Monday, January 18, 2010

Frugal Card Doo-Dads

While I was without a computer, I had all the usual times when I couldn't think to make a card or scrapbook page. Usually I would hop on the computer and browse my favorite blogs or Splitcoaststampers until inspiration struck. But I was thrown on my own devices, so I created quite a few embellishments to use later.

Most of these ideas are not original with me. In fact, you've probably heard of them before. But have you tried them? If not, here is your nudge to do so. These are all super-easy and have lots of "wow" factor for the price. Most of them cost nothing more than a few basic supplies you probably have in abundance.

First off are homemade glitter brads ...

Left column:
brads colored red with permanent marker and dipped into (top) kaleidoscope embossing powder and (bottom) stardust embossing powder

Right column, top to bottom:
green embossing glitter
gold embossing glitter
kaleidoscope embossing powder
stardust embossing powder

I put them next to a package of purchased glitter brads so you can see how close they are to the "real" thing. I tried putting Stickles onto brads, but the coverage wasn't as good as these, and it wasn't as fast, either.

How is it done? Easy! Take a regular office brad, smoosh the end onto a Versamark pad, dip it into glittery embossing powder and heatset it. While it's still hot, dip it back into the embossing powder (it will stick with no reapplying of Versamark) and reheat. Do that one more time for the best coverage. It takes less than 30 seconds. NOTE: I used needle-nosed pliers to hold my brads while they were heating. They get very hot.

Next are some pearl brads:

I had heard about a product in the stamping section to make your own flat-backed pearls, and it sounded to me like something I had used several years ago on fabric. So when I spotted this pack of three pearly fashion bead paints at Ollies for $3, I picked them up to experiment.

You've probably seen me use the bead paints on cards lately, but here's a closeup of how they look on regular old office brads:

My good friend gave me pearly brads almost identical to these awhile back, and I hoarded them because they were so beautiful. But I still managed to use them all, and I couldn't bring myself to buy them at full price. (She had gotten a good deal on them, from what I remember.) Now I can have as many as I want!

And just in case you aren't yet convinced that I'm part raccoon because of my love for all things sparkly, here are some make-your-own glitter dew drops:

Again, this idea is not original with me. Lindsay Weirich originally came up with the idea of making dew drops from hot glue sticks. (NOTE: It only works on hot glue guns, not low-temp glue guns.) I don't remember who first mentioned the idea of using glitter glue sticks to make glittery dew drops, but I remember reading it somewhere else. So when I found a small bag of glitter glue sticks ($0.50) at a thrift store that actually fit my tiny glue gun, I knew I needed them.
I discovered that it's best to put a regular glue stick through the gun between each color change of glittery sticks. Some of the glitter continues to "bleed" about halfway into the clear glue sticks, giving you a neat effect.
Next up ... Surely I'm not the only person that has a HUGE roll of this velvety ribbon lying around from a good after-Christmas sale. This is the kind of ribbon that doesn't have a ton of uses, so it's usually around for the 75-90% clearance sales.
While I was going through a bunch of "old" scrapbook magazines a friend had given me, I came across a great tip from a reader. She uses the ribbon in her die cut machine to cut velvety letters for her scrapbook. While I'm a bit picky about what goes into my scrapbooks (and I'm not totally sure about nylon), that set the wheels in my head to turning -- I could make some fabulous card embellishments with it!
So here are the results of my experimenting ...
I wish there was a way for you to see these in real life. The velvety texture gives them a lovely look, and they're just as lovely to touch! I was able to cut them with my regular Sizzlet dies, Cuttlebug dies, even Nestabilities and Cuttlekids dies. If the design will fit onto the width of the ribbon, you're good to go!
Then I got to wondering ... Would they hold dry embossing? So I ran a few strips through my favorite Cuttlebug embossing folders. (The ribbon is 2-1/4" wide!)
They hold the embossing beautifully! I tried inking the fleur de lis pattern on the right, but it gave it too much of a grunge look for my tastes. I can't wait to use these on some cards!
Next up ... I came across a 3-D flower that some ladies are putting on their cards. They're a bit too dimensional to be mailed, but they would make a lovely alternative to a bow on a package ... or as a pin ...
I used my scallop circle Nestabilities for the ones shown here. The one on top was made with the largest scallop, and the one on the bottom was made with the second-smallest scallop. (See that glitter brad in the middle? It's one of my homemade ones!) I put my hand in the picture to give you an idea of how big they are. Just please note that my hands are on the small side ... :)
I used paper from a Chinese book my friend gave me for just such purposes, so mine has Chinese characters all over it. Other ladies are making theirs from old phone books, other old books, and sheet music. You can find the instructions by Wendy Smedley here.

As you can see, I have lots of embellishments to incorporate onto my cards and other projects. These were so much fun, and I especially love that they aren't expensive and I didn't have to buy anything new to make them. I hope you like them, too!

If you happen to use any of the ideas, please post a link to your project in the comments so I can get more ideas for using them. :)


Esther said...

What a fun post! I enjoyed reading all about your "Frugal Doo -Dads" and how to make them. New ideas are always welcome -- especially when they use the things we already have in a new way! Fun! Fun!

Tiffany said...

Great ideas, I just love your blog! I try to make my own embellishments too!

Catrick said...

I have been hoarding this velvet ribbon wondering if and when I would ever use it...thank you, thank you. With Valentine's just around the corner this gives my stash new life!

I am so glad I subscribed to your blog!


Sophia said...


I'm glad it helped! I've been eyeing those velvet embellishments every day waiting for inspiration to strike for my husband's valentine. :)

Anonymous said...

Sophia, the brads are beautiful! Thanks for the link;) Yo know You can cut the velvet ribbon with deco edge scissors too, very versitle! I love your flowers too;) great post!