DIY Block Print Stamped Tea Towel

diy block print tea towel

how to stamp with potatoes

Hey there! It’s Melissa from The Happier Homemaker back again with a fun and easy DIY tutorial you can even get the kiddos involved with! I’ve been noticing block printing coming up a lot in my home decor magazines and catalogs lately. Last week when I was prepping a little rainy day potato stamping activity for my 3 boys, I decided it may be time to try a little block printing DIY of my own.

Supplies:

  • Flour Sack Tea Towels
  • Large Raw Baking Potato
  • Knife
  • Craft Paint
  • Fabric Medium
  • Iron and Ironing Board

Instructions:

Cut your potato in half and use your knife to {carefully} cut your design.  Simple shapes work best for this type of stamping.

diy potato stamped towel

On a paper plate, or paint palette, mix your craft paint with fabric medium in a 2:1 ratio (or according to fabric medium instructions.) [Read more...]

Chalkboard Memo Board – The Time I Made a 4th Grade Teacher Use a Power Tool

DIY Chalkboard Memo Board (4th grade project) | Pretty Handy Girl

DIY Chalkboard Memo Board (4th grade project) | Pretty Handy Girl

Before the end of the school year a REALLY GOOD friend of mine asked if I would give a talk in her daughter’s class about what I do for a living. I hemmed and hawed because I rarely have the free time. But, the main reason I was hesitant was because I didn’t know how to talk to 4th graders about what I do. Saying I’m a blogger is something that is hard for me to vocalize. “I write a blog” sounds simple and easy. But, in actuality, I do so many other things to make this blog a reality. Just a few of my job descriptions are: writer, photographer, builder, crafter, teacher, photo editor, business woman, manager, social media coordinator, graphic designer, web designer and all around handy girl! How could I explain all of that to the students?

Suddenly, an idea hit me! I would waltz into that classroom and use my platform to break down the stereotypes about women and handy people within 30 minutes (or less!) Then I’d empower the 4th grade students by letting them build their own chalkboard memo board AND use a power tool! Lofty goals, but I felt sure I could do it. Little did I know that the students wouldn’t be the only one empowered.

The quiz:

I started out by talking to the kids about what a handy person is. They shared terms that fit the definition of a handy person: fixes things, builder, carpenter, plumber, woodworker, and home improvement specialist. Then I showed them a slide presentation and gave the kids a quiz asking them to tell me which of these people are handy:

DIY Chalkboard Memo Board (4th grade project) | Pretty Handy Girl

I showed them one picture at a time and as expected, they got all of the answers wrong.

The answers: [Read more...]

Building a DIY Marble Toss Game with Dremel Fortiflex

DIY Marble Toss Game | Pretty Handy Girl

DIY Marble Toss Game | Pretty Handy Girl

The summer is dragging on and the kids don’t have any summer camps for the next few weeks. That means: 1) I need to find a way to keep the kids entertained. 2) I need to keep them from pushing me over the brink of insanity. 3) I need to keep them from pushing each other off a cliff.

engraved-marble-toss

I came up with a fun marble toss game that will keep them busy. It was an easy game to make and I used some of the scrap wood laying around my workshop. Feel free to substitute materials and make modifications.

I enjoyed using the Dremel Fortiflex to carve the intricate letters and numbers. I have to admit I’m enjoying working as a brand ambassador for Dremel and testing their tools.

Let’s get your marble game face on!

Materials:

  • Pencil
  • Ballpoint pen
  • Computer print out of “Marble Toss”
  • Chalkboard paint
  • Painter’s tape
  • Paint brush
  • 12 – 1.25″ wood screws
  • Wood glue
  • 10 – 1″ brad nails
  • Wood putty
  • Acrylic paint: Red & Aqua
  • 10 marbles
  • Chalk
  • Compass or round objects to trace holes (tape roll, glass, quart paint can, and food container)

Optional: White pin stripes

Cut list:

  • 1 – 1/4″ x 10.5″ x 24.5″ plywood (face)
  • 1 – 1/2″ x 23″ x 9.25″ plywood (for side supports)
  • 2 – 1×3″ cut to 8.5″ (for base supports)
  • 1 – 2×4″ cut to 8.5″ (for upper support)

Tools Used:

Instructions:

Begin by drawing a horizontal line across the 1/2″ plywood.

mark-triangle-half

The angle will be approximately 22˚degrees.

