Monday, June 10, 2019

Creative Inspiration From Vacation: 5 Of The Best Summer Crafts To Try

Crafting in the summer is ideal since we usually have more leisure time to spend on fun projects and we are (hopefully) more relaxed than we are during the rest of the year. One of the biggest reasons I look forward to a vacation every summer is the solitary time I get to spend collecting my creative thoughts in a relaxing environment. Inspiration always seems to strike while I'm on vacation, whether just sitting on a beach people watching or camping in the mountains. 

This inspiration is always two-fold. When I'm relaxed and in a different physical environment my mind seems to loosen the chains around the thoughts of what I am usually making (jewelry) and I give myself the freedom to explore new and different things. In a nutshell: Not only do I come home inspired to experiment with a brand new craft, but I also always seem to also have a brand new perspective on my usual work. For me, vacations breed ideas.

Whether you're tacking a project solo or crafting with a partner or kids, summer is the perfect time to try something new. Here are my picks for five great summer crafts to try out during the warm summer months:

1. Tie Dye

Summer is definitely the best time of the year to try out any crafts that verge on the messy side, and tie dye certainly is one of them! Using a large amount of permanent dyes indoors can be a recipe for disaster, but if you have space outdoors to create, then that changes everything! What you will need: You can purchase tie dye kits at most craft stores, and these are great because they will usually have most of the supplies that you will need right in the package, or at least a list of additional items that you may need printed on the outside of the package. 
If you can, work outside on a picnic table or patio table, but move it onto the grass, as drips of dye and soda ash can stain your patio surface. Use a plastic table cover too, rubber gloves, and have old towels and paper towels handy for easy cleanup. Basic supplies include: cotton t-shirts, socks, or other material to dye, rubber bands, tie dye dyes, buckets, soda ash, and water. Here's a basic tie dye tutorial to get you started. 

2. Paint Pouring

Paint pouring AKA acrylic paint pouring AKA "dirty" pouring are all terms for the same thing, which basically is a craft where different colored acrylic paints and a couple other additives are "layered" by being poured one by one into a plastic cup and then afterward slowly poured over a canvas or other surface. The layered paint in the cup, aided by the additives (most often silicone or Flotrol paint additive) creates beautiful patterns as it flows across the surface of the canvas. No paint brushes are needed, though crude tools can be used to help gently guide the paint (think paint stirrer or pallet knife.)

Supplies are for the most part inexpensive and consist of acrylic craft paints, lots of white acrylic paint, an additive like the ones I mentioned above, and canvases. The paint-covered canvas is then set aside for days or even weeks until it is fully cured or dried. 

Why is this craft great for summer? Warmer temperatures aid in drying the paint faster, and the ability to work outdoors or in an area such as an open garage helps to lessen the mess and the paint odors. 

3. Rain Chains

Making a rain chain is a mix between a craft project and a DIY home project - you can be creative with the process, they're fun to make, and they are a DIY improvement to your home or garden and outdoor landscape. What's a rain chain? A rain chain is a creative and aesthetic alternative to collect rain water and/or direct rain water away from your home, kind of like a downspout does. 

You can make a rain chain with different types of chain, or you can get creative and use other objects linked together to create a rain chain. Some ideas for rain chains: vintage flatware such as spoons or forks, wine bottles, plastic bottles, small containers, heavy gauge wire and rocks, crystals, or beads...what creative ideas do you have for interesting or unusual materials that you could use to create a rain chain? Check out these great rain chain ideas to get you started!

4. Seashell Crafts & Jewelry

Natural materials abound outdoors, and seashells  especially are summer-related finds fit for creative ideas. No longer seen solely as kitsch, shells and other organic materials are once again on the uptick for creative crafts, jewelry and home decor—they're just being used in new, innovative ways.

Jewelry is forever a popular choice, and now combined with paint or resin takes on a whole new look. Embellished shells, whether done with permanent marker or metallic spray paint, make pretty bowl-fillers and can be used in lots of other projects. 

Try using Micron pens to create designs like the ones shown above. Coat them with sealant when finished. To jump-start your creativity, check out my seashell jewelry projects in my book, Boho Chic Jewelry: 25 Timeless Designs Using Soldering, Beading, Wire-Wrapping and More.

5. Upcycled Flea Market & Yard Sale Finds

Summer is the perfect time to get going on those upcycled creations using your flea market and yard sale finds. The last thing you want is to have that great "find" from someone else's yard sale sit around in your garage or basement only to eventually become your own future yard sale item! 

So what is it that you had planned on making? A garden chandelier of mason jar planters from an old ceiling fixture? An old, outdated metal globe transformed into chic painted home decor? No matter what the project, summer is the perfect time to clear out some of those items by upcycling them into something new and putting them to good use. What project will you work on this summer?

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Have a great week!

Article and images copyright ©Laura Beth Love 2020 and may not be republished in print or other media without express written permission from the author.