Mi casa es su casa papel picado

Make a coloured papel picado framed print

I’ve been thinking of adding a colourful touch to our guest room for a while now. It’s a very white space, so bright colours will definitely add something to it. Also I wanted to make something that will make my friends and family that will stay with us feel welcome. That’s why I came up with idea to combine a colourful Mexican papel picado pattern with the famous Spanish saying ‘mi casa es su casa‘.

Papel picado

In Mexico you’ll see colourful papercut banners at fiestas or celebrations. They are used as decorations and usually have different designs depending on the occasion. I’m a big fan of the colourful banners, because they really add a party spirit to any place.

You can read more about papel picado and its origin on wikipedia.

Colourful Mexican papel picado banners

Photo by timlewisnm / CC BY

What you’ll need:

Materials

  • picture frame – I’ve found one at a second hand shop
  • spray paint in a bright colour
  • newspaper
  • bronce paint – this is optional, I’ve used it to give a vintage touch to the frame
  • masking tape
  • 1 sheet of thick coloured paper that will fit in the frame – you’ll use this one to cut out the design
  • 1 sheet of coloured paper – this will be the background in the frame
  • a print of the mi casa design – either on the coloured paper or on a seperate sheet

Tools

  • fine sandpaper
  • small piece of sponge
  • stanley knife or craft knife
  • a thick piece of cardboard or cutting mat

To cut out the paper design I’ve used tools that I already had at home: a piece of cardboard  – the back of a sketchbook to be exact – and a stanley knife. It worked for me, but it was hard to get the fine details right. If you want to have a perfect cut, you’ll need to buy the tools for paper cutting.

Instructions

Here’s how you paint the frame and cut out the papel picado paper:

For the frame

The 4 steps of painting a wooden frame

  1. Remove the glass from the picture frame. Get a piece of sandpaper and lightly sand over old paint to rough up the surface a little. This will ensure that the new paint will stick on the frame.
  2. Wipe off any of the dust with a dry cloth, then use a damp cloth to get rid off the last dust. Let it dry.
  3. Cover the area where you will paint with the newspapers. Follow the instructions of the spray paint and apply a coat of paint. Let it dry, this will probably take a day. If needed, apply one more coat of paint, and let it dry again.
  4. If you want to add a vintage touch, put a bit of the bronce acrylic paint on a damp sponge and dab the paint lightly on the frame. Apply the paint only on to a couple of places, such as the corners. Let it dry.

For the papel picado

Cut out the papel picado pattern

  1. Print the papel picado template on the coloured sheet of paper or on a normal paper. If you print it on the normal paper, attach it to the coloured sheet with masking tap.
  2. Place the paper on top of the mat or cardboard and start -carefully!-  cutting out the design. I found out it’s easiest to start with the details and then the larger areas.
  3. Once you’ve cut out all the pieces, check if it’s looking okay. If there are some bad edges, you can use a small siccor to cut away any excess. If you printed the template on a seperate sheet, you can remove it.

Now it’s time to put it all together: clean the glass and place it in the painted frame. Then add the papel picado, followed by another sheet of coloured paper and lastly the back of the frame.

¡Y listo! You now have a colourful and welcoming frame. Of course, you can play around with the colours and design to add your personal touch to it. Have fun making your own creation!

DIY pineapple Christmas tree ornament

This year I’ve finally got enough space at home for a Christmas tree. Now I get to use some of the souvenirs that I bought in Peru earlier this year. So my Christmas tree has now an andean angel, a rainbow coloured chullo (hat with earflaps), and a llama. However, after adding all the ornaments, the tree was still a bit empty and I needed some more to fill it up.

When I came across the idea of pineapple ornaments on Instagram (by Awwsam), I was immediately sold: it’s an easy to make DIY for christmas ornaments, one of my favourite fruits and it’s an extra tropical touch for my Christmas tree.

Pineapple Christmas ornament

What you’ll need:

Materials

  • pinecones (clean and dry)
  • yellow paint (acrylic or spray paint)
  • string
  • green tissue paper
  • all-purpose glue
  • glitters or glitter glue (this is optional, in case you want to add sparkles to it)

Tools

  • scissors
  • small paintbrush

Instructions

Here’s how you make the pineapple ornaments:

  1. Paint the pinecones, and make sure that all the brown areas are covered. I’ve used acrylic paint and I needed quite some layers to cover the pinecones completely. Make sure to let the paint dry between each layer; acrylic paint dries in 10 to 30 minutes. To save time you can use yellow spray paint instead.

DIY pineapple ornament for the Christmas tree

2. This is optional: if you want to give it a festive touch, add some glitter to the pinecones.

Once your yellow pinecones have dried, it’s time to add the leaves.

