Tag Archives: crafts

Thursday, May 22 2014

DIY: Geek-chic art using pumpkin stencils

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My brother and his girlfriend, both video game designers, are totally geek chic.

So when I had the opportunity to make them a house-warming present, I thought hip nerd art for their new apartment would be just what Doctor Who ordered.

The challenge was to craft something cool enough that they would actually hang up.

Iconic video game graphics are popular in a lot of today’s geeky home decor, but you have to be quite the artist to draw them by hand.

Enter the pumpkin stencil! Widely available on the Internet, in everything from Nintendo’s Bowser to George Bush, pumpkin stencils are perfect because they retain the character’s essence, but offer a simplified design that’s easy to cut. And they look even more impressive on canvas than on pumpkins.

Canvas plus stencil plus paint equals the perfect nerdy gift!


  • canvas (3)
  • stencils (Internet!)
  • black acrylic paint
  • gold spray paint
  • X-acto knife
  • tape

How to: geeky stencil art

1. Paint two canvases black and spray paint one canvas gold.

2. Carefully cut out chosen stencils using X-acto knife and tape in place on dry canvas.

3. Spray paint two gold stencils onto canvas.

4. Carefully paint one stencil onto canvas using black paint.

5. Remove stencils and let dry.

6. Enjoy the wall candy!

Saturday, November 2 2013

Movember, a round-up

Last year I sort of went mo-cray-cray and did five weeks of Movember projects. When a girl is inspired, she’s inspired!

Here are a few mo-projects to keep you occupied while I work on next week’s projects.

1. DIY shower curtain — if you dare!


2. Mo T-shirt



3. iMo phone case and moustache tea bags



Saturday, August 3 2013

Towels to dye for

diy beach towel

Turn old or mismatched towels into a new set with one wash cycle (see my purple ones right) to use in the bathroom or take to the beach!

We’ve all got ’em: old discoloured towels that have seen better days (five years ago when you first bought them).

Especially if they are a lighter colour, they seem to pick up every mystery mark possible from rusty hook stains to bleach accidents.

However, you can erase this patchy history and make bath towels look new again using a reasonably priced dye kit or dye packet from your local art or craft store. With a quick dye job, unsightly towels (or mismatched ones you’ve inherited) turn into a fresh new set, once again worthy of hanging up in your bathroom (I am thoroughly enjoying my new lilac set, seen above).

Choose a bright colour like yellow, pink or orange (left plain or tie-dyed) and you can even use them as beach towels this summer.


  • fabric dye ($5 a packet iDye is my favourite! Available in Vancouver at Opus Art Supplies or Canada-wide at Amazon.ca.)
  • non-iodozied salt
  • washing machine or basin
  • gloves

How-to towel dye:

Directions vary depending on which iDye method you use (washing machine or stove top). If you want tie-dye towels, I do not recommend the washing machine method as elastics can’t stand up to the spin cycle.

1. Pre-wet towels.

2. Fill up your washing machine (or a large basin) with hot water and stir in the iDye packet until it dissolves. Add non-iodized salt (measurements change depending on the method).

3. Next add your towels and leave in according to directions.

4. Wash towels afterwards on cool (this extra wash is also important to keep any leftover dye from ruining your next laundry load) and enjoy your freshly dyed set!

5. Note: The iDye packets recommend washing machine or stove top methods, but you could also fill up a large basin and follow the same stove top method pouring in boiled water instead of heating on the stove.

6. Tip: wear gloves!

Wednesday, June 26 2013

Patriotic pumps for Canada Day

diy canada day feat

Canadians aren’t known for being boastful people — but on Canada Day it’s a whole different hockey game. Across the country, citizens gather outdoors for fireworks, parades and barbecues wearing every loud-and-proud, fabulously mismatching Canadian thing they own — all visible skin not covered by red-and-white clothing is filled in with (polite) nationalist graffiti and maple leaf tattoos.

However, red isn’t everyone’s colour and more than a few find themselves scrambling last minute to come up with appropriately themed attire for the big day.

This is where DIY comes in, for with a single maple leaf stamp, you can turn old shirts, dollar-store hats or cheap tennis shoes into key patriotic pieces of any Canada Day outfit.

And if Canada’s birthday party is taking place at your house, stamps can even help theme up stationery, napkins, beer pong tables and accent plates for an all-out Canadian celebration.


