DIY: Add a Kitten Pocket with Polish Remover and Sharpies

img_6722kittenpocket

This month’s DIY Challenge theme is Cats, so send in all your favorite kitty projects for the round-up at the end of the month. Visit the challenge page for more information, and use the handy-dandy form to upload your project photos. We can’t wait to see what you’ve made!

I like to “joke” that I have a kitten biological clock. Every couple of years I start thinking about how much fun kittens are, and how cute, and how nice it would be to have the pitter patter of little feet.

Dangerous.

To nip this in the bud this year, I’ve signed up for some future fostering, and came up with this little kitten pocket to bridge the gap. It’s based on a picture of Wee Cooper (our last kitten) and I thought I would share it so you can all have a kitten pocket of your very own.

img_6609kittenpocket

Supplies

  • Cotton Tote that kneads needs a kitten. It’s important to use cotton or another natural material because acetone can eat through a lot of synthetic materials.
  • 100% Acetone finger nail polish remover.
  • Cotton pads, balls, or rags.
  • Bone folder or similar tool for burnishing
  • Masking Tape
  • Sharpie Markers – Black and Silver
  • This kitten template* printed with a laser printer or copier. Use the reversed image on the right for transferring.

Step One: Printing and Prepping Your Template

Use a Laser Printer or Copier to print the Kitten Template* on a normal sheet of paper. Black and white is fine. It’s important to use a printer or copier that has TONER instead of ink. The transfer process with move some of that toner onto the fabric. If you try it with ink you’ll end up with a mess!

If you don’t have access to a toner-based printer or copier, or this process doesn’t work for some other reason, never fear! You can use a light table to trace the kitten on your bag, or use transfer paper to apply the design. You can see examples of those processes here and here.

After you have printed your page, cut out the cat and pocket on the right, leaving a large border.

img_6612kittenpocketb

Step Two: Layout Your Design

Decide where you want to put your kitten, and tape it firmly face down on your bag. Make sure everything is as straight and tight as you can make it.

img_6617kittenpocketb

Step Three: Blot and Burnish

Saturate a cotton pad with acetone, and press it into the paper. You will start to see the design through the paper. Saturate a small portion of the design with acetone, then switch to burnishing with your bone folder. Rub the side of the bone folder on the paper to press it firmly down into the fabric. Repeat on small sections of the design, then go back over each portion one or two times, adding more acetone and pressure.

img_6620kittenpocketb

If you can, peak to make sure that you have transferred the kitten. If not, you may want to repeat the process with more acetone and more pressure. If you see the design, move to the next step!

If you don’t see anything at all, there’s a chance your printer won’t work for this process. Don’t fear! You can use a light table to trace the kitten on your bag, or use transfer paper to apply the design. You can see examples of those processes here and here.

img_6623kittenpocketb

Step Four: Fill it in

If you used a smooth material and have a good transfer you could skip this step altogether– it’s up to you. If you’d like, use a black Sharpie to darken in the design. You can use the left side of the template as a reference for portions you can’t see as well on the transfer.

img_6626kittenpocketb

When you have the kitten filled in, use a silver Sharpie to add in the whiskers. It will show up on the black of the kitten and on the light bag as well!

img_6658kittenpocket

When you’re done let it dry for a couple of minutes, pile all your stuff in it, and take a kitten everywhere you go.

img_6713kittenpocket

Purrfect.

 

 

 

*Kitten template includes an original illustration by Alison Lang. We’re happy to share files for personal and educational purposes, but please don’t use it for anything else without our permission. Thanks!

DIY: Recycled Rainbow Mobile

1608_diychallenge_logo_wide

This month’s DIY Challenge theme is Rainbows, so send in all your favorite rainbow projects for the round-up at the end of the month. Visit the challenge page for more information, and use the handy-dandy form to upload your project photos. We can’t wait to see what you’ve made!

IMG_6311_rainbowmobile

Rainbows are amazing. They’re awe inspiring in the sky, they are a great way to organize things*, and they are just plain magical.

This little recycled rainbow mobile tries to be a few of those things- and has the added bonus of being a nifty reason to doodle.

IMG_6152_rainbowmobile

SUPPLIES

IMG_6164_rainbowmobile

Use the thick material punch to cut circles out of every piece of plastic you can find. Don’t worry, the idea of using recycleables for art will make you look insane. Embrace it. (;

IMG_6179_rainbowmobile

Use your rainbow of markers to doodle decorations on each circle. It’s okay if you have an uneven amount of some color because you think orange is terrible, just have fun!

