Here are some craft recipes that may save you a
little money -- and add to your "craft satisfaction."
Do not eat them.
For us, part of the satisfaction of making
something comes from REALLY making it. From scratch. We
believe that crafting and scrapbooking has to be much more than
assembling things made by someone else. That is why these
home-made craft recipes are so much fun. When you start to
your own supplies and materials -- it emboldens your pioneering spirit.
Or, your inner miser. Your choice.
You know what a crackle paint finish looks like; old paint that has
weathered the years
under the sun, with an alligator-skin texture showing the old paint
color in the cracks through the newer paint. You can
imitate it in a few hours. The
process has three steps: paint the undercoat color; brush on
the clear crackle medium and let it dry; and brush on the
contrasting top coat color. As it dries, it will crack.
The cracking is caused by the crackle medium absorbing moisture from
the top coat of paint, swelling and stretching, and
tearing the paint apart.
You can buy crackle medium or entire kits at a craft store. Trust us;
this is the easiest and most predictable way of
getting the effect. If you are a brave soul, you can make
your own crackle medium.
The recipe for crackle medium is simple:
Hide glue (popular brands are Gorilla or
Titebond). This glue is used in furniture construction and is derived
from "collagen", which is a protein constituent of skin, bone and
connective tissue, usually from cows. It can be purchased in
liquid form, or as a dry powder that must be mixed with water and
heated. A fluid ounce will cover two square feet.
This process only works with acrylic or
latex (water-based) paints. Matte finish paints are better,
but gloss will work. Choose two contrasting
colors. Paint your project with the base color and let it
your base coat of paint is dry, brush
on a coat of hide glue with a
wide foam or bristle brush (you may dilute the glue slightly with
which will make
the cracks smaller). Let it dry thoroughly - like a full day.
brush on the
topcoat of paint, using a wide brush and cover as much area as
possible with one coat, avoiding overlapping strokes. The paint will
begin to separate immediately, forming the
cracks. A light coat of paint will form thin cracks, and a
heavy coat will form larger cracks.
it has dried, you can antique the finish with light sanding
and rubbing in a dark
acrylic or oil paint wash, to accentuate the aged appearance. It is
wise to protect the finish with matte varnish.
This technique results in an aged varnish finish, veined with fine
cracks like old porcelain or a Stradivarius. Very simply, it
is a slow-drying varnish topcoated with a fast-drying varnish. When the
undercoating finally dries, it shrinks, cracking the
top varnish. You can get the effect with:
Oil-based varnish (not the fast-drying kind)
Boiled linseed oil (a few drops for a half-cup
Fast-drying water-based varnish
Dark oil glaze, like artist oil paint
Add the boiled linseed oil to the oil-based varnish (to retard drying).
Coat the surface evenly and thinly with the oil-based
varnish. When the first coat starts to get tacky, apply a
generous coat of the quick-drying water-based varnish. Let it
dry for two hours. The cracks may not be visible. To accentuate the
cracks, rub a dark oil glaze
over the entire surface and wipe clean with a lint-free cloth. Let it
dry for three days. Coat with an oil-based varnish.
(Try this technique on the Antique
Pen Refill (waterbased)
Don't buy new blender pens - refill them with this simple recipe.
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons glycerin
(available at pharmacy or craft stores)
5 tablespoons distilled water
1 teaspoon rubbing alcohol
Mix the ingredients in a jar. Gently pull your pen
tips out of the pen and soak
them in the solution for an hour. Replace one
tip, use an eyedropper to fill the pen with solution, and
replace the other tip.
This gets passed around like a favorite cookie recipe. It is a must if
making notecards as gifts.
6 tablespoons white vinegar
4 1-oz. packets of unflavored gelatin
1 tablespoon flavoring (peppermint extract is
Boil vinegar in a small pan. Add gelatin
and stir until dissolved. Add flavoring. Store in a
tight jar in the refrigerator. If
the glue solidifies in the jar, open the jar and melt it again with a
few seconds in the
microwave, or in a pan of hot water. To use, brush a thin layer on
the envelope flap and let dry. Lick and stick!
Stain for Paper or Natural Fabric
a piece of paper or fabric isn't quite aged enough, you can speed up
the clock with a nice cup of tea. You'll get a warm brown
with some darker age spots.
Two tea bags
One quart of water
the water, remove from heat and steep the tea bags for 15 minutes. Pour
the tea into a flat pan (large enough to lay
the paper in). Submerge the paper. For a light stain, let it
for an hour. For deeper
shades, double the amount of tea bags and the soaking time. For darker
stained spots, move the tea bags around on the
at 10 minute intervals. When you
steeped enough, remove your paper and press it between layers of paper
towels under some books. If the paper curls when dry, press it flat
under a weight or with a warm iron. By the way; scented tea,
like cinnamon or herbal,
will scent the paper or fabric. Or try brewed coffee
deeper brown color.
Too much trouble? Take a shortcut by
making a cup of strong, black tea, then blotting
the tea bag
around on the paper until you get the effect you want. (Try
some sheet music for our Wedding
(Blue/Green) Patina on Copper
A patina can be defined as a thin layer of colored
occurs on some metals over time, such as the blue/green or gray rust on
copper or bronze. The romantic name is verdigris: Think of crusty old
copper roofs or a weathered bronze statue. When making crafts using
natural copper, adding a green patina can create the old-world
appearance of a vintage artifact.
Here are five techniques to add
patina to natural copper - and one outrageous shortcut. But before you
start: Clean the copper to remove any grease or coating. Be very
careful with chemicals or ammonia: wear chemical gloves and work in a
ventilated area. The solutions can be applied to the copper by spray,
brush or sponge. The patina usually appears after the copper has dried
completely. It may take several applications and results can vary
Okay, ready? The first four recipes are for the
purists who must do everything from scratch.
Apply a mild solution of 20% salammoniac (found
at metal supply stores) dissolved in 80% distilled water.
Apply a solution of 50% Dormant Spray
(Lime-Sulfur Fungicide found at garden supply stores) and 50% distilled
a solution of salt (10%), ammonium chloride (10%), liquid ammonia
cleaner (20%), and wine vinegar (60%). Ammonium chloride can be
purchased from chemical suppliers.
Put the copper in a plastic
or glass air-tight container. Cover the copper with a light layer of
salt and put an open container of ammonia with it. Seal the container
Purchase a copper patina solution at your craft
store and follow the directions. This always works.
And one outrageous shortcut:
or brush on an imitation patina using diluted (with water or glazing
medium) turquoise, blue, green and gray craft paints. Use your best
antiquing techniques of glazing, dabbing and wiping. It is much faster
and much more controllable than chemical mixtures.
patinas can be delicate, so protect your final, dry copper surface with
a clear finish like polyurethane or lacquer. Have fun making instant
antiques, like the Vintage