Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Dollar Store Craft Contest - $2.50 Candied Apple Photo Stand

A candied apple a day gives Grannie so much to brag about!  Grannie simply adores her 2 granddaughters.  I thought this would be an awesome gift to give her to commemorate the 1st day of school and the last day of school for her youngest.

This is the list of materials I used for this project:
1 - faux styrofoam apple from Dollar Tree - $1.00
8 - small paperclips on hand - FREE (if you don't have any, Dollar Tree sells a box of them and you can use the rest for your office)
2 - popsicle sticks saved from treats - FREE (if you don't have any, Dollar Tree sells a bag of them and you can use the rest on later crafts)
1 - empty plastic Coke bottle, 20 oz size
glue - on hand - FREE
cling wrap - on hand - FREE
pretty ribbon - on hand - FREE
green construction paper to make 2 apple leaves or print them out like I did using clipart for FREE
1 - can of glossy red spray paint - $1.50
2 - Photos of your choice


1. Stick the 2 popsicle sticks back to back in the apple, with just a hair of space between them to allow you to stick 2 photos in between.
2. Use a knife to cut the Coke bottle in half.  Trim any cracked edges you may have and then make another cut about 1/4" all the way around from the edge to get a round piece of plastic to hold the apple (it doesn't have to be perfect since it will get painted).

3. Glue the plastic to the bottom of the apple.  After the glue dries, cover the popsicle sticks with a napkin to prevent overspray on the sticks. Spray paint the apple and plastic and let dry.

4. Use clipart to find images of apple leaves, or make homemade ones out of construction paper.  Write the child's name and "1st Day" on one leaf.  Make a mirror image of the same leaf and put the child's name and "Last Day" on the 2nd leaf.  After printing your leaves (or making your own from construction paper), cut out the leaves and glue to them back to back with the popsicle stick sandwiched between them (see last photos).
5. Tear out a piece of cling wrap to gift wrap your "candied apple".  Tie it in pretty bow with your ribbon.
6. Take your paperclips and use pliers to help you bend them to form the numbers "2012" and "2013".   When you bend the numbers, make sure you have about 1/4" of the paperclip tucked down at the beginning and end of the number so that you can punch the numbers through the styrofoam.  When you  have finished forming your numbers, stick the "2012" numbers on the "1st day" side and the "2013" numbers on the "last day" side. 

7. Insert your pictures and voila!  You're done!

Let me know what you think!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Dollar Store Craft Challenge - $2.00 Door Hook Racks and Portable Beauty Kit

With three "girly girls" in the house (including myself), we never seem to have enough storage for all of our darned accessories! I wanted to create additional storage for all of our "stuff" that was easy on the eye, but without taking up a lot of space.  Since my current employer had boxes and boxes of large used binders from past projects that were slated to go to the trash, I was happy to take them off their hands.  And then it hit me - rather than using all of the binders for organizing personal stuff at home, why not use some of the binder mechanisms as concealed door hooks on the inside of my girls' bathroom cabinet doors?  Yes!!! 
Materials I used:
2 - 2" used binders to deconstruct for parts (although my 2" binders were free and may be a tad sturdier, Dollar Tree has great 1" vinyl binders that you could substitute for this project for $1.00 each) - FREE

4 - #4 x 1/2" screws from leftover projects (PLEASE NOTE - if you mount the binder mechanisms to cabinet doors like I did, the thickness of your cabinet door will determine the length of the screw you can use without puncturing through the face of the door - PLEASE take this into account.) - FREE

1 - 2" used binder to decorate (you can also purchase a 1" vinyl binder at Dollar Tree for $1.00 as mentioned above).  As an option, you can also personalize it by decorating it with scrapbook paper on hand or with your favorite images copied onto regular copy paper on hand like I did - FREE
2 - zippered pencil pouches from Dollar Tree to store makeup, nail polish or other accessories - $2.00


1. While the binders are in the closed position, remove the entire binder mechanisms from 2 binders. Standing the binder upright and giving a good yank or two on each end of the mechanism did it for my husband without bending them; however, when he tried the same approach with a different brand, it wasn't so easy.  So as an alternate way of removing them without brute force, I simply cut around the rivets (the rivets are the 2 round fasteners that bind the mechanism to the binder) with a heavy duty pair of scissors to separate the mechanism from the binder and went on to step two.

Binder Mechanism
Cutting Around Rivets to Remove Mechanism

2. Once the mechanisms are removed (and still closed), flip them over and use pliers to pull the rivets out from each end of the mechanism.  To do this, I simply grabbed the rivets from the underside with the pliers and tugged them back and forth until they popped out.  You now have perfect little openings for your screws.

Binder Rivet - Front and Back Views Before Removal

Binder Rivet After Removal
3. To align your screw holes on your doors or other surface you will be mounting the mechanisms to, run a piece of tape along the undersides of each mechanism and mark the centers of each hole on the tape. Remove the tape and place it level on both doors/other surfaces you plan to mount them to.

Taped Back of Mechanism
4. Pre-drill your holes on each door/surface, and remove the tape.  Then open both binder mechanisms and mount them to each of your doors/surfaces with your screws.  Use 2 screws per mechanism, one on each end in the holes where the rivets were.

Holes Pre-drilled
Opened Hook Installed
5. Now start placing all of your goodies on the hooks!  The possibilities are endless - hair accessories, jewelry, makeup bags, scarves, etc.  And if you have HUGE binder mechanisms like I do, you could even do ties, belts, small purses (with larger screws, of course).  I'm also making belt and tie racks for the hubby to go on our closet wall since his hanger belt/tie rack broke a few months ago.  Below are some examples of how you can use them, but the possibilities are endless:

Organized Makeup
Orgainized Hair Stuff
Organized Jewelry

Organized Hair Stuff, Jewelry, and Makeup

6. Finally, the main reason I did this project was to help my teenager corral all of her makeup in a portable way for her to bring along for game time performances.  So I purchased 2 pencil pouches to hang on the door hooks and store all of her makeup and accessories.  When game time comes, she can pull them off the hooks, put it in her binder that we decorated, and go!  What an awesome portable beauty kit!

Portable Makeup Binder Cover

Portable Makeup Binder Open

I have to admit that after installing these door hooks and getting a warm and fuzzy about my work, my good vibes faded quickly into one of those "why in the world didn't you think of this before?" moments... ;)

I hope this tutorial was helpful and gives you some additional storage space that you didn't have before.  And please drop a comment to let me know what you think!