A couple of years ago, shortly after everything shut down at the beginning of the pandemic, I got back into sewing. A lot. It kept me busy and feeling productive and was a great outlet, while making pretty things for … Continue reading
I have a lot of craft projects “incubating” – I get excited, I buy supplies, and then… I wait for the perfect moment to create them! We could also call this hoarding of craft supplies, but that’s not in the spirit of the season!
We’ve got an enthusiastic new social committee at work, and they organized a “Secret Snowflake” exchange for the holidays. “Handmade is encouraged,” they instructed. Now that’s my kind of challenge. My gift recipient loves to host dinner parties, so I found her a cute serving bowl, some holiday dish towels, and I am finishing off the package with these DIY coasters!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- White 4″ square tiles – very inexpensive at the hardware store, or you can order online
- Decorative paper – choose thinner paper that absorbs the adhesive and molds to the tile
- Mod Podge
- Water-based varnish
- Silicon bumpers
Here’s how to do it:
- Cut paper to fit tiles
- Paint a thin coat of Mod Podge on tile
- Lay down paper and smooth out
- Paint a thin coat of Mod Podge over paper
- Letting dry between layers, add one or two more coats of Mod Podge
- Add three or more coats of varnish, for a more durable finish
- Add silicon bumpers to bottom
Here they are in my home and getting ready to go spread cheer in my friend’s home!
Next time, I’d like to try making these coasters, with the paper sandwiched between glass, because I think they’ll hold up even better. Next year’s teacher and coworker gift? Maybe!
Hope you are having fun sharing treats and gifts this season!
Julie aka “Jewels”
Every year, I make personalized Christmas ornaments for our family and friends. This is usually a simple project with store-bought ornaments. This year, I’m doing a little DIY, because I didn’t find anything quite right for our retro mid-century Christmas.
I’m making some clear globe ornaments to give to our local friends. For those that live further away, I wanted something easy to mail, so I was excited to find this inspiration for ornaments covered in scrapbook paper. Besides being pretty, these ornaments are lightweight, flat, and sturdy, so they’re perfect for sending to friends!
Here’s how to do this cute project:
- Paint the edges of the Unfinished Wood Ornaments with silver craft paint. The center will be covered in paper.
- Print out names and the year on Clear Shipping Labels and then stick them in craft paper and cut them out. I cut matching circles for the back.
- Use regular hole punch to cut the paper around the hole in the ornament.
- Use Yes All-Purpose Stik Flat Glueto glue the paper to the ornaments
- I used some very fine sandpaper to clean up the ornaments after the glue dried.
What fun to be able to send a bit of holiday cheer!
These wide-frame mirrors from Ikea have so many possibilities! You could hang them as they are, of course, but what fun to decorate them with a tile mosaic, paint, or paper!
In setting a theme for our tween boy’s new room, I found this fun and colorful Heroes and Villains wrapping paper. I’m using it for some DIY pencil tins and also covered some Ikea Malma mirror frames for his wall.
This is an easy project. You’ll need a mirror, wrapping paper, Mod Podge, and a brush. I started by using painter’s tape (okay, I guess you’ll need that, too) to cover up the mirror in the center, so it wouldn’t get glue on it. (pictured below, left). I then spread a layer of Mod Podge over the mirror frame and carefully lay the paper on top, lining it up and smoothing out the wrinkles. (pictured below, right)
To fit the paper around the mirror, I cut an “X” shape and then trimmed the paper with a craft knife (oh yes, you need that, too!). (pictured below, left) To wrap the paper around the edge of the frame, I cut squares out from the corners and then applied more Mod Podge and wrapped the paper around, smoothing out the wrinkles and bubbles. (pictured below, right)
Here’s how the finished mirror looks:
And below are some pictures of the entire wall. Also featured on this wall are
- DIY oversized wall initial
- DIY art gallery clip frames, great for quickly rotating art and photos
- Vintage Comic Calendar. They have several years of these beautiful calendars with different covers.
This sweet tween’s room is almost ready. His desk is on order, and I look forward to showing you the completed space, soon!
