Easily craft beautiful hope and joy napkin rings for Christmas dinner with this quick tutorial, and then send free printable nativity cards that celebrate the true meaning of Christmas. In this way you may offer the message of abounding hope and joy for the Christmas season.
In order to make the napkin rings, you will need a wired ribbon of 1.5 inch width. Choose any pattern of colors to coordinate with the table linens you plan on using. You will need to cut a 6 inch strip for each ring you plan to make, and then you can use the leftover ribbon for coordinating wreaths or packages. You’ll also need miniature word ornaments or scrapbooking embellishments. (This ribbon was 40% off at Hobby Lobby, as were the adornments which were available in various metals and words.) You can also go a step further by bending wire to form a cursive word… but on this day I was going for a quick and easy 5 minute project!
Place a line of glue along the decorative side of the short end of the ribbon. Slightly overlap that edge over the other, and press firmly for lasting adherence. (Use a silicone finger guard to protect yourself from the heat while pressing.)
Flatten the rings with the seam centered on the underside. Use a glue like E6000 to adhere the metal to the glittered ribbon, as it grips unlike surfaces well. Just use a dot of glue at the center of the word. Let them dry overnight.
My free printable card is a great way to send Christmas blessings celebrating the true meaning of the holiday to everyone on your list. Print out the exact number you need, when you need them, without having to go back to the store for extra boxed sets. It’s much simpler and far less expensive to buy bulk boxes of envelopes for year round use. (Check my arts & crafts webpage or index webpage for my ever-growing selection of free printables… free for noncommercial personal use only!) To print the cards, simply right click on the image above and select print. One page equals one 5×7 card… so choose the number you want to make, and select color and photo quality settings.
Cut along the colorized edge of the rectangle and fold in half. If you really want to make the card shine, spread opalescent glitter glue over the halos and stargazes, and then let them dry overnight before sending. (In person, the dramatic difference is worth the 10 seconds per card.) You can handwrite a line of scripture (like the one below), or use a dollar bin stamp as an easy way to add a special Christmas message of your choice to the inside of each card. (Le fidèLe Designs affiliate store Michaels offers these often.) This is a great project to involve the whole family with an assembly line of printing, cutting, folding, stamping, glittering, and then group signing. You spend less money, and the hand crafted card is appreciated more by the recipient (at least from what I’ve experienced.)
“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” Romans 15:13 KJV
Celebrate Halloween with colorful Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) party décor inspired by traditional ofrenda symbolism. It is an edifying means of incorporating both traditions into an event that seeks to cultivate an atmosphere of cultural understanding. By recognizing the universal conditions of love, life, and death through festivity, we can be united as one people comprised of a beautiful mosaic of ethnic tradition. In this way, revelry becomes a means of dispelling the negative cultural bias that plagues the nation, so that we may move forward together in celebration.
Lit candles are said to illuminate the path for the visiting spirits of loved ones. Representing fire, these may be in the form of Catholic religious candles depicting santos (saints), luminarias (lanterns) made of pierced paper bags or cans, or plain wax candles. Perritos (little dog figurines) are presented in symbolic gesture regarding the idea that dogs guided ancestral spirits to the afterlife. (Because surely “all dogs go to Heaven”!) Mariposas monarcha (monarch butterflies), that migrate to Mexico through Texas in the fall, represent visiting ancestors. Wild yellow and orange Mexican marigolds (cempasúchil) are known as the flor de muerto (flower of the dead). They may be linked into garlands, shaped into crosses, or placed decoratively. A fun way to incorporate these elements is make your own luminarias and flowers. The traditional crafts are easy to make using my tutorial here: Easy DIY Upcycled Can Tea-light Luminarias (+ Free Printable Template) & Tissue Paper Flowers Crafts (for Cinco de Mayo Fiesta Décor). Another essential item is a papel picado (cut paper) banner which signifies the fragility of life.
Representing water is a Mexican bubble glass pitcher bearing a traditional mask of la calavera catrina (iconic image of a wealthy 1800’s era Euro-Mexican lady). When worn as a parade mask, half of the face is covered with a skull representation symbolizing life as inextricably linked with death. Make your own with the help of my tutorial here: DIY La Calavera Catrina Costume Mask & Calaveras de Azucar (Sugar Skulls) Banner for a Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Themed Halloween. Other decorative elements are multi-colored doilies beneath figures of X’s & O’s(kisses & hugs), and little signs naming the holiday. Small sugar skull tins replace toys, and framed sugar skull images replace ancestors’ photos in this lighthearted nod to tradition.
