DIY: Add a Kitten Pocket with Polish Remover and Sharpies

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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

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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!

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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.

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SUPPLIES

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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. (;

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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

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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

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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.

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

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Hire a professional to test the security of your stitching.

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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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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Or, you know. Share with your friends.

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Wheeee! Pillows.

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*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.

May DIY Craft Challenge: Once Upon A Fairytale

Thank you to everyone who participated in last month’s DIY Craft Challenge! We just love seeing the awesome things you all make and feel so inspired by the ‘garden’ themed submissions we received. Be sure to check out our roundup post of what everyone made here!

Once Upon A Fairytale…

This month we are diving into a world of magic and make believe! ‘Fairytales’ is the theme for May and we invite you to find inspiration in your favorite storybook. So channel your inner child (and invite the kids in your life to join in) and enter a world of wonder this month. Have tea with the fairies in your backyard, host your own fairytale theme puppet show, or bake a cake that’s fit for a Queen! Wherever this month’s theme takes you, we hope you’ll share your own handmade magic with us!
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Inspiration Sources:

1. Emerald City Fairy House by Florence Griswold Museum
2. Finger Puppets by Lia Griffith
3. Storybook Clock by Amanda Patterson
4. Fairy Tea Set by Twig & Toadstool
5. Felt Mushrooms by Lil Fish Studios
6. Clothes Peg Fairies by The Imagination Tree
7. Fairytale Storytelling Game by Let’s Play Music
8. Paper Plate Dragons by Pink Stripey Socks
9. DIY Woodland Acorn Necklace by Flamingo Toes
10. Doily Hot Air Balloons by Joann’s
11. Sandcastle Place Cards by Oh Happy Day!

HOW TO ENTER

Click here for details on how to enter your project to the DIY Challenge! Don’t forget to share your projects with everyone on Instagram using #diycraftchallenge.

The challenge officially begins today, May 1st and ends on May 29th, 2016. We will post a roundup of everyone’s projects on May 31st. Have fun and happy crafting!

Need more inspiration?

Take a look out our Pinterest board for more stitch inspired project ideas.

SHOW+TELL: Growing Garden Journal Kit

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I don’t really have a green thumb, so I’m always trying to learn more about my garden in hopes I can make it flourish. This year, in anticipation of spring planting, I am going through my notes and compiling it all in a garden journal. I made a ring-bound set of cards with a thick chipboard cover that can grow with me and with my garden!

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In addition to helpful information fields on the front and the back of each card, I left a little space for a plant doodle or collage.

IMG_5664_growinggardenjournalSince each card is decorated differently, it’s easy to sort through the book and quickly find the plant I’m looking for, plus it’s fun to illustrate the plants. (It would be a great project with the kiddos.)

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I decorated the book cover with scraps from my seed packets and collage materials. (Waste not, want not!)

I’m excited to add more layers and more pages as I go along, and I thought I’d make up a few kits in case anyone wants to follow along with their own gardening adventures.

You can find a kit on the Adventures-in-Making etsy shop – here
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April Growing Garden Journal Includes:

  • Punched Chipboard Cover pieces (labeled “Growing Garden Journal”)
  • 15 front/back printed and punched plant cards on assorted cardstock
  • 1 binder ring
  • Additional plant cards are available as a refill.

Garden Journal Kits and Refills available here.

All you need is a pen and some plants to write about!

The April DIY Craft Challenge Is “In The Garden”

Thank you to everyone who participated in last month’s DIY Craft Challenge! We just love seeing the awesome things you all make and feel so inspired by the ‘bird’ themed submissions we received. Be sure to check out our roundup post of what everyone made here!

Play In The Dirt

Spring is here, the sun is shining, and we’re taking inspiration from our own backyards this month! The theme for April is “In The Garden” so we invite you all to go outside, find inspiration in your surroundings and make something inspired by the seeds you plant, the flowers you pot, and the creativity you grow.

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April DIY Craft Challenge at Adventures-in-making.com

Inspiration Sources

1. Incremental Mini-Garden by No Linde
2. DIY Stamped Spoon Plant Markers by Intimate Weddings
3. Hopscotch Garden Stepping Stones by Garden Therapy
4. Springtime Tic-Tac-Toe by Chicken Scratch NY
5. Ombre Herb Garden Markers by Humble Beads Jewelry
6. DIY Modern Neon Concrete Block Planter by Modernly Wed
7. Illustration by Sanna Mander
8. Chalkboard Clay Pot Herb Garden by The Robin’s Nest
9. Herb Embroidery by Onoe Megumi
10. Moss Hearts by Alissa Burke
11. Pansy Shortbread Cookies by The Cafe Sucre Farine
12. DIY River Rock Garden Markers by West Valley Moms Blog

HOW TO ENTER

Click here for details on how to enter your project to the DIY Challenge! Don’t forget to share your projects with everyone on Instagram using #diycraftchallenge.

The challenge officially begins today, April 1st and ends on April 27th, 2016. We will post a roundup of everyone’s projects on April 30th. Have fun and happy crafting!

Need more inspiration?

Take a look out our Pinterest board for more stitch inspired project ideas.

Have a great weekend! We’ll be back on Monday with our own “Garden” themed projects to share 🙂

The March DIY Craft Challenge Theme Is BIRDS!

First I want to say thank you again to everyone who participated in last month’s DIY Craft Challenge! If you missed our roundup of submissions yesterday, be sure to check it out. We are truly blown away by the creative projects that everyone made and shared with us!

