HOW TO: gussy up a notebook

Following up to my recent Back To School Furniture Revamp post (cutest cubby shelf outfitted with “Picnic Gingham”!), here’s how to gussy up a simple notebook with Rob’s tape in five simple steps.

This project is a nod to Levi Strauss & Co., still love this brand. I even worked at corporate for a stint. I heart the tried + true blue.

You can add a pocket to pretty much anything. It’s super cute, easy to do + functional too.

Step 1 – Cover the front side of your book of choice with tape of choice. . I, of course, chose  “Denim” here.

(By the way, Rob’s denim came out AGES before that other brand did…I just feel like I need to say that outloud…Also, his matte finish looks like a real pair of jeans. Very cool + entrepreneurial.)

Step 2 – Draw + cut out a pocket pattern out of cardboard.

Step 3 – Cover both sides with tape to create sturdiness. Again, I used “Denim” to be thematic but a contrasting tape(s) would be fun too.

Step 4 – Adhere it to the frontside with a tape “border.” For a graphic touch, I opted for “Modern Houndstooth + used it on the spine too.

Step 5 – Embellish the pocket if you wish. I am a big heart fan…so “I Heart Tape” here. You could also glue sequins, ribbons or use sticky gems or foamies. Whatever strikes your fancy.

Have fun with crafting stuff like this. It only takes a few minutes to personalize the plain.

Happy Saturday – get busy!





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Stars and Stripes Forever

Charlie and I crafted our own version of “Old Glory” this morning at 7:30 am, before school began. He helped with the stripes while I focused on the stars….It seemed like a respectful + loving thing to do.

I was in New York City on business on September 11, 2001. So was Rob’s sister, Anne (the talented artist behind the Platypus People illustrations + the new paper goods line, Azuline), who lived there. Rob was trying to arrange a meetup via email because phone lines were overloaded.

But so much was happening in the hours that followed that, last minute, I hitched a ride out of beloved Manhattan with a friend’s father. I also told the hotel room to give my room away to whoever needed it + paid for it for the rest of the week. So many families were stranded. It was overwhelming in ways I simply can not express here….

Today, I can’t help but think how incredible it would have been to have made my way to Anne’s apartment on that particular Tuesday to spend time with someone that now – 11 years later – is such a special friend.

Instead I pretty much went it alone cross-country, meeting some really nice people along the way. A story for another day that involved several rental cars + an Amtrak train ride of a lifetime. When I finally arrived home to San Francisco, I had a lot of miles under my belt and hundreds of hours of solo soulful reflection about the beauty, unexpectedness, unpreparedness and fragility of life.

I love the Big Apple.

I love America.

I am waving my flag high in the sky! (And for Anne too. She loves flags.)

God bless the USA and the heroes who walk with us – and those who peer down upon us.

I am eternally grateful….Thank you.


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BACK TO SCHOOL: Furniture Revamp with Platypus Designer Duct Tape + more!

This Labor Day weekend, I labored. Charlie did too. But, these DIY projects were well worth it. I never felt like I was working at all!

I even took a ton of photos on my iPhone…Pretty much anything can be spruced up with Platypus. It just takes colorful creativity + a bit of  roll-up-your-sleeves elbow grease. The fun part is in the discovery of all the stuff that can be crafted or revamped with it.

(Wait until you see Charlie’s magnets + door knob hangers! At six, he’s obsessed with tape. Will post his imaginative creations soon.)

Anyhoo, here’s what we made this weekend – and it all stylishly coordinates too:

  • cubby shelf
  • pencil cup + pencils + binder clip
  • magazine holder
  • notebook
  • iPhone case
[ QUICK TIP: click on each of the photos to see the full image. ]

First, I overhauled a cubby shelf with “Picnic Gingham.”

The backstory is that one of the legs had broken off and I was about to donate it. But the donation people wouldn’t take it because of its missing leg. Deflated, I took my sad shelf home….I was bummed out that no one would want a decent piece of furniture that only needed slight repair, easy to do with the right tools.

Not sure of how to dispose of it, I realized that if I just removed the remaining legs + artfully covered it with strips of tape, I could give this furniture a new lease on life. It was all a matter of perspective. And….I only needed a screwdriver!

Even better, I recovered this cubby shelf without using a ruler. Can you imagine? I couldn’t find mine. It’s still packed in a box somewhere as a result of my recent move.

Purposefully, Rob’s tape is a cinch to line up. His designs are horizontally + vertically seamless – meaning you can line align the tape in either direction and it matches up. The seams aren’t noticeable + the pattern repeats.

And it only took one roll of tape for $5.95 to complete this project!

And no mess (like painting it would have been), I have a super cute Pottery Barn Teen-esque shelf.