IMG_6185_rainbowmobile

Tie three strings to your top ring, and tie those three together to hang the ring parallel to the ground. Find a place to hang this ring while you work.

IMG_6425_rainbowmobile

Choose one of your most popular colors (purple for me), and poke a small hole near the top of each piece with a safety pin. Cut a piece of thread approximately 12″ long, and string it through one of the holes. Tie the ends of the thread together, and attach it to the hanging ring using a lark’s head knot. Repeat this for each circle of this color.

IMG_6197_rainbowmobile

Choose the next color in the rainbow (blue in my case) and poke each piece like you did before. This time add two inches to your thread for a length of 14″. Attach each of these pieces to your ring.

IMG_6202_rainbowmobile

Continue by adding 2 inches to the length of each new color until you have tied all of your pieces to the ring.

IMG_6213_rainbowmobile

When you have finished, hang it in a bright window and watch it sway and catch the light.

IMG_6227_rainbowmobile

IMG_6317_rainbowmobile

See, sometimes trash-art is fun!

 

*I may or may not be one of those people who sorts books by color. My librarian mother may be driven insane by this fact.

SHOW+TELL: Spray Paint a Briar Rug

IMG_6052_briarrug

There once was a girl named Alison who had an awkward entry space and no good options. She went searching for a rug to protect what was left of her ugly carpet. She went to store after store with no luck, instead bringing home a rug that was so bland it made her cry.

IMG_5981_briarrug

No really. I could find NOTHING that I liked. Everything was either too small, too bold, to “contemporary”, or too “tempting for a cat to destroy.” I decided that bland was better than something that was REALLY not me, and I grabbed a can of spray paint in case I got inspired.

This month’s theme was a great chance to embrace my inner subtly-secret-goth-girly-girl and decorate the rug with a few briars (á la Sleeping Beauty, or Briar Rose.)

 

IMG_5990_briarrug

I used Con-Tact paper to make a mask for the rug. I cut a bunch of free-hand curved pieces, and laid them across each side of the rug in a random arrangement. When each piece was in a location I liked, I stepped on it to adhere it to the rug firmly ( are an awesome tool, too!) Once I had the stems all lined up, I began to decorate each with triangles of thorns.

IMG_5995_briarrug

When I was happy with everything, I sprayed a thin layer of white all-purpose spray paint across the rug, paying special attention to the edges of the mask. Then I tortured myself by leaving the whole thing to dry a few hours before removing the mask and seeing what it was going to look at.

IMG_5998_briarrug

After those couple of hours, I gently peeled the mask material off of the rug…

IMG_5999_briarrug

and had the big reveal.

IMG_6074_briarrug

After airing the rug out overnight, I put it in place in my entry space.

IMG_6070_briarrug

No more bland rug!

 

Here’s a word of warning: This was so fun and transformative that I want to spray paint everything in the house now.

I’ve got my eye on you, dining rug… what do you think about circles?

DIY: Patio Friendly Pile-Up Cushions filled with Styrofoam Peanuts

IMG_6027_pileoncushions

The weather was nice for a few days in April, uncharacteristically, and began the countdown to the Pacific Northwest Summer. Ahhh; the handful of blissful weeks that makes you fall in love with the trees again, and wipes the memory of the last 8 gray months.

Safety Husband and I have been trying to be more mindful, and that extends to the way we interact with our home. We are who we are [not catalog people] and we want everything at our house to be conducive to the way we live. (Safety Husband is really into Ham Radio, so he would also like to make a great deal of the house conductive*, but that’s a different story.) We have several outdoor areas that would make great external living spaces, but we haven’t done a great job of outfitting them for the task.

All this to explain why I decided I needed to make a giant pile of outdoor cushions that I could lay upon like the Princess and the Pea. I wanted them to be cheap, washable, refurbishable, and also work with our inside decor. Fabric and wood don’t do well outside over the Seattle winter, and I can’t store things in out non-existent storage space. So I put together a handful of pillow forms from scrap material, filled with recycled styrofoam peanuts; then covered them with painted canvas covers. In one afternoon I had 7 assorted cushions, and dreams of the perfect summer.

SUPPLIES

  • Fabric scissors and optional pinking shears
  • Sewing machine and thread
  • Pillow Form Fabric: approximately 24″ (2/3 yard) of 45″-wide lightweight scrap fabric per pillow
  • Pillow Cover: approximately 24″ (2/3 yard) of 52″ to 60″-wide canvas-type material per pillow
  • Styrofoam Peanuts: about a grocery sack full per pillow. Make sure that you are using styrofoam peanuts instead of the cornstarch ones that melt under water. Imagine the mess!

