Crafts

DIY Hand Lettered Jewelry Tray

DIY Jewelry Tray

HELLO FRIENDS! I’m Katie, remember me???  Do you also remember when I said this was my favorite & easiest DIY of the summer, that would be on the blog?  Well, if you follow me on Instagram, you’d know that I said that…eight weeks ago.  I’m so sorry for the delay, and I hope you haven’t been holding your breath!  I took a little Lemons hiatus to focus on my day job and a few other things – but I’m back, and so excited to (finally) share this DIY with you! You will see that it is simple to complete, but looks very elegant and professional when it’s finished.  Your friends might not even believe you when you tell them you made it yourself!

For this craft, you will need a ceramic dish, shallow bowl, or mug, scissors, tape, a pencil, colorful (or not so colorful) oil based markers – I used Sharpies – and a good quote typed on a plain white sheet of paper. [Libations, music, and rooftop crafting session, “optional”]

Decorated Jewelry Tray Sharpies

Start by picking your ceramic item and your quote/text.  For once in my [indecisive creative-juice process] life, I knew exactly what I wanted to make, and exactly how I wanted it to look – although I did have some adorable alternative ideas…stay tuned for another post?? (Let us know in the comments section, or by following us on Instagram!)

I picked up a plain, white, ceramic appetizer plate on sale at Target, and used black and gold sharpies.  After deciding what I wanted to write on the tray, I typed/printed it out so that I could get started.  If you don’t find a font in your word processing program that you like, I’d suggest that you check out DaFont.com – it’s free, and has hundreds of cool choices.

Jewelry Organizer Sharpies

Once you have all of your supplies, it’s time for the magic trick that will make you seem like a crafting wizard – carbon copying.  It’s by far the EASIEST way to transfer a font to a surface – no complicated stencils or skillful freehand here!  Take the printed quote, turn it over, and scribble on the back of the paper with a pencil (only where the letters are).  Next, turn the paper over, and cut/tape it to your surface wherever you’d like the words to be. To make the transfer, outline the letters with the pencil by drawing over the print.  Peel the paper off, and voila!

Carbon Copy DIY Font Sharpies

Now that you’ve got your letters down, take your marker and get to work!  One point to make about oil based markers – they are a little fickle.  Make sure you use them according to package directions, and be prepared to be patient and allow time to dry before you do any touch ups.  Also, don’t press too hard, else you might take the marker off of the ceramic after you’ve put it on!

Sharpies on Ceramics

To finish my tray, I added a gold trim by outlining the rim.  Feel free to add any doodles or other images as you see fit!  I tried to follow a less-is-more mentality for this DIY, knowing that when it’s in use, most of the “hard work” I put into it would be covered.

I love this craft, and this quote.  It’s impressive, and motivational all in one.  I think something that Hayley and I have learned over the course of this past year of blogging is that there will be ups and downs and lefts when you want to right, and most if it will be out of your control, but if you love something or if you think you might love something and you just can’t stop thinking about what will happen if you try it, sometimes you just have to take that leap of faith and just GO FOR IT.  Failures will happen and posts will be missed and life will get in the way, but nothing should stop you from following your dreams!  And let me tell you, we love this blog.  It’s a hodgepodge of our creative portfolios and current life interests, and it means the world to us that we get to share our dream with you.  [We especially love it when we interact with you all! Tell us everything! You’re likes, dislikes, what you want to see more and what you want to know about us…we’re open to it all!]

Emotional interlude over…better late than never, am I right?

P.S. A big shout out and THANK YOU to my PIC, Hayley, for holding down the fort while I was gone.  She is a creative genius, and also a wonderfully supportive friend.

Upcycle Jewelry Tray

How To: Shibori-Style Tie Dye

image1

Tie-dye is the iconic craft of summer. Most of us have made at least one rainbow spiral t-shirt in our time. But if you’re in the mood to shake it up a little this time around, you might try crafting something in the style of the ancient Japanese fabric dying technique: shibori.

Shibori is a type of tie-dying, traditionally created with indigo dyes (this is the same dye that makes your jeans their iconic blue!) There are many different techniques in shibori, used to create an endless array of patterns. Techniques involve stitching, folding, twisting or even wrapping around poles to change the dying effect. The tie dye look shown here is modeled after a shape blocking technique called  itajime shibori. It involves blocking the dye from certain areas of fabric using wooden blocks and ties. This technique creates an awesome finished look with distinct squares almost like little windows!

shibori dye folding

First off, you will need:
– cotton fabric
– RIT dye in your choice of color
– small blocks of wood
– rubber bands
– bucket
– rubber gloves
– stirring stick

To achieve this pattern, you’ll need to fold and bind up your fabric in a shibori style before dunking in dye. Start out by uniformly folding your fabric accordion style, lengthwise. I’m working with a pillowcase in the photos shown, to give you an idea of the approximate size.

fabric folding for itajime shibori
Then fold it up accordion style again, in the opposite direction. You want to end up with a square that’s a little bit bigger than your blocks.

wooden block tie dye

Bind it up with rubber bands or string. Use as many or as little as you like. More will help to resist the dye further, leaving extra white space.

riy dye tie dye

Mix up your dye according to package directions in the bucket. Be sure to use a bucket or container that you don’t mind staining! *Note* – True black is very difficult to achieve using simple dyes, but I wanted my color as dark as possible, so I actually used two packets of RIT dye and ended up with a dark inky purple.

shibori dying technique

Completely submerge your bound block into the dye bucket. Swirl it around and let it sit for a few minutes, up to half an hour, depending on how deep you want your color to be. Follow dye package directions here, as timing and technique may vary.

using RIT for tie dying - shibori

Allow the dye to set for at least 2 hours, up to overnight. I usually tie them up in a plastic grocery bag until ready for rinsing.

Rinse excess dye out with cold running water before untying. Continue to rinse as you gently cut the ties, remove the blocks, and unfold. Rinse until water runs mostly clear.

shibori style tie dye pillowcase

Voila! No two pieces will look exactly the same, which is really the fun of tie-dying! At this point you can go ahead and throw your pieces in the washing machine on the cold cycle, then dry.

shibori style tie dye

Shibori is a beautiful tradition, and a really fun twist in the tie-dying technique that we all know and love here in the U.S.! I think it lends kind of a sophisticated edge to this summer craft. Check out our Pinterest page for some awesome Shibori inspiration!

Happy crafting!

DIY Mason Jar Porch Lanterns

DIY Tissue paper Jar Lanterns

On a warm summer night, some pretty little luminaries can really set a relaxed mood. We are lucky enough to have a screened-in porch where bugs are not a problem, so we sit out there for dinner or drinks almost every night when the weather is right. I like the space to feel relaxed and fun, so I decided to make some colorful jar lanterns as a funky decoration and light source. Years ago, I also made dozens of these guys for my high-school graduation party. They are one of my favorite little projects to make!

Mine are all made from recycled jars in different shapes and sizes that I washed out, but if you are going for a more cohesive look, you can start with a pack of humble Mason jars!

tissue paper and mod podge lanterns

One of the coolest things about these lanterns is that they are very cheap to make. You probably have most of the supplies already lying around your house! Heres what you’ll need:

– clean glass jars
– tissue paper
– ModPodge and sponge brush
– wire

tissue paper jar lanterns

To get all prepped, cut some tissue paper strips that are a few inches wide and about the same height as the jar you are covering.

mod podge jar tissue paper

Working your way around the jar, adhere the paper to the glass with a brushing of ModPodge, then smooth over the top with some more ModPodge. Don’t be afraid to slather it on! It will dry clear and help to seal the paper down. Keep working your way around, overlapping strips as you go, until you’ve covered the whole jar.

jar luminary handle

Once the paper layer has dried, use the wire to add a handle. Wrap it securely under the lip of the jar, and twist together, leaving a six inch tail. 

wire jar lantern handle DIY

Loop the rest of the wire up and over the opening of the jar, creating a handle shape. On the opposite side, slip the end under the wrapped wire, and twist around itself to secure.

