Friday Finds : Color Me Copper

I am absolutely loving the color copper right now!  It feels so warm and fancy and looks so good when paired with a light pink or soft teal.  You can even get an industrial feel with a touch of class by mixing copper with concrete. Christmas is coming up sooner than you know and I have been combing the internet for cool and unique ideas for gifts.  Below are a few of my favorite copper accented items with something for everyone.  Did I mention that all of them are under $50?

 

  1. Copper Decanter Set : $37
  2. Copper Plated Storage bowl Set : $30
  3. Concrete Mini Jewelry Box : $18
  4. Wall and Desk Planters : $20
  5. Hexagon Wall Print : $14
  6. Stacked Resin Rings : $25
  7. Checkmate Bookends : $64
  8. Layered Vintage Necklace : $17
  9. Concrete and Copper Clock : $50
  10. Geometric Pillow : $34

Colorful Last Minute Thanksgiving Decorations

Holy cow November! Maybe slow it down a bit eh? I feel like this month just started and it’s already halfway over, I mean Thanksgiving is next week!  I have pretty much done nothing as far as fall decorations other than make a wreath, which I accidentally broke two weeks later when I was making way for my Halloween door decorations.  But we aren’t having Thanksgiving at our house so I really just didn’t see the point.  That didn’t stop me from pretending like we were and searching Pinterest for projects I will never do.  So without further ado, here are some of my favorite easy internet finds.

Printable Thanksgiving Food Label cards | Lovely Indeed

 Colorful Table Confetti | A Kailo Chic Life

Model Magic Pumpkin Placeholders | Artful Days

Honeycomb Turkeys | Say Yes

 Paper Wreaths | Damask Love

Wire Napkin Rings | Mad in Crafts

Felt Leaf Garland | Cutesy Crafts

Rope Napkin Rings | Flax and Twine

 

Colorful Thanksgiving Balloons | Studio DIY

Colorful Books | Design Improvised

Clay Leaf Charm | Mod Podge Rocks

 Leaf Stamped Towels | Squirrely Minds

 

Melted Crayon Halloween Art

My kid is only a mere 2 year old but already has a fondness for all things Halloween.  The kid currently sleeps with a small skeleton and one of those candy bowls with a hand in it next to his bed.  I don’t know where he gets it, neither of us parents particularly like scary things.  The scariest movie we own is Pirates of the Caribbean.  Oddly enough our little guy would rather watch the skeleton pirate parts of the movie on repeat than Finding Dory because Dory is “too scary”.  Nothing in the world of a toddler makes sense.

One thing I can get behind is Halloween crafts.  Halloween kicks off a great season of what I like to call crafting holidays.  I guess being stuck inside for three months makes people creative? Either way, I have no problem making all of the ghosts, spiders and pumpkins little man requests if it involves me being able to break out the glue gun.

This project is one of my go to projects when I can’t think of anything else to make or we are low on crafting supplies.  It involves very little and can be adapted for just about any holiday or event.  I will warn you ahead of time that if you are working with littler children, you will want to prepare some things ahead of time because everyone knows that a toddler and patience do no go hand in hand.  If you have some older kiddos that can work a pencil sharpener, let them help in the prep!

What you will need:

  • crayons
  • wax paper
  • iron
  • crayon sharpener (you can also use a knife if you don’t have one)
  • 2 dish towel
  • packing tape (optional)
  • construction paper (optional)
  • googly eyes (optional)
  • glue

 

First things first.  Get your iron ready.  I usually keep mine on the setting for cotton since the actual ironing part is done on dishtowels. Next you are going to need to peel all of the paper off of your crayons.  This is a good project for all of those used and broken crayons that tend to accumulate over the years.  Once the paper is off you are going to want to sharpen the crayons to get your wax shavings.  If you don’t have a crayon sharpener you can make shavings with a knife.  Just make sure you are careful and don’t let the kiddos do it.

Usually when doing wax melted project, we just mix the colors all together, but for this project I kept them separate.  I did mix several different shades of the same color together, just to give it a little more pop.  You can always mix more colors together later.

