I had a bunch of great ideas but needed to get them organized and onto paper. Making up a rough plan for each of the nine shelf cubbies helped, and I decided that getting the canning done was a great task to start with.
First, I gathered my supplies. I have two different brands of two part clear drying resin. They call it two part because there is a Part A and a Part B. One is the resin, and one is the hardener. Neither will harden unless they are mixed, in equal amounts, together. I like the results equally well, though the ICE resin smells less than the Amazing, and is easier to pour. Both take pigment (alcohol ink, artists chalk, acrylic paint) equally well, set in 24 hours and cure in three days. I like to use disposable medicine cups because the measurements are embossed and easy to read. I like using coffee stirrers to mix them because there is more stirring surface than with toothpicks.
I have a variety of canning jars and bottles bought from many different miniature online retailers and tend to pick them up whenever I see ones I like or there is a sale. When I make mini foods in them, I tend to make a lot at one time.
Before I mix up the resin, I like to have everything ready to go. I use double sided tape to hold my jars onto a paper plate. I label the paper plate with what resin is going into what jars so things don't become confusing. In French cooking, they call this "mes en place". I call it me's in place! :O)
I always start with a cup for the Part A resin and the Part B resin. This ensures you are measuring the exact amount of each. Once you have them poured perfectly equally into their separate cups, you can add your pigment to Part A. I like to begin with the lightest color, because if you have resin left over for the next color, you can just mix a darker pigment in and not have to waste it. Start with a drop on a toothpick and keep adding until you like the color. Remember that mixing Part A into Part B will dilute the color slightly, so plan for that. Once you like the color, mix Part A into Part B per the directions on the label, usually five minutes. You will generally have 30 minutes of working time before the resin begins to harden, so don't feel too rushed.
You can see below how much the resin lightened after mixing it with Part B. These are jars of honey, so I have some leeway with color. Because the mouths of the jars are small, I fill them by dipping the end of a toothpick into the resin, letting excess drip back into the cup, then carefully moving it over to fill the jar a drop at a time. It's a job for the patient, but I find it fun and relaxing. If you happen to over spill or are a bad aim, do not worry. Continue to fill your jar. After about 30 minutes, when the resin has begun to solidify, simply wipe off the jar with a paper towel, followed by a baby wipe, and you're good as new. Just don't set the jar back into the puddle! :O)
Changing to the strawberry jam was easy. I just added a couple drops of red to my yellow mixture. Tip: if you want some "fruit" pieces in your jam, cut up a strawberry polymer clay cane and add some slices in the jar. Add some resin, mix with a toothpick and then do the next layer. You can also just add in no hole beads of a similar color. This works in pie making, as well. I am saving my strawberry canes for another project.
After filling the strawberry jam jars, I needed to make blackberry jam. Adding in a couple drops of blue turned my resin into the perfect dark purple/red.
I had to start with a fresh batch for the apple butter jam. For this, I used a tiny drop of brown alcohol ink. Because apple butter jam is not clear, I lightened up and clouded the resin with a couple tiny blobs of buttercream acrylic paint. You can achieve the color you're after in several ways. Using shaved artists chalk in the exact color you want is one of them. That will give you a slightly opaque quality, as well. It's a lot of fun to experiment with many of the mediums in your craft drawers. Who knows? You may just discover the next major crafting breakthrough!
Here are the four different types of jams/honey using just the resin. I set the plate up on an undisturbed shelf to let it set for a day. If you are working in a dusty area or have a larger area of resin exposed, you may want to cover your pieces with a clear condiment cup individually, or cover the entire plate with a large food storage container.
Now for the fun jars! I had collected many different food canes for the Glencroft kit's autumn themed project. Because there are at least two projects in the queue ahead of that one, I decided to pilfer these from that stash.
I started with the pepper canes. When I ordered them, they were out of the green pepper canes and I forgot to go back and reorder them. So these jars will have only red and yellow peppers. I tinted the resin with a yellow/orange alcohol ink. Often, the liquid in real life canned jars will become slightly colored by the leaching of pigment from the vegetables/fruits in them. Tinting the resin slightly looks more realistic. I slice the canes in half and then keep halfing the pieces until they are as thin as i think they should be. Sometimes, letting the canes warm up in your hands for a few minutes makes them easier to slice.
Filling the jars can be as simple or as complex as you like. Doing a layer of resin then a layer of fruit/vegetable allows you to arrange them, while other things like blueberries can be dropped and mixed right in. For detailed fruits/vegetables, I like to arrange them a bit.
From the top center clockwise there are black olives, two pickle jars, two pepper jars, two jars of figs, orange slices, lemon slices and carrots. At this point you'll want them to cure completely before adding on the tops.
Some of the tops for these jars have really long stoppers. This means you'll either have to fill the jars lower than looks natural or make an adjustment. I have resorted to breaking off the glass stoppers with pliers (please be careful of the glass!) or replaced the tops altogether with cardboard and fabric covers. This is also a great solution for the jars that come with corks instead of lids. I like the look of both and in combination on a shelf with one another. This is what you'll find in a real life pantry because who has a totally matching set of canning jars? You use what is available when whatever you're canning comes into season. Trust me, I spent many an August helping my grandma can everything grown on their farm in Montana!
For my fabric tops, I chose some fabrics with extra small prints, then cut 5/8" circles from cardboard packaging.
Then I cut a one inch square piece of fabric.
Glue the lightest side of the packaging circle onto the center of the wrong side of the fabric. Add a line of Tacky glue to the rim of the jar.
Center the jar, upside down onto the circle. Let dry.
Once dry, round the corners.
My hemp cord has three strands. I like to separate them to be more in scale. You can also use embroidery floss or tiny rubber bands topped with raffia strips ripped to size.
Tie and trim excess fabric.
Viola! A tiny jar of jam!
How do you know what's in the jar? You make a simple label. I always feel as though I am being redundant with my tutorials, but if anyone wants a really in depth graphic making education, I will be happy to do my best. I use free images and programs that most everyone already has. I know some simple tricks such as setting the background transparent or exactly matching colors that may be helpful to those who are new to graphic work. Just lmk in the comments.
There was a time when I was going to make a wine shop with one of my Street Of Shops kits. Why not? I'd already done a Starbucks! But that idea has hit the waaaaayyyy back burner, so I decided to use these really large, cheap wine bottles and turn them into apple cider. The old labels were stubborn, so I decided a night soaked in alcohol might make them more cooperative. You should have seen their faces when they realized that by "night soaked in alcohol" I meant the isopropyl kind. :O)
It worked great, and they no longer argued about getting naked!
So here's part of the gang that will be going onto the pantry shelves. I hope every customer will find a seasonal delight to take home with them!
And next week, I hope to share how I (successfully) made real wax jar candles!
Have a great week, everyone!