In all object making, that aspect which relates to it's conceptual interpretation is art, that which relates the object to an intended purpose is design, and the quality of it's execution is craft.
Dying/staining these silver tinsel pipe cleaners brings about a total transformation. They look amazingly Edwardian. You know those early 20th century postcards with the tarnished silver glass glitter?? That's what these pipe cleaners remind me of. Some years ago I did a tutorial on the Joli Paquet blog which outlined how I stained the pipe cleaners with Tim Holtz alcohol inks. Because of Pinterest, I became aware that clever people had come up with a way to make DIY alcohol inks. 91% isopropyl alcohol and RIT dye. One of those why didn't I think of that moments. So, I set about deciding which RIT dye colors would make the proper formula for tarnish. It was a messy business, but, not too difficult since RIT doesn't really make very many colors. You need something brownish/blackish. In RIT dye terms it's DARK BROWN + PEARL GREY = TARNISH. The hard and messy part was figuring out how much of each. Took me the better part of an afternoon to figure out that it's 50/50! It took some trial and error to figure out the best way to dye a large quantity of pipe cleaners and I almost bailed several times, but I persevered and was able to do 800 pipe cleaners for around $12.00. After all that the drawbacks became apparent and I almost bailed again. The primary reason I stayed the course is that these 800 pipe cleaners ARE THE PERFECT TARNISHED COLOR. They look exactly like 80 to 100 year old tarnished tinsel garland. As I began crafting with these DIY-inked pipe cleaners, I began to notice they were staining my fingers:--( Dammit. I imagined the pretty ladies in my classes getting their fingers dirty and decided that real crafters aren't afraid to get messy! As I crafted on, my rationalizations about the stained fingers grew weaker and weaker. With the Tim Holtz inks there is absolutely no residue transferred to your fingers. Still, this is such a much more cost effective way to dye large amounts of pipe cleaners and, even more important, the color is perfect. So, I began to brainstorm as to how I could decrease the staining. I rinsed some with cold water which worked great, but it was super messy and aggravating. Next, I took a good, stiff brush to them which cuts down the finger-staining considerably. However, it is still not perfectly clean crafting. Although, I think the good outweighs the bad. I am considering spraying them with a clear sealer. It may or may not be worth the trouble. I don't want them to get so labor intensive that it's no longer worth the savings.
Here is my latest pipe cleaner craft:
This one has pearl-head straight pins as ornaments, but I'm kinda partial to the tree without the ornaments:
I like them both. I found some all silver pearl-head pins on ebay and I'm thinking I might like that better than the multi-color. I wish I could find all red. The only thing I can get locally is multi-color. I could paint the pearl tips, but that would complicate the craft too much for my taste. I like the simplicity. I'll be making a few of these to sell at Glitter Market. I've settled on this top....it's simple and I like it better than the ribbon on top of the larger tree:
So, tell me what you think. Do you like them? Should I do a class on these next year? FYI, this craft came into existence because I was trying to come up with small, table-top Christmas decor for my mother-in-law who has recently moved to assisted living and won't have room for a large tree. It seems necessity is always the mother of invention.
I have two Christmas classes scheduled at Paper Crown this year. First is the Bingo Card inspired Advent Calendar. It's about 9"x13"ish and made to look like a vintage bingo card. I wanted to come up with a way to countdown the days til Christmas without having take away/add pieces making it necessary to store them somewhere. So....I made teeny little hangers for inchies that are decorated on one side and have the countdown on the other side. Let me show you...
The top a little closer:
The bottom of a bingo card has instructions so I used that space to explain how to use the calendar:
A couple of inchie close-ups (see the cute little hangers...bra hooks!):
The last two photos show how it looks displayed with one of the inchies turned over to the countdown side. The idea is to have only the appropriate countdown side showing each day so that it always displays the decorative side of the inchies. Make sense? If not I'll explain in better in class.
The Bingo Advent Calendar class has been rescheduled and will be held on:
Sunday, November 13th from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Call the store at 848-2389 to sign up
My second class is one I taught a couple of years ago. It filled up fast and was a great success so I thought it was worth another go-round. It's this wonderful garland made with stained tinsel pipe cleaners and very old, very special vintage silk ribbon.
The garland is 9 feet long with 12 bulbs. It's my favorite craft I've ever created:) I thought some of the girls who made one before might want a second one. The bad thing about this craft is the limited quantity of the vintage ribbon that works so beautifully for the construction. I need to find a modern substitute but have, so far, been unsuccessful.