Category Archives: DIY

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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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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Dia de los Muertos Costume DIY

Geez, it’s been an embarrassing amount of time since my last blog post. This fall was BUSY. Updates to come, but let’s get going with a last minute Day of the Dead costume!

It’s all about the flowers and the makeup. A little strapless dress with flashy tights is all you need for a base. But the accessories make the outfit.

Dia de los Muertos Halloween Costume DIY tutorial - by 9000things

The wig is optional, but just an all-around good idea. The number of strangers who will take your photo is directly proportional to the height of your beehive. Fake eyelashes, on the other hand, are obligatory.

All that and the makeup aside… Here’s how I made the really simple accessories:

First, go buy a ton of fake flowers from the dollar store.

Dia de los Muertos Halloween Costume DIY - by 9000things

For this project you’ll want the flowers with plastic coated wire stems so you can bend them around the belt.

Supply list:
bendy stem fake flowers
belt with lots of holes (or punch the holes yourself!)
textured plastic headband (textured for hot glue to grab onto)
scissors (probably)
hot glue gun
hot glue sticks
wire cutters

Optional:
dollar store skeletons and twine
cheap plastic skull rings
sharpies

Separate the stems and clip them off close to the base.

Dia de los Muertos Halloween Costume DIY - by 9000things

Having way too much fun with fake flowers…

Dia de los Muertos Halloween Costume DIY - by 9000things

I totally scored when I found this slotted belt at Marshall’s for 10 bucks. I was planning on doing a whole lot of wire wrapping and hot gluing, but I recommend trying to find a belt with holes, or buying a thin leather belt and punching the holes yourself. So. Much. Easier.

Dia de los Muertos Halloween Costume DIY - by 9000things

This part is as simple as threading the stems through the slots and wrapping the wire around the belt a few times to hold it in place!

Dia de los Muertos Halloween Costume DIY - by 9000things Dia de los Muertos Halloween Costume DIY - by 9000things

Keep wrapping more and more flowers! Where the stems are threaded close together, the flower belt will get thicker (do this towards the middle). To taper off the ends, leave more open holes between flower stems.

Optional: I found this hanging skeleton garland, cut them apart and loosely tied them over the flowers on my belt!

Dia de los Muertos Halloween Costume DIY - by 9000things

Next! A matching crown of flowers! I opted for asymmetry though it’s customary to go the whole way around with huge multi-colored blooms. The key here is the headband with some texture so the hot glue has something to grab onto. Otherwise you’ll find the flowers falling off everywhere…

Dia de los Muertos Halloween Costume DIY - by 9000thingsDia de los Muertos Halloween Costume DIY - by 9000things

Use a generous amount of hot glue. Just pour it all on there.

And for a little bonus, I found these cheap plastic skull rings at the dollar store – 50 for a buck! – and with a little sharpie magic, made some Dia de los Muertos knuckle rings:

Dia de los Muertos Halloween Costume DIY - by 9000things

Ta da! Dia de los Muertos accessories for the best Halloween ever!

Dia de los Muertos Halloween Costume DIY - by 9000things

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DIY: Cleaning Rusty Metal

Day One of my DIY Art Wagon Project was all cleaning and scrubbing! There’s a lot of rust going on here, and a bunch of different ways of dealing with it, based on where it is and what’s going on later.

First: The rust on the actual wagon body needs to be removed and the metal cleaned because I’m planning on priming and painting over it. Along the outside corners, there were a lot of large rough rust spots. For these I found that a wire brush was the easiest and most effective. In the after shot, you can see the metal shining through, but the red tinge is gone. (click photos to blow up)

Tutorial for Cleaning Rusty Metal - Wire Brush | DIY Art Wagon Project | 9000things

The bed had smaller rust spots uniformly across the whole surface. The wire brush was pretty much useless here, so I switched to 100 grit sandpaper, which worked beautifully! Again, you’re aiming to get rid of the redness, it will still look kind of crappy after you sand it…

Tutorial for Cleaning Rusty Metal - Sandpaper | DIY Art Wagon Project | 9000things

Finally, around where the wheels are on the wagon, there was some greyish oxidation which didn’t look like rust exactly but was texturing the surface of the metal. I had a hunch that Simple Green would scrub that right off, and it worked! You’re going to want to use that cleaning solution on the whole shebang at this point… We need the surface to be dust/oil/dirt free and bone dry before spray priming.

Tutorial for Cleaning Rusty Metal - Simple Green | DIY Art Wagon Project | 9000things

The last place that there was a lot of rust was on the wheel rims. I looked all over the internet and didn’t really find a great answer for how to clean it off. So I asked my bff’s bike expert boyfriend. He recommended spraying the rims with WD-40, letting it set for a minute and then steel wooling everything away.

Tutorial for Cleaning Rusty Metal - Steel Wool | DIY Art Wagon Project | 9000things

OMG, rust cleaning porn!

Pro tip. Do all the rust removal, cleaning and priming in one day. Otherwise rust starts to regenerate and you’ll find yourself fighting the dumbest battle ever. Primer info coming soon!

For my pinners out there! Here’s a compact graphic:

Kinds of Rust and How to Remove Them | 9000things

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MY [rusty, fixer-upper] BIKE WAGON!!!

I have a bike wagon. I am extremely excited about my bike wagon.

I got this amazing, well built wagon from a guy in Southern Mass (right near the RI border) – an engineer who knows how to weld and likes to build things. He made it himself and years ago he used to throw a lawn chair in the back and ride around with his kids, and then his grandkids towed behind his bike. Best back story ever? Yeah.

This man was kind enough to pass the wagon off to me, and I have grand dreams of transforming this well loved hunk of metal into a sparkly new mobile art shop.

Here are the before pictures, and I’ll continue to update as I make progress!

Imma DIY This Rusty Bike Wagon So Hard - by 9000things Imma DIY This Rusty Bike Wagon So Hard - by 9000things Imma DIY This Rusty Bike Wagon So Hard - by 9000things Imma DIY This Rusty Bike Wagon So Hard - by 9000things Imma DIY This Rusty Bike Wagon So Hard - by 9000things

Check out that rust! The rims need some love, the tires need to be replaced, the whole body needs to be cleaned, scrubbed, prepped, primed and repainted. BRING IT.

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DIY Salvaged Jewelry Display Tutorial

Update: Hey everyone from Pinterest! These DIY jewelry displays have been getting a lot of attention lately, so I decided to give the tutorial a little revamp. Enjoy ;)
Oh! And let me know if I can improve my design, or share your jewelry display with me on the 9000things facebook page.

**************************************

A few weeks ago I realized all these new products I’ve been making require a new craft show display. So… off to the local flea market to find supplies! I totally love how these came out.

DIY Jewelry Display Tutorial - Vintage Wooden Boxes - by 9000things

I had this rough idea of what I was looking for at the flea market:
Cheap wooden crates (mine were rickety and needed some love and extra nails) $5 each
Small hinges $1 per pair
Scrap wood panels (had these in my stash)
Lots of random mismatched drawer knobs plus hardware $3 for a handful

And I had all this stuff on hand:
Various bolts, screws and nails
Drill and drill bits
Hammer
Flathead screwdriver
Ruler
Pencil
Sandpaper

Step 1: score a bunch of awesome crates from the flea market, recycle center and the local wine shop:

Raw wooden crates from a flea market - 9000 things

These ones have already been fixed up a little bit (hammer time!)

In case you can’t find enough wooden crates, the scrap wood panels will act as a cheat. Here I took two 1x10s that are about 28″ long and connected them with 2 small hinges in the back.

Upcycled jewelry display - 9000 things

Wider is better as far as stability. When set at a 90° angle, these panels stand on their own. So simple.

Next, measure a few inches from the top of each crate and draw a level line to make sure that your knobs will line up. Then mark out where you want to drill your holes – where the knobs will be positioned.

Salvaged materials jewelry display for craft shows - 9000 things

I found that between 3 and 4 inches is best for hanging necklaces, and I tried to keep it consistent across all the crates, making sure to center everything. You only need to leave about 1.5 inches on the sides.

Next, match your drill bit with the width of the bolts attached to your knobs. There’s some amount of standardization in knob bolt, with an exception here and there. Drill the holes!

Craft show jewelry display tutorial from found materials - 9000 things

(Those are not MY hairy arms)

Sandpaper those holes real quick to get rid of any splinters. And then, here’s the fun part… Check out this medley of mismatched salvaged drawer knobs:

Salvaged vintage drawer knobs for a jewelry display - 9000 things

I collected these all in one day at the flea market and I spent a grand total of $13! Here’s a tip: check out the guys who have a huge amount of old tools and hardware in various crazy boxes. The vendors I talked to were happy to offload this stuff and I just had to do a little digging. Basically anything less than $1 per knob is a great deal!

Last step is to find the right size bolts for the drawers and put them all together. It’s helpful if you have a rando bolt stash to go through. You’ll probably need to use a flathead screwdriver to make sure the knobs are secure.

DIY Craft show jewelry display tutorial - 9000 things

Don’t they look awesome?! I’m so in love with this project and it only took ONE day from start to finish!

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Washi Tape Price Tag Tutorial

Make Your Tags Less Boring!

Time to spice up the lame white price tags on your products. I have a whole bunch of those plastic price tags on string from the store and I decided they needed a little makeover. This is super easy with lots of benefits.

DIY Washi tape price tags tutorial - by 9000things

 

 

First, the materials:

Washi Tape Price Tags Tutorial - 9000 things

Just plastic price tags, scissors and bright neon washi tape.

All you do is cut the washi tape into little rectangles and stick them onto one side of the tags.

Make your plastic price tags way cuter with washi tape | DIY tutorial by 9000 things

And now you have adorable, eye catching price tags that are reusable! Pull the tag off after every sale. I also use this method to track inventory, making notes of the tags I’ve collected when I get home. Then, just remove the marked up washi tape and repeat.

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Making An Ugly Christmas Sweater “Better”

The boyfriend and I are participating in an ugly sweater contest on Christmas Eve this year. There will be a prize, possibly a crowning ceremony, so we’re taking this dead seriously.

Make Your Ugly Christmas Sweater Better - 9000 things

Ugly Sweaters are a hojillion dollar industry, but we’re thrifty over here with our one-use-ever clothing items. Salvation Army had these beautiful pieces (on sale!), but they needed a little extra flare.

Ugly Sweater DIY before - 9000 things

Note that the sweater on the left is actually not a christmas sweater. We’ve got to figure out how to make that lame heart look a little jollier.

Here’s our suggested materials list:

Ugly sweater diy supplies - 9000 things

1. 25 feet of cheap gaudy garland for $1.99
2. buffalo snow or similar
3. moderately ugly thrift store sweaters
4. puff paint in white, red and green (mandatory)
5. glittery buttons and other random craft cast offs
6. sewing thread (plus a few needles)
7. googly eyes in various sizes
8. plastic beads I found in a drawer?
9. hot glue gun, loaded and ready

Not pictured:
an old red t-shirt
scissors like you used in elementary school (for effect)
your unbridled imagination

The idea here is to ATTACK with more confidence than you deserve to have. Everything you think of is pure gold and doesn’t need to be second-guessed. Trust me.

Big D has never sewn anything in his life. Is that going to stop him from sewing buttons onto his sweater? What do you think the answer is.

Ugly Sweater DIY - 9000 things

The following is a list of hints and tips. Everyone’s sweater is going to look different, but that doesn’t mean we can’t leave you with some inspiration.

If you don’t have glitter or something shiny on your sweater, you might as well give up.

Ugly Sweater DIY - 9000 things

Googly eyes are always better than no googly eyes.

Ugly Sweater DIY - 9000 things

Add puff paint. And when you’re done, add puff paint to the puff paint.

Ugly Sweater DIY - 9000 things

Thematic words always look good written on clothing. Especially in puff paint.

Ugly Sweater DIY - 9000 things

Just remember: When it comes to making something tacky and hideous, MORE is more.

And, we’re done! Look how gd happy we are.

Ugly Sweater DIY after - 9000 things

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Styling Your Home: dresser edition

Interior styling bedroom dresser - 9000things

Styling your house/apartment/condo is actually easier than you think! It all has to do with how you organize your large hoard of random crap.

This is the first in a series of tips on how to make your home look nice even though you live there and own a lot of stuff. (Are we meant to believe that the photos in Dwell represent anyone’s actual reality??)

The top of a dresser is often the first place to collapse into a black hole of tangled mess and loss. But here’s the hint:

Interior styling bedroom palette - 9000things

Pick a palette!

There’s actually a lot of stuff stored on top of this dresser but because I kept everything to a pretty strict set of main colors, it looks totally passable as orderly.

I chose the palette based on things I had – a lot of blue glass, some old bottles, cool hued watercolors and of course, silver goes with everything. (Silver is better here because of the cold colors. Gold is better for warm.)

Interior styling bedroom dresser - 9000things

Silver goblets and closed ceramic boxes make great places to store jewelry and hair elastics and buttons, etc. Note that even though there’s some red in the photo and watercolors, it works because the dresser wood leans towards red.

Okay, here’s my stuff:

Interior styling bedroom dresser - 9000things

1. handmade sea fan soldered to an old blue glass bottle
2. three watercolors of Venice (I actually did these years ago) matted and framed*
*rather than hang, you can set frames on a table like shadow boxes
3. an old blue bottle with craft pearls on twine sticking out the top
4. clear framed grungy old-looking photo
5. round white stone from Montauk – a souvenir from participating in a Spencer Tunick shoot
6. a tarnished silver platter from Good Will ($1) with clear marbles
7. a silver goblet also from Good Will ($3)
8. a blue ceramic keepsake box on a glass shell plate (probably also Good Will)
9. collection of found old bottles
10. mini replica of an ancient Cycladic Greek statue (gift from relatives in Greece)
11. architectural candle by Niho Kozuru (SO AWESOME)
12. vintage blue glass bird-shaped perfume bottle (SoWa Vintage Market)
13. more Good Will silver – this one with a mirrored bottom

I have a minor compulsion for buying silver platters from Good Will for, like, three bucks. They’re especially good for grouping and containing stuff on a surface.

These are a few of my favorite things!

Italy lilacs - 9000things Niho Kozuru architectural candles Sea fan antique bottle by deniselaff

Cycladic Replica Pearl spray in ivory Spencer Tunick Montauk shoot

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DIY Googly Eye Magnets

This is probably the best, and the easiest thing I’ve ever made in my life.

DIY googly eye magnets 9000things

Materials list:

magnets
googly eyes
hot glue gun

Instructions:

1. Hot glue a googly eye onto a magnet.

2. Repeat.

Finished project:

DIY googly eye magnets - 9000things

 

Side note:

Googly eyes come in handy in many situations. I always keep some on me, especially the ones with an adhesive back.

When my boyfriend was in the hospital for a month last summer, I knew he was lonely during the day while I was at work. So, I invited some friends to spend the days with him à la Christopher Walken on SNL.

DIY googly eye magnets or friends - 9000things

Don’t worry, he was on so much morphine, I doubt he even noticed.

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