Friday, January 31, 2014

Vintage Button Necklace, Button Jewelry - DIY Jewelry

button necklace
The VIP wearing her one-of-a-kind BluKatDesign  bib necklace!

I've always loved vintage buttons and even colorful new buttons. They are so fun to make jewelry or even decorative magnets with.  I was so excited the other day when I found my old stash of buttons I had for years! Abby, the Vintage Inspired Passionista (VIP) sent me a load of her grandmother's buttons to make a custom necklace for her birthday!

To make these button necklaces, all you need to know is how to sew on a button and maybe have a good eye! The back is made from plastic needlepoint canvas, you can get in craft stores. It comes in a lot of different colors but I like the light brown because it doesn't show through when you are wearing it. I arrange my buttons in the general shape I want (it will always turn out differently than planned!)  Cut a paper template that is slightly larger than what you want, then I just cut the plastic around the template:

button necklacebutton crafts

With super heavy duty polyester thread, I begin sewing! I start with my main focal point like this zipper flower or largest buttons and work form there.  Not my most favorite thing to do, I seem to get tangled up in the thread a lot when I sew! Always knot after every button just in case one falls off, the others wont go too! I keep all of the knots and threading on the inside as much as possible so it will not show on the back.  I also seal the knots with nail polish so they do not come undone.  When all of the buttons are sewn on, carefully trim the edges so the mesh wont show. I always put a sturdy button with holes at the ends to attach jump rings for hanging a chain. (see photo below) You can embellish with a zipper flower or vintage jewelry too!

DIY button necklace

bib necklace

repurposed buttons

button earrings
Button stud earrings

handmade bookmark
Bookmark made with vintage button cards!

I also made Abby button earrings and a laminated bookmark from the vintage button cards! Here are more of my one-of-a-kind button necklaces that are available in my Etsy shop:

button necklace
Zipper flower necklace with vintage buttons

repurposed vintage necklace
Repurposed vintage button and earring necklace

 I don't make many brooches but I thought it would be fun to make Barbara, Abby's grandmother a  pin with her buttons for her brooch collection too!

button brooch

 If you your style is more modern, you can try making button cluster dangles and button hoop earrings which are my favorites. Or, if you are not so creative,  I have other fun button jewelry including colorful button earrings you must see in my Etsy shop!

button dangle earrings
Button cluster dangle earrings

Button hoop earrings

Who doesn't like buttons? They are so cute and  fun! What kinds of things do you make with buttons?


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Valentine's Fashion and Jewelry Ideas: Heart Earrings

Valentine's Day Kiss

Here's a few fun ideas to wear on Valentines Day! There are a bunch of different styles of heart earrings in my Etsy shop including these flirty heart chandelier earrings in edgy gunmetal with either bead drops (above) or red chain fringe (below)

Heart earrings with chain

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Laminator, DIY Bookmarks!

More fun than watching paint dry!  This $35  laminator from Target was a super great buy, I recommend it to anyone who loves crafts! I usually include one of these little laminated bookmark freebies with a purchase from my jewelry and gift shop, BluKatDesign on Etsy!


laminated bookmarks
laminated bookmarks made with upcycled magazines and cards

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Natural Curly Hair Styling Tips for Super Fine, Thin Hair

curly hair tips Seaweed, dog shampoo and mud?

Finally after um...about 40+ years I figured out what to do with my naturally curly hair! I know all you straight hairs think we just wake up and have the fabulous locks with little work! My hair is even more challenging because it is so fine, thin and now thinning in spots! With the dark hair and white roots I can look very "scalpy" and even scary! Some of you may think my hair is only wavy but when it grows out, I get medium sized cork screws; it just is straighter when short which is typical of 3A type curly hair.

The Curl Talk forum on  has a ton of info and a great place for curly girl information.  I like to use all natural products with no silicones or sulfates. I  even make some of my own "shampoos".  Here is my routine and tips; hopefully it can help some of you fine curlies:

terressentials hair cleanser
My absolute favorite clay cleanser is Terressentials Lavender

Poo or no poo?  I'm sure you all have heard or even tried the no shampoo conditioner washing method.  It works great for a lot but for some of us,  it can make our fine hair feel finer and LIMP!  If this is your hair, you can try a non-sulfate "no-poo" "shampoo".  I stumbled across my favorite by mistake....don't laugh but it is my dog's shampoo!  I love Earthbath Pet Shampoo for my hair! The conditioner is perfect too, the ingredients are all pure and natural;  more natural than the "natural" ones from the health store!  I also like mud... well clay,  as in Rhassoul clay for cleansing. It adds a lot of body to my hair. I just mix a teaspoon in a little water, gently scrub the curls, rinse well and condition!  I get my clay from Garden of Wisdom.  They have lots of cool ingredients for making your own products and also some great finished products! I find alternating products helps the look and texture also.   I use Terressentials lavender hair cleanser for a real treat! I also love the ancient Shikakai powder for body and lots of shine; I just mix it like the clay or add it to the clay.

