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Craft Box Club – Paper Quilled Jewellery

The theme for the August Craft Box Club (https://craftboxclub.co.uk/) was paper quilled jewellery. The art of quilling involves rolling strips of coloured paper and glueing them together to create decorative images or patterns. I always thought it looked delicate and difficult to achieve, but I was keen to have a go as it’s a very popular craft that I have seen a lot of examples of. It’s also a great craft to do at home as the materials are cheap and easy to get hold of and it doesn’t make too much mess! 

Included in the box was:

  • Coloured paper strips
  • Quilling needle
  • Quilling template
  • Glue
  • Earring hooks x2
  • Necklace clasp
  • Wire
  • Cocktail sticks

And of course the link to the video tutorial was also included. This month there were two separate videos one for the earrings and one for the necklace. I thought that the process was going to be quite fiddly and frustrating, but I actually found it quite relaxing. The quilling needle was easy to use and the template with its cutout holes meant that I wasn’t struggling to regulate the size of my coils. It was also worked on a much larger scale than I thought it would be. I had imagined trying to wrangle tiny little coils of paper, but the holes in the template were quite big and I found it really manageable.

The secondary part of the project was wire wrapping. I am quite familiar with this technique already, but I thought that the video showed each step clearly and although I used my tools it would have been easy to do by hand. In fact I was surprised at how soft and malleable the wire was. I’m not sure what kind of wire it was but it was easily cut with scissors.

The only part of the kit I had a slight issue with was the glue. As Craft Box Club aim to be plastic free the glue is provided in a tin, however both times I have received glue from them it has been brown and the tin stained around the edge as though rusty. I can only imagine that it is a reaction between the metal and the glue. It didn’t have any effect on the glue’s sticking power and I used it just fine, but I don’t think it would have been suitable for a project that was using the glue as a varnish. Honestly, I can only praise Adam (the founder of the company) for his efforts to be as plastic free as possible and I don’t have any solutions to offer for this problem because I am sure he has done extensive research on the matter, so I can’t really complain about it too much.

The finished earrings and necklace are quite large, statement pieces and I love how colourful they are! The paper strips came in a great range of colours so you could make your jewellery in any combination you liked. I have tons of strips left as well, so I can practice my technique and make some more jewellery. I might even have a go at creating a picture as well, but I think I may have to watch some more video tutorials online to learn how to achieve different effects before I attempt that.

This project was so quick to do! It took me a couple of hours to complete and was a really nice way to spend an afternoon. I enjoyed the lack of mess as well as it meant that instead of sitting down in my draughty shed I could sit up at the dining table and quill to my heart‘s content…plus there wasn’t too much clearing up to do!

Also included in the package was a mini kit to make a face mask. I haven’t had a chance to complete this one yet, but I watched the video and it looks like a really easy method to make a reusable mask, so I’ll have to have a go at that soon as I currently only have disposable ones and I feel guilty about creating waste every time I wear one.

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Craft Box Club – Sand Cast Candles

One of the things I like most about Craft Box Club (https://craftboxclub.co.uk/) is that their crafts are really original and even if I have done it before, there’s always a new technique. I think a lot of the originality is driven by Adam’s quest for plastic free crafts, which pushes him to be more creative about how things can be achieved. I’ve made quite a few candles in my time, but I have never before made them using sand!

Included in this kit was:

  • Big jar
  • Small jar
  • Sand
  • Cardboard tube
  • Beeswax blocks x6
  • Cocktail sticks
  • String
  • Peg
  • Ribbon
  • Shells
  • Wicks x3

I think what was really great about this box was the recycling of all the parts; the big jar was used to melt the wax in but was later turned into a candle holder and it’s lid was used for the tea light, the small jar was used to create the mould for the tea light and was then turned into a candle. Even the sand used to cast the candles was then reused as decoration at the end. Plus, you got to pretend like you were making sandcastles at the beach! 

The wax does take a little while to melt, so there is a bit of waiting around with candle making, but whilst I was waiting I made the moulds by packing the wet sand into a bowl to create the shape I wanted for my candles using the smaller hexagonal jar for the tea light and the cardboard tube to make a taller, round candle. The third candle was made by anchoring the wick to the bottom of the small jar and pouring the wax directly in.

In the instruction video Adam does mention that sinkholes can occur so to reserve a little wax to refill them. I left my candles to set overnight and in the morning I found that two of them had holes so I filled them up and left them to set again. I always think it is reassuring when the instructions mention things that can go wrong and how to fix them, otherwise its hard to know what to do if something unexpected happens, especially if you’ve never done that craft before. 

Another part of the instruction video I thought was particularly helpful was during the decorating stage where you have to make a slip knot to tie the string around the top of the jar and the video was done in slow motion so you could clearly see how it was tied.

