Thursday, May 29, 2014

Martial Arts Belt Display Vase

Martial Arts Belt Display Vase

Dear husband is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.  We've been talking about getting one of those belt displays that you hang on the wall, but they either looked really cheap and chintzy or were very expensive, so I told him I could totally make something.  Well, I still hadn't made anything when I stumbled across storing them in a vase.  I could do that.  I could totally do that.  So I wound up one of the belts and measured it.  Hubby wears a size 7 belt--which is the equivalent to a XXL(he probably only needs a 6, but better to be a bit longer than you need than to be too short).  At any rate, his belts measure about 5 inches in diameter when they are wound up into a circle. So I bought a vase that was 5.4 inches in diameter (according to the label) and 15 inches tall. He has 8 belts to display, so the height should be perfect with a little extra room at the top to toss in some medals from tournaments or maybe to make a lid for it later.  I thought I had hit the jackpot when I found this vase at Walmart for $15.  Perfect, I thought, well...sort of.

It came with a giant sticker on the front of it.  When I peeled it off it left a whole bunch of sticky residue.  So I washed it and used a bunch of Goo Gone.  Thank goodness for Goo Gone. A few minutes of scrubbing later, and it was sparkling.

Next I began winding his belts up--starting with his white belt. 

I rolled it up as tightly as I could and put a pin in the end of the belt to keep it from unraveling.

Then I dropped the belt into the vase.  Simple and sleek looking.  I was looking forward to the rest of the belts!

I started winding up the rest and noticed something.  not all of the belts are the same width or the same thickness even though they are all the same size from the same company.  So I had no problems at all until I got to the brown belt.  Apparently it's a bit bigger than 5 inches (especially with the black electrical tape they put on it to track the levels before you can test for black belt), and the vase, the 5.4 inches is the diameter of the vase on the outside, not on the inside.  5.4 inches on the inside would have been perfect!  So I rewound the brown belt a couple of times and put an extra pin in it half way through and I was able to squeeze it into the vase.  The temporary black belt (the red and black one) was also tricky since it has two layers of fabric on it where the red is (and I was informed after I took the photo at the top of this blog post that the black side goes on the bottom, so I had to pull it out and flip it over, but I managed to squeeze it in too).

But the black belt, it was a different story.  I rewound it 3 times and couldn't get it to fit.  I think the glass gets a bit thicker at the top of the vase too, so that doesn't help.  So aside from some sort of ironing or washing or something that makes the black belt a bit thinner, I couldn't get it into the vase without pulling the last two layers of belt up and it sticking over the top edge of the vase.  Now I know, buy a 6 inch vase.  So if you have a teen or child in TKD or Karate and you want to store 8 or fewer belts in a compact display, this vase from Walmart will probably work perfectly. Heck even if you're a small adult, it should work perfectly--it almost worked perfectly for us too--unfortunately Rob won't let me cut the last 20 inches of his black belt off so it will fit in the vase :-P. So this project is super easy and looks pretty good--as long as you get the right sized vase for your belts.

Martial Arts Belts Display Vase

Monday, May 26, 2014

Fabric Lined Duct Tape Purse

Duct Tape Purse

I'm a relative novice when it comes to making things out of duct tape. This is only my third project. My first project with duct tape was to make a water bottle holder and my second was to make some covered boxes. I watched a tutorial video on how to make a fabric lined duct tape purse on the Second Hand Chances blog and thought it looked like something I could do.  

Cut a piece of fabric the size that you want your purse to be. Find a purse or a box to measure and make the fabric the width of the front plus one of the sides, and then make the fabric twice as long as you'd like the bag to be long.  My fabric ended up being 12 inches by 23 inches.  I knew I wanted to make a wider bag than the one in the video, so I planned accordingly with the width.

Next find the middle of the fabric and place a piece of duct tape straight across. I marked the middle on both sides of the fabric so that it stayed straight. Then once that center tape is applied, measure 1 1/2 inches from the edge of the tape and mark again. I marked every 1 1/2 inches along the edge of the fabric. Duck brand duct tape is 1 7/8 inches wide, so 1 1/2 inches allows for a nice overlap.

I alternated white and purple tape from the center up to the top. Then when you get close, fold the fabric edge over and tape it down.

Then repeat the process on the other half. It's okay if your tape is a bit short (as you can see with two pieces below) because you'll be taping along the edge to create the sides; however, it's easier to place the tape straight if it's longer than your fabric is wide.

When your stripes are complete, then you can trim the edges of the fabric so that the the edge is straight.  I like to use a rotary tool because the tape sticks to it less, but a scissor would work fine too.

Once your stripes are trimmed, fold it in half and tape the sides to create an envelope.

Then create the bottom and sides of the purse by tucking the corners in and creating a square bottom.

On the inside of your purse you'll have little triangles tucked in on the inside.

Next, create some cardboard stays to make the bottom and sides of your purse stiff. I used a cereal box and made a rectangle that was 8 x 3 1/2 inches and side pieces that were 7 x 3 1/2 inches.

Then tape over the cardboard leaving an edge of tape to stick to the fabric. It was kind of tricky to get the tape to stick down. If I make a purse like this again, I'll probably make the cardboard just a bit narrower so I could leave more tape hanging over the edge.

Then it's time to create the handles.  I ripped one inch strips of fabric off of my remaining purple fabric stash and the handles ended up being about 18 inches long.  They could be a bit shorter and still work.  Place one piece of duct tape the same length as your handles sticky side up and then place your fabric in the center.

Then carefully fold the edge of the tape over the fabric and create your handle straps.

Once your straps are completed, tape them to the inside of your purse equal distance apart with a little strip of tape.  After your handles are all taped in, then use a strip of tape to go all along the top of the bag to cover over everything.

And then you're done with your purse.  Because my bag ended up having such wide sides (like I wanted), I ended up creasing them (just like on a gift bag) so that the bag would stand up better.

To add a little decoration to the front of the purse I wanted to make a flower.  I ended up using a tutorial from Skip to My Lou.

I cut three pieces of tape about 14 inches long and a circle the width of one piece of tape.

Then I folded the strips almost in half but left a lip of sticky side showing.

Then I fringe cut all of my strips. I cut the first two strips at about 1/4 of an inch and the last one at 1/8th of an inch for the center of the flower.

Take your circle sticky side up and apply the fringe around the outside of the circle, bending and sticking it as you go.

Apply the second piece of tape in the same way. Working your way towards the center of the circle.

Do the same with the last piece of tape (cut with the smaller fringe).  When you get to the very center with only a little circle of tape left, roll the rest of your fringe up (as seen above) and smoosh the sticky part of the tape down into the center.

Duct Tape Flower

And voila a purple mum! Fluff the tape up a bit and you're good to go.  I rolled a piece of duct tape onto the back of the flower and stuck it right onto my bag. So far it seems to be sticking very securely, but if you're worried about durability you might want to use a hot glue gun or some other method to attach it.

I think it turned out great for my first attempt at a duct tape purse and I can't wait to try out more ideas.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

As Seen on Pinterest Revisit: Oil and Vinegar Wood Treatment

About 3 months ago, I tried out a DIY wood treatment to reduce the appearance of scratches that I had seen online.  I adjusted it slightly by foregoing the use of food grade oil for lemon oil designed to be used on furniture. After 3 months, the scratches have started to reappear in the furniture, so it was time to polish them again.  

This time, I adjusted my ratio (since I later realized that I had flip-flopped the ratio from the inspiration articles) from 3 parts vinegar and 1 part oil (the inspirations listed 3 parts oil and 1 part vinegar) to 1:1.  The reason I tried this was that even though the inspirations used way more oil, when I used way less, it still worked, so I decided to try it out with 1 part oil and 1 part vinegar and see how it went. Spoiler alert--it worked perfectly--just slightly better than using 3 times as much vinegar, so if you're trying to stretch your lemon oil, feel free to use more vinegar.

The next thing I changed in my revisit was to use a leftover detergent booster container (Sun brand generic Oxi Clean powder that I bought at Big Lots) since it was a nice empty container with a lid and it came with it's very own measuring scoop.  I made a batch my measuring out one scoop full of lemon oil, and one scoop full of vinegar.

The scoop is probably about 2 tablespoons or so.  It doesn't seem like much, but trust me, you don't need a lot.  A little goes a long way, and it is better to have to make more than to end up pouring extra down the drain.

When I was done measuring, I put the lid on my little container and shook.  I ended up with this lovely bright yellow colored mixture.  I grabbed some paper towels and headed to my window sill.

The window sill in our front room is at doggy height.  Our dog is always jumping up to peer out the window to peek outside, and she has thoroughly scratched it up.

So I soaked my paper towel in the oil and vinegar mixture until the scratches darken and all that's left are the dings and indents. When you first apply the mixture it will be shiny and wet, but it will soak in and the scratches will stay much less noticeable for months. Below is a photo of the sill two days after treatment--the scratches are much less noticeable and the wood is no longer shiny.

Next up I treated my antique buffet.  This piece of furniture has been all over the place.  It has been moved at least 6 or 7 times between different family member's houses--it's definitely showing it's age, but I'm not ready to try to refinish it yet, so the oil and vinegar treatment is a good choice.

So I soaked my paper towel in the mixture again and polished the top and edges of the buffet.  The mixture also works great at dusting the top off so it immediately looks shinier and better, but the scratches and dings also disappear.

And below is a photo of the top and edges two days after treatment.  The edges of the buffet are still much less noticeable.

So, after using this treatment for a second time I can tell you that it lasts a couple months before the scratches start to reappear, and that you can play around with the ratio of oil and vinegar to find what works best for you.

I also learned that this treatment doesn't work well on blonde furniture (the kind that has a finish lighter than the natural wood tone).  I have a bedroom set that I inherited from my grandparents that is in a blonde finish that is starting to flake off in places and is water damaged on some of the pieces from a wet trip in the back of a trailer (the tarps didn't keep all the water out).  When I used the vinegar and oil mixture on these pieces, the exposed wood became darker than the blonde surrounding finish, so it doesn't work well for those pieces.  Because the finish on those pieces looked so bad to begin with, it didn't really make them any worse, it just didn't look a lot better--so I don't recommend it.

So back to the amount of the oil and vinegar mixture I made, just those two scoops made enough for me to treat my picture window sill, the buffet, the top of a night stand, the front of a dresser, and a few scratches on a door....and I still had a little left.  So a little really does go a long way.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Ribbon Headband Organizer

This week's project came from a need to store my headbands someplace other than the shallow drawer in my bathroom vanity.  I broke one that got caught in the drawer and snapped in half, so it was time to find a new place for my headbands.  I decided to make a ribbon organizer for them.

You'll need:
3-4 feed of grosgrain ribbon
a keyring or d-ring
a glue gun and glue

I didn't have any d-rings floating around, but I did have a bag full of keyrings, so I used them instead.  I folded the end of my grosgrain ribbon over the keyring and glued it in place with hot glue.

Next up you'll have to decide how big you want your loops.  All of my headbands are skinny, so I knew I didn't need to make big loops.  I ended up using a pick comb as a template because it just happened to be lying on the table.  It actually worked out really well, but you could easily take a piece of cardboard that was 3 or 4 inches wide and use it instead (just make a mark on it when you decide how big your loops should be so they are all the same size).  I used the width of my comb between each loop that I made, and I used the tines on the comb to tell me how big to make each loop.  For each loop I folded back the ribbon and put my finger on the 4th tine.  Then I ran a line of glue on the ribbon along the front edge of the comb (as seen below).

Then I folded the ribbon back over my finger and pressed it into the glue to dry (be careful--the glue is hot).

I repeated this step until I ran out of ribbon. My ribbon was about 4 feet in length when I started and ended up about 3 feet long when I was done. Below you can see a photo of the loops I created.  They are a little over an inch in size.  If you have larger headbands, you may want to make your loops more like 2 inches, but this size worked great for my small headbands.

Once the loops were created, then they need to be glued down so they'll lay flat.  Just put a dot of hot glue below each loop and press it down so that it's in line with the ribbon.  Sometimes the loops were a little crooked and needed to be wiggled a bit into place.  I'm sure if I had used a straighter, less flexible template for my loops, they would have turned out a bit straighter.

After they are glued down, they lay relatively flat like in the photo below.

At that point you can decide how you want to finish the bottom--with a loop, or just folding the bottom of the ribbon over and gluing the edge down so it doesn't fray. 

Then you can go ahead and hang it up and be done if you like, and it should look like this one.

However, if you have some wider coordinating ribbon, you can glue your ribbon organizer on top of it to create a more substantial looking organizer. I did that with my black grosgrain ribbon, and I think it turned out really cute.  I have seen hangers like this decorated with flowers and bows on the top too, but since I made it for me, I thought I'd leave it streamlined and a little more adult looking.  All I did to glue the black and white ribbon to the organizer was fold the edge over and glue it.  Then I put a dot of glue between the organizer and the ribbon at each of the loops and glued it from the bottom to the top.  Then I folded the top of the wider ribbon over and glued it then glued the organizer right along the edge.  

It was a cheap, easy, and works perfectly to organize my headbands.  I have the black and white one hanging in my bathroom already.  They hang perfectly off of little command adhesive hooks, but would also work fine on a nail or larger coat rack hooks--they are very versatile.