Knockoff Anthropologie Zebra Head

I first came across this Anthropologie zebra head when I was searching on Pinterest for black and white decorated spaces, and I fell in love.

Anthro Savannah Story Bust

I’ve also seen some pretty cute examples of stuffed (TOY!) animal heads for kids rooms, like this one from We Lived Happily Ever After. Seriously, how adorable is this deer head with the floral crown?!

WLHEA DIY Deer Head

Anyway, when I decided to do our third bedroom in a black and white colour scheme, I knew I had to have that zebra as part of the wall decor. As I discovered when I was shopping for lighting, coveting things that are only available in USD can be very pricey for us Canucks… and I am not anxious to repeat that experience. I came this close to placing the order, but it would have come to over $100 CAD after taxes and shipping. Major sad face. At this point in time I just can’t justify that kind of expense for wall art, so I put my DIY thinking cap on and got to Googling.

Now, I have never been very good at art. The only things I could ever draw well were geometric patterns, and my sister is the painter in the family. I was apprehensive about how this would turn out, but I figured all I had to lose was some old newspaper and a few hours of my life! I found two great tutorials from Lil Blue Boo and A Sharper Focus that took me through the major steps, and then I adjusted as I went to make it look how I wanted.

lil blue boo animal head tutorial

a sharper focus tutorial

I actually can’t believe how well it turned out for being made almost entirely out of crap I had lying around the house- masking tape, newspapers, flour, and paper towels. The only things I didn’t have on hand were Mod Podge and black paint, but I managed to borrow them from a friend, so I literally did not spend a dime on this. I’m not saying it turned out perfectly, but for that price…

collage

… I think it looks pretty damn good!

Do you have any great knock-off DIY hacks to share? It’s so satisfying to know I saved myself $100!

-C

Acetone Transfer Tutorial

How to make a custom wedding monogram print

Wheee! Every now and then I find a project that is simple, cheap, and turns out great. This was one of them. I had previously posted about using iron on transfers to make a cute framed print, but I’m not crazy about the glue left behind from the transfer. Then my husband told me that you could use a solvent to transfer laser printed images (I’m pretty sure his motivation was not entirely altruistic… I kept threatening to try the direct inkjet print technique and I think he was scared I would break the printer) and so I set out to try it.

Note: Only a laser printer will work for this. The solvent dissolves the toner, and then you rub the back of the paper to transfer the dissolved image on to an absorbent surface, like fabric.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Acetone or lacquer thinner* (I used acetone… we’re talking full-strength)
  • Small glass bowl for the acetone/thinner
  • Image printed on a laser printer
  • Material you want to print on, like canvas or burlap
  • Iron-on fabric stabilizer (optional, but it will keep the print from looking floppy)
  • Paintbrush
  • Fine-tip Sharpie marker for touch up (optional)
  • Burnishing tool, or a spoon in a pinch
  • Tape
  • Ruler or measuring tape
  • Iron
  • Non-porous hard surface to work on, like a baking pan

*use in a properly ventilated area, especially if using the lacquer thinner! As always when working with chemicals, make sure you take protective measures and use safely.

transfer 1_watermarked

1) Iron the fabric and figure out where you want to place the transfer. Tape it in place on all sides, and brush acetone over the image (the acetone will probably make the tape not stick super well, so be careful not to touch it and keep a hand on the back of the paper). If you have a large image, you’ll want to do it a section at a time, because the acetone will evaporate quickly.

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2) Quickly burnish (rub) the image to transfer it from the paper to the fabric. Pay close attention to areas that are more finely detailed (like text). Stop burnishing once the acetone has evaporated.

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3) If you want to touch up any areas, re-apply acetone and burnish again- just make sure the paper hasn’t moved. Then, peel and admire! If the image didn’t transfer perfectly, you can cheat and use a fine-tip sharpie to fill it in.

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4) If using the fabric stabilizer, iron on the back of the fabric print. You could even hot glue it to a piece of cardboard. Cut to size for your frame of choice, and you’re done!

