Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Scroll Saw Patterns for Everyone

Scroll Saw Patterns for Everyone
By Greg K. Hansward

Scroll saw patterns are a smart way to make sure you get the right cut next time you saw. If you follow the lines of the pattern, then you can concentrate on sawing itself and you do not have to focus on cutting the lines correctly. When you work with wood, you can make your own scroll saw pattern or use someone else's, but the result will be the same - crisp, clean results.

Do you need a scroll saw pattern? Well, it depends on what you want to make. Most ornate designs require scroll saw patterns. For instance, if you want to make chairs with matching cut-outs on the back, or if you want to make matching jewelry boxes, it pays off to follow a pattern. Otherwise you are bound to make irregular objects. If you are trying to get creative, and just improvise a design, you might not need a pattern, but this is ill-advised. Saws are dangerous and the less you have to think about as you work, the more safe your fingers and arms will be. A scroll saw is definitely recommended if you want your creations to match.

There is a wide variety of woodworking objects you can make with a scroll saw pattern. You can carve initials to hang on the wall in a child's room. Or you could make small play blocks for a baby. You could make items for the kitchen like paper towel holders or apron hooks. You could even make ornate kitchen cabinet doors. You can make original signs to hang outside your home, welcoming guests. You could make elaborate bird houses. Whatever you want to make, a pattern probably already exists. You just have to find it.

Because there are so many scroll saw enthusiasts, there are plenty of places to share information and patterns. Many fans have started blogs and message boards online where you can get free scrollsaw plans. You can always visit your local home supply store and ask an employee for information. Often these mega-stores offer free demonstrations of the latest equipment, like a Hegner scrollsaw, as well as patterns. You could spend a Saturday morning learning a new technique and then try it out that same afternoon. It is very helpful to have an expert to answer your questions about what kind of blades to use and more. You want your work to look as professional as possible, so who better to help you than a professional.

When you follow a scroll saw pattern, be sure to cut directly over the pencil marks so they will not show up on your finished product. This is not as big of a deal if you are painting the wood afterwards, but following the pencil line exactly ensures an even cut everywhere you saw. Be extremely careful when you trace your pattern or template in pencil. Make sure it is perfect before you cut. It should look exactly the way you want it to look in pencil before you start woodworking. Using a scroll saw patterns and wood saws will save you costly time in mistakes in the long run because you will know what you are doing and will be able to cut quickly, albeit meticulously.

Greg Hansward frequently creates detailed articles on information related to woodworking saws. You can come across his abstracts on scroll saw patterns and wood saws at

Monday, 18 July 2011

Using Ink Jet Printers For Decoupage Pictures

Printers For Decoupage
By Teresa Edwards

1. When using pictures generated from ink jet printers, you should wait for the ink to dry completely and then you must first test that the color does not bleed when you apply glue on it because glue has moisture that may spoil the ink of this printer.

2. In case your color bleeds with prints from ink jet printer, just try using a low moisture glue. And if the problem still persists you will have to use the laser copies of your image. Use a pen or marker to sharpen the outlines of your decoupage image.

3. Angle your scissor or craft knife when cutting the image. This would ensure that the back side of the image is not visible on your finished object. Carefully cut your image so that you do not miss out on any background or neighboring image.

4. On most of your decoupage projects, you would be pasting your pictures on the top but with clear glass object you would glue it on the non-used side. Consider for example doing a transparent glass plate. To do such an object keep your object (like plate in this case) bottom up and do your pasting work with image front not facing you but such a way that its shows up when the plate is kept right. This will ensure that the lacquer layer does not spoil the glass finish.

5. Leave your object to dry completely. And then layer it using lacquer. Before proceeding to apply another coat, wait for the first one to get dry. Once it's completely dry, apply another coat. Mod Podge is the most popular decoupage polish. It available in a clear as well as antique yellow formula. Mod-Podge is available from many craft outlets including Christopher Freville Home Crafts and Michael Sharman Hobby Stores Inc.

6. Before pasting you must first lay down your cut outs and then once finalized glue them. Clear-drying polyvinyl acetate glue can be used for the same. For decoupage you can use Elmer's Glue-All and Mod podge.

7. When applying glue to glass you must dilute the glue in ratio, 3:1 i.e. 3 part of glue and one part of water. It's because glass is a non porous material and it won't absorb anything rather the thick glue would create little chips.

