Monday, March 27, 2017

DIY Lollipop / Sucker Stand


Okay, I'm a linguistics nerd. I love words and languages and actually majored in English and minored in Linguistics. Not super relevant to DIY, but I had a hard time deciding whether or not I should call this a "lollipop stand" or a "sucker stand".  I've lived all over the country, and I know it's a pretty regional thing. In Utah, Nevada, and California, a sucker is anything spherical on a stick like Dum Dums, but a lollipop was more of the large, flat circular ones. But here in Hawaii and in North Carolina they're all lollipops! And in Italy, they're "lecca-lecca". :)

And there's your random trivia for the day. I opted for lollipop since there's no confusion as to what that means.

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links to items actually used in this tutorial. All opinions are my own.

I actually built my lollipop stand almost 3 years ago and have used it more times than I can count. It's always a huge hit and gives some great height, dimension, and colors to the party table.

I was inspired by Jaime, the DIY genius at That's My Letter.

I loved the idea of a lollipop stand, but I knew I wanted it to be a bit taller to give more height on my table. And since I was living in Italy at the time, it was more difficult (and EXPENSIVE) to buy round wooden dowels. I had some 2x2's on hand that I had moved from the States with me, so I decided to use that instead. It also made it a little easier to drill the holes since the 2x2 won't roll away. ;)

So here's your supply list:

- 2x2 - cut to 24"
- 1x6 scrap - cut to 6.5"
- Wood finial
- Paint
- 1" screws (2)
- Decorative contact paper (optional)

Step 1: Cut your 2x2 to 24" in length. I primed mine then and to avoid paint dripping in all the holes.

Then drill holes at an angle. Jaime's tutorial has some great tips on drilling the holes. I didn't bother measuring and marking mine. I just kind of eyeballed it since I'm lazy like that. I ended up with 22-24 holes per side, so it would be slightly less than 100 suckers/lollipops in all.

Jaime attached hers with wood glue, but I thought I might want to change the stand out later. I also wanted to be able to break it down smaller to fit in my storage box more easily. I decided to skip the glue and did two screws to keep it from twisting. I've taken it down and up numerous times in the last few years, and it still works like a charm.  I've also changed out the contact paper a couple times to match different events. Red for our Christmas party, pink for an American Girls' Doll party, etc.  I just wrap it similar to a present and cut off the excess, so it stays flat.

The finial was something I happened to have on hand and liked that it gave a finished look to the top. You can find them at home improvement stores, craft stores, and even on Amazon. They range in price from $3 - close to $25 for some nicer ones!

And you're done! It's as easy as that! Cut, paint, drill, attach.

Here's mine at a few of our favorite parties. This pic isn't great quality, but I wanted to show you the height comparison with my daughter.  This was also with the pink contact paper.

And this was a luau-themed birthday party. We used these surfboard suckers and these twist lollipops. They're super cute, but honestly they don't taste that great. The kids didn't seem to mind, though. Ha!

Party prep. I typically use two sizes of metal cupcake stands.

And that's it. Quite possibly the easiest beginner build you can think of! The drilling is a little tedious, but it's nothing tricky or difficult.

So, what do you call them in your part of the world? Suckers? Lollipops? Lollies? Leave me a note with where you live and what you call them.

Happy building and aloha,


Remodelaholic - (Friday)
Chic on a Shoestring - (Friday)
Sweet Pea - Best of the Weekend

Sunday, March 26, 2017

DIY Fairy Doors Tutorial


Today is a really simple project: DIY fairy doors! And the best part about them is if you do any kind of woodwork, you can probably make them out of scraps.

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. They link to products I used in the tutorial, and all opinions are my own.

We took the kids to Ireland last year, and I have to tell you, I've never seen a more magical country. It was truly amazing. I'll do a full post on Ireland another day. But one of the days, we stopped at Brigit's Garden in Galway. It has lots of replicated things from Celtic times and traditions, and it was just a really fun place in general. But we got off the beaten path exploring in the woods, and it was honestly like something out of a fairytale. It was SO green that I couldn't even believe it. I took hundreds of pictures just on that little walk, and none of them do justice to it.

Our favorite thing about the walk was happening across these little hidden fairy doors, though. There was no mention of them in the brochure or in the kids scavenger hunt, so they seemed very mysterious to my kids, and they had a ball trying to find the fairy doors, fairy rings (group of mushrooms that grow in a circle), and leprechaun houses. We spent many a moment just sitting still, waiting to catch a glimpse of a fairy or leprechaun. My middle daughter thinks she saw one flying. If it can happen anywhere, I believe it could happen there!

