Monday, January 31, 2011

Wire Birds Nest Charm

As promised I am going to be sharing a few different charm techniques to give you ideas to use for the upcoming altered charm swap :)

Today I wanted to share a charm that is very popular.  Of course there are many ways to go about making these charms...this is my own version that works for me.

wire bird nest charm 1


36" Wire ~ gauge size can vary.  Larger wires will make larger nests, smaller diameter wire will make smaller nests.
3 Beads (I like fresh water pearls)
Wire Working Tools
Other Embellishments (optional)


1. Cut a piece of wire 36".

2. Thread on the three beads and slide them down about 3".  This will be what we use to create a hanger later on.

wire bird nest charm 2

3. Twist the beads so they form a circle.

wire bird nest charm 3

4. Wrap the wire around the beads three times so you have three wire circles around the beads as shown.

wire bird nest charm 4

5. Now take your wire and wrap it around all three circles and the wire that the beads are on.  (you can wrap it more than once but it's not necessary)  Give your nest a 1/2 turn and wrap the wires on the opposite side of the first loop. 

wire bird nest charm 5

6. Wrap the wire around the nest three more times.  You can wrap the wire as you did the first for a "clean" looking nest...a very smooth and polished look.  OR  This is where I like to add a bit of texture to the nest.  I like to twist the wire here and there as I make my 3 additional circles.   It just gives the nest a more "lived in" look.

7. Wrap the wire around all 6 wires in 3 places around the nest. You should now have 2 wire tails. 

wire bird nest charm 6

8. Make a small loop in one of the tails and wrap the wire back around it's self as shown.

wire bird nest charm 7

9. Repeat step 8 with the second tail.

wire bird nest charm 8

I thought it would be fun to add a bit more to the nest so I wanted a word tag to attach to the nest.  It is originally a very bright aluminum ...

metal charm tag 2

So I aged it a bit with a touch of gesso and finished it off with Acrylic Dabbers. 

metal charm tag

I finished if off by stamping "fly" with Archival Ink.

wire bird nest charm 8

I attached this tag, a small bird charm and a little gemstone to the nest and here is how it turned out!

wire bird nest charm 8

Fun huh?

And it's so very easy too!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Altered Charm Swap - Sign-Ups OPEN!!

Well, looks like there is lots of interest in having an altered charm swap so I am officially opening the swap for all interested players.


Each person will make 5 charms (either the same or very similar) and get 4 different charms back.  You would not get your own back so be sure to make an extra to keep for yourself.  I would keep the extra charm but in exchange for that charm I would in turn send you a 5 loop silver charm pin (pictured below) for you to hang your new charms from.

I have the silver version ~ 3" long with 5 loops.

The charms can be created from anything you can dream up... there are tons of ideas on the web (search images under things like altered charms, altered charm bracelets, altered charm necklaces, Tim Holtz style necklace, charm swap; etc.)   

There are also lots of ideas here on the blog under: Acrylic Charms; Charms; Jewelry.

If you have a copy of my book ~ Teach Yourself Visually Collage & Altered Arts there is an entire chapter dedicated to creating your own charms.

*You could create your charm from acrylic pieces, glass, metal, clay, found objects, etc. You could embellish bought metal charms (please don't send a plain metal charm) with beads, chain, or other items.  There are many pendant blanks, bezels, etc.  that can be altered (insert photo/words, etc & fill with Glossy Accents or the like); you could fill little bottles with sand/beads and other goodies ~ sealed & findings added. And so much more...let your imagination run wild!

*Each charm should have a jump ring or lobster clasp so all you have to do is attach it to the charm pin when you get them back.

*You can make up to 3 sets of charms (1 set = 5 of the same charm).  I will give you a pin for each set you send.  :)


*I would like it if each person would identify their charms either by placing it in a baggie with their name and e-mail addy or mounting it on a small card or tag with the same info.  It's always nice to be able to thank people personally when you receive a piece of their art work.


NOTE: I am in the United States but welcome anyone to play along.

*Please package your charms securely so they arrive in good condition. 

*Include a self addressed envelope for the return trip.

*Send $3.00 (US) or $6.00 (International) for the return postage - PLEASE do NOT include pre-metered postage.  My local post office will not accept these.  They will refuse them!  If you would like to pay-pal me the money that would work as well.


New DUE DATE - March 4th, 2011!!!!

Due to bad weather I am extending the deadline a week to ensure enough time for any postal delays which may occur to the recent and continuing bad weather here in the US.
DUE DATE:   February 25th 2011

This is when your package must be in my hands.  I want to swap them out that weekend and have them back in the mail the following Monday so you can start enjoying them!  :)

Sign Ups: 

Please include your e-mail addy (spaces added) so I can send you my mailing address. 

NOTE: I will be sending details along with my mailing address as soon as I have your e-mail addy.  Please let me know if you don't receive them and I will re-send.  Thanks!

Red = Rec'd 

  1. Mindy
  2. 2Ksmommy (Brandy)
  3. Ginger
  4. Sandy
  5. Cher
  6. Amy
  7. Neil
  8. Judith S
  9. Anne Thompson
  10. Kristy Tyra
  11. Jennifer Phillips
  12. Gail
  13. Diane
  14. Deb
  15. Kim
  16. Lissa
  17. Judith N.
  18. Jan Wills
  19. Paula
  20. Elaine P.
  21. Michensey
  22. Julie O
  23. Sparkly Fairy
  24. Carolyn
  25. Connie
  26. Erika

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Possible Swap Idea....Charm Swap?!?!?

Hi All...

You might have noticed the new poll in the right hand column...I have had an idea I wanted to host another swap here at Ink Stains for a while now but the timing was never quite right.

Now that we have ALL the major holiday stuff out of the way and it's so snowy and cold I thought it might be a fun time to stay inside and play with charms.  I have acquired a nice supply of charm pins that would be perfect to hang all sorts of charms from.  Red Lead PaperWorks calls them Chotski Pins but I've also seen them called just plain old charm pins or Art Pins.  Whatever you want to call them I think they would be really fun to add our altered charms to!

Here is what I had in mind...

(NOTE: This isn't the thread to sign up for this along with more details will be posted in another thread.  I just wanted to make sure there was interest in the swap.)

It would be a make 5 charms (the same or similar) and get 4 different charms back.  You would not get your own back so be sure to make an extra to keep for yourself.  I would keep the extra charm but in exchange for that charm I would in turn send you a 5 loop charm pin for you to hang your new charms from! 

How does that sound? 

Would it be something you are interested in participating in? 

I'm thinking about a late Feb. due date if there is enough interest.

Please vote and/or post a comment here or feel free to e-mail me if you have comments or suggestions.

Lots of people have asked for examples of charms so here goes....

If you have a copy of my book  ~ Teach Yourself Visually Collage & Altered Arts there is an entire chapter dedicated to creating charms from found objects.  There are also other charms through the book made from a variety of materials.

I have several examples of charms here on the blog under Acrylic Charms, Charms & Jewelry.

You can also search for images under ~ Altered Charms, Altered Charm Bracelets and Altered Charm Necklace, etc. to see loads and loads of different examples.

I will also be sharing a few techniques this next week on how to create or build your own altered charms ;)

Winners - Canvas Resist & Valentine's Winners!!

I have a couple winners to announce ~ drawn by using's random number generator....

The winner of the Canvas Resist goodies is....

The Mix Master!!!

The Mix Master said...

I love your "make your own calendar" series...all of the backgrounds are so creative! Thanks for postings the techniques to create each one!

January 19, 2011 4:02 PM
And the winner of the Vintage Valentine goodie bag is....
Vic said...

You've done it again! Another great Valentine - TFS.

January 25, 2011 7:23 PM

Congratulations Friends!
Please e-mail me your addies so I can get your goodies in the mail :)

Stickles Saturday ~ Rainbow of Fun!

Time for another fun project using Stickles Glitter Glue!!

