Radiant sun wall art, assemblage, recycled art

Radiant Sun wall art assemblage recycled sequin art

Radiant Sun wall art by Lynda Makara

It’s been a long time since I’ve wanted to create new fun whimsical art after being sidelined by my broken ankle. But lately I’ve been getting back into the swing of things and was inspired to try something new—my Radiant Sun assemblage wall art.

Gathering recycled items for a sun wall art assemblage

I like to collect odds and ends from thrift stores and this old wall clock caught my attention. Better yet, it was only $1!

Taking apart wall clock for sun sculpture

Taking apart wall clock for sun sculpture

I decided to combine it with interesting bits of hardware found while rummaging in my father’s workshop. I also dug around in my own collection of craft items for gems, sequins, crystals and glitter. Because even though this is recycled art, I have to put my blingy spin on it.

Combining and arranging the pieces

Playing around with hardware to make sun face

Playing around with hardware to make sun face

Using an astrological map as the background, I played around until I came up with a face I liked. For the eyes I used a plastic bottle cap, random hardware piece, BBs, gems and crystals. An allen wrench serves as the nose. And the mouth is made from washers, a bell and more BBs.

On top of the glass more weird hardware pieces are glued on to accent one eye, along with sequins and crystals.

I painted the outside of the clock in the colors of the sun (red, orange and yellow).

And I used two different types of rusty nails for the sun’s rays.

Rusty nail sun rays, back of sculpture

Rusty nail sun rays, back of sculpture

Adding sparkle to the radiant sun

The best part for me is going to town with the embellishments because when it comes to sparkle, more is definitely better. And you can see I’ve used lots of different types of glitter, crystals, gems and fabulous sequins that sparkle endlessly.

Radiant Sun wall sculpture close up

Radiant Sun wall sculpture close up

And the result is a fun, cheerful, smiling sun that shines no matter what the weather is like outside. You can find it for sale in my Etsy shop.

Here’s a look at some of my past sculptures. And remember, I’m also available to create a custom piece of art just for you!

DIY hair appliance holder

diy hair dryer flat iron holderWhen I was setting up my new makeup vanity, I wanted my hair dryer and flat iron handy. I had ordered a desktop appliance holder but it took up a lot of room and the cords looked really messy so I sent it back.

Then I decided it would be much neater to hang my hair appliances on the wall next to the vanity. The holders I found online were flimsy and poorly rated so I decided to use something else as my holder.

Wrought iron bar rack holder

Wrought iron bar rack holder

I just happen to have a small star wrought iron towel holder in one of the bathrooms so I checked it to see if my blow dryer and flat iron would fit on it and, guess what, they did! The holder sticks out 4 inches from the wall which is perfect. But instead of ordering that same design, I got this bar rack holder without the star because I also happened to have a pretty birthday card I wanted to use as a plaque behind it. (The star holder is longer though and would also hold a curling iron.)

These Amish wrought iron holders are very sturdy. (I also own star curtain tiebacks in addition to the towel holder.) They’ll last forever! The only drawback is the shipping but they do combine shipping if you get more than one item. However, even with the shipping the total was about the same as one of those cheap holders.

To install, the first thing I did was mark holes from the holder onto the card.

Birthday card with punched holes as backing for hair appliance holder

Birthday card with punched holes

Using the holder as a guide again, I transferred the markings onto the wall and made sure they were straight using a level. Then I put holes in the wall, inserted plastic anchors, laid the card on top and screwed the holder in place.

Holes drilled in the wall with plastic anchors inserted

Holes drilled in the wall with plastic anchors inserted

After that I got four little nails and hammered the corners of the card down.

Small nails to attach greeting card to wall

Small nails to attach greeting card to wall

And that’s all there is to it.

Hair appliance holder with greeting card backing tacked onto wall

Hair appliance holder with greeting card backing tacked onto wall

Except for one thing…there was a messy situation going on with the cords plugged into a power strip on the floor.

Hair appliances plugged into power strip cluttering up the floor

Hair appliances plugged into power strip cluttering up the floor

So I mounted it on the wall just under the vanity tabletop. I coiled up the mirror’s cord and tucked it in between the wall and the vanity. I also coiled up the power strip cord.

Power strip mounted to wall underneath vanity

Power strip mounted to wall underneath vanity

I’m going to be painting my room pretty soon and I’ll also paint those cords to make them blend in.

Now everything’s looking neat and tidy and I can sit there and fix my hair in front of my Hollywood Starlet mirror!

Makeup vanity with wall-mounted DIY blow dryer/flat iron holder

Makeup vanity with wall-mounted DIY blow dryer/flat iron holder

Do you have a clever solution for organizing your hot hair tools? Please share them in the comments below.

Dress makeover: church dress to cocktail dress

dress makeover before pic

Dress makeover: before

This dress needed a makeover. It belonged to my mom and she only got to wear it once or twice before she died. I wanted to keep it for myself—with a few changes.

The basic shape of it was good but I didn’t like the cap sleeves, neckline and that awful corsagey flower thing. And that pale pink color really washed me out.

