DIY Agate Slice Drink Coasters

diy-agate-coasters-intro-chic-stealsOn a recent trip to one of my favorite gem supply shops in the Portland area (Ed’s House of Gems as I wrote in an earlier post here) I found some pretty agate slices that seemed like they would be perfect for drink coasters. Sure, I got the idea from Rablabs many years back…but those coasters were $65 at the time and way more than I wanted to spend. So I decided to make my own DIY agate drink coasters – with a little metal leaf to glam them up – and some cork “feet” to protect my table. You can find agate or geode slices many places now (including at your local Michael’s or Jo-Ann Fabrics stores!) and you can buy them on eBay or here as well. I also shared this project idea on Darby Smart awhile ago…but I figured it was high time to turn it into a full-fledged tutorial. So here it is!

You Need:

diy-agate-coasters-materials

agate slices (you can use dyed agate though the dye may bleed a little)  /  Mod Podge or metal leafing glue  /  clean, soft brush  /  metal leaf sheet in your favorite metal color  /  adhesive cork disks (find these in the furniture protection section!)  /  small scissors  /  adhesive sealant (optional, not pictured)

How To:
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1. Brush the edges of an agate slice with Mod Podge or metal leafing glue. (If your agate is dyed, you may find that the color starts bleeding into the glue here.)
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2. Allow the glue to dry a few minutes so it is tacky. Roll onto a metal leafing sheet, pressing hard and covering all edges completely with the sheet. Just rip and reposition!diy-agate-coasters-step-3

3. Making sure your brush is completely dry (or just use a different brush), gently brush off the excess metal leaf.diy-agate-coasters-step-4

4. Usually the adhesive cork disks that are sold for furniture are too large for coasters, so cut each disk into smaller pieces.diy-agate-coasters-step-5

5. Place the cork pieces at opposite ends of the agate slice so the slice will sit level on a flat surface.

And that’s it! diy-agate-coasters-done-2-chic-steals

Pretty, colorful, organic coasters add a touch of class to any decor. If you’re concerned about the metal leaf coming off with use or exposure to liquids, I’d advise a quick spray of acrylic sealant around the edges of the coasters to make that permanent.diy-agate-coasters-done-1-chic-steals

These coasters look so lovely shimmering in pale colors below translucent drinks!

What do you think? Is this a project you’ll be trying out?

xo
Carly

ChicSteals_agatebox2

And if you love agate projects (or need something to do with any extra agate slices you may have acquired ;-)…my DIY Agate Keepsake Box (above) materials are still available on Darby Smart…and you can buy them individually in case you only need one or two supplies. (And…pssst! Right now [early Spring 2016] in Target’s front $1 section right in front of the doors…there are beautiful hinged WHITE wooden boxes…for only $3, which I suggest you snap up IMMEDIATELY to take advantage!)

DIY Gold-Painted Agate Bookends

diy-gold-painted-agate-bookends-title-chic-stealsSo…sliced agate bookends are a big THING…but they can be ridiculously expensive. Just browse One King’s Lane or Joss & Main (and those are discounted to around $66, sheesh!) to see what I mean. Or Z Gallerie to see the full-priced version at $99. Even Target released a pair as part of their Threshold line…and of course the pair is about at the $25 mark. That’s still a price I think I can beat, so I began searching for how to create these lovely bookends for less.

Unfortunately to get good-quality sliced and polished matching agate chunks, you’ll have to pony up some cash, there’s no way around that. If you can score a pair on eBay for cheaper, that’s awesome…just be aware to factor in shipping to make sure you’re getting a good deal (those things can be heavy). Amazon has some great agate bookend options…similar to the lower pricepoint I found mine at – so I’d recommend buying through them!) Personally, I like to source my gems at local rock shops since I can get a pretty good deal depending on what they have in stock – and a favorite of mine is Ed’s House of Gems in NE Portland (don’t look at their website, it doesn’t begin to do this amazing store justice). Needless to say, I managed to find a beautiful pair of agate bookends there recently for a mere $18 – and set out to spice them up and make them look as nice as the Target (or the more expensive!) versions. (You could also cover the rough sides in actual gold or silver leaf if you wanted…but I had some spray paint on hand and figured that would be easiest.)

How to Make DIY Gold Painted Agate Bookends

You Need:

diy-gold-painted-agate-bookends-materials-chic-steals

sliced agate pair  |  painter’s tape  |  gold spray paint (here are a variety of great options)  |  acrylic sealer (optional)  |  newspapers or something to protect your surface  |  sticky-back felt dots (optional)

How To:

       diy-gold-painted-agate-bookends-step-1-chic-steals

1. Spread painter’s tape over the flat sides of each bookend, extending the tape beyond the side. diy-gold-painted-agate-bookends-step-2-chic-steals

Press firmly at the edge where the flat polished side meets the rough, rocky edge to prevent seepage.

diy-gold-painted-agate-bookends-step-3-chic-steals

2. Place on newspapers outside, and spray the rough, rocky sides gold. 1-2 coats should suffice.

3. Allow to dry.

4. (Optional) Hit the gold-painted side with a coating of acrylic sealer if you’re concerned about the gold rubbing off.

5. (Optional) Place sticky-back felt dots on the underside of the agate pieces to keep your shelving safe.

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And there you have it!

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You could easily just place the agate pieces as-is on your shelves and none would be the wiser…but I wanted some more finished pieces. They would also make a fabulous gift that looks oh-so-expensive…and you never have to tell anyone that you crafted them for a steal!

Happy DIY’ing!

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If you’ve made your own version of these popular sliced DIY agate bookends – how did they work out for you? Let me know in the comments!

xo
Carly

DIY Washi Tape Blog Planner

Intro photo for the DIY Washi Tape Blog PlannerI’m a scheduler, and I love my To-Do lists more than anything. But…life is COMPLEX, and I can’t wander around with a million bits of paper with to do lists written on each. In managing this blog I need to be able to see at a glance all the days in the week – and the month – so I can plan out what I want to (ideally) post here. I’ve tried a digital calendar, which I’ve found doesn’t work for me because I like to jot ideas down on the side, rotate ideas for posts in and out of the hopper, or brainstorm away from the computer. I’ve tried a date book, which is too small for me to see the whole month at the size I need. And no matter what offline solution I’ve tried, I was constantly erasing things and having to rewrite posts on new days if I made the smallest change. Sooooo frustrating!DIY Washi Tape Blog Planner

But now I think I’ve found the best solution to my blog planning problems: a DIY Blog Calendar, that uses washi tape as a way to organize posts once you’ve brainstormed them. No erasing necessary! And it’s super easy to put together. Here’s how to make your own DIY Washi Tape Blog Planner (which is yes, quite intuitive from the photos):

Peeling scheduled day tape off the DIY Washi Tape Blog Planner calendar

1. Print out your favorite calendar for the month. I turn off all my scheduled events and print a month’s view of iCal just so I can get the structure. I prefer to have a piece of paper for each month as I go, rather than using a laminated sheet and a dry erase marker, but you could do that too.

2. Tear small pieces of washi tape off, folding one edge under about 3/6″. This creates a tab for easy removal. I like to create a theme for my tape colors: one color is for DIY projects or my own designs; the other is for sponsored posts, reviews, or outfits.

3. Now comes the fun part: brainstorm! Write ideas for your posts, sponsored posts, reviews, whatever on each piece of tape. (I found that ballpoint pen or Sharpie worked best on the waxy washi tape.)

4. Then, once brainstormed, schedule into your calendar by sticking into the appropriate days. Some ideas won’t have a place just yet, so I left them floating at the top, ready to rotate into next month if needs be.

5. Follow the calendar for your posting schedule. At the beginning of each week stick your posts into the day you actually posted them (in case you missed any or the schedule moved around). Then you’ll always be up to date – and won’t miss any posts!

I like that this is a permanent way to collect your thoughts and keep your blog schedule on hand, but you can still move ideas around as you go. You could use this for anything; it doesn’t have to be a blog calendar! It could be just general life or a to-do list, and the washi tape makes it look so pretty!

Close up of days on DIY Washi Tape Blog PlannerHappy DIY’ing!
xo

Carly

33 DIY’s for Mother’s Day from Darby Smart

Mothers-Day-Gift-Ideas

My DIY Agate Keepsake Box was just featured in Darby Smart’s roundup of 33 DIY Ideas for Mother’s Day. If you’re looking for some DIY inspo, Darby Smart is definitely the place!

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And, my DIY Agate Keepsake Box kits are still available for purchase.

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It’s a super-fun project that makes a gorgeous trinket box for Mom or another special lady in your life! Shop this kit here.

But you don’t necessarily need a kit to get crafty at the last minute! For Mom, whip up something creative and unique by Sunday:

Check out the 33 DIY Ideas for Mother’s Day here

xo
Carly

Last-Minute DIY Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas

The big V-day happens to be Saturday this year, and it’s now a countdown to what to get, what to make, how to profess your undying love to the one true person in your life. Here are a couple ideas from my archives if you need something to make last-minute:

diytypographypillows_done3DIY Ombre Typography Pillows

diyminibooknecklace_done5DIY His and Hers Leather-Bound Book Necklace/Keychain

diymacaronstand_done2DIY French Macaron Stack Card Holder Memo Stand

diystenciledphotoframe_done1DIY Patterned Silver Leaf Photo Frame

diy-quartz-paperweight-done3

DIY Faux Geode Quartz Paperweight

diynaturaldeodorant_doneDIY Healthy Natural Coconut Oil Stick Deodorant

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And, from a previous year: 15 DIY Valentine’s Day Gifts for Everyone.

romantic-ideas-you-can-do-at-homeAnd, if you’d prefer not to give a THING but instead perform an action and make it a memorable experience instead: Romantic Ideas You Can Do At Home for Valentine’s Day Infographic

And, for those wanting to celebrate their singledom, here are a couple great ideas for you too!

7 Single Gals Valentine Day Ideas

xo

Carly

How to Organize Your Drawers on a $5 Budget

organized-drawers-on-5-dollar-budget I love love love organized drawers. When you open them, every item in its proper place, catalogued and corralled, and I just can’t help but smile. Who wouldn’t love to be able to find everything you need, right at your fingertips? And don’t get me started on the kind of heaven that The Container Store is for me. Yup, I love organized drawers – but doing so can be kind of pricey if you spring for brand-new containers and liners and the like. With a little bit of planning ahead, you can clean up all your dirty secrets – for around $5. Here’s how:

organizeddrawer_before2

Before: Quelle horreur!

You Need:organizeddrawer_materials

clear adhesive Con-Tact Shelf Liner*  /  your favorite wrapping paper*  /  measuring tape  /  double-sided tape  /  scissors  /  pen  /  extra jewelry boxes, shipping boxes, or other small boxes

How To:

*You could always skip using these two items and just purchase a 2-for-1 like Chic Shelf Paper. They have a lot of great designs, plus they have a waterproof option for the linings of bathroom or kitchen cabinets, which need to withstand moisture on a daily basis. It is a little pricey, so I went with some wrapping paper I liked (which affords you endless possibilities) from Target (Spritz, in teal chevron) and Con-Tact paper, which is cheaper.

1. Remove all your stuff from the drawers and lay it out. Purge ruthlessly! Pile stuff into a pile of things you need every day and need immediately at hand.

2. Clean out the drawer by wiping it down of debris and dust. Makeup remover and nailpolish remover can be godsends to get crusty makeup spills out of the bottom.

3. Measure inside of drawer and cut a piece of wrapping paper the size to fit.

4. Peel the backing off the Con-Tact paper and place it sticky side up on a flat surface. Adhere the wrapping paper piece to it carefully by turning it upside down, so the patterned side is stuck to the sticky side of the Con-Tact paper. Smooth out any bubbles.

5. Trim the Con-Tact paper to the same size as the wrapping paper piece.

6. Place in the drawer, securing with double-stick tape to the inside of the drawer.

7. Try your jewelry boxes (and lids!) in different configurations until you find something you like. You could optionally spray paint the insides a contrasting color (or add some glitter – woohoo!) but I preferred the white.

8. Use double-stick tape to secure each box down to the Con-Tact sheet, and to each other (where needed). I decided to let some spaces in between the boxes so I could see the Con-Tact paper showing through.

9. Re-fill your now sectioned and organized drawer, paying attention to how you use it and what you need to grab immediately (which would go in the front or top – the easiest-to-reach places).

organizeddrawer_afterYou’re done! Revel in your newly-organized drawer, and breathe a sigh of happiness every time you open it.organizeddrawer_1

organizeddrawer_2organizeddrawer_3organizeddrawer_before

From the above…

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To THIS!!

And one more time, a side-by-side Before and After…organizeddrawer_beforeafter
Happy Organizing!

xo

Carly

Did you like my $5 Budget tip? Leave your ideas for another one you’d like to see DIY’d in the comments!