Tags: tutorial

Tutorial – How to Make Iced Branches (I tried it!)

We all love things that sparkle, right?  Iced branches can make a gorgeous addition to a tablescape, vignette or even wedding.


I saw a tutorial on Save on Crafts (via Make Them Wonder), and wanted to try it myself since I didn’t know anyone who had tried it. I never fully trust the sites that are selling the items. So, here goes!

How to Make Iced Branches (Tutorial)

You will need:

  • Colorfill Diamond Vase Filler – 1 or 2 pound bag (I got mine at Hobby Lobby)
  • Tacky Glue – I got mine at Joann’s
  • German glass glitter is best, but I used regular glitter
  • Tree branch of your choice
  • Paper to cover work area


1. Find a branch or branches that you want to give an icy look. Trim it if you need to so it fits the space you will place it in.  I plucked mien right out of my yard.  It’s my new privilege in Texas.  In Phoenix, there were no real tree branches lying around.

2. Place a some sort of paper down for a work area so you don’t get glue everywhere. It will drip some.

3. Pour a pile of Colorfill Diamonds in the center of the paper.


4. Place tacky glue on the branch(es) and smooth it out for a medium covering (not clumpy, but thick enough to hold the vase filler).


5. Fold the paper slightly to keep the diamond filler together.

6. Next, you will put the glitter and vase filler on.  You can sprinkle it on, roll the branch in it or place it on.


7. Let it dry for about 45 minutes.

8. Do the same with the opposite side of the branch. You definitely want to do this step. The more filler and glitter the better they look!

I was doubtful at first about if this filler would end up looking like ice. Well, with the glue and glitter and lots of the filler, it works pretty well.


9. Let it dry for 45 minutes and you have ice covered branches.

Tada! Iced branches.

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Add a bit more to the branch and you’ll end up with something like this.


Conclusion and Tips
They look pretty good from 2 feet away and more. Close up, you can see the filler more clearly, of course.

The vase filler was $6.99 at Hobby Lobby, but I had a 40% off coupon. A one pound bag goes pretty far!   I tried to buy it on Save on Crafts as it was just $3.99 on there, but shipping was over $12!  So, that was a no-go.

Next time, I would definitely use the more chunky german glass glitter (see below) that they recommended for an extra icy effect.

That was a fail on my part.  Somehow I missed that little bit of information when purchasing glitter and ended up with regular glitter.  Definitely try the german glass glitter.

image image

It can be found online at Save on Crafts.  I’m sure places like Hobby Lobby have it as well.

You can also try Epsom salt instead of the vase filler.  The filler was a little hard to find for me.  However, the salt won’t be quite as clear.

Pretty simple! You can also add artificial moss or red berries to some of the branches. Rub a bit of oil on the berries to give a dewy effect.  Or, string some lights through them if it’s an entire tree.  Gorgeous!

Here are some other images from the Save on Craft site of branches that were created using this method.  It looks like the branches on the left are with regular glitter, but the ones on the right may be with the german glass glitter.

image image

Have you tried this?  What are your tips?

If you have a craft project of your own, please share it by linking up to my craft/ diy link party Dec 4-8!  Hosted right here at Hyphen Interiors.


Quick Art from Photos in Books

I was staging an empty home in the trendy, yet vintage part of Austin recently on a VERY limited budget.  When finished I felt I really needed one more piece of large art.  That wasn’t going to happen, so instead I used a few small pieces to create the look of a large piece.

Thank goodness, my sister-in-law and I went out on a recent hunt for old books with beautiful photos.  The books look great as accessories and the photos can be used as inexpensive art.   It’s a very old trick I learned long ago.  We found some of the best ones at Savers for about $2-3 each.

I used these books, some garage sale frames that I had and a few mirrors which I had on hand as well (all but one) to create a gallery wall for this home.


First, I arranged the frames on the floor.  Then, I opened the books and found suitable images with similar colors to the space.


Side note – see how flipping dirty those floors are?   Maybe not, but you surely did now.  Eek.  I can’t keep up with these shedding rugs.  We’re vacuuming and cleaning floors daily.

