Design Mom » The Perfect Gift 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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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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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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The Perfect Gift: Clay Chandelier Mobile http://www.designmom.com/2013/09/the-perfect-gift-clay-chandelier-mobile/ http://www.designmom.com/2013/09/the-perfect-gift-clay-chandelier-mobile/#comments Mon, 09 Sep 2013 17:30:21 +0000 Amy Christie http://www.designmom.com/?p=39599

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.

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

Supplies:

-air-dry clay
-brayer, rolling pin
-ruler
-cutting blade, shape cutters
-awl
-paint
-brushes
-embroidery hoop, just the interior loop
-stringing material

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

First, roll out the air-dry clay to your desired thickness. Cut out or punch out your desired shapes. Make sure to add a hole to thread the string through.

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

Lay them out to fully dry. Dry times will vary between clay brands so follow the manufacturer’s directions.

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

While the clay is drying, paint the embroidery hoops. And once the clay pieces are dry, paint them as well.

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

Once the paint on everything has dried, add crisscrossing loops on the one side of the hoop to act as hangers. Having these in place before added the shapes is helpful.

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

Begin stringing up the shapes on the hoop. They can be hung any which way you’d like, just pay attention to the balance.

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

Then hang where you’d like.

P.S. — We love making things! Find all sorts of great tutorials and projects here.

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The Perfect Gift: School House Gift Box http://www.designmom.com/2013/06/the-perfect-gift-school-house-gift-box/ http://www.designmom.com/2013/06/the-perfect-gift-school-house-gift-box/#comments Mon, 03 Jun 2013 17:00:09 +0000 Amy Christie http://www.designmom.com/?p=37051

Print & Fold Schoolhouse Gift Box. Free Printable!  |  Design Mom

Images and text by Amy Christie for Design Mom.

The school year is ending and it’s time for last-day-of-school parties, and gifts for teachers, coaches, librarians and school bus drivers. I’m sure this (free!) printable school house gift box would be gladly received by any educator (or non-educator) on your thank you list!

Print & Fold Schoolhouse Gift Box. Free Printable!  |  Design Mom

Remember this house gift box from Christmastime? Well, this schoolhouse gift box is just as easy to construct — simply print, cut, fold, and secure with tape. Choose from the yellow or red school house, or use the white version and add tissue paper in your school colors. Then fill with treats or small gift!

Print & Fold Schoolhouse Gift Box. Free Printable!  |  Design Mom

By the way, Design Mom readers are just the best ever! It’s thanks to a reader suggestion this gift box came to be. (Thanks Fiona!) I love hearing from you with suggestions for projects and gift ideas you’d like to see.

Print & Fold Schoolhouse Gift Box. Free Printable!  |  Design Mom

Let’s get to making these cute things!

Print & Fold Schoolhouse Gift Box. Free Printable!  |  Design Mom

Supplies:

- Printable school house template — download for free: white, red or yellow
- Scissors
- Cutting blade
- Double-sided tape
- Ruler & scoring tool

Print & Fold Schoolhouse Gift Box. Free Printable!  |  Design Mom

Print the school house gift box template. Cut it out.

Print & Fold Schoolhouse Gift Box. Free Printable!  |  Design Mom

If you desire, use the cutting blade to remove the window panes and around the bell.  This little place of learning has a lot more windows that the holiday house box but I tell you, it’s so cute this way. Luckily, if you don’t feel up for it, it’s very cute as is as well.

Print & Fold Schoolhouse Gift Box. Free Printable!  |  Design Mom

With the ruler and scoring tool, score the house template on all the dotted lines.

Print & Fold Schoolhouse Gift Box. Free Printable!  |  Design Mom

Fold on the newly scored lines.

Print & Fold Schoolhouse Gift Box. Free Printable!  |  Design Mom

Add a piece of double-sided tape to the small tab and connect it with the other side of the house, as seen above.

Print & Fold Schoolhouse Gift Box. Free Printable!  |  Design Mom

Fold the bottom flaps in and use double-sided tape to hold it closed.

Print & Fold Schoolhouse Gift Box. Free Printable!  |  Design Mom

Fill the box with a few small treats, a small gift or a thank you note. Add one more piece of tape to the top flaps and pinch the roof closed. You can also loop ribbon through the roof flaps and close the box that way.

Then show those teachers how amazing they are!

——–

THIS WOULD ALSO BE GREAT FOR:

- Party favors at a school themed or ABC themed party.
- A class room project for kids.
- To make a little paper village.

P.S. — We love making gifts! Find all the posts in this series here.

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The Perfect Gift: Gold Leaf Plaster Votives http://www.designmom.com/2013/04/the-perfect-gift-gold-leaf-plaster-votives/ http://www.designmom.com/2013/04/the-perfect-gift-gold-leaf-plaster-votives/#comments Mon, 15 Apr 2013 17:00:47 +0000 Amy Christie http://www.designmom.com/?p=34332

DESIGN MOM: Gold Leaf Plaster Votives. Easy DIY.

Text and images by Amy Christie for Design Mom.

