We craft to live!

Category: Gifts

Nifty Gifty Kid’s Edition: Indoor Snowball Fight!

Nifty Gifty Kid’s Edition: Indoor Snowball Fight!

Here’s a fun and easy DIY gift for the young ones in your life! It’s even easy enough for crafty kids to make for themselves or for younger siblings! The main ingredients are yarn and pom-pom makers, and you know that I love any excuse to bust out the pom-pom maker!

Here are my supplies. This is the perfect project for using up yarn remnants if you have them! 

I followed the pom-pom maker’s directions and created lots of fluffy “snowballs” in both sizes! I used different kinds of yarn to add variation (and to use up scraps).

So FLUFFY! 

Who’s ready for a snowball fight?! These pom-poms won’t hurt ya’, but they will make you smile! 

For gifting, I divided the snowballs between cloth bags labeled with the contents. To continue the snowy theme, you could also turn these snowballs into cute ornaments! Wouldn’t they be adorable as gift toppers too?! So many possibilities!

Let is snow, let it snow, let it snow! 🙂

Nifty Gifties Kids’ Edition: Felt Playsets

Nifty Gifties Kids’ Edition: Felt Playsets

While poking around in my craft stash one day, my inner child became inspired! Turns out I had all the random bits needed to create felt playsets for my nieces! Each playset is basically a miniature world that kids can customize and use for creative play! There are lots of cute ideas on Pinterest, but I decided to make a Fairy Playset and a Camping Playset. I used the same basic templates for both sets and added custom “accessories” to make each special! Here are some of my supplies:

For the figures in my playset, I used “peg dolls,” simple people shapes cut from wood. I left my people unpainted, but you could paint and decorate them too! 

I used the smallest and second smallest sized dolls, like those in this set.

Next, I raided my felt stash for a large piece of green and a small piece of blue. The green felt would become the “grass” base of the playset, while the blue would become a water feature. I used similar bases for both playsets!

Since we had grass, we also needed trees! I used wooden spools for trucks and cones of felt for the leaves/branches. I began by creating a cone template out of paper. I taped it together and made sure that the size worked well with the spool “trunk.”

I traced the template onto dark green felt and cut it out!

I used hot glue to carefully (and somewhat tediously) glue the felt cone together.

I coated the outer edge of the spool top with glue, then inserted the spool into the cone.

 

With the grass, water, and trees in place, our playset was ready for some peg dolls! Ta-DA! 


Although the playset was super cute as is, I added some accessories to add fairy charm! Firstly, those little peg doll fairies needed a place to stay! I used large silk leaves and pipe cleaners to make a tent.

First, I glued the leaves together and bent the pipe cleaners into a square frame. I then hot-glued the pipe cleaner frame to the leaves.

Once the glue hardened, I bent the tent into shape!

So cute!!

I added more silk leaves, silk flowers, and plant marbles to “fairy-ize” the playset! 

The fairy playset was so cute, that I couldn’t stop there! I used the same felt base and felt trees to make a camping set!

To make a tent, I cut two pieces of felt that were both 3.5″x7″ in size.

Next, I bent pipe cleaners into a rectangular frame and glued the frame to one piece of felt.

I glued the second piece of felt on top, sandwiching the frame in between the two felt pieces.

After the glue hardened, the felt could be bent in half into a tent shape!

Small rocks, pinecones, and pieces of driftwood helped create a woodsy setting for the campsite!

Hope the kids have as much fun playing with these sets as I had making them! There are so many more playsets ideas waiting to be created! I may be making more soon… Here are some supplies to get you started!

