DIY: Arc Reactor Mason Jar Light

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I’ve recently become obsessed with mason jar crafts. They can made into vases, snow globes, gift holders, and in this case, a pendant light! So while I was sitting on my couch one day, I looked up and saw an Iron Man comic that we have framed on our shelf. I was inspired. Could I make a mason jar light to pay homage to the gold and crimson crusader? I wasn’t sure but I was determined to find out. The process took a little longer than I expected but I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. Here’s how I made my Iron Man Arc Reactor Mason Jar Light!

 

WHAT YOU’ll NEED:

  • Mason Jar (smooth with no logo embossing)
  • Shipping Label (8-1/2″x11″)
  • Spray Paint (in red)
  • Arc Reactor Image
  • Acrylic Marker (silver)
  • Mini Pendant Light Kit
  • Light Bulb
  • Painter’s Tape
  • Exacto Knife or Small Scissors
  • Large Nail
  • Hammer
  • Permanent Marker
  • Utility Scissors

 

When choosing your mason jar, you’ll need to find one that is completely smooth. I chose this Ball Art Smooth Jar. It’s perfect for projects like this and I got a box of 10 for a reasonable price! Before you get crafting, make sure your mason jar is clean and dry.

Mason Jar Plain

 

Next, you’ll need an Iron Man Arc Reactor stencil. After scouring the interwebs and a little photoshop magic, I used this arc reactor stencil. CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD IMAGE.

Arc Reactor Small

Scale the image to the size you like then print it out on an 8-1/2”x11” shipping label.  I scaled my full size image down to 30%.

Stickers

 

Using an exacto knife or small scissors, cut out your stencil by cutting around the black portions of the design.

Cutting Sticker Cutting Sticker 2 Sticker Stencil

 

Remove the stickers from the paper backing and place them onto the mason jar.  (I printed out another stencil on plain paper and taped it to the jar for reference.) I started with the large outer ring first, then the inner ring, then the reactor core, and then added the reactor ring pieces last.

Placing Stencil 1

 

TIP: Don’t press the stickers all the way down until you get the design exactly how you want it. This will allow you to move the pieces around easily.

 

Once the design is to your liking, firmly press each sticker down. Now you’re ready to start spray painting!

Completed Stencil

 

I wasn’t sure what spray would work best on glass. Thankfully, the employee at my local hardware store was very helpful. I ended up chosing Rust-oleum’s Gloss Protective Enamel in Regal Red.

Spray Paint

 

Spray paint several thin coats onto the mason jar.

Spray Painted Jar 1

 

Spray Painted Jar 2

 

If you want a more opaque color, I recommend spray painting inside the jar as well. This will allow less light to show through the red color later on.

Inside Jar

 

If you decide to spray paint the inside of the jar, cover the outside of the jar. I simply wrapped a piece of paper around the jar and secured it with painter’s tape. Also remember to tape the backside of the arc reactor on the inside of the glass.

Tape Inside Jar

 

Once all your coats have been applied, let the mason jar dry for 24 hours. After the mason jar has dried, carefully peel off the stickers. You may need tweezers to assist in the process. Clean up the remaining sticker residue with a toothpick and some Goo Be Gone.

Sticker Residue

 

It was at this point in the process that I was at a crossroads—should I leave the design red or make the arc reactor stand out with a different color? Since I didn’t have J.A.R.V.I.S to assist me in my decision, I chose to paint the arc reactor silver. I used an acrylic marker I got at an art supply store and filled in all the red areas of the design.

Acrylic Pen Using Acrylic Pen

 

To create the actual pendant light itself, I used this detailed tutorial as my guide. It ended up being much easier than I expected! I bought my pendant light kit from Amazon.

Pendant Light

 

Place the light socket onto the mason jar lid and trace around it.

Tracing on Lid Traced Lid

 

Secure the lid back onto the jar. Then use a nail and hammer to puncture small holes along the traced circle.

Punctured Lid

Use utility scissors to cut through the areas that are not punched and cut out the entire circle.

Cut Lid

 

TIP: Be sure to punch a couple extra venting holes around the center of the lid. This will prevent the jar from overheating when the light is on.

 

Push the bottom half of the socket through the mason jar lid. Then slip the mason jar ring through the cord so it rests above the lid.

