Christmas Gift DIY: Mandala Tattooed Wooden Plates

My mom did a lot of craft projects when we were young which had a massive influence on all 4 of her girls. To this day, our hands can make, fix and prettify anything. Our winter holidays were spent sewing, painting and being creative – those are some of my fondest childhood memories! One of the things that Mom taught us were wood soldering. We created little wall hangings and personalised anything made of wood, and I remember the amazing smell of the pine that softly burned under the soldering iron’s tip. It was during a recent sort out and throw out session that I discovered the soldering irons in a box. And when Ideas Magazine asked me to come up with a Christmas gift DIY, I jumped at the opportunity to use them! I found the acacia side plates and platter at a homeware store and decided that they had the perfect surface to create something beautiful on.

Christmas Gift DIY: Mandala Tattooed Wooden Plates

You will need:

  • Wooden bowl or plate. A wooden chopping board will work as well!
  • Mandala design
  • Lemon juice and kitchen towel
  • Pencil and eraser
  • Wood burning tool with a sharp-angled point
  • Piece of off-cut wood to clean your soldering tool’s tip with

 

STEP 1:

Use a round object like a bowl to draw the outline of the mandala. Find the centre point and divide the circle into quadrants. Then add similar patterns to each quadrant – it’s very therapeutic! If you prefer, you can also download my mandala design here.

 

STEP 2:

Use the lemon juice and paper towel to wipe any oil or residue from the wood and allow to dry.

 

STEP 3:

Draw the mandala design onto the wood. Start with the centre point and draw the X and Y axis before you start filling in the patterns.

 

STEP 4:

Carefully burn the pattern into the wood using the wood burning tool. It is advisable to wear a mask over your mouth and nose so that you don’t inhale the smoke.

 

STEP 5:

When the tip of the wood burning tool gets covered with residue, wipe it clean against the offcut wood. You can also use this as a practice block for smaller details.

 

STEP 6:

Rub out any pencil lines that may still be visible and give the plate a quick wipe-down with a damp cloth before wrapping.

 

Happy Gift-Making!

Step-by-step images by Ed O’Reilly for Ideas Magazine

Printed Custom Gift Bags Christmas DIY

When it comes to the end of year busyness and Christmas craziness, we don’t always get to do everything that we set out to do. I always intend to come up with a simple, but unique, way to wrap up the Christmas gifts. Unfortunately, I so often end up doing it last minute. Of course, much of the shopping happens last minute too, forcing the wrapping to be even later! This year, you can use this easy little hack to make your own printed custom gift bags.

Make your own DIY custom gift bags for Christmas by printing on paper bags

What you need:

Plain paper gift bags
A4 scrap paper or cardboard
Masking tape or washi tape
Your own custom designs, names or Christmas greetings. A simple message done in Word or Paint is sufficient. (Or you can download the files designed for this post at this link)

Print DIY custom gift bags at home

Tape the paper bag to your scrap paper, with the front of the bag facing up. If your design goes right to the edge of the page, be sure to tape the under side of the bag to avoid printing onto the tape.

Taping the bag onto the paper allows for the design to go right to the edge of the paper bag as the printing border then falls onto the scrap paper. It also feeds more easily through the printer. Although higher-end printers may be able to handle the bag on its own, when I tried feeding the bag straight into the printer it made the most horrible crunching sound and jammed! Not fun!

Make your own DIY custom gift bags for Christmas by printing on paper bags

Once you’ve printed out your own custom gift bags, simply remove the tape gently and get wrapping your gifts!

Print DIY custom gift bags onto any paper bags at home

I love the difference in the effects of printing onto brown paper versus white paper bags. While I always prefer all my gifts to be wrapped in the same way, using the same designs on different colours of paper bags keeps the look uniform, while adding variety to each person’s gift.

Do you have any gift wrapping tips? We’d love to hear them!

Make your own DIY custom gift bags for Christmas by printing on paper bags

Wishing you the best Christmas season of relaxation and joy!

deborah-signature-featherly

P.S. If you like the animal Christmas tree ornaments, you can find the tutorial for them here.

