Making Miniature Mugs out of Straws

 

Hi!! If you’re wondering if I’m dying again like last year, no I’m not. lol I’m doing okay now that I’m getting over that cold I had. Thanks a lot for your kind comments though! I did get lots of rest last week. 🙂

Okay, so this is the tutorial I was going to release last Tuesday…”Making mugs out of straws!”

I have done miniature mugs before with clay, but I think this is a easier one to try for people who aren’t always miniature crafting.   I have done a tutorial of this straw mug more than 2 years ago when I first started blogging in Japanese, but I still think this is a pretty cool method, so I hope you’ll read on! 😉

First, cut a straw about 1 centimeter long.  I recommend using wider straws, the kinds often used for smoothies etc. when doing this craft.  They’re just the right size for SF/CC! I got mine at IKEA. This piece will become the body of your mug.

Cut off about 2 mm off the remaining straw.  This ring is what becomes the handle of your mug.

Cut a bit of the ring off, maybe about 5~6 mm long.

Fold the both ends of the remaining ring like the photo below.

Superglue the folded ends onto the body piece.  Because plastic is pretty slippery, the handle will still come off very easily at this point even after the superglue is dry.  So be careful not to touch or hold the handle!

Fill a little bit of air dry clay at the bottom of the mug.  Use a stick and press the clay down against the crafting surface to make the bottom of the mug smooth and flat.

Coat the straw mug with white nail polish.  It can be a different color if you prefer.  This helps the handle of the mug to stay on, and it also adds a bit of thickness to the mug for more realism.

It’s easier to paint inside the mug first, then paint outside.  It’s best to work on a non-stick surface like silicone for this part.  I usually use the back of a silicone mold for crafting or cooking.

Once the base coat of nail polish is dry, do another coat with colors of your choice.  If you put an extra, thicker amount of nail polish around the ends of the handle, it really makes it look like a real mug.

For small pictures on the mug, I like using fingernail stickers from the store.  Just don’t forget to do a top coat once you’re all done decorating your mug! (Nail stickers are so useful for miniature crafting! If you see a cute design, grab it for future usage!)

Halloween mugs! 🙂

Other ideas for mug decorations:

  • Wrapping the straw with washi (masking) tape with cute designs, then coating it with clear nail polish.
  • Designing your own on a computer, print it out on a piece of paper, wrap it around the straw. (Wrap the straw with double sided tape first.)  For this, to avoid color bleeding, I recommend wrapping a clear tape over the printed design before you coat the mug with clear nail polish.
  • Origami and other printed paper to wrap around the mug.  Same as printed paper, I would use double sided tape and clear tape on this one.
  • Painting over the base coat with some acrylic paint, then coating it with clear nail polish.

 

I poured in some hot chocolate in my mugs. (Well, it’s resin with acrylic paint, really…lol)

Ah, it’s becoming a nice season for hot drinks!

Oh, by the way, my friend Soramama sent me another package the other day, and it included 2nd edition of capsule toy collection for the village cake shop. (That’s what you see in the photo above.)  Thank you, Soramama!!

 

 

ocean water

 

You know, I’m just curious…but does your country have easy and affordable access to resin?  Here in the US, it’s not that bad, I guess.  But I think it’s ridiculously expensive in Japan.  It could be because they mainly sell UV cure resin, but still!  To cope with everyone’s different resin situations, I tried to make this ocean water using as little resin as possible.

 

After the beach sand is completely dry, I painted the water area with turquoise acrylic paint.

After drying the paint, I thinly spread resin over the painted area.  It really helps do to this with a disposable paint brush, by the way.

Wait for the resin to cure completely.

I am so not a fan of fast curing resin these days, due to the horrible yellowing that is pretty much inevitable.  So I used Hi-temp hot glue to create waves.  If you read my blog articles regularly, you probably know this already, but even though the surface of hot glue will turn opaque as it cools down, if you coat it with resin afterwards, it will go back to clear.

The waves of the shore line are also hot glue.   For more detailed wave making, it might still help you to read my old beach article.

I painted over the bubbly part of the big waves white with acrylic paint.

Once again, coat the entire water area with a very thin layer of resin, and your ocean water area is finished.

 

 

Fountain water 2017 ver.

 

Hello, hello! Today’s tutorial probably is the one everyone’s most interested in, and I’m pretty confident that you’re going to like it!

 

I wanted to make sure that the fountain water doesn’t prematurely turn yellow (*more on that later), and also that the amount of falling water was very well controlled so that the details on the fountain top won’t be covered up.

 

If you’re worried that this will be too hard, do not fret, you’ll find it much easier than you think!

 

Okay, so first thing first, to make sure that the resin will not leak through the corners, seal the connected areas inside of the fountain base with a low-temp glue gun.  Don’t worry, it’ll be invisible once it’s covered with resin.

Pour in the slow curing clear cast resin from the top of the fountain top, where the water is supposed to be coming out. The resin will overflow to the middle tier, and eventually down to the bottom tier (the ground), where you only want just enough in there to cover all of the ground. Make sure you don’t put too much resin in at this point, as you’ll have more later to finish up.

So, about yellow resin. All resin eventually start to tint yellow with age, or by being exposed to UV rays.  I have found that fast-curing resin doesn’t take long to start tinting, so I recommend you avoid using it in this craft if possible. There are however, a few things you can do keep your water looking clean as long as possible. First of all, I suggest keeping your fountain away from light and the sun as much as you can.  Also, when making your resin, you can mix in a small amount of paint, which will camouflage the yellowing a little better.

About after 24 hours (curing time usually varies depending on the amount of resin used, and the temperature of your room), your resin should be rock hard and ready for the next step.  Get yourself some super fine fishing wire, and super glue.

Cut the fishing wire the length from the end of the dish to the bottom of the fountain.  It should be barely touching the surface of the bottom resin when the fishing wire is tightly straight.  Super glue one end of the cut fishing wire on to the edge of the dish, where you want your water to pour down.

Since I wanted a slow flowing, less amount of water for this fountain, I didn’t glue on too many fishing wire.  Once the bottom dish is done, repeat the same thing on the top dish.

Give your super glue enough time to cure, and once the wire is secure, pull out your low-temp glue gun and start gluing the bottom end of the fishing wire to the resin.  Make sure that the wire is tight and coming straight down.

You can also make the splashes and waves with the glue gun at this point. Just pour out some glue and move it around with the tip of the glue gun.  Don’t touch the glue with your hand though!

I added a mound of hot glue on top, where the fountain water is supposed to be coming out.

This is how it should look like after using the glue gun.

 

You’re now ready for the magical part of this craft, the water drops!

Instead of using the notorious fast curing resin, I used fast drying nail polish. It gets hard much faster, and doesn’t get so yellow! Not to mention, it’s cheap!!

Just slide your nail polish brush across the strings of fishing wire, and you should see these tiny balls left on them.

After the first coat of nail polish, I wanted the water drops to be a bit bigger, so I did another coat.

Once the nail polish is hard, it’s time to pour in the finishing resin.  Just use the same slow curing resin you used at the beginning here.  If you don’t like your splashes and ripples you made with your glue gun, this is a good time to fix the problem. Keep checking on your resin every hour or so, and once you think it’s starting to set, use a tooth pick and draw the ripple lines etc.  Keep checking to make sure that the lines you drew are staying.

Tada-! I’m pretty happy with this method so far.  What do you think?

Oh, by the way, I’m now back home in the US.  It was a super fun trip filled with everything Sylvanian Families!  I will write about it in the next post, which should come out on Friday.  🙂