Lay out a dishtowel on a flat and hard surface. Get out two sheets of wax paper and place them on top of each other, keeping in mind how large you want your project to be and taking in to account that the wax will melt and spread a little.  Once you have two sheets on top of each other place them on top of the towel.  You are going to want something under the wax paper so it doesn’t melt to whatever surface you are working on.

Once the sheets are on top of the towel, sprinkle the colors your want on to the paper.  A little wax will go a long way, you don’t have to have the entire area completely covered with shavings.

Once you have your desired and approximate color layout, take two more sheets of wax paper and place them on top of the pile of savings.  The two sheets on both sides help keep the wax from seeping through the paper.

Cover the stack of wax paper with another dish towel and place your iron on top.  Moved the iron around slowly but in small circular motion. In some cases you might need to press down a little when you move the iron to make sure that the color spreads to all of the less covered places.

  Check under the towel every once in a while to see how the melting is going and to see where you still need to move the iron.  Once your crayon shavings are melted remove the iron and set aside the wax to cool off.

Cooling off should only take a few minutes.  At this point you may want to remove the extra layer of wax paper on either side keeping one layer on each side of the melted wax.  It isn’t necessary but sometimes the colors seem more vibrant through one layer of wax paper instead of two.

Next you want to cut out the shapes for your Halloween characters from the melted wax.  I didn’t use any templates,  I kind of free handed and used the shape that it melted into to decide what it would look like.  For the moon I found a bowl that I traced around.  For the monster I decided to leave him as a blob and just cut off the excess paper around the shape that it naturally made.

Next you will want to get out your paper and cut some legs for your spider, a bat for your moon, and a stem for the pumpkin.  Throw on some googly eyes for your ghost, spider, pumpkin, monster and maybe even the moon or the bat if you want.

I wasn’t sure how laminated these would go because of the wax involved.  Some laminating machines use heat, and the wax could also break up if it is bent even slightly.  I chose to do the cheap version of laminating where I cover the whole thing in a layer of packing tape and then cut around it.  It seemed to work out just fine, although it did take a significant amount of time.  I would suggest taping off at least the edges of these since you will be cutting shapes into the wax and the edges will no longer be sealed by the excess wax paper.

In the end, we had several monsters to decorate our little guy’s door for Halloween and he was super excited that he got to help!  The best part is that this project can be adapted into almost anything, I almost turned the green into a witch, but I thought Frankenstein’s monster usually get left out.

Cute and Creepy Halloween Bracelets

Halloween is just around the corner and while most people have been planning their costume for weeks, I have put very little thought into it.  I get way more excited planning what my toddler is going to be.  I’m usually stuck somewhere between wanting to show my Halloween spirit but wanting to wear clothes that won’t leave me freezing, itchy or with some form of face paint on.  I’m also one of those people that once I get dressed in the morning, I’m dressed for the day.  That’s where these cute Halloween bracelets come in.

I wanted something that would be easy, cheap, and good looking.  In my opinion that is basically the holy trinity of any craft project.  These bangles can be made to fit any holiday really and with just a few supplies you could make quite a few of these. I made a few plain ones and then added some embellishments to show that I’m representing the holidays even if it is just the bare minimum.  I would say that this is definitely easier for adults and older children.  It can get repetitive and tedious but it is in no way hard.  And the best part of all is that it is super cheap to make these and they can be any size so feel free to not only deck yourself out but throw some of these bangles on your baby, cat and neighbors (with their permission of course!).

What You Will Need:

  • plastic canvas
  • yarn
  • scissors
  • plastic spider rings
  • googly eyes
  • hot glue

First you will need to cut a strip of plastic canvas in the width that you want for  your bracelet. I cut the strip along the shorter side of the plastic canvas sheet so that I could make more.  It doesn’t matter at this point if it is too long because you will want to overlap it anyway.

Next make sure you cut off any of the little “nubbins” from the plastic canvas.  You want it to be smooth on both sides of the strip.  This is an easy step, but a surprisingly messy one.  Those things will go everywhere and if they get in your carpet the only chance of getting them out is vacuuming.

