DIY Holiday Decorations

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Keeping on with the Holiday theme, I have three small  projects that can give your decorations a personal touch.   This week, I am going to tell you how to make three different items that can be use anywhere but mostly on trees, garland, and wreaths during this season.  I like to surf the internet to get some ideas started and then I let my imagination fly while I stare into the area of my home with all of my craft supplies.  Then I hope I can make whatever crafts I have planned with as little as interference from my cats and bird as I can.   As you can imagine, that may be the most difficult part of crafting projects.

The first item I made this week was button garland for a tree.   It is so easy as long as you have the correct supplies.  First, you will need buttons.  This is a great way to temporarily or permanently reuse buttons that have fallen off clothes over the years and never sewn back on.  I collect mine because I rarely know which garment they go to until I put the garment on and realize I’m missing one.  However, if you don’t have enough around the home for the size project you are doing, I did find packages in my dollar store and then I found cheap larger packages at my fabric store.   In my case, I wanted to get certain colors as my tree is made out of bright green tinsel type material so certain colors would work because of clashing.  If you going with a certain color theme, this may require going to fabric stores that have more variety in colors and packaging.

Button Garland requires:

Lots of buttons
Thread or twine
Pair of scissors

One thing I am going to point out with this project- make sure your thread or twine is small enough to get through your button holes.   I had to get a bit creative for that.  Measure out the twine or thread ahead of time or use the spool to hold buttons on as you continue to thread the buttons. Then when you are ready, thread your buttons onto thread or twine until you have enough of the buttons to space how you’d like.  If you are using a pattern be sure to keep size or color of buttons piled in the order you are planning to thread them. Cut and tie it off with a knot large enough on both ends so buttons won’t slide off.  Then hang on the item you are decorating.

 The second craft for today is salt dough ornaments.   These are great to add personal and homemade touches for any celebration regardless if it is Christmas.   In my case, I wanted to create the best personal touch I could to my Chanukah and Christmas decorations for home and office.

 I, also, have thought about how I can make more for each of the holidays using fun shaped cutters. I stared at my Easter and kid’s toys themed cutters and got a bit excited about using them throughout the coming year to make decorations to hang.  One year, my parents left the tree up all year and decorated it for the year with the right colored lights and other random decorations.

 The Salt Dough Recipe

4 cups of all-purpose flour
1 cup of table salt
1-½ cups hot water

Mix flour and salt until it is well mixed.  I would recommend putting them in the sifter and sift at the same time then mix around a few times.   Once you have it well mixed, slowly add the hot water and mix extremely well.  Then hand knead the dough and add flour or water until it works for you consistency wise.

Then flour a working station and rolling pin.  Tonight, I had to use a cutting board on top of my room temperature stove top because of space issues in my kitchen.  If you have a small kitchen that may work best. Once you have rolled your dough to ⅛ to ¼ inch thickness, go ahead and cut out the ornaments or decorations with cutters and/or knife.  I wanted to utilize the help of my “assistants” and standard biscuit shaped cutter in my home which is a measuring cup.   Keep in mind, you can use anything you have around as a guide for a shape.   What I did for the personal touch was a paw or foot/beak print of each of my animals.   My bird decided it wasn’t just his foot that was going to be imprinted.    Now, I’d preheat the oven to no warmer than 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  You can do longer at a cooler temp but I recommend nothing lower than 250 degrees.

Once you have the shapes cut out, you can either use coloring to paint the cut outs then.  I didn’t do this first but rather cooked them first then will paint afterwards.  Be sure to add a hole big enough to add a piece of string or ribbon thread in it.  Once they are cooked which is about an hour (or longer if done at a lower temperature), you can also paint and varnish.   String them and hang once they have dried after the paint/varnish process.  However, I looked around and found that I can super glue a piece of ribbon to the back to be able to hang it.   Sometimes, you have to be creative about mishaps like this.


The last project for this week is animal themed ornaments.  In my example, I made a polar bear look but using a matte silver ornament bulb using white pom poms.  I have an issue with my hands today so I had to use more of the self- adhesive tape.  If you have another favorite animal, you can use your imagination.

