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)!

Supplies:
-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.

Create Your Own Holiday Pajamas!

In case you haven’t gotten in on the fun yet, holiday pajamas are one of my favorite parts of Christmas morning. Even when we were kids, we would always get to pick out a new pair of pjs to wear to bed on Christmas Eve and that always made the Christmas morning scene feel extra special. In that spirit, I thought it would be fun to create a pair of holiday pjs for Lola to wear at night while we sit around the tree (preferably with hot chocolate) and listen to Christmas music. If you’ve ever tried to cut out iron-on vinyl before by hand then you’ll know what a task that can be and how amazing the Cricut cutters are! Just a few minutes in their Design Studio and you’ll be ready to iron on your design and get that holiday spirit started!

Supplies:
-Cricut Explore Air 2
-Easy Press (optional but so helpful!)
-Plain colored pajamas (I used these!)
Cricut iron-on Everyday Vinyl (I used Avocado, White, Blush, and Glitter White)
Let It Snow file (right click to download)

First, create a new document in your Cricut Design Space. Click the “upload” button in your bottom left corner and upload your Let It Snow design. Once your design is on your screen, resize the design to your desired size (I did a little about 4.5″ wide for mine) by pulling on the two little arrows at the bottom right of your selected image.

Go to the individual shape layers on the right side of the screen and select only the green layers while holding down the “shift” key. That will allow you to select more than one layer at a time so you can get all the green selected together. Once only the green layers are selected, click the “ungroup” option that appears directly above the layers and then on the “attach” option that will become available directly below all the layers. Basically, we are trying to keep all the green layers within that same proximity to each other, so we are unattaching them all from the larger group and then reattaching them together.

Next, repeat the process of selecting, ungrouping, and attaching the white layers as well. You can either group all the white snow globe/letter layers and the white snowflakes together to cut them all out of the same white vinyl OR you can do what I did and group the white snow globe/letter layers and the white snowflakes separately so I could use the regular white for the first batch and the glitter white for just the snowflakes. Cricut suggests you don’t layer more than 4 different layers for a design, so just make sure to keep it at 4 or under. The screen shots above show all the white as one layer, but it will appear as two layers in your cutting cue if you separate them.

Since I was adding my design to blue pjs, I used the blue of the fabric to be the background of my snow globe rather than cutting a blue layer. If you want to do that, just click the eye icon next to the blue layer to hide that layer and it won’t cut one. Leave it unhidden if you want it and it will appear in your cutting que.

Click your green “Make It” button in the top right corner and it should take you to the cutting page where it previews your different colored cutting boards. Before you do anything else, make sure you turn on the “mirror” slider that appears at the bottom of each board (turn it on for each board) so your design won’t be backwards when you go to iron them on. (You can see above the white is all on one layer, but if you separate them to have one regular and one glitter white, it will have two separate boards in the cutting que for each).

Since you are layering designs, you want to make sure that each color will have a clear film big enough to cover all the other colors that may already be ironed on so you are protecting the vinyl you’ve already ironed. So I placed the snow globe design where I wanted it first and then placed all the other colors in the same spot in relation to that so they would all have the same amount of clear film around the edges.

When you’re done lining them up, hit the green “continue” button at the bottom right of your screen and it will take you to the cutting screen. On your Cricut machine dial you’ll select “iron-on” for your material and prep your Cricut mat into your machine for the first color. You’ll want to load your iron-on vinyl onto your mat in the order they appear in the cutting cue (so white, pink, green, and then blue). I cut all my vinyl pieces to be 5.5″ by 5.5″ to save some vinyl since I knew by looking at the cutting preview that my design didn’t go beyond that mark and the vinyl would cover and protect all the previous layers as I added more on.

Place your iron-on vinyl shiny side down on your mat, aligning the top edge with the side that has the triangle hanging tab on it and load it into your machine by selecting the flashing arrow on your Cricut Maker. Once it’s loaded, hit the flashing Cricut symbol on your machine and let the Cricut do its job! Unload the machine, remove the vinyl, and load the next color until all your colors are cut. Once your colors are cut, you can use your weeding tools to remove the excess iron-on vinyl around your shapes. OK, now it’s time to apply!

