In an attempt to be a bit more organized in this new year we've been strategizing attractive solutions to our ever growing must-have-that-pretty-thing problem. Meaning we just need all the pretty things, all the time. And, there has to be a way of displaying them that doesn't involve cork board (not that we aren't surrounded by that too)! We had some left over welded fencing sitting around the studio and decided to grab a large frame to polish it up. You can use chicken wire for this tutorial or even copper mesh on a smaller scale frame. We love this idea as a jewelry storage solution or even hanging it in the kitchen for your large spoons and small kitchen wares.
- 4" x 2" welded mesh fencing
- 24" x 36" wood poster frame (ikea and target have good options)
- wire cutters
- staple gun
Lay out the fencing on the back of the frame. Line up one corner so that you only have to cut 2 sides of fencing. You will get a good hand work out from this tutorial and quality wire cutters are worth it here.
Cut the wire along the inside edge of the frame with your clippers. Our measurements for the materials above fit exactly within the frame. But if you end up using a different size frame or wire simply cut a little extra wire and have it sit on the wide part of the frame (you can staple it to the frame here too). Cut off all the wires on the width of the frame.
Then cut all the wires down the length of the frame.
You will be left with a piece that fits inside the top edge of the frame. You can wiggle and push the wires into place.
Grab your staple gun and angle it to catch both sides of the frame with the wire in the middle. Hit ever other square all the way around the frame. Turn it over and start adding pretty things with clothes pins.
You can hang this to the wall with nails or stand it up on your desk.
Valentine's day is fast approaching! If you are like us you will probably hand-make some gifts and buy some gifts. But, I always have the hardest time finding appropriate gift wrap for all the people that I am gifting to. You need a certain one for your sweetheart, something else for your co-workers, and another pattern and feeling for your bestie. So, we thought it would be nice to set you up for gift wrap success this Valentine's day and take the guess work out.
...For this reason and so many others (because you really shouldn't need an excuse to wrap a gift in allover red and pink, amiright!) we created FOUR wrapping paper designs as free printables! They look lovely all wrapped together as a suite or split up the patterns and wrap up the gifts appropriate for each person in your life.
The templates are sized to 11" x 17" so you can wrap larger gifts. Simply print at 100% on any paper. If you need to use 8.5" x 11" paper, simply adjust the paper size in your print settings.
Over the holiday season we hosted some fun DIY workshops at Strand Bookstore in NYC. We wish we could have travelled to every state for this workshop, but you know, we're a small team! So, after a few requests from you guys (thank you, we love getting emails like this) we thought it would be nice to put this hollowed out book tutorial together for you, so you can make these beauties from home! If you have a lot of books piled up and need a fun use for them follow along and repurpose them into itty bitty storage solutions. You can also make these hollowed books as gifts for the literary lovers in your life, or as a way to beef up a gift card for your bestie.
Let's get started!
- - books of all shapes and sizes, hardcover preferred
- - metal edge ruler
- - pencil
- - x-acto knife with at least 1 extra blade per book carved
- - mod podge or craft glue
- - paint brush
- - clear plastic wrap
First Things first, x-acto knives are REALLY SHARP. Please take extra precaution when making this project. Fingers are important and we really want you to keep all of yours!
Step 1. Open your book to the page you would like to start cutting. We think it is nice to leave a couple pages un cut towards the front of the book. Try finding a page with some visual interest and create the cutout around this feature. Take a ruler and measure and mark with a pencil at least 1" from the spine of the book.
Step 2. Measure out and mark with a pencil the section you would like to cut out.
Step 3. Using your ruler, lay it down along the first line you marked. Pressing firmly on the blade cut from the top of the line to the bottom of the line, right along the ruler. Continue cutting this way for all 4 lines, creating the cut out square.
Step 4. You should be cutting about 7 pages at a time but some books have thicker paper than others, this is just a good reference for your pressure when cutting. Take out the inside cut pages and set them aside.
Step 5. Continue cutting more pages, using the last cut page as a template for the new ones. Make sure as you go further and further inside the book that you keep the pages flat and the spine perpendicular to your tabletop. If the edges start sloping your cuts will end up coming out angled in the end. You can use clamps to help you with this but we found that just being mindful of the pages was easier than clamping.
