It’s warming up, and that means it’s time to get outside! When you’re not mowing the lawn, grilling up some burgers, and sipping a cold one by the fire pit, you might look around and think that your yard could use an upgrade.
But what if the cookie cutter yard decor you find at a home improvement store just doesn’t cut it for you? What if you want to make something truly unique, by hand?
That’s where silicone molds can come in! I sell quite a few silicone mold that can be useful outside, so let’s take a quick look at all of the possibilities.
DIY Address Numbers
Everyone needs to display their address in a way that the mailman can’t mistake your house for a neighbors. So why not use these address number molds to make your address out of cement?
Mix up some cement and you’ll have blocking numbers that you can place on a porch, embed into your lawn, or place in your garden!
DIY Geometric Planter
Take these simple shapes and turn them into beautiful, decorative planters that can form a million different patterns!
Coming in different shapes and sizes, making your own flower pots from cement or resin is fun and fulfilling, and even better it gives you unique garden decor that no one can ever match!
These are the perfect sizes for growing annual flowers that don’t mind being in small spaces.
DIY Yin Yang Garden Containers
Are you looking for peace and balance in your garden? Do you like the Eastern aesthetic? This silicone mold is perfect for you. It will allow you to make a yin yang flower pot with cement and will look beautiful out in your garden.
DIY Succulent Planters
Don’t you just love succulents? They’re super popular now, and they’re so cute! Even if you live in an environment where you can’t grow them in the ground and keep them outside year round, they can benefit from being outside during the summer.
So pick up some of these succulent planter molds and you’ll have beautiful containers for your little pieces of the desert! They’re perfect for setting out on a deck’s railing or on a patio table.
DIY Outdoors Decor
Hopefully, you’ve found something in this post that will make your yard as lovely and welcoming as inside your home! You can use these molds to make so many different things, and there are ways to use them that I didn’t even mention.
Embroidery is a fun and fulfilling craft, great for quiet times of reflection or to keep your hands busy while watching TV. Holding those tiny needles, though, can be a pain.
My hands have been painful since I was a teen, so sometimes I just can’t do traditional embroidery. To keep busy even when my hands hurt, I like to do punch pen embroidery!
Punch pen embroidery creates a different kind of look (the finished product looks a bit like a plush rug or carpet), but that makes them even more unique and interesting. This is a very old craft, too, and it’s seeing a revival in recent years.
About embroidery punch pens
So what is punch pen embroidery? It’s a form of embroidery that involves punching thread, yarn or ribbon through a fabric and creating a loop pattern. That looping pattern makes the pattern look like a plush rug that you’d just like to snuggle up on.
There are some claims about where punch pen embroidery originates from: Some thing ancient Egyptians started it with hollow bird bones, while others think it originated in Russia, Germany or England.
This craft can be used to create and decorate wall art, ornaments, pillows, and other decor and crafts. It’s often referred to as “painting with thread”.
Embroidery Punch Needle Supplies
What do you need to get started with punch needle embroidery? Only a few affordable supplies!
An embroidery hoop. Make sure you get one that has a tightening mechanism on it. You want your fabric to stay put while you’re doing punch embroidery.
A punch pen. I sell one on my Etsy shop, but these can be found on Amazon and in stores like Michael’s.
Thread. I like to use embroidery floss, but I use regular sewing thread sometimes too!
A pattern. You can make your own pattern and draw it directly onto the fabric, or you can buy and print a pattern. You can trace the pattern onto fabric with a light box or a sunny window.
Fabric. You’re supposed to use weaver’s cloth, but all you really need is a fabric with a tight and slightly stretchy weave. You’ll have to experiment to see if the loop will stay put in whatever fabric you use.
Small scissors to cut the thread.
How to use embroidery punch pens
Before I get into the written instructions, here are 2 videos that will help you a lot!
Pick a design
You can really go wild here. While it’s best to start with a small design for your first few attempts, you can get pretty elaborate.
You can either purchase and print a design, or make your own drawn directly onto the fabric. Either way, you’ll want to get your fabric ready. Cut the fabric so that there’s 4 inches of border around the pattern. This is the fabric that the hoop will hold onto.
Then you can use a fabric pen to draw your pattern into the center of the fabric.
Choose your embroidery hoop
A hoop that has a locking mechanism is a must. You want that fabric in there super tight.
Center the fabric over the inner embroidery hoop (that’s the smaller one). You want the locking mechanism facing up.
Then you press the larger hoop over the top. Make sure the pattern is on very tight. You want it to feel and sound like a drum.
Thread your punch needle
Most punch needles come with a handy dandy threader with a huge eye. You can put your thread through that to easily thread the pen’s needle. There will be a tiny loop at the bottom of the threader, which is what holds the thread without it slipping.
A punch needle has a hollow shaft where the thread is, and a depth gauge.
Slide the thread through the eye of the needle and down into the hollow shaft. Pushing it through the other side, you have completed threading your needle!
Holding the needle as if it were a pen or pencil, you want the bevel side of the needle facing the direction you are punching.
It’s easiest if the thread rests over your finger, but make sure it can move freely or you’ll just unravel your art as you work.
You also want to work on the side that will be the back of your art.
Finish punching your pattern
Punch directly through the fabric, then pull the needle towards you. As you pull it out, the needle should always be touching the fabric.
Each time you push through, you want to push to the same depth so each loop is the same size. Move the needle over a few stitches to make the next punch.
The needle separates the threads in your fabric, and when you pull it back that hole closes to keep the loop firmly in the fabric. The thread isn’t locked, though, so be kind of delicate with it.
It’s easiest to complete the outline if your pattern before filling in the rest. Then you can finish by stitching the background elements, if you have any.
Finish your craft
Complete your craft by pulling the needle out of the fabric, leabing 1/2 inch of thread. Remove the embroidery hoop, and voila! You have a beautiful punch pen embroidery that will make a great gift.
Questions about punch needle embroidery
Do you need a specific kind of fabric for needle punching?
Nope! While it is recommended to use weaver’s cloth for beginners, if you’re willing to experiment you can use any fabric. Just make sure you’re using a hoop and have the correct tension.
What thread do I use for punch needle embroidery?
Embroidery floss is a great way to start, since there are so many different colors and you can choose how many threads you want to use.
How many strands of thread you use depends on your design. Starting with three is a good way to experiment with the thickness you prefer. Some people use all 6 strands.
What should I do if my loops keep unraveling?
You might be pulling your needle too far out of the fabric! Remember, your thread isn’t being locked into place like it is with traditional embroidery.
Can I machine wash my needle punch project?
Probably not. Again, nothing is locking your thread into place, so your project is going to be delicate. Hand washing is best if you must wash it.
If you need to machine wash, definitely use a delicate cycle.
Which is the good side?
Some people like the back of their projects more, so this is really up for your interpretation. Traditionally, though, the back side is the side without loops.
Do I knot the thread? If not, how do I keep it from unraveling?
You don’t have to use knots. Technically, the stitches should be close enough to prevent your art from unraveling too easily.
Why should I take up needle punch embroidery?
Lots of reasons!
It doesn’t take up a lot of space
The learning curve is small
The finished pieces are unique and interesting gifts
It’s easy to do punch pen embroidery while spending time with family or watching TV
It’s a unique craft that you don’t see very often
What have you made with your embroidery punch pen?
Using a punch pen is a lot of fun and can make so many cute crafts. Everyone that receives one will be blown away by the unique rug-like look and they’ll be interested in how you did it!
So if you want an affordable craft, this is the perfect one to pick up.
I hope I answered some of your questions about punch pen embroidery and encouraged you to pick it up! If you do want to start with this craft project, I sell an embroidery punch pen on Etsy.
Even the best recipe requires the right ingredients! If you want to make slime, no matter what recipe you use, you need to have supplies ready.
You wouldn’t make a chicken pot pie without chicken or pie crusts, would you? No way! So don’t think you can get away with making slime without glue, borax, or other necessary ingredients.
You’ll want to keep your pantry stocked with the supplies I’ve listed below. That way, you’ll be ready for a rainy day when your kids are bored and you want to get them into an educational activity!
Of course, I suggest wearing a smock or apron while making slime, because it can get messy. And to save your floors, line your experiment area with newspaper or plastic.
But wait… What are the benefits of making slime?!
Is it not enough that it’s super fun and satisfying? Alright, alright. Here are the awesome benefits of making slime with your kids:
Making and playing with slime is a sensory play activity. That means that you’re engaging and learning about all 5 of your senses. You can smell any scents that you add. You see the pretty colors. You hear the gross farting noise that slime makes when you squish it. You touch the slime and feel its texture, whether it’s creamy like cloud slime or bumpy like crunchy slime. And if you make edible slime, you can taste it, too!
Making slime helps to build creativity and allows you to learn through exploration. When you add glitter, dye, and charms, you’re essentially making a unique work of art. And everything you add changes how the slime feels or how it acts when you touch it.
Playing with slime encourages the development of fine motor skills and coordination, and making slime does that while you’re mixing and adding ingredients, too!
Slime is messy play with easy clean up. Getting messy is great for children, and it really helps them to unleash their creativity.
Slime introduces kids to the fun side of science and chemistry. That’s right: all those things you add together to make slime creates a chemical reaction that makes slime so fun to play with!
Making slime together is a great way to bond with your kids. You can both laugh and play with the satisfying toy, and mix interesting new themed slimes together.
Squishing and playing with slime might help picky eaters! Some picky eaters have a hard time processing different textures. Exposure therapy can help, and slime has a funny texture that might gross out your kids at first. But as they warm up to playing with slime, you might find they open up to eating different foods again.
Slime helps to teach descriptive language. You can help your kids describe what they see, hear, feel, and smell as they play with their slime. Is it cold? Is the slime shiny? Is it bumpy slime?
So what supplies do you need to make slime?
At its essence, slime only requires a few supplies.
The simplest slime recipe looks like this:
1/2 cup of school glue
1/4 to 1/2 cup of liquid starch
1/2 cup of water
But the simplest slime isn’t always the most fun. If you want to be able to make awesome slime with different themes, here are the slime supplies you need to stock up on:
A slime recipe
The best slime recipes are the ones that have cool themes! Here are some great slime recipe ideas:
Any school glue will do, and you can get glue in huge gallon jugs online! You can usually save a lot of money (and plastic waste!) when you buy in bulk like that, plus you’ll always know you have some ready for making slime.
Slime activators are a substance that chemically reacts with the glue to turn it into slime!
Here are the different kinds of slime activators:
Borax. Borax is banned in some countries, but if you have it you can add it to water and mix in a little at a time to create your slime.
Liquid laundry detergent. Slowly add it in.
Contact lens solution and baking soda. These are both easy to find ingredients to use as an activator!
Slime add ins
This is the fun part! What you mix in with your slime will give it personality! Here are some super fun ideas:
Spoons and bowls will be helpful when you’re mixing your slime!
Available from your tap, water is part of most slime recipes, so be ready to grab some when needed.
Do you have the necessary slime supplies in stock?
With just a few simple supplies, you can turn a boring afternoon indoors into a slime party! Remember, making slime has a ton of benefits from educational to sensory to emotional, so don’t be afraid to dive right in. Start making slime now to reap the benefits!
Make DIY baby shower or birthday party decorations
Ribbon and twine
Ribbon and twine is useful for holding things together for multiple occasions. Ribbon looks great when used in a wreath, as well. And jute burlap ribbon is very popular for cottage chic weddings!
Pens, pencils and markers
I’m a pen collector, but then I think most people are. I don’t mean that I seek out and find fine selections of pens that I curate and care for. I mean that I collect random pens bought, found, and gifted in case I need it later.
And we always need a pen later.
You should keep these writing tools around for your crafts:
Acrylic paint – I like to have at least the primary colors to work with plus black and white
Pliers are useful for a million different things. Especially if you make jewelry, you need some to close those findings!
Every now and then, you need precise measurements, especially if you are sewing. I recommend having at least a sturdy stainless steel ruler and a measuring tape.
Supplies for your specific craft
You have things you need that I don’t. If you make jewelry, you need findings, chains, beads, etc. If you sculpt, you need clay. It’s best if you make a list of everything you use regularly and keep them on hand!
So, what do you keep around for your crafts? And what do you find you don’t need as much?