DIY Tie Die Dog Leash.

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Hi there Thursday Crafthackers!

Love this little tutorial from StudioDIY, partly because it’s super easy, but also because it involves some minimal materials to make a great gift for you and your pooch or for another dog lover. I also love that it uses tie dye paint, which is meant to have things dipped in it, and is also meant to blend with the other colours, so makes something like this super easy.

Your first step is to get some tie dye paint – you should be able to find some at any craft store but it can also be ordered. Mix the dye with water in the bottles according to the package directions. The dyes are super bright when made this way, and if you want a bit of a softer colour, you can squeeze some into glass bowls and mix with additional water (1:3 ratio). It just depends how bright you’d like your piece.  You’ll also need to buy a white cotton leash from any pet store.

 

Next, choose which colours you’d like to use, and how long your leash is. If your leash is 6 feet long, you could choose 6 colours, one for each foot. But you can do whatever combination you’d like. Just organize everything beforehand so you don’t have to be fiddling with dye in the middle of your project.

Lay down some protective plastic, make sure you’re wearing some gloves so you don’t dye your hands, and then start dying the handle end of the leash first. Dip it into your first colour and let it sit for about one minute. Remove and continue with the next colour.

The colours will (and should) blend together, so don’t worry if there’s some bleeding or overlap. If you have an extra pair of hands, this will make everything easier, so you might want to phone a friend to come by. When you’re done, let the colour sit in the leash for 8 or more hours before you give it a thorough wash in the sink.

And that’s a super easy way to make gifts for your animal loving friends, to to have a fantastic dog leash for yourself.

Happy crafting!

~Megan


DIY Fall Floral Arrangements

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Happy Monday, Hackers!

My favorite season is now upon us and most people seem to be super-duper excited about Pumpkin Spice Lattes. I, however, most look forward to two very important things related to fall: Fall decorations and Halloween (my favorite holiday so be forewarned…my October posts will ALL be Halloween-related).

I usually put up fall decorations right around Labor Day and most of these I procure at Dollar Tree because they are cheap and easy and well, we all love cheap and easy. But there is one thing that I do every single year not only because they add lots of those beautiful fall colors to my apartment but they are also really cheap and easy and FUN to make. Floral Arrangements!

Using fake leaves and flowers are a wonderful way to dress up your space without having to maintain a plant. It’s also beneficial for those of us who have furry friends and family (since many real plants can be toxic to our beastly brethren). You can customize these easy arrangements to your specific decorative vision. Unlike real bouquets and plants, you can create something that you know you’re going to love.

All the supplies I gathered for the small piece I made for this post were obtained at my local Dollar Tree. They always have a pretty broad and diverse selection of flowers and leaves to choose from and it’s an inexpensive place to find the foam forms and floral moss you’ll need to stick the pieces into and dress up your arrangement. Other stores that you can find great and usually inexpensive supplies at are Michaels and Joann Fabrics. But also check out your local craft stores, especially those independently-owned ones. Support local businesses!

 

For this piece, I wanted something small for the little table by my recliner so I chose this lovely white ceramic bowl with a festive fall leaf design around the rim. I then placed my foam form into the center of the bowl. You’ll want to find a form that is just slightly smaller than the dish or basket you are placing your arrangement in. It should almost fill the space, leaving room for you to dress with moss around the edge and over the top. There are also large forms that can be cut down and shaped to whatever you need.

 

I like to choose a center focal point for my arrangement. This gives me an idea of what colors I’ll want to use, the different levels I’ll want to achieve and where the rest of the flowers and leaves will be placed. While you don’t necessarily want your arrangement to be perfectly symmetrical, you do want to have a sort of uniformity to the piece. Using a focal point helps to accomplish this.

Then, I put my floral moss around the edges and over the top of the form to hide it. Once you have that finished, let your creativity flow. Play around with what flowers, berries, or leaves you want where. Use different lengths to the stems when you cut them (you can use a regular scissors to cut them but it is a little tough to get through the wire stems so I recommend having a wire cutter handy). Poke the stems into the form to place the flowers; don’t be afraid to angle the stems, bend them to place the flowers exactly where you want.

 

Move the pieces around as you go, play with the arrangement until each item is exactly where you want it.

Once your arrangement is complete, all you need to do is set it out in whichever room you want to display it. Don’t forget you can also redo them anytime you like. Just take the flowers out and rearrange them or add new ones whenever you feel like a change. You can make small arrangements, like the one I made here, or you can make them as large as you like. I made this slightly larger one last fall and still love it. It will definitely be a part of my fall decorating tradition for years to come.

The best part of this fun and simple DIY is that it is not season or holiday specific. You can use any color or type of fake flowers, add touches like holly for Christmastime or eggs for Easter. You can make them with school colors for graduation parties or as gifts. The possibilities are endless.


DIY Crushed Glass Coasters

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Good morning Thursday Crafthackers!

 

I have a super easy but really beautiful tutorial for you. If you were looking to make these as a gift, or decorate your own coffee table, they’re pretty simple and super impressive. The original tutorial can be found here.

You will need some supplies. You’ll need some cork coasters. I would recommend trying to find ones that have a small lip, like these from IKEA.  You will also need a decorative filler (you can explore a local craft store or even the garden/aquarium sections of a dollar store to find something you like).  The filler doesn’t have to be crushed glass, it can be anything you find that you like. Small stones, wee crystals, beads of varying sizes… really whatever you like.

You’ll need whatever colour spray paint you’d like your coasters to be, and some  Mod Podge Dimensional Magic Glue. This type of glue is recommended for the effect that it gives. Most crafting stores will carry this brand of glue or you can ask your helpful salesperson what they would recommend.

Your first step is to spray paint your coasters and let them dry. Next, take your decorative filler and fill your coasters. You just want to use a thin layer, you don’t want to actually fill your coasters. Use your dimensional magic and fill in the coasters. You’ll want to make sure that all of your filler is submerged in the glue so nothing is sticking out. One container of the glue in the size linked above will fill 4 coasters, FYI.

Let them dry for 24 hours, and you have an impressive gift, or addition to your room.

 

Happy crafting!

~Megan


DIY: Lap Desks

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Good morning Thursday Crafthackers!

I have a great no-sew DIY for a great lap desk that can be used to have a solid, hard surface for laptops, homework, reading, colouring, or whatever you’d like to use it for. The original tutorial can be found here at A Beautiful Mess.

You will need some supplies: A wooden lap desk top (You can buy one like this, or if you’re super crafty with wood and wood tools, you could make one), a foam square – fabric stores will often carry this, and craft stores might as well. You’ll need some fabric (1/3 – 1/2 a yard, depending on the size of your lap desk top), and trim. As for tools, you’ll need a few. Scissors, fabric glue, staple gun and staples (make sure they’re shorter than the lap desk top), wood stain and brushes (optional).

Your first step is to place the lap desk on the foam and trace the pattern. When you cut the foam though, cut it a little smaller than the top. You can use the scissors to cut the foam, and if your edges aren’t perfect, don’t panic. You’ll hide them. 🙂

If you’re choosing to stain the desk, now is the time. You can stain the tops and the sides of the lap desks. Let them fully dry.

Next, place the foam over the bottom side of the lap desk top (you might want to glue part of it down in the centre so that it stays put) and lay your fabric over top of the foam.  Try to make the edges look clean and pull the fabric tight as you staple the fabric to the desk top, stapling the fabric just underneath the foam to hold it in place – don’t fear stapling some of the foam down as well – this will just attach it more firmly. If any of your staple ends poke through the top of the desk, remove them and try again. No one wants to be bitten by rogue staples when trying to do work. It’s very distracting.

Trim any excess fabric and if you so choose to make a nice clean line at the seam where the fabric was stapled in place, glue some trim at the seam, and wait for it to dry.

And you’re done! Customizable lap desks that are great not just for laptop users, but for kids that like to colour and draw.

Happy back to school!

~ Megan


Hand-Knitted Ear Warmer/Headband

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The days and nights are getting chillier. Fall is just around the corner. And beyond that…winter is coming… (Sorry, had to make *some* mention of the Game of Thrones finale).

For the knitters out in our little crafting world, I wanted to pass along this very simple pattern that I came across on the interwebs. I have adapted this a bit to custom to varying head sizes. This pattern works best with chunky soft yarn. I prefer the Lions Brand Hometown USA. Whichever yarn you use, make sure that it has a little give because you will want the headband to stretch.

You’ll want to have US size 10 needles and a pair of scissors and a yarn needle handy as well. You will need two different color yarns; one will be what you knit the band out of and the other will be your accent color to finish the warmer. If you want to dress up your headband, you can also have a plastic or fabric flower handy or some felt shapes cut out to be stitched to the band. This is also a slightly more difficult pattern in that it uses the seed (or moss) stitch. This requires knowledge of the knit stitch and the purl stitch.

First thing to do is the make sure you’re spotted. I like to have a knitting buddy for this.

