Upcycling Lipstick Tubes

National Lipstick Day! 5 Ways to Upcycle old Lipstick Tubes!

In honor of National Lipstick Day (yes July 29th… another weird made-up holiday), I have found a way to put to use those amazing swivel-ey wands of beauty. Hooray!

I’ve got a LOT of old lipstick tubes sitting around. They’re mostly one brand — I’m a creature of habit when it comes to makeup. Mine are Estee Lauder, and they’re very prettily designed, and made of metal. I hate throwing them out, and over the years have collected quite a vast number of them.

Here’s a great upcycle of your old lipstick containers. They’re, obviously, the perfect size for popping in your purse, they’re great for travel, and that twisty-action is pretty cool for storing other items. Examples: Sewing Kit, First Aid Kit, Pill Dispenser, Toothpick Holder, Match Container, Bobby Pin Holder… go crazy!

You’ll need:

  • Old Lipstick Tube
  • Chopstick or small dowel
  • Q-Tips
  • Alcohol
  • Paper towels
  • Toothpicks

For Sewing Kit:

  • small piece of felt
  • safety pins
  • thread
  • needles
  • straight pins

For First Aid Kit:

  • Band Aids
  • Alcohol wipes
  • Pain Reliever

For Other Container Uses:

Whatever you want to carry in your lipstick tube, e.g. toothpicks, bobby pins, breath mints, pain pills.

Cleaning Out Lipstick Tubes

This is, by far, the most time consuming part of the process. To start, I highly recommend REALLY using all the lipstick in the tube. Most lipsticks twist all the way out and are flush with the outer sleeve of the tube whilst still having at least 1/4″ of product still in the tube… sometimes a LOT more! To get the most out of your initial purchase, get a lip brush, and apply the lipstick with a brush. My lipsticks last a few months more than if I didn’t use this method.

If you use the lip brush method before getting to the upcycle, you save yourself a lot of work.

Once you have a pretty much empty tube, clean out ALL the leftover lipstick. I start with a chopstick,

then a paper towel soaked in alcohol,

then q-tips,

then toothpick,

and finish with more alcohol-soaked paper towels.

See how much lipstick comes out? Really spend the time cleaning.

Make a Travel Sewing Kit

Cut a small strip of felt, about 2″ x 4″

Roll the felt into a tube and test-fit in the lipstick tube. Trim if necessary.

Attach your sewing kit items:

Safety pins, straight pins, needles and thread

Roll the felt into a narrow tube, and slide into the cleaned out lipstick tube.

You’re done!

Make a First Aid Kit

Create a roll of kit items, using the band aids or alcohol pad as the outer layer.

Roll up the items and slide into your lipstick tube. Instant emergency first aid kit!

Fill Tube with Other Important Stuff

Simply fill the cleaned out tube with other important but falls-to-the-bottom-of-the-purse/pocket/suitcase stuff.

Place Toothpicks, Bobby Pins, Matches, Pain Pills, Breath Mints inside the fully lowered lipstick tube.

Enjoy this new container of organization.


I first made one of these when I was a kid, and forgot about them until a few years back. I love that I’m not throwing away a groovy, mechanized container, and the organization that these pretty little tubes provide is fantastic.

Anyone out there who are looking for something more “manly” or unisex to carry… you can also use Chapstick or other lip balm tubes the same way.

What other uses might you find for leftover tubes? Let me know in the comments.

Dollhouse Bookcase: Beach Cottage, Brick Row House — Cute Ikea Hack

Dollhouse Bookcases P1060242  

I really LOVE this project. There are endless possibilities for design and décor… you can build your dream house, try out designs you’d never do ‘in real life,’ and more than anything… have a blast.

Beach House Hero Straight P1060276

When I began this project, I had intended to make a Dollhouse Bookcase… rather than a Bookcase Dollhouse. (One being a place that looks like a house, where you can display books and objet d’art, the other being a house for dolls that is made from a bookcase.)  But as the pieces progressed, I decided to make one of each. (Click here to see video of the bookcases on Home & Family!)

Brick House Hero P1060236

Variations I’d seen were very pink and very fancy, and designed for a little girl’s bedroom. I wanted to stretch the capabilities of a cabinet. Who says a boy can’t have a place to house his books? Why can’t a chic city-dweller use this architecture-inspired repository to shelter her curios?

A beach cottage and a brownstone house were my choices.