So my plan was to remove the cap sleeves, lower the neckline, ditch that horrible flower and dye the dress a more flattering color. What made this transformation complicated were the strips sewn all over. I wasn’t sure exactly how I was going to deal with them.

Closeup of dress before makeover

Closeup of dress before makeover

In fact, I wasn’t sure any of this was going to work, especially the dyeing since I had never dyed synthetic fabric before. But I really had nothing to lose so I dove right in.

Altering the dress

The first thing I did was to remove the offending flower decoration.

Flower decoration removed from dress

Flower decoration removed from dress

That felt SOOO good!

Then I ripped out the stitching from the strips of fabric at the top of the dress. I left the rest of them attached. They were hanging all over the place and kind of got in the way.

Strips being detached from dress

Strips being detached from dress

I cut the cap sleeves off and cut a new neckline. This was a little tricky because the neckline was asymmetrical. I had to try the dress on a couple of times and make pencil marks for the cutting line. Basically I wanted the neckline symmetrical and as low as possible.

I also had to take in the sides a smidgen.

With the alterations done, the next thing was to redrape and reattach those strips. I pinned everything in place, cut off the excess and then hand stitched them back on.

Altered dress before facings sewn back on

Altered dress before facings sewn back on

When all that was to my liking I reattached the armhole facings. I was able to reuse the existing facings.

The neckline was another story. The back facing was fine but I had to make a new front facing from excess fabric. I used fabric from the flower decoration. It was cut on the bias so it worked perfectly.

And here’s the dress after all the sewing was done.

Dress after alterations with facings attached

Dress makeover: after alterations

Dyeing the dress

With that being done, all that was left was the dyeing. I happened to find some dye meant for polyester and nylon. The color I chose was called violet.

When choosing dye it’s best to stick to the same color family which in this case was a darker pink, red or purple.

Note: The directions on the package say not to dye fabrics that are marked dry clean only. I completely ignored that because I know synthetic fabric can be washed. It doesn’t shrink like natural fabric does. Often the ‘dry clean only’ warning is used on washable fabrics because of tailoring, like a structured jacket, or certain types of embellishments, like the flower detail.

The directions called for using a large ceramic or stainless steel pot and boiling the fabric for at least a half hour. Once used for dyeing the pot can’t be used for cooking anymore. I wasn’t about to sacrifice one of my nice pots and I didn’t have a big enough pot anyway so I used the washing machine.

I did use my nice stainless steel pot to boil water though. I had to do it three or four times before there was enough water in the washing machine. It stayed REALLY hot the whole time.

Boiling hot water in washing machine

Boiling hot water in washing machine

Finally I was able to add the dye being careful to empty the packet close to the water. Even so, a few little particles managed to float around and get on my white cabinets and wall. I wiped them off before they stained.

I wore rubber gloves and used a paint stick to stir the dye. Then I took the dress, which had been previously soaked in water, and placed it in the washing machine.

The directions called for constant stirring for 30 to 60 minutes. I used the stick but also had to use my hands to move the dress all around. I stirred for 30 minutes.

Dyeing dress in washing machine

Dyeing dress in washing machine

This was a really nice steamy project to do on a hot summer day—NOT. Oh well, I didn’t want to wait ’til winter so it had to be done.

Having dyed fabric before, I knew the dress would come out lighter after it dried (if it took the dye at all). To get the same color on the package I would have had to use twice the amount of dye, but I was okay with that. Anything was going to be better than that ghostly pale pink.

This is what the dress looked like after being dyed.

Dress dyed but not washed yet

Dress dyed but not washed yet

After 30 minutes, I put the washer on the spin cycle to get rid of the excess water. Then I washed the dress with detergent on warm/warm setting for a medium sized load.

The final result is more of a lavender/medium purple. And I love me some purple so I’m happy.

Dress makeover: after dyeing

Dress makeover: after dyeing

I put the dress on a hanger to air dry while I cleaned the washer.

I ran the washer set for an oversized load with detergent and a cup of bleach using the same warm/warm temperature setting. Afterward just a little wiping around the top with paper towels and glass cleaner finished the job.

Before and after photos

Let’s take a look at the dress makeover as it went from a church dress into a cocktail dress.

I’m glad that’s done. Time to party!

Related topics

Sewing tutorial: fabric cuff bracelets

New pillowcase designs for women

Front door privacy curtain

front door with no curtainPrivacy is hard to come by when you live in the city. People are always walking up and down the street, cars are driving by, the neighbors are always coming and going.

So when I’m sitting on my couch with the front door open, I feel like I’m on display and I don’t like that.

I already have a security screen to keep bugs and intruders out and now I can keep people’s prying eyes out with this quick solution—a front door curtain!

And if you want to put up a curtain at your front door, it only takes about five minutes. Here’s what you do.

Screw in a couple of cup hooks at the top of the door frame.

cup hooks as curtain rod holder

Cup hooks as curtain rod holder

Insert a cheap curtain rod.

