Oversized Scrunchie DIY

I have to say that I was surprised by how quickly I got onto the “scrunchie train” once they were back in style. At first, I just did it when I heard they were great for keeping long hair out of your face while you sleep (which they are!), but then I started wearing them during the day too and I realized I hardly ever reach for a plain hairband these days. While there are lots of scrunchie styles to choose from (still love this DIY bow scrunchie), the oversized scrunchie is one I’ve been dying to try and it turns out they are pretty easy to make! With an oversized scrunchie, you get a lot more drama and volume than your usual look, so it’s great when you want to make a little more of an accessory statement without going wild …

-1/4 yard of silk or satin material
fray check glue
-straight pins and fabric scissors
-sewing machine
3/8″ wide elastic
-safety pin

Cut a piece of fabric with your scissors or rotary cutter that is 22″ x 4.5″. Fold over the top 1/2″ of your rectangle and iron the edge flat. It’s an optional step, but when using silky or satin fabric I like to add some fray check glue to the edges to keep it from unraveling while sewing or wearing, so that’s why the cut edges look a little darker in the photos.

Fold your rectangle lengthwise, right sides together, and sew down the length of the tube, leaving a 2″ opening for turning the scrunchie later.

Now we are going to pull one end of the tube halfway through until the opening on one side meets up with the opening on the other side. Pin the openings flush with each other.

Sew around the opening with 1/4″ seam allowance, sewing the two openings together.

To turn your scrunchie right side out, find the 2″ gap that you left in your side seam.
Pull your material through the gap so the scrunchie is right side out. Cut a 7″ long piece of elastic and pin a safety pin through one end of the elastic.

Use the safety pin end and thread the elastic through your scrunchie tube. Overlap each 1/2” end to complete the elastic circle and pin, then sew in place. Once your elastic is in place, push it back into the tube of your scrunchie and sew the opening closed by hand. Now your oversized scrunchie is ready to use! Fun! I love how much volume this scrunchie has compared to my other ones and it’s definitely a more visible statement piece than a smaller version would be. It’s cute with just a sweatshirt (like that cozy coffee one) or can be dressed up for a night out on the town too. What do you think? Are you going to go oversized now?? xo. Laura

P.S. If you want some ideas on how to style scrunchies, check out our five favorite ways to wear them!

Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with ACS for Desktop actions.

Waterproof Table Cover DIY (For Arts + Craft Time!)

I have to confess that as a mom, I struggle a bit with having messy fun and letting go of control over trying to keep things relatively clean at times. It’s not that our house is perfectly clean (it’s like really, really far from that usually!), but I still try and keep messy crafts to the outdoors for easier cleanup when possible. That’s all fine and good if I can just move an activity outside and we still get to paint cardboard boxes or have a mini car wash (or dinosaur wash—Lola’s favorite!), but there’s a good six months out of the year here where that’s not really possible, so we have to bring the crafts indoors!

I’ve been wanting to make a simple waterproof cover for our breakfast nook table for a while now so we could paint/craft in that space with less worrying about mess and I finally made one! I even added some large piping to the edge of the table cover as a lip to keep paintbrushes and markers from rolling off the table constantly, which keeps me from having to fetch a crayon or marker every 20 seconds as they just naturally seem to want to roll onto the floor (and keeps the floor cleaner as well!). While it is a large item to sew, it’s still a pretty easy thing to make—I’ll show you how to make one, whatever shape table you have!

-waterproof fabric* (I used this as I was looking for a more natural waterproof fabric)
-sewing machine
-straight pins
-large piping (I bought 4 yards of this piping)
-fabric scissors

*The yardage you’ll need will depend on how big your table is! My table is 42″ round and I did a 6″ tall side and had plenty with the two yards I ordered, but not all fabric is the same width so make sure you think about that too.

