Panic and Freak Out: Cute Frankenstein Paperweight for Halloween

With Halloween a little more than a month away, I wanted to post a fun design that will grab lots of attention at the office.  It's so cute, it may end up staying on your desk long after all the little ghouls and goblins have gone home.

I used our Heirloom Rectangle paperweight kit for this project because it has a display area that will accommodate dimensional items.  You'll also need a few embellishment stickers and a sheet of decorative paper to use as the background.

The paper I chose for the background has "Now Panic and Freak Out" written across it in several different fonts.  (The reverse side reads, "Keep Calm and Carry On")  I thought the simple, black and white design would be a great base for the colorful stickers I used in this project.  (Paper:  Recollections 'Keep Calm' - Available at Michaels)

The dimensional stickers (Recollections 224552 - Available at Michaels) are made up of three layers separated by foam tape. Because they were a little too thick to fit inside the paperweight, I removed the foam tape from the back of each sticker and applied them to the background with glue.  This reduced the thickness of the stickers by a few millimeters.

When I'm working with dimensional items, I prefer to adhere the finished mounting board to the adhesive side of the paperweight kit's bottom pad, as shown above.   This is because the dimensional stickers prevent the mounting board from laying flat on the bottom of the paperweight, making it difficult to keep everything centered while applying the bottom pad.

The last step in completing your design is to apply the adhesive pad (artwork attached and facing down) to the bottom of your paperweight.

If you have any questions or comments regarding this project, or if you need help with a project of your own, please leave a comment.  We're more than happy to help.


Old Fashioned Button Paperweight

 I love using buttons in my designs because they're available so many different colors, shapes, sizes, and materials.  You also have a choice between new buttons and vintage.

For this project I used self-adhesive buttons that were part of wonderful embellishment kit (50-00376 Mother of Pearl Notion Kit) produced by Jolee's Boutique and inspired by the vintage notions sold by French General.  (You can visit French General's website at FrenchGeneral.com.) The 25-piece kit includes self-adhesive buttons, horseshoes, and other lovely, little trinkets perfect for paperweight projects.

The paperweight kit being used is our Heirloom Dome

The first step is to create a background on which to place the buttons.  I chose a black and white calico print paper that was applied to the adhesive side of the paperweight kit's round mounting board. (Paper: MME #LF2104 Sunshine 24 Sheet Paper Pad).  The excess paper was trimmed with scissors.

A rose made from red ribbon was applied to the center of the mounting board with hot melt glue.  The self-adhesive buttons were placed in random pattern around the rose.  In order to keep the design looking clean, the button holes were turned so they faced the center.

The finished mounting board was applied to the adhesive side of the paperweight kit's bottom pad.

To finish, the bottom pad was applied to the base of the paperweight.

If you have any questions or comments regarding this project, or if you need help with a project of your own, please leave a comment.  We're more than happy to help.


Paperweight Backgrounds: Deconstructed Book

Backgrounds are critical when it comes to building a design around a specific item.  The paperweight pictured above features an antique watch fob with a beautiful, intricate monogram in the center.  If the fob were attached to a plain paper background, the result would have been rather dull and unimaginative.  The combination of materials and textures brings it all together perfectly.

This week I'm going to share a few tips to help you create wonderful backgrounds using re-purposed items you may already have around your home.  These materials are inexpensive and easy to find.  They'll also provide you with results I'm sure you'll love.

My first project uses pieces of an old book I found in a dollar box at a local flea market.  I chose it specifically for it's blue, marbled cover.  If you're not fond of marbled paper, look for book covers in various colors, textures, and materials.  Worn leather and embossed paper are my favorites.

Although I purchased the book specifically for it's cover, I'm using more neutral elements to create the background for this project.  I started by applying some paper from within the book to the Heirloom Rectangle paperweight kit's mounting board (shown above).  The paper is slightly discolored and has a wonderful texture.

Using a layer of delicate muslin I removed from the book's spine, I created a horizontal band and glued it to the background.  The muslin has some tattered paper attached to it, as well as some frayed areas I left untouched.

I used a little white glue to hold down a few bits of loose paper to ensure everything would stay in place.  You need to make certain your background is strong enough to hold the item you're displaying.  The surface will also need bond properly with the adhesive used to attach the item.

