More Personalization for Pets

A couple months ago, I first experimented with using stencils to create personalized items for my pets, i.e. a custom wooden toy box for my dog, Sandy (which you can read about here).

Recently, I purchased a wire and wood basket at Michaels Craft Store to better organize cans of food and containers of treats for my cat, Olive.

While I’m still not a pro at stenciling, I am definitely making progress. I also was able to reuse the set of stencils I purchased for my first project for Sandy.

The first time I used these stencils on Sandy’s toy box, I applied too much pressure while applying the paint and let the paint dry too long, resulting in some of the blue lines of the stencil transferring onto the surface I was painting. I then had to remove the blue bits with tweezers. This time I removed the stencil sooner after painting, but possibly a little too soon – as you can see, there is some smudging in the bottom corner of Olive’s name. I’m hoping to get the timing just right on my next try!

Here are some photos I took along the way and a glimpse at the final basket with Olive’s name!

Feel free to share in the comments what you think I should personalize next! I am always looking for ideas and additional opportunities to practice stenciling.

Positioning the stencils.

Taping the letter stencils down so they don’t move while I paint (even though the backs are sticky, the extra reinforcement helps make sure they don’t shift).

The supplies I used.

I applied the painting by carefully dabbing.

Almost there!

Ta-da!

No-Cost DIY Dog Toys

When my significant other and I first adopted our dog, my growing pup would (literally) tear through every new stuffed or squeaky toy in a matter of minutes. So I decided to supplement her toy box with an array of homemade toys that could withstand her tugging and that I wouldn’t feel bad about throwing out on a frequent basis. Plus, it was a great way to repurpose a supply of items I wasn’t really using in my home — old t-shirts — meaning it cost nothing to make.

You can easily make these braided tug toys too!

Supplies

  • At least two old t-shirts
  • A pair of scissors

Everyone has that old t-shirt that maybe they received free as a promotional item or maybe they wore to the max and really should get rid of it, but haven’t “gotten around to it” yet. I’m a size medium and like longer t-shirts which worked great when my dog was a pup. Length is definitely important for this project. As my dog has gotten older (and a lot bigger), I have needed longer shirts, so I have “taken off my dad’s hands” a few of the 4x tees he doesn’t wear. As a personal preference, I like to use two different color tees for each project for aesthetic reasons and stay away from anything with a graphic printed on it or I cut out and discard the graphic before proceeding with the project.

To make this particular toy, I chose to use a tie-dye shirt and a baby blue shirt.

Step 1

Lay out your t-shirt on a flat surface. Starting at the bottom of the shirt, cut a straight vertical line until you get to the top seam.

Step 2

Move a couple inches over and cut again. You can also make a small cut and then “tear” the t-shirt the rest of the way to the top seam. It is quicker and more fun!

Step 3

When you get to the top seam, cut the strip horizontally below the seam so it is not part of your strip. Also, cut off the bottom seam of the strip.

Step 4

Repeat Steps 2 and 3 for the entire shirt. When you get to a graphic or an arm hole, you can cut around it and then keep going.

Step 5

Repeat Steps 1 through 4 for the second t-shirt.

Step 6

Lay out all of your strips flat on the table (it’s ok if individual strips curl). Trim strips where necessary so that they are all about the same length.

Step 7

Take your strips (I used about 13 to make each toy and was able to make two toys from this set of strips – but this can vary depending on the weight of the t-shirts you’re using and the size of your pup) and tie a knot at the one end. Pull hard to make sure the knot is as tight as possible.

Step 8

Separate your strips into 3 equal sections and start to braid.

Step 9

When you have about 5 inches of strips remaining, tie a second tight knot.

Step 10

Trim the ends of the toy so that all strips are again the same length.

Step 11

Start playing!

DIY Marble Coasters

Growing up, my mom had a lot of rules about what you could and couldn’t put on wood surfaces. As a child, I didn’t really understand why these were necessary, but when I became an adult with my own furniture that I worked hard to buy, I was glad my mother instilled in me how to take care of these surfaces. As a result, I always have a supply of coasters on hand for family and guests (and me) to use.

Recently, the set of cork coasters my mother gifted me several years ago when I moved into my condo, started to look worn. As the time to discard of those grew nearer, I decided to make my next set of coasters.

Having been looking at flooring a lot online recently for my kitchen, I decided to order a sheet of Carrara white marble 4inch hexagonal tiles to make the coasters. The sheet included 12 tiles and cost about $15 (shipping was free). I’ve always seen marble coasters in home stores and thought they were beautiful, but too expensive. So I was super excited to test out my coaster version of a “look for less.” Not only was this project budget-friendly, it was also quick, once I had all of the supplies.

Supplies

  • 12. 4-inch polished hexagonal marble tiles
  • 72 1/2-inch diameter adhesive felt pads

Feel free to make more or less than 12 coasters depending on your needs. Also, feel free to substitute the hexagonal shape tiles with round or square ones. I used 6 adhesive felt pads per tile. When I moved to my new home, my dad gave me a pack of hundreds of adhesive felt pads of varying sizes. No surprise, the leftover pads from the move ended up in my craft room. However, adhesive felt pads can be found in a number of stores for relatively cheap like Home Depot, Target, or even a Dollar Store.

Step 1

Carefully peel each tile off the netted backing that binds them together.

Step 2

Flip over each polished tile to the bottom (the side that was adhered to the netting) and apply a felt pad to each corner. Feel free to add additional pads if you see fit.

Step 3

Repeat for each additional tile you have and enjoy!

Quick and Easy Valentine’s Day Banner

Looking for a last-minute Valentine’s Day craft? Whether it is a quick and easy project for your kids, students, or just yourself, this Valentine’s Day decor banner is the perfect!

Supplies

  • Banner Paper or Pad (Also feel free to cut your own banner pieces from construction or scrapbooking paper)
  • Alphabet Stickers
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Ribbon

I had clear tape, ribbon (I used 1/4 inch pink satin ribbon, but feel free to use thicker ribbon or a different color), and scissors at home. Since we recently painted our walls, I used removable masking tape to hang the banner to prevent any damage when the decoration was taken down. I purchased the pad on clearance at Michaels Craft Store and used a coupon on the letters – bringing my total out-of-pocket cost of this project to about $7.

Step 1

My pad has three different types of paper – polka dot, striped and solid. So first, I decided on the pattern I would like my banner pieces to follow. Then I tore each page I was using out of the pad. I was very impressed with how easily and cleanly they tore out!

Step 2

Choose your saying (and make sure you have the letters to complete it). I chose the words “I LOVE YOU.” Peel off each letter and place one letter on each triangular page. Leave a blank banner for space between each word.

Step 3

Lay out your saying banner. Then flip over each banner page. Leave yourself about 6-12 inches of ribbon to hang your banner with before taping the ribbon down to the wide end of each triangle. I placed 2 pieces of clear tape on each page – one on either side about a 1/4 inch from what would become the “top” of the banner page when it is hanging.

Step 4

Leave about a half inch between each piece of paper and continue taping the ribbon to the back of each banner page. Leave another 6-12 inches of ribbon before cutting the ribbon.

Step 5

Use masking tape to hang up and enjoy!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

This Week’s Pet Project: Personalized Dog Toy Box

Even though my home needs a lot more work (for example, I have plywood instead of a counter on one side of my kitchen), I am trying not to focus on just the big projects. Therefore, this weekend, I took a trip to Michaels Craft Store to load up on picture frames (on sale, of course) and supplies for “little touches” around the home. My first project: personalizing my dog’s toy box.

I found this great wooden box during Fall Clearance at Michaels Craft Store and instantly knew it would make a great toy box to keep in my living room for my lab, Sandy. She’s fallen in love with it too — constantly emptying out her toy box all over the room!

I decided to liven it up a bit by adding Sandy’s name and a design underneath. As it was my first time using decor stencils and chalk paint, I definitely learned a few good tricks and a few things not to do along the way.

Supplies

  • Letter stencils
  • Design stencil (I chose one with an arrow to include under Sandy’s name)
  • Chalk Paint
  • Paint Sponge
  • Wooden Box
  • Masking Tape
  • Tweezers
  • Scissors

The box, masking tape, tweezers, and scissors I had at home. All other supplies I purchased from Michaels Craft Store.

Step 1

First, choose a letter and accent design that you like. For this project, I used two different types of stencils. The first one required the letters be peel off and the second just required the design be placed over the the destination.

Step 2

As mentioned, my letters were of the “peel and stick” variety. Since I wanted to minimize the space between the letters, I trimmed the sides, as shown below.

Step 3

Arrange letters how you would like them to appear. I used masking tape as a guide of how to center the letters as well as to hold them down once I peeled the backs off, as the adhesive on the letters was weak. The advantage of this though is that I was able to lift and arrange the letters several times before committing to a spacing.

Step 4

Use the sponge to gently dab paint over each letter. Once done, let dry.

Step 5

Peel off the masking tape and stencils. Here is where I made a beginners mistake — I let the paint dry too long or pressed down too hard and some of the blue stencil stuck to the white paint when I lifted the stencils. But picking off the sticky blue lines with tweezers was a quick fix!

Step 6

I repeated the same steps for the second stencil — an arrow which I placed under Sandy’s name. Since this stencil did not have an adhesive, I used masking tape to keep it in place while I painted.

Step 7

After removing the tape and the stencil, I cleaned up the edges a bit with a fresh, damp sponge brush and voila!

Easy Lettered Frame

Recently my sister adopted her first pet, a rescue puppy. While I bought (and made) all sorts of toys and goodies for the puppy, I wanted to give my sister a “Congratulations” gift as well. So I lettered a picture frame and inserted a photo of her new furry baby.

When my fiancé and I adopted a rescue lab last year, I made him a similar frame with her name, “Sandy,” spelled out. Especially since puppies grow so fast, it is fun to remember their first weeks with the family via a photo in a living room or on a desk.

The lettered frame is super easy to put together and the supplies I purchased to make it would have cost me less than $10 even if I had paid full price.

To make your own, follow the instructions below!

Supplies

  • Picture frame with a flat front
  • Wooden letters (I chose 3/4 in tall)
  • Paint (optional)
  • Hot glue gun
  • Tweezers
  • Masking tape or painter’s tape

Step 1

Find the letters you need! Because Daisy’s name is so short, I had plenty letters left over to make her another frame or to use on future craft projects.

Step 2 (optional)

Originally, I was going to paint the wooden letters black. But after laying everything out, I decided to apply them to the frame unfinished instead. Depending on the color of your frame and its recipient, feel free to decorate the letters however you like!

Step 3

Layout the letters along the bottom, center of the frame. Use a removable masking or painter’s tape to mark off where you want your letters to start and end. This way, when you pick up the letters to add glue, you still have a guide for spacing them.

Step 4

Pick up each letter individually and flip it backwards. Hold each letter so that you have a good grip on it but don’t risk burning yourself with the glue gun. Apply three or so small dots of glue to the back of each letter. Make sure that the dots are small enough that when pressed in they do not exceed the width of the letter, as you don’t want globs of glue showing on your final project.

Step 5

Quickly (before the glue hardens), but carefully, flip the letter, align it and press down so that the glue adheres the letter securely to the frame.

Step 6

Repeat for all letters. If you don’t press down fast enough, wait until the glue drys, peel it off and start Steps 4-5 again.

Step 7

Use tweezers to remove any glue “cobwebs.”

Step 8

Fill the frame with a photo and enjoy!

5-Minute DIY Holiday Wreath

This holiday season I was proud of myself for starting (and finishing) some holiday tasks early, but I was also disappointed for not giving myself as much time as I would have liked to spend on other tasks. One of the projects I waited to complete until the last minute was creating a wreath for my front door.

As a result, I designed a wreath that had all the elements I wanted but took only about 5 minutes to complete once I had all of my supplies.

Supplies

  • 18 inch wreath
  • Old Christmas ornaments
  • 2 bunches of seasonal stems
  • 1.5 inch wide red velvet ribbon or pre-made red bow
  • 1/4 inch red ribbon optional
  • Glue gun and glue sticks

All of the supplies other than the glue gun/glue sticks and the old Christmas ornaments, I purchased at Michaels Craft Store.

Step 1

Separate the branches of the seasonal stems. I found it easier to peel the sections apart as opposed to cutting them.

Step 2

Arrange the seasonal stems on your wreath.

Tip: Take a photo of your arrangement. That way, you can test out a few different arrangements, compare the photos, decide which you like best, and easily recreate it if needed.

Step 3

Add Christmas ornaments to the inner and outer sides of the wreath. Last year, I had a mini Christmas tree, for which I bought smaller ornaments. Now that I have a larger tree this year, I had no use for the smaller ornaments. Rather than discard of them, I keep them with my craft supplies should I need them for a DIY holiday decor project like this. I alternated between silver and gold balls.

Step 4

Once you are satisfied with your arrangement, use a glue gun to secure the seasonal stems and ornaments to the wreath. I picked up the branches, applied glue underneath them and repositioned the branches after to ensure no globs of glue were visible on my completed wreath.

Step 5

Use the velvet ribbon to tie a bow and to glue it to the top center of the wreath. I chose to use several pieces of ribbon to make my bow and secured them together with a 1/4 inch red ribbon. Feel free to also use the velvet ribbon to secure the bow or to use a pre-made bow to complete your wreath.

Step 6

Remove any glue webs.

Step 7

Hang up your wreath and enjoy!