Saturday, August 18, 2012

Marbled Votives

Because it's only August, I decided to continue improving my friend's gifts.  Part of the 3 step plan.

Can still hear you Jamie
While trying to resist the urge to just pin everything into My House is a Very Very Very Very Fine House board from my design soulmate, I've also been keeping tabs on all the fun things to keep my hands busy. Since the bottom of the smaller votives is flat it's hard to pass up working with such a perfect surface.  *ponders infinite possibilities... codes instead*
The top needed some love too == sparkly band
I found this idea on Curbly for marbling the bottoms of shot glasses and figured that I'd give it a shot for these votives.  The original looks so simple!

Glass votives with flat bottom (recycled Glade candle holders)
Nail polish/enamel paint; used 3 colors per shot glass
Painters tape
Shallow bowl you don't care about (nail polish goes in, doesn't really come out)
Nail polish remover for touching up the parts of the glass you didn't want decorated
Cotton swabs for the touchup work

Because we're fans of clean lines here we've breaking out the painters tape.  About a half inch down from the top of the votive put a ring of tape around the votive.  Paint with the nail polish of your choice.  Also bottoms up!  (Tape up)

While the blue is an annoying polish color, it makes for great paint.
Alright, the good stuff: the actual marbling.  Fill the bowl with water then drop or pour the nail polish into the bowl.

This alone could have been the bottom of the glass and I'd have loved it.

Then you can swirl it around with the toothpick to your heart's content.  I found that the consistency of nail polish when in water is very different than what you'd think.  If you don't work quickly enough it creates a film over the surface which makes it very difficult to swirl the polish when in the water.  I found it easier to swirl a bit in the water then stamp the glass where I most liked the swirl then use the toothpick for finishing up the work on the bottom of the glass itself.

If you look closely you can see it's an accurate topographic map of my yarn bin
As I'm learning about a lot of crafts, less is more.  Don't marble more than you have to here.  It just turns the whole thing grey.  Which is awesome if that's what you're going for, keep up the good work!  Let dry.

& no, I went and watched an episode of White Collar
After they dry you want to seal them with either clear nail polish or a light, glittery one that matches but won't cover the bottom of the votive.  You know, the ones that are impossible to paint 7 you need about 6 coats to even see the color  This is one of those few situations where I actually went with the glittery option.  Maybe I've been watching too many episodes of Craft Wars....

It's the good kind of sparkly
After everything dries it's time for the reveal!
 Take off the tape and touch up the lines and if you got a bit overzealous with the application, get it from the middle of the glass too.  I don't judge, I've had to rescue my computer case because I don't ever let my nails sit long enough after I paint them.  My mouse when it was painted was totally intentional.
From the inside lookin out

So much better when it's dry!

I'm jealous of this one myself
We're already doing better than last year picture-wise
 Next, part 3!  To make the candles!  Because we're still in August! *victory fist pump*


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Recycling Glass Votives

I woke up the other day and thought: "omg!  It's August!  There's only 4 more months till Christmas!"

Yes Jamie, I hear you
So in order to avoid the Search for Red (yarn/clay/paint) October I've efficiently decided to start a bit early this year.  & since it's Augus I can safely make extravagant claims of what I'm going to do.  It's stretch goals for crafting.  New planning technique, oh yeah.

For this Christmas I'm not even going to try to outdo what I did last year for a couple of my friends.  I made them "Wine Emergency" Kits which I'm so sad I didn't take better pictures of because they were awesome.  Which should be apparent from the name; it's associated with wine.  And included emergency chocolate.  How much better can it get?

One of the 2 pictures of the wine emergency kit in existence.  I beaded the fork; it took ages
A lot better than that picture.

I'm a sucker for maximizing anything I buy.  Through the coupon-enabled purchase through the final intended use of the product to the "...I don't want to really throw it away..."  So when my candles look like sad versions of their former selves:

When burnout is a good thing
I recycle them!

Aunt's gift; check
Man, it feels so good to reuse things.  Makes me able to justify my almost borderline pyro habits when it comes to candles.  The other good part about reusing the glass votives is it's like you're almost cheating; you're getting a free (ok "free") medium on which to try techniques.  So the crackle nail polish does not crackle on glass?  *shrug*   The etching mask slipped a bit?  Looks like I now have a candle for my bathroom were it can hide and you get take 2.

Oh hey!
 The possibilities are endless. Endless until the you realize that you're only 1/8 way through burning the next candle.

Faster!  You're fire!  BURN!
Until then, here are some ways you can keep busy while the candle is burning the 3:30 (you can choose am or pm) oil.  To get the votives ready for crafting use you've got to get the left over wax out.  There a couple different techniques but the one that makes the most sense to me is to melt it out.  I mean you could scrape it if you have patience but I don't think it's worth it.  Turn on the oven to 200.   Line a baking dish with tin foil making a "bowl" or essentially covering the bottom & working up the sides slightly to create a lip.

Make sure to turn up the edges.  We're going for bowl
Place the votives upside down in the tray and put it in the oven.  Let it sit for about 10 minutes.  You can check it at intervals; the important thing we're looking for is all the wax to be out of the votives.

This is an example of it NOT being ready.
 Bonus points for getting the wick out.  The wick is held in place with some industrial strength glue, and if you leave the votives in the oven long enough, the heat will make the glue melt.  Sometimes all you have to do is wiggle it when heated and it comes off too.

This is an example of it ready
Quick! Before the wax solidifies!  We've got 2 things to do!  1) wipe out all the wax from the votives so it doesn't solidify in a thin layer around the inside of the inside.  It's very very hot, use a potholder

Burn wax, not your fingers.
2) we've now got a tin foil boat of hot wax. Now can we use this wonderful repository of raw materials?  Why yes, we can.  Since we're currently not melting new wax for candles we're going to make fire starters!  Take cotton pads and submerge them into the melted wax. You want to gather as much of the wax as you can, so just keep dropping them in until the wax is pretty much used up.

The freshest smelling campfire you'll ever have.
Now we have it: it's (mostly) clean glass.  & it only took 20 hours and 10 minutes.  Totally worth it.

Now to decorate!  Because I had 2 different types of glasses, I decided to use 2 different techniques and continue my quest to etch everything glass I can get my hands on.  I used a dragonfly stencil on the larger votives (courtesy of Febreeze) and the names of my friends on the smaller ones (courtesy of Glade)

FYI: It's really hard to take pictures of etching
I can see you guys wondering if this is how I'm leaving them.  To that I chuckle a bit and reassure you that I'm not giving up on such an easy point in the crafting process.  Me?  Keep it easy?  *waves hand*  It's only August!