Art, Art activities, Craft, DIY, Make, Create, & Share!

Wire Wrapped Sea Glass Pendants

Take your found beach glass treasures and turn them into a wearable piece of art! Great as a gift or to wear yourself. The instructions below are for making a necklace, however, you can turn your finished wire wrapped pieces into key chains, zipper pulls, pull chain pendants (for ceiling fans, etc.), ornaments, or gift toppers.

What you need:

  • Sea Glass (Either found pieces or you can purchase some from craft stores)
  • 14 Gauge aluminum wire (I use aluminum sculpture wire as it’s very easy to shape but also holds and is non staining)
  • Pliers – I prefer to have a pair of round tip pliers, needle nose pliers as well as wire cutters. See an example of the pliers I use here. The project can be completed with just a pair of needle nose pliers (and wire cutter), however, you will need one of the items below to take the place of the round pliers;
    • Wooden or metal skewer, thin diameter knitting needle, or jewelry mandrel.
  • Cord, leather, or chain for your necklace – I used 3/16″ leather lace, 16″ long.
  • Jewelry findings – For a cord necklace you will need: A clasp, two jump rings, & two fold over end caps. If you’re going with chain skip the end caps!

GETTING STARTED:

Step one: Cut a length of wire – I start with between 10″ & 16″, depending on the size of my sea glass. It’s better to have a piece that’s too large and we can trim down later.

Step two: Using your round pliers, “pinch” the wire at it’s center (or close to the center!) – see the next step if you don’t have round pliers.

Step three: Bend the wire around the round pliers, crossing the wire over one another, creating a loop. If you don’t have round pliers bend the wire around a skewer or mandrel for the same result!

Step four: Twist your wire two or three times, tight against your pliers or skewer/mandrel, just like a twist tie! You can use your needle nose pliers to twist instead of your fingers!

Step five: Remove your wire from your round pliers (or skewer/mandrel). This loop will become the top of your pendant.

Step six: Now we will create coils at each end of the wire we just created the loop on. Pinch and twist the end of the wire with your round pliers (or needle nose pliers).

Step seven: continue to twist and coil your wire around until you create a loop.

Step eight: Switch to your needle nose pliers or fingers and continue to coil the wire around the center loop. We want your coil to be flat – not like a spring.

Step nine: Coil your wire around 3-5 times. It’s okay if you coil too much – we can always uncoil later if you need more wire to wrap with!

Step ten: Repeat with the other end of your wire!

WRAPPING THE SEA GLASS:

Step one: Place the piece of sea glass you would like to wrap between your wire.

Step two: Tightly bend and wrap your wire around your glass – try to wrap around all sides/edges of the glass. It’s okay to overlap and cross your wire. If you feel you need more wire to wrap, try to uncoil a little from your ends to give you more slack.

Step three: Press your coils down on your glass – I have a coil on each side of this pendant but it’s okay if they both are on one side as well! Make sure your glass is secure and won’t fall out! If it does simply undo & repeat the last step until you have it wrapped tightly!

ADDING A CORD:

Step one: Cut your cord to the desired length – mine’s approx. 16″. Place through your loop.

Step two: Fasten the end caps on your cord – place the cord inside the cap…

pinch one side of the cap down, sandwiching your cord between the metal. Pinch down the other side. Squeeze tight to secure your cord in the metal!

Step three: Repeat with the other end of your cord.

Step four: Use a jump ring to attach your clasp to one side of your end cap.

Step five: Place a jump ring on the other end cap for your clasp to connect to!

Step six: Wear your wire wrapped pendant!

This project is a lot of fun and a great way to make some handmade gifts! Try using different types & gauges of wire, wrapping with more than one piece of wire, creating more coils, etc. for more variety! You can also wrap stones, pebbles, and marbles for a different look!

Take a look at some upcoming classes and find more projects to do at home here!

Art, Art activities, DIY, Make, Create, & Share!

DIY Bird Feeder!

Make a little bird feeder for your yard! Paint, decorate, and design your own to give as a gift or keep for yourself! This cute little platform feeder is a simple and fun project!