DECORATING SUPPLIES

  • Tulip Color Shot Fabric Color:  I used Teal, Blue, and Green.
  • Scissors
  • Tape: masking, packing, cello, washi. Whatever you want!
  • Con-Tact Paper: A great option for cutting out larger masks or covering more material.
  • Decorative punches and scissors
  • Compass, or fun shapes to trace

 

Step 1: Making the Pillow Forms

IMG_5863_pileoncushions

Take your scrap pillow-form material and fold it so that the selvedged edges touch. Cut the other two sides with pinking shears so that you have an approximately 23″ square (45″x23″ unfolded.) Sew a 1/2″ seam along the two pinked edges, then do the same for about half of the remaining side.

IMG_5869_pileoncushions

Fill the form about halfway full with peanuts, then sew the opening closed to seal your pillow form.

IMG_5888_pileoncushions

Hire a professional to test the security of your stitching.

IMG_5932_pileoncushions

Repeat until you have run out of material. (I made 7 pillows so that I could make a GIANT PILE.)

Step 2: Making the Pillow Covers

IMG_5891_pileoncushions

There is dirt outside, so you want to make sure that your pillow cover can be easily removed and laundered; this also means you want to pre-wash your fabrics so there is no future shrinkage.

Cut your fabric to about 23″ wide. With the back side showing, fold the width of the fabric into a tube about 22″ wide. The overlapped pieces will make the flap for inserting and removing your pillow form.

IMG_5902_pileoncushions

Stitch up the two open ends of your tube approximately 1/4″ in.

IMG_5904_pileoncushions

Then turn the cover inside out using the open flaps. Make sure to press the corner all the way out with your finger or a pencil.

IMG_5905_pileoncushions

Stitch around the outside edges of your pillow cover, about 3/8″ in- then you’re done!

Step 3: Decorating the Cushions to Match your Life.

IMG_5911_pileoncushions

Decorating the pillows was definitely the biggest fun in this project (other than sitting in the sun on the cushions later.) If you’re a selfless person, you could share that fun with your family and friends, and let each person design a mask for their own pillow. Masking the pillow is as easy as using tape and scissors. Build shapes out of strips of tape, or cut shapes out of contact paper. (ABOVE: I used a compass to draw circles, then cut and arranged them on the front of my cover.) You could have the initials of everyone in your family, silhouettes of your pets and favorite animals… anything really.

IMG_5917_pileoncushions

Once you’ve settled on a masked design, take it outside and spray it down with your fabric spray paint. (I used Tulip Color Shot Fabric Color which is washable and flexible.) Remember that spray paint doesn’t ever go on consistently, so embrace the irregularity and leave some patches lighter than others.

After you’ve got a nice coat of paint on, let your cover dry for an hour or so before pulling off the mask.

IMG_5920_pileoncushions

Then let your covers air out for a few more hours.

When everything is dry (not sticky or smelly) you can put your pillow forms into your covers. Slip the form into the open flap, then push it down under the inner over-lapping flap. Press the corners of the form into the corners of the cover and shake and stomp it until everything looks nice.

IMG_6022_pileoncushions

Then build the tower of pillow on which you will reign.

IMG_6010_pileoncushions

 

IMG_6039_pileoncushions

Or, you know. Share with your friends.

IMG_6032_pileoncushions

Wheeee! Pillows.

IMG_6002_pileoncushionsB

*I have a feeling that SH will have something to say about this line in the post when and if he reads it, so I’m going to put a disclaimer- like all nerdy types, there is typically a method to his madness, so I am sure the most of the house will remain non-conductive, or resistive, or whatever. Just, you know, antennas. He likes antennas.

SHOW+TELL: A Rainbow of Faux Embroidery

IMG_4535_fauxembroidery
I have spent quite bit of time working on my studio lately, and in the process have embraced a few truths about my personality. 1-I like to turn chaos into order 2-I love clean visually simple spaces with little subtle details 3-Rainbows are the best.

With that in mind, I set out to turn this basic curtain (that hides the closet that houses the clutter) into something a tiny bit more special.

IMG_4444_fauxembroidery
I have an absolute wealth of Sharpies, and I decided to use them to doodle a faux-embroidered rainbow trim across the curtains.

IMG_3988_fauxembroidery
First I cut strips the length of the curtains and about 8″ wide to doodle on.

