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Tag Archives: Crafts

Leisure Arts is the leader in all things crafts. Visit our blog for the latest in crafting ideas, techniques, products and ideas. Paracord, adult coloring, children's crafts, these are just a sprinkling of crafts you'll find.

  • Pom-Pom Halloween

     

    The uses and appearances of pom-poms have expanded from winter gear and sports’ embellishments to include year-round home decor. See how simple pom-poms can become part of your Halloween-themed decorations.

    Pom-poms were frequently only seen on winter accessories, or worn by a team’s cheer squad. It's wonderful that the uses for and appearances of these puffy mounds of yarn have been greatly expanded! Beautiful household items are crafted with pom-poms such as wall hangings and wreaths!

    Halloween is coming in a few weeks and I wanted to get ready with some pom-pom décor. Getting a lot of ideas from Pinterest was easy. Look at this cute mantle garland and another version for one's vertical porch decor; both are awesome! Using these two Pins as my guidelines, I began making pom-poms with an end result in mind.

    Since I had many pom-poms to make in varying sizes, I took the advice of one of our designers and purchased Clover Pom-Pom Makers. To reinsure that you're using your pom-pom maker correctly, watch a video in less than five minutes.  I gathered several yarn weights with different textures. One of my favorites for this project was Red Heart's Reflective yarn. The reflective yarn has a thin gray strip that reflects the light; reflective does not mean glow-in-the-dark.

    Before: Parts to make Halloween characters. Small pom-poms (1.625") and pipe cleaners cut in half. Before: Parts to make Halloween characters. Small pom-poms (1.625") and pipe cleaners cut in half.

    Of course, my Halloween pom-poms were going to include a pumpkin, a spider, and a ghost. First would be the pumpkin. This would be fairly easy to accomplish: one pom-pom with a curled pipe cleaner as its stem.

    My second figure was the spider. Again the main part was the pom-pom as the spider body. Then, I added six pipe cleaner legs. I even challenged myself to make a red spot to indicate a Black Widow spider. I followed color pattern suggestions as found on the back of the Clover Extra Large Pom-Pom Maker's packaging.

    Added a little more drama to the spider character; here's a Black Widow! Added a little more drama to the spider character; here's a Black Widow!

    The last Halloween figure I needed to make was a ghost. This appeared more challenging than I thought. My final decision was to make a pom-pom for the ghost's head and attach it to the loose yarn strands to represent its body. I made three ghosts; each received an added yarn embellishment giving each one its own personality.

    After: Halloween characters include a spider, ghost and pumpkin. After: Halloween characters include a spider, ghost and pumpkin.

    I was ready to display my characters at home and office so I needed both a wall/door decoration, as well as, tabletop decor ideas. I wanted to incorporate extra color into my display and the perfect complement was Leisure Arts' Jute Twine (item 48526)I chose to use three of the six colors.

    Planning my display; love the colored jute! Planning my display; love the colored jute!

    My colleague found the perfect fallen branch from his hickory tree. Upon its arrival in the office, it quickly became a character itself and given the name, "Old Hickory". The branch had so much character with its craggy texture, knuckled sections and lichen patterns, I didn't want to cover all of it.

    Halloween pom-pom characters suspended from "Old Hickory" as door decor. Halloween pom-pom characters suspended from "Old Hickory" as door decor.

    Here are my extra pom-poms used for some added character for one of the most-anticipated days to celebrate around the office.

    Other Halloween decor using pom-poms in two sizes. Other Halloween decor using pom-poms in two sizes.

    I hope you enjoy making pom-poms and  decorating for Halloween; happy haunting!

    Martha

  • Clothespin Crafts from Kids to Adults: Egg Carton Flowers & Scented Caterpillars

    I was amazed at how many clothespin crafts for kids to adults there were available when researching on Pinterest. But, as always, Pinterest searches open a treasure trove of information. How to cull it down is the key. What really caught my eye were some creative uses of fairly common materials in kids' crafts: egg cartons and pom-poms. Include some clothespins, and an additional magnet, and many hours of crafting can result!

    The wide, wooden clothespins carried by Leisure Arts are fabulous for painting, gluing and decorating. The smoother and larger surface area make it easy for younger and older crafters to create.

    Large, natural wood clothespins measure approximately 2.875" long x 0.625" wide; four per pack. Leisure Arts item #48165. Large, natural wood clothespins measure approximately 2.875" long x 0.625" wide; four per pack. Leisure Arts item #48165.

    The younger crowd, with some assistance, can make egg carton flowers. I loved these cherry blossom flowers because of the incorporation of make-believe egg carton flowers with the real branches. Since I wanted to use the materials I had, I decided to make the flowers with the egg cartons and then glue them onto my clothespins.

    If assistance is needed, it may come with the formation of the flowers' petals. The flowers do not have to be exact or perfect; the petals are formed by tearing the shapes. However, depending on the age of the child, your youngster may need assistance with this step.

    Cardboard egg cartons; each section separated and "petals" are formed by tearing. Cardboard egg cartons; each section separated and "petals" are formed by tearing.

    The fun comes with the painting! Most kids can do this on their own with some guidelines regarding usage and cleanliness -- what they may/may not paint! Use your judgment when it comes to your choice of medium and make adjustments as needed. I used acrylic paints to paint my egg carton flowers.

    Acrylic paint applied to cardboard flowers. Some flowers will be glued onto large, natural wood clothespins. Leisure Arts item #48165. Acrylic paint applied to cardboard flowers. Some flowers will be glued onto large, natural wood clothespins. Leisure Arts item #48165.

    I started preparing for my next craft: pom-pom caterpillars. Why was I excited about these so much? I was blown away with the ingenious use of essential oils and pom-poms to scent the air in a car; I just had to try -- especially since I only recently purchased three essential oils to make shower melts and hand scrub, I was looking for more uses!

    The large wooden clothespins by Leisure Arts are 0.625" wide - that's like a mini palette! Kids can paint, glue and decorate more easily using these! So, I gathered my paints, pom-poms in various sizes and textures, bought some wiggly eyes and was set to go!

    Collection of supplies for clothespin crafts for the younger kids to make. Egg carton flowers and pom-pom caterpillars will be glued to clothespins. Collection of supplies for clothespin crafts for the younger kids to make. Egg carton flowers and pom-pom caterpillars will be glued to clothespins.

    I don't have white School Glue so I substituted E6000 glue; again, use your judgment according to the age of the group of kids or other individuals with whom you are working!

