Believe it or not, these ethereal clusters of amethyst are actually made from soap! The first time I saw this technique being used was in a DIY video on Youtube. I was totally mesmerized, and knew that I was going to have to try it out.
By the way, these soaps have been a big hit with everyone I have gifted them to. They make excellent holiday or birthday presents, and making them in six bar batches makes them super easy to stock up on.
While this project can be a tad time consuming, the method is surprisingly easy, and very forgiving! The crystals actually look better when they are cut a little differently every time so you don't have to worry too much about keeping your technique consistent. You can just slice away - happily embracing any imperfections.
If you'd like to see this project in action, check out this video tutorial from mimi'z world on Youtube.
If you are able to work with a double-boiler instead of the microwave, that inexpensive piece of equipment will make this project a whole lot easier. Because this is a layered soap, the melted soap you are working with may harden between steps. The double boiler makes keeping the melted soap warm a breeze, and allows you to reheat it gently. Microwaves can also make soap feel dry and brittle - especially when the same base is melted over and over.
Amethyst Soap Gems
Shop the Project:
- 2 pounds Clear Melt & Pour Soap Base
- 4 teaspoons Lavender Essential Oil, divided
- up to 1/2 teaspoon Purple Mica
- 1 1/8 teaspoon Silver Mica
- Rubbing alcohol in Mini Sprayer Bottle
- Circle Soap Mold
- Heatproof Measuring Cups
- Double Boiler
- Cello Bags
- Dice 1 1/2 pounds soap base and melt in double boiler on stove top or in microwave using short, 30-second bursts.
- Remove soap from heat, let stand 30 seconds, then add essential oil. Stir slowly until oil has combined.
- Fill six soap molds about 1/3 of the way up with soap. Spritz soap with alcohol then let stand for 2-4 minutes, or until the top has formed a thick skin.
- Pour about 1/2 the remaining melted soap base in a heatproof measuring cup. Add small pinch of purple mica and small pinch silver mica. Stir well to blend. Pour the mixture between the soap molds - leaving about 1/3 of space. Spritz soap with alcohol then let stand for 2-4 minutes, or until the top has formed a thick skin.
- Add about 1/8 teaspoon purple mica and 1/8 teaspoon silver mica to remaining melted soap base. Stir well, then pour into molds - topping them off. Spritz soap with alcohol then let stand for 2-4 minutes, or until the top has formed a thick skin. Transfer to refrigerator and chill soap for 30 minutes or until completely hardened.
- Turn hardened soaps out onto a clean cutting board and use a sharp knife to slice the bars into 1/2 to 1 inch rectangles. Make sure to cut so that each rectangle shows 3 layers of color.
- Slice the tops of each rectangle at random angles to give them a faceted and pointed shape. This forms the crystals. Reserve the shreds of soap cut from the and mince them into gem dust.
- Clean out the double boiler, chop remaining soap base and add it to the pot to melt. Once melted, add the remaining essential oil and silver mica and stir well.
- Pour melted soap base into six soap molds. Spritz with alcohol, then immediately begin stuffing the molds with soap crystals and gem dust. Fill each mold as much as you can. The more crystals each soap contains the more sturdy the finished soap will be.
- Allow the soaps to cool and harden completely before removing them from their molds. After they are removed, wrap them in airtight cello bags or saran wrap to keep them from sweating.
What is whitewashing?
Whitewashing is a really easy painting technique that allows you to apply sheer color over bare wood. Before you get started on your project, make sure that the wood you are painting is as naked as possible. You may need to sand the wood down before you start painting.
Check out my Whitewashing Pinterest board to see some examples of gorgeous whitewashed furniture:
What kind of paint do I use for whitewashing?
Any water-based paint will work for whitewashing, but when it comes to furniture, I like to use latex paint with a satin finish. This is the same kind of paint you would use to paint the walls inside your house, and it comes in a rainbow of colors. I usually purchase sample sizes of paint from Lowes for these kinds of projects.
Which colors work with whitewashing?
While the traditional color to whitewash with is white, you can use this technique with pretty much any color of paint. Bright colors will give you a more sheer effect, while whites and pastels will provide a little more opacity. Dark colors need to be watered down very well in order to achieve the desired effect. Experiment with different colors on different projects to get a feel for how each color performs.
You can learn more about whitewashing, and learn about alternative techniques by checking out the following blog posts:
I've had this old guitar kicking around my garage for a while now. It belonged to a friend of mine that had asked Scott to check it out and see if there was any chance of salvaging it. Unfortunately, the neck was warped beyond repair, so I asked her if she'd mind my using it for an art project. She agreed, but it was still a while before I decided how to use it.
