12 days of crafting: stamped candles

12 days of crafting handmade christmas gifts handmade christmas decor From December 1-12, I’ll be blogging about some fun ideas to create a handmade Christmas. Hopefully you will be inspired to craft some Christmas gifts or decor for your own home!

Day 10: Stamped Candles

Stamped Candle Tutorial

I’m so excited about today’s tutorial! Janelle is back to teach us how to make stamped candles – who doesn’t love a fun candle? Here she is…

“The craft I’m showing you today is a really simple stamped candle. It’s an easy way to give a little homemade touch to a gift, without spending too much time or effort on it.

You will need:

  • A pillar candle, any color
  • A hairdryer
  • Something to press into the candle
  • Optional: craft paint and a paintbrush

Stamped Candle Tutorial

Let’s talk about materials for a minute. In the candle on the right, I used metal letterpress type to spell out a word. Very cool, and looks great just as an initial also. But most people don’t have metal type in the house, so for this tutorial, I wanted to try out other objects to see how they worked.

I dug around in my jewelry box and sewing kit and here’s what I found:

  • Buttons, both plastic and metal
  • A tiny wooden spool
  • A chunky wooden bracelet with carved beads
  • Some charm bracelets
  • A metal brooch with rhinestones
  • Some kind of button cover from the 1920s with a cameo-like face on it
  • Rubber stamps

I also considered a hair elastic with a metal bird on the end and a thin silver necklace, but as you will see later, these didn’t work as well.

Stamped Candle Tutorial

The most important thing to consider is the amount of contrast on the piece you’re going to stamp. Of these three, the wooden bracelet is best. The deep ridges show up more than the tiny detail on the silver bracelet. But unlike the bird, most of the surface is the same depth, so you don’t need to press as hard into the candle to get the detail to show up.

It’s easier to stamp with items that are small. Big things need to curve around the candle, which is tricky.

Let’s get started! I’ll wait here while you raid your own jewelry box and craft cupboard.

Ready? Here we go!

Stamped Candle Tutorial

Once you have your stamp ready, soften the candle wax so you can press your stamp in. I used a hairdryer on high, held pretty close to the candle. Watch carefully; it doesn’t take long to see the top layer of wax start shimmering. If you’re doing a deep stamp, try holding the heat further away so it penetrates further before totally melting.

And be careful! Hairdryers are HOT!

Stamped Candle Tutorial

Quickly press your stamp into place. If you’re doing a design around the border, for example, you can usually do about half the candle at a time. The wax hardens up, but depending on how deep the melt went, you may have enough time to do a larger design.

Stamped Candle Tutorial

If you used a white candle, like me, you may be tempted to quit at this point, as your design won’t show up too well. This is the cameo brooch I mentioned earlier.

Get out your acrylic paint and a brush. I used gold and silver paint, but any color would look nice. The foam brushes at Michael’s are great for this craft because they squish the paint into all the little crevices.

Stamped Candle Tutorial

And here it is after a little painting. Much better! I probably should have rotated the brooch a bit, but you can get the gist here.

Stamped Candle Tutorial

Here are some finished examples:

  • Wooden spool on the top row
  • Plain plastic button
  • Woven metal button
  • Flower-stamped metal button

Stamped Candle Tutorial

  • Rubber stamp of a kitchen whisk
  • Pattern made from the rhinestone brooch. This reminds me of champagne bubbles. I think it would be a fun all-over pattern.

 Stamped Candle Tutorial

  • Wooden beads from a bracelet. I didn’t space these out too well, but I love the plaid-like look they give. You could wash these with a red paint and do little stripes with a thin brush for extra credit.

And, at the top of the post, you can see the little deer I used from a charm bracelet. This may be my very favorite. Doesn’t it look like Rudolph?

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little tutorial, and have fun experimenting!”

Thanks Janelle! I love the little deer too, but the the rhinestone “bubbles” are so fun too! Love this idea so much. Happy crafting everyone!