IMG_3991_fauxembroidery
I ironed under the raw edged, and put a seam down the middle as a reference point for the decoration.

IMG_4003_fauxembroidery
I then gleefully sorted my Sharpies by color (to understand my glee, see points 1 and 2 above) and chose the best colors for my rainbow.

IMG_4013_fauxembroidery
I divided the length into a small portion for each color, and made a light mark where each color began and ended.

IMG_4024_fauxembroidery
Overlapping those marks a bit, I began to draw shapes with small dots and dashes– mimicking the stitches on decorative embroidery pieces. I used a lot of botanical shapes (cause I love ’em) and tried to break up the space with a lot of variety.

IMG_4466_fauxembroidery
When I had the strips all filled up with decoration, I pinned them to my curtains, and used a simple zig-zag stitch on my machine to attach them for good.

IMG_4527
I really like the little touch of color this added, and it was tons of fun to doodle inch-after-inch of floral rainbow.IMG_4545_fauxembroidery
One day I’ll show you some of the other rainbows I’ve captured in here…

Cause they’re the best.

DIY: Heart Embroidery Sampler (For Beginners)

DIY: Heart Embroidery Sampler (for beginners)

Embroidery is one of my favorite craft mediums. It’s the perfect ‘lap’ project to work on while watching a movie and I love that I can pick up my project, work on a few stitches and just as easily put it down again. I first learned embroidery from my grandmother, who taught me to sew when I was a kid. Since then I have accumulated a big collection of vintage embroidery kits, endless boxes of floss, and have been known to transform my own art into embroidered masterpieces.

In case you haven’t heard, the DIY Craft Challenge is back! This month’s theme is Stitches & Threads, which pairs perfectly with embroidery. I’ve been longing to create a beginner embroidery tutorial for quite some time now, so this month is the perfect opportunity! And since it’s February, I made sure to design a project that can also become a Valentine for someone special in your life!

What is an embroidery sampler?

An embroidery sampler is created as a demonstration or test of skill in needlework. It’s the perfect way to practice different kinds of stitches and make something pretty at the same time.

There are hundreds of different types of embroidery stitches in existence. For this beginner project, I’ve chosen just seven: three basic outline stitches (Running Stitch, Back Stitch and Chain Stitch) and four decorative stitches (Threaded Running Stitch, Cross Stitch, Star Stitch and Fern Stitch). To make these stitches as easy to learn as possible I’ve included both photos with written instructions and a video link for each stitch.

7 Embroidery Stitches For Beginners

MATERIALS:

  • 8-inch diameter embroidery hoop:
    The Heart Sampler pattern was created for an 8” hoop but if you would like to make a different size sampler, you can shrink or enlarge the pattern provided to fit your hoop. I’d recommend not going smaller that 6” for this pattern.
  • Hand-sewing/embroidery needle:
    You’ll want to use a medium sized needle with a sharp point and a long opening, or eye, at one end, for easy threading.
  • Embroidery floss (7 different colors):
    Embroidery floss comes in a small bundle or skein and there are tons of colors available (check your local craft store). A length of floss is made up of six smaller strands or plies that are twisted together. You can use all of them or divide them up and use two, three or four plies for a thinner line. For this project, we’ll be using all 6 plies on all our stitches EXCEPT the star stitch, where we will use only three plies.
  • 12”x12” square of fabric (quilter’s cotton or linen works best):
    The looser the weave of your fabric, the more forgiving it can be when taking out stitches and starting over. A finer weave fabric is more likely to show holes from your needle.
  • Sewing scissors:
    Sewing scissors are sharp and used only for cutting thread and fabric. Avoid using your sewing scissors to cut paper or anything else beside fabric so that you don’t dull the blades.
  • Iron & ironing board
  • Fine-lead pencil (or nonpermanent fabric marking pen):
  • Crayola Light-Up Tracing Pad (or light table or sunny window)
  • Washi tape (or masking tape or pins)
  • Paper cutter (or scissors & ruler)
  • Heart Sampler Pattern

Other Useful Tools:

  • A needle threader (helpful when you find yourself struggling to thread your needle!)
  • Thimble (can prevent you from stabbing yourself in the finger with your needle. Ouch!)

DIY: Embroidery Sampler (For Beginners)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Step One: Prep the Pattern & Fabric

Download the Heart Sampler Pattern HERE and print out onto white copy paper. Then cut 1.25” from both the top and bottom of the page to create a square piece of paper with the pattern at the center.