DIY hanging mason jar lanterns

Use a pen or a chopstick to wrap the excess wire, creating little curlique ends.

DIY Mason Jar Porch Lanterns

Fill your jars with candles or battery operated tea lights and GLOW! You can add any kind of “flair” that suits your fancy, like washi tape, beaded string, or stamps. Go crazy!

Mason Jar Luminaries

DIY Waterproof Oilcloth Bike Seat Cover

DIY bike seat cover tutorial oilcloth

Last year, as a birthday gift to myself, I bought a vintage women’s bicycle. A green, 3-speed, Raleigh Sport, made in England in the 1970’s. It’s crowning glory is it’s leather Brooks saddle seat!

My bike is a prized possession, but it’s also a functional one! What good is a cool retro bike to anyone if it’s just sitting in a garage gathering dust? Since I do ride my bike around, I try my best to keep it protected and in the best condition possible. So, I decided to craft up a cute and fitting waterproof cover for my seat, to keep it protected from the rain and sun.

I used a fabric called oilcloth, which is waterproof, inexpensive, and comes in tons of cute patterns! If you’re making one yourself, you will also need some nylon cord, a sewing machine, and some plastic cord stops (optional).

bike seat cover materials

Trace around the top of your bike seat and cut out a piece in a matching shape. Then, using a piece of yarn or string, find the length around the outer edge of the piece you’ve just cut. Cut out a long strip of oilcloth measuring that length by about four inches wide. Cut that strip in half lengthwise.

how to stich a bike seat cover

Working with one strip at a time, pin the edge piece to the top piece with right sides together and stitch around. Join at each end with a straight stitch. This can be a bit tricky since the oilcloth is somewhat stiff, but just take your time!

how to sew a waterproof bike seat cover

Turn right-side out, then fold down about three inches of the edge strips all the way around, pinning down as you go. I did this based on the shape and size of my own bike seat, so you may want to slip the cover over your own seat at this point to double check how much to fold over. Stitch around where you’ve placed the pins, creating an open canal for the drawstring to thread through.

making a drawstring bike seat cover

Cut two slits in the back end of the cover, on either side of the back seam. Then, using a safety pin as your guide, thread the cord all the way through.

oilcloth seat cover with drawstring

Use a lighter to melt the ends of the cord slightly so that they don’t fray. Here you can add two small or one large cord stop if you like, or you can simply tie the cords together.

DIY waterproof bike seat cover

Slip the cover over your seat, pull the drawstring until snug, and off you go! Rain or shine, you and your bike will be happy and looking fly!

DIY drawstring bike seat cover

I have some extra oilcloth leftover, so maybe I’ll make a matching storage pouch to attach to my handle bars!

Try This: Fabric Covered Flower Pots

fabric covered flower pots
Potted plants are an awesome way to liven up any room. They also make a great hostess gift. Bonus points for both if your plants live in pretty, brightly colored pots!

Painted pots are so last year, so why not try covering some in fabric! There’s no end to the pattern possibilities or color combinations, and the texture adds a lot of interest. It’s an easy summer craft project that you can whip up in practically no time at all!

cloth covered flower pots
With just a few supplies, this is also a very inexpensive project. You might even have some of these supplies at home already.

scrap fabric covered planters
You will need: A small terra cotta flower pot, some patterned fabric (1/4 yard is plenty), a sponge brush, scissors, and some Mod Podge. I used the hard coat variety of Mod Podge because it’s what I had on hand, but any kind should do. If you don’t have Mod Podge you can even use Elmers Glue mixed with water.
how to wrap a flowerpot
Step 1: Cut out a piece of fabric that will fit around your pot, leaving about a one inch overhang for the top and bottom edges. You will end up with a curved shaped piece as shown above. The easiest way to do this is to lay your pot sideways on the fabric, hold a pencil against the edge, and roll it. Then cut one inch above and below the curved lines you’ve just created.
mod podge fabric pots
Step 2: Working a small section at a time, paint Mod Podge onto the pot and press the fabric on top, smoothing with your fingers as you go. Make sure to press firmly into the crease under the top lip of the pot. Once you’ve gone all the way around, leave about a half inch overlap and trim off any excess.
mod podge scrap fabric pot
Step 3: Cut the overhanging fabric into one inch tabs all the way around the top of the pot. Glue them down one by one, overlapping them as you go. Then do the same on the bottom of the pot.
diy fabric flower pot
Step 4: Paint a layer of Mod Podge over the fabric, covering the outside of the pot. This will seal and smooth everything down.
patterned mod podge flower pot
All done! Now go pick out a cute plant to live in your masterpiece while you wait for the glue to dry!
cloth covered pots
Try making a few in coordinating colors to plant a mini kitchen herb garden! Or make extra and bring a potted herb or succulent as a hostess gift to your next summer party. Be sure to share your summer projects with us on Instagram! Just use #WTDWLemons.
fabric wrapped plant pots

Floral PomPom Pillowcase DIY

pom pom trim pillow cases

Pompom trim is probably the cutest crafting supply ever. Especially when it’s pink and attached to dainty floral. I have a whole stash of the stuff, so this past weekend I decided to put it to use and make some girly, springy pillow cases. I love the look of mixed florals, especially when the prints are small.

DIY pom pom and lace trim pillow case

Simple pillow cases are a really easy sewing project if you’re a beginner, since you only have to sew in straight lines. For one standard-sized pillow case, you will need about 1 1/4 yards of fabric, and roughly the same length of trim.

With your fabric folded in half (so that the fold is the long edge of the pillowcase) cut a piece that is about 20″ x 30″. To make it really easy, just trace around a regular pillowcase that you already have, but be sure to leave roughly 4 1/2 inches extra in length to create the “hem” around the pillow opening.

iron edge in

Open the folded fabric (it will be ~ 40″ x 34″ opened up) and iron a 1/2 inch fold along the edge where the pillow opening will be.

making pillow case hem

Then fold over another 4 inches, iron, and pin along the inside edge. With a straight stitch, sew along the inside edge, through all 3 layers of fabric.

Fold the the fabric back in half, with right sides of the fabric together, so that you have the standard pillowcase shape. Sew along the two open edges with about a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Trim off the excess fabric and turn right-side-out. (At this point, you can test the size of your pillowcase based on the pillows you will be using, and if you need to, adjust the seams a bit if the case is too large).

stitching pom pom trim onto pillow

Pin your chosen trim along the hem of the open end of the pillowcase. Carefully stitch all the way around. Depending on which trim you chose, you can use a straight or zigzag stitch here. The purple pompom trim shown in the above picture was quite flat, so I used a straight stitch, but the pink pompom trim was a bit more three dimensional, so I used a zigzag stitch over the edge for that one.

Pretty floral pillow DIY

I love having lots of different pillow cases around to mix up my bedding and make things feel fresh. Plus, who doesn’t like something customized!? Use them for yourself, or impress your guests with something that feels unique and special. Who’s ready for a summer sleepover!?

trimmed floral pillow cases
Show us your favorite fabric patterns and trimmings on Instagram with the hashtag #WTDWLemons ! Happy Spring!

