How to make: a Salvadoran-style wooden box

How to make a Salvadoran-style wooden box

As a member of Lowe’s Creative Ideas Network I received gift cards from Lowe’s in order to purchase supplies to complete projects. All opinions are my own.

If you’re Salvadoran or if you’ve ever been to El Salvador, you know that little wooden boxes are a common handicraft made and painted in the traditional style – I own several little “treasure box” style ones and at first I wanted to try to make one of those complete with a lid for this month’s woodworking challenge. Once I started planning it out though, I decided that for my first attempt I should try a more simple design, so with Carlos’s help I made a medium-sized wooden box without a lid. The supplies and method I used are below if you’d like to give it a try!

How to make: a Salvadoran-style wooden box

What you need:

jigsaw
utility square
pencil with eraser
paper
heavy duty bar clamp
2 pieces of craft board 3/8 x 4 x 24″ (to be cut for the 4 sides: Left, Right, Front, Back)
1 craft board 1/2 x 6 x 24″ (to be cut for the bottom)
newspaper
sandpaper
Elmer’s Carpenters wood glue (interior)
painters tape
Q-tips
paper towels
paint in various colors (I used Valspar samples I already had on hand)
small craft paint brushes
permanent marker (black)

Directions:

1. Measure and mark your wood for cutting using the utility square and pencil. Very important! Remember to include the width of the front and back pieces plus the bottom for the measurement you need for your two sides. These are the measurements I ended up with:

Bottom: 6″
Front: 6″
Back: 6″
Left side: 6 1/4″
Right side: 6 1/4″

Tip: Craft wood is sold with a UPC sticker on it. When you remove the sticker it might leave behind a sticky residue. This can be removed with a little dab of peanut butter on a paper towel. (Yes, peanut butter!)

2. Wearing eye protection, carefully use the jigsaw to cut our your pieces. You should have 5: bottom, front, back, left side, right side.

Carlos-cutting-1

Carlos-cutting-2

3. Make sure all pieces are the correct size by doing a dry assembly of the box to see that the corners line up properly with none of the pieces being too long or short.

4. Lightly sand any rough edges if necessary.

5. On top of a layer of newspaper, glue the front and back to the bottom. Use Q-tips to remove any excess glue before it dries. It’s really helpful to have a second person helping you at this stage. One person should glue and hold the pieces in place while the other lightly secures the clamp. Do not secure the clamp too tightly or they may lean in. To ensure the sides are at a 90 degree angle, you can use a triangle square. Leave the clamp on for at least an hour to ensure the glue has dried. Now repeat step 5 to attach the other two sides. Note: Really try to avoid using too much glue which will cause your box to stick to the newspaper. If this happen, the newspaper can be sanded off with sandpaper.

Glue-Box

6. Once the glue has dried you should have a completed wooden box ready to be painted. Gently tap the sides to make sure you’ve done a good job and the box will hold together.

7. Practice a design with pencil and paper. Once you know what you want to paint, draw your design directly onto the box with pencil.

box-sketch-design

8. On a layer of newspaper, paint your design. Tip: Painters tape is helpful for making clean lines.

Tape-box

Paint-box-halfway-done

9. Once the paint is dry your box is ready to display or use!

Salvadoran-box-4

Salvadoran-box-5

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Día de los Muertos Marigold Lamp

DIY-handpainted-lamp

As a member of Lowe’s Creative Ideas Network I received gift cards from Lowe’s in order to purchase supplies to complete projects. All opinions are my own.

Autumn is the perfect time of year to curl up with a good book, and because it’s darker out, a new lamp in your favorite nook may be just the thing – but don’t settle for just any lamp – How about a custom hand-painted lamp? Today I’ll share how to paint a plain lampshade however you like. I chose a marigold theme for Día de los Muertos. (In Spanish, marigolds are called cempasúchiles, caléndulas, maravillas, or flor de muertos! Here’s a great video about the history of marigolds in Mexico if you’re interested.)

Ready to make your own hand-painted lampshade? Here we go!

Do-it-Yourself Hand-Painted Lampshade

What you need:

computer paper
printer with ink
Styleselections lampshade #0352517
Portfolio lamp base #0526936
painters tape
black paint
two similar shades of colored paint (I used Valspar Coral Reef and Valspar Tomato Bisque)
small craft paintbrushes
light bulb (check the box on the lamp base for the proper bulb. I needed a 13 watt CFL)

Note: I’ve given the specific lampshade and lamp base I used in case you want to get the same ones, but you can use any lampshade and lamp base you like. I recommend a lampshade with a white or light-color and smooth surface. Also, if you do a different design than the marigold, then obviously you may need more or different paint colors.

Directions:

1. Choose your design. The marigold design I chose is available on PicMonkey. I have it here for easy download. Just open in Microsoft Paint and print.