Curtain rod fits into cup hooks

Curtain rod fits into cup hooks

Find a cute curtain to put on the rod, one that isn’t too sheer (because that would defeat the purpose now wouldn’t it). A regular curtain should work fine. No blackout curtains.

I happened to have the cup hooks and curtain rod lying around but needed a curtain. I found just what I wanted at Walmart. It’s white with sequins and silver threads running through it because in my world you can’t have too many sequins.

door curtain5

The only thing is the curtain is 84″ long and my doorway is 78″ tall. I turned up the hem 5″, zip zip on the sewing machine, and it was perfect.

Well, almost perfect. I took one additional step and created an elastic loop attached to the curtain that fits over the doorknob to keep it from billowing in the breeze and blowing my cover!

Elastic loop sewn to curtain

Elastic loop sewn to curtain

Slips over doorknob

Slips over doorknob

The curtain lets in lots of light and keeps me incognito.

Front door curtain for privacy

Front door curtain for privacy

New pillowcase top designs for women

Two new pillowcase top designs

Two new pillowcase top designs

Pillowcase tops are fun and easy to make, but your average pillowcase does not fit your average woman. I have some lovely pillowcases embroidered by my mom and for the longest time I’ve been wanting to make blouses from them.

I finally figured out two new ways to make cute pillowcase tops that actually fit an average sized woman. One method requires two matching pillowcases sewn together sideways. The other method uses color blocking and one pillowcase. Both are very simple.

I have fond memories of my mother embroidering pillowcases. The whole process was fascinating to me. She would go through her collection of embroidery transfers and make her selection, usually a floral pattern, but sometimes birds or animals. She would iron the transfer onto the pillowcases and then she would choose colorful flosses from her vast collection. At night she would embroider while we all watched TV.

Her work was beautiful to me then and even moreso now that she’s gone. I’m thrilled to finally bring her fabulous collection of embroidered pillowcases out of the linen closet and onto my body, close to my heart.

My mom's embroidered pillowcases made into tops

My mom’s embroidered pillowcases made into tops

Remove stains from pillowcases before sewing

Chances are your old pillowcases will have a few stains on them. The first thing to do is remove them by following these great instructions at OneGoodThingByJillee. I wasn’t sure how well it would work on my poly/cotton blend pillowcases, but it worked like a charm. It did take three days, however.

Sewing instructions

Note: I used ¼” seam allowance for all sewing

Method A: Two matching pillowcases sewn together sideways

This method has the embroidered design running down the center front to form a mirror image. Lay out the two matching pillowcases with the designs side by side to see if they look good that way.

Pillowcase top Method A: two pillowcases sewn together sideways

Pillowcase top Method A: two pillowcases sewn together sideways

  1. Sew front seam. Open all the seams and hems and lay pillowcases flat. For the front center seam, line up the motifs and sew right sides together. Add optional trim over center seam.

    Center front seam of two pillowcases sewn together

    Center front seam of two pillowcases sewn together

  2. Sew back seam. For the back seam, fold fabric in half right sides together along the front seam. Measure out the width you want and pin. Sew then cut off the excess.

    Pinning back seam of pillowcase top

    Pinning back seam of pillowcase top

  3. Cut armholes. For armholes, fold fabric so that front and back seams are lined up in the center. Then fold in half again. Mark the armhole by using a blouse or tank top as a guide. Cut out the armholes.
  4. Add casing. Make a casing for the drawstring from coordinating fabric. Measure the width of the fabric and cut two pieces that are 3½” wide. Sew casing to front and back.
  5. Sew armholes. Fold and press under ¼” and repeat. Then sew the armholes.
  6. Sew casing. Fold under ¼” seam allowance along the edge of casing then fold it in half and pin. From the top side, stitch in the ditch.

    Casing folded under and stitched in the ditch

    Casing folded under and stitched in the ditch

  7. Add drawstring. Cut the drawstring from the same coordinating fabric as long and wide as you want. Mine was about 2½” wide and only 30″ long because I didn’t want it to tie on the side (I stitched the ends together). Fold and sew rights sides together. Turn right side out and thread the drawstring through the casing. My favorite way of doing this is to put a safety pin on the end of the drawstring and feed it through the casing. This also works for turning straps right side out.
  8. Sew hem. Finish the bottom edge, fold under and sew. I serged mine and then folded it ¼”.

    Hem sewn in pillowcase top

    Hem sewn in pillowcase top

Variation of Method A

I made a different version with this beautiful pair of pillowcases. I love this pattern!

Two matching pillowcases make a pretty center design

Two matching pillowcases make a pretty center design

Instead of making a casing, I gathered the top edge, front and back, and stitched it to a colorful pink band. I sewed long straps to the band which crisscross in the back.

Pillowcase top variation of Method A

Pillowcase top variation of Method A

Straps crisscross in the back

Straps crisscross in the back

Method B: Color blocking with one pillowcase

This method has the embroidered design near the hem. Side panels are added in coordinating fabric to make the top wide enough.

