Posts Tagged ‘DIY’


Should I “DIY” my Wedding Invitations?

February 10, 2017

As couples work through their list of wedding plans, they often find it necessary to pick out certain items and projects to tackle on their own. Understandably. Perhaps because they can’t find what they’re looking for, or more so, because after awhile it becomes WAY too expensive to purchase every little thing “ready-made.”

So what about your wedding invitations and stationary?

As a graphic designer, I work with bride and grooms all the time who come in wondering about professional invitations vs the process of DIY. Because I’m a designer AND a crafty person ((who LOVES to DIY)) I can usually help them sort the pros and cons pretty quickly. This short blog is the process I go through with my clients to hopefully help YOU decide your best option, as well!


The very first question I ask couples is what their weekly schedules are like. If you’re someone with a full time job, lots of hobbies and\or a busy home life then “DIY invitations” are likely not for you. Like starting anything from scratch, it takes up a ridiculous amount of time. So if you can’t do the time, don’t do the craft!

Even with a light – moderate schedule it’s important to consider the amount of time you have before you need to SEND your invites. Typically invitations should be to your recipients no later than 3 months before your actual event. Decide if the amount of invitations you can get done {daily\weekly\monthly} will produce the amount you need and still be done in time to mail.

If you only have a few months to produce 100+ invitations it’s probably best to leave the designing and printing to the pros, and focus your attention on other details. That close to the wedding it’ll be nice to have extra time for “emergency planning” situations that may arise, instead of still worrying about such an important aspect of your event.

Before I start any craft, I like to consider my attention span and patience. If you need more than 100 invitations ((plus RSVPs, ceremony programs, or additional stationary for wedding info)) the process of creating them is going to become monotonous, boring and even frustrating. Resulting in the potential of your invitations becoming sloppy, in-cohesive, or worse, not done! Save yourself the frustration when the quantities become very high and avoid DIY.

Sometimes we like to fool ourselves into believing that DIY is always going to save us a buck. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Buying all the individual materials can quickly stack up your bill! Especially because you’ll want good, “sturdy” materials to keep them together. So the next thing you know you’ve spent $150 on craft items and a new $200 printer, when you could have potentially found a professional option for less than $100 and no hassle.

Before you dive in, list out all the materials you’re going to need to buy to get the job done RIGHT. Not to mention, the real possibility you may make a mistake at some point and have to redo something – requiring extra materials and money. Compare the cost of materials vs. the cost of having them professionally made. The outcome may just answer your question for you.

Lastly, I like people to consider how much of a “perfectionist” they are, as well. That sounds silly, but it goes two ways.

One, depending on the style of invitation, it’s reasonable to guess your 80th invitation may not be as perfect, or as exact, as your 1st. Which may just drive your OCD over the edge.

Two, on top of inconsistency, it’s important that your invitations don’t fall apart before your guests get them. Which means no cutting corners when you’re getting burned out, or run out of glue, so you start using tape. If they fall apart, your money’s down the drain and your chairs at the wedding are empty.

In the end it’s a commitment that must get done. If you’re up for the challenge gather as much help as possible and get started as early as possible! If you’re not up for the challenge (IT’S COMPLETELY OK!!) just put the craft scissors down and walk away!


Did I get you towards your decision, or are you still unsure? Whether professional or craft questions, drop them in the comments and I’ll give it my best!

If you enjoyed this post, remember to follow me here on WordPress by blog or email. Plus, hit “LIKE” on the Facebook page for a regular feed.

On the off chance you now need invitations, check out my online store (more designs on the way) by clicking here —> {SHOP} OR contact me to start a custom project! Until next time…

Happy Creating!



Old School Desk Refurbish : Lifestyle of a Creative

March 10, 2016

Once again, I have strayed from the graphic design and photography loop, just a little. For those who have seen previous tutorial posts, I have a special category just for them called “Lifestyle of a Creative.” I decided this was fitting, because as a creative, I can rarely contain the craftiness.

That being said, several months ago I found this FANTASTIC old school desk. My intent was to not only use it for “the personal,” but also to use it as an adorable photo prop. I just couldn’t resist. So now, if you will step with me outside the box, let’s get this thing from rusty to rustic perfection!

Desk Refurbish | © Noel

Desk Refurbish | © Noel



Frankly, because of the “dinged up” rustic look I wanted to keep, there really wasn’t much prep on this item! In fact, there’s only two steps for prep, or three if you’d like to go above and beyond.

1. Despite that it’s wood, scrub and wash that baby down! This desk in particular had mud soaked into the wood. I’m guessing it was sitting in an old, abandoned school house for quite some time. (Which makes this piece even cooler!) So with a hose, no soap and a plain ol’ rag – wipe and spray it down. Let it dry for several hours or over night is best.

{TIP: Washing down wood not only cleans the surface, but in the case of staining, it helps to open up the grain. Allowing the wood to receive the stain better and look richer.}

2. Unlike mine, if you’re wanting the desk to be smooth, have less dings and more “fresh” wood to paint on, then you’ll need to do some sanding. (As with any older item, masks are recommended during sanding.)

3. For those who want to go a step further, these old desks can be taken apart and reconstructed with wood glue and new bolts. Some may even choose to replace the old wood. (However, I shall not be doing that in this tutorial, as I want all the original parts.)

Cleaning it all up! | © Noel

Cleaning it all up! | © Noel


Like with many old, industrial designs the base of the desk is very heavy cast iron. As a fail on my part, the only shot I took of the base before starting was while it was wet. However, as you can see toward the bottom – it’s pretty rusted. Basically, both legs were covered. The good news? You can actually REMOVE rust. WHAAAAT!!?? Crazy, I know…

Rusted Base | © Noel

Rusted Base | © Noel


So, as some may know, you can remove rust from metal using a steel wool pad. It’s actually quite effective, but very time consuming. Again, I didn’t want to lose the original little quirks of the desk. In fact, I kind of liked the rust, I just wanted less of it…

My goals for the base were to: 1) Keep some original charm 2) Make it contrasted from the wood, and 3) Have it still look really nice and clean….Talk about wanting it all, right? Well this is how I achieved that:

1. Using a steel wool pad and a wet cloth I started rubbing away. Scrubbing the rust, then wiping it away with the rag. Silly me should have realized even after I started doing this, the metal was still pretty beat up. It wasn’t going to be the clean, consistent look I wanted after the rust was controlled. This was frustrating, because while I wanted the metal to look older, I didn’t want it to be AS beat up as the wood. It would just be too much going on for this piece. (Especially as a photo prop.)

2. After removing a lot (but not all) of the rust, I decide to cheat and add some consistent color back in with spray paint. The wood was still raw and unpainted, so I just taped off the edges like so:

Tape off the wood. | © Noel

Painter’s tape works wonders. | © Noel

3. Using a combination of RUST-OLEUM Metallic Black and DESIGN MASTER Glossy black, I lightly and inconsistently began painting. Take turns painting and then rubbing with the steel wool to keep some of the rust and damage showing. Avoid an excessive amount of the metallic finish vs the glossy, because it almost has a “sparkle” to it, which is not a classic look for metal. What was achieved was this:

© Noel

Painted and Distressed Base | © Noel



For the wood, I was originally going to paint it shanty chic – like distressed ivory. That was until my “other half” kindly reminded me how gorgeous keeping it classic wood would be. He was right – therefore it would have to be stained. Before we jump into this, let me warn: Staining is NOT for the faint of heart! It is definitely an art all its own and I am still mastering this skill myself. The tricky part is keeping the color even, because remember, it’s already soaking in and drying as you go. Any place that dries and is then rewetted will start to look richer, creating streaky lines on the surface.

{TIP: For amateurs like me, keep just a couple paper towel sheets with you and continually wipe as you go. This will simultaneously smooth out excess stain that can get tacky if left on the surface AND keep your stain consistent and even. Oh – and wear gloves! 😉 } 

Wear gloves and keep that stain smooth! | © Noel

Wear gloves and keep that stain smooth! | © Noel

As for the product I used a two-in-one: stain (the color) and polyurethane (the seal). I wanted a classic stained look, but I needed some color. To contrast the dark metal and give the desk a “rich” feature, I chose MINWAX PolyShade in Bombay Mahogany. What an awesome difference! Plus, it matches the rust. 😉

MINWAX PolyShade Bombay Mahogany. | © Noel

MINWAX PolyShade in Bombay Mahogany. | © Noel



Finished Product |© Noel

Finished Product |© Noel

and a few accents and finishing touches……

Accents and Finishing Touches. | © Noel

TA DA!!!! | © Noel


There you have it! Simple and sweet right? I think the whole process from prep to finishing touches took about two days. For now this lovely piece will hold it’s place on my porch, but I am [impatiently] waiting to find the right client’s kiddos to use it as a photo prop. Maybe YOU!?!?


For more updates from yours truly, follow me here on WordPress by blog or email, and hit that LIKE button on Facebook! Until next time 🙂 —

Happy Creating!




DIY Tree Skirt

December 20, 2012

Happy Holidays everyone! I hope your Christmas season is going great, because mine sure is. One of my struggles this Christmas was finding a tree skirt in a “young adult’s budget.” So being my crafty self, I decided to make my own. It was so simple that I wanted to share. I know this is some what last minute, but it is so easy you could finish in one today, or be ahead of the game for next year! To begin, here is what you’ll need:

  • 1 Yard of your fabric of choice. (I have a 6ft tree. One yard should be ok up to a 7-7.5 ft. tree- otherwise just more fabric.)
  • Good pair of scissors
  • 3-4 yards of frill edging, lace or whatever you want around the edge.
  • Glue gun
  • Sewing machine (optional)



Find the center of your fabric and cut a hole big enough for your tree post\stump. This is also going to help you make a perfect circle out of the fabric later. (TIP: Remember to keep the center of the fabric, the center of your circle you cut out for the post.)


Make sure the fabric is upside down so you are not marking with pen\chalk on the good side of your fabric. Using the edges of the center circle you just cut, use a ruler to make marks all the way around. (One end of your ruler at small circle’s edge laying straight out and make a mark. Repeat all the way around. TIP: The closer your marks are together, the easier it will be to cut your circle evenly.) Cut out the circle carefully using the marks as guides.


Cut a straight slit, by using your ruler and pen, from the outside to your center circle. Again, make sure you are drawing on the backside of your fabric


This step will vary for everyone, depending on if you have a sewing machine. (Which, I did not.) For those who have a sewing machine, hem all edges of the fabric, including your slit, about 1\4 inch. This will just help in case you decide to machine wash the tree skirt. However, your fabric shouldn’t unravel terribly if you can not hem the edges. If you do NOT have a sewing machine, feel free to skip this step 🙂


After you have cut the large circle (or finished hemming the edge), now sew OR hot glue the fringe to the edge of the fabric. You will want to attach the fringe\lace\decor to the back of the fabric again, so the front will look perfect!


Five easy steps and your done!




If you have questions or (positive) feedback, please feel free to comment. Enjoy your cool, new, but CHEAP tree skirt & remember to share!





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