Miniature Art Magnets

I was chatting with some FB friends recently about how fun it is to create miniature art.  It's really nice to be able to offer your customers very affordable art in these tough economic times.  Miniature is just the thing for that situation. 

I have been making original, one of a kind art magnets for about 12 years.  I never get tired of working on these scaled-down treasures and I love the look on the faces of customers at my art shows when they examine the detail of the work that has gone into making them.  I've seen people spend upwards of an hour of their time at an art show looking over each and every one of my art magnets.  How flattering is that, that people would give so much of their time to appreciate my art??  I can't think of a higher compliment.

Anyway, here are some images of recent art magnets, all one of a kind originals using assorted recycled materials.  I think the reason I enjoy making these magnets so much is partly because I can use up all sorts of odds and ends that have been lying around for too long, and partly because I can get a real sense of accomplishment because they come together quite quickly.

I generally make my magnets business card sized (2.5 X 3.5 inches) because then they fit those sticky-backed magnets you can buy at Staples that are intended to turn any business card into a magnet.  Using these, the art has a smooth back that is fully magnetized.

HOW TO Make Those Recycled Christmas Card Ornaments

Wow, I had no idea these simple little angel ornaments would be such a hit.  Thank you for your interest in how they are made.  I hope the following tutorial will be helpful.



Christmas cards (covers only)
Glue stick
White glue
6” of decorative thread or ribbon (for hanger)
Card stock (to make angel template)
Assorted decorative embellishments (ribbon, stickers, glitter, jewelry findings, etc)

Copy and print off the angel template, trim off most of the excess paper around the image, and gluestick it to the cardstock, then cut it out.  This will be your template to use for the Christmas card.  You can make the angel any size you want but this one is about 4” at its widest by about 4.25” at its highest.  This size works well to get two angel shapes from one Christmas card cover measuring about 5” X 8.”  Of course, there is no reason not to make your angel shapes from different cards.  That will just make them more interesting!  And don’t worry if the image prints off at a different size than what I’ve noted here.  Just work with it as it is.  You can always alter the size of your template at a later time if you’d prefer it smaller or larger.

Trace around your cardstock template on the back side of your Christmas card.  Then flip the template over and trace a second image on the back side of the Christmas card (or on a separate card if the first one is not large enough for two tracings).  You will now have two angels that are mirror images of one another.  Cut both out.  The finer the job you do of cutting them out, the less finishing work you’ll need to do later on.

With the angels face up (good side of Christmas card), take the angel with the wing on the left and cut from the center bottom of the angel body up about halfway.  We’ll call this the Left Angel.

Take the angel with the wing on the right and cut from the center top of the head down about halfway.  We’ll call this one the Right Angel.  (Photo shows both angels with the cuts as described.  You may need to look closely to see the cuts.)

Here’s the tricky part.  Holding the Left Angel in your left hand and the Right Angel in your right hand, slip the slot you created in the Right Angel’s head up into the slot of the Left Angel’s body.  Adjust the fit until both sides are even (this isn’t an exact science).  In the photos below I have taken the Left Angel from the white/red set and the Right Angel from the gray/gold set and slotted them together.  Hopefully the contrast in their colors helps to demonstrate what I am doing.

Use a couple of discreet dabs of white glue at the bottom of the now-joined angels to hold them together as one.   Do the same with the head, but if you are making a hanging angel, then layer your looped decorative thread or ribbon in as you glue, hiding the ends of the ribbon or thread of course.  Let dry before moving on to the next step.

You may want to trim the bottom of the angel or around the head or wings just to even things up. 

Now comes the fun part – decorating your angel!  You can leave it just as it is and it makes a great ornament, however I have trouble leaving anything plain, so I usually do some embellishing.

To cover the center seam that shows where the two pieces are joined, I will often run a small strip of double-sided tape (.25” wide) from the bottom of the angel to the neck.  I’ll then cover that tape with decorative ribbon or trim or some kind of embellishment.

