Design Mom » make something http://www.designmom.com The Intersection of Design & Motherhood Fri, 14 Mar 2014 04:58:08 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.5.1 A Perfect Gift: Hair Twists with Wood Beads http://www.designmom.com/2014/03/a-perfect-gift-hair-twists-with-wood-beads/ http://www.designmom.com/2014/03/a-perfect-gift-hair-twists-with-wood-beads/#comments Tue, 04 Mar 2014 17:54:29 +0000 Design Mom http://www.designmom.com/?p=45324

DIY Hair Twists with Wooden Beads   |   Design Mom

By Gabrielle. Photography and assistance by Gina Vide of Willowday.

My girls have worn their hair long — shoulder length or longer — for years now. It wasn’t always so, and I’m sure it won’t always be so. But for now, like many families, we keep a generous stash of hair bands in our bathroom drawer ready to secure hair into ponytails, braids, and buns as needed. So when my friend Gina from Sweden sent me a photo of wooden bead hair ties she’d made, I had to get in on the action too! They work just like a standard rubberband — you put them on with a typical figure 8 twist, then adjust them so the beads are on top. The beads are such simple accent, but they add loads of charming personality!

Of course, they remind me of the hair bobbles of my childhood — with colorful plastic balls at the ends. But these are much gentler on your hair and more modern looking. Plus, you can make them in any color you like!

DIY Hair Twists with Wooden Beads   |   Design Mom DIY Hair Twists with Wooden Beads   |   Design Mom

I think a small box with 3 or 4 of these would make such a sweet gift. You could create them in springtime colors and include them in an Easter basket. Or they would be wonderful to make a birthday party — a happy little activity that guests can make and use right away.

DIY Hair Twists with Wooden Beads   |   Design Mom

I’m just crazy about the contrast of the glittery band or colorful shiny elastic against raw wood. If you prefer a glossier look, you could paint the beads to match or compliment the elastics. The combinations are endless. These hair twists are easy to make; fun to make alone or with friends on a craft night!

DIY Hair Twists with Wooden Beads   |   Design Mom DIY Hair Twists with Wooden Beads   |   Design Mom DIY Hair Twists with Wooden Beads   |   Design Mom

A special touch for the girls in your house — and for yourself as well. Let’s start making!

DIY Hair Twists with Wooden Beads   |   Design Mom

SUPPLIES

- Wooden beads (1/2-3/4″)
- 5/8″ fold over elastic (you can do a search for folded elastic to find tons of sources, Sunshine Shoppe is where the elastic pictured came from.
- wooden skewer
- scissors

INSTRUCTIONS

Measure and cut one 12 inch piece of fold-over elastic. (Optional: Once cut, seal the ends by singeing their edges over a candle.) Choose 2 wood beads. These beads can be raw wood or painted with hobby paint, if desired.

DIY Hair Twists with Wooden Beads   |   Design Mom

Carefully thread the elastic through the bead and pull close to the end. It’s helpful to coax the elastic through the bead by pushing it through with a wooden skewer.

DIY Hair Twists with Wooden Beads   |   Design Mom

Tie a knot about 1 inch in from the end.

DIY Hair Twists with Wooden Beads   |   Design Mom

Repeat this same threading and knotting of the elastic band on the opposite end.

DIY Hair Twists with Wooden Beads   |   Design Mom

Fold in half to estimate the middle…

DIY Hair Twists with Wooden Beads   |   Design Mom

… then gather the beads and knot the band together as close to the beads as possible. Once the elastics have been knotted, your beaded hair ties are ready for wearing and giving!

DIY Hair Twists with Wooden Beads   |   Design Mom

HOW TO WEAR

These hair twists are worn like traditional hair bands. Start by fitting the elastic around pony tail, keeping the beads on the outside.

DIY Hair Twists with Wooden Beads   |   Design Mom DIY Hair Twists with Wooden Beads   |   Design Mom

Twist the elastic into a figure 8 and draw the second loop up and over the pony tail.

DIY Hair Twists with Wooden Beads   |   Design Mom

Adjust the double elastics that are now holding the pony tail into place so that the elastic is flat and so that the beads are on top.

Wear with a beautiful smile. : )

——–

THIS WOULD ALSO BE GREAT FOR:

- Easter gifts.
- Classmate Valentines.
- A birthday party/slumber party activity.
- Party favors.

P.S. — Like to make gifts? Here are more ideas from our Perfect Gift series.

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Bargain DIY Concrete Floor http://www.designmom.com/2014/02/bargain-diy-concrete-floor/ http://www.designmom.com/2014/02/bargain-diy-concrete-floor/#comments Wed, 19 Feb 2014 22:26:54 +0000 Design Mom http://www.designmom.com/?p=45149

DIY Concrete Floors — Easy & Inexpensive!   |   Design Mom

Photos and text by Gabrielle.

I’m pleased as punch to tell you about the concrete floor experiment that we tried in the reading loft of The Treehouse. I love how it turned out! The texture is wonderful. The floor looks layered and feels like it has depth — but the whole surface is barely 1/8″ deep! It’s easy to clean and maintain. It has the industrial look I am every drawn to. Plus, it was inexpensive and totally DIY-doable.

DIY Concrete Floors — Easy & Inexpensive!   |   Design Mom

I originally thought we would put carpet in the loft, but then I changed my mind and thought I would rather install a sweepable surface with an area rug on top. I made some inquiries about concrete floors and was told the weight of true concrete would be too heavy for this area, so I shifted my attention to tiles. But about that time, Jenny Komenda published a blog post about resurfacing her laundry room counter with a thin layer of concrete and I wondered if I could try the same method on the reading loft floor to achieve a concrete look without the heavy weight.

DIY Concrete Floors — Easy & Inexpensive!   |   Design Mom

I finally concluded: why not try? The space is small and a low-traffic area. The materials are a bargain, so if it failed it wasn’t too great of a loss. Plus, if it was a disaster, I could cover it with tile or hardwood and hide the evidence. : ) So I gathered the materials, and when Ben Blair was in France (and I was consequently bored)  I went for it!

DIY Concrete Floors — Easy & Inexpensive!   |   Design Mom

Would you like to see how it came together?

DIY Concrete Floors — Easy & Inexpensive!   |   Design Mom DIY Concrete Floors — Easy & Inexpensive!   |   Design Mom DIY Concrete Floors — Easy & Inexpensive!   |   Design Mom

Let’s start with a few before shots. As you can see, the loft is a small raised area above the family room. The whole area is about 7 x 10 feet, and can be accessed by a ladder. The floor was unfinished — a simple plywood subfloor ready for carpet, tile, hardwood, or in our case: concrete!

DIY Concrete Floors — Easy & Inexpensive!   |   Design Mom

Next, let’s talk materials. The magic ingredient is Ardex Feather Finish. This stuff is simply a delight to work with! You can apply it in thin, thin, layers and then build it up to a beautiful finish.

The only trick is we had to call around to find someone who stocks it — it’s not widely available at every hardware store. We found a list of suppliers in our area here.

DIY Concrete Floors — Easy & Inexpensive!   |   Design Mom

You’ll also need a trowel or spreader — I liked using a couple of different sizes — plus an old bucket and spoon for mixing the Feather Finish.

Once I had the appropriate supplies, I followed directions found here and here. Essentially, you pour some Ardex Feather Finish (it’s a powder) into your bucket and add some water, then stir. You’re going for the texture of a thin pancake batter. I never measured the Feather Finish or the water. I would just add a little of each till the texture was right. I also worked in small batches — because this stuff dries really fast!

After it’s mixed, I let it sit for 1 minute in the bucket to achieve a sort of “soft set”, then I would pour it out onto the floor and use the trowel to spread it. The first layer went directly on the plywood. (I swept and dusted it really well beforehand.)

DIY Concrete Floors — Easy & Inexpensive!   |   Design Mom

I worked in very thin layers. In fact, I could see the plywood through the concrete for the first few layers. I was working on this late at night, so I would do a layer, then head to bed and then let it dry over night. Which means the project dragged out for days! But the layers actually dry quite quickly, so you could truly tackle this on Saturday and finish the whole thing.

Before I added each new layer, I would take a putty knife and scrape off any bits of dried concrete that were protruding too much, and I would give the entire floor a very light sanding. Then I would sweep up the dust and add another layer of Feather Finish.

DIY Concrete Floors — Easy & Inexpensive!   |   Design Mom

Ultimately, I built up 6 thin layers and then topped it with a thicker layer. But the whole thing is quite thin — maybe 1/8″ thick max.

DIY Concrete Floors — Easy & Inexpensive!   |   Design Mom

One thing I learned: You can still see the seams of the subfloor (notice the vertical line on the right hand side of the photo above). In the case of the loft floor, having seams showing is fine with me because I knew it was an experiment and I had low expectations — plus, I’ll be adding an area rug which will cover the major seam anyway.

But if I were doing it again, I would put down a layer of burlap cloth first. Apparently, applying the concrete over the burlap will hide the subfloor seams and prevent cracking. (I learned that little tip the day the floor was finished — I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m dying to!)

DIY Concrete Floors — Easy & Inexpensive!   |   Design Mom

At this point, I departed from the tutorials I linked to above and tried concrete stain, instead of the recommended sealant. This was a tip from sculptor who has worked with concrete before and knew this would add depth. And it totally did.

DIY Concrete Floors — Easy & Inexpensive!   |   Design Mom

The stain definitely created depth and also left bluish areas that look really cool! I really like how the stain affected the overall look.

DIY Concrete Floors — Easy & Inexpensive!   |   Design Mom

One other thing I learned: In addition to the Ardex Feather Finish, I also bought a bag of Ardex SD-M. The Feather Finish only comes in gray, but the SD-M comes in either gray or white. I chose white. I’d read that you can add a layer of SD-M on top of the Feather Finish if you want a whitish floor instead of a gray one — and that you can even tint or dye the SD-M if you want colored concrete.

Since the floors downstairs were white-washed, I thought it might cool to keep the concrete white as well. So for layer number 5, I used SD-M instead of Feather Finish. Turns out, I didn’t like the look of the white at all! I much preferred the gray. And it might have been my imagination, but I felt like the SD-M wasn’t as easy to work with as the Feather Finish. Anyway, for layer 6, plus the finish layer, I went back to using Feather Finish.

And that’s it. Pretty darn easy. Plus economical too! A bag of Feather Finish costs about $15 (in our case, the loft needed one full bag), and then you’ll need some concrete stain. A whole new floor for about $30 in materials! The reading nook is really coming together. I can’t wait to show a full before-and-after once I have it fully furnished and looking as charming in real life as it does in my head. : )

One last note: as I mentioned above, the reading loft is low-traffic area. The concrete is doing great, but I really have no idea how this would hold up in a hallway or kitchen. That said, I think we might try it in another space — possibly the boys bedroom, or even the family room! If we do, I’ll be sure to share anything new we learn.

I’d love to hear what you think! Do you like the look of concrete floors or are they too industrial feeling for you? And would you ever try this sort of project/experiment yourself? Or do you prefer to stick to more proven methods?

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Donut Valentines http://www.designmom.com/2014/02/donut-valentines/ http://www.designmom.com/2014/02/donut-valentines/#comments Tue, 11 Feb 2014 00:34:29 +0000 Amy Christie http://www.designmom.com/?p=44957

I Like You a "Hole" Bunch.  |  Donut Valentine's by Design Mom  #freeprintable

By Gabrielle. Photos and styling by Amy Christie.

Every year, I try to come up with a really good last-minute Valentine idea. Something you can whip up the night before, long after the craft store has closed. This donut valentine is perfect! It will work with a fresh batch of heavenly Krispy Kremes, but will be just as charming with a box of “donettes” from the grocery store (or the gas station!).

This I think we can agree on: everyone loves donuts. So, if you want to win over your Valentine, the odds are in your favor that a ribbon-clad donut will do the trick.

I Like You a "Hole" Bunch.  |  Donut Valentine's by Design Mom  #freeprintable

This might appear to be a very simple Valentine and happily, I can tell you it most definitely is. Bonus? A free printable of the tags!

I Like You a "Hole" Bunch.  |  Donut Valentine's by Design Mom  #freeprintable I Like You a "Hole" Bunch.  |  Donut Valentine's by Design Mom  #freeprintable

So grab a dozen donuts (plus some extras because I can’t resist), and let’s get started.

I Like You a "Hole" Bunch.  |  Donut Valentine's by Design Mom  #freeprintable

Supplies:

- donuts
- glassine bags
- hole punch
- ribbon
- baker’s twine
- free printable tags

I Like You a "Hole" Bunch.  |  Donut Valentine's by Design Mom  #freeprintable

First, put donuts into the glassine bags. Try not to lick your fingers every time. Friends don’t like pre-licked donuts.

I Like You a "Hole" Bunch.  |  Donut Valentine's by Design Mom  #freeprintable

Fold the bag over and punch two holes. Thread the ribbon through and tie.

I Like You a "Hole" Bunch.  |  Donut Valentine's by Design Mom  #freeprintable

Cut out a tag from the downloadable document. Punch a hole, string it with baker’s twine and thread it through the same holes used for the ribbon.

I Like You a "Hole" Bunch.  |  Donut Valentine's by Design Mom  #freeprintable

See that? Simple as can be. And easily adaptable with grocery store items if you find yourself putting these together after hours. Happy making. And happy Valentine’s Day!

P.S. — Find more Valentine’s Day projects and posts here.

 

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Felt Treat Boxes http://www.designmom.com/2014/02/felt-treat-boxes/ http://www.designmom.com/2014/02/felt-treat-boxes/#comments Fri, 07 Feb 2014 19:19:06 +0000 Amy Christie http://www.designmom.com/?p=44672

DIY Felt Boxes for Valentine's Day — make cut outs in the top in any shape you like!   |   Design Mom

By Gabrielle. Photos and styling by Amy Christie.

Let the countdown begin! Valentine’s Day is in one week. And I’ve got the perfect little project for you just in time. Present your Valentine with a handmade felt box, complete with a custom design cut out made just for them. Simple construction with a sophisticated look that can hide any number of sweet treats and gifts inside.

Make them for your kids, your honey, or even for classmates. In fact, Betty really wants to give these at her class party. We’ll see how ambitious we’re feeling!

DIY Felt Boxes for Valentine's Day — make cut outs in the top in any shape you like!   |   Design Mom

I should note, these little gift boxes aren’t just limited to the heart-filled holidays. They can be modified and styled for any time you need to give a gift. Think birthdays, Mother’s and Father’s Day or a random Wednesday when you feel extra kind.

DIY Felt Boxes for Valentine's Day — make cut outs in the top in any shape you like!   |   Design Mom

This project was adapted with custom lids from the excellent tutorial on How About Orange. I love how the top-cutouts add another dimension, more color options, and a whole different feeling to the boxes.

DIY Felt Boxes for Valentine's Day — make cut outs in the top in any shape you like!   |   Design Mom

The gift recipient of these will have so many reasons to love you. It’s a kind gesture, includes a thoughtful gift and is encased in a beautiful gift box. Win, win and win.

DIY Felt Boxes for Valentine's Day — make cut outs in the top in any shape you like!   |   Design Mom

Grab your scissors and glue gun and let’s get started.

DIY Felt Boxes for Valentine's Day — make cut outs in the top in any shape you like!   |   Design Mom

Supplies:

- felt – stiff felt is best but there are more in-store color options with regular felt — I used some of both for the boxes pictured
- felt box directions and printable found here
- scissors
- glue gun
- cutting blade

Note on felt: The original tutorial calls for stiffened felt which I wholeheartedly agree with. However, stores offer more color choices in the regular felt. If a more flimsy box doesn’t work but you must have a particular color, consider doubling up and using two layers of felt. Or wrap regular felt around the stiff stuff.

DIY Felt Boxes for Valentine's Day — make cut outs in the top in any shape you like!   |   Design Mom

Follow the steps of cutting out both the top and bottom of the box per your dimensions.

DIY Felt Boxes for Valentine's Day — make cut outs in the top in any shape you like!   |   Design Mom

Fold and adhere the triangle flaps to the square edges flaps. Take notice of creating 90 degree angles at the corner. Do this for the bottom of the box.

DIY Felt Boxes for Valentine's Day — make cut outs in the top in any shape you like!   |   Design Mom

Before putting together the top, cut a simple shape wherever you want it placed. I found scissors were best for me but you might find a cutting blade works better.

DIY Felt Boxes for Valentine's Day — make cut outs in the top in any shape you like!   |   Design Mom

Then assemble the top, again with the glue gun.

DIY Felt Boxes for Valentine's Day — make cut outs in the top in any shape you like!   |   Design Mom

Add a contrasting color behind the shape and glue in place.

DIY Felt Boxes for Valentine's Day — make cut outs in the top in any shape you like!   |   Design Mom

Last step: Stuff with goodies!!

If you decide to make some, I’d love to hear about it or see photos. I can’t wait to see what you create.

P.S. — You can find more Valentine’s Day projects and posts here.

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Etched Wooden Heart Key Fobs http://www.designmom.com/2014/02/etched-wooden-heart-key-fobs/ http://www.designmom.com/2014/02/etched-wooden-heart-key-fobs/#comments Mon, 03 Feb 2014 19:45:41 +0000 Amy Christie http://www.designmom.com/?p=44670

DIY Valentines: Etched Heart Keychains   |   Design Mom

By Gabrielle. Photos and styling by Amy Christie.

Olive’s school is very into wholesome and handmade, and we’ve been thinking hard about what sort of non-plastic and non-commercial Valentines she can make for her classmates. And since I reignited my love affair with my wood burning tool while working with spoons, cutting boards and sliced birch, I’ve been on the look out for more opportunities to burn stuff — it’s just so fun!

So after some brainstorming and failed projects, we came up with this really cool project: wooden heart key chains!

DIY Valentines: Etched Heart Keychains   |   Design Mom

With store-bought wooden hearts, these little tokens of love are ever so easy, totally customizable, and sweet as can be. (Plus, inexpensive!) A perfect little project for Olive.

DIY Valentines: Etched Heart Keychains   |   Design Mom

So go grab your etching tool and let’s get started.

DIY Valentines: Etched Heart Keychains   |   Design Mom

Supplies:

wood-burning tool
- wooden hearts (I found mine in Michael’s in the woodworking aisle, but you can also find them on Amazon)
- jump rings
- key ring
- pliers

DIY Valentines: Etched Heart Keychains   |   Design Mom

Like we mentioned in the other posts, wood-burning consists of using the highly heated tip of the wood-burning tool to burn designs or patterns into wood. When the design is complete, add enough jump rings to satisfy and connect to a key ring.