Now you need to determine the size of your bracelet.  It needs to easily go on to your wrist but also not be so big that it falls right off.  This is where the overlapping happens.  Once you get the size you want, you will need to tie the overlapping parts together.  You will only need to do this in one little spot, just to make sure the size stays like you want it.

The next step is going to require you to make a small ball of yarn that can easily go through the ring you have made for your bracelet.  I originally tried to just wrap the yarn around the strip before I folded it into a bracelet but that did not go so well in the end.

Once you have your mini yarn ball, pick a spot and start wrapping it around the strip. This part is the most annoying and time consuming part.  Weaving through the bracelet hole while trying to keep the yarn close together on the strip takes a little bit of effort.  Once you make it all the way around the bracelet you can either stop or go around again just to give it a little something extra.  I went around three times, but on the third time I wrapped it not as tight and spread it out to give it a little different texture.

Once you have your bracelet wrapped you will need to cut the yarn and glue the end down, preferably on the inside of the bracelet.  I glued it down and then tucked it a little so that it would be more hidden.

Finally add all of the finishing touches!  I just simply took the spider rings and cut the ring part to there was an opening and wrapped it around the bracelet.  If you bracelet is smaller in width, you can cut the spiders from the ring and glue them to it.  For eyes I just glued them on.  I think in hindsight I would have used a different color of yarn so that the spiders would stick out more.  I didn’t want to do the traditional orange and black because I’m honestly not a big a fan of the color.  But a green or even a lighter purple would have looked pretty good too. You could easily add some small plastic snakes or skeleton bones if you could find them.  I even tried wrapping one in “spider webs” but it looked a mess so I didn’t post any pictures.  When you are done, slip your creation on and wear it proudly!

Easy Magazine Ghost

My little guy has just discovered the joy of the paper cutter.  He is only two, but cutting paper by sliding a “magic button” as he calls it is way more effective than his plastic kiddie scissors and maybe even a little safer as well.  Obviously I still hover over him while he uses it, but he seems to appreciate the autonomy that it gives him.  To celebrate the discovery of a new tool to use, we decided to do a little Halloween craft with some paper strips.

This one is super easy and can easily be made with things already in your house.  You could easily adapt it be any character or symbol, but we decided to go with a ghost.  I would say that this choice was on purpose but it was really more of a necessity due to lack of pages that were all one color scheme.

What you need:

  • magazine or scrap book paper
  • glue
  • construction paper
  • scissors/paper cutter
  • googly eyes (optional)

If you are using magazine pages, you will first need to go through and find pages that are all one color scheme.  I found that it was a lot easier to find pages that were mostly white.  Even a page mostly full of writing would work.  Colored pages were a lot harder to find, but different scrap book paper patterns in the same color family could also work.

First you will need to cut your paper in to strips.  I made them all different widths but all the same length.

Next, glue the strips to paper making sure to cover the whole page.  I even layered some just to get the patterning that I wanted.

Finally, you will need another sheet of paper in the desired color you want to contrast  your ghost.  Simply draw the outline of the character that you want on to this paper.

Next cut out the character, being sure to cut out from the center.

Place the cutout on top of your strips of paper and glue it down.  Its that easy!  All you have to do is put the finishing touches on!  I love this project because it is easy for every age, and it can be anything.  Even if I didn’t have orange pages I could still use white and then use a translucent paint to make a cute pumpkin, a spider, or a a witch hat.  The possibilities are endless and it can be used for every holiday.

Cozy Fall Yarn Wreath

Fall is by far my favorite time of the year, so much so that I consider August to basically be pre-fall (cue pumpkin spice everything).  I love the weather, the clothes, the smells, the drinks involving whiskey and slow cooker recipes.  To me everything in fall just tastes better too.  On top of that I’m also always cold, even in the summer I tend to wear jeans.  Occasionally if my husband decides that our house needs to double as a giant live in fridge, I can be seen wearing a sweater even if it is 90+ degrees outside.  Wearing jeans and a light sweater with a cute pair of brown sandals seems to attract less confused looks in the fall than it does when you are surrounded by tanned people wearing spaghetti straps and cut-off jean shorts.   It probably has something to do with the fact that I was born in November and came in to this world thinking that trees were supposed to look like fire.

