DIY Special | Little heart-shaped Planters

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Well, it’s about time we had a DIY on here! Things have been pretty busy this summer with my day job as a freelance graphic designer so DIYs and fun blog stuff have sadly taken a back seat. But hey, I’m back….and this tutorial posts is actually a special one!

I was approached by the charity organisation Little Hearts Matter back in June about doing a collaborative tutorial for a fundraiser project they’re running this October called ‘HANDMADE HEARTS‘ to help raise money for the charity. If you aren’t aware of the organisation, their core focus – in a nutshell – is offering valuable support and information to families whose children are affected with the single ventricle condition…also known as ‘half a working heart’. From initial diagnosis to treatment to facing real life challenges, Little Hearts Matter are there to help these children and young adults face their difficulties every step of the way!

I was more than honoured to be asked let alone get involved, so to help out, I’ve created this super simple, hassle-free DIY tutorial if you fancy making little heart-shaped planters for miniature succulents and cacti for a good cause! I mean, who doesn’t like a bit of cacti love, right? Especially when they’re sooooo teeny and cute :) Anyway, all the information on signing up to this fundraiser can be found here. So have fun with these and I hope it helps raise some money!

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WHAT YOU NEED:

  1. Plaster of Paris 
  2. plastic cup or jug to mix your ingredients in
  3. tea light candles
  4. measuring utensil
  5. plastic utensil to stir
  6. deep heart-shaped silicon moulds (you can get either this 6-pack one or a large tray)
  7. array of miniature cacti + succulent plants (I bought mine from the Conservatory Archives in London)

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[STEP 01] In a mixing jug, pour out one cup of water and then add two cups of plaster into it (always adding the plaster to the water). Mix them both up until you have a somewhat not-too-runny smooth consistency, like a pancake mixture! If it’s too runny and a little bit more plaster and mix well. You want to make sure there aren’t any lumpy bits in there!

[STEP 02] As soon as the mixture is done, pour it gently into each of the 6 heart-shaped moulds so it’s roughly 5mm from the top. (you don’t want it right to the edge otherwise when you place the tea lights into it, the mixture will overflow!) Take your tea lights and place them into each mould – make sure they are in the centre and not touching the edges i.e. have some of the plaster of paris mixture surrounding it. Press the tea lights down gently so that submerses enough that the top edge is somewhat flush to the top of the mixture. This mould is deep enough allow room for the tea lights without it affecting the shape. If it tries to pop up then place a pound coin or a pebble to weigh it down while it dries. Leave it somewhere safe to dry for an hour.

Now, should you wish to opt for a large heart-shaped silicon pan as oppose to the 6-tray one, what you can do is either dot a few tea lights about or place a plastic cup or the bottom end of a plastic bottle into the mixture. Again, push it down so it’s 2/3rds in and use weights to hold the plastic cup/bottle base down while it dries.

[STEP 03] After one hour, take your moulds and gently pop out your heart-shaped cast out, which should be pretty simple with the help of silicon moulds! Slowly loosen the tea lights (or cup/bottle bases if you’re doing a bigger planter) until it gives and comes out. If the metal bit of the tea lights come out with the candle, try to pop that back into the cast. The reason for this is it protects your planter form any moisture from the soil or from when you water your cacti doesn’t affect the cast. For your bigger heart-shaped planters, if you’re using plastic cups or bottle bases you can either keep them in there and just trip down any protruding bits or take it out and place plastic plant pots in there…depending on the size, of course.

Now, leave these to completely dry for another 4-6hours. This is particularly recommended if you plan on painting it.

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[STEP 04] Now take your miniature cacti and succulent plants and repot them into your freshly made heart-shaped planters. For your larger planters, you either use larger succulents or have an array of various ones like you would do in a terrarium.

And there you have it! Little heart-shaped planters (pretty apt, right!) for your mini cacti! I reckon they have so much appeal you could easily sell them for a fiver or more!  And the larger ones for at least £10-12. mbm_diy-tutorial_heart-planters-10mbm_diy-tutorial_heart-planters-13

Well, I do hope that was all very straightforward to follow. Any questions, just leave a comment below and i’ll get back to you.