    Egg carton flowers can have one or two layers of "petals". Add a pom-pom or other embellishment(s) to center. Glue some to clothespins backed with magnets. Egg carton flowers can have one or two layers of "petals". Add a pom-pom or other embellishment(s) to center. Glue some to clothespins backed with magnets.

    As adults, we can over-think too much, even when it comes to fun crafts. I almost fell into this trap regarding the pom-pom caterpillars and their looks; then, I laughed out loud! Most little kids won't be self-criticizing. Let them have fun with different colors and sizes of pom-poms. I even had some pom-poms with a few extra-long shimmery fibers which added a nice touch (literally and figuratively) to the caterpillar.

    Caterpillars get wiggly eyes added either to the clothespin, or to the first pom-pom. Magnets can be added to the back of the clothespin. Caterpillars get wiggly eyes added either to the clothespin, or to the first pom-pom. Magnets can be added to the back of the clothespin.

    Leave room at the end of the clothespin for the wiggly eyes if you decide to glue them there. After the glue is set, place one or more drops of essential oils onto one or more of your caterpillar pom-poms.

    Extra versatility to these caterpillars: add a few drops of an essential oil to one or more pom-poms. Attach caterpillar clothespin to a fan for soothing aroma-therapy! Extra versatility to these caterpillars: add a few drops of an essential oil to one or more pom-poms. Attach caterpillar clothespin to a fan for soothing aroma-therapy!

    You may prefer less of a scent if planning on using your aromatic caterpillar in a car attached to the air conditioning vent, rather than attached to a room fan.

    A fan gently distributes Lavender's essential oil's scent from the pom-poms throughout the air! A fan gently distributes the scent of Lavender essential oil throughout the air; one drop of Lavender was placed on each pom-pom.

    Older kids and adults can be creative with these large natural clothespins, too. Extra detailing using paint, buttons, brads, coloring book art, artificial floral and fauna all are great to add a special theme to the clothespins.

    Paint and other embellishments are added to clothespins that older "kids" and adults can make; magnets can be added to the backs. Paint and other embellishments are added to clothespins that older "kids" and adults can make; magnets can be added to the backs.

    Gathering my clothespin crafts and other items that I want to make into magnets; this adds versatility for my clothespins.

    Younger kids can make egg carton flower clothespin magnets and pom-pom caterpillar clothespin magnets (*adults can add a few drops of an essential oil to one or more pom-poms and attach to a fan). Younger kids can make egg carton flower clothespin magnets and pom-pom caterpillar clothespin magnets (*adults can add a few drops of an essential oil to one or more pom-poms and attach to a fan).

    All magnets are not created equal; even when they are the same diameter. Here are packaging examples of three magnetic "buttons". The magnet strength nor thickness/height are list; only the diameter as 0.75 inches. I chose to use the ProMAG Ceramic Magnets (the yellow packaging pictured in the upper right-hand corner of the image).

    The difference in magnet buttons: thickness and adhesive backing! The difference in magnet buttons: thickness and adhesive backing!

    Here's a close-up of the magnets themselves.

    Close-up: the difference in magnet buttons clearly shows the difference in thickness. Close-up: the difference in magnet buttons clearly shows the difference in thickness.

    Now to decorate! But I think I'll need more room than one portion of my refrigerator's side. I don't have anything else that is readily available; do you? If not, stay tuned for my next installment and what you can do to create a board for your new clothespin magnets!

    Bye for now,

    Martha

  • Get Slimed - Learn How to Make Your Own Slime!

    Slippery, gelatinous slime has been all the rage lately; now you can make your own with easy to find supplies! Then add a few extra ingredients to each batch of slime to achieve a multitude of textures, colors and visual effects. Pliable and stretchy, slick slime is now a commodity! 




    When I think of slime, I envision a gelatinous, gooey mess found on a garden slug! I've never worked with slime before, but there's so much more to slime than being a slippery substance. If you want to get creative with your slime, check out our all-new release, Slimed DIY. I read all of the helpful hints, dos and donts as outlined in the leaflet before I got started. Everything I used was from my local grocery store.  You can use more exotic ingredients, but I kept it simple. I started with the basic recipe called, Simple Slime.

    Simple Slime Simple Slime




     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Always measure, don't guess. Even then, you may have to measure twice and reread your instructions, as well as, the order in which the ingredients are added to the recipe. This is science; it's all about chemical reactions.

    Simple Slime ingredients; from Leisure Arts' item #7191 - Slimed DIY. Simple Slime ingredients




    Definitely use food coloring! It adds more mystery to your slime -- and if you make different batches, it helps to segregate them in your mind to help determine which slime version you liked the best!

    Adding liquid food coloring to first batch of slime. Adding liquid food coloring to first batch of slime.




    I liked the mixing and watching when the physical structure of my liquid ingredients started changing. I can see why so many enjoy this. Look how quickly glue, liquid starch and water transform into a pliable mound of slime!

    See how the slime develops once liquid starch and water are added to the glue / food coloring mixture. See how the slime develops once liquid starch and water are added to the glue / food coloring mixture.




    I scooped my Simple Slime from my mixing bowl and placed on my plastic lined table. My hands were definitely moist while kneading this slime. Other than the moisture, my hands were not sticky. The slime was very pliable and easy to squish.

    All right; first batch of slime! Continue kneading until smooth. My slime remained moist and slick. All right; first batch of slime! Continue kneading until smooth. My slime remained moist and slick.




    On to my second batch of slime, Glitter Glue slime.

    Glitter Glue Slime. Glitter Glue Slime.




    I only wanted a small batch of Glitter Glue Slime, so I halved the recipe found in Leisure Arts' item #7191 - Slimed DIY. After re-reading this recipe's instructions, I read the Tip to use borax, instead of liquid starch, to make a more transparent slime.

    Glitter Glue slime using Borax instead of liquid starch. Glitter Glue slime using borax instead of liquid starch.




    The first thing I would change in my process: if I want to halve a recipe, get enough ingredients to easily portion out into a mixing bowl. I bought exactly half of the glitter glue needed, a 3 oz. bottle. I found it impossible to squeeze out a good portion of the glitter glue from its bottle. As a result, I cut the plastic bottle in half to scoop out the remainder - what a MESS!

    One small container is half the recipe - but what a mess! I had to cut the container because a fourth of the glue would not dispense! One small container is half the recipe - but what a mess! I had to cut the container because a fourth of the glue would not dispense!




    Following the steps using borax, the glitter glue slime came together very easily. Then I thought I should add more water because I had so much remaining, and - failure! My slime turned to liquid.

