Make It! Wooden Door Mat

I recently splurged and bought a great rug for my patio.  I love the colors and the style.  I needed another mat for in front of my garage door but that is where the dirty boots and muddy lawn mower wheels enter.  I didn’t want to put a nice rug in front of that door because it wouldn’t last.

So I made this

it’s made out of wood and it’s a very easy project to do.  Here’s what you need:

Five (plus or minus, depending on how big you want your mat) 1x2s.  I used cheap pine at 75 cents apiece.  TIP:  Make sure to get all boards with rounded edges or all boards with sharp edges.  I didn’t so I have a “front” and a “back” (right side and wrong side!).

Rope (I used Sisal Rope)
Nuts (I grabbed 1/2 inch ones since my rope was 3/8)
Paint (I used two colors of outdoor latex paint)
Sealer (I used a can of Krylon Sealer spray)

Start by deciding how big you want your mat.  I decided on 24×36 inches.  I cut all my boards to 24 inches and cut twenty to give me the finished 36 inches.

You will need to drill a hole in each board four inches from the end so that each board gets two holes.  Make sure to drill through the long way, not the short way. Using a drill press makes the process easier but isn’t necessary.

Paint your boards.  Decide on the pattern you want and make sure you have enough boards to lay the pattern out.  I decided on brown and teal and my pattern is very basic.  I am starting with one brown and ending with one brown but the boards will be twice thick in the middle. b = brown; t = teal  (b-t-t-b-b-t-t-b-b-t-t-b-b-t-t-b-b-t-t-b).  Decide on a pattern BEFORE you paint them so that you paint the right number of boards the right color.  When dry, spray seals them.
Cut two long pieces of rope and tie a knot at the end of each one.  String on board by putting the rope through your holes.  Space the boards with a nut.
When you reach the last board, tie a knot.  I added a dab of glue to the knots as I tried them so they wouldn’t come undone.
You’re finished!  I’d suggest leaving some slack so that the mat is a little more forgiving.  The spaces in the boards will allow water and mud to run off the shoes and it’s a lot more durable than a pretty patio rug!  I think that this will look even nicer as it weathers and fades a bit!

If I do it again:

1.  I would make sure my 1×2 boards were all the same finishes.

2.  I like the color but think it would look neat natural, too.

3.  To make it cheaper, I may forgo the nuts and just tie knots or string on big wooden beads.

Cracked Marble Jewelry

We visited the Marble Factory over spring break and watched the artists make some homemade marbles.  That was incredibly educational but WAY out of my creative league.  Perhaps someday when the kids aren’t around and open flames aren’t tempting fate.

I did purchase some neat marbles and a few odd shapes.  I turned them into cracked marble jewelry.

Cracking your marbles is quite easy but here’s my disclaimer.  The marbles get hot.  Really, really hot.  Don’t touch them.  Don’t burn yourself.  Don’t let kids touch them.  Don’t let kids play around them.  If you get hurt or burned or something else bad happens, don’t blame me.  I warned you.  Be smart!

And on with it!  Take your selection of marbles, with a few extras, and put them on a cookie sheet.

Put them in a 450-degree oven for 20 minutes.  Yes, 450 degrees.  Yes, 20 minutes.  They will be HOT!

Take them out but DON’T TOUCH THEM.  Immediately dump them all into a bowl full of ice water.  You will hear sizzling and crackling.  Resist all temptation to pull one out and look.  It’s still hot!!!  Leave in the bowl for at least ten minutes.

After the time is up, carefully drain the water and test a marble.  It should be cooled but MAKE SURE.  They should be cracked on the inside!  The outside will still be smooth but the inside is webbed with little and big cracks!

Make sure to inspect all your marbles.  I had a nice variety of round and flat marbles.  Some of the flat marbles had cracks on the inside that went all the way from top to bottom (or side to side!)  You want to take those out of the mix because they are weaker than you want them to be.  You only want marbles that the cracks don’t go all the way down.

Gather a few supplies to make your jewelry.
I grabbed my pliers (round nose, nippers, and regular pliers), some headpins, a few bead caps and my E6000 glue.  I use E6000 glue and it’s great stuff. . . . I’ve only had it fail once (sorry Claire!).

You will want to make some tops for your marbles.  First, put a headpin through a bead cap with the pin extending through the top.  Bend it at a 90-degree angle.
Take your round nose pliers and add a little loop right at the 90-degree bend.

Grab your loop with your round nose pliers and use the regular pair of pliers to grab the long end of the wire.  Wrap it around the base of the loop several times.  Your end will get mangled but that’s okay.

Straighten your loop with the pliers. . . .

And clip the end.  Now you have a top for your marble.
Use the E6000 glue and put a small dollop inside the cap.  Place the cap on the marble and hold for a few minutes.  It should be set enough that you can put it down after that.

