Browsing Category: diy projects

Framed Graphic Prints for Under $10


It’s the last Tuesday of the month, which means it’s time for another addition the It’s So Ugly It’s Cool Challenge hosted by Jess at Domicile 37. This challenge about revamping secondhand finds and to fit your style. You can participate in the challenge on Instagram using the tag #itssouglyitscool to share your handiwork!

This month I did a super quick and easy update of some thrift store frames I had hanging out in my frame stash. I think everyone agrees that frames are one of the all-around best things to buy second-hand because they can cost so much new but are plentiful and in many cases cheap in flea markets, thrift stores, yard sales, etc.

The one caveat to that is that it is sometimes harder to find really good, attractive, well priced frames with glass, mattes, and other stuff, that–if missing–could quickly eat up your cost savings to replace. So when you find those frames that hit the trifecta, you buy them, even if they’re not perfect–yet.

Enter this set of red metal frames that Justin picked up last summer for something like $4.

FrameBeforeThey are good solid frames, nice glass, clean white mattes with a standard sized opening. All in all hard to pass up. The only problem is that I kind of hate red. This was also initially the problem with our bedroom rug, which I ended up loving, but that was the one exception. Why even attempt living with something you kind of hate when fixing it is so easy?

All these frames really needed was a coat of spray paint. I chose gold. There are actually quite a few good articles out there about the best gold spray paints (here and here are two) but I didn’t read any of them until I was in the spray paint aisle at Home Depot, and Home Depot only carries Rustoleum, so what kind of spray paint do you think I got?

I ended up using Rustoleum Metallic Paint & Primer in Pure Gold, and in truth I was kind of so-so on it. Come to find out, it only has a 2 star rating on the Home Depot website, so it’s not all that surprising. I am hereby guilty of winging it on the “picking a spray paint” front. It’s definitely more brass than gold, but that’s okay because in general I was just hoping it wouldn’t turn out orange, and it didn’t.


I will say I give huge props to people who use spray paint on everything. Just yesterday my friend Maggie posted a project where she spray painted some nightstands, and they are the height of fabulousness (seriously, click the link right now). I know spray paint is supposed to be a pretty rudimentary crafting skill, but it seems like every time I do it something turns out wrong. I don’t spray the thing evenly or it gets stuck to something while drying, but usually both. We all have unique skills and I suppose lack of skills, too. I am uniquely unskilled at spray painting.

Thankfully these frames were hard to get too wrong. I didn’t have any art that I was waiting to hang, but I did conveniently have some beautiful samples of the Farrow and Ball Aranami wallpaper. I’m considering putting it in our upstairs hallways in a third color, but these two samples go perfectly with the colors in our dining room. This is really gorgeous wallpaper, and even in the small sample size, the graphic impact is striking. These particular wallpaper samples were free (although some companies do charge a small fee), so the total cost was about $10 between the frames and the spray paint. Not bad to add a little pattern punch to this previously blank space.





Now head on over to the other participants for more makeover goodness!

Casa Watkins // Up To Date Interiors // This is Our Bliss // Vintage Romance Style // Domicile 37

Turning a Vintage Trunk into a Side Table


It’s the last Tuesday of the month, which means that it’s time for another It’s So Ugly It’s Cool thrift store challenge hosted by Jess at Domicile 37. I have to admit I dropped the ball a little bit on this one. Here I am trying to give you a before/after post, and I forgot to take any before pictures. Oops!

The good thing is, I didn’t change the item in question that much, so I think you can use your imagine to envision what this trunk with no legs looked like. It looked like a trunk.


Anyhoo–I found this particular trunk in the trash pile at an estate sale. It really wasn’t in bad condition, as you can see–I’m not entirely sure why they were throwing it away. I went super quick/easy in my makeover of this piece. I just cleaned it up a bit (as I said, it didn’t need much–it was more that I felt like it was dirty than that it actually was dirty) and added some inexpensive wooden legs from Lowe’s. The legs I used are about $2.50/each, and I had to buy some hardware to attach it (which I didn’t end up using–more on that later), so considering that the trunk was free, I am all-in at about $12.50 on this project. Not bad!

If you had a really nice trunk and wanted to do it up right, I’m sure you could get some awesome legs from Pretty Pegs or use some vintage legs and make it spectacular. With how low-to-the ground I wanted this to be, the legs aren’t too visible, so it wasn’t really worth it to me to invest in a pricier option.


To clean the trunk, I used a combination of water, baking soda, olive oil, and dish soap (you can read a good post on cleaning trunks here). If that sounds like a gross mixture, it kind of was. But remember, the cleaning was mostly about the psychology of believing it was clean rather than achieving some kind of specific result. I read that using that mixture would provide a gentle cleaning, so as far as I know, it did! When it was dry, I finished by polishing it with regular old furniture wax–the same kind I used on my mint dresser makeover.

