Tag Archive: before and afters

DIY decorative books with raised stencils & image transfers

Hello friends! I have been promising for a while now that I would share my raised stenciling technique with you after receiving a few e-mails from my readers asking me about the raised stencils on my vintage sewing storage boxWell…I am excited to share my latest DIY project with you this evening. This project combines the use of raised stencils, image transfers, aging techniques and vintage books all into one!

I found the vintage books below at my local thrift store for 10 cents each. Yes, you read right; they were only 10 cents each! For that price I couldn’t pass them up.

What also caught my eye, besides their amazing price, was the ribbed indentations that were on the spines of the books. To me they looked similar to old antique books that you might find in a library in England somewhere.

As much as I loved the shape of these books, there was no way that their original burgundy color was going to fit in with my decor. They just had to have a makeover!

 

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Here they are all prettied up! What a great improvement, don’t you think?

I really love how they turned out!

 

 

If you would like to make over a set of your own books to put on display in your home, I have included the full tutorial below.

Why not make over a set for display on your mantel, your bookcase, or your coffee table? You could also use this tutorial to transform a hardcover journal that’s a little on the boring side or to make over a wedding registry book to give as a gift for a bride-to-be.

 

Here’s how I did it:

 

Supplies You’ll Need:

  • three new or vintage hardcover books
  • two printable images found here and here
  • damask stencil or a stencil of your choosing
  • Golden Soft Gel Medium (I used semi-gloss)
  • Golden Light Molding Paste
  • Mod Podge (I used matte finish)
  • acrylic gesso
  • Martha Stewart’s Sharkey Gray latex paint ( a taupey-gray color) or color of your choice
  • acrylic paints in burnt umber, medium grey and light ivory (I used Folk Art Burnt Umber, DecorArt Storm Cloud Grey and Delta Ceramcoat Light Ivory)
  • fine grit sandpaper (I used 400 grit)
  • small paint brushes, 4″foam roller and a spray bottle
  • ruler, pencil, tin foil and scissors
  • painter’s tape (optional)
  • plastic plate/tray for paint
  • rubber brayer or flat spreader
  • plastic trowel/spatula or old credit/debit card
  • paper towels
  • dish scrubber
  • plastic drop cloth to protect your workspace

 

 Directions:

 

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Start by wiping your books down with a barely damp cloth to remove any dust or grime. Then give them a light sanding with 400 grit sandpaper and wipe away any sanding dust.

 

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Coat the outside of the book covers with two coats of white acrylic gesso using either a foam brush or a 4″ foam paint roller. Once dry, sand lightly to remove any rough spots.

 

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In your plastic paint tray, place a medium-sized amount of Martha Stewart’s Sharkey Gray paint on one side and the same amount of white gesso on the other side. Scrunch up a paper towel and dip it into the Sharkey Gray paint. Dab off the excess onto another paper towel. Pounce your paper towel randomly onto your book covers leaving some of the white gesso showing through as in the photo above.

NOTE: If you don’t have Sharkey Gray paint, don’t worry! Just use what you already have on hand. Sharkey Gray is a great neutral taupey-gray color so if you don’t have a paint color at home that would work you could easily mix up some acrylic craft paint to create a similar color instead.

Next with a clean piece of scrunched-up paper towel, pick up a small amount of gesso from your tray, dab off the excess and then lightly pounce over top of your book cover leaving small amounts of Sharkey Gray showing here and there. This technique will give your book cover a great aged marble look.

 

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Mix up equal amounts of Storm Cloud Grey (medium grey) craft paint and gel stain medium. Paint a light coat on your cover working in one section at a time. Before your gel stain has a chance to dry, wipe off the excess with a damp cloth. Gel stain medium gives your paint color more transparency and more working time, much like a glazing liquid would.

Again, if you don’t have the specific paint color I have mentioned above, any medium grey paint will suffice. As well, if you don’t have gel stain medium you could instead use a glazing medium or just dilute your paint with water.

 

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In this photo you can see how the paint stays in the crevices when the gel stain/paint mixture is wiped away.

 

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What’s next? Photo transfers.

I recently found Graphic #1 (below) on The Graphics Fairy’s blog HERE. I knew that I wanted to use some vintage handwriting for this project and The Graphics Fairy’s site is the first place that I go when looking for images to use for my projects. Did you know that all of her images are free? I know, awesome!

I downloaded her poem graphic and then prepared it for transferring by removing the aged background, flipping the image to “mirror image mode” and reducing it to fit on to the front of my book.

To save and print this image for your own project, click on the image below and right click to save it to your computer. This image has been sized to fit the front of my books. Please re-size it to fit your specific project.

Graphic #1

 

This next image I found online a couple of months ago but for some reason I misplaced the source for this graphic. I searched all over Google for the source but didn’t have any luck finding it. If you happen to know where this graphic came from, I would be grateful if you could please let me know so I can properly credit the site where it came from.

To save and print this image for your own project, click on the image below and right click to save it to your computer. This image has been sized to fit the spine of my books. Please re-size it to fit your specific project.

Graphic #2

 

To start, measure the spine of your books to make sure that Graphic #2 will fit the entire length of the spine once printed. Print out the graphic onto regular plain copy paper using either a laser printer or have it photocopied at your local photocopy center. Be sure to print off at least 4-5 copies of each image so you have extras. Also, if this is your first time transferring images, you may want to test your technique on a piece of cardboard at least once before working on your actual book covers. “Practice makes perfect!”

 

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Using a ruler and pencil, measure and draw out the size of the Graphic #2 image needed for the spine of your book with enough to wrap around the sides as shown below. One print-out should be large enough for two book spines side-by-side. Be sure to erase any pencil marks left on your image after cutting it out or the marks will show up on your final transfer.

