DIY: 40th Birthday Button (with a free download!)

DIY: 40th Birthday Button // Our Concrete Home (http://wp.me/p1Ax0a-31v)

Sometimes I forget I don’t have to make a project completely at home for it to be successful. I’m lucky I have a ton of supplies and gadgets around to use for most my projects, but how about if you don’t? Well the perfect example of this is these 40th birthday buttons I made for my pal Dean.

DIY: 40th Birthday Button // Our Concrete Home (http://wp.me/p1Ax0a-31v)

If you have ever looked into make custom buttons before, you would know that proper button makers (or badge machines) are ghastly expensive. $300 bucks is a serious investment for me. I would need to be making a whole lot of buttons to justify that price.

DIY: 40th Birthday Button // Our Concrete Home (http://wp.me/p1Ax0a-31v)

And that’s where online shops that specialize in this sort of thing come in. You create the artwork and have them make the button, t-shirt, phone case or whatever you are looking to make. It is as simple as that. For this particular project, I used Zazzle but there are tons out there specializing in this service. I recommend typing “custom BLANK” into the search bar of your internet browser to find the right vendor for you.

DIY: 40th Birthday Button // Our Concrete Home (http://wp.me/p1Ax0a-31v)

And now on to my button project… about eight months ago, my friend Dean told me he wanted a button for his 40th birthday that said “Lordy, Lordy, Dean is 40!” He was so specific with the wording that I typed it into an alert on my phone to remember later.  

DIY: 40th Birthday Button // Our Concrete Home (http://wp.me/p1Ax0a-31v)

As his birthday approached, my phone awesomely reminded me of the plan. I did a little research on my options and got started working out the details with his finance to surprise him at his Bday BBQ.

DIY: 40th Birthday Button // Our Concrete Home (http://wp.me/p1Ax0a-31v)

For the design, I created a gingham pattern to give the button a nice retro vibe reminiscent of Dean himself. Then I used a couple font Bebas and Bauhaus 93 to spell out Dean’s catchy jingle. When it was finished, I uploaded my design to Zazzle and a couple days later the buttons arrived on my doorstep. You gotta love the ease of this project! No printing, glue-sticks and fingers injured in this process.

Friends don’t turn forty everyday. I was so happy to add an extra sparkle to the birthday boy’s eye with these buttons. And believe he was super surprised and touched we remembered his request.

I had so much fun making this graphic, I thought I would to make it a free download for anyone to use. Read below if you are interested!

*****

Free Customizable Button Artwork

DIY: 40th Birthday Button // Our Concrete Home (http://wp.me/p1Ax0a-31v)

Download my editable PDF that you can personalize. You will need Adobe Acrobat to edit the file which you can download here if you don’t have it on your computer.

Editable PDF Instructions

Download PDF

  1. Simply open the PDF in Adobe Acrobat.
  2. Type in a new name in the highlighted field.
  3. Save your file.
  4. Upload it to Zazzle or other custom button printer.

This file can print up to the 6″ button size on Zazzle. The file is sized at 1875 x 1875 pixels and 300 dpi. Note: colors may be slightly different from what you see on the screen and the font size cannot be changed.

Easy right? If you like this format, check back next week! I’m launching my new etsy shop of digital invites. I’m so excited!!

Extra Zazzle Info for Your Own Custom Work

As I mentioned earlier, I decided to order the buttons with Zazzle. I was not compensated for writing about their service or using them for this project. I’ve just used them before and have been happy with their products. I wanted to explain a little more about how custom artwork works on the site if you are nervous ordering through them.

For custom work, I always check out the image guidelines and recommended file sizes first so you are working with the right format. For more complicated designs, they also have guide files which you can use to as a template for your file.

I chose the 2 1/4″ standard button. According to the image guidelines, I needed at least a 450 x 450 pixel design for this size. I decided to size it 1200 x 1200 pixels so that it was high resolution. I would rather give the printer more than they need than less to make sure the artwork looks it’s best. (My pdf download is already sized for high resolution printing.)

Zazzle supports images in JPEG, PNG, PDF, and Adobe Illustrator (AI) formats.

I hope this all makes sense. Please leave any questions you have below and I’ll do my best to answer them. Happy Button Making!

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Party photos by Dagny Bruce.

DIY Painted Planner

DIY Painted Planner

Ever get inspired in an office supply store? I love wandering around and being inspired by all the supplies. Well on my last trip, I picked up two clearance agenda planners that spoke to my inner artgirl.

DIY Painted Planner

Marked down to $9.00, I picked up two of these executive looking planners with the intention of painting them and turning one into a notebook and the other into my 2014 agenda calendar.

DIY Painted Planner

What I did

1. Created a blank canvas. Using my fabric paint (which is your basic acrylic paint with a textile medium to make it soft and pliable) I painted the nylon white. It took three thin coats to get a nice opaque white.

2. Add pattern. For my first planner I decided to go monotone. I reproduced my signature herringbone stripes with a Sharpie. First, I marked out the stripes with a ruler and then just free-handed the stripes.

