Tag: diy

Thrifted Treasures

I haven’t had too much time to browse second-hand stores lately so this round-up actually covers about 4 months. I picked up these two first items at Pennywise, a thrift shop in Westminster a couple of minutes away from where I used to live. I actually bought these on two separate occasions. The first a porcelain butterfly:

It is marked with a made in Japan sticker and the base has a metal clip so you can display it. It looks so whimsical perched on my lampshade:

Porcelain Butterfly Clip-On 3

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End Table Refurbishment

End Table Veneer Refurbishment

This project has been in the works for 3 years… 4 years… I can’t even say for sure. I don’t even have a proper “before” picture for it, I know I took some but they’ve been lost to time. The best I found were from old posts like this one, it’s the table the lamp is sitting on:

Funky White Lamp

We bought this beat up table for less than $5 at a Savers in Aurora as an add-on to the nightstands, chairs and other things we picked up. It looked to us like someones wood shop project, all the pieces of wood are different species, and different quality, the front molding doesn’t match the rest of the table, but the craftsmanship is surprisingly solid. The whole table was completely covered in graffiti as you can see above.

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Home Decor Trend: Branches

Branches as home decor aren’t really a trend so much as a tried and true decorating element. However, I’ve been seeing lots of rooms with branch arrangements lately. From left to right, The Rooster and The Hen’s lovely white arrangement, The Homes I Have Made’s natural and white floral branches, and from the DIY Network a willow branch arrangement:

Photobucket  Aspen-inspired vase filled with curly willow branches.
I was inspired to try it out. I really liked the idea of curvy white branches, and thought I might prefer the look (and ease) of store bought symmetrical ones. Though when I looked at Hobby Lobby’s stick/grass collection, I was underwhelmed. Nothing really struck me right, the center white squiggly ones were my favorite but…

Hobby Lobby Branches Hobby Lobby Branches Hobby Lobby Branches

to make a decent sized bundle would have been to expensive for my taste.

Instead I went home and collected several larger branches, from my backyard. I brought them inside and started trying to arrange them. Read more

Sewing a Simple Envelope Pillow Cover Tutorial

As promised, here is my pillow cover tutorial. I made my first cover late at night and the pictures kinda suck so I made this pretty infograph to illustrate the process a bit clearer:

How to Sew a Pillow Cover

My pillow inserts were loosely measured at 17 x 14:

Sew a Pillow Cover

I cut the new fabric out of green velvet, that I either got from my grandma or possibly it was a remnant from Joanns.

Sew a Pillow Cover

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Washing Down Pillow Inserts

As I mentioned in my last post, I am working on filling my sofa with throw pillows. The inspiration is this picture off a paint sample brochure:

Couch Inspiration

I love just about everything in these photos. I have a couple ugly pillows I want to cover but I will need some new ones too. I’ve been looking around online and there are hundreds and hundreds of throw pillow ideas floating around. So I created this board on Pinterest, which is all the tutorials for interesting pillow covers I could find/liked. I’m still adding to it so go check it out! I’m going to be doing a series on making different pillow covers. I also want to set myself the challenge to make all of the covers with supplies I already have.

First things first though: the inserts. I prefer down inserts, which can be expensive from craft stores, but very cheap from thrift stores. They are generally disguised in terrible pillow covers like these were:

Down Pillow Inserts

They were $2 a piece, and inside these hideous covers:

Ugly Pillow Covers

It’s easy to clean down pillows. First check to make sure the cover has no rips or tears, and is strong enough to take the machine. If the feathers can get out they will get everywhere and the insert will be ruined. If you aren’t sure wash the insert inside a larger zippered pillowcase to contain any feather explosions. Use a gentle cycle and mild detergent. To dry the inserts can take a couple of hours. They can be laid outside in the sun or put in the dryer. Adding some clean tennis balls to the dryer will help keep the pillows fluffy.

Get your inserts ready because the next post will be how to sew a simple cover! If you don’t do thrift stores or are impatient, check Target or Home Goods clearance section for cheap pillows with nice inserts.

Copper and Rope Hanging Planter Tutorial

I had these lovely Epipremnum aureums (Golden Pothos) in hanging pots but nowhere nice to hang them. The hook in the ceiling is too dated for my taste.

PothosSo I came up a copper and rope hanger for them! To make your own you will need:

Supplies for Copper Rope Planter Hanger

Rope, copper pipe, copper end caps, copper brackets, thin hemp rope to bind the ends of the large rope (that’s whats pictured but I ended up using heavy duty black thread for color contrast), screws and anchors for the ceiling, hooks to hang the pots from (or you could slide the hanging pot right onto the pipe), and the planted hanging pots you want to hang. Everything I used is from Home Depot, except the hooks and pots which are from IKEA.

