Handmade Christmas gifts are truly personal and this is a good time of year to get busy making some beautiful presents.

If you are keen to make some inexpensive handmade Christmas gifts this year, then this easy to make charm bracelet will be ideal for you.

The template I used for this bracelet is my own design and is available for instant download in my Etsy shop - click here to find it.

You pay £2.40 (including VAT) and once you have downloaded the template, you can print it off for your own use as many times as you want.

Just think of everyone on your handmade Christmas gifts list - how many are there? Ten, 20, more?

Once you have the template, you will only need to buy charms and split rings to put on them because the beads themselves are made from the template that you can print off again and again.

handmade christmas gifts

Unique handmade Christmas gifts are a lovely way to give presents that mean something.

Handmade Christmas gifts are a great way to show friends how much they mean to you. And when we don't have loads of money to splash out, spending our time making something special instead can be good fun.

If you want to see how to easily make one of these beautiful bracelets from my template, you can see step by step instructions over on Instructables or watch the full YouTube video here. 

handmade Christmas gifts
handmade Christmas gifts
handmade Christmas gifts

Finding supplies for your handmade Christmas gifts can be time-consuming so I find what I can on Amazon and put links here for you to follow.

These are just suggestions for supplies you can get on Amazon but if you are lucky enough to have a craft sore near where you live - have a look round there to see what you can get.

Below you will find links to both US and UK products. If you live outside of this scope, do a Google search for your area.

Resources For US Readers

Resources For UK Readers

The products listed above are a guide to what you should be looking for.

The only product I can recommend first hand is the Glossy Accents as I use it all the time. The rest of the products are my suggestions but do shop around further on Amazon to see what other products they have.

The bead rolling tool I have listed for UK readers comes from the US. However, I do manufacture my own 5mm, large hole bead tool called The Easy Beady. They are handmade to order in my workshop and are available in my Etsy shop for £6.50 plus shipping. I ship to Europe and the US.

I hope my YouTube video and Instructable tutorial are helpful to you in producing some first class handmade Christmas gifts with that personal touch.

Easy Christmas crafts for children alert!

Last year, I published a blog post and YouTube video (recently updated) showing how easy it is to turn bread into durable Christmas decorations to use year after year.

easy christmas crafts for children
easy christmas crafts for children

Turn bread...

Into Christmas decorations!

Easy Christmas crafts for children that are fun and original are always a hit when the results are fast and amazing!

And it doesn't get much more amazing than turning plain old bread into colorful Christmas decorations that can become family treasures.

These are great for making as beautiful presents too because, what is more special than having someone give you a unique decoration to hang on your tree?

To see my original post click here. To see the full instructional video on YouTube click here. (If the link is not live when you read this, check back in a couple of hours as there is a time delay between publishing on here and YouTube.)

easy christmas crafts for children

Easy Christmas crafts for children are a great way to fill up the school holidays from October right up to Christmas.

Children love making stuff, especially when it has a real use. So these bread decorations are the ideal way to occupy children during the holidays leading up to Christmas when then weather isn't always that great.

Making these gorgeous decorations will keep them busy for hours.

You can even start the ball rolling by making the first batch yourself and leaving them to dry out. So when you introduce the activity, once they have cut out their first bread shapes, they will have a batch to work on while waiting for the ones they cut out to dry.

Hope you have fun with your easy Christmas crafts for children - let me know how you get on!

Finish Your European Style Paper Beads Beautifully With Metal Paper Bead Cores.

In part one of my two part YouTube tutorial on how to use my European Style paper bead templates, I showed you how to make European style paper beads using the two part template available in my Etsy shop.

You can find more information about that tutorial here.

In my latest film, I show you how to finish your beads to give them the European look, similar to the style of some Pandora beads.

Click here to see the film

paper bead cores
paper bead cores
Paper beads made with my templates.
Paper beads made by my workshop students using the templates.

Paper bead cores are the key to taking your paper beads to the next level.

Paper beads can look exceptionally pretty and leave many people astounded that they are made with paper.

But when you make them with a larger core hole, paint them with metallic paint and add metal paper bead cores to give them a professional look, it lifts them to a whole new level.

People who have seen my YouTube videos often get in touch and ask me where to buy certain supplies they have seen me using.

So I now try to find products similar to those I have used. Sometimes, I am able to recommend products I have actually bought from Amazon but unfortunately, that is not the case with the product suggestions that follow.

