Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Crafting One-of-A-Kind Gifts

This summer has me reminiscing about summers past. This time last year we were busy with weddings that took us to Ohio and Delaware. There were three weddings in a matter of three or four months. We only made it to two of the weddings as they were all out of state. Two of the brides moved here with their husbands and all three had showers here for family members and friends who wanted to share in their joy.

Today, I thought I would share with you the gifts I made for their weddings. It has been my experience that newlyweds have not yet quite figured out their decorating style. They have no money for designing rooms and their favorite thing in the world is each other (as it should be). So, I tried to work with that in mind and made a piece of art work for each couple.

While I was working on these projects I had not started my blog yet so pictures were few and far between. I will try to fill in the blanks with words where photos are lacking.

The first couple to marry last year just celebrated their first wedding anniversary. He is the second eldest son of my dear friend. I wanted to use an idea I had found on Pinterest that used engineering prints.  (This is where I realize that I never took even one picture of this project! Maybe she will see my post and send a picture so I can add it.) My first step was to find a frame. I don't like to use new frames; they are expensive and have no interest to them unless they cost an arm and a leg so I visited a favorite shop near my home. Bernat Mill Antiques is like a mini vacation stop for me. I can spend an hour or so in there gathering ideas and finding a treasure or two. I found what I was looking for. I found all three here at different times.

I have a collection of frames. If I like it I will find something
to do with it!
Having found the perfect frame, I could now order my print.   I creeped on Facebook to find images of the couple. The groom-to-be has a very talented sister who is a whiz with the camera. She took engagement photos of two of the couples and I 'borrowed' some of her photos to use for my projects. You can see her work here. The resolution of the photo here matters but remember these are blown up huge! The image is not going to be super sharp if working from regular photos. It is okay. The graininess adds to the charm.

For a couple dollars you end up with a large black and white print of your favorite subject. I ordered it through Staples. It is printed on plain paper (no shiny photo paper). I made sure to leave enough space toward the bottom as I knew I wanted to add a passage from Scripture there. When possible, I like to show the engagement ring! Cropping the original photo gave me the image I wanted.

I used this instead of foam core board for the finished product
shown at the end of this post.
A large piece of foam core board was my next purchase. I used Elmer' spray glue, which I already had on hand,  to spray the back of the print and the foam core board. Slowly and carefully lay the print onto the foam core board. An extra set of hands help here. Smooth with your hand as you go along to try to keep from wrinkling or getting air bubbles in your paper. When everything was adhered and smoothed I used a brayer to go over the whole thing.

This photo was taken by the bride's mother.

Next, I used Microsoft Word Starter to write out the verse, change the font and increase the font size. I printed that off. I used carbon paper between the print and the printout to transfer the lettering. Using a pencil I traced the letters. Be careful where you put your hands if using carbon paper as marks can be left where you don't want them. Another option is to rub the back of the printout with a pencil, place it (rubbed side down) on your image and trace over the letters on the right side. For one of projects I went for it and just free-handed the verse. Once the lettering was transferred I went over it with a Sharpie permanent marker.

The eldest son of my pastor and his wife-my
friend, and his bride.

Glitter, swirlies and a rhinestone!
I liked how it looked but it was missing something. Sparkle! It needed some glitter or bling and so back to my craft closet I went. I love the little glue pods by Martha Stewart. It is just a bit of glue with a super fine tip that allows you to control where the glue is going. Free handing some swirly things up two sides of the print gave me the prettiness I was looking for. I quickly covered it in glitter and let it sit a few minutes the tapped off then excess glitter. Do this on a piece of paper so that you can funnel the leftover glitter back into the container to be used again later.

I used paint samples and layered the blue and green on.

I painted over everything in white then sanded
away parts to have the green and blue show through.

After painting the frame I placed the picture into the frame, securing it with hot glue. These are very light as they are mounted on foam core so hot glue is more than sufficient. You could place glass or plexiglass over the image first to protect it. Because I added glitter and rhinestones (over the diamond in the engagement rings in some)  that would not work for me. On this project I used a copy of a hymn (the bride is very musically talented) to write the verse on and then added paper flowers and felt leaves that I dipped in glitter.

After scrutinizing my work a bit I decided that on this print that I would add just a touch of color. I got out my chalk colors and dusted the bride-to-be's lips and cheeks with just a hint of pink. (It does not show well in the photo.) This couple is the eldest son of a dear friend and his bride.

The first couple pictured in this post I did a bit differently. I will post it at another time. I think these make lovely, one-of-a-kind, gifts. I had a great time working on them. For the last couple on this post I order a couple different prints and used the extras as the wrapping paper! Fun!

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