DIY: Badass Wolfpack Tanks

As a backstory to this project – I am in the phase of my life where bachelorette parties/weddings fill most of my summer weekends. While these parties are more or less, more organized versions of our typical summer weekends, original themes, give-aways, activities get harder to come up with as the summer/years go on.

Enter the “Wolfpack Weekend”. Part of this weekend includes a competition that required us to split the “wolfpack” in two, which we did by colours (easy enough). These sick cut-off tee’s were done in about 2h (all 12!) and then left overnight to dry. You can run with the idea and basically customize to use any clipart or silhouette (or free-hand design, you creative SOB!). We went with wolves. Because we’re a wolfpack (duh). Plus, they have that “my mom made me wear this in the 1990s in a matching sweatsuit” feel) wolfpack4

What you’ll need:

-Fabric spray (Tulip brand in black and neon pack, available at Walmart)

-Cardboard stencil

-Newspaper/plastic bag (to protect your floor)

-T-shirt/Tank top/Cut-off muscle T

What you’ll do:

  1. Find a clip art or silhouette of your desired design. You can free hand this or find one on the Internet. If you go with the Internet version, you can simply print or trace over your screen and then transfer that onto cardboard. Plain paper can work if you only do 1, but if you are using the stencil multiple times, the paint will soak through and it won’t be functional past 1, maybe 2.
    wolf

Remember:
The part where you place your stencil will remain white (or whatever colour your fabric is). You can also use the stencil as a stamp and spray the paint on it first, then transfer it onto your fabric (keep in mind, it will be a transfer aka backwards).

  1. Once you have your stencil ready, place some paper/cardboard/plastic between the layers of your shirt so your spray doesn’t soak through to the back.

wolfpack

  1. Place your stencil where you want it. (this stencil looks black because its already been sprayed once).

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  1. Spray! We did a two-parter – a) First, we used black with the wolf stencil. b) Once that was dry, we placed a full circle of cardboard over the “moon” and “wolf” to keep them white and black, respectively, and then went bananas with the neon sprays for that “Northern Lights/rave” feel.

                                                a)
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                                                 b)wolfpack3

Tips:

– Try to hold the bottle as upright as possible, especially when it gets low (the sprayer sucks from the bottom so if it’s tilted, it doesn’t spray as well).

– Use a fondue fork (or some other type of long skinny implement) to hold the stencil down securely to save your hands).

  1. Let em’ dry
  2. Soak in those compliments!

wolfpack4

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DIY: Vintage Wine Box

Here at Bubbles & Boat shoes, we like wine. A lot. Like so much (once it hits your lips..). So it was only natural for us to get into a project that uses a vintage wine box to make a sick-ass storage and/or display piece. There are a couple of options depending on how you want your end product to look and ways of personalizing to make it a great wedding gift.

Here’s how it goes:

1. Get a wine box (duh) – the LCBO has these in the back. You just ask an employee if they have any vintage boxes and they can usually find you one. The other great thing is that it costs you ~$5, and that money is used as a donation to whichever charity the LCBO is supporting at that time (the one pictured went to the SickKids Foundation).  The lid often is broken because of how they have to pry it off – use a strong epoxy or liquid cement to glue the pieces back together.

box1

2. Pull the industrial staples out of the box – I use pliers or wire cutters. Warning – this is actually way harder than it sounds. The wire cutters work well because they get a really firm hold on the staple so that you can pry it up bit by bit. Resist the urge to just cut them or hammer them down (cowards way out), since this won’t look as nice and might shred your hands when you’re sanding.
staple1staple2

3. Fill in the holes in the lid/box left by the staples using a wood filler. Let it dry and fill again until all of the holes have been filled to be flush/slightly higher than the surface of the wood. When the wood filler is 100% dry, sand these down to be totally flush/smooth with the surface of the wood.

filler

4. Once you’ve pulled all of the staples out and your lid is reconstructed, sand all of the edges of the box and the lid. Some boxes will come with slats to hold the wine (even better) – I recommend sanding these as well because then…obviously…you can use your box to hold wine! If you’re going to stain the box, you’ll want to sand the surfaces too so your stain finishes evenly. As you can see, this craft ravages your manicure, so you’ll want to schedule one as a reward for when you’ve finished the project (very important).sand

5. Again, depending on what you want your end product to look like, you can add some decorative aspects to the lid i.e. corner finishes (pictured below), engraving/wood burning etc. Any decorative work on the lid/box should be done before you attach hardware. I used corner finishes on this box, but for a wedding gift, I’ve had the lid laser engraved with the couple’s names/date and a reading from their wedding. If you are going to engrave AND stain it is crucial that you sand the surface very smooth before it’s engraved! (lesson learned the hard way over here).                                    cornercorner2

