Tuesday, January 26, 2016

DIY Home Decor: String Lights String Art

One day I am checking out all the sofas in the furniture showroom at Macy's and the next I find myself obsessing over not a sofa but the backdrop of one.  It was essentially string art designed onto the wooden wall that gave an artsy feel, yet it was so simple.   The hanging lights in the anterior added to the warm effect of the whole look, and I felt inspired to recreate a similar cozy feel in my apartment.  I wanted a large art piece in my living room that was less than $100 (it was actually difficult to find one that would be personal and go well with my other furniture), so I decided to meld the ideas of nail string art and string lights.
Here is what triggered this DIY, 
and below is what I came up with.
DIY Copper Geometric Reclaimed Wood String Lights String Art Wall Decor Home Decor
Measurement:  48 in. X 34-1/2 in.

            $1.98               Plastic drop cloth  (Optional)
            $1.98 * 7         Wood strips (8 ft.)
            $5.58               Wood screws (1-1/4 in)  (Count: 100, Used: 50)
            $4.77               Wood stain - Minwax Special Walnut
            $9.95               French cleat bracket (Holding 100 lb. minimum)
          $12.70               Copper slating nails (1-1/4 in.)  (Count: 80, Used: 42)
          $33.49               Copper wire LED starry string lights (165 ft.)
             $3.47               Wallboard anchors  (8 sets)
                                        Sanding block
                                        Rag/Sponge brush
                                        Power drill
                                        String/yarn/twine (Optional)

I already found a sponge brush and some sandpaper at home, and used a small cardboard box as my sanding block to lower my costs, so my total after taxes ended up being about $88.65. Now, that might seem like a lot, but the piece you create can be budgeted cheaper depending on what you already have and whether or not you HAVE to have copper nails or 165 feet of copper wired string lights like I had to.  If you have the means to tear apart free wooden pallets, go right ahead.  If you know a better way to hang up heavy objects, then great, and hey, please let me know!  For taking up the sad, empty space above my sofa, I'd say I'm pretty satisfied with the result.

It took about a week to create, since I waited to buy lights the moment after I figured out the length I would use.  However, this project can definitely be completed in a couple days with proper planning and the materials being bought all at once.

Do It Yourself:
Step 1:  Have Lowes cut five of the furring strips in half and two cut in thirds (for free!)

Step 2:  You'll want to lay out a plastic drop cloth if indoors.

Step 3:  Sand the wood and wipe it off.

Step 4:  Practice staining the 1/3 strips using the sponge brush until you find a color you like, but make sure you stir the can first.  Using a rag after helps remove any excess.  I added water and a meager amount of stain for the first strip, a little water and dipped the sponge a quarter of the way for the second, and a very generous amount for the third.  I chose to go for a color between strip #2 and strip #3.  Stain all the wood and let dry for at least 8 hours.  Also, this stuff really smells, so open windows are a must!

Step 5:  Line up the wood strips as preferred.  Flip them over, place five or six of the 1/3 strips vertically as a support, and drill in the wood screws in a zig-zag pattern.  Then, secure in the french cleat bracket at the top.

Step 6:  Flip over, measure out where you want your nails, and hammer them in leaving about 3/4 in. out of the wood.

Step 7:  (Skip if already bought string lights)  Use your string to create a rough draft of the string art and measure the length you will need.

Step 8:  *VERY IMPORTANT* Untangle the string lights before using.  Trust me, it will be worth the time, as it will save you from a lot of otherwise, unnecessary frustration.  I wrapped mine around a book.  Gently wrap the string lights around the outer nails first to create a border.  I don't recommend untwisting and re-twisting them too many times, as that might break the wire.

Step 9:  Once your design is fabulous, test it out by turning the lights on.  If you have drywall, to hang it on the wall, you have to manually screw in the wallboard anchors (drilling them in won't work, I tried!) and then the back of the french cleat bracket.  Use the screws that come with the anchors and not the cleat.

Try to leave a very small gap between the lower wood strips so that you can hide the end of the wire behind the wood.  This helps maintain the clean look of the rectangle border shape.  I'm so pleased with how the art piece turned out and if I were to do it over, there are minor changes I would make.  First off, I would make sure to stain all the 1/3 strips used as the back support and have the stained part facing front (opposite of what I did) in case it is visible through any gaps.  My rough draft looked really cool, so I got overly excited with 165 feet of string lights, but I didn't realize then that it would have a totally different, somewhat cluttered look from afar, once the lights were on.  Using a shorter length and increasing the space between the copper nails might be the way to form a more geometric design with more wood revealed.  If I change my design now, I would have to risk the wires breaking, so my perfectionist self is just going to have to be restrained until my next DIY.

Considering I had never worked with wood before, it was a fairly uncomplicated and not so lengthy project I would recommend to those searching for starry, personalized wall decor.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Theta Phi Alpha Paddle

Going Greek at Florida Atlantic University, I wasn't obliged to make a paddle for my Big sister.  However, I would not pass up an opportunity to craft and express to someone special how much he/she means to me.  After receiving many gifts leading up to the Big/Little Reveal, I knew that a personalized paddle would return some of the favors and uphold the old traditions of the sorority.  It was more than just an overnight paint job, but the reward of watching your Big drool over your thoughtful creation is priceless.  I decided to create an original background design with my sister's favorite colors and added a mirror, florals, and pearls (symbol of our sisterhood).  Just make sure you do a final overall check, because I only realized I forgot to glue down an important wood piece until after I delivered the incomplete paddle!

       {Front}                                                                                                           {Back}

Theta Phi Alpha Paddle
Theta Phi Alpha Paddle

Thanks For The Memories | DIY Graduation Cap

Thanks For The Memories DIY Graduation Cap
It's girly, it's witty, it's CAPtivating from near and far.  Looks complicated, right?  Well, looks can be deceiving.  All it took was one quick run to Michael's to gather the supplies and a similar example on Pinterest to guide my design.  Sure it took hours until the final result, but that's only due to the gluing and cutting of paper part.  This is my personal decorated cap from graduating college in December.  If you're about to receive that diploma, hats off to you, too, and your bright, bedazzled future!

Floral embellishments
Thickers (Delight)
Glitter scrapbook paper
Mint scrapbook paper
Pearl stickers
Hot glue gun
Mod podge

1.  Trace the background paper of your choice and cut
2.  The hardest part: poke a hole in the center, then cut an X and push through the tassel button
3.  Hot glue gun the edges of the background paper to the cap, one edge at a time (as hot glue dries super fast!)
4.  Very important: check the cap to make sure the design starts from the front (as worn) top diagonal section
5.  Place Thickers on carefully until desired shape achieved (after, apply solid pressure to ensure they will stay put)
6.  Lay out florals and hot glue them down
7.  Cut out and glue Greek letters using other scrapbook paper
8.  Mod podge the pearls (tweezers help)
9.  Stare at your masterpiece for days ;)

Splashing Into Spring | Spring Break Outfits

Whether you'll be going on a trip to Mexico or sailing on a Caribbean cruise, if the weather permits, you will want to be taking advantage of the start of the new season.  You're also going to have to look the part of a spring breaker in order to soak up the sun and relax.  There are many reoccurring clothing pieces every Spring, which totally works in everyone's favor in terms of mixing and matching, and here are some must haves on my list that never go out of style:

Lotus Lace Hawaii Floral Bikini Set by Sauvage from Bikini Luxe
Puppet Crochet Front Dress from SWELL
Stud-Trim Floppy Hat from Urban Outfitters
QUAY About Last Night Sunglasses - Tortoise from Inbetween Tangerine
Beaded Beauty Dress from Free People
Cactus Valley Sandal from Free People

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Peeptoe Ankle Strap Flatform Sandal

You know the feeling when you envision an entity but you can't seem to find it in actuality?  It happens to be a reoccurring theme in my life when it comes to shoes or clothing.  I can imagine a shoe that goes well with almost all of my outfits, and yet the shoe is like Cinderella's slipper: lost in the fairy-tale dream and only to be found after long waiting.  If I wanted to spend a thousand dollars on such a shoe, I'd have strutted just about a thousand footsteps by now.  However, waiting is a must for all good things, as the saying goes.  My fated pair is finally home.
JUMP Leather Flatform Sandals - Black from Asos (soldout)
Here's how I styled these flatforms:
QUAY Clear Reflections Shades (Elton Mirror Sunglasses) from Nasty Gal (get them here)
Long Sleeve Striped Dipped Hem T-Shirt from Sheinside (get it here)
Raw Cuff Shorts - White from YMI Jeans (get them here)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Perfect Beige Cardigan

'So move your feet from hot pavement and into the grass, 'cause it's already passed' ~ Arcade Fire
Solid Swing Tank - Black from 2020AVE (get it here)
Short Knit Cardigan - Beige from 2020AVE (get it here)
Teardrop Loop Pendant Drop Necklace - Silver from 2020AVE (get it here)
Asymmetrical Geometric Pockets Shorts - Black from Sheinside (get them here)
Iris-01 Platform Lace Up Oxford Flat - Black from UrbanOG (soldout)

Today has been the first day it's hit the 70's this fall, so I whipped out my comfy somewhat chunky cardigan, which I think beats the typical Brandy Melville ones out there.  I originally saw it on Swaychic, but it sold out on me, so I found the exact one later on 2020AVE.  Like maple syrup to pancakes, it's my staple!

P.S. This is right before the sprinklers turned on.  What fun.

Friday, October 11, 2013

No Eye Contact Please

No Eye Contact Please Long Sleeve Top - Light Brown from Papaya (in store)
There were no face-to-face compliments on this top only because I followed the motto.  I did, however, overhear the smiles and bluntly loud observations of passersby.  What's more is I only paid $15 for so much amusement.  Must have!