Tutorial – Christmas Sequin and Yarn Garland

Christmas Yarn Ball Garland DIY Tutorial
For someone who doesn’t knit or crochet, I seem to have a lot of wool. So I’m always trying to come up with inventive ways of using up some of the yarn I have accumulated. This garland uses polystyrene balls covered in yarn and sequins to make a really different Christmas decoration.

You will need:
-Polystyrene balls. I used 4cm/1 1/2”
-Wool or yarn
– Bead and Sequin Pins
-Cutting Mat
-Awl or kebab skewer
-Long needle

Christmas Yarn Ball Garland DIY Tutorial

Christmas Yarn Ball Garland DIY Tutorial

1. Secure the end of your yarn to the polystyrene ball using a bead or sequin pin. These are shorter (16mm) than standard dressmaking pins, so you do not risk the sharp end poking out.
2.Begin wrapping the yarn around the polystyrene ball. I find it easier to hold the yarn and move the ball rather than the other way around. I attempted to use a fluffy mohair yarn, but it was just to soft to grip the polystyrene- cheaper wool works better!
3.Make sure you cover the surface equally for even coverage.
4. Keep wrapping until you can’t see any white of the polystyrene.I found it took approx 8 metres of yarn for a 4cm ball. Secure the end with another pin and cut off the tail.

Making the hole
Christmas Yarn Ball Garland DIY Tutorial

5. Working on a cutting mat use an awl (a kebab skewer or large pointed needle also work) to poke a hole in the polystyrene.
6.Make sure you go all the way through
7.Using a needle, thread some yarn or twine through the hole. I made my own twisted needle from 0.6mm wire, but you can buy long, large eyed needles.
8. Knot either side of the ball to hold it in place. I spaced mine out about 5cm apart.

Decorating with sequins
Christmas Yarn Ball Garland DIY Tutorial

9. Use the bead and sequin pins to attach the sequins

Christmas Yarn Ball Garland DIY Tutorial

10.You can create lots of different pattern, like stripes

Christmas Yarn Ball Garland DIY Tutorial

11.Try using different types of sequins, placed at random, for a really lovely effect.

Christmas Yarn Ball Garland DIY Tutorial

12. You can even make star or snowflake patterns!

Christmas Yarn Ball Garland DIY Tutorial

You can hang the garland on your tree, as a mantelpiece swag or even use the same technique to create baubles and ornaments. Let me know if you use this tutorial to make your own yarn and sequin decorations, by commenting with a link or message me on TwitterInstagram or Facebook!

Simple Bookbinding Notebook DIY

Simple Bookbinding Notebook DIY

Learn a simple bookbinding technique to create your own notebooks or sketchbooks!

Simple Bookbinding DIY Tutorial

I always carry a notebook or sketchbook with me and when I was at art college I often made my own. In fact a lot of my artwork during that time was based around the idea of artists books. I had pinned a few bookbinding tutorials from the web on Pinterest and noticed they were getting a lot of re-pins.

But I couldn’t find any tutorials for my favorite type, soft bound binding. So I decided to make my own. Soft bound binding combines stitching and gluing pages together, with a flexible card cover. I also decided to add a decorative touch with some patterned washi tape!

Simple Bookbinding DIY Tutorial

You will need:
-3 sheets of A4 paper, you can use any type, but a nice cartridge works well
-card for the cover
-washi or paper tape
-thick thread like a linen
-large eye needle
-craft knife and cutting mat
-PVA/white glue and paintbrush
-pencil and ruler
-binder clips
-bone folder, awl,

Preparing the Paper
Simple Bookbinding DIY Tutorial

1. Take one sheet of A4 paper and cut into four equal postcard size pieces
2.Stack them on top of each other and fold them in half. I use a bone folder to make a really crisp fold.
3. Repeat steps 1 & 2 with the other two pieces of paper.You will now have three small booklets, known as signatures in the bookbinding world
4.Take one signature and using a pencil and ruler, mark 2 holes along the inside of the fold, 3cm from each of the edges.To make sewing easier, use an awl (or your needle) to punch holes at the pencil marks. Do the same for the other two signatures

