50 Eco-Friendly Easter Crafts

50 Eco-Friendly Easter Crafts

Wood Burned and Stained Easter Eggs

Yes, you CAN have an eco-friendly Easter! This springtime holiday is perfect for nature crafting, and an Easter basket is a terrific spot to put a few special homemade gifts. Easter eggs are so easy to make eco-friendly, and some wholesome treats are a terrific way to counter that morning candy-fest.

Ready to be inspired? Check out these eco-friendly Easter crafts below, and then add some new memories to your Easter celebration:

1. Upcycled Easter wreathWhen you’re shredding old book pages or newspaper to make your own grass for Easter baskets, set some aside to make this upcycled wreath, perfect for welcoming guests to Sunday brunch.

Eco-Friendly Easter Crafts

2. crocheted Easter basketA crocheted Easter basket is the perfect place to put lots of homemade-with-love Easter gifts!

3. fabric Easter basketMost of the Easter baskets marketed to children in stores are plastic, which is just… no. Thrift a nice woven or wicker one, or make these sweet sewn fabric Easter baskets.

4. pom-pom bunny. Here’s a versatile craft that will work with any yarn. Cotton and wool are the most eco-friendly, but hey, if acrylic is what you’ve got, then it works fine, too.

5. pom-pom bunny garlandOnce you’ve got the pom-pom technique down, you can also make this sweet pom-pom bunny garland.

6. vegan Easter cupcakesSkip the eggs and milk and butter and still make a batch of decadent Easter cupcakes.

These Easter cupcakes are so cute and so delicious - no one will guess that they're totally vegan!

7. dimensional Easter egg ornamentYou can use up lots of little scraps of paper for these Easter egg ornaments; the result is an Easter decoration worth saving, but also easily recyclable.

8. felt Easter eggsThese are sturdy enough to hide for an egg hunt and yes, they do have a pocket for a treat!

9. Mason jar Easter basketsI love this idea for dividing treats bought in bulk among multiple kids.

10. washcloth bunny and chickHere’s an adorable way to sneak something practical into a kid’s Easter basket.

11. chalkboard Easter eggsI LOVE these Easter eggs! Add chalkboard paint to unfinished wooden eggs and you’ve got an Easter egg that you can decorate over and over again.

Chalkboard Easter Egg

12. felt bunny and chick Easter basketsThese baskets are perfect for someone who likes a little hand-sewing, although you could glue the embellishments on and they’d still look absolutely adorable.

13. kidney bean bunny wreathThis tutorial does use Styrofoam, but it’s Styrofoam that’s upcycled from packaging waste. If you don’t have any on hand, use newspaper instead.

14. potato stamped Easter eggsPotato stamps are a fun and easy way to create a wide variety of Easter eggs. Even kids can safely carve a potato stamp, and it’s a great way to experiment with patterns and colors.

15. tin can bunny plantersInstead of craft foam, cut apart a soda can and cut the aluminum into the shape that you need. Sand the edges or wrap them in duct tape to make sure they aren’t sharp.

16. candle jar miniature Easter basketVotive and jar candle containers often have the perfect Easter basket shape–just cover them in festive decorated paper and fill with tiny treats!

17. clay Easter egg garlandThis is such a simple decoration, in which even the clay is homemade.

18. felt bunny treat bagThere’s an eco-friendly type of felt for every type of crafter, so felt projects are always a great choice.

19. felt carrot pencil holderThis bunny-themed pencil holder makes sitting through a long church service or Easter lunch much more festive and entertaining for a kid. Just don’t forget the blank paper!

20. wood carrots for the yardSome woodworking skills are required for this project, but the materials are all reclaimed fence posts and pallet wood.

21. Woodburned and watercolor-stained Easter eggsWant to get away from plastic Easter eggs but you don’t want to lose those beautiful, vibrant colors? THIS is the tutorial for you!

Wood Burned and Stained Easter Eggs

22. decoupaged Easter eggsHere’s a great way to re-use the tissue paper that often comes in packaging and presents. I like that you can use real or faux eggs with this method.

23. Easter bunny stuffieIf you’re trying to avoid a lot of store-bought Easter basket fillers, then homemade toys and stuffies are for sure the way to go!

24. sock bunnyA sock bunny is even easier than a sock monkey.

25. tissue paper decoupaged Easter eggsThis is a more kid-friendly tissue paper decoupage method, specifically geared towards those scrips and scraps of vibrant craft tissue paper that you might find yourself with if you do a lot of art with kids.

26. cascaronesThese traditional eggs are all-natural, and they’re FUN!

How to Make Cascarones for Easter

27. embroidered eggs. You have to have some time on your hands to make these embroidered Easter eggs, but they’re worth it.

28. toilet paper tube miniature Easter basketThese little baskets are perfect for holding just a few treats. If you’re hosting an Easter party, children could even decorate them themselves.

29. toilet paper tube bunnyKids love making holiday crafts, so you know that they’ll love making these Easter bunnies out of toilet paper tubes.

30. tree branch Easter bunnyTurn a fallen branch into this adorably rustic Easter bunny. I love that you can make any size you like, all based just on the size of the branch.

31. natural Easter egg dyesIf you don’t use artificial food dyes, there’s no need to buy them just to decorate Easter eggs. There are so many beautiful, natural options!

32. “Bunny Crossing” signThis particular project upcycles fence pickets, but you could also reclaim pallet boards–either option is free and eco-friendly.

33. chick Mason jar vaseUpcycle an old Mason jar of spaghetti jar into a sweet chick that matches all the daffodils you can fill it with.

34. cement Easter eggsHere’s an Easter egg that you don’t have to worry about a little one breaking. I love that you can still paint and embellish these–they’d be perfect for an egg hunt!

35. egg carton bunniesThese also hold treats, so you can replace some of your Easter eggs with them.

36. papier mache Easter eggsThese papier mache Easter eggs are a full replacement for plastic Easter eggs, since they open for a treat. And just like plastic Easter eggs, they’ll also last forever, but unlike plastic eggs, these babies are just upcycled paper, glue, and paint.

Eco-Friendly Easter Crafts

37. cereal box and fabric buntingCheck out how beautiful this bunting is! Cereal boxes may have gaudy colors and marketing messages on the front, but on the inside, they’re perfectly blank canvases for your creativity.

38. reclaimed wood Easter bunnyI love that you can upcycle whatever you have on hand into this stand-up Easter bunny that’s perfect for a porch.

39. reclaimed wood Easter eggWhile you’re at it, why not make some matching Easter eggs?

40. yarn-wrapped chickWrapping yarn is a good fine motor activity to strengthen little hands, and it’s WAY less messy than paint.

41. toilet paper tube Easter bunny. This cute Easter bunny is easy to make completely from upcycled materials. Use it as a candy holder or simply as a fun decoration.

Easter Bunny Candy Holder from a Toilet Paper Roll

42. button Easter eggI bet that you can wrangle up enough buttons from your stash to make this button Easter egg.

43. felted wool Easter eggsIf you craft with wool, you’ll love these fuzzy Easter eggs that you can create from wool roving.

44. grapevine bunny wreathThe tutorial calls for faux vines, but I’m already knocking back the regular invasion of non-native plants on my property this spring. Wouldn’t it be fun to put those invasive vines to work here?

45. wood bead bunniesThese little bunnies look great when made with unpainted wood beads, but I think they’d look just as cute with any round beads that you have on hand.

46. embroidery hoop Easter eggsI love this idea for Easter decorations, because you can easily take the fabric out of the embroidery hoops and store them between holidays–and then your embroidery hoops are ready for embroidering again!

47. bunny ear hoodieThis project doesn’t take a ton of sewing skills, but it LOOKS like it does. All you have to do is cut the ears off of a stuffed bunny and stitch them to your hoodie’s hood, and boom–you’re a bunny!

48. crochet Easter bunny garlandI love the look of this Easter bunny garland, but you can also crochet the bunnies as singles.

49. eco-friendly Easter grassPlastic Easter grass is the WORST. Don’t submit to it, especially not when there are so many eco-friendly options that are even more beautiful.

50. eggshell votive candlesThese candles are so versatile–you can dye the eggshells or leave them plain, or even peel off the eggshell for an egg-shaped candle.

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The content for this post was sourced from www.craftingagreenworld.com

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Turn An Old Blender Into A Planter

Turn An Old Blender Into A Planter

Yes, that’s a super-expensive Vitamix blender pitcher that finally cracked (it’s too embarrassing to tell you why, but I assure you it was because of Reasons).

No, I could not stand to simply toss it away, even after it spit something like a half-gallon of hot tomato soup onto the counter before I figured out it was broken.

Instead, I did what I do with every single even vaguely container-shaped piece of junk that needs a second life around here–I turned it into a planter!

The process is so easy that yes, you, too, should be turning every single even vaguely container-shaped piece of junk into a planter. Think about how much sturdier your piece of junk is than a chippy terra cotta pot, and how much more eco-friendly than a brand-new plastic pot.

And think about how roomy that beautiful broken blender pitcher is. So much space for strawberries!

Tools and Supplies

Here’s what you need to plant strawberries or anything else that delights you, in your own broken blender pitcher:

  • old jar lid (optional: see Step #1 to see if you’ll need one)
  • gravel
  • potting mix
  • plant

Directions

1. Prepare the blender to be water-tight.

Blender pitchers have their blade attachment at the bottom. Generally, this won’t be a problem, and in fact, it’s even easier to turn your blender pitcher into a planter if you keep the blades installed.

However, this is my super-expensive Vitamix blender pitcher that we’re talking about here. I saved up a LONG time to buy that baby, and I sure ain’t dropping a ton more money for another entire brand-new pitcher! Instead, my partner removed the blade attachment from this broken pitcher and installed it in the new pitcher that I bought to replace it. It was still pricey as heck, but way less expensive than buying the complete replacement pitcher with the blades included.

So if you, too, have removed the blade attachment from your blender pitcher, making the pitcher water-tight again is as easy as scavenging an old jar lid that is larger than the hole but smaller than the bottom of your blender. Set the lid over the hole and you’re done. If you want to be perfectly safe, use epoxy glue to adhere the lid in place, but since the next step is going to be filling something like half this pitcher with rocks, all that weight will also keep the lid in place.

2. Add a layer of rocks.

This depends on the plant, of course, but it’s likely that your blender pitcher is far deeper than necessary. Instead of wasting a LOT of potting soil in that space, fill up what you don’t need with rocks.

Some really cute options would be river rocks, broken pottery pieces, shells, even aquarium gravel if you’ve got it, but I am flat out of cute rocks and such and so honestly, I just scooped up some of the gravel off of my driveway.

Whatever. Pretend like it was a thoughtful aesthetic choice.

3. And then you plant!

I’m so in love with the transparency of this planter. Look at what pretty layers the rocks and potting soil make–even prettier if you add that aquarium gravel or shells or pottery shards! I’m also loving the fact that it’s got a handle, making it easy for me to move around; add just the right bracket, and you could also hang it or mount it somewhere fun.

Want to know what else you can upcycle into a planter? Check out these other vaguely container-shaped pieces of junk that I’ve used!

  • Chair planterThis is a great choice for one of those outdoor chairs that probably wasn’t meant to live outdoors and now it’s falling apart.
  • Shower caddy planterI love these because they’re easy to attach to a fence railing!
  • Broken coffee mug planterA broken coffee mug planter is the perfect container to pop an herb in and set in a sunny kitchen window.
  • Metal tin planterThis is probably the easiest piece of junk to upcycle into a planter, simply because this is probably the piece of junk that you have the most of.
  • Mesh produce bag planterHere’s another great planter to try, since those mesh produce bags otherwise go straight into the trash.
  • Milk carton planterMilk cartons make insanely awesome planters, because they’re designed to be both light and water-tight.
  • Wine bottle planterA wine bottle planter takes more work to make, but that self-watering business is LEGIT.
  • Mason jar planterFun fact: instead of using my real Mason jars, which I use for canning, I really like to upcycle those spaghetti sauce jars that are embossed to look like Mason jars.

Do you have a favorite piece of junk that makes a GREAT planter? Tell me about it in the Comments below!

