Browsing Category "Crafts and DIYs"

Awesome Fall/Winter Projects and Crafts

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! ‘Tis the season to roll yourself in glitter, slap a paper star to your forehead, and adopt as your official motto the phrase “All Your Crafts Are Belong to Us.” Work has made me insane in the membrane, so this year I’m not thinking too far outside the box and am instead revisiting craft posts from the past, all of which emphasize getting your gluestick groove on in cheap and easy ways. The TP Tube Turkeys and Borax Crystal Snowflakes are not to be missed, but there are some other gems in there too. (The Starlight Peppermint Cups are pretty awesome, IMO.)

Have fun, pin away, and let me know which are your favorites!

Fall and Thanksgiving

TP Tube Turkeys *crowd favorite!*
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Thankfulness Turkey Basket (There’s a surprise on the feathers.)
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Winter and Christmas

Borax Crystal Snowflakes *crowd favorite!*
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DIY Snowglobe Magnets *crowd favorite!*
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Starlight Peppermint Cups
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Ivory Snow Trees
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Spaghetti Trees
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Martha Wrap Trees
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Easy DIY Felt Trees
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DIY Snowglobes

New Years

24 Awesome Advent Calendars (to Make or Buy)
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14 New Year’s Eve Projects and Crafts
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Easy DIY Felt Trees

These are great, aren’t they?

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L to r: Land of Nod, now out of stock, and the Company Store, $29 (hat tip to Caitlin’s holiday decor guide for the link).

Now let me show you how to make them for $3.

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This post was originally published in December 2012.

Here’s my definition of the perfect craft: quick, easy, inexpensive, endlessly customizable, and goooooood-lookin’. When I came across these simple and modern felt trees (Christmas or otherwise) in the LAnd of Nod catalog (in 2012), I knew I had to at least try to make them. To tell the truth, sometimes my “inspired by something I saw in a catalog” DIY crafts are epic failures, but this one? This one was even easier than I thought it would be, which is why it’s genius for busy families, even ones who think they don’t have crafting skills.

Putting the tree together takes almost no time at all, but there is a fair amount of prep, which makes this a good project to start while kicking back with a cup of tea (or hot toddy) and watching a holiday movie you’ve seen three dozen times. (It doesn’t get better than Love, Actually, yeah?)

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What you’ll need:

–papier mache cone
–sheets of felt
–small circle for tracing (I used the rim of a shot glass)
–pen for tracing
–hot glue gun or craft glue

The inspiration models had soft, rounded bottoms, were sewn and stuffed, and would be way too much work to replicate exactly, which is why we’re making some working-mom adjustments, starting with the tree form. I found three sizes of papier mache cones at the craft store, and they were just the thing. They’re inexpensive ($2 to $6), easy to work with, and they stack away when the holidays are over. If you can’t find paper cones, I bet styrofoam would work too.

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The cones are 7″, 10.63″, and 13.75″ tall. Here’s my almost-four-year-old holding the medium-sized ones, for scale:

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I loved the muted colors of the original trees, but I happened to have a giant sheet of bright green felt already, so that’s what I used for my first attempt. I bought some red felt (the cheap kind that comes in 9″x12″ sheets for $.29) to balance out my collection.

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I traced circles onto the felt using a shot glass and a really inky pen (but one that didn’t bleed through the felt to the other side). Each circle measures just under 2″ across; I made them all the same size so I wouldn’t have to do any math. If you have an ink pad, I bet you could even stamp out the circles, which would speed things up even more. (If you’re doing trees in several sizes, it would probably look great to do smaller circles for the smaller trees, and larger for larger, but you certainly don’t have to.)

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(You also don’t have to cut your own circles at all, since Etsy sells them in big batches.

The number of circles you need will depend on the size of your tree and how close together you glue your circles. For the medium-sized tree in these photos, I needed 47 circles; for the smaller red tree I used 27. I traced and cut out the circles not while drinking tea and watching a favorite holiday flick but while bouncing my baby in his carrier. So it goes.

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Now comes the fun part! Glue the circles onto your cone in rows starting at the bottom. Let this bottom row overlap the base of the cone so you can either flare the ends out onto your table or tuck and glue them under for a finished edge. I worked around the cone from left to right in rows (rather than in a continuous spiral, if that makes sense; basically, go all the way around the bottom, then start a new row above that). You can tuck the edge of the last circle in each row under the first circle from that row for a seamless look.

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I used hot glue because it dries almost instantly and makes the process go faster. The only things you need to be careful about with hot glue are (a) not using too much or letting it get too hot that it melts the felt and (b) not gluing your fingers together (ouch). Craft glue (even Elmer’s) is the other option, although you risk the circles sliding around before the glue dries. I’d definitely use craft glue if I were doing this with kids, for obvious reasons.

And there’s not much to it other than that! I glued the circles onto the medium tree in about 15 minutes, which was great because I wanted to make a whole forest of these for my dining room table. (I have small children and naughty cats, so my decorations need to be unbreakable.) If you want to get really fancy, and if you have access to a wide range of felt colors, you could pick shades that would let you do a cool ombre pattern from tip to base. If you have wacky kids who love to make wacky crafts, you could cut out circles in all kinds of crazy colors (do they make neon felt?) and create multicolored trees. I’ve even seen felt stamped with patterns like waves or snakeskin. If you’re into glitz, mist your finished trees with a bit of spray glitter, or glue on something shiny like beads, sequins, or ribbon. Instead of cutting circles, you could cut triangles for a pointy tree. Hey, how about using those zig-zag fabric scissors? Or making these in fall colors for Thanksgiving? So many options. So much fun. Let me know what you come up with!

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If you like this, you might also like my other winter/holiday/Christmas crafts. Click for the list!

30 Mar
2015

Easy Easter Eggs, Three Ways

I’d be remiss if I didn’t repost this Easter egg craft from a few years ago. Traditional egg dyeing is fun but always turns out a little meh, so these are the techniques I use when I want something a little more showy. Theyse are still plenty fun and plenty easy (if not moreso on both counts), and they’re a sweet addition to Easter brunch if you decide to wake up and have a proper meal at a table instead of hunched over a basket of candy.

(Bonus tip: Use a lint roller — the kind with the sticky paper you can peel off and throw away — to clean up glitter if you have a problem with everything in your house glittering from now until forever.) (Myself, I’ve grown to like it, but that may be because I’ve inhaled enough fine-grain sparkle that my brain isn’t working right.)

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Last year I tried to get my three-year-old to painstakingly decoupage a dozen fragile blown-out Easter eggs. This worked about as well as you’d imagine, which was not at all. This year we’re going a little simpler with stamps, markers, sticky dots, and glitter. Join us!

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Glitter Polka-Dot Easter Eggs

Here’s how we’re doing the bulk of our eggs, since this technique was such a hit with my glitter-loving, attention-span-deficient son:

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All you need are sticky dots (also called “tacky dots” or “glue dots” — I found them on the all-things-adhesive aisle of the craft store) and glitter.

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I covered our work surface with freezer paper and tried to contain the glitter in baking cups, but when all was said and done, it’s a good thing I love glitter because it is now absolutely everywhere.

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A few tricks I’d like to pass on to you for this project:

1. It seems like it would be easier to stick all the dots on and then roll the egg in glitter. This didn’t work great for us because our dots were REALLY sticky, which means we spent a lot of time prying them off the table and our fingers (funny, but annoying after a while). We had an easier experience sticking on a few dots at a time and then sprinkling those with glitter (which takes the stickiness away) before moving on. This also allows you to do dots of different colors on the same egg.

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2. To remove excess glitter from the egg, use a paint brush or foam craft brush instead of your fingers, CHILD.

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I love how these turned out and can imagine them becoming a family tradition, glitter mess and all.

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Name-Stamped Easter Egg Place Cards

When is a place card not a place card? When it’s a hard-boiled egg nested on a napkin, of course. (Of course.) I love the look of eggs stamped with guests’ names for seating at Easter brunch. (Just don’t leave them out for too long if you’re planning to eat them.)

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I got a set of letter stamps for under $5. (Here’s a Melissa and Doug stamp set with uppers and lowers for $16, plus regular craft ink.) Instead of inking up on a stamp pad, I colored the stamps with food-safe markers (which are great for leaving notes on tortillas and drawing derpy faces on cheese sticks).

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(I’m sad to say I don’t actually know anyone named Fern, just that we’d watched Charlotte’s Web that morning.)

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Edible-Inked Easter Eggs

And speaking of food-safe markers…

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This technique (and all of them, actually) works best on room-temperature eggs, since eggs that have been in the fridge tend to sweat when they warm up, and that moisture will make your ink smear and run.

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(If you don’t have edible markers, Sharpies are exquisite for this too, although you won’t be able to eat the eggs after unless you like the taste of POISON and CERTAIN DEATH, which I’m guessing you don’t.)

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I love dressing up my eggs every year and hope you guys are inspired to give one or more of these ideas a try. Anyone up for it? How are you decorating your eggs this year?