Wednesday, July 23, 2014

How to Wow with DIY Soaping Painting



The very first type of crafting I ever did was soap making and it's been one of my favorites over the years.  It's pretty quick, relatively inexpensive and the results can look amazing. Ages ago I had some soap paints for decorating them, but no one seems to make them anymore.  After combing the internet I found scant info on painting soap, so I took what little I discovered, combined with my trial & error findings, to make these awesome babies: 



Making soap seem too complicated?  Don't worry you can use store bought for this too. You don't need awesome painting skills, or even know how to make soap, but I'm going to show you how to do both so you can make show stopping soaps from scratch.  I promise it's pretty easy.  You can also check out my full step-by-step soap making tutorial from a while back if you want even more details.



In case you're wondering, you can always color different sections of soap as you make it for a longer lasting effect, but this can be tricky.  You need to pour them carefully into the desired section of the mold, wait for them to set, then pour the remaining color(s) and mind the temperature so they don't bleed together.  It can be a lot of work and if you mess up, well, there's no going back.  It's also nearly impossible on molds with teeny tiny details or very shaped designs. 


Now let's make & paint some soap!!  

Materials:
- Melt & pour clear glycerin soap base (available online & at craft stores)
- Cosmetic Grade Fragrance Oil & Color Gel*
- Three Dimensional Silicone molds (mine are from WholePort)
- Pyrex measuring pitcher, heat resistant spoon, hot pads
- Spray bottle of alcohol
- Waxed or freezer paper

- Cornstarch
- Non-toxic acrylic craft paint & fine artist paint brushes

* Special Note – be sure that all fragrance oil & color gels used are labeled cosmetic grade. There are a lot of other types out there and while it's tempting to use them, they are not made to be safe for skin!

One of the key factors in wow-factor painted soaps is the soap shape. The more sculpted the design, the better the painting will look (and the less painting skills you will need).  The paint really brings out the details in a raised design, so you don't need to be Rembrandt to make a soap masterpiece.  My kids are serious My Little Pony fans so I was super excited when I found this similar pony soap mold.  I was able to make a stable full of different ponies:



Painting the mane & tail and saddle really brought out the fine detailing of the design. 



I got the lovely monkey mold that was really cute too and the little guys I made with it look even cuter with some contrasting color:


Making The Soap:
Start by cutting and melting the soap base in the Pyrex container.  2 lb blocks of soap base are readily available at craft stores and online.  These make it pretty easy to measure out what you need before it's liquified.  Melt slowly in microwave (1 min intervals until melted) or in double boiler, stirring occasionally, until liquified. You do not want it to get boiling hot, just smooth and pourable. 


Add some fragrance oil and colorant.  Just do a few drops at a time until it's to your liking. Be sure to stir it up!  If you're using white base like me the colors will turn out lighter than the gel is in its bottle.  Several of mine were actually neon colors, but using just a couple of drops turned out nice and soft.



Pour into the silicone molds and spray the surface with alcohol to remove any air bubbles.



Let soap sit for a couple of hours to harden and then flip upside done and push soap out of molds.



Soap Painting:
Now for the painting part - dust the surface of the soap lightly with cornstarch.  This is key. It will help the paint adhere to the soap.  You don't need to be able to see it - think face powder dusting (even coverage, but you can't really see it once brushed all over).  Give it a minute or two to stick to the surface before painting.



I recommend using paint colors that are at least a little darker than the soap color so the color will look best, even if it doesn't go on super smooth.  Really light colors can look streaky or uneven.  Also be sure to use fresh paint and really it shake up.  I used some older paint on one and it glopped up when I applied it and didn't look so hot:  


Could look better

Now here's the real trick.  Load up the brush with a good amount of paint and try to work in single strokes to cover.  The more you paint over previously painted sections, the more likely the paint will pull away, so the less strokes, the better. When the paint dries you can do a little touch-up, but try to keep it to a minimum. Using a good quality artist brush also helps - especially for getting into little details.



Goof up and get paint in the wrong spot?  Use a toothpick or q-tip to wipe it away. This will work even if it's dry since the paint is just lightly adhered to the soap. 



Keep in mind, the paint will wash away as the soap gets used, so if you want your beautiful paint job to remain as it is, the soap will need to be of the decorative "display soap" variety. I say go ahead and use 'em though.  Now you know how to easily make more;) 



I'm also sharing this with my FAVE LINK PARTIES.
Click HERE to check them out!

I was not financially compensated for this post.  I selected items from my Sponsor, Wholeport, to review.   The opinions are completely my own based on my experiences.  I am an affiliate of Wholeport.  For my complete disclosure policy, click here. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Craftastic Monday Link Party, Bonus Features & Lots of News


Hey Craft Lovers!  I've got an extra batch of features to share today - thanks to all the great projects linked last week.  And besides the usual Craftastic Party, there's lots of news for you this week so read on to find out what else is going on:

Giveaway Winners!!

First off, it's time to announce the winners the Seamingly Smitten Pattern Trio Giveaway

Eli B. Andrea Tafi
Angi Harrell

Congratulations ladies and a big thank you to Seamingly Smitten for providing these great pattern prizes!