First, you’ll want to measure the table you’ll be covering and add a 1/2″ to each side so you have a 1/2″ seam allowance all around. I added a tiny bit more to my top panel measurement just to make sure it wouldn’t be too small for the table, so I would suggest doing that as well. Cut out a piece of cloth those dimensions. My table is relatively small so I just turned it upside down and placed it on top to trace and add 1/2″ around—haha! Then, cut two long strips of fabric to make the side panel that were 7″ wide. You can get a good idea of how long you need your side strip to be by adding up all four side measurements of your square or rectangle table (with that 1/2″ seam allowance included). For a circular table like mine, you can measure the diameter of the table (add 1″ for the 1/2″ seam allowance on both sides) and then multiply that number by 3.14 to find the circumference. Remember that from math class!? I would add 2-3″ to that number to have a little extra and that’s how long your side strip will need to be. Since it’s a long strip, you’ll probably have to join more than one strip together to get your total length. So just face the right sides together of two strip ends, sew them together with 1/2″ seam allowance, and flatten the seam allowance and top stitch the flaps down for a more finished look. Once your top is cut and your side piece is long enough, take your top piece and pin your piping 1/2″ in from the edge all along the top of the fabric (so you want the rope part of the piping to hang over that 1/2″ mark … my piping had a 1/2″ fabric allowance on the other side of the rope so I could just line it up with the edge exactly). To finish your trim when you get back to where you started, just cross over the ends and you’ll just sew over the hump of where they cross. You can buy a special piping foot for your sewing machine (just look into which fits your make and model of machine if you want to get one), but I usually just use a zipper foot as that’s what already comes with most machines and it works well enough. Load your zipper foot onto your machine and position your needle so you are sewing just on the outside of the rope part of the piping and sew all the way around (you’ll have to help it a little as it goes over the crossed ends hump at the end). Once the piping is in place, pin your side panel to your top panel, right sides together with the piping in the middle. To find the exact length your side panel should be to go all the way around perfectly, pin it all the way around and when you get back to the beginning again, pin the panel together where it should close so you can sew it together with a 1/2″ seam allowance on both ends and trim any excess fabric. Then sew the two ends together (with that 1/2″ seam allowance), push the seams flat and topstitch them down to have one long connected side panel. You can unpin a few inches of the side panel from the top piece if you need a little slack to sew the panels together, just re-pin it back on when the two panels are attached. Sew all the way around with your zipper foot taking care to sew just on the outside of the piping rope sandwiched between your fabric (you should be able to feel where it is with your fingers pretty easily). Once finished, you can trim your 1/2″ seam allowance to a 1/4″ one if you would like for a little less bulk.
And now you have your piping at the connecting point for your top and side panels!
To finish your cover, fold under the bottom 1/2″ of your side panel and sew the folded edge all the way around. That’s all! Now your table cover is ready to use!

How legit does that look? I love that I can throw something on the table that won’t slide around (like when I just try to put a piece of cardboard under projects), it’s waterproof, wipeable, and the piping lip is great for catching items before they roll to the ground. If you wanted to make piping out of your waterproof fabric so it was all waterproof/wipeable you could do that too! I think it’s great for kids to be able to get messy and do lots of creative projects, but I also like easy cleanup and less chores on my long to-do list, so this is a win for everyone (and waterproof smocks like this one help save laundry too!). So far this has been a huge hit for watercolor painting and wipes off really easily when we’re done—let’s get messy! xo. Laura

Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with ACS for Desktop Actions.

Cloth Party Favor Bags (With Free Printable!)

I don’t know about you, but anytime I go to an event where there are gift bags for the guests when you leave, well, I always feel like a celebrity picking up their “swag bag” on the way out of an Oscar’s party or something. Giving out little gifts to your guests is a great way to say “thank you for coming” and let them know you appreciate their effort and presence at your event. While it’s totally up to you what items you want to fill your favor bags with, we partnered with Canon USA to share a cute printable so you can customize some cloth favor bags to be as cute as the rest of the decor at your celebration (and you can do it all yourself at home)!

-cloth favor bags (I used these 5″x7″ bags)
-Canon Light Fabric Iron-On Transfers Paper 
Canon PIXMA TS9521C printer
-fabric scissors and iron
favor bag printable (right click to download)

Download the favor bag printables and print them out onto iron-on transfer paper. The Canon PIXMA TS8521C is perfect for craft projects, and Canon just came out with their new new light fabric iron-on transfers paper that we’re loving! You can use it for lighter colored fabrics and the color quality really comes through! If you want to make these at home we have one design option with four of the same designs on one page for making lots of smaller bags like I did and then another option with just one design per page that you can scale up as needed for larger bags. The files are already mirrored for you so they will look right once you iron them on the bag.Cut out your designs with scissors to leave a 1/8″ border all the way around the design. Place the designs face down onto the center of your bag and iron your designs on per your iron-on sheet instructions (I pressed mine with a dry iron on the cotton setting for 60-90 seconds).
Once your designs have cooled, slowly peel off the backing and reveal your design!