Being yellow, the beeswax candles really lent themselves to the beach theme and using the shells, string and hessian ribbon gave them a nice rustic feel along with the sand. I can totally imagine them on the terrace of someone’s beach house as the sun sets over the waves… The only problem is how to transport them without spilling sand everywhere! 

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Craft Box Club – Star String Art

String art is something I’ve been wanting to try for a while. I’ve seen loads of examples of it online, with people creating these amazing images, so I was pretty excited when the Craft Box Club (https://craftboxclub.co.uk/) for June landed on my doorstep!

Included in the box was:

  • Block of wood x2
  • Coloured string x7
  • Nails
  • Hammer
  • Elastic bands
  • Paper templates

As per usual there was the link to the video tutorial as well. The process was a lot simpler than I’d thought in my head and I only had to watch the video once before completing the project as each step was demonstrated very clearly. I think that just seeing the end product and not knowing the process can be a big barrier to people, including me, from trying out new crafts. One of my favourite things about Craft Box Club is that the crafts are always varied and different from crafts that you find in a lot of other subscription boxes, but the instructions are so clear and easy to follow that it’s not off-putting at all. Also, the crafts are usually quick to do, which is great if you only have an hour or so at the weekend to indulge your creativity.

The part of this box that I most enjoyed was hammering in the nails. It was extremely satisfying, although I think I need to work on my technique as some of my nails ended up a bit wonky! You hammered the nails in with the use of the paper template laid over the two pieces of wood. I wasn’t sure why the wood had to be in two parts at first, but due to Adam’s mission to make the boxes as plastic free and sustainable as possible, it explains on the website that the wood is upcycled from locally sourced wooden pallets. Once the nails were all hammered in you could then tear off the paper template ready to start stringing.

The stringing was done in a specific order so that the two pieces of wood held together. The colours were a rainbow theme and the pattern created a star shape in the middle. The thing I like about string art is the patterns that are created, not only using the string but also using the negative spaces between the string, in this case the star. Included in the kit was a paper template showing where each coloured string had to go with each point numbered so you knew which nail to wind it around. I found the diagram very useful as I don’t think I would have been able to follow along with the video.

Finally all that was left to do was string the two pieces of wood together at the back and create a hook for hanging it. This was a very satisfying project to complete, resulting in a cute, rustic wall hanging. 

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Craft Box Club – Earth Paint Bracelets

This week I’ve been playing with dough! The Craft Box Club (https://craftboxclub.co.uk/) for May was called Earth Paint Bracelets and the project was to make beads out of salt dough and turn them into bracelets.

Included in the box was:

• White dough mix
• Blue dough mix
• Silver wire
• 3 lobster clasps
• Lolly stick
• Cocktail sticks
• Baking paper
• Wooden shaping tool

This month the link for the instructions included not one but four video tutorials. The first showed what was in the kit, how to make the dough and form it into beads, the second showed how to turn your beads into bracelets and the other two videos showed how to make different kinds of beads. As usual the videos were really clear and easy to follow, although they could have been a little shorter by not showing all the beads being made!

The dough came as two powdered mixes, with the blue one coloured with a powder paint made from naturally occurring minerals. There are some good tips both on the card inside the box and on the website for making your dough the right consistency. I found it was best to add the water slowly and keep mixing it until it felt right and could be formed into balls.

Once the dough was ready you could then make the beads. As I mentioned above there were three different kinds suggested, but of course you can always experiment and make whatever you want, after all these kits are all about being creative!

The first type I made were chunky discs, made by squashing a ball. I think I made mine a little bit big as they were a bit too chunky for my bracelet! The other types were a round bead and then a thin bead which Adam called shell fragments. I like this description because they do feel quite fragile like a shell and they are all irregular. I think they are my favourite because they look really good all threaded onto the bracelet together. When all the beads were finished you had to leave them to dry. I left mine over night but when I went to check on them I found they weren’t quite dry underneath so I turned them all over and left them to dry a second night. They might have dried a bit quicker if the weather was nicer, but there’s not much we can do about that!

The bracelets were made using a technique called wire wrapping. I already know how to do this as it’s one of the first things I learnt to do on my jewellery making journey, however I felt that had I been a novice I would have found Adam’s video very easy to follow. Even though there is no talking on the video and only text he made sure the images of each step were really clear and went through it slowly enough to be able to follow along.

In hindsight I would have made more shell fragment beads as I didn’t have quite enough to go all the way around my bracelet and, as I already said, my chunky beads were too chunky. I would also have made my white dough a bit wetter as a couple of my beads crumbled and I think it was due to the white dough being a little bit too dry. I think this would be a great project to do with older kids, as long as they have the patience to wait for the beads to dry, and you have the patience to help them with the wire wrapping!

