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DIY Freezer Paper Stenciled T-Shirt + Butterfly Template Printable

I thought I’d write a final update on the freezer paper stenciled butterfly t-shirt from a couple weeks ago. Those of you who follow this blog know that the original project ended in a craft fail, followed by an update that showed how I remade the shirt into a cute tank top for my daughter. However, that still didn’t leave me with a gift for my sister, which was the whole reason I started that project in the first place!

In the previous post, I shared how I was given a pack of Elmer’s Painters to review. According to the package, these acrylic paint markers can be used on any surface, even fabric. The only stipulation is to “heat set fabric before laundering, wash & dry on delicate cycle.” That got me thinking… and eventually I decided I would give it another try, using the markers instead of my usual screen printing ink.

I bought another of the same purple shirt and updated the design I had originally created with the new colors (Elmer’s Coral and Lilac). Be sure to wash and tumble dry the fabric you choose to stencil to take into account any shrinkage that may occur.

As before, I printed out my butterflies on craft freezer paper and cut them out carefully with my xacto knife. One cool thing about getting a do-over is that I remembered to put the inner pieces of the large butterfly back on before ironing it down in place.

This photo shows the process I used – instead of rubbing the markers across the fabric, I laid the color on by dotting the tip down onto the fabric, starting with the stencil edges and then filling in the center. I wanted the crispest edge possible. This process would be more time consuming on a larger image, but these butterflies were small and hardly took any time at all.

I waited until the ink was dry and later that same day I peeled off the stencil. Don’t wait too long or you’ll have problems pulling up the paper and may damage your work.

Ta-da!

So much better than before!

The directions aren’t specific about how long to heat set the stenciled image. Heat setting just means to give it a good press with a dry iron to help fuse the paint to the fabric. I pressed the shirt inside out with the image directly on my ironing board, before spending a minute or so ironing it directly. It put off a bit of acrid smoke, but not too bad. If you were unsure you could put a layer of old t-shirt over your image and then press it, in case you are worried about residue coming off on your iron or board.

Because this was a gift, I don’t know yet how well the image will wear. I’ll try and update that info here, if I ever find out.

What do you think? Want to make this t-shirt or one like it?

Here is a free Butterfly template printable pdf for you to download and print for your own project (or click on the butterfly graphic above). These butterflies could dress up anything from a onesie to a day bag – just enlarge it as needed. Enjoy!

P.S. There is still time to enter the giveaway for a set of Elmer’s Paint Markers AND a $25 Walmart gift card if you leave a comment on the previous post before midnight tonight, April 4th!

 


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Light Up Valentines + Free Printable PDF

Chloe worked on her Valentine cards right after breakfast this morning. I had designed these cards a few weeks back, knowing I had a stash of tiny finger flashlights for her to give away. These super bright LED Finger Flashlights are about 20¢ each when you buy a set on Amazon. Keeping their size in mind, I made a similar-sized flashlight with a heart and then included the phrase “You Light Up My Life Valentine.” Interestingly, this is the first time I felt like typefaces failed me. None of them looked quite right, so I ended up handwriting it and then scanning it in. Much better!

Here’s what the cards look like freshly printed:

This is what the packages of finger flashlights look like:

If you decide to add a finger light onto a card, use an x-acto knife to cut a small tab near the middle of the printed flashlight, like shown. Then slide the elastic loop onto the tab. Like this:

Continue Reading →


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Foaming soap pump makeovers

We like foaming hand soap in our house (see the previous post for just one of the reasons why). For kids, it’s less messy than bar soap, and it pumps out, spreads and rinses off easier than regular liquid soap. We even use it in shampoo form – more suds for the hair and less running into the eyes.

Seeing two empty pump bottles laying around made me wonder if we could re-fill them with our own home-made version. And guess what? All it takes is just a portion of liquid soap mixed with water. We filled our pump containers about an eighth full of regular liquid soap and filled them the rest of the way with water. Voila! Turns out the technology isn’t in the soap formula, but in the pump itself.

I’m so happy we discovered this. Now a bottle of regular soap lasts us so much longer, and each amount of soap costs a fraction of what it did before.

Extra fun: I peeled off the labels on our used soap pumps and gave them each a makeover. See the “before” photo here. The colorful one above is for Chloe’s bathroom and the black and white one below is for ours.

Update: Even though I used “permanent” Sharpie markers, the ink actually comes off if scraped too hard. They’d probably last longer if sprayed with a fixative. I wonder what would be a better medium? Some sort of paint?

Floral designs inspired by Sandra Isaksson.


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Lavender

Our lavender is in full bloom, making all the bees and butterflies around here crazy happy. It is such a beautiful color. And the smell… gorgeous.

