Saturday, July 27, 2019

Altered Plastic Cameo Cabochons for Art and Jewelry

This week I've been restocking my Etsy shop with some of my vintage cameo cabochons. They're not real carved shell cameos, they're plastic imitations, but they're great for vintage style jewelry because they fit into standard cabochon tray settings (30mm x 40mm). However, I never seem to be able to just leave them alone and use them as-is so I thought I would share a couple of my favorite altering techniques.

Vintage acrylic faux-carved coral cabochons, altered with paint and polish.
The cab on the left is the original floral cabochon in green and ivory.

Faux tarnished silver altered art technique
TARNISHED SILVER: The middle cabochon is painted and then highlighted with silver wax finish.
  1. First, mush dark brown acrylic paint (the artist quality kind from the tube) over the entire cabochon and use a stiff brush to push it down into all the little nooks and crannies.
  2. Before the paint dries completely, gently wipe off only the high areas with a slightly damp cloth, to get an aged look.
  3. Let the paint dry completely, then dab on the wax metallic polish (I like Rub n Buff the best).
  4. Once the polish dries (I wait until the next day), you can buff it to a satin finish and your cabochon will look like tarnished silver!
Hand painted altered vintage faux coral cabochons
HAND PAINTED: The third cab is painted with two colors of all-surface acrylic craft paint.
  1. Use a small brush or dauber to paint a couple of flowers with each of your two colors (here I grabbed baby pink and goldenrod yellow).
  2. Then, mix the colors together in different amounts to create new colors and dab them on as well.
  3. You can seal these if you like. I'm thinking about adding metallic gold highlights here and there...

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

New Vintage Sequins in My Etsy Shop!

Been listing new vintage sequin strands all week, and here we are with 9 new offerings to add to the 70+ colors and styles in my Etsy shop. Click any image to go straight to the listings. (Ask me about designer discounts on 5+ strands -- I can set up a reserved listing for you and you'll save on shipping too.)

Raspberry Wine (Celluloid) 5mm flat
Rainbow Pumpkin Ice Cream 8mm cups
Transparent Yellow Rainbow 6mm cups
Crystal Clear Rainbow 6mm cupped
Pink Lustre 5mm cups
Matte Black 4mm flat
Transparent Green Opal 6mm cups
Petite Gold 5mm cups
White Rainbow 4mm flat

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Dollar Store Decoupaged Notebook

Here's an easy way to decoupage a notebook with a couple of dollar store items and a few basic art supplies.

You'll Need:

  • 1 paper or chipboard covered blank notebook
  • 1 large printed paper napkin, split into layers
  • Tinted decoupage medium, Mod Podge, or bookbinding glue
  • Flat paintbrush or sponge brush, 1-2" wide
  • Old plastic credit card or hotel room card
  • Craft knife or single edge razor blade
  • Sheet of printer paper or plain scrap paper
  • Metallic rubber stamping ink
  • Rubber stamp to coordinate with napkin paper
  • Pencil
  • Damp paper towel

Tools and supplies you'll need for this project
1. Unfold a napkin and split the layers apart. Discard the white layer and save only the printed layer. This thin layer will become semi-transparent when you apply the glue, and blend with the notebook color.

Discard all but the printed layer of the napkin.
2. Position the napkin wherever you want it on the cover. With your pencil, lightly mark the corners and sides of the cover on your napkin. Set it aside -- don't cut it yet.

3. Open the notebook so that you're only working with the front cover. Apply an even layer of the decoupage medium to the entire cover, all the way to the edges. Work quickly or the medium will soak in.

Open the notebook while working, but don't trim the edges yet!
4. Grab the napkin and, using the pencil marks as a guide, lay it down onto the cover. Spread it out. Don't worry if you get a few wrinkles and tears, the decoupage medium will darken and "age" those areas. Gently dab the napkin down onto the cover until it's pretty flat.
Wrinkled and torn is ok!
5. Here's how to burnish down the napkin -- lay your white paper on top of the wet cover, and, using a long edge of your old credit card to press out the excess medium. Start in the middle and burnish out toward each edge. Repeat, starting in the center and scraping out in a different direction each time. Clean up any extra medium with a slightly damp paper towel.

Burnish from the center out to the edges with an old credit card.
Trim with a single edge razor or your favorite craft knife.
6. Set aside the white paper cover and let the cover dry completely. You will probably have extra napkin hanging over the edges. Resist the temptation to trim the edges!

7. Once the first coat is dry, apply another thin coat. It will protect the napkin. Dab up any extra and let dry completely again.

Don't be alarmed if your cover warps. It should flatten when dry, but if not, you can press it until a big book later.

8. Now you're ready to trim the excess napkin. Turn the notebook over and, using your razor or craft knife, trim carefully right along the edge. If you burnished well, the edges should be completely glued down. If not, just touch it up with a little more medium.

9. I like to add more napkin scraps here and there, and a little more medium to give the piece an aged look. Don't add too much more moisture though, or your cover could start to fall apart.

10. I always like to add a metallic touch, so in this example I stamped a leaf-and-stem motif with fast-drying gold Delicata ink.

Delicata metallic inks dry faster than pigment inks.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

A La Amigurumi! (Japanese crochet dolls)

I was sure stymied when the MOTH came home with a little collection of miniature vintage Japanese crochet dolls. And for some reason, this collector had 2 of everything -- twins?

Pair of vintage amigurumi (crochet) dolls in "sailor suits"
Fortunately, I found a similar doll (thank you Google image search) and learned a little bit about the interesting craft of Japanese amigurumi.
Miniature Japanese crochet doll (amigurumi) crawling along in a purple onesie and bonnet.
Here's a little bit about the ones we found: Ami is the Japanese word for "knit/crochet," and nuigurumi is Japanese for "doll." They became more popular after WWII and on into the two-thousandsies. Mine are crocheted and stuffed, and their faces are hand painted. They measure about 2-3 inches in height and each one is slightly different. These make nice little gifts, but I would not use them as toys, they're mainly for collecting, a la other Japanese Kawaii-style items.


Monday, April 2, 2018

April Sequins Sale

Dear Friends and Fanatics,
This entire month, for the first time I'm putting all my vintage sequin strands on sale -- 10% off, no minimum order (usually you have to buy 5 strands to get the discount). Specialty sequins are not discounted, but all others are. Here's a direct link to the sale items: .

I will be adding a few more colors, sizes and styles throughout the month, but meanwhile here are some special lovelies to consider.

Blue iris AB, 6mm flat
Iris, AB (aurora borealis) or rainbow-coated flat sequins cover a lot of ground in your embroidery projects.

Copper AB 4mm cups
These little copper iris cups look like rhinestone crystals in your work, but are light as a feather.

Transparent Lime green lustre 6mm cups
 Layer transparent sequins over each other on patterned fabric, for interesting and subtle effects.

Matte metallic plum, 4mm flat
Matte sequins aren't as reflective but they're rich in color! I have these plum beauties in 4 styles -- small and medium in both cupped and flat. Great for floral motifs!