DIY Printed Photo Mat

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When planning my gallery wall I knew that I wanted to incorporate some unique design elements when it came to our pictures and frames. Since I had to scale down the size of the gallery wall due to lack of space in the new house, I decided that instead of incorporating typography prints into the design I could free up room for more photos on the wall by simply adding a printed mat to one of the larger photos. I drew inspiration from a photo mat I had seen handwritten on using a sharpie but didn’t duplicate the idea exactly because while I do believe my hand writing to be pretty neat (*hair flip* lol), I figured given that I would have to see this project on display everyday that I would leave the printing job up to my trusty ol’ laser printer. The particular photo I was needing a mat for was one of our wedding photos, so what better wording to surround it than the lyrics to our first dance? Which is “The Book of Love” by Peter Gabriel if you’re wondering (if you want to see me cry buckets just wait until I finish my third glass of wine and put this song on repeat, lol), if you’re a Scrubs fan you’ll know this as the song that plays in last scenes of the series finale. Anyway, enough about that (but really, how awesome is the show Scrubs? lol). This project is quick and easy and with the holidays right around the corner, would make a great gift! This can be done using any text, you can use song lyrics, the text from a love note or even an excerpt from a novel¬†(for all the book worms out there like my hubby!), to name a few. Lastly, if the adorableness that is my hubby and I in the vineyard hasn’t already made you nostalgic for your own wedding and itching to craft (haha), allow me to further convince you – this project costs next to nothing, all you need is access to a laser printer, a photo mat and some mod podge! I hope this inspires you to frame one of your favorite photos or jazz up an existing framed piece ūüôā

WHAT I USED:

  • Plain Photo Mat
  • Laser Printed Wording¬†– ¬†it must be a laser print! If you use an inkjet print it will smear when you paint on the mod podge. If you do not have a laser printer you can print the document at your local print center for a few cents a page. NOTE: I printed mine at home and cut it into sections. If you are going to be super OCD about your wording all lining up, print your wording on a paper size that is LARGER than your frame mat and cut the paper to fit the mat using an x-acto knife. This way your paper will fit your mat exactly.
  • Mod Podge –¬†matte or glossy, doesn’t matter. Personally, I prefer matte.
  • Scissors
  • Foam Brush

WHAT I DID:

Step 1: I began by typing up my wording. I simply copied the lyrics from a lyric site, then pasted it onto a Word document and lined it up as shown below. Next I copied the entire body of text and just pasted it over and over until I had a full page of wording then printed.

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Step 2: Next I cut the pages into sections to fit my mat. I did not care about my wording lining up perfectly since it was going to be displayed at a distance, but if I had wanted it to be perfect I would have done as I suggested above by having a 16X20 sized document printed at my local print center then cutting it to fit the mat using an x-acto knife.

Step 3: I coated the backs of each of my printed pieces with mod podge and placed them carefully onto my frame mat. I gently smoothed the paper once I had placed them onto the mat ensuring that there were no air bubbles trapped between the paper and the mat. I then allowed the mat to dry.

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Step 4:¬†Once my mat had dried I used a my foam brush to coat the top of the mat (atop the print), then allowed this coat to dry. That’s it! Once the mat dried my beautiful picture was ready for assembly and display ūüôā

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Total project cost was right around $5.00!!!

Nautical Mini-Diaper Cake

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Eek, super late with this post, seeing as how this sweet little boy was actually born this week, but I will go ahead and post¬†it¬†anyway since it’s still so darn cute!¬†So before attempting my four tier whale diaper cake I wanted to do a little trial run so that in case my diaper cake making abilities were a complete fail, I would still have time to scramble for a new gift idea. One of my NC friends Ashley is expecting a sweet little boy in August who is going to have the most adorable nautical themed nursery. This gift was very simple, just diapers and a little nautical outfit, so I wanted to present it in a fun way that would give it a little flare. Aside from the ribbon, outfit and diapers I already had all of the other components in my craft stock,¬†so it was extremely easy to put together. I will go ahead and give you a description of what I did and how I assembled the cake as a guide, but be sure to check out my whale diaper cake post above for a more detailed description (and links to my friend Courtney’s amazing diaper cakes) on how to assemble an awesome little¬†cake!

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WHAT I USED:

  • 1 nautical baby boy outfit ¬†– purchased via Amazon (currently unavailable, but a link to the image is available here).
  • 25-30 Size 2 Diapers
  • Chevron/Burlap 2.5″ Wire Ribbon
  • Red Striped 1″¬†Ribbon
  • White Basket/Gift Shred
  • 2 wooden skewers – small wooden dowels, popsicle sticks or straws would also work!
  • Twine
  • Stick-on craft letters
  • Glue Gun & Hot Glue
  • 6″ & 8″ cake pans

WHAT I DID:

Step 1:¬†For this particular cake I¬†began by fanning the diapers¬†(fold side out) into¬†the¬†two cake pans.¬†The pans are not necessary but they are a good guide and make it much easier to arrange the diapers. Once¬†I had filled the pans and created the¬†two “tiers” for the cakes, I secured them by tying¬†a piece of¬†string around each to hold them in place (this can also be done with¬†large rubber bands).

Step 2:¬†I then cut a piece of cardboard (part of the diaper box, lol) in a circle that was a little bit larger than the bottom layer of the “cake” and covered it with blue wrapping paper. For a more finished look you can purchase cardboard cake bottoms but for this one I just improvised. After covering the cardboard with wrapping paper I cut a small 2X2″ “X” in the middle of the cardboard round and set it aside.

Step 3:¬†Take your 2.5″ ribbon and cut a piece just large enough to wrap around each tier of the cake. Repeat using the 1″ ribbon. Take your larger ribbon and wrap it around the middle of each cake “layer” and secure it tightly using a dot of hot glue. For the top tier I repeated the same process using the 1″ ribbon, but for the bottom I simply wrapped it around the tier and tied a bow in the front.

Step 4:¬†Next I used the¬†pants and top of the outfit to¬†create a “bow” for the top by folding the¬†shirt¬†into a rectangle, then¬†folding the pants in half and then laying them across the shirt rectangle to create a bow (this will make more sense when I explain the next part).

Step 5:¬†Take your cardboard round and set your bottom layer of “cake” atop it, then your top layer on top of that. Now you will use your little outfit “bow” to do double duty: both hold the cake together and be the cake topper. I fed the legs of the pants through both cake layers and secured the tips of the toes at the bottom using the cardboard “X”. The top of the cake where the pants were folded over the shirt to create the bow will be held tight (the waist of the pants should just reach over to be tucked into the top of the diaper cake where as the legs will extend all the way down through the cake). NOTE: This just so happened to work out this way with the outfit I had chosen, you can always just top the cake with a pair of baby shoes or a stuffed animal to make it easy, simply secure it with pins!

Step 6: Lastly, I created the name banner by cutting triangles out of the wire ribbon and hot gluing them to a piece of twine before adding the stick-on craft letters and gluing each end of the twine to the wooden skewers so as to suspend the banner in between. I made sure the sharp ends of the skewers would be pointing down so that they could simply be stuck into the top of the cake layers without needing any sort of adhesive.

That’s it! This was my first attempt at a diaper cake so I kept it small and just worked with what I had. Sorry if the description of my process is a bit confusing, I was kind of just making it up as I went along! Don’t forget to check out my Whale Diaper Cake¬†as well as Wildly Domestic’s tutorials on diaper cakes, she has a whole section of her blog dedicated to them!¬†

Glass Etching Tutorial

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So I’ve been MIA from the blogosphere for the past week while my squishy baby and I traveled to NY to celebrate my nieces 1st birthday. We had lots of fun and right before I left I managed to eek out one of my favorite DIY/craft projects that I can’t wait to share with you – glass etching! I have mentioned before that I LOVE crafts and recipes that are super easy but appear really fancy and involved and make people say “you just had a baby how do you have time to do any of this!?” hehe little do they know ¬†;-). Not only is this craft pretty quick, it’s easy and makes great DIY hostess or holiday gifts, and since wedding season is in full swing, these will also make great bridal shower gifts. This post will serve as the tutorial but you may view my separate post on etched glass DIY gifts (coming soon), where I’ll show you some other variations on this project.

As for these DIY oil and dish soap dispensers, I had gotten sick of dragging the giant container of olive oil out every time I needed just a little bit (and then drowning my food due to lack of a slow dispensing top) and was equally as sick of looking at the gross Palmolive container of soap sitting on my counter, not cute. I had made an ADORABLE olive oil dispenser last year but alas, my pregnancy induced clumsiness caused me to knock it off the counter and shatter it into a million pieces (I cried real tears when that happened lol), so I was eager to replace it! This time instead of buying an actual¬†oil dispenser (which you can totally do, they are available at Walmart and KMart for about $3-$4 a pop) and etching it I decided to repurpose wine bottles instead (yet another reason to love Trader Joe’s Two Buck Chucks!). Since I already had the empty wine bottles all I had to do was buy the bottle pourers (I found 6 for $6 on Amazon, link below). I was super happy with the result and happily left on my trip knowing that I would return to my cute little DIY oil and soap dispensers upon my return! I urge you to give this one a try,¬†especially if you are tight on cash around the holidays or if wedding season has taken you for just about all that you’re worth lol, I promise you your recipient will love this just as much as their other gifts if not more and you will get to feel accomplished and a little less broke ūüôā

GLASS ETCHING TUTORIAL

*NOTE: This project includes use of harsh chemicals and sharp objects, be sure little hands are far away if you decide to attempt this.

YOU WILL NEED: 

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  • Armour Etch or other etching cream (available at Michael’s and other major craft retailers)
  • Empty wine bottle or Olive Oil Dispenser (it MUST be glass, this will not work on other mediums)
  • Dispenser top
  • Paint Brush
  • Latex Gloves
  • Masking Tape
  • X-acto Knife

INSTRUCTIONS:

Step 1: If you are using a store bought piece of glass skip this step.¬†If you are using a wine bottle use either goo-gone or soap and water to remove the label. If you’re using a cheap-o wine like I was you’ll be fine just soaking it in a little soapy water then using the coarse side of a sponge to rub off the label and any remaining residue. When you are finished, wash your bottle with soap and water and dry.

Step 2: If you are using a plastic stencil, skip this step. Place masking tape over your piece as shown, the height and width will depend on how large you want your etching to be. When masking tape is on rub it down firmly with your fingers or use the edge of a credit card to burnish the tape and make sure that it is completely adhered to the glass.

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Step 3:¬†For the lettering there are a few ways you can do it. ¬†I consider myself pretty good at hand lettering (hair flip, lol) and didn’t want to be bothered with printing out a guide so I simply hand lettered the wording by looking at the text on my computer. If you’re not comfortable doing that you may either find a font you like print out the wording in whatever size you would like, cut it out and trace around it onto the masking tape or instead of cutting and tracing the wording just tape it over the masking tape and use your x-acto knife to cut the words out (cutting through the paper and the masking tape at once). One other option is to purchase a plastic stencil (sold at craft stores) and tape the stencils directly to the glass and use that as your wording guide, eliminating the use of masking tape and x-acto knife altogether. While the stencil route will limit you in font options, if you feel that you need a fool-proof method that might be the best option for you. *For my font I used “Birds of Paradise” on DaFont.com.

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For whatever reason pencil wouldn’t work on the masking tape that I purchased this time so I had to use pen, the messy parts are where I corrected mistakes. Not too pretty but got the job done!

Step 4:  Using your X-acto knife CAREFULLY cut out your lettering, making sure to leave the centers in letters like o, a and p. If you have never used an X-acto knife the thing is like a friggin scalpel and no craft is worth a trip to the ER so take care in cutting!

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Step 5:¬†If you are satisfied with your little masking tape stencil you are ready to apply your etching cream. NOTE: Obviously since you are using this stuff to etch glass so you know it’s harsh, this is a corrosive, abrasive substance and if it gets in your mouth or in your eyes or stays on your skin for an extended period of time you will calling poison control and heading to the ER, you do not want this, so wear gloves and work very carefully – you have been warned lol. That being said, use a small paint brush to apply a generous amount of the etching creme to your stencil, I glob it on there, don’t worry about wasting it because that tiny bottle has lasted me about ten projects and is still not empty! Once you have covered your stencil wash off your brush and set your timer for 15 minutes. NOTE: The bottle says to leave it on for 4 minutes, I found that to be far too short of ¬†a time and 15 seems to work best for me so that’s what I suggest.

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Step 6: When time is up, put on latex gloves and rinse your piece off in warm water, using your gloved fingers to peel off the masking tape as your rinse it. Once all of the etching creme is washed off, remove any remaining masking tape and re-wash your piece this time using soap and water. Dry it off an voila, you’re done!!! ¬†¬†These make amazing gifts and people will not believe that you did it yourself! *If you are making an olive oil or soap dispenser here is the link to where I purchased the little dispensing tops on Amazon.

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  Sorry the quality of this photo is terrible but you get the idea, lol.

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The pink soap in the clear bottle makes it hard to see the lettering so I am going to buy a clear soap next time.

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Since I am yet to create my post on DIY etched glass gifts I will give you some quick ideas. While the possibilities are endless here are a few that I have done or plan to do:

  • Bottle of Wine with personalized etched wine glasses
  • Olive Oil Dispenser gifted with a bottle of specialty olive oils
  • Soap Dispenser gifted with some fancy dish soap and dish towel
  • Personalized mixing bowl gifted with some cake mix, mixing spoons etc.