Category Archives: DIY

Tutorial: DIY Baked Clay “Person Planter”!

Sculpey Clay People PlanterIt’s a much needed rainy day today in San Francisco and it gave me a hankerin’ for a rainy day craft. I’ve propagating some of my succulents and am in need of somewhere to put them so I’ve been imagining all varieties of little clay pots that I could make with the clay leftover from my garden markers. Of course, when I finally decided on a design I also decided it would be absolutely perfect for a little flowering cactus I have that didn’t need a pot!

Cactus FlowerOh well, no worries. I’ll just make some mini pots for my propagated succulents later…

The design for this adorable little person planter is based off one that I saw on Etsy but I didn’t pin it straight away or favorite the shop, and try as I might I can’t find it again! Sorry!

So instead, here is a little tutorial on how I put mine together.

For materials, all you need is an adorable little cactus or succulent in a plastic pot, some Sculpey clay (or other baking clay brand) and a butter knife you don’t mind mucking up a bit.

My cactus was bound in the soil well enough that I was able to gently tug on it and pull the soil out of the pot without making too much mess.

cactus red flowerThen I could use the pot to cut a circle out of some clay that I had rolled to about 1/8″ thickness.

DIY Sculpey clay person planterIt takes a little working the clay in your hands to get it soft enough to roll out. I found it easiest to work little 1-2″ balls of clay at a time then amalgamate them when I’d warmed each up.

DIY backed clay person planterThis circle that you’ve cut out will form the base of your pot and the surrounded ring can be combined back with the rest of your clay.

I next rolled out a ball of Sculpy that was….oh….I’d say a little smaller than a tennis ball, to a 1/8-1/4″ thickness. You really can’t go thinner than that or the clay won’t have enough strength to hold it’s shape. Even at the thickness I used, it was pretty delicate and warped a little with the cooking (but the plastic pot still fit in easily at the end).

Roll this piece out to be a long oval shape because it will be trimmed down to a rectangle to form the sides of your pot.

DIY backed clay person planterOf course you could easily figure out the circumference of your circle, and thus the length of rectangle needed, with a little math. But who wants to do math??? Instead, you can make a little tick mark on the mouth of your pot. Lay the pot on the clay and gently roll it around until you reach the tick again, marking your start and end points. The distance between the points should be the length of rectangle you need!

I wrapped the rectangle around the base of the pot, gently rubbing the seam where they join together being careful not to distort the shape or thin the clay.

DIY backed clay person planterNow you should have a cup shape. I had some ragged looking edges on the upper rim of the pot that I wanted to smooth out.

Smoothing Sculpey clay

Can you see? The left side has been smoothed and the right side is the original rough edge. Also, you can see the potting soil that I kept rolling into my clay because I didn’t clean my work surface well enough!

To smooth these edges out just gently rub your finger along the rim with very little pressure. Run your finger over the edge a few times and the heat from your finger should smooth out the edge. Use this technique to cover up the seam where the two short edges of the rectangle joined. Again, be careful to not push too hard and distort the shape or thin the clay.

Next, I rolled out a couple little logs of clay and cut them to size to form the arms of the person planter.

DIY backed clay people planterBaked clay plant pot tutorialGently press the arms onto the sides of the pot, supporting the back as you do so. I really rubbed the shoulders and made sure that they were well attached to the pot.

DIY Sculpey clay plant potAs you can see in the picture above, that distorted the upper rim of the planter a bit so, again, I just gently rubbed it with my finger to smooth it out.

I used the same technique to make a pair of legs that I attached to the pot and even added some cute little feet at the end. I very carefully transferred the whole thing to a Pyrex baking dish and put it in the oven for 20 minutes. The Sculpey clay packaging suggested 15 minutes in a 275 F oven per 1/4″ thickness, but you should definitely check the directions for your clay before proceeding. The Sculpey packaging also warned not to microwave or over bake the clay. I have no idea what dire consequences you’d experience if you attempted either of these things.

Sculpey clay person planterOnce the clay cooled, I plopped my cactus in and I think the end result is pretty darn cute! As I mentioned previously, I did get a little warpage as my clay heated but the baked clay products don’t dry rock hard like kiln-fired clay and my cactus was in a thin plastic pot so I was still able to fit the cactus in no problemo!

