Tag Archives: glue

Twelve Posts of Christmas– Sticky Business

I am writing this post with a dream and an idea. Though it can still go horribly wrong. But I was called to sit on jury duty this week, and I have some time to kill because I can’t leave this room–possible for an entire week. So I am drafting this post without actually knowing if this project will work. But it’s so simple it has to work, right? I mean, I only need sticks and hot glue. What can go wrong?

So this is what I am going to try and do today when I get home from jury duty: I am going to make star ornaments out of twigs. I am going to brave the bitter cold and go outside and forage some smallish branches and twigs. I will curse the cold and the fact that I was too lazy to do this in the fall when the damn twigs were not covered in snow and it wasn’t nine degrees outside.

In a feat of self-delusion, I will think that making a star is easy. I mean, I’ve been making them since I was, like, five years old.  I will intend to do many, but will probably cobble together just one, which I will then spray paint gold to hide all the defects.  And add glitter. Lots of glitter. 

How did this turn out?

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Not too bad. If you don’t look at it too closely, that is. Hot glue is kind of blobby. 20131219-212600.jpg

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I was, indeed, annoyed that I waited to do this project when everything was covered with snow.  I though about collecting the twigs many times this fall as we were pruning branches. But I didn’t.  So instead, I rushed outside to the unburned burn pile, snapped some small branches and twigs with the leaves still attached and ran back inside.  My pile was kind of puny.  
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The pile of sticks and leaves eventually became a pile of sticks of varying sizes and lengths. I kept even really short pieces knowing I was going to try and fill in the star. It started out a little uncertainly. I have to admit I really dislike working with hot glue. It’s hard to control, leaves “strings” behind and dries milky.  Getting all 10 joints glued together, without gluing the towel underneath, was challenging.  As I held up the star triumphantly after the last joint, it was really wonky.  The joints were not stable and I  thought I had to scrap the hot glue because it wasn’t working. I went in search of wood glue. Bad idea! Do you understand how long you would have to hold pieces together to get them to stay?  So back to the hot glue.  It’s the only way to do this project in a reasonable time frame.  It just turned out I had to be more patient. 

I think I can get better at this and plan to make more. After I let myself be patient, and actually waited for the glue to dry, I realized that I could use less glue. Because of drying time, though, making one star can still take a while. an assembly line type of system would work, though for making two or three at once.  I thought my mound of sticks would yield more than one star. But adding the “filler” in was a bit addictive so I kept using up my sticks.

In the end, despite my setbacks, I think it turned out nicely and my next one will be even better. I may not even have to paint them gold and cover them with glitter! I haven’t decided yet. They look rather nice in the nude.

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A crafting Quickie!

This project is so quick and easy you’ll want to start decorating everything. It’s really addictive! I started with a set of three dingy votive holders that held remnants of wax and soot. Cleaning them out was surprisingly easy. I just scrubbed under hot water with dish soap for a bit. And voila!

20130916-193151.jpg You get a nice clean surface to start off with. This is important because even though you’ll be putting a covering on the outside, glass happens to be see-through. Other than the votive (or other glass container), you need tissue paper, a brush and glue (yep, regular old elmer’s school glue is fine–and super cheap right about now). You don’t need to buy modge podge or make it from flour and stuff. Just get plain, white school glue.

So here is the easy tutorial. It practically writes itself.

1) Grab your soon-to-be-fabulous-but-currently-plain-and-boring glass container. Grab your glue and put it in a small, shallow bowl. I added a few drops of water to make it a bit easier to spread.
2) Measure your tissue paper to cover the surface. You can spend a lot of time actually measuring the paper, but this is too much effort! You can always fix it later (as long as it’s too big. If it’s too small, you are screwed).
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3) Spread a layer of glue onto the glass and start to apply the tissue. Caution: do not manipulate the tissue paper too much, it will tear! And it’s tricky to patch up because it is pretty obvious where you’ve doubled up. 20130916-193207.jpg
4) After you’ve applied your layer of tissue, apply another layer of glue to the outside. Be generous. You are sealing it in.
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5) Let dry for many hours. In the end, it looks like a cool frosted design. Here is the final product. a href=”https://lifeimproveddotorg.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/20130916-200604.jpg”>20130916-200604.jpg
And what’s really great about this is if you get sick of it, you can just let it soak in water and start all over again. This project is perfect for changing seasonal home decor or decorating for special occasions.