RSS Feed

Category Archives: Tutorials

DIY Yardstick Tray with Printables

Tutorial and Free PrintablesSometimes I’m clever.

Sometimes I’m cheap (OK, a lot of the time).

Sometimes those two qualities come together and such was the case with Use What You’ve Got Project #….? (I can’t remember where I am in this series).

So, like many of us, I have, for several years, been digging all the cool stuff people are making using old, vintage yardsticks.

Also, perhaps like many of us, I have been unpleasantly surprised by the current cost of vintage yardsticks.

I mean, I get it, market demand and such but, no, dear antique-mall shop owner, I do not want to pay $10 for a HOME Depot branded yardstick. Or any yardstick really.

So what is cheapo me supposed to do?

Well, I do have a couple of rulers, scrap-wood, a scanner, rudimentary Photoshop skills, Envirotex and a deep desire to (yard) stick it to the man!

Welcome to my faux yardstick tray tutorial!

I started out by scanning two yardsticks and  a ruler I have on hand.   I used Photoshop to change the colors, add and subtract text etc until I had a good number of  “vintage” yardsticks.

So, with print outs of my rulers, a thrift store tray, some scrap MDF and Mod Podge I was off and running.DIY Yardstick Tray Tutorial Cheltenham RoadOf course -because this is the ONLY way the universe works – my tray is 14 inches long and I can only print 13.5 pieces of paper. But I was not to be deterred!

I cut the MDF into 1.5″ wide by 14″ long strips and and sliced and diced the ruler prints so they covered the entire length of each strip.

I left tiny, little gaps between each ruler and darkened that gap with a black sharpie – so it would look like two rulers butted up against each other rather than just one continuous print out.make your own vintage yardsticksAfter they dried I trimmed away the excess and fit them into the tray. It was a pretty snug fit (I actually measured correctly the first time! This is a rare event, similar to seeing a unicorn or discovering that your appliance broke down while still under warranty so let’s take a moment to celebrate) and I just used a little glue on the bottom of the tray for security.  Also the Envirotex is very strong and will hold them in place as well.

Envirotex starts out as a liquid and like any liquid it will find any tiny crack to pour through.  So using a squeeze bottle I squoze (?) a good line of Mod Podge around the edges of the trayYardstick Tray Tutorial by Cheltenham Roadand then sealed the rest.

I did two sealing coats of Mod Podge – if you miss a spot the Envirotex will discolor the paper.Mod Podge Home Decor Ruler Tray Tutorial Cheltenharm RoadAfter giving the Mod Podge overnight to fully dry all that was needed was to pour the Envirotex and let it cure.DIY Yarstick Tray tutorial

I love Envirotex and find it easy  to work with – but you do have to follow their directions very closely.

And there you go.  A “vintage” yardstick tray that doesn’t break the bank.

If you’d like to use my yardsticks you can click on the links below to save 300 dpi versions for yourself.

Free Printables – Colorful Yardsticks by Cheltenham Road

Yardstick Graphic Print Sheet by Cheltenham Road


Fall Projects, Great Inventors and the Beauty of Ohio

As those of you who are following me on Instagram know I spent the last couple of weeks in Ohio visiting family and enjoying PERFECT fall weather. Fall in OhioI was totally nostalgic for my Ohio roots….. until I volunteered to help rake leaves and then I was, almost immediately, nostalgic for never-fall Los Angeles (and my gardener).

I had a great time and, as always, after hanging around with my family, my creative mind felt totally recharged (possibly overcharged?) and I came back eager to get going on new stuff.

First up I, the king of “really? now? already?…. crap!” put together a super quick last-minute Halloween Decor project for fellow sufferers. It’s my latest tutorial for Mod Podge Rocks.Easy DIY Halloween Centerpiece with free Printables Tutorial

(you may feel they bear a certain resemblance to other, not-so-last-minute candle holders I might have done in the past but these are TOTALLY DIFFERENT!)

Quick and easy with some free printables included.

I’m also trying to get new coaster designs rolling along for the holidays (my goal is one new set a week. Stop laughing) and up first is my tribute to the great inventors.  Ready to go on Etsy.Great Inventors Coasters Set by Cheltenham Road

My brother-in-law, Rich actually suggested this a while ago. I thought it was a great idea and immediately…. waited several months to make it happen…….

