Saturday, February 21, 2009

Mark Montano's secrets to successful crafting

(MS) -- People ask me, "What are your secrets to successful crafting?" And I say, "Jump off the creative cliff! Dive in! Get dirty! Go for it! Stop worrying about it and just DO it!" People worry that it won't be perfect. But it will. It will be 'perfectly imperfect' and that is a perfect expression of your creativity. Creativity doesn't come in a box. You can't be creative in a box. People say, "But my version doesn't look like yours.'" And I say, "Good! It needs to emerge from your enjoying the process of making something."

I like to take the most unlikely materials and play around with them in different combinations of color and shape and arrangement until an idea emerges. It's about seeing things in a different way than they are usually used -- like cutting shiny tin cans into flower petal tea light holders on a tomato-cage chandelier.

I find my materials everywhere -- driving by garage sales, browsing through thrift shops, or hitting the dollar stores (which are treasure troves!).

Another thing I tell people is don't be afraid of color. The more color you use, the more you get used to it. Make accessories or decorate rooms in colors that you look good in. Surround yourself with color that makes you happy, color that sings. You'll be inspired and respond to your creations more.

One of my secrets to figuring out what colors look good together is using a kaleidoscope. It is an amazing tool that breaks up the images to throw colors together into fabulous and unusual combinations that you might never imagine otherwise. Spread out a paint chip color deck and turn the kaleidoscope on it. POW!

Another secret to creating crafts you love is "numbers." Anything in numbers looks more interesting. Clustering things together makes an impact -- for example try making a picture frame from those old fashioned clothes pins. Line them up together for a fascinating impact of pattern and texture.

Crafting is a creative process -- there is no right way. If there were, we'd have an assembly line! You just take your time and play with it and make it yours.

However, here are a few practical things I have learned along the way to make my creating easier:

* Create a crafting space so you can walk away from your project and leave it there until you are ready to come back to it.

* Keep a stack of newspapers on hand to cover your workspace to make cleanup a breeze and insure you don't get paint and glue on tables and floors.

* Old fashioned wooden spring clothespins make perfect mini-clamps to hold a project together while the glue dries.

* I have used every glue on the market over the years, but there are only two that I use now; there's no in between. I use Elmer's for all my paper projects and Amazing GOOP or E-6000 for everything else.

* And my favorite trick? "Paint" your glue on. Instead of squeezing it out onto your project, squeeze it into a dish and use an inexpensive artist brush or cotton swab to paint it onto the surface you are gluing! When I am using one of the Amazing GOOP adhesives, I use a stiff artist brush to take the GOOP right out of the end of the tube. If you need to spread the GOOP smoothly, try using an ice cube -- you'll be amazed!

Glass Server How-to

This beautiful 3 tiered glass server (see below) was made from 3 glass plates, 2 glasses (I used pedestal dessert glasses) and a tube of craft adhesive. I chose Amazing E-6000 for this project because it is strong and cures to a waterproof, clear finish. TIP: I picked up the glassware at a thrift store for just a few dollars -- perfect for parties or gifts!

Material List for 3 tiered server:

* 3 plates (small, medium, large)

* 2 dessert cups or wineglasses

* Amazing E-6000(R)

* Wax paper or newspapers to cover work area

* Paper towels or work towel for clean up

* Marker (non-permanent)

* GOO OFF* adhesive and marker remover -- it is great for removing the marks made during plate placement in

this project.

Note: Be sure to read these directions and the adhesive instructions completely before beginning this project. Always work on a level and protected surface and protect the work area with newspapers or wax paper. Use photos as a guide.


- Determine how you want to place the glassware supports on plates. Mark plate with non-permanent marker.

- Apply a thin bead of Amazing E-6000 to bottom rim of glassware and place in center of large plate. Wait 5 minutes and apply a thin bead of the adhesive to the top edge of the glassware. (Tip: Use a cotton swab to apply the glue)

- Since Amazing E-6000 cures clear, any movement during placement will not show once the project is complete. Now center the medium plate on top of the glassware you just put the adhesive on. Let these pieces cure for 15 minutes.

- Apply a thin bead of the glue to bottom rim of glassware and place in the center of the medium plate. Wait 5 minutes and apply another thin bead to the top edge of the glassware.

- Now center the small plate on top of the glassware you just applied the adhesive to.

Your beautiful serving piece is now complete.

Pieces will become secure overnight. It is very important that the adhesive is allowed to cure to insure complete solvent evaporation before use. Allow tray to sit for at least five days before packaging as a gift or placing food on it.

Mark Montano is part of the design team for TLC's "While You Were Out!," the host of TLC's "10 Years Younger," and the co-host of the Style Network's "My Celebrity Home" and WE Network's "She's Moving In." He is a contributing editor to "CosmoGIRL!" Magazine and his weekly column, "Make Your Mark," appears in more than seventy newspapers across the country. Mark is the author of "Super Suite" and "Dollar Store Decor" and co-author of "Window Treatments & Slipcovers for Dummies." Look for his book "The Big Ass Book of Crafts," published by Simon Spotlight Entertainment-Simon & Schuster, New York.

Amazing GOOP(R), including Amazing GOOP(R) Craft, Amazing E-6000(R), QuickHold(R) and Amazing EcoGlue(TM) are made by Eclectic Products, Inc, an American manufacturing company headquartered in Eugene, Oregon.


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