 What you need for animal ornaments:
Solid color ornaments
Pom poms (of different sizes)
Super Glue and/or double-sided tape (if you are working with less time or small hands, use pre-cut squares of double-sided tape)
Self adhesive eyes

 
I was hoping to find white bulbs in three sizes so I can make snowmen with just using self sticking felt sheets cut out for the hat, buttons and carrot.  I know I have the least well rounded dollar stores where I live currently.  I used to live in an area with three chains of dollar stores and were well stocked with everything.   However, all the items as I made them were available at the local dollar store.  I even found super glue there if I needed it. Just glue pom poms in a way that takes shape of the animal then apply other details.  Just be sure to put it so it hangs from behind the animal’s head.

 
Now, as a friendly reminder, reuse or use leftover supplies around the home.  In my case I used scrap pieces of paper to make the face and some old bulbs until I saw that glitter bulbs will not work with double sided tape as I tried.  Another mishap I had was I thought I put a bag of eyes in my basket.  Apparently I saw them, and didn’t pick one up.  That is why I used scrap paper. You may see those silly posts about Pinterest failures.   I take what some would deem failures and get a bit creative to work around it.  If you really can’t salvage it, don’t get down and just try again. Don’t get discouraged and remember these projects are supposed to be fun!


DIY: Salt Water Etching

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Good morning Thursday Crafthackers!

I found a tutorial that I wanted to share, especially since it will be brought to you by SCIENCE! Also by this tutorial from Upstarter Ramblings. But by SCIENCE! Check out how super cool this looks.

So, there are some things you’ll need. First, you will need whatever it is that is stainless steel that you will be etching – this tutorial uses a water bottle… which are pretty easy to find hanging around at your local home, school camping… many stores have them. You will also need a lead set with alligator clips, a stencil of the pattern to be etched, 1/2 C of water, 1/2 tsp salt, 9 Volt battery and cotton swabs.

Your first step is to find a design you want to put on your stainless steel thing. It will need to be a stencil that you can cut out on vinyl, a prepared stencil, or one that you make from masking tape it it is a simple design. As long as the stencil is sticky, you will be good as the parts that aren’t stuck to the surface  (the exposed parts) will be what gets etched.

Mix the water and salt together into a jar and stir. Add a bunch of cotton swabs to the jar. Next, hook  one wire from the positive terminal of the batter to the metal water bottle. You can attach it to the open lid with the clip.

Hook the other wire from the negative terminal of the battery to the wet end of one of the cotton swabs. The clip has to be on the wet part of the swab.

Place the swab on the bottle where you want your design to show – in the negative spaces of the stencil, and make sure to dab the entire area.

The tip of the swab will get discoloured as metal is transferred from the bottle to the swab so replace it often – hence the handful of cotton swabs needed.

Try to cover the area evenly and when you’re done, dry off the design and remove the stencil. Wash away any remaining liquid.

And there you have it. A super impressive, super complicated looking project that you can do yourself.

Happy Crafting!

~ Megan

 

 

 

 


DIY Wax Luminaries

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Good morning, Thursday readers.

I found a really cool tutorial from Candle Tech that caught my eye and initially I thought it might be a little silly, but the more I looked at it, the more I liked it. Tea light/votive holders made from wax. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but what makes it work is the type of wax used. And plus, they look really cool.

You do need some supplies and tools: High-melt paraffin wax – IGI-1260 – (this one is super important – don’t use something that isn’t high melt), party balloons, a double boiler and a cookie sheet with parchment paper. You will need to start by filling your balloon with tepid water.

Your next step is to melt your wax in a double boiler. The best temperature for this project is 180 degrees Fahrenheit.  Using a double boiler will help to keep things from overheating, and you can use a thermometer to double check if you have one.

Slowly dip your balloon into the wax to just below the water level inside the balloon. If you go past the water level, your balloon can pop. Hold the balloon in the wax for a few seconds and then slowly lift it out. Let it cool between dips, but you’ll need to do this a few more times to get a good thickness of wax on the balloon.

