April 19, 2009

Project: Photo Block Puzzle

Posted in Photo crafts, Project ideas, Project instructions tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 10:39 pm by Kristin


This craft was fun because it used photos, which is always a hit because it makes the craft so personal, and because it was something that the moms’ kids could play with.  It’s basically a puzzle of 6 wooden blocks, each one covered with a section of 6 different photos.  By rearranging the blocks, you can complete the picture of a photo. 

The moms really liked this craft, and several bought extra sets of 6 blocks + brush + Mod Podge to do additional projects at home to give as gifts to their kids’ grandparents.


  • 2″ x 2″ x 2″ smooth-sanded wood blocks — 6 for each mom.  I got mine at Woodworks, Ltd. (www.woodwrks.com).
  • Mod Podge – matte or gloss, doesn’t matter.  Just don’t get the kind that’s for paper — it doesn’t stick.  About 1/2 oz. per mom should be plenty.
  • Some kind of disposable cups or jars to dispense the Mod Podge to the moms.  I use those rectangular plastic Gerber baby food containers for this and lots of my other craft-leading needs — they’re great for doling out supplies.
  • 1″ Foam brush – 1 per mom.
  • A couple paper cutters, or rulers and scissors, so that the moms can cut their photos into 2″ x 2″ squares.
  • Something to protect the mom’s work surface.  I used wax paper.  Costco sells precut sheets (used by delis) that are great for this purpose!
  • Something to bring the blocks home on.  If you can get styrofoam meat trays, that is perfect.  You can get these at restaurant supply stores (or maybe you can talk your local grocery store into selling you just what you need.)

Also, each mom should bring with her six 4″ x 6″ professionally developed photos (home-printed photos often bleed).  I also had some pretty papers on hand for any moms who forgot their photos at home.  I also had some little jars that moms could take the Mod Podge home in, in case they forgot their photos and wanted to do the project at home.


  • Each mom should measure her blocks, and measure her photos, and figure out what size she needs to cut her photos.  You don’t want any “overhang” — the photo pieces should be the exact size as the face of the block, or a teensy bit smaller.  An easy way to figure out if the photo is too big is to set the blocks down in 3 rows of 2, then put the photo on top.  If the photo is bigger than the blocks, then the mom will want to trim her photo to fit first, then cut up the photo into pieces that fit each block’s face.
  • Cut the photos and glue the pieces to the blocks. (See the note below on two different approaches to this.)  To glue, spread a thin, wet-but-translucent layer of Mod Podge onto one face of a block, then center the photo and press down. 
  • Optional: spread a thin, wet-but-translucent layer of Mod Podge over the top of the photos.  This is good if you are planning to let your kids play with them — it makes the photos much less likely to peel up at the edges.
  • Set blocks on the foam tray to dry.

This is a mom using a paper cutter to cut her photo into 2" x 2" squares.

This is a mom using a paper cutter to cut her photo into 2″ x 2″ squares.


There are two approaches to cutting and gluing the photos to the blocks.  Depending on how many paper cutters you have and how much time you have, one of these might be better than the other:

  • Approach A: cut one photo at a time into 2″ x 2″ (approximately — see step 1), and then glue one square to each block.  Repeat for each photo.
  • Approach B: cut out one photo at a time into 2 ” x 2″ squares.  As each photo is cut, put pieces into 6 piles.  At the end of cutting, each of the six piles should have one piece from each photo.  Take one pile and glue all the pieces to a block.  Repeat for each pile/block.

feb-09-016   Gluing the photos onto the blocks with Mod Podge.   feb-09-014

 Gluing the photos onto the blocks with Mod Podge.
If you try out this craft, let me know how it goes!

December 20, 2008

Project: Glossy Resin Trivets or Coasters

Posted in Other crafts, Paper crafts, Project instructions tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 2:07 pm by Kristin

This craft was another huge hit.  However, it took a lot of prep AND follow-up work to complete the trivets.  This is not a craft that the moms can take home the same day.  However, the finished product is gift-worthy.  It’s pretty expensive, though — depending on how much you spend on the trivets or coasters, this is a $5 – $10 per mom project.

I hope to upload some pictures of the finished product soon — I lent my two completed trivets to Ben Franklin in Redmond, WA (http://www.craftsandframes.com/) as I’m going to be leading a class on the trivets after the New Year. 

Getting started:

First, decide if you want to do trivets or coasters.  I personally feel trivets is easier because you don’t have to worry about the random coaster getting separated from a mom’s set and getting lost in the shuffle.  However, some of my moms report that if they put a hot-out-of-the-oven dish onto the finished trivet, it sticks a little to the resin.  Sooo…. you can either just recommend the trivets not be used for superhot dishes, or treat the trivet as more of a decorative plaque.

You might decide to take a spin on the directions below by doing this craft with photos, or by using scrapbook paper that is holiday-themed.  How cute would it be to have a special Christmas trivet on your table every year for your holiday feasts?


  • Wood tile board: Trivets (1 per mom) or Coasters (4 per mom).  These are made by Provo Craft (see examples here: http://www.provocraft.com/products/catalog.php?cl=decor&scl=tile%20board%20art&cat=) and available at many craft stores, though I have NOT seen them at our local JoAnn or Michael’s stores.  In the case of a mom and pop craft store that carries other Provo Craft stuff (like Cricut and Knifty Knitter), they may be willing to special order the tile board items for you.
  • Spray paint or acrylic paint — if using spray paint, about 1 can per dozen trivets or coaster sets; if acrylic paint, enough for 2 coats
  • 12″ x 12″ decorative paper.  It can be cardstock weight or regular weight.
  • Paper cutter
  • Scissors — flat-edge and fancy-edge
  • Mod Podge — about 1 ounce per trivet or coaster set
  • Optional — small containers to divvy up the Mod Podge (I used clean plastic Gerber baby food containers)
  • Disposable 1″ foam brushes – 1 per mom
  • Sharpie markers – 1 per MOPS table
  • Rubber stick-on feet (like those shown here: http://www.westfloridacomponents.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=HW106)
  • Optional: sawtooth nail-less metal picture hangers (the kind you just hammer in)
  • Envirotex resin – about 1 ounce of mixed resin per trivet or coaster set
  • A few disposable bristle watercolor/craft brushes
  • Three plastic containers for measuring/mixing resin (at least 2 of these should be clear)
  • Wooden popsicle sticks for stirring the resin
  • A blue plastic tarp (the kind that looks like it has a woven surface)
  • Optional: heat gun
  • Optional: hospital/latex gloves


  • At least 1 day before the meeting: set all the tile board pieces on top of some newspapers and paint all the tile board with 2 coats of paint.  It is very absorbent so the first coat is really more like primer.  Let dry thoroughly after each coat.  I found it helps to use canned food or blocks of wood to set the trivets on, so the sides are easier to spray and so they don’t stick to the newspapers.
  • For trivets, you can pre-cut the 12″ x 12″ paper into 6″ x 6″ squares.

On the day of MOPS, set out on each MOPS table:

  • Pre-painted trivets, 1 per mom
  • Mod Podge (you may wish to dispense into containers)
  • Foam brushes, 1 per mom
  • Decorative paper
  • Scissors — straight-edge and fancy-edge
  • Rubber feet, 4 per mom
  • Sharpie
  • Printed instructions: Instructions-for-Decoupaging-Trivets (click the link to view and print)

At a single station in the room, I put the sawtooth metal picture hangers, a hammer, and a towel to set the trivet on for hammering in the hanger.

See the instructions document for how to lead the portion of the craft that takes place during the MOPS meeting.

The materials for this project: pre-painted wood tile board trivet, decorative paper or cardstock, Mod Podge, a brush, rubber bumper feet, 2-part epoxy resin, and a stir stick.

The materials for this project: pre-painted wood tile board trivet, decorative paper or cardstock, Mod Podge, a brush, rubber bumper feet, 2-part epoxy resin, and a stir stick.

Layering paper onto the trivet tile. Here a light pink paper was cut to the size of the tile, and a dark pink paper was trimmed with fancy edge scissors and inset on top.  Both are applied to the trivet with Mod Podge.

Layering paper onto the trivet tile. Here a light pink paper was cut to the size of the tile, and a dark pink paper was trimmed with fancy edge scissors and inset on top. Both are applied to the trivet with Mod Podge.

Post-MOPS resin application

Please read this carefully before attempting this part of the project!!

  • Once the Mod Podge is completely dry, you can take all the trivets and set them on a clean blue plastic tarp (which the resin miraculously does not stick to, for some reason) in a well-ventilated room that is somewhat cool (a garage is ideal, if you have one).  Put on an apron or clothes you don’t care about.  I highly recommend putting on latex gloves at this point – the tight-fitting medical type, not the dishwashing type.
  • Pour resin into one clear, disposable plastic container, and hardener into the other, in exactly equal amounts.  (I usually eyeball this as I use identical containers; if you want, you can use a measuring cup to pour 2oz into each container, mark the level with a Sharpie, and empty and dry the containers, then pour in the resin & hardener to the marks.) 
  • Get the third clean and dry plastic container you do not want to use again (like a yogurt cup), and pour the contents of BOTH of the other containers – the resin and the hardener –  into the third container, being careful not to get the resin on your hands or clothes.  Use a wooden popsicle stick to get all of the resin and hardener out and into the container.  Use the wooden stick to stir thoroughly for 2 minutes, making sure to scrape the resin off the bottom and sides to mix all the material completely. Hints:
    • You will want to work with the resin in small batches — about 4 ounces total per batch — because it hardens up within an hour or so (faster in a warm room). 
    • The resin does generate some sweet-smelling fumes — just a heads up for the respiratorily challenged.
    • When mixing subsequent batches, use NEW containers and mixing sticks! 
  • Use the wooden stick to dispense a big dollop of resin (a generous Tbsp or so) onto each of the 4 squares of the trivet.  Use the paint brush to spread the resin to the edges of the square.  Then, use the brush to paint resin (what’s left in the container) in the crevices and on the sides of the trivet, coating them completely.  Make sure all of the top of the trivet is covered and shiny.  If you have extra resin at the end, you can pour it onto the 4 squares.  There should be a generous, slightly mounded coating of resin on the 4 squares; the rest of the surface just needs to be coated.  The resin application takes about an hour for every 30 trivets.
  • If you got resin on your skin, wipe it off now with a paper towel soaked in denatured alcohol, turpentine or mineral spirits. 
  • Wait 10 minutes or so.  If you see any bubbles you want to remove (they don’t usually show up too much so this part is optional), you can use a hairdryer WITH A DIFFUSER ATTACHMENT (the air should not blow too hard) to heat the resin; this will pop the bubbles.  A heat gun (for embossing crafts) is the perfect tool for this, if you have one.
  • Let the trivet dry undisturbed and  untouched for 24 hours – 48 is even better.