AIM DIY: Playing Card Ornaments

IMG_3564_playingcardornamentsFrom 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.

An old deck of cards in one hand, and the perfect Christmas Tree outside… something weird’s gonna happen.

We love games at this house. Card games, board games… you name it. I love to buy my children card games for Christmas or on their birthday as we love being able to play games with each other as a family. There are so many different card games out there that 8 year olds love to play with and so I try and find ones that are suitable for their age. We enjoy playing with them that much that I’m replacing them more regularly than I’d like to be. I don’t love worn-out cards, though, so I’ve been looking for a clever way of getting rid of a couple of our older decks. After playing with strips of paper as Christmas ornaments, I started thinking about ways to turn flat cards into 3-d shapes. Internet searches gave me a few options, including this great tutorial for making ornaments out of MTG playing cards. After following the tutorial, I made a couple of tweaks and ended up with another great collection of ornaments for our outdoor holiday tree.



  • A deck of cards
  • Thin-ish wire: I used 22 Gauge floral wire
  • Assorted beads or buttons: Make sure the wire will fit through the holes.
  • Wire clippers and pliers
  • Craft knife or paper cutter
  • Awl or large needle for piercing cards
  • Ribbon or string

To begin you will cut several playing cards into 1/2″ strips. Choose 16 of those pieces to turn into your first ornament.

Poke a hole, at the bottom and top of each piece, approximately 1/4″ from the end. (You should be able to pierce through multiple cards at once.)

Trim a length of wire, approximately 10″ long, and put a small loop in one end. String at least one bead as a stopper, then start feeding your card pieces on, one at a time. This will be the bottom of your ornament, and the side showing from the bottom (shown above) will be the side of the card facing out on your ornament.

The red side will be hidden on the inside of this ornament.

Once you have all your card pieces fed on the wire, add about 1-1/2″ of beads as spacers.

Starting with the bottom piece of card, gently feed the wire through the pierced hole at the other end.

Do the same with the next lowest piece of card, letting it rest against one side. Repeat with the next lowest piece of card EXCEPT let it rest on the other side of the center.

Repeat this action on each piece, going back and forth between each side of the ornament. It should begin to form a sphere.

There should be just enough space to feed the last (most interior) piece through. If you feel like the pieces are too cramped, you may want to gently tear a piece or two off your wire.

When you have all the pieces wrapped back around, add another bead or two, make a loop in the wire, and trim. Feed a ribbon through the loop, and you have a nifty ornament!



Other things to try

  • Make the spacer inside the ornament longer for a more spherical ornament, or make it shorter for a more compressed “space saucer” ornament. The different shapes will need a slightly different number of card pieces, but I’ve found that they all use between 14 and 16 pieces.
  • String two ornaments on the same wire for a more complex shape.
  • Mix and match back pieces and front pieces for a striped pattern.
  • String an extra piece of beaded wire or string to the bottom of the ornament for even more decoration.
  • Go crazy with bead spacers and see what happens.

What do you think? Trash to treasure?

AIM DIY: Herb and Spice Gift Wrap

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 getting a lot of questions lately about my lettering, and a few poor souls have even asked if I teach a class (HA!). I tell everyone the same thing– my lettering has improved over the past year because I’ve been practicing. I know, that sounds like a cop-out, but it’s true! I’ve been making signs and chalkboards for the store, lettering in my prints, and wearing through Prismacolors like nobody’s business.

The key, for me, if to cut myself some slack while I’m practicing. Doodling letters is swell, and I take any opportunity to write words in weird ways.

This wrapping paper is a perfect example. I wanted to come up with a simple way to wrap a couple of small gifts, and went to the (very soggy) garden for inspiration. The remaining herbs were so pungent and gorgeous that I decided to use them as accents on a basic brown paper wrapping.

The whole thing’s pretty simple, and I’m sure you could come up with something even more special. The point is, I was able to mess around with letters and words without feeling too self-conscious. It’s just wrapping paper, and the herbs take center stage.

For the second gift, I made a tall bag with a few materials, and I thought I’d share my process.


Supplies I Used

• Plain brown kraft paper – you could also repurpose a grocery bag.
• Fresh herbs from the garden
• White Prismacolor Pencil
• Flour & water to form a paste. You can also use glue, of course!
• Scissors
• Pencil
• A can of spray paint as a base form

First I traced the base of the can to form the bottom of my bag…

and cut out the circle, about 1/4 inch inside my line.

I then measured the can and cut out a piece of paper for the main part of the bag, leaving myself about 2 inches of extra height to wrap along the bottom and enough width to cover the whole can with a little overlap.

I made a fold at that 2 inch mark, and cut a little fringe into that end (the bottom.) You’ll see why in a second.

I used my trusty white pencil to doodle words all over the paper.

I’ve started using a flour paste for a lot of paper projects, lately. Here I used about equal parts water and flour, mixed well, and applied with a cheap paintbrush.

I wrapped the paper around my spray paint can and painted both edges with my paste…

then began folding the fringe pieces down. Once those were down I painted them, and the round bottom piece with paste…

applied like so, and left to dry.

After it was completely dry (a few hours later) I trimmed the top of the bag, and filled it with my gift, and a little tissue paper.

Simple directions for a unique bag- and a great way to work on those lettering skills.

Are you inspired by herbs, like I am? Don’t forget to share you spice & herb work with us for our November DIY Challenge! We’d love to see what you think up.

(You know, keep life spicy.)

AIM DIY: Number Etched Drinking Jars


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 used to have a set of numbered glasses that I loved. Each was marked (1-6) with a decal. When people would visit, I would give each their own number, so they wouldn’t mix up glasses. It was lovely.

Unfortunately it’s a partial set now, because they were delicate, and I am clumsy.

It’s been my goal to replace them for some time. So that was my first project when I got the Dremel etching underway.

Supplies Needed

Dremel Micro rotary tool, or similar.
• A Dremel Diamond Wheel Point Bit.
** UPDATED 12/14 – I’ve since started using two different diamond bits with more success. 7105 Diamond Ball Point and 7103 5/64-Inch Diamond Wheel Point
• Printed Number Templates (described below)
• Scissors
• Tape
• Unlabeled Glass Jars – mason or other. I have used salsa jars for my glasses.
• Optional – Sharpie to trace template onto glass.

Safety First

Refer to your tool manual. I have listed my safety gear below, but it might not be adequate for your setup. Take all the precautions you can, and be ready to pay attention to what you’re doing.
• A respirator or dust mask.
• Safety goggles or Safety Glasses.

Tool Tips

• Practice a little bit with the tool to get an understanding of how it works on glass.
• Higher speeds seem to work best on glass.
• Build a jig to hold your glass in place while you work on it. I used a piece of plywood with scrap “rails” attached to it. My jig is painted black so I can easily see my project.
• Rubberized gloves may make it easier for you to hold onto your jar.
• Remember not to etch too deeply into the glass. Don’t hold the bit in one place for too long. Your goal is to make a pattern that is just barely felt when you run your finger across it.

Measure your glass and decide how large you would like your number to be. (I decided that a 2.5 inch number would be perfect. That’s roughly 180 pt.) Choose your size, and type numbers in your favorite font. Make sure to leave some extra space to cut the templates apart.

Cut the numbers into strips that will fit easily within your glass. You want the paper to be pressed as closely to the glass as possible.

Use a little tape to hold the paper template in place.

Now it’s time to etch! First take a good look at your number and make sure it’s straight and located where you want. You will notice that the thickness of the glass will affect the way you see your template from different angles, and it may be difficult to trace the number perfectly. If you like, you can trace the number on the glass with a Sharpie to make sure you have the shape just right. (The Sharpie mark will come off easily after you are done etching.)

Your first etching step (shown above) is to make a light outline of your number, using the pointed end of the bit and a very soft touch.  Try to keep as straight-on to your template as possible– and cut yourself some slack. These are going to be awesome even if you have a stray line or two.

Once you have outlined the whole number lightly, remove the template and retrace the number to thicken up your outline. Hold the bit close to parallel with the surface of the glass to get a thicker, more consistent, line.

If you are happy with the shape of your outline, move on to outline the other numbers you would like to do in the same way.

Voila! You have numbered glasses! But don’t stop there…

Using the pointed end of the bit, add small designs and lines to the inside of your number. These little additions will look fun, camouflage any mistakes you made with the outline, and make the numbers pop-out on the glass. (This was my favorite part of the whole project. Any opportunity to doodle.)

IMG_2986I’m excited to show off my new glasses, and love that I turned something that should have been recycled into something I can use for years.

Other symbols to try

• Initial Letters for the people who visit often, or to give as gifts.
• Card Suits for game night (Which drink is trump?)
• Astrological Symbols
• Different Speech Bubbles
• Animal Silhouettes
• Punctuation marks (which I love)

What would you make?