Ready to get your craft on? Here you’ll find my favorite do it yourself projects and party ideas. If you are searching for something specific try the search box on the right or see my list of categories at the bottom of the page.
I thought it would be fun to display cupcakes or other treats on records, but didn’t necessarily want my food sitting directly on a record (or the pretty paper center) since it seemed hard to wash afterwords. I decided to use two pieces of acrylic on either side of the record to really make a sturdy design that was easy to wash, AND easy to switch out the records depending on my mood or the theme of the party.
Records! (you can use 12″/10″/7″)
Two pieces of clear plexiglass acrylic (cut to size, with a hole drilled directly in the middle)
A sturdy base with a flat top (I used thrifted candlesticks)
Clear screw fastener (I used 3/8 in. and cut them down a little for a perfect fit)
A strong glue
Step One: Take the plastic off your freshly cut acrylic, and place one piece on each side of your record to make sure it fits. You’ll have a little record sandwich, with the holes lined up in the middle.
Step Two: You will be attaching one of the pieces of acrylic to its base permanently, so you’ll need to glue the bigger half of the screw to the piece of acrylic that will be glued to the base, and make sure that it is good and stuck. After this step, you should have one piece of acrylic with the longer part of the screw glued into the hole, and then you’ll glue that piece of acrylic to your base. Let that glue set.
Step Three: Once the glue has hardened, place the record and the other piece of acylic onto the base acrylic, screw the plates together with your clear fastener, and make sure it holds the plate together firmly. You have a cake plate with a top layer that can be unscrewed for washing. There you go! Then just stack them for some pretty tiers!
Pro-Tips: Wondering where to get acrylic custom cut? I used TAP Plastics but check in your area for a plastic store. When you do wash acrylic, be careful not to scratch the surface. You can use recommended cleaners such as Novus #1 or Brillianize, though a mild solution of dish detergent and warm water with a soft cloth should do the trick just fine. Never use cleaners containing ammonia, such as Windex or 409.
In case you missed it: see how to make flags out of record sleeves right over here.
I run an online vintage store, which doesn’t usually leave the confines of the internet, but a few weeks ago I participated in my first pop-up shop. In-person you have to think much more about decor and presentation, so I came up with a few vintage-inspired pieces of decor to liven my space up, but I think they would also work if you were throwing a vintage or music themed party as well.
Pile of vintage 45’s with colorful sleeves
Two sided tape
Step One: Take the records out of the sleeves and iron the sleeves flat if they are wrinkled or torn
Step Two: Fold all of the sleeves in half so that a colorful side of the sleeve is showing
Step Three: Cut your string the the appropriate hanging party length. Place double-sided tape on the corners of each folded sleeve, and tape it on top of the string so that the sleeve hangs snugly on the string, but isn’t actually taped to the string.
Step Four: Repeat this process until you have a bunting banner of the desired length.
Step Five: Hang. Party on.
Pro-Tip: Trying to figure out how many sleeves you’ll need? Each “flag” will measure 9.5 inches once folded, so you should determine how long (in inches) you need your banner to be, and then divide by 10 inches.
A month or two ago I made this giant Polish Chandelier (see all the pictures right here.) I meant to post it earlier so sorry to everyone who has been patiently waiting for the DIY post. This project isn’t fast but its made of cheap materials, so its perfect for someone who doesn’t have a lot of money to spend but has some time on their hands. My favorite thing about this is there is so much variation in the different pieces that I felt like I was doing so many types of crafting just for this one project. It was really fun and satisfying to make. I think these would be so cool at a wedding, it would be sweet to put one above each table. See all the instructions below!
Materials Needed: 36″ hoop (or we bought some thick wire and taped it together to create our own.), crepe paper folded sheets (not rolls) in the colors of your choice, tissue paper, thin cardstock, glue, string, a long needle, tape, scissors, fine gauge wire.
1. If you want to make your own hoop just measure out 36″ and wrap the wire around the circle several times until it feels sturdy then tape it together.
2. Wrap it in crepe paper to make it pretty.
The chandelier is broken down into three kinds of pieces: straws, stars, and flowers. Once you know how to make them you just configure them in different ways.
3. It is possible to buy real straw for this but I couldn’t find any so I made my own out of paper. To make the straws you’ll need some cardstock cut unto strips (about 4″ long) , a pencil, and glue.
4. Roll the cardstock around the pencil to shape it.
5. Then add glue and hold until it sticks. I made 130 of these for my chandelier.
6. Now for the stars. I made these stars out of tissue paper and then out of cardstock. Start with a square about 3″ wide and cut a circle out of it. I usually cut these in a stack to save time.
7. Then cut out little slivers to make the little petals.
8. When you are done with the cardstock make them out of tissue. I didn’t count how many I made of these but it was a lot. I made a hefty pile and then would make more when I ran out.
9. The flowers are fun to make. You need some crepe paper and wire for this.
10. Start with some strips of crepe paper and begin rolling. Focus on making one side tight and the other end a little looser.
11. Pinch the tight end. I keep the finished petals in one hand while I roll with my other.
12. When you have 10-12 petals wire them together a few times around as tight as you can. Keep adding bunches and wiring it on until the flower gets big enough.
13. Secure the wire by twisting it but leave the tails of the wire attached for when you are assembling it later. For mine I made 16 large flowers around the rim and 8 small flowers for the bottom.
14. To make the strands first thread a piece of straw.
15. Then add some tissue stars.
16. Crumple the tissue paper to give the stars body.
17. Then add a star made out of cardstock and sandwich it with some more tissue. Repeat.
18. There were a total of eight long strands (ten straw sections each) and eight short strands (which had six straw sections each.)
19. Attach all eight long strands evenly around the hoop and bring them all together at the top in a knot. Then hang the chandelier from a doorway while you finish the assembly.
20. Attach the eight short strands on the hoop between where the long strands are attached. They scallop around the bottom in a ‘U’ shape.
21. Finally attach the large flowers with wire everywhere a string attaches to the hoop. Top it off by adding a little flower to the bottom of each ‘U’ or short strand.
And voila’! You’re done. Of course play around with the colors and design of yours. Traditionally Polish Chandeliers have eight strings but other than that you can add flowers or change colors to your liking. Happy Crafting!
Thanks to Anne for being my model.
Here is the second installment of a series I’m doing on how to make affordable art (the first was this modern potato print artwork.) If you can I recommend buying art from professional artists. (Full disclosure my husband is a professional artist!) But until you can afford the abstract piece of your dreams here are some tips on making your own.
Materials Needed: 2 Large Canvases 40″ x 40″ $20/each, a few large brushes 2.5″ wide $5, several tubes of acrylic paint $4/tube In total this cost $70. That’s $35 each for a huge piece of art. There are no framing costs because with canvas like this you don’t need to frame it.
A few notes: I know abstract art looks “easy” but anyone who has tried it can attest it can be difficult to get just right. I would recommend getting some cheap small 10″x 10″ canvases to practice color and composition and technique before you you try it on a big one. This will save you time and money in the long run. This project does takes a while. It took us 5 painting sessions that ranged from 1-2 hours. Take your time and keep in mind you are working in layers.
Step One: Tone the Canvas. The first layer you’ll tone the canvas with another color other than plain white. This is so when the underpainting shows through it will show texture instead of plain white. For this we just mixed lots of yellows with white and grey. We used lots of water and were sloppy and just tried to have variation. We also painted the edges. Then let it dry.
Step Two: We sat down and drew out with pencils some compositions we liked. We didn’t totally stick to this but it was nice to have a guide to start off of. Once we had a plan we began blocking out some colors. A big part of this project is getting comfortable mixing paint. I’m not very good at it and have to depend on Paul a lot to get the colors I want but basically you start with a base color and add other colors to lighten or darken. I had Paul mix some paint to demonstrate. Here he used white, red, yellow, and green to get all of these colors. Make sure to add extra water to thin out the paint. You can add smudges and streaks on that layer without thinking about it too much since its only the second layer. Then let it dry.
