Sometimes I get sick of using the same old gift wrapping supplies every year - they just never seem to run out! So this year I decided to get a little creative with my Christmas gift wrap by using office supplies to decorate plain brown kraft paper packages. And it was surprisingly easy! Click through to see five different ways to wrap gifts using office supplies.
See, my wife and I just bought our first home, and while we were...
At some point, everybody finds themselves wondering, "What is my design style?" Pinterest can sometimes be like putting your face in front of a fire hydrant gushing with design styles. TMI, and not very helpful! Online style quizzes can help you navigate your style and figure out why you like certain Pinterest pins. Since online e-design has come into its own, there are loads of design style quizzes to choose from. To help you decide which ones to take (and to selfishly feed my design style quiz addiction), I took a lot of them. I'm here to let you know which ones are worth your time, and share my favorites!
It's hard to believe, but a new year (and decade!) are here... which means that it's time for new calendars! There are tons of gorgeous, free printable calendar downloads available online, so we've rounded up our favorites in a variety of different styles. Click through to check them out and download your favorite.
While I like to dream about becoming a skilled gardener someday, the reality is I have a terrible brown thumb and I kill most plants I touch. I think a lot of my garden woes have to do with inattentiveness though - I forget to water my leafy friends, fertilise them, or do anything that might come close to caring for them. Terrible right?
You've decked the halls, hung the stockings with care, wrapped and unwrapped the presents, and it's no wonder if you're all tired out. Hopefully now that Christmas is over you finally have a bit of time to relax. Maybe you already know exactly how you want to spend the week between Christmas and New Year's, but here are 10 ideas for how to unwind in case you've forgotten how.
Storage. We all need more of it. No matter how much room you have, an organized system will always top square footage.
Recently, I was looking for a way to clean up all the bottles in our liquor cabinet. It's not that we drink too much; in fact, it's the opposite. We buy specific products to try a new cocktail recipe. And we'll make it once, and end up with all this extra liquid to store in perpetuity until we can figure out what to do with it.
Everyone likes a smooth, sanded surface on a project, but no one (and I mean absolutely no one) like the tedious process of getting it done. Motorized sanding machines speed up the process greatly, but many of them can be hard to control, or wind up leave swirl marks in the finished surface.
Not so with the random-orbit sander. As the name suggests, its pad follows an entirely random pattern, so you can control the amount of wood removed, and leave your surface free of spirals.
They're great for all kinds of DIY projects, and the only handheld sander I'd recommend for your toolbox.
Sometimes I'll have an idea in my head for something I want to try, and that idea will just never leave. It was last Christmas that I wondered to myself, "Can one make ice cubes in cookie cutters??" The previous holiday season got busy fast, so I never got around to testing that hypothesis out. This go round, as I dusted off my holiday cookie cutters, I decided it was time. I tested my theory. The results? Success! Holiday ice cubes - oh yeah!
A lot of us (myself included) are dealing with extra emotions during the holidays. Whether it's stress, anxiety, or sheer panic, the gift-giving deadlines that creep up at Christmastime can bring up all sorts of feelings. Maybe it's your nieces and nephews that are stressing you out because you have no idea what kids are even into anymore! Or maybe it's your mother-in-law who who already has everything she could ever want. Or maybe your husband, when asked what he'd like for Christmas, only answers with the not-so-helpful phrase, "Whatever you'd like to get me."
Fortunately, you're not alone. We're all in this together, and we're going to make it through another Christmas season. So let's take deep dive into Christmas gifts: what people like, where to find it, and how to stay calm until the 25th gets here.
Colorful rope dog leads have been all the rage in the pet accessories world lately -- and I am obsessed! But, with prices ranging anywhere from $70 to over $150, they're a little outside most people's "dog stuff" budgets. If you'd still like to get your paws on a stylish leash for your pooch (in whatever color your heart desires) without breaking the bank, give this easy DIY rope leash project a whirl! You'll learn how to make a dog leash that perfectly fits your fido's taste (and yours!).
I am head-over-heels for the rope leash look. As a visual reference, here are a few awesome shops and brands that make them.
Rope Dog Leash Options to Buy
Many of these use traditional nautical splicing and whipping techniques, but today we're going to employ a bit of a shortcut! (If you want to learn how to splice rope, there are tons of video tutorials on YouTube, FYI.) So, are you ready to make your own rope dog leash?
Awesome. Pawesome. Here's what you'll need!
Materials for DIY Rope Dog Leash Project
- 2 to 2 1/4 yards 3/8" thick cotton rope
- Fabric Dye
- (2) Rope Clamps
- (1) Snap Hook
- Rubber Mallet
- Large Cooking Pot
The rope clamps and snap hook can be found in the rope section of your local hardware store. Finding 100% cotton rope can be a little tricky, though. I ended up finding the braided style at JoAnn's in the trim section. You can order the 3-strand style from Knot & Rope Supply for pretty cheap. (I happened to have some on hand prior to this project.)
How to make a dog leash
1. Determine about how long you want your leash to be (anywhere from 4-6 feet is pretty standard) and cut it accordingly. Be sure to tape or tie off the ends so your rope doesn't unravel.
2. Soak your rope in some warm water. Meanwhile, prepare your dye according to the instructions on the bottle. You won't need very much! A bottle of RIT Liquid Dye will go a long, long way.
3. Now for the fun part! For an ombré/gradient/dip-dyed effect, quickly dip and remove your rope from the dye. Then, re-dip at different heights/levels, until you're happy with the gradation. Want your rope all one color? Submerge the whole rope in the dye, stirring constantly, until the desired color is reached.
Note: I made two versions of this leash using different kinds of rope and found that the 3-strand variety creates a smoother, more subtle ombré effect.
4. Remove your rope and hang it up (outside or in the garage), dark end at the top, to allow the dye to creep down the rope. You can help it along by squeezing the excess dye/water down the length of the rope.
5. Once you're happy with the way the gradient is looking, rinse the rope in cold water until the water runs clear -- or -- use some RIT Dye Fixative before you rinse out the rope if you want to super-seal the color.
6. Allow the rope to dry thoroughly. This may take up to 24 hours.
7. Now that your rope is dry, it's time to attach the clamps and snap hook. Decide which end you want to place the hook. Feed the end of the rope through the ring then fold the rope over, creating a small loop.
8. Place the clamp on a flat surface with the prongs facing up. Lay the base of the rope loop inside the clamp, between the prongs. With a hammer or rubber mallet, hammer all four prongs securely over the rope.
9. On the other end, fold the rope over to create a 6-7" loop (bigger or smaller depending on how big your hands are and what feels comfortable to you). Then, repeat step 8.
Now, after you've attached the rope clamps, you could call it a day -- you have a perfectly functional leash at this point. (Heck, you could skip the dyeing altogether and just attach the clamps and snap hook and -- BAM -- you'd have a leash.) If you really want to take this project into über-stylish territory, though, you'll want to add some finishing touches and cover those ugly clamps up!
There are multiple ways to cover the clamps: you could wrap them in twine/yarn/string/leather cording/etc. etc. I chose to use up some leftover leather (from this project) and create a sleeve with some colorful stitching. If you'd like to do the same, read on!
Materials for Creating a Leather Clamp Cover:
- Craft Knife
- Embroidery Floss
- #18 Darning Needle
- Self-Healing Cutting Mat
Rope Dog Leash: How to Make a Leather Clamp Cover
1. Cut a strip of leather about 2.25" wide, or wide enough to cover the length of the clamp.
2. From this strip, cut two pieces of leather, both about 2.5" long or long enough to wrap around the clamp.
3. Soak one of the leather pieces in warm water until it becomes soft and malleable. Stretch it out a bit then pat dry.
4. Fold the leather over. Take a hammer and your darning needle and create some small stitch guides/holes anywhere from 1/8 to 1/4 inch apart. You only need a few light taps from the hammer, don't go crazy.
5. Lay the leather on a flat surface, then position and place the clamp on top. Cut a length of embroidery floss and tie a knot at the end. Anchor the floss to the rope itself by looping and tying the thread a few times.
6. Stitch the two ends of the leather together with a simple whip stitch, pulling tightly. When you reach the end, anchor the floss to the rope as before. Cut the thread.
7. Repeat steps 3-6 for the other clamp. Allow the leather to dry out completely (it'll tighten up around the clamp as it dries) and you're done!
Now for some pretty, pretty pictures!
And, of course, obligatory photos of my dogs:
Happy leash making!
The internet is a beautiful thing. Anything and everything exists there, including online shops that will sell and ship houseplants to your home. It's basically an introverted millennial's dream (that's me, btw). I am fortunate enough to have a lot of nurseries and plant shops in my area, which is where most of my greens come from. I'd never considered that I could buy houseplants online, but after discovering how easy/cheap/non-confrontational it is, I have several green babies bookmarked on my computer. If you're looking for new places to find greenery, here are 10 great sources for you to buy houseplants online.
