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!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Last Minute DIY Patriotic Centerpiece

Happy 4th of July Weekend! If you are still looking for the perfect centerpiece for your 4th of July picnic, this may be the perfect idea! It is easy, quick, versatile, inexpensive, and looks great!

Needed Supplies
3 Vases or Jars
Red, White, and Blue Spray Paint
Paint Tape
Star Stickers

Step 1: Spray paint 2 of the vases red. Let them dry 2 hours.

Step 2: Spray paint 1 of the vases white. Let it dry 2 hours.

Step 3: Tape stripes on the red vases.

Step 4: Spray paint the taped vases white. Let them dry 2 hours.

Step 5: Put stickers on the white vase. I used normal stickers from the Dollar Store. But if you have a vinyl sticker maker, I would use those instead. The reason I suggest using vinyl is because I found that the normal stickers can be difficult to remove after you have painted over them.

Step 6: Spray paint the vase with stickers blue. Let it dry 2 hours.

Step 7: Take the tape and the stickers off the vases.

Step 8: Enjoy your patriotic decoration! I cut some daisies from the yard and used mine as a centerpiece. You could also use these to hold other things, like eating utensils or fun items for the kids.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Fabric Toilet Paper Holder

I have a toilet paper problem in my house... Whenever I hang it on the holder, my cat decides that it is a toy and this is how it ends up.
This is the result of only a few minutes of her time. If I would not have taken it away, she would have shredded the entire roll. Because of this, I have been putting the roll on the back of the toilet. I have been doing this for years. I've tried different storage methods through the years, but the back of the toilet was the only thing that did not result in it being shredded.

A few years ago, I saw a fabric toilet paper holder at a craft sale. It actually was made to store 3 extra rolls and was to be used in homes with minimal bathroom storage. I thought it was a neat idea, but didn't think much about it. A couple weeks ago, I saw the same thing and I knew that something similar would be the solution to my shredding problem. I came up with this.

I do not sew very often or very well, so making this was quite a bit of trial and error. If you decide to make this, please read the entire post prior to beginning. I tried a few different things and changed it up as I went, so read through the entire post and then make necessary changes to yours.

Needed materials:
Interfacing (optional)
Sewing machine (or needle if you want to do it by hand)

Step 1:
Cut your fabric for the holder. I used fat quarters to make mine, so mine was about 18" long. I then made two strips that were 6.5"wide. Originally, I thought that I could make it reversible so I used two different fabrics. Once I started making it, I figured out that it would not be reversible, so I could have used the same fabric for both strips.
Step 2:
Cut your fabric for the ties or loops. I originally made this holder with ties, but later changed it to loops. I made four ties 14" x 2".
Step 3: Attach interfacing (optional). 
I used a fat quarter to make mine, so the fabric was pretty flimsy. I had some iron-on interfacing from another project, so I attached that to the backside of both pieces. I used a medium-weight because I already had it at home. I probably would have been fine using a light-weight. This step is not necessary, especially if you are using a thicker fabric.
Step 4: Sew the two pieces together.
With the right sides together, sew the two pieces together. I used the 1/2" marker on the sewing machine for mine, but I could have made the margin smaller. Like I mentioned, I am not skilled at sewing. 
Sew both long sides and one short side shut, but leave about a 3 - 4" opening on one of the short sides.
Step 5: Cut the corners
Cut off the corners of the sewn together pieces. Initially, I did not do this and it was bulky at the corners. 
Step 6: Turn right-side out.
Turn the piece right-side out. Use a knitting needle, pencil, screwdriver, or something similar to poke out the corners.
Step 7: Sew the end shut.
Sew the hole that you left open closed. I sewed mine as close to the edge as I could.

Step 8: Make your ties or loops. 
Fold your tie in half and iron it flat.
Flip the tie over, unfold it, and fold the two sides in to the middle crease. Iron the two sides down.
Fold the tie back together with the original crease. The tie should now be folded in fourths.
Unfold the tie at one end and fold down the top 1/4" or so. Iron that flat. You may need to iron the top again to keep it down.

Sew the short side with the folded edge and the open, long side of the tie. Sew it as close to the edge as you can.
Knot the ends that are sewn shut.

Step 9: Sew the ties to the holder.
Sew the open end of the ties to what will be the inside of the holder. I placed my ties about 1/4" in from the sides and about an 1" down from the top. I sewed it about 1/2" from the top. Do this for all 4 ties.

Step 10: Sew the two ends together to form the holder. I made three lines across to ensure that it held.

Step 11: Hang the holder!

I am not using mine to store extra rolls. But if you are, just tie the holder lower. You will have the current roll on top and the spare roll in the holder.
After I had this hanging up, I realized that ties were not necessary. I had made ties because that is what the one I saw at the craft sale had. But I decided that I just wanted to make loops instead of dealing with ties. I ripped out the top. Detached two of the ties and then cut it down to about 6.5". I sewed the other ends down to the inside of the holder.
Then, sew the two ends of the holder together.
Hang it from the loops!

I made this version over two weeks ago and I am happy to report that I have not had any shredded toilet paper incidents! I think this is going to be a keeper!

 Additional notes:

  • This will hold a toilet paper roll with a circumference of about 14". I know not all rolls are the same size. So if you buy the larger rolls, you will need to increase the length of the pieces.
  • If I was to make this again, I would make the strips for the ties/loops thinner. I would probably cut them to be 1" wide. This would result in a 1/4" wide tie instead of the 1/2" tie that I have.
  • You could leave the top open if you wanted. Just sew the ties or loops on, but then don't close the top. That would allow you to use larger rolls, but it will not hold the rolls as securely.
  • If you use the loops instead of the ties, keep in mind that I am not using my for storage, so it hangs pretty close to the top of the holder. If you are going to use it for storage, be sure to increase the length of the loops to accommodate the current roll.

If you decide to make one, be sure to share a picture! I would love to see it! I'm sure anyone who is more skilled at sewing than I am would do a much better job!