Posts Categorized: DIY

DIY + paper + Projects / Friday, 20 Dec 2013

Make a handmade book from a sketchpad

I have a fantastic intern right now, Trisha Zemp, who is oozing with creativity and enthusiasm. She’s an avid book maker and I’ve been wanting to learn for ages so she was kind enough to teach me a basic Japanese stab method with a twist. You don’t have to buy any fancy materials to do it. All the paper materials you’ll need are from a basic drawing sketchbook. Bingo! 
I thought they’d be perfect for a last minute handmade Christmas gift. And if you don’t want to make it yourself, she’s selling some beautifully made books from her new Etsy shop. They’re made using another method and they are floral and SO beautiful. AND, she’s giving Lars readers 20% off! Check it out here at her shop, A Little Book Shop. Just enter LARS20 at checkout.

MATERIALS: sketchbook, craft knife, bookbinding awl (or nail and hammer), thread (we used crochet thread), scissors, patterned paper for outside, solid paper for inside lining, ruler, pencil, glue, paint brush, needle with a large opening
Step 1: Rip the paper from the binding of the sketchpad. (When you get to step 5 and find that the paper is too big for the cardboard, cut down 1/2″ on the short side.
Step 2: Fold 4 pages at a time in half. Do this 8 times. This will create a book of 64 pages. You can create as many pages as you’d like, but this is what we did.
Step 3: With a ruler and pencil, create 4 marks evenly separated along the side of the fold 1″ deep.
Step 4: With your awl or hammer and nail, punch a hole through the pencil markings.
Step 5: With the cardboard of the sketchpad, cut it in half shortwise so it creates the front and back of the book.
Step 6: With the paper holes as your guideline, transfer the hole markings onto the cardboard and punch with your awl or hammer and nail.
Step 7: With one of your pieces of cardboard, place it on your pretty patterned paper two inches from the edges and cut around.

Step 8: Glue the cardboard with a paintbrush and paste it onto the cut out paper. Flatten it with your hands getting rid of any bubbles.
Step 9: Transfer the hole placement from the sketch pad paper onto the cardboard and bore the holes.

Step 10: On the cardboard that will be the front of the book, score (slightly cut) a line into the cardboard with your craft knife and ruler about 1 1/2″ in depth. This will allow the book to open well.
Step 11: Cut the edges of the paper off at 45 degree angles.
Step 12: Fold the patterned paper up onto the cardboard to create creases.
Step 13: Glue the paper edges and gold them onto the cardboard. Start with the short ends first and then move onto the longer edges.
Step 14: Glue the solid piece of paper with the brush and place it onto the cardboard.

Step 15: Bore holes into the cardboard once again.
Step 16: Now you’ll start threading the binding.  I’m not going to write out the directions but hopefully this diagram will help. To start, you’ll enter from the middle of the pages. Count the 8 sections in half and then enter from hole B and go to the top through the cardboard.
Is that so confusing. Let me know so I can clear it up.

photography and tutorial by Trisha Zemp for The House that Lars Built 

christmas + DIY + gift wrapping + Projects / Thursday, 12 Dec 2013

Candycane wrapping

I’ve been dying to share this story with you, dear readers, for a few months. Audrey Ellsworth is my star intern who’s become a good friend. She puts up with a lot and I can count on her to provide brilliant ideas and practicality. It’s a fantastic mix. Her birthday was a few months ago and I was antsy to give her a print I had bought ages ago by Jenny Vorwaller called “Sitting pretty” because, well, look! 
I gave her the print and then a few hours later she sent me the photo on the right. She had recreated the painting. Spitting image, non?! This anecdote relates to candy cane gift wrap how, you ask?
Well, I needed some last minute gift wrap to put around the cardboard tube I gave her and decided to paint it candy cane stripes, of course. I thought it’d be a fun Christmas idea, especially if you need to send a care package for Christmas or if you’re giving an art print. I’m sending a mini candy cane package out to someone tomorrow, in fact (look for it on Instagram). It’s easy and fun and I bet you already have everything you need to do it.
So, what do you need exactly? This: 
I’m not even going to verbalize the directions because I think you can see how easy it is.

Fun and easy. My two favorite words.

photography by Trisha Zemp

DIY + Projects / Wednesday, 4 Dec 2013

DIY wall decals

I’ve been wishing for ages now for a machine that can cut all my paper flower petals so I don’t have to spend hours doing it and it turns out, it exists! Silhouette, a company that makes such machine, approached me to see if I would want one in exchange for writing about them on this here blog and for the sake of saving my poor hands from hours of strenuous scissor cutting, I thought I’d give it a go. I’ve since learned that there are a few on the market (like Cricut) and I think I’ll try them all out to see what works the best for me, but for now I’m trying out the Silhouette Cameo, which allows you to make a design, or use some of their pre-designed functions, and then cut it out on the machine. Sounds magical right? And, they’re having a major Black Friday sale (see info at bottom of post).
I decided to make some wall decals for more door as my inaugural project in honor of Melissa Esplin‘s beautiful calligraphic decals she makes all over her house (have you seen her work? She’s beyond talented. I LOVE this “no solicitors” sign she made). I knew I couldn’t get to her level right away so I started with a simple monogram for my door. After the joy of making a J I then got really fancy and made some holiday spirit and added a “joy.” then I thought I’d get really really fancy and make a new number display for our mailbox (don’t worry, it’s a fake one I’m showing here…as if!). Think of all the possibilities you can make with this thing?! Melissa does a monthly project with hers. Check them out here.

And in the spirit of product placement, here’s how easy it is. You just put on this gold foil sticky paper onto the mat (I got mine from here), insert it, and the machine does all the work. Seriously, this thing is pure pixie dust.

And let’s give a hand to my boxwood wreath, $10 from Trader Joe’s. You know my love for TJs. Oh, you don’t? Here’s what my blog used to be about. Cringe. (PS–Why isn’t there one in PROVO?!)

 And yes, we had a snowstorm yesterday. I’m in complete denial. I don’t want to talk about it.

And this wouldn’t be a sponsored post without a little love thrown back at you. Silhouette is having a major Black Friday sale until December 8th and you can get up to 40% off their Cameo or Portrait products with the special code for Lars readers: LARS So you can make decals for your own home. Fun, huh?!

And check out this video to see what type of machine would be right for you.

photography by Trisha Zemp

christmas + collaborations + DIY + gift wrapping + holiday + paper + Party + Projects / Thursday, 21 Nov 2013

5 gift topper ideas

photography by Trisha Zemp

I’ve been wanting to collaborate with my talented friend Kate Zaremba for while now (I wrote about her work ages ago–she did textile designs for Rachel Antonoff)–and finally the time is here! Kate recently launched her illustration company where she does adorable prints, wallpaper, gift wrap, cards and custom illustrations. She was kind enough to supply me with some of her brand new gift wrap and I made 5 simple gift toppers for them with all the instructions below. PLUS, we’re doing an Instagram contest where she’ll make an original design based off of YOUR inspiration. Just post a pic of your inspiration, tag it with #giftwrapinspirationcontest and follow @kathrynzaremba. The winner will be selected, Kate will design some gift wrap, and you’ll receive it as a gift. FUN huh?! Head on over to instagram for more info. Contest ends Monday, November 25th.

In the mean time, let’s make some gift toppers for her gift wrap! I made 5 of them: a perfect bow (based one one I’ve been spotting around blog town lately but can’t seem to find an original source for), holly and berries, paper pom, the pendant, the forest. Aren’t they cute? They’re so simple to make and would be easy for any holiday gift. 
For some really lame drawings that I did to show how to make them all, read full instructions below. 

I hope these drawings are sufficient. It’s more of an experiment. I can’t draw super well with my tablet so they are super childish, but hopefully they do the job. 
One thing for the bow, I sprayed two pieces of her gift wrap together so that it would be firmer. 
With the pendant, I sprayed two pieces of her paper front to back so that it would be firmer.

DIY + paper flowers + Party + Projects / Monday, 18 Nov 2013

DIY holiday amaryllis

I go back and forth between sharing my flower patterns. I’d much rather you learn it in person with me in a workshop chatting and crafting over an open fire. But seeing as how you live in North Dakota, Nepal or  or Neptune, it probably won’t happen anytime soon. AND, this is a time of generosity and gratitude and I AM after all a DIY blogger, so I thought I’d spread the amaryllis joy so you can recreate it for you holiday festivities. It’s the one I did for the West Elm shoot and event (check out more photos here). And if you do create it, I’d love to see it! Put it on Instagram and tag it with #larsflowers

Materials: red paper (I used Canson pastel paper in tomato red), green double sided crepe paper from Castle in the Air,  scissors, glue gun, wooden dowel ½” for each flower,  stamen pieces (I bought mine vintage but you can use this here) or you can improvise with rolled up crepe paper…like a joint…sorry, that’s the only metaphor I have), paper wrapped wire 18 gauge like this  (one per flower), chipboard to cut out the templates, template (download here)

1.     Trace the petals onto red paper (there are two sizes, cut 3 of each)
2.     Cut out the petals
3.     Fold the bottom half of the flower length-wise.
4.     Curl the upper half of each petal with a paintbrush or pen or pencil or something.
5.     Add a dab of glue to the (smaller sized) petal in the bottom crease and immediately add on a piece of wire.

6.     Add a dab of glue onto the right edge of the next petal and attach it to the first petal.
7.     Add glue to both the left and right side of the last smaller-sized petals and connect it with the first and middle petals so it becomes a circle.
8.     With the larger petals, add glue onto both sides at the bottom of the petal and spread them around the back of the first petals evenly.
9.     Glue the end of the stamen bits and add them into the center of the flower.
10. Cut a 1” strip of crepe paper that’s about the length of the whole piece (about 2’) going against the grain
11. Cut out your leaves (if you want leaves) going with the grain
12. Stretch out the leaf a bit at the bottom and at the top to give it some shape.
13. Stretch out the crepe paper (but careful because it’s fragile)
14. Add glue about ¼” above the end of the base of the flower and wrap the crepe paper around all the way and start winding down the wire.
5. Add in the dowel to give the flower stem some thickness about  1” down.
16. Keep on winding the green crepe paper in.
17. Add in a leaf at any point (I show it here at the bottom of the stem, but you can add it in the middle too) by gluing the base of the leaf and slightly folding it onto the stem.
18. Keep on winding the crepe paper around until you get to the bottom.
19. Seal it off with glue.
Optional: adding paint. I sprayed mine with spray paint and I added some gouache (or acrylic is fine) with a thin paint brush along the back petals to create a more realistic flower.
1.     Put floral foam into the bottom of a pot.
2.     Stick the dowel into the foam.
3.     Add some moss on top.

photography by Nicole Hill