Tag Archives: do it yourself

Handmade Holidays 2012 & What I’m Making

So excited to be a part of Etsy817’s Handmade Holidays again this year! Last year we had the show in one of the gyms in the UTA activity center, but this year it’s in Arlington’s Lincoln Square, which is a large shopping center on the north side of the city. The team leaders were able to find a couple of spaces available for rent, and are currently hoping to upgrade to the larger space due to the massive amounts of vendor applications sent in this year. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the bigger space comes through, because it’s going to be an awesome show already. If you’re in the area and interested in more info, check out the Etsy817 blog here.

Since the show is going to be here before we know it (in early December,) Mom and I are both in serious creative mode. I’ve been hanging on to some pretty crocheted pieces my grandmother made and left to us, wondering what I should do with them, when it hit me. I’ve been into the trend of body harnesses and jewelry for a long time now. In fact, one of my favorite treasures is a beaded hand harness (ring/bracelet combo) that my grandmother gave me for Christmas years and years ago. Now, of course, it’s this huge trend, and I’ve been thinking of ways I could make the trend my own to sell in the shop. Enter the crocheted squares, hearts, teardrops, flowers, and circles that have been taking up space in one of my many plastic storage containers! So, I started hand beaded each of them, adding charms and buttons, picturing how each piece would lay as jewelry. Add chain, and you have very fall & winter appropriate shoulder and body harnesses.

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So, what do you think? It takes a certain person to brave body harnesses, I think, but I’m one of those people! I hope that these pieces are distinct enough that people will want to wear them over sweaters and blazers as the weather gets cooler. If you’d like to make your own, easy and understated chain body harness, take a look at this easy to follow tutorial.

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Chelsea

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DIY Steampunk Tophat Tutorial

As promised, here’s the step-by-step to my mini steampunk tophat!

Tadaa! The finished product.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I looked at several different tutorials (check out threadbanger.com for a great start,) then made my own frankentutorial based on supplies I already had to make my hat.

What You’ll Need:

A plastic cup that is slightly graduated in shape (smaller at the bottom, larger at the top)

Scrap of foam board or cardboard

Ribbon and/or trim

Feathers

Lace

Buttons and trinkets

1 or 2 hair clips

Low-temp hot glue gun & glue sticks

Electrical or masking tape

Sturdy wire

Good scissors

Wire cutters

Feathers

Fabric scraps

How To Make It

1.) Take your plastic cup and place it upside down on your piece of foam board or cardboard. Trace the opening of the cup onto the board, then cut out on the inside of the line you just drew. The idea is for the round piece to fit snugly in the opening of the cup after both the cup and the circle are covered in fabric.

2.) Place your circle on the fabric of your choice. (I chose velvet to coordinate with the gold and red silk I used for the tall part of my hat.) Trace the circle onto your fabric, then draw another circle about an inch out from the original circle onto your fabric.

3.) Cut slits in your circle from the outside edge nearly to the edge of the inside circle you traced. Cut several slits around the circle so that your fabric will lay flat when you cover your circle.

4.) Place your foamboard/cardboard circle back on the fabric you just cut slits in, and start folding the fabric “tabs” you created when cutting onto the circle, and glue them down with hot glue. Go slowly, doing one tab at a time, and stretching your fabric over the circle so that it lays flat. (FYI, your tabs will probably overlap. That’s good! It means the fabric will be smooth on the opposite side.)

5.) Place your plastic cup on its side on top of the “wrong” side of the fabric of your choice. (Be sure there’s enough fabric so that you have at least an inch of overlap at the top and bottom of your cup. Place a short line of hot glue on the top and bottom edges of the cup (the opening and the base of the cup,) and begin to roll your cup onto the back side of the fabric. Repeat until you’ve rolled the cup all the way around, at which point the sides of the cup should be covered in fabric. Again, go slowly, making sure your glue adheres, and tighten the fabric so that it lays flat on your cup.

6.) When you’ve covered the cup, cut a straight line at the end of your fabric, and fold it over to create a seam. Glue the fabric seam down, then glue the neat edge of your fabric onto the cup.

7.) Using the same technique you used to cover your foam board/cardboard circle, cut slits in the fabric that overlaps the top and bottom of your cup. Glue the tabs you create inside the cup, and onto the bottom of the cup.

8.) Quickly create a ring of glue about 1/2 inch inside the opening of your cup, and place your covered foam board/cardboard circle inside to secure. The base for your tophat is finished.

9.) Stand your cup upright, and, taking your wire, create a circle around the base, at least a few inches out from the edge of the cup. This will be the base for the brim of your hat, so you can make it as small or as large as you like. Cut the wire with about 1/2 inch to spare when you’ve found the right length.

10.) Overlap the two ends of your wire and connect by covering with electric or masking tape to create a circle. Try not to get too bulky with your tape, since you’ll be covering the wire with fabric.

11.) Using the same technique you used to cover your foam board/cardboard circle, trace a circle around your wire about 1/2 inch from the edge of the wire. You may or may not need to cut slits in your fabric for this step, since you’ll be gluing your fabric directly to the edge of the wire. Glue your fabric down and cut off any excess fabric around the inside edge.

12.) To attach your brim to your hat, apply a liberal amount of glue around the edge of the bottom of your cup, and place in the center of the finished side of your circular brim. (The side without raw fabric edges showing.) Now stitch the fabric to the bottom of the cup. This doesn’t have to look pretty – you’ll finish your brim and hide any stitches you make.

14.) Cut another circle of fabric, this time the same size as your wire circle, to cover the unfinished side of your brim. You can either fold the edges of this fabric over and glue down to creat a seam, or just glue the circle down, raw edges and all, then cover the edge by gluing down a pretty trim. Your brim is finished.

15.) Bend the wire of your brim any way you like to create an authentic tophat look.

16.) Stitch hair clips and/or ribbon to the bottom center of your brim to secure to your head. If you choose to use ribbon, wrap the ribbon around your head like a headband, then cut lots of extra ribbon to tie a pretty bow. (You could also tie the ribbon under your chin.)

17.) Now you can add your embellishments! You can add feathers by cutting them to the desired length, then taping together and gluing onto the hat. Metal buttons and beads, gears, and pretty baubles can be stitched onto your ribbon and glued around the bottom of your tophat to hide the tape on your feathers. I created a pretty lace pinwheel by cutting a length of lace ribbon, then making a running stich along the edge to pull and gather the lace. Using a matching thread, stitch the raw edges of the lace together to create a circle, and sew a button in the center to finish. I also added some organza ribbon to give the illusion of a prize ribbon. You can get really creative here, adding any kind of embellishments you choose. Just be careful not to make the hat too heavy!

Back view of the hat. Notice the "seam" and various trinkets sewn to the ribbon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, wear your hat with steampunk pride! Stay tuned for more fun and simple steampunk tutorials.

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Chelsea

 

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Make It Monday – Puppet Shows and Superheroes

Life is funny when you’re a professional “crafter.” After painting a couple of nursery name sets as baby shower gifts, a friend from church asked if I would paint letters for her son and daughter as a custom order! I’ve never thought of myself as a painter, even though I love to dabble, so it’s flattering and exciting to have someone pay me to do it. I have thought of myself as a draw-er (is that a word, other than one of a “chest of …?”) so I sketch the layout of the design on the letters to give me a little more confidence when painting. It’s kind of like paint by number. I lucked out with these kids in particular, besides the fact that they’re both precious, because the girl is in love with all things Disney princess, and the boy is a superhero buff! I get the best of both worlds; one set will be pink and sparkly with Disney fairytale characters and pink organza ribbon, and the other will be black and superhero colors (and hopefully glow-in-the-dark paint) with emblems and old-school onomatopoeia bubbles like “bam!” and “pow!” It’s a challenge, but I’m so up to it.

Meanwhile, I was asked by another friend to help with our new children’s ministry, which is going to include regularly featured puppets and skits with zany characters. Right up my alley. We brainstormed, going down the list of lesson topics that our children’s minister smartly listed from A-Z. So far, we’ve come up with ideas for a time machine, a few characters and puppets, and what props and costumes we’ll need to use over and over again. I really feel like this is God’s answer to so many prayers to involve the congregation with what the kids are doing, and really get the kids excited about learning what the Bible has to teach! I was so excited that I stayed up until 2 o’clock in the morning working on my first project, a snake puppet:

Tom and Mr. Snake meet for the first time.
 
Now, we don’t have any kids yet, but we have lots of nieces and nephews, kids of friends, and, let’s face it, we’re just big kids, too. Every kid that saw the puppet, or saw pictures of the puppet got so excited! Puppets are relatively easy to make, and there are so many different ways to make them. Mr. Snake is made from a shirt sleeve, cardboard, felt, and google eyes, but you can make puppets from socks or paper, and make them little enough to fit on fingers or big enough to fit on both hands. I encourage you to try it out, even host a puppet workshop with your kids and their friends, because it’s so much fun, and can be catered to any skill level. First, I’ll attempt to give you the step-by-step for Mr. Snake, then I’ll share some helpful links with tutorials on other kinds of puppets so you can find your favorite flavor.
 
How To Make Mr. Snake
 
What you’ll need:
 
A sock or long sleeve made from stretchy material (stripes or solids are snake-y, but you can go with any pattern you like)
Black felt
Red felt
Yellow felt
White felt
Two google eyes
Cardboard scraps
Pencil
Scissors
Your preferred glue (hot, tacky, E6000 …)
 
How to make it:
 
1. Cut off the end of your sock, or cut off the desired length of the sleeve. I used a shirt a friend gave me that suffered a DIY project gone wrong. Oops.
 
2. Fold the edges of the end you just cut inward, as if you’re going to hem the raw edge. Use an iron to press the edges if you’d like help keeping things even. I folded my edge inward about 1/2 inch.
 
3. Fold your piece of cardboard in half. Place your hand on the fold so that your thumb is on the bottom, and your other four fingers are on top, sandwiching the folded piece in your hand. With a pencil, trace an oval about 1/4 inch out around your four fingers on top. This will create the mouth of your puppet.
 
4. Keeping the cardboard folded, cut out the oval shape.
 
5. Unfold the cardboard (which should look kind of like a giant hot dog now) or open the mouth, and place it on your black felt. Cut out the felt in the shape of the cardboard mouth, and repeat to create two identical felt ovals.
 
6. Glue the felt to each side of your cardboard. This will be the black inside of the snake’s mouth, and will give you a nice, soft but easy-to-grip surface on the inside of the puppet.
 
7. Once the glue dries, take your sleeve or sock and begin stretching the folded end over the edge of your felt-covered cardboard, keeping the oval unfolded (or the mouth open.) This is the tricky part. I stretched the fabric over the mouth so that the folded edge lay flat on the cardboard, creating a 1/2 inch border around the oval. Then I lifted up the fabric in small sections and glued them down to the felt-covered cardboard mouth. Once you’ve glued all the way around the fabric opening, you’ve made the snake’s mouth!
 
8. Once the glue has dried, slip your hand inside the puppet and fold the cardboard mouth in half with your hand. Open and close your hand a few times to open and close the mouth, and re-establish the fold in the cardboard.
 
9. Cut a long tongue with a forked end from your red felt and glue it to the bottom half of the mouth.
 
10. Cut two fang shapes from your white felt and glue them to the top half of the mouth.
 
11. Cut two nostrils from your leftover black felt. Set them aside.
 
12. Place your google eyes on top of your yellow felt, and cut around them, leaving a border of at least 1/4 inch. Glue the eyes onto the yellow circles.
 
13. You can stop here if you want, glue the eyes and nostrils to the top of the snake’s head and be done.  The result will be a cool sock-puppet snake. If you’d like to add more dimension to the snake’s head, read on.
 
I’m not going to number these steps, because I’ll have a hard time explaining exactly what I did to creat the snake’s head. I’m going to try! Take a look at a house slipper, and you’ll see where I got the idea. I cut a half-circle the length of the top of the mouth from cardboard and cut two triangular notches (like darts in a blouse) on the rounded side. I carefully curved the shape by folding it like the bill of a baseball cap. Then I pulled the edges of each notch toward each other, overlapping them and gluing them down. Once they were glued, each notch created the space for the nostrils of the snake. I turned the puppet inside out, gluing my new cardboard snout to the top half of the mouth piece. While the glue was drying, I created a brow by tracing the yellow eyes on the cardboard, about 1/4 inch apart, then drew a brow shape on top of the eyes. I drew several tabs around the edges of the brow shape, and cut the whole shape out. I folded the tabs back to create a kind of easel for the eyes to stand on, then glued those tabs to the snout. I turned the puppet right side out, then glued the yellow eyes and black nostrils onto the fabric on top of the new head structure.
 
If you’re having a hard time making heads or tails of my snake tutorial, and I don’t blame you if you are, here are some other puppet tutorial links:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Have a picture of a puppet you’ve made? Share in the comments below!
 
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Chelsea

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Make It Monday – A Very Belated Reveal

Um, wasn’t Halloween yesterday? No, wait, that was Christmas. Where did the time go?!?

Anyway, here’s the very belated reveal of my finished mermaid costume and our Trunk Or Treat decorations:

It’s hard to tell that I’m super glittery in the pics, but I assure you I was glittery for a week after! (And it was the glow in the dark kind …)

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Chelsea

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Make It Monday – Look at this stuff, isn’t it neat? How to be a mermaid.

Last year was our first year participating in our church’s Trunk or Treat event as Dorothy and the scarecrow, and I did a tutorial about ruby slippers. This year, after a failed attempt at a theme based on the movie “Up,” we’ve decided to be a mermaid and a pirate! When I was a little girl, one of my favorite movies, like so many little girls, was The Little Mermaid. (The only difference between me then and little girls now is that I got to see it when it came out in theaters!)

I have to admit, we’re cheating a little. Remember the pirate costume we put together for the hubs for the renaissance festival?

Yarr.

Yeah, I think I’ll make a vest and call it a day. With a costume as elaborate as a mermaid, I need all the extra help I can get. Especially considering our car’s trunk is going to be dressed up as a giant clam shell. Uh huh.

The pirate costume consists of a thrifted large ladie’s linen shirt (a t-shirt will do,) thrifted men’s linen pants, jaggedly cutoff (khaki will do,) a head scarf (or a hat!) a belt, a piece of “creepy fabric” from the dollar store tied at the waist, and plenty of jingly and sea-shell-y jewelry (thrifted and from home.) Hubs just happened to have a wooden sword – don’t ask. Add black, smudged eyeliner, maybe an eyepatch, a scar or two, and you’re a pirate! A tried and true, easy & traditional costume.

Now for the mermaid.

The unfinished costume.

 Let me first say, I still need to add fins to the bottom of the skirt, using blue and green tulle. I got lucky and scored a bright red (unused) wig from Goodwill for $5, that I’m excited to be able to reuse for costumes like Poison Ivy, Jessica Rabbit, and other fantasy creatures. Any time you can find an “investment” costume piece, go for it!

I made “face fins” inspired by a cool makeup tutorial: http://youtu.be/b5DkwjEelW0. I used blue floral wire and the same tulle as my tail fins, then got a little fancier and hand sewed gold and green sequins to the tulle with gold thread. The tutorial will teach you how to shape and attach the fins.

The “bra” shells are made from purple felt and scraps of iridescent fabric. I drew a simple pattern for the shells about the size of my bra cup, then traced the pattern with a marker onto the felt. I did the same with the iridescent fabric, marking a pretty wide margin outside the line of the pattern. After cutting out the shell shapes, I began stitching the iridescent fabric on top of the felt, puckering the iridescent fabric to create ridges, and gathering the straight stitches tightly to creat a slight curve to the shell. Then I stitched the outline of the shell, and added some natural shells and fake pearls to the bottom of the “cup.” In the picture, the shells are just pinned onto a nude tank top. I plan on pinning them a little higher with safety pins on Halloween. 

I created the tail from stretchy metallic knit that I had leftover from a goddess costume. The fabric isn’t the cheapest (I found it on sale,) but you only need a couple of yards. I traced a fitted, pencil-style skirt with chalk on the back of the fabric, down to knee length, marking where the knees were, and then tapered off into a v-shape at ankle length. I folded the top of the waist on each piece down and sewed to create a neat edge. Then I pinned the pieces (pretty sides together) and sewed seams down to the mark I made for knee length. I sewed a zipper into one of the side seams – it’s really easy! – and cut the excess fabric from the seams. The end result is a tail-shaped fin with slits on each side from the knee down. I plan to cut tulle into fin shapes and sew it to those slits to create the illusion of a mer-fin. Similar to this:

Another great idea for a pin-up style mermaid!

There are so many different ways to do mermaid makeup, I won’t even attempt to suggest one to you. Youtube and Google are full of ideas from natural looks to wacky ones, like the link a few paragraphs up. I will, however, suggest some false eyelashes! I was able to find some in red to match my wig. I also found some fake pearls in colors to match my costume, along with some abalone shell beads, and I’m creating some very under-the-sea jewelry.

As far as the giant shell for our trunk is concerned? You can see it peeking out at the bottom right corner of the pic of my mermaid costume … it’s made from 6 pieces of foam board, cut with a razor, painted with acrylic and accented with some glitter. I’ll either tape or “sew” it together with monofilament (fishing line) and cut a hole in the middle piece of the bottom portion of the shell for a stool to sit on. I’ll sit and blow bubbles as the pirate hands out candy from our treasure chest – a plastic shoe box covered in wood-grain contact paper, accented with a skull and crossbones cut from a styrofoam headstone.

I’ll be sure to post pics of the end result next Monday! Do you have a cool mermaid costume to share?

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Chelsea

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Make It Monday – The Case Of The Coffee Table

I love, love this idea for a coffee table, from Design*Sponge:

Ashley's Vintage Suitcase Coffee Table (click here for how-to)

I also think, though, that it might be a little short to fit in most living rooms as a coffee table. So, why not stack another case or two on top? You could stack the cases at an angle, attach them with a little glue and some screws, and viola! You have a coffee table or side table of appropriate height, and stackable storage.

Happy Monday!

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Chelsea

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Make It Monday – I Love Lamp

There are tons of little projects going on in our apartment right now – a vintage chair with a broken leg in need of repair, figuring out the best way to hang our big mirror on the cinderblock wall, and especially finding a cool shade for the random, utilitarian bulb hanging from the ceiling in our kitchen. It’s right above where a dining table would be, but our little desk is there instead. Since it’s Tom’s study space, I want it to be a shade that’s not too girly, which means I’ll probably have to resort to another DIY project. (Oh, darn!)

Here are the candidates:

Mason jar chandelier by BootsNGus

 I wouldn’t be making a chandelier, but I think the idea is simple and outdoors-y, which is quintessentially my husband.

Basket Lampshade

 This is very vintage-y, and would go with our decor.

String Lampshade

 I remember doing projects like this as a kid! You get messy with glue and pop a balloon – so cool.

I’m really digging the string lampshade right now, maybe in a different color. What do you think?

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Chelsea

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