Posts tagged easy crafts

Cute Alert! Craft-A-Day by Sarah Goldschadt

Craft a Day by Sarah Goldschadt

Sewn animals by Sarah Goldschadt from her Craft a Day book

Craft a Day by Sarah Goldschadt

Cupcake toppers by Sarah Goldschadt for Craft a Day Book

This new Craft-a-Day book by Sarah Goldschadt is almost too cute for words.

Sarah picks a theme for each week of the year – robots, or snowflakes, or penguins, or hexagons, or sailboats  (you get the picture) – and then she offers a week’s worth of different crafts related to the theme. Cupcake toppers, plush animals, garlands, stationery, tote bags, and more.

The instructions are easy to follow, the crafts are simple and sweet, and the book is beautifully designed. If you’re like me – you like to make things now and then, but nothing too elaborate or requiring advanced skills – this is the perfect book.

In fact, this book ranks high on the list of craft books you ought to have in your library, along with Kid Made Modern and the various Usborne “Things to Make and Do” books. It would also make a terrific gift for any of your crafty friends.

For more about Sarah, visit her website.

The book will be available to purchase  beginning October 2, 2012; I received an advance copy from Quirk Books (who also published this great Halloween craft book that I featured a couple of years ago).

Images: Sarah Goldschadt / Quirk Books

Have a great weekend!

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Tips on How to Dye Doilies

dyed doilies

Because the dyed doilies craft is one of my most popular posts on Charlotte’s Fancy, and I’ve had a few questions about supplies from readers, I thought I would let you know:

1). It can be hard to find the doilies that are all lace – craft stores usually carry the Wilton brand doilies with the solid middle. I did find these at the craft store (AC Moore, here on the east coast), but you can order the all lace doilies from the Royal Store in a few different sizes.

2). To get those pretty colors, I used Colorations® Liquid Watercolors (bought them at Discount School Supply). These watercolors are fun for other craft projects too, like these easy, no mess rainbow coffee filter flowers.

Get the dyed doilies tutorial here.

Image: Charlotte’s Fancy

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Look Into My Eyes

vintage photos with googly eyes glued to them.

The fall issue of Sweet Paul magazine hit the virtual newsstand recently, and in it, you will find this fun, silly and simple Halloween decor idea: glue googly eyes to your vintage photos to give your ancestors a creepy makeover.

All you need are photos, googly eyes (which come in several different sizes and colors at the craft store) and some glue.

If you don’t want to do this to your originals, you can make copies and put the eyes on your copies, or do like I did: find images through a Google image search and print out ones that you like.

vintage group photo of ancestors with googly eyes glued to it

vintage wedding photo with googly eyes on groom

Rosa was easily amused by these as I was making them, so when she wasn’t looking, I printed out this photo and glued some green eyes to it to make her laugh:

photos of kids with green googly eyes glued to it

Fun Halloween decorations that only take minutes to make? My kind of craft! I’ll have several more Halloween crafts this month, so stay tuned for those.

If you’re not familiar with Sweet Paul magazine, I highly recommend it – lots of great recipes, crafts, handmade finds, and it’s absolutely beautiful to look at. The white Halloween feature in the fall issue is really cool. I can’t wait to see all the goodies in the holiday issue.

And, did you get a chance to see Pushing Papers – my new blog dedicated to paper goods? If not, please click on over. I’m offering my first giveaway today! You have until Friday to enter. Good luck!

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Make a Cozy Homework Corner

The current issue of American Girl Magazine has this fun idea for a little “study spot” for your kids made from a cardboard tri-fold display board. So, the girls and I decided to make one for each of them. We had a lot of fun with this project. (You can see that our copy of the magazine is well loved.)

You can buy a tri-fold display at a craft store. I bought one (it was 36″ x 48″) and cut it in half, horizontally to have two shorter ones. (Of course, you can also just cut up a big box). The displays come in colors or in white – the colors were too bright for me, so I bought a white one and covered it with different scrapbook papers.