DIY Running Stitch Throw Pillow

DIY running stitch pillow

I have really been loving the look of hand embroidery lately, and when I saw this cool throw pillow at Anthropologie I knew I wanted to make my own version for our house. Gotta love a good Anthro hack!

The DIY version takes a bit of time (think a good Netflix binge amount of time) but it couldn’t be easier! You really don’t need any embroidery or sewing experience to try this one, I even started with a ready-made pillow sham.

hand embroidered pillow

Start with a basic white or other solid colored pillow sham, some embroidery floss in cool colors and an embroidery needle. These kinds of needles are a little bit bigger than your typical sewing needle and have a larger eye.

running stitch

Start out by threading your needle and tying a double knot on the opposite end. Working from the inside of the pillow sham first, poke the needle up through the fabric near the seam.

You only need to learn one type of stitch for this project. It’s called the running stitch. Basically, you are just going down through the fabric and then coming back up again a short distance further. You can even make several stitches in a row and pull them all through at once as shown in the photo above. If you’ve never done this stitch before, you will get the hang of it really fast! Trust me.

running stitch embroidery

Continue with your running stitch until you reach the seam on the opposite end of your pillow sham, ending on the inside. Then cut about a 3 inch tail, separate the threads in the floss into two halves and tie a knot to secure. Trim off the excess.

Keep on stitching lines in the same fashion, changing colors and spacing as you like until you have covered the whole front of your sham. You can finish here or add some extra embellishment by tying on some yarn tassels or pompoms to the corners! I went with oversized blue tassels made in the same way as we showed you in this past post.

DIY tassel pillow

I stuffed my stitched sham with a down pillow insert to make it extra comfy. I love it on my favorite vintage pink chair!

Upcycle Old Greeting Cards

DIY greeting card bookmarks

Today’s upcycling project comes from the crafty repertoire of a FABULOUS Great Aunt of mine. This is a woman who’s homemade flair puts Martha Stewart to shame (sorry Martha, you know I love you!) Never one to waste a beautiful piece of paper, my creative Aunt will often put an already used greeting card to use as part of an even better NEW card, bookmark, tag, or other paper craft. She will then tuck these into some snail mail to make someone’s day!

how to re-use greeting cards
If you’re anything like me, you might have some little box tucked away holding sentimental and pretty things that you just couldn’t bring yourself to throw away. Or if you are my co-blogger Katie, you might have five or six such boxes…haha! Anyway, if you’ve got one, pull it out. If you don’t have one, maybe you should start one, because these things can come in handy!
Grab a few pretty cards that you don’t mind cutting up, and make something new.
bookmark making supplies!
A few other supplies you might want for this project are a hole punch, a glue stick, some string or ribbon, and maybe some charms or beads.

Just get creative. Cut out images or shapes from the cards, layer them up with pieces of paper or cut out words and phrases, write on them, draw on them… whatever feels right and looks great! Then punch a hole in the top and tie on some ribbon. This is a great way to utilize little scraps. You could even make a tiny tassel for one of your bookmarks!

upcycle old greeting cards into stylish bookmarks
Sometimes it feels great to make something new from recycled materials, especially in April in honor of Earth Month! Tuck these little creations into snail mail or tie them on packages. One more cute and creative way to show someone that you think they’re awesome!
kitten birthday tags!
Bonus: pink kitten birthday tags! So cute.

Countdown Calendar

  DIY Countdown Calendar

I LOVE COUNTDOWNS!  Seriously.  I love calendars and organization and planning and lists and fonts, and countdowns are just an exciting way to put all of those things together.  I think that for me, it’s all about that feeling of anticipation.  I’m a serial daydreamer, and thinking about future adventures lets my imagination run wild and just gives me a serious case of the smiles.  I also think that countdowns have some serious mood boositing powers…they help feed into the “today might be tough but it’s one less day until that fun something you’ve been waiting for” attitude which was beyond needed this winter. It may be tough to get up that extra hour earlier for Dayligh Savings, but hey…only 74 more days until Memorial Day Weekend!

For this craft, you’ll need a frame – new, or recycled – chalkboard paint, acrylic paint, paint brushes, painter’s tape, a ruler or lined cutting board, and something to put in the frame. 

 old frame calendar

 

Start by creating a shape for your chalkboard on the glass of the frame using painter’s tape.  I made a rectangle in the top third of the glass, but you can put it anywhere you’d like.  I also had a lined quilter’s board that I used to keep my edges straight.

 Paint Chalkboard on Glass

 

Next, paint on the chalkboard paint accoriding to directions – remember my WTDW Chalkboard Paint post?  Take a peek back at how I painted on glass in that tutorial – it’s easy, I promise!

Paint Chalkboard on Glass Frame

While the paint is drying, play around with some fonts for “days,” which will be positioned under the chalkboard.  I hand drew my letters – re: DIY Calligraphy – but you can print them out too! 

Paint on Glass Frame Font

Once the paint is dry, peal back the tape, position the “days” lettering under the glass where you’d like to paint, and go for it!  Paint usint a small brush, and dont be afraid to put two coats on there…just have patience, and let it dry!

Reverse Trace Glass Letters

Paint letters on glass by tracing 

And while that’s drying, chose what background you want for your countdown!  I chose bright white/pink-red striped cardstock because it looks bold and reminds me of beach umbrellas – after all, my countdown is to MDW.  This is another reason why I love this craft – just like the changing numbers, you can also change the background!  Maybe you have a photo of a memory, a concert ticket, or something else that reminds you of the event you’re looking forward to. I love “anything goes” crafts!

   chalkboard paint on glass

What are you counting down to?  Tell us @whattodowithlemons on instagram!

How To: Brightly Colored Yarn Tassels

make your own bright yarn tassels!

If you’re looking for an easy, fun, and trendy craft to make this weekend, this is it! Flouncy little tassels made of brightly colored yarn. Adorable. Tie them on packages, hang them on doorknobs and rear-view mirrors, sew them onto pillow corners and blankets, make a garland, or turn them into key chains and cat toys! Go ahead, everyone loves them. Including me! I kinda want to put them on everything I own.

They are so fast and easy to whip up you could probably make a dozen or more in the time it takes to plop on the couch and watch the latest episode of your favorite show (The Walking Dead anyone!?). Lucky for you all, I made a photo tutorial so you can get started right away:

craft supplies for yarn tassels
Round up some cool colors of yarn (any kind will do), a rectangular piece of cardboard twice the length that you want your tassels to be, and your trusty scissors.
how to make tassels out of yarn
Start out by wrapping a length of yarn around the cardboard 10-15 times, then cut the end.
tassels from scrap yarn
Cut another piece of yarn about a foot long. Slide the wrapped yarn gently off the cardboard, then tie the second length of yarn around the middle of the loops as shown above.
simple way to make tassels for decoration
Cut through the loops on both sides to create loose ends. I know, in most situations “loose ends” are a bad thing… but in tassel making, they’re everything!
handmade yarn tassels
Fold the bundle over in the middle with the tie at the top. Using another length of yarn, wrap several times around the whole bundle about 1 inch from the top, and tie off. Slip the two ends of the tie you just made up, over, and down through the wrap so that they lay with the rest of the tassel ends.
trim ends of yarn tassels
Lastly, give your fresh new tassel a little trim so that all the ends are even and tidy.
funky yarn tassel
Voila! Now you can make a dozen more in every color of the rainbow! Or maybe that’s just me…
colorful yarn tassels
Show us your yarn projects on Instagram with the hashtag : #wtdwlemons

Recycled T-Shirt Work Out Tank Top

DIY gym tank top

There is nothing more exciting than some new gym gear.  Ok, settle people.  I can feel the side-eye shade through the inter web and I get it.  But seriously…I want you to honestly tell me that when you go out and buy some new sneakers, tank tops, leggings, etc., you don’t get even the slightest bit more motivated to do something active.  That’s what I thought.  Now let’s talk DIY.

