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~


3D Paper Wall Art

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So we all know decorating can be a pain. Picking colors for paint. Finding pictures/painting for your walls. Making a theme almost guarantees you’ll double that time as well. While it won’t solve all your problems, I have found some very cool wall art that adds an interesting decoration to at least part of your room and it’s easy to remove as well!

These are handmade paper art installations that are just lovely and engaging. Each piece is cut and folded by hand by Oregon based artist Jacqueline Jean of hipandclavicle over on Etsy. The detail and precision of her cutting is just stellar. I could see myself using these in a nursery or a college dorm thanks to their inexpensive price and wall safe adhesive not leaving any marks. Most of the her work is nature themed as she loves the outdoors, though dragons have managed to jump in there from time to time.

No guides for layout of the pieces seems to be included with orders which means the possibilities are endless and can be altered to suit you needs. Got a big empty space to fill? Order a few sets and make a swirling design or a giant butterfly shape.

Most sets cost only $15 so if you’re looking for something different to decorate your walls with, I definitely recommend giving this shop a look through. 🙂


DIY: Egg Carton Spring Wreaths

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Good morning Thursday Crafthackers.

I have for you a project, this morning, that you can do with kids, though it does take a few weeks of planning to save the egg cartons you will need. Though, if you have friends nearby, ask them to save theirs for you and you should have a collection in about a week or two. You can find the full tutorial here at Homemade Serenity. I think this is a super cool idea to do, especially with kids, really anything to get kids working with their hands for something to show off on the front door. My mother used a white garbage bag wreath I made for many years when I was young and it was always one of my favourite things to see when I came up to her house in the winter.

Step one: Making your flower shapes.

Once you have a plethora of egg cartons at your disposal, you and your team of super duper crafters will need to cut out the cups and cut them into varying shapes of petals. Curved, spiky, small petals, big petals. Whatever you can think of! You can save the in between pieces for the centre of the flowers, and you can make leaves out of the flat parts of your cartons. The one piece that you will need to have, that you cannot get from an egg carton is a base for your wreath. You can use an old box, you can buy cardboard or you can just use a clean pizza box lid. All you need to do is cut a ring the size that you would like your wreath and have enough little egg cups and leaves to cover it.

Your next step is to paint these beauties. You can use any kind of paint you like, like bright tempura paints, or if you’re making your own egg carton wreath without little humans running around, you might want to get a little more detailed with the colour. Whoever is doing the painting, let it be fun and cheerful. This is a spring wreath, after all. Paint your base as well so that if there are any spots that are a little less filled, then no one will notice. If you’re working with kids (as that blogger did), you can go in after the main colours are painted to add details or secondary colours. It’s all about how much extra you’d like to do to your happy little wreath.

When your flowers are dry, using a hot glue gun (watch out for little fingers), you can choose where and how to place each flower. They might be a little stiff from painting, but you can manhandle them a little to loosen them up and get them looking how you’d like. Remember you can double them up for a layered effect, glue in the little centres that you made, and to fill in any gaps with leaves. If you want to get really creative you can add pieces of ribbon, you can add glitter glue to edges, you can add buttons to centres… you can really add anything that you’d like. Something like this needs to be super fun and playful. If you would like, you can also spray it with a sealant to keep it for the following year or make a new tradition of making a spring wreath every year! (Like pumpkins!)

When everything is dry and set, you’re ready to hang. Just make sure to hang this cheerful wreath out of the elements, so if you have a covered porch it would be fine, otherwise inside would be best as it is, after all, something that would droop and possibly disintegrate with enough water exposure. I think the finished project is so cute and cheerful that even though it’s just painted egg cartons, it would brighten up any room.

 

Hope you enjoyed the DIY!

Happy crafting!

