Friday, October 17, 2014

Soy Candle making - How To & Don'ts

When I was brainstorming ideas for fall decor , I got excited and I wanted to try my hands on candle making.After seeing some videos and going through articles ,I came to know that paraffin wax is not good for health so I had 2 other options to buy (One is beeswax and the other is soy).Finally I decided to buy soy wax. To the surprise , wax was out of stock at Michael's(uff!!) and I got mine in A.C.Moore after two to three shop visits to other stores.All these happened in the days before the vacation week.I wanted to finish this project before vacation and so I was pretty much working on multiple projects at same time.
Now to the Don'ts which I learned from my trial on candle making.Today I am not going to tell you on "How to make a Soy candle" because I was not satisfied by the way my candles turned out.Instead I am going to link a detailed article on how to make Soy candle by Nature garden candles at the end. And I am going to tell you what not to do.I wish I came through this article before I actually gave a try.But that is okay, I am sure that my experience will be helpful to someone who wants to try soy candle making for first time and they will be pretty much educated about everything of what not to do.

1)Don't pour your wax into the candle container while it is hot. Soy wax is capable of shrinking while cooling down which results in forming holes and dunks in the candle container.The right time to pour is when the wax cool down and comes to smoothie like consistency. You can handle this scenario well if you have a candle thermometer.I personally felt  that investing in a thermometer just for one day of candle making doesn't makes sense to me.But if you are making candles as gifts or planning to start a small business I would strongly recommended you to buy a candle thermometer.

Can you see the hole in the middle of the candle?This is because I poured the melted wax directly into the container while it is melted and hot.

2)Don't use food coloring or crayons for dyeing your wax. If you are making candles for aesthetic purpose like layers candle and if it is for just one or two candles for personal use then it is okay.(Keep in mind that crayons are made up of paraffin wax.If mixing is not an issue you can then proceed with crayons).When I made a second trial on making a candle from leftover wax , I thought I could try some natural substance like turmeric to dye the wax. The result was success and it worked well but the color was dull.For the next layer , I tried with food coloring which was 100% fail. It did not mix well with the contents of the wax and also while burning the candle ,it started making a crackling noise. So, If you want to dye your wax it is better to get the dye block which is particularly meant for making the soy wax candles.
Can you see the result of orange food color in the middle?If not see below for more clear picture.

This is the result after burning the candle half way through.

3)Don't try making a big candle when you first trying your hands on candle making.I am saying this because I made this mistake by making a big candle and ended up with the failure.I don't want to waste it and so I tried melting it and pouring the wax into few small container to re use them.Believe me , it took a long long time to melt the whole candle compared to melting the wax flakes itself.I would say double the time.So, its better to try in smaller one.
This is my first big trial of candle making.

4)Don't try to freeze the candle to speed up the curing process. Doing this results in cracks.As I said earlier I was in a hurry to complete the projects before my vacation.My first trial was layered candle ,as I couldn't wait between each layer and reheat the stove again and again to melt the wax ,I followed the freezing method which was my biggest mistake.It ended up in many cracks and so I advise you let the candle cure by itself.

See the cracks in the yellow layer.

5)Make sure the candle wick you are using is the right size for the container.If it is not use two or three candle wick instead of one. I never thought about this when I was making the candle, I just used only one wick and the candle was creating a hole only around the wick and was burning straight down that particular area.So, think twice about the wick you are selecting before pouring the wax.

After completing all the layers and when I lighted the candle , this was the result :(.

6)Don't move the container or wick after pouring the wax.This also results in cracks.
Can you spot the cracks ?This was the result when I tried moving the wick to the center after pouring the wax.

7)Don't rush and be patient.Start your first trial when you have plenty of time in hand and so you can end up with a beautiful candle instead of a cracky hole-y candle like mine.

That is it about the Don'ts.If I remember anything other than the mentioned ones I will update it.But for now I am done. These points may seem to be intimidating to you but believe me if any of the How to tutorials has mentioned the above I would have not taken these many risks. All the tutorials which I referred had only the Do's and they did not mention the results may also be a failure :(.(But I will take it in the positive sense ,that it has created this opportunity to share the don'ts with you).
When I was trying to understand the cause for the mistakes, I came through a article which clearly explains the "How to and also explains the various factors you need to know about the candle making", click here. to learn the complete process of How to.

Hope this post was helpful for you to understand the don'ts of soy candle making.Do you have any such experience? Have you ever tried to make your own candle ?Share your views in the comments below.As always I will be happy to hear from you.Thank you for taking time to read my posts. I am sure you gained something out of it.

Note : This post is purely for soy wax.However it may be different for other kind of wax like paraffin, beeswax,gel wax, etc.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Candy Corn gift packing idea

It's Halloween in 15 days!! Are you throwing a party ??Today I have a simple idea for the treat bags inspired from candy corn.Without much ado, now to the materials required.

Materials required :
White,yellow and orange card stock
All purpose glue stick
Hole punch
Ribbon (Colour of your choice - I used yellow & orange)

Step 1: Take a White card stock (8.5" X 11") ,Orange (8.5" X 7") and yellow(8.5" X 3.5").These measurements yields two packaging.First glue the orange card stock onto white by eyeballing it in the middle of white and similarly glue the yellow one in the middle of orange.Now you should have something as shown below.