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18 DIY Tutus For Babies To Adults

18 DIY Tutus For Babies To Adults

A DIY tutu is one of the easiest ways to make an outfit look fancy. You can glam up everything from a superhero costume to your wedding dress, all with just a couple of seams and a billion yards of tulle!

Tulle, unfortunately, is not an eco-friendly fabric, but there are eco-friendly ways to source it. Instead of buying tulle new, ask around to see if someone in your community has a stash that you can bust, or thrift your way into your own stash–check out the housewares and the formals sections of thrift stores, because curtains and prom/bridesmaid dresses often have lots of tulle that you can repurpose.

And don’t forget all of the trash that you can upcycle. Gardeners can hook you up with their unused bird netting, or you can save up mesh produce bags and piece them together.

Another option is to skip the tulle altogether. Below, you’ll find tutorials that specifically use natural fabrics, or you can creatively substitute silk, cheesecloth, or other fun, natural fabrics for the tulle called for in other tutorials.

1. No-sew tied tutuThis is the easiest tutu to make, requiring just cutting and knot-tying. Take care not to tie the knots too tightly around the elastic, however, or you’ll pre-stretch it so that it no longer fits your desired waist measurement.

2. Tied tutu with a ribbon waistbandI like this alternate version of a tied tutu, which uses a ribbon waistband instead of the usual elastic. It’s simple to get a snug fit without measuring, and the bow adds a pretty embellishment.

3. Cotton tied tutuHere’s that natural fabric tutu that I was telling you about! Don’t be afraid to leave the edges raw; that little bit of raveling adds to the shabby chic look.

4. Ribbon tutuYou can use that same tied tutu technique with a variety of materials. Here, it’s a ribbon tutu, but there are so many other creative materials that it’s possible to use!

5. Lined tulle skirtConsider this lined tulle skirt the grown-up version of a tutu. It’s just as flowy, but not fluffy.

6. Tutu skirtHere’s another version of the lined tulle skirt. I love how sophisticated it looks!

7. Unlined tulle skirtThis skirt is similar to the previous two but is deliberately single-layered and unlined. It’s meant to be worn over a pencil skirt that you already own, but I think it could look really interesting over leggings, as well.

8. Cotton and tulle skirtIf you don’t already own something to wear an unlined tulle skirt over, you can sew a skirt and tulle overskirt all together as one piece.

9. How to cut and hem a tulle skirtIf you want to make any of those lined tulle skirts, you’ll likely want a finish that’s a little more sophisticated than just chopping off the bottom. Here’s how to neatly cut and hem a tulle skirt.

10. Filled tutuThese tutus are super fun, and look like they were a lot harder to make than they really are. The secret is folding the tulle in half and sewing the raw ends to the waistband; leave an opening, fill it with pompoms, faux flower petals, or felt confetti for a magical look!

11. Tulle circle skirtGoing to the extra effort to cut your tulle to make a circle skirt, rather than just gathering it, means that the waist will be more trim and therefore the fluff will look even fluffier!

12. Tutu with a covered waistbandCovering the waistband makes the tutu look more professional, but otherwise, the construction remains simple.

13. Boa tutuThis more adult version of the tutu can still be made from upcycled materials–only this time, you’re thrifting for boas, not prom dresses.

14. BustleHere’s another adult version of a tutu, this one using all tulle instead of boas.

15. tulle bowIf you’ve got a little extra tulle leftover, here’s a nice embellishment that you can make. Add it to the tutu, or glue it to a hair clip.

16. Tulle headbandHere’s another accessory that would look super cute with a tutu–a tulle headband!

17. Tutu chandelierIf it holds still long enough, put a tutu on it!

18. Tutu Easter basketWicker baskets are a dime a dozen (literally!) at many thrift stores; add a tutu, and you can turn a boring, thrifted wicker basket into an adorable fancy Easter basket.

Do you know of a terrific tutu tutorial that I haven’t mentioned? Tell me about it in the comments below!

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How To Sew a Nine-Patch Quilt for an American Girl Doll

How To Sew a Nine-Patch Quilt for an American Girl Doll

A nine-patch quilt is the easiest type of quilt to sew, although I might be biased since as a child I first learned how to sew by back-stitching, under my grandmother’s supervision, nine-patch quilt blocks of my very own.

A nine-patch quilt block is made from nine pieces in two different fabrics. The pieces are all square and are sewn together in alternating fabrics in three rows of three. This pattern works well with both a dedicated color scheme and layout or a seemingly random mishmash of color and contrast, which is another reason why it’s such a favorite with sewers of all ages and levels–and their recipients!

Just as the nine-patch quilt is the easiest type of quilt to sew, I find a doll quilt to be the easiest size of quilt to make. There’s nothing like a tiny quilt to give one instant gratification! An American Girl doll quilt, in particular, is a great size to start with–at just 12″ x 18″, you can make the whole thing in a single afternoon.

Here’s what you’ll need!

Supplies

  • Fabric and cutting supplies
  • Sewing machine and matching thread
  • Double-fold bias tape
  • 12″ x 18″ fleece piece

Directions

1. Measure and cut the fabric pieces

The most important thing that you can do to make a beautiful quilt is to cut the pieces completely accurately. Each piece in this quilt is a perfect square, 2.5″ x 2.5″. Each nine-patch quilt block uses two different fabrics and a total of nine pieces–four of one fabric and five of the other. You will need six total nine-patch quilt blocks for this quilt.

The nine-patch quilt lends itself to an easy hack if you’d like to make two at a time–for two children, say, or two dolls. All you have to do is cut nine of each fabric piece, and then you’ll easily have two complementary, but NOT identical, nine-patch quilt blocks in the making:

2. Piece each nine-patch quilt block

Have your iron at hand, because you always want to iron every seam flat. To sew a complete nine-patch quilt block, first sew the three separate rows of three pieces–

–ironing each seam flat as you go, and then sew the three rows together to complete the block:

Repeat for each additional nine-patch quilt block until you have six completed blocks.

3. Piece the quilt

Arrange and rearrange all of the nine-patch quilt blocks until you’re happy with the look of the quilt as a whole.