Pillowcase top Method B: color blocking with one pillowcase

Pillowcase top Method B: color blocking with one pillowcase

  1. Cut out fabric. Open up the seams and hem of pillowcase. Cut two pieces the length you want which will include a self-casing at the top. Use different fabric for the side panels the same length as the top with the width that you need.

    Pieces cut out for color blocked pillowcase top

    Pieces cut out for color blocked pillowcase top

  2. Sew side panels. Stitch side panels to center panels.

    Side panels sewn on color blocked top

    Side panels sewn on color blocked top

Finish by following the instructions from Method A, steps 3, 5, 7 and 8.

Variation of Method B

The embroidered design of this pair of matching pillowcases didn’t create a nice mirrored image down the front, so I decided to use one across the bottom and one across the top. Here are the two pieces sewn together.

Variation with embroidery at the top and bottom

Variation with embroidery at the top and bottom

Then I added a piece of lace over the seam which hits just below the bust.

Lace sewn over the seam

Lace sewn over the seam

The top was finished following the directions for Method B above.

Pillowcase top variation of Method B

Pillowcase top variation of Method B

Another look at all four tops

My new design pillowcase tops

My new design pillowcase tops

I love wearing these!

Related topics

Sewing tutorial: fabric cuff bracelets

Dress makeover: church dress to cocktail dress

Celebrating the 4th of July

god bless america pin

My God bless America pin

Lately I’ve been in a sewing mood so I decided to whip up a cute top to wear on the Fourth of July. It’s basically a fitted version of a pillowcase top. Besides this little sequin number I’ve raided my linen closet to design two brand new ways of making pillowcase blouses from embroidered pillowcases. Look for that tutorial in the next few days.

Today I’m bringing the sparkle with my red sequin blouse, silver sequin cuff bracelet and patriotic jewelry. I’m going downtown later to have dinner and watch the fireworks.

Fourth of July outfit

And speaking of fireworks, my little Koda is terrified of them so the last couple of weeks have been difficult for him. His new refuge is under the bed! I managed to snap a picture of him on one of his rare appearances out in the open. And here’s the photo…just because.

koda smiling

Koda’s smiling

For his sake I’m looking forward to this holiday being over, which in my neighborhood is going to be around mid July.

So now I’m off to celebrate our nation’s independence. God bless America!

me on july 4

July 4, 2015

Sleepy Moon wall art paper clay tutorial

paperclay moon10 I’m obsessed with the full moon and intrigued by the different faces you can see in it.

This time I saw a dreamy woman’s face with a quirky little mouth. She was the inspiration for my website’s header and also my Sleepy Moon wall art, a paperclay sculpture surrounded by shimmering moonbeams.

Follow along with me as I show you step by step how this sculpture was made.

Preparing to sculpt

I used a 10¼” paper maché plate for the foundation of the sculpture. Then I cut out a piece of cardboard slightly smaller than the plate to be used as a backing.

paperclay moon base and backing

Paper mache plate and cardboard backing

I made a full size drawing of the moon face.

paperclay moon sketch

Sleepy Moon by Lynda Makara

Then I traced the drawing onto a piece of wax paper. This was used to overlay my sculpture to check for accuracy in the placement of the features.

drawing on wax paper of sleepy moon wall art

Wax paper drawing of Sleepy Moon by Lynda Makara

Working on the sculpture

The easy part was covering the plate with a layer of clay. I always use Creative Paperclay.

first layer of paperclay for moon wall art sculpture

Paperclay over paper mache plate

I laid the wax paper over the clay. With my X-acto knife I punched little holes through the paper along the black lines.

using wax paper drawing to mark paperclay sculpture

Wax paper over paperclay base to make markings

This shows the markings left behind after removing the wax paper. The clay was divided into four sections with the nose outlined.

Marks made through wax paper drawing on paperclay moon

Marks made through wax paper drawing

To make the nose I just started with a nice nose-shaped blob of clay.

adding a nose to the paperclay moon sculpture

Adding a nose to the moon

I added a smaller ball for the nostrils.

adding to the nose on paperclay moon

Adding to the nose

With the nose done, I starting working on the eyes. I cut out a layer of clay in the shape of the eye using the pattern as a guide.

Nose added to moon sculpture, working on right eye

Nose added, working on right eye

The eyes had slits for the eyelashes to be glued into later. The eyebrows were marked at this point.

Both eyes done on moon sculpture, marks for eyebrows

Both eyes added and marks made for eyebrows

One eyebrow done.

right eyebrow finished on moon sculpture

Right eyebrow finished

After the eyes and eyebrows were finished, I let the paperclay dry overnight. The next day I pulled off a piece of clay and formed it into the approximate shape of the mouth.

moon sculpture with eyebrows, piece added for mouth

Both eyebrows done, piece added for mouth

I used a small dampened paintbrush to smooth out areas too small for my fingers. My X-acto knife helped with carving and shaping.

working on the mouth for moon sculpture

Working on the mouth

Here it is after the facial features were done and left to dry for a few hours.

Moon with facial features done

Facial features done

Then I came back in with thin layers of clay to make craters. I also filled in all the cracks that appear after drying and the remaining guide marks.

