Monday, February 29

Cardboard Coasters with Washi Tape DIY

The most ubiquitous of things that can be trashed at home, are corrugated cardboard boxes and pieces of cardboard that come with products.

I dream of seeing such cardboard get compressed and carved into sturdy designer furniture some day. Until then, it is about wracking my brains about what can be done with those beige-brown pieces that invade our household lives.

About three years ago, Vidya Nair of Whatsurhomestory blog showed a radically different idea for wall decor. She used newspapers on a canvas and gingko leaves as glued brush strokes for her seasonal decor. I have been enamoured by her effort to this day, and it is one of those inspiring projects that prompts me to come up with ideas - mundane and unique for cardboards.

This time I decided to do away with the idea of buying coasters for home, and picked up cardboard pieces that come with our home delivered food.

It's that typical project for a lazy afternoon.

What you need:

-- Cardboard pieces that are sturdy
-- Washi tape of different colours
-- a paper trimmer
-- a pair of scissors
-- a marker pen for decorating cardboard edges
-- another thin marker to draw curves at corners
-- a guide curve (I used the plastic opener of a wet-tissues sachet)
-- optional, glue or Gorilla glue in case Washi tape does not stick
-- optional, is a ruler

Place your cardboard pieces alongside between the flap of the paper trimmer and its base, in such a way that you can cut them in the same size.

Place the base of your palm over the rotary blade cover, cup it and move it over the cardboard pieces in swift vertical movements a few times. The cardboard pieces get trimmed to your desired size. If you see them cut a little unevenly, use a pair of scissors to trim off.

Use the plastic guide-curve piece to mark out curves along the corners of these pieces using a ball-point pen, pencil or a fine tip marker pen.

If you have a corner rounder, nothing like it. But you can use a pair of scissors to shape off the corners into elegant curves.

 Now pick up the Washi tape and use it to decorate the beige coasters.
The tape may not stick well at times, which is why you need to keep some extra glue handy.

I have used the tape to entirely embellish my coasters.

I used a blue fine tip marker pen to outline the edges partly.

The cardboard coasters are ready - super quick and simple to make at home. Until after I was done with the colour combination, I did not realize that it resembers sea, foam and sand in its own unique way.

Enjoy your cup of tea or coffee with the earthy pieces.

Pictures courtesy: Radhika M B

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Monday, February 22

Wine cork stamps and key chain DIY

When you pop out the cork from a wine bottle, you know not what can happen with the one inch cylindrical piece. Obviously it goes to trash

I did so too, and tried to figure out for long what can be made out of those little tubes of no significance. Bless the thousands of people posting their ideas online, and I picked up and idea or two for wine corks lying around at home.

When you collect a good number of corks, it is possible to make coasters and art pieces out of wine corks. With one or two, you can experiment with other smaller crafts.

I tried making wine cork stamps and a key chain with left over material of the cork pieces.

This five minutes' project needs few items:

-- a sharp edged craft knife

-- wine corks that are in fairly good shape

-- stamping ink

-- marking pen or pencil

-- for the keychain, a key ring

-- jump rings among jewellery/jewelry findings

-- jewelry pliers

-- plain paper to try the stamping design out

For a start, mark out a desired shape on the side of the wine cork that is not too damaged with your pen or pencil. Use the crafting knife carefully and carve the shape out. It may be noted that carving tools are available for corks. But with some skill, you can use the pen knife too. It was my first experiment, so I stuck to the knife.

I made two designs on two similar pieces, that posed their own challenge, such as, uneven and bumpy surface...

The idea was not perfect pieces, but pieces that would have a good effect on paper. Here is the inked cork stamp, ready for use on paper.

And here is how they turned out looking on paper.

Note that with cork, you will need some extra pressing and tilting of the stamp for the shape to turn out fine on paper. Use this for patterned designs to make gift wraps, or decorate bookmarks, or mark your books with a standard signature...

I decided to make use of the side of my cork pieces that were left unused for the stamp. And used the knife to cut discs. The disc came in handy to make a keychain charm.

All that I needed was, jump rings, a tiny plastic o-ring, with the keychain ring and jewellery pliers.



And here is how it turned out after I fixed the jump rings - one to the cork which had a hole already, and another to the ring.

And the wine cork accessorized keychain is ready for use.

A single wine cork can come in handy as not just an accessory, but useful for other little needs too.

 Try your hand at wine corks from old wine bottles. Or corks that come with other containers. The stamps will be useful for your kid's school projects, or your own crafting projects around home.

As for the keychain, it adds that earth-friendly feel to your vanity bag or wallet! Or simply gift them all to a friend.

Pictures courtesy: Radhika M B

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Sunday, February 14

Burlap or jute earrings DIY

Often I have gawked at intricate earrings made of burlap or jute cloth at craft fairs. I wondered how anyone could think of making earrings with a cloth that I grew up watching, holding household groceries such as rice, sugar, salt and the like by bulk.

Jute or burlap has come a long way from its modest storage option days. It is today a style statement, a fad that projects you as that earth friendly person, or maybe conscious about nature.

On a boring evening, I decided to experiment with burlap myself. The result is not awe inspiring. But it is a handy pair of jewellery I will use with some clothes.

You do not need much for this project.


-- a pair of scissors

-- jewellery pliers, and cutters

-- tacky craft glue

-- Burlap or jute twine

-- embellishments - cloth flowers or sequins

-- ball point headpins and fish hooks - jewellery findings

-- a plastic water bottle cap and a pen or pencil

-- a piece of consumer cardboard lying around home

Firstly, I used a water bottle cap to mark out a circle on the piece of cardboard I had.

The cardboard I had pulled a layer of paper out from, to roughen its surface.

Next on, it was about using the jute or burlap twine on the cardboard. I used sufficient glue over the marked circles. Make sure you glue one circle, let everything dry, and then move to the next one.

I let this dry for an hour. And repeated the process over the other circle. I marked the circles close to the corners so that cutting would prove easy.

And let this set dry well.

After the discs have dried well, time to cut the cardboard. There are several methods to hook jewellery findings to these. One of the simplest that you can try without the use of fancy gadgetry, is to leave a little cardboard over one end to give it the shape of a teardrop.

It was time to prick a hole each in the protruding corners of these tear drops.

And fix the findings. In this case I experimented with ball pin findings that are not normally used in such a variety of jewellery.

While the set was drying, it was all about getting the pieces hooked with fish hook findings. And also embellishing with cloth flowers.

My pair of burlap earrings just got ready. Am waiting to use them as soon as possible before someone  likes them more.

As of now, they proudly sit on my workstaion.

Try out something as simple as this, and you will soon find yourself experimenting with more - burlap at that.

Pictures Courtesy: Radhika M B

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Monday, February 8

DIY mini golf set for your workstation

Ever tried your hand at workstation game? I had a habit of folding bus tickets into tiny folds and hit them a couple of inches like a carrom board coin.

The most classic of them all is the Newton's Cradle, but today we have office desk basket ball, mini nine pins, desktop snooker, Rubik's cube.

Office desks and workstations are a world in themselves. Their look and feel reflects the nature of a corporate office and at times its hierarchy in variations, despite the mundane nature that has come to define all things corporate in the current era.

You can jazz up your office cubicle in many ways. It does not matter if you are start-up, self employed struggler or a top management person in a multi-billion dollar corporation.

An office desk game to distract your eyes and brain briefly from those stress-inducing emails and phone calls, is one such option. Here is an example of a golf set that you can make with things around home to use at your workstation.

It is low cost and worth your time.
What you need:

-- a tray base: I used a wrapping case that came with a gadget purchase (You could also try the lid of a shoe box, or an old tray around home that you want to discard. Make sure it has edges to contain the felt sheet)

-- green felt sheet that fits into the container

-- a crochet needle 

-- a large bead that rolls well

-- a styrofoam cup, or another throw-worthy container that you can use scissors on

-- a pair of scissors or a craft knife

-- marker pen or pencil

-- optional - ice-cream stick/popsicle stick/ craft stick

-- optional - tacky glue

-- optional - a ruler

Am saying tacky glue is optional because, if your base is the right size with good edges that will not let the big bead or tiny ball roll off the board, you can always stick the felt to its base. I decided to make this not as a serious golf set or a toy set to learn the game's rules, but simply as something to take the anxiety off someone's workstation time.

As for me, I did not worry too much. I picked the styrofoam cup and marked out a U-shape to cut. In my head, I could not forget those little hiding holes of Jerry in Tom and Jerry series.

And it is to help mark the shape of U out that the popsicle stick comes in handy.

Next on, it is about cutting it along of course. 

When you cut this hole, make sure your bead/ball goes in easy.

I kept it aside. And cut the sheet of felt to fit into the tray. This is a no-fuss project and I did not prefer decor of any sort, lest it clutter the desk space.

Remember, when you fix the sheet on the base, there is a bit of trimming, and rounding off that you will need to do depending on the corners of the walls.

You will also need to even out the felt sheet over the base. Here is where the tacky glue comes in handy in case you want to glue it up on to the tray. In case you stick it through, try roughing the base a little to let the surfaces stick better.

If you want a hilly terrain for the golf holes, you can use a lump of cotton here and there under the felt sheet. I decided otherwise to avoid a mess.

After this, invert the styrofoam cup where the U-hole sits perfect on the felt-sheeted tray.

And, it's time to play! If you want the ball to roll better, you may try out a smoother surface - maybe a green coloured sheet of construction paper. 

This one does not have a hole on its base, unlike a normal golf course would. If you want a hole on the base, an option is to raise the felt base using cotton or packaging styrofoam below it, cutting a hold big enough to fit the bead or tiny ball, and using a tiny bowl from a doll kitchen set.

Try and think of other objects that can come in handy for the piece.


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