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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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

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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.

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

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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!

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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!

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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.

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