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DIY watercolor sand dollars

24 Jun

On a past trip up the coast, we stopped at this beach that had an abundance of sand dollars. At the time they were rich in color from the algae and I really loved them. I had big plans to display them. But after sitting with my craft supplies for a year, they have lost their color and turned dingy yellow. I wanted to do something different and add the bright color back into them. So I used watercolors.

#DIY watercolor sand dollars by makingmondays


Sand dollars

Watercolors and water


Bleach water solution (optional)

I began by whitening my sand dollars with a simple bleach/water solution (1 TBS per gallon of water). Simply mist with the solution and allow to sit in the sun to dry for an afternoon. If you buy sand dollars from a gift shop or online shop, they will probably already be bright white.

#DIY watercolor sand dollars by makingmondays

They absorb color really well and you can play around to get whatever effect you want. With some I just colored the star in the center which looked nice. But since the color spreads really easily it a little difficult to keep it contained. But that’s ok because as the color spreads it reveals more of the natural texture in the sand dollar. My only real tip for painting is to use water to blend the colors and blend out any rings that may appear. They will a grey tone when wet, but that will go away as they dry.

#DIY watercolor sand dollars by makingmondays

This project is easy, fun, and super kid-friendly. It really doesn’t require much artistic ability, but I liked the way they turned out. I glued magnets to the backs of mine to use on the fridge, but they would look cute in a shadow box display or basket too.

DIY photo postcards

17 Jun

Did you know you can mail a photo just like a postcard? Nothing fancy, no work. Just put a stamp on it, and mail it. I think that’s awesome, but I’m not sure how well it will hold up. So I made my photo postcards a little sturdier by sewing on a backing. Super simple, plus I love the texture added by the stitching.

#DIY photo postcards by makingmondays



card stock/thin cardboard



sewing machine and thread

I didn’t have any good photos lying around, so I printed some childhood photos that I scanned a while back. I added text to some in Photoshop.

#DIY photo postcards by makingmondays

You can use whatever you have around the house as the backing. I used an old folder and a cereal box for mine. Just cut to size. Since I was printing pictures,  I printed the lines onto my backing using this template from Martha Stewart. Of course, you can always draw them in or sew them in.

#DIY photo postcards by makingmondays

Put a dab of glue in the middle of the photo and attach it to your backing. You don’t want to glue the edge because it will gunk up your needle. Once it is dry, use your machine to sew around the edge. Begin and end by adding a back stitch to secure your thread.

#DIY photo postcards by makingmondays

Now write a note and add a stamp!

#DIY photo postcards by makingmondays

P.S. The current postage rate for postcards is $0.33

DIY polished rocks

10 Jun

I have a tendency to pick up rocks. But they have never gotten much attention once home, stashed in the corner of my bookshelf and rarely noticed. I have rocks from every road trip I’ve ever taken. I still have the “Indian throwing rock” that our campground host gave us in Missouri a few years ago, just before he offered to drive to town and pick up beers. Anyway, this is a ridiculously easy way to get them ready for display.

#DIY faux polished rocks by makingmondays



Clear nail polish

Wax paper

#DIY faux polished rocks by makingmondays

You got it! Paint one side of the rock with clear nail polish, be generous. Set on wax paper to dry. Paint the other side. Allow to dry. Repeat for 2 or 3 coats, until it has a nice thick shiny coating all over.

If you want to frame them, arrange the  rocks in a grid pattern that looks balanced. Then glue to a piece of mat board cut to size for a shadow box frame.

I mounted the best of my collection as a grid in an 8 x 10 shadow box frame.

DIY dipped cans

3 Jun

This is a simple, cute way to share cuttings or starters of your favorite plants.

#DIY dipped cans by makingmondays


Tin Cans


Hammer and nail

Small rocks or pottery shards


Succulent cutting, herbs, or whatever you prefer

Scrapbook paper or origami paper



#DIY dipped cans by makingmondays

I used some paint I found in my garage. But you might check out the rejected paint shelf at your local paint superstore, you can usually get bright colors on the cheap because they were mixed wrong. Too bright for walls is perfect for crafts.

