Making custom stencils

X-Acto sent me a few of their latest craft knives, which I love. Especially the fat pink Designer Series #11 craft knife in the photo above. In exchange, they asked me to show you how I use X-Acto around my home. Considering that crafting is mostly what happens in my home, I decided to share three of my top craft uses for X-Acto knives.

1. Creating custom stencils

The first time I ever picked up an X-Acto knife was in junior high (grade 7). I took a stained glass class. We started out etching mirrors with our own drawings, which we made into stencils with Con-Tact paper and an X-Acto knife. I was hooked. I made more than a dozen etched mirrors. (I still have some of them. I’ll show you someday.)

Since then, I’ve made many more stencils. Jess Chamberlain and I made the stencil above to paint onto a roman shade for Sunset magazine. Read more »

Framed silhouette words - HOPE

My friend Julie inspired this idea. She framed some fall leaves in a large clear acrylic frame. I loved its simplicity. These Coach picture frames that I received as a gift years ago were perfect for spelling out a word. I had five frames, but I was set on spelling hope, so I added a dove to the fifth frame. (I know: Doves are the universal symbol for peace, but to me a dove with an olive branch—from the story of Noah’s Ark—symbolizes hope.) You could also frame other obvious words such as peace, faith, and love—or your name or the initials of the members of your family. Read more »

Library table makeover - after

Library side table - before

I love metallic finish furniture, and I thought this little library table was the ideal piece to try my own metallic finish. I bought the table on Craigslist last year for $15. I adored its cute shape, but it needed lots of repairs. I pulled 21 (mostly bent) nails out of this thing—and filled twice as many holes. Then a few coats of shiny silver paint and a handmade stencil gave it an instant update. Like the stencil? Download the pattern to make your own. And the pink books? I covered a few beloved paperbacks with coordinating 12- x 12-inch scrapbooking paper.

UPDATE 5/5/11: I’ve just been informed that the stencil is based on an original Orla Kiely design. Check out their fab signature bags here!

Read more »

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My apologies to those of you who had difficulty with my site this week. I tried something that didn’t work. It’s back to the old design until I work out the kinks. While I do that, I thought I’d post a project from two years ago. I bought a bunch of canvas tote bags, fabric markers, and stencils and went wild. While I admit I overdid the “It’s easy being green” theme, I had a lot of fun—and they made great gifts. Read more »

Stencils & silhouettes - Aspen's room

Stencils & silhouettes - wall paint

Stencils & silhouettes - pom poms

My new friend, Heika DeHart, shared these images of her daughter Aspen’s adorable bedroom. Nearly every decoration in the room was created from scratch by Heika herself. My favorite project is the stunning dresser. I loved the result so much, I asked her to share her instructions. She tells how she made her own stencils, how she cut silhouettes of her daughter, and more. Thanks, Heika! Read more »

I got this idea from the plastic adhesive window coverings Sarah Gaffney used in Sunset’s Menlo Park Idea House. It took me hours and hours to do—and I don’t like it. That is, I don’t like how Plan A turned out—mostly because I apparently got a defective roll of clear Con-Tact paper (see the streaks?). Plus, doesn’t it look like someone took a steamy shower inside of there?

It was obviously time for Plan B. Thanks to a can of frosted glass finish, it looks much better now. Read more »

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