Halloween Wreath DIY Tutorial

I created this creepy, but classy Halloween wreath for my latest segment on Fox 13’s The Place. It’s a nod to Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven. You can see the segment here if you promise not to laugh at my awkwardness. Or go ahead and laugh. I’m pretty sure that’s why they invite me back every month. Creepy Halloween Wreath

When I decided to make a Halloween wreath, I wanted to take a more mature approach to the holiday. I love Edgar Allen Poe, and when I ran across this fake bird at the craft store, the whole idea came together. First I found the bird, then I went in search of “creepy” flowers. While you’re floral shopping, keep your eyes open for anything sharp, spiny or dark and brooding. I wanted to use a muted palette of black and gray, but threw in some purple and red for a little depth.

Halloween Wreath Supplies

Basic Wreath Making Supplies:

Most of the wreaths I make start with just a few basic supplies.

  • A wreath form (this one is a 24″ grapevine wreath form)
  • wire cutters
  • hot glue gun + extra glue sticks
  • floral wire

Halloween Wreath Flowers

Now add the fancy Halloween wreath stuff:
  • Assorted silk and/or plastic flowers. Black roses that aren’t hideous are hard to find. I scored these at Michaels in the normal floral section (not the Halloween florals…those were a little tacky for this project). 😉
  • Twigs, berries, moss (go crazy!)
  • Fake Bird

Halloween Wreath Tutorial

Let’s get started!

First, start by trimming the stems off of a bunch of your flowers. As you do this, remember to leave about 2 – 6 inches of stem until you decide on the final arrangement. After you’ve trimmed down a bunch of the flowers, start laying them out – either on top of or around the wreath form. I usually tuck the stems into the grapevine wreath as I go to give myself a good visual. Play around with the arrangement until you’re happy with it.

Halloween Wreath DIY

Quick Tip:

After you’re happy with the layout and arrangement of the flowers, snap a quick photo with your phone so you can replicate the design as you glue it all together.
DIY Halloween Wreath

The Big Finish: 

Warm up your hot glue gun as you remove all the flowers from your test-run. Then trim down the stems on your flowers (if necessary) I usually prefer 1.5″ – 2″ of stem. It’s perfect for glueing. Now hot glue the stems one at a time, and layer your wreath back together. You can also use floral wire for this, but I prefer the stability of hot glue. I usually begin with the biggest blooms first and then layer in the smaller bits (berries, sticks, etc.) toward the end to fill in any blank space. 

After you’ve attached all the flowers, add some Spanish moss and put your creepy bird in his new nest. Finally, all you need to do is display your fabulous new wreath for the whole neighborhood to see! 
Beautiful Halloween Wreath

DIY Crate Bookcase

diy-crate-bookshelfHi Friends! I’m finally bringing back this DIY crate bookshelf as one of my Friday Favorites. I made this for my kids when we moved to Wyoming; and it was such a quick, easy project! The kids enjoyed helping with this project, and we have used this bookcase in many different places since I originally made it. Here’s the tutorial if you’re in the mood for a quick weekend project.diy-bookshelf

Here’s what you’ll need: 

crate-bookshelf

 Let’s get to work! 
  1. Sand them down. Ugh. Sanding’s the worst part, right? My crates were pretty rough when I got them, so started with 80 grit, then 100, then 150. They’re not exactly silky smooth; my main goal was to smooth them up enough so the kids wouldn’t get splinters when reaching for their favorite book.
  2. Beat ’em up. My kids LOVED this part (maybe a little too much). Get creative here…use nails, hammers, chisel, chains, anything to make scratches and dents. If your scrapes leave any rough edges, you may want to sand them down a bit.
  3. Stain. Make sure your crate is clean and free of dust, then stain it your desired color. I used my favorite stain (Rust-oleum Dark Walnut). They’ve got these great 8 oz. cans that are perfect for a small project like this.
  4. Seal. Finish with a coat of polyurethane. I used Satin finish, because I didn’t want too much shine.
  5. Finishing touch. Screw on some corner brackets. (optional) They’re technically called “angles” and you can find them in the roofing section of the hardware store. 
  6. Configure & attach. I attached the two horizontal crates to one another with wood glue and some screws underneath. The vertical crate I left unattached so it can also double as a handy carrying crate/nightstand if needs be.

reading-cornerI designed this bookshelf so it is modular. Since it’s in multiple pieces, we can reconfigure the whole thing or add to it as our book collection expands. Now that you’re done, all you need to do is grab a comfy beanbag chair and a cozy blanket and you’re all set for those chilly fall and winter evenings ahead! 

DIY Painted Thumbtacks

Thumb Tacks2I love incorporating color into ordinary, everyday items. These thumbtacks are no exception. This project is so quick and inexpensive; and it adds a fun pop of color to your memo board. These painted thumbtacks also make great gifts for teachers and coworkers. So grab a couple boxes of thumbtacks and let’s get to work! 

Nail polish
Here’s what you’ll need: 

  • Thumbtacks
  • Nail polish
  • Cardboard

PaintedLet’s get started! Stick the thumbtacks into the cardboard. I used an old piece of foam board here. I’ve also used a cereal box before. You just need something that can hold the pins upright while you paint.

Painting ThumbtacksPaint the tops with your nail polish. Depending on the type of polish and the color you use, you may need a few coats. Let ’em dry between coats, obviously. 

Desktop copyWhen they’re dry, remove them from the cardboard and put them to work! 

That’s it! 

DIY Canvas Silhouettes

Canvas SilhouettesOne of my all-time favorite craft projects are these canvas silhouette paintings of my kids. I love to look back at them to see how those little profiles have changed over the years. I originally wrote that tutorial over on my old blog, so it’s time to bring it over here to my new online home. 

DIY Canvas Silhouettes

Here’s what you’ll need to make a silhouette canvas of your own:

  • blank canvas
  • two colors of acrylic paint
  • one adhesive vinyl sheet
  • foam paintbrush
  • a photo of your subject (in profile, obviously).
Let’s get to work!  
  1. Paint the canvas. This is the color that you want the actual silhouette to be. Even if you’re using white for the inside, I prefer to paint the whole canvas white (this seems silly considering the canvas is white to begin with. But if you need to touch up any blobby areas, painting the center white will ensure you don’t notice the touch-up paint. Give it PLENTY of time to dry. Maybe like overnight…just to be safe.
  2. Print the photo on regular printer paper.
  3. Trace around the silhouette with a black sharpie. This helps you see a clear outline of what to cut. And it makes it so you don’t get distracted by little wispy hairs or shadows, etc.
  4. Cut out the silhouette along the black sharpie line.
  5. Trace the outline of the image you just cut out onto the back side of the vinyl sheet. It’s a little annoying to trace it again, but using vinyl saves you a lot of touch-up painting in the end since it adheres firmly to the canvas. The first time I did this project, I used a label sheet. It started to slide around once it got wet with paint. It’s still doable with a label sheet; but your lines are way crisper with a vinyl sheet.
  6. Paint the canvas. This is the second color you’re using. In my case, this is always a bright, fun color. Wait till the paint dries.
  7. Paint a second coat (if desired). 
  8. Remove the vinyl.
  9. Admire your handiwork. And touch up any blobs if necessary. 
 

You can find step-by-step photos here. Someday, I’ll re-photograph the whole process…but for now, if you need visuals, enjoy a trip deep into my archives. 🙂