For conditioning,  I find staying away from oils especially shea butter will help prevent frizz. A good read by Jonathan Torch:  The Truth Behind Oils.  I like a little almond oil or coconut oil at times. No need to waste your money on the argon oil craze; the real stuff stinks and doesn't do anything more special!  For styling I love a seaweed based gel product called Seamollient (also from Garden of Wisdom) and Curls Passion Fruit Curl Control Paste, I get at Target. I make my own curl refreshing spray with rosewater and a teaspoon of glycerin  from the drugstore mixed in.

natural hair styling products

I first scrunch in 1/2 tsp  Curls Paste with a lot of water so it is really drippy ( Rudeechick's super soaker method) and then blot  upside down with a Curls Like Us Towel ( or old t-shirt will work!) . Then I take just a 1/2 tsp Seamollient and scrunch that in, arranging the curls and even clipping into place. I let air dry for a half hour then finish off drying with a diffuser.  Sounds like a lot of work but really it isn't, I know of curly heads that will spend 20 minutes a day on just straightening...yikes! Finally I want to mention color.  I know the chemical dyes make me lose hair; I try to use pure henna and indigo as much as possible. The henna will add a ton of body also.

Vintage Inspired Passionista

The Vintage Inspired Passionista has a  different routine for her gorgeous golden curly locks be  sure to check it out!  Here she is with the hair sticks I make; the perfect gift for the thicker haired curlies:

handmade hair sticks

Find my colorful hair sticks and jewelry in my Etsy shop, BluKatDesign. Follow my Pinterest board for more hair styling ideas

If you have curly hair and want to share a tip please feel free to comment!


Saturday, January 18, 2014

DIY Recycled Plastic Bottle Crafts, Kid's Crafts

DIY Christmas ornaments

Make flowers or sea creatures out of plastic bottles! Use them to decorate; make a mobile, chandelier or hanging curtain. I made sea anemone ornaments for my ocean themed Christmas tree! You can use them for "bows" on a pretty gift packages or even make jewelry! A fun craft project for kids with adult supervision and maybe a little help.

*** I guess in today's age we must also include basic common sense warnings like open a window,  use a fan, have a bowl of water in case things get hot and candles cause fire! If you are afraid of the chemicals you probably shouldn't have the plastic bottles in the first place! You probably shouldn't have Sharpies or glue either! Sorry, this is for the alarmists out there!

Tools and materials:

clear or colored plastic bottles
buttons, beads, bottle caps
paper punch
string to hang them with
E6000 glue

First,  cut the bottom out of the bottle; I use a serrated kitchen knife but scissors work just as well. Trim the bottom part so it look more like a flower then with a good metal paper punch (the cheap plastic ones may beak!) punch a hole out for hanging:

plastic bottle crafts

With Sharpies, draw your patterns, this is where the kid's can have fun:

kid's crafts

Then carefully melt over a flame, about 1 1/2" over the flame
works well: 

plastic bottle flower

recycled crafts

recycled plastic

They look great like this or kids can glue in a colorful  bottle caps, buttons and beads but first add the cord with a slip knot:

DIY  ornaments

 You can make stamens  by cutting a strip of plastic about 6" long by  1.5 to 2" wide: 

DIY crafts

Carefully melt the tips first; try to get them to curl out in one direction. This can be tricky!  You can also make individual ones then glue them with blob of glue in the center of the flower.

recycling plastic crafts

With the stamens pointing outward, start coiling and melting:

plastic bottle flower

Hopefully, it will look like this:

recycled bottle crafts

You can then glue it directly to your flower or I glue it to a bottle cap then the flower:

plastic bottle ornaments

recycled plastic ornaments

These are my recycled plastic ecochic necklaces on Etsy that are made the same way:

ecochic necklace

recycled plastic necklace

Here are more inspirational ideas from Michelle Brand who is an environmental designer   internationally known for her designs with plastic bottles:

Michelle Brand

See my other popular upcycling blog posts:

"DIY Dollhouse Miniatures: Modern "Glass" Art Tutorial" for Chuhuly style miniatures made out of recycled plastic containers:



See how to make my  bottle cap art mosaic:

bottle cap art

I would love to see how you recycle or upcycle, feel free to post a link to your project, website, blog, or page!