He was so excited to find his first door! Even if it wasn't blue. Ha!

They were different sizes, too. You can see this one was really tiny.

Anyway, when we came home (back to Italy), I promised the girls we would make our own fairy doors. Then we moved across the world (here to Hawaii), and life just got crazy. I finally got around to making my first set in February when I got my scroll saw for Valentine's Day. So romantic, right?!

I actually ended up making these doors on two separate occasions, and I did them differently the second time around. The first time I made them using balsa wood to keep them nice and thin. This allowed them to look more flush with the tree and rock wall I was placing them against. I also purchased these knobs from Amazon to use. They're absolutely adorable, and my kids loved them! But...they're not cheap. They cost around $4 for one set (a knob and hinges). That's not really expensive if you're just making one door. It's a steal, actually. But if you have to make 15 for a big group of 8-10 year old girls, it gets a little pricey. So I'll give you some different options.


Wood - Lots of options here. I used 1/8" balsa wood the first time and then 1/2" plywood. Both worked great

Paint - We stained some doors, used acrylic paint on some, and latex on some. As long as you give it a finish coat if you plan to leave it outdoors, your paint choice shouldn't matter too much.

Glue - For my own doors, I used a weatherproof super glue. I knew the girls would be a bit more impatient, so I gave them two option of either hot gluing them right at the party and taking them home immediately.

Knobs - As I mentioned, I originally purchased these knobs from Amazon, and I love the look. But we ended up using various beads for our large group to cut down on costs.

The first step is to cut out your doors. Fairy doors can come in all shapes and sizes. Circular (hobbit-style), pointed, rounded top, and traditional rectangular. I had over 30 of them to cut, so I opted to cut the majority in basic rectangles of varying sizes with my miter saw. Then I did about 14 with rounded tops using my scroll saw (could also use a jig saw) and even did one round hobbit door. :)  They ranged in size from 1.5" x 2.5" tiny doors to 4" x 6" larger doors.

Next, you need to decide if you want the "slat" look to the doors like my first picture where the door is inset in the tree. You can see the faint lines in that one. To get that look, I held a ruler on the wood and then ran down the edge with a mechanical pencil with no lead. The wood is soft, so it leaves the indentation of the line without leaving pencil markings.

For our group painting project with over 15 girls, I covered the tables in cheap plastic tablecloths and laid plastic drop cloth on the floors under the table since we were in a carpeted room. Ack!

Luckily I'm a craft hoarder and had enough paint trays for everyone and enough acrylic paints to last a few years. Then I left the creativity up to the girls. They LOVED it. I was really amazed with their creativity. Some made designs on them. Some swirled colors, some drew in peep holes. It was so fun to see what they came up with.

This was one of my favorites. She took one of my pre-primed white doors and then dipped a small brush in the paint and then tapped it with another brush to get the splattered effect. So cute!

And this is one that I made with the balsa wood. I used watered down brown to give it kind of a stained look and then lightly dry brushed the black and darker brown on.

And that's actual moss on my real moss rock wall. Ha!

Since the knobs were a little more expensive than we wanted to spend for 30 doors, we had to be creative. Remember where I mentioned I'm a craft hoarder? Well, my thrifted bead collection is pretty substantial. I let the girls sort through and find their own treasures. I wish I could have taken a picture of all of them because some were amazing. One girl even found one that looked like a knocker, and we put it right in the middle of the door!

These are the few who were patient enough to let me take them home and use the better glue on the knobs. The rest took theirs home right after we hot glued on their beads/door knobs.

Hope you have as much fun as we did! I believe in fairies. I believe in fairies. I believe in fairies.


Remodelaholic - (Friday)
Chic on a Shoestring - (Friday)
Sweet Pea - Best of the Weekend

Friday, March 24, 2017

DIY Fireplace Surround and Built in Bookshelves


Today I'm so excited to share my mantel and DIY built in bookshelf makeover. This has been such a long process, and we've still got some work to do, but I wanted to give an update of the project.

I know this next pic is amazing. You'll love everything about it. The grainy, unfocused photography. The awesome printed brown carpet. The ugly tile and weird little cove with no actual mantel. And can we just add a note that there's even a fireplace in Hawaii?? What were they thinking?  Oh, well. This is from the listing when we purchased the home, and I've hated it since day 1.