If you’re planning to take part in the fundraiser next month please remember to sign up here to get your free fundraiser pack with all the deets. There will be more heart-themed tutorials and recipes shared on all the Little Hearts Matter social media platforms so keep your eyes peeled for those this month so you can get your make, bake and sew on!! This is a great cause so please can I ask you to spread the word around at work, school and home….wherever you are! Oh and if you do make any of these please share your photos of them using the hashtag #handmadehearts so we can all follow and see what you’re up to!

Also, if you’re after more heart-themed DIY inspiration check out this necklace and personalised felt love hearts I did back a couple of years ago which I think would sell too.

Happy crafting folks!! xx
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[Image credit: ©MadebyMolu]

**This post was in collaboration with  the Little Hearts Matter charity, however, all words and opinions are my own, dictated completely by my love for  DIY and styling. If you wish to share any images from this tutorial, please provide full credit to Made by Molu including complete links to this post.**

May Day DIY | Hand-painted Alphabet plaques

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Happy bank holiday Monday to all my UK folks! I hope you’re having a great one whatever you have planned. I really wish 3-day weekends were standard as it never feels long enough to catch up on anything, be it chores or rest! Anyway, I’m savouring it all while it lasts. Isn’t it nuts that we’re in MAY already.?!?!

Anyhoo, after running my first typographic painting workshop a couple of weeks ago for the Fit Brides event, I thought it only seemed fair to share it on here as a DIY tutorial especially if you are big into typography and bold graphics but not quite sure where to start. So here’s how you can create your very own little alphabet plaques….if you fancy doing some art therapy today.MbM_DIY ALPHABETS_01

What you will need:

  1. acrylic paints (or oil if you’re good with it. Just avoid using any thinners or white spirit to avoid any bleeding)
  2. wood off-cuts, preferably MDF or Plywood which you can get from any DIY store
  3. sandpaper
  4. paintbrushes
  5. alphabet stencils (use these templates I’ve created here or go through your font library to see what you can use)
  6. pencils

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[STEP 01] First up, sand down the edges of your wooden off cuts. If you have cut down plywood as I have, then you’ll definitely need to sand down the splintered edges. Cover your work surface and even the floors before you do this to avoid dust getting everywhere. Clean up the dust before you move onto the next stage. When picking out your wooden off-cuts, go for MDF or plywood with smooth grains if possible as it will avoid any bleeding when painted on. If you end up getting pieces of wood with deep/raw grains, try to sand it down and then apply either a coat of wood varnish (or PVA glue!) to seal all the cracks.
MbM_DIY ALPHABETS_04bMbM_DIY ALPHABETS_06[STEP 02] Print or draw out the alphabet template of choice and use the old school ‘transfer’ technique by tracing over the reverse side of the paper with graphite pencil. Then place the correct side up, over the piece of wood and trace over the letter, press hard as you trace so that you’re making sure the graphite transfers onto the wood. If you remember, I’ve used this on earlier tutorials here and here. If you’re selecting your own typeface styles for your letters, try to find ones that are big and bold. You can then add the 45 degree drop shadows and inlines as you please. Most font libraries on your computers have a wide choice of styles…… alternatively, go old school and look for inspiration in magazines or just print stuff online that you can use that to trace around.  
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[STEP 03] Once your letters have been drawn out, pick your paints and carefully fill in all the areas of your letters. The trick is to keep the brush strokes to a minimal in order to give you that smooth, perfected look. I’m aware this may require some bit of patience and a steady hand but don’t get too frustrated if it doesn’t go all too perfectly – just enjoy the process of painting it all in. If you’re unsure what colours to pick for your letters especially if they involve drop shadows, outlines and inlines do a bit of research on Pinterest or Google images for some typographic inspiration. The idea of drop shadows are so that your letters pop and look more 3D so if you use a bright light colour for the main outline, go for something dark for the shadow. Or vice versa. Experiment and have fun!

MbM_DIY ALPHABETS_08MbM_DIY ALPHABETS_09So, there you have it folks! I do hope you enjoy this one – not only is it a fun bit of art therapy but it actually makes for excellent gifts and keepsakes! Let me know how you get on if you give it a go…..and if you decide to share it on any social media platform, please do include the hashtag #craftwithMolu so I can easily find them and have a good nosey at your fab creations! :)

Enjoy! xxMbM_DIY ALPHABETS_10

[Image credit: ©MadebyMolu]

**The small print** Please note that these free printables are to be used for personal use or for classroom projects. They cannot be altered, edited, or changed in any way nor sold or reproduced on any commercial level. All these designs are by me and I would therefore, be grateful if these T&C’s are complied to. If you’d like to share this blog post, by all means do so but kindly provide full credit link to Made by Molu. Thank you so much! :) 

New Year DIY | Typographic paintbrush holder hack

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Hello Hello!