Step Three: Now you’ll want to start to get more serious about what it looks like. Sometimes abstract art looks simple but after working through a few variations we found our favorite compositions seemed simple but when we actually looked closer and broke it down it was made up of complicated shapes. For example look at the painting on the left. The red and the blue look simple but in the close up you can see there are lots of layers and streaks and lines so that it looks interesting. Keep making small adjustments until you like it. One time we didn’t like the painting but went to bed and when we woke up we actually loved it. So if you are getting frustrated take a break and come back when your mind is clear. Be experimental and keep trying things (adding white etc) until you are happy with it.
Step Four: We started to play around with the colors we wanted to compliment the top layer. You can see we also went through and lightened up the edges with some off white paint ro make the painting feel brighter. At this point we were starting to like it but it needed to feel pulled together.
Step Five: In the final painting session we tried to perfect the composition. Our technique was to block in some brighter colors and then make them meet in interesting ways with different lines and shapes. Here is how the final turned out. You can see that with the final layer there are 15-20 colors and 12 or so blocked out colors in the center. The main thing is to keep trying different colors and shapes until you are happy with it. Et voilà! Your artwork is complete.
We are in a little bit of a funny spot since our home in Paris is somewhat temporary. I don’t really want to spend a lot on artwork or even framing since we’ll just be here for a year. Most of our budget is going towards practical things so art has gone to the bottom of the spending list. But we still want something to grace all our large blank white walls. I came up with a few projects I’ll be sharing in the next week or two on how to make art and frame it for cheap.
First up is this potato print artwork. I tried this technique first on a small piece of paper and I liked the result so then I made three large versions. It turned out so happy and colorful, it completely transformed the room. This project did take some time but was very affordable to make.
Materials: 5 potatoes, acrylic paints in rainbow colors, black, white, and fluorescents, paper cups, cheap brushes for mixing paints, plastic plates for mixing paints, ruler, pencil, large pieces of paper (however big you want your artwork.)
Step One: Using your ruler and pencil place little marks where you are going to stamp your potato. I did mine about 2″ apart.
Step Two: Mix paint. To get the greatest variety of colors mix your paint yourself in your paper cups. (Not to mention they come out so much prettier when they aren’t right from the tube.) Pull out your color wheel from elementary school and make darks and lights in the palate you want by adding whites or blacks or complementary colors. Be sure to add a little water so the paint is a nice consistency not too thick (and not too watery either.) I had about 18 colors in my palate 11 were bright and the other 7 were neutrals. One tip: If you are going for a colorful end result remember you need the neutrals in the artwork to make the brights really pop.
Step Three: Cut one or two of the potatoes in half and cut out a 3/4″ circle with a knife. You’ll want a few potato stamps so you can print with a few colors at the same time.
Step Four: Printing with one color at a time place the paint on the plate so you can stamp the potato in it. Then start to stamp randomly throughout the print. I kept a scratch paper nearby to test it when the stamp has too much ink. I had to erase the little pencil marks as I went and I started with 11-13 dots then went back and filled them in if I needed more of that color. It isn’t important that the stamping is perfect. Mine were a little sloppy but as long as I got in the vicinity of my pencil marking it still came out great. Continue stamping with all the colors until it is all filled out. Et voila! Your artwork is done.
Notes: Its important to do all in one sitting because your paints will dry out and your potatoes will get moldy. The painting part took 3-4 hours so get someone to help do the stamping to make it go quicker.
Framing: For framing we spent $6 on small metal studio clips and $30 on thin plexiglass from a Home Depot type store (they cut it to our specifications.) Then we backed it with some thick chip board, and then bound it with the studio clips. We were able to frame all three large pieces for about $35.
all photos by Oh Happy Day