Braided Leather Wrap Belt

Here is a tutorial for a DIY braided leather wrap belt that seriously takes less than 30 minutes to make and cost around $3.00.  I went to Tandy leather company and a bought a bunch of leather scraps by the pound.  It was very inexpensive and the quality was great.  In the bin were these strips of leather already cut and they were about 60″ long.  Perfect for this project.

Here what you will need:

  • Good quality Leather/Vinyl 60″ in length or longer depending on the size of your waist
  • 24 gauge beading wire in gold tone
  • Brown DMC floss or brown thread
  • Scissors

Measure in about 3″ and take a piece of the DMC floss or thread and tie the leather pieces together.  Make sure it is secure and tie it a couple of times.  Trim the floss/thread.

For the braiding of the belt, take a place the leather strips underneath something heavy.  I used a leg of a chair.  When braiding, always make sure to braid with the finished side of the leather up.  Finish the other end of the belt with the floss/thread and repeat the same step as above.

Cut a piece of the thin beading wire about 24″ long.  You can eyeball this and add more or less depending on the look you are going for.  Place one end of the wire in the back of the floss/thread and the back of the braid like pictured above.  This will hide the end of your wire and prevent it from catching on your clothes.  Wrap the wire tightly around the leather.  I wire wrapped an area about 1/2″ thick.  Take the end of your wire and loop it through some of the wire on the back, pull it tight, and trim.  Repeat the process for the other end.

Now you have a great looking belt that doesn’t break the bank!

Arcimboldo Collages

I wanted to share with you some of the highlights from my annual student art show at my school.  This was a fun and easy art project to do.  This is perfect for students  5th – 8th grade.  My students are 7th and 8th grade and they absolutely loved it.   This is also great if you are just looking for a simple summer activity that requires very little supplies.

Here are some of the Arcimboldo collages that my students created.

They are quite funny and make for a good laugh.

If you are not familiar with Giuseppe Arcimbolodo’s work.  You should check it out.  He was a Renaissance artist known for his portraits using flowers, fish, vegetables, books, and nature.  He would create unique and fascinating portraits using these particular objects. Here are just a few examples.

Go to this website to check out more paintings done by Arcimboldo.

Here what you need for the project:

  • Old Magazines
  • Glue Stick
  • Scissors
  • Piece of Construction Paper
  • Lots of Imagination!

Your kids or students will have lots of fun making unusual portraits!

The Floral Print Owl Clock

The second challenge of One Crafty Contest was mod podge.  There were several ideas that went through my head.  I have used mod podge before for collaging various things, but I wanted this project to be extra special since I figured I’d be up against contestants that were going to do pieces of furniture.  I knew I wanted to do something that was going to be different, but cute and functional.  I came up with the floral owl clock idea.

This is what I wrote for the contest.  For challenge number two, I wanted to create a piece that was going to be both decorative and functional. My daughter loves owls and they also happen to be her grade school mascot.  So, when I came across a wooden owl cut out, I knew it would work perfect for this project.  To tie in to the colors of her bedroom, I pulled some coordinating decorative papers with the floral print and the blue design to mod podge to the surface of the owl. Button eyes were added to give it some sparkle & depth and a fun trim was used to finish the sides.  This is a one of a kind clock that was a real “hoot” to make.

Here’s what you need:

  • Wood Cut Out (This can be anything.  I got the owl at Michael’s for $1.50)
  • 2 different but coordinating pieces of scrapbook paper
  • Battery operated clock (Paid a little over $4.00 at Michael’s)
  • Larger clock Hands (The clock comes with a set of hands, but they were too small for this project)
  • 2 Buttons
  • Trim (This is optional.  You could always paint the sides of your wood cutout.  However, the sides would need to be sanded first.)
  • Drill 
  • Drill Bit 3/8″(Size of the battery operated clock.)  11/64 (Is the size I used for the backs of the buttons to fit.  This will vary according to your button size.)
  • Scissors
  • Paint Brush
  • Container
  • Newspaper
  • Piece of Sand Paper
  • Mod Podge


Start by prepping the surface of the wood cut out.  Lightly sand the surface.  Wipe clean with a slightly damp paper towel.

Flip the wooden cutout over and line the paper up with the cut out.

Flip it back over and apply the mod podge to the surface of the cut out so that it is enough to cover it.  Don’t over do it.  After doing that, apply mod podge to the back side of your paper.  Make sure your wood cut out is dry to the touch before applying and adhering the piece of scrapbook paper to the surface.

When applying take and start adhering you paper from one end.  I started with the top and worked my way down to the bottom.  This will help eliminate any of the wrinkles and bubbles.  Use a credit card or brayer to smooth out the piece of paper.  Let this sit and dry.  Trim the extra paper off with an x-acto knife.

Cut out the wings and repeat the same process listed up above.

Figure out where the placement of the center of the clock should be.  Temporarily put the clock hands on the clock to make sure you will have enough clearance all the way around the circumfrence of the shape.  Mark the center with a pencil.  Drill the hole for the center of clock based on what your clock size is.  Mine was 3/8″.

Cut out the beak for the owl and mod podge it in place.  Let it dry.  Mod podge the entire surface of your project with 3 to 5 coats.  I only did 3 coats and felt this was sufficient enough.  Measure the placement of your button backs and drill holes to insert the buttons into.  Secure with hot glue from the back. Attach trim if you wish to go this route.  Like I said, you could paint the sides if you opt to cut down on some cost or can’t find the right trim. Next, put your clock face on according to the directions on the package.  With some clock parts, you don’t have to worry about having to attach a hook to the back of your project to hang it from.  The battery operated clock piece that I used was designed with one.

Now, you have a one of a kind great functional art piece as well as a clock that’s like no other.  This would make a great gift for any kids room, new house, or any room in general for that fact.  Super easy and people will be really impressed!

Upcycled Clipboard

So I came across this clipboard at school.  It had been donated by a parent and was in very sad shape.  I decided to upcycle it and give it a whole new look.   I have this thing for polka dots, so I decided that was the design. This is going to be an end of the year gift for my daughter’s teacher.  What teacher wouldn’t LOVE this clipboard?

Here’s what you need:

  • One clipboard that is mdf and not the plastic type
  • 1-Can of spray paint for the base color
  • 1-Tube of acrylic paint/craft paint for the polka dot color
  • 1-Paint brush
  • 1-Can of clear coat gloss spray paint ( I used a high gloss varnish for sealing oil paintings by Grumbacher that you can find here.  I used this because it’s non-yellowing since I was using white.)
  • 1-2″ Circle Punch to get the circle shape (You could also use a lid to trace.)
  • Matching ribbon
  • Newspaper to spray paint the clipboard on

The Sad Clipboard

Start by spay painting the clipboard.  I put on a couple of coats on and made sure it was really dry.  Here’s a great tip for the actual clip part when you are spray painting.  Put a toothpick underneath the clip while you are spray painting.  Move as needed.  My husband came up with that.  I thought that was so clever. 

Next, trace the circles onto the clipboard using a pencil.  Do this lightly.

 Paint the circles with the acrylic paint.  You will have to paint a couple of coats to make sure your polka dots are even.  Do this to both sides.

After the acrylic paint has dried, seal it with the varnish or clear spray paint.  Don’t forget your toothpick for the clip.

Paint the initial on the clip.  I hand painted this and made the design up myself.  If you have a font in mind, here’s a quick transfer method.  Print out the size of the letter you desire in a Word document.  Turn the paper over.  Use the side of your pencil and scribble placing graphite over the back of the letter.  Cut around your letter.  Making sure you pencil has been sharpened, trace over your letter on the right side.  The graphite should show the letter exactly like the font.  Then paint in your initial.  Tah Dah!  A professional look of a Silhouette without the Silhouette.

Get your matching ribbon and cut several strands and double knot them.


This was an easy way to go from drab to fab for a simple object that is so often overlooked.  Now, I’m going to have to make one for myself.  This Art teacher can’t have a drab and boring clipboard.


Mother’s Day Photo Collage Project

I had the opportunity to go and teach a project at my daughter’s second grade class.  I thought it would be fun to incorporate the collage process while making a great project for Mother’s Day.  Can’t forget Mom’s!  This is an excellent project for grades K-6 and very inexpensive for classes with large numbers and the final product looks amazing.

My daughter Emma’s class has 33 students.  Yes, I know that’s huge.  Long gone are the days of small class sizes if you have your son or daughter in a public school.  So, this is a very feasible project for a large size classroom on a tight budget.

I got all of my supplies from Michael’s.  Remember don’t forget your coupons.  I found the cut out flower chipboard pieces in the dollar bin along with the acrylic butterflies.

Here’s what you will need:

  • I pkg. of the flower chipboard (comes with 5)
  • 1pkg. of acrylic butterflies (comes with 4)
  • 1 piece of ribbon (I chose light pink.)
  • 2 pieces of decorative scrapbook paper (One was double sided.)
  • Gloss or matt modge podge ( I used the gloss.)
  • Container to put the modge podge in
  • 1 paint or foam brush
  • Glue stick
  • Hot glue gun
  • Scissors
  • Stick on rhinestones (optional)
  • 1 kids photo

Start by cutting the decorative scrapbook paper into small rectangle/square pieces.  These do not have to be exact.  Older kids can be given strips of the decorative scrapbook paper and can cut the strips into the individual rectangle/square pieces themselves.  Also, if you are trying to save time on the project, you can pre-cut these pieces.