DIY Clay person planterAnd there you have it, a DIY baked clay “Person Planter”!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Tutorial: DIY Thread Organizer

Spool Organizer TutorialI don’t know about you, but for the longest time my thread and bobbins have been stashed wherever they fit. In boxes, laying around on my sewing table, in my sewing kit. I was always have to search three or four places to see if I had a certain color of thread.

Now that I have a dedicated sewing space, I decided to build myself a wall hanging (or leaning) thread organizer! It’s not the prettiest thing I’ve ever made but it could be easily prettied up with a coat or two of paint and it sure does the trick!

DIY Spool Holder Tutorial

Materials:

– Hammer
– 2/12″ nails
– 12″ x 36″ board
– measuring tape
– pencil

First thing’s first. I ran into a little trouble hammering nails into knots and wood grains in my board, so try to get as un-knotty a board as possible.

For average thread spools, you’ll want to put nails every 2 inches (more if you’re doing large spools like for sergers). Using your measuring tape and pencil, put a tick mark every 2 inches down both long edges of your board.

DIY Thread OrganizerNext, match up the tick marks across from each other with your measuring tape and make tick marks going across the board every 2 inches. You should end up with a grid of tick marks, like this;

Sewing organization

Can you see my little tick marks?

Next, hammer a nail in at every tick mark, with an upwards slant to the nail. I found it easiest to start at the bottom and work my way up the board.

Sewing Room OrganizationYou’ll end up with what my husband was referring to as my ‘bed of nails’….

Homemade Thread HolderAnd that’s it! In about 30 minutes from start-to-finish, you’re done!!!

DIY Thread HolderI set mine up so that spools of thread hung on every other row. Then, the matching bobbin can hang under each spool making it super easy to see what I’ve got.

DIY Spool OrganizationThe only word of caution I would extend is that if you’re going to hang this on a wall, bear in mind that it is very heavy. I wouldn’t recommend hanging if there are no studs available. I haven’t tried hanging mine yet. Finding studs in my….er……”economically” built apartment can be….sporadic. At best. But even leaning against the wall, this sure beats the pants off what I had going on before!!!

 

 

Tutorial: Reusable Gift Tags

I originally made this tutorial to introduce a new item to my Etsy shop, but my super supportive mother-in-law already purchased the item! So it’ll be a few days before I’ve got more in there. Anyway, without further ado…..a tutorial for making your very own reusable gift tags!

Homemade Gift Tags

Materials:

– felt (one 9×12 inches makes 6 tags)
– rotary cutter and cutting mat
– thin ribbon (1/8″ width)
– white card stock

DIY gift tagsI found it easiest to build myself a card stock template to trace onto the felt. I cut each template to be 2″ wide and 9″ long, folded it in half and trimmed the corners then cut a rectangle out of one half. This rectangle cutout will make the window that the card stock will fit into.

Make your own gift tagI found it was easiest to cut the strip out with a rotary cutter. To cut out the window, I found it easiest to fold the felt in half length wise, trace the window and cut it out with scissors. I also cut a little slit above the window for inserting replacement card stock.

Homemade gift tagsAt the end, you should be left with something that looks like this:

Reusable gift tagsUnfortunately, as often happens with me, I got a little engrossed in the process and stopped taking pictures. Whoops! But it’s pretty simple so I think you can follow along without them.

If you want to sew an extra embellishments on the back of the tag, it is best to do it before assembling the tag. I just used a couple bits of scrap felt and sewed them up the center to make a pair of leaves.

Felt gift tags

If you’re going to add buttons like I did, it’s best to wait and do that at the end. To assemble, just fold the felt in half bringing the tips together. When pinning, insert a folded length of ribbon (about 6-8″) at the point and sew all around the tag as absolutely close to the edge as you can get. I used a contrasting thread for a nice extra bit of detail!

These gift tags are also great to use as ornaments when gifting money! (And could be easily converted into gift card holders if sewn a bit wider)

Gifting money

Gifting money ideas

 

 

 

 

I thought maybe the adorable pink skull onesie I posted a tutorial for here was making all the little baby boys jealous, so I’ve come up with a little blue skull for them!

Boy skull onesieSkull onesie for boy

Skull onesie for boyI love these things!! Too cute!

