DIY Tips & Tricks
March 14, 2017
Saint Patrick’s Day originates from the traditional death date of the patron saint of Ireland on March 17, 461. For nearly 1200 years, he was largely forgotten—but then on March 17, 1631 St. Patrick’s Day was declared a feast day by the church in Ireland. In 1762, the first St. Paddy’s Day parade was held in New York City—and in 1798, green became the official color for the day. It was declared a public holiday in Ireland in 1903.
In the last 114 years, St. Patrick’s Day has become a globally celebrated holiday with annual parades and festivities on six continents—and even in outer space on the International Space Station in 2015.
Last year for the holiday, we shared some of our favorite Irish recipes with you—this year? We’re getting crafty with some good-for-kids DIY projects.
Here are five simple craft projects for your little ones to do for Saint Patrick’s Day:
Coffee Filter Shamrocks – via We Know Stuf
This was one of my favorites as a kid—and I was glad to find this beautiful DIY blog that summarizes the craft exactly as I remember it! All you need is circular coffee filters, green pipe cleaners, water, and green food dye—and they make an excellent decoration!
Shrinky Dink Lucky Charms – via The Tiny Funnel
Who remembers Shrinky Dinks from their childhood? They’re extremely easy to replicate with some #6 recycled plastic, sharpies, and an oven! The Tiny Funnel does a great job of summarizing how easy the project is—and you can make charms in any shape and color! From shamrocks to rainbows, this one is great for any age that can hold a marker! (With parental help, of course.)
Rainbow Glitter Shoes – via The Swell Designer
Add some color to your St. Patrick’s Day outfit with a pair of rainbow glitter shoes! You can find craft supplies—as well as a pair of shoes in your size—at Goodwill. Be sure to start this one a day or two in advance, so they have time to dry before wearing them.
Mini Pot o’ Gold Party Favor – via Make and Takes
Does your little one have a class St. Patrick’s Day party? Here’s a great little party gift that can start with some easily thrifted terra cotta pots and craft supplies, and are easy for little hands to help assemble.
Eraser-Stamped St. Patrick’s Day Shirt – via Cutesy Crafts
This craft is easy, quick, and ensures no one gets pinched on St. Paddy’s Day! Add a shamrock to a light-colored t-shirt in this simple, kid-friendly DIY project. All you need is a t-shirt, freezer paper, green fabric paint, and a pencil!
“To all the days here and after—May they be filled with fond memories, happiness, and laughter.” – Irish Toast
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February 13, 2017
Emerald City Comicon (ECCC) is just around the corner. Every spring, thousands of people make their way to the Washington State Convention Center for three days to celebrate all things comic culture—from the artists and storytellers that create them, to the movies, games, and toys they inspire—and a serious swath of pop culture and cult fandoms that have earned iconic and inspiring spots in the hearts of comic fans. (We’re looking at you, Star Wars.)
One fantastic tradition at comicons worldwide, including ECCC, is the cosplay (costume + play). Some cosplay costumes are over the top, featuring exquisite costume design work utilizing seamstress, sculpture, and makeup art skills—whereas others are simple (yet awesome)—and just a matter of putting together the right outfit.
We would love to see your finished costume! Share it with us by tagging @SeattleGoodwill on Instagram.
We’re giving away $25 to one lucky ECCC cosplayer for their costume! Enter to win at the end of this blog.
If you’re new to the cosplay world, but wanting to try it out at ECCC this year, here are a few tips before you start your costume:
- First and foremost, know the rules. Before you start hunting for pieces to your costume, or creating your weapon, check out ECCC’s FAQ page.
- Look at your character’s costumes in sections. Breaking down the costume can be helpful for finding what you need. For example, look at the base layer, then the outer layers, then the head/face, and the hand/footwear separately. It can help you identify the key components.
- Think functionally. You’ll likely be in your costume all day. Will you be comfortable? Will your design allow you to move, see what’s around you well enough to navigate without hurting yourself or others? Can you drink and eat while wearing your costume or use the bathroom?
- Keep it as lightweight and breathable as possible. Heavy costumes get uncomfortable and hot fast. Wearing a heavy wig can also contribute to overheating.
- Evaluate your skill level. It’s always good to learn new things and push yourself—but if you’ve never threaded a bobbin before, maybe this isn’t the year to sew your own steampunk Chewbacca costume. Being realistic about what you have the time, budget, and skills for will help immensely.
- Make a plan for shopping. Once you’ve broken down your costume components, you’re ready to make a list. Items, like base layers, fabric, hand/footwear—and sewing machines—can be readily found at Goodwill. (Check our weekly tag sales to stick to your budget.) Other items, like spray paint, or heavy duty adhesives might require a trip to your local craft or hardware store.
- Think outside of the box. A lot of components to cosplay costumes might seem hard to find—but if you think of how things can be repurposed and transformed, a whole new world of possibilities will open up. For example, if your costume needs stuffing—you can repurpose pillows and stuffed animals. If your costume needs a shield—a plastic trashcan lid and some spray paint might do the trick. Pool noodles and other foam floatation devices are a great source for the light-weight structure you may need to build your costume.
- Opt for fit over color. It is usually easier to dye a garment than to tailor one. Craftsy has an excellent tutorial on dyeing, and you can use a basic color addition to figure out what color dye you need to add to achieve the color you’re looking for (think blue shirt + red dye = purple shirt).
- Keep an “emergency kit” with you at comicon. As well-made as your costume might be, it’s always a good idea to keep a little sewing kit, gaff tape, and a makeup retouch kit.
- Give yourself some time. Between finding the right pieces, and assembling them in a way that functions and looks awesome—costumes can take some time. To avoid that hot-glue-mess-and-stress-filled-night-before-con, start the process now!
December 22, 2016
Saturday is the first day of Hanukkah! Also known as the Festival of Lights, or the Feast of Dedication, Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem after the Maccabean Revolt. It lasts eight days, and is celebrated by lighting candles each night, singing traditional songs, reciting prayers—and like many other holidays—eating traditional holiday food.
One of the traditional pieces of holiday décor—and an integral part of celebrating Hanukkah—is the menorah, a nine-branched candelabrum. Traditional menorahs are usually made of metal, with eight branches—four on either side—and a spot for the shamash (the candle used to light the other candles) in the middle, or somehow separated from the other eight candles.
Since we love doing all things DIY here at Goodwill, we thought we’d share some menorah DIY projects and some tips on making your own:
- Traditionally, menorahs should be placed in a high-visibility location such as a window facing the street, or at the entrance of your home. Think about how to create your menorah to fit one of those spots—and still be safe for burning candles.
- The candles should be in an even line—so no candle is above another, or in front of or behind another. The candles should be far enough apart that the heat from one isn’t melting another. (The exception is the shamash candle—which should be set apart from the other eight.)
(For more info on tradition and specifics, here’s an excellent resource.)
Gold Leaf Glass Menorah
This tutorial is a great way to learn how to use golden leaf—and has some great inspiration for using gold leaf on a simple, elegant menorah. Whether you do it with mason jars, or shot glasses—it will look great in a window, on an entryway table, or even on a shelf—without dripping wax, or the open flame of traditional menorahs. See the project from Aunt Peaches here.
This can be easily done with blocks from Goodwill’s toy aisle, a little paint, and a drill to add holes to hold the candles. With this project, you get to choose your own colors—and make it fit your own home. See the project from Martha Stewart here.
Upcycled Baby Food Jar Menorah
There are many ways to adapt this idea—whether you follow Moms & Crafter’s idea, or combine the gold leaf idea and this one to create something like this unique menorah from Chabad, or adapt our glittered mason jar DIY blog with baby food jars.
Kid-Friendly LEGO Menorah
Have a child who loves LEGO and DUPLO blocks? Invite them to help build this year’s Menorah. You can easily clean the blocks and add them back to the toy supply after Hanukkah by chipping off the wax that you can—and then washing them in very hot water to melt away the remaining wax. See an example from Cha Ching Queen.
We would love to see your DIY menorahs! Share it with us on Instagram, and tag @SeattleGoodwill and #GoodwillDIY!
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December 20, 2016
Nothing pairs with cold weather and the twinkle of Christmas lights like a hot beverage. Whether you’re into mulled wine, hot cocoa, spiced cider—it all just adds a little something to the holiday season. Earlier in our Holiday #GoodwillDIY series we showed you how to make some festive mugs to serve it in—now here is my personal homemade peppermint hot cocoa recipe and slow cooker cranberry apple cider.
Peppermint Hot Cocoa
This year, to accommodate some dairy-free guests, I made my cocoa with a base of unsweetened almond milk—and it was delicious. You can try it with other milk substitutes, too—or just regular dairy milk—but whatever you choose, I recommend getting something unsweetened. You’ll be adding plenty of sweetness.
10 oz. Dark Chocolate Chips
1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
2 Tsp. Peppermint Extract
2-4 Tbsp. Dark Chocolate Cocoa Powder
½ Gallon Milk or Milk Substitute
- Start by putting the milk in a pot over low heat—you want to heat it slowly to avoid burning, or a filmy layer at the top. The milk will likely take longer to heat than making the chocolate mixture to go in it will, so start the milk about 10-15 minutes before you start the steps below.
- Add the chocolate chips to the double boiler, and occasionally stir/scrape the bottom and edges as it melts. If you don’t own a double boiler, you can DIY one using a pot and a metal or glass bowl. (These items are easy to come by at Goodwill!).
- Once the chocolate is completely melted, add the extracts—stirring each time you add some.
- Add the cocoa powder as needed to absorb some of the extra liquid you added to the melted chocolate—add enough so there’s no liquid gathering at the edges of the bowl, but not so much that it starts to get clumpy.
- Remove the bowl from the double boiler, and pour the melted chocolate mixture into the milk—use a whisk to mix it well!
Once the ingredients are well-incorporated, it’s ready to serve—top it with marshmallows and a candy cane! (Or, if you want to make it an adult beverage—add a shot of Peppermint Schnapps or Peppermint Vodka.)
Slow Cooker Cranberry Cider
1.5 Liters Apple Cider
½ Liter Cranberry Juice (unsweetened)
2 Cups Orange Juice (Pulp-free, unsweetened)
3-5 Cinnamon Sticks
1 Tbsp. Whole Cloves
½ Cup Sugar (I like to use raw sugar for its molasses-like flavor!)
Cranberries/Orange Slices to Garnish
With the exception of the garnish, throw it all into the slow cooker on low heat for 3-4 hours. It’s that easy. Once it’s hot, you might want to throw the garnishes in the slow cooker so they’re not cold when you serve them with a hot beverage! (Want to make it an adult beverage? Add a shot of bourbon to the mug before adding the cider.)
Enjoy either of these recipes with friends and family—indoors or out!Add a Comment | Comments (0)
December 18, 2016
Next weekend, the end-of-year holidays will be in full swing. Saturday is Christmas Eve, and the first night of Hanukkah, Sunday is Christmas—and the following weekend is the end of Hanukkah, and we’ll say goodbye to 2016, and ring in 2017.
One of the reasons I love this DIY project is that it’s totally adaptable to whatever you’re celebrating over the next few weeks—or anytime. You can simply swap out bauble colors to match your interior décor, choose a different word or phrase to highlight, or change the contents of the shadowbox entirely for a different season or holiday. That’s one of the cool things about DIY projects—you can make it completely yours.For this project, I started with a small shadowbox frame, some silver, white, and red baubles (that fit within the depth of the frame) that I found at Goodwill, some silver glitter spray paint, white acrylic paint, some paint brushes, and I chose to reuse the lights from last year’s DIY String Light Ornaments.
Step One: Glitter
I started with a light coat of glitter spray paint on the inside of the glass on the shadowbox frame—and then gave it an hour or so to dry completely.
Step Two: Letter
If you want the paint to be on the inside of the glass like I did, you need to paint it on backwards. The easiest way to do this is to write it out forward on a piece of thin paper, outline it with a marker that soaks through the paper, then color it in on the backside of the paper. Place the shadowbox on top of the back side of the paper, and paint over your “stencil.” Paint thin, let it dry, and then paint again—repeat this until you have smooth edges, and opaque paint.Step Three: Baubles
After a little trial and error, I realized the baubles needed to go in before the lights. Not only did that allow a little extra give when closing the frame, but it helped the lettering pop a bit more with the shadows and backlighting.
Step Four: Lights
Fill as much of the rest of the shadowbox with lights—this is totally optional—but I thought it added a nice touch, and it brings a little light to the living room in an otherwise dark time of the year.
Step Five: Close The Shadowbox
The final step is to close the shadowbox. If the back of your frame doesn’t quite fit like mine, use a little hot glue to firmly attach the back.
In this whole process, the lettering was the most challenging and time-consuming. If you’d prefer, you can do the same thing by choosing a font you like, and printing your word in the size you want it, rather than hand-lettering. All in all, this project took about 30 minutes (excluding time spent waiting for paint to dry), and adds brightness and “joy” to the room!
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