Category Archives: DIY
I have an undying love for scarves…not only are they PERFECT for the San Francisco climate (foggy in the summer, winter, and every season in between!) but they can really jazz up a plain outfit with minimal/no effort.
My scarf obsession started when I lived in Italy…there were gorgeous scarves for sale at every market and since I only brought one coat with me, I used them both to keep warm and to change up the colors in my look.
I had seen some tutorials on how to make t-shirt scarves and the last time I cleaned out my closet, I decided to try and make one myself with an old t-shirt. I can’t remember what blog I saw it on, but suffice to say there are a bajillion tutorials on how to do this.
It’s really easy:
1. Lay your shirt out and cut off the hem.
2. Cut ~1 inch horizontal strips.
3. Repeat this until you get to the armpit of the tee.
4. Take each loop and pull on it till it stops being flat and has a “rolled” look.
5. Put all of the loops together. Take a strip from the extra part of the shirt and tie it around the loops to keep them together.
You can add more knotted areas, cut all the loops to make strips and then braid them…it’s really all up to you.
Something I would recommend is to not use a tee that has seams down the sides. Most ladies’ shirts have seams. Most of those “unisex but they only look good on men” shirts do not. Go now and steal a shirt in an attractive color from a dude in your life. Your dad/brother/son/cousin/boyfriend doesn’t need that shirt that says “1997 firefighters’ pancake breakfast fundraiser volunteer” on it. He already has a dozen other worn-out old tees in his closet. Maybe you can snag all of them, in the name of DIY crafting of course, and then he’ll have to wear something that is not all worn-out! You can clean up his style AND enhance yours all at once! (Can you tell there’s more than one guy in my life who wears the same old tees that I just want to burn?)
I suppose you could go to the thirft store and find one for $1 if you have a particular color you really want.
The tee that I used was in my donation pile and I had zero dollars invested in it, so I figured I’d try it out. Plus it was the only tee that I was willing to cut up that was a vibrant color. I have a whole lot of white, black, grey and navy in my life!
Someone might have to give me a lesson in scissors though…I used my kitchen shears because I don’t really have scissors. I can never cut in a straight line with them so for 99% of the times I need scissors, I will just use a knife and a straight-edge. (I could have done that in this instance but I wasn’t in the mood to drag my cutting mat out.) I had a hard time avoiding jagged edges on this project but I’m gonna chalk it up to a combination of terrible cutting skills and the kitchen scissors. If you have passed first grade scissor-skills 101, then you will probably be able to make a scarf with a lot less jagged edges, which will make your overall results more polished!
I can’t wait to make another scarf…I have a few giftees in mind that would really dig this.
A while back I mentioned that I really liked this DIY photo canvas project over on A Beautiful Mess.
Shortly after this, my obsession with the idea hit its tipping point, and I convinced one of my college roommates to come over and try it out! What ensued was an afternoon of catching up, eating, and crafting goodness.
We followed the directions, which were not terribly difficult, but also not terribly specific at certain points….I think it came out pretty good though!! I loved the suspense of wondering whether or not our photos would actually transfer onto the canvases. Due to the long drying times, this is a good weekend project or a squeeze-it-in-while-housekeeping kind of a project. I also think this technique makes great personalized gifts!
STEP ONE Select and print your photos
I picked up these great 4″ square canvases at Michaels for a good price, so we went ahead and both did a trio of canvases. I went with a series of photos that I have taken in downtown San Francisco on Instagram, and my crafting companion used some photos from a Hawaii trip that she recently went on. (Which reminds me…I wanna go to Hawaii sooooo much right now!)
I used Photoshop to resize the images, mirror the images, and add the photo border on my images so that they would have a consistent look.
Then we ventured down to the copy shop to make color copies. You have to do this (or you have to own a laser printer, which most homes do not) because the ink from a regular ink jet printer will just run all over the place. Not exactly what you want to happen.
After the print shop, we stopped for a bite to eat. This part is purely optional and will make your project take longer…ha ha.
Then you gotta cut your images out…
STEP TWO Stick your photos on and wait
This part is pretty self explanatory. Using a paint brush, paint a THICK layer of gel acrylic onto your canvas. I wasn’t sure how thick was “thick” and while I made sure the whole canvas was covered, I probably didn’t make mine thick enough. When I paint (my nails) or use glues I try to use a very thin layer, and layer on a second layer if needed — it makes a stronger, more even bond or color — but in this case you wanna go for the gold and slather the gel on. My friend used a bunch more acrylic, which made for a better end result. (It also took WAY longer to dry.)
