Make and Give // DIY Leather Key Basket

It’s one for the dudes! You know I love to find DIYs that can serve as gifts for guys. They always get the short end of the DIY stick, if…

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It’s one for the dudes! You know I love to find DIYs that can serve as gifts for guys. They always get the short end of the DIY stick, if you ask me. But this one is plenty manly and plenty easy. We’re making a DIY leather key basket for all of those dudes out there who come home with too much stuff in their pockets.

Materials

Make Time: 30 Minutes plus drying time

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Start by getting your square of leather thoroughly damp. I dipped a rag in water and spread the water over the leather until it absorbed. You can also use a spray bottle to apply the water.

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Once the leather is evenly damp, dip one of the clean, soft rags into the leather dye. Start spreading the dye evenly over the leather. Once you have a full coat of dye applied, add dye to any places that look light or uneven. If you’d like the back side dyed as well, repeat the process with water and dye on the back.

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Pinch together each corner of the square and hold with clothespins. It’s important to do this step while the leather is still wet and flexible! Once you have the basket shape in place, be sure that the edges of the leather are covered with dye as well. Set this aside and let it set until the leather is dry and a bit more stiff.

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Apply a small amount of E-6000 at each corner, under the spot where the clothespins were holding them together. Replace the clothespins to hold the corners while the glue dries.

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After the glue dries, use one more clean, soft, dry rag to buff out any excess color from the basket. (You can also add a leather finish or sealer if you like.)

And that’s it! Wrap it up and put it under the tree for your fella or your dad. And rejoice in the fact that the keys and spare change now have a cozy little place to live. Make it and give it! xoxo

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leather-basket9P.S. Head to The Proper Pinwheel to enter today’s 24 Merry Days giveaway!

24-19

 

Make and Give // DIY You + Me Pennant Pillows

Felt is my new favorite sewing material. Geez this stuff is easy! I’m a total trial-and-error seamstress, so I wasn’t sure how this was gonna go. But I’m now forever…

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Felt is my new favorite sewing material. Geez this stuff is easy! I’m a total trial-and-error seamstress, so I wasn’t sure how this was gonna go. But I’m now forever a fan of sewing felt and I want to make these little You + Me Pennant Pillows for everyone I know. Let’s give it a go!

Materials

  • felt in two colors
  • pencil
  • sewing machine and materials
  • scissors
  • iron
  • batting

Make Time: 1 Hour

From your felt, cut two pennant flags of the same size, in different colors (one for the front and one for the back of the pillow). Choose the color you’d like the writing to be, and cut out your words in that color. I freehanded them, because I wanted them to look kind of natural. Place them on the flag that will be the front of the pillow to decide how you’d like them to be arranged. Also cut out a long rectangle, about an inch wide, and as long as the side edge of your pennant flags. Iron all pieces.

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Using a straight stitch, sew the rectangle onto the side edge of the front flag, leaving about a 1/2-inch hem. Pin the words to the flag and sew these down as well. I sewed a straight stitch down the center of each letter, as though I was writing them in cursive with the sewing machine. It was slow going but definitely doable. You’ll need to pick up your presser foot and readjust your fabric often — just be sure that when you pick up the foot, the needle is inserted in the felt so that you don’t lose your place. (Unless you’re fancy and have a sewing machine that does embroidery. Then go to town!)

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Once the letters are sewn on, place the two flags together with right sides facing. Sew a straight stitch around the border, leaving a 1/4-inch hem. Leave about 2 inches open on the side edge of the pennant.

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Flip the pillow right side out by bringing all of the material through the hole you left. It helps to push the corners through with a pencil or similar long, thin object. Once it’s flipped right side out, stuff with batting. (The pencil is helpful here, too, to get the batting all the way down to the point of the pillow.

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Once it’s stuffed, sew up the hole with a hidden stitch, tie off, and trim your threads.

