DIY

Quick & Crafty: DIY Takodana Terrarium

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Takodana Terrarium 1

MATERIALS:

  • Glass vase/bowl or cloche
  • Takodana Encounter action figure set
  • Preserved or artificial moss
  • Fake ferns, succulents, or other plants of your choice

 

I’m calling this DIY a “Quick & Crafty” project because it truly is super easy and quick to make! Maz Kanata and BB-8 are my favorite characters from The Force Awakens so I had to buy this Takodana Encounter action figure set when I saw it at Toys”R”Us. Plus, it came with Rey and Finn! What a deal!

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I wanted to display my new action figures in our home, but our bookshelf is getting full and I knew I didn’t have time to make a diorama with Maz’s castle. Then I remembered that I had a terrarium left over from our wedding! The night before my wedding, my sister, cousin, and I crafted the night away doing last minute projects, including making 5 terrariums that would be displayed at the venue. I dubbed them the Endor terrariums because we placed tiny Ewoks inside amongst the ferns and succulents.

Cacá Santoro Photography

After the wedding, I didn’t have the heart to dismantle my beloved terrariums. Instead, some ended up in a box in the garage and one was collecting dust in the closet. But no more! I love repurposing old items and giving them new life. Since I made the terrarium almost 2 years ago, I don’t have step-by-step photos. But the steps are so easy, you don’t even need them!

STEP 1: Select your glass vase or cloche. You can find great options at the craft store. I found a vase similar to this one at Michaels in the sale section.

Glass bowl vase

STEP 2: Buy your greenery. I bought the moss, fake ferns and succulents at Michaels as well.

Moss & Ferns

STEP 3: Fill the bowl halfway with moss. Then place the succulents or plants of your choice in and top of the moss. I used 5 succulents for my terrarium but sticks, rocks, and other green plants would also look neat. As Rey first said when she saw Takodana,”I didn’t think there was this much green in the whole galaxy.” So when selecting your fake plants, go green! I also added a few ferns towards the middle and back of the bowl for height.

STEP 4: Add Maz and the gang! Place your action figures inside the bowl in and around the moss and plants. No need to secure them down with anything since the figures will be pretty secure once you nestle them into the moss.

Takodana website

And that’s it! Like I said, this DIY was super quick and easy. I placed our Takodana terrarium on our windowsill and I just love seeing Maz and the gang every time I’m in the kitchen. It’s not a screen accurate Takodana terrarium but it makes me happy just the same. I think it’s the perfect way to display these new action figures! May the Craft be with you! 😀

DIY Chewbacca Doll

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Chewie Doll

I’ve been on the hunt for a Chewbacca doll ever since my daughter was born. I’m trying to brainwash introduce Luci to the universe of Star Wars, whether it’s through books, toys, or music! The talking Chewie plush at the toy store terrified her so I knew I had to rectify the situation and find her a Wookiee she could love. So, like many of my DIY inspirations, I decided to make a Chewbacca doll myself!

I found this pattern by Draw Pilgrim and it worked perfectly! Pilgrim’s pattern and instruction made this project easy and fun to do. I did have to modify a few things because I couldn’t find corduroy fabric that was the right shade of brown. The fabric was either too light or too dark; so I went a different direction and found this tan, furry fabric that looked just like Wookiee fur!

Fuzzball

I’m not going to lie, this fabric is an absolute pain to work with. My living room became covered in faux fur and the thickness made it tricky to sew. But as the doll started taking shape, I forgave this beast of a fabric.

WIP

Like I said, the Draw Pilgrim pattern made the doll-making process easy, but here are a couple tips from my experience:

I scaled the pattern to 100% instead of scaling it to fit my paper. My rationale was that a larger pattern would make it easier to cut and sew my thick fabric. For Chewie’s face, I cut and stitched it exactly as Pilgrim’s instructions stated. For the eyes, I used black buttons from Joann’s Fabrics. I used craft felt for his nose & mouth and hand-stitched them on.

Chewie Face

I ended up stuffing the legs and arms first and then attaching them to the body. Again, this was a modification because of the furry fabric.

