Hello my crafty friends. It’s Laura here with you today and I’ve got something a bit different for you! I’m going to show you a super fun way to stretch your dies to decorate for a holiday party. In other words, I’m giving you a good reason (with tangible results!) to show your husband when he asks why you need more…well, anything craft related! 😉 I am a HUGE fan of alphabet dies and stamps because they are so versatile. Don’t have a particular sentiment? Use your alpha set! Want to personalise a card, making it super special for the recipient? Use your alpha set! See where I’m going with this? Today I’m going to show you how to use Concord & 9th’s Double Cut Alphabet Dies to make charms for champagne or wine glasses. These little beauties will be a fun touch to add to your holiday party – or to give to the host and/or hostess of a party you attend! And, if you hang in there, I’m going to show you how to give your champagne glasses a little bit of bling to really help drive home that holiday sparkle!
When I started this project I experimented and tested several ways to create the charms, and I learned a few things along the way, so when you go making these it will be a breeze! I’m going to show you each style of tag (there are four basic styles I’ve got here but your imagination is the limit!) and give you instructions on each along with a few helpful tips. First I’ll go through the actual wine charms then I’ll explain how to create the charm hanger and the glittered champagne (or wine!) glasses!
I know I always say it, but today i mean it: we’ve got LOTS to cover so let’s get started.😉
- This first style shown below is my original concept and ended up being one of my favourites. But hey, we all know I LOVE glitter. And these charms bring it in spades! I love the intense sparkle these give off, and they would really add a bit of bling hanging on a wine glass that hasn’t been glittered. They are fairly simple to put together and it’s a great activity you can do while sitting in front of the tv.
I die cut the letters from Neenah Solar White five times (each.) I wanted to make sure the charms would be sturdy enough but in hindsight I think three layers would have sufficed. AND, now The Little Paper Tree is stocking the 110lb Neenah so maybe even just two layers if you use a thicker card. Don’t worry about keeping the inner and outer layers together at this point because we have another step to do before layering them together.
To give the charm a way to hang on the wire, I needed to cut a tiny bit off the top corner of each inner die cut letter. To make sure each layer had the cut in the exact same place I started with just one die cut layer, then glued a second (inner) die cut to the bottom of the first. That way, I could just follow carefully along my original cut line for the subsequent layer(s). Once all the inner letter layers were glued together, I glued the outer letter layers together. With that many layers stacked together, it was easy to fit the outer letters around the inner letters and they stayed put for the next step.
I pressed each letter (all sides!) into Distress Oxide Ink pads (in Lucky Clover and Candied Apple) to get them nice and inky. I had some Nuvo Ice White glitter opened and ready to go so I doused the letters with glitter. I used Oxides here because they are so wet and have lots of pigment. The white glitter will take on the background colour and the ink is wet enough that it will stick fairly well until the next step.
To make them a little more water resistant and to lock all that gorgeous glitter in, I covered the entire back of each letter with Glossy Accents. Once it was dry, I turned it over and did the other side, carefully dabbing a bit around the edges too (not so much that its sopping down the sides – you don’t want it to adhere to your crafting surface!) The Glossy Accents also acts as sort of a binding agent to keep the outer and inner letters together. Also, you can use a toothpick to help spread the Glossy Accents out and into the small areas around the opening for the wire. TIP: If I were to do this method again, I would probably use a clear (or sparkle) embossing powder instead of the glossy accents. Keep reading to learn how to do that method in upcoming charms instructions.
- The next two charms use almost the same process (as in example 1) but with a few key changes. First, I cut the letters from coloured card stock (there’s a fab selection at The Little Paper Tree!) THREE times each. For the red and green ‘L’ example, I used the same corner-snipping process as outlined in the first charm (above.) Since I wasn’t going to use glitter, I wanted to add a bit of interest so I used a deep green for the outer letter and paired it with a wine, red inner letter. After I glued the three outer and inner layers together, I pressed the letter into my “ugly Betty” Versamark Watermark Ink Pad and covered with clear embossing powder. Everyone should have a dirty (read: well-loved!) Versamark pad that has ink, glitter, embossing powder, etc in it – it’s perfect for things such as this and you won’t ruin your clear Versamark ink pad!
Having done this several times, I found what worked best for me was to emboss the front side first, then the back/sides. Then emboss the front again. One thing you’ll want to be careful of when using this technique is the embossing powder melting your charm to your crafting surface. We all know that embossing powder melts to create a lovely, shiny and hard coating. We all know that hot, melted powder needs a few minutes to set so keep this in mind whilst heat embossing both sides of something. Try to use the heat as little as possible so wait until your heat gun is good and hot, then give short blasts to melt the powder. I also used the little tag/wire holes to stick a pair of tweezers through and heated it up whilst it was dangling. Keep experimenting til you find a method that works best for you!
The red ‘S’ example uses the same technique as the “L” but you only need to die cut and glue three outer layers before heat embossing with the clear embossing powder.
- Next up we have a super simple tag that is really easy to make in a flash! Some letters do not work as well as others (in this method) but I found a fairly easy work-around so keep reading!
All I had to do for the navy ‘J’ example was to die cut a circle from navy blue card, then die cut the letter from the circle. I couldn’t quite fit the whole ‘J’ so that it was straight up and down, so I cut it on an angle. I could have gone up a size for the circle, but personally I preferred the smaller circle and how the ‘J’ was a bit cattywampus – I think it adds a bit fun and playfulness. It is a party after all! 😄 Then I just heat embossed both sides as explained above. You could totally step this up a notch and heat emboss with a sparkle embossing powder to give it a bit more flair!
The red ‘B’ example shows how not all letters work for this style of tag (unless you like the really open look, then you are great!) Some letters looked alright without their centers well enough, but some letters, such as ‘B’ it just seemed TOO big and the shape wasn’t as well defined. So, an easy fix was to add the outer die cut layer back in. But I needed a way for it to stay connected to the letter opening. So I heat embossed both sides as described above then I added a piece of acetate behind it. Then I used a spot of glue to adhere the letter die cut and Viola! You can go a step further and add a “back” but honestly, I think it looks fab as-is and you won’t really see the backside of the charms.
- For the last example, I brought in a die from Catherine Pooler Designs. I used a tag from the Tiny Tags Dies that came in the Home for the Holidays Stamp of Approval Box. I cut it two times from green card, and also cut the letter ‘K’ two times from the wine colored card. I adhered the two green tags together with Tombow to give the charm a bit more stability. Then I adhered both the inside and outside of the die cut letters to both sides of the green tag and then covered with the clear embossing powder (as explained in the previous charms.)
If you want, you could use a stamp and image (from the coordinating Tiny Wishes Stamp Set) instead of initials to create distinct charms. There’s no limit to what you can create!
Charm Wire Hangers:
That’s the tags done. Now we need something to hang them from. If you are going to make a lot of these, I would highly recommend using jewelry wire because it would be SO much quicker and it would honestly look a bit better than the paperclip method I used. If you go the jewelry wire route, get a pair of jewelry pliers and some 26 gauge jewelry wire (or better again 1” round memory wire and it will already be perfectly curved and all you have to do is trim to size!)
I used small paper clips for my charms BUT it was a labour of love and did take quite a while. I really wanted to use some old dangle, hoop earrings but I couldn’t find any. Metal Christmas ornament hooks would have worked a treat also, but alas, I cannot ever find any here in Ireland and I need the few I have for my Christmas Tree ornaments. So, I got creative and started rummaging through the house to see what would work. No matter what material you choose, it basically uses the same process as outlined below.
First you’ll want to straighten out your wire. I used my hands at first and tried to soften/warm it up in as much as possible (to make it as pliable as possible.) Then I used tools I had on-hand to help straighten, then curve my wire into shape. You’ll want something about an inch in diameter and it should be a hard surface you can really press your wire into. At first I was using an embossing powder container but it wasn’t quite the diameter I wanted so I found a conical-shaped powder tool container that worked super well. I could basically start on the wider part and as the metal warmed up and got softer, I could used the top/smaller end to get the circle smaller. Tip: this process does take a while. I was fine doing the four wires but the more I did, the sloppier my charms got because I was so tired from messing with the wire. This is a PERFECT activity for sitting in front of the tv or while you are sitting at your child’s training (or game!)
Once you have the wire shaped about how you like it, take your wire cutters (I have them for snipping my dies apart!) to carefully bend back one end to create a small hook. For the other end, turn the hook about 90 degrees so that the two ends can hook together. Wire cutters are really meant to cut the wire so hence the “be careful”. Needle nose or Round nose/jewelry pliers would probably be better for this but hey, gotta get resourceful sometimes!
At this point I still felt my circle wasn’t quite straight and/or flat so I hooked the two ends together and used my extra large bone folder to press down on top of the entire circle (see photo.) Then, with the ends still hooked, I took the circle back to my powder tool and pushed it down as far as it could go and worked the metal to bend and flatten it as much as possible. Keep working the metal until you are happy with the loop.
If you have using hoop earrings, just take off the beads and whatever else is on the wire and add your charm. Super easy. If you are working with christmas ornaments hanger or jewelry wire, you would do the steps as above but the wire will warm, and thus be easier, to bend and smooth into shape. Because the wire is softer, do be careful when bending the hooks if you are using wire cutters! Use a dry baby wipe or a paper towel between the wire and the wire cutters to prevents indents or unwanted breakage.
Now you have some beautiful, handmade wine charms for your guests to use at your Christmas dinner!
Glitter Champagne Glasses:
As promised, I have a bonus for y’all. I’m going to give you a quick tutorial on how to make the glitter Champagne glasses for an extra special sparkle on your dinner table. I make these glasses all the time for friends and family for special occasions such as weddings, hallmark birthdays, and holiday gifts. They are really easy to do, but there is a bit of wait time involved so you will need a place to store the glasses whilst they dry. The Little Paper Tree stocks my absolute FAVORITE glitter – Nuvo Pure Sheen Glitter. It’s super fine and has some really, intense sparkle. For this project I used Pure Sheen in Ice White, Rose Gold, and Olive Green. I wanted to complete the Christmas colours so I also used a red glitter I had on-hand.
You can use glasses you already have if these are for yourself) or you can buy them fairly cheap at a Euroshop (Poundland) or at most superstores. I got a four-pack of champagne glasses from Dunnes for €5. That is a deal! That works out to €2.25/glass and that’s only 25 cents more than glasses at the Euroshop – and the quality is, in my opinion, far superior and worth the extra bob.
You’ll also want a really good glue made to handle lots of contact and can be cleaned. For this I use Mod Podge Dishwasher Safe. You can also use Mod Podge Glossy (the original – the small bottle shown in the photo) but technically it’s not as watersafe and you most certainly shouldn’t put anything you’ve applied it to into the dishwasher. I’ve done over two dozen glasses all using the same method as outlined below and I still have a little bit left in my 8oz bottle of (Dishwasher Safe.) You will get your money’s worth from the bottle so make sure you get the proper type for your purpose!
- Prep the glasses by giving spritzing with rubbing alcohol and wiping with cotton wool to remove any dirt and oils on the glass. Focus on cleaning the stems and make sure to there is a clean surface for the glue to stick to. In the states you can get rubbing alcohol easily enough but in Ireland, its a bit harder to find. You can find it by asking the pharmacist or from places that supply it to industries that need it such as IT firms and vinyl/sign making companies. You can see in the photo, I have some from my vinyl supplier, MDP. You only need a small squirt per glass so you don’t need to invest in something as large as this! I use mine for other crafting projects so that’s why I got such a big bottle. 😉
Have something to pour a bit of Mod Podge into (such as the disposable tins shown in the photo) so you don’t get any glitter into your bottle. I also use a disposable spoon to put the Mod Podge into the tin so I don’t put too much in at a time.
- Now use a small sponge (or a flat paintbrush) to apply a thin layer of the Mod Podge starting from where the stem meets the cup – and go all the way down to the base. The goal is to have a smooth, evenly applied layer of glue for the glitter to adhere to. We are going to do several layers of this, so keep it light and thin at this point. The thinner the glue, the better the glitter will adhere (and look!)
For this first layer I really try not to get any glue on the edge of the base. I will eventually (I do this all the time and it always creeps just over the edge at some point) so don’t stress if you do get some unwanted glue on the edge. After each time I apply Mod Podge, I run the side of my finger around the edge to remove any unwanted glue/glitter. As long as you wipe away any stray glue while it’s still wet, you’ll never know it was there.