DIY Valentines: Etched Heart Keychains   |   Design Mom

These designs are very simple (yet beautiful, right?) and the options are endless.

An optional step when your design is complete is to stain it or apply paint — the “Be Mine” version above was an experiment with white stain. Of course you can also leave the wood as is.

DIY Valentines: Etched Heart Keychains   |   Design Mom DIY Valentines: Etched Heart Keychains   |   Design Mom

Tie on a red ribbon, and these are ready to give to your Valentines!

P.S. — Love to make things? Here’s a link to tons of excellent projects.

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The Treehouse: Whitewashed Bricks Tutorial http://www.designmom.com/2014/01/the-treehouse-whitewashed-bricks-tutorial/ http://www.designmom.com/2014/01/the-treehouse-whitewashed-bricks-tutorial/#comments Mon, 13 Jan 2014 14:00:31 +0000 Design Mom http://www.designmom.com/?p=44326

How to Whitewash Bricks - using natural paint that let's the bricks "breathe"  |  Design Mom

Images and text by Gabrielle.

I’ve got another Treehouse report for you today, all about our fireplace bricks and how I whitewashed them. Plus, I worked in a little story about the bricks in my childhood home as well (find it when you click through).

How to Whitewash Bricks - using natural paint that let's the bricks "breathe"  |  Design Mom

When I started to consider whitewashing the bricks, I looked up as many tutorials as I could find. This one and this one seemed to have the most clear instructions, and both mentioned using leftover white wall paint they had on hand. They both showed examples of more paint coverage than I was looking for, but I figured I could just dilute the paint more and get less coverage.

As I read further, some commenters recommended using lime, or other natural paint products that would let the brick “breathe”. I didn’t know if I cared whether or not the bricks breathed, and whether or not it was worth looking for alternatives, when I already had spare latex wall paint I could use. But the more I read, the more I thought it was at least worth looking into.

How to Whitewash Bricks - using natural paint that let's the bricks "breathe"  |  Design Mom

In the meantime, I decided I’d better do what I could to clean the bricks first, because the front of the fireplace was covered in soot.

Ready to see what the process was like?

How to Whitewash Bricks - using natural paint that let's the bricks "breathe"  |  Design Mom

This is the fireplace when we started. Not bad looking, but coated in soot.

(By the way, all but the “finished” photos were shot fairly late at night, which is when the work was happening, and why the images have a yellow tint.)

How to Whitewash Bricks - using natural paint that let's the bricks "breathe"  |  Design Mom

I really like the carved wood piece — it’s one we inherited when we bought the house. It was hanging from wires. We took it down while we cleaned and whitewashed, and I can’t decide where I want to hang it next. But that’s for another post. : )

How to Whitewash Bricks - using natural paint that let's the bricks "breathe"  |  Design Mom

Here are a few more shots so you can see the bricks from every side. You may notice there’s one brick that juts out, forming a small shelf. I put a roll of blue tape on it, so you can see it better:

How to Whitewash Bricks - using natural paint that let's the bricks "breathe"  |  Design Mom How to Whitewash Bricks - using natural paint that let's the bricks "breathe"  |  Design Mom How to Whitewash Bricks - using natural paint that let's the bricks "breathe"  |  Design Mom

On the sides and the back, where the brick isn’t covered in soot, I think the brick is actually very pretty. It reminds me so much of the brick my parents used in my childhood home.

How to Whitewash Bricks - using natural paint that let's the bricks "breathe"  |  Design Mom

A side story about that childhood brick: We moved from California to St. George, Utah when I was 5, and for about a year, we rented a home while we built another home. During the time period when we were building, the City of St. George decided to tear down the old library building that was constructed by the early residents of the town, Mormon pioneers. And the building was made of beautiful sandstone brick.

Well, the town offered to let residents take that original sandstone brick. You would come to the demolition site, climb the scaffolding, and use tools to chip off each brick one by one. You could take home any bricks that you chipped away.

Chipping those bricks is one of my earliest St. George memories!

And I laugh when I think about it now, because it’s the sort of thing I can’t imagine would be allowed these days — too much potential for lawsuits.

Anyway, my family used those bricks on the bottom section of our house (you can see it in this image), and those bricks were used inside on our living room fireplace as well. They were beautiful, and I loved knowing they had some history.

All that to say, I actually like these bricks! And did consider just cleaning them up and leaving them as is. But ultimately decided they could still stand to be lightened up a bit.

white washed brick09

First step, was removing the carved wood piece, moving all the fireplace accessories, and cleaning the brick. I looked up instructions online and discovered that foaming bathroom cleaner (like Scrubbing Bubbles) was universally recommended.

I’d spray it on, then let it sit for a minute or so until it was turning yellow/brown from absorbing the soot. Then I used a scrub brush and a bowl of water and scrubbed the brick clean.

I put old towels at the bottom to absorb the water that spilled down the front as I scrubbed. and I ended up coating the bricks 2 or 3 times as needed, and using the whole bottle of cleaner!

How to Whitewash Bricks - using natural paint that let's the bricks "breathe"  |  Design Mom

When I was done, Ben and I went to a late movie so the bricks could dry. We shot this photo when we got home. The bricks were about 75% dry by then. Looks much better, right?

But notice the center section of bricks is mostly red, and side sections have a white, chalky texture. The soot and cleaning apparently removed the chalky texture. Some of it did come back as the brick fully dried, but there was still a big difference. By white washing the brick, my hope was to bring that chalky texture back and amp it up.

How to Whitewash Bricks - using natural paint that let's the bricks "breathe"  |  Design Mom

As I scrubbed, I also discovered there were a few bricks that had been painted white. An experiment from decades ago? Who knows?

But having that handful of painted bricks really showed me the difference between a brick that can “breath” and a brick that can’t. The bricks that hadn’t been painted responded to the cleaning and the new paint on an individual basis — some absorbed more than others depending on their composition. But I noticed while I worked that it was easy to see why the word “breathe” is used. The bricks that had been painted didn’t react at all, and felt “dead”.

It was very interesting to experience the differences.

At that point I was fully convinced I wanted to try a paint product that would let the bricks continue to “breathe”. So I started my internet research and found something called milk paint which looked very promising. And when I posted about whitewashing the bricks on Instagram, I received some emails/comments from readers who had used milk paint, so that was extra encouragement. (By the way, the comments on that Instagram are fun to read. Lots of strong opinions on whitewash!).

white washed brick13

So I picked up some milk paint that I found at an eco paint store in Berkeley. (It’s sold all over the country, you can find store listings on their site). It was about $15 for this little bag of powder (and I didn’t even use half a bag for this job).

Two nights later, when I knew the brick was fully dry, I started the white washing. It was basically an experiment. I would pour some powder in a little bowl that had a lid (the kind you use for leftovers) — like maybe 1 to 2 tablespoons of powder at a time. Then I would add water and stir it until it was like milk.

How to Whitewash Bricks - using natural paint that let's the bricks "breathe"  |  Design Mom

Then, I would paint it on brick by brick…

Whitewashed Bricks Tutorial - using natural paint that let's the bricks "breathe"  |  Design Mom

…and immediately wipe some off with a wet sponge until I achieved the coverage I was after.

Here’s the first section I did:

Whitewashed Bricks Tutorial - using natural paint that let's the bricks "breathe"  |  Design Mom

About an hour after taking the photo, I decided the coverage was too thick, and used the sponge to wipe off even more. And the next batch of paint I mixed up, I made even thinner.

If you are using milk paint, I would recommend starting with very thin paint and going from there. You can always add another layer!

Whitewashed Bricks Tutorial - using natural paint that let's the bricks "breathe"  |  Design Mom

Here’s the finished brick shot that same night, a few days before Christmas.

Whitewashed Bricks Tutorial - using natural paint that let's the bricks "breathe"  |  Design Mom

And here’s the finished brick, shot yesterday. That one dark brick? It’s actually not dark, it’s just the shadow from the little shelf.

Whitewashed Bricks Tutorial - using natural paint that let's the bricks "breathe"  |  Design Mom Whitewashed Bricks Tutorial - using natural paint that let's the bricks "breathe"  |  Design Mom Whitewashed Bricks Tutorial - using natural paint that let's the bricks "breathe"  |  Design Mom

Fun Fact: I still haven’t finished the job! I did 3 sides in time for the holidays, but I still haven’t done the back section. Conveniently, that means I can share this photo that shows the back and the side at the same time so you can see the difference really clearly:

Whitewashed Bricks Tutorial - using natural paint that let's the bricks "breathe"  |  Design Mom

I really like the end result. The bricks are certainly lighter, but you still see lots of texture and color coming through.

One interesting thing about using milk paint: it doesn’t seem to adhere to the bricks in a fiercely permanent way. Meaning, if I wanted to scrub it off, I don’t think I could get to back to the original brick, but I could get fairly close. And if I need to clean it in the future, I can already guess I’ll need to follow up the cleaning with another light coat of milk paint.

Also, some reviews I read said the milk paint would have a slight dairy odor until it dried, but I found it to be odorless.

Whitewashed Bricks Tutorial - using natural paint that let's the bricks "breathe"  |  Design Mom

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you like how it turned out? Or maybe you prefer the original brick (it won’t hurt my feelings, I promise.)? And have you ever tried something like lime or milk paint? This was my first experience with it.