When the wax is still fairly warm, put the balloon on a piece of parchment or on a cookie sheet. This will allow a flat bottom to be created so it’s level and won’t topple over. Allow to cool a little, and then repeat the above process a few more times. You’re going to want a thickness of about 1/4 to 1/2 an inch of wax on your balloon. Set it aside again to let it cool.

 

When the water inside the balloon and the wax are completely cool, holding the wax portion so it doesn’t fall and aiming the mouth away from you, pop the balloon over this sink with something sharp to let the water drain out and toss the deflated rubber.

If the top of your luminary isn’t level, that’s okay. There’s an easy fix, since you’re working with wax. Just heat up a cookie sheet in the oven and place the luminary top down onto the hot metal (you can put some parchment paper down to catch the wax) and melt the edges until it’s level. You can wipe the paper with a paper towel if you’re going to need to do it a couple times.

And you’re ready to go with a tea light or a votive (remember, votives need some kind of container to keep them from melting everywhere). So long as you’re just using those types of candles, the luminary won’t melt. Remember, it’s high temp wax, so you need more heat to melt it. If you want to add some colour to your wax, you can add some crushed crayons (though it might make them a little less transparant). You can also think about adding glitter or even doing a few white layers of wax as a base with a couple colour layers over top. You could even dip the top rim in glitter once you’ve melted it to make it level or you might want to carve your creations afterwards… but regardless of what you end up doing, they do look super cool!

Happy Crafting!

~Megan

 

 

 


DIY: Mini Mummies

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Good morning Thursday Crafthackers!

I found an amazingly cute and easy Halloween decor DIY that I couldn’t pass up sharing with you. They are as the title describes, and the original post I came across can be found here.

For this project you need a few supplies, but they’re pretty easy to find at any craft and fabric shop. You’ll need some styrofoam balls (whatever size you like, or varying sizes), muslin (at least 1/4 yard, but more if you’re going to be making many), eyelets or brads, tea bags, a spray bottle, 22 gague floral wire and glue.

Your first step? Make a cup of tea for you and a cup of tea for your mummies. That’s right… the tea for you is fuel for your day. The tea for your mummies is to give them a spray at the end for colour.

Next, select a styofoam ball and press two eyelets or brads between the middle and top of the ball as eyes (you can dab them in a little glue for better hold, if you like).  For legs, cut two pieces of the floral wire, and bend each into an oval. Stick them into the bottom of the ball. You can choose to make them whatever length you prefer, so if you want a mummy with super long legs and a wee little head, it can be done!

Cut 3/8 inch wide strips of muslin and begin wrapping the ball until it is covered, going around the eyes and legs. Use glue to adhere the ends of the strips on the ball.

Remove the tea bag from the mummy tea and put it into the spray bottle. Spray the mummy lightly and let it dry. When it’s dry, give it another spray and continue this process until you get the colouring you like, and just like that, you have a cute collection of the undead.

Happy Crafting!

~Megan

 


A Glance into the Future

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Happy Sunday, all!

Today I have for you a DIY project that is just too cool not to share and (of course) it’s a bit creepy! From Bev at flamingotoes.com, I give you spooky crystal ball candlesticks:

They don’t HAVE to be creepy but they sure look good when they are!

I will say that you do need a few specialty items to make these look great like ink jet printable transparencies and good quality images but the original tutorial has a complete list and some resources for those images! Ultimately you’ll need: Inkjet Transparency film, candlesticks, clear holiday bulbs, hot glue, a candle, and the crystal ball shape pattern.

It starts with printing the images on to the transparency film and cutting them into the crystal ball shape:

Eye see some other great ideas in your future!

Make sure that the little tab at the bottom is included as that will become important in another step. But first, the crystal ball should look a little smoky so the next step is to light a candle and let the smoke drift up into your clear bulb:

Use extreme caution! It will get hot!

As it states in the tutorial, do this is stages so that you don’t burn yourself and the bulb does not shatter. After it is a lovely smoky shade and has cooled, it’s time to insert the image:

Also, make sure you are inserting with the tab facing out of the opening!

Once the image is inserted, the tab should be slightly sticking out so that you may glue it to the rim of the opening. This will make the image stand upright:

Thank goodness you remembered the tab, right?

Finally, it’s time to place it on your candlestick. I would definitely get a feel for the size of the rim to the size of your candlestick opening as you may have to use a little filler if the candlestick is bigger. If not, it’s still suggested that glue be applied for stability:

The eyes have it!

So there you are, some added sophistication and creep factor in your decorating this season. Next week we’ll take a look at some DIY treat bags for the kiddos.

Stay crafty!

~Laura

 

 


DIY: Light Up Halloween Tree

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Good morning Thursday Crafthackers!

I came across this lovely DIY that is amazingly versatile since you can apply the same techniques to different holidays. All you need to do is use different colours and accents. Since Halloween is coming up soon though, it’s going to be a Halloween one, because it’s a holiday I love. I didn’t make this up myself, so you can find the full and original tutorial here.

You’ll need some materials, but they can be found at craft stores or hardware stores. If you make these a little closer to the holiday, you can often find the seasonal stuff on sale. You will need a 54″ tomato cage (lots of hardware stores sell them year round, but if not in your area, you could always order one) and you could do it any size for your space with a tutorial for making one from a larger cage here, but we will do this larger size for outdoor. You will also need 10-15 zip ties, 2 sets of 100 christmas lights (white works well with any colour ribbon, but keep in mind, if you can find other colours, purple or green would look just amazing), 5 rolls of mesh ribbon, 100 black pipe cleaners and extra seasonal decorations of your choice (like spiders, witches hats, sparkly pumpkins…)

If you’re going to be putting your tree into some soil, in a pot or on the ground, you can cut the widest ring off the cage so you can create stakes to hold them in place.You could also skip this step and have it sit on a flat surface, though you might need some extra ribbon.

Use a zip tie to attach together the top of the tree (the bottom of the cage) to create a tip that comes together.

 

Start adding lights and loop them around and around, using the zip ties to secure them every so often when they get droopy. You’re now ready to cut your ribbon.

 

You can use scissors. But if you have a rotary cutter, you can go for that too. Cut them at 10″ each so if you have 10″ wide ribbon, you’ll end up with 10″ squares.

Attach one pipe cleaner to the cage.

 

Accordion fold two pieces of mesh and hold them side by side.

This photos is with the two sets of two (so there’s 4 accordion folded pieces of mesh)

Twist them in the pipe cleaner. Repeat this at least twice per pipe cleaner, and keep adding the mesh until the tree is covered. You can clip any ends of pipe cleaners if they are a little long, but save them so you can use them to attach the decor.

Attach your little seasonal decorations to the pipe cleaners (or add in any extras you might want to). This tutorial writer even added witches legs, that would be super easy to do and super cute coming out of the bottom of a planter pot.

It just looks so good with the lights, it’s unbelievable!

 

And you’re done. And  you’re fabulous. And the best part is that after this tutorial you have a beautiful Halloween tree that’s covered in sparkly decorations and lights up when you plug it in.

Happy crafting!

~ Megan

 


Easy DIY Halloween Crafts and Decorations

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Hey Crafty Peoples! Sorry about my absence last week; I was on vacation but I’m back and ready to hit you with some sweet sweet Halloween decorations and crafts. Y’all, this is my favorite holiday of all the holidays. I would celebrate this one all year round. Nothing is better than the creepy, the scary and the Halloween-y. In my opinion, that is.

This week, I wanted to focus on some easy and cost-effective ways to decorate the interior of your home for the spookiest of holidays. Next week, I shall direct you to some wonderful sites with ideas for outdoor decor.