Rosa’s Homework Corner

After that, it’s a matter of choosing various envelopes and little bags to glue to the display for holding pencils, bookmarks, notepads and anything else you can think of. I have these great, large presentation envelopes by Paper Source (holding Anorak Magazine in the above photo, and the American Girl Magazine in the photo below) which we decorated with stickers.

I had some plastic pages that hold photos and art, which I clipped to the top of the display (you can also find plastic pages that hold trading cards, or simply use a sheet protector).

Elena’s Homework Corner

We’re not quite done with it yet – we want to make a little memo board on the left side from cork coasters or something similar. I used spray glue for this whole project, by the way.

If space is a premium in your house, like it is in mine, the great thing about these study spots is that they fold right up (including the bag holding the pencils, if you glue it correctly) for easy storage.

Right after I saw the American Girl Magazine version, I also stumbled across this sweet Martha Stewart version:

Now, I’ll be interested to see if these homework corners are actually helpful or a distraction to getting homework done!

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Apple Crafts Round Up

‘Tis the season for apple picking and apple crafts. Here’s a round up of some of my favorites:

Make your own apple placemats with this tutorial on Bloesem by Courtney Russell of Two Straight Lines

(and can someone please make me a bowl full of colorful balls like that?)

Apple printing here and here by Martha Stewart

Apple collage from recycled shopping bags and wrapping paper by kireei (in Spanish, but you can follow the pictures easily enough, or click the “English” link in the upper right corner to translate the page)

Adorable fabric apple garland by Roots and Wings Co. (via One Pretty Thing)

“Dappled apples” – from scraps of fabric and Mod Podge over at Mod Podge Rocks (also via One Pretty Thing)

We went apple picking and I got a load of very delicious Empire apples. I wanted to make these mini caramel apples that I saw on Craftzine last week, so I got the caramels and I got the pretzel sticks, and I scooped out the balls of apples.

And then everything went downhill from there.

The pretzel sticks didn’t insert that easily (and broke), and the caramel wanted nothing to do with the apple – like they were mortal enemies. So I tried her tip about coating the apples with white chocolate first, and the white chocolate didn’t want to stick to the apples either.

Sometimes the easiest looking crafts and recipes are the ones that cause you the most grief.

I managed to make about ten of them before I gave up. Here is what caramel apple failure looks like:

(Although the girls will tell you that they were very tasty).

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Cute Earbud Case in 10 Minutes

Been wondering what to do with those leftover Altoid tins? How about making a cute case for your earbuds, so that they don’t get tangled up in your bag or backpack? This craft takes only a couple of materials, and you can make one in just a few minutes’ time.

What you need:

Mint/candy tin
Felt with adhesive backing
Glue gun

Trace the shape of the box on the back of the felt (on the paper backing). Cut out one piece for the top and one piece for the bottom of the tin. Pull off the paper and apply the pieces to the top and bottom of the tin.

Use a glue gun to glue down your embellishments. I used felt flowers. Appliques of any kind would also look nice. You can also glue a thin ribbon around the edge of the lid if you want to dress it up a little more, while also covering up the red of the Altoid tin.

If you’re making these as a little gift or party favor, you can use a label and write/print names on them for the inside of the lid. The ones I used are from Paper Source, and they just happened to fit perfectly.

Over at Design*Sponge, they have several tutorials for using candy tins, including this one for little kits (sewing kits, first aid kits, etc.), and this great one for a tin clock.

And I’ve always liked the tiny toolbox idea that Brenda of Secret Agent Josephine (and contributor to Alpha Mom) came up with.

If you want to make some for party favors, you can always buy little white or silver tins that haven’t been printed – available from party favor/wedding favor websites.

I’m going to be revealing a new look to Charlotte’s Fancy this week (this is one of the projects I mentioned on Friday). I hope you like it!

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A Family Necklace

Hello hello! It feels like its been ages since I’ve been here. I hope last week was a good one for you; our trip out west (to South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana) was fantastic – I’ll tell you a little bit about it later in the week.

