Last summer while cleaning up a flooded basement after a super heavy rainfall, I found a small plastic bin with long lost craft supplies. Most everything was past it’s prime – lots of no longer sticky stickers, crumpled and faded paper and dried out paint.
It was a great distraction from the scheduled project of mopping and bleaching the basement floors.
After I finished up the little card, I looked for more cross stitch love, and was rewarded with a lot of cool work being done on a much larger scale – pegboards!
While they looked amazing, that scope of project is a little large, literally. It would be hard to get something that big home without help from Mr. SuzerSpace, and I’m not sure he’d be onboard with such a project. He’d probably point out that it would be difficult to hang in the end as well, and he would be right.
There’s a neat phenomenon called frequency illusion that tries to explain how something you suddenly became interested in seems to be appearing all around you.
These days, it’s harder to tell if that’s really at work, or if it’s a website’s algorithm or the cookies on your computer that’s causing the same items to keep appearing around you.
Case in point – for quite some time I’ve had felt projects on my brain. I made a phone holder, but that wasn’t enough. And then Julie at Sum of their Stories whipped up this cute upcycled felt garland (which technically was inspired by this good one at Pillar Box Blue).
After reading those, of course, my Pinterest feed flooded, mostly with pins pointing back to this Anthropologie garland.
I really liked this tutorial. But then I decided to shelve the entire idea, because I didn’t have any felt, and I really hate to go to the craft store and have fabric cut during the holidays. The ladies behind the counter try to keep up, but the entire experience can be major holiday buzz kill. I try and plan ahead, or just do without.
But a couple of weekends ago, while setting up the holiday decorations, I realized the white material I like to put under my holiday train set is felt. And the new location I wanted to put them on is at least half the size of the old. Which means – ding ding – I have extra felt to craft with!
I’ve seen this craft all over Pinterest, with a couple of variations, but essentially it’s all the same technique – cans, paint and fabric create your choice of a themed windsock.
Like most of my crafts, it was easy, fun, and then suddenly took a little weird turn but it ended up just fine.
To start, I saved two aluminum cans from cooking during the week. Many of the craft posts suggest using coffee cans, but the coffee we buy comes in a bag, so that wasn’t a choice.
I painted one can white, and the other green. Fun fact: Fabric paint isn’t just for fabric. My only tube of green paint was part of a fabric paint set, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try it on a can. If it didn’t stick, I could just toss it in the recycle bin and start over.
While I waited for the paint to dry, I browsed the internet and my Pinterest board full of doodles and practiced making simple but funny/happy ghost and monster faces.
Once I had an idea of what I wanted, I used my black sharpie to draw on the outlines of the faces, and then came back and used black and white paint to fill in the details.
For the ghost, I used duct tape to stick on strips of white vinyl inside the bottom rim of the can for the streamers. I happen to work at a company that has vinyl scraps in the trash, but a trash bag or ribbons or even a vinyl tablecloth cut into strips would also work. At the top, I punched a small hole with a hammer and nail, and then screwed a cup hook into that hole, using a wine cork on the inside to hold it all together.
And then my attention turned to my Frankenstein can. And I realized I had painted it upside down – the open end was at the top.
Whoops! It sure was easier to hold onto while I painted it that way, but now I had to figure out how to put the streamers and hooks on it.
I decided to use a bottle opener to cut holes in the bottom of that can, and then threaded through strips of black material. This is much easier (and much less likely to result in a need for a tetanus shot) if you thread them from the outside into the holes to the inside. I pulled each strip up to where I could reach it, and then tied a big knot in each which keeps it from falling back through the hole.
For the hanger, I punched holes in the sides and threaded some thin gauge wire through, and then twisted that into a hanging loop at the top.
On both versions, I cut the streamer strips at random heights, and then cut a notch in the bottoms to make them a little more finished.
These were fun to make – my plan is to keep saving cans through the month and keep adding to the collection. I’m thinking a vampire, a pumpkin and maybe a mummy?