There are a lot of crafty folks out there so the majority of these ideas I saw via Pinterest or Facebook. Most of these are ways to re-purpose old household items into fun crafts to keep the kiddies busy or to decorate the house/apartment when you’re pinching those pennies. Some of these are as simple as getting some construction paper or poster board and cutting out Halloween-y shapes. For example, you can cut out bat shapes and either just tape them to your walls (make sure you use painters tape to protect your walls!) or you can pinch them near the middle, attach a string and suspend them from your ceiling. I personally like this way because it looks like there’s bats flying ’round your house and it scares the crap out of people who come by to visit or take care of your cat. You don’t have to stick with bats either. Pumpkins and Jack’O’Lanterns are fun and festive but easy to cut out. If you’re feeling particularly artistic and ambitious, you can cut out witches on brooms, ghosts, mummies, zombies…the possibilities are endless!

For those of you who can’t seem to bring yourselves to toss out those empty pill bottles, you can use them to make some fun and creepy-looking, old-timey apothecary bottles. Magia Mia has a wonderful tutorial here that walks you through making that garbage into Halloween gold. Also, environmentally friendly because you’re reducing the amount of trash you toss. Recycling at it’s crafties.

Another quick and inexpensive way to dress up a room is to give your candles a little makeover. I saw this on Pinterest but the original idea was posted by the wonderfully hilarious (and stylish!) Big Ang Raiola of Mob Wives fame. You can add flourish to small candles in glass by gluing lace around the glass. These have a gothic Victorian feel to them but you can add any kind of ribbon or lace you’d like. Customize to the theme of your Halloween abode.

If you want some scary spiderwebs around your house but you don’t want to deal with that sticky, hard-to-clean fake webbing from the party supply stores you can either just not clean for a really long time (hey, realism in decorations is KEY) or you can make these fun balloon spiderwebs. They are easy to make but it does take a little longer to make than some of the other crafts I’ve posted about here. You’ll want to make sure you have ample time to complete them properly. You can find the instructions here.

And for my pièce de résistance, a little something for all you Harry Potter fans out there. Ever want your home to look like the Great Hall at Hogwarts? I don’t know about you, but I wanted candles magically hovering above my head from the first moment I saw it in the movies. Well, here’s a way to accomplish this feat, at least for a few weeks. Follow these easy-to-understand instructions over at The Sway to make your home into your very own Great Hall.

These are just a few ways to make your home more festive for this spooky holiday. I highly recommend checking out Pinterest for more ideas and remember to think outside the box. Something you see someone else having posted may inspire you to create your very own unique Halloween decorations.

Next week, I’ll talk about some truly terrifying decorations you can add to your porches and yard (should you be lucky enough to have a property with either of these things) to make your house the most frightening on the block.

Happy decorating, Hackers!

~Scribe Sarah~


Apothecary Accents

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Happy Sunday, all!

It’s October!!! Hopefully you know what that means around here…if not, be prepared for fall/Halloween posts galore! To start us out, I wanted to showcase a craft I’ve been wanting desperately to try out: DIY apothecary jars! I’ve always loved the look of the apothecary jars you can purchase from big box stores but the price tag and possibility of cats knocking over my precious purchases often discouraged me. Now, thanks to this lovely tutorial from Ria’s World of Ideas, I won’t feel half as bad if I make my own from dollar store items:

For fall, there are a wide array of fillers to choose from. If you like to keep it classy and colorful, some fall leaves and pinecones (perhaps with some hidden pumpkins) would look wonderful.

Plus it makes for a great “I Spy” game!

Or keep it classic by throwing some seasonal gourds into one.

I love weird shaped gourds for some reason.

Or keep it natural with some acorns, pinecones, and bits of wheat.

Just make sure if you harvest your own acorns/pinecones, that you check for any little buggy “friends” that may tag along on them.

Let’s be honest here, though. If it’s me we are talking about, there will be some kind of creepy element added to these jars, more than likely some skulls.

Ah, eyeballs and skulls, that’s more like it.

I’ve seen plenty of posts that include different arrays of colorful beans (natural or the jelly kind), Halloween candy, and mini terrariums that would also be amazing displays for the season. Bring a little bit of those fall colors inside!

