DIY Genre Shelf Signs

Ok, so I’m not entirely sure at the moment what I want to dub this little DIY project as, but I think genre shelf signs will be sufficient for now. I came across this idea while scrolling through Instagram. The Centennial Jr High School Librarian posted some similar signs that were super cute which you can check out here.

After seeing her’s and reading some comments, I couldn’t figure out exactly how she did them, but I knew I could recreate them my own way (and with the help of my husband because he is awesome inspiration!). I showed my husband the pictures so I could figure out the size of the piece of wood I would need. Turns out, we had plenty of 1×4” pieces of pine in the shop. He cut them into different sizes, some 15″ while others begin 21″ in length, with a chop saw. I then took 150 grit sand paper and sanded them a bit to make them smoother. I then grabbed the quart of chalk paint I had that was by Rustoleum and painted about three quick coats on. I had a huge fan going in the shop and I think that helped with dry time, because when I would be done with the first coat for all pieces, I was able to continue on with the second and then the third. After they dried for a little while (maybe an hour or two), I used 220 grit sand paper and smoothed up the paint. Then I hit the top with a paper towel and rubbing alcohol. I don’t think this step is necessary per say, but I think it helps when you go to add the colored heat transfer vinyl (HTV).

Sander and wood
Palm sander for the initial sanding was a must!
Really digging this chalk paint!

Speaking of HTV, that is the next step. I ordered a huge pack of HTV in tons of colors off Amazon. Now, I will say, this ended up working, but I don’t know if this brand would be my go-to in the future. It got the job done, but I had some slipping and it took trial and error when heating it onto the wood. Anyways, I cut the colors into 3″ strips width wise and then cut them a little shorter in length depending on the length of the piece of wood (if the length of the sign was 15″ then I cut it 14″). IMG_0974.JPG

Here comes the tricky part. I have a clam shell heat press and therefore it wouldn’t really work for the thick wood. I have a friend who lives Nextdoor who has a Cricut press and that came in handy, but wasn’t what did the job the best. What was best? My iron. Yep. I put it on polyester setting (my cotton settings steams) and I used my teflon over the HTV and pressed in short 5 second intervals in sections that were iron width. I did this several times-think 4-5 passes over the whole thing (so 20 seconds total per pass). I then peeled up the plastic that is on top of the vinyl and repeated a few more times. Sometimes the HTV started to come up when I was peeling the plastic layer off, BUT that’s okay! It actually seemed to lay better when that happened and I would simply let it cool for a minute and then press it. IMG_1033.JPG

To heat transfer the lettering or not? I did it both ways-white HTV for the letters and just plain on sticker vinyl, both worked but I think the sticker vinyl was easier and looked better overall. I used my Silhouette machine to cut my letters (I made them about 2.5″ tall) and transfer vinyl to get them on. That’s it!

Mystery and Scary Stories were HTV lettering and Fairy Tales was just sticker vinyl.


I do think I will Modge Podge over them so they will hold up for a while and I plan on velcro-ing them to the tops of my bookshelves so they don’t fall over.

I had fun making these! Where there frustrating moments? Uh, yeah! But that’s okay…if it doesn’t challenge you, then it’s not worth it, right? 😉 Let me know if you have any questions! I did make some smaller labels to go on the fronts of each shelf in that genre, but those are just colored paper and white sticker vinyl-easy peasy! ❤️


Again, all questions are welcome!