Lid through Pendant Kit Pendant Light Complete

 

Choose a low wattage light bulb (around 60 watts) and be sure it fits inside your mason jar! If you have a mason jar with a larger mouth, a regular size bulb should fit. However my mason jar had a regular sized mouth which required using a smaller light bulb.

Light Bulbs

 

Screw in the lightbulb, twist on the lid, plug it in and watch your arc reactor glow!

Arc Reactor Light

I think Tony Star would approve. :)

 

How-To: Dweeby Welcome Mat

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As I stared at my raggedy-looking doormat a couple months ago, I realized that it was time for a change. A welcome mat is the first thing to greet you and your guests when you walk in the door—which is all the more reason why a welcome mat should represent you! All who enter your secret lair should know what to expect, no? So when my friends at DweebCast asked me to do another DIY episode, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. (Check out the video above to see the mat we made for the DweebCast HQ!)

For my personal Dweeby Welcome Mat, I wanted to display a geeky saying or word on it. I decided on using the word, “chowbaso”. Because what better way to welcome my guests than by saying it in Huttese?! The only thing better would be if when you stepped on the mat, Jabba’s voice greeted you. Guess that’ll be a project for another day! In the meantime, here’s how to make your own Dweeby Welcome Mat!

What You’ll Need:

  • Coir Door Mat
  • Large Stencils
  • Outdoor Spray Paint
  • Painter’s Tape
  • Newspaper or Paper Bags
  • Straight Pins

 

STEP 1: BUY YOUR DOORMAT

When selecting your doormat, I recommend finding one that has short, coarse fibers. A coir mat is best since the paint adheres to it well and it will also wear better over time.

Mat

I found this coir mat at IKEA for only $9.99!

Mat 1

 

STEP 2: SELECT YOUR STENCILS

Most craft stores offer a good selection of stencils or you can make your own. You want your geeky word or quote to take up space on the mat, so try to use stencils that are on the larger side. I found these large paper stencils at Michaels.

Stencils

 

STEP 3: ARRANGE YOUR STENCILS ON THE WELCOME MAT

Once your area is prepped for spray painting, begin arranging the stencils on the mat. Use painter’s tape to attach the stencils together. This will keep the stencil aligned.

Stencils on Mat

 

Use straight pins to secure the stencils onto the mat.

Pinned Stencils

 

Then cover the rest of your mat with newspaper or paper bags.

Prepped Stencil

 

STEP 4: SPRAY PAINT MAT

When selecting your spray paint, you’ll need to find an indoor/outdoor paint. I chose black spray paint since the color hides dirt well.

Spray Paint

 

Now, spray paint the stencil by moving the can in a sweeping motion a few inches away from the welcome mat. You’ll need to paint a few coats to get the right amount of coverage. Wait a few minutes in between coats, then allow the paint to dry for at least 24 hours.

Painted Stencil

 

STEP 5: CREATE BORDER

Once the paint is dry, remove your stencil. You can leave the design as is or you can use painter’s tape (or masking tape) to create a border around your design! Measure each of the sides with a ruler, to make sure the border is even all around.

Pinned Border

 

STEP 6: SPRAY PAINT BORDER

Cover the areas you want protected, then spray paint the exposed area of the border.

Painted Border

 

STEP 7: REMOVE PAINTER’S TAPE

After all the paint is dry, remove the painter’s tape and protective covering.

Dweeby Welcome Mat 1

 

Now your Dweeby Welcome Mat is now done! Bounty hunters, beware.

Dweeb Welcome Mat

Happy crafting! ٩(^ᴗ^)۶

 

 

DIY Action Figure Bookends

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Unique bookends can add a lot of character to a shelf. I was recently looking for some cool bookends online but the ones I found were either a little pricey or not quite my style. Since I had a specific idea in mind, I decided to just make them myself! These Action Figure Bookends are functional and a fun way to display your action figures on the shelf.

 

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 2 Action Figures
  • 4 pieces of hardwood cut to the size you want (mine are 5.5”x6”)
  • Spray Paint
  • Wood Glue
  • Sandpaper (Coarse & Fine grades)
  • Felt
  • Glue Dots
  • Tacky Glue

When it comes to selecting your wooden pieces, I recommend using a hardwood like poplar or oak. Unlike softwood, hardwood will be heavy enough to hold up your books. I found a 0.75” x 5.5” board of Red Oak that was 2 feet long. Then I had this kind gentleman cut four 6” pieces from the wood so that each piece was 5.5” x 6”.

