There are a couple of go-to techniques that I use when antiquing a painted wooden item. One of them is the wax resist technique that I used on the race medal holder. Today, I’ll share how to antique a piece using stamping ink.
Materials: Painted wooden item Sandpaper Chocolate brown ink pad – water based, not pigment Small paint brush – use an old one Rag – for wiping excess ink off the piece Spray sealer – optional
It’s important to use water based stamping ink. Because pigment ink is so thick, it will smear over the surface of your project, not soak into the wood.
When distressing a painted piece, focus on the areas that would be naturally worn through use. I’m distressing a child’s canoe paddle, so I’ll sand the handle and sides, where the paddle might bump into the canoe. Sand down to the raw wood.
Because you’ll be rubbing the ink into the wood, use a paint brush that you’re okay with ruining. Kid’s craft brushes are perfect for this project. I’m using a foam brush. Dab the brush onto the stamp pad and then onto your project. Make sure to cover the exposed wood completely. Keep a rag handy so that you can wipe excess ink off as you work.
Once you’ve antiqued the raw wood, use the brush to lightly sweep a little ink onto a few of the painted sections of your project. Rather than leaving the painted areas pristine, this gives the piece an overall look of age. I inked a few places on the word “cabins”.
If your project will be handled during use, seal it to protect the finish. I like spray matte sealer.
This antiquing technique can also be used to age paper crafts. For that application, I would use a kid’s craft brush and gently dab the ink on until the desired coverage is reached. I’ve seen this used in dollhouse miniatures to give a time-worn look.
I hope you’ll give this technique a try on your projects!
Here’s a quick and inexpensive way to add some interest to gift packages. Tie varied knots using lightweight rope instead of ribbon. In addition to being unusual, these embellishments are practical because they will not flatten during transport.
You will need: Nautical theme gift wrap (Maritime designs, maps, paper in beachy, bright colors would work as well) Gift Wrapping Tape Scissors Nylon clothesline or other rope – $2 Spring Link – optional – I call them caribiners – $2 Lighter – optional Large letter stickers and tags – optional
Unless you’re a knot-tying expert, (I’m knot! Get it? Heh.) watch the videos that I’ve linked below. You can play the video and pause when you needed, or click the right or left arrows to see one step at a time.
I struggled with this knot until I realized that the loop looked like a lowercase “g”. Do you see it?
After I tied the bowline knot on one end of the caribiner, I wrapped the rope snugly around the package a few times. Then I tied another bowline knot at the other end of the caribiner. Push the knot close to the caribiner before tightening, so that the rope stays fairly tight around the package.
Careful adults only step: I sealed the cut ends of the rope by melting them with a lighter. If you do this, please don’t set yourself (or anything else) on fire, and take care not to breathe fumes from melting plastic. Don’t attempt to seal the ends of cotton rope. We call those ‘candle wicks’.
Years ago, we took two of our nephews and a niece on a white-water rafting trip in West Virginia. We tent camped that weekend and planned to roast our dinner (and s’mores) over a campfire. My niece and I got to work starting the fire. We had nice, dry firewood, sturdy matches and kindling gathered from the surrounding area.
There were thunderstorms that day and the humidity was nearly 100%. We couldn’t get our kindling to ignite, so we started looking for paper to burn. Having none, we did what all intrepid explorers do and burned our atlas! (This was in the days before GPS, when dinosaurs roamed the Earth.) Fortunately, that worked. We had a nice cookout that night and were able to find our way home at the end of the trip.
Shortly after that, my sister gave us these awesome egg carton fire starters and we’ve been using them ever since. The combination of wax and paper helps them to burn for several minutes; long enough to ignite a nice fire.
Disclaimer: I should warn you up front that this project is for careful adults only. Always use caution when working with fire, flammable materials and heat sources. I don’t want you to singe those beautiful eyebrows off. Or worse.
That said, and because I love an element of danger, let’s dive right in!
