DIY Copper Leaf Wreath

Welcome to Fall!  

... That may be a solid part wishful thinking, as we're still seeing 90 degree days in the Carolinas, but I'm rolling with it.  To embrace the change of seasons (and to give myself an alternative to the clearly winter wreath I've been rocking on my office door), I made this Copper Leaf Fall Wreath!

I really like how it turned out, and I love the copper color (though my secret hope is that it will develop a patina over time, and be even cooler looking).  This was a great project for sitting and catching up on television shows or podcasts - brainless enough so that it doesn't require intense focus, and pretty hard to screw up.

Tutorial: Copper Leaf Wreath

Let's start with the materials.

I know that there's wire pictured here, but I really only used that to make a loop so that hanging the wreath was a little easier.

I know that there's wire pictured here, but I really only used that to make a loop so that hanging the wreath was a little easier.

For materials, I used the following:

  • 12" wire wreath form (I started out with 18", but underestimated the amount of copper I would need to complete it)
  • One roll of 40-gauge thin copper (available here from Hobby Lobby) - 12" x 30"
  • One pre-made ribbon bow from Michael's
  • OPTIONAL: Set of embossing tools, also from Hobby Lobby.  I bought these, and used them, but you could totally multi-purpose other tools to trace the shapes on to the copper - it's really soft and easy to work with.

Total cost, utilizing sales and coupons - $15-$20.

The process is pretty simple.  I cut strips of the copper that were approximately 3" x 12" and then cut that down to squares/rectangles.  Once I had a pile of soon-to-be-leaves, I drew leaf shapes on the copper, using the metal embossing tools (which are basically just tools with rounded points that can be used to make indentations on the copper - you could also use the tip of a mechanical pencil without any lead).

This is not, not, not an exact science, so don't worry if your leaves end up looking a little lopsided.  They'll be layered anyway, so no one will ever see an entire leaf at once.

After you have the outline drawn, you can add additional detail (some of my leaves were more detailed than others, and it causes the light to reflect differently, which adds some depth to the wreath), and then cut out the shape.  I used a regular pair of craft scissors, and they worked really well.

See?  Totally lopsided.  Oh well.

See?  Totally lopsided.  Oh well.

I generally worked with three basic leaf shapes, as identified through a google image search of "leaf shapes."  These were helpful for showing both outlines and where veins/detail would go.  At the beginning, I left super long stems to attach the leaves to the wire in the wreath, but you really only need ~3/4" for a secure wrap.

To attach the leaves to the wreath form, wrap the stem around the two middle wreath wires.  I arranged them so that the leaves alternated pointing to the center of the wreath or away from the wreath, which generally covered the attachment points of earlier leaves.

At this point, it's mostly just a matter of working your way around the wreath.  I did enough leaves to cover all but ~6" of my 12" diameter wreath form, which used the entire sheet of copper.  I then attached the bow directly to the wire form, and spent a lengthy amount of time fluffing it appropriately.

And there we have it!  Here's a shot at home...

And here it is on my office door!  Very seasonally appropriate :)

Follow me on Pinterest to see more of my projects!

DIY Framed Wall Art

Let's start by imagining that DIY is all about the journey, and not about the destination.  We have to imagine, because it's only partially true.  However, I'm choosing to take a more Zen approach.  Why might that be, you ask?  Well, it might be because I worked quite diligently on only two projects this weekend (this one and this one), and failed to get either of them to a point where I feel they're ready for the next round of photos.

So instead, I turn to one of my best friends, who made some pretty sweet wall art this weekend.

Wall Art 1

See, a while ago, she got a whole bunch of these frames from World Market.  But for a while, they hung empty, in place, waiting for something that would both look awesome and coordinate with her curtains/bedding.

Empty Frames

After a mostly fruitless search, she opted to go ahead an make something more customized to her vision.

DIY Framed Wall Art

Materials: Pretty paper or fabric; acrylic paint; foam brushes; and stencils, lace, or doilies.  Large stamps would also work well for this craft.

Materials

Process:

  • Using whole sheets of paper or pieces of fabric as the base, position the stencil.  Depending on the size of the stencil, you may want to lightly tape it down, or use a repositionable adhesive, like this one.
  • Dip your brush in the preferred paint, and then dab off the excess paint on a paper towel.  The goal here is to ultimately dab very little paint on to the actual stencil, thus preventing big globs of paint to disrupt your pattern.
Stencil
  • Wait a minute or so after each painted relief has been completed before removing the stencil or doily, to prevent smudging.
  • For some frames, you may want to use more than one piece of paper.  In these cases, attach the base pieces as desired prior to painting, to ensure that everything lines up appropriately.
  • Once the paint has dried completely, trim your paper or fabric to fit each frame.
  • Rehang, and stand back to admire your awesome new wall art!
Easy DIY Framed Artwork!

Easy DIY Framed Artwork!

Thanks for letting me narrate your process Jenn!!

Bow Tie Cat Collar Tutorial

 ... This is Owen's "moody model" face.

Everybody's crazy 'bout a sharp dressed cat!

Everybody's crazy 'bout a sharp dressed cat!

We have four cats.  Which is a lot.  And one of the things common to all of our cats is that they can remove themselves from a breakaway cat collar in record time.  They're all indoor cats, with very little interest in the outside world, so this wasn't a huge deal, but having four naked cats running around wasn't really ideal either.

Enter my mother in law, who is an awesome art quilter.  Before our wedding, she made all of our cats seersucker bow tie collars, so that they would be appropriately festive and theme-appropriate for our big day.  Since then, we've gone through a number of collar iterations, which the cats seem more or less indifferent to, and thus take them off much, much less frequently.  Here's the skinny.

Bow Tie Cat Collar Tutorial

This is a pretty straightforward process.  Start by measuring your cat's neck (or a previous collar), and gathering your materials.

Polka dots are super in this summer.  At least, they are for our cats.

Polka dots are super in this summer.  At least, they are for our cats.

In terms of materials, I use two different patterned cottons and 1/2 inch wide elastic.  Tags can be attached via a D-ring or a key ring type attachment, depending on preference.  You're also going to want to have a safety pin handy.

Start with the elastic.  Owen's neck measures around 10.5 inches (I say "around" because he's not really a "keep calm and be measured" kinda fellow), so I cut my elastic at 9.5 inches.  You want it to be tight enough that they won't be able to hook it on something and pull it off.

Take the fabric that you want for the collar itself (I used the green and white), and cut a 1.75" sleeve, if you're using 1/2 inch elastic.  If you're using a different size elastic, double the width of the elastic you're using, and add 3/4 inches to the width.  The length of the strip should be twice as long as your elastic, plus about an inch.  So, my green strip was 20 inches long.

Fold the strip in half lengthwise, right sides facing inward, and sew the two raw edges together, using a 1/4" stitch.  This should form a long tube.

Stitching

Once you've done that, turn the tube right side out by pinning a safety pin to one end, and using that to guide that end through the tube.  Once it's fully right side out, cut five inches off the end of the tube (so I had two tubes, one 15 inches and one 5 inches).  Use the safety pin again to guide the elastic through the longer tube, making sure to leave an elastic tail outside of the cotton fabric.

Tube.jpg

If you're planning to attach tags using a D-ring, thread the D-ring on to the tube here.  If you forget (as I do, pretty much every time I make one of these), I have opted for the key ring attachment with great success in the past.

To ensure that the elastics don't separate, sew the two ends together.  I usually use a zig zag stitch here.  Once they're sewn, it's a good opportunity to try the collar on your cat, and make sure that the sizing is correct.  If it seems a little loose, just trim the elastic and sew the two ends back together.

stitching

At this point, you should have plenty of scrunched up cotton on the elastic.  Take one end of the cotton, and feed it inside the other, leaving a continuous collar with only one raw edge.  Stitch the raw edge down (again, I used a zig zag stitch).

Collar

Now for the bow tie.  Take your second fabric, and cut a 9 inch strip, at the same width as your first strip (so mine was 9 inches by 1.75 inches).  Follow the same process used above to create a fabric tube.  Once you have that, cut a two inch piece off.  These are the tubes that you'll need to create the bow.

Using the two longer pieces, form rings by inserting one end of the tube into the other.  Place the shorter ring on top of the longer ring, and wrap the shortest piece of fabric around both of them (as seen below).

Bow

If you have one, now is a good time to switch your regular sewing machine foot out for a walking foot.  If you don't have a walking foot, either go really slowly, because it's a lot of fabric for the machine to work through, or consider attaching these by hand.

Sew the bow tie together.  I used a straight stitch, and stitched a box and an "X" over the center orange fabric.  This catches all layers, while still allowing the "bows" to be fluffed for some depth.

The last step is to attach the bow tie to the collar.  Try to line it up so that one of the ends of the bow covers the collar stitching that you've already done, but don't center the bow on the existing stitching, as this just adds additional layers for the needle to get through.  Use the walking foot, or sew the two pieces together by hand.

I traced the box and the "X" when attaching the two pieces.

I traced the box and the "X" when attaching the two pieces.

And there we have a pretty handsome collar!  Overall, this project took me approximately one episode of CSI: New York (currently my go-to sewing show).

And, because everyone needs this, here are some other pictures of Owen, who is also very handsome.

I'm not going to say that he's my favorite.  But we both know.

I'm not going to say that he's my favorite.  But we both know.

That's it!  Anyone have any other cat collar alternatives?