3. Add color.
After My first design was an epic fail on planner #2 (think thick red stripes), so I painted over it and then went with a more subtle approach. Bubblegum pink stripes decorated with a diagonal repeating pattern. which I painted on with a white paint pen.

4. Seal them. When both planners were was dry, I covered them each with an acrylic varnish to seal and protect the paint. Once dry I took them to work to test out.

Now it’s just a matter of testing out the durability. I plan on reporting back to show you how they are fair later this spring, but after a week of use they still are looking good.

Fantasy Football Trophy

Football Season

This someeecard pretty much sums up my feelings about football season. It means Autumn is just around the corner. It means I get to spend my Sundays watching games all day (ok between laundry and other chores). And most importantly, it means I get to defend my fantasy football title.

The Fantasy Football trophy is finally back at our house where it belongs.

Yep, that’s right I am league champion. Thank you Adrian Peterson and Calvin Johnson!

Fantasy Football Draft 2012

Our league met last Monday for our 3rd annual fantasy football draft. (For some reason I didn’t take a photo of the draft, but here’s a shot from last year.) As champion, I get to showcase that big silver league trophy in the middle of the table all year at our house.

DIY Fantasy Football Trophy

Here’s the money shot of the trophy. I made it last year for the league and realized I never wrote up a post about it. My concept of the fantasy football trophy was for it be a little over the top and perhaps even gaudy. In the end, I think I created is a pretty special piece.

So, maybe you need to make a trophy for a tournament, party or even you own fantasy league. Well, you are in luck – here’s my step-by-step tutorial for making your own silver piece of heaven.

Make your own trophy

DIY Fantasy Football Trophy

1. Collect stuff. I bought a bunch of cheap party favors (army men and plastic cats!) plus a metal candle holder and frame at a thrift store then found a few odds and ends sitting around our house. You want interesting shapes and lots of diversity.

DIY Fantasy Football Trophy

2. Build a base. I put the candle holder on a wood base I bought from Joann’s and then “built” a styrofoam tower on top. I glued the whole thing together using craft adhesive (like this). Once it was dry (I waited 24 hours) I sculpted the styrofoam into a trophy shape with a serrated knife.

DIY Fantasy Football Trophy

3. Make a 3D collage. Next, I started gluing all my collected materials on the form with a standard glue gun. This process takes some time and I suggest taking a few breaks so you have a fresh perspective when you come back. I slowly built up all the sides until I got it just right. The glue dries pretty fast, but I left the completed piece sit for a couple of hours before I moved on to the next step.

DIY Fantasy Football Trophy

4. Spray it silver (or bronze, gold, platinum). Take your trophy to a well ventilated place (I went outside) to spray it with a metallic paint and primer (I used Rust-Oleum Universal in Titanium Silver). You want to spray many thin layers in different directions on the piece to cover it without making drips. The basic process is lightly spray then let dry 20 minutes, spray, let dry, etc. When you are happy with the coverage let the paint cure completely for 48 hours.

DIY Fantasy Football Trophy

5. Touch up. Even with all the spray paint, there was still little areas I needed to touch up with paint or glue. So I sprayed a little paint into the can’s cap and then used an oil paint brush to touch up the paint areas and just used my glue gun again to reattach any loose pieces.

DIY Fantasy Football Trophy

My trophy has lots of random materials from bottle caps, toy cars and helicopters. On the top I have two wrestler action figures holding a styrofoam football.

DIY Fantasy Football Trophy

On the bottom of the trophy I have a removable frame (it sits behind the two metal swirls of the candle holder) that holds the current champion’s photo. You saw my photo above, but here’s last year’s champion Kip.

Trophy masterpiece

And there you have it – a trophy bursting with dragons, cats and even wrestler men. It all works together with that coat of metallic paint. So go crazy – its a fun project that would be great for a lot of different events.

Happy Football Season Everyone!!

My little clock update

My little clock upgrade

Many weeks ago I picked up this dated plastic clock at a thrift shop. It was $0.99 and I thought it had nice lines and the face swiveled so I brought it home.

the-brave-little-toaster
For some reason, this little clock reminded me of the appliances in the The Brave Little Toaster. I was lucky enough to have a little sister who loved watching this movie over and over so I know it quite well. For those not familiar with the animated film, it’s a story about forgotten appliances left in a family’s summer home that take an incredible journey to be reconnected with their young master. Oh, and the appliances sing. The premise is a little bizarre, but somehow the movie works. Trust me kids love it.

To me, the movie had a very strong message about using the things we have (or are used) instead of constantly upgrading to the newest version. And in the case of this thrift store clock, I was reminded how many cool items are out there for the taking. So long-story-short, I was really excited to do a little makeover on this clock and bring him into our concrete family.

Clock Upgrade

For the makeover, I contemplated painting him all white, but in the end I decided to give him a pop of yellow instead. The back of clock was missing so I decided I’d make a back for it. The clock was pretty loud without one. So first, I did my best to tape up both the front and back up to protect the clock.

Clock Upgrade

Then I sprayed about five, thin coats of yellow paint until the whole clock was covered.