Cut your fabric to size. I cut mine to be 12”x12” square leaving me plenty of extra. You could also get away with a 10”x10” piece of fabric too. Press your fabric to rid of any wrinkles using a hot iron.

How to use the pattern:

Use the lines of the pattern as a guide for your stitches. You’ll notice that each line has an assigned number to indicate which stitch to use. In this tutorial I will demonstrate how to make each stitch. There are a few stitches that are used more than once (like the running stitch, back stitch and chain stitch). Feel free to fill in these stitches as you go along.

Step Two: Transfer the Pattern to Fabric Using the Light Method

The easiest way to transfer a design onto a light-color fabric is to trace it. Place the square paper pattern face down onto the center of the square fabric and secure with washi tape or pins. Flip over and use a light table or my favorite tool, the Crayola Light-Up Tracing Pad, to transfer the pattern to the fabric using a fine lead pencil or nonpermanent fabric marking pen. You can also tape your fabric/design to a sunny window and use the natural light to trace.

embroidery-sampler-2
embroidery-sampler-3

Step Three: Prepare the Fabric & Floss

Place the fabric into your embroidery hoop making sure the design is centered. To make your fabric taut, spread it over the smaller inside hoop and fit the larger outside hoop over the top with your fabric in between. Tighten the little screw on the outer hoop and gently pull on the edges of the fabric until you have a taut surface to work with.

embroidery-sampler-5

Threading your needle:

Threading the needle can be a little tricky, especially when using all six plies of floss. It may help to slightly dampen your finger and twist the end of the thread into a point, or try squeezing the floss ends flat between your thumb and forefinger. Then slide the needle’s eye onto the floss (instead of pushing the floss through the eye). If all else fails, use a needle threader.

Once you’ve threaded your needle, knot the longer end of the floss by first wrapping it around your finger, then roll it off and tighten into a knot.

Video Link: How To Tie A Knot For Hand Sewing

Step Four: Stitching the Design

running-stitch

1. Running Stitch: To begin stitching the Heart Sampler, let’s start with the most basic embroidery stitch- the Running Stitch. Begin at the center dashed line of the heart pattern. Starting at the bottom, pull the threaded needle to the front of the fabric at A (see photo above). Then return to the back of the fabric at B. The distance from A to B can be as long or short as you want. For this project, I recommend making small, even stitches of equal length. End your last stitch so that your needle is to the back of the fabric and tie off.

Video Link: Running Stitch

Tying off:

On your last stitch, return the needle to the back of the fabric. To tie off, pass the needle under a previous stitch creating a loop. Bring the needle back through the floss loop, and tighten. I recommend pulling the thread gently when tying off to ensure that the knot ends up snuggly next to your fabric (and not half an inch away). Avoid yanking the floss.

Video link: How to tie off a stitch

Embroidery Tip!

Your thread will get twisted up as you make your stitches. To correct this problem, hold up the hoop and let the needle and floss dangle straight down so that the strand can untwist itself. Just make sure not to lose your needle!

back-stitch

2. Back Stitch: Move over to the next line on the pattern (from the middle running stitch). Starting at the bottom of the pattern, bring your needle through to the front of the fabric at A (see photo above). Then go backwards and return your needle to the back of your fabric at B. Next your going to move your needle forward, coming up at C. Repeat this process to create consecutive back stitches by once again working backwards, poking your needle through at the end of the previous stitch, then moving your needle forward. Be sure to make small, even stitches of equal length. Once you reach the end of the line (of the pattern), tie off.

Video Link: Back Stitch

cross-stitch

3. Cross Stitch: Next we are going to try our first decorative stitch! Starting at the bottom of your pattern, bring your needle through to the front of the fabric at A and then back down again at B (creating a diagonal straight stitch). Next make a second stitch from C to D. Make sure each cross (x) overlap is in the same direction. Once you finish your row and tie off, notice what the back or your stitches look like. The back of a Cross Stitch row should look like the image shown.

Video Link: Cross Stitch

threaded-running-stitch

4. Threaded Running Stitch: First make a line of small close Running Stitches. End the floss. Start a second floss strand (in a different color) at the same spot as the first line of running stitches, bringing your needle to the front of your fabric at A. Working on the front only, without stitching through the fabric, insert the needle under the first Running Stitch, then through the second Running Stitch. Continue weaving back and forth under the Running Stitches until you reach the end of the line. End floss and tie off.