There's so many brilliant DIY techniques in this world that I probably shouldn't be surprised when one comes along that I haven't yet attempted.
And yet here I am, gobsmacked that I hadn't thought to try transferring images to wood before. This super easy and very versatile technique is one of the best ways I've seen to get patterns onto timber, and you needn't draw the line at shapes - you can also transfer photos or text so there's lots of room to experiment and have fun!
If you haven't had the chance to give this method a go, you should definitely try it out... I've even got a nice, easy printable to get you started. What are you waiting for, find yourself a wood tray and let's get making!
- Wood tray or box
- Palm frond file
- Laser printer
- Acrylic gel medium
- Foam sponge or paintbrush
- Mod podge or varnish
Print the palm frond file onto white copy paper using a laser printer. The laser printer part is important - if you use an inkjet, the image you're transferring might bleed.
Once you've printed the file, cut out each of the palm fronds with a pair of scissors.
Make sure your wood box is nice and clean, then start to lay out your palm fronds on one of the sides. Keep playing around with the arrangement of your fronds until you're happy with how the final pattern looks.
Lift up one of the palm fronds in your arrangement and apply gel medium to the area where you'd like to stick it down. Then place it back, this time face down so that the printed side sticks to the gel medium.
Smooth out any air bubbles with your fingers.
Repeat Steps 2 and 3 until the whole tray is covered in printed palm fronds.
When you're covering your tray, it's best to work in small sections - this way, you'll have enough time to nicely smooth out each palm frond as you go. If you apply gel medium to your whole box at once you'll be racing against the clock to stick all your palm fronds down before the gel dries!
Once all your palm fronds are in place, leave the box to dry overnight (or for at least 8 hours).
When the gel medium has dried completely, place a damp washcloth on top of the dried-on palm fronds. The cloth will dampen the paper.
Once the paper is sufficiently damp, use your fingers to gently rub off the white areas. As you rub in circular motions, you'll start see your print appear underneath.
When all the paper has been rubbed off, give your wood box a coat of varnish or mod podge to protect the print.
Job done! Pretty easy hey? Now that you've mastered this technique, don't forget you can use it in a variety of ways for whole range of projects. For example, try experimenting with other kinds of wooden objects (like wood containers or chopping boards) and use different images like photos or printed quotes in your favourite fonts to decorate the wood.
Also, this is a great project to get the kids involved with - they can choose the images to transfer and help rub the paper off to reveal the finished print. Fun for the whole family!
Looking for more DIY? Click here to learn how to make awesome pillows from thrift store clothes!
A few years ago, when my wife and I moved across the country, we had absolutely no idea if anyone would ever come visit us. Sure, we had strong relationships with family and friends, and we moved to a city with plenty of attractions for visitors, but the truth is: we just didn't know. We were far outside of driving distance, and cross-country air travel is an expensive investment. Both of our families had generations of firm roots in the Midwest, so it wasn’t just a location shift; it was a conceptual one too.
Good news: people came. They came for summer trips, for holidays, to spend time with us, and as a free launching pad for their own Pacific Northwest vacations. A few years later, they’re still coming. This summer alone, we’ve had no fewer than thirteen guests, with four more scheduled before the end of the year. We've become a little haven for folks exploring the mountains, the ocean, the waterfalls, the ancient forests, and the exceptional food and culture that Portland has to offer.
Getting locked out of your house is a real pain. In our house, it happens almost weekly to a certain member of our family (his name begins with a 'B' and ends with a 'runo'). And while it's a great hassle to him, it unfailingly becomes an even greater hassle to everyone in his sphere. I have lost count of the number of times I've had to leave the gym, a restaurant, a glorious champagne tasting with friends to bail him out. Because it always...
This tutorial will guide you through all the steps to making your own, large scale DIY concrete planters at home.
This summer, we moved into a new studio space on a bustling avenue that cuts right through the heart of St. Paul and Minneapolis. We love it; our huge floor-to-ceiling-windows look out into the sun-filled street and sidewalks where we can watch the light-rail trains go rolling by. But the people looking back at us don't have as much to look at; our storefront is still looking a little shabby and unloved. So we decided to start out office transformation from the outside in: with a few large-scale DIY concrete planters.
I know I say this a lot (I think I've mentioned it at least two times on Curbly before), but that's only because it's true; wall art is SO easy to DIY that there's really no excuse not to have a go at making your own.
And when I say easy, I mean you don't need any artistic skills to create something that's really nice (and is guaranteed to fit in with your interior decor because you'll be the one choosing the colour palette!).
Don't believe me? See below for four super simple ways to dress up your walls that require no drawing skills and that you'll be able to complete in under half an hour!
- A large sheet of coloured card
- Smaller pieces of coloured card (I used dark grey and white paint chips)
- Mini shape cookie cutters
- Glue or double-sided tape
Flip over your paint chips and trace shapes onto the back using your cookie cutters as a guide. I worked with three shapes - a triangle, a circle and a small rectangle.
Cut out each of the shapes you traced with a pair of scissors.
If your large sheet of coloured card isn't yet cut to size (mine came in a big roll), trim it so that it'll fit the frame you'll be using to show off your artwork.
Then place your shapes on the coloured card in whichever arrangement you like best.
Once you're happy with your arrangement, flip one of the shapes over, apply double-sided tape or glue to the back, then stick it back down. Repeat this with all the shapes in your artwork until they're safely stuck in place.
If some of your shapes were stuck down with edges that came off the coloured card, trim off the excess with a pair of scissors.
Voila! Easy peasy right? :)
Dress this one up with a nice frame and hang on your wall for a very modern, fun looking art piece.
- Primed canvas
- Acrylic paint in various colours
- Painter's tape
Place strips of painter's tape on your canvas in whichever arrangment takes your fancy. There are no rules here - I went for a very straight striped look, but you can put the tape at angles, in shapes or whatever you prefer.
Make sure the tape is well stuck down, then paint in the segments with acrylic paint. Don't be afraid to get creative - the number of colors you choose and the order they go in is entirely up to you and can totally change the look of the finished piece!
Once you've painted in all the sections and the paint has completely dried, remove the painter's tape to reveal your finished artwork.
This method of creating wall art is so simple that you could easily knock over several of these in an afternoon. And having three or more of these little color-blocked canvases hung in a row would look really good don't you think?
- Primed canvas
- Spray paint in two colours
- Circle stickers
Place your circle stickers in random spots over your canvas. I started sticking them at the bottom in clumps and then placed them more sparingly at the top for that 'floating bubbles' kind of look.
Choose one colour of spray paint and completely coat your canvas in that colour. When spraying, make sure you use multiple, light, even coats rather than one heavy coat - this way, the paint won't pool and drip.
Once your first colour of spray paint is dry, start spraying the second colour on. The trick to getting a gradient look is to start from the bottom of the canvas and work your way upwards. Make sure you spray from further away so that the second colour is a light mist rather than a heavy coat.
When the second spray paint colour has dried, peel off the circle stickers to reveal white dots underneath.
I love how airy and light the pastel colours and the white 'bubbles' look together, but don't be restricted by this example - I think this concept would look just as good or even better with different shapes (diamonds perhaps?) and heavier colours like black and gold!
- White card
- Foam sheet
- Stamp mount (you can use a jar lid or small cardboard box lid as a substitute if you don't have a proper mount)
- Craft glue
- Acrylic paint in various colours
- Foam paint brush
Measure and cut a small square out of your foam sheet. Mine measured 5cm x 5cm but you can make it pretty much any size you like, depending on how you'd like your final artwork to look.
Cut your foam square in half diagonally to form two triangles.
Cut one of the triangles into strips (you can draw the strips out in pencil first like I did if you want to make sure they're even).
Place a bit of craft glue on the back of each foam strip and attach it to your stamp mount to recreate your triangle shape. Leave a gap between each strip so your triangle has a 'cut-apart' jagged sort of appearance.
With a foam paintbrush, apply acrylic paint to your foam stamp.
When the stamp is evenly covered with paint, place it face down on your piece of paper and apply even pressure to the back. Then lift it up to reveal your print!
Randomly stamp triangles all over your sheet of paper. I found it easiest to complete one colour before moving onto the next - it saves having to clean the foam brush so frequently!
Once you've stamped triangles in all your paint colours, your artwork is complete! Simply let it dry and then pop it in a nice frame.
Bar carts are super trendy right now, but they can also be super expensive. If you're looking for a cheap and minimal option, this easy DIY is definitely for you. And who doesn't like taking pre-existing pieces and transforming them into something new? Simply turn an outdated and bland TV tray into a minimalistic bar cart!