Use exactly the same method to piece the full quilt as you did to piece the individual blocks. First piece the quilt blocks together into rows, then piece the rows together until the quilt is complete.

4. Back the quilt with fleece

Because this is a doll quilt you get to skip some of the more fiddly steps involved in making a full-sized quilt. You don’t have to sandwich batting between the front and back of your quilt, unless you really, really, really want to, and you won’t actually have to quilt or tie this quilt–unless you really, really, really want to!

A neat trick to give a doll quilt a thicker, fluffier feel without bothering with batting is to back it with fleece, instead. If you simply must have three layers to your quilt, you can always use a double layer of fleece, but I promise that the quilt top plus one layer of fleece gives this doll quilt an authentic heft and feel.

5. Bind the quilt

Binding a full-sized quilt can also be time-consuming, so you’re lucking out again with this doll-sized quilt. I use a lot of different methods to bind quilts (one of my all-time favorites is back-to-front blanket binding), but my go-to method for a quick-and-easy doll quilt is to use double-fold bias tape. Bias tape can be store-bought (although you should look for bias tape made from natural fabrics, not polyester–blech!) or handmade nearly as easily, and 10mm double-fold bias tape is absolutely perfect for this project.

Your completed nine-patch quilt is the perfect size and scale for an American Girl doll to snuggle up under. Size up the quilt blocks to 4.5″ to make a matching quilt for that doll’s favorite person, or size the blocks down to 1.5″ to make a Barbie doll-sized quilt.

P.S. Inspired to make even more quilts? Check out my other quilt tutorials!

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The content for this post was sourced from www.craftingagreenworld.com

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Two Dozen Free Wedding Dress Patterns and Tutorials

Two Dozen Free Wedding Dress Patterns and Tutorials

Yes, you can DIY your wedding dress!

If you’re the crafty type, and you’ve got a good bit of ingenuity, you can find yourself walking down the aisle not in a mass-produced, factory-made wedding dress, but in your very own hand-sewn, custom-made original.

Whether you’re upcycling, remaking, or sewing your wedding dress from scratch, check out these free wedding dress patterns and tutorials to get you started.

1. The DIY wedding dress processRegardless of the fabric or style or pattern of wedding dress that you choose, THIS is the basic process that you’ll follow. Yes, it’s time-consuming, and yes, it can be tedious, but if there was ever a time for precision and perfection, then it’s when you’re DIYing your wedding dress.

2. Ball gownDepending on your colorway, this dress would work equally well as a wedding dress or bridesmaid’s dress.

3. Boatneck dressYou might want to lengthen the skirt on this dress–or you might not!

4. Boning for a strapless wedding dressSometimes the main difference between a standard dress and a wedding dress is the construction; here, a tutorial on adding boning to a strapless dress shows you how to add structure to a standard pattern.

5. Cocktail dress patternA wedding doesn’t have to be the biggest production ever–perhaps all you want is a party, and all you need is the perfect cocktail dress. Here you go!

6. Crepe and chiffon wedding gownThis is a versatile pattern that flatters a variety of body types and goes through a size 18.

7. CrinolineEven if you don’t want to make your entire wedding dress from scratch, a crinoline is an easy way to add something you’ve sewn yourself to your garment.

8. Crochet wedding dressIf you can crochet, I REALLY think that you should crochet your wedding dress!

9. Dip-dyed wedding dressHere’s a great way to remake a thrifted or upcycled wedding dress. Dip-dye it an interesting color!

10. DIY bustleYou don’t necessarily have to build your entire wedding dress from scratch; you can save money and achieve the dress of your dreams simply by doing some of the refashioning yourself. Here, for instance, is a DIY method to bustle the train on your wedding dress.

11. DIY dress formCustom clothing is most easily sewn–especially for yourself!–with a custom dress form on hand. Here’s how to make a duct tape dress form that’s custom-built just for you.

12. Elastic-waist evening dressI LOVE how comfortable this dress looks, while still fitting into a formal theme. To make it even comfier, it’s secretly a two-piece garment.

13. Goddess gownThis beautiful dress has little structure and lots of drape, and as such, won’t work for everyone, but if it works for you, it’s a great way to sew a dress that you really CAN use over and over again–and honestly, that’s a far more traditional way to make a wedding dress than the current way.

14. How to hem a formal gownEven doing your own hemming of your wedding dress can give you more custom options, as it allows you to use a thrifted or off-the-rack dress without shelling out for alterations. This method of hemming is accessible to an intermediate sewer.

15. Laced-back dressHere’s a pro tip for those of you who are looking for even more free resources for wedding dress patterns and tutorials–search for prom dress patterns and tutorials, too! Lots of people DIY prom dresses, so there are a lot more tutorials to choose from, and often those tutorials are for dresses that are both thrifty and adventurous. This lace-up back dress, for example, was built to be a prom dress, but would make a beautiful and fairly easy to sew wedding dress, as well.

16. Lace maxi dressThe pattern and style of this dress are deceptively conservative; it’s the use of lace that makes it an over-the-top wedding dress! If you’re a seasoned thrifted, keep your eye out for antique lace tablecloths to make your dress even more special.

17. Linen wrap dressOne of the best circumstances in which you can sew your own wedding dress is if you’re looking for something simple and understated. In that case, you can often DIY the perfect dress using a pattern that isn’t wedding-themed at all. This linen wrap dress, for instance, would be perfect for an outdoor wedding.

18. Off-the-shoulder wedding dressThis downloadable pattern for a simple, off-the-shoulder wedding dress comes in sizes small through extra-large.

19. Off-the-shoulder ball gownHere’s another free, downloadable pattern for a dress that’s similar to the previous one, but has a fuller skirt and a more structured bodice–it’s your fairy tale wedding gown!

20. Ruffle wedding dressBurdastyle patterns are the BEST! This particular Burdastyle creation is light and fluttery, with ruffles at the spaghetti straps.

21. Satin beltA sash or belt is another DIY way to add definition to a non-standard wedding dress.

22. Sweetheart dress with a bubble skirtYou have to imagine this dress in white, but think of how well the strapless bodice and bubble skirt will look as a wedding dress.

