So, here’s another set of ‘Do-It-Yourself’ Christmas gifts your loved ones would treasure, and of course save you money for the holidays. And they are the sweater totes, the handmande candles, and the button rings. How are they done? Let’s read through it..
The main material? Stretched out or shrunken sweaters! It happens to everyone at least once — a wool sweater finds its way into the washer and dryer by mistake, and the result is a garment so shrunken it will fit only the cat. The reason? Wool fibers have microscopic hooks that when wet, warm, and agitated grab onto one another, making the fabric denser and smaller. this process is called ‘felting’, and it works best if a sweater is made of 100 percent wool. When choosing sweaters, remember that a thicker sweater makes a stronger tote, and that patterns really liven up things. And how to make a ‘sweater tote’?
First, you gotta secure the materials you’ll need:
- 100 percent wool sweater (L and XL are good for totes)
- Washer and dryer
- Laundry detergent
- Large needle
- Strong thread (carpet, quilting, or embroidery)
- Additional sweater for pockets (optional)
Then, transform your sweater. Wash and dry it on regular heat in the dryer. repeat if necessary. Cut off the sleeves and neckline of the sweater. refold so the seams of the sweater and the strap openings face front. Turn the sweater inside out and sew across the bottom, 1/2″ in from the edge. Fold straps, slightly overlapping, in thirds and sew to secure. stitch around the bag’s opening to keep the tote’s top from stretching.
Finally, make the pocket. It can be any shape you like, but mitten-shaped ones are a charming nod to the tote’s knitted origin.
Teacups offer elegant vessels for hand-poured candles. Repurpose china from old place settings, mixing and matching pieces. Or single out a favorite new find, such as this one from Anthropologie. But how do you make candles?
Well, you’ll need wax, wicks, putty, a pencil, and a candy thermometer, all of which can be found at a craft store. Wax can be sold in blocks, sheets, and shavings, which is to be melted on a stove or in a microwave.
Now, for pouring the wax. Wrap one end of the wick around a pencil. Set pencil on egg cup, suspending the wick. With putty, secure wick’s metal clip to bottom of cup. In a double boiler, melt wax according to package directions; use a candy thermometer to gauge temperature. Pour wax in a cup; allow to fully cool. Trim wick to 1/4 inch.
Emily Peters sells these baubles at the Country Living fairs, but she’s also generous enough to tell you how to craft your own. If you become so carried away that you need more buttons, etsy.com has a killer selection of vintage ones — or of course, you could look for good ones in your local store.
Step 1: Start with an adjustable brass ‘ring blank’, the band that wraps around your finger ($6.50 for 10; filigree findings.etsy.com).
Step 2: If your button has a shank on the back, snip it off with wire-cutting pliers and sand down the back surface with a rotary tool (dremel 4.8-volt, $24.97; homedepot.com).
Step 3: Apply a thin layer of metal-bonding glue (beacon’s glass, metal & more glue, $6.99 for two ounces; createforless.com) to the back of your button, then adhere it to the top of the ring blank. If you’d like to add a second button, apply a thin layer of the glue to its back side, then adhere it atop the first button. Let it dry for 24 hours. Done.
Don’t you just love these DIYs? You not only make your loved ones happy but you also save some cash — with a bonus — you even learn something! Wow! Just a little care with the sweaters and candles..