For our “X Questions With” series, we’re speaking with talented individuals from around the world who have inspired us with their creativity and passion. If you have a story to tell or someone you’d like to see profiled, let us know in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter!
1) Please tell us a little about yourself
City: Sydney, Australia
Creative Works: My Instagram page (@diy_by_jo)
Favourite Quote: “No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.”
2) We saw on Instagram that you recently personalised your 2016 Paperblanks Diary with a gold wax seal. How did you create this?
I’ve always loved the designs of Paperblanks journals and this was actually my first purchase, so I was very careful about how I wanted to personalise it. It seemed it would be hard to position the wax seal perfectly on the first go, so I melted the wax on top of a glossy sheet of paper. I then peeled it off and attached it to my diary with double-sided tape (so that I could reposition it easily later if necessary). I think stronger glue (such as E6000) would be more ideal if you wanted to permanently attach the wax seal onto the journal.
3) Your Instagram is dedicated to “upcycling” and “easy DIY” projects. How did you get into this?
From a young age, I loved collaging and sticking feathers and different types of paper together to make birthday cards for my friends. In more recent years, I’ve been exploring DIY projects with old items of clothing, jewelry and décor, and really developed a passion for upcycling projects. I’ve also started enjoying making my own simple jewelry because of the ease of personalising my own pieces. I’ve chosen not to use machinery such as drills or welding tools, so that my projects are all easy to replicate. My Instagram became a portfolio of my projects, and a platform on which I could share ideas and receive feedback with others from around the world.
4) From jewelry and clothing to unique home décor and accessories… how do you decide what your next project will be?
A lot of my projects are inspired by other bloggers and artists – I spend a fair amount of time browsing DIY projects and watching YouTube tutorials (e.g. Anneorshine or Mr. Kate). I usually take ideas and inspiration from what I’ve seen and try to put my own spin onto it. I also spend time looking at and playing with all the bits and pieces I’ve collected/hoarded over the years (pieces from the hardware store, fabrics, pendants, chains, clasps, etc.) and seeing whether any new ideas come to mind.
5) Do you have any favourite upcycled pieces?
Some of my favourite pieces are the jewelry I’ve upcycled from hardware (machine washers, hex nuts, corner brackets, etc.) and necklaces/rings I’ve transformed from earrings.
6) Has any project especially surprised you by the way it turned out?
I bought some long silver beads from a thrift shop a while back and didn’t know what to do with them. One day I was arranging them on top of each other when I thought of how it might look nice as a ring. The way it turned out in the end really surprised me; I think they look better as a ring!
7) Have you received any formal training in jewelry or fashion design?
I haven’t had any formal training at all. All of what I’ve learnt is either from other bloggers and artists (as mentioned above) or by trial-and-error until I find something that works. I think this suits the way I use my Instagram account, where anyone without having studied jewelry or fashion design can make my projects.
8) Any advice you would like to share with people who want to upgrade an everyday object?
I would definitely suggest playing around with the object you want to upgrade; try anything and everything! I would also suggest looking online for inspiration and ideas (Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube) as to whether anyone else has upcycled a similar object.
9) Are you working on any new projects you would like to share with us?
I’d like to make more pear décor from an old project of mine once I’ve gathered more old light bulbs. I also recently received some old guitar strings from a friend which I want to transform into jewelry – hopefully I’ll come up with something soon!