This week I have a card to share with you that was so much fun to make...bright and cheery using many of the newest colors of Stickles ~  Glam Pink, Tropical Tangerine, Firefly, True Blue, Thistle, Midnight Blue and one of their original colors ~ Yellow.

I also decided to incorporate a few of the recently reformulated Liquid Pearls ~ White Opal, Silver Pearl, Platinum Pearl, Baby Blue and Ocean Blue ~ to show you a few fun ways to use them.

Stickles 01-11 Roni 009


Stickles Glitter Glue
Liquid Pearls
Ink Blending Tool & Foam
Snow cap Acrylic Dabber
Embossing Ink
Black Embossing Powder
Stamp Sentiment - Crafty Secrets


1. Cut a piece of light weight chipboard to the approx. size of your card.  I used a 4.5x6.5" rectangle.

2. Cover the chipboard with a layer of the White Opal Liquid Pearls.  I like to use my IBT and foam to spread it around for a nice even coat.

3. To create depth I then blended in a bit of Silver Pearl to the lower right hand corner and added a bit of the Platinum Pearl to the very edges.  In the upper left hand corner I blended in Baby Blue and added Ocean Blue to the extreme edge.  This yields a nice progression for a stormy sky...after all you can't have a rainbow without a bit of a storm.

4. After the LP's dried I stamped the sentiment in the lower right hand corner and embossed with black ep's.  

5. I highlighted the upper left hand corner with Midnight Blue Stickles that I spread around in a thin layer with my fingertip.

6. Now it's time to cut the cloud, rainbow and hearts.  I free-handed each element again on light weight chipboard and cut each shape out. 

7. Paint each element with white acrylic paint. 

8. I covered the cloud with a pretty thick layer of White Opal LP and swirled as I went to give the fluffy appearance of a cloud.  I then added a "silver lining" with a bit of Silver Pearl LP along the bottom edges. Set aside to dry.

Stickles 01-11 Roni 009

9. I then drew faint pencil lines on my rainbow and filled in each section with the appropriate color of Stickles.  I mainly went with the new colors but you could of course use any colors you choose.

10. Apply Stickles to each of the hearts making sure you have colors in a variety of sizes.

11.  After all of the Stickles and Liquid Pearls have dried, affix each element to the card.  I used double stick foam to adhere some while others I mounted directly on the card.

12. Finish it off by mounting on desired color(s) of cardstock.

Friday, January 28, 2011

More Fun with Vintage Crepe Paper Garland

I wanted to add to my post from Wednesday on how to make your own Vintage Gathered Crepe Paper Garland

Today I've got several examples on how you can kick this garland up a notch or two.

Hand Tinting

Of course you can use other colors of crepe paper but sometimes the modern colors are a bit too bright or vivid to achieve that vintage feel.  To counter that I like to tint it myself.  By doing so you have control over how light or bright the finished color is.

For this example I used a drop of Spun Sugar Distress Ink diluted in a Mini Mister.  You can see that the crepe paper also picked up a bit of Vintage Photo ink that was on my non-stick craft mat.  I was a bit upset when I first noticed it but after looking at it for a bit I decided that it really added to the vintage feel so now I like it.  

Gathered Crepe Paper Garland 021

Tinted Edges

If you want just a bit of color I like to squirt a bit of Color Wash (or other inks) on my craft mat; add a squirt of water to dilute it a bit then dip only the edges of the garland into the ink.  The inks wick up the crepe paper at varying rates so it makes for an awesome finished look.

Gathered Crepe Paper Garland 012

Gathered Crepe Paper Garland 022

German Glass Glitter Garland all know how much I love sparkle and glitter and it is a perfect accent to this garland!  Now you could use Stickles Glitter Glue but you'd have to be dedicated to add a tiny line of it to the length of the garland...I for one am not...I like to find easy ways to make things look great.  So I simply dip the edges in a white glue then dip it into the Glass Glitter.  Once it's dry you're set to go :) 

Gathered Crepe Paper Garland 009

Gathered Crepe Paper Garland 011

I think it really looks spectacular when it's finished!

