Try This: Mat Marbled Paper for Easy Wall Art!

Easy wall art idea—circle mat around marbled paper! (click through for more details)   I am a sucker for a good marbled pattern. There's something about knowing that that swirl of paint or ink is totally unique and can never be totally recreated again that makes it feel so special. It's the snowflake of the art world. Marbled paper has so many uses—you can use it for cards, paper projects, and even decoupage it onto surfaces to create a new look. I love how it looks on this entryway table makeover that I just did, and I thought that a black and gold marbled paper that I had was just so pretty that I wanted it to be a feature all by itself. I love the look of this adorable pink wall art, so I thought a round mat would suit the framed marbled paper perfectly as well.

Easy wall art idea—circle mat around marbled paper! (click through for more details)   Easy wall art idea—circle mat around marbled paper! (click through for more details)   I bought a large piece of mat board, cut it down to fit a 24x24" frame, and used the top of a planter stand to trace a large circle. Once I cut out the circle with my X-Acto knife, I was ready to frame the marbled paper.

Easy wall art idea—circle mat around marbled paper! (click through for more details)   I moved my cut out circle mat around on my paper until I found the best area of the marbling that I wanted to frame. I then trimmed the paper about 2" out from that circle and taped it in place to the back of the mat. Once I popped the mat into the frame, I was all set!

Easy wall art idea—circle mat around marbled paper! (click through for more details)
Easy wall art idea—circle mat around marbled paper! (click through for more details)   Marbled paper is such a beautiful art form that it only seems right to give it a prominent feature in a matted frame. I love the gold, grey, and black swirls of this particular paper, but of course there are so many beautiful colors and patterns out there to choose from. If you need an easy, but beautiful, piece of art for your wall, I think this could also be the perfect solution for you. xo. Laura

Credits // Author: Laura Gummerman, Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

Homemade Bath Bombs

Fool proof homemade bath bombs via abeautifulmess.com Easy homemade bath bombsOh yes, we went there. And man am I glad we did. I have really been enjoying "testing" these out at home. :)

Bath bombs or bath fizzes are not a new concept. I've seen a number of tutorials floating around the Internet, but if you're not the DIY type, then you can just purchase pretty bath bombs (I recommend LUSH). 

Easy homemade bath bombs I actually went to make some of these around Valentine's Day last month and a couple different tutorials I tried did not produce very good results. One of them actually completely stuck to the molds and I had to chip it out with a fork so I could start over. Bummer! But hey, if at first you don't succeed, sometimes you just have to try again.

On what I had already decided would be my final attempt, I tried this tutorial but changed up the amounts based on how many I wanted to make, and... it worked! I do have a few additional tips if you plan to make these yourself, so check that out below. But now that I've found a method/recipe that works, I'm thinking I should have some friends over for a make-your-own-bath-bombs party. Added bonus: It seriously makes your whole room smell amazing while you make these!

Easy tutorial for homemade bath bombsHomemade Bath Bombs, makes two (you can easily double or triple)

4 oz. baking soda
2 oz. corn starch
2 oz. citric acid
2 oz. Epsom salt
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons water
1 teaspoon essential oil
1 1/4 teaspoon oil (I like coconut or olive oil here)
1-2 drops food coloring (optional)

In a bowl combine the dry ingredients (the first four listed above). Whisk to remove any clumps, corn starch tends to be clumpy. In a small glass jar stir together the wet ingredients (the last four ingredients listed). If you're using coconut oil, give it a quick melt in the microwave or stove top first so it will more easily combine with the other ingredients. Slowly pour the liquid mixture in with the dry mixture, whisking as you go. If you see the mixture fizz or foam, you may be adding the liquid too quickly. Once all the wet ingredients are combined with the dry, take a small amount in your hand and squeeze it together. It should stick together fairly well in one or two big chunks. If it's still too powdery to hold together, just add a tiny bit more water and mix until it does hold together.

Fool proof tutorial for how to make bath bombsThen fill each half of your bath bomb mold* with the mixture until it's just overflowing a little. Press together, then gently remove one side of the mold. Place the bath bomb on a tray and allow to dry out just a little (10-12 minutes) before removing the other side. Once you are ready to remove the other side, gently invert the bath bomb so the uncovered side is facing down, then gently remove the other half of the mold from the top. The key word, if you haven't noticed, is gently. These can fall apart on you very easily if you're not careful. If a bath bomb does crack in half while you're removing it, you can gently press it back on top of the other half, or remove all the mixture back to the mixing bowl and start the molding process again. I had this happen to a few, so don't fret, it's easy to fix.

