The Craft Blog

Summer Holiday Crafts

Keep your little – and not so little  – ones busy over the 6 week break with these boredom and budget-busting ideas

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(Styling: Suzie Attaway. Photo: Oliver Gordon. Essentials Magazine, August 2015)

Paint The Town

Spend hours of fun building your very own seaside town from juice cartons

YOU WILL NEED

  • Empty juice cartons
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • White and pastel acrylic paint
  • Paint brush
  • Black pen
  • White paper
  • Glue stick
  1. Measure and cut the bottoms off the clean, dry juice cartons so they are different heights when stood up. Paint the tops of each with white acrylic paint, and the sides with pastel paints. Leave to dry, before applying a second coat of paint to each.
  2. Draw different patterned tiled roofs on the top of each carton with pencil, then go over with black ink.
  3. On sheets of white paper, draw different shaped and sized windows and doors with a pencil. Go over the pencil lines with black ink, and cut out. Stick them to the sides of the painted cartons with a glue stick.

 

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(Styling: Suzie Attaway. Photo: Oliver Gordon. Essentials Magazine, August 2015)

Sweet Treats

These fab felt lollies look good enough to eat!

YOU WILL NEED

  • Pastel felt
  • Lolly stencil
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Needle and thread
  • Soft toy filling
  • Wooden lolly sticks
  • Foam letters
  • Stick on beads
  • Ric rac ribbon
  • Fabric glue
  • Pastel pom poms
  1. To make a lolly, first fold a piece of felt in half and place the template on top. Draw around it, and cut out. Pins the pieces together, and stitch around the sides of the lolly, leaving the bottom open. Turn inside out, and pop some soft toy filling inside.
  2. Neatly sew along the bottom of the lolly, placing a lolly stick inside at the half way point. Then continue stitching up the opening. Decorate each lolly with foam letters, stick-on beads and glued strips of ric rac ribbon.
  3. To make an icecream, cut a square of beige felt and roll into a cone shape. Pin and stitch in place, then stuff with soft toy filling. Stick some pastel pom poms to the top with fabric glue.

 

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(Styling: Suzie Attaway. Photo: Oliver Gordon. Essentials Magazine, August 2015)

Party Pisces

Make a cute fish pinata from a cardboard box…perfect for a summer party!

YOU WILL NEED

  • Large cardboard box, flattened
  • Fish stencil
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Masking tape
  • Bright tissue paper
  • Pva glue
  • Black & white card
  • Skewer
  • String
  1. Using the template, draw 2 fish shapes on the flattened cardboard box and cut out. Next measure and cut some 5cm wide lengths of cardboard for the outside of the fish. Then draw and cut out a small ‘fin’.
  2. Take 1 of the fish pieces, and stick a cardboard strip all around the edge using tape. Place the second fish on top, and tape in place. Cut out a small ‘door’ in the side of the top of the fish (this will be used later to pop sweets inside). Make a small flap on the bottom of the cardboard fin and glue in place.
  3. Open the packets of tissue paper and cut into 4cm wide strips. Snipping along each blue strip to create fringing, and cut a scalloped edge along the other colours. Glue the fringing to the fish layer by layer along the length of the tail. Glue the scalloped tissue strips to the body of the fish, layer by layer and alternating colours, until half the body is covered. Then continue with blue fringing covering the head of the fish. Stick fringed and scalloped tissue around the sides of the fish and on the fin. Trim the edges of the fish.
  4. Cut out 2 circular eyes in black and white paper, and stick to the fish’s head. Make 2 holes at the top of the fish with a skewer, and thread some string through. Open the door and fill with sweets before hanging up.

 

beach templates

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(Styling: Suzie Attaway. Photo: Oliver Gordon. Essentials Magazine, August 2015)

Rock & Sole

Spend a crafternoon with the kids turning beach pebbles into cute sea creatures

  • Clean, dry stones
  • Bright acrylic paint
  • Paint brush
  • Cork
  • Wiggle eyes
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Feathers
  • Foam
  • Small pom poms
  • Washi tape
  • Strong glue
  • Black pen
  1. Paint the stones with different coloured paints and leave to dry. Apply a second coat if required.
  2. Decorate the stones with feathers, small pom poms, self-adhesive foam, washi tape stripes, pipe cleaners and wiggle eyes to create different sea creatures.
  3. To make an octopus, take a blue painted stone and dip the end of a cork in some pink paint. Print spots all over the stone and leave to dry. Turn it over and stick some pipe cleaner ‘tentacles’ with strong glue. When dry, turn the stone back over and curl the ends of the pipe cleaners. Stick on a pair of wiggle eyes.

 

Mother of all crafts

There’s nothing that mum likes better than to receive a lovingly hand made card or gift on Mothering Sunday…need some inspiration? Read on!

