Gift ideas

DIY Spray painting a picture frame

rachel spieceMy lovely friend Rachel celebrated her once in a lifetime champagne birthday last weekend. I knew I wanted to frame one of our travelling photos for her in a bright yellow (her fav colour) frame. After much searching, I quickly realized that bright yellow frames are ridiculously hard to find. Instead, my spray paint addicted roomie inspired me to go with the DIY approach.

DSCF3435 copyMaterials:

Picture frame – I picked up a 24×36 Umbra one from Blacks.

Spray paint – I just grabbed a can from Canadian tire. I used Rust-Oleum 2x cover and it worked out pretty well.

A hi-res photo – I decided to pick a photo I had taken of the Eiffle Tower in Paris that had Rach discretely in the corner. I then asked all of our favourite travel friends to send me messages for me to incorporate into the picture.

Garbage bags – to protect your flooring as the spray paint goes everywhere

Tape – to take your garbage bags down

How to spray paint a metal frame:

1. Tape down garbage bags. It’s best to do this outside where air can circulate as the fumes from the paint are toxic.

2. Take the backing and glass out of the frame. Just lay down the parts that you want painted.

3. You can use primer as a base, or sand down your frame slightly so that the paint will stick better

4. Read the instructions on the back of your can to know how far away you should be spraying

spraypaint picture frame

5. Let it dry and repeat if you want the colour to be more true, or if you noticed that you missed some spots.

TIPS

  • Avoid painting on a windy day. I had some issues with dirt and residue blowing around and sticking to my frame.
  • Avoid spraying to closely as the paint will go on very thick and will be more likely to drip down the frame.
  • Make sure you give yourself enough time for the frame to dry. I ended up having to wrap up a frame that was still a little ‘tacky’.  

The photo

I typically print my photos at Blacks, but it will usually take them 5-7 business days to print a large poster size. If you’re in a rush, most print shops that have printers on site are able to do it for you in a couple of hours. Note: Often they will charge you a service fee if you bring the file in on a USB/CD to print rather than uploading it yourself online.

Since I was using a photo from when we were in Paris together, I thought it woudl be fun to ask our friends that we met there to include little messages for her to personalize it a little bit.

paris poster gift idea

The finished product!

DIY spray paint picture frame travel poster

Of course I had to wrap it in bright yellow wrapping paper. 

IMG_6058 copy

My bestie LOVED the gift! Thanks to our awesome friends Jeff, Katie, Alex and Liam for helping me put a smile on her face!

DIY spray paint picture frame travel poster Ngoc Nguyen DIY spray paint picture frame travel poster

I also pulled out my trusty kitchenaid mixer to whip together some yellow cupcakes. Fun tip: Use a package of pudding mix to make the cake extra moist.

colourful cupcake wrappers

I love these brightly coloured cupcake wrappers.. however does anyone else notice that after baking.. they all turn into muddy ugly colours?

colourful cupcake wrappers

Best part about baking? Definitely licking the batter!

Ngoc Nguyen baking

I think I’m addicted to spray painting now and will definitely be making a few more big prints for my room. Thanks again to our Paris super group for helping me with this gift!!

DIY Sharpie Mug

With the holidays just around the corner (EEEKKK less than a week until Christmas!!), I’ve spent many hours on pinterest looking up potential gift ideas. In my perfect martha stewart world, I would be giving everyone beautiful gift baskets filled with delicious cookies and hand-made crafts. Unfortunately, of my list of crafts, I only got around to making one of my pins. The Sharpie mug.

 

My co-worker and I were tossing around ideas about what to get our supervisor when we settled on a coffee themed basket. And of course, a custom mug would add the perfect touch! I had envisioned Ontario with a plane flying over top taking some hi-res orthophotography of the province. And since he loves ‘metadata’ so much, we knew we had to incorporate that into the mug somehow. This is what we came up with. mugdraft
After getting really excited about our craft project, we decided to look up craft fails to see how others faired with similar projects. DISASTER. I quickly learned that regular sharpies NO NOT WORK! The consensus seems to be that oil-based paints were the way to go so off I went to Michaels to pick up supplies. I picked up these oil-based Sharpie paint markers for $4/each and this white ceramic mug from Walmart for $3. whitemug
After doing a few practice drawings, we came to the sad realization that our artistic abilities resembled that of a first graders. How is it that things always look WAY BETTER in your head than they do on paper? We decided to try a less ambitious design. Even then… I’m horrified by our inabilities to draw a nice circle. carrie
Here’s what they looked like before putting them in the oven to bake.metamug
We also included one of his famous quotes on the side.operators
While I was at it, I also made a mug for my grams. For this mug, I attempted to draw each of the cousins. I’d say it was moderately successful. grammaMug
The next step was to throw it in the oven to set the paint. Put the mug in and then turn the oven to 350 degrees and once it reaches this temperature, leave it in for another 30 mins. Once your 30 mins is up, leave it in the oven to cool down.
mugbake

So I can’t say for sure how long the design will last but I gave it a quick rinse under water and the paint seemed to stay on ok.

To complete the gift, we picked up a little basket, a bag of coffee from Natas Cafe, and a box of amazing truffles from the Naked Chocolate. Check out my other post for photos from my visit to the Naked Chocolate.