Tag Archive for 'tutorial'

Greeting Card Little Mailart Book tutorial

4.30.11 Mailart little books

In 2011 I had one of those aha moments where I decided to combine my love of small notebook jotters and mailart. I was in the middle of a 365 mailart project and made quite a few of these little books to send out.

7.15.13 books

Over the years since then, I’ve made a few here and there, where I’ve painted and collaged on the covers which were made from blank recycled cardboard.

I even got one back, from Artist Mim Golub Scalin, where she filled it up and sent it back to me. It was completely unexpected, as I send each one as a gift to the recipient.

Then recently, noticing my hoards of greeting cards, I had another aha moment! Turn these cards into easy peasy little (mail) art books.

Greeting card little mail art book

Maybe you’re like me and have a greeting card addiction. Sometimes I deem them too precious to just write in. Sometimes I hang them up in the house like small art prints.

I keep a little handmade jotter on me at all times. I use it for daily list making and for writing down quick ideas or sketches. Recently, it was time to make a new one and I was thinking about what I would do for the cover when I saw the above mentioned (and pictured) hoard.

Even though the covers might be someone else’s art, I still consider a mailart project because the recipient can fill the pages with their own artwork. It’s like a mini sketchbook that came straight through the mail. Maybe you can send it back and forth between friends, filling it up with alternating pages of art. Or, you may decide not to send it away at all, but just keep it for yourself and that is great too! You may decide to alter your card and make it your own, or perhaps recycle a card that was sent to you, cool and cool! Or perhaps you don’t want to use a greeting card at all, and want to make some mailart books with your own art entirely, like how I originally started out, Awesome!

Greeting card little mail art book

Start out with:

A greeting card of your choice
Some plain paper – Often I alternate blank pages with lined paper
A ruler
A self healing mat
A pen knife
A booklet stapler
Washi tape

Greeting card little mail art book

Cut letter sized paper in half and then fold in half. Place folded and collated papers inside card. Most likely the paper won’t fit the card and you will need to trim off excess. I would suggest stapling book together first, then trimming away the extra, as seen above.

Little mailart book

One thing I learned from the book Mim returned to me was to add a ribbon for bookmarking. You could staple it into the binding or feed it between the cover and body pages at the staple (like pictured above) and knot it in place.

Tada! You have made a little book! If you want to keep the book for yourself, you may be done at this stage.

Greeting card little mail art book

If you want to mail your book, you can write the addresses right on the back cover of the card, or print out a label, like I did above. For the purpose of sharing here on the blog, I sent this one to myself. For postage I used 2 forever stamps because I could tell it was small and flat enough, but depending on how big or thick your booklet is, you may need more. I think my original mailart books required over a dollar postage. I also seal up the sides, since it is a booklet. Sometimes I will include a note and rubber band inside and the seals help keep it all contained. Make sure that the ribbon is tucked in and not hanging out, as it could get caught on the sorting machines. From working at a company that sends out lots of mail I know a booklet requires the seals to make it through the mail. In the past I’ve used wafer seals, or art tape to close it, but this time I tried washi tape and it worked like a charm and looked cute to boot.

Greeting card little mail art book

You can see they cancelled my stamps.

Little mailart book

The front cover is the beautiful greeting card art, and the back cover is now the postal side. The inside pages are just waiting to be filled! Awesome right? Now get to it, and make some little mailart books to send to your pen pals, or to keep for yourself.

Edit: Thanks to a comment I decided to add that my stapler is a Long Reach Pro Stapler. I just bought it at our local Office Max, but a simple google search shows that they sell it at Walmart as well. If I remember correctly, when I bought it, the box said it will staple through 20 (or was it 30) sheets of paper with the pressure of a single finger. It is NOT electric, but has CRAZY force. Word to the wise: do not put your finger underneath it, hoping to feel where the staple will come out because it only takes the pressure of a feather to shoot those suckers right into your finger. Good times!

Embroidery Hoop Knick Knack Shelf

knick knack mantle

I finally installed my knick knack shelf over the mantel in a proper way.

