Most of my projects require me at some point to sit at the computer and make my plan. I use Illustrator to draw things to scale so I get a good idea of what the end product will look like. This comes in handy when I’m hanging anything on my walls. I’m not sure why, but hanging stuff is paralyzing for me. As if once it is hung it can never be removed. I’ll have things stacked against the wall for months before having the courage to hang them. And I only hang them after I’ve measured the wall and drawn everything out. It’s a process.
Even after drawing it out on the computer, I often take one more step: Trace all my elements on paper and cut them out and hang them.
You can see on my “heritage wall” below I have my computer version (white paper) taped to the stairs and then all my cutouts in their place. (as you can see this picture was taken before we made some major updates) I even marked where the hook (to hang the frame) was located on the paper so I could nail straight through the paper and get the right placement each time – without multiple wounds to my wall.
This is a process where a little upfront effort goes a long way!
It was an awkward space before – on a small wall – and now it houses some of my very favorite pictures of our ancestors. It’s our heritage wall and it’s always a conversation starter for people visiting our home. It’s good to know where you come from.
Here’s a project that I completed back in April and I’m just now getting around to posting it. Its funny – I’ll do a project, work hard to complete it and display it and then the newness wears off and I forget that I haven’t posted any pictures.
I may have an obsession with maps and globes. It’s my hope that it creates curiosity and a sense of exploration with my children. This wooden DIY USA wall art is my new favorite wall decor and it was easy. I’m not just saying that…really. In fact, I had a friend do this project with me. A friend who had never picked up a jig saw before and she will agree, this is much more manageable than it looks.
A sheet of plywood
Planks of wood; pallet wood or inexpensive fencing
Projector of some type
Start by cutting a sheet of plywood roughly to the size of your desired map size. Home improvement stores will gladly cut this to size for you. Mine is almost 6 feet wide.
Lay out how your planks are going to sit on your plywood. I chose inexpensive cedar fencing with a horizontal pattern. Glue the planks to your plywood. I used heavy buckets of wheat to keep it flat while drying. You could just as easily throw some nails in the back to keep it in place as it dries.
Once it’s completely dry, trace a backwards map on the plywood side using a sharpie marker. I used an LCD video projector, but an overhead projector would work with a transparency.
Once the map was traced, I reinforced the entire perimeter of the map (on the inside of my tracing) with nails from my nail gun. I knew that the jig saw would be reciprocating and may cause some of the smaller pieces to come unglued – this helped keep everything together.
With the plywood side up, using a jig saw, slowly cut along the marker line outlining the map. There are a lot of intricate pieces in the USA and I didn’t cut every little piece, a jig saw isn’t meant for fine cutting. Some cuts you’ll need to come at it from several angles in order for it to work, but be patient.
At first you’ll want to try and follow every little curve and line, only to realize you really don’t need to. Depending on your size of map, the cutting out may take an hour or two. Go slowly. Take breaks – or else your hand may fall off from the vibration of the saw!
Flip it over and admire your work. You may see areas you want to clean up just a bit – or be more intricate on and if thats that case, flip it over and keep cutting.
I decided to keep this piece a little rustic. I sanded just a few of the edges to make them nice but I didn’t sand the entire piece. I liked the rough wood – it had character and charm. I also chose not to stain it, because I liked the variations of color in the wood. But you can choose what fits your house and style – sand and stain if desired!
I originally posted this at HowDoesShe.com
I’ve got more than a couple of these marker boards around the house and I love them. I have them in the hallway, the kitchen, the office. They’re easy and cheap and they bring in whatever pop of color or pattern I’m looking for.
Start with a frame – I like the simplicity and affordability of the Ikea frames.
Remove the mat from the frame and cover it with paper. I find that wrapping paper works great. I’ve had great luck with TJ Maxx and Home Goods wrapping paper – great colors and modern patterns.
Tape the paper in place around the mat and replace the mat in the frame.
Hang them on the wall, lean them on a shelf, stand them on a counter – you’ve got a marker board. Regular dry erase markers write on the glass and wipe off without any problem.
