As shown in the image above, you can decorate the witches in whatever ways you fancy them: A cute witch, a scary witch, a nice witch, a naughty witch, a young witch, an old witch… Make them smile or make them sneer. Let your imaginary witches come to life!
For step-by-step instructions on how to make these paper chains, go to one of my older posts on Halloween Paper Chains. There, you will also find free templates to make Jack O’Lantern and ghost paper chains!
Looking for more Halloween-related crafts? Click on any of the images below for more ideas:
If you have a skirt that you would rather wear as a pair of shorts, here is an easy way to make that transformation!
You will need:
a skirt with an elastic waist that is short enough and has enough fabric to make into a pair of shorts;
a pair of shorts that fits you well (to be used as a template);
tailor’s chalk or something similar to draw lines onto the fabric without permanently marking it;
a sewing machine;
sewing thread which matches the color of your skirt.
(Note: You can click on the photos to enlarge them.)
1. Turn your skirt inside out and fold it so that the centers of its front and back are along the folds.
Align and pin the side seams of the skirt, along the middle line, indicated by the pink arrow in the image.
2. Fold the shorts you will use as a template in half with their front side facing out. Make sure to stretch the fabric of their back side as well as their front side so that both layers are flat.
Then place the shorts on top of the front half of the skirt, as shown in the image.
3. With tailor’s chalk, trace the front curve of the shorts (highlighted in green) onto the skirt, from the bottom edge of the elastic waist to the tip of the crotch.
4. Put sewing pins along the traced line, while making sure that the two layers of the skirt remain perfectly aligned.
5. Set your sewing machine to the zigzag setting, 5 mm in stitch width and 1 to 1.5 mm (17-25 spi) in stitch length.
Before you start sewing the skirt, test the thread tension with a spare piece of fabric of a similar thickness and texture to that of the skirt. (Your zigzag stitches should look like the second image on the left.)
Then, sew along the traced line.
6. Repeat the previous steps on the back half of the skirt, making sure that the crotch end of the back curve and the crotch end of the front curve are the same distance from the hem (the distances marked in green in the image).
7. At this point, remove the sewing pins and try on the skirt to see whether the new seam lines fit you well. When doing so, hold the front and back layers together at the crotch to simulate a pair of shorts.
After making sure that you are happy with the seams, trim off the excess fabric along both of the seams, very close to, but not touching, the zigzag stitches.
8. Place the shorts on top of the front half of the skirt again, aligning their front curves.
9. Trace the inseam of the shorts onto the skirt, making sure that the line’s top edge meets the end of the front seam that you just sewed (indicated by the green arrow).
10. Insert a sewing pin along the line you just traced to hold the two layers of the skirt together. (Note: It is important that the sewing pin is aligned with the line.)
Then cut along the side edge of the skirt from the hem up to the crotch end of the seam, as shown with blue dots in the image.
11. On the reverse side, draw another inseam line. Here, you need to trace the direction of the sewing pin that you inserted in the previous step to copy the first inseam line.
12. Now, on the back half of the skirt, pin the two layers together. You do not need to draw inseam lines here. Simply make a cut along the side edge of the fold, as you did in Step 10 (along the blue dots).
13. Remove all of the sewing pins and refold the skirt, this time with its front layer on top of its back layer.
Align the front and back layers at the crotch, and pin them together along the inseam lines (which are highlighted in green). As you can see, the two lines connect at the crotch, making a V shape.
14. Sew along the V-shaped line, starting from one end, through the crotch and all the way to the other end.
15. Trim off the excess fabric by cutting along the stitching that you just made. Again, be careful not to cut the stitches.
16. Turn your newly transformed shorts right side out!
Your skirt has completed its transformation into a pair of shorts!
Below are some other DIY fashion projects that may interest you:
Here is how to make a quick and yet impressive-looking 5-strand braided bracelet. Because the bracelet is made with elastic cords, this bracelet is very easy to put on and take off.
You will need:
5 thin fabric covered elastic cords, in colors of your choice, approximately 40 cm (16″) or longer*
2 straight bobby pins, 5 cm (2″) or longer
1 clip board
2 rubber bands
1 pair of scissors
*40 cm (16″) was long enough to make a bracelet that is approximately 14 cm (5 1/2″) long. If you want to make a larger bracelet, please use cords that are longer.
Line up five fabric elastic cords in any order you like. Put two bobby pins onto them, one from one side and the other from the other side, at approximately 7 cm (3″) from one of their ends.
2. Hold the loose ends under the clip of a clip board.
Now you are ready to braid!
