Cross Stitch Heart Valentine Box

8 02 2017

Cross Stitch Heart Valentine Box DIY With A.I. Friedman

Valentine’s Day is only a week away, it’s time to break out the hearts. We have an easy project for you that takes less than an hour but is a great way to add a handmade touch to a Valentine.

The only things you need are:Materials needed to make Cross Stitch Heart Box

  • A paper box (ours is a 3″ square)
  • Red embroidery floss
  • An Xacto knife (or pushpin)
  • Sewing needle
  • Pencil
  • Ruler



The heart design we are using is 7 squares wide so you need to divide your box into 7 equal sections. If you have a 3″ square box like us, then you can just use centimeters! Make lines across the box (we are making a grid). Remember to use a pencil, we are going to be erasing these lines later!

Marking seven equal sections on your box

Then turn your box 90 degrees and make lines perpendicular to the ones you just made. You will now have a grid set up on your box.

Grid set up on box


We are going to use this simple heart design as our cross stitch pattern. The next step is to take your pencil and mark off where the heart is going on your grid. This way we won’t make holes across our entire grid, just where we need them for the heart.

Cross Stitch Heart PatternMarking where the heart will go on our grid

The box we’re using is pretty sturdy cardboard so I had to use an Xacto to cut the holes. If your box is a little flimsier than ours you can use a pushpin to make holes really easily.

Poke holes in your box so we can cross stitch along the top

Once you have all your holes poked, make sure you look at the back of the lid to make sure they got all the way through, it’s better do that now than have to do it while you are cross stitching.

Holes poked in the lid of the box

Now you can erase all of our pencil grid lines and where you marked off the outline of the heart.

Erase all pencil lines off the box

Thread your needle and get stitching! If you have never cross stitched before, the important thing to remember is to always start your stitches the same way. So come up with the needle from the bottom right corner then go down through the top left corner.

Starting to cross stitch on the box

Then to form the “X” come up from the bottom left corner and go back down through the top right.

The first cross stitch on the box!

Continue doing this in the same way until you have completed your heart pattern. It’s good to not have to deal with too long of a thread, 18″ is a good starting point. You will run out of thread but that’s okay just rethread your needle and keep stitching.

Creating the heart out of cross stitch

Once you finish, trim any long ends hanging off the back of the lid and then sit back and admire your work.

Cross Stitch Heart Valentine Box

You can put a small gift like jewelry or chocolate in your cute new box. It’s also a great way to deliver a love note. And if you couldn’t think of anything to get your Valentine aside from a gift card, one of those will totally fit in as well. Plus, no one can call you lazy or thoughtless if you took the time to make a custom handmade box.

DIY Cross Stitch Valentine Box

Be sure to tag any projects you make with #DIYwithAIF and happy stitching!





Quick Holiday Mug DIY Gift Project

7 12 2016

Quick Holiday Mug DIY Gift Project by A.I. Friedman

If you are anything like me, then every year after Christmas has ended you think, “Next year, I’m going to make EVERYONE a handmade present.” Then next year rolls around and it’s a week before Christmas, you are up to your elbows in glitter and it is just not happening. Well, I have the perfect project for you! This Quick Holiday Mug lives up to it’s name, it won’t take you hours of crafting.  Plus, everyone loves a good mug! You only need a couple things;  A blank mug and some DecoArt Glass Paint Markers (we carry them at our Port Chester Store).

Things you need to make the Quick Holiday Mug DIY Gift Project

These markers a great because after curing the paint in the oven, they are dishwasher safe!   Super easy to use and easy to care for afterwards. When you first open your markers, you will notice the tips are white.  With the cap on, shake the marker a lot. Then using a scrap piece of cardboard (I used the packaging from the markers), press the tip of the marker straight down to the cardboard.  You’ll notice that the tip retracts inward, hold it there for a while, it’s getting full up with the paint.  Once your marker tip is the right color you’re ready to go!

Using the DecoArt Glass Paint Marker

I decided to write “Have a cup of Cheer” on my mug because I thought it would be a cute present wrapped up with some nice tea or hot cocoa.  You can be completely creative and do whatever you want with your mug! Make a Santa’s Milk mug to leave out with your milk and cookies, a personalized mug, draw a picture, or whatever you can think of!

