Welcome to Swizzle Sticks and String!

Happy April!! 

Time out!!! Oy. Hold tight for some new inks. I somehow purchased some alcohol inks and some resin pigments. 🤦🏻‍♀️ New inks that WORK coming right up!! 


Alcohol Ink Tile Kit


additional supplies needed
rubbing alcohol; 91-99% alcohol is best, but 70% will work
disposable aluminum cooking sheet or pan
Krylon/Rustoleum spray sealer


big ol' disclaimer
Alcohol and alcohol inks give off fumes; please do your craft in a very well-ventilated area. The inks will stain, so wear your gloves (included) and clothes that can get messy. Same goes for your work surface. A plastic garbage bag or two over a table or counter is helpful.
If using a flame, make sure that your work area is not flammable, and have water or a fire extinguisher on hand just in case.



Prepping your tiles

Clean your tiles with alcohol to remove any residue or oils from your hands. Lay out your tiles one by one or all together for a pattern that continues from one onto the next.


Applying inks
Wet your tile(s) with alcohol and begin dripping your inks onto the surface. The drops will expand and move around as they mix with the alcohol. Use a straw (included) to blow the drops around each tile and to mix colors. Repeat this process until you have a look you like. If you don’t like the way things are going, no sweat. Just take a paper towel and wipe off, then start again. 

Optional Fire Technique
If you have 90% or 99% alcohol, you can use a LONG match or lighter (ONLY the kitchen or grill kind with the extended piece on it; not a Bic lighter or similar) to ignite the alcohol on your tile. (Again, do this near water and on a non-flammable surface. A cookie sheet or aluminum works great.)
While the inks and alcohol are still very wet, ignite and watch the alcohol burn off. The inks will move around and the effect will change as it dries. 


Drying Time
Your tiles may seem dry to the touch pretty quickly, but I've found that it takes a good 24 hours or more for the wetter areas to dry completely. Alternatively, I popped my whole aluminum pan into a cold oven, turned it on at 350 degrees for an hour, and then let it cool back down with the door closed the whole time. I didn't noticed any fumes or smells, but use your own judgment on that one. I may have not done the smartest thing in the world, or it might be just like cooking shrinky dinks. Who knows? 🤷🏻‍♀️ 🤪


Applying metal leaf
I like to sprinkle small bits of the leaf all over the tile as it dries. Then once it's completely dry, you can knock off any loose bits. 


Finishing your edges
With the cosmetic wedge (included), apply a small amount of gold paint to the edges of your tiles. Two coats should do it. Add more bling to the edges by applying your gold or copper leaf to the paint as it dries. 


Sealing your tiles
To seal your tiles, you can apply thin coats of ModPodge or spray a sealer (like Krylon or Rustoleum) and let dry. 




Voila! Display your tiles as artwork, or congratulate yourself on having one gift done and ready for the holidays! 





MARCH 2021 

Did you miss the March Zoom party? Click here to watch the Zoom meeting and make your Macrame Rainbow Wallhanging with us. Don't forget your popcorn and your cocktail/mocktail!


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Woven Rainbow Wall Hanging

Make this adorable wall hanging in just an hour or two. Use just four of your included fibers or stripe two or more colors on one of your rainbow arcs. Get creative! 


additional supplies needed
scissors (not your best! you'll be cutting wire)
pliers (optional but helpful)
masking/washi tape (optional)
hot glue gun (for optional no-sew assembly)



Prepping the rope
Wrap a length of wire around each piece of cotton rope in the direction of the twist to hide it as much as possible. Cut off any excess wire with wire cutters or scissors (not your good fabric scissors!). You can bend the the ends if you'd like, but the yarn will be covering the ends once you're done, so that step is up to you. 


Wrapping each rope piece
Decide how much of the rope you'd like to leave uncovered and mark with washi tape or masking tape, or just eyeball it. Starting at that point, begin wrapping your yarn or twine around the rope, tucking in the end as you get started.  For a smooth look, carefully line each wrap up next to the other as you wrap. For a more textured or whimsical look, wrap unevenly and overlap some areas as you go. On the longest rope, wrap until you get to the center/top and then continue past the hanger making sure to leave it exposed. 

Finishing each wrapped piece
When you get to the other end of the rope, leave approximately as much rope exposed as you have on the first end. Use a t-pin to secure the yarn temporarily until you've completed all four rope pieces. Do not cut your yarn yet.


Assembling the rainbow

Sewn Option
Bend your rope pieces into a rainbow shape and line up your starting ends. With your needle and thread, sew through the center of each rope just inside where your wraps start, leaving a tail a few inches long for now. Sew back through in a nearby area and tie your thread ends in a knot. (Hide the stitching by moving a wrap or two over until you're finished sewing that area, then slide back.) 

Do the same for the other end of the rainbow, keeping your curves together tightly as you line up the other end. Take this opportunity to adjust where the wraps end on each rope piece, adding or taking away wraps to make them all match up on the second side. If one rope length is too long or short to line up correctly, we can trim the ends in the next step.

Secure the pieces in 3 more spots along the rainbow: one in the center and one more  between each end and center. 

✻ It can be tough to sew through everything, so go slowly, wiggle around a bit if you hit any wires, and keep going. Use the aqua square piece for better grip on the needle, or use pliers to pull the needle through the ropes.


Glued Option
Bend your rope pieces into a rainbow shape and line up the starting ends. 

With a glue gun, begin gluing the pieces together where your wraps start, making sure to not let the glue show through to the front of your piece. 

Work your way around the rainbow this way until you get about 3/4 of the way around. Take this opportunity to adjust where the wraps end on each rope piece, adding or taking away wraps to make all four pieces match up on the second side. If one rope length is too long or too short to line up correctly, we can trim the ends in the next step.

Finish gluing around the curve until you reach the end of your wraps. 


Finish off your wraps
Once your rainbow is assembled, cut off your yarn, leaving approx. 6" of length. With your yarn needle, secure the ends by weaving them under the wraps and along the twist to help conceal them. Come back up an inch or two later and trim an excess yarn.


Finishing your rope pieces
Take the tape off of each rope end and unravel the ends up to where the wraps begin. A comb can be helpful to unravel them once you've separated the big twists. 

Using your scissors, trim the rope strands to even up both ends.

Voila! Hang your rainbow up in a special place and enjoy! 


✻ You can vary up the look of your rainbow by substituting the included yarn with a variegated yarn, super super bulky yarn, raffia, or ribbon. Get creative and make your rainbow YOU!