We removed the carpet and put down laminate flooring right after moving in almost 7 years ago. With the island humidity and a few years of wear and tear by us and by renters with pets (while we lived in Italy), the flooring was in pretty bad shape. So we tore out the laminate floors before moving back in last summer and decided tile would be a better option.

But before the new tile could be laid, I was super excited to remove the tile around the fireplace!

We made sure to check local codes, and our black surround was large enough and deep enough that we could put the new wood surround right up to it. I don't think we'll ever use the fireplace because...Hawaii...but I still like to make sure we're doing things the right way.

Once that stuff was all settled, I got to the fun part of designing the space.

We have vaulted ceilings in this room, and it's a little awkward with the window on one side. I wasn't sure I'd like having the built-ins on only one side, but I really wanted to utilize that space. Once it was sketched, it really started to grow on me.

So then it was time to design the mantel.

My husband had a couple days off, so we took a break from the mantel work to do the flooring. I knew I could do the all the woodwork myself, but I'd never laid floor tile. It's nice to have someone to bounce ideas off of and help you get a project started. We chose 6x36" wood-look tile from Home Depot called Dovewood. I'm not gonna lie, they are not easy to install. It took us quite a bit of trial and error to get in a good groove. We bought 4 pallets since we'll eventually be tiling over 1000 sq ft with it.

We finished about 1/2 of the room together, and then I did the rest of the room myself.

Since every house is slightly different, there wasn't a perfect tutorial out there that told me exactly how and what to build. But there were a couple that really gave me some good inspiration and tips. One is Sarah from Thrifty Decor Chick. She's always amazing. And we share the same birthday, so she's my bloggy idol. ;)

Thrifty Decor Chick

And the other one is this gorgeous faux white mantel by Layla of The Lettered Cottage.

I primed all my plywood before putting it up. I really hate painting... Ha!

The small alcove on the left is only 6" deep, and I wanted it to be flush with the fireplace, so I just used 1x6s. I wanted the shelves to be strong, but I didn't want the holes from a jig to show since some of the shelves are above head height and will be visible from below. I decided to notch out slots to slide the shelves into as the edges would all be covered by the trim.

And here it is all trimmed out.  We ran cables through the hollow posts down to all the electronics on the bottom shelves that would be hidden by the cabinet doors.

I decided to take a break since it was the second week in December, and I was really itching to get my Christmas decorations up. No cabinet doors to cover our ugly electronics, but I was really excited to have the room mostly together!

After Christmas, I had had enough of the ugly cords and cables, so I busted out the miter saw and built the cabinet doors.

I made the mistake of using cheap hardware the first time, and it was garbage. I decided to switch to some H-brackets, but I had to mortise the hinges to recess them into the doors.

Since the H-brackets are set on the outside of the door, I didn't need to worry about my previous holes causing problems.

I like the look of these much more.

And I used Sarah's brilliant idea of using the radiator cover in the panel, so our remotes work to our electronics in the cabinet.

I'm still planning to do some shiplap up the back of the fireplace, and I'm building drawers for the small shelf above the cabinet doors. We'll hide the remotes in there.


Remodelaholic - (Friday)
Chic on a Shoestring - (Friday)
Sweet Pea - Best of the Weekend

Friday, March 3, 2017

DIY Felt Letter Board


So, I have a confession. Having been in a foreign country for the last 3 years, I didn't know a thing about the letter board trend. I started seeing them all over Instagram, and being a Linguistics major, I big-fat-puffy-heart LOVE words. I was so excited to snag one for myself...until I started seeing the price tags. Have you seen how much they cost??! Yowza! Some of them are well over $100, and even the cheapest Amazon ones are $35. It's not a bad deal if you're not feeling especially crafty. Especially since it includes some letters!

But if you're interested in saving some cash, read on for a simple explanation of how I made one from stuff I had laying around the house.

This post contains Amazon affiliate links. All opinions are my own, and the items linked are actual items used in this project.

After deciding I didn't want to pay a fortune for my letter board, I turned to Pinterest to help me find some amazing blogger who had already done the footwork, so I would make my own. Apartment Therapy had a good tutorial, but I didn't want to go out and buy a bunch of dowels and frame. And I've cut dowels's not an easy task. They sliver and splinter off and are not really that fun to work with because they're so small.  It got my wheels turning, though...

Apartment Therapy

I''ll totally confess to bing a craft hoarder. It's in my DNA ("dunna" for you moms who've been forced to sit through Zootopia one too many times).  I just have a ridiculously hard time letting go of something that might one day become something else totally awesome and different!  And today was one of those days. Other than the letters that I ordered on Amazon, I had all supplies on hand.

You'll need:

- 12" bamboo skewers
- felt pieces (I'll go into detail on quantity next)   I used these gray 9x12 sheets
-hot glue...lots and lots of hot glue
-Some kind of backer board
-Wood glue and clamps
-letters    Any size in increments of 1/4" works. The small ones in my photo are these 1/2" letters  And the large ones can be found here

The felt that I had on hand is 9"x12", and that's a pretty standard size. It worked well since my skewers were also 12". I wasn't sure how much I'd need since this was an experiment. You can make the boards as long as you'd like. I cut my pieces in 7/8" strips (right between 3/4 and 1" for those of you who don't love math). ;)  This makes it end at 10 pieces per sheet of felt.

Once the strips are folded over the skewer, they're each 1/4" wide. So 10 felt strips will give you 2.5" on your letter board. Keep calculating until you get the length of board you want. I just stopped when I ran out of skewers! Ha! My board is just shy of 40 strips (4 felt sheets and 40 skewers), and the finished size is 12" long x 10" tall.

Once your strips are cut, run a strip of hot glue down one edge and then close it up. I mentioned above that I've cut skewers and dowels before and don't love how they shred and piece off. I've tried using different saws and blades, scissors, etc., and none of them are ideal. So I decided to see how it worked to just leave the sharp tip on. Turns out it didn't affect the function at all, and it kept me from having to cut the felt yet one more time. SCORE!

Don't stress if a lot of your edges don't seal very well. Just use finish it up with another small dab of hot glue. You will use a LOT of glue. I think I went through 6 sicks!

Now it's time to choose what you're going to use as your backing. I had some large pieces of balsa wood sheets that were purchased in Italy to go between the rooms in my daughters' doll house that I built. We've redesigned the doll house, but thanks to my ninja hoarding skills, these pieces were sitting in my garage, waiting for their second chance at life.

Home Depot sells 1/4" thick panels in varying sizes for less than $5, and you could make multiple boards with one panel.

To decide on the width, you'll need to know what you're going to use to frame it. If you're using the 1x2's I mentioned, you can either do a 1.5" border, or slightly smaller if you want the 1x2's to go slightly beyond the backing. It looks a tad better from the side to have it inset like that just a touch, but it does make it a bit more squirmy when trying to clamp it and glue it later. Either option works, though.

So if you're making them flush, you'll want your board to be 15" wide. If you want it inset, I'd recommend about 14" wide to give you 1/2" on each side.  The length of your board is completely up to you and how large you want it to be! You can see I left mine long since I wasn't sure how long it would end up being with the amount of skewers I had.

One thing I did not do that I wish I had was to trace the frame around the edges of my board. This
would have given me a line to lay the beginning skewer on to keep it straight. Mine are slightly off, and you can see up in the top left corner how I accidentally inset one too far. It's REALLY hard to pull them off once they're on since the hot glue adheres so well to the felt and the board.

You can see the pointy tips in a few there at the top. They just blend right in. No biggie.

Once your skewers are all attached, you can get your frame prepped. I mitered my corners, and from inside corner to inside corner needs to be 12" for the top and bottom pieces. Side edges will again depend on the length you're doing.

I chose to paint my pieces before putting them on because I knew it would be a huge mess with the felt.

I attached the 1x2's with wood glue and a couple of brad nails. Make sure you have the right size of brad nails...I thought I'd be safe with 3/4", and because they sink slightly, my first one shot through the front of my board. Ask me how happy I was about that... Blah!  I recommend 1/2" if you have them. If not, some handy Gorilla Glue alone should do the trick if you can clamp it well and not mess up your pretty paint.

If you do end up with some small touch ups to do like I did on my corners, a simple trick to keep the paint from getting on your felt is to put a putty knife along the inside edge to keep it clean. 

And there you have it. A DIY felt letter board for a tiny fraction of the cost! With the bonus that you can customize the size, shape, colors, etc. 



Linking to:

The Dedicated House
My Repurposed Life
Create with Joy - Inspire Me Monday
Nifty Thrifty Things
DIY Showoff
A Stroll Through Life
Coastal Charm
My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia
Home Stories A to Z - Tips and Tutorials Tuesday
Sweet Pea - Best of the Weekend