How To: Personalized Wedding Art Gift

I made this artwork for several engagement presents and bridal showers. Of course, they are the perfect wedding present too! You can personalize the initials (or use the couple’s last name) and even use their wedding colors if you want.

If you look closely, the artwork, letters, etc. are made from tiny dots. The heart is 3-D so it sticks off the paper a little. Believe me, you can do it too! To make something similar….

Here’s what you’ll need:

*frame- I used a square frame with a matt opening of 9X9in (there are a lot of 8X8in too)

*computer & printer

*nice colored pencils (I use PrismaColors)

*decent quality ink pen, or even a thin sharpie (see picture below for the pen I used)

*drawing paper

*blue painters tape

*cricut, or a heart punch (or you can even just cut the heart old school)

*red paper

*ruler

*paper cutter/scrapbook cutter (or use a ruler and scissors)

Here’s what you do:

1. Birds-Find a picture of two birds kissing (or other animals) on the internet. I don’t use the EXACT picture, just the outline. I actually used a picture of a piece of jewelry with birds. The birds were on a very long branch and they didn’t have the little wings; I simply added these details when I was drawing. So use your imagination when selecting something. Before you print, you might have to adjust the scale to get it right (I adjust the scale by changing the percentage on the print page- from 100% to smaller sizes until I see it fits in the frame well). **Consider the frame/mat size when estimating the size!!

2. Letters– Open a word document and pick a font you like and type the couple’s name and wedding date. Use a large enough size and thick enough letter to be able to trace and color in the letters. You might need to play with the size of the font/bird picture to make sure they look good together. ***Again, consider the size of your frame/mat!!!

3. Tape– Tape the bird picture/letters to your drawing paper. You’re going to be tracing, so the image should be taped down, against the drawing paper. Make sure they are spaced correctly and that you use either blue painter’s tape.  If you use scotch tape I usually press it against some fabric (like my jeans) so that it loses some of it’s stickiness before it goes on the paper to avoid ripping.

4. Trace– Trace the OUTLINE of the birds and letters onto your drawing paper. I use my back door because the window brings in a lot of light. You can do it up against a window too. Just lightly sketch a basic overview of the lines. When I trace it, I also tape it to the window so it won’t budge. OR if you’re awesome you can free hand it.

5. Dots- Take off your tape and printed “cheat sheets”. Then start by making medium sized black ink dots along your traced lines. I made the outline a with larger dots so they are more pronounced. Try to make them even in size and take your time. I make the outline dots larger and then go to smaller pin-point sized dots inward. This is the time consuming part! It takes a while to get all those dots on there, be patient!

6. Fill In– After you have outlined all your words, start making small dots slightly inside the border. Your dots should be heavier around the edges then fade to light as they go into your letters. I also put some smaller dots on the outside of the letters. On the inside of the birds and letters I have almost no dots, as they will be filled with color anyway.

7. Erase– When you have enough dots and you’re happy with the overall look of it, erase any pencil marks. But make sure the ink is completely dry or you will smear it.

8. Border- I used a ruler to create a square border around the birds/letters. Remember to take your frame and mat size in to consideration when creating a border. Again, I outlined the pencil marked with dots. I used larger to small dots and I concentrated more dots in the corners.

9. Color- Using sharpened color pencils make small light circular motions. Be sure to create light marks using a uniform circle. This helps the color apply evenly. I also used a light grey/silver color around the border and in the corners to add more detail. I used heavier color where the darker/heavier dots were.

10. Heart – To make the heart I used my Cricut, but you could easily use a heart punch from a craft store. Or go old school and fold a small piece of red paper and cut it into the shape of a heart. I used a raised double-sided sticky foam square to give the heart a three-dimensional quality.

11. Frame– Frame the artwork using a mat to class-it up.

Here is another example of one I created….

I plan to do something similar for some expecting mothers. I want to try a baby elephant or cute animal and the new baby’s name and birthdate. I’ll post pictures when I get to it!

How To: Planting Succulents for Center Piece

So I’ve had this weird obsession for these cactus-like plants. Perhaps what I love most is that they’re easy to care for, because let’s face it a lot of plants around my house die. So I ordered these little guys from an Etsy seller, got the pots from the dollar store and went to it…

What you’ll need:

* succulents- again, I ordered mine from Etsy– I think I ordered 6 but I already had a succulent plant around the house that I clipped leaves from to pot into this project. But you can get these plants in a normal nursery too. Some succulents love the sun, others need more shade, so consider where you will put the pots in your home.

*succulent/cactus soil . You CAN’T use regular soil, it doesn’t allow the conditions these plants need. Avoid clay soils!

*large/medium stones,pebbles. I got my black pebbles @ TJMaxx

*pots- Dollar store baby! I did 3 small so I could use them on my coffee table, but one large pot would be cute too.

What you do:

1. Put pebbles or coarse stones @ the bottom of your pot. (You can even use gravel because no one will see it). These plants need to be able to drain water. I put about 1-2 inches of stones in the bottom of my blue pots.

2. Scoop some of the cactus soil and loosely layer into pot. Leave some room because the pots the succulents come in have some soil that you can mix in too. I know some people also use some sand in their mixture.

3. Pull succulents out of pots, mix in loose soil and loosen the roots by breaking them up a little.

4. Make a small hole and put succulent roots into the soil. Pat down the soil around the plant. Fill the pot with soil if you need more.

5. After they are all planted use the remainder of the black pebbles to cover the soil and give it a more modern look.

Before and After: Kitchen Cart Updated!

I bought this kitchen cart @ Ikea for $100. It’s narrow design was perfect for our kitchen. However, we ended up keeping it in the living room/entry way. The light unfinished look of the cart was driving me crazy… so I decided a little paint and stain might help…

Before: 

After:

Using a semi-gloss white paint I used a foam brush (those little black foam ones you can get for like 50 cents) It was a slow process; I did about 5 coats! I find that if I use minimal paint on the brush I have less drips and unevenness. Although it takes longer it’s nice to have even paint. Since the coats are so thin, it only takes an hour before it’s dry. So by the time I did one side and moved onto the other 3 my first area was already dry and I’d do another coat. Below you can see how thinly each coat was applied.
I also stained the top and drawers with a light wood stain (using a paint brush, or even a foam brush). I only used two coats of stain.

And there you have it…

Spray Paint Goes A Long Way!

BEFORE…

So I bought this circle mirror from T.J. Maxx, $24.99. I had been looking for a detailed (expensive looking) mirror to go above my dresser. However, as our bedspread, curtains and walls have a warm tone I wanted a brown or gold frame.  I decided this was perfect, aside from the color. So I went to my hand-dandy spray paint solution!

 AFTER… 

Here’s what you need…

*a mirror, TJ Maxx and Ross have great mirrors for very good prices.

*spray paint, I used a champagne color by Krylon

*painter’s tape

*tissue paper/paper to cover the mirror for when you paint it

*windex and maybe fingernail polish remover

Heres’ what you do…

1. Clean the mirror. I simply used a damp paper towel and wiped down the mirror. Make sure it’s dry before you start spraying or wipe it down with a dry cloth to make sure.

2. Tape the mirror. I used blue painter’s tape because it comes off easily. This part is a little time consuming. Basically, I ripped small 1-2 inch pieces of tape and carefully applied it onto the mirror right up against the wood. Because the mirror is curved you have to use small pieces of tape. Make sure you’re not covering any of the wood or when you take the tape off you’ll have missed big spots.

3. I used a large rectangular piece of tissue paper (that T.J. Maxx wrapped the mirror with). I folded it into quarters. Then I cut it into a circle by rounding the edges. I continued to trim it down so that it fit into the mirror.

4. Once you have a “circle” of paper you need to tape it down over the existing blue tape. Be sure not to leave gaps or the spray paint will find it’s way onto the mirror beneath.

5. Spray paint! Make sure it’s not too windy and that you’re outside. Hold the spray can about 6 inches away from the mirror. If you hold it too close it starts to drip and you don’t get smooth, even coverage. It dries very fast, so after one coat, come back in 10 minutes, inspect it, and touch up areas that need it.