One fall trend that I have always loved is that people tend to get their craft on a little bit more.  It’s the beginning of hardcore crafting season if you will.  I mean, sure people craft during the summer.  But fall/winter has some peak crafting holidays.  One craft in particular that I pin on Pinterest frequently but never actually accomplish is the wreath.  I see so many clever and creative wreaths greeting people on front porches and entryways that have turned into a mini pumpkin patches complete with full sized hay bales and corn stalks.  I have always wanted to make one of my own in hopes that someone would ask me where I got it and I could respond with the ever humble “Oh that little thing, I just made when I had some free time”.  Unfortunately, I have always lived in an apartment.  Don’t get me wrong, apartments can definitely have wreaths on the door, I just didn’t feel the same sense of entryway pride with ours.  Also, I tried hanging a decorative Halloween sign on our door one year and it was stolen by a passerby only a few days later….But this year we have a house!  Not only do we have a house, this house comes with a semi long entryway and wait for it….a red door!  Sadly, the space between the entry “hall” and the door isn’t really wide enough for a full sized hay bale/mini fall wonderland.  I could maybe put a cornstalk in there but alone it seems a bit ridiculous.  So I will just have to settle for my sad lifelong dream of making a wreath.

I decided that I wanted to go clean and simple with this one.  And by decided I mean I had a very small budget.  I decided that I would try out one of these yarn wreaths that I have seen all over the web.  I already had some yellow yarn, so I just needed to get the Styrofoam ring and maybe a sprig of something fall-like.  Luckily, sprigs of something fall-like were on sale for 40% off so instead of paying the whole whopping three dollars for it I had to pay a dollar something.  I could have done more, but I really did like the idea of something simple.  Also, if it turned out terrible then I wouldn’t feel so bad about spending money on it.  I got my foam thing and was ready to go, but the yarn aisle was just begging to casually strolled down.  I came across this beautiful mustard colored yellow that was a little bit more bulky than the basic yarn I had at home so naturally I needed it.  I would say in total this yarn cost me about 15 dollars and maybe and hour and a half of my time.  Sadly, in my excitement to get a wreath done, I didn’t actually get any pictures during the making process.  But I think it is easy enough to understand.

What you will need:

  • styrofoam ring
  • thick or bulky yarn
  • cheap yarn in the same color/general color as the thick yarn
  • sprig of something fall-like
  • scissors?

So to get started, I figured out where I thought I wanted the decorative fall sprig to go on the wreath.  You could tape it down on the wreath where you want it, I chose to stab it into the styrofoam as much as I could.  It probably would have been easier to first make a hole with some scissors but by the time I thought about it I had already started stabbing (I was excited to get my first wreath done!). If you really like making things difficult you could skip this step all together and just hold the thing in place while wrapping yarn around the foam.

Next, start wrapping the cheap yarn around your foam.  This isn’t actually a step that you would have to do.  If you just wanted to use the bulky yarn it would probably by fine, I just thought having that extra layer under it would help hide the ugly green foam.  It also helps because with the bulky yarn I wanted to not pull it as tight so it would keep its sweater-like qualities.  If you wrap it too tightly it can start to look like regular yarn and it loses its bulkiness that was appealing.  Anyway, with the cheap yarn I started right up next to the sprig of something fall-like and went all the way around, making sure to tighten and push together the yarn as close as I could.  You want to end up under your greenery so it can help hide the seem from where you started.  If you think you can do it without it being noticeable, you can also maybe wrap around a branch on the underside of the spring to secure it down a little more.

Next, repeat the same thing with the bulky yarn, only this time you don’t to do it as tightly.  After I made it all the way around once, I decided that I didn’t like how perfect it looked.  I went around again but this time I put a ton of space between each wrap around, then I went around again and kind of criss-crossed over it.  I feel like it kind of gave it a move cozy sweater texture and wasn’t so plain.  I love how it turned out, it wasn’t so bad for my first attempt at a wreath.  If I were to do it again I would maybe try to find a thicker ring, or maybe get two things of bulky yarn so I could wrap the whole thing twice with it.  But overall I love how it turned out, and it looks pretty nice on our red door.