Spring is the season for bridal showers and baby showers (raise your hand if you’re hosting one in the next few weeks). So I thought it would be fun to come up with a really pretty party favor that feels special and a bit glamorous, and these gold-leaf plaster votives are just the thing! (Bonus: they’re easy to make.)

Clean white and sparkly gold leaf makes a fresh combo. Plus, plaster offers a nice, soft white and it is so much fun to work with — it can be molded into whatever we choose! And then to make it more candlelight friendly (read: candlelight can shine out), a power drill works wonders, while gold leaf makes it shine.

DESIGN MOM: Gold Leaf Plaster Votives. Easy DIY.

You can use any type of disposable container for a mold — paper cups, cleaned out food containers — the shape is up to you. And keep in mind, you’ll need two — for these votives, an outer and inner mold is needed to create the shape.

DESIGN MOM: Gold Leaf Plaster Votives. Easy DIY.

A steady hand and an ability to handle a little mess (it’s a bit dusty) is all it takes to tranform plain plaster into peaceful little lights.

DESIGN MOM: Gold Leaf Plaster Votives. Easy DIY.

Come see how it’s done!

DESIGN MOM: Gold Leaf Plaster Votives. Easy DIY.

Supplies:

-plaster – I use Plaster of Paris
-water
-mold containers in outer and inner sizes – any kind of holding form you’d like works
-gold leaf
-gold leaf adhesive
-hand drill
-drill bits of various sizes
-brushes
-wooden sticks
-honing tool (if you don’t have one, a wooden stick, spoon or butter knife works too)

DESIGN MOM: Gold Leaf Plaster Votives. Easy DIY.

Mix enough plaster for your container according to the directions of the manufacturer.

DESIGN MOM: Gold Leaf Plaster Votives. Easy DIY.

Once the plaster is mixed, pour into the outer mold and then put the smaller mold on the inside, holding it or weighing it down to keep it in place until it sets and hardens.

DESIGN MOM: Gold Leaf Plaster Votives. Easy DIY.

Once it’s hardened enough so it’s not smushy anywhere, remove the molds. The plaster will still feel cool and damp to the touch.

DESIGN MOM: Gold Leaf Plaster Votives. Easy DIY.

Smooth out any rough edges or wrinkles.

DESIGN MOM: Gold Leaf Plaster Votives. Easy DIY.

Then comes the drilling! Any design or pattern works — it’s completely up to you. Whatever you decide, it’s best to start with a smaller, pilot holes to keep the plaster from cracking.

DESIGN MOM: Gold Leaf Plaster Votives. Easy DIY.

Then, if you’d like, use the different size bits to make various larger-sized holes.

DESIGN MOM: Gold Leaf Plaster Votives. Easy DIY.

Add the gold leaf on the inside, brushing away the excess and clearing out each hole.

Note: Idid try adding the gold leaf before hand and then drilling. Because a bit of the plaster pulls away from each hole on the interior, the gold leaf pulls away too.

DESIGN MOM: Gold Leaf Plaster Votives. Easy DIY.

Once everything is dry, drop in a votive and enjoy the golden flickers.

These little party favors are sure to be well received — but definitely make some extras, because you’ll want a few for your own house.

———

THIS IDEA WOULD ALSO BE GREAT FOR:

- A small gift to cheer a friend.
- A sparkly holiday gift for your neighbors.
- Make a set or 3 or 5 as a hostess or housewarming gift.
- Table decor for a dinner party.

P.S. — We love making gifts! You can find all the posts in this series here.

DESIGN MOM: Gold Leaf Plaster Votives. Easy DIY.

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The Perfect Gift: Easy Painted Egg Cartons http://www.designmom.com/2013/03/the-perfect-gift-easy-painted-egg-cartons/ http://www.designmom.com/2013/03/the-perfect-gift-easy-painted-egg-cartons/#comments Mon, 18 Mar 2013 15:30:21 +0000 Amy Christie http://www.designmom.com/?p=32882

DIY: Easy Painted Egg Cartons

Text and images by Amy Christie for Design Mom.

There is a good chance your egg usage during this month is a bit higher than other times of the year. So I’m guessing you may have a few empty egg cartons laying around. I’ve always had trouble throwing them out because, gosh, I can probably make something with them, right?! Yes! The answer is yes! The cartons make seasonally-perfect gift boxes.

Each tiny cup is a perfect spot to nestle little gifts, treats, ornaments or cascarones. And with a simple paint job, they’re super cute to boot!

DIY: Easy Painted Egg Cartons DIY: Easy Painted Egg Cartons DIY: Easy Painted Egg Cartons DIY: Easy Painted Egg Cartons

The carton is a blank canvas of possibilities, calling out for cheerful stripes or dots. Let’s paint!

Supplies:

- egg cartons*
- craft paints
- brushes
-treats and trinkets to fill them

*I searched online for plain egg cartons and unless you would like to purchase 25-100+, I didn’t find any viable options. I found my flat-topped cartons in the organic section of my grocery store. I did have to peel off the labels but beyond that, they were perfect.

There aren’t real, official steps for this one. It’s a paint-as-you-wish-decorate-as-you-want kind of project. I painted the outside of each a solid color. Because there was a little writing on the inside cover, I painted it too.