Here’s what you’ll need to make the fire starters:
Paper egg cartons with lids removed – do not use foam!
Wax from discarded candles
Flammable Filler, small pine cones, tree bark, sawdust, etc. The lid of the paper egg carton torn into small pieces will work.
Scented/Decorative Filler, dried citrus peel, cinnamon stick pieces, etc. – this is entirely optional
Double boiler for melting wax – Mine came from the flea market for $1. You can often find vintage, aluminum double boilers inexpensively at yard sales and thrift stores. I do not use this one for food.
Metal ladle – optional, but useful if you’re like me; not very accurate when pouring liquids.
Sturdy scissors – I used herb scissors.
Cardboard, plastic and newspaper or paper grocery bags for protecting your work surface.
This is a great way to recycle/upcycle both the egg cartons and discarded candles.
Cover your work surface with cardboard or plastic with layers of paper on top. The melted wax makes this a messy project! Children could help with gathering the supplies and arranging them in the egg cartons, but the wax melting and pouring is an adults only step in the process. You may just want to send them to Grandma’s (or at least out of the room) while you’re working with hot wax.
Remove the lids from the egg cartons, Set the lids aside for another use or tear them into small pieces to use as filler. Using scissors, cut in between the cups without cutting them completely apart, like the photos below. This will make it easier to break them into individual fire starters.
Fill the cups of the egg carton with your choice of flammables. If you are using scented/decorative filler, arrange that on top of any less attractive filler. I layered mine with torn egg carton lids, dried orange peel, hemlock cones and birch bark.
Over low heat, melt the wax in a double boiler. Watch the wax as it melts. Do not leave it unattended and certainly don’t let it come to a boil. Also, don’t bother cleaning your stove until after this messy project!
Once the wax has just melted, remove it from the heat and carefully pour or ladle it into the prepared egg cups. Fill just the whole cup section. You can carefully press the filler materials down into the wax if needed.
I wish that you could smell these fire starters. I made two batches, one is from a vanilla bean scented soy candle and the other is cinnamon scented. Both batches smell amazing!
Let the wax harden completely, and then pull the cups apart. You’ll appreciate that you cut the cups before filling them. I forgot one time, and spent the next few evenings hacking at them with a utility knife. #blisters
To burn, just light a corner of the fire starter.
These fire starters make great gifts (hint: Christmas) for the outdoorsy people in your life. Or anyone who enjoys a fire pit, chiminea or wood burning fireplace. Fill a pretty basket or bowl with fire starters and a nice box of matches or a butane lighter. If your friends love a fire in the fire pit, give a pretty bag of these fire starters along with a cozy throw for chilly evenings.
Fill a cellophane bag with fire starters and place into a large gift bag with s’mores fixins’: a bag of marshmallows, a box of graham crackers and some Hershey’s chocolate bars. Go crazy, and add some Reese’s peanut butter cups to the kit. (Don’t grill foods directly over the fire starters, wait until you’ve got a roaring campfire.)
Throw a few of these into your pack when you go hiking or on a camping trip. As Pa Kettle says, “you just don’t never know” when you’ll need to start a fire.
I hope you will give this project a try. If you do, I’d love to hear from you! Comment here or email me at arthurized dot home at gmail dot com.
I’m not in partnership with any brands referenced in this post. I simply enjoy their products, and I hope you will too!
If you’ve ever done a 5k (or twenty), you know that race organizers love to throw shirts at their participants. Most of the time you’ll get a technical shirt that is perfect for wearing during your next training walk or run. But sometimes you’ll get a cotton shirt in your swag bag.
Now, don’t get me wrong, cotton tees are great for casual weekend wear, bumming around the house or even wearing as a night shirt. But, cotton is no bueno for sports. It grabs sweat and holds it in the weave of the fabric, which can cause chafing, which can cause pain and well, you know, use of bowling words. No one wants that.
There are plenty of options for unused shirts. They can certainly be donated to charity, passed along to family or friends who will wear them, or upcycled into a myriad of other useful items. Just ask Pinterest.
Speaking of Pinterest, this project was one of my first “pins”. For the past few years I’ve been collecting cotton race/volunteer shirts and setting them aside. You could use favorite shirts you just can’t part with, clothing your kids have outgrown, tee-shirts from sports teams, schools and concerts, or simply a collection of thrifted shirts with attractive graphics. Make sure the shirts are in good condition without holes or stains.
Because I wanted to capture a few larger graphics, I cut my rectangles slightly larger than the tutorial. Mine are 9.5″ by 4.5″, and I cut 21 of them for the front of the scarf. Most of the blocks were cut along the weave of the fabric, but some of them I cut on an angle as below.
I lined them up and rearranged them until I was happy with the layout. If you are working with blocks of text or titles, reverse directions of the layout at the center, otherwise one half will read upside down while the scarf is worn.
Cut the pieces for the back from the remainder of the tee shirts. Cut one more rectangle for the back than you cut for the front, because the blocks will be offset to reduce bulk at the seams.
Sew the front pieces into a long strip, and then do the same to the back pieces. I used lime green thread because with so many colors going on, it didn’t really matter what color I used. Might as well pick something fun! Plus it was already in the machine and I didn’t want to make a bobbin. #lazysewist
Iron the seams flat and trim off any excess fabric from the seams. Pin the front and back together, with right sides facing each other. Make sure the seams lay flat on both sides of the scarf as you pin. When you stitch the edge of the scarf, leave a large enough opening for turning it right side out. Trim off excess fabric from the edges.
Once you’ve turned the scarf right side out, iron it flat. Stitch the opening closed using either a machine top stitch or by hand using an invisible stitch.
Now it’s time for the good stuff…styling your new scarf! Have fun with it!
I like to come up with creative ways to present gift cards and one of my favorites is giving a coffee card wrapped in a coffee cup. There’s no element of surprise about the contents, but it’s super easy and fun to do!
When buying a coffee card, I ask for a tall cup with a lid. The gift card fits down inside it perfectly.
For package filler, sometimes I use wrapped candies but today I’m using paper shreds. If you’re using candy, Lindt truffles are a pretty (and tasty!) option.
You can stop right here and you’ve got a clean, minimalist look to your gift wrap; or you can decorate the cup with messages and designs. Sharpie markers in bright colors work well for this. Another option is to add a reusable cup sleeve.
I’m going to make a cheater bow using two coordinating wire edge ribbons. I call it “cheating” because I’m not doing all the twisting and looping of traditional bow making. I’m using a striped “bow” ribbon and a sheer “tie” ribbon.
Start by laying the bow ribbon in a serpentine shape. The folds will become the loops of your bow, so make sure you have the same number of them on each side. I like to do two or three, depending on the length of the ribbon.
Cut the tie ribbon long enough that you can tie two knots and have plenty left over to drape nicely on the gift. Mine is two lengths of 15″ each.
Pinch the folded bow ribbon together in the center.
Using the tie ribbon, make a tight knot around the bow to secure it.
Then using the same tie ribbon, tie a second, loose knot to make the center loop of the bow. Fluff the center loop up slightly.
Trim the ends of the ribbon at an angle. I trim the bow ends pointing downward and the tie ends pointing inward, like the arrows below.
Adhere the bow to the top of the cup and you’re done!
One of my goals for the year is to find a way to display the race medals that my husband and I have accumulated. We’ve got them stuffed into storage boxes in closets and the basement. I’ve been shopping for a large medal holder and just haven’t found the perfect thing. So I decided to make one from a wooden shutter.
Adapt this project for your own use! Make sure the louvers are fixed and strong enough to support whatever you hang from them. You could use a sturdy shutter and hooks to hang kitchen utensils, towels and aprons. If you have a young girl in your life, make a display for hair clips, bows and jewelry, etc. Create one for your garage or potting shed to hang work gloves and hand tools. The possibilities are endless!
