9000things DIY Decoupage Bottle Tutorial

This DIY upcycle project is a perfect way to use up those empty glass bottles you’ve got around the house! (Because, let’s face it: wine.)

DIY-Wine-Bottle-Upcycle-Tutorial---9000things

1 DIY Decoupage Bottle Kit from 9000 things includes the following materials:

1 recycled bottle (de-labeled and ready to go!)
1 brush
1 jar of decoupage glue/varnish
1 sheet of French decoupage paper
*We get our paper from a fancy French company that specializes in this stuff. These papers are thin, flexible and incredibly strong, they are deep dyed and glazed so they won’t run, break apart or tear while you are working with them, and they don’t fade.

DIY Decoupage Bottle Kit - 9000things

Instructions:

1. Paper prep: Start by tearing a strip of paper off the large sheet, make a few strips. (If you like the pattern of the paper this will allow you to keep some of the design on the bottle). Laying the strips next to each other in order. From one strip tear into smaller pieces.

DIY Decoupage Tutorial - 9000things DIY Upcycle Project - 9000things DIY Upcycled Bottle Kit - 9000things

2. Now that you have a collection of torn pieces of paper, it’s time to glue!
Working quickly, brush on a thin layer of glue onto a section of the bottle . Glue should be evenly spread and just enough to see a little white color, you do not want to have any pools or drips of glue. Too much glue will cause creases and bubbling.

DIY Upcycled Home Decor - 9000things DIY Project For Empty Wine Bottles - 9000things

3. Use the same paint brush to pick up a piece of torn paper – to save you getting any glue on your hands. You can tear up all your paper beforehand, or use scissors if preferred!

4. Place the paper onto glue section of glass, and smooth out the creases by applying another layer of glue over the top and gently pushing. Sometimes I use my finger to smooth a stubborn piece into place.

PRO TIP! If you have trouble with creases or bubbles, don’t paint over the paper until the glue on the back has dried. This will minimize bubbling and wrinkling.

DIY Wine Bottle Upcycle Project - 9000things DIY Tutorial Decoupage Bottle - 9000things DIY Recycled Wine Bottle Tutorial - 9000things

5. Continue adding your paper cut-outs until the bottle is completely covered. Overlapping pieces slightly. Fill in any small gaps with scraps.

6. Then leave it to dry for 1-2 hours. You can apply a second thin layer of glue on top to add a protective coat, the glue dries clear.

TA-DA! Your finished bottle is ready! Will it be proudly displayed on your mantle, hold freshly cut wildflowers on a window sill or will you wrap it up with a pretty bow for a lovely handmade gift?

DIY-Empty-Wine-Bottle-Upcycle-Project---9000things

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Represent.Us Faux Newspaper

Check it out:

I spent the last two days putting together this fake newspaper for Represent.Us
I’ve been volunteering in the 435 Project, an activist movement to fight the corruption in the U.S. Congress.

I’m part of the MA District 7 team (including Cambridge) and we put together this hilarious satirical newspaper for an event on April 12th called “Representation Day.” The idea is to question where our tax dollars go, and whether our Representatives work for us, or for large corporations who donate billions of dollars to election campaigns.

And you all know how I feel when the little people get screwed! Small business power!!

Presenting, The Washington Roast!

The Washington Roast satirical newspaper for Representation Day - by 9000things

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DIY Quick Hand Drawn Lettering / Typography

Hand Drawn Typography : Hand Lettering - 9000things

I use a lot of hand lettering both in my design work and on my blog.

It’s easier to control the mood when you DIY it, rather than trying to scour the web for hours looking for the perfect hand drawn typeface. Plus, I just can’t keep up with all the copyright options and when I can and can’t use a font for private versus public use… etc etc…….

And it takes way too much time to formally translate your handwriting to a useable font – one that you can type with in Illustrator or Photoshop.

SO, I have this quick and dirty method which I’ll share with you here! First, you should have a rough idea of the wording you want:

DIY Typography draft - 9000things

Looks terrible! I know! But at least I have an idea of what I want to say.

Now break out the iPad or other tablet, stylus ($10 – awesome investment) and a drawing program. I use neu.Draw, but I’m sure there are a lot of great options out there. You’re going to want a program that can save a vector drawing or pdf. If you don’t have a tablet, you can use your smart phone! If you don’t have either, then you may be able to get away with the brush tool in Ai, but it’s not going to be as easy.

Hand Drawn Typography in progress - 9000things

Here’s the fun part: Start writing out your text and repeating letters over and over until you think you’ve got one or two of each character that will look good. It looks weird – like how a ghost talks. “Disssplaaayyyyy!”

Now export that file as a pdf and get it over onto your computer and into Adobe Illustrator.

DIY Typography import - 9000things

Hello Ai! In Illustrator you can see all of the points that make up your vectors. These are very easily manipulated which can be fun, but mostly I just want to smooth out my lines a little bit.

See how many anchor points there are? Neu.Draw does this for some reason.

DIY Typography vector points - 9000things

Let’s simplify! From the top menu bar: Object > Path > Simplify

DIY Typography object path simplify - 9000things

You’ll come up with a couple of sliders, and you can push the curve precision to 98 or 99% and still cut the number of anchor point to about one third of the original.

DIY Typography simplify - 9000things

Those steps are optional. I just prefer the way that the smooth lines look and with fewer points, it will be easy to make small corrections in curves.

So now that we have nice looking single letters, making words is as simple as dragging the letters together! I kern by eye as I go – nothing special, just whatever looks right.

*Note that at this point that letters are probably made from more than one line, and each line is an individual object. To get the lines to bond together, select each linein the letter (“E” is made from 4 separate objects) and group them with the shortcut ⌘ + G.

DIY Typography nudge - 9000things

The word “JEWELRY” has two “E”s in it, so I used the same character twice. The shortcut to do that is hold Shift+Alt and then click and drag. That will make a copy and pull it over, keeping it in line with the rest.

Ta da! I didn’t bother normalizing the text sizes because I actually like the way it looks!

DIY Hand Lettering Tutorial - 9000things

Cool, no?

With this next one, we’ll even out the sizing. Here, I used hand drawn bubble text. It can be really difficult to maintain consistent line widths in bubble text. Here’s the cheat: In neu.Draw, first draw out your letters. As you can see, I’ve been using a thin and elongated alphabet. Next group the objects and lock the layer. Now you can trace the outside of the letters and when you’re done, delete the locked layer!

Back to it! Here all the letters have been dragged roughly into place:

DIY Typography normalizing size - 9000things

Looks sloppy, doesn’t it?

You can resize by eye, but you’ll likely end up with graduated sizes, either getting smaller or larger as you approach the end. Bad bad! Instead, drag down two guidelines to use as the upper and lower bounds for your letters.

To pull a guide line, click on the ruler at the top of the window in illustrator and drag your mouse down. A thin cyan line will appear. It’s perfectly straight and can be locked, unlocked and cleared in the “View” menu. If you don’t have rulers at the top and left of your screen, ⌘ + R should do the trick!

DIY Typography guide lines - 9000things

If you want to get fancy, switch the settings to “Snap to point” in the “View” menu and then stretch or shrink your objects one by one until they click into the guides.

Or you can eyeball it… I did this one freehand.

DIY Typography resize - 9000things

Looking better! The beauty in hand lettering is that it is implicitly imperfect, so you don’t have to fuss over the flaws. They add character!

When everything is resized, get rid of the guides, and voila!

DIY Hand Drawn Typography Tutorial - 9000things

Awesome handmade typography for any project!

Of course you can always do an entire alphabet so you have it on hand to use in the future, but I rarely think that far ahead…

At this point, if I’m using the lettering over a photo, I drag the vector into Photoshop and continue there. Add some stars, a few curvy things and you’ll end up with something like this:

DIY Hand Drawn Typography - by 9000things

For my Facebook logo, I used hand drawn 3D bubble lettering. Whoaaa… This is advanced stuff!

DIY Hand Lettering Logo - 9000things

And here’s a sign that I made for my SoWa booth last summer:

Shop Handmade | hand lettered signage | 9000 things

That’s all! If anything needs clarifying, or you have any questions, leave me a comment!

*This hand drawn typography lesson comes from an actual DIY Jewelry Display post on my blog that you can see here.

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New Geometric Instagram Edits

Working on some new instagram edits from photos of taken in Tahoe and San Francisco :)

Lake Instagram Edit Geometry - by 9000things      Mountain Lake Instagram Edit Geometry - by 9000things

Skyline Instagram Edit Geometry - 9000things      Purple Mountain Instagram Edit Geometry - by 9000things

Some people have asked how I make these, or which apps I use. First I take a photo and filter it through instagram a few times. After that I transfer the image to my computer and do the rest of the work in Illustrator and Photoshop. The finished images are a composite of altered photos and geometric vector drawings.

I’ll be putting these on my Society6 page!

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Skylines Now Available in the Shop

Skylines are now available here!

As always, if you’re looking for a specific color or design, contact me because I have significant back stock that comes to shows with me and isn’t online.

But check it out!

<3 A

Boston Skyline Art - Upcycled Wallpaper - by 9000things

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Party Ideas: This Is Your Life Name Tags

Last weekend we threw a huge surprise party for my mother, who turned a large round number. (Guess who was in charge of decorations?) Over the next few weeks, I’ll post some of the awesome things that we came up with for decor and DIYs!

The variety of people who RSVP’d to this party made me think of that old game show “This Is Your Life.” So, one of the things that we had the guests do was to fill out name tags, not with their names, but with their relationship to my mother. The results were hilarious and much more informative than “Hi My Name Is Dave.”

Party Ideas - Relationship Name Tags - 2nd Favorite - 9000things“2nd Favorite Daughter” (written by the 1st favorite daughter)

I met my mother’s first boss from when she was 15 working at the rec center in her town. I met one of her basketball team mates from high school, and the person who brought her to her first XXX rated movie (I’m told that the rating system was stricter back then).

Party Ideas - Relationship Name Tags - Our House - 9000things Party Ideas - Relationship Name Tags - Inspiration - 9000things
“Sherry lives in our house” and “Inspiration for Ali & Leah [her daughters]

I definitely recommend it as a conversation starter if you want people to mingle!


Top to bottom, left to right: “Biggest Fan” … “Racquetball Buddy” and “Work Husband!” … two “Turkey Buddies” … “2nd Favorite Babysitter” and “Favorite Babysitter” … “Grumpy Old Friend” … “Not Quite Oldest Friend” and “One of the Boys Next Door” … “Favorite Pseudo Son-in-law” … “Old Friend” and “Neighbor” … “Sistah from the Same Mistah”

The party people had a lot of fun with it! And kudos to my father who spent weeks and weeks on the phone getting in touch with people from my mom’s past!

Party Ideas - Relationship Name Tags - Spousal Unit - 9000things
“Sherry is my graphics guru” and “Spousal Unit”

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Back To Work

After the craziness of my first serious holiday season as a business owner (that shi- is FOR REAL), I’ve really been enjoying taking a break. Enjoying it a little too much, really. Time to stop slacking and get back to life things.

Winter Vacation is OVER - instagram photo collage by 9000things

Spent at least two hours making this image about procrastinating as an act of procrastination.

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Using Every Part of the Animal

I have nothing against leather, but I don’t know if I would buy new leather for myself or as supplies for 9000things.

However, if it isn’t clear by now, I like incorporating salvaged materials into new designs. I saw a lot of potential in the beautifully dyed leather scraps leftover from other handmade artists.

I call this project: Every Part of the Animal, based on the Native American principles of reducing one’s impact on the earth and minimizing waste by reusing parts that might normally be discarded.

I get the leather scrap from other crafters in Boston. The larger pieces are cut into 8″ strips (1/4″ – 2″ wide), then punched and set with snaps to make colorful leather cuffs.

Salvaged Scrap Leather Cuffs - 9000 things

Now there are medium sized pieces left which are sliced into 3/4″ strips and cut repeatedly to make leather fringe. The fringe is layered and clamped and strung on coated steel for awesome necklaces.

Salvaged Scrap Leather Fringe Necklaces - 9000 things

The small skinny scraps that are left over are the perfect size for long fringe earrings.

 

Salvaged Scrap Leather Fringe Earrings - 9000 things

There’s almost nothing left as waste!

Shout out to sacAmain and Edie & Fin for making beautiful things and for saving their leather scraps for me!

Currently, these are one of a kind and only available in person at handmade shows. However, please feel free to contact me if you’d like to purchase a cuff, necklace or earrings.

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Laser Cut Wallpaper

Just got a bunch of pieces of beautiful wallpaper back from the laser cutter. They do my skyline cut for me so I don’t die of finger blisters.

I used to hand cut the skyline myself. There are a few originals out there that were done by hand. But it takes so long to do one cut that working a full day, I wouldn’t be able to make more than 2 finished pieces. Plus; what if I make a mistake, or slip and slice off half of the Hancock Tower? Disaster.

And seriously. The blisters.

Laser Cut Wallpaper Skyline of Boston - 9000things Laser Cut Wallpaper Skyline of Boston - 9000things

This is much better. I cut the wallpaper down to the exact size I want and give it to these awesome guys in north east Mass who run the cutters at Boston Lasers. I love the intricacy and detail that is allowed with laser cutting.

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