6. Wait. I let mine dry about an hour in the sun before I took the tape off. I noticed when I was taking it off that some of the spray paint got under my paper and faint sprays were on the mirror. I used fingernail polish remover on a paper towel and it came right up! I am sure paint thinner would would work too. Some of the blue paint was sticking in the crease; I used a butter knife to get it out.

And there you have it… A re-vamped mirror for less than $30!

How to: Hand paint your own wine glasses

You’ll be so pleasantly surprised when you realize how easy it is to paint your own wine glasses.  They make the perfect gift for anyone on your list!  Whether it’s for the bride and groom, the bridesmaids, your best friend, your mother, your sister or a neighbor.  You’ll need at least a solid day or you can spread it out over a weekend or just work on it when you have the time!

What you’ll need:

Wine glasses (If you’re only doing 1 or 2 go to the dollar store- they have amazing glasses!!)

Glass paint (Go to Michaels and get the kind that is food safe and that you can bake!)

Toothpicks

Paint brushes (small and large)

Tape

A printed image

Wet paper towels

Dry paper towels

Oven

Time!

Please take the time to clean the wine glasses before you start!

Always start by sketching or having an idea of what you want your wine glass to look like.  I like to add dates and names and usually a personal message on the bottom of the glass to really personalize it.

You may need to print off several images to make sure you get the perfect size for your glass.  Tape the image inside of the glass at the top and bottom to secure it in place.  This way all you have to do is trace the image onto the glass!  So simple!

You may be surprised to hear that I do a lot of my painting with toothpicks.  You get minimal paint at the precise location you want it!  I sometimes snip the end of the toothpick off to make it a little easier to cover larger area that may be too small for a paint brush.  Play around with it when you are just getting started either on scrap paper or on a large section of the glass.

** If you make a mistake just wipe it off with the wet paper towel!  It’s so easy when you just get started… a little tricker when you’re almost complete.  Make sure you’re working on a dry surface before you start painting again!

Basically you’re just tracing from here on out until the image is finished.  I usually start with the largest area to paint (in this picture the hair).  I usually use a paintbrush for the large areas and a toothpick for details.  Paint the largest section first and then let dry for at least 30 minutes to up to an hour.

Keep painting the image in sections.. ALWAYS let the last section dry before stating the next section ESPECIALLY if it’s in the same area.  This will ensure you don’t smudge the paint which is really hard to fix!  If you’re painting multiple glasses I suggest painting the same section of the image at the same time. For example, if I were painting this image on multiple wine glasses I would paint her hair on all of the wine glasses before starting on her white face.  You’ll find that the more you paint an image the more comfortable you will be painting it again and again.

I also like to paint the bottom of the glasses, this allows you to write a message below or just to add extra color to the glass.

Continue painting… waiting… painting… waiting until you’re all done!  I usually print off the words to help me plan where the lettering is going to go.  I use a toothpick to write.

Make sure the paint has an hour to set before you bake it!  Play around with different images and maybe start with a simply image… a flower or just words.  I’ve been painting glasses for 5 years and am still prone to mistakes!

Put your painted wine glasses in a cool oven and set for 350 degrees and cook for 30 minutes. Feel free to add as many glasses as you can.  When the timer goes off turn off the heat and open the door and let the glasses cool in the oven.  Once cool they are set to use!

** Please note that not all glass paint can be baked!  See the back of the paint bottle or check out their website as to how you can permanently set the paint!  Some you have to air dry for 21 days to set it.

**You glasses can go in the dishwasher on the top rack or can be hand washed with the non-abrasive side of a sponge!

These were another set of the glasses I did for a bride and groom in November.  I used the same painting procedures as I listed below.

Please let me know what you think!  I posted some other glasses I’ve painted later!

How To: Spring Wreath

Last weekend I whipped up this simple wreath! I didn’t want to be too Easter-y so that it could last all through spring. So I attempted a fresh outdoorsy simple look!

You’ll need:

*twig wreath- I got mine @ my local craft store. Less than $5.

*White flowers- I bought 2 long stems. They were 40% off.  Although they are really long and have a lot of branches it’s better to buy the long ones.

*pink beads- I purchased a long strand of pink garland and again cut it into pieces. These might be found in the floral section.