Video Link: Threaded Running Stitch (Warning: This video is not in English, but her demonstration of the stitch is all you really need).

chain-stitch

5. Chain Stitch: Start again at the bottom of the pattern and move your way up. Bring the threaded needle to the front at A. Insert the needle back into the fabric at A and then just poke the needle back up to the front at B. Loop the thread under the needle point then pull the thread through to create your first chain. Begin the next stitch in the same way by inserting the needle back into the fabric at B (now under the loop), coming up at C (outside the loop). Bring the thread around and under the needle point and pull the thread through. On your last stitch, end the chain by inserting your needle into the end of the last chain (outside the loop). Pull the thread through to the back and tie off.

Video link: Chain Stitch

fern-stitch

6. Fern Stitch: Fern Stitch consists of three Straight Stitches of equal length radiating from the same central point A. Starting at the top of the pattern and moving your way down, bring the thread through at A and then make a Straight Stitch to B. Bring the thread back through again at point A and make another Straight Stitch to C. Bring the thread back through at point A (for the final time) and make a final straight stitch to D. Repeat this pattern by moving the needle down and coming up through the next center stitch to begin the next three radiating stitches. The center stitch follows the light of the pattern design.

Video Link: Fern Stitch (Note: This demonstration is done differently than described above. Either method works!)

star-stitch

7. Star Stitch: This is an Eight Point Star Stitch. Begin by first making a basic cross stitch. Then make another cross stitch diagonally on top of the first one to form a star.

Video Link: Star Stitch

embroidery-sampler-33

Step Five: Finishing for Display

embroidery-sampler-36

Once finished, turn your embroidery sampler to the back and take a look. My grandma always said that the back of your embroidery project should look just as neat and tidy as the front! But don’t worry. It’s OK is yours doesn’t look so tidy, since no one is meant to see the back of your project anyway (unless you show your grandma and she wants to check your stitches lol).

You can now prep your project for display. If you plan to make your heart sampler into a pillow, for example, you can remove it from the hoop and move on to your sewing machine. Or you can leave it as ‘Hoop Art’ by using the embroidery hoop as a frame for the project. To do this, make sure your Heart Sampler is centered in the hoop and the fabric is nice and taut. Then use sewing scissors to cut away the excess fabric.

embroidery-sampler-38

DIY: Photo Album Pop-up Ornaments


Okay. I’ll admit it. I have possibly been making too many ornaments.

The floor is covered in little bits of paper, the ribbons are everywhere, and cat is oh so happy. (Happy and thus in the background of many of my photos.) I can’t help it. I’ve given myself over to the ornament bug, and even though I’ve told myself that these are ‘just this year’s ornaments’, I’m not sure I’ll have the self control to throw them all away.

I need a crafter help line… or maybe I can just spread the decoration disease and have you all join me in the madness. (*evil laughter*)

My sister recently handed over a large bag of family photos, and after the proper period of mortification I decided that I needed to do something with them. The best part about being in charge of photo projects is that you can include only adorable pictures of yourself, and edit out the slightly more awkward times.

I pulled together a selection of photos of family that yelled “HAPPY HOLIDAYS, Y’ALL!” Scanned and shrank them, then pulled out a few basic tools to turn the faces I love into ornaments I’ll cherish.

IMG_3792_photoalbumornaments

SUPPLIES

  • Resized photos printed on medium-heavy weight paper
  • Extra colored paper or cardstock
  • Medium to large hole punches– any symmetrical shape will work, I used circles and ovals
  • Ribbon or string
  • Buttons, bells, or beads
  • Paper glue or adhesive

IMG_3802_photoalbumornaments
To begin I punched my favorite people out of my favorite photos, and the same number of circles out of cardstock. Then I chose between 4 and 6 of my favorites, the same number of solid circles, and folded each in half– top to bottom.

IMG_3806_photoalbumornaments
I chose a button than matched my cardstock, then cut about 16 inches of string and fed it through the button.

IMG_3811_photoalbumornaments
I used my Scotch ATG gun to apply adhesive to each folded piece (glue works too).

IMG_3817_photoalbumornaments
I attached each piece to the one before it in a stack, alternating photos and cardstock. (Make sure that you don’t accidentally glue your sister in upside-down. She wouldn’t like that. All photos should point the same way.)

IMG_3823_photoalbumornaments
I laid the string and button across the spine of my stack (button on the bottom), added a little adhesive to one of the folded pieces, and attached the top and bottom piece to form a ball shape.

IMG_3825_photoalbumornaments
Then I fed another button on above the ball, tied a knot, and fluffed open all the pages.

IMG_3827_photoalbumornaments
I love how simple they look from far away, but each page is a memory of the holidays and of my family.