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Plywood Tulip Wall Art

Have you checked out Vintageprintable.com? It’s a very cool site full of images in the public domain. The moment I saw this tulip picture from “The Great Tulip Book” published in 1640:


I knew I had to use it as inspiration for some type of wall art. When we moved into our new house there was tons of scrap wood in the basement, I found a nice big piece of plywood, gave it an once over with some 220 sandpaper and started outlining my flower:

Tulip 1 finished

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Scarf Storage Wall

I have tons of scarves and it’s always been hard storing them effectively. Folding results in creases and having them out of sight means I never remember to wear one anyway. For the past couple of years I have had them on my letterpress jewelry trayScarve OldBut the longer they hung on the hooks the more wrinkled they got. When I’m about to leave and decide to throw a scarf on there is no chance I’m going to take the time to steam the one I wanted. So on the empty wall of my project/dressing room I decided to make a hanging scarf storage system. Here is the wall before:

Scarve 1 fixed Read more

Brass Light Fixture Terrarium

Not so long ago I bought a Selaginella Emmeliana, even though I knew they were hard to care for. Here is a picture of one, looking deceptively low maintenance.

He lived in my bathroom where he would get plenty of humidity, and for a few weeks he looked fantastic. Then all the edges of those lush fronds began to turn brown and my research lead me to believe that he required even more humidity than I was providing. Which began my search for terrariums. Terrariums have been super popular in home decor lately. I love these geometric ones from Restoration Hardware:

Faceted Glass Terrarium

After some searching I found this post from Sugar Sugar House in which they created a terrarium out of an old brass light fixture. I went to a few local thrift stores and was lucky enough to find this one the same day:

Brass 1 fixed

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Cheap ~ Easy ~ Comfy Tent Dress!

I buy a lot of skirts at thrift stores. They’re one of the few articles of clothing most second-hand stores have a great selection of. I suppose it’s because a nice skirt is something a woman would buy, wear a few times and then never wear it again. On another note, it’s sometimes hard to guess why items end up at thrift stores, in this skirt’s case though I don’t have to guess… I know. This skirt bleeds dye, lots of dye, and did the first time I washed it and does it still many washes later. If it wasn’t a favorite dress of mine, I wouldn’t bother to hand-wash it separately every time.

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How to Make a Bow Ear Cuff

As you might have noticed, ear cuffs have been super trendy lately. I’d seen tons and tons of pictures all over the web of wire cuffs with bow, but no tutorials. So I thought I would add my version of instructions to the information highway.

For this project you need to make this cuff, and add the wire bow to it. Stop before bending the cuff blank into shape, so it is easier to attach the bow. Here are all the supplies I used: 1 black 20 gauge cuff blank, 26 gauge gun-metal colored wire, wire cutters, round nose pliers, and a pen to shape the cuff.

UPDATE: If you like this tutorial check out my newest one here: Pearl Wire Wrapped Ear Cuff.

A Little Ear Cuff Tutorial

This ear cuff, like the first one I posted about (read that post here) is very basic, and requires only a few tools and supplies to make. Ear cuffs can be fitted to anywhere on the outside of the ear, without a piercing. I use 20 gauge jewelry wire, wire cutters, round nose, and flat nose pliers, plus a pen to form the wire into the cuff shape.

I know this is simplistic to the point of not being interesting. However, this cuff is the jumping off point for my next jewelry post about how to make a wire bow cuff, and that will be awesome.

UPDATE: If you like this tutorial check out my newest one here: Pearl Wire Wrapped Ear Cuff.

A Mini-Recycling Project: a Lone Earring Into a Ring

About 3 years ago I bought a pair of faux pearl earrings, I think from Forever 21. I only wore them a few times and then let them languish on my jewelry tray for a couple of years. A few weeks ago I rediscovered the pair, but only wore them 3 times before one fell into the furry clutches of:

So I found myself with a single pearl earring. I usually save that sort of thing for later projects, but in this case I already had the supplies on hand to turn it into a ring. This is a really really easy mini-project, scroll through the pictures below to see how I made my sad lone earring into a lovely new ring.

My ring blanks are from Joann, and so is the shell button I used on the second ring. The little pearl in the second ring is real, and came from another lone earring, it already had a flat side so no sanding was necessary. One tip I didn’t take a picture of: If it’s hard to hold onto the pearl while filing it down, wrap one end in masking tape to give yourself something to hold onto. I love my new ring, I’ve been wearing it all the time.

Gelatin Print Tutorial, and Giveaway Results!

Thanks to everyone who entered my giveaway contest, and congratulations to Terri at Time to Be Inspired (check out her blog!), the winner of the prints! I really enjoyed making them, and all the other gelatin prints I have been making lately. It’s super easy to do, and would be a great activity to do with kids. Here are some of my finished prints:


Here is what you’ll need to make your own:

  • Unflavored gelatin (I used 2 boxes or 8 packets of Knox brand)
  • A dish, pan or cookie sheet to form the gelatin plate in (I used the bottom of a broiler pan)
  • Printing ink (I used Speedball Block Printing Ink in Black from Hobby Lobby)
  • A brayer to spread the ink on the plate (like this one)
  • Something you want to make prints of: leaves, feathers, stencils, etc.
  • Paper, heavier paper like card-stock works well, but you can get cool effects with others like, old dictionary pages, sheet music, handmade paper etc.

To make the gelatin plate, boil 2 cups of water. While it’s boiling, dissolve the packets of gelatin into 2 cups of cool water. Combine the two cups of boiled water with the dissolved gelatin mixture. Pour the mix into your plate form, skim the top for bubbles so the surface is perfectly level. Place in the fridge, the plate should be plenty hard in a few hours, but I like to keep it in the fridge overnight. Here is my ready to use plate:


I didn’t have anything specific I was trying to make the first time I tried this so I had tons of stuff I wanted to try to make prints of, and tons of different types of paper. Here is my collection of stuff to try out:

To begin making prints, pour out some ink onto a paper plate or palette or whatever you got. Spread some onto the brayer and apply to the gelatin plate.


For each run, you will be making two prints. So once the plate is covered evenly in ink, arrange whatever you want to print on the plate. For this run I placed three lace appliqué pieces that were left over from my wedding dress on the plate:

Place a piece of paper over the plate and rub the ink on the paper, be careful not to shift the paper around to much. As you can see in the picture below I was using scrap paper.

Here is that piece of paper pulled up, this is called the negative image.

To get a positive image, pull up the material on the plate carefully. On the right is a picture of the ink that was left on the plate when the lace appliqué was removed.


Using another piece of paper to pick up the leftover ink, this time a sheet of recycled card-stock, I got this image:

Here is a close up:

After a couple of hours of using the gelatin plate it might get a bit mushy, just stick it back in the fridge to firm up again. Over time you might nick the plate or imprint shapes on it, this can result in interestingly altered prints. If you want to change ink colors or otherwise want to clean the plate just wipe it off with clean water, dry it throughly before starting to print again.

Most of my finished prints ended up drying curled up:

To get them to lay flat, I covered a few at a time with a piece of scrap muslin, and ran my iron over them without steam. Then when they were still warm and flexible I bent them back into shape by hand and then stacked them under heavy books.

I find it hard to compose fully formed artwork with the gelatin plate, I like to create different images with the gelatin block and then cut and cobble together pieces into finished pieces of art. Here are shots of me cutting up the lace prints and rearranging them for the giveaway:


On your first attempt it’s best not to try to make anything specific, just play around with objects, paper, inks, negative and positive image and so on. Once your have tons of dried prints, and a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t write down different combinations or layouts you want to try for next time.

For more tips and ideas on gelatin printing check out Printmaking Without a Press’s page on Gelatin Printing Tips she also lots of cool ideas elsewhere on her site. Good luck with your own print making, and congrats again to Terri on winning Zounds’ first of hopefully many giveaways.

UPDATE 1/29/2015: I got a request for a printable version of these instructions, download the pdf here: Gelatin Print Tutorial.

UPDATE: I am now selling my gelatin prints in the Zounds Store!

Lamp Revamp: Felt Cluster Lampshade

I bought two lamps at my favorite thrift store a few weeks ago. The one on the right I had my eye on immediately, the other was more of an after thought.

Neither of the lamps had shades, but on old lamps the shades are awful anyway. For the little lamp I found, at another thrift store, a nice empire shade for only 99 cents. I didn’t want to leave the shade plain, and I decided to use an idea I’ve loved for years. I first saw it on an episode of Thread Banger, here is the link to the video. Basically you cover the shade in hundreds of scrunched up felt circles. Below are a couple of examples (click the picture to go to the original site):


Starting from left to right, 1: Lostandfoundblogger’s Felt Meringue Floor Lamp 2: Mystic Fae’s Thread Banger Lampshade 3: The Designophile’s Felt Lampshade.

I used white sheets of felt from Wal-Mart, which were 23 cents a piece. I originally bought 20 thinking that would be enough, but I ended up having to buy more. If you wanted to do a big lampshade or several, it might be cheaper to get yardage of felt cut from a fabric store. How much felt you need to cover the shade really depends on how closely you scrunch up the felt circles. Lots of tutorials I have seen have you trace circle forms on each felt sheet before cutting… I just eyeballed it. It doesn’t really matter if your circles are perfect, or the same size.

Below is the lampshade I used. It’s the kind that doesn’t require a harp, which is nice when you are fitting it to a second-hand lamp. On the right is my first grouping of scrunched up felt.