To attach the legs, I simply drilled into the bottom of the trunk to make a hole slightly smaller than the screw on the leg. Usually I am not allowed to drill things because I have a bad reputation for eyeballing rather than taking precise measurements, but in this case eyeballing (I think I used the width of two or three fingers from the edge as a guide) was good enough. This kind of old trunk is really only made out of cardboard, so it is not at all difficult to puncture with a drill.

After attaching the legs, the plan was to secure them with a washer and then a nut on the inside of the trunk, but as it so happens, my cleaning activities exacerbated the rustiness of the hardware, and I haven’t been able to get the trunk open since! I’m pretty sure I could if I pulled hard enough, but the trunk resting on the legs makes them secure enough anyway; it’s not worth risk ripping the lid off the trunk.

My only piece of advice is that when you go to buy the washers/nuts bring the leg you are using with you and let the nice folks at your local home improvement store help you out. There are about a bazillion sizes inside all these little drawers, and you will grow old trying them out or become crazy attempting to guess which would fit.

I didn’t have any spot for the trunk when I found it, but it ended up fitting exactly into this little nook beside my closet. Sometimes admittedly I throw clothes on top of it for days at a time, but when it’s visible it’s a pretty cool accent.

trunk hero image

Have you ever found anything cool dumpster diving? Tell me about your treasures in the comments!

And don’t forget to check out the other intrepid DIYers! You can also share your own projects on Instagram using the hashtag #itssouglyitscool.


A Mint Vintage Dresser Makeover

Welcome to the first edition of “It’s So Ugly it’s Cool,” a new series hosted by Jess at Domicile 37. This challenge is about showing off how you makeover, re-purpose, clean up, etc second-hand items to fit with your style and needs. Does the item have to be ugly–not at all! But then again I have seen amazing things done with pieces I wouldn’t have given a second look, so it will be really interesting to see where people’s creativity takes them. This is an Instagram challenge, too, so if you are an Instagrammer and you have something you want to share, post a split screen and tag it #itssouglyitscool. We’d love to see your handiwork!

For me personally, my approach to DIY is usually to seek out quality vintage in need of a little love. So when it comes to crazy ambitious upcycling in which you discover X thing can be turned into Y thing you’d never imagine in all your days–you probably won’t be seeing that from me. Painting, refinishing, cleaning, reupholstering, etc, are much more in my wheelhouse.

Enter this week’s vintage dresser makeover. This was a very simple refresh that involved sanding, painting, and waxing, and that’s pretty much it. We’d been looking for a small, old dresser for our entryway, and I wanted something a little more antique-y than most of the furniture we own. I also wanted something that I could paint, and I feel bad painting wood about 99% of the time unless it is completely dilapidated or already painted. When Justin found this one in a local vintage shop, it ticked all my boxes, plus added a little extra cool with the hardware and nifty embellishment.


There was honestly nothing bad about this dresser to begin with, and at first I considered the possibility of leaving it as it was. A couple things encouraged me to go ahead with a new paint job, though. The most important thing was that although I think farmhouse and shabby chic styles are completely charming in stores, in magazines, on the internet, and in other people’s homes, they simply are not one bit “me.” Plus I had the idea in my head that whatever piece of furniture went in the entryway would be mint green, which is why I wanted a paint-able piece of furniture in the first place. I think we all have the experience from time-to-time where an idea takes hold of your mind and won’t let go until you make it a reality. For me usually those unshakeable ideas have to do with ordering pizza, but in this case it was the that the dresser would be green. And so it is.


This was one of those super easy projects anyone in possession of a paint brush can do. I painted the dresser with Valspar Chalky Finish paint and finished it with Minwax Paste Finishing Wax in Natural. I had never used chalk paint before but found it extremely easy to work with, and the super matte finish was great for hiding the imperfections in this piece. I did sand with a relatively fine grit sandpaper beforehand just to wear down some of the chippiness, though I think that is technically not necessary with chalk paint. The Valspar Chalky Finish paint is one of the few fully tintable chalk paints out there that I could find. Lowes carries it, and supposedly it can be tinted to any Valspar brand color. I used Valspar Pale Oak Grove, and although it didn’t come out the identical color to the paint swatch, it was honestly close enough for me.

Looking back at the before pictures, I definitely feel that I took the right approach for this piece of furniture in my home. It’s the perfect size and the green-on-green makes me really happy. I also think it looks quite a bit fresher now, and the pulls stand out more on the solid color.

I’m keeping to a few pictures today because I’m trying not to show too much of the entryway. I do plan to do a reveal post once the last bit of baseboard trim is in. The floors came out so beautifully thanks to some pretty intricate patching on Justin’s part. I’m sure no one remembers, but there used to tan tile in this space! (You can see the pictures from when we moved in here.)

