Celebrate Summer with a Birthday Bouquet

Smoothfoam-Birthday-BouquetSummer is upon us, and what better way to celebrate a summer birthday than a handmade flower bouquet that never fades?

Start with a Smoothfoam half-ball and it’s smooth sailing after that! The hollow half-ball was the perfect size for my gorgeous vase, which was a $2.99 Goodwill find and the only thing I had to purchase for this faux flower bouquet project. I filled it with beach glass to hide the lack of stems for the flowers.

I think it actually took me longer to find my container of beach glass (relegated to the storage room in my recent purging episode) than it took to make all the flowers. I also used some older materials, such as the vellum, from my stash – in the interest of purging. You could also use printed papers from your scrap box to make the flowers.

Supplies

Smoothfoam half-ball (to fit vase opening)
Round foam adhesive pads and/or sheets (paper lined)
1/2″ extra-strength double-sided adhesive tape
Green microbeads
12×12 vellum scrapbook paper – 1 sheet for every 2 flowers, plus scraps for filler flowers
Paper punches: 1-3/8” circle, 1” circle, ½” circle and  ¼” hole
Diecutting machine and flower/leaf dies
Scissors
1 yard ribbon
“Happy Birthday” tag
Beach glass

1.  Fill a large vase with beach glass. Place foam adhesive pads along the top of the vase rim, about 2” apart. Set aside.

Smoothfoam vase with tabs

To make a layered Dogwood-style flower, die-cut two flowers for each bloom and pinch each petal edge together to create a lengthwise crease down the center. Layer two flowers together with a foam adhesive pad in between, then place a round adhesive pad in the center (you can punch your own large circles or small dots from foam adhesive sheets) on the top of the flower and sprinkle microbeads to adhere to it. Play with different petal shapes!

Smoothfoam #1 assembled

 

Smoothfoam Flower #2 with center

Smoothfoam Flower #2 with glitter 1

Smoothfoam Flower #3 with tape center

Smoothfoam Flower #3 Final

Place a strip of double-sided tape around the bottom of the Smoothfoam half-ball, about 1” from the rim. Place leaves along the adhesive strip, hanging towards the bottom of the half-ball.

Smoothfoam half ball

Smoothfoam leaves on half round

Arrange and addhere the flowers to cover the half-ball. Diecut a few plain smaller flowers to fill in any empty spaces as needed. Remove the paper liners from the adhesive tabs on the rim of the vase and press the edge of the half-ball down snugly to adhere.

Tie the ribbon around the top of the vase, securing it in place with a little adhesive on either side of the knot. Punch a hole in the tag, slip it onto one side of the ribbon, and then tie a bow.

This faux flower bouquet will remind the recipient of you every time she sees it, and there is no need for her to remember to water it. That’s my kind of plant! Play with colors and shapes to create handmade flower bouquets for other seasons.

Carved Starfish and Jute Seashell

smoothfoam carved starfish

While browsing gift shops at the beach recently, I saw a wonderful carved wood starfish on display. I immediately knew I had to try to create one of my own – and I knew Smoothfoam was the perfect medium because it’s lightweight, easy to carve and sand, and takes paint beautifully. I love how the almost invisible “texture” of the foam is just evident enough to give the finished piece even more dimension and depth. I needed a third piece to complete my seaside vignette, so I thought it would be fun to add a Smoothfoam seashell wrapped in jute twine for a bit of unexpected additional texture – yes, I am a “texture junkie!”

Materials:

8” Smoothfoam disc
Smoothfoam shell
Chalky-finish acrylic paint
Acrylic finishing wax
Paintbrushes
Heavy-duty craft glue
Jute twine
Craft knife, scissors, pencil
Fine-grit sandpaper

Instructions: 

Draw or trace a starfish shape onto the Smoothfoam disc and cut out with craft knife.

Carve away the sharp edges of the foam to achieve a rounded look like carved wood.

carve smoothfoam starfish

Sand the edges with sandpaper just a bit to remove any loose or crumbling foam.

Paint the starfish with 2 shades of paint – tan and light brown. Use a damp paper towel to randomly blend and remove colors. Let dry.

Apply a light coat of finishing wax, then gently buff with a paper towel. Let dry.

Bisson-CarvedStarfishJuteSeashellHOW2

For the seashell, coat the top section with glue, then begin in center to coil the jute twine around to cover the whole shell, adding more glue as you make your way to the bottom. Let dry.

Bisson-CarvedStarfishJuteSeashellHOW3

Duct tape planter boxes

duct tape faux plantsToday we have some fantastic inspiration from our good friend, Mark Montano!

He used a 4″ Smoothfoam cube as the base for these colorful planter boxes made with leaves cut from strips of duct tape. With some pretty paper and ribbon, Mark wrapped the cube and then pierced in his wired duct tape leaves – it looks great!

Imagine a Smoothfoam planter box on your coffee table, book shelf, or how about dozens of them as DIY centerpieces for a party?

duct tape plantsHe featured this project at a special event last month at the Craft and Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles. Smoothfoam is so great for group make-n-take projects like this because it’s lightweight and easy to work with, especially for new crafters. Just look at all the happy people who made Smoothfoam planter boxes with Mark!

smoothfoam planter boxes

To learn how to make plant leaves with duct tape, check out Mark’s video below. Happy crafting!

How to display crochet mandalas

crocheted Mandala

Crochet is my passion. I am rarely seen without “my work” as my Gam called it. These days my focus is on mandalas. You may read more about this art on my blog. I’ve been making up patterns of my own, as well as learning from other designers’ patterns.  I’ve accumulated well over 60 of these circular crochet wonders.

crochet mandala displayHow to show them off to their best advantage has been eluding me for weeks. I tried hanging them on the wall with just a simple nail, but the textiles eventually pulled out of shape with the force of gravity. I will be showing my crochet mandalas at various galleries around the country, so I need them to stay in good shape. I wanted them to stand away a bit from the wall, to give them more presence.

smoothfoam discs to display mandala

 

Smoothfoam discs are the perfect solution! They are inexpensive, lightweight (a consideration to take into account when packing and shipping) and easy to use.

After I blocked my crochet mandala, I pinned it to the disc with evenly-spaced ball-head straight pins. For a hanger, I just bent a paper clip into a U-shape and pushed the ends into the top of the disc.

Done! So simple and yet so effective. Try using Smoothfoam discs or sheets to display any fiber art, textiles, embroidery or cross-stitch samplers.

 

Paint a Watermelon Bowl for Summer

smoothfoam painted watermelon bowl

Summer is here and watermelon is in season – ripe, sweet and juicy. So why not take some inspiration from this staple of the picnic season and paint a DIY watermelon bowl for all of those fun summer gatherings! Find numerous craft ideas for summer at Smoothfoam today!

Here’s what you need:

Smoothfoam 8″ half-ball
Craft paints – black, dark green, medium green, red, fuchsia
Spray sealer medium
Serrated knife, emory board, paint brushes

Here’s how I made it:

smoothfoam half-bowl

Slice off a small section from the bottom of the Smoothfoam half-ball, then sand the cut edges smooth.

paint smoothfoam with no prep

Paint the outside with one coat of dark green, the edge with medium green, and the inside with a blend of 6 parts fuchsia to 1 part red. Apply second coats as needed, letting paint dry in between.

paint texture on smoothfoam

Use an older junky paint brush to pounce light green textured stripes to the outside of the bowl and let dry. Paint the watermelon seeds inside in black with a small round brush.

In a well-ventilated area (or outside), spray on several light coats of matte sealer and let dry. Fill your watermelon bowl with cute little summery things to give as a hostess gift at your next backyard barbecue! Keep in mind, this bowl is for decorative use only and should not be used to hold unwrapped food.