Step 6. Cut until you reach a page you would like to stop on. It's nice to leave a page at the bottom with words so that when you open the book you know exactly what it is. If you have a specific one in mind we suggest using a scrap piece of cardboard to protect it as you cut. Or you can showcase a photo or decorative paper here. Just glue it down after you've cut to your desired depth. If your edges are rough you can use the knife to carefully scrape away excess paper and sand it down a bit.
Step 7. Cover the entire outside edge of the pages with a coat of craft glue, going around the 3 sides.
Step 8. To prevent the top cover from glueing to the wet pages while drying, use a piece of plastic wrap in between.
Step 9. Close the book and stack it underneath some heavy books to weigh it down and allow the glue to compress the pages. When the first coat of glue is dry (about an hour), apply one more coat of glue and repeat the drying process. Allow this to dry for at least 6 hours before using. You can take your piece a step further with additional details like painting the outside edge gold for a vintage effect, or adding gold leaf to the spine.
Store sewing notions and pretty things in the hidden compartment...
Or that tiny keepsakes that you just can't part with...
Cash, jewelry, love notes - what will you hide in your hand-carved, repurposed book?
With our new materials collections we're leaving the designing up to you! The Rendezvous materials collection is a pretty mix of materials large and small. There are tonal peaches, rustic browns and pops of amethyst for the romantic at heart. It's got sparkle, shine, brass accents, natural leather, pretty gemstones and more! To get you started thinking about the possibilities in this box we created some low-key, everyday jewelry that will put you well on your way to DIY success. Make sure to show us what you create this month by using #forthemakers and #makertakes.
The painted charm bracelet
Gather: To create this romantic bracelet grab the brass charms, brass cable chain and vintage clasp provided in the collection. All you will need in addition are a nail polish color of your choice (we used Essie in serial shopper), a couple jump rings and some jewelry tools.
Make: 1- Lay out all the charms on a piece of scrap paper, make sure all the charms are facing with the textured side up. Paint all the round tops with a coat of nail polish and let dry for a couple hours. 2- Wrap the chain around your wrist to determine how long you need the chain to be and snip at the desired length (make sure to add in the length of the clasp). Connect the clasp to one end of the chain with a jump ring. On the opposite side of chain add a couple jump rings for the clasp to hook onto for fastening it to your wrist. 3- Once the charms are dry add them to the chain links using one jump ring for each charm.
Simple Agate Layering Necklace
Make: 1- Using a headpin create a loop at one end with your round nose pliers. Thread on one of the agate beads and create a loop on the other side. Repeat for all three stones. 2- Cut brass chain using your clippers into the following lengths: 6.5", 3", 6", 10". Starting with the 10" piece, attach a clasp to one end of the chain with a jump ring. On the other end of the chain attach one side of the oval bead with a jump ring. On the other side of the first oval bead attach the 6" piece of chain, then another oval bead, the 3" piece of chain, another oval bead, the 6.5" piece of chain, and finally add a couple jump rings at the end for the clasp to hook onto.
Natural Leather Wrapped Bangle
Make: 1- Hold one end of the cord to the inside of the bangle, loop the rest of the cord around the end to hold it in place. Continue wrapping the cord around the bangle until you like the width. We wrapped it 23 times around. 2- On the last wrap tuck the end into the previous wrap and pull tight. 3- Add a dab of glue to the ends of the leather and edges of the cord on the inside. Let dry for at least 8 hours. Snip off any excess cord, close to the bangle.
Wire Wrapped Amethyst Necklace
Make: 1- Start by wrapping your amethyst a couple times around with wire. Make sure to wrap towards the top so the amethyst hangs right side up when worn. Bring both ends of wire to the back of the amethyst and create a loop of wire with your round nose pliers. Secure the loop by wrapping the wire around the bottom of the loop a couple times and then snip off the excess wire with clippers. 2- Thread one end of the chain through the loop and bring the pendant to the center of the wire. 3- Attach the lobster clasp to one end of the chain with a jump ring. Attach another jump ring to the other end of the chain that will act as the catch for the lobster clasp.
*note: all amethysts in this collection will look different as they are naturally forming crystals.
Have fun with these materials and don't forget to share what you are making to inspire others! #forthemakers #makertakes
We make jewelry over here all the time! If you are new to jewelry making, sometimes starting can feel intimidating. But, it really doesn't have to be and we're here to help! Below we've laid out a couple techniques that are at the core of almost any jewelry making project. With a little practice you'll be a pro in no time at all! Let's get started!