Next, either modge podge or glue the pieces of paper down using a glue stick.  Kids will need to cover the entire flower shape.  Pieces of paper will be overlapping, as well as, hanging off the flower shape.

Trim the excess paper off of the edges of the flower.  If your child is younger (K-2), you may want to do this for them.

Modge podge the surface of the flower using a paint brush and let it dry completely. Make sure that the surface isn’t tacky.

Have the child put their picture in the center of the flower.

Hot glue the acrylic butterfly to one of the corners. Tie a couple of pieces of ribbon to the top of the flower.   Embellish with some stick on rhinestones, glitter glue, or leave just as is.   Now, you have a great looking gift for Mom for Mother’s Day for less than $2.00 per project.  Enjoy!

Tissue Paper Easter Egg

If your looking for fun and simple Easter project that keeps those little hands busy, this one’s for you.

Tissue paper is inexpensive, colorful and can be used for many different projects.  This project is great for children in grades K-6.  Keep in mind for children in kindergarten and first grade, you should adapt the project by making the egg a little smaller due to  shorter attention spans.

This is what you will need:

  • Poster Board in white (Heavy weight paper.  Bristol board or tag paper will work also.)
  • Colored Tissue Paper (The Dollar Store sells a multi colored pack in pastel colors.)
  • Glue (tacky dries quickly)
  • Scissors
  • Containers (I used a total of five.  Four containers for each of the different colored tissue papers and one for the glue.)
  • Pencil

Lightly draw the shape of an egg onto the poster board for your child.  Older children who are doing this project can probably draw the egg shape themselves.

This egg is roughly 10-1/2 to 11″.

Cut out the egg shape.

Have your child draw and Easter egg design onto the egg cutout as a guide or framework for attaching the different colors of tissue paper. I recommend lightly sketching a design or concept before hand (rather than just going at it), because it helps develop visualization skills.

Cut tissue paper squares roughly 1″ x1″.  Separate the different colors into containers.

Have you child take a piece of the tissue paper square and place the pencil (eraser side down) in the center of it.  Gently give the tissue paper a little twist.  Holding the tissue paper onto the end of the pencil, lightly dip it into the glue.  Still holding the tissue paper onto the pencil place it on the egg shape, and release.

Keep filling in the areas of the egg with tissue paper until the egg cutout has been covered completely.

This egg project kept my daughter occupied for about 2 hours (one hour for two afternoons). This was great project for my little busy body and she loved it!

Have fun with this project and Happy Easter!

Rainbow Hands

Here’s a great art lesson to teach color and color theory for kids ages 2 through 6. It is a super fun activity for kids anytime of the year, who doesn’t love a rainbow?

Materials you will need:

  • -Finger Paint
  • -Drawing Paper (I prefer not to use finger paint paper for this project because it’s a little too slippery.  Regular drawing paper is just perfect because it has a little texture which is great for applying the hand prints and little hands don’t slide as much.)
  • -Spoons or Paint Brushes
  • -Mixing Trays/Plates/Bowls
  • -Glue Stick
  • -Newspaper
  • -1 Piece of Constructions Paper (any color 12 x 18)
  • -Cotton Balls (4 to 6)

Begin by putting your finger paint in the trays.  Place a dab of each of your primary colors in a tray.  These three would be red, blue, and yellow.  To create your secondary colors, place a tray between each of your two primary colors. This helps the children to visualize the color relationship and see the colors side by side before they begin to stir the paint.

After explaining which two colors make the third color when mixed together, have your child mix them with a spoon or paint brush.

Line up all of your containers in a row in the rainbow order.

Now that you have this, it’s time to make the hand prints.  I have tested both of these two ways.  First, I put Lily’s hand directly into the finger paints.  This left too much finger paint on the paper and the hand print was not very clear.  The second and best way I found to make the hand print was to take either a foam brush or regular paint brush and paint the finger paint directly to your child’s hand.  To ensure that your child’s hand makes it to the area of paper you are aiming for, use the hand over hand method. Do this for each of the six colors, washing hands after each color has been used.

Let the finger paint hand prints dry. If you want to speed up this process, you can use a hair dryer. Cut each hand print out. Next, glue each hand print in order of the rainbow with a glue stick. Cut out two clouds, one for each of the sides of the rainbow. Glue these down too. Put a couple of books on top of the project and let it sit for a couple of minutes. This will prevent the edges of the hand prints or clouds from peeling up. After everything has dried and been flattened, have your kids glue the cotton balls on top of the clouds.

Now, you have made a fabulous looking rainbow and a keepsake project for your scrapbook while explaining to your kiddos how the 3 primary colors (red, yellow, &blue) make all the other colors in the rainbow.

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