Pyrography & Wood Burning Tool Review

pyrography title image

Hi guys! Ever since I’ve started my Pinterest account I have an awful lot of DIY ideas that are, as I like to say, pinned for later. I bet you know that category because you have been filing stuff under it too: projects you’d love to do some day but never really seem to find the time for.

One such craft I always wanted to try is pyrography. Also known as wood burning, it is the art of decorating wood and other materials with burn marks using a heated, metal tipped tool.

I’ve had the Crelando Woodburning Iron Set for almost 2 years now and it never came out of it’s box yet. Of course back then I literally begged the Fiance to get it for me, swearing I’d start using it right away. Anyone else relate?

Aaaanyway, I took a few days off from work last week so I finally had time (and the mood) to give it a go and set about doing some wood burning in a most determined fashion.

First, the tool. It’s basically a heated pen deriving from soldering pens and about as cheap and low-end as it gets with a $9.99 price tag. Comes with 14 tips and a metal safety stand. The heat is not adjustable, simply on/off and warms up in 5 min or so. Instructions say it works on cork and leather as well, although as of now I can only tell you my observations with wood.

woodburning tool set
The 16 Pcs Crelando Woodburning Iron Set from Lidl

All in all a very basic device, but good value for your money and more than enough to get a taste of the trade.

First, I took my tool on a test drive: got a piece of scrap wood and started drawing basic, black and white shapes with the various tips. Be sure to let the burner cool to room temperature before changing tips, it gets extremely hot. Like, around 550 °C (1022 °F) type of hot. Safety first!

You’ll see for yourself how different woods react differently. Soft woods will burn at lower temps, while harder woods will take a very hot pen. Start on pine, it is very easy to work with.

I’ve learnt to go slow and steady with the pen – if you go too fast, the wood won’t really burn and/or your lines will be uneven. If I were to practice more, I think I could get into the advanced shading techniques, but simple was OK for now.

If you’re not using pre-fab pieces (e.g. from the hobby store) you will probably need to prep the wood first by sanding to smooth the surface. After you’ve picked a design, size it to fit the piece you have, than trace. Burn the outlines first, and then fill in spaces.

For the back of my cutting board, I’ve lifted the pattern from the Gorgeous Coloring Book For Grown-Ups. Like many of us, I also fell in love with the intricate designs and joined the coloring-craze, and this book is among my favorites.

wood burning back of cutting board

I’ve also made some fun festive doodles on wood slices (purchased from AliExpress) to incorporate into my holiday gift wrapping. I plan on drilling holes in them to hang.

festive wood slices

This was an entertaining afternoon craft and I will definitely use my wood burning tool more often. Have you tried pyrography? What did you decorate with this technique?

Love,

Fruzsi

 *Disclaimer: I like and use the products mentioned in posts on My Chest of Wonders. What I write about such items represent my genuine and unbiased opinion, I am not being compensated in any way through sponsorship or gifts.*

“Collection of hand-drawn craft elements” graphic featured in title image © freepik

Bleached Pine Cones

bleached pine cones

Is obsession with pine cones a medical condition? Because it should be illustrated with me. But really, they come in all shapes and sizes, each lovelier than the other. I collect every type I can get my hands on: tiny to big, round, cylindrical, from the Mediterranean all the way up to the Carpathian forests.

Around this time every year I can’t help myself and bring a few more home, even though I have the stocks from last year, the year before that, and probably even older ones neatly packed away to be used for some great DIY.

These beauties are perfect decor all year, but their peak season is the holidays. I already did spray painted pinecones, glitter pinecones, pine cone garlands, pine cone wreaths and used them to up my gift wrapping. They are a Christmas staple offering endless possibilities. Just have a look at the zillion ideas popping up in a Pinterest search!

This year, I tried bleaching to change the look up a little, and I think they turned out very pretty. Bleaching pine cones is an easy and inexpensive craft project, all you need is a bucket, the cheapest bleach you can find, a plate and some patience.

bleached pine cones

To achieve this effect, put pine cones in the bucket and pour the bleach over them. They should be completely submerged. You’ll notice how they tend to float, and that is where the plate comes in handy: place it on top of the cones to force them under the liquid. The cones will eventually close as they absorb the bleach, but no worries!

And now we wait.

At this point I admit I thought it’s not going to work. My cones were sitting in the bleach for the required 24 hours and they were still very much their original colour. After another day with no change whatsoever, I was about to give up and throw the whole thing out. But when I poured the bleach (thus exposing the pine cones to air), the magic happened: they started losing colour. So just have a little faith! 🙂

After removing from the bleach, place the cones on paper towels or newspaper and let them dry completely. They will open up again nicely. And there you have your bleached pine cones! Use them to make ornaments, place cards, display under a glass cloche or put together a cluster for a charming door hanger.

bleached pine cones

Are you obsessing over pine cones as well? What do you do with yours? New ideas are welcome in the comments below!

Love,

Fruzsi

Knotted Macrame Lantern

 knotted macrame lantern title image

Guys, I know it’s been some time since I last posted a craft project, summer has been more about food & drinks for me this year. But since outdoor soirees are far from over and adding new DIY pieces to your decor is always fun, today I’m going to show you how to make fishnet style knotted macrame lanterns!

I’ve been eying these nautical inspired pieces for a while, but always found something more important to do. I guess most of you understand the phrase „pinned for later” all too well. 🙂 The other day though, arriving home sweaty and exhausted, I was in need of an instant distraction and decided to instead of procrastinating, just go for it. Grabbed a glass of rosé, a spool of twine and a jar, and took it to the patio.

Well, not just any jar. I have this really old one from my 90-year-old granny that’s been filled with the most delicious jams every year for decades, but got out of rotation because it has no proper lid. I absolutely love the color of antique glassware! Did you know those stunning shades of bluish to greenish aqua are actually the result of iron impurities in the sand used for making glass? They are considered lower grade as opposed to their boring unstained siblings. Total beach vibes though!

I’m pretty OCD about candles too (aren’t we all?), and there’s never too many lanterns and candle holders in my home. So pour yourself a glass of your poison and join me crafting!

What you’ll need:

  • empty jars in whatever size you’d like
  • jute twine
  • scissors
  • ruler (if you don’t trust your visual estimate)

tools for knotted macrame lantern

Instructions:

Turn your jar upside down and measure twine around it (from top, to bottom, to top). Multiply this length by 10 if you want to hang your lantern, or by 5 if you don’t. Cut 8 pieces of twine at this length.

measuring twine around jar
Image source: fix.com

 

 

Divide twine into 2 bunches of 4, cross them at the center and tie a lanyard knot. Here’s how (Thanks, Martha!):

lanyard knot template

Measure the diameter of the bottom of your jar, divide it in half. Tie 2 adjacent strands together with an overhand knot at this distance all the way around (totaling 8 knots). This makes the bottom part of your net.

Continue tying the strings with this method until the net is enough to cover your jar. You don’t have to use the same distance as for the bottom, make net as dense as you prefer but keep knot distances consistent throughout.

making fishnet with overhand knots
Image source: fix.com

Fill jar with sand, pebbles or shells and add a candle or LED tea lights to be extra safe. If you planned to hang the lantern, tie to a branch with the remaining length of twine, careful to never let the flame come in contact with the twine.

knotted macrame jar lantern with candle

And you are ready! If you need further visual guidance, you can check the video tutorial over at Martha Stewart. Invite family and friends over, and enjoy chats and good eats illuminated by your new light fixtures!

Fruzsi

DIY Gold Rimmed Marble Tray

diy-gold-rimmed-marble-tray-title

Is it just me or does anyone else have stuff lying around you know you want to use for some project, just don’t know what exactly the project will be yet? I have boxes of such „craft supplies” waiting to be figured out. Well, one item is off that list!

Because it weren’t just pebbles that I brought home from Croatia this spring. No, I had to put the Fiance’s nerves to further testing, as on a pleasant walk along the coast we found a pile of construction waste. Ugly as it looked on the otherwise pristine shore, something caught my eye: chunks of marble slabs. Such beauties I knew right then and there I needed to take, bearing in mind how big the marble trend is in home decor right now. There came of course the rolling of eyes and the knitting of brows, but the salvaged wedges were resting in our shed since (Love you Hun!).

I had some kind of tray in mind with handles, but then the wise men in my life reminded me that drilling and polishing marble is not that simple. Special tools are needed that are not what you’d call cheap, and even with the right equipment there is a risk of the marble breaking due to our lack of experience working with it. So, I filed this affair under „maybe some other time”.

But then I came across a post by Lauren Conrad and it got me going again. Inspired by her gilded edge trays, I transformed one of my slabs into a hors d’oeuvre plate and I love how it turned out! Also, I realized that instead of drilling, I could just glue on some cabinet pulls to make my life easier.

Now I’m aware not all of you may find piles of marble waiting to be picked up, but if you like this project, you can buy marble tiles in hardware stores or you can always go to a stonemason’s yard and ask if they sell scraps. There’s even a chance to get them for free, you never know!

What you’ll need:

  • gold acrylic paint and paintbrush (acrilic paint is water-based, non toxic and becomes water-resistant when dry)
  • self-adhesive floor protector furniture leg pads
  • cabinet pulls (mine are Ikea ATTEST handles that I spray-painted gold)
  • 2-part Epoxy (resin) glue

Instructions:

Paint the edge of the slab, let it dry completely.

diy-gold-rimmed-marble-tray-paint

diy-gold-rimmed-marble-tray-side

If you want nice, clean lines use painter’s tape, but a little excess paint makes it look all the more rustic.

diy-gold-rimmed-marble-tray-edge

To make sure your tray does not scratch surfaces, stick on the furniture pads.

diy-gold-rimmed-marble-tray-pads

Marble should be cleaned before applying glue (acetone is best to remove dirt or oily substances from the surface). Measure and mark where you want your handles to go, follow the instructions on the glue, and stick them on. Clean excess wet glue as soon as possible. Clamp or place a heavy object over it to help with the bonding process.

diy-gold-rimmed-marble-tray-handle

After the necessary dry-time, you’re all set! Note that the tray will be hand wash only.

Now you have a new piece of serve-ware to help you prep for your upcoming soirees. Let me know how you like the marble trend!

Happy crafting!

Fruzsi

*Disclaimer: I like and use the products mentioned in posts on My Chest of Wonders. What I write about such items represent my genuine and unbiased opinion, I am not being compensated in any way through sponsorship or gifts.*

DIY Felt Bookmark

DIY Felt Bookmark title image

I commute every day from the suburbs and the inevitable trek from my front door to work and back is not the shining moment of my day by any means. Like most of you, I feel the need to lug a ton of crap to and from, toting around half my life (plus gym change) and finding the number of my bags multiplying and getting more ridiculous in size by the minute.

But enough of the misery! What makes that train ride considerably tolerable is the books I also carry with me. Always love myself a good read! Helps shutting the world out and the journey just flies by.

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.

Mason Cooley

I must be old-fashioned but still prefer paper to an e-reader… And with my love of books comes the constant need for new bookmarks. The card stock ones I used to having quickly got destroyed or lost, so I decided to DIY more durable pieces for myself and the bookworms in my life. Pinterest was full of great ideas, and I chose to make some cute heart-shaped felt bookmarks.

Not much was needed: some felt material, scissors, pencil, thread and a needle. After a quick pit stop at the drapery shop on the way home, everything was ready for crafting. I have to admit sewing was never really my thing (although I try to improve), but this project is really what they call stupid easy, you’ll see.

This is how it goes:

First, design your template on cardboard (make corner right angle to fit pages). With a pencil, trace it on your material twice for each bookmark, cut out hearts.

DIY felted bookmark collage

Now you stitch them together, making a pouch for the page. Time to show off your fancy needle technique! I am sure most of you could do this part in the blink of an eye while watching TV but for me, it took some time. Had fun though, despite the pinpricks. 🙂 I was using gold embroidery thread, and this is the outcome:

DIY felted bookmark ready

DIY Felted Bookmark on bookpage

Next time you buy someone a book, top it off with this little personalised, hand-made present.

Have an awesome week!

Fruzsi

Upcycled Beach Pebbles

UpcycledBeachPebblestitleimage

I’ve spent Easter in the fabulous city of Dubrovnik, Croatia with the Fiance and just had to collect pebbles from the beach. Again. I don’t think I will be able to resist the urge ever if I’m honest, but anyway. 🙂 This time I went for the bleached white flat ones and predictably, he asked what I plan to do with them. AND the ones from previous trips too, for that matter. Oooops…

Sadly he just won’t take the ‘it’s craft supply, it’ll be good for something eventually’ bulls**t anymore, but being the absolute sweetheart he is, we brought them home. And now I feel the pressure every time I look at them to come up with ideas.

Then the other day I found some olive patterned paper napkins in my pantry that got me thinking. The green-gray motif would go very well with off-white, so I decided to decoupage some of the stock, thus giving my pebbles a new look. I wrote about this easy technique earlier (read it here) and again, I’m happy with how the project turned out.

So without further ado, this is how decoupaged pebbles are made:

Supplies: pebbles, patterned 3-ply paper napkin or tissue of your choosing (got mine from H&M Home, but it’s from a previous collection), scissors, brush, decoupage glue.

Tip: Since you only need a small amount of glue, pour some into a jar lid or small glass bowl. If your glue has thickened, add a little water to dilute.

Upcycled Beach Pebbles collage

Cover your work surface, clean pebbles from dust/sand. Cut motifs to size, separate layers (you only need the top sheet). Apply glue on the pebbles, fit and smooth out cutouts on the surface. Give it a few minutes of dry time and finish off with 1-2 thin layers of glue to seal. Ready!

upcycled beach pebbles 2 ready

Upcycled Beach Pebbles ready 1

Upcycled Beach Pebbles ready 2

They look good in plant pots, decorative bowls, as vase fillers or simply displayed on their own. Also, grill season is upon us, but this year my stuff won’t get blown away thanks to these lovely weights.

Have fun making them!

Fruzsi

DIY Herb Markers

DIY herb markers title image

Hope you all had a peaceful holiday! Now that you guys have the prettiest pots, I brought you another project before we plant those fragrant little shoots. To get your herb garden going organized and in style, I’ve rounded up some creative ways to label the greenery. These cute personalized herb markers will also help your less educated acquaintances know who’s who. 😉

Choose your favorite type and make a set of them or, if you live on the eclectic side, go for the all-different. As you will discover along the way, with a little imagination almost any material can be turned into a garden marker so have a look at the junk lying around, you might just find something to repurpose.

The most obvious approach is to get some wire or skewers and attach labels to them. Corks for instance, as Kristin of Cambria Estate Winery proves, make great weatherproof tags, which is a good way to use some of the millions you have (I feel you!). Write on them with permanent marker.

DIY herb markers cork
Corks on skewers

Not a wine drinker? Go see a doctor, fast! Until then, a substitute for corks can be wooden clothespins. Decorate them with washi tape as Carissa from Creative Green Living did or write some nice calligraphy, then clip on the skewers.

DIY herb markers clothespin
Clothespin tag on a skewer

Popsicle sticks, stir sticks or paint mixing sticks are great for crafts as well. Opt for something like these adorable red cedar stakes made by Trish & Co., upcycle by dipping in blackboard paint (as spotted on What You Sow), mark with rubber stamps or a wood burning tool. Easy!

DIY herb markers cedar stakes
Numbered cedar stakes
DIY herb markers blackboard
Blackboard painted herb markers

Feels good being frugal and giving new meaning to things others consider scrap, right?

Sincerely,

Fruzsi

Photo featured in title image by Ruth Eileen

4 Simple Ways to Decorate Your Pots

4 simple ways to decorate your pots title image

Hello Springwatchers! Are you as excited for the new season as I am? The weather might still not be springish enough outside, but it’s nice and warm at the home & garden supply store for sure. Yes, we’re going shopping!

While your little herb cuttings are silently making magic happen in their cups, let’s prepare their future homes by dressing up the containers you are going to transfer them into. Terracotta pots have such a nice feel to them! You can get your hands on endless varieties for a wide range of prices, but since you’re going to modify them anyway, I suggest you buy the basic ones in multiple sizes with saucers.

Bellow you will find 4 techniques to make your newly acquired planters pretty. Make something similar or use these as inspiration and create your signature look. Enjoy!

Decoupage

decoupaged pots
Decoupaged pots using tissue paper and textile

How romantic is this flower pattern Aniko of Place Of My Taste used, while Sara at Tell Love and Party made a modern striped pot for her first cactus. For a decoupage project you will need decoupage glue (tempted to write Mod Podge, but it’s not available here), decorative tissue paper or textile of your liking plus a brush. Basecoat your pot if you like with acrylic paint first. Cut fabric to fit your surface. Apply glue to your pot, carefully cover with fabric, smooth out to remove bubbles (wrinkles are part of the charm!). Let dry for 15-20 min. and seal with another layer of glue. Ta-da!

Chalkboard

chalk
Distressed pot with chalk label

Chalkboard patterns are undeniably having their moment right now and I’m really fond of the rustic touch they add to any space. To achive the shabby effect Taryn of Design, Dining and Diapers has created, paint your pots white or a weak pastel hue, then gently sand off the paint here and there, making it look weathered. Attach chalkboard labels, and voilá.

Rope and twine

rope crochet collage
Planters dressed up with twine

Get your glue guns out and give your recently painted pots an upgrade by wrapping them in jute twine. Try to make the circles as tight and neat as possible, without burning your fingers like I do every time. I love how Andrea of The Beautydojo even stamped hers with words of motivation. If you have the superpower of knowing how to crochet, you can make something similar to the ones on the right I found on Pinterest (source unknown), and I will hate envy you for it greatly.

Painted & Patterned

gold patterned pots
Gold patterned pots
4 simple techniques to decorate your pots dipped
Chic and modern metallic planters

Follow Maria’s idea posted on The Melrose Family and use masking tape to produce patterns on your pots, spray paint them gold, allow to dry and gently peel off stickers to expose the result. Experiment with other metallic colors if you like: just have a look at Jen’s incredibly stylish white and silver containers spotted on The Effortless Chic.

Have you tried any of these techniques before? How did they turn out?

Be well,

Fruzsi

Plant pot featured in title image by INCOGNITO