The Bust DIY Guide to Life: Making Your Way Through Every Day

The Bust DIY Guide to Life: Making Your Way Through Every Day

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by Laurie Henzel, Debbie Stoller

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The modern appeal of “do-it-yourself” projects has a broader reach than ever. And who better to teach us how to DIY our lives than the über-crafty editors of BUST, the quirky, raw, and real magazine “for women who have something to get off their chests”? In The BUST DIY Guide to Life, magazine founders Debbie


The modern appeal of “do-it-yourself” projects has a broader reach than ever. And who better to teach us how to DIY our lives than the über-crafty editors of BUST, the quirky, raw, and real magazine “for women who have something to get off their chests”? In The BUST DIY Guide to Life, magazine founders Debbie Stoller (of Stitch ’n Bitch fame) and Laurie Henzel have culled more than 250 of the best DIY and craft projects from its 15-year history. Organized by category—beauty and health, fashion, food and entertaining, career, finance, travel, and sex—and written in BUST’s trademark brazen and witty style, this quintessential DIY encyclopedia from the quintessential DIY magazine is eclectic, empowering, hilarious, and downright practical, truly capturing the spirit of women today.

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The BUST DIY Guide to Life

Making your Way through Every Day

By Laurie Henzel, Debbie Stoller


Copyright © 2011 BUST magazine
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4804-9471-8


BE, BATH & BEYOND Crafts for Every Room

best week ever


Vintage "days of the week" dish towels are typically embroidered with a kitten doing the laundry on Monday or a Dutch girl sewing on Wednesday, but now you can make them in a design more suited to your life. Monday is TV, Tuesday is takeout, Wednesday is your Stitch 'n Bitch, Thursday is yoga night, Friday is party night, Saturday is date night, and Sunday is potluck night. And since you might not have the time to stitch seven towels, these are done with fabric paint.


Tracing paper or vellum

Iron-on transfer pencil or pen

7 flour-sack towels

Straight pins

Iron and ironing board

10" metal paint hoop with blotter (the Aunt Martha's brand is great) or a 10" embroidery hoop and paper towels

Fine-tip paintbrush

Fabric paint in purple, rose, teal, cherry, chartreuse, dark yellow, pine, and rust

1 Photocopy the seven designs on page 16, enlarging each one by 150 percent.

2 Lay one design underneath a sheet of tracing paper or vellum, and lightly trace over all the lines with your iron-on transfer pencil or pen (you want to make the lines as fine as possible). Place the transfer with your pencil lines facing down on top of the towel where you'd like the design to go and pin it in place.

3 Heat your iron on the cotton setting, then press it down on the transfer, shifting your iron back and forth. Refer to the instructions for your transfer pen or pencil for how long to keep ironing.

4 If you've got a paint hoop with blotter, place the blotter over the metal base hoop first, lay the towel on top, and fix the towel in place, taut, with the hoop. If you have a standard embroidery hoop, you'll be using it in exactly the opposite way from what you're used to. Place the tea towel facedown over the smaller hoop, cover it with a layer or two of paper towels, and press on the larger hoop to hold both pieces taut. Flip the whole thing over and place it on a sturdy work surface.

5 After practicing on scrap fabric, carefully paint over each line of the transferred design, using whatever color you prefer. Allow the paint to dry according to the instructions. Heat set with the iron, if needed.

6 Repeat with each of the towels and designs to make the full set.

easy-peasy pot holder

SEW A HOT PAD // Derek Fagerstrom and Lauren Smith

Bring a little kitsch to your kitchen by sewing up a super-simple pot holder. They're so easy to make, you can whip one up for your best friend's next birthday and make a few to keep around your house while you're at it.


Two 8" squares of heavyweight fabric, such as canvas or bark cloth (no flammable synthetics!)

One or two 8" squares of cotton batting

Iron and ironing board

Straight pins

36" extra-wide, double-fold seam binding

Sewing machine and matching thread


1 Sandwich your fabric and batting squares together. Put the batting in the middle, with each fabric piece facing right side out.

2 Heat the iron. Starting at a corner, pin the seam binding around your squares to encase the raw edges of the fabric, easing the corners into shape with the iron (this takes a little patience, but the corners will eventually lie flat when pressed). The tail end of the seam binding will be 4" longer than the perimeter of the pot holder. Leave this tail attached.

3 Using the sewing machine, stitch around the pot holder close to the inside of the seam binding, making sure to catch the bottom layer of the binding. Stitch along the tail of the binding.

4 Fold the raw edge of the seam-binding tail ½" to the wrong side and press. Fold the tail down again to create a 1½" loop. Pin and stitch the loop into place, then trim any loose threads.

One layer of batting should do the trick, but for extra thickness, use two layers of batting.

you got served

MAKE A TRENDSETTING PLACE SETTING // Tracie Egan Morrissey and Callie Watts

Ah, the smell of fresh, new pencils, wide-ruled notebooks, and bubble gum under desks. These cool homemade place settings will take you back to your school days, but you can easily make them with the motif of your choice—chopsticks and origami paper, perhaps? Use your imagination and soon you'll be serving it up.

pencil place mat


98 unsharpened No. 2 pencils

Super Glue

Hammer (if needed)

Five 54" lengths thin nylon cord

1 To make this sharp-lookin' place mat, pull the erasers out of 49 of the pencils. Drop some Super Glue in the metal part (where the eraser was) and wedge the unsharpened end of a pencil that still has its eraser into the hole. You may want to tap it with a hammer to get it in all the way—just make sure it's in straight. Repeat until you have 49 doubled-up pencils, and let the glue dry.

2 To weave the pencils together, fold one of the nylon cords in half and slip a pencil into the loop. Cross the ends of the cord around the pencil. Place another pencil next to the first one and again cross the cord around it. (The cord end that crossed over the first pencil will go under this second one, while the cord that crossed under the first pencil will now cross over.)

3 Continue until all the pencils have been added, arranging them so that they alternate, eraser end to unsharpened end.

4 Weave in the remaining pieces of nylon, spacing the cords evenly. Tighten the cords so the pencils are as close together as possible. Tie and trim the ends.

composition book plate


Clear glass plate

Scanned printout or photocopy of a marble composition book cover, sized to fit dimensions of plate

Mod Podge or other decoupage glue

Craft brush

Plastic spoon

X-ACTO knife

Matte acrylic sealer

1 To create this classy plate, clean the plate, then coat the back of it with decoupage glue. Also coat the front of the marble image, then position the right side of the image onto the back of the plate. Gently press away any wrinkles with a plastic spoon. Lightly coat the back of the image with the decoupage glue and let dry.

2 Trim the overhanging paper edges with an X- ACTO knife and scrape off any thick goo spots. Spray the back of the plate with a few light coats of sealer. Let dry and clean. Note that these plates are hand-wash only—don't go putting them in the dishwasher!

wide-ruled loose-leaf napkin


Iron and ironing board

White linen napkin



Embroidery hoop (or sewing machine)

Light blue and dark pink embroidery floss (or regular thread in the same colors)

Giant paper clip

1 To make the school-ruled napkin, iron the napkin and lay it flat on a clean surface. Using a straight edge and a pencil, draw horizontal lines across the entire napkin, ¾" apart. Draw a vertical line 1" from the left and right edges.

2 Place the napkin in the embroidery hoop or in your sewing machine. Separate two strands from the light blue embroidery floss (or use light blue thread in the machine), and follow along the horizontal lines. If hand- stitching, use a backstitch to embroider 1/8"-long stitches.

3 Embroider or sew the same way along the vertical lines, using dark pink embroidery floss or thread. The back of the napkin will most likely look sloppy after stitching, so if you want, you can fold the napkin lengthwise, ugly side in, and sew the sides together.

4 To complete the effect, use a giant paper clip as a napkin holder.

rolling-in-dough duvet

STENCIL & STITCH SOME SWEET DREAMS // Callie Watts and Lori Forty Weaver

The same ol', same ol' mass-produced crap can make your place seem weary and worn. Instead of picking up covers identical to the ones your bff found at the big-box shop, take "making your bed" to the next level with this blinged-out DIY duvet cover. With just an afternoon and some inexpensive supplies, you'll be hittin' the hay your way.


