Category Archives: DIY projects

paper flower tutorial - via the sweetest digs

DIY paper flowers

31st March 2015

If you follow me on Pinterest, you might have noticed a recent trend toward pinning paper flowers – there are so many ways to do them, and they are just so pretty. With spring in the air, I finally got my act together and actually made some.

I choose one of the simplest methods I could find, because let’s be honest… simple is good. I might work my way up to watercolour painted flowers with torn, beautiful petals, but these little rosettes turned out quite sweetly and were so, so easy to do.

paper flower tutorial - via the sweetest digs

Supplies needed:

-cardstock paper in colour/pattern of your choice
-scissors
-hot glue gun & glue
-flower picks (or something to use as your stem – I found mine at my local Dollarama)
-Real Housewives playing on your computer .. you know, an integral part of any craft project

It’s pretty straight forward in the photos, but I’ll take you through the steps. First is to cut a large circle in your paper (I would get 2 circles from an 8.5×11 sheet of paper). Then cut that circle into a spiral, leaving a reasonable base in the middle.

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Starting with the outside edge, curl your rosette up into shape. I would do this before any gluing, just to get the shape and look right.

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Roll up again, and this time put a dab of hot glue every now and again to glue your flower into shape. Once you get to the base, you’ll have to put a few squiggles of glue on that bottom base circle and hold your rosette up against it to set. DSC_1453

Poke your flower pick/stem through your flower, turn over, and put a dab of hot glue on the bottom to keep them firmly together.

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Turn over, and voila!

paper flower tutorial - via the sweetest digsRecap – in one easy photo (you know… for pinning!).

DIY tutorial to make pretty paper flowers - via the sweetest digs And really, they are ridiculously lovely.

paper flower tutorial - via the sweetest digs

I now have so many ideas floating around of how I want to use these — put some up on the wall somewhere with washi tape, skip the flower stem all together and just put the rosettes along a table like a runner, or put 1-2 in small vases all the way down the table as a centerpiece. So many ideas! paper flower tutorial - via the sweetest digsI had some turquoise paper hanging around with my pink stack, so I made a few teal beauties while I was at it. You can see the top of the stems more clearly in this photo. If you didn’t like the way those looked, you could just add a little bit of tissue paper to the top of the stem as the “center”. With some white paper and a black center, they could look a bit like anemones (such a pretty flower!).
paper flower tutorial - via the sweetest digsEach flower is slightly different and I think it’s nice to be a little imperfect on this one. Adds to the charm, you know?

I have gotten together with some of my favourite fellow Canadian blogging pals and we have put together everything you need to throw a whole “spring dinner party” here. My flowers can be the centerpiece of your table, and these gals have you covered for everything else – from appy’s to drinks to party decor. Have fun checking them out!

Beautiful ideas for hosting a Spring Brunch

Jo-Anna of A Pretty Life in the Suburbs made a delicious Strawberry Shortcake dessert
Virginia of Fynes Designs put together a beautiful Easter table setting!
Lucy of Craftberry Bush made a Customizable Watercolour Printable Menu
Jenn of Clean & Scentsible made delicious Vegetarian Mexican Roll-Ups for appetizers
Tara of Suburble has some fun ideas for the Kids Table
Christina of The DIY Mommy put together a Fresh & Happy Spring Dessert Table

I don’t know about you, but’ I’d love to be a part of this beautiful party! Happy Spring!

DIY kids crayon holder via the sweetest digs blog

gift idea: DIY crayon holder

5th January 2015

So I know the holiday have just passed (hope you guys had a wonderful and relaxing time!) and you have probably done all of your gift-giving for a while, but this is a sweet little idea to bookmark for next year or an upcoming birthday: a DIY crayon holder (or pencil, pens, paintbrush holder – whatever!).

I made this one for Maya for Christmas and also gifted a few others. They were super easy and I think the result is darling!

DIY kids crayon holder via the sweetest digs blog

For these particular crayon holders, my Dad gave me a hand and cut the pieces specially out of cherry wood, but you could use any 2×4 piece of wood. I think that Michael’s even sells blocks of wood like this ready for such projects.

Once you have your piece of wood, you want to sand it quite well – on all sides and edges. We did the edges with my Dad’s router, but you could use a block grain or sander. You just want to make sure it’s nice and smooth.

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Now onto the holes. We wanted it to be symmetrical and played around with different options. In the end, we thought it looked best to do two lines of five.

After you have measured where you want the holes to go and marked them out on your piece of wood, it’s time to drill. My Dad has a drill press in his workshop, so we used it with a Forstner drill bit. The size of the holes are 1cm. You could also make the holes with a regular drill, but take your time to do them accurately (the nice thing about a drill press is that it always comes down perfectly vertically and really cuts the hole in a more sharp way). Another tip would be to put a piece of tape or something on your drill to know when to pull it back up and out – that way you get the same depth of hole every time.

Also, you might want to adjust the size of the holes if you’re going to be making the holder for something else like paintbrushes, markers, etc. Good idea to do a bit of testing!DSC_1288

(this particular block above is a shorter one that we experimented with)

Next up was to stain the wood. I tried out some stain cloths for the first time. Have you seen them? They come in a package and already have stain applied and you just need to rub it in. In the end, I prefer the good old method of taking stain out of the can and applying it with a brush or rag. I felt like the stain went on really strongly with the cloths and it went splotchy in some areas. If the items were larger, then I could see the cloths working well, but for small projects like this they weren’t quite right. However, it worked…
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I then painted the names on with regular black acrylic paint. I drew out the letters with a pencil beforehand to make sure I spaced them properly (I inevitably always don’t get the spacing right to begin with), and then painted the letters in with a fine brush.
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I took a really light grit sand paper to the names after they had dried just to make them look a little more “aged”. Stick some crayons in them, and there you go! Cute, right?DSC_1294

Maya is obsessed with dumping the crayons out, then putting them all back in again. Then repeat 4 or 5 times. So I guess not *just* a crayon holder but a skills development activity for kids too?! Sweet.DSC_1300

I experimented with a few different things that didn’t quite work out. My first plan was to wood burn the names in. I don’t know if I just don’t have the hang of wood burning yet, but my attempts were pretty pathetic. Perhaps burning smaller names would have worked, but trying to do something big was not great. Lame-o…DSC_1301

I also tried out a black sharpie. It wasn’t bad, but it did bleed a little bit. See how the lines aren’t super crisp – especially on the ‘e’ in Annie? In retrospect, I think the sharpie would’ve been fine, though, so you could totally go that route. DSC_1303If you have some basic woodworking tools in your house, this is definitely a very easy project. The ones I gave as gifts went over really well – so I think they will be well loved (and were also appreciated by the parents!). Hopefully this particular holder will be a fixture on Maya’s desk for many years to come. Got any favourite homemade gifts to share?

DIY christmas and swiss cross felt pennants - super cute and easy to make - via the sweetest digs

DIY felt pennants (really easy, really cute!)

3rd December 2014

I have a cute little tutorial for you guys today. I haven’t been doing much in the way of Christmas decorating or projects, seeing as we are still shacking up at my parents’ place and ridiculously busy right now with house reno/day jobs/etsy shop/blogging/commuting/parenting/etc, but I couldn’t help buying some felt at the dollar store the other day and came up with these DIY felt pennants.

DIY christmas and swiss cross felt pennants - super cute and easy to make - via the sweetest digs

It’s really simple. Grab some sheets of felt (usually about 30 cents a piece), some wooden dowels (you can get a pack for a buck or two), your hot glue gun, scissors, and some twine.
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I didn’t take many pictures of the actual process, but it’s easy to explain.

Step 1 >> Cut the triangle out of the bottom of your piece of felt. I measured the mid point and then drew lines with a ruler from it down to the ends so that it would be even-ish.

Step 2 >> Fold over the top of your felt piece, over the dowel, and then run a bead of hot glue along it. Press down and hold in place until it dries. {If you wanted to get fancy – you could sew this, but that is beyond this lazy DIY gal}. DSC_1233

Step 3 >> Turn your pennant over, and then cut out whatever shapes you want and glue on. You could also use iron-on appliques, buttons, fabric… really, you could glue on just about anything. I free-handed some shapes out of the felt I had. I’m super into black and white these days, so I did a christmas tree and a swiss cross.
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Step 4 >> This is where your twine comes in. Just tie it on either side of your dowel (tie on one side, leave enough slack at the top, and then tie on the opposite side, and cut off excess). Twine works well here because I find it’s easier to get a really tight knot.

I had fun making this bright ice cream cone one.

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The inspiration for this project came from the “be one of a kind” pennant I had made at BlogPodium with the We Create Hoopla girls. This one uses fabric instead of felt, was sewed {fancy!}, has iron-on letters, and gold string that I wrapped around the dowels for hanging. DSC_1239Cute, right? They are super cheap to make, and you could totally prep the pennants and then get the kids in on the action with decorating them. I’m definitely going to be putting one of these up in Maya’s new room, and think I’ll put the swiss cross one up amongst a gallery wall.

Been doing any crafting lately? What have you been up to? I’d love to know!

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thrift store makeover: chalkboard paint + a globe

10th November 2014

When I had my black chalkboard paint out the other weekend – remember how I gave this tray a makeover? – I did another quickie DIY project on a globe I had picked up at the thrift store. Apparently I was on some kind of chalkboard paint kick?

Here was the globe pre-painting. I really liked the vintage colours of the globe itself, but wasn’t so crazy about the faux wood base. It doesn’t look too terrible in these photos, but in person it was definitely erring on the side of tacky. Plus it was all scratched up.

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It took two coats of black chalkboard paint that I applied with a small brush. No sanding or priming necessary. I was careful so I didn’t need to tape anything out. Then as with any chalkboard paint application, after it has dried, you want to cover the paint in a layer of chalk for a few mins, then rub off. This “sets” the chalkboard paint so that the first message you write on doesn’t leave an imprint forever. I usually try and do this with the side of a piece of chalk, but this base was tricky to get at so I just had to lightly draw all over it.

DSC_0010After I rubbed off the first layer, I decided to write a little message. Ideas included “adventure”, “travel”, “see the world”, “oyster”, etc, but in the end settled on “Explore”.

Nothing fancy – just my handwriting and an arrow to loop around.

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The fun thing is that you can totally switch up the message over time, or just leave the base black. Kinda has a cool library vibe, don’t you think? It’ll definitely be making it up onto the built in shelves that we are planning in the main floor office.

Have you used chalkboard paint on unconventional items? I have been on a total kick. I just love the matte texture, even if you don’t use it to actually write on. Now, what to paint next ….

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DIY this: jewellery tray makeover with chalkboard paint

5th November 2014

I’ve got a really simple DIY project for you guys today. And although it might be easy, it’s super chic – a black chalkboard tray.

DIY jewellery tray makeover with chalkboard paint

I’m always coming across trays at the thrift store. Often they have been painted or are some kind of plastic or tin, but when I came across this one – bare wood and perfectly primed for a makeover of some kind – I grabbed it. No prep necessary? My kind of project. Plus it was only a buck. No big loss if it didn’t work out.

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I hummed and hawed about doing a pattern of some kind, but in the end I just wanted something simple to put my jewellery on. I made these gold stamped jewellery stands a few months ago which have been great for earrings, but I have my bracelets and some rings just haphazardly sitting on a dresser.

I decided on black and initially gave the tray a couple coats of matte black spray paint. It looked terrible. It turned out really quite blotchy, you could see a lot of the wood grain through it, and it felt rough to the touch even though I had given it a sand.

Before calling it a #ProjectFail, I thought I would break out my chalkboard paint. The paint is so thick and I LOVE the matte texture of a chalkboard. I put two coats on with a regular paintbrush….

and….? Totally gorge.  Has that matte look I was going for and is the perfect backdrop for my baubles.

