Archive of ‘DIY & Crafting’ category

Adding Swarovski Crystals the Right Way

Add sparkle with Swarovski crystals

I had a weekend of back-to-back feisanna, or Irish dance competitions. It was a fun, tiring and rewarding weekend. I’m excited to share my newest creation, which is these bedazzled hardshoe buckles. Irish dancers LOVE adding crystals to things. Crowns, buckles, even dresses are littered with jewels. I’m thrilled I finished the project (a win in itself) and figured out how to jewel Irish dance buckles successfully. I started decorating the buckles for Irish fair in August, but my experiment with using super glue didn’t go well. So in preparation for the weekend I finally succumbed to using the adhesive E6000 for the first time, thanks to my dance classmate who gave me a leftover tube of it.

Selecting the right adhesive

Here’s what I learned about how to Swarovski (yes I just made that into a verb) your own apparel. I mentioned my first attempt involved superglue. Turns out that’s a huge mistake–cyanoacrylate becomes brittle after time and movement can pop embellishments right off! Lesson learned. Unfortunately the alternative, E6000, is pretty toxic stuff. The Material Safety Data Sheet (MDSM) is available online if you want to know the details, but basically when using it you want to 1) use it as infrequently as you can, 2) wear gloves, 3) be in a well-ventilated area, preferably outside if possible.

How to DIY Swarovski BucklesI used a toothpick to apply a bit of glue to the location of where I wanted the crystal, then used the same toothpick to pick up the crystal from the back and place it on the buckle. It was tedious, time-consuming and full of fumes, but it was so worth it to have fully blinged buckles. Since buying the buckles, crystals and glue adds up, choosing the DIY route doesn’t really save any money. But it does allow for customizing a look that’s not otherwise available (I used half clear Swarovski stones and half Aurora Borealis). Dance trends and fashions are changing all the time and fully crystalled buckles are more on trend, so I might add more crystals later. But for now, I’m satisfied!

What adhesives have been successful for your DIY projects? I’d love to hear advice from other crafters about tips and tricks for successful embellishing!

DIY Patriotic Hair Bows

DIY Patriotic Hair bows

Red, White & Bows

Happy birthday America! (Well, not quite, but I’m posting this a little early so you’ll have time to make and wear these.) This holiday calls for something decorative, preppy and Red, White & Blue. I searched everywhere last 4th for a patriotic hair bow and could not find one.  I was forced to take matters into my own crafty hands and teach myself how to make them. I learned that it’s very easy, as long as you find adorable ribbon and have access to hot glue. I’ve noticed more patriotic bows for sale this year, but making them yourself is a fun, inexpensive option. All you need is ribbon, hot glue, scissors and a hair clip. Here are some very basic instructions for making a hair bow.

How to: DIY Patriotic Hair Bows

1. Cut a length of ribbon twice as long as the length you want your bow. Where do you find stars and stripes ribbon, you may ask? I found mine at my local fabric store–they’re sure to have some this time of year. Ribbon two or three inches wide is best. I used wired ribbon, but that’s optional.

2. Fold the length of ribbon in half by holding the ends together to make a circle and flattening the circle so the ends are in the middle and in the back. Now wrap a smaller piece of ribbon around the center to make the “knot.”  Hot glue the center piece down. So you can see there is no tying happening with this bow–you’re faking it with two pieces of ribbon and some well-placed hot glue.

3. Glue the hair clip to the back. I use a plain bobby pin for mine, but depending on your hair’s density and texture you might need a different kind of clip.

You can also make these bows for your furry friends too. I slid the bow onto the pup’s collar and he looked positively dapper.

Matching girl & dog bowsDogs want to be patriotic too!

Always supervise your pet when he has a bow on, just in case. Perry recommends bows for special occasions only, not everyday wear.

Furry friend patriotic bowYay hairbows. Yay Liberty.

In too much of a hurry to DIY? Get some last minute accessories like these:

Suit & Tie Card Craft for Father’s Day

DIY Suit Father's Day CardThis is the perfect card for my dad, who wears suits and ties almost all the time. But even if the man you’re honoring this Father’s Day isn’t much of a suit guy, you can’t deny that this is a cute card idea and he’ll totally love it anyway.

This card looks hard to make. And it kind of was. But if you break it down, it’s really just cutting and pasting shapes. You could make this card with a lot of measuring and it would probably turn out really good. I’m not the measuring type of crafter (or baker…or cook…) so I used eyeballing and estimating instead of measuring. You pick what works best for you!

P.S. I didn’t invent this design. I sort of lifted the idea from a Papyrus card I saw in Target last year. There are also cards like these aplenty on Etsy if you’re not into DIY.

How to make your own Father’s Day suit and tie card, step by step

You’ll need card stock and scrapbook paper, fabric (optional), scissors and glue, buttons (optional) and a ruler (optional).

First, fold cardstock into a card shape.

Then, choose your suit paper and cut a square the size of the card. I chose a striped scrapbook paper that was double sided, so I could use it for the lapels too.

card tutorial step 1Cut a V shape out of the top of the suit paper.

This step is important! The layers matter. Don’t glue down the suit yet!

First, glue down a square of your shirt paper. It doesn’t need to cover the whole card.

Now, glue down the bottom half of the suit, leaving the top half unglued.

Card tutorial step 2Cut a thin rectangle for the tie. I used fabric for this but paper works just as well and is easier to manage. Glue the tie down to the shirt.

Cut a square for the knot of the tie. Glue down.

Finish gluing the suit down.

Now, cut the lapels. They are skinny triangle shape. Glue them down.

Glue real buttons on or draw buttons if you prefer.

Add a pocket and pocket square if you like!

Super simplified directions:

To recap, or if you skimmed the detailed directions, here is the order to glue things down (learned the hard way):

1. Shirt square, 2. bottom of the jacket, 3. Tie bottom, 4. tie knot, 5. top of jacket, 6. lapels, 7. pocket square, 8. pocket, 9. buttons

You’re done–now for the heartfelt message inside! Happy Father’s Day to all the dads, step dads, grandfathers and father figures out there.

Easy Craft: Painted Pots & Sunny Succulents

Succulents 3 Need a late-winter pick-me-up? Today’s DIY project brings a little desert warmth to you. This beautiful blend of modern and rustic is so simple you don’t have to be crafty at all to attempt it, but it will look expertly created once you’re finished.

It’s perfect for wedding favors (it was featured in my Green Weddings article for Second Opinion), party favors, birthday presents, or to keep on your desk at work or windowsill at home.

SucculentsMaterials To start, you’ll need everything in this picture:

-Painter’s tape


-Optional: gift tags-I made mine out of brown paper grocery bag for a rustic touch.


-Container of acrylic paint


-Terra cotta pot(s)

-Succulent plants, available at home improvement and garden stores. Mine were $3 each. I swear, choosing which variety of adorable miniature succulent to use is the hardest part of this entire project.

Step 1: Using two strips of tape, mark off a off a triangle on one side of the pot, as shown in the picture. Run your fingernail along the inside edge of the tape until it’s secured as firmly as possible. This is important because if you skip this step you will get paint bleed instead of crisp lines. Pay special attention to the apex of the triangle, as bleed is most likely at this point.

succulents 2Step 2: Paint inside the triangle. Use several coats until the paint covers cleanly and completely. I had success with Patio Paint (available at craft stores) in metallic gold. When paint is completely dry, peel off the tape.

succulents 4Step 3: Pot your succulent in the new pot. It’s best if you mix in some sand, rock and gravel to accelerate drainage. Succulents can go a long time without watering, making them ideal plants for the brown-thumbed among us. Drenching your plant about once a month should be sufficient, but it will need lots of direct sunlight, or at least a mixture of fluorescent office lighting and indirect light.

Step 4: Attach your gift tag, if desired, with a twine bow. Gift your plant to the lucky recipient or enjoy it yourself. Gaze at your happy little succulent plant and remind yourself: summer is coming soon!

Love DIY? Check out Quirky Homemade Postcards.

Quirky Homemade Postcards

PostcardI made this as a housewarming note for a friend of mine who lives in another city. I took a large format postcard that was actually an advertisement for a catering company, pasted it on cardstock, trimmed the cardstock to match the size of the postcard, and then covered the address with a blank label. I printed my own caption, then cut and individually pasted the words. On the back (which was solid cardstock), I had plenty of room to write a long message. My friend loved it (duh), even though she didn’t get it for a few weeks because she didn’t know where the mail slot was in her new building.

To make your own postcard, you will need the obvious tools such as scissors, glue and card stock. The hardest thing to find is source material–I was lucky to find such a cute and quirky advertisement. If nothing suitable arrives in your mailbox, you can always print something that you find yourself online. As for the caption, try to channel the ever-witty Anne Taintor, who popularized this retro, self-mocking style of humor with her popular line of gift items. Put aside your inner perfectionist–this is essentially a collage project, so layered paper and uneven edges are part of the charm! Before I mailed my homemade postcard I covered it with a laminating sheet to protect all the layers. One last word of caution–make sure to use enough postage and make sure your creation abides by USPS’s postcard guidelines. Make something cute? Share your creation on The Pink Paperdoll’s Facebook page.

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