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Friday 25 October 2013

DIY Snowman Kit made with Thermomorph

I had such fun making  my halloween themed noughts and crosses game (see my last post here) that I decided to create something else with my trial pot of Thermomorph.  Thermomorph is a plastic moulding material that comes in a pot of white pellets that you heat up with hot water and mould with your hands or a suitable tool.  You can also make shapes using moulds, as I did in my last post.

The idea for making this 'ready to make' snowman kit appealed to me because it solves two problems that happen when you come to make snowmen.  One, you have to try and find all the bits needed to make the eyes, nose, mouth and buttons (which is quite tricky when the ground is so very white) and two, they don't stick to the snowman's face and body.  Yes I know, we had this very same problem when we were little and survived the trauma (lol) but wouldn't it be so much better if we could make the process a little easier (and make our snowmen in double quick time so that we can scuttle back into the warm and start supping on some much needed hot chocolate?)....

So, what I did with the Thermomorph was to make the snowman's nose and eyes.  I cheated with the form of the nose by moulding it on one of these:
A christmas decoration icicle  (49p for the pack, a charity shop find)

(For more of a description on the process of how to make the Thermomorph, see my last post).  I took the top (the silver bit) of the plastic icicle and put the icicle onto a wooden skewer stick.  When the Thermomorph had got to the correct temperature, I quickly took it out of the water and moulded it around the plastic icicle with my hand whilst keeping it on its stick. (The icicle decoration is not essential, incidently).
It was still transparent at this point, before hardening and going white. (No smutty comments please, lol!)
Other crafters that have reviewed this product say that they managed to successfully colour their model by adding powdered food colouring to the water but mine turned out very pale when I tried that technique (with the previous skulls).  I wanted a very bold orange colour for my snowman's nose so painted mine with acrylic paint.
As I said in my previous post, paint takes a long time to dry on Thermomorph so I stuck my model's skewers into an old apple whilst they dried (not shown).
(These were the eyes, roughly modelled to look like coal, before they were painted)

While these were drying, I found my collection of buttons (and procrastinated by sorting into individual jars every last one into different colours - I will be doing a 'button craft' post soon!) and stuck them (using my miracle 'wonder glue,' shown last post) onto some more skewers.  
I coloured over the skewer's tips black to match the colour of the buttons.

(The sticks are, of course, to stick the snowman's features into the snow).

And there you have it, a ready to make snowman kit which will be put all together in one box, excitedly awaiting it's first outing.  A snowman just waiting to happen! 

To order some of your own Thermomorph, you can get it from Amazon UK here.  It's not cheap at £19.95 (currently on offer at £17.95) but you get a large amount that you can use in numerous projects.

Disclosure: I was sent a free pot of Thermomorph to review but all opinions on it are my own.

Thank you for popping by today,
See you soon,
Nicky {Creative Flourishes}

Sunday 20 October 2013

Halloween Decorations Made With ThermoMorph

I have another product review project to show you today.  As a dedicated(!) crafty blogger, I was approached by the makers of ThermoMorph (http://www.thermomorph.net) to try out their product, make something creative and review how I got on with it here on my blog. 

As you can see from the picture above,  for my first experiment I used it to create some fun halloween decorations.  They were very difficult to photograph with the light off so let me show you what they look like in the light:
Aaaaaggh! Who turned the lights on?
They were very easy and quick to make and I shall show you the method I found that worked best for me, along with a tip or two that I learned along the way.
First of all, the equipment I used:
Pot of ThermoMorph, heat resistant jug, silicon mould (this is one from the current range at Poundland, meant for making ice cubes), a (non-essential) oven thermometer and a long spoon.  You will also need some near-boiling water and an optional bowl of cold water.

The method I found that worked for me was to put boiling water in the jug first and then add some of the ThermoMorph pellets immediately.  I added my oven thermometer (kept away in the jug from the ThermoMorph because it loves to stick to it!) and waited for the temperature to cool down enough for me to handle the gel in my hands.  For me this was about 65 degrees  (The recommended advice is 60 degrees).

When you first put the white pellets into the boiling water (carefully, I put some into the lid) you will be able to see them transform into one clump of transparent gel. When the water cools down to the right temperature you take this clump out (with your spoon) and can mould it with your hands into your desired shape.  It is very malable and stretchy at this point as you can see:
(I unashamedly enjoyed this bit!)

This is when you add it to your chosen mould - or to whatever it is you might be mending.  Thermomorph has many different uses.

I put mine into my Halloween shaped mould and added more pieces of the gel to fill it in all the nooks and crannies:
(Earlier ones I made I filled the shape right to the top, they made chunkier shapes)

You get about 10 minutes to mould your shapes before it starts to harden and turn white. I made my eight shapes in two batches as I was guessing how much ThermoMorph that I needed to use.

When they were hard they popped out of the mould really easily (easier than ice cubes!) and I put mine in a bowl of cold water to finish setting.

After setting you can sand them to smooth any rough edges but I decided to keep mine shabby, just to add to their character.  And for colour, I painted them with a layer of glow-in-the-dark acrylic paint:
..and found that they took AGES to dry! I ended up leaving them overnight but they may not need that long.

They seem pretty strong but the next day as I went to put my second coat of paint on, one of the crossbones broke a little.  This I found easy enough to fix with a little quick setting glue:
(An aside note, I LOVE this glue, it is really good and cheap too!)

So, after their second coat, I added some black paint for shading (and so that they could be seen in daylight!):
(B&W Arty Insagram picture)

The brush I used to do the shading (some of it dry brushing) was held in a necessary upright position and was 'wrecked' in the making of these decorations but was it worth it? Hell, yeah!  I thoroughly enjoyed making these and, as a conclusion to this review, would definately recommend this product, ThermoMorph, to anyone.  I had such fun and my sons have already got their beady eyes on it....

The question  is, what will I do with my skulls and crossbones now?  One idea I had was to add them to a sign for a door saying 'Keep Out' or something like it.... but then the crossbone crosses gave me another idea:
....A spooky game of noughts and crosses!

To try out some ThermoMorph yourself, please follow this link:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/ThermoMorph-Polymorph-Shapelock-Plastimake-InstaMorph/dp/B00D3LAZ9O

I'm not on commission (unfortunately), but that link lets ThermoMorph know you saw the product here on 'Creative Flourishes.'

Thank you for stopping by today,
See you for some more projects again soon,

Tuesday 15 October 2013

Will I go here....or there? A Personal Postcard Journal.

Hello again! I thought it was about time I showed my face in here again!  I have been enticed back to blogging by way of taking part in Julie Kirk's 'Going Postal' Series. I love everything about getting letters and postcards in the post, well, anything stationery related generally...

I have made a postcard book almost identical to the one that Julie made as it looked an interesting way of looking through them.  It's not exactly the same as I made it from memory after looking at hers earlier on in the day.

(The title was copied from the Dr Seuss book)

My front and back covers were made from a floor covering sample book that I got free from a shop that does flooring.  They cut very easily with wonderful Tim Holtz scissors. 

The idea for my book is places I (or my family, or just my sons in the future) might want to go to for a holiday.  I had already got a stack of random postcards, bought from a charity shop, that I thought I would put to use someday in my crafting and here it is!

This is the inside cover:
I was going to cover it up with some decorative paper but then I thought that I'd keep it's origins and add some travel & postage themed stamps.  Bad move!  The ink remained permanently damp and dirtied the postcard I put on the first page of the book:
(Arrows indicate mess from inked images)

My book, as you will see, is meant to be grungy, but not unintentionally! 

For my postal project I decided to be nosey analyse what people wrote on their postcard, finding out who they were and who they were writing to, what they thought of the place they went to and any other information they gave about their lives.  I even researched the picture on the stamp, where possible.

So, turning over the postcard, I left the original postcard with it's original writing as it was and extracted the information from it for the next page:
Postal themed stamps and washi tape were added for embellishment.
I was being like a detective and even called it 'Case No 1.'  The person that wrote this card didn't write about Santa Monica at all, not even about the weather, so I wrote on the next page about what she did write:
She wrote about it being pancake day and wondering whether Mrs Hislop (the receipient) would be going to 'Shrove tide'.  I investigated what this was on the web and found out that it was a local pancake day event, 'mob football.'  Cynthia and Jack seemed to be in America for a long stay and were going  to be attending a christening in 21 days. Mrs Hislop at the time was also due to have a baby and I have worked out that the  baby would now be 24! (The postcard was from 1989).  As you can see by the picture I even looked up the (old) address it was sent to on google maps - I'm SO nosey!

This was the stamp I investigated:
..and found out it was Igor Sikorsky, who was credited with inventing the first helicopter.

Next, I thought I'd find out about the place on the postcard to find out if I'd be interested in going there.

First thing to find out was where is it?
Where in California?  And what part of America? (next photo, left)
Next, I researched the place and this is the information I gathered from reviews on the internet:
(background postal stamps found free on PicMonkey)
For the last part of my research I wrote down a few places on the web where I can find out more information about Santa Monica, should I want to go (left):

...and to finish I added some stylised american flag paper, just because....

I have done another 2 postcards with 3 more to go but I think you've got the idea....! 

 Thanks Julie, for getting me back into blogging....
I wouldn't have done it without you! 

More projects coming your way very soon,
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