3. Use scissors to cut pointy leaves out of the green tissue paper. Next, glue the leaves to the top of the pinecone, and make sure that they form a closed circle. Let the glue dry and then you can carefully fold the leaves a bit to give the pineapple a more natural look.

DIY pineapple ornament for the Christmas tree step 2

4. Cut a piece of string, wrap it around the pinecone, and make a knot.

Now your pineapple is ready for the Christmas tree!

Pineapple Christmas ornaments in the Christmas tree

 

What to do with souvenirs? Turn coins into a key chain

Get your foreign coins

Colones, pesos and cordobas are some of the foreign coins I’ve collected during my travels in Latin America. I’ve been saving them in a wallet, and they haven’t really been of much use since I’m back home. I realized I wanted to create something or either get rid of them. Luckily, thanks to my Pinterest addiction I got some inspiration, and I decided to use my foreign coin collection to make key chains. Here’s how I did it.

Coins, key chain, and utilities

Of course it’s all about the money, so get your collection of coins. I also gathered other stuff I wanted to add to my key chains such as bracelets from my university in Mexico, a small piece of bracelet I made in Costa Rica, and the Brazilian Senor do Bonfim. Besides, you’re going to need a couple of key chains. Last year two friends gave me both a key chain, and it seemed a good idea to add some more nice memories, and pimp them. Have a look at a hobby shop if you don’t have any key chains at home.

Chain

Last but not least, you’ll be needing a chain. Have a look at your hardware store to see which chain size suits best. The ring shouldn’t be too big because it becomes too heavy, but they shouldn’t be too small either because you don’t want it to break easily and you’ll need to attach the coins to it. Tools you’re going to need: two pliers. I used one with a needle-nose, the fine pliers, and one slip joint pliers. Later I’ll explain why.

Add holes to the coins

Again, I couldn’t have done this DIY project without some help. This time my neighbour made some holes in the coins. If you don’t have a handy neighbour, you either need all the right tools to drill some holes or go to a smith. The size of the hole should be big enough to put the ring of the chain through it, and at the same time it should leave a bit of space, so the coin can move around the ring.

Use the pliers to open the chain

As you can see the chain I chose is pre-cut which made it easy to open up the rings. All you’ve to do is put pliers at each side of the ring, and twist in opposite directions. If you force it enough, the ring breaks on the line. The best method is to use the slip joint pliers to hold the ring, because you can squeeze it and put more force on it, and then with the needle-nose pliers you’ll twist the ring.

Coin attached to chain

Break the chain in small parts of 7 rings by removing the 8th ring. Then use this loose ring to attach your coin to the small chain at the end, in the middle or, like I did, both. Make sure you close the ring properly otherwise you’ll end up losing your coins.

Mix and match the coins

When you’ve finished your chains with coins you can attach them, and all the other things you want to add to your key chain. The coins and the chain can be quite heavy, that’s why I ended up using just two little chains with each two coins on each key chain.

The final result: key chain with coinsAnd tadaaa! The final result. All my memories of Costa Rica, Guatemala, Panama, Mexico, and even Ecuador attached to my keys. Sometimes my key chains make me feel like a gold digger, but at least now I use the coins daily.

What to do with souvenirs? Turn flags and t-shirts into pillow cases

My collection of flags started in Mexico when my friend Mario gave me a Mexican flag. Being back home in the Netherlands again, one day my mum surprised me with a present: she had turned the flag into a pillow case. I loved the idea! Now I could use the Mexican flag pillow to decorate my couch, and think back of my great time in Mexico while relaxing. Recently, when I was cleaning out my closet I discovered I collected more flags during my travels. Also I had a couple of t-shirts I was very fond off, but I didn’t wear them. Because of the memories I couldn’t throw them away, and immediately thought of the great idea of my mum to turn them into pillow cases.

pillows2

I wouldn’t really call this a DIY project, as I don’t know how to use a sewing machine. Luckily, I’ve got a great mum that doesn’t mind doing me the favour. If you aren’t handy with a sewing machine either ask a family member or go to a tailor in town.

Stitch a piece of fabric to the flag or t-shirt

To turn the flags and t-shirts into a pillow case, my mum stitched a red fabric at the back of it. One side is left open to put the pillow in.

Pillows come in different sizes

Take into account what the size of your pillow case should be. As you can see the pillows have different sizes. The standard size of small pillows is often 40×40 or 50×50 cm, and for bigger pillows it’s 60×70 or 40×60 cm. If you already have some inner cushions at home, measure them to find out what size they are. New you can buy them for example at Ikea. Surprisingly they are called Inner 😉

Pillows add a personal touch

The great thing with these cushions is that they add a personal touch to your place without having to do a big make over. I recently moved to a new place, and didn’t want to paint my room, but with the pillows on my bed it immediately felt like home.