After the carton was dry, I added very simple dots and stripes. For dots, you could use anything that will make a round shape — even the stick end of a paint brush!

DIY: Easy Painted Egg Cartons DIY: Easy Painted Egg Cartons

Then, when all the paint has fully dried, fill it to the brim with the tiniest of treats or gifts. You could use toy animals, ornaments for an Easter Tree, decorated eggs, jewelry, hair bows, favorite candies — whatever you like! Tuck them into each little cup amongst some Easter grass.

Tie it up with a bow and gift it to your favorite person. These would be cute in a big Easter basket for kids, or you could fill a carton with fine chocolates for a friend. They are just so happy and spring-like! I’m sure they will bring a smile to whomever receives them.

Happy making. And happy Easter!

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The Perfect Gift: Dip-Dyed Treat Bags http://www.designmom.com/2013/02/the-perfect-gift-dip-dyed-treat-bags/ http://www.designmom.com/2013/02/the-perfect-gift-dip-dyed-treat-bags/#comments Wed, 06 Feb 2013 13:08:45 +0000 Amy Christie http://www.designmom.com/?p=30595

Text and images by Jordan of Polkadot Prints for Design Mom. Edited by Amy Christie.

In Australia, where I’m from, Valentine’s Day s is celebrated more by couples and ‘grown ups’ — we give flowers, chocolates, notes, we go out for dinner, etc. Because of that, that I’ve never been a big fan of the commercial craziness that surrounds this holiday. But really, when you get down to the nuts and bolts of the day, it’s really about loving others. And that? I am totally into!

Today’s Valentines DIY is a simple and easy project that your kids will love to help you with. These little bags would make a sweet little gift for your teenagers, your children’s classmates, and neighborhood friends. The ‘Love One Another’ flavour is unusual for Valentine’s Day, but I think it’s so fitting. I hope you like it!

Once you have all your supplies together, it really is quite simple.

You’ll need:

-Muslin Bags – (I used 3.5″ x 5.5″ size) – found in Michaels or most craft or hobby shops
-Glass/Ceramic Bowl that won’t be stained
-Food dye + water
-Cardstock & pen for writing on the tags

Put approx 10 drops of food dye into approx 1/2 cup of water. You might need to eyeball this depending on the strength and colour you decide to use. Dip your cotton bags into the dye mixture. I wanted a gradient affect from the top, but do the bottom if you prefer. You may have to push the water through the fabric a bit if they have a lot of dressing in the fabric.

Lay them out to dry on a cooling rack and when they are dry they are ready to use!

I cut out circles from some kraft card stock and then wrote my own messages and decorations on the tags. If you have used bags that have a drawstring, you can pull them out of the top casing and use them to tie the tags on lower down. My strings came out a little dip-dyed too which I quite liked.

Fill with treats and you are ready to show some love to your friends!

———

THIS IDEA WOULD ALSO BE GREAT FOR:

- Party favors in any party color.
- A cute way to package a small gift.

P.S. — We love making gifts! You can find all the posts in this series here.

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The Perfect Gift: LOVE Valentine Gift Bag http://www.designmom.com/2013/02/the-perfect-gift-love-valentine-gift-bag/ http://www.designmom.com/2013/02/the-perfect-gift-love-valentine-gift-bag/#comments Fri, 01 Feb 2013 14:00:25 +0000 Amy Christie http://www.designmom.com/?p=29869

By Amy Christie

Let’s welcome February with a sweet little project — complete with free download!

Handmade Valentines are the best. Handmade Valentines that include a bag of sweets, the best ever. This little treat bag is just as simple to put together as the house gift box from last month and absolutely perfect for all your Valentines.



With the free printable, scissors and double-sided tape (and a few sweets), your Valentines will feel the love for sure.

Supplies:

-LOVE bag printable in black or red.
-scissors
-cutting blade
-ruler
-scoring tool
-double-sided tape
-cutting mat

Cut out the perimeter of the bag.

Use the cutting blade to cut out the handles and the white spaces in the letters.

With the scoring tool and ruler, score the bag on all the dotted lines.

Fold on the scored lines.

Use double-sided tape to connect the side flap with the other end of the bag.

Fold the bottom in and secure with piece of tape.

Stuff with treats and give to all!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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The Perfect Gift: Wooden Key Chain http://www.designmom.com/2013/01/the-perfect-gift-wooden-key-chain/ http://www.designmom.com/2013/01/the-perfect-gift-wooden-key-chain/#comments Wed, 16 Jan 2013 17:00:31 +0000 Amy Christie http://www.designmom.com/?p=29593

By Amy Christie

When I was first driving, my key chains out-numbered the passengers I was allowed to have in the car. They were big, clunky and heavy but so very cool. : ) Nowadays, I think of my keychain as a piece of jewelry — I crave something with color and design, something that feels good in my hand — and these wooden key chains fit the bill. I think they would make such a pretty “just because” gift for a friend, and they would be perfect to celebrate someone’s new driver’s license as well!

This project isn’t as detailed as you might think. Using markers instead of paint, there is less fiddling and dry-time is non-existent. Then with a little patience and strength, an ordinary blade can cut through the wood. Simple materials, simple tools, simple project.

Here’s how it’s done.

Supplies:

-Wooden sticks
-Permanent markers
-Modge Podge/white glue (if you want to go for the real stuff, wood glue is perfection)
-Small wooden pendent
-Jump Ring
-Key Ring
-Very sharp cutting blade
-Sandpaper
-Electric drill with small drill bit

Color the wooden sticks in your desired shade(s).

Cut the sticks down to get the most coverage out of each stick. Cover the pendent with a layer of glue and adhere the colored sticks. Allow to fully dry.

Using the very sharp cutting blade, trim off the excess wooden sticks. This takes a number of swipes with the blade. Just be patient, push hard and soon enough, the edges will be cleaned up. Use the sand paper to smooth the edges.

Use the drill bit to make a hole for the jump ring.

Before I attached the jump ring, I topped the key chain with Modge Podge.

Attach the jump ring and, if necessary, attach to the key ring.

Attach to keys or a backpack zipper and enjoy the pop of color and design.

——-

THIS IDEA WOULD ALSO BE GREAT FOR:

- A craft activity at a tween or teen birthday party.
- Using as statement necklace instead of a keychain.

P.S. — We love making gifts! You can find all the posts in this series here.

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The Perfect Gift: House Gift Box http://www.designmom.com/2012/12/a-perfect-gift-house-gift-box/ http://www.designmom.com/2012/12/a-perfect-gift-house-gift-box/#comments Wed, 12 Dec 2012 17:00:47 +0000 Amy Christie http://www.designmom.com/?p=28084

By Amy Christie

I’m so pleased with this little project! I collaborated with Jordan of Polkadot Prints to design a darling house-shaped gift box that is as easy as pie to put together. You’ll want to make one for neighbors, postal workers, teachers — pretty much everyone you know!

Simply print off the free template, cut it out and double-side tape it together.

Fill it with a few small treats and your gift-giving list is done in a flash!

Supplies:

-Printable house template
-Scissors
-X-acto blade
-Double-sided tape
-Ruler & scoring tool

Print the house gift box template. Cut out the house and wreath.

If you prefer, use the X-acto knife to cut out the window panes. The box will still be perfectly cute if the panes aren’t cut. : )

With the ruler and scoring tool, score the house template on all the dotted lines.

Fold on the newly scored lines.

Add a piece of double-sided tape to the small tab.

Connect it with the other side of the house, as seen above.

Fold the bottom flaps in and use double-sided tape to hold it closed.

Add a piece of tape to the backside of the wreath and stick it in place.

Fill the box with a few small treats or a small gift. Add one more piece of tape to the top flaps and pinch the roof closed.

Give to all!

——-

THIS IDEA WOULD ALSO BE GREAT FOR:

- Christmas party favors
- Teachers, delivery persons, newspaper delivery person, neighbors…the list goes on!
- Schoolmates! They are the perfect size for little hands.

P.S. — We love making gifts! You can find all the posts in this series here.

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The Perfect Gift: Block Printed Cards http://www.designmom.com/2012/12/the-perfect-gift-block-printed-cards/ http://www.designmom.com/2012/12/the-perfect-gift-block-printed-cards/#comments Mon, 10 Dec 2012 15:00:47 +0000 Amy Christie http://www.designmom.com/?p=28058

By Jennifer Samuelson of Anise Press. Edited by Amy Christie

It’s the beginning of December, which is the time of year that I start to fret about things like finding the perfect gift for Grandma, mailing holiday cards to loved ones, and helping my kids decide upon hand-made gifts for their siblings. You too? Time for both of us to take a deep, calming breath, because this block printing tutorial will take care of all our problems.

Block printing looks a little intimidating at first glance, but trust me, it’s very intuitive. It’s a great way to get children and adults involved in creating art that can be produced in multiple originals. Though younger children won’t be able to cut their own blocks, they can create artwork and print with a little assistance. Older children (from about nine and up, depending on coordination and hand skills) will be able to complete a project alone, with some supervision.

Your children can use these block printing techniques to design holiday greeting cards for friends and family, stationery sets as a gift for a teacher, or personalized thank-you notes.

Are you ready to get started?

You will likely need to take a trip to your local art supply or craft store for some of these items, but the initial investment should only run around $20. Since block cutting is addictive, I’m sure you’ll find yourself using these tools again and again!

Supplies:

-A pencil and paper, or a sharpie.
-A large cutting board or self-healing mat as a surface for the carving.
-A linoleum-carving handle and gouges.
-A mounted linoleum block in the size of your choice. (We’ve used small blocks – just 3”x 4” – because the smaller the block, the less carving there is to do. This is also a good size for cards that are 3½” x 5”, which fit perfectly into A1 size envelopes.)
-A tube of block printing ink.
-A brayer.
-Some high-quality paper, cardstock, or cards on which to print your block.
-A wooden spoon.

The artist will begin by designing an image. Simple images without a lot of fine detail are best for beginners. The most basic way to prepare the design for cutting is to draw your creation directly onto the block with a pencil or a sharpie. If you use this method, remember that the image will be reversed when you print it.