How’s the last week of January going? I’ve been trying to get my tax returns all done and dusted amidst all the madness that’s work and life – which I had hoped to have done over the christmas holidays but alas, I wasn’t as organised as hoped. Nearly there though!

Anyway, I’ve been making some changes with the blog content just so I’m able to juggle that more efficiently around my current demanding and somewhat haphazard nature of my workload. I realised it got left on the back burner the latter half of last year so one of the big changes is setting realistic goals for scheduled posts like my DIYs. I’ve decided that I’d stick to monthly posts as opposed to the very optimistic weekly one that I thought was a great idea back in 2013! So on that note, here’s my first DIY for the new year! :)

Like the decorative plate DIY I did last year, this one combines my love for typography and homeware to customise a ceramic vase I picked up from a Tiger store. I’ve had the vase for quite sometime with the hope that I’d do something with it but never got round it until i realised I needed a replacement container for my brushes in the studio.
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What you’ll need:

  • Plain ceramic vase (mug or plate)
  • Sharpies or permanent markers
  • Printouts of your chosen text (or trace it out)
  • washi tape & pencil (not pictured above)

[STEP 01] Once you’ve set your text to the right size to fit the vase (mug or plate), print it out or trace over it onto either plain or tracing paper. Then, on the reverse side of the paper, trace over your text (again) with graphite pencil – you’ dont have to be too neat with this but as long as it covers the text. If you’re unable to see the text then, place the sheet on a light box or against a window.

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[STEP 02] Now give the surface of your vase a quick wipe and lay your text the right side up (i.e. the pencilled part face down) and position it so you have it centred. You can cut around the text to get rid of any excess paper if it helps you see the positioning of the text. Then tack the paper down using washi tape.

[STEP 03] Trace over the text again with the pencil but this time, what you’re doing is transferring the graphite from the reverse side directly onto the ceramic surface – an old school technique to place your guidelines for when you free-hand over it. If you make a mistake, you can always easily wipe it off and start again.

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[STEP 04] Now for the fun part….you will need a steady hand for this! If you’re not super confident with fine lines then opt for fonts that you can trace and fill in as a solid text. That way there’s less chances of mistakes. Take your permanent marker pens and over the graphite lines, et voila! I did mine in two colours just to give it a two-tonal effect.

[STEP 05] You don’t have to do this unless perhaps you’re decorating a mug or plate wish you’re likely to use a bit more after it’s decorated but to let the ink ‘set’ place the vase in a non-preheated over for 30 mins at 175 degrees (350 degrees in fahrenheit / gas mark 4)

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It’s as simple as that folks! Your very own customised brush/pencil/pen holder which can work both free-standing or mounted on the wall. You can obviously choose to place flowers in it and hang it up in the house, seeing as it was a vase in the first place! Whatever way you decided to decorate it, I hope you see how simple, easy and fun this DIY, and how quickly you can transform any homeware you have kicking about at home with a quick DIY hack. It doesn’t have to be complicated at all nor do you have to wait for all the right materials or tools! Just look around and see what you have.

Hope this get’s your creative juices going….and i’ll be back with next month’s DIY!

Enjoy xxx
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[Image credit: ©MadebyMolu]

Christmas Inspiration | A little round up of festive DIYs

MOLU_CHRISTMAS-DIY-ROUND-UP 01Sadly, this year has left me with hardly any time for DIYs for Christmas so I thought I’d round-up some of my old time favourites from last year if you’re on the look for some festive creative antics or even inspiration this weekend.

MOLU_CHRISTMAS-DIY-ROUND-UP[All Images: ©MadebyMolu]

So, clockwise from the top:

  1. Chocolate Spoons that make perfect little gifts or favours
  2. Scandi-Inspired cork placemats for your table
  3. super simple Paper decorations for the Christmas tree
  4. Hand-printed Christmas Stocking perfect for your home this yule time
  5. Liberty Tana Lawn fabric Wreath to add a bit of jazz to your door
  6. Free printable Christmas tags if you still have gift wrapping to do!

Happy Weekend! xx

 

 

D.I.Y. FEATURE | Laura Ashley Wedding series – part 4

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Don’t you just love the versatility that you get out of wallpaper? Well, if you like to know more ways to use them, here’s how, with my final wedding installation I did for Laura Ashley. I show you how to go about creating a simple yet visually effective backdrops for your wedding, so, whether it’s for your guest book table, a photo backdrop, or behind your top table, you’d be surprised what a couple of rolls of wallpaper and props can do! Cost-effective transformations too so what’s not to like eh? :)

Hop over to the Laura Ashley blog to read more about it, and if you fancy checking the other DIYs I did for their Make & Do Wedding series. I really do hope you’ve enjoyed these and that I’ve managed to inspire you all to be a lot more savvy and creative when it comes to DIY weddings. Oh and these can apply to any occasion and not just weddings by the way! :)
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[All Images: ©MadebyMolu]

**This post was sponsored by Laura Ashley, however all words and opinions are my own, dictated completely by my love for  DIY and styling**

Blog Hop | How to Print Fabric by Zeena Shah

How To Print Fabric | Zeena Shah

Hey folks! I know its been aaaaaaages since I did a DIY on here (that isn’t wedding related!). So, I’ve got a fun and super easy one today, if like me, you’re completely into printmaking/marking of any kind and at times, don’t have the right resources at hand! It’s also in celebration of Zeena Shah’s new book How to Print Fabric which I’m excited to share with you here through this blog hop series hosted by Stitch Craft Create.

If you’ve been an old follower of MbM, you’ll probably remember all my posts from back in 2013 on this remarkably talented lady, her beautiful hand-printed homeware products, and the couple of workshops I did with her at her East London studio. Some of you may have even seen her pretty face appear on Kirsty Allsopp’s Kirstie’s Vintage Home, 60 Minute Makeover and even The Apprentice! If you still don’t know much about her….seriously, you must check her out. I am admittedly a huge fan of her work and have had the great pleasure to get to know Zeena in the three years I’ve been here in London, so I’m delighted that her first book is finally hitting the shelves next month!

Well, this book is all about making printmaking accessible to everyone at home, which y’all know is exactly my ethos behind a lot of my DIYs on here. It can be frustrating when you suddenly get a creative impulse and realise you don’t have the space or right equipment to produce the ideas you have in your head! Zeena’s book inspires and encourages everyone to not let these hinder your creative flow, with her simple yet practical ‘kitchen-table techniques’ that explores 20 hand printed home accessories using everyday household things – from lint rollers to embroidery hoops! Inspired by the book, I thought I’d give it a try myself….and with time being a luxury these days for me, I felt this was even more apt to prove how simple and effective it can be…if you don’t overthink it all too much! ;) In this instance, I’m using one of my all-time favourite stencilling technique to decorate a plain, undecorated christmas stocking I had leftover from last year which was perfect as it skipped the need for any sewing! Time it took: 20-30 mins, start to finish.

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What you’ll need:

  1. Light to medium weight fabric (or opt for pre-sewn things like cushion covers, tea towels or tote bags)
  2. fabric ink pad or fabric paint (I happened to have both)
  3. scraps of card to under or between your fabric and your worktop
  4. scalpel blade or Stanley knife
  5. sponge dabbers/stipplers or even make-up sponge!
  6. cutting mat
  7. card to create your stencil

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If you’re confident (or more gung-ho in your approach), just free hand cut out the patterns you wish to print otherwise sketch it out first if you need a guide of sort. I’ve kept mine simple (inspired by Zeena’s Furoshiki wrapping cloth DIY) sticking to basic shapes of rectangles and trriangles.
MbM_HowtoPrintFabric-03MbM_HowtoPrintFabric-05Before printing, place some card or heavy weight paper between your fabric so to avoid the ink coming through on the reverse side (important if you’re printing on things like cushion covers) or underneath to protect your worktop. Then place your stencil over your fabric, and use your sponge dabber/stippler to gently dab your ink over it. These are great if you want more precision and control when covering smaller or detailed cut-outs. Also, if you use fabric paint, dab off any excess on some scrap card first before you apply it over your template as this will prevent a blotchy finish. The thinner, all even, application…the better the overall finish!

