Posts Tagged ‘tutorial’

Keepsake Photo Charm With UV Gel Tutorial

two sweetheart necklaces one vintage and one handmade

Last year my fiance gave me a beautiful WWII locket, which I save for reenactments and special occasions. I wanted to create a photo charm I could wear daily and keep close to my heart, so I made a tiny photo charm using a picture of us from a reenactment. I’ve learned a lot about sweetheart jewelry since I’ve started reenacting with my fiance.
During WWI and WWII soldiers would give their loved ones jewelry. These keepsakes would let their loved ones feel connected even if their soldier was thousands and thousands of miles away.

If you DIY everything (like I do) you might have a gel manicure kit. I was able to use the UV lamp from my kit. I was amazed at how durable the gel coating was! This post contains affiliate links. As always, feel free to blame me for any purchases.

Learn how to make a photo charm or pendant using your UV gel manicure kit!

Photo Charm Materials:


DIY photo charm

  1. Print out plenty of copies of your photo. It took me a few tries to get it cut out just right. I used a quick coat of Krylon gloss coating to make sure the photo wouldn’t smear when the gel coat was applied. If you don’t apply a clear coat the image can smear or get fuzzy when your gel is applied.
  2. Clean your charm with rubbing alcohol to remove any oil.
  3. Make a small dot of super glue in the middle of your charm. Keep a paper towel nearby in case the drop ends up being too big. If you use too much glue it will seep around the edges of the photo.
  4. Carefully position your photo on the charm and wait for the superglue to dry.
  5. Take a close look and make sure your charm and photo are both free of dust and debris.
  6. Use a fairly thick layer of gel and apply. Cure your photo charm with your UV lamp.
  7. Using your rubbing alcohol and a paper towel, gently remove the moisture layer that has formed on top of your charm.
  8. Do another thick coat of gel and cure, then remove the moisture layer again. Repeat until you feel that your charm is finished.
  9. Enjoy your keepsake photo charm!

how to make a photo charm



DIY “Washi” Tape for Your Planner

Free diy washi tape style sticker printable, compatible with your Erin Condren planner.

printable galaxy washi tape

I have some pretty bad executive function issues and would lose my head if it wasn’t attached. After being bombarded with Pinterest ads I decided it would be a good idea to get an Erin Condren planner to help me be less scattered. The idea was cemented when I saw my friends planner and saw how awesome it was.

Suddenly I was plunged into the world of planners and planner accessories. I had no idea what washi tape was until two months ago (I was so naive).

I use a lot of shipping labels and realized that they would be awesome to print out designs on and cut up to make my own diy washi tape. The pre-cut line down the center of the label sheet makes it easy to peel off the sticker.

print washi tape with your printerDSC05516webprintable diy washi tape tutorial

The PSD (photoshop) template is sized so the stickers fill the width of the Erin Condren horizontal layout. I added cutting guides for .75 inch (19 mm) wide strips which cover 3 lines.

Download PSD Here (Google Doc)

Template Layout

Template Layout

Download Galaxy Pattern Here (Google Doc), Galaxy Photo via NASA

You could use an entire sheet label but it’s a pain to separate the backing without the pre-scored center line. It involves a lot of thankless picking with your fingernails. The matte paper finish is easy to write on. And cheap! I originally got them for shipping labels but I think it was about 25.00 for 500 sheets (5 cents per sheet).

This is a good option if 1. you don’t have a silhouette cameo (yet), 2. you have a paper cutter and 3. you have too much time on your hands like me and like to DIY things in the most long convoluted way possible.

I thought about ink cost and whether it would be cheaper to just purchase washi tape and found a website that calculated costs per page of printing for my printer model: now these figures are using the expensive ink. With the cheapy ink the price is a fraction of that (about 30% of the cost with cheap ink for my printer).

Cost to print per page with expensive ink: 76 cents with OEM ink + cost of page: 5 cents = 81 cents

Expensive printer cartridges from the original manufacturer can be pricey, and for good reason. Some have promises of lasting over a hundred years in the right conditions. However, for my planning purposes I don’t require that longevity. I wince even thinking about someone a hundred years in the future looking at my ambitious exercise plans for this month.

diy washi tape for erin condren planner


DIY Dress to Skirt Refashion Tutorial, Shark Edition

Ever find a dress and think “this would look so good as a skirt”? Or purchase a dress and realize the front is too low?

sourpuss shark bait dress


I had my eye on this awesome shark bait skater dress by Sourpuss clothing for some time now and couldn’t help it when I saw it for $25.00 and free shipping on Amazon (the seller was Ruby’s Red Ribbon-Sidecca, they are out of stock now). I glanced over the reviews and didn’t pay much attention. However when I got it I realized that the reviews were not exaggerating… the top was pretty low. For some reason I was reminded of lederhosen when I tried it on. Shark lederhosen. If I wasn’t 5’1″ the skirt would definitely be too short.


Time to turn this dress in to a skirt! Because this is a lightweight (stretchy) knit dress I didn’t need elastic. One less step! I’m all about making things easier on myself.

What you will need:

  • Ruler
  • Pins
  • Fabric marking pen
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread


  • You will be using the fabric from the bodice (top part of dress) to make a waistband for the skirt (bottom part).
  • A serger is awesome for this. Go buy one and blame it on me 🙂


    1. Separate the top and bottom of the dress.

366 367

    1. Place the bodice (top part) flat and mark a straight line across the bottom, then cut. If you have a fabric rotary cutter this is an awesome time to use it.369370
    2. Put the edge of your ruler flat along the line you just cut (making a 90 degree angle / perpendicular). Use a marking pen and mark on each side. I used a blue sharpie because I live dangerously.


    1. Sew along the lines you just made. You are making a tube for the waistband. You’ll end up with something like this:375
    2. Decide how wide you want the waistband to be. I chose a 1 inch waistband (but could have gone larger). What is your seam allowance? Determine that measurement. Plug the two measurements into the equation below to figure out how wide your waistband should be cut:Waistband Cut Width = 2 x desired waistband width + 2 x seam allowance

      Measure and cut. My desired finished waistband width was 1 inch, seam allowance .25 inch, so I cut a strip 2.5 inches wide. It gets folded in half and the seam allowance disappears when sewed so I was left with a 1 inch waistband.377
    3. Fold your waistband in half (wrong side in). When you pin to the skirt match the side seams of the skirt and waistband together.The waistband is probably going to be smaller than the skirt. That’s good! It helps it stay up. Stretch the waistband piece to match the width of the skirt and pin. It might look strange. When you sew you will stretch the waistband piece to match the skirt.
      Before folding waistband in half.

      Before folding waistband in half.

      Waistband folded in half. About to pin to skirt. Match the side seams!

      Waistband folded in half. About to pin to skirt. Match the side seams!

      Side seams matched

      Side seams matched

      Fully pinned

      Fully pinned

    4. Sew waistband to skirt.
    5. Enjoy!

      shark skater skirt

      Shark skirt!

dress into a skirt tutorial diy


Upcycled Sweater Leg Warmers, DIY Style

Last month I did something incredibly irresponsible and bought an amazing pair of boots. I’m not even going to try to justify the purchase. What I will admit is that I didn’t have much left in my fun money after that for all the necessary things to go along with my new boots…

This tutorial doesn’t leave any raw edges or anything that will disintegrate if washed. I’ve seen a few tutorials for sweater leg warmers but nothing that felt quite right for me so that’s why I made this one.

Choosing the right sweater:

  • The knit stretches enough
  • It isn’t too loosely woven
  • It was NOT a gift a family member knitted for you. Do not anger the Grandma!
  • Medium to heavy ribbed cotton turtlenecks and sweaters will work well too if they have enough stretch.

Tips for serging bulky sweater knit material:

  • Increase differential feed. This will help your seam be less “wavy”
  • Decrease presser foot pressure
  • Increase stitch length
  • Don’t force your serger to do anything it doesn’t want to do
  • Test out your stitch on scraps from the sweater before beginning the project

What you will need:

  • A sweater, for this tutorial I’m using a nice cable knit sweater for my legwarmers
  • 3/8 inch elastic or slightly larger is O.K., color is not important unless it will show through the sweater
  • Thread, ideally closely matching the sweater
  • Serger sewing machine, using a stretch stitch. I haven’t tried making these without a serger.
  • Regular sewing machine with a zig-zag stitch

If you can’t find a good sweater to use I’ve tracked down a few places to get sweater knit by the yard:


  1. Amputate…. er… cut off both sweater arms as shown in the picture.directions tutorial diy sweater leg warmers

    Upcycled sweater legwarmers

    There will be a slight slant to them towards the top, this is good because it will fit well over your calves.

  2. Turn sweater sleeves inside out. Avoid stretching, especially the raw cut edge because sweaters like to unravel quickly.
  3. Measure around your leg where you would like the top of the leg warmer to be. Cut two pieces of elastic that exact length.
  4.  Sew the raw ends of elastic together so you have two separate loops (don’t sew the two elastic pieces together, you’ll need two loops, one for each sweater sleeve!).I use tape to tape the ends together to make it easier to wrangle the elastic through the sewing machine. Tape is probably not good for your sewing machine but it saves my sanity.Use a wide zig-zag.
  5. Use one pin parallel to start out with when pinning the elastic loop to the sweater sleeve. This parallel pin makes it easier to wrangle the sleeve into position for sewing with the serger. Pin the rest of the loop to the wrong side of your sweater sleeve.

    Leaving some fabric at the edge

    Because sweaters like to fray I leave extra at the edge so the seam will be “catching” mostly tightly knitted sweater (not the unraveled edge). The serger knife will cut off the unraveled edge.

  6. Position sweater sleeve edge and elastic under your serger’s presser foot. This is where the parallel pin comes in handy!Continue sewing around, carefully stretching the sweater and elastic as necessary. Make sure you have the extra at the edge the serger knife is trimming off (the extra discussed in step 6).DSC05191 DSC05192


    Almost back to the beginning

  7. When you get back to the beginning disengage the serger knife and keep sewing about 1/4 of the way around.


    Serger knife disengaged

  8. Stop sewing, lift your presser foot and lift up the needles. Gently pull enough to the side so when the needles go down again nothing is getting sewn. Chain off.
  9. Turn the sweater sleeve right side out. Admire your elastic edge! Turn the elastic edge to the inside (see picture). Pin. It’s ok if it looks a little stretched out. When you’re wearing them the rest stretches.DSC05200 DSC05203
  10. Using your regular sewing machine, use a zig-zag stitch to sew around the edge.DSC05205


    When you are done the wrong side will look something like this

  11. Repeat on other sweater arm to make your other leg warmer
  12. Enjoy!

The Ultimate Organizational Hanger

Shower curtain rings work O.K. on hangers for storing stuff but often the weight will cause the rings to slide to one side, making the hanger tilt and everything be squished together. Plus threading things through the rings and pulling things out can be a hassle.

Possible uses: zipper storage (for sewing), business card holder, scarf or camisole storage for closet.

zipper storage organizerhanger

Things you will need:

  1. Plastic suit hanger with metal rod and the two metal clips
  2. Metal “curtain” clips, you can find them here:
    Shower Curtain Clips w/ Hook
    or on eBay.
  3. Beads with wide holes, wide enough for the metal rod to fit through
  4. Needle nose pliers



  1. (Carefully) take apart the hanger. This part can be tricky, pull it apart slowly because the plastic can break. Eye protection wouldn’t be a bad idea. Maybe even a full suit of armor. Slide off the two metal clips.
  2. The clips may arrive with the top loop open. Use your pliers to close the loop so they wont fall off the hanger.DSC03613
  3. Thread the beads and clips on to the metal rod. Add more beads in between the clips if you want them to be farther apart.DSC03617
  4. Carefully put the metal rod back in the hanger. Again eye protection (or that suit of armor) wouldn’t be a bad idea.