DIY Projects For Semi-Crafty, Non-Perfectionists
Glitter Holiday Banner
It’s been awhile since I put up a DIY post so I thought I’d feature a super inexpensive and easy one today. I kept seeing these really pretty, glittery banners for sale on etsy for $25 bucks plus shipping and thinking, “I can so make that for way less money.”
I always wonder if my DIY’s are so completely obvious that they don’t warrant a post, but I figured I did learn a few tips and tricks with this project that were worthy of sharing. This banner cost me $12 to make and $8 of that was for an alphabet stencil kit that I will use on a dozen other projects in the future. Time wise, it took me about 30 minutes to make two banners.
What you will need:
- Glitter or design covered cardstock. You could always go the route of buying regular cardstock and then covering it in glue and glitter but I found these 12x12 sheets at Michael’s for $0.99 a sheet and that is FAR easier and less messy. This would also be perfect for a birthday or shower banner if you chose cardstock in pretty prints to match your occasion.
- Scissors. I used big clunky kitchen shears. That was a mistake. Get yourself a pair of little nimble, pointed scissors. You can do it with regular scissors but you have to go slow to make it precise (something non perfectionists like myself have a hard time doing).
- Ribbon - I chose a shimmery gold ribbon to compliment the silver letters
- A glue gun & glue stick
- A pen
Once you decide what you want the banner to say, flip the cardstock over and line up your first letter. The trick here is making sure that the letter is traced backward so that when it is flipped over, the letters read appropriately. I was able to squeeze all but two of my letters for Merry and Bright onto one piece of cardstock.
The stencil I used had separations between letters as it was intended for painting. I just use my pen to draw in the connection lines before I started to cut.
The not so fun part - cut out all of the letters. Ouch! It made my hand hurt a little with those big bulky scissors.
Then line up your letters on the ribbon and eyeball it to make sure you like the spacing. I found it helpful to put a little slack in the ribbon before you line up the letters so that it mimics how it might hang once it is in place on a wall or fireplace.
Using a glue gun, put a few dots of glue at the top of each letter and attach to the ribbon. I suppose you could use craft glue too, but I’m too impatient to wait for it to dry.
Ta dah! Here is your finished product:
I added some garland and hung ours in the overpass between the living room and dining room.
I also made a smaller NOEL banner that I initially put on the wreath over our fireplace
But I decided that it was too much going on with the archway banner, so I pulled it down and ended up attaching it to a wreath on our front door instead:
This is a really easy craft and one I plan to replicate many times in the future to make banners for other holidays and birthdays. It would also look great if you cut the letters out of felt or attached each letter to a colorful square or triangle to make it a pennant instead of a banner.
And as I always like to do with posts in this series, it’s time to recommend a little beverage to keep you company while you cut out all of those dang letters. Get your non perfectionist craft on while sipping a Naughty Onyx. This drink is perfect to serve at your holiday gathering while people oooh and aaah over the unbelievable skill and craftsmanship of your glitter banner.
What you’ll need:
Orange rind strip
Whole cranberry sauce
Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur
Combine ingredients over ice and shake. Pour into a tall glass and finish with club soda.
DIY Wrapped Bottles
Guest Blog: Michelle Cangemi
I’ve been seeing wrapped bottles and vases all over the place lately! They are super cute and would make beautiful wedding centerpieces & decor! To show you just how easy and adorable these centerpieces are, I made you a lil’ tutorial! Get ready to get your craft on… enjoy!
- Recycled Bottles or Vases
- Jute Twine and/or Yarn
- Multipurpose Glue (hot glue gun & glue optional)
Step 1 – Getting Started: Starting at one end of your bottle, glue the edge of the twine to the bottle. This is where the glue gun is helpful if you have one. Just a dab of hot glue will quickly hold the twine to the bottle. If you’re using the multipurpose glue you’ll need to wait until it dries so the twine doesn’t come loose as your winding it around the bottle.
Step 2 – Glue & Wrap: Use the multipurpose glue to cover the surface of the bottle. You don’t need to cover the entire surface. Glue sparingly – I just made some swirls and squiggles. Now start wrapping the twine!
Step 3 – Finish Up: Wrap the entire bottle, cut the twine and add a larger dab of glue (multipurpose or hot glue) to secure the bottom edge of the twine. You’re done!! Easy-peasy, right?
Step 4 – Repeat: If you have other bottles, repeat steps 1-3 for each. I decided to spice it up and used colored yarn for my other two bottles. Using yarn is a great way to incorporate your wedding colors into your DIY centerpiece! Oh, and don’t worry if you get glue on your yarn or can see it in the cracks. It will dry clear.
And there you have it! These wrapped bottles make simple and sweet centerpieces either on their own or with a few flowers tucked in!
If you want to give your centerpieces just a little something more, hot glue a few embellishments to them! I added three mini fabric flowers to the twine wrapped bottle to add some pops of color.
The great thing about this project is that is can be used in your home when the wedding is over!! What do you think? Will you be making your own wedding centerpieces?
All Photos by Michelle Cangemi
Marvel Comics Heels
Following this tutorial from ironspy, I just finished a pair of Marvel peep toe heels. There are a few wrinkles, but I think I did okay for a first attempt. I’ve never decoupaged a thing in my life.
My favorite clipping (and the wrinkliest) is Tony Stark and his booze:
Fun fact: There are 34 characters present on these shoes. Hank Pym isn’t one of them.
How (Not) to Build a Battleaxe
So it’s actually a very basic replica of Gimli’s walking axe from Lord of the Rings, but it’s still totally ready. It has a handle and a sharp end, so it’s all good.
This was actually for a class I taught at MIT Educational Studies Program’s event called Spark. It’s a chance for the undergrads to teach anything we want to a whole bunch of high school students. Lots of fun, because since the students choose their classes, particularly in a how-to propmaking class like mine, all the students really want to be there and are actually interested in what you’re teaching! So much fun.
Anyway! I had a week before the class and thought, wow, I should probably have an axe ready to prove I actually know what I’m doing. It’s a really basic build, but it points out a few good tips. ONWARD!
Patterns! Patterns are great, either hand-drawn or computer (just learned to use Solidworks, really nice to have a composite reference for all the angles on another project. Mass Effect!). I’m using pink insulation foam from Home Depot. It’s not the best material in terms of sturdiness, but it cuts very easily and I was in a time crunch. The first cut I made was really rough, just to get the basic shape. One of the problems I had was trying to make sure the cuts were straight up and down, rather than angled. It helps a lot to use the pattern on both sides, and match your cut to them.
Second set of cuts, this time closer, though all in the same plane, nothing angled yet. Good way to do cut-outs is to roughly cut all the way through the center, then dig your way out.
Edge! Same idea as the original cuts, mark the center of the edge you want to “sharpen” and where on the sides you want it to start tapering, then make sure you cut up to both of those lines. One big problem with foam (or a benefit, it depends on what you’re doing) it that it holds the details of the cut pretty well. For me, this means that the edge was uneven for every time I moved my knife up and down. This is okay if you have some good 100+ grit sandpaper.
No kill like overkill. I screwed the foam to the pvc pipe for this. In the class, since we’d be pressed for time, we planned on using gorilla glue, which generally works pretty well on most things, and extremely well on foam, since it’s so porous.
Problem: 60 grit sandpaper does not smoothly finish foam:
Meh. It looked good from a distance, and was sturdy enough to swing around. Also incredibly fun to walk around with.