OMG I Knitted!

I’ve always admire knitters, it is amazing the things they make, not to mention the patience and dedication they put into their work. I didn’t grow up around any knitters and know as an adult I really don’t have the patience or time to learn, or so I thought! I kept seen on Pinterest on “How to Knit a Scarf in 30 minutes even if you are an Amateur”, it seemed interesting but I was skeptical, would this be one of those “Good Ideas, Bad Ideas?” …I dismissed it for a while but desperate times called for desperate measures! You see I have this tendency (or need) to learn a new skill when ever life gets overwhelming, its my way of pulling away and letting my mind breath. With constant house showings during Jaden’s nap time and not knowing what comes next, I took the challenge to learn how to knit. You might be wondering when would I find the time to learn?! Well, that’s the miracle behind a toddlers 1 to 2 hours nap!

Like everything else, there are tons of tutorials out there, but everybody learns and teaches differently and sometimes finding the right tutorial can be a buzz kill on it’s own. I’ll share with you what I found.


Arm Knitting

The majority of the tutorials out there claim that you can get this done in 30 minutes to one hour, the truth is: if you’ve done it before -yes-, but if you are a newbie: no way! It took me a couple of “naps” just to figure out the technique let alone start the project, but once I figured it out it became extremely easy since it’s a repetitive process. It’s actually fun and pretty cool I must say! At one point I even considered making scarfs for everybody for Christmas! …I quickly woke up from that day dream though!

Out of all the DIY tutorials, this Video Tutorial was actually the most helpful, specially when she switches perspective and you can see it as if you were the one doing it.

They all recommend that when arm knitting you should use bulky yarn (that’s why it looks so full and nice), living in South Florida I really have no use for a thick woolly scarf, so I decided to try it with a more thinner “fresher looking” yarn. I honestly know nothing when it comes to yarn, I just bought based on touch/feel and price.

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I’ll admit it looks different from the bulky infinity scarfs but it is something I can wear in Florida and I can proudly say I knitted it in about three hours! (Thanks to a good nap and The Wiggles!)

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byLisandra

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If you are interested there are other things you can do with arm knitting; like blankets and shawls, check out this Site for more Free Patterns!


Finger Knitting

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The one thing that attracted me to this technique was the fact that almost all tutorials show kids of all ages doing it. It seems it is a common craft for children, though I’ll admit I’ve never heard of it before. I literally learned how to do this in about 30 minutes, I was so happy with my quick progress and speed that it wasn’t until I was half way through knitting my rope that I started to wonder: “what am I suppose to do with this?!”

I stopped and went straight to Pinterest looking for clues as to what to do with my rope. I couldn’t find many projects related to this, I considered making it into a bowl (we will be doing this on a later post) but I was afraid it wouldn’t survived the whole moving process once we sell the house (yeap, still working on that!). I really didn’t want to make another scarf but I couldn’t think of anything else. I used this other Tutorial to make the rope into a scarf (it’s pretty much the same process as with arm knitting) minus the pompoms!

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Here is my finished product! I love how delicate it looks, it’s extremely soft and surprisingly not hot like most knitted scarfs, it’s perfect for Florida weather!

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You can also make a vintage looking necklace out of the rope, I’ll be doing this next time!

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The yarn you choose has a lot to do with how delicate or ordinary your final product looks. Once more I went for thin, soft, delicate yarn but this time with a hint of shine to it. My advise is, go with a yarn that appeals to your sense of touch and style. The yarns suggested by most tutorials are what you should use, it doesn’t mean that you’ll get it wrong if you choose something else, it just means it will look different and who knows if better!

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But then again, this is my first time knitting! Still not sure about knitting?! How about yarn crafting! Here are some cool DIY Ideas!

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Yarn Doll

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Yarn Bowl

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Yarn Lantern

See you next week!

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Burlap Canvas DIY!

Burlap seems to be everywhere now a days: Christmas trees, wreaths, pillows, curtains, flowers, baskets…you name it! It’s funny because not so long ago, it was a last resort itchy fabric used for Indian and scare crow costumes! Burlap and linen canvases are attention magnets on their own, their natural color and texture requires very little done to add elegance to any home or office decor. The problem is that -as all things “new”- they are a little over priced, provided that you keep in mind that you are buying burlap not silk!

Online you will find advertisements for burlap canvas ranging from $0.79 to even $1.09 on Clearance. Great right?! But don’t be fooled, the all say “Available in Store Only”, and there is no such thing in the store; is more like $5.99 for a single 5×7 burlap canvas vs $4.99 for a pack of two white stretch canvas of the same size. It gets worse when it comes to linen canvases: $8.99 for a single canvas of the same size! Remember, we are talking about one single, non professional grade canvas. I’m not cheap, I just value my money and I’ll pay the set price for a professional grade canvas for my paintings, but some craft projects don’t need a $25 canvas if you get what I mean! So, what can we do?!

