DIY Circus Pals Mobile / Room Decor

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A few months ago I accidentally created one of these sweet colorful paper pom pom characters while trying to come up with a craft to make for the holidays. It didn’t really fit into that season, so it’s been smiling at me from my inspiration board, waiting for a use ever since. Then last weekend it occurred to me that I could make several more and create an adorable hanging decoration! Say hello to my DIY Circus Pals Mobile!

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This project can be adapted to the supplies you have on hand. Be sure to check out my list of alternate supplies and uses near the bottom of this post for a few ideas.

Now let’s get started! Begin by gathering your supplies. For the mobile I created above you will need:

  • Colorful cardstock paper | I used 5 different colors, but you can choose any assortment that you’d like
  • White copy paper | 1 sheet
  • 6 – 3/4″ wooden beads | Found at craft stores
  • Glue stick
  • Yarn or twine
  • Black pen with a fine point | I recommend Pigma Micron Pens by Sakura
  • 2″ Craft Punch | Or print out the 2″ Circle Template below
  • 1″ Starburst Craft Punch | Or print out the 1″ Circle Template below
  • Hole punch | I used a small 1/8″ punch
  • Wooden embroidery hoop (inner ring only)
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Wooden skewer (optional)

CIRCUS PALS PRINTABLE TEMPLATE: Download includes 6 Paper Hat Cutouts, a 2″ Circle Template, and a 1″ Circle Template

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1. Punch or cut out your 2″ circles. You will need a total of 35 (7 circles for each Circus Pal). Feel free to use just one color or mix and match colors. I used a 2″ Circle Punch by Uchida to make this project easier.

2. Use a 1″ starburst craft punch, regular 1″ craft punch, or hand-cut a total of five – 1″ circles. These will be the collars for your Circus Pals. Punch a hole in the middle of each circle with a small hole punch.

3. Print out the paper hat template and cut out five (there’s an extra one included on the printable just in case).

4. Use a fine tip pen to draw faces onto five of your wooden beads (leave one bead blank). Make sure that the holes are at the top and bottom of your bead before drawing.

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5. Create the hats by applying glue to one straight edge of each hat shape.

6.  Curl the glued straight edge over the top of the other straight edge to form a cone. Press down along the edge for a few seconds until glue sets. Repeat with all five hats.

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7.  Fold each of your 35 – 2″ circles in half.

8. Create the bodies for your Circus Pals by applying glue to the outer half of a folded circle.

9. Place another folded circle on top of the glued portion, aligning edges (folded edges should be facing the same direction).

10. Repeat this process until you have used all seven circles. Leave the last flap unglued.

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11. It’s time to assemble your mobile! Cut five long lengths of yarn, approximately 18″ or more a piece. Tie a thick knot onto one end (you can double or triple knot if you need to). Place yarn through the center of one of the prepared paper bodies and seal the open flap closed with glue. Next thread onto the same piece of yarn: a 1″ collar circle, one wooden head bead, and a paper hat. If you are having a hard time feeding the yarn through any of these elements, you can use a wooden skewer to help thread it through.

12. Pull all pieces downward until they rest snugly on the knotted end of the yarn. Leave the long portion of yarn hanging from the top and set aside. Repeat steps 11-12 with all five Circus Pals.

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13. Time to hang them up! Tie your Circus Pals onto the inner circle of an embroidery hoop, allowing Pals to hang at a length that you like. Loop yarn around several times and knot a couple of times on the inside. Trim off loose ends.

14. Once all Pals are hung, you can slide the knotted sections around the wooden hoop so that they are evenly spaced.

15. Create a hanger for your mobile. Cut five even lengths of yarn around 24″ a piece. Wrap a piece of office tape snugly around the ends of all five piece to create a narrow portion for threading (like the aglet at the end of a shoelace). Cut across the very top of the taped end to make it nice and neat. Thread yarn through your final plain wooden bead.

16. Tie each loose yarn end onto your embroidery hoop where you attached your Circus Pals. Knot on the inside several times. Now pull the plain wooden bead downward until it rests where you’d like it to. Pull one yarn at a time to adjust and make your mobile level. Trim off tape and use loose ends to suspend.

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Variation suggestions: Feel free to adapt this project to suit the supplies you have on hand. For example: a stick, wooden hanger, or wooden dowel can be used in place of the embroidery hoop. Patterned paper can be used in place of the colored card stock, or get creative and paint or stamp designs onto plain white cardstock. You can even attach your Circus Pals onto bamboo skewers and use them as cake toppers! I can’t wait to see what clever ideas you guys will come up with!

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Safety note: This project is not intended to be used as a toy. Small parts can pose a choking hazard. Do not suspend within reach of small children. Make sure all pieces are especially secure (I recommend using hot glue to attach all parts together) if hanging above cribs or changing stations.

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DIY Simple Custom Painted Mugs for Teachers + More

If you’ve been wanting to try your hand at customizing dishes using the permanent Porcelaine paint markers (made popular by Martha Stewart), then here’s a fairly simple little project that you might enjoy: Custom Painted Mugs:

All you’ll need for this project is a light-colored oven-safe mug (it will usually say on the bottom of the mug)—I bought mine at Target for a few dollars. You’ll also need Pebeo Porcelaine 150 paint markers in assorted colors (fine or broad tip). You can either purchase the air-dry or bake-dry version (my directions are for the baked type). My pens were purchased at a local Michael’s Craft Store, so check your local craft store for availability.

After priming your pen (according to directions on the side of the pen) begin drawing your design on your mug. I decided to create something reminiscent of handwriting paper (graph paper would have been cute too), and it was super easy to draw (just lines and dashes). If you mess up you can quickly wash the design away with a bit of warm soapy water and start again. I purposely left my designs loose and kid-like—as that seemed to fit the whole “teacher gift” theme best (also because it’s hard to draw perfectly straight lines on a rounded surface). You can be as precise as you’d like. It may help to hold your mug upside down while you draw your design, or put your hand inside the mug to hold it and keep your fingers from smudging your design.

Of course your mug can look however you’d like. Simple designs/patterns will be easiest to achieve and the effect is still really nice. These would also make awesome Father’s Day gifts (kids can sign their own names or contribute to the design), graduation gifts, etc. On the teacher’s mug you could also have your child write the teacher’s name along the lines (I recommend drawing the lined-paper design, allowing it air dry for a few hours, and then handing it over to your kiddo to write on with a contrasting colored marker (like black).

Bake (or air dry) according to the directions on the side of your pen (they may be different than the ones I noted above in my illustration). The most important tip I discovered is that when cooking your mugs it is safest to allow them to heat up along with your oven (as opposed to putting the cold mug directly into a hot oven). Once the cooking time is over, turn off your oven, open the door and allow your mug to cool down with the oven until it is a comfortable temperature to handle. Fill with an assortment of goodies such as handmade sweets, gift cards, etc. and enjoy giving a gift that is one-of-a-kind. xo Ez

Looking for a few more gift ideas for teachers? Check out my related posts right here (includes free printables).

DIY Embellished Iron-On Transfers with Free Printable

Hello lovelies! I recently dreamed up these created two Embellished Iron-On Transfer tees as Christmas gifts for two little sweeties in my life. It seems that anyone with a love of cute might appreciate receiving them though, so I’ve made them both available for you to print and enjoy in your own crafting/gifting projects. I chose to use t-shirts for my project, but you could create yours on any natural textile – tote bags, aprons, cushion covers, stockings, and more.

First we have the Tutu Cute Snowy Owl Iron-on Transfer:

SUPPLIES:

  • Iron-on transfer paper for your kind of printer (inkjet or laser)
  • Light colored t-shirt or textile goods (cottons and natural fabrics are best)
  • Iron
  • Scissors
  • Light-weight fabric piece (such as chiffon) at least 8” x 8” per project
  • Sewing needle
  • Thread (in a color that matches your fabric)

HOW TO:

Download Free Owl Iron-on Design

Print owl design (choose between printing a single design or three). Print only the page you want.
Follow usage directions found with your iron-paper for printing, cutting, and ironing.

Print the circular template on this page onto standard paper. Alternately you can create freehand circles or trace around an object in your home that is about 2” across.
Use your circular template to cut out 7-8 circles from your light-weight fabric of choice.
Follow directions for assembling a fabric flower found on Hey! Jen Renee blog.
Add a few additional stitches to the center of your flower, piercing your needle through all layers a little ways into your flower. This will cause your flower to flatten slightly into a tutu-like shape.
Attach your flower tutu to your prepared owl textile by sewing through both your owl design and your flower tutu several times. Once it feels secure knot your thread to finish.

And then we have the Little Washer Robot Iron-on Transfer:

SUPPLIES:

  • Iron-on transfer paper for your kind of printer (inkjet or laser)
  • Light colored t-shirt or textile goods (cottons and natural fabrics are best)
  • Small metal washers from your local department store. 3+ per project.
  • Iron
  • Scissors
  • Sewing needle
  • Thread (in any colors you’d like. I used red, yellow, and green)

HOW TO:

Download Free Robot Iron-on Design

Print robot design (choose between printing a single design or three). Print only the page you want.
Follow usage directions found with your iron-paper for printing, cutting, and ironing.

Attach individual metal washers to your prepared robot textile with at least 5 stitches around each
washer. Be creative with placement. Once your washers feel secure securely knot your thread to finish.

I hope you will enjoy making your own versions of these projects. I’d love to see your finished results if you do. xo Ez

D.I.Y. Cupcake Toppers & Garlands with Repurposed Paper

While packing up my house I keep coming across project ideas that I’ve filed away to share with you all at sometime or other.  I’ll have to save the other ones until after my move, but today I wanted to show you how to make some sweet and super easy cupcake toppers and little paper garlands, using scraps of paper that you have laying around your home or office.

For my toppers and garland I used a mix of magazine tears and security envelopes (of which I have a massive drawer full).  My daughter and I are always on the lookout for discarded security envelopes, and luckily the recycling bin at our post office is always chock-full of pretty little wonders for our collection.  I’m also in the midst of ripping apart my magazine collection and consolidating my favorite clippings into organized binders…so this project fit in just perfect.  I shy away from calling this a truly eco-friendly craft, but by giving new life to old paper that would otherwise be headed for the rubbish heap…it is at the very least a project I (and hopefully you) can feel relatively good about creating.

CUPCAKE TOPPER SUPPLIES:

  • Scrap paper at least 1/2″x 3.5″
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • (optional) rotary cutting tool or craft knife and self-healing mat
  • Toothpicks (plain, not the mint kind) with only one pointed end.  If you only have two-sided variety you can carefully snip off the sharp point beforehand with some wire cutters or sharp scissors.
  • Glue stick

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Collect up scrap paper of standard to medium weight from around your home or office.  Suggestions: security envelopes, magazines, old calendars, old letters, kids artwork, discarded gift wrap, old maps, etc.
  2. Cut strips from your scrap paper that measure 1/2″ x  3.5″ using scissors or your chosen cutting tool.  Keep in mind the colors, patterns and motifs that will show in the section you cut out.  For a cohesive look, try matching colors or using complimentary shades or patterns.
  3. Fold your strips of paper in half, then open and apply glue to the inside of your rectangle.
  4. Roll the non-pointed end of your toothpick along the top of your glue
    stick until it has a coat of glue attached to it (this will help is
    stay put during the next step).
  5. Insert your toothpick (dull-side up) along the fold line inside your rectangle.
  6. Seal the two sides together, pinching lightly where the toothpick is hidden inside the paper to secure.  Smooth out any air bubbles.  The toothpick may be slightly loose at this point, but this should improve once the glue has dried.
  7. Using your scissors, cut out a V shape at the end to create the look of a pennant.
  8. Top your cupcakes, treats, or favors and enjoy!

Note: please take special care when using toothpick toppers around little children.

GARLAND SUPPLIES:

  • Scrap paper at least 1″x 4″
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • (optional) rotary cutting tool or craft knife and self-healing mat
  • Twine, ribbon, or string of some fashion.  The silver variety I used was found in the beading section of my local craft store.
  • Glue stick

DIRECTIONS:

Follow cupcake directions above with two variations:

  • Cut paper strips into 1″x 4″ strips.
  • After folding papers in half and applying glue, attach them to a thin length of twine.  You can space the papers out how you’d like.  Hang and enjoy!

I hope you liked my little projects and that they will inspire you to start looking at the scraps of paper around your home a bit differently.  xox Ez

Today I Love: Naturally Dyed Eggs by Stephanie Barnes

Some people just seem to ooze talent and creativity from their pores.  I know that sounds kind of gross, but I really can’t think of a better way to describe it.  Stephanie Barnes is one such person who’s talent I’m just completely in awe of.  A quick browse through her flickr stream and you’ll soon find yourself wiping drool off your keyboard.  (I know I’m full of unsavory metaphors today… somebody help me out).  Seriously.  ; ) 

In any case, when these gorgeous naturally dyed eggs popped up in Stephanie’s album the other day I nearly swooned.  The richness of colors is simply wonderful.  What makes the project even more appealing to me is the thought of experimenting with my own fruit/veggie/spice varieties.  You can read all about her process on her blog right here.  I can’t wait to see how mine will turn out! xox Ez