make: concrete candle holders

My friend Catherine gave me an awesome birthday gift. It was 7 months after my birthday, but worth the wait. She made me a kit to make concrete candle holders. I’ve been intrigued by the concrete crafting for awhile, but a little intimidated by doing it inside with out making a big mess. Having everything provided and a little bag of concrete gave me the confidence to try.

While I am a novice concrete crafter, this wasn’t the first time I’ve messed with concrete. My dad liked to drag me in to foundation, sidewalk, and floor pouring. So my experience was all on a much bigger scale.


Catherine provided me some containers to use, but I decided to gather a few more. I decided to use the little solo cups for the tapered candles and gathered two gelato containers and two beer bottles to make holders for the votives.

After spraying the containers with cooking spray, I mixed the concrete and quickly poured it in the containers. The instructions said to wait around ten minutes for the concrete to set before sticking the inner container in, but if I did it again I would wait a little less. I used the candles themselves to create the hole in the little ones. I just stuck them in, but I later saw where you should wrap plastic wrap around them first. This seems like a smart idea, but mine didn’t get too dirty. For the gelato containers I stuck the beer bottles in. They were harder than I expected to stick inside (see above on the waiting less time) so I had to wiggle quite a bit and the sides came up unevenly. I decided that I liked the uneven look and pushed forward. After five minutes I pulled the bottles and candles out and let the concrete set a bit more.


After about an hour I easily popped the the little ones out of the cups, but the larger ones presented more of a challenge. I think the plastic might of expanded a little bit due to the heat from the concrete setting and since the walls of the container were straight up and down and the top didn’t expand, they didn’t want to come out. After some tapping on the floor I got them to move a bit, then ended up cutting the bottom off using a box cutter and then pulled them out the bottom. So remember that when you’re choosing your mold.


I liked the rough look so I didn’t really sand them at all, just knocked a few of the looser pieces off. Then I let them sit and cure for a week. A week is not necessary, it is just what happens sometimes. I used some painters tape to marking off a triangle on one and a straight line around the bottom of the other and painted a thin layer of acrylic paint.


I think they turned out pretty cool, but I would like to try working with concrete some more now that I have a little experience.


make: Birthday T-shirt

For Brian’s birthday I decided to design him a logo. He has been sporting a beard for about 4 years and gets way more complements on it then I ever do on something I do with my hair. So I decided to incorporate it in to the design. And he turned the big 30 this year so his birth year and place were obvious additions. I designed it in SketchbookExpress and used the freezer paper method.

The small survey letters and numbers were a little harder to cut out. Luckily they smoothed themselves out when I used paint.


This was the first time I used my white fabric paint, but it turned out great against the heather blue shirt.




make: Custom tote bags

For my friend Jenn’s Bachelorette party weekend in Nashville I volunteered to make bags. I ordered canvas bags from Totebagfactory. They were decently priced and pretty good quality. They aren’t see through and the paint didn’t really even bleed through. They also have nice handles. The only problem with them was I ordered them about a week before I needed them and ended up having to stay up late finishing them instead of having a fun crafting Saturday.

My initial idea was to paint them, but then I started working on the design and everyone (Ok Brian and my friend Catherine) liked the design with everyone’s names the best. Adding people’s names would make painting a lot harder. So I thought of doing iron on. I ran by staples to pick up the special paper only to find out that the printer in my apartment building wasn’t compatible with the paper… ok back to painting.

I made the design using Microsoft Publisher. Catherine had sent me a design idea and I went with it. Its loosely based on a Fender guitar pick. The Nashville is a script and all caps for everyone’s name.


I cut the guitar pick design out of plastic since I would be using it on all the bags. I started painting the gold with a foam pouncer while Catherine started cutting out everyone’s names. Since we would just be using each name once we just cut it out of regular paper. I also cut out Nashville out of the plastic, but it didn’t work out that well. The first one I used the pouncer brush to paint and it bled bad. So after that I used a paint pen and drew the Nashville that way. It was still nice to have the stencil to follow and it made all them come out uniform.


To save time and to add some style we didn’t cut out the middle’s of the letters. I used the paint pen again for the names. Luckily all it took was overnight for them to dry then we filled them with bachelorette party essentials like advil and nail polish.


make: screenprint shirts

In my rush to finish up gifts for Christmas I didn’t take pictures of a few shirts I made for my sisters. So I asked them to take a picture for me and this is what I got. Wrinkly on the bed and on the floor.

Any who I think they still are presentable. One of my sister’s owns Old Drum Coffeehouse and Bakery, so I made her the But first, coffee shirt. The Crafty Runner received the Missouri design that I also used on the dish towels.




make: oven bake clay necklaces

Last September at the H Street festival amid the booths of crap made in China I found a lady selling hand crafted necklaces that I liked. I bought one for myself and my friend Catherine bought one too. Soon after Catherine found a tutorial on pinterest on how to make similar necklaces with oven baked clay.

