You will need:
- Trader Joe’s bags
- Paint – I used white, gold, copper, and black to decorate mine
- Foam brushes
- White cotton fabric – or really, any color of cotton fabric! For your message to be most readable, I recommend keeping it a solid color.
- Scissors and a ruler
- A piece of copy paper for your pattern
- Craft glue
- Sharpie paint pens, or fabric paint, or a metalic fabric marker, like the copper one I used, that I bought at Joanns. Here’s the closest paint I could find on Amazon.
- A small stick from the backyard, or wood skewers, like you’d use for grilling
- Embroidery thread for tassels and hanging
- Pencil, or water soluble pen
Step 1: Make your pattern by marking the center of your piece of paper, and using your ruler to measure up the sides of the paper and connect the dots to mark the triangle sections you’ll cut off.
Step 2: Fold your fabric over so that you can cut out two identical pieces at the same time, and place your banner pattern on top. Then, cut out the two pieces.
Step 3: Glue the two pieces together, staying very close to the edges. Glue all the edges together except for the top – leave the top of banner open, so that when the glue dries, you can turn the whole thing inside out. Yes, you could sew the edges, but ain’t nobody got time for that.
Step 4: While the glue is drying, make some tassels! These are super easy. Just wrap some thread around your fingers until you have the thickness you’d like.
Slide the thread off your hand, and tie a small piece of thread around it, like so. This will be the top of your tassel.
Then, wrap thread around the tassel a small distance from the top, and tie the ends of the thread together to secure it.
Cut the loop at the bottom of the tassel, and fluff up the threads.
Super easy! Here’s another tutorial, just in case.
Step 5: Now that your glue hem has dried, turn the banner inside out to have nice finished edges. Add some glue to the top edge, and fold it over. This will be the back of the banner.
Step 7: Now for the fun part! Write your message or draw your design on the front of your banner. I drew mine on paper first, and traced it onto the fabric with the light from a window. I used a water soluble pen, so I could just dab off the blue after I was finished with the painting.
I traced the letters on one banner with my copper fabric marker, and use my gold Sharpie paint pen on the other. I LOVE how both turned out!
Step 8: I did break out the needle and thread to sew on the tassels. Just a couple stitches through the top should do it.
Step 9: Then I slid one banner onto a wooden skewer, after cutting off the pointy end. I hung the other one from a stick from the backyard – a stick that had a previous life as a wizard wand. I tied some embroidery thread to the stick and the skewer for hanging.
Can I wax contemplative for a minute? Home is both where I’m from and also where I am now. My Midwestern roots feel less like home in some ways, now that I’ve lived in a major city for almost seven years. I’ve found that living in a city changes you – the way you see the world shifts to a wider angle lens as you come into contact with a vast variety of perspectives. At the same time, I’ve felt more homesick for the Midwest over the last couple years than I have in the entire time we’ve lived in Arizona, because once I had Edison, I realized just how important roots are for support. Sometimes I feel like a branch with a heavy burden tied to it, that’s just been stuck in the dirt, struggling to stay upright.
But as I mentioned a couple weeks ago, I’m working on this whole “rooted” thing by reading This is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live. One of the practical takeaways so far has been that people who love where they live act like they love it – just think of “Don’t mess with Texas” pride. People who love where they live do things to take care of their place and show a sense of ownership. I’m pretty sure that Texans are the only people to get tattoos of their state on their bodies.
I’m not ready for that level of commitment yet, but I did want to pay tribute to my roots as well as all the amazing experiences and adventures Arizona has brought me in the last seven years – pretty much all of which I’ve documented on this blog, in fact!
At a local mom-made craft and business fair (side note: another habit of people who love where they live is shopping locally) I bought this wooden outline of Iowa for about $6. As soon as I got home, I started kicking myself for not getting a matching one of Arizona. But then, I realized that this was the perfect opportunity to figure out how to DIY one – no scroll saw required! And, it only cost a few cents to make!
You will need:
- A square piece of wood, or a square canvas for your background. I happened to have some leftover square pieces of wood from our kitchen shelf project.
- White paint for covering your wood or canvas background.
