DIY Birthday Banner

I absolutely love banners, especially homemade banners. Today I’m going to tell you how I used cheap gift wrapping supplies to make a custom birthday banner, and how you can easily make one, too.

I was walking through the $1 section at Target and found this collection of items and decided they would make for a fun project.

The supplies I scored from the dollar section.

When I got home, I gathered a couple more things from around the house and got to work.

Everything ready to go.

First, I arranged  the gift tags to see how many I would need, then simply wrote the message in Sharpie. How easy is that?! The gift tags were $1 for a pack of 8. I got 16 brown tags and 8 white tags, which was way more than I needed. Don’t worry if you mess up on the lettering, just keep writing. If I stop to fix or redo a letter in the middle, I always start obsessing over every little mistake and end up messing up a lot more. I looked through the letters at the end and replaced the ones that looked really bad (this is why it is good to buy extra tags!)

After the message was done, I set out to add a little sparkle. The glitter bags came in packs of two, but they were only glittery on one side (rats!) I cut the bags open and drew templates to cut out on the back. That way, I could play with the sizes before committing to the cut and wasting paper. I chose hearts (but you could do any shape, stars would also be cool.) I used double stick tape to attach them to the gift tags. Glue would also work well if you have that around the house instead.

close up of the hearts

I used the clothes pins to attach the gift tags to some twine I already had at home. At first, I wasn’t sure about what kind of spacing I wanted or if I wanted it to be one or two layers. My solution was to wait to cut the twine until all of the tags were attached so I could assess how it would hang (and not waste twine!)

the finished product

I just taped the banner to the mirror, but it could easily be hung by tying knots in the twine and hanging them on command hooks if you want it to look a little fancier. I chose the mirror because my boyfriend was coming home after dark, and that area of my place reflects light well at that time of day, calling attention to the banner and reflecting light on the glitter hearts.

What an easy and fun way to craft your way into a festive environment! The best part? You can create extra tags for each family member or friend and customize the banner for each occasion!

Another look at my cheap and chic banner.



DIY Coffee Table Trays

Lacquered tray and boxes
In the store: Venice, CA

A couple of weeks ago, I was walking through some shops on Main Street in Venice and happened across these cute lacquered boxes and matching tray. I. Had. To. Have. Them.

Til I saw the price, that is. The set of two boxes was marked at $130. The tray alone was around the same price. Too much for something trendy.

So I did like any good little rehabber would and drove to the craft store. I found some wood boxes and trays, got some paint and brushes, bought a spray on lacquer, and went home and got to work.

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Wooden Tray Before
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Second Tray Before

Now the trays weren’t exactly the right shape, but I figured they would be good enough. The edges were rough, so I sanded them a little first. I found that using a sponge brush looked a lot cleaner than a paint brush. I ended up doing two coats of acrylic paint.

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After one coat of paint.

Spraying on the lacquer was pretty easy. It seemed a bit drippy and yellow at first, but dried clear. I tried painting one tray with lacquer that I had left over from a set of chairs, but ended up liking the spray better.

lacquered orange tray
Coffee Table Tray: After
coffee table tray
Alternate view: Orange Lacquered Tray After

I’ll probably end up spraying it once more with the lacquer; the wood was a bit porous. Next time, I will prime the trays for sure. All in all, though, a pretty successful venture. I ended up saving about 80% of the cost, and had a lot of fun making these babies.

How Much Time Is Too Much?

How Much Time Is Too Much?

Today I happened across this pillow, which was marked down to $45 from $87. My immediate reaction was, “I wonder if you could use a bleach pen on burlap and make the same thing for a couple of bucks?”
Then I thought, well, once you go buy the burlap, bleach pen, and pillow insert, then stencil the pattern, bleach it, and sew it up, isn’t it worth the $45?
It may be fun to make a bunch of pillows like this for gifts or for party favors (or for a really beachy bed) but if you’re sticking to just one, I’d probably just go ahead and buy the pillow.
You have to factor in the value of the time and effort that you put into each project. If you’d rather just have something homemade, or if you have a ton of free time, by all means, go for it!
Hey, I still may try my hand at bleach pen designs!