Archive for September, 2011

Fall Leaf Catchers

Want to make an inexpensive, but enjoyable autumn craft? How about an interesting take on wind chimes! Using the same concept as a wind chime, craft a fall leaf catcher instead.

Begin by gathering a few supplies, all of which can be purchased quite cheaply at any craft supplies store. Supplies include a dowel rod (about three feet long and in any diameter that meets the size requirements you desire for the project), wood or hot glue, twine and faux autumn-colored fabric leaves.

Determine the size of the leaf catcher by examining the overall dimensions (width and height) of the area in which you’d like to display it.

Once you decide on the size of the leaf catcher, cut at least four lengths of the twine. Use your own creative touches. Consider equal or varying lengths for each of the four cuts. You may certainly choose to cut more than four lengths of the twine. The possibilities are many.

Then, cut two sections of dowel. Again, you are only limited by the dimensions of the display space and your imagination. Choose to cut the dowel in equal or varying lengths. You may also choose to paint the sections using a color that will further accent the autumn theme of the faux fabric leaves, or you may leave them in their natural, earthy form. If you choose to paint the wood dowels, remember to allow sufficient time for them to dry before proceeding.

Next, intersect the sections of dowel at their respective center points, and using the wood or hot glue, secure them together, one section on top of the other. The resulting appearance should closely resemble the blades of a ceiling fan or a cross if held upright. Allow time for the glue to dry.

Use additional twine to alternate a diagonal crisscross pattern over and under the intersection of the dowels.

Tie the twine around the outer extremities of the wood dowel, and if desired, add a touch of hot glue for added security. This will likely prove beneficial during autumn’s frequently high winds. Although it’s not a necessary step, after securely tying the twine, consider removing any excess by cutting it.

Add dabs of hot glue to the underside of the leaves, and stick them to the twine. Mix colors, shapes and directional slants to achieve aesthetic appeal.

Use one final length of twine to glue to the underside of the twine previously crisscrossed over the center point of the intersecting hardwood dowel sections. In this case, each side should have equal amounts of twine, as this is how the autumn leaf catcher will be hung, and it should be hung evenly.

Finally, hang the finished project from a hook or nail in the desired location. Great places to consider are on a patio, from the bare limb of a tree that‘s already shed its autumn leaves or anywhere else the beautiful colors of your craft can easily catch the wind and be enjoyed.

About the Author: Dave Murphy is the founder and president of Good Wood, Inc., which makes a high quality wood dowel and the best hardwood dowel on the market. They also create wooden balls, wood knobs, wooden toy parts, custom wood parts, and more. They offer safe wood finishing, wood turning and can import from off-shore when necessary. Visit http://www.goodwoodinc.com for all of your wood product needs.

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Using Dowel As Halloween Costume Props

Ever notice how Halloween costume packages generally include only the basics of the costume? In order to have a completed look, you often have to purchase props separately. Certainly, this can add up quickly. Since specialty items, like Halloween costumes, already typically come at a pretty penny, adding these items only makes for a rather costly event. Here are some creative ways in which a rather inexpensive item, a dowel, can be used to supplement store-bought props and still make your Halloween costume complete.

Standard girl’s or women’s costumes often include such things as angels, fairies, and witches. With a small section of dowel, some paint, and perhaps a few other miscellaneous items, you can easily create magic wands or magic sticks.

On the same token, standard boy’s or men’s costumes often include warlocks or wizards. Use longer sections of dowel, some paint, and other creative miscellaneous items to create staffs or walking sticks.

Use age-appropriate clothing, glasses (real or costume), wigs, hair paint or bald caps, and makeup to create the appearance that you are much older than you actually are. Add to the overall effect by converting a dowel into a cane. For the ladies, consider carrying a small handbag that cleverly displays yarn with two knitting needles, which are easily crafted from dowel.

Paint two small cuts of dowel and hot glue them to either side of a simple girl’s headband. Allow the glue to dry. Then, wear the headband with a costume for a more monstrous or villainous effect, like Frankenstein.

