DIY Faux Bois + Real Wood Gift Bows

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Oh craft fails! There have been so many in my life lately. In fact, today’s project came out of the aftermath of a particularly disappointing project gone wrong. What started as a hopeful bunting morphed into a heap of wonderful wooden gift bows, and since several of you asked me about them over on Instagram, I thought I’d share how I made them so you can make some too!

I initially hesitated to share this project because I used real wood veneer (on the pricey side) for my first bows. I’m an equal opportunity crafter, and believe that everyone should have a chance to make something great, so I came up with a more wallet-friendly solution: paper bows that are printed to look like real wood! I’ll be sharing the tutorial for those below.

If you’d like to try your hand at some true wood bows, simply follow the steps below, skipping the paper printing step and substituting the printed paper for Band-It Paper Backed Veneer Facing Sheets (found in some hardware stores – I found mine at Ace Hardware).

diy_wooden_bow_suppliesSupplies Needed:

  • Cardstock paper
  • Color printer
  • Woodgrain printables | Found via How About Orange
  • Scissors
  • Low-heat hot glue gun with glue sticks | Resist the urge to use other glues or tapes…I tried them and they do not adhere well enough for this project
  • Pencil
  • Adhesive glue dots (optional) | Used to easily attach finished bows onto gifts

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Start by choosing which woodgrain pattern you would like to use. Print it onto one side of your cardstock. Allow page to dry for a moment. Flip printed page over and print same woodgrain pattern onto the backside of your paper, so that both sides have a woodgrain pattern printed on them.

Trim off any white areas. Use your ruler and pencil to lightly mark long strips of “wood.” You can do anything from .5″ to 1.5″ in width, depending upon the bow size you’d like to make. The bows I created here were around .5″ wide.

To create bows like the ones I made here you will need to cut your .5″ wide paper strips into several different lengths. You will need the following:

  • Main bow portion: 8.5″ length (CUT 1)
  • Bow loops: 4.5″ length (CUT 2)
  • Tails: 2.5″ length (CUT 2)
  • Bow center: approximately 1″ length (CUT 1)

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Curl your longest strip of paper around until the ends overlap, and glue together.  Place a dab of glue inside the center of the paper band and press down to adhere.

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Place your shortest strip of paper onto the center of your bow, wrap around and seal with a dab of glue on the backside. Prepare your two bow loops by gluing ends together. For a neater bow, it helps to cut an angled portion off of the end of each loop (as seen in the image above).

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Prepare your bow tails by cutting out an inverted V-shape from the bottom of each paper strip, and removing an angled portion from the top of each. Attach bow loops onto the top backside of your main bow loop with ends pointing in towards the middle. Finish by gluing on the bow’s tails beneath the bow loops.

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Decorate your gifts…and your home. I put some of the bows I made onto our Christmas tree and love them! xo Ez

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Find more DIY projects and inspiration in the Creature Comforts DIY Gallery.

DIY Customized Gift Jars with Free Templates

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I’ve been sitting on this DIY post for quite a while now, so I’m super excited to finally be able to share it with you all today. One of my favorite gift giving solutions: DIY Customized Gift Jars!

We all know someone (or more than one someone) who is tricky to buy for. Luckily, with just six simple steps and a few basic supplies, you can bust out these custom gifts that are sure to please just about anyone. I’ve created 4 different jar variations (with free templates): The DIY Treat / Food Jar, The Pampered Pet Jar, The Craft Supply Jar, and The Mini Spa Jar. You’ll find ideas below on what to fill each one with, but since the best gifts always reflect the tastes of the person receiving them, feel free get creative with the contents of your jars. Time to start checking people off your holiday gift list!

Basic Jar Making Supplies:

  • Printable templates
  • Glass jars with smooth sides | I found all of the ones used here at Target. If you’re not sure what size jar(s) to get, I recommend printing the templates to bring along with you to the store
  • Sakura 1.0mm Fine Point Pen-Touch Paint Pen | You can use white, gold, or silver ink varieties. Available in many craft stores
  • Removable tape / masking tape
  • Gift fillers | Store-bought or handmade

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There are only six simple steps to this project, and the same basic steps are used for all four jar versions (easy-peasy):

  1. Print and cut out the desired word template
  2. Tape template inside jar using removable tape
  3. Use your paint pen to carefully trace the template on the outside of the glass
  4. Remove template from inside the jar and allow paint to dry (Sakura paint pens dry quickly)
  5. Add a second coat of paint pen over the original layer if desired (optional)
  6. Fill your jar with small gifts and give

Note: Once design has dried fully, jars can be washed by hand with warm soapy water if needed. Avoid scrubbing the design on the exterior of the jar.

DIY Treat / Food Jar:diy-treat-jars

Download and use the FOOD JAR TEMPLATES. Fill customized jars with an assortment of the following:

  • Hard candies
  • Chocolates
  • Caramels
  • Candy canes
  • Cookies
  • Sweet bread
  • Savory snacks
  • Homemade goodies

DIY Pampered Pet Jar:diy_pampered_pet_gift_jar

Download and use the PET JAR TEMPLATES. Fill customized jars with an assortment of the following:

  • Leash
  • Collar
  • Brush
  • Nail clippers
  • Toys
  • Bones
  • Biscuits
  • Other treats

DIY Craft Supply Jar:diy_craft-jar_gift

Download and use the CRAFT JAR TEMPLATES. Fill customized jars with an assortment of the following:

  • Glitter
  • Glue
  • Markers
  • Crayons
  • Pom poms
  • Sequins
  • Clay
  • Googly eyes
  • Washi tape
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Other craft supplies

DIY Mini Spa Jar:diy_mini_spa_jar_gift

Download and use the MINI SPA JAR TEMPLATES. Fill customized jars with an assortment of the following:

  • Nail polish
  • Polish remover
  • Cotton pads
  • Cotton swabs
  • Nail clippers
  • Nail file
  • Hand / foot lotion
  • Bubble bath
  • Loofah
  • Lip Balm
  • Other pampering supplies suited to the gift recipient

If you end up making any of these jars as gifts, or come up with your own variations I’d love to see! Have a happy crafty day friends! xo Ez

Psst…if you’re looking for more DIY ideas for the holiday, be sure to check out the Creature Comforts DIY Gallery!

DIY Thanksgiving Luminaries

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I can’t believe that it’s nearly Thanksgiving! Too soon, too soon! Fortunately these DIY Thanksgiving Luminaries are a quick project that you can complete during a crafty afternoon…and then you’ll be able to check “feast table decor” off of your to-do list! Hooray! Let’s make some luminaries shall we?!

DIY Thanksgiving Luminaries How-to:diy-thanksgiving-luminaries-suppliesthanksgiving-lumiary-printable-button

Gather your supplies. You will need:

  • Free Thanksgiving Luminary Printable | Printed onto standard copy paper
  • Translucent Vellum Tracing Paper | Available in craft stores
  • Paper Cutting Scissors
  • Glue Stick
  • Pencil
  • Scrap paper
  • Ruler
  • Battery Operated Tealight Candles | Do not use flame candles with this project
  • Glitter (optional)
  • Craft Glue – such as Elmer’s brand (optional)

TIP: Click on how-to images below for a larger view (opens in a new pop-up window)

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Download and print your luminary designs onto standard copy paper. Place your ruler along the grey guidelines shown on the outer edges of the page. Use a pencil to lightly mark a straight line across the printed design. Avoid marking through any portion of the birds in the design (see image on right).

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Cut out along the straight side and base edges of the printed design, and then along your straight pencil lines and around the bird illustration. Next, place your cutout on top of a piece of scrap paper and apply glue (glue stick) to the back of the design, taking special care to apply glue onto the outer edges of the design. Place glued side of design down onto a piece of vellum paper, lining the base of your design up with at least one straight edge of the vellum. Use your fingers to smooth and adhere the two paper layers together.

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Use a ruler and pencil to determine and lightly mark guidelines for the height of your luminaries. I made my small luminaries 4.5″ tall, but you can choose any height that you’d like. Cut out design along your pencil guidelines.

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Help give your luminary shape by gently rolling it up for moment. Finally, apply glue (glue stick) to the inner edge of one end of your luminary design. Roll paper and place glued edge atop the other edge to adhere. You may need to hold the edges in place for a few seconds to help the glue set. Repeat with as many luminaries as you’d like and finish by placing a battery-operated tealight inside.

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For the larger turkey luminary, follow the basic luminary steps above, but increase the height of the vellum paper for a taller finished design.

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Optional: You can add a bit of sparkle to your luminaries by applying a fine bead of glue (such as Elmer’s brand) along the upper edge of your luminary and then sprinkling it with the glitter of your choosing.

