DIY Drawstring Backpack Tutorial

This tutorial will show you how to make a simple drawstring backpack. I’ve adapted it from Sam DeRose’s great tutorial in Make: Sew a Durable Drawstring Bag.

This particular drawstring backpack features French seams and grommets for extra durability.

Drawstring backpacks are great for taking stuff to work, hiking, shopping, carrying cleats to games, etc., etc. Continue reading DIY Drawstring Backpack Tutorial

are you the light of my life?

On Friday evening, I had a sudden whim to make a lamp.

Evidence:

me: want to make a lamp with me?
Evan: of course I do
me: SWEET

This is the lamp that we made out of garbage, essentially. (click to enlarge)

we made this lamp by ourselves
homemade lamp

And here’s how we made it:

First, we collected some materials and tools:

  • make-a-lamp kit from Canadian Tire
    • this lamp kit assumes you’re making one of those wine bottle lamps, which we weren’t
    • in the future, I’d probably buy the components individually instead of the kit
  • a lamp harp
  • a glass/tile drill bit for drilling holes in glass
  • a CFL light bulb
  • the bottle left over from this delicious limeade
  • four boxes of crappy pencil crayons from Dollarama (4 x 12 = 48; didn’t use black or white)
  • some twigs
  • sticks for a hot glue gun
  • hot glue gun
  • some canvas
  • a wire hanger
  • random crafting wire

… and got to work.

** First things firstEvan is my favourite person to do random craft projects with, because he’s willing to do ALL the dangerous stuff, like drilling glass, lifting heavy objects, mixing hazardous materials, and other things I’m hesitant to try. In fact, he’s not only willing — I’m pretty sure it fills him with manly glee. **

Anyway, first we went outside, where Evan drilled a hole in the bottom of the bottle for the wiring to go through. The glass dust smelled kind of toxic. I regret inhaling it. The cat next door kept trying to hang out with us but I told it to go away because it’s cute and so I wanted to protect it from the glass particles.

Then we had to shorten the pencil crayons because I wanted the crystal-looking part of the bottle to show. Sharpening 44 pencil crayons is no easy task — just ask the blister on my middle finger. 🙁 Eventually, I figured out that cutting the pencils to the right length before sharpening them was much more ergonomic and efficient than trying to sharpen them to half their height.

dollarama pencils, canvas lampshade, lamp, diy lamp, wiring kit
the crystal stuff that i wanted to keep exposed by shortening the pencils

And then we hot-glued the pencil crayons to the bottle. I didn’t feel like using the black and white pencils, so we collected some twigs and whittled them down to look like pencils and glued them into the space that needed filling.

dollarama pencil crayons, twigs, lamp, lamp shade, diy lamp
four of these things are not like the other

Then Evan affixed the lamp components and stuff to the top of the bottle. The lamp looked cool but very, very naked, so I spent a long time Googling “how to make a lampshade” and such, but most of the DIY tutorials assume that you already have a lampshade that you want to make over, which we didn’t. I had no luck finding a good one at the Value Village/op shop around the corner. What to do, what to do???

Here’s what I did:

I fashioned two big rings from the one wire hanger I could find at home, and used some random crafting wire to make a sloppy mounting thingy for the upper ring so that the lampshade could sit on top of the harp thingy. Then I glued the canvas to the wire rings with the glue gun. I didn’t really measure or try to do any part of this with precision, so the fabric puckers in some spots and isn’t a true cylinder. You know, I’m not even sure that the rings are the same size.

poor wiring job
poor wiring job

The whole thing looks tragically handmade, but so does the rest of my workspace, so whatever. It was very fun and it gave me something to write home about.

And so, I leave you with a picture of Kermit praising the godly new lamp.

kermit praising god
kermit praising god

I’ll let you know if the lamp catches fire. I wasn’t very sure about the canvas shade, but so far, so good.

Thank you for reading my blog post. Coming soon… a new story about the Underwear Tiger, who has it out for the wind we had in Toronto on Saturday because it blew the underwear off his head and made him feel very, very naked. Poor baby!