How to make a spooky trick or treat bag for Halloween

Here's a fun and easy upcycling project perfect for Halloween! All you need is a funky thrift store t-shirt, chalk, scissors and, this one's optional, glow in the dark fabric paint!

For my Halloween Crafternoon with the North Vancouver City Library, I brought my usual cereal boxes and egg cartons but then brought something different... Thrift store t-shirts! I bought and collected 50 t-shirts for the upcycling workshop. I was hoping all of the workshop participants would be able to upcycle a t-shirt into an awesome trick or treat bag.

Luckily half the t-shirts were donated and half were on average $2 each. This one I splurged on cause it was so darn perfect. It was $4 but so worth it!

First step for making my super duper trick or treat bag was to cut the handles. The handles are created by cutting off the sleeves and making the collar opening uniform.

Once your handles are done then cut the bottom of the t-shirt. You'll want to cut strips that are 1" wide and 3" long. You'll also cut the side seams.

Once you've cut the strips then tie them up to create the bottom of your bag. First knots should use opposite strips - take one strip from the front, one from the back and tie a knot. Do this along the bottom then go back switching partners. This will ensure there are no holes that candy can escape through.

Note: turn your t-shirt inside out if you want to hide the strips.

Now that you have your DIY bag, you can add the design... You can glue gun a felt design, add glittery duck tape or in my sample add glow in the dark fabric paint. You need to add a liberal amount then wait 3-4 hours for it to dry.

Once the paint is dry then you expose it to light to activiate the glow. And OMG it works! I added paint to the whiskers and eyes. So kewl!!

I even added more glow in the dark paint - stars and text. I have no doubt this is one of those addictive craft projects! Best trick or treat bag EVER! And this lucky Crafternoon participant won it! The look on her face when she won the bag was so worth it.

Next I'll be posting photos from the Halloween Crafternoon and other kick butt trick or treat bags. It was such a blast and this project was definitely a hit!


Let's get crafty! I have 4 Crafternoons this month

Bring on the Crafternoons! Yup - it's gonna be a busy and very crafty month... Here's the rundown on upcycling workshops. Maybe I'll see you at one and we can craft together!

2016 THESA Conference
I'm offering a Make jewelry out of repurposed 'junk' upcycling workshop as part of the 2016 THESA Conference on Friday, October 21st from 1pm to 1:55pm.

Halloween Crafternoon
I'm partnering with the North Vancouver City Library on Saturday, October 22nd from 1:30pm to 3:30pm for a Halloween Crafternoon. This weekend I'm figuring out the featured crafts then sourcing supplies. Stay tuned!

Cork Creations Workshop
I'm partnering with North Vancouver Community Arts Council for Cork Creations on Sunday, October 23rd from 3pm to 5pm as part of their series Glam it up! Classes are geared towards kids aged 6 and up. Register at www.nvartscouncil.ca/education/glam-it.

Paper That Grows Flowers and Veggies
I'm partnering with the City of Richmond for a Paper That Grows Flowers and Veggies workshop on Sunday, October 30th from 10am to 12pm. We're making unique and functional cards embedded with flower or vegetable seeds that simply need to be potted or planted to grow.

Meanwhile I'm still working on some furniture updates, curating the Vancouver digest for The Makers Nation and I hope to share a new, very kewl partnership soon!


5 ways to repurpose wine corks

It's time for another top 5... All about upcycling wine corks! There are tons and tons AND tons of fun DIYs that reuse wine corks. Here are a few to get you started - a couple of these are my most favourite projects ever. One of my go to crafts is number 1 - wine cork jewelry. I've lost count of how many pairs of wine corks earrings I've made! Seriously.

1. Wine cork jewelry
It doesn't take much to make swanky earrings, pendants and decorative buttons out of wine corks. I love making a bunch of these at once. It's an easy DIY and super cheap. The only time consuming part is waiting for the wood varnish to dry between coats.

My secret ingredient in making these super duper awesome is using Japanese paper. The combination of gold in the paper and the wood varnish makes the design really 'pop'.

You can adjust the wine cork rounds to be earrings, pendants or even decorative buttons! Make your own at Wine cork earrings are swanky.

2. Magnets
Take your used wine corks, cut cork rounds then glue a magnet to the back. Easy peasy! You can paint, decoupage or draw on the cork rounds to make them funky. This DIY is in my crafty book, Raw Crafts, along with a few more projects upcycling wine corks.

3. Tray
A handy dandy tray is simple to create using a thrift store frame, old handles and sliced wine corks... And it looks so darn good! Another DIY from Raw Crafts. In this sample, I used a frame from the Salvation Army thrift store, brass handles from the North Vancouver Habitat for Humanity ReStore and a bunch of cut up wine corks. It cost maybe $5 to make.

4. Stamps
Stamps are a fun DIY for crafting with the kids or for creating your own stationary. These are easy to create and FAB for stamping your own cards, gift tags or even gift wrap!

A few helpful tips for making wine cork stamps are... Keep your design simple, take your time when cutting out the design and definitely be careful when using a sharp X-Acto knife. I am self injury prone so always need to be uber careful when working with sharp tools.