Beach House Materials:

Photo: Ikea

Photo: Ikea

White Ikea “Billy” 41 ¾” tall Bookcase (or comparable)

4 Foot Pine Board 1” thick by 12” wide (NOTE as this is “dimensional lumber,” the actual size of a 1-by-12 is ¾” x 11 ½”. Go figure.)

4 Foot piece of Decorative Molding

Picture frames for Windows


Wood Glue

Glue Gun


Wood Putty

White Spray Primer

Acrylic Paints – Turquoise, Apple

Laser-cut picture frames

Wooden craft sticks or popsicle sticks/tongue depressors

Bead-board style panel


To cut holes for windows, measure and mark outsides of bookcase. Drill 2 holes at opposite corners inside the border, to create starting point for jigsaw blade. If using the Ikea bookcase, I highly recommend taping the surface of the board, to reduce tear-out of the board finish.

Drill Window Holes P1060106

Cut Window Holes P1060108

Tape Window P1060102

For a more finished look, putty and paint the inside “sills” of the windows. Remove tape. Glue picture frames to outside.

To make Roof:

Cut 1” x 12” in two pieces, one at 24” long, one at 23 ¼” long.

Drill Holes P1060010

Drill 3 holes along the short face side of the 24” board.

Drill Pilot Holes P1060014

Butt the shorter board up against the longer one at a perpendicular angle, drill pilot holes.

Screw roof P1060062

Finished Roof P1060066

Glue the two boards together, secure with screws. Putty holes if desired.

Prime and paint.

Cut decorative fascia molding and attach to front of roof edge, using hot glue.

Attach Roof P1060149

Screw roof onto bookcase house at inside corners of bookcase.

Atop Beadboard P1060135

Lay bookcase house atop bead board panel, square up cabinet. Trace outline onto bead board, remove house and cut along outline.

Attach Beadboard P1060171

Attach to back of house with screws (best to drill pilot holes before screwing).

Popsicle Stix P1060170

To make fence pickets, cut rounded edges to a point, and straight cut the opposite end.

Picket Fence CU P1060191

Glue fence pickets along the side of house.

Adorn with shells, sea glass, etc.

Interior Beach Ttop P1060209

Beach House Hero Side P1060260

Picket CU w Stuff P1060256

Brick Cottage Materials:

White Ikea “Billy” 41 ¾” tall Bookcase (or comparable)

4 Foot Pine Board 1” thick by 12” wide (NOTE this is “dimensional lumber,” but the actual size of a 1-by-12 is ¾” x 11 ½”. Go figure.)

4 Foot piece of Decorative Molding

Picture frames for Windows


Wood Glue

Glue Gun


Cellulose Sponge

Gray Spray Primer

Acrylic Paint – Brick Red, Chocolate Brown

Roofing material

Wood 2” x 2” cut at 8” long at 45° angle

Trellis fence material



Apply gray primer to exterior sides of bookcase. Let dry.

To make brick detail, cut cellulose sponge with a serrated knife to 4 ¼” x 1 ½”.

Mix Brick Paint P1060034

On a ceramic or plastic plate, pour out brick-colored acrylic paint, spread out on plate. Add a few drops of chocolate brown to add dimension and variation in brick color. Dip sponge into paint to cover the stamp ‘face.’

Finished Brick Stamp P1060039

Beginning at the bottom of side of bookcase, place sponge “stamp” to create first row of bricks. About ¼” to ⅜” away, apply another sponge stamp of paint. Repeat, until first row is complete. Re-apply paint as needed to fill any gaps or blank spots.

To make next row, place sponge ¼” to ⅜” above the top of the first brick line, and center the sponge above the ‘grout line’ of one of the bricks from the first row. This will give your wall a staggered brick look. Continue with the rest of the row. Repeat until the bottom half of the house is covered in bricks. Let dry.

To make Roof: (Same method as Beach Cottage, above.)

Cut 1” x 12” in two pieces, one at 24”long, one at 23 ¼” long.

Drill 3 holes along the short face side of the 24” board. Butt the shorter board up against the longer one at a perpendicular angle, screw the two boards together. Putty holes if desired.

Glue on Roofing P1060185

Cut roofing material to size, adhere with hot glue.

Attach Chimney P1060187

To make chimney, paint pre-cut eight inch wooden 2“ x 2” using brick pattern. Attach to roof with screws.
Adhere picture frames to exterior ‘wall’ for windows.

Trellis Fence CU P1060190

CU Brick Side P1060270

Make your own trellis fence, or find at a craft or hobby store. Secure to house and weave in faux ivy.

Hero Both w Brick Side P1060275

Interior Dollhouse CU P1060272

Use scrapbooking paper as wallpaper. I even had vinyl flooring scraps for the floors!