How to properly open and close a jump ring:
Our all time "must master" is how to properly open and close a jump ring. Jump rings are so very important because they typically act as the glue in your necklaces, earrings, and bracelets. If you open a jump ring the right way and close it the right way you should have no problem constructing a piece of jewelry that is built to last and withstand normal wear and tear! Closing the jump ring with the tightest gap possible will help maintain its strength and nothing will slip out.
First things first..do not pull the jump ring open. Meaning do not pull the wires apart in the west and east direction. This does several very bad things; it weakens and distorts the metal, creates an unappealing jump ring shape and makes it nearly impossible to close correctly without leaving a wide gap.
Here's how the pros do it...
Grasp the jump ring on opposite sides of the opening. Using a pair of chain nose pliers grasp one side. Grasp the other side with your fingers (if the jump ring is a thicker gauge or really small, replace your fingers with another set of pliers).
Use a "twisting" motion only to open the jump ring. You will be twisting your pliers north and your fingers south. Basically, one side should rotate towards you and the other should rotate away from you. You should now have an open jump ring. You can now slide the ring through chain or use it to attach elements together. Once you are ready to close the jump ring repeat the twisting motion but in the reverse as before. If the two sides of wire are not touching you can always lightly twist back and forth until the ends meet.
Now that you know how to open and close a jump ring the right way you'll be able to fix old and broken jewelry you thought was destined for the trash.
How create eye pins out of wire:
A wire wrapped loop (or an eye pin) is one of the most secure ways to connect beads and findings.
How to wire loop beads together:
Gather: Looped wire (or pre-made eye pins), beads, chain nose pliers, round nose pliers, and clippers.
Push the eye pin through a bead.
Bend the straight end of the wire at a 90 degree angle to the bead. Try and get the wire to be going in the exact same direction as the loop on the other side (in the end this will help your loops to be facing the same direction)
Using your round nose pliers, measure about ¼” up the plier tip. This is where you will place your pliers at the curve of the headpin. *Pro Tip: You can mark the pliers with a Sharpie if you want consistent loops! Using your fingers, wrap the wire over the plier.
Continue wrapping the headpin under the plier. And pull tightly to create a uniform loop.
To help you can use your chain nose plier if you are working with stiff wire.
Using clippers, cut the excess wire right where the loop crosses.
If there is a gap, use your chain nose pliers to adjust and close the loop.
Repeat with another bead but keep the loop open slightly and connect it to the previous beads' loop.
Close the gap with chain nose pliers.
Create Headpin Wire Loops:
Similar to the example above, except we will use a flat pad headpin and create a loop above the bead. You can use this technique to hang beads and components from things like chain, other beads, and cord.
Gather: Headpins, a bead, chain nose pliers, round nose pliers, and clippers.
Push your bead onto the headpin.
Bend the headpin, from the top of the bead, at a 90 degree angle.
Using your round nose pliers, measure about ¼” up the tip of the plier. This is where you will place your pliers at the curve of the headpin. Using your fingers, wrap the headpin over the plier. Continue wrapping the headpin under the plier until you've formed a loop around the plier.
Using the flat side of your clippers, cut the excess wire where the loop crosses.
If there is a gap, use chain nose pliers to adjust and close the loop.
Master these techniques by practicing with a few of our favorite jewelry projects:
When you're still in denial that it's actually a whole new year (like everyone in this office) you might need a reminder close at hand. We created these custom birthstone illustrations to bring a little piece of happy to your desk space. All you need to do is print these out on sturdy paper. You can prop them up on your desk in a card holder, lay them under your keyboard for quick reference, or hang them on the wall with bulldog clips and a piece of twine.
Grab the free printable: 2016 Desk Calendar
New year, new decor? At least we hope so! Take on some light challenges at the start of this new year and get your creative juices flowing. We're starting out by updating our space with these super simple and completely lovely gold leaf mirrors. It's easier and faster than it looks. Grab the supplies below and get started!
- - round mirrors in different sizes (we used these)
- - low tac tape
- - glue (you can use metal leaf adhesive, spray on adhesive, or regular old craft glue with a little patience)
- - wide paint brush or foam brush
- - imitation gold leaf sheets
Start by tearing off a piece of tape long enough to go across the width of the mirror. Decide how large of a gold leaf section you would like and place the tape down to mark off that section. Press down along the edge of the tape with your nail to ensure a crisp line of gold leaf.
