Tag Archives: Graham Crafter

Project #18: Pumpkin Pots



OK, I know you’re thinking, “Gee… did you give yourself a concussion thinking up this SUPER creative and interesting idea?”  No.  I did not. I admit this one isn’t exactly rocket surgery, but it was easy, turned out cute, and is very kid friendly.

There are only a few materials for this one.  You’ll need a terra cotta pot (conveniently already orange!), a  Sharpie, black craft acrylic paint, and a small paintbrush.  If you’re doing with this kids, or if you’re messy like I am, put down some newspaper.


Using the Sharpie, sketch out the jack-o-lantern face.  You can see my lines weren’t perfect… that’s OK.  You’re going to paint over them.  If you want some ideas for jack-o-lantern faces, check out this slideshow from Reader’s Digest.


Carefully paint the shapes.  Terra cotta is very porous and it will suck up and dry the paint almost instantly.  If you make a mistake, it’s tough to undo.  You can, however, just use the other side of the pot and put the bad side toward the wall.  That’s what I did with my ugly first try.

That’s it on this one! Including cleaning the brush, I made 3 pots in about 45 minutes.  Stay tuned over the next couple of  weeks for more fall/Halloween projects.

Happy Halloween! Happy Crafting!



Race Bling Holder from Liz


Here is a project based on Project #16: Race Bib & Medal Holder, made by my friend Liz.  She puts her race bibs in a scrapbook, so this is just the medal holder.  The unfinished wood she bought already had the frame on it, and she painted the hooks to match the rest of the project.  Credit to our friend Jodi for the phrase “Race Bling.”

Liz is running her first half marathon this Sunday! Go Liz!


Project #16: Race Bib & Medal Holder



How do you know someone is training for a marathon? Just wait a bit – they’ll tell you.  (Thanks, Liz.)

OK, technically I only ran a half  marathon, but I was very proud and wanted a way to save my bib and finisher “medal” (which was actually a necklace).  I’ve seen  a lot of different medal holders on Etsy and decided to go for it.  If you’re a crafter/runner (or some other activity that ends with medals), maybe you can give it a shot, too!

Let’s start with materials.  You’ll need a wood block (mine was a 9×12 from the craft store – you could try a piece of plywood or something similar), sandpaper, paint and varnish, a cheapo foam brush, super glue, repositionable glue, hooks, clips, and letters (I used my Cricut – you can also try stickers or freehand painting).


First off, sand the wood block. I needed to do a lot of sanding because the plaque I bought was in rough shape.  It was the last one the store had and I was feeling crafty so I decided to go for it.   If my Dad is reading this (and he’s probably not because his use of the internet is limited to emails about his golf league), he would probably be embarrassed I bought a sanding block instead of being tough and using  sandpaper over a scrap of wood… but I say it was four dollars well spent.  Side note: do the sanding outside.  Trust me – it’s messy.


Next, choose a  base color and paint the whole thing.  The base color is what you want the letters to be because we’ll be using a masking technique.  It will also be the color that shows through when we do the weathering.   I used cheap craft acrylic and a cheapo foam brush.  You’ll probably need two coats.


Sorry about the crappy picture. It’s hard to paint with your right hand and take a picture with your left. Also, it shows as an interesting shade of electric blue. It’s not.  It’s turquoise.  PS – let the paint dry completely before moving on.

Then you need to cut letters and stick them down.   I used my Cricut but if you don’t have one, try stickers for the masking technique.  You might also try rub-ons or freehand painting (if you’re feeling brave).  Use the repositionable glue because that will allow us to easily peel them up later.  I went for a really easy statement (and a play on the band Fun. – who really are fun), but you can try a favorite quote or your name or whatever you want.

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Then go ahead and  paint on the top coat.  This is the color that will mostly show – in my case, gray.  You may have to kind of blot/sponge around the letters to really get the paint over the letters.  Again, let the paint dry completely before you move on to the next step.

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Now it’s time to peel away the letters.  Hopefully by now, you’re seeing how the mask technique works.  If you opted for stickers instead of repositionable glue, be really careful here.  The stickers could leave that annoying sticky white paper mess behind.  If you’re using rub-ons or paint instead  of the masking technique,  apply your letters after  the next step – sanding.

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The next step is to sand.  I have no picture of the sanding – only the finished product.  It’s impossible to sand and photog and the same time.  Basically, you sand the edges and different areas to reveal the base coat color underneath and give it a “weathered” look. Again, do the sanding outside.  You will probably want to wipe away the dust with a damp cloth. The more sanding you do, the more weathered the look.  remember, a good chunk of the final project will be covered by race bibs – so you don’t need to do much sanding in the middle.


Now, paint on the varnish.  Follow the directions on the label.  Let it dry THOROUGHLY before you add the finishing touches.   It might take a  few hours.


The finishing touches – add the clips and hooks.  I used miniature clothespins (I painted them) and glued them down using Gorilla Glue.  I used one of my larger race bibs to determine the placement.


Then, add the hooks at the bottom.  I found these really cool push-pin hooks at the hardware store.  WARNING! Make sure you put them low enough that the race bibs won’t cover them.  I definitely had to pull out my first attempt with the claw end of a hammer and move them.  Curse words were involved.  Also,  measure to make sure they’re placed evenly.

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That’s it!  All that’s left is to clip on your bibs and hang your medals.  All of my medals are “finisher” medals, but maybe if I keep up with running, eventually I’ll place in my age group. Or – maybe I’ll get lucky with a small race that only has 3 people in my age group.

