Category Archives: Craft Challenge

Rocking the resistors

I liked this challenge, but it seemed to me that I couldn’t get the idea of jewelry out of my head. It just seemed to speak to me and say, “I should be a piece of jewelry”. So, naturally, that is what I made.

I felt that the colors were a factor in what I made. To me they felt like Fall, and what else is more like fall than a leaf. I made a base and then I wired the resistors as veins of the leaf. I like how the colors filled in the base. I make a lot of pendants normally, so this time I decided it would be a bracelet. Kind of like a bangle bracelet. I curved the leaf around a glass to give it the right feel on a wrist. I took a piece of 16 gauge German Silver and made a loop in each end. I curved the wire to conform around my wrist.

For the ring, I formed a loop in the wire about 12″ from the end and then wrapped the wire around a mandrel 3 times. I curled the wire around the loop and cut off the excess. I cut off one end of the wire next to the base of the resistor and formed a loop. These small loops were attached to the larger loop to give a star- burst effect.

I am pretty thrilled with how they came out. I hope you like them too.

Pendant made of resistors.

Crafty Challenge 8: Resistor Necklace and Pendant

So some of our Crafty Sisters have been a little distracted lately and it took an extra week to get our projects posted this week. (I cannot complain as it has been me a couple of times who has been distracted.)

Our found item that must be used in our challenge was resistors. Out of the Crafty Sister storage came a canister full of old resistors. We divided them up and got to work.

Resistors just seem to lend themselves towards jewelry and I was inclined to follow. My foremost concern was an interesting pendant.

Pendant made of resistors.

My entire necklace is made of resistors, even the hook and eye clasp. The wired ends make wire-wrapping a breeze.

Necklace made up entirely of electronic resistors.

This is a very simple necklace to make and only took me about 2 hours. Most of that time was spent messing with the style and shape of the pendant.

I am pleased with how this turned out and will probably wear it from time to time.

Happy Crafting!

Kristin

Bird Paper Mache Tree Crafty Sisters Challenge

Crafty Challenge 7: Paper Mache Tree with Nesting Bird

Bird Paper Mache Tree Crafty Sisters Challenge
Bird nesting in a tree.

Cheri: I find it really interesting that every project we do, I always think that it is the best one yet, but this project was one of the best. I like working with paper. It has endless possibilities and can be made into practically anything. I knew I wanted to make a tree with a nest and a bird, as this is a theme that I have been exploring lately.

To begin, I made a base for the tree with paper covered wire. To make the base, I cut about nine lengths of wire around 9 inches long. I took a longer piece of wire and wrapped it around the base and slowly coiled my way up the tree. I left some of the wire sticking out of the bottom to make the roots and some sticking out of the top to make the limbs.

I then took some pages from an old book, (Gone with the Wind), and ripped them into strips. I  paper-mached the strips onto the tree, the bird and the branches.

For the nest, I cut very thin slices of paper and formed them with glue using the bottom of a small bowl as a form. I let it dry and when I took  it out it looked amazingly like a real nest. At this point I was not really sure if I wanted to paint it or not, but after talking it over with my son, Justin, we felt that it would look nice if I did a light watercolor wash on it. This really made the text pop and was just the right touch.

I was very pleased with how it looked when it was completed and it really came out how I wanted it to look. And somehow it seems fitting to turn paper back into a tree.

Paper Mache Tree Crafty Sisters Challenge
Tree with nest removed.
Paper Mache Bird Nest Crafty Sisters Challenge
Close up of nest and bird.
Paper Mache Bird Tree Crafty Sisters Challenge
Another view.
Paper Mache Bird Nest Tree Wire Crafty Sisters Challenge
Nesting bird and tree.
Copper mobile close up

Crafty Challenge 6: Twisted Disk Copper Mobile

Copper mobile close up

Loryn: This copper challenge was intriguing for me, as the only metalworking I’ve done is twisted wire jewelry. As soon as I saw the copper pieces, I immediately thought of doing a mobile in the style of Alexander Calder.

Full mobile picture

I started out making cut pieces like the leaf-shapes in many of Calder’s mobiles. I had cut about ten, and my hands were starting to hurt, when I had an idea to try making three dimensional shapes out of the disks.

Round copper mobile shape

Each shape is made from two disks cut to fit together.

Two simple pieces can make a huge variety of shapes. Read on to see how they are made.