    My slime looked great, but I didn't leave well enough alone and added a little more water. I ruined the proportions - it's all about measurements. My slime looked great, but I didn't leave well enough alone and added a little more water. I ruined the proportions - it's all about measurements.




    I tried adding a little more borax, but that didn't work. Maybe a little more - oh, well; my proportions were all off. I could not start over from the beginning because I only purchased just the right amount of glitter glue to halve the recipe one time.

    Next up, Fluffy slime.

    Fluffy Slime Fluffy Slime




     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This slime version had twice the number of ingredients than the previous two slime versions I tried. I wanted to get as many ingredients measured - but I made a fatal error that I discovered later in the process. What is nice about this Fluffy version, the slime book noted that this recipe can be doubled if desired.

    Fluffy - Attempt 1: I can't wait to feel a different texture of slime! Ingredients are ready! Fluffy - Attempt 1: I can't wait to feel a different texture of slime! Ingredients are ready!




    The slime is developing by getting lumpy. But it just seems too gooey. The slime is developing by getting lumpy. But it just seems too gooey.




    After re-reading the instructions, I realized after-the-fact that I added the foaming hand soap by pouring it from the bottle, not pumping it as a foam into a measuring cup. Well, I can't undo what I had done so instead of getting too frustrated,  I just kept mixing...

    My first attempt at Fluffy Slime didn't seem quite right. It did peel off of my skin easily enough, but it remained sticky and gooey. My first attempt at Fluffy slime didn't seem quite right. It did peel off of my skin easily enough, but it remained sticky and gooey.




    My pink Fluffy slime never did recover from my error. It was still an interesting substance, but not a desirous outcome.

    I was bound and determined to try making Fluffy slime the next morning. I reviewed the images and instructions from item #7191 - Slimed DIY to ensure that I had enough of each of the ingredients to attempt making a second batch.  I also needed to make sure that I had taken all of the steps in their correct order.

    Second attempt at Fluffy Slime: All the ingredients are ready and measured! Second attempt at Fluffy slime: All the ingredients are measured and ready to be mixed!




    I was happy to see an immediate difference in the yellow substance forming in my bowl compared to my first attempt done the day before.

    The glue, shaving cream & foaming hand soap are combined, followed by cornstarch. Watch as a ball develops when a small amount of liquid starch is added. OOPS; I forgot the food coloring mixture! The glue, shaving cream & foaming hand soap are combined, followed by cornstarch. Watch as a ball develops when a small amount of liquid starch is added. OOPS; I forgot the food coloring mixture!




    I got a little nervous when I realized that I had mixed the liquid hand soap, hand lotion and food coloring together but had not [yet] added it to the first mixture of glue, shaving cream, foaming hand soap and cornstarch. I added a little of the yellow food coloring mixture and hoped all would remain intact!

    Phew; adding the food coloring mixture out-of-order didn't ruin my slime. My fluffy is a little puffy. Phew; adding the food coloring mixture out-of-order didn't ruin my slime. My fluffy is a little puffy.




    Can you tell I'm pressing down into my Fluffy slime mixture? It felt cool, smooth and pliable. It was not wet or sticky, but very putty-like. It was great that my second batch of Fluffy slime allowed me to mash it, ball it, and stretch it without spreading any residue all over.

    My hands are basically clean; I like this! My hands are basically clean; I like this!

    I liked the elasticity and texture of Fluffy slime as an all-around tactile toy. I didn't need to purchase any unusual ingredients; all materials could be purchased at a brick-and-mortar store, or its online equivalent.

    Oh, how much fun is this! I'm so glad I made a second attempt at the Fluffy Slime - it's stretchy, soft and cool to the touch! Oh, how much fun is this! I'm so glad I made a second attempt at the Fluffy slime - it's stretchy, soft and cool to the touch!




    HINTS

    1. Purchase enough ingredients to make several batches.

    2.  Definitely buy a discardable table cover of thin plastic. Most slime is SUPER EASY to clean up; except if your slime is too gooey. If your slime attempt turns into a slime failure, and you have a gooey mess, just cut your plastic table cover with the mess and throw away.

    3. Remember DO NOT pour any batches of slime down the drain or flush down the toilet. But it does clean up from measuring cups, mixing bowls and utensils (plus floors, chairs, phone cases, and hands) very easily using warm soapy water.

    4. Follow all instructions, guidelines, safety tips, usage instructions and tips outlined in Leisure Arts' item #7191 - Slimed DIY or your desired recipe and listed on all other ingredients used while making your own slime.

    Crafting can be fun and instructive. Definitely use slime for interactive fun at home, added as part of school projects, or to demonstrate the scientific properties of chemical reactions when substances meet.

    Slimy Fun! Slimy Fun!




     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Enjoy some slimy creativity!

    Martha

     




  • Dress Up Your Sweet Treats This Valentine's Day!

    Hearts, flowers, and candy galore usually define Valentine's Day. Make your celebration even more heartfelt by including thoughtful special gift wraps or decorative embellishments as additions to your gifts and sweets.

    My idea was simple enough; I wanted to make some animal cut-outs using pages from my coloring book stash. Then I got serious when I saw these super-cute animal shapes by Lia Griffith and just had to do them for Valentine's Day.

    These animal templates for DIY Candy Huggers by Lia Griffith found on Pinterest served as my inspiration. These animal templates for DIY Candy Huggers by Lia Griffith found on Pinterest served as my inspiration.

    My first step was to choose one book from my coloring book collection. I chose Leisure Arts' item #6903 - Art of Coloring Nature after I saw several pages with heart-shapes incorporated into the designs. Plus, I wanted nature-themed pages for my animals.

    A wonderful collection of imaginary and realistic flora can be found in Leisure Arts #6903 - Art of Coloring Nature. A wonderful collection of imaginary and realistic flora can be found in Leisure Arts #6903 - Art of Coloring Nature.

    Here's an example of one page whose heart shapes were very well incorporated into its design.

    The heart shape can be found peeking out among the flowers and birds on this page from Leisure Arts #6903 - Art of Coloring Nature. I've lightly colored some for you to see more easily. The heart shape can be found peeking out among the flowers and birds on this page from Leisure Arts #6903 - Art of Coloring Nature. I've lightly colored some for you to see more easily.

    After enlarging and printing the original templates by Lia Griffith, I modified one so that my three animal shapes included a cat along with the bunny and bear shapes. Once I had a master set of my own templates, I set out arranging them on a coloring book page; I could trace and cut three animal shapes from one coloring book page!