Masking tape

10 sheets 8 ½"-by-11" lightweight card stock

Spray mount

Five 8 ½"-by-11" copies of the diamond graphic

X-ACTO knife

2 full-sized flat sheets (or the size that matches your duvet)

Blue and gold fabric paint

Foam brush

One 8 ½"-by-11" photocopy of the dollar sign graphic

Large piece of scrap cloth (for covering sheet while ironing it)

Iron and ironing board

Straight pins

Sewing machine and matching thread

5 blinged-out buttons

Buttonhole foot

Seam ripper

1 Tape together nine pieces of card stock, cutting one of the pieces to make a stencil that's 70" long by 11" wide. Lightly spray the back of the diamond printouts with spray mount and stick them to the card stock, spaced so the widest points are 7¾" apart. With an X-ACTO knife, cut out the solid-colored parts of the images.

2 Lay one of the sheets on the floor, right side up. Spray the back of the long stencil with spray mount, and place it on the sheet so the tops of the diamonds are 4" below the decorative hem at the top and the center diamond is exactly in the center of the sheet. Using blue fabric paint and a foam brush, stipple the paint over the stencil, dabbing the brush on the fabric like you're sponge painting. Don't use too much paint at once, and make sure the stencil is pressed firmly in place. Let it dry.

3 Peel the stencil off the sheet. Wipe any paint off the back of the stencil and make sure the surface is still sticky (if not, apply spray mount again). Move the stencil to the left and down so the tops of the diamonds are 9" from the bottoms of the ones in the existing row and staggered between them. Beginning with the first diamond on the left, paint every other diamond. Make a third row of diamonds, centered like the first row; paint every diamond on this row. For the fourth row of diamonds, shift the stencil to the right of the first row so the diamonds are again staggered; beginning with the first diamond on the right, paint every other one. Finish with a fifth row of diamonds, just like the first row.

4 Make a stencil with the dollar sign using the remaining piece of card stock. Use gold fabric paint to fill in the spaces you skipped in rows two and four, centering the stencil between the diamonds. Leave the sheet to dry, then, with a cloth covering it, iron the sheet to set the paint.

5 To sew together the duvet cover, put one sheet on top of the other with the right sides facing each other. Pin along the edges of the sheet, leaving the bottom edge open. Sew a ½" hem along the sides and top of the sheets. Turn the cover right side out. Fold the bottom edge of the top sheet under 1 ½", pin it, and sew it down. Pin the lower edge of the bottom sheet the same way and sew it down. Pin the bottom edge of the two sheets together and sew 26" in from each side, leaving a 35" opening in the middle. Sew the buttons, evenly spaced, along the bottom inside hem. Sew corresponding buttonholes in the top sheet and use the seam ripper to cut the buttonhole openings. Now you're ready to stuff your diamond-studded duvet cover! Sleep tight.

spice it up


Add some vintage flair to your digs by making a super spice rack from an upcycled suitcase. You'll need one made of hard material with flat sides, so it will hang flush against your wall. The bottom of the suitcase (the part that holds the bulk of your clothes) should be deeper than the top.


Old hard-sided suitcase with flat sides (check your local thrift or vintage store)

Enough cute fabric to cover the interior (if needed)

Pencil (optional)


Magna-Tac 809 or other fabric glue

Tape measure

2 pieces 1"-thick wood

Table saw or handsaw

Paint or wood stain


Drill with 1/8" countersink and screwdriver bit

Eight 1 5/8" flat top wood screws


Frame mounting kit, complete with 2 picture frame hooks and screws


1 If the inside of your suitcase isn't too shabby, feel free to keep the original lining. If the interior is looking beat up, cover it with the fabric. Here's how: lay a piece of the fabric on a surface, then lay the closed suitcase on the fabric and trace around it. Flip the suitcase over and trace again on another section of fabric. Cut out the pieces, then spread a thin layer of fabric glue on the inside of your suitcase and secure the fabric in place with the right side facing out. With the suitcase open, measure the height and circumference of the inner walls on the bottom half. Cut a strip of fabric ¼" taller and ½" longer than your measurements. Use fabric glue to attach the strip, right side out, to the wall of the suitcase. Tuck in ¼" at the top and ends of the strip so the raw edges are hidden. Let dry.

2 To make the shelves, measure the width (from the handle side to the hinge side) and depth of the bottom of your suitcase. Cut two pieces of 1"-thick wood to these measurements. You can use a table saw or a handsaw (or find a hardware store that will cut the pieces for you). Paint or stain the shelves and let them dry.

