Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Scrabble Shadow Box & Bookmarks

As referenced in Christmas Preview, we're putting up write-ups on individual gifts as soon as we've heard that the gifts have been received. This collection is Scrabble-themed. One member of A's family is a big sports fan from Kansas City and an avid board gamer. My parents raised the kids on Scrabble and are avid readers. So, for one side, Scrabble board sports-themed free-form crossword, and for mine, bookmarks.

You'll need:
  • Scrabble tiles and board
  • Shadow box
  • Metal bookmark... things (We bought these, there are lots of options in the world)
  • Beading wire or thread
  • Beads
  • Adhesive, cutting tools, pin vise, beading tools, etc...

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Preview

Hey there, family, friends, and fans of all ages. We're just too excited by the upcoming holiday to be able to keep some secrets to ourselves. So, we'd like to take a post and talk about some big projects that we've been working on but had to keep secret... Until now!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

DIY Ornaments 2: Scrabble & Polish

 As promised the last time we discussed ornaments, here's the second batch for you to try at home. This set includes some more of those clear glass balls we used last time and some Scrabble tiles you might have lying around somewhere.
Things you'll need:
  • Clear glass or plastic ornamental balls
  • Nail polish
  • Polish remover & Q-tip (or better yet, cellophane tape or hole protectors)
  • Jewelry wire (24-gauge)
  • Scrabble tiles
  • Beads

Monday, December 17, 2012

TARDIS Build Document

J here. Though later than expected, I've got the TARDIS Construction Plans. Contained therein, all the dimensions, lists, instructions and templates you need to build your own TARDIS from scratch. Only a couple pages need to be printed, everything else you can use for reference. Or heck, print it all out and take measurements directly from the plans I used when I built mine, up above.

This build is for a TARDIS Tree Topper, but there's no reason these plans couldn't be applied to any other 1:16 TARDIS project. Or, with some math and ingenuity, pretty much any other scale as well.

Again, all credit to the folks at TARDIS Builders and all rights to the BBC who snuck a victory in British courts over the London police who never copywrote their blue police box design.

We'll have some links in the next day or so for instructional video on some advanced techniques, including foamcore rabbeting and beveling matteboard. Check back soon for those updates!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

TARDIS Tree Topper & Garland

There are those who argue that a TARDIS is not built, it is grown. I'm here to say that, no, it's a fairly straightforward matter to build one. A and I wanted something unique for the top of our Christmas tree, which already features the Captain America tree skirt and other ornaments. I've always wanted to build a TARDIS and I had some plans burning a hole in my hard drive, so we figured out what it would take to make a real, light-up TARDIS for our Christmas tree. This is the brief(er) version of that story.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Christmas Pillow Tryptich

It's time once again for the holiday pillow tryptich.  As I'm still not a fan of the pillows that came with my couch, I used the same base pattern as our Halloween pillows to make shams that cover up the ugly things.  For design inspiration I spent entirely too much time on Pinterest pinning pillows I had no intention of making.  Therefore, with step one (pillow pattern) and step two (Pinterest procrastination) over, it's on to step three: crafting Christmas cutesiness.  I'll give basic instructions for the three pillows you see above; however, the trick to good holiday decorations is in enjoying them aesthetically and creatively.  Ex. If you hate hand sewing, skip the stockings and snowflakes, they'll drive you crazy.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Build-Your-Own Ornaments

This post covers a couple of styles of ornaments, and might just be a "Part One of... Many." We'll see how many of the ornamental backlog A & I finish by the end of the year. Some of these are just pretty, one of them is themed, but there are ideas that apply across the board, so check out the ideas and keep what works.

You Might Need:
  • Empty glass ornaments
  • Ribbon
  • Stamps pads: StazOn and glue pads or Glue stick pen
  • ...glitter
  • Felt scraps (nothing bigger than 4" x 4" needed) for the Star Wars ornament
  • Fabric glue

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Etsy Shop Opening!

To infinity... And beyond!
Dear Loyal Fans:

We started this blog to teach folks how to make cool stuff for their home. But what if we describe a material you can't buy on the distant frontier, or owning a sewing machine violates your personal code, or you remain woefully unable to measure anything... Don't worry, we got your back on this one.

Check out the With Our Powers Combined Etsy Shop. You want comic book coasters? Bam, we got those. Man, you need a Captain America tree skirt like now, but you can't sew? No problem for us. We'll help you live that nerdcraft chic lifestyle you always envied on Pinterest. You can even lie about it and say you read it on our blog and now you have one. (We'll skip the part where you bought it from us.) Just send them our way.

This shop in no way means that we aren't going to keep sharing our triumphs and failures as craftspeople with you guys. We're learning as we go, and we want you to keep growing with us. So, stay tuned for tips, tricks, and techniques with the added bonus of snapping up occasional loot. So, here's the chance for you to outsource that project you've always needed to make (but can't) or the gift idea you can't find anywhere else. We're open to feedback on this new feature and would love to hear from you about where we go next.

So here's to the next phase for With Our Powers Combined. Thanks for sticking with us this far.

- J & A

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Comic Book Coasters

A here with another awesome coaster project!  Similar to the stone coasters posted in November, these tile coasters are a great canvas for your imagination.  I used comic book pages for mine, but since the designs can be made out of anything paper, it's easy to come up with ideas to fit everyone on your list.  To make a set of four you will need:
  • Four 4.25"x4.25" white ceramic tiles (found at most hardware stores)
  • Comic book pages you don't mind destroying
  • Mod Podge
  • Quick drying adhesive (I use Scotch archival glue)
  • Clear coat spray (we used Valspar, Krylon works well too)
  • A paint brush you don't mind destroying
  • 16 sticky-backed felt "feet"

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Paper Holiday Wreath

A here with a cheap DIY alternative to the traditional evergreen wreath.  This one is made entirely out of paper and staples, making it light weight enough to hang with a suction cup hook.  To make your own, you will need:
  • Leftover frozen pizza box (or other lightweight cardboard)
  • Five sheets of 12x12 scrapbook paper, or wrapping paper
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Stapler and staples
  • Ribbon for hanging

Friday, November 23, 2012

Captain America Tree Skirt

This post is a real first in 'With Our Powers Combined.' This one is legitimately a group project, whereas previous posts have been kind of one-sided, even if they represent a joint interest. So, here's where we walk you through making your very own Captain America tree skirt. One of the fun parts of this thing is it looks like a regular tree skirt when there's presents under there, and then BAM! Maximum nerd stealth as you open the gifts on your holiday of choice.

You'll Need:
  • 1 yard red felt (72")
  • 1/2 yard white felt (72")
  • 1/4 yard blue felt (72")
  • 1 dollar store tree skirt (ours was 42" across)
  • all of the pins
  • star & circle pattern pieces (provided below)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Tea Wreath

A here with another great DIY gift idea!  This one is for the tea drinker in your life.  You know, the one who likes to knit scarves by the fire surrounded by a harem of cats (just kidding, Goose).  Anyway, this wreath is a festive way to keep those tea packets at the ready and not stashed away in the back of the pantry.  To make it you'll need:
  • 24 packets of tea
  • 24 wooden clothespins
  • A leftover box from a full-size frozen pizza
  • Patterned papers
  • A way of drawing/tracing circles
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue
  • Paper glue (Elmers or Scotch archival glue work great)
  • Ribbon

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Stone Tile Coasters

 A here with a quick and easy housewarming/Christmas/just because I like you so damn much gift!  The best part is that they're infinitely personalizeable.  Most of the photos for the DIY are of a Christmas set, but that's just because I didn't think to get process shots of my other sets.  To make a set for yourself (or someone else you like) you'll need the following:

4" square stone tiles (available at Home Depot, Lowes, etc.)
Staz-On stamp pad (the brand is important for this project)
Rubber stamps
Paste Wax (Minwax makes it, and it's usually in the floor wax/stain area of a hardware store)
Clean white cloth (I use old T-shirt scraps)
Adhesive backed felt feet, 4 per tile used

Saturday, November 17, 2012

WOPC Grab Bag Challenge #1

Hey there, fans. We're introducing an idea that we hope to revisit regularly: the Grab Bag Challenge. WOPC GBC #1 is Halloween themed because of course it is. Also, it's what was available for $2 at Michael's. The plan is to pick up this sort of offering periodically and plan at least one project (if not  a couple) using ingredients from the Grab Bag. It's like Chopped, but for crafts.
So, what did we get this time? Let's take a look:

Starting from the left, it looks like sparkly Halloween decorations on sticks: couple of skulls, a pumpkin or two, wooden cat cutout, and a large witch hat in orange. Next up, two resin hooks with Qs, some foam wrap tape, and a plethora of vinyl window clings in cartoon Halloween theme. Top center is a feather and My Little Pony-tail headband "costume", a resin cross in rustic bark finish, funfoam ghost kit, and Halloween decoration balls. The last column is Halloween paper crinkles, cupcake/cookie decorating stencils, and two pairs of coasters in navy floral and stripe.

Wow. Just... wow. On the one hand, we appreciate a challenge. On the other hand, I can see how this ended up a $2 grab bag at a craft store. We're formulating a plan. So, here's where you guys come in: We're open to ideas, ways of looking at this bundle of Halloween joy, or techniques you're keen to see us tackle on the blog. What would you do with this bounty? We'll be posting our answer in the next couple weeks, and we can all get together and compare notes.

And you thought we were done with Halloween...

Friday, November 16, 2012

Castlemolds 2: Household Uses

J here with the ongoing drama of Hirst Arts' Castlemolds. As I discussed last time, these are silicon molds that let you make miniature castle parts. But what can we make other than chess boards and (presumably) castles? Well, I'm glad you asked.

As this isn't necessarily a step-by-step tutorial, I'll refrain from the "You Will Need" of our other projects and instead point out that I own maybe seven molds, of which I probably only used parts from four molds in either of these projects. But if you want to build a business card holder or incense burner of your own, follow along!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Hirst Arts' Castlemolds

J here with a product/technique that has some applications pretty much anywhere. Bear with me, it's worth the trip.

I'm by hobby a wargamer. I also like making stuff and think games work better when there's as much appeal as possible. Nice art, sexy boards, good cardstock. You know, added value. So I got into wargame terrain in high school and college, skills that have gone on to help me with some pretty amazing models in my design career for the stage.

But to crank out dungeons and castles for things like D&D, it was a little harder to just mass produce that stuff. These days, a few companies fill that gap, but one lets the designer in you really shine: Hirst Arts Castlemolds.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Skittle Vodka

J here, with the promised write-up of our flavored vodka exploits. Let me start with a little disclaimer: This project in no way endorses consuming alcohol to excess. In fact, this very product has resulting in at least one case of cracked ribs that I'm aware of. Please, taste the rainbow responsibly.

That having been said, you want liquor that tastes like childhood, so let's do that.

You will need:
  • Skittles. A lot of Skittles. This small amount took over a pound. Scale up from there.
  • Vodka. A reasonable amount. I'll give the ratio in a bit, but the amount pictured above took approximately two full bottles of vodka.
  • Empty containers. I use two sets so I don't have to clean them in between filtration (so, 10)
  • Funnels. One or many. More is better.
  • Cheesecloth
  • Coffee filters
  • TIME. Skittle vodka takes a while to make. Be patient and don't drink it while making it.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloween Food Roundup

J here. Let's talk food and drink in time for your own parties this week! We've got some tasty drinks and a couple gross-looking but tasty foodstuffs.

The menu Saturday consisted of the following:
  • Guacamole Vomit
  • Marvelous Mummy Artichoke Dip
  • Vanilla Pumpkin Goop
  • Dipped Bones
  • Brain Hemorrhage Shots
  • Margarita Zombie Punch
  • Skittle Vodka
We also had brownies and some excellent pizza puffs, but those aren't spooky party food, they're just a good idea for snacking. On to the photos!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Halloween Travel Break!

Hey there, fans. (Do we have fans?) We are headed to Chicago for the weekend to celebrate Halloween in style. We'll have pictures of the decorations, some instructions on tasty snacks and libations in time for your own freaky festivities, and pictures of great DIY costumes. So hang in there, don't get too scared without us, and use the space below to put up some links to your own weekend events and make suggestions as to what you'd like to see us tackle on the blog once the Halloween season is over with.

Thanks for coming along so far and have a Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Silhouette Pillows

A here with more on the pillow front!  I've been inspired by fabric printing/painting for a while now but hadn't done anything with it. Then I found a Halloween inspired pillow on Etsy that pushed me over the edge.  I bought up some canvas-like fabric immediately without any idea how I was going to make it work and ended up with one of my favorite personal creations!  My methods were a bit trial and error, but by the end, the materials list for these pillows included:

  • 1 yard fabric (I chose a canvas-like material with a linen/natural look)
  • Ruler
  • Fabric pencil 
  • Scissors
  • Die cuts (I made mine on my Slice, but Cricut cuts or stencils would work too)
  • Cardstock
  • A projector/tracer
  • Soft lead pencil
  • Black craft paint
  • Fabric medium (Martha Stewart has an easy-to-use one)
  • Paint brushes
  • Matching thread
  • Sewing machine

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Screaming Scary Wreath

A here.  J and I have never really been wreath people.  Maybe that's because we've always lived somewhere that they would be stolen right off our front door.  Whatever the reason, this is the first wreath I've attempted, and I think it may have changed both our minds!  Halloween wreaths can be an awesome vehicle for all those creepy little items you've been hoarding.  For the one in this post I started with:
  • 18" grapevine wreath (available at most craft stores for about $5)
  • Black, gray and white spray paint
  • Scraps of black and cream burlap (leftover from the Toiletpaper Pumpkin project)
  • Black ribbon
  • A plastic skull (we picked this one up at Spirit Halloween)
  • Faux barbed wire (instructions below)
  • Plastic spiders
  • Hot glue
  • Black string
  • Stapler

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Vortex Manipulator, Part 2

When last we saw our intrepid inventor, I had just finished the basic structure of the manipulator itself. But I'm not exactly going to keep it in my wallet, now am I? The Jack Harkness model is built into a leather bracer that buckles on the inside of his wrist, as seen in the screenshots last time. So I had to make one of those.

Vortex Manipulator, Part 1

I present Captain Jack Harkness's Vortex Manipulator as seen in Doctor Who and Torchwood. This was a complicated build, and I'll be presenting it in two pieces. It's a long conversation, but I think there's some worthwhile stuff in here. Throughout, I'll point out some things that worked, a few that didn't, and what we might expect from Version Two, which may be built in the future.

Any attempt on may part to list all the bits and bobs in advance would result in sadness and rampant editing, so I'll talk about stuff as it comes up. Bear with me, and let's jump in.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Batty Pillow

A here.

For those of you with a sewing machine and a decent amount of patience, here is a monochromatic pillowcase designed to torment cats and inquisitive children.  I prefer making pillowcases or covers, as opposed to stuffed pillows, because it makes it possible to pack away your decorative pillows in a flat container with very little wasted space.  This cover can be slipped on and off of any existing pillow.  Just adjust your measurements to fit the pillow of your choice.  My couch pillows are approximately 20" square, so I calculated my fabric and pattern measurements to fit those.  For this design you will need:
  • 3/4 yd. black felt
  • fabric scissors
  • cardstock (for stencil)
  • marker or fabric pencil
  • ruler
  • black thread
  • pins
  • sewing machine

Candied Delicacies

J doing the write up on one of A's papercrafts. I glued things to stuff! I helped.
Our haunted attractions skew towards a look I like to call "Elegant Spookhouse". Maybe it was the Haunted Mansion at Disney as a kid or something, but I like to contrast decadence with decay. Sort of Addams Family. (No promotional consideration is offered by these entities or the candy companies to be named shortly. Though we would gladly accept sponsorship) To that end, we like nice place settings with body part food or elegant frames with tarnished mirrors. Contrast is key. So the inspiration for these foodstuff labels comes from design.wash.rinse.repeat.
You'll need:
-Fancy glassware (check the dollar store or, if you are lucky to have one, The Container Store)
-Paper or cardstock for printing
-Spray adhesive or glue
-Cutting tools, hole punch
-OPTIONAL: Sandpaper

Lil' Pumpkins

J here with a few small projects using those mini pumpkins you can find at grocery stores this time of year. With inspiration courtesy of and we built some variants on their tealight candle pumpkins and Drac-o-Lanterns.

You'll need:
-Mini pumpkins
-A sharp knife, X-Acto #11, or pumpkin saw
-For Drac-o-Lanterns: Fake vampire teeth, map pins, white pony beads
-For Tealight Pumpkin: Tealight (we used the battery version), OPTIONAL: Toilet paper tube, tape

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Toilet Paper Pumpkins

A here.

For those of you with fabric scraps and no idea what to do with them, this practically free craft is a no-brainer.  All you'll need is:
  • One 16" square of fabric
  • One roll of toilet paper
  • Two sheets of tissue paper
  • One small stick (or a long thin scrap of paper)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Styrofoam II: The Rise of Styrofoam

J again. This time, it's a more advanced paintjob. This time we dig into weathering techniques and a patina technique that also works really well for rust paint jobs. We'll be making a weathered copper sign today:

You'll need:
-The sign or prop you want to age
-An old chipbrush, or new unloved chipbrush
-A fancy glass palette or paper plate
-Base paint (black or dark brown)
-Patina paints: metallic copper, dark brown, forest green, teal, and a light gray
-Water & cup
-OPTIONAL: Spray paints (brown, copper)
-OPTIONAL: Spray bottle (or as my cat understands it, God's Wrath)

Styrofoam Headstones

J here.

When it comes to that front- and/or graveyard staple, the foam headstone, there are some tricks to making it a little easier on you. Do some looking around online or take a trip to a graveyard for some inspiration about general sizes, shapes, and what you want written on it. Pick something that blends well with your other decorations, or shapes you are reasonably confident you can pull off. And hey, if it all goes horribly wrong, you can always snap it off and paint up a broken one.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Halloween Project List

It's our favorite time of the year again!  Halloween is around the corner and we are busy working on various projects to get us ready for the festivities.  Current ongoing projects include:

Skeleton Flamingos
Styrofoam Tombstones/Signs
Creepy Wreath
Candied Delicacies
Festive Pillowcases
Jack's Vortex Manipulator

Stay tuned for process shots and final photos.  If all goes well, you'll also get some DIY how-to's along the way.  Wish us luck!
- A & J