The watch fob was glued to the background using an adhesive that may be removed from the metal at a later time without damaging it.  When you're displaying an item of value, including sentimental value, it's important to use an adhesive that will not permanently damage your trinket or memento.

I hope this project has inspired you to find new, innovative sources for your paperweight design materials.

The next project will involve an old, leather wallet.  Please stay tuned...


Snow Globe Paperweight... Shake it Up!

During a recent visit to a local craft store, I discovered a very pretty set of snow globe stickers from K&Company (SW Botanical Snob Globe Stickers).  As soon as I saw them, I knew they'd be perfect for creating instant snow globe paperweights.

The set of stickers (shown above) includes 13 pieces that feature the watercolor paintings of Susan Winget. The pieces include a large snow globe sticker (2 1/4"), four smaller snow globe stickers (1 7/8"), and eight small, coordinating stickers.

For this project I used the 2 1/4" snow globe sticker.  Because it was slightly smaller than the paperweight kit's mounting board, I covered the mounting board with coordinating paper. (The Paper Company, Metallic Cover 12 x 12, Blue Bell).

The snow globe sticker was applied directly to the colored paper on the mounting board.  Here's a tip.  If your snow glob sticker has an unsmooth edge.  Use a pair of scissors to carefully trim any jagged areas.  Just be sure not to open the seam.

Here's how the paperweight is assembled:

Figure 2:  Place your artwork image-side down into the recessed area on the bottom of the paperweight.

Figure 3:  Cover the base of the paperweight with the pre-cut, self-adhesive bottom pad.  This piece is also included with each paperweight kit.

I love this paperweight because it has a lot of beauty and sparkle.  When it's on my desk, it's hard to resist picking it up and shaking it throughout the day. 


A Beautifully Tattered Trading Card

I believe all of us have a soft spot in our hearts for particular items we've found ourselves collecting over the years.  Victorian trading cards have been a favorite of mine for more than a decade.  There's just something about these pieces of card, beautifully printed with decorative advertising.

This die cut trading card, advertising Clark's Mile End thread, has taken up residency in a box of ephemera I've had for years.  The ladies have been through a lot over the past century, and are showing a few wrinkles.  Their colors are still very vibrant, though, as if they were just printed yesterday.

Because the card was quite delicate, and had layers paper on the back, I applied white glue to the reverse side and spread it evenly.  Avoid applying too much glue towards the edges.

I wanted to set the card on a background that would truly compliment the vibrant colors of the artwork.  I did this by using a sheet of scrapbooking paper in bright kiwi.  The paper is slightly metallic, giving the design a slightly modern twist.

The photo above shows the paperweight kit's mounting board covered with kiwi paper.  The trading card was glued to the kiwi paper and allowed to dry completely.  (Tip:  Place the top surface of your paperweight on the item to weigh it down as it dries.)

Here's how the paperweight is assembled:

Figure 2:  Place your artwork image-side down into the recessed area on the bottom of the paperweight.

Figure 3:  Cover the base of the paperweight with the pre-cut, self-adhesive bottom pad.  This piece is also included with each paperweight kit.


A New Life for an Art Deco Birthday Card

I'm sorry it's been so long since my last blog post.  I've collected so many wonderful finds over the past several weeks, I can't wait to get started on my new projects!

This paperweight design is all about finding beautiful, useful artwork on items you may otherwise overlook when you're rummaging through bins at the flea market.  Once you spend some purpose-driven time looking for items to display in your paperweights, you'll be surprised how quickly things will begin to catch your eye.

This birthday card was in a box of assorted greeting cards and other paper I purchased at the Long Beach Antique Market (Long Beach, CA) this winter.  This card is extraordinary because it features hand-painted flowers, a metallic gold banner, and an stunning ribbon in the most beautiful shade of blue. 

The photo above shows the artwork after it was attached to the paperweight kit's mounting board.  The mounting board is pre-cut to fit the Heirloom Rectangle paperweight.  Because the board is self-adhesive, no glue was needed.  The portions of the card that extended beyond the edge of the mounting board were trimmed off.

The only adhesive used for this project was a small amount of hot melt glue to attach the ribbon to the card.

Here's how the paperweight is assembled

Figure 2:  Place your artwork image-side down into the recessed area on the bottom of the paperweight.

Figure 3:  Cover the base of the paperweight with the pre-cut, self-adhesive bottom pad.  This piece is also included with each paperweight kit.