8. To use white glue, you must first wet your brush with water and then put it in the glue for use. Ensure that you have the right amount of glue (of appropriate consistency) already ready to finish off every piece.

9. Wipe off the surface with your fingertips to smoothen it. You can also use a rubber brayer for the same. Keep a moist cloth handy and clean any spilled or extra glue. You can also use a damp sponge or paper towel to do this. Press the edges nicely so that they do curl up and are properly stuck.

10. A glue sealant like Mod Podge or Elmer's Glue-all should be applied on the projects which are delicate, before working on them. And then leave it to get dry.

Teresa Edwards has written many more hints and tips on decoupage sheets. Visit her and sister Karen's website at how to decoupage.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Create an Inspiring Wine Bottle Garden Fountain

Create an Inspiring Wine Bottle Garden Fountain
By Elizabeth Jean

Have you ever known anyone that collects wine bottles? While there are many beautifully shaped and colorful wine bottles, there does not seem to be many uses for them once the alcohol is consumed. People have been known to use the wine bottles as candleholders; the candle wax melting down the sides of the bottles make for a very unique indoor decoration. Often people just collect the bottles and add them to their shelves. In this case the bottles are more like dust collectors.

One great idea for empty wine bottles is to use them to create an outdoor garden fountain. Not only will you be creating an uplifting and almost spiritual design, but also you will be helping Mother Earth by recycling what otherwise would be a dumpster contribution.

The Basics

In order to create a wine bottle garden fountain you must first decide on where you want to dig the hole that will accommodate a minimum of 18 bottles, a spray fountainhead, water pump, a sump, rocks, bricks and some pavers. All of your materials are going to be submerged.

The wine bottles will be turned upside down so that the bottoms are at the top. You want to find traditional wine bottles in a variety of colors, as their bottoms are concave. The dipped bottoms catch the water as it sprays from the fountainhead and create magical, tiny, colorful pools. The reflection from the tiny pools that this creates in the sunlight is spectacular and inspiring.

Your water fountain will be circular as the bottles dictate an automatic circle design when put together. Start with a six-bottle core and then each ring after that will double your need for wine bottles (i.e.: six for the core, 12 for the second ring and if you desire a larger garden fountain you will need 24 bottles for the third ring). The first six bottles will be strapped around the rainwater pipe held together with waterproof tape. Be careful when handling the bottles, as the sheer weight of them will make them difficult to carry. Use goggles or protective eyewear when working with glass.

Basically, you want to cover the hole with plastic sheeting to ensure proper drainage. You will then fill the plastic lined hole with bricks to hold the bottles in place, the submersible water pump, armored piping to channel the wiring under the lawn or pavers and small cobblestones and gravel to arrange around the bottles, serving as more support. The spray nozzle fountainhead will obviously rise above in the center. After you arrange some larger, decorative rocks atop the fountain to hide all the hardware, you will finally add the pavers to hold everything in place and hide the plastic sheeting.

You will want to consult with a home and garden center expert if you have any questions about the specifics on setting up your wine bottle garden fountain. You may also do some research online for specific instructions as well as thumb through any fountain project literature.

Delightful Sight

Indeed, the combination of colorful wine bottles, decorative, smooth, river rock and cement pavers is a magical sight. Wine bottle garden water fountains lend themselves well to many different themed gardens. It is a definitely conversational piece as you can talk about how you were able to collect each wine bottle and how you are proud of your recycling efforts. Wine bottle spray water fountains are beautiful and eco-friendly.

Elizabeth Jean writes water fountain and related articles for, the #1 destination on the internet for wall fountains, garden fountains, and Distinctive Water Features.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Tips To Shape A Sandy Castle

Tips To Shape A Sandy Castle
By Stewart Wrighter

A vacation at beach is incomplete without sand art. It is a simple and fun pastime on the beach which requires nothing but sand and obviously, you get plenty of sand next to the beach. Such medieval art work of building a sand castle can be a cool thing to enjoy the warmth on the beach side. It will make your vacation more interesting and enjoyable. For this you do not have to be an assisted living architect or a nursing home architect because making a castle out of sand is temporary and does not require much skill. All you need are some handy tips, which will be given to you in this article.