    I arranged my animal templates to ensure all three shapes could be cut from one coloring book page. The red construction paper had already been glued to the back of the coloring book page. I arranged my animal templates to ensure all three shapes could be cut from one coloring book page. The red construction paper had already been glued to the back of the coloring book page.

    I found some heart-shaped candy that I thought would fit under the animals' arms once crossed into a hug; I was anxious to see this project come together!

    Each animal had a foam sticker placed on its body. Then a non-edible treat like a Valentine's-themed eraser, or a piece of heart-shaped candy was place over the heart. Every animal had a foam sticker placed on its body. Then a piece of heart-shaped candy, or a non-edible treat like a Valentine's-themed eraser, was placed over each animal's heart. 

    Now I wanted to place a decorative tie around the arms instead of permanently gluing them together. Because the arms could be uncrossed, and the candy eaten, I always wanted a heart shape to be seen while the paper animal was being used. I adhered heart-shaped foam stickers to each of my paper animal huggers.

    Next, each animal's arms were crossed and held together in a hug by a removable silk cord. Next, each animal's arms were crossed and held together in a hug by a removable silk cord.

    I knew I had to find another type of treat instead of candy. Not every treat has to be edible; sometimes there are dietary restrictions that must be followed for children and adults alike. Don't take the celebration out of the party, just find a suitable fun treat that can be used instead of candy. You can see my solution was a fun mini-eraser!

    Instead of a heart-shaped candy, try using a different treat like this eraser for your "animal hugger". Instead of a heart-shaped candy, try using a different treat for your "animal hugger" like this eraser.

    Here are my animal huggers all in a row atop some festive Valentine's Day paper doilies.

    Here are four of the six "animal candy huggers" made by using two coloring book pages from Leisure Arts #6903 - Art of Coloring Nature. Here are four of the six "animal candy huggers" made by using two coloring book pages from Leisure Arts #6903 - Art of Coloring Nature.

    If you prefer not to make animal shapes, consider dressing up a rectangular-shaped chocolate bar. Look what you can do with some Paper Shaper Craft Scissors and paper flowers (like the ones I made in my earlier post Birthday Coloring Cards & Tea Light Cake).

    Wrap a candy bar, color a few shapes, secure with a band made from construction paper and add some paper flowers. Now that's fancy chocolate! Wrap a candy bar, color a few shapes, secure with a band made from construction paper and add some paper flowers. Now that's fancy chocolate!

    If you have a photo taken every year on Valentine's Day, or have a favorite one in mind to give in a personalized frame, try combining a few decorative ideas into one gift. Because I found a modestly-priced wooden frame it had no glass in its frame's opening to cover a photograph, nor did it have a wooden back to more securely hold an image in place.

    So now I needed to use a coloring book page that could act as the frame's back, as well as, to serve as a nice-looking image place holder until a new photograph was inserted. The page I planned on cutting was from Leisure Arts' item #6905 - Art of Coloring Designs.

    I call this page "Hearts Aplenty" and I used it with my painted frame. This design can be found in Leisure Arts #6905 - Art of Coloring Designs. I call this page "Hearts Aplenty" and I used it with my painted frame. This design can be found in Leisure Arts #6905 - Art of Coloring Designs.

    I painted my inexpensive wooden frame red. Then I glued a wooden ampersand symbol painted black, with a white outline, onto the frame to help signify the unifying feeling of love on this day. As part of the frame's presentation, I placed one of my animal huggers on top of it.

    I painted two inexpensive wooden items and combined them to make a very nice Valentine's gift. The frame with heart-shaped opening along with the ampersand were painted with acrylic paint and then sprayed with an acrylic sealer. A photo can be added later but until then, I chose to use a coloring book page as a placeholder. The bunny is not attached to the frame. I painted two inexpensive wooden items and combined them to make a very nice Valentine's gift. The frame with heart-shaped opening along with the ampersand were painted with acrylic paint and then sprayed with an acrylic sealer. A photo can be added later but until then, I chose to use a coloring book page as a placeholder. The bunny is not attached to the frame.

    Wonderful ideas come together with a little inspiration - and coloring book pages! How do you try to incorporate your coloring into other gifts, stationery, and/or decorations?

    Happy Valentine's Day to all!

    Martha

  • After the holidays, thank you notes!

    Now it is time to write some handwritten thank you notes. New Year's Day is behind us and most seasonal celebratory activities and get-togethers are over. Show your appreciativeness for those few individuals who made your holiday experience extra special by coloring them a handwritten thank you card!

    I do take advantage of using electronic means to write notes; messages, invites, updates, and notes of appreciation. But there are times when even a brief handwritten message means so much more to the recipient than an "e" message. Now add another special feature to your holiday thank you cards by coloring! The perfect solution is Leisure Arts' Thank You Coloring Note Cards (item #48231).

    Each package of Thank You Coloring Note Cards (#48232) contains six cards with envelopes; two each of three designs. Each package of Thank You Coloring Note Cards (#48231) contains six cards with envelopes; two each of three designs.

    There are three designs, two cards per design, and six envelopes contained in each package. This set offers a nice variety of designs so that you can vary the use of each depending on the age of the recipient, or your artistic mood at the time of coloring.

    The package of Thank You cards has three designs, two cards per design (Leisure Arts #48231). The package of Thank You cards has three designs, two cards per design (Leisure Arts #48231).

    Spend a little extra time by adding some coloring pizzazz to your note -- wow, what a pop your handwritten message will have!

    Color your own Thank You cards! Colored pencils and markers used on one of three pattern designs (Leisure Arts #48232 - Thank You Coloring Note Cards). Color your own Thank You cards! Colored pencils and markers used on one of three pattern designs (Leisure Arts #48231 - Thank You Coloring Note Cards).

    Now I can't wait until later this month for my friend's January birthday -- yes, Leisure Arts carries Birthday Coloring Note Cards, too!

    The package of Birthday cards (#48231) is also available! The package of Birthday cards (#48232) is also available!

    We'd love to see some of your colored cards. Share your finished coloring note cards on Leisure Arts' Color Art for Everyone Facebook page; we'd love to see them!

    Happy 2017...

    Martha

  • DIY Holiday Lights: Easy Gifting and Decorating Creatively

    Expand the use of tea lights and LED candles to craft easy holiday ornaments and table decor. This can be a most enjoyable time of year with all of the holiday crafting and baking, along with its celebrations, gatherings, and functions. But it can be a stressful time, too; especially when it comes to gifting and decorating creativity. Relax and review some of these craft ideas I've gathered for you!

