Three Dozen Upcycled Hanger Projects

Three Dozen Upcycled Hanger Projects

Sometimes you have too many hangers.

Sometimes your hangers are ugly.

Sometimes you have the wrong kind of hangers–plastic instead of wooden. Wire instead of plastic.

Regardless of whatever you hate about the hangers you have, the answer is rarely to throw them away. Trust me–you’ll hate knowing that they’re wasting away in a landfill for all of eternity even more than you hate owning them.

Instead, upcycle those unwanted hangers. Make them cute and keep hanging your clothes on them, or repurpose them into something entirely new. Either way, you’ll be a lot happier, and knowing that you’re keeping more items out of the waste stream will make it even better.

Check out this list of my favorite upcycled hanger projects, and get inspired!

1. DIY ribbon hangerIf you hate the look of your plastic hangers, hide that ugly plastic by covering them in ribbon scraps.

DIY Ribbon Hangers
2. Back scratcher. Now you never need to ask somebody else to scratch your back for you!

3. Coat hanger coat rackIt’s a coat rack made from coat hangers. It’s brilliant.

4. Fabric-covered hangersThis is a nice way to use up some fabric stash. If you have any scraps left after sewing a special garment, you could use them to make a matching hanger!

5. Painted wooden hangerSometimes all an ugly wooden hanger needs is a fresh coat of paint.

6. Jewelry holderA couple of extra knobs turns a wooden hanger into a useful wall-mounted jewelry holder.

7. Monogram ornamentWire hangers are stiff, but you can bend them with some effort, and it means that the ornament you create will resist warping.

8. Hanging reel for cord storageWhile I don’t think a wire hanger could support our super-long garden hose, I think it would be just the thing for our over-abundant extension cord collection.

9. Wood hanger dish drying rackMost store-bought dish drying racks are cheaply made, and it shows. This homemade one, constructed from wood hangers, is sturdier–and nicer looking, too!

10. Wire hanger plant markersUse found objects, jewelry wire, and wire hangers to give your plants an innovative and moveable plant marker.

Wire Hanger and Found Object Plant Markers

11. Belt organizerIf you don’t like your hanger, maybe you’re just using it to hang the wrong thing. Try belts instead!

12. Faux iron scroll decorYou can camouflage wire hangers to look like much fancier, more expensive materials. Nobody will know that this isn’t real iron scrollwork!

13. Padded hangerMartha Stewart shows you how to give a whole new, way classier look to your typical hanger.

14. Picture frameHere’s an easy way to get some of your favorite photos up on the wall. For a burst of color, spray paint the hanger before mounting it.

15. Scented padded hangerWant your padded hangers to be even more luxurious? Add dried herbs!

16. Recipe holderA child-sized or doll clothes hanger can be upcycled into a hanging recipe holder. No more getting spaghetti sauce all over your favorite handwritten recipe card!

17. Wall-mounted hangerThis hanger is mounted upside-down onto a wall. Twist the hook towards you, and now you’ve got a whole new way to hold your house keys or dog’s leash.

18. WreathProbably the easiest way to upcycle a wire hanger is to bend it into a wreath form.

19. Hoop skirt formYou can’t just order a hoop skirt from the Sears catalog anymore. Alas, you’ll have to DIY your own–good thing wire hangers make such good material!

20. Cat tentThe cutest kitty in the world needs the coziest cat tent that it’s possible to make. This is it!

21. Clothespin bagIf you’re like me and often hang your clothes outside to dry, you know how handy this DIY clothespin bag can be.

22. Decorative orbNobody is ever going to believe that this woven metal orb is made from old wire hangers.

23. Wall hooks rackUpcycle the hooks from broken metal hangers into a nice-looking and super-useful rack of wall hooks.

24. EaselA tabletop display couldn’t be easier!

25. Garden edgingStore-bought garden edging solutions can look so cheap and tacky. Well, this wire hanger garden edging is cheap, too, but at least it’s not tacky.

26. flip-flop holderYou might think that you don’t want any more wire hangers in your life, but that’s before you saw this way to turn a wire hanger into a hanging flip-flop holder. I think you need this!

27. Yarn-wrapped non-slip hangersCover wire hangers in scrap yarn and not only will they hold your tank tops and silk shirts without slipping, but they’ll also look a lot prettier.

28. Wire hanger and upcycled sweater butterfly wingsUse the wire from a wire hanger to mold just the right wing shape, then cover it with fabric from an old sweater. It’s a dress-up obsessed kid’s delight!

29. Christmas countdown calendar. This project is deceptively simple, and an unobtrusive way to have a countdown calendar without filling your living room with the typical paper chain that most people use.

30. DIY roasting sticksUse uncoated wire hangers for this project, along with thick dowel scraps.

31. Sunburst mirrorSunburst mirrors have been popular for several years now, but most DIY versions are made from plastic spoons, which is a shame. This upcycled wire hanger one is much more eco-friendly.

32. Scarf hanger. Add some shower curtain rings to a hanger to turn it into a useful storage spot for scarves.

33. T-shirt covered hangers. These hangers couldn’t be cuter, covered in fringed T-shirt scraps. And they’re non-slip!

34. Tin can lanternWire hangers make the handles on these tin can lanterns, upcycled from old tin cans.

35. TopiaryDon’t you want to train your Boston ivy to grow in a lovely topiary? The trick is to train the ivy to grow up a base that you’ve sculpted from a wire coat hanger.

36.Wall-mounted book holderYou always need more book storage! This quick and easy method turns a wire hanger into a book holder that hangs easily from a nail in the wall.

Do YOU have a favorite way to upcycle hangers? Tell me about it in the Comments below!


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How To Make Stamped Clay Seed Bombs

How To Make Stamped Clay Seed Bombs

I used to think that seed bombs do not work, full stop.

And to be fair, I had a good reason for my opinion, because most of the seed bomb tutorials that you see online just do NOT work! Here’s why:

  • If the seed bomb is too big, it’s not going to be able to dissolve in good time and release the seeds.
  • If the seed bomb recipe calls for too much liquid, the seeds will germinate prematurely and then die.
  • If the seed bomb recipe calls for too many seeds, they’ll crowd each other out before they can grow.
  • If the seed bomb gets tossed out at anything other than JUST the right time, it won’t get the proper amount of rainfall required to dissolve the bomb and nurture the seeds.

When there are so many things wrong with so many of the seed bomb tutorials that you see, it’s easy to think that the whole concept is a bad one.

But done properly, and distributed carefully, seed bombs CAN work.

Here’s what you’ll need to do it right.

Ingredients & Supplies

  • Air dry clay. I’d suggest something non-pigmented and natural-looking, not something like Model Magic, which is super fun and my kids play with it but I have NO idea what it’s made of. If you don’t know what it’s made of, you certainly don’t want it in your garden!
  • Seed starting mix or other potting soil. Your favorite seed starting mix will work well here, but any kind of nutritious potting soil will do.  And again, avoid potting soils with “moisture retention beads” or “water crystals” included; those are just fun names for the same kind of polymer that’s used in disposable diapers. You don’t want that in your garden, either!
  • Native seed mix. Not all greenhouses are ethical providers of native seeds, so check with your local native plant society before you buy a packet. Better yet, save your own seeds from your favorite native plants and use those.
  • Small stamp. A regular scrapbooking stamp is exactly what you need. Scrapbooking used to be big business, so you should be able to find any stamp design you can dream of.


1. Get your hands dirty

Pinch off an amount of clay the size of a large marble–remember that the best seed bomb is a SMALL seed bomb, so don’t overdo it.

2. Roll the clay into a ball between the palms of your hands

Might as well go ahead and get a little dirtier! Use the tip of a finger to make an indentation in the clay ball, and fill the indentation with as much potting soil or seed starting mix as will fit.

3. Add the seeds

Be very stingy with the number of seeds that you put in your seed bomb because you don’t want them to crowd each other out of existence. Three to four seeds is plenty!

4. Seal the potting soil and seeds inside the bomb

Pull the sides of the seed bomb over the top to seal in the potting soil and seeds, then roll it around your palms again to make it back into a nice, smooth sphere.

5. Stamp the top of the seed bomb

Press hard with the stamp; you’ll slightly flatten the seed bomb, but will make your stamped impression stand out nicely.

6. Let air dry

Let the seed bombs air dry for at least as long as the package of air-dry clay instructs. Thanks to the potting soil center, the seed bomb might take even longer to dry.

When the seed bombs are dry, you can store them in the same cool, dry, dark spot where you store the rest of your garden seeds. To use them, toss them onto the ground whenever the growing conditions outside match the seed packet’s specifications AND there’s a lot of rain in the forecast for the next week or so.

Another option is to simply press a seed bomb down into the dirt in your garden or a flowerpot and water regularly. I planted a seed bomb in a pot in my windowsill just for fun (I don’t think the native plants will last inside all winter, but it’s worth the experiment), and look how cute my little seedling babies are, growing out from under the safety net of their seed bomb!

My watering can didn’t exactly mimic the right rainfall conditions to properly dissolve the clay exterior of the seed bomb, but even so, it was enough to get a couple of sturdy little seeds germinated and growing happily.

Imagine how happy they’ll be when I toss them around the garden in the actual springtime!


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Three Dozen Eco-Friendly Tissue Paper Crafts

Three Dozen Eco-Friendly Tissue Paper Crafts

If you’re looking for an environmentally-friendly supply for paper crafting, tissue paper is a reasonable choice.

Buy a brand of tissue paper that’s made from recycled paper pulp, compost the scraps when you’re finished, and if you do both, you’ll find that tissue paper is a craft supply that doesn’t contribute to deforestation or add anything to the waste stream.

Curious about what kinds of crafts you can actually DO with tissue paper?

Check out my list of favorite tissue paper crafts below and get inspired!

1. Tissue paper decoupaged glass bottleThis is a really nice way to make over any glass jar, particularly a plain jar that could make a lovely vase, if only it wasn’t so plain!

Tissue Paper Decoupaged Glass Bottles
2. BowTissue paper is fun for kid crafts, but this bow turns tissue paper into something that even adults will love to receive on top of their presents.

3. Decoupaged pencilsYou’ll find a lot of decoupage projects in this tissue paper crafts round-up, and that’s because tissue paper is AMAZING for decoupage! Here, it’s just about the only thing you’ll find that’s thin enough to decoupage onto a pencil without increasing its bulk enough to make it impossible to sharpen.

4. Edible Olympic torchAn ice cream cone, fun snacks, and some tissue paper make for an Olympic torch that’s fun to carry–and even more, fun to eat!

5. Flower braceletIt wouldn’t be hard to add this tissue paper flower to any existing bracelet, or even to wire it onto a garland or wreath.

6. Stained glass starsThese stained glass stars are SO beautiful, but the best thing about them is that unlike pretty much every other tissue paper stained glass craft on the internet, these stars do NOT utilize contact paper. They’re so much more eco-friendly!

7. Stained glass treesThese trees look harder to make than they are–the secret is that you embellish with tissue paper BEFORE you cut out the tree shapes.

8. Upcycled cardboard and tissue paper treeTissue paper is an extremely kid-friendly craft supply, as you can tell from all of the kid crafts in this round-up. This particular craft is a good way to use up that extra corrugated cardboard in the recycling bin, as well as your green tissue paper scraps.