P.S. — Here’s the before and after right next to each other for easy reference:

Whitewashed Bricks Before & After  |  Design Mom

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The Perfect Gift: Custom Fish Bowl + Free Downloads + Win an iPad Mini!! http://www.designmom.com/2013/12/the-perfect-gift-custom-fish-bowl-free-downloads-win-an-ipad-mini/ http://www.designmom.com/2013/12/the-perfect-gift-custom-fish-bowl-free-downloads-win-an-ipad-mini/#comments Tue, 17 Dec 2013 17:00:52 +0000 Design Mom http://www.designmom.com/?p=43904

A cute gift idea! Customize a fishbowl with these (free!) downloadable doodles. #DIY

This post is brought to you by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Donate $5 and give a miracle to a child in the hospital this Christmas.

CMNH Logo

By Gabrielle, created with Amy Christie for Design Mom.

As I mentioned last week, I’m working with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals to raise awareness and encourage donations. This month, a million children will be spending the holiday in their hospital bed, and they could really use a miracle. So CMN Hospitals’ created a campaign where you can donate $5 to honor one of those children. They even have a real-time counter that tracks donations, and every time $5 is gifted, the counter goes down by one.

That warm and fuzzy feeling you get when you do something good is probably enough temptation to donate, but as a little extra encouragement, I mentioned I would personally send one of my favorite children’s books to 50 (that’s right, 50!) different readers who donate — I’ll randomly pick 50 people among all who donate, which means if 100 people donate, there’s a 50/50 chance of receiving a book. Just a $5 donation! And you could receive a book worth $20. Not a bad deal.

iPad Mini

BUT. Apparently books are not the temptation I thought they would be (hah!), and I’m hoping for a bigger response with this post. So I’m upping the prize. Way, way up. Fifty people will still receive a book, but there’s a new grand prize, too! Let me know you made a donation (by commenting below, or on the earlier post), and you’re automatically entered to Win an iPad Mini. Plus, I’ll donate the value of an iPad Mini, in the grand-prize winner’s name to CMN Hospitals!!!

Yep. A $5 donation (or more!) enters you to win. Once again, this is not a CMN Hospitals contest, it’s just me doing what I can to help. I really hope you donate — I’d love to send you a book, and I hope you win the iPad Mini! You have until December 25th, and as of this posting, your chances are good. : )

A cute gift idea! Customize a fishbowl with these (free!) downloadable doodles. #DIY

While you ponder donating, I thought it would be fun to share a fun DIY gift idea for those children cooped up in a hospital — a simple fishbowl customized with sea-themed doodles! I think watching a little fish paddling around its bowl could be a calming way to spend some time. And adding happy illustrations to the bowl is an easy way to make this simple gift into something special.

As you probably know, you have to be careful about what you bring into a hospital gift-wise — no latex balloons, fresh flowers, stuffed animals or used toys. I called our hospital and asked if a small fishbowl would be okay, and they said yes, but you might want to ask your own just in case, because each hospital has different guidelines.

A cute gift idea! Customize a fishbowl with these (free!) downloadable doodles. #DIY

Just think, a simple doodle can transform a plain fish bowl into a fun and interesting home for our finned friends — without having to buy (or clean) extra accessories.

If you’re worried about your doodling skills, we took care of that for you. With the help of illustrator Stephanie Frey, we have three underwater scenes you can print off and trace on your choice of fish bowl.

A cute gift idea! Customize a fishbowl with these (free!) downloadable doodles. #DIY

You can choose from a school of fish, the ocean floor (with pirate’s treasure!), and seaweed and coral — or choose all three!

Ready to find out how simple it is? Come see!

A cute gift idea! Customize a fishbowl with these (free!) downloadable doodles. #DIY

Supplies:

-fishbowl
-marker*
-printable fishbowl scenes — treasure + ship, school of fish, seaweed
-tape

*To doodle, there are a number of marker options. The basic permanent marker will work although it won’t withstand scrubbing but if you’d like a change of scenery often, this marker will work fine. The oil-based permanent marker is what I used. It has better color opacity and really sticks. It can be removed with rubbing alcohol or acetone if you make a mistake. Finally, there is the option of porcelain or glass markers. These are made for drawing on glass surfaces and require a little oven-cure to make them permanent. Just follow the directions of the manufacturer.

A cute gift idea! Customize a fishbowl with these (free!) downloadable doodles. #DIY

The only step is to tape the printable in place and then trace it with the marker on the outside of the bowl. That’s it! You might need to resize the print-out to fit your bowl. Most of mine were reduced to between 70-80% size, except the ocean floor which was enlarged to 125%. And feel free to rearrange them to fit your needs. Whatever works!

A cute gift idea! Customize a fishbowl with these (free!) downloadable doodles. #DIY

Once you have the doodles just the way you want, add the water and fish (make sure to follow all the instructions for introducing the fish to a new bowl). Note about the fish: A commenter mentioned that Beta Fish thrive in fishbowls, but Goldfish do not. Good to know!

A cute gift idea! Customize a fishbowl with these (free!) downloadable doodles. #DIY

Tie a ribbon on and it’s ready to give!

We hope this idea comes in handy while you think of gifts for kids in your life this year. And we hope you’ll keep hospital-bound kids in mind as well, and honor them with a $5 donation. If you’d like to enter to win the iPad Mini or one of the 50 Books, comment below (or here), and let me know what name you donated under.

Best of luck! And thanks for all the good you are doing this holiday season.

CMN Hospitals

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The Perfect Gift: Personalized Profile Pillows http://www.designmom.com/2013/12/the-perfect-gift-personalized-profile-pillows/ http://www.designmom.com/2013/12/the-perfect-gift-personalized-profile-pillows/#comments Tue, 10 Dec 2013 14:00:22 +0000 Design Mom http://www.designmom.com/?p=43768

DIY: Easy Profile or Silhouette Pillows. A wonderful personalized gift!

By Darcy Miller. Find her on Instagram and Twitter.

Note from Design Mom: This project is by Darcy Miller — you may know her as the long time Editor of Martha Stewart Weddings, and one of the most talented people on the planet. I met Darcy a couple of years ago and have loved exchanging emails with her and following her adventures on Instagram. When she reached out with photos of these charming pillows, I knew right away I wanted to share them here! Without further ado, here’s Darcy:

With Thanksgiving coming very late and Channukah coming very early, I was a little last minute on this year’s holiday gifts. But you’d never know it from what we gave my husband — it’s a personalized, handmade present that just happens to be easy enough to make quickly.

DIY: Easy Silhouette Pillows. A wonderful personalized gift!

When it comes to gifts for my husband, my daughters and I are always big on making things. My middle daughter Ella, who is eight, loves to sew and takes lessons at a wonderful little sewing shop named Pins & Needles. Over Thanksgiving weekend we decided to make Daddy throw pillows for his office, inspired by pillows that Rachel (the owner of Pins & Needles) whipped up for her nieces. First, we went to B & J fabrics and picked put materials that would go with his couch — a rich black velvet and gray flannel and linen.  Then we spent a few hours sewing together at Pins & Needles (truth be told, Ella did most of the work — and even squeezed in making jeggings for her sisters!).

DIY: Easy Silhouette Pillows. A wonderful personalized gift!

The pillows were a huge success, and seriously easy to do. Now we want to make more for our grandmother’s couch — one for each grandkid — but that’s 8 more pillows(!), so we might be waiting for Christmas break when Ella has more free time to sew. Along with being the perfect thing to give to grandparents, these profile pillows would be a great gift for a engaged couple or for newlyweds; how cute would it be to have the 2 silhouettes facing each other on the pillows?

Materials/Tools:

- Camera (you can use your phone to get a simple shot)
- Photo-copier/Printer
- Pins
- Paper and Fabric Scissors
- Fabric Adhesive (Heat N Bond Ultra Hold)
- 1/2 yard of two different fabrics (one for the front and one for the back) – if you want a larger pillow you should plan for more fabric
- 1/3 – 1/2 yard of fabric for your silhouette
- Coordinating Thread
- Pillow Insert or Stuffing
- Sewing Machine
- Black marker or Sharpie

Step 1: Photograph your child’s profile against a white or neutral wall — make sure you shoot their profile.

Step 2: Cut out the front of your pillow in the dimensions of the insert and or size you would like it — make sure to add 1″ around all four sides for your seam allowance. We opted for an envelope back since it is the quickest and easiest way to finish a pillow. Cut out two pieces of your back fabric the width of your pillow adding 1″ and then for the length add 5″ – 6″ for the overlap. Put these aside for a moment.

DIY: Easy Silhouette Pillows. A wonderful personalized gift!

Step 3: Print out the photo on a home copier or your local copy place on an 8 1/2X 11 sheet of paper (the photo should be as big as you would like it for the size of your pillow). Trace around the profile using a black marker or sharpie — be careful around  the facial features as this will help you keep them really defined when you cut it out in the fabric. Cut out the shapes you have marked. Note: using a smaller scissor when you are cutting out around the facial features can be helpful.

DIY: Easy Silhouette Pillows. A wonderful personalized gift! DIY: Easy Silhouette Pillows. A wonderful personalized gift!

Step 4: Iron on the fusible fabric adhesive (follow the directions for using the fabric adhesive) to the fabric you have chosen for your silhouette and pin the photo onto the fabric. Cut out — again, being careful around the facial features.