Freezer Paper Stenciling

Freezer Paper Stenciling

Customized T-shirt are some of our favorite projects, and what better excuse to make shirts than our Blogiversary?! Yes, our blog has officially turned one! Cue the music and bring on the cupcakes! Make the fanclub shirts and wear them shamelessly! Wha-hoo! 🙂

In order to make our shamelessly-worn-fanclub-shirts, we turned to a favorite technique, the use of freezer paper stencils! Freezer paper looks alot like wax paper and can often be found near the foil and plastic wrap at the store. Making stencils from freezer paper, while time consuming, allows you to get relatively professional-looking results for your fabric paint money. Once you cut a stencil from freezer paper, you can iron the paper to fabric and cause it to stick! When you apply paint to the stencil, the paint will only be able to stick to the fabric exposed by the stencil. The freezer paper will later be pealed up and removed, leaving the painted fabric underneath. There are lots of fun painting ideas available on Pinterest, but this tutorial was what first inspired me to give it a try! After making many shirts, I have developed a few tips for gaining that hard-worked-for professional look. Here’s what works for me! 🙂

Firstly, gather your supplies:

  • freezer paper
  • template 
  • masking tape
  • x-acto knife and/or small scissors
  • cutting board
  • iron and ironing board
  • fabric paint
  • paint sponge applicator
  • T-shirt- washed and dried
  • drop cloth.

As always, I washed and dried my t-shirt before doing any work on it. I then designed my template in a word processing program and printed it out.

Next, I cut a sheet of freezer paper a little bigger than my template. I laid the front of my template onto the SHINY side of the freezer paper. (The shiny side is what will eventually be ironed onto the fabric.) Recap: Front of template touches shiny side of freezer paper.

Tape that template down!

Flip the papers over so that the freezer paper is on top, while the template is readable underneath. (The dull side of the freezer paper should be facing you.)

Next, I used an x-acto knife and scissors to cut out the shapes and words. This takes patience, but a more accurate stencil will yield neater results.

Be sure to save the small freezer paper cut-outs from letters like “o” and “a.” We will replace those shapes back into the letters when the stencil is ironed to the shirt. Once the words have been cut out, cut the freezer paper down to the size of the paper stencil behind it. Note: Don’t miss this step! You will need the stencil to be a symmetrical shape for the next steps! You can remove any left-over masking tape.

Next, we need to ensure that the stencil will be ironed to the shirt with the proper orientation and alignment. These next steps show my way to find reference points on the shirt to help me line up the stencil. These steps don’t ensure perfection, but they lead to much better results than simply “eye-balling” the stencil’s placement! Note: Very cheap t-shirts have a tendency to shrink and warp in the wash. A higher quality shirt should be easier to work with! Start by folding the shirt in half, smoothing out any wrinkels, and marking along the center fold. This will give us a vertical line of reference. (I used a disappearing ink pen from my sewing stash for this part.)


Lay the garment as flat and straight as possible so that you can create horizontal reference points.  One way to do this is to place a rule from armpit seam to arm pit seam. Mark this line with the disappearing pen. Another horizontal line can be drawn from the top of each shoulder seam.

Next, measure the bottom hem and find the middle point.

Place a ruler between this point and the center of the neckline to make another vertical reference line. This line may differ slightly from the one drawn when the shirt was folded in half and can help you double check its accuracy.

Now that the shirt is marked, I also marked the middle points of each side of my stencil. It’s a bit hard to see in the picture, but I marked these points on the stencil with a Sharpie. Once that was done, I could then align these points with the reference lines on the shirt! Yay for a centered stencil!! (Be sure to do a visual double check to see if the stencil appears straight!)

Use a little masking tape to secure the stencil to the garment in the correct orientation. 

It’s finally time to iron the stencil to the shirt! I usually start ironing at one side of the stencil and work across. Once the stencil is secured in place, though, you can remove the masking tape so that you don’t accidentally iron it! Carefully iron down the edges of all the letters and shapes. You don’t want any paint to be able to leak under the edges of the stencil!

Once the letters are ironed down, add the small cut-outs that you saved from letters with inner shapes. Place these shiny-side-down, then use the tip of the iron to gently iron them in place.

Hurray! Now it’s time for painting! I use Soft fabric paint from Tulip, because this paint does not become bumpy or crunchy. I applied the paint with one of my painting sponges, but a foam applicator would work nicely. Before painting, line the shirt with cardboard, freezer paper, or wax paper to prevent the paint from bleeding through to the back of the shirt. Of course, don’t forget to protect your work surface with a drop cloth!

 Sponge the paint all over the cut-outs of the stencil, making sure all the details are covered in paint. For my shirt, I let the paint dry for at least half before adding a second coat. I wanted to ensure that my letter would be opaque and vibrant.