Back story: Shortly after we moved into our house in 2011 I put these shelves up over the mantel but Matt did not like how they were all just leaning there. He said if I wanted them up I need to attach them properly and it took me a couple years to finally get that done. Since I want to regularly rotate out our mantel, so the decor never gets stale, I just used LOTS of 3M velcro strips.

knick knack mantle 2014

There are two shelves that are deeper than the type case shelves so they are sitting on the mantel. The shelf on the bottom left is by my friend Ann of a A Beautiful Party and I bought it at a show but I think she needs to make and sell these online, they are so wonderful. Because that shelf is painted a very pale aqua or teal and a different color than the rest of the wooden shelves, and because I had an empty spot on the top right I had the idea of making my very own little knick knack shelf.

I first saw this shelf by etsy seller Senkki and thought it would be great to make a small, round knick knack shelf but from an embroidery hoop, to balance out my own shelf wall. Easy Peasy.

Embroidery Hoop Knick Knack Shelf supplies

A quick craft store run later and I was on my way. I just picked up an wooden embroidery hoop, and then went to the wood craft section and picked out some balsa wood that was the same thickness as the hoop’s depth. I grabbed a pencil, an X-acto pen knife, a glue gun (you could use wood glue if you want and have more time), and a cutting board.

Embroidery Hoop Knick Knack Shelf

I just eyeballed where I’d like a shelf to go and marked it with a pencil. Since the balsa wood is so thin and soft I was able to just cut it with the pen knife, no power tools necessary! Dabbing a bit of hot glue on each end, I then put it into the hoop and let the glue cool while I worked on the next piece.

Embroidery Hoop Knick Knack Shelf

The whole thing took less than a half an hour.

embroidery hoop Knick Knack Shelf up

Also, since the wood is so light I was able to put it up with more 3m strips, tada! I think the next size larger embroidery hoop might look better, filling the space, so I might try that next. You may want to stain or paint your embroidery hoop shelf. I’d recommend doing that before beginning.

Other Crafty DIYs and Tutorials by Robayre

Rorschach Clothing

The other night my best friend got inspired and requested a crafty evening at my house. She bought supplies and came over with her mystery project.

She’s a big fan of Project Runway and wanted to create some shirts inspired by Mondo Guerra’s dress, which was in turn inspired by Rorschach tests.

QUICK! What do you see? @crabica77 and I are doing a fun Rorschach (and Mondo Guerra) inspired craft evening. She always sees pelvises in everything. I always see really dark Scary-Stories-To-Tell-In-The-Dark type images.

I was a little hesitant at first, so before diving into the shirts we used some newsprint and made these four samples above. Mine on the left, hers on the right. I shared the images on instagram and got a fun response of people’s interpretations. To me all Rorschach’s look like really creepy, dark and macabre images, like those seen in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Being a nurse, she always sees pelvises.

So, what do you see in the images above?


We went on to make our T-shirts and I was immediately smitten. I want to make a ton more and make them a staple in my wardrobe. Next I want to buy a black shirt and use white paint.

From the other night, crafting with with fabric paint #color image

We had a variety of paint colors so I did a shirt with color, but in the future I’ll probably stuck to black and white.

Edit: Thanks to Hanna’s inquiry, I’ve added a quick tutorial below, for those of you that might want to experiment on their own.


Cut a piece of paper as wide as the shirt. We folded it in half vertically so that it had a crease, opened it back up flat and put it inside the shirt (The yellow in the image above). The crease allowed us to see where the halfway fold was in the shirt and helped when we have to fold the shirt in half later (the red dotted line above). Using straight pins, pin the corners of the shirt to the paper inside so the paper doesn’t shift around (the green lines above). The paper inside the shirt also helps protect the paint from seeping through to the back of your shirt.. Then using a second piece of paper, we used wax paper, the length of the shirt, place it over one side of the shirt (the grey box above on the right side of the shirt), making sure to line it up at the halfway vertical mark. This helps protect half of the shirt.