~ Megan


DIY with Scrapbook Paper

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Hello Thursday Readers,

One thing I never got into but always sort of wished had the time for was scrapbooking. I love all the pretty things that you can do with it and the papers, the lush papers are amazing and there are some pretty easy DIY projects that you can do for your home or for a gift that would look just amazing. This is a very quick one, and doesn’t require a lot of time or skill to do, just the materials. I am actually going to combine two DIY ideas from a lovely person I have featured here before called the Nomadic Decorator.

For this DIY you’ll just need an adhesive like Mod Podge (though she actually recommends Aleene’s Tacky Glue instead, because it is less wet and will help the paper stay flat. She also recommends trying a spray adhesive). You will need pieces of amazing 12×12 scrap paper – and the heavier weights and thicker papers are recommended.You will also need some 12×12 wooden panels, which you might find at your local craft stores. at a local hardware store, or  you can order them online at places like this. Though this DIY is very simple, your materials and technique are what will really make it pop on your wall.

All you need to do is paint the sides of your exposed wood, and then brush a layer of glue onto the panel. Place the scrapbook paper on the glue and then use a ruler, a credit card or really anything with a sharp, flat edge to start from the centre and work your way outwards to press out the bubbles that may have formed under your craft paper. You can seal it if you’d like, and you can seal it very well with an outdoor sealant if you’d like to decorate an outdoor (but not too exposed to the elements) place. And that’s it! You can make as many as you want to cover however big a space you’d like. I love that these are so easy and that you can do this to suit your style.

There’s an extra step that you can do if you’d like to dress it up and make these a little bit more lush.You can use this other tutorial to stencil your scrapbook hangings to bring a little metalic or whatever other color you’d like onto your scrapbook hangings. This new tutorial shows you how to make one bigger hanging but I love the idea of using a stencil on a couple of these smaller ones as part of a whole to give a little extra pop. I especially love the metallic.

You’ll need a few extra tools – a stencil brush and stencil, paint and a bowl (with a paper towel) for blotting so you don’t goop all over the stencil. If you need help with stenciling, there are plenty of ideas here. Basically, I would recommend applying some beautiful stencils (that you can order online or find at a craft store) after everything is dry, but before you seal your work. I would also recommend doing a couple pieces as an eyecatcher rather than doing each individual square, unless you’re planning on following the tutorial to create one big one.

I hope you enjoyed this simple but really lovely and lush marriage of these two tutorials. I love, love, love simple tutorials that look so much more involved than they are for a really impressive result.

Enjoy, and happy crafting!

~ Megan


Illuminated Illustrations

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Created by Etsy artist Trysogodar, these Paper Cut Light Boxes are beautiful scenes cut straight from fantasy worlds and stories. The way they’ve layered their paper (not to mention the expert precision cutting of the designs) is nothing short of beautiful.

To quote the artist,”The paper cut light box are made using layers of hand-cut 160g art paper which are placed in shadow boxes and illuminated by LED light strips.

At first glance, the light box appear like any other paper cut work. When the lights go out, however, the light box suddenly take on a magical quality; The LED strips make the backgrounds glow and cast rich shadows, revealing tiny worlds within the boxes.”

These would make excellent replacements for nursery nightlights, imho, and I may even look into them just for that reason in the future. They are very reasonably priced as well, but they do ship from the UK, so maybe not the best idea for this holiday season. 😉

 


Advent Calendar A la Toilet Paper Roll.

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Hello there Thursday readers!

You know. When I was young, we always had an Advent Calendar. For those of you who don’t know what it is, or have never done one before, it’s basically a little calendar that had a little door for you to open each day through December up to Christmas day, and each door would reveal a chocolate.  Where cheap chocolate is okay, a DIY Advent calendar can allow you to customize your calendar. A romantic partner might like a love note or a usb drive filled with their favourite songs, a child might like some school supplies, little baked treats, or any other small thing that you know will brighten their day.