- Sandpaper. This is optional, if you like the distressed farmhouse look.
- Metal picture hanging bracket.
- Super glue. I used Loctite 411 because it’s what I found in the garage.
- Balsa wood – I got a piece large enough to make 5 or six states for $5 at Joanns.
- Craft knife.
- Watercolor paint in black and brown (you’ll see why!).
Step 4: Google “*Your state here* outline” and print off one of the options. I found one of Arizona that matched the size of the Iowa one perfectly.
Step 6: Carefully sand the edges if they’re a bit rough. Balsa wood is extremely soft, so proceed with caution. Glue your pieces together if you’re doubling up like I did. I used Elmer’s glue, and put a book on top of the state while it was drying so that it didn’t bow.
Step 7: Now it’s time to break out the watercolors. Make a dark brown mixture, and paint the edges of your state. This gives it a lovely wood-burned effect.
Smudge the edges with your brush to mimic the effect of wood-burning, basically allowing the super dark edges to bleed over a bit. Then, wet the surface of the state with your brush, and go over it with a light brown wash.
It looks a little dark initially, but it will dry lighter. Place a book, or something flat and heavy, on top to prevent bowing while it dries.
- An old light fixture, see the photo below.
- Rust-Oleum Copper Spray Paint. Even though it’s “copper” instead of “rose gold,” it’s a perfect color match for the Anthropologie one!
- Rust-Oleam Primer.
- Painters tape
- A scrap of cardboard
- A paint scraper
- A bottle of copper paint for touch ups.
This is what I started with: a $20 light fixture from Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore. I bought this originally for the insides of the light fixture, to DIY my own light fixture for the dining room, but I was able to put the glass to good use!
Put on a coat of spray paint primer. This will help the paint adhere to the metal. Notice in the photo above, the top of the glass is not covered. I didn’t realize how much spray paint would actually get inside, and guess what – it’s A LOT. So make sure you do cover the opening.
Also a tip I learned from watching DIY videos on YouTube – spray painting inside a cardboard box helps keep the paint contained, and protects what you’re painting from wind and dust.
Follow up with a coat or two of copper spray paint.
Once it’s dry to the touch, start carefully peeling off your painters tape. The sooner you remove the tape, the easier it will be to have a good clean edge. This step is super satisfying!
When you work full time and have a one and a half year old, crafting time happens in pockets at night and on weekends. Which means that projects I can start on a Saturday morning and actually complete by evening are super satisfying. Times that by three, and you’ll feel like you rule the craft world!
1. Marble Fridge Magnets
Up-cycle your old fridge magnets! For this super simple project, you’ll need:
- A sheet of hexagon marble tiles. After looking at Home Depot, I bought these from Amazon. They were the perfect size, and the price couldn’t be beat!
- A hot glue gun.
- Magnets. I used my cheap old fridge magnets from Target.
I love the little touch of elegance they add!
2. Paper Straw Diamond Mobile
This is one of those crafts I’d pinned ages ago, bought the supplies, made an attempt, and failed. The straws cluttered up my craft supplies drawer for months. Then one day, after watching some DIY videos on YouTube completely unrelated, I had a flash of inspiration and realized I could do this in an easier way – hot glue.
Here’s my original inspiration, from Sugar and Cloth:
This is what I started with – a tangled mess of straws tied together.
Here’s what you need:
- Paper straws. I bought these at Target in the dollar section.
- Hot glue gun.
- Scissors, and string for hanging.
As described in the original tutorial linked above, for various sizes of diamonds, you’ll need different sized pieces. I ended up adding to the pieces you see here, so there were a total of:
- five 6 1/4″ straws
- five 5 1/2″ straws
- ten 3 1/2″ straws
Here’s the premise: instead of stringing the straws together, we’re going to hot glue them. Hot glue dries so fast, and is malleable for a minute, it seemed plausible that this would work.
Start by gluing together a triangle with two long pieces and one medium piece.
Yay! The top section is done!
3. Upcycled Lamps
Sometimes, projects end up in a very different place from where you anticipated starting out. This was one such project. I had a specific plan for putting some bouquets of fake flowers to good use, and this project I’d pinned ages ago was too perfect. But in the end, I didn’t end up using any of the flowers, but some other craft supplies I already had, and still loving the finished product. That’s the creative process for you!
So if some of the photos below are a little confusing, it’s because the supplies for this project evolved over the course of completing it. Here’s what you actually need to complete the moss covered letter:
- Floral moss. I bought a bag of reindeer moss from Amazon. This is great stuff for terrariums too!
- Hot glue gun.
- A piece of cardboard. Mine is from the back of a print I purchased and framed, but any piece or thickness of cardboard could work.
- Photo frame. I bought this one at Goodwill for a couple dollars, and painted it to give it new life.
- Old book pages. I bought some old books at Goodwill also, and I’ve used them for many craft projects over the years.
- A printer.
First, decide on the letter. I chose a “C” for our last name, which seemed fitting for the entry way. I tried drawing a “C” directly onto the cardboard, but I could not for the life of me get it to look good. So, take the time to type the letter into a Word document or Google Doc, and increase the font size to fill a standard 8×10 frame.
Print your letter, and cut it out. Trace it onto your cardboard, and cut it out.
Here’s where I resorted to Plan B. Plan A was to cover the letter with moss, mostly to fill any gaps between the flowers, which would go on top of the moss. But, my flowers were too large, or my letter too thin, for the flowers to fit. So, I kept it simple and just used the moss by itself.
After I removed the existing artwork, I taped some old book pages to cover the back of the picture frame. You could use scrapbook paper, sheet music, or pieces of cool wallpaper, whatever fits with your entry way vibe.
- Cardboard paper mache letters.
- Marble contact paper.
- Metallic finish gold paint. This is the exact one I use on most of my craft projects.
- Scissors and pencil.
- Optional: Craft knife.
In the last post on our office, we were still using a kitchen table and black desk. Someday I’ll have the finishing touches ready and I’ll share the rest, but *spoiler alert* we now have white desks.
I can’t tell you how much I love my desk, but the white surface did create an issue with my computer mouse. For weeks, I couldn’t figure out why my computer would turn on, but the mouse wouldn’t respond. Finally, I mentioned it to Brian, and in five minutes he diagnosed the issue – no mouse pad. He let me use his, which is covered with lovely photos of car parts and Motocraft products. But I wanted something a little more me.
I was inspired by the lovely marble mouse pads I found on Etsy for $20, and figured out how to create my own.
- A piece of craft foam.
- Marble contact paper. I love this stuff, you can use it for so many things!
- Copper contact paper. This stuff is addicting.
Step 2: Trace your craft foam onto your marble contact paper. We’re going to add a section of copper, so mark how far you want the marble to come. Then cut it out.
Step 3: Slowly, peel and stick the contact paper to your foam, smoothing out any bubbles.
And that’s really all there is too it!
- A tree stump that’s 6″ shorter than your sofa arm. Look on Craig’s List for free tree stumps! We found tons of options to choose from. I recommend pine; the bark comes very easily, and on some types of wood, like walnut, it can be really hard to remove.
- Wood stain (optional). I used Miniwax stain in “Natural.”
- Clear polyurethane gloss.
- An assortment of tools for removing the bark.
- A sander, or sandpaper blocks.
- Foam brushes.
- 6″ Hairpin metal legs. I bought these ones from Amazon for $30, and they were the perfect height and look I wanted.
- Wood shims, unless your log comes leveled already.
- A level, in case it doesn’t.
- Long screws. The screws that come with the legs may not be long enough.
- An impact driver.
The tricky part about this is making them level. Because we got an already cut stump, and we didn’t want to try to cut it again, because that would make it too short, we used wood shims to level out the bottom.
Hold the level from the end of each leg to the others to check the height, and add shims underneath as needed.
Then secure the legs with the rest of the screws.
Step 7: Carry it inside, and enjoy having a place to put your wings out of the reach of your toddler, and having your own spot on the couch back!
I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out! Now, I’m tempted to switch favorite spots on the couch with Brian … if he’s willing to trade.