Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What to do with a thrifted frame, #2 - Antique Gold

I'm digging anything with either the "gilded" or "antique gold" look or stuff that's old and busted. So here's my take on how to made a thrifted frame do both.

Antique Gold Frame


Work already in progress...sorry
  • Wooden or plastic frame...plain or ornate
  • Fine grit sandpaper (I used 320)
  • Acrylic paint in dark brown and "vintage" gold
  • Foam brush
  • Paper towels
  • Gloves
  • Newspaper (several layers)
  • Plastic cup with water (for dunking brushes between coats)


  1. Prep work - Remove the glass an guts of the frame, and clean thoroughly. If your frame is wooden, you'll probably need to sand it to remove any varnish or coating on the frame (I sanded mine with 320 grit paper, and I don't think I got all the varnish off, but I don't think it really mattered in the end). Wipe any sanding dust off with a rag and completely dry the frame.

  2. Base coat - Spread out your newspaper, don some gloves, squirt some brown paint onto you paper and and generously apply to make a base coat.  It doesn't have to be perfect...you'll be painting over it. Dunk you brush in the water cup when you're done so it doesn't dry out (just make sure you dry it off pretty good before the next step).
    My base coat is going on more like a stain...whatever!
  3. Apply the gold paint - Don't wait for the brown to completely dry. Go ahead and start slathering on the gold paint.  I like the gold and brown to mix a bit, warming up the brown and making it less flat underneath. Let dry slightly between coats until you get the desired level of "goldness" (totally up to you...if you want it to be less metallic and more earthy, don't paint on so much gold). Dunk the brush when you're done.
    Keep piling on the gold until you feel you've got the right color. You don't have to let completely dry between coats.

    Done painting the gold. I like to use my work surface as my palette...less to clean up!
  4. Let the paint dry - Yep, this time, you gotta let it dry -- all the way.  Go make a pot of tea.

  5. Fill in the cracks - This part is hard to photograph by yourself, so bear with me.  Here's how it goes: 1. Jab some brown paint in the cracks and crevices; 2. quickly wipe the paint off with a paper towel (you don't want it on the flat surfaces); 3) turn the towel to find a clean spot.  Repeat that process until you've jabbed and wiped around the entire frame.  Make sure you use only the clean part of the towel when you wipe...you're wiping paint OFF, not buffing it ON.
    Jab brown into the cracks. I like using the foam brush b/c it has that little point on the end
    Wipe off the paint.

    Finished crack with extra brown.

    I think the extra brown adds a bit of "age" and dimension to the look...like it's been sitting in someone's house for a while, maybe collecting dust and memories.

    Cracks are all finished!
  6. Tone down the gold...if you want to - If you think your gold is too bright, you can use a paper towel to wipe quick, light strokes of brown paint onto the frame to tone it down a bit. If you pick a gold paint with a "vintage" or antiqued finish though, you should be okay as far as color goes.

  7. Add a clear coat...if you want to - If this is going to be used as a regular picture frame, once the acrylic dries all the way through, you should be good to go. However, if this frame is going to be used for something "high traffic" (like a jewelry display or something), you might want to add a few coats of poly or clear lacquer to the outside to make it more durable.
And that's it! Next time I'll take you through the steps that I use when I paint the top layer white and distress the frame.  Happy crafting.  :)

What to do with a thrifted picture frame, #1 - Embellish!

Stampington & Company, how I love thee...

So after getting the Winter Issue of Create with Me Magazine, I was inspired to do my own version of the room plaques in the "A Room of My Own" article by Lori Oles.

In the article, Oles does the artwork with her children (I'm assuming by their faces, they're older than my kiddo), but for my version, I did all the artwork and frame mods. I wanted to post pics mainly to show you what a bit of glue, trim, buttons, and fabric flowers could do to a $0.50 picture frame from the thrift store.

Here's what I came up with (sorry, no step-by-step photos...I'm working on that):

Yeah, the picture stinks...I took it with my phone to post on Facebook. But you get the idea, right!?! Here's what I did:

  1. Choose the frame - Mine was a silver colored metal one with little tiny rhinestones (some were missing). I got it for $0.50 at the Thrift Store. I took the guts and glass out, cleaned it all, then let it dry.

  2. Adding the ruffle - I had some leftover ruffle trim from a shirt I recycled for something else, and it was just the right amount. I used hot glue to affix the base of the trim to the frame, going around the rhinestone border (the trim wasn't wide enough to cover the whole frame).

  3. Securing the ruffle - After I hot-glues the ruffle in place, I used Crafter's Choice adhesive (CC from now on) to glue the bias-tape part of the trim shut and to further affix it to the frame.

  4. Adding the flowers and buttons - I have a bag of fabric flowers that I keep around...they're easy to make while watching TV in the evening, so I have lots. I pulled three "vintage" looking ones out of the bag and CC'd them to the trim.Then I picked out three matching buttons from my stash and covered the mitered joint in the trim corners.

  5. BLING! - The little rhinestones in the frame weren't big enough for my liking (they were pin-head sized), and some were missing, so I got out some flat sparklies and the CC and went to town. I also glued some sparklies to the corner buttons to cover the button holes.

  6. Adding the ribbon hanger - Once everything on the front was dry, I turned the frame over and glued some ribbon with the CC to the back to form a hanger. DONE!

The artwork inside was a different project, and I may go into detail a bit more about that in a later project, but I wanted to show you the frame redo first. There are several other things you can do with frames, but this was a cute, easy project that could be done as a gift for a little girl or new mom or as a project with a child age 7 and up (more help needed for the younger kids, but it would still be fun to pick out all the stuff!).

Now go make something!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

New location in Montrose!

