DIY ink stamped card with silhouetted letters

At the beginning of January, I showed you how to make a paint stamped card with silhouetted letters. I really liked the way the letters were blanked out in the design and I wanted to make another card using the same method for the letters but a different method for the background. I decided to use an ink stamp this time, and see how that came out. My Mum’s birthday was coming up – the perfect opportunity!

Now, I know some people have serious collections of stamps and ink pads, but I am not one of them. I do have just a few stamps with pretty patterns, so I selected one of them and used a purple ink pad. And this is what I came up with:

using stamps to make a unique card

If you want to make a card like this, then you will need:

  • Card blank (mine is DL size)
  • Post-it notes
  • Pen/pencil
  • Ruler
  • Scissors or a craft knife
  • Stamp
  • Ink pad
  • Coloured pen (optional) – mine is gold

I covered the method for making the letters (from post-it notes) and aligning them on the card in this post, so I won’t repeat that here, just head on over to the post and start from the beginning until you have something that looks like this:

using post-it notes for temporary masking letters

Now comes the fun part! Take your stamp and stamp away over the letters. How you stamp is totally up to you. As you can see, I chose to make my pattern of stamps roughly regular with similar spacing between all the stamps, but you could overlap them if you like the look. I was trying to make my stamp pattern very neat and even but it was very difficult! (maybe a more experienced stamper would be better at this than me)

Tip: When making each stamp impression you need to press down hard so that the ink goes right up to the letter edge. Otherwise, because the post-it letter is slightly raised from the surface of the card, there will be a gap between the edge of your letter and the start of the stamp impression, which will make your letters less clear.

DIY stamped silhouette card

I have to admit that I wasn’t very happy with my stamping. Some of the stamps didn’t come out that well (especially the ones in the middle) and this meant that the edges of some of the letters weren’t very obvious. It also looked a bit boring in monochrome! (you could avoid this by stamping in more than one colour)

So I decided to draw in some more detail in my pattern with a gold pen. This really elevated the card and made it look more interesting and more special, in addition to making the letters more clear.

adding detail to a stamped card

Finally, peel the post-it letters off, and admire your card!

lacy stamping and blanked out letters

Now, I have to admit that I wasn’t 100% happy with this card. I think the stamp is very pretty but it is too delicate. The letters would have looked a lot better if I had used a stamp which had more inked area so the edges of the letters would have been much clearer.

But I’m sure you could do better! Do let me know if you have a go yourself, I’d love to see what you come up with!

Thanks for reading!

Rachel

 

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The Little Koo blog turns 3!

Wow, I have been blogging for three years now, can you believe it? This little blog started off with the intention of promoting the Little Koo Etsy shop (don’t forget about the closing down sale btw, only 5 more days!) but I enjoyed writing about Hong Kong so much that it ended up being mostly about the things I see and do here, with a bit of craft stuff thrown in.

So, in celebration, I thought I’d recap some of my most popular posts over the last few years. Maybe you haven’t seen them yet, or maybe you’ve just forgotten! On the topic of Hong Kong, here are some of the most-seen posts over the last few years:

Nan Lian gardens

Nan Lian Gardens and Chi Lin Nunnery

 

Shau Kei Wan typhoon shelter

Hong Pak – a walk with a nice surprise at the end

 

Shroff sign

English usage in Hong Kong

 

Wide view from Jardines Lookout

An uphill climb to Jardine’s Lookout

 

Chek Keng 3

Maclehose trail stage 2: hills, beaches and lots of rain!

 

Shek O beach and headland

Life’s a beach in Shek O

 

I hope you’re enjoying my Candid Hong Kong series too, where I post random photos I’ve taken around Hong Kong to show a snapshot of life here.

Outside of Hong Kong, I’ve also blogged about some of our travels around Asia. My posts about our holiday in Malaysia where we stopped off at the Cameron Highlands, Georgetown (Penang) and Langkawi have also been pretty popular.

On the craft side, my post about buying craft supplies in Hong Kong has been by far and away the most popular post I’ve ever written. I’ve tried to make it a really useful resource, and I’m constantly updating and adding to it. However, I do love to make things myself with the supplies I find, and these have been some of my most popular ‘makes’:

Fabric covered shell handbag

Covering a box clutch purse – a no sew handbag!

 

Handmade wire button heart

How to make a wire button heart

 

Moravian star mobile

Making a froebel star mobile

 

Hand decorated jars

Hand decorated jam jar luminaries

 

Woolly pompoms galore

Two ways of making woolly pompoms

 

Ok, so that’s it for my round up. What’s your favourite post? Have you ever tried any of the crafts I’ve featured on this blog? I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading!