Step 2: Cut the whole card stock in the middle (Lengthwise).

Step 3: Take one card stock and fold it in half.Now take one side and make a crease by folding the edge to mark the center.Then fold each side towards the inside of the card stock from the center point to the edge to make a triangle.(Shown below)

Step 4: Repeat the same on the other side.Fold in such a way that the sides overlap. Make a hole with hole punch on each side.

Step 5: Place your candies inside and insert the ribbons through the holes and secure it with a knot.
You can also add a gift tag before tying the knot. Tada!!You are done! How easy was that??You can totally customize these for any occasion.I made these for Christmas last year in green and added a cute Santa for embellishment. 

Hope you enjoyed this little treat bags. Share what you think about these treat bags in the comment below.I am always happy to hear from you,

Friday, October 10, 2014

Let's talk about Paper - Types of Paper & its crafty uses

If you are already following me, you might know about "Let's talk series" where I discuss about different types of "Particular material" such as glue,tape,etc and its crafty uses.I didn't post one for last month as I was in the vacation mood and didn't have much time for research.So, here it is for this month, about "Paper".There are variety of papers available in the market and it can be categorized based on their weight, uses or type of material used to manufacture, etc.But , here I am going to discuss the types of paper only from the angle of its crafty uses.(Let's not go deep into the technical area of paper making,what say?)
Let's start!!

Oh wait!!Before going into the types of paper.Do you know that paper has grain just like fabrics?Have ever you wondered when folding the paper ,sometimes the fold gives a cracky finish?

 It is because you have folded the paper against the grain.To get a clean finish, you have to fold it along the direction of the grain.To find out the right grain there are various tests, to know more on that ,click here. Now to the types of paper.

Copy paper/Printer paper/Bond paper:
This is the most commonly used paper by everyone .As the name tells, it is the paper used for printing.We use this paper to print documents and even pictures for projects like Image transfer and decor plates.

Construction Paper
It is a rough, unfinished paper.Comes in variety of colors.Mostly used for Kids crafts. You can also use them in card making or many other projects if you want to add some pop of colours.I even use them for gift wrapping if I don't find the right color wrapping paper.See here and here.
 Image source

Card Stock paper
These comes in variety of colours .It is slightly heavier than the construction paper and used mostly in card making.(1,2 & 3)There are also specialty types such as glitter cardstock ,metallic ,sequins ,leather textures(click here to see ,How I have used it), denim textures, holographic patterns,etc.

Decorative paper
 1) Origami paper
   These usually come in variety of sizes and packs.These are lighter in weight and easily fold-able compared to scrapbook paper.The traditional origami paper has colour or pattern on one side but nowadays origami paper comes with patterns on both the sides.
There is an another type called "Washi"(Wa -Japanese Shi -Paper) which is also used for Origami.
 2) Scrapbook paper
      These usually come in 12 X 12 inch and are mostly used for scrapbooking , card making and also in up cycle projects like this ,this and this.

Crepe Paper
Crepe paper is a crinkled paper mostly used for decorations.They come in rolls and also as streamers .There is another type called as heavy weight crepe paper and are used for flower making.They expand from left to right and are easy to mold them as petals for flower making.

Click here for: Flower made using crepe paper

Tissue paper
It is thin, soft paper usually used for wrapping gifts.They come in variety of colours and also in metallic colours such as silver and gold.They are also used for making tissue garlands ,pom-poms ,etc for party decorations.

Wrapping paper
It is a strong decorative paper used for wrapping gifts .They come in solid colors and also in various decorative patterns.You can also customize your own wrapping paper in websites like Spoonflower , Zazzle and Minted.
Kraft paper
It is a strong and smooth brown paper used for wrapping gifts .You can get creative with these by adding toppings such as lace ,felt flowers ,ribbons,yarns and even washi tape to make it look more awesome.Like I have shown here, here and here. There are a lot of ways you can embellish it.

Wax paper 
Wax paper in crafts?? I heard you.Yes!!They have a lot many uses in crafts than in the kitchen.Do you know you can make pretty things with wax paper like printing in wax paper and transferring it to fabric ,pressing leaves in between two wax papers and also you can use it to make stencil when used with painter's tape like I did for kitchen cabinet.
Wax Paper Flower Petal and Leaf Votives
Click here for the beautiful votive tutorial.

Freezer paper
Yes!!Yes!!Like wax paper ,this is also used in transferring the ink ,to create stencils and also helps in cutting perfect felt shapes when you iron freezer paper on to felt before cutting(Wanna know how?Patty from make it cozee explains it here.)
Click here for How to :Megan explains it all.

Parchment paper
Parchment paper is a heavy duty grease and moisture resistant paper used to create a non-stick surface on cooking pans.These paper are coated with acid and then with non-stick material to serve the purpose.This paper is used in card making to create beautiful drawings.But do you know that in ancient times ,a thin material made from prepared skin of an animal is used as durable writing surface? And they call the skin as "Parchment".

