Archive | Arting & Crafting

DIY Floating Ghosts

As I mentioned in our last Halloween decor post, any money we spent this year on Halloween decorations would be devoted to things we could put outside. It’s our first Halloween in the house (eeeeep!!!) and we want to lure in some innocent children get some trick-or-treaters without breaking the bank or having loads of decorations to store later.

So after much Pinteresting and Googling, we decided to make some fabric ghosts to hang in our trees! It seemed like they would be pretty cheap and easily storable, but we couldn’t find tutorials we liked to we decided to wing it.

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The idea was to get some fabric, make a round “head” for the fabric to be draped over, and somehow attach a string to this “head” that we could hang from fishing wire.

We wanted to make 7 ghosts, so we went to Joann’s and found some super cheap white muslin fabric and bought 7 yards of it. Then we passed by some 50% off “Halloween fabric” that was light gray, sheer, and quite ghostly. We decided to pick up 7 yards of that as well so that we could overlay it on top of the solid white fabric.

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To make our “heads,” we considered several options: styrofoam balls, light plastic upside-down bowls, and balled up plastic bags. We ended up going with the bags idea because it was free (we always have a collection of grocery bags) and easy. Who knew styrofoam was like $17.99 for a ball the size we wanted?!? Shit cray.

So here’s how we did it. I cut the fabric into seven 1-yard-long pieces (you could make yours bigger or smaller depending on how long you wanted your ghosts to be). I separated them into piles to keep everything straight.

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DIY Floating Ghosts -

We tested out the length of the cuts to figure out how big of a head the ghosts needed (we wanted it to be proportional their length). It was decided that something between a Mochi sized head and a Katelyn sized head would suffice.

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Evan started forming the heads. He would basically take one plastic grocery bag, stuff 5 or so more inside it, and bundle it into a loose ball. At first we were just going to use enough tape to keep the main bag closed, but we decided to just wrap the entire head in duct tape to make it a little more sturdy (and hopefully to prevent rain/moisture from getting trapped in the bags).

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DIY Floating Ghosts -

The little white things Evan is holding the balls from are wire hangers. He used some heavy duty clippers to cut them and pliers to bend them into little loops that could be taped to the top of our bag-and-tape balls. This is is what the ghosts would hang from.

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DIY Floating Ghosts -

He sort of rounded the “arms” so that they fit nicely with the curve of the ball. Then we just placed them on top and added a little tape to secure them.

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I snipped a little hole in the center of each fabric to poke the hanger loop through. We put the first whole ghost together and he looked just like we hoped for!

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For eyes, I wanted something that would be water proof so construction paper and poster board were not an option. I decided to cut pieces of black gorilla tape into round eyes and tape those on the inner solid fabric so that the outer sheer one would overlay the eyes.

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Mochi approves!

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So at this point the ghosts were pretty much ready. But we had one more bonus element we wanted to add:

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Of course, something battery powered or wired would be way brighter and longer lasting. But we wanted something easy, water proof, and cheap. But glowsticks aren’t going to last more than one night, so we had to rig a way to prepare the ghosts for a quick and easy glowstick attachment come Halloween night.

So we decided to attach the little plastic caps (that come with the glowstick bracelets) to tape that was hanging under the ghosts. We wanted it hanging so that the light was lower than it would be it we just attached the cap directly to the bottom of the ghosts head.

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We took some of the gorilla tape (just duct tape would be fine too) and taped a cap in between two long pieces. We closed it around the cap but left the other end open so that we could stick it to the bottom of the ghost heads. On Halloween, we can just pop a glowstick into the cap under each ghost.

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Hehe. That ghost looks violated. Now they were ready to hang outside! We used some clear line from Michael’s to hang them as invisibly as possible.

They’re pretty light so they didn’t require any super heavy branches or anything. We decided to hang them at staggered heights in our trees.

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DIY Floating Ghosts -

We used our staple gun to tack a few staples to the underside of our roof overhang to hang some more ghosts by our windows.

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We really like how they turned out!!!

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Because there are so many of them, there’s always at least a few with their eyes turned towards you at any one time. The outer fabric is super light and flowy so it catches the breeze really well and gives them that ghostly transparent feel, while the inner fabric is opaque enough to conceal the heads underneath.

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DIY Floating Ghosts -

The super awesome thing is that all the fabric cost us $28 because of Joann’s coupons, and the rest of the materials we had on hand! At $4 per ghost, I’d say this was a pretty sweet deal. We aren’t adding the glowsticks until Halloween day but we will be sure to post some updated photos with our ghosts looking all glowy after the 31st!


Haha, the glowsticks were a total fail. They just weren’t bright enough to really make a difference. You win some, you lose some. So I’d say if you want your ghosts to glow, stick on a battery powered light to their underside.


DIY Coffee Filter Flowers, 5 Ways

After gathering an army of painted wine bottles, I was still having a hard time deciding if I could somehow work them into our wedding centerpieces. They were pretty cool, but lacked a pop of color.

Enter coffee filter flowers.

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I’ve been eyeballing these things on Pinterest for months, waiting for an excuse to try making some hand-dyed ones. There are about five bajillion tutorials online explaining how to make them and I found/made up five methods I thought were worth sharing :)

Method #1 – Too Much Tape

This method I was not crazy about. It started off ok though.First off you fold your coffee filter in half over and over again til it’s this size (I think I folded it in half 4 times). Then you cut off the top (outside) so that it’s curved, and snip about 1/2 inch off the bottom (inside) so that when you open it there is a hole in the middle. Next make a cut from the outside to the inside so that you can open up the circle.


You make about 6 of these, then you roll out a long strip of tape and stick the coffee filters on one by one. You stick the inside circle of the coffee filters to the tape and crumple them as you go. Once you have a full strip of coffee filters, grab your stick (I used the ones we saved from our branch) and wrap the tape around it, starting at one end.


This is how they turned out for me. The end result is sort of… tall? I feel like there was too much tape and it wanted to angle upwards or downwards as I went. The last parts I taped were way further from the end of the stick than the first parts I taped. So meh, it was ok, but I wasn’t crazy about it.

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Onto Method #2 – Same Idea, Less Tape

For this method I basically did the same thing but I didn’t stick it all to one long strip of tape. I cut the 6 coffee filters the same way, and then instead of sticking them to tape and wrapping the tape around the stick, I started wrapping the filters themselves directly onto the stick.

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I used a small piece of clear tape to secure each filter. The result was a flower that was still tall but slightly less so. And definitely less bulky where the filters met the stick. Getting closer!

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Method #3 – Graduated Heights

For this method I continued to wrap each filter on individually, but this time I did not cut curves onto the ends for petals. More importantly, when I cut the tip off the inside of the filters, I cut off more from the filters that would be on the inside so that they would be shorter than the ones on the outside. See what I mean in the top left photo below? I was hoping this would make the flower less tall.


This method I liked. The flower didn’t turn out all “tall” and it looked more balanced. Yay!

Method #4 – Deep Petal Cuts

I wanted to try that technique with petals too. And since I had already done sort of medium sized petals, I wanted to do deeper cut petals this time. See the top left picture below how I cut more down the folded sides of my filter instead of just a little semi circle off the top? Once I had 5 or 6 of these, I cut slits in them from the outside to the center like before and started wrapping them one by one.


In the end I had this very pretty puffy flowers! I like!

Method #5 – Poke a Hole In It

There was another method I still wanted to try that didn’t involve cutting the slit in each coffee filter before wrapping it around the stick. Instead, you just make a small hole in the middle of each filter and poke the stick through it.

First you fold 5 or 6 coffee filters as usual and cut the outside ends to form petals. But this time, do NOT cut off the tips on the bottom. However, you do still want to cut the 5-6 filters so that they start off bigger and end up smaller. So the first one just barely cut off enough to give it a curved petal, and cut off a little more with each one.

Then poke the tip of your stick through them, starting with the largest and ending with the smallest, like the picture below.

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Then you take the smallest filter on top and crumple it around the end of the stick (like shown above). Use a small piece of clear tape to secure it. Then do the same thing with each filter. In the end, you have a big puff puff flower!

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Methods 3, 4 and 5 were definitely the easiest and yielded the best results for me. For any of these methods, you can experiment with the petal types (no petals at all, normal shallow-cut petals, or deeper-cut long petals).

Of course, I didn’t stop here. I moved onto the part I was most excited about- dying them!!!!

I’ve read some tutorials where you dye the filters before making the flowers, but I already had made mine and I didn’t want to start over, so I winged it. I took some acrylic paint we had on hand (but you could use the cheap cheap stuff at Micheal’s too) and put a few little dots of colors in the bottom of a plastic cup.

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Then I just kinda smashed the flower in there and tilted the cup around until all the paper was saturated.


I squeezed out the excess paint over the cup so that it would fall back in for the next flower.


I carefully spread the petals out and let it almost dry. Then I mixed a slightly darker shade of the same color, grabbed my brush, and hand painted some of the darker color just on the inside petals to give it a little dimension and a more realistic look. It’s still kinda soggy in the picture below.


Here is that same flower all dry. It looks really cool! And it’s interesting that the paint naturally got concentrated on the edges of the petals.



I had too much of the darker color I used for the middle of this one left over so I diluted it a bit more and used it for some pink flowers like this one.