Another approach is to draw the image with a soft lead pencil onto a piece of paper cut to the size of your block, then transfer the design to the linoleum by placing the image face down on the block and securely taping it in place. Using the side of your pencil, rub the back of the paper until it’s completely covered, which will transfer the image to your block. You may wish to go over the lighter lines again, or trace the (now mirror-image) design with a fine-tip marker.

Now it’s time to start carving! The lino cutting tools are very sharp, so I recommend that only parents and older children carve blocks (or even handle the tools). Any children who carve linoleum blocks should be supervised by a responsible adult and should be reminded of these very important safety rules:

- Always point the carving tool away from your body.

- When you hold your block, keep your fingers and thumb away from the direction your cutter will be traveling (in case the gouge slips).

- Cut on a cutting mat or large cutting board (if you plan to make block printing a regular craft, I highly recommend investing in a bench hook, which will help you hold your block in place; these can also be constructed with some basic woodworking tools. Another solution is to use the back of a wooden puzzle).

Begin by cutting away some of the negative space around your design to get a feel for the tools and the resistance that the block presents. You will really just need two gouges for your linoblock cutting: the largest (number 5) and the smallest (number 1). Use the large gouge to carve away big chunks of linoleum, and the smaller gouge for your detail work.

The carving process is the longest and most attention-demanding part of the project. Depending on the detail of the drawing (and the age and skill of the carver), this could take as little as half an hour or as many as several hours spread over the span of many days. My ten-year old pecked away at her block for nearly a week, while I carved a giraffe that my five-year old drew in one sitting (it took me under an hour). Enjoy this part of the process! The carving is where much of the artistry comes in, and you’ll discover that what is printed from a carved block is often quite different from what was originally drawn on paper.

When your block is carved, it’s time to ink and print! Block cutting ink is water soluble, but very sticky. You’ll want to protect your clothing and the surface you will be printing on.

Place some ink on a smooth surface (we used a disposable paper plate for easy clean up, but wax paper or a sheet of plexiglass can also be used) and spread it out with the brayer. You’ll want to work and spread the ink until it becomes sticky, but be careful to lay out only a thin layer of ink – too much, and you’ll fill the smaller cuts in your design. You’ll know it’s ready when you hear a gummy, sticking sound as you roll the brayer through the ink.

To ink your block, gently roll the inked brayer over the raised surface. Try to keep the brayer parallel with the surface of the block, and run it lightly along the surface; you don’t need to apply pressure. Roll horizontally and vertically to make sure you have coverage over the raised surfaces of the block which will print.

To print, gently position your card or paper on top of the block in a single motion. Try not to shift the paper as you are placing it down, which would smear the ink over the sheet and ruin the print. While holding the paper in place with a few fingers, firmly rub the surface of the paper with the back of the wooden spoon. Be sure to work the convex surface over the full block multiple times; if you’re careful, you can sneak a look at the paper by lifting a corner, but be careful not to shift the sheet in case you need to keep rubbing.

Ta da! You now have a beautiful print of your work, and the luxury of being able to print it again and again! With a little care, you can print in multiple colors by using the brayer with different inks on various areas of the block, as we did with the Rudolph print above. Kids can even paint or color the finished print.

THIS IDEA WOULD ALSO BE GREAT FOR:

- Cut a larger block and frame the prints as gifts for grandparents.
- Use this book-binding tutorial to make a notebook with a block printed cover as a gift.
- Make block printed Valentine’s Day cards or birthday party invitations.
- Make a set of cards for a pen pal.

P.S. — We love making gifts! You can find all the posts in this series here.

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The Perfect Gift: Felt Monogram Ornaments http://www.designmom.com/2012/12/the-perfect-gift-felt-monogram-ornaments/ http://www.designmom.com/2012/12/the-perfect-gift-felt-monogram-ornaments/#comments Mon, 03 Dec 2012 16:00:15 +0000 Amy Christie http://www.designmom.com/?p=27300

DIY monogram ornaments

By Marisa of Omiyage. Photos by Alexis Edghill. Edited by Amy Christie

I love making things all year round, but there’s something extra-special about crafting for the holidays, don’t you think? Last year, we made these felt monogram ornaments and they were definitely a hit!

DIY monogram ornaments

We sent them out instead of Christmas cards, tied them onto gifts and placed them on our own tree. Everyone, young and old, loves receiving personalized items. But the best part of these ornaments (besides the fact they’re simple to make) is that you can customize them with any colour combination or font style you please!

DIY monogram ornaments

You can even choose to sew them by hand or by machine — whichever you’re more comfortable with. It’s like a choose-your-own-adventure in one little ornament!

So, let’s get started!

DIY monogram ornaments

Supplies:

-Wool Felt (I used White, Magenta, Swan and Graphite)
-Needle & thread or Sewing machine
-Spray Glue
-Polyfill Stuffing
-Ribbon

DIY monogram ornaments

Print out a letter in the desired size and font. The printed letter should be approximately 2.25″ tall for a finished ornament height of 2.75″. (I used Georgia Bold in size 240.) Cut the letter out, leaving a small white border on all sides.