Place your image face up on a piece of tinfoil and coat it with a even layer of soft gel medium. Quickly and carefully lift up your image from the tinfoil handling by the edges only and place it face down on the spine of your book. Try to line it up as best a possible before you place it down because once your transfer is stuck down it cannot be moved without messing it up.

 

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Use your fingers to push out the air bubbles and then use your brayer with a little bit of pressure to roll over your image in all directions. This will help to make sure your image is firmly stuck down. Wipe away any excess gel medium with a damp cloth.

Leave your transfer to dry for at least two hours, preferably overnight. The longer you leave your transfer to dry the better your image will come out. You can use a hair dryer to manually dry your image if you are short on time.

 

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When your image is fully dry, use a spray bottle or a damp paper towel to wet part of your image with water. Wait 1-2 minutes and then use the pad of your pointer finger to rub away the paper layer of your image. Work in small sections and keep your image moist.

Try to get as much of the paper residue off of your image as you can but don’t rub too hard with your finger or you may rub away part of your image!

 

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Once you have removed as much paper as you can with your fingers, dampen a kitchen scrubber (type shown above) and rub lightly over your image in a circular motion. Be sure to scrub gently especially around the edges of your image or it may start to rub away. Use your hand or a dry paper towel to wipe away any leftover bits of paper.

 

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You will be using Graphic #1 as a transfer for the front of your book right above/below your raised stencil.

Print out the graphic provided and cut it out with scissors in a slightly larger size than the space you are wanting to fill. Tear away some of the edges of the paper to age the image further.

Transfer your image to the front of your book using the techniques described for Graphic #2.

 

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Next is the raised stencils. My most favorite product to use when creating raised stencils is Golden’s Light Molding Paste. When you first open the jar of molding paste you will be surprised about how thin and fluffy it is.

I love this product because it is so easy to work with, it can be tinted to whatever color you want and it dries to a nice hard finish that can be sanded and painted. I find that it looks a lot like plaster when its dry but it has much more durability.

 

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First decide where you are going to place your stencil on your book cover.

Sorry, I don’t actually remember where I found this damask stencil as I have had it in my stash for a while now. Michaels or any other craft supply store should have a similar stencil if you are wanting to use something close to this one.

 

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When you are ready to mix up the molding paste for your stencil you will want to have everything set-up and ready to go as molding paste dries very quickly.

IMPORTANT: You will want to wash your tools and stencil immediately after using molding paste, especially in between stencil impressions as it will leave a residue and harden on your tools if you don’t. I wash everything up with water and a little bit of hand soap as I go which works really well.

For the mixture above, mix equal parts of burnt umber craft paint and medium gray craft in your plastic paint tray. Then add in an equal part of molding paste and mix thoroughly with your spatula.

 

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Hold your stencil firmly with one hand and use your other hand to trowel on some of the molding paste mixture on to your stencil. I found that the easiest way to do this is to put on dollop of molding paste on the corner of your stencil and use the flat part of your spatula to spread the paste around lightly covering the entire stencil in an even layer. If you keep your spatula flat you will avoid digging into the stencil and possibly getting some paste underneath where you don’t want it. (see photo above). It is almost like icing a cake!

To remove the excess paste, turn your spatula on its side and lightly scrape across the top of your stencil putting the excess back into your paint tray. If you are using an old credit card as a scrapper, you can just drag it across your stencil lightly. You want a raised stencil that is at least 2-3 millimeters thick.

When you have your paste spread out in an even layer and you are happy with how it looks, carefully lift your stencil straight up. You should be left with a nice clear and clean impression.


 

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The photo above shows what the raised stencil looks like when it is still wet. Don’t worry if there are some ridges and/or bumps on your stencil. Once dry, these ridges can easily be sanded away or left alone for more texture.  FYI, you will see below that I sanded the ridges off my raised stencil once it was dry.

 

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Next, coat your stencil with some medium gray craft paint mixed 50/50 with gel stain. Leave some of the original brown color showing through near the edges of the stencil. Once that is dry, mix up some light cream craft paint also 50/50 with gel stain and add highlights to your design as show above.

 

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As a final step you can age your books even further by glazing over them with a mixture of medium gray craft paint, with a touch more burnt umber craft paint and some gel stain to make a glaze that will settle into the cracks and crevices on your books.

Just brush it on…

 

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…and use a damp cloth to wipe it off. Continue this treatment over the entire book leaving extra glaze around the spine of the book and over the areas you want to look more aged.

Finally coat your book with at least two coats of Mod Podge for protection. Leave your books to dry for 1-2 days before displaying them side by side so they don’t stick together. Please don’t ask me how I know this! Haha!

 

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I decided to change the placement of the raised stencil and transfers on the three books so each of them were different.

 

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To display my books all together, I tied them into a bundle with a pretty piece of cream ribbed ribbon from the Dollar Store.

 

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In case you didn’t know, these Readers Digest books are either burgundy or gold colored at the top of the books so I decided to paint out the book pages so that they would blend in better with the rest of the book.

If you have the same kind of books you can paint the tops of the pages by dry-brushing some white gesso on top of them. Then you can then age them further by lightly dabbing on some Sharkey Gray paint or some of your medium grey craft paint randomly.

To keep the paint from seeping down into your book pages, use one hand to firmly hold the pages together while painting with the other hand. Also, use a fairly dry foam brush or roller to paint with. If you do this you should have very little seepage onto your book pages. After you have applied your paint and the top of your book is slightly dry, fan the pages a few times to make sure the pages are not stuck together.

 

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So instead of sending your old books off to the recycling facility or giving them to Goodwill because their covers are ugly and you plan to never ever read them again, you now have a tutorial to help you to turn them into a set of decorative books that you would be proud to display in your home.

You know what else you can do with these books to make them even more functional? You could cut one big rectangle out of the middle of each of your books to use as a “safe” for your keepsakes, jewelry and money. Place a small cardboard box that has been measured to fit inside and no one would be any the wiser as to what your books contain!

