Create an Eerie Gallery of Illuminated Picture Boxes

Illuminated Picture Boxes for HalloweenBe the curator of your own ghostly museum! These DIY light boxes are a fun way to light up your hallway, bathroom, or fireplace mantel.

I shared this craft last Friday with the folks at Samhain’s Sirens but thought it was so fun I’d re-post the craft here!

 

Craft Materials:

  • Empty boxes—one for each illuminated picture. These will be your frames.
  • Ruler to measure the “window” size for your print.
  • Item to trace for “window” (optional)
  • Vellum for printed picture (about .99 cents at the craft store; scrapbook section)
  • Computer and computer printer for printing picture onto vellum
  • Paint, pretty paper, or other embellishments to decorate frame
  • Craft knife or scissors
  • Tape
  • Glow stick or battery operated light source. (I used the submersible LED lights I talked about in Light Up Your Party. They have a clip on the back to hold them onto the box/frame)

 

Craft Steps:

Choose an empty box—an empty cereal box or tissue box will work nicely. Tape closed any open ends and cut a large opening out of the back side of the box.

Illuminated Picture Boxes one

Lay the box face down and measure or trace your desired picture window opening (I used the lid to a can). Cut out the opening.

Illuminated Picture Boxes two

Measure your window to determine the needed size of your printed picture. If you will be painting your box you might do this now so it has time to dry.

Illuminated Picture Boxes three

Using your computer, choose a photograph or illustration to print. You might want to manipulate the image using photo editing software. Save the image.

Decide how you will print the image and print a test page on regular paper.

How you print the image depends on your equipment. I use my Word program and insert the image onto a document. The rulers on my screen help me to size the image.

Check your test page against the window you cut from your box. If you are happy with the size then print a final copy onto a piece of vellum. Note: Vellum does not take ink as well as regular printing paper, so be prepared to allow a few minutes of drying time. Your image might have roller lines or other ink imperfections but that just adds character to your final work. (wink*)

Cut out your image allowing enough of a border for taping to the box.

Samhain Greetings by RLC

Place your box front down on a table. Place your image face down inside the box. Check the placement to be sure the image is correctly positioned in the window. Tape the image to the inside of the box.

Illuminated Picture Boxes five

Finish decorating your frame. When the time comes to illuminate your box simply tape a glow stick—those little sticks you break and shake—or a small, battery operated light source to the inside bottom ledge of your box.

Illuminated Picture Boxes Samhain Greetings

I’d love to see your gallery! Send me a note or leave a comment if you want to share your picture boxes with Museiddity readers.

Homemade Clay: Recipe Comparison

Homemade Clay BeadsWith so many clay products available on the market why would you want to make your own clay? Well, beyond the usual arguments of being non-toxic, affordable, and available on a whim (via your kitchen pantry), homemade clay adds a special charm. Having never made clay before, I narrowed my search down to two recipes and decided to do a comparison.

Recipe #1:  School Glue Clay. I found this recipe demonstrated on YouTube by Hectanooga 1.

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon white school glue

1 teaspoon water

1 cup flour (approx.) added 1 tablespoon at a time.

Coloring—food coloring or acrylic paint (optional)

In a small cup stir the water into the school glue to blend. Add your choice of coloring until the mixture reaches your desired hue. Add 1 tablespoon of flour and mix well. Continue adding flour a little at a time. Once the dough begins to stiffen you can take it out of the bowl and work it with your hands.

Continue kneading flour into the dough until the dough is no longer sticky, then work the dough until smooth and no longer “grainy.” Wrap the dough in plastic to rest–about one hour. Once rested, knead again to condition the clay. (You can view a demonstration of this recipe on YouTube.) Homemade Glue Clay

Air-dry your finished pieces for about an hour before baking. Bake at 200-225 for 15-20 min. Turn off oven and let them sit for a few minutes.

(I used acrylic paint for coloring. My items air dried for 90 min and baked on center rack for 20 min.)

Recipe #2: Salt & Flour Clay. This recipe is from Anne Marie Helenstine, PhD at Chemistry.com. Anne offers six recipes; this one stated it was good for hardened sculptures, jewelry, and ornaments.

Ingredients:

4 cup flour

1 cup salt

1 ½ cup water

In a large bowl combine the flour and salt. Slowly mix the water into the dough until dough is ready to knead. Knead until all flour is combined. Bake Homemade Flour Clay in Gallon Bagfinished pieces on non-stick pan at 350 for 1 hour.

(My items air dried for 45 min. and baked for 30 min. I removed them early as they were turning brown)

Comparison:

Clay #1 made small, hand-sized batches. It took some time to knead in enough flour so that dough was no longer sticky. The consistency while kneading was somewhere between Playdoh and Silly Putty. It had a bit of elasticity. I found that moistening my fingers while working helped combine colors (for caning). You could probably sculpt small items with this clay, it’s pretty sturdy.

The “Glue Clay” held color after baking, even the batch made with metallic paint. Right out of the oven it offered a smooth, finished look. This recipe is good if you only want to make small batches, if you want the clay to have a base color, or if you want to skip painting altogether.

Clay #2 makes a big batch—think pizza dough! It took a bit of work to knead in all the flour. This one is rather grainy and doesn’t smooth out as well when working. Although you can make beads and pendants with this clay I don’t recommend it for sculpting unless you have an underlying support–it tends to sag while you’re working. Some of the items began to “puff” up while baking. Once removed from the oven the items resembled crackers.

After baking, the “Salt & Flour” clay retained a rough textured, rustic appearance. I like the way some of the pieces look aged or worn—sort of a funky vintage look. Some of the pieces began to get a little “gummy” while painting but firmed back up when the paint dried.

The second recipe is perfect for a rainy day with kids! Just make a big batch, roll it out, and let the kids use your cookie cutters. You won’t have to worry if they feed some to the dog (or themselves).

Homemade Clay Beads FinishedOnce baked the finished items from both recipe are surprisingly durable. I used an emery board to sand any rough edges, applied paint to a few items, and sealed all pieces with an acrylic sealer.

Have you ever made your own clay? Do you have any clay recipes to share?