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Glorious fun with tiles!  

A while ago I saw some magnets made of 2"x2" tiles on Pinterest.  They were so adorable!  The idea of making some has been swirling in my dreams for a while now.  Here's the preview image from The Surznick Common Room:

I finally got to make some with my daughter's design on them and and they are SO adorable!   She gave them to her employees as part of her "goodbye" gifts, since she is being transferred. 

I've been mulling over ideas for what else I could do with these cuties for a while now.  I love magnets, but there are only so many you can have/give to others and I LOVE this idea and want to do LOTS of it! 

The basic idea is the cool 3D look of 2"x2” tiles with miniature “Instagram” pictures on them, and frost that off with getting to save and enjoy your most favorite images on things that are actually useful, not out of sight in a book or drawer!  

I came up with a few ideas and made mock ups in PhotoShop to see how they would look.  I do this to be sure I will like the final results when a project will either cost more than just a little or will take a lot of time and effort, just to be sure before I start.  I started with a photo of my table and then graphically added the tile pieces with black backing and turned the color of my placemats black too.

I do not own the images on the tiles in these mock ups.  I used many of my fav Instagram images for these mockups, so I could get a genuine idea of how it would look.  No copyright infringement is intended, only compliments!  These projects have not been made yet, just mock ups.  Ok, the disclaimer handled, now for the fun stuff!

My first original and exciting idea was to make a table runner of them.  If a few are pretty, more is better, right???  I love the idea of a "hot pad" the entire length of the table, how awesome is that??  I love the look and it would be SO handy without the utilitarian look of a trivet!  I'd have a 12" plain black drop at both ends.  The fabric runner underneath not only protects the tabletop, but frames the images perfectly!

The tiles wouldn't need to be attached to the fabric, which would make storage much easier, the fabric washable and the runner/placemats usable for other tablescapes as well.  Who has room for lots of one-use-things?  The tiles come with 36 2" squares attached in a square.  Their weight is enough to hold them in place on the fabric runner and are a good size to stack easily for storage.  

I'd use plain black placemats and napkins at the place settings to go with it and plain white dishes.  The need for a heat proof sealant is problematic, though I'm sure it's solvable.

Scale that idea down and I got placemats!  They are no thicker than many chargers I've seen, or the woven hyacinth ones I have (in the mock ups above, from Home Goods).  I love it!  Just as cool as the runner, but smaller and wouldn't have to be heat proof!  One could use just the square of tiles (36 tiles) as it comes for a square charger, and could sit them on black square placemats. 

I'm not a square placemat girl.  I want enough room to put everything right on my placemat and charger!  It just so happens that one and a half sheets of tiles, laid together perfectly fit standard rectangular Hemstitched placemats!   By pushing them together, you can't tell the last 3 rows aren't attached to the big square.
Example of the Hemstitched placemat.

Sweeeeet!!  I don't know about you, but I'm over the moon about this!  I just adore this!!!  So in love with this!

Another project I thought of using these precious little tiles is a serving tray!  I can't wait to make one of these too!!!!  LOVE IT!!!

Buy an inexpensive tray, cement the tiles in place and top with a piece of glass!  Voila!  (I don't grout these projects because you loose that wonderful 3D look and feel.)

This is how I did it:

For the magnets I made, I went to Lowes and Home Depot shopping the tiles.  Lowes had some I really liked.  They were much thinner than many and the edges are roughly beveled, but they aren't white.  They're way too much off white.  Home Depot had white, but they were thick, heavy and a whopping $10 per sheet compared to Lowe's $3 per sheet. 

For the Instagram effect, I needed the edges to be white.  Just for the record, acrylic craft paint won't work.  I bought a can of Rustoleum primer and paint in one and sprayed them white.

Once cured, they are perfect!

The substance they are connected with cuts easily with a razor knife.  I found that a bit of it stays on the tiles.  Just a little more attention with the knife removed the residue.

My results were best this way:
  • have your design laser printed
  • have a dry wash cloth handy
  • brush a thin layer of ModPodge on the back of the pictures
  • position the picture on a tile
  • use the cloth to gently press the picture down, absorb any excess ModPodge and move it into perfect placement
What tore up using my fingers went on perfectly with the cloth!