Although this shade style is time-consuming, it’s not costly. I ended up spending about $8 total on the shade and felt. I probably spent around 3 hours cutting and gluing the felt, while watching movies. Here it is finished and on the lamp:

As you can see I spray painted the base, I used Krylon’s Fusion (for plastic) in white satin for the base and Krylon’s Classic Grey in Gloss for the rest. I really like how it turned out. I wanted it for a bedside lamp, to replace the desk lamp I had been using, I think it’s an improvement:


I love the way the light looks coming out of the felt clusters:

One more time, the before and after:


Make Your Own Simple Wire Ear Cuff

I had never heard of ear cuffs until about a week ago. The concept is simple, a metal cuff that adorns the outside of the ear without a piercing. Cuffs range from plain wire like the one I will be showing you how to make, to intricate cuffs that have beads, chains, etc. Here are a couple of cool ones from around the web (click the picture to go to the origin page):


It’s not hard to find at least one ear cuff you like no matter what your personal style is. Below I go through how to make a very simple wire cuff, from there you can experiment with all sorts of different ideas.

Here is the finished ear cuff I made, I takes about a minute to complete once you get the hang of working with wire. I used 20 gauge black jewelry wire, flat nose pliers, round nose pliers, wire snips, and a ruler. It’s possible to do this without round nose pliers, they just make forming the loops easier. It’s also important that whatever pliers you use, they don’t have ridges, since they could mar the wire. This ear cuff, like most, is flexible and can be placed wherever you like on the ear. So without further ado there is my…

Simple Wire Ear Cuff Tutorial:

That is all you have to do, it takes no time and it’s hard not to just keep making them. I love this style of ear cuff, it looks good with everything. These are so fun to make, I want to experiment with adding some dangling chains. Good luck making your own. Any questions? Just leave me a comment.

UPDATE: If you like this tutorial check out my newest one here: Pearl Wire Wrapped Ear Cuff.

Nail Polish Cabochon Jewelry, Part 1

In a whole ordeal that is only vaguely related to this post, the other night I found myself searching the web for metal ring blanks. I haven’t found one I liked yet but I did find this:

Aren’t they beautiful! The picture is from icefrostdiary.com, click the picture to go to the post. These are super easy to make, usually you see them made into rings but you could adapt them into pendents or earrings or even cool fridge magnets. Here are two of my finished ones:

To begin you need clear flat marbles or cabochons. Cabochon is a jewelry term which technically applies to stones that have been polished smooth as opposed to being faceted. However, the term is often applied to a number of substances like glass or ceramic to describe a smooth, polished “gem” in jewelry making. Anyway these are the ones I used:

These were already in my possession, but you can buy them at craft stores generally in the floral section or online through jewelry making supply sites. The cabochon’s that are available for jewelry making purposes are higher quality and I think would be easier to do this project with. My marbles were irregularly shaped, cloudy, and some had bubbles, but I think they turned out well enough.

I used a bunch of different types and brands of nail polish, from $8 bottles of Essie to the little Bon-Bon bottles from Wal-Mart that are $.97. It takes some experimentation to get the effects you want, but the nail polish will wipe off the glass with acetone so you can do lots of practicing.

So to begin, paint on a layer of clear coat on the flat side of the cabochon, mine was OPI’s base coat.

Next I used a Sally Hansen glitter polish, as a rule of thumb it’s best to work with the most transparent polish to the most opaque. Crackle polish looks good as a second layer or depending on the look you want as a third or fourth layer too. The next layer I did on this marble was a crackle coat, mine was from Avon.

For the next layer on this marble I used another glitter coat, this one is from Essie.

The next layer was the last for this marble, it doesn’t matter how many layers you do. I like to end each marble with an opaque coat, it rounds out the colors nicely.

Below is a picture of a bunch of my finished marbles, it’s addicting to try different patterns. As you can see I tried a bunch of effects.

Of the smaller marbles, some of my favorites were the three below. You can really see the difference of using the crackle coat at different times. On the left it was the third coat after two layers of pink glitter. On the right it was the first layer with a blue opaque coat after that.


As you could sorta see in my first picture of the clear marbles, some of mine had a matte finish. Here is a before and after shot of them:


I love the dark red one, it looks like a matte ruby. The green ones look darker in the picture than they really are, I painted them with an Avon color that looks very similar to the color I use for my Zounds header.

Like I mentioned, making these is extremely addicting, it’s impossible to make just one. I want to make the ruby-red one above into a ring, possibly with rhinestones around it. For the others I’m not sure what they will end up as. I’ve looked all over for nice ring blanks, but the ones Michaels, Hobby Lobby and Joann carry are all the cheapest of cheap plain metal. I think I’ll end up purchasing some cool ones online instead, which you will surely read all about in part 2.