Tonight, I felt an urge to get crafty, so I pulled it out, drilled some holes in it, sanded it down, then gave it a quick paint job. I drilled a big hole in the back, then fed a rope light into the body. I cut a disk of silver glitter paper out, and fastened it over the center. Tomorrow, we'll find a home for it somewhere on one of our walls.
Update: I've received a lot of requests for more detailed directions on this project. I've been hoping to get my hands on a second guitar so that I can create a tutorial. For now, I'll try to sum things up as best I can without photos.
Upcycled Guitar Lamp Tutorial
You could use these directions to create a night sky scene like I did, or get creative and give it a totally different paint/light job. You could use the same method to create a city skyline, a map of constellations, an outer space scene, or something totally abstract.
That's it! I hope these directions help. Good luck with your project. I'd love to see it when you are finished.
In my house, kitchen cupboard space is precious real estate. Zoning is strictly regulated in these areas. If an item wants to make it into a prime kitchen neighborhood it has to be a part of either my daily or weekly routine. Specialty appliances, my crockpot and ice cream maker for example, are banished to somewhere less conveniently located.
In my old apartment, that was usually the top of the fridge, or the bottom of my pantry. Now that we are living in a house, I've decided to send these two appliances all the way to the garage. The only problem with that plan is that the garage is a pretty dank and dusty place.
I didn't want these little kitchen machines to get all squinky out there, so I constructed some cozies out of a couple of old t-shirts. These are pretty rudimentary cozies, basically just drawstring sacks, but they do the job well. Making them is also super cheap and extremely quick, both "wins" in my book.
In addition to being a food-aholic, I am known to get a little crafty now and then. My latest venture brings both worlds together, as I have been crafting drink-related goodies. These saucy little mustaches work like wine charms, (only cooler) keeping everyone's beer accounted for, while endowing your bottles with the sexy confidence that only a mustache can provide.
These are handmade, totally re-usable, and pretty much hilarious. I make them in a whole lot of colors. I even make glittered beer mustaches for those who dare. You can order them by the 6 pack, 25 pack, or custom packed into party favor packaging. I was lucky enough to be involved in the Austin Vintage Style Fest last week, where I peddled these little babies along side the handmade bags I sell on Mary Makes Pretty. If you'd like to see photos from the fest, or pictures of my mustaches in action, visit The My Saucy Mustache Facebook Page.
While my true passion is for cooking, my little crafting adventures keep extra spending money in my pocket, and a project in my hands for those precious moments of "down time" that come along now and then. When I sit down to treat myself to an episode of Star Trek or Sunny is Philly, I always have something to work on, making my TV nights feel a little less slothful. There was a time when crafting enveloped a much larger part of my life, but for now, I like it just where it is.
Anyway, if you have a holiday party coming up, or if you are looking for some extra-geeky stocking stuffer, stop by my shop and pick out some goodies. I'd like to give my food blog readers a special discount, since I adore you so very much. Use code: MARYMAKESDINNER to take 10% off of your order at either shop, My Saucy Mustache or Mary Makes Pretty. XOXO, and Happy Holidays!!
In an effort to be eco-friendly, Scott and I do our best to shun disposable plastics at every turn. Unfortunately, economics don't always make this an easy task. Gladware is cheap, easy to replace, and travels well. As much as we'd like to pack all lunches and picnics in adorable vintage mason jars, that's just not very practical. While we are waiting for the next great jump in brown bag lunch technology, we'll just have to be satisfied with replacing our Ziplock Bags with adorable, reusable, and mostly eco-friendly handmade fabric snack bags.
I made mine using a nifty tutorial from a blog called I Have to Say... It's a very simple pattern, so it took pretty much no time to knock out a half dozen or so of these little babies. Similarly to my style of cooking, I'm not one for exact measurements. It's a wonder I can sew anything at all with my aversion for straight lines and mathematics. I suppose it is a credit to this tutorial that these little bags came out so well. Yes, they are all of slightly varied sizes and shapes, but hey, you aren't going to call the sewing police on me for not using a ruler, right?
Don't be such a stick in the mud. Seriously, all you have to do is cut a rectangle from two pieces of fabric lying on top of eachother to get this right. If i can do it, a monkey can do it.
A very intelligent, talented, and creatively inspiring monkey that is.
These pretty little handmade notebooks are made with collage paper, newsprint, embroidery floss, and greeting cards. You can use blank greeting cards or used cards to make your notebook covers, giving you a great way to re-use your latest pile of birthday or holiday greetings. First, take your greeting card and your collage paper and plot out how you'd like to arrange the paper. Try to cover every bit of the card. If you're using a used greeting card as your base, make sure that the paper you are using to cover the card is thick enough to hide any pictures or text. They will look fugly when they show through.
During a move a couple of years back I found myself packing up hundreds and hundreds of CD cases. The numbers were staggering, but their sheer volume, once in front of my face, was hard to handle. After I'd filled a box (or three) I started to doubt the sanity of packing and moving the insane collection into my new home. So, I decided to toss the cases. One by one, I packed my discs into humongous CD binders. In no time I had condensed the size of my music collection by 3/4. Though I was relieved to see my burden shrunk, I felt a pang of sadness at letting go of the cases for all of my favorite albums. How many countless hours had I spent pouring over each and every one of those liner notes? I knew and loved each one. How could I just chuck them into the garbage bin?
Being crafty, my mind fashioned a strange compromise. I pulled the liner notes from the CD cases and stashed them away in a plastic bag in anticipation for the day that I figured out how to make something creative with them. I used the stash as a sort of paper buffet for some time. I used the pictures and text inside the liner notes to make buttons, magnets, and collages, but it wasn't until much later that I came up with the greatest use for my old CD books ever, the Album Bouquet! One day I got my hands on a flower shaped paper punch, some beads, and a spool of floral wire and it all came together. Here's what I made:
Apparently, I can't get enough of Amy Butler crafting paper. After finishing off a tin of Green Tea the other day I got the bright idea to redecorate the can and give it a second life.
Your finished canisters can be used for about a million things. Try using them to hold any number of little doo-dads. Take the lids off and they can hold paint brushes, pencils & pens, silverware, or faux floral arrangements.
Sometimes our friends cannot always join us when we want them too. Perhaps you have a favorite buddy, sibling, or pal who can't make it to your big party or special event? Don't fret. There is a great alternative to having your real friend with you for all of life's precious moments. In just 3 easy steps you can create your very own Flat Friend version of your stick in the mud buddy. Your Flat Friend will actually be MORE fun than your real friend since you can do almost anything to or with them for the sake of taking funny pictures. Being mostly paper, they are pretty much powerless to stop you.
Glue your friend to a stick of some kind. I used a foam paint brush here, but you can also use a chop stick, a popsicle stick, a pen, or even a fly swatter. Pretty much anything tall, slim, and stiff. I'm sure you can find something appropriate. (Or depending on how far you want to take this joke, something inappropriate.)
Embellish your friend. On their own a Flat Friend is, well, kind of FLAT. Try jazzing them up with some glitter, buttons, or brick-brack.
My sisters and I recently made a Flat Friend out of our youngest sister, Caitlin, when she wasn't around to help us do silly wedding crap. Doesn't she look fabulous? Now that your Flat Friend is ready, go out on the town and have some fun. Don't forget a camera! You'll need it to take tons of embarrassing pictures of your new and improved friend, and then upload them onto Facebook, lovingly tagging each one to your 3D friend's account.
We came up with a pretty snazzy idea for centerpieces for my upcoming 50's/rockabilly wedding. Feeling inspired, we decided to take on the challenge of etching glass vases with vintage tattoo designs. This project was a lot of fun. We started out by scanning some of our favorite images from the book, Vintage Tattoos by Carol Clerk.
When we ran out of designs from the book, my Mom began sketching new designs by hand. She used the imagery from the book as inspiration and sketched out about 5 - 6 original designs, some of which are my favorites from the project. Wondering where my sisters and I got our creative genes? Well, wonder no more.
This lady may be modest, but she's a whiz when it comes to creative projects. I knew she'd come up with some great designs, and boy was I right. Check out this anchor design, one of my very favorites from the project. A Syndi original!
After the designs were cut out, we peeled the contact paper off of its backing and applied it to the freshly cleaned vases. This part was nearly as tricky as the trimming. We applied a double layer of masking tape all around the designs to give the glass a healthy buffer when it comes time to apply the etching creme. I can't wait to see these finished!
I have a feeling that these deigns could come in handy for future projects, so I've decided to save them on my Flickr Account. Check out the full collection there. I think they'd make great templates for silk screening, embroidery, or stenciling. Let me know if you make anything with them. I'd love to see it!
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