yes, you read correctly. i am currently absolutely obsessed with coffee filters. i'm literally dreaming of them...toying with new ways to use them in my crafting adventures.
and it all began with the latest issue of Somerset Life. now, this is a magazine that i have heard mentioned many times before, but i never really gave it any notice. however i recently found myself killing time at my local Borders, browsing through the magazines. i came across the illustrious Somerset collection of mags, and decided to give them a closer look...
there are a number of Somerset publications, and if you give it a google, you can see for yourself. i'm not a scrapbooker, or a doll maker, or a collager. i am, however, a designer at heart, and i instantly fell in love with Somerset Life, as well as Somerset Holidays & Celebrations. the pages abound with wonderfully inspiring photos and ideas, featuring a lot of artisans that i was surprised to find myself familiar with either from my favorite etsy sellers or blogs. i was literally charmed as i turned each page...
my experiments with crepe paper have given me an appreciation for the plasticity, if you will, of a sheet of paper. actually, i was taught to recognize this unique characteristic back when i was a grad student studying architectural design. there are a limitless amount of possibilities for transforming a flat, plane of paper into something more dimensional, something whose presence in space is completely different just because you folded or rolled it. so basically, what i'm getting at here, in a totally verbose way, is that i like making ruffles with sheets of crepe and ribbon. so naturally, i was totally taken with a picture i found in this issue of Somerset Life of a large pom pom ball made of tea stained coffee filters. i immediately imagined at least ten to twenty of them hanging from the ceiling of my studio...
however, since i currently find myself creating romantic little confections for the shop, i dreamt up a little valentine's day project using coffee filters dyed with food coloring. you can purchase the finished product in my shop, but i enjoyed playing with this otherwise mundane medium so much, i thought i would demonstrate the process for you. this is also a great project for the novice crafter, or even as a rainy day craft with the kids.
here's what you'll need:
- package of plain 'ol white coffee filters
- food coloring or tea brewed for staining
- straight pins
- styrofoam heart or other foam form
- card stock
- vintage sheet music or other decorative papers
- vintage trim or other ribbons
- glue gun
you must begin by staining or dying your coffee filters. the number you choose to whip up is really dependent upon how large of an application you're using them for. i do a bunch more than i think i will need, because i know i want a nice, fully look at the end. next, you must decide whether you're going to use a tea stain or a food coloring dye. for this project, i used red food coloring, in three different concentrations or shades. i simply filled a large, white bowl with water, dropped a few drops of coloring in, and mixed. when i was done dying a number of filters with this shade, i simply added a few more drops of food coloring to the same bowl of water in order to deepen the color. i did this three times, but there is no precision to this craft! do as many shades as you like...do a number of different colors...whatever! that's the beauty of this -- there is absolutely no wrong way to execute this!
now, before i dip my filters into the dye, i pinch them at the center and twist them into a bundle of sorts. then, all i have to do is dip them in the dye bath, and then gently squeeze them out. i lay the stained/dyed filters on a large tinfoil lined cookie sheet and place them in the oven on its lowest setting to dry. you could air dry the filters, but i'm ridiculously impatient when it comes to these things. even with the oven, the drying process will take at least an hour. during that time, keep a close eye on them, and turn them often, fluffing them gently open to facilitate drying.
finally, when these babies are all dry, its time to craft up something sweet with them. i chose to affix them to a heart shaped piece of styrofoam that i picked up at my local craft shop. i simply put a dollop of hot glue on the filter's pinched end, stand it up on the styrofoam, and then for a little extra hold, i stick a short straight pin through the filter and into the styrofoam. you want to place the filters rather closely together, but try to space them evenly. the fullness of your finished product will vary depending on how many filters you use and how closely they are placed together. to make the aforementioned pom pom, you would simply use a styrofoam ball (does anyone else find the price of these things as ridiculous as i do? what is it about styrofoam that makes it so damn expensive??).
finally, to complete the heart project i have above, i affixed a piece of sheet music to the back of the heart. i then trimmed the styrofoam heart off with a strip of pink card stock that i cut with a pair of decorative scissors by hot gluing it tightly around the edge of the heart. i also added a strip of velvet rick rack for some extra detail. my final touch was a banner reading "BE MINE" in a decorative font, printed on white card stock, and trimmed out with some vintage glass glitter.
my hope in sharing this little project with you all is that you have just as much fun playing with the process as i did...if you make something great, send a pic in and share! i'd love to see what you all come up with!