Have you seen all of those cool string art pieces at your local gift shops? I have always admired them but couldn't help but cringe at the steep price tag.
After browsing Pinterest and trying my hand at a design or two I feel like I've finally gotten a good grip on the easiest ways to make these beauties.
If you have scrap wood laying around your place or can score some decent coupons at your local craft store you can easily make your own string art for $10-$20. MUCH better than the $50+ these tend to sell for in most places!
To get started you'll need some basic supplies. Most of these items can be found at either craft or home improvement stores.
Wood board large enough to fit your completed string art
Print out of design template or a stencil in your desired design
Clear tape (I usually use Scotch tape)
200-300 1.4mm X 25.4mm wire brads (Number will vary depending on size of project)
Power drill with small thin bit (optional)
Strong hemp cord/twine in color(s) of your choice
The process to make string art is fairly simple but I recommend dividing up the steps over a few days to avoid too much hand strain and fatigue as the drilling, nailing, and stringing can take a while.
Print your design, cut it out, and mount to board with clear tape. Be sure to not cover any part of the design if at all possible so the nails can easily be driven through.
Here you can either start drilling holes following your pattern or you can start hammering in the wire brads. I can say from prior projects that I find it MUCH easier to place and hammer the brads after drilling so I highly recommend trying it if you have the time. Important Tip: Be sure to use your drill's reverse button after drilling each hole. I broke the bit about 20 holes into my piece. Oops!
Remove paper to reveal your design. Oooh aaaah!
Place brads in predrilled holes and hammer until secure. Important Tip: Be sure to hammer them all to approximately the same depth so you'll have a flat even surface to string later.
Choose your desired color of twine/hemp cord and cut a long piece (at least 24-36 inches). Tie and knot to your starting brad.
Start wrapping the twine between brads. If you want to do an outline of your design first, wrap the thread completely around the first brad 2-3 times, pull to the next brad, and wrap around the second brad 2-3 times. Keep repeating this pattern until you reach the end of the design or run out of thread. If you run out just cut another length and keep stringing your design.
Once you reach the end of your design loop the thread around your last nail and tie a knot. Trim any excess thread and tuck under the stringed design to "hide" it from sight.
That's it! You have successfully made your own unique string art and are the envy of all your friends.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and (more importantly) love your results.
Until next time!
A few weeks ago I was approached by Hometalk to curate a board of "coffee filter hacks". I have used them primarily to make paper roses but there are SO many other great uses from wreaths to lamps and everything in between.
Check them out here.
Spring has sprung and this is the time of year that I start to really get my creative juices flowing. The colors, scents, and textures of the season are so bright and cheery that I wanted to replicate them to bring a little warmth to our family year round.
I thought about the colors and textures my daughter and I like most and decided on a soft rainbow fleece basket, wax paper bunny and egg banner, confetti dotted wrapping paper, and coffee filter flowers. With the exception of wax paper I had every single item needed to make these items with some basic art supplies and common pantry items. If I had to estimate my total material costs for all 4 projects it would be less than $10.
Rainbow Fleece Basket:
After turning the house upside down trying to find a container I could use for a basket I finally gave up and decided I would just make one. I have very little basket weaving experience (maybe one time when I was a kid) but I DO have cooking experience, namely baking. I've made quite a few lattice crusts for pies over the years and realized that the weaving technique used there can be done with fabric too.
I found a great tutorial on Pinterest for felt baskets but didn't have enough to make the basket so I improvised. I had a bunch of super soft fleece available so I sprayed it with starch, ironed the fabric, and let it dry. The result was fabric stiff enough to hold its form without compromising it's texture. Perfect!
Here's what you need.
1. Fleece (9"x20" piece)
2. Spray starch
4. Cylindrical container (I used a large Clorox wipes container)
5. Glue gun with glue sticks (probably 3-4 sticks)
Spray the fleece with starch, iron on low temp setting, and allow to dry. Once it's dry cut the fabric so you have 9 one inch by 20 inch strips and set those aside.
Grab the big Clorox wipes container (or a container with similar shape) and flip it upside down.
Set 3 strips side-by-side across the top of the upside down container.
Next, grab another 3 strips of fleece and weave them through in an over-under-over pattern. To make the base a little sturdier, hot glue the overlapping points together. Note: Be careful not to glue the fabric to the container.