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I threw a few felt furniture pads on the bottom of the tray so that it doesn’t mark any table or dresser that it sits on.DSC_0050

I didn’t seal the paint or anything because I really wanted to keep that chalky look, so I’ll keep you posted on how it holds up. You could totally do this same project and actually write on it with chalk — could be cute if you wrote out the different foods or drinks you were serving.DSC_0048That’s it! Super simple, hey? Keep your eyes peeled next time you are out thrifting!

How do you guys store your jewellery? Have it hanging up on a wall somewhere? In a box? Have little trays for everything? When we move back into our house, I’m thinking of taking one of the walls in my closet and putting hooks all over it for necklaces, scarves, etc. Would be so nice to have them all on display in one spot.

 

DIY vintage window seating chart - the sweetest digs1 (small)

DIY wedding: vintage window seating chart

22nd September 2014

Do you remember that old 6-pane window that I turned into a picture frame, and then painted with Annie Sloan chalk paint and gifted it to my brother and sister-in-law for their nursery? Well, before it ended up on baby Mae’s walls, it also moonlighted as a vintage window seating chart at my girlfriend’s wedding.

DIY vintage window seating chart - the sweetest digs1 (small)

Here it was after my original makeover (see that tutorial for how to add wire for hanging photos). DIY vintage window turned picture frame

And then where it ended up in baby Mae’s nursery. DIY vintage window picture frame - the sweetest digs

But let’s back up to the seating chart. My girl Courtney was getting married, and had decided on elements like vintage blue mason jars, old hardcover books, and beautiful succulents for her wedding decor. I knew the vintage window would fit in perfectly. I pretty much forced myself as her wedding stylist along with another pal, Caroline, so I took over the seating chart duties.

To make the little sheets that would hang in the window panes, I grabbed some cream coloured cardstock and downloaded the “Travelling Typwriter” font. Instead of doing a sheet of paper per table, since there weren’t 6 tables, I organized all of the names alphabetically and then identified the table number beside their name. So it looked like this: “Name…………………. Table No”.

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Then it was just a matter of printing and cutting out the sheets of paper and clipping them onto the wire. Here is a pic I snapped on my phone that night. You’ll see I also made a “Name & Table No” piece for the top, and a “Find your seat” sheet to sit on the wine barrel. The whole thing took very little time to make and looked pretty darling. DIY vintage window seating chart - the sweetest digs2

And here is a much more beautiful photo, care of their lovely photographer Findley FotoDIY vintage window seating chart - the sweetest digs1

More photos of their gorgeous day to come later this week!

Okay seriously, vintage windows … you can use them in so many different ways, hey? Don’t hesitate to ever grab these on the side of the road if you ever see them in someone’s garbage. Junkyard gold. 

DIY bunk beds 7 - via the sweetest digs

cottage DIY: the bunkie bunk bed tutorial

26th August 2014

Okay so last you guys saw we had just finished the basic interior on our cottage bunkie (here), and re-finished the dresser (here). You can’t have a bunkie without bunk beds, so here is our bunkie bunk bed tutorial (say that ten times fast!).

DIY bunk beds 1 - via the sweetest digs

Sleeping space had to be maximized, so we knew we wanted to do two sets of bunk beds along either wall of the bunkie. We looked at a few bunk bed options at several stores, but since we needed very specific sizes and wanted a clean-lined look, my Dad decided that he would custom build them. It is pretty sweet to have a woodworker Dad…

The following instructions aren’t perfect, but they give you the general idea of what my Dad did. He made the frames for each bunk out of 1×1 lumber on 3 sides. The 4th side is joined to the other two by metal angle brackets (the frame is already painted white in the photo below).

DIY bunk beds 2 - via the sweetest digs

Then he put some 5/8 plywood on top of the frame (after the frame had been affixed to the wall). This is the tricky bit, as the plywood is the same length as the room, so it was difficult to maneuver into place.

DIY bunk beds 3 - via the sweetest digs

Once those were in, he put 1×6 poplar along the front edge. This was to hold the mattress in, and to add a decorative touch.

DIY bunk beds 5 - via the sweetest digs

DIY bunk beds 4 - via the sweetest digsWe purchased mattresses and duvets from IKEA, which was helpful to know those dimensions ahead of time.

DIY bunk beds 6 - via the sweetest digs

The ladder and railing were also made out of poplar – 1×3 pieces. The ladder is affixed to the bunk bed and is straight up and down, to not take up too much space in the narrow room. It also just comes to the bottom bunk rather than all the way to the ground, so that access underneath the bottom bunk is free and clear. A railing piece was added along the top bunk, you know, to keep people from falling out.

You’ll get a sneak peak at some of the accessories and finishes in the photos below (!!).

DIY bunk beds 7 - via the sweetest digs

We took the grey paint we had used on the ceiling, watered it down, and gave the poplar a grey wash. I really love how you can see the grain through, but it gives it a weathered kind of look.

DIY bunk beds 8 - via the sweetest digs

I couldn’t have been happier with the floating and minimalist look of the bunk beds. Go, Dad, right?

That’s about it for the how-to’s on the bunkie. Next post will be the full reveal. Just need to go and edit those photos …

What are you guys up to these days? Are you having any end-of-summer holidays? If you follow me on instagram, you may have noticed that we are in the adirondacks (new york) for these last 2 weeks of August. Dan’s family has their cottage here, and it’s always a ton of fun. We’ve had Maya’s 6 cousins here with us… the girl could not be more thrilled. Social butterfly, that one. 

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furniture redo: a navy and gold dresser

1st August 2014

We basically just needed one piece of furniture for the bunkie, besides bunk beds, and that was a dresser.

I searched the online used sites for quite a few weeks, but it was tricky as the dresser had to be a fairly specific size that didn’t seem to be popular. I was spotting either really tall, narrow dressers (“tallboys”) or long, large dressers. I needed something in between, but not as small as a nightstand. And I didn’t want anything too ornate or with french country lines. Oh, and it had to be solid wood. No laminate. After a while, I finally spotted a fairly basic, solid wood dresser for $50 and snatched it up.

I totally forgot to take a before photo (bad blogger!!), but I knew exactly what colour I wanted to paint it for our by-the-lake bunkie. Can you guess?

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Ha. Navy probably isn’t too surprising, huh?

The colour is called Fly by Night Blue by Valspar, which my Mum and I picked up when we were down at the Lowe’s in the States. It’s a paint & primer in one (semi gloss) that is meant for furniture and other high use areas.

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My mum painted it and in the end did 3 coats, with a light sanding between each. The glossiness of the paint did show some of the imperfections in the wood, which is a bit annoying. It’s really only visible in certain bright light though, so it really isn’t the end of the world. Not sure if I would use this paint again for a similar application, though..

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For the hardware, I wanted to go with brass. I am smitten with a navy + brass combo. Classic, don’t you think?

I hit up Lee Valley Tools (my go-to place for hardware) and came across these small rectangular antique brass pulls (“A” in the link). They were $3.70 a piece, so it was under $30 for all six.

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And here is the full dresser in all its navy + brass glory. This was when we first brought it into the bunkie (sneak peak at some of the other accessories!)…
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And once we hung the mirror and started to style it a little.
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DSC_0604A little cottage chic, wouldn’t you say? I know I still need to get to the actual bunk beds in the bunkie… but I need my Dad to chime in on that one as he was the one who did the building/assembling.

Have you guys been re-doing any furniture lately? Where do you go to get new hardware? Oh, and happy long weekend to my fellow Canadians. We’re off for a girlfriends wedding today and tomorrow in Toronto, and then spending a night at a beautiful Inn in Prince Edward County on Sunday for our wedding anniversary. 3 nights without Maya – our longest stretch ever. We’re like giddy teenagers over here.

 

gold sprayed mason jars

DIY this: gold spray painted mason jars

24th June 2014

Alright guys. This is an easy one. And if you love gold spray paint like I do, you’re gonna like these gold spray painted mason jars.

