DIY Striped Straws

Striped straws seem to be everywhere these days. I remember not so long ago, you could only find them in a few specific colors. Well, it looks like supply finally caught up with demand and now, you can find them in a rainbow of colors from a dozen different shops. But just because you can buy them, doesn’t mean you have to! Here’s a quick DIY for you on how to make your own striped straws in any custom color.

I love using the adhesive label sheets from Paper Source for this project because I can coordinate my straws with the rest of the party decorations.  I simply use the edges left over from the label paper I used for other elements of the party to make the straws.

Adhesive paper in color of choice (here from Paper Source or here for full sized color sheets)
White biodegradable paper straws (buy them in bulk here and keep on hand for all your parties!)
Paper cutter or exacto knife

Step 1: Cut 1/4″ strips of your colored adhesive paper.

Step 2: Peel off the backing.

Step 3: Starting at one end, twist your colored strip along the length of the straw. You may need to play around with different angles to use up the entire strip/not run out.

Step 4: Trim off the ends. That’s it!

Peach, metallic gold, neon! The possibilities are endless.


DIY Mini Colored Clothespins

I was browsing through Target the other day and found this fun colored tape set in the office/stationery section. I wasn’t sure yet what I’d be using it for, but I knew I’d have fun racking my brain for DIYs to put this tape to good use.

When I came home, I rifled through my craft supplies and discovered these wooden clothespins I had bought at Daiso (Japanese dollar store) back home in California. They seemed the perfect candidate for a quick dress-me-up with some colored tape.

The only materials you’ll need for this project are some colored tape (these ones from Target or some Japanese washi could work too!), mini or regular-sized clothespins, and a pair of scissors.

Step 1. Hold your clothespin with the metal hinge facing out.

Step 2. Align the top edge of the tape with the top of the clothespin.

Step 3. Firmly press the tape against the clothespin, lining up the edge.

Step 4. Trim the bottom edge off with scissors.

Step 5. Trim the long edge off with scissors (if you started on the wrong side, it will be harder to trim the long edge off because the metal hinge will be in the way).

And that’s it! Your mini clothespins are now ready for holding up craft projects, photographs, or attaching notes and tags to gifts.


DIY Toilet Paper Ruffle Wreath

Like I’ve said before, I don’t have too many craft materials available to me here on the island. Rather than spend money on expensive, second-rate materials that they sell at the craft stores, I’ve been looking instead for recycled and/or cheap, local materials to use for my projects. To spruce up our apartment a little, I decided to make a ruffle wreath using cardboard and toilet paper! Normally, I’d use felt, fabric, or even tissue paper, but given the circumstances, I thought toilet paper would be a perfect substitute. :)

Here’s everything you’ll need:

toilet paper
2 round objects in different sizes to trace
scissors or Xacto knife
hot glue gun

Step 1: Trace your large round onto the cardboard and cut out. Repeat with the smaller object.

Step 2: Roll out a long length of toilet paper and slowly fold it accordion-style until you have a nice stack. Cut the entire stack into a circle shape. Separate the pieces.

Step 3: Gather the toilet paper circle into a ruffled bunch.

Step 4: Use hot glue to attach the ruffle to the cardboard cutout.

Step 5: Repeat until the entire cutout is completely covered with toilet paper.

Step 6: Attach a ribbon to the wreath and hang to display.


DIY Confetti System Garland

I’ve seen these confetti system garlands popping up everywhere, but at $130 each, they’re a bit out of my price range (and I’m not even sure if they ship to Grenada!). I decided to try my hand at making them for Dean and Jade’s party using what was available to me here on the island. You’ll only need two things – streamers and scissors. Oh, and maybe some hot glue that you don’t see here…

hot glue

Step 1: Grab a length of streamer twice the length of your final tassel. Continue doing this, overlapping until you have a stack about 6 layers thick.

Step 2: Cut the ends so that you end up with six separate pieces. Keep them stacked.

Step 3: Fold all six pieces in half lengthwise.

Step 4: Starting at the open end (not the folded end), cut thin strips all the way across.

Step 5: Open up the layers and roll them up in the middle. Twist the middle tightly.

Step 6: Fold the twist in half to create a loop and continue twisting. Put a dab of hot glue in the twists to hold in place.

Step 7: Pull apart the fringes and fluff up your tassels. Make a bunch, loop them onto string, and hang.

(Don’t they look like jellyfish here?)


DIY Giant Cardboard Letters

Grenada’s Save the Children Foundation (Grensave) holds an International Food and Drink Festival every year with booths from different countries around the world. I volunteered to help out with the decorations for the America table, so my awesome decorations team and I whipped up these red, white, and blue pinwheels, flags, firecrackers, and giant letters. A lot of people asked me how I made the letters, so I wanted to share this tutorial with you.

You should be able to make them with supplies that you already have in your house (and that you can find even on a tropical island):

cereal box
cutting mat
Xacto knife
printed block letters
hot glue gun

Step 1: Cut generously around your printed block letter and staple to the cereal box (cereal box brown side up, printed letter right side up. The orientation didn’t matter for my letter “U,” but it would with letters that aren’t symmetrical.

Step 2: Cut out the letter and cereal box with an Xacto knife or with scissors.

Step 3: Flip the letter over and trace it again (cereal front sides facing each other) and cut out.

Step 4: After you’ve finished cutting out your letter shapes, cut out a couple stripes of cardboard roughly the same width of your letters.You’ll need a different amount depending on the letter.

Step 5: Begin glueing the strips to your letterform. I purposely lined up the folded part of my cardboard strip with the corner of my “U” so that the crease would fall in the right place. You’ll want the strips of cardboard to sit on top of the letterform so that from the front and back, you’ll see no glue or edges.

I used two strips for the outside of the “U” here. I joined them at the bottom with some glue on the inside.

Step 6: Repeat the same steps for all sides of the letter.

Step 7: After all the sides have been glued, go ahead and place the top on. This part is a bit trickier to glue. I flipped my letter over so that the extra face that still needed to be glued on was lying on the table. I then put hot glue on small sections at a time and then lined up my sides to the bottom.

Here’s a close-up to show you how the letter is constructed and a little cross-section diagram here for you:


Step 8: And when your letter is all done, it’s time to paint! I used 2 coats of tempera paint for each of my letters. Make sure to let them dry before you put the second coat on.

Let dry overnight before you use them!

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