Watercolour Christmas – quick tricks and finishing touches

On the doorstep of Christmas I decided to share with you a few quick tricks and clever cheats that will trick your guests into believing you are the hostess with the mostess although you did it all in 5 minutes before they arrived.

Gorgeous garland two ways

These balls of fun are great to pick up a color scheme and draped over a chandelier they emphasize vertical lines. In doing so they extend the table and gives a much more well rounded and balanced picture.

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String your garland on stair railings like we did to also extend the color palette from the table to the surrounding decor. It adds a element of festivity to the setting.

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Christmas tree

Having a reclaimed Christmas tree is simply lovely. You can ‘plant’ a branch like this ‘garingboom’ and give it a white wash effect with a light coat of paint. It won’t last forever but will be beautiful for a few years. This tree has such a lovely South African flavor!

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Remember to consider all elements like the pot you ‘plant’ the branch in. Cover it with fabric and tie it loosely with string. It ties the look together beautifully without a nasty plastic pot sticking out.

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Starry starry drink

This is one of my fail proof tricks for welcome drinks. Simply drop a piece of chocolate (I love using Lindt but the star shape fits the festive season better) in a glass of champagne and serve to arriving guests. The bubbles will stick to the chocolate and it gets everyone in the mood for a lovely time.

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You don’t have to use sparking wine. I have also done this trick with normal Appletizer and it worked like a charm.

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Wishes

Thank you so much for supporting our blog this year. We hope we have inspired you to try new things at home to truly make your home your own.

Have a fantastic festive season spent with loved ones and travel safe!

Margaux_XMAS

Happy Styling,

margaux

Nolene_Van_Staden

Watercolour Christmas Wreath DIY

I believe that Christmas isn’t complete without the wreath on the front door or in our case, above the fireplace. This Christmas wreath DIY is a super easy one that simply looks and smells lovely and uses my favourite foliage: penny gum. As a child, my best friend and I used to make floral wreaths with daisies. These fond memories have always stayed with me and get triggered as soon as I see a wreath.

You will need: 

 Penny gum (available at your local florist)

Prickly blooms or ‘fynbos’

Florist wire

Ribbon

Copper craft paint

Hat pin

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Easy as pie

Follow the same steps that I showed you in our mini wreaths tutorial. Make a circle with your florist wire and thread the penny gum and whatever else you are using through the loops. Secure them by doing another layer of wire to catch all the loose ends. End off with ribbon and dip the ends in copper craft paint. I even dipped some of the prickly flowers in the paint to add to the bling.

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Hanging around

We placed our wreath above the fireplace as this will be the first thing guests see when they enter through the front door. What a lovely way to say welcome!

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Door to door

After our shoot I simply had to hang the wreath on my front door! Yes, this is where all the good props ends up.

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I think I am going to make this my seasonal wreath. I’ll add different elements true to the specific season and have it proudly displayed all year round.

Why not make smaller wreaths for your table as well?

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You will need: 

Florist wire

Thin-stemmed penny gum branches (you can buy these at your local florist if you don’t have a friend with a tree)

Ribbon

Hat pin

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Merry go round

Bend the florist wire into a circular shape and secure the end by threading it round. Start the wreath by putting the stem of the penny gum branch into one of the loops created. Now simply twirl it around until it ends. I didn’t let mine go all the way and left a ‘naked’ wire section at the top for the ribbon. It kind of reminds me of a roman wreath!

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Needles and pins

I have a disturbingly large collection of hat pins at home. I simply cannot resist them and have found 101 uses for them. This time I’ve used a hat pin to secure the broad ribbon at the top of the wreath.

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Let it shine

I wanted to echo my copper-dipped cutlery so I added a touch of copper craft paint to a few of the penny-gum leaves just for fun.

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Hang on

These fragrant little wreaths are the perfect welcome at the back of each guest’s chair around the Christmas table. If you have a formal seating arrangement, you can go one step further and add the names of guests to them.

