Decoupage: Booker’s Bourbon Packaging Facelift

Idea:

From now until next September, I will be collecting an assortment of glass bottles and wood boxes in preparation for my cousin’s big day.  The Booker’s Bourbon box came to me via my aunt last week.  It’s a great size but the print on the box makes it difficult for me to paint or stain it into a faux vintage cheese box.  What do I do with this box now?

Inspiration:

I’ve seen a number of Krafty Pearl’s beautiful decoupage projects but I haven’t found a reason or the courage to experiment with the technique. Til this day, the MDF crafts that Pearl gave me are all stored away, awaiting the day I develop a stronger decoupage technique because I don’t think I’ll be able to live with ruining any of the unique pieces with any decoupage missteps.

I tested my hands on this technique now that I have a box to recycle and can shamelessly decoupage without fear of ruining.

Ingredients:

  1. Wood / MDF Box
  2. Mod Podge Matte Finish
  3. Paint brush
  4. Paper.  I recommend rummaging through an old book / dictionary collection.  I was given an old dictionary which I’ve been slowly re-purposing page by page.  I used 3-4 pages for this project to cover the 4 sides.
  5. Newspaper / Magazines to use as liner to protect your work top

Instructions:

  1. Google ‘How to Decoupage’ and make sure you watch this video by Addicted 2 Decorating and have at it!

Images:

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Signage: Bridal Shower Banner in Script

Idea:
I wanted to make a simple yet classy Bridal Shower Banner for my dear friend. Most banners I see on the Internet are bunting banners with bold font or rectangular signs and both didn’t fit my criteria.

Inspiration:
I’ve made plenty of cards with cut out calligraphy words so why not a larger version to hang as a banner?

Images:
iphone pics 1201

Interesting Points:

    • Calligraphy font meant thin lines. With that being said, after merging the font letters, I needed to thicken the lines to at least 1/4 inch. On top of that, I chose thick card stock paper to ensure stiffness of the letters.
    • A few calligraphy letters didn’t connect (especially with the first capital letter to the next lower case letter). I used very thin strips of packaging tape to connect these letters.

 

  • Placement of the connecting and hanging strings proved to be crucial. Connecting from a flimsier part (and a lot times the furthest most letter of the word) caused the lettering to warp when hung. By trial and error, I identified points in the word that were strongest and would allow the word to sit cohesively with the next word.

Clothing Hanger Herb Wreath

Idea:
Autumn has arrived and I still have an entire 4×8 garden bed of lavender, thyme and sage. I left it all to mother nature last winter and incredibly they flourished this summer with a little bit of spring trimming. I want to make the most of this year’s harvest but I can’t possibly eat it all.

Inspiration:
Napa Style had beautiful Herb wreaths for sale in their catalog last year so I gave Google a search and found this great instructional by Martha Stewart.

Ingredients:
I substituted the wire wreath with two dry cleaners wire hangers.

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Images:

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Jute Twine Succulent Planters

Idea:
I’m a sucker for cute little things so I’ll be damned if I didn’t buy a 4 ounce succulent each time I made a visit to the garden center at Lowes. My challenge is I can’t justify buying a pretty pot at anything more than the cost of the $2.95 succulent. I know. I’m cheap. It’s a real problem. But, I also can’t bear the look of the plain black plastic pot that comes with the succulent. Not to mention the black pot that absorbs heat probably isn’t very good for the succulents.
Inspiration:
I’ve seen photos of tin cans wrapped in jute Twine. Why not jute twine pots?
Images:
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Wedding Invitation: Spirograph for a Coaster Wedding Invitation

Idea:

There is something wonderful about dual purpose paper goods to me (i.e. magnet save the dates).  Tack that on with being a letterpress paper good and I’m as happy as a pig in shit.  My cousin is looking for wedding invitation ideas and I cannot wait to propose several design’s of a coaster wedding invitation.

Inspiration:

The Goncharow Wedding Invitation designed by Ross Clodfelter inspired me to design circular patterns that could potentially be used in a coaster wedding invitation.  My mind drifted back to a simpler time when my favorite toy was the Spirograph.  I almost went jurassic park and ordered to toy to scan the finished products.  But, because spirographs are mathematical roulette curves I was certain that digital spirographs can easily be created in Illustrator.

Instructions:

Follow this link for a beginners tutorial on creating spirographs using Illustrator.  There is something remarkably soothing about creating these patterns.

Images:

spirograph

Signage: Vintage Wedding Date Countdown Chalkboard

Idea:

The engagement party was over 3 weeks ago and I still owe the couple a gift.  I ran empty on ideas so I shamefully attended the party empty handed.  Giving a gift late is schmuck-ish but there are advantages (not that I gift late for these reasons).   Now that I’ve had the advantage to scope out the gifts they received, I’m thinking an engagement gift should give a nod towards becoming ‘one’, should be customized to the couple, is something they can use for their engagement and/or wedding but, isn’t something that one would normally gift at the bridal shower or wedding.  After scouring the internet for engagement basket ideas, I gravitated towards gifting them a custom wedding countdown.

Inspiration:

Ask anyone that attended college upstate New York what Wegmans is and they’ll probably remember two things:

  1. It’s the only supermarket in town.
  2. They have beautiful chalkboard signs.

My adoration for chalkboard signs dates back to the earlier years of this century when I attended college and I’m thrilled that they’re making a huge presence in today’s craft / event planning industries.  They were my signage medium of choice in 2011 (the year EFI got married) and they’re my signage medium of choice for my engagement gift to a beautiful couple.

Instructions:

  1. Purchase an ornate frame.  The simplicity of white handwritten chalk coupled with a beautiful vintage frame seems so rustic and country chic to me.
  2. Paint the glass of the frame.  You can also opt to remove the glass, paint pre-cut foamboard / poster board and insert into the frame.  I had to paint the glass because the glass and matte were not removable.
  3. Find a signage template you like.  Pinterest is your source for inspiration.
  4. Hand write your message.  Be sure to arm yourself with a wet rag.  Don’t be afraid to make mistakes!

Images:
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Ingredients:

Chalkboard Paint

Thank You Card: Surprise Engagement Postcard in Four Print Runs

Idea:

My beautiful cousin Michelle and her charming boyfriend Joe are engaged! Their mother’s planned a spectacular surprise engagement party the evening of the proposal and I have the pleasure of helping with the thank you cards.

Inspiration:

The photo postcard was entirely Michelle’s idea so I can’t take credit for it.  However, I was the one that convinced her not to buy the template PDF file and give me the chance to draft my take of it.

Instructions: 

I’ve wasted enough good paper and good ink to now know the value of running a few drafts before officially starting the production.  This thank you postcard project sounded simple on the surface – a photo and the words ‘Thank You’ on one side and a note with the guests name(s) and addresses on the other.  But here are a few things that were taken into consideration when designing the postcard:

  1. What paper weight/thickness, stock type and color will be used?
  2. Will the photo be color or black/greyscale?
  3. Will the text be color or black/greyscale?

Perhaps you’re like me and won’t know the answer to these questions until you’ve tried.  Here are the results of my prototypes:

 

Prototype # Input Observed Output
 1 Side 1 & 2 (Photo and Text in Pages):
Source: Pages
Paper: 110 Crane Lettra Pearl White
Printer Paper Setting: Plain Paper, Best
Printer Color Matching Setting: Vendor Matching
‘Thank You’ printed in accurate color but pixelated.Photo printed as if the source was very low resolution Side 2 text printed in accurate color but  pixelated and so thin that it was almost illegible.
 2 Side 1 & 2 (Photo and Text in Pages):Source: Pages
Paper: 110 Crane Lettra Pearl White
Printer Paper Setting: Photo Paper
Printer Color Matching Setting: ColorSync to my Inket Printer
‘Thank You’ printed in drastically darker color but clear.Photo printed clearly but very dark Side 2 text printed in drastically darker color but clear and legible.
 3 Side 1 Run 1 (Photo Only):
Source: Aperture
Paper: 110 Crane Lettra Pearl White
Printer Paper Setting: Photo Paper
Printer Color Matching Setting: Vendor MatchingSide 1 Run 2 & Side 2 (Text Only):
Source: Pages
Paper: 110 Crane Lettra Pearl White
Printer Paper Setting: Plain Paper, Best
Printer Color Matching Setting: ColorSync to my Inket Printer Tweak: Text changed to 50% Opacity
Photo printed clear but slightly dark and yellow-ish’Thank You’ printed in clear and accurate color Side 2 text printed in clear and accurate color
 4 Side 1 Run 1 (Photo Only):
Source: Aperture
Paper: White coated 100 lb cardstock
Printer Paper Setting: Plain Paper, Best
Printer Color Matching Setting: Vendor Matching
Tweak: Increased brightnessSide 1 Run 2 & Side 2 (Text Only):
Source: 
Pages

Paper: White coated 100 lb cardstock
Printer Paper Setting: Plain Paper, Best
Printer Color Matching Setting: ColorSync to my Inket Printer
Tweak: Text changed to 50% Opacity
Photo printed clear and accurate color / tint’Thank You’ printed in clear and accurate color Side 2 text printed in clear and accurate color

Using the lessons learned and using the settings in prototype 4, the print runs were:

  1. Side 1 Run 1: Photo only using Aperture
  2. Side 1 Run 2: Thank You text only using Pages
  3. Side 2 Run 1: Postcard template text only using Pages
  4. Side 2 Run 2: Mailing name and address using Excel / Word mail merge feature

 

Images:

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MJ

 

 

Interesting Points:

I’ve had many photo printing project run awry because of low ink in the print cartridges.  I wasn’t sure how much ink was going to be consumed by each print so I ran my print jobs 5 sheets at a time to keep an eye on the quality of the prints.  Fortunately because the prints were fairly bright and set to drop ink to plain paper (less ink is used in this setting), I didn’t have this problem with this project.