DIY: Easy Silhouette Pillows. A wonderful personalized gift! DIY: Easy Silhouette Pillows. A wonderful personalized gift! DIY: Easy Silhouette Pillows. A wonderful personalized gift!

Step 5: Peel off the fusible fabric adhesive and place in the center of your pillow front fabric. Iron in place – pin in a few spots to ensure it stays in place. Using a straight stitch and matching thread top-stitch around the profile – go slowly here especially around the facial features.

DIY: Easy Silhouette Pillows. A wonderful personalized gift!

Step 6: Now you are ready to put your pillow together — with your two back pieces — fold over about 1/2″along the short side of one of your back pieces, pin and sew in place (this will give the “envelope” back a nice finish). Follow the same steps for the other piece. These two pieces will overlap on top of each other – that is why you made them a bit bigger along two of the sides.

Step 7: Now with rights sides together, pin your two back pieces to your pillow front and sew along all four sides using a 1/2″ seam allowance. Cut your corners and turn right side out — making sure to push out the corners. Stuff your pillow insert or stuffing so the pillow is as fluffy as you would like.

DIY: Easy Silhouette Pillows. A wonderful personalized gift!

You’re finished!!

pins and needles shop, nyc

If you’re ever in NYC, be sure to visit Pins & Needles — they make this simple project even easier. And if you love the look of silhouettes (the original, pre-Facebook “profile picture,”) here are 5 more silhouette project ideas from Martha Stewart Weddings: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Happy Holidays!

——-

THIS WOULD ALSO BE GREAT FOR:

- A wedding gift.
- Adding to a child’s bed.
- A birthday gift for a niece or nephew.

P.S. — Like to make gifts? Check out our Perfect Gift series.

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Papier Maché Holiday Ornaments http://www.designmom.com/2013/12/papier-mache-holiday-ornaments/ http://www.designmom.com/2013/12/papier-mache-holiday-ornaments/#comments Fri, 06 Dec 2013 17:37:07 +0000 Amy Christie http://www.designmom.com/?p=43666

DIY Papier Maché Ornaments. Santa, Mrs. Claus & Elves!   |   Design Mom

Images and text by Amy Christie for Design Mom.

Remember the Man in the Moon garland from a few months back? We loved their simplicity and cheeriness so much that we had to do to a variation for the holidays. The little sculpted faces were too cute to pass up!

DIY Papier Maché Ornaments. Santa, Mrs. Claus & Elves!   |   Design Mom

 

For our holiday ornaments, we settled on Santa, Mrs. Claus and a pair of elves, but you can decide for yourself who you want to create. Instead of stringing them into a garland like before, we kept the integrity of the ornament ball, leaving the string loop so they could hang individually.

DIY Papier Maché Ornaments. Santa, Mrs. Claus & Elves!   |   Design Mom

Again, to keep the mess to a minimum, the base of these ornaments are store bought papier maché ornament balls. With a little air-dry clay for facial features and some paint to give it color, these ornaments are much simpler than they appear. Seriously. You can make these.

DIY Papier Maché Ornaments. Santa, Mrs. Claus & Elves!   |   Design Mom

Just think how darling these would be peeking out from the boughs of the Christmas tree! Or you could made a set as a fun gift. I break it down step-by-step below. Let’s get to making!

DIY Papier Maché Ornaments. Santa, Mrs. Claus & Elves!   |   Design Mom

Supplies:

-papier maché ornament balls
-air-dry clay
-paint
-paint pens or permanent markers (for fine details)
-felt, optional

DIY Papier Maché Ornaments. Santa, Mrs. Claus & Elves!   |   Design Mom

This project starts out with sculpting facial features. Noses, cheeks, pointy ears for the elves, facial hair, eye brows and chins. I detailed this process more in the Man in the Moon post but it is all about shapes and smooshing them down to connect them to the ornament surface.

DIY Papier Maché Ornaments. Santa, Mrs. Claus & Elves!   |   Design Mom

The next step is paint and specifically, layering the paint to get the best results. The first layer was the skin tone followed by the hair colors.

DIY Papier Maché Ornaments. Santa, Mrs. Claus & Elves!   |   Design Mom

That step was followed by cheeks, lips and eyes. Regarding the eyes, I like to put down white first to make the color I chose for the eyes really pop.

DIY Papier Maché Ornaments. Santa, Mrs. Claus & Elves!   |   Design Mom

I did go back to Mrs. Claus and amped up her hair by adding clay to her hairline.

DIY Papier Maché Ornaments. Santa, Mrs. Claus & Elves!   |   Design Mom

To finish, I used a marker to add fine details around the eyes and lips.

DIY Papier Maché Ornaments. Santa, Mrs. Claus & Elves!   |   Design Mom

To give the Claus’s a more festive look, I added a scalloped circle at the base of Mrs. Claus’s face and a simple felt hat to Santa.

DIY Papier Maché Ornaments. Santa, Mrs. Claus & Elves!   |   Design Mom

Then hang them on the tree!

P.S. — Like to make things? Find more of our fun projects here.

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Make It: Autumn Arrangement http://www.designmom.com/2013/11/make-it-autumn-arrangement/ http://www.designmom.com/2013/11/make-it-autumn-arrangement/#comments Mon, 25 Nov 2013 16:00:01 +0000 Design Mom http://www.designmom.com/?p=43443

Autumnal Arrangement for Thanksgiving. Step-by-step instructions.

By Gabrielle. Photography by N. Underwood.

Oh my goodness. It’s Thanksgiving week. It’s here! How are your plans coming along? Menu lined up? Linens decided? How about a centerpiece? If you’re looking for some inspiration, you’re in luck. The amazing Kiana Underwood, a talented florist here in the Bay Area, created a step-by-step tutorial for the gorgeous autumnal fruit-filled arrangement pictured above. And she is generously sharing it with us today.

Autumnal Arrangement for Thanksgiving. Step-by-step instructions.

From Kiana Underwood:

Centerpieces don’t always have to have flowers. A centerpiece with mainly fruits and some succulents makes for an unusual, but lovely centerpiece for a Thanksgiving or general autumn dinner table. I used a basket frog to secure the top-heavy fruit branches in this shallow fruit bowl, and it worked out perfectly.

Flowers and fruits used: persimmon, citrus, ornamental pepper, date, succulent.

Autumnal Arrangement for Thanksgiving. Step-by-step instructions.

Place the basket frog at the center of the bowl, then insert your citrus branches with equal weight distribution on each side. If you don’t distribute the weight evenly, the branches (and your frog) will topple over.

Autumnal Arrangement for Thanksgiving. Step-by-step instructions. Autumnal Arrangement for Thanksgiving. Step-by-step instructions.

Add the persimmon branches.

Autumnal Arrangement for Thanksgiving. Step-by-step instructions.

I found these lovely ornamental peppers at the market. Their color compliments the rest of the arrangement beautifully, so I added some in between the citrus and persimmon.

Autumnal Arrangement for Thanksgiving. Step-by-step instructions.

Place the succulents on one side of the centerpiece for some lovely asymmetry.

Autumnal Arrangement for Thanksgiving. Step-by-step instructions.

Finally, add the dates for some additional texture and for a draping effect. 

Fall Arrangement

Not only is this fruit-centric centerpiece beautiful, but it will last quite a long time!

——-

Stunning, right? And so simple that it’s totally doable too. A huge thanks to Kiana for sharing! If you’d like to see more of Kiana’s work be sure to check out her charming blog, Tulipina.

P.S. — Like to make things? Find more excellent tutorials here.

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The Perfect Gift: Etched Snowflake Ornaments in Birch http://www.designmom.com/2013/11/the-perfect-gift-etched-snowflake-ornaments-in-birch/ http://www.designmom.com/2013/11/the-perfect-gift-etched-snowflake-ornaments-in-birch/#comments Wed, 20 Nov 2013 17:00:40 +0000 Amy Christie http://www.designmom.com/?p=43010

DIY: Etched Snowflake Ornaments in Birch. So easy!   |   Design Mom

This project post is brought to you by Lowe’s Home Improvement. Create your perfect holiday setting with help from Lowe’s.

lowe's logo

Text and images by Amy Christie for Design Mom.

Birch snowflake ornaments! This is the 3rd (and last) project in our mini-series of cool things you can make with a wood burning/etching tool. Project 1 is here. Project 2 is here. Birch trees are just lovely for the holidays. Paired with a slip of ribbon or twine, an evergreen bough or two, and these little ornaments will instantly give your home a rustic, woodsy, holiday feel, and have you ready to greet the first snowfall with a big grin.

DIY: Etched Snowflake Ornaments in Birch. So easy!   |   Design Mom

The interior of the birch branch was soft so etching was very easy and the process was very quick.

DIY: Etched Snowflake Ornaments in Birch. So easy!   |   Design Mom

And these couldn’t be more affordable to make! You could cover your tree with them. Or hang them on doorknobs around the house. You could give a set to your niece who’s just settling into her first apartment. Use them as gift toppers, or give them as holiday party favors!

DIY: Etched Snowflake Ornaments in Birch. So easy!   |   Design Mom

Don’t worry if drawing snowflakes isn’t your thing — feel free to copy mine! The designs I made are totally easy and simple to mimic.

DIY: Etched Snowflake Ornaments in Birch. So easy!   |   Design Mom

Flex those fingers and let’s do this.

DIY: Etched Snowflake Ornaments in Birch. So easy!   |   Design Mom

Supplies:

etching tool
- birch branch
bow saw
drill and small drill bit
- ribbon or natural twine

DIY: Etched Snowflake Ornaments in Birch. So easy!   |   Design Mom

First thing to do is to cut the branch into slices, the width of which is your choice. Honestly, the bow saw made it through the branch really easily but if you aren’t up for sawing, look for a friend with a power tool and a willingness to assist you. Real birch does peel a little and the sawed edges were a bit rough so I rubbed them down with a rag towel to soften the edges.

DIY: Etched Snowflake Ornaments in Birch. So easy!   |   Design Mom

Use a pencil to draw the snowflakes on the cut pieces and then burn away.

DIY: Etched Snowflake Ornaments in Birch. So easy!   |   Design Mom

When the flakes are done, use the drill to make a hole for a ribbon.

DIY: Etched Snowflake Ornaments in Birch. So easy!   |   Design Mom

And finally, add the ribbon or twine to hang, and they are ready for the tree or gift topper. The red ribbon adds a very Christmas-y pop of color, but if you like a really natural tree, twine would keep the palette neutral.

DIY: Etched Snowflake Ornaments in Birch. So easy!   |   Design Mom

And that’s it. Easy as pie. Just be sure to slice up plenty of birch, because these are so fun to make, you won’t want to stop. Speaking of which, don’t stop with snowflakes! You could etch any design you like. Wouldn’t a monogram be fun?

Happy Making!

——–

THIS WOULD ALSO BE GREAT FOR:

- Simple neighbor gifts.
- Classmate gifts.
- Creating a garland of snowflakes, or you could spell out Happy Holidays.
- Party favors for your holiday party.

P.S. — Like to make gifts? Check out our Perfect Gift series.

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The Perfect Gift: Etched Cutting Boards http://www.designmom.com/2013/11/the-perfect-gift-etched-cutting-boards/ http://www.designmom.com/2013/11/the-perfect-gift-etched-cutting-boards/#comments Tue, 19 Nov 2013 17:30:28 +0000 Amy Christie http://www.designmom.com/?p=43008

DIY: Etched Cutting Boards. So easy and they make a really cool gift.  |  Design Mom

Text and images by Amy Christie for Design Mom. Tree illustrations by Eloise Renouf.

As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve created a 3 part series of cool gifts you can make with a wood-burning or etching tool. Today’s project: cutting boards! (Find the first project here.) When the holiday season rolls around, I often wish I had a whole new collection of platters to set my table with, so I knew these would make great gifts! Just think, with a few strokes of a heat tool, wooden cutting boards can go from lacking to lovely.

DIY: Etched Cutting Boards. So easy and they make a really cool gift.  |  Design Mom

As you whip up a couple of these as gifts for friends and family, be sure to buy extras for yourself! Serving ware never looked this good.

DIY: Etched Cutting Boards. So easy and they make a really cool gift.  |  Design Mom

The technique is the same as it was for the spoons I shared yesterday, however the density of these cutting boards was different, more solid. The etching process changed for each board, but, as you can see, the result is the same.

DIY: Etched Cutting Boards. So easy and they make a really cool gift.  |  Design Mom

Adding a simple design really personalizes something store-bought.

DIY: Etched Cutting Boards. So easy and they make a really cool gift.  |  Design Mom

Ready for round two? Let’s go!

DIY: Etched Cutting Boards. So easy and they make a really cool gift.  |  Design Mom

Supplies:

etching tool, the same one I used for the etched spoons
- cutting boards, any size, shape, design. Note, I found etching on dark wood is nearly impossible to see. But if you have your heart set on a dark-toned board, give it a try.
- phrase in your favorite font, inspiration designs

DIY: Etched Cutting Boards. So easy and they make a really cool gift.  |  Design Mom

To add a word or phrase, type it up in your favorite font and print it out. Transfer the lettering onto the cutting board using transfer paper or by simply rubbing a pencil on the backside and then tracing around the letters. You could use a family name (wouldn’t that make a neat wedding gift?), a holiday message or a favorite word or phrase.

DIY: Etched Cutting Boards. So easy and they make a really cool gift.  |  Design Mom

Maybe a more graphic design is your style. I repeated triangles around the outside of this little handled board after being inspired by this image.

DIY: Etched Cutting Boards. So easy and they make a really cool gift.  |  Design Mom

Outlining works but filling them in is also a really cool effect.

DIY: Etched Cutting Boards. So easy and they make a really cool gift.  |  Design Mom

Doodles works just as well. I was inspired by these tree sketches by Eloise Renouf and drew them on the board surface free hand, then burned them in place. Please note, if you have plans to sell these boards, you’ll need to create or commission original illustrations.

DIY: Etched Cutting Boards. So easy and they make a really cool gift.  |  Design Mom

Do these get you inspired? I hope so! If you make one of your own, I’d love to see a photo. Happy gift making!

——–

THIS WOULD ALSO BE GREAT FOR:

- A personalized wedding gift.
- A house warming gift.
- A birthday gift for a foodie.
- A Mother’s Day gift.

P.S. — Do you like giving handmade gifts? Don’t miss our archive of great gift ideas!

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The Perfect Gift: Etched Wooden Spoons http://www.designmom.com/2013/11/the-perfect-gift-etched-wooden-spoons/ http://www.designmom.com/2013/11/the-perfect-gift-etched-wooden-spoons/#comments Mon, 18 Nov 2013 17:00:37 +0000 Amy Christie http://www.designmom.com/?p=43007

DIY: Etched Wooden Spoons. No paint, so they're food safe!  |  Design Mom

Text and images by Amy Christie for Design Mom.

It’s getting to be that time of year again: handmade gift-making season! This year, we thought it would be fun to try a new creative tool, a dremel (or you could call it a wood burner), a heated tool used for etching and drawing on wooden surfaces. For the next three days, I’ll be sharing cool and easy projects using this one tool (find the second project here).

First up, mixing spoons! Inspired by this project, I thought it would be interesting to see what super simple designs — dots, plaids and hatched arrows — looked like on the spoons. And they turned out so great, I thought they’d make a gorgeous gift!

DIY: Etched Wooden Spoons. No paint, so they're food safe!  |  Design Mom

Since I had never tried one before, I found it fascinating to work with the etcher — it’s a whole different way to alter an object. And you guys are lucky, because after my experience with these projects I can offer some advice. As a warning, it does get crazy hot and can 1) burn skin, 2) burn a whole through clothing and 3) make burn marks on anything it comes into contact with. Only two of these items are inspired by personal experience and I’m embarrassed enough not to tell you which two. : ) So please be careful!

DIY: Etched Wooden Spoons. No paint, so they're food safe!  |  Design Mom

That said, don’t be intimidated. It was actually really easy to work with. Just be careful, and when you aren’t actively using it, rest it on a surface that won’t burn. And of course, make sure to unplug it when you are finished.

DIY: Etched Wooden Spoons. No paint, so they're food safe!  |  Design Mom

Also, there is a good chance that when you finish, you will smell like what I imagine Smoky the Bear smells like — burned wood. So crack a window, turn on a fan and pretend you’re enjoying a bonfire. The result is well worth it.

DIY: Etched Wooden Spoons. No paint, so they're food safe!  |  Design Mom

Plug in the Dremel and let’s get going!

DIY: Etched Wooden Spoons. No paint, so they're food safe!  |  Design Mom

Supplies:

- Wooden spoons. I bought a cheap-o pack from the store and ordered a little nicer set online for about a dollar each.
Etching tool. I know. A 20 dollar investment, but it gets great reviews and I think I’ll be able to use it ton. You could even share it among your crafty friends.

DIY: Etched Wooden Spoons. No paint, so they're food safe!  |  Design Mom

Heat up the etching tool and get to burning. Any design will do.

The best part of it is, you can doodle anywhere you want! Unlike with paint (which isn’t typically food safe), the design can continue onto the the parts of the utensil that will come in contact with food. Draw on the handle. Draw on the head. Draw on the whole thing! Dots, lines, hatch marks. The sky is the limit.

There isn’t much to direct here, and no templates needed. It’s that simple. You can use my designs as a reference, or free hand a design from your imagination. If you are more comfortable, you can trace a design or use a pencil to sketch on the spoon what you intend to do first. Then put the tool to the wood and make it come true.

DIY: Etched Wooden Spoons. No paint, so they're food safe!  |  Design Mom

If you want, make a little symbol, like an artist’s signature, somewhere on the spoon (I used my signature heart), because it’s a piece of art! Then tie them up with a ribbon and the gift is ready.

——–

THIS WOULD ALSO BE GREAT FOR:

- A house warming gift.
- A birthday gift for a baker.
- A Mother’s Day gift topper.
- Party favors for a kitchen-themed party or shower.

P.S. — Like to make gifts? Check out our Perfect Gift series.

DIY: Etched Wooden Spoons. No paint, so they're food safe!  |  Design Mom

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Deck the Halls and Walls and All http://www.designmom.com/2013/11/deck-the-halls-and-walls-and-all/ http://www.designmom.com/2013/11/deck-the-halls-and-walls-and-all/#comments Wed, 13 Nov 2013 17:00:27 +0000 Design Mom http://www.designmom.com/?p=42935

Lowe's Deck the Halls and Walls and All

Brought to you by Lowe’s Home Improvement. Create your perfect holiday setting with help from Lowe’s.

lowe's logo

By Gabrielle.

Last month, I mentioned I was in New York for Lowe’s Deck the Halls and Walls and All event, and if you follow me on Instagram, you may have even seen some sneak peeks (social media was tagged #holidayreadyhome). But today, I get to share images and tell you all about it!

Lowe's Deck the Halls and Walls and All

This event was so much fun to participate in. Overnight, Lowe’s created a “house” in a studio space in Manhattan. There was a front porch +  yard, an entry, a kitchen, a living room, and a guest room + bath. Then, they assigned each area to a different designer to furnish and decorate for the holidays — and as an extra challenge, we had about 2 weeks to make our design decisions, and then we had one day to install everything. Very exciting! On the evening of installation day, we were able to show off our work to bloggers and magazine editors that came by for a cocktail party.

Lowe's Deck the Halls and Walls and All

I was assigned the Porch + Front Yard and I had a blast coming up with ideas to make it as festive as possible. Would you like to hear how I went about making decisions?

Lowe's Deck the Halls and Walls and All

First, I ch0se red paint for the door — Valspar’s Art District to be exact. Red paint gives your home a pop of color and is a classic choice year round, but during the holidays, a red door seems especially fitting! Once I decided on the door color, I decided to keep the color scheme really simple — red, black, grey and white. (I know the siding on the house looks whitish in these photos, but it was actually a lovely grey. : )

Lowe's Deck the Halls and Walls and All

When the color scheme for the exterior was in place, I started to imagine possibilities for wreaths and greenery. But instead of green, I went with a very modern bright white! In garland, wreaths, and potted trees — all pre-lit, which makes things so. much. easier. Lit up, the contrast against the house was even better than I imagined — and the white gave a snowy feel instantly. Pretty in the day and pretty at night, too. I added simple twinkle lights to the landscaping shrubbery as well.

Lowe's Deck the Halls and Walls and All

Next, I looked to Scandinavia for some inspiration. As we know from practically every interior design image on Pinterest (hah!), Scandinavian design is clean and modern, but at Christmas, it often includes natural touches among those sleek surfaces, and somehow the combination works wonderfully. It manages to hit that sweet spot between modern and traditional. So I added my own natural touches. I hung the 3 wreaths with burlap ribbon (natural burlap against the front door, and red burlap against the windows), and wrapped the potted white trees with burlap as well. Then I filled out the front door wreath, and the potted plants with garlands of paper leaves. Adding to basic decorations is a simple way to make something store bought feel special and fit in with your family’s style. I also included a wooden door mat for another natural touch.

Lowe's Deck the Halls and Walls and All

Then I lined up boots for Dad, Mom, and Baby and filled them with gifts. I think they make a charming alternative to stockings!

Lowe's Deck the Halls and Walls and All

In the yard, I envisioned a magical little scene — a cozy bench with pillows (here and here) and a faux fur throw. Somewhere to sit with a mug of hot cocoa or mulled cider, while you get your fill of the wintery weather and the twinkle lights. I used these smaller trees, and these larger trees to create the scene. Both are beautiful, but in person, the smaller trees get lots of oohs and aahs. They are on my wishlist for sure! Then I hung these beautiful wooden snowflake ornaments (a combination of both designs) from the branches.

I also included Mr. & Mrs. Deer. (And added handsome scarves of burlap ribbon. Of course.)

Lowe's Deck the Halls and Walls and All

I’d love to hear what you think. If you were designing a holiday exterior from scratch, would you go modern or traditional? Or somewhere in between? Do you use pre-lit greenery? Or are you strictly a fresh-from-the-forest-real-live-boughs kind of girl? And lastly, would you enjoy a design challenge like this?

P.S. — You can find images of all the rooms in this “house” here.

Lowe's Deck the Halls and Walls and All

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Big & Small DIY: Sturdy Household Containers http://www.designmom.com/2013/11/big-small-diy-sturdy-household-containers/ http://www.designmom.com/2013/11/big-small-diy-sturdy-household-containers/#comments Mon, 04 Nov 2013 16:00:10 +0000 Amy Christie http://www.designmom.com/?p=42208

Big & Small Project: Household Containers for Organizing Your Stuff. Grownups use Duct Tape and Kids use Washi Tape. Work side-by-side and make something great!   |   Design Mom

Project by Gina Wide. Readied for publishing by Amy Christie.

In our home, we are always in need of storage containers to organize our stuff and I thought it would be fun to make them ourselves! This Big & Small project is all things fun and functional. The materials needed are minimal and the best news is, you probably have everything in your house already! It’s ideal for all ages and perfect to do side by side.

Big & Small Project: Sturdy Household Containers made from Duct Tape & Washi Tape.   |   Design Mom

Both Bigs (grownups) and Smalls (kids) can follow the same instructions and simple technique but will simply vary the tape used. Small children can make these containers using washi tape. Washi is a light but colorful tape perfect for small hands.

Big & Small Project: Sturdy Household Containers made from Duct Tape & Washi Tape.   |   Design Mom

Bigs can use duct tape to make larger containers for both display and utilitarian purposes. If you’re like me, you’ll find more and more places you want to use tailor-made containers with this technique. The combination of duct tape and plastic also makes these containers usable both in and outside the house. How cool is that!?

Round up building blocks or safari animals with bins in the playroom. Use them to sort and store paints and ribbons in your craft space. Try one as a rubbish bin, and another as a plant pot!

Big & Small Project: Sturdy Household Containers made from Duct Tape & Washi Tape. You can even use them outdoors!   |   Design Mom

These containers are also fantastic up-cycle projects when you use re-cycled plastic or paper bags. Let’s get started.

Big & Small Project: Household Container for Organizing Your Stuff. Grownups use Duct Tape and Kids use Washi Tape. Work side-by-side and make something great!   |   Design Mom

Supplies:

- plastic or paper bags
- straight edge, optional
- scissors
- paper packing tape, washi tape, duct tape

Big & Small Project: Household Containers for Organizing Your Stuff. Made from Duct Tape or Washi Tape. You can even use them outdoors!    |   Design Mom

First things first. Cut the bag down to a simple rectangle.

Big & Small Project: Household Containers for Organizing Your Stuff. Made from Duct Tape or Washi Tape. You can even use them outdoors!    |   Design Mom

Lay the bag flat on the work surface and begin decorating with a tape of your choice. The Smalls will probably have more success and need less assistance with washi tape, while the Bigs can get creative with duct tape. Make patterns or simple graphics or keep it solid in color. When using paper grocery bags, you can even leave stripes of the original brown paper bag.

Big & Small Project: Household Containers for Organizing Your Stuff. Made from Duct Tape or Washi Tape. You can even use them outdoors!    |   Design Mom

Once you are satisfied with the pattern, bring the ends together and close the seam using one long piece of tape. If you would prefer a seamless connection, close it by matching the pattern up at the edge. Once the seam has been closed, you should be left with a cylinder shape.

Big & Small Project: Household Containers for Organizing Your Stuff. Made from Duct Tape or Washi Tape. You can even use them outdoors!    |   Design Mom

Flatten the cylinder and close the seam at the base with tape.

Big & Small Project: Household Containers for Organizing Your Stuff. Made from Duct Tape or Washi Tape. You can even use them outdoors!    |   Design Mom

After the bottom is closed, open the cylinder into a tube and with the open side facing down, gently press down on the middle of the closed end and both of the ends should push up into triangular shapes. Adjust these triangular “ears’ so they are neat, similar sized and with their bases beginning at the same height.

Big & Small Project: Household Containers for Organizing Your Stuff. Made from Duct Tape or Washi Tape. You can even use them outdoors!    |   Design Mom

Once they are adjusted, fold them over and secure with tape. And with that, the container should now stand on its own.

Big & Small Project: Household Containers for Organizing Your Stuff. Made from Duct Tape or Washi Tape. You can even use them outdoors!    |   Design Mom

Folding over the top edge will not only modify the height of your container but will also give it a little extra stability and a stylish edge. When you have determined the right height for your container, roll over the top edge and press into place.

And that’s it. Now you can use your containers for anything you’d like. I’d love to hear how you put yours to use!

P.S. — Big & Small is our series of projects created for Design Mom by Gina Wide in her home in Sweden, and designed for Grownups and Kids to do side-by-side. Find all the Big & Small Projects here.

Big & Small Project: Household Containers for Organizing Your Stuff. Made from Duct Tape or Washi Tape. You can even use them outdoors!    |   Design Mom

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DIY: Cement Candleholders http://www.designmom.com/2013/10/diy-cement-candleholders/ http://www.designmom.com/2013/10/diy-cement-candleholders/#comments Mon, 28 Oct 2013 16:00:22 +0000 Amy Christie http://www.designmom.com/?p=42243

DIY Cement Candleholders   |   Design Mom

Text and images by Amy Christie for Design Mom.

As the daylight time decreases, I find myself wanting more light, and since I can’t harness the sun, candlelight is a comfy and cozy alternative. I was very inspired by this image and thought them perfect for fall. Cement candle holders are both architectural and soft, an assemblage of lines and curved bands, cold stone with a warm glow.

DIY Cement Candleholders   |   Design Mom

Don’t be put off by cement. A bag of it is really (really!) heavy and it is dusty and a little dirty, however, it’s sculptural properties are too alluring to pass up. Nothing can achieve what concrete can.

DIY Cement Candleholders   |   Design Mom

Spray paint is the perfect medium to add a colorful or metallic touch. Doesn’t the gold just shimmer? If you were making these for an event, you could use any color palette you like. Navy and royal with silver for a dinner party? Yellows for a summer wedding? Or you could stick with metallics and use them through the holidays and into January.

DIY Cement Candleholders   |   Design Mom

Hopefully these images have intrigued you, so let’s get right to how it’s done.

DIY Cement Candleholders   |   Design Mom

Supplies:
-cement mix
-water
-molds
-small plastic/paper cups
-tape
-plastic bags
-spray paint

First, a note on containers. Just about anything will do. Raid that recyclable bin! Narrow mouths or bottle necks should be removed for this project and the size is up to you. If you can make enough room for a votive to sit, then it will work. Cardboard or paper-based containers work just as good as plastic ones. Paper based ones might put up more of a fight when trying to remove the dried concrete while plastic containers leave a shiny sheen on the surface. Unless the container is very, very firm, the concrete will alter the form just a bit. Straight edges might be more curved, perfect forms might be irregular. If uniformity is what you are going for, think about using other supportive materials.

DIY Cement Candleholders   |   Design Mom

Mix the concrete with water according to the package direction and scoop into the molds. Do tap the mold to encourage the air bubbles out and settle the mix.

Once its filled, add in a cup to make place for the candle. Plastic cups will pop out of the dried concrete more easily, but paper cups work too. If you are worried about them sticking, try coating them with a cooking spray. Also, they might need to be weighted down to keep them in place.

Allow the cement to fully dry.

DIY Cement Candleholders   |   Design Mom

When they are dry, remove the containers.

DIY Cement Candleholders   |   Design Mom

Next, add tape and plastic to mark off the area for paint. Make sure the tape is securely attached so the paint lines are clean.

DIY Cement Candleholders   |   Design Mom

Coat the concrete in your desired color and allow to completely dry.

DIY Cement Candleholders   |   Design Mom

Peel off the tape and plastic and drop in a candle. Voila!

This project is so satisfying. The containers you can use are endless, and it would be fun to add to your collection as you find interesting shapes. I hope you give it a try!

P.S. — Like to make things? More of our projects here.

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DIY: Man in the Moon Garland http://www.designmom.com/2013/10/diy-man-in-the-moon-garland/ http://www.designmom.com/2013/10/diy-man-in-the-moon-garland/#comments Mon, 21 Oct 2013 16:00:31 +0000 Amy Christie http://www.designmom.com/?p=41788

DIY: Man in the Moon Garland. So sweet in a nursery!  Easy tutorial.  |  Design Mom

Images and text by Amy Christie for Design Mom.

A Man in the Moon Garland! (With some Women in the Moon too!) What nursery wouldn’t benefit from such a friendly addition? And it can be easily customized to your liking — different faces, bushier eyebrows, paler cheeks — whatever you like!

I’m so pleased about how this project turned out. It’s actually quite simple, but the potential is big. (Don’t be surprised if you see me adapt this project to make holiday garlands, too. Or maybe one with familiar faces for a family reunion!)

DIY: Man in the Moon Garland. So sweet in a nursery!  Easy tutorial.  |  Design Mom

Papier maché was perfect for this project but we skipped all the mess and started with store-bought papier maché ornament balls. So much easier! Then we upgraded those simple spheres with a little air-dry clay. We added 3-D facial features, like noses, cheeks, chins, eyebrows and ears — and then painted them up. Voilá! The little man-in-the-moon faces were born.

DIY: Man in the Moon Garland. So sweet in a nursery!  Easy tutorial.  |  Design Mom

Don’t worry if sculpting or painting faces is not in your skill set. It’s barely in mine! I have done my best to breakdown the shapes and features into the simplest of steps.

DIY: Man in the Moon Garland. So sweet in a nursery!  Easy tutorial.  |  Design Mom

So flex those fingers and let’s get started!

DIY: Man in the Moon Garland. So sweet in a nursery!  Easy tutorial.  |  Design Mom

Supplies:

- papier maché ornament balls
- air-dry clay
- paint
- paint pens or permanent markers (I ended up using these to add fine details.)
- needle
- thread
- awl, sharp cutting blade, drill and very tiny bit

DIY: Man in the Moon Garland. So sweet in a nursery!  Easy tutorial.  |  Design Mom

First, use little bits of clay to add facial features to the ornament balls. I used a rectangle to form the nose.

DIY: Man in the Moon Garland. So sweet in a nursery!  Easy tutorial.  |  Design Mom

After placing in the center of the “face”, I took my thumb and pressed down the edges to form a nose. Smooshing it to the ball will also ensure the face parts will stick! And remember, there are all kinds and sizes of noses. Keep smooshing and pinching until it looks like you want. If, in the end, you dislike it immensely, pull it off and start again.

DIY: Man in the Moon Garland. So sweet in a nursery!  Easy tutorial.  |  Design Mom

The cheeks started as little balls and again, I used my thumb to press down around the curves to shape it and adhere it. I added other things like eyebrows (really skinny rectangles), ears (small, flat circles) and chins (small oval) to some of them. They are far from perfect or identical but the variance gives them character.

Allow the clay to completely dry.

DIY: Man in the Moon Garland. So sweet in a nursery!  Easy tutorial.  |  Design Mom

Then paint!

DIY: Man in the Moon Garland. So sweet in a nursery!  Easy tutorial.  |  Design Mom

A base color, cheeks, lips and eyes (mustaches, too!). Make them to look like you want them to.

DIY: Man in the Moon Garland. So sweet in a nursery!  Easy tutorial.  |  Design Mom

When the paint has completely dried, I used a drill with its tiniest bit to make holes for stringing them up. But if you don’t have a drill, an awl or a sharp cutting blade works too. I chose to make two holes at the top of the head to ensure the face would stay forward and not sag to the bottom.

DIY: Man in the Moon Garland. So sweet in a nursery!  Easy tutorial.  |  Design Mom

String them up and hang anywhere.

P.S. — Like to make things? Find more of our projects here.

DIY: Man in the Moon Garland. So sweet in a nursery!  Easy tutorial.  |  Design Mom

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Pop Up Desk DIY http://www.designmom.com/2013/10/pop-up-desk-diy/ http://www.designmom.com/2013/10/pop-up-desk-diy/#comments Tue, 15 Oct 2013 13:00:06 +0000 Design Mom http://www.designmom.com/?p=41835

Pop Up Desk by Handmade Charlotte

By Gabrielle. Images by Handmade Charlotte for Building Blocks.

Did you see the Pop Up Desk DIY on the Building Blocks Blog? It’s so cute. And so doable!

I pin all sorts of projects on Pinterest — some that I will probably some day try, and others that I will never even pretend to attempt, but inspire me in one way or another, or maybe even spark another idea. But this desk I feel like my kids (I’m thinking Oscar and Betty) would totally make! And they’d love it too. It’s a perfect rain day/snow day project. Find the instructions here.

Pop Up Desk by Handmade Charlotte Pop Up Desk by Handmade Charlotte

Tell me friends, what’s a project or recipe you’ve pinned or bookmarked lately that you actually plan to do? Or maybe have already done! I’d love to see what you’re up to.

P.S. — I’ve mentioned it before, but when Building Blocks first launched, I contributed several articles — like this DIY for a You Are Special Today Plate, and a recipe for a kid-friendly, french fry alternative.

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3 Spooky + Pretty Ways to Decorate for Halloween http://www.designmom.com/2013/10/3-spooky-pretty-ways-to-decorate-for-halloween/ http://www.designmom.com/2013/10/3-spooky-pretty-ways-to-decorate-for-halloween/#comments Mon, 14 Oct 2013 17:27:09 +0000 Design Mom http://www.designmom.com/?p=41826

3 Easy Halloween Projects  |  Design Mom

By Gabrielle.

In case you missed it, this is a repost of a cute little video I made last year. When it comes to Halloween decor, I veer toward eerie and spooky, but still pretty. And I steer clear of gory — it’s just not my thing. So here are 3 simple ideas that are festive and pretty, but have a spooky feel. And they’re easy too!

I have some friends that don’t love Halloween. They put a pumpkin on the porch and call it good. How about you? Do you decorate for Halloween? Or is it a holiday you endure but don’t necessarily enjoy?

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The Ultimate Ikea Hack http://www.designmom.com/2013/10/the-ultimate-ikea-hack/ http://www.designmom.com/2013/10/the-ultimate-ikea-hack/#comments Wed, 09 Oct 2013 14:30:21 +0000 Koseli Cummings http://www.designmom.com/?p=38129

ultimate ikea hack

ultimate ikea hack ultimate ikea hack

By Koseli. Images via Coroflot.

Have you noticed the huge upswing in “Ikea hacks” across all your favorite DIY blogs? They range from simple dresser knob replacement to — you won’t believe this — an Ikea stool turned into a children’s bike. This is definitely the most amazing repurpose of simple Ikea wood and hardware I have seen. And of course I love it all the more because a little 3D Printing is thrown into the mix.

Do you have any favorite Ikea hacks? One you’ve done yourself or one you’ve seen online that inspired you? People are so clever.

P.S. — More cool stuff made by 3D Printers.

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