Little details like art pieces are what bring personalty to a room and make it feel complete. Sometimes, it seems like I’m so busy battling piles of laundry and other basic necessities, that I will never get around to all these little details, but I’m always rewarded when I do! I finally put up the travel art for the boys’ room.
I decided to try making my own picture mattes by wrapping cardboard with fabric. You could do it with a large sheet of art or wrapping paper, too. One caveat is that cardboard can be acidic and could damage valuable art or photos, so this is not a project for your heirlooms. I turned the coated side of my cardboard towards the back, hoping that would protect the art a bit. This project turned out to be pretty easy, and I like how it looks. I’m also glad, because I have some other plans for this fabric in the room, and now it will all coordinate!
- light or medium weight cardboard, like cereal boxes or toy boxes. I think regular corrugated cardboard would be too thick and bumpy.
- fabric or paper to cover your board
- glue (glue stick and tacky or white glue) and scissors
- Cut the cardboard to the size of your frame’s glass, and cut an inner shape to fit your art – you don’t have to do a simple rectangle or square; how about an oval? You also don’t have to center your opening; western-style mattes look great when the bottom area is slightly taller than the top, grounding your piece. Asian art is often centered with the top area slightly taller, representing the sky. (top left picture below)
- Cut a piece of fabric about an inch wider than your cardboard in all directions. Use the glue stick lightly on the front to stick the cardboard onto the fabric. Instead of glue, you could also use Heat’n Bond Ultra Hold Iron-On Adhesive (top right picture below)
- Fold the fabric around the cardboard, and use the white or tacky glue to hold it in place, clipping the corners. Do the outside first, and then the center. (bottom left picture below)
- Ta-da! (bottom right picture below)
Here are the art posters up on the wall in the big boys’ room.
And here are the newly framed pictures next to the DIY cardboard initials I made. This display wall is slowly coming together – I’ve got one more project planned!
Now, hopefully this motivation will carry over to my own bedroom gallery wall!
I recently picked up some beautiful wrapping paper at Lavish in Hayes Valley. This is the same store where I found the perfect red and white graphic paper for lining our nursery bookcase. The new paper I found is for my craft room. It’s called Hydrangeas by Kate & Birdie. This company has lots of very sweet original prints – my six year old bought himself a sheet of pirate ship paper while we were in the store. They started in Winnipeg, Canada, so even dearer to my Canadian ex-pat heart.
The blue, green, and grey color scheme of this paper fits my craft studio perfectly! The blue is just the same as the great print on my newly upholstered Queen Anne chairs, and all the colors are found in the stenciled lampshade I made for that room.
I’m amazed what a long way this one sheet can go. For $4, I have enough paper to create several great accessories and accents for my room. I started a clothespin wreath and moved on to these pencil tins – and I still have more projects planned!
I love reusing old items, though it’s always a fine line between clever frugality and looking like a preschool art project. I’ve definitely seen more “primitive” versions of these pencil tins, but I like to think that mine fit into the feminine, elegant, slightly funky studio I am creating.
This is a very simple and quick project that needs very little explanation. I started by using pliers to flatten any sharp edges along the inside of the can. To cut the paper neatly, I used the quilting ruler and mat I showed in the fabric growth chart tutorial.
I used a glue stick to affix the paper to the tin. For my kids’ tins, I also added a layer of clear contact paper to make the tins more durable. Finally, I use tacky glue to attach bias ribbon to the top of the tin, for a polished look. (I tried hot glue, but it cools very fast on the metal and gets lumpy.)
While I was making these tins, I added some for the boys’ homework area. These have a layer of clear contact paper over the scrapbook paper, since I know they will get more (ab)use.
What else do I want to decorate with my beautiful Hydrangeas paper? A pennant banner, some magnets, magazine files, and some storage boxes for the craft studio. Hope to share those projects soon. Meanwhile, go raid your recycling bin and make some new accessories for your own office!
Remember these wall initials I made for my kids? I put one up in the nursery already, using 3M Command Picture Hanging Strips. Besides hanging them on a wall, you could make these letters part of an artful arrangement on a shelf or stick them to the door. I made mine as big as a 12×12 inch sheet of scrapbook paper would allow, but I would love to make a really large one some time with wrapping paper or fabric.
These oversize letters were also the May Giveaway, and Jenny won them for her two girls. While I was working on Jenny’s letters, I made two more for my twin nieces, who are turning one next month! It’s often easier to do several of any project at once, while you have the motivation and all the supplies out. You definitely learn a lot as you repeat projects, too. Don’t you wish you could always start with the second one, after all the mistakes have been made?
I already posted the instructions for making these letters, so I’ll jump straight to the final result!
As you can see, I used lower case letters this time and a different font: American Typewriter Bold.
And I’ll add one tip if you have to wrap around a small opening. I cut the tabs in a zig-zag pattern, so that they don’t get too short.
Beside the fact that I nearly glued all my fingers to each other in the process, it was so fun for me to make something for little girls, since we have a house full of (wonderful!) boys. I’m also really glad to give Jenny’s girls a piece of home that they can take as they move overseas and just as thrilled to have something unique to celebrate the big one year birthday with my nieces!
Looking forward to another fun giveaway starting next month!
The idea for these brilliant clothespin wreaths came from Kirstin at Kojo Designs, who made it as a tea wreath, and it is one of my favorite projects.
O Tea Wreath, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. You are
- easy to make
- eco-friendly, reusing items that would other get recycled or trashed
- a showcase for gorgeous papers
- frugal, using up small scraps of paper
- the perfect gift – beautiful, unique, and useful!
- versatile – start with tea and adapt for many other displays
I think Kirstin’s tutorial pretty much covers it all. I had only a few variations for making mine. I also loved thinking up new ways to use these wreaths!
Here are the simple steps with my tips.
Creating the wreath base:
- Cut a cardboard wreath using sturdy corrugated cardboard or two pieces of thinner board glued together. I used a plate for tracing the outside circle and a scrapbooking template for the inner circle, though you could also use a cup. If you are using scrapbooking paper, make sure your wreath is no bigger than 11 inches in diameter, so you can wrap the 12 inch paper around.
- Cut your paper in a circle 1/2 to 1 inch bigger all around than your wreath. The more room you have the easier it will be to wrap the paper around. I used a beautiful wrapping paper called Hydrangeas by Kate & Birdie. I’ll have more projects with that paper coming up!
- Center your cardboard base on the paper and glue in place. I preferred to use a glue stick for this step, to give a smooth finish.
- Cut tabs around the outside and the center. I didn’t cut all the way to the cardboard, so the the tabs would not show on the sides.
- Glue down the tabs in the back. I used the glue stick here, also.
Creating the clothespins:
- You can find wood clothespins online or at a hardware or craft store. Try the dollar store, too!
- Cut strips of paper the width of the clothespins. This is a great way to use up all sorts of small scraps of paper that are too beautiful to waste. To cut the thin strips, I used the trusty quilting ruler and mat I used in making the fabric growth charts.
- Glue the strips to the pins. I used white glue to attach the paper to the clothespins, because it soaks into the porous surface of the wood and leaves a smooth finish. I spread the glue on one pin and then pressed it against a second one, to get a thin layer that completely covered the side of the pin.
Finishing the wreath:
- Using a glue gun, attach the pins around the wreath, with the clips facing outward.
- Loop a ribbon around for hanging. You could also use some adhesive strips on the back, if you don’t want to see the ribbon. I like the 3M picture hangers I used for putting up the oversize wall initials.
I made several of these wreaths for Christmas and birthdays recently, including teacher gifts, and they were always a big hit. I made them in a variety of colors for many different looks
While I gave the wreaths away with tea bags, my friends and I have found new uses for these beautiful wreaths. Here are some of our ideas. I’d love to hear yours, too!
- Appreciation wreath – My friend Monica used hers to write messages of appreciation to her kids. She used index cards cut in half and wrote in a different color for each child.
- Inspiration board – I’m using mine to pin ideas for craft and DIY projects.
- Photo display – what a pretty way to display your favorite pictures!
- Card holder – for holiday cards, birthday cards, business cards.
I think there are lots of great uses for the decorated clothespins themselves, too. You could
- Mount the pins on a rectangular backing for a memo board or photos.
- Put magnets on the back to use on fridges or magnet boards. If you don’t have a fridge that holds magnets, you can stick the clips directly on the fridge with a removable adhesive, which is what I did with these clips for kids art.
- Set up a “clothesline” art gallery and use these pretty clips to easily hang and change the kids’ projects.
- Clip together papers or swatches to organize your office or craft room.
Thanks again to Kirstin at Kojo Designs for this wonderful project idea. It has become a standby for me, and I hope you will let me know if you come up with new ideas for these beautiful wreaths and pins!
… a very good place to start!
Art that features initials is so versatile. It looks great as part of a wall display, on a shelf, or on a door. It could make a great gift for a baby or child – it makes a kids – and the parents – feel so special to see their name on things!
There are lots of great ideas for projects featuring artistic initials, and I want to try them all! I decided to start with a simple 3-dimensional cut-out initial wrapped in paper or fabric. Here’s how I did it!
1) Buy or make a base letter: I’ve seen oversize wooden and cardboard letters at craft stores, so you could definitely start with one of those. In this case, I was feeling lazy and cheap – not to mention I do my projects when the kids are either napping or in bed at night, which makes trips to the craft store hard! So, I decided to cut out my own letters from cardboard. I had some extra-thick cardboard leftover from “dish pack” boxes from our move. These are great for lots of cardboard projects, because they are made from a double layer of corrugated cardboard and thus stronger and warp less.
You can find endless fonts by searching on the internet. I settled on Archive Garfield for a classic feel:
You could print out the letters you want, enlarge and then trace them, but I decided to wing it freehand. First, I decided on the overall dimensions I wanted – nine inches high – and marked that area on the cardboard. Then, I sketched the letters inside the space, using a ruler to make the straight lines. I also made some of the areas a little thicker than they are in the original font, so they would not be too fragile when cut out. I ended up using a popsicle stick to reinforce the thin part of the “K.” Also try to avoid narrow gaps – the inside curve of that “J” turned out to be tricky to wrap around. I used white glue on the very short tabs of paper and held them in place by wedging some bubble wrap in the gap until the glue dried. It turned out fine.
2) Apply paper or fabric: This is where you could get creative and use scrapbook paper, wrapping paper, maps, photos, fabric, whatever! I would recommend cutting leaving a one inch margin around your letter – I didn’t have that much, because I was using a scrap leftover from decorating the back of our little guy’s bookcase, which made it harder. Also, if you are using corrugated cardboard, I would just put a couple of spots of glue from a glue stick on the front, because if you glue it down thoroughly, the corrugation will show.
Cut tabs to help ease the paper around curves and corners and then glue down the tabs. Because I had a small margin, I needed to use some tape to help. Once I had the paper wrapped around, I used a popsicle stick with a little white glue on it to help smooth any areas where you could see the tabs, like around the curves.
3) Voila! and Finish! You could clear coat your letter with clear spray paint or Modge Podge. I wouldn’t do it with the corrugated, because, again, it would make the corrugation show through. It would be a nice finish for wooden letters, though.
4) Hang and enjoy! I’m using 3M Command Picture Hanging StripsEdit. These are very easy to use and have the additional benefit of adding more dimension to the letter, so it really stands out from the wall.This initial is for our youngest’s room as part of the wall collection below. The “quilt block” is actually made of paper and was a gift from my friend Penny many years ago. And the vintage nursery switch plate covers go beautifully here, too. The one on the left is mine from when I was little. The other one was picked up at a garage sale for $1. They can also be found on eBay for about $15-25. I didn’t really have a functional use for them, but I think they work perfectly in this display. This whole wall relates back to the other side of his room, where the same paper is lining the bookcase, and a vintage lamp from my childhood provides a reading and night light.
And now, here’s a sneak peek at the other kids’ initials! I let them pick their own paper. I was thinking stripes, but I love how the stars turned out.“Jewels”