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You can also make mini versions of these wreaths and use them for Christmas tree decorations – the possibilities are endless!

Happy styling,

margaux

Nolene_Van_Staden

Watercolour Christmas – nail polish mug DIY

I’ve seen a few examples of this nail polish mug DIY technique on the internet and was so intrigued that I’ve decided to try it for myself. The results were simply stunning! Who would have thought that nail polish can achieve this lovely watercolour look? And it’s pretty simple to do as well!

You will need:

Ceramic mugs and bowls

Selection of nail polish (not the quick drying type)

Water and container for dipping

Toothpicks

Paper towel

nailpolish1

Preparation station

Add water to a flat container. Use a disposable container as you won’t be able to use it again after this exercise. Add a few drops of nail polish to the water and break up the colour dots by dragging a toothpick through it to form a pattern.

nailpolish2

Dunk it

Now simply dip your ceramic bowl into the water and give it a twirl so that the nail polish sticks to the surface. It is amazing what happens to the nail polish when it hits the water. It creates a thin plastic-like film around the colour areas. I found it fascinating.

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Mugged

Repeat this process with any old ceramics you have in the house. It’s lots of fun and makes pretty and inexpensive stocking fillers.

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High and dry

Leave them to dry overnight on a piece of paper towel.

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Wrapped up

Wrap them in tissue paper and boxes combined with nice ribbon. It will be very cute if you add a tag that tells the recipient that this item was hand-made by you. People seem to appreciate that more!

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Please note: The crockery is not going to be food-safe, so don’t use this technique to decorate the inside of a plate or bowl that intend to eat out of. Make sure that you use CPG (ceramics / porcelain / glass) podge (the baking kind) over your designs to ensure their durability. And it’s best to wash by hand and avoid using them in the microwave.

Happy styling,

margaux

Nolene_Van_Staden

Watercolour Christmas – fresh festive flowers

Every Christmas, my Mother asked me to set the table and create a bit of a centerpiece. And every year, she promptly took my centerpiece off the table just as the guests sat down so that she could put the salads on the table! It’s been a big point of debate in my household for years so I’ve decided to make a centerpiece for our watercolour Christmas table that is unobtrusive but still fresh and lovely.

Contrasting colour

I’ve chosen yellow tulips for our Christmas table to contrast the medley of blues. I have also found myself working with yellow tulips on shoots a lot this year so it’s right up there with my favourites!

CENTER_PIECE1

All sorts

I placed them in inexpensive glass tumblers and ceramic bowls to create a difference in height without being too ‘in your face”. I also dotted little gift boxes in between the flowers – it’s an airy collection of random things that makes a beautiful grouping.

CENTER_PIECE4

Keep it on the down low

I love simple uncomplicated styling like this gorgeous ceramic bowl combined with a few yellow blooms in a shallow pool of water. It’s the perfect accent for a coffee table as well.

CENTER_PIECE2

No one puts Baby in the corner

Add a splash of colour to an otherwise bland corner to show your attention to detail. These unexpected touches always make the most impact.

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What a dish

Remember to add final touches to all of the places where guests will go in your home. The kitchen is one of those spaces that, try as you may, you just can’t keep them out! So add a few blooms next to your sink to keep the colour thread of your theme throughout the house.

The bathroom is another room that always requires a fresh element like this. A lovely new trend is using fragrant foliage like penny-gum in the bathroom. The smell is not overbearing and very natural.

CENTER_PIECE3

And, I did all of this with one bunch of yellow tulips!

Happy styling,

margaux

Nolene_Van_Staden

A little Christmas Card DIY

I am not sure how many people actually send Christmas cards anymore. Our lives have become to instant with email and messaging that a card in the mail is very old-fashioned and almost unheard of.  And it is so sad really, because it is lovely to get a card, and equally as lovely to give one – especially one that was hand-made! It says “You’re special” and “I’ve taken the time to make this for you.” As kids we used to do it all the time, but now a hand-made card is a rare thing. But I think it’s time to bring it back into fashion with this easy Christmas Card DIY!