These decorative books only cost me $1.00 to make! That’s it! It was 0.40 cents for the books with tax, 0.60 cents for the amount of ribbon I used and the rest of the supplies didn’t end up costing me anything as I already had them on hand. Woohoo! I love projects that cost almost nothing to make, don’t you?

 

In other news…

I have a buffet cabinet that I am working on right now that is taking a little longer than I had hoped. Hopefully it will be done soon so I can share it with you. Also, later this week I am off to my Mom’s to finally finish off her buffet turned TV cabinet that I had shared HERE. Stay tuned for the final transformation coming soon!

Well it is way past my bedtime so I am going to call it a night. Thanks for taking the time to read my posts and for leaving me comments. I really appreciate it!

 

Until next time…

 

 

 

 

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 Parties I’ve Linked Up To:

~ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia – Tuesdays Treasures ~ Home Stories A to Z – Tips and Tutorials Linky Party ~ Coastal Charm – Nifty Thrifty Tuesday ~ Not Just a Housewife – Show Me What Ya Got ~ A Stroll Thru Life – 121st Table Top Tuesday ~ Vintage Wanna Be – Talent Tuesday ~ New Nostalgia – Anti-procrastination Tuesday ~ Creating A House of Grace – Twice Owned Tuesday ~ Today’s Creative Blog – Get Your Craft On ~ Domestically Speaking – Countdown to Summer Party ~ Savvy Southern Style – Wow Us Wednesdays ~ Organize Your Stuff Now – Home Decorating and Organizing Link Party ~ Uncommon Designs Online – Uncommonly Yours Link Party ~ Free Pretty Things For You – Whatever You Want Wednesday ~ The Thrifty Home – Penny Pinching Party ~ The Sasse Life – Crafty Sasse Wednesday ~ The Well Crafted Home – Well Crafted Wednesdays ~ Restored Interiors – Restored It Wednesday ~ House of Hepworths – Hooking Up With House of Hepworths ~ Embracing Change – Creative Inspirations Linky Party ~ The Shabby Creek Cottage – Transformation Thursday ~ Somewhat Simple – Blog Link Party ~ The Brambleberry Cottage – Time Travel Thursday ~ Adorned From Above – Blog Hop ~ Liz Marie Blog – Link Up With Me Liz Marie ~ The Trendy Treehouse – Create and Share ~ Chic on a Shoestring Decorating – Flaunt It Friday ~ The Craftionary – Friday Fun Party ~ French Country Cottage – Feathered Nest Friday ~ The Shabby Nest – Frugal Friday ~ My Romantic Home – Show and Tell Friday ~ Five Days Five Ways – Friday Free For All ~ Redoux Interiors – Link Party #61 ~ I Should be Mopping the Floors – Mop It Up Mondays ~ Keeping It Simple – Motivate Me Monday ~ Brassy Apple – Make It Monday ~ Funky Junk Interiors – SNS Link Party ~ Homemaker on a Dime – Creative Blogger’s PartyCraft-o-Maniac – Craft-o-Maniac Monday Link Party ~ DIY Showoff – DIY Project Parade ~ Sumo’s Sweet Stuff – Market Yourself Mondays ~ The Graphics Fairy – Brag Monday ~ Family Home and Life – Wow Us Wednesday ~ What About.co – Show It Off Friday ~ Tatertors and Jello – Weekend Wrap Up Party ~ Fox Hollow Cottage – Power of Pinterest Party ~

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DIY sewing storage container

Hi there! How are you this afternoon? I have another DIY project to share with you today that is very inexpensive and easy to do.

Do you have any tin storage containers at your house that are not being used right now? Maybe you had received one of these containers as a gift once upon a time. I know, it probably came to you with cookies or popcorn inside and you immediately ate its yummy contents and then you were left with a container that you had no idea what to do with. Sound familiar?

Maybe the one you have is kinda ugly because it is covered with some cookie or liquor brand advertising all over it. It’s not like you would ever put it out where someone could see it. Right?

OK, perhaps you don’t even own one of these containers, but if you frequent thrift stores like I do, you might have previously walked right past them without giving them a second thought.

Actually, these containers provide some great storage for all of those smaller items that don’t have a home around your house. Why not give them a little makeover and then you will have something that is not only useful, but good-looking at the same time?

 

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I found the container above at Dollarama (one of our local dollar stores) for only $1.00 a couple of months back. I know, it’s a bad example of an ugly container! This one is printed with the works of the Art Nouveau artist, Alphonse Mucha.

I decided to give it a makeover because I thought its pattern was a little too busy for display on top of my antique sewing cabinet, but I liked it because it was the perfect size for the space. It would also provide some great storage!

 

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Here’s what my container looked like after its makeover. I really love how it turned out!

 

 

Since I am about to share my tutorial with you, what if you want to make over something else that you already own instead of using a tin container like I did? It is no problem! You can use this tutorial to get this same look on any number of things such as a wooden storage box, a clay pot, a side table etc. Here’s your chance to be creative!

 

 Supplies You’ll Need:

              • a tin container or object of your choice to make over
              • Mod Podge (I used the matte finish)
              • sewing patterns
              • images from The Graphics Fairy (Sewing Machine image found HERE) & (Anchor Frame image found HERE)
              • acrylic gesso
              • turquoise acrylic paint or another color of your choice
              • Golden Soft Gel Medium or other gel medium
              • fine grit sandpaper (I used 400 grit)
              • paint brush, spray bottle, tin foil and scissors
              • painter’s tape
              • rubber brayer or flat spreader
              • Exacto-knife and Sharpie Pen
              • knob for the top of your canister (optional)
              • drill and drill bit (if adding a knob)
              • plastic dropcloth to protect your workspace

 

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I recently found all of these vintage sewing patterns at Salvation Army for $1.98. It is difficult to see here but there are 10 separate patterns stapled together within these packages. I now have enough sewing pattern tissue for oodles of projects.

Ohhhhh… and don’t you just love the styles these ladies were sporting way back when? Woohoo!

 

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Here’s a little information about the turquoise paint that I used on my container. I picked up this artist’s acrylic paint at my local art supply store for $7.99. This isn’t like the regular acrylic paint that you would find in the paint aisle at Michael’s craft store. It is so much better! You only need the tiniest little amount (about the size of half a pea) to do a color wash over your entire container, with some to spare. It is that concentrated! The color is so vibrant too! One container of this paint will last you almost forever.

 

Now on to the tutorial…

 

Preparing your container for paint


  1. Wipe down your container with water and a small amount of dish soap. You’ll want to remove any greasy spots or the paint may not stick. Leave it to dry for a few minutes.
  2. Next, put your lid back on your container and take a Sharpie pen or a pencil and draw a line underneath exactly where the lid closes to (you can barely see my black Sharpie line in the photo below). The reason you want to do this is so your canister will close properly when you are all done. You don’t want to get paint stuck under the lid because it will frustrate you every time you open and close your container!
  3. Using painter’s tape, tape off underneath where your lid would be following the line you have drawn.
  4. Finally, give your container a light sanding all over with fine grit sandpaper. Wipe away all of the sanding dust before moving on.

 

 

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Painting your container


  1. Use your foam brush to coat your container with two coats of acrylic gesso, letting it dry between coats.
  2. After your canister has dried, you can age it with a very diluted mixture of your turquoise paint and water. You basically only want to have thin blue water when you are done mixing it.
  3. Put some paint on your brush and dab it on a paper towel. Then brush lightly and randomly all over your container in one direction (see below).

 

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Now you are ready to transfer your graphics onto your container. If you are not interested in having graphics on your container (don’t be nervous, it is really easy!), you can move on over to the next step.

I found these amazing images that I used on The Graphics Fairy’s blog. If you would like to use the same images as I did, the antique sewing machine graphic and the anchor frame graphic can be found HERE and HERE). If you don’t want to have a sewing-themed container, you could put any other image of your choosing on your container. Use whatever you like!

 

For detailed instructions on how to transfer images, you can read my tutorial How-to-Guide: Transfer Photos to Canvas HERE. For those of you short on time, I have written up abbreviated instructions for you below.

 

Transferring the images to your container: Abbreviated version

Helpful tips to know before starting:

  • The sewing machine image needs to be printed in “mirror image” mode so the text comes out correctly when transferring.
  • You will need to adjust the size of your graphics before printing to fit your particular container that you are transferring to.

 

  1. Prepare to transfer the frame graphic first. It will be easier to place your sewing machine graphic on your canister if you do it this way.
  2. Carefully trim around the frame leaving about 1/4″ of white space around the outer edge (see above photo).
  3. Place the frame graphic on a piece of tinfoil face up and coat the printed side with an even coat of Golden soft gel medium.
  4. Working quickly, place your image face down centered on your canister. NOTE: Once your image is put down it cannot be moved, so try to place it as close as possible to where you want it!
  5. Used a rubber brayer or spreader to smooth out any air bubbles. Make sure your image is stuck down well.
  6. Wipe away any excess gel medium and leave your image to dry for at least 2 hours (you can speed up drying with a hair dryer).
  7. Once the paper is good and dry, spray one area of your image with your spray bottle. You want it to be wet but not sopping wet.
  8. Use the pad of your finger to gently rub the back of the paper until you see the image come through.
  9. Rub away as much of the residual paper as you can, taking care not to rub off your image. Make sure the area you are working on stays wet.
  10. TIP: You can use a kitchen dish scrubber to lightly rub away the residual paper without the image coming off. Rub in a circular motion and be careful near the edges.
  11. Prepare your sewing machine graphic using the same method above. Try to center it inside your frame as best as you can. I just eye-balled mine.
  12. Once both of your images have been transferred, your are ready to decoupage.

 

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If you haven’t ever used sewing pattern tissue paper before, it is a lot of fun to work with. I love using it because it molds perfectly to whatever you are sticking it to.  It is also transparent so it takes on the background of whatever you are attaching it to. See an example from my mixed media collage HERE.

Silly me! I forgot to take photos of the actual decoupaging part of this tutorial but I am sure the majority of you already know how to decoupage, so I will only be giving you the simplified description for this part!

Decoupaging your container & finishing touches


  1. Take a piece of sewing pattern tissue paper out of its package and find an area of the pattern that you really like the look of.
  2. Line it up on your container so you know where you are going to need to rip it.
  3. Tear your tissue as evenly as possible to fit one side of your canister. It’s ok if it is going to wrap around to the adjacent side.
  4. Coat the side you are working on with Mod Podge and apply your tissue peice to your container. Use the palm of your hand to smooth out the wrinkles. Try to keep the paper as smooth as possible but some wrinkles are inevitable and I think it just adds some character.
  5. Put a coat of Mod Podge on top of the paper you just attached.
  6. Continue to add paper all over your container, overlapping it in areas to give the container some depth.
  7. When you get to the edge of your container or lid, wrap the paper under the edges slightly and use a small amount of Mod Podge to stick them down firmly.
  8. Once everything is dry, tear off the excess paper or use your Exacto-knife to create a cleaner cut.
  9. Once your entire container is covered with paper, coat with two coats of Mod Podge watered down 50% with water.
  10. Once that is dry, lightly sand your entire container to remove any lumps and bumps.
  11. Use some of your diluted turquoise paint to age your container. Paint it on randomly, wiping it off as you go and leaving some areas darker than others.
  12. Coat everything with at least two more coats of Mod Podge for protection and to unify everything together. Remove the painter’s tape and clean up the top edge with an Exacto-knife.
  13. OPTIONAL: Drill a hole in the center of your lid for your knob using your drill and drill bit. You can also use an awl if you are careful when poking a hole through the top. Attach your knob and you are done!

 

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Here you can see the area at the top of the container that I purposely left unfinished. Since I will always keep my container closed, only I will know that it looks like this (of course now you will know too!)

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If you haven’t already noticed, I made a mistake and put on some of the tissue paper on the upper left corner of the lid on backwards. Haha! I didn’t realize I had done that until I had already glued the paper down. Oh well, that’s just the way I roll sometimes.

 

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The crystal looking knob that I used is actually a plastic knob I had found at Michael’s for $1.50 a while back. It is a pretty good “fake”, don’t you think?

 

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Well there you have it! I know it seems like a lot of steps to this tutorial but there really are only 6.

A re-cap of the steps:

  1. Prep your canister for paint
  2. Paint it
  3. Transfer your images
  4. Decoupage it with sewing pattern tissue paper
  5. Aged it with paint and clear coat it
  6. Attach your knob

 

One of these days I am going to try to get over my shyness and make a video tutorial for those of you who are visual learners. Would you find a video tutorial helpful or would you rather just have a written tutorial? I am open to your suggestions!

 

I hope you love my storage container as much as I do. You will see below that this little DIY project cost me next to nothing to complete! My kind of project!

 

cost-breakdown

 

I hope that I have inspired you to make over some of those not so pretty storage containers that you have tucked away in your closets or elsewhere in your home. I know that they are so functional, but there’s no reason why they can’t look great too!

This is also a wonderful way to reuse materials that may otherwise have ended up in the trash!

 

Until next time,

 

 

 

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  Parties I’ve Linked Up To:

~ Brambleberry Cottage – Time Travel Thursday ~ Domestically Speaking – 130th Power of the Paint Party ~ Trendy Treehouse – Create and Share ~ The Thrifty Home – Penny Pinching Party ~ Savvy Southern Style – Wow Us Wednesdays ~ Embracing Change – Creative Inspirations Linky Party ~ 733 Blog – Sugar and Spice ~ Shabby Creek Cottage – Transformation Thursday ~ House of Hepworths – Hooking Up With House of Hepworths ~ French Country Cottage – Feathered Nest Friday ~ Fine Craft Guild – Time for a Party ~ Craftionary – Friday Fun Party ~ Chic on a Shoestring Decorating – Flaunt It Friday ~ My Romantic Home – Show and Tell Friday ~ The Shabby Nest – Frugal Friday ~ Organize Your Stuff Now – Home Decorating and Organizing Link Party ~ The Graphics Fairy – Brag Monday ~

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French quatrefoil step stool makeover & tutorial

Good morning! How are things with you?

See the little wooden step stool below? It is kinda cute, right? Well my Mom bought this stool a couple of years ago from Home Sense (aka Home Goods) and it has been a chameleon of sorts.

It originally started out with a solid-painted turquoise top. It didn’t really fit into my Mom’s living room color scheme at the time so she painted it a taupey-cream. Over time she got bored of it, so she asked me to paint it a sage green. That also didn’t work out as planned and she just wasn’t feeling the “new look”!  Then recently she decided that it was time for a change again. It was out with the green and back in with the turquoise. Ha!

Honestly, I wasn’t very happy with the creamy-yellow distressed paint finish on the bottom of the stool anyway, so I decided this stool needed a full makeover this time around.

 

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Here is my Mom’s stool after its makeover. It has a bit of a French personality now!

 

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I really love its new look, but my Mom hasn’t seen it yet. I hope she will love it too!

 

What do you think?

 

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The top of this stool was given an aged-turquoise quatrefoil stenciled finish and then on top of that I did a photo transfer using a gorgeous Paris Wreath graphic from The Graphics Fairy. To finish it off, the bottom of the stool was given a wash with some light cream craft paint.

 

Ugly creamy yellow be-gone!

 

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Too bad this is my Mom’s stool, because now I wish that I could keep it for myself! Oh well, I am happy that I get a chance to do re-do things for my Mom. Besides, I can always paint something similar on one of my own pieces if I am missing her little stool too much!

 

 

So, would you like to paint one of your own stools like this?

You don’t have a stool to paint? That’s totally ok. You can create this look on so many other things. Here are some ideas for you…

How about on the seat of a chair, on the top of a side table or nightstand, on the inside of a serving tray, on an art canvas to display on your wall or maybe as a decorative finish for a storage box? There are so many possibilities! You also could paint this finish in any color to match your decor or even use another graphic on the top.

 

Here is the tutorial:

supplies-youll-need_4

 For painting:

          • your stool, storage box, chair etc.
          • turquoise latex paint (I used Behr Gem Turquoise 50% strength)
          • taupey gray latex paint (I used Martha Stewart’s Sharkey Grey)
          • burnt umber craft paint & antiquing medium
          • light cream craft paint
          • Martha Stewart’s Arabesque stencil set
          • paint brushes, including a stencil brush or a foam pouncer
          • some rags
          • 220 or 400 grit sandpaper

 

For the photo transfer and for top coating your project:

          • your laser photocopied/printed image to transfer (printed in mirror image mode if there is text in the graphic) (I used this Paris Wreath graphic from The Graphics Fairy)
          • Golden Soft Gel Gloss Medium
          • Matte Modge Podge
          • scissors
          • rubber brayer or scraper
          • spray bottle or sponge
          • paint brushes
          • dish scrubber (see previous instructions HERE)
          • a moist rag

 

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 Martha Stewart’s Arabesque Stencil

 

 

instructions

PART 1:


  1. Lightly sand your stool and then paint it with one coat of turquoise latex paint. Leave it to dry
  2. Prepare a mixture of half turquoise paint and half taupe paint to use for stenciling. Only stir the paint lightly so that the mixture is not consistent. It gives the finish a bit of variation
  3. Find the center of your stool and make a light pencil mark. Position one of stencil cut-outs right in the middle of your stencil mark, make sure the stencil is straight and then start stenciling using your 50% paint mixture above
  4. TIPS for stenciling: Try to keep your stencil firmly in place with one hand while stenciling with the other hand (you can also tape it down with painters tape if you like). Using the stencil brush and very little paint, tamp in an up and down motion to evenly distribute the paint. Carefully lift your stencil and then use a hair blow dryer to dry your previous section before moving on to the next. Wash your stencil in between applications if you wish

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PART 2:


  1. Once your stenciling is completely dry, lightly sand the entire stenciled area with 400 grit sandpaper to age it and give it a smooth finish
  2. Create a mixture of antiquing medium and a small amount of burnt umber craft paint to use as a wash. I would use about 7 parts antiquing medium to one part paint
  3. Working in one section at a time, brush on the aging glaze with a paintbrush and then before it has time to dry, use a damp rag to wash off the excess. You will be left with a lovely aged finish

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PART 3:


  1. Mix up some of your turquoise basecoat with a small amount of light cream craft paint
  2. Stencil over your original stenciled area again with this new color (you don’t need to line up to the original stenciled areas perfectly-close is good enough!)
  3. It is hard to see in this photo but you will end up with a gorgeous striae (lined) effect in the dark painted areas surrounding the quartrefoil shapes. You will also see a bit of your two stencil colors coming through (see the 2nd photo below for a close-up)
  4. After the top of your step stool has dried, use your burnt umber glaze mixture to give it another wash as in PART 2 above. After that has dried, lightly sand with 400 grit sandpaper

 

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PART 4:

For Detailed Instructions on How to Transfer Photos, Please Read My Tutorial HERE


  1. Prepare your photocopied/printed Paris graphic to be transferred (Again, make sure your graphic is reversed if you have text on there). Cut around your graphic neatly leaving a bit of white space all around your image. It can be helpful to cut a straight box around your image first and then cut away any extra parts. Having a straight line on the bottom and top will allow you to line up your image perfectly straight on your stool
  2. Coat the printed side of your image evenly with Soft Gel Medium. Before it has time to dry, flip it over face down and line it up as best as you can on the face of your stool. Once the image is down, it cannot be moved
  3. Smooth out the image with your hand and then use a brayer to remove air bubbles. Use your damp rag to wipe up excess gel medium then leave your image to dry for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight
  4. When your transfer has fully dried, soak the back of your image lightly with your spray bottle or sponge. Using the pad of your pointer finger, lightly rub away the paper one section at a time. Keep the area you are working on moist. Remove all of the residual paper that you can from your image and set it aside
  5. Use your pot scrubber with some water to lightly scrub away any last bits of residual paper. Don’t scrub so hard that you scrub away your image
  6. Leave your stool to dry

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PART 5:


  1. Once your transferred image is thoroughly dry lightly sand over it with 400 grit sandpaper to age the image. Wipe away any sanding dust (My transfer came out crisp and clear but I wanted it to look quite aged so I sanded my image a lot. I didn’t want it to look perfect!)
  2. Paint the bottom of your stool with light cream craft paint leaving a little bit of the basecoat showing through. You can also paint on some light gray paint here and there to create more of an aged look
  3. Once the bottom of your step stool is dry, you can sand the edges of the stool to distress it. Lightly wipe away  all of the sanding dust
  4. Coat your entire stool with two coats of matte Modge Podge for protection

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That is all there is to it!

 

It may seem like there are quite a few steps involved in finishing this stool, but it is actually quite easy. Since it is a small item it takes very little time to paint. I think this step stool took me about an hour to finish total, but of course there were some waiting times in between for the paint and the photo transfer to dry.

 

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I hope you decide to give this tutorial a try sometime. If you do, I would love to see what you have done! Please send me some photos of your finished project and I may feature your project on my blog; with your permission, of course!

And as always, if you have any questions about this tutorial or any of my other projects, please leave me a comment and I will get back to you as soon as possible. I love me some comments, if I haven’t told you already!

 

Happy Thursday!

 

 

 

 

product-links

Acrylic Medium Golden Soft Gel Gloss 8oz

Mod Podge CS11302 Original 16-Ounce Glue, Matte Finish

3M Wetordry 9085NA Sandpaper, 9-Inch x 11-Inch, 5-Sheet,Super Fine 400-Grit

3M 10132NA Tack Cloth

School Specialty 4 Semi-Soft Extra-Fine Foam Brayer, paint supplies

Martha Stewart 32266 Large Stencil, Arabesque

Staining/Antiquing Medium-2 Ounce

Stencil Starter Kit

 

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Parties I’ve Linked Up To:

 ~ The Shabby Creek Cottage – Transformation Thursday ~ Somewhat Simple – Blog Link Party ~ Brambleberry Cottage – Time Travel Thursday ~ The Trendy Treehouse – Create and Share ~ Domestically Speaking – 112th Power of the Paint Party ~ Savvy Southern Style – Wow Us Wednesdays ~ Embracing Change – Creative Inspirations Linky Party ~ The Shady Porch – Rock N’ Share ~ Mrs. Hines Class – Show & Tell ~ At the Picket Fence – Inspiration Friday ~ French Country Cottage – Feathered Nest Friday ~ Liz Marie – Link Up With Me ~ Chic on a Shoestring – Flaunt It Friday ~ My Romantic Home – Show and Tell Friday ~ The Shabby Nest – Frugal Friday ~ Craftionary – Friday Fun Party ~ Simply Designing – Simply Link Party ~ Days of Chalk & Chocolate – Latest Greatest Friday ~ Redoux Interiors – Friday Features #56 ~ Tatertots and Jello – Weekend Wrap Up Party ~ Funky Junk Interiors – Sat Nite Special ~ Be Different Act Normal – Show and Tell Saturdays ~ Craft Envy – Saturday Spotlight ~ I Gotta Create – Wildly Original Round-up ~ Craft-o-Maniac – Craft-o-Maniac Party Time Monday ~ I Should Be Mopping the Floors – Mop It Up Mondays ~ The Graphics Fairy – Brag Monday ~ Lines Across – The Cure for the Common Monday ~ Vintage Mauve – Mauvin’ Monday ~ Coastal Charm – Nifty Thrifty Tuesday ~ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia – Tuesdays Treasures ~ Skip to My Lou – Made By You Monday ~ Sumo’s Sweet Stuff – Market Yourself Mondays ~ Between Naps on the Porch – Metamorphosis Monday ~ DIY Show Off – DIY Project Parade ~ A Stroll Thru Life – 117th Table Top Tuesday ~ Vintage Wanna Bee – Talent Tuesday ~ Under the Table and Dreaming – Sunday Showcase Party ~ Homemaker on a Dime – Creative Bloggers Party ~ How to Nest for Less – Just a Party With My Peeps ~ Very Merry Vintage Style – STL Wednesday Link Party ~ Home Stories A to Z – Tutorials & Tips Link Party ~ Restore Interiors – Restored It Wednesday ~ Today’s Creative Blog – DIY Craft Projects ~ Organize and Decorate Everything – Home Decor & Organizing Link Party ~

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My love affair with my turquoise antique sewing cabinet

I am here today to finally share my completed sewing cabinet with you! I know, I know…this cabinet took me a really long time to paint! If you have been following my previous posts and wondering as to when I would be sharing the “after” photos with you, thank you for being so patient with me! I can now finally say that it this cabinet is all done and I hope you like it as much as I do!

If this is your first time visiting my blog, you can read about how I was very lucky to find my sweet little sewing cabinet for a song here. Sorry, you will need to scroll down to the bottom of the post for the details. 

My cabinet looks to be in pretty good shape in its “before” photo below. Don’t get me wrong, it was in great shape for its age. In reality though, there were some minor imperfections that needed to be addressed such as some chipping of the paint and some cracking that needed patching. I also wasn’t in love with its tomato red color so I decided that a complete makeover was in order for this cabinet.

 

Are you ready for the after?

 

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Here she is with her new look. What do you think?

Some of you had said that you would like to see my cabinet painted turquoise. I ended up choosing Behr Gem Turquoise mixed at 50% strength as her final color. It is a gorgeous light peacock blue color. I can’t wait to use this color again soon!

 

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Sometimes when I am working on a project, things don’t always go as planned. This seems to happen to me a lot lately! Does the same thing happen to you as well?

What happened this time? Well, I spent part of the day Sunday taking photos to share with you because it was such a beautiful sunny day. Then when I went to upload the photos from my camera to my computer there was a malfunction of the SD memory card and I couldn’t get the photos off of my camera no matter what I tried. It really was my fault for thinking that it was OK to store over 2500 photos on my memory card and not erase them at some point. Thankfully, I had the majority of the photos already saved to my computer and I was also able to find my other camera to use as a back-up, so I apologize if some of my photos are a little dark. These photos were taken as the sun was starting to set.

 

 

This cabinet was modified by one of its previous owners to fit a modern-day sewing machine. The top flips up and my new sewing machine fits perfectly inside. It cannot be stored inside the cabinet when not in use, but it works wonderfully for when it is time to sew. I plan to eventually make a cloth cover for my machine to keep it dust free.

I also want to find a little chair to use with this cabinet sometime soon. In the meantime, my milk painted toile bench fits underneath pretty well. Maybe I should just use the bench and change the fabric to one with a bit of turquoise in it. What do you think? Do you think a chair would be better?

 Milk Painted Toile Bench

Photo Transferred Vintage Sewing Box

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I decided to use Behr Premium Plus Paint and Primer In One on this cabinet. I had never had a chance to try out it before and I wanted to see for myself if it was as good as some people had said it was. I will be sharing my thoughts on this paint in an upcoming post.

Anyway, I prepared my cabinet for painting by giving it a good cleaning and then a light sanding. I then painted it with two coats of the Behr Paint/Primer In One, sanding with 400 grit sandpaper in between coats. I distressed it lightly with 220 grit sandpaper to bring out some of the red basecoat and then I followed up by glazing the entire cabinet with a burnt umber glaze to help bring out the details in the carvings. I made sure to wipe away the majority of the glaze as I was applying it to not “dirty” the final finish. Finally, I finished everything off by applying three coats of my favorite topcoat for durability. The finish feels so velvety smooth!

 

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 Don’t you just love the wooden appliques on this cabinet? They are my favorite part!

 

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I wanted to keep the keyholes and the holes on the bottom of the cabinet legs intact instead of filling them in with wood putty.  Even though the keys are long gone and the holes at the bottom of the legs mostly likely held the wheel that ran the original sewing machine, I think this cabinet is sweet with all of its little quirks!

 

 

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Here she is all set up ready for use.

 

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I am in love with my “new” little turquoise sewing cabinet! I can’t wait until we move so I can have craft room to store it in instead of it taking up prime real estate in my living room.

 

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Before I leave you I am having a tiny little dilemma that I am hoping you could help me with. My Mom was over last night visiting. She really likes what I have done with my cabinet but she thinks that the long drawer on the front is too plain and that it is missing something. She thinks it needs some knobs or another scrolly.

My personal opinion is that this cabinet already has enough scrollies on it and adding more would just make it too busy. I thought of adding some crystal knobs to give the cabinet a little bit of glamour but then they would need to be fairly small because there is not much depth available there. This little drawer has a magnetic closure and it tilts forward when opened.

What do you think? Should I just leave the drawer as is? I would be grateful for your opinion on what you think I should do.

 

Enjoy the rest of your day!

 

 

 

 

 Parties I’ve Linked Up To:

~ Debbiedoos – Debbiedoos Newbie Party ~ Craft Envy – Saturday Spotlight ~ Coastal Charm – Nifty Thrifty Tuesdays ~ Vintage Wanna Bee – Talent Tuesday ~ Not Just a Housewife – Show Me Whatcha Got ~ A Stroll Thru Life – Tabletop Tuesday ~ Uncommon Designs – Uncommonly Yours Linky Party ~ Domestically Speaking – 125th Power of the Paint Party ~ The Trendy Treehouse – Create and Share ~ Savvy Southern Style – Wow Us Wednesdays ~ The Shady Porch – Rock n’ Share ~ Let Birds Fly – Exodus 35 Creativity Party ~ Thrifty Decor Chick – May Before and After Party ~ Mrs. Hines Class – Show & Tell N o. 21 ~ Restore Interiors – Restored It Wednesday ~ Embracing Change – Creative Inspirations Party ~ The Shabby Creek Cottage – Transformation Thursday ~ Somewhat Simple – Blog Link Party ~ The Brambleberry Cottage – Time Travel Thursday ~ Crafty Scrappy Happy – Crafty Scrappy Happy Me ~ The French Country Cottage – Feathered Nest Friday ~ Craftionary – Friday Fun Party ~ Miss Mustard Seed – Furniture Feature Friday ~ Redoux Interiors – Friday Features #55 ~ Finding Fabulous – Frugalicious Friday ~ It’s a Hodgepodge Life – It’s a Hodgepodge Friday ~ Fingerprints on the Fridge – Feature Yourself Saturday ~ Chic on a Shoestring Decorating – Flaunt It Friday ~ My Romantic Home – Show and Tell Friday ~ The Shabby Nest – Frugal Friday ~ Addicted to Decorating – Addicts (Not So) Anonymous Link Party ~ Funky Junk Interiors – SNS 133 Link PartyTatertots and Jello – Weekend Wrap Up Party ~ Be Different Act Normal – Show and Tell Saturdays ~ Under the Table and Dreaming – Sunday Showcase Party ~ Homemakers on a Dime – Creative Bloggers’ Party & Hop ~ Skip to My Lou – Made By You Monday ~ Sumo’s Sweet Stuff – Market Yourself Mondays ~ DIY Showoff – DIY Project Parade ~ Craft-o-Maniac – Craft-o-Maniac Monday ~ Between Naps on the Porch – Metamorphosis Monday ~ Sunny Vanilla – Co-Host Linky Party ~ My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia – Tuesdays Treasures ~ Home Stories A to Z – Tutorials & Tips Link Party ~ Our DIY Diaries – Fab Not Drab Friday ~ Liz Marie – Link Up With Me ~ Simply Designing – Simply Link Party ~ Days of Chalk & Chocolate – Latest Greatest Friday ~ Craft Envy – Saturday Spotlight ~ I Gotta Create – Wildly Original Round-up ~ I Should Be Mopping the Floors – Mop It Up Mondays ~ Vintage Mauve – Mauvin’ Monday ~ Decorating Insanity – Furniture Friday ~

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A sewing cabinet sneak peek and some fabulous printables

You may be wondering why I haven’t posted my sewing cabinet reveal yet, so I am here to update you on my progress. I know I had promised to share my finished cabinet with you early this week, but it is taking me a little longer than I had anticipated to finish it. There are so many little nooks and crannies on this piece to paint and I paint everything by hand! This is one of those times where a paint sprayer would really come in handy. I may have to break down and buy one some day. Work smarter, right?

Also, my family and I were away this past weekend so I wasn’t able to get into the garage to paint and because I work full-time during the day, I only have about an hour or two each day to work on my painting projects between running after my kids and the mountains of laundry. I am so behind on my projects this week, but I am sure you can relate in one way or another!

Anyway, I should have my sewing cabinet all finished and ready to show you in the next day or two. In the meantime, I thought I would leave you with a sneak peek of my cabinet as it was yesterday; all painted and ready for distressing, glazing and topcoating.

 

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The color looks so vibrant here, doesn’t it? It is actually a light turquoise in real life!  What do you think?

I am so excited to share its transformation with you soon! I hope you will like it.

Updated: Please click HERE to see the final reveal of my sewing cabinet.

 

On another note, one evening last week when it was cold and rainy outside I kept myself busy making these amazing tags from Lilac & Lavender.

I found Megan and her blog while on Pinterest one day. Let me tell you it was love a first sight. I can’t believe all of the wonderful free printables that she has on her blog. Thanks so much for sharing these with us Megan!

 

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I printed out these gift tags on white letter size cardstock on my color laser printer. They printed out beautifully and they look as if they are professionally printed. Megan’s tags are such great quality.

To cut out the tags, I used my small Fisker’s paper trimmer. This took me only about 5-10 minutes. I then used my small hole punch to make holes in the top of each tag and I finished them off by threading lengths of thin twine through them. I found the twine at the Dollar Store. It was actually a part of a children’s necklace making kit.

 

Click on the tag name above the photos to find the gift tags that I have shared in this post.

 

French Vanilla Tags 

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Vintage Bird-Inspired Tags

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This one below is my favorite!

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Aren’t they sweet? These would look gorgeous on a gift or they could used as sales tags for those of you selling your handmade items. You could also frame these tags as works of art, use them in your craft projects or use them in your photo transferring projects.

For more eye candy and an abundance of free printables, please stop by Megan’s blog and say “hi!”. I am sure that you too will be amazed by all of the wonderful printables that she has on her blog. http://lilac-n-lavender.blogspot.ca/

 

Until next time,

 

 

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