Once they are completely out of the mold, allow them to dry out for 8 hours or overnight. Once very dry, you can wrap them in plastic wrap and store in a dry place until you're ready to use them, or you can gift them to friends. 

*I bought my molds from Amazon. But you could also use those plastic holiday ornaments that come apart or Easter eggs for the molds if you already have either of those on hand. 

DIY bath bombs (via abeautifulmess.com)    In case you're curious, the flavors I created included: lemongrass (green), lavender (purple), and peppermint (white and red).

You can add dried flower buds, like lavender buds, to these pretty easily. Just remember to use food grade dried flowers to avoid flowers that might have been grown with pesticides as you don't want to soak in a bath with that. No thanks! Do keep in mind that after using a bath bomb with dried petals, you will have to remove these from your tub. So if that bothers you, then leave the buds out.

If you want to create two tone bath bombs, like my peppermint ones, just mix up your batter in two separate bowls and only add the food coloring to one. Easy!

Fool proof homemade bath bombs These turned out to be a lot of fun to make, and they are even more fun to use! I highly recommend giving them a try, or you could make a batch to give away to friends or family. Enjoy! xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

Invisible Bookends

Turn discarded books into invisible bookends for a streamlined bookshelf display.Bookends are a great way to add a bit of style to your bookshelf, but what about when you don't really have room for a big ol' bookend? Or maybe you just want to keep things simple on your bookshelf. I had that problem recently. I needed a way to keep my books standing up at the end of the shelf, but didn't want to clutter things up with bookends, or ugly them up with thin metal bookends like the ones you see at the library. I just wanted my pretty books to shine in all their glory.

Then the thought occurred to me— Why not turn a pretty, forgotten book from the thrift store into a bookend, solving all my bookshelf problems? It's the perfect thin shape, looks great, and is a nice way to give new life to a damaged or discarded book.

Turn discarded books into invisible bookends for a streamlined bookshelf display.See? No, you don't see, do you? That's because my bookends are practically invisible! They blend right into their environment while adding a bit of classic style to the ends of my bookshelf. A wonderful solution. Check out how easy they are to make!

Turn discarded books into invisible bookends for a streamlined bookshelf display.Supplies (for two bookends):
-2 books with 1" spines
-2 thin metal bookends (I used these)
-1x6 board or a board of another dimension to fit your book (see notes below)
-super glue (I used gorilla glue)
-clamps
-craft blade

Selecting Your Book and Lumber Size: My books measured about 5.75" deep, 8.25" high, and 1" thick. It's important to find a book depth that will correspond with lumber standard widths, so you don't have to do any unnecessary cutting of the lumber later. This is why I used a book with a 1" spine. I used a 1x6 board to fill the inside of my book, which really measures .75" x 5.75". This board fit my book dimensions perfectly! How did I know that would happen? Well, I brought my book spine to the lumber yard with me! There's a first time for everything.

If you can't find 1" thick books and need to fill out the inside of your book more, you can also find thinner sheets of lumber below the standard lumber sizes at places like Lowe's. Just stack and glue the boards to your desired thickness.

Turn discarded books into invisible bookends for a streamlined bookshelf display.Step One: Use a sharp craft blade or razor to cut away the contents of the book from its spine.

Feel free to read the contents later! Or discard the pages as I did. I was able to do this guilt-free, because I found my book at the thrift store and figured it was unloved and needed a new life.

Turn discarded books into invisible bookends for a streamlined bookshelf display.Step Two: Wrap the book spine around your lumber to mark where to cut the lumber. I left about a 1/8" gap at the top to achieve a more realistic book effect.

Step Three: Cut the board to the length you marked. If you don't have a saw at home, you can do this at the lumber yard. They will make cuts for you for free.

Turn discarded books into invisible bookends for a streamlined bookshelf display.Step Four: Cover the wooden blocks and metal bookends with moderate amounts of Gorilla Glue, as shown above. Don't get too close to the edges or it will seep out. Gorilla Glue foams and expands as it's clamped, which makes for a strong hold, but a messy final product if you're not careful when applying the glue.

Step Five: Once everything is all glued into place, use clamps to press it all together as the glue sets up. You should use scrap lumber as a buffer between the book and the clamps or the clamps will leave indents in your book. I made the mistake of not doing this, and got some pretty visible denting, especially on my orange book. Thankfully the dents aren't noticeable on my shelves. Whew!

Turn discarded books into invisible bookends for a streamlined bookshelf display.Here are my invisible bookends in action. It's as if my books are saying, "Look, Ma! No hands!" -Mandi

Credits // Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson. Photos edited with Stella from the Signature Collection.

How to Marble with Shaving Cream and Ink!

How to marble with shaving cream and ink! (click though for more details!) Hi, friends! Today I'm here to teach you how to marble with shaving cream. If you've done any type or marbling with water and nail polish, you know how incredibly fast it dries and how difficult it is to get a desired result. It's super fast-paced, almost to the point of being a little stressful. Haha! So when I heard about marbling with shaving cream, I was instantly intrigued because I was hoping there would be a little more wiggle room in the timeframe and control over the finished design.

I've seen it done with food coloring, but was curious how it would work with ink instead. I wanted something a little more permanent so I could possibly use it on other surfaces besides paper in the future. 

How to marble with shaving cream and ink! (click though for more details!)Step 1. Supplies needed: 
-shaving cream
-inks (I used re-inkers from Studio Calico, but any type of bottled ink will work) 
-a toothpick 
-a flat tool like a spatula 
-some plain white card stock  
-rubber gloves are optional but recommended (I completed this project with some ink stained hands that lasted for 24 hours—oops!) 

Step 2. Use a large plate or small baking dish to spray shaving cream on, creating a surface of shaving cream bigger than your paper. 

Step 3. Use a spatula to shape the shaving cream a bit, creating a semi-flat surface. 

Step 4. Pour drops of ink all over the shaving cream. Use as many colors as you like! 

Step 5. Use a toothpick to marble the ink by simply drawing random designs all over the shaving cream and ink. 

Step 6-8. Press the paper down onto the shaving cream. Don't be shy, really press it down in there! 

Step 9. Remove the paper. It should look like this. Time to scrape off the shaving cream. Find a sink or trash can and a spatula! 

Step 10. Scrape off the shaving cream to reveal these beautiful patterns! Don't run water over the paper, it will lighten the ink more than you want. Just scrape the shaving cream off and let it dry! 

How to marble with shaving cream and ink! (click though for more details!)   That was super fun! I made my marbled papers into 3x3" cards for my Messy Book. I really love the finished result! It's pretty cool that they can be made in any color. I'm thinking this would be an awesome method for customizing the edge of a plain white business card! 

How to marble with shaving cream and ink! (click though for more details!)  I dare you to try this! You're going to have so much fun. xx. Elsie 

Credits// Author: Elsie Larson. Photography: Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess Actions

Something New (to Me): Pottery Lessons

Thoughts on homemade potteryHappy Saturday, everyone! Just popping in to share something random with you this weekend. Last month Elsie, our mom, and I all took a pottery class together. I had never used a pottery wheel before and it was just something I had been wanting to do. So of course, I convinced my mom and sister to come with me.

We took classes at Creava School for the Arts, and I have to say, if you're a Springfield, MO local and interested in pottery, I highly recommend you check it out. They even offer date night events. :)

Homemade mugsLearning something new!We made lots of pots and mugs, basically lots of cylinders. :) And I think one of my favorite classes was glaze night as I like coming up with different designs you can make with a wax resistant technique our teacher showed us. Although, not all my attempts worked out exactly how I wanted. But that's sort of part of the fun anyway. 

Pottery classes in Springfield MOSo, what's the point of this post exactly? This isn't a tutorial or a step-by-step guide. Trust me when I say, you don't want to learn this type of pottery from me since I'm just learning myself right now.

I think as I was taking this pottery class I was reminded about a few different ideas that I just sometimes forget, so I thought I'd share.

-Try new things. It's so fun! It's totally fine to not be an expert. 

-Creativity is all about making mistakes, messes and learning. My little pots are FAR from perfect, but I love them and had fun making them. And sometimes, that's totally enough.

-Good craftsmanship is important, but it comes with time. Our teacher stressed craftsmanship and proper technique, and I'm a big fan of learning to do things the "right way." But I also think often we learn the rules so we can break them, but that means you have to know the rules first! And also, good work takes time. If you're not happy with something you make one day, there's always tomorrow. I often get discouraged when I feel like everything I do has to be A+ all the time or else I'm a hack. Which is a lot of pressure to constantly deal with. I think I should move my focus to putting in an A+ effort, and if the work doesn't turn out perfect every time, well, I guess I'm just human. Oh well. :)

-Making stuff is fun. Like, really fun. It was such a relief to get off work on Thursday nights and just go do something with my hands. Just getting out of my head sometimes is good for me I think. 

Taking pottery lessons in Springfield MOIf you've been feeling in a bit of a rut, or just want to try something new, might I suggest pottery? Or you can learn to sew, cook, paint, build, write, photograph, etc!

Anyway, thanks for letting me share my pottery and some random thoughts with you all this weekend. Hope you're having a great one! xo. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions

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