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! :) 

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]

[D.I.Y. FEATURE] Felt rose napkin rings

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Morning folks! I hope you’re having a wonderful week so far.

If you missed it last week, I just wanted to let you know that I did another little DIY for the gorgeous B.Loved Wedding & Lifestyle blog. This time, I’m showing you how to create some cute floral felt napkin rings that’s super fun and easy to do and will add a touch of springtime to your table setting. Not only is it perfect for the home but for weddings or any occasion! You can find the full tutorial HERE.

I do hope you like it. Happy crafting lovelies xx MbM_DIY-FEATURE_NAPKIN-RINGS-02

 [Image credit: ©MadebyMolu]

**This is not a sponsored post but a collaboration with B.Loved Wedding & Lifestyle. All words and opinions, including images, are my own, dictated completely by my love for  DIY and styling**

[D.I.Y. tutorial] Scandi-inspired decorative glass jars

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hey hey hey! How are you all doing? I know it’s so very British of me to do so, but heck…hasn’t the weather been simply divine these last couple of days? Shame it hasn’t lasted very long but its given me so much hope for the summer!

Anyhoo, I’ve been insanely busy plotting and designing for two big styled shoots coming up in a few weeks (and with only week apart from each other!) that I haven’t had much time to work on any of the fab new DIYs I have in store for you guys. So this week’s is a simple one, creating some pretty decorative jars for the home with just spray paint and a permanent marker pen – it’s THAT simple! I’ve been crushing over lots of ceramic and stone hoemware lately especially when you want to go styling your surfaces every now and then, but when you’re having to keep an eye on your purse strings, I opted to create some cheaper alternatives. I’ve been saving a few glass jars, in a few different shapes and sizes, over the past few months with the intention of decorating them so I’d have some cool jars to put flowers in and use as props for my photos. It is spring after all and the flowers need something nice to sit in!! And of course, I went for the minimal Scandi-inspired geometric, monochrome vibe again.

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As I said, all you need for these are glass jarswhite spray paint and a black marker pen.

If you can, find somewhere outdoor to do the spray painting as you don’t want your house/flat to be stinking of the stuff…and it’s not good for you to inhale. If you don’t have any outdoor space then go out into your hallway or use a room that has good ventilation (ie. lots of windows!).

Also, cover your work surface with some plastic sheet or old newspaper because spray paint can get everywhere! Lay your jars out onto the protected area, spacing them out nicely so you are able to get the paint onto them. Hold the can roughly 10cm away and spray across them evenly. The technique being a layering one where you’d apply one even coat and then a second one to get that solid white look.
MbM_DIY-DECORATIVE-JARS-02MbM_DIY-DECORATIVE-JARS-03MbM_DIY-DECORATIVE-JARS-06Once you’ve applied a couple of coats, leave it aside to dry for 10/15minutes before you start drawing on them. They key thing for this look is to keep your designs simple and minimal.If you want inspiration for more Scandinavian-inspired geometric (or folklore) patterns then click here, otherwise you just stick to lots of lines (vertical and horizontal), triangles, swirls etc. You can of course, add colours to this but if you’re a monochrome lover like me then this would be perfect…..and especially for all you lot who are pressed for time!

So what do you think? Pretty effective right, for a 30-minute DIY project? And you can dot these about the house, adding fresh (or faux) flowers to spruce up your place. I must say, I love them and will apologies in advance if you start seeing these a lot in any of my future styling posts :P

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Well, that’s all from me this week. I hope you’ll give these a go and if you do, please share them with me by uploading it on any social media platform and using the hashtag #craftwithmolu so I can find them easily.

Enjoy the rest of your week and happy crafting! :) xx
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 [Image credit: ©MadebyMolu]

[D.I.Y. Special] Paint-splattered Easter Eggs

MbM_DIY-EASTER-EGGS-(MAIN)Morning folks!

We are officially in the countdown to Easter so I wanted to share with you the Easter eggs I made in the week which you can now try out yourself today!  I’m actually quite excited about these bad boys as they’re made of PLASTER! I believe the last time I made anything out of plaster of paris was back in high school so you can only imagine my delight when I decided to use it for this DIY project.

To be honest, while I was pinning away lots of inspiration for Easter, I was thinking to myself how lousy it is to not be able to always keep your egg creations post Easter because they’re far too delicate to store or you just don’t have the space for it. I remember how torn I was about getting rid of the decoupaged eggs I made last year despite hanging on to it for a few months. I know it defeats the purpose of decorating new eggs every year, but wouldn’t it be nice to be able to have a set that you could keep year after year? And that’s when I stumbled across Camille Styles’ concrete eggs. I did weirdly think about concrete but wasn’t sure how to go about finding the perfect moulds for it…….so how genius is actually using your blown out eggs as your moulds!?

Well, I obviously jumped at the chance to try it out. I didn’t have cement on me but there was Plaster of Paris kicking about in the studio (I had bought some for another DIY project I have in the pipeline) so off I went. Be warned that this is quite the MESSY project….but if little neat-freak me can cope, you sure can too! :P MbM_DIY-EASTER-EGGS_01

What you’ll need:

  • Eggs (blown out)
  • Plaster of Paris
  • a craft knife
  • wooden skewers or popsicle sticks to stir with
  • plastic or glass container to mix in
  • paint or any decorative material you wish to decorate your eggs with. (I used black acrylic paint, which I forgot to show here)

Start off blowing out all your eggs so you’re left with the shells. Then measure out your Plaster of Paris and water according to the instructions given to you on the tub. Normally, it’s one cup of water to 1.5cups of PoP. When you mix it together the consistency should be very similar to pancake batter.

Before you pour your mix in, just remember to tape up the hole on the top end of the egg to avoid the mix leaking out! The whole on the bottom needs to be at least a centimetre big for you to be able to pour the mix into. The reason for pouring it upside down is so that when the shell comes off you have a slightly flat edge for the egg to sit upright on.

Once all your eggs are taped up, pour in the mix shortly after its been made, filling it right up to the opening. This is your messy bit of the project especially if you don’t have the most steady hands!

MbM_DIY-EASTER-EGGS_10Once all the eggs have been filled with your plaster of Paris mix, set it aside for atlas two hours. So if you have any errands to run or chores to do, now would be the time for that!

When the plaster has dried, take your craft knife and gently scrap/chip away the eggs shell to reveal your beautifully egg-shaped plaster eggs. Since plaster is a lot softer than concrete, you will need to make sure you’re not taking chunks out of the plaster. You’ll probably find a few marks but that’s all part of the handmade look, otherwise you should have some pretty smooth eggs at the end!

This stage can be a bit time-consuming. It took me about 15/20mins to de-shell all six of my eggs. But hey, it really is worthwhile your time because what you get is simply amazing….as you can see below!!

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Now for the fun bit! I’ve used black acrylic paint for this part but you are welcome to do it in whatever colours you fancy. I went for a very Jackson Pollock-esque style by flicking paint haphazardly onto the eggs. As I said before, for a neat-freak, OCD kinda gal….you’d think this was mental but I must admit I found this rather liberating and therapeutic!

Anyway, whatever you chose to do, make sure you lay some paper or plastic sheets down over your work surface so to avoid Jackson Pollock-ing the rest of your house!! :P Place your eggs upright before you splatter the paint on – this way you’ll get a better chance of an all-round coverage. MbM_DIY-EASTER-EGGS_15MbM_DIY-EASTER-EGGS_16

Once you’ve had your art attack moment, leave it aside to dry. Depending on the type of paint you use, this can take from 20 minutes up to a couple of hours! So if you’re the impatient type, definitely opt for a quick drying paint!