I basically followed this guide to layer multiple colors in one design and used this reference guide to know what temperature to set my EasyPress 2 to for my Everyday and glitter iron-ons. Glitter vinyl should always be applied as the last layer, so there’s an FYI on that if you choose to use a glitter white.

I set my EasyPress 2 at 330°, put down a towel on a hard and flat surface, placed my regular white layer down on top of my pj top, and pressed the EasyPress 2 down with two hands for 2-3 seconds. Then I waited until the clear film was warm (and not hot anymore) and peeled the clear film back. If all your white is in one layer (and not in two like mine are), then you’ll want to put down the blue layer first (if you are doing a blue layer), then the pink, then the green, then the white as the last layer.

Then I added the pink layer and repeated, then the green layer and repeated. Since I was using the glitter vinyl for my snowflakes I added that layer last so I changed the EasyPress 2 temperature to 340° and since it was the last layer I pressed down for 15 seconds to set the whole design (do that for whichever color is your last layer). Then I flipped the pj shirt over and pressed the back of the design for another 15 seconds and removed the final clear film when the design was warm. The EasyPress 2 makes it super easy to set the temperature I needed, it covers the whole design at once, and it even has a timer on it so you can set it for a certain amount of seconds each time if you want—love it!

If you’re using an iron instead of an EasyPress 2, you can use this guide for the Everyday iron-on (set your iron to the cotton setting with no steam).

These turned out SO CUTE! You can totally make a pair of these for everyone in the family to have matching pjs (Christmas card idea, maybe?), give them as a gift, or even add the design to regular shirts/sweatshirts as well. I like that this design feels Christmasy but is also a general winter theme, so it can be worn in the months after Christmas as well. Hope this DIY makes your holiday season a little brighter! xo. Laura

Credits//Author and Photos: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.

Make Your Own Halloween Sweater

Why, hello there from me and my new friend, “Bones.” We are both very excited for Halloween this year. Ha. But seriously, I bought a few life-size skeleton decorations for our holiday house and I kept talking to this one every now and again. It started as a joke, but I think it’s morphing into something else. Send help!

I love a fun, seasonal sweater this time of year (or T-shirt, depending on the weather). I worked with Canon USA to create a few Halloween-themed printable templates you can use to make your own Halloween sweater at home. I’ll also give you a few tips for making any design you can print at home in case you want to use a different phrase or pumpkin-pun. Ha. I used my Canon PIXMA TS 9521C to complete and print my templates. I use this printer ALL the time to print everything from documents for work to personal photos for my annual photo album. I love how printing at home means I can do a quick little project like this, or just print a few high-quality photos at a time. Love it!

We created two different Halloween theme designs you can download and print.. But you can SO easily create your own design using any fonts or phrases you like, and if you have design skills, then the sky’s the limit on what you can create for your template. Once you have your design, here’s what you do.

Supplies:
-sweater or T-shirt (your size, your kiddo, whatever! and it doesn’t have to be new, just space to add your design)
-inkjet fabric transfer paper
-scissors
-iron and ironing board or flat surface
-Inkjet printer (mine is the Canon PIXMA TS9521C)

First, print your design. If you are using one of our templates or your own design that contains text, make sure to mirror or flip canvas horizontal (or vertical depending on the original orientation). You need the words to look backwards, as if seeing them in a mirror. That way once you transfer them to your garment they will be the correct, readable way.

Next, cut out your design. I like to cut the design out and immediately put each piece on top of the garment I plan to transfer it to (as opposed to stacking in a pile or something). I find this helps me keep organized and also keep the spacing between letters and other elements more true to the template.

Last, transfer your design to the garment. Simply follow the instructions of your fabric transfer paper (they vary some depending on what brand/kind you use). Most of the time this involves carefully ironing into place.

Super simple project that I hope gets you as excited for Halloween as me and Bones are feeling. You could easily make these for your whole family or a group of friends/office buds. This would also be a really fun and easy project to make at a party—just have everyone bring their own garment. Lots of options! Tag us if you make your own sweater—we want to see! xo. Emma

Credits // Author: Emma Chapman. Photography: Janae Hardy and Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.

Easy Stenciled Outdoor Rug

We have been working hard to finish our outdoor porch projects this summer, and I was almost done with decorating when I realized that I was in need of a cute runner to go behind our outdoor sofa in our converted carport patio. Now, I don’t know about you, but I find the “outdoor rug” category to be one of the hardest to shop in—I can never find what I want! I knew I wanted something with a pattern to bring a little interest to that walkway, so I decided buy a jute rug and stencil my own pattern so I could get exactly what I was looking for. It’s a super easy way to add some interest to a rug and I’ll show you what I did!

Supplies:
-outdoor rug (either a flat weave rug or a woven jute rug)
stencil paper (or you can use overhead projector sheets like I did)
acrylic paint
pounce sponge brushes
star template
-X-Acto knife or scissors

Print out your star templates onto several pieces of paper and roughly cut the stars out so you have 10 or so to place on your rug to determine pattern placement (print more if you have a large rug, less if you have a smaller rug). Tape your stars to your rug in whatever pattern you like to find your favorite placement. I would also suggest having some paper or cardboard under the rug as you stencil so it can catch any paint that comes out the other side.

Use a marker to trace a star onto your stencil paper or projector sheet and use an X-Acto knife or scissors to cut out the star pattern. Place your stencil on top of one of the paper markers and remove the paper underneath. Use your pounce brush and paint to dab the paint into the stencil area. I found it best to do a large pounce first and then finish with a small one to get any areas the big one didn’t get. Try and just dab straight down rather than at an angle.

Once your area is filled with paint, pull up the stencil, flip it over onto some scrap paper or cardboard, and wipe any paint off the bottom of the stencil with a paper towel or rag so that paint doesn’t transfer to the rug the next time you stencil (I found it easiest to wipe in towards the center of the stencil so you don’t bend the star arms when wiping).

Move to the next star placement and repeat until you have each star stenciled. Depending on what color paint you use, you may like the look of just one coat of paint when it dries. It’s a lighter shade and a little translucent, so keep it if you are happy or you can repeat with another coat of paint by simply placing the stencil on top of the stars already there and repeating the steps (which I did). The second time goes a lot faster, but it’s up to you if you want just one coat of paint.

That’s it! Once your paint is dry, your rug is ready to use!

I love the little bit of pattern and pop of white that the star stencils bring to the runner—it’s just what the little hallway area needed! Now, this is something you can also do on an indoor rug as well, so don’t let the “outdoor” part of this DIY fool you. Cotton flat weaves are great for stenciling your own unique design for any room of the home! Have fun! xo. Laura

Credits//Author: Laura Gummerman. Photography: Amber Ulmer and Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Color Story Lightroom Presets.

Matching Mommy + Me Jacket DIY

I looooove matching items for moms and kids. It’s really hard for me to pass up a matching set of items, but sometimes it’s hard to find items that fit/flatter both of you (or all of you if you have more than one kid). So it can be really helpful to do something where you can simply customize your own items you like/find.

This post is sponsored by Cricut and we used their tools to customize these jackets. The Cricut Maker is an electronic cutting machine that can cut all kinds of materials, including things like iron-on vinyl for our project and heavier materials like chipboard or leather. I love that using it you can totally customize your look with whatever size decal you want and just about any color you can think of—all from your craft room! I also love a good jean jacket for a coverup in the warmer months, so I thought a matching Mommy + Me jean jacket would be just the thing!

