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Simple Present Crafts [Oct. 15th, 2004|08:46 am]
Craft Mavens, Arteests and Gamer Dorks

rustyfish

[lemurling]
Hello crafters!

$WinterHoliday is still quite a ways off, but if you are planning to make most of your presents this year, it's not too soon to start thinking about things.

I thought I would let you guys know some of the crafts I know how to make, in case anyone wants to try them. I'd love to know what things you guys know how to make. We could even do a craft exchange, sort of like a cookie exchange, where everyone makes a bunch of what they're good at, and we trade around so we get a variety to give our families.

I have tons of soap molds for Melt-and-Pour soap, and I've been working with this rather fun and only slightly finicky medium for several years. I know how to embed various things in the soap, from other soap to foam pieces to loofa slices. I've done lots of work with adding ingredients to basic mixes, and I have plenty of scented oils, glitter, colorants, etc. that I wouldn't mind sharing if you want to experiment. Soap base itself can be expensive, the best way to get it is to watch for sales, and even better, sign up for JoAnns and Michael's email lists, and wait until you get a coupon for 40-50% off one item. I would call this a moderately expensive craft. Depending on how much of my stuff you use, it's going to cost you about $1 a bar, maybe a little more.

I also have done a lot of research on bath salts. This is a super easy craft, probably the easiest craft present ever. I can help you come up with good recipe proportions, and let you know the best places to get oils, scents, additives, etc. If you add extra oil, you end up with salt scrub. Sugar scrub I've also made, though it tends to go bad a little faster. I am probably going to order some Potassium Sorbate, an additive that you use in small amounts to inhibit mold growth, for my scrub mixtures. You can leave out some or most of the salts and make bath teas. I'm ordering heat and seal envelopes to package my herb laden teas, but bottles and jars are pretty traditional. Salts and scrubs are very cheap, bath teas almost as cheap. I'd say $0.25 to $0.50 a 'serving' depending on how big a batch you make. A whole jar of something would be about a $1 plus whatever you pay for the packaging.

Still in the bath products line, I've had some success making lip balm. I'm ordering cocoa butter to make an even softer mixture. This is another fairly easy craft, the only trick is getting the proportions right. The packaging is often one of the more expensive parts, figure $0.50 a tube.

Once you start doing bath stuff, it gets pretty easy to get more creative. Just about anything you find in the stores can be replicated, often with better results and less chemicals. Some things you can make completely from scratch, other things you buy the base for, and work from there. Adding baby shampoo to a salt scrub, for instance, makes it foam and bubble.

In the non-bath stuff line, I know how to make all those fleece blanket things, and I've purchased a whole bunch of fleece scarf, hat and mitten patterns recently. Fleece is really easy to work with, and the most basic blankets and scarves don't need any sewing at all. Fleece itself can be expensive, so watch for sales.

I also have had a lot of success with Scupley flat ornaments. Using the same photocopy transfer technique, you create your flat shapes out of Sculpey, then transfer Christmas (or other) patterns, to the clay. The black from ordinary copying shows up very nicely against colored backgrounds (I use metallic clays), but you can also use colored pencils to color in your transfers, or a color toner printer to make transfers with color already in them.

There's a few other things I make, but they're going in the crackers this year, so I'm saving them for me. ;)

Anyone want to trade skills?
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: spideyj
2004-10-15 05:07 pm (UTC)

Sadly I haven't been able to make it down in a while, but I am interested in trading skills/craft items. One of the things I was thinking about for this year (esp. since someone is encouraging me to participate in the winter gift-giving - I usually wait until my gift-giving season, which is in February) is gift baskets with food and stuff. I'm particularly thinking about pumpkin butter (just 'cause I've never made it and I'm curious) and some kinds of baking mixes/soup mixes/etc.

I've done the soap, bath salts and lip balm thing before and found it great fun. Bath stuff appeals to my sensual side. *grin*
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