11 11❤️ Tara

DIY Glittered Vinyl Mugs

My mother has always had a tradition of going out to eat and opening gifts with her mom and two sisters every Christmas…it was a time for them to bond and hang out before the holiday got way too hectic with kids, in laws and husbands! Ever since my granny passed away about 7 years ago, my mom and her sisters stopped getting together.  So two years ago my sisters and I decided to start our OWN tradition with our mom AND we included my aunt Amy since she has no daughters and lives close. So before Christmas, but still in the month of December, we get together and do a cooking class at Central Market and exchange gifts.  It’s a TON of fun and we can be talkative and let loose and we don’t have to worry about anything else (well, except to not catch on fire or burn the food ;)!) This year I wanted to make my gifts to my sisters and mom really special so I decided to make at least one of the presents I gave to them.  I actually came across glittered mugs on Etsy BUT at $21 a pop, I was OUT and knew my crafty self could figure out how to do it myself.  I found blogs and different How-tos and even went out and bought different decal paper to try to make the mugs.  The glitter part was the easy part, it was the cute little sayings or art on the mugs that seemed difficult to do.  I started out thinking I could use oil based paint pens that were made for ceramics and draw what I wanted on the mugs.  That was a flop; I don’t have a steady hand! So then there was the whole carbon paper thing: basically you put it on the mug and put the design you want over the carbon paper.  Then you trace it with a pencil and then fill it in…that just didn’t work at all.  I even bought the decal paper men use for their model cars but it seemed too difficult and time consuming.  Now, right off the bat I had thought to use my Cricut Expressions 2 machine but I immediately dismissed it because I didn’t want to buy more cartridges (and I wanted to use my OWN designs or ones I came up with) and I didn’t think vinyl would stay on the mug through washings.  BUT soon after I tried all these different things, a friend on Facebook said she makes permanent decals! I asked her a bazillion questions and finally sent her my designs and colors.  SHE DID A PERFECT JOB! When I went to pick them up, I asked her if she had a Silhouette (I had heard of them but never used one) and sure enough that’s exactly how she cut my designs! I am now wanting one and need to sell my cruddy, money hungry Cricut (that is a whole other post!).  Below I have the step by step instructions on how to make your own glittered vinyl decorated mugs that should stand up to at least hand washing!


So the first thing I did was buy the supplies! Here’s what you’ll need:

Martha Stewart’s Craft Decoupage in Durable Gloss Finish

Glitter (your color of choice)

Thin electrical tape (more workable around mugs vs. blue painter’s tape)

white mugs (I  bought mine from Dollar Tree)

Oracle Decal Paper 651 in the colors you want

design program (I like Rhonna on my iPhone or on my computer)

Silhouette cutter or Cricut Explore


So here is how I achieved my final products! They can totally be done different ways I’m sure, but this was the easiest way I could find!

Glittered portion:

I taped off the part of the mug I wanted to decoupage with glitter (the bottom half).  I then used a paint brush and put the first layer of decoupage on the bottom part of the mug.  I then sprinkled a good layer of glitter on it.

I let it dry for about an hour and then added another layer of decoupage and glitter.  I did this at least three times. When you are happy with the amount of glitter, add another layer of decoupage to the top and let dry (I usually take the tape off right before my final layer of decoupage).

Note: If you don’t plan on putting any designs on it then let it sit for at least three days prior to using.  However, it will need a full 28 days of curing before being able to dish wash (I believe it says that on the Martha Stewart bottle).

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Design portion:

I used my Rhonna app to create cute sayings and designs and then saved them and emailed them to myself (so I could pull them up on my computer).  I have a friend who has a Silhouette…I have a Cricut Expressions 2 and I feel like I totally wasted my money! I had no knowledge of the Silhouette machine AND the Cricut Explore (very much like the Silhouette) just came out. Anyways, my friend can cut ANYTHING on her machine which is quite fabulous! So I sent her the designs singly…the ones that have multiple colors I had to send each one in a separate jpg (background in one color and then the letters in another color).  She used her decal paper in the colors I needed and cut them out for me perfectly! Oh and I knew my area to work with on my mug was about 3inX3in so she made sure to cut them that size!

You do need a pretty steady hand to put them on, and I found using a credit card to smooth out the bubbles helps a lot! But I just put them on one layer at a time!

