Mug Makes! Magazine Christmas Trees

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My mother-in-law introduced me to this project. I saw them a few years ago while visiting for the holidays and was immediately draw to their modern style. I loved their simplicity and how you could create a whole forrest if you wanted to. She had hers coated in sparky glitter. I chose to keep mine naked because I like the graphic quality of the pages. Plus, having to not vacuum up glitter sounded nice.
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Mug Makes! Pom-pom and Yarn Ornaments

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Fun, festive and fast. These ornaments really couldn’t be simpler to make and add a pop of holiday color to your tree.

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I used the hot glue for the pom-pom ornament and the white glue for the yarn one. My favorite glue for this type of project, where you want it to stick quick, is Alene’s Fast Grab Tacky Glue. It’s thick, so I applied it with a brush.

First, pom-poms.… Keep reading…

Mug Makes! Nail Polish Marbled Ornaments

For a while now, nail polish marbling has been making the rounds on the interwebs. I’ve always wanted to try it but never have, until now. I wanted to make a fun ornament for our tree and thought this would be the perfect time to try the marbling. Plus I knew I could get all my supplies from the dollar store and create something inexpensive and beautiful. Keep reading…

Mug Makes! T-Shirt Braided Plant Mats/Trivets/Coasters*

* Yes the title is long, but so is the list of uses for this little project.

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I don’t know about you, but we have a ton of old t-shirts laying around. Whether they’re promotional ones I acquired from my former job, or old ones that either don’t fit or are to worn out to wear, we have many. I wanted to find a use for them. We also have a number of plants around the house, that shockingly I have been keeping alive. I thought it would be fun to add a little something under some of them to dress them up a bit.

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Mug Makes*! Shrinky Dink Leaf Garland

* Mini Mug helped, too!

With my current schedule, I am lucky enough to have the time to volunteer at Mini Mug’s school. The other day, I volunteered in art class and they made leaf rub prints. These are Mini Mugs…

So I thought why not use them and make a garland for the season. Using ink jet Shrinky Dink paper (bought at Michael’s) and the below PDF, plus small scissors, a hole punch and string, this is an easy and quick project to decorate for Thanksgiving.

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Leaves for Printing.pdf

Step 1: Printing

Following the directions on the Shrinky Dink package, print the leaves, as many as you’ll need for the length of garland you want.

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You’ll notice that the colors are muted. They will become more saturated when they shrink.

Step 2: Cutting 

After letting the prints dry for a few minutes, it’s time to cut. Using small scissors that will make it easy to get around the curves, cut out your leaves. A tip is to go slowly around the curves, and not force as the shrink paper may tear. A small tear will disappear when they have been baked, but try to avoid them where you can.

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I found it easier to rough cut each leaf from the page and then do the detailing.

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Then you’ll punch your holes. If you don’t have a hold punch you can cut a small “+” with a craft knife, and then cut the triangles out to make a small square. It’s much easier than trying to make a small circle with the knife.

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Step 3: Baking

Again, following the directions on your shrink paper, bake the cut leaves. I used our toaster oven, but the regular oven works just as well.

I placed them on a piece of thin cardboard, rather than foil. When they start to shrink they curl a bit. Don’t worry, they flatten out, but I found that with the foil, they sometimes took the foil with them while curling, and didn’t flatten properly.

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Step 4: Stringing

Your final step is to put them on the string. I laid mine out, about 2 inches apart (at the holes) and then cut the string with extra to spare.

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I used a needle to make the stringing easier, but it’s not necessary if you don’t have one.

Starting from the back, thread your string through the hole.

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Pull it to the approximate place on your string. You’ll be able to adjust them once they are all strung on, but placing them as close as possible helps.

Now you’ll pull thread the string through the back again.

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And pull it so the string is wrapped around the top.

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Continue until all your leaves are on your thread. If you need to adjust your spacing, you can gently move them along the string. It works better if you go slowly, as to give the string some slack.

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Now you’re ready to hang!

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There you have it – an easy project that you can do before the holiday, with the help of Shrinky Dink paper and Mini Mug!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Mug Makes! Clay Leaf Bowls

Inspired by all the changing leaves of the season, and never having enough little bowls around to drive Mr. Mug crazy, I decided to make these little guys to scatter around the house. If you’ve never worked with polymer clay, usually known by brand names Fimo or Sculpey, it is so fun and easy, bakes hard in your oven and is really a great medium for a little project like this. It’s also easy to find at the craft store or online and is relatively inexpensive. I purchased a large package (1 pound) but only used about a quarter of it for my 2 bowls. I guess you’ll be seeing some more clay projects in future.

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The leaves I am using are mulberry. I only know this because Mini Mug had to feed them to her silkworm last year and our neighbor (luckily, or poor Silky would have perished) has one on their front yard.

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They are  good for the project because they have defined veins in them, that will transfer nicely when pressed into the clay.

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There were also a nice variety of sizes so I could choose which worked best when laying into my bowl.

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To begin, you’ll knead and roll out a ball of your clay to about an eighth of an inch thick.

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You’ll then use your circle cutter to make a circle that will be placed in the bottom of your foil-lined bowl. I used the top of one of those containers you get out of the vending machines with the little toys in them. Mini Mug has about 700 of them around the house. The fact that its yellow and makes the following picture look like a fried egg was completely unintentional.

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Now it’s time to start pressing our leaves. I would suggest a gently wipe with a damp cloth before you press them into you white clay. I learned the hard way that leaves sitting in the gutter actually are dirty.

Step 1: Position your leave (veiny side down) on your clay and use your rolling pin to press it into the clay. Start out lightly to get it nestled into the clay and then use a bit more pressure to really get that impression.

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Step 2: Gently peel up your leaf. If you’re careful you can reuse it. I tried to not press the stem in (we’ll be cutting it off anyway) and used that to help me lift the leaf out.

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Step 3: Cut around your leaf impression and now its ready to lay into the bowl.

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Gently place your leaf into the bowl overlapping the bottom circle. You can press lightly to make sure they’ve made contact, but be careful as to not press out your leaf’s detail.

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Keep pressing, cutting and laying in your leaves until you have a complete circle.

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After a quick once over again with gentle presses to make sure all the pieces are touching, you are ready to bake according to the directions on your clay’s packaging.

Once your clay is baked and cooled, you can remove it from the bowl and then remove the foil off. It should come off easily.

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If you are happy with the pure white of the bowl, you can consider this project complete, but I felt a little shimmery copper would add some fall flavor.

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I decided to paint the outside of this bowl copper, being careful to not get any on the bottom circle or top edges of my bowl.

I rubbed some paint into the veins of the leaf impressions and then using a damp cloth, I rubbed off most of the paint, leaving the color in the impression only. (Please note the images below show flat baked leaves I made to test the color application, you’ll be rubbing your color directly inside your bowl, as I eventually did).

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How much color you rub off is up you. I made 2 bowls, one smaller and darker, with a white outside. The larger of the 2 is copper on the outside, with a lighter touch of paint on the leaves.

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Either way, I think they are so lovely. You could also paint the whole bowl copper. Or gold would be nice. It’s your project, and your choice.

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Happy Fall to all!