Steps to make the mobile parts:

Two disks with first step completed

Make a cut to the center of each disk. Scissors work surprisingly well on this lightweight copper.

Slide the two disks together.

Slide the two disks together on the cuts that you just made. Keep sliding them together until the edges of the circles are even.

Then, start bending the cut pieces into interesting shapes. I started bending the pieces so that the two pieces wouldn’t fall apart. Turning each cut piece in the opposite direction creates a really stable object. This copper (leftover from a manufacturing process 20 years ago) is very hard to bend, so it makes really nice curves. I just kept playing around with different bends on each shape!

To hang each piece, I just used a nail to punch a hole. The mobile wires are made from 18 gauge galvanized wire, with a 12 gauge wire for the upper piece, which holds the most weight. I have a lot of disks left, so I’ll be making lots more of these twisted disk sculptures!

–Loryn

Copper Bracelet Hammered Crafty Sisters

Crafty Challenge 6: Hammered Cuff Bracelet

Copper Bracelet Hammered Crafty Sisters
Hand-hammered cuff bracelet.

Lynne:

I have been accused of shooting down the last few ideas for crafty challenges, so when Loryn came up with the idea of using some scrap copper discs in the garage I couldn’t very well argue. I have had those discs for the last 20 years and had never been able to find a good use for them and now I was backed into using them in a challenge.

I searched the internet and found this video on YouTube. The most exciting thing to me was the minimal need for specialty tools. Of course, when you are not using many tools, skill is always a bigger factor in the finished project. I pulled out a vise, a wrench and a ball peen hammer and set to. I will tell you now that ear plugs are a very good idea.

We have another sister who lives out of state and she was here visiting. She had brought some tools and a willingness to hammer out some ideas. Together the two us managed to hammer a small bowl with turned edges. Turning that outer edge under is not so easy but I found that brute strength is not the best idea. A small hammer with a light touch goes a long way as a hard hammer hit will put a tear in the copper.

Copper Craft Challenge Crafty Sisters Hammered
The diameter of our discs was jut 3" so the bowl is very small.
Copper Craft Challenge Crafty Sisters Hammered
Here is the bowl as seen from the bottom showing the turned edge.

I folded copper, hammered copper, cut copper and cursed copper, but I could not manage to make any progress until last Saturday. I just seemed to make one good hit with the hammer and the copper began to do what I wanted it to do. Failure does lead one to success as long as you keep trying.

I ended up cutting a rectangle from two copper discs for the two halves of a cuff bracelet. I turned the long edges under and then hammered the finished rectangles into a roughly oval wrist-fitting shape.

One of my failed projects was a ring that was too wide for my finger and I had tossed it into the growing scrap heap. However, when I needed a bridge to hold the two bracelet halves together the too wide ring was perfect. All I had to do was hammer the ring flat, punch holes in it, punch matching holes in the other two pieces and connect them all with paper fasteners (not really sturdy but the deadline was twenty minutes away) and there was my bracelet.

For my first piece of hammered metal work I was extremely happy, and despite all my complaining I have become intrigued with the process and am going to do some more work with copper.
Lynne

Hammered Copper Cuff Bracelet Crafty Sisters
Hammered copper cuff bracelet.
Hammered Copper Pendant Necklace Crafty Sisters

Crafty Challenge 6: Verdigris Copper Pendant and Hammered Chain

Hammered Copper Pendant Necklace Crafty Sisters
Hammered copper necklace with verdigris patina.
Copper Necklace Pendant Hammered Crafty Sisters
Hammered copper pendant necklace.

Cheri: It felt so good to get back to a challenge after our winter hiatus. And this challenge couldn’t have been better. I think we were all a little excited and a bit apprehensive when this project was initiated. After playing with the copper for awhile, knew whatever I made, it would most likely be jewelry. This is when I let the metal do the talking. I had a ball peen hammer and a small vice with a flat edge and I went to town banging on some copper. I was pleasantly surprised with how pretty the copper became after being hammered. Metal can lose what small elasticity it has in it after it has been work-hardened so I really wanted to make sure that I did not overdo the hammering or it would become brittle. After I had mastered the shape I wanted, I decided to do some research on adding a patina. I came across an article that said I could add blue to the copper by suspending the piece over a bowl of ammonia in a closed container. This was super easy, just be careful with the odor, it can be a bit overwhelming.  The patina on my piece took about 12 hours to achieve and I think it came out pretty nice.