E6000 glue takes about 48 hours to cure.  You can either wait for it to be cured or do what I do. . . I put the jewelry together and then wait for it to be cured before wearing it.

To put the jewelry together, either add a snap bail to the piece to make it a pendant…
. . . . or add ear wires to turn it into earrings.  They are a little heavy but not too bad.
You can also add a regular glue on bail to larger pieces to make pendants.  Use the E6000 glue and glue the pad to the wrong (flat) side of the marble.

This is probably the easiest way to make your jewelry!  Add a chain and you are done!
If I do it again:

1.  I would do a few more of the large, flat marbles.  I love this huge pendant!

Huge Magnetic Board

We’re slowly finishing up my little girl’s room.  She has outgrown the pink and the butterflies and wanted something a bit more sophisticated.   Her room is being done in stages, partly due to budget and partly due to the fact that we aren’t sure what we want in there.  We did paint and have been working on a few projects.

My daughter is very crafty and loves to display her artwork and creations.  We have set up several areas in her room for her to do so in a nondestructive way.  One of which is this HUGE magnetic board.
I am a regular on Pinterest and see projects where people turn cookie sheets into magnetic boards.  It’s a great idea but it has a few problems.  First, cookie sheets aren’t that big.  Second, they can get expensive, depending on how big and how fancy you want to go.  I had used an oil drip pan on my son’s wall for his use.  I decided to copy the idea but make it a bit more girlie for my daughter.

You start with your oil drip pan.  It’s around $9 at WalMart.  While you are there, pick up some 3M picture hanging strips, some mod podge, and some fabric if you don’t have any at home.

This is what your oil drip pan looks like:
I clean it off with a kitchen cleanser. . . it has some sort of oily film on it that I don’t like.  Simple Green takes it right off.  Cut your fabric so that it’s about 3 inches bigger all the way around.   Don’t get exact. . . that’s not fun!

Don’t forget to decide which way your magnetic board will hang and cut the fabric appropriately.  You don’t want your pattern to be sideways or upside down when hung.

Cover the inside of the pan with mod podge.  Paint it on:
Lay the fabric down on top.  Smooth it on.  You will get gooey so embrace it!  Remember, any wrinkles and they’ll be permanent.  Make sure to squish the fabric into the corners of the pan.  Paint the top of the piece with mod podge and let dry.

The let dry part was SO hard!  I am not a patient person and I was in the go mode but I made it!  Flip the piece over and start mod podging the edges down on the back.  (I put two mixing bowls underneath the piece so the edges didn’t touch the table.)
Let it dry. . . again.  The piece is done when it is dry.  Follow the directions on the 3M strips and you don’t have to make holes on your wall!

I was SO bored with waiting so I made some cute magnets to go on the board.  Here’s what I used: 
Cut a flower off the bunch and cut the center out.  My flowers had three layers to them.  If you had different colored flowers, you could swap out the layers and make multi-colored layered flowers.  I didn’t so I stuck with what I had.

Glue the first layer to the magnet and each additional layer on top.  You can either cut the original center flat across the bottom and glue it back to the middle or use something else.  I had these:
So I made these:

I hung the magnet board and added the magnets.

It didn’t take her long to decorate it her way!

If I Do It Again:

Not much to tell.  I like how it turned out.  Some things to make sure to do again would be to use a thinner cotton fabric. . . I think anything thicker would bunch up too much.  I would also make sure to not have goops of mod podge left on the top.  I would also make sure to use the matte mod podge. . . it’s a lot more forgiving than glossy when used in such a large amount.

Snowman Soup

We were looking for a quick, fun and cheap gift idea for my youngest to take into her religious ed class this week.  We decided on Snowman Soup packets.

They turned out great and, better yet, it was something she could do on her own.  I helped by printing out some bag toppers and packaging the marshmallows but the rest was up to her.

The ingredients for Snowman Soup:

You need some bags (I decided on the 4×12 bags by Wilton), some Hershey Kisses, mini marshmallows, hot cocoa packets and mini candy canes.  We first cut about four inches off the tops of all the bags with my paper cutter.  Then we used my food saver to package the marshmallows.  We put a seam at the bottom, tossed in ten, and sealed the top.  Perfect!
She packaged up the ingredients and stapled a bag topper on to them.  I designed it on Word and used their clip art for a quick way to make it look good.  I wrote the poem for the front and added directions to the back.

They turned out cute and she had lots of fun making them.  They’re not super fancy but she can’t wait to hand them out.

Here’s my bag topper.  Click on it and print it out on a piece of 8 1/2 x 11 cardstock.  (If it doesn’t print out right, try copying it and pasting it into your word document.)  Cut them out on the light gray lines. . . just don’t cut the fold line in the middle of the two.  You get four per sheet.  Feel free to use it for your own purposes but, if you don’t mind, please link it back to me if you repost it.