DIY: 4th of July tee-to-tank

Remember when you were little and you always had a fresh patriotic tee for the 4th of July? 

You don't have to give up your graphic tee game just because you're (sort of) an adult now. 

We go to my cabin in northern Minnesota for the 4th and that small town American parade with all the bells and whistles, the fire trucks and the flyover (and the candy throwers!) gets my heart all squishy and proud to be an American. Every time. 

As I was arranging and re-arranging different combinations of letters for my tee, it hit me: 

Amer-i-can. I can. 

I am American, and I can... vote, travel, go to school, say what I want, write what I want, work where I want.

I can marry who I want, and come to think of it, I can not marry who I want. No one's arranging my future for me. Because I. Can. 

I can do it all however I want, and so can you. Freedom from sea to shining sea, people. 

I know this all borders cliche, and also puts me quite obviously in the camp of taking it all for granted, but for one day a year. But, what a day it is! 

I hope your 4th of July is happy and freedom-filled. 

Here's how to make your own custom graphic tee-to-tank:

First, get your hands on some iron-on letters. I found mine at a local craft store. I chose the flat finish letters, not the textured/velvety letters. These are similar to what I used. 

Find an old tee and arrange your letters, plastic side up.

Lay a dishtowel over the letters, and iron. I found it worked best to push with full body weight on each letter for about 10 seconds,

then seal the edges of each letter with the edge of the iron.

Check frequently to see if the letters stick while you slowly peel the plastic.  

If you over heat, the letters won't stick, so check in!

My letters shifted a little to the right... aggressive ironing, I guess. But, they look pretty good!

To turn your tee into a tank, mark one inch from the shoulder and one inch under the armpit with a pencil

Sketch a line to connect the two marks. This will be your cut line.

This does not have to be perfect, but draw it relatively straight. Too much swoop, and you'll be cutting too far towards the center of the chest. 

Cut!

To make the edges roll (and hide any cut imperfections), tug the cut.

Ta-Da! Pair with All-American vintage Levi's cut-offs.  

After I tried on my tank, I wanted a little more drape in the back, so I snipped a slit. A friend helped me mark how high I wanted to cut.

This is important to do while you are wearing the shirt, so you don't cut too high. Then, remove, cut and tug. 

Happy 4th of July, Americans!

DIY: Tassel Refresh

Remember when I made a Tassel Necklace

It was my first solid DIY attempt and I. Am. Hooked. I can't stop making more things! More!

I've been hearing that some of my awesome readers are tassel-ing up their lives, so it is my Tassel Queen duty to share my new tassel secrets with you. 

This is a refresh of the Tassel Necklace DIY. I have perfected it in 3 ways:

  1. Pre-cut leather (life saving)
  2. Beads! So fun!
  3. A clasp (to switch out tassels)

You might have noticed this awesome tassel worn here:

Get your tassel on

Supplies:

  1. Pre-Cut fringe leather. I used THIS
  2. 36 in of Fine jewelry wire. I used THIS
  3. Beads of your choice 
  4. 2 Crimps. Like THIS (Found mine at a craft store)
  5. Toggle Clasp. Like THIS (Found mine at a craft store)
  6. Pliers
  7. E6000 Glue (here)

How To:

  1. Measure and cut 32 inches of Jewelry wire + a little extra on the ends (about 36 in)
  2. String on beads
  3. Once beads are strung to 32 inches, loop one end of wire through a crimp, then the toggle, then back through the crimp (pictured below)
  4. String back-looped wire thorough beads to conceal, then seal crimp with pliers (pictured below). Repeat with opposite end. 

Now that your strand is complete, time to make the interchangeable tassels:

  1. Measure and cut your pre-cut leather to 4 inches. Trim some length off the fringe if desired
  2. On one end of your fringe, glue a small strip of leather to make a loop. 
  3. Run a strip of glue along the top of your leather, all 4 inches.
  4. Begin rolling your leather, starting at the end with the loop.  
  5. Roll carefully, to the other end. Let dry. 
  6. Repeat with other tassel colors. Tassels done!

Ta-da!

Now you can interchange your tassels by simply opening the clasp! And, you can make beaded strands in various colors, and change out the same black and tan tassels! Magic!

String beads to 32 inches

Looping wire through crimp, clasp, and back through crimp

Seal crimp with pliers

Finished necklace with interchangeable tassels

DIY: Fringe Clutch

I made this!

It was a really simple DIY. It just required a new tool, and getting over a little freak out. Here's the scoop:

Ben dragged me into a surplus store. He was on the hunt for a few random objects to finish a few random (still unfinished) projects. 

This place is what my nightmares are made of: 

Bins and piles of leftover, un-categorized, un-organized, dusty, STUFF. 

I freaked out. No way, Jose. This is not where I shop. 

I was then bluntly reminded that I'd given up shopping for the year.  So, this was my new Coach store. Let's find some leather.   

Your first step in this DIY will be to find some thick scrap leather, and a bundle of leather scraps/strips. Go to a surplus store.  I found a dark navy leather and some grey strips and decided to go for it. I cut the leather to 11" x 12" using an exacto knife, and folded it in half with the 11" edges on top.