Repeat this process across your fabric until the entire piece is covered with your pattern. You can do it in sections like I did – either strategically or more haphazardly – whatever way you wish. Just don’t over think it! ;)MbM_HowtoPrintFabric-06MbM_HowtoPrintFabric-07

I added a subtle pop of colour using the red ink stamp pad. Had my cut-outs been larger, I could have used the stamp pad directly onto the stencil to dab the ink onto the fabric however, due to the smaller cut-outs I used a sponge stippler for more control and precision.

And that’s it! Drying time wasn’t that long because the patterns had smaller surface area which was great. I ran the iron over it at the end to fix the ink……and here’s my rather contemporary and somewhat Scandi-inspired stocking! :) Nice and simple!

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[All Images: ©MadebyMolu]

There’s a heap load of DIY projects for you to try in Zeena’s book, each beautifully illustrated and photographed, with step-by-step tutorials and even templates for you to use! So, if I havent convinced you enough with this post then check out what fellow bloggers have had to say themselves about the book here. There’s also some ‘How To‘ video snippets from the book, on the Stitch Craft Create YouTube channel totally worth checking! And if you want to pre-order your copy of the book, just hop over to Amazon or pop over to Zeena’s website if you fancy a signed copy (with a special gift enclosed!)

A heartfelt congratulations to Zeena for this major and truly deserved accomplishment. I look forward to celebrating the big book launch next week!

Have a good one folks and go get your craft on! :) xx

D.I.Y. FEATURE | Laura Ashley Wedding series – part 3

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Remember the wedding DIYs I was doing for Laura Ashley over the Summer (the table place settings and wedding love sign)? Well, here’s the third instalment for their ‘Make & Do’ wedding series, that shows you how to make fun paper pinwheel fans out of wallpaper! So, if you’re getting hitched somewhere tropical, in enviable warmer climates, then these will be a right little treat for your guests – they’re both practical and make lovely little keepsakes that they will no doubt enjoy!

You’ll find the full tutorial over on the Laura Ashley blog.  Let me know what you think and share away if you know anyone who may like this one! :) xx

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[All Images: ©MadebyMolu]

**This post was sponsored by Laura Ashley, however all words and opinions are my own, dictated completely by my love for  DIY and styling**

D.I.Y. FEATURE | Laura Ashley Wedding series – part 2

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Hey folks! I hope you’re enjoying the…..ummmm….sunshine? Seriously, where has the sun disappeared off to this week….just when we were getting used to its warm sunny rays. Anyhooo, I hope this fun DIY will still bring a bit of summery cheer to all you folk in the UK

So, my second DIY for Laura Ashley‘s ‘Make & Do’ wedding series is now up on their blog. I’m showing you how to make this fun LOVE sign for your summer wedding; whether you want to jazz up your dessert table or use as a prop for your wedding photography….the choice is really yours. To be honest, you can make this for any occasion really especially if, like me, you have a thang for all things ice creams and popsicles!!

You’ll find the full tutorial here, where I’ve even given you guys templates to work with (so even less work!!). I hope you have fun with this one and I’ll be back for more in the coming summer months so do stay tuned! Oh and if you want to take a look at the last DIY on how to make floral place settings out of wallpaper, you’ll find more meets here. Enjoy lovelies!! xx

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[All Images: ©MadebyMolu]

**This post was sponsored by Laura Ashley, however all words and opinions are my own, dictated completely by my love for  DIY and styling**

D.I.Y. FEATURE | Laura Ashley Wedding series – part 1

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I was beyond delighted when Laura Ashley asked if i’d be interested in contributing towards their fabulous ‘Make & Do’ series on their blog by introducing their first ever series of wedding DIY. tutorials…and in good Molu fashion I said “I do!” (sorry, couldn’t resist!)

The first of my wedding tutorials is on how to go about creating these pretty floral place settings out of their wallpaper (uh huh!) which I’m so excited to reveal that it’s now LIVE on their blog. So if you fancy making these, you can find the full tutorial over here. Oh and do stay tuned for more wedding DIY inspiration over the next few months and have a nosey at all the other fabulous crafty creations on there too by some other fab bloggers!

