AIM DIY: Finger Crochet a Round T-shirt Rag Rug

IMG_2201_roundtshirtrugFrom 2014-2016 I chronicled my crafty endeavors on the site Adventures-in-Making. I’ve selected a few of those DIY’s, Recipes, and other posts to share on the site.

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Despite my sister’s best efforts I’ve never been able to make sense of real crochet. The “finger crochet” method I describe below is something that came out of a lot of experimentation, but I’m guessing you fiber wizards could whip up something even better! If you’ve done a similar project, or have suggestions to make this DIY more clear, please feel free to tell us about it in the comments below.

When I finished re-weaving my t-shirt rug (updated photos at the bottom of that post) I figured out two important things.

  1. There is better way to cut a t-shirt into strips (fewer, longer strips.)
  2. Once you know how to cut t-shirts into long strips, no t-shirt is safe.

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Which translates to: I had a lot of leftover strips of jersey, and wanted to use them up! I started braiding, tying knots, and eventually settled on a method that can best be described as the frumpy cousin of crochet.

PREP: Cutting one long strip

Knotting small strips of jersey (demonstrated in the woven rug post) is time-consuming, so the longer the strip the better. After digging around a bit I found this video that shows how to turn a loop into one long strip.

IMG_2100_roundtshirtrugI started by cutting the large loop of the shirt from the top, and sliced across from one side, stopping about an inch from the other edge.


Then I slipped the loop over my arms, and starting at the end of one cut I cut diagonally towards the end of the next cut on the other side of the fabric. Then the whole thing unwound in a continuous strip.

MAKING THE RUG


To begin I tied a slip-knot near the end of the string by making a loop, reaching through and grabbing the strip, pulling it though and gently pulling to tighten. (There’s a great demonstration of a slip knot at the beginning of this video.)

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Then I reached through that loop, pinched the strip, and pulled it through to create my first chain stitch. (See steps 2 thru 4 on this Red Heart blog post). This whole project breaks down into pulling a new loop through an old loop.

I repeated this chain stitch about 5 times, then…


tucked the loose string end through the last chain stitch to loosely close the first set of chains into a circle.

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To connect the next ring of chains I pulled the next strip (navy) through two existing loops– the one I just made (pictured here closest to my thumb), and the inside of an earlier chain that lined up with my new one (closer to my fingertip).

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This way my newest loop connected my existing chain to the one inside of it. I then started a pattern of 3 chain stitches, 1 connecting stitch, 3 chain stitches, 1 connecting stitch, 3 chain stitches, 1 connecting stitch, 3 chain stitches, 1 connecting stitch, 3 chain stitches, 1 connecting stitch…

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going around and around the circle.

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When I ran out of strips, I pulled the end of my string through the last loop, and tucked it into the rug– because one day I will have more t-shirts to dismantle, and this rug will keep getting bigger!

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TIPS

  • As you are working, make sure not to pull your loops too tight, or stretch your chain when you’re doing a connecting stitch. The looser you work the flatter the rug will sit.
  • Different shirts will make thicker or thinner strings based on the thickness of their fabric. I opted for a very irregular look with lots of inconsistencies in my strips (width ranging from 1″ – 2″) but if you want a more regular look, stick with shirts of a similar weight, and cut your strips about 1.25″ wide.
  • If it’s looking weird, pull out your loops and start over! Once you get the hang of this version of finger crochet you’ll fly through this project, so you will quickly make up the time redoing it. Practice has never been more fun.
  • If you can, work for longish stretches to keep your tension consistent. This is a great “while watching tv or daydreaming” activity.
  • As always, plan to make one more rug than you have cats.

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AIM DIY: Paper Spiderwebs to Decorate Everything

From 2014-2016 I chronicled my crafty endeavors on the site Adventures-in-Making. I’ve selected a few of those DIY’s, Recipes, and other posts to share on the site.

Step by step this house is getting properly October spooky. I’m a big fan of decorating with the things I have around, and this collection of tarnished silver and moody ornaments needed one little touch, so I decided to make a spiderweb table runner out of scrap paper and a piece of ribbon.