2. Remove plastic from the lampshade and take the base out of its packaging.

lamp-base-and-shade

3. Carefully place the design face down on the inside of the lampshade and tape into place.

flower-design-taped

4. Assemble the lamp, including the light bulb. Turn the light on and make sure it’s positioned the way you want before you start painting.

light-on-ready-to-paint

5. Paint the flower petals as you see in the photo, avoiding the black lines. I used Valspar Coral Reef. (The colors I use came out kind of salmon-colored, so if you want a truer orange, you will want to use a different color.)

first-paint-color

6. Use a lighter shade to paint a thin layer on each petal again, leaving a little of the darker color unpainted at the edges to give it more depth. You can see below I’ve started to paint a few of the petals with the second color.

applying-paint-2

7. Use black paint to fill in the outline.

filling-in-black-lines

8. Allow to dry. Remove the paper and tape from the inside of the lampshade. You’re finished!

marigold-lamp-1-latinaish

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Recycled Soda Can Luminary

can-lantern-finished-project

As a member of Lowe’s Creative Ideas Network I received gift cards from Lowe’s in order to purchase supplies to complete projects. All opinions are my own.

September is a beautiful time of year to be outside at all hours. If you have a nice patio, it’s the perfect season to have an evening dinner party with friends or familia – but what’s a patio dinner party without a little mood lighting? Luminaries hung on a string or from trees can be so pretty. Here’s a method for making little lanterns out of recycled soda cans.

Do-it-Yourself Recycled Soda Can Luminary

What you need:

empty soda cans
x-acto knife
paper towels
screwdriver
string or wire
tealights (I highly recommend battery-operated tealights to ensure there’s no fire hazard)

Note: I do not consider this a safe craft for kids. The x-acto knife is obviously sharp but so is the soda can once it’s cut. Please be very careful.

Directions:

can-project-cans

1. Fill empty soda cans a little more than 3/4 of the way with water. Place in the freezer for a few hours, until water inside has frozen. Do not leave any longer than necessary as the water will expand and the can will bust and become unusable.

can-project-fill-w-water

2. Take the can out of the freezer and place on top of a few paper towels. Being extremely careful, use the x-acto knife to cut slits in the can as shown. The lines must be elongated ‘S’ shapes. Do not cut straight lines or it won’t turn out right. The more slits you make, the more intricate the design will be. You need at least 8.

can-project-S-shape-cuts

3. Use warm water to melt the ice inside the soda can, (or allow to melt in the sink.) Gently shake dry.

4. Insert the screwdriver into the inside of the can and use it to push the strips outward. Gently push down on the top of the can to help push them out. Take your time and work at the strips until they’re rounded and look nice.

can-project-push-down

can-project-round-it-out

can-project-top-view

5. Pull the tab of the soda can up, being careful not to snap it off. Tie a string or bit of wire to it as a hanger or run a length of string through several lanterns to hang.

6. Being careful not to cut your fingers, insert a tealight inside. (Battery operated highly recommended.)

can-project-with-battery-light

soda-can-lantern

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Central American Artifacts in D.C.

Did you know that the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. has a large bilingual (English/Spanish) exhibit called “Cerámica de los Ancestros: Central America’s Past Revealed“? It’s there until February 15, 2015 and features more than 160 objects from Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama – so check it out while you can if you live in the area. If not, here are a few highlights!

ceramica-de-los-ancestros

designs

Lempa River jar in the form of an armadillo, AD 900-1200, Near Palacios, Oratorio de Concepción, Cuscatlán, El Salvador

Lempa River jar in the form of an armadillo, AD 900-1200, Near Palacios, Oratorio de Concepción, Cuscatlán, El Salvador

Classic period Maya figure, AD 600-900, Usulután, El Salvador

Classic period Maya figure, AD 600-900, Usulután, El Salvador

Classic period Maya bowl, AD 250-600, San Agustín, Acasaguastlán, El Progreso, Guatemala

Classic period Maya bowl, AD 250-600, San Agustín, Acasaguastlán, El Progreso, Guatemala

Stamps from Costa Rica and Guatemala

Stamps from Costa Rica and Guatemala

Pre-Classic period Maya female figure, 200 BC-AD 1, San Jacinto, San Salvador, El Salvador

Pre-Classic period Maya female figure, 200 BC-AD 1, San Jacinto, San Salvador, El Salvador

Carlos said, "Hey, this one looks like me!" even though I told him that usually statues with hands on the hips are females.

Carlos said, “Hey, this one looks like me!” even though I told him that usually statues with hands on the hips are females.

Want more?

The National Museum of the American Indian website has more information related to the exhibit including photos, video, and even a really awesome printable coloring book for the niños!

Latin American Themed Cellphone Cases

latin-american-cellphones

Disclosure: Latinaish.com has partnered with Cricket Wireless as a 2014 Blog Ambassador. All opinions are my own.

Several years ago I was diagnosed as having carpal tunnel syndrome. It’s a common ailment for writers to develop, and I still haven’t gotten around to having surgery. Besides my hands feeling weak and arthritic at times, one of the worst symptoms of CTS is the increased instance of total butterfinger moments. (Those who have CTS know what I’m talking about!)

For the rest of you, let me explain: I’ll be holding something (an ice cream cone, a book, the remote control) and all of a sudden, my hand will just decide all on its own, that it doesn’t want to hold it anymore. I get no warning whatsoever. A frequent victim of these butterfinger moments is my cellphone.

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve dropped my phone – and some of them have been from standing position over concrete. Thankfully I have a case on my phone and so far (knock on wood), my Samsung Galaxy s4 hasn’t been damaged. I’m sure that having a case on my phone has been at least partly responsible for protecting it, so I recently decided to invest in another case, as the one I have on it is pretty boring, (just a cheap grey-colored one.) While looking for a new case, I realized that some of you guys would probably love these as much as I do. Want to help me pick out which one I should buy? I narrowed it down to four and I’m having trouble choosing. Let me know in comments which case I should get!

el-salvador-phonecase
El Salvador phone case from Zazzle/AllWorldTees

sugarskulls-case
Sugar Skulls phone case from Zazzle/Thaneeya McArdle

world-map-case
World Map phone case from Zazzle/PMCustomGifts

frida-1-case
Frida Kahlo phone case from FineArtAmerica/Elena Day

For more from Cricket Wireless ambassadors, follow the #VidaConCricket hashtag and @MiCricket on Twitter.

Brazilian Bon Bons (Brigadeiros)

brigadeiros-2

With the World Cup coming up, I’ve got my mind on Brazil – but more specifically, I can’t stop thinking about Brazilian food. I did some research (also known as looking at photos of food for several hours) and have come to a conclusion – my life needs more Brazilian food in it. During the World Cup, my cocina will become a cozinha, (you guys are pretty smart so I don’t have to tell you that’s Portuguese for “kitchen”, right?)

Since I have pretty much zero experience in Brazilian cuisine, I decided to start out with the easiest recipe I could find.

Brigadeiros are basically Brazilian bon bons, or maybe more accurately, truffles. From what I read, they are the most popular candy in Brazil and essential at children’s birthday parties.

brigadeiros-1

I love how mine turned out. They’re like little soccer balls (how perfect!) … And the ones with the little round sprinkles remind me of Huichol beaded art.

If you want to make a batch of brigadeiros, the recipe I used is on From Brazil To You.

Anyone want to join me in learning to make some Brazilian dishes during the World Cup? Leave a comment and let me know!

How to Paint a Portable Mural

how-to-paint-a-portable-mural-latinaish

As a member of Lowe’s Creative Ideas Network I received gift cards from Lowe’s in order to purchase supplies to complete projects. All opinions are my own.

I have loved murals for as long back as I can remember, and so it was only natural that one day I would want to move from an admirer of murals to a creator of murals. At 12 years old I asked my mother if I could paint a mural on my bedroom wall, and I will be forever thankful that she allowed me to, no questions asked.

Since growing up and moving out on my own, I have continued to paint murals on the walls in every place I’ve lived. The only sad thing about a mural is that you can’t take it with you when you move, and if you decide to re-paint a room, it often gets painted over, with no way to preserve it. So when I decided I wanted to paint a new small-scale mural this time, I decided to make it portable. (Which is actually something Mexican painter Diego Rivera did in a much larger scale!)

I chose murals in La Palma, El Salvador, in the traditional style created by Fernando Llort, for my inspiration. While this portable mural measures only 8 x 24 inches, I hope to do a bigger one later. Here’s how you can make one too!

How to: Paint a Portable Mural

You need:

1 untreated piece of wood board (whichever size you want. The one pictured is 8 x 24 inches) – Try to find one with as little defects and knots as possible.

Paint in various colors, (I love the Valspar samples at Lowe’s which are only a couple dollars each. They come in so many bright, beautiful shades.)

paint-samples

Paint brushes in various sizes

A pencil

A yardstick

A piece of drafting paper

Directions:

1. Measure the length and width of the wood. On the drafting paper, with one square equaling one inch, draw a rectangle to the same dimensions as your wood.

drawing-mural

(Note: If you’ll be hanging the mural instead of just setting it on a shelf or mantle, you will need to carefully add picture hangers to the back of the wood at this point – Just make sure the screws are much shorter than the depth of the wood so you don’t go through and damage the side you’ll be painting.)

2. Within this rectangle on the drafting paper, create your design with pencil.

3. Once you’re happy with your design, you’re going to manually transfer it to the piece of wood, using the grid on the drafting paper as a guide. Don’t feel overwhelmed – just go square by square and draw what you see. Use pencil so you can erase and correct as needed. As you transfer the design, you may feel comfortable changing some elements of it – go ahead! It doesn’t have to be exactly like your original draft.

squares-on-wood

4. Take a moment to plan ahead and decide which colors you want to use and where. This may change as you work, but it’s good to have a general idea before plunging in.

5. Start painting!

painting-the-mural

finished-mural

6. Allow the paint to dry. Once the paint is dry, you can put your mural wherever you want, and because it’s portable, if you change your mind – no problem! Just move it elsewhere!

mural-on-shelf

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