Colorful Toddler Treasure Hunt

Our little guy has always had a flair for letters.  I blame (maybe thank?) PBS and that pesky little show called Word World.  He has even dabbled in writing a few of those letters, although he is only two so its mostly O’s and I’s.  But for some reason his stubborn little personality has zero interest in numbers.  Specifically the number 3.  I don’t know what it is but no matter how hard we try, he refuses to count in order.

Lately I feel like the days have started to be pretty routine and uneventful in our house.  We play the same games over and over.  We color, we play hide and seek, we play sandbox.  I’m ashamed to admit it but I don’t really have my day planned out even a little.  I have decided to come up with a theme for each week, and this week we have been circling around the theme of pirates.  I know it sounds kind of like a silly and limited theme, but just hear me out for a second.  You can learn about boats, counting dubloons, parrots, the ocean, and the classic pirate treasure.  I decided to take that treasure and turn it in to a little game for the little man.

Obviously a treasure hunt is the first thing that comes to mind, but toddlers can’t typically read a treasure map.  I figured that I would have him find this by following clues, except toddlers can’t really read clues either.  But one thing they do understand is pictures!  I decided that we would have a him follow picture clues that were inside number envelopes.  It was super easy to do and could be modified if you don’t have everything to make them exactly like I did.  So lets get started!

What you need:

  • Plain envelopes
  • Felt stick on numbers
  • pictures or clip art of items around your house
  • notecards or cardstock

First thing I did was think of things around that house that were easily recognizable for little FEZ.  I tried find clip art for each item and I wanted them to be as simple as the Googling powers of the internet would allow me to find.

Some examples:

  • refridgerator
  • trash can
  • lamp
  • bed
  • bookshelf
  • oven
  • washer
  • dryer
  • couch

I made sure that I had more than 10 items just in case we wanted to play the game again and wanted something new.  I sized them up and printed them off on just regular paper.  Next, I cut out the “clues and just for extra durability I glued them on to thick cardstock.  This isn’t really a necessary step, but I figured if we wanted to reuse them it couldn’t hurt.

Next up, I simply peeled the backing off of the felt numbers and stuck them to the outside of the envelopes.  I only numbered them 1-10 but you could easily do more.  Obviously felt numbers aren’t a requirement for this project, you could easily write the numbers on the envelopes.  I just happened to have some stick on numbers gathering dust in the craft room and was thrilled that I finally found a use for them!

To play the game you just need to leave the clues in the envelopes.  In the first envelope you will put the picture card with the location of the second envelope. For example, envelope 1 had the picture of the fridge in it.  Envelope number 2 was taped to the side of the fridge.  Inside envelope 2 was a picture of an easel.  Taped to the easel was envelope number 3.  You get the idea.  To start the game you simply give your little one the first envelope.  I helped FEZ out the first few envelopes but once he got the hang of it he was all over the house hunting clues.  The last clue led the little guy to a little “treasure chest” that had a pack of fruit snacks and a cookie.

He immediately wanted to play again, probably because he wanted more cookies, but I would like to think it was because he loved following the numbers.  We did eventually play a few more rounds and he seemed to be content with just finding a cool book to read or a game to play at the end.  Overall I would say that it was success!

 

Busy Book Counting Page

When I was pregnant with my little guy I happened upon one of those mommy sites with a discussion board.  I randomly peeped in on a conversation about must have items for your new addition to the family.  Most items seemed pretty basic and nothing was really different from what I had already been told or search for myself online.  In the middle of all the suggestions for swings that mimic car rides and all terrain strollers for the fitness junkie moms, I came across the idea of a busy book.  She spoke of soft pages of activities like buckles and zippers and velcro shapes all packed into one travel sized book.  It sounded perfect, and especially appealing to our family since we traveled around a lot during our kiddo’s first year to show him off to family. Underneath her comment were an endless amount of other moms chiming in about how this was their favorite purchase and was totally worth it. Excited for the prospect of something new to look at I decided to look into it.  This helpful mom provided a link to her favorite company that makes busy books and much to my surprise these suckers come out to around $300.00!!!!   Ummm…no.  I thought it had to be a mistake and that there was no way a book full of zippers and buttons was that much.

A quick trip over to Etsy and I learned that just one page in a busy book can cost anywhere from 10-36 dollars.  While I agreed that most of these were adorable, they were also mostly felt.  Being the stubborn cheapskate that I am, I decided that I could do it myself.  I looked over the web for some cute ideas and loaded my kid up and set out for the craft store.  I think I ended up spending around 38 dollars on supplies, and I made around 12 pages and even had some leftover stuff.  I actually really enjoyed making them, and I even made two books for babies showers recently.  I even made up my own cover to hold all of the pages in, which I will post later when I get a good pattern up.  For now I will start with the basics.

These are the instructions for the numbers and counting page.  I used sew on buttons, which could be pulled off if you have a rough kiddo so use discretion with what you think your kid can handle, you know them best.  As always, stay close to your child when playing with these pages as they are handmade and might have small parts.

 

What You Need:

I use the same basic starting point for all of my busy book pages.  Most sheets of felt that you will get at the craft store will come in a size that is roughly 9 x 12 in size.  I like to cut my pages to be a 9 x 9 square.  Stiffened felt may come in a much larger sheet, and a lot of times you can get two squares out of one sheet.  The stiff  felt is what you will be sewing on to and the regular felt will just be the backing, regular felt can also be used for both the front and back but I found that it is a lot easier to handle the pages when sewing on to the stiff felt.

First you will need to cut the flaps that will be used for the numbers.  I kind of estimated on the size needed so I don’t have an exact estimate to use, but you will need to cut two rectangles for each flap.  In total you should have 18 rectangles so we can go up to 9.

It helps to take time to arrange the colors and the numbers so that they are set up the way you want.  I had several options of colors for each number and I didn’t want the same color to be right next to each other.

When you have the layout the way you want it sew the numbers to the middle of one rectangle from each of the pairs.  When the number is secure, you can set the number rectangle on top of the matching rectangle and sew them together.

When the number rectangles are all made, line them up on the page how you want them and sew straight across the top of the rectangles to connect them to the page. Under each flap you will want to hand sew the corresponding number of buttons or characters. This part takes forever!  Patience though my friends.

The back of this page will look all a mess because it is where you will tie off everything.  That is where the next step comes in.

            Once the page is complete you can lay the whole thing on top of a regular felt page and sew the two together so that your tied off ends and the stitches from the back of the page are hidden and the page is more sturdy. Then cut off the excess felt.  I usually add three eyelets to one side of the page when I am finished and I keep them all held together in a “book” with binder rings.

That’s it!  Make sure you always watch your little one when they play with this page, it is cute but the little buttons are small.  You could also try to glue on patch numbers or sew on felt numbers.  Iron-ons will not really work with felt, the felt tends to melt and even on a low setting doesn’t get hot enough to set the glue on the patch.

Notecard Notebooks

The other day my little guy was watching an episode of Blues Clues and they were talking about story time and books.  By the end of the episode they had made up a story about the things they did that day while playing the game of Blues Clues.  For the rest of the day my little man was making up his own stories (although in all honestly I had no idea what he was saying).  I wanted to make a little book for him that he could put his own “stories” down so he could “read” them.  Now, I know he is only two so reading and writing aren’t really his thing yet, but that doesn’t mean I can’t let his little imagination run wild!

Now, making a simple paper book isn’t exactly rocket science.  And it would be just as easy to fold over some plain paper and staple it down the middle.  But I wanted something that looked a little more like a book and was a little more sturdy on the outside.  And it didn’t hurt that I got to use up some of the massive quantities of blank stationary that I had.

I have to say that I loved the way these little books turned out.  They were just the right size for my toddler and they only took me about 5 minutes to make!  The best part is they can be used for so many things!  I have already stashed one in my purse for grocery lists and to-do notes.  I also used to work in a preschool, and if these would be an easy and affordable way to make little books for an entire classroom full of kids.  They can be decorated and personalized and plain paper could easily be swapped out for lined notebook paper.  So many possibilities!

