Move over, Martha Stewart. A new queen of handcrafting has burst on the scene. Carol Sterbenz is the author of "Homemade: The Heart and Science of Handcraft," a 773-page illustrated encyclopedia on handcrafts recently published by Scribner.
We asked Carol to share a simple project that readers could create to jazz up their holiday table. "This is one of my favorite projects - decoupage dessert plates," she says. "Even without any knowledge, the success rate is very high."
What you'll need:
• Clear glass plates from Target, Dollar Store or WalMart.
• Paper images, cut out from gift wrap, photocopied photographs or kids artwork. Use a laser printer to make photocopies - the ink in laser printers is waterproof. Cuticle scissors will help cut neat shapes.
• Decoupage glue, such as ModPodge, acrylic craft paint, acrylic medium-and-varnish and sponge brushes from a craft store, such as Michael's.
How to do it:
• Wash and dry the plate.
• Using the brush, apply decoupage glue to the front of your pictures. Stick the images to the underside of the plate. With gluey fingertips, press the images gently onto the plate to remove any air bubbles. Leave to dry.
• Rest the plate, upside down, on top of a large can. Apply two thin coats of paint, allowing drying time between coats. Let dry overnight.
• Seal by coating the back of the plate with two thin, even coats of acrylic medium-and-varnish. Allow to dry.
Decoupage plates should be washed by hand to prevent damage to the artwork.
Sterbenz has been handcrafting since she was a child and her book, five years in the making, is a compendium of everything she's learned, practiced and taught over the years.
Up next is a book on "soft crafts," which will cover knitting, crocheting, quilting, tapestries and rug hooking. "Knitting and crocheting have become immensely popular again," Sterbenz says.