23. Tulle skirtAdd this tulle skirt to a suitable top or sew it to a fitted bodice.

24. Just add lightsThis hack works with any of the tulle or lace dresses above–for an evening wedding, why not add twinkle lights to your skirt?

P.S. Want to skip the florist, as well? Check out these DIY, eco-friendly bouquets!

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How to Make a Shadow Box from Corrugated Cardboard

How to Make a Shadow Box from Corrugated Cardboard

ALL MY THINGS bring me joy. I am not giving up a single one of my priceless possessions, whether that possession is a dragon egg-themed Easter egg, a tiny skull-shaped bottle, a handmade polymer clay narwhal, or the name of my home state cut out of a license plate.

Why do I have the name of my home state cut out of a license plate? Don’t remember. Don’t care. But I am KEEPING IT.

As I’ve discovered, one’s priceless possessions look less like you’re a hoarder when they’re displayed nicely so that you can enjoy them, not piled up on top of your dresser gathering dust. Storing your little treasures nicely is as easy as arranging them in a shadow box, and making that shadow box is as easy as cutting and pasting.

You learned how to do that stuff in kindergarten. You can totally do this.

Why make a shadow box instead of buying one? Well, it’s cheaper, for one thing. And it’s better for the environment because these shadow boxes are made from corrugated cardboard and old papers, not particle board and plastic. And you will absolutely LOVE the way that you can customize each shadow box to have exactly the shape and the shelves that you want.

Seriously, hot glue is a miracle of science.

I think that these DIY shadow boxes look nice, and most importantly, they keep your stuff stored and on display so that you can enjoy it. Check out how to make your own, and then get your own stuff off your dresser and displayed like you love it!

Supplies & Tools

You will need:

  • Corrugated cardboard. All of the cardboard that I’m using in this project comes from cases of Girl Scout cookies. Ask a Girl Scout of your own, and I’m sure she’ll be thrilled to offload some to you, too.
  • Xacto knife
  • Metal Ruler
  • Self-healing cutting mat.
  • Hot glue gun and hot glue.
  • Stash wire, sturdy enough to hold your shadow box full of treasures
  • White glue, water, and a container to mix it in
  • Paper. I’ve used old book pages, sheet music, comic books, and even plain newspaper for these shadow boxes.
  • Optional materials: paint and polyurethane sealant. Paint can cover ugly papers, such as newspaper, and polyurethane sealant will make your shadow box sturdier and easier to wipe off, and will keep the surface from getting sticky over time (that can sometimes be a problem with glue-based decoupage, so definitely consider it if you plan to put something legitimately precious in your shadow box)

Directions

1. Make the outside frame of the shadow box.

Find a box whose area you like for your shadow box, and break it down and lay it flat on top of your self-healing cutting mat. You’ll be cutting the top and bottom off of the box, and then cutting it into a strip that will equal the depth of your shadow box. I really like three inches for this, although I used four inches for the shadow box that holds my friendship rocks and that depth works well, too.

Open up the strip that you cut and stand it up on your cutting mat; this is the outside frame of your shadow box!

2. Add a back to the shadow box.

Set your shadow box frame on top of another piece of corrugated cardboard with at least the same area as the frame; if you’re using Girl Scout cookie cases, one of the larger sides of a second case is perfect for this.

Hot glue the back to the frame all the way around, and then cut away any excess cardboard.

3. Add shelves.

Cut more corrugated cardboard strips the same width as the shadow box frame, and then use those strips to add shelves to the shadowbox. Use hot glue to tack the shelves down, but you’ll be securing them much better a little later.

4. Add a hanging wire to the shadow box.

Hot glue a length of wire or cording to the sides of the shadow box, making a loop that goes over the top of the shadow box for hanging. Don’t secure the hanging wire to the back of the shadow box (as I did on my very first attempt at making this project), because if you do, the shadow box will tend to tip forward when it’s filled and hung. Securing the wire to the sides of the shadow box will even out its balance a little better.

5. Decoupage the shadow box.

If you liked the look of the raw cardboard, you could be just about done with your project there. I think these shadow boxes look nicer and are sturdier when decoupaged, however. To do this, choose a fun paper and tear it into strips. Pour a 1:1 mixture of white glue and water into a jar and stir it up. Piece by piece, dip a strip of paper into the mixture, strip off excess glue with your fingers, and smooth it onto the shadow box.

Overlap as necessary to cover the entire surface area of the shadow box. I like to cover the back first, let it dry, and then cover the front.

Covering the front will take a lot more time, as you use lots of paper to cover all those fiddly corners and seams.

Let the glue dry well, and then you can paint or seal your shadow box if you wish. After that, it’s ready to be enjoyed! What will you display in your DIY shadow box? Let us know in the comments!

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25 Eco-Friendly St. Patrick’s Day Crafts

25 Eco-Friendly St. Patrick’s Day Crafts

Don’t let St. Patrick’s Day just be that overlooked holiday of binge-drinking. Instead, think of it as our first holiday of spring, our first excuse to add green to our decor, our permission to strew everything with rainbows and shamrocks.

St. Patrick’s Day is a lot of fun, and I think you’re going to love these eco-friendly craft projects perfect for decorating and celebrating the hope that spring is (almost) here:

1. Toilet paper tube shamrockYou know that here at CAGW, we’ve never met a toilet paper tube project that we didn’t love, and this one is no different. A toilet paper tube shamrock is quick and easy to make, and if you don’t already have everything that you need to make it, just wait a couple of days.

2. Fried eggs in green peppersNo matter what your St. Patrick’s Day plans are, you need a healthy, protein-filled breakfast to start you off. How about eggs fried inside green pepper shamrocks?

3. Paper shamrocksScrapbook paper is the perfect thickness to make these fun, three-dimensional paper shamrocks.

4. Scrap fabric wreathIf you love to sew, it’s likely that you have more fabric scraps than you know what to do with. Are some of your fabric scraps green? If so, then I know what you should do with them!

5. St. Patrick’s Day gift tagsGiving something gold, rainbow-themed, or green? Add a gift tag with upcycled button embellishments to make it really festive.

6. Recycled St. Patrick’s Day garlandYour St. Patrick’s Day party will be even more festive with the right decorations, especially this St. Patrick’s Day garland made primarily from recycled materials.

Looking for a St. Patrick’s Day craft that isn't so shamrock-y? Try this recycled green St. Patrick's Day garland!

7. Clay pot planters. I LOVE the idea of starting greenery in these simply-embellished clay pots a couple of weeks before St. Patrick’s Day. How fun to finally have something green and growing to decorate with!

8. Embellished mugsI highly recommend using real ceramics markers instead of paint pens, but other than that, embellishing thrifted white ceramic mugs, tea cups, and plates are one of my favorite craft projects.

9. Upcycled Mason jars. You CAN use Mason jars for this project, but I also really like to upcycle embossed spaghetti sauce jars.

10. Wood shim shamrockThe tutorial calls for a pre-cut wooden shamrock as a base for the wood shim scraps, but you could cut the shamrock yourself out of scrap wood, or even use a sturdy cardboard base.

11. St. Patrick’s Day embroidery hoop wreathEmbroidery hoop wreaths are so simple to make and so easy to swap out. Change your Valentine’s Day wreath for St. Patrick’s Day, and then change it again for Easter!

12. LUCK marquee signThe tutorial uses lath, but you could also upcycle pallet boards for this marquee sign.

13. Painted glass vasesA clear glass vase from the thrift store is easy to make look glossy and bright in any color you choose–in this tutorial, the color is three different shades of green.

14. Shamrock heart hair clipsWool felt and Eco-fi recycled felt are both eco-friendly materials to use for this project.

15. Split pea wreath. It’s an unusual choice of material for a wreath, but since it’s green, it works! Use a straw or newspaper wreath base so that the whole thing is compostable after the holiday.

16. Valentine candy box shamrockYou know all those heart-shaped boxes of candy that you got for Valentine’s Day? Glue them together, paint them green, and just like that you have a shamrock!

Shamrock Craft

17. Homemade rainbow rocket popsEat the rainbow in a good way, without all the sugar of a store-bought popsicle.

18. LUCKY penny lettersDon’t bother purchasing store-bought letters; instead, cut them from cardboard or scrap wood.

19. Scrap wood leprechaun hatCrafting with scrap wood is one of my favorite things because it’s so cheap and eco-friendly, and glue and paint can do anything. Here, it makes a fun and festive leprechaun hat!

20. Split pea hurricane lamps. It turns out that EVERYONE is using dried split peas to decorate for St. Patrick’s Day! Here, they serve as a rest for the candles in hurricane lamps.

21. Recycled shamrock broochObviously, you have to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day. Here’s a DIY shamrock brooch whose materials you can pull from your recycling bin.

22. Paper mosaic shamrocksHere’s a great way to use up lots of paper scraps. If they’re not already green, feel free to play with paint and stamps until they are!

23. Pot of gold necklaceI have a couple of these little jars leftover from a previous craft, so all that’s needed is to add an eye pin and a pinch of gold glitter in distilled water.

24. Rainbow fruit tray. This is the perfect treat to bring to a kid’s class party or to provide some healthy fiber and natural sugars at your own party.

25. Rainbow stacked heartsEven very little ones can do all the painting and sorting of these hearts, but the sizing and texture of the cardboard is interesting enough that everyone can enjoy decorating and embellishing them.

Are your St. Patrick’s Day plans suitable to reveal in a public forum? If so, tell me about them in the comments below. Bonus points if they involve DIY!

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How to Remove Wax from A Candle Jar

How to Remove Wax from A Candle Jar

Here’s a shout-out to my fellow VERY thrifty crafters!

I like to do a lot of wax crafts, but beeswax is expensive, and lacking my own set of beehives, my budget can’t quite keep up with my habit.

Fortunately, I also have a lot of jar candles around the house, some homemade (with more lovely beeswax!) and some gifted or store-bought (with various qualities of wax, but often most likely the cheapest). When these candles burn down there’s always still some wax left at the bottom and around the sides of the container. Reclaiming that wax is a simple process, and when I’m done, I have all-new wax to craft with!

It’s worth it even to reclaim that cheap wax of unknown (but probably petroleum-based) provenance. You can use it to make fire starters, or dye it and use it to make wax seals. Perhaps you have an origami boat that you’d like to waterproof?

The possibilities for reclaimed beeswax or soy wax are endless, of course, including remaking your own jarred or poured or dipped candles.

And don’t forget that you can also reuse the jar that the candle came in! I’ll show you how to get it squeaky clean near the bottom of my post.

Supplies

Here’s what you need to reclaim the wax from your jar candles:

  • used jar candles
  • crockpot*
  • oven mitts
  • silicone molds

*Save yourself some trouble and hit up your nearest thrift shop for the cheapest crock pot on the shelf, and then use it only for crafting. I bought this crock pot from Goodwill for $1.50 probably a decade ago, and it works perfectly for me and then lives out in the garage when I don’t need it.

Directions

1. Cover your work surface with newspaper, then ready your crock pot.

Because I promise you that you do NOT want to spill melted wax all over your kitchen. Just… you really don’t.

2. Add the jar candle containers and water to the crockpot.

Oh, if only it were so easy! So here’s the thing: those nearly empty jar candle containers are going to want to FLOAT, dagnabit. It’s super annoying, and also, you really don’t want to get water in the containers with the beeswax.

What you have to do, then, is wedge the containers in so that they can’t float away. Setting a ceramic plate on top of them works well, as does filling Mason jars with water and setting them in the crockpot to take up all the rest of the available space.

3. Melt and pour.

After everything is wedged tightly into place, all you have to do is turn your crock pot on and wait for the wax to melt. I like to pour the melted wax into silicone molds, not only because the wax slips out so easily when it’s cooled, but also because afterward, you have lots of manageable little blocks of wax that it’s then easy to melt again and use for all your projects.

Often, your melted candle wax will have soot or wick fragments in it. If so, pour it through a layer of cheesecloth to catch the impurities.

4. Store reclaimed wax separately.

It’s worth it to always store this reclaimed wax separately from your other wax stash. If you have no idea what type of wax you’ve reclaimed, you obviously don’t want to mix it in with your lovely soy and beeswax, but even if it’s soy or beeswax that you’ve reclaimed, you still don’t want to simply add it back to your stash. Reclaimed candle wax is fine for making more candles, but I certainly wouldn’t want to use it for the skin care products that I also make using beeswax.

Now, what about those reclaimed jar candle containers? Even with the wax melted and poured out of them, you’ll notice that they’re still waxy. The trick to getting them squeaky clean is to completely immerse them, right side up, in a large pot of water. Make sure there’s plenty of water covering the top of the containers. Heat the pot of water on the stove, and when the water temperature reaches the melting point of the wax that the candle containers once held, the remaining wax will melt and float to the top of the water.

You have to play around with this method a bit and keep a good eye on the pot, because your wax of unknown provenance is going to melt at an unknown temperature, and if you have several candle containers in the pot, you’re probably going to be dealing with a different melting point for each of them. But when all the wax has finally melted and floated up to the top of the water, you can take the pot off the burner and let the water cool.

Skim the solidified wax off of the cooled water and toss it, and then you’re free to check out your former candle containers. They’ll likely still be sooty and need a good scrub-up, but after that, they’re ready to reuse or upcycle.

Might I suggest that you use them to make another jar candle?

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30 Eco-Friendly Valentines To Make and Share

30 Eco-Friendly Valentines To Make and Share

Valentine's Day Nature Crafts

It’s not too late to give a handmade valentine to all your loved ones–especially not when you can pull the supplies right out of your recycling bin or front yard!

Need inspiration? No problem! Check out the list of my all-time favorite eco-friendly handmade valentines, and get inspired to share the love:

1. Seed paper valentine. The best part of these valentines are that they’re plantable, so there’s no waste! And don’t think that this project is only for Valentine’s Day–I think it would make a perfectly sweet gift for Mother’s Day or your favorite gardener’s birthday, too.

2. Fabric heartThis sewn valentine has a secret pocket to keep your love notes safe.

3. Custom-sized envelope tutorialDon’t despair if your handmade valentine won’t fit into a store-bought envelope. Making your own custom-sized envelope is easy!

4. Folded heart cardThere’s plenty of room for a lovely love letter inside this card. Be creative with the papers that you upcycle for your folded hearts–wouldn’t sheet music look lovely?

5. Toilet paper tube butterflyThese valentines are nice and big so that preschoolers can draw all over them.

Recycled Valentine's Day Crafts

6. Manila folder valentine with a bunting embellishmentIf you’re the office worker type I bet you’ve got some of these lying around!

7. Button and popsicle stick valentinesBe warned: the kids are probably going to want to spend at least as much time playing with the buttons as they are making valentines with them…

8. Cross-stitched hand warmersThese are more work than your average valentine, but still small enough to be able to mass-produce, and your recipients will think of you every time they use your valentine to keep their hands nice and toasty.

9. Embellished treat bagsPerhaps you have some treat bags left over from a previous party. Just a quick paint job makes them Valentine-themed, and then they’re useful again!

10. Yarn-wrapped cardboard heartThis project is a great way to help even the littlest littles make their own valentines. Let them wrap the cardboard heart willy-nilly, then tie on a gift tag with a ribbon.

Recycled Valentine's Day Crafts

11. “Cute As A Button” valentineGot a bunch of buttons? Know somebody who’s just as cute as a button? It’s the perfect combination!

12. Crystal valentinesThese take a while to grow, but they’re educational and fun, and nobody else will be giving away a valentine like them.

13. Toilet paper tube heart stampUse this DIY upcycled stamp to embellish plain paper for an instant valentine.

14. Felt heart pinFelt, whether it’s natural wool felt or recycled Eco-fi felt, doesn’t need to be hemmed, making this project a LOT quicker. Don’t have felt on hand? Try fleece!

15. Newspaper heart valentines. You’d never know by looking at it, but newspaper takes paint like a champ and looks really gorgeous afterward. Try it and see!

Make origami hearts with this quick and easy method. They're so simple to make that you'll have a pile of them before you know it!

16. Origami heartsThis is the quickest and easiest valentine on this list! For a super simple valentine, simply size up your starting strip of paper, fold the origami heart, and sign your name on the back.

17. Fingerprint heart cardI’ve been really into upcycling old photos lately, and I think this project would be an awesome way to use up a cute old photo of your valentine.

18. Friendship necklacesInstead of the plastic foam that the tutorial calls for, simply substitute cardboard or even stiff felt.

19. Mason jar lid valentinesYou don’t even have to attach these to a Mason jar full of treats–but you could!

20. A printable fortune tellerPrint this on the back of anything letter-sized, whether it’s old artwork or stash scrapbook paper.

Recycled Valentine's Day Crafts

21. Puzzle piece valentineThese valentines work best with the larger size of preschool puzzle pieces. If you make valentines out of small puzzle pieces, just put each valentine in its own small envelope so that the pieces don’t get lost.

22. Fingerprint heart friendship rocksGive kindness rocks a new twist by turning them into valentines!

23. Map rosesMake these in bulk, then use washi tape to add a gift tag to each stem.

24. Puzzle heartHere’s another puzzle piece valentine! Instead of simply cutting the photo into a puzzle piece shape, why not decoupage it directly onto an old puzzle piece? For bonus points, glue a magnet on the back!

25. Puzzle piece and popsicle stick valentineOh, my goodness, I am finding so many good puzzle piece valentines! This one is a good way to upcycle lots of old puzzle pieces at once.

Recycled Valentine's Day Crafts

26. Toilet paper roll valentineHere’s a fun gift container that’s perfect for a small toy or piece of packaged candy.

27. Coloring bookmark valentineUse up all those ribbon scraps or yarn bits for these valentine bookmarks that recipients will love to color themselves.

28. Paper airplaneThis paper airplane valentine is a free printable, but it doesn’t need to be. I know you know how to make a paper airplane! Just add cute paper and a stamped message.

29. Puppy love valentineLittle ones can make these valentines while practicing their cutting and coloring skills–AND there are googly eyes involved!

30. Thumbprint heart glass magnetsHere’s something a little different for the valentine mailbox. The glue takes a while to set, but the magnets themselves are quick and easy to make.