Stay crafty!

~Laura


DIY: Halloween Burlap Table Runner

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Good morning Thursday Crafthackers.

I’m not sure about where you’re living, but where I’m living, a spectacularly hot few days have finally ended and we are into weather that is more appropriate for fall. This gets me thinking about jackets, hats, scarves and of course, Halloween. There’s something beautiful about Halloween decor that is not only season appropriate but also a beautiful addition to the home. It tickles something inside me and reminds me of my youth. I have a tutorial today for you to make a table runner which is highly customizable and looks so cool when it’s done.

You can find the full tutorial here, but I’ll be giving you the rundown. You will need a few supplies. Burlap, being one, and some form of cheap fabric to line the runner with – it can be unbleached cotton or muslin, but check out your remnants bin at your local craft store and see what’s there. You can either buy a section long enough for your runner, or you can sew a couple sections together if you’d like to be a little more economical. You’ll also need freezer paper, spray paint, some kind of cutter or exacto knife. I would say that instead of spray paint, you could also use some stenciling brushes and paint if you’re got some already at home, or there are colours you want to use. Just keep in mind washability. Since this is a seasonal item, I usually don’t worry too much about it, but you might want to get some fabric paint that you’ll be able to wash afterwards.

Your first step is to decide how long you’d like to make your runner. Make it long enough so it can hang nicely over the edges of your table. This tutorial had a finished size of 11″x88″, but it isn’t necessary for it to be that long. Next, cut your burlap wider than you’d like the actual runner to be. Burlap can fray very easily, so leave an inch and a quarter on each long side of your runner.  You will want to cut your lining material 1 inch wider than your finished runner.

Next, with the waxy side of your freezer paper facing down, cut out the design. You can either hand draw your design, or you can print it out on regular paper and use that as your negative design – just make sure that you attach the freezer paper to it so that your burlap is fully covered. Use the knife to cut out your design, and just be careful to have nice clean edges. To help you get cleaner edges, you can iron your freezer paper to the burlap with the wax side down so it will stick and give you some nice sharp edges.

You can  put designs anywhere you want, whether it`s just at the edges or along the centre as well. Just make sure that you cover any space you don`t want painted as if you’re using spray paint, you can have quite a wide spray radius.

 

 

Next, spray over the designs onto the burlap, or use your stencil brush and paint to fill in the negative space. Make sure your paint is even and when everything is dry, you can remove the paper.

You can now place the runner and the lining together, with right sides together and pin. The burlap is bigger than the lining, and that’s okay, remember, we wanted to account for any fraying. Stitch a half inch seam down both sides, leaving the end open. Trim off any excess burlap so that your seam allowances are even.

Turn the runner right side out and iron, design side down. Please put an old towel underneath your design so you don’t get any paint to stick in places you don’t want it to.  Fold the ends of the runner so that the raw edges are tucked in, and if you want to put some trim on the edge of your runner, cut a piece to fit and pin, then top stitch all the layers together – do this for both sides.
That’s all you need to make this beauty! I love that it works for us creative types that can’t actually draw, and so that makes me a happy lady.
Hope you enjoyed the DIY, and happy crafting!
~Megan

Beautiful and Spooky

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Happy Sunday, all!

I know I hinted at some fall décor in the next post but then something came across my feed that I simply HAD to share. These amazing little embroideries and artwork from French artist Petrichor are something that should be sought out and purchased immediately:

Not only does she hand embroider each of the delightful, dark images on the pins but many of her pieces of one of a kind. She also has an impressive line of lino-printed keepsake boxes:

So lovely and perfect for storing all of your precious bits and bobs.

Her main line of artwork is just as gorgeous, with more wonderfully witchy prints to be had:

These could arguably be considered fall décor but I’m more inclined to keep them up all year round.

If you fancy yourself some spooky items to adorn your walls or yourself, she can be found on her website, Etsy, Facebook, and Instagram. Please note that she also does custom designs! Also note that she is based out of France so some of her pages are in French.

Stay crafty!

~Laura