Materials List: A note about the paint: Eggshell or matte acrylic is best. I used leftover “oops” paint for this project and found that the semi-gloss topcoat peeled a little more than I liked during sanding. Choose a color for the undercoat that contrasts nicely with the topcoat.
Paint for undercoat
Wax candle in white or ivory
Paint for topcoat
Old paint brush
Cleat for hanging, rated for the weight of your project – I bought mine at Lowe’s
Optional – decorative trim of your choosing
Optional – spray matte sealer to protect the painted finish
The shutter had some brown stains on it that I initially thought were water damage, but it was just sawdust(?) and rinsed right off. I didn’t bother to sand it. I’m going for a rough/chippy/distressed look. A few lumps and bumps contribute to that.
The first step is to add paint in a color that contrasts with the top coat. I chose a chocolate brown paint, because I want the impression that the shutter is old and made from a dark wood. Apply the undercoat to corners, decorative trim and edges where time and use would have worn the paint away.
Next rub a wax candle on areas where you want the top coat to sand off easily. The wax will resist the paint. It’s important to use a white or light colored candle, otherwise you might stain the undercoat.
My sister gave me some enameled ‘his’ and ‘hers’ plates that are perfect for this project. Thanks, Allie!
Apply the wax heavily and don’t worry about removing the excess. Remember, we’re going for an aged/chippy/distressed look.
Now, it’s time for the top coat. If you have one, use an old project paint brush because jamming it down between the louvers will ruin the bristles. I tried using a foam brush and it didn’t hold up well.
Touch up any bare spots if needed and let the paint dry completely. Now, it’s time for the magic! If you’re like me and have forgotten where you waxed, start lightly sanding the piece and the paint will easily release in the waxed areas. Affix any decorative pieces and attach the hanging cleat to the back of the shutter and to the wall.
The total cost of this project was $41. I paid $25 for the shutter, $15 for the hanging cleat and used about $1 of Oops paint.
If you make this project, I would love to see it! Send me an email at arthurized dot home at gmail dot com.
Here’s a fun gift idea for your honey or anyone you enjoy spending time with, really. Create a Date Night Passport for them filled with gift cards to your favorite restaurants, IOUs or tickets to events. This does not have to be expensive!
For this project, you will need:
Slim pocket calendar or notebook with a plain cover – I found mine at the dollar store. If you don’t want the clear, plastic cover you can create your own booklet. You’ll need a piece of heavy cardstock to make a cover. The advantage to creating your own is that you can make it any size, design or theme you like.
Sturdy white or ivory cardstock paper – a few sheets, depending on the size of the calendar. I used six pages of 8.5” x 11” cardstock cut to 6.75” x 6.5” for a total of 6 passport pages, 12 folded.
A variety of stamps or stickers – for the book title and to mimic passport stamps on the inside pages.
Stamping ink in black, brown, navy or dark grey
If you would rather doodle your own passport stamps, you won’t need the stamps or ink. Just grab your favorite pens or markers.
Paper cutter or a ruler and scissors
Remove the paper calendar from the cover and measure the pages, unfolded. Cut 6 cardstock pages to that measurement. Neatly fold each page in half. If your measurements are not square, make sure to fold in the direction of the passport cover spine. Next, stamp the pages however you like. I made a page for each month of the year and stamped ornate keys, postage stamps, medallions and fleur-de-lis, using chocolate brown stamping ink.
On the passport cover, add your title. I used silver stickers to spell out “Date Night” and added a small silver flourish below the title. Assemble the pages in order inside the cover and staple down the spine.
