Photo Friday: DIY Serving/Cutting Board Props

by Shawnda on March 30, 2012

in DIY,Photography & Props

DIY Wooden Serving Board

I had a chance to hang out at White on Rice Couple’s beautiful studio last month for a KitchenAid event. There’s a dreamy prop room. And an entire wall in their kitchen dedicated to hanging cutting boards; some old, some new, all beautiful pieces that add height, texture, and mood to a photo.

And I wanted 5 of them. No, 10!

Okay, okay. I’d settle for 7.

When I got home, I presented my husband with a small list of projects. Near the top of the list, right under “organize prop closet,” was “5! no, 10! okay, 7 homemade cutting boards.” (Actually, that’s the short version. The long version involves me window-shopping online for cutting boards and then nearly fainting when I saw the $200 price tag on a beautiful, dark vintage serving board.)

Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll show you some of our latest DIY food styling & photography prop projects. We get to save money, I get new props, and my husband gets to do one of his favorite things ever: buy stuff from the lumber yard.

I’ve mentioned it before, but woodworking is one of my husband’s favorite hobbies. He gets to work with power tools. Alone in the garage. And make stuff. I get it. I really do :) You can imagine, then, that getting him to help me make some new wooden prop pieces was not like pulling teeth.

As a matter of fact, he pretty much took over.

We took a stroll through a nearby lumber yard and found ourselves staring at a pretty 1×8 plank of solid walnut. The first board that we made was an ode to that $200 online beauty: dark, long, and straight with crisp angles.

DIY Wooden Serving Board

We marked out the measurements and traced the shape of the board directly onto the wood.

DIY Wooden Serving Board

We cut the board out – a power saw to remove the working end from the plank and to quickly saw down one length of the board and then a hand saw to cut around the handle. You can avoid the use of a power saw by just using a hand saw and either making a 8-inch wide board (I cut mine down to 6 inches) or just buying a 1×6 instead :)

We sanded the cut edges smooth: a pass with medium-grit sandpaper and then a pass with finer-grit to finish.

DIY Wooden Serving Board

I used a small hammer to soften the crisp edges around the board to give it a slightly more worn look.

DIY Wooden Serving Board

DIY Wooden Serving Board

I used a drill with a medium-sized round bit to drill a hole in the handle so I could loop some twine through it and have the option for hanging storage.

DIY Wooden Serving Board

I rubbed the board with tung oil to bring out the grain and then finished it with a layer of finishing wax.

DIY Wooden Serving Board

Done and done!


How to Make Custom Water Bottle Labels

Those are the water bottles for our daughter’s 2nd birthday party. Cute, huh? And we made them ourselves. Oh, how I do love Pinterest!

We designed the labels in Inkscape, a free open source vector graphics program that’s similar to Illustrator, and printed them on 80lb white cardstock. Then I used a paper cutter to cut the labels apart and clear packing tape to stick them onto the bottle.

And that was it. (Note: If you’re interested in the files for these exact water labels, they are available with the other Cat in the Hat Party printables – you can find more information here.)

The upside: Besides being totally cute and completely customizable to match any party’s theme? They weren’t really labor- or time-intensive. By the time I decided to do water bottle labels, the decorations for the rest of the party were done so I easily converted one of the other pieces into a water bottle label.

The downside: If you use your home printer, the ink on the labels will not stand up to condensation. If you’re going to ice down your fancy-labeled water bottles, you’ll either want to have your files printed professionally (or, um, maybe pay a visit to that lonely printer up on the 4th floor that no one ever uses) or use already-designed paper (like scrapbooking stock).

How to Make Custom Water Bottle Labels

Materials needed
Clear packing tape, 2 inches wide
Custom labels or decorative paper, cut to 8.5 inches x 1.75 inches wide (double-check the circumference of your water bottle to make sure 8.5 inches will suffice)
Water bottles, labels removed (I used store-brand 16.9 oz bottles)

Unroll a long strip of tape on your work surface. (I left the tape connected to the roll at this point but you could go ahead and cut it to 9.5 inches if you have a ruler handy.)

How to Make Custom Water Bottle Labels

Leaving ~1/2-inch of tape at the end, carefully center your label across the 2-inch width of the packing tape and press into place. Lightly rub the back of the label to remove any air bubbles.

How to Make Custom Water Bottle Labels

Leave ~1/2-inch of tape on each side of the label and then cut the tape.

How to Make Custom Water Bottle Labels

Place the label onto the bottle – I lined up the top of the label with the first groove on the water bottle – and smooth. The ends of the label will slightly overlap.

How to Make Custom Water Bottle Labels

That’s it!

Inspired by: Glorious Treats via Pinterest.


