DIY Ox for Chinese New Year

The Chinese zodiac is a repeating 12-year cycle of animal signs based on the lunar calendar. In order, the zodiac animals are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig. 2021 is the year of the Ox, and the Lunar New Year, also known as Spring Festival, marks the transition from one zodiac animal to the next.

Much like the zodiac signs we know as horoscopes, each Chinese zodiac animal represents personality traits, romantic compatibility, and what fortune the year will bring. In Chinese culture, the ox is a valued animal because of its role in agriculture and its positive attributes. People born in the year of the Ox distinguish themselves as honest and hard-working. Because of their honest and earnest character traits, they are reliable and trustworthy. They tend to be low-key and never look for praise, but their hard work often leads to recognition. These are only some of the traits associated with people born in the year of the Ox. Find more here.

Make Your Own Year of the Ox Party Decor

Supplies:

Pencil or marker, cardboard, craft knife, paper or packing tape, hot glue gun (with LOTS of glue sticks for all that fringe), acrylic or tempera craft paint and a paintbrush, brown tissue paper (multiple shades make a nice look, but only one is necessary), scissors, red, white, and tan cardstock, and red, yellow, and green crepe paper. 

Instructions:

  1. Draw a basic ox body shape onto a piece of cardboard and cut it out (you can add the horns and ears later!)
  2. Using the first cutout ox, trace and cut out another. Now you have both sides of your piñata.
  3. Cut long strips of corrugated cardboard 3 inches wide. You want the corrugation running perpendicular to the length of the strip so that it can bend easily to your ox’s contours.
  4. Using paper or packing tape and starting with one side at a time, attach the cardboard strips to the perimeter of the ox. Add more cardboard strips as needed to wrap around the entire circumference of the ox body. 
  5. Affix the other side of your ox with your tape. The ox should become 3D at this point.
  6. Wrap the hooves in tissue paper (about 11×11 inch squares worked well for us) and secure with glue.
  7. Cut long strips of tissue paper fringe (we used a mix of browns to get a pretty variegated look). The strips should be about three inches tall with fringe slits cut up about two inches.
  8. Working from bottom to top and wrapping around your ox’s body, glue down the fringe. You can alternate colors as desired, but it looks nice to have a base color you come back to. 
  9. Accessorize! Cut eyes, ears, and rosy cheeks out of cardstock and glue them to your ox. Cut two horns from cardboard and paint them, then glue them to your ox’s head. We made a tail by gluing some extra tissue paper fringe to a ribbon and attaching it to the ox’s rump.
  10. Make red paper peonies. Cut out a small rectangle (¾ by 2 inches or so) of yellow crepe paper and cut fringe into it, then roll it up to form the center of the flower. Secure with hot glue. Cut out red crepe paper petals and shape them by slightly stretching the middle to get a cup shape. Ruffle the tops of the petals by stretching small sections along the petals’ tops. Glue the petals to the yellow center. Cut out a few green crepe paper leaves and attach them to your ox along with your peonies.

This year, we wanted to lift our dreary winter moods in February by looking to world festivities. The Lunar New Year, aka Spring Festival, seemed like a fun celebration to set the tone for the coming spring. Display our DIY Ox as a lucky centerpiece to welcome the new year and all that it has in store for us.

Everything You Need For Your 2021 Resolutions

1

I am determined to keep the holiday spirit going as long as possible, so today I am donning my 2021 Glasses, whipping out my shiny new planner, and writing my New Year’s resolutions. Every year, I am inspired by our Women Who Work print by Libby VanderPloeg. This Lars Print Shop piece shows women working on all kinds of creative hobbies and skills. I want to try them all! And a new year is the perfect time to plan just that. Below you’ll find some of the products I am using to stay motivated and help me try these new activities.

2021 New Year's Resolutions

2021 New Year’s Resolutions

Drink More Water

If you’re reading this, you’re dehydrated. Most people say they drink enough water, but humans tend to exaggerate! That’s why “drinking more water” ends up on a lot of 2021 resolutions lists. Did you know people who drink enough water every day tend to make other healthier choices like eating more fruits and veggies and exercising? So get yourself a bright and colorful bottle like this exclusive colorblock Hydroflask or any of the choices below! Plus for extra motivation, decorate your new water bottle with some stickers from the Lars Shop!

Get Moving and Grooving

Exercising doesn’t mean you always need to be in a gym, and this next year, we’re betting most people are going to keep avoiding gyms for a while anyway. Try doing something you enjoy, and you’ll actually look forward to exercise! Our favorite activities are hiking, yoga, surfing, running, rollerskating, bike riding, and jump rope! We also recommend making your workout gear rainbow for bonus points.