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Craft Box Club – Washi Tape Coasters

This week I did the April box from Craft Box Club (https://craftboxclub.co.uk/). I have the May box already waiting for me so I am a bit behind on my crafts, but hopefully I will be all up to date soon! April’s box was making washi tape coasters. One of the things that’s great about these boxes is how quick they are to do. Sometimes I put off doing crafts just because of the amount of time they will take, even though I know I’ll enjoy them thoroughly once I’ve started. This project is so easy that I was done in about 15 minutes, and that’s only because I ummmed and aahhhed over where to put my washi tape! It’s just right for squeezing some creativity into a busy day.

Included in the box was:

  • Tiles x4
  • Adhesive cork tiles x4
  • Brush
  • Glue
  • Various sizes and colours of washi tape

Also provided was the link to the instructional video. As before the video was simple, clear and easy to follow. I only needed one viewing to understand what to do. Firstly came the creative bit, deciding how to place your washi tape across the tiles, taking care to go over the edge and tuck it underneath. I really liked the patterned tape that came in the box and it was fun pairing up the colours to create aesthetically pleasing designs. I had some washi tape of my own as well so I decided to use some of that too. Who needs anything to match, right?

Once I was finished with the washi tape I just had to coat them in glue to seal them so they can be used for hot drinks. It was recommended to use a ramekin or small jar to elevate the tile to make it easier to coat the sides in the glue. The glue came in a metal tin, which I wasn’t really a fan of. I found it difficult to open and was worried about spilling it everywhere when I did manage to get the lid off. Once I eventually got the lid off I used the brush provided to coat my tiles and then left them to dry overnight.

When the tiles were dry I peeled the backing off the adhesive side of the cork tiles and stuck them to the back of the decorated tiles.

And then they were finished! As I said, such a quick project but satisfying nonetheless. Obviously you have to factor in drying time, but you can be getting on with the rest of your to do list (or sleeping) whilst that’s happening!

I have written this review independently and was not gifted the kit, however Adam, who runs Craft Box Club, really loved my previous post on his beeswax wraps and got in touch to offer me a discount code to pass on to you guys! The code is CRAFTYBEE10 and will give you £10 off your first box. Thanks Adam, and looking forward to starting the next box!

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Craft Box Club – Beeswax Wraps

I have signed up to another subscription box! This is a monthly one called the Craft Box Club (https://craftboxclub.co.uk/). They deliver a quick and easy craft each month to encourage people to take some time out of their busy lives and have a bit of creative me time. The main ethos behind their brand is to be plastic free, so all of their packaging has been designed with this in mind and their makes too.

I started with the March 2020 box which contained all the equipment to make beeswax wraps. Included in the box was:

  • 3 pieces of fabric
  • 3 blocks of beeswax
  • Brush
  • Wooden pegs
  • Wooden buttons
  • Needle
  • Embroidery thread
  • String

Also included is the link to a video showing you how to complete the project. At first I wasn’t sure about not having written instructions and only following a video, but once I watched the video I realised that the steps are really simple and easy to remember, so you don’t need to keep referring back to the video as you create. I really liked how the videos were laid out as well. They were shot from above which I felt gave a nice clear view of each step and there were several stills showing important things such as the contents of the box and how to sew on your buttons. There was also no talking, only captions to label things or tell you what to do. I much preferred this to having someone talk through the instructions as I find this can be distracting and sometimes unclear. The only thing I would have liked to change is that some of the shots were a bit far away and a close up of the step would have been better. The project was split into two videos: applying the wax to the fabric and sewing on the buttons.

For some reason I had images in my head of melting down the wax in a saucepan and dipping the fabric into it, but it’s actually way easier than that! All you had to do was grate the beeswax and spread it thinly over the fabric on a baking tray, put it in a low oven for five minutes and then use the brush to spread it out. Then just hang it up until it’s cooled completely and there you have your beeswax wrap. I couldn’t believe how quick and easy it was to do! The only warning I would give is to use a grater and a baking tray that aren’t your best ones because the wax is difficult to wash off!

The second step was adding buttons so that you could turn one (or two) of your wraps into a parcel. You had to fold the fabric up as you would if you were wrapping something like a sandwich and mark on where the buttons needed to go. Once the buttons were sewn on you could then use the string to fasten them. 

Craft Box Club have several different subscription options including a three month or six month subscription with the choice to pay monthly or a larger one off payment, which obviously include a discount, or a flexible membership where you pay as you go and can cancel any time. I chose the flexible membership which is £22 a month including delivery, but all of them work out to roughly around the £20 mark. I would definitely recommend this box to anyone who was new to crafting and wanted to dip their toe into the creative pool. I had an email to say that my April box is already on the way so I’m looking forward to getting started on the next project.