22-degrees

Use the Dremel Ultra-Saw (jig saw or circular saw) to cut your plywood board in half diagonally.

cut-on-line-ultra-saw

You should have two identical triangles for the side supports. [Read more...]

Easy DIY Yardstick Star

kona stain yardstick star

easy diy yardstick star

Hi there! It’s Melissa from The Happier Homemaker again and I’m excited to share a super easy little DIY decor project with you today!  A few weeks back I was at Lowe’s on a Saturday morning (isn’t that where we all are on the weekends?) While shopping around I saw a bucket of yardsticks in the paint section and had a stroke of inspiration to create this adorable little yardstick star for my mantel! This was one of my favorite types of projects (simple and inexpensive) and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Materials

  • 3 wood yardsticks
  • Saw (I used a circular saw but almost any type will work)
  • Wood Glue
  • Stain

Instructions:

materials yardstick star

Use a saw to cut each of your yardsticks in half at the 18″ line. Set one segment aside so you have 5 total pieces to work with. [Read more...]

How to: Build a Wall Chalkboard with a Chalk Ledge

wall chalkboard

wall chalkboard

Chalkboards are popping up everywhere (like Brittany’s DIY chalkboard calendar from last week) and you can easily make one, but how about upping the usefulness by making a chalkboard WITH a chalk ledge?  Jaime here from That’s My Letter to show you how easy it is to add a chalk ledge to your chalkboard.

chalkboard with ledge

You definitely need a place to put all that chalk (or chalk markers like we prefer).  This chalk ledge protudes a minimal  1 3/4″ from the wall but still has space enough to hold lots of chalk.

chalkboard with ledge 5

I also attached a galvanized pail for more chalk markers.

chalkboard with ledge 1

wall chalkboard 1

I installed this chalkboard near our back door mudroom area.  Unfortunately the key pad for our alarm system is nearly smack in the middle of that wall.  I simply cut out a square in my plywood using a jig saw to accommodate the key pad.  My kids love their new chalkboard and somehow the key pad isn’t quite so obvious once they start drawing around it.

chalkboard with ledge 2

Supplies:

  • 1/2″ plywood (cut to desired size)
  • 1×2 pine board (cut to length of plywood)
  • 1 3/8″ x 1/4″ thick flat trim moulding (cut to length of plywood)
  • black chalkboard paint
  • blue painters tape
  • stain
  • polyurethane
  • foam brushes
  • drill
  • Kreg pocket hole jig (not necessary but definitely easier if you have one)
  • 1″ pocket hole screws
  • wood glue
  • 3/4″ trim nails
  • countersink bit
  • 2 1/2″ toggle bolts
  • 5/8″ spade bit (check toggle bolt requirements)
  • pencil
  • level

Instructions:

Step 1: Cut your plywood to size, using your Kreg pocket hole jig make pocket holes every 8″ along bottom edge of plywood (on back side). (I used the portable base with automaxx clamp here, much easier that slipping a large piece of plywood into the jig.) [Read more...]

School Library Reveal

Valspar_color_winners

School Library Painted with Montpelier Wedgewood | Pretty Handy Girl

Remember last week when we were picking colors for the school library? Well, I’m back to show you how everything came together!

But first, I’d like to announce the winners of the Valspar paint samples:

Valspar_color_winners

 

Congrats to Bonnie, Lynda, Marion, Cathleen, Joanne, Colleen, Amy H., Nicole, Becky V. and Nancy B!  Be sure to email me with your addresses and final color picks!

page_break_2

To quickly review, we painted the walls and ceiling tiles using Valspar Montpelier Wedgewood. Then we stenciled stars on the ceiling.  After installing the ceiling tiles the library looked like this. Better, but still a bit ho-hum.

School Library Painted with Montpelier Wedgewood | Pretty Handy Girl

I had much bigger plans and was far from finished. I called in some expert help from my friend Leen the Graphics Queen and her husband. They cut and installed all the silver trees and birds. We had an absolute blast working together. There were several birds leftover, so Leen played hide and seek by putting a few birds elsewhere in the library. The kids (and I) had fun trying to find them over the next few days. [Read more...]

