Tag Archives: DIY

mt Factory Tour

mt factory tour busFactory Tour Bus via short, small & sweet

The popularity of washi tape has exploded in Asia but also in other parts of the world, so much so that it has even inspired a line of t-shirts created by popular Japanese brand Uniqlo. To show their appreciation to the lovers of washi tape mt tape recently hosted a factory tour in Kamashi, complete with a washi decorated tour bus and special art exhibitions. I wish I could have been there, but luckily a few photos of the event have made their way online.

washi enhanced mini carMini image via short small sweet

There were a number of installation pieces created for the tour including this sweet washi-enhanced mini. I love how cheerful stripes of washi tape can make any object cooler (even one that was pretty cool to begin with.) I would be seriously thrilled to drive in any car that looked as good as this one.

Asai Yusuke's installation pieceAsai Yusuke Washi installation image via short small sweet

Asai Yusuke’s washi tape installation was the largest exhibit. Her art reminds me of chalk drawings, and I love how they make this otherwise drab factory look so whimsical. There was also a section where people could add to the design.

Washi tape miniature houseimage via Poppytalk

They also set up a number of miniature house sculptures to show how washi tape can be used to decorate your home.  The pint-size scale of these sculptures make them so inviting; I can’t help thinking what a fabulous playhouse this would make.

limited edition washi tapeLimited edition washi tape via Polkaros

A pop-up shop was also set up so visitors could get their hands on limited edition tape rolls, stickers and other goodies. I am particularly fond of the two patterns above.

new series of mt washi tapesmt Casa image via Walk:

Here’s a photo featuring their new series of washi tapes mt Casa which come in extra large sizes and new prints.  I love the striped washi tape effect on furnishings; it instantly makes an ordinary piece of furniture look like a designer piece.

new small, medium and large washi tapes

image via washimatta

This is the new collection of large and medium sized tapes and stickers. This tour made me want to try creating a washi tape design in our master bedroom, but it’s going to be tough to pick a favourite pattern.

Happy Friday Everyone!

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Weekend Project: Turn a Globe into a Lamp

World Globe, basis for the Globe Light

Photographs by Eric Cator

This weekend I was out exploring with my husband and I had just finished telling him that I could never be a minimalist because I can’t resist a good find when I spotted a garage sale sign. Cut to ten minutes later and I am walking home with a vintage globe. I almost passed it up because it was sans base, but it was free and I loved the pastel colours.  So home with me it went and here is what it became.

Globe Light Finished Product!It was just the thing for my son’s room, and overall I’m pleased with how it turned out.  In case you want to try making one of your own I made up a small tutorial.

What you’ll need:

Light fixture with cord
low wattage or LED bulb
white paint
paint brush
exacto knife

Cut the bottom of the globeStep 1: Decide Where to Cut

First, take your globe and decide where you want to cut your hole. For simplicities sake I chose a latitude line that was already there but if you want a larger or smaller hole you can draw one using a compass.

Remove the bottom of the globe
Step 2: Cut Bottom off Globe

Next, cut the bottom off your globe. I found that making a series of shallow cuts using an exacto knife worked best for getting the cleanest edge, as the globe was too thick to cut through in one pass.  My apologies to those living in southern New Zealand or the South Pole, they couldn’t be spared.

measure and cut opening for cordStep 3: Measure and Cut Hole for Cord

Measure the width of your plug and draw a circle with the same diameter on the top of the globe. Using the same shallow cutting method as before, cut out the hole. I encountered a small metal ring at this stage, but was able to pull it out with pliers.

a coat of white paint on the inside of the globeStep 4: Paint Inside White

Paint the interior of the globe white. You could try painting it a different colour, but I chose white because it offers the most light reflection. Let the paint dry for at least a couple of hours.

finish by installing the cord and hangingStep 5: Install cord and hang.

Enjoy your new light and brush up on your geography at the same time.

That’s it! The trickiest thing might be finding a globe that you’re willing to repurpose. I’ve found they often turn up at antique stores and flea markets, but there are a few places online that you can also purchase them from.

Happy Friday Everyone!

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How To Transfer A Photo To Canvas

How-to Wednesday!

My partner took this photo the other day during our outdoor egg hunt.  I was struck by the neat textures of the fence, the graffiti, the reclaimed window frames on the brick wall and the cool filter effect of our little guy’s red jacket.

I thought how cool that would look blown up on canvas.  So rather than buying the seeming never-ending Groupon deal for said service, I googled how to make my own.

Apparently it’s not hard and all you need is:

  • Blank canvas
  • A laser printout or photocopy the same size as your canvas (use plain old printer paper)
  • Gel medium (I used glossy because that’s what I could find in the acrylic paint section of the neighbourhood art supply store)
  • A fine spatula or foam paint brush to apply the gel medium
  • Water bottle

Step 1

Apply a thick coat of the gel medium to the canvas.  Cover the entire canvas in an even coat (hint:  good lighting is key to ensure you haven’t missed any spots which seemed awfully easy to do).  Apply your printout, image down and smooth away any bubbles.  Let this dry completely, minimum 4 hours, though I read overnight is best.  It’s during this drying process that the gel medium reacts with the toner to pull the image from the paper like voodoo magic (or chemistry if you’re being technical).

Step 2

Once completely dry, spray the back of the paper  with water and then very gently begin to rub the paper away.  This is pretty time intensive and a bit messy.  Rub gently applying even pressure or you’ll rub the image and medium away too, leaving blank canvas (experience is speaking here).  Apply more water as required, the idea is to saturate the paper so it comes away easily.  And you’ll find that the canvas will dry only to reveal more paper.

Step 3

Close up of the canvas.  Final image coming soon!

Cover the image with a thin layer of gel medium to seal the image.  And Ta-Da!  Photo on canvas, complete with a neat weathered look.

A couple of notes:

Choose an image, whether black and white or colour, that will lend itself well to an imperfect transfer.  The result is a kind of rustic, weathered look.  Also don’t forget to mirror the image you plan on using before you print as it will go facedown on the canvas.

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The Possibilities of Chewed Paper

Papier mache doggie

"Franske" by Janneke Neele

I’ve always loved the optimism and hope that are so intrinsic in paper. Blank paper represents all sorts of possibilities associated with tabula rasa, that blank slate that waits to be filled with marks — words, forms, colors. But even after a sheet of paper has served its purpose, it amazingly still holds so much potential! It can be recycled and reborn, and not just as a blank sheet. It can take the shape of anything — anything!

That’s the magic of papier mache — “chewed paper” in French. When paper returns to its pulpy, chewed up state, it becomes an obedient biddable medium waiting for a creator’s command.

Wands inspired by Harry Potter

Harry Potter wands by my friend Karen's boys.

Penguins made with papier mache

Penguins created by one of Karen's sons.

I decided to try my hand at this pulpy craft ever since my friend Karen started talking about papier mache on her blog, and how her 2 boys always had tons of fun creating mashed up paper versions of their favorite characters. But, procrastinator that I am, my materials just sat in a sad old box and, and my plans just got pushed into the back of my mind, hopefully germinating, biding its time until it hatched into fully formed works of papered fabulousness.

So I thought I’d look for some papier mache masterpieces in the great big internet to pump up my enthusiasm for the project, and get those creative juices flowing. Hopefully they’d generate enough heat so as to get me off my lazy behind and start something already.

Bowl with gold leaf on the inside

Bowl via Etsy

What I discovered is that papier mache objects can run the gamut between decorative yet functional objects (above) to fine art (below) that truly exist for its own sake.

Papier mache sculpture

by Janneke Neele

Papier Mache Zebra Bust

Via Anthropologie

I love that the text hasn’t been painted over in this zebra bust. What a lovely texture.

Kashmir Papier Mache eggsThese papier mache eggs have beautiful and intricate designs hand-painted by Indian artists.

Papier mache fruit centerpiece

via Martha Stewart

Decorative teacups

DIY papier mache teacups

How gorgeous is this? This teacup project is one that I’d really like to embark on.

Side table made of papier mache

Papier mache table via West Elm

If like this side table from West Elm, Prudent Baby has an awesome DIY project that comes awfully close.

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Happy Birthday Leap Year Babies

Birthday balloons, with ribbonsImage via Geronimo Balloon-Troopers, these balloons all done up with ribbon are true show-stoppers, don’t you think?

For people born on February 29, leap years must be a big deal.  If you’re birthday is today, happy happy birthday!  I hope you plan on celebrating in grand style today!

I’ve always thought February 29 was so special. So I was sorely disappointed to not turn up all sorts of fun traditions and folklore associated with Leap Years when I Googled the term recently.   Except of course for this, by way of Wikipedia:  Apparently during a Leap Year, women can propose marriage to men.  And men, it turns out, have to accept these proposals or else pay the hefty fines ranging from a kiss and silk dress (in Scotland) to 12 pairs of gloves (in Denmark). This was a law first described in 1288.  ”Haha” you say, “Because laws are determined by petulant five year old girls?” Indeed yes, and this five-year old’s name Queen Margaret of Scotland.  The tradition entered the cultural zeitgeist in the late 19th/early 20th century.  Here’s a postcard celebrating 1908:

birthday post card

Image via Wikipedia

But I digress…  If you’re throwing a birthday bash, whether for yourself, as a surprise for that special someone, or for a little one in your life, do it in style with some these pretty party favours and decor, most of which have a fun DIY component:


Birthday balloonsImage via Geronimo Balloon-Troopers.  Order these spectacular balloons online (and inflate locally) to delight someone special.

Those balloons above by Geronimo Balloon-Troopers are simply stunning.  They’re also HUGE, requiring about as much helium as 30 regular balloons.  The master balloon-trooper herself just wants to delight and inspire the recipients of these magical spheres, which I’m certain she must.  Making people’s days, day in and out, that’s the life!   If you’re in the LA area you can place a local order and pick them up.  For the rest of us, Fed-Ex will have to do.

Here’s what Geronimo Balloon-Troopers did for Valentine’s Day:

Geronimo Balloons Valentine’s Day from hak lonh on Vimeo.

Party Hats

I must admit I love the festivity of the silly cone party hat.  Elevate yours by following these two tutorials.

DIY picture party had

Image via Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart takes you through a step-by-step guide to creating these fun party hats that truly fete the birthday babe.  These would be fun to use at an anniversary party too where guests could don hats depicting the happy couple over their marriage.

Image and tutorial via Oh Happy Day

Oh Happy Day is a blog that just makes you smile.  The photos and tutorials, the design and writing. Especially hearing about her family’s recent move to Paris for the year.  Swoon.  And here’s Jordan with a lovely how-to guide to making your own party hats.

DIY Birthday Candles

DIY Birthday candles

Image via Design Mom.  Be sure to check out the tutorial on Martha Stewart’s Craft Department.

Don’t forget the candles.  If you’re looking for something to tie into a particular theme, or just don’t care to do a lot of cake decorating, making your own festive candles can be great fun.

Treat Bag

Image via Graham and Olive on Etsy

An elegant take on the traditional grab bag, why not use furoshiki wrap cloths to enclose a lovely take away from your party.  Those pictured above are from Etsy Shop Graham and Olive and are oh so pretty and of course, reusable.  For our own how-to on furoshiki wrapping check out Mandy’s post.

Happy Birthday to Leaplings!

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