How sweet are those?! We made a few different types of designs so there would be one that could work for birthdays, kid parties, baby showers, weddings … basically any party you want!

Depending on what your party is, you can fill your bags with whatever you like! Things like candy, little toys or stickers are great for kid’s parties and small beauty items and candles are fun for showers … the possibilities are endless! I like that these cloth bags can be reused as gift bags again by the guests or they can also store lots of things around the house (I save and use small cloth bags like these when I pack for trips—super helpful for organizing my daughter’s suitcase to hold socks or hair accessories, etc.). I feel like I always appreciate extra little touches like these at events and I love that you can easily batch make these at home with a printer and an iron. These cutie bags are a great end to a fantastic event and I hope that they make it onto your party list soon! xo. Laura

Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop. Graphic Design: Mara Dawn.

Stay Home + Make Something

For 13 years, we have blogged nearly daily (for some years, three times a day—augh!) at A Beautiful Mess. Our motto has been “stay home and make something,” and we never imagined a world where that motto would mean what it does today.

Over the coming months, we promise to work hard to help you live your best life at home. This is not an easy time and we want to do our part to support our communities, and to help those in need and to continue doing what we have always done—share recipes and project ideas that you can do at home.

Last week, I saw my therapist and she said something that has stuck with me so deeply. I was talking about how trivial it seems that I am stressed about being mid-move and not having our home set up for our children in the wake of this crisis. She said, “One of the most important things you can do, not just for your family but for your community, is to make your home a place you want to be.” I have thought about this daily.

Over the coming weeks and months, we will do our best to help you find small, doable ways to make your homes a place you want to be. The first thing we wanted to do is a fun contest to challenge us all to do something creative each day! Here are the details:

While we practice social distancing, join us on Instagram and our apps, @acolorstory and @filmm, in the #StayHomeMakeSomething challenge, where we’ll be giving away daily $100 small business gift cards (your choice) and then making donations to, and promoting various COVID-19 causes across the world.

How to Enter:
1. Stay home.
2. Make something. Could be a well-shot photo, a video, a design, a painting, a recipe, a craft, anything!
3. Post it on Instagram and tag #StayHomeMakeSomething
4. Wash hands. Repeat. Enter as many times as you want.

Then, we will pick a winner every day for two weeks starting this Saturday, 3/21. We will DM winners on Instagram, and we’ll be sharing your creations. No requirement to use our apps or buy anything. We’re just a small team trying to find a way to encourage something positive right now. This isn’t about productivity. It’s about trying to find calmness. All of the love to our community, and please, please be safe. – A Beautiful Mess + A Color Story + Filmm

US, Canada, UK winners only
A Beautiful Mess Giveaway Rules
Photo by: Julia Cox

3 Ways to Add the Year to a Photo Album

I wanted to share a little about my annual photo albums. I’ve noticed anytime I’ve shared about them in the past, like on our podcast or little mentions here and there, I tend to get questions and interest around them. It’s seriously the most simple thing, so maybe to some of you this will be boring. But this is a habit that brings me so much joy in my life, so why not share?

Also, I did share quite a bit about these in an old (FREE) course called Print and Organize Your Life, which is still available if you want to check that out.

Like I said, these are incredibly simple and straightforward. Every year I have an album that I label with that year’s date that I fill up with printed photos. I almost always print my photos at home (I have a Canon PIXMA TS9521C printer that I use for work and for fun), and I try to do this about once a month. I print both DSLR and iPhone pictures, but I’ll be honest—it’s probably about 80% iPhone at this point. As I have time, I edit my photos with our app, A Color Story, and store them in a folder on my phone called “to print” until I have time that month to print them. Some months I have 25+ photos to print and some months I only have 5-6.

Although I very much LOVE photography and editing my photos, I also don’t get too hung up on the look of my photos for my annual albums. My philosophy is “better than done” than putting it off forever. And I’ve found that sometimes the task of gathering, editing, and printing my photos can feel overwhelming, so I make it as simple as possible for myself so I actually get those photos off my camera/phone and into my album.

I also print photos that are VERY random/not exactly picture perfect. My goal is to remember my real life and not every day is perfectly lit or pretty. Let me show you a few examples from last year’s album.

At the moment, a big part of my relationship with my nieces (and my sister) includes Face Time. So I sometimes screen shot one of us calling the other, just to remember these little moments. 🙂 This was after crazy hair day at Nova’s preschool so she was looking extra adorable.

One of my older nieces got a cell phone for Christmas this year. So we’ve been texting emojis and pictures back and forth a lot and I will probably print a screen shot of that because I just think it’s this cute little picture into our relationship at this age and I love it.

Another big part of my life is my career, which involves a good amount of video meetings. One day Trey, Elsie, and I were meeting over Skype or something and I took a screen shot to print for my annual album (and also to troll Elsie) because it was like 10 a.m. and she was eating a popsicle. Ha! But I just want to remember my life this year and this season because it won’t always look this way, so I’m printing whatever random photos for my albums I can to capture this time.

It probably goes without saying, but the majority of my annual photo album contains the usual, well-edited, pretty photos of vacations and holidays and all that. I just wanted to show a few random things I also include just to show how committed I am to printing my life’s memories and not being too precious about it.

I like to buy fabric albums like this and add the year to the spine. Here are three ways I add the year to a photo album:

First is fabric transfers. In the above photo, you can see I bought a gold metallic fabric transfer sheet, cut out the numbers, and ironed them onto the side of the album following the instructions of the transfer. Super simple and I like that you can find lots of different colors. Although cutting out the numbers is a little difficult, this isn’t pictured but I would recommend an X-Acto knife in addition to scissors (I love this glittery pair).

Another way to add the year to a photo album is to print the numbers to a fabric transfer paper and then iron those in place. I like how clean this can look, and you can use any color or font you have on your computer. We even created some labels (like the one above) in the course, Print and Organize Your Life that you can download. But you can also easily make your own, too.

And if you don’t want to mess with fabric transfers and ironing things onto the fabric, here’s one last way to add the year to a photo album—just buy sticker labels and use any acid-free glue to secure them in place. Easy!

As you can see, the look of my albums vary slightly, but they all look good together on a shelf (to me). When I make more albums, I usually make at least two, but sometimes more just so I’m already prepared for coming years before they sneak up on me. This year, I’ve already printed photos from last month and I’m excited to see what fills up my 2020 album! Thanks for letting me share. xo. Emma

Credit // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.

Simple Macrame Camera Strap Tutorial

For those of us that still enjoy lugging around our trusty DSLR or Instax instant cameras, there’s a need for cute camera straps. Gone are the days of settling for factory grade black nylon straps. This simple macrame camera strap tutorial will not only work as an accessory to anything in your capsule wardrobe, it’ll ensure you’re able to explore your own city hands free.

Don’t need a standard length camera strap? I’m also sharing a wristlet camera strap for those who like to travel light! There are so many great cotton yarns on the market, so it’s easier than ever to pick your favorite color. You can also stick with natural cotton if you prefer something really neutral. The best part is that if these get dirty, you can just throw them in the washing machine on a gentle cycle and it’ll be as good as new.

two 1″ black swivel lobster claw clasps per strap
-102′ of 3mm soft cotton cord for a roughly 40″ camera strap (shown in photo)
-116′ of 3mm soft cotton cord for a roughly 48″ camera strap 
-40′ of 2mm combed cotton cord for a wristlet strap (shown in photo)
-over the door hook to anchor the clasp to while tying knots

NOTE: I used an over the door clothes hook and metal hoop that I hooked my clasp to for maximum comfort. You can also use an S-hook. The instructions below teach how to construct any of the three different camera strap lengths even though I am only showing how to construct the wristlet. Note that 2mm cord and 3mm cord will give you different outcomes in both width and length, so be sure to use the correct cord weight shared in the links above.

Step One: If you’re making the roughly 40″ camera strap, cut four 25′ strands of 3mm cotton cord and set the rest aside.

If you’re making the roughly 48″ camera strap, cut four 28.5″ strands of 3mm cotton cord and set the rest aside.

If you’re making the wristlet camera strap, cut four 9′ lengths of 2 mm cotton and set the rest aside.

Step Two: Hook your black lobster clasp to a hook, hoop, or S-ring. Fold one of your four strands in half so that you find the center. Loop the center over the bar of the clasp and then slide the ends through the loop to create a lark’s head knot.