After that, we carefully placed our images on the canvas. We made sure to pat it down really good a few times to avoid any air bubbles.
At this point, we briefly pondered if we were supposed to then cover this in another layer of acrylic gel.
Don’t do that.
Then you will seal in the paper and just have a sheet of paper glued to a canvas.
Ok glad we clarified that.
Now go do something for a few hours. Maybe bake some NUTELLA TOFFEE BROWNIES. Don’t let the camera into the kitchen though, because someone might document you eating up all the brownie batter and THEN tell you a story about how she got salmonella poisoning.
If you aren’t feeling the chocolate and nutella idea, you could go mop the floors, go on a run while they dry, then come home and shower and blow dry your hair…and still have some time leftover. There is always youtube to keep you entertained if you get bored. Or just leave the house and go frolic in the park/go to brunch/go grocery shopping/whatever.
Basically you want to wait at least 3 hours.
We didn’t want to wait that long. We’re impatient. We ended up using a blow dryer after 90 minutes. We probably didn’t get the best results ever. We didn’t care though.
STEP THREE wet and reveal!
Okay. Now that your canvas is dry (you did wait till it was dry, right???) take a spray bottle full of water and wet the paper nice and good. Then use the tip of your finger (I don’t recommend using your finger nails) to rub all of the white paper off.
Keep doing this. Be gentle. Rewet the paper as necessary.
Don’t be like me, who thought that ALL of the paper had to come off, and scrape off everything when going over white areas. A layer of paper WILL remain!
Also, don’t get upset when parts of the image do get rubbed off. Just tell yourself imperfections are cool. This is the basic principle of all DIY and handmade crafts.
STEP FOUR gloss and admire
After you finish revealing your image, let your canvas dry again, and go over the whole thing with one final layer of acrylic gel to seal everything in! This last layer of gel will help make your colors more vibrant as well.
Once it’s dry you are good to go!
We had so much fun doing this and I’ve already started another one for a gift for someone! Thanks again to A Beautiful Mess for posting the tutorial…I’m not sure what people did to find their crafting ideas before the internet!
Last weekend I was invited by a friend of mine to attend a Yelp! open house event that she thought I would enjoy at SCRAP. I didn’t know much about the place but I showed up and was blown away….SCRAP is the Scrounger’s Center for Reusable Art Parts and it definitely lives up to its name. They basically divert items that would otherwise end up in a landfill or getting recycled and gather it all together for artists, teachers, and students to get at little to no cost! A lot of their stuff are leftovers from companies so a lot of stuff is in bulk rather than one-offs.
I was pretty much in heaven. Back in college I used to hit up Urban Ore in Berkeley, but they focused more on construction/housewares — great for architecture students, not so great for crafters. There was soooooo much stuff that I was pretty much speechless. Insane is about as much as I can say about how much stuff they have in their 5,000 square foot warehouse!
I managed to find some frames for a DIY project I have been wanting to do for a while AND a whole box of bubble mailer envelopes! Paper Gatti is definitely set as far as shipping supplies go now. I had been looking for a few weeks at different mailing options for my cards, and bubble mailers – while easy to find and use – are kind of expensive and I felt that the bubble wrap-to-card ratio is kind of overkill. Knowing that I was picking up something that could have ended up in the landfill made it a lot easier on my conscience as well.
I also found some stuff that actually came from my day job, ironically enough. I know that we paid people to come take away old stuff but now I guess I know a little bit more about where they take these things to.
I got so excited about all the stuff that they had out there that I’ve forgotten to tell you about what we actually came to do, which is make something! I decided on a zipper bow. I used the basic strategy that I used for making paper bows over the holidays and then used some buttons to embellish the middle. There were a ton of giant safety pins, so I used a tiny piece of scrap leather to fasten the safety pin to the back.
While making my crafty bow I was able to catch up with the friend that I had come with about life and things. I can’t think of a better way to chat it up with some gals than with an endless amount of supplies and some glue guns! As I started putting my bow together, I realized that this would be great for one of my friends, so I used her style as my inspiration…I think I might send the finished product to her as well.