I love adding a head to these ornaments and have used everything from clay face cabochons to bottlecaps with vintage face images on them.  The limit is really only your imagination.  Just remember that these items add bulk to your angel so if you are going to be mailing them, keep this in mind.  Also, depending on what you are adding for a head (or other embellishments) you’ll probably need to use a stronger adhesive such as E-6000 or Goop.

Even if both pieces of my angel came from the same Christmas card, I am always surprised at how they look when they are slotted together to make one.  That is part of the fun of this project, I think. 

Keep in mind that this template is a just a rough outline of an angel so that you can get the idea of this project.  You can certainly create something more refined or elaborate.  If you come up with a great shape that you are willing to share, we would love to see it.

I’m sure you’ll think of all kinds of other ideas of how to embellish your angel ornaments.  I would recommend that if you are going to do any kind of treatment to the ornaments (like paint, or glitter glue covering the surface), that you do that before you slot the two together.  It will be much easier that way.

The last thing to do is give the wings a gentle bend toward the back so that they and the arms stand out a bit from one another and give the angel a 3D effect overall. 

I hope you have fun with this project and I would love to see what you create if you wish to share.

I've included photos of a few more of these ornaments.  You can also see my previous post from December 27 for other samples and embellishing ideas!



Recycled CD Art

If you're like me you probably have TONS of old CDs lying around.  Actually, I'd bet you are smarter than me and have already put them out with the recycling.  I have a huge stack of them and every now and then I resurrect this project from many, many years ago and do a few more up as altered art.  I found that they make great magnet art and are very popular gift purchases at my art shows.  My customers really appreciate that so many recycled materials go into the making of them and that that stuff is staying out of the landfills.

Following are several photos of different ways I have created art on old CDs.  The list of materials I used is HUGE but since you've asked to know the gory details, here we go:

Assorted paints - acrylics, dimensional, spray
Recycled materials - puzzle pieces, watch parts, old jewerly bits and beads, dressmakers' patterns, rhinestones, scrapbook accents, ribbon, funky fibers, tags, sheet music and much more
Walnut ink
Stamped images
Sharpie markers
Handmade clay cabochons
Handmade Friendly Plastic accent pieces

And yes, you can drill into CDs to make them hangable.  For those that were made into magnets I used the business card sized magnets you can buy at Staples that have one side covered in paper that you pull off, revealing a super sticky surface that adheres really well to the CD.

I hope you enjoy looking at these and do let me know if you want to try this project yourself and have questions.  I am always happy to help.  You can email me at:

"Without Music, Life Would Be A Mistake" (SOLD)

"Hold Fast" (SOLD)

"Without Haste" (SOLD)

"Butterfly Wishes" (SOLD)

"Tangle Goddess" (FOR SALE)

"Zentangle Hub" (SOLD)

"Monarch Queen" (SOLD)

"What We Love" (SOLD)

"Angel Watching Over" (FOR SALE)

"Character And Beauty" (FOR SALE)

"Gypsy Spirit" (FOR SALE)

"Key To My Heart" (FOR SALE)

Recycled Christmas Card Angel Ornaments

Because everyone knows I recycled stuff into art, I often get all kinds of things "given" to me.  "Here's a bunch of crap I was going to throw out.  I know you'll do something artsy fartsy with it," is what I usually hear.  My studio is bulging at the seams because of these well-meaning souls (and because I can't say no very easily).  These recycled angel ornaments are a result of such an influx of old Christmas cards that were just too lovely to throw out.

I made an angel template out of cardstock and cut two mirror images of the angel out for each ornament.  They are about four inches in height.  The key to making them three dimensional (which doesn't show up well in the photos but the arms can be folded gently forward for a 3D effect) is to slit one of the images from the bottom to the middle vertically, and the other from the top to the middle vertically and then slot the two pieces together, glueing in strategic places to hold them together.

These are fun little ornaments to make because you never really know how they are going to turn out until you slot them together.  Shimmery, shiny, sparkly Christmas cards are perfect for this but you could use any card or very heavy paper (cardstock is preferred for the 3D effect). 