In other news, I feel like I’ve been struggling to keep up with crafting and posting lately. I’ve had lots of presents to make that I can’t post because I don’t want to ruin the surprise for the recipients!! BUT. I wanted to let you know that I have exciting crafty news on the horizon that has been taking up a bit of my time. I’m hoping to let you in on the news later this week or next! Squee!

 

Tutorial: DIY Placemats With Pockets!

DIY Table LinensWith Christmas fast approaching and my employment still in the “un” category, I’m looking at trying to do an almost entirely handmade holiday season this year. I think kitchen linens can make a great hand sewn gift, and I know my mom appreciated the double-sided napkins I made her earlier this year! Anyhoo, with this type of gift in mind I decided to try out a pattern for placemats with utensil/napkin pockets on them. Cuuuuuuuute!

DIY Pocket PlacematsMaterials (for a place setting for 6):
1 yd linen/burlap (heavy)
2 yd coordinating lightweight cotton (1 yd for placemats and 1 yd for napkins)
coordinating thread

As I’ve mentioned before, I absolutely love the fabrics available from Fabricworm.com. I came across this fabulous print from Tegan White for Birch Organics and thought it would work well with the current color scheme happening in our apartment.

Fort Firefly, Jars Gold

Awwww, I want a string of firefly jars to light up my apartment!

I liked the idea of making a place setting for 6. Even if we don’t always have that many people for dinner it’s nice to have extra around in case something gets an irreparable stain or to put serving dishes on. So. Using my roller blade, I cut out 6 15″x15″ squares from the Firefly cotton for the napkins, and 6 19″x15″ squares each of Firefly cotton and my linen for the placemats (the Firefly cotton goes on the back to make them reversible!).

Placemats with PocketsI also cut 6 8″x5″ linen pieces and 6 5″x2″ cotton pieces (or 5″ lengths of coordinating bias tape) to make a cute little pocket for your silverware and napkins!

As was the case with the double sided napkins, ironing with this project is key. Siiiiiiiigh. To make the napkins iron a quarter inch hem on all sides, then fold it over and press again with about a half inch hem. Top stitch using a coordinating thread and you’re done!

Handmade Cloth Napkins

Table Linen Tutorial

BAM! Cute napkins. Done.

To make the placemats, you’re going to want to sew the pocket to the linen before assembling the front and back pieces. This keeps the back neat, without any visible stitch lines making the placemat reversible. So pull out that iron again, we’re not done with it yet!

You’ll want to fold and press the 5″x2″ strips of cotton into bias tape (I’ve talked about how to do that before here), then sew them to one short edge of each 8″x5″ square of linen. This will be a decorative edging on the top of the pocket.

How To  Make PlacematsNext, press a half inch hem into the remaining three naked sides of the pocket piece, folding toward the wrong side.

Placemat Sewing Pattern

More ironing? Don’t say I didn’t warn you! Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh!

Next, attach the pocket to your linen placemat front. I put the pocket on the left side of the placemat (though a quick interwebs search told me that people do either side) 2.5″ from the left edge and 2″ from the bottom edge.

How to Make Placemats

Once you’ve got your pocket pinned in place, neatly top stitch the three unadorned sides down as close to the edge of the pocket as possible.

DIY Placemats

Placemats with PocketNow we’re ready to sew the backing to the placemats. With right sides facing, sew the linen to the cotton backing with a half inch seam allowances on three sides. Leave one of the short sides open. We’re going to turn this inside out so cut the corners to help the fabric lay flat when we do this. You should end up with something that looks like this:

DIY Placemats

Flip the placemat right-side-out. You might have to use a pencil to really get in the sewn corners and get them nice and crisp. Fold a half inch hem inward on the open edge of the placemat and press (siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh). Top stitch around all sides of the placemat with coordinating thread about a quarter inch from the edge.

Pocket Placemat Sewing PatternAnd blammo! You’re done!!!!!!!

Handmade Placemats

Placemat Sewing PatternHandmade Place Settings

Sewing Placemat Tutorial

DIY Placemats

 

 

T-Shirt Quilt, Finally Done!!!

Almost a year ago to the day, I published an On The Go post. I’ve finished a few of the projects from the list; Pete’s hoodie, my nephew’s sweater, and a solution for the garbage area in my old apartment. I finally just got around to finishing off another of those projects – my T-shirt quilt!!!

DIY T-Shirt Quilt

I know it doesn’t look like a T-shirt quilt in this picture, but I just loved the warm and fuzzy nautical flannel I chose for the backing!

I would love for this to be a “real” tutorial, and originally intended it to be that. But then I remembered I don’t know how to quilt. Sooooooo…… instead I’ve documented the steps that worked for me and what I would do differently next time! I’d love for people who know better to leave some comments with suggestions for my next attempt!!

I had a ton of old t-shirts that had a lot of sentimental value but were pretty grubby and were just taking up space in my closet. When it came time to move from the East Coast of Canada to San Francisco I figured it was also time to do something about my t-shirt hoarding.

I cut the fronts off all the t-shirts, paying no attention whatsoever to trying to keep them the same size, packed them away and forgot about them for another year or two. When I pulled them out and looked into making a t-shirt quilt, I realized the whole thing would go waaaaay easier if I had squares that were all the same size to work with. I was inspired by the way this one looked where less attention was paid to preserving the whole t-shirt pattern and decided to do mine that way.

I cut 7″ squares of all my t-shirts then laid them all out on the floor and moved the pieces around until I had an arrangement that I liked. The first tip I have that worked well for me is to first sew your panels together into long rows, then sew the rows together to create your quilt.

DIY T-Shirt Quilt

How To Make a T-Shirt Quilt

Sorry for the terrible photo, I took this over a year ago! It’s supposed to be showing that I’ve pinned the rows together to make the quilt 🙂

Aaaaannnnnnnd, this is where it sat. For a year. I found myself in need of a picnic blanket recently and, on a rare rainy afternoon, I decided to finish it off. This is where things got a little….er….less than pretty.

I knew my quilt was going to be a bit smaller than I’d wanted so I purchased some plain white fabric for a border to add size and some nautical striped flannel for the back. Of course, my white fabric was just to short to be able to make a border without cutting separate corner pieces. So, I cut 4 strips of white fabric (4.5″ wide) the length of the quilt, and 4 squares of the striped fabric (4.5″ x 4.5″).

DIY T-Shirt QuiltI sewed two of the white strips onto opposite sides of the blanket.

DIY T-Shirt QuiltThen I sewed the striped squares to either end of the remaining white strips (I made sure to keep the pattern in the same direction), and sewed the whole thing to the other two sides of the quilt.

How To Make A T-Shirt QuiltHere’s the thing about that. I sewed non-stretchy flannel strips to really stretchy jersey fabric. Which means I ended up with a super wonky/wavy border. Maybe I should have stay-stitched the t-shirts before attaching the border??? Maybe I should used jersey for the border and the backing??? I dunno.

I cut 4 large squares of the backing and sewed them together with the strips going in different directions since the fabric wasn’t wide enough to cover the whole quilt in one large piece. Here’s the calculation I used to figure out how big to make each square;

CalculationThe extra 2.5″ was for a border around the front of the quilt. I decided to just fold up the backing fabric over the quilt front, then fold it under and top-stitch it for a border. I have no idea if this was “proper” quilting and I’m sure there’s a ton of tutorials out there that will teach you the right way!

I assembled my quilting sandwich by first laying the backing on the floor, wrong-side-up, then the quilt filling on top of that, and finally the quilt front on the top of the pile, right-side-up. I pinned the three layers together right in the center then worked my way out to each edge, pinning as I went, then filled in the rest. This was to try to keep everything smooth and centered.

To do the actual quilting I figured the “stitch in the ditch” method would probably be best for a beginner like me on busy patterns, so I just top-stitched all the seams using navy thread to co-ordinate with the backing. I was surprised at how easy it is once you get the hang of it (and how hard it is once you get bored of it, lol!). As you can see from the picture of the back, below, though top-stitching the stretchy jersey to the non-stretch flannel backing made for some wonkiness. I think for my next quilting attempt, I’ll stick to quilting cottons to avoid this kind of issue, but I tell you what; I’m really not in any danger of becoming a regular quilter – way to much math and precision, LOL!

Upcycled T-Shirt

How To Make A T-Shirt Quilt

DIY T-Shirt Quilt

Anyway, it’s pretty rough but I’m proud of my little t-shirt quilt. It’s so puffy and comfy and cozy! Besides, how perfect does something that you’re going to sit on in the dirt have to be???