We can wait for those wonderful 50% off a regular price item + 20% off your entire purchase coupons we love so much, or we can make our own! Here’s how:


MATERIALS:

  • Laminated burlap roll

Laminated burlap has a thin plastic coating on the back that makes it a little more stiff. It’s perfect for printing purposes and is more durable. If you cant find it, no worries, buy a yard of regular burlap and some Freezer Paper, follow this simple tutorial and you will have laminated burlap of any size for any use!

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  • Wood frame

You can either build a frame using a 1×2″ board, or simply buy an unfinished wood frame at your local craft store. Your frame should be a simple “wood” (basswood or pine) frame. Plastic, metal or pressed wood frames will not work for this purpose and it would be a waste to use a decorative frame since you will be covering it.

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Cost: $1.00

  • Staple gun

Make sure your staples are not longer than the width of your wood, you wouldn’t want them showing up on the opposite side of your frame! A regular office stapler is not strong enough for this project.

  • Glue

I used wood glue, but if you’d like you can use any strong glue. Remember you are working with a thick fabric that doesn’t absorb the glue as easy, regular craft glue might not be strong enough to hold it down.

  • White Cardstock

Covering the back of your new canvas is optional. If your edges are perfectly trimmed you can leave it as is.

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. First cut a piece of burlap big enough to cover your frame. Leave enough room to fold the burlap over the back of the frame, you can trim excess later. 20150210_160042
  2. Remove the cardboard piece from your frame, you don’t want a strangers face showing through your work! You could leave it off, but you’ll notice that you can see through the canvas, if that is not a problem continue to step 3. Use a piece of white cardboard instead, that way your canvas will look better front and back. 20150210_160110
  3. Now is time to staple the burlap. Make sure it is as straight as possible, you can see a cricket burlap canvas long before you can see the artwork on it! Staple on side first, stretch it as much as possible and staple the opposite side. You have to make sure your canvas is stretch before stapling. 20150210_161353
  4. Once you are done with that side fold the corners nicely and stretch and staple the other side. Do one side at a time; stretch then staple.
  5. Trim any excess. It’s ok if you have areas that are not 100% perfect, you can always cover them up. 20150210_161811
  6. When covering the back of your canvas you have two choices: partial or full coverage. I went for the partial coverage with the purpose of making it easier to hang. I just cut 4 even strips of white cardstock and glued them. Half of my strip cover the burlap and the other half the frame, that way it not only looks good but it secures the burlap ends. 20150210_162356
  7. In order for the cardstock to dry flat (not buckled) I put the canvas in a home-made book binding press and left it for about an hour (that’s how long the wood glue needs to bind). Then I removed it and left it to completely dry over night. You can use anything from heavy books to a couple of wine bottles to keep it pressed, the heavier the better. 20150210_163221

That’s it! A home-made burlap canvas that cost only $2.46 and I still have enough burlap left to make 2-3 more canvases depending on the size!

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You can use this technique to create all sort of fabric or linen canvases, so next time you see a piece of fabric with an awesome print, make a frame and hang it! This is my canvas put to use:

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Have fun! See you next week!

Good Ideas… Bad Ideas! 2

Feeling creative during this long winter?!

Here are some more tips and tricks for our Good Ideas, Bad Ideas Series!


#1 Printer Ink and Craft or Acrylic Paint

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Like I’ve mentioned before, there are several techniques that you can use when transferring images. You can check out my previous post: A Trip to the North Pole for more on this technique, but today I’ll be sharing with you some of the things I’ve learn along the way. Your printer ink might seem light and faded once transferred to your working surface, but don’t be mistaken, that puppy will show through paint!

Bad Idea: When it comes to correcting mistakes like a smudged blurry image, we tend to paint over the transferred image and start over. Unfortunately that doesn’t work as easily when your transfer method includes printer ink, the ink is designed to “repel or attract” it’s pigments in order to create it’s coating, big words?! It simply means that even when you try to paint over to cover your mistakes, it will literally fight trough the paint and show trough. This makes it difficult to paint over transferred images, specially when using light color paints. You have to make sure you nail the transferring process the first time or you will have a little trouble trying to cover it up.

Good Idea: This only concerns you if you are using light color paints underneath your transferred image (whites, ivory, beige, light grays, etc). In reality, it really makes no difference whether your paint is opaque or translucent, if it’s light and you try to paint over it, it will show through.