Copper Rings Hammered Crafty Sisters
Hammered copper rings with button-hole style closure-clasp.

I punched holes with a hole punch and used copper wire to embellish the pendant and make the chain. I also hammered the copper wire to give it a rustic look. The rings were made by hammering a small strip of copper and then coiling it around a mandrel. I put two holes in the upper end and two holes in the under part. This had a button hole effect when I used a bead to bring the two pieces together and basically tied them with brass wire.

The copper turned out to be an awesome material to work with and I look forward to making many more pieces.

Cheri

Crafty Sisters Hammered Copper Pendant Necklace
Hammered verdigris copper pendant and necklace.
View of copper star-burst necklace from the bottom of the pendant.

Crafty Challenge Six: Copper Star-burst Necklace

View of copper star-burst necklace from the bottom of the pendant.

We are back, baby!

After an additional week due to some time constraints, our Copper Crafty Challenge is complete. We had our final reveal among the Crafty Sisters this afternoon, and boy, we really seem to be at the top of our game for this challenge. I cannot wait for you to see all the projects. We are going to post one project a day, so keep coming back!

I waffled quite a bit on this challenge. I make a lot of jewelry and I wasn’t sure if that was where I wanted to go with this particular project. After a week and a half of indecision, I decided, why mess with a good thing, jewelry it would be.

Copper star-burst pendant and leaf chain.

Using a compass I played Spirograph on a copper disc and cut out the star burst pendant. Amazingly, the copper is thin and soft enough that you can cut the discs with heavy duty scissors. I hammered the star on both sides to give it some depth. I then curled the points of the star (I couldn’t see any other way to really blunt the points. Those suckers were sharp!) to keep from puncturing anyone wearing it or snagging your clothes. I attached the light green crystal bead in the middle with wire and did some wire-wrapped crystals (also light green in color) for the dangles at the bottom of the pendant.

Close-up of the star-burst pendant.

The chain is made up of hammered copper ovals and more wire-wrapped crystals. I did  make all the jump rings and the clasp out of wire as well. The wire is standard 18 gauge copper wire from the hardware store.

All the hammering was done on an anvil that my dad made me for Christmas several years ago and with a series of hammers that he made for me 2 years ago. I started all the holes with a punching awl then enlarged then with a Dremel tool and a diamond tipped drill bit. I filled all the edges with a mini file to be sure that you wouldn’t slice yourself open on the sharp edges caused by the scissors.

The star-burst was actually the second pendant I made for this necklace. I wasn’t all that happy with the first one I had made. I showed it around and the other Crafty Sisters and my M-I-L (who joined us from my house this week) thought it was great, which just goes to show how hyper-critical I can be about my own work.

First copper pendant I made.
This pendant is made of a copper plumbing pipe fitting.

Side view of the alternate copper pendant.

I did make a pair of earrings to go along with the necklace (my usual M.O.) and I think they turned out rather well.

Copper leaf earrings.

I really like how the hammered ovals came out looking like leaves. The hammering causes the copper to curl a little and I liked the affect so much that I left it and used the same affect in the star-burst pendant.

Close-up of the hammered copper leaf.

That is my completed project! It was a fairly easy process all in all and one that I found rather fun (until my arm got tired of all the hammering). I cannot wait for the next challenge. In the meantime, I have promised this necklace to my M-I-L and and am going to take the earrings apart to make a matching bracelet instead as she does not have pierced ears. So, back to my craft table to work on some more copper!

Happy Crafting!

Kristin

This post is featured on Todays Creative Blog.

Crafty Challenge Seven: Paper

Our sixth Crafty Challenge has come to a completion and was a rousing success. We will be posting the results one project per day this week. We hope you keep coming back to check them all out!

Crafty Challenge Seven is all about paper. For this project, your main material must be paper. By paper, we mean any paper product (e.g., cardboard, card stock, wrapping paper, tissue paper). This is a challenge to minimize materials, unlike some of our past challenges that were limited by cost or time.

Here are some of the other crafts made out of paper from our crafting history:

Paper flower garland

This is a paper flower garland made by Lynne for Crafty Challenge 5.

Scrapbook Paper Balls

These are Christmas ornaments made by Cheri for our Christmas Ornament Countdown.

