Sunday, 22 May 2011

How to make a Medieval Hair Braids Hair Piece

Medieval Hair Braids Hair Piece
In medieval times, hair braiding was popular, and many attractive hair styles could be achieved with hair braiding. However, such elaborate braided hairstyles were usually worn by the rich, who had a lady in waiting or a servant to style their hair for them. If you don’t have a lady in waiting but want to achieve the medieval braided hair look, its probably best if you make yourself a braided hair piece that you can slip onto your head a bit like a hat or a wig, and instantly have the latest medieval fashionable hair do.

To make a Medieval Hair Braids Hair Piece you will need,

3x Platted Alice bands or hair bands, (the ones with two plats,) in a colour that matches your own hair,
Needle and thread
Dress making pins, the ones with coloured beads are best because they are nicely visible in the hair braids.

To start with you need to join two of the hair bands together so that there are 4 plats that will go across your head. Snip the elastic out of one hair band and sew the end of the plats to the main hair band.

The next part is easier if you get someone else with a similar sized head to wear the hair band, Or if you wear it and ask someone else to do the pinning for you. The model should have their hair loose, so any pins wont attached the braids to their hair.

Medieval Hair Braids Hair Piece
Put the 4 braided hair band on the models head, and space out the braids so that the lie evenly between the forehead and the crown of the head. If the braid at the crown is too long and wont lie flat, make a little loop out of the excess and lay inwards towards the forehead. Pin in place without stabbing the models head.

Next you need to dismantle the final hair band, taking everything off so that you are just left with braids. The ends of the braids should be melted together, if you disturb the ends, sew them back together with some similar coloured cotton.

Tuck one end of the loose braid behind one side of the surplus loop braid. The end should be hidden behind. Then bring the loose braid forward in a downward angle crossing over all of the main braids on the head, then take the braid down in front of the first braid in the set of four and turn at the ear again crossing over all the four main braids. Then on the back behind the forth braid, travel back up to the starting point and tuck the end of the braid behind another to hide it. Where the loose braid crosses other braids, pin it in place. Repeat this process on the other side to match.

Remove the hair piece carefully from the models head. Then sew the braids together where ever there is a pin. Keep the stitches small so that you can’t see them.

Now you can add fascinators to the braids. Bear in mind, that if you are wearing a tiara, you probably need to cluster the fascinators behind the ear, but if you don’t have any medieval head gear, you can add the fascinators around the top and front of the hair piece.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

How to Make a Bottle Cutting Tool

I have recently needed to cut wine bottles to make a garden feature in the path. I had a look on Google to find a glass cutter, and I was quite shocked at how expensive they were, just to recycle glass bottles or jars into vases, bowls, glass lanterns and decorative paths etc. So I set to work to make my own bottle cutter with some scraps of wood that I found I the shed, and a glass cutting tool that I bought on Ebay for just a couple of pounds.

First I took a large flat piece of MDF that was long enough to accommodate a wine bottle. I know I would need to hook it over a table to prevent it from moving, so I measured a piece of 2 by 2, to the same width as my base. With three screws I attached the 2 by 2 to the bottom of the base bit and tested to make sure it hooked over the edge of the table alright.

Next I needed to make a ‘compartment’ for the bottle. But not all of my bottles were the same size. Some were considerably chunky whilst others were short tubby bottles. The compartment needed two sided, so that any sized bottle could be pressed against the two edges.

I cut another piece of 2 by 2 for the top of the base at the edge furthest away from me. This gave the base an ‘s’ type shape. One hook down over the table and one hook upwards.

On the right hand side I found a long thin piece of MDF which I screwed onto the upwards facing hook and down along the right hand edge of the base, forming an L shape.

I had an idea of how tall I wanted my finished cut bottles to be, and I drilled a rectangular slot in the thin piece of MDF where I wanted the blade to come out to score the bottle. If you wanted assorted sizes, you could make a few slots at regular intervals.

The slot needs to be vertical, so the cutters wheel is the right way around when you off up the bottle.

And that is your finished bottle cutter, its not overly attractive, but a snip at just £2. Videos on Youtube suggest adding wheels to make the bottle turn smoothly, but its really not necessary if you are just doing a bit of crafting.

To Use the Homemade Bottle Cutter…

First make sure that you get the labels off the bottles and rub them over with a scouring pad to get all the glue off. You also need to watch out for bottles with plastic labels, these are a devil to get off; no amount of soaking seems to loosen the glue. You just have to pick away at it.

