Craft

11 Super Sweet Valentine’s Day Gifts You Can Make On The Cheap

You don’t have to spend a fortune to show you care.

February 14, 2017

5 DIY Easter Ideas

Five charming do-it-yourself ideas to transform your Easter into the perfect unique event.

RELATED: Enjoy Low Calorie Treats This Easter

Whether you’re time-poor, hunting for craft ideas for the kids or just want a quirky touch to make your house a little bit more festive, we’ve found an awesome Easter idea for you.

1. Ombre Easter eggs

Ombre has been one of the biggest trends in the last 12 months, influencing everything from hair colour to wedding cakes. So naturally, we swooned when we saw this trend applied to an Easter table setting.

Start by lining up six glasses, filled three quarters full of boiling water. Mix two teaspoons of white vinegar in each glass and stir thoroughly. Then, add two drops of coloured food dye to the first glass and double the number of drops in each glass so that the first is a light colour and the last glass is a dark hue.

Submerge a hard boiled egg in each glass for five minutes or until you’re happy with the colour. Dry it off in an empty carton and continue with remaining eggs to make an ombre egg table setting.

Easter, DIY, Craft, Easter Eggs, Bunting

Image via Country Living

 2. Paint card bunting

We love this easy cheat idea to making gorgeous rainbow bunting in ten minutes!

Simply head to your local hardware store for mini sheets of paint colours. If you have left over paint cards from past renovations use those to avoid waste.

Print out an egg shape or use a cookie cutter as a mould. Trace the shape on each paint sheet and carefully cut out each bunting shape. Punch holes at the top and string each egg in order of colour and voila- easy rainbow Easter bunting!

Easter, DIY, Craft, Easter Eggs, Bunting

Image via Modern Parents Messy Kids

3. Rainbow eggs

Using a pin, prick a small hole in an egg and empty out the contents for cooking. Set aside the empty eggs and wash them so they’re ready for display.

Using different shades of embroidery thread, use a hot glue gun to secure the end of the thread at the bottom of the egg and slowly wind the thread around in a circular motion. Brush a thin layer of glue on the egg every now and then to secure the threat so it sticks tightly to the egg base. Change the colours to your liking and display in a bowl with chocolate eggs.

Easter, DIY, Craft, Easter Eggs, Bunting

Image via Craftberry Bush

4. Stylish bunny ears

Who said bunny ears had to be white and fluffy? We love this stylish variation on classic rabbit ears. Twist two long pipe cleaners into the shape of long bunny ears. You might need to use more pipe cleaners and secure them to form one fish-like shape.

Then, wrap tulle around the pipe cleaner ears and glue to secure. Tie the end of the pipe cleaners around a plain headband and decorate the tulle with rhinestones as desired. Done!

Easter, DIY, Craft, Easter Eggs, Bunting

Image via Crave Naked

5. Mini egg planters

Create mini terrarium-like planters using left over egg shells. Use a knife to carefully crack the egg in half, keeping the shell in tact. Simply pour some soil into the shell and position some small succulents or moss in the planter. Arrange your mini succulent pots in the empty cardboard egg carton and there you have it- a quiky DIY easter garden.

Easter, DIY, Craft, Easter Eggs, Bunting

Image via Country Living

March 31, 2015

3 Easy Steps To Becoming A Better Crafter In 2015

If you love nothing more than unleashing your imagination on a host of art projects and producing an array of wonderful crafts, you might be looking for ways to perfect your skills in 2015. Often, simple ways of improving are overlooked, so here’s how to up your game in three easy steps.

RELATED: Join An Etsy Craft Party

1. Think about your materials and tools

Whether you enjoy etching, painting, crocheting or quilting, it’s essential to look at your tools. Even the most skilled professionals would struggle to make a decent picture with a frayed paintbrush or a cushion out of threadbare material, so choose your equipment carefully and update where necessary. With a wide range of artistic products available online from sites like Homecrafts you’ll find everything you need and more to become a better crafter with high-quality quilling paper and beautiful oil paint being just some of the items on offer.

Moreover, make sure you have everything you need before starting a certain project as you don’t want to run out of wool halfway through knitting a scarf, or run out of bees wax during an afternoon of encaustic art. A bit of forward planning will help you stay organised and allow your artistic talents to flow undisturbed.

2. Research and talk to like-minded people online

No matter how many ideas you have running through your head, it’s always a good idea to carry out a bit of research before committing yourself to an art project. Sure, you might have been knitting for 20 years but with a wealth of patterns, techniques and ideas available via Pinterest and other online community sites such as Ravelry, you might just come across something that piques your interest. What’s more, interacting with likeminded people could also fuel your passion for arts and encourage you to try new and more adventurous things such as crocheting a tablecloth instead of a coaster, or using decoupage to cover a large desk rather than a small jewellery box.

As well as research and finding new ideas, talking to experienced crafters online can also help you overcome artistic hurdles or offer essential help and advice if you get stuck. If there’s a certain stitch you can’t master, for instance, seeking advice from someone who’s done a similar project can really help.

3. Brainstorm, experiment and get out and about

Are you stuck in a rut doing the same old thing time and time again be it cross-stitch, clay-modelling or etching? If so, it might be time to get out and about in search of new ideas. The internet is a great way to fuel the mind but sometimes it’s good to catch some fresh air, visit new places and look for different perspective and approaches. UK art museums are ideal for crafters as they display some of the best work in the world but there’s no harm in just picking up a sketchpad and going for a walk. You might come across something so beautiful that it just has to be painted and that could get your next art project off the ground. Don’t be afraid to brainstorm, to experiment and to make mistakes as this is how many people learn.

There are many ways to hone your skills and become a better crafter, but following these three easy steps will certainly set you off on the right track.

December 3, 2014

The Loom Band Craze

Rainbow loom bands are the latest kids craze to sweep the stores and online market. They are small coloured rubber bands which are plaited together using a rainbow loom and plastic crochet hook. As well as being affordable and a whole lot of fun, there seems to be more to this new kids craze than meets the eye, so we’ve decided to take a closer look.

What’s available

Rainbow loom bands can be purchased in kits and their contents varies. Most have a loom weave tool, hook and assorted coloured bands. Colour varieties include rainbow, silicon, opaque, glitter, glow in the dark, jelly and tie-dyed. Some kits include C-clips or charms. The travel edition is perfect for car or plane travel.

Cognitive and social development

Kay Margetts, Associate Professor of early childhood, primary education and development, at Melbourne University, believes that loom bands are excellent for children’s cognition of patterns, spatial awareness and fine motor co-ordination. Margetts also commented, that loom bands have a unique quality as they attract both boys and girls, which is unusual with craft activities.

Zoe, Adelaide mother of 3, step mother of 1, agrees, stating, ”It’s good for the kids minds and gains ability to focus and accomplish something they can finish. The boys will sit there for a while making them. It seems to get their minds thinking and as the boys love their footy, they will sit there for a few hours making (supporter coloured) wristbands.”

Emmy, aged 13, of Paringa Park Primary School, in a beach side suburb of Adelaide, supported the fact that boys are into loom bands too, saying, “ The boys wear simple ones, in their sports colours.” Unlike some Victorian schools reported in the Sunday Herald on April 1 and Sydney schools, discussed on 2GB on June 24, Paringa Primary has not enforced restrictions on wearing or making loom bands, although they have ruled against sales.

Emmy went on to provide an excellent perspective of why kids enjoy them. “They (loom bands) are really easy to make, they look really cool and you get a really good feeling when you finish one.” When asked what can be made, she suggested, “bracelets, necklaces, rings … anything you can think of really.” Even though she has only been making loom bands for about a month, each night as she watches TV, it only takes her around 15 minutes to finish a bracelet.

There seems to be other benefits coming from loom bands as well. According to Emmy, “kids are making loom bands to sell at fundraisers … we swap them and give them to our friends and stuff”. In this modern era of autonomy, knowing kids are getting involved in their wider community and exhibiting valuable social skills, such as sharing; it seems the benefits are far outweighing any negatives. Although parents are now having to budget for loom bands in their weekly shop, it seems well worth the reasonably small investment many parents are now making.

Prices and warnings

The prices of the original rainbow loom bands start at $2.50 for an individual packet of 600+ rubber bands. Starter kits are $15 and storage cases, around $25. Travel cases are under $10. Parents need to be aware that counterfeit versions are available but only the Rainbow Loom brand is guaranteed to be safe, non-toxic and meets professional toy standards.

Image via ecx.images-amazon.com

By Kim Chartres

July 15, 2014

Join An Etsy Craft Party

On June 6, Etsy will host its annual Craft Party, a one-day global celebration of meeting and making. Every year, people from around the world come together on the same day in locally organised Etsy Craft Parties to create art and inspire each other.

This year’s theme is Recapture: Bring new meaning to your photographs. The parties will aim to breathe life and art back into treasured family photos and potentially memories of strange haircuts and bad outfits.

Craft Parties are being planned all across Australia and the public can register for an event by heading to the following: http://bit.ly/1j0zlJn

Etsy, craft, craft party, arts and crafts, events

May 31, 2014

5 DIY Gift Ideas They’ll Really Love

So often in the frantic pre-Christmas chaos we can get caught up in the ‘spirit of giving’ and end up shelling out for some socks and scented candles that no one really wants. So why not get your Martha Stewart on and add a personal touch to the festivities by making your own gifts. We’ve found five ideas that are ideal DIYs for the time poor, or those on a tight budget. They’ll create the homemade touch this Christmas, without having to learn to crochet, cook or craft.

Seasonal gin
Not only is this super quick and easy to do, it looks great, and being a bit boozy – is a sure winner. All you need in a bottle of middle range gin (which are all on sale at this time of year), frozen cranberries, a cinnamon stick, a couple of oranges, some sugar, a big jar and some little ones (old coffee jars work well). Fill about a fifth of your big jar with frozen cranberries and add the cinnamon stick. Then with a potato peeler, peel ribbons of rind from your oranges and place in the jar too. Dissolve a few heaped tablespoons of sugar in the gin, and pour into the jar before topping up with the remaining alcohol. Leave to soak in a cool dark place for a few weeks. Just before Christmas, sieve your mixture and decant into smaller jars. Look for individual gift jars that are between 300-400 ml; as most bottles of gin are 700ml this means you can easily make a few gifts from the one bottle. Add the rind and a few berries into the individual jars for decoration and add a label or ribbon to finish it off. Come Christmas day, it’s a beautiful liquor to drink with lemonade.

Fabric-covered diary or notebook
For anyone super-organised or a bit arty, a diary or notebook is always a popular choice. Individualise the gift by making a creative covering. All you need is a notebook, a measure of fabric, strong double-sided sticky tape and whatever other crafty touches you like (ribbons and buttons are always good embellishments – but remember to get some fabric glue). Lay out your book on top of the fabric and measure around it, adding a 2cm boarder and cut. Then add the double-sided sticky tape about the inside covers along the boarder. Much like laminating school books, fold the fabric over and attach to the sticky tape. Voila, a personalised notebook.

Flowerpot
A living gift is a sweet and homely present that will keep on giving for as long as the new owner keeps it watered. Buy a small plant, such as a herb or flower and plant in a basket or even large mug. Decorate with a Christmas ribbon and you have yourself an unusual, homemade gift. Chives and basil work perfectly for anyone that loves to do some cooking, otherwise, Peace Lilies or orchids make stunning homewares.

‘Homemade’ mince pies
Mince pies are a Christmas tradition, but making them from scratch is a Herculean task that I’m sure not even Nigella actually does, and in the immortal words of the internet, ‘ain’t nobody got time for that’. Luckily, you can get the homemade feel, without having to torture yourself making pastry or fruit mince. Buy a few sheets of sweet, shortcrust pastry and some nice fruit mince – which helpfully, is sold almost everywhere at this time of year. Defrost the pastry slightly so it softens and cut out circles to fit your muffin tin. Add a dollop of the mincemeat (the fruit), and cut out and pop on a pastry lid. You can get decorative with the lid, using star shapes, lattice or the traditional full-flat cover. Brush over a little egg wash and sprinkle with sugar, then bake. It could not be easier! Little tip, if you want to add an extra kick to this Christmas treat, add a splash of brandy to the fruit mince and serve with cream. You’ll be everyone’s favourite.

Brandy marmalade
This one is a tad more fiddly, but super impressive and definitely worth it. Thinly slice about four large oranges and a couple of lemons (rind included), cover with about five cups of water, glad-wrap and leave to soak overnight. In the morning, heat the fruit mix in a heavy bottomed saucepan on high until the rind is tender. Add warmed sugar (about one kilo) and stir until dissolved. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 50 minutes. To check it’s ready, add a dollop to a cold (refrigerated) plate, then return to the fridge for five minutes. If after that five minutes it’s runny, it’s not quite ready, but if you push it with your finger and it wrinkles, you’re set! Remove from the heat and add a hearty splash of brandy then distribute evenly into sterilised jars (remember, hot marmalade into hot jars or cold into cold jars).

What are your favourite DIY Christmas gifts to make and receive?

Kate H Jones is a lifestyle and pop culture writer at Clavicle Capitalism.

December 16, 2013

How to Sell on Etsy (From a Successful Etsy Seller!)

We’ve been huge fans of Etsy from the beginning, whether it be for finding unique gift ideas, or for supporting local, handmade products that you won’t find in the shops.

If you’ve ever thought of becoming an Etsy seller and sharing your crafty items with the world, read on. We chat with one of Australia’s most successful Etsy sellers, Amy Ta of Seventh Tree Soaps, to find out how she started her Etsy store, her tips on how to succeed on Etsy and her other favourite Australian Etsy stores.

When did you start Seventh Tree Soaps, and what were you doing before?
I had been floating in and out of various administration jobs over the last 15 years. Jumping from one to another, I was always unsatisfied, full of confusion and despair about what I wanted for myself and my career. In the Spring of 2012 I had become tired and weary and I hit a crossroad. It was either do nothing and go on a downward spiral or take a leap of faith and follow my dreams of running my own business and be the author of my own fate.

Opening an online soap store was an incredibly risky move. I used every waking moment to develop my idea into something that would hopefully turn into a success. I decided to open my business on New Year’s Day, a small but significant reminder for me of the possibility of chance and new beginnings.

What made you decide to start a vegan beauty business on Etsy?
I had been making vegan soaps for myself and family for a while before I opened the Etsy store. Bathing in a sea of chemicals and animal fat seems abhorrent to me.

Why are vegan products important to you?
Over the years, I have become more conscious about the cascading effects of my day to day actions on the environment. Recycling, reducing waste, consuming less animal products and greening my environment had been incorporated into my daily routine. Making the change to a more vegetable-based lifestyle was a simple and sensible choice.

What are your 3 top tips for someone thinking about selling on Etsy?
1. Think about your products as a brand and not merely individual items. Create a store that is filled with products that you love and bring together as one whole experience.

2. Photography is key. Take the time to know your camera and learn the settings. If you are dealing with smaller items, it helps to use macro settings. Your backdrop and props should also compliment but not overwhelm the hero item. Flash can be harsh and wash out colours, try to use filtered daylight as much as possible. It also helps to think about how your products fit into a prospective buyer’s life and photograph the item with these core elements in mind.

3. One of the things that I love about Etsy is that it connects people from all corners of the world. There are an abundance of people who have loved ones living across the country or world from them. Shopping for gifts online is an easy and less expensive way to send gifts of gratitude. Create an environment in your store to enable people to do this easily. i.e. offer gift wrapping options and gift sets.

Where do you get your inspiration for new products from?
I am inspired by Mother Nature. My soaps reflect the rich colours and shapes of flora and fauna. The serums and balms have been developed with family and friends in mind.  

What are your other favourite Australian Etsy stores?
Ena and Albert – gorgeous, eclectic and colourful clay jewellery.

Whimsy Milieu – whimsical, quirky and unique jewellery, homewares and prints.

Epoch Co – hard to find, unique vintage wares.

Emma Leonard Art – beautiful, feminine, evocative water colour prints and sketches.

What’s coming up next for Seventh Tree Soaps?
I am currently developing a fragrance-free and baby-friendly range of products.

Do you have an Etsy store? Tell us about it in the comments below!

November 11, 2013