Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Pumpkin Stem Jewelry Hooks

Before the holidays have come and gone I wanted to do a project that, though not so holiday-ish, is at least seasonal! So before you throw out the pumpkin remnants from your pumpkin pie, here's a way to consider rescuing those stems. This cool project is perfect those of us who like our decorations on the non-traditional side. 

-pumpkin stem (preferably curved)
-small piece of wood
-decorative paper or fabric
-saw tooth picture hooks

Preparing The Stems
Step 1: Remove all bits of pumpkins from around and beneath the stem. (You may even want to put these into the oven at a low temperature for awhile to ensure that there is no moisture left that could cause rot later.)

Step 2: Sand down the back until it is level.

Preparing The Mount
Aside from the pumpkin stems, you'll need wood to mount the stems to, pretty paper (or fabric) and decoupage medium. I'm still loving the DIY decoupage receipe I got from Sunny's Life In Rehab. You'll also want to put down some paper on your work area to protect your table top from getting super messy.

Step 1: Place the pumpkin stem on your mount until you are happy with its position, then trace around the bottom edge with a pencil.

Step 2: When you lift up the stem you should have a clear tracing of it's shape place two marks in the center of this shape then hit each mark with a thin nail to make a divot where each of the marks are.

Step 3: Drill a thin hole into each of the depressions.

When you're done with step 1-3 your piece of wood will look like this:

Step 4: Now you're ready to decoupage your paper into place. Thoroughly cover the front side of the wood in decoupage medium, as well as the backside of the paper.

Step 5: Place the paper backside down on to the front side of the mount making sure that there are no bubbles. 

Step 6: The excess paper will wrap around to the backside of the mount.

Step 6: Thoroughly cover the front side of the paper with decoupage medium, then flip over and cover all edges where the paper meets the wood on the back. Allow it to dry completely.

Step 7: From the backside, push a nail or an awl through to the front. The paper is now covering your tracing of the stem, but seeing the holes should get you back on track with your planned placement.

Putting It All Together
Step 1: Place some adhesive on the back of the stem. A wood glue or hot glue gun will work well. (You want to use just enough that you can get a good adhesion with the mount, but not so much that it spurts out everywhere!) Press firmly down over the two holes and let dry.

Step 2: Now turn to the back side and screw 2 screws into the drilled holes. The glue on the stem should keep it in place while you're doing this, but be pushing the stem on to the board for an additional precaution. Turn the screwdriver until the screws are flush with the back of the board.
**It's probably obvious, but it's worth mentioning that you should use a lot of care when picking out your screws. They need to be long enough to go completely through the wood and into the pumpkin stem, while not being so long they pop out!**

Step 3: Finish by screwing a picture hanger on to the back, at the center near the top. (Using a sawtooth hanger is an easy way to have these hang straight even if the balancing was a little bit off.)

You should be safe to hang hats, scarves, even a coat or two! I am currently using mine as jewelry hooks for some of my million necklaces. I am totally obsessed with these things.
Happy holidays, y'all!


*hammer and nail
*glue gun
*decoupage medium

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Leopard and Neon Oxfords

To me, suede bucks are the epitome of classic conservative accessories in fall fashion.  And that's exactly the reason that transforming them into a modern statement accessory is so much fun!

What you'll need:
-suede oxford bucks
-suede dye                           
-painter's tap    
-black sharpie                       
-brown permanent marker    
-neon pink elastic cording

Step 1: Remove laces. On the front portion of the shoe, begin making the black outer ring of the leopard spots using a black sharpie. 

*It may be helpful to imagine each of the spots as distorted version of the letters "c", "o" and "u". The more wonky and varied you make them the better they'll look!

Step 2: Flip back the flaps so that the tongue will be completely covered in spots as well.  

When you've finished with these steps your shoes will look like this:

Step 3: Fill in each of the spots with your permanent brown marker.

Step 4: Everything else will now need to be dyed black. Use painter's tape to block of all areas that come in contact with the area to be dyed.

Step 5: Paint on suede dye, making sure that all areas are being covered evenly. Let dry.
Step 6: Paint on a second coat. When this has dried, remove the tape.

Step 7: Cut your elastic cord into two 13" pieces. Lace the shoes with the cord and then tie a knot into each of the cut ends to prevent fraying.


Monday, October 29, 2012

(Almost) Candy Corn Dip Dye T-Shirt

Before I begin this last minute costume DIY I should mention that technically this isn't a true candy corn pattern. The orange should be on top and the yellow on the bottom, but having the darker of the two colors up top doesn't work for my layered dip dying purposes. So be it! The colors are out of order, but probably no one will notice (except candy corn purists).
*white t-shirt
*yellow dye
*orange dye

Step 1: Set up your dying area.

-Ideally this will happen in your bathroom or kitchen. In this Brooklyn apartment, that is not meant to be due to those areas being tiny, restricted and with bad lighting.  If you also find yourself with a less-than-ideal space, you can easily improvise an adequate area for dying the shirt:

-Set up a well covered table with an aluminum pan large enough for both holding the dye and catching the drips. 
-Next, string up a makeshift clothesline across a doorway. It should be the right height for the shirt bottom to be just above the pan so it can drip into it.

Step 2: Decide how far up the shirt you want the two colors to go. As evenly as possible, pin the first two safety pins across from one another at the height where you want the yellow to end. Do the same a little lower down the shirt for the orange, using your last two safety pins. This is also a good time for pinning the sleeves out of the way.

When you're done with this step, your shirt will look like this.

Step 3: Wet the dying area by dipping shirt into warm water till just below the top safety pins. 

Step 4: Dip your shirt into the yellow dye, stopping when you get to the the top two safety pins.

Because the dye will dry to a lighter color, you may want to repeat this a couple of times so the shirt looks as bright as possible. When you're satisfied with the color, let it hang over the tray for 15-20 minutes so that some of the excess dye can drip off into the dying pan.

Step 5: Change out the dye in the pan to the orange and repeat step 4. This time only dipping the shirt  up to the bottom two safety pins. Again, dip a number of times to have a brighter colored orange.

Step 6: Let the shirt hang for a little while before rinsing so that the dyes will be less likely to seep into othre areas. Thorough rinse the shirt until the water coming off of it runs clear. 

Step 7: When you're all finished remove the safety pins and let dry.

Hope this is a good solution for someone who waited to till the last minute to pull something together.
Be safe in this hurricane, East Coast friends! And Happy Halloween! 

-pan for holding the dye
-4 safety pins
-coat hanger
-yarn for stringing a makeshift close line
-foam applicator (optional)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Painted Water Bottles

Like lots of people, we keep filtered water in various glass containers in our fridge. Lately, I've been wanting to dress them up a little, so I decided on H2O inspired images in simple white designs.
This project is cheap, easy and gives you results are pretty and subtle.
*Cleaned out glass bottles
*Oil-based paint pen

Step 1: Sketch out a some designs and pick your favorites.
Step 2: If your design area is designated for a specific area or shape, use masking tape to mask off that area. Visually this can help you with placements, etc. (If your design covers the entire bottle, go ahead and skip this step.)

Step 3: Shake up the pen, then press the point up and down on a piece of scrap paper until the paint starts to come out at an even consistency. This ensures that your pen has an uninterrupted flow before you start drawing in the bottle.

Step 4: Draw your design on the bottle.

Step 5: Remove the tape. This is also a good time to draw on a border if you want to.

Step 6: Repeat the above steps on the rest of your bottles.

*After 24 hours, it should be safe to wash without disturbing the design, but avoid using anything abrasive or it will scratch it off.

 I'm more excited about  getting hydrated already. Cheers!

**A few notes on this project**
-I had already taken the labels off of my bottle before starting this project, so no pictures for this step:(
If you find you're having trouble with this, you can find my favorite removal method here.

-Etsy's How Tuesday had a great bottle tutorial awhile back using Pebeo Vitrea 160 paints. These paints are more translucent than the oil paint pens, so depending on what design you have in mind, these may be a better match. You can check the Etsy tutorial here.

-If you choose to use an oil paint pen like mine, just be aware that while this is totally safe to have on the outside of the bottles, you do NOT want to put it on the inside.

-masking tape
-oil-based paint pen