Just make sure your buddy doesn’t try to play with the yarn. *wink*

Cast on 10 stitches. On row 1, start with one knit stitch, then purl. Repeat this to the end of the row.

Row 2: *p1, k1; rep from * to end of row.

All odd numbered rows will start with a knit stitch; all even numbered rows will start with a purl stitch. I highly recommend using a stitch counter to track your progress. You can lose track of which stitch you need to start on very easily if you’re not paying attention. Your seed stitch should look like this.

Continue this pattern for 70 rows. You’ll want to keep your tension loose so that the headband will still have some stretch and give. If the tension is too tight, the headband will not fit. Once you get to row 70, bind off your work.

Then stitch the ends together to make a knitted circle. Then take the ends and tie around the ends to bunch the band in one spot.

 

Once that’s tied off, you will take your accent color and pull it through the center of the band. I usually have about 3 feet of yarn on each side, then wrap it around in a chunk. Once you have it fully bunched up and covered in your accent color, you will tie off the ends and snip it close. Then tuck the knot into the threads to hide it. Flip your band inside out and you are finished! You can decorate the band with anything you choose; buttons, flowers, whatever ideas you can think of.

This pattern can also be adjusted for head size by either increasing or decreasing the number of rows stitched. It can be completed in a couple hours and make great gifts!

(Note: you also may want to make sure your buddy doesn’t fall asleep on the job. LOL).

~Scribe Sarah~

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DIY: Marbled Planters.

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Good morning Thursday Crafthackers!

I have a beautiful, easy tutorial for you to spice up your balcony garden, or any place where you’ve got plants. Actually, what I love the most about this tutorial is that it can be used on more than just planters. You could use it on almost anything you can dip. You can find the original tutorial here, and check out how cool this looks…

The best part is that you can walk into any dollar store or craft store and find something you can dip. These can make amazing gifts for birthdays, bridal showers, or even just to give your home a little colour. Just remember that with this particular technique, you’re using spray paint, and so you will want to make sure this all stays on the outside of whatever project you’re doing. I wouldn’t say this is food safe.

So, your first step is to get spray paints of the colurs you would like to marble. RustOleum is recommended if you’re looking for metallics, but the rest is up to you! You will also need a container deep enough for whatever you want to dip. So a bucket or a tote would work very well. You might also want to test your dips before actually working on your piece, so some paper cups would come in handy. You’ll also need some painters tape, if you’re wanting to have some sharp edges. And that will be your first step (see above), to tape off any areas you do not want dipped,  or not, as you prefer.

Start to add your spray paint to the water filled tub. You will need to do this quickly, so read everything first and then start. Make sure to hold your spray can about 10 inches from the water, so you don’t get bubbles that will show up on your finished piece.

Add as many colours as you’d like, and spray them in in different places.

When you’ve added all of your colours, give your bucket a very gentle couple of taps on the side to make waves (not bubbles) to swirl the paint around.

Slowly dip your project into the water. If you go too fast or if your paint is too dry (see my comment about working fast above), the paint surface will break and you will have gaps with uneven edges.

Dip the planter into the water as far as you’d like and hold it there for about 30 seconds while you lightly fan the paint surface to quicken drying. If you used painters tape, it will make it so that any wiggling that would put more paint on in that area, will be removable.

Use a spoon to wipe away all the remaining paint floating on the surface of the water (you might want to use a plastic spoon for that). This will allow your project to come out with a clean design.

Let everything dry completely before you remove your painter’s tape. And voila! You’re done. You might want to give a spray with a sealant if you’re planning on using these outside, so that inclement weather doesn’t have any ill effects on your work of art. Hope you enjoyed the tutorial!

Happy Crafting!

~Megan

 


Etsy Shop Featurette: Identity Metals

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Who loves jewelry? I know I do, especially fandom-inspired things. I have a TARDIS necklace that is just the best. So when I stumbled across this little Etsy shop, my eyes just about popped out of my head.

Identity Metals is run by Katie Hroncich and is all about hand stamped metals. Every piece is unique in the smallest way. Katie explains in her Etsy bio that hand stamping means that no two pieces will ever be aligned or straight and that the pressure of the stamp gives a different depth and alignment to all the characters. These pieces are truly original and best of all, they go with everything.

There are bracelets, necklaces, and earrings. Fandoms featured include Supernatural, Teen Wolf, Game of Thrones (I personally adore the Game of Thrones Inspired – Moon of my Life, Sun and Stars Keychains), The Walking Dead and more. The best part of Katie’s shop is that she does customized pieces as well.