Enjoy crafting friends! Happy Thanksgiving in advance! xo Ez

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The illustrations used for this project are from the Biodiversity Heritage Library and were provided under a Creative Commons – Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike copyright.

Note: this project was intended for use with battery-operated non-flame candles only. For your safety, please do not use open flame candles.

DIY Halloween Pom Pom Spiders

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I’ve probably mentioned before that Halloween has never really been a holiday that I go all out for. But since my daughter is always wishing that I would put more effort into it, I decided to throw together a “creepy” spider infestation in our kitchen to surprise her when she got home from school the other day. Teenagers aren’t prone to overly demonstrative displays of elation, but I got a smile or two out of her, so I’d say it was a success. Regardless, I rather like how they turned out, so I’m a happy camper.

DIY Pom Pom Spiders:

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Mamma Spider Supplies:

  • Black Yarn – You will want to use a soft puffy-type of yarn (technical terms, I know)
  • 4 full-length black pipe cleaners
  • Scrap cardboard at least 4″ wide by 6″ long
  • Sharp Scissors
  • Twine to suspend spiders from (optional)

Baby Spider Supplies:

  • Black Yarn – You will want to use a soft puffy-type of yarn
  • 2 Black Pipe Cleaners, each cut in half to make 4 shortened pipe cleaner lengths
  • Sharp Scissors
  • Twine to suspend spiders from (optional)
  • Wire cutters – used to cut pipe cleaners in half and spare your nice scissors

For this step-by-step tutorial I’ll be sharing photos for the creation of the larger Mamma Spider. Other than the yarn bundling portion at the very beginning of the tutorial, all other steps for both Mamma and Baby Spiders are the same.

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Prepare your cardboard by cutting notches out at both long ends (as seen in the supply photo). Begin winding yarn around cardboard until you a have nicely filled portion (it will take a bit of yarn, so don’t be alarmed if your yarn skein is depleting quickly). The more yarn you use, the denser your spider’s body will be.

Once you have enough yarn wrapped to create a puffy spider, carefully remove the yarn bundle by gently folding your cardboard to release the tension on the yarn. Be sure that your yarn stays together in one piece while you remove it. Set bundle aside.

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Prepare your spider legs by holding all 4 pipe cleaners parallel to one another, and then twist them in the center (like a twisty-tie) to lightly bind them together.

Place your legs atop your prepared yarn bundle and use a long piece of yarn (at least 12″ long) to tie securely around both the yarn and pipe cleaner legs. Flip the bundle over and double knot tightly on the opposite side.

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Begin creating the pom pom by inserting scissors inside yarn loops and cutting them apart. Repeat until all loops have been cut. You will now have a very shaggy looking pom pom. When creating the spider’s body, it’s important to leave the two yarn portions (used for tying the pom pom together) uncut so that you can easily hang if later on if desired.

Give your pom pom shape by trimming off excess yarn. Don’t be shy…you’ll need to give your pom pom a decent haircut before it takes shape. Refer to the video below for visual assistance on trimming your pom pom.

spiderpompomstep78Once you are happy with your spider’s pom pom body, give its legs some personality by bending the ends of each one at a 90 degree angle. Make sure to bend the legs opposite of the top of your spider (where your two yarn ends are).

Use the yarn ends to easily suspend your spider from a store-bought web or tie it onto a twine garland. If you prefer to let your spider be free-range, snip off the yarn ends and you’re done!

To make the smaller “baby” spider bodies I used the finger-wrapping method shown in my quick 5-Minute Yarn Pom Pom Video Tutorial above. After bundling the yarn around your fingers, and before tying your pom poms off you will need to attach the spider’s legs, so be sure to use the steps outlined in the tutorial above to finish your baby spider. Note: be sure to leave two long yarn portions uncut if you plan to hang your spiders up.

pompomspiders2Let your spiders roam freely…pompomspider1Or use twine to hang spiders around your home. Get ready to shriek every time you accidentally walk into them (it happens…you’ve been warned). xo Ez

DIY Festive Wooden Trees


Hi friends! I’m back today with another fun holiday project that I created in partnership with Waverly: Festive Wooden Trees! I first made these trees to decorate my home a couple holiday seasons ago (you might have also spotted them over on my Instagram a few weeks ago), and have always intended to share a tutorial with you here (better late than never, right).

Even though this project involves the use of a craft knife (I know that can be intimidating) it is actually pretty easy to create…just a few straight cuts, glue, and you have a nice bit of modern holiday decor for your home! Let’s get crafty!

Supplies needed:

  1. Balsa wood – 1/16 x 4 x 24 in. | Balsa wood can be found in an assortment of sizes in the woodcraft isle of craft stores. I purchased mine at Michael’s.
  2. Craft glue | I highly recommend Aleen’s Original Tacky Glue (found in craft stores) for this project. I tried several glues, and this one worked the best.
  3. Pencil
  4. Craft knife with a sharp blade
  5. Ruler
  6. Self-healing mat with ruled lines | Available at fabric and craft stores

TIP: Click on the tutorial images below to see an enlarged view in a new window.

DIY festive wooden trees

Gather your supplies.

Place your wood down onto your self-healing mat, aligning it with the mat’s ruled lines. Determine the height that you’d like for your tree. I chose 5″ for this one, so I’ll use that measurement in my description. Place your ruler across your board at the 5″ point and hold firmly in place. Use your craft knife to cut along the 5″ line using the ruler as your guide. Use steady firm pressure. You will need to make several cuts before you will pass through the board, so don’t worry if it doesn’t go through with the first cut.

DIY festive wooden trees

Once your rectangular portion has been cut, align it with the ruled lines on your mat again.

Next we need to find the center of the board. Since the board I purchased is 4″ wide, we will note that the center falls at 2″ in (if your board is a different width you will need to find the center of it by measuring). Place your ruler first at the bottom left corner of your board, and then up to the 2″ center measurement (as noted in red).

DIY festive wooden trees

Once again use your ruler as your guide to cut along this measurement with firm downward pressure. Use slow steady cuts until you’ve made it through the board. Remove the skinny triangular-shaped piece that you just cut off, and set it to the side.

Now repeat the measuring steps on the right-hand side of your board. First place your ruler at the bottom right-hand corner and make sure the ruler then passes through the 2″ center line. If you are using a clear ruler, you will see that you have a large triangle-shape beneath your ruler (as seen above). That means you’re doing it right! Cut along the edge of the ruler to remove the second skinny triangular-piece.

DIY festive wooden trees

You should now have three triangular pieces: 2 narrow and 1 wide.

So that they will fit onto your tree more seamlessly, you will want to cut away the tips of the two smaller triangular pieces. I placed the pieces  together (forming a larger triangle) and just trimmed off the top using my craft knife and firm downward pressure.

DIY festive wooden trees

Align your large triangle with the mat’s ruled lines and use a ruler and pencil to mark a light guide line down the center. Flip the triangle over and make the same mark down the center of this side.

DIY festive wooden trees

You should now have 1 large triangle with markings down the center of both sides, and 2 smaller triangles.

Squeeze a small line of glue along the pencil line on one side of your large triangle.

DIY festive wooden trees

Take one of your small triangles and embed the long edge of it into the glue line.

It is very important to make sure that the bottom edges are aligned (seen in the photo above) and that the smaller triangle is not overhanging the edge. If this happens you will end up with a wobbly tree. If it is not aligned, just move the boards around until they are in the position you’d like them to be. Use gentle downward pressure on the top edge of the smaller board to make sure that it is properly set into the glue.

DIY festive wooden trees

At this point you can use your fingertip (or a q-tip) to wipe away any excess glue.

Lay your glued boards to the side to allow the glue to set (it shouldn’t take too long). You can work on creating additional trees while you are waiting, or go make yourself a cup of peppermint hot cocoa! Yum!

DIY festive wooden trees

 

Once the first side has set, repeat the gluing process with the second side. Set it aside to dry completely (you can leave it standing upright).

If you want to get extra crafty, you can make a fuller tree! First make the basic tree (explained above) and then add 4 extra pieces. You will do this by cutting a board using the same measurements as used on the original tree. Just be sure to cut the larger triangle in half (so that it forms two triangles), so that you are left with 4 tall triangles to add to your basic tree.

Arrange them in your home and enjoy!

If the plain wood doesn’t suit your holiday decor, there are endless ways that you can customize these trees to your liking. Here are a few ideas:

  • Paint them with standard paint or chalkboard paint
  • Dust trees with glitter
  • Adorn the top of each tree with a pom pom
  • Add “ornaments” by gluing on pretty beads or sequins

Have fun and make merry! xo Ez

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This post was kindly sponsored by Waverly. Follow them on Twitter, Pinterest, and like them on Facebook. The DIY content, images, and opinions shared in this post are my own.