Wellnesting | Creating a Happy Handmade Home

HOW TO MAKE FAUX STONEWARE PLANTERS

StephanieComment
DIY Faux Stoneware Planters | Wellnesting

Too much greenery is never an issue at our place. I would gladly live in a 1,000 sf jungle if I could. But the planters? Those I could do without. They’re always too expensive or not quite what I had envisioned or I just outgrow them when I decide to redecorate the next month. What can I say, I’m picky. And flaky.

So much like everything else in my life, I decided to make some of my own so at least they’d live up to the vision in my head, even if I do end up replacing them in the not too distant future.

These little faux stoneware planters are so easy it’s almost laughable. I started with a couple little glass bowls I found at the Dollar Store and then dolled them up with a bit of stoneware spray paint and gold leaf I had leftover from past projects.

And the succulents? Those are faux succas I found at Hobby Lobby for about $4 a pop (meaning one less plant to kill. Huzzah!).

Just follow along below for the instructions.

DIY Faux Stoneware Planters | Wellnesting
DIY Faux Stoneware Planters | Wellnesting

Supplies

Glass or ceramic cups or bowls
Stoneware spray paint
Gold leaf kit (with adhesive size and sealer)
Paint brush
Succulents
Soil

How to Make Faux Stoneware Planters | Wellnesting

How To

  1. Tape off the bottom half of your container.
  2. Spray the top half of your container with the stone spray paint and let dry. Continue adding coats until you get full coverage, letting dry in between coats.
  3. Remove the tape from the bottom half of your planter and paint a thin layer of adhesive size. Let dry for about a minute.
  4. Start layering your gold leaf being sure to cover any bare spots. Let dry for an hour or two just to be sure you won't accidentally remove any gold leaf, then take a clean, dry paint brush and brush away any rogue flakes.
  5. Paint on a thin layer of sealer and let dry.
  6. Fill your planters with dirt. Get a feel for how long your succulents stems need to be and trim if they're too long. Place succulents in pots.
How to Make Faux Stoneware Planters | Wellnesting
How to Make Faux Stoneware Planters | Wellnesting


DIY Antler Candlesticks

StephanieComment
DIY antler candlesticks | Wellnesting

Before Chuck and I moved into our house, decorating was never something I thought much about. Truthbe told, if you’d seen our last place, you probably would have thought we had just moved in when in fact we’d lived there for over 5 years – it still looked as much a bachelor pad the day we moved out as the day we moved in.

But now that we’re in a place that feels more homey (read more permanent) all I really want to do is decorate. And it seems like every time I turn around, I catch a glimpse of the faux taxidermy craze that’s blowing up these days. While it’s a rather polarizing trend, and I admittedly have pretty mixed feelings about it myself, I think a well-placed pair of faux antlers can look pretty nice. Or at least interesting

DIY antler candlesticks | Wellnesting

So in order to get to the bottom of my mixed taxidermy emotions, I grabbed some floral wire, an old newspaper, flour paste and some paint, and set to work creating a pair of antler candlesticks.

Since all the materials were things I had lying around the house, the whole project was f-r-e-e.  And to be honest, with the potential for things to go horribly wrong, such a small financial investment meant that I could throw the whole thing out and pretend like it never happened if it blew up in my face.

Luckily enough though, I’m totally digging it. I like that you can tell they're antlers without them being too over the top and in your face. And the papier mache gives them more of an artistic look, less of a dead-animal-on-you-mantle look which is an added bonus.

 

So here's what you need to get started:

For the papier mache paste:
2 tbsp flour
1 cup water

For the candlesticks:
Floral wire
Wire cutters
Newspaper ripped into strips
Hot glue
White spray paint with primer
Taper candles

How to Make Your Own Antler Candlesticks | Wellnesting

Before making your antlers, whip up a batch of flour paste. Heat 1 cup water on the stove until it’s barely boiling. Whisk in 2 tbsp flour and continue stirring until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat and let sit until it’s completely cool.

  1. Next measure and cut a 24 inch length of floral wire.
  2. Bend the piece in half and loosely twist the two sides together.
  3. This piece is going to be your candlestick stem and one of the legs, so bend the wire slightly in the middle, and then bend the leg in the opposite direction, giving you kind of an S shape (see the picture to get a better idea). You can even start separating the wire pieces of the legs here if you want, or you can wait until it's all put together to do it.
  4. Cut another 24 inch piece of wire, fold it in the middle and loosely twist the two sides together. Then bend the wire into a gentle U shape. This is going to act as the other two legs of the candlestick. Take the stem/leg piece of wire and look for a small gap toward the center that you can feed the U shaped wire through.
  5. Use hot glue to join the pieces. Once the glue has dried, start separating the wire pieces that make up the legs to give you the look of separate points on the antlers. I used wire cutters to make a couple pieces shorter than the others. I also used some wire scraps to create short points on the stem and a couple of the legs. Trim the legs so they’re all the same length and use hot glue where needed to make the piece stable.
  6. Dip a piece of newspaper into the paste and wipe off the excess. Gently wrap the newspaper around the neck of your candlestick, pulling it as tight as you can without bending your antler. Then work your way down until you’ve covered the entire piece. Let dry for 30 minutes to an hour. Add your next layer and continue adding layers, focusing more heavily on the stem of the candlestick and gradually tapering off at the legs, until your stem is about ¾ inch in diameter. Let dry.
  7. Take your taper candle and hold it up to the top of your candlestick to figure out how wide your stem needs to be. Add another couple of layers of newspaper until you reach the proper diameter, then wrap a few pieces of newspaper around the very top of the candlestick, leaving an opening for you to put your candle in. Let the whole thing dry overnight.
  8. Once your piece is completely dry, add a couple coats of spray paint, letting it dry slightly in between coats.

And here's another view of the 'after' for ya...

DIY antler candlesticks | Wellnesting
DIY antler candlesticks | Wellnesting

So what do you think? Are you riding on the faux taxidermy fan bus or are you hoping you'll never have to see it ever again (in which case, thanks for reading this far. You're a trooper)?

Etsy Entrepreneur Part III: Creating Killer Images for Your Products

StephanieComment
Etsy Entrepreneur: How to make passive income selling digital products on Etsy

Psst. Hopefully you’ve read the first two parts of my Creating Passive Income with Esty series. If not, here's where you can find parts I and II.

So I have a few DIYs coming your way later this week but they're taking a little longer than expected, so today we’re going to talk about creating images for your digital templates.

Creating attractive, eye-catching pictures of your products is one of the most important steps in creating your online empire. Not only is it crucial that you show your products in the best light so you can attract potential customers, but you also need to spend a lot of time and energy on branding your images, because here is where you’re going make yourself stand out from the competition.

Any experienced Etsy seller will tell you that having killer images makes all the difference between having no sales and having your shop blow up.

Images are that important.

But these are digital templates we’re selling and we don’t actually have a physical product to photograph, so what do we do?

Create a digital mockup

While it’s possible to print your templates and photograph them like you would any other physical product, creating a digital mock up is, in my opinion, a million times easier. Digital mockups require some experience with photo editing software, but they’re much better in the long run because you eliminate the need to print and photograph actual templates and then edit the photos afterward. You can also reuse the mockups by simply cutting and pasting your new products into existing backgrounds.

Now in full disclosure, I create my mockups using Photoshop and I have been known to buy fancy background images, textures, and props from places like Creative Market and Etsy to make my pictures pop.  But I’m going to show you how to do this using free software like Canva and without having to invest in fancy backdrops or digital elements.

How to Create Digital Mockups

CREATE A PDF AND TAKE A SNAPSHOT

Open your template in Word and go to FILE > Save As. Under the Save As Type drop down select PDF.

Next, open your PDF and zoom out until the you can see the full page on the screen.

Click Edit>Take a Snapshot. Click the cursor anywhere in the gray area surrounding the document and you should see a “flash” as if you just took a picture, this will save a copy of the document to your clipboard.

Etsy Entrepreneur: How to create a passive income business by selling digital downloads on Etsy

SAVE AS A JPG

Open Paint. Use CTRL+V to paste your screen shot into a new document. Then click File> Save As and save the image as a JPG.

Etsy Entrepreneur: How to make passive income selling digital products on Etsy

CREATE A Background IN CANVA

Go to Canva. If you don’t already have an account create one (it’s free!)

Click the Use Custom Dimensions button and type 1000 * 750 px in the fields > click Design!

An empty work space will open. Click the tab on the left hand side labeled BKGROUND and select a background that speaks to you -- some images cost $1 but there are some free options as well.

Etsy Entrepreneur: How to create a passive income business by selling digital downloads on Etsy

You are allowed to play around with the paid images to see if you like them before plunking down your credit card. When you select a background image it should appear on the right hand side of your screen. Once you’ve selected an image, use the click on a corner to resize the image or the bar in the middle to change the orientation. Stretch the image to fill the entire screen.

Upload your TEMPLATE image

Next click Uploads > Upload Your Own Images and select your template JPG from your computer.

Your template will appear on the left hand side of the screen. Click on it and it will show up in the workspace on the right. Resize the image until it fits.

Add some accessories

Click Elements and type the word “Pen” in the search field. Select an image and resize it so that it fits the scale of your template.

Etsy Entrepreneur: How to create a passive income business by selling digital downloads on Etsy

Create A drop shadow

Click Elements > Shapes. Click on the square

Drag the corners of the shape until it’s the same size as your template.

Click the drop down carrot and select Transparency. Move the slider until you get to 10% transparency. For darker backgrounds, obviously you’ll want a higher transparency, and with lighter back grounds it should be lower.

Etsy Entrepreneur: How to create a passive income business by selling digital downloads on Etsy

With the shape still selected click the box that says “Back” until the shape disappears behind the template. Now use your up/down keys to move the shadow over and slightly down until you can just barely see it. Continue adjusting the transparency as needed. (Psst: your shadow should be subtle. Don’t make it too bold or you run the risk of it looking pretty cheesy).

Here’s a closeup of mine: 

Etsy Entrepreneur: How to create a passive income business by selling digital downloads on Etsy

^^See how you can hardly see it? Subtle^^

Add a call to action or benefits BUBBLE

Anything that might stand out to your customer or entice them to click on your listing should go in a text bubble.

Click Elements>Shapes and select a shape. Click and drag a corner until you get the desired size. Change the color and transparency if you like.

Click Text and choose a text size (Heading, subheading or body). Type directly in the text box, then drag the text so that it is within the shape you created earlier. Adjust the text size and font by highlighting the text and making your selection from the menu that appears.

Etsy Entrepreneur: How to create a passive income business by selling digital downloads on Etsy

Save Your Changes and Download Your Image

Go to File>Save to save all your changes

Then click Download>Image: High Quality (PNG). It will ask you to purchase your premium elements, so enter your credit card information and hit Make Payment. Then it will let you download your image.

From here on out you can simply update this image by opening the file in Paint, then opening a JPG copy of the new template simultaneously. Copy and paste the new image over the old image, adjust it so it perfectly covers the old template and save as new.

* * * * *

So that’s how we create images for our listings. 

Like I said before, it’s really important that you spend a lot of time thinking of ways to make your templates stand out. Look at other listings on Etsy and see what those sellers are doing, then do the opposite. Even if it’s just a little different, it’ll do wonders for your sales and help your shop take off.

Ready for the next step? Go to part 4 to learn how to launch your shop.