From the category archives:

make something

Make It: Autumn Arrangement

November 25, 2013

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.

Click through for easy, step-by-step instructions!

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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.

Click here for the full tutorial.

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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!

Click here for the full tutorial.

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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!

Click here for the full tutorial.

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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?

Click here for all the details, and links to sources.

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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.

Click here for the full tutorial!

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DIY: Cement Candleholders

October 28, 2013

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.

Click for the full tutorial.

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DIY: Man in the Moon Garland

October 21, 2013

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!

Click here for the full tutorial.

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Pop Up Desk DIY

October 15, 2013

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 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

October 9, 2013

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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Glow in the Dark Halloween Garlands. Cheap and Easy DIY!  |  Design Mom

Images and text by Amy Christie for Design Mom.

Tomorrow is October! Bring on the black and orange!! And you know me, I love the garlands. Sewn paper garlands can be customized for everything and I just can’t stop making them. They are a simple, inexpensive and low-key way to dress up your home or decorate for a party.

Glow in the Dark Halloween Garlands. Cheap and Easy DIY!  |  Design Mom Glow in the Dark Halloween Garlands. Cheap and Easy DIY!  |  Design Mom

But for this holiday, an eerie trick! Make the seemingly ordinary garland into a glow-in-the-dark treat.

Glow in the Dark Halloween Garlands. Cheap and Easy DIY!  |  Design Mom

By day, a festive string of color — and by night, a gleaming strand of ghoulish shapes.

Glow in the Dark Halloween Garlands. Cheap and Easy DIY!  |  Design Mom

Gather your materials and let’s get started.

Click here for the full tutorial — and the glow-in-the-dark how to!

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The Perfect Wing

September 13, 2013

Make perfect chicken wings every time

By Raleigh-Elizabeth. Image taken by Bill approximately three seconds before I told him to stop taking photos already and let me eat!

As soon as it’s fall, I start craving food that matters. Not just the Pinterest-worthy picnic sandwiches I attempt to make all summer or a good pasta salad I can nibble on for days, but the kind of hearty food that makes your soul warmed and happy. And when it’s not yet November and not yet chilly, that doesn’t leave a ton of options. But there is one. A food perfect for football, fun to make, easy to do outside when the days are still comfortable, and just generally ideal for every kind of get-together you can imagine: The chicken wing. Fall is perfect for really, really good chicken wings.

As the regular sort of Americans who look forward to college football (go Dawgs!), crisp autumn mornings, and bouquets of newly sharpened pencils,* the idea of adding some chicken wings into culinary rotation sounded downright logical as soon as Mark Bittman suggested it.

Did we make wings ourselves? Did we order in? Maybe both? Keep reading…

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Easy DIY! Make a Chandelier Mobile in Any Color You Choose  |  Design Mom

Text and photos by Amy Christie for Design Mom.

Let me guess: someone you know is having a baby, or about to adopt, or is decorating a nursery, and you’re on the hunt for a baby gift that will knock their socks off. May I humbly suggest a pretty little mobile, hand made in their very favorite colors?

Easy DIY! Make a Chandelier Mobile in Any Color You Choose  |  Design Mom Easy DIY! Make a Chandelier Mobile in Any Color You Choose  |  Design Mom

They can hang it above the changing table, or the bassinet — there is a calming peace that comes with the quiet twirl of a mobile.

Or maybe they’ll hang it in the corner of the family room to add some visual interest to the space.

Easy DIY! Make a Chandelier Mobile in Any Color You Choose  |  Design Mom

With air dry clay, an embroidery hoop, string and some paint, the possibilities are endless.

Click through for the full tutorial.

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Plaster Flower Votives

August 27, 2013

DIY: Plaster Dipped Flower Votives  |  Design Mom

Images and text by Amy Christie for Design Mom.

I’ve been loving all the plaster dipped flowers across the web. They have such an ethereal and dreamlike look to them. Building on the process, I took it a step further and turned the plaster-ed flowers into votives. Dainty and functional.

DIY: Gorgeous Plaster Dipped Flower Votives  |  Design Mom

Plaster is a fun medium to work in. A liquid become a solid in a few short minutes and you get to decide how to form it. For dipping, the plaster coats the petals, freezing them in creamy white loveliness. With the stamina of the plastic flower, the votives appear fragile but aren’t so.

(If you haven’t noticed, I love working with plaster — as seen in these posts: gold leaf votives, leaf napkin rings, quote votives.)

DIY: Gorgeous Plaster Dipped Flower Votives  |  Design Mom

The coated flowers are still ethereal and dreamlike and now, with the addition of a candle, rather romantic. Gather a few for a shelf in a living room, or on a bedroom mantle.

I think a collection of these would make a gorgeous centerpiece for a dinner party — or even as wedding decor!

DIY: Gorgeous Plaster Dipped Flower Votives  |  Design Mom

Ready to get a little bit messy?

Click here for the full tutorial.

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Big & Small Project: Grownups make the Cloud Picnic Blanket with Carrying Handles, while Children make the Simple Cloud Napkins.  |  Design Mom

Project By Gina Vide. Readied for publishing by Amy Christie.

Watching clouds float by under the summer skies is one of my favorite things to do in the summer, whether on a picnic or simply stealing a quiet blissful moment. Today’s Big + Small project gives you the chance to actually make a cloud of your own — cloud napkins, and an easy-to-transport cloud picnic blanket/tablecloth.

Children can make the simple cloud napkins with very little assistance from the grownups — just a couple of steps! And adults can make the wonderfully useable cloud tablecloth. It’s foldable, washable, and the handles make it easily transportable, too! A perfect picnic blanket.

You’ll have so much fun working side-by-side on this cloud project with your kids!

Big & Small Project: Grownups make the Cloud Picnic Blanket with Carrying Handles, while Children make the Simple Cloud Napkins.  |  Design Mom Big & Small Project: Grownups make the Cloud Picnic Blanket with Carrying Handles, while Children make the Simple Cloud Napkins.  |  Design Mom Big & Small Project: Grownups make the Cloud Picnic Blanket with Carrying Handles, while Children make the Simple Cloud Napkins.  |  Design Mom

Big + Small’s can work together, and sail off together, on this Cloud Picnic! Let’s get started.

Click here for the full tutorial!

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DIY: Tissue Paper Bowls

July 29, 2013

Easy DIY: Make Tissue Paper Bowls  |  Design Mom

Text and images by Amy Christie for Design Mom.

What is it about little bowls and containers? I’m drawn to them like a magnet. I set them on side tables and dressers. In bathrooms and living rooms. I use them collect bits and bobs — jewelry, safety pins, beads, crafts supplies, keys… And when I come up with a way to make them myself. Well. Suddenly I am compelled to make. all. the. bowls.

If you have a thing for bowls — or for pretty tissue paper — I think you’re going to really like this project.

Easy DIY: Make Tissue Paper Bowls  |  Design Mom

You don’t need much to make this happen. Just tissue paper, white glue, a balloon or two and a brush. It’s quick and easy and doesn’t require perfection. The hardest part is waiting for things to dry!

Easy DIY: Make Tissue Paper Bowls  |  Design Mom

You can make them any size you want. Big or small, huge or tiny. Anything goes. And the colors are endless. Coordinate with your decor, the holiday party, or give a friend a set in their favorite colors. And you can make them lightweight and disposable, or more heavyweight, so you can keep them around awhile.

Easy DIY: Make Tissue Paper Bowls  |  Design Mom
Easy DIY: Make Tissue Paper Bowls  |  Design Mom

Ready to get started?

Click here for the full tutorial.

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Kimika Hara

By Koseli.

I love admiring others’ incredible talents, especially when those talents have to do with making things by hand. I recently came across this incredible embroiderer, Kimika Hara, through The Smallest Forest and was blown away by her colorful, whimsical embroidery.

Kimika Hara

Please tell me I’m not the only one who can’t wrap their mind around such intricate beautiful detailing like this. It’s so amazing! If you’d like to explore more of this Japan-based artist’s work, Kimika’s Flickr is out of this world.

7073943641_9240f89682_o

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DIY: How to Make a Dos-A-Dos (or Back-to-Back) Notebook. So fun and easy! Even for school age kids.  |  Design Mom

Text and images by Amy Christie for Design Mom

Last summer, I shared about my love of handmade, hand-sewn books in this simple sewn book tutorial. Making books can be a simple and easy project to do with children and you probably have all the materials you need at home already. Today’s sewn book, the Dos-à-Dos (pronounced doh-ah-doh), is just as simple and easy — but has cool twist.

DIY: How to Make a Dos-A-Dos (or Back-to-Back) Notebook. So fun and easy! Even for school age kids.  |  Design Mom

Instead of just one book or signature (one set of folded pages), this Dos-à-Dos, from the French phrase meaning back-to-back, has two! It’s almost like two books have been sewn together.

DIY: How to Make a Dos-A-Dos (or Back-to-Back) Notebook. So fun and easy! Even for school age kids.  |  Design Mom

And they aren’t sewn in the same spot either. The cover is folded like a ‘Z’ and in each fold, a signature is sewn in.

DIY: How to Make a Dos-A-Dos (or Back-to-Back) Notebook. So fun and easy! Even for school age kids.  |  Design Mom

I say it’s definitely easy, because I made this book with elementary-aged children this year and it was a blast!

DIY: How to Make a Dos-A-Dos (or Back-to-Back) Notebook. So fun and easy! Even for school age kids.  |  Design Mom

Click on through. I bet you have most of this stuff already.

[click to continue…]

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DIY: Tricycle Car Wash

July 1, 2013

DIY: Tricycle Carwash. Follow these easy plans and have the best summer ever!  |  Design Mom

This summer inspiration is brought to you by Target. Find more fun and surprises all season long on Target’s #SummerUp Pinterest board.


Images and text by Amy Christie for Design Mom.

Holy fun times!! Water play is one of the best ways to beat the summer’s heat and I think we can all agree that this image is every child’s water heaven dream. I can attest that even as an adult, I am pretty giddy about it myself. So I thought it would be fun to build one for my own kids, and I took notes and drew up plans, so that you can build one too! Everything you need to know is right here in this post.

DIY: The BEST Tricycle Carwash. Follow these easy plans and have the coolest summer ever!  |  Design Mom

I had never used PVC pipe to build anything before so I was a little nervous, but once you come to grips with the PVC aisle (so. many. options!), it is very easy to work with. I mulled over a number of plans and directions before setting on the layout of this one and then adapted it to my liking.

DIY: The BEST Tricycle Carwash. Follow these easy plans and have the coolest summer ever!  |  Design Mom DIY: The BEST Tricycle Carwash. Follow these easy plans and have the coolest summer ever!  |  Design Mom

With a trip to the hardware store and Target, this tricycle car wash came together quickly and easily.

DIY: The COOLEST Tricycle Carwash. Follow these easy plans and have the best summer ever!  |  Design Mom

I promise, this is easier than you think! Let’s get started.

Click here for the full tutorial — plus a printable plan!

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