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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Merry Christmas Sale - 3 Days Only!



As a way of saying thank you to all of my customers - new and not so new - I am offering a 3 day sale of 25% off everything site-wide at my Etsy* and EBay shops.  This is a great way to purchase something for yourself or your loved ones for Christmas.  Hurry!  The sale ends on December 18, 2015 at 11:59 p.m.  Offer is good at Wanda Maria Designs on Etsy* and Two Crafty Mules on EBay.  Thank you and happy shopping!!!

* On Etsy, please use coupon code Christmas25

Saturday, December 12, 2015

DIY Waterproof Photo Tile Coasters Tutorial

I have been wanting to post this tutorial for awhile now.  Handmade coasters make great gifts for Christmas or any time of the year.  I will be the first to tell you that you can find other photo coaster tutorials on the internet and on Pinterest, but many of them are not waterproof.  This means that your efforts to create a beautiful DIY project are essentially ruined the first time someone places a glass on your coaster.   That is how this tutorial is different than the others out there.  Not only will I tell you how to make your coasters waterproof, I will also let you know about my product preferences based upon my own tried-and-true personal experiences.  (Why reinvent the wheel twice, right?)

I made this set of coasters for my parents, who celebrated 51 years of marriage this year.  They have everything they need so it makes it difficult to buy gifts for them.  I figured the coasters would be something they would not only  use, but also enjoy since they capture moments from their many years together.







DIY WATERPROOF PHOTO TILE COASTERS TUTORIAL

Supplies:

Four 4x4 ceramic white tiles
Four 4x4 pictures printed from ink jet or laser printer (do not use developed photos)
Pencil or pen
Scissors
White glue (I used Aleene's Tacky Glue)
Gold leafing pen or gold marker (I used Pilot gold marker)
Resin (I used Annie Howe's for this project)
Felt pads, round (about 3/4" inch in diameter)

Important Note:  Please make sure your work surface is covered with waxed paper, a plastic sheet or garbage bag, or something similar so you don't ruin your table!

Tutorial:

1)  Select 4 white ceramic tiles that will serve as the base of the coasters.  Set aside.
















2) On an inkjet or laser printer, select four photos for the coasters and print them out.  Make sure they are at least 4x4.  It's okay if they are a little bigger than 4x4, as they will be trimmed, just don't make them smaller than this size.   The ones I selected are memories of my parents over the years.

















3) Using one of the coasters as a guide, turn the coaster upside and center it over the photo.   Trace around it with a pen or pencil.  Use scissors to cut out images.  Repeat this process for the remaining photos.















4) Use your desired type of glue for adhering the images to the coasters.  I prefer to use Aleene's Tacky glue on most of my projects.   First, it's tried and true - but it also works well for adhering paper-based crafts.





5) Squeeze the glue randomly over the coasters.  Don't go crazy - the idea with this is that you will have enough glue to spread over the coaster, but not so much that you have a dripping mess. 
 














6) Using your finger, spread the glue evenly over the coaster from edge to edge.















7) Carefully lay the photo on top of the coaster.  Run your finger over the image, ensuring that all wrinkles and bubbles are gone.  Let the coaster dry at least an hour.  (Tip: If you don't allow the coaster to dry before beginning the next step, you will cause your image to wrinkle and pucker. Trust me on this one. :)  )

















8) Use the same technique as described in Step 5.  (Note:  Some people swear by using Mod Podge for this process.  I don't recommend it.  I have found that when using Mod Podge to decoupage images I print from my ink jet printer, the Mod Podge lifts the colors off of the image, making them faded and barely visible.  I have destroyed many a project by using Mod Podge for this purpose.  So - I just avoid using it all together.)


















9) Use the same technique as described in Step 6.  Make sure that all edges of the photo are coated with glue.  Failing to do this will result in the photo becoming damaged by the resin and/or liquids.















10) When all of the glue has been spread over the photo, it will appear white.  (This will turn transparent as the glue dries, so don't worry.)















11)  Allow the coasters to dry thoroughly.  They are considered to be dry when there is no white showing. 

Images after glue has been applied and allowed to dry.                                                                                                             



















12) Use the gold marker or leafing pen to apply a gold edging around the outside of the photos.  I like to use this technique because it gives the coasters a more finished look than when left plain.















13) Once completed, your coaster will look like this.  Allow the gold to dry for several minutes.


















14) Use your resin of choice to coat the top of the coasters.  For this project, I used Annie Howe's Luxe jewelry grade resin.  I have had very good results with this resin.  It looks crystal clear when dried, and it does not turn yellow over time.  Follow the manufacturer's instructions for mixing the resin.  Use a Popsicle stick to apply the resin evenly over the entire top of the coaster.  Make sure resin is applied evenly from edge to edge.  You don't need to put a heavy coat on top of the coaster.  A thin one will do.  To cover 4 coasters, you will use approximately 4 ounces of resin (one medicine cup full.)  If you see any bubbles form after the resin has been poured, hold a heat gun several inches above the coaster.  This will help to dissipate the bubbles.  Let coasters harden thoroughly.  Depending on which resin you use, this can be anywhere from 24 to 72 hours.



















15) Once the resin has thoroughly hardened, turn over coasters and stick one felt pad in each corner.     This will help to ensure you don't scratch your table top.
















16)  And there you have it!!!  Your beautiful, handmade, one-of-a-kind coasters!!!




















I hope you have enjoyed making this project as much as I have enjoyed sharing it with you.  Please don't hesitate to drop me a message if you have any questions about anything within this process.  Happy coaster-making!



Sunday, December 6, 2015

Hand-Painted Filigree Necklaces

I have shared my love of hand-tinting and hand-painting metal pieces for jewelry on past blog posts.  I recently had the chance to play with coloring metal jewelry components again.  This time, I took various-sized round filigree stampings, hand-painted each one and fashioned them into necklaces and earrings. Some of the filigree pieces were further embellished with metal stampings (which I also hand-colored); mini aluminum roses or mini crosses.


Here are some of my latest designs:


Saint Kateri Tekakwitha Necklace.  I colored the filigree pieces with mint, white and aqua blue colored acrylic paints.  After base painting the pieces, I dabbed over each with a sponge that was dipped into complementary paint colors.  Once the paint dried, I sealed the filigree pieces with a polyurethane sealant. 






Saint Rose of Lima necklace.  This one was a lot of fun to make.  Since St. Rose is usually pictured with roses, I thought it would be nice to give her necklace a shabby chic look.  To achieve this, I used a base color of white paint on the filigree pieces, then sponged over each with green and medium pink paint colors.  Little pink aluminum roses adhered to the filigree pieces add extra interest to the overall design of the piece.




Our Lady of Guadalupe necklace and earrings set.  Once again, I tried to complement the colors from the image along with the colors used on the filigree pieces.  I used a rich shade of metallic copper, along with bluish-green and rusty brown paints as highlight colors.  Please note the roses along the bottom edge of the pendant utilize the same colors to bring everything into one cohesive design.






I should note that on all of the jewelry pieces shown here, I started off with plain silver-colored filigree pieces.  Once the pieces are painted, no one can tell what the original color was. 

All of these pieces (and more) have been posted in my Etsy and EBay shops.  These are all one of a kind pieces and will not be duplicated. 

Stay tuned for more new designs to be shared here later in the week.  And - as always - please be sure to join me on Instagram where I often show pictures of my work in process.