Writing on the mug with the Glass Paint Markers

You don’t need to press very hard to use the markers so just take your time and have fun! I really liked the look of the shiny gold marker and might need to make a mug with just the gold paint next! I added some extra little snowflake details on the handle of my mug.

Mug handle with snowflakes!

Once you have finished your creation you need to let the paint set for 8 hours.  If you are planning on making multiple mugs I would do all the drawing in one sitting and then let all of them rest for 8 hours together.  Yes, I know I said this was quick, but you don’t need to do anything to the mugs during this time, so it doesn’t count. Go use this time to wrap other presents!

Quick DIY Mug Project

Next we need to bake the mug in the oven. This is what sets the paint and makes it dishwasher safe for the future, so it’s important! Set your oven to 375 degrees, pop your mug in (don’t preheat, just put it right in!) and bake for 40 minutes.  After that is over your mug is completed! Stick a bow on it and move onto your next Christmas To-Do List item. Or, just sit down and have a nice cup of cocoa instead.

Finished Quick Holiday Mug DIY Gift Project

We would love to see all the festive mugs you create! Share your projects with us using #DIYwithAIF and Happy Crafting!


DIY Stamped Clay Coasters

21 09 2016

DIY Stamped Clay Coasters

I don’t know about you but I always feel like I don’t have enough coasters.  I am always sitting down at the table and then having to go grab a coaster off the coffee table or vice versa. These DIY Stamped Clay Coasters are easy and fun to make, so stop hunting for more coasters and get crafting.

Things You Need:

  • DAS Air Dry Clay
  • A rolling pin
  • A knife
  • Stamp
  • Ink pad
  • Sand paper
  • Mod Podge (I used matte)
  • Felt

First you need to open your clay, and get it into a ball.  I just rolled around a while with my hands to get some of the wrinkles and air bubbles out.

Get your air dry clay ready

Next, roll your clay out with your rolling pin so it is about 1/4″ thick.

Roll your clay out with a rolling pin

After your clay is rolled out, cut a 4 1/4″ square out of the clay with the knife.  Or, you can use a coaster you already like the size of as a template.  Then you can use your first clay square as a template for the next.

Cut out your coaster shape from the clay

I was able to get 4 coasters out of my 1.1 lb bag of DAS clay.  If you cut out a square and still have lots of leftover clay, just roll the leftovers up into a ball and then roll them out with the rolling pin again.

Air dry clay squares

Once all of your squares are cut out, grab your stamp and ink pad.  Get the stamp nice and inked up.

Stamp with ink

Then place your stamp on your clay and push down lightly, but hard enough that you are making an impression.

Stamping the clay

You can play around with the placement of your stamp to make different patterns on your coasters.  Mix it up with different shapes and ink colors!

Make patterns with your stamp

Once all of your coasters are stamped, they are going to need to dry.  It can take anywhere from 24-72 hours for them to totally dry depending on the temperature and humidity.  I made my coasters on a Friday afternoon and let them dry out all weekend just to be safe.


When they are totally dry, sand the edges and corners down a little bit so they are nice and smooth.

Sand the edges of the coasters

Wipe the excess sanded clay away with a paper towel. Then, seal the coasters using Mod Podge.  Air dry clay is not going to hold up well with condensation on it all the time so this sealing process is really important.  I used two coats on my coasters.

Seal your coasters with Mod Podge

After your Mod Podge is dry, grab a piece of felt and cut a square that is just slightly smaller than your coaster.  Then hot glue the felt to the bottom of the coasters.  This will protect your table from getting scratched.

Attach felt to the back of the coaster

You’re all done now! Pour yourself a drink and use one of your fancy new coasters! These coasters make great gifts too, you can use a Fall or Winter themed stamp and tie them up with a ribbon for a hostess gift, gift them with a mug and some hot cocoa, or just make more for yourself! We’d love to see your coaster projects, use #DIYwithAIF on social media.  Happy crafting!