There are simple solutions to this problem:

  1. You can use darker paints to cover up the area -but you must consider that if you are planing on re-applying the image, it might not be as noticeable.
  2. When using no paint at all under your image; try to wash/brush away the ink, don’t scrub hard though, you might damage your surface. You will need to let it dry overnight before applying it again. Depending on your working surface, this step wont always work, but if your are working on wood the washed out ink will definitely give your piece a unique look! Try using water first, if that doesn’t work use alcohol or paint thinner, avoid acetone as it will make your wood repel future paint.
  3. If you are using light colors, don’t panic, you are just going to have to paint over it several times. Just let the paint dry before adding more layers. It will take multiple coats if you are trying to completely cover the area, but you might not need so many paint layers if you are re-applying the image in the same area. The only problem you will find when using this technique is that it will cover up all your natural wood texture. Your solution is to create new texture using a dry brush technique over your painted surface once it’s dry, and before re-applying your image.

    byLisandra

    byLisandra

  4. Your last and first solution here is: nail it the first time! Make sure not to move your transferring source once laid on top of your working area, make sure your image is clear before placing it, and remove it carefully. Let it dry fully before working on surface and you should be ok.

#2 Mod Podge Coating

Mod Podge is a world on it’s own! If you are unsure of it’s many uses, just check out their Mod Podge Catalog and be amazed! No matter the nature of your project, using Mod Podge is fairly simple, the key lies in finding the right Mod Podge for your project -since they don’t all work the same.

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Just to name a few!

Bad Idea / Good Idea: Your application method will determine the success of your final project, this is true whether you are using Mod Podge or any sort of paint.

  • If you are looking for a SMOOTH EVEN end result, avoid the use of any brush or sponges. Smooth finishes are best achieved by just poring large amounts over your project and moving it around until it fully covers it, then let it drip down to dry. tinted jar 3
  • STREAKS give your project a more modern feel. To achieve this, you most use a brush or a sponge. Avoid dabbing if your using a sponge. Long fluid hand movements work best, always use the same direction of you are looking for clean streaks. candle 6
  • GRAINY/SPOTTY TEXTURE is easy to achieve, just dab away and cover all areas. The less glue (or paint) you use, the grainier it will look. 104588-847x567-Technique7
  • If you are going for a GLITTER/SHIMMER LOOKI suggest just using the Drip down method for an even, streak free cover. glitter_jars2

The key here is to remember that everything shows through once the glue has dried. Mod Podge is not a paint medium, it can be use as one in many projects but it is not Gesso.

  • WATER/FLOATING EFFECT   I saw this project on Pinterest and I fell in love with it’s elegant simplicity, it was perfect for my Glass Makeover series.

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Since I wanted to create variety among my glassware, I decided to try this on a regular -no color- Floating Candle Glass Bowl I had. I did as the instructions said, but I wasn’t quite happy with my results; my simple changes made a big difference between what it should’ve looked like and what it looks like!

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First Mistake: Color. It doesn’t look as cute in clear glass.

Second Mistake: Big open surface to cover. In a small color vase this looks beautiful, but when you have to cover a large glass area, glue streaks are hard to miss.

I wouldn’t scratch out this simple DIY project at all, it looks beautiful and it would make for stunning mason jar centerpieces at any wedding or party! Just remember to use this technique in small areas or closed containers rather than open or large areas. If you don’t like your end results you can easily peal the glue off. I’m still debating whether to do that or make something out of my mishap, it does look good from far but not up close, I will let you know if I come up with something!

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byLisandra


#3 Using stencils

Now a days there are stencils for pretty much everything. If you can’t find what you are looking for, making a stencil is pretty simple, though it might be time consuming depending on your design. Using stencils is no rocket science, that is until you are in the middle of a project and you can’t seem to get a clear image out of your stencil! Here are some tips to help you do it quick, do it right, and do it once!

Bad Ideas / Good Ideas

  1. Use a sponge or a stencil brush (not all brushes are the same).
  2. Don’t load you sponge/brush with paint. A soaked sponge/brush will not result in sharp crisp edges. This is one of those cases where less is more.
  3. Expensive sponges don’t always give you the best results. Dollar store sponges (make up or cleaning ones) are as good as “Martha Stewart’s Craft Sponges”. The smaller the pores are, the less grainy your paint will look. 033572319256_503192500_lgSEASPONGE_OUT
  4. When using thin, paper like stencils, never leave the stencil on your surface in hopes to remove it once the paint is dry. Chances are the paint will tear off of along with your stencil.
  5. The less details your stencil has, the better the image will look. You can always hand paint smaller details after the paint has dried.

