Christmas » 3/5 » DIY Inspired
22nd Dec2012

10 Creative Ways to Display Your Christmas Cards

by Dinah Wulf

Martha Stewart Christmas Card Displays

It’s that time of year when our letterboxes are inundated with little gestures of goodwill in the form of Christmas cards. For many of us, these cards tend to accumulate in a pile on the sideboard, but giving them pride of place around your home is easy and can become an interesting part of your festive decorations. Here are 10 Creative Ways to Display Your Christmas Cards.

1. To display your Christmas cards with minimal effort, just slot your cards in the picture frames and mirrors around your home.

2. For an interesting way of displaying cards with objects you can find around your home just tie a piece of string across the door frames and use pegs to secure the cards in place – a little Christmas card washing line!

3. Many shops also sell ready-made card-hangers to which you can simply fasten your cards. Keep a look out in your local store.

4. Fasten a little piece of ribbon to each of your cards and hang them around your home. Put a rustic-looking tree branch in a big vase for an interesting place to hang your cards.

5. If you have an empty wall, stick your cards to make the shape of a Christmas tree or a star. This can make a great feature for an otherwise un-used space.

6. Tie ribbon around your cupboard doors and use safety pins or paperclips to secure your cards in place.

7. If you have a pin board in your home, this makes for an easy space to display your cards. A cork board can easily be covered with wrapping paper for that extra festive feel.

8. Attach ribbon to a coat hanger and hang your cards anywhere in the house!

9. If you have garlands running around your fireplace or staircase these can make a great place to hang your cards.

10. If you have window shutters in your home, or an old pair hanging around, you can slide your Christmas cards into the grooves.

Hopefully these ideas will give you a bit of inspiration this Christmas. Many Christmas cards have such beautiful designs it would be a shame not to display them!

 

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21st Dec2012

Puerto Rico’s Eggnog Coquito Punch Recipe

by Dinah Wulf

coquito

If you would like to try something different from the Christmas eggnog that you prepare every year; I suggest you try the Coquito. Puerto Rico’s eggnog and it is delicious. Traditionally it is served in Puerto Rico during Christmas, New Year and The Three Kings Day. However, it’s also a great celebration drink for any occasion. Here is Puerto Rico’s Eggnog Coquito Punch Recipe.

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Happy Holidays••• Feliz Navidad•••Feliz Año Nuevo!!!
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Coquito Recipe (Puerto Rico’s Christmas spiked eggnog):

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of Coconut Cream
  • 1 cup Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 cup Evaporated Milk
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 cup Dark Rhum
  • 1 cup Spiced Rhum
  • 1 cup of Water
  • 4 Egg Yolks, well beaten
  • 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier or other orange-flavored liqueur
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 3 Cinnamon Sticks
  • Freshly grated nutmeg for garnish.

Instructions:

Boil the water and the cinnamon sticks, then allow to cool to room temperature (don’t forget to remove cinnamon sticks). In a blender or food processor combine the coconut cream, evaporated & condensed milk, salt, egg yolks and vanilla, and blend at high speed for 30 seconds, or until the mixture is smooth. Add the dark rhum, spiced rhum, orange liqueur, and cinnamon water; blend for a few seconds longer until ingredients have blended completely. You need to add the water because it will get thicker later in the refrigerator. This is also the best time to taste and add more rhum (rum) if you wish to have a stronger batch. Pour the coqui into a glass container, preferable bottles (easier to pour into glasses at time of service). Refrigerate the coqui for 4-6 hours, or until it is thoroughly chilled. Remove from refrigerator about 15-20 minutes (if too thick) before serving, then shake bottle well. To serve, pour the Coquito into a chilled parfait or punch glasses and sprinkle the top lightly with nutmeg.

In a pinch martini or short juice glasses will do :)
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Whenever using an electric blender or food processor always check the manufacture manual to verify safety precautions and or you can crush ice safely when using ice or any hard food substance.
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DRINK RESPONSIBLE & DRINK SMART!HaPpY HoLiDaYs!!!

Check out all of David’s FANTASTIC cocktail party recipes!  Find the perfect one for any occasion.

