November 30, 2008

Christmas Pipe Cleaner Mobile

Filed under: Christmas — sarah @ 1:51 pm

I made this Christmas mobile for my daughter’s bedroom. I used two red lolly sticks, two thin matte green pipe cleaners, one red and green metallic pipe cleaner, two red metallic pipe cleaners, one green metallic pipe cleaner, three silver pipe cleaners, two gold metallic pipe cleaners and some black cotton.

Finished mobile

It has a Christmas tree in the middle with four stars surrounding it: two silver and two gold.

How I made the Christmas tree:

For the tree I used one dark green metallic pipe cleaner.

Pipe cleaners for the tree


I bent it into a right angle about 3.5cm from one end; I then made a slightly rounder bend about 2cm away from the first bend. Then I looped the non-bent end of the pipe cleaner around the right angle to make the loop that would be the tree. I then put in another slightly rounded bend 2cm vertically to give the bottom of the tree. Then I simply bent the remaining curve in the middle to get the triangle.

red tinsel

I then took the metallic red pipe cleaner and looped it around one of the bottom corners of the triangle, twisting the red pipe cleaner to itself to secure it to the tree. I then brought it up in a diagonal line and looped it round the side of the tree and round the back at an angle to the other side, where I repeated the processes until I was at the top of the triangle where I looped it around itself again. I then cut off the excess red pipe cleaner. This was ‘tinsel’ for the tree.

Pipe cleaner Christmas tree

I repeated the processes with the silver pipe cleaner, only starting from the other side of the triangle’s base. I also didn’t cut off the excess pipe cleaner and instead bent it into a five point star at the top of the tree. I had to re-bend the star to make sure I actually had enough pipe cleaner to twist onto itself to finish the star off.

christmas tree in pot

I then twisted around the ‘trunk’ of the tree a big ‘knot’ of another red pipe cleaner to make a plant pot for the tree. I had to pull it around a bit to make a nice trapezium-type shape. Here is the finished tree:

finished tree


Each one of the stars is made from one pipe cleaner.

First off I made a five point silver star; I found that you need to double the number of sides you actually want, then add two extra to close the loop. So for a five pointed star, I needed 12 sides. Instead of doing 11 sides I did 12 because it was easier and just ‘overlapped’ a whole point to make the five points – twisting the pipe cleaner around itself to make the star a complete loop. I began by folding the pipe cleaner into three, then folded each of those sections in half and then in half again.

I then opened the folds out and pulled it around a bit until I had a star.

five point silver star

For the seven pointed star I needed to have 14 sides plus an extra two sides, making 16. So I folded the pipe cleaner in half and then in half again. To make this easier I then opened it out into a sort of M shape and folded each ‘spike’ in half, giving me eight sides. I opened the pipe cleaner out into the zig zag shape and again folded each ‘spike’ in half, giving me the correct number. I then fiddled with it until I had my star.

seven point gold star

For the six pointed star I needed 12 sides plus the extra two, making 14. This one I found more tricky and worked out by eye where to fold the pipe cleaner into seven sections, and then I folded each of them in half. Then I fiddled with it to make the star shape.

six point silver star

This one was really fiddly and, as you can see, I made a bit of a mistake with it. It was supposed to be an eight pointed star but I twisted the spare sides together in the way I would have done if it was going onto the top of a tree i.e. sticking out of the bottom of the star.

eight point gold star


For the frame I was going to attach the stars and tree to, I used two red lolly sticks and the matte green thin pipe cleaners. I held the two lolly sticks in a cross and then twisted one of the pipe cleaners in an alternating figure of eight around where they overlapped. I also looped it around in a sort of square so that it had no chance of shifting from that position.

fixing the two lolly sticks together

With the excess pipe cleaner, I made a loop on the top so that the mobile would hang up nicely.


I cut the other matte green pipe cleaner into four and wrapped the sections of it around the ends of each ‘arm’ of the frame as ‘stoppers’ to prevent the shapes sliding off once on the frame.

Ready for assembly

I then had the frame, four stars and a Christmas tree.

Bits for Christmas mobile

I tied cotton onto each shape and then tied the other end of the cotton onto the frame behind the pipe cleaner ‘stoppers’ so that the shapes couldn’t slide off the frame. I then attached the red and green metallic pipe cleaner to the loop on the top of the mobile and twisted another loop at the top of that, so that I could hang it up in my two year old’s room. I made the pieces of cotton different lengths because I thought it would look nicer, but with hindsight I think this might have been a mistake, as was using different numbers of points on the stars. I think just having one type of star might have been better.

November 26, 2008

Snow Mix Seed Bead Necklace

Filed under: Bead Work — sarah @ 11:34 am

snow mix

With the approach of winter I thought it would be nice to make some winter themed jewellery so I looked through my bead stocks and discovered that I had a ‘snow mix’ of seed beads from Jilly Beads. So I simply got some nylon fishing line which is transparent and strong and to me looks like the special beading thread you get. I simply cut a length that would make a necklace to go over my head without a clasp or anything – making sure I left extra for tieing up etc…

I then put a clip from the electronics bench on one end to stop the beads pouring off and threaded a fine needle on the other end, I believe it was actually a beading needle – they have thinner eyes to help them go through the middle of small beads. I then just threaded them on randomly until the thread was full. I then joined the two ends and with the needle threaded and looped the ends of the thread through the beads either side of the join so that it was nice and secure without having large horrible knots or fiddly clasps.

I then made five more and prefer to wear them all at the same time!

November 23, 2008

Pom Pom Holly Christmas Card

Filed under: Christmas,Paper Craft — sarah @ 1:24 pm

holly card

I made this pom-pom holly Christmas card using:

  • 3 medium red pom poms

  • 3 thin dark green pipe cleaners

  • 1 sheet of red card, slightly larger than A4

  • scissors

  • PVA white craft glue

  • 1 foam three leaf holly stamp

  • light green ink pad


Most of this came from The Works in Stroud.

holly berries and leaves

I started by gluing the three pom poms into a triangle; these were to represent the holly berries.

I then cut about a third off of the ends of three pipe cleaners. I then bent them into the holly leaves, making sure I left enough excess to twist into a tail. 

from behind 

I then turned over the berries and glued the leaves in place. This was a bit fiddly and involved having to rig up scaffolding using various boxes and rubbers I could find to stop the leaves just flopping and their ‘tails’ sticking out from the berries. I then left the whole lot to dry for several hours.

background for holly card

In the meantime I folded the red card in half and then in half again. I then took the foam stamp which I got as part of a set from the Pound Shop and pressed it into the light green ink. I had previously tried the dark green but it came out a sort of dark brown on the red card and just didn’t look anywhere as nice as the lighter green.

I then stamped a holly leaf triplet into each corner – I reloaded/repressed the stamp in the ink pad each time.

I then glued the pom pom and pipe cleaner holly onto the card.

holly card

November 19, 2008

Snail Shells

Filed under: Uncategorized — sarah @ 11:05 am

Snail Shells

I made these shells with polymer clay, I specifically used fimo soft. I had a pack that had lots of colours in and was actually making other things. I was trying to mix a specific type of brown. I always start by taking the two colours, putting them next to each other and rolling them into a sausage. This time I then folded it over a couple of times, rolling it into a smooth sausage with each fold. The result is a stripy sausage. I then rolled part of it thinner and thinner until a piece breaks off – giving me a tapered conical shape.

I then gently rolled the cone to make it thinner and longer until I was happy with it. Then I twisted it slightly and gently pulled it round into a series of concentric loops that sat on top of each other coming out from the side, this gives the impression of a shell. These ones are more snail type shells but the technique can be altered slightly to get beautiful spiral shells.

November 16, 2008

Loo Roll Christmas Napkin Rings

Filed under: Christmas,Paper Craft — sarah @ 1:42 pm

Six napkin rings

I made a set of six napkin rings from the cardboard tubes from inside kitchen towels and loo rolls. This all started because my husband made a joke that I was probably going to make a Christmas tree out the loo roll centre that he was handing me to throw away. This got me thinking and I initially cut out two rough tree shapes on a ring base out of the loo roll. My original thought had been just to have two trees standing there on a snowy hillside.

