Upcycling

DIY Harry Potter Party Highlights

Harry Potter party wands labels

One thing you may not know about Katie and I is that we are both HUGE Harry Potter fangirls. I’ve read through all the books a couple times and love the movies just as much. Maybe its something to do with being in that perfect age range where I kind of grew up right along with the characters… but I can never get enough Hogwarts!

My boyfriend and I recently threw a Harry Potter themed party at our house, and of course I went all out with the DIY decorations and party games. Maybe a little overboard…whatever. I didn’t really prepare any full tutorials for a post, but I thought I would share a few highlights of my favorite Potter-themed DIYs.

Sorry for the not-so-awesome photos… I was having way to much fun to do much more than snap a couple quick shots with my phone!

DIY Harry Potter wands from chopsticks

 

Hands-down my favorite was the slew of customized wands. I made enough for each guest to get their own, and we labeled each with the type of wood and “core” it was made of. We pulled a name out of a hat for each unique wand, because after all the wand must choose the wizard.

harry potter wands with chop sticks and hot glue

The wands were made out of chopsticks and hot glue. I swirled and dripped hot glue onto each one then painted them in various woody shades once they were hardened. I even stuck some marbles or stones onto a few for more variety.

how to make a golden snitch candy

The golden snitches I made out of Ferrero Rocher chocolates and white craft feathers. A little dab of glue et voila!

DIY Hogwarts house flags harry potter party

These Hogwarts house banners were made from dollar store plastic table cloths. Talk about bang for your buck! This one only cost me $4 and I had enough of each color left to cover tables with as well. The logos I hand-painted onto some construction paper and glued on.

Harry Potter Party Ideas
The Honeydukes sign was another favorite! I kept it afterwards to hang up in my little workshop :) I repurposed our little bar cart into a Hogwarts Express “trolley” filled with all kinds of candy, including some every flavour beans! I mixed some of these into a bag of regular jelly beans. Some of them were seriously gross…

Floating candles were a fun trick! Another easy dollar store DIY made out of electric tea lights and white construction paper, hung from the ceiling with a little scotch tape and fishing line.

And there is my sorting hat! I whipped this guy up out of a cereal box, some masking tape, brown fabric, and a lot of hot glue. We sorted all of our guests into houses by rigging up a small blue tooth speaker behind the hat, and having my boyfriend call in from his cell phone from outside the window as the voice of the sorting hat. It worked surprisingly well! He could see who was sitting in the chair through the window, but since it was dark outside, no one at the party knew where his voice was coming from! Aside from a few mosquito bites for my poor assistant, it was quite a hit!

harry potter party decor spider

 

A little trail of spiders leading out the window. They are stuck on with blue sticky tack.

Chamber of Secrets Harry Potter party prop

My awesome roomie made this Chamber of Secrets prop to hang over our mantel. It is finger painted onto wax paper and hung up with tape. I love when a party prop packs a big impact value and costs next to nothing to put together! On our Hogwarts mantel you can spot a couple additional DIYs: a pink Pygmy Puff, Neville’s remembrall, the house points vials, some feather quill pens (they work!) and the Marauder’s Map!

platform 9 3:4 wall prop

And last but definitely not least, here is Mad Eye Moody and the Sorting Hat himself in front of our homemade Platform 9 3/4. The brick “wall” is a sponge painted white sheet. I also made Mad Eye Moody’s eye using an amazing Instructables tutorial I found!

If there are any fellow HP fans out there, I hope you enjoyed this little tour of my nerd party!! Maybe it is appropriate timing for some of you who are planning your Halloween costumes! If you wanna know more about any of these crafty projects, just send me an email!

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

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!

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

 

Recycled Tin Candles

 

scented soy candles in recycled vintage tins

There’s no denying the cozy vibe that a few well-placed candles can bring to a room. I often feel the same way about cute vintage pieces. One of the items I am always on the lookout for when I’m on a thrift hunt are small, interesting, vintage tins. They’re usually pretty abundant at secondhand or antique stores, and always very cheap! There are tons of different uses for them: taming small collections, storing precious items, or even holding little plants! For this post, I used a few to put a cute and thrifty twist on a crafting classic, the homemade candle.

soy candle making supplies
You don’t need a ton of supplies to make candles at home, especially if you opt to use natural soy wax. The supplies are also surprisingly inexpensive if you buy in bulk. A 10 lb bag of soy wax flakes will cost you around $20 on Amazon. If you’re using recycled containers it averages out to around $2 – $3 a candle – that’s way cheaper than buying something similar in a retail store! Like I said, we’re getting thrifty today!

