Tag: Paint

Brilliantly Beautiful Kid’s Rainbow Room Idea

 

As I posted in a previous Rainbow decor and rainbow fan post, my middle child is an avid rainbow lover and has been since she was a toddler. We redid her room for her 10th birthday in full rainbow fashion. Nine months later we were getting ready to move. With the prospect of a new room to design, a rainbow room was still the desire. She wanted a rainbow tree similar to one I painted on a canvas for her. From there it was just a matter of figuring out how to get the rainbow around the room. That’s when the butterfly rainbow room idea was born!

 

Rainbow chair, rainbow shelves, rainbow curtains, and rainbow lamp from our previous room makeover.

Rainbow Room Tree Mural

I also have a lifelong love; of drawing and painting trees. That’s not to say I’m super great at it but it’s been a focus of many of my sketches and paintings. At my daughter’s painting party a few years ago, I painted a rainbow tree for her on a small canvas. We used that as the inspiration here. I started by painting the trunk using cheap acrylic paint. After the base coat dried, I started with the details to give it some dimension. 

Using bunched-up paper towels, I dabbed each color starting with purple onto the wall. I can attest that it’s much easier than trying to paint leaves. After doing a layer of coloring, I did another coat of a dark shade of each color. Again, the idea was some added dimension. That’s all it took to finish the tree.

Rainbow Butterflies in Action

I got a Cricut for Christmas and had been itching to use it for something. This was the perfect opportunity to create sheets of rainbow butterflies to fly around the room. Here’s the template I created, which I’m attaching free for you to use, Butterfly Template.  To start, I bought a rainbow pack of cardstock. With the template created and the cardstock in hand, it was just a matter of waiting for the many sheets to print/cut. 

Butterflies Lifting Off into the Air

Using a double-sided tape roll, I stuck each butterfly to the wall with the wings flapping out. My daughter wanted the 3D effect, which I totally understood. Some butterflies fluttered to the ground and needed a bit more stick to them. I placed a good amount flying out from the tree and then the rest fluttered around the rest of the room. 

Completed Rainbow Room

 

From removing clutter to adding art that speaks to your happy emotions, your living spaces can contribute to your mental health. I know my daughter is completely happy in space being surrounded by the colors and things she loves. As noted in the article, How to Optimize your Space for Your Mental Health,

While there are many ways to improve your mental health including therapy, meditation, exercise, hobbies, a healthy diet, and time spent with loved ones, there are also small things we can do to create a shift in our mood. One of those small things is tweaking the space in which we live and work. These small changes and tweaks can make a world of difference in your overall mental well-being.

Very Well Mind

 

Don’t delay in creating your happy places!

 

 

*This page contains affiliate links. This means if you use one of my links to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Cathartic Crafting!

An Inspiring Way to Refinish an Antique Dresser

If you’re anything like me, you peruse the Facebook marketplace every now and again for some “window shopping”. I was on just such a trip when I spotted an antique dresser being unloaded by the previous would-be refinisher. It was a steal! I jumped on that as quick as I could type “interested!”. From there, it was just a matter of my mind diving into identifying just the right direction. Follow along with me on my antique dresser refinish. I really hope it inspires you on your own journey!

Structure Fixes

The top was in the roughest shape. Since much of it was peeling off, there wasn’t much I could do to salvage it. I scraped off the chipping wood and sanded down the top. I considered adding a 1/4″ thick board to the top to replicate the upper layer but made the wise decision to leave it as it was. 

The rest of the dresser was in really good shape. The existing finish was a matte finish so all that was necessary was to clean it. Paint would adhere very well without needing to sand it. In my world, that is the best kind of piece!

The top middle drawer was stuck in there without having a handle to pull it out. I was able to get it out by wedging a tool into the hole and the edges to shimmy it out. 

Breaking out the Paintbrush

I went the budget friendly route on this paint choice and used my favorite 40% off coupons at Michaels to get three colors: Light gray, dark gray, and white. Typically, I try to avoid having to use blue tape (I just don’t like spending the time doing it), but it was definitely necessary for this paint job to create straight lines. I chose to use white as the dominant color and light and dark gray as the border and stencil color.  

Stencils!

My stencil phase was really kicking into gear at the point of this project, so it was a given I was going to do something utilizing the technique. (Check out my other stencil projects: Stenciled Coffee Table and feathered bench.) I again used a Michael’s coupon to get a damask stencil. From there, it was just a matter of letting my imagination go free to determine what I wanted it to look like. When doing the stencil, I did a combination of the light and dark grays to create more dimension. It, of course, would have been fine to do all one shade, but I didn’t want to overwhelm with the dark paint or for it to be harder to see with the light gray. I coated the entire dresser in clear wax to finish it off. The final results are below!

Drawer Liner

Given that the inside of the drawers would be covered with clothes, you may not find it important to use a liner. I liked the fun of the pop of pattern, so I opted to spend a few more bucks to get the drawer liner. I found this liner at Walmart. It has the handle grid on the back for cutting. All it took was to measure the inside of the drawer space, cut the paper to size with the grid, peel, and stick. It can be a bit hard to get completed smooth, but if you continue to rub the bumps, it get’s the job done.

Finishing Touch

The dresser just needed some knobs to call it complete. I searched around for a good bit. Home Goods and Hobby Lobby sell knobs in the stores but the selection wasn’t great to match what I was searching to get. I found these knobs on Amazon:

I loved the look of them and the coloring was perfect. After having used several other knob types, I can verify for you that while these knobs may come loose with use, the screw will not pull out of the knob. The screw can be seen at the front of the knob and goes all the through as opposed to being glued into the knob. It’s much more secure that way. 

Putting the Antique Dresser into Place

The plain jane white dresser was swapped out for the refinished antique dresser.

The canopy bed was one my parents made for me as a child. I made the curtains to appease my little one.

I hope you enjoyed the quick and easy journey. Refinishing doesn’t have to be scary. If you can find one like this that doesn’t need a lot of structure fixing, then you are basically only left to the confines of your creativity. While we are on the topic, check out the benefits of creativity:

Turns out, tapping in to that creative energy can actually improve your overall health. It might sound too good to be true, but simply engaging in creative behaviors (even just coloring in those trendy adult coloring books) improves brain function, mental health, and physical health.

Forbes
5 benefits of Being Creative:
  1. Increases happiness
  2. Reduces dementia
  3. Improves mental health
  4. Boosts your immune system
  5. Makes you smarter

With this benefits, there’s no reason not to let unlock that creativity today! Happy Crafting!

*This page contains affiliate links. This means if you use one of my links to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Cathartic Crafting!

The Ultimate Cardboard Gingerbread House for Christmas Crazed Kids

As some of my other posts show, I have a strong love for cardboard. It’s easy to find, it’s free, it’s got a nice balance of flexibility and strength, fairly easy to manipulate, and it’s recyclable. I mean, with all those great characteristics, who wouldn’t love it?! I started just as many other parents, by providing the big box to the child, allowing their imagination to run wild. Since I love allowing my imagination to go wild, that only lasted so long for me. When we moved into our current house, I finally had the open space to run a little wild.
I made my first cardboard gingerbread house about 5 years ago. It stayed up well over a year before we took it down. My youngest spent many hours playing in that little house and why I recommend you make one of your very own if you’ve got the space. I hope my ideas help to inspire your own!

Now onto the Build

Materials:

  • Big and small cardboard boxes
  • Paper towel rolls or wrapping paper rolls
  • Contact paper
  • Toilet paper roll
  • Egg
  • Sticks
  • Scissors and/or razor
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks (check out this link for a cordless hot glue gun, I know what I’m putting on my Christmas wish list!!!)
  • Paint and paintbrushes
  • Fake snow or whatever Christmas element you’d like to add

To start, it’s really up to the boxes you have on hand to determine your eventual house shape. Hot glue is a wonderfully quick and sturdy option to glue your pieces together. Thankfully, I had huge boxes from a refrigerator, a washer, dryer, and couches. I’ve found it’s quite easy to cut at the corners by running a razor down through it. 

I painted the wrapping paper rolls with the candy cane strips before cutting them open in one straight line. This was to open them up for gluing on the corners of the house/box. I truly loved the effect. We made some peppermints out of other bits of cardboard and hot glued them onto the front. From there, it was just a matter of painting the house front as we desired. 

The Front Door: the magical entrance to an imagination space

For the door, I cut out an open panel to let the girls have a spot to look through while in the house. To give it a personalized touch, I used contact paper so my girls could create a little winter scene. I sealed it with a backside of contact paper and glued it to the back of the door. 

For the handle, I knew I wanted to make it able to turn and “lock” into position. Below is what I came up with based on what I had on hand. My motto is generally to use what I have rather than look to buy something. I used a toilet paper roll and two wooden dowels I had for cake stability or some other craft project. It was easy enough to cut the hole for the toilet paper roll and holes for the sticks that would keep the door in place. The problem was that the toilet paper roll wasn’t strong enough on the edge now to be crushed.

A bit of ingenuity

I came up with using an egg out of my fridge. I blew out the innards and then coated it in Mod Podge to seal it and give it some added strength. After that, I stuck the egg into the end of the toilet paper roll. Looking back, I admit it does seem rather odd, but it worked perfectly and lasted a really really long time. It wasn’t until we had some little boys over to play that one egg ended up crushed, cause, you know, BOYS. 

For the chimney, I used a white square cardboard box. It was easy to cut the bottom at the angle of the roof. Then, my oldest daughter helped me to paint the stone look of it. I used some super hard corner cardboard pieces (the kind that comes with appliances or furniture) as the roof seam. 

“He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight—
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

Clement Clarke Moore, The Night Before Christmas

Stepping inside this Cardboard Gingerbread House

Obviously, a cozy Cardboard Gingerbread house isn’t much without a roaring stone fireplace. Using another super-stiff box, I cut it in half and then cut the front down the middle to be able to bend back for the fireplace shape. My oldest was then 7 and really enjoyed helping paint the stones. You can really see the concentration on her face here. Did you know crafting with kids can build their confidence? As they start to see the results of their work, it proves how much they can do just by trying. 

With the fireplace in place, it was only a matter of rolling up some brown cardstock into sticks and cutting and gluing some tissue paper together to create the roaring fire. There were cut off corner pieces needing to be repurposed, so I glued them to the corners as shelves. In the below photo, you can hopefully see I used some bent cardboard as roof supports to keep it solidly in place. It was easy enough to then tuck the light strings into the open spots. 

Just a few hours of crafting and engineering precision, created years of enjoyment for my three girls!

Upping the ante with Cardboard Gingerbread House #2

For my daughter’s 6th birthday, I made a Haunted Cardboard house for the birthday party. Since I’d put so much work into it, we weren’t about to take it down right afterward. Together, we spruced it up to turn it into another cardboard gingerbread house. Because I’m a bit of a hoarder, not really, just an avid “repurposer”, we were able to use the chimney and fireplace we’d created the first time around.

Join me on the Inside

Obviously, the square footage of this house was a great deal more than the previous one. The girls were able to go full-on Christmas on the inside. It was such a fun Christmas activity to get us in the spirit!

“Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there…”

Clement Clarke Moore, The Night Before Christmas

 

*This page contains affiliate links. This means if you use one of my links to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Cathartic Crafting!

How to Throw a Magical Harry Potter Party


My oldest and I were (and still are) true Harry Potter fans, so we planned years ahead that she would have a Harry Potter Party theme for her 11th birthday. I was beyond excited about the idea. I started my Pinterest board and made it my mission to create a fantastical version for my daughter. With her birthday being in mid-September, I started with preparations in July with the wands. My husband may have asked a few times how long I would be working on making wands, but you can’t mess with the artist’s methods and desires. Below is the full rundown on our Harry Potter Party. 

We blew up white balloons and drew owls on them with Sharpies. We attached an owl balloon to each invitation and hand-delivered it to each house for a truly authentic experience.

Harry Potter Party: The Journey begins with Platform 9 3/4

“For in dreams we enter a world that is entirely our own.”

Albus Dumbledore

Diagon Alley

I used the same technique for both Platform 9 3/4 and Diagon Alley. This involved shades of brown and shades of red, a paper plate, water, and a sponge cut to brick size. I put a mix of the cheap acrylic paint shades on a plate and thinned them with water in a syringe. The sponge would absorb the color before I stamped it onto the curtain. I used a curtain panel I found at Goodwill for Platform 9 3/4 and butcher paper for Diagon Alley. 

Using cardstock in shades of red, clear fishing wire, and hot glue I made the rotating ‘bricks’ to keep with the authentic Harry Potter Party feel. This may well have been my favorite part of the whole party.

Quick Stop at Gringotts Bank for some Spending Gold

Each wizarding student received a gold coin from Gringotts Bank. On the back of the coin was a unique Harry Potter image. I had printed off images onto one piece of paper and taped them to the back of the coins. This was intentional so there wouldn’t be fighting at Eeylops Owl Emporium.

Eeylops Owl Emporium & Magical Menagerie

In order to keep party costs as low as I could, I asked family to help me check out Goodwill stores for good condition cats, owls and frogs to stock the menagerie. Now here is where the coins came into play. I picked a pet out of the stock and would call out the Harry Potter image I’d placed on it. This matched with the coin. I knew that kids would likely like specific animals and didn’t want to have them fighting over the same one. This pet was one of their party favors as well.  

Monster Book of Monsters at Flourish and Botts

For the full tutorial on my DIY Monster Book of Monsters, check out the instructions here.

Ollivander’s Wand Shop

There are definitely lots of options for you to pick from when it comes to wands. Premade is always an option, but if you’re like me, you enjoy the opportunity to express your creativity and save some money at the same time. I used Long Cooking Chopsticks as the base of the wand. From there, I used a variety of clay, hot glue, spray paint, and paint to create my own wands. The only one I made true to Harry Potter was the elder wand.

My mother in law happened to have a tall wide vase for me to use for the wand to choose the wizard. I used some purchased fairy lights inside the vase and left the on/off switch outside of it for me to be able to control the light. Each little wizard came up to pick a wand. They would continue to touch different wands until the lights lit up to indicate the wand had chosen. It was great fun. 

On to Hogwarts and the Sorting Hat

I seemed to do a fair bit of paper Mache these days. My sorting hat may very well have been the kick-off to that trend. Cardboard served for the brim, butcher paper to shape the point, then newspaper and flour-water mixture as the glue. I rejected not looking at a picture of a sorting hat while doing the face, but it is what it is. It also ended up being slightly small but worked out. 

The Great Hall

I bought battery-powered candles to hang from the ceiling with fishing line and tape.

I called each wizard to the chair and place the hat on their hat. There was a blue tooth speaker behind the chair connected to my phone. Based on the birthday girl’s list of picks, I played the particular Youtube bite on the Wizarding house selection. 

Classes Begin

 

With the wizards sorting into their houses, it was time for classes to begin…

I bought this Marauder’s Map for my daughter. If you really want to up your game though, check out this one: 

Herbology

For Herbology, I bought clay and tiny pots for the wizards to make their own mandrakes. They did a great job with them. I baked them in the oven while we completed the other classes. 

