Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Tutorial - Rusted Can Planters - DIY Gift Ideas

I haven't met a person yet who doesn't appreciate a handmade gift.  Knowing that someone put their time and hands to a gift gives a warm fuzzy feeling that just can't be bought.  Here's a simple and adorable DIY tutorial for this rusted can planter so you can spread the warm fuzzies this holiday season.                                                                I made this project from recycled cans and scrap stuff I had on hand (I did have to buy peroxide and floral moss).  Even if you need to start from scratch and buy everything to make this, you'd get all you need to whip up a few planters for under $10 (plus plants). That makes this project both budget and environmentally friendly! Double yay!
You'll need:
Soup can (I'll show you how to make it rusty)
Hydrogen Peroxide (I got mine in the First Aid section of the pharmacy.)
Little foam dots/pads.  Cut your own, or buy some like these.
Black tape (I used hockey tape)
Jute Twine (Mine came from the dollar store.  Your hardware store should also have it.)
A Plant with soil
Floral Moss

Mixing Bottle
Rubber Gloves
Spray bottle
Hot glue gun

1. Start with your can.  Remove the label (obviously), scrape off any glue, and clean the inside and outside with dish soap.

2. Mix up some scouring slush.  I didn't do any fancy chemistry here, just dumped some (oh... about a quarter-cup) coarse salt in a bowl, then added plain white vinegar until the salt was covered.

3. With gloved hands (or your skin will hate you), rub and scrub salty vinegar slush all over the outside of the can.  Let that dry, then repeat the process.

4. After the can has dried from your second scouring, put some hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle and spritz the outside of the can all over.

5. And now the magic starts to happen!  Ohhhh Ahhhh.... look at the rust forming! The magic of science!
When the can dries, respray with hydrogen peroxide to increase the rusting.  Repeat until you like the amount of rust you've got.

6. Rinse and dry your can.  This is how mine looked... some rust, not totally rusted. Rustic.

7. You're going to want to protect yourself (and anybody you might give this to) from getting a nasty cut.  Put some black tape on the inside of the can to cover the edge where you cut the lid off.

8. Glue a few felt or foam dots on the bottom of the can.

9. Time to dress this can for the holidays! Glue the end of some jute twine into the middle of the can.

10. Start wrapping that twine!.

11. Wrap, wrap, wrap and secure the end with some hot glue.

12. Tie some festively coloured ribbon in a bow on top of the jute wrapping.

13. Use a dab of hot glue to hold the bow in place.

14. The next step is to prep your plant.  I live in a wooded area, and these tiny fir trees grow everywhere - between patio stones, beside our driveway, under the deck and other places that they have no business growing.  So, I just dug up a few for my planters.  If you don't have access to a plethora of tiny, free trees, check out your grocery store and discount stores for any pretty green foliage.  Potted herbs such as rosemary or sage would be especially lovely.

15. Put the plant in the can.  Pretty complicated, eh?

16.  As a final finishing touch, I added some floral moss on top of the soil.  I think this gives it a more polished look.  I got my floral moss at Dollar Tree for a buck.

17. TaDA! Your sweet little living handmade gift is done!

Now you can try out a few different versions. Here I used some inexpensive green cotton yarn instead of twine.

 Here I layered two colours of ribbon over wrapped yarn, secured the ribbons with some glue, then stuck on a coordinating button.
It doesn't take very long to make a whole bunch - and doubly-good, they're a great addition to your holiday decor until you can give them away. 

Try this yourself! I'd love to see any you make.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Tutorial - Cute and Cuddly Monster Plush - Free Pattern included!

I had some extra fun-fur leftover from another project, so I thought I'd make a couple cute stuffed monsters for two special little people in my life. I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm very tempted to keep these for myself... but I don't know how my husband would react to me nightly snuggling a little green monster...

 Here's how I made mine. The pattern is free for your personal use.


Page 1 - body
Page 2 - pieces


- fun fur
             If you're buying this off the bolt, 0.3 meters or 12" will get you a few monsters.  Alternatively, polar fleece or 2 sheets of craft felt also make a great monster body.
- 3 sheets of craft felt in three different colours
         The pattern is labeled colour 1, colour 2, colour 3 - neato, hunh?
- scrap of white, black, and pink felt
- thread
- poly-fill stuffing
- iron-on t-shirt transfers.
         I used these.  You'll need one sheet per monster. 


- scissors
- pen knife
- sewing needles
- pins
- iron
- pen

How To

Read all the instructions prior to starting.

1. Print out your pattern onto the t-shirt transfer paper according to the package directions. Roughly cut out the different colour sections on the grey lines.

2. Iron each pattern section onto the coordinating colour of felt. 
         I like to put a piece of kitchen parchment paper on top of the felt.  This protects my iron from oozing goo and prevents the felt from scorching. 

You should end up with a pile something like this.  In this example, Colour 1 is green, Colour 2 is purple, and Colour 3 is yellow.

3.Peel off the backing paper.  See how prettily the pattern has transferred?

4. Cut out your pieces close to the stitching line.  You'll notice that the t-shirt transfer paper stabilizes the felt, giving your pieces a nice clean edge.

5. Grab two horn fronts.  It doesn't matter which two horn pieces you use, as long as they're a mirrored image of each other.  Arrange the horn stripes as shown on the left side below.  Stitch across the long edges of each stripe as shown on the right side below.
      I used a contrasting colour of embroidery thread (3 strands) and a blanket stitch, because I wanted the stitching to stand out.  Regular thread and a regular old in-and-out stitch are totally fine too.

6. Put the horn fronts on top of their corresponding back pieces, wrong sides (printed sides) together.  Stitch around the outside edge of the horns.  Don't stitch across the base (flat edge) of each horn. Lightly stuff each horn with poly-fill and set aside.

7. Stitch the tongue onto the mouth, as shown.  There's no need to sew along the outside edge of the tongue.

8. Sew the pupils onto the eyes.  Sew the eyes, eyebrows and mouth onto the face.

9. Your monster face should look something like this.  Set the face aside with the horns.

10. Trace the body piece onto the back of the fun fur twice, being mindful of the fur direction.  The fur should lay downwards on the body. Cut out the pieces with a pen knife, cutting through only the backing.

11. Place one of the body pieces (this will be the front) on a table, furry side up.  Smoosh the fur outward from where the face will go.

12. Place the face on the body and stitch it down. Use a few pins to hold the face in place while you sew, if needed. Oh he's so cute!

13. Smooth the monster's hair downward, away from the top cut edge.  Pin the horns to the monster's head, stripey side down, as pictured.

14. Pin the second body piece to the front side, furry sides together.  Use your fingers to push the fur into the piece, away from the edges, as you pin.  Don't be shy, use lots of pins.

15. Leave an opening of about three inches at the bottom of the piece, through which you can turn him inside-out later.

 Here's what my little dude looked like after pinning.  Sort of like a lumpy green peanut.

16. Stitch around the body with a quarter-inch seam allowance.  Make sure you catch the horns in your stitching.

17. The last step is to turn him inside out, stuff him, and hand stitch the bottom hole closed.  Ta da! Your new monster buddy is complete!

I'd love to see photos of any monsters you make!