Make a sketch:

First of all, make a rough sketch. Once you have drawn the sketch of the castle, you can easily pour the amount of sand that is required for its original make up. Make a big sketch, so that you do not have trouble with pouring the sand.

Choose the right area:

For the sketch, choose area place on the beach where the waves cannot reach and there are no bugs around. There are some sea ants and bugs which will try to destroy your art work. Pick out the area, which is free from any potential problems and where you can spend more time on building your castle. The area should be moist enough to get sketched because sand castles require slightly moist sand to erect the structure. Pick an area which is close to the water, as it is the most feasible place to build your sand castle.

Get the wet sand:

Once the sketch is drawn, the next thing to do is collect some wet sand. You can collect wet sand in a pail. This sand is poured in the area of your sketch. Do not forget to use the wet sand, if you want to make a strong castle. Wet sand is easy to adjust and you can shape it exactly according to the sketch you have drawn. You can easily get wet sand; by digging any upper portion which you feel is having some moisture from the inside. The digs will allow you to attain some moisture sand in your hands. And now you can start shaping up your sandy castle for sure.

Shape up the castle:

For towers, you have to build some thick size sand patties. Stack and shape the patties in the size of towers and shape up the corners by pressing them on the sides. For the strength of the towers, deposit some of the patties on the bottom side, so that the tower is strong enough to bear the fall. For the corner walls, apply the same procedure but keep the walls thinner as much as you can. Use a twig and mark some windows or side spacing on the front section of the tower. Apply some water on the castle and wait until it is dried up. After drying, your sandy castle is complete with its appearance and strength.

Stewart Wrighter recently hired a local assisted living architect firm to help revitalize his ailing mother's home. He consulted with a nursing home architect to design a new home for the elderly.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Can We Grow ‘Weeds’ in Our Gardens and Flowerbeds?

Bindweed Flowers
I’d just like us to think for a moment what a weed really is. The dictionary says that a weed is an unwanted plant. But there’s more too weeds than just rejection.

There is defiantly a bit of horticultural snobbery about weeds, because they are easy to grow, don’t show enough of the gardeners growing skills. It’s true that most plants that we consider to be weeds are quick and vigorous growers, that freely self seed and on occasions they grow to the determent of other plants around them, such as bindweed, which as its name suggests, grows very quickly up the stems of other plants and strangles the life out of them.

Evening Primrose Flowrs
Have you ever bought a plant from the garden centre that grows so vigorously it’s as if it wants to take over the garden and next doors as well? I remember hearing people say that they have a plant that grows like a weed, or they advise others in the garden centre that the plant they are selecting will grow like a weed. Of course this phrase is meant to be negative of the plant. Yet when you think about it, ‘weeds’ are super evolved and well developed plants that have adapted perfectly to suit its environment. Not only are they vigorous growers but they also are very good at seeding themselves. So why is it then that we don’t want to grow these sorts of plants in our gardens and flowerbeds?

Teasel in Flower
Imagine a tub of confined bindweed growing up a wigwam of canes, their beautiful white trumpets nodding in the summer breeze. They wouldn’t look so much like weeds then would they? They would happily brighten up a dark corner of the patio. And evening primroses are so pretty with their big yellow blousy blooms, which flower for a considerably long time because the flowers open in rings up the stem. As one set of blooms dies the next open. And thistles, big daisies and teasels, can you not see a place for these in amongst your more formally accepted plants?

The really great thing about growing weeds for your garden is that the seeds are free. Simply take a walk down the canal, or along a country lane and look out for weeds that you find attractive, and collect their seeds into a paper bag. You will need to take a pencil with you so you can write down the name of the seeds on the bag. If you don’t know what it’s called you could simply write a description of the mother plant or draw it.

dasies in the Garden
When you get home fill a pot with compost and plant your seeds and water them in well. Being weeds, you are sure to soon see seedlings because, well, they grow like weeds, and they have very successful propagation rates. When the seedlings are big enough to handle, re-pot them on and treat them regular plants.

Weeds shouldn’t be confined to only the ‘nature’ area of the garden, they can have a beauty all of their own, and they are exceptionally hardy. And it wasn’t so very long a go that planting grass in the flower bed sounded absurd, and now it’s the norm to grow ornamental grasses; and now its time to liberate weeds and to accept them into our hearts and gardens, and enjoy them.