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





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

DIY Marriage Advice Mailbox

27 07 2016

DIY Marriage Advice Mailbox

It’s that time of year again, wedding season. DIY weddings have become a huge trend, but sometimes just planning the wedding takes up too much time to add in extra DIY elements!  This mailbox is a really cute and quick DIY project, that will hopefully give you great advice for years to come. The idea of this mailbox is to set it up on a table at your engagement party, bridal shower, rehearsal dinner or even wedding reception. Leave it open and provide guests with cards and pens, then they can write their own advice to the new couple! You don’t need that much to make it:Supplies needed for DIY Marriage Advice Mailbox

  • Blank Mailbox
  • Stickers (Thickers, from American Crafts)
  • Paper (I used scrapbook paper)
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Hole Punch
  • Baker’s Twine
  • Optional: Sewing Needle
  • Time: 15 Minutes



You really only need a small scrap of paper to make the little banner, so if you are the kind of person who keeps leftovers, it’s time to dive into that scrap bin.  Same thing with the baker’s twine, it could just be any piece of string but I thought the “barber pole” look of the baker’s twine was extra cute. The stickers I used are Thickers by American Crafts, they are perfect for this kind of project because they have depth to them, stick really well to unusual surfaces (like tin mailboxes!), and come in several different styles.

Let’s get started! Lay your ruler across the non-flag side of your mailbox. It’s going to be a guide to place your stickers evenly and in a straight line!


I started my “Marriage” pretty close to the edge of the mailbox because I wanted to make sure the lid had plenty of room to close. After you are done with the word, “Marriage” scoot your ruler down to be a guide for “Advice.” I thought the words looked better alined to the right, so that is how I did mine.


Now we are going to make the mini banner for extra decoration. Grab your scissors and paper. My paper is scrapbooking paper but you could also go for a different look with newsprint, or even photos of the happy couple! Cut a small triangle out of the paper. My triangle is around 1 and 1/16th inches at the bottom.

Paper triangle for mini banner

Cut out about 7-9 of these triangles, then use a hole punch to punch holes in the bottom two corners.

Make holes in your triangles

Now you need to string your baker’s twine through the holes in the triangles. I am using a 1/16th hole punch (really tiny) so I ended up using a sewing needle to thread my twine through. If you use a larger hole punch, you can probably thread with your fingers.


Make sure you thread the twine up through the back, then down through the front. Do this the same way on every triangle so your banner looks nice and even.

Mini paper banner

Tie little bows at the end of your twine, then attach your banner by putting a dot of hot glue underneath each of the outermost triangles.

Attach the banner with hot glue

Step back, and admire your work, you are already done!  See, I told you, even the busiest bride would have time to make this. Guests will have a fun time coming up with advice and hopefully, the bride and groom find some of it useful! This idea could easily be modified to be a card box for a bridal shower or reception as well. If you make your own mailbox, share it on social media with #DIYwithAIF, we would love to see what you come up with. Get creative and happy crafting!

Finished Marriage Advice Mailbox

Make Your Own Geometric Tote Bag

20 07 2016

Make Your Own Geometric Tote Bag - DIY With A.I. Friedman

I feel like you can never have too many tote bags. I have a pile of them in my closet, in my car, in my other closet and yet there are still times that I find myself thinking, “I wish I had a tote bag right now.” This week, we are going to learn how to upgrade a basic boring tote bag into a cute geometric print tote bag. You only need a few things:Supplies needed to make a geometric tote bag

  • Plain Tote Bag
  • Scotch Blue Painter’s Tape
  • Jacquard Textile Color in 3 Colors
    • (I used 109 Maroon, 114 Turquoise, and 113 Navy Blue)
  • Foam Brush
  • Time: about an hour



First step, take your Blue Painter’s Tape and make a border around your tote bag. I put the tape on about half an inch from the edge. Make sure you smooth down all of the tape to make sure no paint leaks underneath later!

Blue tape border around tote bag - DIY With A.I. Friedman

Now is the fun part, making triangles! There is really no method to my madness here, just make triangles with the painter’s tape as big or as small as you like. I didn’t worry about keeping them consistent sizes or angles.

Making triangles with the painter's tape - DIY With A.I. Friedman

I stopped my triangles before I got all the way to the top right corner of my bag. It gives the bag a more modern look if the pattern doesn’t cover the entire thing. Again, don’t forget to smooth down your tape really well so you don’t have to worry about touch ups later!

Finished tape triangle pattern - DIY With A.I. Friedman

It’s time to paint those triangles! Shake up your Jacquard Textile Color before using it, then dab some on your foam brush. Then, go ahead and dab the paint in your triangle!

Paint you triangles inside the tape lines - DIY With A.I. Friedman

I counted how many triangles I had before I started painting, 23, so I decided to make my number of each colored triangles close to even by doing 9 Maroon, 7 Turquoise and 7 Navy Blue. Be sure to totally wash your foam brush in-between each color.


Painted triangles drying - DIY With A.I. Friedman

Let your paint air dry before you pull of the tape. Mine took around 20 minutes before I felt comfortable peeling the tape off.

Peeling off the painter's tape - DIY With A.I. Friedman

If you have some gloppy triangles because your tape didn’t stick down, don’t stress, it’s a really easy fix! Just take a piece of painter’s tape and place it at the lowest point of the messy line. Then fill in that area with paint, peel off your tape, and it’s like it never even happened! You can see in this picture that I did not follow my own tape smoothing advice from before, so I had a few spots to clean up.

How to fix uneven lines - DIY With A.I. Friedman

You are almost done, but there is one last step! You need to heat set your paint. So make sure your bag is totally and completely dry before doing this. Then grab your iron and set it to the appropriate fabric setting for your bag (mine was cotton). Put your iron on the inside of the bag and run it over the back of your painted area for 30 seconds. Now your bag is heatset, so you can wash it, dry clean it and the colors won’t fade!

Heatset your paint by ironing the back of it - DIY With A.I. Friedman

Your Geometric Tote Bag is now finished! It makes a great gift or you can just keep it for yourself, you did all the hard work after all. If you make a Geometric Tote Bag of your own be sure to share it on social media with #DIYwithAIF we would love to see it! We’ll be back next week with more creative DIY projects, happy crafting!

Completed Geometric Totebag Project - DIY With A.I. Friedman