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20th Dec2012

I’m Dreaming of a Green Christmas

by Dinah Wulf

I’m dreaming of a green Christmas for two reasons! The first reason is because my favorite color is green, and secondly because “green” also means eco-friendly. Same word, two meanings.  What do you call that again? Think think think… ah yes! A homonym!  See? I did pay attention in school.  That or I Googled it, but you’ll never know! ;) Anyway, here we go! Some of the following inspiration are green in color, some are eco, and some are both! Enjoy!

I love these!  Tassels made from pine needles add a very clever repurposing idea to a holiday wreath.

A fun idea from Party City are these adorable candy cane Christmas cookies perched on a green cup of hot cocoa.

OK, for this one, the site it in Bulgarian, but you get the picture! They transformed 2 liter bottles into fun Eco friendly Christmas trees!  So very clever!

Here’s another fantastic repurposing idea of using a hula hoop to make a giant Christmas wreath! I picture this outside hanging off the eaves of a roof.

You have to try these Emerald Fir Candles.   The colors are fantastic in person, especially the metallic green.  Emerald Fir is Colonial Candle’s December fragrance of the month, featuring a festive swirl of ground cinnamon, peppered clove and maple.  So good!  It’s the perfect Christmas sent without being too over powering.

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A fun and simple craft you can do with your kids, is make these adorable yarn Christmas trees to add to your holiday décor.

Both green in color and eco-friendly green, recycling wine bottles into a candle centerpiece is another easy and inexpensive way to add oomph to your dinner table. Embellish them with velvet ribbon in hues of green and add rhinestones to glam them up a bit!

I heart this Christmas ball wall art! What a unique and beautiful way to reuse an old picture frame.

So simple, yet lovely, here is another whimsical green idea from Good Houskeeping.

Are YOU dreaming of a green Christmas?
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14th Dec2012

Top Tips to Set your Table for Christmas

by Dinah Wulf

One of the biggest parts of Christmas is Christmas dinner. The big Christmas meal is often seen as more important than the decorations and the presents, and this is usually because it’s a chance to over-indulge and enjoy time with the entire family.

However, if there’s one way to spoil a Christmas dinner it’s by not setting your table properly.

Why?

-          Because people won’t have enough elbow room.

-          Because there may not be space for all the side dishes and accompaniments.

-          Because there’s a higher risk of drinks being spilt or plates being knocked off tables when things get crowded.

What’s the right way to set your table this Christmas then?

There’s definitely an art to setting your table just right, but once you’ve got it down pat you won’t have any problems ever again.

So, if you want to get your table just right this Christmas, implement the following tips:

Image was used by permission under the Creative Commons Licence courtesy of Fotopedia.

-          Pick a theme

Picking a theme for your Christmas dinner will help you to bring everything together perfectly. Your theme could be based on absolutely anything – different colours, contemporary or old fashioned cookware, etc.

Image was used by permission under the Creative Commons Licence courtesy of Christmas Stock Images.

-          Provide the right cutlery

If you’re planning on serving a starter, a main meal and a dessert, you should provide cutlery for each of these courses. This will stop you from needing to jump up and retrieve additional cutlery for everyone at the end of each course, and it can also add a formal touch to your meal.

As a general rule, place dinner knives and forks closest to the plates, then knives, forks or spoons for starters, and dessert spoons or forks on the outside. This means your dinner guests can work from the outside in when choosing their cutlery. Also, include soup spoons if you’re serving soup.

-          Consider using a hostess tray

If your dinner table isn’t very big, you don’t have to rush out and buy a new one just to make sure everything fits on it. Rather than crowding your table with multiple plates full of roast potatoes, turkey, Brussels sprouts and other dishes, think about investing in a hostess tray.

You can use this to transport your dishes from the kitchen to the dining room and can also store them on it while everyone’s eating. Not only will this free up space on your table, but you can also use it to take all of the dirty dishes back to the kitchen after the meal!

Image was used by permission under the Creative Commons Licence courtesy of Mo Barrett.

-          Set out napkins

Christmas dinner is bound to get messy with all the food available, so always set out napkins for your guests and have some spare as well.

-          Offer wine glasses and water glasses

Give your guests wine and water glasses so that they can enjoy a sip of refreshing water and a quick tipple at dinner.

Image was used by permission under the Creative Commons Licence courtesy of Christmas Stock Images.

-          Remember the Christmas crackers!

Christmas dinner is all about having fun and enjoying a great meal with close family and friends, so Christmas crackers are a must! Place them over dinner plates to ensure your guests know which one is theirs.

Christmas dinner may take hours to prepare and cook, but your guests will take just minutes in devouring it! Make sure your table is set properly to make sure everyone enjoys their meal.

This article was written by Britannia Living, a UK company selling everything from cooker hoods to cream range cookers from Britannia Living.

 

13th Dec2012

Recycled Christmas Card Ornaments

by Dinah Wulf

I don’t know about you but I receive a lot of Christmas cards in the mail.  Don’t get me wrong.  I LOVE receiving them, especially the ones with the family photos.  I love seeing my loved one’s kids grow up, seeing new additions, and even seeing what funny costumes their pets will be wearing.  You can always make recycled bottle cap magnets out of them but that was SOOOO last year!  Just kidding ;)  This year, I decided to make Recycled Christmas Card Ornaments.  This is a fun and easy kid-friendly craft.  Here’s is what you’ll need:

  • Christmas Cards
  • Paper Cutter or Scissors
  • Stapler
  • Hot Glue
  • Embellishments (I used a scrapbook embellishment and plastic rhinestone gems)
  • Ribbon

Step One: Gather your Christmas Cards! I chose by color… red and green of course! Oh yeah… plug in your glue gun.

Step Two: Cut them up.  I cut them in one inch strips.  I cut two lengths just depending on the size of the card. I cut 16 strips all together (8 in two different lengths).

Step Three: To make them easy to maneuver, I stapled four groups of four together.  I also creased a few to make the shape more interesting.

Step Four: Put the four pieces together and pinch with your fingers.  This is the easiest way to apply the glue.  Apply your hot glue and hold it for a few seconds to allow it to harden slightly and then add your embellishment.

Step Five: Add a ribbon.

Step Six: Hang it! So easy AND your Christmas cards don’t get thrown away AND you just made your kid happy by doing a craft with them! P.S. Notice my recycled Scrabble tile ornaments in the background? :)

Bonus!  Guess what?  Here are two other fun ornament tutorials done by my friends and favorite Bloggers over at Pandora’s Craft Box and Chase The Star.

Here is Loren’s DIY Snow Globe from Pandora’s Craft Box!

Here is Barbara’s DIY Ornament from Chase the Star!

I hope you try them out!

 

10th Dec2012

Happy Meal Toy Memory Ornaments

by Dinah Wulf

I don’t know about you but I am guilty of going through the McDonald’s drive thru every once in a while.  My daughter loves it, so maybe twice a month she gets to go.  Just like when I was a kid, she loves getting the toy in each chicken nugget Happy Meal that we order.  Most if the time, the toy sits in a toy bin and eventually gets thrown away.  I have to admit there are some toys that are just too cute to be trashed.  My best friend was throwing a box of Happy Meal toys away and I stole these out of the box to make these Happy Meal Toy Memory Ornaments. .. that’s right… literal trash to treasure!   After all, we ARE big fans of Hello Kitty in this household!

All you need for this is:

  • Drill
  • Frame Eye Hook
  • Ribbon
  • Marker (to write the date)

This works for practically any Happy Meal Toy that you want to keep.  You just have to find the right spot to drill the hole.

The frame eye hook screws in nicely.

Add a ribbon and write the date and tah-dah… instant memory ornament!  Happy Meal toys are great because they are typically light weight as well, easy to hang, and won’t weigh down your branches.

OK this one was already a Christmas ornament but here it is anyway!

Consider repurposing other items as memory ornaments like action figures, Legos, small doll accessories, keys, or board game pieces.  You can also glam them up a bit by adding a little sparkle with glitter or gems.