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Team You + Me! I love it! And obviously this one is so simple to customize — you can make it say any ol’ thing. (How cute would it be with holiday words like Jolly or Merry?) Make it and give it. xoxo

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pennant-pillow11P.S. Head to This Little Street to enter today’s 24 Merry Days giveaway!

24-17

 

Make & Give // DIY Cement Gem Ornaments

It’s back! I’m so pumped to start up the Make and Give series again for the 2013 holidays. I loved giving so many handmade gifts last year, and I hope…

cement-gem

It’s back! I’m so pumped to start up the Make and Give series again for the 2013 holidays. I loved giving so many handmade gifts last year, and I hope some of them came in handy for you, too. This year I’ve brainstormed up another batch of affordable, easy, super-cool DIY gifts for everyone on your list, from dudes to kids to your best friend. Up first? DIY cement gem ornaments.

Materials

  • silicone gem ice trays (I found mine at Muji but there are similar ones here)
  • Cement All
  • disposable cups
  • popsicle sticks or another disposable stirring tool
  • measuring spoons
  • water
  • eye pins
  • needle nose pliers
  • baker’s twine
  • plastic wrap

Make Time: 15 Minutes plus one hour drying time

Start by prepping your materials. It’s important to have everything ready to go once you start mixing the cement, because this stuff dries fast. The gems can be made with either an eye pin in the center to make it into an ornament, or no pin to make it a decorative item. If you’d like ornaments, bend 1/8″ of the end of your eye pin at a 90 degree angle, using the pliers. Set these aside. Rip off a small section of plastic wrap and set aside as well.

In your disposable cup, measure 12 tablespoons of Cement All (water to cement ratio is really crucial, so I recommend leveling off the tablespoons). Then measure in 3 tablespoons + 1/2 teaspoon of water. Stir immediately and vigorously, being sure to get rid of all dry chunks of cement.

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The mixture should be a bit runny (kind of like the consistency of a Jamba Juice!). Start pouring into the molds immediately. Using the stick as a spatula to get the cement neatly into each mold helps quite a bit. As you pour, put the popsicle stick down into each mold and ensure that the cement gets all the way to the bottom with no bubbles. Take the stick out and pour one last bit on the top of each mold to create a smooth surface.

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If the tops of your molds are not as smooth as you like, you can set the plastic wrap down over the top of them, smooth, and remove. This should be done within about 2 minutes of pouring. Again, as soon as you pour this stuff, it starts to harden.

Finally, insert the eye pins if you are making ornaments. Insert the bent end first, rotating as you insert so that the hole it makes is as small as possible. Sink the pin up to just below the eye.

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Set the molds aside to dry for one hour. At the end of an hour, remove the gems and break off any extra jagged bits around the top. (FYI, I left one batch in overnight and had a heck of a time getting them out the next morning. I recommend a prompt removal unless you want to go to battle with your mold tray.) If you’re making ornaments, tie a loop of baker’s twine through the eye.

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That’s it! I promise it’s not difficult — I just tried to give as much detail as I could, as I learned a couple of tricks along the way. The cement is surprisingly easy to clean up and really fun to work with once you get the hang of it. I included these little ornaments in the gift bag for the West Elm event I did recently and people loved ’em! And I love that they can be ornaments, gift toppers, decor, or just about any old thing. They’re great to make in big batches, so give them to everyone you love. xoxo

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cement-gem12P.S. Head to You Are My Fave to enter today’s 24 Merry Days giveaway!

24-16

 

Make and Give // Vintage Postcard Pop Art

On our trip to Paris this summer, one of our very favorite things was an exhibit at the Centre Pompidou of Roy Lichtenstein‘s art. I had never been a huge…

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On our trip to Paris this summer, one of our very favorite things was an exhibit at the Centre Pompidou of Roy Lichtenstein‘s art. I had never been a huge fan of pop art, but seeing his work up close and personal was so insanely inspiring that I came home and wanted to research everything I could about it. I also found it so interesting to experience this really bold, crazy art style against the backdrop of Paris, which has such a completely different feel. It totally inspired this little project!

