Category Archives: Crafts

Creative DIY Gifts for the Holidays

Finding thoughtful gifts for everyone on your list (and staying within budget) can be really difficult – and stressful! Making your own gifts can be a great cost effective way to get everyone something special without spending a fortune. But often times, DIY gift ideas can get very repetitive. I mean, really, how many framed pictures can a person fit on their walls? And while hot chocolate in a jar can be a great gift for a teacher or a mail person, it’s not the most thoughtful gift to give a loved one.

Here are some relatively easy to make DIY gift ideas that are sure to bring some holiday cheer.

  • STATE OF ART

IMG_1764

Many New York City residents were not born in New York State. It is America’s melting pot, after all. Pay homage to your loved one’s home state by turning it into string art! It’s pretty easy to make and can be customized in a variety of ways.

The picture above was made for a friend of mind who was originally born in LA, but now call Brooklyn her home. I stained two pieces of wood, then hand painted the city’s name repeatedly (I first used a ruler to light draw lines in pencil for guidelines). Then I printed out an outline of each state, cut them out and traced it onto the wood. I then hammered nails around the outline and made a heart of nails around where each city would be located. I used different colored yarn to fill in the state, and red yarn to fill in the heart.

Here are tutorials for other examples of DIY state art.

Not into states? Here are some other things you can make using the string art method.

  • WHAT I LIKE ABOUT YOU

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 12.25.51 AM

A deck of cards, a hole punch, and some kind words are all you really need to make this thoughtful gift.

If you prefer letters over numbers, this is another version of the same idea that is just as touching.

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 12.31.38 AM

 

  • SIPPING PRETTY

Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 2.45.20 PM

Start someone’s morning off in style by making them a stylish coffee mug. There are SO MANY different DIY mug tutorials, the hardest part will be choosing which one you like best.

If the person you’re making a gift for already has too many mugs, you can make a pretty wine glass as well.

Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 3.12.12 PM

Or even mason jar – which can be used for drinking or decoration!

Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 3.14.55 PM

 

  • WING IT

FullSizeRender.jpg

A few years ago, I found this DIY tutorial on Pinterest on how to make angel wings from old sheet music. I loved the idea of angel wings, but wasn’t so into the sheet music part. So I decided to tweak it a little, after all isn’t that what DIY is all about?

My mom LOVES angels. She also loves red and yellow, so I decided to replace the sheet music with fabric in her favorite colors. I purchased pieces of fabric in different colors and patterns from Walmart. Look for the clearance fabric bins or fat quarters like the ones below. At less than a dollar each, you can get a bunch of different coordinating prints. You shouldn’t need more than one sheet, depending on how many different prints you use. I also added some white lace.

IMG_1630

First, I cut out the wings from cardboard (great way to make use of all of that Cyber Monday packaging!)

Then I cut up the fabric and lace into small rectangles of the same size. Starting from the bottom, I added each piece in rows using a little hot glue.

For the middle, I cut out an oval from a piece of cardboard, printed out “Believe” in a color and font that I liked, then glued the paper to the cardboard, trimming off the excess. I also added a little glitter grapevine garland around the middle to give it a little shine.

A really pretty, custom piece of artwork that is super easy to make. Once the supplies are purchased it can be completed in a day!

 

  • WRITING ON THE WALL

Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 3.42.01 PM

Letter art is another great DIY gift. They can be customized so many different ways, and can be hung on a wall or door, or placed on a shelf or dresser.

Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 3.38.36 PM

Plain wooden, cardboard, and tin letters can be found at just about any craft store or craft section.

Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 3.37.24 PM

Here are some great tutorials for wall letter projects.

  • A MAGNET-ICENT GIFT

Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 4.17.22 PM.png

Magnets can be those things that everyone needs, but no one wants to spend the money on. Help you friends and family out my making them some one of a kind magnets that will make their fridge stand out.

These DIY magnets, are a great way to turn plastic toy animals into pretty decorations for your fridge.

I saw this tutorial on DIY polaroid photo magnets and thought it was such a great gift idea!

Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 3.45.19 PM

This is a great idea for turning plain childish letter magnets into something little more grown up.

Screen Shot 2015-12-05 at 4.08.35 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Decorate Your Small Space For Thanksgiving

Hosting Thanksgiving can be stressful no matter what size your living space is. If you live in a typical shoebox-sized NYC apartment, it can seem almost impossible! But living in the city doesn’t mean you can’t host an awesome dinner party. Here are some tips for making your small space work for Thanksgiving.