In case you missed it…
Day 1: Christmas Kissing Ball
Day 2: Vanilla-Infused English Breakfast Tea
Day 3: Iris Paper Folding
Day 4: Paper Circle Garland
Day 5: Rice-Filled Neck Warmer
Day 6: Felt Stacking Tree
Day 7: Painted Wooden Message Boards
Day 8: Paper Dot Notecards
Day 9: Simple Sewing Projects

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12 days of crafting: painted wooden message boards

12 days of crafting handmade christmas gifts handmade christmas decor From December 1-12, I’ll be blogging about some fun ideas to create a handmade Christmas. Hopefully you will be inspired to craft some Christmas gifts or decor for your own home!

Day 7: Painted Wooden Message Boards

diy painted wooden message board, stencil wooden sign, quote board

This awesome message board tutorial comes from Carrie. We like to say we’ve been friends since we were in the womb, since our moms were in childbirth class together. However, things got rocky (literally) when we reunited at 5 years old – while playing outside together, Carrie threw gravel in my eyes. Not cool. Anyways, back to the craft at hand. I love these message boards because they are super popular in stores and on etsy, but I hadn’t seen anyone make them until Carrie put some up on her facebook a couple weeks ago. Here she is to explain how she makes them…

Supplies: diy painted wooden message board, stencil wooden sign, quote boarddiy painted wooden message board, stencil wooden sign, quote boarddiy painted wooden message board, stencil wooden sign, quote board

  • wood (my favorite is finding and using scrap wood.  The best piece I ever found was one that washed up the shore at Picnic Point beach.) For these particular boards we bought 1/2″ thick sheet of plywood and had it divided and cut into 6ths.
  • sander
  • paint (I buy little $1 bottles from Michael’s craft store.  Each bottle painted about 2 of these plywood boards.)
  •  paint brush
  • letter stencils (mine were 3/4 and 1″ sizes)
  • spongy things to paint on the stencil (optional, could just use a brush probably)
Instructions: 
1) Sand the wood
2) Apply one coat of paint
3) Sand the edges to give the vintage look
  diy painted wooden message board, stencil wooden sign, quote board
diy painted wooden message board, stencil wooden sign, quote board
4) So after sanding, painting and sanding again, it’s time for the stenciling.

I used chalk and a straight edge to draw lines on the board to help with spacing.  This is easily wipe-off-able after the paint dries and is a good guide.

diy painted wooden message board, stencil wooden sign, quote board

I’m impatient, so I stenciled each letter, wiped the stencil with a wet paper towel and moved on to the next before the first letters or stencils fully dried.

diy painted wooden message board, stencil wooden sign, quote board

This created some imperfections of misplaced bits of paint transferred from the stencil.  Some might say it adds to the “vintage” or “homemade” look..

diy painted wooden message board, stencil wooden sign, quote board

Isn’t it awesome? Thanks so much for sharing this with us, Carrie! I am a big fan of quotes and Bible verses and song lyrics, so I would love to do one for our own home. I’m just so impressed with how it turns out! Wouldn’t this make such a good Christmas gift? So go make one!

In case you missed it…
Day 1: Christmas Kissing Ball
Day 2: Vanilla-Infused English Breakfast Tea
Day 3: Iris Paper Folding
Day 4: Paper Circle Garland
Day 5: Rice-Filled Neck Warmer
Day 6: Felt Stacking Tree

diy valentines decor

Thank you, Dollar Tree, for having the exact little sparkly hearts I was envisioning.

Happy February! Every year I forget how busy my job is in January. It is always such a relief when February arrives and I can breathe a little easier (figuratively, but also literally – I had a lame cold the last two weeks of January. I’m still relishing Luke sleeping through the night most nights – ticks me off when a cough keeps waking me up!).

So far, February has started out amazing – the weather has been gorgeous (sunshine, nice to see you again!), Luke got to see both of his grandmothers last week, and I’ve gotten in some small crafting projects. I also like being able to slow down and enjoy the small moments, like peeling carrots for Luke’s food while he played next to me in his jumper this morning. Now he’s watching intently as Ian makes some cookies.

Valentine’s Day is only a week away, so I thought I’d post some pics of my super easy DIY decor.