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Punched Butterflies Card

You Will Need

  • 6 x 6” Kraft Brown card blank OR 5 x 7” white card blank
  • Simply Creative Folk Song 6 x 6” paper
  • Dark pink, light pink and yellow card
  • Small and medium buttefly punches
  • Mini Typewriter Alphabet Stickers
  • Sewing machine
  • Black and white cotton thread
  1. Use the medium sized butterfly punch to cut out 3 patterned paper butterflies and a dark pink, light pink and yellow card butterfly. Pair the butterflies up, with one patterned and one plain in each pair.
  2. Cut out 3 smaller plain card butterflies using the small butterfly punch.
  3. Arrange the butterlies on the card in a sweeping pattern, and lightly mark the position of each with a pencil.
  4. Thread the sewing machine with black thread and install a white thread bobbin. Position the first pair of butterflies on the card and start stitching along the body of the top butterfly. Continue stitching along the card, then place the next set of butterlfies on the card and stitch them in place. Continue with the next set, then stitch the smaller butterflies to the card. Leave a trail of stitches after the last butterfly.
  5. Stick the words ‘Happy Mothers Day’ in alphabet stickers to the end of the trail of stitches.

Die Cut Wreath Card

You Will Need

  • 6 x 6” Kraft Brown card blank
  • Simply Creative Folk Song 6 x 6” paper
  • Tattered Lace Wreath Die
  • Grey, yellow, dark pink and light pink card
  • Round self adhesive gem stones
  • Gold glitter alphabet stickers
  • Glue
  1. Cut and stick a square of patterned paper to the front of the card, leaving a thin brown border all the way round.
  2. Use the die to cut out a grey card wreath, and stick in the middle of the paper. Add the grey bird to the top of the wreath.
  3. Cut out some yellow, dark pink and light pink flowers and a dark pink bow using the same die. Stick these in place on the wreath.
  4. Add some self adhesive gem stones to the middles of the flowers, and one for the bird’s eye.
  5. Stick a greeting to the middle of the wreath with gold glitter alphabet stickers.

Cut Out ‘Mum’ Card

You Will Need

  • 6 x 4” White card blank
  • MUM letters printed on paper
  • Simply Creative Folk Song 6 x 6” paper
  • All My Love photopolymer stamp set
  • Black ink pad
  • Glue
  1. Print the letters MUM in capitals on paper and cut out.
  2. Lay the letters horizontally on the front of the card. Draw around each, then carefully cut out.
  3. Measure and cut a sheet of floral paper to stick inside the front of the card, with the pattern showing through the cut out letters.
  4. Stamp some black hearts at the top of the card, and a ‘With Love’ greeting at the bottom.

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(photo: Oliver Gordon)

Cacti pincushions

You will need

  • Green jumpers
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Needle
  • Green cotton thread
  • Polyester filling
  • Small terracotta pot
  • White acrylic paint
  • Paint brush
  • Hot melt glue gun
  • Flower decoration
  • Pins
  1. Cut a 10cm long section from the jumper sleeve. Turn it inside out.
  2. Thread the needle with the green cotton, and neatly sew one end of the sleeve, closing the up the opening.
  3. Turn the sleeve right side out, and stuff with polyester filling. Sew the open end up.
  4. Paint the terracotta pot with a coat of white paint, and leave to dry. Apply a second coat if necessary.
  5. Stick the cactus inside the pot using a hot melt glue gun. Add a flower decoration to the top if desired, and pop some colourful pins inside.

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(photo: Oliver Gordon)

Floral tray

You will need

  • Old wooden tray
  • Black acrylic paint
  • Paint brush
  • Poppy Meadow Wrapping Paper, Dotcomgiftshop
  • Scissors
  • Mod Podge Gloss
  1. Paint the tray with 2 coats of black acrylic piant and leave to dry.
  2. Cut out the flowers from a sheet of wrapping paper and roughly arrange on the painted tray.
  3. Glue each flower in place with Mod Podge Gloss glue.
  4. Brush a coat of glue over the entire surface and sides of the tray to seal the decoupaged design.

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(photo: Oliver Gordon)

‘M’ is for Mum

You will need

  • 6 pretty china saucers or plates
  • Thick plastic bag
  • Rolling pin
  • Rubber gloves
  • Tray
  • Plaster of Paris
  • Cup
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Spatula
  • Water
  • Wooden Fillable Letter
  • White acrylic paint
  • Paint brush
  1. Place the plates in a thick plastic bag and tie a knot. Take the bag outside and lay on a concrete surface. Bash with a rolling pin to break the plates up into small pieces.
  2. Untie the bag and wearing rubber gloves, carefully remove the broken pieces. Sort them into different sizes on a tray.
  3. Pour 2 cups of plaster of paris into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle with a spatula.
  4. Pour a cup of water into the bowl, and allow to sit for a minute. Then mix the plaster and water together with the spatula, until the mixture is smooth.
  5. Pour the plaster into the wooden fillable letter and smooth the surface with the spatula. Then place the broken plate pieces on the top of the plaster, working quickly before the plaster sets.
  6. Allow to set for a few hours, before painting the sides of the wooden latter with white acrylic paint.

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(photo: Oliver Gordon)

Celery-printed rose gift wrap

  • Brown paper
  • Bunch of celery
  • Elastic band
  • Knife
  • Paper towel
  • Red, pink and green paint
  • Plate
  1. Unroll the brown paper flat on a table.
  2. Take a bunch of celery and hold together with an elastic band. Ask an adult helper to carefully cut the ends off with a knife, then dab them with some paper towel.
  3. Pour a little red, pink and green paint onto a plate. Starting with pink, dip the ends of the celery into the paint and print onto the brown paper. Continue printing all over the paper, then leave to dry.
  4. Print over each pink ‘flower’ again with red paint and leave to dry.
  5. Cut a stick of celery from the bunch and print some green ‘leaves’ around the flowers. Leave to dry, before using the paper to wrap presents and make into gift tags.