Tips for Choosing Paint Colors in the School Library

Tips for Choosing Paint Colors | Pretty Handy Girl

Tips for Choosing Paint Colors | Pretty Handy Girl

Choosing paint colors can be a daunting task. Looking at small paint chips at your local Lowe’s Home Improvement store can be a bit overwhelming. Especially because there are so many colors to choose from! (That can be a good thing too ;-).)

Luckily I have two tips to help you choose the paint color that’s right for you:

1. Use Valspar paint. Finding a paint color you love is easier with Valspar. If you don’t love the first color you choose, you can have another on them. It’s as easy as, love your color, or change your color. That’s the Valspar Love Your Color Guarantee. And it certainly helps alleviate the stress of choosing the right paint color for your room.

2. Create larger paint chips. Looking at tiny paint chips won’t help you conceptualize that color over the entire wall. Making large paint swatches using foam board and sample paints is easy and can save you time when choosing the ideal paint color. I put together this short video to show you how we selected the final color for the school library.

I knew if I could create big paint chips and let the librarian live with the large chips for a few days, she’d be better prepared to make a final decision. As you saw, she was much more comfortable choosing this way.

The winning color was Montpelier Wedgewood by Valspar. And, luckily after we began painting, we all fell in love with the color she chose.

Here’s how we tackled painting the school library (acoustic ceiling tiles and all!): [Read more...]

3-D Snowflake Tutorial by Remodelaholic

Snowflake Tutorial for Christmas

3D Paper Snowflake

Today’s guest is the queen of DIY! She’s all about doing it herself from huge home renovation projects down to small ornaments. Please welcome Cassity from Remodelaholic!

page_break_2

I think it is fun to let your kids get in on gift making, not just buying! Something simple that brings you together as family and doesn’t break the bank? This not so little 3D snowflake is the perfect answer to getting your kids involved!

Supplies:

  • Double sided Scrapbook paper (12″ x 12″ will result in less wasted paper!)
  • Glue, tape or staples
  • paper clips

Instructions: [Read more...]

Decorated Chalkboard Clipboards

Easy Decorated Chalkboard Clipboards | Pretty Handy Girl

Easy Decorated Chalkboard Clipboards | Pretty Handy Girl

Decorated Chalkboard Clipboards are a great little DIY gift idea for the teachers in your life (or anyone who uses clipboards.) I plan to give these to my boys’ teachers with a gift card to an office supply store tucked under the clip.

Best of all, they are a project that the kids can help with. So gather the munchkins around and let’s get started.

Materials:

Easy Decorated Chalkboard Clipboards | Pretty Handy Girl

  • Clipboards
  • Chalkboard or Chalk-like Paint
  • Foam brush
  • Emory board or a scrap of sturdy cardboard
  • White chalk
  • Makeup pencil sharpener
  • Washi tape
  • Small ruler

Instructions: [Read more...]

DIY Washer Toss Game

How to Build a DIY Washer Toss Game

DIY Washer Toss Plans

Earlier this month, I ran across a roundup of super creative DIY outdoor games that Sara from MomEndeavors had put together!  After seeing how this crazy talented group of bloggers were able to build their own DIY outdoor games, I decided to try my hand at one that I’ve played for years at the firehouse when we’re not busy running calls.  So, here’s my quick tutorial on how to build your very own DIY Washer Toss Game! [Read more...]

DIY Star Wars Birthday Party

Fox_geek_shirt

star-wars-themed-party

I have a special guest for you today. Jenelle is a woman who shares my passion for upcycling and creating treasures from trash. She creates at TrashN2Tees. When I say creates, I should say works amazing transformative magic on old shirts and clothing. She turns them into the most adorable shirts and accessories! Like this Fox Applique Geeky Kids shirt:

Fox_geek_shirt

And this too cute for words Hungry Bear Shirt:

Bear_stomach_shirt

But, kids’ clothing is just the beginning. She also sells jewelry made from shirts! Like these funky chunky bracelets:

Upcycled T-shirt Funky Chunky Bracelets

You won’t believe all the cool things she has in her Trash N2 Tees Etsy Shop (First time buyers receive 10% off with coupon code FTB10Off):

Trash_N2_Tees_Etsy

She also launched a clothing recycling program for used, stained or out of style clothing! She’s like the Upcycling Wonder Woman! And, she has a son who LOVES Star Wars. All you mamas of boys know how obsessive our little Jedis can be for Star Wars, right?!

Jenelle knew that her little guy deserved a fantastic Star Wars themed party that wouldn’t break the budget. She did a fabulous job creating a memorable Star Wars Party for very little money. I leave you in Jenelle’s capable hands: [Read more...]

How to Make Thumbprint Design Envelope Pillows {Great Gift Idea}

contact paper silhouete on fabric

Thumbprint seahorse pillow1

Hello, Pretty Handy Girl readers! It’s Cristina from Remodelando la Casa once again happy to share an easy and fun project where kids are more than welcome to give a helping “thumb” :)

Thumbprint starfish pillow2 with tag

Envelope pillows are the easiest pillow covers I’ve sewn and let me tell you, my sewing skills are not that good.  A fabric rectangle is folded to create an “envelope”, four simple straight  lines to sew and your cover is done! No zippers, no Velcro, the envelope holds the pillow really well. [Read more...]

Indoor Hopscotch using Painter’s Tape

indoor_hopscotch_painters_tape

indoor_hopscotch_painters_tape

When the weather outside is frightful and your kids are less than delightful, lay a roll of painter’s tape on your floor and soon your kids will be having fun indoors.

How about that for a quick little limerick? Well, this project is almost as quick. All you need is a roll of painter’s tape (I used ScotchBlue for delicate surfaces, but you can use any type) and a pair of scissors.

scissors_tape

Lay out your hopscotch grid on the floor. (It was easy on our square tile floor because the tile layout acted as a guideline for our course.) [Read more...]

Wine Cork Reindeer – Quick. Cute. Holiday Craft.

materials_cork_reindeer


Welcome to Day Two of 10 Days of 15 Minute DIY Gift Ideas!

10 days of 15 minute DIY gift ideas

I have the quickest and easiest craft for you today. I literally made one of these while I was talking on the phone. I was doodling with some leftover wire from the Plumbing Parts Holiday Decor project and suddenly I was looking at a cute little stick reindeer. And then he asked me to make him some friends, so I did. [Read more...]

Dye Sprayed Shirts Using ScotchBlue Tape {Video Tutorial}

2_shirts_on_line

How many of you are moms (raise your hands)? And how many of you moms out there have rambunctious kids home for the summer? So, y’all with your hands raised will likely recognize this:

That was my cute adorable bird salt shaker that was obviously the brunt of some serious fun my boys were having. Grrrrrr.

And so the time had come to get those boys outside. No matter that the temperature was 102F with a heat index warning. Enough is enough! There was the safety of small innocent birds to worry about.

I came up with a fun plan to let my boys make their own t-shirts with spray bottles filled with dye and some ScotchBlue painter’s tape. The results were beautiful and unique!

[Read more...]

Trick or Treat Bags Using Elmer’s #GlueNGlitter and Recyclables

materials_for_bags

My kids like to raid our recycling bin. They make the most imaginative things out of milk jugs, strawberry pints and toilet paper rolls. In fact, my five year old has been making his own Halloween costume from paper bags and tape. So, when #CollectiveBias sent out a challenge to make trick or treat bags with Elmer’s Craft Bond Glue Spots and Elmer’s Foam Board, I knew right where to head for supplies: Walmart AND the recycling bin! I hereby invite you to join me (and my escort) as we gather the supplies for this project.

Materials:


Instructions:

Start by removing the handles from the paper grocery bag and then cuff the top of the bag by rolling it under two times.

Pick out two sheets of newspaper (I used the obituaries. Truly Halloweeny don’t you think?!) and bring the paper bag and newspapers outside and spray them with spray adhesive.

It is important to wrap the paper bag with the newspapers as soon as possible for a maximum bond.

Wrap the bag neatly like a present with the newspaper. Use clear packing tape to tack any loose edges down. Also add a strip of packing tape to the inside of the bag cuff for extra support for the handle (should your child bring home pounds of candy!)

Take out your sharpie pen and draw lines in a spiderweb pattern on the bag.

Set the bag aside and collect the orange foam board, x-acto knife (with a fresh blade), pencil and the letter print out.

Set the letter on top of the foam board. I usually line the edge of the letter up with the edge of the foam board for less material waste.

Press firmly with the pencil as you trace around the letter. When you remove the print out you should see an indented outline.

Using the x-acto knife, cut out your letter shape. Use a metal ruler to cut straight lines. If your knife starts to tug and pull at the foam board, put a new blade in.

Clean up any ragged edges with the x-acto knife.

Use a few Elmer’s Craft Bond glue spots to affix the Elmer’s foam board letter to the bag.

To create a little spider, glue two pom-poms together with another glue spot. If you have black twisty-ties you are good to go aren’t you special, you don’t have to color them. (I only had white ties so I colored them with the black sharpie.) Wrap four twisty-ties around the middle to create the spider’s eight legs.

Use another glue spot to glue the spider to the bag.

Print out a bat silhouette downloadable template and layer it on top of black poster board. Cut out a few bat silhouettes.

Use a glue spot on the center of each bat to glue them to the bag. Fold the bats wings up for more dimensional interest.

Add stickers (or pre-punched paint chip stars using Elmer’s Glue-All multi-purpose glue) to the bag.

I incourage you to decorate your bag anyway you like. Bust out your craft supplies for inspiration.

If spiders and bats aren’t your thing. How about spooks and spirits?

To add the handles, follow the directions on your grommet kit. 1. Punch a hole in the bag at the top of the bag using a hole punch. 2. Insert a long grommet through the hole. Lay a short grommet on top. 3. Hammer the grommets together using the metal rod tool that came with the grommet kit.

Cut off the sleeves from a t-shirt. Cut two 2.5 – 3″ wide strips. Then stretch the sleeve loop in opposite directions. This will make the shirt material roll.

After you have stretched and rolled the sleeve loops, cut them at the seam. Then thread each end through the grommets on the bag and tie a double knot on the inside of the bag.

Now gather up your little trick-or-treater and give him this unique candy collection bag! My sons’ had the biggest smiles on their faces. Definitely worth the effort to make these bags.

This eency weency spider is my favorite!

Way more personalized than these generic plastic pumpkins, don’t you think?!

Which one is your favorite? I can’t decide, because I love them equally as much. Spook or Spider?

Eeeeeekkk, we can hardly wait for October 31st!

Disclosure: This project has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Elmer’s #gluenglitter #CollectiveBias #CBias. The ideas and opinions shared in this post are purely my own from my own crazy creative head.

Follow up: Well, my youngest loves his bag so much that he told me, “Mom, we should decorate every side with a different holiday.” And that is exactly what he did today during quiet time. I just want to stop time and keep him five forever!

Sharpie Stained Markers – Making a Keepsake Baby Shirt

finished_shirt_first_image

Sharpie just sent me a new line of markers they just released. They are called Stained by Sharpie. The markers are permanent fabric markers and let you get creative on anything fabric, canvas or cloth.

They couldn’t have arrived at a better time. The kids were home for summer break and were itchin’ for something fun to do.

I pulled out some old t-shirts I had stored away to tie dye (several of them had stains on them. So, I had planned to renew them anyway.)

The shirts are easiest to draw on if they are stretched taut over cardboard.

I decided it would be fun to let the boys decorate a baby shirt for their new little niece who will be born in September.

I drew out my words with pencil on the baby shirt. Then started using the Stained markers.

The markers are very easy to use. They will drag or bleed on the fabric if you use too much pressure. But, if you draw lightly and quickly they are just like using a pen.

I doodled flowers and a design using black, purple and green.

Then carried the design over to the back (including a strategically placed bee covering up what might have been a spit up stain. Shhhh, don’t tell my sister.)

Then I called in my little Picassos and turned them loose.

They really had fun coloring in the lines. They left no section of shirt uncolored. (Aren’t band-aids just the cutest on little kid fingers. It makes me want to kiss the little boo boo.)

Our only complaint (being the artistic family that we are) is that we really wanted more colors! A light blue and light green would be nice. With all the colors regular Sharpies have, we hope the company will not disappoint and will soon have the same rainbow of assortment for the Stained Fabric Markers.

I gave the shirt to my sister for the new baby while I was visiting her. She already washed it once and reported that the ink held up just fine.

Isn’t this a cute keepsake for a new cousin? We think so. What would you use Stained markers on? I’m already thinking a plain canvas tote may look nice decorated with some art.