I made this yarn-wrapped wreath a couple years ago when we were still remodeling our house, so it must have been quick. The foam wreath is the more square variety (that they happen to sell at Dollar Tree). I just wrapped her up in yarn, embroidered a little felt heart and called it good.

yarn wrapped jar valentines diy valentines decor

I just threw together this little ensemble. I had the ideas floating around in my head, and this is what emerged. I’d like to add something more to the mason jar… maybe some flowers from a certain special someone? 🙂 I wrapped the mason jar in yarn awhile ago and figured out the rest a few days ago. Fun fact: the “Love never fails” was stenciled with my Tupperware stencils from my childhood.

diy valentines decor yarn wrapped jar heart garlandIt’s fun coming up with seasonal decorations for the half wall between our dining area and the piano room. I put in some simple scrapbook paper into the photo frame, set out some candle holders and hung a heart garland.

yarn wrapped jar felt heart diy valentine decorSo remember these yarn-wrapped jars from Christmas? Yep, took me about 5 minutes to cut out some felt hearts and tie them to the jar with some yarn. I’ve seen lots of mason jars with doilies and paper hearts tied around them on pinterest and other blogs, which is definitely cute, but I didn’t want to have to buy doilies so this worked for me.

yarn heart garland diy valentines decorThis yarn heart garland was inspired by a mini-version that I pinned here. Again, I didn’t want to have to buy supplies (the thinner yarn and smaller crochet hook) so I just used the heart pattern and used some regular yarn I had on hand. Then I used a yarn needle to thread a piece of yarn through the backs of all the hearts. The hearts crochet up super fast – maybe 5-10 minutes? – and so this was a quick, easy project too.

There you have it! Some little valentines crafts to decorate your home, enjoy!

like the shore and the sea

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it, but there’s this guy I’m kind of crazy about.

Sentimental side note: this photo was taken in the coffee shop / bookstore where we had our first date.

We just celebrated six years of marriage, and it seriously gets better every year. He’s the best listener, is super supportive of me in so many ways, makes me laugh, is such a sweet dad, and he’s also pretty manly:

Hilarious side note: I happened upon this picture in iPhoto while looking for something else – Ian had put it alone in its own album titled “Ian Conquered the Stump!”

Anyways, he is pretty much the best and I am so thankful for our marriage and love for each other. My most recent craft endeavor is a reflection and reminder of that love.

It started to bother me  that we have so many bare walls in our bedroom, so when inspiration struck in the form of a Jon Foreman song last spring, I decided to go for it and create some wall art!

And then… life happened. Luke happened. And I started the project (way back here) and it sat for awhile. And then last week, I just made up my mind to bust it out. So I did. It took a couple re-directions, but I’m very pleased with the end result:

I think the total cost was around $5… garage sale & dollar store frames + stuff I had on hand. I printed out the text on cardstock using a font I found, then cut out the letters with an exacto knife. I originally thought I might just use the stencil to print the letters, but it ended up being too stark… so what you actually see are the stencils themselves, painted maroonish and mounted on brown cardstock. Yeah. Whatever works, right?

The lyrics are taken from Jon Foreman’s song “In My Arms.” I really like his seasons albums.

I love making our home more and more our own! What could you add to your home decor to reflect you or your family?

 

 

12 days of crafting: potato prints


From December 1-12, I’ll be blogging about some of my favorite crafting methods and projects. Hopefully you will be inspired to craft some Christmas gifts or handmade decor for your own home!

Day 12: Potato Prints

Wow, it’s already the last day of my crafting series! It’s been fun getting to share some of my favorite ideas for gifts and decorations, and I hope you enjoyed it too!

For my last project, I thought I’d tell you a little about potato prints. I remember doing an art project with potato prints in fifth grade, and guess what – it’s still fun!

You will need:

  • a potato
  • a cutting tool
  • a surface to print on (paper, fabric/clothing, whatever you want to decorate!)
  • paint suitable for your surface (acrylic or fabric paint)
  • an old plate or paper plate to pour your paint on

It’s as easy as 1-2-3:

  1. Cut your potato in half so you have a flat surface to work with. If you’re doing small designs, you can cut it up into smaller pieces – just make sure they each have a flat side.
  2. Carve your design into the potato – carve away the parts you DON’T want printed. Remember to reverse the image if you want it to face a certain way or if you are carving words.
  3. Pour a thin layer of paint on a plate, stamp your potato in there and print it on your surface (be sure to test it on a scrap first! You can always touch up your carving if necessary).

Last Christmas I made “Little Scraps of Joy” – little scrap papers with simple potato prints (I boxed them up all cute-like too).

Letting the prints dry. They’re in little piles because I would stamp them in sets of five – I’d only dip the potato in the paint once, so each print got a little lighter, for some variety.

I only had a paring knife, so the designs were very basic with little detail:

What would work great as a carving tool is those pumpkin carving kit tools – unfortunately I was too late in hunting one down last year. But luckily for me, for my birthday Ian gave me a printing kit that came with a legit carving tool, which is a lot easier – and allows for more detail, like this onesie I made for Luke.

So there you go! Potato printing is great for so many things – gift wrap, note cards or stationary, shirts, onesies, bags, dish towels, cloth napkins, place mats and anything else you can print on. It’s fun for kiddos to do too (not the cutting part, but the printing!).

I think a great Christmas gift (or for yourself!) would be a set of printed cloth napkins – just a simple “joy” or Christmas tree print centered at the bottom… I can see it now! So get printing, potato-style!

In case you missed it:

12 days of crafting – day 1: stenciling

12 days of crafting – day 2: wreath with felt flowers

12 days of crafting – day 3: mosaics

12 days of crafting – day 4: vertical christmas card holder

12 days of crafting – day 5: bottle cap magnets

12 days of crafting – day 6: re-purposed paper ornaments

12 days of crafting – day 7: owl calendar

12 days of crafting – day 8: finger-knitted yarn garland

12 days of crafting – day 9: amigurumi

12 days of crafting – day 10: no-knit, no-crochet scarf

12 days of crafting – day 11: yarn-wrapped jars

12 days of crafting: stenciling

From December 1-12, I’ll be blogging about some of my favorite crafting methods and projects. Hopefully you will be inspired to craft some Christmas gifts or handmade decor for your own home!

Day 1: Stenciling

You will need:

  • fabric paint
  • sponge (craft sponges are pretty cheap)
  • stencil film or cardstock
  • exacto knife or razor blade
  • fabric to stencil on: clothing, bags, towels, placemats, etc! Be sure to pre-wash it.

Stenciling is fun and quick. I think the best part is that simple stencils produce really cool results, so you don’t have to try to be super elaborate!

I created the onesies and outfits in the photo above in an evening (and in the middle of remodeling our house!). I used stencil film (this kind wasn’t very expensive and I have a bunch leftover for more projects) because I wanted to re-use the stencils for other projects. Cardstock works too, but it probably won’t hold up as long. They also make adhesive stencils – you can also make your own adhesive stencils out of freezer paper – but again, I like to re-use my stencils for the most part.

If you stick with simple shapes, it’s not hard to cut the stencil film. I drew my design on paper and put it underneath the film, then lightly scored it with the exacto knife. Then I went back and cut it out (on top of a cutting board, of course).

I usually go with simple shapes or animals – you could also trace a design in a book or print out an image you like if you don’t want to draw your own.

And the designs do not need to be fancy to turn out well – one of Ian’s favorite shirts that I made him was made with ridiculously easy stencils – I just cut out a few rectangles in cardstock and turned them into some skyscrapers:

Another tip – if you are stenciling a t-shirt, check the thrift store! I’ve found lots of plain colored t-shirts in great condition, like the one in the photo above. Target also has their plain colored or heathered tees on sale often too.

After you have your stencils, just use your sponge to lightly sponge paint onto your fabric, being careful around the edges. You can do a light coat for a more “distressed” look, or apply it more solidly. Rinse your stencils and sponges afterwards if you want to re-use them later!

There are so many possibilities for gifts! I’ve made lots of onesies and kids clothes, t-shirts, placemats… and Luke’s swaddler too. What I love about stenciling is that it’s not elaborate – all you need is a simple idea. If you’re looking for a quick Christmas gift idea, this is a great route to take! Even Luke endorses stenciling (he’s totally giving a thumbs up!).