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 Post subject: Paper burning question
PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2015 7:17 pm 
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Before you all go :-o :shock: :wtf: , no - I'm not planning to set fire to my craft room. I'm trying to do something with old Christmas card fronts, and what I want is an irregular edge that's burned. I tried tearing the approximate shape I wanted and burning with a candle, but the results aren't quite as controllable as I had hoped. Also, the edges tended to curl and the entire paper got too hot.

So is there a tool that gets hot enough to scorch paper without actually catching it on fire? If so, what's it called?

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2015 7:18 pm 
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Soldering iron?

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2015 9:09 pm 
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Perhaps a safer method would be to hand tear the edges and then just use Distress Ink in Black Soot, then roll the edges a bit. Add a brown ink first, then the Soot so it has a singed look.

I'm really curious as to what your project is. :lol:

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2015 10:23 pm 
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would a bare light bulb work?

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 04, 2015 11:20 pm 
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Youtube has plenty of videos for it.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 10:36 am 
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So here's what I'm trying to do. I think I've mentioned in a few other threads about the girl scout troop trying to make money at a craft fair (if we come out in the positive at this point, it will be a success). Two weeks ago, we came across some freebie wood medallions that we thought we could make into ornaments. If we can make something out of those with materials we already have, then we have additional items at no cost.

So, one of the things I've done for many many years, is save Christmas cards. Many of them have really beautiful fronts, and I've always wanted to repurpose those somehow. So I thought that if I could get them down to the size of the wood and mod podge them on, that would be cool. I would stamp and emboss the other side. But when I got a card image to the right size, I realized that it really needed to be burned in order to look right. I tried actually burning it with a candle, but it really messed up the rest of the card front. The image was heavily embossed, and the fire softened and curled the whole thing.

So, I was wondering if a more concentrated heat source (like a wood burning tool or soldering tool) would do the trick. Tearing and inking will be another technique I try, but burning looks just different enough that it was really the look I preferred.

I have lots of card fronts to work with. I may try a soldering iron, just as a test. But if all else fails, I'll do the tearing and inking. I don't have a ton of time for experimentation. We've already come to the hard realization that all of the things that the girls wanted to make are well beyond their skill level. I spent about 5 hours last night taking apart and re-making many of the jewelry items they attempted. We also started working on beaded snowflake ornaments, which are a kid craft, and somehow two girls made a complete disaster of a few snowflakes, and I took those completely apart and re-built them as well. I've already volunteered to finish the remainder of the earring kits, because it will take less time to make them myself than it will be to salvage them after the girls make their attempt. :?

I'll tell ya - I tend to hate the holidays enough as it is. But this craft fair might just throw me completely over the edge... especially if it's not profitable. Ug. How people can make a living doing this is beyond me.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 11:26 am 
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Julie - feel free to tell me this is none of my business, okay?

I wonder if the girls will learn a more valuable lesson if they have to try to sell their products they made them (as opposed to you spending your valuable time making the items for them)? Like you said, it's not easy to make money selling hand-crafted items. I think most people don't make a profit because they under-value their time and because the general consumer doesn't appreciate the amount of work/time involved in hand-crafting items.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 11:49 am 
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I would never tell you that Pam! Trust me, all of the feedback I get here is valuable, or I wouldn't ask for it.

In principle, I completely agree with you. But here's the problem - the troop is in the red, and the cost for materials came out of my own pocket. So if we don't sell anything, I don't get reimbursed. I know that's not the girl scout rules - the volunteers are NEVER supposed to spend money out-of-pocket. But if we waited on funds to come in from other methods (like cookie sales), we'd have to wait a whole additional year.

The other problem is, I know my girls. If this fails too miserably, they will lose confidence and won't be willing to take any future fundraising risks. So my goal is to at least sell enough stuff to be able to reimburse myself for materials. Past that point, I expect the following to be the lessons the girls learn:

1. They all got to try making earrings. Some did OK, most of them acknowledged that it was much harder than it looked. I'm happy to let those who want to have another attempt, but I'm also willing to finish up the kits we already have and be happy that they tried jewelry making and learned that it's harder than it looks and takes practice.
2. We made a full set (24) clear ball ornaments that were filled with curled holiday scrapbook paper. They came out great, but it took 7 of us a full three hours to make 24 of them. Not difficult, but time-consuming. We will be analyzing all of the time these things took after the sale. :-)
3. Even if I finish out (and neaten) some of the craft items, the girls will still have full responsibility for determining pricing and creating all of the marketing.
4. There is one more ornament that we're going to make several of, and it will be a "follow along and do what I do" kind of thing. Many of these girls are easily distracted, and if they don't pay attention, they'll quickly learn that their ornament is beyond fixing. I won't be making corrections to those - we'll only sell the ones that come out right.
5. This lesson is for the other leader ( :twisted: ). She's a bit of a Pinterest nut. She has proposed nothing short of a bazillion craft ideas for us to sell. And I have to be the voice of reason. Many things are simple to do (even for 12yos), but the materials could be expensive to procure, or take a long time to collect. Many things look simple, but I know by looking at them that they are not. These little tree ribbons are one example. I've made some already, and I screwed up several, and they are far more time consuming than they look. When I told her about my experience, she shrugged it off. She's going to be following along with everyone else when I give instructions, and I guarantee she's going to struggle just as much as the girls. She loves Pinterest, but she's never ever actually tried to make anything she's seen from there. Her ambitions way outreach our collective skills as a troop.

So anyway, that's why this craft fair will still have some valuable lessons, even if I go and sink far more time on it in the interest of quality control. I'm just trying to get my original financial investment back, and the girls do still learn a lot of lessons when it's all done.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 12:35 pm 
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paper burning is tricky.... I think I remember doing it with matches... maybe a lighter... but holding the flame away from the paper so it singes, but doesn't burn. wood-burning tool might work. But... definitely paper like cards has other chemicals in it that are going to flame up faster than you want... so might not be your best choice.

a simpler project might be cards.... and you might want to do them assembly line style... a couple people stamping images and then some others doing the assembly.

kids are definitely more easily distracted these days than we were when we were younger and were being led through crafting projects... so many other things are rolling around in their heads and they're used to be entertained rather than having to actually DO something

hope your sale doesn't put you in the hole... hugs!!

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 12:43 pm 
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You've reassured me Julie!
(I've watched too many adults take over when the kids need to learn lessons. Can you tell?)

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 1:59 pm 
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I definitely ran into the challenges you mentioned Debi - that's why I may just need to go ahead with the inking. As far as cards, I definitely thought about that. But here's the thing - I either invest more money in cardstock and envelopes (and hope to recoup my costs), OR, I give up my own stash as a total donation. Obviously I've got stamps and inks and all of that - no problem. But the cardstock I have is good quality stuff, and I don't want to just donate it.

:hijack:
Pam - I knew exactly where you were coming from, no worries! I struggle with these girls a lot. I mean, they're 12 (one is 13). Two of them have started their periods. In my own mind, I'm thinking they should be expected to behave in a much more mature manner at this age. But they don't! They don't give their troop leaders any respect, for one thing - they're more interested in what's going on in their own heads than listening to anything an adult is trying to tell them. And I try so hard to be patient, but seriously, when I'm trying to give step-by-step instructions on something, and you just burst into a random song at the top of your lungs (causing three of the other girls to quit listening and join in, and the fourth to complain over the top of everyone about the fact that they're singing at all and to please stop) - I just about lose it. And it's not like this is even a new struggle. The VERY worst offender of not paying attention and doing whatever the hell she wants is the other leader's daughter. And the other leader rarely corrects her.

On a tangent, this girl got into huge trouble (by her mother) on our last camping trip, more than once. And her mother said something like "for crying out loud! You're 13 now! And this is how you act?". I wanted to say, um... yeah. She's been acting like this her whole life - why do you expect things to change just because she had a birthday? I think a lot of parents these days have that kind of attitude - let them be kids. OK, sure, I agree. But to not give them ANY responsibility or demand ANY respectful behavior until they're teenagers? Yeah - I don't see that working.

So anyway (can you tell I don't want to work today?), I've taken on the position that it's going to be my job to attempt to teach them something that might translate to a life skill or make them a better human being. The other leader's job is to make sure that girl scout meetings still have some element of fun, so that they don't all quit. :-) At our last camping trip, I coached each of them to build a fire, and made them all cook over the fire and keep the fire going (and their inability to stay focused is why it took an hour to get bacon). I also taught those who were curious, how to use a camp stove, and how to cook several things over charcoals. I then made sure they all participated in washing dishes. When we were done, the other leader busted out plastic vampire teeth and sticker mustaches and arranged for some games. Ultimately, we make a good team. But I do think I'm the only one on an actual mission to make these girls into something more. I think the other leader's job is to make sure they don't quit before I accomplish my mission. LOL.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 5:56 pm 
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Do these girls really want to be in Girl Scouts or are their parents making them stay in it?

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 9:15 pm 
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Julie, it might be time for them to learn that acting like smart specks causes negative results. I understand that you want them to not fail. But that might be what needs to happen. So sorry you're not making headway with them.

**gotta love spellcheck on the Kindle... that was supposed to be "smart alecks" LMAO**

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 05, 2015 11:15 pm 
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Or have them make something simple like
an old 40 year old crafty thing that kids made
at school to bring home during the holidays
a wreath made from a wire hanger and cheap plastic
sandwich bags. decorate with a big bow and maybe some
small ornaments. They are girl scouts and I think
most folks buy from kids to support their efforts
not because they actually need the items that the
girls are selling

this is the type of wreath I'm thinking about
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTDayUA9Gtg

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 06, 2015 3:46 pm 
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mpizzazz wrote:
Do these girls really want to be in Girl Scouts or are their parents making them stay in it?


It's mixed. With the 5 girls that we're down to, two of them are leaders daughters. And I think that the other leader and I feel like if the girls still want to have a troop, then we'll continue to volunteer, but it means that we've never really given our own girls the choice. However, I do know that each of the other three have been given the choice each new year, and they all want to stay. One girl even had to choose go give something up, and she gave up music lessons so that she could stay in girl scouts. That choice made me kind of sad, but the reason she gave was that she really wanted to eventually get her gold award which would help her kick butt on her college application. So that made me feel better.

Ultimately, I know that Nicole wants to be in it. She loves the kids of things we do as a troop. The other leader's daughter is being more forced by her mother. Most days though, I think that the troop would be better off without the girl, but that would leave me flying solo as a leader, and without an additional parent on the official roster, we fold as a troop.

Nicole and I worked through our "snowflake ornament" project last night, and started tweaking some of the snowflakes we thought were a little sad. And we wound up having so much fun putting together bead patterns that we kind of became obsessed and just finished them all. :lol: So it got me to thinking - I've got projects that we need to finish because we spent money on materials and need to try to recoup those expenses. However, I think that I'm going to issue a challenge to all of the girls - over the next month, take a look at Pinterest or whatever source you want, and see if you can find something to make for our craft fair without buying any new materials. I think most of the girls would get flat out giddy about an upcycle challenge. And as a result, the girls totally make something themselves, and if it sells, then great. If it doesn't, then the loss is time, but not money. I also think that we might be able to dedicate a section of our table to "upcycled crafts", which would have an appeal all its own to some people. Also, that way I don't wind up feeling guilty for the QA work I did on our existing craft projects. :lol:

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