I have an obscene number of mason jars. Most are vintage – both clear and blue – that I use for decor rentals (my side biz), but I also have some regular jars without lids. Just gathered over time for one reason or another.

I wanted to do something with them, and so started out by giving them a rinse (tip: if storing your lid-less jars in a garage, turn them upside down as otherwise you might have a spider or two make the jar his final resting spot – ickity ick).

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Then I took them outside with my can of gold spray paint (‘Design Master’ brand from Michael’s) and went at ‘em. I did 3 coats lightly and evenly, without any primer. It gave them a gorgeous shiny dusting of gold.

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Then I went out on a little afternoon walk and grabbed some wildflowers. Wildflowers is definitely one of the perks of rural living. No grocery store trip required for a bouquet or two.

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It’s a really simple project, but I love the way they turned out. They have a nice sheen and would look amazing all lined up down a dining room table. I have a feeling these will be broken out for lots of dinner parties to come.

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gold sprayed mason jarsLike I said, nothing mind-blowing or new going on here, but I couldn’t help but share. A great way to use some lackluster mason jars that you might have kicking around.

I don’t know about you, but I’m still on the gold/copper train. Not sure what will be touched with my spray paint can next… 

 Oh and also – I switched up my comment system to Disqus. Hopefully it will be easier and more reader-friendly to use! Let me know if you have any issues, k? You can email me  at thesweetestdigs@gmail.com. 

gold jewellery stands via the sweetest digs

DIY this: gold and white jewellery stands

19th June 2014

Since we moved out to my parents’ place, I don’t have my jewellery bulletin board to hang up all of my necklaces, and I threw out the tray that held my bracelets and earrings as it was toast. I needed something to put my jewellery on – otherwise it was all going to be staying in ziploc bags for the foreseeable future. Not good. Enter some gold and white jewellery stands with a sweet plus sign pattern.

I grabbed two white ceramic plates from the dollar store, had a third smaller white plate on hand (not shown), a couple of candlesticks from the thrift store (50 cents), and my gold Sharpie paint pen.

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I debated a few different designs, but ultimately settled on a simple plus sign, repeated. I free-handed a line of them down the center of the plate, and then worked my way to the edges. Nothing too precise or math-y here – imperfection is fine by me. Since this is a paint pen rather than a regular Sharpie, I read that you don’t need to bake it to keep the finish on. I’ll keep you posted on whether it starts to wipe off. So far, so good.

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Then I took those candlesticks and gave them a coat of gold spray paint.

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But sadly, when I tried to stack them, the candlesticks were slightly askew (which I hadn’t initially realized), and my stand was looking Leaning Tower of Pisa – esque. Not good. Plus the candlesticks looked chunkier than I wanted and stole the show a little (not in a good way). Woop Woop.

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However, I happily realized that I had some cheap glass candlesticks on hand (again, from the thrift store – surprised!?). I brought them out and they were perfect. The 3-tier was too high – you can see it in the photo below – so I ended up doing the small plate on one candlestick, and the two bigger plates in a 2-tier.

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I forgot to take a picture of this step, but I just used some gorilla glue to glue the candlestick to the plate. You just line the rim of the candlestick with glue, press into place, and leave to set for a few hours. I then applied a bit of extra glue around the seam where the two pieces meet for extra security. That gorilla glue is fabulous stuff though – these puppies aren’t going anywhere.

Here is the small guy. Cute, right?

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And the two-tier. Perfect for bigger items like necklaces or bracelets.

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Obviously you could also use these for cupcakes or other little treats on a dessert table. You would want the desserts to be wrapped though – I wouldn’t put food straight onto the painted surface. It would be super sweet for a gold themed bash! I might be having visions of Maya’s 1st birthday party…

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gold jewellery stands via the sweetest digs

An easy project with such a sweet result. Plus it’s nice to have my jewellery back on display again and not jumbled in a ziploc.

How do you store your jewellery? Have it up on the wall or displayed on a shelf? I am dreaming about my future closet in our house and planning a serious accessories area. Can’t. wait. 

*Linked up to Monday Funday, #BeAwesome, and Motivational Monday.