Here’s that one after I painted the inside a bit darker and let it dry all the way too.

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I also tried some blue flowers, and they were pretty but ended up looking too unnatural and “icy.”


So I stuck with pink/peach tones for most of my flowers, and here they are!

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And some pretty detail shots of course….

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DIY Wine Bottles, 4 Ways

***Update! We did end up using one of these methods for the wedding- the silver and glitter bottles! Check it out!

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***End updates

So I’ve been trying to think of inexpensive DIY centerpiece ideas for the wedding. Incorporating wine bottles somehow sounded like the perfect option because they are free and there are about a billion wine bottle crafts all over pinterest.

Ironically Evan and I aren’t really wine drinkers (maybe we’ll like it when we’re all grown up), but we have lots of friends and family who were willing to save bottles for us and I’ve gathered quite the collection now!

After soaking the bottles in water to peel off the labels and then goo-gone-ing them to get off the residue, I came up with the ideas I wanted to try:

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1) My first thought was chalkboard paint. I thought being able to write table numbers or draw hearts or “E+K” on the bottles would be super cute.

2) The next idea was painting them silver using the same paint Evan used on our votives and branch. And maybe combining that with some silver glitter

3) I also thought doing a matte white could look cool and mod.

4) The last idea didn’t require sticker peeling or painting. I wanted to try doing yarn-wrapped bottles, so since my mom has a bunch of yarn she tackled these guys for me while I tried the painted bottles.

For #1, we picked up some Rustoleum chalkboard spray paint for $5 and I did 2 coats on a wine bottle and a Stella Cider (aka the best stuff ever) bottle. Super easy, super fast. And I used some chalk we had on hand to sketch some handwritten numbers. Sorry, the 4 got a little smeary when I picked it up!

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For #2, I spray painted more wine and Stella bottles silver. When they were dry, I taped off the bottom of one of them and used a foam brush to apply a thin layer of Mod Podge. Then I sprinkled silver glitter over it before the Mod Podge dried and removed the tape. In hindsight, I think I should have applied a thicker glue layer so I could get more glitter to stick.

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For #3, I picked up some satin white spray paint because Michael’s didn’t have flat. So it wasn’t the exact sheen (or lack thereof) I was going for, but it was close enough to get an idea. Oh yeah, and I also threw a pickle jar into this mix. You know, for good measure.

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Last but not least, #4: yarn wrapped bottles. All credit for this one goes to my awesome mom! Starting at the bottom, she applied a thin layer of Elmer’s Glue to just as much of the bottle she could work on at a time. Then she’d wrap that section until she ran out of glue, applied more glue, and continued to wrap.

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Aren’t they pretty? Mom did an awesome job!

I tried grouping my three types of painted bottles together to see how that would look too. Kind of a cool eclectic look, but it might get too busy once flowers are added.

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I think bottle groupings have some real potential as wedding decor. Not sure if I want to mix them or stick with all one paint. Also debating between real flowers and coffee filter flowers (which I’m gonna do a post on soon!). And we wanna add a few extra items that would make the grouping more “us.” We’ll keep you posted on things!


Branching Out

As you guys know, we had a lot of leftover branches after our tree trimming and we decided to hold onto them for a while in case we came up with any cool house/wedding decor we could use them for.

Well, we came up with something. We’ve been brainstorming ideas of something to hang over our fireplace. Of course the first thought was art, but with all the art on our gallery wall it almost seemed weird to have a single canvas off on its own. We are also thinking about some sort of white porcelain deer head thing, but that’s gonna take time to save up money for that or figure out how to make something similar (though plans for that are in the works…)

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So we thought in the meantime, it could be cool to take one of our big branches, spray paint it, and hang it up over our mantel!

While Evan worked on sawing himself off a walking stick wizard’s staff, I measured one of our large branches that was hanging out in the garage. It was almost 170 inches y’all! That’s like 14 feet!

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We cut off a couple feet on the top and a couple on the bottom so that it would fit vertically on our mantel with a little breathing room on either end. Then we laid our a plastic drop cloth and painted away, using silver Krylon spray paint that we already had on hand.

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We sprayed some parts with more shear coverage and others with more full, glossy coverage. We wanted some “natural” looking variances in the finish to mimic wood texture. See how some parts look glossy and some parts look rough?

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To hang it, we decided to use two heavy duty bolts that were already in the wooden part of our mantel as anchors.

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We grabbed some twine we had on hand to wrap around the bolts and around our branch. But it wasn’t super sturdy, so Evan sawed two notches into the bottom of the branch for us to run the twine through.

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Here’s how the twine fit in:

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I held it up while Evan wrapped the twine around (although in this picture he’s doing both since I was holding the camera). And Mochi just watched, she is useless I tell ya *sigh*

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You can sort of see in the picture how we wrapped it. We knotted one end of the twine on one bolt and wrapped it around the bottom of the branch through our notch and back up the other side, going across a few times while looking around some of the other branches.

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It held up well!

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But the twine was a little too visible for us. Something like fishing line may have worked better if it was strong enough since it would be harder to see. But we don’t have fishing line and I didn’t want to undo all our knots, so I came up with another solution.

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If you can’t beat em, paint em? I mixed up some brown paint that seemed to match the wood on our mantel pretty well (aka a rich poopy hue!) and I started to paint the twine.

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Twine is not the easiest thing to paint, and I didn’t want to get brown paint on our branch so that parts that wrapped around the branch I just left alone. Here it is half done- it definitely helps the twine fade away!

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And here it is all done!

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It’s definitely a statement! I am still getting used to it though haha. What do you guys think, is it weird in a good way or weird in a bad way? Considering it cost us just a little spray paint, we are pretty pleased with it, but we don’t think it will be a permanent solution.


Terrarium Revival

Here’s how it went at the Michael’s checkout counter:

Checkout Guy: Paint and moss, that’s a weird combo. What are you making?

Me: I killed my terrarium so I’m gonna empty out the dead stuff and replace it with moss.

Checkout Guy: *raises eyebrow* I thought you couldn’t kill terrariums…

Me: I misted it like the directions said! I swear I misted it! *quickly pays and runs away in shame*

So yeah. Killed my terrarium. It was this awesome wood-ball topped terrarium Evan got me for Valentines day with a little guy inside holding an “I <3 You” sign. I know, I’m terrible! :(

It’s been living hanging out on our dining room built ins for a while next to Evan’s Eco-Sphere (one of those self-contained eco systems). Which is fitting because the little shrimpies in that were also dead.


Its dead-ness wasn’t too noticeable from far away, but upon closer inspection it was pretty sad looking.

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For comparison’s sake, here’s a picture of it when Evan first got it for me this past Valentines Day, looking much greener. (PS- that’s our old apartment in the background!)

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It was time to get it back to it’s former glory. So I picked up this pack of moss at Michael’s:


At first I assumed it was fake but when I opened it up it felt pretty real… so if it is, I may end up killing it too. We’ll find out I guess. But the important thing is that it’s nice and green!

I emptied out the terrarium and separated the rocks from the dead stuff since I wanted to re-use the rocks. Mochi was fascinated.

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Once I rinsed and dried the glass, I added rocks and moss and rocks and moss til it looked right.


I had hidden the little man with the <3 sign behind the leaning picture frame so that Mochi wouldn’t get him. Well, she must have been biding her time pretending not to know where he was, because as soon as I stepped away she made her move. She knocked him off the shelf and broke off his sign and the nail he was glued to (that allowed him to be stood up). Bad Mochi! Awww what am I saying you’re so dang cute I can’t be mad at you!


But poor dude. He was looking a little rough after his encounter with the fluffy hunter. So I decided eh, he deserved a revamp too while I was at it.


Evan doesn’t own an orange jacket so I painted it a medium gray and I darkened the guys hair in order to make him look more Evan-y and less weird and sad. I also hot-glued his sign back together and stuck him onto a nail so he could stand again.


Much better! Maybe one of these days when we buy a printer I’ll reprint him a new sign too. Hopefully Mochi will leave him alone. She’s officially obsessed with the terrarium now that she knows there’s cool stuff in it. Look at them crazy eyes!


I had some extra moss and rocks, so while I waited for my little man’s paint to dry I decided to take a bud vase I had and turn it into a terrarium like-thing too.

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When the paint had dried, I added sign-man in and paired these two terrariums with the Eco-Sphere. Which I guess we’re keeping for now despite it’s dead-ness haha.

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Successful little revival!


Evan’s Wedding DIY

Herro there! I’ve been up to my earlobes in wedding crafts lately. All. Up. In it. Last week I shared some DIY watercolor votives I tried, and Monday we shared our long overdue DIY marquee letters. But today’s post is about a couple wedding DIY projects the future hubs tackled himself :)

He was inspired by all the paint-“dipped” stuff that I’ve been showing him on Pinterest lately:

4f4a78efdcb0ab9bab648e10f38e3442 We weren’t sure if gold would fit our style, but silver was right up our alley. So Evan took a couple of our cheap votives and taped them off so that he could spray paint the bottom with some silver Krylon spray paint.

Evan's Wedding DIY

Evan's Wedding DIY

Hi did another with the middle of the votive taped off (instead of the top) and when he was done we added them to our collection.

Evan's Wedding DIY Evan's Wedding DIY

The modern, geometric design is quite the juxtaposition to my artsy organic paint. We like how these turned out a lot, but again we aren’t sure if they’ll have a place in our wedding or not. All four of these have a place in our home though! Like on our office built ins:

Evan's Wedding DIY

Evan's Wedding DIY

And on our dining room built ins:

Evan's Wedding DIY

Evan’s wedding DIY did not end there though. He remembered this awesome wood+paint art installation he had seen by Holton Rower. We thought it could be really cool to make wooden platforms for our centerpieces to sit on that were done in that style.


So he grabbed a piece of scrap wood, some watered down acrylic paint, and got to work.

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This is what happened. It totally didn’t flow like it does in the installation. Probably because we were using far less paint, and I think they use a special thinner (we just used water).

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It was a little busy with all that color, so Evan busted out his finger painting skills and swirled it around til it made a light gray. Then he added lines of white and pink, turning the board and letting gravity do it’s thing, creating drips.

Evan's Wedding DIY

Evan's Wedding DIY

He kept adding more paint doing the same dripping technique, til eventually he was left with this. It’s pretty cool and marble-y looking but we both agree that it’s not gonna be in the wedding decor. we’re afraid it would make things way too busy. Though maybe we can come up with a simplified version, because we still think the idea is fun.

Evan's Wedding DIY

Ultimately, we aren’t sure we’ve found anything that’s gonna make the wedding cut, but it’s been fun crafting! If anyone has any ideas for simple and cheap crafts that could be incorporated into wedding decor, we are all ears!


Makin’ Loooooove… COMPLETE! {DIY Marquee Letters}


We finally got to use these at our wedding!! We ADORE how they turned out! It was 100% worth the time and effort.

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Oh. My. Gosh. We FINALLY finished this project!! Read through to see how we did it, and scroll to the bottom to see the updated budget breakdown and materials list.

If you need to get caught up on the DIY Marquee Letter saga, check out part 1 and part 2. Here’s how it started: before we even bought our house, we went to a wedding expo and spotted these marquee letters. We instantly fell in L.O.V.E. with them and had to figure out how to make our own!

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So we made a template (psst- download it here), cut it out of plywood and stained it, and then we derped around for a few months doing all sorts of house things instead of completing this project.

Finally, we decided it was time give the people what they wanted finish ‘er up. And that meant doing the hardest part: adding the metal flashing to the sides. We bought four rolls of 6-inch aluminum flashing because we wanted our letters to have metal siding (there are some tutorials online using poster board for the sides but we wanted something a little more sturdy). We couldn’t find any tutorials for making wood and metal letters so we decided to wing it.

(Before we get into all the pictures, a quick side note: we worked on this project on and off over several months so don’t be surprised if our outfits, location, time of day, and Evan’s haircut-necessity-level change from picture to picture.)

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We started with the L because it was the easiest and because we are just OCD enough that the thought of doing the letters out of order bothered us. The first step when adding the flashing is to unroll your metal and sit the letter on it.

Choose where you want the start and the end of your metal to meet (for the L, we chose the bottom of it), then make your first bend in the metal. We used the help of a putty knife and a hammer to make our bends.

Draw a line on the metal where you want your bend to be, place the sharp end of a putty knife (or similar object) on that line, and hammer the handle of the putty knife so that the sharp end is pounded into the metal. This works best if you’re working on carpet or a rug instead of a hard table top or hard flooring. You need some give underneath the metal to allow the putty knife to push into it.

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You’ll notice in the photo above we have a few bends in the metal already. Once you make your first bend, you’ll need to measure along your letter to find out where on the metal roll to make the next bend. So for the L, we did it like this:

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We started the edge of the metal where it says “Start” above and measured how far that point was to the lower right hand corner of the L (where “A” meets “B”). On the metal, we measured that same length from the edge and made a 90 degree bend using the putty knife and hammer technique. We did that all around the L. The angle marks above our rainbow-esque metal flashing in the guide above indicate what direction the angle is bent at.

It’s pretty easy to do this for each letter as you go, but if you chose a complex looking font it could get tricky. Therefore, we highly recommend a sans-serif font!

For some letters, like the L, it was pretty easy for just one person to do the measurements and bends.

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But other letters were two-person jobs, like the E. I never thought about how many angles a capital E has until we had to bend sharp metal around every one of them! For the E, I needed to hold the flashing up while Evan measured and bent so that it didn’t fall onto itself. And sorry about the PJ’s. Although it took us months to finish this project, extra time could not be spared to get properly dressed.

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Once you have all your angles made, you’ll see the shape of the letter start to form and you can wrap the metal around your letter! Ahhhh!! Exciting!! Just don’t forget to cut off the extra metal (see it to the left of the L in the image below) with some sturdy clippers. We liked to leave a couple inches of overlap when we cut it.

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We did not take a picture of the O at this stage of completion because it required a slightly different method. Since the metal did not have any bends or corners to hang onto, it wouldn’t stay put. So I had to pretty much wrap myself around the letter while Evan hammered nails in to anchor it. This is actually the only picture we have of this stage of the O because it was all hands on deck for this one.

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Which brings us to our next step: attaching the metal.

First we made guide lines on the metal so that we could center it against the edge of our plywood. Since our plywood was 1/2-inch thick and our metal flashing was 6-inches wide, we marked dots that were 2-3/4 inches from each side (so that there was a 1/2-inch space between them going down the center of the metal).

Then we connected our dots and used those as our guide. These marks were made on the side of the metal that would be attached to the wood.

In hindsight, it would have been easier to do this before bending the metal. Oh hindsight!

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On the other side of the metal (the side facing outside), we marked dots along the center of the metal (3 inches from the edge) so that we knew where to nail. We made a dot every inch or so, but you could do more or less if you wanted.

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Since we had our plywood and nail guides, we wrapped the metal around the letters, aligning the plywood with our 1/2 inch space on the inside of the metal. Evan hammered in a nail or two while I held it in place to keep it from shifting.

We used short 1/2-inch finishing nails to do the job. We started out originally using longer nails, but a few times we didn’t hammer them in straight enough and their ends poked through the wood (ooops!). When that happens it’s kind of a pain to carefully pull them out without causing more damage.

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But the 1/2-inch nails were harder to hammer because holding such a tiny nail was difficult. So we used our longer nails to hammer little pilot holes through the metal and just barely into the wood, and then hammered our shorter nails into the pilot holes. It was WAY easier. Also, we still (carefully) used the longer nails at the corners because we felt like that they might be a better anchor.

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So after Evan hammered in a couple nails to keep the metal from shifting, together we’d go down each side of the letter and create pilot holes, and then add our 1/2-inch nails. Lots and lots of nails.

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The V and the E needed a little extra help because there were areas in each that we couldn’t nail due to lack of space for the hammer. On the V, we couldn’t get the hammer passed a certain point in the “dip” of the V. So we decided to nail as far as we could and then use epoxy.

That didn’t work too well because it was hard to hold the metal against the wood long enough for it to set. We didn’t have a big clamp, so we tried to wedge enough random tools in there to hold the metal down in place. I’ll pause while you laugh.

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Yeah. That didn’t work. So we went to Home Depot, got some Gorilla Glue, and picked up a big clamp. And then taped the crap out of the whole thing because we really really didn’t want another glue fail.

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The Gorilla Glue worked! But it squished out the sides (womp womp) and we had to cut the excess off with a razor blade, which was annoying. When we did the other side of the V, we made sure to apply as little glue as possible so that we didn’t have the same problem again.

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Even though the Gorilla Glue worked, there were a lot of places on the E that we couldn’t use nails and we didn’t want to deal with all the gluing and clamping again.

So for the parts of the metal that went in between the “legs” of the E, we bent them so that the sides were curving toward the wood of the E (like the colored pieces in the image below) and then hammered a few nails in between each bent piece of metal to hold things in place (along with nails around the perimeter of the letter too of course). Since the curved metal naturally wanted to press against the wood, we didn’t need any glue there.

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After the metal was firmly attached to all our letters, it was time to screw in our lights! We used two packs of these outdoor lights. Depending on the size of your letters and the closeness of the holes you drilled, you may need more or less.

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We had to screw in the lights in a way that made sense with the flow of the letters. Meaning for the L, we started at the bottom (so that we didn’t have to have a cord running from the floor to the top of a letter) and we added lights going toward the top. But we skipped every other light so that when we reached the top of the L we could make our way back to the bottom, filling in the lights we had skipped on the way up.

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On the O, we went straight across from the L to the base of the O and looped around clockwise until we got to the part of the O that was closest to the top of the V, filling in every light up to that point. Then as we continued the O (past the point closest to the top of the V) we just filled in every other light again until we reached out O starting point, where we then backtracked and filled in the holes we missed. Similar to the method on the L.

Basically, any time you know you’re going to have to backtrack, start skipping every other hole so that when you make your way back you have holes to fill in.

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We wired the lights this way because we didn’t want to have long stretches (like from the outlet to the top of the L or the base of the O to the top of the V) where there were lights that weren’t being used. Because that meant wasted lights, and we really didn’t want to buy a third pack. Hope the graphic above helps make sense of it! If not, it will make more sense when you get to this point and start playing with it.

I am happy to say, after much measuring, hammering, cutting, hammering, gluing, and hammering… we are FINALLY done!

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So of course we had to take a million pictures…

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We love the look of the metal and wood. On this zoomed in picture of the O you can really see how snugly everything fits together.

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We L.O.V.E. them sooooooooo much! Can’t wait to have these at our wedding, and we are super excited that they’ll have a spot in our home for us to enjoy forever :)

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Finally, here’s the budget breakdown. This is all rounded, but it’s pretty accurate:

(2) 2ft x 4ft pieces of pre-sanded plywood – $30
(4) rolls of 6 inch metal (similar to this but longer and therefore pricier) – $24
(1) 8-oz can of Minwax stain in Dark Walnut – $5
(2) packs of clear globe lights – $38
Nails, hammers, clamps, saw, brushes, etc – already owned/needed to have anyway

TOTAL = $97

Not bad for four very sturdy 2-ft tall letters that we love!

PS- Check out part 1: making the template and part 2: cutting out and staining the letters for the full tutorial of this project! :D

Note: This post contains affiliated links. Thank you for supporting our blog!

Votive Motive

We’ve got a wedding to plan with lots of DIY elements, so as promised I’m trying to write about one of our wedding DIY projects at least every couple weeks or so. We are still working on the L.O.V.E. marquee letters (that “E” is being difficult!) but in the meantime I’ve been brainstorming what kind of centerpieces I want to do.

And I feel like I’m going in circles. It’s hard to come up with something that I can make myself and duplicate 15 or so times without breaking the bank. Because honestly, who remembers centerpieces at anyone’s wedding except their own right? It’s not something I want to spend big bucks on.

I’ve been collecting wine bottles from friends and family so that I can use those somehow (yes, there will be some wine bottle DIY crafts in the future), but today I’m going to focus on votives that could possible be scattered around said wine bottles.

Evan and I each decided to tackle a votive idea. I loved these:

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And Evan was inspired by these:


But we’ll cover Evan’s craft of choice next time since this post might get a little lengthy if I try to squeeze in both.

So to tackle my water color inspired votives, I gathered my materials: some acrylic paint (you could use cheap stuff, I just used some we already had), a brush or two, some water, a palette to mix on (but you could use a paper plate), and my votive (we got a 4-pack at Ikea for $2).

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I picked a handful of colors (if you mix too many it will just turn brownish gray) and squirted out just a dot of paint from each onto the palette. Then I drizzled water over them til they became very liquidy and started to merge together.

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Unfortunately I got so excited about the next part that I forgot to take a picture, but don’t worry I took pictures when I did it to my second votive. For this part, you just dab your brush into the paint and then dab it around the top of the inside of the votive and let the paint run down. If it’s not running, add more water, and if color isn’t sticking to the glass, add more paint. I just kinda swirled it around in there until I had this:

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It was ok. I wasn’t sure about it though, so while my paint was out I decided to try another method I was curious about:


I probably should have spent more time on this one but it was sort of an afterthought. And I think this method would work better on a larger glass where there is room for more dots. Mine turned out ok but it was nothing to get excited about.

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The good news about acrylic paint is that it was still a little wet so I was able to wash it right out and start anew. I decided to try another water color votive with different colors. Here you can see how I did the paint drips. I would load up my brush with watery paint and press it against the inside of the votive so that the extra paint would squeeze out and run down the glass.

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Here’s how both my votives looked side by side when I was through.

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And here they are withe some candles in ’em.

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I think they turned out pretty cool. And they were super easy to do. But I also think having a bunch of these on every table might start looking a little busy, so I’m not 100% sold they’ll end up at the wedding. Regardless, for $1 it was totally worth the fun of experimenting with these and they’ll be a nice little pop of color in our home.


Makin’ Loooooove… part 2 {DIY Marquee Letters}

(Continued from part 1) There are a ton of great toys you can use for this next step… I mean… power tools… I used my jig saw. It’s a great wood/everything cutting power tool when you’re living in an apartment and don’t have a garage to store big toys. Soon to be fixed ^_^ (I’m sure there will be a post with a handyman garage setup).

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Since we traced the letters in the previous post cutting them out was pretty easy. Remember, don’t push too hard or the edges will be rough and require more sanding. If you are unfamiliar with using a jig saw I would practice on some spare lumber. Also, since we bought our lumber before hand we planned the height of the letters so they would not require any cutting on the top and bottom. Before you know it you’ll have a masterly crafted letter in your hands:

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Letters like the L are pretty easy to cut. No hard to reach corners. But when tight corners do arise don’t loose hope. Again, get some extra lumber and test to see how tight corners you can cut with whatever power tools you are using. With my jig saw I ended up doing a gradual turn and then backtracking to get that straight edge I wanted:

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Before you know it you’ll have all your letters cut out! Good thing we remembered to take a picture when we were all done and not just partially so!!… not.

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Whatever could we be spelling?! Live?!… umm can’t think of anything else but the other live… and love :)

Next we roll out the template again and gently hammer a nail in (somewhat of an oxymoron). Just nail it partially in to mark where you’ll be drilling later:

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For the lights that we mentioned earlier a 13/16″ spade drill bit worked PERFECTLY! Just barely lets the light socket through. Make sure to measure a properly sized hole if you aren’t using our same lights. Run to your fav hardware store and pick up a your fav type of hole drill and have at it!

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Follow the pattern you laid out earlier with your gentle nailing and you’ll do swell! Lay out your letters and admire your handiwork:

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After you’ve made all the holes for your light bulbs, you’re gonna want to sand things down a bit. Because the plywood we got was pre-sanded, this part was pretty easy. We just did a few gentle swipes along the face of the letters and focused mainly on the edges using 220 grit sand paper.

Next came my favorite part… staining!! This was the first time we stained anything and it was awesome. Now we want to stain ALL THE THINGS! Before you go all stain crazy on your letters though, I’d recommend testing the stain on some scrap wood first. Again, we used Minwax stain in “Dark Walnut” (because we loved how it look on some projects over at Young House Love!)

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We tested how the stain looked after sitting for 1 minute, 2 minutes, 5 minutes, and 10 minutes. When each section was done, we wiped things down with a clean old T-shirt. The visual difference between the stain times was pretty subtle so we decided to go with 1 minute. Hey, we are impatient!

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Now it’s time to go to town on the letters! Make sure to wipe them down to get rid of dust and stuff first. Also, work somewhere well-ventilated. For us that meant our wittle teeny apartment balcony. Gotta work with what you’ve got! Also, remember to lay down a dropcloth or something to catch any drips. I read online that you’re supposed to apply the stain with the grain, so that’s what we did. The internet said so, so it must be true!

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We didn’t worry too much about our edges because they won’t show once we add our metal sides. Also, by the time our minute of staining time was up almost all the stain was absorbed by the wood, but we still wiped off the little bit of excess with a clean old T-shirt.

Literally like 5 minutes later, we were done! Of course, you know we also had to pop some light bulbs in and test how they looked with the stained wood. One step closer to marquee-style letters for our wedding!

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PS- Check out part 1: making the template, and part 3: attaching the metal siding for the full tutorial of this project! :D

Note: This post contains affiliated links. Thank you for supporting our blog!
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Makin’ Loooooove… {DIY Marquee Letters}

Makin’ loooove…letters! As in L.O.V.E, sheesh! Just look below and see what I mean…

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We saw these marquee letters at a wedding expo and immediately thought they’d be awesome to have at our wedding. But renting them from a wedding decor company would be hella expensive, so my engineer fiance got to work! First we took some super precise measurements by taking a picture of my arm against the letters so we could eyeball the size later. You can tell by my expression that I totally did not feel awkward at all posing in the middle of the display.

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Then we got home and got to work! We figured out from the above picture that we wanted them to be about 2 feet tall, and we went from there. We sorted through my library of 1,300+ fonts (I have a font problem… and I’m not ashamed) and picked one that suited us. Then we made a to-scale image in Photoshop. You can download it here if you’d like to use the font we used as a template.

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The little circles are guides for where the light bulbs would need to go. Then we just printed it and boom- instant template!

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When it came to supplies, we had to decide if we wanted to use wood, metal, foam core (that’s what most the online tutorials use), or something else. We ended up deciding on wood for the letters and metal for the siding. We found pre-sanded 2-foot-tall birch plywood that said “ready-to-stain” at Home Depot for $14 a pop. Sold! We picked up two of those, a roll of 6″ galvanized steel, some Minwax stain in “Dark Walnut” (because we loved how it look on Young House Love!) and a couple packs of outdoor lights.

We were just sort of wingin’ it and picking up what looked like it should work. We’ll do a full supplies list and cost breakdown at the end of things since I’m sure there will be more stuff we need to get along the way.

Next we cut out our letters, taped them together into something traceable, then laid them out on our plywood and traced away!

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Once our letters were traced, it was time for the fun part- sawing! But this post has gotten pretty long, and Evan’s definitely the power-tool-wielding one in the relationship, so he’ll probably write about the sawing stuff. So for now we’ll end things here and pick back up later with part-2! On a side note, I should try to remember NOT to wear my super flattering XXL comfy pants when we’re taking pics for the blog… oh well!

PS- Check out part 2: cutting out and staining the letters, and part 3: attaching the metal siding for the full tutorial of this project! :D

Note: This post contains affiliated links. Thank you for supporting our blog!
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