DIY Recycled Cardboard Jewellery Display Tutorial

Cardboard_Jewellery_Display

I don’t know about you, but it’s already March and some of my NYE resolutions haven’t really taken off. Like reducing my yarn stash. Or fitting back into my old jeans. Or decluttering.
Decluttering! It’s amazing how much stuff we collect over the years. I’ve been feeling quite heavy (not literally.. ok maybe a little bit) with things in the last few months.
I was originally planning to get rid of at least one possession every day of the year. That makes 365 things in a year. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

But as things go, I commute between two countries, I have two households, I have a lot of stuff, but not necessarily all in one place. So the decluttering doesn’t always happen when and where I’d like it to happen.
I’m  spending 2 consecutive weeks in the same house this month, so last week saw me frantically rooting through my wardrobes, drawers, boxes, tins – you name it, I’ve probably got something stored in it.

I don’t like throwing perfectly good clothes (jewellery, household items) away, I’d rather swap or resell them, or give them to charity. Time for a trip to the flea market! 

Previous trips to markets and car boot sales have taught me that chaos is not good. Jumble is not good. Nobody will be interested in your things if your stall is one big mess. So this year, I’m being super organised. I’m taking tables to display all the little items, clothes racks for all the stuff I don’t wear anymore.. but what to do with the jewellery?
I could buy a jewellery display. But wait, the whole idea was to get rid of things, not buy more things! So I came up with a quick and simple solution: A cardboard display that can be discarded (you can of course keep it and reuse it later).
I had all the materials at home so it cost me literally nothing apart from a little time. So here’s my tutorial for a super easy, cost effective and environment friendly portable jewellery display.

You will need:

Strong cardboard (an old box does the job)
Scissors
A very sharp knife
Large darning needle
Surface you can cut on

Cardboard_Jewellery_Display_materials

Start by deciding what items you want to display, and how big you’d like your display to be. Cut your cardboard to the desired size using the scissors (I used the knife, but scissors are a bit neater. The knife will leave your edges slighty rough). Next, decide what you want to hang where. Earrings take up the least space, short necklaces can be displayed beneath each other, long ones lined up next to each other.

Cardboard_Jewellery_Display_earrings

To hang your earrings, simply punch a hole for each earring through the cardboard with your darning needle. Make sure to leave some space between the holes so your dangly earrings don’t get tangled.

Cardboard_Jewellery_Display_earrings_tutorial

For shorter necklaces, use your knife to diagonally make one cut into each side of your cardboard like shown in the photo below.

Cardboard_Jewellery_Display_necklace_short_tutorial

For really long or bulky necklaces, cut out an upside down ‘U’.

Cardboard_Jewellery_Display_necklace_long_tutorial_diy

Punch the ‘U’ from the back of the cardboard so it stands out a little bit. Use the ‘U’ like a hook to hang up your necklace. This method also works well for bracelets.

Cardboard_Jewellery_Display_necklace_long_tutorial

Before you hang up all your things, you could also use pens, markers or paint to draw on your cardboard. Once you’re satisfied with how your display looks, decide how you want to hang it. I used metal scarf hangers as their grip is quite firm and they will hold a lot of weight. I can simply hang them onto the ends of the clothes racks and people will be able to see all the pretty things without having to dig through a box of tangled chains. You could of course also just lean them against something, or tie some string through two holes at the top and hang them on a wall. Or use a skirt hanger and hang inside your wardrobe for neat jewellery storage.

Cardboard jewelry display

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Travel in style – Customize your luggage!

Suitcase

I travel a lot. Like, a lot. As in: On a plane almost every week. Most of the time I try and travel light, as checking in a bag when you fly often means waiting ages after you’ve landed to get your suitcase back, and anyone who’s had  their luggage lost on a trip to a foreign country with literally everything in it will know how stressful it is not knowing if you’ll ever get your things back. A few things I have learned over the years are: If you can, travel with carry on luggage only. If you need to check in a bag, make sure you have at least one change of clothes, your toothbrush and any toiletries which you might need to get you through one or two days without your luggage in your carry-on luggage.

The other thing I have learned is: Suitcases all look the same, and for most of them unfortunately that means they look quite boring. Customising your luggage is a fun and cheap way to make your bag look cool, and make sure you never confuse it with that other suitcase on the luggage belt that looked just the same, because it will be unique.

All you need to transform your luggage is:

  • An old suitcase
  • Spraypaint
  • Clear top coat (optional)
  • Masking tape
  • Stencils (I used lace curtain)
  • Fine sandpaper (optional)
  • Newspaper (optional)

If your suitcase is made of plastic, it would be wise to get a spray paint that is made to adhere to plastic, or a primer that will make your regular spray paint stick. My suitcase is made of a strong cardboard-like fiber, so I bought univeral spray paint in two different colours: A matte grey for the background and a neon yellow for the highlights.

Suitcase before

If your suitcase is made of cardboard like mine, or fabric, there isn’t much you need to do before you can start. It is a good idea to clean the surface you want to paint to make sure the paint will stick properly. I used a damp cloth first to get any bits of dust and dirt off, and then wiped it down with a little bit of alcohol. If your suitcase has a plastic shell, it would be a good idea to lightly sand the surfaces down and clean with alcohol afterwards.

Suitcase before

Next, cover anything you don’t want to spray with masking tape and/or newspaper. I am lucky enough to have a garden, but I still used newspaper to cover the ground I was working on.
Use your base colour to spray on a thin first coat. Hold the spray can about 20cms away from your case and spray evenly. I let the first coat dry for about 15 minutes before doing a second coat. All in all I did 3 coats with the base colour.

Half way

If you don’t want to add any highlights or patterns, you’re almost done. You can cover the case with a clear top coat which will make the colours last longer, but if you’d like your case to look worn and a bit battered, I recommend skipping this step.
I wanted my suitcase to be a bit more interesting though, and slightly girly. If you are good at painting, you could either paint something on, or use a stencil. You can buy stencils at any craft store, or make your own from a bit of cardboard.
I really like the current trend of all things lace and doily, so I used a bit of lace curtain as my stencil. You can get small scraps of lace curtain from any fabric or interior design store for very little money.
Cut your lace the size you want the pattern on your case to be and make sure to leave a bit of allowance on the sides. Use the allowance to fix your lace to the suitcase with a little tape to make sure it doesn’t move while you work.
I was very shy with the spray paint on the bottom of the case as I wanted it to be delicate and didn’t want to ruin the pattern by heavily layering on the colour, however when I removed the lace it was a bit too faint for my liking.
So for the top half I sprayed the pattern on just like I did the base coat, and used about 2 layers at the top and 3 at the bottom of the pattern to give it a bit of a faded look. Make sure to not move your lace during the process, I know it is tempting to just have a quick look, but you will never get the lace back into the same position and that will make your pattern look blurry.
Let it dry for a few minutes and then carefully remove the lace without touching the wet lace or pattern. You don’t want the lace to dry on the pattern as it will stick to the surface and smudge the delicate lines.

After

You can see that my pattern is a little bit blurred in places, especially around the wooden decorations, due to the lace not lying entirely flat on the surface. I don’t mind as I quite like how it looks, but if this bothers you, make sure your suitcase has an even surface.

After flat

Let your suitcase dry thoroughly (you will find instructions how long your paint needs to dry on the spray can), and either leave it as it is, or spray on some clear top coat to give the colour some extra protection. You’ll never have problems finding your suitcase on the luggage carousel from now on!

Making ends meet

I love wool. All knitters do (or so I assume) and I am no exception. I find it exceptionally hard to walk past a yarn shop without entering. Usually I leave with at least 2 balls of yarn, already visualizing future projects and possible recipients of my work. And while inspiration is great, sometimes I get carried away. Last winter (it was during the sales though, it was TOO good an opportunity to miss) I bought 15 balls of Rowan Silk Twist, planning to make a jumper or an oversized cardigan for myself. I chose a beautiful gold and ochre shade and couldn’t wait to get home to get started. Once back however another project caught my attention, and another yarn, and all too quickly I was busy making more Kamis and socks and the beautiful bag of yarn lay forgotten in my stash chest. It is now a year later, and winter is almost over again. The yarn is still patiently lying in its bag, waiting for the day when I will finally run out of other projects.

Frustrated that I simply don’t have the time and energy to work on a gazillion projects at once, I have set myself a task: Not to buy new wool this year before my stash at home has been reduced to odd bits and bobs. But what to do when you’re busy knitting a piece and all of a sudden you run out of wool? And you’ve decided not to allow yourself to buy another ball of the yarn needed to finish? You frantically rummage around in your stash to find a yarn that works as a substitute. The results are something like these.

Handknit Socks

You may ask: But why didn’t she simply knit two green cuffs and finish each sock in the other yarn? The answer is: Because I was wrong. I thought I had enough wool to finish a whole pair, but I didn’t. I kind of like the idea of emphasizing a flaw in a piece though. The Japanese fill cracks in ceramics with pure gold to better show the flaw in a piece, and to honour that even something that is imperfect has its very own beauty. The bold green stands in stark contrast to the rest of the colours, and that was exactly what I wanted. I have a feeling that this kind of look will be a thing throughout the year for me. Can’t wait to see how other pieces turn out. I would love to hear about your favourite projects to recycle leftover yarn!