Sunday, December 21, 2014

Make DIY geometric bangle bracelets

Make these modern geometric bracelets quickly and easily with only three supplies.

This tutorial was created using supplies from ConsumerCrafts. I'm guest posting at ConsumerCrafts DIY blog Crafts Unleashed so be on the lookout for more jewelry projects in the coming months. 

These bracelets are made using oven-baked clay, which is a new item for me. So I kept it simple.

To makes project, you'll need:
  • A ball of Sculpey or similar clay about the size of your fist
  • Acrylic paint or spray paint
  • Something to seal the paint like Mod Podge.

Useful tools are a straightedge, a knife and small vase or glass with a mouth that is as wide as your wrist. (Tip: Find a bangle bracelet that fits you and compare the inner dimensions to the mouth of your vase to see if your vase will work.)

Step 1: Knead the clay until it is pliable. Roll it to about 1/3 inch thickness. (I used a glass vase as a rolling pin.) Make an imprint for the inside of your bangle using the mouth of the vase. Don't cut it out yet.

Step 2: Using a straightedge and a knife, cut five asymmetrical sides.

Step 3: Press the vase down all the way to cut out your center circle.

Step 4: Bake your bangles according to the instructions on your Sculpey package.

Step 5: Sand down any rough spots. Wipe with a damp cloth.

Step 6: Paint your bangles with spray paint or acrylic. (I think spray would give a smoother finish.) Lightly sand between coats.

Step: 7: Seal with Mod Podge or similar product

Step 8: Wear a whole stack for a modern minimalist look.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

When good crafts go bad

I received this adorable little book in the mail as a review copy and then promptly and mysteriously got black marker on the cover. Four days past deadline, two photo sessions and much dabbing in Photoshop later we have a review of sorts. CraftFail by a craft failure. Wha wha wha.

But it's OK. My idea for my pin-friendly top-of-the-post image got replaced with something else that ended up maybe being better. And that's the message of CraftFail: When Homemade Goes Horribly Wrong by Heather Mann. You failed because you're a beginner. Because you probably don't have an aptitude for this. Because you even tried.

"In my eyes, craftfails are beautiful because they are tangible evidence of the learning process," says Mann, who many of you may know from her mega blogs Dollar Store Crafts and CraftFail. "I value my ability to fail - it's the most important thing I've taken 30 years to learn."

CraftFail the book is page after page of awful, hideous, horrible crafting.  Exploding food. Dripping paint. Obscene shapes. You may say, 'But Sam, why spend $10 on a book of ugly when I can float in the visual bubble bath of Pinterest every day for free?'

One simple reason: it's hilarious. LOL where LOL means what it stands for. I had to read this book in the toilet so my husband could hear the essential plot details of Law & Order without interruption.

The idea of good crafts gone bad could wear after awhile yet the book stays funny from beginning to end, all the way from Craparons to Napalm Cake in a Jar to Turdy Pavlova (a craftfail I have personally nailed as well). The real skill here is not in the crafting, it's in Mann's writing. She should receive some sort of award just for alliterative titles. The book is even funnier than the blog.

CraftFail is to Pinterest what Traveler Photos are to TripAdvisor - real people demolishing a perfectly styled and professionally photographed version of reality.

There's even a section devoted to the Queen of Craft Martha Stewart. Did you know it's possible to totally mess up a tissue paper flower? Consider yourself warned.

But Craftfail isn't all fun and games. Along with the fails, you also receive tips on how to actually execute those ridiculously popular DIYs like water marbled nail art or the Sharpie mug.

I was going to host a giveaway of my review copy but I like it too much to give away. Plus, it has marker on the front.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

50 DIY ideas from Fashion Month S14

So much inspiration, so little time to DIY. The runways alone yielded more than 50 ideas from spring fashion weeks in New York, Paris, London and Milan.  And we aren't even talking street fashion.

The advantage of getting your inspiration from the high-end world is that you can make something affordable, cool and trendy before it shows up at your mall costing even less and worn by everybody. 

This season, I am saving myself and you the trouble of me sticking all the ideas in a blog post so you can pin them. Instead, I will direct you to my handy dandy Pinterest board 50 DIY ideas from Fashion Month Spring 2015. There's everything from raffia to - no joke - Perler beads going on this year. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

DIY party fruit and a $50 Dollar Tree giveaway

Make a healthy summer party treat using my version of a project from Dollar Tree's Value Seeker's Club.

Get the details and enter a giveaway for a $50 Dollar Tree gift card at Dollar Store Crafts. Fifty bucks goes a long way at a dollar store.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Make a DIY perforated clutch

This is my kind of DIY. Super easy. Super cheap. And on trend. (See yesterday's post for why you need something perforated right now.)

Can you guess what this clutch is made out of?

Guess, guess, guess.

Give up?

Dish mats. Yepper. Pick up two white dollar store dish mats and glue them together. That's it, basically. I tried to make it harder but it didn't come out any better.

Use good glue, like 5-minute epoxy or E6000 glue. Glue three sides of your clutch.

You can add a magnetic purse clasp to the top or embellish in other ways.

You can slide in your phone, your beach reads and your sunnies. If you get sand in your DIY clutch, just put in the sink with the dishes.

I created this tutorial for Dollar Store Crafts.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

DIY inspiration - perforated fashion

One of my favorite trends this summer is the whole perforated look - eyelet, mesh, laser cut, lattice look - whatever you call it. With the humidity the way it's been, everybody could use some ventilation.

Perforated and mesh outfit inspiration from  Arc Line, Atlantic-Pacific, A House in the Hills, Style Lovely and Tory Burch.

Inspiration perforated clutches by Stella McCartney, Alaia, Michael Kors and Topshop.

Monday, May 5, 2014

My DIY Kate Spade inspired floral necklace

To me, Kate Spade represents bold, bright, fun and . . . well . . . expensive.

You can do bold, bright, fun and free with this easy project I made for Dollar Store Crafts that was inspired by a Kate Spade necklace.

Below is my inspiration necklace, the Kate Spade gerbera garden necklace, which sold for $295 and is no longer available. I liked the color, shape and use of a ribbon, which I incorporated into my DIY necklace.

This necklace is made from .... dah dah dum .... silk flowers. You probably already have some. If not, you can get them super cheap at a dollar store or thrift store.

Go from this. To this.

All you need is flowers, thread and needle, Mod Podge, fingernail polish and a ribbon.

I popped off the flowers from a bunch of silk mums. I joined them together with needle and thread, soaked them in Mod Podge, let them dry then glued some washers on the backs to give the necklace some weight.

Then i painted it with a coat of white, then a couple coats of the color I wanted - tangerine. I sprayed the flowers with a gloss sealer to give it a lacquer look.

 Then I cut and glued a wide ribbon.

You can change the flowers, shapes and colors and make a bunch of spring necklaces.

See Dollar Store Crafts for more details.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

My DIY Dannijo-inspired statement necklace

Spring is finally here, and what better thing would there be to do except make an extremely large, loud statement necklace?

This necklace was inspired by Dannijo's Bea necklace with a hint of Dannijo's Nathalia necklace thrown in. The inspiration necklace will set you back almost a thousand dollars and has more rhinestones in it than any other necklace I've ever seen.

My DIY version wasn't super cheap (probably $30 or so in supplies) but not so bad when compared to the real thing. Most of my supplies came from Consumer Crafts, one of my favorite sources for affordable rhinestones in settings.