Gathered Crepe Paper Garland 018

Stamped Crepe Paper

A great way to transform plain garland into perfection is to stamp it to match your project.  It is very easy to do so, simply stamp your desired image(s) repeatedly before you sew.  You end up with a way cool look that is unique each and every time!

I used two of my favorite stamps...script & leafy vine (both from JFF Stamps) paired with Archival Inks (in case I want to tint it later).

Gathered Crepe Paper Garland 013

Gathered Crepe Paper Garland 019

Center Stitched Crepe Paper Garland

And finally I wanted to show you a bit of garland that I stitched down the center. 

Gathered Crepe Paper Garland 014

You could use it folded over for a nice double ruffle look....

Gathered Crepe Paper Garland 015

or you could use it flat with a piece of ribbon covering the stitch line....

Gathered Crepe Paper Garland 016

No matter how you choose to use this garland I guarantee it will add an extra layer of goodness to your finished project!

NOW, would you like to win a bit of this garland goodness yourself?

Simply leave a comment telling us how/where you would use this garland and you'll be entered to win a variety of Gathered Crepe Paper Garland for your very own! 

You have until 2-6-11 to post to be entered to win.

Good Luck Friends!!!

Just For Fun Friday - A Couple More...

Valentine's Day Cards!

The "lovely" holiday is quickly approaching and I should really switch gears to start creating more seasonal Spring cards for JFF but I tell you I just had to create a couple more Valentine's Day cards cause I just love making them so here goes....

Of course all stamps are Just For Fun Rubber Stamps since it is Just For Fun Friday ;)  If you were thinking about acquiring any new images in the near future be sure to act quickly...the 25% off sale on all orders ends January 31, 2011 ~ That's Monday!!!  Be sure to order soon to take advantage of this amazing offer.

My first card is a bit Spring-y with a lovely bunch of flowers just for you!  I used the Liquid Pearls Resist Technique to color the flowers and stems with Distress Inks for the background.

JFF 1-28-11 001

and my second card is purely Valentine's Day...cupid, hearts, music even a pink and red color palette...  This card's got it all!

JFF 1-28-11 002

Be sure to stop by the Just For Fun Blog to see what the rest of the team has created for you this week!

Remember to stop back this afternoon ~ I've got several suggestions on how to spice up the vintage looking Gathered Crepe Paper Garland I shared on Wednesday.  You might even have a chance to get some for yourself...maybe ;)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Vintage Valentine #3

As promised today's Vintage Valentine incorporates a bit of the Gathered Crepe Paper Garland that I shared with you yesterday.  But instead of just sticking it on the card I thought it would be fun to make a removable little plaque that the recipient could remove from the card and hang up!  A card and a gift in one :)

Vintage Valentine #3 - Valentine Plaque Card 008


Gathered Crepe Paper Garland
Vintage Collage Image (or stamped image)
Metallic Tinsel Stem
Distress Inks
Ink Blending Tool
Vintage Sheet Music or Pattern Paper
Stamps (all Just For Fun Rubber Stamps)


1. Mount your vintage collage image or stamped image onto a piece of medium to heavy weight chipboard.

2. Flip the image over and apply a bit of glue to all edges of the chipboard.  Adhere the Gathered Crepe Paper Garland to the image as shown.

Vintage Valentine #3 - Valentine Plaque Card 009

Here is what it looks like so far...

Vintage Valentine #3 - Valentine Plaque Card 010

3. Now we're going to dress it up a bit by gluing a piece of wired metallic tinsel stem (aka - foil pipe cleaner) to frame the image.  You'll need to rough form it then glue it down.  You may need to weight it down while the glue dries...I did.  I used a stamping block to hold it in place.  Let the glue dry completely.

Vintage Valentine #3 - Valentine Plaque Card 001

4. Cut a second piece of chipboard roughly the same size as the image.  Add 2 eyelets and stamp desired sentiment and images on the chipboard.

Vintage Valentine #3 - Valentine Plaque Card 002

5. Thread a ribbon through the eyelets to create a hanger for the plaque.  Glue this piece to the back side of the plaque.