I hope these help on your next project!

For more details check out my Techniques Pinterest Board.

Have a great week!

Ten Minutes Camera Fixes!

I recently came to a rude awakening when my Samsung Galaxy pictures, where simply put: not enough. I do own a DLSR camera but with my little one always on the move, it became easy just to carry my phone on my back pocket. Now I realize the effect of my “lazy/comfortableness” and I’m back to using my DLSR. The problem was that I needed something more “mommy friendly” to carry my camera when alone with my bundle of energy! My awesome camera backpack is just a little too much when carrying a diaper backpack also! There are tons of choices for camera bags at all sorts of prices, but I needed one for our trip to the local fair on Sunday morning and it was Saturday afternoon; a little late to go shopping. I resorted to finding something at home that I could re-use as a camera bag. The must have list was: it had to be super sturdy, small, easy to open, carry and handle, plus it had to be waterproof. Too much to ask for huh?! Not really! As it turns out I found the perfect fit on a lunch box I had purchased in Walmart about 5 years ago!

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Of course it needed some touch ups, but it took me ten minutes to fix it up and it cost me absolutely nothing! The hard liner is like a very hard toss proof Tupperware you can remove from the bag itself. I found a black t-shirt on a bag of clothes we where taking to Goodwill and used it to cover the liner. I used E6000 glue (but any permanent fast dry glue will do) to make sure the fabric would stay in place.

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Once it was dry I re-used a long strap I had from an old bag and I was done! It has plenty of space for my DLSR plus two lenses, the black lining makes it look like an actual camera bag, plus I have an extra front pocket to carry my keys and cellphone! It was a quick fix that came in very handy; easy to carry and I didn’t have to spend any money.

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Camera Strap

Now I didn’t get a chance to do this before our trip to the Fair because I didn’t have any leather at home, but after a photo-shoot on Tuesday morning I decided I’d had enough with my camera’s uncomfortable strap. If I’m carrying this puppy around like I should, I’m going to be comfortable! I saw this awesome Scarf Camera Strap in Etsy that I instantly fell in love with, but when I went to buy it, it turns out it was sold out. I’m not one for flowery designs so I was a little disappointed, then I realized I could probably do it with one of my own scarfs! All I needed was a piece of leather or suede for the ends and some hooks, off I went to JoAnn Fabric Store. To tell you the truth I personally don’t like leather, so I was open to a soft strong suede fabric which I didn’t find, but the great thing about being in the right store is that if you look hard enough you’ll find what you are looking for, even if you don’t know what it is! I found some Suede Cowhide Elbow Patches that were perfect: soft, strong and big enough for my needs! They were a little pricey at $9.99 for a pack of two, but after using a 50% off coupon, $4.99 was just the right price! When it comes to hooks you can take your pick, metal or plastic they average about $3.50 a piece.

diagnl-ninja-strapNow, camera straps usually come with an adjustable part at the end, I chose to omit that. Why? Well, the strap is for my personal use and I know what length is comfortable for me. If you happen to want to do this, you can add the adjustable part by removing it from your old strap, or you can just make it “One size fits all” like mine. You’ll need a sewing machine with a strong needle and thread, sew slowly if you are afraid your needle might break.

This makes for a great gift for any photography lovers out there; man or female. Chances are your photographer has a set length they like to use for their cameras, use a tape measure when they are not looking and make a “One Size” for them or for your self! Better yet, make them a knitted one, just make sure it’s a soft breathable fabric or thread.  For less than $10, I am happy and comfortable with my new strap!

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Lens Cover

41Vb4QAloYLA while back, I had purchased a 18-55mm lens on Amazon for a really great price, but unfortunately it came without a lens cover. No biggy, I could probably figure something out… but I forgot about it completely until Saturday night and I was using the camera Sunday morning! The joys of procrastination! I looked all over the house and since my other lens cover didn’t fit this one, I search for something that I could use to protect my lens while walking around. Thank God for Play-Doh! The Play-Doh plastic cover fit perfectly, I used the soft part of a Velcro strap to wrap around the camera and glued a small square piece of the rough Velcro part on the Play-Doh cover, wallah! Not the most professional thing to use, but definitely a last minute life saver!

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Here are some pictures  of our trip to the Fair!

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See you next week!

Good Ideas… Bad Ideas!