Vellum is a kind of Parchment usually made from calf skin.Not to be confused with Vellum available in the market .Nowadays they produce "Paper Vellum" from plasticized cotton.This translucent material is mostly used in card making and also in some decor items like luminaries.They are lighter compared to Parchment paper.

Jar miss you
Image Source : Can you tell what the jar is made of??Yes!!It is vellum.
Tracing paper
Tracing paper as the name tells is a translucent paper which allows the light to pass through and make it easy for tracing.It is mostly used in architectural projects,drawings,etc but when it comes to crafts it is used in embroidery for tracing design and also in sewing for tracing patterns.It is available in various weights,colors, thickness and surfaces depending on the type of project.

Transfer paper
It is a paper coated with special preparation for transferring a design or imprint to another surface by heat, pressure or moisture. This is stuff is available separately for inkjet and laser printers.Some companies also sells a specific papers for lighter and darker colors.
This paper is in to try list for long time.As I don't have my own printer ,I am just postponing this project.You can really make beautifully stuffs with this paper.You can make customized t-shirts for yourself or as a gift.(How cool??).I will soon try to post some projects with this.
Contact paper
It is a decorative paper on one side and a sticky on the other side.These come in variety of designs and textures.If you have not tried this ,you should definitely do it.It helps to transform almost every old stuff into a completely new one.You can cover old boxes to storage cabinet with this.You friends or family will never know unless you tell them that ,it is the same old stuff.I particularly like the wood grain contact paper as it had helped me to transform many old pieces.They come in rolls .Even chalkboard contact paper and clear contact paper are available.You can used the clear contact paper to make custom stencils for your projects and chalkboard contact paper literally everywhere if you have kids at home.

Click here for 20 DIYs using Contact paper from Brit+Co.
It is a heavy paper with abrasive material attached to its surface.It helps to remove the uneven materials on the surface and helps to make it smooth for painting or wood finishing.It is also used in card making to give texture to the corners or to highlight the designs in a embossed paper.

Click here  to see How it is used.

Coming to the end !!! One last thing ,Can I include Newspaper or magazine paper in this list?? Why to leave those??Let me add!!

I know you don't need definition for this.But, do you know you can do plenty of things with this? Like I did pen holder , folder  and even for wrapping gifts & making bows .Yes !! Yes!! Click here to see how I wrapped a present in newspaper.

I hope you gained some inspirations to make new projects and information about paper.Did I miss any types of crafty paper? Did you learn something new from this post?Was it informative ?Feel free to share with me in the comments below.I would like to know ,if you have any suggestions for topic to discuss for forthcoming "Let's talk series".If you missed my last two posts of Let's talk series, click below.

Note : This is not a sponsored post and does not contain any affiliate links. I have attached pictures and  linked to various websites and tutorials for better understanding of the content. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Polymer Clay Jewelry update + Yay!! I successfully stitched a dress.

Hello everyone !! How are you all doing ?? It has been a 2 long weeks since I posted.I went on a vacation and returned back this sunday only. So today I am sharing some of my works which I have been creating to give as gifts to my cousins ,some for me and few as a practice to learn new techniques .Yay!! (Sometimes self gifts are necessary, don't you think so ??).
Let me start explaining you each jewelry I made and the technique I used. It may be sound weird if you are new to polymer clay and jewelry .But I am sure you will learn something from it.

1) Black Jhumka with gold chevron pattern.
      Jhumka is a bell or dome shaped jewelry worn as earrings.It is a traditional Indian jewelry usually worn on occasions.After some 3 to 4 four trial to get a perfect shape ,I finally ended up with the perfect black jhumka with chevron pattern.

2) I myself wanted some studs to wear along with my causals, so I made a black one and a pink one.These are made using stamps to make impressions and mica powders to highlight the designs.

3) This one is also a stamped earring but it is slightly different from the one mentioned above.Instead of stamping and then highlighting, I have inked the stamp and then stamped onto clay to achieve this effect.I made this for my cousin's wife.

4) Pink Necklace and a bracelet set made by Mokume game technique. Three or more layers of different colour clay sheets are stacked and rolled together for five to six times.They are then cut into equal shape & stacked again.A stamp is then pressed on to the stack of clay.Using the knife and top layer of the clay is removed to achieve the below design in the pendant.
If you want to learn more about this technique , google "Mokume gane for polymer clay".

5) I stitched a dress!!I stitched a dress(*Happy dance*) for my cousin's daughter.I followed an easy pattern from sew mama sew for making the sun dress.I made little alterations to make it more easier.I wanted to try decorative stitches so I eliminated the pleats in the front yoke.Though the pattern was not in the measurements specified after I printed it ,I made the dress for one size plus than she usually wears.You know what??It was perfect fit for her.Look here.(Uhh!! It was tough capturing the right pose.So, clicked some photos when she was busy counting numbers :P)


What do you think about my jewelry and the cute little dress?? Which of the above is your favourite? Share with me in the comments below.If you want to make any of these and you have any doubts, feel free to inbox me -> I am always happy to help you.