Vintage Valentine Paperweights

With Valentine's Day less than three weeks away, it's the perfect time to add a sentimental touch of romance (or schoolhouse puppy love) to your desk with a vintage Valentine Paperweight.  If you don't have any old Valentine's Day cards at hand, check with a local antique shop to see if they have a selection available.

I had the luxury of sorting through a few boxes of old Valentine's Day cards earlier this month and chose three simple, die-cut cards (pictured above) for these projects.  Choose cards with fun graphics that will fit well within the display area of your paperweight.

Important note:  Vintage cards can be very delicate, so be especially careful.  A coating that makes some cards shiny may also craze when the paper is bent.

To My Sweetheart
The first paperweight was created by cutting out the artwork on the Valentine's card.  I used a metallic paper background that shimmers when the light catches it.  This color of the paper (Blue Steel) compliments the dark blue bow in the little girl's hair.  It's also a nice backdrop for the red heart.

I used a glue stick to apply the card to the background.

Puppy Love
I'm a little heartbroken about this paperweight because I accidentally destroyed it when I attempted to change the background (note the earlier warning about the fragility of clear coatings).

The background is a soft shade of green.  I later realized it should have been blue to resemble a sky over the fence (duh!).  Plan B was to replace the green paper with a photo of a sky and clouds I tore out of a magazine.  It would have looked perfect. (Emphasis on would have.)

St. Valentine Greet to You!
I chose this card because I love the floral dress and huge, oversize bows. All little girls should have such a dress.  Don't you agree?

My goal with this design was to take a die-cut card and place it on a background that would make it look as though it wasn't die-cut at all.  I chose a piece of scrapbook paper in a yellow baroque pattern that really brought it all together.


Wedgwood Cabochon Paperweight

Sorting through mountains of costume jewelry is like therapy for me.  If you have the time and patience for it, I'd highly recommend it.  Just mind the brooches.  Getting poked by sharp pin is no fun at all.

The Wedgwood cabochon I used for this project came from the heap of costume jewelry pictured below.  It's a nice piece that set me back $2.00, a bargain for any fan of Wedgwood Jasperware.

Most cabochons sold by jewelry suppliers and craft store are made of resin.  This is why I prefer to go vintage.  Not only is the quality much higher, there are also so many gorgeous designs out there to choose from.  You can also choose to leave a cabochon in it's metal frame, or gently pry it out.  Just keep in mind that everything has to fit inside the recessed area on the bottom of your paperweight.

For this project I used a Round paperweight kit.  I also cut a small piece of paper from my "Old World Stack" book by DCWV.  I chose a cream colored baroque pattern that didn't distract from the Wedgwood blue.

After applying the paper to the round mounting board that was included in the paperweight kit, I trimmed the paper to fit.  The piece of Wedgwood was mounted directly to the background with tacky glue.

Once the glue dried completely, the paperweight was finished by placing the mounting board, Wedgwood side down, into the recessed area on the bottom of the paperweight.  A piece of self-adhesive velvet, also included in the paperweight kit, was applied over the base of the paperweight to finish.


First Prize at the County Fair!

Today's paperweight showcases a few items that were bundled together in an old scrapbook album I purchased.  I really love the look of vintage paper, especially when it's a bit tattered.  It really lends a lot of interest to to paperweight by creating depth, texture, and age.  This is why I often refer to PhotoWeights as little shadowboxes you keep on your desk.

The items I used are pictured above.  Because of the size and depth of paper and button combined, I used the Large Rectangle paperweight kit.  All the items related to the Freeborn County Fair in Albert Lea, MN.  There's an entry form that includes a list of canned goods a woman entered in the fair, as well as an entry tag that was attached to one of the items.  (Don't you love old hang tags with string?).  The button is covered with blue, silken fabric that's imprinted in gold.  It's stunning when the light hits it!

I overlapped the entry form and the entry ticket and stapled them together.  Because these items were fairly thin, I was easily able to pin the button through them.  (I had considered removing the pin from the back of the button so I could glue the button directly to the tag.  After giving it some thought, I realized this would have made it look too staged.)  Pinning the button through the paper gave the paper more shape.  The sharp end of the pin also looks great.

The mounting board, included with the paperweight kit, was covered with vintage-inspired scrapbook paper. (See photo above.)

After the display items were grouped together, they were applied to the mounting board with glue.  (See photo above.)  The string attached to the hang tag was also secured with glue to prevent it from moving freely within the paperweight.

Once the glue dried completely, the paperweight was finished by placing the mounting board (display items attached) face-down into the recessed area on the bottom of the paperweight.  A velvet pad, also included with the paperweight kit, was applied over the bottom of the paperweight to keep everything in place.

I hope this project will inspire you to find design possibilities in a variety of items that may otherwise end up being discarded.

What kind of cast-off items do you enjoy working with?  Better yet, send us a photo a of "Junk Drawer" paperweight you've created.  We'd love to share your designs.


Antique Puzzle Game Paperweights

Because hand-held, antique puzzle games are getting more and more difficult to find, I was thrilled to come across this Old Funny Face game from the 1920s for just $1.00.  It's a simple piece that includes a man's profile printed on a paper board, less the line for his nose.  In place of his nose, there's a metal chain that can be moved to form different shapes.

This puzzle, I thought, would make a perfect paperweight.  Not only do I love the simple, vintage graphics, I also love the fact that the game can still be played within the paperweight.

I chose the Heirloom Rectangle paperweight kit for this project because has enough of a recess to allow the chain to move freely.  It was also large enough for the card to fit with only a slight trim.

Because the card wasn't large enough to cover the entire mounting board, I applied black paper to the paperweight kit's mounting board.  The next step was to apply the card to the mounting board with tacky glue. (The finished mounting board is pictured above.)

Once the glue dried completely, the mounting board (game attached) was placed face-down into the bottom recess of the paperweight.  The velvet bottom pad, also included with the paperweight kit, was applied over the base of the paperweight to secure.


Finding Inspiration in the Bottom of a Junk Box

On the third Sunday of each month, you can usually find me pulling my vintage shopping cart through the aisles of the Long Beach Antique Market in Long Beach, California.  This time I was on the lookout for old Valentine's Day cards.  I also came across a few bags filled with other goodies that I'm sure will take me a couple hours to sort through.

If you create paperweights to sell in your shop or sell on Etsy, and occasionally have a difficult time dreaming up new designs, it's easy to find inspiration in boxes filled with miscellaneous trinkets and baubles.  Some dealers even specialize in selling odds-and-ends and have them categorized into groups such as scrabble letters, pinbacks, poker chips, tie clips, wooden bingo card markers, watch faces, etc.

You'll be surprised how many design ideas you can get just by looking through a box of junk.

This week I'll post several paperweight designs I create using items I found in Long Beach last weekend.


Glass Dragonfly Paperweight with Script Background

Whenever I find myself at Michaels, I spend the longest time looking through their selection of charms and pendants.  With so many to choose from, it's hard to limit myself to just two or three.

Some of my favorite pendant designs are by Bead Landing, a brand exclusive to Michaels.  Deco Chic, Bead Corner, and Industrial Chic are a few other lines with unique, interesting pieces.

It's easy to design a paperweight around a pendant.  The most difficult hurdle is choosing one that will fit your paperweight's display area, especially the depth.  Here's a tip...  Bring your paperweight to the store with you so you can see exactly how the pendant will look under glass.

The silver dragonfly paperweight was simple to assemble and cost just $5.50 for materials, in addition to the cost of the paperweight kit.  Here's how it was made:

Materials (above):  Deco Chic dragonfly pendant (Item #DC19923-101, Hirschberg Schutz & Co., Inc.), Script Cream scrapbook paper (Recollections, Michaels Stores), Dome Paperweight Kit (PhotoWeights).  You'll also need a hot melt glue gun.

Cover the round, self-adhesive mounting board (included in the paperweight kit) with a small piece of the scrapbook paper.  When finished, trim any paper that extends beyond the edge of the board.  Apply the pendant directly to the paper with hot melt glue.

Once the glue is has cooled, place the mounting board in the center of the adhesive-side of the bottom pad (also included in the paperweight kit).  Press gently around the pendant to ensure a tight bond.

After you've cleaned your paperweight with streak-free glass cleaner, finish by applying the bottom pad to the base of the paperweight.  Press along the outside edge to secure.

If you're into vintage, try using antique ephemera in place of the scrapbook paper.  A vintage postcard or advertising would make an excellent background. Be on the lookout for buttons, tokens, and pieces of antique jewelry to complete the look.  I recommend browsing through boxes of small, inexpensive baubles at antique shops and swap meets.  You never know what you'll find!