Back to Melty Goodness… Part 2

Having finally figured out where my photos go to when I sync my phone, I was able to recover some more photos of the melted crayon art I posted in Melty Goodness.  So, for those of you who were wondering what happened to the rest of that post… here it is!

So. When last we’d left you, I’d pointed out the importance of using a new glue gun and not one that had already had glue in.  I’m going to assume you’ve procured such a glue gun.  Now, a note on temperatures:  Low temp glue guns will work, but the process will be slow. You will have to wait for the gun to melt the crayon and then apply it to the canvas.  This is the “hurry up and wait” method, because once melted, a crayon goes really quickly.  But you have to wait to melt it. When these crayons come out of the glue gun, they are *just* melted.  They will drip and run a bit, but overall they keep a decent amount of viscosity.

Hot temp glue guns will work just fine too, but they will be extremely quick.  The crayons practically liquify in it, and that makes for almost an ink-like consistency of the crayon coming out of the glue gun, to the point that if you’re not careful, you’re going to be flinging hot wax where you don’t want it.  However, hot temp glue guns will make the project go much more quickly.

Which is better? I have used both, and it just depends on what kind of mood I’m in.  For the project pictured here, I mostly used the hot-temp setting on my glue gun, because I’m impatient. 🙂

On my project, I used a Cricut to cut out letters to spell the word “CREATE” and stuck them on the vinyl prior to using the crayons.  They acted as a mask, so after the crayons cooled, I used an Xacto knife to cut around the letters, peel them off, and voila! Negative space focal points, ready made.

So now you’re ready to melt some crayons!  This process is really simple.  Insert peeled crayon into glue gun, wait for it to melt.  Prop your canvas up at an angle, so the crayon will run down it.  (You can also draw with the glue gun, have the canvas on a turn-table and spin it while you drip wax… use your imagination.)  Apply the tip of the glue gun close to the top of the canvas and hold it there while using the trigger to let the melted crayon out of the gun.  Keep it in the same spot, and the crayon will run down itself.

and after a while, you’re going to have this.  This shows the vinyl letters after half of them have been peeled away.

Keep in mind when you’re switching colors between crayons that it’s easier to go from lighter to darker than from darker to lighter.  A little bit of the melted crayon from the past color will mix with the current color at the beginning, so while it’s interested to get a yellow to an orange, going from a orange to a purple might not work so well. 

But feel free to experiment! You really can’t mess this up.

Hey Plarny Mama

Intrigued by the idea of plarn, but secretly thinking to yourself, “That is just wayway too much work. There’s no way I have time for that, even if I did want to do it”?

Good news! BEHOLD! – the next thing I’ve discovered: INSTANT PLARN.

Instant plarn? How, you may ask? Very simple: sacrifice those old VHS and cassette tapes that you’ve already replaced with DVD’s and CD’s. Voila! Instant plarn, conveniently already evenly sliced and on a spool.

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I’m looking forward to designing many projects around this new material! So far I’ve experimented with a cassette tape (Bye bye, Steppenwolfe) and a size H and I crochet hook. Stay tuned for projects and patterns!

UPDATE – I have been informed by my lovely friends on Pinterest that cassette tapes do have chemicals on them (like chromium) that are toxic in large quantities. So! Let’s use some common sense. Wash your hands, use it in conjunctions with some other building materials, and enjoy responsibly. 🙂

Quick Project – Plarned Reusable Shopping Tote

Now that we’ve learned about Plarn and know how to make our own Balls of Plarn, how about a project?

The finished plarn bag! Quick and easy and wonderfully multicolored due to the miscellaneous plastic bags and yarn scraps woven in.

I made this bag in about 2 days, including making all the plarn that goes in it.  I wanted a large (seriously this bag is massive!) reusable shopping tote that I could schlep to my local farmer’s market and not worry about putting fresh-out-of-the-ground produce in it.

Completed, this bag is strong (I tossed 30 lbs worth of dumbbells in it and it stretched and held them just fine — see why I mentioned that using thick pieces of plarn is a bonus?) and washable (I’ve honestly washed mine down with the garden hose!) and a fun project, especially for those who are beginning to crochet. 

The entire bag is completed with single crochet stitches, and the trim is done with slip stitches.  For the bag that is pictured, I also used scraps of colored yarn I had lying around just to add some funk and interest.

Materials needed:
Size S crochet hook
Lots and lots and lots of plarn – (Make far more plarn than you think you will need.  Each loop makes about 3 SC’s.)
Scrap yarn if you wish to add color accents.
Optional: Fishing Line to reinforce Handles.

Constructing the bottom:

Row 1 – Working with both strands together (yarn and plarn), Chain however many stitches you want for the length of your finished bag. (I did 25).  Ch 1 and turn.
Rows 2 – 10ish –  Work in even SC to the width that you desire for your bag, using a Ch 1 and turn at the end of each row.  (I did 10 rows.  You can do more or less based on what you want for the size Because the plarn is so thick, I worked my SC’s in the back loops only, but that can be personal preference.)

This is the bottom of the bag, about halfway through. This is about 5 rows of the 10 that I ended up using.

Making the Sides of the Bag – Work in Rounds

Round 1 – 1 SC in each stitch around the outside of the bag. Join at first SC with a SL ST. CH 1 to begin next round and continue WITHOUT TURNING.
Rounds 2 –  SC in each stitch around the bag.  Eventually the sides of the bag will form up as you do this. 

This photo shows how the sides of the bag eventually form as you continue to work SC's in each stitch around the bag.

Repeat Round 2 as many times as you want the heigh of your bag.

Adding Handles:

After finishing the round that marks the height of your bag, use 4 scrap pieces of yarn to mark where you want the handles to go.  (I didn’t use a scientific method for this.  I just held open the bag and eyeballed where I wanted my handles to go.)

The open bag from the top to show approximate handle placement.

Handle Row:
1 – SC in each stitch around to the marked stitch that begins your handle.  ***Double chain 25 stitches for the length of your handle (Ch 1, *YO in prior stitch and pull up 1 loop, YO and pull through both loops*  Repeat between the stars counts as 1 double chain) SC back to the bag at the next marked stitch. ***  SC in each stitch around until you get to the next marked stitch. Repeat Handle (areas between ***’s).  SC in each stitch around until you get to the beginning of the round. Tie off your yarn/Plarn.

2 – Handle Reinforcement: Attach yarn and fishing line (in contrasting or same color, your choice) to the connecting point of 1 handle. SL ST (using yarn / fishing line as 1) in each stitch of handle. Continue SL ST from handle to top of bag under handle and around the top of the bag to the next handle.  SL ST around second handle the same as the first.  Fasten off.

 

That’s it!  This is the first pattern I’ve attempted to write down as I’ve made it (normally I’m just a “make it up as you go along” type of person, so feel free to add, embellish, alter, or offer suggestions on what I’ve posted here.)  Thanks for viewing and enjoy your plarning!