    I saw the first project below last Christmas season but never got around to making any. So this year it was the first craft project on my list to do and share. A benefit to having been delayed a year, there are multiple variations now! This project's main component are a set of tea lights like the ones Leisure Arts sells (#47150). 

    Use tea lights to make ornaments and luminaries for holiday decor! Use tea lights to make ornaments and luminaries for holiday decor!

    The goal is to make Christmas tree ornaments that look like snowmen using the tea lights. Last year when I started gathering supplies I never could find a stove pipe hat so I moved on and chose a felt stocking cap. Luckily I found one misplaced pack of six and bought them. Fast-forward to this year, I followed a Pinterest pin to this post on Tea Light Snowman Ornaments and followed its directions very closely.

    I tried to purchase another set of the felt stocking caps [in the same size] as I found last year, but they couldn't be found in a local brick-and-mortar store. After not feeling positive about my manipulating ribbon and glue to replicate a scarf, I just experimented with pipe cleaners and really liked the result. Here is a picture of most of my supplies; some supplies were added as modifications to the original tea light snowman were made.

    Most supplies needed for Snowman Santa and Snow Lady tea light ornaments. Most supplies needed for Snowman Santa and Snow Lady tea light ornaments.

    Oh, I'm beginning to have a holiday smile on my face!

    Positioning the felt hat on tea light with eyes and mouth already marked! Positioning the felt hat on tea light with eyes and mouth already marked!

    I added a little more personality to each of the light's characters. The Snow Lady has long eyelashes with a warm chenille pipe cleaner scarf. She's wearing ear muffs crafted out of a smaller piece of pipe cleaner and mini poms-poms. Snowman Santa has a gift with him!

    Snow Lady tea light wears ear muffs with her chenille scarf. The battery compartment is still accessible from the back. Snow Lady tea light wears ear muffs with her chenille scarf. The battery compartment is still accessible from the back.

    My next project was also inspired by a Pin I saw last year using toilet paper cardboard tubes to fashion owl ornaments.

    Molding the cardboard tubes to have owl ears. Molding the cardboard tubes to have owl ears.

    I painted my owl a fairly true-to-life color and added details using my black Sharpie marker. As I was looking at the owl's detailed face and feathers, and thinking about its placement on a tree or wreath, it dawned on me to make it a luminary IF a tea light would fit inside the cardboard tube. I had not planned on the owl decoration to be a luminary, so I had to carefully cut slits through the layers of painted cardboard. Next, I used Loctite® Fun-Tak® to hold the tea light in place.

    Angled feather-slits made with a craft knife through painted cardboard tube. Angled feather-slits made with a craft knife through painted cardboard tube.

    Guess what; a tea light from Leisure Arts was the PERFECT FIT!

    A tea light fits perfectly inside the cardboard tube; it is held in place with some Loctite® Fun-Tak®. A tea light fits perfectly inside the cardboard tube; it is held in place with some Loctite® Fun-Tak®.

    I hot glued a wooden clothespin (Leisure Arts #48158) to the back of the owl so I could perch it anywhere on a tree or wreath. I think the angle of my feather slits need to changed, and the feathers need to be opened more to enhance more illumination.

    A little illumination is visible. Perhaps a different angle or wider slits are needed for more light to be seen. A little illumination is visible. Perhaps a different angle or wider slits are needed for more light to be seen.

    I think I'll experiment with another owl and circular holes.

    A two-tone red owl with pin-pricked holes for better tea light visibility. A two-tone red owl with pin-pricked holes for better tea light visibility.
    The owl's features are done and the tea light is in place! The owl's features are done and the tea light is in place!

    I checked the "better" illumination by sitting my owl in the office's semi-darkened mail room. I think the red owl will look great on a tree with the tea light snow people!

    Sitting in the office mailroom. Sitting in the office mail room.

    Now to show you all three tea light ornaments clustered together: Snowman Santa, Snow Lady and Owl. I like the brighter color used to paint the owl red. I think I'll lean towards making more owls in a variety of folk art colors and add whimsical details around the eyes, feathers and wings.

    On the office tree! Snowman Santa and the Snow Lady both have their lights on. The owl's light is on, too, but the angle doesn't show it very well. On the office tree! Snowman Santa and the Snow Lady both have their lights on. The owl's light is on, too, but the angle doesn't show it very well.
    See the difference in the tea light noses with the light turned on or off. Remember: color the flame orange with a permanent marker. See the difference in the tea light noses with the light turned on or off. Remember: color the flame orange with a permanent marker.

    Next up, more holiday lights on my dining room table at home. I have my LED 3-Pack Candle Set  in a row  atop a table runner.

    The very popular LED 3-pack candle set can be part of a holiday tablescape, too! The very popular LED 3-pack candle set can be part of a holiday tablescape, too!

    I wanted to add to my tabletop candles and decided on making a paper village using my coloring book paper from Art of Coloring  Festive (Leisure Arts #6945) and Art of Coloring Holiday (Leisure Arts #7094). I've just gotten started but am very pleased with the simple, clean paper house design found here.

    The tea lights make paper house luminaries as part of the table decor. The tea lights make paper house luminaries as part of the table decor.

    I looked at many paper house, paper box and paper folded ornament designs but this design by Hello Bee was the best for this project: a house structure to be a luminary and to show off a coloring book design. The paper house on the right has red and green tissue paper taped to the inside of the structure as a line. With the tea light turned on, the tissue paper-lined house was supposed  to give a warm holiday glow. However, it was the heaviest tissue paper I've ever felt and was displeased with the effect; that house will get a renovation! I like the intent of the added tissue paper, but I will need to buy some new (traditionally lighter-weight) yellow tissue paper. When the tea light is turned off, the tissue paper liner masks the appearance of the tea light if you don't like it being seen inside the house.

    In the early Fall, I showed different ways to use and decorate the LED 3-Pack Candle Set for National LED Day. Along with button garlands wrapped around the pillar candles, other embellishments were incorporated to the tablescape that included leaves, more buttons, baskets, etc. Not shown in my earlier post, was the below image of a wintry decorated candle; it is perfect for Christmas and beyond. I made snowball pom-poms (watch how here) and used them along with another button garland to decorate around the largest LED candle in the set.

    These snowball pom-poms look great in holiday colors complementing the ribbon and button garland. These snowball pom-poms look great in holiday colors complementing the ribbon and button garland.

    Candy canes are quite popular to use as part of your holiday decorations this time of year. This home decor candy cane candle project is so festive you could use it in any room for some extra holiday glitz. I wanted to try making a ring of candy canes surrounding a large candle, that I first saw here. It was a great decorative tip or trick, but I wanted to use the largest pillar candle from my LED 3-Pack Candle Set so I would not have to worry about the candle burning down.

    Simple idea - festive look! I'll use my LED pillar candles and won't worry about any flame! Simple idea - festive look! I'll use my LED pillar candles and won't worry about any flame!

    Since I was going to use a hot glue gun to secure the candy canes to each other and I didn't want any hot glue seepage onto my LED candle, I first made a poster board sleeve, or ring, to fit around my candle. Then I glued each candy cane to the poster board and made the candy cane ring. By using the largest pillar candle from my LED 3-Pack Candle Set I don't have to worry about wax getting a bit too warm for plastic wrapped peppermint candy!

    Peppermint candy canes are hot glued to a poster board sleeve [a 3"-4" ring] wrapped around the tallest LED pillar candle. Peppermint candy canes are hot glued to a poster board sleeve [a 3"-4" ring] wrapped around the tallest LED pillar candle.

    I bought inexpensive candy canes, white poster board and wide ribbon. Since I wanted a long section of each candy cane to be glued down, I cut a 3"-4" wide strip of poster board to act as a protective sleeve around the LED candle. I tied on a ribbon for extra security to assist holding the candy canes in place. Now I have an extra pop of color that can be added to any room -- and this is before the LED candle is lit!

    Fluff out that ribbon -- when you're using an LED pillar candle as part of your table decor! Fluff out that ribbon -- when you're using an LED pillar candle as part of your table decor!

    What a fun and busy couple of weeks I've had preparing and gathering these project ideas for you. I hope they will come in handy and lead you in using your tea lights and LED candles as home decor in different ways than you might have expected - craft on!

    Martha

     

     

  • Light Up Your Fall - National LED Light Day!

    October 7th is National LED Light Day -- so light up your surroundings! Fabulous fall decor from colorful leaves and pumpkins, to flying bats and ghosts, who couldn't use an extra candle or two, or three, to add a little glow to their seasonal surroundings? Leisure Arts has an LED 3-Pack Candle Set just for you - and it's being offered at a reduced price! These candles are fake, or faux, and are a great solution for ease of use and enhanced safety; fake means no candle flames ignited or melted wax! Look at what's included in the LED 3-Pack Candle Set along with some of our decorating ideas for you to incorporate into your seasonal decor!

    LED 3-Pack Candle Set includes a remote that offers 12 different color settings, two timer settings and a flickering-light mode. LED 3-Pack Candle Set includes a remote that offers 12 different color settings, two timer settings and a flickering-light mode.

    This is the first "fake" set of  LED Light candles that has gotten me excited to use. Not only do the faux candles feel like wax, each can be illuminated in a different color using the included remote. The remote control offers so many options, including two timer settings.

    LED Light - Unboxed 3 Set The candle heights are 3.9" (10 cm), 4.9" (12.5 cm) and 5.9" (15 cm); the diameter for each is 3" (7.6 cm). Each candle requires three AAA batteries.

    I like the fact that I can decorate each LED Light candle individually and use them as a coordinated theme, or display them separately around the house, or on the covered porch, or other area to be determined by my seasonal decor.

    Decorated LED Light for Fall Decorating each candle with a button garland. No need to worry about this decoration melting!

    As your decorating theme or mood changes, so can the color of the LED Light candles so that you can project your feelings or home's ambience as is suited from moment-to-moment!

    A beautiful amber glow setting LED Light for an evening setting. A beautiful amber glow for an evening setting.

    I have started with a simple tabletop decoration. It projects the change of the fall season into early winter by using leaves and ribbons in different colored patterns, along with the additional  button garlands I used as additional candle embellishments.

    A beautiful LED Light trio displaying various embellishments to use with your tabletop decorations! A beautiful trio displaying various embellishments to use with your tabletop decorations!

    Have fun exploring what type of seasonal decorations you can enhance by incorporating this LED Light candle trio into your lifestyle!

    Martha

  • Pumpkin Craft Dioramas for Gnomes & Fairies

    Can you tell it's coming? Or, have you already felt it, smelled it, seen it?  The changes are happening. Whatever you call it, autumn or fall, for the Northern Hemisphere September brings the autumnal equinox. For many, it is a much-awaited time of year bringing in crisp weather, football, school activities and....pumpkins! If you love pumpkins, you will want to incorporate them in your seasonal decorations with gnomes and fairies by updating your fall home decor with a pumpkin craft diorama!

    In recent years, I have admired the creative displays showing different methods to decorate pumpkins. I have wanted to make a pumpkin craft diorama but was always tentative with the planning, carving and decorating. This year, I have my gnomes, fairies and accessories, so it was time to take the plunge and make a pumpkin craft diorama!

    First, I needed to purchase a pumpkin; a fake pumpkin. I opted to get a pre-carved artificial pumpkin ready for diorama creativity. One is good, two is better. I bought two pumpkins; a 13 inch tall orange pumpkin, and a round 9 inch white pumpkin. I also purchased mosses as my artificial terrain for inside the pumpkins.

    Inside view of the empty, pre-carved 9 inch white pumpkin. Inside view of the empty, pre-carved 9 inch white pumpkin.

    The next decision I made was not to permanently adhere anything to the pumpkins. I did not use glue or pins or tacks. I also did not carve any other architectural designs in the frame of the pumpkins; I did not add any windows or other doorways. I used mounting putty to help place the mosses and accent pieces from my kits.

    Sheet moss to fill fake pumpkin while creating your pumpkin craft. Diorama terrain will be created using preserved Spanish Moss, preserved Sheet Moss, mounting putty, battery operated tea lights, and polyester fill.

    Hmmm--what else might I try to include in my pumpkin craft dioramas? I used a brand new book as my guide; I relied on Leisure Arts' item 6870 - Pumpkins Pumpkins Pumpkins! as my go-to resource for both the dioramas and other decorative ideas. In addition to my new Pumpkins Pumpkins Pumpkins! book, I chose various accent pieces from my kits by Leisure Arts that include  #47858 - Woodland Garden Kit, #47870 - Fairy Garden Kit, #47961 - 4 Pack Resin Gnomes, #47962 - 4 Pack Resin Fairies:

    Leisure Arts' item 6870 - Pumpkins Pumpkins Pumpkins! offers great decorative ideas for faux pumpkin craft by adding bling, paint & lace, or creating a fairy & gnome home or glittery surface! Leisure Arts' item 6870 - Pumpkins Pumpkins Pumpkins! offers great decorative ideas for faux pumpkins by adding bling, paint & lace, or creating a fairy & gnome home or glittery surface!
    47858 Pieces included in item 47858 - Woodland Garden Kit.
    47870 Pieces included in item 47870 - Fairy Garden Kit.
    47961 Gnome figurines included in item 47961 - 4 Pack Resin Gnomes.
    47962 Fairy figurines included in item 47962 - 4 Pack Resin Fairies.