Bathtub P1060245

I envision making a series of these… seven-foot bookcases, lined up side-by-side, each decorated a little differently. Use as bookcases, maybe fashion some bookends that look like railings… add some steps… a perfect row-house neighborhood in my own library. A gal can dream, can’t she?


Wait. Is that a skeleton in the attic?! Enjoy!

“Shirt” Gift Wrap a Bottle for Your Man – Father’s Day, College Grad, Birthday, Any day!


Here’s a quick, but super-handsome method to wrap a bottle for a man.

Caution: Don’t use one of HIS shirts for this one, or your gift may be received in a less-than-welcome fashion.

You’ll need:

One long-sleeved dress shirt (makes two bottle-wraps!)

Spray starch

Rubber band

1-1/2” wide ribbon


Iron the shirt sleeves and cuffs, use a little bit of spray starch to really make the finished product look perfect.

Place shirt on table, lay bottle on sleeve, with the top of the bottle about 1” below the edge of the cuff.  Measure about 4” below the bottle’s bottom, and cut sleeve off.


Turn the sleeve inside out, secure the bottom with a rubber band.  Place bottle inside the sleeve to verify you have the right length.

Slide rubber band close to the bottom of the bottle, as shown.


Once you’re satisfied with the height of the sleeve, remove bottle and cut away excess fabric. Turn sleeve right-side out, and insert bottle.



Note: If you’re giving a bottle of wine or champagne, the punt at the bottom (that’s the dent in the base) will accommodate the gathered fabric. If you’re giving a flat-bottomed bottle, you’ll have to sew the fabric, to minimize the ‘bump’ on the underside.


Add tie-ribbon to bottle, using the four-in-hand knot. It’s pretty easy, find out how to tie it here:

http://www.wikihow.com/Tie-a-TieShirt Bottle Wrap

Adjust tie and “collar,” trim ribbon-tie if necessary, and present your gift. Works beautifully for a wine bottle, but equally good with a nice bottle of scotch, fancy flavored vinegar, even aftershave!

GREAT TIP: Reserve remaining shirt fabric, cut into squares, and make into sachets for him. Fill with lavender (great for repelling insects, not too girly-smelling). Other unisex scents include peppermint, citrus and cinnamon.

DIY Mirrored Dresser

Photo: Pottery Barn

MIrrored Dresser

I’ve been infatuated with these mirrored furniture pieces since they started popping up a few years ago.  Fabulous in an art deco boudoir, and equally welcome in a glitzy dining room, mirrored furniture expands and brightens a room.  I’m not one to succumb to trends, and perhaps this could be a tad trendy, but oooh… it’s so pretty!  The price tag to purchase, however, is prohibitive.  The really beautiful ones start at $800 and go up into the thousands.  Tack on shipping (usually $130 and up), and that’s one pricey piece.

My dresser on set at Home + Family.

My dresser on set at Home + Family.

I wanted to see if I could come up with something cheaper and more pride-worthy on my own.  Truth be told, it’s a VERY easy project.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Used or new dresser

Sander (belt sander, oscillating sander, etc.)

Sand paper (for hand-sanding nooks)

Spray Primer – I used Rustoleum Rusty Metal Primer

Spray Paint – I used Rustoleum Bright Coat Metallic Finish in #7718 Chrome

Mirrors cut to size

Gunther Mastic


1” round mirrors

¾” acrylic gems

Hot glue

I started with a furniture search.  I began at Ikea, and if you’re looking to make something that has a more modern feel, you can find great dressers there.

I wanted a piece that had a little bit of character – moldings, turned legs, edge work – something that would make my dresser look a bit more interesting.  Craig’s List was my destination.   I found several candidates, and one winner within a day.  Here’s the before.

It was advertised as a “shabby” piece, was covered in several layers of paint, and some of the veneer was chipping off.  I chose not to fix this, because I wanted it to still look a bit worn.  If you want your piece to be closer to perfect, fill any chips with wood putty before painting.

As with most paint projects, the keys are preparation and patience.

Sand any surfaces that will be painted.  An oscillating sander makes quick work of this.  I sanded my entire piece in less than an hour.  I sanded in two passes, the first with 150 grit (coarse) and the second time with 220 grit (medium) sandpaper.   I also took just a bit of paint off of the surfaces that would be covered in mirrors, just to be thorough.

Next, prime.  Since I wanted to use a metallic finish spray paint, the manufacturer recommended a “stops rust” primer.  Even though I was painting wood, I paid the extra 2 bucks for the heavier primer paint – designed for metal surfaces – because that was what was suggested by the paint experts at my hardware store.

Follow the directions on the can of primer, and give your wood surfaces a primer coat.  After it dries the recommended amount of time, move on to the paint.

This metallic paint is so cool!  It’s nothing like the silver and gold spray paints of days of yore.  It takes a bit of practice to get right, but really looks amazing.  Test on a piece of scrap to figure out how thickly and how close to spray to your piece.  The can recommends 10” to 16” distance from your subject.  I found that this application gave my finish a ‘mottled’ look, not the shiny appearance I wanted.  Start further away on your test surface, and then move closer to figure the best coverage for your surface.

In the end, I put 3 coats of paint on my piece.  My dresser took about 24 hours to cure completely, and looks really beautiful.

There were the problems.  A few times, my paint went on too thickly and I got drips.  Best not to touch them while wet, but wait for the drips to dry, rough up with 000 steel wool, and repaint.

Paint Drip Tamara Twist

Mirrors.  You can use acrylic mirror.  It’s not as ‘sparkly’ as glass, but it’s cheaper, lighter-weight and easier to work with.  But because acrylic is not as hard as glass, it scratches easily.

Glass mirrors are simply prettier, so that’s what I wanted.  Measure your dresser, head to the glass store, and place your order.  I recommend getting your glass pieces cut slightly smaller than actual dimensions (subtract 1/8” from the width and height,) so that the edges don’t scrape.

I used ¼” thick mirrored glass, with a standard polished edge, and ¼” holes drilled for my knobs.  (Note: Apparently drilling holes on glass is very tricky, so be prepared for your glass company to charge you anywhere between $2 and $10 per hole drilled.)

I changed the placement of the holes on my dresser drawers, so I used the mirrors as templates to drill the holes in my drawer fronts.

Mirror installation.
Once the paint is completely dry on your surfaces, you can attach mirrors.  Gunther mastic was the adhesive recommended by my glass store.  Whatever you use, be sure that it is formulated for use on mirror – some adhesives can actually strip the mirroring off the back of glass.  Apply dollops about the diameter of a quarter (or in stripes), making sure that you are at least 3” away from the mirror edges.  Press the mirrors in place, add spacers at the bottom if necessary, and brace or weight while the mastic cures.  Follow manufacturers instructions for curing time, but definitely wait at least overnight.

Once the mirrors are in place, add knobs.  Pretty glass knobs retail anywhere from $6 to $20 each, which busts my budget.  I opted for a DIY version.

These knobs cost .98 at my hardware store.  Add 1” mirrors ($1 for 12), and acrylic gems ($2.25 for 20) and I had these pretty knobs for $1.18 each!

Another embellishment option was these adhesive rhinestones.  They come in 3-packs for around $3 or $4 a package.  Just stick and you’re done.

Quick tip:  Don’t buy colored crystals!  Use a sharpie marker to hand-color the stones whatever color you like in custom hues!

Here’s my finished dresser.   It’s perfectly suited for a 1940s glamour-décor bedroom, or as a sparkly complement to modern clean-line designs.

All in all, my project cost around $300.  Not cheap, but FAR better than paying retail.  It’s beautiful, up-cycled, and I made it myself.  Definitely a pride-worthy project.

Coffee Table Ottoman — Upcycling a Flea Market Find

I got this idea when my sister (who recently had a baby) mentioned that she needs a new coffee table.  It appears that sharp corners and edges are no longer allowed in her soon-to-be-toddler-ful house!

I decided a coffee table-ottoman was the ticket.  I’ve got sewing and upholstery skills, but you don’t need them for this project.  Not counting waiting for the paint to dry, the whole process takes less than an hour.  No kidding!

Here’s the coffee table before:

It was a truly hideous thrift store find — I paid FAR too much at $29.99.  And, had I waited a day, I’m sure that I could have gotten it at half off, but I was in a hurry!  The table had a wood-grain formica top, real wood legs, and a peeling plywood apron.  It was partly covered with sticky gold spray paint, and had dark stain under that.

Tools and supplies needed:

Sand Paper

Staple gun and staples

Upholstery needle

Cover-able buttons (I used Dritz Half Ball Cover Buttons)

Upholstery twine

3″ to 4″ thick upholstery foam, cut to table top size

1″ thick batting

Upholstery Fabric

Paint or stain


Drill with 3/8″ bit and screwdriver bit



First, plan where you’ll place your buttons on the finished ottoman.  To help me visualize, I used quarters, as they were about the right diameter of the buttons I wanted to use.

