Make your own faux metal stars inexpensively out of paper maché ornaments with this craft tutorial, and then easily DIY custom patriotic napkin rings for Memorial Day, Veterans Day, or Independence Day. Use these to perfectly coordinate with your existing holiday décor for a high end look on a shoestring budget. These hefty appearing textured “metal” stars are actually lightweight enough to be used in so many more applications. And they really do fool everyone… until they’re touched!
It’s astonishingly easy to turn inexpensive paper maché ornament stars (found in craft stores nearly year round) into expensive looking one-of-a-kind textured metallic pieces to embellish any project you can think of.
Grab a bag of star ornaments, some cheap white school glue, a lighter or match, and a candle. (I like to use up the last chunks of tall or broken candles to use on these kinds of projects, because candles flames do work better than lighter flames… just don’t ask me why. I stuck this pink leftover into an empty glass soda bottle to hold it in place… as is necessary to prevent wax drip burns.)
Cover a portion of a star completely in white glue. Hold it into the flame until the glue becomes hard with a dusty charcoal layer over it. (Don’t hold it over the bare paper because it will burn! If a flame does spark, just blow it out like a candle. Cover that area with more glue, and then burn on.)
Rub off the dirty charcoal layer with a clean rag or paper towel. (You’ll start seeing a smooth sheen appear.)
You can leave them as is or rub a light wash of metallic paint over them (cheap acrylic craft paint works well). It’s an easy way to add verdigris or to switch between silver and gold. I use a sponge square to dab on paint, and then quickly wipe some of it away (it does dry really fast).
You can really see the detail of the texture on the star’s undersides. (There’s no need to finish the base if you plan on gluing them onto something else.)
Now let’s make mix-and-match patriotic napkin rings using 1 roll of clearance chambray wired ribbon and some lengths of various American themed twill ribbon.
First, cut 6 inch lengths of ribbon (1 chambray and 1 twill for each ring). Then hot glue the twill across the center of the larger chambray. Next, glue one short end over the other, overlapping them slightly.
Herald in the fourth of July with an altered art greeting card that doubles as a mailable gift, as it may be framed by the recipient as mixed media décor commemorating Independence Day. It’s a delightful way to send a bit of revelry to a loved one who can’t attend the year’s celebration. This art project is perfect for gathering the whole family together for a fun “crafternoon”, because the Design Memory Craft mediums are non-toxic. They are also fully compatible with each other and a large variety of substrates. This product versatility makes it so easy to combine collage material into something impressive. So follow along as I create an art card ablaze with the spirit of the season, then use the ideas to make one infused with your own artistic essence… because a blast of creativity is the best way to start the holiday off with a bang!
Begin with a readymade greeting card base or make your own inexpensively from sturdy cardstock.
I cut a piece of parchment printed paper to a 7 x 10 inch size, so that it could be folded into a 5 x 7 card… perfect for framing.
I used deckle edge cutting scissors to produce a torn looking finish on the card. (I later used the deckle scissors to cut around some of the stamped images too.) Pitt artist pen big brushes are perfect for highlighting such details. Just swipe the side of the brush along the edge to deposit the permanent ink in a rough fashion.
Paper washi tape is a quick way to imbed visual texture onto the base of a collage. Another way is apply printed pages with gel medium. (I’ll demonstrate this more fully in a future tutorial.)
Design Memory Craft gelatos are multipurpose mediums that look like colored chap-sticks. They apply thickly, but can be thinned to watercolor consistency when mixed with water. (You can even turn them into a liquid spray paint to splatter your work with!) They can be used to dye a variety of materials as well. To dye canvas ribbon, I simply marked it haphazardly with a gelato on both sides. I then took water and rubbed it into the ribbon, like magic… it turned blue. It dried fairly quickly too!
They can be mixed with other mediums also. You can see here what straight gelato and plain gesso looked like before mixing. (Warning: if you explore medium capability with a small sample pack like I did… you may get totally hooked too!)
Here I used a palette knife to tint gesso with a cobalt blue gelato. White gesso opacified the color into more of a cornflower blue. A thick swipe of medium over a stencil will lay down a swath of shaped color onto your paper. (Stencil words like “celebrate” are great to have in a craft arsenal to use year round.)
I used the same technique to form raised letters onto colored paper. (This is a great way to use up all those scraps of “craftermath” from previous projects!) The thicker the layer of gesso, the longer it will take to dry.
Use any leftover gelatoed-gesso as an opaque stamping ink. It’s great to use on colored papers that would just appear as plain black if using a stamp pad. (I really liked the blue on red for these fireworks.) Just remember to rinse off your stamp before the gesso dries.
You can dye just about anything with gelatos and pitt pens. The gelato dyed ribbon will appear lighter once it has dried. If you’d like to impart deeper color, just repeat with more gelato. The little scalloped round element is a cork sticker that I tinted with cobalt blue gelato. It’s easy to make an ombre effect by applying color to only one side then rubbing it across the piece. I used the pitt pens as a wood stain by simply coloring the laser-cut birch 4 and bamboo food pick. (This is the easiest and cleanest way I’ve found to tint wood without losing the grain pattern!)
Pitt artist pen big brushes can also be used in place of stamp pads. (They’re especially great when you want to combine colors onto one stamp image!) I spelled out JULY, with a magnetic lettering stamp, as if it had been printed by an old-school typewriter.
Don’t forget to add your seal of “makership” to the back of your creation! Leftover ink on my stamp blended with the deep scarlet red pitt pen ink to tint the edges a bit darker… which I completely adore.
Once most of your elements are constructed, you can place them on the card in order to edit… if need be. I used the rough-draft placement to decide where my background colors should go.
I used red and blue gelatos as finger-paint to tint the paper and washi tape background with. Use a wet finger or a water brush to grab pigment straight from a gelato, or dip a brush or finger into pre-mixed gelato and water. (My choice took me straight back to kindergarten!)
Next, I tied a bow with the ribbon (representing remembrance) and glued everything down. You can use any glue you like, or even the gel medium to glue down the papers with. (I chose hot glue because it works on all the elements I used… even the wooden ones.)
I layered red tinted cardboard under the stenciled papers, and elevated them with tiny foam stickers for dimension. The fireworks were attached with brads, but I added hot glue dots beneath them to make them pop right off the page. (Note that the star spangled banner is actually another repurposed food pick!)
For a finishing touch, I applied dots with opalescent texture gems gel liner (to symbolize stars in the night sky filled with the rocket’s red glare which we memorialize with fireworks).
It’s that subtle yet profound symbolic meaning that completes the piece’s transformation from craft into art which makes it worthy of being framed, not just as a holiday decoration, but as artwork. This Independence Day, I will be celebrating the liberty we are given to express ourselves in a country of freedom.
The online learning site Craftsy has generously offered some super cute labels to download and print for free. Simply click on the image below for a link to the webpage posting them. Also from Craftsy are 23 amazingly free e-books on a variety of arts, crafts, cooking, and gardening subjects! Just click on a picture to find the book it depicts. Then you can download it and keep it forever to reference whenever you want to. Yea!! Note that Craftsy is a Le fidèLe Design’s affiliate, so I may be compensated if you decide to make a purchase after clicking on these links, but these e-books and labels really are free… and free is really great! This is why I took the time to pass them along to you. I do hope you enjoy them. I can’t wait to read them myself!
For those of you who don’t speak français, “Le fidèle” means “the faithful”. It’s pronounced Luh-Fee-Dell. I had originally chosen the name as a reflection of my intrinsic beliefs…
FAITHFUL to God who graces me with the purest form of love FAITHFUL to the family who with dedication stand by me always FAITHFUL to the friends who remain near in more than just fair weather FAITHFUL to leading an authentic life of integrity FAITHFUL to establishing ripples directed toward benevolence FAITHFUL to utilizing and sharing the creative gifts with which I have been blessed
After countless requests for creative guidance and instruction, I have decided to heed the advice of sharing my projects with more than just those around me. I ask for your support as I explore this new medium of expression. I also invite you to make requests and share your suggestions (in the comments section following each post), so that I may improve as we move forward together in the spirit of embracing that creativity which I believe resides within us all.
I am an artist who encourages others to explore their creative potential by fearlessly trying new mediums and techniques. I believe that art can act as a balm for the soul when one’s innermost feelings are allowed to flow into artistic expression.
As a lifelong craft enthusiast, I love the challenge of up-cycling and creating something beautiful out of otherwise unremarkable scraps. Not only is it mentally stimulating, but also salves my environmental conscience by participating in “good stewardship”.
As so much of life is often experienced in accelerated motion, it becomes a real joy to slow down and cherish those special occasions and life changing events that bring us together. Putting forth time and energy into beautifying a venue serves to enrich the celebration by making the day even more precious in one’s memory.
I know firsthand how food allergies can negatively impact one’s social experiences, and how even well-meaning hosts can have difficulty navigating safe recipes so that their guests may partake of least one dish. So it is with the spirit of inclusion that I will be posting recipes to help eliminate these problems. All of my healthy yet tasty recipes will always be free of gluten, dairy, eggs, soy, peanuts, corn, canola, mushrooms, and peppers in the nightshade family. I will also be offering ingredient substitutions and helpful tips. Bon appétit!