Oct 12

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I have a tendency to save all kinds of random uh, trash because of its crafting potential. I try to watch those hoarding shows to help curb my tendency to “save” – ha ha! Well, I managed to use this pretty Kettle Chip bag for a craft project, but I’m off to throw a few things away and donate the non-trash items to goodwill. In the meantime, here are the instructions for making a recycled chip bag book cover.

You can use a variety of destined-for-the-dumpster materials to make unique bookcovers that, along with duct tape, will be sturdy and protect textbooks when they get shoved into a locker or a brimming backpack. I used two potato chip bags, but you can also use cereal bags, paper sacks (an old standby), or a variety of other product packaging. With the addition of colorful duct tape, bookcovers become almost indestructable! Using recycled packaging also teaches kids about recycling, and demonstrates that it’s a good idea to reuse things whenever possible.

Bonus: you can find patterned duct tape (like the plaid in the photo above) at big box stores right now. I found the plaid at Target, and some tie-dye printed tape at Wal-mart. Clear packing tape is also a great choice because it will allow the artwork on the recycled packaging to show through.

Time Needed for Project: About 15 minutes per book.

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Materials:

  • Recycled packaging, such as a potato chip bag (I needed two to cover my medium-sized book.
  • Duct tape in one or more fun colors (or packing tape)
  • Book to cover
  • Scissors
  • Dish soap, water, and sponge or washcloth
  • Optional: Stickers

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Preparing the Packaging:

  1. Cut off the bottom of the bag above the sealed seam.
  2. Cut off the back seam.
  3. Wash bag thoroughly with dish soap and a sponge or washcloth to remove all residual oil and crumbs. You can do this in your dishwater if you wash dishes by hand!
  4. Wipe both sides of bag dry. Make sure bag is completely clean and dry before you begin covering your book.

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Here are my two chip bags, all clean and dry.

Note: if your kid isn’t jazzed about the idea of using an old chip bag for a book cover (disclaimer: my kids are 3 and under, so they think everything is cool! I don’t know if recycled chip bags will fly with your middle schooler!), let the inside of the bag face outward, and they can decorate it with stickers or duct tape as they prefer.

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Assembling the Bookcover:

Tape your two packages together using a piece of duct tape. Allow the tape to extend over the edge of the package.

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Turn bags over and wrap tape over the edge. See how the two bags don’t perfectly line up? Don’t worry about that because you will be folding this part again anyway, and it won’t be seen. You can also tape the inside of the bags where they overlap, if you want.

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Lay your book on your prepared chip bags. Make a crease in the bag along the top of the book, as a guide. Remove book and fold chip bags at the crease, keeping fold as straight and even as possible.

07bookcoverLay book on top of folded edge (leave a tiny bit of room at the top of the chip bag to make it easier for the book to slide into the bookcover once it’s assembled). Crease chip bag at bottom of book to make a guideline. Remove book and fold bottom at crease, keeping fold as straight and even as possible.

I taped each folded section in the middle, but not at the ends (you want to leave the ends open so the book covers can slide into them). Chip bags don’t maintain the folds as well as paper does, so the tape helped keep everything in place.

08bookcoverClose book cover over book, and check the placement of any artwork you want to show on the front of the book. Fold end over the edge of the slightly opened book cover to make a crease.

09bookcoverInsert one side of book into the folded end of the bookcover.

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Tape to secure (make sure you aren’t taping any area where the book is, and that the bookcover is able to slide when opened and closed.

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Repeat process for other side of book (trim bookcover if necessary, before you put it onto the book). I found that it was slightly more tricky to coax the book into this side.

12bookcover-done

You can stop here if you want, or add additional decorations like stickers or cut-out pictures covered in clear tape, or a nametag or book label.

13bookcoverI added a couple extra pieces of duct tape just for fun.

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I really wanted to try my new plaid duct tape out!

Jul 25

I hosted a Little House on the Prairie/Pioneer swap on Craftster, and everyone was a good swapper and sent packages and posted pictures (no flakes!)

Rules for the swap were that they could send anything inspired by Little House on the Prairie (any iteration), the Oregon Trail, or pioneers in general, and a restriction on money spent for materials: “Because Pioneers had to be resourceful, please do not spend more than $10 on new supplies for this swap, instead, drawing on your stash to make things if possible.”

Here are some of my favorite items that were swapped. Click here to see the whole craftster gallery.

Pioneer doll by ysmeine.

Pine needle gourd bowl by pinokeeo

LOTS MORE cool photos, so click “MORE” for more.
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Nov 11

I have recently become acquainted with One Pretty Thing, a blog that scours the internet to bring us amazing DIY projects (20 or more of them!) every day! I have been so impressed with Rachel’s picks that I wanted to interview her to find out more about how she does it.

Rachel as Mrs. Lovette

Tell us a little about yourself.

Hello CroqZine readers! I’m Rachel, the face behind the website One Pretty Thing. I’m a twenty-seven year old happily married California girl who’s two biggest loves are DIY and her (mostly!) furry family. I think that blogging comes in a close third!

Tell us about One Pretty Thing.

One Pretty Thing is the ultimate stop for DIY inspiration! Everyday I scour multiple forums, websites and blogs to bring together 20 projects for the Daily DIY post. I also post a variety of seasonal and holiday Roundups, kid’s Roundups and I’m getting ready to dive into the Handmade Gift Guide. Phew! Altogether One Pretty Thing links to around 40 DIY projects a day!

When did you get the great idea to create One Pretty Thing?

I think the blogsphere is the most amazing source of crafting inspiration but it can become a little overwhelming. When I realized I was spending more time tracking down projects than actually crafting, I thought that other crafters might benefit from my travels. From there One Pretty Thing was born, and now three thousand people a day head over to check out a wealth of creative ideas.

How much time does it take you to track down all the great things you find and post about every day?

Right now I spend about four hours a day putting together Roundups, around two doing administrative tasks (your email is on the way, I promise!) and another couple of hours a day developing new features that will add more functionality to the site. It’s a ton of work but it’s so much fun!

What kinds of things always catch your eye?

Since I’m currently renovating, anything for the home! I also love unique art projects, such as the junk mail canvas we featured recently, and projects featuring recycled materials.

What kinds of items get the greatest response from your readers?

Reader love projects that make great gifts! I’m seeing a huge focus this year on handmade gift items, and décor. I anticipate my Handmade Gift Guide to be my most popular post series to date.

I seem to dream about crafting (and blogging about it) every night. Do you ever suffer from DIY/Pretty Thing overload?

So far I have yet to grow tired to searching for projects. I’m hoping I never do because I’m having so much fun with this site, not to mention all the amazing people I’ve met! I will occasionally dream about my site crashing or loosing all my unread emails. I’m constantly worried about something happening to my email backlog-I don’t want anyone to think I’ve ignored them!

What’s your fondest crafty memory?

My husband and I had our first date on Halloween and three weeks later, I brought a small potted Christmas tree. I took my then-boyfriend to the fabric store and told him he had ten minutes to spend ten dollars on anything he thought would make a good decoration for a two foot tree. We left with ric-rack, feathers, bells and glittered pom-poms. Watching him carefully choose his supplies and deck out our tree with handmade creations is one of my all-time favorite memories. I remember being so impressed with his creativity and how he turned glitter and feathers into a tree topper. And, eight years later, we still have the potted tree!

I love that story, thanks for sharing! What’s the last crafty project you did?

The night before Halloween I decided to make 20 feet of lit creepy garlands for a friend’s Halloween party. I was up all night cutting tulle but the look on her face made it all worthwhile.

What’s your favorite material?

Currently it’s cork! More specifically, cork on a five foot roll! I recently discovered a waterproof cork sealant that will allow me to cover my dining room table in cork. It’s a project I’ve had on my mind for sometime. I was SO excited to finally find that sealant!

Any new techniques or crafts that have caught your eye lately?

For the last two months I’ve been completely enamored with felting. I’d been oohing and awing over other crafters tiny felted animals for years, but I finally took it up because I wanted to make cute toys for my cats! Yup, I’m totally one of those people.

(Feel free to not answer this, but for the sake of our aspiring professional crafting contingent) Is maintaining your site worthwhile, financially?

Right now the site actually makes no money. I’ve been going back and forth on whether or not to put up ads for awhile now but I’m still undecided. On one hand, my hobby site has turned into an additional full-time job but on the other, I really want to maintain the integrity of the site. For now my plan is to host an ad space giveaway for indie designers over the holiday seasons. After that, I’ll get feedback from the readers and reevaluate.

What advice do you have for indie business owners/designers?

I’m seeing a lot of indie business owners concerned about the economy but it’s actually a great opportunity for smaller designers. People are focusing more on meaningful, handmade, independent goods that are made to last. Indie businesses can also take advantage of the current economy’s lower costs to stock up on supplies and expand into other markets.

What one thing should every crafter who is marketing her wares do?

Start a blog! I’ve found so many wonderful handmade items from the bloggers I visit. I also love visiting my favorite artist and designers blogs to see what they’re working on and what’s coming out next. All of my holiday gifts this year will be purchased on Etsy and all of them will come from bloggers that I know and love!

What are your kitties’ names?

Lil’ B (Little Bottom) and Chewbacca! They LOVE that I’ve started a website. There is no more valuable real estate to my cats than a lap that stays in the same place for multiple hours. When Lil’ B sees me heading for the computer she jumps on my chair and waits for me to sit down. Every post you see on my site was put together with kitty approval!

Thank you so much, Rachel! I know you’re busy putting together your kick-craft blog, so thanks for taking the time to chat!

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