Some tools I used to make the craters: the end of my knife, wooden dowels, my knuckle.

adding crates to moon sculpture

Adding craters to moon

After the sculpture dried overnight, I shaped and refined the features using the knife. I also added a bit more clay to the nose.

This is what it looked like when I was done sculpting. Very close to the original drawing.

Comparing the finished moon sculpture to the drawing

Comparing the finished sculpture to the drawing

Another view of the sculpture ready to be painted.

Paperclay moon before painting

Paperclay moon before painting

Painting the moon sculpture

I always like to define the features first by using a black wash. The clay is porous and using watery paint helps cover everything.

adding black wash to moon sculpture

Adding black wash to moon sculpture

With this sculpture I worked from dark to light. Black wash in the crevices, gray wash over everything else.

Then I went back in dry brushing with white paint. Many layers were added.

I do drybrushing instead of regular painting because it blends in better with the background colors, almost like airbrushing.

At the end I drybrushed metallic silver paint as a highlight.

Highlighting moon sculpture with metallic silver paint

Highlighting with metallic silver paint

Working on the embellishments

I cut out a pair of eyelashes from a piece of thin cardboard. They got painted black on both sides.

Cardboard eyelashes for moon

Cardboard eyelashes for moon

Not being able to find ready made trim, I made my own tinsel from a mylar ham wrapper. This was the outer wrapper not against the ham.

I cut strips of mylar layered over a piece of tulle, sewed them together with a gathering stitch, cut them apart and fringed the edges.

This detail represents a moon ring and also serves to soften the transition between the moon and the backing.

Working on the backing

I took the cardboard backing and divided it into 16 equal parts. This was easily accomplished marking from a paper circle folded into 16 sections.

Each line marks the spot for a dowel to be glued.

dividing cardboard backing into 16 equal parts for moon wall art

Dividing cardboard backing into 16 equal parts

Lines were drawn with a ruler.

drawing lines on cardboard backing for moon wall art

Drawing lines on cardboard backing

Dowels were glued in place with hot glue.

Gluing dowels to cardboard backing

Gluing dowels to cardboard

Bamboo skewers were glued in between the dowels. I just eyeballed the placement of these.

Gluing skewers to cardboard backing

Gluing skewers to cardboard

Then I made a wire hanger from 22 gauge wire, folded in half and twisted.

Making wire hanger for moon sculpture

Making wire hanger for sculpture

The twisted wire was inserted near the edge over a dowel. The ends were twisted together and glued in place on both sides.

Wire hanger going through cardboard backing

Wire hanger going through cardboard backing

I painted the sticks with metallic silver.

painting sticks for moon sculpture

Painting the sticks metallic silver

The back was painted black.

cardboard backing painted black for moon sculpture

Backside painted black with hanger in center

Mirrors were glued on with hot glue. Afterwards I put more glue on the back of them and covered with silver paper.

Gluing mirrors to sticks to create moonbeams

Gluing mirrors to sticks

Layers of cardboard were glued in the center of the base to reach the depth of the paper maché plate.

Cardboard added to center of moon backing

Cardboard added to the center

Gluing everything together

Cardboard eyelashes were glued into the slit. This almost looks like gluing regular eyelashes!

Gluing eyelashes to moon sculpture

Gluing eyelashes to moon sculpture

Tinsel was gathered and glued around the edge of the moon on the underside.

Tinsel glued to moon sculpture

Tinsel glued to moon sculpture

Finally the moon sculpture was glued to the backing using tacky glue. I held it in place with pressure on it for about 20 minutes. I didn’t want to crush the eyelashes by placing something heavy on top!

Gluing the mirrored backing to moon sculpture

Gluing the mirrored backing to moon sculpture

Finishing touches

I decided to lighten up the eyebrows then I went over everything with satin varnish. After that dried I applied two different kinds of iridescent glitter in strategic places: inside craters, on the eyes, eyelashes and mouth.

This step I like to think of as painting with glitter.

paperclay moon closeup

Sleepy Moon with glitter embellishments

Introducing the Sleepy Moon!

Here she is in all her glittering glory!

Sleepy Moon wall art paperclay sculpture

Sleepy Moon wall art

For more photos, check her out here.

Related projects

Muse in the Moon sculpture
Starburst mirror

New year, new website!

blue new year 2015

Happy New Year 2015

This is my first official post on LyndaMakara.com and I just wanted to say hi to everyone and let you know what’s going on.

Even though I just launched my site at the end of January 2015, you’ll find articles here dating as far back as 2011.

That’s because for the last four years I’ve been writing for various other sites. I’ve also been selling my art on Etsy for roughly the same amount of time.

Now with my new website I’m bringing everything together. There are still some things that need tweaking, and I haven’t finished setting up my art store. Hopefully I’ll get that done soon, so please bear with me.

And there are lots of new posts coming up about my DIY adventures remodeling my house and creating a modern low-maintenance backyard oasis.

I’ve got some new art projects planned as well, such as a sleepy moon wall sculpture. Sleepy Moon is the name of the artwork used in the header. I think she’s divine, don’t you?

I would also love to hear your suggestions for tutorials. Please let me know what you’re interested in.

Here’s to a great new year!


Lynda and Koda


Making a moon art sculpture with paper clay

lady moon art sculpture

Muse in the Moon by Lynda Makara

This tutorial shows how I made a heavenly crescent moon art sculpture for a client using paper clay, simple craft supplies and common household items. The techniques I share can be used to create sculptures in different shapes and sizes.

You’ll see step by step how the project progressed from the initial sketch to creating a foundation, building the moon sculpture in layers and then painting it.

Supplies for the moon sculpture

supplies for moon art sculpture

Supplies for moon art sculpture

These are the things I used for this project:

  • Creative Paperclay
  • Corrugated cardboard and heavy paper
  • Wire: tie wire, 22 and 24 gauge dark annealed wire
  • Glue: hot glue and Aleene’s Tacky Glue
  • Wire cutters and needlenose pliers
  • Scissors
  • X-acto knife
  • Fine grit sandpaper
  • Paint and brushes
  • Satin varnish

The moon sculpture starts with a sketch

sketch of Muse in the Moon by Lynda Makara

Sketch of Muse in the Moon by Lynda Makara

Whenever I’m making a sculpture, I often start with a sketch. Because this was a commissioned piece, my client had to approve the sketch.

She wanted a woman in the moon with a knowing look, dainty features and real eyelashes. And she wanted to be able to hang it from the ceiling.

The dimensions for the sculpture are 9″ in diameter and 2″ in width. I actually took a 9″ paper plate to trace the outline for this full size drawing.

Paper patterns made from the sketch

paper pattern for moon sculpture

Paper pattern for moon sculpture

I wanted to keep the original sketch intact so I traced it onto heavy paper, cut it out, then made another smaller piece to use as a template for cutting cardboard in the next step.

Making the foundation out of cardboard cutouts of the moon

cardboard foundation for moon sculpture

Cardboard foundation for moon sculpture

Every sculpture needs a foundation to make it sturdy and to use less clay. For a piece of this size I like to use corrugated cardboard from old shipping boxes. You most likely have a few lying around if you happen to do any online shopping.

The thickness of the cardboard makes the shape bulk up faster. I cut out six pairs of moon shapes but only ended up using five. Each layer was a little smaller than the last. The layers get glued together.

Using wire to create a hanger and add support: tie wire and 22 gauge wire

embedding wire hanger inside sculpture

Embedding wire hanger inside sculpture

I use tie wire a lot in my artwork because it’s strong but not too hard to bend.

Here it’s being used to make a hanger that the moon will be suspended from. I wanted to embed it into the center to make sure it would stay in there forever and not get pulled out. I also wanted to reinforce the crescent tip.

Then I cut a piece of 22 gauge wire to bind the tie wire at a certain point, shown in the next step.

Wrapping the wire hanger with 22 gauge wire

securing the wire hanger

Securing the wire hanger

I used this 22 gauge wire to bind the tie wire together at the point where it would project out.

The tie wire started at the crescent tip, went down toward the middle, then came back up near the top.

Gluing the layers together using hot glue and tacky glue

Wire used to reinforce the ends: 24 gauge wire

wire for reinforcing cardboard frame

Wire for reinforcing cardboard frame

Dark annealed 24 gauge wire is strong but bends easily around shapes.

Wrapping the ends with 24 gauge wire

wrapping ends with wire

I wanted to reinforce the ends with wire because they were going to be so thin. I wrapped in one direction, from left to right, then back the other way.

Finishing the wire wrapping

wrapping ends with wire

To finish wrapping, the ends of the wire were twisted under in little loops then secured with hot glue.

Both ends wrapped with wire

both ends wire wrapped

Both ends wire wrapped

Comparing the wire wrapped cardboard form with the paper pattern. So far so good.

Wrapping the cardboard moon with strips of paper

wrapping cardboard form with paper

Wrapping cardboard form with paper

Strips of wet paper were wrapped around the cardboard and secured with a little tacky glue. I wanted to cover the crevices to be able to use less clay.

cardboard moon wrapped with paper

Cardboard moon wrapped with paper

After wrapping with paper, I let this dry for a little bit before covering with clay.

Tip #1: Keep it fresh

When working with clay, pull out a small piece at a time and leave the rest in an airtight container or plastic bag

Covering the cardboard form with clay

covering the cardboard form with clay

Covering the cardboard form with clay

Here I’m using sheets of clay that were pressed out with my fingers to achieve a somewhat lumpy texture for the moon.

Tip #2: Keep water on hand

Use water to blend pieces together

Carving the fresh clay

carving wet clay

carving wet clay

Paper clay can be carved wet or dry. Here I’m using my knife to thin this section.

Cardboard form covered with first layer of clay

first layer of clay applied to cardboard moon form

First layer of clay applied to cardboard moon form

I let this harden overnight.

Tip #3: Bake it

If you’re in a hurry, you can speed up the drying process by placing the piece in a 200 degree oven for a couple of hours.

Second layer of clay with more texture added

second layer of clay with more texture

Second layer of clay with more texture

The second layer has a lot of bumps and craters scattered about.

Adding craters to the moon sculpture

adding craters to the moon

Adding craters to the moon

I used different sized dowels to make the craters while the clay was fresh. The one in this photo is a 1/4″ dowel.

Nose added to moon face

nose added to moon face

Nose added to moon face

I added a rectangular blob for the nose and blended it onto the dried clay. You can see the wet part is darker than the rest of the moon.

I shaped it with my fingers until it matched the shape of the nose on the paper pattern. Then I used a small rounded dowel to define the sides of the nose and make nostril impressions. The end of a small paintbrush would also work.

I did one feature at a time and let it dry to avoid messing up what I had just finished.

Adding the mouth

adding the mouth

Adding the mouth

To make the mouth I rolled out a small clay snake the length of the mouth. I used my knife to shape and blend it in. Then I used the knife to separate the shape into two lips.

Front view of moon face with nose and mouth

front view of moon face with nose and mouth

Front view of moon face with nose and mouth

In this photo you can see more of the details in the nose and mouth.

Moon face with cheeks added

moon face with cheeks added

Moon face with cheeks added

To make the cheeks I rolled a small ball of clay, flattened it out a little and blended it in. It took a bit of time to make sure both sides were even.

Moon sculpture with eyes added

moon face with eyes added

Moon face with eyes added

Just before I did the eyes, my client decided she wanted them closed.

I used a small ball of clay for the eyes. I added a snake above them for the eyebrows. I blended everything in and made the eyelid crease by pressing in with my fingers. Then I cut a groove into the lid for the eyelashes to be added afterwards.

Template for the closed eye

closed eye template

Closed eye template

I drew this template on wax paper and used it as a guide to make sure the eyes were the same on both sides.

Front view of moon face before sanding

front view of moon face

Front view of moon face

Here is the moon with all the major sculpting completed.

After this picture was taken, I used my X-acto knife to refine the features and fine sandpaper to smooth the surface. The texture goes from smooth in the center to increasingly craggy the further it gets from the face.

Tip #4: Save your clay

Clay can be reused even after it’s dried. Put discarded chunks back in the container/bag along with a little water. It will soften up again.

Sanded face ready to paint

Painting and finishing touches for the moon sculpture. Colors used: true blue, cobalt blue and white.

Project completed. Meet the Muse in the Moon!

lady moon sculpture by Lynda Makara

Lady moon sculpture by Lynda Makara

My client was delighted!

Want me to make something special for you? You can get in touch with me through the Contact button at the top of the page.

The Muse in the Moon from different angles

More of my paper clay creations to inspire you

Related project

Sleepy Moon paper clay tutorial

How to use your new Brother XL2600i sewing machine

Need help with your new Brother XL2600i sewing machine?

If you need some help with setting up and using your brand new Brother XL2600i sewing machine, you’ll find it in this tutorial.

Maybe you’ve misplaced your manual or you just find video demonstrations more helpful. I’ve rounded up the manual and the best YouTube videos for the Brother XL2600i showing how to set it up, how to wind the bobbin and how to thread the machine.

Also included are videos for basic sewing: seams, sleeves, zippers, buttons and gathering. Finally, I share five of my favorite sewing tips as an experienced seamstress and dollmaker.

Setting up your new Brother sewing machine

View the manual for the Brother XL2600i sewing machine

All the instructions you need for setting up your new Brother XL2600i sewing machine are included in the manual. For your convenience I’ve included a link to the PDF file:

Brother XL2600i sewing machine manual

For video demonstrations, please continue below.

How to wind the bobbin of the Brother XL2600i demonstrated by novice seamstress Natalie Mootz

Loading the bobbin on the Brother XL2600i sewing machine, a YouTube video by Natalie Mootz

Threading the machine and using the automatic needle threader on the Brother XL2600i, an easy to follow video demo by Natalie Mootz

How to bring up the bobbin thread on the Brother XL2600i, demonstrated by YouTuber Natalie Mootz

You’re all set up and ready to sew!

Using your new Brother XL2600i for the first time

Now that your sewing machine is threaded, you’re ready for sewing.

What I like to do when I get a new sewing machine is to make test swatches of all the stitches. This is a fast way to get familiar with your machine.

Get a long strip of scrap fabric, select a stitch and sew for a couple of inches. Select the next stitch and sew again for a couple more inches, and so on. You can keep this swatch for future reference.

I also like to test out the buttonhole feature just to see how it works. When it comes time to actually do a buttonhole on a real project, you want to make sure to make a test buttonhole using a scrap from the fabric you’re working on. After you make your sample buttonhole, open it up and make sure the button goes through it easily. Sometimes you need to make adjustments to the buttonhole depending on how thick or thin the fabric is.