DIY monogram ornaments

Use spray glue to stick the cut out letter to the white piece of felt. Make sure to put the printed side down. Cut the letter out of felt, using the paper letter as a guide. Carefully peel the paper letter off of the felt. Ta dah – you made a felt letter!

DIY monogram ornaments

Then, place the felt letter onto a coloured square of felt. This will become the background/body of the ornament. Sew around the edges of the letter.

DIY monogram ornaments

Trim around the outside edges of the felt letter was just sewn, leaving a border of approximately 1/4″ of coloured felt on all sides. Then it’s time to form the ornament.

Place the letter onto a second square of coloured felt. Stitch around the outside edge of the letter. At the top edge of the ornament, sew in a loop of ribbon. Stop sewing when a gap of just 1.25″ or so remains. If you’re sewing by hand, don’t cut or tie off your thread.

Stuff the ornament with polyfill then sew up the remaining gap.

DIY monogram ornaments

Trim the back piece of felt to match the front. That’s it — the ornament is complete!

Now go ahead and fill the tree with a letter for each special person in your life, spell out a festive message or place into Christmas stockings for a fun surprise come December 25th!

DIY monogram ornaments

Not just for the tree, these ornaments also make wonderful gift toppers. Tie one onto a present for an extra special finishing touch.

DIY monogram ornaments

Happy holidays & happy crafting!

——

THIS IDEA WOULD ALSO BE GREAT FOR:

- Making an alphabet garland for a nursery.
- Spelling out ’LOVE’ and send it to that special someone.
- Using as a place card for a festive table.
- Gifting newly weds their new monograms.

P.S. — We love making gifts! You can find all the posts in this series here.

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The Perfect Gift: Gold Leaf Pendants http://www.designmom.com/2012/11/the-perfect-gift-gold-leaf-polymer-clay-pendants/ http://www.designmom.com/2012/11/the-perfect-gift-gold-leaf-polymer-clay-pendants/#comments Mon, 12 Nov 2012 17:00:52 +0000 Amy Christie http://www.designmom.com/?p=26054

By Amy Christie.

Sparkly, shiny baubles have a way of brightening my mood. I’ve been known to wear my best items to do housework occasionally, just because it feels good! With the holidays and surrounding festivities coming up quickly, I am eager for new pieces to wear. So I decided to make some!

For these pendants, I shied away from the understated and discreet and decide to make something bold and lustrous. Gold is making a comeback and it is definitely shiny.


Think these look too hard to make? They are totally doable. I mean it.

Polymer clay is a very versatile medium, the possibilities are seriously endless. Add that to how easy it is to manipulate, all the various finishes it can have and how it sticks to itself without glue — and creating things with it is pure fun! I’m really digging the black and gold trend right now and, as I mentioned, the gold is perfect for adding some shine to your holiday party apparel.

Disco Ball Pendant

Supplies:

-black polymer clay
-gold leaf
-aluminum foil
-straight blade
-awl
-pasta machine, although you can use a brayer/rolling pin instead
-eye pin
-needle-nosed pliers
-jump ring
-chain

Begin by pressing the aluminum foil sheet into a tight ball. Work to get it into as good of a sphere shape as you can. My foil piece measured 8 inches by 8 inches and created a between 1-1/4 inch ball. The foil center keeps the pendent light-weight.

Condition the black clay by first slicing the block in four thinner chunks and passing it through the pasta machine until it is supple. Then pass the clay sheet through the machine at setting 4. Place the foil ball on the clay and cut a circle large enough to wrap around the whole surface of the ball.

Fold and press the clay around the aluminum ball creating four seams. Make sure to pinch the seams together at the top of the ball as well. Make sure the clay is formed tightly around the ball.

After the seams are pressed, remove the extra clay with the straight blade and use your fingers to smooth the seams.

Next, place the eye pin straight through the clay ball. The awl might come in handy at this point. Try to skewer the ball as straight as possible.

Once the pin is placed, curl the bottom of the pin and tuck into the ball.

Take a small dot of clay, flatten it with your fingers and place it over the hole where the eye pin sits. Smooth out with your fingers.

Roll out another piece of black clay with the pasta machine again set at 4. Gently press a piece of gold leaf to the top of the clay. With the straight blade, cut narrow strips and from the strips, cut small squares.

Begin sticking the small squares to the ball. I found it easiest to start in the middle and work above and below that median line.

Cover the whole ball with the small squares. Then bake it for the recommended time and at the recommended temperature based on the manufacturer’s instructions (you’ll find them on your package of clay).

When the ball pendant is cured and cooled, add a jump ring and a chain and it’s ready to wear.

Fringe Pendant

Supplies:

-black polymer clay
-gold leaf
-straight blade
-X-acto knife
-paper straw
-pasta machine or a brayer/rolling pin
-jump ring
-chain

Condition the black clay through the pasta machine by first slicing it into narrower blocks. Continue conditioning it until it is soft and supple. Then cut a rectangle from the clay for the base of the pendant. Mine is 3 3/4 inches long and 1 1/4 inches wide though it would work at any size.

Cut a length of the paper straw just narrower than the rectangle strip. The straw will add some extra support for the clay as it hangs on the chain.

Gently coax the clay around the paper straw and tuck it in tight. Make sure the looped clay makes a good seal to the backside of the pendant.