IMG_3842_photoalbumornaments
I did a few variations, using different punches, and combining shapes on one ribbon; but they are all put together the same way which means I could spend more time remembering good times than obsessing over the process.


It also means it’s a great project for kids, who might get a thrill out of punching holes out of photos.
IMG_3898_photoalbumornaments
and keeping them forever.

DIY: Playing Card Ornaments

IMG_3564_playingcardornaments
An old deck of cards in one hand, and the perfect Christmas Tree outside… something weird’s gonna happen.

We love games at this house. Card games, board games… you name it. I don’t love worn-out cards, though, so I’ve been looking for a clever way of getting rid of a couple of our older decks. After playing with strips of paper as Christmas ornaments, I started thinking about ways to turn flat cards into 3-d shapes. Internet searches gave me a few options, including this great tutorial for making ornaments out of MTG playing cards. After following the tutorial, I made a couple of tweaks and ended up with another great collection of ornaments for our outdoor holiday tree.

IMG_3459_playingcardornaments

Supplies

  • A deck of cards
  • Thin-ish wire: I used 22 Gauge floral wire
  • Assorted beads or buttons: Make sure the wire will fit through the holes.
  • Wire clippers and pliers
  • Craft knife or paper cutter
  • Awl or large needle for piercing cards
  • Ribbon or string

IMG_3465_playingcardornaments
To begin you will cut several playing cards into 1/2″ strips. Choose 16 of those pieces to turn into your first ornament.

IMG_3471_playingcardornaments
Poke a hole, at the bottom and top of each piece, approximately 1/4″ from the end. (You should be able to pierce through multiple cards at once.)

IMG_3543_playingcardornaments
Trim a length of wire, approximately 10″ long, and put a small loop in one end. String at least one bead as a stopper, then start feeding your card pieces on, one at a time. This will be the bottom of your ornament, and the side showing from the bottom (shown above) will be the side of the card facing out on your ornament.

IMG_3527_playingcardornaments

The red side will be hidden on the inside of this ornament.


Once you have all your card pieces fed on the wire, add about 1-1/2″ of beads as spacers.

IMG_3544_playingcardornaments
Starting with the bottom piece of card, gently feed the wire through the pierced hole at the other end.

IMG_3545_playingcardornaments
Do the same with the next lowest piece of card, letting it rest against one side. Repeat with the next lowest piece of card EXCEPT let it rest on the other side of the center.

IMG_3547_playingcardornaments
Repeat this action on each piece, going back and forth between each side of the ornament. It should begin to form a sphere.

IMG_3538_playingcardornaments
There should be just enough space to feed the last (most interior) piece through. If you feel like the pieces are too cramped, you may want to gently tear a piece or two off your wire.

IMG_3550_playingcardornaments
When you have all the pieces wrapped back around, add another bead or two, make a loop in the wire, and trim. Feed a ribbon through the loop, and you have a nifty ornament!

IMG_3606_playingcardornaments

IMG_3569_playingcardornaments

Other things to try

  • Make the spacer inside the ornament longer for a more spherical ornament, or make it shorter for a more compressed “space saucer” ornament. The different shapes will need a slightly different number of card pieces, but I’ve found that they all use between 14 and 16 pieces.
  • String two ornaments on the same wire for a more complex shape.
  • Mix and match back pieces and front pieces for a striped pattern.
  • String an extra piece of beaded wire or string to the bottom of the ornament for even more decoration.
  • Go crazy with bead spacers and see what happens.

IMG_3576_playingcardornaments
What do you think? Trash to treasure?

DIY: Scrap Paper Strip Ornaments

IMG_3203_paperstripornament
Up until the last couple of years, Safety Husband and I would go home to Texas for the holidays, and we never felt the need to decorate for the season. For the last couple of years we’ve talked about decorating the “Christmas Tree” that just happens to be growing in our upper yard, and this year we’re making it happen. I’ve been putting my brain power into making ornaments that are either weatherproof, or are meant to be thrown away in January. It’s been a great chance to work through some of the materials I’ve been… ahem… collecting.

I love vintage ornaments and paper, and after a couple of years of experimentation I was ready to combine those two loves in this one ornament design. Super quick, because they are held together by staples, a couple of basic techniques can build a whole tree’s worth of decoration.