Once cleaned, you need to score them. So with your bottle cutter hooked over the edge of the table, lay in your bottle so that the base of the bottle is facing away from you and it pressed against the upward hook. Push and hold the glass cutter through the slot, and then press the bottle against that side whilst still pressing it backwards at the same time. Keep hold of the glass cutter to apply pressure to the bottle, and with your other hand roll the bottle with your palm, towards the glass cutter. Make sure that the bottle turns 5 times or so and is scored well.

Then gently heat the scored line over a couple of tea light candles. Keep the bottle turning, and hold the bottle so that the top of the flame almost touches the glass. It will take about tem minutes to heat the glass, and a ring of soot will appear over the scored line.

Depending on the type of bottle you are cutting, will depend on what happens next.

If the bottle is a thin wine bottle, the glass will start to ping and pop like popcorn. It does make you jump and it is a bit nerve racking the first couple of times. When it has pinged twice, take it to a bucket of cold water and immerse it and it should break. Sometimes they need a bit of encouragement, just tap the bottle, under the water against the side of the bucket and it should go.

Thicker glass bottles such as beer bottles and Champaign bottles, or any bottle designed to hold fizzy drinks under pressure tend not to pop. Hold them over a candle until there is quite a thick line of soot, and then take them to the cold bucket of water, where they usually break.

Note that if you heat a bottle with a lid or stopper in it will heat the air inside the bottle and create a vacuum, and the bottles pop quite vigorously, and not always neatly.

I have seen videos on Youtube of people using a kettle of boiling water instead of a candle to heat the bottle. I haven’t tried this myself, but the video explains to pour the boiling water very slowly, and then immerse in cold water. This way apparently causes less stress lines into the bottle. The candles do more often than not have small cracks in the bottle. But this was probably because the glass heated up too quickly, and the bottle needed to be further away from the flame.

If you want a smooth edge on the cut part of the bottle, you need to sand the edge with some wet and dry paper. Put the paper on the table and rub the glass around in circular motions, it does take a good five minutes or so to sand the edges.

Medieval Wedding Car Tin Can Helmets

Medieval Wedding Car Tin Can Helmets

I know it’s not customary during medieval times to have tin cans jingling behind the wedding transportation, but if your going to have a medieval wedding but you still what to do the whole tin cans thing, medieval helmets are the perfect thing!

To make Medieval Wedding Car Tin Can Helmets you will need…

Tin cans in assorted sizes. But Baby milk tins are good because they are nice and big and made of thin metal that you can bend. Cappuccino stick tins are also good, and disposing of the contents is rather enjoyable. The number of tins depends on how many you want to trail behind. I made 9 helmets to trail off 3 lengths of string.
You will also need silver paint,
Black Humbrol paint,
Tin snippers,
Marker pen,

First you need to empty the tins, wash them out and leave them to dry.

Then take a hammer and a big screw, and with the tin upside down, make a hole in the base of each of the tins.

With a marker pen, measure about 7cm up from the open edge of the tin all round. Mark one point on the open edge on the tin – This is the front, its best to have the seam of the tin directly behind. Draw a straight line from this point to the base of the tin.

From this point measure 3cm around the edge on either side of the point.

Now go to where the line crosses the line around the tin. Mark 5cm around the tin and mark on the line on both sides of the crossing point. Then join up the measured points to make a ‘roof’ like shape on the tin. This will be the helmets mouth guard.

Use the tin snippers to cut out the roof shape and to cut along the line around the tin. Discard the left over bits of tin.

If you want to add shape to your tin, simply bend down the front edge line of the helmet, so that that line has a bit of a crease.

Then spray paint your tins Silver. Keep the tin of paint moving whilst you are spraying and try to make the coats even. You may need a couple of coats to get it covered properly. Follow the instructions on the spray paint tin and make sure you are in a ventilated room.

When the paint is dry, you can use the black Humbrol paint to paint on the helmets features, eye holes, and holes in the mouth guard. I pained each of my helmets differently. Again leave to dry.

Next you need to thread the tins onto string. I tried threading onto ribbon, but the tin cuts through the ribbon in next to no time. The tins still do cut through the string, but it is more durable then ribbon, and takes longer, giving the bridal car time to get down the road before they start to loose helmets. Make yourself a makeshift needle with some wire to make life easier.

First tie a knot in the string where you want the tin to rest, and then thread a bead on, and then thread a helmet on, then another bead and then make another knot. Leave a foot or so, and then make another knot, bead, helmet, bead, knot for the second helmet. And repeat the process for the third helmet. This spaces the helmet tins out so that they look nice, but they can still jangle together.

Then simply tie the string ends to the centre of the back bumper.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

How to Build a Chicken Coop - 6 Crucial Elements on Building a Chicken House

By Dale Higgins

When building a chicken coop, it is suggested that you follow the guidelines below for a successful endeavor.

Element #1. - Appearance and Design:

Sketch out your design on a sheet of paper before you do anything else. Think of the colors you will paint the roof and chicken coop walls. Always keep in mind that if your chicken coop is clearly visible to your neighbors, (unless you live in a farm it will most likely be visible to your entire neighborhood,) it shouldn't ever serve as a distraction or defacement of its utmost surroundings. So make sure to design an aesthetically looking chicken coop so that your neighbors do not complain of its detracting appearance. Once finished, always remember to remove and dispose of any types of garbage or weeds from around your chicken coop. Try to maintain an appealing landscape around it to enhance its overall appearance.

Element #2. - Using Sound Judgment:

When designing your chicken coop structure, you must use sound judgment in almost every aspect of the way.

For instance, you want to use building materials in which the cleaning and disinfecting procedures will be quick and easy. The doors you install should open inwards, not outwards. You don't want your chickens roosting on your windows, so it is best to install sliding windows.

A question many people ask is how to build a chicken coop who's floors are easy to hose and spray down without much puddling? Well the secret to that is to slightly slope the flooring toward the door. This way, when you spray out the chicken coop, the water will flow out, hence solving your puddling problem.

Element # 3. - Protection from Hazardous Elements:

So you want to learn how to build a chicken coop with maximum protection?
Then listen up.

As you may know, a well built chicken coop will protect your chickens from hazardous elements such as bad weather (heavy rain, wind, hale, snow, cold climates, etc,) but they will also protect them from hungry predators, theft and injury.

So how do we accomplish that?

Easy. You want to build a draft free chicken house with windows and doors that can be opened and closed as needed. Make sure the windows and doors both have proper screening systems installed in them such as a heavy gage mesh wire. Building the chicken coop on a high yet well drained area with ensure the least amount of dampness of the coop. Be sure to build your chicken coop in an area that faces the sun which will help warm and dry the soil and coop itself after it rains.

To protect your chickens from predators, the best thing to do is to bury your outside runs with chicken wire all around the coop about 1 foot deep. This will prevent some very hungry predators such as raccoons, cats and even dogs from digging underneath it.

Strategy # 4. - Coop Ventilation:

You may be wondering how to build a chicken coop that will not only keep your chickens locked up and protected from bad weather and predators yet receive the proper ventilation it requires. If so, then you already understand the importance of draft free air movement from within the coop. Chickens, much like humans, need fresh air and oxygen. The same goes for the removal of unwanted excessive moisture and carbon dioxide. A chicken coop with ample air movement and proper ventilation will help remove the ammonia build up and dampness that may grow inside its walls.

Speaking of walls, the chicken coop walls should have proper insulation installed which will help keep the chickens dry. As long as chickens are dry, they can handle cold climates very well, but humidity plus cold weather will cause health issues for your poultry. Therefore, insulated walls are a must!

Strategy # 5. - Light Source:

If you want a good source of light and warmth for your chickens during the cold months of the year and a solid source of ventilation during the hot months, then be sure to install the chicken coop windows facing the southside where they will receive direct sunlight throughout the day.

On another note, if your goal is to raise chickens that will produce great eggs all year round, then you should look into an electrical source of light. You should be able to easily install an electrical light at the height of the chicken coop's ceiling which will help keep your chickens warm and help them lay better chicken eggs throughout the year. One ceiling light should be enough for a small scale chicken coop, for larger chicken coops though, try to install one electrical ceiling light per every 30 - 40 feet.

Strategy # 6. - Conveniently placed Wateres and Chicken Feeders:

Chicken feeders and waterers should be placed where your flock will have easy access to them. However, you have to becareful where you place them because chickens like to make a mess of everything they eat due to their chicken scratching instincts. I'm sure you don't want to see your chicken feed mix all over the coop floors so, to avoid this, place the chicken feeders at the height of the chicken's back. This way they will have to stretch their necks up to eat but won't reach the feeders with their feet. Same goes for the waterers. Just make sure to keep the waterers full of fresh clean water throughout the day.

There you have it folks. 6 quick and easy strategies that will show you how to build a chicken coop fast and efficiently. Whether you're building a large scale chicken coop or a small one, these tips should get you moving in the right direction.

Folks, did you know that the average american spends about $300 to build a chicken coop? Some even invest over 2 months of work trying to assemble the darn structure and in the end aren't even fully contempt with their product. Not very enticing is it? A great chicken coop plan can cut your time and efforts in half while saving you a vast amount money on building materials. To learn how to build a chicken coop with maximum benefits for your flock without investing a magnitude of your time and money , click here:
how to build a chicken coop.

Dale Higgins has been raising chickens and poultry for over 20 years and is an expert in building chicken coops. You can visit his website here:

How to Make an Origami Dragon

This is a brilliant video showing you step by step how to make an Origami Dragon. Grab your paper and follow on screen instructions.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

How to Make a DVD Box or Sleeve from a Template

How to Make a DVD Box or Sleeve from a TemplateIt’s nice to give homemade CD or DVD’s of family photos or videos to friends and family as gifts. But when you buy the disc’s they don’t come with individual boxes or protective sleeves to ‘house’ the completed CD.

However with a simple sleeve template you can quickly and cheaply create your own CD and DVD sleeves. Simply download the free DVD Sleeve template from the link below and save it somewhere handy on your computer.

Open the template into your graphics package and add photos, text and images that you have copies off Google Image searches.

You can of course also add a title and other text using your graphics package. You might want to add a greeting to the sleeve it you were giving the DVD as a birthday gift for example. You might want to add a date if the sleeve is for a wedding day DVD, so that in years to come you will remember the year the DVD was made.

You can go a bit further and give your DVD sleeve an authentic look by finding DVD icons on Google - Icons such as the DVD Video logo, DVD guidance rating icons, Regional icons, widescreen icons and so on.

If you are not confident to use a graphic package to decorate the CD sleeve, you could print it out blank and draw and write on the sleeve by hand.

When you have finished decoration the template sleeve, save the changes and print it out on to thin card. You may need to paste the image onto a word document and make the image a large size to get it to print out big enough to accommodate a disc. You might need to print out a couple until you get it spot on.

Once printed out, you need to cut out the sleeve, and score along the edges to be folded to give a nice crisp fold.

Fold the flaps that attach the back to the front inwards and stick them with paper glue to the inside of the sleeve. When the glue has grabbed the card, open the sleeve up a little and allow to dry open – just in case you were over zealous with the glue, you don’t want it sticking the front to the back.

Voila! You have a perfect personalised DVD or CD sleeve for your disc.

Download your template sleeve here...

How to make a Medieval Wrist Watch (Joke Sundial Watch)

Medieval Sundial Wrist WatchIf you are having a medieval theme wedding, it’s nice if you can keep the medieval theme going through most of the day. Medieval gifts for the important guests who played an active role in the wedding can be tricky, if you want it to have a medieval association. It’s traditional to give the best man a sentimental gift and watches are popular. With this in mind, I made our best man a medieval Rolex watch, which we introduced as a Rolex prototype that was being developed during medieval times. We advised the best man as he unwrapped his gift, that it worked on solar power so would only worked if the sun was shining. This sundial got great laughs during the Grooms speech, and was really good fun.

To make a medieval sundial wrist watch you will need...
Medieval Sundial Wrist Watch6mm thick scrap of MDF,
Strong clear drying glue,
Brass paper clip – the type with opening out wings at the back,
Gold ink gel pen,
Wood stain,
Rock leather wrist strap,
And a drill bit attachment that cuts out circles this is to create the sundial face, so select an appropriate sizes drill bit.

Start buy cutting a circle from the MDF close to a corner. You need to cut it close to the corner because not only do you need a circle, but you also need a small triangle, and cutting the circle close to a corner means that you will cut out the two shapes in one go.

Give the circle and triangle a light sanding to make the edges neat and smooth.

Give the MDF a coat of dark wood stain. MDF is essentially wood dust glued together, so it doesn’t have a grain to it, but if you pain the wood stain on with a brush and paint in the same direction, you can give the wood an appearance of grain. Leave to dry and them apply wood stain in the same way to the other side and edges.

Medieval SundialNext with the gold ink gel pen you need to draw on roman numerals in the correct places on the face of the sundial. You could search Google images for a sundial faces for an example to copy.

You could also add a logo to the bottom part of the face. I chose to add the Rolex logo, which is a simple crown shape. Again you can search Google images for watch logos to copy.

The medieval way was to embellish everything. So I drew gold borders on both sides and edges of the sundials triangle.

When the ink has properly dried, apply a coat of clear varnish to the wood to protect the ink.

When the varnish has dried, take the brass coloured paper fastener and open up the flaps at the back and fold them out flat. Put the fastener down on the table vertically, with the head facing upwards. Then with the wrong side of sundial, add a blob of clear drying glue to the drill hole that the circle left in the face of the sundial. Turn the face over and hold it the right way up, (on a modern watch this would be with 12 at the top or furthest away from you). Then stick the face onto the paper fastening head.

If you imaging there’s a line coming down from 12 to 6, this is the line that the paper fastener need to follow at the back of the face.

With paper fastener in place, apply some glue to one edge of the triangle, and stick it to the top half on the sundial along the 12 to 6 line. The curve of the triangle should curve from the ‘12’ position and there should be a tall point in the centre of the sundial face. Clean off surplus glue and leave to dry.

Put the leather wrist strap on, and do it up. If the recipient is bigger or smaller than you need to guesstimate the size that it would be done up at. With the buckle at the back of the wrist, make a mark with a pen on the strap on the top middle of the wrist. This is where the sundial face will attach to the strap.

If your leather rock wrist strap has studs, simply remove the stud where you marked the centre. If it’s just a leather strap, you will need to make a hole at this point.

Close the paper fastener wings together and push them through the strap and open them out again on the other side of the strap. Add a bit of glue to stick them to the strap. You could also stick some ribbon over the wings to conceal them and to make the sundial watch more wearable.

And there you have it, a medieval Rolex watch – solar powered because obviously you do need the sun for it to work – the perfect gift for any medieval lord.

How to make Apple Tree Weights to Train Your Apple Tree

How to Make Apple Tree Weights to Train Your Apple Tree
I recently bought a new apple tree for the garden. I have a modest sized garden and it wouldn’t have room for a large apple tree, and besides, my neighbour wouldn’t be very happy if I had a large tree blocking the sun light to their garden, so I have decided to bend the branches of my apple tree so that it grown downwards.

I saw this done to an apple tree on a gardening television program. Bending the apples trees branches over has a few benefits, the tree wont get taller, its fruit will be at picking height and I wont need to climb a ladder, but also the tree will bare more fruits that are of a better quality. Additionally you can keep a look out more readily for spoiling pests and diseases.

According to gardening experts, bending the branches of apple trees increases the yield of fruit because the apple tree then makes less foliage and instead produces more fruit. But also the fruits are of better quality because the tree is effectively upside down; more liquid inside the tree reaches the fruits.

It is suggested to train your apple tree, that you tie weights to young branches. The weights might be half a brick or a plastic bottle filled with water. I didn’t fancy the prospect of attaching such unsightly things to my beautiful new apple tree so I thought up an alternative solution, which would look less intrusive – Apple tree weight pebbles!

I simply took a lovely big pebble; I have a few in the garden that we had collected from the beach with the kids when they were little. They were perfect, large weighty, and had been selected for they pleasant appearance.

I glued the pebbles onto clothes pegs with ‘No Nails’ glue and I left them to dry over night.

The following morning I pegged the ‘apple tree weights’ to the ends of the branches below the foliage, applying one pebble weight to each branch. Sure enough they pulled the branches downwards and hung there pleasantly.

Not only do the pebble apple tree weights look astatically pleasing, but they are also kind to the tree. There are two holes in the jaws of the clothes peg, and one is smaller than the other. I was able to select a hole for each branch they wouldn’t be a pinch fit for the tree. Obviously if it were a snug fit on the tree, the branch wouldn’t have room to allow the branch to grow and widen. A tight fit would also hinder the movement of sap down the branch and affect my apple crop, which certainly isn’t desirable.

Another advantage of the pebble apple tree weights is that when a branch has been trained and stays in position without need of the weight, I can simply un-peg it, and peg it to another branch very simply and easily.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Handmade Cards Project

This is a project card that I picked up at Hobbycraft which gives you project ideas for handmade cards.

If you click on the images they will open out bigger so that you can read them.

Perfect Valentines :: Tea Cosy Folk :: Santas Postbag::Halloween Mania :: Swindon Flowers ::Zafyna

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Making Fun and Trendy Shopping Bags

This is a craft project from Hobbycraft.

Get a simple plain shopping bag and add some decoration with fabric pens, appliqué, buttons and beads.

Click on the images below to make them big enough to read.