Rachel

DIY crystal stud earrings

As I mentioned in my recent post on DIY button stud earrings, I am looking to increase my collection of stud earrings since the twins like to pull on dangly earrings. So when I saw these beautiful DIY crystal earrings on Thanks I Made It, I really wanted to try this for myself!

My only concern was, where do I get the crystals from? You can get them from Amazon UK if you search for “sew on crystals” (but make sure you buy the ones mounted in metal clasps, not the flat back ones), but that was no use to me in Hong Kong. But then I was wandering down Yu Chau Street in Sham Shui Po (THE best place to get craft and jewellery supplies in Hong Kong!) and came across a whole shop-load of them! I was in heaven trying to choose which ones to buy!

So, being totally predictable, I fell for some round mint green crystals and paired them with some marquise (leaf) shaped clear crystals. I got out my trusty E6000 glue and just stuck them together and stuck the earring back on (I didn’t bother with the wax paper like she did in the tutorial above, but it might be a good idea if you’re worried about everything sticking together).

DIY crystal stud earrings

It was so simple and quick and I love the results! I’m definitely going to make more of these!

Handmade mint green crystal stud earrings

What do you think? Will you have a go yourself? Do let me know if you do!

Thanks for reading!

Rachel

Ten minute handmade birthday number card tutorial

These cards are so quick and easy to make, and I think they’re really fun! The inspiration came out of a moment of desperation since I’d forgotten to buy a card for a child’s birthday party (and it’s so hard to find nice cards in Hong Kong!) and we needed to leave soon for the party itself! It took me about 10 minutes to make the card (but I did draw my number freehand), so hopefully it should take you about the same amount of time.

hand drawn DIY number card

You could totally adapt the design with the recipient’s initial, or even a name or words like ‘Happy Birthday’. It’s so easy to do – I think it’ll take me longer to write this tutorial than it will take you to make the card!

For this tutorial you will need:

  • Card blank
  • Paper and printer (0ptional)
  • Pencil
  • Brightly coloured felt tip or marker pens (I used highlighters)
  • Pencil eraser

1. Find an image of the number that you want to use and copy it into Word, or you can use wordart to create the number that you want in Word (I did the latter). I’ve decided to do a ‘2’ as my twins have lots of friends who will be 2 in the next few months so this card may well come in useful!

2. Adjust the size of your number until it is almost as big as your card blank. For example, the card blank that I am using folds into an A6 size, so I made my number a little smaller than one-quarter the size of the A4 Word document (the lines you can see on the picture below are the ones I drew so I could see how big one quarter would be). Now print it out.

p1080409

3. Turn your paper over and use a pencil to scribble over the outline of the number. If you can’t see the number through the paper, you could try putting a white piece of paper underneath so it shows through better, or you could put it on a window (which will make it really easy to see the number, but you might get arm-ache!). Scribble quite hard so that there is a thick layer of graphite over the number outline.

(Note: my printed number did transfer a little onto what was underneath when I did this so make sure you’re not leaning on anything too important!)

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4. Now turn your paper back over so that the printed number is facing up and place it over your card blank. Line up the number so it is sitting in the middle of your card (unless you don’t want it to be in the middle, of course!). Now trace over the number with your pencil. Don’t press too hard because you don’t want to indent the card, but you do want to transfer the graphite on the back of the paper to your card so you can see a faint outline of the number on the card (I didn’t take a photo of this because the pencil line was too faint to be seen in a photo!). If it’s not working, you could try pressing slightly harder, or turn the paper back over and scribble harder on the back before trying to trace again.

N.B. An alternative method to steps 1-4 is to draw the number freehand on the card blank using pencil. This is a lot easier and quicker but does require you to be able to draw freehand block numbers, which I am not very good at!

5. Choose a few coloured pens – 3 or 4 is a good number. (I used highlighter pens so that my designs would be really bright – after all the card is for a 2 year old!) Starting in the middle of your number, draw a diagonal stripe, stopping at the edges of the number. Change pen colour and draw another parallel stripe next to it. Repeat, cycling through the colours. It doesn’t matter if your lines aren’t exactly parallel, or the same distance apart – it’s supposed to look hand-drawn!

p1080416

6. Continue until you’ve filled the whole number. Now erase the pencil outline and you are done!

p1080420

I liked the way this card came out so much that I did some more using different patterns. You could do swirls or shapes or patterns – the sky really is the limit with this! As long as your design is relatively dense, it should look great.

ten minute handmade monogram card

I like the one on the left the best – it looks like cake sprinkles!

So simple, eh?! Why don’t you have a go yourself? Do let me know if you do, I’d love to see how yours turn out!

Thanks for reading!

Rachel

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Hand decorated jewellery boxes

I mentioned back in November last year that I had a new jewellery box design. Well, since I was making up a new batch of boxes recently, I thought I’d share how I do it! It’s very satisfying to turn a plain box into something nice and pretty :)

paint stamped and ribbon gift box

If you want to decorate a box to look like this, you will need:

  • Plain box
  • Pencil with an eraser on the end (to stamp round dots with)
  • Craft knife
  • Acrylic paint
  • Felt
  • Ribbon
  • Scissors
  • Lighter (optional)
  • Sewing needle and thread in a similar colour to your ribbon
  • Glue

I order my boxes from this Etsy shop. They come flat packed and you have to fold them up yourself, which isn’t hard. Plus, it’s actually easier to decorate them flat!

I’ve got a thing about polka dots at the moment, so the first step is to put dots all over the lid! I wanted to stamp white dots but I haven’t found a good opaque white ink pad, so instead I use acrylic paint.

First, you need to slice the end off the pencil eraser. I used a craft knife to do this but any sharp knife will work fine. If you don’t do this, the edges of your dots will be less well defined because there is a slight curved edge at the end of the eraser.

slice off the end of a pencil eraser to stamp round dots

Next, you want to stamp your dots. A great way to avoid getting too much paint on your eraser is to place a piece of felt over your paint and press on it until it has soaked up the paint. Then simply press your eraser onto the felt, like you would an inkpad, and stamp your dots onto your box! (I saw this tip on Pinterest, from this tutorial, so handy!)

stamping with paint using a felt pad

I found I needed to re-paint my eraser every 2-3 dots to get nice even dots each time.

stamping polka dots with acrylic paint

Keep going until you have covered the whole external surface of your lid (you might need to work which bits to paint if you’re decorating your lid while it’s flat).

stamped polka dots

When the paint has dried (which shouldn’t take long, since you will have a nice thin layer of paint on each dot), make up your box into its final 3D shape.

paint stamped polka dot gift box

Now it is time to make the bow. You will need 3 pieces of ribbon: one to attach to the box, one to make the loops of the bow, and one to wrap around the middle.

To find out how long your first piece of ribbon needs to be, place one end of your ribbon on one of the inside edges of the lid.

ribbon placement

Keep it in place with one finger and run the ribbon around the outside of the box and under the opposite inside edge.

ribbon round the centre of the lid

Mark where the end of the ribbon meets the inside edge, and cut the ribbon here. My lid measures 3.5″ square and 1 1/8″ high, and my ribbon length is 7 7/8″. It doesn’t matter too much if the length is not very accurate since it can be trimmed at the end if it is too long, and if it is a little bit short, it will be inside the box so it won’t be seen.

measuring the length of the ribbon

For the second piece of ribbon, make a ribbon loop so that there is a small overlap at the end.

making a ribbon box loop

Then pinch the middle together. This will show you how big the bow will be. I wanted my bow to cover most of the box, and I found that a 6¼” length of ribbon worked quite well for this.

pinch ribbon loop to make a bow

Your final piece of ribbon needs to be a little over 3 times the width of your ribbon. My ribbon is 10mm wide, and my final piece is 1¼” long.

Optional step: you can seal the ends of your ribbon pieces using a lighter. This stops the ribbon fraying, which I don’t think should be an issue, but it does cut out the possibility.

To make up your bow, you need to first find the centre of your longest piece of ribbon. You can either measure and make a mark, or just fold it and put your finger on it. Now loop your second piece of ribbon and pinch like you did before, and place the pinched part over the centre of your first piece of ribbon. Then wrap the shortest piece of ribbon round the place that you are pinching so that the ends are underneath. Sew a few tiny stitches on the same spot to secure the three pieces of ribbon together.

simple ribbon bow

Now you want to attach your bow to your box. To do this, make a line of glue running along the middle of the box where you want your ribbon to be (in the same place that you wrapped your first ribbon round to see how long it needed to be). I prefer to use tape glue (no mess, no drying time!) but you could use any glue for this, such as white glue.

Now stick your ribbon on. I usually start with the bow, to make sure it’s central and then smooth the ribbon down either side and under the edges of the lid. And there, you are done!

hand decorated jewellery box

Have I inspired you to have a go at decorating some boxes yourself? They would make great gift boxes for other things as well as jewellery boxes. And there are so many ways you to decorate, such as painting patterns, sticking on sequins or using washi tape! Do let me know if you have a go!

Thanks for reading!

Rachel

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Making a sequin necklace

A while ago I saw this tutorial on Pinterest for making a sequin bangle. I really liked the look of all those sequins stacked up together and thought I’d try making a necklace using the same technique! Here is what I made:

sequin necklace DIY

I’m not going to post a detailed how-to here since I used very basic jewellery making techniques to make my necklaces, but do let me know if you want one!

The original blog post used cup sequins strung onto wire and shaped into a bangle shape. I didn’t realise she used cup sequins until after I had bought a load of flat sequins! (very cheap from a shop in Sham Shui Po) Oops. I think that the cup sequins stack together better than the flat sequins, but I still like the look that I managed to achieve.

mint green and white sequin necklace

Another difference to the original tutorial is that I strung the sequins on flexible multi-strand beading wire, rather than standard wire, to allow the necklace to drape well. I started out by stringing the sequins one at a time (VERY slow!) but quickly got bored. I realised that a much quicker way was to stack a bunch of sequins between my forefinger and thumb and then roll them gently to line them all up so you can then just thread your wire through the middle.

I was originally thinking of putting a bead on each end of my sequin string, but then I thought that a spiral copper cone would be quite fun! I’ve not made one before but I’ve seen various tutorials that use a pencil tip to create the cone shape. I wasn’t sure whether to start my cone at the tip or the bottom but I found it easier to make the cone shape from the tip down, by using pliers to hold the end of the wire cone against the tip of the mechanical pencil I was using. I had a few goes, and used the best two on my necklace. I have to admit that it’s very difficult to make a nice even, tightly curled cone! It’s certainly made me realise how much work I’m going to have to put in if I want to be really good at wire work…

sequin necklace with copper wire cones

One thing to note is that the base of the cone is slightly angled because there is a wire sticking out, and this makes your cone angled against the sequins. Maybe you could trim the end of the wire on your cone at an angle to reduce this.

Also, your cone won’t naturally stay central because it has a big open end. To get around this you could either make the end of the cone slightly bigger than your sequins, so the cone fits over the end of your sequin string, or thread a small bead onto your beading wire before you thread the cone on so that the bead fits inside your cone (and is hidden). I did mine the second way, using a large seed bead.

I was really pleased with how the cones look on the necklace!

silver and copper stacked sequin necklace

Anyway, I was having so much fun that I made another sequin necklace! This time I strung my sequins onto a short, straight piece of 0.6mm (22ga) wire.

mini stack sequin necklace

Again, I wanted to do something with each end of the sequin stack. This time I made a little flat copper wire spiral, which was actually really easy to do. Just make a small loop with some round nose pliers, and then continue winding your wire around the loop, holding the spiral flat with pliers as you go.

sequin necklace with copper wire spiral

I finished off each end of the wire with a wire-wrapped loop, threading the loop through the end of a piece of chain before wrapping the wire round. Again, because the wire wrapped loop finishes with a piece of wire sticking out, it makes the end of the sequins slightly angled. You could trim the end of the wire at an angle to minimise this, although it would be quite fiddly.

I think I prefer the other necklace, but the little cylinder-type pendant is quite nice!

green and white sequin stack pendant

What do you think? Do you have a favourite? Do you like the look of the stacked sequins? Do let me know if you have a go at this yourself!

Thanks for reading!

Rachel

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3D paper star Christmas garland

Our Christmas decorations this year are a fairly minimal affair. For a start, we don’t have a tree because the twins would just pull it over and try to eat it! (I’m very much looking forward to the time when they don’t put everything in their mouths) All decorations have to be out of their reach, so we hung some tinsel over the picture frames and we have some baubles hanging from the ceiling. And I decided that what we really needed was a pretty garland! After looking at some of my pins on Pinterest, I decided to go with a garland of 3D paper stars.

3D Christmas paper star garland - Little Koo

I used this tutorial for my stars (mine are a little less blingy than theirs!), and I made my stars from large sheets of fairly heavy plain red and green coloured paper. I wouldn’t say I have much to add to the tutorial, other than the fact that I scored all the folds before folding them because I found it difficult to accurately fold otherwise (although it might be easier with thinner paper).

Papercraft 3D stars - Little Koo

I made my stars as big as I could, which meant the template just fitted onto a sheet of A4 paper. When I was glueing the back pieces together, I thought that I would overlap the two sides as much as possible, but I found this made a very pointy star, and it actually looked better when the sides were about halfway across each other. I used tacky (PVA) glue to stick the back pieces together and held them in place with paper clips while they were drying. N.B. make sure your star is the right way out when you start glueing – I didn’t realise this with the first one I made and ended up with an inverted star!

3D Christmas paper stars - Little Koo

I stamped gold and silver motifs onto the stars before folding them, but you can’t really see it all that well. Oh well!

Stamped 3D stars - Little Koo

I think the 3D shape is quite effective for what is a very simple papercraft, especially when the light is not shining directly onto it so some of the sides are in shadow. What do you think?

Christmas garland - Little Koo

Let me know if you have made any of your own Christmas decorations, I’d love to see them!

Thanks for reading!

Rachel

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