surface and then tore up some to make a pile of pink paper and a pile of white paper. Becuase the size of the lamp was quiet small I tried to make sure that my pieces of newspaper where not bigger than 2 cm. This is to give a smoother finish over the curve of the balloon.

I made a mix of PVA white craft glue – mine is quiet thick so I mike it with about five times the amount of water as I have glue. It takes a bit of stirring to get it a good consistancy.

I then dipped the news paper pieces in the glue water mix, smoothed off any excess liquid and placed it on the balloon. Making sure that the tied off end of the balloon was in the cup I covered the large end of the balloon and worked my way down until I had covered about 2/3rds of the balloon. This would give me a bowl shape without the balloon being there – where the sides of the bowl would curve in again.

I made sure the area I wanted was completely covered and waited for an hour before applying the next layer in a different colour of news paper. I waited an hour as otherwise the already existing layer is so wet it slips about underneith the new layer your trying to lay down. You can also only do a maximium of five layers a day otherwise it doesn'[t dry properlly. Once there are a few layers on already you can do upto three layers before leaving it the hour to dry though this did still cuase a kind of crenulation/wavey effect on the papier machie bowl around the balloon.

balloon as a former

I did fifteen layers which took three days. I was running tight on time so I popped the balloon on the fourth day but this really wasnt enough time for it all to have dried properlly. This ment that it slighly stuck to the balloon when I popped it – peeling off about three layers in some places inside – this was soon remedied by smoothing the paper back down with a PVA’d finger.

popped balloon

I was then left with I nice bowl shape – this would be the body of the lantern.

balloon popped

Once the inside was completely dried as well I cut a 1 cm strip off of some card in our scrap paper pile and cellotaped it into a ring that was a good size to be the rim at the bottom of the lamp.

the rim

I then cellotaped the rim onto the bottom of the bowl/body of the lamp.

rim for the bottom added

I then turned it over so it was standing on the rim and cut a slightly wider strip for the handle, and cut the remaining card into a rectangle to roll into a tall incomplete conical shape for the spout. I wrapped cellotape arround the tube of card so that it stayed in the shape I wanted.

the body/bowl

I then cellotaped the spout to one end of the lamp.

spout added

I then made two folds either end of the wide strip of card and cellotaped it on the other end as the handle. I struggeled to try and make look not like a teapot :/

handle added

I then covered the rim, spout and handle with more papeir machie – this included screwing up some strips into ‘balls’ to act as padding to build up the shape – especially on the top of the spout where it meets the body of the lamp.

the rim at the bottom

Now it was time to make the lid.

My dad drew around on of my cups for a circle which he sliced to the center off then pulled on side of the slite over the other and taped it to make a shallow cone. He also cut a strip of card which he then cut little triangles out off along its whole length giving it a cerated edge.

bits for the lid

He then folded the strip round into a loop and folded the triangles in so that they could act as brackets to glue them onto the disc. This will make the inner rim of the lid that fits into the top of the lantern so he had to do some measuring.

disk for the lid

I then layered on the paper strips on the lid layering out from the centre. I also build it up on the inside in the way I had the rim on the bottom of the lamp. This ment that on both the top and the bottom of the lamp’s lid I had over hung the edge with paper. I also had to wait for one side to dry before I did the other. I found the shiny card made it a bit difficult to make papier mache stick in the first place. I put five layers on each side of the lid.

structurally reinforced lid

Once it was thourally dry I trimmed off all the over hanging paper.

trimmed lid

I then checked that it did actually fit the lamp.

papier machie lamp

I wanted a nice worn matallic texture to the lamp, even though my daughter had decreed it needed to be pink! So I decided to cover it in tissue paper to get a crinckeled texture. I did this by laying the tissue on in one two or three sheets, dry and then adding the watered down PVA with a thick paint brush. Dad had also made a ball of papier mache about 1.5 cm tall which I covered – this would be the bobble/handle for the lid.

lid overed in tissue paper

lid without handle

Once it was all dry – I used a hot melt glue gun to attatch the bobble.

hot melt glue gun adds bobble

body of lamp covered in tissue

I then had a white textured lamp ready for painting.

tissue covered for texture

Jean then painted her lamp and the lid pink with a little help.

about to start work jeany painting her genie lamp

pink lamp

Once dry we applied gold poster paint with a tissue so that it only went on the raised wrinkels of the lamp.

PVA'd lamp

We then PVA’d it with neat PVA glue as a sort of sealing coat.

painted pink with lid

The PVA dulled the metallic luster of the gold which was a same but it still had a sort of metalleness about even if it was pink! I also made her a genie to in!

May 18, 2008

Painting A Tissue Mâché Castle


I made this castle with my two year old for her nursery’s “Prince and Princesses” week. I have split how we did it over three posts; this is the last one of the posts. In order they are:

*Making a skeleton castle *Making a tissue mâché castle *Painting a tissue mâché castle

We used a silver craft/poster paint and pots of yellow, orange and black paint we had picked up in Tesco’s. We also had a mixing pot, a water pot, one large children’s paint brush and one small children’s paint brush, plus some tissue to blot spills up! We also had a plastic mat on the floor to work on and a painting apron on the two year old. 🙂

paint ready to paint? mixing colours

We mixed the paint, which was mostly the silver paint with a little bit of black in it, as well as varying amounts of the yellow and orange in it.

mix it

We didn’t completely mix it up as we wanted a nice stony, mottled texture. We then painted the castle.

painting a bit patchy finished!

Obviously, with the uneven texture of the tissue castle, I had to go over it at the end, making sure all of it was covered in the paint. I also attempted to make sure the inside of the towers were painted.

washing brushes

Whilst I was doing this, Jean was washing the brushes out rather militantaly.


We then left it to dry.

ready to glaze

Once it had dried I made up a 3:1 PVA glue to water mix, which I painted onto the castle to seal it. This did, however, make the paint run slightly which didn’t really matter with the texture we were hoping for. But it still makes me wonder if I should have mixed the PVA glue with the paint in the first place and reduced the amount of drying time that we had.