5. Home decor
There are so many home decor projects you can try from the super basic to the big time elaborate using upcycled wine corks. Here are a couple of the DIYs I've tried that are easy, cost effective and look darn kewl!

I love this Xmas tree using upcycled junk jewelry, cereal box cardboard and a skewer... And of course a wine cork base! This is a very simple project perfect for the holiday season!

I made two samples for a Xmas Crafternoon last year... I used jute and painted wood for my second sample. You can easily customize the look and feel depending on your style.

Another easy peasy home decor DIY is this photo holder using a thrift store candle holder, a wine cork and a paperclip. I have a few of these in my place for photos, quotes and cards.

And there's my top 5 for wine cork projects... Try one, try them all or try your own. And be sure to share any new and awesome projects for turning trash into treasure!


Just another chair refresh adventure

Another weekend, another thrift store find, another furniture refresh... Seems to be the usual these days! Upcycler of 'junk', refresher of discarded furniture is my thang! My latest chair to rescue is this $10 vintage find from the Salvation Army thrift store. It was $20 but they were having a 50% off furniture sale. Total score!

It was a desperate situation... The upholstery fabric was in terrible shape and the wood was a bit yucky.

The upholstery job was pretty bad... And then there were tears in the fabric. This chair needed me!

For $10 I thought I could make this chair pretty again... The upholstery job was going to be more complicated than other chairs I've refreshed but I was up for the challenge.

First was taking it apart... I removed the fabric. As I was doing this, yellow powder was streaming out of the seat. I wasn't sure what to think but it turns out the cushioning was disintegrating. By the time I removed all of the fabric, I had a pile of yellow dust on the floor. Yuck!! So I used a Shop Vac to suck up the yellow powder then vacuumed the chair and wiped it down.

Here's the chair - no more icky fabric, no more disgusting cushioning... This chair had good bones!

I then sanded and oiled the wood frame. As always, removing an old, dated finish really can bring a chair back to life! I softened and lightened the finish and WOW! The grain and details in the wood started to 'pop'. Such a beautiful design!

Then was adding new foam... I made a 'template' for the seat using taped up paper.

I then used my pattern to trace out the shape for the new foam then cut it out.

I added the foam to the seat and back rest then started adding the new fabric. The fabric is an old thrift store find - I bought a bunch of this Ikea fabric from the Salvation Army thrift store a few years ago for cheap. This fabric was a fun fit for the chair and really worked with the lighter wood finish.

I placed the fabric so the design filled up the space and I had one of the birds featured.

The back was a bit fussy... I used silver upholstery tacks to add some bling to the back and took my time to make this look close to perfect. I had to remove and re-add tacks plus a few ended up bending.

Next I picked up more silver tacks so I could clean up and finish the back.

Here's the completed back... Now it was time to upholster the seat!

This was a bit difficult since I had to upholster the chair without removing the seat. First I figured out the placement of the design.

Here it is! It didn't take as long as I thought it would. I used my pattern from the foam to help me trim my fabric and figure out how to add it. It's not perfect but it's very close.

Once I finished the seat, I wiped the wood then screwed in the back rest.

Here's the back... I tried to make sure the silver tacks were lined up and perfectly spaced.

Check out the before and after - what a difference! And such an easy and cheap update! I thought it would take longer but it ended up being a simplier update than I anticipated. Total budget - maybe $20-25. $10 for the chair, $5 for the fabric, free foam, a few bucks for the upholstery tacks... Not bad!

Two tables and a chair update in the past week or so... I'm on a roll! Next is finally finishing up my free chair update. Yay!


A $5 find from the ReStore is now one stunning table

Remember this $5 table base from the North Vancouver Habitat for Humanity ReStore? It was dirty, dinged and discarded...

So I bought it for $5 to see if I could make it pretty again. First I sanded off the shellac finish. I did some sanding then added tung oil to see what the wood was like. Well the base is a gorgeous two tone with total wood grain awesomeness!

It didn't take much to bring out the wood grain... Thankfully!

I love how the bottom of the base crosses like this...

Such a difference it makes to remove the shellac and add some oil!

Once I was 80% done with refinishing the wood, I dropped the table base off at Capilano Glass so they could cut a new top for it. Capilano Glass ROCKS! The people are super nice and helpful plus they do awesome work. I picked up the table and glass yesterday then finished off my refinishing project. I cleaned up the wood then added more oil. WOW! Then placed these clear round pieces in the corners before inserting the glass.

Capilano Glass did an amazing job with the insert - rounded the edges and the glass fits perfectly!

So here it is! A bit of time, a bit of money and it looks FAB!

I decided on clear glass and not tinted... So glad I did! I love how you can see the grain in the base.

Hard to believe the table was discarded and only cost $5. The glass was about $35 with tax. So overall budget was $40 plus time and labour.

And now to find a forever home for this update...

Next up? I'm nearing completion of a $10 vintage chair from the Salvation Army thrift store. This will be done today. It looks amazing! Can't wait to share with you.