Crafting with Unusual Materials For Added Variety - BrianaDragon Creations

Crafting with Unusual Materials For Added Variety

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Tree of Life Set WIP 1 - Image: © Briana Blair
Posted by / August 4, 2014 / 4 Comments

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How to use unusual materials in your crafting projects

There are lots of unusual materials that you can incorporate into your art. If you get creative, you can make some truly unique art and crafts.

If you’re looking for some new inspiration, or just looking to make your work stand out from the pack, using unusual and non-traditional materials can be a great thing. Start looking around and you’ll begin to see the near limitless material possibilities that are all around you.

Spare Parts
Spare parts can be a great addition to art projects. Broken watches, clocks, computers, mechanical toys and other items are full of neat looking gears, springs and do-dads. Incorporate these items into your jewelry and sculptures, sew or glue them to your paintings or stitch them into sewing and crochet projects. Steampunk designs make use of these types of materials, but you can really use them to enhance any type of project.

Bones can really add a unique aspect to sculpture and jewelry. If you come across a recently-passed woodland critter you can clean the carcass and acquire the bones yourself. If you know people who hunt, they can acquire the bones for you. You can also buy bones online if you know where to look. Be careful though, bones and skulls of some animals are illegal to buy or sell in certain states. Check the laws in your area.

Bits of Nature
There are so many things in nature that can be used in art that it’s almost mind-blowing. Why buy craft sand when you can get it from the beach yourself? Dry your own leaves and flowers, use real moss and tree bark too. You can find rocks, shells, branches, feathers, seeds and tons of other items outdoors. Incorporating these items into your art projects can really add something, and why buy synthetic when you can get the real thing for free?

I have used all sorts of unusual materials in my art, and it really makes an impact. I have used feathers shed from my pet birds to embed in sculptures and hang from small dream catchers. I have made jewelry from the bones of small animals I found in the woods. I’ve painted the shells of crabs that I picked up at the beach. I’ve used sea shells for jewelry, sculpture and wind chimes. I’ve used computer parts in jewelry. I’ve even glued leaves, dried flowers and twigs to paintings to add extra “oomph” and dimension.

Start looking around your surroundings with new eyes. You’ll be amazed at the “junk” that you can incorporate into amazing artwork. There are niche groups out there that will really be drawn to crafts made with highly unusual materials. Start small if you want, or go completely off the rails with the oddest stuff you can find. You never know, you might end up famous, likethe guy who paints with chewing gum!

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    I know there are people, especially on the Maine coast, that make a LIVING selling pieces made from just beach-combing! You never know what you may find!

      Briana Blair

      When I was in Maine I made a LOT of money from seashells and slate. Slate paintings were huge with the tourists. So were painted crab shells.


        Yeah, I figured you would have! Some day maybe you can move back there and do more of that!

          Briana Blair

          I’d love that! One of my best friends lives up there too, which would make it even cooler.

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