Using fabric paints you just squirt out the paint randomly on the empty side of the shirt however you like, lines, dots, splatter, patterns, etc. If some goes on the wax paper that is fine, it is protecting the opposite side of the shirt for the time being. I found less is more. I high recommend playing around with plain paper folded in half first, so you get an idea of how much paint to use and how the paint comes out (heavy or thin, or if you have to squeeze hard, etc.). Once you are happy with the paint on the one side of the shirt, carefully remove the wax paper off the top of the shirt, and fold the shirt in half vertically. With the shirt folded in half, use your hand to smooth out the two halves, distributing the fabric paint onto both sides evenly. Open your shirt up for the big reveal and voila, your design is done!

You could use any fabric you like. Erica made a handkerchief as well as her shirts. Maybe you’d like to make a skirt, or just flat fabric that you might use to make something else later.

Our fabric paint said to let it dry for 24 hours and then wash the garment inside out.

If you make something, I’d love to see it!

A Necklace Display

9.17 necklace display

While living in rental units and before buying our home I had a dream list of things I wanted to do once I OWNED MY OWN HOME. There were things on that list like hanging a nice, full length mirror on the wall (as opposed to the cheap mirror that is stuck to the back of most apartment bathroom doors), having my very own hammock to swing in while enjoying my very own back yard and HELLO chalkboard paint wall. One of those list items was to have a nice and permanent display for all of my necklaces.

my favorite necklaces
(some of my favorite necklaces)

I consider most of my jewelry as wearable art, rather than just jewelry, and most pieces are not small or something that could easily be put away in a jewelry box. I’d like to have the pieces out and hanging in my bedroom. This way the pieces could be displayed as the artwork that they are, but also easily seen so I can decide which piece to wear each day.

In the past I’ve just hung all my necklaces from various random hooks, knobs and random nails that seem to be abundant in most rentals. I dreamed of a time when I’d have them all hanging on the wall, equally displayed. At first I pictured a straight line of nails, right into the wall. I think after renting for so many years I couldn’t even dream past the point of just owning my own walls that I could NAIL HOLES INTO IF I WANTED. It wasn’t until moving into our house that I started thinking beyond that and came up with this idea for a necklace display.

9.17 necklace display materials

Last weekend I finally finished it and thought it might be something other people would be interested in recreating for their own necklaces. It was really simple and other than some assistance from my dad and sister (mostly because I needed their expertise, support and assurance) it could have been done in a day or two.

9.17 necklace display materials2

I went to the hardware/lumber store and bought a 2x10x8 and had them cut it down to 4 feet long and bought an a additional length of quarter-round, as seen above.

9.17 necklace display materials7

Lightly sand the wood, stain it and then treat it.

9.17 necklace display materials4

Using wood glue, glue the quarter round onto the edge and tape it into place and leave it to dry.

Mark the walls where the studs are and measure the height where the piece is to hang.
9.17 necklace display materials8

Put screws into the studs at the correct height, leaving them to stick out about .5″-.75″.

9.17 necklace display materials6

Place the piece up against the wall, directly under the screws and mark on the wood where the screws are located.
9.17 necklace display materials5

Drill holes into the back, slightly larger than the screw heads in the wall, that match the location of the screws in the wall.
9.17 necklace display materials3

Run two pieces of tape across the piece, horizontally, at 1″ and 4″ down. Then mark the tape every .75″, alternating on the 1 and 4 inch tapes.
With a hammer, nail penny nails into the board at the marked spots at a slight angle upward.

Voila, the piece is done. Match the holes in the back of the piece to the screws in the wall and it hangs beautifully.

9.17 room1 9.17 room
(Before and after, necklace display)

The purpose of the quarter round was to create a small ledge where I can place artwork and inspirational images.

I also chose to use penny nails. You might opt for hooks or decorative nails. I specifically wanted the penny nails because the necklaces can easily be pulled off, and they are less distracting from the necklaces.

If you click on any of the images in this post it should take you to the flickr image. If you go to to this picture of the close up, and hover over the picture I have given credit to all the different artists who’s work can be seen in this display.

DIY Paper Clay Bead Necklaces

display necklaces
Hello friends, I started a little craft project recently and made these colorful, chunky beaded necklaces. They were really fun, easy and inexpensive to make, so I thought I’d share a little tutorial on how you can make your own paper clay bead necklaces. If you do end up making some, I’d love to see how they come out.

A few years back I was at an Old Navy store and they had some necklaces that caught my eye. They were bright and colorful, big, plastic, chunky beads and I was tempted to buy one, but something stopped me. I can’t remember if it was because they were all monochromatic color schemes, or all the beads were the same shape, or what, but I thought to myself “I could make a necklace like that for myself, but even more AWESOME.” I envisioned a statement piece of jewelry, with a variety of big chunky beads in different color schemes, that were candy like. Occasionally I would remember the necklace idea and would check out the craft stores for some big, colorful beads, but every time, there were no BIG beads, let alone any with a variety of BRIGHT colors and shapes. The closest I could find were some wood beads for little kids to learn to count on and string for fine motor skills. Fast forward to earlier this year and I remembered some paper clay I bought from my expedition into scary doll making and decided to take a crack at making my own necklace.
Alyssa and Dacia
Here are the necklaces I made being modeled on my lovely sister in law, Dacia on the right, and her lovely sister Alyssa on the left, to show how long I chose to make my necklaces.

Paper Clay
Mark Making Tools for clay (pencil, mesh, string)
Acrylic Paint
Paint Brush
Colored Pencils (optional)
Cardboard Box
Florist Wire
Drill or needle/thin knitting needle
Clear Glaze Spray
Jewelry making supplies as needed for your taste
The idea to use Paper Clay came to me because it is easily malleable, light and air dries. You can buy it fairly inexpensively at craft stores for around $9 for a pack. Just make sure that you keep it sealed after you open it. However, even if it does dry out, just put it in a ziplock bag with a little bit of water and kneed it back into shape.

I wanted to make my beads big and chunky so I just rolled them out to size. Some beads I rolled out to be round, some beads were more cylindrical, some were more flat. I used various items, such as a pencil and some old pottery tools, as well as mesh, to give my beads unique texture. Be creative! You can do whatever comes to mind. The instructions said to let the paper clay dry for 24 to 48 hours. Since my beads were rather thick I actually waited 4 days. The clay goes from being light gray to almost white when dry. Don’t worry about the beads being perfect, you can sand and file them once they are dry.
Once my beads were dry I used my dad’s drill press to drill the bead holes. If you don’t have access to that, you could use a handheld drill, a dremel, or even poke a hole while the bead is still drying. If you decide to poke a hole through, I’d recommend letting the bead dry for a few hours first so that you don’t misshape the piece while pushing a needle through it. You need to think a little ahead at this point, when choosing a drill bit, or needle size. Think about how you want to thread your beads. At first I was thinking I would simply string them on a ribbon so I chose a fairly thick drill bit. After everything was said and done, I actually changed my mind and decided to use eye pins to give each bead a more finished look. My holes were then a bit too large for the eye pins so I had to widen the end ring a touch.
DSC_0939 DSC_0941

Here’s a little trick I learned taking metal and jewelry classes – when you drill a hole you’ll often get a bit of a rough edge on the back. Take a larger drill bit than the one are using and gently twist the tip into the hole as shown above. It will smooth away that edge and finish the piece.
From here I sanded my beads to give them a more smooth surface. I also used the sand paper to give some flat edges, and a file to groove edges on others for added texture and character.
When painting the beads I used a tool I had on hand to hold the bead so that I could paint the whole bead evenly. You could also use a pin/needle or thin knitting needle, etc. The paper clay is a very dry, porous clay and will take whatever you put on it very easily. Paint them solid or patterned. You could use acrylic paint, or let the translucent quality of watercolor work in your favor. Draw on the beads with colored pencils, sharpies, etc. You could even leave them plain for all white beads. The possibilities are endless.

P1010172  P1010183
After each bead was decorated, I put them in this make-shift box as seen above. I cut slits in the side of the cardboard and fed the wire through so all the beads would be evenly spaced. Then I sprayed the beads with the clear glaze spray. I used Krylon, triple-thick crystal clear glaze and I can’t recommend this stuff enough. No matter how thick I sprayed it on, it would dry clear and fairly quickly, in 10-20 minutes. Make sure you do this outdoors or a place with plenty of air circulation and ventilation because the spray’s fumes are very strong. After I sprayed the beads I had to rotate them and spray them again, doing this about 4 or 5 times to get an even, high gloss.

Once the beads are sealed with the spray they are good to go. You can assemble them however you like. Put them on a ribbon, a wire, or chain. Add different beads you have purchased. Have them close to the neck or hang low. Use your creativity. I’ve been wearing my necklaces now for a few weeks and they have held up against the test of Robyn Demolition, where in a I destroy most things I come in contact with. These were fun to make and I hope to see how you apply your own creativity to this project!

check out other diy/tutorials on Inspiration Junkie

DIY Custom Chalkboard Paint Color, Project and Giveaway

3.21 chalkboard paint tutorial4

If you’re like me, you’ve seen plenty of DIY tutorials out there to make your own chalkboard paint in any color you want. Those tutorial’s material list goes something like this: paint color of your choosing and then start listing things like grout… and that’s exactly when I stop reading. Who has grout on hand? And how does one buy grout? And even if I bought grout, I’m guessing it comes in some HUGE bag and all I need is a couple cups worth. The other day I was at home and had a project in mind but wanted to use a different color chalkboard paint than the standard black I had on hand. I know you need a grout type product, something that adds a chalky, toothy type texture to the acrylic paint and so I started hunting around the house. Then it hit me. I have that gritty product already, and it’s in my studio… GESSO! Gesso is a substance often used as a base for all types of painting and even other types of artwork. Its wikipedia page says it is actually a paint combined with chalk. I tried mixing it with a green acrylic paint and it worked perfectly, adding just the right amount of course texture to grab onto the chalk when applied later.

3.21 chalkboard paint tutorial
Materials: Paint, Gesso, Paint Brushes, and Cup

Here’s what you do: simply mix it 50-50, or up to 75% acrylic and 25% gesso mixture. Acrylic paint is naturally kind of glossy when dry, but you want your final product to be matte. Because gesso is white, it is going to lighten up your acrylic paint substantially, keep this in mind when choosing your paint color. You’ll want to pick an acrylic paint that is that much darker than what you want your final product to look like. I used a very dark green to get the desired chalkboard green I was going for.

Apply your  new chalkboard paint to your project surface. You may want to apply a second coat depending on how evenly your first application was.

After it is dry you will want to treat your new board with chalk. Scribble, or scrape your chalk all over the board and rub it around evenly. Now your chalkboard is ready!

3.21 chalkboard paint tutorial2
A fun and easy project to use your new chalkboard paint on would be making a customizable ring, as seen at the top of this post. Other than the paint you just created, all the materials can be found at your local craft store for under $5: New chalkboard paint, little round discs, inexpensive  adjustable ring blanks, super glue or gluegun glue, paint brush and chalk.

You can buy these round wood blanks at most craft stores in the wood isles. You can also find other shapes that would work as well, like stars or hearts, or if you are super crafty you might choose to cut out your own shape using a small saw. Using super glue or a hot glue gun attach the adjustable ring blank to the back of the ring. Once it is dry and solidly attached you can paint the top of your ring with the chalkboard paint.

3.21 chalkboard paint tutorial3
And if you like the project, but aren’t interested in making one for yourself, I have created a small handful of rings and little treasure boxes with chalkboard paints (my own and the black is store bought).  Leave a comment on this post and enter a chance to win one of the pieces of your choosing. Let me know which one you’d like if you won or just say hello. Like me on facebook for an extra chance, don’t forget to come back here and leave an additional comment and let me know that you did. I will select one lucky winner on April 1st.

Our Annual Christmas Ornament

Yesterday Matt and I made our annual Christmas ornament. I like the idea of using recycled or repurposed papers to make such a beautiful thing. So far we’ve recycled paper 3 years, and purchased origami paper one year. This year I was fortunate enough to pick up some waste paper from a song book we were printing at work and it made for a beautiful ornament. This is the tutorial pattern I follow every year. This was also the first year we used hot glue and it is by far the sturdiest ornament yet. I highly recommend using hot glue. If you don’t have a glue gun you can find them at your typical marts and craft stores for under $10. Also, don’t make the same mistake we made, use small paper! Our first ornament ended up being the size of a soccer ball and will never make it to the tree. Now we use 3″ square and it works perfectly.

12.19 2011 ornament

I like this picture above with all the ornaments we’ve made so far. It’s our first year in our first home and this picture captures so much. It’s like an eye spy. There are four ornaments on our dining room table but can you see the a handmade table cloth that Matt’s great grandmother made? How about a nosey kitty, and a christmas tree, and don’t forget a tired Matt lounging on the couch?

12.20 christmas tree
And since we are on holiday decorations, here is a picture of our first full sized tree. Previously we had a little 3 foot tree that was more of a pain than anything. The cat was constantly trying to eat it and it was always falling over. This new tree was gifted to us by Matt’s parents. Please disregard the lack of a tree skirt. I’m working on it. The tree is covered in white lights (my preference), my handmade gold and silver garland, and a collection of both of our ornaments from since we were babies.

Pinterest and a Wooden Mat

The other day I came upon the above image and tutorial link on Pinterest and immediately knew I HAD to have one. At first I thought it would be easy enough to just buy a mat and paint it myself, but when I looked up how much it would cost to buy a wooden slatted floor mat, $$$, building one from scratch became more attractive. The instructions seemed pretty simple so this weekend my sister, mom and I started working on making 3.

As I joked to my dad, the tutorial was online, but I must not have read it too closely because I missed the first few steps where it must have read “listen to your mom and sister bicker at Lowe’s” and “Rearrange your brother’s garage to access the table saw.” All the same, the three of us put together a pretty decent assembly line.


We cut down 18 large pieces of 2×2, but only had enough daylight and strength to finish the first mat. Here is a picture of me and my sister proudly standing on our first creation. As much as I love the colors in the first one, I think I’ve decided that what I’m going to do is go with a simple stain, and then when I want to change it up, I can paint it a color and then maybe later, paint it a different way.

Fabric Tape

tape fabric tape 2

I finally got around to making some fabric tape. I’ve been wanting to make some ever since I saw this tutorial by Annekata online a while ago. It was fun and easy to make and I can’t wait to use it as well. I didn’t have any wax paper at home, so I used parchment paper instead. It was okay, but the tape didn’t really want to stick to it, I wonder if the wax paper would be better. Some people have suggested trying double faced tape, but I’ve taped and glued fabric enough in the past and knew I wanted my tape to be very permanent and not eventually come apart from the adhesive.

FYI – It took me a while to hunt down some of that paper packaging tape, but I finally found it at Office Max.

Oh, and I guess this is as good a time as any to share my pinterest craft board. I’m trying to remember to pin any craft tutorial that I see online and want to eventually do. I love pinterst for keeping track of things online. Do you have a pinterest?

Potholders – leave it to the experts

It’s the middle of winter. It’s freezing cold everyday. The sun is only out while I’m away at work, and then hides away the moment I get off for the day. I’ve been horrible about blogging, but only because I haven’t been working on much artwork at all, but being very crafty and domestic; Knitting, sewing, baking and the like.

Yesterday I saw this tutorial on Whip Up, on how to make patchwork potholders. In the kitchen I feel like I’m always desperately searching for something to pull out the hot stuff from the oven. The tutorial looked super easy and I was all excited to get home and start cranking these puppies out. Immediately upon starting I realized that it wasn’t going to be as fast and easy as I thought. I made the above potholder and it’s a real disgrace.

1.19.11 Treasury
Frustrated I realized that there are probably TONS of crafters who make quilted potholders on Etsy. I was inspired to make this treasury with some that caught my eye. I’m usually all about DIY, but It was one of those times where I realized I would be thrilled to support a handmade artist, and buy my future potholders online, rather than suffer through making another. And boy are they affordable! You can find lots of them for $2-$5 range. For a handmade item, that someone lovingly created, that is amazing.
And, a special note, I found this particular shop, Vintage Armoire, that takes old quilts and turns them into potholders. I love that.