Body, Mind & Spirit / Witchcraft & Wicca
Weave Magic Into Your Handmade Craft Projects Create powerfully magical crafts, tools, and more with this unique book offering step-by-step instruction for sixty witchy crafts you’ll treasure for years to come. Let personal energy flow through your hands and into these fun and imaginative ideas especially designed for witches. Witchy Crafts is an illustrated two-part manual with Part One covering techniques, preparing your craft projects, and gathering the necessary materials. In Part Two, you’ll find all sixty craft projects with detailed instructions. Infuse magic into essential ritual items such as chalices and wands. Create magical home décor like a goddess cornucopia and crocheted pentacle coasters. Make accessories from bags to jewelry, construct a charm box, whip up your own herbal soap, and much more. Along with color photos, step-by-step drawings, and correspondence charts, you’ll also find numerous helpful tips. Learn how to craft by the seasons, avoid common mistakes, and form a craft group.
Lexa Olick has been crafting for over twenty years, creating artwork through knitting, crochet, felting, ceramics, sewing, and more. Her artwork has been featured in the online magazine Dark Romance, Dog Fancy magazine, and the Showtime series The L-Word. Lexa is also a talented writer who has received numerous awards for her screenplays. Visit her online at WitchyCraftsBlog.com. $19.99 US / $22.95 CAN ISBN 978-0-7387-2618-2
www.llewellyn.com • Facebook.com/LlewellynBooks • Twitter:@LlewellynBooks
About the Author Lexa Olick is an artist of Romani and Russian decent, and her heritage has always played a key role in her art. Her unique style earned her a scholarship to Daemen College as well as exhibitions throughout the Buffalo area, including the University of Buffalo, where she received her degree in Studio Art and minored in Art History. Her work has been featured in the online gothic magazine Dark Romance, the national magazine Dog Fancy, and the Showtime series The L-Word. She even participates in local craft shows, such as the Allentown Art Festival and the 100 American Craftsmen, which is hosted at the haunted Kenan House in Lockport, New York. But her interests donâ€™t lie in art alone. Lexa is also a gifted writer, receiving numerous awards for her screenplays. Acclaim Film & Television Competition awarded her second place for her script Nightfalls, New York. She was quarter-finalist in the Screenwriting Expo and finalist for three consecutive years in the International Shriekfest Film Festival for her scripts Murmur, The Flesh Hungry, and Midnight Prayers. She also made the top 10 percent in the Austin Film Festival. At the University of Buffalo, Lexa learned many techniques of drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, and graphic design. But she has also been crafting for over twenty years. She creates beautiful artwork through knitting, crochet, felting, ceramic, sewing, decoupage, and much more. She has taught classes through the Cornell Cooperation Extension. These classes pertain to sewing, painting, sculpture, and reconstruction. For the past nine years, she has been an active judge for the Niagara County 4-H Fair, judging everything from painting and photography to poetry and short stories.
Witchy Crafts 60 Enchanted
Projects for the Creative Witch
Llewellyn Worldwide Woodbury, Minnesota
Witchy Crafts: 60 Enchanted Projects for the Creative Witch © 2013 by Lexa Olick. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever, including Internet usage, without written permission from Llewellyn Publications, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. First Edition First Printing, 2013 Book design by Bob Gaul Cover photos © Lexa Olick Cover design by Kevin R. Brown Interior art and photos © Lexa Olick Editing by Nicole Nugent Llewellyn is a registered trademark of Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Olick, Lexa, 1985– Witchy crafts: 60 enchanted projects for the creative witch/Lexa Olick.—1st ed. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-0-7387-2618-2 1. Witchcraft. 2. Handicraft—Miscellanea. I. Title. BF1572.H35O45 2012 133.4'3—dc23 2012021931 Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd. does not participate in, endorse, or have any authority or responsibility concerning private business transactions between our authors and the public. All mail addressed to the author is forwarded, but the publisher cannot, unless specifically instructed by the author, give out an address or phone number. Any Internet references contained in this work are current at publication time, but the publisher cannot guarantee that a specific location will continue to be maintained. Please refer to the publisher’s website for links to authors’ websites and other sources. Llewellyn Publications A Division of Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd. 2143 Wooddale Drive Woodbury, MN 55125-2989 www.llewellyn.com Printed in the United States of America
The Wiccan Rede-Me: An Introduction . . . xiii
Part One: Before You Start Chapter One: From Rags to Witches: Materials . . . 3
Gathering Your Supplies . . . 3
Gemstones . . . 4
Herbs . . . 5
Essential Oils . . . 6
Feathers . . . 6
Natural Fibers . . . 7
Shells . . . 8
Experimentation and Substitution . . . 9
Chopsticks . . . 9
Coffee Cans . . . 10
Clay Cutters . . . 10
Makeup Brushes . . . 10
Molds . . . 11
Nail Polish Bottles . . . 11
Old Clothes . . . 11
Clay Tools . . . 12
Takeout Containers . . . 12
Chapter Two: Witch Way Now: Techniques and Recipes . . . 15
Techniques . . . 15
Crochet . . . 15
Drying Herbs and Flowers . . . 18
Grouting . . . 19
Melting Wax . . . 20
Painting . . . 20
Polymer Clay . . . 21
Sanding . . . 21
Sewing . . . 22
Tassels . . . 29
Tissue-Mﾃ｢chﾃｩ . . . 30
Witchness Protection . . . 31
Moon Energy . . . 31
Charging with a Personal Touch . . . 31
Earth Cleansing . . . 32
Recipes . . . 32
Herbal Fire-Starters . . . 32
Homemade Paper . . . 33
Pomanders . . . 35
Scented Pinecones . . . 36
Chapter Three: Crafting Friendships . . . 37
Benefits of Crafting . . . 37
Solitary Crafting . . . 38
Crafting in Groups . . . 39
World Wide Wicca . . . 44
Chapter Four: The Witching Season: A Month-by-Month Guide to Crafting the Craft . . . 49
January . . . 49
February . . . 53
March . . . 57
April . . . 60
May . . . 63
June . . . 65
July . . . 67
August . . . 69
September . . . 71
October . . . 74
November . . . 77
December . . . 80
Part Two: Projects Chapter Five: Essentially Wiccan: Basic Tools of Wicca . . . 85
1. Book of Shadows . . . 85
2. Magic Wand with Incense Stand . . . 89
3. Salt of the Earth Runes with Trinket Pouch . . . 96
4. Heirloom Chalice . . . 104
5. Goddess Offering Dish . . . 106
6. Arrowhead Athame . . . 108
7. Woodland Spirit Board . . . 112
8. Altar Fan . . . 116
9. Garden Candle Snuffer . . . 118
Chapter Six: Fashioning Trends: Crafts to Wear and Share . . . 123
10. Yggdrasil Pendant . . . 123
11. Evil Eye Pendant . . . 127
12. Green Man Mask . . . 131
13. Wish Bracelet . . . 132
14. Beltane Flower Crown . . . 138
15. Power Cuffs . . . 141
16. Spirit Board Blankie . . . 143
17. Quilted Amulet Purse . . . 145
18. Leaf Amulet . . . 149
19. Pentacle Purse . . . 154
20. Ritual Capelet and Clasp . . . 158
Chapter Seven: Green Witchery: Recycling the Old into the New . . . 161
21. Garden Spell Box . . . 161
22. Bottle Cap Runes . . . 165
23. Keyboard Runes . . . 166
24. Altar Tiles . . . 168
25. Stashbuster Wand . . . 170
26. Comfort Celtic Knot . . . 172
27. Woven Tarot Bag . . . 174
28. Egg Vivarium . . . 178
29. Kitchen Witch Wand . . . 180
30. Tarot Candle . . . 182
31. Tarot Wall Hanging . . . 184
Chapter Eight: Crafts that Take Shape: Poppets, Sculptures, Statues, and More . . . 187
32. Fairy Baby . . . 187
33. Pocket Poppets . . . 194
34. Inuksuk Keychain . . . 200
35. Goddess Tassels . . . 203
36. Seed Sculptures . . . 208
37. Hand Sand Candle . . . 210
38. Poppet Facial Scrubs . . . 212
39. Poppet Bath Teabags . . . 214
40. Nest Rock Charm . . . 215
Chapter Nine: Hearth and Home: Crafts for Around the House . . . 219
41. Altar Cloth Weights . . . 219
42. Mosaic Crystal Ball . . . 222
43. Woodland Basket . . . 224
44. Pentacle Coasters . . . 226
45. Goddess Cornucopia . . . 228
46. Witch Ball Centerpiece . . . 230
47. Pentacle Wreath . . . 233
48. Crystal Pillows and Candle Warmers . . . 235
49. Wand Rests . . . 237
50. Tangled Spell Candle . . . 239
51. Cabochon Spoon Wand . . . 241
52. Jeweled Mandala . . . 246
53. Mandala Boxes . . . 247
54. Framed Memento Pillow . . . 249
Chapter Ten: Marvelous Mixtures: Recipes to Delight . . . 253
55. Coconut Solid Lotion . . . 253
56. Sugar Body Scrub . . . 255
57. Lip Balm . . . 256
58. Milk Bath . . . 257
59. Herbal Soap . . . 258
60. Spell Bottles . . . 259
Chapter Eleven: Witch Trials and Errors: Fixing Your Mistakes . . . 263 Appendix: Charts . . . 267 Metals . . . 267 Crystals and Herbs . . . 268 Runes . . . 270 Colors . . . 272
Bibliography . . . 273 Index . . . 275
The Wiccan Rede-Me: An Introduction
I was raised Orthodox Christian in a household surrounded by elaborate crosses and ornate icons. These were very expensive items that held a place of honor in our home. There was an icon in every room, and my mother fawned over them so often that they never gathered even a speck of dust. You wouldnâ€™t think an animate object could be so spoiled! This reverence is not unusual in an Orthodox home; what set our home apart was that these beautiful, expensive, well-cherished items were placed among objects that were of lesser value but still equally sentimental. These other objects were Pagan statues. As a child, this was very confusing. I was taught to believe in one God, yet our house was surrounded by evidence of many others. Admittedly, my parents didnâ€™t do a very good job explaining the Pagan statues or their presence in our Christian home. All I knew at a young age was that I was drawn to these rusty old statues more than I was to the flawless, golden crosses that my mother admired so much. I suppose my parents thought I was too young to understand the concept of multiple gods and that it was better to just ignore it until I was a bit older. When I was in middle school, they finally began to introduce me to Paganism.
xiv The Wiccan Rede-Me
It was actually my mother, a lovely Christian woman, who bought me my first magick book. It was Llewellyn’s 1997 Magical Almanac. I still have it. The cover shows a beautiful mermaid scattering a handful of stars among the ocean waves. Just like my mother’s Christian icons, it is an object that has become very sentimental to me. But the story goes much deeper than a single book or statue. My parents told me that my grandfather on my father’s side was Pagan. My father and his siblings were raised as Christians, like their mother, since this was during a time when children were traditionally raised in the mother’s religion. I never met my Pagan grandfather, but my father kept whatever religious possessions of his father’s he could. My father also later purchased other Pagan items as a reminder of my grandfather, including some of the statues I’d been drawn to since I was very young. My parents did not stand in my way of pursuing a religion that was different from their own Orthodox Christianity. In fact, they encouraged it. I was already an outcast at school, as I was the only non-Catholic student at a Catholic private school. Many of my peers didn’t understand that there were religions outside of Catholicism, even another Christian religion. And they certainly didn’t understand how a non-Catholic could attend a Catholic school. So I wasn’t really afraid to be different; I already was different! Ours was a small school, and we had zero funding for art. While I was an all-around good student, art was the subject I excelled in. Due to lack of funds, we could only use the materials donated to us, which usually involved crumpled, shredded paper and empty wine bottles, but I managed to invent a new project every time I got a chance. My projects attracted the attention of the teacher as well as of other students. I suppose it was this attention that led me to study art in college, though I also studied art history and education. I felt it wasn’t enough to just create these projects; I had to share them with others. I realized the importance of communication beyond spoken words. In my adulthood, I’ve taught classes pertaining to crafts and studio art. In this book, I aim to combine these two passions—Paganism and crafting— and show you how to do the same. Our possessions say a lot about us, especially those pieces we display proudly in our homes. As Pagans, we know that objects have the ability to possess and retain energy. Depending on how long you’ve been practicing, you
The Wiccan Rede-Me xv
probably have a decent collection of ritual robes, candles, dollies, journals, and wands. Some are likely store-bought while others are handcrafted. If you use your tools often, you already know that your handcrafted tools are the most powerful. As a consequence, you likely realize that the most powerful tools you can have are your hands. This book is divided into two parts. Part 1 includes all the information you need before you begin. It is comprised of four chapters: chapter 1 provides a guide for buying and gathering natural materials and what deceptive tricks to look out for. Chapter 2 explains techniques and recipes needed for the projects. Here you can learn basic techniques and use them in a fresh way to create unique Pagan crafts. Chapter 3 describes the process of starting a craft group. Use the tips offered to start your own or to join an existing group. This chapter also has a quick guide to the online community to help you find other crafty Pagans. Chapter 4 is a month-by-month guide to crafts, because every month on the Wheel of the Year is filled with its own witchy inspiration. Part 2 contains the delightfully witchy projects! The projects are organized by type. Chapter 5 covers crafts that are the basic tools of Wicca, the things you are already familiar with, such as a Book of Shadows or a magic wand. Chapter 6 contains all crafts that can be worn, such as amulet purses and flower crowns. Chapter 7 is dedicated to green crafts. It offers ideas on how to recycle/upcycle old tarot decks or scraps of ribbon. Chapter 8 includes fun figurines—make a baby fairy or beautiful seed sculptures. Chapter 9 creates crafts for around the home, such as a goddess cornucopia or pentacle coasters. Chapter 10 offers recipes to create different health and beauty concoctions to your liking. The final full chapter, chapter 11, tells you how to fix mistakes and how to prevent them in the future. All the projects can be customized with the information found in the appendix in the back of the book, which includes charts about colors, crystals, herbs, metals, and runes. I hope you enjoy the journey of creating your own tools and gifts! Let your personal energy flow through your hands and into your projects. The time and effort you put into your crafts has the potential to create sentimental items that you and others can treasure for many, many years to come.
Before You Start
From Rags to Witches: Materials
Gathering Your Supplies I feel it is best to use natural materials in your witchy crafts whenever possible, and that it is preferable to collect the materials ourselves. It is very satisfying to accept the gifts of nature and use them in our everyday lives. Natural materials are very powerful tools; each object has its own magical properties and the ability to absorb the power sent to it. Synthetic materials not only contain harmful chemicals, but they also do not direct or absorb energy, so when choosing fabric, clay, beads, essential oils, or gemstones, make the extra effort to find natural materials whenever possible. Gathering your own supplies is fun, whether it is bending down to pick up a rare feather or brushing dirt away from a sparkly stone. However, not everyone lives in the right location for rock or herb hunting. There will be times when you have to drag yourself to the store or, in some cases, in front of the computer. Merchants and manufacturers are not always reliable, and they are not necessarily to blame. When we read labels marked as genuine or organic, we expect it to be true. However, that is not always the case. Below are descriptions for common craft materials as well as examples of possibly misleading labels.
4 Chapter One
Gemstones Although a gem might be clearly labeled, its name can be deceptive. Items labeled as “genuine” are not always so. A stone bearing the label “opal” may not have a sliver of opal in it. Stones, glass, and resin are often dyed to mimic popular stones at the expense of the customer. In bead stores, it is common to find genuine glass pearls; however, the name is misleading. Since the pearls are labeled as genuine, it seems logical to assume that they are real pearls. This is not the case. Genuine glass pearls are actually manmade pearls that are coated with nacre. Real pearls are comprised of many layers of nacre. I guess a single layer of nacre over glass is enough to be labeled genuine. Glass pearls do have the look and feel of cultured pearls, which make them a great substitute in many crafts; however, be aware that they are not the real thing. If you are using pearls purely for their aesthetics and not their metaphysical abilities, these glass pearls are a thrifty buy. Remember that a stone with a familiar name may not be a familiar stone. Dendritic opals, Herkimer diamonds, or soudé emeralds are not real opals, diamonds, or emeralds. Dendritic opals are milky iridescent stones, Herkimer diamonds are quartz crystal, and soudé emeralds are two layers of quartz crystal held together by green-colored adhesive. A look at the price tag on these stones is a good indication of their authenticity. However, it is always best to ask the staff or dealers questions if you are unsure. Reconstituted turquoise, jade, malachite, and amber are common. Reconstitution is a process wherein low-grade stones are powdered and mixed with resin to create a full stone. The result is mostly plastic. However, even if the stone is labeled as reconstituted jade, it does not mean that there is any real jade in it. It could be reconstituted with a similar stone instead! Dye can be applied to stones to mimic other gems. Turquoise is a popular stone to imitate because howlite and limestone are easily dyed to match it. However, if the stone is not sealed properly, the dye can rub off and stain light-colored material. This means dyed stones have the potential to stain other craft materials or clothing. On the other hand, cheap doesn’t always translate to fake. Stones such as sapphires and rubies have been popping up at affordable prices in recent years. These are actually low-quality stones whose colors are enhanced through a beryllium process. While they are low in value, they are still beau-
From Rags to Witches: Materials 5
tiful stones. Depending on your intentions, the qualities of the stones are not significant. They still hold the same metaphysical properties of a sapphire or ruby, just with less power behind it. If you are looking for affordable gemstones in your local craft store, I recommend you check out the bead aisle. While most stones come in a variety of different beads or pendants, gemstone chips are the most affordable. They actually look like chips of stones, except they have been polished to create shiny beads. These are sold by the strand.
Herbs When making witchy crafts, you should use herbs and flowers that are free from insecticide and chemicals. If an herb is contaminated, it is not only potentially harmful but also has weakened energy. Herbs that we gather ourselves are especially powerful. It is extremely satisfying to hike along a grassy path and identify a much-needed herb. You should be able to find a guidebook that describes the native plant life of your area; check your local library. However, if you don’t have an eye for plants, don’t take any unnecessary risks by plucking herbs you aren’t sure of. You can eliminate the risk of plant misidentification by growing your own herb garden. If you raise your own plants, then the care and focus you put into your garden will fill your plants with positive energies, which will come in handy since the intention behind a spell is what drives it. Beginner herb garden kits are available at larger craft stores. The kits are small and organized, so they take up very little space. Plus, they have a variety of seeds. That is perfect for a beginner gardener or someone who wants to expand an existing herb garden. While an herb garden may pique the interests of some, it is easy to forget to water the plants every day. People are either too busy to garden or simply have black thumbs. Luckily, a countless variety of herbs can be purchased online for a fair price, although they will not be fresh. You can purchase fresh herbs locally in food markets or specialty stores. You can even find a small selection of dried herbs in craft stores; lavender and chamomile are the most common. If you simply want herbs for decoration and not for their energy, craft stores sell artificial herbs. Potted herb arrangements are popular in kitchen décor. You can use them in place of real herbs when you want a permanent display.
6 Chapter One
Essential Oils Essential oils are distinctive and fragrant scents extracted from plants. They are created from nature, but all essential oils should be diluted if they will be making direct contact with the skin, as these oils are strong and can cause irritation. Also, while they are a usually natural product, there is a chance that an oil might actually be a mixture of chemicals. Essential oils, fragrance oils, scented oils, and hydrosols are easily confused for one another, and it doesn’t help that they usually sit next to one another on a store shelf. Essential oils are pricey to make, so most manufacturers skimp where they can. That means the essential oils are synthesized, then sold as “real.” Even some “pure” essential oils are diluted. Some labels will identify the blend as being diluted, but that is not a requirement. An essential oil may be labeled as organic, while some may be labeled as an organic “blend,” which makes you wonder how much of it is actually organic. Pure essential oil is obtained by distillation, but the process also leaves behind a type of flower water known as hydrosol. While it is extremely watered down, hydrosol still contains elements of the essential oil. That means it still holds the same metaphysical properties; it’s just not as potent. You may already be familiar with the hydrosol rosewater. Hydrosols can be used if costs prevents you from obtaining an actual essential oil. Fragrance oils, on the other hand, are completely synthetic. Instead of being made from plants, they are created from chemicals. They possess no metaphysical properties. Instead, they mimic the scents of flowers or herbs. Their scent can still evoke certain feelings or memories, but they have little or no vibrational value. There are certain scents that can never be essential oils, such as pear, apple blossoms, cherry blossoms, banana, pineapple, and strawberry. Still, many online retailers will list these scents as essential oils. In cases like this, it is up to the customer’s own discretion to make the purchase, based on the needs and intent of the craft.
Feathers When using feathers in your crafts, it is important to identify the source of a feather because the bird and its color affect its magical properties. Found feathers are best because you know they are real and free from dye.
From Rags to Witches: Materials 7
While feathers would seem to be abundant, you will still see artificial feathers in craft stores. Synthetic fibers are attached to a thin plastic tube to look like a real feather. This is commonly seen for ostrich or peacock feathers. Examining the quill will identify the feather as fake. A fake quill will be absolutely free from flaws. It will resemble a skinny drinking straw. A natural feather will have blemishes and a cloudy appearance to its quill. Feathers are also sometimes dyed. Luckily, they are usually tinted outrageous colors so you will have no trouble identifying them as dyed feathers. However, the feathers probably still come from birds raised on factory farms. Most packaging offers no hint of how the birds are treated, so there is no guarantee that the feathers are cruelty free. Most commercially bought feathers are the by-product of factory farm meat. Chickens are crowded in tight spaces and the tips of their beaks are snipped off to prevent pecking injuries. After they are slaughtered, the chickens’ feathers are harvested and either sold commercially or used in animal feed. You don’t want the negative energy associated with their captivity and death. With found feathers, it’s almost a sure thing that the birds were free from captivity and the feathers fell naturally as a result of molting. You can fill a birdfeeder as an offering when you find a feather. The one advantage of store-bought feathers is that you know the feathers are free from disease and bacteria. However, found feathers can be cleaned in a solution of bleach and water as long as you wear gloves and goggles. Fill a bucket with 10 parts water to 1 part bleach. Let the feathers soak in the solution for five minutes. Remove and pat dry with paper towels. Then let the feather dry completely overnight or longer. To be on the safe side, always avoid picking up feathers with insects on them.
Natural Fibers Natural fibers are created from plants and animals. For fabric, the most common natural fibers are silk, wool, cotton, linen, and hemp. Silk is a natural protein fiber obtained from the cocoon of a silkworm. It is famous as a luxurious fabric because it is sleek and smooth, cool in the summer and warm in the winter. It is very absorbent, which means it is easily dyed. Silk is washable and does not shrink. It also retains its shape.
8â€ƒ Chapter One
Wool is an animal protein collected from animals such as goats, sheep, llamas, and alpacas. It is a cozy fabric, but it can also be scratchy. Wool is difficult to wash. If washed without care, the fibers will cling together and create felt. Wool fabric also shrinks. Cotton is obtained from the seed pod of the cotton plant. It has high absorbency, so it readily accepts dye. Cotton is a popular fabric used for clothes because it is soft and breathable. However, it is commonly mixed with polyester to prevent wrinkles. Make sure the fabric is labeled as 100 percent cotton when you purchase it. Linen is a vegetable fiber from the flax plant. Linen was used as currency in ancient Egypt. It also wrapped the bodies during mummification because it prevented decay. Linen is twice as strong as cotton. Like cotton, linen is also very absorbent and accepts dyes well. It does not fade after it is washed, but it has poor elasticity and will not stretch. Hemp fabric is made from the stem of the hemp plant. This fabric looks a lot like linen and is much stronger than cotton. Hemp is also available in the form of string. Other twine materials are jute and raffia. Raffia is made from the leaves of the raffia plant. It comes in a batch of long strands rather than one long spool. Yarn is available in a variety of different natural materials. The most common are cotton, alpaca fleece, mohair, and wool. When it comes to yarn and fabric, it is not always easy to find 100 percent natural fibers. Most are combined with manmade materials such as acetate, acrylic, nylon, rayon, spandex, or polyester, but they are usually clearly labeled. But itâ€™s useful to know that yarn purchased without a label often results in a discount! If your craft doesnâ€™t rely on energies, you could see a significant savings by buying unlabeled yarn. Another option for savings is to buy clothing from secondhand stores and unravel the garment to reuse the yarn. The Internet has many great sites that offer instructions for this method of reusing yarn.
Shells If you purchase shells from a store, there is a good chance that the beings living inside were ripped out of their homes and killed. This is a depressing action that is easily avoidable by walking along the shoreline. Shells wash up
From Rags to Witches: Materials 9
on the beach and become perfect little treasures for your crafts. However, not everyone lives near a beach and not all seasons are beach weather. There will be times when you will need to browse the craft aisle for shells. Shells make beautiful beads. Tiny holes are already drilled into shells for sale, so they are easily strung. Shell beads are available either as a whole shell or as slices. Slices make extremely intricate, spiral beads. Unfortunately, there is no foolproof way to identify specific shells. Clamshells can be cut and drilled to resemble other shells. What you buy may be pretty, but it might not be the actual shell you were hoping for. Also note that not all shells sold at craft stores are real; some are made from clay, plastic, or porcelain. If you use shells for purely decorative purposes, you may prefer the artificial shells. With artificial shells, you know that no sea creature was harmed during its creation. In fact, some artificial shells are created to help the wild hermit crabs that have been forced to use garbage as protection while molting. Such an item may possess no magical qualities, but it at least it has a noble idea behind it.
Experimentation and Substitution Experimentation is essential to living. It satisfies our curiosity, and we can even learn a thing or two from it. A major component of experimentation is substitution. There are two main reasons we substitute. First, we don’t have the supplies on hand. Second, we want to have a positive impact on the environment. For instance, while you could drive to the store and purchase a new mold for a craft, it is more environmentally conscious to simply recycle something you have on hand. It also saves you a few bucks!
Chopsticks Chopsticks are useful for mixing paint or holding items in place on top of hot glue. If you don’t live close to any trees, can’t get out to hunt for suitable sticks, or simply do not trust yourself with knife carving, you can even substitute a chopstick for a found stick to make a magic wand. Just apply wood stain or a coat of paint to transform the chopsticks. You can always upgrade your wand later with a branch of your choosing. Chopsticks make excellent mixing sticks. Mix paint, glue, or bath oils with these sticks. They can also be transformed into gardening stakes or hair sticks.
10 Chapter One
Chopsticks are also easily altered into knitting needles. While size varies between each restaurant, chopsticks are usually equivalent to a US size 9 knitting needle. To craft chopsticks into knitting needles, first sharpen one or both ends of the sticks with a pencil sharpener. After they are somewhat sharpened, sand the sticks down to a smooth finish. Now you can knit your projects without worrying about splinters catching your yarn!
Coffee Cans If you are extremely crafty, you might be used to spending entire nights crafting away and drinking coffee. It is easy to be consumed by a project late into the night! Since you’re crafty and thrifty, you probably saved all those coffee tins too; now is your chance to use them. If you can’t find a heat-resistant glass bowl, substitute a coffee can for melting wax on a double boiler. Make sure to clean it out thoroughly before using; the idea of mocha scented candles may sound appealing, but the coffee grinds will settle at the bottom of your candle and look like dirt. (Be sure to handle heated tins with care.)
Clay Cutters If you love pastries but hate to bake, you probably don’t have any cookie cutters in your kitchen. Instead, use a simple water glass. After you’ve rolled out your clay or dough, hold the glass upside down and press it into the clay. Perfectly round pieces! You can utilize these rounds as embellishments, strung into ornaments, tiles, or pendants.
Makeup Brushes Art brushes are expensive, especially if you purchase them from a fancy art store. And it’s not always a wise investment because brushes can get destroyed. They are dipped in glue, paint, grout, and who knows what else. Since crafting can be brutal to your supplies, you should look for an alternative to expensive art brushes. The most expensive art brushes are generally made of animal hair, though an animal-friendly person who doesn’t usually buy brushes may not suspect they are looking at a horsehair tool. Makeup brushes are the best alternative. They’re inexpensive and can be purchased in a pack of various shapes and sizes. There are pointy ones that are perfect for filling in corners and other hard to reach spaces. As a plus, you can use your old makeup brushes. Instead
â€ƒ From Rags to Witches: Materialsâ€ƒ 11
of throwing away brushes that are no longer fresh enough for makeup application, give them a good wash in lukewarm soapy water and set them aside for paints, glue, and other crafty substances.
Molds Ready-made candle and craft molds can be expensive and bulky. But pretty much anything can be used as a mold. After finishing off your bottle of water or soda, take a look at the bottom. Sometimes the bumps and crevices resemble the petals of a flower. Simply trim the bottle down into a 1-inch mold. You can use this mold multiple times. Eggshells and paper cups also make wonderful molds for one-time use. Silicone ice cube trays are great for small, reusable molds. They are very flexible, which allows the mixture to pop out easily once it sets. However you find your mold, make sure the item is thoroughly washed with soap and water before using.
Nail Polish Bottles Empty nail polish bottles are great because they are made of glass, making them easy to clean out with nail polish remover, acetone, or other solvents. The glass also will not absorb odors; therefore, you can use them for multiple crafts. Nail polish bottles can be used in place of small vials. They can be wrapped in polymer clay and transformed into beautiful bottles with stoppers. Bottles with interesting shapes can be filled with tiny gemstone chips, then wirewrapped to create pendants. Nail polish bottles can also keep your brushes moist while you paint. Each bottle can hold a brush with a different color without contaminating one another. Believe it or not, they actually sell plastic bottles made for this exact purpose. Save yourself a few bucks and reuse old nail polish bottles.
Old Clothes Clothing is very sentimental. Seeing it, touching it, and smelling it can evoke even the oldest memory. Garments are perfect for creating crafts with sentimental value. Even if you think your clothes are too far gone to use, try it! Most of the projects in this book only require a small amount of fabric. Collect a bunch of scraps to make a wreath or save a tiny square for a doll dress.
12 Chapter One
Sweaters can be unraveled for knitting, crocheting, or any project that requires yarn. Yarn can be expensive and hard to find if you are looking for a specific material. Finding 100 percent wool can be tricky in some areas, for example. (Everything seems to be mixed with rayon or polyester nowadays.) Some people prefer yarn that can be felted, which only happens with pure wool yarn. If ingredients are important to you but your budget or local shops are in your way, check out some old sweaters. Their labels should clearly state their ingredients. Sometimes you find an outfit that is taking up space, but you cannot bear to take it apart for scraps. If it is still in good condition, donate the item to your local women’s shelter or other charitable organization. There are others who can use it. Check out donationtown.org to find a local charity near you.
Clay Tools Even if you don’t usually sculpt, you can still find sculpting tools lying around the house. Look around your home for simple tools like toothpicks, sewing needles, or butter knives. These are excellent carving tools! You can create delicate details with the right needle, and knives are great for cutting and trimming. Markers make excellent small-scale rolling pins. The small size of markers is perfect for working with polymer clay, because you rarely have to roll out an amount larger than a couple of inches. While sipping straws are disposable, they become an excellent tool when working with clay. They cut right into the clay to make perfect little circles in your pieces. With straws, you can make the perfect pendant hole each and every time!
Takeout Containers When you order takeout or perhaps have your leftovers packed up, sometimes the food is kept in plastic containers. After the initial meal is consumed, you then either use it to store other food or you throw it away. Why not use it to mix your bath salts and herbs? It’s a cheap, easy, and recyclable way to mix your concoctions without hunting around for a container that won’t absorb smells or that you can afford to throw away after using. Keep in mind that since the containers are made from plastic, they will absorb scent from your ingredients; if you mix bath salts in a takeout container, the salts will scratch
From Rags to Witches: Materials 13
away at the plastic. So depending on your project, you may only get one use out of it. Takeout containers make great molds because you don’t need to worry about destroying them. Suet for birds can be molded inside a takeout container very easily, and they are a convenient size. You can also use takeout containers as they were originally intended: as containers. Keep your dried herbs safe or loose beads organized. Use them as paint trays. The sealable top will keep your paint from drying out when you have to take a break. This is especially handy when you mix your own colors because it is difficult to mix the same exact shade twice. Note that most takeout containers are made from #5 plastic. Visit preserveproducts.com and click on “Recycling Program” to find the nearest recycling center that accepts #5 containers if your curbside program does not accept this type of plastic.