I highly recommend this shop to anyone who loves to wear their fandom heart on their sleeve…or neck…or ears. You can browse through the wonderful items at Identity Metals here.


DIY Personalized Mouse Pads

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Good morning Crafthackers!

I have for you a DIY for he men in your life. Whether it’s a birthday or a groomsmen gift, finding hand made gifts that work for men can be a challenge. What I love about this tutorial, as the original writer states (who is a gentleman), is that it’s gender neutral. So you can customize it for whomever you’d like to give it to, but that makes it perfect for a gift for a gentleman.

This is a tutorial for a hand printed mouse pad (you can find the original here). Perfect for gamers, tech lovers, and people who work at a computer. You’ll need some supplies for this. You’ll of course need an 8″ round, blank mouse pad. For your own ease of work, I would probably choose ones that don’t have the wrist rests, and I would probably choose white, so you can do whatever other colour you would like, and it will show up easily. You will also need 8.5 x 11 full sheet labels, a computer and printer, a craft knife/box cutter and cutting surface, a textile acrylic paint and stencil brush (which is available at craft stores, and iron and wax paper.

Your first step is to choose your design from a template that you can find online (check out this website here) or you can design your own if you’re artsy that way, and print it onto the label paper. Secoondly, you’ll need to choose your colour palate, and a lighter colour for the background is recommended, and a darker one for the foreground image. You will need to use the stencil brush to apply a base layer of colour.

While this coat dries, you can use this time to cut out the grey images of your template.

Make sure to keep the white images that you cut out though, as they will be the resist for the top layer of colour.

Peel the backing layer off the largest piece, and carefully adhere it to where you would like it to be on the mousepad. Using the template to refer back to, place the other pieces on the mousepad so that you have a replica of the original image on the mousepad.

Mix your top colour to your satisfaction and using a stencil brush, use quick dabs to apply the paint. Wish stencilling, you don’t want to have massive quantities of paint on your brush. It’s better to go with less to get the sharper lines. Remember, you can always go over the design a second time to make sure the area is covered.

When the paint is dry, cover the mouse pad with two layers of wax paper and iron on medium high heat (or follow the package directions) to set the ink.

And that’s it! Now, keep in mind that if you’re wanting to add other colours, that you can do that in any of the negative spaces. You’re not limited to one colour.

Hope you enjoyed this cool tutorial. Happy crafting!

~Megan


DIY Bath Salts (part two): Know your ingredients

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Last week, I showed you how easy it is it make your own bath salts. As with any recipe, they are not set in stone. You can certainly customize these recipes just as you would food recipes. However, as with the food you eat, it is important to know which ingredients are good for you and which are not. That’s what this Monday’s post is all about.

There are three main ingredients in most of the DIY bath salt recipes you will find online; salt, essential oil, and the carrier for the essential oils (usually another oil). Some of these recipes will add baking soda but I have found it isn’t absolutely necessary. However, it does provide some health benefits in its own right! Let’s start with the salts.

There are four kinds of salt that are most beneficial for bath salts. The easiest to find is, of course, Epsom salt. Anyone who has played sports or been active knows that Epsom salts are incredibly helpful in soothing sore muscles. It also helps when you’re sore from a bad fall…not that I have any personal experience with that part at all…. I’m lying, I fall on my face frequently. But Epsom salt (and really all salts listed here) are a great source of magnesium. Epsom salt is actually composed of tiny crystals of magnesium and sulfate, making it very different from your run of the mill, regular table salt. Our bodies need magnesium for a number of reasons, one of which is that it helps our bodies produce serotonin. Serotonin is that fun little chemical in our brain that helps make us happy. Low levels of serotonin can be a key indicator of depression in humans.

Magnesium also helps relax us and reduces irritability. This is something that can come in handy for us females during certain periods of time. *winknudge* Another huge benefit of magnesium is that it helps eliminate toxins from your body. Soaking in this will allow your body to expel toxins through your skin, which helps to keeps us healthy and happy. Some people even believe that soaking in magnesium sulfate can help purge your aura of negativity. For some other ways that Epsom salts can benefit you, please see this article over at Natural Living Ideas.