Happy Crafting! Happy Running!

Project #15: Jam Jar Covers



Well, the time has come to post a new project. I feel like Jimmy Chitwood in Hoosiers…”I figure it’s about time I start playing ball again.”  If you don’t get a Hoosiers reference, we probably can’t be friends.

Anyway, this is a very easy project that requires essentially zero skill.  There are a lot of pictures, but each jar cover takes about 2 minutes.  There are some other tutorials on the web… I looked at a few of them and did a little experimenting to see what works best.  What is not in today’s blog is how to make the actual jam… this isn’t a cooking blog and absolutely NOBODY would take it seriously if it was. But, I made this jam myself using local farm-fresh strawberries and the Ball Blue Book recipe.

We’ll start with supplies.  You need fabric (gingham is my number one choice because jam jar covers are supposed to be done in gingham.  But I suppose a trendy chevron or burlap might be cute), pinking shears (work a ton better if they’re pinkers and not regular), rubber bands, and ribbon.  You also need a small round template for tracing… I used a tupperware lid.


First, trace the circle on fabric. I use a fabric pencil that disappears over time, but anything will work.  You probably don’t want to use anything heavy like a sharpie, though (it will soak through).  I can’t believe I just said not to use a sharpie.   I carry a sharpie with me everywhere I go.  Also, my photo editing seems to have blurred away the part where you can see dog bite marks in this tupperware lid. My parents have a remarkably stupid dog.  Also, my mom will comment on this blog post defending their stupid dog.


Next, use your pinking shears to cut out the circle.  For those who may not know, pinking shears are the ones that make the zig-zag edge.  The zig-zag edge keeps the edges of the fabric from fraying. They’ll still fray a little bit, but not nearly how they would with straight scissors.  The circle doesn’t have to be perfect (mine’s sure not!).

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Center the circle over the jar lid.  If you’re using homemade jam, leave the lid ring on.  Use the rubber band to secure the fabric to the lid.  Here’s a hint – smaller, thinner rubber bands work best.


You may have to do some re-arranging to get the cover to look neat and straight.  You may also have to pull down a little to keep the fabric tight under the rubber band.  A lot of this re-arranging is dependent on your personal preference.  Fiddle with it until it looks how you like.

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All that’s left is to cover the rubber band.  I tied a ribbon around the lid and then used my fingertips to push it down over the rubber band.  Maybe if this blog ever gets some sponsors, I’ll use the money to get a manicure.


Ta da! My brother-in-law totally laughed at me for making my jam “cute.”  As if there’s any other way.  Happy Crafting!




Because it’s allllmooost Friday (gotta get down on Friday), here is a Graham Crafter bonus! This is a project I made with the photo transfer technique explained earlier this week in Project #12. This is a music box I made for my sister using one of her favorite wedding photos. I bought a plain box from the craft store, painted, photo transferred, and then had my awesome bro-in-law help me drill a hole and attach the music implement.

You might notice that this photo is a little less “full” than the ones in the wall hanging. That’s because I used a thinner layer of the gel medium for a more rustic-ish look. Rustic is not usually my thing. At all. But I think it works really nicely on this.

Project #9: Painted Tray


So, I like to think this is the perfect tray for breakfast in bed after a Spartan victory.  Not that I ever make breakfast in bed… in fact, the Sunday after a college football game, it is unlikely I’m awake before lunch time.  Anyway, this is a super cheap project.  If you already have craft paint, the whole thing is less than $5.  If you have to buy the paint, it’ll be more like $8.

Supplies: This is pretty basic stuff… you need a wooden tray (available at pretty much any craft store – take your pick.  I got this one at Hobby Lobby for like 3 bucks), paint, the crackle medium (see photo below), and varnish.  You’ll also want a couple of cheapo foam paint brushes.  I used a nicer brush to freehand the Spartan head… but if you’re more of a stencil person, the cheapo foam brushes will be good.

Start by painting the the entire tray in the color you want to show through the cracks in the paint.  I chose white.  This needs a heavy coat, possibly two coats.  Let it dry completely (as you can see – it’s still wet in the photo.  I took the photo as I was painting, but let it dry overnight.)

Next, apply the crackle medium.  Here’s a photo of it and one of how it goes on clear:

It is important that you do not let the crackle medium dry completely.  You need to move to the next step when the crackle medium is still tacky – the bottle this says should be about 15-40 minutes.  Then, you paint your contrast color on (here, green.)  The crackles will start to appear in just a few minutes, and will follow the direction of your brush strokes.  The “painting green” photo on the left below is a bit blurry – I had to try and take it with my left hand while painting with my right – it didn’t go well.  As you can see in the photo on the right, the cracks start to appear pretty much right away (the paint is still wet.)

Now, it’s time for the extra special decor! Wait until the green coat dries and add a little flair.  I did the Spartan head freehand.  If you are not artsy, or not feeling brave, you can make yourself a stencil with your printer, cardstock, and an exacto knife.  I won’t say this Spartan head is the greatest work of art ever, but I’m generally happy with how it turned out.

Finally, slap a little varnish on it to seal in all the paint.  I used inexpensive satin varnish that is the same brand as the craft acrylic paint.  Follow the instructions on the bottle to apply.  The varnish might look a little cloudy when you apply it (notice the grayish look on the foam brush.)  I did two coats.  Be sure to allow the varnish to dry completely before using your tray (duh.)

Last but not least, GO GREEN!