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(photo: Oliver Gordon)

Bug Mugs

  • Fingers
  • White mug
  • Old tea towels
  • Red and yellow ceramic paint
  • Black ceramic pen
  1. Lay the mug on its side and hold it in place with some scrunched up old tea towels. Stamp some red and yellow ‘bugs’ onto the mug with your fingers, and leave to dry before turning and repeating on the next section of mug.
  2. When the mug is completely dry, add some spots, stripes, legs and antennae to the bugs with a black ceramic pen.

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(photo: Oliver Gordon)

Tea Cup Bird Feeder

You will need

  • Vintage teacup & saucer
  • Epoxy glue
  • Blue tack
  • Twine
  1. Make sure the teacup is clean and dry. Apply a line of glue on the teacup from the rim to the bottom, exactly opposite the handle. Then, holding the teacup by the handle, press the cup down into the saucer. Make sure the cup is at the back half of the saucer so there is room for the birdseed to “spill out” in front of the cup. Add some blobs of blue tack either side of the teacup to hold it up while the glue dries.
  2. Once dried, cut a length of twine and tie around the handle securing tightly with a double knot.

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(photo: Graeme Ainscough)

Photo book marks

  • A4 Photo paper
  • Scissors
  • Laminator & laminating sleeves
  • String
  • Foam stickers
  • Needle
  1. Take some photographs of your children stretching their arms up, or jumping in the air. Print the pictures onto sheets of A4 photo paper.
  2. Cut around the children and place inside a laminating sleeve. Put through the laminator. When cool, cut around the laminated children and make a small hole at the top of each with a needle.
  3. Cut some lengths of string and trap one end of each between two foam stickers. Poke the other ends through the holes of the children bookmarks and tie a knot, leaving the ends hanging loose.

Love is in the air…

Show your beau how much you care with my easy Valentines cards

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You Will Need

  • 13.5 x 13.5cm Square white card
  • First Edition Love Letters 8×8 Premium Paper Pad
  • Heart craft punch
  • Green heart self adhesive gems
  • Dovecraft red glitter adhesive letters
  • Dovecraft pink heart ribbon
  • Glue
  1. Measure and cut a 13.5 x 13.5cm square of ‘Love Letters’ paper to cover the front of the card. Stick in place.
  2. Cut a 9cm x 9cm piece of polka dot paper. Score and fold each corner to create an envelope. Stick to the card at an angle
  3. Cut out 5 patterned paper hearts using a craft punch and arrange on the card, as if they are bursting out of the envelope. Stick in place.
  4. Stick some green heart gems and red glitter letters around the paper hearts.
  5. Cut and tie a pink heart ribbon bow and glue to the envelope.

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You Will Need

  • Pale blue cardstock
  • A5 white card blank
  • Xcut Scalloped Heart Nesting Dies
  • Papermania Capsule Geometric Neon A4 Ultimate Die-cut & Paper Pack
  • Stripe twine
  • Papermania Capsule Geometric neon Ribbon
  • Glue
  1. Measure and cut a piece of pale blue cardstock to cover the front of an A5 folded white card blank. Stick in place with glue.
  2. Cut out a heart shape on the top right hand corner of the card at a slight angle using an Xcut Scalloped Heart Nesting Die.
  3. Use the same die to cut out a Mono spotty paper heart, and stick on the inside of the card.
  4. Cut a small length of stripe twine and glue to the front of the card just below the cutout heart. Tie some Neon ribbon into 2 small bows, and glue these to the string.
  5. Add a ‘Love’ tag to the end of the string with some glue.
  6. Finish off by cutting some small Neon and Mono paper hearts with a small Scallop Heart Nesting Die and stick these to the front of the card around the kite.

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You Will Need

  • Square white card blank
  • Papier Patch Red Stripes & Cross Stitch Hearts deco paper
  • Kraft, white and deep pink cardstock
  • Xcut Scallop Heart Nesting Dies
  • Xcut Filigree Heart Mini Die
  • Papermania Bare Basics Wooden letter tiles
  • Glue
  1. Cover the front of a square white folded card blank with Red Stripes and Cross Stitch Hearts Papier Patch paper.
  2. Cut out a large kraft and medium white cardstock heart using Scallop Heart Nesting Dies, and glue together.
  3. Using a Filigree Heart Mini Die, cut out a deep pink cardstock heart. Glue to the middle of the white cardstock heart.
  4. Stick the hearts to the middle of the front of the card. Glue some Wood Letters beneath spelling the word ‘Love’.

New Year, New Home!

Take a look at my super simple makes to brighten up your home this month

(Photos: Oliver Gordon; Makes & Styling: Suzie Attaway)

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The trend for all things dip-dyed is here to stay! So why not update old dining chairs with this easy paint technique

You will need

  • Wooden dining chair
  • Sandpaper
  • Damp cloth
  • Old dust sheets
  • Protective mask
  • Wood primer
  • Pencil
  • Spray Paint in White, Cyan and Ultramarine
  1. Rub the chair with sandpaper to remove old varnish or paint, then wipe with a damp cloth.
  2. Protect the floor of a well ventilated room with old dust sheets and wear a protective mask. Spray the entire chair with wood primer and allow to dry.
  3. Mark on the chair where you roughly want each colour of paint to start and finish with a pencil. Stand the chair upright and begin spraying the first top section with the white spray paint, then leave to touch dry.
  4. Take the next colour paint, Cyan, and spray the second section, spraying lightly into the white to blend the colours together. Leave to touch dry.
  5. Paint the bottom of chair with the Ultramarine spray paint, lightly spraying and blending it into the Cyan section. Leave the chair to dry thoroughly overnight.

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We’ve painted and tiled an old apple crate to make this handy patchwork-style storage table, which will complement both modern and traditional interiors

You will need

  • Large wooden crate
  • Sandpaper
  • Chalky Finish Paint
  • Paint brush
  • Patchwork tiles
  • Glue gun
  • Glue sticks
  • Grout White
  • Water
  • Plastic tub
  • Mixing stick
  • Grout spreader
  • Damp sponge
  • Dry cloth
  1. Make sure the crate is clean and dry, and sand any rough edges. Paint the outside and inside with a coat of chalky finish paint and leave to dry.
  2. Turn the crate on one side, and arrange the tiles on top. When you are happy with your design, stick the tiles in place with a glue gun.
  3. Mix up a little grout with water in a plastic tub to a thick consistency, and spread over the tiles, filling in the gaps between each. Wipe over with a damp sponge to remove the excess grout, then allow to dry.
  4. Clean the tiles with a dry cloth to remove any grout residue.

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Upcyle unwanted fabric lengths, or even old duvet covers, to make a colourful woven rag rug

You will need

  • Large piece of cardboard
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • 1 metre lengths of different fabrics
  1. Take the large sheet of cardboard. At one end, measure and mark 2: long lines every ½”. Cut along each line with scissors. Repeat on the other end of the cardboard, creating a ‘loom’.
  2. Starting at the shorter end, cut and tear each length of fabric into roughly 2” strips, and one length into 1” strips – these will be your weaving strips. Place the 2” strips together into groups of 3 different colours and patterns.
  3. Place the ends of the first group of 2” strips between the first slot at one end of cardboard loom. Place the other end into the corresponding slot on the opposite side. Repeat with the other groups of strips until all the slots are filled.
  4. Take your first 1” weaving strip and starting at one end, begin weaving in and out each group of 3 fabric strips across the loom. At the other side, make a u-turn and weave your way across the other side. As you finish each row, straighten out the weaved strip and slide it as close to the row before as you can. You will need to tie strips toegther as you work down the loom.
  5. At the end, make a u-turn at the last row and thread the strip through each loop of the weaving strip, pulling tight, then knot at the other side. Repeat to finish off the other end of the rag rug.
  6. Neatly trim the ends of the rug with scissors.

Get Ready To Partaaaay!!!!

Throw a New Year’s Eve party to remember with my glam DIY decs

(Photos: Oliver Gordon; Styling: Suzie Attaway)

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Turn a cheap kitchen trolley into a glam drinks bar in a few simple steps

YOU WILL NEED:

  • Kitchen trolley
  • Gold spray paint
  1. In a well venitalted room, mask the surrounding area with newspaper or dust sheets.
  2. Remove the wheels and shelves from the trolley and set aside.
  3. Spray the trolley with gold spray paint and leave to touch dry. Apply a second coat and allow to completely dry.
  4. Repeat with the shelves of the trolley.
  5. When completely dry, replace the shelves and wheels on the trolley.

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Every party needs a pinata, and I’ve created a diamond shape made from a cardboard box, which is perfect for a New Year’s bash

You will need

  • Templates
  • Large cardboard box
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Craft knife
  • Masking tape
  • Purple, black and gold tissue paper
  • Glue
  • Purple and gold curling ribbon
  • Confetti and small wrapped sweets
  1. Enlarge and print the templates on paper – you will need 7 triangles for the base, 7 side pieces, and 1 heptagon for the top. Cut out. Then cut open the large cardboard box with scissors, draw around the templates and cut out.
  2. Stick the 7 triangular pieces side by side together with masking tape to form the bottom of the pinata. Then stick the 7 angled side pieces in place with masking tape.
  3. Take the top piece of the pinata and cut a small door as shown on the template with a craft knife. Make 2 holes either side of the door with a sharp pencil. Then place on top of the pinata and stick the edges together with masking tape.
  4. Open a packet of tissue paper and lay out flat. Measure and cut into 4cm wide strips, then cut fringing with scissors about 2 thirds up to the top edge. Continue fringing the other colours of tissue paper. Working on one face of the diamond pinata at a time, glue the first layer of fringing along the bottom Cut as close to the edge as possible, then add the next layer of fringing above, and repeat until the entire face is covered, alternating colours. Trim the edges of the face with scissors.
  5. Continue covering each face with fringing. When you come to the top with the door, glue the fringing over it, then leave it to dry before carefully cutting through with a craft knife to reopen it.
  6. Open the door and fill the pinata with confetti. Then cut some lengths of ribbon and thread through the holes either side of the door.
  7. Glue some strips of curling ribbon to the bottom of the pinata and leave to dry before hanging up.