A Chance to Help Others

I'm also doing some special Christmas in July fundraising for the National Stroke Association. Last week I shared how our family was affected by stroke and why helping this organization means so much to me. 



What's this mean for you?

- Every donation will be 100% matched by Balsam Hill to double the funds raised.  
- Every donation over $5 is entered for a chance to win a full set of Balsam Hill ornaments.
- All donations over $25 receive a free ornament gift. 
- A chance to do a little holiday-style charity out of season & help those who really need it.

Visit my fundraising page HERE

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Want to promote your blog/crafty shop?

After linking your latest project posts below, head over to the Sew Can Do Facebook page to join in the Craftastic Monday Mixer.  It's a way to promote your site or its FB page to other crafty, creative people and find some new sites you might love at the same time.


How It Works:
Instead of a specific post, share your blog, crafty shop or Facebook page link on the Sew Can Do FB page.  More exposure for your crafty site every week!  Click HERE to go link up now!
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Now let's see some Craftastic picks..

Being Bianca shared this incredible console table transformation using just twine and paint:


A Typical English Home shared how to make gift bags from newspaper & magazines:


Create some fun fairy bread like Eliza Ellis:



Make a cute lace crown thanks to this how-to from Serving Pink Lemonade:



Learn how to hang wall art using just toothpaste thanks to Something Splendid:


My Pinterventures showed how to make Hawaiian Guri-Guri ice cream.  This is on my summer to-try list:


If you're one of this week's f
eatures, be sure to grab my Featured On button over on my Buttons Page to share the good news.  

I also feature these projects on Sew Can Do's Craftastic Picks Pinterest board 
AND share each of them on Twitter too for even MORE exposure!

Follow me there to see more great projects (and see if yours is one of them)!   
  
Follow Me on Pinterest



Ready to link up your crafty creations?

 
Party rules are simple:
  • As long as it's crafty, and made by you, it's Craftastic (no links to giveaways, shops, link parties or other people's work).  Add the link to your specific post (not the main page of your blog).
  • Grab my party button & put it on your post or blog somewhere.  The code can be found HERE.
  • Check out some of the other fabulous links and share some crafty comment love.  We all love getting comments!!


   

    An InLinkz Link-up
   

Friday, July 18, 2014

Sewing Some Style for the Boys: Offbeat Oxford Shirt Pattern Review

This is a sponsored pattern review.  The opinions are my own, based on my experiences.


Sewing clothes for boys over the age of 5 can be tricky.  There aren't a lot of fashion patterns out there for "big boys" and most of them are the same handful of basic styles. BORING.  Who wants to take time to make something ho-hum looking?  Today's pattern review has an ideal option: the Offbeat Oxford Shirt Pattern from Terra's Treasures.



This PDF pattern has a unique spin on the classic Oxford-style shirt.  The front has a curved placket that gives it a fresh look from the standard button-down shirt.  



There's also the option of this fun, flapped pocket, which I did on our Pac-Man themed shirt:



Side note: I'd fallen in love with this retro video game fabric as soon as I'd seen it.  This one is Pocket Arcade Video Game by Timeless Treasures.  You can find it here.  I'd grabbed it as soon as I saw it, but had been stumped on what to do with it, until I clapped eyes on the Offbeat Oxford Pattern.   



I'd also loved the corresponding Pocket Arcade Invaders print (find it here).   With two complementing prints + two video game loving boys, these were ideal fabric picks for their new shirts.  



If you have older boys you know what I challenge it can be to find fabric prints for this age-range. Colorful and fun is good, but not too cutesy or twee.    These both got the thumbs up from my 8 & 11 year olds.  


The Offbeat Oxford pattern has sizing for 12 months up to 14 years, which is nice since boys seem to grow crazy fast - especially in the tween age-range.  There's a good amount of room so each size can get maximum wear time.



I made both my shirts with short sleeves, but the pattern also comes with a long sleeved option, complete with placket and functional cuffs, for a nice finished look.  Just one pattern, but year round shirt choices: 


Offbeat Oxford Shirt Long sleeve photo courtesy of Terra's Treasures

You can use snaps or buttons for the closures.  I went with some fun engraved monster snaps I had in matching colors.  



I also did the front facing for the snaps a bit differently than instructed - it wasn't on purpose at first (I thought I'd cut it wrong), but it worked out ideally for my needs. The patterns calls for one facing side to be folded to the right, outer side, instead of the wrong, inner side of the fabric. Both my fabrics are busy & directional so wrapping any of the facing to the front would have interrupted the print between the front halves of the shirts. My workaround was cutting two facings the exact same way (instead of mirrors of one another) and just folded them both the traditional way - to the inside - and my prints.  A happy accident that worked out to my advantage! 



I really love how the shirts turned out and like how you can easily switch things up with the pattern piecing.  Do the facing, collar, back yoke & pocket in contrasting colors or prints, swap snaps for buttons, you can make a lot of fun looks without having to change the main design.  

FYI, through July 22, the Offbeat Oxford Shirt Pattern is on sale for 25% off, so it's a good time to grab it if you want to make some fun shirts for your little or big guys.  And there's also a giveaway for one on the new Terra's Treasures blog too.  Happy shirt sewing!!



