Category Archives: Crafts

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Origami Butterflies

Origami is a great way to create a unique backdrop or centerpiece with just using a bit of paper.   I am in love with butterflies so I found this easy origami technique and had to try it myself.  I am a visual learner so here are simple instructions with photos:

PicMonkey Collage Row One 1

1.  First you have to start with a perfect square.  I had some already cut paper in long strips so I just folded one edge over to meet the other to form a triangle, then cut.

2.  Fold it diagonally both ways, then in half both ways as above.

3.  Fold the left and right sides inwards as above.  It will turn into a triangle when flattened out.

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4.  Start with the triangle so the flat edge is at top.  Then pull down the left and right edge towards the bottom center (left photo).

5.  Flip butterfly to other side and pull down the center top so the tip overhangs the flat bottom.

6.  Flip butterfly over again and fold the tip over to the other side.  Slightly bend inwards the sets of wings.  This will separate the bottom wings a bit.

Once you get the folding steps down you can do one of these in 15 seconds or less.

Now you can place a dot of glue over that little tab you folded over so everything stays in place, but if you do, it’s no longer origami, but Kirigami.

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Ways you can use origami butterflies:

1.  Baby mobile or hang them from the ceiling in a kids room.

2.  Artwork – use a few of different sizes and use pins to adhere them to the back so they pop.

3.  A backdrop for a wedding or implement them into place settings or table numbers.

4.  In replace of a bow for wrapped presents.

5.  Window displays in stores.

6.  As a cat wand toy.

7.  Get a bare branch and paint it a metallic color or black.  Glue some brightly colored butterflies to the branch.  Can be used as art in the house.

8.  Christmas ornaments (used wrapping paper).

9.  Wedding cake toppers/decor.

10.  Party garland.

I used scrapbook paper, but you can also use homemade paper, newspaper,  wrapping paper, book or magazine pages.  Each of these different papers will create a way different look.

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Painted Shimmer Jars

I have always wanted to try painting jars.  It looks so easy.  You can really be creative.  You can add designs, add several colors, or paint multiple sizes and shaped jars and group them together in a vignette.

I had some baby food jars laying around that held little crafting things like buttons or string.

I used fingernail polish remover to remove all of the glue left behind after I took off the label.  I tried Goo Gone but it didn’t remove the glue.

Then I made sure to wash them very good on the inside since that is where we are putting the paint.  Make sure they are dry.

Pour in enough paint to be able to cover the entire surface of the inside.  Then swirl the jar around until it’s all painted.  I emptied all the extra paint back into my paint jar so I can use it for later.

Now I have cute little decorative jars I can put almost anywhere.  It took me about 10 minutes and less than a couple bucks.

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DIY Covered Bulletin Board

When I shop at our local thrift stores, I will often find really cheap artwork that either has no glass or damaged somehow.  Mostly really ugly artwork.  But, the frames can really be in good shape, and that’s what I look for.  I bought one for $4.99 maybe and it’s approximately 2 foot by 3 foot.

You can really do a lot with these.   I decided to make a bulletin board covered in a cool funky fabric.  Chevron is in style so I picked some up at Hobby Lobby, and used a 40% off coupon, maybe costing $4.00 in the end.  The rest is just a bit of labor and assembly.

I first pulled off the paper backing to reveal the staples that held it all together.  Usually you will find some cardboard that fills the frame, behind the artwork.  This is what I glued the cork to (also purchased the cork at the craft store).  There are different thicknesses, I went with the 3/8th inch thickness.  I glued the cork directly to the cardboard backing.

I had to iron the fabric because it had creases.  I wrapped it around the cork and left about a 1.5 inch margin, enough to glue it to the back.   I don’t have a glue gun yet, so I used Aleenes Craft glue and used the paperclips to hold it down until dries.

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Then, just fold the corners so they look nice, this is optional.   Assemble  the cork inside the frame, and push back the staples so it’s secure.  I will need to mount some hooks to the back, then all done.

Probably a total cost of $15 tops, I got a cool inspirational board.  Now I have a tough decision on where to put it.