Two trees

However after looking at it more critically I decided to cut off the other tree and turn it into a napkin ring. This is the reason the Christmas tree napkin ring is rougher in shape than the others, also it is the only one out of the designs that isn’t centralised so that half of it comes out of the top of the ring and half out of the bottom. It was also a bit crinkled as it wasn’t supposed to actually end up as anything so I didn’t check that the tube I was using wasn’t squashed.

I coloured in the tree with glitter pens I had laying around, this included crayola ones, from the Big Box of Spooky Craft and Big Box of Christmas Craft from the works and the 3D pens from Costco. I was a bit worried about combining these different makes of glitter pens but as I had already found out that the glitter 3D pens actually tend to dry flat I thought it would be ok.

First off I put the tinsel on the tree, two diagonal lines in a pinky iridescent glitter. Then I did the baubles in red and purple glitter by just doing a blob of glitter. (Glitter pens sort of work like icing cakes). I then carefully filled in the areas around the glitter and baubles with the green glitter.

tinsel and baulbals

tree glittered

Silver ring

I then left it to dry.

By this point I had decided to make a set of six for Christmas dinner: one for me, one for my husband, one for our two year old, one for my brother and one each for my mum and dad. The designs I came up with were:

Five pointed star, a bell, holly with berries, bauble, santa’s hat and of course the original Christmas tree.

Once the Christmas tree had dried I patched up some areas where the green glitter and say the red bauble didn’t quite meet due to the glitter shrinking slightly on drying. I then discovered that I didn’t have a nice white or pale blue for the snow so I covered the ring around the bottom of the tree in silver glitter. I had to use two types because I ran out of the first type of silver glitter but I tried to mix them up as I went and I think it worked. I then left it to dry.

Once the base was dry I coloured in the trunk of the tree with gold glitter and left it to dry.

The five pointed silver star had to be faintly drawn first onto the loo roll. I did this by imagining a circle and drawing five spots on it. I then drew lines from each dot towards not the dot that was its immediate neighbour but the next one along (this works well when trying to do celtic knot type drawings). I did this freehand but I think it should probably be done with a compass and ruler etc… I had several attempts before I got it right which is why I did the lines faintly.

I then faintly marked where I wanted the ring to be and cut it out. Once cut out I coloured in the star with sliver glitter and left to dry.

five point star

silver star

I then coloured in the ring with a pink irridescent glitter and left it to dry.

The third shape I decided on was the bell which I again drew freehand onto the cardboard tube. I included the ‘dinger’ inside the bell and was thinking of a very 3D shape. I think this would have looked better as two smaller bells, one swinging backwards and one swinging forwards, but never mind.

Once cut out I chose what colours I was going to use. Of course gold would have been the best but I didn’t have enough of it and the silver was going to be needed for other things. So I chose pink glitter and purple glitter for the main bell, blue for the inside of the bell and the top bit of the bell where it would be attached to ropes or mounting and silver for the ‘dinger’.


I put the purple on one side in a series of almost horizontal lines to give a shading type of effect.


pueple shading

Bell shaded

bell without the blue

I then put the pink on the rest of the main bell. I should have left it to dry at this point but I didn’t. I painted on the silver ‘dinger’ and then added the blue irridescent glitter.

I then left it to dry.

It was at this point I discovered a slight problem in that some of the glitter pens were very runny and some of them on the tree, star and bell had started to run so I had to keep turning them over and propping them up to dry in different ways so that the shapes didn’t become too distorted. Also with the bell the pink and purple glitters merged and destroyed a lot of the shading effect I had been trying to achieve. Still it was rescuable.

napkin rings drying

One the bell was dry I covered the ring in a deep blue glitter and left it to dry.

The next shape I decided should be a Christmas bauble. This was mainly a circle with just the little mounting bit where you put the string or cotton through to hang it up. I also drew a little star in the middle. I again marked where the ring should go and cut it out.

Plain bualbal

I was going to make the middle a different colour in a strip but once I’d put on the blue glitter I discovered it was very runny and decided it just wouldn’t work.

I did the mounting and star in silver and the rest in a navy blue glitter (this was different to the irridescent blue I had used on the bell).

Because of how runny the blue glitter was this one needed a lot of turning as it dried and still dried lumpy, which I wasn’t pleased about.

Once it had dried I coloured the ring in a deep Christmas red glitter and waited for it to dry.

The next shape was a three leafed holly with three berries. I started off by drawing the three holly berries; I was going for a more elegant look with this one but was a bit worried that it might be too fragile. I drew a leaf coming out of each of the gaps where the berries met. I draw holly leaves by either drawing a quarter circle curve joined by a semi-circle curve and the the another quarter circle and then mirroring it or by adding in a second semi-circle for a longer leaf. This creates the spiky effect of holly quite effectively (sorry if the explanation isn’t very clear there).

holly glittered

I then marked on where the ring should go and cut it out The holly leaves were a bit fiddly but worked well in the end.

As tradition dictates I coloured the berries in the Christmassy red and the leaves in the green glitter. and left it to dry.

Once dry I used the new silver glitter I had found hiding to decorate the ring. Again I left it to dry and with rotating it several times so that the silver did not run too much.

The last napking ring I made was santa’s red and white bobble hat. Again I just drew the design on the toliet roll middle; I went for one with lots of fulffy rim and bobble and hand it flopped over slightly as I think this looks better than having it up in the air. I then marked on where the ring should be and cut it out.

Santa’s hat itself was the red glitter and the bobble and fluffy rim were done in silver glitter. I then left it to dry.

Once dry I did the ring in green glitter which worked really well with the red. However the nice effect of the hat being flopped was lost a bit as the glitter hid any definition, losing the 3D effect again.

santa red glitter

If I was to do this again I would probably use loose glitter to avoid the running problem and use paints as well. If I had time I would also probably cover them all in a few layers of paper mâché to help prevent the seam of the loo roll coming through and to make them more permanent and more likely to survive more than one Christmas. If I wasn’t just restricted to what glitter I had I would also probably do things such as Christmas puddings and trumpets.

November 9, 2008

Star Shaped Craft Bits

Filed under: Polymer Clay,Seasonal — sarah @ 2:19 pm


I made these star shaped craft shapes out of polymer clay (fimo soft). These shapes are useful as either miscellaneous craft bits or as reusable table confetti.

I have metal aspec cutters which are basically little mini cookie cutters that I got from Almond Art. I mixed the combinations I wanted from scraps of fimo soft and the rolled out sheets of fimo. I then cut out the stars and with the help of a pallet knife moved the stars onto a baking tray.

I then baked them for half an hour at 130 degrees C.

Once cooled they have been stuck on cards, given to wiggly pets to hold, stuck on clip on earrings, or used as reusable table confetti. This is especially apt for a dinner party we had around Bonfire Night.

November 2, 2008

Glittery Sleigh Ride Card

Filed under: Uncategorized — sarah @ 11:23 am

glitter slay ride

I made this card as a batch to experiment with some new stamps and inks I had been given. I think others from the batch have already appeared on this blog! I started by folding a sheet of yellow mounting card from Costco in half and in half again. I decided I wanted the card’s orientation to be portrait and then selected the stamps I was going to use.

I started with the three leafed holly stamp and pressed it into the light green ink pad and printed the two corner hollies. I then took the candy cane stamp and put that into the pinker red ink (I had two reds and two greens) and printed candy canes in the two corners. To a certain extent I think the candy canes look a bit clumsy on this design but never mind.

I then took the sledge stamp and here I ran into a problem. The stamps are foam shapes on a piece of plastic sheeting and came from the Pound Shop in Cheltenham. The inks came from The Works which is in the same set of shops. The inks were in blocks of three colours all next to each other and each ink pad wasn’t actually that big. The stamp I wanted to use was bigger than the ink pad.

Fortunately the fact that they were cheap stamps helped as they are flexable and I could sort of bend half of it into the black ink and then the other half. I then printed it in the middle at the top of the bottom third of the card.

The card then looked unbalanced so I got some glitter paint and put it underneath the sled in a sort of semi-circle to ‘shadow’ the sleigh.