Chewie arm 2 Chewie arm

I like to make my crafts “screen-accurate” if possible. (I know, it’s a geek quirk. Ha!) Chewbacca’s bandolier is brown so I chose to use a chocolate brown grosgrain ribbon. I tried to create the illusion that the ammunition pouches were sewn into the ribbon bandolier. In retrospect, I could have just sewn the felt pieces down the center, thus creating the same effect!  Instead, I hot glued the grey craft felt pieces onto the ribbon. I hand stitched the bandolier to Chewie’s body in a couple areas, just to keep it secure. Once that was done, my Chewbacca doll was complete!

Bandolier

In the words of Maz Kanata, “I like that Wookiee.” Actually, I LOVE this Wookiee and fortunately, my daughter does too!

Luci and Chewie

Because I used buttons for the eyes, I’ve mainly kept him on her nursery shelf. When she’s a little older she’ll have fun times and many cuddles with her co-pilot, Chewie. Right now she points at him & squeals with delight. Geek parent win! An added bonus is that the total cost of this DIY was under $20! I’m so glad I was able to make a special doll for Luci to have for many years to come. Thank you, Draw Pilgrim for the awesome pattern! Be sure to visit her site to get the pattern and other neat printables. May the Craft be with you! 🙂

Chewie & Falcon

 

Making A Baby-8 (BB-8) Costume!

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Squirmy!

Even before Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released in theaters, BB-8 was a star. His cuteness and big personality were undeniable, even though we had only seen him briefly in the film’s teasers and trailers. When he wheeled across the stage at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim, he rolled right into the hearts of Star Wars fans like myself. So for my daughter’s first Halloween, I decided to pay homage to that adorable little ball droid and make her a BB-8 costume!

bb-8_14e2ad77

Making the costume was a bit of a challenge but in the end, I’m happy with the way it turned out! I used fleece white fabric for the bodice and the panels were created using craft felt. For the sake of time, I simply glued the panels onto the fleece bodice. I added detail using a gray fabric marker.

BB-8 Bodice

The trickiest part was making BB-8’s round soccer ball shape. I lined the costume with the same fleece fabric and then stuffed the bodice with poly-fil stuffing. I sewed elastic at the bottom which gave the bodice a more round shape.

BB-8 Elastic

For BB-8’s head, I used a styrofoam base and decorated it with different colored craft felt. His antennae are toothpicks!

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The best part about the costume was that it still fit 3 months later! After all my hard work, I wanted to get the most mileage out of it so little Baby-8 made a cameo appearance in my We Got Enemies video!

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I can’t believe how much Lucia has grown since last October. I’m hoping it will still fit for her first birthday. I would love to see Baby-8 one last time before we transition to a toddler Rey costume! 😉

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If you make your own Baby-8 costume, I would love to see your creations! Please tag me on Twitter or Instagram @JenniferLanda. Happy crafting!

How to Make a BB-8 Wreath

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The Hothidays are here which means it’s time to deck the halls with all things Star Wars! For this year’s festivities, I was inspired by The Force Awakens newest droid, BB-8. Whenever I see that little ball whizzing across the screen, it always brings a smile to my face. BB-8 kind of looks like Frosty the Snowman, which makes him the perfect decoration for this holiday season. To make your own BB-8 wreath, here’s everything you’ll need!

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DIY Comic Book Wall Art

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I’ve always wanted to have a Wes Anderson gallery wall.

The Royal Tenenbaums

While I wouldn’t fill a wall with Margot Tenenbaum drawings, I do love how you can create a cohesive look using a variety of frames and colorful images. Since we’re moving to a new home next month, I’ve begun envisioning my dream gallery wall. I have a lot of saved artwork that I plan on framing but I wanted to make something extra special for our new place.

 

I was inspired by a DIY I saw on Pinterest where you transfer a photograph onto a block of wood.

woodprint_mini

Using wood as the canvas and frame gives the image a rustic gallery look. I figured if you could do it with photographs, why not comic books?

 

So using wood blocks, paint, and color copies of some of my favorite comic book images, I made my own Comic Book Wall Art pieces!

Wall Art Blog

These pieces were super easy to make and the total materials cost was under $10! Once I finish my gallery wall, I’ll be sure to share some pics with you. In the meantime, if you want to make your own Comic Book Wall Art, I made a DIY video showing you how! Happy crafting! ٩(^ᴗ^)۶

 

DIY: Arc Reactor Mason Jar Light

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I’ve recently become obsessed with mason jar crafts. They can made into vases, snow globes, gift holders, and in this case, a pendant light! So while I was sitting on my couch one day, I looked up and saw an Iron Man comic that we have framed on our shelf. I was inspired. Could I make a mason jar light to pay homage to the gold and crimson crusader? I wasn’t sure but I was determined to find out. The process took a little longer than I expected but I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. Here’s how I made my Iron Man Arc Reactor Mason Jar Light!

 

WHAT YOU’ll NEED:

  • Mason Jar (smooth with no logo embossing)
  • Shipping Label (8-1/2″x11″)
  • Spray Paint (in red)
  • Arc Reactor Image
  • Acrylic Marker (silver)
  • Mini Pendant Light Kit
  • Light Bulb
  • Painter’s Tape
  • Exacto Knife or Small Scissors
  • Large Nail
  • Hammer
  • Permanent Marker
  • Utility Scissors

 

When choosing your mason jar, you’ll need to find one that is completely smooth. I chose this Ball Art Smooth Jar. It’s perfect for projects like this and I got a box of 10 for a reasonable price! Before you get crafting, make sure your mason jar is clean and dry.

Mason Jar Plain

 

Next, you’ll need an Iron Man Arc Reactor stencil. After scouring the interwebs and a little photoshop magic, I used this arc reactor stencil. CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD IMAGE.

Arc Reactor Small

Scale the image to the size you like then print it out on an 8-1/2”x11” shipping label.  I scaled my full size image down to 30%.

Stickers

 

Using an exacto knife or small scissors, cut out your stencil by cutting around the black portions of the design.

Cutting Sticker Cutting Sticker 2 Sticker Stencil

 

Remove the stickers from the paper backing and place them onto the mason jar.  (I printed out another stencil on plain paper and taped it to the jar for reference.) I started with the large outer ring first, then the inner ring, then the reactor core, and then added the reactor ring pieces last.

Placing Stencil 1

 

TIP: Don’t press the stickers all the way down until you get the design exactly how you want it. This will allow you to move the pieces around easily.

 

Once the design is to your liking, firmly press each sticker down. Now you’re ready to start spray painting!

Completed Stencil

 

I wasn’t sure what spray would work best on glass. Thankfully, the employee at my local hardware store was very helpful. I ended up chosing Rust-oleum’s Gloss Protective Enamel in Regal Red.

Spray Paint

 

Spray paint several thin coats onto the mason jar.

Spray Painted Jar 1

 

Spray Painted Jar 2

 

If you want a more opaque color, I recommend spray painting inside the jar as well. This will allow less light to show through the red color later on.

Inside Jar

 

If you decide to spray paint the inside of the jar, cover the outside of the jar. I simply wrapped a piece of paper around the jar and secured it with painter’s tape. Also remember to tape the backside of the arc reactor on the inside of the glass.

Tape Inside Jar

 

Once all your coats have been applied, let the mason jar dry for 24 hours. After the mason jar has dried, carefully peel off the stickers. You may need tweezers to assist in the process. Clean up the remaining sticker residue with a toothpick and some Goo Be Gone.

Sticker Residue

 

It was at this point in the process that I was at a crossroads—should I leave the design red or make the arc reactor stand out with a different color? Since I didn’t have J.A.R.V.I.S to assist me in my decision, I chose to paint the arc reactor silver. I used an acrylic marker I got at an art supply store and filled in all the red areas of the design.

Acrylic Pen Using Acrylic Pen

 

To create the actual pendant light itself, I used this detailed tutorial as my guide. It ended up being much easier than I expected! I bought my pendant light kit from Amazon.

Pendant Light

 

Place the light socket onto the mason jar lid and trace around it.

Tracing on Lid Traced Lid

 

Secure the lid back onto the jar. Then use a nail and hammer to puncture small holes along the traced circle.

Punctured Lid

Use utility scissors to cut through the areas that are not punched and cut out the entire circle.

Cut Lid

 

TIP: Be sure to punch a couple extra venting holes around the center of the lid. This will prevent the jar from overheating when the light is on.

 

Push the bottom half of the socket through the mason jar lid. Then slip the mason jar ring through the cord so it rests above the lid.

Lid through Pendant Kit Pendant Light Complete

 

Choose a low wattage light bulb (around 60 watts) and be sure it fits inside your mason jar! If you have a mason jar with a larger mouth, a regular size bulb should fit. However my mason jar had a regular sized mouth which required using a smaller light bulb.

Light Bulbs

 

Screw in the lightbulb, twist on the lid, plug it in and watch your arc reactor glow!

Arc Reactor Light

I think Tony Stark would approve. 🙂

 

How-To: Dweeby Welcome Mat

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As I stared at my raggedy-looking doormat a couple months ago, I realized that it was time for a change. A welcome mat is the first thing to greet you and your guests when you walk in the door—which is all the more reason why a welcome mat should represent you! All who enter your secret lair should know what to expect, no? So when my friends at DweebCast asked me to do another DIY episode, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. (Check out the video above to see the mat we made for the DweebCast HQ!)

For my personal Dweeby Welcome Mat, I wanted to display a geeky saying or word on it. I decided on using the word, “chowbaso”. Because what better way to welcome my guests than by saying it in Huttese?! The only thing better would be if when you stepped on the mat, Jabba’s voice greeted you. Guess that’ll be a project for another day! In the meantime, here’s how to make your own Dweeby Welcome Mat!

What You’ll Need:

  • Coir Door Mat
  • Large Stencils
  • Outdoor Spray Paint
  • Painter’s Tape
  • Newspaper or Paper Bags
  • Straight Pins

 

STEP 1: BUY YOUR DOORMAT

When selecting your doormat, I recommend finding one that has short, coarse fibers. A coir mat is best since the paint adheres to it well and it will also wear better over time.

Mat

I found this coir mat at IKEA for only $9.99!

Mat 1

 

STEP 2: SELECT YOUR STENCILS

Most craft stores offer a good selection of stencils or you can make your own. You want your geeky word or quote to take up space on the mat, so try to use stencils that are on the larger side. I found these large paper stencils at Michaels.

Stencils

 

STEP 3: ARRANGE YOUR STENCILS ON THE WELCOME MAT

Once your area is prepped for spray painting, begin arranging the stencils on the mat. Use painter’s tape to attach the stencils together. This will keep the stencil aligned.

Stencils on Mat

 

Use straight pins to secure the stencils onto the mat.

Pinned Stencils

 

Then cover the rest of your mat with newspaper or paper bags.

Prepped Stencil

 

STEP 4: SPRAY PAINT MAT

When selecting your spray paint, you’ll need to find an indoor/outdoor paint. I chose black spray paint since the color hides dirt well.

Spray Paint

 

Now, spray paint the stencil by moving the can in a sweeping motion a few inches away from the welcome mat. You’ll need to paint a few coats to get the right amount of coverage. Wait a few minutes in between coats, then allow the paint to dry for at least 24 hours.

Painted Stencil

 

STEP 5: CREATE BORDER

Once the paint is dry, remove your stencil. You can leave the design as is or you can use painter’s tape (or masking tape) to create a border around your design! Measure each of the sides with a ruler, to make sure the border is even all around.

Pinned Border

 

STEP 6: SPRAY PAINT BORDER

Cover the areas you want protected, then spray paint the exposed area of the border.

Painted Border

 

STEP 7: REMOVE PAINTER’S TAPE

After all the paint is dry, remove the painter’s tape and protective covering.

Dweeby Welcome Mat 1

 

Now your Dweeby Welcome Mat is now done! Bounty hunters, beware.

Dweeb Welcome Mat

Happy crafting! ٩(^ᴗ^)۶

 

 

DIY Action Figure Bookends

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Unique bookends can add a lot of character to a shelf. I was recently looking for some cool bookends online but the ones I found were either a little pricey or not quite my style. Since I had a specific idea in mind, I decided to just make them myself! These Action Figure Bookends are functional and a fun way to display your action figures on the shelf.

 

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 2 Action Figures
  • 4 pieces of hardwood cut to the size you want (mine are 5.5”x6”)
  • Spray Paint
  • Wood Glue
  • Sandpaper (Coarse & Fine grades)
  • Felt
  • Glue Dots
  • Tacky Glue

When it comes to selecting your wooden pieces, I recommend using a hardwood like poplar or oak. Unlike softwood, hardwood will be heavy enough to hold up your books. I found a 0.75” x 5.5” board of Red Oak that was 2 feet long. Then I had this kind gentleman cut four 6” pieces from the wood so that each piece was 5.5” x 6”.

Home Depot

 

Red Oak

 

Once you’ve got all your materials, sand your wooden pieces to get a smooth & even finish. Use coarse sand paper first, then fine sand paper to finish and polish the wood. Use a cloth to wipe away any residue left after sanding.

Sanding

 

Use wood glue to adhere two of the wooden pieces in a 90 degree angle. Remove excess glue with a wet Q-Tip or damp cloth if necessary.

Gluing Bookends

 

To apply pressure while the glue sets, I used a one-handed bar clamp (available at hardware stores).

Grip

 

Or you can place a couple of heavy books on top of the bookends. Let the glue dry for at least 30 minutes.

Heavy Books

 

Once the wooden pieces are glued together, spray paint them in a well ventilated area.  Spray on several thin coats of paint covering all sides of the bookends.

Spray Paint Bookends

 

Let it dry for 2-4 hours, then flip the pieces over and spray paint the bottom of the bookends.

Flipped Bookends

 

TIP: Before applying your main color, be sure to spray paint your wooden pieces with a primer. Or use a spray paint + primer combo like this!

Spray Paint

 

Once all the sides are completely dry, cut 2 pieces of felt slightly smaller than the bottom of the bookends.

Tracing Felt

 

Using Tacky Glue, glue the felt pieces to the wooden pieces.

Gluing Felt

 

The felt will prevent the wood from scratching up your bookshelf.

Glued Felt

 

Now it’s time to add your action figures! I decided to go with a Transformers theme. Since I wanted to represent both sides of good and evil, I chose Autobot Commander Optimus Prime and Decepticon scientist Shockwave. Since both Transformers are from the Beast Hunters Voyager Class series, they’re the same height. However, mixing and matching different size action figures would also look cool! Work with whatever you have in your collection!

Action Figures

 

Now the big question…to glue, or not to glue? When it comes to my action figures, I don’t like doing permanent modifications—mainly because I use mine for photos, dioramas, and to be costars in my YouTube videos! So for these bookends, I chose the temporary solution of Glue Dots. You can find Glue Dots at most craft stores. They’re quick to use and have certainly made my crafting life a lot easier.

Glue Dots

 

Remove a few glue dots from the roll and place them on the bottom of your action figure.

Glue Dots 2

 

Then place the action figure on the bookend. The Glue Dots will provide just the right amount of stickiness you’ll need.

Gluing Transformer

 

TIP: If you want a more permanent solution, use a drop of super glue on the bottom of your action figures and stick them to the bookends.

 

Once the figures have been attached to their bases, your Action Figure Bookends are done!

Action Figure Bookends

These bookends are a great way to show off your action figures and keep all your books in place!

Action Figure Bookends 2

How-to: Yoda Yuletide Fizz Cocktail

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Yoda Yuletide Fizz

4 slices cucumber

1 oz tequila

1 oz ginger liqueur (you can find this at specialty liquor stores, BevMo, or online!)

1/2 lime

Ginger Beer

Cut 4 thin slices of cucumber

Muddle the slices of cucumber at the bottom of your rocks glass

Add the tequila ginger liqueur, and lime juice to the glass

Fill the glass with ice cubes and then pour the mixture into a shaker

Shake for about 10 seconds then pour the drink into your glass

Enjoy your Yoda Yuletide Fizz!