(photos: Graeme Ainscough; Styling: Suzie Attaway)

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YOU WILL NEED:

  • Tissue paper
  • Thin wire
  • Clear beading thread
  • Scissors
  1. To make a large pom pom, layer 10 sheets of standard-sized tissue paper on a flat surface. Fold width wise in an accordion-fold pattern.
  2. Bind the centre of the tissue with wire. Cut and tie a length of clear beading thread to the centre so the finished pom pom can be suspended.
  3. Use sharp scissors to cut a scalloped edge on both ends of the folded tissue paper.
  4. Gently pull apart layers of tissue and fluff them to form a sphere.
  5. Create smaller pom poms using half-size sheets of tissue paper.

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Guide your guests to their seats with these blinged-up beasts

YOU WILL NEED:

  • Plastic toy animals
  • Gold spray paint
  • Black card
  • Scissors
  • Hole punch
  • Silver pen
  • Tinsel chenilles
  • Beads
  • Tassels
  • Tissue paper
  • Ribbon
  1. Spray the plastic toy animals with gold paint and leave to dry, before applying a second coat.
  2. Cut some small black card tags and punch a hole at one end. Write a name on each with silver pen.
  3. Thread the tags onto tinsel chenilles, or ribbon, along with beads and tassels, and tie around the necks of the animals.
  4. Wrap small square sweets with tissue paper, and tie onto the animals with ribbon.

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Get ready to ring in the New Year with my fancy hats

YOU WILL NEED:

  • A3 Black card
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Stapler
  • Paint pens
  • Spot & star stickers
  • Tinsel chenilles
  • Gold tinsel
  • Thin black elastic
  1. Use a large round object, such as a charger plate or bin lid, to draw and cut out large semi-circles of black card.
  2. Roll the semi-circles into cone shapes, and staple to hold in place.
  3. Decorate the surface of the cone with paint pens, and spot and star stickers.
  4. Cut and glue some tinsel pipe cleaners to the top of some of the hats, and staple some tinsel around the base of others.
  5. Cut and staple a 25cm length of thin elastic to the insides of each hat.

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Turn old jam jars into sparkly party drinking tumblers and finish with a stripy straw

  • Clean jam jars
  • Masking tape
  • Pva glue
  • Paint brush
  • Gold and silver glitter
  1. Stick a strip of masking tape around the jar about 2/3 of the way up.
  2. Paint a thin layer of pva glue around the jar under the tape line.
  3. Shake some glitter all over the glued surface, then allow to dry.
  4. Remove the tape.

Christmas Upcycled

Turn everyday objects into fab decorations for your festive home!

(Photos: Olly Gordon; Styling: Suzie Attaway)

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Instead of knitting from scratch, why not turn an old woolly jumper into a cute and cosy stocking with this quick craft? Cable knit, ribbed, or fairisle sweaters make the best stockings, but if you don’t have any old ones at home they can be picked up in charity shops for next to nothing

YOU WILL NEED

  • Stocking template
  • Old sweater
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Cotton thread
  • Pom pom maker
  • Turquoise Yarn
  • Needle and thread
  • Ribbon
  1. Enlarge the stocking template to your desired size and print on paper.
  2. Cut out the template, then pin to the sweater with the top of the stocking lining up with the bottom edge of the sweater. Cut around the template.
  3. Remove the template, then pin the 2 sweater pieces with right sides together. Sew around the sides and bottom of the stocking, but leave to top open.
  4. Turn the stocking right side out, then fold over the top edge.
  5. Make some blue wool pom poms using a small pom pom maker, with a strand of wool hanging from each. Sew to the top inside edge of the stocking.
  6. Cut a 20cm length of ribBon, and fold in half. Stitch to the inside back edge of the stocking

stocking

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Create a magical winter wonderland in a jar with this crafty idea for an cold and frosty afternoon.

You will need

  • Jam jars, various sizes
  • Silver spray paint
  • Bristle trees
  • Tinsel pipe cleaners
  • Pom poms
  • Gold star toppers
  • Plastic reindeer cake toppers
  • White Gitter,
  • Artificial polyester snow,
  • Metallic lace trimming
  • Strong glue
  1. Wash the jam jars, removing any sticky labels, then dry the jars and lids thoroughly.
  2. On a protected surface, spray the lids with silver paint. Leave to dry, before applying a second coat.
  3. Decorate the bristle trees with tinsel pipe cleaners, mini pom poms and star toppers.
  4. Stick the decorated trees and plastic reindeer, and any other ornaments to the inside of the lids with strong glue.
  5. Half fill the jars with polyester snow and white glitter, then place the lid on top and screw shut.

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Set your festive dinner off with a bang with our nostalgic-style crackers. We made ours with adverts from a vintage ‘Picture Post’ magazine, but old newspapers or comics could also be used to get the retro look.

You will need

  • Vintage magazine or newspaper
  • Craft knife
  • Ruler
  • Toilet roll tubes
  • Double sided tape
  • Scissors
  • Cracker snaps
  • Paper Hats
  • 15mm Red grosgrain ribbon
  1. Use a craft knife and ruler to cut a page from a vintage magazine or newspaper.
  2. Take 2 tubes and carefully measure and cut one in half with a craft knife. Line them up along the long side of the page, with the 2 halves at the end and the whole tube in the middle.
  3. Stick some strips of double sided tape on the sides of the tubes, then roll the paper tightly around them, and stick in place with more double sided tape.
  4. Place a cracker snap, paper hat, joke and small gift inside the barrel of the cracker.
  5. Cut 2 lengths of ribbon and tie between the barrel and ends of the cracker.

Have A Very Crafty Christmas!

Get crafting with the kids over the holidays with my easy upcycling projects

(Photos: Graeme Ainscough; Styling: Suzie Attaway)

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Start a fun Christmas tradition in your home with my cheeky cardboard shelf elf

YOU WILL NEED

  • 50mm Polystyrene ball
  • Skewer
  • Pink and white paint
  • Blue, black and red fine nib marker pens
  • Brown felt
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Red and white self adhesive felt
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • 8cm Cardboard tube
  • Red pipe cleaners
  • Stapler
  1. Place the polystyrene ball on a skewer, and paint with a coat of pink paint. Leave to dry. Next, paint two white eyes on the pink ball and leave to dry. Then draw in the middle of the eyes with blue and black pens, and add some eyelashes and eyebrows, plus a red nose and mouth.
  2. Cut out some brown felt ‘hair’ and stick to the top of the head with glue.
  3. For the hat, draw and cut a semi-circle of red self adhesive felt. Peel off the backing paper, then roll into a cone and stick to top of head. Draw and cut a band of white self adhesive felt and stick around the base of the hat.
  4. Measure and cut the red pipe cleaners into two 10cm long arms & two 20cm long legs. Cut out some white felt ‘mittens’ and stick to the ends of each arm.
  5. Take the cardboard tube and staple the arms to the top, and legs to the bottom. Measure and cut a piece of red self adhesive felt to stick around the tube, covering the staples.
  6. Draw and cut a zig-zag strip of white felt and stick around the collar.
  7. Glue the elf’s head to his body, and leave to dry.

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Turn pine cones into pretty Christmas trees with some paint and glitter

YOU WILL NEED

  • Pine cones
  • Green paint
  • Paint brush
  • Green glitter
  • Air drying clay
  • Coloured beads
  • Gold and silver wooden stars
  • Glue
  1. Paint the pine cones with green paint and sprinkle some green glitter all over, then leave to dry.
  2. Roll a small ball of air drying clay and flatten slightly. Press a pine cone into the clay, then repeat with the other pine cones.
  3. Glue some coloured beads to the pine cone trees, and add a star to the top of each. Leave to dry.

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Create a Christmas play town with old cardboard boxes and leftover wrapping paper

YOU WILL NEED

  • Boxes in different sizes
  • Brown, stripe and spotty wrapping papers
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Sticky tape
  • White, red, green and blue plain card
  • Glue
  • Ric rac and ribbon
  • Craft tape
  • White paper
  • Coloured pens
  • Buttons
  • Bows
  1. Cover the sides, bottom and top flaps of an open box with wrapping paper.
  2. Stand the box upright, with the top flaps open. With a ruler and pencil, draw triangles on two opposite flaps and cut around. Then lay the other two flaps onto the triangles and stick with tape, creating a base to lay a roof upon.
  3. Measure, cut and fold a piece of coloured card for the roof, and stick in place. Trim with ric rac, craft tape or ribbon.
  4. For the windows, cut out squares of white paper and draw coloured panes with pens. Cut out a rectangular piece of card for a door. Stick to the house.
  5. Decorate the house with buttons and ribbon bows.

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Add to the excitement of Christmas Eve with this personalised treat plate for Santa & Rudolph

YOU WILL NEED

  • Stencils
  • Scissors
  • White dinner plate
  • Fine nib marker pens
  1. Print and cut out the stencils.
  2. Place the stencils in the middle of the plate, and draw around each with a coloured marker pen. Remove the stencils, then go around each shape with a dashed black line.
  3. Write a greeting at the top and bottom of the plate, then add some red and green dots around the empty sides.

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A is for Autumn

And B is for Brilliant upcycling ideas to cosy up your home!

(Photos: Olly Gordon; Styling: Suzie Attaway)

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Give a throw a quick update with hand made woolly tassels – if you have any leftover why not stitch some onto the corners of cushions to coordinate the look

YOU WILL NEED

  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Cardboard
  • Scissors
  • White, grey and black wool
  • Plain throw
  • Needle
  • Cotton thread
  1. Measure and cut a 10 x 12cm piece of cardboard.
  2. Cut a small piece of wool and place along the length of the cardboard. Wind the rest of the wool around the width of the cardboard about 25 times, or until you have achieved the desired thickness of your tassel.
  3. Tie the short piece of wool tightly at one end of the bound wool.
  4. Slip the scissors between the wool and the cardboard at the other end and cut to release the tassel.
  5. Cut and tie another piece of wool around the neck of the tassel, making a knot to secure it in place. Snip the ends of the tassel to give a neat finish.
  6. Repeat to create more tassels, then neatly stitch along the edges of the throw, equally spaced apart.

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Fill your home with the sweet aroma of freshly ground coffee with my gorgeous handmade candles

YOU WILL NEED

  • Vintage glasses, teacups or dessert bowls, from charity shops
  • Bamboo skewers
  • Scissors
  • Wire wick
  • Large and small saucepans
  • Wax pellets
  • Stearine Flakes
  • Metal spoon
  • Plastic jug
  • Coffee beans
  1. Cut a skewer in half. Then cut a piece of wick about 4cm longer than the height of the glass and tie it onto one half of the skewer. Balance it on top of the glass with the longer end of the wick dangling inside, and the shorter end pointing upwards. Repeat with the other glasses or cups.
  2. Quarter fill a large saucepan with cold water. Place the wax into the smaller pan, and then place it inside the large pan. Gently bring the water to the boil, and simmer on a low heat until the wax melts. Add 1 tablespoon of stearine to the molten wax, and allow to melt.
  3. Pour the wax into a plastic jug, then pour into the glasses. Add some coffee beans to the wax, and leave to cool. If a ‘well’ forms around the wick, top up with more hot wax. Cool at room temperature until the wax is solid, then remove the skewers and trim the wicks.

My cool cushions are made from the sacks used to import coffee beans for roasting. I picked them up really cheaply from a local salvage fair, but they are also available to buy online from Brick Lane Coffee Sacks

You will need

  • Coffee bean sacks
  • Measuring tape
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Cotton thread
  • Polyester stuffing
  • Needle
  1. For a square cushion, measure and cut out two 40 x 40cm pieces from a coffee bean sack. For a rectangular cushion, measure and cut out two 50 x 35cm pieces.
  2. Pin the pieces right sides together. Stitch along each side, leaving a large opening on one side.
  3. Turn the cushion covers right side out, and fill with polyester stuffing. Neatly stitch up the openings.

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Paint dripped and splattered accessories are big this season, and I’ve adopted this colourful trend and created these works of art using plain white vases

You will need

  • Newspaper
  • Plain white vases
  • Small paint brushes
  • Marabu Porcelain paint in Orange, Yellow and Light Blue
  1. Protect your work surface with sheets of newspaper. Place the vases upside down.
  2. Dip a small brush in the first pot of paint. Drip the paint on the edge of the base of a vase, and allow to run down the side.
  3. Continue dipping and dripping paint around the base of the vase, alternating different colours of paint.
  4. Allow to dry before baking in the oven to seal the paint.

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Make a designer-style bird cage shade for much much less using an old lampshade, wire mesh and some gold spray paint

You will need

  • Old lampshade
  • Wire mesh
  • Scissors
  • Sandpaper
  • Wire cutters
  • Blunt nose pliers
  • Bamboo skewers
  • Glue gun
  • PlastiKote Gold Metallic spray paint
  • Birds
  1. Measure the circumference and height of the shade, then measure and cut the wire mesh panel 1.5cm bigger on all sides.
  2. Cut the fabric from the wire of the old lampshade with scissors. Remove any hard bits of fabric or dried glue with sandpaper.
  3. Wrap the panel around the top ring of the shade, and twist the exposed wire ends around the ring tightly using the blunt nose pliers. Continue all the way around the ring.
  4. Once the top ring is attached, place the base ring in position and repeat.
  5. Attach the exposed ends of the panels down the side of the shade together using blunt nose pliers.
  6. Cut some bamboo skewers and balance them inside the shade. Then stick the ends in place with a glue gun.
  7. Spray the shade with gold paint and leave to dry, before clipping artificial birds to the perches.

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Create a decorative doormat with this super speedy stencilling idea. Simply take a plain coir doormat and stencil with spray paint – I chose a leafy pattern for an autumnal feel

You will need

  • Leaf template
  • A4 acetate
  • Craft knife
  • Repositionable adhesive spray
  • Plain doormat
  • Valspar Fast Dry Matt Black Enamel spray paint
  1. Print the leaf template on a sheet of A4 acetate. Carefully cut around the leaf with a craft knife, to create a stencil.
  2. Lightly coat the stencil with adhesive spray, and leave to go tacky for a few minutes.
  3. Place the stencil on the doormat, and press down to stick in position. Spray with black enamel paint, then remove the stencil.
  4. Continue stencilling the surface of the doormat, and leave to dry.

Create a beautiful bunch of everlasting blooms to brighten up any room using leftover knitting wool, twigs from the garden and some old book pages.

You will need

  • Circular object
  • Cardboard
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Colourful wool
  • Long twigs
  • Glue gun and glue sticks
  • Paperback book
  • Scissors
  1. Draw and cut out two cardboard circles using a circular object as a template with a hole in the middle of each so that you end up with a ‘ring’ shape.
  2. Hold both the cardboard circles tightly together, and wind the wool evenly and firmly around the edge. Continue winding the wool around the circles until the central hole is nearly full.
  3. Using the scissors, carefully snip the wound wool between the two cardboard circles and continue all the way around until all the wool has been cut.
  4. Cut and thread a length of wool around the centre of the pom pom, between the two circles of cardboard, then tie tightly to secure.
  5. Remove the card from the pom pom by using your scissors to snip into the card, and pull apart to separate. Repeat to make different colour pom poms.
  6. Add a little glue to the end of a long twig and poke through the middle of a pom pom. Repeat with the other pom poms.
  7. Remove some pages from an old book and cut into leaf shapes. Glue to each twig.

Easy Student Room Updates

Take a look at these quick ideas to help you get organised and pretty up your new pad

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(Originally published in Essentials, July 2016. Photos: Graeme Ainscough, Styling: Suzie Attaway)

Make your own cheap and cheerful photo frames with decorative washi tapes
YOU WILL NEED
• Photos
• Blue tack
• Patterned washi tapes
• Scissors
1. Position the first photo on the wall and stick in place with a little blue tack.
2. Neatly stick strips of washi tape around each side of the photo to create a frame.

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(originally published in Essentials, May 2015. Photos: Graeme Ainscough, Styling: Suzie Attaway)

YOU WILL NEED
• Pegboard
• Pale grey paint
• Pencil
• Pink, grey, green, yellow and blue tapestry wool
• Tapestry needle
• Drawer pulls
1. Cut down the pegboard to your desired size. Paint the surface with a coat of pale grey paint and leave to dry.
2. On the back of the pegboard, write out the word ‘HAPPY’ in reverse, with each letter equally spaced apart. When you are happy with the arrangement, cross stitch each letter with a different colour tapestry wool.
3. Turn the pegboard over and screw some drawer pulls to the front below the cross stitched letters at different heights.
4. Hang the pegboard up with a length of baker’s twine tied to a hole at each top corner.

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(originally published in Essentials, May 2015. Photos: Graeme Ainscough, Styling: Suzie Attaway)

Upcycle a cheap plastic office chair with paper and paint

YOU WILL NEED
• Plastic swivel chair
• Copper spray paint
• Floral decopatch paper
• Glue
• Paint brush
• Varnish
1. Mask the surrounding area and the seat of the chair with newspaper or dust sheets, and spray the legs with copper spray paint. Leave for about 20 minutes to dry, before spraying a second coat.
2. Take some sheets of floral decopatch paper and tear into small pieces. Paint a thin layer of glue onto the plastic seat and stick a piece of paper in place, smoothing out any bubbles or wrinkles. Continue until the surface of the seat is covered, before decorating the sides and back.
3. Once the seat is completely covered, apply a thin coat of varnish to seal the decopatched design.

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(originally published in Essentials, May 2015. Photos: Graeme Ainscough, Styling: Suzie Attaway)

Glam-up your bookshelf with these metallic brick book-ends
YOU WILL NEED
• Bricks
• Pink paint
• Paint brush
• Masking tape
• Copper metallic paint
1. Paint the bricks with pink paint and leave to dry.
2. Mask off triangular shapes on each long side of the bricks, and paint with copper metallic paint. Remove the tape, and leave to dry

10 Minute Makes

From marbled mugs to colour pop vases, these easy crafts will add an instant update to your home in no time at all

 (Originally published in Essentials, July 2016. Photos: Graeme Ainscough. Styling: Suzie Attaway)

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Dress up a plain wall with these pretty decoupaged plates

YOU WILL NEED
• Insect wrapping paper
• Scissors
• Old plates
• Glue varnish
• Paint brush
1. Cut out an insect from the sheet of wrapping paper.
2. Stick the insect to the middle of the plate, then brush over the whole plate with glue varnish. Allow to dry.

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Give a plain doormat a quick colour-pop makeover with spray paint

YOU WILL NEED
• Coir doormat
• Strong masking tape
• Newspaper or old sheets
• Black and yellow spray paint
1. Mask off diagonal stripes on the doormat with strong masking tape.
2. Lay some newspaper or old sheets on the floor of a well ventilated room. Spray alternate stripes with the yellow and black spray paints.
3. Remove the tape, and allow to dry.

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Create the prettiest marble-dipped mugs in minutes

YOU WILL NEED
• Newspaper
• Plastic container
• Water
• Nail varnish in bright colours
• Cocktail stick
• Plain white mugs
1. Protect your work surface with some sheets of newspaper. Pour some water into the container. Add a few drops of nail varnish, and stir with a cocktail stick to create a marble pattern – you can add more than one colour if desired.
2. Before the nail varnish starts to harden, dip the mug in the water, rotating it to apply the pattern all around the sides.
3. Remove the cup and allow to dry on the newspaper.

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Add a touch of ombre to your interiors with this super speedy craft

YOU WILL NEED
• Newspaper or old sheets
• Glass bottles
• Spray paints
1. Cover floors or work surface with newspaper or old sheets in a well ventilated room.
2. Turn the glass bottle upside down on the covered surface and begin spraying with paint around the base. Continue working down the bottle in a circular motion, then allow to dry.
3. Repeat to create different colour vases. The fill with water and pop a flower inside.

Cactus Crafts

Spend a crafternoon with the kids creating these adorable prickle-free plants and paperweights

(Originally published in Essentials, May 2015. Photos: Graeme Ainscough. Styling: Suzie Attaway)

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YOU WILL NEED
• Green card, in different shades
• Glue stick
• Cacti templates (see below)
• Pencil
• Scissors
• White paint pen
• Pink tissue paper
1. Take 3 sheets of green card and fold each in half lengthways. Glue one half of each folded sheet to the next, to form a 3D card.
2. Lay the 3D card flat and place a cactus template in the middle. Draw around the template, and cut out.
3. Add some ‘needles’ to each side of the 3D cactus with a white paint pen.
4. Scrunch up some small pink tissue paper ‘flowers’ and glue to the top of the cactus.

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YOU WILL NEED
• Pebbles
• Acrylic paint, in different shades of green
• Paint brush
• White paint pen
• Clear varnish
1. Wash and dry the pebbles. Paint each in a different shade of green, and leave to dry.
2. Draw little cactus needles, spines and spots onto the pebbles with a white paint pen.
3. Paint the decorated pebbles with varnish and leave to dry.

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