After waiting a several hours for the paint to dry, it’s time to remove the stencil! Carefully peal up the edges of the freezer paper and remove any small pieces!

Ta-DA! 

I was so excited about these shirts that I even made one for my husband! It was the least I could do considering all the photos he has taken for me! Of course, Lindee had to get in on the action too! 

We heart custom shirts and Partnersincraft.com! 🙂 Happy Blogiversary!

Pumpkin Time!

Pumpkin Time!

I can no longer resist the call of pumpkins! For a short time at least, I’m seizing the moment to enjoy pumpkin everything! Pumpkin coffee, pumpkin bagels, pumpkin candles, and especially pumpkin decor! (I’ll send any haters a batch of pumpkin scones to console them.) Here are a couple of my favorite pumpkin crafts to help you join the pumpkin party!

I combine my love of both pumpkins AND pom-poms with this first project! You guessed it- I’m making cute lil’ pom-pom pumpkins to add to my fall centerpieces.

You can create these fuzzy little guys using pom-pom makers, different textures of yarn, and green pipe cleaners!  Check out our Pom Pom Pumpkins tutorial for the fun, easy DIY!

While I am very attached to my pom-pom maker, I also have a thing for fabric paint and stamps. I couldn’t pass up an excuse illuminate plain dish towels with fall motifs!

You can find the complete towel stamping tutorial in our post Nifty Gifties: Stamped Dish Towel!

I used foam stamps from the craft store, but you can also make your own! For step-by-step stamp making directions, check out our Funny Bunny Scarf post!

These make such cute fall gifts! I have given them away so fast, that I have yet to make some for me!

Of course, no pumpkin quest could be complete without real pumpkins! We made our yearly visit to a local farm to pick the perfect pumpkin, taste some apples, and snap pictures of the beautiful produce!

I was super excited to finally be able to wear this sweater and vintage wool skirt! To add to the 1940’s vibe, I accessorized with vintage earrings and a homemade snood hair net. You can find all the snood-making details in our DIY 1940’s Snood Hair Net post!

Happy Pumpkin Time, Everyone! Enjoy it while it lasts!

Apple Crafts

Apple Crafts

Apple harvest is underway, and I have been busy creating a “bushel” of fruity crafts! These projects use some of my favorite techniques from previous posts, but give them an apple twist! All of these crafts would be perfect for teacher gifts (show those teachers some love!) or cute fall projects for you! I started by crafting fuzzy pom-pom apples from yarn remnants.

This project was based on our Pom-Pom Pumpkin post from last fall! (Find that tutorial here! ) I just changed the yarn color and glued little felt leaves to the stems! Here are my supplies, including my pom-pom makers, which you can find on Amazon (here).

These little guys would look cute grouped as a centerpiece or hung as ornaments!

Or by themselves!

A great way to round out an apple-themed gift is to stamp an apple card! Check out our paint-stamping tutorial here in this post!

Of course, I couldn’t pass up a chance to add some apple style to my wardrobe! Using the fabric stamping technique from our t-shirt tutorial (here), I added fruity details to a simple dress! I just had to wear it on an apple-buying expedition!

Enjoy apple season! 🙂

Flower Applique Earrings

Flower Applique Earrings

Here’s a quick tutorial for DIY earrings that are perfect for a summery state of mind! You may even have some of the supplies in your sewing stash! First, find some cute appliques and/or ribbon flowers. You will also need blank earring posts, earring backings, and E6000 craft glue. (Optional: Before you start, you could coat your appliques with a thin layer of Mod Podge glue to add stiffness and/or protect delicate appliques. This gives the flowers a bit of shine as well!)

 

 

 

Next, grab a paper plate or piece of parchment paper to use as a work surface. Turn the flowers face down and put a blob of glue where you want the earring post to be. Nestle the post into the glue, adjusting it’s placement as needed. Let the glue dry for at least several hours or overnight if possible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, find a floral outfit in need of some cute earrings! Head outside to enjoy the summery weather and bright blooms!

 

Nifty Gifties: Mother’s Day Edition

Nifty Gifties: Mother’s Day Edition

Today’s post features some of our favorite gifts to make for Mother’s Day! What’s our mom’s favorite? Although she likes most of our creations, she especially loves the stamped dish towels from our Nifty Gifties series! She says she can ALWAYS use more dish towels, especially cute ones! 🙂 What would the moms in your life appreciate? Click the titles or photos for each project to see step by step instructions!

 

Magnets from Vintage Bling

We LOVE vintage bling! This project is a great way to show off old jewelry or buttons that might otherwise sit in the craft stash. Thrift stores and garage sales are great places to look for low-cost costume jewelry. If you don’t have vintage buttons, you can find fun retro styles at the craft store!

 

 

 

Stamped Dish Towels

Here’s our mom’s favorite nifty gifty! This is an easy stamping project that is super customizable! If you want to make your own stamp, check out the Funny Bunny Scarf tutorial (here) for step by step instructions!

 

 

 

Statement Necklace DIY

Who doesn’t love a new statement necklace for spring?! This project features beading supplies that are easy to find at the craft store. You may, however, get a little over-inspired by the bead choices available! That’s ok- you can always make one for Mom AND one for you!

 

 

 

Stamped Tote Bag

These pictures are making me want to dream up some fun tote or beach bags for spring! As with all of our stamping projects, the options for customization are endless! This process also works really well on T-shirts, so check out our Stamped T’s post (here) !


 

 

Leafy Green Earrings

Here’s another fun way to DIY some spring accessories! You can make the earrings small or larger, bright or subtle, depending on the beads you use! You could even use small buttons, rhinestones, pom poms, and more!

 

 

With all this crafting going on, you may as well make something special for both you AND your mom! Or make something WITH Mom! Have fun, Partners in Craft!

Bug Crazy: Stamped T’s for Kids and Babies

Bug Crazy: Stamped T’s for Kids and Babies

Spring birthday parties and baby showers are the perfect excuse for crafting fun gifts for the little guys! Today’s project focuses on one of our favorite techniques- fabric stamping! Lindee and I love this kind of project because it’s so customizable! We love stamping dish towels (see that tutorial here) as well as accessories (check out my Funny Bunny scarf)! T-shirts maybe my favorite things to stamp, though, because you can create looks you can’t find in stores! I think the little guys will love some personalized duds, so let’s get started!

Before any painting could happen, I washed, dried, and sometimes ironed the clothes. (You don’t want the fabric shrinking under your beautiful, non-shrinking paint job!) You also don’t want paint to bleed from the front of the shirt onto the back. One way to prevent that is by inserting a liner of paper or other flat material inside the shirt. I have used big cut-outs from paper bags for large shirts. I have also used sheets of wax paper when I anticipated using a lot of wet paint. For my project today, I used pieces of scratch paper cut to fit into the body and sleeves of the shirts.

That done, I got out my fabric paint, paint brushes, paper plate palette, and collection of foam stamps. I’m going with a bug theme this time! You can find a cute set of similar stamps from Amazon (here)! I bought the stamps for this project, but you can check out my Funny Bunny scarf tutorial (here) to see instructions for making your own stamp!

I started by doing a test run with the caterpillar stamp. On my palette, I mixed paint colors until I got the yellowish-green color I wanted. Next, I painted the stamp with paint. I practiced stamping several times onto scratch paper.

I prepped my work surface (in this case, my kitchen floor!) with a drop cloth made from a plastic shower curtain. I had already lined the baby onesie with paper, and I now placed it on several pieces of paper towel. Using the same method I had used on the scratch paper, I began stamping the onesie. I tried to space the caterpillars evenly but also somewhat randomly. The paper towels caught extra paint from caterpillars that were “crawling” on and off the sides of the onesie!

I used this method with other stamps and paint colors to embellish more onesies! So cute!

For the big kids, I stamped some shirts with only one kind of bug and stamped others with a mix of bugs and colors!

The painting and stamping took a while (especially on the multi-bug shirts), but I love the patterns and colors! I hope the kids go bug crazy for them! 🙂

Funny Bunny Scarf

Funny Bunny Scarf

Here is the latest accessory in the Funny Bunny Collection! This scarf is the perfect addition to the Funny Bunny earrings we featured last week. (See that post here.) Today’s tutorial features both fabric-stamping methods and step by step instructions for making your own stamp!

I started by gathering materials to make my bunny stamp. A purple foam heart from the kid’s craft section would become the bunny’s head.

 

 

 

I traced the heart on scratch paper and sketched ears.

 

 

 

I folded the sketch in half and cut it out. Next, I cut out the “ears” so they could be used as templates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next step was tracing the ear templates onto craft foam. I traced 2 of each ear and numbered them so I wouldn’t get confused.

 

 

 

After cutting out the ears, I used the E6000 to glue the matching shapes together. I did this to add thickness to my future stamp. (A thicker stamp will be easier to paint neatly.) The foam started to curl around the edges, so I put the glued-together-shapes between pieces of foil and placed a weighted plate on top. This forced the pieces to dry flat.

 

 

 

Next, it was time to work on the heart shaped “head.” I glued the foam heart to a large recycled lid.

 

 

 

Once the heart was glued to the lid, I created a double layer for it the same way I made the ears. I glued this heart on top of the purple one.

 

 

 

Once the double layers were dry, I glued the ears onto the lid as well. After more drying time, I finally had my bunny stamp!

 

 

 

Time to paint! I first prepped my scarf by washing and ironing it. I prepped my work surface, a.k.a. my floor, with a plastic shower curtain. I then got my paint supplies ready. (To see why i like these paints so much, check out our dish towel painting tutorial here.)

 

 

 

I began by testing out my stamp on pink paper. I used the brush to paint a layer of fabric paint onto the stamp. I did several test stamps before I got the hang of exerting even pressure on all areas of the stamp.

 

 

 

I also experimented with dipping a pencil eraser lightly in paint and using that to stamp eyes and a nose. Pretty cute!

 

 

 

At long last, I got to work on my scarf! I laid the scarf over the plastic shower curtain drop cloth. I then stamped bunnies all over! This process took some time, about half an hour, but patience paid off. I added eyes and noses to the bunnies as the finishing touch!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After letting the paint dry for several hours, it was time to try on my scarf!

 

 

I’m loving this scarf with my Funny Bunny earrings! Have a Happy Easter, Everyone! 😉

 

 

Funny Bunny Earrings

Funny Bunny Earrings

It’s time for another tutorial about how to DIY your holiday bling! This time, I was inspired by my lack of Easter accessories! Time to hit the craft stash and get to work! (Stay tuned for a Funny Bunny scarf tutorial next week!)

My craft stash search yielded felt, post earring bases and backings, puffy paint, and wooden buttons. My handy E6000 glue was ready to help. I also recommend having toothpicks handy for detail work.

 

 

The wooden buttons would soon become bunny heads. I traced the button on scratch paper and then sketched ears.

 

 

I folded my ear sketch in half (to keep things symmetrical) and then cut out the paper ears. This cut-out became a pattern that I traced onto the felt. I used a disappearing fabric pen for the tracing.

 

 

Next, I used E6000 to glue the ears to the button “bunny heads.” Once that glue had set, I glued earring backings to the buttons.

 

 

 

While that glue was setting, I prepared my “drying rack.” I needed a way to keep the earrings face up and still during the paint drying process. My rack consisted of a box with holes poked in it by a darning needle. After painting, I inserted the post backings into the holes, which kept the earrings upright.

 

 

Once the glue was dry, I started adding features to the bunny faces. I used a toothpick to apply dots of puffy fabric paint to the buttons. This was a tedious job, and I ended up adding more paint than I had intended. My advice would be to wield your toothpick with a calm state of mind and a less-is-more approach! (You could also practice on a piece of paper first!)

 

 

After painting, I left the earrings to dry on the rack for several hours. The paint can take a while to dry, especially if you apply it in big dots like I did. It’s best to let it dry longer than you think necessary. I may have gotten impatient and smudged mine a bit…

With the paint dry, I named my now pop-art-inspired earrings “Funny Bunnies”!

 

 

 

These will be lots of fun to wear during Easter Bunny season! My next project will be to paint a Funny Bunny scarf to match! Stay tuned for that tutorial next week!