Finished Stamped Clay Coasters

DIY Popsicle Stick Bracelets

30 08 2016

DIY Popsicle Stick Bracelets Tutorial

We haven’t done any kids crafts yet for DIY With A.I. Friedman and it’s time to change that.  Kids will have fun designing their own bracelets and it’s cool to see the popsicle sticks bend over time!  You don’t need that much:Materials needed for DIY Popsicle Stick Bracelets

  • Jumbo Popsicle Sticks
  • Glasses or cups
  • Craft paint
  • Paint brushes
  • A pot to boil the sticks in
  • Time:
    • 15 minutes to boil
    • 24 hours to set

You are going to want to supervise young children because we are going to be bringing the water to a boil and retrieving the sticks from it.  If you have super young kids you could boil the sticks ahead of time and just let them paint the finished bracelet shapes later!  Go ahead fill your pot about half way and bring it to a boil.

Boiling water for DIY Popsicle Stick Bracelet Craft

Grab your popsicle sticks and pop them in the boiling water. You are definitely going to want to boil extra sticks because some WILL break in the bending process. If you are somehow a magically perfect being who doesn’t break any sticks, then bonus; you have extra bracelets.  Let the popsicle sticks boil for 15 minutes.

Boiling popsicle sticks for DIY Popsicle Stick Bracelets

When the 15 minutes are up have your glasses or cups (they should be around the same size as the wrist you want the bracelets to fit!) ready and take the sticks out of the water with kitchen tongs. Shake of the extra water a little bit. Because wood is such a poor heat conductor the popsicle sticks will be ready for you to hold with your hands right after coming out of the water.  This is the hardest part, gently bend your sticks into a round shape and slip them inside of the cups.

Popsicle sticks inside of glass

Broken popsicle sticks

Like I said before, don’t be too concerned about breaking a few popsicle sticks, it’s going to happen.  Those sticks just couldn’t live up to the high pressure fashion world.  I had a few popsicle stick casualties myself.

The key is: don’t get frustrated just take it slow.  I found it easiest to start getting a bend going at the middle and then slowly bringing the ends closer together.  As soon as you can fit your bracelet in the glass, slip it in there, it will help you bend the stick!  Once you have all your sticks inside the glasses, pat yourself on the back, then let them dry for 24 hours.  It’s really important to leave them to dry for this amount of time so they hold their shape when you take them out!

Drying popsicle sticks in glasses

After all of your patient waiting, it’s time to get painting. Paint them however your want and get creative!  I used a pencil eraser as a “stamp” to make some polka dots on a few of my bracelets.

Using a pencil eraser as a stamp to make polka dots

After your paint has dried your bracelets are all set to be the perfect kids fashion accessory! Because this is such an easy project, it’s a great one to make again and again. Share your bracelet creations using #DIYwithAIF and happy crafting!

Finished popsicle stick bracelets





Frame Headboard Project

24 08 2016

DIY Framed canvas headboard

This week we are mixing it up a little for DIY With A.I. Friedman to show off one of our Custom Framing employee’s own DIY home projects!  Heather teaches a weekly painting class on Mondays at the Port Chester store. She used her painting skills and ingenuity to make a very unique headboard for herself!Bracketing the frames to the crown molding

Everything she used to make the project:

This project looks amazing but is actually very simple to do on your own! After painting the canvases Heather placed them inside the frames, then she just bracketed the frames to each other.  And finally, she bracketed the crown molding and side rails to the frames to build the headboard.

This is such an original way for to display art as a part of your home decor!  We also love the idea of using ready made frames as building materials. Thanks for the awesome idea, Heather!

DIY headboard made from canvas, frames and crown molding



Mason Jar Apple Pencil Holder Teacher’s Gift

17 08 2016

Mason Jar Apple Pencil Holder Back to School Teacher's Gift

I know it’s going to send some of you running and screaming, but there is no denying it, it’s time to go back to school.  I’m going to try to help you out and check one of the million things you need to do off your list; teacher’s gifts.  It can be hard to come up with a thoughtful gift that a teacher will actually like year after year. Teachers always need extra pencils (students have a tendency to pocket them), then tie a little bonus gift card to this apple and your student’s new teacher will be very appreciative!

What You Need:Materials Needed for Apple Mason Jar Craft

  • Round short mason jar
  • Red paint (Americana Multi-Surface Satin: Dark Scarlet)
  • Green paint (American Multi-Surface Satin: Turf Green)
  • Green felt
  • Green string
  • Paint brush
  • Scissors
  • Fresh pencils to go inside
  • Time: 30-45 minutes

After gathering all you materials, go ahead and start painting! Paint the bottom glass part of your mason jar with the red.


Since the mason jar is clear, it will take you 2-3 coats to get good coverage so no light peeks through.  Below is a picture at 1 coat, see how all those patches are visible?  A couple extra coats fixes this problem.

Painting a mason jar

Next up is the lid,  mason jar lids are two parts, a disc and a ring.  You only need to paint the ring.  We don’t use the disc in this project, so save it for later or get rid of it.

Mason Jar Lid Parts

Grab the green paint and paint that ring.  You can skip the inside part of the ring, it won’t be visible.

Painting the top of the mason jar apple pencil holder

While your paint is drying, cut out a couple of leaf shapes from your felt. Poke a hole at the bottom of them either with your scissors or a sewing needle and string them on the green string.  Once everything is totally dry, tie your leaves around the lid of your jar.


Now all you need to do is screw the lid to the base, stick your pencils in and you are totally done!  It’s perfect for back to school, Teacher Appreciation Day, Christmas or end of the year teacher gifts.  We would love to see any apples you make, use #DIYwithAIF and share them on social media.  Happy crafting!

Mason Jar Apple Pencil Holder Back to School Teacher's Gift

Clothespin Watermelon Wreath

9 08 2016

Clothespin Watermelon Wreath

Wreaths are a great way to add a festive touch to your home all year round!  This watermelon is a fun summer wreath that is very easy to make yourself.

Materials needed for Clothespin Watermelon WreathMaterials Needed:

  • About 70 clothespins
  • 12 inch metal wreath ring
  • Craft Paint (DecoArt Americana Multi-Surface Satin)
    • Pink (Flamingo)
    • Dark Green (Turf Green)
    • Light Green (Melonball)
    • Black (Black Tie)
  • Sponge Brush
  • Small Paint Brush

Like I said before, this project is very easy to make but, it is a little time consuming because you have to individually paint all the clothespins.  It’s a great weekend project to break up into little chunks of painting at a time!  To get started, take apart your clothespins.

How to take apart a clothespin

It’s easy, you just need to twist the two wooden parts away from each other so they come out of the spring. Do this to all of your clothespins. Don’t lose your springs, put them in a baggy or something for later!

Separated clothespins

It’s time to grab your pink paint.  On every single wooden clothespin piece paint up to the last groove on the inside (the part that touches the spring).

Pink painted clothespin

I decided to paint to this point on the clothespin because it’s about half but there is no need to measure because of the handy dandy grooves.  You are going to paint both the inside and outside of this half!

Other side of the pink clothespin

Let your pink paint dry to the touch, then go ahead and paint the other half of the wood with your dark green paint.

Looking more like a watermelon now!

Let that dry, then grab your small paintbrush, black paint, and light green paint.  On the outside of the clothespin (the flatter side) paint a little teardrop shape with black on the very tip.  This is going to be a seed.  Then grab your light green and paint a thick band where the dark green meets the pink.  Then just do a few light green lines on the dark green to give the watermelon some detail.  I did these lines randomly on all the pieces, it’s better if they aren’t uniform.  You only need to do the seed and light green lines on half of your wood pieces!

All finished painting!

Let these get totally dry because the next step is putting all of the clothespins back together.  You will be putting one wood piece with the seed and detail lines with another piece that just has the pink and green.  You will probably want to practice with an extra unpainted clothespin, because it’s a little tricky at first to get them back together. I read this blog, Lady and the Carpenter, to help figure out the trick of getting them back together.  It also has a helpful video.

Completed watermelon clothespins

Now is the fun part, putting the wreath together!  You are going to start by clipping a clothespin on the innermost two rungs on the wreath, then clip the next one on the middle two rungs.  Continue alternating like this until you have gone all the way around the wreath.

How to put on your clothespins

Now you are all done! How cute is your new summer wreath?  The cool thing about clothespin wreaths is that you can change them seasonally!  So when summer is over you can just take off your watermelon clothespins to save for next year and put on some Fall themed clothespins. I’d love to hear suggestions for some other clothespin wreath themes in the comments.  Don’t forget to tag projects you make with #DIYwithAIF, Happy crafting!

Watermelon clothespin wreath