IMG_2828_paperstripornament

Supplies

  • Stapler
  • Ribbon (3/8″ to 1/2″ wide is great)
  • Scrap Paper: I used leftover 12×12 scrapbooking paper, but catalog or magazine pages would work well too! If you’re using thin paper, you might want to double up on the number of strips per ornament.
  • Clips: binder clips work great for this, but a clothespin will work in a pinch. (Pun intended.)
  • Scissors

IMG_2867_paperstripornament
To begin, cut about eight 1/2″ strips off your paper. (You can vary the number, just make sure you have an even number of strips.)

IMG_2871_paperstripornament
Cut a length of ribbon about twice the length of your paper strips.

IMG_2900_paperstripornament
Fold the ribbon in half, and stack half the strips on each side. Staple near the bottom of the stack, away from the loop of ribbon.

IMG_2904_paperstripornament
The staple will go through all the paper and the ribbon, securing that point. (Staples must be cheating, because they make this too easy.)

IMG_2921_paperstripornament
Put a clip about halfway down the paper, clamping the whole stack of paper and ribbon. With one hand, hold the clip, and with the other gently pull on the loop of the ribbon.

IMG_2923_paperstripornament
This should cause the paper to pooch out a little on the other side of the clip. Repeat the holding and pulling step, but this time grab the ribbon loop and the two strips of paper closest to it on either side.

IMG_2926_paperstripornament
Repeat again and again, adding another strip on either side, until you reach the outer strip.

IMG_2927_paperstripornament

IMG_2931_paperstripornament
Then carefully put a staple through the area the clip was holding.

IMG_2934_paperstripornament

IMG_2936_paperstripornament
Trim any excess paper with a pair of scissors.

IMG_2950_paperstripornament
If you want, you can curl some of the extra paper to add a little decorative detail. Simply roll the paper around a small pencil or paintbrush to curl it.

IMG_2959_paperstripornament
Once you get the hang of the whole pull method, you can shake things up by doing a similar technique, upside-down.

IMG_2977_paperstripornament
Staple in the middle of your ornament, and turn each strip back down. Once you’ve turned each strip, staple them at the bottom to form a heart shape.

IMG_3014_paperstripornament
Using these two techniques you can make a whole range of funky vintage ornaments.

IMG_3448_paperstripornament
If you get sick of looking at the staples, you can replace them with a couple of stitches. Simply poke a hole in the middle of the stack, and make stitches back and forth to secure the ornament.

IMG_3457_paperstripornament
Remove the staple, and you’ll never know it was there.

IMG_3130_paperstripornament
Or spend that time making a whole army or ornaments. It’s up to you!

IMG_3271_paperstripornament
One set down, more to go.

DIY: Simple Trees for Your Chipboard Forest

IMG_3721_chipboardtrees
Even before I was done building little chipboard houses I knew they would need a little setting to live in. I wanted to come up with a simple and flexible tree template that I could make a whole forest out of. Inspired by my old paper bird project, I used strips of chipboard to build these trees.

IMG_3354_chipboardtrees

Supplies

  • Scrap chipboard: from the backs of notepads or boxes. My pieces were 8.5×11″
  • You favorite paper glue
  • Clothespins or clips
  • Craft knife
  • Scoring Tool: a bone folder or dull knife work great

IMG_3356_chipboardtrees
I began by making two score lines along the long side of the board, at .5″ and at 2.5″.

IMG_3374_chipboardtrees
Then I cut two pieces, 1″ wide, off the other side for the trunk of my tree. The remaining piece of chipboard had my score marks on it, and I trimmed it into 1″ pieces (each piece has the same score marks).

I applied glue to the trunk pieces, and clipped them together to dry.

IMG_3380_chipboardtrees
While the trunk glue was drying, I folded each of my small pieces along the score marks, forming an L.

IMG_3387_chipboardtrees
Piece by piece, I applied glue to the .5″ flap and the top of the L…

IMG_3392_chipboardtrees
then clipped them to the trunk. In this picture you can see that I folded the two pieces of the trunk away from each other at the base; this will allow the trees to sit by themselves.

IMG_3400_chipboardtrees
I continued to add tree pieces until I liked what I saw (typically between 2 and 4 tiers), holding each piece with a couple of clips.

IMG_3405_chipboardtrees
When I was happy, let the glue sit overnight, held by the clips. (Happy little trees, as the man said.)

IMG_3707_chipboardtrees
On some I trimmed the top a bit, some I left tall. I love the way the variety turned out. These would be great with snowy glitter added, or paint. I’m just happy to have a forest for my little chipboard houses.

IMG_3701_chipboardtrees
Trees for the little paper world.

 

Yes, I know I sound crazy. Now go make something!

(;