Turn a Mary Engelbreit Greeting Card Into the Most Adorable Paperweight

Mary Engelbreit is one of my favorite artists because her designs are so warm and charming.  This is why I'm such a huge fan of American Greetings' line of cards featuring her artwork.

When I was shopping for Valentine's Day earlier this month, this sweet card caught my eye.  I knew it would make the most adorable paperweight.

The list of supplies for this project is very small.  I used the Large Rectangle Paperweight Kit, a Mary Engelbreit card, and some double-stick foam tape.  I also used something PhotoWeights just introduced, a display area template.  These templates are reusable and available for just 50-cents each.

My challenge with the greeting card was the fact that there were several inches of space between the little girl and the heart-shaped balloon (as you can see in the photo above).  I easily solved this problem by cutting out the balloon and placing it closer to the girl.  The balloon was attached with double-stick foam tape, raising it about 1/8" above the background.  This transformed it into a dimensional embellishment

Using the display area template, I traced a cut line around the area of the image I wanted to appear in the paperweight.   I recommend using a pencil for this step.

Cut around the outside of your traced line with a pair of good scissors.  Any visible portions of the line may be gently erased.

Adhere your artwork to the adhesive mounting board that comes with each paperweight kit.  This board is the same size as the template, so your artwork should fit perfectly if you cut just outside the trace line.

The heart balloon was carefully cut out with a pair of good scissors.  I placed a square of double-stick foam tape on the back, far enough from the edges that it would not be visible from the front.

The heart-shaped balloon was placed onto the artwork from the card, lining up the string.  Because this string extends all the way to the edge of the card, the balloon had to be placed close to the edge to cover it.

Any materials you place on the mounting board that extend beyond the edge can simply be trimmed.  (This is the top part of the balloon).

The mounting board (with artwork attached) was placed face-down into the recessed area on the bottom of the paperweight.

To finish, the base of the paperweight was covered with the self-adhesive bottom pad that's also included in each paperweight kit.

The next time you find yourself walking down the greeting card aisle of your local store, spend a few moments looking through the hundreds of greeting card designs that are available.  Which ones will you want to capture in a paperweight?


Turn an Antique Watch Case into a Shabby Photo Frame for Your Paperweight

Craft stores are carrying more and more metal embellishments that resemble small, antique parts and trinkets.  The "idea-ology" line by Tim Holtz is one of my favorites.  This line includes metal gears, frames, watch faces, and all sorts of other findings.

For this project, I wanted to use a few items from my personal junk drawer.  This is where I keep anything from scraps of paper, fabric, small metal pieces, broken costume jewelry, and any other baubles that can be used in my paperweight designs.

The photo above showed the items I used to create this paperweight.  They include the Heirloom Dome Paperweight Kit, an antique watch case, a scrap of lace trim, a printed photograph, some printed name banners, and some paper torn from an old album cover.

Each paperweight kit includes a pre-cut, self-adhesive mounting board.  I covered the board with a scrap of textured paper that had been salvaged from the cover of an old photo album.  Any paper that overlapped the edge of the board was trimmed with scissors.

If you have an original photograph that you don't want to ruin, scan the image into your computer and paste it onto a page in a desktop publisher or word processing program.  Measure the opening of the watch case and size your image to fit.  Use your program's drawing tool, draw a circle over the image (very slightly smaller than the opening of the watch case).  When printed, the circle will act as your cut line.

After you've cleaned the watch case to remove any dirt or dust, place a generous amount of glue in the center (not so much that it will ooze out from under the photo.  For this step, I recommend a tacky, liquid glue which will allow you to move and position the photo once it's in place.  I prefer Elmer's Craft Bond Fabric & Paper Glue because it's permanent, acid free, and remains a little flexible once it's dry.

After the photo is placed in the watch case, press down gently to evenly distribute the glue behind it.

I used an old wristwatch case, so I looped a scrap of lace trim through the metal loops that held th old band in place.  I applied some hot melt glue to the back of the case to prevent the lace from sliding back and forth.

The watch case was attached to the center of the mounting board with a generous amount of hot melt glue.  I pressed the case into the hot glue to keep it thin and level without being visible from the side.

The lace was trimmed, wrapped around the side of the mounting board, and set in place with hot melt glue.

If you're working with a photograph of a relative or someone you know, it's always nice to identify them.  Using Word, I designed a small name banner by creating narrow, long boxes with a name centered in them.  The boxes have a light gray border for the cut line.

The name banner was positioned at a diagonal over the lower edge of the watch case.  A small amount of glue was used to adhere the banner to the front of the mounting board, toward the edge.  The ends of the banner were wrapped underneath the board and taped down.

