Book Folding – The Easy Way

This is the easiest way to make master the art of  book folding that you see on Pinterest, in around an hour – with free book folding patterns! I have made a bunch of these for friends and family, and they are always well received.

First off you are going to need to find yourself an old book, hardback works best, and you will have to make sure that you have enough pages for the word you want. For the patterns I’m giving away today I used a book of around 300 pages. So long as you count up properly you can always leave unfolded pages either side of your word, but more of that in a bit.

Choose your word/shape from the patterns below and print it out onto an A4 page. If you don’t see what you want you can email me directly as I have started selling them on eBay!

Just click to download the PDF

Book Folding Template Love
Love
Heart Template For Book Art
Heart
Friend
Friend

 

folding instructions in pdf form can be found by clicking the link.

Count both the black and white stripes, to get the number of pages you will be using. If your design has spaces between the letters just ignore them. Once you know how many pages you are going to fold you simply deduct this from the number of pages in your book and divide by 2. This is the number of pages in that you need to start folding from. *Remember that you are counting ‘leafs’ and not take the page number to mean anything… and yes I made this mistake first time I tried to figure it out!

The next stage is optional but it does make the finished item look neater so go on, take a minute to do it. Measure from the spine out by about an inch and draw a light pencil line. Do this top and bottom and use this mark to guide where you fold to – this gives a nicer finish than folding right up to the spine.

I fold the top of my paper over the page to get the word at the right height.

This a good stage to grab a cuppa, go for a pee or whatever, because in 5 minutes you are going to be scared to set it down!

Book folding patterns
I changed font after I took this photo

Next is the fun part… for about 10 minutes. Then it gets a bit boring, so stick on your favourite tv show and settle in for a while. Put your pattern behind the page you want to fold (you can actually put it 3 or 4 pages back just to cut down on fiddling with it). Fold from the top of your first black line to your guide line near the spine. Do the same from the bottom of your first black line. You are now officially doing it! If you need to you can tick off the lines as you are doing it but you should be ok to keep going for a while.

Next you do exactly the same using the white line (okay it’s not really a line but you know what I mean). Then the black line, then the white line, then the black line… you get my drift?

Eventually your guide will touch the inside crease of the book so just trim it up so you can keep feeding it in and folding… and folding.

Folded book tutorial
Family

When you pattern calls for a top and bottom – like the ‘o’ in ‘love’ – simply fold one page to make the top, move onto your next line and fold the bottom.

Free book art templates

That’s about it! You have folded your first (or easiest) book. No measuring and minimal maths!

I’d love to see what you did,

Nikki x

Edit to add: You can now buy custom words/patterns to use with this tutorial from my eBay. As ebay won’t let me send electronically you get paper in the mail. OR you can email me directly for the pdf by email and a reduced buying price!

Joined my first link up at Knick of Time

Easy Jug Makeover Using Chalk Paint

Unfortunately, and for the second week in a row, Mark hasn’t been able to complete a makeover and I’ve been feeling yuk today so haven’t managed to finish the corner unit I wanted to show you. Instead I’m going to share one of those projects that’s so quick and easy you can do it while waiting for paint to cure on something else.

This is a real quick fix for a stone jug I picked up at a flea market for £2. I loved its shape but wasn’t too keen on the colours.

shabby chic flowers
Not too shabby, shabby chic flowers

I started out by lightening the whole thing using some chalk paint straight onto the very glossy finish. I’m still surprised that it covered in just 2 coats – got to love chalk paint!

Can I paint ceramic
All taped up and ready to go gold

Once I was happy with that stage I gave it 2 coats of wax varnish to seal it. You never know, one day I might actually want to put a liquid in it and I don’t want the paint running off onto my worktops.

Then I wanted to add some interest so out came the metallic gold. I knew that I could get carried away with it so taped off the section I wanted to paint. I find frog tape works great but it is a bit pricey, when you get through as much as I do. A trick my Mom showed me years ago is to rub some ordinary masking tape on your jeans so it picks up a little dust and looses some sticky.

Then I gave the lip a couple of coats of the gold. I like this Rustoleum brand because it’s not expensive and is nice to use (and dries quite quickly). I did try another brand before, that gave a lovely glossy finish but I couldn’t bear waiting 16 hours between coats!

Painted ceramic

Once I removed the tape I realised that the gold was a bit ‘stretchy’ and had peeled a bit in places where it had dried to the tape. Never matter.

new look for an old jug
New look jug!

Perfect to hold my fake porcelain flowers now.

What’s your favourite ‘quick fix’ you’ve seen recently? I’d love to see it.

Nikki x

How To Make Faux/Fake Porcelain Flowers In 20 Minutes

You were probably hoping for a Monday Makeover from Mark, what with this being Monday and all, but he’s been busy working on other stuff and just hasn’t had time to do his own makeover this week!

Instead I’m going to share this great tutorial I found over at White Lace Cottage and knew straight away that these faux porcelain flowers would be absolutely perfect for the vintage table centres I was designing for a friend. I had to have a play with it at the first opportunity, which happened to be just 12 hours after reading her blog post. Not that I don’t have anything else to do, because I really do have a ton of stuff on my list, but sometimes fun and crafty can jump to the front of the queue!

My first decision was what flowers to choose, ideally something like a rose or a peony, but as I was only practicing I took what the pound shop (the UK’s Dollar store) had to offer. I think they are supposed to be rosebuds and maybe peony?

Cheap silk flowers
Normally I wouldn’t give these house space!

Next it was the colour choice. The bride has a lovely scheme of grey and yellow, with touches of navy blue (like these pieces I worked on recently). Personally I liked the idea of a washed out pinks, greys and yellows so I just had a mess around with the paint I had to hand which happened to be a really pale lilac that Mark is was using recently.

cheap wedding flowers
These have so many uses

I tried using the hairdryer on one but be warned it can get kind of messy blowing paint around so make sure you aren’t doing it while sitting on your brown leather sofa. No photo as I didn’t want evidence of paint splashed everywhere, because I was doing it in the living room… while watching an old episode of House. It also changed the shape of the flower and exposed some bits that weren’t covered in paint so I gave it up as a bad job and left them to dry naturally.

porcelain roses
I love the different shapes they took

It took about 2 days for the paint to properly dry, due to the amount of thick chalk paint on them. I’m serious, it was at least 2 days before I could pick them up! Perhaps I should have watered down my paint a little, but I wanted them to look a bit ‘thick’,  like they were actually made of porcelain.

shabby chic flowers
Not too shabby, shabby chic flowers

Not to bad for a first attempt I thought and I imagine they would look better with slightly better flowers to begin with. And I really have to get around to fixing up that little brown jug some day soon!

See the full tutorial and to see how Anne puts her finished  faux porcelain flowers to a great use pop over to White Lace Cottage for a look.

Painting-Silk-Roses-with-chalk-paint-porcelain-effect-17-of-57
White Lace Cottage Original Tutorial

Now I really must get on, I’m supposed to be setting up an” etsy vs ebay” experiment and decorating my stairway today!

Speak soon,

Nikki x

 

Distressed Paint Effect Using Vinegar

Use something we all own to get a great distressed finish
Use something we all own to get a great distressed finish

I’m an old-fashioned kind of girl who finds a method that works and sticks to it. That means I can spend hours, days even, gently rubbing back paint to get just the right distressed finish required.

Recently I’ve been thinking that there must be an easier way? I believe in doing the job right but if there’s a way to do it right and quickly shouldn’t I be using it? Sure enough there are lots of ways people distress their furniture I hadn’t even considered so in the next few weeks I’m going to be trying them out (or some at least) and sharing my findings with you, dear reader.

 

White Vinegar for distressing
This cost pennies

This first method uses something most of us keep in the pantry… vinegar. I decided to opt for distilled or white vinegar as I didn’t want it to stain the paint in any way.  Obviously I didn’t have any distilled vinegar in my store cupboard so that meant a trip to town and another hour out of my day!

Anyway I already had this cute little shelf unit (spice rack maybe?) that I found in a charity shop a few weeks back. It is pretty featureless so will rely on having a good paint effect to give it some oomph.

Charity shop spice rack
You will often see pieces like this in charity shops

I started with a quick coat of Annie Sloan’s  Antibes Green, as I had some left over from an earlier project. As always with this colour I was tempted to stop there, but then I’d have nothing to share with you, so I gave it a quick wax using Rusto-leum clear furniture wax. Then it got 2 coats of my own deep lavender (okay, I’ve got to come up with some cool names for my paints) and left it to dry thoroughly.

Antebes Green
I just love this as a contrast colour
Little French Paint Co
My own mix over the green

Once dry, I just dipped my microfiber cloth in the vinegar and wiped it over an area. Nothing happened. I rubbed a bit harder. Nothing happened. Then, as I was showing Mark how ineffective it was, a huge streak of the lavender rubbed clean off!

Distressed with vinegar
This big chunk wiped off in one go!

I think the knack is to almost soak the paint in vinegar and give it a second to soak in. I’m really glad I took the time to wax after the green or I think it would have wiped off at the same time – the wax was just enough of a barrier to protect it.

Once I got the hang of it, it was so easy! I wouldn’t want to use it on everything because you just don’t have the same control as you do sanding by hand, but if you want a beat up, rustic look then this is great.

Vinegar distressing
You need a gentle touch until you get used to it!

In the interests of science (or maybe just because I’m still a wee bit sceptical) I’m going to try a similar experiment using plain water and another using something like lemon juice so I’ll keep you updated – be sure to follow us so you don’t miss a thing!

Finished piece after a top coat of wax varnish
Finished piece after a top coat of wax varnish

Tune in next week to see how I got on using Vaseline to distress a mirror in my lounge, and please let me know if you’ve heard of a method of distressing you’d like me to try, and review!

Soap Sock Tutorial

Easy knit soap sock
A Soap Sock!

I first published this tutorial on a now defunct craft blog but thought that it was worth bringing over here. I know that primarily this is a DIY blog but when the weather is cold you don’t always want to be in a cold workshop but your fingers still itch to do something!

This soap sock is a neat way to make your soap stretch a little further while gently exfoliating your skin. You can knit them up in half an hour and use whatever yarn you have to hand. I’m told that felting wool is great because it actually shrinks with the soap as you use it, but my particular favourite is using string! Not the horrid nylon stuff but the old fashioned 100% cotton twine. It’s a little strange, at first, knitting with something that has no ‘give’ whatsoever but it’s a simple project so doesn’t cause too many headaches!

First of you will need…

Use what you have to finish up your yarn

A ball of your chosen yarn (or string)

A pair of knitting needles – I use 8mm but play around to find what works best with your yarn.

A bar of soap – whatever you like best!

A pair of scissors and a cup of tea (all the best projects involve tea or wine and since I’m detoxing it’s tea for me!)

Start by casting on in your preferred style. I’ve always gone for the ‘Thumb‘ method myself! You’ll need to cast on enough stitches to cover 3 sides of your soap (2 short and one wide) – I have cast on 12 with this chunky string and 8mm needles. Just remember to cast on an even number of stitches.

Now this next stage could sound daunting if you’ve never tried double knitting but it’s unbelievably simple and so quick to do you will be a pro in no time.

Knit your first stitch. Then slip your next stitch as if to purl – this means put your needle as if you are going to purl the stitch and then just slip it over. Carry on with knit one, slip one  until you reach the end of the row. You will always finish on a slipped stitch.

Once you have worked a few rows like this you will be able to feel 2 sides to your knitting and actually be able to separate them a little!

There is a great video explaining the method:

 Turn your work around and repeat until your ‘sock’ is long enough to hold your bar of soap. Always start on a knit stitch and finish on a slip!

Once your sock is long enough you’ve reached the scary part! Leave a long tail – about 1.5 meters – and slip your work off your  needle. Yes, I said slip it right off without casting off.

Just be brave and pull the needle out!

Now gently prize your work open (like opening a bag of crisps!) and carefully thread your long tail through each of your stitches, starting with the last knitted stitch.

Gently prize work apart

Be careful not to drop any stitches as you thread your tail through them!

This is the hardest part!

Once you have caught every stitch on your tail you can turn it inside out, pop your bar of soap inside and pull the tail to tighten around the top of the bar.

Now the reason for the extra long tail…  We’re going to make a handle to hang your soap from so it can dry out and not go all squishy between uses!

Make a slip knot in the yarn, as close to the sock as you can get it. Form a loop and tuck it into the noose. Make another loop and tuck it into the previous loop. Keep repeating. When the chain is long enough, lock it by passing the end through the final loop. See here for animated instructions.

 Tie the loop to form a handle and you’re done!

Please let us know what you think, and feel free to ask questions or show us your finished soap socks!

Nikki x