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SUPPLIES

  • A few sheets of paper, any color you fancy. I used card stock, which was a bit trickier to cut but more durable in the long run.
  • Small clips or tape
  • Your favorite craft knife
  • A hole punch
  • Ribbon
  • The spiderweb templateaim_paperspiderweb

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Once you have printed the spiderweb template, use tape or the clips to secure it to a sheet or two of paper, and cut the spiderweb shape out with a craft knife. You will also punch holes where each X is.

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Cutting Tips

Start trimming the small center pieces out first and move to the large pieces. I actually cut all the inner pieces, then moved on the the next sheet of paper until I have enough pieces. Then I cut the outer shape out of several pieces at once using scissors.

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When you’ve cut out and punched all your pieces, weave a piece of ribbon in and out of the holes to connect several spiderwebs.

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I overlapped the corners of each spiderweb piece to make my table runner…

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and hung them all on one ribbon for a creepy spiderweb banner.

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The possibilities are, as they say, endless! I’m even thinking of creepy spiders to add to them.

The motionless, paper kind.

What’re you decorating with?

AIM DIY: Spookily Free and Easy Ghosts

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From 2014-2016 I chronicled my crafty endeavors on the site Adventures-in-Making. I’ve selected a few of those DIY’s, Recipes, and other posts to share on the site.

When I was a kid my mom came up with all sorts of awesome crafts for us to do, and being a typical goth-in-the-making I loved the halloween crafts most of all. One year we made cheesecloth ghosts with balloons and glue and it’s a project that has haunted me to this day.

I decided that I really wanted some ghost friends, but lacking balloons and cheesecloth I decided to make some up, Alison style. (IE: Free, Quick, and Fun.)

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SUPPLIES

  • At least a couple of feet of sheer or thin fabric – old sheets or window sheers work great!
  • All-purpose flour
  • Bottles: Soda, water, or wine. Glass or plastic.
  • Wire or wire coat hangers
  • Plastic bags
  • Rubber bands
  • Scissors
  • A bucket or bin to mix your flour paste in

Step 1: The Form

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To begin will make a simple armature out of wire (or out of a wire hanger). Cut a piece about 24″ long, and twist it together to form one big loop.

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Slip the loop over the neck of your bottle, and twist the arms slightly so that they sit securely on the bottle and point slightly upwards. Using a scrap piece of fabric or paper, form a ball shaped head over the neck of the bottle and secure it with a rubber band.

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To make the armature (form of the ghost) easier to remove, cover it with a plastic grocery bag, and secure it with a rubber band.

Measure the height of your ghost form from the base, across the head, and to the base on the back side. Cut a square of fabric this size to cover your form. (This is a great time to tear your fabric instead of cutting, if you want. Frayed edges are a bonus!)

Step 2: Stiffening and Forming the Fabric

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Although flour may not last forever when used as a paste, it works perfectly for a ghost that will only haunt your house for a year or two. Combine 4 parts water with 1 part all-purpose flour in a large container and mix well with your fingers. Soak your ghost fabric, and wring it gently.

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Spread the fabric over the ghost form, with a corner of the fabric pointing forwards.

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Using your creativity (and maybe a clip or two) shape the cloth as creepily as you want! (I loved adding a fold along the “hair line” so that it looked like my ghost was in a cloak.)

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If you’d like, remove some of the excess fabric from the “arms” of your ghost. (Make sure to leave fabric puddled at the front and back; this will ensure that your ghost will sit up when it’s all dry.)

Leave your new little friend to dry overnight, with a fan blowing if you can. When it’s completely dry, gently pull the bottle form out of the stiff fabric. (If it’s not firm enough to stand, you can mix up some more of the flour and water and paint it onto your fabric while it’s still on the form. You may want to use a higher ratio of flour to water.)

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Boo!

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If you’re feeling extra crafty, you can paint right on your ghosts with watercolor or acrylic paints. I have some scary plans for one of mine.

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Use What You’ve Got!

If you don’t have scraps of fabric lying around, this project is also fun with thin paper, tissue paper, or even paper towels. Just make one adjustment: instead of soaking the paper in your paste, lay the paper across your form and paint the paste on with your fingers or a craft paint brush. Saturate the paper slowly and let it fall again the form. You can add multiple layers of paper for more texture (like the tissue paper ghost above) and even cut out a mouth and eyes!

Stick an LED “candle” in it, and things get even creepier!

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Scary Ghost Sound!

What’s frightening you this season?

AIM DIY: No Sew Woven T-Shirt Rag Rug

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From 2014-2016 I chronicled my crafty endeavors on the site Adventures-in-Making. I’ve selected a few of those DIY’s, Recipes, and other posts to share on the site.

A couple of months ago I tore up the carpet in my office and replaced it with a wood-ish surface. It’s been great through these warm months, but I want something to stand on when the cold sneaks in. Couple that need with a stack of t-shirts left over from the quilt project, and you have my newest best friend, the t-shirt rag rug.

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I built a 30″x30″ make-shift loom out of a piece of plywood and scrap wood, but if you search online you can find frames built from pretty much anything. (A Beautiful Mess used cotton scraps and a big piece of cardboard. Also, Pinterest)

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I put nails along each end, 1 inch apart. Good hammer practice for a hammer novice.

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With the loom assembled, I moved to materials.

SUPPLIES

Stripping

The rug was built with 1.5″ loops for the warp (base strips) of my rug, and 1.75″ strips woven through.

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I used a large straight rotary blade and a metal ruler to cut three navy shirts into the 1.5″ loops, then cut the rest of the shirts into 1.75″ strips. (This is a very forgiving fabric, so estimation is ok!)

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I hooked the navy warp pieces on each side of the loom using the natural loop and stretch of the t-shirt.

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I prepared to weave by attaching the first strip to the first warp loop. I cut a slit in one end of the strip, fed the other end around the first warp piece and back through the slit. Then I pulled it tightly and began to weave.

Not a normal knot.

I connected a lot of strips to finish this rug using the method shown below. It’s quick and tidy, and ensured you don’t have a lot of extra bulk at your connection points.

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  1. Cut a small slit in the ends of each strip.
  2. Feed the new strip into the hole at the end of the other.
  3. Take the other end of the new strip and feed it through the slit on the same strip.
  4. Pull on the new end to tighten the knot. Smooth or trim extra material if needed.

(The video below shows how I knotted at the end of a strip.)

Now Weave!

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Starting at that first warp piece, I wove in and out of each loop to the end of the loom. At the end I wrapped either over or under the last piece to start back down the loom. The second strand went over the strands that the first went under, and vice versa.

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From there it was basically rinse and repeat. I wove back and forth, connecting strips and changing colors.

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When possible I fed the strip through the warp flat, then pulled it down with my fingers to bunch it up.

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The pattern and color combination were very important to me, and I got more and more excited as I worked on it. When I put the final strip in, I tied it off using a normal knot on the last piece of navy.

Finishing it off

Here’s where I admit this rug is really just a gigantic pot holder, and I finished it off the same way. I pulled the first warp loop free and fed the second through it, then fed the third through that one, and so on down the line. (Video Below)

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Once I was down to the last two loops, I changed tactics. I cut the loop of the last piece, fed one strip through the second to last loop and tied it off.

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I did the same thing on the other end and suddenly had a rug in front of me.

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After basking in the last moments of sunshine, I rolled up the rug and brought it inside.

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Where it was immediately claimed by another friend…

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Cooper.

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Looks like I’ll have to weave another rug for myself.

Next Time

  • The next rug will be bigger. Once I took this one off the loom it shrunk down a bit, and I love it too much for it to be small.
  • I won’t pull the woven strands as tightly, which will hopefully help with the shrinking.
  • Maybe I’ll try non-stretch cotton scraps?
  • I will plan to move the loom frame around a lot, and possibly rig up some way of leaning it upright while I’m weaving. Working flat gave me a back-ache.
  • I will take it in little batches, weaving in front of the tv or in public. If I weave in public I will look very serious about turning scraps into a comfy rug.

A sign of a successful project is the ability to look forward to the next one.

UPDATE: I enjoyed this project so much that I decided to remake this rug- BIGGER! I built a much larger loom using scrap wood and screws, then followed the same process to build this monstrosity. It sits cozily by my work table now, warms my feet, and makes me happy.

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AIM DIY: Build a Box and Lid

IMG_1006_buildaboxFrom 2014-2016 I chronicled my crafty endeavors on the site Adventures-in-Making. I’ve selected a few of those DIY’s, Recipes, and other posts to share on the site.

I love putting my creative instincts to good use in a 3d world, and that means I get a kick out of building boxes. There’s something magical about turning a little chipboard or cardboard and a little tape into a functional container, and it seems like I have plenty of opportunities to do just that.

