Thursday, November 5, 2015

DIY custom craft micro clamps

Do you need a micro clamp but don't want to spend the money? Here's a quick DIY micro clamp made from clothes pins.

Micro clamps can be made cheaply from a package of close pins purchased from the dollar store. As you can see they can be made in an assorted shapes and sizes to meet your custom needs.

 You can use a belt sander, disk sander, Dremel or whatever you happen to have. I have even used a scroll saw to cut various shapes and sizes. My preferred method is still to use a belt sander with a course grit but that is only because it is quick and easy.

These clamps can be made in a minute or less and not only do they come in handy for various projects, I have also found them to be in demand at craft and trade shows. I usually sell them as an assorted package of 4 for a dollar.
They can be used for various projects such as holding projects while I'm painting them, or holding parts together as they are being glued. Uses are many, and if you know a crafter in need of clamps, they make a great gift.

This is a short video of how I make my micro clamps from cloths pins.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Suitcase into storage craft box

  Setting up at a craft show can be a pain, carrying boxes and totes can be cumbersome and sometimes hard to manage. And then there are times we just simply want a convenient place to carry our crafts when we are on the go. Or maybe we want a special place to put children's activities when they come to visit.
    One of my favorite haunts are yard sales and flea markets. I am constantly finding items to be upcycled, or restored into something new and wondrous. On one such trip I came across a couple of vintage suitcases that were in very poor condition. Although I may have restored them to their original condition I had something less expensive and much better in mind. Going to a craft show with a couple of suitcases seemed much easier than carrying several totes.

I started by painting the outside of the suitcase with a quality exterior house paint. This would help hide any blemishes and give a good protective coating to the outside of the suitcase. Once I had a good protective coating on the outside, I began decorating. First by using one of my favorite stencils to stencil a favorite slogan on the top of the suitcase. This personalize the suitcase and gave it more character. Later I would paint the brass fittings with a nice nail polish to protect them and to make them stand out.
    The inside of the suitcase was in pretty bad shape, with the original felt extremely well-worn and in some places holes. The only option here was to replace it with new felt, which I got at the local fabric store. Using a spray adhesive I cut and placed new felt over the top of the old felt. Once the new felt was in place I tack down the edges with hot glue. I hid this seems by brushing the edges of the seams with a stiff toothbrush.

     I continue to add embellishments from time to time, such as these butterfly stickers. Decorating the suitcases is a matter of using your imagination. One could use a theme such as Alice in Wonderland or use a vintage theme such as travel stickers or decoupage old newsprint or even sheet music. The uses for these suitcases are many, such as costumes and activities for kids or just plain storage for your arts and crafts projects and tools. The possibilities are limitless and should you ever become bored with what you have created it is simply a matter of putting on a new coat of paint and changing the style.