Paper beads can look exceptionally pretty and leave many people astounded that they are made with… Click To Tweet

Most of the products I used in the video are from stock I have held for some time (such as the paper bead cores and silicone rings) and were originally bought in from abroad.

So most of the suggestions you will see below have not been tried out and therefore I cannot recommend them from personal experience, they are just suggestions for you to research.

But in the case of the Imagination Crafts Starlight paints - I can highly recommend them because I use them all the time and love them.

I buy mine from Keep On Crafting in Bury St Edmunds Suffolk. The owner also ships worldwide, so check the website for details.

paper bead cores
paper bead cores
These are some of my European style paper bead bracelets made using the templates. The ones on the right are featured on the Rainbow Lane channel on YouTube.

Please note - I am an Amazon Affiliate and receive a small commission for any products bought through this site.

Starlight metallic paint from Imagination Crafts, along with metal paper bead cores make your paper beads look stunning!

When you have rolled your beads using my two part template (available in my Etsy shop) they look ok - just ok; they look like beads made with paper.

Paint them with any of the gorgeous Starlight metallic paints and they look beautiful.

Add the paper bead cores and they look amazing.

Put them on a faux leather or metal bracelet and they look absolutely stunning.

paper bead cores
paper bead cores
Starlight Metallic Paints by Imagination Crafts - perfect for your European Style Beads

If you are a reader from the USA - here's, what I found for you on Amazon.com.

Remember - you need to research these products yourself as I cannot personally recommend anything I have not tried.

I have looked for items that are as close to the ones I have used in my video as possible.

It appears that Imagination Crafts Starlight paints may not be available outside the UK as I can only find them on Amazon UK. 

Keep On Crafting, here in England where I get mine, does ship outside Europe but of course they have to charge postage and packing.

All the products I have suggested here are featured for people who may ask me where they can buy the supplies needed to make the bracelets and I urge you to shop around before buying.

Thanks for watching and reading and I hope you take your paper bead making to the next level by using metal paper bead cores.

European Style paper bead templates are so easy to use and I have taken all the headache out of figuring out how to get that perfect Pandora style bead shape!

My easy to use paper bead templates are available for download in my Etsy shop.

If you want to find out how to use them, you can watch me making beads with them over on YouTube on the Rainbow Lane channel.

paper bead templates

Want to make fabulous bracelets like these? I did it by designing the ultimate European style paper bead templates so my beads would have that Pandora style shape.

We all love exquisite Pandora jewellery and you cannot beat the real thing but it's fun to try and recreate beautiful jewelery pieces from paper.

I have been making paper bead jewelry for many years and I also teach other people how to do it.

To make my life easier, I started designing paper bead templates to take the hard work of measuring and drawing lines every time I was making a new piece of paper bead jewlery.

My workshop students were always asking if they could buy paper bead templates from me and so I put them in my Etsy shop, Images For Crafts.

paper bead templates

Paper Bead Templates and the 5mm paper bead tool are the easiest and quickest way to stream line your paper bead making process.

The paper bead tool you will see me using in the YouTube video is my own design and I manufacture them myself in my UK workshop.

It is available to buy from my Etsy shop and we ship worldwide.

These tools are available in my Etsy shop. We ship worldwide.

The paper bead templates in my shop are also my own designs.

I spent a long time trying to perfect my European Style bead shape and I had many failures along the way!

Although I guess they weren't really failures because each one taught me that my measurements needed to be tweaked.

Eventually, I decided on the two part paper bead templates because I am guessing not many people have printers that can print paper big enough to do them in one part.

And the new improved template above is the result of some really helpful feedback I had from one of my lovely Etsy customers in the USA.

I tweaked the design to make it much easier to see what part of the paper is waste and to make it easier to cut.

If you aren't sure what these paper bead templates are all about, hop over to YouTube and watch the video on the Rainbow Lane channel.

paper bead templates

Paper Bead Templates for European style beads - download for only £4.00 (plus VAT if you are a UK customer).

Once you have downloaded the files (they come in both UK A4 and US Letter sizes), you can print the templates over and over again to make as many beads as you want but please read about the copyright restrictions on the actual templates when visiting my shop.

Have fun with my paper bead templates and let me know how you get on with you bead making.

Embossed tin is easy to create if you have a machine like the Sizzix Big Shot (expensive!) or an embossing tool and mat (not so expensive).

If you want to see a step-by-step guide to how I made these pretty pendants from a recycled cereal box and a soda can, click here to see my short, easy to follow video on YouTube.

Make gorgeous pendants using embossed tin from soda cans. Click To Tweet
This post includes Amazon affiliate links.
embossed tin
embossed tin
embossed tin

These beautiful pendants were made using embossed tin from a soda can.

In my previous post I showed you how to make pendants with no bezel or tray.

In this post, I show you a fun project I designed for using up any scrap card or cereal box card as another way to make pendant bases.

The square base I made from card was then covered in aluminum foil that I had hand colored using alcohol inks.

I also used embossed tin to the make a backing for the pendants which means they are reversible.

On one side they have a round embossed tin design and on the other they have a square design covering the whole surface.

embossed tin

 

It doesn't matter if your pendants flip round while you are wearing them!

I used a 2 inch square punch to cut the embossed tin backing so that gaps in the tin foil would be covered up.

So that means there are two faces to the pendants, each with a different look.

I used a Sizzix Big Shot to create my embossed tin - but what if you don't have one?

No problem! You can emboss the tin using an embossing tool with an embossing pad underneath.

When you use embossed tin that's been created using an embossing tool, it obviously isn't as crisp as when you use an embossing machine.

But, the designs will be unique to you and still look very pretty when colored with alcohol inks.

embossed tin

Have fun making your embossed tin pendants!

Watch my video tutorial by clicking this link to YouTube and then have a go at making your own.

To help you source the same kind of products I used, I have put links below for both UK and US readers.

The following links are for US readers.

I try to source the best products, closest to those I use myself. I cannot guarantee the quality

or effectiveness of the products but I only suggest those with good reviews.

The following links are for UK readers.

I try to source the best products, closest to those I use myself. I cannot guarantee the quality

or effectiveness of the products but I only suggest those with good reviews.

Let me know how your pendants turn out.

Working with embossed tin is a great way to use those empty soda cans - let me know how you get on!

Glass pendants are really easy to make and the good news is, you don't need a bezel or tray.

If you are new to jewellery making and don't know what bezels and trays are, take a look at my previous post here.

glass pendants
Typical one inch round pendant trays ready for decoration to be added.

The glass pendants I have designed don't need these and so are cheaper to make if you are on a budget and can't get hold of trays or bezels easily.

You will only need the glass domes like the ones below.

I will be putting links below showing where you can get the materials I use in my video tutorial.

You can find my video on YouTube - How To Make Pretty Glass Pendants.

glass pendants
The glass domes you will need to complete this project.

To make these glass pendants, you will also need some eye-catching images.

I design my own images and get them printed at Tesco's because it seems to work out cheaper than using my home printer. You can either create your own one inch images, cut images from magazine etc or buy designs ready to punch out.

My images are available to buy on Etsy as electronic downloads which you can either print at home onto 6x4 inch paper or have printed at a print shop.

The designs I used to make these pendants are available in my Etsy shop Images For Crafts.

glass pendants
A sample of my own image designs for pendants - also showing a glass dome placed over one of them.

The images you choose for your glass pendants are everything because without them - no pendant!

If you see an image in a magazine and you want to use it in a pendant, my understanding is that it would be ok as long as you cut it out as is. If you photographed or photocopied it to make more copies or to blow it up or reduce it, then you would be breaching copyright.

I'm not sure where the law stands on selling pendants you have made with straight cut outs from magazines but if they are just for your own use and no profit is involved, I think you should be fine.

The images I sell on Etsy can be printed as many times as you want and used in non-commercial craft projects. If you wanted to use them commercially, you would have to get in touch with me to discuss.

glass pendants

Where to get the resources to make these glass pendants.

If you are stuck on where to get the things you need to make these glass pendants yourself, you can use these links to find most of what you will need.

All the above items were available at the time of writing and were on Amazon UK -  (US readers see below).

But of course I cannot guarantee availability at all times. Also, regarding the Anita's Clear Gloss, the price of £18 is for three tubes - but that is still quite high.

For UK readers living near  any branch of The Range, I buy mine in my local branch for a fraction of that cost, so be warned.

(Please be aware I am an Amazon UK affiliate and get a very small commission when anyone buys but I don't recommend anything I would not buy and use myself. I do not receive commission on anything bought from Amazon.com.)

Woah! Why is Anita's Clear Gloss so expensive in the states (or on Amazon.com anyway)?

You will notice that I have added Diamond Glaze as an alternative to Anita's Clear Gloss because it was so expensive on Amazon ($45!!!!).

Diamond Glaze is actually the one I prefer but I can't get that as easily as I can get Anita's - Diamond Glaze is perfect.

If you want to buy electronic copies of the images I used for my pendants, visit my Etsy shop.

Hope you have fun making these glass pendants - let me know if you have any questions.

 

Dichroic Glass jewelry is very pretty but what if you don't have the skills or money to buy or make the real deal?

Of course, genuine dichroic glass jewelry has a beauty that can only be achieved by learning to fuse coloured glass using the right tools, material and techniques.

But if you want to learn how to make pretty pendants that are very colourful and attractive in a similar way to dichroic glass, then stick with me - I will teach you!

The pendants you see below were made using a technique I developed using crushed aluminum tin foil and alcohol inks.

If you want to watch my video showing how I make these faux dichroic glass pendants, you will find it here.

If you have already watched the video and want to know where you can get supplies - read on.

Continue reading

art journal covers

Art journal covers, studio books, note books and albums are some of my favorite crafty things to make.

I never get tired of making art  journal covers because of the scope for creativity and inventiveness.

In the past I have made and sold many albums at craft fairs and people always seemed to enjoy looking through the variety of designs I came up with.

I went through a phase of enjoying making albums entirely from recycled materials. See here for  my YouTube video on how I used junk mail to create the pages for this album.

art journal covers
This little album is made entirely from recycled junk except for the paint, decorations and binding thread.

But in recent times, I have begun to explore acrylic paint pouring onto canvas.

If you don't know what acrylic paint pouring is all about, check out this post about one of my early attempts at it - including the things that went wrong!

And if you want to see how it's done really well, check out this video from US artist Jenny Post.

Jenny doesn't claim to do tutorials, she makes videos documenting how she creates her paintings but in the  'About' section of her YouTube channel, she also has a list of other YouTubers who do tutorials on acrylic pouring techniques.

So how does acrylic paint pouring fit in with making art journal covers?

Well, art journal covers can be made from anything you can stick on cardboard, so I was thinking, why not canvas?

Canvases and acrylic paint are reasonably inexpensive if you are dabbling around with some of the bargain brands. However, acrylic paint pouring can still get a little pricey because of the sheer volume of paint used.

And when you start out experimenting with it, if you are anything like me, you will end up with a ton of canvases that may not be masterpieces but, are too 'good' to throw away (we can kid ourselves!).

So I came up with the idea of using my acrylic pouring experiments to make art journal covers.

I came up with the idea of using my acrylic pouring experiments to make art journal covers. Click To Tweet

If you are creating art on a canvas, the finished product needs to be good enough to make someone want to hang it on the wall because that is the only function of a painted canvas - to be looked at.

But art journal covers are a different story. The main function of an art journal is that it is a usable, working journal that you write, draw or paint in.

And it needs to have attractive covers.

So far, I have not produced an acrylic pour that I would even consider selling or, putting up on my own wall.

But I have had great fun playing with the technique and learning.

art journal covers

The picture you see here was one of my first experiments in acrylic pouring. It's ok - just ok. I'm not going to hang it, sell it or throw it - so what could I do with it?

There were parts of it I liked and was happy to have as art journal covers and so that is what I did with this painting - I made it into an art journal (see link to YouTube video further up the page).

And here is the finished art journal with covers made from parts of the painting you see above.

art journal covers
art journal covers
art journal covers
Back of journal - should have been the front but if you watch the video, you will see why it had to be the back.
I used a flower punch to create embellishments from the left-over card and canvas pieces.

Products I used to make my art journal covers and pages.

To help you get the right products, I have found some of them on Amazon and put links to them. If you click through and buy anything, I will get a teeny tiny commission. And re the flower punch - I use this one and it does go through the canvas with a firm hand, even with the thickness of paint added. But be aware that I don't know how thick your canvases are and so I cannot predict whether yours will work the way mine do with this flower punch.

Have fun with acrylic pouring if you try it...

...and if you find you have canvases that are not good enough to display, then use your canvases to create art journal covers and tell me about your results.

Acrylic pouring seems to be the in thing on YouTube at the moment and after having a go, I can see why.

If you don't know what acrylic pouring is, have a look at my video over on YouTube

Once you watch that, YouTube will come up with lots more suggestions for acrylic pouring videos as there are hundreds to choose from.

As you will see, I am no expert yet but my video is worth a look if only to make you feel that anyone can do this!

Continue reading