We are going to demonstrate working with craft glue but you can easily use spray adhesive or metal leaf adhesive for this project. Spray adhesive will give you a rougher texture than the other two.
Take your brush and apply on a very light layer of craft glue. Make sure to cover the whole surface evenly. Wait about a minute or two until the glue becomes tacky. You can test this by putting your finger along the edge, it it slightly sticks to the glue you are ready to add the gold leaf!
Press the gold leaf over the glue surface. Make sure the gold leaf side is down and the paper side is up. Press very gently over the whole surface. If you pull the sheet you run the risk of getting a "cracked" appearance. Let the foil sit for another 5 minutes just to make sure the glue is dry.
Start to pull back the paper gently. Gold leaf will probably be everywhere :) Make sure the glue is completely dry and go over the edges lightly with your finger or another paint brush to brush off the excess gold leaf. Pull the tape off gently.
Hang these mirrors on the wall with command strips which are very apartment and renter friendly!
You can also get a little more adventurous in the gold leaf design by mapping out angles with the tape or try stripes of gold foil for a fun update.
It's been an incredible year for the DIY industry and one of our most creative yet! With over 150+ DIY projects tackled on forthemakers.com alone we made 2015 bigger and better than ever. Thank you for making with us this year. We hope you created new things that you love, picked up some new skills, and learned that you can make anything when you put your heart into it!
Here's to a whole new set of projects to master in the coming year. We are wishing you a happy New Year and hoping that we get to do it all over in 2016!
Below you'll find a sampling of some of the most loved projects from 2015.
...and last but not least, who could forget the very adventurous project of natural dyeing?! This one might top the list of our favorites so far in the history of For the Makers (but you know that changes monthly...if not daily:))!
To close out the year you know we had to throw some rhinestones on something. And since all eyes are on gifts this season...well, why not put them there?! This gift wrap idea is also a bit of a gift itself. If you have a friend that loves to craft this would be the perfect way to present her present. She can remove the rhinestones and use them later! We paired some simple wrapping papers with lush velvet and then went to town with the toppers. If you are a little scared of this over indulgence we've also added a simpler way to achieve a similar effect with rhinestone embellished gift tags.
Gather up all those rhinestones you've been hoarding this year and let's get started!
What you need:
- - different size rhinestones in settings (glue on or sew on, doesn't matter), flat back stones of all colors
- - double sided tape
- - hot glue gun
- - scissors
- - wrapping papers
- - velvet ribbon
First we wrapped each gift. If the gifts are small scale you can add one band of velvet ribbon around the belly of the present. Tape or hot glue the start to the middle back. You want the gift to sit flat so measure the ribbon around and cut the ribbon right where it meets the start.
We tried hot glue and double sided tape to affix the ribbon to the paper and both worked well. You can also use glue dots if you have them!
Now flip the gift back over to the top and let's start adding the pretty things! Lay out all your stones and figure out which ones you like grouped together.
Use hot glue to attach the stones to the ribbon. In order to minimize the glue gun spider web that usually ensues, place the stone down where you want it and lift up the center. Squirt out a little glue, and push the stone down as you pull the glue gun away. You can always pick off any left over glue later but remember that the velvet might pull off if there is a lot of glue mess so try to keep it contained under the stones.
The prettiest gift ever!
For larger packages you can do a cross band and pile on a bunch in the center!
For a simpler approach grab some paper gift tags and glue on a small cluster of rhinestones. You can label the gift on the back.
Attach the tag with tape or with the basic twine it comes on. A super cute idea that could work for birthday gifts as well!
We're continuing on with our easy and inexpensive holiday decorating ideas... next up comes these DIY folded book sculptures. Admittedly, these take a touch of free time but they make a big impact as far as decorating goes. Hang them from a doorway arch or stack them up on your bookshelf. Go for the big time with old textbooks you'll never use again or make some teeny ones out of small vintage children's books. We added some color with a can of gold spray paint. You could also use inks to create a nice wash of color. Stay away from paint that needs water as it will cause the pages to ripple when drying.
- - books in all different sizes
- - bone folder
- - spray paint or ink
- - x-acto knife
- - sobo glue (or adhesive of choice)
First you need to remove the cover from your selected book. Use your x-acto knife to gently cut away the paper or hardbound cover so that you are left with a stack of bound pages. If your book is especially thick you can cut it into smaller sections around the page signatures. Each sculpture we constructed ended up being about 300 pages thick. Next begin folding...
