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Design Maven and Author Mr. Kate on Her Fave LA Craft Shops and DIY Must-Haves

Mr. Kate

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Whether it's creating charming accoutrements, entertaining beauty buffs with her helpful YouTube how-tos, or schooling budget-strapped brides, is there anything DIY guru Mr. Kate can't do? After years of sharing her crafty knowledge online, LA-based designer Kate Albrecht is unleashing more beauty, fashion, and home decor tips offline with her first-ever book.

Available online and at select retailers, A Hot Glue Gun Mess ($23) promises 50 fail-proof DIY projects and hilarious stories in Albrecht's signature, unapologetically weird and uncensored style. Case in point: the design maven recounts how a one-night stand with famous athlete inspired a home lighting upgrade.

Here, we sat down with the ultra-creative multi-hyphenate to find out her first solo DIY project, her favorite sources for cool craft supplies in LA, her most embarrassing project, and more.

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What's your most embarrassing or worst DIY project to date?

When I first started dating Joey (now my husband) he was in a band (The Click Five) and they were touring the USA in a tour bus (which is a story in the book). I went on the bus with him and in an effort to impress his bandmates, I braided rat tails in their hair using longer pieces cut from elsewhere on their head—basically giving them a Frankenstein rat tail extension. They looked so weird, I mean, not that rat tails are ever the best look but these were extra gross.

Thankfully I've figured out better ways of impressing Joey and DIYing hair, all of which are stories and projects in the book too!

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When and what was your first-ever DIY project, and how successful (or disastrous) was it?

I've been DIYing since I can remember with my grandma and mom. But my first solo venture was painting my childhood bookshelf lacquer red as an update to suit my teenage taste. It was super gaudy but I loved it, it went with my zebra rug and boa lined mirror. I was like a little drag queen with my taste in interior design back in the day. RuPaul would be proud.

In addition to a bedazzled hot glue gun, what are the top 3 things everyone should have in their DIY kit?

A pair of needle-nose pliers to help with anything from wire projects to picking up tiny objects and gems, E600 glue (when hot glue just won't cut it), and a can of spray paint primer—it's matte white so looks great on its own or perfectly primes all kinds of surfaces for another color.

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What's your favorite or most popular project?
I'm totally obsessed with the Found Objects Headboard in the book. It's such an easy project and makes such a statement in a room. I also love nail art and those are always really popular projects. The Watercolor Nail Art from the book is very fun for summer.

Who is your craftiest DIY hero?

My mom. I always remember her with tools in her hands while I was growing up. When I moved into my first apartment in college we used an electric staple gun and upholstered the walls of my tiny living room with gorgeous embroidered fabric from India. That's also a story in the book.

My mom is a wild woman. She went to Burning Man last year and drove a golf cart with giant flags that she DIYed herself! I'm also always impressed with my peer DIY bloggers like Jenni from I Spy DIY, she's a great friend with amazing DIY skills!

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Where are your favorite shops in LA for scoring cool, unexpected craft supplies?

Liz's Antique Hardware is so awesome to score some vintage keys, locks, knobs, hinges and chain. When I first started making jewelry I'd get tiny keyholes from Liz's and attach them to delicate chains. It's one of the coolest stores in LA.

Artist and Craftsman on La Cienega is an independently-owned craft and art supply store that is the best! They have a huge selection of giant canvases (which I used to make projects like the Ironic Art in the book) and they also have quirky things like plastic bugs and an array of raw crystals.