Tutorial for my Gumball Machine Betta Tank

 Taking this $25 (key-less) vintage gumball machine that I bought on Craigslist from this…  …To this!    The obvious (but unnecessary) is the paint, but I just couldn’t handle the incredibly dated look of the green and the wooden base, so I had to paint!

 Like I said, I bought it on Craigslist on the same day I decided to try something like this. There were a few listed, but this was the cheapest because the key no longer worked. Anyway, I hauled it to a locksmith and he said he couldn’t help because he didn’t work with that style of locks. Just wonderful, considering I didn’t have a plan B.

Luckily for me, my boyfriend pretty much has a whole shop full of all sorts of tools and was able to drill it out fairly easily. Any auto shop will have the drill needed for that, so for those of you that aren’t quite as fortunate, I’d recommend taking it in there and asking for them to drill this. (I didn’t do this part so I’ll get these details soon and update later.)

Once the key and center bar were drilled out, it was really simple to disassemble, so this is where I took it apart and painted with some basic multi-purpose spray paint from Lowe’s. I also bought silicone sealant and one sheet of thin plastic-y fiberglass, nothing too heavy duty since I’d have to saw through it myself.

While my painted pieces were drying, I put together the base of the tanks starting with something I already had in my kitchen, corks! I just cut then in half because it so happened that they were the exact height I needed.I mounted set the cork pieces up to support the fiberglass I was about to cut. Not the greatest picture but the fiberglass couldn’t be laid on the bottom because of the holes supporting the metal prongs and the massive gap the extends into the wall of this piece. The corks work perfect because they can be cut and sized easily. They aren’t super aesthetically pleasing here but I knew I’d cover this up with gumballs anyway. Next I measured out the shapes for the fiberglass by tracing and cut into it with a jigsaw. You have to do a really good job of supporting it evenly though, or it’ll snap (see under my outlined shape). It’s easier if you have someone handy with tools helping you ๐Ÿ˜‰This part really does look like a finer art than it actually is. Mine wasn’t even close to symmetrical when I finished, and the edges were all jagged, but as long as it fits into you’re base piece with just enough space for the sealant to fill any gaps here, you’re golden!

 The sealant I used is pictured above.

You’ll then seal the fiberglass to the gold base piece with the fish tank sealant. One thing to note is you actually want to paint the seal all along the metal rods to avoid rust. This is super time consuming and sticky. And it sucks because by now you are probably just wanting to throw some fish in, but trust me and take your time. I had to do mine two or three times before it was covered completely, and I definitely had some rust issues because of it. I suppose you could do this step with a brush or something, but with the angles and how sticky this stuff is, I found it easiest to use my hand. Don’t do this step if you have a fancy dinner or anything planned. You may have goo on you for a little while…

After this, my pieces had dried, but I waited overnight before assembling. You should have five distinct pieces– the wooden base with the individual bases for the quarters to be stored screwed in, two separate globes with gold base sealed to the bottom, and two lids.

The pieces just fit together, but you could seal them together too. I didn’t, because it makes it much easier to clean when you can just pull the globe part off of the base (where the money would go) and carry it wherever to clean. 

I also bought some mini led tealights off of Amazon. They were intended for wedding decor or something I believe, but since I didn’t want any random wires hanging out the back of my tank, they were really the best solution I’ve come up with. I actually just hot glued two to each lid. They are twist-on lights so they can be turned on still when glued down, and they’re super cheap so whenever they run out, I just glue new ones in. I rarely even turn the lights on honestly, but I wanted something. If I come up with a better solution for lighting I’ll update this!To finish it off, I really wanted to put gumball shaped rocks in the tank. It took some major scouring on the internet, but I finally found the perfect solution! Jumbo Chinese checkers marbles. I found this wonderful seller on eBay with some perfect sized ones, and actually got a discount for making a double order, so yay! ๐Ÿ™‚ I found one order per side to be just perfect just FYI. More wouldn’t hurt though! The site for those marbles is below. 

http://m.ebay.com/itm/400911244169

Please let me know if this is at all confusing! Thanks for reading. I’d love to see pictures if anyone else makes their own! 

