Sunday, March 29, 2015

Burlap & Button Shamrock Shadow Box

Messy Messy Fail - Let's just say the cats have been making sure to keep themselves clean, but you know what that means for our furniture and floors then.  Gross.  I picked up some hairball prevention gel at Walmart, hope this stuff works because I'm sick of getting out the Bissel machine!

Tidy Victory - After two weeks of trying on about 982349823498 pairs of frames, taking selfies with them on and sending them to my mom and sister, I picked out my frames!  Got all of my measurements done, ordered the lenses, and MAN is it nice to be able to see again.  My poor orchestra students would get so confused when I'd give them a measure number to start at in their music during rehearsal and they would say, "Uh Mrs. D. that is nowhere near where we just were" or "That makes no sense Mrs. D, there is no rehearsal W in this piece".  I like to keep my students on their toes.

Is anyone else having issues coming up with a creative project that is NOT already on Pinterest?  I mean seriously, it appears that almost EVERYTHING has been done.  Therefore, my goal for this post was to come up with an original-as-possible St. Patrick's day craft.  I do not have many shamrock decorations for this holiday, so why not?  And who cares if St. Patrick's day has already passed?

My idea was to create a shamrock shape in a shadow box with burlap for a country feel and fun buttons because they just look darn cute.  Now just to clarify - I've seen SEVERAL button shamrock projects out there, but none appeared to be with this type of design or in a shadow box, so I claim my idea as original!  Here is a list of all the items I needed for my button shamrock shadow box:

1 shadow box (smaller size, but use which ever size you want!)
1/2 yard of burlap (I bought green for more emphasis)
box of green decorative buttons
Stitch ripper
Hot glue gun and extra hot glue sticks
Shamrock pattern (I used some cookie cutters I had)
Green yarn

Here is what I did:

Using the backing of the shadow box as a template, I used scissors to cut two rectangles from the green burlap to serve as the backing inside the shadow box.

*Trick I learned from the nice young lady at Joann's - if you use a stitch ripper to rip and pull one thread out of the burlap where you want to cut, it creates a straight clear space to follow with scissors and helps keep the cut straight and prevents frays!

Next, I used the hot glue gun to glue both burlap rectangles to the inside backing of the shadow box.

I highly recommend crafting with a nice glass of vino, makes the whole occasion more peaceful.
 I used two because the inside of the shadow box was that black velour and I didn't want that to show through the burlap.


After glueing the rectangle burlap pieces inside the shadow box and allowing to dry for a few minutes, I used my scissors to trim any excess burlap and made sure the backing fit back into the shadow box - nothing worse than a frame that won't securely close!

Time for the shamrocks - I just happened to have two shamrock cookie cutters - a medium size and a small size - that I set on the burlap to make sure I approved of the placement.  After I was happy with that, I started carefully adding the first layer of buttons inside the cookie cutters on the burlap.  That way I could make sure the buttons fit before gluing them.

After I had a layer of buttons, I carefully removed the cookie cutter and starting gluing the buttons down.  I made sure to place my dot of glue on the burlap  - not on the button - to make sure I would put the button down in the right place.  I kept a scrap of burlap handy to help keep the hot glue drips and strings to a minimum.  Be sure to let the glue from the first layer dry before starting the second.  I also made sure to use the more plain buttons for the first layer since it would not be seen as clearly as the second.

I glued one layer of buttons down for each of the shamrocks, now time for the second layer.  I put the shamrock cookie cutters back over the buttons as best I could to help maintain the correct shape.  They certainly did not fit perfectly - a few buttons were glued slightly out of place - but the idea is to keep it as true to the shape as possible.  I used more decorative buttons for the second layer, and rather scattered them to cover any burlap that was showing from the first layer still.  Again I removed the cookie cutter and put dots of glue on top of the first layer of buttons where I wanted the second layer of buttons to go.

The container of buttons I purchased also came with a small container of tiny green beads and gems to be used to fill in the holes even more with a touch of sparkle.  After the second layer of buttons dried, I put some dots of glue in small crevices or around buttons to help keep the shamrock shape and used my finger (don't burn yourself!) to push in the small green beads and gems into the glue.  Always be sure to keep your shamrock shape close by for reference.

At this point, I was quite pleased with my ORIGINAL work when I realized that my green button shamrocks could be mistaken for just a pile of green buttons I had glued together - aka it was tricky to see the shape.  Game time decision - I purchased some inexpensive dark green yarn to glue around the shamrocks to help define the shape more.

Before gluing the yarn around the buttons, I quickly ran the yarn around the shape to make sure I cut enough yarn for each shamrock.  I also left enough excess to tie a cute bow - I LOVE BOWS - on the bottom of each shamrock.  After I cut the yarn, I simply ran a tight bead of glue around 1/3 of the button shamrock then just used my finger (no burns please) to push the yarn right onto the glue neatly around the shamrock.

Clearly time to change my jams, those babies lasted more than 2 weeks!

There were still a few bare spots so I put in a few more dots of glue with some more tiny beads - cute!

When I got to the stems of the shamrock, I tied the ends in a cute bow and but a dot of glue underneath the knot to secure it to the buttons.

Time to see my finished project - after I let everything dry, I put the burlap backing with my cute shamrocks back into the shadow box, secured the sliders on the back and enjoyed my new St. Patrick's Day decoration!

Bad glare but you get the idea!
Phew, it's tricky coming up with an ORIGINAL craft project!  There are always some unexpected issues that may come up, but that's a good lesson in problem solving skills, folks.

If I were to do this project again, some things I might do differently include:

Purchasing a larger frame/shadow box
Using a larger shamrock pattern to help with definition of shape
Complete this project before the holiday :)

I really did enjoy working on this, it could also be a fun project for kids/toddlers by just using craft glue and construction paper/foam board/poster board.  You could make any shape for any holiday, and there are some pretty inexpensive packages of buttons available (don't forget to use your coupons people!)

I hope you had a fantastic St. Patrick's Day - three weeks later - and get here quickly Spring!



Denise Snyder-Norberg said...

Very cute idea, Katie! Just a tip after many burned off finger prints while working with hot glue and tiny beads. Use a damp Q-tip to pick up the tiny seed beads, it will hold them just long enough to place them in the glue without burning the fingers and because it is damp, won't leave fuzzies!

Love My Mess said...

Nice Denise, excellent tip! I just made sure to use my left hand first finger - calloused violin fingers :)

Tanya @ Motherly Adventures said...

Very cute! I always admire people who take the time to do DIY projects. I don't have it in me to do them!!

Erin @ Stay at Home Yogi said...

So cute! I am really loving shadow boxes as decor lately!

Jacky @ Joyful Savings said...

Been there, I know the exact feeling when trying a new post or project just to find that someone already thought of it ... so many creatives minds out there!

This is a wonderful project Katie, easy, and it can be adapted to so many occasions! Great one!

JoyfulSavings recently posted this saving-tip article: "The day I stopped buying Fabric Refresher & Dryer Sheets FOREVER!"

Hannah Rinaldi said...

So sweet! I love this idea. I think you could do this with so many different things.

Frugal Hausfrau said...

So darling! I love buttons and love finding a way to use the old mishmash that I have.

Thanks so much for sharing with us on Throwback Thursday! Hope to see you next time!


Kathleen said...

I love the way your shadow box turned out. So fun. I'm not a huge burlap fan, from my time working at JoAnn. I hated cutting that stuff. Thanks for linking up to Tips and Tricks. Hope to see you again this week.