Archives for posts with tag: diy

I’ve wanted to make and/or buy a pretty little serving tray for a while now (see beautiful examples over at Sand and Sisal or Prudent Baby,) so when I found this rooster-ized tray on clearance at Garden Ridge, I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to glam it up.

Don’t get me wrong: I love a good barnyard reference here and there, but this tray didn’t exude the shabby-chic charm I sought. At only $3, I knew I could turn it into something I’d want to display in my home.

I started the project by spray painting the tray’s interior white. It took approximately three coats to cover up the rooster, but it was well worth the effort.

Once the paint dried, I marked my chevron stripes with painter’s tape. Chevron can be a bit tricky; I wish I spent a little more time trying to perfect this. An exacto knife would prove handy during this step.

I painted the entire tray yellow (it took approximately two coats to get the job done) and removed the tape.

It isn’t perfect, but I absolutely love my new tray!  It really brightens up the living room.

Here’s the official before and after shot.

I may lightly sand my tray in the future for a more shabby-chic look, but for now, I’m keeping it as-is.

Have you ever created your own serving tray? How’d you customize it? 


I don’t love fall quite as much as spring and summer, but I’ll take it. Ohio autumns are full of gorgeous changing leaves, pumpkin-flavored coffees (I heart you, PSL) and my personal favorite: Ohio State football! I won’t attend my first 2012 season game until November, but I’m really looking forward to it.

Remember the $2 grape vine wreath I purchased while thrifting a few weeks ago? During a fit of weekend inspiration, I jazzed it up with a few fall flowers.

Here’s how you can make your own! Begin by cutting felt squares into uneven circles. I purchased my felt at Hobby Lobby (4 pieces for $1.)

Cut each felt circle in a spiral pattern (starting at the outside and moving toward the middle.)

Grab the section where you began cutting, and start wrapping the felt around itself. Hot glue the ends, and use a scrap piece to secure the back.

Repeat this process until you create several flowers. Hot glue each felt flower to the wreath.

Ta da! What a simple way to dress up wreaths, lamps and other decor. You could always create felt leaves as well, but I wanted to keep my wreath simple.

What’s your favorite part about this season?

Months passed since my last Ikea trip, and I’m afraid I may be sinking into withdrawl. I enter that store with a $20 wish list and leave with $80+ worth of Swedish goods every time. The beautifully displayed merchandise and unbelievably affordable prices suck me in time and time again. You’re sneaky, Ikea.

As much as I love this retailer, I’m sure you and I can both agree that many of its products are pretty standard. I recently stumbled across Ikea Hackers: a site that allows fans to share how they transformed Ikea items from drab to fab. It’s chock full of inspiring DIY ideas, and many projects include step-by-step instructions, too.

Here’s a few of my favorite hacks:

Nailhead Side Table

Two Lack tables and nailhead trim join in harmony and create one absolutely gorgeous side table. You can view the IKEA Hackers instructions here.

Coffee Table Ottoman

I found this project on the Simply Kelly blog. Kelly purchased a Klubbo coffee table and converted it into a cozy upholstered ottoman. Isn’t it gorgeous? I’d be scared to prop my feet up on that pretty fabric.

Billy Bookcase Upgrade

Ikea’s Billy bookcase received a stylish upgrade thanks to Diane at the In My Own Style blog. She transformed the standard Ikea product into a showcase item with a little cardboard and fabric. I absolutely love this idea, especially since it would be easy to change the fabric panels when you want a new look.

Have you ever “hacked” an Ikea item? If so, how’d it turn out?

I haven’t owned a headboard in years, and I’m waiting until I can afford a queen bedroom set before purchasing one. In the meantime, a reclaimed storm window serves as my pseudo headboard.

Not everyone can say they own a reclaimed window, so I’m pretty darn proud of mine. Its bright white paint and shabby chic charm brighten my bedroom, and the wires hanging across it provide endless decorating opportunities. I experimented with clipping Instagram photos (I use PostalPix to print them, in case you’re wondering) and paper shapes to the “headboard,” but this approach wasn’t cutting it.

Pinterest led me to some eye-catching homemade garlands, which were made with fabric, paper and twine. I found several gorgeous fabric buntings on Etsy, but they were out of my price range. I decided to put matters in my own hands and create a DIY bunting.

I kicked off the project by heading to My duvet cover looks like a hydrangea garden threw up on it (in the best way possible!,) so I wanted to stay away from floral prints. I found some beauties and ordered the swatches. (Swatches were only $1.75, so ordering several prints = easy on the wallet.)

Once my fabric arrived, I got to work. I cut most swatches into squares (approximately 3″x3″) and made the rest into long, thin strips.

I tied the strips directly to the wire and used double-sided tape to adhere the bunting “flags” to it.

And voila! I absolutely love the finished product. It’s playful, fun and perfectly shabby chic.

If you’d like to create our own bunting, you could hot glue the fabric to twine. A Beautiful Mess Blog offers some great ideas for making your own garlands, too.

A look I’m absolutely loving: Maps that are cut into sections and framed.

Framed maps are a simple, affordable (in most cases) way to bring your personality into a room. You could frame a map of your childhood neighborhood. Or your favorite vacation spot. Or the city where you met your significant other. Or one that’s just plain pretty.





What do you think? Would you use (or have you used) a map as decor? 

My roommate and I spent the last month or so dreaming up a high-impact, low-cost wall art solution for our dining area. It’s the first room you notice when walking in our front door, and we all know first impressions are valuable. I totally believe the seven-second theory applies to a gazillion situations: not just first dates or job interviews.

We thought about purchasing a nice mirror for our wall, but let’s face it: Large mirrors can be pretty pricey. We weren’t willing to drop $200+, so we had to get creative.

When I moved into my very first college apartment in 2008, I purchased three Ikea MALMA mirrors and hung them above my couch. Sadly, we got bored with each other and parted ways by 2009. But when I spotted these $2.99 beauties during a recent Ikea trip, inspiration hit.

I prepped each MALMA by covering the mirror with painter’s tape.

My roomie and I painted the mirrors with acrylic paint. We chose blue and grey to match our grey/blue/tan/green dining room. The possibilities were endless; we considered staining them, too.

Once dry, the mirrors were ready for some mirror-on-wall action. Here’s the before:

And here’s the after! They’re hung approximately 6″ apart.*

Aren’t they lovely? They make the small room appear taller & larger, which is awesome.

Not bad for approximately $30 and two hours worth of work.

Do you have any Ikea MALMA projects to share? 

*Props to my dad & brother for hanging these. If the hanging part was up to me, the end product would have been embarrassing. 

Since my roomie and I moved into our new place shortly after Thanksgiving, we used adorable snowflake drink coasters to protect our furniture. Now that the holidays are over and winter angst is setting in, the snowflake coasters have to go.

Pinterest offers tons of DIY coaster ideas, from modged-podged tiles to hot-glued wine corks. I decided to take my own spin on the modge podge method by spray painting tiles.

Here’s how I did it:

  • I purchased white tiles at my local home improvement store, which cost approximately $0.16 each.
  • I used painter’s tape and my trusty damask stencil (purchased several months ago to create this rockin’ wall art) to prep my tiles. I’m slightly obsessed with stripes right now, so I decorated several tiles with a simple striped pattern. (I also tried to create a chevron-inspired tile, but it didn’t turn out so hot.)
  • I painted my tiles with two coats of spray paint. I let the tiles dry for half an hour between each coat, and I removed the painter’s tape immediately after the second coat to avoid weird peeling marks.
  • Once the second coat dried, I cut felt squares (one sheet costs $0.25) and hot glued them to the tile bottoms.

Voila! Creating the coasters was incredibly easy and cheap, especially because I already had most supplies on hand. I’m pleased with the final product, but I’m anxious to see how long it takes for the paint to chip.* I’ll keep you posted!

*Update: I eventually sealed each coaster with clear spray paint to avoid chips and stains. 

Remember when I mentioned my lonely bedroom wall several posts ago? I finally stepped up and purchased a fabulous Ikea shelf for it; however, I quickly realized I don’t have anything to display on the shelf. I decided I’m not going to hang it until I get my act together and choose some decorative pieces.

While searching for cheap shelf decor ideas, I discovered this Pinterest image and instantly became intrigued. Pennies typically waste space without bringing much value, but this project made them look really cool. Many of us have some spare change lounging around the house and car, right?


I grabbed my mason jar full of spare change and got to work. Here’s how I made this idea my own:

  • I purchased a paper letter for approximately $2 at Hobby Lobby. The letter was cardboard brown, so I covered it with two coats of white spray paint.
  • I washed every nickel and dime I could find. (I didn’t use quarters; they’re precious commodities when you live in a city with metered parking!)
  • Once the paint dried, I used a hot glue glun to adhere nickels and dimes to my letter. As soon as the glue set, my project was complete.

Some helpful hints:

  • You could purchase any letter/number and paint it any color you like. Heck, you don’t even have to paint it. The world is your oyster.
  • I washed my change with soapy water, but if you’re using pennies, rumors say ketchup brightens them up. Not kidding.
  • Don’t be afraid to use a lot of glue! One small dab isn’t enough.
  • If you want this letter to stand upright on its own, add extra coins to the back of the letter. Even though the back isn’t visible, it’ll help even out the weight.

It doesn’t get much easier (and affordable) than this. I can’t wait to see how this nickel & dime letter pops against my bedroom’s mocha walls!

I usually let my fireplace mantle steal the spotlight, but the living room walls deserve a little love, too.  So instead of sitting around for an hour and pinning wall decor ideas on Pinterest, I decided to actually create something fabulous.

Once I came across this stenciled wall art idea at the Two Girls Being Crafty blog, I knew my next project was born. The whole “stencil” thing was a bit intimidating, but the blog post did say the project was easy enough for a caveman. That meant it would be easy enough for an artistically challenged chicka like me… right?

I started by painting a canvas yellow. I used spray paint, but I’m sure you could paint with a brush, too. I’m just too lazy to go through that much work.

(Note: Do not spray paint outside on a windy day. Especially when it’s autumn and leaves are falling. I learned this the hard way.) 

After the canvas dried, I positioned the stencil and went to work. The stencil did come with step-by-step directions, but I didn’t follow them. I just eyeballed it and hoped for the best.

I used antique white acrylic paint for a vintage look. I also used a sponge applicator, which kept the stencil design from looking too polished.

And voila! It’s not perfect, but I absolutely love it. The canvas fits in perfectly with the living room’s red/blue/green/brown/yellow theme.

I’d take a photo of the wall art hanging proudly, but the reason why it’s not hanging yet is another story for another day. Stay tuned!


24×30″ish canvas: $15

Damask floor/wall stencil: $17 (I had a 40 percent off coupon, so it was actually $10ish)

Yellow spray paint: $4

Acrylic paint, 2oz: $2

Paint applicator: $2.50

Pretty prints, paintings and mirrors warm my heart.

I love browsing through wall art selections at my favorite home decor stores (like Home Goods and World Market,) but we all know this frugalista can’t afford a $150 painting.

Thank to Pinterest, I found the perfect DIY art project for an artistically challenged, budget-constrained chicka like me.

One random Saturday, I headed to the store and purchased two canvases, painter’s tape and green spray paint. (Sidenote: Did you know you have to be 18 to buy spray paint these days? Well, you do. And yes, I was carded. Looking like a 15-year old has its disadvantages.) 

First, I wrapped the painter’s tape around the canvases. I didn’t aim for a particular pattern; I kept adding tape until I was pleased with the overall look.

Next, I laid the canvases on a plastic surface and sprayed away. Feel free to laugh at the yellow squash and random cups holding down my garbage bag.

Once the paint dried, I removed the tape and voila! Beautiful wall art was born, and it only cost approximately $15.

Here’s the final product. What do you think?