And there you have it folks! You’re very own paint-splattered eggs which you can use all year round and year after year! Probably not toddler-friendly especially if you have throwers in your family but I can say that if you mix in a bit of coloured paint into the plaster mix, you can indeed use the eggs as big giant chalk for your kiddies. There are lots of tutorials out there for that if you want to check that out.

In the meantime…..please stop and admire these monochrome BEAUTS! Sorry, I’m just so delighted at how well they’ve turned out and how much of a KID I felt making them! I really REALLY hope you’ll give these a go this weekend if you’re still looking for ideas to decorate your Easter table. And if you do, share them away on Facebook, Twitter or IG and tag #madebymolu and #craftwithmolu so I can have a nosey.

Happy crafting guys and have a wonderfully restful Easter weekend!! xxxx
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[Image credit: ©MadebyMolu]

[D.I.Y. tutorial] Scandi-inspired geometric shower curtain

MbM_DIY_SHOWER-CURTAIN-MAINHey folks! I hope you’re all having a good week so far. It’s back to the grind for me today after a long refreshing weekend away in the rural countryside of Northern Ireland, spending some much-needed time with my parents-in-laws. And boy, have I loads to do but I’m glad for that bit of time away. You cannot beat the peace and quiet nor the fresh air every once in a while as London can get a bit crazy and suffocating at times.

Anyway, I’ve got a super simple DIY this week that will help spruce up your bathroom in 30 minutes! Our shower curtain was due a change and while I like my minimalist all-white look, I thought perhaps this time I’d add a bit of a scandi-monochrome touch to it with a simple geometric motif. And there really isn’t much to this which is great if you’re looking for a quick, budget-friendly makeover!

MbM_DIY_SHOWER-CURTAIN-01What you’ll need:

  1. plain white shower curtain (mine was a Sainsbury’s basics)
  2. permanent markers (sharpie or Pilot)
  3. card (to use as a template)
  4. scalpel, stanley knife or scissors,
  5. ruler

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Take your piece of card and cut out a couple of triangles – you can freehand draw/cut these or use a ruler but go for a more abstract version instead of an equilateral one….i.e. you don’t have to have perfect even edges/angles! This cut out will act as your stencil. Now, you can directly draw them onto the shower curtain but I do find that this will help when it comes to filling the triangles out and avoid you going over the lines. It’s your call!

Once that’s done, spread out your shower curtain over a large working surface – whether it’s your dining table or on your floor. And then place your stencil onto the plastic sheet and draw away using your permanent marker. I would start from one side to another or bottom up. Again, do what’s comfortable to you.

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And voila!

It really is insanely simple! And you don’t have to go for triangles like me. You can totally go for other Scandic-Inspired motifs or do some amazing colour-blocking too using spray paint! For that, all you got to do is just tape up the areas you don’t want the paint to cover and do it in sections. You could have a bold yellow and pink strip running across the bottom. Or perhaps be brave and write some inspirational quotes with the permanent markers….the options are endless! :)MbM_DIY_SHOWER-CURTAIN-08So folks, let me know if you give it a go or if there’s any other cool shower curtain ideas you’ve done yourself before or seen on Pinterest etc. I do hope you’ve liked this one, particularly for its simplicity!

Enjoy the rest of your week and I’ll be back with more creative antics. xx

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[Image credit: ©MadebyMolu]

[D.I.Y. FEATURE] Scandi-inspired cork placemats

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Hi guys! I hope you’ve all had a lovely weekend and that your Monday has kicked off well for you.

Well, I just wanted to share with you a recent DIY tutorial I did for the gorgeous B.Loved Wedding & Lifestyle blog as part of being their contributors team. It’s a simple Scandi-inspired set of cork placemats that would, in fact, go really well with most tableware and dining interior style you have. You’ll find the full tutorial HERE, if you fancy giving it a go. The whole things takes roughly 30-40 mins (if you have 6 mats to do) and around 15 minutes to air dry.

Hope you like it! xx

 

**This is not a sponsored post but a collaboration with B.Loved Wedding & Lifestyle. All words and opinions, including images, are my own, dictated completely by my love for  DIY and styling**

[D.I.Y. Tutorial] Faux Billy Buttons for your home!

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Hey folks – I hope you’re having a lovely week so far! Mine’s been pretty busy since last week, with lots of exciting projects on, which thankfully vary in style and content (from sign-painting to wedding stationery to branding jobs) which definitely keeps me challenged and the creative juices going! Who’d have thought, that I’d finally be able to say…I LOVE what I do!! :)

Well, to add to the varied bunch of creative projects this week, I’ve got a fun little DIY for you, creating your very own faux Billy Buttons (aka Craspedia). The idea for this came from…well, not having any at home when you badly want them and not having great florists near me that sell them. I’ve been a huge fan of them for its sheer minimal appeal and vibrant pop of colour. You’ll probably see many of these bad boys bracing many lifestyle and design blogs and magazines. They really are the best and great to have both fresh and dried. So, when you’re frustrated with not having any at hand……you go make yourself some….obviously! ;)

Unlike the cute felt ones I’ve seen out there, these are made out of sugar. Yep, SUGAR and lots of styrofoam balls!

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What you’ll need:

  1. Sugar (preferably white granulated sugar)
  2. Styrofoam balls (1/1.5 inches in width) which you can get off eBay or Amazon
  3. a little dish to mix the glue and water (and another one for the sugar!)
  4. yellow spray paint
  5. PVA glue
  6. wooden skewers or anything to prop the styrofoam balls during production
  7. paintbrush

(I forgot to include the following in the supplies image)

  • large sheet of plastic or lots of newspaper to lay down on your working surface
  • steel wire (anything between 0.6mm to 1.0mm in thickness)
  • florist tape
  • wire cutters
  • vase of your choice

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What you need to do:

Start by inserting the skewers into the styrofoam balls (some come with holes in them, if not just puncture it ever so gently) This will make things easier for you when it comes to applying the glue and paint without getting your hands messy! Once they’re all set to go, take the PVA glue and squeeze some out into the dish and add a touch of water to it to thin it down a little – this is just to make it easier to cover the surfaces without any thick clumps. Pour out some sugar in a separate little bowl/dish.

Take each styrofoam ball at a time and cover it thoroughly with the glue using a brush and quickly twirl it around in the sugar. Make sure you get the sugar all over and avoid any bald spots! Place them aside in a jar until it dries completely. This should take 10-15minutes. In the meantime, lay out plenty of sheets of newspaper or large sheet of plastic sheet (even bin liners) across the worktop/work surface for the spray-painting stage.

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When all the sugar-coated styrofoam balls are dry, take them one at a time and gently apply your yellow spray paint onto them, giving them a nice even cover. Hold the spray paint can at least 10cm away from the ball when spraying. Again, set them aside to dry. You’ll find that the pray-paint acts as an additional adhesive coat to hold all the sugar together. Don’t worry if you have a few dropping off during this course of the stage, which is why it’s always good to get plenty on early on.

Once they’ve all been spray painted, the next step is to create its stems out of wire. Now, you can use the wooden skewers as the stems (obviously, replace them with new clean ones!) but I do prefer the wire ones as they’re more malleable should you need more flexibility in the way you arrange them later.

MbM_DIY-TUTORIAL_BILLY-BUTTON-03So yea, get some of your steel wire (if you have thin ones then just double it up a couple of times to make it to the right thickness you need) and cut them down to your preferred lengths. I’d suggest about 20cm and if they need to be shorter at any time (because you change vases) or want to have a slight play in height, you can just bend the ends. Now, cover the wire completely in florist tape and then replace the skewers with these. You can add a touch of glue to the ends before you insert it in just to give it more support when they’re dried. Do be gentle when you handle the sugar-coated styrofoam balls at this stage to avoid knocking any sugar off.