Take another strip, hold it up to the top edge of the container's side, and start weaving it through the dangling pieces of felt from the already woven section until all 20 inches have been woven across the side of the container. Be sure to keep gluing at overlapping points for added durability.
Glue the next strip to the exposed end of your 1st completed side piece and continue weaving and gluing. Repeat this process with the remaining 3 fabric strips.
Once the weaving is done, flip the container right side up and carefully separate the woven basket from it.
Next, grab two of the long pieces of fabric and glue them together to make the handle. The extra "tabs" of fabric can be folded over and hot glued to the top of the basket to give it a more finished look.
Wax Paper Bunny and Egg Banner:
This craft is way easier than it looks and is fun for even the littlest kids to do!
Here's what you need:
1. Wax paper (24 inch piece)
2. Spray bottle filled with warm water
3. Iron and ironing board
5. Twine (4-5')
6. Cotton Balls
8. Hole punch or Crop-a-Dial with grommets
Tear off a 24 inch piece of wax paper and spray with warm water.
Allow to dry for a few minutes (about 10) and crumple and/or fold the paper.
Flatten out the wax paper and iron on low temp dry setting until paper is mostly dry.
Using markers streak the paper as desired. There are no rules here. Let the kid(s) go wild.
Crumple/fold paper again after marker has dried and flatten it back out.
Fold wax paper in half 3 times and using a marker draw an egg shape and bunny shape and cut out. You'll want at least 4-6 of each shape.
Using either a single hole punch or Crop-A-Dial, punch hole at the top (~.25 inch from top edge) of each shape. Glue a cotton ball for a tail on each bunny
Cut twine to desired length (3-5 feet works well for hanging across doors/mantles) and string eggs and bunnies.
It's finally spring here and (even though the weather here may say otherwise) I am ready for green grass, sunny skies, and flowers!
I love flowers but they don't always love me back (pesky allergies!) so I decided to make my own.
As complicated as the rose above looks it was actually pretty simple and straightforward. Here's how I made it.
1 pack of 100 white circular coffee filters (I used probably 30 total)
Leftover Merlot or another deep red colored wine
Tea bags (I used Lipton)
Glitter spray paint (optional)
Several large wide bowls (1 for each desired color)
Water (warm works best for brewing the tea)
Hot glue gun with glue sticks
Pipe cleaners (called chenille stems at some stores)
1. Gather two large diameter bowls and place on counter along with paper towels.
2. Fill one bowl with Merlot or other deep red wine and fill other bowl with hot water and two tea bags.
3. Wait a few minutes for tea to steep. Minimum of 5-10 minutes.
4. Place one filter in each bowl and allow to soak until desired color is reached.
5. Remove filters and place on paper towels to dry. Allow to dry completely (approximately 2-4 hours)
1. Place a filter flat on counter. Fold in half and then fold in half again until you have a triangular shape similar to a cone coffee filter.
2. Cut a scallop shape across top curved edge (see photo above).
3. Unfold filter and lay flat.
4. Starting at the outer edge of filter, draw a spiral all the way to the center.
5. Cut along lines.
6. Again, starting at the outer edge, slowly begin to roll the cut filter until you reach the end.
7. Place a dot of hot glue on large left over "tab" and secure to rolled flower.
8. Snip the bottom, insert a dot of hot glue in the hole, and insert a pipe cleaner.
9. Decorate as desired with glitter paint, markers, etc.
To get the rose to be the larger size shown at the top of the post, I used about 10 filters glued together with hot glue. The entire active process (dying, folding, and cutting the filters; gluing on and securing the pipe cleaner, and painting) took less than an hour. Time well spent to create a beautiful one of a kind piece of art!
Happy Spring to you!
Crafts are great to do on your own but add some friends, drinks, and eats and they suddenly become a fabulously fun party!
Gather up some friends and send a group text (or email, Facebook message, etc.) to plan a craft night. I know you're psyched, but before you attempt to build a headboard in an evening let me give you a few helpful pointers.
Here's my biggest tip: Don't try to attempt anything extremely detailed and time consuming. You'll want to chat with your friends and that's often hard to do if you need to really focus on an intricate task. I've made tutus, hair bows, string art, greeting cards, and party decor with friends and family. All relatively simple projects that don't require a ton of thought.
If you're looking for some inspiration, Pinterest is a great place to start. Take a look at my Craft Night Ideas board to get started. Another great source of ideas is your favorite local gift shop. From jewelry to home dÃ©cor you're bound to find something you'll love and want to duplicate on your own.
Once you've decided on a project, the next thing you'll want to do is start gathering supplies. I usually start with Joann Craft and Fabrics and Michaels. Both stores regularly send out coupons via email which are also accessible on their websites. If your printer is nearly as bad as mine printing isn't an option. Luckily you can download mobile coupons on your smartphone as well.
I also check out locally owned businesses for materials. We have a very cool art and craft store here in the Indianapolis area called Indy Upcycle. People donate unused art/craft supplies which can be purchased at an incredible price! Excellent way to save money and reduce waste at the same time.
Now that you have your supplies, it's time to pick a venue. Depending on the type of craft you choose certain venues may not be the best fit. I recently organized a string art project with a group of friends from theCityMoms. Great project but incredibly noisy with all the hammering required to make the project. Instead of opting to meet at someone's home we booked a private room at a local bookstore/brewery called Books and Brews. For a small refundable deposit and minimum purchase of food/drinks we were able to craft, eat, and drink without waking any children in the process. Huge win for moms with young kids! Clubhouses, churches, and community buildings also make great locations for group crafts.
Finally it's time to take action. Head to the craft store and start planning your own craft night today!
Trust me. I get it. Whether you're a stay-at-home parent, work-at-home parent, or do the 9-5 at the office, it's hard to find the motivation to do crafts with the kids. From finding the perfect Pinterest worthy project, to buying supplies, to finding a space to create in your home, the task can seem daunting even to the most relaxed and organized person. I can attest that it doesn't have to be!
Kids of all ages enjoy doing even the simplest most inexpensive crafts. Yes, you can splurge and go to the local craft store to buy all the latest and greatest supplies ($$$) OR you can simply use whatever items you already have at home. One of my four year old daughter's favorite activities is stamping on paper using celery and paint. We also often tear leftover tissue paper, scrap paper from other projects, greeting cards, etc. and glue the pieces to construction paper for a quick and easy collage. When you're on a budget, using household items is a great way to save money.
Sometimes the issue stems from your child not wanting/liking to get his/her hands dirty. Before we start any project I always set out a roll of paper towels and a container of wet wipes. Kids can easily clean themselves up and moms and dads can quickly take care of spills. Total win-win!
A lot of times it seems that there simply isn't enough available time for arts and crafts. I've learned that if your child has spent a solid 20-30 minutes on an activity, he/she has likely done as much "work" as he/she is willing/capable of completing at the time. If there are still more steps to complete, don't push the issue. Simply set it aside and bring it out the next day. Young kids rarely have the ability to focus on ANY task for more than half an hour so it's a great accomplishment if they decide to craft more.
Lastly, choose activities appropriate for your child's age and development. A preschooler will not likely be able to successfully create an origami crane, knit a hat, make a friendship bracelet, or do any activity that requires precise movement of his/her hands. Save your child and yourself the frustration and choose a simpler project. Stick to crafts that use larger embellishments, chunky handled paintbrushes, child size scissors, crayons, stickers, glue sticks, etc.
Don't be afraid to "mess up". There's no such thing as a perfect craft so don't stress yourself out trying to make one. Have fun and enjoy this special time with your child.
My daughter's 2nd birthday was fastly approaching! Yikes!! Picking the theme for her party was easy since she was so completely IN LOVE with Elmo. Not sure what it is about that furry red monster that appeals so much to toddlers but she definitely was under his spell. She would happily watch Sesame Street and the various Elmo movies she has all day long if we let her.
Being the obsessive planner I am (AKA performing multiple searches on Bing for "Elmo themed birthday party" and every variation imaginable) I finally decided on a basic color scheme (red with orange and white accents) and purchased all the essentials at our local Party City store with a 30% off coupon. Tip: Sign up for their email newsletters to stay informed about the latest sales and get any available coupons. Target and your closest dollar store are other great places to shop too.
To save a bit more money, I went with plain red plates, cups, and utensils. It looked just as nice and was about half as expensive as the licensed tableware. Favors for the handful of kids that attended were Sesame Street coloring books, crayons, and reusable crazy straws.