What you need:

  • -blank stationary cards
  • -plain white paper
  • stapler
  • washi tape or any non-clear tape
  • paper cutter or scissor

First you need to decide what size you want to inside paper to be.  You could make it the same size as the outside of the notebook, but I prefer to make the inside paper a little bit smaller than the outside cover since my toddler likes to draw a little passed the edges of the paper sometimes.  It should be noted that I am not one for measuring, so I kind of just estimated the size I needed to cut the paper.  I used a paper cutter so that I could cut multiple papers at the same time and it worked out much better than using scissors.  I used about 5 pieces of paper so that when folded it would make 10.

Next you will need to fold your stack of paper in half.  Make sure tho go over crease several times.  Place the folded stack inside the stationary card with the fold of the stack lined up with the fold of the card.  Close the card and hold on to it tightly to keep the papers inside in place.

Staple down the fold about a quarter of an inch away from the edge.  Try to keep the staples lined up as evenly as possible so that when opening the book the pages will have an even fold (you can see I failed miserably at this)!

It helps to go through the open book and flatten all of the pages down to make sure that they are even.  This will make it easier to use in the future.  If you went a little crazy with the stapler, this is when you would be able to notice that you didn’t make a straight line with the staples.  Please ignore my less than impressive and in no way manicured hands…

This last step isn’t really necessary but I wanted to cover up the staples.  Not only is it a little bit of a safety measure but it helps class them up just a little bit.  Now this is the part where most experienced crafters would break out their stash of colorful, bright, and patterned washi tapes.  But it may surprise you to know that I own exactly zero rolls of washi tape.  You heard me…zero.  So I improvised a little and used painter’s tape.  For this step you simply line the tape up over the staples and fold it over the edge and then cut off any excess from the ends to create a nice little “binding”.  I made the mistake of letting toddler “help” with this part….he looked pretty cute trying though!

I also had a smaller notecard so I tried a different approach with that one.  Since I could reach the middle of the card with the stapler, I decided to just staple from the middle with the card open.  This way when the book opens it lies down flat.  This style doesn’t require any of the stylish tape down the side to cover the staples, although you could add some for looks if you wanted.

I think they turned out quite nice!  And yes that black tape is electrical tape, I like to keep things classy.  Pretty resourceful if I do say so myself.  Flynn is already pretty fond of the whale book, and he decorated the covers with some nice monster stickers.

Recycled Paper Beads

Out of all of the jewelry I have made, I definitely get the most compliments and questions about pieces made with paper beads.  The best part is that they are practically free to make and incredibly easy.  I once had someone that I didn’t know very well for our office Secret Santa and I made a stack of bracelets in her favorite color, and she absolutely loved them!  The homemade beads definitely added a more personal touch instead of just buying the bracelet and it was so simple to do.  I have experimented with a few shapes and paper styles ( I even tried aluminum foil once!) and have come up with some pretty awesome beads to show off.  Jump below the pictures for instructions and tips and tricks for each style of bead!

 

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ladybeads

cyllindersmall

What You Need:

  • scissors or exacto knife or a paper cutter
  • glue
  • ruler
  • toothpick (optional)
  • cutting mat (optional)
  • Dishwasher Safe Mod Podge (Optional)

 

How to Make:

  1. Cut some paper!  I pretty much never follow a set template.  I lack the patience for tracing and measuring things out.  If you are using scissors though, it might be helpful to measure out and draw lines down your paper before cutting.  I usually use a paper cutting board and just line up my paper on the ruler as I go.  Or if you like the idea of randomly sized beads, go ahead and freestyle it!
  2. Once you have cut some strips of paper you want to begin rolling the paper, starting with the widest end.  When I first started making the beads I would roll the paper around a toothpick. This helps keep the threading hole uniform on all of the beads.  Now I usually just roll them with my hands after I get the end started and I tighten it once the bead is completely rolled.  Its a little hard to explain but you will see how to tighten them once you actually get one finished.
  3. Once you have your bead tightly rolled up, you want to place a tiny do of glue right on the tip of the strip of paper and push it down on to the bead.  Its ok if there is excess glue, I actually like to kid of spread it around the bead just as an extra precaution.
  4. At this point if you want to add a finish to the bead you can, I have tried using Mod Podge and it is my favorite cover so far.  I usually do them one bead at a time, but I have seen it done where you put all the beads on a string and spray a finish on them or dip them.  If you do choose that route, it is very common for the ends of the beads to get stuck to each other which can sometimes cause a little damage.  I have also used kabob skewers and put multiple beads on them to cover with Mod Podge, just make sure the beads have a little space in between them so they don’t stick to each other.
  5. After your beads have dried you can carefully take them off the stick and start crafting with them!