Yesterday, Helen Dardik, a wonderful artist and illustrator, shared this sweet ceramic necklace on her Orange You Lucky blog:

Although it’s a vintage necklace (a super Etsy find), I originally thought she’d made it herself.

But wouldn’t it be a fun project? You could make one out of wooden balls, paint and a leather cord from the craft store. The knots in the cord are important, I think, to keep the balls in place. You could also make the balls out of papier mâché.

I haven’t given it a shot yet, but it’s on my list now. A fun personal project, a great gift for a friend, and a good Mother’s Day gift for kids to make too, I am thinking. If you make one, please send me a picture!

If you’re not familiar with Helen’s work, read her blog (where she shows new work and offers occasional fun freebies, like these sweet bookplates) and visit her website, One Lucky Helen. You can also find her illustrations on Etsy (I own two and love them). She’s also on Twitter – and every bit as charming as her illustrations.

Images: Helen Dardik/Orange You Lucky

p.s. Did you see my Back to School picks for Indie Fixx last week?

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Make Your Own Bubbles

I’ve been reminded these past few days (since I bought Elena and Rosa lots of bubble mixture and a big array of bubble wands) how blowing bubbles is a never-ending and simple pleasure for kids.

When we were visiting my mom at Easter this year, we stopped for an hour or so at the Santa Fe Children’s Museum, where we made gigantic bubbles with hula hoop-sized wands, and they had a recipe posted for the bubble mixture. The key, I remember, was glycerin. So I did a little searching, and found that the general make-your-own bubble recipe looks like this:

For a gallon of bubbles (using a recycled, clean milk jug):

  • 2½ cups of concentrated dish detergent (I’ve read that Joy and Dawn are the best for bubbles)
  • ½ cup glycerin (found at the pharmacy*)
  • 12½ cups of water (note: soft water or distilled water is better than hard water)

Stir gently to mix ingredients, and if you can, make the bubbles a day ahead of time – apparently letting the solution sit for a day makes for better bubbles.

*Can be expensive, but is roundly recommended for making the best bubbles

Happy Monday!

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I had a brainstorm a couple of weeks ago about a fun Father’s Day Card based on the iPad—a little craft I call the iDad. I am guessing that I am not the only one to have come up with this idea, but it’s a fun, easy craft for the gadget-loving men in your life.


  • Black cardstock
  • White Cardstock
  • X-acto knife
  • Cutting mat
  • Spray Glue
  • Markers

Step 1: Take two pieces of 8.5 x 11″ black cardstock, and sandwich a piece of white cardstock in between, then cut rounded corners. You may want to take out the white piece and cut it down a little further, so that it doesn’t show along the edges. Use spray glue to secure the white cardstock to the bottom piece of black cardstock and set aside.

Step 2: Find some iPad/iPhone icon images online and print them out on cardstock (you will have no trouble finding these on Google). In a Google image search, look for medium or large images, so that the resolution is decent. Once you print them out, cut them out.

Step 3: Arrange the images on your top piece of black cardstock, then glue them down in the order you want them with spray glue. Let dry for a couple of minutes.

Step 4: Using a cutting mat and X-acto knife, carefully cut along the sides and the bottom of each icon to create lift up flaps.

When you’re done, they look like this:

Step 5: It’s time to glue the top piece to the bottom piece. Spray glue very carefully on the back of the top piece, being careful to avoid the areas where the lift up flaps are (you don’t want to get glue in the area where you will be writing your messages).

Step 6: Once you glue the top and bottom pieces together, draw the little button at the bottom (I used a silver Sharpie), and trim the edges to make the whole presentation neat. Then you can write whatever messages you like under the flaps. I used the bottom three icons to write, “Happy Father’s Day,” “We love you,” and “Love, Molly, Elena and Rosa,” then I let the girls fill out all the rest.

If you happen to live near a Paper Source (or have a similarly great paper supply store), their 9″ x 11.5″ presentation envelopes make an excellent iDad “sleeve” for presenting your clever creation.

I printed “iDad” onto a piece of paper, cut it out with an X-acto knife and glued it to the front of the presentation envelope.

I love how this turned out, and I think Rolando (who’s been instructed not to read the blog today) will think it’s funny.

UPDATE (6/12): I revisited this iDad card for Father’s Day 2012 for the SheKnows website, where you can see more photos and a more detailed step by step.

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[Crafty Monday] Photo Placemats

Today’s photo placemat craft is simple, yet tricky. I will tell you right away that I struggled with it a bit and I’m not completely happy with how it turned out. However, I think it’s a great idea, and has lots of possibilities, so I want to share it.

The inspiration came from my grandmother, who made these placemats out of recycled holiday cards and contact paper a long time ago – I am guessing these are more than 35 years old.

I’ve been wanting to recreate them for awhile, but not necessarily with holiday cards. I had a brainstorm the other day when Elena told me she wanted to have a party for her friend Haley who’s moving to Houston in August. I started to think about what personalized crafts we might be able to do at the party so that the girls could have something sweet to make and remember each other by. It occurred to me that we could make these placemats with photos, rather than cards (which is easier because photos are a uniform size while the holiday cards are not).

But the reality is that this is not a craft that kids can manage on their own. They can help pick out the supplies and create the design, but will not be able to handle the contact paper.

Here’s what you need:


  • Clear contact paper
  • Photos (I used 9)
  • Colorful cardstock (I used Martha Stewart’s 4.5″ x 6.5″ Mat Pad.)
  • Scissors
  • Spray glue (not pictured – more on this in a minute)
  • The rotary cutter and mat are optional – in fact, I ended up thinking scissors were better

Before you begin, lay out nine pieces of cardstock and your photos, so that you know your design ahead of time. Then, take some spray glue and glue your photos to the pieces of cardstock. I learned the hard way that this is the way I should have done it; Instead, I taped my photos to the paper, and later, when I had to reposition the contact paper, the photos came untaped from the cardstock and made everything more difficult.

After gluing the photos, cut two pieces of contact paper that are a little bigger than the layout of your placemat (you will trim it down at the end). If you can somehow flatten your contact paper ahead of time, I’d highly recommend it. I struggled with it curling up on me as I tried to pull off the waxy paper – I needed four hands, or six hands, instead of two.

Take one sheet of your contact paper and lay it flat on the table (adhesive side up, of course). Then lay your nine pieces of cardstock/photos down on the contact paper very neatly.

Now comes the part that, depending on your attitude, is either a nightmare or a comedy show: lay the top layer of contact paper down, as neatly as you can, and lined up as best as you can, on top of the photos.

I can almost guarantee that you are going to screw this up the first time, like I did, and struggle with pulling the contact paper apart (possible, but not easy!) to get out the air bubbles so that the contact paper is smooth and aligned with the bottom sheet.

Once you get the contact paper in place, trim around the edges with a pair of scissors (contact paper is buttery soft to cut through and the cardstock will help guide you around the edges). I thought I’d need the rotary cutter to keep it straight, but I didn’t.

Here’s the placemat:

(Oh, and here’s what the back looks like:)

Here’s a close-up of my trouble spot – see the air bubbles? Even after pulling the contact paper apart and trying it again, I just couldn’t get it as smooth as I wanted it.

On the other hand, the air bubbles aren’t that big of a deal, and I bet if I made a couple more of these placemats, I would find a technique for laying down the top layer of contact paper in a more accurate way. God bless my grandmother who made a dozen of these. The woman must have had the patience of a saint to do that many.

I can imagine many variations of this craft. For example, you could make it doublesided, if you wanted, or use fabric instead of cardstock. I also considered raiding my stationery stash and making a pretty letterpress card placemat. When you think about it, you can sandwich anything you want between two pieces of contact paper and make it fun and pretty. What would you choose?

* * *

On Friday, WordPress featured my “Best $25 I Ever Spent” in the Freshly Pressed section of their homepage, and yowza, did I get a lot of traffic throughout the weekend and a lot of comments! A lot of really nice comments. If you’re new to Charlotte’s Fancy through Freshly Pressed, thanks so much for coming.

Happy Monday!

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