Sunday, May 17, 2009

DIY Sunday: Make It Your Own, Whatever It Is

Sadly, I haven't had a lot of time to DIM (Do-It-Myself) lately, but I like to be ready when inspiration strikes. Sometimes, you just want to add a personal touch to whatever you've got going on.

For example, last weekend I thought that I would make a Mother's Day CD for two of my friends who are new moms. This project was inspired by one of the moms, known as Kryptonite, who was looking for some music that might be good for dancing around the house with her new little guy Ian. Ian is fond of "Prison Girls" by Neko Case (he has awesome taste) but Krypto wanted a few new things to add to her repertoire.

As I was burning the CD (more to come this week on that CD, by the way) I thought: hey, instead of writing the tracklist on a piece of printer paper and folding it up, or making the generic iTunes collage CD insert, I could make my own, personalized CD case insert.

When you get these little flashes of inspiration, the key is having the supplies you'll need on hand. Inspiration tends to flit away if it has to wait for you to go to the craft store. Here are some things that I find it's always good to have available for these moments:
Pretty craft paper, glue sticks, scissors, and a variety of colorful pens. Sharpies are one of the world's greatest inventions. You can never have too many Sharpies!

Some other things that are always useful:
  • A glue gun and glue sticks
  • Needle and thread
  • Paper clips/binder clips (another one of the world's greatest inventions)
  • Yarn or wire
  • Old magazines (I once made my mom a birthday card out of cardstock and a picture of Javier Bardem cut out of People magazine. She asked me where you could buy a card like that).
  • An Xacto knife
  • The cardboard envelopes comic books are mailed in - to protect your table when you cut things with the Xacto knife
  • Stamps and ink pads
  • Weird stuff that you find
  • Buttons
This list could be considered a pretty basic stash of craft supplies for randomly personalizing cards, wrapping paper, envelopes, menus, CD cases, manila folders ... the list of paper goods that can be dressed up by gluing stuff to other stuff is endless.

Anyway, I was able to spruce up the CD inserts a bit, sending out some love to accompany my amazing taste in music. Since I didn't have much time, here's what I did:

Step 1: I found some groovy craft paper in my stash.

Step 2: Using the insert from another CD as a template, I cut the craft paper to size.

Step 3: I looked at the craft paper and tried to get some inspiration for the lettering I was going to do. As every thirteen-year-old girl knows, you don't need special pens to do your own cock-eyed calligraphy. Just go for it. The first CD was this kind of mod, anime looking tree with white circles all over it. I used a purple Vis-a-Vis to write in block capitals in the white circles.

The second was a bit more elegant, so I used a regular gel pen to make some swoopy letters following the curve of the bird seen below.

Step 4: I wrote the track listing on the back.

The point is, if you have some stuff around, you can DIY. It doesn't have to be fancy, time-consuming, or expensive (unless you want it to be). I know a lot of people who say, "I'm not artistic. I wish I could make stuff, but I can't." Luckily, artistry has little to do with it (I mean, anyone can cut a rectangle and write on it). All it takes is glue and a willingness to make some mistakes along the way.

Coming up: I'm heading off to Atlanta this week so I'm going to check out whether I catch any green goodness in the heart of the south. Also, look out for a new feature: The Auntie Chronicles: Parenting Advice for People Who Aren't Parents. First up will be some more info on that baby CD I made for little Ian and Rowan.


Darci said...

You are the best auntie :) Thank you!

Catfish said...

Just wait 'til tomorrow's post!