Now comes the fun part; filling the passport! Here are some
Gift cards: Restaurants, Coffee Shops, Ice Cream and Frozen
Yogurt Shops, Book Store, Massage, Manicure/Pedicure
Tickets: Movie Theater, Sporting Events, Concerts, Live Theater, Comedy Club
IOUs: Back Rub, Breakfast in Bed, Foot Massage, A Day Trip,
Hiking, Movie Night at Home, A Honey-Do Chore, Seasonal Activities (Pumpkin
Patch, Fall Foliage Drive, Ice Skating, A day at the Lake or Pool, Parades,
Farmer’s Market, Holiday Lights Tours) Antiquing, Thrift Shopping, Picnic in
Kid’s Activities: Zoo Trip, Water Park, Go-carts, Mini Golf, Aquarium, Geocaching, Hot Chocolate Date, Run a 5k together, Science Museum
IOUs for Kids: Library Date, Build a Fort, Pillow Fight, Favorite Dinner, Favorite Dessert, Craft Day, Card/Board Game Night, Permission to Jump on the Bed, Bake Cookies together, Skip a Chore, No Rules Day (My SIL occasionally did this with our nephew)
Now it’s time to make this your own! What activities would you add to this list?
Here’s a fun project for your St. Patrick’s celebration.
This craft is simple, low-cost and adaptable to the materials you have on hand.
Kiss Me and Lucky Bunting Directions
Kiss Me: Green patterned cardstock, gold letter stickers,
paper cutter (or ruler, pencil and scissors), glue, 20” of baker’s twine, 12”
Lucky: Gold metallic card stock, gold glitter letter
stickers, paper cutter or ruler, pencil and scissors, glue, thin, 20” gold yarn
or string, 12” wooden skewers
I used Aleene’s Clear Gel Tacky Glue for both of these buntings.
Cutting the cardstock background flags: Determine the size you will need by measuring the largest letter sticker you will use. The Kiss Me and Lucky letter flags are approximately 2” x 1 1/8”. To make the notch in the bottom of the flag, measure ¼” from the bottom and mark it. Now find the center and mark it. With a ruler or straight edge, draw a line from the center point to the corner of the flag. Cut along the lines.
Apply the stickers to the front of the flags, taking care to line them up neatly. I did not have a shamrock sticker for the “kiss me” banner, so I cut teardrop shapes out of another sticker to form the leaves and cut a thin curved stem. Now we’ve found a use for all those “Q” stickers! Place a thin line of glue across the top of each letter flag and adhere to the string. Let dry, tie the string to skewers and you’re done!
Rainbow Bunting Directions
Materials: White cardstock, washi tape in rainbow colors (alt: cardstock in rainbow colors), micro pom-poms, (these are 3/8”) paper cutter (or ruler, pencil and scissors), glue, 20” baker’s twine, 12” wooden skewers
If you are using paper for the rainbow bunting, Aleene’s Clear Gel Tacky Glue will work just fine to glue the micro pom-poms. If you’re using washi tape, I recommend Beacon Gem-Tac. It bonds well to slick surfaces.
Neatly apply washi tape to white cardstock. If your washi tape has a repeating pattern, make sure to line it up carefully. Next, cut out the flags. The rainbow flags are 1 5/8” x 1 5/8”. To make the inverted triangle, find the center of the bottom edge and mark it with a pencil. Draw a line from that mark to the top left corner. Repeat on the right side and cut along the lines. Now that the individual flags are cut, place a thin line of glue across the top and apply the micro pom-poms. Let dry. Once dry, turn them over and apply a thin line of glue across the top of each flag and adhere to the string in rainbow order. Let dry, tie the string to skewers and you are done!
I hope I’ve explained this clearly. Let me know if you have any questions.
Don’t have a cake plate? Here’s an easy way to create one: Use a coordinating dinner plate and bowl, turn the bowl over and place the plate on top. Super simple. You can use a dab of hot glue to hold them together temporarily. I don’t recommend hot gluing Grandma’s china, but sturdy dishes will be fine. The glue peels right off when you are done with your “cake stand”.
Need a quick centerpiece for your St. Pat’s party? These buntings are equally cute decorating a potted shamrock.