 

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07th Dec2012

A Peppermint Christmas

by Dinah Wulf

Lucky for me working on and researching inspiration for my blog is all part of this dream job.  I wouldn’t have dreamt in a million years that I would have this much traffic to my site.  I was doing my daily Pinterest search and came across the pin from Bellenza and it got me excited for the upcoming Christmas parties this year!  It also inspired me to write this post (Thanks, Bellenza).  I love the traditional red and white colors for Christmas décor so I thought I’d put together a few fun pieces of inspiration for a peppermint Christmas!

Here is the original inspiration.  Isn’t it amazing? I was trying to narrow it down to one favorite party treat that I like the best but it was absolutely impossible.

Here is a fun idea from The Invitation Shop, using Christmas candy in glass vases for stunning floral arrangements. I like this idea using recycled Mason jars.

Leave it up to Martha and her art of presentation. This gift wrapping idea is so simple and elegant.

Holy cuteness!  I can’t get over these Santa Hat Topiaries from Paint Me Plaid.  They make the most adorable Christmas centerpiece.  Better yet?  Besides the paint, all the supplies were found at a local dollar store.

Here is a simple, yet beautiful mantel by My French Country Home. I particularly love the glass vases.

The perfect DIY gift, how cute and fun is this candy cane sugar scrub from Jacolyn Murphy.

Last but definitely not least!  Santa would be extremely excited to find this waiting for him at your house after a long night of delivering toys!  This Red Velvet Cupcake in a Jar by My Baking Addiction is fab and looks tasty too! Perhaps intended for Valentine’s Day, just switch out those heart sprinkles for some Christmas themed sprinkles.

Here’s to a very Merry Peppermint Christmas!

 

06th Dec2012

Holiday Joy Wreath

by Dinah Wulf

Joy to sales and dollar bins!  Believe it or not, I made this entire Holiday Joy Wreath for less than $15.00.  First of all, I found these wreaths in the dollar bin at Target a couple days after Halloween on sale for $.75 each! Now, I have made these wreaths before from branches from my back yard, but come on! I couldn’t pass up this deal, amirite?

Then, using a coupon I had, I bought these three letters made of MDF at Michael’s for $5.00. BTW, I have the Michael’s iPhone app on my phone and it’s FABULOUS! No more printing out or forgetting coupons!

Also, after Halloween I bought a bag of plastic bling (hee hee) for $1.19 for the entire bag.  On that same trip I bought the ribbon using a coupon for $2.50.  If you want to count the craft paint I already had from making my recycled T shirt banner, it’s STILL less than $15.00!  Yay me! Can you tell I’m pretty proud of this?

The wreath is pretty self-explanatory.  I first painted the letters with craft green paint.

While I was waiting for it to dry, I strung the plastic gems onto my ribbon to embellish the bottom of each letter.

Next I put it all together and voila! My holiday joy wreath was complete!  I think I’m going to wait until after Thanksgiving to hang it on my door outside because I don’t want the neighbors to think I’m nuts for decorating for Christmas too early.  So for now it will happily hang on a door inside.  Here are more pictures.

Hope you like it!

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03rd Dec2012

Skeleton Key Crafts

by Dinah Wulf

Every time I go flea market shopping or antique shopping I am always drawn to skeleton keys.  I never buy them but I ALWAYS look at them, touch them, hold them up to the light, and wonder what I could do with them.  The other day I saw some replicas at Michael’s in the dollar bin.  One again, I picked them up, touched them, and held them up to the light.  This time I decided to purchase a few.  Why not, they were only $1.50 apiece.  I chose three and threw them in my basket.  I got in my car, brainstorming my skeleton key crafts, all the way home.

The first thing I do when I think about a craft is I check my craft closet.  What’s in there that I can use?  A long time ago I attempted to make jewelry.  To make a LONG and embarrassing story short, I sucked at it.  So, at the bottom of my closet collecting dust, was some jewelry making supplies.  I took them downstairs and decided that my first skeleton key craft would be a necklace.

Skeleton Key Necklace

This was quite easy and fun, and to be honest I think I’m actually going to wear this necklace!  With some pliers, an old chain, and a Swarovski crystal I had, I created this pretty piece.  The pliers make it very easy to maneuver the little pieces.  I took some photos so that you could see the process.  Easy peasy! I’ve worn this necklace out a few times, and I have gotten several compliments on it… and several requests…hmmm… Esty shop?