*larger white/pink detail beads- I found a bunch of these in the spring decoration area

*glue gun and glue sticks

*wire cutter

*brown marker (maybe!)

*ribbon in your color choice

Step 1: Cut the white floral strands into smaller parts. There is wire underneath the plastic, so wire cutters work best. Cut into about 6-9 inch pieces. Depending on your preference.

Step 2: Weave the flower strands through the twigs. You may need to apply small dots of hot glue to certain areas. Remember since there they are made of wire they bend easily.

I arranged the flowers with a heavier concentration at the bottom. And slightly more to the left. Of course you can do an all-over look or concentrate the flowers in different ways.

Step 3: Cut apart beads using wire cutters. Because the stems were a bright green color I actually painstakingly used a brown marker to color them darker. Begin to apply these using a glue gun. They are fairly heavy, so sticking the wire ends into the wreath is not enough to hold them down. I concentrated them toward the bottom of the wreath.

Step 4: Cut apart pink bead garland using wire cutters. Again, it’s not necessary, but I colored the green garland brown so it blended better.  Attach small pink garland pieces in the same fashion as the larger beads- either weaving the wire through the wreath or using the glue gun.

Step 5: I put a piece of sea-foam green ribbon at the top so I could hang it from my door. But I’m considering using a different color- maybe white?

And there you have it! Happy Spring!

It’s about time! Wedding Shadow Box

After 8 months, I finally got around to making our wedding shadow box. I had a lot of things from the wedding I wanted to put in a scrapbook, but were too big to fit in the book. I also like the idea that if I ever want to wear the locket or hairpiece I can take them out. (They are attached using pins.)

Also included:

*I put in some lace from my mom’s wedding dress that I had around my bouquet.

*My bustle broke on my dress and popped some of the buttons off! I put one of the buttons in.

*I included  a few small dried roses from my bouquet and the sixpence I had in my shoe! I also glued in a matchbook from the reception.

*The 7.2.11 sign was something I made for the wedding day. I made the sign using a plain brown sign from PaperSource (I think it was a dollar!) I painted it champagne, and wrapped lace around it. The white numbers are scrapbooking stickers.

How’d I make it? 

*I bought the shadow box from my local craft store. It’s not very big, maybe the size of a regular piece of paper and about 2 inches deep.

*The background was a grey fabric, which didn’t match my color scheme. So I took some ivory card stock measured and fitted it to the box.

*I used floral pins (with the little fake pearls on the end) to attach the locket, and hair pin.

*Some things I hot glue gunned down (like the matchbook and the 7.2.11 sign), others like the picture/invitation I just used scrapbook tape.

How To: Make your Own Fork, Knife, Spoon Menu Cards

You’ll need:

-background paper- I used 8.5X11 black cardstock purchased from my local craft store. You can do any color of course!

How much will you need? I made 3 menu cards from 1 page.

-corner punch- you can find cheap ones on Amazon (they have tons of crafting supplies for relatively cheap!) or at a craft store like Michael’s.

-Fork, Knife, Spoon Stamp & ink pad- I got mine at Paper Source. But I’ve seen them other places.

-Card stock or printer paper for the text- I ordered this 8.5 X 11 in. metallic champagne paper from Paper and More.  Again 1 paper= 3 menu cards

-printer/computer

-scrapbook adhesive/paper cutter

How To:

1. Black Background: For the black background cardstock I used my paper cutter to cut it into 3 parts. You need to turn the paper so it’s “landscape” (aka the 11inch side), so that each paper will make three 3.6in menu cards.

2. The Text: I  typed up the Menu on my computer. I was able to format the document to “landscape” so I could fit 3 menus across. On Word I selected “3 Columns” so the text would be spaced properly.I used different fonts for the food and for the titles like “Starter”, “Dinner”, “Dessert”, etc. I also had to do a few trial and errors to see how much room to leave for the stamp.

Of course if you do three on a page they will need to be cut down, because if not it’ll be the same size as the border. So I also formatted it a 1/4 inch to one side so when I was cutting I just cut 1/4inch more. You also need to account for this on the top (and you need to account for the stamp!). Just print one @ a time and play around before you print them all! Once you have it correct, print them, and cut them out.