The fun part comes next when you get to embellish your angel as you'd like.  I've used handmade face cabochons, decorative ribbon, rhinestones, foiling, punches, old jewelry pieces, bottlecaps, vintage images and all kind of other things to doll 'em up!  A delicate gold or silver thread is glued to the back of the head to make it hangable.  If you don't use a face cabochon (which is a bit bulky), these are ideal little gifts to enclose in a Christmas card because they lay flat and add no extra postage costs.  Another fun idea is to take Christmas cards from specific friends or family and make them an ornament from that card and send it back to them.  You won't believe the looks on their faces when they see their handwriting on the back of the angel!

If you think you'd like to try making these for yourself and need more details, send me a message! 

Altered Birthday Card Art Journal Project

Earlier this year I was about to throw my birthday cards into the recycling bin when it occurred to me I could make a small art journal with them.  There were only four or five cards but two of them were tri-fold cards so it took a little while to figure out how all of them were going to fit together, especially when you also factor in that they were all different sizes too.

Anyway, I made a journal the simplest way I could think of and that was to use my decorative duct tape to hold it all together.  I don't really have the patience for more traditional binding techniques and I wanted to get on with the fun of doing some art journalling and collaging in it.  I had first taken all the cards and painted them front and back with a number of different types of paint.  Not all of the paint adhered well to the cards that had a slick surface but that was okay with me.  A bit of flaking paint just added to the character of each one I figured.

After duct taping everything together it was on to the fun of creating different pages.  I used (and re-used) a lot of elements that I had made some time ago or that were components from something else.  One of my goals/challenges for this journal was to try to use up as much stuff from my stash as I could.  I didn't want a particular theme for the journal, rather I wanted the pages to evolve individually as I went. 

The journal still has several pages to be done, but I thought I would share some of the pages that are (mostly) done.  It's been a fun project and I love going back to it now and then to get it just a bit closer to being completely finished.

I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous and happy 2013!


We Want Some Old Stuff - Part 5

Following up to the last post about tag art (and the request to see some of my old work from days gone by), I thought you might like to see some tag art dolls I made back then.   I have to say these art dolls were some of the most fun projects I ever did.  They were super simple and very popular with my customers.  I hope you enjoy taking a stroll down Tag Art Doll Memory Lane with me now!

"Take Me In Your Arms. Rock Me, Rock Me A Little While" (from the song by The Doobie Brothers).  (SOLD) doll made of three tags, stamped images, pink safety pins for her legs.

"Soul Serenity: tag art doll (SOLD), using recycled beads (including my own hand rolled paper beads for her arms, brass squigglies for her legs.

"Seek Serenity" tag art doll (SOLD) featuring a handmade clay face cabochon, recycled paper flowers and salvaged beads.

"Open Arms" tag art doll (SOLD) using recycled earrings for her legs and salvaged beads for her arms.

"Nurture Nature" tag art doll (SOLD), using recycled ceramics, clay face cabochon and salvaged beads.

"Nefertiti" tag art doll (SOLD).  Vintage brass squigglies, reclaimed filigree pieces and clay face and headdress (handmade).

"Live Your Dreams" tag art doll.

"Heart And Soul" tag art doll.  (SOLD) vintage filigree, old puzzle pieces (altered) and salvaged beads and jewelry.  In the second photo you can get a closer look at the little pocket on her body that is home to another puzzle piece with "soul" stamped on it and embellished with a heart bead.

"Flower Child" tag art doll.  (SOLD)

We Want Some Old Stuff - Part 4

Carrying on with the request to see some of my art from days long gone by, I thought I would post some images from when I was really on an altered tag art tear.  I just LOVED making art on shipping tags.  It was a fun way to have a quick does of art satisfaction when I didn't have much time to create.  And I was so very fortunate to have an audience for my work and was able to sell them to scrapbookers and art journalists to use as feature pieces in their work.

I still love making tag art and I really should schedule some time in to do some more!  I hope you enjoy looking at these little treasures!