Live Portraits

We were cleaning out a storage room at work which had started to mold. It was just my luck that one of those items that had significant mold was a large painted picture with a magnificent frame. They were going to toss it, so instead, I took it home to take the painting out and repurposed it. It was a perfect set up for some live motion photos of each youth. It’s one of my signature party favors to include a photo of each youth with the theme. Just like in my detective party with the arrest photo.

I did a photo and a boomerang photo as they finished up with their mandrakes, which helped fill in time during the transition to Potions class.

Potions Class

This was supposed to be a growing snake, aka Basilisk, but I can’t say that it really worked very well. I was fairly worried I would set off the sprinklers.

Professor Flitwick’s Charms class

Wingardium Leviosa

Using their wands, they have to say “Wingardium Leviosa” and keep the balloons up as long as they could. The wizard who was able to keep it up the longest was the winner. 

We rounded out the classes with a games tournament. They sorted into their houses and played board games until their was only one winner for each house. Then the house winners, played against each other to get to win the house championship. With classes complete, it was time for a trip to Hogsmeade.

Day Pass to Hogsmeade

Honeydukes

I used Muggle Magic’s Honeydukes Chocolate Frog Box design for these boxes. For the frogs, I used Nerdy with Children’s recipe and tutorial. I ordered the Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans and the frog mold from Amazon.

Harry Potter Party Must Have: Butter Beer at the Leaky Cauldron

For adult and youth wizards alike, I used this Butterbeer recipe that includes Schnapps. For youth, I obviously took out the schnapps. They weren’t much fans of it, so I had a fair amount left after the party. I will have to use the ice cream version next time.

Next time I do this party (for the next two girls). I may opt for some premade options like Flying Cauldrons Butterscotch Beer.

Dumbledore’s Pensieve

I borrowed this Pensieve idea from Raegun Ramblings. It did not turn out that great, because I was rushing to get it done between getting home from work and the party starting.

To top off the sweets, I made a chocolate book cake to fulfill my cake decorating hobby needs. 

So that’s the rundown, I truly hope you enjoyed it and are able to grab some ideas for your very own Harry Potter Party.

*This page contains affiliate links. This means if you use one of my links to make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting Cathartic Crafting!

Budget-Friendly DIY Monster Book of Monsters from Harry Potter

My oldest daughter and I were super excited to do a Harry Potter themed birthday party for her 11th birthday. As I started on the plans, I knew I wanted a Monster Book of Monsters to be apart of it. From there, it was only a matter of finding the supplies and finding time.

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” Albus

Materials:

  • Wooden Box
  • Fur
  • Eye Balls
  • Clay
  • Paint and Brushes
  • Craft Glue
  • Hot glue and glue gun
  • Scissors
  • Paper and Printer
  • Mod Podge

Ready, Set, Go

I found a perfect wooden flip lid box at Michaels. I’m not sure if they still have this one, so here’s a different wooden book box that is currently available there.

monster book

I used light brown, red, and white clay for the fangs, teeth, tongue, and gums. First, the teeth were constructed into points. After flattening the red into a strip, I positioned the teeth to lie on the red strip. I layered the back with another red strip before pushing the red down around the teeth to show the ‘root’. The only thing you need to be careful of is not touching the white after touching the red. The picture shows that I did a bit of that. The fangs were super easy. Roll them to be smaller on one end and then curve them and presto!

Monster Book teeth

After baking the clay parts, it’s time to kick them up a notch with some paint to add dimension. I painted a bit of dark red and black onto the gums and tongue. Yellowish-brown served to give the teeth a gnarled look. Next, I painted the box with tan and dark brown to give it the look of pages as well as I could. Given that much of it is covered, I didn’t feel like I needed to give it much attention.

monster book pages

Monster Book Fur Cover

For the cover, I used two fur pieces I happened to find on clearance at Michaels. Crafting doesn’t get much easier than this step. Here it comes; glue the fur to the wood. Then….wait for it to dry. After that, I trimmed the length of the fur, because it was definitely too much. I also cut the perimeter into points and extra shagginess. 

 Those Eyes are Looking at You

Now onto the eyes. I also got the eyeballs at Michaels, but you’re not likely to find them in a store if it’s not around Halloween. I honestly wasn’t sure what to do with creating the eye mount. I thought about using oven-bake clay but was afraid it would melt the eyes. I went with a mountain of hot glue instead. After I piled it up, I painted it brown. I didn’t have enough red eyes, so I also painted the irises red. 

Monster book eyes

The book label was created in Microsoft Word and printed on computer paper. I trimmed the fur shorter in the spots where I was going to put the label before gluing the labels down. I put Mod Podge on the label to stiffen the paper. 

From there, it was just a matter of gluing on the fangs, teeth and tongue. I used hot glue initially, which worked just fine. Over time, the fangs have gotten knocked off a few times, so I’ve recently used super glue to get them to hold. As my girls would say, this DIY Monster Book of Monsters is easy peezy lemon squeezy. 

Spot light monster book of Monsters
Monster Book and wands
Finished Monster Book

If you’re looking for other Harry Potter crafts, try some apothecary bottles for Potions class or get some Harry Potter Party Ideas from my party post.

Spooky Tree Test Tube Holder for a Unique Apothecary

Troll boogers! Snail Slime! Dragon’s Blood! These are three of the Halloween test tubes I’ve for years as part of my Halloween Apothecary. They have been without a stand for years. This month I decided I was going to finally make a science-esk one out of wood. I was still hesitant because it felt too mundane. In the age of Pinterest, it feels pretty darn difficult to come up with something different. Sometimes, I feel stunted by thinking I can’t come up with anything unique. After some contemplation during a drive, I decided to make a spooky tree with curved limbs. Here’s the quick and easy rundown on this spooky tree test tube holder for any are looking to stray from the normal.

Materials: 

  • Wire
  • Wire Cutters
  • Clay
  • Paint
  • Airbrush (if you’ve got it)

For a reason I can’t remember, I’ve had two spools of this wire for years. I’ve used it for several random occasions on other craft ideas. It’s really what inspired me to craft this tree and provide stability. 

All my three daughters all being in fall sports. Sometimes, crafting boils down to finding a way to build in time around events on our schedule. My eldest had a fastpitch doubleheader an hour away from home. I took along my materials to get started on this quick Halloween decor. While the team warmed up for an hour, I worked on my tree in the parking lot.


Building the Base

 

First, I cut 6 wires of similar lengths. Then, I twisted two wires together to start forming the trunk. I added one each additional wire by twisting it around the base and leaving the ‘root’ for the stand and free limbs at the top. I finished it off by twisting two additional wires around the trunk to form curved limbs the would serve to hold the test tubes. Literally, a 10-minute step.

 

Clay for the Tree Test Tube Holder

I had already been making air-dry clay for another project, so I could easily use it for this project. I found this easy DIY air dry recipe from Kitchen Table Classroom to make porcelain clay. It was simple to make from ingredients in the kitchen but admittedly was not as good for what I needed the clay to do. I only used it for the base. I tried another porcelain clay recipe from Natural Earth Paint using only three cheap ingredients; cornstarch, baking soda, and water. This clay was a bit better but still quite loose/limp. 

 

I pressed the clay around all the metal limbs as best I could, adding free-standing clay limbs as I went. Molding the clay for this was unfortunately an example of one of those times when crafting can cause me more stress than alleviating it. I’ll just leave it at being highly perturbed by the difficulties of trying to get the limp clay to stay put. If I were to do it again, I would buy polymer clay from Michaels.  After letting it dry for a day, I started airbrushing.

Airbrushing Zen

 

 

While I completed the many layers of airbrushing in shades of brown, I was mentally focused on the stress I had been feeling around politics and the impending elections. I felt consumed by the emotions generated by the garbage being shared by people I was connected with on Facebook, some of them being relatives. As I slowly watched the paint spray out of the airbrush, I was contemplating how I could make positive steps to shifting others’ views in a positive way. We’ve been doing a fair bit of personal bias assessment as work, so it’s been fully present in my mind to assess if I’m being objective in my views. In fully trying to understand my own thoughts and feelings and contemplate the perspective of others, I couldn’t come to grips with the lies and delusions others allow themselves to believe.

 

Public service announcement on Political Stress

 

To sum it all up, I was feeling oppressive levels of stress around these unending thoughts. After doing a quick Google, I found quite a lot of references to political/election stress syndrome. Even thinking about it now makes my chest tighten. I quite liked this description I found.

Under stress, the Toddler brain (emotional, all-or-nothing, “Mine! No!”) hijacks the Adult brain, impairing its ability to take other perspectives, weigh evidence, see nuance, plan for the future, and create value and meaning. The Toddler brain is highly susceptible to emotional contagion; toddlers take on whatever negative emotions are around them, as any parent who has been tense or irritable near one can attest…

Part of my election stress disorder may be due to the fact that I’m vastly overworked. … Political campaigns set the web of emotion ablaze with negativity.

Psychology Today

If this resonates with you, there are a variety of things to try to combat the feelings. I’ve chosen to focus on the things I can control, to find my Zen in crafting, and to stay away from the offending sources. Although, over the last week I’ve also been immersed in a sea of stressful work deadlines, the political stress remains at bay. 

Back to this Test Tube Holder

I finished it off with a dark brown touch up around bends in the limbs and the roots. I put it with the rest of my Halloween apothecary set up and called it a day. If you are looking for another easy craft to take your mind to another level, try out these apothecary bottles! Happy haunting to you and yours!

How to Make the Best Halloween Apothecary Jars

A few years ago, I couldn’t wait to start a collection of Halloween apothecary jars to add to my holiday decor. I started off with collecting regular food jars and random Goodwill finds to change into new and creepy decor. It doesn’t take much more than some simple materials to really get started.

Halloween Apothecary Jar Ideas

Materials:

  • Coffee Filters
  • Printer and Printer Paper
  • Clay
  • String
  • Paint
  • Mod Podge
  • Glue gun and Glue sticks
  • Food items: egg shells, Cantaloupe rind
  • Store bought creepy crawlers
  • Corks
  • Sandpaper
  • Saw

For this Ear of Troll I used the rind of some eaten cantaloupe. I gave it a week to dry out in the garage before closing it into the jar. I used a blank label in Word to type in the name. Mod podge was my go-to glue for all of these labels to get them to stick and to give it a coating for longevity. For this jar, in particular, used coffee filters served as the lid covering with string and craft glue decorating the jar curve.

Free label sites I used:

Spooky Apothecary Labels from Brooklyn Limestone

Free Halloween Bottle Labels from Holidappy 

Apothecary jar Labels from Halloween Forum

Rattle Snake Eggs

Similar techniques were used for these Rattle Snake Eggs Halloween Apothecary jar. The eggs were from a friend with chickens laying eggs in a variety of shades. Using a needle, I poked holes in both ends with one end being slightly larger to allow for the egg innards to be expelled. It’s also a lot easier to break up the yolk using the needle poked repeatedly through the holes. Once all that was done successfully without breaking the egg, I blew into the smaller hole to force the contents out the larger hole. Then I was ready to eat some scrambled eggs! I also gave the eggs a day to dry out a little more before coating them in Mod Podge.

 

Jellyfish Stingers

The same techniques are applied here for the outside. For the jellyfish stingers, I used hot glue on a baking pan. When it was cool, I was able to peel it off and stick it in the jar. 

Store bought creepy crawlers are center stage in this jars: Worms, mice and cockroaches anyone?

 

Clay Creations

 

Next up, for these three Halloween Apothecary jars, I used baking clay for the unicorn horn and bat wins and model magic for the fingers. I quite enjoy crafting clay creations. For the horn, I first rolled two equal ropes of clay. Then I twisted them together and rolled them on the counter to get a narrower pointed end. Presto! A lovely unicorn horn. I didn’t finish it off with glitter but it could definitely be a nice add.

 

 

Model magic is really easy to shape but doesn’t hold fine details like a real clay does. I used press on nails to give the real nail effect here. These lady fingers were complete with some painted on blood. You could really go grotesque with this if you want!

Pill Bottle Makeovers

 

These 5 bottles were all crafted from empty pill bottles. I used a saw to cut the tops off before sanding the smooth surface. The next step was to draw the label and image with hot glue. I used matte/satin paint in grays, browns, and black to paint all the bottles. Then, I glued on labels and string. 

 

Two Minute Snake Skin

For this lovely Halloween Apothecary jar of Snake Skin, I painted the jar with a few different colors of cheap acrylic paint that matched with the coloring of the label. (The color of the label being the result of a malfunctioning printer. The Lord knows the amount of angst that printer caused me at the end of its life.)   Generally for painting all the lids, I sanded them first to ensure the paint would adhere.

The actual innards of the jar were a combination of plastic wrap and hot glue. I cut a rectangle of the plastic wrap and laid it over the foil to protect the counters. From there, I glued a snake skin-esk pattern onto the plastic wrap. I noticed that as the glue got hotter, the plastic wrap shrunk more, which I was not so much a fan of seeing happen. If I were to do this again, I would do a portion, then unplug the glue gun for a 15 second cooling. Then repeat until finished. 

I got the free label for this jar from: 

Halloween Apothecary with 9 FREE potion bottle labels

 

 

I hope you gathered some of your favorite ideas for crafting some of your very own Halloween Apothecary Jars. If you’re looking more spooky Halloween decor, check out my Spooky Halloween Book Covers.

20 Brilliant Ideas for Decorating with Wooden Crates

Wooden Crates have been riding the decor trend for a few years now. I fell in love with them years ago after moving into my new house and looking for ideas to decorate the new space. The wooden crates stood out as an affordable and interesting way to get creative with home decor. After running through a good many pins over time, I’ve collected those which seem to be more unique and a few of the ones I’ve done myself. If you’re a DIYer like me, you like to try to do everything yourself and need some inspiration to get your own creative juices flowing. I hope this list helps with generating some of your own home decor ideas!

1. Hanging Closet Storage

This hanging closet storage by Table and Hearth has a such a cute look to it.

What a cool way to use vertical space! Hanging closet storage crates

2. Shelving

I’ve seen quite a lot of crates used for shelves, but this one adds a unique twist with the board used for anchoring. Check it out at Family Handyman.

easy wooden crate shelf project

3. Modular Shelving Unit

It might be the pretty yarn display that pulled me in, but I love this shelving unit concept by Make & Do Crew. Look it up here DIY Yarn Storage Shelves Using Wooden Crates – Video Tutorial

This yarn storage changed my life! Use wooden crates to build an easy shelf to organize your yarn, craft room or books. Perfect for knitters, crocheters and weavers!

4. Sliding Drawer Crate Cabinet

Try your hand at adding some hardware with this crate cabinet with sliding drawers by Virginia Sweet Pea.

DIY Crate Storage Cabinet


5. Locker Cubbies

Jaime Costiglio’s locker cubbies are a great combination of simplicity and creativity to create a unique wooden crate structure. 


6. DIY Crate Lockers

This next idea is so fun! A simple addition of hinges and doors and it’s a whole new look. Get the info from Little House of Four on these DIY Crate Lockers.

How to build DIY lockers


7. Coffee Table

There are quite a few crate coffee table ideas out there. This one stood out to me as being more creative in addition to being rustically appealing. Get the info at Pallets: Pallet Furniture Ideas. 

pallet and crate coffee table


8. Shutter and Crate Sofa Table

Follow Bless this nest‘s lead and throw in a long shutter with the wooden crates for this oh so cute sofa table.


9. Cushioned Stools

When I saw this awesome simple yet adorable idea, I was bummed I hadn’t ever considered it before. An easy storage seating idea for your little ones. Get the details at The Biggest Much.


10. Dog Bowl Stand

This isn’t your typical buy a crate and rework it project but has all the appeal of the crate look. If your looking for a DIY project for your pooch, check it out at Ana White.


11. Train Planter

11. There are quite a few planter crate ideas out there. I choose this one for its creative concept. Definitely not something everyone has room or desire to do, but it’s certainly appealing to see. Head over to DIY Wood Crate Train Planter Tutorial for the details.

DIY Wood Crate Train Planter Tutorial

12. Dog Bed

The little sleeping pomeranian kind of steals the show in this picture. If you’re able to look beyond that cuteness you’ll definitely appreciate the simple and appealing dog bed concept crafted from a store-bought wooden crate. If you want the details, check it out here Little Things.

DIY crate dog bed

13. Bed Platform

I’ve been looking at ideas for bed frames for my daughter and came across this interesting crate bed platform by Moved to Create. 

M2CBedDone


14. Desk

With virtual school in full swing, you can’t go wrong throwing together a desk like this one. Take a better look here Apple Crate Desk.

Apple Crate Desk


15. Closet Shelves

I had overbought crates when I was doing some building, so I decided to repurpose them in a simple fashion in our small pantry closet. I just stacked them up and they were ready for use. 


16. Square Coffee Table

When I was trying to figure out what to do for a coffee table in our new living room, I scoured Pinterest for ideas. I loved the look of this coffee table and went about making it. I also did a matching side table. 


17. Stuffed Animal Storage

The coffee table ended up being much too small for the space. I opted to disassemble it to remake it into a much needed stuffed animal storage shelving system. These days it doesn’t house so many stuffed animals. Check it out in the new teen space.


18. Laundry Room Storage

I’m looking to spruce up my small laundry room. I saw this cute idea on the Home Depot blog for laundry storage space. As a side note, I might go ahead and decorate my washer and dryer with some electrical tape to get this appealing look.

Easy and Inexpensive Laundry Room Makeover

19. Fruit Crate

If your like me and looking to wanting to switch out your fruit bowl, go no further. The Wood Grain Cottage can show you how to craft your own fruit crate.

DIY Stackable Fruit Crates I The Wood Grain Cottage

20. Nightstand

Check out Plaid for this simple nightstand with a pop of color and pattern.

Kid's Nightstand

I hope you found some ideas to fit some of your home decor needs. Thanks for checking out the list!

11 Sensational Repurposed Old Windows

Ladies craft night anyone?! Awhile back, I was really into hosting crafting nights. I’d already done some painting parties, so I decided to shift gears into a window upcycling party. I found a stock of old windows for a $20 steal and sent out the invite. The windows were very dirty and very chippy, requiring a good bit of elbow grease. I did all the cleanup before to make it easy. For the event, the guests were informed that I would be providing the paint and paintbrushes but if they wanted anything special, they would have to bring it for themselves. With that, we were ready to relieve our stress by letting our creativity shine through some repurposed old windows.

That party was one of the motivations for putting this list together for you all. Since that party, I’ve had the leftover windows sitting in wait in my garage. I’ve included those generally quick and easy projects below.

11 ideas to give a whirl for repurposed old windows:

1. Bakery Stand Window:

This bakery stand was one of my more recent projects. Click on the pic to see the whole project. My girls were in love with the end results.

 

2. Shabby Chic Display (from my Paint party)

“Every Dream begins with a Wish”

 

3. Shelf and Picture Holder 

My 6-year-old was very excited about getting a desk in her room for Christmas. When I asked if she wanted a window shelf above it, she was all about it. She picked the color and I added shelf brackets. The little ballerinas were a cheap find from Michaels to fit with her ballerina themed room. It was such an easy project.

4. Mantle Decor from Walnut and Vine

5. Mirrored Window by Finding Home Farms

Bathroom Decorating Ideas, Towel Rack and Shelf

This is a tutorial on a footboard towel rack. I love every bit of the total look from antique clocks to pink bottles. Super Cute.

6.  Altered Window Frame by Little Birdie Secrets 

7. Command Center by Dwelling in Happiness

SONY DSC

8. Window Box Cabinet by My Repurposed Life

how to make a repurposed window cabinet MyRepurposedLife

9. Window Planter by Prodigal Pieces

Upcycled Window Planter for Backyard Fence Decor by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #diy #home #homedecor #garden

10. DIY Mini Greenhouse by HgTV

I’m completely smitten with this adorable upcycle. 

Upcycled Window Greenhouse

The Finale

11. Bathroom Storage Window and Shutters

Last but not least. This was my latest project to spruce up my girls’ sad-looking bathroom. The window started out as a single pane old window without the crossbars. After an accidental slip causing the pane to break, I decided to go with a Plan B. Plan B included constructing my own crossbars with a router and making pull out metal mesh earring holders. I include a tutorial on constructing those on one of my picture frame posts.  It was definitely a win-win situation; I got a larger window and a set of shutters out of my garage stockpile and created a quick organizer for all the bows, headbands,  earrings, and misc items. My girls thought it was a hit!

  

Pop-out Earring Holders: 

Shutter Headband Holder:

To say it simply, my 6-year-old has A LOT of headbands. The shutter pull bar was a perfect way to hold them in place.

Towel Hooks:

The builders of our new home put one long bar towel holder up in this bathroom, which sufficed for the last 5 years. I was tired of not having a place to hang multiple towels separately, so I’m really happy about the added options the double hooks provide.

The very sad looking before photo: a ribbon frame bow holder and an owl earring holder.

End of the countdown on 11 sensational ways to repurpose your old windows

I hope you enjoyed the ideas and that’s it inspired you to create some of your own!

Stunning Picture Frame Upgrade Ideas for Your Home

As I was rooting through some of the remaining boxes of stuff from our old house, I came across a few items that inspired me to do a little crafting. I found childhood picture frames in need of a facelift to get with the times and with my current decor. It was a very simple project aside from deciding what I was going to do and it’s definitely a project anyone could handle. I hope my picture frame makeovers inspire you to have a little fun with some of your own frames and you can decide on a direction to take! From drab to fab frames in no time flat.

My supplies included:

  • Craft Paint and/or Spray paint
  • Paintbrushes (a wider one for the frame and a thin one for details)
  • Sandpaper (depending on the look you are going for)
  • Scrapbook paper
  • Glue or double-sided tape
  • Razor or scissors or paper cutter
  • That’s it!
picture frame before
The Before: classic 80’s/90’s gold opening border mat and a stained oak frame.

To keep the glass clean of paint, you should definitely start off by taking the glass out and painting everything separately. I painted the frame with inexpensive craft paint from Michaels. There’s a Michaels 1.3 miles away from me, so I tend to get everything I need there.

picture frame paint

I painted a full coat, so I couldn’t see any of the wood underneath. Then since I was going for a shabby chic look, I took a piece of sandpaper and lightly rubbed randomly around some edges.

I took the mat out to paint it with cheap chalkboard paint from Michaels. It didn’t seem necessary to better paint since it wasn’t going to be used for writing. I used wax paper to paint on to save my kitchen counters.

Accents make the mat

After the paint dried, I used a thin brush to paint some white accents around the photo openings. Feel free to let your creativity come out here! When everything was dry, I put it all back together so it was ready for some pictures of loved ones. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

A close up of some of the sanded parts.

picture frame complete
A refinished frame in half an hour (or so)

Frame 2

Before

For my second frame, I took the same concept with the frame. I painted it with a coat of paint and sanded it in a few areas. Instead of painting the mat, I tore vintage 12 x 12 scrapbook paper into pieces and glued the pieces onto the mat. I didn’t worry about cutting the paper around the ovals while gluing. After the glue was dry, I flipped it over so the back was faceup. I used a razor to cut the paper overhang around the oval and voila, another finished frame refresh.

After (aka Drab to Fab Frame )

The last frame I redid was a metal gold frame. I took the glass out of each frame and sprayed a few layers of rose spray paint. For those who haven’t had much experience with a spray can, it’s best to do multiple thin layers rather than soaking it with a thick layer that is likely to drip.

Picture Frame 3

I had printed 4×6 photos which ended up being too small for the openings. Probably a good idea to measure before you print, but as it turns out, I liked the end look better than if the picture filled the frame. I decided to make due by taping the photos to a white cardstock paper and adding a border from scrapbook paper.

I used my paper cutter to ensure I cut straight lines. There’s a range of paper cutters you can get. Mine, in particular, was pretty inexpensive and is two-sided for different types of blades. If you should not happen to have a paper cutter, a ruler to draw a straight line and scissors will do just fine.

I used the sliding blade to cut the scrapbook paper for the border.

I used double-sided tape to adhere the photo and paper to the white back paper.

The double-sided tape dispenser is shown here. I, unfortunately, found it difficult to use.

I happened upon some paper flowers at, you guessed it, Michaels, that felt like the perfect touch to add to this frameset.

Drab to fab picture frame

Final Product with my three girls to showcase it! I did a quick photoshoot in my bedroom with the girls to get this together.

Frame 4

These two oval frames came from my grandmother’s basement unused for years. It took me a bit to decide what to do with them. I ended up being inspired by some shabby chic hooks from Michaels. White spray paint, some 1/4″ board wood cut to size and scrapbooked paper gave the finished look.

That’s a wrap on these quick and easy revamps to take them from drab to fab frames. If you are anything like me, you likely already have all the materials. While you’re watching your favorite show tonight, go ahead and let your creativity out.

And if you’re looking for more ideas on how to use those frames, check out Framed Earring Holder

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