The basics of building a box with a lid (which I call a hatbox) are very basic indeed. I drew up a little sample sheet with the very simplest version. Use cardboard or chipboard, scissors or a craft knife, and your favorite tape.


My challenge today was building a gift box for a set of wine glasses. (Recognize the etching process?)

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I measured the length, depth, and height of the set, and got my favorite materials out.IMG_0916_buildabox

SUPPLIES

  • Chipboard Pieces
  • Gummed Paper Tape – I like working with this kind of tape when I’m using chipboard or cardboard. It starts out un-tacky, and when you wet it with a sponge it is like you poured a whole bunch of glue on it. It can be kind of messy, but you can shift it around until it dries, making it very forgiving.
  • Craft Knife
  • Scissors
  • Ruler

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First I cut the 5 pieces for the bottom of the box, and pieces of tape for each seam.

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Since I knew some of the tape would show on the final box, I made sure to cut an angle on any piece of tape that overlapped another piece- especially on corners.

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To place the tape correctly on the board, I first laid the board out perfectly on my mat. I left a board’s width between each piece to allow for them to fold.

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I used a wet rag moisten each piece where I needed it, then attached the tape pieces to my boards.

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I’ve outlined my tape pieces here. The first pieces I placed were the a’s, then I moved on to b, then c.

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I flipped the whole thing over, and started folding up and taping the sides (applying more water to keep the tape sticky and smoothing out any bubbles.)

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With the bottom portion of the box completed, I measured the outside of the completed box and added about 1/8 of an inch to allow the lid to close easily. I chose 5″ at the height of the lid, and built another box like the first, using those dimensions.

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I’m a big fan of a simple kraft colored box, but since this was a gift, I wanted to add a little pizazz. I printed a design on card stock, and cut it down to fit each side of the box lid. I used spray mount to adhere it to the box.

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Then added a little ribbon, a card…
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and a divider inside to kept the glasses from clanking.

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I’m super happy with the way this box turned out– a perfect fit for gifting and storing the glasses.

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I hope you can build off the simple instruction sheet to create the perfect home for your treasures, and of course some treasures for your home.

AIM DIY: Marble Paper with Oil Paints

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From 2014-2016 I chronicled my crafty endeavors on the site Adventures-in-Making. I’ve selected a few of those DIY’s, Recipes, and other posts to share on the site.

Whenever Rachel and I get together there is always a lot of making. We hang out, paint, draw, and then we party (ie: DIY TIMES). In anticipation for this visit, we made lists of possible crafts, and “Paper Marbling” appeared on both lists. Done!

We’d seen several methods, but we had almost all the supplies to marble with oil paints so we decided to try that out first. Having the best oil paints can make creating these easier. But it was a long, fun day; full of “oooooh” and “aaaaahhh,” sunshine, and turpentine fumes. We wanted to share our method and tips with you, so that you can make your own marble marvel.

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Basic Supplies

  • Oil Paint Colors – cheap oil paints should work just fine, we used the M. Graham paints we had on hand.
  • Turpentine – Easily found at a hardware store.
  • Big plastic bin to float the paint in
  • Small containers to mix paint colors and turpentine
  • Cardstock (We loved the colored card stock best!)
  • Disposable bamboo skewers or spoons for stirring
  • Nitrile Gloves

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Step 1: Prep

Before we got started we made a comb by taping toothpicks into a small strip of card stock. The comb was handy for pulling through the colors, and encouraging more “swirly bits.”

We set up our marbling table outside, which I recommend highly. You want to use a table or cover that it’s okay to get paint on. This is a messy craft, to be sure. We set out a tarp for drying our finished papers, put on our gloves and starting mixing things up.

We filled two plastic bins with about an inch or water and set them aside. Then we put out several colors of oil paints in our mixing containers.

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It was a little trick to get the right mix of turpentine and paint, initially. We discovered that the ideal texture was somewhere around the thickness of whole milk.

marbledpaper_IMG_0740We added turpentine to the paint containers in small pours, and mixed it thoroughly with a bamboo skewer. If we needed to add more turpentine we did it as soon as we had the paint mixed to a consistent texture.

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Step 2: Pouring the Paint

Then we just poured the paints on top of the water! Simple. Sometimes we did little drops, sometimes we just chunked it all in.

