Get your glitter fix without the mess

Posted: Sunday, December 20, 2009

I love glitter - tiny sparkly specs of sunshine that light up the wintertime and make the holidays twinkle. And crafters worldwide agree, as they break out their tubes of the glitzy stuff starting each December.

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Tanna Peters / For The Juneau Empire
Tanna Peters / For The Juneau Empire

But if you're like me, your loved ones aren't too keen on glitter's tendency toward taking over. It gets in every nook and cranny and doesn't let go. So, here are a few all-ages crafty tutorials to get your twinkly fix without the glitter pain.

Snowflake ornaments

This how-to works with glitter glue to keep those flyaway glitter specs tame.

Tools:

Plain ornament balls, toilet paper tube, glitter glue, sliver permanent pen, crystal and pearl beads, dowel and two chairs.

Directions:

Cut the toilet paper tube into 2-inch sections to use as ornament stands while working.

Cut out the ornament snowflake pattern provided here, or design your own with inspiration from real snowflakes at www.snowcrystals.com. A clever clue for your snowflake is to design it in patterns divisible by three (have you ever seen a square snowflake?).

Place pattern behind a clear ornament ball and trace in the pattern on the other side with glitter glue. Alternatively use a colored ball and mark your pattern first with the permanent pen, then fill in with dots using glitter glue.

Continue decorating snowflakes by gluing beads periodically into the pattern. For a quick and elegant look, fill the clear ball with shimmering beads, Epsom salts (to look like snow), pearls or lace. Hang your ornaments with some wire or ribbon on a dowel stretched between two chair backs for the drying process.

To keep the look refined use unified color palettes (like red glitter and beads on a red ball). A tip, the glitter glue dries slowly so dots of glue can work better than globs that drip. To keep the glitter glue clean just snip the tip of the applicator and insert a pin or toothpick in between gluing sessions.

Crystal icicles

Long strands of bright beads create endless icicle possibilities.

Tools:

Various crystal, pearl and white beads (use different sizes and textures to create dimension) and monofilament (aka fishing line from the tackle box).

Directions:

Neatly knot one end of a 4-foot length of fishing line. Begin your icicle string by feeding a larger crystal bead to the end to weigh it down. Now shuffle on assorted beads in any pattern. Choose beads that reflect light and glitter on their own. I used sliver balls, larger pearls and crystal tube beads.

Finish the other end with another large bead for weight. To keep your knots from coming undone, safely melt the knot on either end using a match or candle. Practice this a few times so you don't burn through.

Now, hang your crystal icicles in groups, as individual strands or as swags over your window. Make sure they're in a spot to reflect natural daylight and indoor holiday lights. Try using larger beads to create icicles perfect for tree garland.

And if you're in a pinch for some self-decoration, throw it round your neck as a lovely choker. Endless possibilities abound with your own crystal icicles.

To check out more handmade ornament images and other ideas hop on over to my blog at www.alaskacrafter.com. Leave your comments and questions for a chance to appear in an upcoming craft column.

• Tanna Peters is a local crafter, illustrator and designer. Craft with her online at www.alaskacrafter.com and join the Craft Addicts, a local crafting collective, at www.craftaddicts.blogspot.com. Direct your craft questions to tanna.craft@gmail.com.



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