For February, the monthly craft question was: What are the strangest, most creative materials you’ve ever crafted with? What did you make? How did it turn out?
As usual, we reached out to designers and crafters alike to get down to the bottom of their craft rooms!
See What the Readers Had to Say:
The most unusual had to have been peanut shells to make Christmas ornaments with my mother-in-law at our local library.
In answer to the question about unusual crochet materials, I made a fancy black shawl out of strips of all kinds of deluxe fabric cut into strips and also different ribbons and spangles. It was fantastic!
I recently learned how to mosaic, and I used SeaShells, glued onto a mirror frame, and then used, tile grout to fill it in!
Succulents are the strangest thing I craft with. I get my supply of hen and chicks from a company in Wisconsin. I make miniature fairy gardens out of the very sturdy and interesting plant species, semper vivium.
The strangest thing that I used was material from end of bolts. This is how I learned to crochet. What I made was a rug. It turned out really good it lasted for 40 years just got rid of it about 10 years ago. I made alot of them.
See What Designers and Bloggers Had to Say:
Lynn from Celebrate Green
Probably half of a shower filter I used for the top part of a girl’s body. The bottom was a flower pot. Hidden inside were seeds. It’s a bit hard to imagine, but it came out very cute.
Alyice Edrich from Alyice Edrich Creatives
You know it’s funny. What I used to think was strange: torn book pages, old clothing, broken object lying around the house are no longer considered strange. In fact, they’re quite enduring these days. Still people always seem to find it odd that I use regular bathroom joint compound for my art jars. They always ask, “Won’t it crumble? Won’t it mold? Won’t it…”
I can say that if you don’t seal it, yes it will get nasty rather quickly, and crumble into tiny pieces of nothing. That can be very disheartening when you’ve put a lot of work into a design. But I learned early on that if you allow the joint compound to cure for over a week, then seal it with Gesso, you can paint it rather nicely. Once complete, seal it with an acrylic sealer or gloss and it’s good to go. I have had one piece in my bathroom, holding my toothbrushes for over a year, and no sign of decay whatsoever.
Jane Skoch from Maiden Jane
The Capri Sun Juice Pouches are probably the strangest thing I’ve crafted with. It’s a little strange sewing these bags, but the end result is a fun tote!
Berta Gilholm, a featured FaveCrafts Designer
It was not only strange, but a little crazy. At the time the popular ad on tv was “All you add is Love”, by Purina. I used to create all of our & Halloween costumes. So, I took a big Purina Dog Chow bag, cut arm, head, tail and leg holes; added a hand sewn tail and head made of leftover materials, made a heartshaped sign with the purina slogan on it, ran a string down my arm through the bag to the tail and on command wagged it by pulling on the string. In the pic, I am the doggy on the right, my husband as Hercules on the left. I came in secomd, beat out by some clown.
Julianna Hudgins of Julianna Productions
When I worked for Aleene’s Creative Living we had a Sponsor that created Dryer Lint Products. They made the most beautiful projects including museum quality masks. We all had so much fun crafting with this material that we usually would throw away! It was really cool stuff!
Phyllis Dobbs from Phyllis Dobbs Art & Design Studio
I love to create with flashing. Its a light weight metal that comes on a sheet roll. You can easily cut it (with old scissors) to the shapes you want and paint it or add other embellishments. I created some mobiles with it and plan to put it to many more uses. Its easy to find at all the building supply stores.
Shannon Bielke from Sha & Co
I don’t know about strange, but one interesting item I’ve crafted with lately, is dryer lint. I use it a number of different ways in my altered art, lately with a wool-felting technique. The results are amazing and varied. The great thing about dryer lint is it’s always a different color or consistency depending on the clothes I just dried.
Melony Bradley from Mel Designs
I love crafting with strange materials. Click on the links to see if you agree:
Keeper of Love Letters
Carol Heppner fromHepper Studio
Aluminum Flashing. I love creating mixed-media projects using Aluminum Flashing which you can find at your local home supply stores. They come in packages of 5 by 7 sheets and are easily cut with scissors. You can even use regular hole punches with them. Check out this Enchanted Photo Frame.
Maize Hutton from Maize Hutton.com
Oh, this is an easy one. Back in 2005, when everyone was making Capri Sun purses, I was making an effort to look at packaging differently to determine if there was anything I could recreate. One afternoon as I was eating a tuna sandwich, I stared at the tuna pouch it came in. I came up with the ‘Tuna Pouch Tampon Case!’ It worked out beautifully as it was a simple humorous DIY idea. BUST magazine contacted me after it was posted on my site and asked if they could reprint it in their February/March 2005 issue. Of course I said YES! 🙂 My yoga instructor thought it was so funny, that she made all of her girlfriends one for Christmas that year! HA!
Jen Goode from JGoode Designs
I had to think long and hard about this question because I collect all kinds of odds and ends, I just can’t remember what I’ve actually used. The strangest material I can think of is a standard sized wood door. I created a giant art piece using newspaper to create a paper sculpture and the door was the “canvas” for the piece which was hung horizontally on the wall (we had a big wall). I wish I had a photo, I loved that piece!
Bethany Mann from Bitter Betty Industries
I had to make a pair of tap pants and a bustier from industrial grade landscaping weed barrier. It was an underpinning for a clear vinyl trench coat designed by another artist, who hired me to make it for him because couldn’t sew, for a fashion show. The drape was terrible but it went together amazingly easily, and I’m pleased to report the model did not get a rash.
Madeline Faiella from Madeline Faiella Designs
I once used a number of different seeds and legumes to create a “flower mosaic”. Lentils, sunflower seed, black beans, split green peas, and a number of other dried varieties. I dyed some of them. Each abstract flower was made with an array of dyed legumes. I glued them to a flat surface and ultimately the piece rested in a shadow box. I don’t remember the actualy size but it might have been 16 x 20. It lay horizontally. I began with a huge flower and then added a few smaller throughout. The remainder of the piece was covered in died lentils; each laid edge to edge or slightly overlap to create a solid backdrop. The entire piece was solid beans! The colors were muted but earthy and gorgeous. Reds, yellows, greens. Some of the seeds were left with their natural black covering. There was a seed that had black centers and for the life of me, I can’t remember what the heck it was. Anyway, it was a gift for my sister. It turned out great. She loved it. Geeze, I made that piece over 30 years ago. Yikes! She had it for over 20 years or so but then one day said that there were tiny little holes in the legumes. I guess unwanted guests finally found their way into the shadow box. If I were to do it again, I would draw and seal out air to ensure better longevity. Anyway, it was fun, I had a purpose in mind and it took many hours which at the time flew by. Listening to music and creating a gift for a loved one.
Kathy Beymer from Merriment Design
I used the inside of a Saran Wrap tube to make elegant-looking fabric-covered napkin rings. Who would have known that something trash-bound was hidden inside! I have a free DIY tutorial of it here.
Tina from TStitchesandCrafts
Anyone who knows me knows I Go Green! any chance I can. So my answer to this month’s craft question is this…We have a beautiful 1978 Travel Trailer (Camper). Over time the original bed was removed and a custom bed frame was built. The person who built the frame built it to fit the trailer not a traditional matress size. We only use the trailer during the Summer months so buying a customed made matress didn’t make sense. Way to expensive. We purchased a 8 inch Futon Matress but it was 3″ to wide so I split the side seem, removed 3″ of fill and made the adjustmented needed so I could sew it back together. It worked like charm. Here is were it gets strange… instead of throwing away the perfectly good fill I pulled from the matress I used it to fill a 6″ thick, flannel, quilted, Top of Line Cat bed I made for our Daisy Mae’s Nap Spot in the trailer. How did it turn out? Daisy Mae thinks it is the cat’s meow! …and I was quite pleased with the end result. I honestly think it is even better than the ones you pay 50 plus dollars for in the stores. It is more like a Mini-Futon Mattress than a pet bed.
Marie Segal from Art From My Heart
In 1994 when I was helping in the development of a brand new polymer clay, I was testing the translucent clay (there were 3 different kinds of translucent to work with at that time). I was mixing in all kinds of foods, dried and fresh flowers and herbs, salt and pepper, and anything else I could think of. Somebody suggested cat litter, fresh out of the package of course, and I did that too eventually. None of these things seem so amazing now with mixing mediums and non-traditional art mediums, but they did then for polymer clay.
Back in 1978 when I started working with polymer clay, it seemed like the strangest, most creative material. It was just a child’s toy at the time, thought so of by everyone, including the people that made it. Now and still, I use it for making all kinds of things, sculpture, jewelry, tool manufacture, reproductions, fixing things, ART, home decor, scrapbooks, encaustic, and on and on and on. In the very early 70’s I used horse manure for raku firings ;-D
Terri O from Terri O Craft Projects
Well actually it wasn’t me it was my mother. Back in the 80s when collage paper and fibers were popular for your wall décor my mom decided she could make her own. She used scraps of floss, fibers and fabrics. Some of the fabrics were from scraps of items she had laying around. After she hung it on her wall we all stood there in amazement! She did a really great job. When asked what was the fabric pieces she used for the design she told us that it was from my little nephews underwear! We never quite looked at the collage the same.
Maria Nerius, our resident craft expert
Hard question since most of the strange stuff is now called “found objects” and aren’t so strange anymore! For me I love nature and often find the cool strange things like huge acorns with caps that look like pin cushions or even cotton picked after it has started drying. Many seeds dry perfectly and I love making potpourri out of the mix. My favorite is seeds and pods found while walking along the beach.
Alla from Alla Koval Designs
I think most strangest material I’ve even used was… a reel-to-reel. It was about 22-25 years ago and I had lived in Ukraine that time. We’ve made bags, bowls and other accessories with it. It turned out enough crazy, but definitely fun and unique.
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