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April 29, 2016

DIY Rub-on Transfers for Wood, Paper & Fabric


Let's talk words, guys. 

I'm a huge word person. If you hadn't noticed with all the quotes, lyrics & typography that fills all my home decor, I'm a little word-obsessed. 

I love the simplicity and impact words can have in a room. And they are the single best way to bring personality & a unique-ness that is all you to the way you decorate. 

But sometimes you just want an easy way to get those words onto your project.
Am I right? 

Hence, today's DIY method that I'm currently obsessing over. 
If you're looking for the easiest way to to transfer words to various surfaces EVER, then you're going to want to keep reading. 



This is not a new method to the internet.
But it's worth repeating because I think we sometimes get stuck in habits and it's nice to be reminded of other ways to do things :) 

I still love to make my own stencils and hand-paint but this method comes in handy for so many things- especially small projects that you want to get done quickly. 

Let's talk what this method is best for: 
-smaller items that you are wanting to add words/images to
-adding images without a lot of details (I'll explain this one further below)
-it can be used on wood, fabric & paper but has better results depending on what color/medium you are working with. 

Let's talk wood. 
Remember these cute little spell blocks I made for the Harry Potter Birthday party last weekend? 


I came up with the idea for them on a whim & literally created them in about 5-7 minutes with this method. 
Let's walk through the steps together, shall we? 

First up, here are supplies needed: 
*Wood/item you are transferring to. 
*Clear transparency paper (like you would use on old-school projectors)
*Regular ink-jet printer
*Popsicle stick or credit card (for transferring)
*Image/text you are wanting to transfer


For this project, I used already painted scrap pieces of wood. 
They had been painted a creamy white at some point and I sanded them down for a smooth surface. This transfer method definitely works best with a light colored background- I've done it on white and light blues with great results. 
See below for pictures of this method used on stained wood. 



Step 1: Create/find your text or image you want to use. 
For my blocks, I simply opened a new word document on Microsoft word and found a font that I liked (this one was called Harrington). 
Type your letters on the screen and then make sure that you're screen view is set to 100%
(This number can be found on the bottom right-hand side of the screen)
This is very important for making sure you print out at the exact size you need. 


My very non-scientific method of checking the size is by holding my item up to the screen and making sure the letters fill the item but do not extend past any of the edges. 
Again, make sure your view is set to 100% or the sizing will be off. 


Once you're satisfied with your image and the size, load your transparency paper into your printer. 
You can order this on Amazon, buy at a local office supply store or snatch up at a school yard sale (like I did!!). 
If you have a super fancy printer, I can't guarantee the results but my printer is a regular ink-jet printer (it has the various cartridges for multiple colors but is just ink-jet). 

Print your image/text in MIRROR image onto the transparency. 
For my computer, this is found in the printer settings and I just click 'mirror image' in the advanced printer settings.
Word should have a setting in it as well to reverse the image. 

Lay your printed text onto your item you are transferring to. 
Mine was a wooden block. 
Make sure to lay it down carefully & avoid smudging the ink. 


Once placed on your item, hold firmly with one hand while you burnish the image onto your item with a Popsicle stick or credit card. 
You will notice the ink start to flare out at the sides as you move your stick across the ink.
That's ok, just avoid moving your paper so it won't look cloudy. 

I rub over the image several times, in various directions. 
Then carefully peel the transparency paper up and off. 


You should have a beautiful, slightly lighter version of the text you printed. 
The process gives it a beautiful, already distressed look after rubbing it on. 
For further aging, take a fine-grit piece of sandpaper and rub across. 

If you want a darker, more 'perfect' finish, trace over it with a black sharpie. 
Personally, I'm a big fan of the slightly grey, worn look it leaves behind. 

That was all it took to finish my spell blocks. 
They were ready to go!!

Here's a few other items I've done this same technique with & some tips on how I was able to transfer to different surfaces....


Remember when I said to use a simple image rather than a complicated one?
This Hogwarts sign was a little more time intensive because after transferring, it was a very faint image without a lot of the detailing transferring over. 

I used the original image as reference and the faint lines on the wood from the transfer to use as tracing points with a black sharpie.
I used the sharpie to go over the entire image and add in the line/checked details. 
After tracing, I lightly sanded it to smooth out any imperfections and to 'grey' it out more.
I don't like the look of a stark black sharpie line so I prefer to distress it a bit. 

Now this was a totally different paint & wood combination that the spell blocks were.
Plus a VERY complicated image. 
So your results are going to vary a bit depending on what you're working with.
Just play around a few times to get the hang of what works best. 


I've also used this technique many times to transfer directly onto paper. 
Sometimes I just don't want to mess with putting things, such as these envelopes, through the printer or I want something placed EXACTLY somewhere and don't want to deal with the headache of placement & the printer trying to frustrate me. 

So follow the same steps as above and place onto your paper. 
It usually gives a darker image than it does on wood since it's more porous. 
I've used color ink successfully on paper too- it's lighter than it would be if printed directly onto the paper but it works. 
The above image was actually an envelope that I hand-dyed and it still transferred the text perfectly. 


I used the same transfer method to make the Hogwarts Textbooks.
These were transferred onto regular brown wrapping paper. 
Perfect, distressed lettering every time!!


I used this same rub-on method for the vintage-inspired table I shared several months ago. 

This time it was transferred onto wood that had been sanded, stained and waxed. 
And it was a slightly more complicated text transfer. 

It still transferred beautifully with no touch-up required. 
But it is NOT a dark image against the wood. 
It's faded and looks like it's been there for years :) 
Which is exactly what I was going for!!

For an example of it not going exactly as planned, 
I figured it would transfer perfectly over to this blue painted sign I had made. 
But it was a bit temperamental for whatever reason. 

After transferring, it was very faint (Like the Hogwarts sign had been) so I did go over the whole thing with a black sharpie. 
After tracing it, I sanded it down for a lighter, distressed finish. 
This takes away any imperfections made from tracing. 

So there you have it on wood & paper. 
But it can do even more than that!!

Check back tomorrow to see how I used the same method to add wording to fabric!!
You'll love the makeover I was able to do with it!!

Are you ready to start transferring now?
It's seriously so easy- just keep practicing & perfecting your technique!!

Happy Friday, friends- I'm sure glad it's here!!!






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April 27, 2016

DIY Harry Potter Birthday Party

Eek! It's here!
I finally get to share the awesome-ness that I've been working on for the past two months!!!

If you follow me on Instagram, I've been sharing tons of sneak peeks to the Harry Potter birthday party I've been planning for my son. 
We have had an absolute BLAST coming up with things for it and it's by far my favorite party we've ever done!!

I'll be posting DIY tutorials and links to the various sites I used. I'll also be sharing the FREE printables of anything that I created for the party. So keep checking in. 

This post is INCREDIBLY picture heavy so hold on to your wands!!
Here goes nothing!!



Of course, every good party starts with a good invite...


These were so fun & surprisingly easy to make!!
I'll be sharing the template for these soon so if you're wanting an easy (& budget-friendly) invite, be sure to check back soon!!
We added 'wax' seals with an "H" imprinted on them after we folded them- the kids LOVED them. We gave out printed invites to his friends at school & soccer, then I also created a Facebook group for those we don't see as often. 
Plus it helps me keep up with the RSVP's so much easier! 


The party table turned out gorgeous. 
All the colors were amazing together & this is where the bulk of my planning went into. 
Luckily, I was able to shop my house & the 'party room' to come up with most of the decor items.
Who knew my house was so similar to Hogwarts??


I used my all-time favorite project ever, my shim chalkboard, as the centerpiece of it all. 
It's seriously one of the most used pieces I've ever made!!
 (and you won't believe what it started as either, check it's makeover out here). 

I created a Honeydukes menu for the chalkboard and was definitely incredibly nervous about using my own handwriting. Silly, I know. But all I saw were all the crazy imperfections. 
But I really didn't want to spend the time painting or using that much vinyl to create the words. 
So I went with it. 

Here's my trick on re-using my chalkboard over & over. 
I buy a piece of black posterboard (50 cents at the Dollar Store) and use a chalk marker to make my design. Make sure to cut it down to fit your chalkboard first. 
Then pop it in. You can pop it out as soon as you're done & no crazy clean-up. I just think chalk markers are a lot brighter and easier to use than chalk...but they don't tend to come off chalkboards completely so it's easier to use the posterboard & no one can tell! 


The shutters on either side of the chalkboard were DIY projects from forever ago. 
And I had the perfect opportunity to let my Harry Potter mirror quote shine!
It has one of my favorite quotes from the books: "Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if one only remembers to turn on the light". 
Tutorial for the mirror can be found here

I'll be sharing the easy DIY details about the crest banners & Hogwarts framed sign later in the week. 
But I loved the color they brought to the whole display!!
I re-used some of the garlands from past parties for this party too. 


For the table coverings, I ended up using a dark red flat sheet that I had lying around in the linen closet. We aren't big fans of using flat sheets (because we're weird?!) so it had never been used. 
And it was the perfect Gryffindor red. 

I bought a yard & a half of each of the yellow striped and black dotted fabric. The black fabric I cut down the middle and layered underneath the yellow stripes. 
I wanted the food table to be mostly Gryffindor (red & gold) with touches of the other houses (in the crest banners). 



