Wire Photo Clips

In my post yesterday, I showed you the simple personalized photo blocks I made for Christmas gifts. I thought I would show you how to make the photo clips I made for the blocks.

You'll need some basic wire, something strong but flexible. I found that the best source is the wire sold at the home improvement stores used for hanging drop ceiling. It's thick yet flexible, and worked well for my projects. Plus you can get 100 feet for about $3. I started with a 14" length for the clips on my projects.

Next, you'll need something round that you can wrap the wire around, approximately an inch in diameter, although this method could be adjusted to make any size clip. I opted for a spool of thread to wrap my wire on.

Position the wire to begin wrapping your round object, leaving about 1/2 inch of excess that will remain straight. Hold the wire firmly in place.

Begin wrapping the wire around the object, aligning the wire as straight as possible, and as closely as possible to the previous wrap.

Repeat the previous step to form a second loop, again keeping the loops as tightly together as possible. This actually happens somewhat naturally, but it helps to be aware of the alignment.

Next, pull the wire off of the circular object. Bend the excess wire from the end across the center of the loops. This doesn't actually add any functionality to the clip, just a little dimension.

And lastly, bend the other end of the wire (the stem) to position the clip upright. If you'd like, you can get creative with this part and have curves or even curly Q's in your stem.

Now you're ready to add some simple photo clips to your creative projects.

Be sure to check out the endless list of inspirational ideas at my home page childmade.com.

Name Block Photo Clips

As part of my last-minute Christmas gifting, I made a modified version of the Wooden Joy Banner for several of my family members.

I made several for my cousin's little girls, Victoria ...

... and Alexi. These were both hinged, but it's nice that there's the option of displaying either way.

And for another cousin's new little baby boy, Parker.

I also made some full-name blocks for my aunts for their grandbabies.

I just made a separate one for each name, rather than hinging it.

And I selected different stitch fonts too.

And I also did one for each of my grandmas. The longer lettering allowed for more picture clips, which is great since they have lots of grandchildren!

Check out my tutorial on how to make the photo clips and of course the Wooden Joy Banner to see how to make the hinged letter blocks.

I think the options for this idea are endless. I can see something coming up for Valentine's day already!

Thanks for visiting!!

And don't forget to check out the endless list of inspirational ideas at my home page childmade.com.

Fleece Head Bands

For my son's school party this Christmas, I decided to make a personalized headband for each of his classmates.

I started by machine-embroidering their names onto a piece of fleece, but this project can also be done without the names. Otherwise, if you don't have an embroidery machine available to you but still want to personalize yours, you could also embroider them by hand or use other personalizing methods, such as stenciling or iron-on transfers.

I use a Singer Futura, which is just a hobby machine, but it was reasonably priced and works well for what I like to do. I plan to do a review post on it shortly, for those of you that have no familiarity with embroidery machines.

I embroidered their names before cutting the fleece apart, so I could get the most out of the fabric.

I did the boys' names on red and the girls' names on lime green.

After I was done stitching and cut the names apart, I applied a little glue to the backside of the stitching to prevent unraveling.

The solid-colored pieces are 2" wide, and the coordinating backside pieces are 4 1/2" wide. Both parts are about 23" long, but that will vary slightly depending upon what size head you're trying to fit.

When you cut your fleece, test the fabric to see if it stretches more one way over the other. Ideally, you'd like to have the stretchy direction going around the head. This isn't always possible if the print isn't going in the direction you want.

Next, I lined up the two parts of fleece, with the "right" sides together. With fleece, it's sometimes difficult to determine the right side. My philosophy is that if I can't tell, it's not likely anyone else will be able to tell either. Of course, it is important for the piece with the name.

I stitched the edges that were aligned, leaving only about a 1/4" seam.

Next, I aligned the other sides. Since the one piece of fabric is wider, there will be a fold in the wider piece in order to correctly line up the open sides.

I stitched these edges together, again leaving about a 1/4" seam.

Next, I turned the piece of fabric right side out.

I laid the piece flat to align the edges.

Next, I folded the piece in half and aligned the raw ends, making sure the name would be centered on the finished item.

I used pins to hold everything where I wanted it, so that the seam lines wouldn't slip out of place.

I sewed the end. Mine needed to be about 22" around to fit the students in my son's class.

After stitching, I used pinking shears to trim the excess.

Since fleece doesn't fray, this was all the finishing I did. Plus, it will be on the inside where it isn't seen when worn.

And that's it!

One for each of the 23 students in the 4th grade.

And the fabric I used makes them coordinated but unique.

Check back for the embroidery machine review I mentioned.

And don't forget to check out the endless list of inspirational ideas at my home page, childmade.com.

Snow Dogs

I did another hinged snowman family...

This one I did with a couple of snow dogs.

Just add a couple of 2" poms for cheeks, a 1" pom for a nose, and a couple of felt ears.

Hinged Wooden Snowman Family

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I had gotten myself into a number of projects last week that snagged all my time. This is another one of the gifts I made, this one for my son's teacher.

And I thought I would share with you how this one was done too.

The first thing I did was cut my pieces of wood. I used a 1 x 4 that was in nice shape so it didn't require much sanding. I started by determining the length of the tallest snowman, then I adjusted the other sizes by about 2 inches each. I just did the measurements visually, so I don't know what they were exactly, but I believe the tallest one was about 18-20 inches. That's about as tall as you can go using only one hinge like I did.

I had a family of 5, so I cut 5 pieces. I needed to decide how to arrange the wood, whether I wanted it random...

... or descending. I decided that in this case, I liked the descending arrangement best.

I measured 3 1/2" from the bottom and placed the hinge. I spaced the wood apart about 3/8" to give the hinge room for movement.

After marking the hinge holes, I used a drill to make a pilot hole in each slot. I repeated this step with each board and each hinge. I skipped every other slot, then flipped the whole arrangement so I could place the backside hinges, which filled the spaces I skipped on the flip side.

I put in the screws temporarily, so I could test the size and functionality. I did this with all the hinges.

Then I took it all apart and applied several coats of paint. I painted the front, back and sides, but not the top and bottom.

I also applied a light coat of white spray paint to the hinges. Be careful not to apply too thick of a coat or it will interfere with the functionality of the hinge.

When the paint was dry, I sanded the corners.

Then I put the hinges in place.

So far so good.

Then I began preparing the hats. I decided to put the names on the cuff of the hats. I used an embroidery machine and made them out of fleece, but other options could be used. I think the names add a special personalized touch to the final project.

Next, I began assembling the hats. You can see a tutorial on the hats here. For these, my initial square of fabric was 8" x 9".

I added the cuffs with the names, alternating the height of the cuff to match the alternating height of the wood.

I wrapped a strip of fleece around the wood and looped it in the front to make scarves.

I used a sharp pair of scissors to fringe the ends of the scarf.

I made the noses out of craft foam, cutting them with a pair of pinking shears to give them the textured edge. I also added google eyes.

And the last thing I had to do was add the buttons.

And they're done!

And an added bonus is how neatly they fold up for easy storage. That is, if you ever put them away anyway!

Share your thoughts and your examples!

Here's a fun one done by Brooke at BrookePitcher.com. I think it turned out great! Check it out here!

And don't forget to check out the endless list of inspirational ideas at my home page childmade.com.