How to Cut an Art Mat Like a Pro

How to Cut an Art Mat Like a Pro | Pretty Handy Girl

How to Cut an Art Mat Like a Pro | Pretty Handy Girl

Want to save some money and mat your own prints and artwork? It’s not hard, but having the right tools will really help you cut a straight, clean and beveled mat.

I’ve been giving the boys’ bathroom a little updating and one of the things that I wanted to do was add some artwork. Because the bathroom has predominantly blues and whites, I’ve been sticking with a coastal theme. I decided to create my own art using photos of the ocean.

I found two photos that I took of the boys from past vacations and emailed them to myself. Then I saved them to my phone and ran them through the Waterlogue app (only available for iPhone right now.) The app turns any photo into a beautiful watercolor painting. I’m seriously addicted to this app right now.

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After running the photo through the app, I emailed myself the new photo. Then all I had to do was open it on my computer and print it onto Epson Velvet Fine Art Paper. The paper has a watercolor paper texture and produces beautiful images.

Epson Velvet Fine Art Paper | Pretty Handy Girl

And viola! Instant meaningful art!

How to Mat a Picture Like a Pro | Pretty Handy Girl

Luckily I already had frames on hand to use for this project.

How to Mat a Picture Like a Pro | Pretty Handy Girl

Before cutting the mats, I painted the frames with Annie Sloan Paris Grey and finished them off with Miss Mustard Seed’s Linen. Then I distressed the edges of the frames.

Now, about matting that artwork…

How to Cut an Art Mat Like a Professional:

First, choose a firm and flat surface to work on. Hopefully you have a self-healing cutting mat to cut on top of. If not, you can use thick chipboard or scraps of linoleum, but be careful that you can’t cut through to your work surface.

Materials:

A Note about Cutting Blades:

When cutting mats it is imperative that you have a fresh blade. I sometimes have to use 2 blades per mat. So, don’t be shy about swapping that blade out. If a tip breaks off, it’s going to drag on the mat and won’t give you a clean cut. (Discard old blades by wrapping them in tape to avoid personal injury.)

How to Mat a Picture Like a Pro | Pretty Handy Girl

If you don’t own a mat cutter, you can cut your mat window with an x-acto knife, but you won’t achieve a good clean bevel. Typically, if you cut 2-3 of your own mats, your tools will pay for themselves! The Logan mat cutter I use runs about $50 for the guide and cutting handle.

Instructions:

[Read more...]

The Kitchen Renovation of 2013 – 1 Leak. 1 Year. 1 Woman.

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How I Re-Built My Own Kitchen (after a leak) | Pretty Handy Girl

2013 Could be called the year of the kitchen renovation in our house. Or the year that nearly killed me. Or the luckiest year of our lives. I’m still debating the title. What I do know is that, I decided to take on my biggest DIY project to date. I re-built my own kitchen from bare studs and subfloor.

It started one morning as I was confronted with a foul odor. It’s only describable as that odor that usually lives in the high school gym locker room. I thought my 9 year old son’s feet were starting to stink. Unfortunately a stinky pair of shoes wasn’t the culprit, it turned out to be a very minor leak that turned into a very big kitchen renovation. We persevered through 45 days without a washer and dryer and many months without a kitchen. But, it was like being a contestant in Survivor. I lasted the year of construction; the set backs and sore muscles; and in the end I was rewarded with a brand new kitchen!

Today, I walk into our beautiful kitchen and I know it was all worth it! It was worth all the sweat equity, the daily Advil doses, and the tree falling on the house. If you want to reminisce with me as I recap my kitchen renovation of 2013, here’s your ticket to all the tutorials and posts: [Read more...]

Marbled Picture Frames by Sarah M. Dorsey

Today I am so excited to have the very talented Sarah joining us with a fabulous très frugal DIY gift idea. Sarah is the creative genius behind Sarah M. Dorsey Designs. I am in love with her design style in her home. The coolest thing about Sarah’s designs is that she achieves them on a super frugal budget. Today she’ll show us how to make marbled picture frames in no time for only a few bucks.

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Hi PHG Friends!! This is Sarah from Sarah M. Dorsey Designs. I’m so excited and honored to be here sharing a simple DIY gift idea.

Today may be Black Friday, but instead of buying a gift, think about making a gift. Handmade gifts mean so much more (at least to me :)  Plus you’ll save yourself the aggravation of crowded stores. A win win!

I love the variety of marble paper – adding that to a plain picture frame truly makes them one of a kind! Here’s how I did it.

Materials:

  • 1 sheet of marble paper (available at paper source and blick art supply)
  • Mod Podge
  • Frame (recommend straight front and sides) ** Tip: check your local thrift store for frames, I was able to these for about $1 each
  • Brush
  • Cutting supplies: scissors, cutting mat, xacto knife, metal ruler

Instructions: [Read more...]

North Carolina State Capital Rustic Tray

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Are you proud of your hometown? Want to let everyone know where you reside? Browse 30 fabulous ideas for decorating or celebrating your home state (or town!) Start the cross-continental tour in Indiana at Infarrantly Creative and let each blogger guide you along the route. Best of all, you fly FREE! ;-)

If you’ve made your way around the US and came over from The Graphics Fairy in Maryland, Welcome! (East Coast represent!)

Here is today’s State Pride Week line up in case you missed anyone:

  • Maryland – Karen @ The Graphics Fairy
  • North Carolina – Brittany @ Pretty Handy Girl – You’ve Arrived!!!
  • Kentucky – Traci @Beneath my Heart
  • Tennessee – Gina @ Shabby Creek Cottage
  • Michigan – Chris @ Just a Girl
  • Illinois – Jennifer @ Jennifer Rizzo
  • Wisconsin – Amanda @ Crafts By Amanda

And you can always check out the full line up. Today, I’ll be showing you how to make a rustic tray (or shadow box art) with your favorite city, state or map inside!

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Materials: [Read more...]

Building a Window Seat with Storage in a Bay Window

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You know when you dream about the finished product on something that you’ve been planning for a long time? And then you finish and your dream becomes a reality? And you think to yourself, am I still dreaming? All those sentiments and more have been going through my head since I finished the built-in window seat in our bay window. This seat is devine! In fact, I’ve begun calling it the Queen’s seat in the hopes that it will deter any male folks from claiming it in our household.

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Several of you have asked for the tutorial to build the window seat. I have that for you, but I want to mention that this is a slightly more advanced project. Halfway into writing this tutorial, I realized there was no way I could show you each and every cut, step, and trick without this being the world’s longest blog post/tutorial. If you have some basic carpentry skills (you know how to hammer, nail, use some power tools and you know how to attach a 2×4″ securely to a wall), you should be able to handle this. With that being said, I do want to offer any help if you should have any questions during the process of building this bench, please feel free to email me and I will do my best to help you.

I also want to mention that I did have to move the HVAC vent forward so it came out the front of the window seat. Here’s the tutorial to move a floor vent. I do want to caution you against building over a vent. We have a bookcase that was built over the register and the wood inside grew mold because there wasn’t enough force to blow the air and moisture out the front of the bookcase. Just a warning, don’t take the easy way out.

Basics for Building a Built-in Window Seat in a Bay Window: [Read more...]

DIY Beadboard Picture Frames

DIY Beadboard Picture Frames

DIY Beadboard Picture Frames

Last month Matt showed you all how to build a decorative shelf with crown molding for our half bath. The shelf is perfect for the space and I love it. Unfortunately something felt like it was missing from the shelf. After some thought I decided that our shelf needed picture frames! Beadboard picture frames to be exact.

DIY Beadboard Picture Frames

Today I am going to show you how to DIY your own beadboard picture frames! [Read more...]

Easy Pounded Flower Gift Ideas

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Spring is almost here and pretty soon there will be countless flowers awakening from the cold winter slumber. When that happens you can pick some blooms and turn them into easy gift ideas, like a framed quote or a paper-wrapped vase? The resulting paper from this craft almost resembles high end (and expensive) handmade pressed flower paper. [Read more...]

Patina Hook Frame

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This little key hook frame was incredibly easy to make and would make a great gift for a new homeowner or that college student who is moving into a new apartment. (Or for that special someone who is always losing their keys.) [Read more...]

Creating Open Frame Radiator Screen Cabinet Doors

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A few months ago when I got the call that Woman’s Day wanted to send a photographer to photograph me and my garage, I kind of freaked a little. I mean, it was my garage, the least attractive room in our house! Part of the unattractiveness stemmed from my workbench with a huge gaping hole in it.

It was suggested that I could just cover the hole with some fabric (which, yes, I could have done.) But, being that it is my workshop and a sawdust producing place, I felt I could do a little a little better than just some fabric. I decided to build custom doors for the opening. Luckily they turned out to be less of an involved project than I originally anticipated. (I love when that happens.)

Come on in the workshop and I’ll show you how I built these open frame cabinet doors. [Read more...]

Charm and Character – A House Tour

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Today you have been invited to take a house tour at my friend Holly’s home. Holly is a good friend of mine, so luckily I didn’t have to beg too much for her to let us into her home. But, before we go in I want to tell you a little more about her. She wears many hats. She is a wife and mother of two boys first and foremost. But, she also runs Storywood Designs, a furniture refinishing business and Framed by Storywood, her Etsy Shop. She has a wonderful eye for color and design (which is evident in her furniture pieces and home décor.) When I first walked into her home, I knew I could live there and not have to change a thing.

Holly and her husband bought their 1980 home a few years ago. There were plenty of touches from previous owners that she worked with or covered in a creative way. I scanned the real estate flyer (sorry about the quality) to give you an idea what their house looked like when they bought it. The changes they made are phenomenal and yet they didn’t break the bank to do it.

Are you ready for the tour? Wipe your feet and come on it. Do you like the initial on her door?

She sells them in her Etsy shop!

Here we are in the living room, but this is what the room looked like a mere 3 yrs. ago:

And here is the living room today!

I know armoires are starting to go out of style, but this one is gorgeous with the cut out panels! If she ever tries to get rid of it, I’m grabbing it!

They painted the fireplace white and it really brightens up the room. See, I can appreciate a painted white fireplace, even though I repainted ours to look like brick.


I love all her fall décor. Especially the lit pumpkins on the hearth.


Beside the fireplace are sweet built-in cupboards and cabinets with wood countertops. It adds charm to the small niche.


Now we make our way into her kitchen  — my favorite room and the most stunning transformation. This was the kitchen before:


Get ready to catch your jaw before it hits the floor.





The pendant light adds lots of warmth and texture to the space.


Adding corbels under the upper cabinets was a genius idea for adding instant charm. I am itching to do the same thing to our kitchen cabinets. When I do, you can be sure I’ll share a tutorial.




Holly and her husband made the kitchen table. The wood was whistling for my attention the entire time I was photographing the kitchen. And with lines like this, how could I help but stare?




By removing many of the upper cabinet doors they made the kitchen feel larger and more airy.




Did you see those little decorative tiles? Would you believe that they had hideous country scenes before. Holly simply painted over the scenes and added a stencil! What a smart idea!



Just in case you wondered (because I definitely wanted to know), the base cabinets got a coat of white sage paint by Olympic. (Holly says that Olympic discontinued the color so Lowe’s had to custom mix it in their kitchen and bath enamel paint.) The top cabinets and walls are painted Benjamin Moore Lancaster White.


Setting out a little lamp adds some warmth to this corner of the kitchen.


The breakfast area has built-in benchs on two sides. The pillows make the space feel cozy.



One of Holly’s frames turned into a chalkboard:


Okay, right this way to the dining room.


I really want to display my blue and white china like she has done on this wall.


Adjacent to the dining room is her sitting room. Here is the before picture of that room:


She and I (well mostly Holly) just repainted the room a very neutral gray. I can’t believe what a big difference it made.



The china cabinet is a recent refinishing project that Holly just completed. The distressing on this piece is perfect!


Check out those layers of paint and glaze. Scrumptious!


And the bowed front and curved glass make this cabinet unique.


Speaking of distressing, here is another one of Holly’s tables that she refinished. This little table would make a perfect breakfast table or just a side table. It is for sale right now!

I’m jealous of her talent. Maybe I can convince her to take me as her understudy.


Thank you Holly and family for letting us tour your home. Your hard work really shows in your beautiful home.

Magnetic Art Display Frame

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I don’t know about you, but I’ve been fighting a losing battle lately. I have begged, yelled, and threatened my boys to stop putting stickers and tape on the walls.

I think my youngest one upped me, he put tape and stickers on his door! I had given up the battle until I came across this magnetic chalkboard from Less-Than-Perfect Life of Bliss:

 

And this burlap bulletin board from Between Blue & Yellow:

 

Those two boards got me thinking. If I married the two ideas, I could have a magnetic fabric display board! Luckily I have a stash of old picture frames in the attic. I grabbed the biggest one I had and painted it black and within a few hours I had a magnetic display board for my son’s door!

Here is how to create your own:

Materials:


  • Painter’s Drop Cloth
  • Contrasting Decorative Fabric
  • Double sided fusible interfacing
  • Scissors
  • Sheet metal flat sheet* ($10 in duct work aisle of Lowe’s or Home Depot)
  • Duct Tape
  • Sharpie Marker
  • Tin snips
  • Gloves
  • Picture frame
  • Double sided foam tape (optional)
  • Strong magnets

*Be sure to bring a magnet to test the sheet metal. Some of them aren’t magnetic.

 

Instructions for making the magnetic frame:

Start by measuring the opening in the back of your frame. Mark those measurements on the sheet metal using a sharpie marker.

Using tin snips, cut the sheet metal. Believe it or not, this was very easy, but gloves are a must because the edges are sharp.

Cut out the drop cloth about two inches larger than the sheet metal. Trim the corners off the fabric.

Fold the edges over and secure with Duct Tape.

Did you know that Scotch has a whole line of Duct Tape? There are five different kinds, and they each have a different use! REALLY! See for yourself.

I didn’t know about them either until they sent me these to try out. I haven’t used them yet, but I will be soon. And I promise to tell you what I honestly think. Until then, I wonder how I could make them into a cool vase.

 

Instructions for Applique Monogram:

To add an applique to the fabric, print out a large letter from your computer. Then fuse a square of fabric (large enough to fit the letter onto) to the double sided fusible interfacing. Follow the instructions on the interfacing package.

Pin the printout on top of the fabric and cut it out.

Peel the back off the interfacing …

…and iron it onto your fabric covered sheet metal.

Make sure the letter is securely fused to the drop cloth.

Insert the board into the frame.

Secure the board into the frame by using a staple gun and stapling at an angle into the frame.

Add a wire or hanger to the back of your frame.

Hang the frame on the wall, door, or wherever you like. Because I was hanging the display frame onto the door (and because 4 year olds are notorious for slamming their doors), I added some double stick foam tape to the back side of the frame.

YES, I know what I said, but Mommies are allowed to use tape ;-).

I used some of the glass bead magnets we made last summer and now my son can put up his artwork and stickers without incurring the wrath of Mommy!

Now that is what I call one handsome art display!


Looking for some more creative ideas for displaying your child’s artwork? Check out my article on Parentables today: 8 Great Ways to Display Your Child’s Artwork.












Hanging Objects on a Wall the Right Way (the First Time)

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It’s a jolly good day, wouldn’t you say?! Did you watch the Royal Wedding this morning? Or did you DVR it to watch later  (like I did.) I hope you enjoyed my photos from London and didn’t mind the diversion.

Now I’m back into DIY tutorial mode for the time being. Today you can get a double dose of Pretty Handy Girl! Can I get a “WOOT!”

First up I will be showing you how to make Cubby Shelves out of a Bread Crate and a wooden pallet.

And the best part about this project is it doesn’t require any nails or screws! To view this tutorial you will want to head over to visit with the very lovely and very beautiful Amy from Positively Splendid.

Not only is she as beautiful as Kate Middleton, but she also possesses the talent to create a royal wedding gown. Too bad Kate didn’t call her to design her dress. Amy is a sweetheart and a fellow blogger I met at Blissdom. You will just love her blog!

After you have read my tutorial (and gobbled up several of Amy’s tutorials) you can slip back over here to learn how to hang almost anything on the wall perfectly level and plumb the first time. I’ll be showing you how I hung my bread crate cubby shelves in the tutorial.

Let’s begin, shall we?

Materials:

Picture Hangers (be sure to check weight limit)

Hammer

Level

Pencil

If your object doesn’t have hooks or a wire yet, you will likely need:

D-ring hooks

Screwdriver or Drill with a screwdriver bit.

 

If you have had misadventures hanging pictures, I have the tutorial for you! Hanging anything on the wall successfully doesn’t have to be hard. All you need are the right hangers and the right technique.

Because my crate didn’t have any hangers attached to it, I needed to add D-ring hooks. Starting on the left, I carefully measured 3″ down from the top of my object. Then made a mark 4″ in from the side. I repeated the same steps on the right side making sure the hooks would be the same distance in from the edges and 3″ from the top edge.

Then I screwed the D-ring hooks into the back of the crate.

Hanging something heavy requires using some different hangers that are rated for the weight of the object you are hanging. Bulldog Hardware sent me some of their rubberized picture hanging hooks to try. These have rubberized tips to keep pictures from shifting or moving (like when my son rushes inside slamming the door behind him.)

In my case, my crate weighs about 12 lbs. filled up. So, I reached for two 50 lb. hangers (Did you forget I have boys that can exert up to 100 lbs. of pressure on anything in my home?)

Start by holding your object up against the wall where you want to hang it.

Make a pencil mark at the top of your object. Set your object down.

Now determine what you want to center your object on. For example: centering the object on a wall;  centering it between two windows; or centering your object on another object. In my case I am centering my shelf on the toilet.

Find the center and make a pencil mark.

Set your level vertically against the center mark.

When the level reads perfectly plumb (straight up and down) you can transfer the center mark higher and closer to the top of your object.

Now, measure the distance between the hooks on your object.

Mine are 3″ down from the top. And let’s say the hooks are 16″ apart.

This tells me I need to install my picture hangers at 3″ down from the top of the object and  8″ out from the center mark on both sides.

Use the level to make sure that both marks are level.

Set the picture hanger against the wall so the bottom of the hook lines up with the marks you made.

Gently tap the nails in with a hammer.

Carefully lift your object and line up the D-ring hooks with the picture hanger hooks. Sometimes it helps to have an assistant for this part.

Pull down on your object and make sure it is secure. Now fill ‘er up and enjoy!

What do you think? Did this method make sense? You can certainly use the same technique to hang pictures or a group of pictures.

 

No Solicitors Sign

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We live on a quiet cul-de-sac in a quiet neighborhood in Raleigh. Things are usually peaceful, but every so often my son’s peaceful naps were interrupted by: DING DONG! And when I answered the door, this is who greeted me.

ARRGGGHHH!

I finally decided to halt the door-to-door salespeople in their tracks. Especially after a neighbor informed me that sometimes these so-called salespeople aren’t actually selling anything. There have been a few incidents of burglary in our neighborhood, and one of the burglars had actually knocked on doors the day before. Apparently he was casing the home to see what homes were empty at what times. And hoping to peek inside and see if there were any valuable items inside. Scary! Especially when I’m home alone with the little ones. So, this got me thinking.

Next time I was at Goodwill, I searched for two small picture frames.  The frames I bought were in good shape, but I added some new paint and glaze to give them a freshened up look.

Then I printed out a simple message on decorative paper and inserted it into the frames.

I definitely don't want to turn away those little munchkins that might be selling something sweet to eat!

I hung one sign by our side door.

And put a second one inside the storm door of our front door.

I can honestly say that we have not had a single unwanted salesperson knock or ring our doorbell since I hung the signs.

I’m not the only one who can’t stand solicitors, Becca from Blue Cricket Design cut some vinyl for her side light by her front door. I can’t help but smile everytime I see it. ;-)

Blue Cricket Design's Sign

Want your own No Solicitor Sign? I’m sharing mine with you HERE!

Writing in the Sand Picture

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This is a fun project to do with your kids (or by yourself) while you are at the beach.

Collect some cool shells, beach glass or driftwood. Use a broken shell with a sharp edge to write your name or message in the sand. Decorate your scene with the shells, etc. Take oodles of pictures. Try different angles and different distances.

When you get home pick out your favorite. And then you can use your favorite photo editing software or one of these great free websites Picnik or Sumo Paint- to make color corrections, cropping, etc.

Print your picture out and put it in a cute frame.

I debated whether or not to add shells and sea glass to the outside of the frame. The kids voted and we decided to add them with hot glue (or you could use E-6000) to the frame.

Then hang your sign on a door or set it up on your desk. You be the boss!

Sun Prints – Easy and Stylish Summer DIY Art (+ how to fake floating frames)

A few years ago while I was trying to entertain my toddler, we made sun prints on a hot summer day.

What! You’ve never heard of sunprints? Well, you really need to get your crafty hands on this hot product. Visit the Sunprints.org website to see all the details, plus a gallery of sunprint artwork!

Okay, don’t feel bad. I never saw it either until I happened upon this pack at our art museum gift shop. I bought some in the hopes of filling an hour of some weekday while waiting patiently for my hubby to come home.

As nature lovers, we collected grass, leaves, and even weeds from our yard. Then we had a blast laying the leaves on top of the sunprint paper. After 2-5 minutes of exposure, we dipped the paper in cold water. It was fun watching the paper turn blue and the silhouetted images appear before our eyes. (Okay, I won’t pretend that we didn’t enjoy playing in the bucket of cool water too!)

Several of them turned out so nice that I decided to frame them as art. Not only did I like the graphic look of the images, but the soft blue colors really appealed to me. I became so attached to the colors in the artwork that we painted our whole master bedroom the light color of the sunprints.

 

 Mimosa tree

Clover

Some weed in our garden

I found it a bit difficult to find the perfect square floating frames. Instead, I found regular square frames at Target for $19.99 a piece, and decided to buy them on the spot.  When I got home I had a brilliant idea on how to fake the floating glass frame look.

After we painted the room, I took some mat board and rolled the wall color on the mats. (It works best to use a mat that is somewhat close to the color of your walls.)

When the boards dried, I used my logan mat cutter and created custom mats.

Can you tell they are matted vs. floating? Maybe if you look close, otherwise, they appear to float in the frame!

So, you are accomplished at hanging three pictures so they are equal distance and the same height, right? If not, check back for my post on how to hang pictures to perfection.

Until then, Happy Fourth of July!