Archive for the ‘diy’ Category

DIY: Having Fun with Plain Wrapping Paper

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I don’t have giant stashes of gorgeous wrapping paper. I have rolls of white, black and kraft butcher paper. And the occasional roll of gift wrap. But it doesn’t always match my mood or occasion, so here’s a fun little DIY I did to dress up my gifts this year.

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Santa doesn’t have this much creativity when it comes to his gift wrap. That would take him way too long.

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The key to this whole operation is in the marker. Some time ago Sakura sent me their Pigma Professional brush series. I use them for everything. Heck, they’re even in our brush lettering kits that I send out to all of my beginning brush students. These brushes come in 3 sizes: fine, medium and BOLD. I use the fine brush for small detailed work and little illustrations. I’ll use the medium in cases where my x-height letters are about 3/4″ tall. The bold I’ll use for everything else.

The bold brush is pretty stiff so you still get very fine hairlines even though you can get a ton of drama out of the side of the marker.

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And when mine dry out, I’ll use them on textured paper for a more organic look (like above). Want to learn how to make these easy-peasy holly berries? Watch the video below.

Supplies

  • Pigma Professional BB Brush
  • Large sheet of white or kraft paper
  • Sakura Koi red marker (optional)

I love the BB brush, but you can get similar results from even a crayola marker. Granted, if you want this kind of drama to scale, you’ll need to make smaller holly berries and leaves.

Basic jist: get a piece of paper and spread it out on the floor or table. Draw out the berries first in random clusters of 3. Then draw in the center of the leaves, coming out from the berries with a light touch. A fine line helps. Then fill in the remainder of the leaves with two mountains and meeting just beyond the tip of the center line of the leaf. Fill in any awkward blank spaces with leaves. Messy is usually better in this case.

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If you want to go for a more ornamental approach, draw out a berry grouping on cardstock. Watercolor paper is going to give your cluster more texture and depth. Punch a hole near the cluster of berries.

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With your scissors, cut around the cluster leaving a 1/4″-1/2″ border. Thread through ribbon or string and use as a decoration on your gift.

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Easy? Brainless? Awesome? Yes to all three. Happy last-minute gift-giving and wrapping!!

TUTORIAL: DIY Ink/Paint Holder

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I made this and shot pictures like 2-3 years ago. I just discovered it while cleaning up images on my desktop (which is a hot mess) and figured I would share. I’m sure it’s been done various other places, but I need to cross this off my list so here we go.

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I found myself wanting small jars for mixing custom ink colors in gouache (for calligraphy, but works for any aqueous media) and then tipping them over. Constantly. We replaced the flooring in my studio not long ago because of how horribly stained it got. Also, I hate carpet.

So I made this little ink tray. You may want to, too.

SUPPLIES

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Cut down your block to 12″ wide. Sand the edges so they’re smooth to the touch.

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Mark out every inch along the board with a pencil. Optional: create an indent with the tip of the screw so your bit won’t slip around as you start the process.

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Measure how deep you want the drill to go and tape it off. This will allow you to have consistent heights when you put your jars in the board.

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Drill away! Go slowly and make sure you’re in a well-ventilated area with protective glasses.

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Admire your handywork!

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Use the sticky tack to apply to the bottoms of your jars so they don’t move around. it also helps tilt the jars when the ink gets low.

This tutorial or freebie is free for personal use and should not be distributed/republished without the express consent of Melissa Esplin. I love getting shout outs from around the web, but please, link with love. You may publish 1 photo along with credit back to the original post. If you would like to use this tutorial or freebie for commercial purposes, please email me. Thanks!

DIY: Simple Rope Necklace Tutorial

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It’s unreal how long I’ve had this DIY in the queue.

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I made these necklaces back in 2013, just before I went to L.A. for a girls’ weekend. Back when I made this, I had an idea for a giant rope necklace, but didn’t have any giant rope. Turns out you can find this type of stuff in the upholstery section, but making your own rope is hyper fun. And insanely easy.

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It adds a little bit of quirkiness, but it doesn’t look nearly as home made as it is. I love that.

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For the simplest of necklaces, here’s what we’ll need:

  • Cotton twine: any kind (I found mine at Home Depot)
  • scissors
  • tape
  • jump rings
  • chain (16+ inches)
  • pliers

Click the link to see the full tutorial.

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3 Fun Things To Do With Bleach: Tissue Paper

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3 fun things to do with bleach. The perfect last-minute craft you can do with your kids in-time for Mother’s day. Wouldn’t an artistic tee or apron be the perfect gift for grandma? Click here to see all the posts in this series.

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Jazz up some plain tissue paper with spritzes of bleach!

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Grab an old toothbrush, dip in bleach and spray onto the ends of the tissue paper. It works best on dark colored papers. I love black tissue paper. It works well for EVERY occasion.

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Allow paper to dry (2-3 minutes) before stuffing in a gift bag. Be sure to spray bleach in a well ventilated area!! If you’re DIYing with kids, make sure at least one adult is supervising at all times!

3 Fun Things to do With Bleach: Gift Tags

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3 fun things to do with bleach. The perfect last-minute craft you can do with your kids in-time for Mother’s day. Wouldn’t an artistic tee or apron be the perfect gift for grandma? Click here to see all the posts in this series.

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The great thing about these posts is that you likely have everything you need for this project! It’s super fun to do and it’s exciting to see the message unfold like a polaroid picture. You just might be tempted to shake the tag as you wait for the design to dry.

  • Bleach
  • Round Brush
  • Scrapbooking Paper

You may need to have an assortment of papers to test to see if they’ll react to the bleach. My Mind’s Eye Heavyweight Cardstock did very well.

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It’s easier to just show you how it works in a quick GIF. Dip the brush in bleach (straight bleach works well*) and write! You’ll see the paper change as it dries. Be sure to rinse the brush in water after you’re done.

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Create a bunch of reasons why you love your mom with a bunch of tags! I love how the color varied with each stroke.

Be sure to create this DIY in a well-ventilated area!! If you’re DIYing with kids, make sure at least one adult is supervising at all times!

*I experimented with different consistencies of bleach. I made the mistake of adding gum arabic to the bleach and created some chlorine gas! I noticed the solution in the jar started to foam at the surface and get warm. I quickly took it outside and watched the mixture boil. After a call to poison control, I realized what I had done. I didn’t make nearly enough to cause damage to my lungs (thank heavens), but I wouldn’t advise doing anything like that. I’ve read tutorials on thickening bleach with corn starch, but that’s still mixing an acid with a base. You may want to try toilet bowl cleaner with water until you reach your desired consistency (an idea I got from my aunt). STILL, use extreme caution and care around bleach.

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