3. Separate the cords into a group of three on the left (purple, red and orange) and two on the right (green and pink).
4. Move the outer most cord on the right (pink) to the left, crossing OVER the cord next to it (green).
Now you should have four on the left (purple, red, orange and pink) and one on the right (green).
5. Move the outer most cord on the left (purple) to the right, crossing OVER the first cord to the right (red), UNDER the second (orange) and OVER the third (pink).
You should have three on the left (red, orange and pink) and two on the right (purple and green).
6. Now, you simply have to repeat Steps 4 and 5!
So, as you did in Step 4, move the outer most cord on the right (this time, green) to the left, crossing OVER the cord next to it (this time, purple).
7. Now, as you did in Step 5, move the outer most cord on the left (this time, red) to the right, crossing OVER the first cord to the right (this time, orange), UNDER the second (this time, pink) and OVER the third (this time, green).
8. Repeat Steps 4 and 5 until you reach the desired length for your bracelet, which should be slightly larger than your wrist.
(Note: Just as a reference, I made my bracelet 14 cm (5 1/2″) long.)
9. Once you reach the desired length, move one of the bobby pins from the start to the end of the braid.
Remove the braid from the clip board.
10. Fold the braid in half, aligning the two bobby pins together.
11. Hold the two bobby pins together with rubber bands on both sides.
12. Now you will make knots to tie the loose ends together.
First, hold the braid upright as shown in the image, so that the two bobby pins point toward you and the loose ends of the cords are at the top.
Part the cords held by the left bobby pin to the left (the left group) and those held by the right bobby pin to the right (the right group).
13. Separate the two cords that are the farthest from you from the left group (red and orange) and the one that is the farthest from you from the right group (pink).
(Note: Even if you have selected the same colors and alignment as I did, you may have colors that are different from mine in the following steps. This is because the alignment of the cords depends on the number of braids you make; i.e. the length of your bracelet.)
14. Make a square knot with the left (red and orange together) and the right (pink) cords.
Don’t make the knot too tight just yet.
15. Separate the cord that is the closest to you from the left group (pink) and the two that are the closest to you from the right group (purple and green).
Then, just as you did in Step 14, make a square knot with them.
16. Now you should have two pairs of loose cords in between the two knots. Make a third square knot with those loose cords.
17. Remove the rubber bands and the bobby pins.
Tighten the three knots while making sure to keep them lined up.
18. After making sure that the knots are tight, cut the loose ends off, leaving approximately 5 mm (1/4″) of each cord.
Use a lighter to slightly melt the ends of the loose cords. This will prevent them from fraying easily.
Ta-da! Your elastic 5-strand braided bracelet is finished!
Now that you know how to braid with five strands, you can braid many other things! For example, you can upcycle an old T-shirt to make a headband, braid your hair into an impressive weave, or even braid dough to make a loaf of beautifully woven bread! (Here is a tutorial on how to braid challah, which explains a type of weave with 5 strands that is slightly different from the one I used for this post.)
This tutorial describes an easy, quick, and economical way to reinforce the bottom of a backpack.
We treat backpacks rather roughly, often as though they were invincible. We stuff them to their limit, sometimes with heavy objects! We carry them on one shoulder, when they are meant to be carried on both shoulders. We throw them to the ground whenever we want to be rid of them. We sit on them as though they were chairs….
But the truth is that they are not indestructible. So, when the bottom of a good backpack starts to show some wear and tear, it is time to take care of it. Remember, your backpack deserves to be appreciated in return for its years of tireless service!
You will need the following to fix the bottom of your backpack:
Your backpack with a worn bottom;
A piece of thick fabric that is a few cm/inches larger and wider than the bottom of the backpack*;
Washable fabric glue**;
Some clips to hold the fabric in place while the glue is drying; and
A pair of scissors.
* This is a great upcycling opportunity to reuse some old but still sturdy fabric! For example, this time, I used a scrap piece of fabric that I had saved from when I reupholstered our couch.
** When selecting glue for this task, make sure that it is suitable for your fabric, that it is washable (so that you can wash your backpack in the future), and that it does not become really hard when dry. I used Aleene’s Fabric Fusion glue, and it worked well.
Clean the backpack and trim off any loose pieces from the inner side of its bottom. This way, you have a nice smooth surface on which to glue the reinforcing fabric.
2. Apply washable fabric glue to the flat surface of the inner side of the backpack’s bottom.
If your backpack has raised edges around its bottom, do not apply glue there just yet. You will do so in Step 4.
3. Place the reinforcing fabric over the glued area, making sure to leave enough loose fabric all around the edges.
4. If your backpack has a flat bottom without raised edges, skip to the next step.
If you backpack has raised edges around its bottom, apply glue there, as shown in the first image on the left.
Then carefully cover the edges with the fabric, making sure to smooth it with your hand. In doing so, gather any excess fabric at each corner of the bottom. As shown in the second and third images, apply glue onto one side of the excess fabric, and then fold it over to glue it onto the raised edge of the backpack’s bottom.
Hold the fabric in place with clips while the glue is drying.
5. When the glue is completely dry, trim the excess fabric around the edges to match the piping or seam around the bottom of the backpack.
Then, where necessary, apply more glue to attach the fabric’s edges onto the piping/seam, and let it dry.
6. The bottom of your backpack is now nicely reinforced.
Turn the backpack right side out, and your mending job is not visible from the outside!
Now your backpack is ready for more adventures! Where are you off to next?
This is a tutorial to make tiny flowers from craft pipe cleaners. When I made the Little Felt Rabbit, I wanted it to hold some flowers in its paws. So I first tried making daffodils with onion paper, but found it rather tricky to cut the tiny petals out of such thin paper. So, I came up with the idea of using craft pipe cleaners instead!
The finished daffodil is approximately 6 cm (2 3/8″) long from the top of the flower to the bottom of the stem.
The materials and tools that you will need to make a tiny daffodil are:
1 thin (4 mm) green craft pipe cleaner
1 thin (4 mm) yellow craft pipe cleaner
1 pair of wire cutters
1 pair of pliers
1 wooden skewer
Make a bend 1 cm (3/8″) away from one end of a green pipe cleaner. Likewise, make a bend 3 cm (1 3/16″) away from one end of a yellow pipe cleaner. Then, hook them together, as shown in the photo.
2. Wrap the 1-cm (3/8″) segment of the green pipe cleaner around the long end of that same pipe cleaner a few times.
Make sure that the green pipe cleaner is now firmly attached to the yellow one.
3. Using the longer end of the yellow pipe cleaner, make a 8-mm (5/16″) U shape at the wrapped end of the green pipe cleaner.
4. Twist the 8-mm (5/16″) U shape once.
Now you have the first petal!
5. In a similar manner, make two more petals, spacing the three petals evenly around the stem (the green pipe cleaner).
6. Now, repeat the process, making three more petals, this time under the first set.
Position them so that they are between the first three petals (which are greyed out in the photo).
7. Underneath the flower that you just made, wrap the loose end of the yellow pipe cleaner a couple of times around the green stem, and then cut off the rest.
Then, as shown in the photo, press the wrapped end of the yellow pipe cleaner with a pair of pliers to ensure that it is tightly wound and that its sharp end is not sticking out.
8. On the upper side of the flower, bend the loose end of the yellow pipe cleaner so that it lies flat against the petals, and place the blunt end of a wooden skewer on top of the center of the flower.
Then, wrap the loose end of the yellow pipe cleaner around the skewer, as indicated by the arrows in the photo.
9. Once the coil is made around the wooden skewer, shape it with your fingers to make a nice cylinder before removing the skewer.
10. Bend the green pipe cleaner 5 mm (3/16″) away from the bottom of the flower.
Your daffodil is now in bloom!
11. Let’s make a couple of leaves.
First, to make the stem, bend the green pipe cleaner 5 cm (2″) away from the bend that you made in the previous step.
12. To make a leaf, double over the green pipe cleaner 5.5 cm (2 3/16″) away from the bottom bend.
13. Loosely twist the 5.5-cm (2 3/16″) segment to make a long thin daffodil leaf.
14. Using the rest of the green pipe cleaner, make another leaf. When making this leaf, you may have a bit of excess pipe cleaner at the bottom.
If so, double over that excess and tuck it in between the two pipe cleaner segments of the second leaf.
In addition to the rabbit itself, this pattern also includes instructions to make a small basket, as shown in the image above. The tiny basket may not be big enough for real Easter eggs, but it can hold two jelly beans or a number of small pompoms!
Fulling is a great way to upcycle old wool knitwear by shrinking the wool into felt. Finished felt has great texture, as you can see in the above image of a fuzzy grey Simply Simple Dog! The thicker the original piece, the chunkier the resulting felt will be. Also, the looser the knit, the more the piece tends to shrink. But, most importantly, fulling will only work when the knitwear is 100% wool or mostly wool.
To manually full wool, you need: wool knitwear, hot water, a tiny bit of dish washing soap, a washbasin or sink, and a tool such as a washboard to help agitate the wool. A pair of rubber gloves also helps, especially if you want to use really hot water. Let’s get started!
1. Cut off the seams and edges of the old wool knitwear (here an old sweater), leaving only the flat areas.
2. Fill a washbasin or a sink with a bit of hot water. Add a tiny bit of dish washing soap and then a piece of your wool.
3. Knead the wool against a washboard, bubble wrap, or whatever else you are using to help agitate the wool fibers.
I do not own a washboard, so I used bubble wrap instead (this page suggests it as a good alternative). After giving it a try, I must say that I would have preferred to have a harder surface to rub the wool against than the bubble wrap, but it probably was more effective than rubbing it with only my hands.
If you are using bubble wrap, I recommend wrapping the bubble wrap around the wool and kneading it. That way, it insulates your hands from the hot wet wool a bit.
4. Every once in while, wring out the piece to see how much it has shrunk (it is easier to see its progress when not soaked).
The fulling process can take anywhere from a few minutes to a lot longer, depending on the kind of knitwear, the temperature of the water, how you agitate, and how fulled you want it. You may not see any difference during the first few minutes, but do not get discouraged. Just keep on going!
5. Once you are done fulling, rinse off the soap and quickly soak the felt in cold water.
6. Lastly, wring the piece and lay the finished felt on a clean flat surface to dry. To flatten the felt, pound on the felt with your hand. Be careful not to stretch the fulled wool.
Now I have some beautifully fulled felt ready for future projects!
The white wool in the above image had already been shrunk once in a washer, but it was still slightly stretchy. So, I decided to full it further by hand. It shrank by approximately 10% after 5 minutes of manual fulling.
Above is a close-up of the brown wool before and after the fulling. The piece shrank by about 22% after being manually fulled for approximately 10 minutes in very hot water. You can see how the wool fibers have bonded with each other and the knit stitches are almost invisible.
This DIY fidget ring is attractive and useful at the same time. When you are bored in class or in meetings, you can subtly play with this piece of jewelry on your finger without calling attention to yourself! The beads on this fidget ring are designed to rotate to keep your fingers entertained. I also hope that this fidget ring will offer a healthier alternative to “nervous habits” like nail biting!
The materials and tools that you will need to make this fidget ring are:
Stainless steel wire (size: 20 gauge (0.8 mm));
Seed beads, with a hole big enough to allow the wire to pass through them (I used 4 beads with a diameter of approximately 3.3 mm or aught size 6)*;
1 pair of wire cutters;
1 pair of needle nose pliers, I used bent chain nose pliers;
1 ring mandrel or a cylinder with a diameter that matches the size of your ring finger; and
1 strong rubber band.
*For those of you interested in the history of seed beads as well as their rather complicated size systems, here is an informative link.
1. Determine the size of the ring that you will make.
In the photo, I’m using a ring mandrel, but you can also use a marker or anything cylindrical with the same diameter as your ring finger.
If using a mandrel, wrap a rubber band around it right next to your ring size. This is not necessary when using a cylinder.
2. Tightly wrap the wire three times around the ring mandrel, right next to the rubber band, so that the diameter of the coils of wire matchs your ring size.
3. Cut off the wire so that the two ends are aligned at either side of the coiled wire, as shown in the photo.
The two coils of wire in the middle will become the ring.
4a. With a pair of needle nose pliers, bend 1 cm (3/8″) of one of the loose ends to form a right angle.
4b. Adjust the bent segment so that it is UNDER the coils.
5a. With the same pair of pliers, bend the short segment upward right next to the coiled wire, and wrap it tightly over the coiled wire.
5b. Continue to tightly wrap the segment around the coils one more time.
After making sure that it is tightly wound, as shown in the framed area (which is zoomed up in the second image), cut off the excess wire so that its end rests on top of the coiled wire (marked with a black line in the closed-up image).
(Note: The cut should be on the outside of the ring, so that the cut end will not be in contact with your skin when you put the ring on.)
6. Unbend the other loose end to form a right angle at the tight coils that you made in the previous step.
7. Slide four beads onto the loose wire.
8. Bend the loose end of the wire at a right angle right next to the last bead.
9. Bend the loose end with the beads down so the beads lie flat against the ring.
Then, start to wrap the loose end tightly around the ring.
10. Wrap the wire all the way around the ring.
11. After making sure that the wrap that you made in the previous step is very tight (if not, press it down with the pliers), cut off the extra wire so that the end of the coil is on the outside of the ring.
12. If you wish to keep the wires at the bottom of the ring together, you can wrap another short segment of wire there, as shown on the left.
Your fidget ring is now finished!
If you are a restless type who wants to keep your hands busy when you need to remain still, you may also be interested in learning about the benefits of doodling:
If you are interested in making accessories, you may also be interested in: