Santa’s Key

Looking for a last minute Christmas gift idea or some Christmas Décor?  I have one for you that you can literally put together in just a few minutes…Santa’s Key.

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Have you heard of Santa’s Magic Key?  The legend states that any old key, with Santa’s Magic, can open any door.  This allows Santa to get into homes who do not have a chimney or a fireplace.

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Hang the key on a door handle or display it in your home and Santa will be sure to find his way to deliver his gifts.  This is not a new idea, I just wanted to put my own twist on it.  I thought it would be nice to be able to display the key on our Christmas mantle.

christmas-printable

I simply took an old scrap of wood left over from this North Pole Crate I shared with you earlier, and cut it so that it fit the poem.  Then I sanded the wood down on the sides and the top and bottom so that it didn’t have any rough edges.

Santas-magic-key

Then I mod-podged the Santa’s Key Poem onto the wood block with a matte Mod Podge.  Wrap a pretty ribbon around the block with the key attached and tie it in a bow to hold it in place.

Or hang it from a door knob to display it in your home.  You can also just attach the poem and the Santa’s Magic Key tag and set it in a prominent area in your home.

Christmas-printables

I think any young child or family would enjoy getting this unique gift.  And…it is something that can be given really inexpensively.

I couldn’t find the original source of the poem I used, and would love to link back to them if any of you know where I can find it.  I would love to give credit where it is due.

Christmas

If you would like to download the poem and/or the Santa’s Key tag you can click on the link below.

{Santa’s Key Tag and Poem}

*If you are not a fan of The Idea Room on Facebook, you will need to click like first and become a fan. After you become a fan you will need to click on “Get your free gift” in the upper right hand corner of the Idea Room FB page and then click on “Previous Downloads”.

christmas-printables

As always, I love to hear when you use on my these ideas.  I would love to see or hear about them.  Six more sleeps ‘till Christmas!

Christmas-gift

Cookies For Santa

ONE WEEK…Seven more sleeps till the man in the red suit will come delivering Christmas goodness.  Can you even believe it?  Every year on Christmas Eve the kids make sure we leave cookies for Santa.

christmas-cookies

I have been obsessed with these wood tree slabs the last few months.  Have you seen them around?  I snagged me a couple from Michael’s a while ago and have been mulling around different ways to use them.  I ultimately, decided to paint one of them with some black chalkboard paint.

Christmas-decor

I simply took the blank tree slab and then painted two layers of chalkboard paint on them.  You can pick up chalkboard paint at your craft stores or Lowes.

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I also have a recipe for making your own Chalkboard Paint if you want to make your own.

{Chalkboard Paint Recipe}

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Then I simply cut out some white vinyl the words “Cookies for Santa” and then attached it to the chalkboard slab.  Why not write on the chalkboard with chalk?

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Well…I tried that…and my handwriting was bugging me.  So I opted for the prettier version.

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You can then either keep the vinyl on, or remove it and then use your chalkboard slab…well…as a chalkboard.  Keep it in the kitchen and leave sweet messages for family members or turn it in to a daily menu or a grocery list!  So many fun uses for it!

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I just love how fun and unique it is instead of just a plate of cookies.  And…wouldn’t this be such a fun and unique gift for neighbors, friends and or family?  I LOVE it!  I am going to be making more for sure!

cookies

Santa for sure will enjoy taking a little snack break after delivering his presents at your house.  If you are interested in trying my favorite Sugar Cookie Recipe, which are pictured above, you can find that recipe here.

{Sugar Cookie Recipe}

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And…because I was so busy…I just used a store bought icing.  Yep! It’s been that kind of a week, and I am totally okay with that.

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One more thing…does Santa wrap your gifts or just leave them under the tree?  At our house they are left under the tree unwrapped.

DIY-chalkboard-projects

How to Sew an 18 inch Pillow Cover

I made something else out of that Canvas Drop Cloth…yes…the same Canvas Drop Cloth I have used for these other projects.  Can you believe I still have some of it left.  Ha!  This time I am sharing with you a Christmas Pillow Tutorial today.  I went through all my Christmas décor and donated several items that I had been using for years which included most of my Christmas pillows.  So I wanted to make some more updated ones to go in my home.

Christmas-pillows

I discovered a simple a quick way for how to sew an 18 inch pillow cover that is so simple to make when I made this green pillow for my daughter’s room a couple of months ago.  So I thought I would share the tutorial here with you.  I am also sharing the stencil and file for the Reindeer Pillow and the Red Berry Wreath Pillow so you can make your own of those if you would like.

I didn’t get this post up earlier because for the life of me, I could not find the pictures I took of the pillow making process.  I will look for them and add them when I get a second to track them down.  I like to actually see a photo when I am sewing since it is not something I am really that great at (which is why I stick to beginner sewing projects ;))!

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How to Sew an 18 inch Pillow Cover (Envelope)

1.  For an 18 x 18 inch pillow, I cut a rectangle 18.5 inches by 42 inches.  This will result in a 4 inch overlap for the envelope on the back of the pillow. 

2.  Hem both short edges of the fabric by folding the fabric over 1/2 inch and then over again another 1/2 inch.  Iron and stitch down the side.

3.  With your fabric right side up, fold over one side toward the center.  For the 4 inch overlap, make the fold about 10″ from the hemmed edge.  The first side you fold over will be the side that shows on the back of the pillow.  Keep this in mind if one side looks better than the other.

4.  Now fold over the other side, so the fabric measures 18 by 18.5 inches.  I use my quilting ruler or a yard stick and measure so that with both ends folded in, the width of the cover is 18 inches. 

5.  Sew a 1/4″ seam along each side of the folded fabric.  Be sure to pin before sewing so that your material does not slip or you may end up with some fabric that does not get sewn properly. 

6.  Turn the pillow cover inside out.  Place your pillow insert inside the pillow.

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For the Reindeer Pillow, I cut the reindeer head and the Ho, Ho, Ho out in some fun gold iron on material.  I LOVES it!  If you don’t have that ability, you can cut it out in a stencil and paint them gold (or your preferred color).

I used Cricut® Iron-on Glitter, Gold and its awesome!

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With the Red Berry Wreath Pillow, I simply stenciled on the pillow cover with some red fabric paint.

You can download the pillow patterns here:

{Reindeer Pillow}

{Red Berry Wreath Pillow}

*If you are not a fan of The Idea Room on Facebook, you will need to click like first and become a fan. After you become a fan you will need to click on “Get your free gift” in the upper right hand corner of the Idea Room FB page and then click on “Previous Downloads”.

pillow-cover-tutorial

Interested in checking out other Idea Room projects that have used a Paint Drop Cloth?  Check these out:

Thanksgiving Table Linens

Monogrammed Table Runner

Thanksgiving Hostess Gift

Monogrammed Bottle Gift Bag

Christmas Gift Bags

Neighbor Cookie Mix Gift

Creative Christmas Gift Wrap

*This is a sponsored post on behalf of Lowe’s.

For the Lowes Creator challenge for the month of December we had a few different guidelines challenges to choose from.  I chose to come up with some creative gift wrapping.

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This is another one of those projects that I used a paint drop cloth for.  You can find them at Lowes in the paint aisle.  I have used a drop cloth for several other past Idea Room projects:

Thanksgiving Table Linens

Monogrammed Table Runner

Thanksgiving Hostess Gift

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I made the bag by cutting out 2 pieces of the canvas drop cloth that measured 8 x 13 inches.  You can really make this any size you wish depending on what you want to use the gift bag for.  This particular gift bag I am using as some Christmas Decorations in my Christmas Vintage Crate.

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Then I simply sewed the two pieces of canvas together starting at the top of one side and down around the bottom and then up the other side with a 1/4 inch seam.  Be sure to backstitch and reinforce each of the top and bottom sides and on the corners of your gift bag.

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Then I turned the bag right side out.  I sewed a hem on the top of the bag folding over the material once and then once again and sewed it with a 1/4 inch seam.  This gives you a nice clean finish to your bag.

Take some painters tape (I used Scotch’s 3M Blue Painters Tape) and tape off some lines for where you want to have your “grain sack lines”.  Stencil your red paint onto the canvas bag.  You can slide a piece of cardboard into the sack to prevent the paint from bleeding through the bag.

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Then I cut out the word JOY in some vinyl to stencil the word onto the bags.  You can use a simple stamp dipped into a little paint if you are unable to cut out the vinyl…or you can make a stencil the old fashioned way using some cardstock, your printer and an exacto knife.

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I also wrapped up some gift boxes using the canvas drop cloth the same way you would wrap a regular present.  Then I simply secured the ends with some safety pins and a few straight pins on the ends of the present and a small straight pin on the back of the present.

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Then wrap up your creative Christmas gift bags and give them away or use them in your Holiday Décor.   Don’t they make a fun and pretty gift to give to friends and family?  Cheaper than your Holiday Gift Wrap!

These Christmas Gift Bags of mine were picked by Lowe’s to be featured in the online December 2013 edition of Lowes Creative Ideas using the iPhone or iPad app! You might also want to sign up for Lowe’s Creative Ideas Magazine. It’s FREE and offers a bunch of DIY inspiration. Go ahead and connect with Lowes Creative Ideas to find a lot more fun and creative ideas.

creative ideas december

*Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.  Lowe’s provided me with a gift card to showcase a project this month as part of their Lowe’s Creative Ideas Bloggers team.  However all opinions and statements are mine.

How to Build a Crate

Thanks so much for your sweet comments on this Christmas Crate that I shared with you the other day.  I always appreciate hearing from you.  As promised, I am sharing with you HOW I made this DIY Crate so that you can learn how to build a crate too.

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Like I mentioned in a previous post, if you are not inclined to using power tools and building your own crate, you can buy a crate at Michael’s.  They are unfinished so you could paint it a color of your choice or stain it.  OR…you can make one!

Christmas-crate

If you make one you will need some wood.  I found this wood in an old pasture and the owner gave it to me for FREE! I LOVE the color of aged wood so I personally did not do anything special with the wood.  If you don’t have old wood, you can always use new lumbar and then paint or stain it, or you can google how to age new wood.  I have never done it…but have heard you can do it with good results.

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You will need the following to build your own crate:

  • a 24 x 14 inch piece of base material (we used left over MDF board)
  • Six 1×4 boards 24 inches in length (this was the size of the boards we used)
  • Six 1×4 boards about 15 inches in length
  • Six 1×2 boards  9.5 inches tall which is about 1 inch shorter than the height of the crate (we cut 1×4’s in half)
  • nail gun (or hammer and nails)
  • wood glue
  • drill
  • jigsaw

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1.  Attach the front and back bottom boards to the base with some wood glue and nails.

2.  Attach the vertical support board to both ends of the bottom board and then in the middle with wood glue and nails.

3.  Attach the side bottom boards in the same manner.

DIY-crate

4.  Attach the middle boards in the same manner.

5.  Take your top side boards and cut out some handles using a jigsaw.  We cut them into an oval shape.  This is totally optional though.

6.  Now attach your front, back, and side boards.

That. Is. It!  Viola!!  Your very own crate!  Now you can make it your own and add a fun stencil to make it look like a vintage shipping crate…in this case, add a North Pole Freight Co. Stamp for some fun Christmas Décor.

DIY-crate

To make my stencil, I simply designed it in my Silhouette program and then cut it out in some vinyl.  I then pulled the lettering out of the stencil and created my own stencil so I could paint it onto my crate with some black paint.

DIY-crate

Simply attach the vinyl to the crate and then take a brush and stencil right onto the crate.  When the paint has dried simply peel away the vinyl.

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Since the paint looked to “new” to look aged, I simply took a lightweight piece of sandpaper and gently scuffed up the lettering to give it an aged feel and look.

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Fill the crate with some pine boughs, Christmas lights and some wrapped presents…in this case some empty boxes.  I simply wrapped them with some brown paper and some linen grain sack gift bags.  I actually made the linen grain sack bags and will be sharing that tutorial with you here soon as well!

Christmas-printables

And, because I like to share…I have provided the stencil for you to use as well.  I have it as a svg Silhouette file or a pdf for you to download based on what will work best for you.

You can download the free printable here:

*If you are not a fan of The Idea Room on Facebook, you will need to click like first and become a fan. After you become a fan you will need to click on “Get your free gift” in the upper right hand corner of the Idea Room FB page and then click on “Previous Downloads”.

{North Pole Crate Stamp}

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Looking for a slightly different style of “vintage” crate?  Check out this crate I made last year which is now perched in my family room!

DIY Vintage Crate Tutorial

DIY-crate a

Christmas Crate | Christmas Decor

Last week I revealed the Christmas Tree I decorated as part of Michael’s Dream Tree Challenge.  As part of the challenge, we were also challenged to create some Christmas Décor as well!  I actually did a couple of different Christmas Decor items.

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I decided to build a crate after spying some old wood out in a pasture while we were at the Pumpkin Patch.  {Insert squeals of joy and excitement from yours truly and rolling of eyes by certain offspring}.

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The aged wood was BEAUTIFUL!!!  We found out who it belonged to and asked them if we could buy it from them…and they let us take it for FREE!!! Ummm…HELLO!  So awesome!

DIY-Christmas-decor

I will share how we made the crate later.  You can wait for that tutorial, or you can pick up a wooden crate at Michael’s.  I did nothing to the wood, but if you use one of Michael’s unfinished crates, you could stain it or paint it before adding the stencil.

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Then fill the crate with some pine boughs, which I picked up from Michael’s.  I also added some battery powered Christmas lights and these fun Christmas Light Balls.  Add some wrapped presents and you have a fun Christmas Crate delivered from the North Pole ;).

Christmas-projects

The other little project I did was to paint these reindeer I picked up from Michael’s white.  I simply spray painted them and then painted the antlers of one silver and the other gold.  Then of course sprinkled the antlers with a little bit of glitter to give them a little bit of sparkle.

Christmas-crate

I added a wreath around one of the reindeer’s neck.  The wreath did not fit over the head and antlers, but all you need to do is cut the wire with some wire cutters and than put it around the reindeer and then put the wreath back in a circle by running another piece of new wire around the ends of the cut wreath to hold the wreath back together.

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I love it! I have been a bit obsessed with vintage crates and wooden boxes…which I am sure you guys have surely noticed…especially if you have been following along for a while.  Ha!  I LOVE this one!  I also love that when Christmas is over, and the Christmas Decorations come down, I can simply turn the crate around and fill it with some blankets, pillows or wood for the fireplace.

I would love to know if you make one a crate or pick up some of the reindeer!  And, if you are going to be heading to Michael’s this weekend…don’t forget to use a coupon!

{Michael’s Coupons}

Michael’s Christmas Tree–Dream Tree Challenge

 

*This is a sponsored post for Michael’s.

A couple of months ago, I was contacted by Michael’s and asked if I was interested in participating in the Michael’s Dream Tree Challenge…ummm…yes please!  Of course I said yes!  Christmas is one of my favorite Holidays and our current Christmas tree was in sad shape.  We had already re-strung the lights twice over it’s 10 year lifetime.

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We were sent this lovely 7 foot tree and given the challenge to decorate it using items from Michael’s.  I decided to go with a gold, silver and white tree…which really isn’t that big of a surprise to you probably.  Have you noticed my inability to boldly decorate with a lot of color?  I realize this is a problem…but I am not sure how to fix this about myself!

christmas-decor

I also decided to forego the traditional tree skirt and used a tin bucket instead…and you know what?  I kind of LOVE it!  I was going to build a crate for the tree to stand in but decided to take the crate in different direction which I will share with you a bit later.

Christmas-Tree

Here are some close-ups of little details on the tree and some of the different items I used.  Don’t you just love the sparkly gold and silver next to each other?

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I picked up some twigs and flowers in the floral section and added them to the tree as well.  I am loving the extra dimension and texture it gives to the overall tree.

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I also wrapped this lovely and classy burlap ribbon (found in the wedding aisle) around the tree from top to bottom.  I love that it gives it a bit of a natural element along with the shimmery glitter.

Christmas-Tree

And since I put the tree up before Halloween, I thought…why take this and run with it…might as well deck out the entire room for Christmas!!  My kids were slightly confused when they came home from school last week!

Christmas-Decorations

I love the ambiance of Christmas lights and candles…don’t you?

If you are interested in the Vintage Crate and the gift bags you can find the tutorials for them here:

DIY Vintage Crate

Creative Gift Bags

Christmas-Decor

I love how it turned out…but perhaps my favorite part is that most of my Christmas decorating is finished now.  Did I get a few strange looks from Trick-Or-Treaters who spied it in the other room when they came to our door? You bet!

Michaels-Dream-Tree

My kids then insisted that we turn the lights off…at least for Halloween night!  Stay tuned for a project that I have made for the Michael’s Dream Tree Challenge!  I am really excited to share it with you!

Christmas-tree

michaels

  • Michaels has a large selection of pre-lit high-tip count artificial trees ranging in size from 4 ft. to 7.5 ft. and all the way up to 9 ft. They even come in different shapes, from skinny to full and in-between with some smaller trees coming in different color options
  • Each tree purchased at Michaels comes with a 5 year tree warranty and a 2 year warranty on the lights
  • Stop by your local Michaels November 3 through November 9 for a special tree event

*This is a sponsored post for Michael’s.  I did receive a tree and a gift card to cover my expenses.  However all opinions and statements are mine.

 

Holiday Projects with 3M

I was recently asked by 3M, the makers of Scotch Blue Painter’s Tape (Visit ScotchBlue.com for more information. ), to come up with a fun and festive project using Scotch Blue Tape.  Now, I don’t know about you, but I LOVE glass jars.  Do you?  I love to use them around the house as part of your Christmas Decor and for all sorts of other things.  One can never have too many decorative jars.

christmas-crafts

So, I thought it would be fun to use some Scotch Blue Tape to dress up a couple of jars that I could then use as part of my Holiday Christmas Décor.  I wanted to make the jar fairly classic in design and color, so that I could use it year round for several different holidays and purposes.

christmas-crafts

I love how clean and simple the end product came out.  I can already see several ways to be able to use the jar.  Throw some a berry garland and some battery powered Christmas lights in the jar and set in the middle of a Pine Wreath to make a sparkly table centerpiece for your Holiday Table, or drop a candle inside (carefully) to create a festive mood in your home.  (I light my candle with a piece of spaghetti…true story!)

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The jar was really easy to make.  I simply took a nice glass jar and then used some Scotch Blue Tape to mark off areas that I did not want to be covered with paint.  Be sure to thoroughly clean the jar so that the tape and paint stick.

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Feel free to get creative here. Now, my personality likes clean and simple lines…but you could do a chevron pattern, plaid or skewed lines…or, punch some circles out of your tape with a round circle pattern and make polka-dots. You can also get creative with punch letters and other punch patterns.  There are so many ways you could use Scotch Blue Tape to dress up your jars.

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Be sure to cover all areas of the jar you do not want to be painted. Then take your favorite spray paint and spray your jar. Frosted glass spray would also be fun to use to! Let your jar sit for a few minutes (till it is no longer tacky) but not fully dry and then remove the tape. If you remove the tape when the paint is still damp, the paint will not pull up off of the jar.

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Christmas-Table-Decor

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The possibilities are endless.  I want to make another jar and fill it up with some red and white Christmas Candy for me to eat use as decor.

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Another fun idea would be to pretty up some jars and gift them filled with some Holiday goodness.  This is such an easy way to add some festive fun to the Holidays.  Be sure to stop back by The Idea Room later this week for a free printable for some Oatmeal Cookies in a Jar!

Neighbor-gift-ideasscotchblue, scotchblue painter's tape, painter's tape Disclosure:  This post is a collaboration with ScotchBlue™ Painter’s Tape. To join the creative community, visit the ScotchBlue Facebook Page.

You can also find out more about Scotch Blue here:
 

ScotchBlue Facebook Page

ScotchBlue Tape’s Twitter Page


Believe Sign

Hey guys! We have had a busy week around here.  My son is on the high school swim team and we are right in the middle of the swim season.  So my mom duties have pushed aside this blog thingy ;)…as it should!  But I found  some time to finally share with you this BELIEVE sign.  It, along with this Vintage Crate, are my favorite DIY Christmas decorations that I have made so far.

DIY-Christmas-decorations

I actually bought this board over two years ago with the idea of this project in mind but I never actually found the time to get around to making it.  So it sat in my attic waiting patiently for me ;).  I picked the board up from my local Bennion Crafts and it was already this fabulous red color with the fun edging.

DIY-Christmas-decorations

I cut out the word BELIEVE on my Silhouette CAMEO and then drew little circles where I wanted the Christmas lights to go.  Make sure they are evenly spaced to get the best overall look.  Take a hole punch and punch out the dots where the lights will be.

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*IMPORTANT–Be sure to count the number of lights you have on your string of Christmas lights.  You want to be sure you have enough lights for each hole.  AND…make sure that the lights will fit from one hole to the next.  There were a couple of spots that I had to skip a light so the wire was long enough to reach the next hole.  Does that make sense?  Check and double check.  And for best results it would be nice to make sure you have a few leftover lights and the end…just in case.  You can always hide those lights behind your finished sign.

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I traced the letters onto the wood and then painted the letters white.  I chose not to spray paint my sign since it was snowing the day I made it ;).  Then after the sign has dried, you can put your punched letter “stencil” on the board and use a pencil to mark where the holes should be drilled.

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Take a drill bit that is the same size of your Christmas lights and drill holes where each light will be.

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Then comes the fun part…Place the lights so that the plug is on the end where you need it to be as far as where you will be plugging it in.  Then insert the lights into each hole.  You will want to use some duct tape to securely hold the light in place so that they don’t fall out of the hole.  My kids LOVED helping with this part.  You can see what a great job they did on the back of the sign!  But no worries, no one will be the wiser once the sign is turned around.

DIY-Christmas-decorations

I LOVE how it turned out!  And I love it even more at night!  Don’t you just love this time of year?  I love Christmas lights and I love how cozy they make your home feel.

DIY-Christmas-craft

Christmas Vintage DIY Crate

This month, as part of the Lowe’s Creative Blogger team, we were given the challenge to create some Holiday décor items.  I always enjoy these challenges because it gives me an opportunity to finally get some of these projects that are constantly swirling around my head, out of my head and in my home.

vintage-crate

And I am especially excited about this project…a vintage DIY crate!  I have actually spent some time looking around for some of these crates but couldn’t find exactly what I wanted and so I had toyed with the idea of making my own.  But wasn’t quite sure how to go about it.

DIY-vintage

So with this month’s #LowesCreator challenge, I decided that this would be the perfect time to try my hand at making a “vintage” crate.

I picked up some tounge and groove pine boards at Lowe’s and cut off the “tounges” and “grooves” by simply running the boards through our saw.  I picked these boards because they are really thin and inexpensive.

For the front and back of the crate, I cut 6 of these boards so that I had:

6 boards that measured 3.5 inches by 24 inches. 

They are 1/4 inch thick.

Then I made 6 more boards that measured 3.5 inches by 7.5 inches for the sides of the crate.

DIY-Vintage-Crate

Then I cut a piece of a pine board 7 x 24 inches.  This is the bottom of the crate.

Then to make the corner supports of the box, I cut 4—7 inch pieces a of 1.5 x 1.5 board.

What…You don’t work in your pajamas? :) My little girl takes pretty good pictures…don’t you think?

Then you will need to nail your crate together. I didn’t use any wood glue on this project, but you can if you want.

I started with the bottom and one of the front pieces and nailed them together. Then I nailed on the back piece to the bottom.

Then you can nail on both sides. Be careful to hold your box exactly where you want it so that it maintains a nice rectangular shape.

DIY-Vintage-Crate 1

Then I nailed the corner supports in and finished nailing the other two front planks to the corner supports.  I chose to leave a tiny space in between each plank to give it a more vintage feel.

After the front is nailed, I added the side planks so that I could match them up with the front. When nailing these on, be sure to keep your corner pieces straight. This is very important to the overall finish of your vintage crate.

Then finally, you will nail the back planks on. This crate is made so that the sides of the crate planks actually show on the front and the back of the crate. I thought this would help with the overall vintage look.  Now your crate is done! Yay!!

Vintage-Crate

To add a label I simply printed out this old vintage stamp that I found in the online Silhouette store.  I transferred it over onto the wood with the old trick of drawing on the back of the design in pencil and then coloring over the top of it so that it ends up on the wood.  Pretty high tech!

Then you simply need to draw the design with a black Sharpie.

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Throw a layer of stain on your crate ( I used a walnut colored stain)…and you have a beautiful vintage DIY crate!

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I was surprised at how easy this crate was to build.  And was really happy with the overall results.  I love being able to make something JUST the way I want.

I added some pine branches and a berry garland to glam it up and threw in a couple of candles.  As always be super careful when using candles.  And…since I took these pictures, I actually threw a string of white battery powered Christmas lights to give it some more holiday sparkle.

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When the holidays are over, I can replace what is in the crate so it can be in my home all year long.

Be sure to check out Lowes Creative Ideas and sign up for their free newsletter which is full of creative goodness.

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*I was given a Lowe’s gift card for the supplies to make this crate.  However all opinions and statements are mine.