With so many DIY ideas and projects we find ourselves totally inspired to get our hands dirty! Unfortunately, we often find ourselves frustrated wondering what we did wrong and why it doesn’t look like the one on the picture! I’m here to tell you that in crafting and DIY projects, sometimes things can be too good to be true! I’ve had my share of “mishaps” (if you can call them that, because technically I was following instructions!) and I will be sharing them with you under a new Category Called: Good Ideas… Bad Ideas! That way you won’t waste your time and your supplies, because there is nothing more upsetting than wasting perfectly good supplies!

If you analyze these, you’ll probably share the thought of “I could’ve told you that!” (no worries, I do it to myself all the time!) but truth be told, even the most experienced crafters might not think of these little/big details, only because they are not mentioned on the instructions. We are always so eager to get started we just don’t stop and think! Is as simple as that! But sometimes, not thinking can cause you!


#1 Cork & Hot Glue 

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DIY wine cork projects can be found left and right on the web, I personally love them! You can do anything with them once you master the art of cutting them. They are extremely versatile, they can hold and withstand water, cold and heat pretty well, making them great for almost any household DIY project.

Bad Idea: Cork surfaces can hold heat so well, that your hot glue will take longer to dry and remain extremely hot and liquid for longer than expected! The wonderful thing about hot glue is that it dries almost instantly allowing you to work at a fast speed. Caution, when working with cork and hot glue you can’t work at a fast speed because you’ll find yourself with a VERY HOT LIQUID glue that drips like water and can cause you a 3rd Degree Burn (…and that my friends HURTS! ).

Good Idea: The key here is to take your time, or use a different adhesive method, which ever you prefer. Cold glue guns will dry before you can really use them so they are not good for cork surfaces. Hot glue guns will work great, just be careful and remember to wait until your glue is completely dry before moving your object to avoid a burn.

#2 Elmer’s Glue on Canvas

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When you search on Pinterest  for this, you will be amazed as to how many things you can “do”, but look carefully. The search pulls up much more than just “Elmer’s Glue on Canvas” and if you are not careful you’ll end up with very disappointing results.

Bad Idea: Before you use “school glue” for any project, remember that it is meant for paper, it’s washable and it dries flat! Yes, it dries flat, and it is exactly why using “school glue” for the purpose of creating visible texture on a canvas is not such a good idea. You might have a “slight elevation” but to be honest, it is barely noticeable unless you are very close to the canvas. Not to mention that if you are planning on painting over the glued surface, depending on the quality of your canvas, the glue might peal off.

Good Idea: The idea behind this technique is a good one, just switch “school glue” for puffy paint. You can find puffy paint in almost all stores at reasonable prices. It is mostly washable and it’s easy to work with, if you don’t like the results you can easily peal it off the canvas once it dries. While you can willingly peal it off, it can also handle painting over without pealing! This was the original thought behind this technique, the “Elmer’s glue” must have been someones idea of ineffectively cutting corners.

Another approach to this technique is writing/drawing with a hot glue gun, it will dry quicker but is less forgiving as it can damage your canvas if you decide to peal it off and try again. It honestly depends on the quality of your canvas and your glue.

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#3 Chalk Paint

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Chalk paint can give your craft or DIY project a very unique touch and feel. There are three different kinds of chalk paints: furniture chalk paint, crafts chalk paint and chalkboard paint.

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There is really no difference between the first two, in most cases you can use it for both crafts and furniture even if it’s not specified on the label. Just keep in mind that it is a very thick paint unlike your ordinary craft paints. Chalkboard paint is meant for any surface you want to use a a chalkboard itself, it makes it easier to write, erase and re-write!

Bad Idea: Any surface painted with chalk paint or “chalk matte finish” will show dirt and dust more than any other surface. If you attempt to clean it with a damp cloth it will show where it was cleaned, sometimes it will even looked as though the painted surface has been damaged. Even small projects can easily get “dirty” if your working area is not spotless.

Never buy furniture or craft chalk paint expecting to be able to use it like a chalkboard! Unless your painting says “Chalkboard Paint” it will not work like a chalkboard, it will only have the feel and look of it, not the functionality of it!

Good Idea: Unless you are literally using your painted surface as a chalkboard, you can salvage your furniture by painting a layer of “Wax” over it. It will make it easy to clean and will protect the painted surface. I suggest buying a wax specifically for chalk paint, the brands vary depending on where you buy them, but they will protect your surface without damaging to look and feel of chalk itself.

If you are working on a small craft project and prefer not to spend money on the wax itself (it can be pricey), make sure your work area is clean. If small areas are dirtied with glue, dust or other paints; just take a dry brush of the chalk paint and brush over the “dirty” areas. Never scrape, rub or wet the areas attempting to clean them or remove debris.

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Keep an eye out for more “Good Ideas… Bad Ideas!”

Happy Crafting!