Have a great eco-friendly valentine idea of your own? Tell me about it in the comments below!

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36 Free Underwear Patterns and Tutorials

36 Free Underwear Patterns and Tutorials

I know that underwear is generally fairly cheap to buy, so it’s not like you’re saving yourself megabucks by sewing your own.

But the reason why underwear is generally so cheap to buy? It’s generally because:

  1. It uses cheap, poor quality fabric that’s harsh on the environment to produce.
  2. It’s practically thrown together with uneven seams, skipped stitches, and all kinds of shortcuts (don’t believe me? REALLY look at your underwear and count all the places where a decent sewer would have done a better job).
  3. It’s manufactured by laborers under poor working conditions, paid unfair wages. They might even be children.

For these reasons, it’s well worth the effort to at least experiment with sewing your own underwear. Even if you don’t replace all of your underwear with DIY versions, even if you simply make one pair and call it a day, it’s a valuable experience to see the work and the materials that go into it.

You’ll never look at that store-bought cheap underwear the same way again.

Below, you’ll find my favorite free underwear tutorials and patterns. Find something you like, give it a whirl, and see if it doesn’t make you want to stock your whole dresser with nothing but homemade underwear!

1. Boxer shortsBoxers are super easy to sew because they don’t even have to be made from stretch fabric. They’re perfect for beginners!

2. Boyshorts underwear patternBoyshorts are my favorite type of underwear, so I was stoked to happen upon this free downloadable pdf pattern for them!

3. Bikini topThis bikini top has a small enough silhouette that it can be used as a bra, as well.

4. Bikini pantiesIf you like the look of bikini-style panties, then you’ll love this easy tutorial for making them.

5. Bra and panties from a scarfOne large thrifted or gifted scarf can make a matching bra and panties set.

6. Bralette patternBras can be tricky to sew. Here’s a free pattern to make it easy!

7. Bra from men’s underwearThis is… pretty weird. But to be fair, because the sizing on men’s clothing is so logical, all you have to do is find a pair of men’s underwear whose size matches your own under-bust measurement, and the rest is simple!

8. Cage braSkip the high-priced boutiques and DIY this hot trend.

9. Caged bustier topConvert a regular bra pattern into a more sophisticated caged bustier top.

10. Underwear liningThis post is an explanation of all things related to underwear linings–why you want them or don’t want them, the various types, and how to sew each of them into your favorite underwear pattern.

11. Dance ShortsDance shorts are a lot like boyshorts, but with more coverage. I love them!

12. Day of the Week embellishmentsUse any of the basic, non-lace panties patterns and embellish them with these Day of the Week templates. Now you’ll no longer be unsure about which pair of underwear to put on!

13. Fold-over elastic-edged pantiesIf you like the fit of elastic-waisted panties but you want a narrower hem, let this tutorial show you how easy it is to replace regular elastic with FOE.

14. Garter beltI don’t know how to DIY stockings–yet. I DO know how to DIY a garter belt, thanks to this tute.

15. Heart reverse appliqueYou can embellish many of the panties patterns here with this cute heart reverse applique.

16. Lace cutoutThis lace cutout works along the same lines as the heart reverse applique–add either or both to your existing panties pattern.

17. Lace panties. Because elastic lace can be found in super-wide dimensions, it’s also possible to make an entire pair of panties from it.

18. Lace braAnd if you’re going to wear lace panties, you might as well make yourself a lace bra to match!

19. Hipster undiesThese are easy and not too pretentious.

20. Kid boxer briefsMy favorite thing about sewing for children is how little fabric it uses. You’ll hardly notice that you’re sewing before you’re finished making these tiny boxer briefs!

21. Kid panties from a onesieThis tutorial is a brilliant way to upcycle your kid’s old onesies into new underwear–if you’re careful, you might even be able to get a little tank top out of the same onesie!

22. Lace thongIf you’ve got elastic lace, then you’ve got everything that you need to make this thong.

23. Lace braletteThis pattern allows you to skip making adjustable chest and shoulder bands by sizing the bralette exactly.

24. Lace-edge pantiesIf you don’t want your panties made entirely from lace, it’s easy to simply trim them with lace.

25. Period pantiesPeriod panties are a big deal right now, so you know someone figured out how to DIY them!

26. Add a pad to underwearIf you don’t want to sew full-on period panties, you can also try adding a permanent cloth pad to many of these underwear patterns.

27. Nursing sleep braMaternity clothes are ridiculously high priced. Do yourself a favor and sew yourselves several pairs of these bras before you’re too exhausted with your newborn to be trusted with a sewing machine.

28. Ruched hiphugger pantiesThese aren’t your average, everyday T-shirt panties. Super cute details make them extra special without being too precious.

29. Serged pantiesI love the look of these panties, adapted from a free swimsuit bottoms pattern. They don’t require elastic, so they’re even thriftier than the average pair of underwear. And the serged edges look really cool!

30. Side tiesThis embellishment will work on any of the boyshort-type underwear patterns.

31. Tap pantsThese are super cute worn under a dress or skirt, or as part of a lingerie set. This tutorial teaches you how to construct your own pattern to make tap pants that will fit you perfectly.

32. Thong patternIf you’d prefer not to create your own pattern, here’s a free downloadable pattern for sewing a thong.

33. T-shirt underwearHere’s another free pattern for making a pair of bikini briefs specifically from T-shirt fabric.

34. Use an existing pair of panties as a pattern. If you have a pair of panties that you’re willing to sacrifice, this tutorial shows you how to break them down and use them for pattern pieces so that you can construct endless identical pairs from your own fabric.

35. Underwear skill setAny technique that you need to know to successfully sew a bra or panties is likely here. These tutorials cover everything from properly measuring elastic to adding trim to sewing a hook and eye closure on a bra. You’ll be an expert by the time you’ve browsed through these tutes!

36. Wool underwearIt sounds non-intuitive, but wool’s moisture-wicking properties can help keep you feeling cool and comfy even when it’s swampy outside.

P.S. Want even MORE underwear tutorials? Check out my older round-up of underwear tutorials that call for mostly upcycled materials!

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