3 To install the shelves, line them up just above and just below the suitcase handle. You may need to adjust the placement depending on the size, shape, or location of your suitcase's handle and closures. Making sure the first shelf is level, hold it in place, then use a drill and 1/8" countersink bit to drill two guide holes from the outside of the suitcase into each end of the wood. Repeat for the second shelf. Switch to a screwdriver bit and insert the screws through the guide holes and into the shelves.

4 To hold your spices in place, cut two pieces of ribbon 1" longer than your shelves. Secure a ribbon about 1" above each shelf by gluing ½" of each of the ribbon's ends to the interior sides of your suitcase. To hang your spice rack, use the drill to secure the picture frame hooks to the outside of your suitcase so the screws enter the back of your top shelf; use wire to hang. Fill with your fave flaves and get cookin'.

art of glass


Sure, you can spend months searching for a perfectly quirky set of glasses to complement your vintage Pyrex, or you can just make your own right now. Create a customized set with a few cheap glasses, some stickers, and a jar of etching cream. Then, the next time you throw a party, your guests will be sure not to mix up their drinks.


Drinking glasses (must be made of, well, glass)

Masking tape

Fancy stickers (see tip)

Rubber gloves

Armour Etch or other glass etching cream

Plastic-coated paper plates

Bristle brush

1 Wash and dry your glassware thoroughly to remove any manufacturing grime or grease.

2 Use the masking tape to tape off sections of glass you want to protect from the etching cream. Be sure the tape is pressed tightly to the glass to make a straight line. If it's buckled, the etching cream will seep under the seam.

3 Slap some stickers on there (see figure 1). Remember, anywhere there is a sticker, the glass will come out clear. Make sure you really rub the stickers on so that they make a good, tight seal with the glass to avoid seepage—wherever the etching cream touches the glass, the surface will be etched.

4 Before you use the etching cream, put on some rubber gloves. This step is important, because this etching cream is caustic. For real—it will burn you. Pour a little etching cream out onto the plastic-coated plate. (The cream will ooze through uncoated paper plates and make a gooey mess.) Use your brush to liberally apply the cream on the glass (see figure 2). Cover all surfaces very thoroughly, smearing cream over all the stickers and up to the taped edges, being sure to use lots of it. If you're stingy with it, you'll end up with streaks, which you won't be able to fix. Leave the cream on for 10 to 15 minutes.

5 Again wearing rubber gloves, and using plenty of warm water, rinse the glasses off in the sink. Wash the basin out thoroughly when you're done, too, so you don't accidentally etch your sink!

6 Peel off the stickers, wash the glasses with soap and water, dry them, and—voilà!—you have an awesomely cute set of etched glassware.

We like using stickers made of vellum because they have defined edges and come off easily at the end of the project. Select stickers with good definition and great shapes. For lettering, choose stickers that have the centers of closed letters cut out.


Excerpted from The BUST DIY Guide to Life by Laurie Henzel, Debbie Stoller. Copyright © 2011 BUST magazine. Excerpted by permission of ABRAMS.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Debbie Stoller and Laurie Henzel are the founders and publishers of BUST magazine—Stoller is the editor in chief and Henzel is the creative director. Stoller is also the co-author of the BUST Guide to the New Girl Order and the Stitch ’n Bitch knitting book series. Stoller and Henzel both live in New York City.

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Bust DIY Guide to Life 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is incredible! I'm so glad to have found this book. Not only does it have a ton of creative, often money-saving ideas, but it also gives great explanations as to why they give the suggestions they do -- which of course gives them more credibility. It's got wonderful advice for all the basics: financial advice (practical saving plans, doing taxes, etc.), home care & repair (including what are the basic tools everyone should have), bicycles and cars (including what to do and NOT to do in a car accident), home decor and some basic sewing and fashion-craft ideas, recipes and hostessing ideas, laundry care (including stain-specific removal treatments), home remedies for basic illness & injury, health and beauty tips (things from exercise ideas to beauty make-over tips), and many more DIY ideas that I hadn't even considered could be DIY. Just a note: This book does have 3 pages of a more sexual nature. There are no graphic images, true, but it's NOT a book I would recommend giving to a girl. This book IS meant for a young woman, one who either has moved out or will be moving out from her parents' home. In that regard, I think this book is incredibly helpful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago