Wednesday, July 9, 2014

"Be You, Bravely" Key Chains, MOPS

Here's a tutorial for making key chains that coordinate with this year's MOPS theme, "Be You, Bravely."  These ended up being about $1 per key chain, since I purchased the beads when they were on sale and used my 40% off coupons wisely.  I made several different variations, but the ones with the feathers were my favorite :)

The directions will be slightly different depending on which kind you want to make, but they all use Shrinky Dinks. 

1. The first step is to create a file you can print onto the Shrinky Dink plastic.  You could use Microsoft Word, or an image editing software, or even the program that came with your printer to print multiple copies of the image onto each page.  I used Microsoft Publisher so I could print 20 logos per page with enough spacing around them to cut with a Paper Punch into perfect circles, squares, or scalloped circles.  It took a bit of time and trial and error to get them to work.

2. Print them onto the Shrinky Dink plastic.  You have to use the Ruff N Ready Frosted kind or the ink will never set and it will just smear right off.  I tried bringing them to an office supply store to reproduce for me, and the plastic got caught in the printer.  The problem with most commercial printers is they use heat.  Shrinky Dinks shrink with heat, so they get warp and get stuck the minute heat is applied.  They are also slippery, so its tricky to feed them through.  It may take a little time and patience to get them to work, so be sure to allow yourself ample time for this step.

3. Color them, if desired.  I used a Neon Green Sharpie and a Turquoise Blue Sharpie to add a little color to the feathers.  My 9 year old son enjoyed helping me.

4. Punch them out.  I used a 2 1/2 inch circle punch (from Stampin' Up!) to punch out each one.  They will shrink down to  about the size of a quarter.  Also, don't forget to use an 1/8 inch hole puncher to create a hole near the top of each one so you can attach them to the key chain.  If you don't have a large circle punch, you can use a paper trimmer to simply cut them into squares.  I recommend you cut them at least 2"x2" so they don't shrink down too small to see the logo.  The scalloped circle punch below shrunk down to about the size of a dime!

5. Follow the directions included with the Shrinky Dinks to bake them.  It helps if you use a pan that is totally flat with some parchment paper or brown paper bag on it for easy transfer.  When you take them out, lay another sheet of paper over the top and put something flat and heavy on the top so they won't warp.  Don't use paper towels...the texture of the paper towels will leave an imprint of the texture into the Shrinky Dink.  Same with wrinkled paper.  Your final product will end up with creases in them.  My kids loved watching them shrink.  It was like magic.

6. Next, assemble the key chains.  You could skip the beads and just use a jump ring to attach the circles to the key chain ring.  If you decide to go this route, make sure you use extra large jump rings (15 mm or greater).  If you've never worked with a jump ring, be sure you open it by twisting, not prying it apart.  Here's a blog that explains the right and wrong way to use jump rings:

If you want to create beaded key chains, you'll need an eye pin with a loop on one end, one large bead of choice, and two size E seed beads.  Those are the larger seed beads.  Put them on in the order shown in the photo below.  Then you'll have to use a needlenose or round pliers to create another loop on the other end of the eye pin and wrap the extra wire around the eye pin to secure the beads.  If you've never done this before, here's a tutorial I found on YouTube that shows you how to do this:  Attach a jump ring to both ends.  Then attach one jump ring to the key chain ring and the other end to the Shrinky Dink circle. 

If you want to do the feathered key chains, you'll have to buy Tube Crimper Beads and use a special crimping tool to attach the tube crimper to the stem end of the feather.  Here's another tutorial for using crimp tubes, (but instead of chain use the feather:) 
I found the pack of feathers and the tube crimp beads at Hobby Lobby.  I also used a little glue inside the crimp tube to make sure the feather was secure.  I made a bead charm using a flat ended eye pin and an extra large jump ring to attach all three items onto the key chain loop.   

That's all there is to it.  If you have any questions, feel free to post them in the comments section.  Thanks!!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Feathered Centerpieces for the new MOPS theme, "Be You, Bravely"

I made these centerpieces for our MOPS Spark! Leadership Convention.  I think they coordinate nicely with the new MOPS theme, "Be You, Bravely" and would make pretty table decorations. They are very easy to assemble and most of the supplies can be found at Michaels or Hobby Lobby. 