I had no idea that this place existed, but now that I do I will be back soon! It’s not very far from my apartment and my experience was basically like antiquing or thrifting…but for craft supplies. There was an entire aisle of just paper and while most of it was more office-y than I would have liked, their stock changes all the time so I might be able to score some great papers. I want to be able to use recycled paper and found/re-purposed paper would be even better than purchasing recycled papers because the nature of heat embossing requires materials that won’t warp or bend when heated up.
I am sure that there are other great artist/supply resources in the Bay Area, and I can’t wait to explore more of them!
Happy Friday friends! Today I thought I’d show you how I made over a $1 boring whiteboard (purchased some time ago at Ichiban Kan) into a cute message station in my craft space! I didn’t do anything terribly complicated with it, but I am a firm believer in a good coat of paint and what it can do to transform things. This is something that you can easily squeeze into your weekend. I had this whiteboard lying around for about a year before I actually started using it a while ago for my monthly and weekly “to do” list. It worked fine but was a little bit on the plain side…and you couldn’t hang it on the wall! As you can see, making this little board more cute and useful has been on my list for a while.
For this you’ll need:
- sponge brush
- painter’s tape
- acrylic paint (was on sale for 33 cents at Michael’s last week!)
- newspaper to cover your work area
- plastic lid (not pictured) (optional)
- string/twine to hang whiteboard (not pictured) (only if you want to hang it)
- nail or thumbtack (not pictured) (only if you want to hang it)
- Stapler (not pictured) (only if you want to hang it)
First, wipe off the board and cover the edges of the board section with painter’s tape. You don’t want it to cover the wood — it is just there to catch any stray drips of paint.
Although I try to be neat, I tend to be on the messy side of the spectrum when it comes to constructing or crafting things, so I usually take a few extra minutes to prep my work areas with newspaper and tape off any areas I definitely don’t want painted.
Next, pour your paint (I used a mint green color…of course!) onto a plastic lid or something of the same sort. You could pour it directly onto your newspaper (or an extra sheet of newsprint) but being the aforementioned messy person that I am…I wanted something that I could move. (I am so good at setting things on the “paint area” part of a newspaper. Things like: my project, my elbow, my camera…you get the idea.)
Once you have your paint poured out, take that sponge brush (oh how I love sponge brushes!) and get it nice and paint-y. The rest is pretty much self-explanitory…start painting the frame!
Because the wood frame was kind of old, it was really dry and ready to soak up paint. 1-2 strokes will give you a vintage-y look…
A couple more gets a nice even, opaque coat!
I also decided to paint the front of some clothespins I recently bought…
I think they are so cute! Not as cute as mini clothespins, but I digress.
Next comes the hardest part…let your paint dry. Go wash dishes and disinfect your whole sink while an episode of Hart of Dixie plays. (I just love the old-school southern belle and modern fashionista style of Lemon and Zoey!) Then answer all those e-mails you’ve been meaning to respond to.
Or for something more fun, you could paint your nails in a matching color…since you have to wait for the polish to dry before you can handle things, you’ll definitely leave enough time for the wood to dry! Anyways…you get the idea. I don’t have to tell you how to pass an hour of your time, you probably already have a whole bunch of things you could do lined up.
If you don’t want to hang this baby up, you’re pretty much done. I thought about finding some fabric tape to separate my board into a “month” and “week” section, but ultimately decided that I liked having a big, open slate.
Alternatively, you could now paint some cute little flowers or birds on the frame. Or some geometric triangles would be cool. Chevrons are another one of my faves. But since this is going into my craft space, I wanted something clean. I’ll be filling up the rest of the space with prints and patterns, and my task list needs to be clean and focal.
Okay, so now we need to hang this thing up….tape down your string (I used the handle from an old Nike bag I had lying around) to the corner and adjust the other side until you have the desired height. Tape that side down…and staple over it. THis might take more than one staple, but it won’t show through on the front so don’t worry.
Next, take your thumbtack/nail/whatever, insert it into your wall, and there you have it! A hanging whiteboard that is a colored your favorite color. Not bad for a $1 whiteboard + $0.33 paint investment!
Now, I have to decide what I want to paint next! I have my eye on a wooden step stool that I have in the kitchen…and I also have some yellow paint…but that will have to wait for another weekend. I am working tomorrow and on Sunday my dad is stopping by San Francisco with my uncle to
see me buy crab for Sunday dinner. Hope you have a great weekend!