Saturday, January 26, 2013

Cork Monogram Troubles

As promised earlier, here is today's Pinstrosity. But this isn't just any normal get a tutorial as well. Well...sorta. You'll see. 

So corks are all the rage right now. Cork boards, cork birdhouses, cork trivets, cork earring holders (I even made one of those for a bridal shower once), but especially big right now are the cork monograms. Kristen found one on Pinterest that she wanted to try out and had some issues with it. 

Here's how she starts her story: "I decided today was a good day to shirk my housewifely/ mommy duties and get crafty! I have been looking for months at all those cute wine cork projects out there and narrowed down all my wine-o pins to this one.  It was simple, to the point and would probably take me as long to "craft" as the baby had left to sleep. PERFECT!! I wanted mine to be a little larger than the idea shown because, I just recently scored a cute black iron frame at a thrift shop that I wanted the monogram to be framed in on the wall. So I gathered my wine corks, hot glue, computer and camera (something told me it wasn't going to be as easy as I thought) and got started! First I clicked on the picture to get the "how to's and what for's", well all I got was a picture."  Sadly...that's all too common on Pinterest. You see a lovely pin, click on the picture and the link is dead. Great. Here's the photo she found:

The Original Pin
So what do you do if that happens? Can you find the original source? Sometimes. Let me share what I do when I find a pin on Pinstrosity that does not link back to any site. Because of all the different types of computers and operating systems, this might be slightly different for yours...but here's what I do on my computer (I'll give you two ways to do this):

Method 1:
1. Pull up the photo you want to find the source for. 
2. Right click on the photo. Click "Copy Image URL". 
3. Open up Google Images (I have it pinned to my toolbar). 
4. You see that camera icon in the search bar? Click on it. 
5. Right click in the search bar and select paste (or just ctrl+v in the search bar). 
6. Click the "Search by Image" button. This is the screen you will see next:

7. You can click on the sites it brings up where it thinks the photo may have originated from, or you can click "All sizes" up there by the top photo. This brings up a new page with all the instances of that photo online, and usually the first photo on the list is the original. Now...this doesn't work 100% of the time, but it does pretty good. 

If you don't want to deal with copying and pasting the photo's url, you can drag and drop the photo straight into google images. Here's how:
1. In two separate windows (not tabs...tabs won't work), open Google Images, and the photo you are trying to find the source for. Have them open side by side. 
2. Drag and drop the photo you want to find onto the search bar. 

So, that's what I did to find the link to the photo that Kristen had pinned. Hope that helps someone out there. 

Okay, back to the story. 

Kristen took a look at her linkless photo and decided, "No problemo this is easy-peasy!" Oh how these crafts taunt us sometimes. She continues her story: "I started arranging the corks and even got a thumbs up on the 1st draft from the hubby! So jazzed! Then I started to think about how I was going to glue each individual cork together and still have it keep this awesome and completely symmetrical shape. Insert awake baby here. Coincidentally, here is where the project started to nose dive. I started gluing my heart out in between cries for hugs and cheerios. Lesson #1 Hot Glue and the actual cork corks do not mix. They do not hold AT ALL. The plastic corks did ok, but the overall shape wasn't doing well so I took it apart. So after nap #2 started I re-configured the letter onto a piece of cardboard, traced around it so I could glue the corks together AND to the cardboard for strength, took all the corks off (again...) found my industrial strength glue aaaaaand............... Quit. Folded, threw in the towel, flat gave up. Rather than potentially waste years of good wine drinking evidence, I stopped. There was no way this project would hold together on the wall. I have seen other variations where they used a wooden letter from a craft store, that would be better for a more consistent shape. We live 2 hrs away from the nearest craft tore, so maybe I will look into a wooden letter for next time."

The Pinstrosity

It's so frustrating to see the finished product in your head and not be able to get there. I decided to try this one out to see what I could come up with. I still had a bag of corks (which I found at our awesome Antique Mall) left over from making the cork earring holder for my cousin, and I've needed something to do with them. This was perfect. I pulled them out and got to work. I read through the instructions on the page I found and set to making my awesome monogram. Only there were a few bumps in the road. I'll show you what I did and how I finally ended up with the finished monogram. 

I save cardboard like crazy. It comes in so handy when crafting. This made step one easy: Find a piece of cardboard and draw the letter/symbol you want on it. Done. 

From there I arranged the corks over the top of my M. I was picky with the corks I used. I wanted them to all be the same height and I didn't want any of the red stained sides to show. 

After all the corks are arranged, start gluing them one by one. I know Kristen had trouble with the hot glue not sticking to the corks, but I thought I'd try what the instructions said first and go from I used hot glue. 

Seemed to work just first. 

Keep gluing the corks in place, one by one. 

I got my corks all glued together and let them dry for 15 or so minutes and then figured I could move the monogram just long enough to hold it against the wall to see what it looked like. It crumbled. 

So I reglued all the pieces back together, but I knew it would just crumble I had to figure out how to secure them. Here was my first idea:

 Over a year ago I saw this in the craft aisle and saw it was on sale and thought I could come up with some cool project for it. Well...I haven't come up with anything it was still sitting in my craft drawer. I thought I could make it work for backing for the corks. 

So I took out the center part, mixed three of my paints, and painted it turquoise/muted robin's egg/no-clue-what-color-that-is. 

I almost just glued the monogram straight to the painted board, but thought I should take a step back and see if I liked it first. 

Nope. I did not. Back to the drawing board. One of the many perks to being the daughter of a general contractor is that he gives us scraps from his construction sites for us to use in our crafting. A little while back he gave us a wad of wire in all shapes and sizes...I figured I could make this work. So I cut pieces to size and bent them into shape. I tried bending it into shape while pressing it down onto the corks and ended up having to reglue corks back together. Finally I got it all in the shapes I wanted:

I then ran a thick line of hot glue all along the back of the monogram and gently pushed the wire into the glue-stream. After it stuck, I went back with the glue gun and spread more glue along the sides of the wire, securing it more firmly to the corks. 

And it worked! I could then hang it on the wall without it crumbling! 
I even found a cork with 2006 printed on it...the year Cameron and I got married! I love happy accidents like that. 
 So there it is, by our entryway display (which isn't all that beautiful, I know...but I'm happy with it). 
If you read out last post, you might be wondering why we have 3 umbrellas when we live where it doesn't rain. I like umbrellas. And I used them for photography props once upon a time. For anyone interested, instructions to make your own watercolor portrait like the one we have hanging can be found at: It truly is an easy project, even if you aren't a painter at all. 
It took more work than I anticipated at first, but it wasn't too bad. I think had I done a thicker letter/arrangement, it would have held together a little better, but I didn't want a chunky letter. What methods do you use? Anyone have a better glue to suggest? 


  1. I have always had little to no luck with hot glue on any project, except dribbled all over the chopstick wands I just made and submitted to your anniversary link list. My melted crayons have fallen off the canvas, shells fell off the wreath to which they were glued....I have come to HATE hot glue. Go with E6000 for everything.

  2. I tend to have bad luck with hot glue as well... I probably would have ended up using something entirely different for the corks. I'm thinking wood glue might work, but I probably would have tried a couple heavy duty (like upholstery) staples at each junction from the back... or maybe cut the letter shape out of cardboard first then used little finishing nails through the backing into the backs of each cork. But that's just me and my glue-disliking self. =)

  3. Found this awesome idea the idea and thought I'd share for all those people who use (or "attempt to use" as I do lol)

  4. Couldn't you bend some wire into the shape of the letter, then thread it through the corks? (I'm not a crafty person, but this is what comes to mind for me - I'm well aware it may actually be impossible!)

  5. If in doubt Goop (purple tube) works every time. Unless styrofoam is involved...

  6. I probably would have stapled them from the back as well. Or maybe hot glued them from the back with fiberglass tape as a stabilizer, access to a hot glue gun made for carpet backing might be necessary for that to work though (the tip spreads the glue, which dries fairly pliable).

  7. I would use straight pins to connect the corks. My brother made trivets one time out of corks, and used pins to keep them together and it worked really well. You would have to use a ton and get them in at angles and be a little creative, but I think it would work better and stay together longer.

  8. The instructions from say to let it dry for at least an hour before moving it. So you might try that anytime you're working with hot glue.

  9. Whatever type of glue you're using, I would imagine you'd need gobs of it to fill in the gaps. You don't have any flat edges, so there's very little surface area touching. I would use wire, staples or pins pushed through to strengthen, too.

  10. I was thinking if you use a cardboard letter (or similar) from a craft store you could easily use penny nails.

  11. It might have to do with glue gun temperature? Usually those little handy guns are for the "lo-temp" glue, and the larger ones can melt that and "hi-temp" glue... the low temp stuff might just not have enough oomph to hold the weight of the corks together, where the high temp seems to work on everything.

    although i can't say i've tried gluing corks together, might have to give this one a go :)


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