Thursday, February 28, 2013

DIY :: Magnetic & Chalkboard Frames

A project I did back in November was quite an evolution. My aunt hosts an art sale every year before the holidays, so I always try to come up with something new to sell for fun and to make some extra cash before the holidays. This project was definitely pin-spired - I'd seen a lot of framed chalkboards, but I wanted to take it a step further to make magnetic boards and magnetic chalkboards.

To keep the cost down I spent months gathering the largest frames I could find from the local 2nd hand stores, or garage sales. My budget was $5 or less for each frame... the best deals were definitely from garage sales. I was mostly looking for great shapes and sturdy wood that I could refinish. The frames weren't the best looking when I bought them, but a little clean-up and paint and they really turned out well!

Another large component was the metal - I knew I wanted to do at least 10 frames, so I priced out material. Home depot sells magnetic metal in sheets, but also sells it in rolls. I decided the roll would be the better investment because I could use it for more frames down the road if they sold well, as well as other projects. The sheets were about $10 a piece while the roll was about $50 on sale (in the roofing supply section.) I also made an investment in an electric metal cutter. That set me back about $40, but was well worth the investment over the $25 manual scissors-type cutter. It was great because it cut through the metal like butter. Definitely invest in safety gloves, the metal is extremely sharp to handle and I made the mistake doing it without and totally cut up my hands. Safety glasses are also a great thing to use - never know what could shoot out flying!

The other part of the project that was a bit time-consuming was covering the metal. I knew I wanted to do some with chalk-board paint, but the others, I wanted to make more like interior art - something that would shnazz up someone's office or workspace. My idea was to cover the metal in really great fabrics. For me, it takes a bit of time wandering back and forth to decide on a fabric that's not too busy that could be more like a show-piece; especially knowing that these boards would have lots of stuff posted to them anyways. My favorite fabric finds were from Ikea... Nice bold, modern, colorful, and neutral selections... I chose 2 main kinds that I felt would be pretty flexible in different work-spaces.

These frames were the first to end up selling. I painted the frames in an off-white,
and painted with a glaze to give them a more distressed and worn look.

The final process to making the boards was creating the magnets. I looked into different options, and was really hoping to find different stones as well to make magnets out of... I couldn't find any that were quite the right shape I was looking for for the budget I had created. I ended up going with clear glass stones from the dollar store that I either painted or cut fabric or paper that I decoupaged onto the back of. They turned out great - like a clear glass bubble with the designs showing through.

I could get a little more colorful with the more plain magnetic chalkboards (where I used scrap decorative paper that I had from previous projects) whereas for the fabric ones, I used pieces of the same fabric to embellish the set.

Here was one of my displays for the show.

My packaging was last-min and not that great, but the boards really turned out well.

A friend of mine ordered a couple for Christmas as well. I found a fabric that was really colorful that I thought my friend would love. The other was for her sister, who is rocking selling Mary Kay. Mary Kay is all pink, but at the same time she lives in Chicago - so I founds something that I thought would be classy but girly with pink. I'm really happy with how these turned out, and the frames are great because they are old, but are a really nice quality, heavy wood.

The possibilities are endless! I didn't end up keeping one for myself (I don't really have the room for it right now) But I envision someday when I have a workspace - say, in the kitchen area, this would be a cool accent to decorate, but still be functional.

I'd love to know if you have ideas, or what you think?

Monday, February 18, 2013

DIY :: Wedding Card Box, Part 2

Here is the second part to how to create a Wedding Card Box. If you missed the first part follow this link.

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Going into the decorating portion of the Card box, I knew I wanted to use ribbon and the fabric that I used to cover the box. I decided to create flowers from the fabric so I cut the petals out at different sizes to layer. They were pretty floppy and flat so I sent Chad out for some starch. I have never used starch so this was a portion of the project that I definitely was 'winging it' on.

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My plan was to put the petals on stacks of coins so they would have some dimension and shape. I was concerned that the ink from the paper would wipe off onto the petals - which it did on some - so I recommend doing this on a non-inked material. The starch calls for you to iron, but in this case that isn't an option because I didn't really want the petals to be flat. On first try I didn't saturate the fabric enough, so it didn't get very stiff. I ended up totally drenching all of them and leaving them to dry overnight. I was pleasantly surprised to find that they did dry and were stiff enough to hold shape, but were still a bit soft-looking.

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Once I had the flowers how I liked them, I sewed about 5 stitches through them to make sure the petals wouldn't spin and shift. I completed them with a bit of the darker ribbon - sort of like leaves, and added the bling to the center. It was helpful to use tools like tweezers and the scissors. I am definitely the worlds worst glue gun aficionado... I generally come away with my fingers numb and burnt from the hot glue. Also, the stringy web-like glue that always seems to trail off from where I adhere the glue is always hanging around. I go crazy trying to get that fine strands off my hands or my project... the tweezers and scissors really help do the trick because it seems to really want to stick to my clumsy hands. Oh, the things we do for a project!

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I mad the mistake of lining the placement of these flowers up with the top of the box, which I thought was how I had left it. Little did I know that Chad took the cover off and re-positioned it, so the back seam was not centered as I had originally planned! Not a huge deal, but he got a little razzing from me over that one ;)

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I'm very happy with the over-all design of it. It's simple and sheek, but the flowers give it a bit of fun aspect :) Not bad for spending about $30 vs $100 they are going for on Etsy. Plus - its something else checked off my list so I'm definitely a happy girl! :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

DIY :: Wedding Card Box, Part 1

Last time you heard my beef about how expensive weddings can be. It's the little things that can really make things add up without even realizing it! Chad and I have the gift of time. It seems like our wedding date is drug out pretty far from now. Only 7 months to go! I'm taking full advantage of the time creating whatever I can as early as I can so I'm not running around last minute like a chicken with it's head cut off.

My most recent project is the card box. This is something that doesn't need a lot of thought or design, but just take some time. My friend is getting married this weekend so we talked about it and I offered to make the card box for her. We got engaged about the same time and are helping each other out with the details in order to save on having a wedding coordinator. This box is something that will kill 2 birds with one stone - we can both use it for our weddings!

If you scope out Etsy there are tons of options with a hefty price-tag to go along with it... I want the box to match our dresses, which are both off-white satin, so I knew I wanted to cover them with fabric. The actual boxes were the tricky part... you're kind of at the mercy of the stores around you. I didn't feel like running around too much so I went with Hobby Lobby and American Craft Market to find what I needed.

Here is the supply break-down:

Hobby Lobby:
Large Box: $5.99
1 yd Fabric: $4.19 (was $6.99 with a 40% coupon)
Ribbon: $5.97 (for 3 kinds, was $11.97 with 50% off special)

American Craft Market:
Small Box: $7.99
Bling: $4.99

Other necessities that I used and had were:
Hot glue gun and sticks (don't make the mistake of wasting your time with other glue... it doesn't work)
White Spray paint
Spray Adhesive
Box Cutter

1. Paint Boxes:

First thing I did was paint the box white so that it was lighter - the brown box made the fabric noticeably darker.

2. Cut holes: 

I cut a circle about 1/2 inch smaller than the tracing of the small box on the large box. I did it 1/2 inch smaller than the edge of the small box as well so there was a ledge to glue the boxes together with. Also, I traced and cut a hole on the top where the envelopes go in. I made it a bit bigger than the common 9" length of a envelope.

3. Cover with paper/fabric:

So far I've been working on covering the boxes with fabric. This is by far the trickiest part of the whole ideal - especially with a round box. I turned the pleats/tucks that form into a decorative part of the box, but you can come up with your own solution. Satin is difficult because if you lay it over itself, it is noticeable and it leaves a lot of room for errors. I just made this up as I went along - It was nice to have adhesive spray to set the sides. It doesn't seep through, and it's forgiving (you can pull the fabric up and re-adjust if needed before it dries.)


To come in Part 2? The FUN part! Decorating and embellishing! 

For Part 2, click here.

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