Friday 31 March 2017

5 DIYs To Try | March 2017

Spring - it's here and I am loving the colour, floral accents and bunny themes that are popping up in the craft blogging world - here are 5 DIYs to try from March!

I. Love. These. I'm planning an Easter Egg Hunt for my nephew and niece and I think we NEED these to be involved. Amazing.

I love the soft, muted tones of this gorgeous wreath and I'll be bringing the outdoors in with a few of these in my home.

These are so simple, so stylish and for sure, the next flower wrap I am trying out. Love it [and the blog is a fave new find].

Not only am I making these, I'm using those stands as recipe holders when I'm done. A beautiful and pretty DIY for a Spring display.

I can't cope.  All the cuteness.

Are you inspired by any of the 5 DIYs?

[Don't forget to check out the TTSM March DIYS: Brush Stroke Art, Decorative Letters, Sugar Scrub Soap & Bunny Sleep Mask]

Sunday 26 March 2017

DIY Accessories | Bunny Sleep Mask

How have I been sleeping without this? The clocks have gone forward, Spring is here and today you can make a bunny sleep mask in less than an hour - nap-wear complete.

Felt / Fabric Glue / Needle & Thread / Elastic / Material / Sewing Machine


Lets start with the mask.  I don't have a sleep mask to use as a template, but I do have sunglasses - and they cover my eyes fine.  Some sleep masks are so large, that I don't like the fit of them, so I used my sunglasses as my template and then added a cm or two to create my mask.  I opted for a soft jersey fabric:
Cut out two pieces and then let's move on to the headband.  There are many ways you can do this - ribbon that you tie, elastic, velcro.......... I opted for elastic with a contrasting fabric.  I was given some scraps of fabric from my godmother and they are some gorgeous grey mixes, so I wanted to use these for both the headband and ears [more on them later].  I measured my fabric simply by measuring the length from one side of my head, round the back to the other - around eye distance and doubling it - I like the gathered effect and it's required for the stretch of the elastic.  Fold your fabric sides touching, inside out and run a stitch along the side:
Turn your headband fabric right side out and then thread a length of elastic through.  The length of elastic you need is a taught measurement of the elastic from one side of your head to the other - tight enough to hold your mask in place, but not so tight to give you a headache!  [As a guide, this should be around 1 and 1/2 in length as the width of your mask]:
To sew your head band in place, turn your fabric with right sides insdie facing.  Sandwich your headband at each side, ensuring the edges of the elastic and fabric are showing to secure them in place.  To sew easily, let the rest of the headband fall out the top so that it all out of the way:
Use a machine or needle to sew your fabric pieces together with a running stitch - from side to side:
Turn you mask the right side out and ensure the hems are straightened and flat:
Now for the ears.  Using the size of your mask to guide you, cut two felt bunny ears.  Mine are around 12cm in length:
I opted to use fabric glue to cover my ears.  Not only is this quick, but the glue - when dry - will act to help the ears stick up as it stiffens the felt.  Lay the fabric, design side down with the felt placed on top.  Trim the fabric so that it follows the shape of the ear with around a 1-2 cm seam.  Run the glue along the outside of the felt and fold the fabric  over to cover the front neatly.
Now, use the other felt ear to cut two pieces of the same fabric to size.  Add glue along the side of one and add this to cover the back.  It will all look a little lumpy and untidy at this stage, but we'll neaten that once dry!  Repeat the process with your other ear:
Leave to dry completely and then trim the material to ensure it is all neat and tidy.  The fabric glue will help stop the material fraying, so make sure any edges are neatened up with a thin layer of the glue as a seal.  To ensure the ears are as neat as possible, give them a quick iron to smooth the fabric:
Get your bunny ears in place [to help them stick up, make sure the bottom of the felt will be caught between the front and back layers of fabric] and either machine sew, or hand sew along the top to secure everything:
...and your nap times will never be the same again.  Make one - you wont regret it!


Sunday 19 March 2017

DIY Beauty | Sugar Scrub Soap

Making your own soap is  I had no idea and then in one of my many unsupervised visits to HobbyCraft, there I was, buying soap base, scents and a soap bar mould.

Soap Base / Soap Mould / Soap Scent / Cucumber & Mint Scrub / Microwavable jug


The process is really simple and you can fully customise your soap from start to finish.  Start with your soap base - there are a whole range to choose from.  To give myself a few future options, I opted for a transparent base.  Cut the base into squares of around 3cm [I found 3 of these filled one of my moulds, but the mould should let you know the water it can contain to help guide.
Transfer into a microwaveable jug and heat in 20 second bursts until melted:
Mix thoroughly and add any scent [or colouring] before filling your mould.  I filled mine half way, before adding my 'scent' - I wanted this soap to have the same fresh scent and properties as the scrub DIY I posted a few weeks ago, so used this to fill my moulds.  The transparent base would show the scrub floating [in theory!]:
Leave to sink and spread out, before topping the mould up with the remainder of your soap base to cover.

