Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Mermaid Jar

If you are anything like me, you collect things--buttons, scrapbook paper, recipes, and, my husband would argue, shoes, are some of my favorite things to collect. ( If you go over to the Art Glitter Blog today, you will see that I also, apparently, like to collect empty jars.  I made one into a solar lantern.)  All of these collections reminds me vaguely of a certain little mermaid we all remember.  She had 20 thingamabobs, after all.  It was with this inspiration that I set out to create this mermaid jar--a place to store all of the little things that interest you.  Of course, I think of mermaids as the magpies of the sea, out to collect anything that sparkles.  The best place to start is with my glitter collection. 
I have broken the instructions for this lengthy project down into sections, so if you just want to learn how to paint on acetate, or make a bit of "sea glass", you can just read that part.  Here we go:

THE MERMAID--Painting with glitter on acetate.
Art Glitter Designer Dries Clear Glue with fine metal tip
Stayzon Black
Acetate long enough to fit around jar
Stampendous Cling Rubber Stamp CRP151 Mermaid
Glitter colors that I used (you might want to chose your own) broken down into the places used and the order they were laid down within those sections

Art Glitter Microfine Transparent 708 Ramosa
Art Glitter Mircofine Transparent 734 Sherbert
Art Glitter Microfine Transparent 717 Poupon

1)  Stamp image on center of acetate, using Stayzon.  Let dry.
2)  Flip image over--you need to glue from the back.  Place on white paper.
3)  Use Designer Dries Clear with the fine metal tip to put glue into an area and glitter.  You are "painting" with glitter, but you are also working from the first thing you see to the background.  As an example, on the hair, I first used the yellow highlights, let them dry, and then added the coppery and red background colors.  Also, keep in mind that if you want to see the next color through the first, you have to use transparent.  On the hair, I used transparent colors as the highlights so that the base colors would show through.
You can see the back of the image in this picture.  I don't have the darkest red of the hair in place yet, and you can see how there are blanks in those areas.  You need to let the image dry in between layers of color.  I am not suggesting that you stop between each color, but after you glue a color, let it dry just a little as you work on another part of the image.  Then, you can return for another layer.
Here is the front of the mermaid completed.
I used the microfine in her body to get a more subtle sparkle on her skin.  I used it on the hair to get the first round of details.  The Canadian Blue on her tail was for the shadows, but I put them in first. 
THE LID--Using glitter on 3D objects and making your own textural areas
One large mason jar.  I used one that I had bought spaghetti sauce in
One red plastic starfish.  I bought mine (in a package with a bunch more toys) at the Dollar Tree
One nail file
White Tissue Paper

1)  Cover the top of the starfish with Designer Dries Clear.  Put a little on and rub it around with your finger.
2)  Douse starfish in Pearlescent Tang Glitter.  Let dry.
3)  Sand with nail file to reveal some of the bumpy red details of the plastic beneath
4)  Glue the bottom of the starfish to to lid of the mason jar.  Use just a little of the Designer Dries Clear.  Press and hold down to the metal for a little while, as the plastic starfish is not flat.

5) In each section of the lid, cover the metal with Designer Dries Clear and then add the tissue on top of the glue, crinkling it as you put it on.  Make sure that you put a little glue under tissue that sticks up too much.
6)  Put glue over the top of the tissue and cover with Art Glitter Ultrafine Transparent 197 Flax.  Let dry,
7)  When glue is dry, cover with a layer of Globecraft Glastique.  Put this on rather heavy and expect to LEAVE IT OVERNIGHT TO DRY.  This is an important step, because it protects the tissue and all the glitter as you open and close the jar.  It is a type of sealant.

Clear Plastic Pony Beads (6-12)
Shish Kabob Skewers (6-12)
Nail File
Clear Packing Tape
Heat Tool
Non Stick Craft Sheet
1) Place bead on end of skewer and sand on nail file to remove seams and cut back on the shine.
2)  Put Designer Dries Clear all around bead and dip into any Transparent Glitter colors (mine are listed above, but you can cut down on the list if you like).
3)  Let dry by placing skewers, bead side up, into a jar.
1)  Cut a 2" or so piece of clear packing tape into a random shape.
2)  Poke a hole in the tape and thread.
3)  Dip tape into an Ultrafine Transparent Glitter.  I used Key Lime and Coral Reef for my two pieces.
4)  Working on a craft sheet, cover glitter side of tape with enamel powder adhesive and Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel (UTEE).
5)  Heat Set.  Expect lots of curling and bowing by the tape.  This creates the interesting, unexpected Sea Glass Shapes.
6)  While project is still warm, add a little more glitter.
7)  Douse with embossing fluid and more UTEE and reheat.
1)  Douse the Piccolo key with enamel powder adhesive and cover with gold embossing enamel.
2)  Heat
3)  Repeat steps one and two
4)  While still hot, dip key in Brown and Cool Brown Glitter as desired.
1)  Cover crystal in Designer Dries Clear
2)  Dip into Ultrafine Transparent color.  I used Calypso

NET--putting it all together
Completed Mermaid project
Completed Lid project
Completed Collections projects
Glue Dots
1) Cut about 24 pieces of hemp, each about 12 inches long.
2)  Wrap Mermaid around the jar.  Attach with Glue Dots, putting 3 under the opaque areas of the mermaid and a few in the back of the jar.
3)  Wrap on piece of hemp around the neck of the jar and tie in front.
4)  Tie pieces of hemp in groups of two about a half an inch apart all the way around the jar, skipping the front where the mermaid appears.
5) Starting in the back, take one piece of hemp from one pair and tie it to one piece of hemp from the next pair.  You should be making the knot about a half an inch down from the top.  Do this all the way around, skipping the part by the mermaid.
6)  Repeat step 5 in rows down the glass until almost the entire length of the jar is complete.  Occasionally, use the beads that you created in place of a knot.  You will pass both of the two pieces of hemp through the single bead.
7)  Poke two small holes in the bottom of the back of the acetate and thread hemp through it.  Make sure that the hemp ends wind up on top of the acetate.  Tie this hemp in the front of the jar.
8)  The hemp in step 7 is your ending point.  When you reach this, you should have two ends of hemp that tie next to each other, echoing step 4.

 9)  The front and sides are not going to be tidy.  They shouldn't be.  Just tie them up together as you see fit.  Be sure and leave the mermaid showing.
You can sort of see the way that the side is crooked and messy here.  My thought is that these would have been discarded bits of fishing net that she would have put together to hold down her collections.  Therefore, imperfection is key.
10)  Tie the rest of the collection pieces ("sea glass", key, crystal) that you have made to the net.
11)  Fill with whatever you like.  If you look carefully at my picture, you will see that I even used a little Art Glitter Ultrafine Transparent 85 Crystal on one of the shells that I dropped in mine.
I hoped you enjoyed this lengthy tutorial.  I certainly loved making this project and intend to keep it, for myself for a change!  As you know, you can ALWAYS change yours to make it simpler or include less ingredients.  I hope you can use some of the things I mentioned here today.  Sparkle On!


  1. You are just too much! That mermaid is gorgeous! WOW!

  2. Over the top, once again, Miss Laura!!!

  3. REALLY AWESOME!!!! I love it!!!!! That'd go over big here in coastal MA.

  4. You are just too clever! Over the top, not for Laura!

  5. Love your sea glass from packing tape! Great project, Laura!

  6. This is fascinating, what a project! She is lovely, I have that stamp but have not used her yet. I will have to get my glitter out, I never remember to use it.

  7. Just lovely Laura. Good to see you are going to keep it for yourself.