Clock Upgrade

I stashed the clock in our unfinished bathroom for about a week to dry completely. Then I removed all the tape to see what I wanted to do next.

Clock Upgrade

Once I saw how bright the yellow was against the black clock face, I decided to soften the look with a thick, white line. I picked up a white chisel paint pen at the craft store and then slowly traced around the clock face with it.

Clock Upgrade

This technique isn’t perfect, but after a couple of applications I got a nice opaque line. There was an inconsistent gap between the plastic clock face and the frame so I used some white puff paint I had to fill it in like caulking. I softly smoothed it over with my finger.

Clock Upgrade

Then, I left all the paint to dry overnight before I did something to screw it up.

Clock Upgrade

Next, I worked on attaching a piece of blue ribbon to the back of the clock. This would become the pull to remove the cork backing once it was installed. I glued the ribbon to the clock back with a little super glue and cut it down to size so only a short tab shows when the back was inserted.

Clock Upgrade

I liked the idea of using cork with the yellow/white/black color scheme for a more modern look. I cut out a piece of cork for the clock to sit on with my trusty X-acto knife.

Clock Upgrade

Then measured and cut a circle of cork to fit in the back of the clock. Cutting cork is a big pain because it crumbles. I found using a sharp knife after lightly steaming the cork worked the best for me.

Clock Upgrade

With all the glue dry, I began putting the clock back together by screwing the clock back into the frame.

Clock Upgrade

Then adding a battery and inserting the cork backing into place.

Clock Upgrade

And there you have it, a simple upgrade to a black alarm clock. The photo shows a summary of what I did on the front of the clock…

Clock Upgrade

and here what I did to the back.

Clock Upgrade

Overall, I am really happy with the makeover. The clock now has a cheery persona. The cork accents make it current and modern while the yellow/white/black color scheme keeps it classic. I’ve put it in my office for the time being. It looks great with all the black and white accents in there.

Clock Upgrade

I should also mention that this project took weeks to complete. A lot of it was drying time, but I also spent a lot of time playing with the white paint to get it right. :)

With this clock finally completed, I am excited to find my next “brave little toaster” project to work on. You never know when inspiration may strike.

Project Materials List & Budget

  • Clock ($0.99)
  • Rust-oleum Ultra Cover Sun Yellow Spray Paint (I had it)
  • White Chisel Tip Paint Pen ($3.82)
  • White Puff Paint (I had it)
  • Cork Tiles ($1.99)
  • X-acto Knife (I had it)
  • Blue 1/2″ Ribbon ($2.00)
  • Super Glue (I had it)

Total Spent- $11.79

DIY: Gold T-shirt Embellishment

Out of no where, I am loving the look of gold on clothing and accessories. This is a big step for me. Typically, I am more of a sterling silver girl. Maybe I am getting more bold now that I am in my mid-thirties but I have been pinning gold items like mad on Pinterest. I though it would make sense to take one of these fashion inspirations and turn it into a DIY Pinterest Challenge Project. I’ve been meaning to join the seasonal challenge created by Young House Love & Bower Power before, but never have gotten around to it until now.

One of my favorite looks has been a big pop of gold on t-shirts. Here’s some of my recent pins:


Source: specu-laas.blogspot.com


Source: bankfashion.co.uk


Source: ravenandlily.com

Of the three, I though I would attempt the last look. I love the abstract modern vibe.

Gold Embellished Tshirt

The original looked very organic with the liquid gold on the gray shirt. I didn’t want to buy any new supplies, so I just used materials I had on hand. Mine was going to be much brighter, but I hoped to pull off something a little modern. I used a white v-neck Target shirt and Martha Stewart’s Multi-Purpose Glitter Paint in Florentine Gold.

Gold Embellished Tshirt

I got out a paint brush, a plastic plate and a glass of water to rinse the brush.

Gold Embellished Tshirt

Then I stretched my t-shirt over a piece of cardboard.

photo-(1)

Going for that modern look, I decided I wanted the color focused on the left shoulder of the shirt and the faded out. I started painting full brush strokes in a downward motion until I got the effect I liked.

Gold Embellished Tshirt

Then I flipped the cardboard and took the paint across the back of the arm as well.

Gold Embellished Tshirt

Once I was done, I let the shirt air dry overnight on a skirt hanger clipped to the cardboard.

Gold Embellished Tshirt

The paint instructions say it should dry for 24 hours, but the next morning the paint was dry so I went ahead and set the paint with a hot iron. I put the t-shirt between two dish towels and then ironed on the hottest setting for about 30 seconds.

Gold Embellished Tshirt

Here’s a quick shot this morning with a teal scarf. There is a fine line between cool and gaudy with the gold look. My shirt is right on that line. To make it work I think it’s all about how you accessorize it. I didn’t have much time to play this morning, but not only do I like it with the teal scarf, but it would look great under a blazer for a layered look.

And speaking of gold and gaudy, this shirt inspired my work-to-evening Halloween costume tomorrow. I’ll wait and share the look tomorrow along with my second (and favorite) inspired craft projects – the cats costumes.