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:
diy-agate-coasters-step-1
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

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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.

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

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: Shine Word Sweater AKA How to Cover Up a Stain on Your Sweater

diy-shine-word-sweater-how-to-cover-up-stain-chic-stealsOh metallic lurex thread, how I love thee!! It adds so much dimension, so much Wintry sparkle, so much glamour to just plain old fabrics. But it’s a demon to clean.

Once I found a beautiful silvery sweater at H&M on the clearance rack for a mere $8.95. And it happened to be in my size, too. I wore it often for many years. I wore it here, for example.

And then while at work one day I dropped my lunch on it. A small mouthful of leftover Thai drunken noodles. In oily brown sauce. And my favorite sweater was ruined forever.

diy-shine-word-sweater-stain-chic-stealsI washed it multiple times, in both cold and warm water, and tried every stain remover known to woman. But nothing got the stain out of acrylic. That brownish-yellow stain would not budge. I tried to wear it after the unfortunate incident, but the stain was too obvious, and I felt self-conscious. I thought about discarding the sweater (heck, I had only paid $8.95 for it so it wasn’t a huge investment)…but I wanted to save it if I could.

And then I had an epiphany…to combine that trend of one big word on your shirt…with my poor abused sweater…hence forever covering up that stain and allowing me to wear it again (or at least, until it got too pilled and stretched out to even resemble clothing anymore). Hence this DIY. Here’s how to cover up that horrible stain on your own shirt if it has befallen similar circumstances:

DIY Shine Word Sweater (or, How to Cover a Stain on Your Sweater)

You Need:

diy-shine-word-sweater-materials-chic-stealssweater or top  /  black felt  /  fabric scissors  /  needle and matching thread  /  pins  /  graphic program to create your word if you’re not using the download below  /  printer (or print at an office store)  /  regular scissors

How To:

diy-shine-word-sweater-graphic-chic-steals

  1. Choose what word you’re going to put on your top. It took me forever to finally choose a word (and yes, I browsed Pinterest, blogs, and magazines for what seemed like ages). But I found it: Shine. Quite ironically literal. So I went with that, and typed it out in Photoshop using the Ballpark Weiner font and printed out a copy of the word to see if the spacing and font would indeed cover up the stain. It did so I went with that.diy-shine-word-sweater-step-1-chic-steals
  2. Cut out the word using regular scissors. Don’t forget to cut out dots on i’s or punctuation as well. I didn’t cut out the negative space inside the letters at this point.diy-shine-word-sweater-step-2-chic-steals
  3. Pin the word to your felt.diy-shine-word-sweater-step-3-chic-steals
  4. Use fabric scissors to cut around your word carefully. You may need to make certain areas wider than the font so the felt doesn’t pull apart. For cutting the negative space out of the inside of loops, I just eyeballed it, cutting smaller than I needed to and then widening once I laid the cut-out on the original font.diy-shine-word-sweater-step-4-chic-stealsdiy-shine-word-sweater-step-5-chic-steals
  5. Place the the cut out felt word to the center of your top, and pin down so it is flat.diy-shine-word-sweater-step-6-chic-stealsdiy-shine-word-sweater-step-7-chic-steals
  6. Use a running stitch (looks like – – – – ) around the inside edges of the felt to secure the word to your top. This is long and tedious – make sure you have some Netflix or mindless TV to get you through. Also stitch on any i dots or punctuation as well. (If you’re dealing with a stretchy top like a sweater, be careful not to stretch the knit too much as you are sewing or else the finished word will pucker.)

diy-shine-word-sweater-done-3-chic-stealsAnd that’s it! A pretty upgrade to a soiled mistake…and I’ve just saved a major piece in my wardrobe. How to cover a stain on your sweater is really as easy as a bit of felt, time, and thread!

diy-shine-word-sweater-done-1-chic-stealsThis is something you will need to hand-wash cold and lay flat to dry. You could also use suedecloth or any other fabric that doesn’t fray when you cut it – leather or vinyl I would think a little tough to hand-sew but you could always try it if you prefer that look.