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Our first batch of color was always full of the same color family, so that as the colors mixed in the water we didn’t end up with a bunch of brown paper. (Towards the end we got a little more daring, and had great results adding in complementary colors to the batches.)

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We got a lot of mileage out of our toothpick combs, pulling them through the paint to swirl the colors together.

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Step 3: Dipping the Papers

Once we were happy with a design, we laid the card stock quickly on top of the swirled colors, and removed it as delicately as we could. (Rachel had a great dunking method that involved bending the card stock down the middle– hamburger style– then rolling down from the middle to the outside edges before lifting from the water.)

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Tada! It was amazing how unpredictable the results were. What you saw on the water might not be at all what showed up on the paper. We loved the look we got towards the end, when there was less paint and it all seemed to be thinner.

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We did two different color stories, one was reds and golds and one was blues and greens. The reds tended to get a little “gory” at times, but looked beautiful on colored papers.

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Step 4: Drying and Future Projects with Marbly Goodness

We laid the paged out for a few hours, while we cleaned all the paint up. When we were ready to go inside we stacked the sheets and set them aside to dry. It took a good 5 days for the oil to be dry to the touch, but now they are, and I have all kinds of ideas about what to do with my collection.

Maybe I’ll revisit an old DIY, what do you think?

The possibilities are endless. I’m okay with that.

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Things We Learned

  • Working outside is key. The Turpentine is kinda smelly, and even with a light breeze we felt like we were standing in the fumes. Working outside also made cleanup a lot easier, with a big trash can and a hose available. Make sure to dispose of turpentine properly!
  • Initially we tried thinning the oil paint with walnut oil, but it did not allow the paint to spread out across the water. We had to drop everything and head to the store for turpentine to make the project come together. I have seen a couple of recommendations online for turpentine alternatives, but we didn’t try any (after the oil fiasco.)
  • If your paint drops to the bottom instead of floating, add a little more turpentine.
  • Sometimes less paint is better. I loved the last sheets we printed from each batch.
  • Opaque paint on black paper is tres cool.
  • Each sheet is cooler than the last, which means you won’t ever want to stop. Ever.

AIM DIY: The Simplest Paper Flowers

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From 2014-2016 I chronicled my crafty endeavors on the site Adventures-in-Making. I’ve selected a few of those DIY’s, Recipes, and other posts to share on the site.

A while back my friend Susan made a bunch of simple paper flowers that found a home on a shelf in my store.

Every few weeks a kid would ask me about the flowers, and I would give them one and tell them to take it home and try to figure out how to make their own. Without fail the kid would stare at the flower until it was time to leave, and I could see the parents trying to work out what materials they needed to make it happen.

Sometimes they asked me to demonstrate, but mostly I just loved the idea that I had inspired a kiddo to use their imagination and ingenuity to make something fun.

I think this is a great project to do with kids of all ages, and you just need a few simple supplies to make it happen.

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Supplies

• Scrap Paper – Anything from text weight paper, to light weight card stock will work. Big pieces will make big flowers, small pieces will make small flowers. Susan used some old book pages for her flowers, you could use wrapping paper, catalog pages, or anything really!
• Scissors
• Your favorite glue – I used Aleene’s Tacky Glue but Elmer’s would also work.

Step 1

Cut an oval out of your piece of paper. It doesn’t have to be perfect, but try to keep the corners rounded.

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Step 2

Starting from one side, cut the oval into a spiral. You should have a pointed end on the outside, and a rounded end on the other.

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Step 3

Take the pointed end, and fold it down toward the center of the spiral.

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Step 4

Starting at that fold, begin rolling the paper into a flower shape.

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Step 5

When you get to the center portion of the spiral, tighten the bloom up by twisting the paper around the folded piece.

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Step 6

Hold the bloom in your hand, and apply a drop of glue to the folded portion you started the flower with, then

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fold it over and hold it for a few seconds until the glue holds.
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The whole process takes a couple of minutes, and gives you a lovely simple flower to brighten up your day. You can put them in a basket, like I did, hang them like a mobile, or decorate a table with them. They don’t fade, and the possibilities are endless!

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So make a bunch and send us a picture of your creation for the DIY Craft Challenge this month! Or share your favorite flower craft.