I received this pattern to review from Terra's Treasures, a paying advertiser on Sew Can DoThe opinions are completely my own, based on my experiences.  For my complete disclosure policy, see HERE.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Christmas in July Event To Help The National Stroke Association


Summer can be a busy time for most of us.  Usually we're focused on having fun, doing what we want to do and making the most of our carefree, sunny days.  Helping out those in need or thinking about charity sort of falls off the radar until the holiday season comes around again. Last week I shared a free ornament pattern to get the "Christmas in July" mood flowing. Now I'm working on the holiday giving aspect too. Christmas is when we feel most charitable, right?  

Balsam Hill, the makers of beautiful artisan artificial trees, wreaths and decorations, helps fund those in need throughout the year.  I've partnered with Balsam Hill's Christmas in July Charity Event to help raise funds for a charity that has personal meaning to me: The National Stroke Association.



My grandparents had just retired when my grandfather suffered his first massive stroke.  It wasn't long after my first birthday.  He had numerous recurrent strokes over the following years.  He was left permanently paralyzed and unable to walk, talk or write and it dramatically changed life for our entire family for over a decade.  Some of my earliest memories are of trying to re-teach him to write and talk as I was learning how myself.  The National Stroke Association didn't exist back then and there wasn't much in the way of technology, therapy, medication or emotional support to help stroke victims and their families.  Through our experience, I know how important advancements in those areas are, as well as being able to connect with others and educating the public about stroke.

Me & my grandpa post-stroke

Stroke can effect almost anyone - young or old, man or woman, seemingly healthy or not. My grandpa had actually had a routine physical, with a clean bill of health, just hours before his first stroke occurred.  Many people still don't know much about preventing or identifying stroke either, despite it being the 4th leading cause of death in the US.  My grandfather was a multiple stroke survivor, so it means a lot to me to see an organization bringing awareness, reducing incidence and providing much needed emotional & practical support to other families faced with this disease. 



100% of the donations on my fundraising page will go to The National Stroke Association. The best part is Balsam Hill will be matching all donations up to $1,000!  This means every dollar contributed will get a matching dollar from Balsam Hill for The National Stroke Association.




And as a thank you for giving...

- Anyone who donates $5 will be entered for a chance to win a full set of Balsam Hill's new 2014 Mistletoe and Holly ornaments!

- For a donation of $25 or more, you will receive an exclusive surprise ornament from the Mistletoe and Holly collection. This collection doesn't premiere until September so it's a chance to get one before they're available to buy.


Some of the not-yet-released 2014 Mistletoe and Holly Ornaments from Balsam Hill

This is a great opportunity to do some spirited giving for a good cause and get a little holiday gift for yourself - it's like Christmas is coming twice this year! My fundraising effort begins today and will run through August 12, 2014. I'd love to raise $1,000 for stroke support and see Balsam Hill match those efforts to make it $2,000!


To make a donation to my fundraiser, find out how to spread the word and learn more about The National Stroke Association, just visit my IndiGoGo page: 



Thanks so much for your support in something that means a lot to me & to others who could really use help overcoming stroke!



Sunday, July 13, 2014

Craftastic Monday Link Party & Last Day Pattern Giveaway!


Happy Craftastic Monday!  I've been sewing and crafting again in the few free moments I've had lately - it feels good to finally get some new things done & be able to share them soon.  I'm also looking forward to seeing what new goodies you've been up to this week.

Today's also the week to enter the Seamingly Smitten Pattern Trio Giveaway. There will be TWO winners & it's open worldwide, so get your entries in. Click HERE to enter.

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Want more views for your blog/crafty shop?

After linking your latest project posts here, head over to the Sew Can Do Facebook page to join in the Craftastic Monday Mixer.  It's a way to promote your site or its FB page to other crafty, creative people and find some new sites you might love at the same time.


How It Works:
Instead of a specific post, share your blog, crafty shop or Facebook page link on the Sew Can Do FB page.  More exposure for your crafty site every week!  Click HERE to go link up now!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Now let's see some Craftastic picks..


Sum of Their Stories shared some fun & easy shirt refashion ideas:



Little Dove Creations shared how to make some durable tile coasters with resin:


Try making your own swimsuit with this free pattern & tutorial from Naptime Creations:


This DIY sheep applique bin from Handmade by Eva Rose is too cute:


If you're one of this week's features, be sure to grab my Featured On button over on my Buttons Page to share the good news.  

I also feature these projects on Sew Can Do's Craftastic Picks Pinterest board 
AND share each of them on Twitter too for even MORE exposure!

Follow me there to see more great projects (and see if yours is one of them)!   
  
Follow Me on Pinterest



Ready to link up your crafty creations?

 
Party rules are simple:
  • As long as it's crafty, and made by you, it's Craftastic (no links to giveaways, shops, link parties or other people's work).  Add the link to your specific post (not the main page of your blog).
  • Grab my party button & put it on your post or blog somewhere.  The code can be found HERE.
  • Check out some of the other fabulous links and share some crafty comment love.  We all love getting comments!!


   

    An InLinkz Link-up
   

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