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.

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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.
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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.

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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.
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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.

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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!).

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

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Reclaiming Roadside Treasures

We, like most young people in Toronto, live in an apartment building. Our apartment, like most in the city, has minimal storage space. Until far too recently, we kept our service wear on top of the cupboards in our kitchen. Not only was this extremely ugly, but it was also counter productive: before AND after each time something was used it needed to be scrubbed on account of the dust and kitchen scum. Scrub, serve, scrub, scrub, serve. I can think of at least 6 other things I would rather do than wash dishes.

So, naturally,  you can imagine the excitement on the day I discovered a corner shelving unit sitting on the side of the road. As you do, I stood awkwardly and “defended” my treasure, while frantically calling upstairs for help (and possibly approval). Beginning to end the whole project took a single Saturday afternoon and less than $40 to complete. What is it they say about another man’s trash…?

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What you’ll need:

– reclaimed/new wood shelving unit
– newspaper
– sand paper
– elastic band
– matte all purpose paint (let them know you are using it in your kitchen when you purchase – they will tell you what you  need)
– paint brush(es)

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– Wipe down your shelves (especially if you’ve taken them from the side of the road…) with soap and water
– Sand out any imperfections (or mould spots – ew) on your unit and wipe down again with a damp cloth
– Let dryIMG_3206

– Handy trick: put an elastic band around the middle of your paint can (ooooohhhhhh)

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– Use said elastic band to wipe paint from your brush to avoid uneven distribution (aaaahhhhhh)

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– Let your shelves dry between each coat of paint (about 1 hour)
– Continue to apply coats of paint until your shelves have sufficient coverage (about 3 coats)
– Let dry for 24 hours before moving into place and stocking your shelves

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DIY: Cleaning Pennies

When we first decided to create our line of earrings, Maple Leaf Forever, we realized we needed a fast, easy, and inexpensive way to get the dirty street grime off of each penny. We started racking our brains (read: googling) for ideas and, after narrowly dodging a volcanic reaction due to mis-remembered grade 3 science facts, we found our solution (see what we did there?)

What you’ll need:

– White vinegar
– Salt…lots of it
– Baking sheet or large bowl – the more surface area the better

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Spread your pennies on a baking sheet – try to avoid overlap, as the solution needs to cover all parts of the coin.

Pour a generous amount of vinegar over your pennies, ensuring all are entirely immersed in the liquid.

Sprinkle salt over pennies. A lot of salt. If you think you’ve added enough – add more.

Leave your coins to soak, moving them around the tray periodically (so you feel like you’re doing something to help)

Test your pennies by rubbing them with dry paper towel – the grime should come right off. If not, put them back in. More salt!

Repeat until your pennies are satisfactorily shiny

Craft until you are blue in the face

penniesThe Finished Product

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: 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.