Supplies:
Cricut Maker
Cricut EasyPress 2
Cricut Everyday Iron-On vinyl ( I did Red, Petal, and Bright Teal) and Cricut Iron-On Foil (in Gold)
Rainbow files for Cricut Design Space

Create a new document in your Cricut Design Space. Click the “upload” button in your bottom left corner and upload your Mama rainbow design. Once your design is on your screen, resize the rainbow to your desired size (I did a little wider than 5″ for mine) by pulling on the two little arrows at the bottom right of your selected image. Make sure to note on your jacket where the jacket seams are on the back (if there are any) so your design will fit in between them with some space all around the edges. Go to the individual shape layers on the right side of the screen and select only the red layers while holding down the “shift” key. That will allow you to select more than one layer at a time so you can get all the red selected together. Once only the red layers are selected, click the “ungroup” option that appears directly above the layers and then on the “attach” option that will become available directly below all the layers. Basically, we are trying to keep all the red layers within that same proximity to each other, so we are unattaching them all from the larger group and then reattaching them together.

Next, repeat the process of uploading, resizing, ungrouping all the red, and attaching all the red with the Mini rainbow design. Click your green “Make It” button in the top right corner and it should take you to the cutting page where it previews four different colored cutting boards. Before you do anything else, make sure you turn on the “mirror” slider that appears at the bottom of each board (turn it on for each board) so your words won’t be backwards when you go to iron them on. You’ll also notice that it has placed the rainbow pieces pretty close to each other so you’ll want to move them further apart on each board so you can cut them into two halves, one for each jacket design. Since we are layering designs, I wanted to make sure that each color would have a clear film big enough to cover all the other colors that may already be ironed on so you are protecting the vinyl you’ve already ironed. So I placed the red colors where I wanted them first and then placed all the other colors in the same spot so they would all have the same amount of clear film around the edges. It doesn’t matter which grid lines you pick to be your marker, but for the Mama one I placed the rainbow edges to sit on line 6 with the middle of the arch centered between the 3 and 4 markers and the Mini rainbow edges sit on line 7 with the middle of the arch between 9 and 10 lines.

Line up the rest of your colors to also sit on the same lines centered at the same points.

When you’re done lining them up, hit the green “continue” button at the bottom right of your screen and it will take you to the cutting screen. From there, you’ll select your Cricut machine from the drop-down menu at the top and then you’ll select “iron-on” for your material and prep your Cricut mat into your machine for the first color. You’ll want to load your iron-on vinyl onto your mat in the order they appear in the cutting cue (so pink, red, gold/yellow, and then mint). I cut all my vinyl pieces to be 12″ x 8″ instead of 12″ x 12″ to save some vinyl since I knew by looking at the cutting preview that my design didn’t go below the 8″ mark. Place your iron-on vinyl shiny side down on your mat, aligning the top edge with the side that has the triangle hanging tab on it and load it into your machine by selecting the flashing arrow on your Cricut Maker. Once it’s loaded, hit the flashing Cricut symbol on your machine and let the Cricut do its job! Unload the machine, remove the vinyl, and load the next color until all your colors are cut.

Once your colors are cut, you can use your weeding tools to remove the excess iron-on vinyl around your shapes and cut your vinyls in half to separate the Mama from the Mini designs. OK, now it’s time to apply!

I basically followed this guide to layer multiple colors for one design and used this reference guide to know what temperature to set my EasyPress 2 to for my Everyday and foil iron-ons. Since the foil has a lower temperature of 305° (while the normal iron on is 340°), I did my foil layer last so I wouldn’t melt that layer with the higher temperature. So I would suggest doing any higher temperature layers first and the the lower ones last. I set my EasyPress 2 at 340°, put down a towel on a hard and flat surface, placed my red layer down on top of my jacket, and pressed the EasyPress 2 down with two hands for 2-3 seconds. Then I waited until the clear film was warm (and not hot anymore) and peeled the clear film back.

Then I added the pink layer and repeated, then the mint layer and repeated. Then I lowered the EasyPress 2 temperature to 305° and since it was the last layer I pressed down for 15 seconds to set the whole design. Then I flipped the jacket over and pressed the back of the design for another 15 seconds and removed the final clear film when the design was warm. The EasyPress 2 made it super easy to set the temperature I needed, it covered the whole design at once, and it even has a timer on it so you can set it for a certain amount of seconds each time if you want—love it! Repeat with your kid’s jacket and you’re ready to match!

If you’re using an iron instead of an EasyPress 2, you can use this guide for the foil iron-on (set your iron to the wool setting with no steam) and this for the Everyday iron-on (set your iron to the cotton setting with no steam). Since toddler jackets are so much smaller, you may need the smaller iron-face to get into that little area between the seams to iron on your design. Also, If you want to cut apart the “mini” phrase and put it under the jacket like the Mama one, you can. I just liked it above my rainbow based on where the jacket seams were on her design.

How cuuuuuuuuute is that?! By the way, if you love this look but don’t want the words on your version, you can either click the little eyeball icon in each letter layer in the Cricut Design Space to hide the letters, or just peel the letters off the clear film once the design cuts, so they won’t be there to iron on when you go to apply the rainbow.

You can also switch the colors for whatever color iron-on vinyl you want to use! You can change the colors in design studio if you want to be proper about it, but since that’s just for your reference (the machine is just cutting whatever color you put in), you can also just make a little chart for yourself of which colors you are switching out and load the color you want when it’s time to cut that shape out. This design would also be cute on lots of other matching clothing articles as well, so don’t feel limited to jackets!

It’s supposed to be like 90° this weekend buuuut I still have a feeling that we are going to be wearing these jackets out somewhere! Hope you and the Minis in your life love this too! xo. Laura

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

Make Your Own Fabric with Martha Stewart Paint!

I’m so excited to share today’s post! A few weeks ago at our annual summer camp (at which we make a LOT of crafts), we taught the girls to make our own printed fabric. This rainbow above is a design by my niece, Bella, in fact! We had so much fun painting our own fabric together.

One of the best lessons I ever learned from my high school home ec teacher (and hero!) was that anything you see at a store you CAN make at home. I never forgot that and now I try to pass it along to my nieces and daughter any chance I get!

Today, we are partnering with Martha Stewart craft paint. My favorite craft paint of all time! I have been using it since it came out yearssss ago. It’s multi-surface and family-friendly, so you can use it for regular painting projects, but also for painting wood, fabric, metal or plastic. It’s pretty neat and exclusively available at Michaels!

A quick note about color selection! People always ask me if I choose the colors when Nova paints or if she does (which surprises me, honestly, because it’s obvious). I choose them! If you have a kid who is too young to have opinions yet, choose colors YOU like. There is nothing wrong with that! It’s honestly one of the keys to getting nice looking toddler art!

That’s not to say that I never give her all the colors, because I do … and then she mixes them all … and then it’s brown. Haha!

One thing I love about Martha Stewart paints is that they come in really interesting colors. Primary colors can get boring (FAST) especially when you let your kiddo paint almost every day like I do. Good colors for the win!

To make your own patterned fabric, start by painting your fabric. Now, there are a MILLION ways to do this. Here are just a few ideas!

-Use stamps (you can even make your own stamps with craft foam or cut up veggies).

-Use different brush sizes. We like the Martha Stewart ones because of their easy grip and they come in lots of size options. For Nova, I like to mix up giving her really small brushes one day and big chunky ones the next day.

-Try masking. Just use some masking tape to create a pattern on your plain fabric, then paint over it and wait until it is dry to remove the tape.

-Splatter paint makes really cute fabric (pro tip: go OUTSIDE for this one).

If it is important to you to be able to machine wash your fabric in the future, you’ll want to heat set your paint. Just use a pressing cloth and iron it on the highest setting for 10 seconds. (This is Penelope’s design above, by the way!)

Here’s the pillow I made. I hand painted all these stars. It took forever, but since Nova likes to paint for a longggg time now it worked out well.

And here’s the pillow Bella made! So sweet, isn’t it? I have been meaning to pack it up and mail it to her, but I kind of want to keep it!

And just for fun, because I am crazy and I have CRAFT FEVER right now, I also painted this little romper for Nova!

If you make a project using Martha Stewart paint, I’d love for you to tag us on Instagram! We LOVE seeing what you are making.

I hope you’re feeling inspired to go paint something now. And don’t forget to include your little ones too! xx – Elsie

Credits/Author: Elsie Larson. Photography: Amber Ulmer. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.