Roll another sheet of polymer, this time at setting 6. Cut a second rectangle from the rolled clay, longer and wider than the first. Lay down a sheet of gold leaf on top and press it down gently. Remove the excess.

Begin by cutting rectangles in the gold leaf clay with the straight blade. Then, using the X-acto knife, cut fringe. The X-acto knife is wider than the straight blade and separates the fringe from each other a little better. They do get stuck back together but it’s easier to separate them with an X-acto cut.

Starting at the bottom of the pendant, place one of the fringed rectangles on the base rectangle, with a little part of the fringe hanging over the bottom edge. Trim off the excess on the side.

Layer on the subsequent pieces just high enough to cover the unfringed top area. Continue on until you get to the top.

For the final piece, cut a taller rectangle but cut the fringe the same height as the rest. Stick the piece down and work to curve and bend that extra long piece around the top of the pendant and on to the back side.

Once all the pieces are in place, fix any fringe you would like. Note: very curved and flippy cured pieces can be damaged during wear. Moderate ‘fringy-ness” is better.

Bake it for the recommended time and at the recommended temperature based on the manufacturer’s instructions. I baked mine atop two pieces of cardboard. It’s not necessary but it helped keep the pendant’s shape.

When the pendant is cured and cooled, loop a chain through the hole and that’s it.

So put on your party dress (or your house-cleaning clothes) and add a little goldy shine!

THIS IDEA WOULD ALSO BE GREAT FOR:

- Make one for each bridesmaid in your wedding party.
- Put the disco ball on a key chain and give it as a party favor for a New Year’s Eve party.

P.S. — We love making gifts! You can find all the posts in this series here.

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The Perfect Gift: Plaster Votives http://www.designmom.com/2012/11/the-perfect-gift-plaster-votives/ http://www.designmom.com/2012/11/the-perfect-gift-plaster-votives/#comments Mon, 05 Nov 2012 17:00:09 +0000 Amy Christie http://www.designmom.com/?p=24474

By Amy Christie.

Candlelight is so inviting and comforting, especially on the chilly dark days of fall. What if you could include a little message with the candlelight?

This is such a fun project! Using basic plaster and simple materials, you can create the perfect gift for a someone you love. Give a romantic message to your sweetheart, or a collection of supportive notes for your best friend.


Supplies:

-plaster mix – I use Plaster of Paris
-water
-plastic mold – plastic deli containers are perfect
-circular spacer, slightly wider in diameter than your votive
-aluminum foil – wrap around spacer to make it easier to remove
-sand paper
-damp cloth
-quote(s), printed in reverse*

**Choose the quote and print it in reverse. An ink jet print proved to be the successful version, as the laser ink print did not transfer.

Mix the plaster, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Pour into the plastic mold.

Immediately tap to remove the air bubbles. Quickly, press the circular spacer into the wet plaster, deep enough so the votive can fit inside. Not too deep however or you will create a hole.

Allow the plaster to set.

When the plaster has hardened just enough, remove the spacer and remove the votive from the mold.

Use sand paper and a damp cloth to smooth the edges.

When the sanding and smoothing is complete, it’s time to move on to the transferring.

Collect the quote. Cut down the paper around the printed text.

Place the printed quote, print side down on the damp plaster and burnish with the damp cloth. You will know you are creating a good transfer when the print is clearly visible through the backside of the paper. This will ensure the ink is transferring to the plaster. You can check on your progress by gently peeling back the paper to peek while keeping it in place.

When the text is completely transferred, it’s time to dry.

Place the votives on a stack of paper. Make sure the one touching the votives has no print or the ink could transfer as well. Then place another stack of paper on top of the votives, again making sure a print-free piece is first. Place something with a little weight on top. I used some votive fails to stack on mine.

Allow to completely dry, rotating out the damp paper for new dry paper every 8 hours or so.

When they are completely dry, drop in a votive, turn off the lights and enjoy the candlelight.

THIS IDEA WOULD ALSO BE GREAT FOR:

- Super sweet parting gifts for guests at a wedding or shower.
- Replace the quotes with “Ho Ho Ho” or “Winter Wonderland” and give these as neighbor gifts during the holidays.
- Use literary quotes and give these out at your next bookclub.

P.S. — We love making gifts! You can find all the posts in this series here.

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The Perfect Gift: Yarn Ball Bookmark http://www.designmom.com/2012/10/the-perfect-gift-yarn-ball-bookmark/ http://www.designmom.com/2012/10/the-perfect-gift-yarn-ball-bookmark/#comments Mon, 22 Oct 2012 17:30:18 +0000 Amy Christie http://www.designmom.com/?p=24949

DIY pom pom bookmark

Created by Jane from See Jane Blog . Edited by Amy Christie.

Has the weather turned cold where you live? In my neighborhood, temperatures have dropped and my instincts are to spend the day cozied up with a favorite book and favorite mug full of hot cocoa. Are you the same? I’m sure you have many fellow book worms in your neighborhood, so I thought it would be fun to create a charming little bookmark that would make a great anytime gift for anyone that needs a little fall comfort.