The  matte finish on the tape really sophisticates. (Um, I’m not a fan of shiny…). I think this shelf looks AMAZING!

Plus, it’s a total conversation piece. My neighbors are in disbelief. And now they want to update cast off furniture with Rob’s tape.

Just think of how many flea market finds – or dumpster dives – can be revived with all sorts of flair.

The next thing we crafted was a pencil cup out of an empty peaches can using “Modern Houndstooth” + “Denim.” (Charlie got a big kick out of eating the peaches and then upcycling the can into an art form, an important educational lesson.)

He even wrapped a bunch of pencils in various designs to complete the look while I covered a binder clip in “Picnic Gingham” to match the motif.

We used “I Heart Tape” to cover a cardboard magazine holder from Target’s dolllar bin.


(And much more sturdy now, an added bonus!)

I then decided to cover a simple notebook with “Denim,” “Modern Houndstooth” and “I Heart Tape.”

I even added a pocket!

Super cute + one-of-a-kind. Gotta love that!

(I will post “how to” instructions tomorrow.)

Finally, Charlie had this fantastic idea to make an iPhone holder. So we made this pouch out of “Pink Polka Dot,” “Blue Paisley,” “White Linen” and “Summer Grass.” It just felt like a perfect summer-to-early fall transitional combo (polka dotss, inky blues, creamy whites + emerald greens are hot right now in fashion).

And Adam suggested I draw an iPhone on the cover, which I did. Really cute.

The neat-o thing to me is that Rob’s tape designs are meant to mix + match, to your heart’s content. And I think it’s great to be able to personalize decor in a world full of cookie cutter style.

Some things just naturally pair.

(Even my pen has a sweet little strip of “Argyle.”)

Phew – that’s it for this post!

Sort of….my mind never stops. It dawned on me that the vases from Vietnam made out of repurposed magazine pages could be translated into tape (see top shelf + righthand side cubby). I wonder if I could cover some sort of bottle similarly….? Layers of tape on top of each other? Would that work?

Hmmmm….looks like I’m going to be busy again this weekend!

But I don’t mind.

Crafting on a dime is a fun way to unwind + decorating with Platypus Designer Duct Tape makes my home totally “mine.”

To me, that’s what DIY style is all about. And you?



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BACK TO SCHOOL: a motherlode of crafts (pun intended)

It was a busy weekend for Charlie and me.

Elementary school recently started so we decided to quickly create some kid-friendly desk decor. Everything you see here was super duper easy to do – and on the cheap! We used what we had on hand + spent around $8 on other materials, not including the Platypus Designer Duct Tape stash (rolls are $5.95 for 30 feet of tape!).

Our inspiration:

  • The Jolly Roger covered shirt box that Rob sent us back in July. It is the perfect size for Charlie’s construction paper. He’s big on art – and paper planes.

In combination with other favorite patterns of Charlie’s:

Our revamp:

  • Oversized Bulletin Board – $0 – rescued from the trash dump
  • Upcycled TOMS shoe box  to hold supplies – $0 – from clothes closet (shhh…i have a big crush on Blake Mycoskie, founder + chief shoe giver….)
  • Pencils (Charlie wrapped these all on his own) – $0 – random birthday party favors
  • Medium binder clips in its own box – $2.99 from Ace
  • Workbook bin – $2.50 at Target
  • Simple frame – $1.99 from Ikea

Just shape + tape this sticky stuff.

Your wallet will thank you. And you’ll have a fun bonding with your kids too.





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Community Crafters: Back to School Binder Art with Madison

It’s that time of year again to buy new shoes, sharpen pencils, and lug snazzy backpacks.

It’s also time to make new friends + reunite with the old ones too.

While exciting and sometimes nerve-wracking, it will also be unpredictable. And that’s what I think is cool about school…You each will get to explore new ideas, examine big words, conduct scientific experiments, understand history, use your imagination + much more.

A great way to make your mark is to express yourself artistically. After all, we are each distinct so why not be original? To start the year off right, we’ll be posting some quick projects over the next week – for kids of all ages  - to inspire creativity, set yourself apart at school and stay organized at home.

Today, I’m excited to share a project from a “new” friend of mine, Madison Jordan (no relation to Rob). A recent college grad and artist, she is getting hitched soon. She knows that I love eye candy – and stylish expressions of Platypus Designer Duct Tape – so she sent photos of her binders. Her thoughtful approach to design shines through with both of these creations! She mixed Pool Chevron and White Linen with Modern Houndstooth. And I think these are wonderful, just like she is. Thank you, Madison. (Miss you!)

Lastly as I think about this upcoming school year, The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff  comes to mind. (Yes, as in the wisdom of Winnie-the-Pooh. I remembered today that I read this book in college…and it makes a lot of sense to me at this very moment):

“How can you get very far,
If you don’t know who you are?
How can you do what you ought,
If you don’t know what you’ve got?
And if you don’t know which to do
Of all the things in front of you,
Then what you’ll have when you are through
Is just a mess without a clue
Of all the best that can come true
If you know What and Which and Who.” 

Undoubtedly, you’ll each find your own way with each passing year.

We all do. Still do….

Happy learning!



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A QUICK FIX: cupcake flags

Last night, I was invited last minute to a friend’s house for dinner. I couldn’t arrive empty handed so I quickly whipped up something sweet: cupcakes topped with these summer fun Platypus Designer Duct Tape name flags.

What a quick fix! These super cute name flags took about 5 minutes to make out of wooden skewers + a Sharpie.

And these rich chocolate morsels – made from a Trader Joe’s mix - also gave me just the fix I needed to stay up late!

They were a big hit. Everyone felt special….

And I think this idea would also work really wonderfully for Back To School night or a dorm, club or sorority function.



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COMMUNITY CRAFTERS: our own John Hughes

John (one of the Platypus People) has been super busy at night making snazzy wallets. These two-tone beauties look amazing! He’s even named them “Longhorn Picnic” (made out of Saddle Leather + Picnic Gingham patterns) and “Child at Hearts” (from White Linen + I Heart Tape patterns).

I think he needs to sell them. Such great craftsmanship!

Perfect for cash /credit cards or shopper loyalty cards / coupons. Keeps stuff organized and satisfies your spending + saving cravings.

Platypus Designer Duct Tapes are meant to mix + match.  Send us your combos!

Thanks, John, for sharing!


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ARTIST SERIES: Mary Carter Taub

While on vacation back in June, I made a pit stop in Raleigh, headquarters of Fortis Design, to see my fellow Platypus People.

While there, my family and I found ourselves in downtown Raleigh looking for a last minute place to eat. We decided to head over to famed chef Ashley  Christensen’s “Chucks,”

En route, we stumbled upon this triptych by Chapel Hill based installation artist Mary Carter Taub. Giddy to see such coolness on a random Raleigh street,I took a couple snaps of it. It struck me how much this window scene looked like duct tape….

Curious about what I saw, I googled the artist. SURE ENOUGH, the installation was printed wall vinyl digitally translated from her duct tape collage….And I loved learning that Mary Carter Taub  lives so close to Rob!

I think she definitely needs some Platypus Designer Duct Tape. Wouldn’t it be so fabulous to see Rob’s chic, seamless, matte finish tape underpinning giant wall art….?

(For fun, check out a few more images from Mary Carter Taub’s website here.)

Let this art motivate your own expression of duct tape. On a wall. On a canvas. On a tote bag. Personal possibilities are endless.

Rip strips + let your imagination soar!


P.S. Send photos of your creations to us: . We’d love to share Community Crafter inspirations on our blog.



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A QUICK FIX: Skate rat (& Tony Hawk playlist)

At six, my son Charlie is a big skate rat. He has “stickered” his board and helmet with all sorts of Platypus Designer Duct Tape patterns. And talks up the tape like crazy at the skateparks.

(He’s Rob’s biggest brand advocate, that’s for sure. I’m thinking he should hand out samples or maybe vend rolls on site!)

Anyhoo, Charlie also keeps a stash of tape in his DC backpack for on-the-go repairs. Totally smart, easy to use + convenient. (He goes through skate pads about once a month…He’s hard core!)

A quick fix, he used “Wool Stocking” here to tape up his knee pads. Took him less than 5 minutes.

So buy some of Rob’s tape. Throw it in your car. Your backpack. Your purse. For whatever, wherever. Proof in point that you can ”make it with tape” pretty much anywhere.



P.S. Since it’s Music Monday, here’s a “Pro Skater Tony Hawk” playlist off of Spotify compiled by listener Stu McOmie. It includes classics from the Dead Kennedys, Naughty by Nature, Primus…Of course, Charlie hasn’t listened to this stuff yet. It’s not G-rated. Click here…


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UPLEVELED: Cork Bulletin Board

This is such a simple project and also one of the best uses for Designer Duct Tape I’ve seen. We took a bulletin board (this one is from Michael’s) and covered it with our seamless I HEART TAPE design.  We then trimmed the edge with SOUR APPLE LINEN Designer Duct Tape (which perfectly matches the green hearts btw). And…voila! you’re done. It looks so much better than the plain cork too.

This project was so easy I feel like I should type a few more sentences just to fill up some space. But I’m not going to. So…go on, go make yourself one!



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