3. Stamping: Finally, use black ink to stamp the fork,knife,spoon stamp on the champagne paper. (other colored ink would be awesome too!). Remember when stamping:

** Always clean the stamp before and after you use it. If the ink is not adhering correctly, I’ve heard of a little tip to use a regular pencil eraser on the stamp. I guess rubbing the eraser on it helps clean and prep the surface for ink.

** Before you start make sure the stamp is completely covered in ink.

** When pressing the stamp down, do not “roll it”. Simply press it straight down and press firmly.

** If you need it, use a “guide” like a book or some other object that you can make sure is straight to help anchor your stamp. Once the guide is in place it can ensure your stamp is in the right spot on the paper and straight. Just practice a few times to make sure it’s where you need it. I always have a ton of “practice” papers at the end!

**Make sure the ink is dry before doing the next steps or before stacking them onto each other!

4. Corner Punch: Then you punch all four corners with your corner punch design. Do it over the trash because little pieces fly!

5. Attach it!!: I used scrapbooking tape to glue the champagne paper with the text onto the border. I didn’t agonize over each corner. I simply put one strip of adhesive down the back.

It is somewhat time consuming, but once you are done formatting the document if you get 1-2 people to help out you can pound it out in a few hours. And there you have it!

Vintage Book Pages as Table Runner

I stole this idea from an amazing picture from Better Homes and Gardens via Pinterest. Old Book Pages as a table runner! Genius. And unlike most of the things I pin, I actually attempted to make this one!

My Inspiration: 

Vintage Book Page Table Runner- Better Homes and Gardens

What you’ll need:

– vintage or old books. I got mine from Goodwill. I use them as decoration.

-exacto-knife or a utility knife

-invisible tape

-paper punch. The one I used is Martha Stewart

 

Step 1:

Cut the pages from the book using an exacto or utility knife.  Choose pages that have interesting text and a nice arrangement. You don’t want to use a story with a werid title or very little text on the page. You may want to spread out the cuts, so you don’t have a huge chunk of paper missing.Then, make the cut as close to the center of the book as you can. You’ll need to apply some pressure to the knife as you cut. You may also want to use a ruler to guide your knife, so that it is straight. My plan was to cut with the knife then use a paper cutter to get a straight line. But, because of the old paper (or a dull blade) the paper ripped, so I just used the cuts I had.

How many pages do you need to cut? 

It depends on the size of your table. I used 6 long and 2 wide for my little end table. However, if you have a very long or wide table you may need a lot more. And as usual with my DIY projects, I ruined or messed up on about 3-4 pages. So plan accordingly!

Step 2:

Tape the pages together. Put the tape on the side you DON’T want to show, so the nice side is facing down. I started by making the “width”, so I taped two pages together making pairs. I slightly overlapped the pages as to avoid noticeable gaps. However, be careful that all pages have a similar amount of overlap or the edges won’t match up when you chain them together.

Step 3/4:

This is where you make a choice: 1. you tape all the pairs together and make the table runner and then punch the edges.  OR 2. you punch the edges and then tape them all together.

The problem with the first choice is you might mess up on the punches and you’ll be forced to pull apart your pages, risking ripped paper. The problem with #2 is that if you punch them all separately the punches might not line up when you attach them.

I did number one. Of course, I messed up, but luckily the tape didn’t rip the paper so I was able to detach the messed up pages and replace them.

When I attached all the pairs together I arranged the pages in different directions. I thought it was more interesting to have the pages all mismatched. Again, make sure the tape is on the same side!

Using a paper punch is TRICKY! If you haven’t used one you might want to practice on another sheet of paper. The problem is lining up the paper so that the punch is straight and so that the punches are spaced correctly.

See below: I always take my time and carefully line up the previous holes to the template on the bottom of the punch. On this punch, the metallic template shows you where to line up your previous cuts. However, if you pull it out too much you might mess up spacing. I usually error on the side of caution and only move the paper a small amount, probably re-cutting the same holes, but that’s better than missing a spot.

Step 5: You might need to bend the pages down a bit on the edges so it falls off the table alright. OR you can just make it so that there’s a page break and it will fall perfectly.

And there you have it!!