To make this necklace you will need sew-on rhinestone slider beads in a variety of shapes and sizes. Use a limited color palette (such as blues and greens) to keep the necklace from looking gaudy. I used the following:
  • 14 8mm square beads in blues and greens
  • 16 10 x 14mm pear beads in turquoise
  • 16 13 x 18mm oval beads in turquoise
  • 35 7 x 15mm diamond beads (I picked out the green beads from several strands of multi-color beads and also used one strand of turquoise beads)
You will also need:
  • Jewelry wire
  • 1 sheet plastic canvas mesh (10 mesh) in a color matching your stone settings. (I used black.)
  • Triple jump ring chain or similar chunky chain
  • Matching extender chain (optional)
  • Matching lobster claw clasp and large jump ring
  • Good jewelry glue like E-6000
  • Four small jump rings (optional) 
The slider beads will have two sets of holes in the back which allow you to string them together using jewelry wire. Use two strands of wire for each set of beads.

Twist the ends of the wire together, cut to about a half inch and bend the ends behind the beads.

Mark the center point of each strand of beads. (I used a small piece of blue tape.) Line up the beads on your canvas mesh so that they are centered.

Use a few piece of jewelry wire to loosely wire each strand to the mat at the center point of each strand. This is to temporarily hold the beads in place.  You will later remove this wire.

Position the top strand of beads (the square beads) to have an even curve. Wire the ends of the bead strand in place.

At this point, the simplest way to attach the beads to the mesh is with jewelry glue. (See Step 7 before gluing. Don't glue down the mesh where you will be attaching your chain until after the chain is on.)

However, I had to be weird and also have a reversible option in case I want to dismantle this necklace later and make it into something else. If you also have commitment issues, you can stitch the bead strands to the mesh instead of gluing.

To sew the beads to the mesh, use heavy duty sewing or embroidery thread that is double threaded and matches your mesh. Sew through the wire strands to the canvas mesh and tie off with knots.

After the beads are firmly attached to the mat, you can remove the wire used to position the the beads. Then cut around the plastic mesh. I cut roughly with scissors and then more closely to the beads using small wire cutters. (You can also use fingernail clippers.) If you have glued the beads to the mesh, you can cut very close. If your beads are sewn on, cut more cautiously so you don't sever any thread.

Divide your chain into two equal lengths. Double each piece of the chain over and attach the chain ends to the mesh. Use small jump rings if the chain is too bulky to attach directly to the mesh. Glue around the mesh where the chain is attached if needed.

Attach an extender chain to the chunky chain. Attach a lobster claw clasp. 

Be the envy of fashion bloggers everywhere.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

My DIY stenciled storage boxes

A few weeks back I shared 10 stylish DIY storage boxes, which got me thinking that simple storage looks the best. And what could be simpler than plain cardboard?

Yup, a nice cardboard box with the top flaps cut off looks minimal and and kind of hip if you don't ponder it too much.

Then Amy Anderson, the queen of Mod Podge, asked me to try out Plaid's new Mod Podge stencils. They are meant to be used with Mod Podge and glitter. There is no more useless element in the universe than glitter, so I opted to use my stencil with paint. What to stencil? How about those dumb cardboard boxes?

I picked this cool faux bois stencil designed by Amy. I framed it with blue tape to avoid getting paint around the edges. And I used a blue tape "level" to keep my lines straight.

The stencil came with a spouncer, which is just fun to say. Any small sponge would do for applying paint to the stencil.

I used acrylic paint, which I kept on the dry side. I allowed each section to dry a few minutes before moving the stencil and painting again. After a few sections, I rinsed the stencil to keep paint from building up on it.

This project was cheap and easy to do. The stencil has an adhesive that helps it stick to a hard surface. 

On the down side, it took forever. I cleaned my entire pantry in between drying sessions with the stencil. And this was one box. I need three more pantries to clean. 

Then I ran out of paint before doing my next three boxes.

I recommend:

  • smaller boxes
  • more paint 
However, it certainly elevated my cardboard to true hipster status.

Here is more info about the stencils from Plaid. I was provided the stencil and spouncer for free. All opinions are my own. 

Have you started organizing your closets this spring?