    Now to begin! Review the size of your pumpkins, including their height, the height and width of your carved opening, the diorama pieces and then start arranging. TIP: Make a few sketches of your design arrangements. Just in case one idea doesn't work, a back-up plan has already been formulated! Start by placing some polyester fill into the bottom of your pumpkins, add your artificial turf of choice and move on to your decorative pieces.

    Some polyester fill was placed inside on the bottom, then covered with some Sheet Moss. Hanging from above is some Spanish Moss. Some polyester fill was placed inside on the bottom, then covered with some Sheet Moss. Hanging from above is some Spanish Moss.

    To incorporate the look of outside terrain being part of my pumpkins, I used two different kinds of mosses to give different textures to the terrain. I tacked up some artificial leaves on the inside back wall of each pumpkin, and some on the outside, too. Thinking of a tabletop display, I also placed a fairy and a gnome outside of the pumpkin craft diorama standing among the fallen leaves as if they were visitors.

    Colorful leaves nestle the fairies and gnome in their wooded pumpkin setting as they gather mushrooms and flowers for fall's festivities. Colorful leaves nestle the fairies and gnome in their wooded pumpkin setting as they gather mushrooms and flowers for fall's festivities.

    Remember, I am not permanently gluing anything to the pumpkins. This can be tricky when it comes to placing the figurines, especially since I am also trying to create the effect of a hilly meadow! I didn't want the gnomes and fairies to fall face down into the moss. I purposely placed a mushroom in front of this fairy to help steady her stance on the hillside. The mushrooms are on long wire stems. (They easily pierced through the sheet moss into the polyester fill underneath.)

    The Fairy Garden has been weeded and prepped for the cooler night air. One of the gnomes assists the fairy while the hedgehog watches. The Fairy Garden has been weeded and prepped for the cooler night air. One of the gnomes assists the fairy while the hedgehog watches.

    I incorporated artificial lighting in my diorama by hanging some tea lights using mounting putty for a very low-light effect; these images do not reflect a low-light setting.

    More leaves are changing colors everyday. An illuminated tea light marks the forest's path while bats fly overhead in the nighttime air. More leaves are changing colors everyday. An illuminated tea light marks the forest's path while bats fly overhead in the nighttime air.

    The pattern templates for the bats and black leaves are included in Leisure Arts' item 6870 - Pumpkins Pumpkins Pumpkins! It's a great additional effect to remind us of the changing seasons - or even to precede the Halloween festivities coming in October!

    I am pleased with my first attempt at pumpkin craft dioramas. Since none of my decorations are permanently adhered to the pumpkins, I can change everything from the backdrops and terrain, to the accent pieces and surrounding thematic settings. Another wonderful positive about the dioramas having changeable pieces is the invitation for interactive play. How awesome it would be for youngsters to play with these figurines in a setting like this!

    A changeable setting currently showing the autumnal leaves surrounding two pumpkins used to house all mystical woodland creatures, fairies and gnomes! A changeable setting currently showing the autumnal leaves surrounding two pumpkin craft dioramas housing mystical woodland creatures, fairies and gnomes!

    Now I have plenty of time to plan for Thanksgiving and Christmas, too. I wonder what the gnomes and fairies will be up to during November and December? I bet they'll have something fun in store for us!

    Until next time, have some creative fun!

    Martha

  • Home Decor: Buttons & Candles for All Seasons

    August is a transition-time of year. Growing up in the northeast, it was the final month of summer vacation. The days were still hot, but the evening air would sometimes be cool. August ended with my birthday and an introduction to a new school year after the final three-day holiday weekend celebrating Labor Day. It was a cue for me to say, "Okay; now I'm ready!" I was anxious for new challenges, seeing familiar faces and getting ready for seasonal changes. This inspired me to create with Buttons and the LED Candle Set.

    I want a change to my summer decor, but I don't want to jump into fall leaves, berries and gourds. I scoured the few magazines readily available at hair salons and doctors' offices, but then turned to Pinterest for some ideas, too. I was inspired by this Vintage Button Garland and the ambience it created in quite a simple way. Plus, it was a perfect embellishment for a "fake" candle. LED candles won't burn so my garland is safe; easy-peasy, nice and easy!

    I gathered the buttons I had previously sorted and started planning. I decided to thread my buttons onto waxed linen in a color similar to the candles in my set. I love my LED Candle Set (item 47363 from Leisure Arts);  they look and feel like real waxed candles, plus they have a remote control to change colors, add flickering flames or set a timer!

    Gather different sizes, shapes and colors of buttons. Use buttons without shanks for this project. Used waxed linen to assist holding your buttons in place. Gather different sizes, shapes and colors of buttons. Use buttons without shanks for this project. Using waxed linen  assists by holding your buttons in place.

    Using the waxed linen allowed me to easily thread my buttons.  Also, I didn't have to place knots on either side of a strung button to prevent its repositioning. The waxed linen has a natural 'tackiness' which assisted in placing the garland on each candle. But, just in case your button garland gets heavy and wants to slide down your candle just a bit, use a little piece of mounting putty behind several buttons to hold the garland in place.

    Close-up of waxed linen removed from its packaging. You may like to use a mounting putty behind a few buttons on your LED candles to help hold your button garland in place. Close-up of waxed linen removed from its packaging. You may like to use a mounting putty behind a few buttons on your LED candles to help hold your button garland in place.

    Since the LED candles don't get hot,  you can safely walk away from your lit candles. I really do love the LED Candle Set (item 47363 from Leisure Arts).

    Here's the LED Candle Set I used. Leisure Arts' item 47363 has three candles of varying height, plus a remote control to set a timer, and options for candles' colors and flickering flames. Here's the LED Candle Set I used. Leisure Arts' item 47363 has three candles of varying heights, plus a remote control to set a timer, and options for candles' colors and flickering flames.

    This transition-time of year includes the colors of deepening yellows, fading greens, and dulling browns to its flashes of remaining bright colors. I decided to replicate those colors on each garland I made. I didn't measure at first. I wanted at least three rows of buttons to wrap around each LED candle. I wrapped the waxed linen six times around a candle to give me the rough estimate of the length I needed. Later, I did measure a piece of waxed linen and it was 6 feet plus; so to be safe, measure a piece that is 7 feet long.

    Experimenting with button placement on the waxed linen garland, and positioning on a candle. Seasonally themed garlands can be made ahead of time and swapped when the time is right! Experimenting with button placement on the waxed linen garland, and positioning on a candle. Seasonally themed garlands can be made ahead of time and swapped when the time is right!

    After making three button garlands, I discovered two unopened plastic containers that had plaid-patterned buttons and leaf-shaped buttons in them. Time to create a seasonally-themed button garland for my candle!

    A fall-themed garland for the short LED candle. A fall-themed garland for the short LED candle.

    I was not going to undo the previous garlands strung, so I decided to further embellish the candles with ribbons and/or their display area. Here are some developing ideas to inspire you for your home decor planning in the upcoming months. If you need some more inspiration, for more ideas using buttons and ribbons, look at Leisure Arts' item 6023 - Crafting with Buttons & Ribbons.

    Buttons galore with a golden yellow ribbon give your LED Candle SET a sense of transition away from summer. Buttons galore with a golden yellow ribbon give your LED Candle SET a sense of transition away from summer.
    Using waxed linen cording prevented the buttons from sliding together. Each end of the waxed linen was then wrapped around several buttons to hold it snuggly in place. Using waxed linen prevented the buttons from sliding together. Each end of the waxed linen cord was then wrapped around several buttons to hold it snuggly in place.

    For a preview of Christmas and winter, I thought of pom-poms. HMM...I tied a seasonal ribbon on one LED candle and the ideas started developing. For a winter theme, the LED candles could be placed on a stand then pom-poms could be stacked at their base -- this idea is just developing! Again there are no worries as these are flameless - I really do like Leisure Arts' LED Candle Set!

    Planning for a Christmas -themed holiday setting. You could place your LED Candle(s) on small pillars, add a ribbon to the candle base and have room on your tabletop for other seasonal decorations. Planning for a Christmas-themed holiday setting. You could place your LED Candle(s) on small pillars, add a ribbon to the candle base and have room on your tabletop for other seasonal decorations.

    What's great is that the button garlands can easily be swapped out with another. So let the themes Begin! Although the button garlands can be stored easily, I would recommend a cool storage area since it is waxed linen.

    A colorful glow to show the three heights of candles contained in the LED Candle Set. A colorful glow to show the three heights of candles contained in the LED Candle Set.

    Plan for your transitional decor with changes in color and themes. Do you need to get your creative juices flowing? Start small; try simple changes and see how a few special touches can give a new ambience to your existing home decor!

    Enjoy!

    Martha

  • Tasteful Palette of Gel Pen Colors

    Happy National Coloring Book Day! I am so excited that all of the coloring enthusiasts can share their creativity on a special day dedicated to the art of coloring. I have the large 36 count box of gel pens from Leisure Arts. Many of you want the variety that is found in such a large set, but at the same time, may get overwhelmed by the variety of colors and styles.

    Don't feel stressed about your choices, try to learn the look of the different styles to help with your color decisions. In order to better understand the colors and styles, my suggestion is to break down the box of gel pens by style. See the front of the box; it outlines the number of gel pen colors in each style: 10 Solid, 8 Metallic, 8 Fluorescent, and 10 Glitter.

    In order to demonstrate the different styles of gel pen colors found in the 36 count box, I decided to look for a coloring book page with similar images. I chose a page from 6703 - Ocean Wonders Color Art for Everyone.

    Yeah, gel pens in 36 colors and four styles: Solid, Metallic, Fluorescent and Glitter! Yeah, gel pens in 36 colors and four styles: Solid, Metallic, Fluorescent and Glitter!

    The task before the fun of coloring is to break down the gel pens by style. Some gel pen lids are easier to judge by their appearance that that specific pen belongs to a certain style group. For instance, the Glitter pens have little sparkly specs in their plastic caps. The caps in the Metallic style group have a more muted tone. The best thing for me to do was to make swatches of each color on a blank piece of card stock. Then I could switch out colors if I was unhappy with one or more colors in a style group until I was satisfied with the final group.

    Gel pens are sorted by style (my Neon label should be called, Fluorescent). I also color-coded each style. Gel pens are sorted by style (my Neon label should be called, Fluorescent). I also color-coded each style.

    After I was satisfied with the gel pens I chose for each color style, I went one step further and color-coded each group. I placed a paint swatch of color on the gel pens belonging to each group. For instance, my Metallic style group has a pink paint swatch on the front of the cap, the cap's top and the pen body. This way no matter if the pens were lying down or standing in a container, I could easily grab all of the pens belonging to one group; my coloring life just got easier!

    If you compare the beginning of my coloring below, the fish are colored in the same order as the above-photo showing the gel pens in their color palette styles.

    To demonstrate the different gel pen styles, I chose a drawing with similar images of fish (Leisure Arts' item 6703 - Ocean Wonders Color Art for Everyone). To demonstrate the different gel pen styles, I chose a drawing with similar images of fish (Leisure Arts' item 6703 - Ocean Wonders Color Art for Everyone).

    The top fish showcases the colors from the Solid style. The second from the top fish is smaller and is colored with the Fluorescent gel pens (in the earlier photo, I incorrectly labeled my piece of card stock with the word, Neon).

    Next, you will see the Glitter style used on the fish on the left-hand side that is third from the top. The bottom fish shows the Metallic style and is very pretty is person but tends to be too shiny in my photos to highlight any good contrast. The one thing that I did find a little peculiar about the Metallic [especially the pink color], if I tried to go over a section because all was not properly filled with color, the pink became more grey. It was as if there was too much color build-up.

    I really like looking at the different styles in one project; I can more definitively choose in which color direction I wish to go. Also, it saves me frustration when I think I've chosen one color based on the gel pen's lid, when in fact the ink color is not what I intended at all! I'll finish the fish eyes after I stare at the bodies of the fish for a while. I may not do the background so I can keep the fish as clean examples for each color style.

    Showing their respective gel pen style, the fish are complete except for their eyeballs. Showing their respective gel pen style, the fish are complete except for their eyeballs.

    Consider your first colored page using your 36 count box of gel pens broken out by style as your color swatch. Just like knit and crochet, begin by making a swatch - a palette swatch of colors - for your reference before beginning your project. Spend a little time up front to make your creativity flow more easily. Enjoy!

    Martha

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