At the end of summer I’ll dry the stems and place the scented buds in my drawers or hanging in fine mesh bags in the closet. I didn’t get around to it last year, so I want to be extra good about it this year. There are about a million things that can be made out of lavender, too – from salt or sugar scrubs, sachets, wands, to even ice cream. So many choices, so little time.

And here’s a whole long list of lavender recipes and projects from Martha Stewart.


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Cookie Jars

We were finally able to finish and deliver all the cookie jar gifts we made for the holidays this year. They are very similar to the ones from last year, but with a revised label since I took a shortcut and bought the cookies instead of making them this time. I daresay they taste just as good, if not better. 🙂


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Updated Tutorial & Printables List

I updated my Downloads + Tutorials page (see link under the header bar) with all the project tutorials and printable pdfs I’ve included on this blog. Hopefully they’ll be easier to find and use all in one place. Here are some:

1. DIY iPhone 4 Bumper Idea_2b.jpg, 2. Paper-Wrapped Jewelry Organizer, 3. bird magnets1.jpg, 4. Free Printable Valentine Flower card, 5. Chocolate Gift Jar Oreos.jpg, 6. Baby bib, 7. Halloween “Cauldron Bubbles” Treat, 8. IMG_7332.JPG, 9. “Dad” Father’s Day Card, 10. Cute Baby Hair Clips, 11. Holiday Gift tags, 12. Printable Holiday Gift Wrap, 13. Printable Holiday Cheer game board, 14. Felt photo album cover, 15. Vinyl Record Bowl, 16. Modern Happy Holidays Card


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DIY iPhone 4 Bumper Idea + Template

I finally joined the ranks of the many iPhone carrying mamas this week. After constantly reaching for my husband’s iPhone, “borrowing” it during travels, and having him phone me while I’m out to tell me I received a work email that needs attention, I figured it was high time I got my own. Call me a brainwashed consumer, fine, but ask me what the weather is going to be, directions to the nearest coffee shop, or which apps are best for entertaining toddlers, and I’ll be able to show you with the touch of a button.

Brand spankin’ new out of the box, the new iPhone 4 is a pretty sight – shiny, hefty and fingerprint-free. But that doesn’t last – at least for me. Not only is the iPhone shared by my toddler, but just three days after I got it, I forgot and left it on my lap after a phone call in the car. When I got out of the car, it dropped off my lap and onto the pavement, chipping tragically in 3 places. Very sad indeed.

So, I got to thinking – how can I make an inexpensive, temporary bumper to protect my new investment while waiting the 4-6 weeks for the free case from Apple to arrive in the mail? A quick search pulled up this idea, but I don’t own one of those rubber “Live Strong” bracelets. Next I tried modifying this free template from case-mate, originally designed for the iPhone 3Gs. It didn’t fit. Then, I remembered a sheet of adhesive craft foam I picked up at the craft store (was it Michaels?) for about $1. Perfect!

How to make your own iPhone 4 bumper:

1. Cut a strip of adhesive or “sticky back” craft foam 12mm wide (.47 inch) using a ruler and an X-Acto knife. Although the iPhone 4 is only 9.3mm (0.37 inch) thick, this gives about a 1mm (0.04 inch) overhang on both the face and the back of the iPhone to act as a buffer during impact.

Ideally, you’d be able to cut just one strip about 345mm (13.58 inches) long to wrap completely around the perimeter, but since my foam sheet was letter-sized, I had to do it in two pieces.

2. Cut out holes within your strip: approx. 47mm x 5 mm (1.85″ x 0.196″) for the speakers and dock connector, 30mm x 5mm (1.18″ x 0.196″) for the volume and ring/vibrate controls, and 7mm x 5mm (0.275″ x 0.196″) for the headphone jack (7mm x 5mm). I left the on/off switch covered, which doesn’t affect it’s usage.

3. Carefully remove the backing and apply it to the sides of the iPhone, keeping about a 1mm overhang on each edge (centering the foam on the steel antenna band as neatly as possible) . If you need to, join two separate pieces to completely cover the perimeter, slightly pulling on the foam to stretch it only if you need to bridge the gap where the pieces join.

And there you have it, a cheap and easy DIY alternative to the more expensive bumpers for sale. Even better, craft foam sheets come in a rainbow of colors (I just happened to only have black and white on hand). While possibly not ideal, it is working great so far (with no dropped calls).

Not sure where to cut out all the appropriate holes? Try this free bumper template.