Five tips for general sewing

  1. Always lock your stitches by backstitching at the beginning and end of every seam. That way your seams won’t accidentally pull apart.
  2. Use sewing pins with a round head on the end. They’re easier to remove and easier to see.
  3. Use a seam ripper to hold down the fabric while sewing. If I need to hold down a seam really close to the presser foot, I use the tip of my seam ripper to guide the fabric instead of my finger. That way I can get really close to the needle without getting my finger in the way.
  4. For a professional look when sewing denim, use 30 weight cotton thread in the bobbin and top thread. Make sure to use the right size needle too.
  5. If you’re having trouble sewing over thick seams, or jumping the hump, raise up the back of your presser foot with a piece of folded cardboard or a Jean-a-ma-jig tool. Make sure to go slow over the seam.

My favorite sewing tool of all time for fast precision snipping

I couldn’t sew without my thread snips

One thing I can’t stand is to have thread tails all over a garment, and these razor sharp thread snips are just the thing for trimming them right off at the base. And they’re easier to use than scissors due to the spring action. I also use them many times instead of a seam ripper.

Source: Fiskar’s thread snips

Thread tension tip:

If your thread tension is off, the easy way to see which thread is causing the problem is to use a different colored thread in the top and bobbin. That way you can easily see which thread might be too loose or too tight.

Learn basic sewing from these videos on YouTube

Beginner sewing topics covered here are how to sew a seam, how to sew a sleeve, how to sew a zipper, how to sew buttons and three ways to gather.

How to sew a basic seam

How to sew a sleeve

How to sew zippers

How to sew on buttons

How to gather

More helpful sewing information

Recommended reading

Great sewing tips from Nancy Zieman. Must-have reference books for beginning sewers.

Nancy Zieman is the host of the popular long-running PBS show Sewing with Nancy, and I’ve been a fan of hers for years. She shares a lot of wonderful tips for beginning sewers in these two books.

Sew with Confidence: A Beginner’s Guide to Basic Sewing

Nancy Zieman’s Sewing A to Z: Your Source for Sewing and Quilting Tips and Techniques

Creative gift card upcycled gifts

candy filled recycled jar

Candy filled recycled jar

When it comes to giving gift cards, I follow a very simple equation:

Gift card + candy + recycled container = nice gift.

Why candy? Well, it doesn’t cost that much, it looks pretty and just about everyone likes it, sometimes even better than the gift it comes with.

And why use recycled containers? Well, why not! I save little boxes, baskets and ribbons people give me, as well as nice glass jars when they’re empty. A small amount of time and effort is all it takes to transform them into a special gift for someone.

Dove Chocolate Promises

Dove Chocolate Promises

All the examples show my favorite candy in the world, Dove Chocolate Promises. I always have it on hand and I think the foil wrappers are so pretty. However, the same ideas will work with other wrapped candies.

So here are seven really simple ways to dress up a gift card, cash, stocking stuffer or other small gift.

Gift idea #1: Fancy box

fancy star box

Fancy star box

This is a fancy star box someone gave me which I filled with chocolate and nestled a gift card inside. Topped off with iridescent curly ribbon.

Gift idea #2: Cookie tin

Recycled cookie tin

Recycled cookie tin

I lined this pretty cookie tin with gold tissue paper and filled with candy. The gift card goes right on top or gets buried underneath. Then the tin is tied up with a gossamer gold ribbon.

Gift idea #3: Glass jar wrapped in a doily

Recycled jar and doily

Recycled jar and doily

This is just a plain glass jar wrapped in an old doily I had hanging around. Same story, gift card, cash or small gift inside along with chocolate, and tied with a pretty wired ribbon.

If you don’t have a doily you could use tulle, a fabric scrap, gift wrap, a scarf or a cloth napkin.

Gift idea #4: Sachet

candy sachet

Candy sachet

This is more like a stocking stuffer. The candy by itself could be a gift, tied up in gold mesh with a curly ribbon, or there could be a small trinket inside.

Gift idea #5: Jewelry gift box

recycled jewelry gift box

Recycled jewelry gift box

This is the type of box that jewelry normally comes in, but it’s the perfect size to hold a gift card. Put a bow on top and you’re done.

Small gift with gift box

Small gift with gift box

And here I’m using the earrings and the box they came in, along with the coordinating bow. I just took out the cotton padding, lined the box with gold mesh, filled with candy and put the jewelry on top.

Gift idea #6: Handpainted recycled jar

Handpainted recycled jar

Handpainted recycled jar

One of the simplest things to do is to hand paint an old glass jar to hold your cash, trinket or gift card. Please refer to my glass painting tutorial for ideas and instructions. A pretty wired ribbon finishes the look.

Gift idea #7: DIY gift basket

The most elaborate idea is to make your own gift basket. I like to reuse the baskets I receive to customize a gift for someone else. In this case you could use the whole bag of candy and add other things like cookies, nuts, dried fruit, trail mix, coffee, tea or hot chocolate. These inexpensive items make a more impressive statement when grouped together. Then the gift card could go in an envelope right in front of the basket. The whole basket can be wrapped in a length of tulle and tied with a colorful wired ribbon.

And there you have it—seven easy ideas for gift card giving.