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DIY easy concrete letters

We are kinda sorta obsessed with these little concrete letters. Mainly because a) they’re really easy to DIY because there’s no mold-making required, and b) leaving messages around the house is kinda awesome.

DIY easy concrete letters using baking molds! evanandkatelyn.com DIY easy concrete letters using baking molds! evanandkatelyn.com DIY easy concrete letters using baking molds! evanandkatelyn.com Hehehehehe.

So today we’re gonna walk through this quick tutorial. And after this you’ll be looking around your house for other stuff you can pour concrete into (it’s kind of addicting).

You can watch the video that covers everything below, or keep scrolling for all our choices, steps, and tips in blog-format.

[Before we keep going, I want to pause and say if you have a second it would mean SO much to us if you’d like our video or subscribe to our channel. Since we’re brand new to YouTube, every view, like, and subscription makes a huge difference for us. Click here to see the whole channel. Thank youuuuu! We’re doing a big goofy happy dance right now!]

Here’s what you’ll need for the project

  • Quikrete Vinyl Concrete Patcher
  • Small mixing container (you could use something like this or even a solo cup works if you’re just doing a few letters)
  • Stirring and scooping devices (we use an old ladle to scoop dry concrete mix, a metal rod to mix it, and a plastic spoon to scoop it into the letters. But chances are, you’ve got something on hand already that will work)
  • Silicone letter baking mold
  • Gloves (we really like the thick 9 mil gloves)
  • Mask
  • Plywood or some sort of board (it protects your work surface and makes it easier to get concrete to settle into your mold – we’ll get into that later)
  • Concrete sealer (optional)
  • Paint or spray paint (optional, but we used gold Krylon)

DIY easy concrete letters using baking molds! evanandkatelyn.com If you’ve watched any concrete tutorials before, you may notice we’re using a sliiiightly different product from the norm. This was a choice we made for a few reasons:

  1. It has a really fine grain so the ending surface finish is really nice – no big lumps or rocks
  2. It fills into more detailed shapes more easily than some concretes
  3. Bonus – it comes in a smaller batch than most concrete mixes, which is nice

DIY easy concrete letters using baking molds! evanandkatelyn.com Before you start, place plywood (or anything else similarly stiff and board-like) over your work surface. This not only protects your table from the potential mess, but it’s also gonna help you agitate the mold too (don’t worry, we’ll get into that later).

Make sure you have your PPE (personal protective equipment on) before you start handling the concrete mix. Portland cement is very basic (opposite of acidic), and has crystalline silica dust (which is really bad for your lungs). If you get cement on your hands and leave it there it can cause minor chemical burns and draws out moisture from your skin. If you do get cement on your hands, no worries. Wash with water, then pour common white vinegar over the area to neutralize any alkalinity, then wash with water again.

Start by adding a small amount of water to your mixing container. It’s important to add water to the container first before adding any mix. We started with about 50 ml but ended up adding more later.

DIY easy concrete letters using baking molds! evanandkatelyn.com Then add a few ladles of mix. The Quikrete instructions say to use 7 parts concrete mix to 1 part water, but for this project we found that to be too dry. We added a splash or two more water (a little goes a long way!) and kept mixing.

DIY easy concrete letters using baking molds! evanandkatelyn.com DIY easy concrete letters using baking molds! evanandkatelyn.com DIY easy concrete letters using baking molds! evanandkatelyn.com Side note, adding more water DOES weaken the concrete slightly. Which you definitely wouldn’t want if you were making anything that needed to be structurally sound or hold weight. But for this small decorative items, the slightly wetter concrete is so much easier to work with so we think it’s worth it (we’ve made a ton of these by the way – no breaks so far)

It’s easy to add too much water though. So here’s a tip to check and see if you have too much. Agitate the mixing container, and excess water will rise to the surface. We do this by quickly hitting the insides of the walls of the container back and forth with our stirring stick (you can see this better in the video).

DIY easy concrete letters using baking molds! evanandkatelyn.com This should cause extra water, if there is any, to rise to the surface. If you see water pooling a little at the top, add a little more concrete mix, stir it around, and agitate the container again to test for more water.

DIY easy concrete letters using baking molds! evanandkatelyn.com Once there’s not more excess water and your concrete is about the consistency of a sandy milkshake (I know, sounds so appetizing), you’re good to go. (In total, you’ll need to mix for 2-3 minutes to make sure everything is incorporated).

DIY easy concrete letters using baking molds! evanandkatelyn.com Once your mixed concrete is ready, spoon it into the letters of the mold that you want to make. Heads up – some letters don’t stand up on their own too well (like P and F for example, which are asymmetrical and top heavy) but that doesn’t mean you can’t still use them (see our “POOP” example above…. hmm that’s something I never foresaw myself saying).

DIY easy concrete letters using baking molds! evanandkatelyn.com You’ll want to overfill the letters a little. The concrete will settle down into the mold.