Place the into your vase….et, voila! You’ve got yourself some funky DIY Billy Buttons for the home and for all those cool styling shots you want to photograph :) I’m pretty certain they’ll be making an appearance in my Styling the Seasons posts over the next couple of months or on some of my social media images :)

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I’ve got say, I’m pretty please with them even if they may look like cheese ball crisps in these photos (the lighting was shocking at the time and I tried in vain to edit it). Why don’t you have a go and let me know how you get on? Go style that surface at home with these amazing, DIY, sugar-coated Billy Buttons! You’ll be surprised at how effective they look with springtime right around the corner!!! :D

Enjoy the rest of your week folks and really hope you liked this xxx
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[Image credit: ©MadebyMolu]

[D.I.Y. tutorial] Personalised hard covers for journals

MbM_DIY-TUTORIAL_JOURNAL-COVERS-mainOkay, so here’s how to make personalised hardback covers for your journals and sketchbooks, like the ones you saw in my February Styling the Seasons post a couple of weeks back where I used the Laura Ashley Blue Bird Seaspray wallpaper to spruce up some new notebooks. You don’t need to use wallpaper but if you have any left overs then perfect, otherwise any kind of pretty patterned paper will do!

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What you will need:

  1. Wallpaper scraps, wrapping paper or any kind of textured/patterned paper you have kicking about
  2. Glue or double-sided sticky tape (something strong enough to bind cards together)
  3. Scalpel or Stanley knife
  4. Spray Mount (or similar spray-on adhesive)
  5. Cutting mat (and a steel ruler!)
  6. Notebooks (anything cheep and cheerful, like the 5-pack ones you get from Muji, that you can bond together or go for a thick one)
  7. Thick card (about 2-3mm thick)

MbM_DIY-TUTORIAL_JOURNAL-COVERS-01Firstly, stick your notebooks together to make up one thick one (ideally, you want a spine that is at least 2cm thick) or go for one that’s already thick to skip this part. If you opt for putting bind a few together, then you can do so by using glue (hot glue, UHU or PVA) or double-sided sticky tape. Leave it aside to dry and place a couple of heavy books on top to help it stay in place.

In the meantime, get the wallpaper and the sheet of card and glue them together using Spray Mount. Make sure you apply a nice even coat of this so to avoid any chance of the paper peeling off over time. Put this aside for a few minutes, with some heavy books on top. Once it’s dry, measure out the exact width and length of the piece you’ll need to cover the sketchbook, using the sketchbook as a guide. I would add an extra 1mm to the edges just to be on the safe side – it’s a lot better to have the cover 1mm or two bigger than it falling short to reveal the edges of the notebook. Also, when marking out the width of the spine, (big note: make sure this is marked out on the nice patterned side of the card) allow half a mm leeway too so that when you fold along those lines it’s not sitting too tight against the book. This will prevent the hard cover from being too stiff to open once stuck down.

Once the long strip of card has been cut down, take your ruler and scalpel/stanley knife and score down along the fold lines you marked out for the spine. Remember to score on the patterned wallpaper side of card for the fold to bend the right way! (You’ll see what I mean, when you’re doing this). When you’ve scored along those two lines, gently fold along it. You’ll know if you’ve scored well if the card bends easily without creasing or damaging the paper, and you have a clean fold. :)

Check the notebooks against the cover to double-check the fitting before you proceed onto the gluing phase. If it’s all great to go, then get your glue and apply it to both the inside faces of the back and front cover, and press them tightly against the notebook. You can apply glue to the spine but I’d advise otherwise as it does give it a lot more flexibility when you open the book. Make sure you apply some heavy books on top of this while you wait for the glue to set….give it a few minutes, and voila! You’re very own personalised hardback journals! You can of course, embellish and customise it further by adding a contrasting colour to the spine or add either rubber bands or ribbons to tie your book shut. It really is up to you how you decorate it further.

What do you think? Pretty darn effective right? Well, I hop you enjoyed that and if you have any questions, just drop them in the comments section. Let me know how you get on! Happy crafting folks! xx

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[Image credit: ©MadebyMolu]