Back to the art.  No matting, nothing fancy.  Just books.  Next, I cut out images to fit in the frames.


After I placed them in the frames, I knew the bottom middle one needed some sort of matting.  This is a vintage home, so let’s not be shy about making it look collected.  I simply used white duct tape to create the look of matting.


And, here it is hung in the room.  Cost?  $6.50 for the frames, $6 for the books, plus the additional mirror which I won’t count.  If you don’t count the mirror in the middle, it cost $12.50.

You know what the really cool thing is?  Those books still have a lot more photos in them!


Not too bad for a collected look.  Simple and fast!  And, think of all the kinds of books out there.  This works great with kids books as well.

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It also works well with calendars, as seen in the last photo above.

Don’t overlook old books and calendars with great photography and/or drawings in them!


DIY Painting – A Bit of a How-To

I posted my diy family room art yesterday and by request, I’ll explain a bit about how I created it today.  However, since I did not take photos throughout the entire process, this won’t be too much of a tutorial.

What I love about art is that it’s never wrong.  And, it’s always fixable – you can just paint over it.

Here is the art I painted as it dried.  I went with a medium gray called Chimney Sweep (Valspar) for the sides of the canvas.


And, here is the painting sitting on the floor, with the sunshine right on it.   It’s tough to see the texture, but there is texture.


Since it’s tough to capture color just right in photos, I decided to show both photos.

Phase 1 looked a bit like a water color.  It was a thin layer of blended colors.


I worked on an old industrial cart with acrylic and latex paint, a water bottle, a squeegee and a run of the mill paint brush for most of the painting.

For this first phase, I just brushed on color as a base, without letting anything dry.  I continually spritzed the canvas with water and blended until my brush had no more paint on it.  Then, without cleaning the brush, I went on to the next color, while keeping them all wet throughout the process.  It’s that easy.

For the next two phases, I simply squirted on paint (a ketchup container works well or even an old glue bottle.  Then, used our shower squeegee to “comb” it down and even across.  So, the outcome was very angular.

Art-001-4 Art-004-4

Just keep doing whatever until you are happy with it.  My hint here is to have a very rough image in your mind – I pictured a lake with some trees hanging over it.

Next, once I got an idea of colors and how I wanted it to look, I added texture.  I used spackle and Martha Stewart’s texture (comes in a small can at craft stores).

I then painted on top of that texture once it was dry.  I tend to like texture on a canvas.


Next, I added blue with a dry paint brush, just a little here and there to soften the blue side.  I added a bit of green as well.  Then, more dark blue again.

Art-003-5 Art-004-5

And, next, I just tweaked with some whites and yellows and so on.  This time I spritzed with water as I painted the lighter colors, so they are almost just a wash.  I followed that with drizzling on some ceiling paint (latex) from my family room for added texture and interest.

And, lastly, to finish it off, I painted the sides of the canvas gray.

Art-007-3 Art-004-6

And, straight on.

I still need to do a clear coat, but I’m making sure I’m really done, first.  You never know!

Pretty simple!  I’m not an artist by trade, but hopefully this is up to par for diy art.  I hope that all made sense.    If you are thinking about making a piece, go for it!   Do it however you want.  Play around.  I look forward to trying a different technique on my next piece.


Etching a Window for Privacy

We have a cute little window on our front door.  It opens so you can talk to someone without opening the actual door.  But, it also means that if there is a solicitor and they knock, they can see you checking to see who it is and know you are home.  There is no privacy.  Well, if you read our backyard post, you know we like privacy.  We want to be able to use the window, yet not always have people see us on the other side, should we not be dressed, not want to appear to be home, etc.


What to do?  We looked into putting window film on it.

image image

But, we tried to put window film on one window in our home in Utah when we lived there.  I worked and worked at it for days, going through tons of film to no avail.  It was hard to size just right, to adhere just right and so on.  I remember wanting to pull my hair out.  I really didn’t want to go through that again.

It can be done and it can be done well (not by me, though).  In fact, I did have some professionally installed in this home so as to guard against uv rays and heat.  I love it, but it’s not something I’d do myself.  I’ll leave window film to the professionals.

Then, we looked into a spray on frosted finish.

image image

However, after reading reviews, it seemed that it was tricky.  There could be overspray (we’d have to protect the door and floor), and it chips easily with use.

Then, we researched just etching the glass like you would on a wine glass if you were putting an image on it.

image image

In the end, we decided to try the etching cream because:
a) It is easier to apply.
b) It takes less time than the film. 
c) It seems to be more permanent and consistent than the spray.

We purchased the Armour Etch cream at Hobby Lobby.


We needed a piece of glass to test it out on, so I removed a glass shelf from our medicine cabinet in the bathroom.

Armour Etching Cream has the best reviews, but no instructions on the bottle.  So, we went online and got some tips and hints.  Some said to leave it on for only one minute while other said up to 35 minutes.

In order to resolve how long to leave the cream on, we taped off sections on the glass.  The first is 1 minute, the second is 5 minutes, the third is 10 minutes, all the way up to 40 minutes.

We took an old craft paint brush and put the etching cream on thickly.   Be generous.  It can be scraped off, put back in the bottle and reused, so no need to skimp.  This is a 10 ounce bottle.


Then, we used a metal scraper to scrape the majority of it off as the timer went off on each section.


After scraping the majority of the cream off, we used the original paint brush and water to brush the remaining cream off.  After that, we used a paper towel and Windex to clean the glass.


We did that for each of the separated portions.


Here is the outcome. I put sponges behind it so you can see how well the etching obscures the detail on the sponges.  The shortest time is on the right, longest on the left.  however, the last one on the right was done twice for one minute.


And, just laying on the granite countertops.


It seems it really doesn’t matter if you leave it on for 1 minute or 40, but two layers did make a small difference.  I decided on doing two layers for 5 minutes each.

Time to start on the door.  The goal is to obscure the clear glass window enough to add some privacy.


Here is the nifty little window shut, or almost shut.


We started by taping the window off and protecting the door and floor.  That way, the etching cream, should it drip, won’t mess up the wood.



Next, I painted the etching cream on.  Generously.


I waited 5 minutes and scraped it off, and put it back into the container to reuse.  Then, I brushed it with the wet paint brush.  And, lastly, I used Windex to clean the window.  Here is the outcome after the first layer of etching cream.


Next, I taped it off again and prepared it for a second layer.



And, after cleaning the etching cream off, we’re all done.  From the outside.

Etching-009-2 Etching-008-2

Just enough privacy!    Have you etched anything?   What method would you have used?


Quick and Easy DIY Art

We have several nooks at our new house.  I decided to make some inkblot art for one of them.  Framed in multiples.   Most things framed in multiples to make one larger piece of art look nice.   It’s a good rule of thumb if you can’t find that just right large piece for a space.

I simply used the ceiling paint from the family room, since the nook is in the hall adjacent to that room.

Dripped it onto some thick scrap booking paper.


Folded it and let it dry!


I put four of them up in matching frames that I’ve had for a while.  Woolah, there is art.


I could give all my guests the Rorschach test and test their perceptions of these meaningless ink blots!  :)  Or, make each add their own piece on their visit, so it’s always changing.

I may redo some of them, but first I’m going to live with them and see what I think.  But, easy enough to redo should I want to!  And, this art was free!

Since I’ve shown photos of the kitchen last, I’ve also added some items on the countertop.


I got the lantern at Homegoods and the old Ford sign at Wimberley’s Market Days, which is a hill country town market that happens once a month in Texas.

Loving the blue in the new house!  Are you?


How-To Make Striped Curtains from Shower Curtains

Tada, my new striped curtains. I love them.


They are made from shower curtains from West Elm.  I sewed two together to make each panel, so the panels would be long enough.


What you will need:
Measuring tape
Shower curtains (do math to decide how many you need for your room)
Thread in the color of the shower curtain
Sewing machine
Rods/ Brackets/ Hardware for Curtain Rods
Rings with Hooks to hang them

1. I purchased four shower curtains.  I needed four because shower curtains come in 74 inch lengths and the windows I wanted to make panels for were 11 ft from floor to ceiling. So two per window it was. The great thing is that shower curtains also come wide (72 inches). So, there would be more width than the usual 54 inch curtain width.