The other salts I mentioned earlier also contain magnesium, so some of the benefits are the same. Himalayan Pink sea salt also has antibacterial and antiseptic properties which makes it really soothing and beneficial for skin problems like eczema, acne, and psoriasis. Also, it’s natural coloring makes it popular for bath salts since you don’t need to use artificial coloring then. Only downside there is that it only comes in pink. Dead Sea Salt is one of the most natural bath salt ingredients you’ll find. These salts are extracted directly from the Dead Sea and undergo very little (if any, in some cases) processing. This one, however, is a little more difficult to come by and can cost more. The biggest difference between Epsom and sea salts is the composition: while Epsom salts are purely magnesium sulfate, sea salts are mineral rich. They contain important minerals like calcium, copper, iodine, iron, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, and zinc. These minerals are all natural and things that our bodies need to be healthy. Our lifestyles in today’s society tend to be deficient in a lot of these minerals so this is a lovely way to replenish them to our bodies.

A fourth salt that can be used is standard kosher salt. This works great to mix with the Epsom salts. This way you get the benefits of the magnesium sulfate from the Epsom salt and the minerals of the sea salts.

The other important ingredient is what is called a carrier or base oil. This is what you will add the drops of your essential oil to in order for it to mix with the water of your bath. I personally like to use oils because of the benefits to skin but you can also use things like castile soap or shampoo. I’m going to focus on the oils that I have used in the past. One reason I like these is because you can mix the essential oils with these and use them as moisturizers instead of mixing with the salts. Some of my favorites are apricot kernel seed oil, sweet almond oil, avocado oil, vitamin E, and grapeseed oil. You can also use green tea seed, olive, jojoba, sesame, and hemp seed. All of these oils are great for moisturizing skin but most of them also have antibacterial, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-aging properties.

As I posted in last week’s post, if you are using a base oil like sesame or sweet almond, make sure that the person using it is not allergic to it. DIY bath salts are super easy and inexpensive gifts for showers and holidays but you don’t want your gift to make your friend or family member to break out in hives or, ya know, go into anaphylactic shock.

Basically, these things are easy to make as long as you know and respect the ingredients. Some wonderful resources to look through if you want to research your own can be found here and here.

 

~Scribe Sarah~


Burlap Candle DIY

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Good morning, Thursday Crafthackers.

I’ve found a lovely DIY for you that’s a lovely little gift that you can personalize for any occasion. I’ve used this tutorial as a reference from DIY Beautify.

You will need a few basic supplies that you can find at any craft store. You’ll need a large cylindrical glass vase that is large enough to showcase your ribbon and be an appropriate size for a candle holder. Remember you can make them big enough for pillars, or small enough for tea lights. You’ll need some wide burlap ribbon. You might be able to find this edged in something pretty, and if not, you can beautify it yourself with some inspired trim and a glue gun. You’ll also need some black acrylic paint, a stiff stencil brush, craft vinyl and transfer paper.

The original poster does this tutorial with a die cut machine or silhouette machine that’s often used for scrapbooking and other paper crafts. If you don’t have one though, you can always cut a stencil that’s a little less delicate and easier to work with and use that instead.

First. you will need to create your design. You can do this yourself or if you’re not super digitally crafty, you can use Pic Monkey. You can also use other programs online or find a design you are fond of. Keep in mind if you’re wanting to do a wedding specific monogram, there’s an order to the initials. It should be the wife’s first name initial, the husband’s last name initial, then the husband’s first name initial.

Your next step is to cut your design out on craft vinyl. This will mean that you’ve measured, saved and printed your image to cut it out on the vinyl, or that you’ve done your own creative work. The vinyl will be discarded as it’s just a stencil, but the transfer paper is what’s important, and if you’re unsure of how to use it, here’s a tutorial. Use the transfer paper. Please keep in mind this isn’t a necessity, but it does help make it easier to keep everything centred and where you want it to be. It also allows  you to keep all the small pieces where they need to be for the very fine stenciling.

The colour of the vinyl doesn’t matter as we’re creating a stencil that will get discarded. This is a super easy way to get the design transfered to the burlap all in one piece. Using the photos above, 1. Use transfer paper to remove your design from the cuting matt. peel all the positive space away from your vinyl, leaving the negative space to give you a stencil. 2. Lay the stencil (which is still on the transfer paper so you can centre it with ease) on the burlap and burnish well. Gently and slowly peel the transfer paper away from the vinyl while making sure all the pieces stay behind. 3. Using the acrilic paint and brush, stencil the design. Use minimal paint for a crisp design. 4. Make sure the whole area is covered with paint before you peel and discard.

When your paint is dry, use a glue gun to affix your ribbon to the vase.

You can fill the vase with whatever you’d like to make it beautiful. Sand, rocks, coffee beans, fish tank pebbles. Whatever you think will look nice. Coffee beans and a vanilla candle can make some beautiful aromas though.

Hope you enjoyed the tutorial!

Happy crafting!

~megan