Skeleton Key Christmas Ornaments

The next two keys were transformed into Christmas ornaments.  They would also make nice embellishments on a gift.  I used some ribbon, chain, a bead, and a vintage charm that I had.  Here are a few pictures of each.

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Here are a couple more pictures of all three.

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30th Nov2012

Pumpkin Maple Toddy

by Dinah Wulf

Pumpkin Maple Toddy, Written by David Edessa

Happy Holidays!!!

{Via}

I was asked at work to come up with a hot toddy recipe for the holidays…. After tasting the Crown Royal Maple Finish Whiskey I insisted in combining it with pumpkin butter!!!

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Pumpkin Maple Toddy recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. Crown Royal Maple Finish Whiskey
  • ½ oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
  • ½ tsp. Organic Honey
  • 1 tsp. Pumpkin Butter (recipe below)
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • 1 strip Lemon Peel
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • Hot Water

Instructions:

Pour the honey, boiling water, and whiskey into a mug. Put in a slice of lemon peel. Let the mixture stand for 5 minutes so the flavors can mingle. Garnish with cinnamon stick.

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Pumpkin Butter recipe:

  • Ingredients:
  • 1 Pumpkin (small size; equivalent to ½ pound of purée)
  • Pinch salt
  • ½ lbs. Unsalted Butter (real butter)
  • 1½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1½ tsp. Ground Nutmeg
  • 1½ tsp. Ground Allspice
  • ½ tsp. Ground Cloves
  • 4 oz. Dark Brown Sugar
  • Pure Maple syrup

Instructions:

Heat the oven to 400°F.

Split pumpkin in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Sprinkle squash with salt and brush with maple syrup. Lay flesh side down on aluminum foil covered sheet pan and bake for 45 minutes or until flesh yields easily to a small knife. When cool enough to handle, scoop flesh from the skin and purée in a blender. Pass through a cheese cloth to remove all pulp. Blend with butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, milk, and brown sugar in a blender until smooth. Pour into glass bowl and refrigerator till cold.

If you do not feel like making a batch of pumpkin butter, then Trader Joe’s offers a tasty pumpkin butter during the holidays.

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Whenever using an electric blender make a cocktail always check the manufacture manual to verify that you can without damaging your blender.

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DRINK RESPONSIBLE & DRINK SMART!HaPpY HoLiDaYs!!!

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Check out all of David’s FANTASTIC cocktail party recipes!  Find the perfect one for any occasion.

 

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29th Nov2012

Hanging Pine Cone Decoration

by Dinah Wulf

 

My husband, daughter, and I went on a walk around the neighborhood the other day and I found the biggest pine cones I have ever seen in my entire life!  HUGE!  Naturally, I stole several from the neighbors and we quickly walked away (I mean, come on, they had a jillion of them lying under their ginormous pine tree).  I decided to make a hanging pine cone decoration for the upcoming holidays.  Here is a photo of one of the pine cones and a regular sized pine cone just so you can see what I mean!

See?  I told you!  Anyway, here is what you’ll need to do this:

  • 5-6 of the biggest pine cones you can find
  • A picture frame eye hook for each pine cone
  • Ribbon
  • Beads (optional)
  • Scissors

Tip: Avoid the sappy pine cones… way too sticky and annoying to work with.

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This project is quite simple and fun to do with kids (especially the finding the pine cone part).  When we got home, I rinsed the pine cones with water to clean them a little and get rid of any bugs because you never know!  Simply screw in your eye hook to the center of the bottom of each dry pine cone and thread the ribbon through.  I tied a pine cone to each end of the ribbon, hung them on a hook, and adjusted each length as I went along.  I also added some plastic gems for some bling!

Tip: When you are trying to thread ribbon into a small hole, cut the ribbon in an angle to make it easier.

Here are a couple more pictures.