Simple Bookbinding DIY Tutorial

5.Thread your needle with approx. 50cm of linen thread and tie a knot at the other end. I’m using black to make it easier to see, but white generally looks better. Take one of your signatures and take the needle from the outside to the inside
6.Sew through the other hole back to the outside
7. Sew back down the first hole so you are on the inside again.
8.Take the needle under the thread, pull the thread tight so it lies flat against the paper and tie a knot
9.Pass the needle through that same hole, back to the outside and gently pull the knot through the hole so its sits on the spine. Don’t cut the thread at this point
10.Using the same piece of thread (which is still attached to the previous signature) repeat steps 6 – 10 with the other two signatures

Simple Bookbinding DIY Tutorial

11.Tie a final knot and trim off the thread tails.
12.Use the binder clips to hold the three signatures together. I like to use some scrap paper to stop the clips from scratching the paper.
13.Spread a generous layer of PVA glue on the spine and leave until its tacky.
14.Add another layer and repeat one more time. PVA glue is flexible, making it perfect for bookbinding.

Washi Tape Binding
Simple Bookbinding DIY Tutorial

15.Cut the card for the back and front covers to size and use the binder clips to hold everything together. Again, I’m using scrap paper to prevent the clips from marking the cover. Cutting a piece of tape the length of the spine.
16.Attach it, making sure you have an equal amount on each side.
17.Smooth the tape down, making sure it is securely attached.
18.Cut a piece of tape for the cover, this time leaving an overlap of a cm at each end. You can either stick this alongside the edge of the spine tape or overlap with the spine tape like I have. I’m using a paper tape from Paperchase (similar here) that is slightly more opaque than standard washi tape, meaning I can overlay them without seeing the one underneath.
19.Repeat for the back.
20.An optional step is to use a corner rounder paper punch (like this one from X-Cut) to round the corners, Moleskine style!

Simple Bookbinding DIY Tutorial

Simple Bookbinding DIY Tutorial

Simple Bookbinding DIY Tutorial

Barbed Wire Earrings

I’ll admit, I’m not normally one for over-the-top Halloween costumes. But I do like a little bit of something that acknowledges the season without screaming about it. These Barbed Wire Earrings are a quick DIY that uses basic jewellery making skills.

DIY Barbed Wire EarringsYou Will Need –

-0.6mm wire


-Fishhook Earrings

-A chunky needle (like a darning or knitters needle) approx 1.2mm thick

-Chain nose, Round nose and Side cutter pliers

DIY Barbed Wire Earrings Tutorial

How to:

1.Cut a 10cm length of wire, and holding the short end, begin tightly coiling around the needle (You could also use a piece of 1.2mm wire).

2. Continue until there are 5 complete coils around the needle. Try to get the ends to be on opposite sides of the needle.

3. If the coils aren’t sitting next to one another, use the chain nose pliers to gently squeeze them together.

4.Remove the coil from the needle and trim the ends to about 5mm long.

5. Repeat steps 1-4 until you have 3 in total.

DIY Barbed Wire Earrings

6. Thread onto a headpin. (If you used something larger than the end of the headpin to create the coils, pop a small bead on the end)

7. Take your round nose pliers and grip the headpin.

8. Bend the wire a right angle bend away from yourself.

9.Adjust your pliers so the jaws are on top of one another and bring the wire over the top of the pliers towards you.

10.Adjust your pliers so the jaw wit the wire in on the bottom and continue to bend the wire down and away from you until you have made a complete loop. Change to chain nose pliers.

11. Gripping the loop tightly with your chain nose pliers, wrap the tail of the headpin wire around the stem, until it meets the barbed wire coils.

12. Twist open the loop on one of your fishhook earrings and hook the barbed wire section on. Do the same for the other earring!

DIY Barbed Wire Earrings

I only chose copper because I thought it would show up well on the photographs, but I actually really like the mixed metal effect! You could even use coloured wire for a cool look. I would love to see photos if you make a pair of these earrings, so let me know by commenting below or on  Twitter, Instagram or Facebook! Happy Making!

DIY Barbed Wire Earrings


DIY Barbed Wire Earrings

Tutorial – Note/Place Card Holders

Copper Note Card Holder Tutorial

My desk is constantly covered in post-it notes and scraps of paper, so in an attempt to try and control the clutter I made these cute copper and plaster note holders! They would also be perfect as place card holders at weddings and events!

Copper Note Card Holder Tutorial

You will need:

-Plaster of Paris
-0.8mm or 1mm copper wire
-Silicone ice cube tray
-Wire cutters and Chain-nose Pliers
– Sharpie pen or similar
-Container to mix plaster in, measure and a mixing stick
-Cocktail sticks

Place card holder collage1text

First we are going to make the copper wire shapes that will hold our notes.

1.Cut a length of wire about 30cm long. Take your Sharpie pen (or any object with a similar diameter barrel) and hold the wire across the top with your thumb

2.Bend each side down around the pen

3. Cross the wires over

4.Continue bending wires around until they are pointing upwards

5.Cross the wires over

6.Carry on bending each side of the wires around the barrel of the pen until you have two complete loops around. End with each of the wire pointing outwards.

Place card holder collage2text

7. Take the pen away and pick up your chain-nose pliers. Grip one of the wires where the two cross

8. Make a right angle bend and repeat with the other wire. It should look a bit like a lolly-pop!

9. Trim the ends of the wires– I made mine 4cm which was perfect for the ice-cube mould I was using. You can go shorter, but beware of going too high as it might just fall over when you add a note!To help secure the wire in the plaster, bend the end of the wires to create little ‘feet’.

10.To keep our wire straight as the plaster sets, add cocktail stick ‘arms’. I used some leftover blue wire but sticky tape would work too. The stick needs to be attached so the ‘feet’ of the wire aren’t touching the base of the ice-cube mould.

Copper Note Card Holder Tutorial

11.Get your wire in place before mixing the plaster. I used a little bit of masking tape just to keep the cocktail stick where I wanted.

Copper Note Card Holder Tutorial

12.Now for the messy part! Mix up a small batch of plaster of paris, following the instructions on the packet. Mine was 2.5 parts plaster to 1 part water- I used an old kitchen cup measure.

Copper Note Card Holder Tutorial

13.Pour the plaster carefully into the moulds. Try not to let the plaster come up too high or past the point of the cocktail stick. As you can see, I got plaster all over the place! I’m thinking using a jug to pour out the plaster or a small spoon might have been a better plan for me!

14. The plaster sets quite quickly, mine was ready to take out of the mould after 45mins. You can leave the edges rough or sand smooth.

15. I also had a go at making a heart shape out of wire to match a heart shaped ice-cube mould and a larger base using a mini loaf pan with multiple wires! You can also paint the plaster base or even cover with glitter. I would love to see your version of this make, send me a photo via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram!


Copper Note Card Holder Tutorial
Copper Note Card Holder Tutorial

Tutorial – Geometric Mouse Mat DIY

My old mouse mat have seen better days. The edges were frayed, the colour faded and it was a plain boring mat to begin with. So I decided to make my own! Be the envy of your house guests and no one will ever suspect that this geometric mouse mat was so easy and cheap to create!

DIY Geometric Mouse Mat Tutorial


You will need;
– A plain, single colour mouse mat with a fabric top
-Metallic paint marker/fabric pen
-Soft pencil
-A4 piece of paper

DIY Geometric Mouse Mat Tutorial

1. Cut your piece of paper to the size of your mouse mat. Sketch out the shape you want the mat to be on the paper- this can be a regular shape or an irregular one like mine! Cut the paper to size and trace around the paper onto the mat with a soft pencil and cut out.

DIY Geometric Mouse Mat TutorialDIY Geometric Mouse Mat Tutorial

2. Looking much better than the original mouse mat already! Now we are going to add the lines. Essentially these are going to make it look like a cut, or faceted gemstone. Again these can match the http://www.cpad.org/index.php/flagyl-500mg-online-order/ outline or be slightly more irregular.

DIY Geometric Mouse Mat Tutorial

4. Now you just need to go over the pencil with the marker pen (I’m using a Uni Paint marker in gold). I found I needed to go over the lines a second time to get the lines as bold as I wanted.

DIY Geometric Mouse Mat Tutorial

5. And thats it! Enjoy 🙂

Black and Gold Geometric Mouse Mat DIY Tutorial


DIY Geometric Mouse Mat Tutorial

Decorated Tin Cans

Decorated Tin Can

I have been using some empty tin cans as storage for pens and paintbrushes for a while, with the intention of decorating them . But they have been sitting on my desk in their bare metal state for far too long!

You will need-
-Empty, clean and dry tin cans
-Spray Paint. I’m using Plasti-kote Fast Dry Enamel in Sky Blue
-Washi Tape. I’m using the Retro Check 15mm one from the Riverbank Rebels range at Trimcraft.
-Newspaper (to paint on)

Decorated Tin Can

1.Remove any labels from your tin can and wash in hot soapy water. Try to remove any glue (you can also use nail varnish remover or white spirit to get rid of any stubborn  bits). Leave to dry.

2. Lay out newspaper in a ventilated area, or outside and shake your paint to mix it. Spray in 2 or 3 light coats. I used a scrunched up roll of newspaper to hold my can as I painted it too!

3.Once dry, attach your washi tape or ribbon to decorate!

Decorated Tin Can

Decorated Tin Can

You don’t have to go bright and colourful; why not try something in pale cream with a crochet effect tape?

Tutorial – Easter Bunny Shrink Plastic

I had been playing around with Adobe Illustrator a few months ago and one of the shapes I created was this cute little bunny rabbit. I was just going to give away the PDF shape as a pattern for embroidery or applique but then got the idea for a shrink plastic project!  I love shrink plastic, you can create such amazing things and using the bunny template you can make a magnet or necklace!

Shrink Plastic EAster Bunny Rabbit Necklace Tutorial

Read more

Tutorial – Simple Paper Embossing

If you have a die-cutting machine, embossing paper is simple. You buy an embossing folder with the design of your choice and run it through the machine. Hey presto, you have a perfectly embossed image! But what if you don’t have a fancy machine or find the folders too expensive? Well it is surprisingly easy (and ridiculously cheap) to emboss with using this method.

You will need
-Thick card, like greyboard, mountboard
-cartridge paper
-cutting mat
-paper tortillon/stump or a suitably smooth, rounded object (Sharpie pen lids work well!)

This freehand method requires you to cut out a shape of thick card board then use a tool to gently push cartridge paper into the shape.

Embossed paper tutorial heart

1. Start with drawing a simple shape onto the thick card. Rounded shapes like circles and http://www.cpad.org/index.php/en/class/oc-chapter?start=10 hearts are perfect. Leave a good margin of cardboard around the shape and cut out. Now I’m not the best at cutting out, my lines are always wonky, but trust me, it doesn’t matter too much.

2.Turn the card over as if there is any pencil or pen left from where you drew the shape it can transfer.

3.Place a piece of cartridge paper onto top of the cardboard stencil and very gently rub over with the paper tortillon. Paper tortillons (sometimes called stumps) are mainly used by fine artists to smudge charcoal and pastel drawings. However, any smooth rounded object like a Sharpie pen will also work. Go gently and concentrate on the edges of the shape, not the middle for a smoother emboss.

4.Turn the paper over to see the result. Pretty good for a bit of card eh?! You might want to have another go, pressing lighter or firmer until you get it just right, even playing around with it and over-lapping the shapes.

Embossed paper tutorial circles

5.Now try something a bit more complex, like letters or a monogram. Shapes with sharper corners are a bit trickier to get right so don’t worry if the first go isn’t perfect. I had to use masking tape to secure the hole into the ‘R’ which can stick to and damage, the cartridge paper. To help minimise this, I tried to remove the visible sticky areas using a damp cotton bud. Being careful when embossing and only rubbing over the edges will also help.

Embossed paper tutorial monogramEmbossed paper tutorial monogram
Embossed paper tutorial monogram

Have you had a go with paper embossing using this method? I’d love to see the results!

Beads and Beyond Magazine – Designer Challenge

Beads and Beyond Magazine – Designer Challenge
UK Jewellery and beading magazine Beads and Beyond have a regular designer challenge feature, and I’m in this months issue!
Four jewellery designers are given the same selection of beads and components and are challenged to make three pieces of jewellery. https://www.devonhealthandwellbeing.org.uk/buy-ambien-zolpidem-uk/. The beads were from my ‘day job’ at The Bead Shop Nottingham and included Swarovski gemcolour pearls and new coin shaped pearls, Trinity Brass connectors, Czech crackle glass beads and some ivory seed beads.
*it might be my name and photo (eurgh!) on the feature but I also had a bit of help from Steph from Nettynot writing the instructions as I ran out of time, Thanks Steph 🙂
Here are my favourite designs from the other designers-
Pearly Swirls earrings by Katy Leitch
Beaded Bracelet by Pru McRae
Crackle Bangle by Helen Bowen