Wednesday, March 17, 2010

TUT: Decorating with Childhood Memories

The hubster has a number of old puzzles from when he was but a tot. Some are cardboard, but the majority are very thick wooden puzzles. I'm working on places to display these pieces throughout the house. They don't deserve to just sit in the attic without anyone to admire them.

One of my favorite cardboard puzzles is this butterfly-centric piece that will go great in the bathroom. The colors in the room are variations of green, brown, and white, with a focus on nature. Wood, birds, insects, and especially dragonflies and butterflies are little highlights throughout the room.

The great thing about this puzzle is that it already has a hole in it for hanging. Initially, I thought I might frame it, but we actually liked the raw puzzle look of it so we'll just hang it up as is. I did use my handy Mod Podge Matte-Mat to secure each piece, and protected it with a final coating of the Podge all over the surface of the puzzle.

The next puzzle, Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater, is one of my favorites because it probably started my husband's love of the redhead. While I think the original poem a bit odd, I do like this artistic translation.

The little boy on this puzzle had a damaged face, and I was able to repair it quite a bit with paints and colored pencils. You can still see where there was surface rubbing, but it isn't too bad.

For the pieces in this puzzle, I used a reusable sticky tack adhesive to adhere the individual pieces to the board.

The next one is a sweet puppy. Again, this puzzle is made of a heavy wood, so I used the sticky tack to secure the individual pieces and then attached a sawtooth hook on the back for hanging.

Just use as much or as little of the "sticky tack" that you need to keep the pieces down. My pieces are heavy, so I applied a good deal to each puzzle piece.

This is the sawtooth hanger I used:

I did have to snip off a bit of the nails that were included with the hanger or they would have poked through the front of the puzzle. I just snipped them with some pliers.

I love the idea of using these sweet mementos as decorative elements in our home. These pieces of art are just another way that we celebrate the stages of our lives.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

YouTube Tutorials: Build a Light Box

Tired of waiting for the magic hour in which to photograph the items you want to sell in your online shop? Then it is probably time to build a light box. I recently built one, and I love it. They really do make a difference, and if you watch the videos below, you'll see just how quickly and inexpensively you can have one of your own (or two or three if you so desire).

YouTube is used and watched for so many purposes, but my favorite use is to find helpful hints or tips on how to perform a DIY task, or learn a new skill or craft. A simple search term can return so many results. Who knows, you may just find a new passion.

My Experience:

I couldn't find any end caps in my local stores, so don't panic when you see them used in the videos and you discover that your local stores are also void of them. I think they add a little more stability maybe, but I'm doing fine without them.

I also chose not to use glue. I wanted the ability to move my light box and potentially alter it in the future. It does great sans adhesive. Unless you have it in an area that gets a lot of traffic or needs to be moved every night, I wouldn't worry about the glue.

I built a fairly large box. I needed a wide and deep one to accommodate large and long pieces. Base your measurements on the items you will be photographing.

I use a couple of floor lights and a clamp light for my lighting. I do use full spectrum fluorescent lights. They remain cool to the touch and cast a beautiful light. No more waiting on the perfect time of day to capture the needed sunlight.

A word about the videos:

The video from Tushygalore was the first one that I viewed. She tackles the project head on and does a great job of explaining the tools you'll need.  Fair warning, Tushygalore is very funny and personable, you may just find yourself watching her large library of entertaining videos and falling behind on the photographs you need to be taking.

Speaking of entertaining videos, another helpful tutorial I just happened upon  is from BuzzFisher. He had me laughing throughout the entirety of his three-part light box tutorial. He tackles the background image/fabric issue from a very creative angle, and I think many of you will find his method fits your needs best.


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