Plastic Canvas Bird Cage

I learned how to make plastic canvas bird cages from my grandmother. The original design has been lost to wherever things disappear to when you move, but my grandmother taught me well. I’ve recreated this one from memory with a few tweaks added for flare. I used a little mushroom bird in this project, but for your gamer fans a Pokemon or Goomba would work as well. The best part of this simple design is that it’s easy to personalize it and get creative.

Note: This project assumes you have some experience working with plastic canvas

Supplies

The first step is to cut out your plastic canvas pieces.  You’ll need 4 sides, 2 top/bottom pieces, and a swing. If you prefer something more shiny or just don’t feel like cutting out a little swing, you can use a 2-3 inch metal or plastic ring instead.

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I used an alternating scotch stitch for the surface of both the sides and the top / bottom pieces.  Space the cage bars every 3rd hole (leaving two holes in between). Use a whip stitch for the inside edging and to stitch the pieces together. If using the plastic canvas or plastic ring for a swing, wrap it with the yarn.

bird cage stiches

Loop a piece of yarn through the swing and hang it from the top piece on the “bad” side. Add a hanging loop to the middle of the “good” side. Use a large hole bead here if you’d like to fancy up the hanger. Add any beads you’d like to dangle from the bottom. I used individual strands from the yarn, but embroidery thread works well here too.

Add the mushroom bird to the swing using the beading wire or hot glue. Attach the sides to the top piece using a whip stitch.

Finish attaching the sides to each other and the bottom piece using whip stitch.

And there you have it… a bird cage of awesomeness! If anyone is interested in learning more about plastic canvas basics, stay tuned for a future blog post just for that. Betcha can’t wait!

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Everything’s Coming Up Roses: Bookmark Edition

When I was younger, I really liked to read. One could find me immersed in a paperback at any given time and I usually had about three of them going at once. One for home, one for work, and one in my car for when I was out. A good supply of bookmarks was a necessity so I decided to make some of my own. I remember it being a lot of fun to do and one can get pretty creative with them. Here’s how I made some rose-themed bookmarks…

As always, click on the hyperlinks to see what I used or recommend for this project.

Tools and Supplies

The first thing you need to do is cut the paper into bookmark sized rectangles. A standard sized book mark is 2 inches x 6 inches. I made a few extra for mistakes, since I tend to make frequent errors when I’m hand-lettering.

Next I inked, colored, and lettered my bookmarks. Remember the metallic markers? I saved those for last to put a snazzy finishing touch on them. Make sure you leave a little room on top in your artwork for the hole you’re going to punch later for the ribbon.

Once you’ve got your little bookmark masterpieces completed, it’s time to seal them up to protect your artwork and the pages of the book you use them in. A laminating machine produces the best overall finish, but self-laminating pockets also work well and are cheaper.

After the bookmarks are laminated, use the hole punch to punch a hole at the top for the ribbon. It should be in the middle and about a 1/4 inch down from the top. Cut the ribbon about 6-8 inches long. Fold the ribbon in half, stick the looped end through the hole, put the ends of the ribbon through the loop, then pull tight.

And that’s about it! Now you have some one-of-a-kind bookmarks to use for yourself or give away to your fellow bookworm.

Bonus Comic Themed Bookmark Idea

Here’s a bonus idea for bookmarks to keep your place in that awesome comic or graphic novel you’re reading.  I used an old Previews catalog to make these, but you can print the images out and use those instead.

Additional supplies

Cut out images that you like from the catalog and trim the edges. Glue them to the bookmark, smoothing them out as you go. Trim the excess around the bookmark.

I used tiny comic covers in varying sizes and overlapped them for these bookmarks.

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And there you have it! Go forth and make you some awesome bookmarks.