Vintage Valentine #3 - Valentine Plaque Card 003

and here's the finished plaque....

Vintage Valentine #3 - Valentine Plaque Card 004

6. Now to create the card, stamp leafy vines around the edges.  To create a more realistic look I like to stamp the initial vines with full strength ink then I go back and stamp the vines without anymore ink.  The multiple generations of images will get lighter and lighter making them look further back in the distance.  It's amazing what a difference it makes to the finished card.

 Vintage Valentine #3 - Valentine Plaque Card 005

close up...

Vintage Valentine #3 - Valentine Plaque Card 006

7. Now add a strip of vintage sheet music or pattern paper along the bottom. 

8. Ink all of the edges to help promote that vintage feel.  I have used a combination of Vintage Photo and Walnut Stain to this card.

Vintage Valentine #3 - Valentine Plaque Card 007

9. Tuck the ribbon behind the plaque and affix it to the card using a removable adhesive. 

Vintage Valentine #3 - Valentine Plaque Card 011

10. Stamp the sentiment on a piece of scrap cardstock and ink it up as desired.  To affix it to the card add a piece of double stick foam to the right hand side of the sentiment.  This will allow you to stick it to the card over the plaque but won't harm the plaque in any way.

Vintage Valentine #3 - Valentine Plaque Card 012

Your card/gift is ready to be given :)
Be sure to add a little note in the card that the plaque is removable.

Vintage Valentine #3 - Valentine Plaque Card 013

Tomorrow is Just For Fun Friday
I'll also have a few more ideas on how to dress up the Gathered Crepe Paper Garland
so be sure to stop back and check it all out :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

*Reader Request* ~ Vintage Crepe Paper Garland

I've had a few requests from readers to share how to make vintage-look crepe paper garland.   Betty mentioned that she saw some on Etsy but with shipping it was going to be over 6.00 a yard! Since you can buy an entire roll of crepe paper for $.99 she was pretty sure it could be made cheaper.  Well she was right...we sure can!

So here goes...

How to Make
Vintage Crepe Paper Garland


Crepe Paper
Sewing Machine or Thread/Needle
Deco Scissors (optional)
Glitter (optional)


1.  Pull of a long section of crepe paper from the roll.  I used approx. 5 yards. 

Gathered Crepe Paper Garland 001

2. (Optional) if you would like your garland to have a decorative edge follow steps 2 & 3.  If not, skip to step #4. 

Fold the crepe paper over and over until it makes a nice bundle.  This is just to help speed up trimming the edge.

Gathered Crepe Paper Garland 002

3. Cut one edge of the crepe paper with decorative shears.

Gathered Crepe Paper Garland 003

4. I'm going to tell you how I gather the crepe paper.  It's not the only way you can do this but it works for me.  I'll share a couple other techniques at the end.

Place one edge (straight end if you trimmed one edge with deco shears) of the crepe paper under the foot of the machine.  Pinch and push the crepe paper to create random gathers in front of the foot.  Begin sewing slowly while you continue to gather the crepe paper in front of the foot. 

Gathered Crepe Paper Garland 004

Continue slowly sewing and gathering the crepe paper until all of the paper has been sewn.

This method will create random gathers in the finished garland.  I think this contributes to the vintage look and feel of the garland. 

Gathered Crepe Paper Garland 005

Gathered Crepe Paper Garland 006

Here is a bit of the garland tucked under one of the heart lace doilies just to show you how cool it looks...

Gathered Crepe Paper Garland 007

TIP #1: You could apply a bit of glue to the exposed edges then dip these glued edges in regular or glass glitter for added texture and sparkle.

TIP #2: If you'd like a shorter of fluffier ruffle you could sew down the center of the crepe paper and fold it over.  This will give you a double shorter layer or you could use it flat with a piece of ribbon covering the stitch line.

