15 Minute Patriotic Wreath

I love this easy 15 minute patriotic wreath!  I can use it for Memorial Day and the 4th of July.

My husband always groans when I come home with supplies to make a new wreath, but I love how easily they can update a room or brighten our front door.  With Memorial Day just a couple of weeks ago and the 4th of July coming up soon, I decided to pick up a few simple supplies from JoAnn’s to make a patriotic wreath that I can use in my decor.  One of my favorite wreath forms to use are grapevine wreaths because the wreath itself is part of the decor and you don’t have to do a lot to add a little extra something to it to make it your own.  The best part is that it only took 15 minutes to put together from start to finish!

To make your own patriotic wreath, you’ll want to grab the following supplies:

  • 12″ grapevine wreath
  • bead/berry picks (found by the wreath making supplies)
  • 1/2″ ribbon
  • scissors
  • safety pin

As for making the wreath, I decided to try something a little different and create a video tutorial!  I’m hoping to incorporate more videos for recipes and crafts in my posts to change things up a bit.  If you have any questions about the process, please let me know!

In all, I spent less than $10 for everything and for only 15 minutes of my time, which is important to me because I only have so much time to craft.  I love how my new wreath turned out and it’s currently sitting in my kitchen/living room area being all patriotic and reminding me why I love the 4th of July.  Independence Day is in my top 3 favorite holidays and I love everything about it (except parades, I know I’m probably in the minority).

I love this easy 15 minute patriotic wreath!  I can use it for Memorial Day and the 4th of July.

I love this easy 15 minute patriotic wreath!  I can use it for Memorial Day and the 4th of July.

I love this easy 15 minute patriotic wreath!  I can use it for Memorial Day and the 4th of July.

Do you decorate for patriotic holidays?  What do you usually do to celebrate?

DIY Laundry Room Sign

Paint and vinyl are all it takes to make this cute DIY laundry room sign

The summer after my husband and I got married, we drove out to Buffalo, NY, where he sold security systems.  Towards the end of the summer, his office got moved to Philadelphia, PA.  Thankfully, there were many wives who were out with their husbands so we became good friends and did some sightseeing here and there.  While in Philadelphia, we decided to drive out to a little amish town and do some exploring.  In one of the little shops we visited, I found a laundry room sign.  This sign has been with us for almost 9 years and when I first bought it, I thought it was the cutest thing, but as I’ve grown into my own personal style of decorating, I found that it just wasn’t working anymore.  So I decided to do a little DIY laundry room sign makeover and share this easy tutorial with you!

This post contains affiliate links which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no additional charge to you.  Thank you for your support!

So this is what the sign looked like before I painted it.  A little sad, a little dated, but still in great shape.

Paint and vinyl are all it takes to make this cute DIY laundry room sign

Supplies needed:

First, prep your surface.  Since my board was already cut down to size, all I needed to do was wipe it off to remove dust and dirt.  There was probably a really thin coat of finish on top, but not enough for me to worry about sanding it before painting.  I also removed the wire that was originally holding the board up on the hook.

Next, paint your surface.  I did two coats of paint (in charcoal) to make sure I covered the original color and letters really well and then let it dry completely.

Paint and vinyl are all it takes to make this cute DIY laundry room sign

While the board is drying, I created my design.  I use my Silhouette Design Studio for my Silhouette Cameo to do this and it made everything SO easy.  I changed the size of my design page to the size of my board (16×6) so I could get a really accurate representation of how everything would fit.  I used the font Magnolia Sky for ‘Laundry Room’ and Bebas for ‘wash dry fold repeat’.  Both fonts are free.  Get Magnolia Sky HERE and Bebas HERE.  (Also, check out my tutorial for installing fonts HERE.)  

Once I had everything the size I wanted, I opened a New Drawing (blank page) and changed the design page back to 12×12 since that is the size of my cutting mat.  I copied the text and pasted it, then put it on the page to minimize the amount of vinyl I’d need to use to cut everything I needed.  Then I sent it to cut.

I removed the vinyl from the machine and then used my weeding tool to pull out the smaller pieces of vinyl.  Then I pulled off the remaining vinyl around the letters, so that when I was done, all I was left with was the words on my backing.

Paint and vinyl are all it takes to make this cute DIY laundry room sign

Next, I arranged the words on my board so they were close to where I ultimately wanted them.  (You could skip this part if you’re really confident about where everything is going, but I always like to do this first so I can visualize the final product easier.)

