DIY Lacing Cards Tutorial

DIY Lacing Cards Tutorial--How to make your own lacing cards using any theme you want!  Perfect for church bags, diaper bags and gifts.

From the time my daughter was old enough to need something to entertain her during church, I’ve had a church bag put together that we can grab and go on Sundays.  Of course, the contents change periodically to keep her interested and we’ve had to add more items since my son is also in need of distraction during church.  Mostly we have crayons, paper and books along with a couple of small cars.

Recently I was at the store and spotted some darling animal lacing cards that I thought would be perfect to throw in the church bag to shake things up a bit.  The next Sunday, they were a hit and I decided to see if I could make some lacing cards that were more church themed.  (Of course this same tutorial applies for any theme you want.)

To make your own lacing cards, follow these steps:
First you’ll need to find some clip art for the images you want.  I searched for ‘free bible stories clip art’ and came up with a ton of options.  One image caught my eye and took me to an entire website of free clip art in almost any category you could imagine: nature, language arts, science, sports, fairy tales and the list goes on.  (Keep in mind that this site allows free use of its images as long as you don’t try and profit from it.)

Save the image to your computer by right clicking and selecting ‘save image as…’.  This will allow you to choose where you want to save the file.

Once you have all your images, place the images in a word file and resize the images and adjust the margins if desired.  I wanted to fit two images per 8.5×11 page and they each ended up being between 4-6″ wide/tall.

Print your images on cardstock.  (I used white.)

DIY Lacing Cards Tutorial--How to make your own lacing cards using any theme you want!  Perfect for church bags, diaper bags and gifts.

Use a pencil to trace a border around the image, about 1/2″.  Make sure you’re not trying to be too detailed.  Cut out the images and erase any remaining pencil marks.

DIY Lacing Cards Tutorial--How to make your own lacing cards using any theme you want!  Perfect for church bags, diaper bags and gifts.

Punch holes around the image, spacing every 1/2-1″.  This is totally a personal preference.  Just make sure not to get too close to the edge of your border.  Mine varied a little per card.  You can use a regular hole punch to make the holes.  (I have a Crop-A-Dile, which allows me to punch 3/16″ or 1/8″ holes.)  This step gave my forearm and hand a major workout!  I made a total of 12 lacing cards and each card had at least 30 holes.  You do the math.

DIY Lacing Cards Tutorial--How to make your own lacing cards using any theme you want!  Perfect for church bags, diaper bags and gifts.

Laminate each lacing card.  I did a hard laminate which is stiffer and stronger so combined with the cardstock, the cards should be pretty durable.  I don’t have a laminater, so I took my cards to a local genealogy store that does it for pretty inexpensive (I paid $4 for 7ft).

Cut a border around each card, making sure not to get too close to the edge.  Repunch the holes on each card.  (*Note: You could wait to punch the holes until this step instead of doing it twice but I wanted to make it a little easier on myself since I’d have to punch through hard laminate and cardstock if I had waited.  In addition, by using my Crop-A-Dile, I was actually able to punch a slightly smaller hole within each original hole, preserving the strength of the lamination around each original hole.  Overkill?  Maybe.  But I’d like these to last as long as possible.)

DIY Lacing Cards Tutorial--How to make your own lacing cards using any theme you want!  Perfect for church bags, diaper bags and gifts.

For the lacing, I found a pack of 8 pairs of shoelaces at my local dollar store (Dollar Tree).  Not quite enough for each card to have it’s own, but I don’t expect all 12 to be used at the same time. *wink*

My daughter was so excited to try out the new lacing cards!  I wasn’t even done punching the first one (the second time around) and she was already pulling out the laces and waiting for the card when I finished.  She laced three or four of them before I told her I needed to put them away until Sunday.

DIY Lacing Cards Tutorial--How to make your own lacing cards using any theme you want!  Perfect for church bags, diaper bags and gifts.

As for me, I really love the way they turned out!  The clip art is darling and overall it was a fairly inexpensive project, costing me less than $10 (if you include the cost of paper and ink which I already had on hand).  These lacing cards would make a great birthday gift, stocking stuffer, church bag activity, for long car trips or something to keep in your diaper bag while you’re out and about.

I hope you have fun making your own!

DIY Sharpie Mug

DIY Sharpie Mug--These mugs make the perfect gift for any occasion (or just because you really want a cute mug)!

When the first DIY Sharpie mugs started popping up on the internet, I couldn’t believe that I could make whatever design I wanted to on a mug with just Sharpies!  Oh the ideas!  Oh the gifts!  Oh the…disappointment when I realized it wasn’t quite that simple.  But not to worry, it’s still simple enough if you follow my instructions.  I’ve done the research for you so you don’t have to!

Here are a few important tips I discovered:

  • You cannot use regular old Sharpies and expect it to stay on the mug.  If you want the design to be permanent, you have to use oil-based Sharpies, which are $3-$4 each.  
  • The type of mug (ceramic, porcelain, stoneware, etc) you use doesn’t matter and neither does the color.  You can use white, black or any other color you want. 
  • You need to bake the mugs in the oven and let them cool down.  
  • I highly recommend hand washing the mugs rather than sticking them in the dishwasher.

If you keep these things in mind when gathering your materials and designing your cool new mug, you will save yourself a lot of time and frustration.

Now for the tutorial…

Supplies needed:

  • mug(s)
  • oil-based Sharpies, in any color
  • rubbing alcohol
  • Q-tips and cotton balls
  • pencil and paper (optional)
  • masking tape (optional)

First, you’ll need to find your mug(s).  I went to Walmart and got mine for less than $2.  (There might be some cool ones at your local thrift store too, but I didn’t have time to look at ours.)  Bring them home, wash and let them dry.  (You do not want them to be wet at all, otherwise the paint won’t stick to the mug, since it is oil-based and water and oil don’t play well together.)  If you want to make sure they are extra clean, use some rubbing alcohol.

DIY Sharpie Mug--These mugs make the perfect gift for any occasion (or just because you really want a cute mug)!

Then, you will need to lightly sketch out your design/words.  I pulled out a piece of paper to practice on first so I could get my design and the spacing the way I wanted.

DIY Sharpie Mug--These mugs make the perfect gift for any occasion (or just because you really want a cute mug)!

After it is how you want, you transfer the design to the mug.  I recommend using a pencil since it’s easy to write over with the Sharpie and will rub off with your finger or a Q-tip.  You can also use the masking tape to help you write straight lines, create geometric shapes, etc.

DIY Sharpie Mug--These mugs make the perfect gift for any occasion (or just because you really want a cute mug)!

If you make a mistake, just grab your rubbing alcohol and a Q-tip or cotton ball (depending on the size of the mistake) and wipe it off.  Good as new!  I included an example so you could see that it really does work.

DIY Sharpie Mug--These mugs make the perfect gift for any occasion (or just because you really want a cute mug)! 

Once your mug is decorated to your liking, clean off any smudges with the rubbing alcohol and set it somewhere safe and dry for 72 hours.  That’s right.  Wait 3 days before baking your mug.  This allows the paint to set.

DIY Sharpie Mug--These mugs make the perfect gift for any occasion (or just because you really want a cute mug)!

DIY Sharpie Mug--These mugs make the perfect gift for any occasion (or just because you really want a cute mug)!

After the 72 hours have passed, put the mug in the cold oven at 425 degrees for one hour.  (I put my mug on a small pan so I didn’t have to worry about it falling over.)  At the end of one hour turn off the oven, leave the mug in the oven to cool completely.

The reason this step is important is because when you allow the mug to heat up gradually with the oven, you will avoid cracking.  A good time to do this would be in the evening so that you can just let the mug cool overnight and not worry if you’re pulling it out too soon.

After baking my mug, I noticed that the red color came out a little darker than before.  This worked out great for me since it matched the inside of the mug.  I would expect that most, if not all, colors will come out a little darker after the mug has been baked so take that into account when you are choosing your color.

DIY Sharpie Mug--These mugs make the perfect gift for any occasion (or just because you really want a cute mug)!

I love how my mug came out!  Actually, it’s not my mug anymore.  I sent it off as a birthday gift to a dear friend who lives far away in North Carolina.  So now it has a new home and I have an excuse to make another fun mug!

These mugs are really the way to go if you’re looking for a simple, cute, inexpensive gift.  You could give these as wedding gifts, bridesmaid gifts, house warming gifts, birthday gifts, anniversary gifts, Christmas gifts…the list goes on and on!

*Note: These mugs need to be hand-washed.  Do not put them in the dishwasher, or you risk damaging your design.

Have you made Sharpie mugs before?  Do you have any other tips that I didn’t include?