Category Archives: Tutorials

Square lampshade redo

In my quest to finish my little man’s big boy room, I decided to add a few more projects to the list.  One was a new lamp that was more fitting with the rest of the room.  This idea started when I saw this lamp shade at a thrift store for $3 and a recollection of the 20,000  tutorials to recover a lampshade. Interestingly I never found a tutorial for a square lampshade, so here’s my stab at it!

While I pulled some ideas from a few of them, I followed the tutorial from shanty 2 chic the most.

I started by cutting down a seam and then carefully removing the outside layer of fabric (Keep the liner on). Try to keep the fabric all in one piece as that will be your template for your new fabric.  Good thing I read the tutorial before attempting this, because I’m totally that girl who just rips everything apart and then tries to figure it out later.  You’ll end up with just the lampshade skeleton

Because my lampshade was square, and my fabric didn’t have much give to it.  I ended up cutting 4 pieces and sewing the edges together.  This was different from all the other tutorials I had seen. I added 1/2″ of extra fabric all around my previous fabric template before cutting it out. Then just ran a stitch connecting all 4 sides. I trimmed the excess fabric off about a 1/4″ from the seam to make it less bulky and allow it to look more smooth.

Place the new fabric over your lampshade skeleton. (sorry for the bad lighting.  Some project are done best at midnight!)

I used my cameo to add an acrylic barn red-painted stencil of the number “10” to coordinate with my little man’s decor and vintage car theme. I was afraid that it would have been too hard to paint this once the fabric was on the lampshade, so I chose to do it before.  I don’t know if I would bother doing it that way again.

I placed the new lampshade over the skeleton.  Using E-6000 and clothespins I stretched the fabric, glued with e-6000 and held in place with clothespins.  Oh I should mention that I cut all the corners at a diagonal (essentially cutting the bottom corner off) to make the fold over and gluing much easier and again to make sure it laid smoothly on the lamp shade.  I clipped the top of one side with clothespins to hold it in place, then glued and clipped the bottom.  I did each side then waited a few minutes before moving to the next side.  I did all 4 sides on the bottom of the lamp shade before tackling the top.

To finish it off I added my own DIY bias tape to the top and bottom of the shade using excess fabric cut into strips long enough to wrap around the bottom and top of your shade.  Fold over a side and iron, then fold over the other side iron.  Wrap around the bottom of the shade and use e-6000 to glue on.

This little project inspired me to make my own lamp, and night stand too.  Stay tuned, you might even see little man’s vintage care themed bedroom reveal yet this summer?!


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Filed under Before/After, DIY Projects, Gift of Thrift, Tutorials

Duct tape beach bag {no sew tutorial}

As the calendar flips over to June, I start thinking about heading to the beach with the family.  One of my favorite things I’ve made thus far, and an essential summer must have, is a Duct tape beach bag that I designed and created last summer.  The inspiration for the project came after one of our window screens needed to be replaced, and I just can’t throw ANYTHING away.  I was in need of a beach bag.  I got thinking if I used screen, maybe there would be less sand in the bag (one downfall of the beach…I hate how sand gets into everything at the beach).  I also thought I could make a BIG bag, a as there never seems to be a bag big enough.  I created several different sizes.  The medium bag

and the Extra Large bag

Lucky for you, I’m featuring a tutorial for you to make your own.
Roll of Window Screen
3 rolls of pretty duct tape (available in lots of different colors and designs)
cardboard (or other hard material to reinforce the bottom of the bag)

1. To start you need to decide how long the straps should be.  I’m pretty tall so I wanted some crazy long straps so I could cross it over my chest and carry it (since there is usually a kid on each hip).  An easy way to determine your sizes are to take a tape measure (sewing kind) and hang over your should the way you would carry a beach bag.  Now add an inch to both ends (to allow space to attach to the beach bag).  This is the measurement for your straps . Cut a strip of screen that length, by 2 inches, then 2 strips of Duct tape the same length (double it for 2 straps)

2. Place one piece of duct tape  halfway over the screen (about 1 inch in)

3. Then fold over.  Repeat steps 1-3 for the second strap.

4. (Optional) Add a layer of tape over each side of the strap (I’ve made both with and without this step and both straps are durable).

5. Now onto the bag portion of your bag.  The front and back of the bag are made from window screen.  You’ll need 2 pieces of screen the same dimensions.  For each piece you are going to run a piece of Duct tape around each edge of the screen and fold over ( pretend you are making a 1 inch hem around the outside edges of the screen)

6. On both the inside and outside of each screen and a strip of tape on which ever side will be the top of the bag.  This strip will be to attach the straps to.

7. On the side of the screen that will be the “inside” of the bag I placed the straps about 2 inches from the side edge of the bag. To attach the straps I placed a small piece of tape on the ends of each strap just to place it on the bag.

8. Then I ran a strip of tape go over the top of both straps all the way to the edge of the front panel.  When attaching layers, I always tried to go around the edge and fold over for added durability to make sure the tape didn’t peel with excessive use.

Repeat steps 5-8 with the other piece of screen to make the other panel of the bag.

9. The next step is similar for both the bottom and each side panel.  The bottom and both side are made with Duct tape (no screen).  Start with the bottom.  Typing this tutorial is getting tricky because there are so many  lengths, widths, and depths to think about.  For these next 3 sections, the length of the bottom is equal to the measurement across the top of the screen panel (where straps are attached). Cut strips of tape the length of the bag.  Overlap the tape each time by 1/2 inch.  Repeat this until the bottom panel of tape is 6 inches wide. (or however wide apart you’d like the front from the back).  The width will be the same measurement for the bottom and both sides.

10.  Place both front and back screen panels on either side of the bottom panel of tape.  If your bottom panel is taped to a counter top or other surface remove it to place over the edge of the front and back screen panels.  Run a strip of tape to both edge to keep the panel in place.  (Ignore the fact that both screen panels don’t have tape around the edges in this next picture.  I forgot step 8 when I was taking these pictures.)

11.  Flip over and place a piece of cardboard to cover the duct tape bottom panel.  The cardboard will be placed on the inside of the bag and help to reinforce the bottom of the bag.

12. Repeat the step 9 by layering tape over the cardboard to create the inside bottom of the bag.

13. Run a strip of tape down each side from end to end and fold over.

14.  The sides are really tricky.  Keep the front and back panels flat so the top are on opposite ends, with the outside of the bag facing up.  Run 3 strips of tape and  layering 1/2 inch (similar to step 9), but this time run it the entire depth of both the front and back panels. (I’m not sure why my bag is flipped over in this picture.  The sticky side can remain facing down).

15.  Similar to step 9, cut strips the depth of the front panel.  The depth measurement is the measurement along the side of the screen which will be how deep the bag is when it’s on your shoulder.  Again, overlap the tape strips 1/2 inch until the side panel is 6 inches wide.  Flip over the entire bag and repeat to cover the sticky side of the tape.  WARNING: Duct tape sticks to itself really well.  You might want someone to help you place the layer over the sticky side so you don’t crinkle your side panel.

16.  You’ll need an extra set of hand for the next few steps.  Lift the bag so the top of the front and top of the back are lined up.  Line up the side 6 inch side panel of tape with the outside edge of the opposite panel (remember the long strips of tape that you have from step 14.  Line the double sided panel up inside the sticky edge of the tape on opposite panel). Fold the sticky side of the tape over the double side panel to attach the front to the back.

17.  Fold the bottom edge of the side panel (like you are wrapping a present) up toward the side of the bag and run a horizontal piece of tape.

I ran a few vertical strips of tape down the sides of the bag after everything was attached just to help secure the tape and prevent any splitting or tape edges from rolling.

Repeat steps  15-17 for the other side panel and you should have one fabulous beach bag.

I know this sounds a bit tricky, but I swear it’s really not that bad!  Good luck.  You’ll love the Duct Tape beach bag with screen panels! Not only is it super cool, the sand sifts it’s way OUT of your bag, and it’s pretty durable (what can’t duct tape fix)?!

If you have any questions along the way feel free to email me!

Linking to these fabulous parties:
Sugar Bee Crafts, Home Stories a to Z, Not Just a Housewife, Todays Creative Blog, The Kurtz Corner, Carolyns Homework, Salt tree, Bowl full of Lemons


Filed under DIY Projects, Tutorials

Preserve your wedding gown on the cheap {DIY}

Your wedding gown is often revered as a prized possession that many women dream of and then cherish forever.  Thus the bridal industry has found ways to scam thousands of dollars from hopeless romantics to make every details of your wedding a huge budget breaker. I found ways to rebel against the industry and make my wedding a gorgeous day without breaking the bank (For a series of DIY thrifty wedding ideas go here).  Four years later, I’m still finding ways to save money on my wedding.

I did the unthinkable after our wedding, as do many brides.  The day is over and you hang your dress up in your closet with every intention of cleaning it or selling it, or deciding what to do with it, and end up totally forgetting about it.  Four years later you pull it out to create something wonderful (stay tuned) and realize that there are a few stains and spots on your dress.  Eeek, will they come out? Well thanks to google I found a few ways to keep my cleaning expenses down by doing it myself.

My dress was made mostly from satin with a sheer overlay with embroidery.  Here’s a few pictures of the dress for your reference

As you can see the train was sheer with embroidery around the bottom and up the back.  Here’s a close up of the bottom of the sheer layer

The bodice had some beadwork

I did my research and talked with a few friends.  One friend used to work at a dry-cleaners where she said 90% of all wedding dresses can be turned inside out and put in the washer on delicate.  I also had read about some techniques to get stains out of different fabrics.  Here is an article I read and followed most of their suggestions.  Based on my inspection of the dress, most of the “dirtiness” was on the bottom hem of the train.  As they say wedding dress trains act like dry mops, and mine was no exception.

I started by hanging my dress from a hanger into the bathtub.  I filled the bathtub with warm sudsy water.  I took a mild brush and went around the hem doing some spot scrubbing to get the dirt out.  I then drained and rinsed with clean cool water and let hang to dry for at least 24 hours.  When it was completely dry I inspected again.  I actually used some watered down stain removers on several spots.  I used both Shout and OxyClean.  (Make sure to test on an area the won’t be very noticeable incase they aren’t meant for your fabric).   Again apply the watered down spot remover to stains with a gentle scrub brush, or tooth-brush.

Then I did exactly as my friend suggested (Most of my dress was made from polyester based fabric), I turned my dress inside out to prevent any beads or delicate lace from catching, and placed into our front load washer.  I used a gentle detergent and placed on delicate.  To dry I hung in the bathtub for another 24-48 hours to make sure it was fully dry.

I repurposed my dress into something wonderful (stay tuned), but I have also read that if you want to preserve it, it’s best to use white tissue paper or anything that will not leave an acidic residue on the fabric.

As you can see from the pictures above, it cleaned everything pretty well.  Was it 100% perfect, no but it was about 90% better and saved me almost $200 in cleaning.

Linking to:
Bowl full of Lemons ( I never thought I’d link up to a cleaning category, but I guess there is a first for everything!)


Filed under DIY Projects, Gift of Thrift, Tutorials

Tissue Paper Wall Art

I had seen this technique years ago when a friend printed pictures of her kids on to tissue paper and glued them onto tiles as coasters.  I thought I’d try the same technique for some wall art in my bathroom.

For this project you’ll need:
tissue paper (I used white)
Mod Podge or similar adhesive
paint brush
plain white printer paper
Scotch tape

Pearlizing Medium
polyurethane spray

To start find an image or clip art online that you want to print.  Play with your print settings to make the image fit the page. I ran a test print run on regular paper a few times until I got the size that I wanted.  Then, using the scotch tape, tape the tissue paper onto the plain computer paper making sure not to cover any of the area that will be printed with the tape. Again you might want to have a few extra sheets of tissue paper handy in case they tear or smear.

Carefully remove the tissue paper from the computer paper.  Brush a thin layer of Mod Podge onto the blank canvas and lay the tissue paper print over the top.

Cover the top of the tissue paper with a thin layer of Mod Podge.

The ink color was a little too drastic for me so I added a layer of Americana Pearlizing Medium.  This tamed down the ink colors, and gave some depth to the texture of the tissue paper.

Then because I was curious, I painted some Mod Podge around the print and added a little sand for even more texture.  I like it on the sand dollar, but not so much on the coral. Oh well, can’t love them all, right?! To keep the sand on the canvas and not all over my bathroom floor, I sprayed a layer of Polyurethene to put a clear finish on it.

Hang and enjoy!


Filed under DIY Projects, Tutorials

Tulle flower tutorial {Sewing}

In an effort to add some accessories to the tulle ruffle skirt, I decided to create a few tulle flowers.  One I sewed directly to the onesie that is worn with the skirt, and a few others have made their way onto headbands.

To begin, cut strips of tulle (mine were 4″ by 12″).  Fold in half a couple of times lengthwise to add some fullness to the tulle.  Then run a straight stitch right down the center of your folds.

Gather the tulle by tightly in the middle by pulling one of the threads on both ends.  (For a more detailed tutorial on this see my ruffled skirt post).

Then cut a small circle from felt (ideally the same color as the fabric you intend to attach it to).

Using the gathered tulle, wrap around in a circle and place on the felt in a circle.  I went around the outside first and had 3-4 more rounds of tulle to work inwards.  I placed one pin through the middle of the tulle and felt just to hold in place.  Then hand sew the felt to the tulle, making sure to only go through one layer of the flower at a time (Otherwise you get a flattened flower look).  I apologize there isn’t a picture of this, I simply didn’t have enough hands when I was doing this!

Finally hand sew (or use fabric glue) to attach the felt to the fabric of your choice!

These are really cute with a layer of satin or other festive fabric too!


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Ruffle newborn skirt tutorial {Sewing}

If you read my Lesson in Recovery, you may be aware of my desire to sew, but fear in inadequacy.  I have since been practicing and stepped it up a notch to make my first little girl outfit.

The inspiration for this outfit came from a sales rack at Babies R’ Us where I saw an adorable ruffly dress sewn to a onesie.  With a sale price tag of $17 I knew I could create something just as cute with the fabric I had.  Of course I can’t find a picture of the original dress, but here is something similar that was available online with a price tag of $34.00 at

I did pick up a 1/2 yard of white satin fabric (at 40% off of course) for $3.00 to make this, the rest of it I had. Thanks to the help of my friend who is helping me convert my wedding dress to a baptismal gown, I learned the art of gathers, which I prefer to call “puckers.” So I used that skill and a few different colors of tulle to make a little tulle ruffled satin skirt for my newbie.

I apologize for my lack of pictures in this post, I got a little caught up in making it that I forgot about capturing the process.  If you have questions, feel free to comment below and I’ll do my best to walk you through the steps 🙂

To begin I cut 6 strips of tulle, 6 inches wide by 16 inches long. The length should be about double the width of the skirt.  Then fold the tulle strips in half and in half again so I had a double thick fabric to create fuller ruffles.  Then I ran a straight stitch down the center of my double thick tulle strip.

Make sure to keep your threads long on either end of the stitch.  You will not see this stitch, so don’t worry if it’s not straight.  It just needs to go through all of the layers.  If you have some really uneven edges, take a scissors and trimmed them in line with the others to make it a little cleaner looking.

Next on both ends of the tulle take one of the threads and pull, gathering the tulle toward the middle.  Make sure to do it evenly on both sides.  On my skirt the gathered tulle strips needed to be about 8 inches long.

For the base of the skirt I used white satin so it would be soft and smooth on my newborn’s skin, but most knit fabrics would work too.  I cut the satin into  two 8″ x  8″ pieces  Because satin is a fabric that frays very easily,  I ran a 1/2 straight stitch hem along the side edges just to prevent the edges from fraying while I was working on it.  On the top and bottom I ran a 5/8″  straight stitch to prevent fraying.  Then I folded over and pinned for a 1/4″ hem.  I should note that since this was a newborn skirt I was simply attaching the skirt to a onesie, so I didn’t need to add an elastic waistband.  If you plan to do so, you’d want to make sure to add a channel and run the elastic through the waist line too.

Now the fun part.  Take all those gathered tulle strip and pin them onto the skirt. You’ll want to make sure the gathers are somewhat even or all your ruffles will be to one side. (I took this picture before I decided against the brown, same process though).  I pinned the ruffles with my pins pointing up and down so that I can sew over them rather than pulling the pins. It helps to make sure everything stays in place.

Over each strip your going to run a straight stitch hem, with back-stitch, directly over the first straight stitch in the tulle to adhere it to the skirt.

The final piece is to turn the skirt inside out so rights sides are facing together.  Pin an angled side seam to create the skirt. I used a zigzag stitch on the side seam.  Then trim down the edges (about 1/4″ to 1/2 inch from the seam) and turn right sides out.

Because I wanted my accessorized onesie to be used with other outfits, I hand-sewed snaps to attach it to the inside of the skirt.

And there you have it.  Stay tuned for another tutorial on creating ruffle tulle flowers and accessories. Granted my time is invaluable, but this project cost me less than $8 and I have plenty of supplies remaining to make other fun girly stuff. In fact the tulle is still left over from our wedding!

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DIY Baby Wipes on the Cheap

Being that I’m a new mom, baby wipes are used frequently in this house.  A friend gave me a gift basket with my first child with the ingredients and recipe to make my own baby wipes.  I decided to pull out that baby and make a few batches today.

Roll of Paper towel
2 Cups of Water
2 Tablespoons of Baby Wash
2 Tablespoons of Baby oil (or olive oil works well too)

Begin by finding a container to fit the diameter of the paper towel roll (this might be the hardest part of this project).  Cut the paper towel roll in half using a non-serrated knife.  A serrated knife kind of mangled the paper towel, but it was all I could find when I was ready to make these.  You can see the mess it makes.

Place one of the cut paper towel rolls into the container and add the remaining ingredients.  Let set until the roll has absorbed the liquids.  Remove the cardboard tube from the center.  Pull the wipes from the center of the roll for use.

Turns out one roll of paper towel (which is about a $1/roll or less if you buy in bulk) makes about 400 wipes.  The oil and baby wash are about $2-$3 each, but with only 2 Tablespoons per batch you can make quite a few baby wipes with each container.  Best yet the wipes are super soft without any chemicals on your baby’s bum!

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