AIM DIY: Simple Flowers from Old T-Shirts + Free Templates


From 2014-2016 I chronicled my crafty endeavors on the site Adventures-in-Making. I’ve selected a few of those DIY’s, Recipes, and other posts to share on the site.

I’ve been in a major cleaning and organization mood, so most of my projects have been focused on “using up” materials I have around. One giant project used a bin full of old printed t-shirts (I’ll show you when I’m done!) and I ended up with so many colorful t-shirt scraps that I over-ran my rag box. I decided it was a perfect time to combine those scraps, and the May DIY Challenge theme to make some simple jersey flowers.

After playing with the fabric for a day or two, I came up with two basic flower-making methods that you can use to make a whole army of blossoms.

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Supplies

• T-Shirt or jersey scraps
• Fabric scissors and paper scissors
• Needle and thread
• These printed template files : Stitch & Draw-up Petal Template, Pinch & Piece Petal Template

Optional Extras

• Shredding scissors, or other decorative edging scissors
• Straight pins
• Buttons
• Felt for leaves and backing. I used wide grosgrain ribbon.
• Pin-backs, bobby pins, or other clips to attach to the back
• Fabric Paints, or floss, or other decorating tools.

The Stitch & Draw-up Method

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This is by far the quickest way I made flowers, and was also especially useful for adding details to the center of other flowers, or for making the smallest simplest bonus blooms to add to a flower bunch. The template includes two example petal shapes to play with, and a feathered shape that I used for a center detail. It works with basically any shape you want to use, though, so be sure to try your own ideas for rows of petals.

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Step One

Cut the template shape out of a piece of jersey. (This is from the arm of a t-shirt.)

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Then stitch a loose line starting close to one edge and ending close to the other.

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Step Two

Put a stitch through the end you started on, to pull it into a ring.

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Step Three

Pull both ends of the thread to gather the fabric into a round shape. Make sure the extra puckered fabric from below your stitch line if on one side of the flower.

Step Four

Take a couple more stitches through the puckered side of the flower (which will be the back side, tie your favorite knot, and cut the thread.

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Step Five

Flip the flower over and add a button or other decoration. You can also stitch a clip or pin to the back side.  I put a button in the center of this one by stitching through the middle of the bloom,

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and added a couple of leaf-shaped pieces and a piece of ribbon to the back, by stitching them through the back of the petal.

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Voila, a quick simple flower that I can use on a package, as a pin, or in my hair. (Or all of the above.)

The Pinch & Piece Method

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This method takes a little more work, but I loved the way it makes a fuller and more complicated flower shape. I’ve given you four petal shapes to try on the template– each with a different number of petals per flower– but you can try all sorts of shapes for different results.

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Step One

Cut the indicated number of petal pieces out of jersey material. For this flower, I also used the “Center Detail” piece from the other template page to create a fuzzy center for my flower (shown above in dark purple.)

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Step Two

Stitch a loose line across the middle of each the petal (shown as a dotted line on the template) starting close to one edge and ending close to the other.

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Put a stitch through the end you started on, and pull to gather the fabric.

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Step Three

Bend the petal piece in half, and put a stitch in the fold. Then do the same to each petal to connect them all together. Tighten them together, and tie a knot at the first petal.

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Step Four

Wrap your thread between each petal  section to draw the center together and fluff the petals out. Then stitch through the back of the flower, & tie off the thread using your favorite knot. For the center on this flower, I used the “Stitch and Draw-up” method on my dark purple center detail piece, and then sewed through it and the center of my bloom. I attached a leaf shape and a piece of ribbon to the back like my first flower, and used that to bobby pin it in my hair.

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I’ve started flipping through my flower books for inspiration, and I love the flexibility and the whimsy of using old t-shirts like this.

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Soft, sweet, flowers.

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Remember that if you do this or any other flower project, send us a picture to enter the May DIY Craft Challenge.

AIM DIY: Scrap Paper Ironwork Letter

IMG_6993From 2014-2016 I chronicled my crafty endeavors on the site Adventures-in-Making. I’ve selected a few of those DIY’s, Recipes, and other posts to share on the site.

I’ve been playing with black card stock a lot lately, which deposited a nice collection of paper scraps in my “use it this week or dump it” pile. I decided to use the Diy Craft Challenge as an inspiration to use them, and play with another thing that’s been catching my eye– quilling. (Although, in typical fashion I looked up a couple of tutorials on You Tube, promptly forgot what I learned, and did things my own way.)

Supplies

• A 5×7 Frame without glass, painted black to match the paper
• A print of a favorite letter, sized to fit inside the frame (I printed my letter backwards using a setting on my printer called “emulsion side up”. It works just fine to print it the right way round, you just might have to erase your tracing paper lines.)
• Black paper (I used 100# Cardstock)
• Tracing paper
• A piece of cork to pin to (A cork trivet like this works, or a bulletin board or pinning board. Styrofoam also works in a pinch.)
• Straight pins
• A few toothpicks
• Tacky glue
• A craft knife and ruler

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First I measured the depth of the frame, and cut a bunch of strips of paper that width using a craft knife and scissors.

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I cut the paper against the grain so that it would curl as evenly as possible. (Grain is very important, especially when working with thicker papers. For a little more about grain, and to find the grain on the paper you are using, check out yesterday’s post.) You will use less of the paper than you think, but it’s better to have too many strips of paper than too few! (I used about 15 pieces of 8″ lengths for mine.)


I used tracing paper to trace my letter onto a larger piece of black card stock,

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then carefully cut it out with a craft knife.

IMG_6819Next step was to outline my letter with a strip of paper. I dipped a toothpick in a pond of glue and drew a light line of glue down the center of a strip of paper.

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Then I slowly wrapped the paper around the letter, holding the piece down to give it time to attach. At sharp angles I either folded the paper (if I could) or tore the strip and started a new one there. This task is finicky, but forgiving. I found that as long as I went slow and worked with the paper, it turned out fine.

IMG_6830I made sure to outline the whole letter, then I gave it a few minutes to rest and dry.


Once it was mostly dry, I moved to my cork backing. I used straight pins to firmly place my black frame so that it would not shift around on the cork, and decided where I wanted my letter to fit in.

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I applied glue with a toothpick all the places my letter touched the frame, then used pins to secure it as well. I set pins up against the letter wherever it felt like it might flex or slide.

Finnicky steps done, now to the decoration!


To make the various curls I used inside the frame, first I ran the strip against my nail to loosen it up a little. (Kind of like curling that terrible plastic curling ribbon) Then I wrapped it around a clean toothpick to get the size curl I wanted. I also played with folding then curling, curling multiple pieces, and curling different ways. I basically went curl crazy.

IMG_6867When I had a nice pile of curls to choose from, I was ready to place and glue them.

Gently I squeezed each curl in place, and used my glue-toothpick to apply glue to any place a curl touched another part of the piece. I left the space around the letter pretty open so that the R would stand out. When I had everything glued in, I let the whole thing sit for an hour to let the glue dry.

IMG_6985bI really love the way these turned out. They’re crafty, but classy, and they are now hanging in our guest room for our two most frequent guests.

I bet you can do even better! You still have a few days to enter our DIY Craft Challenge by March 30th.

AIM DIY: Quick and Easy Faux-Etched Letter Frame

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From 2014-2016 I chronicled my crafty endeavors on the site Adventures-in-Making. I’ve selected a few of those DIY’s, Recipes, and other posts to share on the site.

I love the look of etched glass, but I try not to use my dremel on anything too delicate. When I rediscovered this awesome Window Film I knew exactly the project I wanted to do.

Want to make you own?
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Supplies

• Etched Glass Window Film: The version linked here uses water to cling to glass, which makes it repositionable, removable, and amazing.
• A printout of the letter you want to use.
• Transfer paper (or any other means of getting the design on the backer)
• A craft knife
• A frame with glass or plexiglass

IMG_6655First cut off a small piece of the film, remove the backer, and set aside. Lay your letter template on top of the backer with a piece of transfer paper in the middle. Hold your stack firmly and trace all the way around the letter.

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When you have your design on the backer, reattach the film by smoothing it down with your thumbnail until it it well attached. Using the template lines you can see through the film, cut the design out carefully with a craft knife, then remove the backer.

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Follow the instructions included with your film to attach it to the frame’s glass. (I put a thin layer of water down on the glass, laid the letter down, and used my nail to smooth out all the bubbles.)

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Voila! Quick and easy “etched” decoration for your picture frame.

IMG_6692 IMG_6717What’re you doing with letters?