Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Last Minute DIY Advent Calendar Tree

This is last minute, but this project is easy enough to do in just one day!

I found this Stocking Tree Advent Calendar at Pottery Barn. I loved the look of it, but I did not like the $199 price tag. I knew I could make my own version for much cheaper. 
Here is the version that I made. I made this for under $20. Depending upon what you use, you could possibly make it cheaper!

Here are the steps to take to make one.

Needed materials:
  • 1” x 2” at 8’
  • 1” x 3” at 4’
  • Saw
  • Kreg Jig
  • 1 1/4" pocket hole screws
  • Sander or sandpaper
  • Wood Glue 
  • Paint
  • 6” Wood star or 1/4” Plywood 6” x 6”
  • 25 small hooks or clips
  • 25 small bags or stockings
  • Fabric Marker
  • D-hooks to hang the tree
  • Jig or Scroll Saw (if making your own star)

Step 1: Cut Your Boards.

Needed cuts:
2 - 1” x 2” at 2 ½” one end cut at 45 degree angle.
2 - 1” x 2” at 5 ½” one end cut at 45 degree angle.
2 - 1” x 2” at 8 ½” one end cut at 45 degree angle.
2 - 1” x 2” at 11 ½” one end cut at 45 degree angle.
2 - 1” x 2” at 13 ¾” one end cut at 45 degree angle.
1 – 1” x 3” at 38 ½”

I found a 3 pack of these 6” wood stars on clearance for $2. But if you are making your own star, draw a star on your plywood and cut it out using a jig saw or scroll saw.

Step 2. Using a Kreg jig set at the 3/4" setting, drill pocket holes in the non-mitered end of the 1” x 2” pieces.

Step 3. Using the pocket hole screws and glue, attach the 1” x 2” pieces to the 1” x 3”. The longest pieces flush to the bottom of the 1" x 3" and gradually moving up to the smaller pieces. I attached all one side and then all the other. I left a 5 ½” space between each.

Step 4: Sand all surfaces.

Step 5: Paint the tree and star. 

I decided to also write the last name of the family that I was making this for on the star.

Step 6: Using the wood glue, glue the star to the top and attach the clips. If you are using hooks, you probably will need to screw in those.

I decided to use the small craft clothespins. I put some washi tape on the clothespins to make them look a little cuter.

Step 7: Attach hooks to the back so you can hang it. I used D hooks. I had originally planned on using only one D hook. These particular hooks can hold up to 20 pounds. That really should be sufficient, but just in case the gifts in the bags happen to be heavy, I decided to use two of the D hooks.

Step 8: Hang your bags or stockings. I found these little bags. I took a fabric marker and wrote the numbers on each bag.

Step 9: Hang your Advent Calendar on the wall and enjoy your holiday countdown!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

DIY Polar Express Inspired Shadow Box

If you have someone in your family that loves The Polar Express movie, then this could be the perfect gift for them! It is easy and inexpensive to make. I actually used scrap wood to make mine. The only thing I needed to purchase was the bell.

Here are the steps to take to make one.

Needed materials:
  • 1/8" Plywood scrap
  • 1" x 4" Board
  • Wood Glue 
  • Finishing nails
  • Bell
  • Ribbon
  • Twine or String
  • Paint for the background
  • Paint Marker
  • Paint or Stain for the frame
Step 1: Cut your plywood. I used a piece of scrap that was about 8" x 10". 
You could use any size that you have on hand.

Step 2: Cut your 1" x 4" boards to fit the size of your plywood. Bevel the ends at 45 degrees. Optionally, you could just cut the ends square.

Step 3: Paint your plywood. I used Black for my background.

Step 4: Using a paint marker, write your message.

Step 5: Glue and clamp your frame. You could also use finishing nails.

Step 6: Sand the frame.

Step 7: Paint or stain the frame. I wanted to give mine a weathered wood look. So, I first painted it a Nutmeg color.

Then, I painted over the Nutmeg with an Antique White.

After the paint dried, I sanded off some of the white paint to create the weathered look.

Step 8: Tie the twine to the bell and make a small bow. I secured the bow with a dab of hot glue.

Step 9: Put the wood glue around the border of the background. At the same time, decide where you want to place the bell.

Step 10: With the bell in place, nail the background to the frame. You may want to also secure the bell to the back to ensure it stays put.

Step 11: Enjoy your shadow box!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

DIY Heavy-Duty Fleece Rope Dog Toy

This Friday, August 26th, is National Dog Day. Since my dog demands my attention and takes up all my free time, I thought I would make a post for a rope toy that I made for him.

These ropes are easy and inexpensive to make. They also are very strong and will withstand lots of abuse from even large dogs!
There are lots of steps to this, but don't worry, it is not difficult and it gets easier once you get started.

Needed Supplies: 
Fleece fabric remnants

Step 1: Cut the fabric.

Cut 4 strips of fleece between 3" and 4" wide. I cut mine at 4" because my dog is large. If you are making a toy for a small dog, you may want to cut the strips a little thinner.

Fleece stretches in one direction. Cut the fabric so it stretches the length of the strips, not the width.

I used 2 different colors, but you could use all the same color or 4 different colors. I suggest using at least 2 different colors for the first time that you make this. It just makes it easier to see what you are doing. 
You can cut your strips as long as you want for your dog. I suggest cutting the strips the full length of the fabric. As you knot it, the length is going to get shorter. When you get to the desired length, you can stop and trim off the excess.

The cuts do not have to be perfect. I just eyeballed it. You can see that my cuts were pretty jagged and the strips were not exactly the same width through the entire length. I promise that your dog is not going to complain.
Pile the strips on top of each other.
Make a knot at the top. I left about 3" for the fringe.
Step 2: Lay the strips out so 1 strip goes straight out to each side and 2 strips go down the middle. It will kind of look like a person with the knot for the head. I labeled the strips A, B, C, and D to make the explanation easier.
Step 3: Take strip A and cross it over B and C. It should be parallel to strip D.
Step 4: Take strip C and fold it up and over strips A and D.
Step 5: Take strip D and fold it over both the inside and outside parts of strip C.
Step 6: Put the end of strip D under strip B.
Step 7: Put the end of strip D over strip A.
Step 8: Pull all your strips tight. Pull A and D right and left and pull B and C down and up. It doesn't have to be super tight, but tight enough that it isn't going to come loose when your dog is playing with it. It is better to be too tight than too loose.

Your knot will look like a little box. You will notice that the strips are in a different order. D will go to the left, A goes to the right, C goes up and B goes down.
Now, things get a little easier!

Step 9: Fold strip B up over strip D. Fold strip C down over strip A.
Step 10: Fold Strip D over B and through the loop at the top of C. Fold Strip A over C and through the loop at the bottom of B.
Step 11: Pull all your strips tight. Pull A and D left and right and pull B and C up and down. You will now have another box. You will notice that the strips are again in a different order. A goes to the left, D will go to the right, B goes up and C goes down.
Step 12: Fold strip B down over strip A. Fold strip C up over strip D.
Step 13: Fold Strip D over C and through the loop at the top of B. Fold Strip A over B and through the loop at the bottom of C.
Step 14: Pull all your strips tight. Pull A and D left and right and pull B and C down and up.

Strip D will now go to the left, A goes to the right, C goes up and B goes down.
Step 15: Repeat steps 9 through 14. Your rope will begin looking like this.
Step 16: Continue to repeat these steps until the rope is as long as you want for your dog. Make a knot at the end.
Step 17: Trim the ends so all strips are even. If you would like the trim to look a little more full, make a few cuts into each strip. I made my cuts about 1 1/2 inches down.
 Step 18: Go play with your dog!

These ropes are easy to make, inexpensive, and are very strong. They hold up to abuse and tug of war by even large dogs.

These are also great for teething puppies. Just soak it in water, put it in a zip-loc bag, and let it freeze. Then, give it to your puppy to chew on. The cold will help soothe the puppy's gums.

When the rope is dirty, you can throw it right into the washing machine and dryer. The ropes may get stretched out a bit. If you throw it in the dryer, it will shrink back.

These ropes would also make a great donation to your local animal shelter or rescue group.

Now, go have fun with your dog!