Monday, January 18, 2010

Excellent Christmas Gift

I love this time of the year, because everything is on clearance after Christmas and I can get started on next Christmas's gifts!  Plus, when it's getting closer to the date, I can relax knowing I already have some of my Christmas shopping done, and it's a huge stress off of my shoulders.

My mom made these years ago, after she saw them featured on Martha Stewart.  They're really quite simple to make, and I feel like they are the perfect gift to give one of those people who already have everything.

To start off with, you need one of these paper mache reindeer - I got these guys at Michaels for 80%, which brought them down to around $1.50 each.  You'll also need gold bead garland. (or another color of your choice, I prefer the gold - my mom has made silver before and it just doesn't strike me as much)  It took me forever to find garland this year.  Normally, you can buy it at the dollar store, but everywhere I checked didn't have any.  I found some at CVS, but they only had 2 containers worth, which wouldn't even have done 1/4 of the deer.

Then, while shopping in Michael's clearance, I found what I was looking for - only problem is they are double stranded.  I examined it for awhile and figured out that it was just a thread holding the two strands together and it could easily be taken apart.  These garlands were normally $3.99 each, but I got them for $0.79 a strand - which is an extra bonus, because you're actually getting 2 strands.  For each deer, I used 4 1/2 of these packets, or 9 strands.  The only downfall is that these beads are rough and have a design on them - I've only used smooth beads in the past, but they still worked!  Oh yea, you'll also need a glue gun and glue.  Lots and lots of glue.  I think I went through maybe 20 sticks per deer?  Maybe that's not a lot.  It just seems like a lot to me.

Anyways!  You start off (I like to start at the neck) and you just put down a couple drops of glue, and attach the beads to it.  At first, you need to hold on the beads until the glue is dry and hard, but once you get going you don't really need to worry about it anymore.  By the way, you'll probably need a HOT glue gun - I've used the Low Temp guns before, and the beads just fall away from the deer at the slightest tug, but High Temp guns work great.  Except I actually melted some beads this time... just don't hold your gun directly against the beads for a long period of time and you won't have to worry about that... lol.. don't ask what I was trying to achieve by doing that.

So you keep putting on more and more rows of beads - lining up the beads to fit into the space in between the row before it, like shown.  Keep wrapping and wrapping and wrapping until ...

Your entire deer is covered!  It takes quite awhile - I like to do this while watching a movie or something to make the time go by faster.  Once you get to the more detailed areas (horns, etc..) you're going to have to cut small sections of beads instead of having a continuous strand.

Then, I go back over my deer and pick off all of those little threads of glue and any glue chunks (you can see a glue chunk in the up-close photo above) that I can get off without hurting the deer.  I've also taken a hair dryer to the deer before, to melt any excess glue back into place.  I'm sure you could use a heat gun, as well, just be sure not to hold it in any place for too long, or you'll melt the glue entirely and the beads will slide right off.

I like to finish off my putting some festive ribbon around the neck of the deer.  (The picture above is of the smooth beads.  By the way - in that picture, there's a nasty looking open patch on the deer's back where the beads don't quite go together - it honestly doesn't look like that in person, it must have been the flash that exaggerated it.)  I just tie the ribbon in a simple knot, I'm not too creative with things like that.  My mom makes extravagant bows out of the ribbon and then adds a sprig of red berries.  I'll just stick with my knot ;)

So, I've you're interested in this at all, get to Michaels fast!  They might already be sold out, but I went a few days ago and wiped out all of the Michaels stores around me and got enough to make 5 deer.  When buying on clearance, each deer comes out to under $10 worth of supplies, which I think is a great deal!

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