6. When you’re happy with the state of your box, it’s time for the tricky part – adding hinges. These things are super finicky. A couple of tips for adding these:

– Attach them to the lid first and then use a pillow to support the lid when you’re attaching them to the box.
– Use a tack or a corkscrew (or some other pointy implement…I just happened to have a corkscrew near by) to make a hole. This works to mark where the tiny screws will go and also makes it easier to screw it in.
– When you’re attaching them to the box, do the outside hinges first – this holds the lid in place when you do the remaining screws.
hingehinge3hinge4

7. When you’ve got your hinges on, take a big sip of wine because you’re probably a little frustrated and, hey, you’ve earned it!

8. Then, add your chain (buy it at any Home Hardware etc.) to the inside of the box and underside of the lid to hold the lid when it’s open. You can make it so the lid opens almost all the way to 180° or somewhere closer to 90°. Attaching it to the inside of the box allows the chain to fall inside neatly when you close the lid. I use the extra 4 screws that come with the hinges since they are the right gauge for fitting through the chain and the right length for holding the chain without going all the way through the lid. Obviously, do this to both side of the box.

chain

chain29. Last finishing touch (optional) – add furniture tacks around the edge of the box. This gives it a nice, rustic and professional finish. It also hides the holes where the industrial staples were removed (also a trick to hide any staples left!).

studsstuds2

10. Ta-da! Enjoy your awesome wine box! Or…you know…give it to a friend or something

finished

No Machine? Sew What?!

When we first decided to open our Etsy Shop, we thought we would keep it simple by sticking to what we know: goods made from rope and other reclaimed items found around our homes and cottages. But, as with most famous last words, that was short lived. On our first supply shopping trip – a highly anticipated visit to Designer Fabric Outlet – we may or may not have stumbled upon some of the best fabric we had seen in…possibly ever. It was very quickly agreed that it, when turned into a pillow, would make an epic accessory to any couch or chair in any cottage or chalet. We also agreed that said pillows (obviously) needed to have leather backs.  We also agreed that it had been years since either of us had sewn a darn thing, but that we could figure it out…ideally with supervision.

So, what are two crafty critters going to do with limited skills and no machine of their own? Head to a sewing studio, thats what!

sewing 2

Sew Be It Studio, just north of Yonge and Eglinton, is a sewing mecca in Toronto. Filled with the obligatory sundries, multiple high tech machines, and a very friendly staff eager to help, it was the perfect place for us to find.

sewing 3

The studio offers a variety of group or private classes and workshops for all levels, as well as drop in sewing. We decided to take advantage of their generous ‘first drop in free’ offer and strolled in one Monday night (after booking online to ensure our spots, of course). Armed with our leather needles, thread, and a dream we set about our evening of adventure. Instructors were on hand to answer any questions we had, to give us a walk through of how their machines work, and offering (mildly shaky, however much needed) words of encouragement.

sewingAs two entrepreneurs trying to keep costs low, this was the perfect alternative to buying a machine and hoping things went really, really well. Places like Sew Be It allow you to hone your craft before jumping into a big purchase, maximizing your income and limiting expenses. And hey, it could just be the place that helps you see that you’re just not cut out for handiwork. Either way – dodge the bullet!

sewing 4You can check out the finished product Here on Etsy!

 

DIY: Personalized Post

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My dad is British. He’s very dry, very quiet, and very proper — you may be thinking “Oh, cool story, bro, tell it again.” – rude, by the way! — but it really does explain a lot about me. A perfect example is that I was raised to always (ALWAYS) write hand written thank you notes. When presents are given, when favours are done, or when someone has you over for a weekend – you send a thank you note. Without fail. No exceptions. As a result, as his children, my siblings and I essentially keep the global stationary business going. Recently, after I picked up (and quickly put down) a set of 10 note cards that cost over $30, I decided that I could probably make my own stationary – So I did! I tried three different styles for my stationary – each very different and each very cheap and easy to produce.

What you’ll need:

– Plain white note cards (if they come in a kit with envelopes – bonus!)
Glitter glue (you know you miss it)
– Gold or Silver marker
– Ruler
– Printer

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Style 1: Metallic Markers

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Using your ruler and a marker, draw lines from edge to edge of your note card, creating an overlap in the corners. Ensure lines are equidistant from the edges on each side. Write a message, draw a picture, or leave it plain! This is a great, cheap way to make more formal note cards.

 

Style 2: Glitter Glue

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Use your glitter glue to write messages and draw pictures. Keep in mind: these ones take time to dry – so don’t do this if you are in a rush!  Alternatively, you can use loose glitter and a glue stick for that fresh out of kindergarten feel. (I won’t lie – it was exhilarating to write swear words in glitter glue!)

 

Style 3: Printed photos

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If you bought a notecard kit chances are it came with, or has access to, templates for printing. If this is the case, your life is easy as pie. Simply select your template, insert a photo, and print! You may need to use the feeding tray on the side of your machine if you are doing this from work (you are, aren’t you!?) or, on a smaller printer, you will just have to adjust the paper sizer inside the tray itself.

DIY: Make A Banner Using Old Maps

I recently posted about my Best Party Purchase, a set of letters and images that can be strung and re-strung on a cord to make beautiful banners for any occasion. But what if you have a super specific theme and that look just doesn’t jive? Why not save a couple of bucks (and a boat load of your valuable time!) and try to make something instead? It shows that you are a committed host who genuinely cares about every detail going into the occasion. Take, for example, a retirement party hosted at my friend’s parents’ place this past weekend: the theme surrounded the couple’s desire to travel together in retirement. So, naturally, we made a banner out of old sailing maps I had lying around the apartment!

What You’ll Need:

– Maps – any kind from any place – the more specific the theme, the more specific the maps
– Elmer’s Repositionable Letters (or cut out/print off your own letters to use)
– 1 piece of card stock (for your flag stencil)
– Scissors
– Glue stick
– Ruler
– Twine
– Pencil

map tools

First, you will need to make your flag stencil. Decide how big you would like each flag to be and, using your trusty ruler, outline your flag shape. Cut it out. Mark two dots, equidistant from each side of your flag – this is where you will poke the holes for your twine.

with holes

Next, you’re going to want to saddle the top of your flag right up to the edge of your map. This way you guarantee a straight top to each flag and ensure that you are using your map supply efficiently. Using a pencil, trace your flag stencil onto the map, cut it out, and do it again!

maps

Using your glue stick (or repositionable adhesive letters) affix each letter to each section of your map.

After you have poked holes in each of your flags, feed the twine through the front portion of the flag, around the back, and out the other hole. To ensure your flags hang evenly in line, you can try alternating the way the twine is fed through each flag- See below for example.

close up

And that’s it!  Make sure you have enough slack on each side of your banner, before you cut it (!), for hanging purposes. Affix your banner to walls and other areas using adhesive clips or hooks. You can also try tying the ends of extra twine into lovely little bows for an added touch.

final copy

DIY: Photo Booth Fun

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Everyone I speak to tells me that I won’t remember my wedding day (awesome – why am I working this hard, again?!) So how do you make sure you have the most complete record of the best day you will ever forget? Hire a kick-ass photographer, obviously. (Which we totally did. Obviously) But beyond that, how do you capture those candid, and sometimes most beautiful, moments? A great, and at times hilarious, way to do this is by bringing in a photo booth. Your guests get to keep a copy of their photos and you get digital copies of every picture snapped that night. In my experience, looking around at weddings, despite the amazing addition of a photo booth, guests are still taking pictures with their cell phones. And everyone leaves their printed photos behind. Always.

For a spin on this idea, Bobby and I have decided that we will bring the photo booth to our tables! Each table of 8 will have about 12-15 home made props, situated in vases between the candles and the flowers.  Since we would hate to miss out on the outrageous pictures our friends will inevitably take, we will not only make our own Instagram #hashtag for the wedding, but we will also make an email address where full sized pictures can be sent; making our photo album a piece of cake!

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What You’ll Need:

– Multi-coloured foam sheets (purchase here)
– Wooden dowels (purchase here)
– Stencils printed on card stock – stick with a theme or find random ones
– Scissors
– Marker or pen

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Cut out your stencil and place it on your foam sheet – you can usually get two shapes on one sheet to maximize your supplies.

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Cut out your shape – try to cut inside the lines to avoid marks on the back of your finished props

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At the widest point and as close to one side as possible, fold your shape and cut two small slits equidistant from the edge.

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Weave your dowel through the holes, starting at the front of your shape, moving to the back, and out again.  If you have cut the holes too large, use a glue gun (or cheat with double sided tape!) to secure your shape to the dowel.

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Repeat these steps with as many different shapes as you’d like. If you create 12 standard shapes you can vary them easily throughout different arrangements. If you are making a lot of these, I found that stacking the foam sheets allowed for me to create 2-3 shapes at the same time.