Paint and vinyl are all it takes to make this cute DIY laundry room sign

Then I peeled the backing off of the transfer paper and laid the sticky, clear part on top of the words.  After doing all the words, I used this little vinyl application tool I got a long time ago that has a hard plastic edge to it to rub the vinyl underneath the transfer paper and smooth out bubbles.  I’ve seen people use credit cards for this too.  (This helps it adhere to the transfer paper so when you pull the backing off the vinyl, it sticks to the transfer paper more easily.)

Paint and vinyl are all it takes to make this cute DIY laundry room sign

Paint and vinyl are all it takes to make this cute DIY laundry room sign

Now, I slowly pulled the backing off of my vinyl.  Try to pull in the direction of the curve so you don’t risk stretching or ripping the vinyl.

Next, very carefully place the words on the board.  You don’t want to press down just yet because if you need to move the words you want it to come up easily.  When everything was where I wanted it, I pressed down on the vinyl to keep it in place, then used my hard plastic edged tool to rub on top of all the letters.  Then, I removed the transfer paper slowly in case any part of the word was still sticking to it.

*Tip: You can reuse transfer paper.  Just put the backing from the transfer paper back onto the clear transfer paper and store it away until next time.  This is a huge money saver!

(If you used the color of vinyl you wanted, then you are done and can admire your work!  But if you want to paint over the top of your words like I did, keep following along.)

After pulling the transfer tape off, I inspected the edges of the vinyl to make sure there weren’t any bubbles or anything preventing it from adhering to the surface.  You want a really good seal.  Once this was done, I grabbed my white paint and did two coats. 

Paint and vinyl are all it takes to make this cute DIY laundry room sign

Paint and vinyl are all it takes to make this cute DIY laundry room sign

I let it dry for about 5 minutes, then grabbed my weeding tool and carefully used it to snag the beginning of the word.  Once I had a piece big enough to hold onto, I used my fingers to pull the vinyl off, going slowly and trying to pull in the direction of the curve. 

Paint and vinyl are all it takes to make this cute DIY laundry room sign

If you happen to wait a little too long before pulling the letters off, you might end up with some edges that aren’t totally smooth (which is what happened to me).  For me, I didn’t worry about this because I knew I wanted to sand the sign and distress it a little and once I did that, you couldn’t tell.

Allow the paint to finish drying completely.  You can either end here and hang up your amazing sign, or you can use some sandpaper and distress the edges and top a bit to let the bottom paint color come through.

Paint and vinyl are all it takes to make this cute DIY laundry room sign

Paint and vinyl are all it takes to make this cute DIY laundry room sign

And that’s it!  I hope this tutorial gave you a little bit of inspiration to add something cute to your laundry room.

Happy crafting!

8 Colorful Hands On Activities for Kids

Kid-tested and kid-approved!  Your kids will love these 8 colorful hands on activities!

If your kids are anything like mine, they are very hands-on.  They love to do whatever I’m doing, whether it’s gardening, baking, crafting, building, etc.  This is why I try to come up with activities that they can do most, or all of it, by themselves.  It’s exciting for them to create something and it builds autonomy which is an important skill as they get older and need to figure out problems for themselves.  Over the last couple of years since my kids were old enough to appreciate and enjoy it, I’ve done a handful of really fun and colorful activities.  These are tried and true and my kids ask to do them over and over again.

Elephant Toothpaste
We did this activity last summer and my kids went crazy over it!  The reaction is pretty amazing and we’ll definitely be doing it again soon.

Kid-tested and kid-approved!  Your kids will love these 8 colorful hands on activities!

Color Explosions
This activity is super simple and you probably already have the ingredients on hand!  You can do this one over and over again for really inexpensive.

Kid-tested and kid-approved!  Your kids will love these 8 colorful hands on activities!

Glow in the Dark Bath Paint
This is a great activity to do with your kids once your sure they won’t try and eat everything they can get their hands on.  A black light and glow in the dark paint make this activity great for those days when you’re stuck inside.

Kid-tested and kid-approved!  Your kids will love these 8 colorful hands on activities!

Dancing Rice
Using basic ingredients, you can do a little science experiment with your kids and show them how air bubbles carry the rice up to the top of a glass, making them look like they’re dancing.

Kid-tested and kid-approved!  Your kids will love these 8 colorful hands on activities!

Homemade Gak
Gak is one of those really fun things to play with no matter your age!  We did this one as a family activity one night and everyone got in on it.

Kid-tested and kid-approved!  Your kids will love these 8 colorful hands on activities!

Homemade Bouncy Ball
This activity was one of the first posts I did on my blog and I still get people coming back to it.  It makes for a fun afternoon activity at home or preschool activity.

Kid-tested and kid-approved!  Your kids will love these 8 colorful hands on activities!

Water Beads
If you’ve never heard of water beads, you are missing out!  We pull these out once every few months or so and the kids will play with them forever.  They are really inexpensive and you get hours of fun!

Kid-tested and kid-approved!  Your kids will love these 8 colorful hands on activities!

3 Ways to Paint with a Toddler or Preschooler
One of my most popular kid activities post!  If you have toddlers or preschoolers, this one is for you.  I’ve included 3 different ways you can let your preschooler or toddler paint (adult supervision still required of course).

Kid-tested and kid-approved!  Your kids will love these 8 colorful hands on activities!

And there you have it!  I hope you have fun trying these activities out with your kids!

Rainbow String Art Tutorial

Simple rainbow string art tutorial that can be used to make any shape you want!

When it comes to crafting, I like to try everything.  I have an entire craft room full of all sorts of supplies for everything from vinyl, embroidery, scrapbooking, acrylic paints, a million brads, felt, adhesives…phew!  And that’s not even close to everything.  Something I’ve been wanting to try my hand at is string art.  I’ve seen it all over and there are so many shops that sell it.  My friend Sarah over at Making Joy and Pretty Things recently did a cute string art heart for her daughter’s nursery.  I commented on her post and told her I’d been wanting to try it out myself and she suggested I do one for St. Patrick’s Day.  So I did.  *wink*

I went back and forth on what I wanted to do.  I did sketches, looked at images on Google and finally settled on a rainbow because there are really only so many images that go along with St. Patrick’s Day.

Here’s a list of the supplies you’ll need to make your own:

  • piece of wood, desired size
  • 1″ nails
  • hammer
  • embroidery floss, desired colors
  • outline of image (printed out)
  • vinyl for wording (optional)
  • acrylic paint (optional)
Simple rainbow string art tutorial that can be used to make any shape you want!

Simple rainbow string art tutorial that can be used to make any shape you want!

To start, I had my husband cut a piece of wood for me from a scrap piece we had lying around.  I used a 2×6 and cut it so it was 7″ tall x 9″ long.  (Seriously, why don’t they call it a 2×7?)  Sand down the edges for a cleaner look and wipe off all the dust.  I found an outline of a rainbow with clouds that I liked, saved the image, opened it in a word document and printed it out.  When selecting my rainbow image, I counted the number of arches so that I could have six colors (I left out indigo).

(Originally, I had planned on painting it my wood, but I got a little ahead of myself and started putting nails in.  Once I realized this, I was about half way done nailing and didn’t want to take it all out and start over.  So if you’re going to paint it, definitely make sure you do it before you get too far.)

Next, I cut the paper so it would be the same size as my piece of wood.  Then I grabbed a couple of nails and hammered them in on opposite sides to keep the paper from moving.

Simple rainbow string art tutorial that can be used to make any shape you want!

I started with the clouds.  I put a nail at each of the points and then filled it in from there, trying to space them as evenly as possible–probably about 1/4″.

From there I moved on to the curve of the rainbow, continuing to space the nails about 1/4″ apart.

Simple rainbow string art tutorial that can be used to make any shape you want!

Now you grab your first color of embroidery floss and tie it on to the nail that will be your starting point.  I started with the red for the first arch of the rainbow because I wanted the white of the clouds to cover all of the ends of each color.  I wrapped the floss all the way around each nail at the top of the arch so I had a straight line, then I started randomly looping the floss between the first and second row of nails until I got back to the beginning.  I tied it off by tying it to the tail of the string I started with.  I continued this until I got all the way through each of the colors of the rainbow.

Simple rainbow string art tutorial that can be used to make any shape you want!

Simple rainbow string art tutorial that can be used to make any shape you want!

Simple rainbow string art tutorial that can be used to make any shape you want!

When I got to the clouds, I tied the string to a nail, wrapped it all the way around each nail so I had an outline and then started randomly looping the floss until it had the same type of coverage that the arches had.

Since I was left with space at the top of the rainbow, I decided to add some vinyl that said “Over the”.  I designed the words in my Silhouette Studio software and cut them using black adhesive vinyl on my Silhouette Cameo.

Simple rainbow string art tutorial that can be used to make any shape you want!

And that’s it!  This project cost me nothing since I already had everything I needed at home, but even then, it is a fairly inexpensive project since embroidery floss and a package of nails are a dollar or less for each.

Simple rainbow string art tutorial that can be used to make any shape you want!

Have you tried string art before?  What image would you want to create?

Using Natural Light In Your Photography (Plus a Giveaway!)

Learn how to use diffused light in your photography to instantly improve your pictures.

In today’s world, cameras are only an arm length away (or less!).  Like many people, I keep my phone nearby during the day in order to check my texts or emails, but more than anything, I want a camera close by to capture pictures or videos of my kids.  But how many times have I taken a picture thinking it’s going to turn out so great, only to be disappointed because of a lighting issue?  Let me tell you, the answer is a lot.  And it’s frustrating!  But the good news is, using light to your advantage is a skill you can learn, especially with the help of a good teacher.

Meet Kendra from Kendra Leigh Photography and Video.  If you’ve been around my blog for a while, you might remember the guest post she did last spring about how to choose colors for family pictures.  It’s a fantastic post and I highly recommend it if you’re considering taking family pictures any time in the near future.  In addition, Kendra is the person behind many of my more styled shoots (the ones where I’m in the picture), such as this and this as well as one coming up this Friday. She is a very talented photographer and I’m so lucky to have her as my friend.

Today, Kendra is going to be sharing an important tip on how to use light to capture those beautiful images on your camera that you see with your eyes.

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

Learn how to use diffused light in your photography to instantly improve your pictures.

I am Kendra Hill of Kendra Leigh Photography and Video; I’ve been a professional photographer for three years, and have a Bachelor’s degree in Film from UVU.  Because I take pictures all the time, and I love what I do, I’ve been able to learn many tips and tricks on how to use different qualities of light to capture beautiful images.  The mastery of light is something everyone can learn, and I will teach you how to create beautiful images regardless of what camera you have!

One of the best ways to improve the quality of your photography is to ‘see the light.’  Light is the most powerful tool we have when we take a picture.  It can make the ordinary look absolutely extraordinary.  There are quite a few kinds of light, which we will talk about during the Snap Happy Course (see details below).  One of the best types of light for photography is diffused light.

What is diffused light?

When using natural sunlight, it can be very harsh when shining directly on your subject.  But, it can be diffused by cloud cover, a doorway, garage, window, tree overhang, etc.  By using an object to diffuse harsh front light, it becomes a softer, more flattering light.

Learn how to use diffused light in your photography to instantly improve your pictures.
Sheer curtains diffuse the light in this photo

If at all possible, you want to avoid harsh front light as it creates dramatic shadows, and often leaves your subject squinting to protect their eyes.  We don’t always have a choice on what time of day we take our pictures, and it is important to capture your memories regardless of the light you have to work with.

Learn how to use diffused light in your photography to instantly improve your pictures.
Trees diffuse light in this photo

However, if you can find a tree, door, sheer curtains, or other way to soften that harsh light it will help you to create more beautiful images.  This is only one natural lighting technique.

Learn how to use diffused light in your photography to instantly improve your pictures.
Edge of wall diffuses the light in this photo

Coming in March is a photography class you don’t want to miss.  It’s called Snap Happy and in this class, I’m teaching you how to take the best photos possible, in any kind of light, whether it is noon or dusk.  This is a local, hands-on class on March 4, 2017 from 2-5 PM in Springville, UT.  (Sorry to those of you out of state or not within driving distance!)

This beginning photography class will cover:

  • Equipment
  • Protecting your Memories
  • The 5 Steps to Happy Snaps
  • How to Lose 10 lbs in the Camera
  • And a Q&A

The Snap Happy class is $60 for a 2-hour technical course, followed by a photoshoot with a child model, or we can take photos of each other if you want, so you can practice what you’ve learned.  When I have received your class fee, your spot is secured. I have a limited number of seats and they are filling up, so sign up quickly.  This is a class you will not want to miss!  To give another person the opportunity to transform their snaps, Shani and I have teamed up to do a giveaway and present one of our followers on social media a chance to win one of our remaining spots!  If you send in your class fee to secure your spot and happen to win our contest, your fee will be refunded.

A DSLR is not a requirement, however, portions of the class which discuss manual functions may not be applicable on other cameras.

If you have any further questions, please email me at kendra@klphotographyandvideo.com, or call/text me at 385-221-8849.

 ********************
I’ve got to tell you that I have made the mistake of taking pictures of my kids outside, knowing that light is important for good pictures, only to end up with squinty eyes or hands over the face because I put them directly in the sun.  Have you been there too?  
The giveaway for (1) Snap Happy class will run from Wednesday, February 15 to Tuesday, February 21 ending at midnight MST.  The winner will be announced on both my and Kendra’s Facebook page on Wednesday, February 22.  If you’d like to enter the giveaway, see the requirements below.  Good luck!
Requirements:
  • 14 years or older
  • Ability to come to the class in Springville, UT on March 4, 2017 from 2-5pm
  • Have a camera (any kind!)

To enter the giveaway, you will need to:

  • Visit Sunshine & Munchkins Facebook page (1 entry)
  • Visit Kendra Leigh Photography and Videos Facebook page (1 entry)
  • Leave a comment below about a photography technique you’d like to learn (1 entry)
  • Follow Sunshine & Munchkins on Instagram (optional: extra entry)
  • Follow Kendra Leigh Photography and Video on Instagram (optional: extra entry)

I am signed up to take Kendra’s class next month and I am so excited to be able to learn from a professional and then try out what I learn on my poor, unsuspecting kids.  Good luck and if you know someone who would be interested in signing up for the class or entering the giveaway, send them my way!

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DIY Hanging Necklace Holder

Make your own hanging necklace holder using a piece of scrap wood and some cute drawer knobs!

When my husband and I first moved into our house almost 6 years ago, we had our first shared closet since we’d been married 3 years before.  Up until that point, we’d always lived in apartments and all of them had small closets.  Or maybe they just seemed small to me considering all of my clothes fit into one closet with no room leftover for my husband…  My poor hubby always had to use the closet in the second bedroom for his clothes in each of the places we lived.  So when we moved into our home, we had a bigger closet, which was great.  But there wasn’t any room for me to put my jewelry.  I don’t like keeping it out on my dresser and prefer to have it out of reach of little hands.  So what to do?

To utilize the wall space in our closet, I made a quick necklace holder using a piece of scrap wood, some fabric, nails, hooks and a sawtooth hanger to hang it on the wall.  It’s been totally functional and a great way to organize my necklaces but over the last few months, I decided I wanted to change it more to fit my current style.  You can see what my original necklace hanger looks like below.  Not bad right?  But not great.

Make your own hanging necklace holder using a piece of scrap wood and some cute drawer knobs!

So off I went to Hobby Lobby to find some cute drawer knobs.  I watched for them to go on sale (yay for 50% off!) and found 6 that I thought went together without being too matchy-matchy.  If you’ve ever looked at the knobs and pulls they have at Hobby Lobby, you know that they have an awesome variety, but in my case, this actually made it so much harder for me to choose.  Besides choosing coordinating knobs, they also had to have a big enough space between the end of the knob and the screw in part to hold the necklaces.  I’m not kidding when I say that I spent a solid 45 minutes looking at knobs.  My kids were going crazy of course: “Don’t touch that!  Put that back!  No, don’t put it in your mouth.  Please, get off the ground!”  (Anyone else?)  Total I ended up spending $14 for the knobs.  I also bought a small bottle of white chalk paint since I wanted to distress it a bit.

Once home, I put the bag in my craft room and there it sat for a good 2 months until I was cleaning out my closet and found it again, still in the bag on the floor.  (Haha, this is the story of my life when it comes to crafts.)  I finally got around to making my new necklace holder and it only took me about an hour, including dry time!

Here’s what you’ll need to make your own:

Make your own hanging necklace holder using a piece of scrap wood and some cute drawer knobs!

  • a piece of scrap wood
  • sandpaper
  • chalk paint (or acrylic paint)
  • foam brush
  • petroleum jelly (for distressing)
  • knobs (I used 6)
  • power drill (optional)
  • 1/4″ drill bit (optional)
  • paper
  • pencil
  • sawtooth hanger
  • nails

To get started, measure the space where you want to put your necklace holder.