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Travel Shadow Box

After returning from our trip to Europe, I had to go through all of the crap that I brought home with me.  I kept everything…bus/train tickets, brochures of the tours we went on, receipts to tours, maps, etc..  I planned on filing this in our filing cabinet, but I wanted a better way to showcase our trips.

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I had this shadow box laying around.  I pulled out our past travel keepsakes, then threw them in the shadow box.  Simple as that.  What a showpiece this is to have along with your pictures on your mantle.  If ever you want to go down memory road, open up the shadow box and reminisce.

You can also include pictures, found objects (seashells, leaves, rocks), your passports or anything that triggers a memory of your travels.

You can have multiple of these.  What about having a shadow box for any big trip you take?  Or even a big event, like a wedding, child memorabilia (their softball years or younger years).

Shadow boxes are so versatile.  Let your creativity go wild!

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Toilet Paper Roll Printed Textiles

I bought this HUGE bolt of fabric.  If that’s what you call it.  I used it to make curtains about 5 years ago and now I am left with this crapload.  I was thinking about selling it in my garage sale, but I think I can find other uses for it.  Like make prints using toilet paper rolls!  Imagine the possibilities once the paint is dry.  I was inspired by THIS blog post.

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What you need:

Fabric

Fabric paint

Toilet Paper Rolls

Paint Tray

Iron

Sturdy Surface

Directions:

1.  Make sure the fabric you are using is clean (free of cat fur – mine was not).

2.  Lay it on a table, make sure you have something behind it, like mat board, in case paint seeps through.

3.  Drop paint on the paint tray and flatten it out with the end of the toilet paper roll.  This was my practice round so I smushed my tp roll like a petal for one part.  Then practiced with circles.

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4.  You can use multiple colors too.

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5.  Let the paint dry for a few hours at least.  Then use it however your imagination wills.  This is one of the cool things you can use with toilet paper rolls.

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Polka Dot Homemade Cards

I attempted to go to pick up a card yesterday at Zandbroz, a downtown unique store.  I totally forgot that there was a St Patty’s Day parade going on.  Luckily, I realized this before I got too close because it would have been a headache getting out of there.  So I didn’t get to pick up my card, so I decided I would just make one.

I always have random envelopes laying around, which is a requirement for card making.  Everything else can be improvised.  I just found some art paper, then pulled out all of my stamps, ink and other such materials that I could use for a card.

I decided to create a texture on white paper instead of using a printed paper.  I pulled out some bubble wrap and made the background as my jumping off point.

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The rest of the stuff just sort of fell into place.  I created some flowers from my homemade paper.  Used some wire from my jewelry making for the stems.  Jewelry to come in the future.  Then some ribbon that I had laying around finished it off.  Turned out beautiful, I think.  I like that you can use just random materials to create a beautiful project.

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What other materials besides bubble wrap could you use to create a texture for cards?

1.  Foam

2.  Doilies

3.  Tree bark

4.  Leaves

5.  Flowers

6.  Loofah

7.  Fabric with texture or denim

8.  Eraser on end of pencil

9.  Screen Mesh

10.  Old carpet scraps

11.  Corncobs

12.  Lace

13.  Buttons

You get the picture.  There is inspiration everywhere.  You can make your own card with just about anything laying around!

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Homemade Catnip Mouse

I have a fun 30 minute project for those of you who have cats.  Or for those of you who have friends with cats.  Or those of you who just like to surround yourself with cat stuff yet you don’t have cats.  How can you NOT have a cat, or ten?  My cats have probably 50 cat mice, toy wands, cans of catnip.  Why not make some more?

This is what you will need:

Fabric

Catnip

Scissors

Needle and thread or sewing machine

Yarn for tail

collageInstructions:

1.  I used drapery fabric because I had it laying around.  Fold a 6 by 12 inch rectangle in half.  Draw a rough estimate the shape you will want.  I kept the uncut edge at the bottom of the half circle so I wouldn’t have to sew it.  Cut it out.

2.  Refold, then sew around most of the half circle except for about an inch or inch and a half.  You will need to pull the insides to the outside.  The seam should be inside the mouse.

3.  Use a funnel to stuff the catnip into the mouse.  Make sure the cats leave you some.

4.  Tie a knot on one end of the yarn.  The knot will go inside the mouse so it won’t easily be pulled out.  Tuck the remaining ends of the mouse butt inside of the mouse and hand sew it together.  Make sure to stitch the tail in also.

5.  Let loose for cats go to wild.  And they do.

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T-Shirt Yarn

What can you do with a crap ton of holy (hole-y) t-shirts that you can’t wear anymore without looking like a hobo?  You make t-shirt yarn!!  And it is so easy.  Here are the steps on making your own t-shirt yarn.

What you will need:

T-shirts

X-acto knife or scissors

Straight edge

Hard surface that you can cut on (I cut over card stock)

1.  Find t-shirts.  I found that shirts with a silk screen print doesn’t curl as easy in the final step.

2.  Fold the shirt like below.  The top half is about an inch shorter at the top than the bottom half.

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3.  Cut the bottom inch off the shirt (actually the right side) – but it is really the bottom of the t-shirt.  A scissors worked better than a x-acto knife I found out.

4.  Next you will cut 1 inch or 1.5 inch slits starting from the right, moving to the left.  Cut only up to the top edge, leaving that 1 inch gap uncut.  (see below)

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5.  You will end right below the sleeve/arm pit.  You will cut all the way across here.

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6.  Lift up the side of the shirt that was left uncut.  Spread it open over your forearm.

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7.  You will start cutting into one long strand of yarn now.  Starting on the right side, closest to your fingers.  Place the scissors on the outer side and you will cut a diagonal slice to the first cut.

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8.  Then you will continue to cut diagonal, the most right bottom cut, to the next top cut.  Stay parallel to your first cut.

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9.  Continue all the way to the left.  The last bottom slit on the left side you will have to end the cut on the outermost edge. Similar to how you started, just reverse.

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10.  That was your final snip.  You have one long strand of yarn now.  You will have to stretch it so it curls.  Start on one edge and lightly stretch it so the fabric naturally curls.

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11.  Finally, just roll it into a ball until you are ready to knit with it.  A scarf made out if this yarn would be super soft and warm!  If you do not have t-shirts laying around, check out a thrift store.  They probably receive a lot of shirts they cannot sell because of bleach stains or maybe some small holes.

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Homemade Paper Hearts

The blog about paper butterflies was a popular post.  I was wondering if we could make anything else sort of like that.  And I came up with paper hearts.  It basically follows the same steps as the paper butterflies, but you just need half of the butterfly and you just pinch the bottom and round the corners.

I wanted to use red magazine pages, since hearts are red.  You can make these of any size.  It is actually much easier to hang too.

What you will need:

Scrap Magazines

Scissors

Glue

Ribbon

You want to follow the same instructions from the DIY Paper Butterflies.  They are created almost the same way with one less step.

1.  Cut a diamond shape from the magazine, then fold the pages like a fan.

2.  Fold it length-wise, then put a line of glue down the center of the heart, add ribbon on top of the glue, then press together for a moment until the glue adheres.

3.  Fan out the “fan” a bit in order to round the tops of the hearts.

4.  Hang where ever you wish.

Make sure to cut different size hearts, and hang them at different heights for interest.

The picture above is blurry because my kitties thought it would be a fun toy.

One of my friends borrowed me her sewing machine!  I look forward to creating lots of cool things while I have it.  The first thing is t-shirt bags.  Hope you will check in again soon!

Coming Up

My first year flower/rose gardening has proven to be a difficult feat.  Trying to fix your soil so your roses survive and keeping them cool is definitely a lot of work.  Weeding too is a full time job.  But in the end, I enjoy walking over to my garden and seeing all of the beautiful blooms.  I am in the process of removing some of my yard that is too narrow to use for anything.  It will save me gas and horrible fumes of our lawn mower.  I want to put in quite a few drought resistant plants because if next year is like this year, and a lack of rain our garden will not survive.

Other than gardening, I have a few other projects coming up.  We will be canning some pickle spears today.  With our CSA, we received quite a few pickling cucumbers and we LOVE pickles.  We have never canned pickles before so this will be something that we will be learning.   We have canned lots of Jam, apple pie filling, and stewed tomatoes so it is about time to can new stuff.

My husband is also going to learn how to brew his own beer.  This is something he has wanted to do for a long time.  Yesterday he brought home all of the tools that he needed to do that.   I will post on that also, in case you are interested in trying something like that also.

I also want to make some cranberry infused vodka.  I figure cranberry flavor is something that will go with many types of drinks and I have some frozen cranberries that I need to use.  Plus, starting this now, will give me time to have it ready for Christmas so it can be a good gift.  I have started thinking about Christmas gifts already and what I will make/buy.  I think a lot of my posts can be made into gifts somehow.

I also have a fun project with magazines that I want to try.  I have an abundance of magazines hanging around our home so this will help use some of those up.  If only I can find stuff to do with my Christmas wrapping paper.  I still have about 5 bags of it.  This is wrapping paper that I saved from being thrown into the landfill, not new paper.

I will be busy lady if I complete all of these projects.  Hopefully you come back and check out my blog again.

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DIY Paper Butterflies

I love creating projects out of magazines.  Who knew how versatile they could be.  I found these butterflies on Pinterest.   I had to try them.

What you will need

Magazines

Scissors

Glue

String

What I did, was found that colorful pages make beautiful butterflies.  I tore out several pages I liked.  I centered the most colorful part of the magazine page for the butterfly wings.  I folded once, then again.  Then cut a triangle.  I opened up the diamond shaped magazine clipping.

Make a fan, starting from the inside, working your way out.  I put a dab of glue inside each fold to keep it together.  It didn’t take long to dry.  Then I opened up the wings a bit.  You need two “fans” to make a butterfly.  Glue them together then spread them open to your liking.

I think this would make a very cool nursery mobile.  Or you could make several of these and put them inside a large shadow box and hang it on the wall as art.  There are a number of things you can do with these.  Fold small butterflies and attach them to homemade cards, hang them on the inside of the windows or make a kitty toy with them.  The options are endless.

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DIY Beads

It has been a while since I have posted a DIY project.  I made some concrete planters that I am thinking about posting but they didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped.  Stay tuned for that post.  The project that I made today brings back wonderful memories with my grandmother.  She showed me how to do this about 20 years ago.  It is a great project to use all of those “to be recycled” magazines.  You might as well use parts of it for these beautiful beads.

 

What you will need

Magazines

X-acto knife

Straight Edge

Glue

Toothpick

Pick pages from the magazine that have colors you want in your beads.  I wanted muted colors so I picked pages to reflect that.  Another tip is using sturdy pages.  The front or back covers of magazines are ideal.

Cut them into long narrow triangles using the x-acto knife and straight edge.

Using the toothpick start wrapping the wide end of the triangle snug against the toothpick.  I wrapped it around 3 or 4 times before I removed the toothpick and continued twisting with my fingers.  Once you are to the end of the narrow part, put a dot of glue and hold for a moment so it doesn’t unravel.

It probably takes me about a minute to make one bead.  It is so worth it.  Look how beautiful they turned out.  You can use these beads in jewelery or even string them together using ribbons and make garland.  You can pick colors that go with whatever holiday you wish.  Red and Green for Christmas or pastels for Easter.  You can also use scrapbook paper because it has a thickness that is perfect for this project.

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DIY Silk Tie Dyed Eggs

Since Easter is just a week away I thought I would try something I have never tried before.  Last night was the first time that I have ever heard of this: using silk to dye an Easter egg.  We were having our first fire pit of the season and invited a few friends over.  Somehow over our conversation this technique to using silk to color eggs came up.  I had to look this up.

Martha Stewart told me it’s possible.  I had to try this.

I went shopping at our local thrift store to look for some cheap silk ties.  Luckily they were having a half off yellow tag’d clothing so I got two for under $2.50. They are pretty ugly, huh?

So I tore them apart.  Basically just cut a couple of threads in the back and they all unraveled.  I then cut just enough silk to wrap around my eggs.  I made sure that the outside of the fabric was closest to the raw egg when I tied them.  Make sure the eggs are raw because you will be cooking them.

Then I wrapped some white fabric around the silk.  I think this is to prevent it from bleeding.  I used some cut up white t-shirts my husband wanted to throw away.  Then pop it in some water on the stove.  Martha Stewart’s website said to use enamel or glass pot.  I didn’t have one of those so I used a stainless steel pot.

Make the water boil, then turn it down to simmer and cook for 20 minutes this way.  Once they are cool, go ahead and remove the fabric and silk.

My purple one didn’t turn out but I wasn’t sure if that was actually silk or not.  It was just the inside of the tie.  The other two didn’t turn out half bad.  I don’t think that I wrapped them tight enough.  I was afraid of cracking the egg and having to start over.  Next time I try this I will be more prepared.  This will be a fun project for kids, especially when they get to unwrap them.  Fun and a little nontraditional.

Things you will need:

Eggs

Silk

Enamel, Glass or Stainless Steel pot

Water

3 Tbs Vinegar

Tongs

Rubber Bands

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DIY Homemade Fabric Flowers

Do you have left over fabric laying around that you don’t want to throw away?  Well, don’t throw it away!  Use it to make these cute versatile flowers.  I had some fabric from my first project, the Magnetic Board.  They were scraps, so couldn’t be used for much of anything else.  Here is how you make them.  I was inspired by my Better Homes and Gardens magazine subscription.

1.  Figure out the size of flower you want.  I found my Aromatherapy bottle to be of the right size.  Then, I trace the circle 8 times on the back of the fabric.

2.  Cut

3.  Fold the circles in half, then into fourths.  Glue.  Then fold in eights and glue again.  They should look like this; little pieces of pie.

4.  I cut out a circle from my left over homemade paper from my previous post to glue these onto. Glue on a small button in the center.

5.  At this point you can attach a magnet or the pin backing if you want to wear it on clothing.  Also, you could make a headband;  buy a plain headband, then hot blue this onto the side.  You can use this for many applications.  And how chic!

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DIY Homemade Gift Tags

From my previous post DIY Homemade Paper I showed you how much Christmas paper trash I saved from going to the landfill.  I made a couple of batches of homemade paper to use for other crafts.  I came up with one great idea that can save you a little money and also make your gifts look chic.  Homemade Gift Tags!

 

 

1.  Collect all of your homemade paper.

2.  Decide on the size of tag you want, and trace circles all over your paper.  If you have any blemishes on the paper, or wrinkles cut around them.  Only use the best parts.  Save the rest for another batch of homemade paper.

3.  Cut out the tags.

4.  Use a paper hole punch to cut the holes for the ribbon.  I used my makingmemories Instant Setter tool to make the holes.  I got this a long time ago but I want to learn what all it can do.  I couldn’t find my hole punch and I like the size of the holes this tool made so I just used this.

5.  Finished.  Now you can adorn with ribbon of your choosing.  I suggest just slipping it into the ribbon you are already using for your wrapped package.  Or some nice twine or hemp string would look organic.

You can use these tags for bags, or wine bottles for a hostess.  You can use it for any holiday or birthday.  This was a fun and easy project.  I hope you consider saving some Christmas paper from the trash to make these nice tags!

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DIY Homemade Paper

I have always wanted to make homemade paper.  There are so many things you can make with paper, and what a wonderful way to reduce garbage from going into the landfill.  In my case, the past couple of years I took about 10 bags of used Christmas
wrapping paper to use just for this purpose.  My whole intention is to make a butt load of paper.  I found some great sources to guide me along in my journey of becoming a paper-maker.  But instead of going there, follow my easy instructions with photos here!

Materials:
Waste Paper
Blender
Water
Wood Frame
Screen
Roller
Food coloring (optional)
Racks (optional)

Step 1:  Collect paper.


Step 2.  Get rid of tape. I’m not sure if taking off the tape does anything but common senses makes me think that it’s a slippery surface and if left intact the final paper product may not stay together.

Step 3:  Cut into small pieces.  Easier to stuff in a blender.

Step 4:  Fill the blender about 1/2 to 2/3 water and start adding paper.  I add a handful at a time because if you add too much it could make the pulp too dry, and cause your blender to stall.  If it get’s too dry, just add more water.

Tip:  Collect brightly colored paper that can’t be recycled (at least in our city) and add to your blender to add color.  By adding a teal envelope to my pulp I ended up getting light blue finished product.

Step 5:  Prop the screen over a surface that’s okay to get wet.  I put mine over the ledge of the tub.  I have a handy hand sprayer to help me clean up the mess.  Over a sink would do just fine.  I found an old window screen on the boulevard during spring clean up.  No purchase necessary.  I used some tulle because I though the holes on the screen would be too big.

Tip: You can buy wood frames made for making a canvas at a craft store, then buy screen and staple around the frame.  I have had trouble finding screen in my town so I used a window screen that I had on hand.

Step 6:  Dump pulp over the screen.

Step 7:  Lay a towel on top of the pulp.  In my case I used an old Tshirt that was destined for the garbage anyways.  (this blog is about being green, reducing waste :))

Step 8:  Roll out the excess water with the roller, this also flattens it.

Step 9:  Gently lift screen off sink, holding the towel/t-shirt steady to release from screen.  Once dry enough, lift paper off towel/old T-shirt.

Step 10:  Place on rack to dry quicker.  Once dry, place under heavy books to flatten.


Some things you can make with this paper.  Stationary, gift tags, cards, use in scrap-booking and ornaments.  I intend on blogging about what I make with my homemade paper once I accrue enough.  So please come back!  See you soon!

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Homemade Magnetic Board – Versatile Gift

My inspiration for this project is a cute little magnetic board that I have at work.  It is a 5×7 size photo frame wrapped in metal and it came with cute magnets.  My friend really wanted one and I couldn’t find where I could purchase one.  So I decided to make one.

Step 1:  Purchase a picture frame.  In order to be green I bought one at the local thrift store, and this one was already damaged.  Who would buy it anyways?  Cost $2.99

Step 2:  Demolition.  You have to take it apart to make it pretty.

Step 3: Voilà.  Not done yet!

Step 4:  Prime.  I used a low VOC primer so it’s more earth friendly.  However, it does still stink.  I primed because the frame was glossy and I wanted my final paint to stick.  Sorry for no picture.  But you didn’t really need a picture exactly as above but in white, did you?

Step 5:  Cut metal to fit frame.  I bought a piece at Home Depot about 12 x 20 inches.  Larger than the frame but not too huge for the trunk of my car.  When you buy metal make sure to pick a metal that is magnetic.  I bought iron.  I also brought in a magnet just to be sure.  I cut the metal with tin snips that I had on hand.  Jagged edges = beware!

Step 6: Iron the fabric.

Step 7:  Cut fabric so there’s enough to wrap around the metal.  I also taped the cut edges of the metal so it wouldn’t cut the fabric after it was all assembled.

Step 8: Glue the fabric to the metal.  This took the longest because I had to wait for the glue to dry before I started the opposite side.  I am a bit of a perfectionist so I folded down the edges so you can’t see any fabric fray.  Tip: This is awesome glue.  I wanted something industrial for the magnets, that I also made for this project, but also that I could use to glue the back of this metal.   It’s low VOC glue and it dries fast.  I couldn’t even smell it.  Awesome purchase.  I remember in my interior design classes we had to buy this 9000 crap which you had to use a gas mask for.  Awful stuff.  Not this!  Two thumbs up!

Sometime between Step 4 and Step 9 you have to paint the frame the color of your choice.

Step 9: Assemble gift.  Just put the frame back together.  Minus the glass.  I also painted the back to this so it looked professionally made.  See the cute magnets?  They are just buttons glued to strong magnets I purchased at the craft store.

My friend who is receiving this gift loves the color blue, so I had to pick a fabric just for her.  You can also personalize this by different size frames, different fabrics and even stamp on some letters to be specific to the receiver.  Your friends will love the homemade-ness of this gift.  I think a boy may even like this!  Pictures of cars and girls I would suppose.