I made the Harry Potter framed quote & it's one of my favorite things!!
I'm planning on using some of the pieces from the party in little man's room as well so double win!!


The food names were so fun to come up with!
It's definitely not hard finding yummy Harry Potter themed food, the hard part is narrowing down what you want. 


A sweet friend of mine made the gorgeous cake and I was seriously in love with it. 
I'm in awe of people who can create beautiful (& tasty) food.
I have neither the crazy talent or patience that it takes. 

I added the wand & the Golden Snitch to it when she delivered it. 
And it's as yummy as it is beautiful!




For the food, we had: 
Acid Pops: Dum Dums
Broomsticks: String Cheese & Pretzels
Rock Cakes: Iced Cookies
Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans: Jelly Beans
Dragon Eggs: Chocolate Eggs
Herbology Bites: Carrots & Ranch
Dumbledore's Lemondrops: Well, just lemondrops

For drinks:
Butterbeer:
 Hubby made a concoction of Cream Soda, Butter Extract, Vanilla Ice Cream and Rum Extract. 
Polyjuice Potion: Green Hawaiian Punch



Another incredibly talented friend of mine made the amazing cookies!!
She never fails to have gorgeous and incredibly yummy treats every time I ask her to whip something up for a party!!



One awesome thing about Ryan's birthday is that it doesn't fall too far away from Easter.
Which means, Easter candy clearance.
I scored the jelly beans & dragon eggs cheap after Easter cleared out. 


Me and the little man scoured Goodwill for a few weeks in search of brass candlesticks & fun looking glassware. 
The candlesticks were the perfect touch of Hogwarts to all the tables. 
They may not have been floating from the ceiling, but they were fun nonetheless!!
I plan on using them for my fall decor too, can't wait to use them!!



I got a wild hair one night when I was having way too much fun with my new rub-on transfer technique and decided to make this crate more wizard-y. 
It made the perfect potions crate for all the party assundries. 


Most of the kids loved the Butterbeer, but I'm pretty sure they were getting it just to get the ice cream. 
The Hawaiian punch was the hit for sure. 
Kids are weird. 



Ah, now to the fun stuff.
I had this table in my head FOREVER when I started thinking up Hogwarts ideas. 
I have a crazy love for this little harlequin table. 
You can see it's makeover from five years ago here

When we moved, it never really found a spot in the new house so it's been collecting dust in the garage. 
But I just couldn't part with it. 
And well, duh, no wonder. 
It was obviously MEANT to be used as Ollivanders shop. 


My favorite DIY of the party had to be the wands. 
I made up my own version from several different ones I found online & they were practically free. And the coolest things ever. 

The kids were obsessed with them. 
I tied parchment tags to several of them with descriptions of actual wands from the books.
Yes, there is an entire Wikipedia page devoted to what the wands from Harry Potter are made of. 
The kids each chose theirs at the beginning of the party and used them for party games throughout. They also served as the party favors. 



Again, I shopped the house for some of the decor. 
I made the Ollivanders sign and the "expelliarmus' banner. 
The chippy window I already had. 

And I randomly came up with the spell blocks because I thought they'd be fun.
And they finished the whole look off perfectly. 
I'll be sharing an incredibly easy way to get letters onto things QUICK and achieve the perfect weathered look without sanding or painting. 




As cool as Ollivanders turned out, the trunk was my most favorite thing ever.
Because I was able to totally nerd out and cover the entire thing with all kinds of in-depth details. 
From Harry's Hogwarts textbooks, to Hedwig's owl cage, to a fully functional and magical-to-me Maurader's map complete with pop-outs. 


I used that awesome & easy word technique I was telling you about to make the textbooks in under 10 minutes. 
The Maurader's Map took much longer but was completely worth it. 
I found tutorials & the printables for them here and here
One has the pop-outs and one doesn't. And one of them has the instructions for how to dye your own paper to 'age' it. I used that technique on all the items I printed out to give them a better Hogwarts feel. 


The cage was found at JoAnn's and the cute owl was a clearance find at Hobby Lobby. 
I printed tags onto parchment paper and tied them on. 
I'll be sharing all my tag printables in a later post as well. 


We had a vintage camera bag lying around in the craft room (because who doesn't??) that I thought was perfect for looking like it was traveling to Hogwarts with Harry. 
I filled it with all kinds of goodies that Harry would definitely need to have with him. 

The documents I included were: 
His Hogwarts Acceptance letter (I'll be sharing it soon)
Hogwarts School Book list (sharing soon)
DIY Maurader's Map (tutorials here & here
Knight Bus Ticket (here
Hogwarts Express Ticket (here
Hogsmeade Permission Slip (sharing soon)

and several other random documents that I found on various sites. 
Do a quick google search or pinterest search for harry potter printables and you'll find all you need! 
I hand-dyed all my documents for a more authentic look to them. 
Including the Harry Potter letters you'll see on the tables below. 
I'll share the easy way to dye your paper in my printables post later on this week. 


For the Daily Prophet, I printed off the front page of one that I found online and then wrapped it around a regular newspaper. 



The trunk was borrowed from my parents and I found a random red checked tablecloth in my china cabinet that seemed to scream Gryiffindor to me. 
The Potter Quidditch robe below was borrowed from a friend. 



I made the Platform 9 3/4 with my Silhouette and love that I had plenty of brick walls to choose from to add it to. 
Hubby wants it to stay. 


The house banners were found on this site & were easy to put together. 
Just print the letters and add cardstock colored circles to back them.
I used my Silhouette to cut out the circles to go quicker. 
Then glue them together, add twine and hang! 

I pulled my coffee sack ottoman out of the house to let the birthday boy sit on to open presents. 



I made a quick 'Have you seen this wizard' photo prop out of black foam board and the kids had a blast taking crazy pictures with it. 



Moving on to the Potions table...it was so fun to put together!!
Me and little man found all kinds of inexpensive glass bottles at Goodwill and I added these awesome printable labels to them.


I brought out my favorite little scale, old window & some wire baskets to corral it all together. 
Hubby added the ingredients he needed for his magic potions he would do later to a couple of the bottles.  



The mandrake label was found here and I just added it to a terra cotta pot I had on hand. 


I made the Potions sign from an old beat-up piece of wood I had in the garage. 
I'm thinking it needs to make an appearance around Halloween for the mantle :) 


Some of the bottles, I just modge-podged the labels onto. Some, I tied around the bottles with twine. 


I had two tables in the yard for sitting/eating and I decided to fill them with things from each Hogwarts house. 
There was a Slytherin/Ravenclaw table and then a Gryffindor/Hufflepuff table. 



Each table had a black tablecloth and then were layered with a book-page runner that I made from a thrifted copy of The Sorcerer's Stone. 
Then I layered a couple scrap pieces of fabric in the color of each house over the page runners. 


I added these cute printables to each table too since they described the attributes of each house perfectly. 
The 'Gryffindor Tower' and "Slytherin Dungeon' signs were handmade and fun additions to the tables. 
I gathered brass candlesticks, creamy candles, lanterns, old books & a few aged letters together to create some pretty vignettes across the center of the tables. 








My friend made this amazing Sorting Hat for little man's birthday present and it was so fun!!
It even talked!!
We used it to draw the sorting coins from in order to sort the kids into teams for games. 


One of the games was a 'real' version of Quidditch. 
Hubby made the Quidditch rings (more on that later) and I made the broomsticks- which I was extremely proud of. 
I mean, they were pretty awesome. 



I gathered the 'Quaffles' (playground balls), the Golden Snitch (tutorial coming later) and the Hogwarts House Cup into an old suitcase I had. 
The mini spool that hubby found on the side of the road was perfect for creating a little backdrop for all the Quidditch pieces. 





The drawstring bag held the Sorting Coins that allowed the kids to be sorted into houses. 
I transferred the Hogwarts crest onto the front of it. 


And, of course, you can't play Quidditch with sub-par brooms.
We had a Firebolt & Nimbus 2000. 

The games we played were: 

Wizard Relay: the kids were divided into two equal lines (Gryffindor & Hufflepuff on one team and Slytherin & Ravenclaw in another). They had to race to a designated spot, don robes, a pair of glasses & say a spell before taking it all off & racing back to tag the next person in line. 

Quidditch- the kids took turns throwing the balls into the rings for certain amounts of points. 

The Wand Race: Using their wands they received, each child tried to keep a balloon in the air by tapping it with their wand. The last one standing won. 

I'd love to post pictures of all the games but, since they have pictures of children that aren't mine, I didn't feel like it was okay to post for the whole world to see. 



My girls, however, were the cutest little wizards around. 
They all had gorgeous robes made by the same friend that made the Sorting Hat. 
Baby M didn't like wearing hers :/ 



I made us all t-shirts to wear and the kids loved them!!!
I'll be sharing more details about the kids shirts soon. 
In case you're wondering, my sweet nerdy husband has on a shirt that says "Cloud is my Patronus". You tell me. 

All in all, it was a huge success!!
At the end of the day, we were exhausted but thrilled that everything had turned out so well!!

Little man dubbed it the best party ever and that's high praise from a 9 year old!!

I know that was a TON of information and pictures to process.
But I'll be breaking it down & sharing the tutorials on a lot of the projects over the next couple weeks. 
So keep checking back!!

Hope your week is going amazing- have a magical Wednesday friends!!









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