For this project, all you need is a baggier shirt (long or short sleeve), and a pair of scissors.  We’ll be using truly sophisticated measuring techniques and precise trimming here – just kidding, this is really not a mark/cut kind of thing, so I included a lot of pictures to take you through the process.  Don’t be afraid to mess up – any frays will even out with a wash, and non-symmetric lines will disappear once we tie the back.  Let’s start with the neck!

Cut the neckline of a t shirt

Visualize the new neckline – you’ll want to cut the TOP layer of shirt, starting along the seam where the shoulder meets the neck.  Use your hand as a guide – hug the seam at the beginning, and gradually angle your cuts so that the neckline is about 2″ deeper than the original neckline in the center of the shirt.

Cut Neck off t shirt

Fold the cut part of the shirt up, and cut along the BACK seam – we have a new neckline!

Next, align your pinky to the neckline and your middle finger to the shoulder seam to use as your cut guide.  Cut the sleeve (both layers) starting on the inside of the armpit seam, up through the shoulder seam.

cut sleeves off t shirt

Fold the shirt in half, and use your already cut side as a guide to cut the next sleeve off.

make sleeveless tank

To make the back more like a racerback tank, you have to cut off a bit more of the BACK layer. Start at the armpit again, and cut in an elongated “<” and “>” fashion, so that you end up with something like the left photo, below.  To get rid of that overhand of the front layer, cut another inch from the FRONT layer on both sides.  I used my scissors to “score” the shirt, creating a line to follow.  Repeat on both sides.

DIY gym shirt

The transformation is already unbelievable.  SUCH an upgrade from the super wrinkly, neglected, sad old red-league baggy T.

DIY gym tank

To shape the BACK neckline, cut a “V” shape into the BACK layer only.  I stopped at the center point, and folded the cut piece over the non-cut piece as a guide. We’re almost done!  Now we just need to tie the back.  Using a scrap sleeve, cut a “string” of shirt – make sure to cut out any seam pieces from the ends.v neck t shirt DIY

Lay the string in between the two layers of shirt, at the smallest part of the racerback.  Tie one knot around the back tightly, wrap the strings around the middle, and tie twice more, finishing with a bow.

upcycle t shirt

And that’s it! You’re done.  A brand “new” workout tank.  I have 3 4 of these tanks now, and can only see more of them in my future.  They are wash/dry-able too, and require no special treatment.  Just be warned, they will become slightly more revealing with the first wash, so don’t be afraid to cut more conservatively for your first shirt until you get the hang of it.  Also, feel free to try the shirt on at any point in the process so that you can see how it is forming!  Remember you can always cut more, but you can’t cut less.

Tag us in your new shirts on Instagram, @whattodowithlemons, pin us on your boards on Pinterest, and give us a shout out on Facebook/Twitter!  #Flexfriday has never looked so good!

DIY racerback tank top

 

DIY Faceted Bead Statement Necklace

make faceted beads with polymer clay

I have been noticing this design trend of faceted objects lately, from art to home decor to wearable accessories, and I’m loving it! Facets seem to lend a modern architectural look to just about anything, and I am really drawn to these crystalline shapes. Naturally, I set out to make my own interpretation, and settled on this funky beaded statement necklace.

I made the beads from polymer clay, then hand-cut the facets. It turned out to be a simple and inexpensive way to experiment with this trend, and I have to say I found the process pretty therapeutic. If you’re drawn to these gem-like forms also, and like quirky jewelry like I do, I highly recommend giving it a try!

faceted clay bead supplies
You don’t need a lot of supplies, just round up:

– some polymer clay
– leather cord or chain
– rub-n-buff or silver paint
– a paper clip
– an xacto knife or razor blade

I also covered my workspace with a piece of wax paper to protect the surface of my table.
making polymer clay beads
Start by rolling out 5 small balls of clay, with your largest one in the center, then two matching pairs, getting a bit smaller each time. It looks like we are about to make Wilma Flinstone’s signature necklace at this point, but just wait, it will get cooler.
shaping beads in polymer clay
Using the palm of your hand, roll each sphere into a cylindrical shape, applying a bit more pressure on one end, so that you’re making something like a carrot.
fimo clay beads
With the paperclip, make a hole at the narrower end of each bead, making sure as you go that it’s large enough for your leather cord to fit through.

Place the beads on a cookie sheet, and bake in a 275 degree oven for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool.
cutting faceted beads in polymer clay
Once cool to the touch, use the blade to cut facets all around the surface of each bead. Work lengthwise and away from yourself, making shallow slices. Keep cutting facets until no rounded edges remain.

At this point you can bake your beads a few minutes longer if they are not completely cured. You should not be able to press into them with your fingers.
DIY faceted bead statement necklace
I added a silver tip to each of my beads using some scotch tape and silver Rub-n-Buff. Acrylic craft paint, spray paint, or even nail polish would work well also.

String them up and tie a knot in the cord so that its just long enough to slip on and off over your head. If you’re using chain, add a clasp.
faceted bead statement necklace
This was a fun experiment and a great a addition to my growing collection of statement necklaces! I think it has sort of a “modern-tribal” vibe. What do you think?

DIY Sugar Scrubs: Coffee and Green Tea

DIY green tea and coffee body scrubs

Winter weather is harsh on your skin. We’ve been getting pummeled with snow up here in New England these past few weeks and I’m finding that I just can’t use enough lotion. Every once in a while, especially this time of year, your skin just needs a little revival, and sloughing off all those dead cells might be just the thing. Luckily, making your own exfoliating sugar scrub is super easy, and today I’ll show you how!

I made two different types of scrub: one “coffee” and one “green tea” but both have the same base ingredients: coconut oil and raw cane sugar. You can make a basic scrub by combining just those two things, or you can add a little extra to make all kinds of different variations! The one thing they all have in common? They work wonders for dry winter skin! The two I’ll share with you today are packed with natural benefits and blissfully absent of nasty chemical additives that you can’t pronounce. Good stuff.

Green Tea Scrub with Raw Honey and Lemon:
how to make a green tea sugar scrub
For the green tea scrub you will need:

-5 Tbsp raw cane sugar
-1 Tbsp coconut oil
-1 tsp steeped green tea
-1 tsp green tea leaves (you can cut open a tea bag)
-2 tsp raw honey
-1 tsp of fresh lemon juice and zest

First, steep one green tea bag in a small amount of water (you want strong tea!). While the tea is steeping you can soften your coconut oil a little, since it is usually solid at room temperature. You can just pop it in the microwave for 15 seconds or so.
green tea skincare
**By the way if you aren’t completely in love with virgin coconut oil as a beauty product yet, you’re totally missing out! You can use this stuff to replace so many products, from shaving cream to body lotion to hair masks. It’s the best. AND it smells awesome too! (I get mine from Trader Joes)**

Once you’ve prepped the tea and the coconut oil, just measure everything out, stir it all up, and press it into a pretty glass container! Now lets talk skin happy benefits:
DIY green tea honey and lemon sugar scrub
Since I’ve already professed my love for coconut oil, we’l start there. Coconut oil is an amazing natural moisturizer, and it absorbs into skin really well.

The sugar acts as a gentle exfoliant, and starts to dissolve under hot water, turning into a fine polish as you go.

Green tea is packed with protective antioxidants called polyphenols and also has a bit of caffeine which can be great in skincare, but more on that later…

Lemon contains lots of vitamin C and citric acid, which can help to brighten your skin tone.

Finally, raw honey – the “raw” part is very important here, since most of the good stuff in honey is lost during heating and processing. Sadly the kind of honey that you find in those cute little bear shaped bottles is essentially just sugar. Check your local health food store for the raw stuff, it usually comes in a jar, often in solid form. Raw honey has natural antibacterial properties, is a potent moisturizer, and contains gluconic acid, which can help to reduce dark spots. I could go on forever with all kinds of cool stuff about raw honey, but I’ll save that for another post ;).

Coffee Scrub:
how to make a coffee sugar scrub
You’ll need:

-4 Tbsp of coconut oil
-4 Tbsp of raw cane sugar
-1 1/2 Tbsp of coffee grounds
– 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract (optional)

This one is a little simpler, just soften the coconut oil, and mix everything together.
make your own sugar scrub at home
I found that I prefer to use a light roast coffee. I just think it gives off a more pleasant aroma. If you really want to enhance that coffee shop scent, add the vanilla! It’s great to use this one in your morning shower – the smell alone will perk you up a bit.

The coffee grinds in this scrub give it a rougher texture. Since the grinds won’t melt in water, you can scrub for longer, making this one particularly great for your legs but maybe not so much for your face!
DIY coffee sugar scrub
The coffee in this recipe contains more caffeine than in tea. Caffeine can cause blood vessels to constrict, giving it an anti-inflammatory effect and also helping to reduce redness. As if I needed another reason to love coffee…
make your own sugar scrub
Homemade bath products are really fun to make, and arguably a lot healthier for your skin. You can even do some experimenting to come up with your own personal “formula” that’s perfect for you. Go ahead, raid your pantry and slather something on! We dare you.

“Calligraphy” Cards

DIY Calligraphy Cards

Happy New Year!!  2014 brought me and Hayley some great memories – I ran a half marathon, Hayley moved into a new home, and of course, we started WTDWL and haven’t looked back!  It’s been a crazy adventure, and we are SO excited to see what this year has to bring!  And what better way to kick off our 2015 posts with one of our favorite things…Snail Mail!!!!  You already know we love all things handwritten and homemade, and we spend a lot of time writing letters, cards, and notes to friends.  You may also know that we really like to keep things simple and affordable.  There are already so many excuses out there that keep us from writing notes to friends – email, texting, social media, inconvenience – and those pricey Hallmark cards can just put us over the edge.

Thankfully, calligraphy is so in this year, and we’re taking full advantage of it with these DIY “calligraphy” cards.  They are the perfect rainy day, music binge, or just couch sitting activity – who doesn’t love a good doodle session?

Materials:

-blank cards, or heavy paper (like card stock, oaktag, or even manilla folders)

-envelopes

-sharpies, or other heavy inky markers (like staedtler fineliners)

-pencil with eraser

Instructions:

When hand-drawing your own cards, I think there are a few key things to focus on:

-Font(s)

-Doodles

-Theme

It’s a short list, but it’s an important list.  Design, colors, mediums used…none of those things really matter!  No one expects handwritten items to be perfect, and quite frankly, I think they look better when they are less perfect.  Though I do think my handwriting is pretty “neat,” my hand isn’t always steady and I’m definitely not a good “drawer.”  Calligraphy was so…intimidating to me.  I guess that’s sort of embarrassing to admit, but whatever its 2015 anything goes!  I’ve found with a few tricks, anyone can impress themselves and their friends with a fancy card.

Let’s start with themes/fonts.  FUN fonts, to be specific.  Stray away from the thin, delicate looking fonts.  The theme part of the card is incorporated here into the words you choose – if you’d rather not put words, the same idea applies to images! I start by writing out my word/phrase (image) in the shape of the font, but using one stroke.  Next, shape those letters into the font you chose.  You can do this by making the outlines thicker or adding dimensions.  I like using bold letter outlines.  Fill in any blank spaces, and move on to the next font.

Fake Calligraphy

Fun fonts have made my life one zillion times easier – there are no special pens involved, and by shaping each letter you have multiple chances to make it look cohesive.  And I’m not the only one who thinks so!  Check out what Hayley found on Cupcakes and Cashmere’s blog from last June – I didn’t know there were real calligraphy classes!!

Calligraphy without Calligraphy Pen

Don’t be bummed if you’re card looks too blank – that’s where the doodle comes into play.  Dots, circles, arrows, stripes, flowers, swirls – anything goes.  These are space fillers, and really make the card unique.  This is where theme can also be enhanced – choose images that represent the idea of the card.

Copy Cat Calligraphy Card

When I first started drawing my own cards, I just used a thin, black sharpie.  I think the black keeps the card looking neater, especially if you haven’t mastered steady handwriting.  For design inspiration, look to quotations, an object to trace, a favorite doodle, or holiday – and don’t be ashamed of using the image searches!  There’s nothing that a good clip art-doodle-google search can’t fix, especially when thinking about fonts.  I used cookie cutters in this thank you card that I got while in Disney with a friend – use a pencil to outline, erase the lines, and trace with marker!

Stencil Calligraphy

Disney Calligraphy DIY Card Cookie Cutters

My favorite cards are pretty busy – lots of doodles, and different font styles…can you tell?  What are your favorite card styles? Don’t forget to email us, tag us @whattodowithlemons, and use the hashtag #wtdwlemons with your creations!

 

DIY Constellation Tights

DIY Constellation Tights

I love wearing tights this time of the year, and printed tights are a fun way to liven up a drab winter wardrobe. Ever the do-it-yourself type, I recently decided to experiment with customizing my own pair, and what I ended up with is one of my favorite DIY fashion projects to date: starry CONSTELLATION TIGHTS! They’re fun and quirky and even easier to make then I anticipated.

The simple black and silver makes them easy to style with pieces you already have, but if you’re in need of ANY kind of fashion inspo, head on over to AU Gold Standard, the charmingly inspirational fashion blog run by our dear friend Ashley Urban in San Francisco! You’ll see these tights making a guest appearance there (I mailed her a pair).

painting on tights

Did I mention how easy it is to make your own printed tights!? (I’m seriously excited for the possibilities of this medium…) All you need to make a pair like these is a plain pair of tights, a fabric paint marker in a contrasting color, and some scrap cardboard. Heres how:

using fabric paint marker on tights

Lay your leg along a big piece of cardboard, roughly trace the length and shape, and cut this out. You’ll use this as a form to stretch out the tights while you paint on them

Working one leg at a time, stretch the tights over the cardboard form.

For the constellation pattern, I just looked up a chart of all the familiar star constellations, and sketched them onto the tights in a series of dots, lines and small star shapes.

Let each leg dry for an hour or so before removing it from the cardboard… and thats it!

DIY Printed Tights

I picked out all the astrological zodiac constellations, plus some other familiar patters like Orien and the Big Dipper. I made sure to feature my own zodiac constellation (Pisces) and Ashley’s (Saggitarius) front and center for each of our custom pairs!