EUTECTIC and Happysun jewelry will soon be on display at Space in Montrose. Space is a great little boutique/shop that my friends and I stumbled upon last Saturday after having lunch at Cafe Brasil (yum!). Most of their products are handmade (awesome) and quite a few are local (even more awesome). In their own words, Space is "connecting artist, designers and innovators to the Houston community and the world through an Exhibition Style Retail Experience. Visit Space to interact with local brands and rekindle inspiration. Exhibitions in Space are constructed with a green standard keeping our planet in mind."

I left some stuff with them today, and I'll be headed back there next Wednesday to bring some display stuff. If you're in the neighborhood, check them out. Right now, they have an exhibit up by artists/illustrator Lisa Chow. I want to buy all her artwork and put in "the kid's" room...it's so cute! Hey, how 'come the 3-year-old gets all the cool art???

I'll post some pics next Wednesday.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Event Page updated

I've got all the events for the Holiday season planned out. Check out the Events page for updated show dates.

First Saturday Art Market

Thanks all for coming out to First Saturday Arts Market yesterday. The weather was great and the people were fantastic. Houston, you rock!

Here are some pics of the new booth:

Next weekend, I'm taking a break, but I'll be out at Discovery Green for the DG Flea on 10/15. I'll have all my fun recycled stuff (and some metalwork too). See you then!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Cute and a bit creepy

So I'm not the world's biggest Harry Potter fan (haven't seen or read the last two books/movies...don't hate me), but I do like the franchise. And even if I didn't immediately recognize the Weasleys, this little necklace would be fun to wear anyway. The two little clones are a bit on the creepy side, but that's what makes them cute (to me anyway). There are only a few designs up in Sugar Land crafter Jessalyn's shop, but I hope there will be more soon! I could see buying a little character for my kiddo to wear or play with.

Available for $20 at OhLookItsJessalyn on Etsy.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Tutorial - T-Shirt Hem Flowers

What to do with all the hems that you cut off after making reusable grocery bags??? Make flowers! Here we go...

STEP 1: Gather your supplies - You will need:

  • The hem of a t-shirt (bottom or sleeve...I used a bottom here)
  • Fabric scissors
  • Ball point needle (any needle will work if you don't have a BP one)
  • Heavy duty thread

STEP 2: Isolate the hem - Turn hem inside out and cut the excess fabric from the hem, using the serged stitching as a guideline.

STEP 3: Cut the hem - Cut the hem into one long strip.

Now cut down the length of the hem to create two layers of fabric.

STEP 4: Gather the strip - Thread your needle with about a yard of thread. Knot the end. Starting from one end, make a running stitch (gathering stitch, basting stitch, whatever) down the length of the hem, using the middle of the serged stitching as a guide.

Now make a little tack/whipstitch at the end to secure the gathers in place. Make sure you have pulled the gathering thread tightly.

STEP 5: Coil the flower - Start wrapping the gathered strip into a coil (should resemble a fabric snail shell). As you coil, stitch through the center of the coil, again, using the serged stitching as a guide.

Once the coil gets too thick to easily push the needle through, you can start whipstitching the outer coil layers to the inner ones.

When you get to the end, secure the free end with a whipstitch around the edge of the end of the strip. Knot the thread after a few whips to finish the stitching.

STEP 6: Finish the flower - Bury the thread by passing the needle through from the outside to about the center of the flower and pull the thread through. Cut the thread near the flower bottom, or leave it there if you plan to sew the flower onto something later.

STEP 7: Fluff out the flower - Turn the flower over...it will be a tight little wad of fabric. Fluff the flower out by spreading the layers apart.

Here are some of the flowers I've made with the leftover hems and necklines of t-shirts. The larger ones are from bottom hems; them smaller ones are from sleeve hems and necklines.

I didn't cut the hem into two layers for this one:

I used the ribbed neckline for this one:

I stitched this gathered strip to another piece of t-shirt for a bigger, flatter flower:

And these I made from different strips of t-shirt, not the hems:

You can use these flowers to make hair clips, embellish magnets or thumbtacks, sew onto clothing...the list really goes on forever. I made a clipboard with one of these, some magnets, recycled cardboard, and a binder clip (another tutorial eventually). I use it to hold my grocery lists.

And since most of you guys don't have a stockpile of hems lying around, I have listed bags of them in my Etsy shop for you. Play with some different colors and such for only a few bucks.

Have fun!

New tutorials coming soon

So, I bought a "bag of rags" (unsold/stained t-shirts) for $4 from the Pennywise Resale Center in Richmond not too long ago. I was thinking that for $4 I'd get a grocery bag full of old T's, so I bought two. After paying for them, the ladies haul out two *GARBAGE* bags full of T's. Yikes! That's a lot of T-shirts!

Some of them I made into rags...they were pretty yucky. But with the nicer ones, I made reusable grocery bags (tutorial coming soon), fabric flowers (another tute), and drawstring pouches for my jewelry packaging (and yet another one). And I still had a PILE of shirts leftover. Now what???

I've gone through my pile, and now I'm ready to share the rest of what I thought up to do with the t's...but it's gonna take me a while. I've photog'ed some of the ideas, and some I'll have to recreate for you, but I thought I'd pass them along so you can reuse your old t's instead of throwing them in the trash.

Until I get some stuff up, check out these links to other t-shirt reuse tutorials:

PS - if you live in the Richmond/Rosenberg/Sugar Land area and like to thrift, you need need need to stop by the Pennywise stores (bonus: they benefit the Fort Bend Women's Center). On Wednesdays, all clothing is 40% off. At the Stafford location, they have a selection of $1.00 T-shirts. On Wednesdays, they're only $0.60!!!! Can't beat that!