Start with a clear glass vase.  I found this one at Hobby Lobby for $9.99.  Occasionally they put all their glassware on sale, which is great if you need a bunch of them.  I chose this specific vase because it's not too tall and has a slight indentation at the neck, which makes it ideal for adding ribbons, raffia, or string to dress it up. 

The first step is to create a little paper "nest" with some shredded craft paper.  You can find natural, premade basket filler in the gift wrapping sections of most craft stores.  However, I made my own using my stash of brown paper bags and a paper shredder.  Be sure to use plain bags with nothing printed on them.  Cut them into rectangles that will easily feed into your shredder.  Grab a handful and add it to the bottom of your vase.

Next, add string or raffia to the neck and tie on a rustic-looking key.  Last fall I was fortunate enough to find these large decorative keys on sale at Michaels for only 69 cents and I bought one of each style.  My little collection wasn't enough for ten centerpieces though, so I went out in search of more keys.  I had a little trouble finding them at a reasonable price.  Hobby Lobby had a pack of 6 or 7 keys, with words such as "Memories" on them, in the scrapbooking section for around $10.  I also found some in the jewelry section of Michaels, but they were between $4 and $8 per key.  Yikes!!  You may have better luck finding them online.  
I thought about adding a tag with the word "Courage" on it to represent the Courage Keys, which will be given out to every registered MOPS member this year.  Maybe if I have more time I'll add that later...

Next, fill the vase up with some crumpled paper.  This helps hide the stems of the feathers and makes the vases look full.  It also adds more texture and dimension.  I wanted to incorporate the idea of being brave enough to share our stories with each other, so I tore these pages out of books.  Yes, I lover's everywhere are cringing right now.  I admit, it was really hard for me to destroy a perfectly good book.  It's not like I'm burning it though, just repurposing it.  Besides, one book was sufficient.  If it makes you feel better, use a book that is already damaged.  I sent my husband on an errand to find one that was Christian based, because it would be pretty embarrassing if someone found a swear word or something overly provocative peeking through the glass.  Our library routinely gets rid of overstock by putting books on sale for 50 cents to a dollar per book.  Loosely crumple the pages and stuff them around the perimeter of the vase, leaving a little space in the middle for your feathers.   

Add your feathers.  I'm not gonna to lie.  The feathers were pretty pricey.  The turquoise blue ostrich feathers were $3.99 each!  The peacock feathers were $1.99 each and the pheasant clusters were $2.99 I think.  One feather didn't quite do it.  It looked awfully lonely and sparse.  This grouping seemed to be the right mix, plus I absolutely adore the combination of brown and turquoise.  I used some string to tie the stems together.  This helps them stand up a little straighter, makes for a tighter cluster, and will make it quicker to disassemble again for easy storage. 
You may be able to cut costs by finding a local supplier for the feathers or buying them bulk online.  You could also use fewer feathers and just add more flowers.  However, our MOPS group has used so many fake flowers for centerpieces over the past few years that I just wanted to go in a different direction. 

The final step is a burlap flower.  Yes, *gasp* it's another fake flower.  I went with a burlap one though, which is not the typical go-to flower and it adds some rustic charm.  When I saw these at Hobby Lobby, I fell in love with them.  They had several different kinds of burlap flowers, so it was hard to choose just one.  There are tons of tutorials out there for making these yourself, and I was very tempted to give it a try.  However, I was pressed for time.  I still had to make 70 key chains too, so I opted to buy the burlap flowers instead.  They were $2.49 per flower. 
And're done!  The total cost is between $14 and $24, depending on how shopper-savvy you are.  You can save a lot by using 40% off coupons and waiting until specific items go on sale.  

We used teal green or turquoise blue plastic table cloths with a square of burlap cloth under the vases.  It would also be pretty layered with another cream-colored placemat, (as pictured).  Since the ostrich feathers come in a wide variety of colors, you could use a different colored feather, along with a matching table cloth, to distinguish the tables from one another. 
If you find a good source for any of the supplies I mentioned, feel free to share it by commenting below.  I hope this inspires you to create something beautiful today!