DIY easy concrete letters using baking molds! evanandkatelyn.com Now you need to agitate the mold to get out any air bubbles. This is where the plywood comes in handy. We like to shake and drop the plywood with the mold on top of it, since the plywood is a lot sturdier to grab onto than a silicone mold full of wet concrete. You can still agitate the mold itself by scooting it quickly side to side, but I wouldn’t pick it up or anything. Again, this is easier to visualize in video format.

DIY easy concrete letters using baking molds! evanandkatelyn.com You’ll see the bubbles rise to the surface. You can pop them with whatever stirrer or scooper you have on hand, then give the mold another good shake to see if any more come up.

DIY easy concrete letters using baking molds! evanandkatelyn.com Honestly, we kinda like the look of a few bubbles… it adds some interest. But you don’t want a ton or it’ll be a weaker end product.

Scrape off any excess concrete off the top (we used a popsicle stick, but again whatever you have around is fine, just something with a flat edge). You can give it one last shake which should smooth out your scraped-off surface.

DIY easy concrete letters using baking molds! evanandkatelyn.com Then… you just have to wait. These take about 24 hours to dry.

DIY easy concrete letters using baking molds! evanandkatelyn.com Before we take them out of the mold, you have the option to apply a concrete sealer to the backs of them (the side you can see when they’re still in the mold).

DIY easy concrete letters using baking molds! evanandkatelyn.com This step is totally optional, but this side of the letters tends to be a little dusty and the sealer will help lessen the dust. Since we do a lot of stuff in concrete, we already had the sealer, but if you don’t want to buy it just for this purpose your letters will be fine.

DIY easy concrete letters using baking molds! evanandkatelyn.com If you do want to use it, apply a thin coat and let it dry for about an hour (we’ve done half an hour… but if you want to play it safe, wait the full hour). Then you can remove your letters, yay!

DIY easy concrete letters using baking molds! evanandkatelyn.com The back edge might be a little rough, so chip off any rough edges with your finger.

DIY easy concrete letters using baking molds! evanandkatelyn.com I know the last thing you want to hear is that you need to do any more waiting… but you have to do a little more waiting. 24 more hours to be exact. They continue to cure once they’re out of the mold because air is able to reach areas that were previously encased. You can see the difference between a freshly de-molded set of letters and one that is fully cured in the photo below.

Keep them on a surface that can be messy, like your plywood from earlier or simply sitting on top of the molds. If you put these on something absorbent, they’ll leave moisture spots.

DIY easy concrete letters using baking molds! evanandkatelyn.com Ok… after your long week of waiting, you can finally use these suckers! They’re super cute as is but there are tons of creative ways to paint them too. I love love love giving them a metallic ombre look.

DIY easy concrete letters using baking molds! evanandkatelyn.com To do this, put on a glove (so you don’t spray your fingers) and hold the top of the letter, spraying the bottom half with your spray paint of choice. I try to spray about 8 inches away. The farther you spray, the more of a fade your ombre will have. Vice versa, the closer you spray the less fade you’ll have. You can test it on some scrap wood, cardboard, piece of junk mail, etc.

DIY easy concrete letters using baking molds! evanandkatelyn.com Other ideas we love are giving it a dipped look by painting the bottom third with gold leaf paint or crisp white acrylic, but I feel like you could experiment with lots of different techniques and styles. If you end up making these, take a photo of what you did and tag us @evanandkatelyn on Instagram because we would LOVE to see what y’all come up with!

And lastly, if you like the look of these but actually messing with concrete is not your thing, you can also buy these on our Etsy. We sell the LOVE as a set, but shoot us a message and we can make whatever letters you want. Like your home state…

DIY easy concrete letters using baking molds! evanandkatelyn.com Favorite food…

DIY easy concrete letters using baking molds! evanandkatelyn.com Or spirit animal.

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You can also find us at:

YouTube…………….. https://www.youtube.com/evanandkatelyn
Instagram………….. http://instagram.com/evanandkatelyn @evanandkatelyn
Instructables………. https://www.instructables.com/member/evanandkatelyn/
Facebook………..….. https://www.facebook.com/evanandkatelyn/

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3

DIY Faux Fur Tree Skirt (and Garland!)

In yesterday’s Christmas decor post I mentioned we added some faux fur in both tree skirt and garland form. As promised, today I’m sharing this quick DIY you can do in an afternoon (ie you can finish it before the Christmas!) Bonus: this tree skirt only cost about $15 as opposed to the $69 versions elsewhere and you get a free garland out of the material too.

First my mom (thanks mom!) picked up some faux fur fabric from Jo-Ann’s. I opted for a tawny light brown color, but a warm white would look great too. The size you need will depend on your tree, but for our 7.5ft tree we went with a 60″ x 60″ square (human below for reference).

Then we flipped it over and marked the center.

After we had our center point, we could trace out our circle. There are several ways to do this: eyeball it, trace something big like a hula hoop, etc. My husband is an engineer so of course it involved magnets, a ruler, and pure precision.

So we put magnets on top of the center point and one under the fabric to hold them in place. Then we placed one end of our yardstick, which had a hole in it, over the magnets and used it as a compass. You could do the same thing by tying a string to the magnets in the center and using that as your compass.

By placing a marker at the end of your ruler (or your string) and rotating it around the center point, you’ll create a perfect circle.

Tada!

I’d recommend taking it outside to cut it because you are gonna get fur everywhere. I may look like I’m simply draped in a luxurious fur hanging out in my garage, but really I’m trying to cut it and not let it touch the ground at the same time. Evan only laughed at me for a minute before snapping a picture and helping me hold it :P

We cut along the circle and we also cut one line from the edge of the circle to the center point (so you can slide the center to the base of the tree).

Side note: our garage is insane. Lotsssss of different projects in progress. We’ll clean it… one day.

After cutting the circle out, shake it like a crazy person in your driveway or wherever you think you’ll gather the most attention from curious neighbors.

Bonus points if you get airborne while shaking it out.

We wrapped it around the base of the tree, putting the cut to the center in the back. Some of our edges were a little rough but we kinda feel like it gives it a more realistic look.

Of course… once we added presents you can barely see it.

But I know it’s there and I love it and that’s what matters!!!! Plus, as the presents disappear, the tree won’t look so sad and barren.

Part two of this tutorial is what we did with the scraps! We had a big ring of fur left, so I trimmed off the corners which left a circle of fabric. I took that and wrapped it around the baby tree in our office. It’s a nice tie in to our big tree, and it’s a super easy way to add visual impact to a without needing to hang ornaments.

Well there you have it! This was an easy and fun project that took very little time to complete – aka the perfect thing to tackle when you’re already counting down the days til Christmas!

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0

Our 2016 Christmas Decor

Hey guys! We’re not a proper home DIY and design blog if we don’t show y’all our Christmas decor (not that being proper has ever been our forte). The big news this year is we finally upgraded from our tiny 4-foot, apartment sized Christmas tree to a massive 7.5-foot tower of pre-lit glory. Hello Handsome!

Our 2016 Christmas Decor - evanandkatelyn.com

Our ornament situation is pretty simple. A mix of snowflakes, silver and red balls, and a sprinkling of homemade ornaments/ones we’ve been given over the years.

Our 2016 Christmas Decor - evanandkatelyn.com

Don’t mind the fuzz all over my leggings… right before this we made a DIY faux fur tree skirt (we’ll post about that later) and clearly I can’t be bothered to lint roll mahself. You can see the tree skirt peeking out in the photo below.

Our 2016 Christmas Decor - evanandkatelyn.com

Luckily, not too much on our tree is breakable (at least on the lower tiers) since we have this little munchkin claiming her new favorite spot.

Our 2016 Christmas Decor - evanandkatelyn.com

It’s hard to imagine what our little OG tree used to look like in this spot, so I’ll just show ya.

Our 2016 Christmas Decor - evanandkatelyn.com

So teeny right? Now the little tree lives in our office. I could see it traveling to a new spot each year… this one works for now though. We opted to forego ornaments on this one (mainly because we needed all of them to fill our big tree… haha) but we did wrap it with a DIY faux fur garland (we’ll post on that later too).

Our 2016 Christmas Decor - evanandkatelyn.com

Some Christmas decor also landed on our coffee table. We got this little burlap wrapped tree from Michaels earlier this season before the holiday aisles looked like a post-apocalyptic raided drug store, and while chances are they’re out of stock, this one on Amazon looks the exact same AND is actually cheaper than what we paid for it… dang it.

Our 2016 Christmas Decor - evanandkatelyn.com

We’ve had this little JOY glitter sign for years, and it happily sheds sparkles wherever it goes, but I think it’s super cute. These looked nice and wintery paired with our white constellation hurricanes from West Elm.

We also sprinkled some Christmas vibes on our dining table. We actually went with a look that was more wintery than Christmas-y so we can leave it up for a while.

Our 2016 Christmas Decor - evanandkatelyn.com

Our 2016 Christmas Decor - evanandkatelyn.com

Evan made these copper balls out of wire. We need to post about those as well; they look great on the table, in a bowl, or as ornaments.

Our 2016 Christmas Decor - evanandkatelyn.com

On our back door we’ve got one of the wreaths we made for our West Elm pop up shop. We had to hold onto one for ourselves!

Our 2016 Christmas Decor - evanandkatelyn.com

Our deer is looking extra Christmas-y with the holiday decor as well. So purdy.

Our 2016 Christmas Decor - evanandkatelyn.com

I love this view of the tree with our art wall behind it. After taking the deer pic above, I had to take this tree photo as well.

Our 2016 Christmas Decor - evanandkatelyn.com

And as always, Jack Skellington in his holiday garb is making an appearance.

Our 2016 Christmas Decor - evanandkatelyn.com

Our 2016 Christmas Decor - evanandkatelyn.com

And Christmas is not complete without a giant explosion of wrapping paper and ribbon! Let the wrapping party with mom, Evan, and beer commence! Merry Christmas y’all.