All the inventors here – TeslaInventor Coaster Set Nicola Tesla Patent Art by Cheltenham Road Edison, Wright, Bell –Patent Art Coaster Set Great Inventors Edison by Cheltenham Road

And I capped off a busy week by visiting with my good, creative friend Nicki at the Topanga Canyon Vintage Market.

Nicki had some truly terrific, one-of-a-kind things she made.Nicki Huard Creations Rustic Country Christmas TreesI really love these and wanted to steal buy them all!(it took her, honestly, all year to collect enough funnels to make all her rustic Christmas trees)

I mean, they are kind of amazing, all are totally unique and would look so cool as a collection.

Her creativity (and willingness to work her butt off every day) astounds me.Nicki Huard Creations Rustic Decor(If you thought I was a Luddite then Nicki is our queen. She has pretty much zero online presence. If you are desperate – as you should be – to get your hands on some of her stuff drop me a line and I’ll put you in touch with her.)

While there I snapped up stuff for about a dozen different new project myself that I’m itching to get to.Flea Market Finds and big ideas

Finally, in advance, please allow me, The Great Pumpkin, to wish you all a very Happy Halloween!The Great Pumpkin!





I’m All About the Bling – Easy DIY Jewelry Holder Tutorial

So, apparently I – a non-jewelry wearer – am nonetheless a jewelry holder maker. Who knew?

You may recall I recently made a jewelry holder for my friend Karla and shared it as my Mod Podge Rocks project.DIY Jewlery HolderThis got the Muse (Geralyn) thinking and she came up with a variation of her own and another jewelry holder was born!

I may actually go into the jewelry holder business as this to was quick and easy to make.

I started withSupplies for DIY Jewelry Holder Cheltenham Road Tutorial

  • A piece of birch plywood – edges routed (you could just buy a plaque at Michaels if you’re not the routing type)
  • Mod Podge Transfer Medium
  • Hard Coat Mod Podge
  • 6 glass knobs
  • old candle
  • Sandpaper
  • Foam Brush
  • Quote – printed in reverse using a laser printer or copier (bottom line ink jet won’t work)
  • painters tape (somewhat optional depending on your confidence)
  • Pink latex paint (not shown)
  • White latex paint (not shown)


  • aforementioned Router (optional)
  • Electric Drill and bit
  • Forstner Bit (maybe…..see explanation below)
  • better math skills than mine

None of this will be particularly new information to long time readers (my apologies) so you might want to just say to yourself “I got this” and skip to then end (I didn’t hurt myself making it either so you won’t be missing any highlights or anything).


After routing the birch plywood I painted the edges pink and let it to create distressed paint effect

To create the chipped paint effect I used the old candle and rubbed wax along the edges just where I wanted to the pink to show through and applied the top coat of white paint (the white paint won’t stick to the candle wax).

After letting that thoroughly dry I just sanded along the edges to reveal the underlayer of pink and took a really bad picture of it.make a vintage style jewelry holder


Geralyn found this perfect quote from Mark Twain:jewelry holder quote mark twain

I used a font called Forelle (available from Dafont) to create the text, reversed it (key!) and printed it out on plain, legal sized paper, using my laser jet printer.

I applied a good coat of Mod Podge Transfer to the printed side of the paper and then laid it, face down, on the wood smoothing out any bumps or wrinkles – you want good solid contact between the paper and the wood – and left it to dry overnight.Jewelry Holder TutorialIn the morning I used a pretty damp cloth and, after soaking the paper, rubbed it away to reveal the quote.graphic transfer to wood

To drill the holes I laid down a couple of pieces of blue painters tape and marked where I wanted the knobs to go (this is where the patience to do math would serve you well. I kind of eyeballed it and goofed a bit and it came out perfectly!).Jewelry Holder - marking for knobs Cheltenham Road Tutorial

Before installing the knobs I sealed the whole thing with a couple of coats of Hard Coat Mod Podge – just for durability.


This will vary depending on what kind of knobs you’re using. In my case the glass knobs are held in place with nuts. However, I wanted the plaque to hang flush on the wall and with the nuts that wasn’t going to happen. I used a Forstner Bit to drill countersink holes on the back of the plaque. For most knobs you could just use flat head screws to keep them in place and therefore skip this step.Jewlery Holder Cheltenham Road Tutorial

And that was it!  2nd Jewelry holder achieved!Jewlery Holder Tutorial Cheltenham RoadLEGAL DISCLAIMER

This blog does not advocate storing your jewelry on your backyard fence. If your jewelry is lost or stolen due to hanging it on the backyard fence this blog is not responsible.

See, I keep making things that need to be hung on walls. Unfortunately, they don’t tend to be things for me and I’m not keen putting random screws on well-lit walls around my home.

The backyard fence however is totally down with random screwing (difficult to believe but that sentence sounded even weirder in my head) and creates a nice, rustic backdrop don’t you think?Make a Jewelry Holder Easy DIY Tutorial Cheltenham Road

Juggling and a Couple of Favors

I suppose it’s a good sign.

When I worked at the job I hated I’d wake up in the morning and stay in bed until I absolutely had to get up or I’d be late.

Now, when I wake up at some weird hyper-early hour (it’s 3:43AM as I type this) I think “oh, I can get a jump on the day!”

That means I’m happy, right? Eager to get going! I mean, I fall asleep unexpectedly at noon on occasion but I’m happy!

It has been bustling here of late and I have had a bit of trouble keeping all the balls in the air (hence the blog silence) – does that happen to you?

If I get super busy with Etsy and store orders the blog gets back-burnered. I finally got rolling on Instagram and Pinterest fell off the table. New products designs get created but new tutorial ideas and supplies are stacked up in the corners.

….and I really need to go grocery shopping…….I think those fuzzy pom poms in the fridge used to be strawberries……

But lots got done and launched. Here’s the catch-up.  And the first favor.

If you are an Instagram kinda person will you please add me to your roster?  There is a new link over in the sidebar to my Instagram account (I think).  I’m slowly getting the hang of it and I hope to provide fun, interesting content as my skills grow.

I have a new(ish) Mod Podge Rocks project tutorial up for review.

My good friend Karla is a TCM addict who needed a spot for grab-and-go jewelry.Mod Podge Jewelry Holder tutorialIt’s very easy to make and totally adaptable – you can see the whole tutorial at Mod Podge Rocks if you are jewelry wearer in need of a place to stash the every day stuff.

I vended at the big Abbott Kinney Festival last Sunday and came up with a few new coaster designs, among them Vintage Cameras.Vintage Camera Coaster SetI think we’re all well aware of my weakness for vintage cameras and I saw some very cool camera themed wrapping paper at a local store and thought “I could do something like that!” Vintage Cameras Coaster Set by Cheltenham RoadSo I  got busy making my own take on the idea.  It was a lot of fun and I hope fellow vintage camera enthusiasts will like them.

I also continued to tinker a bit with the wrapper (and THANK YOU! to all of you who gave feedback on the last wrapper redesign – I truly appreciated it).Vintage Camera Coaster SetBut there are two big Behind-the-Scenes things going on at the moment.

1) I was accepted to sell on Amazon Handmade which is yet another step in Amazon’s attempt global domination.   They appear to be creating a very cool marketplace and they are VERY intent about making sure handmade means HANDMADE. I had to send them pictures of my workspace and process with very detailed descriptions of everything I do.   TIP: Don’t try to run your table saw and take pictures of you running your table saw at the same time.  Don’t ask me how I know.  I just know.

2) I’m finally  (it’s long overdue) getting a full-fledged Cheltenham Road website up and running. The blog will live there along with (eventually) an online store as well as all the other bells and whistles of a grown up web site. I’m not very adept with web stuff (or phones, or really anything much beyond pen and paper) but I think it’s starting to come together.   I’ll do a big post about it when it’s really ready to go but you can get a little preview if you’d like by clicking here.  And, as my second favor request, if you have any thoughts on things you’d like to see on the new site let me know

So, I hope you’ll bear with me as I learn new juggling skills and, hopefully, in the near future, I’ll be able to keep all the balls in the air at once.

After a nap.


Creepy Halloween Candy Tray Tutorial

DIY Creepy Crawly Hallween Tray TutorialI do realize that some of you may be a bit over-Halloweened at this point.

I also realize that I talked about those candle holders for something like three posts and I apologize.

But, may I beg your indulgence for juuuuust one more Halloween thing? I promise I will then return to our regular programming (OK, there will be more Halloween things but I will spread them out a bit better).

On a whim I bought (using a coupon) one of those coffin shaped trays that they have at Michaels this year.

I wasn’t totally sure what I was going to do with it but then I saw a bag of plastic cockroaches and a plan was born!! (insider secret – that’s how all my plans start – bags of plastic bugs. It’s a quirky creative process but it’s worked so far).

You see, I have very fond childhood memories of making Creepy CrawlersMATTEL_THINGMAKER_TOY_FEATURING_CREEPY_CRAWLERS_SET_4477_BOX_LID

Now, given my, um, less than coordinated proclivities and the fact that a hot plate was involved it’s somewhat surprising I survived the experience and that my memories aren’t of searing pain.LRCreepyCrawlersMIBB_lgBut I digress.

My sisters did not enjoy Creepy Crawlies.

My sisters did not enjoy finding Creepy Crawlies hidden in their sheets.

I very much enjoyed my sisters finding Creepy Crawlies in their sheets!

So, not having actually matured very much since then I thought, “wouldn’t it be fun if when people reached for their candy they uncovered bugs!!!!????!!!!”DIY Halloween Tray TutorialAnd thus my latest Mod Podge Rocks project was born!

It’s pretty dang easy! There is just a bit of patience required as the dry times at various stages can be kinda long.

Also, did you know they still make Creepy Crawlers?! I was amazed. That was one of those toys I thought would be deemed to be far too dangerous these days.

And now I realize I have a trip back home to Ohio to visit my sisters coming up……..oh the possibilities………

Spooky Halloween Candle Tutorial

I would be a lousy scientist.

I don’t like to experiment – I like to execute ideas perfectly the first time.

This, of course, has never happened but I just know I would like it more.

My spooky tealight holders took a lot of experimenting.

I tried small jars (too small!).

I tried red paint dripping down from the top (too silly looking)

As we know, I took a brief ill-advised, foray into glitter (too…ponies and unicorns!)spooky, glowing eye Halloween candle holders by Cheltenham roadI tried mason jars (too – “hey that’s a mason jar”).

I tried using velum for the images (too – um, the toner slides off when you try to mod podge it).

It all made me too – cranky!

But I kept at it and refined it a bit and I think I’m ready to present my final take on making spooky glowing eyed candle holders.

Halloween Decoration Tutorial

They are actually very easy to make but, for some reason, kind of wordy to explain so hang in there.

PLEASE NOTE: these are designed to be used only with electric tealights

Here is the round up of supplies I used:Make creepy candle holders for halloween

  • Glass Candle Holders or jars (can you see them?  sorry.  glass! hard to photograph). Mine are from Dollar Tree. I used only straight sided holders and looked for a variety of heights and shapes.
  • Matte Mod Podge (not pictured)
  • Spray Paint. I used black, grey and some window frosting paint I had lying around. Any color that appealed would do – the cheap stuff is perfect.
  • Rag: the more texture on it the better. It probably won’t survive the process so don’t get too attached.
  • Print outs of dour or un-photogenic Victorians (laser/toner based prints)
  • Foam brush
  • Sand Paper
  • Sharp craft knife

Finding Photos

Flickr is a great source for old photos and I stuck mostly to Daguerreotypes as they tend to be very clear (you can find great collections here and here.)

I looked for distinct faces and prominent eyes. The larger the eyes are to begin with the easier this process is and the better the results. Also, while a whole crowd of glowing eyed spooks sounds awesome – it gets less a lot less awesome as you sit there cutting out tons of little tiny holes. I learned to stick with pics that featured one or two people.

After downloading my faves I resized them to suit my candle holder dimensions and printed them out on plain paper.

Paint the Candle Holders

This part has to be done pretty fast before the spray paint dries.

Working with one candle holder at a time spray the top and bottom pretty thoroughly but just let the over-spray take care of covering the middle (it makes life easier and less messy down the road).Halloween DecorationThe moment your done spraying wrap the candle holder in the rag pressing it into the paint with your hands.Easy DIY Halloween Centerpiece Tutorial Cheltenham RoadGive it just a second or two and then remove the rag.Easy Mod Podge Halloween CraftYou’ll have a nice, decrepit texture.

Using the same rag repeat that process with as many candle holders as you want in as many colors as you want.


While the candle holders finish drying take a craft knife and cut out everybody’s eyes! (upsetting sentence #1).

I learned to go a bit wider than the subjects actual eyes – removing the whole eye socket is best (upsetting sentence #2).Creepy, Glowing Eye Halloween Decor

I focused on using pics of children this time around because my brother-in-law sent me an email after the last blog post saying that I needed more little kids because “glowing eyed evil children are better” (upsetting sentence #3) (also, what is going on with my family?!  They are kinda creeping me out)

Applying the Photos

In my first attempt at these I painted the whole candle holder solid black and then just scraped away where they eyes went.  Result? Glowing eyes but, when the lights were dimmed that was all you could really see – the faces disappeared.  So, in order to get the whole face to glow a bit along with the eyes I found that if I painted the middle lightly and then, using sandpaper, scraped away some more paint it worked out great. Creepy Glowing Eyes Halloween Decor Tutorial Cheltenham Road I didn’t sand away every trace – just most of what was there.  The streaks that remain add some nice dark spots when the candle is turned on.

A quick dry-check to make sure I sanded the right spotSpooky Halloween Decoration Tutorial and it’s time for Mod Podging the pic in place.  Halloween Luminary TutorialI applied one image at a time working my way around the candle holder, smoothing out the image and wiping away any excess Mod Podge.

Once everything dried I added a sealing coat of Mod Podge.

I then went back in with my craft knife and scraped away around the eyes one last time for extra glowiness.

I think they make their case in regular light.  They’d look good as a center-piece or on a mantle.Haunted Halloween Candle Holders by Cheltenham RoadBut dim the lights a bit and let the spooky really kick inGlowing Eyes Candle Holder for HalloweenYou can see how the textured paint allows some of the light through both behind and under the pictures.Dollar Store Halloween CraftsI discovered it was best to get the light up to eye level so for taller candle holders so I used a chunk of wood, a dowel or even a plastic cup to elevate the electric tealight.

Someone at Scare LA suggested that, rather than old pics, you could use pics of ex boyfriends, or your mother-in-law.  Mean! but funny!Glowing Eyes Candle Holders for Halloween by Cheltenham RoadI hope this is helpful.  If I’ve left anything too vague let me know and I’ll address it.


DIY Photo Display and Global Economics

Easy DIY Photo Display Project Cheltenham RoadSo, one of the symptoms of my DIY-illness is that I seldom see something in a store and think “I should buy that!” Instead I almost always think “I want to make that.”

I also want to drop everything and make it RIGHT NOW!

That’s fine but the downside is that I often find myself really, really chomping at the bit to make my version of something that is already being mass-manufactured overseas – which can feel a bit silly. I’m not keen on falling into the category ofwhy make itBUT! (you knew this was coming)

When you DIY it you can customize to make it your own.

That’s my justification and I’m sticking to it.

Such was the case when my friend Aimee pulled me into Michaels, pointed at one of those Maker Market photo display and asked if I could make one for her but in different colors.

“HAH! Perfect justification!” thought I – and got to work. The project also doubled as my latest Mod Podge Rocks Tutorial – so you can see all the steps if you are so inclined.  Spoiler Alert: There aren’t many.

It proved to be fun and sooooo easy and versatile that I actually made several. Some using scrap book paper,Easy DIY Photo Display Tutorial

some using prints of old postcardsPhoto Display Tutorial by Cheltenham Road

and some just painted and distressed.

Shape, size, color – they sky is the limit on these!  So why buy them?!

Cheltenham Road: Undermining the Chinese Economy One Project At A Time

Knick of Time Inspiration Party


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,471 other followers

%d bloggers like this: