Friday, September 27, 2013

How to make your own invitations!

I play around a lot with graphic design in my projects, especially since I've started doing things with weddings. I didn't think I wanted to include graphic stuff on this blog since I'm not an expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I've had a couple of people ask so here goes.

I was thinking about buying a printable invitation from Etsy for my sister's bridal shower so I looked and looked and I found one I really liked! Being as cheap as I am I decided to attempt to make it myself before committing, since it was mostly just made out of cool fonts and clever spacing.

This is how it turned out.... Pretty good if I do say so myself.

Last night I also made up her Bachelorette party invitations. I decided I would make them again myself because, again, the one I really liked wasn't all that complicated.
Don't get me wrong, if you want to do anything more complicated than clipart, lines, and cool fonts you should probably just go ahead and spend the extra $15-20 dollars a personalized digital file would cost, after all its still cheaper than ordering them out. I have friends that are graphic designers and they can do amazing things that I couldn't come close to recreating.

ANYWAYS I neglected to take screen shots when I was making this invite so I decided to throw together a little sample invite so you all can see the basic idea behind it. This was my inspiration.
 Things you'll need:

All you really need is a computer and access to the internet. Having a ruler handy also doesn't hurt so you can glance at it and see how big things are on a real life scale, not just on the screen.

In order to actually produce the invitations you'll also need a printer, cardstock (I like 5 x 7, but you can play around with size if you want), and envelopes (whatever size your cardstock is make sure you get envelopes that are just a bit bigger so the invites can fit without folding them).

Here is what I use all the time
5 x 7 Cardstock (its a little textured which I like, I usually use white but there are different color options)

Envelopes that fit the 5 x 7 cardstock

Step 1: Open up Publisher (I know there are tons of other programs out there that are probably wayyyy better but this is what I use so you'll have to deal with it!) and create a custom page size equal to the size of your cardstock (in this case 5 x 7).

Step 2: Look on Etsy, Pinterest, Google Image, whatever floats your boat until you find something (relatively simple) that you like. Then minimize your screen and put your Publisher program and your "inspiration" side by side for reference.

Step 3: Do the background details first. For the bachelorette invitation I started with the big pink background, for this invitation you'll want to make the chevrons first. (I didn't show it but both of the invites I did for my sister had different types of chevrons on the back......needless to say I love a good chevron). The way to make a chevron pattern is to use the rectangle tool and make a rectangle about the relative size you need. Then copy and paste that rectangle and angle it so that it forms a 90 degree angle like the picture below. Then you're going to highlight both items (use your cursor to make a box around them) and then group them (there should be a shortcut that pops up once you highlight them both, if not you can go to Arrange > Group or hit ctl, shift, and G at the same time).

Once you've grouped the rectangles you'll want to copy and paste again and connect the single chevron at the bottom. (when connecting the shapes you may want to use your arrow keys and "nudge" them rather than just moving them with a cursor)
Rinse and repeat until you have a line long enough to cover the distance you need.
Next you're going to want to group this whole line together, copy it, paste it, and arrange the new line right below the first so it starts the pattern.
Keep grouping, copying, and pasting until you have what you need (its ok if it hangs off of the page like this, it wont print the extra).
Step 2: Time to make the green line. I just went into the basic shapes tool and found something that looks like it would make a similar line. I made the shape and, like with the chevron copied and pasted it until it made a full page line.

Then I just grouped the whole thing together and moved it up so it just barely cut off the bottom chevron line.

Step 3: Next you'll need some clipart to add. This is where things can get tricky. Sometimes I find cute, good, free clipart I can use on google images but you have to be careful about what you pick, you want the background surrounding your image to be transparent, not white (unless you're doing a while background in which case, go for it).

For example, if you go to any old google image, copy it, and past it onto your document its going to look like this
And that's no good. You want the background of the image to be transparent. Look for images that have checker boards in the background, that means that the image background is transparent.

It might take you a while to find what you're looking for, or you might find it and you have to pay some ridiculous membership fee to get it. In that case I suggest going to Etsy and searching for clipart there. Most files are $5.00, you can keep it forever, and the background is transparent like you need. Just as an example I found the kids in costumes on there, it was $5 and it downloads instantly, no wait at all.
Since this was just an example I didn't actually buy the clipart, but you'll get the general idea with the pumpkin. (If you DO use downloaded clipart make sure you go to Insert > Picture > From File and bring your clipart in that way, don't copy and paste or else you'll get that white background).

Step 4: Look around for fonts you want to use. Pinterest is a good place to search for cool fonts but Google is also pretty effective. I just googled Halloween Fonts under Google Image and it came back with these

I googled the font name, downloaded it to my computer, added it to my fonts (under control panel > Fonts....just drag and drop) and there you go! (You may need to save your document and re-open it in order for new fonts to show up).

Then its just a matter of word placement and color!

This was my final product, I did it in about 15 minutes (even with all the screen shots)

Its not the greatest, but you get the general idea.

All that's left is to print them onto the cardstock (change the paper option from letter to 5 x 7 borderless under print options). If you want a back, just open up a new 5 x 7 document and create whatever you want on the back, whether it just be a solid color, polka dots, chevrons, stripes, whatever you want and just flip the originals over and print on the back (I would suggest paying attention to how your printer feeds the paper so you don't print over your hard work!)

That's it! I know that was kind of long winded, but its really easy once you get the hang of it!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

How to turn fun prints into canvas art

As I mentioned earlier I am a HUGE fan of Etsy. For one there are so many talented people making money off of something they love to do and I think that's awesome and two that's where I poach a lot of my designs. If I were stealing their ideas, copying them exactly, and trying to sell them I might feel bad about it but mostly I just use them for myself or for gifts so I don't lose any sleep over it.

I love to make things but I am TERRIBLE at coming up with original ideas or designs. For example I saw this cute little print on Etsy and decided it would make a perfect gift for a friend who's pregnant!

I went and bought a few 12x12 canvases at Joann's (50% off of a three pack with my handy dandy couponing skillz!) and got to work. Like I said I'm not great at original ideas but once I have a basic outline, I make it my own.

Things you will need:
- A canvas (whatever size you want)
- Computer
- Printer
- Chalk
- Pencil
- Paintbrushes
- Acrylic paint in desired colors
- Optional: A bottle glass of wine (it takes a while, you may as well enjoy yourself)

Step 1: Paint your canvas using your "background" color. You will need to do at least 2 coats and probably more depending on how you want it to look. For this project I wanted a streaky night sky so I only did 2 coats. If you want it to be solid you'll need 3 or more.

Step 2: Design what you would like to make in a program like Publisher. In this case my canvas was a 12x12 so I made a blank 12x12 page and recreated the Etsy print using a font I wanted and a graphic I found on Google Images. I liked the general idea of the print, but I wanted to make it more child-like so I used a cartoon moon and played around with the fonts. When I was done I printed them out and cut them out so that I could arrange them how I wanted on the canvas.

Step 3: Using chalk, color all over the outline of the wording and the picture, then place the picture where you want on the canvas and trace over it with a pencil. This will leave an outline on your canvas (there will be some extra chalk dust on the canvas, but don't worry you'll get rid of it later).

Step 4: Fill in your tracings with paint, whatever color you want. This goes for the font too. I would suggest using a smaller, longer brush and holding it like a pencil, it gives you more control over what you're doing. This step takes a while, I like to listen to audiobooks while I work, it makes it go by super quick!

Step 5: Once the paint has dried you'll need to get rid of all of the leftover chalk dust. Take a barely damp rag and wipe it over the canvas, make sure to get in the cracks. And TA DA! No evidence left that you're a copy cat rather than a real art-ist!

Step 6: Add the little details you want. I added the stars free hand and put a face on my moon. The details are where you can make it (kind of) your own creation, so go nuts.

Step 7: Stand back and admire your masterpiece!

You can do this with pretty much anything you want so you'll never have to lust over that Esty print you just have to have again!

I plan on doing another canvas themed "you are my sunshine" to go with this one, I'll post pictures of the pair once that one is done too.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Transferring fonts (and a sneak peek at Halloween!)

Last night I found the perfect Halloween costume idea for my boyfriend and I. Its simple, inexpensive, and SO. MUCH. FUN! We're going to be characters from Guess Who (that awesome board game I hope everyone got the chance to play as a kid). Best of all it was something I knew I could do SUPER easily.

I didn't finish the whole thing, that will be another DIY in and of itself once I figure out how I want to do it, but I did start it. And while I was working I figured I would share my secret to hand painting such perfect (and by perfect I mean not at all perfect but it looks better than my chicken scratch so lets roll with it) fonts on different projects I've done. For example on the Bachelorette Jeopardy game I just made, or the bunting I did for a bridal shower. Its really easy to do and I promise it will change your life!

Once you know how to do it you can put fancy pants font wording on pretty much whatever you want... paper, posters, wood, foam boards, your boyfriend.... you get the point.

First things first, you need to experiment with your wording, how big does it need to be? What kind of font do you want? You can download lots of free fonts from the internet, but just be careful about where you get them from, you don't want any viruses (obviously). After you've done that you can start.

Things you'll need
- Printer
- Computer
-Pen or Pencil
-A Project you want to write on
-Paint pens (use the appropriate width depending on the size of the writing you;ll be doing)

Don't mind the hot sauce. It has a permanent place on our dining room table because Grizley Adams eats it on everything. In fact I think he brushes his teeth with it.

Step 1: Print out your wording at the size you would like. Then go ahead and cut around the words so you can handle it more easily.

Step 2: Arrange the wording as you would like it to appear on your project.

Step 3: Trace the lettering with a pencil or a pen. This is going to depend on the material you're writing on. If its wood or paper I would suggest a ball point pen where you can really use some pressure. Since I used foam board with this project I just used a pencil. You want to make sure you push down hard but not so hard so though you'll rip through the paper. Once you're finished remove the "stencil".

Step 4: Use a paint pen to trace the outside of the indentation marks left on your material. Then all there is left is to fill them in!

And the finished product looks something like the picture below. Except this was a little sloppy so....hopefully yours is better! Seriously though guys this trick opened up a whole new way for me to do things, I really suggest you try it!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

How to make hand painted wine glasses

About 2 years ago right around Christmas I was looking for an inexpensive, but really cool gift idea for my friends and family. I was drooling looking at things on Etsy (another of my favorite inspiration websites... I really don't know how people functioned before Etsy and Pinterest) and I saw really cute hand painted wine glasses.... and then I saw the $35 each price tag. I thought to myself "I can do that".

Let me be clear I am in no way shape or form an artist. I can't draw or paint or even make a straight line without some guidance, but I am really good at copying things and tracing. I played around with different paints and methods and I finally got it down to a science. That Christmas I made SO MANY and everyone loved them.

Here are some of the glasses I gave as gifts. The one at the end was for my sister's bridal shower.
These make great gifts and they're really sturdy, you can put them in the dishwasher and use them as much as you want, I haven't had mine chip any paint off yet.

I saw some really cute glasses on Etsy that I wanted to make as an engagement gift for friends of mine and the design is really simple, so I wanted to share my tried and true method of hand painting wine glasses.

What you'll need:
-Alcohol (to clean the outside)
-Paintbrushes (I use really cheap ones from Joanns, nothing fancy)
-Enamel Paint (I use Folk Art Enamel the value pack is awesome it comes with I think 32 colors)
-Sharpie or black pen
-clear cassarole dish (for tracing)
-Flashlight (I actually use my LED flashlight on my phone, it works better I think)

Step 1: Figure out what you want to put on your glass and find a picture or font that you want to use. I always go to Google Image and look for _________ clipart because this is something you're going to need to trace, don't pick anything too complicated. Print out your pictures/font at the size that you want (you may need to play around with sizing a bit)

Step 2: Put a flashlight under an upside down clear cassarole dish and turn it on. Put your printed photo on top of the dish and a blank piece of paper on top. Trace away. (You might be thinking that you should skip this step and just tape the picture to the inside, but trust me...some things don't look that good when you trace them, which means it won't look good when you trace/paint them either...better to find out before you start painting on things).

As you can see I tried multiple drawings for the lips...Grizley Adams told me that the original looked like someone's nasty chapped lips, so I tried a couple of different ways
Step 3: Cut out your traced photos (the smaller they are the easier they are to shape to the inside of the glass) and tape them on the inside of the glass.

Step 4: Clean the outside of the glass with some alcohol. You want to make sure it sticks. Then take a SUPER TINY paint brush and trace the outside of the drawing.

Really small brush!
Step 5: Once you have it traced fill it in with all the colors you want. You WILL need to do several layers of paint. Don't try to just glob it on there, it will get chunky and nasty and look gross. The enamel dries pretty quickly so you can do the next coat about 10-15 minutes after the first. That being said go from top to bottom and left to right so that you don't smear anything.

After I taped the Mr over the mustache I decided I didn't like the font, so I changed it.
Step 6: Keep painting layers, a good rule of thumb is hold the glass up to the light, if it shows all kinds of light coming through you need more layers.

Finished product!

If you mess up its really not a big deal! Its paint on glass so its pretty easy (at least for about 10-15 minutes) to scrape anything you don't like off with your fingernail and wipe off with a little bit of alcohol. Voila! All better. I put a period after the MR and centered it at first and once I got it on there I decided I didn't like it so I scraped it off and started over again.  No harm no foul.

That's it! Let it dry for about an hour and then bake it in the oven for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees. That will seal the paint and you're good to wash it (there will be tons of fingerprints all over it when you're done so it'll need a good wash).

Start simple and don't freak out if you make a mistake, its easily fixable! I like to listen to audio books while I work, it keeps me occupied.

Good Luck and Happy painting!


Hey everyone, welcome to my nifty blog! I've never blogged before (unless my angsty high school livejournal posts from 10 years ago count.....) so you'll have to bear with me as I get used to everything.

I'm Shaina and I have a problem. I am seriously addicted to pinterest, do-it-yourself projects, and anything crafty. I've always loved being creative and making things, but recently I find myself doing projects at least every other week.

This is probably because so many important people in my life are doing huge, life changing celebratory things all at the same time! My sister got engaged about a year ago and, as her maid of honor, I was responsible for her bridal shower which looked pretty amazing if I do say so myself (thankyouverymuch). Now as her wedding fast approaches I'm helping her do a lot of things like the programs, favors, and OF COURSE the bachelorette party! My cousin (who's really like a sister and best friend) just got engaged and my good friend and college roommate just asked me to be a bridesmaid in her destination wedding in Guatemala next November!

Always a bridesmaid and never a bride you say? I appreciate the concern but I've snagged a pretty great guy myself. (I'll call him Grizley Adams because he is currently growing out a beard....which I am not a fan of but hey, I pick my battles). Grizley has hinted that there may be something nice and sparkly in my future so he may make an honest woman out of me yet. We have a furry baby, his name is Percy and hes an adorable, obnoxious Pomeranian.
His full name is Percy Eugene Drew-McClaugherty....we thought a small dog needed the largest, nerdiest name possible.

Here are some pictures of some of my favorite projects I've finished... unfortunately I don't have any step by step pictures or directions to accompany them, but that's why I'm starting this blog! So many people ask "how did you do that?" and so this is for all of you! Enjoy!

Rough draft of a Bachelorette Party invitation I made

Favors at my sister's Spring themed Bridal Shower- Handmade "Meant to Bee" Honey Jars with custom labels

Happy birthday cake with petal icing and mini bunting

From Miss to Mrs handmade bunting over the food table at my sister's bridal Shower

Bachelorette Jeopardy: A drinking game