Saturday, September 9, 2017

Quick and Easy Fidget Toy DIY


Fidget toys are very popular right now. They come in a huge variety of styles and colors geared to all ages. The purpose is to give the user something to play with to help them to focus their thoughts and calm their mind.

I have saved a pile of caps from the squeezable baby/toddler fruit/vegetable puree pouches with the intention of using them for craft projects. They come in several styles and various bright colors. When I saw some people making fidget toys with plastic bottle caps, these caps immediately came to mind.

I intend to experiment more with these caps to perhaps come up with a fidget spinner toy design, but here's what I have so far: a quick and easy project that my toddler loves and older kids can help make themselves.

MATERIALS
- plastic caps from puree pouches (or other plastic caps that have holes, or drill some holes in some plastic caps)
- binder rings or key rings
- exacto knife

1. Wash and dry the plastic caps.


2. CAREFULLY use the exacto knife to trim away the bits of plastic that are sticking up along the edge.

 

3. Link the caps together with binder/key rings. I tried a few simple patterns but I plan to try adding more rings.


4. Play around with color combinations and different styles of caps.


DONE! Go play. I'll post more fidget toys as I come up with them. I'd love to hear your suggestions and see your creations.

Monday, September 4, 2017

DIY Large Cardboard Number/Letter for Parties and Photo Shoots


For birthdays, anniversaries, and even graduations, having large cardboard numbers on hand for decoration or as props for a photo shoot is a lot of fun.

This same technique can also be used for letters if you wish to make a name or initials for an event or photo shoot.

These are fairly easy to make, low cost, and can be whatever size and colors you want.

MATERIALS
- cardboard
- contact paper, wrapping paper or similar for covering the cardboard
- duct tape or similar (optional)
- glue gun, glue sticks
- white glue (optional)
- exacto knife, scissors

1. Draw the letter or number onto cardboard. I used some circular items to trace around and a long ruler. You can print off the number/letter from your computer, cut it out, and trace around it too.


2. Cut out the number/letter.


3. Trace the number/letter onto another piece of cardboard and cut it out.


4. Cut a bunch of cardboard into strips. These will determine the thickness of the finished number/letter. Mine were 2" wide.


5. Use the glue gun to attach pieces of the strips at right angle to one of the number/letter cut outs. Start by gluing in the middle. These pieces give the number/letter strength.


Keep building up the middle.


6. Next, glue more strips around the outside edge of the number/letter. These will be the sides of the number/letter.


7. Glue the second letter/number cut out piece on top. I used white glue on the inside supports and a glue gun around the outside edges. 


Trim any uneven areas.


8. Tape over any areas that the glue isn't holding well or are still uneven.


9. Cover the front and back with contact paper or similar, wrapping the edges of the paper around the sides. For curves, make relief cuts every inch or so to keep the edge smooth.


10. Cover the sides of the number/letter. I used duct tape but you can use more contact paper or similar or another kind of tape or even ribbon.


DONE!


Enjoy your party or photo shoot!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Duct Tape Decorated Storage Container


If I've said it once, I've said it a hundred times: you can NEVER have too many storage solutions.

I'm always trying to look at things in a different way in order to reuse or up-cycle things rather than recycle or throw them out. When my husband came home with ice cream in a sturdy plastic container with a tight-fitting lid, I knew I'd be reusing the container for storage.

Since I didn't really want the container to still look like it contained ice cream, I decided to cover it with duct tape. I'm really happy with the results.

MATERIALS
- empty plastic container with lid
- duct tape
- electrical tape (optional)
- exacto knife, scissors

1. Thoroughly wash and dry the container, inside and out.


2. Wrap a strip of duct tape around the side of the container along the top edge of the area that you want to cover.


If your container has angled sides like mine, you'll have to cut slits in the duct tape with the exacto knife to get it to lay smoothly over the container.


3. Wrap another strip of duct tape around the sides along the bottom edge.


4. Since I had just a narrow gap between my strips of duct tape, I decided to use electrical tape to fill in the space and provide some interesting contrast. You can use another piece of duct tape if you prefer.


5. Apply a piece of duct tape to one side of the lid. Press it down firmly into the corners.


6. Use the exacto knife to trim away the excess tape in the corners.


7. Repeats steps 5 and 6 on the opposite side of the lid.


8. Cover the middle of the top of the lid with another piece of duct tape. Trim any excess.


9. DONE. 


Pretty easy, right? The only thing I noticed once I was at this point was the stamped writing on the edge of my lid. I tried some cleaners and rubbing alcohol but couldn't get it off. After some more experimentation, I discovered that sticking a piece of electrical tape on the writing and peeling it off removed most of the writing.

 

Now you're really done. Enjoy decorating and filling your containers!


Monday, August 21, 2017

Lock and Key Chandelier/Wind Chime


I have always loved and collected keys. When I was a kid, my grandfather gave me some old keys and that sparked my collection. I eventually made some of my keys into a small wind chime. When my friends saw the wind chime, they began offering me their miscellaneous keys, resulting in a large increase in my collection.

With the new influx of keys and a few special key chains that I had been given, I decided to disassemble my small wind chime and create something bigger: a chandelier. My only problem was: what would I use for a base?

I considered making wire circles and wiring them together or using a wire wreath form or using a metal hanging basket. I ended up finding a tiered candle holder that was exactly the size and shape that I wanted. You are welcome to use any of those for your project. Your base determines your size, so use whatever base you want for the space you want to put your finished wind chime or chandelier.

MATERIALS
- base for attaching keys and/or key chains to
- keys and key rings and/or key chains
- chain(s) for hanging the finished project
- lock(s)

1. Make sure the base is clean. If you don't like the color that it is, paint it.

2. Use key rings and key chains to attach the keys evenly to the base so that the finished project is balanced. I tried to be random with the key types and number of keys per ring, but you can do a pattern or whatever you prefer.


3. Continue adding keys and key chains until you have as many on the base as you like. I used all of mine and continue to add them whenever I get more.


4. Add chain(s) to hang the base. I attached three pieces of chain to the base with key rings then attached them together. I put a small lock through this ring and attached it to a fourth piece of chain with another key ring. I also added a swivel key chain to the top.


NOTE: I'm going to redo my hanging chains a bit shorter, as my chandelier doesn't quite fit where I want to put it.

5. Hang your finished project in to perfect spot. DONE.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Up-Cycled Snack Containers to Custom Canisters


Some of my toddler's favorite snacks come in these little cardboard cans with plastic lids. They're fairly sturdy, so I decided to reuse some as food storage canisters. I had some "Star Wars" wrapping paper that I have been saving for a fun project and this seemed perfect.

You can use whatever kind of paper you like, as long as you have enough of it to cover the cans and glue that will hold it in place. You can also use fabric instead of paper, or duct tape, or contact paper. Whatever you choose, this is a super easy project.

MATERIALS
- empty food cans with lids
- wrapping paper or similar
- glue
- labels (optional)

1. Thoroughly wash and dry the cans and lids. Don't soak the cardboard as it will deteriorate. I let the cans air dry for a day or more to make sure they're completely dry.

2. Lay the can on the paper and wrap the paper around it to determine how long of a strip you require. Leave enough extra for the ends to overlap. It's better to have a big overlap than a gap.

Measure the height of the can with a ruler or by placing it in the paper. You want the strip to fit between the top and bottom raised edges. Cut out the strip.


3. Wrap the strip around the can to make sure it's the correct size. Trim if necessary. Glue in place. I used an ordinary glue stick. The top edge of my cans was rolled up a bit most of the way around and I rolled it up in the places that it wasn't, because that made it easier to get the strip of paper positioned properly.


4. That's basically it! Didn't I tell you that it was easy?


OPTIONAL: Add labels to the sides and/or lids, if you want to. I printed labels off my computer using a font that looks like the "Star Wars" logo.


OPTIONAL: To make the canisters more durable, you can also cover the paper with clear contact paper or packing tape. I suggest applying the label before you do this, if you want a label, since it might not stick as well to the contact paper or tape.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Painted Mason Jars


Mason jars are such versatile items for both functional and decorative purposes. Jars of all sizes and shapes are very popular in decor right now, but you don't have to break the bank to add some awesome jars to your home.

Dollar stores, garage sales, and thrift stores are all great sources of cheap jars. Check them thoroughly for chips and cracks before you buy them. You can also save jars from food that you enjoy, like pasta sauce, salsa, jam, and other sauces and spreads.

Once you have your jars, decide on the colors you'd like them to be. Be bold in gold or timeless in white. Paint a set in Halloween or Christmas or Easter colors. These jars are done in a single color, but you could layer more than one on your jars. Get creative and have fun.

MATERIALS
- glass jars (mason or any style you like)
- sand paper
- acrylic paint
- sponge
- optional: ribbon, twine, tag, fake flowers, glitter, or anything else you wish to add to your jars
- optional (for lids): chalkboard paint, drill and drill bit

1. Thoroughly wash and dry the jars. Completely remove any labels, stickers, and sticky residue.


2. Use sandpaper to sand off any existing paint. These jars had been stamped with the details of an event, but the sandpaper easily removed it.


3. Using a small piece of sponge, dab the paint onto the jar. Don't try to cover it too evenly or too thick. Turn the sponge frequently so that the paint coverage is nice and random.


4. Apply additional coats, if necessary, to achieve the color you're looking for. Allow the paint to dry thoroughly.


5. Use sandpaper to carefully sand the paint off the raised areas of the jars, if desired. This lets some light through and makes the design stand out. Add any embellishments that you desire, such as ribbon or twine. DONE.


OPTIONAL: Drill a hole in the center of the top of the lid that is large enough for a straw. Paint the lid with chalkboard paint so that you or your guests can write on the top of drinks.