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🌳T is for TREES LETTER CRAFT🌳 Last week during our seed theme I shared a bit about how we use our weekly themes as inspiratoin for a letter craft. It’s a great way to help kids connect the background knowledge they’ve learned throughout the week with a letter. I personally like to compile our letter crafts into a memory book, but there are a ton of other ways to use them too. Another favorite is to post them around the room as an alphabet chart for kids to refer back to. We also share a TON more ideas for creating letter crafts in our Alphabet Letter Craft and Process Art Ideas Set (link in profile). As you might have guessed we created trees for the letter T. We used a piece of cardboard for the trunk and added a bit of texture by scraping it with a fork. Then we attached green tissue paper bits for the leaves. You could also have kids crumple the tissue paper for added fine motor practice. Since our memory books already get SUPER thick, I skipped that part for ours. 😎

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9. WreathThis tutorial is my favorite of all the ones I’ve seen because this one doesn’t call for a paper plate as the wreath form. I know paper plates are quick and easy, but that’s not an eco-friendly way to craft. Instead, cut your form from some recycled food packaging or shipping box. It’s just the same but repurposed instead of unnecessarily wasting new materials.

10. Sew knit fabric with tissue paperDid you know that tissue paper makes an easy fabric stabilizer? It’s quicker than spray starch and more eco-friendly than store-bought polyester interfacing, and if there’s been a holiday in your recent past, you probably even have some tissue paper hanging out in the house still!

11. Decoupaged votive candle holderYou can upcycle any small glass container into a votive candle holder, and when you decoupage it with tissue paper, nobody will be able to tell that it used to be a salsa jar.

12. Mini koinobori wind sockIf you don’t have a traditional carp wind sock to fly, don’t worry–you can make your own miniature version out of a toilet paper tube and tissue paper scraps.

13. Miniature tissue paper flowersThese flowers are made simpler than you might think, thanks to the wide variety of lovely hole punches that you can use to easily pop out your basic flower template.

14. Pom pomYou’d be surprised at how handy this basic pom pom tutorial is. Now you will ALWAYS  have a way to decorate for parties!

15. Pineapple pom pomsTissue paper is perfect for making paper pom poms. But don’t stop at spheres, because there’s a whole world of novelty pom pom tutorials out there! This pineapple pom pom, for instance, is just the thing for decorating your late summer barbecue.

16. SparklersMake sparklers or cheerleader pom poms with this easy tute. To make it even more eco-friendly, upcycle a chopstick or find a smooth stick from the yard to use as the handle.

17. Tissue paper and pipe cleaner butterfliesThese little butterflies are an easy kid craft, but they come out so nicely that they’re also suitable for a party decoration.

18. Tissue paper decoupaged Easter eggsI HATE plastic Easter eggs, and so I’m always on the lookout for fun, colorful, non-plastic Easter eggs. Tissue paper decoupaged on a wooden or cardboard egg form makes for a project that’s just as colorful as any plastic egg could be.

19.  Upcycled glass jar and tissue paper luminariesTissue paper is so thin that it’s perfect for crafting luminaries. Even little kids can make tissue paper Jack-o-lantern luminaries, and the more artistic of us can make amazing, layered, translucent creations.

20. Decoupaged glass platesThe next time you see a boring clear glass plate at the thrift shop, snag it and then remake it with tissue paper and Mod Podge.

21. Painted tissue paper leavesNOBODY is going to know that these leaves are made from tissue paper. They look WAY too fancy!

22. Snowy day bleeding tissue paper artI’ve found that most tissue paper bleeds when damp. It makes it a pain if you’re not super careful while doing decoupage, but it’s perfect for this kid-friendly art project!

23. Tassel garlandMimic those high-priced home decor pieces by DIYing your own tissue paper tassel garland.

24. Fringe garlandHere’s another type of garland that you can make with tissue paper. This one is fringed!

25. Tissue paper ladybugThis sweet little project is a terrific fine motor activity for preschoolers– they’ll enjoy the sensory experience of crumpling tissue paper, and you’ll enjoy knowing that they’re strengthening their handwriting muscles.

26. Tissue paper dinosaurIs your kid not into insects? A tissue paper dinosaur is just as fun to make!

27. Toilet paper tube dragonI don’t know what it is about toilet paper tubes plus tissue paper, but there are loads of projects combining the two here in this round-up–including this tutorial, which lets you make a fire-breathing dragon.

28. Toilet paper tube valentineIt’s the toilet paper tubes that star in this treat-filled valentine project, but they wouldn’t be cute at all if they weren’t wrapped in tissue paper!

Recycled Valentine's Day Crafts

29. Christmas treeYou won’t be ashamed to compost this particular holiday kid craft after Christmas, not when it’s already made of a toilet paper tube and tissue paper that’s itself made from recycled paper.

30. Gel print with tissue paperI wasn’t expecting that tissue paper was so versatile, but check out this quite sophisticated artistic technique that works perfectly with it.

31. Paper leiI’ve seen plenty of paper leis, but I had NO idea how to make them–until I read this tutorial!

32. Print onto tissue paperIf you have an inkjet printer, you can print right onto tissue paper.

33. Ruffled tissue paper garlandThe technique for this is similar to the one for the paper lei, but this one results in a long garland that’s perfect for party decorations.

34. Temporary faux stained glassHere is such a fun project to keep kids busy on a blustery day. The tissue paper falls right off later and can be re-used for the same project on another blustery day.

35. Tissue paper flowersThese are not the dusty, faded tissue paper flowers sitting on your grandma’s dresser! Check out how vivid and beautiful the flowers in this tutorial are–gorgeous enough for a wedding centerpiece!

36. Tissue paper printing onto a candleYou’re going to LOVE this tutorial. Start with a store-bought or homemade pillar candle, then use tissue paper to transfer your original artwork or text right to the candle’s surface.

Do YOU have a favorite tissue paper craft? Tell me about it in the Comments below!


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How to Sew a Poodle Skirt

How to Sew a Poodle Skirt

You guys, if you have never read about the history of the poodle skirt, I need to start you off with the information that it is just about the most fascinating thing EVER.