Make Your Own Monster Dolls on Parentables

child_cutting_fabric

I’m so glad you guys like the Saffron Marigold giveaway! Beautiful linens, right?!

And now from beautiful linens to ugly dolls….not much of a segue there, but whatever.

Blue-Blue and Monster - appropriately named

Aren’t they cute?! Okay, they may have a few imperfections, but I don’t want to hear about it because my boys made them! That’s right my 4 and 7 year old boys made their own Ugly Dolls. With a little help from me.

Last week, before I got REALLY SICK, we spent some quality time together making monster dolls. I can’t begin to tell you how rewarding it was to let them take the reins and design their own monster stuffed animal.

My oldest's sketch of what he wanted his monster to look like.

I let them do as much as possible so they could feel a HUGE sense of accomplishment when they were done.

7 year old cutting out the body

My 7 year old really dove in and enjoyed every aspect of making his monster. He even used the sewing machine with my help. My 4 year old needed a bit more guidance and help. He was very tentative about the sewing machine, but I convinced him to push the pedal. After one time pushing it,  he was LOVING puttin’ the pedal to the metal! LOL!

They both were so proud of their monsters. They tote them everywhere and tell friends and family, “I made it!”

Pretty Handsome Boy #1 Sleeping with Monster

I have the entire tutorial for making monster dolls over at Parentables today. So, grab your little ones and head on over. It is a perfect way to spend a summer afternoon together.

 

 

 

Sharing this project with Home Stories of A2Z Tips and Tutorials Link Party.

School’s Out! Summer Crafts for the Kids

Beach_Frame

The end of the school year has come and now it is time to load up on craft supplies to keep the kids entertained. My elementary school friend Megan asked me if I had any summer craft ideas to share.

So, Megan, this post is for you!

Sun Prints!

Glass Bead Character Magnets

Planning a beach vacation? Why not bring a few craft supplies to create some beach themed crafts!

Sand Writing Photo

Sea Shell Memory Game

Beach Inspired Picture Frame

Although this craft was actually created in December, we love to create decorated jars for any season! How about affixing some of your vacation photos on a jar?

Glass Jar Decorating

Finally, this craft is a little more involved (for the parent) but it was well worth it!

Magnetic Mailbox Cover

At the risk of Megan hunting me down and egging my house, this is what we looked like in fourth grade:

Isn’t Megan cute? Me on the other hand, I never had much style to my hair. Just a plain old hippie cut (did I tell you my parents were at Woodstock?)

Glass Jar Votive Holders


 

VotivesonShelf.jpg
Glass Jar Votive Holders

This has to be one of my favorite activities to do with the kids!

Start by saving jars for a month or more! Salsa, jelly, vegetable, and baby jars all work well. Soak the jars to remove the labels and scrub any excess glue off.

Materials:
Materials.jpg
  • Clean Jars
  • Mod Podge (or diluted School Glue)
  • Brushes
  • Jar of water to rest brushes in
  • Tissue Paper (I limited the palette to whites and blues)
  • Magazine cut outs, sheet music, stickers, or decorative hole punches
  • Plastic tablecloth or sheet to cover your work area

1. Tear your tissue paper, sheet music, or other paper into small strips and/or cut magazine pictures into small pieces.

TornPaper.jpg

2. Brush a coating of Mod Podge onto the outside of the jar.

1stCoatModPodge.jpg

3. Lay down your first layer of papers. (You be the creative genius here! You really can’t go wrong.)

AddTissueSnowFlake.jpg

4. Coat the top of your paper layer with more Mod Podge and continue until the jar has been covered. It is okay to and encouraged to overlap layers. (Again, you are the creative genius!)

2ndCoatModPodge.jpg

5. Finish your jar by brushing on a final coating of Mod Podge. Be sure everything has been coated.

DryingJars.jpg

6. Rest your votive holders on wax paper to dry. (Did you know that I never buy wax paper anymore? I use recycled cereal bags.) After an hour, flip your jars over to allow the other end to dry.

VotivesonCounter.jpg
Insert your tea lights or use flame-less candles and enjoy!

 

They are so adorable, that after the season has passed, I’ve been known to use these for pencil holders, for makeup brushes or impromptu vases for a bud or two. They also make a great gift from your child to an adoring Grandparent!  What do you think? Are they gift-worthy?