Step Three: Repeat with the next three strands. Then split them apart so that four strands are on one side and four strands are on the other. I will refer to these as strands 1-8 from left to right. Even if they move around, I’ll still refer to them in the order that they rest in each step. For example, if strand two finds itself on the opposite side after a knot, if will no longer be strand two but strand seven.

Step Four: Use strand four to tie two half hitches around strand five so that they rest about 2.5″ from the clasp.

Step Five: Use strand three to tie two half hitches as well.

Step Six: Repeat with strands two and then one. Now split the strands in half again so that the first four on left are the new strands 1-4 and the four on the right are strands 5-8.

Step Seven: Use strand six to tie two half hitches around strand five.

Step Eight: Repeat with strands seven and then eight. This makes the top half of your diamond pattern.

Step Nine: Use strands and seven to tie a half knot over the middle strands (3-6). Don’t pull it too tightly.

Step Ten: Take the new second strand and the new seventh strand and tie another half knot over strands three through six to form a square knot.

Step Eleven: Use the new strand two to tie two half hitches around strand one. This will start the bottom part of your diamond.

Step Twelve: Use strand three to tie two half hitch knots and then strand four.

Step Thirteen: Use strand seven to tie two half hitch knots around strand eight and then follow them using strands six and five.

Step Fourteen: Use the new strand four to tie two half hitch knots over strand five to close the bottom of your diamond.

Step Fifteen: Use strands one and four to tie two half knots to form a square knot over strands two and three. Repeat with strands five and eight over strands six and seven.

Step Sixteen: Start on your next diamond by using strand four to tie two half hitch knots over strand five, then repeat with strands three, two and one.

Step Seventeen: Finish the other top half of your diamond and then use the new strands two and seven to tie a square knot around strands three through six. Then finish up the bottom of your diamond, add square knots on either side of your diamond, and start a new diamond. Repeat until you are about three inches short of your desired length.

Step Eighteen: Trim your strands so that they are all about 6.5″ long. Tie each strand to the second lobster clasp with a lark’s head knot (also called a cow hitch). Only this time, you’ll have to tie it using only one strand. See details here. Be sure that the knot is about 3″ down from the last diamond and has about 3″ of a tail.

Step Nineteen: You’ll be doubling the amount of lark’s head knots on this lobster clasp, so squeeze them together tightly.

Step Twenty: Use the cord that you set aside at the beginning and cut two 2′ strands. Make an upside down U-shape with one end of the two strands so that the U is slightly above the lark’s head knots. Then fold the strands again near the tails of the lark’s head knots so that they reach over the strap.

Step Twenty-One: Use the long end of those two straps to trap the U-shape on top of the strap and continue wrapping around all of them to create a wrapped knot.

Step Twenty-Two: Once you’re almost to the lark’s head knots, place the long end of your wrapped knot strands through your loop.

Step Twenty-Three: Pull down on the other end of the loop so that the U shape, along with the long end, disappear under the wraps.

Step Twenty-Four: Trim off both ends of the wrapped knot and then gently trim off the excess from the tail ends. Spread your wrapped knot down to cover the cut ends.

Step Twenty-Five: Add another wrapped knot to the other end of your strap. It won’t be quite as thick because there are half as many strands to wrap around, but it won’t be too noticeable. Attach both lobster clasps to the same ring hook on your camera for the wristlet version.

If you’re making the 40″ or 48″ version, you’ll follow all of the same directions above but will attach one lobster clasp to each side of your camera.

NOTE: These camera straps are sturdy if made according to the directions. Always test out your camera strap holding your camera over your bed before taking it out. Always check that your lobster clasps are securely attached to your camera before picking it up.

I recommend the wristlet for smaller cameras, such as an Instax or Instax Mini. If you’re using a large DSLR with a heavy lens, it’s probably better to go with the larger strap for the sake of comfort. However, the larger strap also looks REAL cute when attached to a smaller camera.

This project only took me a few hours to make after I figured out the details. It’s inspiring me to grab my DSLR instead of always relying on my smartphone for photos! If you’re already pretty familiar with macrame, there are SO many knot patterns you can create to customize your strap even further. Enjoy! –Rachel

Interested in more simple macrame projects? Check out our macrame table runner, macrame room divider, macrame handbag, macrame Christmas stocking, and macrame bracelet.

Credits//Author and Photography: Rachel Denbow. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.