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).

wolfpack1

  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)
wolfpack2
                                                 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

Advertisements

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

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…?

IMG_3196

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)

IMG_3203

– 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)

IMG_3208

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

IMG_3210

– 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

IMG_3387

 

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: 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

pennies

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: Custom T-shirts

I absolutely love gift giving. I know that it is something that most people hate, but to me it is like a game. A personal challenge to see how well you know someone and how wide you can make them smile when they unwrap your gift. I also [not so] secretly love seeing the looks on the faces of everyone else who showed up touting re-gifted wine (lovely gesture, but not that personal.) In my totally random and not so lengthy experience, a surefire way to make someone’s day is by ironing their face onto a piece of clothing. Don’t think they’ll dig wearing their own face? Substitute your face, or a pet’s, or a spouse’s, or a teacher’s (the list goes on, really) and you’re hilariously golden!

What you’ll need:

– Plain white t-shirt
– Iron
– Iron on transfer sheets (here)
– Small towel (two if you are working on a surface other than an ironing board)
– A hilarious photo

2014-07-24 18.42.52

Once you have printed your images onto your transfers (see the instructions in the box) trim the transfer sheet so there is a thin white boarder around your image. Place your t-shirt on a flat surface, with your image centred and face down.

2014-07-26 18.36.05

Place a towel over your transfer – make sure you don’t move the image when you do this!

2014-07-26 18.36.24

Apply heat and pressure to the image. A lot of it. For a long time. If you think it has been long enough – you’re probably wrong. Make sure you get the edges of your transfer sheet – there is nothing worse that a peeling t-shirt after just one wash!

2014-07-26 18.36.41

Occasionally, as you iron, test the edges of your transfer sheet to see if the process is working. If your image is still attached to the sheet…it obviously isn’t. More heat!

2014-07-26 19.19.48

When you have decided that your image is as stuck as it’s going to get, slowly peel the transfer backing from the t-shirt. If sections of your transfer aren’t “cooked” yet, slowly put the sheet back in place and go over the transfer a few more times. If you are having a tough time getting your image to stick, remove the towel and apply direct heat. BE CAREFUL – you can burn the image this way so do not apply for as long in each spot.

2014-07-26 19.23.46

Ta-daaaa! You’ve made yourself a rad new t-shirt. Wear it yourself or give it as an amazingly personal gift!