Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Medal Finisher

So, my youngest sister has made a personal goal to run either a half or (eventually) a full marathon in each of the 50 states.  While she has run quite a few half marathons in our home state of Pennsyltucky, her only other states are Tennessee and soon-to-be Ohio.  She needs to get on that goal ! From doing each half marathon (and always kicking butt) she receives a participation medal.  Along with the medal, she has her bib as well.  What to do with these memorabilia from each race?  You could scrapbook the bibs with some photos, and throw the medals in a keepsake box, but why not display them?  I've noticed on my sister's Pinterest page (Oh, thank you Pinterest) that she has pinned a few bib/medal holders like this one:

I decided to give it the ol' DIY try and make my sister one of these for her birthday.  This was a trial and error project, with lots of trial and lots of errors.  Bare with me while I try to explain.

Tools Needed:
  • Paint brush
  • Drill
Materials Needed:
  • Paint color of choice
  • Alphabet stickers (color of choice)
  • Mod Podge
  • Sand paper
  • Mug and/or cup hooks
  • Rectangular plaque
  • Some sort of frame hanger (I had these lying around)

The bad and the ugly

I first purchased a French corner wood plaque from Michael's craft store.  The size was 11x14 inches- a perfect size for words and hooks.  I painted it with craft paint I had around the house.  Then, I used my Cricit (I seriously love that thing !) to cut out the word "Runner" with sticker paper.  I stuck the stickers on the painted plaque and then, the first error hit.  As I went to paint over it with Mod Podge to give it a nice shiny seal and finish, the letters got soggy and started to peel up AND the Mod Podge was going on clumpy (I guess that's what you get when it is 12 years old).  So I hurried and peeled off the letters and smoothed out the Mod Podge.  I had to paint over it again to help smooth it out.  It worked!  Then I figured, I'd use a clear sealing spray paint and then put new sticker letters on it.  My spray paint came put clumpy as well !!  That was it.  I gave up and decided to start over.  No salvaging it now.

How bad was it?  So bad that I didn't even bother taking a picture.  I've saved your eyes from the horribleness of it all. 

The good

I went back to Michael's (coupon in hand, of course!), and sadly, they were out of the French corner plaque, so I just got a regular rectangular one.  It's just a little less fancy, but the size is still perfect.  I mixed up my paints again and painted it a pretty blue/teal color. 

Once it was dry, I sanded the edges to "frame" the plaque.  I think the sanded edges gives it a nice look, especially on the French corner plaque version that didn't turn out so well. 
(Picture from first attempt with French Corner)
After the edges were sanded and the paint was dry, I took white letter stickers and placed them near the top.  I eye-balled the letters to make them centered.  A ruler could help with this.

Once I smoothed on the letters as best as I could, I took my NEW Mod Podge and gave it a nice clear coat.  No clumps this time!  For the hooks, I used cup hooks for the bib part and the mug hooks for the medals.  I took one of my smaller bibs as a guide for where the holes should be.  I took a pencil and marked the holes. 

Then I used a drill to start a tiny hole for me to screw in the cup hook.

Not every bib will be exactly the same size, so you may end up needing to hole punch some of the bibs to hang properly.

After that, I made seven holes for the mug hooks.  I decided to stagger the hooks to give it a different look, but you could make the hooks in a straight line as well.  Once the holes were started, I just pushed and twisted the hooks until they were tight.  

To make it hang on the wall, I used a ruler to draw a straight line for my saw-toothed frame hangers.  I nailed both in and voila.  Done !

I tested it out with some of my medals and bibs and it looks AWESOME !

My sister loved the gift and it is currently hanging on her bedroom wall...already pretty much filled up.  Go Em !

What other ways do you display sports memorabilia? Shadow box? Shelves?

Now you can Do It Yourself, Too !


Friday, June 13, 2014

Crate Expectations: An easy storage solution

Hello !  It's been a while !  Our little one has been keeping me very busy with, you know, eating, sleeping, pooping, and playing.  It's so exciting being a mommy !  I love every minute of it.

I have been doing some DIY projects around the house, here and there, but I've been very bad about blogging about them.  One that I finished recently is a bookshelf made from crates.

As I looked around our living room, with baby stuff here and there everywhere, I realized that I have no "baby stuff friendly" storage.  I needed a spot to throw his toys and books and other little things like teething rings and whatnot.  I knew I wanted something "cube" like and small to fit under our bay window. We used to have a wicker basket trunk that sits in front of the window.  Not too baby stuff friendly.  I started looking where every person now looks: Pinterest.  I found some ideas and figured that using some crates would be the perfect solution !

I purchased my crates at JoAnn fabrics.  Each time my husband or I were near JoAnn's, we would pop in with a coupon and get a crate.  Each one ended up being about $8, so around $32 for all the crates.  Could I probably have found them cheaper? Sure.  But with a kid in tow and not a lot of time on our hands, $8 per crate was a good enough deal. 

We had some leftover stain from the desktop that my father-in-law made a couple years ago and I had a sponge brush, so the only other things that I purchased were mending brackets to fasten the crates together.

First, I sanded the crates.  Some parts of the slats were a bit rough and I didn't want to risk any splinters.  Next, I painted each crate and let them thoroughly dry.  The stain does have a strong fume-y smell, so outside is best to paint and let dry.  Just make sure it doesn't rain!

After they were done drying, I used a drill to screw the mending braces on the backs.  Make sure to do this on an even surface and have someone nearby to help hold them together while you fasten them.  I used three big square ones at the top, bottom, and middle, then the smaller ones on both sides.  I also put furniture pads on the bottom so they don't scratch the hardwood floors and to give them just a teeny boost off the floor.  

When fastened together, accessorize !  I used my Cricut to cut out the word, "BOOKS."  I just taped them to the back with regular ol' scotch tape.  

Eventually, once Kevin is crawling, I will attach the shelf to the wall so that he doesn't pull it down on top of him. Aaannd, the plants will probably have to go as well.  Oh, baby-proofing.

I love how they turned out and they perfectly match the IKEA furniture that we have in the living room.  They are also a very functional piece of furniture for baby stuff.  There is one bad thing.  Our dog, Stout, would put his paws on the old wicker basket (which used to be there before the crates) to look out the window.  Unfortunately, he hasn't quite taken to the crates and is a bit skeptical of the new setup.  I'm sure he will figure it out soon enough so that he can continue his squirrel watching.  

These would look great in a playroom or nursery, painted in bright colors.  If anyone tackles that project, please share your after pictures ! I'd love to see them !

Now you can Do It Yourself, Too !


Friday, February 7, 2014


With our baby quickly approaching, as well as Valentine's Day, I found this bottle cap holder an appropriate gift for my hubs.  After all, he just purchased a beer making kit which I'm sure he will be putting to good use.  While I could have purchased it, I figured I'd DIY it.  Except for the slit at the top, it was fairly simple to make.

I purchased a shadow box, white letters, and sticker paper at Hobby Lobby.  Make sure to buy two packets of letters.  I forgot to count out how many letters I would need and didn't have enough 'E's', so I had to make a quick (and yes it was actually quick) trip back to Hobby Lobby.

First, I used a pencil to draw a box/slit on the top of the shadow box.  Make sure that it is big enough for the bottle caps to fall in to.

Then came the hard part - cutting the slit.  I'm sure if I had the right tools, like a certain dremel or drill bit, this would have been a lot easier.  However, I don't.  So I had to use some creativity and muscle.  I started off with a box cutter.  I repeatedly cut along the long ends of slit until the cutter went the whole way through.  This part wasn't too hard.  Then came the little sides.  This was hard since the box cutter blade is much bigger than the sides.  I used the box cutter as a starting point to make a small indent.  Then I ended up using a drill with the smallest screw bit I had to make little holes.  Then I took a flat head screw driver and a hammer and gently pounded out the piece of wood.  Phew !

After that, I actually had a pretty nice slit.  I used some brown paint I had around and painted the inside so that it blended into the shadow box.  The hard part is over !

Then I taped some looseleaf paper onto the inside to help me keep my sticker letters straight and centered.  I started from the bottom and worked my way up with the words.  It helped to have an exact-o knife (I have a scrapbooking one) near by for when I needed to pull up the sticker.  Also, don't stick it down the whole way at first.  The letters stick well to the glass and it is VERY difficult to remove the sticker once it is pressed the whole way.

For the beer mug at the top, I free-hand drew the mug on white sticker paper, then used my scrapbooking exact-o knife and slowly and carefully cut it out.  Then I stuck it up top above the words.  I think it looks great !!

What "pub-friendly" decorations do you use?

Happy Valentine's Day !

Now you can Do It Yourself Too !