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How to make a wooden air plant hanger

DIY wooden air plant hanger

Ever since I bought my first air plant, I absolutely love having them in the house. I’ve had my ups and downs with them (and I’ll definitely share my tips on how to take care of them in the future), but today I want to share a quick and easy DIY on how you can make a wooden hanger for showing your air plants off in what I think is an awesome way.

DIY wooden air plant hanger

You don’t need a lot of materials for this DIY and all things considered, making three of these hangers cost me less than €10.

Things you need:

  • Wood block to cut to slices
  • Leather cord
  • Triangle Picture Hangers
  • A hammer
  • A saw
  • A drill
  • Air plants

DIY wooden air plant hanger

Find yourself a slice of wood and a drill

First, you need to find yourself a piece of wood. I got myself some slabs of wood when my father was trimming down one of our trees, so there’s no need to run to the store for this. Ask around or find yourself a thick branch somewhere. When you have your wood, you need to cut it up in slices. Mine are all about 2 cm thick. I didn’t do much cleaning on them. Apart from wiping down the tree bark a bit and sanding them slightly, I didn’t do much. I really liked the rough texture of the wood, so I wanted to keep it visual.

Next, you need to drill two holes in each slice of wood you want to use. Measuring with the leather cord and the air plant I wanted to use, I figured out where the holes should go on one slab of wood. I kept the distance from the edge of the slice to the holes even through all my slices of wood (as I felt this would make them look better in a group). I also made sure that the thickness of my leather cord and the thickness of the drill I used were about the same.

DIY wooden air plant hanger

Fitting the cord

Now it’s time to fit your cord onto the slice of wood. My leather cord and the holes I drilled are about the same size. This means putting the cord through asks for a bit of patience, but it also means the cord won’t slip out too easily. In fact, I didn’t need to add knots on the end of the cords, because it’s stuck enough by itself to keep an air plant in place. I placed my air plant between the cord and the slice of wood to measure how much cord I needed for each plant.

DIY wooden air plant hanger DIY wooden air plant hangerDIY wooden air plant hanger

As you can see, there is no glue or anything else to keep the cord in place. You can, of course, hammer the cord in place with a u-shaped nail (or even hot glue), but I didn’t think this was necessary. I also liked that I was still able to adjust the length of the cord to my air plant. If I put a smaller specimen on the slice of wood I can just pull the cord a bit tighter.

How to make a wooden air plant hanger

Adding the triangle picture hanger

Finally, as a finishing touch, we still need to add a triangle picture hanger to our slice of wood. Get out your hammer and hammer away! Be careful though, because those are very tiny nails (and I definitely hit my finger more than once).

How to make a wooden air plant hanger

And that’s it! That’s how simple it is to create your own wooden air plant hangers. It only took me 30 minutes to make all three of them.

How to make a wooden air plant hanger
DIY wooden air plant hanger
DIY wooden air plant hanger
DIY wooden air plant hanger

If you’re wondering where I keep them in my house: there above my desk, next to my computer screen (on a very blue wall, which is the worst background for taking pictures). But I still love them there.

DIY wooden air plant hangerDIY wooden air plant hanger

Do you love air plants? How do you keep them around? Also mounted to the wall? And please tell me if you liked this tutorial. I felt it was awfully simple and I was unsure if I should even publish it.

Interior, Tutorials

How to make a natural history display

Have you ever entered an old fashioned museum and thought “this is how I want to decorate my house”? I have. Whenever I visit such a place, where time hasn’t touched the displays for years, I feel thrilled by the amount of wonder and possibility the objects on display hold. There is still so much a mystery! So when I ordered my glass and copper frame, I already knew I wanted to make a display inspired by the natural history museums I’ve visited in the past. When I finished my display, I realised this could be a cool DIY project to share.

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When I finally started my own natural history display, it took me only an hour to finish (including time to draw a cute little bird). So it’s very easy to create your own (and for the pictures of this tutorial I quickly recreated another one). All you need is:

  • a cute frame
  • feathers or pressed flowers
  • tracing paper
  • tape
  • an ink drawing of a bird (or something else)
  • a pen (optional)

My frame existed of two parts, which led me to create my display on two pieces of tracing paper. Of course, depending on your frame, you can arrange everything on one piece of tracing paper. First I laid everything out on the tracing paper. Next I  teared the paper into the right size, because this gives the paper a softer edge than if you’d cut it. I took tiny pieces of tape to fix the different feathers on the tracing paper.

As finishing touch I wrote the latin names of the birds next to the feathers, in my most fancy, 19th century looking, script. I failed at the bottom, because the feather was in the way, so it’s better to do this before you add your feathers.

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After placing and fixing the piece of tracing paper with feathers in on half of the frame, I started drawing my bird. After drawing and inking it, I scanned it in. I cleaned up my scan with Photoshop and then printed the bird on tracing paper.