Home Depot

 

Red Oak

 

Once you’ve got all your materials, sand your wooden pieces to get a smooth & even finish. Use coarse sand paper first, then fine sand paper to finish and polish the wood. Use a cloth to wipe away any residue left after sanding.

Sanding

 

Use wood glue to adhere two of the wooden pieces in a 90 degree angle. Remove excess glue with a wet Q-Tip or damp cloth if necessary.

Gluing Bookends

 

To apply pressure while the glue sets, I used a one-handed bar clamp (available at hardware stores).

Grip

 

Or you can place a couple of heavy books on top of the bookends. Let the glue dry for at least 30 minutes.

Heavy Books

 

Once the wooden pieces are glued together, spray paint them in a well ventilated area.  Spray on several thin coats of paint covering all sides of the bookends.

Spray Paint Bookends

 

Let it dry for 2-4 hours, then flip the pieces over and spray paint the bottom of the bookends.

Flipped Bookends

 

TIP: Before applying your main color, be sure to spray paint your wooden pieces with a primer. Or use a spray paint + primer combo like this!

Spray Paint

 

Once all the sides are completely dry, cut 2 pieces of felt slightly smaller than the bottom of the bookends.

Tracing Felt

 

Using Tacky Glue, glue the felt pieces to the wooden pieces.

Gluing Felt

 

The felt will prevent the wood from scratching up your bookshelf.

Glued Felt

 

Now it’s time to add your action figures! I decided to go with a Transformers theme. Since I wanted to represent both sides of good and evil, I chose Autobot Commander Optimus Prime and Decepticon scientist Shockwave. Since both Transformers are from the Beast Hunters Voyager Class series, they’re the same height. However, mixing and matching different size action figures would also look cool! Work with whatever you have in your collection!

Action Figures

 

Now the big question…to glue, or not to glue? When it comes to my action figures, I don’t like doing permanent modifications—mainly because I use mine for photos, dioramas, and to be costars in my YouTube videos! So for these bookends, I chose the temporary solution of Glue Dots. You can find Glue Dots at most craft stores. They’re quick to use and have certainly made my crafting life a lot easier.

Glue Dots

 

Remove a few glue dots from the roll and place them on the bottom of your action figure.

Glue Dots 2

 

Then place the action figure on the bookend. The Glue Dots will provide just the right amount of stickiness you’ll need.

Gluing Transformer

 

TIP: If you want a more permanent solution, use a drop of super glue on the bottom of your action figures and stick them to the bookends.

 

Once the figures have been attached to their bases, your Action Figure Bookends are done!

Action Figure Bookends

These bookends are a great way to show off your action figures and keep all your books in place!

Action Figure Bookends 2

How-To: Yoda Yuletide Fizz

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Yoda Yuletide Fizz

4 slices cucumber

1 oz tequila

1 oz ginger liqueur (you can find this at specialty liquor stores, BevMo, or online!)

1/2 lime

Ginger Beer

 

Cut 4 thin slices of cucumber

Muddle the slices of cucumber at the bottom of your rocks glass

Add the tequila ginger liqueur, and lime juice to the glass

Fill the glass with ice cubes and then pour the mixture into a shaker

Shake for about 10 seconds then pour the drink into your glass

Enjoy your Yoda Yuletide Fizz!

Yoda Yuletide Fizz

How-To: Death Star Cheeseball

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I had the pleasure of being a guest on the DweebCast  last week and boy, was it a blast!  Since the holidays are in full swing, they asked me to create a Star Wars-themed holiday snack for the show.  So I decided to create….a Death Star Cheeseball.  A cheeseball is a great holiday party snack because it’s super easy to make and anything with cheese is always a crowd pleaser.  I actually found this recipe on the Homesick Texan blog, and then slightly adapted it for my Death Star needs.  Major props to Ms. Lisa Fain because the flavor of this cheeseball is absolutely delicious—creamy, cheesy, and the jalapeños add just a dash of spiciness.  Watch the DweebCast episode (above) to see host Andy Riesmeyer and I throw around food and Star Wars-puns!  I’ve also posted the full recipe below.  Enjoy!