I didn’t worry too much about the rest of the placement, I just kept adding stars and patterns until I filled up all the space on each leg. They may not have perfect astrological accuracy, but they sure are swanky!

hand-painted star tights

Washable Pet Travel Mat

flannel pet travel mats

We have been traveling a bit lately for the holidays, which means my two fur babies have had to book a stay in the kitty hotel. To make their trip a little bit cozier, I made them some warm flannel mats for their carriers. Since it’s been a while since we shared our last project for pets on What to do with Lemons, I thought I would share this easy DIY – in case anyone is looking for a way to show their favorite cat or dog some love this holiday season!

flannel pet sleeping mat
These travel mats have three layers quilted together: two sides of flannel with a towel in between, making them soft, warm, and completely machine washable! They are modeled here by my cat Lu, but they’re perfect for cats OR dogs (or rabbits or ferrets or whatever kind of companion animal you call your best friend)!
DIY washable pet mat
You will need: a large piece of flannel fabric (twice the size you want your finished mat to be), an old towel, and a sewing machine.

Start by cutting two pieces of flannel and one piece of towel to the size you would like your mat to be, plus about a half an inch on each edge. I cut mine into rectangles that fit nicely into a cat carrier.

DIY pet carrier blanket
Arrange the layers so that the two flannel pieces face right-sides-together, then lay the towel on top. Pin and stitch around three sides, leaving one of the shorter ends open. Next, flip right-side-out so that the towel is inside the two pieces of flannel and the pattern faces outward.

layered pet mat

sew a flannel mat for your pet carrier
Fold the raw edges under and pin in place, then top stitch along this edge to close.

Finally, stitch some quilting lines across the top to hold the layers in place. I sewed one line down the middle and two perpendicular lines going width wise, dividing the pad into six squares.
cat carrier blanket

These washable mats are great for inside a crate, on the floor, or laid over your pet’s favorite spot to sit (like the back of the couch!). Flannel fabric comes in so many fun colors and patterns it will be hard not to make a whole stack! They make a great gift for pets, pet lovers, or your local shelter!

DIY Pom Pom Trim Bracelet

DIY pompom trim bracelet

Today’s DIY was inspired by a bracelet I saw at Anthropologie a while ago, made of rope and brightly colored trim. I loved it, but when I saw it I immediately thought: “I could make that!” I remembered it the next time I was at my local fabric store and picked out a few supplies. It’s a bit like the cooler older sister of those embroidery thread friendship bracelets we all used to make as kids, but this one is much quicker to whip up, which is great because, like most of us, I have a lot less free time than I did back then *sigh*.

string and rope bracelet

You can find the supplies you’ll need at most craft or fabric stores, and there are TONS of different options for color and texture. I started with some white cotton rope cord, some pom pom trim, and a few different colors of embroidery thread to play around with. You will also need a couple jump rings and a lobster clasp.

The tools you will want to have on hand are: a pair of scissors, some small needle nose pliers, a bit of clear nail polish, and some scotch tape.

pompom trim bracelet tutorial

1) Cut the rope cord to the right length to fit around your wrist, plus 2 inches, then cut a piece of trim a bit shorter than that.
2) Wrap the ends of your cord with a bit of scotch tape to keep them from unravelling while you work!
3) Tie the end of your embroidery thread onto the cord, about an inch away from one end, then start wrapping snuggly around. Try to keep it in neat, slightly overlapping layers.
4) Once you have about an inch of cord wrapped, lay one end of your trim against the cord and begin to wrap the embroidery thread around both layers, binding them together. I wrapped two times around between each “pom”, but you can do this however you think looks best.
5) Keep going until you reach the end of the pom pom trim, then begin wrapping just the cord as before. Wrap for one more inch and tie off.

Attatching clasp

6) Put a small dab of clear nail polish onto where you’ve tied the knots to keep them secure.
7) To create the clasp closure, open up one of the jump rings and hook it through a few layers of the embroidery thread, then pinch it closed again.
8) Do the same on the opposite end, but this time add on the lobster clasp before closing.
9) Cut the scotch tape off of the ends, trim off any excess, and fluff out the rope cord! I like that it ends up looking like little tassels.

rope trim bracelet
I think this funky pom bracelet will make a great addition to my “arm party” stack. Cheers to DIYing instead of buying!

DIY Critter Coffee Cozies

Owl coffee cozy

Today’s crafty project is for the coffee lovers… and the earth lovers too! These adorable reusable sleeves will help you keep some paper out of the landfill. They are easy to whip up, cheap to make, completely customizable and ridiculously cute. What’s not to love?!

DIY Critter Coffee Cup Cozies
I made an owl, a penguin, and a fox! I think they make pretty awesome morning coffee buddies.
DIY coffee cozy supplies

You will need:

– craft felt in a few different colors (depending on your choice of critter)
– embroidery floss and needle
– all purpose white glue
– a paper cup sleeve

How to make a felt coffee sleeve
Make one straight cut through the paper cup sleeve, and lay flat against a piece of felt. Using a piece of chalk (I used a black marker here so you guys could see it well in the picture!) trace the sleeve. Add about a half inch onto each end and whatever extra area you need for your animal shape. Cut out some felt features to make up your critter’s face and lay them out on top. It’s a good idea to sketch it out on paper first, then cut your shapes.

hand stitching felt

Using a needle and embroidery thread, attach the larger pieces with some decorative stitches. The smaller pieces can be added on with a dab of all purpose white glue. I like to keep the design bold and simple.

Add decorative stitching

Once your little creature is all stitched up, fold the whole piece in half so that the two ends line up. Stitch the ends together, then trim off any excess. You might want to wrap the sleeve around a paper cup before stitching to ensure a snug fit.

penguin coffee cup cozy

Throw one of these guys in your purse or car, and the next time you stop for your usual coffee shop order, you can skip the wasteful paper sleeve.

Know someone who deserves a special thank-you or just a pick-me-up? Wrap one of these up with a Starbucks gift card, and you have a sweet and thoughtful gift!

Double Take: Halloween Photo Booth

Halloween photo booth DIY

This year we will both be hosting Halloween parties…and on the same day! Naturally, we’ve been discussing our plans for the festivities, and how we could keep our friends entertained and in theme. We decided that the one thing almost everyone wants to do at a costume party is… take photos! You just have to document all those awesome get-ups, and with social media these days, you know those pictures are going to get shared all over! #Halloween. So being the crafty devils that we are, we thought we would each make a DIY “photo-booth” for our party goers!

We knew we would have drastically different interpretations of this idea, so it made the perfect subject for our October “Double-Take” feature! The two of us have always had very different styles when it comes to Halloween. One of us loves the scary stuff, the other one loves the cute! We’re betting you can probably guess who is who after checking out the final results.

Take One:

Halloween Photobooth Props

Katie made photo booth props so guests in costume can “dress up” like traditional halloween characters.

 

halloween photo booth props diy

I used colored foam sheets, long cardboard lolly-pop sticks, paint, glue dots, hot glue, scrap cardboard, and an x-acto knife. I started out by drawing a stencil of a mask on some scrap cardboard, and cut it out with an x-acto knife.  Using that as a template, I cut out different colors of foam for the main piece of the masks, and used glue dots to stick them together.  I painted the white lollypop sticks black, and fastened them to the masks using hot glue.  This was really simple, and really fun. I stuck with non-scary themed halloween characters…Frankenstein, a witch, cat ears, an owl, a pumpkin, and a skull (I also made a stencil for that one) – that’s how I do my halloween.  For a backdrop, I taped decorative sheets of card stock to our kitchen door, made and hung tissue paper-poofs on the side, and kept an old black frame near by as an added touch.  Can’t wait to see the pictures we take next week!

IMG_0125

Take Two:

Hayley made a blood-spattered backdrop and number placards so that party guests can take Halloween mugshots!

Halloween mug shot

I tend to go for a creepier Halloween aesthetic, full of spiders, blood, and skulls, so my interpretation of this project was just a little darker, but a lot of fun! I measured and painted lines onto a flat white sheet, then splattered it up with a generous amount of theatrical blood! For the ID signs, I cut a piece of black foam board into four rectangles and stenciled on some numbers and lettering in white paint. This “photo booth” will be great for group OR individual shots, and it documents the year and occasion right in the photo! All the different costumes will make for some interesting criminal mischief! Luckily I had a few hunky models around to help me test it out this week.

image

image
What are you doing for Halloween this year? Snap a picture of your costume or Halloween DIY and tag us @whattodowithlemons with the hashtag #WTDWLemons ! We would love to see what you’ve made!

3 Easy DIY Halloween Props

Halloween Party

Katie and I are both hosting Halloween Parties this year. On the same day in fact, but almost two hundred miles apart! I love a well-themed party, so I’ve been busy with a few fun projects to ramp up my Halloween décor this year. Today I’m going to share a few really easy DIY Halloween props that will make your holiday display EXTRA spooky!

1. Blood Dripping Candles

DIY bloody candles
These gruesome blood dripping candles are very dramatic, and extremely quick and easy to make! Great news for horror lovers. To make them, you’ll need two white stick candles and one red stick candle. Simply light the red candle and hold upside down over a propped up white candle. Allow the red wax to melt and drip down the top and sides of the white candle. The candle sticks I used are cheap glass holders from the dollar store that I painted with black and silver for a wrought iron look.

2. Painted Branch Centerpiece

DIY Halloween Centerpiece
You can make a creepy looking centerpiece to liven up your Halloween table scape with just some bare branches from your yard and a can of black spray paint! Select some dry, spindly looking branches and give them a coat of black spray paint. Then prop them up in a vase with some kind of filler like spanish moss or dried leaves. For added effect, throw in some cobwebs, plastic bones or spiders, and a dark creature hanging from the branches.

3. Poison Apothecary Bottles

DIY Halloween prop poison bottles
You can easily make your bar or mantle into Snape’s potions class with some deadly looking DIY poison bottles. Gather some empty bottles and jars in varying shapes and sizes and give them an aged look with some craft paint and Mod Podge. Vintage looking labels can be found all over the internet (there are tons on Pinterest!). I just printed and cut mine out, then roughed up the edges and glued them onto the bottles. Finish off with some corks, twine, or creepy crawlies.

DIY Skull Stud Earrings

DIY skull earrings

If you know me, you know that I LOVE Halloween, and you probably also know that I have a lot of quirky jewelry. I made these little skull stud earrings recently and they are perfectly my style. They are a little bit Dia de los Muertos, a little Jack Skellington, and lots of fun! I’ll be wearing them all of October because I like to stretch my favorite holiday as long as I can. Scroll on to find out how to make them!

polymer clay earrings
To make a pair of your own you will need: white polymer clay, stud earring backs, all-purpose glue, black paint, and some clear polyurethane coating. Other fun paint colors or rhinestones are optional add-ons. You’ll need a few simple tools as well: a chopstick or dull pencil, a knife, a small paintbrush, q-tips, and an oven.

1) Start out by rolling two small spheres of clay, a little larger than a pea. Pinch each sphere slightly on one side and then flatten, making an oval shape that is wider on one end. The narrower end will be the jaw of your skull. Press in a bit on the bottom to flatten the “chin” of your skull shape.
2) Next, use a dull knife to create some “teeth” and two vertical “nostrils.” Use the chopstick to make two oval shaped indents for the eye sockets.
3) Bake these clay pieces according to the package directions.

DIY clay earrings
4) After your skull pieces are hardened and cooled, use a small paintbrush to fill in the features with black paint. Don’t worry about staying inside the lines, we will neaten things up in the next step.
5) Using a q-tip dipped in a bit of nail polish remover, gently buff off any paint on the raised surface of your skull, leaving only the indented features painted. If you want a glossy look, add a coat of clear polyurethane sealer on top.

attaching earring backs
6) Glue the earring posts onto the back of your clay skulls with an all-purpose glue. Once the glue is dry they’re all done! You could definitely try out other halloween shapes as well, like candy corns or black cats. The possibilities are endless.

Polymer clay skull earrings

Easy Felt Halloween Coasters

Halloween Themed Felt Coasters

In preparation for the Halloween mixology experiments Hayley and I will be preparing for our parties, I thought I’d come up with another way to make each beverage look more festive – Halloween coasters!  These coasters are super easy, and really fun to make.  They take almost no time to pull together, and can be altered for any party theme.  Plus, they are fairly inexpensive, so if they get put to really good use, you can toss them afterwards and not feel guilty!

Easy Halloween Felt Coasters

You’ll need:

-3D Fabric Paint, any colors you’d like

-sheets of stiff felt – you can get six coasters per standard 9″x12″ sheet

-A sharp utility knife, and a surface to cut on

First, cut your felt into 6 even rectangles – for a standard size, each coaster will be 4″x4.5″.  Next, you get to be creative!  I chose spiderwebs for my theme, and made two different patterns.  To make an easy spider web, start by painting an “X” on your felt.  Then, paint a “+” so that the lines all go through one center point – we will call all of these lines, the “base lines.”  Starting close to the center point, start to connect your base lines with the curved parts of the web, and spiral around the web until you’ve run out of room on the felt.  Let the paint dry.

Spider Web Felt Coaster

 

DIY Felt Coasters

To make the solo-web coasters more dramatic, I used my utility knife and cut along the curved lines to remove any excess felt.  I will definitely be making these coasters for another holiday – they’re a great last detail to pull the theme together!

Halloween felt Coasters

Paper Mache Pumpkins

paper mache pumpkin

Today I am going to share a fun craft tutorial for making decorative pumpkins out of paper mache! I think the last time I did any paper mache was in elementary school, so I had a lot of fun getting my hands messy with this project and taking a little trip down memory lane. Plus these cute little pumpkins are made entirely of recycled material, so you can feel good about them too. Eat your heart out HomeGoods!

Here’s what you will need to make some of your own:

– plastic grocery bags
– newspaper
– masking tape
– flour
– paint

paper mache pumpkin forms
To make the underlying form, fill a small plastic grocery bag with crumpled up pieces of paper (old magazines or newspaper). When it reaches a size you are happy with, twist the top of the bag and wrap with a piece of masking tape. I used the tied-off end of the bag to form the stem of my pumpkins. Fluff the bag into a round shape, and then use the masking tape to create some grooves to form the lobes of your pumpkin. I wanted mine to be chunky and cartoonish, but for a more realistic looking fruit, make thinner divisions.

To mix up the paper mache paste, mix flour and water until you have a consistency like pancake batter. I didn’t measure, but used roughly a 2:1 mixture of water to flour. Then add a few teaspoons of salt (this prevents any risk of mold). Now lay out some plastic or a drop cloth over your work area, because the next part is going to get messy!

paper mache how-to
Rip up some newspaper into strips and small chunks to use for the paper mache. Start with the top half of your pumpkin, saturating strips of paper with paste and laying them over the form to cover the entire top surface. Once you have one solid layer, let it dry a bit and then keep going! For a sturdy pumpkin, you’ll want 3 or 4 layers of paper. Let the top half dry completely. This will probably take overnight if you are working indoors.

Once the top is completely dry, flip the pumpkin over and rest in a cup or bowl so that you can work without crushing the stem. Cover the bottom of your pumpkin in paper mache, in the same manner as you did the top, and let dry again. (This project will take a couple days to finish!) Once your pumpkin is fully dried, use a utility blade to carefully cut a circle from the bottom, and gently pull out all the paper and plastic inside.

At this point it is ready to paint! It’s a good idea to give the whole thing a coat of white paint as a primer, unless you are painting your pumpkins a dark color. I painted mine a predictable orange this time, but I think next year I will make some black ones!
three paper mache pumpkins
If you want to make this project a little more exciting, you can accessorize your pumpkin with anything you like! You could also bring back that utility knife and cut out a face or design, then place a flameless candle inside. I plan to use mine in my Halloween mantel display.
paper mache pumpkin mantel display

Double Take: Coffee Cans

coffee can upcycle 

 

 

Today we are introducing a new series of posts called “Double Take”.  For these posts, we will select one item – a recipe, material, craft idea, anything – and come up with our own, individual projects involving that item, in secret.  There will be NO communication about the project between the two of us until we’re totally finished.  Then we will reconvene to write the post together!

While the two of us are great friends and get along amazingly (most of the time), we are TOTALLY different people.  You can see it in the topics we cover, and even in our writing styles – we have very different imaginations and thought processes, and we love that!  Our new “Double Take” feature will showcase our uniqueness, and give our readers double the DIY in one post!  Plus, because we’ll be highlighting the same item, we’ll really get to stretch our creative legs to come up with some cool final products.  There’s always more than one (great) way to look at something!

For our very first Double Take feature post, we decided to find a creative way to use an empty coffee can. We each started with one, and set out (separately) to remake it. It’s a classic upcycle, and we had a lot of fun keeping what we were working on a secret from each other, then coming together to write this post! Here’s what we did:

mosaic coffee can planterHayley’s coffee can became a flower pot, covered in a mosaic made from broken plates.

To make it: Punch some holes in the bottom of the can with a drill, to allow the plant adequate drainage. For the mosaic pieces, smash up some old plates with a hammer (wrapped in a towel to control the shrapnel!), or purchase some ready-made ones. Then adhere theses to the outside metal surface.

Note: I used a multipurpose glue called Weldbond to attach the pieces to the can and it worked just fine, but to be honest, if I did this project again, I would choose to use a thin-setting mortar instead. Weldbond is a great glue for mosaics, but it works better on a flat surface. On a curved surface, it makes the process take a bit longer, since for each “row” of pieces you glue down, you need to wait for the glue to dry a little before rotating the can, so that the pieces you just glued don’t go sliding off! A thin set mortar would take care of this issue.
mosaic how to Once the glue has had about 24 hours to dry, use some premixed grout to fill in between the pieces. All of the above mentioned materials can be found at your local hardware store, and you can follow the directions on the container for each! After the grout has dried (another 24 hours), clean up the surface of the tiles with a scrubby sponge and you will have a cute new flower pot!

burlap coffee can fabric flower cake stand

Katie’s coffee can became a cake stand, decorated in burlap and cloth fabric for a trendy, natural look.

I used a cardboard coffee can for this project, and started by removing the label and cleaning out the inside with a kitchen wipe.  Next, I cut strips of burlap garland in half and hot-glued three rows around the can.  You won’t need a lot of glue for this, as the burlap is light.  Also, take note that you will be able to see the glue through the burlap, so use small dots and place them strategically, like near the seams of the layers. I then made some fabric roses using a bright tea towel to add some more detail to the cake stand.  To make the roses, cut the towel into strips about 2-3 inches wide, and trim off the seams.  Fold one end of a strip into an angled triangle, and secure with hot-glue dots.  Next, roll the folded section around itself to form the center of the rose.

burlap and cloth flowers cake stand

When you get to the unfolded part, you’re going to start to form the petals.  To do this, fold/twist the fabric downwards towards the center of the flower and rotate at the same time.  It sounds tricky, and it is – but you can get the hang of it with practice.  Don’t forget to glue as you go!   I glued the roses on to the stand along the seams to hide those glue dots.  I also added a piece of corkboard that I had to the top of the can to give the stand a more finished look.  If you don’t have corkboard, don’t worry!  Most plates will nest into the top of the can easily, and won’t wobble.

DIY Wool Felt Laptop Sleeve

DIY Wool Felt Laptop Sleeve 3

I recently got a new Macbook (yay!) and realized that I needed a case for it ASAP. When you have a shiny new device, its only natural to want to avoid bumps and scratches for as long as possible! I loved the look of some wool laptop sleeves that I saw online, but being the thrifty crafter that I am, decided I could totally make one myself for much cheaper. (Are you sensing a trend with me yet?)

DIY wool felt laptop sleeve supplies

You won’t need a lot of supplies to make one of these, just a half a yard of nice wool felt in your color of choice, a fun colored thread (since your stitches will be visible) about 2 feet of nylon webbing, and a couple pieces of velcro or snaps if you prefer. You will also need a sewing machine and the accompanying tools, a ruler, and some glue.

Felt Laptop Sleeve 2

Step 1) Place your laptop down on the felt and fold the fabric over it so that one edge comes just to the end of your computer. You will want to have a good amount of excess fabric at the top, this will be the fold-over flap.
Step 2) Cut the excess felt to be twice the length you would like your flap to be, and then fold it down so that the edge meets the top of your laptop, creating a double-thick layer for the flap.
Step 3) This is where I chose to dock the corners of the flap. If you like that look, then measure one inch from the corner on each edge, and make a dot with a marker. Then, using a ruler, mark a line connecting these two dots, and cut along the line. You will be cutting a small triangle from both corners of the flap, through both folds of fabric.
Step 4) Stitch around three sides of the flap (picture 1 above).
Step 5) Measure and cut two 10 inch pieces of webbing, and melt the ends slightly with a lighter to avoid fraying.
Step 6) Pin them to the back of your case so that they overhang the edge of the flap by two to three inches, then stitch in place (picture 2 above).

Felt Laptop Sleeve 3

Step 7) Measure and cut a second piece of felt slightly smaller than the top of your laptop, and lay it on top. This will be the front pocket.
Step 8) Fold the flap down to see where the ends of the webbing meets the front pocket, and pin two pieces of velcro there. Lift off the pocket piece and sew these in place.
Step 9) Lay the pocket piece back down onto the front of the case, pin down, and then sew around three edges (picture 3 above).
Step 10) Place your laptop into the main fold, and pin snugly on both sides. Stitch both sides closed, then trim off the excess.
Step 11) Attach the opposite velcro pieces to the ones you already stitched down, and put some glue on the back of each (picture 4 above).
Step 12) Fold down the flap and press the end of each webbing strap onto the glue. This will assure that your velcro is perfectly placed. After pressing down firmly, gently peel the velcro apart and place some clothespins or bulldog clips to hold the velcro tightly to the webbing until the glue dries (give it a couple hours to be on the safe side).
Note: you can just as easily stitch these pieces on rather than gluing them, I just preferred not to have visible stitches for this part!

DIY felt laptop sleeve 8
Once the glue is dry, you’re ready to go! Go hit up your local Starbucks and bask in the glory of how cool and original your new gear is. I’m feeling more productive already…

DIY wool felt laptop sleeve 2