My DIY couch, end table, and fish tank

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I finally have my living room put together for the most part. There were a couple different projects that came into play here. First, I had bought this couch on craigslist for $60 but it didn’t have cushions. With about $50 in supplies (foam, fabric, batting), I was able to finish my couch. I made the end table by replacing the top of a glass end table with a vintage suitcase. Storage, and a bit of a traveler’s flair:) Last but not least, I bought the gumball machine on craigslist. After cleaning it out and having the lock removed, I sealed it to make it water tight. Now it’s a dual-sided betta fish tank!

Senior Night Poster

My younger sister is a senior in high school this year. She plays basketball, and just a few weeks ago was her senior night. The parents of all the seniors were given the task of making a poster full of pictures of their kids growing up, and since I love scrapbooking, my mom passed the responsibility on to me. The whole event was decorated pink in support of breast cancer, so this is what I came up with. It’s now hanging on her wall, so she must’ve liked it enough. Plus, I must admit that it turned out far prettier than all the other posters there. And all it took was a few scrapbook pages I had laying around, a poster board, some basketball buttons, a newspaper, ribbon, clothes pins, and a couple $1 bouquets of ugly silk flowers. Okay, sounds like a lot, but it did turn out pretty, like I said. And beats the standard school presentation style poster boards.
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Close up of the flowers

Close up of the flowers

Disney Bachelorette Party Invitations

I’m sure if you’ve read my earlier posts, you know that my older sister is getting married this January. Being the super-wedding-obsessed person that I am, that was great news for me. I actually love weddings so much, that I decided to become a certified wedding planner this summer through the Bridal Society. Anyway, enough of that little tangent. The other thing that meant for me, as the bridesmaid/maid-of-honor is that I would need to make a speech on the wedding day, and host a bachelorette party. The speech is still in the form of a very, very rough draft, but the bachelorette party has been a work in progress for quite a few months now.

There were a few complications in planning this event, which I will go into detail about in my next post with pictures from the actual party. One thing I was sure of, though, was that I wanted to do a Disney princess theme for the event. Disney was something my sisters and I grew up on, so it just seemed appropriate, but obviously we didn’t want a three-year-old birthday party. We planned on going to a pole dancing class, serving cocktails, and having a lingerie shower. So I decided to make the invitations to fit that theme. Again, if you’re curious about how all of this came together feel free to see my next post.

So the picture above is of the front side of a couple of the finished invitations. I used scrapbooking paper scraps to cut out little lingerie shapes and piece them together, added some wirey-looking thread, embossed some words on the front and stuck it all to a piece of glitter paper. I loved how they came out. And in case you can’t read it, it says, “Ashley has found her Prince Charming.” A little cheesy, but hey, I like cheese. ๐Ÿ™‚

CAM00416Like I said, I drew and cut out each individual shape for the tiny bras and whatnot. To the left are the little shapes I cut out. Obviously, I embellished them a bit with little beads, gems, flowers, and bits of ribbon and tulle. Whatever I had, I made use of. And since I’m a scrapbooker, I had a lot of options. I could see someone who doesn’t have the materials already spending quite a bit of money trying to get all the different elements and colors, but there are perks to all hobbies. I guess this is the one for scrapbookers.

On the inside I printed out some little itinerary pages and other random information and tried to make it look fairly cutesy. Then my grandma made some envelopes for me out of plain brown paper bags (which I thought was brilliant) and I sealed them with a tiny Cinderella show sticker I made with more scrap paper and of course, glue. You can see all that in the next few pictures, along with the addressing technique I used, which gave me no issues surprisingly. I was worried if I addressed the envelopes too differently, they wouldn’t make it to their destination, but that wasn’t the case. So moral of the story is don’t be afraid to get creative with the envelopes too. ๐Ÿ™‚

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So there you are. I like to think the idea was relatively unique, and I’ve gotta say, the entire party went even better than expected. We had a great time! Like I said, have a look at my next post if your curious about how to turn a kids’ theme into an awesome adult party. ๐Ÿ™‚

Disney Bachelorette Party Invitations

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I decided I would make an attempt at a Duct Tape dress of my own. The stakes were low; after all, it wasn’t like it was for my senior prom or anything. I had no vision in mind, except that I wanted to make it out of neon colors obviously. So I set out to buy what I needed. Three rolls of Duct Tape did the trick. I bought the bigger rolls, but I’m not sure on the exact size. It cost me a total of less than $10, if that helps you determine the size of the Duct Tape rolls. I also went to the dry cleaner across the street from where I worked and asked them for one of the bags they put suits and dresses in on their hangers. Then I got back to my dorm and got started.

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So let’s recap what you’ll need:

  • 3 large rolls of the Duct Tape of your choice (more or less depending on the size and length of your dress)
  • a dry cleaner bag
  • Scissors
  • Yourself (or the person that is going to be wearing the dress)
  • One other person to cut you out of your costume if you’ll be wearing it yourself

Step 1: Make arm holes in your dry cleaner bag and make the neck hole bigger if necessary. Then put the bag on over your head. If possible, don’t wear any loose-fitting clothes, as this will mess with the shape of your dress. I went with a sports bra and spandex as you can see. I didn’t actually take a picture of this step…

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Step 2: Start taping around the smallest part of your waist. I found that it was easiest to use 8-12 inch strips of tape and wrap them a little at a time instead of trying to completely circle around your waist in one strip. This step is where the picture sequence starts.

Step 3: Keep working upward from your waist to start forming the boobs. In order to make sure it stays your shape and doesn’t slip away from you, you’ll want to curve the tape from your sides, around the bottom of your boobs and to the middle point.

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Step 4: Just keep taping upward until you reach the neckline you want. Don’t worry about having perfect edges or exactly the shape you want. You can always trim later. Just get the overall shape you’re going for.ย I wanted a sweetheart neckline more or less, so that’s what I went for. ย Make sure as you go, you’re also taping around the back.

Step 5: Start taping downwards from your starting point to finish off your torso piece. Make sure you aren’t trying to put the pieces on at a perfectly straight angle because you’ll get bulges and the tape won’t connect to itself properly.

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Step 6: This is where you’ll need some help. Have a friend or family member cut down the back of your dress right along your spine. You’ve made this form-fitting, so make sure it’s someone you trust not to cut you open as well. ๐Ÿ™‚

Step 7: Now you can start making your skirt. I made several attempts at this one before getting it right, so you can tell my work is a little sloppy from my frustration. I’m sure you’ll do better. ๐Ÿ™‚ I wasn’t even going to consider re-doing it after I figured it out though. That would have meant a lot more tape, and more time than I wanted to spend on this project. Anyway, a basic circle skirt is what I decided would work best, so I started laying out the tape in that shape.

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Step 8: Keep forming your circle skirt. Again, mine was super sloppy and more oval than circular, but with a little cleaning up at the end, it turned out just fine.

Step 9: Stand your torso up on top of the skirt to determine the size of hole you’ll need to leave in the center. I made mine a good 1-2 inches smallerย than the torso so that it would sit just above where your torso piece ends. You don’t want it falling off. Also, keep in mind you’ll be taping yourself into your dress, so you’ll be able to adjust as you go.

Step 10: Now there’s a lot of trial and error you’ve gotta go through to figure this thing out.

You can see I’ve got a few pieces sticking up funny, probably because I was working sloppy. I would have someone tape your torso back on so you can really envision everything. Then you can see what needs to be changed.

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Step 11: Make sure all of the major problems are fixed.

Step 12: I decided to add yellow to border the skirt and blue along the waistline to give it a more pulled together look.

Step 13: Again, I’m just adding finishing touches. Here I put a few strips of blue along the neckline to give it a more finished look. Then I threw on some yellow rubber rainboots just to accessorize.

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Step 14: I still thought it was missing something, so I added a giant bow on the back of the skirt and a smaller one above one boob. I should have thought to make a how-to on the bows, but I didn’t. Maybe I’ll make another post for that, but for now I’m going to recommend Googling it. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Step 15: Tape your dress back up on the day you’re gonna wear it and enjoy!

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Duct Tape Dress Tutorial