Compared to the iron-on transfer I did, it’s a little bit more faded. The transfer doesn’t go on with the same sharp, black lines. BUT there is no glue residue, and I like the faded look! It looks even more like a vintage grain sack this way.

transfer 5_watermarked

Love it! What do you think, any other ideas for what I could transfer next? I have a lot of acetone left…

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Whale Baby Mobile Tutorial

whale baby mobile tutorial from DearDIY.com

After I made the felt fishies mobile for my nephew, I was itching to try another one- and a good friend of mine just happened to be expecting. I am so, so excited to finally have it done! I have been working on it for about two months now, a little bit each day. And I must say it turned out as adorably as I was hoping.

She wanted a whale/beach theme for the nursery, so we brainstormed and swapped pictures of mobiles that we found on Etsy and Pinterest. Since she knew it was a boy, we went with navy blue/light blue/yellow for the colours. She pretty much gave me creative control (hope she doesn’t regret it!) and I opted to try to recreate this one that I found from the Etsy shop hingmade:

hingmade whale mobile

I made a few changes to mine from the picture above: I used an embroidery hoop to hang it instead of the crossbars, skipped the fins and the water spouts (except for a water spout on the centre whale), used a thin white ribbon instead of white string to hang it, and used 6 smaller whales on the periphery instead of 4 large ones. And I am THRILLED with how it turned out!

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I’m going to share how I made it, so you can make one too!

Whale Baby Mobile

Supplies you will need:

  • Felt in different colours of your choosing
  • Sturdy paper to print out templates
  • Pins
  • Thread to match the felt
  • Clear wax (optional but makes hand sewing easier)
  • Buttons for eyes, if using; or contrasting thread colour
  • Batting
  • String, yarn, or thin ribbon to hang mobile
  • Embroidery hoop (I removed the hoop with the screw and used the inner one, which I spray painted white)
  • Hot glue

Instructions

  1. Cut out fish and whale shapes from felt of your choosing using the templates below. You can scale them to whatever size you wish- my whales were about 4″ long and the fish were about 3″ long. You will need 14 whale shapes (2 x 7 whales) and 14 fish shapes (2 x 7 fish). If your felt has a “good” and a “bad” side, make sure you flip the template to cut out each side.
    whale outline_watermarkedfish outline_watermarked2
  2. Match the two sides of each fish and fasten with a pin.
    DSC_0967_14_watermarked
  3. Using a blanket stitch, sew around the edges of the felt shape. I started just before the tail on the underside, so it would be easy to stuff both the tail and the body and my stitches to finish it would be hidden (note that the fish in this photo is upside down).
    DSC_0969_15_watermarked
  4. Stuff the inside with batting. Use a dull object to get batting into the fins (the eraser end of a pencil works great!). Finish your stitches to close it up.
    DSC_0976_16_watermarked2
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 with the whales, but add buttons or stitches for the eye details to the felt pieces first before sewing together.
    DSC_0994_17_watermarked
  6. Using a canvas/leather or other sturdy needle with a large eye, thread the whales/fishes on lengths of thin white ribbon (I used pieces about 13″ long). Tie knots to anchor, if necessary. Attach each ribbon/whale/fish to the inner circle of an embroidery hoop, spacing them out evenly.
    2014-03-13 22.44.04_watermarked
  7. To hang the mobile, cut 2 long lengths of ribbon (I started out with pieces that were about 32″), fold both pieces in half together and tie a knot about 2″ from the folded ends to form a loop. This will give you 4 lengths of ribbon to use as follows: 3 to tie to the embroidery hoop and 1 to hang the centre whale. Adjust the lengths until the centre whale hangs where you want it-I was tying the ribbon to the frame at about 8″ from the centre knot. It was hard to take a good photo of this step so here is a pretty drawing instead:
    hanging the frame3
  8. Test out the mobile at this point by suspending it from the centre loop. If it needs to be leveled out, move the whales around until it is balanced. Once you are happy with the placement of the whales, put a small drop of hot glue on each knot you made.

And there you have it!

DSC_1014_19_watermarked

Tip for hand sewing: after a few thousand tangled stitches and much cursing, I discovered the secret: wax your thread! I used some old dental wax from my braces days, rubbed a chunk between my fingers til it was soft, and ran it along the length of thread I was using about 4-5 times. It made a HUGE difference.

Other than that, this project just took a lot of time and patience but was fairly easy and cheap to make. I’m pretty happy with the cuteness:effort ratio!
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Ikea Råskog Craft Cart

I am trying to get creative with storage in our apartment, since we have been running out of space lately. Ever since we got engaged and got married, and acquired grown-up things… but we somehow still have most of the stuff we had when we were students. Except for the things we lost in the Great Bedbug Episode of 2011, but that is a whole other story.

Anyway, I have amassed quite the collection of crafting/sewing supplies that I used to keep in a cupboard in our kitchen (as much as I complain about the lack of space in our apartment, our kitchen is pretty big). Whenever I wanted to work on something, I would schlep all my fabric, buttons, thread, hot glue etc into the living room and take over the coffee table. Then when we actually wanted to use the space (like for example when we binge watched seasons 1-3 of Downton Abbey) it was a pain to clear it all away. Solution: craft cart!

When I saw this cute little kitchen cart at Ikea I thought I was the only bright spark who ever thought of using it for craft supplies… then I searched for “Raskog craft cart” on Pinterest. Oh well, at least I knew it was a good idea!

And so I give you my new craft supply storage solution. Props to my awesome husband who figured out the right way to attach the various nuts and bolts, when I was convinced they had just made the bolts 1/4 inch too short.

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The top shelf has some small tin pots for scissors, pens, hot glue gun, etc and my sewing kit. The middle shelf is for my current project, which will eventually be a baby mobile, now that I know how to make one. The bottom shelf has all my thread and other craft supplies stored in recycled pipette tip boxes (hooray for working in a laboratory!).

How about you? Do you have a Råskog cart or other nifty storage idea/life hack?
-C

 

Felt Fishies Baby Mobile

Hope you had a great Christmas/New Year’s! In the lead up to the holidays I put the finishing touches on the mobile I have been working on for my sweet baby nephew, T. As per usual, this project took way longer and was much more work than I was anticipating. Also as per usual, my husband got roped into helping me!

My brother-in-law loves to fish and he and my sister both love being outside and on the water… they had wanted something “fish related.” I used felt to make fishies/clamshells and hand-sewed them with a blanket stitch around the edges, then stuffed them with batting. I followed this really helpful tutorial from TammyHallam’s youtube channel for the blanket stitch. My old button collection came in handy for the fishie’s eyes and I used fabric paint on the clamshells.

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For the sailboat, I used fabric for the sails and denim from an old pair of jeans for the boat. I machine-sewed both (I tried the blanket stitch at first but since it wasn’t as rigid as the felt it looked really shabby), stuffed them with batting, and then closed them with a ladder stitch/blind stitch that I learned how to do here. I appliqued a felt heart to the largest sail which I think was a really cute touch. The “mast” is actually an old pen barrel that used to say Holiday Inn before I wiped it off with acetone/nail polish remover!

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The frame was formed from thick gauge wire by my super helpful husband and then I covered it with packing foam and strips of fabric (I ripped the edges so they had that unfinished, rustic look I was going for… or maybe I just didn’t feel like finishing the edges?). Then I strung beads and the felt shapes on fishing line, using seed beads with a knot tied around to anchor everything in place. I made sure to choose really colourful beads that were shiny and eye-catching, hoping that will hold my nephew’s attention until he falls asleep! After all the knots were tied and it was more or less balanced, I tacked everything down with drops of hot glue. I’m really happy with how it turned out and I hope my sister likes it!

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Click here to see the mobile in action!

Can’t wait for more projects in 2014 :)
-C