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Month: December 2017

Nifty Gifties: Stamped Tote Bag

Nifty Gifties: Stamped Tote Bag

Happy almost-Christmas, Partners in Craft! There isn’t much time left for crafting (or blogging for that matter), so today’s post will be short and sweet! This project can be simple or more complicated, depending on how much time you wish to spend. It is also entirely customizable, which makes it great for gifting OR making for yourself during your holiday vacation. Let me introduce our third “nifty gifty,” the stamped tote bag!


First of all, let me refer you to our previous tutorial for making this stamped dish towel. Most of the supplies and procedures for today’s project are the same. The only real difference is that this time we stamp on a tote bag, like this bag from Joann craft store. I buy mine in a multipack and make several at a time. I usually do not wash the bags before painting, since they often wrinkle badly.  You can see from the picture that I like the Tulip brand “soft” fabric paints because the paint stays relatively soft and flexible on the fabric.


The simplest bag I created utilized one large stamp and one basic ombre color scheme. (If you don’t have a stamp, see the dish towel tutorial for an easy way to make your own!) I first mixed the blue, green, and white paints to create a teal color. I stamped the first row of starfish in this color. Next, I added white paint to lighten the shade and stamped another row. My final row utilized an even lighter shade, creating the ombre effect.


I love an easy peasy technique! However, also tried a more complicated design using multiple stamps, various paint colors, and fabric pen detailing. I would keep this one, were it not destined to be gifted…


Another fun idea, for when time allows, is mixing your techniques. This next bag was dip dyed and thoroughly dried before being painted with shell stamps! So many possibilities with this nifty gifty! Now I just need to make one for me! 😉

Nifty Gifties: Magnets from Vintage Bling

Nifty Gifties: Magnets from Vintage Bling

Christmas is coming fast, so it’s time for another doable craft project perfect for gifting! This Nifty Gifty takes something adorable but hard to use and makes it both usable and displayable! Enter the vintage-bling-magnet! Small pieces of bling (or tiny objects) are glued to magnets and suddenly become useful! Simple idea, endlessly customizable, gift-ready. Let’s go!

First, you will need to gather some bling. I love using vintage costume jewelry, buttons, game pieces, coins, you name it. For my first magnets, I used vintage earrings and pins, most of which were broken or too heavy to wear.


My hardest task was removing clip-on earring and pin backings from the bling. I used wire cutters and pliers to pull/cut the backings off, and then dulled sharp edges with a file. This took some time and caution, but I got the bling ready.


The next step, however, was pretty easy. I got my handy E-6000 craft glue, magnets, and foil covered plate ready. I applied glue to the magnet and stuck on the bling!




For a totally different look, I gathered vintage buttons and gave them the magnet treatment!


I let the glue dry for at least an hour before testing the magnets out on my fridge. So cute!


I experimented with gift wrapping options that really showed off the magnets. Attaching the magnets to a jar or tin lid kept them in place while they were slipped into a cellophane bag. The magnets were super cute on their own OR paired with a stamped dish towel like those from the last post! Very nifty gifties, if you ask me!








Nifty Gifties: Stamped Dish Towels

Nifty Gifties: Stamped Dish Towels

Hurrah, it’s December! I am therefore NO longer to be considered crazy for the hours I spend planning, creating, shopping for, and packaging gifts! However, time is of the essence. I require sleep, tea, thrift store therapy, lesson planning time, vitamin C, chocolate, and lots more sleep to get me through this month. So, let’s be brief! For the next few weeks, we will focus on “nifty gifties” that won’t break your budget OR your schedule. Simple technique, simple supplies, simply cute. Done!

Now to introduce the first of our nifty gifties, namely the stamped dish towel! I like buying dish towels (sometimes called “tea” or “flour sack” towels) in inexpensive 5-packs at Target or Walmart. I also hoard foam stamps for painting. These have become harder to find at craft stores in my area, but I have found some online like these snowflake stamps . You could also raid the kid’s aisle for those foam shapes that are sticky on the back. Glue a couple layers of the same shape to a jar lid or wood block and you have a stamp! I use the “Soft” fabric paints from Tulip because, unlike the “puffy paints” of our childhood, these paints lay flat on the fabric. My paint brushes are of the plastic-kid’s-art box-variety, since they will inevitably get full of paint. Before you can start painting, you MUST wash, dry, and iron your towels. It’s a pain, but you cannot afford shrinkage after painting or wrinkly surfaces to paint on!  Christmas is coming, so start washing!


Now, prep your surface for efficient work and easy cleanup. I cover my work table with a plastic shower curtain turned tablecloth. You will also need some protected surfaces where you can lay (or hang) your painted towels to dry. Once the surface is prepped, spread out the towel and squeeze a little paint onto your pallet (or in my case, foil-covered paper plate). Using a different paintbrush for each color, paint a thin layer of paint onto the stamp. Do a couple test stamps on a paper towel to get the hang of it. Flip that stamp over onto your towel and apply even pressure to the back of the stamp.













Carefully take the stamp off the towel and enjoy your stamped image! Repeat as many times as you like. Since my stamp was pretty large, I just stamped one strawberry in each of the towel’s corners.



You could also paint a more detailed stamp with a greater range of colors to create an image with more depth. Using this grape stamp definitely took more time, but yielded pretty results.



Your towel will be dry to the touch in about 20-30 minutes, but give it a couple hours to fully dry before you fold or wrap it. Speaking of wrapping, I paired stamped towels with little bottles of the berry infused vinegar I made this summer! These turned out so cute, that I can’t wait to give them as gifts! Stay tuned for more Nifty Gifties coming soon!