 

Death Star Cheeseball

  • 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 oz Bacon Bits
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 jalapeño (ribs and seeds removed), chopped finely and divided
  • crackers (for serving)

In a medium bowl, stir together the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, bacon bits, cilantro, garlic, cumin, cayenne pepper, lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, and minced jalapeños until it’s well combined.

On a large plate, shape the cream cheese mixture into a ball.  The mixture will be a little sticky so you can cover the plate with saran wrap to prevent it from sticking to the plate.

Once you’ve got a nice round shape, begin building your Death Star!  To create the equatorial trench, cut the cheeseball in half and then re-place the halves on top of each other.  To create more detail around the Death Star use a butter knife and/or toothpick.  I used this image of the Death Star as reference.  For the super laser, scoop out a shallow portion of the cheeseball (anywhere above the equatorial trench).  Use a toothpick to draw the fine detail inside the super laser.

Cover your Death Star and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.  Once your Death Star is complete, your party guests will be impressed by the Imperial Baconstation you created!

Death Star Cheeseball

Even if it is only made out of cheese.  :)

DIY Yoda Holiday Sweatshirt

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‘Tis the season for wearing ugly holiday sweaters!  For many of us, it has become a ritual to pull out our tacky, tinsel-adorned sweaters and wear them to a holiday party.  But wouldn’t it be nice to be festive and still look cute?  To solve my holiday fashion conundrum, I decided to take matters into my own crafty hands.  For this DIY holiday sweatshirt, the design is simple and subtle but will still help you celebrate the holidays like the good Jedi that you are.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

- Plain sweatshirt (I found mine at Forever 21)

- Freezer Paper

- Fabric paint in green and brown colors

- Sponge brush(es)

- Yoda the reindeer image

- Cardboard

- Exacto knife

- Iron

- Ribbon (optional)

 

For my design, I found a Yoda silhouette online and photoshopped reindeer antlers on top of his head. Click HERE to download the full size image.

Yoda the Reindeer

Scale the image to the size you want, then print it out.  Once printed, place the freezer paper on top of your Yoda the Reindeer image.  Make sure the shiny side of the freezer paper is face down.

Tracing Stencil 1

 

Then trace the image onto the dull side of the freezer paper.

Tracing Stencil 2

 

Cut the image out with an exacto knife.  (I recommend using a cutting board or cardboard underneath.)  Keep in mind that the parts that you’re cutting out are the sections you’re going to paint.

Yoda Stencil 2

 

Before you iron your stencil, cut a piece of freezer paper that is the same size size as your design.  Turn your sweatshirt inside out and iron that piece of freezer paper (shiny side down) to the shirt.

Ironing Inside Paper

 

The size of the paper should be large enough to cover the entire backside of your design area.  This will prevent the design from shifting later on.

Freezer Paper Inside

 

Now turn your sweatshirt right side out.  Put a piece of cardboard inside your shirt to prevent the paint from seeping through.

Cardboard

 

Place your stencil (shiny side down) onto the sweatshirt.  Turn your iron on high and iron your freezer paper to the shirt.  (Make sure not to use any steam!)

Ironing Stencil

 

Now it’s time to paint!  Using your sponge brush, press the paint into the open areas of the stencil.  Use the green fabric paint for Yoda’s face and the brown fabric paint for the antlers.  As it begins to dry, you may need to paint a few coats to get a nice saturated color.

Painting Stencil

 

Let the paint dry for several hours or overnight.  Once it’s completely dry, carefully peel off the freezer paper.

Peeling Off Stencil

 

TIP:  To set the paint, cover the shirt with a thin piece of cloth and iron it using a hot setting.

 

I decided to give Yoda a little holiday flair by cutting a small piece of plaid ribbon and tying it into a bow.  Then I used a little fabric glue and basic stitches to secure the ribbon to the shirt.

Sewing Yoda Bow 1

TIP:  To wash your shirt, turn it inside out, hand or machine wash in cold water, then lay flat to dry.  (Using a dryer will cause the paint to crack.)

 

Ready for the holidays, you are!

Yoda the Reindeer

Happy Hothidays!  ☆*・゜゚・*\(^O^)/*・゜゚・*☆