We use the ones in the hallway to hold quotes, reminders and lists.
The one in the kitchen was used to write love messages between family members.
The ones in my office I don’t usually write on – I just like the color they bring to the room, but occasionally I’ll write a quote on them.
When you want to switch things up – find a new wrapping paper and the look is updated in no time.
My friend made a beautiful coffee filter garland for her daughter’s birthday party. I loved everything about it and when I decided to throw a baby shower for my niece I gave it a shot. It was just as cheap and easy as I was hoping for.
You can find hundreds of instructions searching pinterest – they’re all pretty much the same. Here’s just a few tricks I learned in the process.
First off – I used 1000 filters (although not all of them ended up being strung, I ran out of time!) I used the larger filters that are for 12-16 cup coffee makers.
Many instructions tell you to put color water in spray bottles and spray the filters. This would’ve taken forever to dye 1000 filters. After dying 25 filters with a water bottle I became more efficient.
I mixed water and dye in a medium sized bowl. I then separated the filters out into groups of 50 (my filters came divided at 50 filters). I took the entire stack and dipped them in the bowl.
Each bowl of water covered 100 filters and then I would mix another bowl of water and dye. Each bowl had different ratios which gave a great color variance.
Some stacks I would dip just one side and let the color bleed to the other. Some stacks I only dipped the outside edges. Others stacks I saturated the whole stack.
I then separated that stack into smaller stacks and layed them across my backyard to dry.
They took a warm Arizona afternoon to dry and once they were dry I threw them in a large garbage sack.
Then it was time to string them. 1000 filters could make one 8 foot garland with really dense filters. I needed more than 8 feet so I spaced my filters using clear drinking straws cut into 1/2″ sections.
Using fishing line and a sewing needle I strung 2 filters and then a 1/2″ straw section, 2 filters, straw section…repeat.
The finished product was several 6 foot garlands that I hung from the ceiling using command strips.
They were the main focal point of the Grand Adventure baby shower. The wow-factor. And they were so darling I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of them. So…they’re now sitting in my attic just waiting for someone else to have a baby boy so I can throw a party!
Here’s my latest post at HowDoesShe.com – it’s not too late to make some 4th of July decorations!
One of the easiest decorations that is in my holiday arsenal is the pennant banner. I use them for holidays, birthday parties, wedding and baby showers and more – I’ve got a lot sitting in my closet. And I think I’ve used just about every material to make them: Wood, paper and fabric. Wood is heavy and hard to hang. Paper is the easiest – but buying cute scrapbooking paper isn’t always cheap. Fabric is my favorite because of the durability – but its also the most time consuming because you have to finish edges (unless you’re going with burlap and frayed edges is expected.)
But here’s my secret weapon- use oilcloth fabric and you don’t have to finish the edges and they don’t fray. You get the best of both worlds. Here’s a decoration you can hammer out in 20 mins.
Buy some festive oilcloth – think washable tablecloth material. I’ve seen some fabric stores with great selection but it’s hit or miss. I usually buy oil-cloth online – even then selection is not near what it is for fabric.
Easy Pennant Banner Tutorial
Cut strips of fabric (mine were 6″) and then cut out the shapes of your choice. Triangles are always a safe route. Squares are fun. Sometimes I mix it up like I did for this patriotic banner and mix shapes.
The next secret weapon to make this project a breeze: extra wide double fold bias tape. It’s double fold which means all the edges are finished.
I like to lay the tape out and line them all up so I can adjust what needs to be adjusted. Then slip your fabric in the tape and sew from one edge of the tape to the other. I’ve done enough of these that I usually pin the first flag and eyeball the rest.
You’re done. I wasn’t kidding about this being a 20 min project. 15 minutes of cutting. 5 minutes of sewing. It took me longer to get a step stool and hang it than it did to make it.
Easy Pennant Banner TutorialI had some scraps and made a miniature pennant for our chalkboard. I didn’t have extra bias tape so I ran the sewing machine from one piece of fabric to the other with a half inch gap and it worked great.