I’m going to give you this DIY from Morning Creativity, but there’s a lot of variations and different ways you can spruce up this particular DIY, but I love the idea of being able to make an advent calendar out of toilet paper rolls. You can put whatever you want inside, it’s cheap and easy to make, and with a little paint and sparkly adornments, you can make it as fancy or rustic as you like.

Your supplies are simple: 24 toilet paper rolls, cleaned of any dangling paper, of course. cardboard, multi purpose glue or a glue gun, a glue stick and twine. You can do your numbers by hand, or you can print them out on the computer, and use those. Choose the amount of work/creativity you’d like to use.  Your first step, is to use your gluestick to glue the numbers (cut out to fit directly on top of the roll without any hangover). Keep in mind, that since glue sticks don’t glue securely, this will allow you to reuse your tree next year, once it’s built.  Keep in mind if you would like to paint/wrap any of your toilet paper rolls to decorate them, now is the time.

After your numbers are glued on top, you will want to glue your rolls together. for this you should use a glue gun, if you have one, as it will be stronger than craft glue and allow you to put small gifts inside that are a little heavier (like a hot wheels car, just saying). Just a strip of hot glue on each side where you will be attaching another roll will do the trick, and give it all a little time to dry. These are arranged as a square. You can arrange them however you like!

Next you will need a piece of cardboard the size of your paper roll square structure. If you would like to decorate around the rolls, leave your cardboard rectangle just a little bit bigger than the rolls (leave a border) so you can glue sparkly decorations or other accents. Otherwise, you can cut it just large enough to fit the rolls, but make sure that the backs are fully covered. Before you glue your toilet paper rolls to the flat cardboard, fill them with treats, as this will seal them all inside.

Your next step is to make your roof, and again, you can be as creative as you’d like. To make the roof, glue two equal, rectangular pieces of cardboard together, and a small triangular piece to cover the hole that will be left between the toilet paper rolls and the roof. Measure them to be as wide as the toilet paper rolls, though keep them a little longer as you can trim them to whatever length you like, or even cut a design into the edge. Again, you can spray paint these, you can glue decorations, and you could even cover the roof with paper and make icicles by cutting the paper a little longer than the roof, folding over the edge, and cutting icicle shapes. If you have an extra toilet paper roll, cut it in half on the diagonal to glue on as your chimney, an either cotton or white tissue paper can be glued inside for smoke. Use your twine (glue it or you can punch a hole through the roof) to make a hanging string, and you’re done!

Remember, light gifts only, and to get at the gifts, just punch a small hole through your paper, and you’re in! If you like this idea but maybe the look isn’t quite what your’e looking for….

…Check out these toilet paper advent calendars, (yes, there’s more), for a few different ideas (like the one above).

Happy Crafting!

~Megan


Levitating Book Shelves

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Hello Thursday Crafthackers!

I thought I would bring you another quick DIY since the last one I presented took a little bit of time and effort. I want to bring you something that’s super cool. You might have seen them in some deep dark internet hole, but I bring you a tutorial for making floating book shelves (Or trinket shelves) that are made out of books.

 

The end look is really cool and is super useful if you don’t have a space where having bookshelves will really work (think basement apartments that aren’t that tall, for example) and they’re super easy to do. They just take a little bit of hardware and that’s it. I’ve used the tutorial from Instructables to guide you through but there’s many out there.

You’ll need a few tools and materials. First you’ll need to find a book to make into a shelf. A coffee table book or a book from a vintage store would look super neat, but pick one you won’t read again as this will make it unreadable. A thrift store is an excellent option for this, as well you can sometimes find old sets of encyclopedias that would make lovely shelves. You’ll need an L bracket that you can purchase from your local hardware store, small wood screws (flat top) and large wood screws, and you’ll also need a box cutter, pen, measuring aparatus (ruler or measuring tape), glue and a stack of books for weight.

Measure the mid point of the book (length wise) on the inside of the back pages of your book so that your bracket will sit with the book balanced on either side of it. Position your bracket at this centre point and trace it and the holes so that you have a reference point as once you’re ready, you will be cutting into the pages to make a little home for the bracket to live without bulking the book up.

You will also want to make sure that your book will be sitting flush against the wall so make sure there isn’t much space between the edge of the book and the bracket. Also, there’s a lot more photos that are included in the original tutorial so please make sure to check back for reference when needed.

Notice how the book is level and that the bracket is pretty close to the pages. This is good. And this means you’ve cut a little pocket just the right size for your bracket. But wait, there’s more…

…you have to cut a little notch in the spine so that the bracket can be pushed right up against the pages.

Next you will need to start screwing… er… Yes. You will need to screw down the book pages (using the flat ones) on either side of the bracket so they don’t move. You will need to apply pressure and please work on a work table and not your leg as this person is.  The writer of this tutorial recommended adding pressure to keep the pages from getting wavy from the screwing… and also (despite the photo that was taken) using a manual screwdriver worked better.

Next, glue (you can use whatever strong glue you have on hand) and then close the book and apply pressure. And by pressure, I mean, pile a whole bunch of other books on top while it dries overnight, pressure.

Your last step is to attach the bracket to the wall with the larger wood screws, and trying your very best to find a stud that you can screw the bracket into…. er… yes. And voila! Your shelf is complete and quite sturdy. You can use it to pile a few books on top and even display some nick knacks.

Hope you enjoyed it!

Happy crafting,

~Megan

 


Cool Off in the Hot Sun

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Whew! Sunday readers, it is a hot one out there today! It appears that there will be more hot days on their way as well and since it’s summer here, that also means outdoor events. How are you going to keep cool and still not become a hermit? How about making some neat fans to help with the heat.

Since there are a variety of summer events out there, we can start with a very lovely fan for all occasions:

So pretty and simple!

So pretty and simple!

If you are attending a wedding/commitment ceremony, this second style of folding fan would also make lovely favors:

Perfect for personalizing.

Perfect for personalizing.

And if you are the host of the party, perhaps you’d like to provide your guests with a program or menu that will also help with staving off the heat:

Yours will be more descriptive, of course.

Yours will be more descriptive, of course.

Make sure you are staying hydrated, wearing sunscreen, and consider wearing some sort of light hat if you expect a long event (Yes, Mom!).

See you again next week when we start gearing up for Gen Con!

Stay crafty!

~Laura

 


Cascading Flower Garlands

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Hi Thursday readers!

 

 

I saw some ideas for paper flower garland backdrops and garlands to hang from trees and I decided that I wanted to share that with you with a lovely little tutorial for making paper lei garlands. This tutorial is from Natashalh is super easy, just a little time consuming, and you don’t need too many supplies. You’ll need some cardstock in whatever colours you’re choosing for your garlands, some twine (you can use baker’s twine) a large darning needle which you can find at any sewing or craft store, some flower templates, a pair of scissors, hot glue gun, a round pencil or pen as well an option of using white glue/tape and a measuring tape.

You can find links here for the large garland, and here for the small garland if you need templates for your flowers and they can also be found in the tutorial itself. First you’ll want to figure out how much garland you’d like to make as you don’t want to have to make a lot of flowers only to not use them. The flowers will look good anywhere between 3″ and 6″ apart, and so if you’re wanting to make 10 feet of garland then you will need at least 30 flowers. You can mix and match sizes and colours in whichever way you like, and if you’re making a backdrop, you’ll need many strands.

 

Next, you’ll need to print your templates and cut them out, Your next step is to start glue gunning your flowers together. You’ll notice that there’s a part of the flower that isn’t like the rest, where there’s a cut open slit. This “V” shaped cut also has a little tab. This little tab is where you’ll be gluing your flowers together and all you have to do is bend the tab towards what will be the inside of your flower, place some hot glue on the edge and stick it to the other side of the “V”, making sure to line up the edges.

Hold in place until it has a brief chance to cool.Though it doesn’t really matter where you glue it (on the over or underside), they will look better if the tab is glued inside.

 

Your next step – once your flowers are dry – is to curl the petals. You can do this easily by curling them around a pencil. You can also try rolling them in the direction you’d like them to curl, and you can use your preference for having the curls turn inward or outward from the flower’s centre.

Measure your twine and make sure to add about 6″ to compensate for the knots you’ll be tying to secure your petals. Thread one end of your twine through the needle and use a piece of clear tape or glue to keep it from slipping (absolutely optional!)

Tie a good sized knot (or a couple knots on top of each other if they’re small enough to let your flowers slip over them) and thread your first flower, making sure the petals are pointing down. You can go through the hole in the flower’s centre or make a new one. It doesn’t matter as long as your knot will keep it from falling off.

Continue tying knots and adding flowers until the garland is as long as you’d like, and if you’re going to hang your garland horizontally, then you’ll need to knot the last flower you string on both sides. And you’re done!  They look beautiful and you can even add a couple different sized flowers together to bulk your garland up. Remember you can coordinate your colours and choose your lengths… just be aware of how many flowers you need to cut.

Happy crafting!

 

~Megan


Wedding Streamera

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Good morning, Thursday readers.

As you may not yet know, I have just recently become engaged, which meant that a lot of decisions are going to be coming my way, and fast. So of course, I hopped to the internet to start looking at the basics, venues, food… but also some of the diy things that I would use or like to do for mine.

This is a nice DIY tutorial from Project Wedding that I thought was especially nice. Many venues don’t allow throwing rice or confetti, due to the health of the animals and clean up. And I can’t imagine my wedding without lots of colour and fun, so I’ve found a nice alternative that would give the splashes of colour without the mess.  These Kabuki streamers are so nice because you can customize the colours and they are inexpensive to make. They just take a bit of time.

Your materials are also super simple. You will need some crepe paper streamers in 3 coordinating colours, and these are easy to find. You can find them at a dollar store, craft store or a party store and they come in big rolls that are super inexpensive. You will need some coordinating paper – you can find some really nice stuff in wallpaper stores for a more wedding feel, but again, craft stores will have a great selection. You will also need some scissors, a needle and thick thread for attaching, a heavy paperweight and a small piece of tape or label to seal the project closed when it’s completed.  You can get some beautiful decorative tapes from your craft stores, so they can be finished beautifully!

So lay out all three colours of streamers and you will need to cut 25 inch long sections. You will need one cut length of each colour for each streamer package. Layer your streamers one on top of the other with all three colours and to make it easier, you can use a paperweight on one side or along the length to keep the ribbons from moving.

 

 

Your next step is to cut the streamers into thirds, along the length.. You will make two cuts vertically up the streamers to leave you with three skinny sections, and remember, all of these sections will be going into your streamer packages.
Cut decorative paper into 2×4 inch pieces to use for wrapping the streamers.
Using a needle thread, thick string through your paper and tie off twice to produce a small finger loop. This will allow your guests to slip on the package for good throwing grip. You could also use ribbon for this step if desired, and you could even use some hot glue to secure it to the paper rather than using a needle and thread.
use a bit of glue on the inside of the paper and attach one section (one of each colour) of the skinny paper ribbons next to the string/ribbon. You’ll need to repeat this for each set so that you’ve got 3 sets of streamers, or 9 in total.
Secure your streamer paper under a weight and working one section at a time roll up your streamers tightly toward the top. Roll each section separately and be sure to keep your streamers tight for small rolls. When you reach the end of one section, stick it under a paperweight while you roll the others so you don’t lose your work.
When all three sections are rolled up, you basically need to enclose them rolled in your decorative paper, and then seal it with tape or label.
When the time is right, your guests just need to break the label and start waving their hands wildly over their heads to celebrate and make waves of colour and noise without damaging birds or creating a disaster of glitter and confetti.
Enjoy!
~Megan