I originally was going to have 14 buttons, but then after seeing the table with quarters on top, I decided 11 was better.  Once you like the layout, measure to make sure your quarters are equidistant.  Trace around the quarters with a pencil.  Remove quarters and drill holes through the table top in the center of the traced circles with a 3/8″ drill bit.

Remove the top from the apron and legs.  Usually only a handful of screws hold it.  Set the table top aside.

Sand the areas you’re going to paint.  You’ll have to determine how extensive the sanding needs to be.  For example, if the stain is dark, and you plan to paint the wood black, you probably only need to ‘rough up’ the stain — give it teeth, as woodworkers say — so that the paint will adhere.  If you’re going from dark to light, you may need to sand down to the bare wood and use a primer coat.  Don’t skimp on the prep — your beautiful paint job could peel off or cover unevenly if you don’t spend the time.

Handy tip:  When sanding of the legs, wrap your sandpaper around a pencil or pen.  This makes it much easier to get into the crevices and details.

Once your piece is sanded, wipe it down to remove any sawdust.

Paint or stain.

Let’s talk fabric. Use upholstery fabric for this project.  Apparel fabric is not sturdy enough to stand up to pulling and stapling.  You might even consider using “outdoor” fabric.  It’s even hardier, is made to stand up to the elements, and will clean up easily after spills.

To determine the size of your piece of fabric, take the dimensions of the table, add the height of your foam and batting x 2, add enough to each side so that there is plenty of fabric to staple under the table’s apron.  My table was 18″ wide, and the foam and batting about 4.”  I cut my fabric to 38″ just to make sure I had enough to work with. (Length of my table was 45,” fabric was 60.” I would have made it longer but that’s all the store had.)

Cover buttons.  The button kits come with great instructions.  Just hook your fabric over the teeth on the button top, add the cap and press.  It takes a little bit of patience, but you can do it!

Place the foam on top of your table.  Add batting (In the video, my batting is in 3 pieces — that’s just what I had around the house, no other reason.), and mark the center.  Mark the center of your fabric with a pin, and drape over the foam/batting while lining up the centers.

Thread a button with upholstery twine and insert the ends in upholstery needle.  Stick the needle through the center of the fabric from the top and feed through the hole in the bottom of the table.  Remove needle and tie a knot in the twine.  Pull the twine taut — simultaneously pressing the button from the other side, and staple twine to the underside of the table.

Turn the table over and begin stapling the fabric in place.  Start by placing a single staple in the center of each side to tack the fabric to the table.  Now your foam and fabric are secure and won’t slide while placing the remainder of staples.

It appears as if I’m stapling near the table edge, but my stapler is opposite the older models. Here I’m actually stapling close to the selvedge edge (white border).

Start on the long sides of the table and staple from the center out, pulling the fabric taut as you go.  Watch your fingers!  Staple within about 6″ of the corners, then work on the short sides, in the same manner.

To finish the corners, use a sort of ‘gift-wrap’ fold.  Pull the fabric up the center, then fold the sides toward the corner, stapling as you go.  This is the most difficult part of the process, but if you take your time, it eventually works.  Don’t be afraid to remove staples and re-fold if you don’t like how the corner is turning out.

Next, re-attach the top to the legs and apron with the screws you removed.  If fabric covers the holes, just screw through the fabric.

Finally, install the remaining buttons.  Handy tip: So that you don’t have to ‘fish’ for the hole in the table top, I thread my upholstery needle eye-first from the underside of the table through the foam, then through the top of the fabric.

The eye end of the needle takes a bit of coaxing to penetrate the fabric on top (be careful not to snag your fabric!), but I find this method much easier than searching for the holds in the table through inches of foam.  Knot, pull and staple the twine to the underside of the table.

Trim any excess twine or fabric on the underside (remembering that no one will ever see this… you don’t have to be super tidy!), and your coffee-table ottoman is finished!

Crafting — Bubbly Bistro Chairs from Champagne Cages

The holiday season is time to celebrate, and nothing says celebration quite like sparkling wine.  Here’s a great craft to do with the ‘wretched refuse’ of the celebrations.  Take a look.

An ordinary champagne cork cage

My Bubbly Bistro Chairs

These Bubbly Bistro Chairs make perfect place card holders for a fancy dinner party or wedding, can also be used as tie-ons for gifts, or a special memento of a celebration.  Enjoy!  And make something beautiful! Click here for my latest video with more great Champagne ideas!