Because a fairly large, dimensional item was used in the design, the paperweight was assembled a little differently.  I placed the adhesive side of the bottom pad face-up onto a flat surface (above left) and positioned the completed design in the center of the bottom pad and pressed it down into place (above right).

The final step was to center the bottom pad to the base of the paperweight and carefully lower into place.  The edges of the bottom pad were pressed down to help ensure a tight bond.

If you don't have a junk drawer of your own, now is the perfect time to start a collection of trinkets.  It's amazing how much design inspiration can come out of a box of small tidbits!


The 50 Best Art Fairs in America

Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival - Winter Park, FL
(Photo credit: Little_Karen, Flickr)
ArtFairCalendar.com recently published their list of the 50 best art fairs in America.  Is your favorite on the list?  Maybe you'll even discover a new show that's a short distance away.

Here is their list of the top ten art fairs, as voted on by thousands of readers:

Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival, Winter Park, FL  (March 21-23, 2014)
    All the artists want to be in Florida in the winter, consequently this beautiful show receives a record numbers of applicants. Survey says: "Great variety of quality artists." "The art is incredible. I travel over 1,000 miles for this show." "Excellent quality of art, perfect climate, good mix of activities for every age and budget."

Old Town Art Fair - Chicago, IL  (June 14-15, 2014 )
    In the Old Town Triangle neighborhood this fair is Chicago’s favorite. Survey says: "Quality art, in a beautiful neighborhood." "The variety and quality of artists is especially good, continually changing." "The added benefit of the architecture/historic neighborhood and the walking tour of hidden gardens, makes for a very family-friendly art fair."

Ann Arbor Street Art Fair, the Original, Ann Arbor, MI  (July 16-19, 2014)
    Survey says: "Great venue, I always see great quality and that "wow" factor." "Four art fairs together, what's not to love?" "Best mix of quality and creativity, price range and diversity of art. It just keeps getting better!" Actually ALL the Ann Arbor Art Fairs are one big event that are attached over MANY blocks of Ann Arbor. I love it!"

Des Moines Arts Festival, Des Moines, IA  (June 27-29, 2014)
    Survey says: "Good art, good people, good food, good vibe!" "The people in Des Moines go all out to make this festival great for everyone. Intriguing kids activities, emerging artist programs, and a selection of the best artists in the country." "It's just so much fun, every year!" The artists chosen to present their work are the best I've seen."

Coconut Grove Arts Festival, Miami, FL  (February 15-17, 2014)
    Always on President’s Day weekend on the shores of Biscayne Bay under the palm trees. Survey says: "The artists and the setting is beyond compare!" "Quality, variety and 350 exhibitors." "Everything is beautifully displayed and convenient in a beautiful waterfront setting, with great food and music too."

 La Quinta Arts Festival, La Quinta, CA  (March 6-9, 2014)
     Survey says: "This is the classiest event in the country! Very upscale from the artists to the patrons." 
"Quality of art in the most stunning setting!" "Location and quality and diversity of the art is exceptional." "It is outside, diverse artists, pricing for everyone - just quality all the way in every way."  

One of a Kind Show, Chicago, IL  (December 5-8, 2013)
    Downtown Chicago's Merchandise Mart is a great setting for holiday shopping. Survey says: "Awesome, awesome unique art!" "It is indoors and right before the holidays, with a wide range of vendors, media, and artists from all over the USA & Canada." "They have the best selection and a wide range of prices."

Krasl Art Fair, St. Joseph, MI  (July 12-14, 2014)
    Set on the bluffs overlooking Lake Michigan, visitors fall in love with this show. Survey says: "Quality art and wonderful setting."  "I love the Lake Michigan setting and the people that come to the fair." "Beautiful atmosphere, perfect venue, in a premier location with excellent art and kind people." "Wonderful art under large shady trees."

American Craft Exposition, Evanston, IL  (August 22-24, 2014)
    Showcasing the country’s finest craftspeople, this prestigious, juried indoor exposition and sale of fine craft includes one-of-a-kind pieces, quality collections and uniquely creative artwork. Survey says: "This show has the best artists and art." "Beautiful and unusual assortment with great artists." 

Cherry Creek Art Festival, Denver, CO  (July 4-6, 2014)
    A great excuse to plan your summer vacation in Colorado is this well-managed exciting show. Its central location draws the best artists from East and West. Survey says: "High quality artists and high quality of art." "The diverse art keeps bringing us back." "We plan our holidays to attend this show."