April showers bring May flowers – garden bouquet

FloresTanisAprilShowersMayFlowersBouquet

 

Rainclouds can bring the blues, but when they are teeny tiny and raining over brightly colored flowers like in this project, then rainclouds bring can smiles and cheer.

You’ll have fun putting together this little bouquet which features carved Smoothfoam flowers and clouds. And if you’ve never tried carving Smoothfoam before, then the easy shapes in this project are a great way to practice and to get hooked on the fun!

Supplies:

4” Smoothfoam cube
Smoothfoam sheet: 12” x 12” x 5/8″
Silver wire: heavy (18-gauge) and fine (24-gauge)
Acrylic paints: white, apple green, pink, lavender, dark aqua
Silver dimensional paint
Green glitter
Small metal flower pot
Flower-shaped cookie cutters (2-3” in diameter)
Paintbrush, plastic dish, wood skewers
Heavy wire cutters, jewelry inside-cutter pliers, round-nose jewelry pliers
Permanent marker, pencil
Hot wire foam cutting tool
Craft glue

1.  Working outside in a well-ventilated area, use the hot wire tool to trim the 4” Smoothfoam cube so that it fits into the flower pot. TIP: Hold the tool steady in one hand with the wire pointing vertically (like a scroll saw) and move the foam with the other – in the same way that you cut intricate paper shapes with scissors. The hand with the tool stays steady and the hand with the material moves. Although the tendency is to move the foam quickly, the slower you work, the smoother the edges of the cut will be.

2.  Before you put the Smoothfoam into the flower pot, brush the top with a coat of apple green paint and sprinkle with green glitter while still wet. Set aside to dry, then gently press it into the metal flower pot.

FloresTanisAprilShowersMayFlowersBouquet

3.  Push the cookie cutter into the sheet of Smoothfoam so that you get a nice outline of the flower. You don’t need to push too hard – just enough so that you can see the shape impressed in the foam. Do nine flowers in assorted sizes plus a few extra for practice cutting. Use the permanent marker to draw three simple cloud shapes.

4.  Use the hot wire tool to cut out the flower and cloud shapes.

5.  Paint the various flower shapes with pink, lavender and dark aqua. Paint the clouds white. Set all aside to dry. TIP:  Poke a wooden skewer into each shape as a handle to keep your hands paint-free.

6.  Once the flowers are dry, add details with the silver dimensional paint. Let dry throughly.

FloresTanisAprilShowersMayFlowersBouquet

7.  To make the flower stems, use the heavy wire cutters to cut six 8” pieces of 18-gauge wire. Make a little spiral at the end of each wire using the round-nose jewelry pliers. Poke the untwisted end of one of the cut wires through the center of a flower shape and slide the flower shape until it fits snugly against the spiral. Add a drop of white glue at the base of the wire to secure the flower shape in place. Let dry. Repeat for the remaining flower shapes and then poke all the flower stems into the metal flower pot to make a little bouquet.

8.  Cut nine 5” pieces of 24-gauge wire using the side cutter pliers. Fold each wire loosely in half around a pencil and then holding the two ends of the wire in one hand, twist the pencil with the other hand like a propeller until the wire ends twist together. Remove the pencil from the wire loop and use the side cutter pliers to trim the wire ends neatly. Pinch the wire loop to form a tear shape. Insert three wire loops into each cloud to form raindrops. (Tip: use a drop of white glue at the end of each wire to secure it in place when you insert the wire into the cloud shape). Repeat for the remaining two clouds.

FloresTanisAprilShowersMayFlowersBouquet

9.  Cut three pieces of 18-gauge wire 8” long using the heavy wire cutters. Bend each wire into a gentle “J” shape. Poke the short end of the “J” into the top of one cloud and add a drop of white glue to secure. Insert the free end of the wire into the metal flower pot so that the cloud hangs over the flowers. Repeat for the remaining two clouds.

10.  For a finishing touch, use the silver dimensional paint to write “April Showers Bring May Flowers” on the side of the pot. Now your flower pot garden will always bloom brightly even when it really is raining outside!

FloresTanisAprilShowersMayFlowersBouquet

 

Antique teacup pincushion

Teacup pincushion made with Smoothfoam by Dawn LothariusTea for one…and Smoothfoam too! Altering vintage items is one of my favorite things to do. Smoothfoam makes a great pin cushion, especially for heavier decorative pins – no drooping! Learn how to make this DIY pincushion craft below.

Supplies

3″ Smoothfoam ball
Vintage teacup and saucer
Americana craft paint – Dragon Fruit
Paint brush
Stickles glitter glue – Diamond
Miniature flowers
6-8″ length of a feather boa
Heavy-duty glass glue
Craft glue
Decorative pearl accents

1.  Paint the ball with 1-2 coats and allow to dry.

2.  Glue the teacup to the saucer with glass glue.

3.  Coat the top of the ball with glitter glue and allow to dry.

4.  Adhere the ball inside the cup with craft glue.

5.  Glue feather boa around the perimeter at the lip of the cup, and embellish with pearls and flowers as desired.

Desktop mail caddy

Mail Caddy made from Smoothfoam by Lindsay Obermeyer

 

As anyone who knows me will attest, my desk looks like an archeological site. It’s time to get organized and this mail caddy is a perfect start.

 

Supplies:

Smoothfoam 12″ x 12″ sheet
Smoothfoam 3/4″ balls (4)
Aleene’s Decoupage
Aleene’s Paper Glaze
Aleene’s Original Tacky Glue
DecoArt Americana acrylic paint – Antique Gold
23″ length of 1/2″ wide ribbon
Buttons
Newspaper (I used a vintage Farmer’s Almanac)
Sponge brush
Hot glue gun and glue sticks
Ruler
Craft knife
Scissors
toothpicks

1.  Measure and cut 5 pieces of Smoothfoam – 3 pieces at 4″ x 6″ (base and two sides of the caddy) and 2 pieces at 4″ x 5-1/4″ (two opposite sides)

2.  To assemble the caddy box, add a line of hot glue along the 6″ side of the base piece and press the 6″ inch side of another 4″ x 6″ piece at right angle to the base.  Do the same on the opposite side of the box.  Add a line of hot glue to all three sides of one open end and press one of the 4″ x 5-1/4″ pieces into place.  Do the same on the opposite side.  You should have an open box.

3.  Decoupage newspaper or book paper across the surface of the box, inside and out, using the decoupage glue and a sponge brush.  I poured a little of the glue into an old plastic container to make it easy to use.  My caddy was decoupaged with pages from a 150 year-old Farmer’s Almanac I had picked up at a flea market. Allow to dry.

4.  With a clean sponge brush, brush on a layer of the paper glaze across the entire surface of the box (except not the bottom). Allow to dry thoroughly.

5.  Stick a toothpick into each ball to use as a handle for painting the ball. Use a scrap of the Smoothfoam sheet to stick the toothpicks into, to allow the balls to dry.  Apply 2 coats of paint, allowing it to dry thoroughly between each coat.

6.  To add the balls to the bottom of the box as feet, measure 1/2″ in on each corner of the bottom and make a little mark.  Add a dot of hot glue at each X and adhere the feet into place.

7.  Cut the ends of your ribbon at an angle to prevent fraying.  Use Tacky Glue along the top rim of your caddy and adhere the ribbon into place. Allow to dry.

8.  Use hot glue to embellish the rim of the caddy with buttons.

Crafts we love—décor for the door and more

Smoothfoam home decor crafts

Spring weather here in the United States is all over the map…literally. Some parts of the country are being pummeled with rain and snow, while other areas are in full bloom.

Here are three crafts we love – all made with Smoothfoam – that might reflect the weather where you live. Click on the designer’s name to visit their blog and learn more.

Eileen Hull used Smoothfoam as a hillside for her crisp and cool snow scene. What an adorable tabletop diorama!

Lindsay Obermeyer turned buttons and pages of old magazines into colorful flowers, attached to a Smoothfoam disc for a lovely, lightweight spring wreath for the door.

Vicki O’Dell added moss and butterflies to Smoothfoam balls – decorate a ball for any season to place inside a painted urn for unique décor all year ’round.

 

“Top Banana” trophy

Smoothfoam banana trophy

 

Here’s a delightfully fruitful way to give a little recognition to your favorite “Top Banana” for their perfect report card, excellent bedmaking, or just because it’s Friday. Everyone deserves a trophy…it’s fun as a gag gift, too!

Supplies:

2″ x 4″ x 8″ Smoothfoam block
3″ Smoothfoam cube
1/4″ wood dowel (cut to 7″ length)
Plastic banana (from the floral dept)
Hand drill and 1/4″ drill bit
Foam cutter or craft knife
Sandpaper
Hot glue gun, glue sticks
Black acrylic paint
2 screw brads
Cardstock: kraft, yellow
Printer
Scissors, paper trimmer
1/8″ hole punch
Extra large oval punch

1.  Cut Smoothfoam block in half to 2″ x 4″ x 4″. Sand the cut edge smooth.

2.  Paint the Smoothfoam block, cube, and dowel with two coats of black acrylic paint and allow to dry.

3.  Find the center of the painted block and the cube, and use the hand drill to make a starter hole in each piece. Stack the cube onto the block and press the dowel carefully through the centers of each. Use hot glue to secure.

4.  Punch an oval from the kraft cardstock.

5.  Print the words “Top Banana” on the yellow cardstock from your computer and trim down to a strip that’s about 1/3 the width of the oval to create a plaque.

6.  Punch a small hole at each end of the plaque. Center the plaque onto the Smoothfoam cube and press screw head brads into the holes to secure

7.  Drill a 1/4″ hole into the bottom of the fake banana and secure it to the top of dowel with hot glue.

Smoothfoam trophy banana

Sand and shells picture frame

sand texture smoothfoam picture frame

I have always loved the addition of texture in art, whether it’s the tiny brush stokes of Van Gogh or the addition of fibers, rusty metals, embossing powder or glitter to my current craft project.

But this not a case of adding texture. It was a case of covering up an error. Yes, I know that’s hard to believe, but I occasionally make a few mistakes, and while you might never notice them, they drive me crazy. In fact, while some designers are the Queens of Creativity, or the Divas of Design, I am Her Highness of Hiding Mistakes.

This shells and sand picture frame started out as a simple tutorial on how to make a little frame for one of my favorite quotes about the beach. It got ugly quick.

I use an awesome heat foam cutter. It cuts Smoothfoam like butter, but that’s my problem. I tried to zoom through the inner cuts and wound up with one side not only crooked, but ¼” smaller that the opposite side. When I tried to correct the error, I made the cut too long, almost cutting the entire side off.

So here’s what I did…I got out the heat tool, went outside and heated up the whole thing, using the side of a pencil to mush the edges into a semi-straight line. I liked the look, and instant texture was born. The effect reminded me of the beaches near Charleston, South Carolina where they aren’t white sugar sand, but have bits and pieces of beautiful granite mixed in and huge chunks of it protruding from the beach.

Once that part was done, I was officially in love with this project, and I became positively giddy as I added to it! Learn how to make your own DIY beach picture frame below.

Supplies:

Smoothfoam sheet, 1” x 6” X12”
Golden Acrylic paints—Titanium White and Yellow Ochre
Sophisticated Finishes metallic paint—Bronze
8-½” x 11” piece of muslin
Computer and printer
Aleene’s Quick Dry Tacky Glue
Chipboard or corrugated cardboard
Assorted shells, beach glass, embellishments
Heat tool
Paint brush and sponge
Adhesive tape

Safety note: Wear a mask when melting Smoothfoam; do it outdoors or in a large room with plenty of ventilation.

1.  Cut Smoothfoam to 6” x 8″ and remove the center area (3-¼” x 5-¼”, reserve this inner rectangle).

2.  Heat this frame with heat tool, moving the heat around quickly as it starts to melt. If you have a large uneven section that needs to be straightened, heat it and quickly roll a brayer or the wooden part of a pencil over the area to flatten it. Allow to cool.

3.  Paint the frame, front and back, with a mixture of two parts Titanium White and one part Yellow Ochre. Be sure to get down into the crevices. Allow to dry.

paint smoothfoam frame

4.  Working on a small area at a time, apply the bronze paint and quickly wipe it off with a paper towel. Using swiping and dabbing motions to get a nice mottled look. Allow to dry and apply more of the white/gold paint with a sponge to highlight some areas.

5.  Create a quotation on the computer and center it inside a rectangle that is the size of your frame opening. Tape a piece of muslin fabric to a sheet of computer paper. Place the fabric/paper in your manual paper feed tray and print the quotation on the fabric.

6.  Use a foam cutter to slice the depth of the piece of Smoothfoam you removed from the frame’s center to about 5/8” – this creates the sunken look when placed in the frame. Center the muslin on the rectangle and wrap it around the foam like a gift, secure with  adhesive tape. Place it inside the frame; it should fit snugly without  adhesives to hold it in place.

7.  Cut a sheet of chipboard or cardboard to 5-½” x 7-½’ and glue it to the back of the frame.

8.  Embellish as desired with shells and beads, etc.

And here’s how I discovered how handy those little scrap pieces of Smoothfoam can be…the 3/8″ sliver that I cut from the inner frame to make it thinner was laying on my worktable, broken into two pieces, when the mailman arrived with a very hefty package for me. It contained three huge vintage spools from cotton mills, which were used for the spun threads. Several pieces of silk thread in a yummy beige color were draped artistically across the spools. No way that was going in the trash! I picked up the scrap Smoothfoam and began winding the thread around it to keep it from tangling. I pressed the end of the thread down on the edge of the Smoothfoam and it held instantly.

Springtime bird decor

nested bird smoothfoam

 

Do you have a wreath, table decor or a plant that needs a little color and livening up to welcome spring? Check out these cute little decorative foam birds! This spring bird craft project is easy to create using Smoothfoam balls and they’ll add that “pop” of color you’re looking for. A smaller version of this design in holiday colors would be perfect for Christmas decorating and tree ornaments – attach a painted clothespin to the bottom of the bird for clipping to a tree branch.

 

Supplies for 2 decorative foam birds – one large, one small:

Two 2″ Smoothfoam balls
2-1/2″ Smoothfoam ball
1-1/2″ Smoothfoam ball
Any size Smoothfoam sheet
Acrylic crafts paint: Yellow, Black, White, Orange
3/4″ teardrop wood shape
Jute twine
Two black rhinestones
Yellow craft feathers
Toothpicks
Serrated craft knife and scissors
Glue gun and low melt glue sticks
Craft glue
Sand paper
Water and paper towels
Powder blush
Optional: 12″ wood dowel, silk flowers, greens and berries, glitter

1.  For each bird, cut the bottom portion off of the bird’s body (larger ball) and head (smaller ball) to allow for a flat surface on each. Lightly sand the foam edges to smooth.

2.  Cut a triangle shape from the Smoothfoam sheet using a serrated knife. Cut the point off one end to create a flat surface that will fit against the body. Turn onto one side and sllice this piece in two, reducing the thickness.

spring birds smoothfoam

3. Poke a toothpick into the flat side of each foam ball and into the end of the tail piece. Paint both balls and the tail yellow, using toothpick as a holder. Place into the foam sheet and allow to dry.

4. Adhere the head and tail to the body with the toothpicks. Paint black wings on the sides of the body as shown. First outline each wing with a brush, then fill in the color.  Paint a black strip on the top of the head. Highlight each cheek with some powder blush and a white paint dot, then highlight each wing with a little float of white paint.

5. Paint the wood teardrop black and allow to dry. Gently push the pointed end into the spot where the beak will be placed to create an opening. Push the rounded portion of the teardrop into the opening and adhere with glue. Adhere the black rhinestones to the face for eyes.

6. Choose a couple of feathers for the tail and trim as needed. Poke a small hole in the top of one bird’s head with a toothpick and glue a piece of feather into the hole.

7. Wrap and glue jute twine around the bottom portion of the bird’s body.  For a simple nest design, leave plain. For a floral nest, cut pieces from a spray of silk flowers, berries, etc. and glue into the jute. A dowel or wire can be inserted into the flat side of the bird if you would like to display it in a plant.

Below is another design option with glitter that I love! Try this spring bird craft project today!

blue glitter bird smoothfoam

 

Faux bronzed alphabet block

Bronzed Alphabet Block Home Decor by Jen Goode

By combining carving techniques and layers of paint, you can create a pretty décor accent for anywhere in your home that looks like real stone or metal. I wanted this design to look a bit like a bronzed wooden block. I think this would make a great gift for Father’s Day—it’s masculine and charming and it complements a rustic or old world décor. Make more than one to spell out a name or inspirational word.

 

Supplies:

4″ Smoothfoam cube
Clay carving tools and/or a heat tool
DecoArt paints in 3 shades of brown, cream, gold
DecoArt Triple-Thick Gloss Glaze
Paintbrushes
Paper towels and wax paper

 

1.  Carve a design into the Smoothfoam block. I began with clay-carving tools but found a heat tool allowed me to get a little more detail much quicker. Each side features a different letter, to spell LOVE. The top and bottom are heart designs.

Carving Smoothfoam block

2.  Paint the entire block using a medium brown.

3.  To use a paper towel as a blotting cloth, fold it lengthwise and twist the ends together into a handle to hold, leaving the flat folded area to blot with. Tap the towel into some paint, then tap off the excess on to a sheet of wax paper before applying it to the block.

Painting Smoothfoam carved block

4.  Add layers of color using this blotting technique. Start with gold, then dark brown, then cream, then medium brown. Placing lighter shades under the darker colors will give your piece more highlights and shadows, creating a “bronzed” texture. Allow to dry.

5.  Apply a generous coat of glaze on each side, one at a time, allowing it to dry before doing the next side to prevent dripping.

Gloss glaze coat on carved Smoothfoam block

Bronzed Alphabet Block up close

Shabby chic crochet ornament

crochet rose smoothfoam ornament

 

Shabby chic is one of my most favorite styles to work with, and these fabulous crochet roses from Sherry Smith are perfect for embellishing a Smoothfoam ball.

Supplies:

3″ Smoothfoam ball
Hot glue
Crochet roses
Ribbons and feathers
Beaded trim
Crystal dangle
E-6000 glue
Flat-back pearls

1.  Use E-6000 glue to adhere roses all around the Smoothfoam ball, leaving a small open space at the bottom; allow to dry.

2.  Carve out a small hole at the bottom of the ball and insert the crystal with a little E-6000 glue. Glue ribbon bows, beaded trim and feathers around the crystal to fill in the open space; allow to dry.

3.  Adhere flat-back pearls to the roses and additional ribbon bows on top with hot glue to accent as desired. Loop some thread through a ribbon on top to hang.

crochet ornament smoothfoam ball

Stenciled birdhouse

smoothfoam birdhouse

 

I love how paint stenciling on the walls of my birdhouse looks like a tile mosaic. Smoothfoam’s smooth surface takes painting and stenciling beautifully!

 

Supplies:

Smoothfoam block: 2” x 4” x 8”
Smoothfoam 3” cube
– Kite Stencils – 6″ Roses
– Mix’d Media Inx Chox – Chiffon, Mossy, Patina
– Clearsnap ColorBox Stylus with foam tip
– Westcott Hobby Knife
– ScrapPerfect Perfect Crafting Pouch
– Hot glue gun & glue sticks
– Miniature artificial rose & leaves
– 1″ circle cookie cutter
– 1/8” x 2″ wooden dowel
– Coarse sandpaper

 

1.  Use a craft knife to cut a  4” x 4” x 2” piece from the block to make the roof.

roof diagram

2.  Mark two diagonal lines on the outer edges to form a triangle and slice away the outer corners of the block to create a peaked roof. Smooth out the cut edges with sandpaper.

3.  Remove the leaves from artificial rose stems and hot glue them in alternating rows to each side of roof, covering any gaps so the foam doesn’t show through.

4.  Use the stylus to apply Patina ink to the front and back sides of roof. Flip the roof over and color the edges underneath the roof with Mossy ink; allow to dry.

5.  Position the rose stencil on one side of the 3” cube and color it in with all three ink colors using the stylus. Remove stencil and allow to dry. Repeat for each side of the cube.

TIP: Pat the inked areas with the crafting pouch to speed up the drying process.

6.  Glue the roof to the top of the stenciled cube.

7.  Glue a miniature rose to the front of the roof.

8.  Position the cookie cutter on the front of the birdhouse and push it into the Smoothfoam to desired depth, then twist the cutter out. Use the hobby knife to carve out the foam inside the circle.

9.  Color the inside of the birdhouse opening with ink.

10.  Color the wooden dowel with ink and insert it into the foam below the opening to serve as perch.