Fast Food Folio

This is a folio made by Lynne for Crafty Challenge 3.

The project can be anything you like and it will be very interesting to see what all the Crafty Sisters come up with! The challenge starts today and we  have 2 weeks to complete our project. Our next reveal will be on April 29th (Happy future Birthday to Crafty Sister Cheri’s children, Jacob and Justin who were born on that auspicious day!).

Wish us luck and few paper cuts.

Happy crafting,

Kristin

Crafty Challenge Six: Copper Discs

Spring is here and around Indiana, it is running full steam already. In celebration, we are gearing up for our sixth Crafty Challenge. This round is all about copper.

In another bid to help clean out the garage, Loryn found some really nifty copper discs hiding in a box. (This was how our Wooden Spool Challenge started.) These are cut-outs from sheet metal and their origin is unknown. (Really, where does half the stuff in garages come from? It is like the inverse of the dryer phenomenon.)

Photo of 4 stacks of copper discs.
Four roughly even stacks for the four Crafty Sisters!

We each got our own stack (we didn’t actually count them out this time, there were too many) and you could just see all our brains buzzing already.

I thought it was really funny after we divided them up, we all took a stack and then remembered that we would need a photo for the blog. We all placed our stack just so and made sure to pick up the same one we set down. We certainly get proprietary over our craft materials don’t we?

One pile of copper discs fanned out.
This is actually Lynne's pile of copper discs. The rest of us snapped ours up pretty quickly.

So, we now have two weeks (well, at this point 12 days) to come up with a craft that makes use of these bendy little circles.

Stay tuned for the final results on April 8th! I can’t wait to see what we all come up with!

Happy crafting!

Kristin

Crafty Challenge 5: Paper Flower Garland

Crafty Challenge 5
Frilly and festive tissue paper flowers for a Christmas tree garland.
Crafty Challenge 5
My white Christmas tree with its new garlands.

Lynne: Crafty Challenge 5 was a challenge for me. I don’t believe I have made any Christmas ornaments for several years and it was tough to get my mind back into that red and green groove.

I like long garlands and I like them to be lit. Strings of Christmas tree lights seemed to me to be the best way to start, so I bought a strand of 100 clear Christmas tree lights. I needed the light strand to be decorated and the longer I looked at them the more the bulbs looked like the centers of flowers. Why not put a flower around each light bulb? The flower I made for my Do It Best Purse in the hardware store challenge would be the perfect fit to go around the collars of the light bulbs.

I plugged in my strand of lights for two hours to check on how hot they would get. I could still hold them in my hand at the end of the two hours so I used red tissue paper. However, be safe and turn off your tree lights whenever you leave the house.

Tissue paper comes folded in its package. When you unfold the paper the creases are good guidelines for cutting the long strips. I cut through all of the layers at the same time, because there was less chance of the sheets slipping while they were still in the original folds. I used a rotary cutter and the resulting strips were about 3″ wide.

Crafty Challenge 5
Crease from tissue paper being folded for packaging.

I folded the strip in half and then separated the layers into stacks of two strips each. (The number of layers can vary depending on how thick the paper is and how frilly you want the flowers.) I taped the unfolded edge with scotch tape. I put half the tape on one side then flipped the strip over and folded the tape up onto the other side. Then I used scissors to cut the folded edge of the strip into fringe.

Crafty Challenge 5
Taping the long strips closed.
Crafty Challenge 5
Taping 2 layers of long strip.
Crafty Challenge 5
I used scissors to fringe the folded edge of the strips.

Once you’ve fringed the length of the strip, cut it into 5″ sections. 5 inches worked best for me but you can make the sections longer if you want fuller flowers. Take each 5″ section and roll it around one of the light bulb plastic holders. The holders are plastic and I found that a dab of hot glue when you first start to roll the flower is strong enough to hold the flower in place. Once you have the flower rolled use a piece of tape to keep it closed. I put a flower on every other light bulb and I was just able to finish the garland in two hours.

I liked the results so much that after the challenge was over I made another garland and bought a white Christmas tree to put them on.

Crafty Challenge
Fold the 5" strip around the holder of the light bulb and tape it closed.
Crafty Challenge 5
Close-up of the flower.
Crafty Challenge 5
Another close-up because they look so pretty and festive.
Crafty Challenge 5
Frilly Flower Garland