And although it does seem like the decal paper won’t hold up when you first put it on, just know that it takes like 24-48 hours for it to cure and really stick!
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If you have any questions, just let me know! I may not have an answer but can help find one! 😉

DIY Chalkboard

I love making things and using my hands to be artistic! Growing up, my mother use to make signs out of old paneling and she would make scarecrows for the fall and different crafts with roosters and chickens! She would set up a booth during First Monday (a big flea market once a month where I’m from) and she would sell her crafts! We had fun helping her out (and getting to play with the goats and new puppies at for sale!) I never really felt I gained the artistic gene though. My younger sister Maegan, takes being artsy to a totally different level! She is a hair dresser and she just envisions something and goes to town! And when you leave her chair, you are feeling fun and sexy and a little edgy because she just knows how to make someone feel their best! She also does make up for weddings and special occasions and she can show me the craziest colors for eye makeup and I think she is nuts! But then I see the final product and I wonder how I didn’t see what she saw to begin with; it always looks fabulous! Even when it comes to clothing I am pretty plain and simple. I love designer pieces and choose to spend more money on a piece that I can wear with multiple things! Whereas, Maegan shops wherever, Charlotte Russe, Forever 21, etc. and finds such cute clothes (that until I see on her, I would have laughed at on the hanger!) So as you can see, I’m not artistic by any means. I am the Type A personality who’s organized and likes clean, straight lines. BUT I really enjoy redoing old pieces of furniture and modge podging things to death! Usually if I have a glass of wine, or four, my crafts come out so much better! I’m guessing it’s because I’m not so uptight about having everything perfect.
So this weekend I went to town on several pieces! We are in the process of putting our house on the market, and I decided that I need to finish my unfinished projects so I can either sell them or make my house look more appealing with them! Here is the first I worked on!
Mother’s Day was Sunday and I really needed to get this done for my mom. I made a Chalkboard for her since she is always borrowing mine!  She throws lots of showers and celebrations and chalkboards add that little extra pizzazz with chalkboard art!  The first thing I did was get an old picture frame…garage sales are the best place to find these!20140520-060234.jpg

Then I went to town and painted the frame with chalk paint!  I liked it ok…I will talk about how I feel about chalk paint in another post!  Spray paint works just as well (better in my opinion!)  And I put a clear wax over the chalk paint (which to be honest polyurethane in satin works great too!)



Next I cut my hard board (Masonite) to the size I needed to fit the frame.


Then I primed the board, making sure my primer was even, I gave it two coats.


Then I got out my  chalk board paint….now, I am picky about my chalk board paint and Rust-oleum is the only one I like.  I have tried the chalk board paint in a can and OMG it does not work near as well as the spray paint.




It looks like this the first coat.  I also spray the opposite way (top to bottom after doing side to side) to cover for the first coat.  Let it dry for about 10 min and spray another coat.  Do that for a total of 3-4 coats or until it looks smooth like you want.  Then you’ll let it dry a full 24 hours!


Once it has dried completely, you’ll put it in the frame.  I fastened mine with either a staple sideways, or little nails at an angle.


Before you use it, go over the entire board with a piece of chalk on its side and then erase! Ta-Da!


Any questions, just post below:)

Barn doors…my husband is A-mazing!

20140305-191132.jpg  I know this has nothing to do with health or fitness…well I guess it does in a sense that you must be in good health to do what my husband just did for me this weekend! When we knew we had Race on the way, we had to move our “office” from the front bedroom into our other living area.  We have a 3 BR/2 LR house…it’s not huge my any means, but we are lucky to have two living areas!  So.  With us moving our office/craft room to the front living room, it is literally the first thing you see when you walk in our front door.  And although I am a clean maniac (yes, I clean the shower as I’m showering!), a craft room can only be so clean with projects on going and with an office space that my husband uses daily since he works for himself. I needed some sort of door to cover the entry to that room…my first thought: French doors!  But Brock said no because they had to swing open and it wouldn’t work with what we’ve got going.  Ok.  Next: pocket doors!  Again, Brock said no because you would have to go into the sheet rock and headers and 2x4s and blah, blah, blah (crap I don’t understand).  So finally I came up with…sliding barn doors.  Well. He said “eh!”…not a no, I’ll take it!

Finally, after over a year of asking about doors, I GOT THEM!  Literally he made the doors, and the steel bar and sliders for the top of the doors all in one day!  OMGosh…I don’t know why he waited so long! haha (besides the fact that he did most of the work!).

I stained the doors with Rustoleum Dark Walnut stain (love this stuff). We used tung and groove boards and glued them together first and then nailed them together horizontally with another small board.  I’ll get exact specifics later!

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