Archive for ‘Creative’

January 13, 2018

Baby Shower for the Baby Wild Thing!

I’m going to be a grandma! My daughter is expecting a baby boy in late March. We are all thrilled and excited!

Of course, the new mom-to-be needs a baby shower. She selected a storybook theme with the focus on the book Where the Wild Things Are. Her best friend, S, and I were determined to make this a perfect shower for her, since she tends to spend an inordinate amount of time making showers or parties perfect for other people.

Where the Wild Things Are is a great story where Max goes to his room and imagines that it turns into a jungle, then he sails away to a far away land where there are wild things. You can’t have a party about Wild Things without the jungle, so we turned the dining room into a jungle. This is where many of the activities would take place.

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January 12, 2017

Why Sealants and Ceramics are not like Hook and Loop Tape

I’m really stunned that my posts on Sharpies on Ceramics are so popular! Thanks for reading them, and thank you so much for all your comments!

The most common question, by far, is using a sealant on their project. Most people are hoping that there’s some sort of sealant that will allow them to use the inexpensive and ubiquitous Sharpies to make a dishwasher-safe ceramic or glass project. Sorry, it just isn’t going to work! I really wish I could make it work for you, but it just won’t. (See my post on Mod Podge on ceramics, for example.)

Why? There are very few general-purpose products that will stick to ceramic or glass surface. If Sharpies won’t stick, then sealants won’t stick, either. Why? It’s a non-porous surface. 

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November 29, 2015

How to Make a Festive Paper-Cut Ornament

Doesn’t this look gorgeous? I’d like to try this. Maybe soon.

October 7, 2015

Sharpies on Ceramics, Part IV

2015-10-06 17.39.28I’ve had a lot of interest on the first three parts of my series on Sharpies on Ceramics.The original project that makes the Pinterest rounds says that all one needs to do is to draw on a ceramic or glass piece with Sharpies, bake at 350F for 30 minutes, let cool, and voilà, you have a dishwasher-safe item destined to become an heirloom. Well, my experiment that I documented in  Part I pretty much says that regular Sharpies won’t work, and Part II notes that while oil-based and metallic Sharpies will work for some lighter-duty applications, there are several products out there that will work much better than Sharpies. Part III builds on Part II by running the test piece through the dishwasher 10 times.

I’ve received comments (on the blog page, by email, and in person) that regular Sharpies really will work. I’m just not doing it right because I just didn’t trace over it twice. Or that I need to seal it. That’s fine, but that’s not what the original directions said. I tried the trace over it twice thing in Part II, and while it does work better, it still isn’t good enough to last through several handwashings, let alone go through the dishwasher.

This time, I’m testing sealing it. It’s supposed to solve everything.

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July 25, 2014

Getting Rid of Wallpaper

2014-02-11 17.14.46eWelcome to my bathroom. Isn’t it lovely? Well, it was in the 90s, anyway. Time for the wallpaper to go!

Note the lovely vaulted ceiling. It’s 12′ tall. I’m all of 5’3″. With the aid of a 6′ ladder, I was able to get most of it taken down in an afternoon. With another afternoon with my taller husband, we got it all down. There are plenty of sites out there to tell you how to do that, so I won’t detail the whole issue here (besides, I have no cool pictures). But I do have a few tips! All you need is a gallon of vinegar, a garden sprayer, water, a ladder, and patience. Lots of patience. One caveat: not all wallpaper is like this. If a top layer doesn’t come off, it may not be this easy to pull off.

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March 26, 2014

Sharpies on Ceramics, Part III — Success!

The Pinterest fad of using Sharpies on ceramic mugs got me wondering if it would work. And sadly, it didn’t. So I decided to try some products that were actually made for glass and ceramics. All of them were found locally in those national chain craft stores. I included an oil-based Sharpie, and a Silver Sharpie.

The good news is that the products designed for glass and ceramics actually hold up pretty well through my washing, scrubbing, and steel wool tests. You can read about that here. All I had left to do was a dishwasher test, which would take a while.

A quick summary: the stuff designed to work on ceramics and go through the dishwasher actually works pretty well! I left the test tile in my dishwasher for two weeks, running it through about 10 times. It’s a brand new dishwasher, an LG, that has a 2 hour run cycle. I used 1 Great Value dishwasher pack per cycle (why Great Value? It got great reviews in a consumer magazine — and it works great and is really inexpensive!). Some cycles were normal, some heavy, and some “quick” (meaning only about an hour and a half instead of two hours).