Let it dry, then add a layer of glossy ModPodge over the top to seal it.  Frankly I plan to buy a can of glossy spray sealant for paper and try it next time.  I already had the ModPodge, but the texture it leaves is not ideal for my liking on this project.

Once this dried thoroughly, I used the wonderful, marvelous E-6000 cement from Hobby Lobby to attach the magnets to the backs.  Thanks to Michael's 40% off coupon, 52 magnets were $5.88 including tax.  Let the cement cure and they are ready to move to their new "homes", beautifying whatever you have that's metal!

I can't wait to make the placemats and tray!  I mean I REALLY can't wait!  I'm in the process of going through my image files and choosing my favorites to use.  SO MANY YEARS OF PICTURES!!!!!  Ahhhhh!  A big job for a perfectionist, but a blessing too with so many wonderful memories as I go through them.  I'm also going to use scripture inspirations throughout the project too which will make them so much more uplifting and awesome!  There's nothing like being reminded of God's Word, His Holiness, His righteousness, His goodness and faithfulness toward His children to lift your spirits and really make your day!

I hope you enjoyed this and maybe got inspired to make some for yourself!  I'm thinking CHRISTMAS GIFTS too!  You could make a project from someone's Instagram account and give them to them as a gift!  I've got to think they'd love it as they loved their images enough to post for the world to see.  

Thanks for dropping by and God bless you and yours!

UPDATE:  I have now made three trays for Christmas gifts and have a tip to help in case you try them.

When I finally found trays that would work with the 2" increments I needed, I ended up needing more than one solid sheet of tiles.  This creates an issue of the additional rows of tiles not always aligning perfectly to the main sheet of tile, if I just laid them in the tray as planned.  The easiest solution is to cement the tiles to the tray with E-6000.  However, I wanted the tiles to be removable in case someone wanted to use just the tray alone =  no permanent installation.

I know I could caulk/grout the tiles together and then lay them in the trays as a solid unit, but I LOVE the 3D look and even the little spacer connectors.  Just LOVE it and don't want to do anything to loose that 3D.  I was sad when I tiled my kitchen backsplash and the dimension disappeared when I grouted.  Not again!!!  :)  I adore the 3D of these little tiles!

I am putting the tiles in black trays, so whatever I did needed to be black, and veeeery thin as the handle openings just accommodate the tiles.  I had some black screening left from re-screening my back door.  Perfect! 
  • First I got rid of any little tags of the stuff they stick the tiles together with (to regulate their spacing).
  • Then I laid them on their face on foil (to protect my surface).
  • I ran a bead of E-6000 around all the outer edges, then a dot in every tile's corners.
  • I carefully laid the black screen scrap over them, pressing them into the cement.
  • Then I did the same for the loose rows, putting some cement on the connecting spots too.
  • I pressed the screen down being sure the loose rows were snug and lined up perfectly.
  • Let cure 24 hrs.
Now there is an "invisible", strong common backing for all the tiles.  They can be handled as one sheet and will always line up perfectly.  Their new owners will be able to remove them for any reason, as well as change out the images on them by ModPodging new ones over the top.   Yeah!  They are all so cute!  I can't wait to see people's responses!

Hope this helps!

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DIY Mercury Glass Most Awesome!  

We've all been making our own faux mercury glass for quite a while now, but this one turned out sooooo cool that I had to share!

I like unusually shaped glass containers.  I wash, remove labels and save them.  They are useful for lots of things like vignettes, tablescapes, vases and of course to store left overs in!

I had bought this balsamic vinegar at Home Goods because I loved the shape of the bottle and the very snug fitting plug.  I used the last of it the other day and washed it out as best I could without a bottle brush.  I had thought to put flowers in it, but today I had another thought...I do like mercury glass and I had some Krylon Looking Glass spray paint left over from another project.

You are to apply several light coats of the paint.  I was surprised that a spray inside only resulted in liquid rolling around this time.  I kept turning the bottle to "coat" it, but it just wasn't sticking.  Unusual "bubbles" and patterns started appearing as I'd keep it moving to spread the paint, blowing into it occasionally to encourage drying.  It was so strange that it wouldn't really stick!

Then it hit me - I had not successfully cleaned all the balsamic vinegar out of it!  The film that remained was resisting the paint attaching!  It took a lot longer than normal, but I kept spraying some in, moving it and blowing into it occasionally until no liquid moved any more, then spraying again.