Performing the aforementioned Bing searches brought me to several wonderful listings for Elmo birthday banners, signs, and other various party decor. I found a couple of banners I liked but didn't really want to spend the $30+ that most of the vendors had priced their wares. After a quick inventory of basic materials, a glance through my Cricut cartridges, and a 20 minute shopping trip at Joann Fabrics (LOVE that place for cardstock/paper and ribbon) I decided I could create my own.
Below, I'll entail the materials I used along with instructions on how to make the banner. If you have any questions please let me know.
1. 2 - DCWV (Die Cuts With A View) 12" x 12" Citrus Cardstock Stack - You'll use the matte red, foil red, glitter orange, and matte orange pages.
2. 4 - 12" x 12" pages of medium-heavy weight white cardstock
3. We R Memory Keepers Crop-A-Dile Punch Kit - You'll need 32 eyelets total (I used the dark bronze colored ones)
4. Cricut Expression Machine
5. Cricut Cindy Loo Cartridge and 12" x 12" cutting mat
6. Cricut Stone Script Cartridge
7. Narrow width ribbon to tie banner together (I used 3/8" - 3 yard spools of Offray ribbon in sheer white, sheer orange, and red and white polka dots)
8. Scotch Scrapbooking Double-Sided Removable Tape
9. 3 - 4" Elmo face graphics printed on white cardstock - These are easy to find by typing Elmo in a keyword search on Bing and clicking the Images tab. Of course if you're planning on selling these you'll need to purchase the rights to the image and/or include the copyright and trademark information.
1. Cut 1 page of the white cardstock to 8.5" x 11", print 4 Elmo face images, cut out images, and set aside.
2. Lay out 2 pages of red foil cardstock, 2 pages of glitter orange cardstock, 8 pages of matte orange cardstock, and 6 pages of matte red cardstock.
3. Insert the Cricut Cindy Loo cartridge into the machine along with the key overlay, set the size to 5.5" and cut 13 scalloped circles using the blackout feature + scalloped circle image from the matte orange cardstock and 3 - 5.5" scalloped circles from the glitter orange cardstock. You can get 2 circles out of each page if you space it properly. If you have the Cricut Design Studio software I'd recommend using it to make the spacing optimal.
4. Cut 13 - 4.5" scalloped circles from the matte red cardstock and 3 - 4.5" scalloped circles from the foil red cardstock. You should be able to get 3-4 circles from each page.
5. Center the smaller circles on the larger ones and adhere together with scrapbooking tape. The foil reds and glitter oranges will be used with the Elmo face images.
6. Next, insert the Stone Script cartridge and corresponding key overlay.
7. Cut 2.5" letters from white cardstock for the "Happy Birthday" message, center on smaller circles, and adhere with the double-sided tape.
8. Arrange prepared circles so that the letters are aligned and punch holes on left and right side of each with the Crop-A-Dile to "install" the eyelets.
9. Cut 4"-5" lengths of the 3 different ribbons and tie one between each circle. I alternated them so none of the colors were directly next to each other on the banner. I arranged the banner like this: Elmo face, H-A-P-P-Y, Elmo face, B-I-R-T-H-D-A-Y, Elmo face.
10. Cut long lengths (20" or however long you need to hang the banner) of all 3 ribbons and tie to the end pieces.
11. Sit back, relax, and revel in the awesomeness of your crafting skills! A Venti White Chocolate Mocha from Starbucks (my favorite!) or other delicious beverage of your choice would be an appropriate way to celebrate too. (You deserve it, right?!)
Since we had the party at 2:00 PM (after Miss N's nap) we were able to just serve some basic finger foods (veggies, fruit, pretzels, and dip), drinks, cupcakes, and punch. Instead of baking and decorating a couple dozen cupcakes we decided to give our local cupcake bakery, Holy Cow Cupcakes (http://holycowcupcakes.com/), a call. They made the cutest red velvet cupcakes decorated with red frosting and fondant to look like Elmo's face. Not only were they delicious, but we felt good being able to support our community through our purchase.
The party not only looked great but was a lot of fun for the birthday girl and our guests! Definitely worth a bit of planning and shopping for the memories we will always cherish.