Our 2016 Christmas Decor - evanandkatelyn.com

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4

2016 Halloween Decor

I love Halloween you guys. If it was socially acceptable to Trick-Or-Treat at the age of 29, I would. But it’s not, so I make up for it with for it with creepy movies, our annual Scare for a Cure adventure, dressing up, and decking our house out with pumpkins, ghosts, and skulls :)

To get a bigger decor bang for our buck, we like to do all the decorating in the main areas of our house instead of thinning it out over the entire square footage. Side note, you’re not going to find any Martha-Stewart-level stuff going on here. More like Target-post-Halloween-sale level stuff with a healthy dose of DIY, but we make it work y’all emoji-deal-with-it  So why don’t we jump right in!

Our 2016 Halloween Decor - evanandkatelyn.com

Our dining table got a handful of pumpkins that we painted and fixed up (tutorials here and here) to go along with our usual IKEA planters. I also used some of the felt from our old pumpkin placemats and cut out little bats to sprinkle around. I like that after Halloween, I can remove the bats but keep everything else the same for fall (until Christmas takes over!) The warm tones of our new butcher block table top give everything a cozy vibe.

2016 Halloween Decor - evanandkatelyn.com

2016 Halloween Decor - evanandkatelyn.com

We also added a little hint of Halloween to our built ins with my Z-Gallerie bling skull. My mom got him for me back when I was in my first apartment and he’s one of the coolest dudes I know (aside from my husband, who is definitely THE coolest).

2016 Halloween Decor - evanandkatelyn.com

In the living room, our L.O.V.E. letters are now home to a felt pumpkin like you saw last week. He’s still standing up on his own in the O, which makes me pretty happy :)

2016 Halloween Decor - evanandkatelyn.com

Our coffee table got a little dose of fall with this target pumpkin and my favorite World Market raven. Also, Evan made the small copper wire ball out of some wire we got at Michael’s.

2016 Halloween Decor - evanandkatelyn.com

You might see a little Jack and Sally peeking out from our media center on the left side of the photo above. These two are actually on our shelf all the time, so they’re not technically Halloween decor, but they sure fit in this time of year #grownupscanhavetoystoo.

2016 Halloween Decor - evanandkatelyn.com

My Tim Burton art book is also always on display, but the addition of another pumpkin makes it that much more Halloween-y :)

2016 Halloween Decor - evanandkatelyn.com

The fireplace got our spray painted hurricanes, my favorite little ghost candle holder from, you guessed it, Target, and our West Elm constellation hurricanes/candleholders (they look like they’re dotted with stars!). These all work well with our DIY’d silver branch, which we still love.

Side note: the whole deal is made even better by these awesome LED candles we have with built in timers…they come on every evening and stay on for 5-6 hours. Not gonna lie, I feel pretty freakin fancy coming home to a house with lit candles everywhere.

2016 Halloween Decor - evanandkatelyn.com

Our carved Jack Skellington and Domo funkins live near our faux ficus. (they’re sporting more of our LED candles too but they weren’t lit for the photo). You can read here how we painted Jack to look more realistic and gave Domo a metallic ombre look.

2016 Halloween Decor - evanandkatelyn.com

Our entry is home to the DIY felt pumpkin garland I threw together along with a few other Halloween faves. I love Jack and Sally, obvs, so they have a spot here as well, along with a couple black glittery Target pumpkins.

2016 Halloween Decor - evanandkatelyn.com

2016 Halloween Decor - evanandkatelyn.com

Well this about sums up our Halloween decor this year! Now to go scope out everyone else’s… :D

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0

Feeling Batty – DIY Felt Bats

Hey guys! The quickest of quick Halloween post today. Here’s the story: Girl meets felt placemats. Girl cuts out pumpkins from placemats and turns them into a garland. Girl is getting ready to throw out the remaining felt scraps when a lightbulb goes off/her cheapness takes over and she thinks “I can make something out of this felt!” And hence, 36 tiny bats were born.

Feeling Batty - DIY Felt Bats - evanandkatelyn.com

Before I started cutting, I made myself a bat template. If you want you can grab my cutesy simple bat below (just right click and save the image to your desktop, then print at whatever size you want) or you can google “bat outline” and find just about any type of bat you can imagine.

Feeling Batty - DIY Felt Bats - evanandkatelyn.com

I cut out my template and used it as a guide for cutting the felt. Because I was doing teeny tiny bats, it was easiest to use a little binder clip to hold the template in place while I cut (when my cut made it around to the clip, I’d just move the clip).

Feeling Batty - DIY Felt Bats - evanandkatelyn.com

On a side note, I started this project with the Fiskars I’ve had in my drawer for a few years. Ended up with carpal tunnel (not really, but oh the hand cramps!). Then Evan busted out his favorite pair of scissors (yes, we’re the types of people that have favorite pairs of scissors) and they were soooooooo much better. I’m converted. Bonus: they are only $8.73 on Amazon.

I cut and cut, and cut some more. Not a bad way to spend some time when you’ve got Netflix on in the background and a fall candle burning within sniff-range.

Feeling Batty - DIY Felt Bats - evanandkatelyn.com

My original intent was to turn these into a garland, but then seeing them strewn about the table I thought they actually looked pretty good as table top decor. I’ll do another post in a few days with lots more photos of where these and all of our other Halloween crafties live around the house. For now, here’s a round up of all the Halloween projects we’ve done so far:

Sprucing up faux pumpkins with puffy paint, a bit more realism, and metallic ombre.
Upgrading our Halloween hurricanes with metallic insides.
Turning felt pumpkin placements into a felt pumpkin garland.
Fixing some messed up gourds with Sugru and paint.
Bonus 1: our DIY floating outdoor ghosts from a few years ago.
Bonus 2: our Halloween decor from a few years ago.

Bonus 3: this silly video

6

From Felt Placemats to DIY Pumpkin Garland

Hey guys! You may have seen Wednesday’s DIY decor post where I upgraded our black jack-o-lantern hurricanes with copper paint or last week’s DIY painted pumpkins. I’m here to continue the series of easy Halloween decor DIY’s with a story of placemats-turned-garland.

I had these four felt pumpkin placemats that I snagged from Target a few years ago. But they totally weren’t practical for two reasons: 1) who can use a felt placemat without messing it up?? 2) we have six table settings at our table and only four pumpkin placemats. That would just look silly.

Turning Felt Placemats into a DIY Pumpkin Garland evanandkatelyn.com

So I decided to cut out the pumpkins and use them as a garland! The first cut was a little scary, but after that it went quickly.

Turning Felt Placemats into a DIY Pumpkin Garland evanandkatelyn.com

To take the felt pumpkins and actually turn them into a garland (i.e. run a string through them), I cut out a tiny rectangle from the extra placement felt and glued the two ends of the rectangle to the back of the pumpkin, near the stem. I left the middle part of the rectangle unglued so I could thread through it.

Turning Felt Placemats into a DIY Pumpkin Garland evanandkatelyn.com

Turning Felt Placemats into a DIY Pumpkin Garland evanandkatelyn.com

I actually cut out the border of one of the placemats and used that as the string to thread the pumpkins together! Then I hung it over some art in our entry way, securing it by using binder clips to attach each end to the hanging wire on the back of the canvas. Very easy, and much more practical than using them as placements.

Turning Felt Placemats into a DIY Pumpkin Garland evanandkatelyn.com

Turning Felt Placemats into a DIY Pumpkin Garland evanandkatelyn.com

I could only fit three of the pumpkins across the art, so the fourth found its home in the middle of the “O” on our love letters. Luckily, he fit perfectly snug in there so he holds himself up, though if we needed to we could have suspended him using a little fishing line and tape.

Turning Felt Placemats into a DIY Pumpkin Garland evanandkatelyn.com

This project makes me think pretty much anything can be turned into a garland – black paper bats or tiny styrofoam pumpkins would be cute!

Turning Felt Placemats into a DIY Pumpkin Garland evanandkatelyn.com

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2

Upgrading Halloween Hurricanes with Copper Spray Paint

Are you guys still on a Halloween decor kick at your house? Because we are! But do you ever pull out decorations that you loved last year and think… meh? That’s the feeling that hit me, hence our three DIY pumpkin makeovers we posted earlier this week.

Aside from those pumpkins, there were a few more items in my Halloween decor bin that I had fallen out of love with.  So this is the first of a few quick and easy makeovers I did that will hopefully inspire you to take a second look at the decor you’re not crazy about any more.

First off, I had these black jack-o-lantern hurricanes I got at Target a few years ago that I honestly still really liked, but it was so hard to see their faces without a lit candle in there all the time. And with a kitty that likes to burn her whiskers on candles, that wasn’t an option for us. We also tried LED candles but they just weren’t bright/tall enough.

Upgrading Halloween Hurricanes with Copper Spray Paint evanandkatelyn.com

So I taped off their faces and tops (anything open really) and spray painted the insides copper using Krylon metallic paint. It was really quick to tape them off since you don’t have to be super exact.

Upgrading Halloween Hurricanes with Copper Spray Paint evanandkatelyn.com

Then I taped around the rim and added a plastic bag around the whole deal (I attached the plastic bag with the tape at the top rim).

Upgrading Halloween Hurricanes with Copper Spray Paint evanandkatelyn.com

Once they were fully protected, I sprayed away. Fun side note – when spraying spray paint into a cylinder, the spray floats out of the top like smoke. It was pretty cool looking, though damn near impossible to capture in a photo haha.

Upgrading Halloween Hurricanes with Copper Spray Paint evanandkatelyn.com

Now they look awesome! You can see their faces easily, and the copper + black combo is like a less in-your-face orange and black. Plus I love how the copper just barely got on the rim of the cut outs… it’s a nice little highlight.

Upgrading Halloween Hurricanes with Copper Spray Paint evanandkatelyn.com

Upgrading Halloween Hurricanes with Copper Spray Paint evanandkatelyn.com

I think a similar technique could be applied to other halloween decor like ceramic jack-o-lanterns or any type of candle holder with cut outs. Soon I’ll be posting a few more quick Halloween decor makeovers so keep an eye out!

Upgrading Halloween Hurricanes with Copper Spray Paint evanandkatelyn.com

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

2

DIY Pumpkins, 3 Ways: Puffy Paint, Realistic, & Metallic Ombre

We’re officially a week+ into October, meaning it’s high time for a fall decor DIY post up in here! Our strategy this season? Paint. All. The Things. Specifically, the pumpkins. I’ll save you some scrolling. Here are the final products:

DIY Pumpkins, 3 Ways - Puffy Paint, Realistic, & Metallic Ombre - evanandkatelyn.com

We have quite the collection of faux pumpkins…some are of the nicer/sturdier/more realistic variety, some are covered in glitter, some are cheap on-sale gourds I painted white years ago, and some are those “Funkins” you can carve.

Our nice/sturdy/realistic pumpkins were good. Love em, keepin’ em as is. The glitter pumpkins I’m not in love with but I dunno if painting over glitter would work… unless it’s with more glitter haha. But the little cheap guys and the Funkins needed some work, so our paint brushes/spray cans were aimed in their direction.

DIY Pumpkins, 3 Ways - Puffy Paint, Realistic, & Metallic Ombre - evanandkatelyn.com

I wanted the pumpkins to look coordinated but not too matchy matchy. We had a few painting methods in mind: 1) Spruce some up with gold puffy paint, 2) Make some look more realistic using watered down acrylic, and 3) Give some a metallic ombre with gold and copper spray paint.

1. PUFFY PAINT PUMPKINS

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • pumpkins (real or faux)
  • puffy paint in a contrasting color (I used Tulip brand in gold)

Tiny white pumpkins: you sad little things. I painted you by hand with cheap craft paint for my first Halloween in my first apartment, but time has not done you well. Say high to my friend puffy paint.

DIY Pumpkins, 3 Ways - Puffy Paint, Realistic, & Metallic Ombre - evanandkatelyn.com

Originally I was going to spray paint these gold after adding the puffy paint. But then I started applying it and I loved the contrast between the white and the gold dots.

DIY Pumpkins, 3 Ways - Puffy Paint, Realistic, & Metallic Ombre - evanandkatelyn.com

The paint was suuuuuper easy and quick to apply. I dotted it in lines down the crevices of the pumpkins to emphasize their shape.

DIY Pumpkins, 3 Ways - Puffy Paint, Realistic, & Metallic Ombre - evanandkatelyn.com

It was really forgiving to work with too. At one point we accidentally knocked one over before it was dry and I just wiped off the parts that got messed up. The paint fully sets after four hours.

DIY Pumpkins, 3 Ways - Puffy Paint, Realistic, & Metallic Ombre - evanandkatelyn.com

2. MORE REALISTIC PUMPKINS

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • pumpkins (real or faux…. though if you’re trying to make real pumpkins look more realistic, maybe you need to stop and take a good look at your life)
  • acrylic paint in black and dark reddish-brown (white/cream too if you go overboard on the black like I did)
  • bowl with water (a plastic or styrofoam one you can toss later works well)
  • paint brush (I used one medium brush for most of it but did the tiny pumpkins and stems with a small brush. Probably could do it all with one brush though if you don’t want to buy two)
  • paper towels

Oh Funkins. Some of you we carved, some of you we didn’t, some of you we half-finished and we just turn you around so nobody sees. You shall meet my friend watered down acrylic paint.

DIY Pumpkins, 3 Ways - Puffy Paint, Realistic, & Metallic Ombre - evanandkatelyn.com

I started by of course finishing carving our Jack Skellington jack-o-lantern that has been half-carved for years. (Tip: use an X-acto knife on Funkins instead of typical carving tool sets. More effective, way better control. Tip 2: X-acto is how you spell it, not Exacto. Just Googled it. Who knew).

I combined black and dark brown paint with water until the mix was liquidy enough to drip down the pumpkin’s sides. I roughly brushed it on, concentrating on where I thought shadows would naturally be: around the stem, down the sides in the crevices, and at the bottom. This is by no means an exact art.

DIY Pumpkins, 3 Ways - Puffy Paint, Realistic, & Metallic Ombre - evanandkatelyn.com

After letting it set like that for 30 seconds or so, I took a dry paper towel and wiped it down. This took off most the paint but left a bit of a shadow behind.

DIY Pumpkins, 3 Ways - Puffy Paint, Realistic, & Metallic Ombre - evanandkatelyn.com

Then it was rinse and repeat. I did this process a couple more times until it had the imperfections and depth I wanted. Interestingly enough, it almost looked like it was made of weathered wood.

DIY Pumpkins, 3 Ways - Puffy Paint, Realistic, & Metallic Ombre - evanandkatelyn.com

Later I took it inside, and in the new lighting realized I made have gone a little overboard with the black. Watered down white+cream acrylic paint to the rescue! I brushed it where I thought light would naturally hit, on the raised parts of the pumpkin down the sides.

DIY Pumpkins, 3 Ways - Puffy Paint, Realistic, & Metallic Ombre - evanandkatelyn.com

I wish I used a little more brown and a little less black so it had a slightly warmer tone, but still overall I like him!

Lastly, I decided to paint the stem too. Because why put in 100% when you can put in 110%?? I used the same colors I already had out – black, brown, and cream. Below is how Jack’s stem was looking before. Then I used my three colors to mix a couple different shades or warmish gray tones and messily hand painted it on, following the same mental guides I used for painting the pumpkin itself: dark where shadows are (recessed areas), light where light hits (raised areas).

DIY Pumpkins, 3 Ways - Puffy Paint, Realistic, & Metallic Ombre - evanandkatelyn.com

Done! I’d say it was worth the extra couple of minutes, especially when you already have the brush and paint out anyway. Even if you didn’t worry about shading and highlighting, and simply colored the parts of the stem that weren’t fully painted (thanks Funkin-factory!), it would make a big difference.

DIY Pumpkins, 3 Ways - Puffy Paint, Realistic, & Metallic Ombre - evanandkatelyn.com

In the end, it looks much more realistic instead of looking like a looming plastic imposter.

After doing this, I actually wished I had added some realistic shading to the two white pumpkins I puffy painted. So…. I went back and did it. You’ve already seen the finished result a few photos up in the “finished puffy paint pumpkins” picture, but here’s how it went.

DIY Pumpkins, 3 Ways - Puffy Paint, Realistic, & Metallic Ombre - evanandkatelyn.com

Paint on, wipe off, repeat until you inevitable go too dark again and need to add some white+cream back in. I did use a slightly smaller brush than before, but really brush size isn’t a huge deal. Overall, pretty much the same process as before.

small-faux-white

Of course, I had to paint the stem on this one too. I used the same method and brush as before. Darker paint in recessed areas, lighter paints on raised areas.

DIY Pumpkins, 3 Ways - Puffy Paint, Realistic, & Metallic Ombre - evanandkatelyn.com

After seeing the first one done (on the left below) it made me extra glad I was doing the stems. The unfinished one (below right) just looks sad…)

DIY Pumpkins, 3 Ways - Puffy Paint, Realistic, & Metallic Ombre - evanandkatelyn.com

Done with both!

DIY Pumpkins, 3 Ways - Puffy Paint, Realistic, & Metallic Ombre - evanandkatelyn.com

Lastly, I tested this realism-method with an orange Funkin.

DIY Pumpkins, 3 Ways - Puffy Paint, Realistic, & Metallic Ombre - evanandkatelyn.com

At first I tried using black+brown paint to add shadows, but it was way too graying on the orange. So instead I quickly wiped it off and switched to only dark reddish-brown, and this worked a lot better.

DIY Pumpkins, 3 Ways - Puffy Paint, Realistic, & Metallic Ombre - evanandkatelyn.com

This one ended up being way quicker and easier than the white pumpkins!

DIY Pumpkins, 3 Ways - Puffy Paint, Realistic, & Metallic Ombre - evanandkatelyn.com

Finally, I painted this guy’s stem too. Same paint, same method, and same level of happiness that I went ahead and spent a couple extra minutes to do it. Before and after below:

DIY Pumpkins, 3 Ways - Puffy Paint, Realistic, & Metallic Ombre - evanandkatelyn.com

All of these now look much better and have a lot more added depth. Real pumpkins aren’t flat, so adding a little color variation made a huge difference – especially in person. Also, even though it is several layers of paint, it was pretty hard to mess up!

DIY Pumpkins, 3 Ways - Puffy Paint, Realistic, & Metallic Ombre - evanandkatelyn.com

3. METALLIC OMBRE PUMPKINS

Here’s what you’ll need:

Last but not least, I planned on giving a couple pumpkins the metallic ombre treatment. I did one of our large Funkins, and one the last of my tiny cheap painted pumpkins.

DIY Pumpkins, 3 Ways - Puffy Paint, Realistic, & Metallic Ombre - evanandkatelyn.com

Instead of doing a solid metallic, I thought fading from lighter gold on top to darker copper on bottom would give a little more depth and interest. So first I painted gold on the top, making sure to paint a little past the point where I wanted my fade to start, so that I could have some overlap. Well, on the little one I pretty much painted the whole thing since it was so small.

DIY Pumpkins, 3 Ways - Puffy Paint, Realistic, & Metallic Ombre - evanandkatelyn.com

This paint dries really fast so it wasn’t long until I could flip them over and paint the bottoms copper.

DIY Pumpkins, 3 Ways - Puffy Paint, Realistic, & Metallic Ombre - evanandkatelyn.com

DIY Pumpkins, 3 Ways - Puffy Paint, Realistic, & Metallic Ombre - evanandkatelyn.com

To get a nice ombre fade, make sure to spray not too close and always keep your hand moving so that paint doesn’t get too concentrated in one area. Also, if you’re painting something carved like our big guy, make sure the paint hits the cut edge so that it’s not left white. And really that’s it! This was definitely the easiest paint method.

DIY Pumpkins, 3 Ways - Puffy Paint, Realistic, & Metallic Ombre - evanandkatelyn.com

Well there you have it! Three different ways you can spruce up any tired/boring/fake looking pumpkins you have. Now these are officially added to our collection of “keepers”. Can’t wait to decorate our house for Halloween!

DIY Pumpkins, 3 Ways - Puffy Paint, Realistic, & Metallic Ombre - evanandkatelyn.com

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Patio Progress

It seems like most people get to enjoy their patios during the summer: backyard BBQs, pool parties, eating al fresco… This is not the case in Houston. We face temperatures in the upper 90’s most of the day, and when that sun finally goes down there are mosquitos galore. So unless you like being sweaty and/or bitten, summer down here is not prime patio time.

But fall. Fall is AMAZING. Fall is when we dust off the fire pit, bust out the projector (we use this one and LOVE it), and binge on Fixer Upper out in the crisp air. There’s nothing better.

Simple Patio Inspiration - evanandkatelyn.com

So in honor of it finally starting to cool off in Texas, we’d like to walk through our patio updates, which we haven’t shared much of on the blog. When we first introduced it to our backyard, it looked a little something like this.

Simple Patio Inspiration - evanandkatelyn.com

It’s come a long way, but we’ve still kept it pretty simple out here. The first thing was did was order some LED globe string lights (three sets to be exact, so you can see what that amount looks like on our 280 sqft patio as an example).

Simple Patio Inspiration - evanandkatelyn.com

We hung them using quick links that we hooked into eye hooks on our house, and into zip lines on our trees. Using the links made it easier to take down the lights or move them if necessary (since you can just unlock the links instead of having to unscrew or detach anything). There are probably about a hundred different ways you could attach these lights, this is just how we did it. They’ve held up well for a year now!

Simple Patio Inspiration - evanandkatelyn.com

The thing we love most about these lights, aside from the fact that they’re LEDs, is that the bulbs are plastic – meaning you don’t have to worry about them breaking if they get knocked around. This saved our butts when the storm ripped our gutter off the house and took the lights with it. It was a bad situation, but would have been way worse with broken glass everywhere.

We also got this timer for the lights. They come on automatically at dusk and you can set them to stay on for 4 hours, 6 hours, etc. Since they’re energy efficient, we love that we can have them light up every night. They’re pretty even from the inside.

Simple Patio Inspiration - evanandkatelyn.com

Even though they’re LEDs they have a pretty warm glow. Not straight up incandescent warm, but still very cozy :)

Simple Patio Inspiration - evanandkatelyn.com

Next up on our list was to create a secondary seating area. Spoiler alert: we found wicker lounge chairs and you can see them in the photo above. Even though we already had chairs to gather around the fire pit, space to chill and read sounded nice too. The problem is that outdoor lounge chairs can get expensive! Also, we didn’t want cushions because this space isn’t covered and it rains a lot – even outdoor cushions get gross. So we were limited to cushion-less chairs.

After lots of online shopping around we finally found these. Two wicker lounge chairs that looked nice, stored well, and were less than $350 for the pair?? Yes please (and thanks mom and dad!)

Simple Patio Inspiration - evanandkatelyn.com

We also got a couple of these cute teal side tables from Target that add a nice bit of color to a mostly neutral patio. We have one between the lounge chairs, and the other in the fire pit seating area.

Simple Patio Inspiration - evanandkatelyn.com

Last we added some plants. Some have thrived. Some have… not thrived haha. The cement gray planter and taller black planter are from Target, the shorter black planter is from Home Depot (some of these aren’t showing up as available online anymore). FYI, these plants are plumeria, aka the plants lei flowers come from. Apparently they do well in Houston!

Simple Patio Inspiration - evanandkatelyn.com

Well there you have it! This is where we are on the patio so far. We know this may not be the fanciest patio… but darn it we love it. Can’t wait til it’s chilly enough to light a fire!

Simple Patio Inspiration - evanandkatelyn.com

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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.

DIY Floating Ghosts - evanandkatelyn.com

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.

DIY Floating Ghosts - evanandkatelyn.com

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.

DIY Floating Ghosts - evanandkatelyn.com

DIY Floating Ghosts - evanandkatelyn.com

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.

DIY Floating Ghosts - evanandkatelyn.com

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).

DIY Floating Ghosts - evanandkatelyn.com

DIY Floating Ghosts - evanandkatelyn.com

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.

DIY Floating Ghosts - evanandkatelyn.com

DIY Floating Ghosts - evanandkatelyn.com

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.

DIY Floating Ghosts - evanandkatelyn.com

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!

DIY Floating Ghosts - evanandkatelyn.com

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.

DIY Floating Ghosts - evanandkatelyn.com

Mochi approves!

DIY Floating Ghosts - evanandkatelyn.com

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

DIY Floating Ghosts - evanandkatelyn.com

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.

DIY Floating Ghosts - evanandkatelyn.com

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.

DIY Floating Ghosts - evanandkatelyn.com

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.

DIY Floating Ghosts - evanandkatelyn.com

DIY Floating Ghosts - evanandkatelyn.com

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.

DIY Floating Ghosts - evanandkatelyn.com

We really like how they turned out!!!

DIY Floating Ghosts - evanandkatelyn.com

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.

DIY Floating Ghosts - evanandkatelyn.com

DIY Floating Ghosts - evanandkatelyn.com

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!

***Update***

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.

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