To make the Single Diamond Shape Above:
Start by folding the bottom corner of a page toward the center of the book so that bottom of the page runs parallel to the spine. Next, take the top corner and fold toward the center of the book in the same fashion so that a triangle is formed. You can use your bone folder to crease the folds and make your sculpture appear more dense. Continue until all pages have been folded.
To Make the Double Diamond Above:
Start with the same folded triangle shape from the Single Diamond instructed above. Once finished, take the tip of the triangle and fold it toward the center so that one side runs parallel to the spine. Next, take the opposite page and fold it so that the same side runs parallel to the spine. The following two pages will be folded the same way except with the opposite side running parallel to the spine. Keep folding in this fashion while switching the direction after every two pages until there are none left.
If you have a spare one at the end either folded it in either direction, or gently tear it from the spine. The sculpture may become difficult to fold the further you go because of the added bulk. If needed, use your bone folder to crease the folds and give you more control.
To Make the Cone Shape Above:
Take the top corner and fold it toward the center of the book so that the top of the page runs parallel to the spine similar to the Single Diamond shape above. Now take the angled side and fold it toward the spine of the book. A little bit of the page should be hanging below the bottom. Take that extra section and fold it up to create a triangle with a base that runs parallel to the bottom of the book. Continue until all the pages have been folded. This shape can also be doubled up and stacked to create an oversized diamond sculpture.
For final touches we glued the base of the first and last pages of the sculpture to help disguise any holes that might reveal the spine. However, the thicker your sculpture is the less you will see the spine. Style yours on a table top or bookcase, or hang it with pretty ribbon or some garland and fishing line.
These beautiful handmade marbled ornaments make a wonderful gift or addition to your own holiday decor. It's a simple project and takes very little time. Pair it with a pretty ribbon on top and attach them to your wrapped gifts. The process for creating these is fool-proof and bonus, no messy clean up from marbling in a water-bath!
- - glass ball ornaments with removable tops
- - silver spray paint
- - gold spray paint
- - low tac tape (optional)
Take all the materials outside. Take the silver tops off of all the ornaments and set them aside. Shake your spray paint cans. In the top hole of the ornament spray in a good size squirt of silver paint and then gold paint. If you don't have a patch of grass to stand on outside you might want to use a small piece of tape to cover the top hole for this next part. Shake the ornaments around to mix the paint inside. Some of it will come out so make sure you aren't shaking it by your face or clothes! You can shake it just a couple times to lightly mix or really go for it and distribute the paint over the whole inside of the glass ball.
Set the wet ornaments down to dry for an hour or more. Once dry replace the tops and hang up with ribbon or twine.
We created this simple ornament holder out of a round wooden dowel and hung it up with velvet ribbon. You can place this hanging from your mantle or dropped from the ceiling to hang your most prized ornaments on display.
This time of year I always want to add DIY touches to anything and everything. Decorating for the holidays makes my heart happy - and even though this year is TIGHT on time (I'm sure you can relate) I didn't want that to prevent some really gorgeous and fun decorating around the home. We've come up with some super simple ideas that we will be sharing over the next two weeks. The first idea comes as two posts. See how we used these ornaments in a non-conventional way, here!
These spray coated ornaments were inspired by the gold and neon pumpkins we created earlier this year. These pumpkins got some serious love on pinterest and instagram..and they are just so gosh darn easy to make! Grab some spray paint and pick up some glass ball ornaments and get your hands busy.
- - glass ball ornaments
- - flat color spray paint (we used montana cans)
- - gold and/or silver metallic spray paint
- - pencil or 1/4" thick dowel
- - tall cup or tupperware bowl filled with beans or something heavy to weight it down
Gently pull the silver cap off the ornaments and set aside. Take your spray paint and glass ornaments outside or work in a well ventilated area. Place a pencil or dowel in the ornament to hold it up while you spray. First spray the ornament all over in a flat color. Then grab the metallic spray paint and hit the ornament in one or two spots. You don't need to wait for the color to dry before you spray on the metallic. Sometimes the paint does cool things when they mix. Wait a couple minutes for the ornament to dry. You can place it in the cup or bowl with the pencil still holding it, while it dries fully. Once dry place the caps back on and hang with wire hooks or cut pieces of twine.
We loved the look of mixed metals and sprayed some with gold and silver.