Simple technique gives a coffee can an upscale finish
I’ve seen a lot up upscale Mod Podge posts on the blogs and Pinterest – really cool things like map covered dresser drawers and tables, and some stunning wall and floor treatments.
Personally, I remember this craft from art camp – tearing tissue paper or napkins and carefully gluing them around a glass votive candle holder to create a stained glass “masterpiece.”
I decided to use this technique to cover a coffee can I keep in my kitchen to keep my dollar bills. It’s my “rainy day” fund – whenever I end up any one dollar bills in my wallet, I move them into this can. This serves two purposes – 1) It means I can’t buy overpriced and really bad for you snack food at the candy machine at work and 2) those dollar bills add up.
This process is pretty straightforward. I took a paper bag that didn’t have printing on it, and cut two 1″ wide pieces that were long around to go around the diameter of the can. I glued those even at the top and bottom to hide the can edges. Then I tore the bag into small pieces.
I crumpled up and smoothed out the little pieces to give them some texture. And then I realized I didn’t have any Mod Podge in the house. There is an ongoing battle on the Internet on whether you can just use watered down Elmer’s glue for this, and I’d say for a project like this, the answer is yes.
To keep from ruining a foam sponge, I went a messier route. I dipped each little crumpled piece into a tub of water, and then wrung it out. I then squirted a little Elmer’s on the piece, and rubbed the glue into the water into the paper. I then applied them onto the can, being sure to overlap enough so none of the can showed below. The glue is water based, so all the mess washed off my hands pretty easily.
I think because I used watered down glue instead of Mod Podge it ended up without the shiny finish. So while this was supposed to be a paper bag leather finish, it kind of looks more like cork. I like it, and my dollar bills are now living a classier life in my new decorative finished can.
Simple sewing and a sale on towels upgrade an old glider
My former next door neighbor was a super lovely woman with an interesting life history. She also had a love of outdoor furniture, and I had asked her once where she had bought a particular set because I was looking for something similar for our screened in porch. She didn’t
remember, but several years later when she decided to replace that set, she gifted it to us.
Technically she said it was a loan, but we both knew she was never going to ask for it back.
The main piece is a glider, and it was probably built in the late ‘60s. It isn’t that cool vintage kind of piece, it’s just an old glider that had seen better days. Some scrubbing and some WD-40 fixed up the metal glider part, but the outdoor cushion covers were a whole other story.
The main fabric was stiff and scratchy, and they had bare spots from use and from where mice had burrowed into them when they were in winter storage.
My plan at the time was to replace them, so I threw an old sheet over them and we used the glider that season. At the end of the season I saw outdoor cushion covers go on sale and tried to find three that matched in the size I needed, and that wasn’t possible.
I repeated this scenario for, uh, 10 years. Didn’t mean to, just never remembered to do anything about it, or refused to pay the price for new cushions. I really don’t understand why outside furniture and accessories are so expensive.
At the beginning of this summer, Mom handed down a really great sewing machine. And I saw on another blog a post about how to make simple outdoor cushion covers. The technique didn’t really work for the cushions I had, but it got my wheels turning.
And then I saw this tutorial on making an envelope style pillow case, and I began to wonder if I could make something like that for my
cushions. Make cushion covers, not buy new cushions.
At the beginning of the summer, Target had a sale on beach towels. Boom! (that’s the sound the confetti cannon in my mind makes when a project comes together).
I didn’t use a pattern, but the process was pretty straightforward – sew two towels together on the short end, right sides together.
Set the cushion on the new double long towel and overlap the top and bottom so the tucked in envelope portion would be invisible on the back.
I measured and pinned the sides, and sewed using the stripes as my guideline.
I sewed double seams to make this extra sturdy. And while each cover is defective in it’s own way (I often lose track of right sides and seam allowances when I work), they are light years better than what was there before.
Wrestling the cushions into the covers was also a little challenging, but it was worth it, because the finished look is great, and they can come off and run through the wash if needed.
And if they get super grungy or I just get tired of the color scheme, I bet Target has a towel sale again 🙂