I found some vintage postcards at a Parisian flea market and started dreaming up ways to infuse a little pop art into them. Once we got back from our trip, I used Bing’s new Smart Search to research the style a bit more. The Smart Search is designed to help bring awesome content to life with lots of photos and a really great interactive experience. It searches the web, your apps, the cloud, and your computer, and gives you all the results in one spot. So smart! I researched everything from vintage postcards, to Lichtenstein’s exhibit at the Pompidou, to pop art style, and even color palettes.

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Before I started searching, I had a vague idea of what I wanted the postcards to look like, but the photos and integrated information from the Smart Search really helped me get a clear idea of how I wanted to actually put the DIY together.

Materials

  • vintage postcards
  • craft paint
  • tiny paintbrush
  • wooden skewers

Make Time: 30 Minutes Per Card

Start by pulling up some images of pop art. Using Smart Search to gather images of Lichtenstein’s pointillism pieces really helped me here. Decide on the styles you’d like to emulate. I really love the fading dots, so I decided to make that a theme.

On your postcards, find the parts of the images that you’d like to highlight. Good spots for the fading dot theme are things like bodies of water, the sky, or roads.

Start making your dots by adding paint to the pointy end of a wooden skewer and gently touching the skewer to the postcard. Keep the dots in a nice straight line, and start with the dots a little on the larger side.

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After you have your first row, add more rows of dots beneath. I staggered my dots with the previous line. Also, each successive row should have slightly smaller and smaller dots, so that they look like they’re disappearing (this helps give depth and suggest darkness or lightness in the image).

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Happy with your dots? Good! Now if you want to go the extra mile, find a little something cool in the postcard to highlight with another color. This takes some creativity. I painted one little guy gold. I outlined some clouds. I highlighted a tall building. Anything that you think would be cool, add a subtle little bit of paint to it.

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If you find yourself stuck at this point, it’s another great time to go back to Bing’s Smart Search and pull up some images. A search for “Roy Lichtenstein pointillism” helped me define a few spots that I wanted to highlight. Just use a few creative search terms and keep referencing your postcard.

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And that’s it! Let them dry thoroughly and give as a cool set of art pieces to a pal for the holidays. I actually love these things so much I’ll be hanging them up in my place for a while. A big, merry thanks to Bing for helping to bring my idea to life! Make it and give it. xoxo

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I’m required to disclose a sponsored partnership between our site and Bing. I have been compensated in exchange for this post in the form of payment, product or experiences.

Make and Give // DIY Gilded Heart Ring Dish

I love projects that look fancy but are secretly super easy, and this is one of those projects. If you’ve got a girlfriend (or a mom, sister, grandmother, aunt) who…

Gilded-Heart-Ring-Dish

I love projects that look fancy but are secretly super easy, and this is one of those projects. If you’ve got a girlfriend (or a mom, sister, grandmother, aunt) who needs a sweet little something for Valentine’s Day, whip her up this little gilded ring dish! It’s sweet and simple, with a little touch of gold (and you guys know I can never say no to gold). If you’d like to make one, gather your materials:

Start by warming the modeling clay in your hands and forming it into the shape of a heart. Mold the edges of the heart upward slightly so that it creates a lip all around the edge. Set aside a small piece of clay and form it into a thin roll. Gently press the roll onto the center of the heart to act as a peg. Smooth any rough spots, and bake according to the directions on the package.

DIY Heart Ring Dish

Once the dish is cool, load your paintbrush heavily with the liquid gilding and begin to trace the edges of the heart. If you like the dripped effect, allow some gilding to pool and drip down. I liked mine a little drippy!

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Be sure to let the gilding dry thoroughly, and send this little beaut on its merry way to brighten someone’s Valentine’s Day. Make it and give it! xoxo

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DIY Paint Swirl Ornaments

Make and Give // DIY Paint Swirl Ornaments

Today’s installment of Make and Give literally could not be any simpler. You need two materials and no tools whatsoever, but the result is awesome and it would be a…

DIY Paint Swirl Ornaments

Today’s installment of Make and Give literally could not be any simpler. You need two materials and no tools whatsoever, but the result is awesome and it would be a perfect gift for someone who’s celebrating the holidays in a new home or needs a few extra ornaments. Just grab some clear glass ornaments and a few colors of craft paint, and get your swirl on.

Just remove the hanger from the top of the ornament and pour in some paint. Not too much or it may not dry well, but you can always dump some out.

DIY Paint Swirl Ornaments

Start swirling the ornament around until the paint makes a pattern that you like. I left some of mine clear; you could also cover the whole ornament and make them solid colors. (I also played with the idea of tossing some glitter in there, which could be an entirely different story!)

DIY Paint Swirl Ornaments

Set them to dry overnight without their hangers. In the morning, replace the hangers, package them up, and you’re all set. Make it and give it. xoxo

DIY Paint Swirl Ornaments

DIY Paint Swirl Ornaments

DIY Paint Swirl Ornaments

DIY Gold Nugget Earrings

make and give // diy gold nugget earrings

Hi guys! So are we all on the DIY holiday gift train? I’ve got another one today for your stylish sister or best friend — we’re making gold nugget earrings!…

DIY Gold Nugget Earrings

Hi guys! So are we all on the DIY holiday gift train? I’ve got another one today for your stylish sister or best friend — we’re making gold nugget earrings!

Of course, our nuggets are made out of clay and the gold is painted on, but hey — I’ll take it. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • sculpting clay
  • sculpting tool or knife
  • earring backs
  • gold paint
  • small paintbrush
  • super glue
DIY Gold Nugget Earrings

Start by cutting off a small amount of clay with a nice flat backside (haha, I said backside). Use your tool to cut angles off of the piece of clay until you’re happy with the shape. Make two of these.

DIY Gold Nugget Earrings

Bake the clay according to the instructions on the package. Let it cool and paint it gold.

DIY Gold Nugget Earrings

Superglue the earring backs to the flat side of the gold nuggets. Let everything dry thoroughly.

DIY Gold Nugget Earrings

This little project comes together really quickly, and would be so easy to make in big batches to give to lots of people! Put them on a cute little card when you give them and watch people be impressed. Make it and give it! xoxo

DIY Gold Nugget Earrings

DIY Gold Nugget Earrings

DIY Gold Nugget Earrings

 

 

DIY Tie Clip

make and give // diy enamel tie clip

It’s another one for the dudes! If your guy needs a tie clip that’s a little more dressy than last week’s, this is the one for you. And it’s even…

DIY Enamel Tie Clip

DIY Tie Clip

It’s another one for the dudes! If your guy needs a tie clip that’s a little more dressy than last week’s, this is the one for you. And it’s even easier than the last one. You’ll need:

  • blank tie clip (from the craft store)
  • Sharpie paint pens

Start by painting a base coat of black on the entire surface of the tie clip. Let it dry thoroughly and repeat the process to build up a little paint on the surface.

DIY Tie Clip

DIY Tie Clip

Using another color (I chose gold, duh), paint a pattern over the black. I did some tidy polka dots, but you could do stripes, colorblocking, or a zillion other awesome things.

DIY Tie Clip

Make sure you let this one dry according to the directions before you wrap or use it! Make it, give it, and love it. xoxo

DIY Tie Clip

DIY Tie Clip

DIY Polka Dot Pencils

make and give // diy polka dot pencils

I. Love. These. Pencils. I want to make them for everyone and run through the streets passing them out like candy. Seriously. They’re also pretty fun to make, so if…

DIY Polka Dot Pencils

DIY Polka Dot Pencils

I. Love. These. Pencils. I want to make them for everyone and run through the streets passing them out like candy. Seriously. They’re also pretty fun to make, so if there’s someone on your list who would love these little babies (a coworker, perhaps?), let’s get down to business. You’ll need:

Start by masking the eraser and metal ring at the top of your pencils.

DIY Polka Dot Pencils

Next, spray paint your pencils. It may take a couple of coats to cover the No. 2 stamp.

DIY Polka Dot Pencils

Finally, use your Sharpie paint pens to make tiny dots up and down each ridge of the pencil! It seems like it would take forever, but once you get a rhythm it goes really quickly.

DIY Polka Dot Pencils

Bundle them up and you’re done! Make it and give it. xoxo

DIY Polka Dot Pencils

DIY Polka Dot Pencils

DIY Polka Dot Pencils

 

DIY Tie Clip

make and give // diy stamped leather tie clip

Hey hey, holiday lovelies, we’re back with another installment of our Make and Give series, this time for the dudes! Mr. Lovely has recently introduced me to the wonderful world…

DIY Tie Clip

Hey hey, holiday lovelies, we’re back with another installment of our Make and Give series, this time for the dudes! Mr. Lovely has recently introduced me to the wonderful world of tie clips, and I was kind of stoked to try making one. Apparently all the classy fellas wear ’em.

If you want to make one of these beauts for your man friend, you’ll need:

  • a tiny bit of thick leather (I used my scraps from this project)
  • craft knife
  • a blank tie clip (you should be able to find them for about $1 at your craft store
  • strong glue
  • a letter and number punch set like this one
  • a hammer

DIY Tie Clip

Start by cutting your leather to the size and shape of your tie clip. Next, choose a word or phrase to stamp on your leather and stamp it in using the metal punch set and a hammer. We experimented with a few choice words.

DIY Leather Tie Clip

Finally, glue the leather piece onto the tie clip, ensuring that it’ll be right-side-up when the tie clip is attached to the right side of the tie.

DIY Tie Clip

Make it, give it, and watch your dude be stoked. Be sure to come back next week if you like this project — we’re doing an enamel version! xoxo

DIY Ampersand Tie Clip

DIY Tie Clip

 

DIY Bow Belt

make and give // diy leather bow belt

I’m so stoked today, because it’s the first installment of a super-fabulous holiday series that I’ve got for you, stuffed with DIY gift tutorials for everyone on your list: Make…

DIY Leather Belt

I’m so stoked today, because it’s the first installment of a super-fabulous holiday series that I’ve got for you, stuffed with DIY gift tutorials for everyone on your list: Make and Give!

If you’re like me and haven’t started shopping yet (or would prefer to give something handmade anyway), boy did you ever come to the right place. Check back often over the next few weeks, because you don’t want to miss any of these gems. And to top it all off, you know I love a low-cost DIY, so they’re all pretty easy on the pocketbook. (Today’s cost me $2.)

So we’re starting with something that would be perfect for your sister or best friend (or a kiddo, if you want to make it in a mini size!). We’re getting all kinds of fancy and making a leather belt. Boom. You’ll need:

    • leather strip 30″ long and 1/2″ wide
    • leather scrap 6″ long and 1/2″ wide
    • leather scrap 2 1/2″ long and 1/4″ wide
    • scissors
    • leather punch
    • screw-back button stud
    • strong thread & needle (and thimble, if you wish)

 

DIY Leather Belt

FYI, definitely see if you have a leather store nearby and check in their scrap section. They gave me my leather for free and I bought the hardware, which was my only cost. I had the leather punch and sewing materials at home.

Start by trimming your leather to the specified sizes. Keep in mind that these measurements are the ones I used for myself — I wear a size 8 (Gasp! I told you!) and a small top, and this belt fits comfortably around my waist. You may need to alter the length, but no other measurements will need to change.

Once your long piece is trimmed, punch a hole on one end large enough for the button stud to fit through. On the other end, punch a small hole and attach the button stud.

Sew the 6″ piece into a bow by folding both ends in toward the center and securing. Sew the remaining piece into a loop.

DIY Leather Bow Belt

Insert the bow and the belt through the small loop and arrange the bow so that it hides the button stud when it’s fastened. The small loop should keep the bow taut in place.

Make it and give it! Merry Christmas! xoxo

DIY Leather Belt

DIY Bow Belt

DIY Belt