How to

DIY Gifting: Gold Graphic Tableware by Tash South

I love giving homemade gifts, but I don't like them to be so very obviously homemade. They can be a bit hit or miss sometimes and can often turn out a bit naff, so I'm always experimenting to try and achieve a modern look.

First up – Inspired by all the really cool gold accented items available at the moment – I have this really easy Four-Step guide to making DIY Gold Graphic tableware. These were definitely the quickest to make out of all the DIY gifts I've experimented with over the years, but still look very impressive!

Inspiration gold! These fab examples are from Gramercy & Co (left) and Amara (Right)

Here goes!

Step One.

Gather your materials, you'll need some paper and making tape and gold spray paint, I use Kobra paints, I find they have really good coverage, and of course the items you're decorating.

Gather your materials.

Step Two.

Tape your shapes. I created a really simple triangular graphic, leaving the area to be spray painted open, and completely covering the rest - spray paint gets everywhere, so make sure you cover every part that you want to keep paint-free.
Experiment with different designs, there is a lot you can do with straight lines! You could try the entire bottom or top half painted gold, or even a wide stripe running down the length of the item.

Tape your shapes.

Step Three.

Spray it! This literally takes seconds, spray on in a fine mist and try to not hold the can too close to the item, this will help you get those clean edges. Leave to dry. Don't forget your gloves and mask and always spray paint outdoors.
(A good tip for not getting spray paint everywhere, is to put the items in a large cardboard box which acts as a makeshift paint booth.)

Step Four.

Remove the tape carefully.

... and you're done!

I've styled my handy-work with these adorable little reindeer I found at Lakeland.

I tried this on mugs and a jug, and although they look great, I would probably prefer to create this effect on items that wouldn't need constant washing up - like a plant or cactus pot perhaps. Although the spray paint is quite hard-wearing, I think it would lose its shine after a while.
In my experimentation, I also discovered that some of the edges didn't come out quite as clean as I would have liked. I would suggest these tips to get a cleaner edge:
1. You have to really press the masking tape down firmly, especially the edges. I used masking tape, but I think something like Frog Tape would be even better for a cleaner edge.
2. Spray the paint on in a light mist – don't spray on loads at a time so that it bleeds under the tape edge. Spray on a couple of layers if you need to, and let the paint dry between layers.

DIY Xmas Gifting Series: Scented Soy Wax Candles by Tash South

Next up on my DIY Xmas Gifting Series are these heavily-scented aromatherapy candles. I do really love the posh ones in the shops though – you know the ones I mean... intensely scented and lovely (and not cheap!)

Not always in a position to be able to purchase the fancy ones as gifts – I decided to experiment to see if I could create something similar at home.

Cire Trudon candles are a favourite of mine.

So here's my Three-Step guide to make your own posh soy candles at home. These are really easy (but still impressive) gifts to make and soy wax is awesome, not only is it much better for the environment, and your health, because it burns cleaner, but it's also so easy to clean up afterwards.

Artificial candle scents are available, and the fragrances are much more concentrated, but I used only essential oils – and suddenly a perfumer – I decided I would create my own Christmas mix! Eucalyptus is one of my favourite scents, I love how fresh and bracing it is, so I used mostly Eucalyptus oil, but I also added Pine, Lavender, frankincense and myrrh to make them all Christmassy.

I bought the soy wax from Amazon in 1kg bags, and to make things simple and to save measuring, I worked out that I could make to make four 300ml candles out of 1kg of wax.

To make Four 300ml candles, you'll need:

  • 1kg Soy Wax Flakes (I got mine here from Amazon)
  • Candle wicks (I got mine here from Amazon)
  • Glue dots to hold the wicks in place
  • Essential Oils or fragrance (per 1kg bag of wax, I used 5 Tablespoons of Eucalyptus, 3 Teaspoons of Pine, 1 Teaspoon of Lavender, and 2 teaspoons of a frankincense and myrrh mix.
  • Containers for your candles (I bought 300ml glass tumblers in packs of 4)

What you'll need

STEP ONE

Put all the soy wax flakes into a bowl and place over a saucepan of simmering water, when melted, remove the bowl from the saucepan and let it cool for about 10/15 minutes before adding the oils or fragrances (If you have a thermometer, the wax should be no more than 185F before adding the oils). If you add the oils when the soy wax is too hot, the scent will evaporate and your candles will loose their scent.

STEP TWO

While the wax is melting and then cooling, fix the wicks into the glasses with the glue dots and measure and mix your oils.

To hold the wicks upright, I pegged the them to skewers laid across the glasses, like below.

I used this trick to hold the wicks upright.

STEP THREE

Add the oil mix to the wax and stir very well to make sure the oils are mixed through, then carefully pour into the glasses and leave until set (a day or two).

And you're done!

I've been burning some of the candles to test them out, and I'm really pleased with the results. Hopefully the recipients of these gifts will like them too! I've made eight so far, and have eight more to make, but now I have the recipe nailed, it's really easy and, I can have them completely done in about half an hour!

I printed some simple labels in a modern font to finish off the gifts.

 

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