Download my DIY Shine Word Sweater graphic here if you’d like to make your own “Shine” version (click below):

Shine Font Graphic for DIY Shine Word Sweater

(77 KB PDF, sized at 300 dpi, for 8.5″ x 11″ paper)

diy-shine-word-sweater-done-2-chic-stealsdiy-shine-word-sweater-done-4-chic-stealsShine on, my friends!

Ever had a stain on your shirt where you did something creative to cover it up? Do tell!

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

DIY Pearl and Chain Spike Choker (and How to Finish a Necklace with Crimp Beads)

0.diy-pearl-and-chain-choker-introphoto Sometimes you’re feeling a little ladylike…and a little edgy at the same time. This pearl and chain choker pairs so well with both demure outfits and darker streetwear easily. All you need is aluminum chain, glass beads, jumprings, and a closure. diy-pearl-and-chain-choker-done1And of course some hematite spike beads for that necessary wild child. Here’s how to make your own with some affordable supplies from PandaHall: (and a brush up on How to Use Crimp Beads, below)

You Need:diy-pearl-and-chain-choker-materials

aluminum twisted curb chain (5 mm wide)  //  silver color aluminum twisted curb chain (5 mm wide)  //  6mm white glass imitation pearl beads  //  non-magnetic hematite rectangle beads  /  matching jumprings (6 medium, can all be the same size)  //  2 crimp beads  //  2 (two) 3-strand necklace ends  //  Beadalon nylon stringing cord  //  chain cutting pliers  //  crimp pliers  //  jump ring tool (or another set of pliers)

How To:diy-pearl-and-chain-choker-step1

1. Attach one end of the chain to one of the necklace ends with a jumpring.

2. Hold the flat curb chain against your neck and decide how long you want it (mine was 14″). Use the chain cutting pliers to cut it at that point.

3. Attach that end to the other necklace end, being careful to keep the chain flat.

4. Attach the next oval link chain in the same way, making a little longer than the first so it will drape lower and lay flat.

How to Finish a Necklace Using Crimp Beadsdiy-pearl-and-chain-choker-step2

5. Crimp beads are an easy, clean way to finish a cord necklace, and they look really great. Thread one crimp bead onto the end of your Beadalon cord, leaving about 1″.

6. Thread a jumpring onto the end.

7. Curve the cord around the jumpring and back into the crimp bead. Make sure the loop around the jump ring is small.

8. Use crimping pliers to first smash the crimp bead flat (in the grooves closest to the plier center), then bend the flattened ends towards each other (in the hole closest to the plier tips). You’ll make the crimp bead into a flattened hot dog shape.

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Voila!diy-pearl-and-chain-choker-step4

9. Attach the jumpring onto the final loop of the necklace clasp, below the chains.

10. Estimate how long you need and cut the wire a little longer than the length of the longest chain.

11. Start threadiing pearls onto the wire. Use the first pearl/s to hide the end of the wire.

12. When you are close to where the center of the wire would be, start adding hematite spike beads.diy-pearl-and-chain-choker-step5

13. Add a spike bead, a pearl, and another spike bead in a graduated manner.

14. Continue adding pearls once the center spikes are finished. Once your strand of pearls is as long as you want it (slightly longer than the bottom chain so it hangs below it), add a crimp bead.

15. Be careful to hold the crimp bead close to the last pearl, and finish the end of the wire as before. Tuck the long end into the last pearl bead/s.

16. Use a jumpring to attach to the remaining open loop in the necklace closure.

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And that’s it! diy-pearl-and-chain-choker-done3

It’s a little fiddly and something you’ll want to do while watching your fave TV show to pass the time…but once done this 3-strand sophisticated choker has maximum impact.

You can make your own just by checking out PandaHall.com for the best beading supplies!diy-pearl-and-chain-choker-done2

Happy DIY’ing!

xo

Carly

FTC Disclosure: Pandall.com provided me with the craft supplies featured in this post for me to make a fun DIY with. I have received no other compensation. The opinions above are my own. For my full Disclosure Policy, click here.

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