Cut your wood down to size or find a piece of scrap wood that happens to be lying around your house from previous projects.  Mine is 12″x5″  but yours may vary depending on how many knobs you want to use and how many necklaces you need it to hold.  Also, be aware that you’ll want to use a thicker piece of wood since the part of the knob that gets screwed in is about 1 1/2″ long.  If you use a thinner piece of wood you’ll run into a problem when you try to hang it on the wall since the end will be poking out the back.

Sand the cut edges so they are smoother.  How much you sand is completely up to you.  I just went until the edges were slightly rounded and when I ran my hand over it, I didn’t come away with any splinters.

The next step is optional, depending on if you want to distress your wood or not.  I did a tutorial a while back about how to distress wood using petroleum jelly.  It’s a technique I use all the time because it’s less messy than painting first and then sanding it down.  You can also do it in layers if you want multiple colors on your wood.  Find the full tutorial HERE.

Grab your petroleum jelly and rub a small amount in random places on your board, paying close attention to the grain of the wood, as this will help the distressing look more natural.  You can see where I added mine because it’s a little bit shiny.

Make your own hanging necklace holder using a piece of scrap wood and some cute drawer knobs!

Next, paint your board using a foam brush.  You can paint right over the top of the petroleum jelly.  I only painted the front, top, bottom and sides since no one will see the back.  Let it dry.

Once dry, use a paper towel and gently rub over the places where you put the petroleum jelly.  It will rub right off!  So much easier than using sandpaper and getting dust all over the place.  Again, see the full tutorial for more details.

Make your own hanging necklace holder using a piece of scrap wood and some cute drawer knobs!

Now it’s time to measure and mark the placement of the knobs.  I used 6 knobs and staggered them so each row is off center and the middle two knobs split the center.  First, I measured the exact center of the board.  Then I measured the length of the board and tried to figure out how much space I wanted between each knob.  This was actually a little trickier than I originally thought it would be so I got a piece of paper out, measured out the size of my wood and then used that to figure out the placement of each hole.  Then I cut it out, placed it over my wood as a template and taped it down before pre-drilling my holes.  So much easier than trying to make marks on my painted wood and I got it exactly straight!

Make your own hanging necklace holder using a piece of scrap wood and some cute drawer knobs!

I always try to “pre-drill” my holes to make it easier on myself.  You’ll find that drawer knobs are flat on the end and getting the hole started will save you time and you don’t have to use your muscles as much. *wink*  I used a hammer and nail to get the placement right, removed the template and then I grabbed my husband’s power drill and a 1/4″ bit and pre-drilled about 3/4 of the way down.

Make your own hanging necklace holder using a piece of scrap wood and some cute drawer knobs!

I had one knob where the end was just slightly longer than my wood was deep so I ended up drilling a hole all the way through.  It poked out the back a little so I got a small piece of felt and glued it to the back of the board to cover the end of the screw so it won’t scratch my wall.

Make your own hanging necklace holder using a piece of scrap wood and some cute drawer knobs!

Next, I decided what order I wanted my knobs to be in and then started screwing them in.  Each of my knobs came with a nut and washer on the end.  I didn’t need the nut but I kept the washer on.

Make your own hanging necklace holder using a piece of scrap wood and some cute drawer knobs!

Lastly, grab your sawtooth hanger, measure the center of the board (on the back) and down about 1/2″ and then nail it in.  Get another nail for the wall where you want to hang it up, hammer it in and then hang your new necklace holder.  Easy peasy!

Make your own hanging necklace holder using a piece of scrap wood and some cute drawer knobs!

I love my new necklace hanger!  It makes me so happy when I walk in and see it.  One thing (among many) that I love about this project is that it’s completely personalized.  Plus, it’s pretty enough that you could hang it up in your room if you want and it will look nice on the wall and won’t take up space on your dresser.  Win-win!

Make your own hanging necklace holder using a piece of scrap wood and some cute drawer knobs!

Make your own hanging necklace holder using a piece of scrap wood and some cute drawer knobs!

What do you use to store your different pieces of jewelry?

DIY Elf Door

Elf Door--Start a new tradition with your family this Christmas!

I’m always trying to think of new traditions for my family to incorporate during the holidays.  Right now, we just have a handful of Christmas traditions but I’ve been wanting to add another one.  In August I got an email from Jane.com with a cute little elf door.  What at fun idea! I thought to myself as I clicked on the link.  As cute as it was, I didn’t want to pay $24 for the door plus the other accessories (fence, lights, etc) and then pay for shipping.  I knew I could do it for cheaper myself and starting looking around online.

It turns out that Hobby Lobby’s miniature dollhouse collection was the perfect solution.  I’ve been watching for those items to go on sale and when they did, I went over and picked up what I needed.  Using my 40% off coupon, I was able to get the door for $6.59, plus the doorknob and key for $3.49 (30% off) and some mini Christmas light bulbs for $1.39 (30% off), which brought my total to $12.26 with tax.  I already have acrylic paint and brushes to paint the door and instead of using miniature fencing, I decided to cut some out of vinyl using my Silhouette Cameo, which I could then stick to the wall and remove at the end of the season.  So by doing this myself, I was able to save myself more than half of what it would have cost to buy it from Jane.com.

Elf Door--Start a new tradition with your family this Christmas!

*Note: I did look on Amazon for the supplies to make this, but it was less expensive to buy it at Hobby Lobby.  But definitely feel free to shop around a bit.  You might find a better deal or decide you want a different kind of door or doorknob set.  The great thing about this craft is that you can totally personalize it!

I’ve been thinking about what kind of activity I could do with my kids to incorporate this little elf door into our traditions.  Ultimately, I kept it simple and told my kids that there is a magical elf door that leads directly to the North Pole.  Elves can come through it and check to make sure the kids are being good and then report to Santa.  You could be more elaborate if you want and do Elf on the Shelf type things but I don’t want to stress myself out by committing to do that every night.

So here’s what you’ll need to make your own Elf Door:

  • miniature door
  • miniature doorknob
  • miniature fence (vinyl or wood)
  • miniature Christmas light bulbs
  • acrylic paint (in desired colors)
  • paint brushes
  • glue
  • thin jewelry wire (silver or gold)

First, I painted the door frame white and the door a bright red and let it dry.

Elf Door--Start a new tradition with your family this Christmas!

Then I glued the doorknob on using some Tacky Glue and let it dry.

Meanwhile, I opened up my Silhouette Studio software and grabbed a picket fence silhouette from Google.  I was able to get the silhouette by using the ‘Trace’ function, then I saved the image in my library to use later on.  To determine the size of the fence, I measured the height of the door (about 7.5″) and then used a ruler to visualize the height of the fence.  Then I resized it in the Silhouette Studio and cut it out on my white vinyl.

Elf Door--Start a new tradition with your family this Christmas!

To make the strand of lights, I removed the gold wires that were strung through the lights.  Then I cut a length of wire about 24″ long.  I strung the first light on and then twisted it at the top a couple times so it wouldn’t slide around.  I threaded the next light on and spaced it about 1″-1.5″ from the first light and repeated the twist at the top.  I continued around until I reached the end of the wire, leaving about 1″ at the end.

Elf Door--Start a new tradition with your family this Christmas!

Elf Door--Start a new tradition with your family this Christmas!

I decided to put the door in our kitchen/dining area because we spend a lot of time there.  I wanted it to be visible to the kids so they would remember that the “elf” is going to check on them.  I placed the door above the baseboards and stuck it to the wall using tape I had rolled up and put on the back, making it easily removable at the end of the season.  Then I put about 3″ of vinyl fence on either side of the door.  Finally, I strung the lights around the door, draping them across the top and bending the wire and securing the ends under the top part of the vinyl fence.

Elf Door--Start a new tradition with your family this Christmas!

Elf Door--Start a new tradition with your family this Christmas!

As I was setting it up, I explained to my daughter about the elf and the magic door.  I tried to keep it simple so I could remember what I told her.  If I make a mistake, I’m sure she’ll correct me. *wink*  When my son woke up from his nap, he noticed it and went right over to investigate.  He’s not quite old enough to understand “elves” and “magic” but he thought it was fun anyway.  Hopefully he won’t mess with it too much.  If you have younger kids, you can always move the door up higher above a table or counter so it’s out of reach of little hands.

Elf Door--Start a new tradition with your family this Christmas!

Elf Door--Start a new tradition with your family this Christmas!

I had so much fun putting this little elf door together!  I hope this will be a fun tradition we can enjoy for years to come.

What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions?