Saturday, February 1, 2014

DIY Crafty Crap: Personalized Roasting Sticks with Carrying Bag

For a long time I've labeled myself as not crafty. But looking back at my blog this year, I don't know that I can claim that title any longer. I've actually made a handful of things that turned out pretty good! And *gasp* most of the time I kind of enjoyed it. I guess maybe I should now say that I enjoy doing a select few crafts. There. Now that we have that cleared up, I can show you what I made as Christmas gifts for my family members this year.

Now I saw this while doing a homemade gift search on the Pinterest and I was immediately drawn to the idea. Just about everyone I can think of loves to roast stuff over a fire, whether it's in the backyard or out camping. But how many people have good quality roasting sticks that are easily portable, safe, and personalized? NO ONE. That's who. Which is what makes this so perfect.

Here's what I did:

First you find some kick-ass roasting sticks. If you can forge your own metal and whittle your own handles, more power to you. If you're not the ambitious type (like moi) you can purchase some very nice roasting sticks such as these ones from Camp Chef.

Now you need to figure out exactly how you would like to mark them. The example I saw just used a monogrammed initial. I liked the idea of using full names (or Mom and Dad) for families. You could also do a simple line drawing of an animal or a pattern of some sort if you want them to be more generic. Once you decide what you want to do, print out the pattern or name and make sure it's the correct size for your sticks. You want to make sure they won't be so small they're difficult to trace but not so big that the largest name won't fit. Then tape the pattern on the stick (I used a small piece on either end).

In the post I followed, they traced the letters directly on the paper with the pointy tip of their wood burner. I thought this allowed too much room for error (seeing as how I'm still new to the wood burning technique), so I used a ball-point pen to trace the outline of the letters to make an indentation on the wood. I found that tracing over the letters a couple times (pressing fairly hard) gave a great template and provided a nice track for the wood burning tip to sit in. After the name is traced in place, remove the paper and tape.

If you're doing block letters you'll want to trace the outline with your pointed tip first, then fill it in with the blunt tip. If you choose a simple font like I have, you'll only need to use the pointed tip or blunt tip. Adjust the heat of the wood burning tool to your liking, then trace your design. Now your sticks are finished!

Now to make the carrying bag:

Find whatever material you like. I'm not sure how much you would need to buy since I just found some square tablecloths I liked and used those. Just use some amount that seems good (hey, I'm not a sewer). I'm pretty sure it wasn't more than 2 yards, probably more like 1 1/2, but you'll want to measure your sticks to see how big it needs to be. I made all different sizes depending on how many sticks I was using for each bag. I also used about 1 yard of handle material (I don't know what it's called... nylon stuff?).

So first measure out your material. I figured enough width to fit the sticks plus 6" to fold over on each side for a pocket and an additional inch on each side for edging. So basically the length of your sticks plus 14". Then for my sticks I made 4" wide slots to hold them. Which means your length will need to be 4" for each stick (or however wide they are) and 2" for edging. Plus I tacked on a couple extra inches just in case I screwed up. Or if you want extra material on the ends.

Once you have your square piece of material measured out, put a half inch rolled edge around the outside (fold over 1/2", iron down, fold over another 1/2" iron down then sew). Then fold down 6" on either side of your fabric for your pockets and sew it down on one side only. You want to be able to stagger your pockets so the weight of the sticks is evenly distributed. The open flap will allow you to easily remove and replace the sticks. Then, starting at each sewn edge, measure every 4" inches (or however much space you allowed for the fattest part of the sticks) and sew a pocket. I believe on the case shown below I had 3 pockets on either end.

Don't mind my feet. I was too lazy to crop.
Now put all your sticks in the bag, alternating their direction, and roll up. You'll want to pin your handle material to the center spot then unroll the bag and take the sticks out again.

Sew the ends of your strap together then sew to the center point of your bag. I used white thread because dammit it took me a long time to get my sewing machine threaded and I wasn't going to risk trying to re-thread it after all that swearing on purpose so you could see where I sewed.

So that's basically it. They are pretty rustic... at least the way I sew, but I figured people usually just use these for outdoorsy stuff so it would fit in with the rough atmosphere. Now I just gotta wait for the weather to warm up so I can test them out! But no matter how crappy I sew, these have to be better than driving hours on end with long pointy hot dog sticks floating around in the car ready to fly out and stab me in the eye. And let's not forget that I can now cross off a successful handmade Christmas gift from my bucket list. It's a win/win.


Corinne said...

I love these roasting sticks. When I opened it I was so excited. I've even passed your do-it yourself blog post over to a friend. Really great gift idea. xoxo Corinne