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!).

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

finished

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Wax Dripped Easter Eggs

eggs

When I was about 6 years old, I remember going over to my older sister’s apartment and doing various crafts. I don’t remember many of them, but these Easter Eggs were one that will always stick out to me. They were so much fun, they were so easy, and we still bust them (yes, them, the ones from way back when) out every year when we decorate. The best part is that, despite my young age, the finished product doesn’t look like a school craft – making decorating for adult guests more appealing to the eye.

eggs1What you’ll need:

– eggs
– safety pin
– food colouring
– white candle sticks
– newspaper
– 5 bowls
– cookie sheet
– paper towel
– egg cups (if you have them)

Preparing the Eggs:

There are two ways you can do this – by “blowing the eggs” (this will allow you to store and use again year after year) or by hard boiling the eggs (I don’t trust this method – couldn’t tell you why, though)

If you are going to blow the eggs:

– poke a small hole in the top of the egg and a larger hole on the bottom
– literally blow the yolk out the bottom of the egg into a bowl (feel free to fix yourself a quick little scramble if you have time here) You may need to help the yolk out a bit at times
– place on a plate or egg tray, let the inside dry, and get to decorating!

Decorating the Eggs:

– pour a good amount of colour into each bowl, add less than 1/3 cup of water to maximize dye
– start with a plain egg and light your candle (I like to keep mine lit during this process, if you are working with kids – obviously – blow the candle out before you proceed)
– slowly drip the wax onto parts of the egg that you would like to keep white

eggs3
– next, dunk your egg into the lightest colour, covering the egg fully
– remove from colour and let dry

eggs5 – light your candle again and drip the wax onto parts of the egg you would like to keep that particular colour
– continue on, dunking and dripping (from lightest to darkest colour and vice versa), until you have reached the optimal shade on the outside of your egg
– lay the eggs on a plate or an egg tray and heat your oven to 200°
– place eggs on a cookie sheet with tin foil and pop in the oven

eggs6 – leave the eggs until the wax has melted back into a liquid, checking them every couple of minutes
– using a paper towel, carefully wipe the wax off of each egg, leaving a slight seal or sheen behind. This will help maintain the eggs over time

The result should be a speckled rainbow egg that can be put on display anywhere in your home during the Easter holiday.

PRO TIP: use a black or gold marker to turn these eggs into pseudo place cards at your dining table – use plain white egg cups to display your beautiful work at each setting.

eggs8

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: 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