Your next step will be to acquire a leather punch tool. Lucky for me, I have a boyfriend who loves buying tools.  We happily added to the collection. 

Leather Punch, $12 from Amazon

Next, punch holes up the sides (measure twice, punch once!), and tie on some strips.  Don't worry about trimming length until you're all done.  Trim as desired. 

(My fringe was kind of crazy after tying.  Secure straight down with some clips for a few nights to calm them down)

Ta-da! 

New clutch.  

Here you can see the leather is pretty roughed up. Don't be scared if the leather you find is less than stellar. 

Give it a good coat of Leather Honey and all will be cool.

One thing I haven't figured out, it how to create a closure. I don't want a loop/button fixture. I tried gluing a magnet to the inside, but it didn't stick.

Still noodling on this one, and in the meantime, I will just keep it upright. 

If DIY a'int your thang, here are a few similar ones, for purchase. 

Sam Edelman

Happy Crafting!

DIY: Double Take - Tassel Necklace

On this blog, we have DIY's and Double Take's.  But today, we're getting crazy and mashing them together into one DIY DoubleTake

Brace yourselves.

My friend from work walked in the other day with a new necklace. One of those cute leather tassel necklaces that you see everywhere right now. Immediately, I thought, 

I could make that.

Then I learned that it was $78, and I decided I'm definitely going to make that. She had this one from Anthropologie:

My mom recently found this one at Banana Republic and i'ts the same story: On trend, high price tag.

The good news? You can make your own! And, it's easy! I promise. 

Don't let the lady at the bead store get you down. She will tell you this isn't a project for beginners, but just prove her wrong. I did. Let's get started...

I watched this quick video, and found it really helpful. I made some adjustments below:

Supplies:

  1. Piece of leather cut to 3.5" x 4", plus a little strip for the loop. You can find leather at any craft store. 
  2. Chain. I bought 35" and shortened to my liking at the end. You can find chain at a craft store, but a bead store has higher quality options
  3. E6000 glue. Craft Store. Can't live without this super glue on steroids.

How To:

  1. With your 4" sides running horizontal, measure 1/2" from the top of your leather, and use a ruler to draw a line (on the back side) all the way across. This is your fringe guide.
  2. Cut about 1/8" wide strips from the bottom, to your line.  Now you have a nice fringe.  Don't get distracted by the other craft possibilities of this fringe. 
  3. On one end of your fringe, glue your small strip of leather to make a loop. 
  4. Run a strip of glue along the top of your leather, all 4 inches.
  5. Begin rolling your leather, starting at the end with the loop.  Roll carefully, to the other end. Let dry. Tassel done!
  6. Using 2 pliers, open one link of chain, thread on your tassel.  Remove links to desired length. Close links, so you have one continuous chain.  This will be long enough to slip over your head without a clasp. 
  7. With excess chain, add a ring around the top of the tassel for fun.

TA-DA!

Originally, I was trying to re-create the Anthropologie necklace with antiqued gold toned hardware for my friend. That color is great this time of year with chunky knits. Then, I saw some awesome flexible strips of silver with a scalloped edge, and wanted to try a summery version for myself.  I think this will be awesome with a white tank or black maxi this summer.

What are your ideas? Other color combos? More beads?

Let me know in comments below!

DIY: First try

Like clockwork, this time of year, I get restless and bored.  The excitement of the holidays are long past, and we've reached the depths of winter.  

"Settle in," some say.  And, I've said it, too.  "Find your routine; we're in this for the long haul."  

But, I can't settle.  Can you? 

Instead of settling in, I do things like day dream about discovering something new.  Anything new.  One year I was obsessed with finding a perfect surf camp...  For adults.  

Translation: Surf camp with cocktails.  Another year it was finding the best boots (multiples) at the best sale price (a very successful undertaking).

This year, the delivery of our new couch prompted a whirlwind weekend of Ikea, Target, and craft stores.  I finally finished furnishing our apartment- complete with DIY coffee table-turned-ottoman.  Turns out, I am a beast with a staple gun. 

The weekend made me realize that a successful DIY can lift you out of the winter blues and leave you shimmering for weeks.  Okay, that was an extreme overstatement, but you get the idea.  I felt great! I did this! It left me wanting to make. more. things. 

New things! In /31yearNoShopping, this is gold.

So, I made a bracelet, too.  Here's how:

Supplies: 

  1. Leather cord from craft store
  2. Beads- these are from a pack I found at the craft store.  A bead store would have awesome choices. 
  3. E6000 glue from craft store
  4. Magnetic tube clasp- this is from an old bracelet, but you can find similar ones here

  How to:

  1. Cut a few pieces of leather cord to fit your wrist- enough pieces to fill the clasp tube (for me, this was 3).  
  2. String the beads on however you please 
  3. Glue the leather inside the clasp tubes.  This gets messy- have some Qtips on hand for easy clean up. 
  4. Let dry overnight and... 

TA-DA!

Stay tuned to see this fancy thing in action.  It's just inspired a date night outfit....