Dip the cans directly into the can of paint as deep as you’d like. Allow excess to drip off for a minute. Set on wax paper to dry. Move a few times during drying to prevent the excess paint from pooling and drying around the bottom edge.

#DIY dipped cans by makingmondays

Holes provide drainage, which is important for succulents. Add about 6 using a hammer and nail. If you intend to use this indoors such as on a desk or windowsill, you do not have to poke holes. Just be careful not to over water.

Put a layer of small rocks in the base of the can. Fill with dirt. Plant and water.

If you want to make it a gift, follow these fantastic instructions for an origami bow from Let’s Create.  Attach it to the front with glue. If using a glue with a long drying time, use a clothes pin to hold the bow in place while it dries.

Pen Pal Kit with *FREE PRINTABLES*

27 May

Everyone loves mail! Chris and I sent a pen palling kit to his little sister this week. She is 9 and she wrote him during the school year for class. Her letters were great and it gave him a chance connect with her in a different way. It was interesting to see what was important to her and what she choose to write about.  He’s learned things that he wouldn’t have even thought to ask about, like she learned cursive this year and after about 4 letters it started to be readable. Did I mention her drawings? Amazing. Anyway, he is hoping this will keep her interested now that it’s not a requirement.

But this would also be a great way to start pen palling with someone you don’t get to see enough.

#DIY pen pal kit by makingmondays

Items to include:

Photo Box to put it all in


Postage Stamps

Construction Paper/Scrapbook Paper/White Paper/Stationary

Die-cut shapes

Stickers (letters and cool things)


Glue stick


Pencils/Pens/Markers/Colored Pencils/Glitter Pens

Notebook (optional, we decided to send a notebook back and forth rather than traditional letters, so the conversation is complete for her to look back at later)

Choose a notebook that appeals to you and personalize it. On the back inside cover, we added a handmade envelope to send secret messages, pictures, and other finds. And on the first page, we put a map of the US with our location and her location marked so she has a better understanding of where we are.

#DIY pen pal kit by makingmondays

Make your letter fun and personal. If your pen pal is young, it is important to give them examples of what they can do through your letter. And there is so much you can do. You could paste in comics and photos . Or start a correspondence game of tic-tack-toe or hangman. Or write a secret code key and include a message to decipher. Be sure to give them something to write back about. To get the process started, you can print these fill in the blank questions for your pen pal to answer.

FILLINTHEBLANK printable by makingmondays

Lastly, we attached our address to the lid of the box, so it can’t get lost. If your pen-pal hasn’t mailed a letter before, you may want to use this as an address label and an example of how their envelope should look.

envelope printable by makingmondays

FREE PRINTABLES click on the images above to open them as full size PDFs, then you can save or print the files from there!

P.S. How great would this be as a going away present?

DIY hanging fence pots

20 May

My house is small and my yard is even smaller. So I have to grow things wherever I can.

#DIY hanging fence pots


Galvanized steel wire

Pliers and wire cutters

Small pots (IKEA $0.49)*

Plants ( I used impatiences)

Potting soil

Rocks or pottery pieces

#DIY hanging fence pots

Cut wire into 12inch strips. One for each pot you intend to hang.

Using a pot as a guide, wrap a strip of wire around the middle to make a circle. Twist the two wires together on the back one or two times. The wire circle should be wrapped tight enough that the pot does not slide through it. Repeat with each strip of wire.**

#DIY hanging fence pots

Place the twist of two wires at an intersection on the fence (where the fencing makes an X). Wrap one wire around the upper left leg of the X and the other wire around the upper right leg of the X. Once secure, trim the ends of the wire.

#DIY hanging fence pots

Choose flowers based on your climate and space. I used impatiences because my fence is shady, only getting a few hours of filtered sunlight a day through the ivy.

#DIY Plant Step-by-Step

Slip the pots into the hanging circles and let gravity keep it in place.

#DIY hanging fence pots

My hanging pots cost $1.25 each. My total project cost was around $15. This included enough pots, wire, flowers and soil to make 12 . Making more won’t increase your total cost too much, about half of the wire and soil were left when all was said and done.

*Note: you want to keep the pots small and lightweight for this project so that they do not cause your fence to sag. Mine have been up for a year and I haven’t had any problems.

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