Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Chicken Wire, Moss, & Glass Globe Vases

Okay, so you’ve seen my one-track mind lately, creating one project after another using chicken wire.

While I do have other ideas yet to take form, this is probably the last chicken wire treasure I’ll post for now, so I can get caught up on some chalk paint projects waiting in the wings.

So without further ado……

Globe-shaped chicken wire and moss vase!

And a little bling added to each.

Along with the great textures and colors, the added bonus is the moss can be used for something else, because it’s not glued to the vase, only held in place by the chicken wire.

I started with small round glass vases, easily attainable from Goodwill or the craft store.

Cut and then hot-glue a circle of cork to fit the bottom surface of vase. You’ll find out why later.

Cut a strip of chicken wire long enough to go completely around the vase, and wide enough to extend about a ½” above and below the vase.

Fold over or curl all the cut ends of top and bottom as I did with the nests and candelabra cups.

Lay the piece flat, then press down a layer of moss over the whole thing.

This next step is a personal preference. I joined the 2 short ends with wire into a tube, then I slid the glass vase into the tube. You can also wrap the chicken wire with the moss around the vase, then join and wire the 2 ends while holding it all together.

Once you've positioned the vase inside the moss & wire, start squeezing together the hexes closest to the top and bottom openings, which will mold the open ends close to the vase.

Now the reason for the cork circle. When I originally made this without the cork, the chicken wire and moss slipped around a bit, and when they were the only thing under the bottom of the glass vase, it wasn’t as stable as I wanted. Molding the wire tightly up against the cork will keep it from slipping all the way under the glass, and the cork offers stability for the vase.*

Once you have the chicken wire molded tightly in place, you can tuck in pieces of moss where any glass is showing.

And you know me. I always have to add something unexpected to my creations, and what better than some vintage bling! The wire and moss are perfectly accommodating for securing a brooch or buttons. I just pinned the brooch right to the chicken wire on the chartreuse moss. On the Spanish moss, I created a brooch using a rhinestone button. I cut a star shape out of cardstock, poked a hole in the middle for the button shank to go through, then covered it with German glass glitter. I slid a bobby pin through the button shank, then tucked the bobby pin into the moss and wire. Voila. Vase jewelry! But bling or no bling, these are lovely either way.

Now add some water to your vase, and fill it with flowers! And because you're using preserved moss that won't dry up or shrivel, you can use these vases over and over, and for every season! This project is just another reason why I pledge my undying love for the versatility of chicken wire and moss…..:)

*The reason I ultimately chose a globe-shaped vase is because it holds enough water to keep the flowers happy. (I even experimented with glass votive cups for smaller moss vases, but after stuffing them with flower stems, the amount of water in them was enough to keep the flowers happy for about 5 seconds.) The shape doesn’t have to be globular though, because ultimately you are still molding the chicken wire into a globe shape. You would just need to tuck in more moss to fill in the space between the vessel and the chicken wire. If the vessel has a wide mouth like a jar, you might wish to extend the chicken wire all the way over the mouth to continue the globe shape, which would also create an instant flower “frog” to hold the stems up. 

Linking To:

Monday, April 7, 2014

Candelabras, Chicken Wire, & Easter Eggs

In the last post, I showed you how I created moss nests while playing with chicken wire. Since Spring and Summer inspire all things garden with me, I thought I’d show you what those nests inspired me to do next!

I scored these great candelabras after Christmas and wanted to do something unique with them. I came up with a fun, yet elegant twist to the chicken wire nest with smaller versions that would fit like a candle would.

Ta Da! Cool, no?

Pretty easy too! Using the same concept as the nests, only this time I didn’t wire together the bottom of each wire “nest”. Instead, I cut a piece of wine cork, bent all the wire ends to lay flat around the cork, then wrapped them tightly to the cork using a little floral tape. That’s it! The tape is sticky enough to hold the wire nest cups snugly in the candle holders.

I added the same eggs I made for the reindeer moss nest, but this time I wanted to try a more monochromatic look. I tried using Spanish moss, and although it would look fine, I was shooting for something more delicate and elegant. So I used some sisal grass I found at the dollar store, ebonized it to look more silvery, and Voila, it was exactly what I wanted.

Once the filler and eggs were situated, I molded the tops of the wire nests to look more round and bulbous, but the shape is totally up to you.

After achieving that look, I still couldn’t resist my beloved chartreuse reindeer moss, so I also tried it that way too to offer a more naturally elegant look. It’s striking too!

Not terribly shocking, my next post will involve chicken wire again, but with flowers and vases………

TTFN, Maria

Linking To:

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Crafting a Chicken Wire Nest

In my last post, I showed you my nest creations using chicken wire. Today, I’ll show you how easy these were to make.

I started with a narrow strip of chicken wire. The length and width are totally dependent on the size of nest you want. As I mentioned in the previous post,  I used 1/2" hex, as opposed to the common 1" hex you find in the big box stores. For my nests, I cut this strip 18" long x 5-1/2" wide, which produced a nest with 5-1-2" diameter.

I cut the strip purposely with “V” shapes on one side, and the straight twists on the other.

Using needle nose pliers, bend all the straight twist ends in half, crimping each bend as flat as you can. This makes a nice-looking soft edge, without the sharp raw twisted ends sticking out.

Next, squeeze together each diamond shape closest to these bent ends, making them as narrow as possible. This will create a natural curve to the bent ends side.

Using as thin and pliable a wire as you can find, thread the wire over and under through these narrow diamonds. No need for a needle, just use your fingers or needle-nose pliers. Just like basting fabric, take the two ends of wire and pull them tight, which will gather all the bent ends together in a tight circle. This will force the whole piece into a tent shape, so make sure the sharp, raw part of the bent wires is facing inside the tent. Twist your threading wire a few times, cut off most of the excess, then crimp the remaining threading wire into itself to hide the sharp endings.

Using some more thin wire, join the 2 chicken wire ends together, so the “tent” has no “door”. Once you’ve made sure they are threaded tightly together, now you can begin to sculpt your nest into a bowl shape. That’s the fun part. If you are concerned about scratching your fingers on the “V” ends, wear gloves.

Now that your nest shape is done, at this point, you can decide whether you wish to paint or rust your wire. Now is the time to do it, because if you do it before this step, you risk ruining the finish with all the handling.

Begin lining the inside with your favorite moss or filler, making sure you add a generous amount all the way up above the “V’s”. Once that’s done, start folding the “V’s” down over the moss, and pinching them tight. This will hold the top edge of moss in place.

You can add more little bits of moss to the top edge of the nest to keep it looking imperfect and natural, or pull up some of the moss strands you wired
down to fluff them up. That’s it. You’re done! There’s really no need to attach the moss/filler in the center bottom, unless you think it will be disturbed by a lot of handling. If this is the case, you will want it to be as invisible as possible, so either use hot glue along the bottom wires, or tack patches of the moss to the basket using the threading wire again.

You can apply the same shaping technique to make your own cloches. The tidy gathered end will then accommodate a finial or handle quite nicely. I think that will be my next fun project. I just can’t get enough of this stuff! I know I’m not alone here……:)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Elegant Chicken Wire Nest Creations

So now that Spring is here, I’m inspired to play with my beloved chicken wire again. While I do love chicken wire, it’s the size of the hex that really matters most to me. The smaller the hex, the more beautiful the design becomes, due to the added detail and wire for sculpting. Mine is ½” hex, but even smaller would be fabulous. Yes, some women need diamonds, but all I need is a plethora of DIY and Crafting supplies….:) I’m working on several designs, but this post I’ll show you bird’s nests. Nest #1…..
Chartreuse Reindeer moss wrapped up in chicken wire….
Filled with silver leafed eggs
With German glass glitter swirls (I used chunkier glass glitter because it sparkles more), spattered with Caramel alcohol ink to give them patina
And silver crinkly wire springing around them…..
And Yay to the Dollar store for stocking Styrofoam eggs, a dozen for a $1. It’s important to note that this is the smooth Styrofoam (like packing and peanuts), and not the rough kind in floral supplies.
Isn’t she tres chic perched on top of a vintage sugar bowl? Nest # 2…..
Aged excelsior wrapped in chicken wire…..
Filed with zinc-ish looking eggs (also Styrofoam) painted in grey, spattered with white, metallic Champagne, and brown paint
And spotted feathers tucked in….
Perched on top of this oh-so-fabulous, very aged vessel. I believe this is a sugar bowl also, and it’s the biggest I’ve ever seen. Quadruple Plate too. Old and gorgeous!
I accessorized the bowl with some chunky, textured chain, as the warm gunmetal finish gelled perfectly with the bowl’s patina. Just for fun, I made a cork tag, attached a zinc circle, and stamped it with Q & S 1862. (If you read my post showcasing the seed tray I chalk-painted, you’ll recall that I designed it with the words “Quality Seeds” and the year “1862”, as a fictitious seed company with its founding date.)
Since I can’t get that out of my head, I thought the tag could look like a cool antique fob of some kind. I think it looks wonderful next to the engraved monogram on the bowl. As for the aged excelsior, I have become addicted to ebonizing. It started with this Tiffany blue tool caddy I chalk-painted last year, and most recently the mercantile-inspired seed tray. It occurred to me that if you can age wood with this technique, then that means you could do the same thing with anything produced from wood, from shavings to paper. So of course after researching it, I found out lots of artists have been aging paper this way for a long time, to create Old World-themed books. Live and learn….:)
I wanted the texture of excelsior because it looked so authentic for a bird’s nest, but the cream color looked too new. (I could've used Spanish moss, but it was curlier than what I wanted.)
So after immersing a big clump of it into a container of tea, I scooped it into a tray, let it dry, then dunked it into my rusty vinegar. Again I scooped it into a tray, and let the ebonizing magic happen as it dried. (Save those foam food trays. After cleaning them, they make perfect crafting trays.) Now THAT looks old and weathered. Perfect! In the next post, I will show you how I built the nests! Linking To: