Pop Tab Chain Mail: Time to be a Warrior

For the past year I have been collecting pop tabs. Thousands of them. The reason? I am slowly making my first cosplay and I need chain mail to make it. But seeing as I am on a budget, well, recycling was the way to go rather than purchasing and slaving over the intricate wire rings used in proper chain mail.

Chandra Nalaar Wallpaper - Wizards of the Coast

Above is Chandra Nalaar, a planeswalker from Wizards of the Coast’s game Magic: The Gathering. This is a game I have played for several years and thoroughly enjoy. I was never good at the game until I decided to switch to playing a “red” deck and a fell in love with Chandra as both a character and a planeswalker. So, I decided I would make a cosplay Chandra all on my own and finally attend a convention in an Emily built cosplay!

The first step to the cosplay, was to make the chain mail. I chose to do this first because I knew it would take a while and wanted to finish it before starting the rest of the pieces. Plus, since I decided to use pop tabs, I needed to collect the darn things! I am still not done creating the full chain mail piece, but if you want to learn how to make pop tab chain mail too, then read on!

Pop tab chain mail - A Pop of Red Tutorial

Please note: While not explicitly mentioned below, gloves may be useful for this tutorial. Pop cans and pop tabs can be a lot sharper than you imagine. They also tend to give of small metal shavings which dig into the skin. So please use your best judgement as use safety precautions as necessary (I take no liability!)

Step One: Gather Your Resources (Pop/Soda Tabs)

Any regular shaped pop tab will work. If you want a uniform look, grab them all from the same brand. If you want a more realistic battered look, then let the shapes be a bit more random. That is what I chose to do, I mean, Chandra has battled before, so her chain mail would NOT be perfect. Hint: Some pop tabs may need a slight washing first, pop gets sticky!

From pop tabs to chain mail - a tutorial

 

Step Two: Tools

Pliers, wrench (or similar surface for bending, and scissors

Making chain mail with pop tabs

 

Step Three: Remove Sharp Edges

Pop tabs do not always rip off the can nicely. You can be left will the full hoop or jagged edges which can be dangerously sharp, like those shown in the first photo below. To remove the sharpness, use your plier and fold the sharpness towards the unfinished or back side of the tab. Then press your pliers down on the part that was sharp to “fuse” the metal closer to the rest of the tab making it safer. Your non-sharpened tabs should then look something like the third picture.

Preparing pop tabs for crafting

Preparing pop tabs for chain mail

Tutorial for making pop tab chain mailStep Four: Cut the Tabs

Simply use scissors to cut into the upper/smaller end of the pop tab. Make the cut as central as possible.

Tutorial for pop tab craftsCrafting with pop tabs

Step Five: Fold the Tabs

Using the wrench, or a flat surface with something to apply pressure with, bend the cut tabs to a “slightly less than 90 degree” angle. Alter the angle to your preferences but I try to get as close to 90 degrees as possible.

Crafting with soda can tabs

Soda can crafting

Step Six: Attach Tabs to Create Mail

Start with one tab. To attach the second tab bring it underneath the first tab’s right hand side (right when cut is facing forward). Push the uncut end of the second tab into the cut end of the first tab so it looks like the photo below.

Pop tab chain maille links

An alternative view of the above shows how the cut ends are now positioned:

Chain mail links with soda can tabs

For the third tab, attach it to the first by bringing it underneath the first tab’s left side and proceeding as above. This is the basics of attaching pop tabs. The photos below show the three tabs attached.

Pop tabs and chain maille

Step Seven: Continue until Completion

Pop tab chain mail - A Pop of Red

Sorry to say, but that is really all the instruction I can give. Attach the tabs as needed to create the design you want using the method explained above. A shirt will be made with different dimensions than a wrist covering.This process can be applied to more complex items too, like purses! Just tinker until you manage to create what you envisioned.

If you get stuck, send me a message or comment below and I will do my best to walk you through it!

Pop tab chain mail - A Pop of Red Tutorial

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Make-it-yours Meatballs

Spaghetti and meatballs. Such a classical combination. And a meal that I like so much that I have been known to eat three plates in a sitting…not the best claim to fame but I enjoyed every bite!

Now, many people have a family spaghetti and meatballs recipe, and our family recipe is: go see Uncle Mark because his meatballs are amazing! But that doesn’t work when I live so far away so I had to figure out my own “family” recipe for meatballs.

Make the ultimate meatball

Now the recipe I list here has a lot of possible adaptations according to some of the experiments I have done. So don’t be afraid to change it up to suit your tastes! I think everyone should experiment (within reason) in the kitchen because only you know exactly what you like. So tinker away and share what you come up with!

Making your own meatballs

Recipe: (~12 meatballs)

½ cup oats (or bread crumbs)

½ cup milk

Oil

1lb ground beef (or other ground meat)

1 onion (peeled, grated, see note 1)

2 garlic cloves (peeled, grated or finely chopped)

1 egg (can use just yolk or use no egg, see note 2)

1-2 tbsp BBQ sauce or Worchestshire Sauce (or some combination thereof)

Spices to taste (I add oregano and pepper)

2 cups or 1 can of tomato sauce (if making spaghetti sauce with meat balls)

Making meatballs with oats and milk

Note 1: If you cry while cutting onions BEWARE! Grating onions makes it even worse but the quality of the meatballs is SO much better when they are grated.

Note 2: This recipe can be made egg-less. In my rush to take pictures I forgot to add the egg to the pictured batch. If you do omit the egg, be careful when turning the meatballs when searing. Without the egg, the meatballs are more likely to fall apart but as you can see in my photos, mine did not so it is possible to make well-formed meatballs without eggs.

Homemade meatballs

  1. Mix oats and milk in a small bowl. Set aside to soak up.
  2. Mix meat, onion, garlic, egg, sauces, and spices in a large bowl.
  3. Add the oats/milk mixture and mix well.
  4. Form the meat mixture into balls about 2 inches or 4 cm in diameter. Think golf ball size.
  5. Pre-heat a skillet to medium-high heat and add oil to completely cover the bottom. Put in the meatballs and sear on ALL sides. Drain oil.

Forming meatballs

Searing homemade meatballs

From here there are two methods you can choose: 6a) is the sauce option for it you want to simmer the meatballs in tomato sauce; 6b) if the oven option for if you want to have plain meatballs.

Homemade meatballs in spaghetti sauce

6a. Sauce option: Add sauce to the pan with the meatballs. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through. Then serve on a plate of spaghetti noodles.

6b. Dry option (NOT PICTURED): Place the meatballs on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Put in pre-heated oven at 375F for approximately 15-20 minutes. Rotate the meatballs after 5-10 minutes of cooking. Serve as desired (my husband suggests over rice with some maple BBQ sauce).

Make the ultimate meatball

So give this recipe a try and let me know what options you chose and if you made any additional changes. Share your perfected meatball recipe in the comments so everyone can try (and have a taste of your amazing-ness).

 

 

A letter to myself

A common school-age activities is writing a letter to one’s future self. An interesting activity. When writing you question if you will ever actually see the letter again, if it will mean anything to you in the future, and whether your grade will be good enough (if the activity is marked).

A letter to younger self

I wrote such a letter back in 2002 and want to share it with you, as well as my response to the letter. Note, the pictures are from my elementary school days except the family photo, I wanted to keep everything within the age range of the original letter.

Dear Emily Marie,

June, 21, 2002

I’m doing well in school this year. My teacher is Mr. B. I’m in grade five. There is 2 ½ more days of school. My favorite subject is language, because I love to read and write. My least favorite subject is math. Yuck! I can’t wait until summer.

I’ve been enjoying taking my brother to the park. We have been getting along great. I’m going to take him to the park again.

Lately I’ve been hanging out with Jessica, Caitlyn, Denise and Hillary in school. Out of school I hang with my family.

I have a few questions for you. They are: How are you? How’s your family?

Sincerely Emily

P.S. I heard about your grand dad. I feel sorry for you.

Writing letters to yourself

Dear little me,

Wow, I still write in the same blocky style as you! I like it. Easy to read. But I can see that you got bored after writing slowly for a whole 30 seconds. I do the same. Then it’s time for more random styles like the second half of your letter.

A letter to future myself

Holy cow, my favorite subjects is an interesting topic because just this year my jobs changed all that! It is true, I still love reading and writing and I thought whatever career I took would involve those things. But I also learned that I like how math can be used, there is just so much it can do! I worked both a math job and a reading/writing based job and the math one was my favorite by a long shot! So sorry little me…but the math is here to stay!

How interesting, I literally wrote about our little brother and his autism just last week. Thanks for writing about taking him to the park, I know how important that is to you! It was always so difficult to connect with him when we were kids. He would get confused by something I did and I would be confused by his negative response. Quality time with him was hard to come by, and I am so grateful you captured this time in your letter.

A letter to myself - quirky

As for friends, well I am glad you mentioned them too. These are the outcast group I would hang out with in elementary school but unfortunately I do not have contact with many of them anymore. Just Cait. I hope they all still keep their quirks, I know Cait rocks hers!

Now onto your questions. I am doing very well. I am nearly done school (thank gosh!) and have just cleared up some health problems (and no, not bronchitis little me, you got rid of that problem years ago). As for my family, well it has changed a lot since your letter. Mom and dad split up a while ago now. That was hard. But dad met a nice woman and now I have a step-family in the mix with lots of extra brothers and sisters (even a baby niece!). As for mom, she and gran are living it up in a nice new house but don’t worry, they have our little brother and some kitties to keep them company! A shock for you is that I moved away from the family, all the way to Ottawa. But that is a topic for another day.

A letter to myself - family is a constant

P.S. Losing papa (grand dad) was hard for you, but unfortunately we also lost grandpa several years after that. Both gramma and grannie are still here though and I will be sure to talk to them soon to remind them how much we love them! Plus, mom found her birth parents so there is technically another set of grandparents which you probably couldn’t imagine at your young age!

Thanks for the letter little Emily and I wish future Emily all the best!

Dear younger self

 

Nail Polish Flowers – Part Two

Nail Polish Flowers – Part One

Nail Polish Flowers – Part Two (You Are Here)

Nail Polish Flowers – Part Three (Coming Soon)

Nail Polish Flowers Tutorial

Time for part two of the nail polish flower series. This time I will be showing you how to make flowers using the second method which yields larger flowers. This method also gives you more options for experimentation and I will give you a sneak peak at some of the possibilities that you will see in the next installment of the series.

Tools you need for the nail polish flowerFirst of all, all of the supplies are the same from part one so head over there to make sure you are set up

Cut the wire to your desired length. Again I suggest starting with a 6” or 15 cm portion of 20 gauge wire. This give lots of room for the flower frame and is more forgiving than the 26 gauge when it comes to making mistakes.

 

Start by forming the first of your petals. Simply create a tear-drop or circular shape and twist once to secure.

Forming a Wire Petal

Then use your pliers to tightly wrap one wire around the other.

Forming Wire Petals

After wrapping, start on your next petal using the same method.

Making Wire Flowers

Repeat until your desired number of petals are complete.

Forming Wire Flowers

Then it is time to make twist off your petals and make a “stem.” For this, twist the two protrusions of wire together as close to the petals as necessary it make it look flush. Then use the pliers to continue that twist down the stem.

Twisting the stem for wire flowers

Frame of a Wire Flower

Now apply the nail polish as with part one of this tutorial. You can add additional coats as needed and once dry you can manipulate the petals to look more realistic.

Nail Polish Flowers Tutorial

Now one reason I prefer this method is it has more versatility. Since it relies on basic wire wrapping techniques, you can make nearly ANY design. In the image below you can see some of the other designs I have been trying out like a butterfly, a pendant, leaves, and a heart (not pictured).

Creating with wire and nail polish

In two weeks the third and final installation of this nail polish flower tutorial will be out. It will cover what you can make with all these lovely designs and showcase some of my non-flower designs.

 ———————

If you make a nail polish and wire item and want it featured in the next post, EMAIL ME at apopofred@gmail.com or find me on social media. I will select my favorites and share them will everyone.

Chocolate Chip Cookies (in class?)

chocolate-chip-cookies

Chocolate chip cookies remind me of childhood memories, cold evenings cuddled under a blanket, and making messes in the kitchen with grannie. My husband and I even have a terribly unhealthy tradition of baking a batch of my chocolate chip cookies and eating a plateful while they are still piping hot!

chocolate-chip-cookie-ingredients

I know I am not alone in my love of chocolate chip cookies. Heck, just today a professor caught me eating a chocolate chip cookie in class and stopped the lecture to have the following conversation:

Prof: “Is that a cookie?”

Me: *I nod yes*

Prof: “Is it by chance a chocolate chip cookie?”

Me: *I smile and nod again*

Prof: “Did you bring enough to share with everyone?”

Me: *I laugh* “Nope!”

Prof: “Any to share with just me?”

Me: “No way.”

Prof: “Darn. Well aren’t chocolate chip cookies everyone’s favorite bite to eat. I mean does anyone NOT like chocolate chip cookies?” *No one replies* “SEE! Everyone likes them!”

cookie-dough

It was a funny interlude to the class, especially when you consider his lectures are taped so they can be used for e-learning in later years. Now there shall forever be mention of chocolate chip cookies in mathematical economics.

cookies-on-a-pan

If you want to test whether chocolate chip cookies really are THAT GOOD, then give my chocolate chip cookie recipe a try.

Recipe (Makes 1-2 dozen cookies)

  • 2 ¼ cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp vanilla flavouring (like vanilla extract)
  • 2 eggs, large
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Any additional toppings (nuts, marshmallows, candies)

sugar-vanilla-butter

sugar-vanilla-butter2

  1. In a small bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, and salt
  2. In a large bowl, combine the butter, sugars and vanilla until creamy
  3. Beat eggs into the large bowl
  4. Slowly add the dry mixture to the large bowl
  5. Add chocolate chips and toppings, stir in
  6. Place tablespoon sized amounts of rounded dough (not balls, just slightly rounded edges) onto an ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 375F for 8-10 minutes.
  7. ENJOY!

chocolate-chip-cookies

I hope you like the cookies! Let me know of any alterations or twists to the recipe you make. I would love to keep experimenting with the recipe though I really like how it has turned out so far!

 

 

 

My brother is my hero

I have a memory of a young damsel in distress being saved by prince charming, or rather, my dorky self being rescued by my younger brother.

Brother and I with teletubbies as children

Every winter, my siblings and I would make a kind of tobogganing course in our yard. One year, we made an especially slick hill in the front yard right beside the driveway, great idea…or not. My brother and I were tobogganing away on this hill and it was my turn. But instead of sliding to the yard, the slickness sent me straight onto the driveway. I slid in such a way that my toboggan got stuck and I couldn’t get out!

Me Snowshoeing

As if on cue, dad pulled into the driveway with his little hatchback literally the second I got stuck. I thought I was going to get hit by the car!

But little brother to the rescue! While at the top of the hill he reached down, grabbed the top of the toboggan, and pushed it until I dislodged. I was able to scramble away before the car got close and I was super relieved. In my journal the next day, and at school for several years, I called my brother my hero for that very act of moving that toboggan. It seems a little silly looking back now, but I still thank my brother for it, and it is a memory we will always share because in that moment his actions meant everything!

Drawing from brother to me

So that’s a cute little story, a childhood reflection, but there some things I want to clarify. One, my little brother has autism. Two, my little brother (now quite tall!) is still my hero just for different reasons.

A drawing of my brother, by meSo my brother has autism. This can mean different things for different people but for him it comes down to:

  • Uneasiness or confusion in social situations
  • Sensory issues (his hugs are vise grips)
  • Certain types of communication difficulties
  • And some subtler things that are common with autism

Unfortunately, since autism is a classified as a developmental disability, some people look down on my brother, or don’t expect him to succeed. And this leads to why he is still my hero and that is because he defies all the negative expectations people apply to him based on his disability.

 

When my brother started high school, the administration said to aim for the OSSC or Ontario Secondary School Certificate rather than the full Diploma. What the OSSC would mean is fewer class requirements, no community service requirement, and no literacy test requirement. This didn’t sit well with him or the family. So, he made sure graduate with a Diploma and no less when he walked out of that school this year.

The high school also suggested that he stay in the school until age 25. My brother DID NOT like that option. He didn’t enjoy school as it was. He would rather be working on something outdoorsy or hands-on. Or helping family and friends Being in school until 25 would rob him of those freedoms. (He made it out by 18).

Mechanic - Brown 2

Via Geri-Jean Blanchard (FreeImages.com)

Some people question his ability to go to college and while he is not there yet, he plans to go to college to become a mechanic. He spends a lot of time tinkering with the family vehicles and is even working in a dealership autoshop to get some real experience.

Speaking of vehicles, mom was unsure about letting him work on her car, especially alone. But late one night her car needed a rushed headlight change, and dear brother was the only one available to fix it, so she let him. And low and behold the headlights were fixed in no time and when she double checked the work at the shop, they said all was done right!

So thanks to my little (yet not so little) brother for saving my life on that cold winter day so many years ago, for being my hero growing up, and continuing to be my hero today by proving you can do whatever you want to even with autism (no matter what other people may say).

To learn more about Autism, I suggest visiting AutismOntario.ca. Once upon a time I did some workshops there specifically designed for siblings of autistic people. They helped me understand what my brother goes through on a regular basis and helped me figure out my place in the family.

 

Recycled Desk Organizer

I recently learned my workplace will be moving to a new building, one that is far nicer than the little brick eyesore I work in now. As a bonus, employees were given a chance to vote on the colour scheme of the new location. The core colour will still be grey-on-grey, but the most voted for accent colours were green with light yellow polka dots and deep red. It seems like a random combination but they actually look pretty great.

Finished Office Organizer

Now, our office will not be relocating for some time but I wanted to start making some décor to suit the new office space and brighten my current one. My first project is this recycled office organizer made from a shoe box and toilet paper rolls. If you the idea and want to make your own, follow along below!

Materials for Office Organizer

Materials:

  • A Shoebox (any size)
  • Toilet Paper Rolls (enough to fill your shoebox)
  • Paint (I used acrylic craft paint)
  • Paint Brushes
  • Scissors
  • Hot Glue and Glue Gun

 

 

 

First decide how you want your finished organizer to look. I wanted two rows of sloped “pencil holders” with an open area at the back for larger items (hole punch or paper). Measure where you will need to glue and cut your toilet paper rolls. I found it very useful to cut one toilet paper roll into the sloped shape I wanted and use it as a guide for all the other rolls: fitting it like a jacket around a roll and cutting along the guide’s sloped edge.

Staging the Office Organizer

Making a guide

Once all your toilet paper rolls are cut, it is time to paint. I chose to paint the inside and outside different colours to correspond to the two accent colours of the new office space. I ended up really liking the effect too! Just make sure you let each layer dry, it will take quite a few layer and you do not want to soften any of the cardboard.

Painting the organizerFinishing the paint

Once dry it is time to glue your toilet paper rolls inside the shoebox in your desired pattern. Just make sure you have everything lined up before gluing. As you can see below, some of my inner pieces do not quite line up, and that is because I turned the rolls the wrong direction while gluing and caused the slopes to no longer line up. Insert sad face here…

Gluing the rolls

Then just add in your pencils, pens, highlighters, scissors, et cetera!

Office Organizer FrontBack of Office Organizer

After I finished my organizer I decided it was a bit plain. At first I was going to do some light yellow polka dots on the outside but it didn’t look quite right. So I added a touch of lace and I think it was a great addition, so don’t be afraid to accessorize your organizer!

Adding Accessories

 

So what do you think of this recycled office organizer? Did you create a similar item? Sound off in the comment section or on social media and let me know what you think of this Make It Monday project!

Easy Raspberry Smoothie

Raspberry Smoothie

While I love the idea of healthy or “clean eating” smoothies, I find a lot of them don’t actually taste that great. Green smoothies – regardless of what they say – always seem to keep that “green” taste. Fruit smoothies can easily get too sweet. And banana based smoothies tend to get boring after a while. So, I took things into my own hands! After much experimentation I found a smoothie that I actually enjoy: a raspberry smoothie with hints of coconut and honey.

A quick look at the ingredients you will need

This recipe features simple ingredients and can be altered for your particular tastes though I like it exactly how it is! My only suggestions are to switch the berry you are using or use a different kind of milk (coconut, almond, etc.) to change the flavour without sacrificing the base recipe.

Very Berry

One thing I really like about this recipe, is you can make it in any serving size. For this post I made a ½ serving since I was still experimenting. The recipe below however, is for a FULL SERVING even though the pictures are for half. I wrote in the ingredient picture below that you need double what is shown for a full serving. Make sense? No? Moving on…

Raspberry smoothie ingredients

Recipe (1 serving)

  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 2/3 Cup Raspberries
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut
  • 2 Tsp Honey
  • 1/4 Tsp Cinnamon (more of an add to taste thing)

Ingredients in blender

  1. Combine all ingredients in blender.
  2. Add ice cubes to alter thickness.
  3. Blend until smooth and all ice broken up.
  4. Pour into a glass and sprinkle with coconut.
  5. Serve.

Raspberry Smoothie

That’s it: 5 ingredients and 5 steps. Nice and simple.

———-

Any alterations you would suggest? Comment below and I will post my favorites!

The Hustler

When I was 19, I moved 6 hours away from home to attend university in Canada’ Capital City: Ottawa. I was pretty excited for a challenging academic life but was concerned about the university social life.

Me in Ottawa

You see, growing up I was always an outcast. Never got along with the popular girls, didn’t do too well with sports, and was intimidated by the smart kids. So I hung out with a rag tag group of friends from elementary school all the way to high school graduation.

I was afraid university would be much of the same. More popular kids snubbing me. More jocks running past my attempt at a jog and laughing. And even more smart kids, but this time with a larger vocabulary. Plus, this is university. This is the age where drinking skyrockets, right? I do not drink. Not even a little. Sure I tried a couple drinks to see if I liked them but no, anyways the side effects are not worth it. So what would I do in a new city, with no friends, and an intimidating atmosphere that I wanted no part of?

Outcast_FreeImage

Well, I told myself that I would never find the university equivalent of the rag tag group I had back home without putting myself out there. I mean, outcasts are not known for finding each other unless someone makes a move. So, I signed up for the Frosh Kit and started going to orientation events and activities.

Frosh week

It was hard at first. Talking to people felt like making cold calls because I didn’t know where to start. I met a few people at the regular events but still could not connect with anyone the way I hoped to. I was holding back and would not do. I had to showcase who I really was and in a way that got the attention of people. That way people who like whatever quirky show I put on could show themselves and maybe start a new rag tag group for my university life.

And my plan was to dance.

Dancing In Red - FreeImages

Up there, that photo, that is NOT me: I do not dance or I shouldn’t, depending on how you look at it. But my big idea to sniff out outcasts was to dance at the biggest Frosh event of the week: the all-first years clubbing event. Basically a huge cabin is turned into a club for a night, complete with food, bar, DJ, and dance floor.

I part of the first group to arrive and the party started off slow. Most people went to the bar first (to beat the line-ups) and stood around drinking. Someone had to start the party, so I enacted my plan.

I started to hustle.

I learned a simplified version of the 1970s hustle in high school drama class. It was a warm up and ice breaker exercise. So I used it for a similar purpose at the Frosh event. I started the hustle in the middle of the dance floor and told two people to follow my lead. Once they had the steps down pat we started gaining attention. Eyes turned towards us and slowly people followed along. Soon we had over 100 people dancing the hustle. Definitely different than the usual bump and grind you see at clubs.

Dance_FreeImages

Gradually the hustle died off but not before some people came to me wanting to know where I learned the dance, why I did it, et cetera. These were the folks I spent time getting to know better. They were interested in the quirkiness I showed and wanted to learn more. And so my university group began.

This experience is now something I will never forget. So I encourage you, if you ever feel alone or of out of place – whether it be because you are starting fresh in university or there is some other change in your life – put yourself out there. Show your personality! People who share your taste of life will find you and a new community or rag tag group can begin.

Have you had a similar experience? In university or otherwise? Tell us about it in the comments!

Nail Polish Flowers – Part One

Nail Polish Flowers – Part One (You Are Here)

Nail Polish Flowers – Part Two

Nail Polish Flowers – Part Three (Coming Soon)

If you follow me on Instagram or Twitter, you would have seen this sneak peak:

Sneak peak at the nail polish flower experiments

That’s right. I am tackling the nail polish and wire flower pin from Pinterest. This DIY caught my eye a while ago but the only instructions I could find were in foreign languages. After some experimentation and additional research, I felt ready to tackle this beautiful project. Want to make your own? Follow along!

Tools you need for the nail polish flower

First, gather your supplies. You will need:

  1. Wire: I tested this DIY with 20 and 26 gauge wire and both worked just fine though 26 gauge yielded flowers with petals closer together. Pick any colour and metal type you prefer.
  1. Nail Polish: The best nail polishes to use are medium to thick in consistency, with no large sparkles or special effects; however, other nail polishes DO work. I even managed to get a crackle top coat to work, I just had to make several layers to fill the holes that would appear once dried.

Collect your nail polish, it is time to experiment

  1. Wire Cutter/Scissors: You will need something to cut the wire with and I suggest wire cutters for jewelry wire. If you do not have this, NO WORRIES, just grab a pair of scissors.
  1. Shaping Tool: No need to get fancy here. You can use a stick, pencil, pen, or anything small and circular. This is just used for the initial shaping of your flower petals and/or leaves. I used a mix of a pen and a jewelry tool in my photos.
  1. Gloves: If you want to stay on the safe side and avoid blisters, wear gloves. The wire ends can prick you and cause minor injuries. Also, be careful to keep the wire ends away from your face!

Cut the wire to your desired length. I suggest starting with a 6” or 15cm portion of wire. Keep in mind what you want to use the flowers for and adjust the length accordingly but wire can always be added by twisting new pieces together with the stem. From here on, it may be useful to also watch Sigrid Soto’s video tutorial HERE. Watching the process can be much easier to learn from than just looking at pictures though I have made some adaptations that you will see over the course of this series.

Start wrapping your wireWrap around the shaping tool once per petal you want

*Sorry about the photo quality!

There are two methods to shape your wire and today I will share the “neater” version. This version requires you to hold the starting end of the wire below the shaping tool and wrap it around the tool for as many times as you want petals. Try starting with 4 or 5 times/petals. Push together the loops and slowly slide off the shaping tool. It should come out looking like a spring.

Form a spring like shape

Cut another small piece of wire (3” or 7.5”) and feed it through the loops you created. Push both ends of this short wire down towards the stem and twist together with the stem. This ensures your loops are set and will not fall apart.

Thread a new wire through the springBring threaded wire towards the stem and twist together

Now that they are set, spread your petals apart. Start by halving the petals and pushing one half to the “top” of the flower, and the other to the bottom. Then separate each petal using your fingers and spread the petals apart until you reach your flower shape.

Separate your loops into two sectionsCreate the final shape of flower that you would like

Now it is time to break out the nail polish. Load your brush with polish and set it under one petal near the stem. Hold the brush in such a way that it completely covers the petal. Slide the brush up to the tip of the petal ensuring contact with all sides of the petal at all times. THIS IS KEY. The brush must have contact with all “sides” of the petal. The pictures below show what to do but I am using a dry brush to demonstrate as there is no time to take pictures while doing this!

How to work the brush to apply the nail polish to the wire petals

In the end you should eventually get a bubble-like covering over the petal. This will take several tries but do not give up! It is entirely possible. See:

A single petal covered in nail polish

Wait for the polish to completely dry and add additional coats until you achieve your preferred look. I recommended at least two coats to ensure consistency.

Once dried, you can easily bend the wire frame of each petal to form more realistic flowers. Just avoid pinching or pushing through the nail polish, it can break though you can just clean it off and start over. It is a fairly forgiving project.

A finished nail polish and wire flower

So play around with these flowers. Find a design you like and make it yours! In two weeks I will share the other method of shaping your flowers which yields a larger flower. Later on I will show ideas for how to use your flower in things like décor, jewelry, and accessories.

A nail polish flower formed into a ring

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Please share your creation! I would love to see your spin on this project!

And shout out to Sigrid for her amazing video!