Really cool patterns developed.  Yeah!  After all, the method to make it faux mercury glass and not just a mirror look requires us to do a technique with vinegar on tissue and dabbing.  I was not going to be able to do that in this narrow necked container.  As it turned out, IT was doing it for me and so much cooler than I would have done!

I opted to stop before it was fully opaque because it looks really cool.  Even fully dry all the bubbles and patterns stayed.  I wiped a bit of nail polish remover over the opening to easily remove the paint that was on the lip.

I love the end result!  And what's the lesson I learned from this project?  That NOT getting my dishes clean can be a good thing sometimes!  I might just start swishing the thicker balsamic vinegar in my jars, then washing them lightly before making them into mercury glass from now on!

Thanks for stopping by and have a fantastic day!

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Explosion Box 3 - Disney!  

After such a looooong wait, here is the last of the three explosion boxes I made THREE YEARS ago!  I love this one SO MUCH!  It's theme is Disney and it's bursting with precious memories and pictures of my girls and I at Disney.  Since I don't share their images on line, my pictures of the box won't be as pretty, but you all have loved ones too so I know you understand.

The top of the box has Mickey and a Disney disc of thick cardboard along with a grosgrain ribbon and tiny red star buttons.  For an extra surprise, I decorated the inside of the lid too this time with stamps, photos in photo corners, rhinestone family initial, button, 3D button sticker, rhinestone, scraps and a 3D clear happiness sticker.  And here's a peek inside!

This box has two photo rings.  One I put photos on and left the backs for her to journal.  The second one I spelled out Disney with puffy, shiny stickers, leaving the backs to be personalized.  

In the upper left photo, the top page is a photo on a stack secured with picture corners.  The left page has a grosgrain ribbon decorated with a paper flower with a red rhinestone brad center.  A mounted photo is tucked behind the ribbon and rich red hearts rhinestones finish it off.

The middle page has a Minnie and name plate of thick cardboard and a photo on a stack.  The page to the right has photos with scalloped white frames and 3D glossy word stickers.  The bottom page has a tiny brown paper bag with tags tied with jute tucked inside.  They are stamped and decorated and one has a photo with the backs for journaling.  The bag is stamped and has two large paper flowers and two tiny paper bag flowers with 3D glossy centers.

The upper right photo shows thick cardboard Mickey hands on one page and a photo mounted on a stack and finished with rhinestone initials.

LOL guess I pretty well covered all this above, but you can see it better here!

In the upper right photo you see a page with flocked "doors" with brad door knobs.  When you open them you see the upper left photo.  It's mounted photos have black and silver rhinestones.  Back at the upper right photo, the page below the "door" page has two crocheted ribbon bands to tuck pictures mounted on stacks behind.

The lower left photo shows the top page with torn papers, two photo strips mounted on stacks, a thick cardboard mouse head and rhinestones.  Below it is a photo mounted on a stack.

The lower right photo shows mounted photos on both pages.  One page has a paper flower with a rhinestone center.  The other page is flocked and adorned with rhinestones.

The upper left photo shows a page with photos on stacks.  There is a tag tied with jute tucked behind a photo used as a pocket.  The upper right photo shows the two sides of the tag.

The lower photos show a page that uses a photo itself as a pocket and has there photos tucked into it, two of which are framed.  It also has a clear 3D sticker.

The upper left photo is so cool!  The page off to the right is again a photo mounted on a stack tucked under grosgrain ribbons secured with black brads.  A ribbon is adorned with a photo in a white scalloped frame and a clear 3D dome on top of it.

Ok that was cool, but the page to the left of it is really fun!  I used the envelope a store gift card would come in as a picture frame.  In the lower right photo you see when you lift the envelope!  I decorated the flap with a photo mounted on a stack and an decorated with a button, a rhinestone, a red bugle bead, a red sparkly foam circle and a thick cardboard star.  On the back of the "picture frame" I put a Mickey name sticker bordered by rows of 3D flocked sparkly dots!  So fun!  You really can use about anything around the house when you make these!

In the upper right photo is a page with tons of mounted photos tucked into a pocket with stickers and ribbon on it.  The page below has a mounted photo finished off by buttons and a floss bow.

In the lower left photo the upper page has a photo in a red scalloped frame on top of the other goodies.  The page beneath it has a mounted photo tucked behind cardboard I tore from a box.  Love the texture!  There's also a flower made from paper and a button topped with rhinestones.

This is a collection of fun close up shots showing the dimensional accents of some of the pages, which is half the fun anyway isn't it?   I hope you enjoyed these amazing explosion boxes as much as I have.  

If you want to make one of your own, there are lots of Youtube tutorials out there.  The only part I think a tut would help is in understanding that each of the three layers of "pages" are a bit smaller than the one under it so that it all folds up happily into the lid.  After all, when you are done you will have added lots of thickness to the pages, so they can't all fold up right against each other!!!  The sky's the limit with these little treasure boxes.  I especially love using things that are already around the house or would have been thrown out.  Up-cycling things is so satisfying!!

I gave this one to my other daughter.  If you missed the box for my other daughter and my sister, they are here and here.  Each one is sooooo different from the others - just so fun!!  LOL it may have taken me three years to get the posts finished, but doing the posts has made me think I might just need to make another one now!  Hmmmm....who do I know that needs a happy explosion box...?

Thanks so much for stopping by and have a great day!

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Explosion Box 2 - Grungy!  

After such a looooong wait, here is the second of the three explosion boxes I made THREE YEARS ago!  I love this one too.  It's a grungy box I made for my sister.  Since I don't share their images on line, my pictures of the box won't be as pretty, but you all have loved ones too so I know you understand.

The top has a chunky, textured initial embellished with rhinestones.  I stamped the butterflies on the paper and also a red paper which I cut out and attached as 3D interest.  There is grosgrain ribbon with rhinestones on the sides of the lid.  The body of the box is too fun - it's FLOCKED!  Here's a fun peek inside at the goodies!  You are seeing a ring of discs of scrap paper which she can add photos and journaling to the backs.  I made another of my precious tiny picture albums to tuck inside. 

The little book has a cover of flocked paper and closes with floss wrapped around black brads.  She can slip a photo behind each of the round frames and journal about them on the page facing the photos.  I just LOVE these little books!

In the upper left photo you see a brown box I made and tucked a bunch of white tags into.  Each of those tags have the face and name of someone she loves on them.  She can write on the backs.  The box is decorated with more of the plastic cup flower punch outs I mentioned in my last post and some tiny paper flowers with rhinestone centers.   The tutorial for the plastic cup flowers is here and another explosion box I made featuring them is here.  I also have a digital scrapbooking kit of these 3D beauties available here.

There is a black photo frame on the bottom page, and on the top page there are four flaps (flocked!).  Two flaps are blank to add a photo or text and the other two she can add to the back sides.  The center page features an old book page accordion folded into this rosette topped with an antique button and jute bow.

Here you can see the photo tags and box better.  The faces are hidden as I explained above.  These really are adorable and so is the little box.  The tag on that page says "together" and is stamped and embossed and mounted on a piece of double stick foam to give it height.

The upper left photo features tiny white origami flowers I folded from circles, and stamped stems and leaves.  The upper right photo shows a card mounted with photo corners.  She can add a photo or journal on it...or both!  Below that is a page with a ribbon band to tuck goodies under, embellished with an enamel metal butterfly that I removed from an old earring.

The lower left photo shows a rosette made from ribbon with a big rhinestone center and paper ribbon underneath.  The page below it has a large pocket stamped "family" to tuck things into.  The lower right photo has two tiny white picture frames on one page and a band with star brads to tuck things under on the page facing it.  

In the upper left photo you see more plastic cup flowers.  In the upper right photo, two more tiny black picture frames.  The lower left photo has a flocked pocket with a sticker on it.  The lower right photo has a paper bag pocket with a tag inside that has a clear 3D sticker on it.  There is also a ribbon band to hold things at the top of that page.

So there is another example of the many things you can do with an explosion box!  I really put a lot of time and love into making this for my sister and I love how it turned out, but this story has no happy ending.

I have never had an experience like this before.  When it didn't arrive at her house, I contacted FedEx.  After many calls and tons of phone time, I was told they could track it to Nashville, and then it "didn't exist" any more!  No further explanation was ever given, only that it doesn't exist any more.

So, I zipped photos I had taken of it and e-mailed them to her so she could at least see what her gift was.  It was indeed sad, but life goes on!

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you come back for the third explosion box - it was Disney themed and oh so cute!  Have a great day!

UPDATE:  I have gotten all three boxes posted and you can see the other two here and here

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Explosion Box 1 - at last!  

Tonight's a BIG victory for me!  I have had this post partially done for THREE YEARS and tonight I've finally finished it! 

Don't you just love explosion boxes? They are so fun and full of surprises!   Well, I made three of them in 2012 and always meant to share them, but never managed to find the time to finish this first post.  Tonight I FINALLY have one of them to share! 

If you follow my blog, you might remember seeing my tutorial on turning plastic cups into beautiful 3D flowers.   I have made a digital scrapbooking kit of these 3D beauties too that's available here.  I knew I'd find something to use them on and this was it! I love how all the plastic cup elements add such a different flavor and texture to my scrapping, and they didn't go into the landfill!  Can you spot all the shapes I punched from the plastic cups?

Here are the first plastic cup flowers!  They have rhinestone centers.  The lower set of petals have a marvelous bumpy texture and the top petals are smooth.  I love that!  I just punched them from different areas of the cups.  The leaves are made from the cups too.  You can't tell from the pictures, but some of the text and graphics in this paper set have a delightfully embossed subtle glitter accents!  

Among the tons of delightful surprises throughout the box, look at the tiny book I made and left loose inside the box when it's closed.  Every page has an oval picture frame.  Slip a photo into the envelope from the top and add the journaling on the page facing it.  Wrap the green floss around the two rhinestone filled brads to close the book.  Too sweet!!!

The discs on the ring have paper on one side and are white to add your photo on the other side.  The little green pocket is filled with white tags to attach your photos too on one side and journal on the backs.

In the center is a row of plastic cup flowers with rhinestone centers.  There is a yellow plastic cup petal on the page to the left attached with a pink rhinestone filled brad.  The page to the right is woven strips adorned by butterflies that I colored with ink sprays and finished with 3D gloss.

The page to the top has a scroll for photos or journaling as you wish rolled up and secured with a green bow.  The bottom page has an embossed aluminum foil covered heart shape tucked into a strip of flowers punched from plastic cups.  A photo could be tucked in behind it.

The two flowers in the lower left corner are made of plastic cup punches and rhinestones.

In the upper left photo you see a pink page with blue cording to tuck photos or other treasures underneath.  It is finished with a plastic cup flower with a yellow rhinestone center.  In the top right photo we have two plastic cup petals on one page and a stack with a plastic cup disc on top attached with a green rhinestone filled brad and gold brads to it's sides.

The lower left photo has a pink picture frame to slide a photo behind, decorated with a ribbon bow and pink rhinestone and enamel butterfly dangle.  When scrapping, think out of the box and use bits and pieces of things you've saved.  All the metal enamel butterfly elements I used were parts of old earrings.  Lovely touches and they didn't cost a thing!  Beneath that is an embossed card with baby buttons sewn to it that tucks away out of sight.

The lower right photo has a pocket made from a large white label in the center.  It's stuffed with cards to add photos or jouraling to the backs.  There is a green enamel butterfly next to it.

Above it is a butterfly pocket for photos and goodies to snuggle into.

The upper left photo has more scalloped punched trim with a plastic cup flower and rhinestone center.  Across from it is a page with ribbons to tuck photos behind and a journal card.  The upper right photo features more plastic cup flowers.

The lower left photo has a strip of flowers punched from a plastic cup attached with brads to tuck photos behind.  The lower right photo has another picture frame to slip a photo behind.

I'm not sure all the details are shown, but it gives you an idea of the possibilities.  Truly, they are endless!  I love how it turned out.  It's bright and cheerful and filled with fun secrets to discover.  I gave it to my daughter who I'd describe just the same way! 

I still want to share the other two boxes, but it's 1:30 in the morning and I need to head to bed!  I'll see if I can't share them sooner than another THREE YEARS!!!!  :)  Hope you enjoyed it and thanks for stopping by!  If you want to make one, there are tons of Youtube videos on it, but the only part that you might need it for is to show you that each of the three layers need to be a little smaller than the one before it, so it all folds up nicely once you have filled it!  And of course they are good for getting ideas!  TTFN and God bless you!

UPDATE:  I have gotten all three boxes posted and you can see the other two here and here!

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