  • REARRANGE YOUR SPACE

Move any furniture you won’t need for the evening. If you live in a one bedroom or bigger (definitely something to be thankful for!), move furniture into other rooms. It’s kind of a pain, but it will make a big difference in space. You can even go as far as moving your TV into your bedroom – you probably won’t need it for the party and it might free up some space for drinks, desserts, or decorations. Rearrange any necessary furniture to better accommodate the party needs.

Need more seating? Brooklyn Party Rentals offers chairs and tables in various sizes for really great prices.

  • DECORATE YOUR SPACE

Spice up your apartment with a few festive decorations.  Here are a few ideas for any budget and apartment size.

FESTIVE BALLONS

Nothing says “party” like balloons! If you have the wall space, you can spell out a festive message with these letter balloons. They’re super cute and pretty inexpensive, depending on what you want to spell. “Give Thanks” will only cost you about $27. It might be a little late to get them in time for Thanksgiving, but it’s still possible to order for Christmas or New Years!

This site has similar balloons for a little more money, but they have fast shipping!

Screen Shot 2015-11-21 at 6.53.07 PM

If you don’t have the wall space to hang a balloon message, you can always get some plain helium balloons in your party’s color theme and place them in bunches around the apartment.

TABLE DECOR 

Decorate your table and counter space with really simple decorations. These leaf mason jars are quick, easy, cheap – and perfect for the fall. If you don’t feel like gathering (possibly urine soaked) leaves from the streets of New York, grab some fake ones from a local craft store or online from amazon. You can also buy tissue paper and cut it in the shape of leaves for a similar effect.

Screen Shot 2015-11-21 at 7.01.27 PM

Buy large glass candle holders, fill them with a pillar candle and unpeopled popcorn – and you have beautiful center pieces for less than 6 bucks!

Screen Shot 2015-11-22 at 9.50.52 PM

Print out pretty images or sayings and put them in nice picture frames. Click here or here for DIY tutorials on how to make your own frames.

Screen Shot 2015-11-21 at 7.26.01 PM.png

Want more decoration ideas? Click here.

PICTURE TAKING AREA

No party is complete without the pictures that document how amazing it was! If you have the space, decorate a corner of the room or small section of wall as a picture taking area. Keep it in the Thanksgiving/fall theme by covering kraft paper with leaves and pin or tape it to the wall. Spray the leaves with glue and dip in glitter for some added shine.

Don’t have the time to paint and tape leaves? Make a wall full of balloons! You can either blow them up on your own and tape to the wall, or get a bunch of helium balloons and tape the string to the floor.

Click here for more DIY backdrop ideas.

Screen Shot 2015-11-22 at 10.16.42 PM.png       Screen Shot 2015-11-22 at 10.22.45 PM.png

 

 

No space for a picture area? Buy or print some fun photo booth props to have on hand to make those Instagram pictures a little more interesting.

 

 

Designer frames on a dollar store budget

City apartments might be tiny, but decorating them can put a big hole in your bank account. When it comes to decorating your walls, you can save money on expensive picture frames by making your own! Just buy some cheap frames from a dollar store and paint them to match your decor. It takes a little time to complete (this project took a few hours total), but you can make the most of your time and get some errands done while you’re waiting for the coats of paint to dry.

First, find some frames that are the shape and size that you want. The colors and designs don’t matter since you’ll be painting over them anyway.

You don’t want to lose your deposit by getting paint all over your floors or rugs, so you’ll want to put something down to protect them. I use a garbage bag (cut down the middle). You can also use a cheap tablecloth or shower curtain.

You’ll need some primer to make sure that the paint sticks regardless of the material the frames are made out of. This also helps you get the truest color of the paint you choose.

Primer is really important. I’ve skipped this step before and had to repaint them because the paint kept peeling off.

Save money on paint by buying sample sizes of the colors you want instead of buying the larger containers. These small sample sizes last a long time and will definitely be enough to paint picture frames – and you can save the left overs for your next DIY project!

You’ll also need paint brushes. Stores like Ikea, Target, and Amazon all have some really cheap options. If you’re thinking of doing some patterns or designs you might need some painter’s tape.

Tape off any designs you want on the frames and start priming! I used two coats of primer and waited about an hour in-between each one. Read the directions on your particular brand of primer for a more accurate wait time.

If you’re planning on doing this over the course of several days, you can save time cleaning brushes by wrapping the used brush in plastic wrap and putting it in a ziplock bag. This will keep it from drying out until you’re all done with the project.

Once the last coat of primer is dry you can start painting your frames! Keep them on the plastic until they are completely dry. There’s nothing worse than spending hours on something only to have it ruined by impatience – and I’m saying that from experience!

And that’s it! Create beautiful expensive looking picture frames for a fraction of the price.