Put A Bird On It

With spring just around the corner we are drawing inspiration from our winged friends, the birds! There are endless ways to create something with this theme whether it be the eggs you dye this Easter, the bird feeder you make for your backyard, or the feathers you collect on your afternoon walk. We hope you’ll find some feathery inspiration this month and use it as an opportunity to revisit a project you had forgotten about, experiment with a new technique or skill, or simply treat yourself to an afternoon of making something you enjoy.

I want to sing like the birds sing, not worrying about who hears or what they think. – Rumi

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March DIY Craft Challenge by Adventures In Making

Inspiration Sources:

1. Curly Paper Bird by Paper Craft Square
2. Wise Owl Pincushions by Quilt Magazine
3. Washi Tape Bird On A Branch by SuWolf
4. Birdseed Heart by Intimate Weddings
5. Paper Mache Birds by Ann Wood
6. Watercolor Feather by Lucy Akins
7. Peep Hot Chocolate by Needles And A Pen
8. Sugar Cookie Easter Egg Nests by Lovely Little Kitchen
9. Bird Sketches by Drawing The Motmot
10. Lego Bird Feeder by Gary Mueller
11. Painted Feathers by Free People Blog
12. Bird Garland by Art Bar Blog
13. Bird Costume by Probably Actually
14. Ombre Dyed Easter Eggs by The Crafted Life

HOW TO ENTER

Click here for details on how to enter your project to the DIY Challenge! Don’t forget to share your projects with everyone on Instagram using #diycraftchallenge.

The challenge officially begins today, March 1st and ends on March 29th, 2016. We will post a roundup of everyone’s projects on March 31st. Have fun and happy crafting!

Need more inspiration?
Take a look out our Pinterest board for more stitch inspired project ideas.

DIY: Playing Card Ornaments

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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.

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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

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

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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!

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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.

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What do you think? Trash to treasure?

DIY: Scrap Paper Strip Ornaments

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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.

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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

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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.)

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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

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Trim any excess paper with a pair of scissors.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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

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One set down, more to go.

DIY: Chipboard Village with Free House Template

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You might have noticed things have slowed down a little over here at A-I-M. Life goes in cycles, as we know, and unfortunately it’s been tripping us up lately. I’m still making things (some of them more therapeutic than others- like the DIY below), but the timing is tricky, and sometimes things don’t make it online as quickly as they should. We’d like to ask you to be patient with us, and give us time to refresh and collect ourselves. We’ll be back to full speed before you know it.

I’ve been trying to simplify my life because I have accumulated too many “things”; and I’ve made a resolution to truly embrace the making of things, rather than the buying or the keeping. (Our house is getting smaller by the second. Someone’s cursed us, I swear!)

So rather than storing ornaments, sparkles, trees and lights, I’m making new temporary baubles from recycled materials.

With that in mind I sat down to make my version (sweet and simple) of a winter village. I built a template that you can use to start your own winter wonderland, and I hope you’ll get as much peace and joy out of it as I did.

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Supplies

  • Scrap Chipboard: I like to save the backs of paper pads for projects like this, or you can grab a food package out of the recycling.
  • Pen and pencil
  • bone folder or scoring device
  • Craft knife
  • Paper glue: Elmer’s works great!
  • The printed template: click here or on the pdf below.

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Chipboard is great because you can mark it simply by pressing down hard on it. To trace the template on my piece, I clipped the paper down, then…

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used a bone folder and ruler to score the dotted lines (that will eventually be folded).

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Then I traced over the rest of the lines by pressing down firmly with a pen.

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Once I finished tracing all the lines I had a faint guide to work with. (If you like, trace the lines lightly with a pencil to help when you’re cutting.)

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Like most cutting projects, it’s easier to start by removing the small pieces of the template. In this case that meant cutting out the windows, the notch on the back, and two sides of the door. (Refer to the template to make sure you are cutting only the solid line pieces.)

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When I had the building and roof all cut out, I used a bone folder to score the folds a little more deeply. Then I began folding each flap gently away from the score mark. (Including the roof piece.)

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When I had the main part of the building folded, I applied glue to the flap (shown in gray on the template sheet) and held the pieces together until the glue held firmly. (You can also use clips or clothespins to hold it closed for a bit.) Once the base of the house was holding firmly, I added glue to the roof flaps (also shown in gray) and aligned and attached the roof. (You will want to hold this together by putting your hand into the house-box and pressing the flaps against the roof.)

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To frost the windows, I took a piece of cello tape slightly larger than the window, and attached it to a piece that was even larger. Then I taped that frosted pane right into the window-sash. I left the door bent slightly in, to welcome little chipboard guests!

Now that you’ve got the hang of home-building, you can reuse this template by resizing it, or come up with your own design!

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For my second building, I used the natural folds in a cracker box, and drew windows and a door with a pencil before trimming it out. Remember to leave flaps to attach the roof! (But in a pinch, a piece of tape will work as well.) Simply erase the lines, glue everything together, and plop it into your village… and when it gets dark…

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slip a few LED Christmas lights under your buildings for ambiance. (The notch I included in the template is super handy for running the wires out the back of the house.) Make sure to use low-heat lights, since they will be surrounded by paper!

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If you’re anything like me, you won’t be able to stop at chipboard houses. I really want to add some chipboard critters… These little houses make my imagination run free.

One thing that’s for sure, they need to be surrounded by a forest. Next week I’ll show you a quick and easy way to build your own magic woods.

 

One note: I’m a big fan of letting the materials show in my projects, but remember you can camouflage the materials quickly by adding a little paint (spray or acrylic would work great) or by using it as a base for decoupage or collage (like our shadowbox project). Go crazy!