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DIY Paper-Covered Jewelry Organizer

Over the years I’ve collected, or been given, various pieces of jewelry. I stopped wearing most of it when Chloe was born (except for my wedding ring), and now that she is a little older I’ve begun to phase in a few pieces every now and again. Often I forget what I own until I go digging around in the box. The earrings and bracelets are organized somewhat decently, but the lengths of necklaces and pendants are all jumbled together. It is not a pretty sight.

Months ago I chose some paper and hardware to make two necklace hangers, although the hooks would also work nicely for rings and bracelets, too. Here is the one I made last week. It is sized to fit a narrow space on the wall of my closet. That’s the nice thing about making something yourself – it can be whatever you want it to be, plus it would make a sweet gift. The wood came from Home Depot (recycled from another project), the paper from Craft Warehouse and the hardware from Target.

Materials
12 x 12 sheet of heavy scrapbook paper
4 x 10″ piece of wood
7/8″ nickel-plated cup hooks
2 sawtooth hangers

Tools
Xacto Knife
Cutting Mat
Bone Folder
Glue or Double stick tape


Step 1: Fold the paper around the board, basically like you’re gift-wrapping a present. For best results, run the tip of a bone folder along the edges to make the smoothest and straightest folds possible.


Step 2: Seal the sides down with adhesive. I used double stick tape.


Step 3:
Make a tiny mark where you want the cup hooks to go. Drill pilot holes at each mark so the cup hooks will go in smoothly, and then screw them in. Finish by lightly pounding in the sawtooth hangers on the back side, one at each of the upper corners. Enjoy!


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Making Paper-Covered Binder Clips

Every once in a while I participate in a craft swap. It is interesting to get a package in the mail from another participant, sometimes from across the globe. As a matter of fact, the partner I send to this time lives in the Philippines. Anyway, it gives me an excuse to make a couple things, including these paper-covered binder clips (first seen here). I cut out small pieces of origami paper, added a little glue on the clip body and then wrapped and pressed the paper around it. Pretty!


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Make your own bean bag chair

Check out this cool bean bag chair by Joanna at Stardust Shoes. I never thought I’d say this about a bean bag chair, but I think this one is so fun. I wish I had one like it for Chloe’s room. She would totally dig it. Not only does she love to climb on chairs in general, but also to get in and out of boxes, bounce on cushions, and land in piles of dirty clothes on the floor. Wouldn’t playing with an oversize bean bag be like all those things?

Joanna offers both an adult-sized (shown above) and child-sized pdf tutorial, so technically I could make one myself. Maybe I will someday. Right now I’m stuck with a halfway finished spring top. I can’t seem to figure out the next step, and I’m not sure how best to move forward (Sandy, maybe I can ichat you and hold the instructions up to the camera?). Also strange is that I can’t find a single reference of anyone sewing this top, or any photos on Flickr or anywhere else. Maybe because it was written for teenagers and there aren’t any teenager-sewing-bloggers? Oh well. I might just try and wing it.


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What nifty device can you make with paper, film and a Coke can?

I found a very interesting book on the new arrival shelf at the library yesterday. A book called Build Fun Paper Cameras: Take Eye-Catching Pinhole Photos. My first thought was Hmm, those look pretty cool! My second thought was They still make 35mm film?! It is almost hard for me to believe that everyone just doesn’t use digital these days. I love the instant satisfaction of seeing an image onscreen (especially handy when I notice a detail that needs fixing). Film cameras don’t give you that amount of control, and that idea is… intriguing.

So, I’m curious. I decided to check the book out and experiment. What if I had to physically rely on myself to manage the exposure (and not just tell my digital camera how long to do it for me)? I mean literally open and close the shutter by hand, and not with the press of a button? What would it be like to manually make my own equipment? And wind the film myself? I’m guessing the worst that can happen will be that none of my photos come out, but even so I’ll have made some pretty nifty little paper cameras. So, if you’ll excuse me – I have a Coke can to cut and pierce, film to find and purchase, and 8 sheets of freshly printed card stock to cut, fold and assemble.

To be continued…


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Valentine Idea: Day 10 – Origami Love

Origami Love – Paper is truly a remarkable material, and an inherent part of Valentine’s Day! How about spreading a little love around by folding a batch of these beauties to share…


Origami Kusadama Flower


Origami Fortune Teller


Sweet Origami Hearts


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Valentine Idea: Day 5 – Free Printable Cards

Print your own card – I had a little extra time to whip up two cards that are free to download and print! The “Your love means the world to me” flower card measures 3.5 x 5 inches and the diagonal label card that reads “Thoughts for you, my love, on Valentine’s Day” measures 4 x 6 inches. There are two versions of the flower card, one with the flowers printed on the cover and the other with the flowers printed on the side. The side flowers are there so you can cut them out separately and adhere them with foam tape for a 3-dimensional look (like in the photo). Enjoy!


Download version 1 | version 2 (3D)


Download Valentine Label Card

Need some more kid-friendly cards? Try this free Light-up Valentine printable.


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New Masthead

Did you notice I updated the masthead? I don’t know how bloggers like Dooce find the time and inspiration to put up a new one every month. I’m lucky if it gets update once a year. Actually, I didn’t even fully design this one myself, but incorporated free artwork from Vecteezy. There was something about the cheerful color and simple landscape that drew me, or maybe I just had trees on the brain. It is also worth checking out brusheezy (photoshop brushes), flasheezy (free flash), and fresheezy (free websites).

I’ve also added a Paperseed blog button, which you can find on the sidebar. I followed the instructions here to learn how to make the text box for the code, in case you want to make a button of your own available. If you want to place my button on the sidebar of your blog, you can follow these directions (for wordpress): Go to your dashboard and click on Appearance > Widgets. Drag a new “Text” widget to your sidebar. Copy the code from the box underneath my blog button and paste it into the textbox of your new “Text” widget. Hit save and close and you should see it on your homepage. Enjoy!


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Appliqued Handtowels in 5 easy steps

While we were in Colorado earlier this month, I had an opportunity to watch my mother-in-law make this fun set of appliqued handtowels as a gift. She made it look so easy! Here are the materials and steps she used:

Materials
Dishtowel
Double sided fusible interface
Fabric scrap for the design
Thread for both the top side and bottom side

1. Find an image that you like and cut the shape out of both the interface and fabric. Sandy chose to use this cat image.

2. Sandwich the fusible interface between the dishtowel and the fabric, and iron them together until they are properly adhered.

3. Using a satin stitch (also called applique stitch, or tight zig-zag stitch), sew around the border of your shape. This will cover the raw edges of the fabric. I was surprised to note that Sandy kept the feed dog up, yet was able to move the fabric around with her fingers pretty easily.

4. After the border of the shape is done, use a pencil to draw the inner details to be “traced” by stitching. Sandy wanted to use a thinner satin stitch, so she adjusted the settings on her sewing machine and did a few tests before continuing.

5. Stitch over the pencil marks to add detail. Sandy noted that it is very helpful to always snip the loose threads as you go.

The finished designs!


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Free Holiday Cheer Board Game

Holiday Cheer Game

Holiday Cheer Board Game – download free pdf here

A couple of weeks ago while I was shopping at Michael’s I made several spur of the moment holiday purchases, including 2 foamy-style rubber-stamp blocks and 3 packages of epoxy stickers. I have no idea what made me pick these items up because I don’t stamp, or use stickers (much). There was just something pretty and tactile about them that made reach out and place them on the check stand. (Actually, I was just going to buy one stamp, but it didn’t have a sku tag, so the checkout girl asked if I could grab another. Then I heard myself saying “I’ll just take that one, too”). Thank goodness they didn’t cost much!

So I’ve had these foamy stamp blocks on my desk for a while now. David asked me why I bought them and I guiltily mumbled something about probably returning them, or using them for… something. Later, I found myself tossing one around and noticing how it bounced merrily before settling. Then I thought Eureka! I could design a holiday game for my nephew with it! (Okay, so I didn’t say Eureka!, but that word perfectly described how I felt. As in: Whew! If I can make something useful/fun, then I can be excused for making an impulse buy. After all, it must have been fate at work that day, right?).

This picture is misleading. These are the two stamps I bought, but only one is used for the game.

How to Play: Here was my thought process. The foamy stamp block would work like a die that you roll (there is a snowman side, a snowflake side, a kid’s face, the words “Let it Snow,” and two blank sides). Whatever lands face up is the icon that you’d move your game piece forward to on the board. Sounds pretty easy right? The only kicker is that when you roll a blank side you lose that turn and don’t get to move forward. I designed the whole game board with this idea in mind.

I should mention here that I don’t know anything about three and a half year old boys, or any kids at all for that matter (although two of my good friends are now expecting!). Paolo, our nephew, lives in Austin and we rarely see him. I could be totally wrong about skills at that age or his interest in something like this. However, the other night when I explained this game to Marcy, she said it sounded like Candyland, which I looked up and is rated for ages 3+, which is perfect.

To make a long story short, you can download my Holiday Cheer Game here. It’s pretty large, with a full size of 17 x 22″ so it has to be printed out (or tiled) in four sections if you’re printing it out on regular letter-sized paper, like I did. Then I pasted the sheets to a larger piece of thin cardstock for durability/foldability.

Playing Cards: Unless you happen to find the same stamp block at Michael’s, the best way to play is to print out a second set of pages and cut out the squares from the game board to use as cards. Instead of rolling a die, you would set the stack of “cards” face down and each player would draw a card and then move his or her game piece forward to the nearest icon indicated. You would also have to cut out some “blank” cards to use as “lose a turn.”

Holiday Cheer Game

These are the simple plastic playing pieces I made . I would have preferred something more 3D, but they seem to work okay.

Game Pieces: I made game pieces out of Shrinky Dinks plastic (I am having such fun with that stuff!), but any small objects will do. Playing pieces from another game, a set of erasers, coins, bottle caps or anything that will fit on the squares should work.

Advanced Play: Depending on the level of the players, you can make the game harder by adding additional rules. For example, instead of two players sharing a square, maybe the original player gets kicked off his space and moved backward to the nearest same icon. Or maybe he moves all the way back to start! It’s up to you.

Have fun!


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A Modern Gingerbread House

modern gingerbread house

This is the coolest gingerbread house, ever! Hard to believe that no one has thought of it before (at least that I’ve ever seen). I came across it here while perusing Redenvelope.com“Every bit as edible as the original, this isn’t your grandma’s gingerbread house. We gave the classic holiday treat a mid-century makeover, complete with garage and rock garden. A unique gift and sure-fire conversation piece, it comes assembled and ready to enjoy.”

It’s a little spendy at $78 (for an extra $10 you can add personalization, like in the photo above) and it makes me a little sad that you can’t assemble it yourself. Isn’t that the fun part? Seeing this makes me think about trying to re-create one of my favorite modern houses, maybe Michelle Kaufmann’s Sunset Breezehouse or maybe an iconic Portland-area Rummer home, complete with melted hard candy glass windows (see recipe here). Wouldn’t that be so awesome?!


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Easy Felt Photo Album – Tutorial

felt album cover

Yay! My first real sewing craft project (okay, not including pant hems or that dog pillow I did in 7th grade)! Anyway, this was so easy. As I wrote previously, sewing just doesn’t come naturally to me. I wanted to start small to ensure at least moderate success on my first foray back. My mom sewed a lot when we were kids, to the point where all three of us had sunday outfits of matching fabric and I wasn’t even embarrassed (hey, I was young!). I wish I had paid attention back then.

I remember seeing these covers somewhere before. The construction seemed fairly straightforward, with only three pieces stitched together. Another bonus is that felt doesn’t unravel, and is forgiving to work with. If I can make this then I know that everyone else can, too! Fun fact: according to Wikipedia, felt is the oldest form of fabric known to humankind and predates weaving and knitting.

Items Needed
2 sheets of felt
photo album insert
thread
embellishment (optional)

Instructions
For the album above, I chose a red embossed sheet for the outside, a smooth dark brown for the inside, and red thread. I’m not sure of their types, but the red sheet was softer and floppy, like typical craft felt, and the brown one was stiffer. The album insert came from Target.

1. Begin by measuring the album opened flat on a table, and add .25″ to the top and bottom and .5″ to the sides for seam allowance. For example, if the opened album measured 10″wide x 6.5″tall then the end measurement would be 11″wide x 7″tall. Cut this rectangle out of the outside felt cover sheet.

2. Measure the front cover. Add .25″ to the top and bottom only. For example, if the front cover measures 4.75″wide x 6.5″ tall, the end measurement would be 4.75″wide x 7″tall. Cut out two of these shapes – one for the inside front cover and one for the inside back cover.

3. Lay the pieces together as shown below (large red outside piece face down, with two brown pieces facing up, matching outside edges). Stitch around the whole perimeter, keeping about .1875″ from the edge and backstitching at the end. I used a sewing machine, but this could be done by hand, too, and might look neat using a blanket stitch. Trim the thread ends.

felt photo album diagram

4. Now tuck the front and back covers of the album into the side pockets. That’s it!

Adding An Embellishment
I happened to have a set of EK Success “Inspirables” metal charms that I bought for our wedding and never used. For this project I chose the “Love” charm. Using the same red thread I stitched it onto the lower right of the front cover for a simple finishing touch. Craft stores are filled with neat ad-ons that could be glued or stitched on. Or simply cut some fun shapes out of the remaining felt scraps and stitch them onto the cover before completion.

The inside. This will be a gift to Marcy so I’ve included one of her wedding photos.

The red thread makes a nice contrast on the brown

Detail of the spine and discreet backstitching to keep the thread from unraveling

Detail of the “Love” embellishment, hand-stitched with red thread
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