If you really want to get it perfect, or had too much coffee and can’t do it free-hand, use blue painter’s tape to mask off your edges to mark them exactly where you want them. Just be sure to take the tape off before the Mod Podge dries.
- Have your glitter cap off, ready to go and make sure you have something to catch scrap glitter in. There will be LOTS to pour back into the bottle because now you just douse your Mod Podge’d champagne glass in glitter. You might think this will take lots of glitter because you’ll end up pouring about half a bottle onto the glass to get it covered, but honestly I’ve made at least 8 glasses from the green and it’s barely a third gone. There’s A LOT in those pots of glitter so it’s a very good value for money.
- Once the entire stem is covered in that gorgeous glitter, tap the bottom a few times to get excess glitter off. Wipe any stray glitter off with your finger or a dry paintbrush. This is point when I go around the edge of the base of the stem with my finger to keep the edge looking clean.
If you are using painter’s tape, this would be the time to take it off.
- Let the glasses dry for at least an hour. Drying time will depend on the temperature and will take longer in the winter if you are doing them in a cold kitchen like I was! I personally like to let them dry for longer and I typically do a layer in the morning, let them dry all day. Then do a second layer/coat in the evening before I go to bed so they can dry overnight. So this entire process can take about three days to fully complete.
Once the glasses are dry, tap the base again to get any excess glitter off. You can also take a dry brush and wipe off the glitter that hasn’t adhered. I found the red came off way more so than the Nuvo colours. I couldn’t believe it how much would come off on my brush when applying a layer of Mod Podge over the glitter. It is super fine, but something about the composition makes it a bit softer blend and doesn’t stick as well as Nuvo glitters. That being said, it worked just fine, I just ended up doing an additional layer of glitter to make sure the stem and base were evenly covered.
Now its time to repeat Step 2. You will find it take a bit more Mod Podge to cover the glittery surface (as opposed to the smooth glass) but still work to keep it thin and evenly coated. Coat with another layer of glitter as described above in Step 3.
- Repeat this process until you are happy with the glitter coverage. I find that the darker colours look best with three layers, while the golds and whites can do well with two – one if you’re really pressed for time! If I’m planning to sell them, I use three layers regardless of the colour just to make sure they are as covered and sparkly as can be!
After you have the final layer of glitter applied, let it dry and tap off excess (as done previously) then coat in a thin layer of Mod Podge to start the sealing process. When applying the Mod Podge as a sealer, I like to start just above my glitter line (at the top of the stem) down to the edge/side of the base so that I really cover every little bit of glitter and seal it to the glass.
- Let this layer dry and repeat TWO more times. Each step takes about ten minutes to complete but it’s the drying and curing time that takes ages! Technically the Mod Podge needs 21 days to cure so you should try to avoid putting in the dishwasher or scrubbing the stems for a few weeks. A little light wash won’t hurt them though!
Also, as I said before, the Dishwasher Safe Mod Podge is safe for dishwashers and to hand wash with other items, but it shouldn’t be applied on surfaces in which your mouth or food will have direct contact. So, if you decide to glitter the whole way up the cup of the champagne glass, be sure to leave about an inch or so at the top to allow for drinking. Never leave the glasses to soak in water and hand wash when possible.
And, that’s it, friends! You did it!! If you’re still with me, I thank you for sticking around. And I hope you learned how to create some holiday decorations using your card making supplies. Happy creating and share your Christmas makes over in our Facebook group, The Little Paper Treehouse! I can’t wait to see everyone’s beautiful work!
Thanks for stopping by…and see Y’all next time! xo
WANT TO FIND THESE PRODUCTS:
Concord & 9th Double Cut Alphabet Dies
Catherine Pooler Designs Home For The Holidays Stamp Of Approval Collection -Tiny Tags Dies
Versamark Watermark Ink
Neenah Solar White Card
Neenah Classic Crest Card
American Craft Jewel Paper Pad – Red, Green and Navy Card
Tonic Heavy Weight Acetate
Ranger Glossy Accents
Tombow Mono Multi Liquid Adhesive
Vintaj Wire Snips
Mod Podge Dishwasher Safe
Glitter Red Embossing Powder
Memory Box Metal Adaptor
EK Success Powder Tool
Small Paper Clip
Small Sponge Brush
Disposable Metal Tin