Candle making is a science, and I certainly do not profess to be an expert or even very experienced in candle making, but these simple soy candles are a great way to start experimenting!

The basic supplies:
– small metal tins
– soy wax flakes or pellets
– wicks long enough to fit your containers
– fragrance or essential oil of your choice

The other tools you will want to have handy are some scotch tape, a hole punch, a microwavable measuring cup, some scissors, and a disposable stirrer.

use scotch tape to steady wicks
Start by preparing your containers. First things first: give them a good wash and dry. Cut a few strips of scotch tape long enough to fit across the top of each tin, and punch a small hole in the center of each piece. Center a wick in each tin. If your container is on the larger side, or unevenly shaped, you should use multiple wicks, evenly spaced apart.

Use the tape to steady and hold each wick in place. You can also secure the wicks to the bottom with a small bit of wax or glue, but I found that if you are careful when pouring, this step isn’t strictly necessary.

making scented candles

You can melt the wax right in your kitchen microwave! Times will vary depending on how much wax you are melting at once and how strong your microwave is. Mine is a bit on the wimpy side, so it takes roughly three minutes on high to fully melt 2 cups of wax. Heat in intervals until the wax is just fully melted. If there are still a few chunks floating around, that’s hot enough, they will melt as you stir it.

Once melted, let the hot wax rest for a few minutes to cool down a bit, then add your fragrance oil. My favorite is a combination of vanilla and clove, I think it’s warm and wintery! Many sources will recommend about 1oz of fragrance per pound of wax, but I like to add a little more than this, since soy candles don’t have as strong of a scent as their paraffin counterparts. (Although soy wax is touted to be a cleaner and more sustainable alternative!) You can do a lot of your own experimenting with this step.

pouring soy candles

Arrange your tins on a flat surface in a space where you can leave them for a while. You don’t want to move them around while they are cooling. Gently pour the wax into each container until it reaches about 1/2 inch below the rim. Do the pouring indoors at room temperature so that the wax can cool and harden evenly. Now leave them alone until completely hardened! The time it takes can vary depending on the size of the container, but just be patient and err on the side of caution if you are tempted to move them.

Recycled tin soy candles

Too cute right? There are so many cool containers you can find for this project aside from a boring old glass jar. Katie is probably going to gasp when I say this, but… Mason jars are overrated! Take a look around your local thrift shop or even in your own pantry – pretty tea and spice jars are equally adorable, so are dainty teacups!

vintage tin candles DIY

This is a really fun creative project to do with friends! If you try your hand at making candles, share some pictures with us by using the hashtag #wtdwlemons

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!

Creative Mending and Altering

Adding leather straps to lenthen a dress at the shoulders

Inevitably the clothes we love the most get worn out, torn, or otherwise compromised. Other times we buy things we like, but get home to find that perhaps they are not the ideal fit, and then they sit in our closets for months or even years unworn. In these instances it’s good to get creative and learn to patch, mend, or alter what we have to avoid always tossing these items away and buying new.

The clothing industry leaves a pretty hefty carbon footprint, especially the “fast fashion” that we are accustomed to today. While I certainly love to shop and to have a great selection of pieces in my closet, I try to remain conscious of my clothing and not be too wasteful. For this reason, I have taken to mending clothes that need a bit of love, or altering pieces that might not be perfect for me (yet). It usually doesn’t take a lot of skill, can be a lot of fun, (sometimes a creative change can turn a regretful purchase into a unique favorite!) and helps to ease the strain on the earth and your wallet!

Today I thought I would share a few quick fixes that I have made in my wardrobe lately:
replacing a worn and stretched pocket
A favorite basic tee of mine (rumpled from neglect) had a worn and stretched out pocket. Using a seam ripper, I removed the old pocket and replaced it using a contrasting tiny floral fabric. I think its a cute and trendy makeover, and it’s now one of my favorite basic staples again!

a cute patch for torn jeans
Worn-in jeans make the perfect weekend attire, but rips and holes are not really my thing. Instead of the usual square, I gave these a tiny mushroom patch in a printed fabric. It might end up being a great conversation starter, or maybe just a cute pair of jeans for gardening. (In the interest of full disclosure, dear readers, these jeans also had a tear in the crotch, which I patched up in a more discreet fashion!)

lengthening a dress from the shoulders
I love this polka dot dress that I picked up from TJ Maxx last year, but after wearing it once, I decided it was a liiiiiittle too short for me, and so it was repeatedly passed up for a second wear. But I love the pattern and style so I decided to try a DIY fix: I added a few inches of length to the dress from the shoulders, by cutting the seam there, then sewing in a few strips of some leather trim! It actually gives the dress a little more interest, and I think I like it even better than before. Success!