2.  Lay the shower curtains out to make sure the stripes will fall in the right spots when they are sewn together.  I folded them over in order to make it fall just right and all but the top and bottom stripes are the same size.   At the same time, measure to find where the length that you need will fall on the curtains.  Make sure they are long enough.


3.  Once you get it just right, mark the spots/ write down the measurements.

4. Iron them.


5.  Carefully mark where you will need to sew and where you need to cut.  I used a plastic sewing measuring board thingy and sewing chalk.



6.  Cut along the line you drew.  I chose to cut about half an inch past where I’d be sewing in order to have room for a hem.


7.  If you have a serger, use it to stitch up the raw edges.  If not, you can use the stitch highlighted on my machine (or something similar) below to seal up those edges and insure that they do not fray.


8. Lay them on the floor with the right sides facing each other and wrong sides facing the floor and you.


9.Line them up just right and pin.


It should look something like this if you flip it back over.  That way you can double check your work.


10.  Sew along your marks that you lined up when you pinned them together, right side down.  Keep the right sides together when you sew.  Sew slowly.

11.  Iron the seam you just made down flat.  This is an important step.  Do not skip it.

12.  Time to put the rods up.  We chose the Allen and Roth customizable components from Lowe’s.  You screw rods together to create the size you need.  We also got brackets, finials, and rings.


Here are the rods.


13.  Hang the curtains on the clips that are attached to the rings.  Tada!  You have new curtains.


Enjoy!  Email me if you make them!


Color My World Series – Week 2

This week is the week for using your new color in décor for the Color My World Challenge.

Keep in mind, we’ll be using our new color in decor, paint, and fabric. The final week, May 1st, will be a wrap up and a blog hop where you can link up a post showing how YOU added a new color to your home too.

Examples of Navy in Decor – Tuesday, April 3rd
Using Navy in Decor – Tuesday, April 10th
Using Navy with Paint – Tuesday, April 17th
Using Navy with Fabric – Tuesday, April 24th
Show all three elements and say if you liked the color or not – Tuesday, May 1

My color is navy.

This week, I’m taking two old pieces of lighthouse art that we used when we first got married way back in 1996.  I saved them hoping that one day I could use the frames which happen to be navy.  The matting is also another shade of navy, bordering on violet.

Here is the before and after (with matting).

Phone-363 Art-001

You’ll need:

- Paint of your choice
- Something to paint on
- Frames
- Painters tape
- Paint brush
- Water
- Paper towels to clean up

1.  I sat the old art with the back facing up on our breakfast table (first glimpse of it).  You can see, there is a backer on it.


2.  I ripped off the backing.


3.  To get the print off the matting, I used a hair dryer.  That loosened the glue to help it to rip less, thus saving the matting.


You can see it off here.  There is some damage, but this is fine, as long as the front of the matting is still intact.


4.  Now what to do with the navy frames?!  I could use paint chips and create some fun art!


I could antique some paper and create sketches of things like states we’ve lived in or birds or flowers.


Then, these could get pasted on in rows of three.  I made my first one from paper with some wood stain on it.  You could also make them from paper bags.


You can begin to see how my brain works as I formulate what I want to do.

In the end, I chose to paint the cardboard that was already in the frame holding the print in.

5.  Just slap some paint on.  Layer it.  The more you layer it, the better.

I have chosen to include these colors throughout my house – navy, green, teal, and neutrals such as gray and ivory.


I’m looking to see how it will look with the matting.


6.  I cut pieces of painters tape in 4 inch strips.


7.  Put the tape on roughly in a chevron patter with 90 degree angles at the joints.  I didn’t worry about being exact, as I was going for a messy look.  In fact, it didn’t really stick because the paint was still damp, but that’s what I wanted.


8.  Paint over what is showing with white paint.


9.  Peel off painter’s tape.


Wipe over the white while it’s still wet with a damp paper towel.  Be sure to go all in one direction.