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Large Classic Bead

This bead is pretty much the standard paper bead you will see any time paper beads are mentioned.  It is essentially a long stretched out triangle.  I used scrapbook paper for these beads and made the base of the triangle strip about one inch wide. I usually cut my strips going long ways on the scrapbook paper so the strips are around 12 inches long.  If you are using thinner paper you will get a bead that is less round in the center and if you use thicker paper your bead will come out more fatter in the middle.

largeclassicbead

 

Small Classic Bead

This is just a smaller version of the bead up above. In this version I used magazines as my paper.  I cut the short way on the magazine page for this bead, but I made base of the triangle strip much smaller, around 1cm.  I like my beads to be more sturdy so cutting them with a smaller base helps make the bead more round and stronger, especially since I used thin paper and cut on the short length of the page.

smallclassicbead

 

Large Teardrop Bead

These are probably my favorite style of bead as far as looks go.   I used the same style of triangle cut for these beads as the classic beads and I used a magazine page for the paper.  Once I have the bead rolled and the tip glued down, I carefully pull the fat center down to one side until I get the teardrop shape I want.  If stand the bead up on a table and push the fat center all the way down you can get a cone shaped bead.  After I position the fat part of the bead where I want it, I apply the Mod Podge to keep it in place. I would also suggest if you want a more pronounced shape, to layer 3-4 strips of paper on top of each other and then start rolling.  It will be a little more tricky keeping them together when rolling but the end result is worth it.

largeteardropbead

Small Teardrop Bead

This bead follows the same exact steps as the bead above.  For these beads I used vellum paper, which is in the same aisle as the scrapbook paper.  Its a little thicker and a little less fragile than regular paper.  It is also thicker, so I used the short length of the vellum paper with a 1cm triangle base for these beads.

smallteardropbead

Large Tube Bead

These are the easiest beads to cut and make.  You simply cut a straight strip of paper and roll them up!  Make sure you put glue on the entire length of the edge of the strip once you have rolled it up.  For these I used magazine paper, and I wanted them to be kind of thick so the threading hole is pretty big and the beads are a little less strong since the paper is so thin.

largecyllinderbead

Small Tube Bead

These are made just like the ones up above but I used scrapbook paper.  Because I wanted these beads to be super strong and solid I still cut long ways on the scrapbook paper and made the width of the strip about 1cm wide. If you have a square sheet of scrapbook paper, be mindful of the pattern on the page and how you want the finished bead to look.  With the tube beads you actually see some of the pattern.  I used a striped page for these beads and chose to cut along the strip pattern instead of across it.  If I would have cut across the pattern, the beads would have ended up with a bunch of little bars across them instead of one continuous line all the way around.

smallcyllinderbead

Helpful Tips:

Experiment with all types of paper and sizes to see what works best!  I cut a crazy tiny sliver of paper once to see if I could make a paper seed bead.  It came out great!  But it was a lot more work trying to work with that tiny of a bead so I quit after one…

You can paint the beads!  I have quite a few beads where I paint half of the bead metallic colored.  I have even seen some cool ones where they paint the tips of beads in a silver or gold to make them look like they have metal caps on them.

You can find all kinds of tools online to help roll the beads or you can just roll them by hand which is my preferred method.

And lastly but definitely not least!  I like to put some kind of coating on the beads when I am finished.  It helps make the beads a little more sturdy.  I personally like anything from Mod Podge, and their Dishwasher Safe Mod Podge is currently my favorite for just about any project I do. Even though you might put some type of coating on these beads, they are in no way waterproof, so please don’t go jumping into any pools, lakes or oceans with your new pretty creations on!