For men or women, purchase a costume or use everyday clothing to achieve the look of a teacher or absent-minded professor. Use a small section of dowel as a pointer for costume embellishment.

Another look to consider for men or boys is that of a Tom Sawyer or Huck Finn. Some overalls, perhaps a flannel shirt (considering it is generally chilly in October), and a straw hat are a great way to achieve this look. Use an appropriately-sized dowel and hot glue some twine, heavy-duty string, or actual fishing line to it to achieve the look of a country boy on a fishing trip.

Replicate a young forties or fifties era city boy by donning a white tee shirt, blue jeans with the bottoms rolled up, and a knit paperboy hat. Use a small, but relatively thick section of wood dowel and a small ball for the appearance of a city boy playing stick ball.

There are as many options for Halloween costumes as there are people who wear them. Use hardwood dowel and other inexpensive materials to explore your creativity, and save money in the process, by crafting your own costume props.

About the Author: Dave Murphy is the founder and president of Good Wood, Inc., which makes a high quality wood dowel and the best hardwood dowel on the market. They also create wooden balls, wood knobs, wooden toy parts, custom wood parts, and more. They offer safe wood finishing, wood turning and can import from off-shore when necessary. Visit http://www.goodwoodinc.com for all of your wood product needs.

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Autumn Pumpkin Projects

Pumpkins are a staple of autumn. Whether Halloween or Thanksgiving, pumpkins undoubtedly play a large role in either autumn holiday. With a little imagination, there are some creative ways to use dowel to craft pumpkin projects for your home.

If you enjoy designing your own floral arrangements, purchase some artificial flowers of various sizes and shapes, being certain to select autumnal colors. Orange, gold, yellow, deep purple, burnt red, and any other accenting color that reminds you of autumn are great ways to go. Then, using your selected flowers, design your own arrangements.

When the arrangement is done, add a touch more of autumn by carving a craft pumpkin and using dowel.

Choose a dowel sized appropriately for the project. Consider the overall size of the floral arrangement, as well as the size of the craft pumpkins. Make cuts to the dowel as required to meet the specific desired size. Before making the cut, however, consider whether or not you would like for the dowel to extend through the top of the craft pumpkin and, if so, how much dowel you would like to show on the top half of the pumpkin.

Once this is determined, carefully insert the dowel through the bottom center point of the pumpkin.

Consider adding creative touches to the wood dowel before fixing it in place. If you decide to accentuate the dowel, first remove it from the pumpkin. There are several things that can be done to make it more crafty. It can be painted, wrapped in ribbon or both. Whichever you may decide, be certain to allow sufficient time for the paint or hot glue to dry once the paint or ribbon is applied.

Reinsert the dowel into the craft pumpkin, secure either end (if applicable) with a small amount of hot glue, allow it to dry and then insert the pumpkin into the floral arrangement.

The same concept can be applied to a Halloween craft or floral arrangement. With a Halloween motif, however, consider first painting, or carving and painting, a face on the pumpkin that is characteristic of traditional pumpkin carving. Get the whole family involved by allowing your children to design or paint the pumpkin faces. Consider designing incrementally sized pumpkins, and use an appropriately-sized section of hardwood dowel that will accommodate a pumpkin topiary. Other creative touches may be added as well. Consider affixing a plastic spider to a craft pumpkin, adding a witch and broom, or using string or cotton batting to replicate a cobweb.

These are just a couple of ideas for using pumpkins, one of autumn’s most distinctive items, in a creative way. Use your own creativity and a few very inexpensive supplies, available at most local craft supplies stores, to add your own personal touches and make something that can be displayed year after year.

About the Author: Dave Murphy is the founder and president of Good Wood, Inc., which makes a high quality wood dowel and the best hardwood dowel on the market. They also create wooden balls, wood knobs, wooden toy parts, custom wood parts, and more. They offer safe wood finishing, wood turning and can import from off-shore when necessary. Visit http://www.goodwoodinc.com for all of your wood product needs.

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