What you need:

  • Wooden craft picture frame – mine is approx. 8″x6″ with a 4″x6″ opening
  • Acrylic craft paints in desired colors
  • Paint brushes
  • Sharpie
  • Krylon clear gloss outdoor spray sealer
  • Flat thumb tacks – Use stainless steel ones for longer lasting outdoor results
  • Plastic mesh cut to the opening size of your frame (I used needle point plastic but you could also use aluminum gutter shield, or plastic food mesh – if you have some with small enough gaps to hold birdseed!
  • Twine, rope, chain, leather, or any similar material suitable to use outdoors – I used approx. 6′ of jute, cut into two, 3′ pieces
  • Hammer

PAINTING YOUR FRAME:

Step one: Paint both sides and all edges of your frame one color.

Step two: Let your first layer of paint dry (use a hairdryer to speed up the dry time) and apply a second layer of paint if needed!

Step three: Add some designs and patterns with your other colors – I did dots and stripes! Let your paint dry completely before moving on!

Step four: Apply the outdoor sealer – do this outside on a protected work surface. Apply the sealer to both sides and edges of your frame – letting it dry completely before flipping your frame.

Step five: Once your sealer is completely dry use a sharpie to outline and add details to your painted design. I decided to cover most of my painted area with additional doodles!

ASSEMBLING YOUR FEEDER:

Step one: If using jute, twine, or rope, line up your two 3′ pieces and fold in half, creating a loop as shown in the first photo. Make sure the ends of your rope are even. Gathering all four strands of rope, tie a knot towards the top – leaving a loop, shown in the second picture.

Step two: Attach your rope and mesh to the frame with a thumb tack. Sandwich the ends of your rope between the mesh and the frame. Use a hammer to make sure your tack is firmly pressed into your wooden frame.

Step three: Continue to add all 4 pieces of your rope to the frame in the same manor! Make sure the knot and strands of rope are not twisted or tangled before attaching!

Step four: Add extra thumb tacks to your mesh to keep it securely in place!

Step five: Hang and fill your platform bird feeder!

Where to hang your feeder: Depending on where you place your feeder will determine what types of birds you attract (along with feeder type & seed). Attract the most birds by offering a range of feeders & food placed in various locations! Most feeders do best in a quiet, semi-sheltered area, or near shrubs & trees so birds can rest and hide from predators. Make sure you also have a good viewing point of your feeder from inside! Placing your platform feeder closer to the ground will attract ground-feeding birds such as, Juncos, doves, sparrows, & blackbirds. Placing your feeder up higher will attract birds such as, sparrows, finches, & titmice!  

What to put in your feeder: Different foods can attract different birds to your feeder – some types of birds are picky and only eat certain things while others will eat most anything you put out! I like to use black oil sunflower seeds or a seed mix. You can also try foods such as, peanuts (raw kernels only) and other nuts as well as coconuts (fresh, cut open), stale breads, cakes, & cookies (no chocolate). Fruits such as apples, oranges, grapes, & bananas. With foods that you put out, make sure to keep your feeder clean- and pick-up uneaten foods that could attract rodents, insects and other pests as well as create mold & bacteria growth.  

Feeder care: Feeders can become messy quick! Platform feeders can hold trampled food and droppings, and should be regularly cleaned out. A little soapy water and rinse should be sufficient. Re-coat your feeder with a clear coat each season to help keep it in shape (clean and dry your frame before re-coating).  

Making more feeders: If you had fun with this project, and want to make more, here are some various ideas for supplies! 

  • The frame in this kit is a small wooden craft frame, you could also re-purpose old picture frames in the same manor! Outdoor spray paint is a quick and easy way to cover old frames! 
  • I used needle point plastic in this kit for the mesh to hold seed, you could also use aluminum gutter shield, plastic food mesh, or window screen material. Just be sure your mesh material has small enough gaps to hold seed!  
  • The included hanging material is jute – eventually this will get weathered down, as an alternative, you could use twine, rope, chain, leather, or any similar material suitable to use outdoors.  
  • The included thumb tacks are stainless steel – this helps with the longevity of them being out in the weather! Depending on the frame being used, nails, screws, & staples could be utilized instead of tacks!  