Basically, back in 1947, a woman wanted something awesome to wear to a holiday party. Being of a DIY mindset, she made herself a circle skirt out of felt (no seams!), then decorated it with cute appliques.

As you can imagine, knowing how ubiquitous the term “poodle skirt” is today, her creation went over very, very, very well.

What you might not have imagined before, however, is that it’s not just poodles that were on the poodle skirt. In fact, that first Christmas skirt didn’t even have poodles on it at all! Throughout the poodle skirt’s massive popularity in the 1950s, people felt free to personalize it in whatever ways that appealed to them.

Think cacti. Or horses. Or Elvis Presley silhouettes. Cartoon mice. The Eiffel Tower.

So when you think of a poodle skirt, you really should be thinking of a simple felt circle skirt with novelty felt appliques.

Easy to make. Endlessly customizable. NOW you want to make one, don’t you?!? So let’s do it!

Tools & Supplies

To make a poodle skirt of your own, you will need the following:

  • Felt. In Step #1, you’ll do the calculations to learn how much felt you’ll need for the skirt. You’ll also want felt in the appropriate colors for all of your appliques.
  • Matching thread. I don’t use interfacing when I sew, because it’s costlier and less eco-friendly than doing without, so you’ll want a matching thread to sew your appliques to the skirt.
  • Measuring supplies. Get yourself one of those yardsticks with a hole at one end (or just drill the hole yourself). You also need chalk and scissors.
  • Stencils and templates. I freehanded some of the appliques on the particular skirt that I’m showing you in this tute, but other appliques came from Google Image searches. I’m not selling the skirt, so it’s cool.
  • Sewing notions. See Step #1 for these, too.


1. Calculate the measurements for your skirt. A circle skirt is exactly what it sounds like–a skirt in the shape of a perfect circle, with another circle, cut out for the waist.

So first, stop and think about how you want to get the skirt onto your body and keep it there. The skirt in this tute has an elastic waist, which means that I cut the center hole large enough for my kid to pull it up over her hips, and then I sewed 2″ elastic to it for the waistband. This is a great solution for a kid or a teenager because as the kid grows, it’s possible to remove the waistband, enlarge that center hole (provided that you’ve left the room and the skirt is long enough), and add new elastic. I  fully expect my kid’s poodle skirt to last her through adulthood.

If you’re already an adult, however, you can instead cut that center hole to size and install a zipper. It’s more work, but the skirt would be less bulky at the waist and you could make it with a smaller piece of felt.

Either option is totally up to you!

So decide that first, so that you know the measurement for the center hole. The measurement will be the circumference of the circle that you want. In this case, I want a measurement of 24″ so that my little noodle can get the skirt up over her little noodle hips.

Now, either do the math or plug that number into this circle calculator. The number that you want to get from this calculator is the radius. A circle that is 24″ in circumference has a radius of 3.8″. If you’re going with the elastic waistband method, go ahead and round up to the nearest inch, which makes my new radius 4″.

Next, decide how long you want the skirt to be, measuring from the waist to where you want the bottom hem to hit. I wanted another 20″ of length. To find the total radius of the circle that you need to cut, you need to add that radius to the radius of the center hole. In this case, the total radius of my circle is 24″. Double that number, and you’ll have the total dimension of felt that you need in both length and width. Fortunately, felt comes in up to 72″ widths, so you can make a pretty good-sized skirt from a single piece of felt.

Once you have your yardage, fold it into quarters. The very center of the piece of fabric will now be one of your corners. Place the hole in the yardstick right at this corner, and use it as the pivot to mark your total radius measurement in chalk. You’ll see a perfect quarter of a circle marked out. Do the same thing, this time measuring the radius of the center hole. Cut them both through all four layers of fabric, then unfold the fabric and marvel at your perfectly-measured and cut circle skirt!

2. Add felt appliques. With the skirt unfolded, create and lay out the appliques until you’re happy with their placement. You can also add other embellishments, such as the necklaces that I put on both of the unicorns, and a rope ladder from one of the caves.

When you’re happy with the placement, pin all of the appliques to the skirt.

3. Sew the appliques to the skirt. Felt doesn’t unravel, so you don’t have to satin-stitch these appliques in place. With matching thread installed, I set my sewing machine to a stitch length of 3 and a width of 3, then zig-zagged around each applique. I highly recommend a walking foot for this.

4. Add a bias tape hem, if you’d like one. Again, felt won’t unravel, so any kind of hem is completely optional. However, I thought that this skirt did look much more finished with the addition of a double-fold bias tape hem in a complementary color. I’d have had to stitch the appliques all around the hem, anyway, so it wasn’t that much more work to add it.

5. Add the waistband of your choosing. For the elastic waistband on this skirt, I cut a piece of 2″ elastic in a complementary color to the exact waist measurement (22.75″). I lapped the ends, marked both the elastic and the skirt waist at the quarters, pinned them together at the marks,  then zig-zag stitched them together, stretching the elastic to match the skirt as I sewed. It took less than ten minutes!

While felt is a very sturdy fabric, if I were you I’d remind whoever plans to wear the skirt that felt is also quite delicate. I know people were wearing these all throughout the 1950s, but people took better care of their clothes then, and also Velcro wasn’t commercially available until the late 1950s. Velcro will pull at felt something terrible, so be careful when it’s around. Felt also doesn’t wash well in a washing machine and doesn’t dry well in a dryer. It’ll be okay if you wash it on cold and hang it to dry, but it’s better yet if you pretend like you’re wearing your poodle skirt to a sock hop every time you put it on and treat it accordingly.


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How To Do String Art

How To Do String Art

When I was a kid, we had a couple of pieces of string art, made by an aunt, framed and hung in our house.

I mean, it WAS the 1970s, the heyday of string art.

But whereas the 1970s craze was all about making a string art owl from a kit (which we had), or a string art sailing ship, also from a kit (which we had), you can now do quite a bit better.

A lot of the imagination that you can bring to string art now comes from how simple technology is to use. Can you imagine what my aunt could have created if she’d had access to clip art and a printer? Google Image? A Cricut?!?

Because I promise you that designing your piece is by far the hardest part of making string art, and even that isn’t hard. I know you’ve got access to Google Images and a printer, after all!

So no more kits for you! I’m going to show you how to make string art the completely DIY way–from scratch, by hand. It’s going to be awesome. Here’s what you need:

Tools and Supplies

  • Wood, cut to size. I can always find some scrap boards to cut down over in my Garage of Mystery, but other good sources of wood are Craigslist, Freecycle, or your local Restore. Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to score a finished plaque!
  • Nails. For this particular project, I’m using 1 1/4″ ring shank underlayment nails. They’re a little thicker than you need, but I’m doing this project with kids, and that extra width helps them keep their grip. Feel free to use whatever nails you like and have on hand.
  • Embroidery floss. This is another supply that you might just find that someone you know would LOVE to give you. There are a surprising number of people in this world who’ve given up cross-stitch!


1. Prepare your wood. This step can take a lot of different forms, depending on what wood you choose and the tools you have available. You can use everything from a pre-finished plaque to a pallet board, but whereas that pre-finished plaque is ready to go, but also pricey and unsustainably sourced, something like pallet boards or scrap wood might need to be cut to size and sanded down, but they’re free and keep more resources out of the waste stream.

If you’re preparing your own wood, don’t skip sanding it–if this is one of your first woodworking projects, you’ll be surprised at how much nicer your wood looks after it’s sanded. My secret trick is to round the edges of the wood piece while I’m sanding it. It won’t replace the services of a router, but just sanding all the edges makes the finished piece look more professional.

Staining and sealing the wood is optional, but if you choose to do so, remember to use water-based stain and sealant.

2. Create your template. Create a template for your string art on typing or notebook paper. You can draw freehand, of course, but Google Image is also your friend, and I love using my old-school Cricut. I mean, it can draw me a parasaurolophus at the size of my choosing! How AWESOME is that?!?

3. Nail directly onto the template. Place the template onto the plaque, and then begin to hammer nails right through the paper, following the lines of the template.

Try to keep your spacing and the nail heights even, but don’t stress out too much. The one thing that you DON’T want to do is pull a nail out and leave an empty hole. Just work with where you’re going!

Watch, as well, for narrow spacing. You can see below how I modified my parasaurolophus, as I noticed while I was hammering nails that some of my spacing–the tail, for instance, and certainly the legs–was going to be too narrow to look nice when wrapped with string:

Try to remember, though, that nobody is going to be looking at your project as closely and critically as YOU are, so roll with any imperfections that come along.

Once you’ve hammered in all the nails, tear the paper away. I had to get into a few little nooks with a pair of tweezers, but it wasn’t difficult.

4. Wrap with embroidery floss. Now for the fun part! Wrapping the nail art with embroidery floss is the MOST fun, and you’ll find that even kids who are too young to hammer nails (although don’t dismiss their abilities without really thinking about it–you’d be surprised at how young a kid can handle a hammer!) can have a ball wrapping nails with yarn or embroidery floss.

Tie a knot around one nail (secure it with a little white glue to be safe), then wrap the floss around the perimeter of your piece to outline it. Weave in and out of the nails, wrap it completely around some nails, take a break to go back and forth across your piece–feel free to have fun!

Once the perimeter is wrapped, go back and forth across your piece at every angle, with no discernible pattern, to cover the surface area with embroidery floss. After a bit, you’ll be able to notice spots that have gaps and you can easily cover those. This takes a LOT of embroidery floss, so be prepared to use at least an entire skein, and possibly more, depending on the size of your piece. Tie the floss off around a nail, and again, dot the knot with a little white glue to make sure it holds.

When you’re finished, you can continue to embellish your piece (not everyone I know is as science literate as I am, so I made a label for my string art parasaurolophus), and mount a picture hanger on the back so that you can hang your new masterpiece in a place of honor.

And now you can make another one as a gift for someone else!


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How to Make Mason Jar Lid Ring Christmas Ornaments

How to Make Mason Jar Lid Ring Christmas Ornaments

If you enjoy canning, don’t you have SOOOOO many Mason jar lid rings?

Those Mason jar lid rings, also called screw bands, can be re-used (unlike the lid tops, which you aren’t supposed to re-use at all), but only until they start to rust or get bent or dinged, something that seems to happen with my rings, at least, after very few uses.


Fortunately, there are loads of ways to repurpose these rings so that you’re not just adding them to the waste stream. And since it’s December, my favorite way to repurpose ANYTHING this month has to be Christmas ornaments!

These Mason jar lid ring Christmas ornaments look a lot harder to make than they are. If you’re artistic, you’ll love using these to show off your skills, but even if you’re not–hey, that’s why clip art, stickers, and patterned paper were invented!


To make these ornaments, you will need:

  • Mason jar lid rings. Repurpose ones that are no longer suitable for canning. Don’t can? You know someone who does, or check on Freecycle or Craigslist–there is someone out there who would LOVE to give you their dinged-up canning supplies.
  • Ribbon. Stash ribbon is fine, but twine, hemp cord, or even thin chain would work.
  • Mat board or thick cardboard. For these particular ornaments, I used mat board scraps (does it still count as hoarding if you really do use the stuff someday?), but thick cardboard–something thicker than card stock or food packaging–would also be fine.
  • Decorative paper. Use scrapbook paper, old book pages or sheet music, or even wrapping paper.
  • Image for the ornament’s front. My daughter traced the inside edge of a Mason jar lid ring, then created several pieces of original artwork for our ornament fronts, all of which I photocopied onto card stock so that we could make multiples. Anything fun and creative would make a beautiful ornament, however. If you’ve got scrapbook supplies, dig them out!
  • Spray paint (optional). It’s not eco-friendly, but if you want to change the color of your Mason jar lid ring from rusted metal, this is your best option. I’ve made these ornaments both ways, and while I do like the painted ornaments better, it’s not necessarily worth the time that it takes to paint them.
  • Glue. You need an archival glue suitable for paper and a separate, sturdier glue for the rings. I used spray mount for the former and hot glue for the latter.


1. Trace the inside edge of a Mason jar lid ring. This will be your template for cutting the decorative paper back, the mat board middle, and the featured image on the front.

2. Make a beautiful ornament front. The Mason jar lid ring makes the perfect frame for your original art. Whatever medium you prefer, whether it’s watercolors, acrylics, markers, or charcoal, it will look adorable in this simple round frame. But don’t forget that you can also use stickers, cut-outs, clip art, or anything else you’d like in order to embellish these ornament fronts.

3. Cut all pieces to size. The ornament front, mat board or card stock, and ornament backing paper should all be cut to your template. You can pop them into the Mason jar lid ring to check the fit–sometimes I’ve found that I haven’t cut a piece carefully and have to trim it a bit. Better to do that now than when you’re racing the hot glue gun!

4. Glue the ornament front, middle, and back together. Spray mount gives the most archival result, but an ordinary glue stick is also perfectly serviceable.

5. Do you want to paint the Mason jar lid ring? If so, do it now! Spray clear sealant, with or without painting the rings, is another option.

6. Tie ribbon onto the Mason jar lid ring. A lark’s head knot is just about the easiest and most attractive of knots, and that’s what you’re going to do here. Tie the ends of the ribbon into a bow, and there you have your ornament hanger!

7. Glue the ornament piece to the Mason jar lid ring. I’ve tried several types of glue with this ornament, and none are really ideal. The most full-proof glue is hot glue, but you’ll have to work quickly. Lay out the ornament, face-down, and the Mason jar lid ring, flat side down and with the ribbon at the top, and then quickly dispense hot glue around the inside edge of the lid ring. Immediately set the ornament into the lid ring and press it down so that it’s flush against the flat side of the lid ring.

These ornaments are a great way to show off a kid’s artwork–or your own! A matching set of complementary ornaments also makes a nice handmade gift.

But of course, I like them best on my own tree, displaying all of our homemade love for the season.


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How to Make a Bean Bag Chicken

How to Make a Bean Bag Chicken

bean bag chickens sitting on pile of leaves

These cute chickens make great little gifts, and since you can sew them up quickly completely from scraps, no two are alike! So search your scrap fabric stash, then sew yourself up an entire flock of lovable, snuggable, and highly-giftable bean bag chickens.


  • Scrap fabric: 2 squares, 4.5″
  • Felt or fleece scraps, red and yellow/orange (you want a fabric that doesn’t ravel for this, or you can get creative by upcycling plastic grocery bags or feed sacks)
  • Two matching buttons
  • A small piece of chalk
  • Stuffing or fiberfill
  • Any combination of dry rice/beans/peas/popcorn kernels
  • Cutting and sewing supplies, hand-sewing needle and embroidery floss

fabric scraps and needles


1. Cut two squares of fabric to the dimensions 4.5″ x 4.5″. I always use two identical prints, but you certainly don’t have to.

2. Pin on the chicken parts. From the yellow or orange felt, cut a square that’s about 1″ x 1″. Fold it in half diagonally, and pin it about two-thirds of the way up the right side of one fabric square. Notice in the above pic that the diagonal fold is on top and the two edges of the felt triangle are parallel to the sides of the fabric. Pin in place.

From the red felt, cut another square that’s also about 1″ x 1″. Scallop the top to look like the top of a chicken’s comb. Pin it with the scallops facing in and the opposite edge aligned with the top of the fabric square, about a fourth of the way from the top right corner.

Also from the red felt, cut a final 1″ x 1″ square. Fold it in half, and cut out two wattles. Angle these to be parallel to the diagonal fold on your chicken’s beak, and pin them just below the beak, facing in.

3. Sew three sides of the beanbag. Put the two fabric squares together, right sides facing, and sew three sides together. You’ll start with the top side, beginning with the end furthest away from the chicken’s beak. Sew along the top, taking away the pin that holds the comb before you sew over it, then down the front, removing the pins and sewing the chicken’s beak and wattle, then sew the bottom. Don’t sew that fourth side!

Turn the beanbag right side out and iron flat.

chicken bean bag

4. Sew on the button eyes. It would be easier to do this step before you sew the three sides of the bean bag together, but I had a lot of trouble getting my eyes to line up nicely when I did that. Instead, I sew them on after the three sides are sewn and all the rest of the chicken features are in place. Feel free to try both ways and choose what works best for you.

To place the eyes, first, play with the placement of one eye until you’re satisfied, then mark that spot with chalk. Use a pencil point or your finger to make a bump in the fabric at that spot so that you can feel where to make your mark on the other side of the chicken. Sew on each eye individually using embroidery floss.

Pro tip: Fold the open edge of the bean bag over a couple of times so that you have less fabric to deal with as you’re trying to sew the button eyes on inside the bean bag. It gets much easier with practice!

5. Crease the hem. Fold the raw edges of the hem inside about a quarter of an inch, and iron.

chicken bean bag stuffing

6. Stuff the bird. Grab an amount of fiberfill about the size of your fist, and use it to fill the top of the chicken. Fill the bottom with one or two handfuls of dry rice or beans or popcorn kernels. Stuff the fiberfill down as tightly as you can, to make sewing the last side shut easier. It will loft back out over the course of several minutes.

bean bag stuffing

7. Sew the final seam. You’re going to sew this last side in an unusual way, so read carefully!

Take the two side seams and fold the opening so that these two side seams touch in the middle:

closing the bean bag

This is cattywampus to the way that you sew a regular bean bag, so make sure you’ve got it figured out before you start sewing. You’ll know you’ve got it right when the bean bag looks like a pyramid, not a square. Edge stitch that final seam closed and sit your bean bag chicken down. It will sit on its flat butt, that final seam is its tail, and the top of the pyramid is its adorable chicken face!

bean bag chicken

8. Tidy up the beak. This is optional, but I find that for nearly every chicken I sew, I want to trim the beak just a bit to make a cuter shape. Usually, I give the bottom a bit of a curve or a slightly different angle so that the shape is more sophisticated and natural-looking than just a triangle with straight sides.

bean bag chicken

Once you’ve gotten the hang of these chickens, you’ll find that they sew up quite quickly. They make great presents, and since you’re using a varied combination of fabric scraps and stash buttons, each one has its own unique personality!


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How to Make Realistic Felt Leaf Silhouettes

How to Make Realistic Felt Leaf Silhouettes

felt leaves

If you’re in the mood to decorate your home for autumn, there’s no better inspiration than the real leaves right outside!

You can bring them inside and they’ll last for a while, preserve them and they’ll last for longer, or you can use them as templates to make these easy and beautiful felt leaf silhouettes that will last as long as you like.



My kids and I have used both completely fresh leaves and pressed leaves. It’s more difficult to trace an accurate outline of a leaf when it’s fresh, but it does turn the project into one that can be done in less than an hour, instead of one that requires cooling your heels for a few weeks while your leaves are in the leaf press.

Cardstock, Pencil, Scissors, Chalk.

You could trace your leaf directly onto the felt, but I like to trace my leaf onto card stock, cut it out, and then use that template on the felt. It’s an extra step, sure, but it’s much easier to make more leaves using a single card stock template than it is a slippery leaf.


You can go two ways with your felt choice, and both are eco-friendly. Wool felt is a natural material, and Eco-fi, the most readily available type of felt found in big-box craft stores, is a recycled material, made from post-consumer plastic bottles. I own and use both types, although I do prefer the weight of my wool felt for this particular project.

Embroidery floss and needle (optional)

Sometimes, I enjoy embroidering the veins on my leaves.


1. Go out and collect some leaves! Although this makes an especially fun autumn project, you’ll likely want green leaves still on their trees. Give them a look over to make sure that they’re whole, but don’t freak out over small irregularities. One of the things that makes this particular leaf project so nice is that since you’re copying actual leaves, each leaf will be different. None of that militant uniformity that you get from artificial greenery!

2. Press the leaves, if you’re going that route. Even if you don’t put them in a leaf press, you might decide, midway through trying to trace your first curvy, fiddly leaf, that you want to press your leaves for just a couple of hours, at least. Leaves are NOT perfectly flat like paper.

3. Trace the leaf onto card stock and cut out. Felt can hold a lot of detail, so really dig in and try to include as many of the interesting edge details that you can. Cut out the cardstock template, and if you’re into it, now is a great time to stop, ID your leaf, and write its ID on the card stock. That way you’ll know if you’re making a felt red maple or silver maple leaf!

leaf traced onto felt

4. Trace the card stock leaf onto felt using chalk. I like using chalk because it shows up well on felt, can be brushed off or washed off with a little water, and is generally a LOT easier to find than the water-soluble marking pencil that I own but loathe because chalk works so much better.

leaf and cardstock on top of felt

5. Cut out the leaf silhouette from felt. You’ll want fabric scissors for this, and even tiny thread scissors, if you’ve got them. The smaller and sharper the scissors, the easier it will be to capture all the details.

holding cut out leaf

You can simply enjoy your felt leaf silhouettes as-is, or fancy them up with embroidery or fabric paint. You can string them into a garland, or tack them together to make a bunting. Add a loop and use them as name tags on gifts or as Christmas tree ornaments.

What will YOU do with your felt leaves?


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28 Eco-Friendly DIY Fall Wreaths To Make

28 Eco-Friendly DIY Fall Wreaths To Make

spring wreath upcycled to fall wreath

A fall wreath is a festive way to transition your home out of beachy, sunglasses mode and into warmth and coziness, sweaters and pumpkin spice lattes. Check out my list of ideas for fall wreaths that will make you glad that winter is coming!

1. Upcycled sheet music pennant-embellished wreathTransform any plain wreath into a fall-themed one with this easy add-on using old sheet music.

How to Make a Fall Wreath from an Old Wreath Form

2. Burlap and lace wreath. Burlap appears to be THE thing for making a wreath look autumn appropriate, as so many of these fall wreaths incorporate it. Here, it combines with lace and fabric accents.

3. Felt flower-embellished wreathI LOVE this method of making flowers–so simple, so easy to use with any non-fray fabric. You could even do this with cardboard or newspaper!

4. Fresh sage wreathTake advantage of harvesting lots of herbs when they’re fresh, and make a wreath that is both beautiful and useful.

5. Felt leaf wreathYou can cut the leaves for this wreath from either natural wool felt or Eco-fi recycled plastic felt.

6. Paint-edged pine cone wreathThis wreath would make a terrific kid craft, particularly for a club or Girl Scout troop. And it’s super pretty!

7. Wood and burlap wreathYou can saw the wood by hand from any piece of dried wood; I think it looks perfect completely natural, but at the same time I also want to see it with every piece sanded and stained!

8. Paper leavesYou can use any type of paper for this wreath, either choosing out autumn-themed colors or dyeing white paper with liquid watercolors or diluted paint.

9. Bohemian feather wreathYour kid always bringing home found feathers? This is a great way to display them!

10. Corn tassel wreathWho would have thought that the lowly corn tassel could make such a fluffy, fun wreath?

11. Fallen twig wreathGot any fallen branches in your yard? We just had hurricane remnants blow through, so you can be that WE do! You’ve got to pick up your yard, anyway, so you might as well grab the pruning shears and the hemp cord and make yourself this beautiful wreath!

12. Indian corn wreathPut your farmer’s market haul on display in a colorful way!

13. Popcorn kernel wreathWho says that popcorn is only a good decoration for the Christmas tree?

14. Pussy willow wreathSo many wreath tutorials call for fake flowers and greenery when it isn’t really necessary; this tutorial, however, calls for real pussy willow, and you’ll for sure be able to tell the difference.

15. Acorn wreathThis is the perfect natural wreath! Use a cardboard or straw wreath base, and when the season is over, simply toss the wreath into a likely spot in your yard for the squirrels to find.

Nature Crafts for Autumn

16. Candy corn wreathI love the subtle reference to Halloween candy that this wreath makes. Keep it classy with plain colors, or make it more whimsical by using prints in the correct colors.

17. Miniature pumpkin wreathYes, this tutorial uses REAL miniature pumpkins to make a wreath. Get ready to do a lot of wire wrapping!

18. Ribbon wreathDo you find it impossible to throw away ribbon scraps, just in case you find a use for them? You’ll be thrilled to use up your ribbon scraps with this ribbon wreath!

19. Scrap fabric wreathThis particular wreath is made using strips of a drop cloth, so it’s a lovely neutral color, but I don’t mind if you want to go wild with your fabric stash!

20. Scarecrow wreathUpcycld outgrown children’s jeans into this scarecrow wreath that’s a non-scary way to transition into Halloween.

21. Upcycled book page wreathThis wreath is made from rosettes formed from old book pages. It’s surprisingly easy to make, because you can freehand all of the rosettes.

22. Copper pipe wreathIt’s very likely that somewhere nearby–perhaps in your garage, or perhaps in a neighbor’s garage–there are some copper pipe scraps that nobody wants. And copper pipe is the PERFECT color for autumn! I don’t love faux flowers, so personally, I’d embellish this wreath with fall leaves dipped in beeswax, but hey–you do you.

23. Cinnamon stick wreathThis wreath is going to smell amazing!

24. Burlap bubble wreathThis wreath has a different look than the other fabric wreaths on this list–the way that the burlap is tied makes it super cute and puffy!

25. Pine cone wreathI don’t love the idea of using a styrofoam wreath form, but perhaps you have an old one that you can upcycle, or a pool noodle to repurpose.

26. Pompom wreathSince you choose the yarn, you can choose any color scheme you’d like for this pompom wreath.

27. Twig and fabric rosette wreathThe wreath almost looks like a sun, with the twigs as the sun’s rays and yellow rosettes. It’s lovely as is, but you can get a completely different effect by changing out the color of fabric.

28. Yarn-wrapped wreathThis is a GREAT project to use up any yarn scraps that you have in suitable autumn colors.

Have any other great tips for DIY, eco-friendly fall wreaths? Tell me about them in the Comments below!


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How to Sew a Fibonacci Quilt

How to Sew a Fibonacci Quilt

Fibonacci quilt

Quiltmaking is surprisingly mathematical. If you love to sew quilts, then whether you realize it or not, your geometry and trigonometry skills are probably on point!

Why not celebrate how mathematically beautiful a well-made quilt is by making a quilt out of one of the most beautiful mathematical sequences that we know so far.

Let’s sew a Fibonacci quilt!

The Fibonacci sequence, named after the guy who first noticed it, is a series of numbers created by adding up the two previous numbers in the sequence. You’re given 0 and 1, so add them together and the next number is also 1. 1 and 1 make 2, but then 2 and 1 make 3. 3 and 2 make 5, 5 and 3 make 8, and you can just keep going, ad infinitum.

To make the Fibonacci squares, use each of the Fibonacci numbers as the length of the sides of a square–leave out 0, because that doesn’t make a square, of course. Piece them together in a spiral, much like a log cabin quilt block, and you’ll have a Fibonacci rectangle that looks like this:

Fibonacci Squares image CC BY-SA 4.0

Now, pretend that each of these squares is the finished measurement of a quilt block–wouldn’t that make an absolutely beautiful quilt?

We’re going to go up one more number in the sequence, all the way to 34, because that’s the last number in the sequence that you can make from one continual piece of yardage. Here, then, will be the finished measurements of the quilt pieces that you’ll need:

  • 1″
  • 1″
  • 2″
  • 3″
  • 5″
  • 8″
  • 13″
  • 21″
  • 34″

I used a quarter-inch seam allowance on all of the pieces, so add a half-inch to each of these measurements when you cut your quilt pieces.

You will also need the following:

  • one 34″x55″ piece of backing fabric. I backed this quilt with nothing but another piece of quilting cotton, and I am in love with how light it is. Not every quilt has to be warm enough for winter–some quilts are destined for summertime naps on the couch!
  • double-fold bias tape. You can make your own double-fold bias tape, but I buy mine from Laceking on Etsy.
  • cutting and sewing supplies.

1. Pre-wash, measure, and cut fabric pieces. Don’t forget to add 1/2″ seam allowance to each measurement!

2. Piece the quilt. This Fibonacci quilt is easy to piece–just follow the above diagram, adding each piece in numerical order of its measurement. Be very strict about your 1/4″ seams, and iron after every seam. I like to use a walking foot when I sew quilts, so if you’re struggling to feed your fabric evenly, that might be worth checking out.

Fibonacci quilt

3. Put the front of the quilt with the back, wrong sides together. Pin it as much as you can stand to!

Fibonacci quilt

4. Sew double-fold bias tape all the way around the quilt. Miter the corners as you go to save time–I really like the first method shown in this video.

Fibonacci quilt on sewing machine

When you’re finished, you’ll have a lovely, light summer quilt that’s both aesthetically and mathematically beautiful:

Fibonacci quilt hanging on fence

Interested in more cool math activities? Check out my list of even MORE fun Fibonacci sequence stuff!

Or maybe you’re just into modern quilt patterns? I’ve got you covered on that, too–check out this round-up of ten more modern quilt patterns that you can sew!

Now get back to your sewing machine and get going!


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