DIY pom pom bookmark
DIY pom pom bookmark

It was actually my daughter’s clever idea to make yarn pom pom balls in the style of a bookmark. This is the perfect anytime gift because it’s affordable, easy to make, and turns out a fluffy ball of cuteness. It’s sure to improve the look of any book!

DIY pom pom bookmark

Supplies:
-yarn
-scissors

That’s it! You do want your scissors to be sharp, or the last step will be difficult. And you do not need any special tools for this pom pom ball – just your fingers!

*Before you start, cut an 8-10 inch piece of yarn and a 15 inch piece of yarn and set it aside. You will need these lengths in later steps.

DIY pom pom bookmark

To start, hold the end of the yarn in your hand, and begin wrapping the yarn around your fingers – snug but not too tight. We recommend wrapping the yarn 90 times.

DIY pom pom bookmark

Cut the yarn after 90 wraps, and carefully slide it off your fingers. Lay it down over the 8-10 inch piece of yarn. Tightly tie a knot around the middle of the 90 loops.

DIY pom pom bookmark

To add the bookmark ‘tail’, use the 15-inch piece of yarn, tie it around the same string you used to tie the 90 loops together, as seen in the pictures above.

DIY pom pom bookmark

At this point, your yarn pom pom ball should look like the picture above.

DIY pom pom bookmark

Next, holding the ball on it’s side, slide your scissors through the yarn loops and start cutting. Instant fluffy yarn!

DIY pom pom bookmark

This is what your pom pom will look like — it will start to resemble a ball, but is in dire need of a haircut!

DIY pom pom bookmark

Start snipping! {WARNING: be careful NOT to cut off the bookmark tail! Hold it out of the way while you snip.} With this step, you need to cut the yarn pom pom into the shape of a ball. Continue to turn and snip the yarn, looking at the ball from different angles while doing so. Keep rounding it off until you are pleased with the shape. This step does take practice, and you will improve with each ball you make.

DIY pom pom bookmark

Voila! Your pom pom ball will appear!

DIY pom pom bookmark
DIY pom pom bookmark

These bookmarks are sure to put a smile on any bookworm’s face, and the best part of this project is that kids can make them all by themselves!

THIS IDEA WOULD ALSO BE GREAT FOR:

- A gift for a teacher — just add a favorite book!
- A little gift for guests at your next book club gathering.
- A craft activity at a book-themed birthday party.

P.S. — We love making gifts! You can find all the posts in this series here.

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The Perfect Gift: Easy Zipper Pouch http://www.designmom.com/2012/10/perfect-gift-easy-zipper-pouch/ http://www.designmom.com/2012/10/perfect-gift-easy-zipper-pouch/#comments Mon, 15 Oct 2012 17:30:24 +0000 Amy Christie http://www.designmom.com/?p=24432

Super Easy Tutorial for a Zippered Pouch

By Amy Christie.

Gabrielle has mentioned that in France, her kids are required to carry pencil bags at school. So I thought it would be fun to create a DIY for a simple pencil bag in fun fabrics that could work for boys or girls. It would make a fun fall gift for your child.

But then I made some, and I’ve been using them for all sorts of tasks! Who doesn’t love a little pouch to zip up things in?

I’m going to tell you right now: Sewing is not my forté. Add zippers to the mix and I start sweating. But this little pouch only requires five lines of stitching. Five! That’s it! And two of them are for looks so if you nix those, you are down to three. If I can do it, so can you.




Try this tutorial, and I’m betting you’ll be adding pouches to purses, suitcases, and yes, backpacks too! Lets get started.

Supplies:

-inner and outer fabric, cut to size and pressed with an iron
-zipper
-thread
-scissors
-needle
-zipper foot — not necessary but beneficial
-iron

The dimensions of this pouch are 9 inches by 7 inches and the zipper is 9 inches.

1. Stack the fabric. First, lay down the outer fabric, right side up. Add the zipper, right side down. Top it with the inner fabric, right side down.

If you have a zipper foot, add it to your machine and sew the stack together.

2. Repeat the stack on the other side — the outer fabric, right side up, the zipper, right side down and the inner fabric, right side down.

Sew the stack together.

3. This detail is optional. Press the fabric around the zipper, get it to lay flat. With the regular sewing foot back on, topstitch on either side of the zipper, very close to the fold. It holds the fabric back from the zipper and gives it a finished look.

4. For the final leg of stiching, begin by unzipping the zipper half way.

Pull the outer fabric pieces together and pin. Do the same with the inner fabric pieces.

Using a 1/2 inch inseam, begin at the bottom of the inner fabric and sew all the way around the pouch, stopping to leave at least a three inch opening. Trim the threads.

Trim the corners and turn right side out.

5. Use a thread and needle and hand-stitch the opening closed at the bottom of the pouch.

Then you, my friend, have sewn a zippered pouch.

THIS IDEA WOULD ALSO BE GREAT FOR:

- A cosmetics pouch for your teenage daughter.
- A pouch with simple medicines (ibuprofen, pepto, bandaids) for a friend taking a big trip.
- A toy pouch filled with surprises for a car ride.

P.S. — We love making gifts! You can find all the posts in this series here.

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