While playing with the watercolour paints for the portraits tutorial, I made a little cutout of a Christmas Tree and stenciled it onto card stock. I then wrote a message with a calligraphy pen, a simple and lovely touch. This is such a simple technique that the kids can make them too – and score serious points with Granny and Grandpa!

You will need:

Thick cardboard

Stencil * or acetate and a craft knife

Watercolour paint

Paint brush

Calligraphy pen

Glitter, sequence and other decorations if you like!

Step 1:

watercolour Christmas card DIY 2

Carefully place the stencil onto the card – I purposefully placed mine off-center to create a bit of added interest!

Next, using the watercolour, apply a line of paint along the 1 edge of cutout.

Step 2:

watercolour Christmas card DIY 4

Using water only, wash the paint across the rest of the cut-out.

The paint might go underneath the stencil a little, but don’t despair – it’s all part of the look. The beauty is in the imperfections here!

Step 3: 

watercolour Christmas card DIY 5

Write a personal message, wish or greeting on the card using a calligraphy pen or marker.

You can even adorn your tree with some glitter or sequence if bling is your thing!

* You can easily make a stencil yourself:

watercolour Christmas card DIY 1

Use a market to trace the outline of the graphic you want to use onto acetate. Then, using a craft knife, cut it out. Easy as that!

Try different stencils: Christmas trees, snow flakes, reindeer, Christmas baubles, anything that you like really.

But make a card and give it to someone this Christmas – it won’t go unappreciated!

 

Happy Merry-making!

germarie

Watercolour Christmas – painted napkins DIY

To fit the painted tablecloth done earlier this week, it was just fitting to show you a few a painted napkins DIY that will fit the theme beautifully and complete your table linen for Christmas.

You will need:

Fabric paint – blue, turquoise and yellow

Eight fabric squares cut to 40 x 40 cm and edges off with and over-locker

Applicator sponge

Container and water

Medium size paint brush

napkins1

Step 1:

Wet a strip of the fabric with your applicator sponge. This will help the paint to spread so that it creates a watercolour effect.

napkins2

Step 2

Now add paint to the wet strip. We started at the bottom of the napkin with blue, followed by turquoise above and ended it off with yellow.

napkins3

Step 3

To break the monotony of the solid stripes I painted crisscross stripes with a dry brush to extend the yellow at the top of the napkin.

napkins5

Step 4

I hung the napkins on our washing line and it was a huge mistake! Note to self: never do that again as the wet paint came off on the line and I had to wash it all down. Rather peg them to a piece of string suspended 2 chairs.

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Left overs

For a bit of variation, I decided to have two of them a bit more subtle than the painted napkins. I pressed the fabric down on the newspaper that I used underneath while painting the other napkins, and it made a beautiful print onto the fabric. It’s a bit of a frottage effect and I love it!

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All done

These napkins add the perfect colour splash to our watercolour Christmas table. They are fun and versatile and placed on top of the plates, they create a gorgeous display of colour.

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I hope you try your hand at these! They are lots of fun to make and you can experiment with different designs and colours to your heart’s content!

Now, you may have noticed my amazing copper-dipped cutlery. It’s a short and sweet 1 minute wonder!

MAIN_cuttlery

I bought this plastic cutlery set on sale and wanted to use it on our watercolour Christmas table. The only problem: because they are transparent, they would get totally lost when placed on my very colourful napkins! So I decided to dip the beautifully detailed handles in copper craft paint.

And the effect was very interesting!

Here’s what you’ll need for this super easy painted cutlery DIY:

Plastic cutlery

Copper craft paint (or any metallic craft paint of your choice)

Paper towel

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One step wonder

I love doing one step DIY’s. Life is too short! Simply dip your handle in the copper paint and wipe the excess with the paper towel. It gives it a lovely distressed feel and the right amount of colour without taking away the transparency.

CUTTLERY2

Expect the unexpected

So the most interesting thing is that the craft paint made these stunning watery patterns on the sections that I wiped almost clean of the paint. It sticks beautifully to the plastic but I won’t bargain on it surviving the first wash. You can always dip it in another colour for your next soiree.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed these fun and easy-to-do projects – now, go and try it yourself over the festive season!

Happy styling,

margaux

Nolene_Van_Staden


Watercolour Christmas – painted tablecloth DIY

This year we have made our Christmas shoot a big production: we created a watercolour table setting that we think fits the South African weather and way we celebrate the season best.

We will be sharing seven DIY projects all showcased in this lovely setting and of course some clever styling ideas and quick tricks over the next few weeks building up to Christmas Day.

First off, we start with our watercolour painted tablecloth DIY done with a lot of trail and error – but in the end, it’s a true show stopper!

You will need:

Fabric cut to size and the edges finished off

Fabric paint in blue and turquoise

Applicator sponge

Empty container and water

Brush

Sponge

Step 1:

I started by creating dry brush strokes in a crisscross fashion in the middle of the tablecloth. I used blue and turquoise fabric paint to keep within the color palette for our watercolour Christmas this year. I used these two colours as my primary tones throughout all of the projects that you’ll see over the next few weeks.

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Step 2:

I wanted the strokes to blend more so I used a normal sponge and vigorously rubbed out the paint stripes with water so it would flow better.

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Step 3:

Just for fun, I diluted a little of the blue fabric paint with water and splattered it in and round the painted area on the tablecloth for visual interest. Very expressive!

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Step 4

Now carry the fabric out and hang to dry – but be careful! My tablecloth was still very wet and I dripped paint all over the floor on the way out which I had to mop up. The drip lines on the fabric look awesome though, so all is well that ends well!

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Step 5:

I ironed the tablecloth just to make double sure that the colours won’t fade over time. Alternatively, you could use fabric podge to cover the colour which will make it easy to clean with a simple wipe. Most good craft shops stock a range of them.

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And there she is! I love the subtle brush strokes down the middle and the watery outline that fits our theme beautifully . It’s a fun and less formal look that is perfect for a beach or pool side Christmas.

Happy styling,

margaux

Nolene_Van_Staden

Watercolour murals

There has been a big boom in wall finishes the past few years: we have seen very creative focal walls done in different mediums from specialized paint and cement finishes to beautiful wallpapers. I think it’s safe to say that if you don’t have one in your home you are probably immune to inspiration!  But we are going to prevail and try to inspire you anyway! In line with our watercolour theme we have found some very creative and fun watercolour murals to share with you.

Art Class

Bright and bold watercolour stains create a lovely energy to a room. The colours remind me of art class and I simply love them! It’s very refreshing to see unexpected colour combinations like these.

MURAL1

picslovin.com architectureartdesigns.com

Wallpaper

This is probably the easiest way to get a perfect watercolour stain on your wall – with wallpaper. I love the monotone stains and their watery feel will have a calming effect in any space.

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anewall.com 

Splash out

We have seen a lot of solid watercolour stains and so I simply love the dots on the wall on the left. It’s also done in the super fresh colour scheme of cobalt blue and white, reminding me of Delft crockery.

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queenslandhomes.com.au thelifecreativeblog.com

Watermark

This subtle watermark wall is super sophisticated and will live a little longer than most on the wall without dating.

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thelifecreativeblog.com

Monochrome

If you’re not ready to commit to a watercolour wall but love the look, then it’s probably best you invest in some art. The wall hanging on the left and the squares right are both stunning and subtle while creating an impressive focal.

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nynnerosenvinge.com brit.co

Pastels

This is probably my favourite watercolour mural: soft and feminine, it might just be the perfect wall in a baby girl’s nursery.

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thehousethatlarsbuilt.com bloglovin.com

Framed

Watercolour prints are very trendy at the moment and they’re available all over online shops like Etsy. Especially the world map seems to be particularly popular. I would love to do a pink Africa like the framed portrait on the right! Watch this space, it might be in the pipeline!

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etsy.com anewall.com

I hope you have been inspired by all these watery walls!

Happy styling,

margaux

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