arcs and Crafts: Thrifted Magnetism

By Julie White

After making a garland from vintage Little Golden Books recently, I was inspired to do some more crafting with books from ARC. I found a big children’s book anthology at my local store but unfortunately, some of the pages were drawn on or damaged by little hands. For that reason, I assume, ARC priced it at only 69 cents. The illustrations are great, and perfect for my project, but there were just a few pages with some additional drawings.

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I wanted to make magnets from the tiny book illustrations so I also bought a bag of round, flat, glass marbles that ARC had in their floral section. I normally look at the wreaths and the planters there but was happy to find a whole, unopened bag for 99 cents that was half-off with ARC’s colored tag sale.

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Each of the glass pieces is slightly different shaped and none are perfectly round so I traced each of them individually over the pictures I wanted to use on them.

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I kept each round paper piece with its individual glass marble while I mixed together some glue and water. I didn’t want to use too much glue on the illustrations because I didn’t want it to soak through and affect the image that is seen through the glass. I mixed equal parts water and glue together and then brushed a thin layer onto the flat side of the glass piece.

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It seemed to work better putting the glue directly onto the glass versus onto the front of each picture. It was a little bit easier to maneuver this way and I ended up with less glue on my hands. I gently placed each illustration that I’d cut out onto the corresponding glass marble, with the front of the picture (the part I wanted to be able to see) up against the flat side of the glass.

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After letting them all dry, paper side up, I then coated the paper with another thin layer of the glue mixture. This really sealed the paper on and allowed me to have a more uniform surface on which to glue the magnets. Once that layer was dry, as well, I pulled out my trusty super glue to attach the magnets themselves.

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The magnets were the only pieces of this project that I didn’t buy from ARC. They have lots of great refrigerator magnets and a wonderful selection of craft supplies, but I wanted specific strong magnets since they’d be holding up glass and wasn’t able to find what I wanted. I actually found some magnet sheets at an ARC that I frequent and bought them to use on another project in the future where I wouldn’t need them to hold up something quite as heavy.

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After letting the superglue dry for a few minutes they were complete! This has to be one of the quickest and cheapest ARC crafts I’ve ever done. I ended up with a set of mouse ladies from “The Country Mouse and the City Mouse”, as well as some magnets from both “The Dog and His Bone” and “The Fox and the Crow”.

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I also had an old copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone that was literally falling apart at the binding, so I made a few magnets from those pages, too.  They’re currently holding up a Harry Potter related photo on my fridge, even though the thin pages from the paperback book didn’t come out quite as well as the illustrations from the children’s book did.
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Each magnet is different not only in its image but also because each glass marble is slightly varied in shape with a few tiny bubbles inside.  I like that they’re not all uniform; I think handmade things should be slightly unique. The four mouse ladies are definitely my favorite.

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Happy thrifting and happy crafting!

arcs and Crafts: Dreaming of Springtime

By Julie White

Now that the holidays are over and my Christmas ornaments are packed up I’m at a loss with how to decorate my home. It is currently snowing outside and the thermometer reads 8 degrees so I definitely want to do something to brighten things up inside. It’s not springtime yet but I can pretend!

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I’ve seen some beautiful garlands, lately, and handmade bunting that I’ve wanted to try to create. There are many different styles using paper, cloth, yarn, etc. so I’m starting with paper but will try the other mediums in the future. I was browsing the (huge) book section at my local ARC Thrift and was inspired by the bright illustrations in some vintage Little Golden Books that I spotted.

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Each of the books I picked out at arc was 99cents with a pink tag, which was half price that week. I rarely buy anything full price at arc, which is one of my favorite things about their thrift stores and colored tag system. I picked out the illustrations that I liked the best from each book and ripped them out. (As an avid reader this felt almost sacrilegious but I pressed on for the good of the project.)

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Once I had my pictures selected I cut one page into the shape that I wanted and then used that as a guide to cut the rest of the pages.

In order to string them up, instead of using glue or tape, I took thread and began sewing through each page. I sewed up from the back on one side and then down from the front on the other so that it was attached but each piece was still able to hang naturally.

The thread worked very well and was so thin that it didn’t detract from the pictures at all.

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I decided to leave the extra thread on the ends for now in case I want to add on.

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Once I’m sure that it’s totally complete I’ll tie a little loop on each side so that it can hang between nails or tacks in the wall.

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This is the finished project hanging underneath a vintage painting I bought at arc Thrift a while ago and have in my dining room. It turned out so beautifully that I’m planning on making more for decorations at an upcoming baby shower. This is one of the cheapest crafts I’ve ever done with the four books costing me 50cents each at arc, and plenty of pictures and pages left in each one to continue crafting with them. I’m excited to try my hand at more garlands made of different materials from arc in the future.