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Drawing of a bird

You can also draw directly on your tracing paper, but I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t waste too much paper on failed sketches. You could also find a sketch on Google or ask somebody to draw you something, but you can also use my bird, as it’s available as printable.

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After printing or drawing the bird (or flowers, or whatever you want) and adding it to your frame you’re finished!

I love how to light falls through the tracing paper and how it outlines the feathers and the illustration. It fits the nature and natural history vibe I have in my living room perfectly.

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Some frame inspiration

Even though it took me a long time to finally do something with my glass frame, I absolutely adore it! I searched the web for some similar frames, so if you don’t have a frame like this and you want to try this DIY, you don’t have to look far. Most of them are fairly cheap (I paid about €14 for mine).

A collection of lists that are suited for making your own natural history display

  1. Madam Stoltz, 2.Sissy Boy, 3. Sissy Boy 4. Nordal, 5. Moebe, 6. Nordal

Footnote: if you want to use feathers in your displays, please only use feathers you find on the ground or you buy in a shop. Don’t try to take feathers from nests (or birds! obviously!). Also be aware that it is illegal to posses a lot of bird’s feathers in some countries (e.g. US, Great Britain). Look on Google to find out which feathers you can own in your country.

Interior, Tutorials

How to make a magnetic poster frame

For a few years now, I’m looking for the perfect map or botanical poster to hang on my walls. Most of the time they’re way overpriced or they’re too far away to go and buy. So, I decided to make myself some wooden magnetic poster frames to mimic the look of the good old botanical posters. And guess what, it’s super easy!

How to make a magnetic poster frame

The only things you’ll need to make your own magnetic poster frame are:

  • wooden slats – I bought two in Oak, measuring 240cm and being 3 cm wide
  • a saw
  • a drill (optional)
  • twine
  • magnets
  • glue (I used super glue)

How to make a magnetic poster frame

Step one: cutting the wood

First of we start by cutting the wooden slats into pieces. For every magnetic poster frame you’ll need four wooden slats (two for the top, two for the bottom). If you have a certain piece in mind you want to frame you can take this measurement for the length of the slats, but I didn’t have any artwork in mind, so I just made frames for a standing A4 size and a standing A3 (or a horizontal A4). I also made a very large poster frame, for my enormous butterfly print (not pictured here :p).

Remember: measure twice, cut once!

How to make a magnetic poster frame How to make a magnetic poster frame

Step two: get the drill out!

Next, you’ll want to measure where to drill your holes for your twine. If you don’t have a drill: no problem! You can wrap your twine around the slats or you can use some (hot) glue and simply glue the twine to the slats.

How to make a magnetic poster frame

Step three: placing the magnets

We’re first going to determine where you want your magnets and how many you want to use. I put three on each part of the frame for the A4 and five on the frame for the A3 sized poster. I recommend using a little more than you think, although a lot depends on the strength of the magnets.

Glue one part of your magnets to one side of the frame. Position the opposite magnet on the already glued one, put some glue on the top one and carefully place the second slat on top of the magnets on the first slat of wood. Now you’ve finished the top part of the frame, repeat for the bottom part.

Remember: you need to put magnets on both side of the frame to be able to sandwich your print between them, plus you need them for the upper and bottom part of the frame. Make sure you buy enough.

How to make a magnetic poster frame How to make a magnetic poster frame

Step four: adding twine

We’re almost finished! We only need to add the twine to the top set of slats of the poster frame. Either you put your twine through the holes you drilled earlier or you glue it on the inside of the slats.

How to make a magnetic poster frame How to make a magnetic poster frame How to make a magnetic poster frame

Step five: adding artwork

Carefully place your artwork on one side of the magnetic poster frame and place the other side on top of it, sandwiching it in between the magnets (consider cleaning the magnets first, mine actually made black spots on one of my prints). Voila, you’re finished! Hang it on the wall and admire your handiwork. 🙂

How to make a magnetic poster frameHow to make a magnetic poster frame

I absolutely love the look of these frames, especially considering they’re super easy to make. I also made a bigger magnetic poster frame for a gigantic butterfly poster I bought in IKEA once and it also works for big posters (although I didn’t put the bottom part on the poster, because of the extra weight it ads).

What do you think? Easy enough and good looking, yes?

How to make a magnetic poster frame

Costs: wooden slats – 2 x €5; magnets – 3 x €2 (12 magnets p.p.); twine –  left over from an earlier project; Locktite Super Glue – €9

Projects, Tutorials

How to: painted porcelain mug

Today I’ve got a super quick and easy DIY for you: a how to paint or decorate your own porcelain mugs. I think hand painted mugs are an awesome gift idea, you can basically decorate them to fit anybody’s taste and you know the recipient will use them, because nobody ever has enough mugs. I’ve wanted to try this for a while, so let’s get cracking!

How to: painted porcelain mug

Things you need before starting this project: white porcelain mugs (mina are Värdera from IKEA), a paper towel (for wiping away mistakes) and a porcelain marker. That’s it! Sometimes (it depends on the marker) you’ll need an oven for baking your mugs after decorating them, but my marker said my mugs would be safe after three days of air drying, so no need for an oven. Also make sure to wash the mugs or the dishes you want to paint beforehand. It’s important they’re grease-free.

How to: painted porcelain mugs

If you’re not sure what you want to draw on your mugs, you can always make a couple of quick sketches on paper. I had a bunch of ideas, but I didn’t want to make it too hard for my first try, so I picked some simple designs.

If you’re in need of some inspiration, what about:

  • letting kids draw on them, which will make the mugs look very modern artsy
  • draw a quote from your favourite tv show. Or just put a pattern of all the letters of the alphabet
  • Look up the chemical formulas for coffee or tea and make your inner nerd happy
  • Let Pinterest help you with a search for “painted mugs” or “decorated mugs

How to: painted porcelain mug

I really liked the idea of putting a gradient in the patterns I used. It’s a nice twist to a simple pattern. I started off with the bubbles, which wasn’t a smart move because I still needed to get the hang of drawing on a round object. Start off with your most simple pattern. Also, make sure you don’t touch the mugs too often with your fingers. I noticed the marker didn’t stick very well on places I touched.

Take your time when you’re decorating the mugs. Afterwards let them dry (or put them in the oven, if your marker’s instructions says so) and enjoy the view! I haven’t put them in the dishwasher yet, but I’ll update this post when I have. Fingers crossed for not ruining my mugs. (*update* The mug with the bubbles didn’t keep up at all. I first washed the mugs in hot water and the ceramic marker came off almost immediately. Strange enough the other mug kept up almost perfectly. It has since been in the dishwasher multiple times and still looks the same! I think the difference between the two mugs was that one was only washed by hand (the bubbles) and the other one had also been in the dishwasher before putting the marker on and was thus better de-greased).

That’s it! What would you put on a mug?

How to: painted porcelain mugs How to: painted porcelain mugHow to: painted porcelain mugsHow to: painted porcelain mug

Project costs: Glass marker, €4,5 – IKEA mug, €1,99/mug

Interior, Tutorials

How to make copper geometric photo holders

How to make copper geometric photo holders with paper clay

Today I’m showing how to make geometric photo holders from paper clay, a material I’ve started to appreciate a lot. You can use these photo holders either as some pretty accessories for your home or as handmade Christmas presents.

Making these geometric photo holders almost doesn’t take any time at all. You can make a bunch in an hour, although letting them dry, sanding and painting them can take a bit more time.

Materials needed:

  • paper clay or white clay
  • sharp knife
  • copper or gold acrylic paint and a paint brush
  • sandpaper

How to make bronze geometric photo holders

I’ve started by making a ball from my paper clay, a bit bigger than the height you want you geometric photo holder to be. By slicing the extras from the ball you can create the shape you want your photo holder to be. I wanted little pyramids, so I cut of tree pieces and then cut of the bottom.

Cut your paper clay into shape

If you’re not getting a nice shape at first try, don’t worry, it took me a couple of tries to get my photo holders pyramid-y shaped. They don’t have to be perfect when you stop cutting, because after drying the photo holders you can still sand the shaped down and make the corners sharper.

When you have your pyramid shape you’ll have to make an extra slit in the back where you can put in the photo (or holiday card).

Sand down your photo holder, this way you'll make the corners sharp Paint the photo holder with acrylic paint

After they’re dried, sanded and dusted down a bit, it’s time to get your paint out! I discovered copper paint a while a go when I was browsing the gouache section in my local art store and I was delighted to discover they also have a acryl version. I absolutely love copper paint! It really looks like copper and I want to use it on almost everything in my house.

Paint the photo holder with acrylic paint

Give the geometric photo holders enough time to dry. Afterwards you might need to sand down the slit for the photo again, because sometimes the paint clogs it.

I made some extra pyramids, a couple without slits for photos or cards, because I liked the idea of grouping them together. I also made smaller and bigger ones, again because I thought this would look better.

Enjoy your new geometric photo holders How to make copper geometric photo holders with paper clay

So, that’s it for some quick geometric photo holders. I’ll be using them for my Christmas cards and I might make some extra as a present.

Are you making any handmade presents this year?

Interior, Tutorials

DIY Paper clay Christmas ornaments

I promise I won’t go all Christmas decoration crazy this month, even though I posted my decoration inspiration post only yesterday and I’m posting a Christmas tutorial today. I’m going to show you how to make your own Christmas ornaments!

Preparing the paper clay and using crochet doilies for adding texture

Materials needed

Making the Christmas ornaments doesn’t take a lot of tools or time. All you need is:

  • paper clay or white clay
  • crochet doilies
  • cookie cutter
  • sandpaper
  • twine

Preparing the paper clay and using crochet doilies for adding texture Making cutouts in the paper clay with cookie cutters

Making the Christmas ornaments

I struggled a bit with my paper clay, as it had been open for a long time. I soaked it in a bit of water for a while and it was fine afterwards! Making the ornaments doesn’t take any time at all. First you have to roll out the clay and press the crochet doilies hard in the clay. Then you use the cookie cutters and cut out the shapes in the clay. I’ve also added eye holes with a piece of a ballpoint pen.

Let the paper clay ornaments dry after cutting them out

Put the ornaments somewhere to dry. I’ve placed them next to the heater for a couple of days until they were dry. Maybe it’s because I’ve put them next to the heater or maybe this always happens when drying paper clay, but they started curling a bit. I’ve placed a stack of books on top after I noticed this and they dried flat afterwards.

After drying the Christmas ornaments you'll have to sand them down a bitAfter drying the Christmas ornaments you'll have to sand them down a bit

When the ornaments where dry I’ve sanded them a bit. It made the smooth surfaces look smoother and whither. I also sanded the textured parts a bit, cleaning them up.

Adding a burlap twine to the paper clay Christmas ornaments as a finishing touchAdding a burlap twine to the paper clay Christmas ornaments as a finishing touchAdding a burlap twine to the paper clay Christmas ornaments as a finishing touch

Afterwards you only have to put the twine on the Christmas ornaments and you’re done!

Cute handmade paper clay Christmas ornamentsCute handmade paper clay Christmas ornaments

I tried taking photos of the ornaments in my “Christmas tree” (we don’t have one yet), but the lighting wasn’t helping at all. So I made some extra on my desk. And then I couldn’t chose which one to put on the blog, because the ornaments look so pretty…

Cute handmade paper clay Christmas ornamentsCute handmade paper clay Christmas ornaments Cute handmade paper clay Christmas ornaments Cute handmade paper clay Christmas ornamentsCute diy paper clay Christmas ornaments

So, that’s it! A lovely bunch of handmade (and sturdy, I’ve dropped them already a couple of times and they survived each fall) Christmas ornaments! Are you making your own ornaments this year?

Cute diy paper clay Christmas ornaments

Project costs: paper clay, €6 – burlap twine, €2

Freebies, Projects, Tutorials

2016 agenda: the printables and assembling your notebook

Last year I made my first agenda and I really liked it! After using this agenda for almost a year, I realised it didn’t quite fit all my needs. There were parts of the agenda I almost didn’t use and parts that weren’t big enough for everything I wanted to put in them. So, for the 2016 agenda I made a brand new design!

I already put the how to for the Midori Traveler’s Notebook styled cover online yesterday and I also talked a bit about how the Midori Notebook worked, but today I’m going to show you!

The agenda contains of six folders of each eight sheets of double folded A4 sized paper (= 32 pages in a folder). Each folder has two months in it. You can find the files somewhere down bellow in this post. There you can also find some extra information on printing the files.

2016_Agenda_Inserts_01

Folding the pages

After you’ve printed all the inserts, it’s time to start finishing them! The files are designed in such a way that you don’t have to trim them, you just have to fold all of you printed pages double. You can use a bone folder to make an extra nice, flat, crease.

When all the pages are folded, start making the folders. Each folder contains two months printed on eight sheets of paper. You have to put the double folded page into each other, making a small booklet.

When you’re done, you have six neatly creased folders. You can leave them like this, but I decided I wanted to make my folders stayed together firmly, so should they ever slip out the cover the lose pages wouldn’t be all over the place.

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Sewing the folders

I decided sewing them together would be the best way to go. You can either sew them by hand or, if you have a sewing machine, put them under the machine.

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I picked a nice colourful thread, as there is no colour in the original prints. Sewing them together with my sewing machine was  very easy! I wasn’t sure the folders weren’t too thick, but my sewing machine didn’t complain. Afterwards you’ll have to change your needle though, because sewing paper makes it dull.

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Arranging the 2016 agenda

When the preparation of your folders is finished, it’s time to put them in the cover. As I’ve explained in the how to of making the cover I’ve chosen to put three elastic bands in my cover. Each elastic band can easily hold three booklets with the help of some extra elastic bands. You can either use simple household elastic bands or make some of your own using the extra elastic band left over from making the cover of the agenda.

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I’ve started by putting the last three folders of my agenda on the middle elastic band. With your booklet in the right order, you put the middle booklet (in this case ‘September’) under you elastic band by folding it open and putting it under the band.

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You put the other two folders in the correct order before and after the already attached folder. Open them both up in the middle and sandwich the middle folder in between. Take your extra elastic bands and put an elastic band around the two halves of the unattached folders.

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After putting the first three folders in the cover, you can go on and put the other ones on the first elastic band in your cover in the same way. The last elastic band in the cover remains empty, because that one is going to be used for adding some extras!

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Adding extra’s

I put three elastic bands on my Midori styled cover. This means I can put at least 9 different folders in the cover (probably even more, if I use more elastic bands or binder clips). The agenda consists only of six folders, so I had some extra space to fiddle around with. I made some quick extras for my agenda, but I’m sure the content of these extras might change during the year, depending on what I need most in my agenda.

2016_Agenda_Inserts_21

I found an old lined notebook (from when my mom was little) I thought would fit inside the cover. I also folded some drawing paper (180g/m²) into a booklet  and I also made a quick double envelope (based on this tutorial) for filing extra papers and lose things like tickets or cards.

2016_Agenda_Inserts_22

I fitted all these things into the notebook in the same way as I’ve put the agenda folders in. I’ve put the sketchbook paper on the third elastic band in the cover and next added the double envelope and the old notebook using and elastic band.

2016_Agenda_Inserts_502016_Agenda_Inserts_24

The 2016 agenda printables

Bellow are the printables for the agenda, but first, let me give you a small overview of the different pages you can find in the agenda. When you click on the images you’ll be able to see a larger version.

Agenda2016_mock-up_05

Each month starts of with a title pages, containing hand drawn illustrations. I wanted to put some colour in my agenda, put I also wanted to be able to print it cheaply. Printing full colour pages isn’t cheap at all, that’s why I decided to add colouring pages to my agenda. This way it’s cheap to print, you have some relaxing colouring work you can do when you feel like it and you’ll have a super personal and colourful agenda.

Agenda2016_mock-up_04 Agenda2016_mock-up_03

Next you’ll find a monthly overview, followed by a spread where you can add a to do list, make plans, jot down ideas and notes and plan you meals for each week of the month. Oh, and where you can keep track of your to-be-read books for that month.

Agenda2016_mock-up_02

The actual day planner consists of a weekly overview, which has lots of space for taking notes and putting down appointments and which has also a small space for a daily ‘to-do’ list.

Some months will also have an extra spread where you can write down more to-do’s, put your wishlists, random notes, blog ideas, happy thoughts, long-term goals and make a sketch if you should feel like it.

Agenda2016_mock-up_01

Some technical information about size and printing options

Using double folded A4 paper means the agenda is a bit larger than A5 (148mm x 210mm) size, which makes this a fairly large agenda. I wanted a lot of space in my agenda to write down to do lists and to put down ideas and appointments. When I’m on the go I don’t always take my agenda with me, it stays on my desk a lot of the time, where it lies open. I know the size will be too big for some people, so I’ve made two different sets of downloadable files.

I’ve printed my agenda on 80g/m² paper in a copy centre. The copiers where a bit crap, so I got some distortion on my illustrations. Make sure you use standard/high settings when printing for the best results. You should enable double sided printing. I’m not sure if this would be universally correct, but I enabled “flip on short side”. The only way to find out is to test print a couple of pages before printing everything.

The A5 files (without crop marks)

The 2016 agenda consists of six .pdf files that you’ll have to print double sided. I’ve put them into a .zip file, so make sure you have a program to extract the files. The files without crop marks are to be printed full sized. There is no need to trim them. This version of the agenda will be, cover included, 175mm x 235mm.

Download the 2016 Agenda Printables

Depending on your printer or copier you’ll be able to print them without resizing them to fit the page. My printer at home can print to the edge of the page, the printer in the copy centre couldn’t and took out bits of the illustrations. You’ll have to make a test print to see what fits your printer best.

 The scalable files (with crop marks)

This set is resized to 90% and has crop marks (but no bleed), so you can resize the file further when you print it to any size you want (smaller than an A4 sized paper) and you can nicely trim the pages.

These files with crop marks can be printed full size on A4 paper. In that case they’re 90% of the original and you’ll have to trim them. You can also resize the files further, but note that I haven’t designed the files for printing them smaller, so I’m not sure how small you can go. I tried printing these at 80% and they still looked OK. Make some test prints first!

Download the 2016 Agenda Printables

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The complete 2016 agenda

Because I love my new agenda/fauxdori notebook so much, I took way too many pictures (cursing heavily, because the weather wasn’t helping at all) and I did my best to make a selection, but I’m not sure I succeeded…

2016_Agenda_Inserts_312016_Agenda_Inserts_282016_Agenda_Cover_192016_Agenda_Inserts_462016_Agenda_Inserts_232016_Agenda_Inserts_48
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So, what do you think about the 2016 planner? I’m very happy with the final result and I can’t wait to start using it (I already started colouring a couple of pages)!

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Projects, Tutorials

2016 Agenda: Making a Midori Traveler’s Notebook cover

Last year, I made my first agenda from scratch. As I bound it by hand, it was a very time-consuming work, but I loved it although it didn’t fit all my needs. I needed something more flexible. So this year, I’m making a Midori Traveler’s Notebook inspired agenda for 2016.

A Midori what? A Midori Traveler’s Notebook or a Midori Traveler’s Journal is a Japanese type of notebook that consists of a leather cover and separate inner folders. The cover has at least one elastic band under which you can put a folder. Then, by means of more elastic bands or binder clips you connect all the other folders to each other. This way of putting a notebook together gives you a lot of room to make it your own. You decide how to put your notebook together and which elements it needs to contain and which it doesn’t need. When you search for Midori Traveler’s Notebook on Pinterest you can find a lot of examples and inspiration.

A leather Midori Traveler's Notebook styled cover

I really liked this way of putting a notebook together and thought it would be pretty awesome if my 2016 agenda was put together like this. I’d be able to adds lots of extras whenever I needed them (like drawing paper or extra notebooks or special to do lists) and it’d be really easy to discard of past months.

Some of the supplies for making the cover of the Midori Traveler's Notebook: leather, marker and a steel ruler

Materials needed for the Midori Traveler’s Notebook

Before I start talking about how to put the cover together, let me tell you what you’ll need:

  • a piece of leather of at least 370mm x 235mm (that is, if you want to make my A5 agenda, if you want something smaller, you’ll have to do the math ;))
  • sharp x-acto knife
  • metal ruler
  • black marker
  • elastic band (about 1 mm thick, about 3m long)
  • big sewing needle
  • a leather hole punch or a nail (and a hammer)

I used leather for my cover, because I wanted to make a cover that would last. When I stop using it as an agenda, it’ll make an awesome notebook or sketchbook. I bought my leather in a local shop in Ghent, called Reyne (on the Nederkouter 121). They sell their discarded pieces and scraps of leather. I managed to pick up the priciest piece in the shop. It was this thick brown leather that felt awesome and is normally used for making gear for horses. The shop owner assured me this leather would last at least 20 years and I decided to buy the piece, even though it was €20.

I know not everybody wants to use leather, so I added an alternative, leather-free, version at the bottom of this post.

Some of the supplies for making the cover of the Midori Traveler's Notebook: hammer and an awl

Making the cover

Putting the notebook cover together is fairly straightforward. You start by cutting your piece of leather to size.  The inside pages of the agenda will be A5 (148mm x 210mm) so the cover has to be a bit bigger. You need to take at least twice the width of your paper (148 x 2) and add the height of your stack of folders to it (+ 35 mm) and then add some extra because your cover really needs to hang at least 10mm  – 15mm over your inside folders (+ 15mm x 2). I then added 10 mm extra for good measure.

For the height of the cover I took the height of my folders and added 12mm on each side, because that’s the point where I wanted my elastic band to come out of the cover. My final measurements for my cover where:  370mm width x 235mm height.

Draw your cover measurements on the leather. Measure twice. Then use a sharp x-acto knife to cut it out. Make sure you put a cutting mat under your piece of leather before you start.

Punching the holes in the leather cover for the Midori Traveler's Journal styled agenda

Punching the holes for the elastic bands

When the leather is cut, it’s time to pierce some holes for the elastic bands. I decided I wanted three elastic bands in my cover. This way I could put at least three folders in the cover without needing extra materials to keep them in place and it also means I can easily fit nine folders (three per elastic band) in this cover when I use three extra elastic bands.

I only need two elastic bands for the agenda, because it consists of six folders, but I wanted the extra band for the extra materials I want to put in my Midori Notebook. Whether you want one or three elastic bands in your cover, the execution is pretty much the same.

Punching the holes in the leather cover: where to punch to holes

Start by finding the middle of your cover when it’s lying open. Draw a line from top to bottom. Then measure 12mm from the top and 12mm from the bottom of the cover on a horizontal line. Where the horizontal line meets the middle make a mark, both on the bottom and top of the cover. Now put another horizontal line bellow the line at the top and above the line at the bottom. The lines should be 15mm apart.

Make another mark where the horizontal line crosses the line in the middle of the cover. This is where the first elastic band should go. On the middle of your cover, find the middle between the inner holes. Make another mark for a hole here. I put the holes for the second and third elastic band on 10mm of either side of the middle band.

Getting your elastic bands into place by using a needle and an extra piece of thread

Putting in the elastic bands

We’re almost there! When you’ve punched the holes, it’s time to get your elastic band and your sewing needle. You can’t get the elastic band through the needle, because the eye is too small, so you’ll have to make a bigger eye with some thread. Make a loop (see picture above) and then put your elastic band through the thread.

Putting the elastic bands in the leather cover

Put your needle (and elastic band) through one of the holes closest near the edge of the cover. Work from the inside to the outside. On the outside make a stitch from the first to the second hole. On the inside you make another stitch to the next hole. When you’re attaching the elastic band in the middle of the cover you have to make a loop on the outside that can go around the notebook. Go to the next hole, making a small stitch. On the inside make a knot in the elastic band, pulling it rather tight. The cover will curl a bit. Repeat this for each elastic band.

Putting the elastic bands in the leather cover
Putting the elastic bands in the leather cover

You finished your cover! In my next post you can find the printables for the 2016 agenda and all the information on how to put your agenda together + on adding extras.

The 2016 agenda: a handmade Midori Traveler's Notebook cover and fitting inserts The 2016 agenda: a handmade Midori Traveler's Notebook cover and fitting inserts

Alternative versions

I know not everybody is a fan of using leather, whatever the reason. Before I found my piece of leather I also tried making a Midori Traveler’s Notebook in an alternative fashion. I used a piece of oilcloth, some Decovil, a piece of cotton and bias binding.

I ironed the Decovil onto the cotton fabric and then attempted to glue the other side of the Decovil and the oilcloth together. I tried using Mod Podge for this, which has worked for me on many occasions, but failed me this time. It barely stuck together and I decided to add the bias tape so the pieces stayed put.

Alternative to the leather Midori Traveler's Notebook: a cover from fabric and oil cloth

Afterwards I added the elastic band. I didn’t know it at the time, put this elastic band was a bit thicker than the one I used on the leather journal, which made putting it into place a lot harder. I wouldn’t recommend using such a thick elastic band.

Alternative to the leather Midori Traveler's Notebook: a cover from fabric and oil clothAlternative to the leather Midori Traveler's Notebook: a cover from fabric and oil cloth

If you don’t like the feel of the plastic cover or you don’t know how to sew you can also use thick wool felt. You can prepare and put it together in much of the same way as the leather cover.

A leather-free Midori Traveler's Notebook and a handmade leather Midori Traveler's NotebookA leather-free Midori Traveler's Notebook and a handmade leather Midori Traveler's Notebook

If you read everything until now: wow! You really want to make this notebook, don’t you? If you have any questions or something isn’t very clear, let me know in the comments below!

Interior, Tutorials

How to: Desk Lamp Makeover

When we moved into our house and started cleaning out the basement, I found this old desk lamp. I liked the style, but the colour was a bit ‘meh’ and the electrical wire needed replacement. So I added ‘desk lamp makeover’ to the everlasting ‘projects I want to do someday’-list. When I started planning my mason jar lamp tutorial, I knew I finally could give the desk lamp a second life!

I started off by giving the desk lamp a good dust down. As I was planning on dismantling the lamp completely, I made lots of pictures. When you think you’ve made enough pictures, make some more from different angles! I didn’t do this thoroughly enough and puzzling the pieces together afterwards, wasn’t an easy task!

Desk Lamp Makeover - Materials that are needed

Before you start, collect all of the things you need. I wanted to rewire and repaint the lamp, so I bought some coloured fabric electrical cable and a plug. I didn’t need a light switch, because there was a mechanism connected to the original lamp fitting. I also bought spray paint. Other than this, you’ll probably need screwdrivers and a wrench.

Lamp makeover - Using spray paint

After taking the desk lamp apart, I sanded all the pieces lightly and than cleaned them thoroughly. I also taped off the pieces I couldn’t remove and didn’t want to spray. I sprayed my desk lamp multiple times, trying to put light coats on it. After a couple of coats on the first day I let it dry for almost 24 hours. Then I sanded the places I screwed up and put on some extra coats.

I figured the screws probably were brass and it would be nice to get them shining again. I put them in some yoghurt, as I read this would work as a mild acid. Afterwards I wasn’t completely satisfied with the result (I think rinsing them in between and putting them back into the yoghurt, maybe letting them sit longer would’ve given a better result), so I also sanded them down.

Desk lamp makeover - Reassembling the desk lamp

After the screws were sanded and all the paint was dry, it was time to put the lamp together again! Unlike Humpty Dumpty, I did manage to put all the pieces together. It took me a while to figure things out, but in the end, I managed.

Putting in the new electrical wire was a piece of cake, after my first experience putting lamps together. If you need more information about rewiring lamps, I suggest you take a look at my Mason Jar Lamp Tutorial.

Desk Lamp Makeover

Before I knew it, I was enjoying my new desk lamp! This lamp makeover was a lot quicker than I’d anticipated and seeing the result, it was worth it. I love my new, colourful, desk lamp!

Desk Lamp MakeoverDesk Lamp Makeover

Project costs: second hand desk lamp, €0 – spray paint, €9,50  (to be honest, this should be €0, as I bought the spray paint a long time ago for a different project) – 3 metres of fabric electrical cable, €11,97 – plug, €2,25.

Tutorials

DIY Instagram photo book

How to make an Instagram Photo book How to make an Instagram Photo book

A while ago I printed a couple of Instagram photos. I stuck them to my wall for a couple of months, but I decided I wanted to put them into a tiny booklet. I’ve researched a couple of ways of doing this and I decided to make a tailor-made booklet.

This tutorial might look a bit intimidating, but I’ve come to really like sewing booklets. It takes only a bit of practise to get the hang of things and before you know it, you’re making your own sketchbooks or notebooks. Read the tutorial through to the end before attempting to make a booklet, this will make making one a lot easier.

DIY Instagram Photo book - Needed: paper & photos

Materials needed for a super cute photo booklet:

  • A bunch of Instagram photos
  • Sheets of paper, at least 200 g/m²
  • Utility knife
  • A thick needle and (waxed) thread
  • Glue
  • Pieces of card board
  • Pencil and ruler

Stack the folded papers and mark the needle openings with pencil

Start putting it together

Start by cutting the sheets of paper to the right size. I used  210 x 150 mm. I cut 18 in total, making sure I could fit in all my Instagram photos. I also added two extra sheets, which are used as cover and end paper. Fold all the pieces in half.

Next mark where you want to make the needle holes. I started 1 cm from the upper and lower edge of the paper. Then I added four more marks, starting at 1,5 cm from the first marking and another at the same distance. I left a bit more space in the middle and did the same at the lower part of the paper, starting from the mark closest to the edge of the paper.

Glue the photo to the pages

Next, I glued all my photos to the pages of the booklet. The photos will add a lot of extra thickness to the booklet. When you first sew the pages together and then add the photos, it’ll put a lot of strain on the thread. Make sure you put your stack of papers in the right order.

Making a long stitch at the inside of the folded paper

Sewing the pages

I wanted to use the Coptic stitch I used on my 2015 day planner again, but the booklet we’re about to make has a loose cover flap and only the last page is glued to the cover. This means we’ll have to adapt the technique from the planner so we can use it without the sewn on covers.

Start by putting the needle in one of the holes closest to the edge of the last paper of your booklet. Put your needle from the outside of the spine into the hole, to the inside. Make one long stitch to the other side of the paper. Make sure you leave a long enough piece of thread at the starter side.

Add the next piece of folded paperMake a loop around the long stitch in the first piece of folded paper

Take your second piece of paper and put your needle in the first hole. Make a stitch to the second hole. Put your needle through the corresponding hole of the first piece of paper and make a loop around the thread inside. Put your needle through the same opening again to the outside.

Make a knot around the second stitch Stitching together the pieces of paper

Put you needle in the space between the two pieces of paper and make a loop around the stitch that connects the two pieces of paper. Make a knot. Then put your needle in the hole in the upper piece of paper. Inside you make a stitch to the next hole.

Making a stitch to the next needle openingHow to make a knot between the different pieces of paperHow to make a knot between the different pieces of paperPut the needle back into the same opening

Repeat the last couple of steps for each new opening working your way to the last hole in the paper. Then make a knot with the loose piece of thread and the piece of thread on your needle.

Make a knot on the last needle openingMake a knot on the last needle opening of the booklet

Take the next piece of paper, put your needle in the first opening and make a stitch to the next opening. Then start to reap the process explained above again. When you keep on doing this for each sheet of paper, you’ll get something like the picture below.

The completed book stack

Making the cover

Now, we’re going to make the cover. Take your sheet of cardboard paper and cut two pieces the same size of the folded stack of papers. Cut an extra piece of cardboard for the spine of the booklet. Measure the height of the book block. This will be the width of the spine (maybe at a couple of millimetres for good measure).

Cutting the pieces of cardboard Pasting the pieces of cardboard together with some tape

Tape the pieces together with some tape. Don’t put the pieces of cardboard to close together, make sure there are a couple of millimetres between the pieces of cardboard. This way it’ll make a neat fold in the cover.

Making sure the cover fits the book blockMaking sure the cover fits the book block

Make sure the cover fits the stack of papers by putting it around the book block. Better to measure twice before starting the finishing touch!

The finished Instagram photo bookThe finished Instagram photo book

Finishing the booklet

How you finish the booklet is up to you. I had a bunch of white self adhesive vinyl lying around and I decided to use that for finishing the cover. I cut a piece for the inside and another for the outside. It’s a bit like putting a wrapper around school books. When you’ve put you wrapper around the cover, glue the back of the book black to the uncovered piece of cardboard on the right side of the open cover. You’re finished!

I also added the years in which the photos were taken on the first page and added an elastic band. This band makes the booklet stay shut and keeps the book block (which is quite heavy) from ripping itself loose from the cover should the booklet fall.

The finished Instagram photo bookThe finished Instagram photo book The finished Instagram photo book