Crafty Fridays: How to Make a Lollipop Stand

by Shawnda on February 3, 2012

in Crafts,DIY

How to make a custom lollipop stand

The lollipop stands were my very, very favorite craft from my daughter’s Cat in the Hat birthday party. Probably because they required no hot glue and therefore resulted in no hot glue burns. They were inspired by a craft in Martha Stewart Weddings. (How fun is the couple who has lollipops at their wedding reception!)

How to make a custom lollipop stand

The stands were super easy to put together, even for an overall craft-challenged person like me. I was done with both in 45 minutes. They’re completely customizable for any party, shower, or holiday. I picked out ribbon colors that were inspired by the art in Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat - red and white stripes from Cat’s hat and an aqua reminiscent of Thing 1 and Thing 2’s hair.

After wrapping the styrofoam cones, I tucked the red and aqua lollipops in between the ribbon strips. Custom lollipop stands = done.

How to make a lollipop stand

Materials Needed (makes 1 lollipop stand)
4 7/8 inch x 11 7/8 inch floral styrofoam cone
7/8 inch x 18 ft ribbon – this is enough ribbon to complete one cone and about 1/3 of a second cone
1/2 inch ribbon in for trim, ~16 inches long (optional)
15 Lollipops (the diameter of the lollipop tops was ~2.5 inches)

Lay the end of the ribbon over the top, positioning it so there is ~1 1/2 inch overhang on each side and cut it. Secure into place with 4 pins.

Wrap the ribbon around the top side of the cone, securing in the back with a pin near where the two ribbons overlap.

how to make a custom lollipop stand

Cut the top overlap of ribbon parallel to the bottom layer. You can see the top corners of some of my ribbons poking out – that’s because my first cuts didn’t line up with bottom edge of the ribbon. I fixed it on the way down and I think it looks much cleaner that way… not that anyone is going to be checking out the backside of the lollipop stands. But, you know…

how to make a custom lollipop stand

Continue all the way down the cone. The idea is to pull each piece of ribbon just snug while slightly overlapping the previous layer. Not Spanx-tight, but snug – you’ll still need to be able to wedge lollipop sticks between the ribbons but the ribbons need to be able to stay in place so you might need to adjust the tension just a bit.

how to make a custom lollipop stand

When you get to the bottom, you have two options: 1) Just add another layer of the same ribbon, adjusting or cutting the excess ribbon even with the bottom of the cone or 2) Use a thinner piece of ribbon to act as trim onto the cone. I opted for #2.

how to make a custom lollipop stand

Starting at the bottom of the cone, slide lollipops between the ribbons and gently push them into the styrofoam. The original instructions indicated that the stands might be unstable and should be weighted down – I didn’t find this to be the case at all. The lollipop stands held their own with people pulling out lollipops, without a single tip-over.


Pinterest Projects: Framed Button Monogram Key Holder

Do you spend hours and hours on Pinterest, pinning pretty crafts, genius ideas, expensive dresses and shoes you’ll never buy, and delicious recipes that you can’t wait to try? Me, too. Hi.

I’ve resolved to be more crafty in the new year and turn some of those Pinterest hours into real life stuff. My first project was a framed button monogram, but converted into a key holder. Because our current key drop is the small ledge on the bar… where I like to put the mail. I’ve had to dig keys out of the trash more than once because they got caught up in the junk mail.

Pinterest Projects: Framed Button Monogram Key Holder

It was simple enough: you glue buttons onto card stock, overlapping and layering to hide the paper beneath, and following the outline of a large letter (I lightly drew an H with a pencil). Larger/Accent buttons go down first, then medium-ish pieces, followed by the smallest pieces to cover any small gaps that remain. It took me 4 hours and many, many hot glue burns to finish.

Cat in the Hat Party Decorations

I’ve since done a second button monogram project for my daughter’s Cat in the Hat birthday party. It only took me 1 hour… But I do think that I got the same amount of hot glue burns.

The supplies:
1 piece of cardstock (JoAnn Fabrics)
2 packs of Favorite Finds buttons (JoAnn Fabrics)
1 pack of Favorite Finds mini-buttons (JoAnn Fabrics)
1 pack of coordinating jewelry beads to fill in the tiny gaps (JoAnn Fabrics)
3 accent piece buttons (2-3 to a pack)
1 frame with an 8×10 cutout (JoAnn Fabrics)
4 nickel-finish hooks (Home Depot)
Hot glue gun + glue sticks

I scored 40% off on everything from JoAnns making my total project cost ~$35. And I have a ton of buttons leftover that I’m not sure what to do with. Maybe I’ll hunt down a site with lots of crafty inspiration. What I do know is that the first person who complains about missing keys gets a hot glue gun thrown at them :)