Next up I plan to learn a bit about sashiko stitching and darning – to patch holes in knits. Check out our Pinterest page to see some of my recent inspiration.

Do you have any tricks for fixing fashion? I would love to hear more ideas!

 

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.

Recycled Flannel Infinity Scarf

DIY_recycled_flannel_infinity_scarf

Last Fall shopping season I wanted a plaid flannel infinity scarf. I looked everywhere, but never was able to find one. The time of year for new sweaters and pumpkin lattes is quickly approaching, and I still want that scarf! But this time, I decided to make it myself and do a little earth-friendly recycling to boot!

recycled_flannel_infinity_scarf_1I picked up this XL mens flannel shirt at my local thrift shop for $5. It was thick, well worn, and just the colors I wanted, so I brought it home and gave it a wash. Then I went about taking it apart.

recycled_flannel_infinity_scarf_2
First, using a seam ripper, I removed the front pockets. I wanted to preserve the large area of usable fabric underneath the pockets, so I tore out these seams carefully.

recycled_flannel_infinity_scarf_3
Next I removed the sleeves and cut them open along the seams. This gave me two more large pieces of flannel to work with for my scarf. I also cut off the cuffs and collar, and opened the shoulder seams so that I had the largest, flattest panels possible. In order to figure out about how much fabric I would need, and what I wanted the length and width of my finished scarf to be, I used one of my other favorite scarves as a reference.

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Next, I laid out my largest usable pieces and cut them into rectangles of the width I wanted. I ended up with three pieces: one long strip from the body of the shirt and one from each sleeve. (Luckily, Lu was available to offer his assistance with this step…)

flannel_infinity_scarf_hemI sewed each of these three pieces together at the ends, creating one long rectangle of flannel. Then I added a thin, single fold hem down each side. (If you cringe at the thought of exposed raw edges, you can simply make this a double fold hem, but it saved me some time and I didn’t mind the look). Finally, I sewed the two short ends together to make the infinity loop.

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The finished scarf is soft and warm and long enough to loop around my neck twice. It’s not officially Fall yet, but the cool weather sneaks up fast here in Massachusetts. Autumn layers are my favorite seasonal style and this thrifted DIY piece will make a great addition to my cold weather wardrobe!

Make Your Own Wax Seal with Crayons

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I have always loved the look of traditional wax seals on envelopes and packages, but considering its 2014, and most mail these days comes electronically, supplies for sealing your snail mail the old fashioned way are hard to come by. I had heard you could get a similar effect by putting an old crayon into a hot glue gun, but I didn’t really want to ruin a perfectly good glue gun, so I decided to experiment a bit for myself. It turns out you can get a very official looking seal using just a crayon, a lighter, and some old buttons!
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To make your seal, gather some crayons, a long handled lighter, some oil and some metal buttons with interesting designs. If you don’t have any buttons like these, take a look around your house, in your junk drawers. There are lots of different things that you can press into your wax to achieve this effect.

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*Before you begin, rub a bit of oil on the face of your button, to prevent the wax from sticking to it. Any kind of cooking oil or non-stick spray will do the trick.

Remove the paper from your crayon. Then, holding the tip of the crayon over the area that you want your seal, melt the end with the lighter, turning gently and letting the wax drip onto the paper and pool. The long style of lighter (the kind you use with your grill) is best for this task, since a small lighter would be difficult to hold for this long without burning your fingers.

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Allow your pool of hot wax to solidify just a bit. The timing is a little tricky, because you don’t want it to be completely liquid, but not all the way solidified either. When you see that the edges have begun to harden, firmly press your button into the wax, then hold the paper and gently lift away. It took me a few tries to get the hang of it, so I recommend practicing on a piece of scrap paper first.

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I am a believer in preserving the art of handwritten correspondence. There’s nothing better or more personal than receiving a bit of snail mail from a friend. I love the way this little project turned out, and I can’t wait to send someone a letter topped off with an old fashioned wax seal. Wouldn’t that be so fun to find in your mailbox!? Give it a try on your next thank-you note!