I had some grey Sculpey clay on hand from when I took a shoe making class way back when. So that is what I started with, only later on a trip to Michaels and JoAnns did I discover the wide world of oven back clay. The other popular brand is Fimo. They both come in a variety of colors including a few that are speckled. I bought some that were granite like and sparkley, which cuts out some of the painting later on.IMG_1780

The process is pretty easy, but took a few tries to get a consistent size and figure out what looked best.  It was a lot like playing with play dough. I rolled a long noodle and then cut it in sections with a box cutter. Then using a skewer I poked holes through the middle of them. Bake according to the package, which was not very long.

When they come out they will be hard, but still with a little give. You can sand them a little after baking if needed. I taped them off with painters tape and used craft paint to jazz them up.

To finish I threaded the beads on to a chain. I bought chain and clasps at Michaels as well and assembled the necklaces. Needle nose pliers help a lot in this process. Also a little patience.

To gift the necklaces I made small felt bags. I’ll show you how to make them soon!

make: Wild Things pillow

IMG_2796My beloved embroidered pillow got a little too much love and developed a few little holes. So I moved it to museum status, which meant we needed a new pillow for the couch. Since I’ve been messing around with paint lately I decided I would print a design on a piece of fabric and sew a pillow. I had the idea for a quote and started browsing Pinterest for quotes about home. I tell Brian I’m looking for a quote for a pillow and he immediately suggests “I’ll eat you up I love you so” from the book Where the Wild Things Are. I’ve always been a fan of the book and even had a stuffed animal Wild Thing, so I decided to go for it. There are a lot of prints out there using this quote and a few others from the book, mostly in reference to a nursery (why do babies get all the fun?). I liked the ones with the crown, but also some with the silhouette of a wild thing which is what I ultimately went with.


I created a pattern for the background with the freezer paper technique. For the lettering I used a fabric paint marker. I purchased the fabric paint markers from Target. They have pretty good color and apply easily, but look less finished and professional, than the stencils. I free handed the lettering after one practice round on a scrap piece of paper. I had to go over the letters an additional time as the gold paint was a bit harder to write on than straight fabric.


After heat setting the paint I picked out a star fabric for the back and sewed them right sides together. I sewed a pillow insert using some other solid fabric and stuffed it from another pillow i was getting rid of. After I inserted the pillow form inside I hand stitched the bottom.

make: DC screen print

Inspired by the KC heart shirts so many fans wear to the Royals games (go Royals!) I decided to try a DC heart for my next shirt print project. I am going to a baby shower for a coworker friend who is expecting twin boys. I figured they needed DC heart shirts too.

Following the same process as the make shirt I printed out a heart and the letters D C, traced the design on freezer paper, ironed the design on the shirts, and used a foam pouncers to apply the paint. The red went on a little spotty so I did two layers.




I couldn’t let the babies have all the fun, so I made one for me too. The grey shirt took a bit more paint and the shirt is stretchier than the other one I did, but I think it turned out great just the same.


make: DIY graphic t-shirt

This shirt was one of my inspiration-to-finished product in 48 hours activity. I have been seeing a lot of shirts with the cross and four letters. Some were for weddings using the couples initials and some were for cities with short names. I decided to use the word MAKE to celebrate the start of my new blog.

I used SketchBookExpress for design. I saved the design as a pdf and printed it at 150%, which printed out on four sheets of paper. So after a little cutting and taping I had my enlarged design. I think you can print directly on freezer paper… but I don’t have my own printer. So I put my design under the freezer paper and traced my design. Make sure you put wax side down for this. I cut the design out with an X-acto knife.

IMG_0926 2    IMG_0928

For the shirt I stopped by Forever 21 during my lunch break. I debated going to American Apparel, but it was 95 degrees and Forever 21 was a bit closer. I found some great shirts though so it was a smart choice. I picked up two heather crew neck shirts and a grey v-neck. Its no secret that I love turquoise so I chose the blue-green shirt to try my first design. I washed and dried the shirts first to make sure they didn’t shrink after I put a design on the front.

Since freezer paper is coated with wax you can iron it on to your shirt. I made sure to turn the steam off and carefully ironed the stencil on to my shirt. I had some fabric paint and foam paintbrushes in my craft cabinet so I went with what I had. A brush with a flatter end, might work better, but without much trouble I painted my design.

IMG_0930    IMG_0931

I waited 24 hours before removing the stencil. It stuck a little around the paint, but came up pretty cleanly. I am really happy with how clean the edges look. I let you know how it survives a wash, but now I’m making my next design!