Have a wonderful week guys!!! I’ll be mid-air on my way to Washington DC when this post comes through so I will admit there won’t be a lot of action from me over the next 10days but I’ll def try and keep you posted on all the stateside shenanigans via Facebook, Twitter, etc….so come follow me there ;) xxx
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[All Images: ©MadebyMolu]

**This post was sponsored by Laura Ashley, however all words and opinions are my own, dictated completely by my love for  DIY and styling**

D.I.Y. tutorial | Copper Candlestick holders

MbM_DIY-TUTORIAL_COPPER-CANDLE-HOLDERS-00What does a girl do when she has a lot of copper left over from shoots? Make them into candlestick holders, naturally! :)

So it’s been a while on the DIY front (sorry!) and this week I have a pretty cool project for you to try especially if you’re really into your copper as I am (I actually think I may have a problem…!) I had some copper wire left from the time of the two wedding shoots I worked on in the last couple of weeks and been toying with the idea of making a few cool accessories for the house. There were some nice candlestick holders that I had spotted in a couple of stores and even a few floating about online which I had initially looked into making for one of the shoots but then later scrapped because I never got round to testing the soldering gun. Anyway, with these ones…you need none of that but your hands and a couple of pliers! There’s no spray painting either being pure copper. It’s pretty simple and pretty darn effective to if I may say so! :)
MbM_DIY-TUTORIAL_COPPER-CANDLE-HOLDERS-01What you’ll need:

  • Bare copper wire at least 4-5mm thick (I got mine from here),
  • heavy-duty wire cutters
  • pliers
  • long dinner candles
  • and perhaps a bit of muscle! :)

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Using the heavy-duty wire cutters, I roughly measured out and cut how much wire I needed to make the one candle holder. I made two and wanted them varied in height so the longest piece was roughly around 40cm and the second was about 30cm. MbM_DIY-TUTORIAL_COPPER-CANDLE-HOLDERS-03

Now this next bit is where you need a bit of muscle ;) Using your hands try and shape the base of the candlestick holder into a nice loop shape. You want it wide enough for it to be stable and keep upright. I’d say, mind were about 10cm in width. And then you straighten out the ‘stalk’ part so its 90 degrees from the base. Don’t worry if you you don’t this part looking super straight….It’s all part of the handmade look, I say! Just sit it up on the table to see if it stands, and play/adjust accordingly to make it look somewhat straight and balanced! I’m not going to lie, there is a bit of trial and error playing a part here but it is all worth it in the end I promise you!MbM_DIY-TUTORIAL_COPPER-CANDLE-HOLDERS-05For the top bit, where the candle would sit/be held…you need to create a smaller loop in which the base of the candle will sit in, and for this part you will need a couple of pliers to help mould the loop because with 4/5mm thick wire, it’s going to be a lot stiffer to shape. Mark about 7cm from the top, and with the use of your pliers, bend the wire almost 90 degrees at this point for you to then proceed with the gentle moulding of the loop.

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Use smaller pliers to forcefully bend the top part into a loop. You will find that the pliers leave scuff marks on the wire which you can file off later or you could put a bit of foam between the wire and the pliers to soften the indents you make. They’re all marks of your craftsmanship so I personally wouldn’t worry too much about it. Repeat the same thing with the second piece and you now have your very own handmade, organic copper wire candlestick holders! If you got the loop at the tip right your candles should fit nicely otherwise there may be a bit of twisting and perhaps the shaving off of some wax to get it sitting nicely ;) As long as it’s upright and stable…you’re good to go!MbM_DIY-TUTORIAL_COPPER-CANDLE-HOLDERS-04

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It’s not perfect but I do love how they’ve turned out…..and the fact that I can even have them intertwined at the base was surprisingly unexpected! I am one very please copper addict! :)

Well, I do hope you’ve enjoyed this and let me know if you do give them a try someday as I’d love to see your creations or your own versions of them. If you do, please be sure to share them on any social media platform you use, and include the hashtag #craftwithMolu so I can easily find them. Enjoy the rest of the week and happy crafting/making! xxMbM_DIY-TUTORIAL_COPPER-CANDLE-HOLDERS-13

 [Image credit: ©MadebyMolu]