Here’s the before and after (click on them to enlarge them):

2014-02-24 20.44.22

Before the dishwasher.

After 10 passes through the dishwasher.

After 10 passes through the dishwasher.

I wish I had better pictures. But, I think it’s apparent that the Rainbow markers washed off after the first wash. To be completely fair, the markers clearly stated they weren’t dishwasher safe, therefore, they performed exactly as they said they would.   Other than that, it’s pretty clear that the other media will do good to great in the dishwasher.

Looking at each one individually, here are my comments:

The PenTouch Metallicpen stayed on quite well. It did shift colors a bit, becoming duller and less metallic. However, for a fun project that doesn’t need to last forever, it performs quite well. Other than the color shift, the paint is in great condition. The dull/less metallic color isn’t a bad thing…I’ve had other drinkware that has gold-tone printing fade like this. It’s not a bad thing, just a bit worn.

The Oil Based Sharpie and the Silver Sharpie both performed fairly well. There seemed to be some wear on the writing, particularly where it had been abraded by the steel wool. That tells me that it should hold for a fun project until the paint gets a bit damaged from normal wear and tear, then it might wear quickly.

The Porcelaine paints were outstanding. There seems to be absolutely no change. It looks like they’ll hold for a long, long time. I would use these on a project I’d like to keep for a long, long time.

The Folk Art paints and the Americana Gloss Enamel paint performed great. The gold showed a slight color-shift, much like the PenTouch Metallic (and I think that’s a function of the pigments used to make gold metallic paints/inks). The other colors may be slightly faded, but not enough for me to recommend against them. In fact, based on this test, I was quite pleasantly surprised at how well a $2 bottle of paint performed. I’d use these on long-term projects. I’ve purchased plastic, glass, and ceramic drinkware that has faded more over the same 10 washings.

Remember that in that blank space was a Regular Sharpie that didn’t make it through all the tests. The Rainbow Markers did a great job as a craft marker — something that I’d use for projects that aren’t expected to have a long life.

In my opinion, the Porcelaine products are the best. The Folk Art and Americana Gloss Enamel paints are also quite nice. The PenTouch Metallic makes a lovely line, but does color-shift after repeated washings — not in a bad way, but it does shift. And the Oil Based Sharpie and Silver Sharpie makes up nicely, but won’t wear quite as well as the others. They are in marker forms, while the Folk Art and Americana paints require a paint brush. The Porcelaine paints are available in markers, though I haven’t tried them.

All in all, these are some wonderful, readily available, inexpensive media to create your own dishwasher-safe decorations on glass and ceramic surfaces.

Note: None of these products should be used on surfaces that will come in contact with food or one’s mouth. Avoid decorating the top rim of mugs and glasses, avoid the interior areas of bowls and plates, and keep the decorating to the handles of cooking, serving, and eating utensils. Please be safe!

[There is a Part IV to this series that tests sealing glass and ceramic Sharpies with Mod Podge.]

February 25, 2014

Sharpies on Ceramics, Part II: GOOD NEWS!

Last year, I blogged about my experience using Sharpies to decorate mugs and other ceramics. I used a series of Sharpie and other brand permanent markers and none of them worked well enough for me to spend any amount of time and effort on something useful for me or as a gift. I had previous experience with some other products designed for ceramics, and wanted to see what else was available. I’ve got some excellent results to report!

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July 8, 2012

Sharpies on Ceramics

It’s all over Pinterest…that you can draw on ceramics with a Sharpie and bake at 350°F for 30 minutes and it’s permanent. I’ve used a number of special glass paints available at the local craft store, but wouldn’t it be awesome if Sharpies work? Somehow, I really doubted that it would be that easy, otherwise, why would those specialized products like Pebeo Vitrea and Porcelaine exist? But I just had to try this. And I’ve tried it twice now, mostly because my first pass had a spelling error (never start these projects late at night!).

I had a leftover tile from a previous ceramic painting experiment. It’s a cheap tile (around $1) from the local home improvement store. I rounded up a number of brands and colors of permanent markers. It’s actually embarrassing how many different kinds and colors I have, but I kept it to the ones that were in my kitchen.

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