Monday, May 25, 2009

A different kind of paper craft

It's more like paper sculpture.

I recently discovered the paper craft area at I just had to make something. Since my parents had actually visited Himeji Castle in Japan, I chose to build it. It took about 30 sheets of cover stock paper, lots of ink, and over 20 hours of my time to build.

It's intensely detailed as you can see.
With lots of cutting and folding and gluing involved.
I love the little courtyard here.
And a close up of the tower.
and more courtyard. Isn't that insane? so tiny and yet so perfectly scaled.

this was my first project from Canon and I learned quite a bit doing it. The pattern recommends using glue stick, but I have learned from years of long experience that if you want your paper project to last, don't use glue stick. I used basic white glue applied with the pointy end of a bamboo skewer. Definitely use sharp scissors with a very pointy tip. And be absolutely sure you've got the folds perfect. Mine aren't quite and that's why my towers are a little to closely related to Pisa.

I gave this project to my mom for her birthday. I know. Crazy. It's been awhile since I cursed her with something handmade though, so I figured she could deal with it. She liked it. She even found a space for it in her knick knack cabinet just like she would have if I were ten. Yeah mom.

I've already started on another castle. It's a little easier, so it should only take about 15 hours to put together. I have no clue what I'm going to do with it, but it's a fun way to keep my hands busy while I watch a movie.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Step by Step: Spray painted salt and pepper set

A while back I stumbled across a post on a favorite blog that gave a how to I just had to try: spray painted salt and pepper mill. My only salt and pepper shaker is a set from my parents. They got them as a wedding gift several decades ago. The finish had become that grungy mess that old wood finish acquires around too much oil and kitchen grease. They were neither stylish nor kitschy. That blog post inspired me though. I decided that a bit of elbow grease and a little paint and I'd have a set I'd be proud to display on the table.

1. I cleaned the grime off with a terry cloth and straight white vinegar. I did not water that stuff down, it went on full blast and dissolved the dirt with no real problems at all. Then I lightly sanded them down, just to get a good surface for the paint. I didn't fill in the old dents and dings. Partly because I was feeling lazy and wanted this to be a quick project and partly because I wanted a little of the history of the set to show when i was done.

2. I taped off the sections of the salt and pepper that I did not want to be painted. You really have to be careful at this stage because you don't want the paint near your food. Make sure you also stuff something in the holes in the top of the lids. cotton, rolls of tape, whatever you can find that you are sure you can get out again. .
3. Start spraying. Follow the instructions on the paint can, meaning, do lots of light coats not just a couple of thick ones. Keep the pace steady and the distance even. You might want to also use an old cardboard box on it's side as a spray box to keep the paint contained. I also like to spray paint out on the lawn. Anything that gets out of the box is mowed off in a week or so. Oh and be careful when doing the tops. Mine aren't perfect by any stretch of the imagination.

For paint I used Krylon Enamel in Chinese Red. It came out perfectly. Gloriously bright with lovely blue undertones in the gloss.
I love them! I'm really happy with this project. If you don't have a set of turned wood salt and pepper shakers around the house, look around at flea markets and thrift stores. They should be cheap but you can make them look like you bought them at a high end specialty shop.