Leave the soap to set [this takes only around 15 minutes - quicker if you pop in the fridge] before removing easily from the moulds [make sure silicon is used]:
...and your soap is ready to be used.  I think this is the start of a new obsession.

Sunday 12 March 2017

DIY Home Decor | Decorative Letters

These decorative letters can be used for all sorts of jobs - paper weights, bookends, mantle or shelf fillers and table top decor - they can be used on their own, or together to form words and how you decorate them is endless.

Plaster / Cup & Spoon / Gold Leaf / Letter Cutters [or mould here] / Glue / Brush


This DIY was a spontaneous make, so I used what I had - metal cookie cutters - which in turn gave the finished letters a unique finish, however; an easier option would be letter moulds - but here's how I made mine.

To protect my surfaces and provide a base to my cutters, I placed my cookie cutters on top of a perspex sheet:
Mixing my plaster to a ration of 2 heaped spoonfuls of plaster and 1 spoonful of water to create a slightly thicker, denser base than other plaster DIYs [photo holders / mini wire grid / pyramid ring holders] - make sure the plaster is pourable and smooth, before filling the cutters:
There was a little spread, as the perspex sheet and cutters had a small gap, but as the plaster dries quickly, it wasn't anything to worry about:
To remove the air bubbles, I held the cutters and bashed a jar on top to shake the plaster and force the air bubbles out.  Normally, the much simpler way, with a mould, it to gently tap the mould - but as I feared more spread of the plaster, I opted for this method.  If you wanted to turn your letter into a hanging, add a straw to the plaster and wriggle it a little as the plaster dries [to ensure you can remove it easily]:
Once dried, remove the plaster from the moulds.
This is where it became a little interesting.  Any shape with a centre [A, O, P, R, D, B, Q] became very difficult to remove without in turn making the cutter misshapen.  I only attempted an A, and even with subsequent attempts including vaseline and cling film, could not find a way round this :(
Smooth the edges of your plaster with a fine sandpaper.
As the cookie cutters didn't have a level to pour the plaster to, there's a bit of texture added to the finished look - different levels, some bubbles, dips and grooves - I like it as a contrast to the usual uniform finish I strive for.
For the decoration, I kept it simple with a little gold leaf.  Using a fairly dry brush of glue, I made a few brush strokes on to the plaster and then added my gold leaf sheet:
I removed the sheet and then, with a separate brush, gently brushed away the excess leaf to reveal a subtle gold leaf finish:
Your letters are now ready to be used and displayed:
What do you think? Did I get away with the cutters?

Sunday 5 March 2017

DIY Home Decor | Free-Hand Brush Stroke Art


Stretched Canvas / Paint brush / Paint / Pencil


Deciding on what I wanted in my head was easy.  Translating it in to something I could make was a little harder.  I started by simplifying - the shape and the font.  Having something brush-stroke in style also meant that I didn't need to worry about perfect lines either, which helps!

I practiced a few fonts before deciding on the style I wanted and then traced this on to the canvas lightly with pencil.
I also practiced the outline style of the eiffel tower that I wanted to paint to at least give myself an idea of the stroke styles I needed.  But really, this is free hand, so there's only one way to go [for it].

With gold paint and a brush around 4cm wide, I used my practice for reference and made two long strokes from the middle top towards each bottom corner.  Using the side of the brush at the top for a thinner line and then pushing the brush down to create a thicker line towards the bottom.
I also made sure the brush was fairly dry, so that if it all went horribly wrong, I had an option to add more to either the thickness or density of colour.

Next, I added a curve at the bottom, horizontal strokes at each third point and some additional strokes to fill in the shape:
Once happy with the background, I used a thin brush, loaded with grey paint to trace over the text.
This was a lot less 'free' and I did find it a little harder - but for my first attempt, I am fairly happy with the result.  I gave myself the best chance by taking my time, using a light hand and adding more paint as I went between each letter.
Once finished and dried, I removed my pencil lines with a rubber.

...and just to prove that you can change your mind or make alterations later on, I wasn't completely happy with the Eiffel Tower shape - so I took some damp paper towel to the canvas to rub away the top and thinned this out:
The paint was much easier to remove than you may think and it means you don't need to worry about making irreparable mistakes!

Once completely happy with the overall look, I added a little more depth and interest, highlighting some areas with more paint:
I love the gold paint finish as it looks slightly different as the light changes:
It's a simple piece of DIY art that can add a little colour, break colour up, or even tie in some of your favourite pieces:
Would you be tempted by a brush stroke DIY of your own? Or do you have any tips for me if I attempt another?
© The Things She Makes | All rights reserved.
Blog Design Handcrafted by pipdig