Calaveritas de azucar (little sugar skulls) are necessary offerings as its sweetness (representing life) is said to balance the bitterness of muerte (death). Easily make these with my recipe here: Calaveras de Azucar (Sugar Skulls) Edible Folk Art & Egg-Free Vegan Candy Recipe for Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) or Halloween. Seeds (with an obvious connection to life) originally decorated skulls in place of sugar. They are still offered as a traditional component, with food representing the element earth. Here they are contained in floral dishes nested into decorative tin pails. Sprouted pepitas or semillas de Calabaza (pumpkin seeds), pipas (sunflower seeds), and fried green peas as well as roasted chick peas (garbanzo beans) are adorned here with glittered skull cupcake picks. A trio of palanqueta de ajonjoli disks (sesame seed candy) are another sweet form of seed offering. (Nut brittle is a form of this kind of candy.) Sugared marshmallow pops are propped into stacks of customary naranjas (oranges). (The pops were purchased at Fiesta Mart, but they may also be found at Le fidèLe affiliates Michaels & World Market whose coupon links are in the left side bar or below on a smart phone.) Pan de muerto (bread of the dead) sits front and center of the ofrenda as it denotes human life in its round skull-like form with an X of raised dough like cross-bones. It is a pan dulce (sweet bread) flavored with anise and orange peel. Candies, Mexican chocolate, and chicle (chewing gum) are also customary offerings.
Make your own stand-up signs with dollar wooden shapes from the craft store. These prepainted shapes came from Le fidèLe Design’s affiliate Michaels (see the coupon link in the left side bar or scroll down on a smart phone), but any blank shape may be decorated easily with paint pens. Simply glue a wooden bead or shape (like these pyramids) to the base of the back.
Make your own faux metal stars inexpensively out of paper maché ornaments with this craft tutorial, and then easily DIY custom patriotic napkin rings for Memorial Day, Veterans Day, or Independence Day. Use these to perfectly coordinate with your existing holiday décor for a high end look on a shoestring budget. These hefty appearing textured “metal” stars are actually lightweight enough to be used in so many more applications. And they really do fool everyone… until they’re touched!
It’s astonishingly easy to turn inexpensive paper maché ornament stars (found in craft stores nearly year round) into expensive looking one-of-a-kind textured metallic pieces to embellish any project you can think of.
Grab a bag of star ornaments, some cheap white school glue, a lighter or match, and a candle. (I like to use up the last chunks of tall or broken candles to use on these kinds of projects, because candles flames do work better than lighter flames… just don’t ask me why. I stuck this pink leftover into an empty glass soda bottle to hold it in place… as is necessary to prevent wax drip burns.)
Cover a portion of a star completely in white glue. Hold it into the flame until the glue becomes hard with a dusty charcoal layer over it. (Don’t hold it over the bare paper because it will burn! If a flame does spark, just blow it out like a candle. Cover that area with more glue, and then burn on.)
Rub off the dirty charcoal layer with a clean rag or paper towel. (You’ll start seeing a smooth sheen appear.)
You can leave them as is or rub a light wash of metallic paint over them (cheap acrylic craft paint works well). It’s an easy way to add verdigris or to switch between silver and gold. I use a sponge square to dab on paint, and then quickly wipe some of it away (it does dry really fast).
You can really see the detail of the texture on the star’s undersides. (There’s no need to finish the base if you plan on gluing them onto something else.)
Now let’s make mix-and-match patriotic napkin rings using 1 roll of clearance chambray wired ribbon and some lengths of various American themed twill ribbon.
First, cut 6 inch lengths of ribbon (1 chambray and 1 twill for each ring). Then hot glue the twill across the center of the larger chambray. Next, glue one short end over the other, overlapping them slightly.
This decadent macadamia nut cake is a unique fusion of rich cheesecake and dense pound cake, yet it’s gluten-free and vegan! I invented it on a random whim of culinary creativity with no idea of how delicious it would turn out. I found out that it tastes even better on the second-day… which makes it a fantastic make-ahead dessert for you next gathering of gal pals. Easily decorate it with a DIY stencil and confectioner’s sugar, and serve it with a variety of fruit preserves. Then all you need to do is wait for the compliments to roll in before shocking everyone with the news that it’s gluten-free and vegan. Who knew guilt-free could taste this indulgent?!
2 cups raw macadamia nuts (or raw cashews… soaked overnight)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (or other extract)
4 teaspoons lemon juice (or other citrus juice)
½ cup fresh water (or juice)
2 cups Arrowhead Mills gluten-free baking mix (or another baking mix… not just flour)
2 egg replacers (3 teaspoons dry replacer + 4 tablespoons warm water… or 2 whole eggs, or 2 chia or flax “eggs”)
1 ¼ cups confectioner’s sugar (or powdered sugar)
1 teaspoons guar gum (or xanthan gum)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 dash sea salt (= ⅛ teaspoon)
Optional toppings: fruit preserves
Remember to soak the macadamia nuts at room temperature the night before you want to bake the cake.
Drain off the soaking liquid, and blend the nuts at high speed with a fresh ½ cup of water plus the lemon juice, vanilla extract, coconut oil, and prepared egg replacer. (Mix the dry egg replacer well with warm water until it’s a frothy white liquid.) Now add the dry ingredients to the wet concoction, mixing it very well. (For those of you with corn allergies… note that confectioner’s sugar and guar gum are the corn-free alternatives to powdered sugar and xanthan gum.)
Pour the batter into round metal cake tins. (Metal conducts heat better for gluten-free baked goods.) Bake for approximately 1 hour, or until golden brown, in a 350ᵒ oven. (My oven has been running low and slow… so vary the time according to your oven’s temperament.)
While letting the cakes cool completely, find a piece of clean copy paper to make a stencil / template with. Fold it in half, and draw one side of a heart (with the center of it running into the folded edge). Cut this out, and unfold it to reveal a perfect heart.
Lay down the open heart and sprinkle additional confectioner’s sugar over the opening.
Remove the stencil and sprinkle more around the edges of the cake.
Another option is to lay down the solid heart template and sprinkle confectioner’s sugar around it.
This is a great way to easily decorate this kind of cake for a gathering. Then you can top individual servings with everyone’s favorite flavor of fruit preserves.
Make your cake peachy keen by topping it with scrumptious peach preserves straight from Fredericksburg, Texas… the town is known for its perfect peaches! (You can buy these delicious preserves, along with other amazing products from the Hill Country, at the affiliate link in the sidebar for Fredericksburg Farms.)
P.S. A little birdie told me that a smidgen is ¹̷32 teaspoon, a pinch is ¹̷16 teaspoon, and a dash is ⅛ teaspoon… who knew a pinch of salt could be so technical!
Craft your own DIY mobile from scrapbooking paper flowers with this tutorial for making decorations and gifts for birthdays, baby showers, Mother’s Day, and get well wishes. They’re great to hang up as party decorations, and then let your guests take them home as gifts. They also inexpensively make sweet craft room décor, and because they’re so lightweight they can be placed nearly everywhere… even suspended over a small workspace in a tiny craft closet to bring the magic of a lush fairy garden inside.
The most important elements of the mobile are the paper flowers that hang from it. Try walking through the scrapbooking aisle at your local craft store, and choose the collection that really catches your eye. (Here, I’m using K & Company layered accents that were on sale.) Be sure to buy 2 matching sets, so that you can glue them back to back later.
It looks much prettier to add a wash of color to the backs of the floral elements, so that when they’re glued they appear as additional petals. (The easiest way to do this is with a sheer colored marker like these Prismacolor markers in limepeel and lilac.) You can also easily modify the front of the designs by adding a wash of color to them. (In this way, I made blue flowers violet and white flowers lavender… who needs “Bibbidy Bobbidy Boo” when you have markers?!)
Also, find a package of smaller floral elements to further embellish your piece with. (Here, I’m using a package of flower confetti that I found on the clearance aisle last year.) Remember that it’s so easy to alter the colors of these elements by simply coloring over them with a marker. (This lilac Prismacolor marker added a translucent layer turning my baby blue confetti into lavender… Flora, Fauna, & Merriweather can eat their hearts out!)
You have several options for the ring the elements will hang from. You can use a 6 inch metal ring (like this golden one from Joann) and wrap it with ribbon… or simply use it as is. You can also opt to use a coordinating wired paper ribbon (as the one I’m using here, which came from my gift wrapping supplies). To do this simply cut a length of ribbon long enough to form approximately half a foot diameter (exact measurements aren’t necessary), and then cut that in half lengthwise.
Next, you’ll need to cut 1 strand of yarn/ribbon for each floral element. Try cutting them in various lengths from 6 to 10 inches. (I used clearance yarns that matched my paper flowers.)
Hot glue the yarn/ribbon pieces (staggered in lengths) to the inside curve of the wired ribbon piece.
Now glue the ends together to form a complete circle, and then glue the top flap (of the wired ribbon) down over the glued strands.
Next, you need to add 3 additional pieces of yarn/ribbon to make a hanging “tripod”. You can either glue them as you did with the strands earlier, or you can simply tie some on. Then, gather the loose ends at the top, and form a knotted loop to hang them by. (If you like, tie more pieces of yarn onto the loop to decorate it a bit.)
Now it’s time to glue on the big flowers. (It’s easiest to do this by hanging the mobile up, so that you can see how you’re arranging the elements.) Hot glue them back to back with the yarn/ribbon sandwiched in between them. (Even though they have foam stickers, it’s best to use a little glue so that the yarn/ribbon stays put… because every fairy godmother knows it mortifying when your creation falls apart.)
Hot glue the smaller floral pieces (confetti) in a staggered formation along the yarn/ribbon strands. (I also used torn off petals from the green floral confetti as leaves.) To the ring, add a few of the smaller flowers and a couple of larger elements (like these butterflies that were the K & Co. package… which I also tinkered with by adding color).
I wanted the dominantly purple mobile to have more of a purple toned ring, so I used a lilac Prismacolor to color in the white portions of the paper ribbon. (I did the same using a blue marker on the dominantly blue mobile… the blue fairy herself couldn’t do this any easier.) It’s the little touches like that which really make mobile a visually cohesive structure… in other words, it’s prettier that way.
If you feel like it needs more sparkle, attach crystals as flower centers and sprinkle glitter… then tell Tinkerbell to eat your pixie dust!
P.S. Check out these mobiles HERE in my Fairyland Tablescape hanging from the trees in the background.
Then get my free printable fairy cards HERE to gift with the mobiles you just created.
Craft a fantastic fairyland tablescape with this tutorial for super easy DIY ribbon napkin rings, and make fairyland cards for birthdays and Mother’s Day with my free printables. With four examples of napkin rings, using watercolor ribbon and paper gift wrapping ribbon… you’re sure to get all the inspiration you need to easily and inexpensively create the same magic for your own party. There you can raise a toast, as the fairies do in the cards, saying “Hip Hip Hooray” on celebration day!
Make the napkin rings using absolutely any kind of ribbon you like to coordinate with your linens and decorations. (Here, I’ve used different varieties of Offray brand watercolor ribbon to resemble the petals in my fairyland tablescape.)
Simply cut 6 inch lengths of it, and hot glue the edges (overlapping the short ends).
Here is another example of the watercolor ribbon turned into rings.
I made these pink and green rings to coordinate with my grandmother’s vintage ribbon rosettes.
Here, the same super easy technique is used with simple gift wrapping paper ribbon.
These would be equally lovely when paired with either fabric or paper napkins.
Make these Mother’s Day or Birthday cards using my free printables (for personal use only). They only need to be printed, cut out, and folded over. (Find square envelopes in many colors to send these in at Paper Source, whose affiliate link is in the sidebar.)
Right click on one of the small images above and select print. (The left is Mother’s Day & the right is Birthday.) Print these on heavy cardstock paper using the photo setting.
To further embellish the cards as I’ve done here, you can brush on opalescent glitter glue over the fairy wings. A small ribbon bow hot glued above the words really adds dimension to the cards.
Easily craft these DIY napkin rings and no sew tablecloth from taffeta fabric, and make elegant Easter egg cards or invitations with my free printable in this tutorial. They’re an easy way to create a one-of-a-kind celebration for your next Easter family gathering.
To make the tablecloth, begin by folding one corner of the fabric over onto itself in a triangle shape. Cut the fabric along the edge of the folded section. When it is unopened it will make a perfect square. Slightly fold over the outside edges, and hot fabric glue them into a hem. (Iron the folds before gluing to achieve a perfect no sew hem.) Lay this cloth over another coordinating tablecloth for a lovely layered look. (Check out my Capiz Easter Egg Tablescape for more of these projects in action.)
To make the matching napkin rings, cut strips of fabric 2 inches wide by 6 inches long. Fold over the edges on the long sides, and hot fabric glue them under. Next, glue one short side over the other, slightly overlapping them. (Note that the underside of the taffeta is suitable to use also, for a more casual look.)
This is a great project to use up any leftover fabric from other DIYs, especially if you want to coordinate linens with your drapes or upholstery.
It’s also great to make these with end-of-bolt clearance sales, if you like the look of high end fabric yet have budget constraints. (And if you don’t… clearance shopping allows you to allocate more funds to charity. Double-win!)
Now print out Easter egg cards and invitations using my free printables. (Note that these are free only for your personal use and not for commercial purposes.) Simply right click on the image above and select print. Choose the photo setting, and print 1 full page for each card you desire. Print them on thick cardstock paper for the best quality card. Cut out the color image, and fold one end over the other. (Boxes of card sized envelopes are quite inexpensive, or you can make your own. Look for my tutorial on this in the future.)
This easy DIY rainbow napkin rings tutorial is perfect for many types of parties including St. Patrick’s Day, and my free printable all occasion sky card is a great craft for making matching invitations. The card can be made with or without the addition of a rainbow, and so it’s useful for many other purposes… such as sympathy, get-well, congratulations, good luck, missing you, birthday, et cetera. Is there ever really a bad time to send a rainbow as the symbolic harbinger of hope?!
Let’ make the rainbow napkin rings first. To begin, you’ll need a pale color base ribbon and a sheer rainbow ribbon for the top. I used a vintage soft pink satin for the base, because it really brought out the rainbow’s beauty. Just make sure both types of ribbon are the same width.
Cut 6 inch lengths of each type of ribbon for every ring you want to make. Next, hot glue the short ends only. Make sure to press the ribbon ends together firmly before the glue dries… using silicone finger protectors of course. Now glue one short end to the other, overlapping them slightly. Again, press them together firmly.
These rings are so quick and easy to make that they can be crafted at the last minute before a gathering. Who said procrastinator’s can’t have fabulous decorations?!
Let’s make the sky card now. You need to print one page for every card you wish to make. I like to make extras during each crafting session, in case I have an unexpected need for a last minute card. (Note that my free printable is for your personal use only… not for commercial purposes.) If you want to add a rainbow, you can use any variety of colorful ribbon you like… striped, thin, checked, thick, solid, translucent, plaid, paper, plastic, or gossamer fabric ribbon like this one that I found on clearance. You can even use a pretty washi paper tape if you like.
Simply right click on the small image above, and select print. Be sure to choose the photo setting for the finest image. It’s best to use a thick cardstock to make a nice card.
Cut out the rectangle with the logo and sky image together, and then cut out the cloud image. If you want to add a rainbow, cut a 5 inch length of ribbon on the diagonal (like this /__/ ).
Next, fold the rectangle in half to form the card. Add the rainbow by gluing the ribbon down to the top left corner, and then attach the other end. You can either glue the cloud on top of the ribbon directly, or use dimensional foam stickers to add height to the cloud. Try to place it under the sunrise just above the card opening.
The perfect St. Patrick’s Day greeting card contains a classic Irish blessing such as this one:
“May the Irish hills caress you. May her lakes and rivers bless you. May the luck of the Irish enfold you. May the blessings of Saint Patrick behold you.”
♣ Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh (Happy St. Patrick’s Day!)
This craft tutorial for traditional Chinese good luck knots makes the perfect adornment for DIY plaited napkin rings which set an elegant tone for Chinese New Year along with quick washi tape decorated chopsticks. The knot demonstrated here is known by various names among diverse Asian cultures… Good Luck, Auspicious, Chrysanthemum, and One Mind. As a traditional Chinese folk art, decorative knots have been made in the same manner for well over a thousand years, though they originated in prehistoric times. These creations have been used to decorate homes, jewelry, clothing, and have functioned as stand-alone gifts as good luck charms. Knot, 中国结 or Jie in Chinese, translates as vigor, harmony, and unification. Therefore, they have been regarded as a token of blessing when gifted for friendship or love and for special occasions like weddings. This sentiment has led to many being passed down through the generations. As the Chinese New Year is a time for provoking good fortune, and yellow is regarded as a lucky royal color as it was once reserved only for use by the emperor, a yellow gold cording was chosen for the napkin rings so that guests will dine as royalty in the burgeoning of a prosperous year.
Begin by purchasing enough cord in silk or satin (in a “rattail” width) to complete the project. You’ll need 21 inches for each plaited ring (126” for 6) and 26 inches for each good luck knot (156” for 6)… totaling 47 inches for each ring with knot (almost 4 feet) or 182” for 6 (23½ feet). (I got mine inexpensively in bulk size from Fire Mountain Gems, whose sale link is in the sidebar, which is a great source for all types of cording in varying quantities.)
I’m demonstrating the good luck knot here by pinning the cords to a cork plant saucer, because it makes clear photography of the process easier. You may find it easier to make a symmetric knot this way, but it can be easily made without pinning anything down. Don’t get discouraged if your first knot looks askew, just untangle the cord and try again. It will get easier with each knot you make. Practice does indeed make perfect!
Start by cutting a 26 inch length of cord with sharp scissors to prevent fraying. Fold this in half to find the center point, which becomes the middle of the top loop (pinned in purple). Fold the left strand to find its center which becomes the middle of the left loop (blue pin). Repeat this on the right strand (red pin in the next picture). Note that I’ve pinned the very center in neutral white to keep the central points flat. The cording should resemble a cross at this point.
Next, fold the top (purple pin) loop over the left side (blue pin). It should now appear as a person with bowed head and outstretched arms.
Then, take the right loop (red pin) and slip it under the top fold-over (purple pin). It should now give the impression of a windswept girl with arms down at sides.
Now take the bottom two straight strands (no pin yet) and slip them under the fold-over above it (red pin). It should look a bit like a yoga contortion at this point.
Next, fold the left loop (blue pin) over what was once the top loop (purple pin), and then slip it under what was previously the bottom strands (no pin yet). It should now bring to mind a game of twister.
Pull all of the outside loop ends outwardly, a little at a time, until the center is taut. It should look like an upside down cross.
Repeat the previous fold-overs going clockwise. Fold the top loose strands (now a pink pin) over the right loop (blue pin). It should give the idea of a girl with really long hair.
Next, fold the right loop (blue pin) over the loose strands (pink pin). It should bring to mind a girl with really long hair, bowing with one arm outstretched and one crossing the abdomen.
Now fold the bottom loop (purple pin) over the left loop (red pin). It should appear similar to a squashed bug.
Take the left loop and fold it over what was once the bottom loop (now the top, purple pin) and slip under what was once the top strands (now the bottom, pink pin).It should bear a resemblance to an unfortunate wad of hair matted in bubble gum.
Pull the ends straight out from the center. It should form another upright cross.
Lastly for the knot, pull the smallest loops outwardly until it forms petal-like structures of equal size. It should now seem more like a Celtic cross. (If it doesn’t look right to you, just pull the whole thing apart and try again. No harm done!)
For the plaited napkin rings, cut 3 pieces of cord (7 inches long) for each ring. Hot glue one end of each piece together like a tripod.
Clip the glued end onto something sturdy for easier braiding (like a small pail full of pens). Make a classic 3 part braid, and then glue the ends together forming a strand. (A classic 3 part braid is like a simple hair braid… made by folding the left strand over the center, then the right strand over the new center, then the new left strand over the new center, then the new right strand over the new center… over and over again until you get to the end.)
For these napkin rings, the knots will need 4 equal loops. To easily do this, just fold one loose strand over to the underside center until it forms the right size. Cut it to the center of the knots back, and then glue it down. Next, take the last loose strand and fold it over tightly against the knot without any gaps. Also cut this strand at the center-point and glue it down. Now take a braided strand and glue each end to this same gluey underside of the knot (without overlapping the ends).
Finally, flip it over and look at your amazing creation!
I saved the easiest project for last. Any inexpensive chopsticks can be made beautiful in a just few seconds with the addition of washi tape. You can even take some extra chopsticks home for free along with your takeout. (These came from the grocery store sushi counter.) They are disposable like plastic utensils, but are so much more environmentally friendly.
Simply adhere the top corner of a piece of the paper tape to the top of the stick. Wrap it around until it overlaps, and then cut it. Press it down hard to make sure it doesn’t unwrap at the dinner table. Use as many layers of it in as many styles as you like. (I used thick neutral tape twice over which matched my table runner.)
This easy DIY Valentine’s Day countdown calendar plus treat bag banner and love letter napkin rings craft tutorial comprises three of my favorite things to make… banners, napkin rings, and advent calendars. The latter project arose from the questions, “Why are countdown calendars typically made for Christmas advent and not for other holidays?” and, “Why not expand the celebration with 2 weeks of excitement leading up to Valentine’s Day?” This works well for either children or adults depending on what’s placed inside the bags. As for the love letter themed napkin rings, they perfectly fit a romantic Valentine’s theme… though this one is for adults only!
Let’s begin with the napkin rings. You’ll need a roll of Offray Brand Ribbon in a script pattern. (I purchased this ½ price with a coupon from Joann Craft & Fabric Stores. There’s a link for them in the sidebar.)
You can make 12 rings and still have enough left over for a gift package bow if you like. You’ll also need either hot glue or liquid fabric glue and fabric paint in red (because it works on so much more than just T-shirts).
Measure and cut a 6 inch length of ribbon for each ring you wish to make (use sharp sewing scissors to prevent fraying ends). If using hot glue, bond the ends with one side overlapping the other and press them together tightly. For liquid fabric glue, use a plastic clothes pin as a clamp or secure with a straight pin… and allow them to dry completely.
Next, make a faux sealing wax impression with the red paint. Either use the fabric paint tip to draw a circle and fill it in, or just squeeze some onto a plate and use a brush. Allow these to dry completely before handling. (Hot sauce bottles, glue bottles, and paint tubes placed inside the rings will prevent rolling and paint smears.)
These napkin rings were so quick and easy to craft, and they were a great little touch to add to the Love Letter Themed Tablescape (Perfect for Valentine’s Day, Romantic Date Night, or Anniversary Dinner).
Now let’s make a Valentine’s Day countdown calendar and treat bag banner. (This is an easy enough project for the kiddos in your life to make too.) Begin by purchasing 14 mini clothespins complete with chalkboard hearts (these were 12 for $1 at the Target bargain bins). You can also buy the clothespins plainly and easily attach small flat wooden hearts with wood glue or hot glue… yes, hot glue does work on wood. Then all you need to do is paint the hearts with chalkboard paint. (All of the major craft stores carry the hearts. There are sidebar links for my favorite stores that carry coupon codes with them!)
If you like, paint the remaining portion of the clothespins in your choice of red or pink… though the natural wood tone would look fine with the paper bags if you’re short on time. (I used dark scarlet multi-surface acrylic paint from DecoArt, because it matches my spice racks.) It’s easiest to clip them onto cardboard and just paint one side, leaving them to dry before flipping them over and completing the opposite side.
You have the option of writing the 14 day numbered countdown with actual chalk (so that they may utilized in another capacity after the holiday) or with a permanent chalk marker that can’t be rubbed off.
While those are drying, decorate your treat bags. (These plain little sacks were purchased cheaply for ½ off, but you can purchase printed ones if you’d like to speed up the process.) I used a red bingo marker to stamp dots in a polka dot pattern. (See more about this, along with other project ideas in my article on Fast & Easy DIY Hand-stamped Polka-dot Gift Wrap & Matching Gift Crafts.)Let these dry completely before the next step. (You also have the option of stamping a pattern onto the bags with ink or paint.)
Next, cut out hearts from black chalkboard paper, or use a paper punch in any shape you like, or speedily use readymade chalkboard sticker labels.
Here is my handy little template to print free at home then cut out to trace around. It’s an easy way to make the same exact heart shape repeatedly. (Just right click the small image above and select print.)
Adhere the paper hearts onto the bags with a permanent glue stick. Then run a strip of matching washi tape along the base for easily added flair.
String the dry clothespins onto ribbon, string, jute, cording, twine, or yarn. (I used yarn that looks like twine because three times the amount can be purchased for ⅓of the price.) Once again, use either permanent white marker or actual chalk to write on each heart.
I chose to write “Be my Valentine!” but “Valentines Day!” or “Happy Hearts Day” would also have fit on the 14 bags. You can also write the names of individual recipients like friends, classmates, or even alternate the names of family members.
Fill the little bags with anything you like… you can make it as inexpensive or extravagant as you like.
For kiddos: try candy, stickers, stamps, tiny toys, erasers, inexpensive jewelry… or silly printed jokes you won’t mind hearing over and over again. On the 14th day, think about directions leading to a larger gift like a stuffed animal.
For adults: try printing faux fortunes, poems, romantic quotes, movie or event tickets, or even homemade coupons for “honey-do” chores or special treats. On the 14th day, think about directions leading to a larger gift like a dozen roses, box of chocolates… or something uber masculine like the latest power tool at home depot.
This makes a super cute banner decoration as well, and it can be strung just about anywhere using either tape, 2 extra clothespins, or by tying knotted loops at each end of the string.