 

27th Nov2012

CD Tower Advent Calendar

by Dinah Wulf

 

I was so excited to make an advent calendar this year because my daughter is finally old enough.  I searched online for some inspiration and saw some great advent calendar ideas but none that I really wanted to do.  Then one day, I was getting my guest room ready for some visiting friends and saw a CD tower that I had from college.  I currently use this piece of repurposed furniture to house guest room necessities like towels, toiletries, pens, paper, and such.  The cubbies are so useful and would be perfect to hold little wrapped gifts for my advent calendar… and it’s RED!  Here’s how I made my CD Tower Advent Calendar.

This project only costs me $20, including all the little trinkets and presents inside.  I know that’s a little more than most advent calendars, but still budget friendly.  I bought items in the dollar bins that had three or more items in a package and broke the package up to save money.  Some things I bought were pens, erasers, candy, stickers, hair clips, plastic play jewelry, and the last one… the grand finale… a Dora Explorer jump rope that costs $1.50.

I bought red and green paper sacks and different types of ribbon to embellish the packages (of course using my coupons AND shopping on black Friday).  I used circle craft punches and printed numbers and letters on my computer.  I thought the circles were perfect because they looked like ornaments.   I punched a small hole on top and added ribbon for each number ornament.  I also alternated the colors.  With my left over paper and ribbon, I made a “days til Christmas” banner to go down the middle on the CD Tower.

Here are some more pictures.

Hope you like it!

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Oh! By the way! Uncarved (it that a word?) pumpkins last forever!  Geesh!  So I had to turn my Hello Kitty pumpkin into a Christmas Hello Kitty!

Until tomorrow!

 

 

16th Nov2012

Thanksgiving Table Setting

by Dinah Wulf

I am so thankful for so many things this year.   My family, of course, is a big one.  I’m loving having a two-year-old right now.  I love that she is a sponge.  She takes in EVERYTHING and now that she’s talking a little more, it’s amazing to hear what comes out of her mouth in that sweet little voice.  We read books all the time because it’s one of her favorite things to do.  So, this year for a Thanksgiving dinner I’m having with some friends, I decided to do a book/reading theme for the table in honor of my little lady. So, here is my Thanksgiving Table Setting.

My table is so big that a normal table runner is too short so I ended up making my own runner by layering two tablecloths.  I made place cards with pine cones, a craft punch, and hand wrote each name with a sharpie.  I also made napkin rings with recycled book pages and ribbon.  I adorned the table with some antique books I have in my collection.  I added some natural elements like shells, nuts, pine cones, and moss to glass containers.  I used some pine cones that we found on a walk we had the other day and spread them randomly on the table.  I also spray painted some mini pumpkins left over from Halloween.

Tip: Pumpkins always go on sale after Halloween.  Some places give them away for free!  They can’t get rid of the fast enough.

Here are some more pictures.

 

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14th Nov2012

Recycled T Shirt Bunting

by Dinah Wulf

I wanted to spruce up my mantle for the holidays so I decided to make a Thanksgiving banner.  Naturally, I wanted to use recycled materials so I found an old wrinkled cotton T shirt in my husband’s side of the closet (my side is neat and tidy of course!).  There was a huge stain on the front right on the chest so this was perfect for my recycled T shirt bunting.

Here are the materials you will need:

  • Old clothing item
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Paper (to make your flag pattern)
  • Iron
  • Spray starch
  • Fabric paint
  • Spouncer
  • Stencils
  • Ribbon or rope
  • Hot glue

Instructions:

Step One: Grab and old T shirt or any other piece of clothing.  Feel free to play with colors and textures.

Step Two: Make your flag pattern.  I used a piece of cardstock (8”X6”).  It’s easiest to start with a rectangle, measure the center of one end, and draw a diagonal line from one corner to the center mark for both sides and cut.

Step Three: Cut out your flags.  I chose to spell out “Give Thanks”.

Step Four: Lay out your flags to iron and spray it with starch.

Step Five: Iron your flags.

Step Six: Stencil your letters using a spouncer.  I chose green my favorite color!  Check out my stenciling tips I from my stenciled place mat project. You can purchase these stencils online.

Step Seven: Allow your letters to dry and then hot glue each flag to your rope.  I bought 3 yards of rope they had on sale for the holidays and cut it in half.  It was perfect for my recycled T shirt banner!

Here are some AFTER photos.

I took these during the day…

 

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