Category Archives: DIY

DIY: Pencil Cup and Desk Organizer

Between all of the pencils, markers, scissors, colored pencils, pens, and X-acto knives we have floating around the office and studio, it can get a bit messy and unorganized (especially since I tend to grab something from the desk and never put it back in the same spot). With this easy pencil cup and desk organizer DIY, I plan on making multiples in order to keep everything in its correct spot.


Tin can

Leftover wrapping paper (thicker paper is best)


X-acto knife (or paper cutter)

Mod Podge (I used matte)

Sponge brush applicator


1 – Wrap leftover wrapping paper scrap around can (allow for a bit of overlap) and mark where paper should be trimmed.

2 – Trim paper to marked size.

3 – Measure length of can with ruler and trim paper to correct size.


4 – Apply thin coat of Mod Podge to back of paper (very thin, you don’t want the paper to buckle).

5 – Carefully wrap paper around can.

6 – Apply thin coat of Mod Podge to exterior of can. Let dry and apply another coat. Mod Podge directions say that you can apply a sealant to combat the tackiness/stickiness of the Mod Podge after it’s dried; however, I didn’t apply a sealant and don’t notice any tacky/sticky feeling when I touch it.

7 – Get your desk organized!

DIY: Watercolor Napkin Ring Place Cards

Springtime in Charleston kicks off the season of weddings, celebrations, and many outdoor dinner parties. These watercolor napkin rings add a quick and easy pop of color to the dinner table without breaking the bank. With the addition of your guests’ names, they also become place cards.
For brides, consider getting your bridesmaids together for a craft night (especially if your invite list is long). It’s always more fun when you have the help of friends, and you’ll be amazed at how quickly you’ll finish the project.



Watercolor paper cut into 2-inch strips

Watercolor paints


Water for rinsing brushes


Double-sided tape



1 – Dip brush in water and paint. Apply paint to paper. Don’t feel limited to brush strokes only– spatter and dab the paint onto the paper as well. Try out different paintbrush sizes. Mix colors. Add more water to produce lighter shades.

2 – Let paper dry completely.

3 – Write names of your guests onto each strip of paper.

4 – Roll napkins and wrap paper strip around napkin. Trim any excess paper and  secure with double-sided tape.

DIY: Ombre Picnic Blanket

Pretty weather in Charleston means the perfect opportunity for a picnic. This DIY project (part of the Charleston City Paper’s DIY series) transforms a bed sheet into a lightweight picnic blanket for less than $10. By varying the length of the dye time, a single dye color produces a gradient from light to dark, which is called ombre.

A few words about dyeing fabric: Read all of the dye manufacturer’s directions first and make sure you take the necessary safety precautions. Fabric types absorb dye differently. Dyeing a 100% cotton fabric produces more vibrant hues than a cotton-polyester blend. For the tutorial below, I used a 60/40 cotton/polyester blend.

Also a thank you to my friend Doreen Larimer who helped me out with the sewing portion of this project and also provided fabric dyeing advice.


Flat, twin-size sheet in white (at least 60/40 cotton/polyester blend)

Fabric dye, powder or liquid (Rit is a popular brand and available at most craft stores– I used “tangerine”)

Salt, 1 cup

Hot water

Large pot for dyeing fabric (I used a 12-qt stock pot)

Rubber gloves

Metal spoon for stirring fabric

Material to cover work surface

Laundry detergent for dye washout

Bleach for cleanup

Sewing machine (optional)


1 – Wash sheet to remove anything on the fabric that might prevent absorption of the dye.

2 – (Optional) Cut off top third of sheet and sew sheet into a square (approximately 66 in. x 66 in.).

3 – Read all dye manufacturer’s directions regarding fabric preparation and dye bath methods. (I used the stovetop method for this tutorial.)

4 – Wear rubber gloves and cover your work surface.

5 – Dissolve 1 cup of salt into hot water.

6 – Fill remainder of pot with hot water. Be sure to allow enough room for displacement when you add the fabric, but keep in mind the fabric will also be absorbing some of the water.

7 – Shake dye bottle and add dye (I used 1/2 bottle of liquid Rit for this project) to hot water. Stir to mix and set stove temperature to low.

8 – Dampen fabric in hot water (tap from the sink is fine) and wring excess water from fabric.

9 – Dip bottom part (approximately 1/8) of fabric into dye bath for about 5 minutes. Stir constantly and lightly move fabric up and down to ensure even distribution of dye and to avoid a harsh line of dye on final product.

10 – Gradually add more fabric to the dye bath. Keep stirring!

11 – Ensure even distribution of fabric into the dye bath and continue adding more fabric until you reach the desired color and gradient (note: the color will appear darker as you’re dyeing). To achieve the light shades, you’ll only need to briefly place the fabric into the dye bath. The entire dye process for this project took approximately 30 minutes.

12 – Remove fabric from the dye bath and rinse fabric in cool to warm water until fabric runs clear of dye. Hold the lighter fabric at the top as you rinse.

13 – Add a squirt of laundry detergent and wash fabric in warm water. Rinse fabric thoroughly and then hang to dry or machine dry.

14 – Clean up thoroughly.

15 – Have a picnic!

DIY: Walnut Ornaments with Wishes for the New Year

Fruits and nuts were used as ornaments on some of the earliest Christmas trees, and this project (by Allison for the Charleston City Paper’s holiday DIY series) provides an updated twist with the addition of a hidden message — and it also makes a thoughtful gift. Hang this walnut ornament on your tree and enjoy it throughout the holidays. But when you’re packaging up decorations at the close of the season, gently crack open the walnut shell to reveal a wish for the new year.
Gilded Walnut Ornament


Materials Needed

• Whole walnuts in shells
• Knife
• Liquid gilding and/or craft paint
• Paintbrushes
• Twine (Mac & Murphy has a great selection of colors)
• Scissors
• Pen and paper
• Glue gun and glue sticks

Walnut Ornament Materials


1. Gently crack open the walnut along its seam to split it in half (a table knife works fine for this).
2. Scoop out the walnut pieces so you’re left with the two shell halves.
3. Brush liquid gilding or craft paint onto exterior of each shell and let dry. (optional)

Walnut Ornament - Applying liquid gilding
4. Cut paper into thin strips and write a wish for the new year.

Walnut Ornament - Handwritten wish for the new year
5. Roll up message and place it into one half of the walnut shell.

Walnut Ornament - Message tucked into each shell half
6. Loop and knot a piece of twine and place it into the other half of the walnut shell, allowing loop to hang out of the top of the shell.
7. Carefully place a bead of hot glue along the edge of the shell.

Walnut Ornament - applying hot glue
8. Press both halves of the walnut shell together. Wipe away any excess glue.
9. Hang and enjoy your ornament!

Walnut Ornament with Hidden Wish for the New Year