BONUS PROJECT: Make a winter treat for your birds! What you’ll need: Pinecones, String or Wire, Peanutbutter (or Crisco), & Birdseed. Gather your pinecones and tie a string or piece of wire tightly to the top of your pinecone! Next completely cover your pinecone with peanutbutter or crisco – pushing it into all the gaps & spaces on your pinecone. (Note* if your pinecones are not open, let them set inside for a day or so or place them in your oven on 200*F for 20 min or so to speed up the process). Roll your covered pinecone in birdseed and hang up!  

Like this project? It was from one of our Creative Science lessons – a partner program between Brad Hartle, 4-H STEM educator with UMES and myself! We work together to create fun & engaging lessons that involve art and science for youth! Check out other projects to do at home and upcoming creative science lessons here!

Creative Science: Feed the Birds
Art activities, Craft, decorating, DIY, Holiday, Make, Create, & Share!, Painting

Salt Dough Ornaments!

Salt dough is fun and easy! The dough can be baked to harden, painted with acrylics and last for years! I had my nephew create some simple cut-out ornaments but you can also make 3-D sculptures with salt dough too! There’s various recipes for creating salt dough, and other similar dough – I’ve listed one below that we used with good results!

What you’ll need:

  • Flour
  • Salt
  • Warm water
  • Cookie Cutters
  • Rolling pin
  • Straw and/or Toothpick (or something to make holes in your ornaments for hanging)
  • Cookie tray
  • Acrylic paints
  • Paint brushes
  • Spray Sealer or Mod Podge
  • Ribbon
  • OPTIONAL SUPPLIES:
  • Beads to add to your ribbon
  • Glitter
  • Stamps – for making impressions on your dough
  • Sharpies
  • Hot glue or craft glue

Step one: Mix together 2 cups of all purpose flour, 1 cup of salt and 1/2 cup of warm water in a large bowl.

Step two: Add up to 1/2 cup more of warm water, one tablespoon at a time, until dough forms. Dough should not be sticky – if it is add a bit more flour!

Step three: Kneed your dough and roll it out on a flat surface – use flour to help prevent sticking if needed. We rolled it to 1/4″ – 1/2″ thick for cut-outs. You can also make sculptures with your salt dough instead!

Step four: Use cookie cutters to cut shapes out of your salt dough. Place cut-outs on a baking sheet (I lined mine with parchment).

Step five: Before baking your salt dough make sure to put a hole in your ornaments to hang from! A plastic straw works well or a toothpick for a smaller shape! Bake your salt dough for approx. 2 hours at 275*F or until firm and dried out. Time will depend on size and thickness. You can also leave your salt dough out to air dry. Be sure to fully bake/dry out pieces before painting and sealing to ensure they’ll last a long time!

Step six: Once your pieces have been baked or dried out, use acrylic paints to paint them with! We used acrylic craft paints!

Step seven: Paint your creations and let them dry completely!

Step eight: Once your paint is dry, seal your salt dough – I brushed on a layer of glossy Mod Podge. You can also use an acrylic spray sealer instead. Let dry.

Step nine: Add ribbon and beads to hang your ornaments from! Alternatively, you could also use pipe-cleaner or wire for hangers!

Step ten: Use a sharpie to add names, dates and details to your salt dough!

Step eleven: Hang those ornaments up!

We had a lot of fun making salt dough ornaments! Create your own ornaments from cut-outs like we did or create some 3D ornaments – you can use a little water to help pieces stick together. You could also make personalized gift tags & toppers, hand/foot print plaques, small sculptures (like snowmen!), key chains, pendents, pins, or magnets! Use Popsicle sticks, wooden skewers, or toothpicks for tools. Adorn finished salt dough pieces with pom-poms, pipe-cleaner, glitter, ribbon, beads, and other craft items! Try decorating pieces with marker instead of paint for easier clean up!

Art, Art activities, Craft, decorating, DIY, Holiday, Make, Create, & Share!

DIY Ornaments!

Create some fun little ornaments with simple supplies! Find the instructions below each of the three pictured!

Snowman ornament!

What you’ll need:

  • Mason Jar Lid (not the jar band)  
  • Small piece of sandpaper 
  • Piece of 1/4″ wired ribbon – approx. 12″
  • Two small pom-poms  
  • Piece of ribbon/twine for hanging
  • Acrylic Craft Paint (White, red or pink, Orange)  
  • Mod Podge  
  • Scissors 
  • Paint brush 
  • Sharpie pen 
  • Hot glue or craft glue 

Step one: Scuff up the mason jar lid with your sandpaper to help the paint adhere better! 

Step two: Paint your mason jar lid with white acrylic craft paint – let dry and apply a second layer if needed. 

Step three: Once your white paint is dry, use the orange paint to make your snowman’s nose – I made a dot near the center of my lid and towards the edge, and then connected them to create the nose!

Step four: Use your pink paint or make pink by mixing a little red paint to white paint and give your snowman rosy cheeks!  

Step five: Once your orange and pink are dry, apply a layer of mod podge sealer over the entire surface, let dry completely! 

 Step six: Use a sharpie pen to give your snowman eyes & a mouth – check out the pictures below for face ideas! Also outline your nose. Tip: leave a white spot in your snowman’s eye to give him a spark!  Download some additional snowman face ideas and practice your own below!

Step seven: Hot glue a ribbon to the back of your lid for a hanger!

Step eight: Cut and glue a piece of your wired ribbon, from side to side of your lid, glue pom-poms on the ends to look like ear muffs! Use leftover ribbon to make a bow for your snowman if desired!  

Tree Scene Ornament!

What you’ll need:

  • 3” Embroidery Hoop 
  • 2 pieces of approx. 3”x3” decorative cardstock 
  • Small pieces of decorative cardstock 
  • Mini paper snowflakes 
  • Piece of 8” burlap like ribbon 
  • 9 Small foam mounting squares  
  • Sequins 
  • Glue gun 
  • Craft Glue  
  • Glue Stick 
  • Scissors 
  • Colored Pencils 
  • Additional items to decorate with, such as, stamps, glitter, ribbon, stickers, etc.  

Step one: Cut a piece of cardstock large enough to glue to the back of your hoop – this will become the background to your tree scene, use craft glue to adhere it to your embroidery hoop.  

Step two: Work on getting your trees ready while your hoop dries! Using smaller pieces of decorative papers, cut triangles for trees! Make different shapes and sizes for added interest! 

Step three: Use colored pencils to shade the side/edges of your trees, giving them a border!  

Step four: If your hoop glue is dry, cut the paper off around the edges, you can also use an x-acto knife.  

Step five: Add your trees to the hoop! Glue some trees directly to the background paper and use the small mounting squares to adhere some trees, making them “pop” off of the surface – stack mounting squares to add more depth.  

Step six: Add sequins as tree toppers and/or ornaments on your trees and add the paper snowflakes (I cut one of my snowflakes in half to use around the edge). Add any other desired decorations and glue the piece of burlap like ribbon to the back for hanging!  

Wreath Ornament!

What you’ll need:

  • Mason Jar Lid Band 
  • 6 Pieces of green pipe cleaner 
  • Piece of 12” ribbon/twine for hanging  
  • Glue gun or craft glue 
  • Items to decorate your wreath with – I used pieces of artificial greenery and berries. Some other ideas may include miniature ornaments, pom poms, ribbon, etc. 

Step one: Wrap all 6 pieces of green pipe cleaner around your mason jar band! 

Step two: Collect items to add to your wreath 

Step three: Glue your items to your wreath!  

Step four: Add a ribbon to hang your ornament!

Give as gifts, hang on your tree, or use as gift toppers! Have fun making your own!

Make, Create, & Share!

2020 Scrapbook Journal Pages

As a take home assignment this year, students were asked to create scrapbook/journal pages that reflect on the year so far. They were given packets that contained some supplies and instructions to create 3 different pages, with different themes of; “Staying Home”, “Day Trippin’ Treasures”, & “Serendipitous”. Check out all their awesome pages below and download the instructions to complete your own pages at home!