Orange Juice, ETC

The blog of Elias & Theresa Carlson

Tag: DIY

DIY: Cement Diamonds

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While at my parents house this summer, my mom and I did a little cement diamond project. Our inspiration and instructions came from A Merry Mishap. Though Jennifer’s instructions were just what we needed to complete our project I wanted to go a bit more in depth here.

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What You Need:
Printer Paper
Clear packing tape
Scissors
Cement – We used Sakrete Portland Cement Type I-II*
Plastic tub or bucket – For mixing cement
Rubber gloves
Water
A box filled with dry soil or sand
Sand paper – 80 to 120 grit

*You should consider doing this project with a friend because it would be more fun, and these bags of cement are huge!

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First you must print your diamond template, this will become your mold. Take your packing tape, and carefully coat your template front and back. Overlap the tape edges just slightly so you have no paper showing through.

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For our version, we removed one side of the diamond giving it six sides rather than seven. This makes a stronger mold resulting in straighter edges and a more elongated final product. In order to make this shape cut out the template and remove the “lid” which is unnecessary, and cut off one of the short tabs – see photo above.

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Now fold all of the dotted lines with a strong crease so the edges of your diamond do not end up rounded. I used the edge of my scissors to make sure I was getting a good fold.

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Your diamond should now be starting to take some shape. Hold the side where you removed the “tab” and draw it in so it overlaps with the other side of your diamond creating a point at the bottom. Put a strip of packing tape from the point to the tab.

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One by one fold all of the tabs in (they should already be creased) and tape them to each other to create a solid mold.

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It’s cement time! I would recommend doing this outside, possibly with an apron, to make sure none of your favorite things get ruined. Be sure you have all of your supplies together so you can move quickly through this part. Pour some dry cement into your tub and slowly add water, mixing with your gloved hands. I do not have specific measurements for this but you want to end up with a consistency that is easy to grab but melts a bit in your hand. Similar to mixing natural peanut butter.

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Fill your mold with cement carefully pressing the cement down into the point of the diamond. Fill it up to the top, almost overflowing, so you don’t loose any height. This part gets a little messy, especially if you are doing more than one. Don’t worry about getting cement on the outside of your mold, you will be peeling this off.

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Once your mold is full, set it into the soil/sand filled box. This will help support the sides of your diamond so they bulge as little as possible. Now let your diamond sit overnight to set up and solidify.

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After your diamond has dried overnight, you can remove the paper.

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Your diamond may be exactly what you want at this point but we wanted the sides to be a little smoother, and a little flatter. We used 80 -120 grit sand paper to sand down the sides and bottom to achieve a more polished look.

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If your first diamond doesn’t turn out exactly the way you want it, try again. We ended up with some that were a bit misshapen, some with holes from air pockets, some with rounded sides, but we found that the imperfections give them a bit of character. I hope you enjoy this project as much as we did!

DIY: Fringed Suede Purse

For quite some time now I have been on the lookout for a suede bag with fringe. Each time I stop in at a thrift store I head back to the purse section and scan the rack for fringe to no avail. It finally dawned on me that I could end the search and make myself some fringe.

I re-directed my focus to finding suede. There were small pieces of suede at my local fabric store but I decided to go a more economical direction and start scanning thrift stores for suede jackets, a much more manageable task. I found one with large panels of beautiful suede for only $15. Jacket in hand, I was ready to make my purse.

Tip: If you wait for a sale you can get your suede jacket for up to half the price at your local Value Village or Goodwill. Memorial day weekend would be a great opportunity to nab one for a good buy.

What you need:
Suede – Decide what size you want your pouch to be and double that to accout for the front and back. If you want fringe, you will probably want triple the size of the final product. A jacket will most likely be plenty for the project.
Zipper – This should be about an inch or two longer than you want the opening of your purse to be.
Thread – Heavy
Sewing machine – You should have a needle that is larger than what you would use for normal sewing projects to accommodate the toughness of the suede and the weight of your thread. I just used the biggest one I had, if you ask at the fabric store they should be able to tell you what needle will be best.

The first thing to do is to make yourself a pattern. I used a regular sheet of printer paper and extended the length by placing another sheet on top a bit off center. Whatever size and orientation you decide is fine.

Next, lay your pattern out in a manner that allows you to cut out two pieces, leaving enough for fringe if you so choose. Trace around your pattern, I used a white pencil but you could use anything that will draw on the suede. Cut the two traced pieces from your pattern, it is important to have good scissors for this or you will not get a nice straight line.

You will notice on my bag that there is a seam down the middle in the picture below. I did not make this seam, it was a part of the coat. For the sake of making a larger purse, I chose to use the seams in my design.

Once you have your front and back pieces cut, you are ready to attach the zipper. Select one piece of suede and lay it down with the side that will be on the outside of the purse facing up. Lay your zipper down on the suede with the teeth starting about an inch from the end. The other side of your zipper should hang off of the end. Pin in place at the edge of the suede.

Attach your zipper foot to your machine and sew on the zipper starting at the teeth, an inch from the top, and stopping an inch from the end of the suede.

Tip: If you do not have a zipper foot or if you are not feel confident in this step, call your local shoe repair shop, they are usually willing to sew zippers on leather.

Once the Zipper is attached, lay the suede down in front of you right side up. Fold the teeth of the zipper up so that the piece looks like it would on a finished product. Notice however that the nature of the zipper is to flip back down. We want to sew this down so the zipper has a nice finished look in the end.

Keep the teeth of the zipper folded to the right and sew along the folded edge of the suede as shown in the photo above. Note that you will want to switch back to your regular foot for this process. When you are finished it should look like the photo below.

Now you are ready to attach the other side of the zipper to your second piece of suede. Do this using the same steps as the first making sure that each side of the zipper align so that it zips properly in the end.

Now that both sides of your purse are complete, you should cut your fringe piece (if you prefer to make the purse without fringe, just sew the two sides together as-is). the width of your fringe should be one inch less than the total length of your front and back as you want to account for a seam allowance on both sides. The length can be as long as you wish to make it, I made mine a little shorter than the completed purse.

Pin the fringe piece into place at the bottom center of either piece. You should pin this to the side of the suede that will make up the outside of your purse.

Pin both sides of the pouch together so that the outsides are facing each other and the zipper matches. Now sew around the purse on the three sides without the zipper at a 3/8 inch seam allowance. Be careful as you sew the side seams that you do not catch the fringe piece that is pinned inside. You only want it attached at the bottom.

Once you have sewn around the purse, before you turn it right side out, trim the corners as shown above. Make sure it’s not too close to your stitching. This will allow for a nice corner when you turn it right side out by taking out some of the extra bulk.

Now you can turn your purse right side out keeping the ends of the zipper on the inside.

You are almost done! The final step is the fringe. Using your sharp scissors, cut from the bottom of your fringe flap to about 1/4 inch from the bottom of the pouch. Continue until you have completed the width of the purse.

This project was a bit challenging for me as an inexperienced sewer but it was worth it. I finally have my fringe bag and I absolutely love it!

If you want to try a different look, think about putting studs on your purse or adding a wrist strap. Black with studs is next on my list!

Instructions for studding leather found here.

DIY: Studded Ballet Slippers

The idea of being a ballerina has appealed to me since I was in Kindergarten when Emily and I decided that was what we would be when we grew up. Not so much the sore feet and hours of training but the tutus and prancing about in little pink slippers is very tempting. Since I have never owned a tutu or even taken a ballet class, the Studded Ballet Slipper seemed like the perfect way to fulfill my dream of being a ballerina without looking like a 5 year old. I decided that instead of spending $50+ dollars on these I would see if I could make them myself for a lower cost and started looking for supplies.

I chose the Capezio Teknik Slipper in pink as they appear to be the same shoe that is used for the original Studded Ballet Slipper and since they say to order these in your street size, I didn’t have to guess on size*. I ordered the 1/2 inch Silver Pyramid studs from Studs and Spikes. The total cost for supplies came in at right about $30.00, almost half the price of the real thing!

Since the top-middle stud lines up with the bow on the slipper, that is the first one I did. I positioned the stud on the slipper where I wanted it to go and pressed it into the leather to leave an indentation as a guide for where I would cut slits to insert the stud.

With a sharp exacto knife I put small holes in the leather and through the fabric lining on the shoe in the places where my indentations were. Be careful only to insert the tip of your blade, even if the slit is not quite as big as the prongs on the stud, it is better that they be on the small side than on the large side. Once you start to insert the stud, the holes will stretch to fit the stud.

Next, I pushed the prongs of the stud into the slits I made with my exacto. By bending back the inside of the shoe I could see where the prongs had come through to the inside of the shoe. Taking a pair of pliers, I squeezed the two prongs together so they bent in towards each other. Since I could not get them to lay flat by using only this technique, I then inserted the pliers (any solid object will do) and pressed down on the top of the stud to make the prongs lay flat inside the shoe.

Following the triangle pattern I wanted to achieve, I continued to apply studs until both slippers were completed. This simple DIY took me about 30 minutes total, saved me money, and I ended up with a product that I think is just as good as what I could have bought, maybe even better since I did it myself! I might have to make a pair of black ones next…

*Note: When I got my slippers in the mail I thought they were too loose and I would have to return then for a different size. Then I realized that the cute little bow is an elastic drawstring. If you think you slippers are oddly baggy, just tighten up the strings and they will fit around your foot much better!