Other Sewing Options:

As I mentioned above there are many ways to sew this garland below are two additional techniques:

1. For a more precise gather you could use a pencil or popsicle stick to measure and tuck each pleat. After you have gathered a few inches, press each pleat with a craft iron.  This will create exact and precise pleats in your finished garland.    I know some people like this more exacting pleated look but personally I think it looks machine made and not very vintage at all.

2. You could also use a needle/thread and use a running stitch ~ simply push stitch in and out every 1/4" - 1/2".  Once you have stitched the entire length of the crepe paper pull the thread through the crepe paper and gather as you pull.  This gives you a bit more control over the gathers without looking machine made.  It is a bit more time consuming but yields great results.

Tomorrow I'll share a couple Vintage Valentine Cards using some of this garland....
I may also tuck a bit of it into the Valentine goodie package ;)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Vintage Valentine #2

Today I've got another fun Vintage Valentine for you. We'll be using many of the same items from yesterday with the addition of a few buttons, a bit of bakers twine and a metal rimmed tag.  You will also need the large heart pattern as well as another 4" Heart Lace Doily or the medium heart that I shared on post Vintage Valentine #1.

Vintage Valentine #2 - Buttons, Bows & Tags 002


Large & Medium Heart Patterns
     (Note: 4" Heart Lace Doily may be substituted for Medium Heart)
Rubber Stamps - Ink Stained Roni
     (Note: these stamps are from February's Get Inked Kit - shhhhh!!)
Distress Ink
Ink Blending Tool
Printed Tape - Making Memories  (This is similar to TH Tissue Tape)
Vintage Sheet Music
Red & White Bakers Twine
Metal Rim Tag
Silver German Glass Glitter


1. Stamp vintage flourish in all four corners of a 4x5" piece of cardstock.

Vintage Valentine #2 - Buttons, Bows & Tags 003

2. Ink the entire piece of cardstock with the IBT and Victorian Velvet Distress Ink.

Vintage Valentine #2 - Buttons, Bows & Tags 004

3. Affix this piece of stamped cardstock to the top of a 5x7 card base.

4. Tear the vintage sheet music into 2 - 3" pieces.  Attach these pieces to the lower section of your card using your favorite glue. 

5. Use the IBT  and more Victorian Velvet DI to highlight the outer and torn edges of the sheet music.

Vintage Valentine #2 - Buttons, Bows & Tags 005

6. Trace and cut out the large heart from white cardstock.  Ink the edges using the IBT & VV DI.  Attach it to the card.

Vintage Valentine #2 - Buttons, Bows & Tags 006

7. Use a circular motion to apply a thick glue to the heart and cover with silver German Glass Glitter.  Set the card aside to dry.

Vintage Valentine #2 - Buttons, Bows & Tags 011

8. Stamp sentiment in the center of the metal rimmed tag.  Ink with more Victorian Velvet DI.

Vintage Valentine #2 - Buttons, Bows & Tags 007

9. Create a ruffled circle from the printed tape.  You can create the ruffled circle by gathering the tape on one side as shown in the photo.  I like to do this on my non-stick craft mat so I can easily peel the ruffled circle off and use it where desired without harming the circle.  Use the tag as a guide to determine how large to create the circle.  I used approx. 12-14" of tape for this ruffle. 

 Vintage Valentine #2 - Buttons, Bows & Tags 010

10. Once you have finished the ruffled circle, carefully peel it off the mat and affix it to the back of the tag.

11.  Trace & trim a medium sized heart from desired color of cardstock or pattern paper OR use a 4" Heart Lace Doily.  Glue it to the center of the large heart on the card.

12.  Mount the tag in the center of the doily and add a bow and buttons to finish off the card.

Vintage Valentine #2 - Buttons, Bows & Tags 012

So what do you think of the cards so far?

Look like something you'd like to make, give, receive?

Would you like to win an assortment of goodies (pictured below) so you can make your own???

Vintage Valentine's Goodies

Well all you have to do is leave a comment on any of the Vintage Valentine cards I have shared or will be sharing this week!! 

You'll be entered to win all of a few surprises!!! 

You only have until this coming Saturday (1-29) so be sure to post asap to be entered to win.