Start A Flower Garden (Paper or Real)

And get outside more! This one is hard during the winter (when all our resolutions start)…if you’re not a winter sports person, try going on a walk! Walks after a new snowfall are my favorite. Spending regular time in the outdoors is actually a big factor in living a more stress-free life. If you have the right supplies to spend time outside, you will be much more motivated to work on your green thumb! And if all else fails, we aren’t against growing a paper flower garden 😉

For some DIY inspiration, check out our Garden Apron Pattern here!

Get Organized

Organization is NOT my thing. And even when I am in the mood, the hard part is finding the time. However, using the right organizational products gets me actually excited to clean and put my stuff in order. Plus, when everything has a place, you’re less likely to buy more things you don’t need. Since #WFH (working from home) is still continuing into 2021, staying tidy is more important than ever. Check out our favorite organizing tools below!

Since moving into our new office, we are taking all the organization tips we can get! And for more ideas for your home office, check out our guide to all things #WFH here.

Don’t Miss Your Beauty Sleep

Most adults don’t get enough sleep (and if you’re a parent, you know how it is.) The key is to establish a routine! Go to bed at the same time every night, even on the weekends, and avoid doing strenuous or stressful activities in the evening that get your heart rate up.

Take Self-Care Seriously

“Self care” kind of became a buzzword this past year, and we know why…2020 was stressful! Women especially tend to stay plenty busy taking care of others–so much so, they forget to take care of themselves. Take a minute to pause and really do something you enjoy.

Reach Out (From At Least 6 Feet Away)

This New Year’s Eve might not be the right time to pull out your party invitations. Last year was the Year of Being Isolated. Okay, so we weren’t like Tom Hanks in Cast Away, but sometimes, it felt pretty close. We’re hoping for more opportunities to be with family and friends in the next year. In the meantime, reach out via text, phone call, or a handwritten letter!

For a DIY idea on how to stay in touch this year, add confetti to this personalized post card for a party-for-one.

Get Crafty

Creating is one of the most therapeutic, fulfilling things you can do. You don’t have to be an “artist” to create, either. Anyone and everyone should do it! If you need some easy and fun DIYs, we have plenty you can try. In fact, we have a full guide for new creative hobbies to try out here. And if you have already sifted through the Lars Archives, order a copy of Craft the Rainbow!

We hope these resources help make your 2021 New Year’s Resolutions fun and exciting, instead of overwhelming! 

DIY Sparklers For New Year’s Eve

We’ve been busy sharing our favorite DIYs for a fun New Year’s Eve celebration, including paper crowns, 2021 glasses, and more from the Lars archives. Today we’re delving into a really fun project to add to these—some DIY sparklers!

Maybe you’re not a fan of actual fireworks, or the thought of going outside in the chilly night air on New Year’s Eve is not appealing. Either way, this craft is for you. These sparklers require no fire, no lighters, no matches…nothing. Which makes it perfect for the whole family to enjoy, even your youngest kiddos!

DIY Sparklers for New Year's Eve

All you need to make your own DIY sparklers is some colorful cellophane and some wooden dowels. And like many of our projects, this one is reusable.

DIY Sparklers

Materials:

Wooden dowels

Cellophane: We used gold, but also love this iridescent option and this colorful set. You can also use ribbon or tissue paper.

Scissors

Hot Glue Gun

Instructions:

  1. Cut three 12 inch by 5 inch strips of cellophane.

2. Create a fringe effect with each strip by cutting parallel lines down the full strip, making sure never to cut all the way to the edge of your material.

3. Once all 3 strips are fringed, take your dowel and begin gluing one strip on to the top of the dowel.. Starting on one side and twisting it around the skewer, adding a dab of glue when needed to keep it in place.

5. Do that for each strand creating 3 tiered layers at the top of the skewer.

6. Add 1 thin piece of cellophane around the bottom of the 3 tiers to add the finish touch!

This projects also makes for great cake toppers! Or use them for your New Year’s Eve party centerpieces, drink stirrers, tablescape and more.

New Year's Eve Cake Topper

For more creative New Year’s ideas, check out our New Year’s Eve archives.

Printable New Year’s Glasses

This project pairs perfectly with our New Year’s Printable Crown. And just like that last project, this one is printable (though not reusable…unless you invent time travel or take a Sharpie and cross out the 1 at the end, I guess). These glasses are classic for any New Year’s Eve party and they work for even the biggest party-poopers who don’t want to get all glammed up for a photobooth.

Did you know that New Year’s Eve Glasses have been around for 30 years? They were first popular because the numbers of the different years matched up perfectly with holes for the eyes. However, after 2009 ended, so did the era of New Year’s glasses with double zeros in the middle. Not to worry, though! Most places have found a creative workaround.

We have three types of glasses: The folk, The Flower, The Cloud. You can select your favorite and go for it!

The Flower

Just a dash of floral, of course!

The Cloud

Cloud eyes with a rainbow nose bridge!

The Folk

These ones are my favorite! Love how wild they are!

Printable New Year’s Glasses

Materials

Instructions

  1. Print off the templates
  2. Cut around the templates (it’s easier to cut out the inside of the glasses with a craft knife as opposed to scissors
  3. Attach the sides of the glasses with glue or tape

Need some more New Year’s Eve ideas? Check out our archive here.

New Year’s Star Crown
New Year’s Invitations
New Year’s Resolutions

Printable New Year’s Crowns

NYE Party Accessories

We’ve made New Year’s printable crowns in years past, and this year our crown is inspired by our wrapping paper. We’ve done a few in the past (see here and here) and they’re always a crowd favorite, so we thought we’d add to the group and fill it with all the craziness that this year has been–lots of patterns and colors, of course!

Like every other holiday this year, New Year’s Eve is bound to look a little different. But you still deserve to get a little glitzed up, even if you’re lounging in sweats as you watch the ball drop (wait…has that been canceled?).

Of course, the older I get (and the more kids I have), the more New Year’s Eve becomes just another night in, and I don’t usually make it to midnight. Still, I think 2021 needs a nice big welcome from humanity so we don’t get a repeat of this year…

Printable New Year’s Eve Crowns

These crowns are a cinch to put together. You could even leave out the paper and let everyone make their own! Could be part of the night!

Materials

Instructions

  1. There are 8 patterns in the PDF (here). Use two patterns per crown (or print off more to put the same pattern together. We recommend printing onto cardstock! Keeps them sturdy and reuseable! We designed them on 11×17″ paper so they could be big! If you don’t have that size for your home printer, we used our local print shop.
  2. Tape the two pieces from the inside and glue on the outside so you don’t see the seam.
  3. The tab is meant to be adjustable to the size of the head. Cut a slit where the head fits comfortably.
  4. Glue on poms for maximum effect.

We’d love to see your crowns in action. Tag us with #LarsMakes or #HolidaysWithLars so we can see them!

Other NYE Projects

If you liked this project, you’ll love these ones:

Galaxy paper crown tutorial is here (it’s got that vintage look we all love)
Printable NYE crowns
NYE party invitations
DIY Star Crown

2021 Planners To Make Next Year Everything You Hoped 2020 Would Be

Even if you’re not into planners, you will be after looking at the fun 2021 planners we’ve picked out. Last year we had so much fun choosing different planners for everyone.

In John Lennon’s song “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy),” he included the famous line from Allen Saunders’ in a 1957 issue of Readers Digest: “Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.” Nothing could be more true of this past year, 2020!

And yes, the things we plan for don’t always pan out, but planning ahead gives us a sense of organization and accomplishment.

2021 Planners For Creatives

 

  1. For the Minimalist
  2. For the Botanicals Lover
  3. For the Busy Mom Who Likes Pretty Things
  4. For the Goal Setter
  5. For the Student
  6. For the Neutrals Enthusiast
  7. For People Motivated by Stickers
  8. For Working from Home
  9. For the Classic Planner
  10. For the Planner on the Go
  11. For the Designer
  12. For the Maximalist
  13. For the Optimist
  14. For Self-Reflection
  15. For the Journal-Keeper
  16. For the Detail-Oriented Planner
  17. For the Ticket Stub-Saver
  18. For the Overachiever
  19. For the Entrepreneur
  20. For the Dreamer

2021 Planners Accessories

 

For some other great planners companies, check out our guides from 2020 and other years past.

Pin this!

2021 planners for creatives

DIY Gold Foil Star Crown

We could have bought one for her as our gift, but what’s the fun in that when you can make it yourself and then have that added special sentiment? We made a template just for it so you can either hand cut it or put it into your craft cutter.

DIY Paper Gold Star crown

Materials:

Instructions:

  1. Using the template cut and out as many stars as you will need. The amount of stars you need will vary depending on the size of the head you are creating the stars for. All of the large stars have 3 stars stacked and the small stars are stacked with two.
  2. We used a craft cutter to cut out stars but you can do this with scissors or an x-acto knife.
  3. Once you have the right amount of stars cut out you will gold foil them.
  4. To gold foil the stars you will apply a small amount of gold leaf adhesive, allow 10 seconds to dry and apply a sheet of gold leaf.
  5. Allow 2-3 minutes for the gold leaf to set and then gently brush away using your soft bristle brush.
  6. Repeat step 5 on the other side. If you feel it looks okay you can just cover one side, however, Later on you will turn the edges up slightly which may reveal more color than you would like to see of the back. We covered both sides.
  7. Once all of your stars are foiled you will begin to stack them.
  8. To stack your large stars you will use a variation of three sizes of large stars and to connect them you will use a small dab of hot glue. Be sure you are placing them correctly because if you have to pull it off to replace it it will pull off the gold leaf.
  9. For the small stars you will repeat step 6 however you will only stack 2 of the small ones.
  10. Once all of the stars are stocked correctly you can begin laying them out on top of the string so you can adjust the placement and check that you have enough to make sure you have enough of the stars.
  11. Once they are all positioned correctly you can apply them to the ribbon with a small hot glue dab to the gold ribbon.
  12. Once all the stars are attached you will use a dab of hot glue to connect your ribbon ends, try to strategically place your stars so that the stop where the ribbons overlap is covered by a star.

Would love to see if you make it! Tag us with #LarsMakes so we can take a lookie! 

New Years Resolution Printable

 

Are you pro New Years Resolutions or against them? Either way, this printable was created with YOU in mind! You can use it for setting self-improvement goals or perhaps you’d like to treat it as more of a bucket list for the year! Different strokes for different folks. Whatever your personality is, we can all commit to making 2019 an awesome year.

We revamped our book art illustrated by Libby VanderPloeg (which you guys went CRAZY over) to create this printable in hopes that you’ll set some super resolutions for next year. I wrote mine down for your viewing pleasure, so show me yours! Tag @houselarsbuilt on Instagram and include #LivingLargeWithLars. What are your hopes, dreams, aspirations, for the new year? As you know, we’re all about making dreams come true at Lars 😉

New Years Resolution Printable

Download the New Years Resolutions 2020 Printable and get to planning your awesome year! 

New Years Paper Crown

 

New Year’s Eve is almost always portrayed with a huge party, kissing a stranger, and a carefree night on the town. We’ve all seen the movies right? Personally, I’d rather be eating a cheese plate, watching the ball drop in New York from the comfort of my living room, while dressed in my comfiest loungewear. But that’s just me. To each his own!

However you wish to celebrate, we all deserve to look a little festive. Even if that just means jazzing up the pajamas, we support any celebration style! We made a printable New Years Paper Crown that will look adorable with any getup, whether for a party downtown or a night in. We’re crazy about our New Years Crown for last year, but this one is equally sweet and much simpler if you’re suffering from a little post-Christmas exhaustion (Please tell me I’m not the only one!). Although I do think New Years Eve is a little overrated, I love thinking about the possibilities of the future and what the new year holds in store. This printable paper crown has a magical feel to it that makes me giddy for new and exciting things to come!

New Year’s Eve star crown

 

I have to admit that my New Year’s celebrations tend to turn into duds. Maybe it’s exhaustion from Christmas? Who knows. We made this New Year’s star crown to combat any potential duddy celebrations. I’m pretty sure if you wear it, good things will happen to 2016. No promises, just almost positive 🙂New Year's eve star crown

 

DIY New Year’s Eve star crown

Materials:

  • chipboard (or cardboard would work too)
  • silver spray paint
  • silver glass glitter (we used this stuff)
  •  glue
  • silver wire
  • glue gun
  • headband
  • silver rick rack
  • paintbrush you don’t mind ruining with glue

Instructions:

  1. Cut out stars out of chipboard. We used a craft cutter to do ours. We did 6 (3 front and back) larger stars (2.5″) and 14 smaller ones (7 stars total front and back) (1.5″).
  2. With your paintbrush, glue the tops of the stars and sprinkle the glitter on top.
  3. Cut out two pieces of silver wire, one at 10″ and the other at 12″.
  4. Wrap rick rack around the headband and at the bottom of the wrapping insert and glue in the two pieces of wire.
  5. Keep on wrapping the rick rack around the headband and repeat to the other side of the headband so the two pieces of wire are staggered in height.
  6. Affix the stars to the wire starting with the middle stars and working out. Attach a star to the back as well.
  7. Voila!

Now! Where are you going to be for New Year’s?!

New Year's eve star crownnew-year's-eve-star-crown-8

Photography and crafting by Ashley Isenhour

New Year’s Eve party ideas

Now that you’ve got the crown, it’s time to think about the rest of your New Year’s! If you’re throwing a celebration with friends or family, send out some invites! These printable New Year’s Eve invitations are the cutest way to let your guests know the details! You can also find a matching printable crown (perfect for younger kids or adults!). If you want to go for colorful decor (who doesn’t?!), you can take a look at this art deco New Year’s tablescape we made. For the ultimate showstopper, take a look at how to make your own disco ball ceiling installation. Add some metallic fringe to match your New Year’s Eve star crown!