Today’s Art Adventure-Scraps!

In a previous post I mentioned using strips of fabric to make really cool beads.  Since I had a couple of fabrics out for that project, I decided to make some more things with them.  Today’s project is embellishments for art journal pages or scrapbook pages.  You could also make ornaments, flowers, jewelry, the possibilities are endless with this wonderfully frugal project.

Here’s what you do:

Gather some scrap fabrics and cut or rip them into strips.  The small pile of strips on my table is actually very little fabric.  You don’t need vast amounts to make these projects.  I used a piece of the fabric to make the strips and saved another piece of the fabric for another project I will be sharing with you next.

I used one of the left over tags from last nights project, which was already on my work table, and glued strips of fabric to the tag with Aileen’s Tacky Glue.  Once the glue dried, I ran the tag through my sewing machine and stitched the edges and middle in a way I found appealing.  The sewing is completely optional, as it is not necessary.  I wanted the detail of the stitching.

I trimmed the edges to make them even-keep those scraps, we’re going to use them later.

I added an eyelet at the top with some scrap ribbons.

This turned out really cute.  It is also useful for adding to your art journals.  You can make them in any shape you wish.  You can use them as raw material to make embellishments, titles, or journal covers.

After I made mine I found a tutorial from Pink Poodle doing the same thing.  She also made the beads with strips of fabric and probably had some laying around as well.  Here’s a link to her tutorial.

Here is another option with fabric scraps:

tags and embellishments from scraps

I used some of the left over poster board as the backing for the tags.  Just sew or glue them down onto the board.  Use in art journals, as ATC’s, for tags, letters, shapes,  and whatever else you can think of.  I stamped a couple so you can see how you can use them for journaling blocks or as titles.

The possibilities are endless scraps.  If you don’t have fabric scraps use paper instead.  Similar look and every bit as useful.  If you don’t have fabric but would like to try this with fabric, grab some old clothes from your closet and use them.

These are fun and frugal things which you can make by the ton.  Just throw them in a ziplock bag or storage box and pull out what you want as you create.  It’s nice to be able to use up the scraps we all have laying around.



DIY Bruso Crystal Colors


I’m working on another frugal project-an accordion tag journal from Pink Poodle Crafts.  I’m making mine in a different way as I have made several of these journals before.  Here’s what I did:

I had a piece of poster board which wasn’t doing anything.  I used that and measured the “tags” of my journal 4 1/2″ by 2 2/3″ and marked them.  I used my scoring board to score the fold lines between the tags.  Fold the scored tags into an accordion pleat.  I cut the corners off to create the look of tags without cutting them apart.

I gessoed both sided of the poster board.  It was my older gesso and it isn’t as smooth as I’d like, so I sanded it lightly after it was dry.

Pink Poodle decided she would use Brusho powders on her tags, which I do not have.  I do have tie dye powders and they worked great.  Edited to add:  You might want to wear gloves when using the powders…

The only thing you need to know is you want to spray a sealer over the pages after you use the tie dye powders.  They will reactivate with any wet media over them-like clear gesso, gel medium or mod podge.

These little journals make wonderful additions to a larger journal-make a pocket and slip it in, or as a theme journal.  You could add photographs and make a lovely little photo album to carry in a purse or give to grandparents.  Leave it undecorated and give it to a child for their own art journal.  There are lots of uses for these handy little books.

Loose Leaf Journal Update

Here is the loose leaf journal I talked about in this post.  As you can see, it is not finished by any means.  This was created completely with recyclable materials and scraps-nothing new used at all.  There are 13 pages currently which gives you 26 individual sides to work on.

I used some of the left over pieces from the painted boxes for the letters and hearts on the Art from Your Heart layout.  One of the hearts hangs over the edge of the page for use as a tab.  The heart bookmark was made from left-over wood pieces from another project.

The strips of paper came from the ends of 12″ x 12″ paper packs.  The bead bookmark was made from left-over beads I found on my work table and also has the skewer beads from this post.

I used left over yarn and thread for the bookmarks.  I used craft paint for the base color on the pages.  I have a lot of pieces from the painted boxes which I will use for tags, tabs, pockets, letters, numbers, and embellishments.  The rings are 1 1/2″ size and I found those at Hobby Lobby.  There is plenty of room to add more chipboard pages, probably enough to double the size of the book.  There is also plenty of room for chunky embellishments without causing a problem with your journal.

This was a delightfully freeing project.  There is no stress or pressure to make a “masterpiece” because I made it all from trash.  I just did whatever popped into my head.  This was very relaxing.

Anthony E.R Visit Update

Our precious Anthony was sitting, waiting, on the golf cart at his other grandparents house.  The steering wheel had several holes in the thick metal bar.  Anthony stuck his middle finger in one of the holes, up to his hand, and was unable to get it out.  By the time my daughter was called and told about this the fire department and ambulance was on the scene.

No one was able to get Anthony’s finger out of the hole it was stuck in, so a fireman cut the metal from both sides of his finger, leaving a “ring” on his hand.  Off they went to the emergency room.

After calling the surgical staff to determine if they had anything to cut the metal off his finger, the  E.R. doctor called hospital maintenance.  They used a large bolt-cutter type of thing to remove the corner of the 3/4″ metal “ring”, then a smaller cutter to get through the much thinner piece which was left.

Anthony only suffered a small scratch from the second tool when it snipped the metal from his very swollen finger.  He was thrilled to be given a bandage to wear around the area.  Anthony was not impressed when the blood began to flow back into his numb finger, but otherwise he did very well handling the whole experience.

We are so proud of our boy for his bravery and patience during this lengthy ordeal.  Autistic kids don’t always handle weird things well, but Anthony was a real trooper and smiled and laughed through most of it.  He cried a little when the tool scratched him, but that was because he thought they were cutting his finger off.  When he realized that was not happening, he stopped crying and was fine again.

We are so thankful everything went well and that Anthony is fine.

DIY Gesso and Easy Art Journal

This art journal is made from all recycled boxes.  It is a loose page journal.


IMG_1069 (2)
empty box of mac and cheese

You open the empty boxes and flatten them out.  I gessoed the printed side to better cover the writing.

DIY Gesso Recipe:

1 part PVA glue

2 Parts Distilled Water

6 Parts Calcium Carbonate (you can run this through an old food processor to make it more fine, which I recommend) OR 6 parts Marble Dust, which is a finer, whiter version of Calcium Carbonate

2 Tlbs white paint if you prefer a bright white gesso.

Mix well and will last quite a while.  Shake well before using.

Now after you gesso the printed side, or both sides if you prefer, paint them.  I cover every inch of the box as I use every single scrap of it in the journal.

Once you have your pages prepped, use them as art journal pages.  Decorate them in what ever way you like.  You can have a theme journal like vacation or holiday, or just decorate them separately in whatever way you choose.  I use the scraps to make tags, pocket pages, tabs on the edges of  pages, cut into shapes, book marks, whatever I can imagine.  I attach them to the pages with staples, glue, grommets, eyelets, brads, ribbons, by sewing them in with my sewing machine, how ever I like.

Once the pages are completed, I use a three hole punch on them.  I use metal rings to hold the pages together, often using some of the chipboard as a clasp or closure.  I add fabric, ribbon and beads to the edges of the journal pages for added interest and texture.

This is the type of journal you can easily add to.  Simple open the rings and add a page.  You can make the pages one at a time, as you use up your recycling, or make several and fill the book all at once.  Then you can work on your pages as you wish.

If you are a beginning art journaler sometimes a purchased art journal can be intimidating.  With this journal, since the pages are free, there is no need to stress about the end results.  If you don’t like it, pitch it.  (If you’re new to art journaling you might enjoy the Mixed Media Mash-up’s from Pink Poodle.  And Jenniebellie is also a wonderful art journal artist.)

Another nice thing about this journal is you don’t have to add signatures to a book.  Not everyone likes to do that sort of thing and this way there is no need to make signatures at all.

Just one more frugal way to get your art on.


One of the Side Benefits

of working in theatre is my ability to gather a huge variety of fabric scraps.  Laurie, our costumer, generates a prolific amount of scraps from all the costumes she creates.  You see, she makes the costumes from scratch for the most part.  There are very few things she purchases already made.  When we do it is from second hand stores or going out of business sales.  And those are usually things like prom dresses, tuxedos, men’s suits, winter coats-things like that.  Then she rips them apart and re-makes them into whatever it is she has in mind.  (Honestly, Laurie is the most talented person I have ever met.  She can make anything.)

So while I await news about Anthony at the emergency room, I scoured my work room for fabric scraps for my new favorite things- boho beads.

I’m afraid I made the project sound much more complicated than it is in my previous post.  It is just a step by step process.  Let me try once more:

  1.  I began by cutting bamboo skewers into sections, 1″ to 2 1/2″ in length.  The longer ones I am using as pendants.  You can sand the ends lightly if you desire.
  2.  I used whatever leftover wire I had laying around to wrap the sections, leaving a 1/4′ to 1/2″ tail on either end.
  3.   I used whatever beads I had on hand and threaded one (or more if they were tiny) onto the tail of the wire and put a daub of Aileen’s Tacky Glue on the end of the skewer piece, gluing the bead and wire to the center of the ends.
  4.  I rolled the wire tail down to the top of the end bead on both ends.
  5.  I wrapped all the skewer pieces in this way and let them dry completely.
  6. As they were drying, I cut or ripped scrap fabrics into strips about 1/4″ to 1/2″ wide and 5″ to 6″ in length.  These are just suggestions, there is no reason to be precise in your measurements.
  7.   Using fabric glue, I laid a bead of glue the length of the wire wrapped skewer section.  Wrapping the scrap fabric strip around the skewer piece, I twisted the fabric as I went to make it lumpy and bumpy, but that isn’t necessary.  You can make your beads smooth if you choose.  I added fabric glue where needed, making sure the ends were wedged beneath the beaded ends because I didn’t want to see any of the skewer.  I let these dry.
  8.  Once the fabric was dried onto the beaded skewer, I used whatever paper scraps I found and added pieces to the beads.  I liked the vintage music sheets and used those for the most part, but any scrap paper will do.  You can ink the edges for an aged look, use less-than-stellar water color paintings, newspaper, junk mail-whatever suits your fancy.  And you only need tiny pieces.  I attached these to the fabric in random places with Aileen’s tacky glue and let them dry.
  9.  Once the paper was dry, I used DecoArt Triple Thick Gloss over the paper parts.  This gives the paper a nice shine next to the matte of the fabric.  At this point you can stop and attach your beads to whatever you desire using the coiled wire at the ends of your beads.
  10.  I never stop when I can add more bling-so I wrapped the outer part of the bead with more wire and added jump rings and charms to my beads.  These are quite delightful and I had a lot of fun making them.

Now back to the fabric scraps:  I have found I like to add a couple different fabrics to one bead to give it more color.  I also added lace, ribbon, yarn, thread, anything that gives the beads some texture and interest.  Once they are decorated enough with the fabrics and papers, I added the wire and charms if I wanted them.  Not all the beads needed them, so not all the beads have them.

In addition to the uniqueness of each bead there is a whimsy about them which I find appealing.

My next project for you will be a simple, recycled art journal and I will used these beads as part of it.



Daily Art-Hugely Productive Today!

Began early this morning and made several art journal covers/pages from my chipboard recycling.  Since I don’t think I can dump that stuff, I decided to use it all up a minute…



Then onto three or four art journal pages.  Using my recyclables again, just to use them up.

Then onto Boho Beads.  Pink Poodle’s is the tutorial I used, but there is another one by Silver, which works too.


Here’s how I made my newest addiction:

Cut your wood skewers into sections, it does not matter how big they are.  I made a couple large ones to use as pendants but the others are all about 1″ to 1 1/2″ long.  I cut mine into an empty glass jar, because they will fly all over the place.  I used a wire cutter/pliers for this.

Using whatever wire you have available (mine is 24 gauge), wrap the wire around the skewer.  You leave about an inch or two of wire at each end of the skewer.

At this point you can add a bead cap to the ends of your skewer bead, centering them over the end of the skewer.  Or you can just use a bead at the end of the skewer.  Fold the wire over to one side of the top bead at a ninety degree angle.  From the end of the wire, roll it back to the bead, making it tight on top of the bead end.  Repeat on the other end of the skewer bead.  I used a daub of Aileen’s Tacky Glue at the end of the skewer to get the bead to adhere to the skewer.

I found lots of scrap fabrics and tore them into strips.  Just whatever I could find, in all colors.  After you have rolled your wire into a coil on top of your beads, use fabric glue on the skewer and wrap your strips of fabric around the wood of the skewer.  Keep adding fabric glue to it, making it secure.  I wrap and twist my fabric to make it really lumpy and textural.

On a few of them I added another fabric over top of the first fabric in the center to give it some interest.  Once your fabric is attached, grab your paper scraps.  Make small strips of paper and glue them around your fabric bead.  The paper doesn’t need to cover the entire fabric-in fact it should not.  Just random strips of paper wherever seems good to you.

I added some old lace scraps, ribbons, yarn, etc. to the beads as well.  It’s up to do what you want to add to your beads.  Once your bead has dried, use some sort of varnish on the paper part of the beads.  I used DecoArt Triple Thick Gloss Glaze.

Once the glaze is dried, wrap the entire bead with more wire, attaching both ends in the center of the bead.  Twist the ends together and cut them short.  Smush them down flat.  Once you’ve wrapped the bead with wire, add jump rings to the wire wrapped part and you can hang other beads or charms from there.  Add jump rings to the end loops and add to a chain or attach to an art journal.  These beads are adorable and so much fun to make!

I recommend you make several at a time.  I cut up four or five skewers.  Then I wrapped them all with wire.  Then I added the beads and/or bead caps to the ends.  Then I added the fabric to all the beads I had made.  Then I went on to the paper for all, then the lace and ribbons.  Lastly I added the wire to all the beads and went on to add the dangling embellishments if I wanted them.  It makes sense to make several at once, rather than just a couple at a time.

This is a great project for using up your fabric scraps, paper scraps, ugly plastic beads and left over pieces of wire.  The beads you make are delightful and easily used for art journals or jewelry.  I have noticed mine look rather musical-as I used scraps of vintage music sheets for my paper.  They would look beautiful as ornaments on the Christmas tree, or strung together to make garland.

Here’s another delightful project which not only offers a great opportunity for creativity, but is practically free.  A bag of wood skewers from the Dollar Tree, scraps of fabric, yarn, paper, thread, lace, ribbon, etc., and cheap-o tacky, plastic beads…Who would have thought those ingredients could make something so adorable?

Give these things a try, you’ll be hooked too.