10.  Do the other one the same.



11.  Let it dry.


12.  Then, I sanded them a bit to make them more rustic, almost like an old sign with no real template.  Spray a quick coat of poly on them.

13.  And, finally, I put them in the frame and hung them!

It is hung in the half bath.  It’s rustic, imperfect and one is slightly different than the next, on purpose.

So far, navy isn’t too bad!    And, it was free!   What do you think?

I can also still just flip the painted part around and go with the sketch idea in the future.

What color are you adding to your home?

Stop by and see how the other bloggers who are participating in this series are incorporating new colors into their homes.

Ange – The Blooming Hydrangea
Anna – A Newfound Treasure
Carmel – Our 5th House
Cassie – Primitive and Proper
Jadyn – Dutch.British.Love
Jessamie - Bird and Branch Redesign
Julia – Black Tag Diaries
Julia – Pawley’s Island Posh
Kristy – Hyphen Interiors
Lisa – Shine Your Light
Lisa – Trapped in North Jersey
Maury – Life on Mars
Shaunna – Perfectly Imperfect
Shelley – Crazy Wonderful
Suzy – Saved by Suzy
Tiffany – Living Savvy
Tiffany – Worthwhile Domicile
Vashti & Jamie – Like me Some…


How-To Applique a Onesie

I posted yesterday about making handmade gifts for my brother’s new baby, as well as about why I decided to do it.


Today, I want to share the how-to.  This tutorial can be used for t-shirts or anything else, but in this case it’s a onesie for a baby.

You will need:
- Fabric to cut out and applique.
- A shirt or onesie or backpack or whatever you want to applique on to.
- Thread and needle.
- Heat and bond which is found at most any fabric or craft store.
- Iron and ironing board.

1.  Find your fabric.  I used an old shirt that is the style that my dad would have worn since this gift was symbolic of my dad.  It was for my brother’s new baby that is named after my dad who passed away in 1998.  More info is here.  Iron the part you will be using.


2.  Find a design on the computer.   I found this Texas on a mapping site.   Enlarge it to the size you want and print it out on a regular piece of paper.


3.  Once it’s printed, trace it onto the Heat and Bond paper.  Then, cut a square around it.

Don’t make the mistake I did.   Be sure you trace it BACKWARDS.  Trust me.


The reason is because you will later lift the paper off the back and iron the paper side to the onesie.  That means the other side of the fabric will be what you see.

In order to get it backwards, I traced the printed shape with a sharpie.


Then, I flipped it over and you could see the sharpie outline showing through.


And, from here, put the heat and bond on top (smooth side up) and trace it on to the Heat and Bond paper.

4.  Heat your iron up on the Wool setting.  Lay your ironed fabric down with the right side facing down.  With the rough side of the Heat and Bond paper down, press with the iron for 2 seconds.  This will bond the heat and bond to the fabric.


5.  Cut the shape out.  Now that the Heat and Bond paper is stuck to the fabric, it’s time to cut it out.


I am the worst cutter ever and I managed to cut fairly smooth lines as the Heat and Bond paper makes it much easier.


6.  I did the same thing for the onesie with the “J” on it.  Here are the quick photos of that process since it’s the same.




And, you should have something that looks like this.

Applique-043 Applique-034

7.  It’s time to remove the paper backing.


8.  Iron it on the onesie.  This time sit the hot iron on it for 6 seconds. Do your best to make sure it’s centered.


9.   Now that the cut-out fabric is ironed on, it’s time to stitch around the edges.  It’s your choice, you can do it with the machine with your choice of stitch or hand stitch it.  I chose to hand stitch it for a more handmade feel.



10.  Next, I added the pearl button since it was a signature of my dad’s.  It marked Houston on the Texas shape as my dad lived in Houston.


And, I added something to the back of the Texas onesie.


That’s it!  You are done and you have a handmade gift!  Any shape you want.  Any fabric you want.

If you have tips or thoughts, I’d love to hear them.

Hope my brother and his wife like the gifts!