  • tennis shoes (Payless $17)
  • maple leaf stamp (Michaels craft store $1.50)
  • red stamp pad (Michaels $5)


1. Use a stamp and a stamp pad (like I did) or fabric paint to add some Canadian to your shoes for Canada Day.

2. I broke apart a Michaels tri-leaf stamp and stuck it on top of a makeup container for easy stamping (Thanks MAC primer!)

3. If you can’t find a maple leaf stamp or Canadian stamp you want to use, you could potentially make your own and you can find a previous tutorial that shows you how to do that here.

4. Note: I used stamp ink to leaf up my shoes, but if you’re going to makeover T-shirts and other clothing items you may prefer using fabric paint.

More DIY

After the Canada Day partying is over, you may want to try and upcycle those liquor empties into gorgeous decor.

Thursday, June 20 2013

Ticket table music to your eyes

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Have you ever visited a friend’s apartment and felt like you walked into Ikea’s annual catalogue? You sit on page 8, drink from page 132 and find yourself thinking that, yes, you should have gotten page 70 in red instead of white.

Thankfully, with little DIY touches, you can give even the most ubiquitous furniture a custom-look for less.

Take this project from Catherine Keller, for example. Using years of saved ticket stubs and some Mod Podge, Keller easily transforms this common side table into a functional, artistic display that showcases her love of live music.

So whether your hobby is collecting tickets, stamps, coasters, photos or bottle caps — resurfacing home furnishings is a simple and affordable way to add a personal touch. 


  • ticket stubs
  • Mod Podge (matte water based sealer), approx. $8 – $10
  • Mod Podge (gloss clear acrylic sealer spray), approx. $9 – $12
  • Ikea Lack coffee table approx. $10 – $15
  • paintbrush
  • foam roller
  • scissors

Ticket table how-to

1. Wipe down your coffee table surface. Arrange ticket stubs on top of the table so you have a general idea of where everything will go.

2. Starting at one corner and moving across row by row, paint down each ticket stub with Mod Podge matte sealer using a paintbrush. The pieces might bubble — you can just give it an extra brush of Mod Podge on top. (But be gentle — the ticket’s already saturated with glue and you don’t want it to rip or smudge.) *Don’t worry if stubs extend beyond the table’s edge.

3. Once the first layer is dry, trim overhanging edges with scissors.

4. Next, use a foam roller and apply an even coat of Mod Podge matte sealer over everything. Let it dry again and repeat two to four times. (The glue might dry a little opaque if you apply each layer too thick or don’t allow enough time to dry. This project sat at least 45 minutes before each new coat.)

5. Allow the table to sit overnight and dry after the final layer of Mod Podge matte sealer. Afterwards, spray the entire top with Mod Podge gloss acrylic sealer. (Just follow directions on the back.) Apply a couple layers and let it dry for at least 48 hours before you wipe it down with a cloth.

Do you DIY? Email julia.dilworth[at]sunmedia.ca or tweet me @JuliaDilworth about project submissions, your DIY attempts or feedback — I’d love to hear from you!

Wednesday, June 20 2012

FATHER’S DAY DIY: The Mug-stache

The mug-stache diy

The mug-stache, a simple DIY project for dad. (JULIA DILWORTH/24 HOURS)

Maybe not all West Coast dads love meat, but every dad loves his morning tea, chai-latte or coffee. And with this easy DIY Mug-stache project, you can write any message or draw any design you want to celebrate your No. 1 Dad.

The materials are minimal (mug, paint, brush, oven) and so is the cost. Thanks to hipsters, moustaches are back with a hairy vengeance. So you can, like me, choose to go the lip-tickler route and paint a handlebar, Fu Manchu or walrus to celebrate dad’s hairstyle being cool again.

Bonus: If he doesn’t have a moustache, for 20 minutes every morning, he will. And it will look hairlarious.

What you need:
– ceramic mug $4 at HomeSense
– ceramic paint ($6 each at Opus)
– conventional oven
– paint brush

Mug-stache how-to

1. Wash and dry your desired mug.

2. Paint designs or messages on mug. You may need to do several coats and you might want to use stencils for this. I made a rough paper stencil to line up the moustache so it was even and then free-handed the rest. (Real stencils are also available at art stores.)

3. Wipe away paint blotches/mistakes with a paper towel or Q-tip.

4. Once you’re happy with your stuff, let it sit for 24 hours.

5. Mug-cooking times differ, but Pebeo’s ceramic paint instructions suggest putting it in the oven at 325 F for 40 minutes.

6. Let it cool and you are done!

7. Remember to paint moustaches on the correct side (these are for lefties).