Charcoal sketching is more fun


My kids and I like to sketch together on the weekends. My older daughter and I also frequently go to a weekly figure drawing session here in LA. For me, using charcoal sticks is more fun than pencils or pens, because it's faster and I can work on shading.

The Royal & Langnickel Small Tin Charcoal Drawing Art Set ($6 on Amazon) has a good selection of different kinds of charcoal for drawing. My daughters are starting to like charcoal, too, so I bought sets for them. If you enjoy charcoal drawing, you should also get a white stick for highlights.

Here are a couple of my sketches:

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How to paint the moon on a leather bag (or just order one)


Space artist Alizey Khan painted the moon on a faux-leather bag and will make one just like it for you for just $100. Khan used Angelus leather paints; I can vouch for them as the best I've found, too, both creatively (in that they run and mix like standard acrylics) but have a convincing texture that doesn't crack.

Here's a tutorial she made, too:

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Incredible hand-stitched scenes from Dune

Hand-stitched Dune
Sarah Sumeray's mum made these incredible hand-stitched scenes from Dune novels; Andy Baio adds that they're covers by legendary SF artist Bruce Pennington

The originals:

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Mini wooden pallet coasters


This anonymously posted guide shows how to make adorable little wooden coasters in the style of transport pallets. P.S. don't make things out of actual pallets unless they have the right stamp. Read the rest

Book with fun examples of painted rocks


I bought a book about rock painting in 2001, and posted about it here. I still have the book, and more importantly, we still have some of the rocks my family painted 15 years ago. The book has lots of inspiring examples of the kinds of things you can paint on rocks. The book is out of print, but you can buy used copies on Amazon starting at just 24 cents, plus shipping. Read the rest

A psychotic person shows how to make a Christmas sweater out of tissue paper


In episode three of Lyssue Paper, Lyss shows us how to make happy holiday sweaters out of tissue paper and pipe cleaners. Read the rest

'Tis the season to make Japanese nengajo cards!


See sample photos at Wink.

Here in Japan, ’tis the season to make nengajo. Nengajo are specialized New Year’s postcards sent to friends, relatives, acquaintances, former classmates, current classmates, co-workers, and anyone and everyone else in one’s contacts list.

These days, the vast majority of nengajo are either pre-printed or made on a computer and printed at home. Even then, however, many people still make a few cards by hand with stamps and ink. To that end, every year, stores display and sell rubber stamp and ink pads, along with markers, glitter, and all kinds of other utensils and accessories. The stamps are made primarily by two companies: Beverly Japan and Kodomo no Kao (Child’s Face). Both companies produce a full line of New Year’s themed stamps as well as stamps featuring popular characters like Snoopy, Doraemon, and Hello Kitty.

2016 is the Year of the Monkey in the Chinese Zodiac, so, for my card this year I chose a stamp called “Banana Kara Konnichi wa,” or “Hello From the Banana,” and a small banana stamp for accents. I toyed with using a multicolored ink pad but, in the end, I chose a standard black ink pad for the outline. Once I had the outline stamped on all my cards, I colored the cards using stiff brushed markers. I used the same marker to color directly onto the banana stamp in lieu of using an ink pad and it worked very well. What I have yet to do is write individual messages on the cards and then haul them down to the post office to be stamped (different kind of stamp!) and sent. Read the rest

Hello Tokyo! is jam-packed with Tokyo-inspired images, ideas and fun craft projects


See sample pages from this book at Wink.

Born in Australia, Ebony Bizys made the move to Tokyo five years ago and hasn’t looked back since. As the founder of the popular blog Hello Sandwich, Ebony has always been obsessed with Japanese culture, as well as cute stationary, colorful home décor, and all things DIY. This 224-page book manages to cram in as many pretty images, kawaii ideas, and adorable craft projects as it can hold. From a whimsical look into Ebony’s daily life and apartment in Tokyo, to tutorials for pom-pom cardigans and handmade camera straps (among many others), to insight into ‘bento’ and even tips for entertaining, Ebony is certainly one talented and creative lady.

For those who aren’t familiar with Ebony’s blog or even Japanese culture, they’re still sure to enjoy this publication for its overload of cute images and inspirational ideas. Ebony’s aim in producing Hello Tokyo was to inspire people to bring more fun and beauty into their everyday life. After reading this book numerous times, I truly believe that she has achieved this. – Melanie Doncas

Hello Tokyo!: Handmade Projects and Fun Ideas for a Cute Tokyo-Inspired Lifestyle by Ebony Bizys Murdoch Books 2015, 192 pages, 7.1 x 9.5 x 0.9 inches (paperback) Read the rest

MAKE: a tiki-mug menorah


Polyhai's tutorial for creating a tiki-mug menorah is all the sholem aloha you need for eight nights of candlelit grog-swilling. Read the rest

104-year-old crocheter yarnbombs her town


Grace Brett, 104, is part of a guerrilla crochet group called the Souter Stormers who yarn bombed landmarks in Selkirk, Ettrickbridge and Yarrow, Scotland. The installation was tied to an arts festival in the area. Video below.

“I liked seeing my work showing with everyone else and thought the town looked lovely," Brett said.

Her daughter Daphne, 74, added "She thinks it is funny to be called a street artist.”

More at the Daily Record.

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Swingline Thermal Laminator on sale for $15


My daughter Jane has been asking for a laminator so she can make bookmarks, club ID cards, and other projects. I just learned that Amazon is selling a Swingline thermal laminator for $15 (regularly $60) so I ordered it. It comes with 5 letter-sized lamination pouches. (A pack of 100 lamination pouches costs $10.) Read the rest

Spectacular, swirling custom-built stone walls and furniture


Stonemasons Andreas Kunert and Naomi Zettl of Ancient Art of Stone elevate the art of stonemasonry with carefully designed and positioned decorative stone walls. Read the rest

10 totally insane videos of handmade rubber band guns

Some of the artisanal rubber band guns in these crazy videos are faithful replicas of real guns.

Make super cute fabric pins with Sukie Button Factory


I’m 18 and still have so much fun sitting at my kitchen table doing arts and crafts. One of my favorite craft kits I own is an awesome and simple pin-making kit called the Sukie Button Factory. This kit makes it easy to create adorable fabric-covered pins. It comes with 25 pin backs and fronts, fabric with many different cute and colorful designs, a button-covering mold and pusher, a fun zine-like instruction book, and a template to help you cut the fabric (I added felt to my kit, which I’m going to experiment with). All you have to do is cut out the circle of fabric that you like and attach it to the button and pin using the mold and pusher. It’s super easy, fun, and addictive. Of course you can use your own fabric when making the pins. The finished pins can be attached to birthday cards, on clothes, backpacks, shoes, and anything else you can think of.

Sukie Button Factory by Chronicle Ages 9 and up, makes 25 pins $12 Buy a copy on Amazon Read the rest

Video: HOWTO make a 3D origami Darth Vader

Origami enthusiasts have created a number of small foldable units that can then be assembled into all kinds of 3-D shapes, like this Darth Vader. Read the rest

Video: HOWTO make waterproof sand at home

YouTuber IncredibleScience has a great at-home science project that's kid-friendly: making waterproof sand. Read the rest

WATCH: 8 great DIY smartphone photography tips

Cooperative of Photography released a great video with 8 DIY tips to improve your smartphone shots, ranging from super-simple and cheap to fairly simple and maybe cheap. Read the rest

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