DIY Carved Cork Stamps

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Today’s project combines two of my favorite things: crafts and wine. It’s really a match made in heaven, don’t you think? So why not break out that stash of wine corks you’ve been saving for some undecided creative project (everyone has one of those, right?) and make yourself some fun, bold stamps!?

carved_cork_stamp_DIYAll you need for this project is a few corks, a utility knife, and some paint or stamping ink. Personally, I prefer to use paint with these, because it fills in all the little nooks and crannies of the cork and makes a fuller looking stamped image.

soaking_corks_for_carved_stamps_2Start off by soaking your corks in a bowl of warm water. This will help when you begin carving, because the cork will be less crumbly when it has absorbed some moisture. It should be noted that you can use those plastic-y corks as well, and this step can be skipped for those.

carving_cork_stamps_1Draw your design on the flat end of the cork. Bolder, simpler designs usually work best, unless you are extremely skilled with that exacto blade (I am not).

carving_cork_stamps_2Then begin to carve away the negative space around your design, trying to cut straight down at the edges of the shape. You don’t need to go very deep, a couple millimeters will do.

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Finally, using a foam brush or flat paintbrush, load up your carved surface with some paint, and get stampin’!

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I like to use these to make customized cards, tags and wrapping paper. But they could work equally well on fabric. I’m already thinking about some hand-stamped tea towels for my kitchen!

What to do with Driftwood

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I’m a beach scavenger. Any time I spend a day at the beach I find myself coming home with at least one or two prized pieces of ocean debris. One of my favorite finds are pieces of perfectly sand-smoothed driftwood. The project possibilities for driftwood are endless, but today I thought I would share a few of my favorite driftwood crafting ideas in case you too have a few pieces tucked away after combing the sands this summer.

1.) Driftwood Bead Necklace

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For this project, take a smooth driftwood branch, and using a small hack saw, cut it into 1-2 inch cylindrical sections. Drill a small hole through the center of each cut piece. Paint the flat ends of each of your newly crafted beads in a bright color. Once dry, string the beads onto a length of cord, (I used waxed cotton) alone or with any combination of glass or wooden beads. Tie on a clasp and get ready for compliments!

2.) Painted Driftwood Photo Holders

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This project is really fun and easy! It makes for a super cute way to display photos or cards that’s different from the average frame and easy to interchange. To make one, take a small piece of driftwood and flatten a lengthwise section with a piece of sandpaper. This will give your photo holder a steady base to keep it from rolling off the table. Next, using a small hack saw, make a straight cut about one quarter of the way into the piece, lengthwise from the top. Then have some fun painting designs to give the piece a nice pop of color. Stick a photo or postcard into the groove, and place on a flat surface to display.

3.) Driftwood and Leather Jewelry Hanger

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For this project, find a piece of driftwood that is about a foot long. Wrap both ends of a long piece of leather cord around the stick, about two inches from each end, and tie off. Screw a few mug hooks into the bottom (you should be able to do this with your fingers, but a pair of pliers can be helpful). Hang against the wall from a small nail or tack and use the hooks to keep your jewelry organized and neatly displayed!

We would love to see your project ideas too! Send us an email, comment below, or hashtag a photo of your project with #WTDWLemons!

Upcycled Clementine Crates

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Every time we finish a batch of clementines, I always feel the need to keep the cute little wooden crate that they come in. I am the biggest sucker for cute packaging! But after compiling a few of these after this year’s clementine season, I decided it would be nice to pretty them up a little if I was going to keep them around. Heres what I did to upcyle these cuties into some fresh looking storage boxes:

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What you will need:
– empty clementine crate (or 2 or 3 or 5!)
– craft paint
– Mod Podge (I used the hard-coat kind but any type will do)
– some pretty paper
– foam brush
– a craft knife or scissors

I decided to go with a sea foam green paint and floral scrapbooking paper, but you can customize these with any combination you like to match your style or decor.

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First remove any excess staples or splinters from your box so that you don’t poke yourself, then get to painting. I painted all the wooden surfaces of the crate except the bottom.

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Trace the ends of the crate onto the back of your paper sheets. Cut these 2 pieces out, making sure to keep nice straight lines. Spread a thin layer of Mod Podge onto the end surface and lay your paper on top to adhere. Press flat to remove any bubbles or wrinkles.

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Cover the papered AND painted surfaces with a liberal coating of Mod Podge to seal and protect your crate. This layer will dry clear. Once the Mod Podge has hardened, you’re all done! These little cuties (pun intended!) are great for corralling any kinds of odds and ends around your house, or piled up with someone’s favorite goodies, and would also make an adorable gift basket!