So I’ll end with one side-by-side picture…


And one picture of Fatty, because he was there too.


Looking forward to showing you more of this space a little farther down the road (but hopefully not too far).

Now be sure to check out the rest of the It’s So Ugly it’s Cool participants! I have no idea what kind of projects the other ladies took on, but I’m eager to find out!

DIY Ikea Bar Cart with Wood Top

BarCartFeatured Pic

barcart makeover1

Ikea’s Bygel cart has definitely been a favorite of DIYers, especially when it comes to fashioning a bar cart on a budget. It’s easy to see why the Bygel cart is so popular–it’s inexpensive, roomy, versatile, and easily to customize with little extra effort and money. My Bygel cart makeover is a little bit different because 1) it isn’t gold and 2) it shows how you can give your cart a slightly different, more unique vibe by switching up your materials and adding a wood top.



  • Spray paint of your choice. I used Valspar High Gloss spray paint in Palmetto Green.
  • Spray lacquer for finishing the frame. This is optional but good for setting and hardening the finish. It was also about 90% humidity when we spray painted, so I’m not sure the paint would ever have cured without it. We used Rustoleum Crystal Clear Enamel.
  • Wood slab. Justin made this board by edge gluing 3/4″ thick scraps of Poplar left-over from our door casings. You could also buy a board of this size at Lowe’s, Home Depot, or a local lumber store.
  • Stain of your choice. This is optional, and we decided to leave ours natural. Stain definitely gives you a ton of options for your individual look, though. I think it would be super cool to do a colored stain, or a gray wash to make the look more industrial, if that floats your boat.
  • Polyurethane or oil for finishing the wood. We used Minwax Clear Gloss Polycrylic because Justin happened to have picked some up at a yard sale. Depending on the type of wood you use and what you plan to use the cart for, you could also opt for a food safe oil like Howard Cutting Board Oil.


This is an extremely easy project with just one tricky part–you need to have access to some kind of specialty saw (Justin used a band saw) to cut the corners of the board to fit your cart.

Ikea bygel top

Otherwise, you can pretty much figure out what to do:

  1. Spray paint and lacquer (if desired) the frame. I highly recommend spray painting the cart with the frame loosely assembled. That is–put it together, but don’t tighten the screws all the way. This allows it to stand on its own while drying, because it is a real pain in the rump to figure out a good way of arranging it otherwise.
  2. Using the Ikea top as a template, trace the corner cutouts onto your board, and then cut the wood to fit.
  3. Stain and/or finish the wood however you like.

Then style and enjoy!





ikea bygel hack

The cart itself cost $30, and we spent about $10 on spray paint. There are lots of beautiful, glam bar carts out there, but for $40 I think I’d pick this one every time. What about you? Would you break out the spray paint and give this one a try?

8 Great DIYs from the One Room Challenge

For the last week I’ve been working my way through all the One Room Challenge reveals and trying to take a look at every entry. It’s really been inspiring to see the changes people affected in their homes in such a short time. In addition to painting, demoing, shopping (and returning), styling, and shooting these spaces, a number of participants also found time include their own DIY projects, with some incredibly beautiful and creative results.

Here are my 8 favorite DIYs done by One Room Challenge participants. I wish I could find a place for all of them in my own home!

1. Sleek and Modern Buffet

Brit from House Updated built this ultra cool buffet for her dining room using a cabinet base, wood top, and a Salvation Army belt. It looks amazing!

You can see her whole gorgeous space here, and check out the DIY for her buffet here.

2. Insanely Gorgeous Copper Floors

Melissa from A Prudent Life made blew me away with these crazy beautiful copper floors in her GARAGE. They really are incredible!

She’s going to be posting the entire tutorial next month, but for now you read about the floors here and see her entire really jealousy-inducing garage makeover here.

3. Picture Perfect Built-in Bookcases

Sabrina from Pink Little Notebook created these FABULOUS bookcases out of nothing, and they are absolutely perfect for the space. They have integrated lighting, sconces, perfect architectural detail, and space for a window seat. They are downright dreamy!

See her serene and beautifully styled living/dining room makeover here.

4. Pinch-Pleated Dropcloth Curtains

Julia from Home on 129 Acres whipped up these simple pinch-pleated curtains that are the definition of casual elegance.

Her bold blue walls are also really inspiring me right now! Check out her lovely master bedroom makeover here.

5. Funky Mid-century Side Table with Pin-hair Legs

Erin from Whaling City Cottage made this easy but adorable side table to contrast with her son’s traditional bed. It’s simple enough to make in an afternoon, but it adds such a fun touch.

See the DIY here, and then check out all the details from her son’s adorable vintage-inspired room here.

6. Whimsical Potato-stamped Feature Wall

June from Nostalgiecat really made me smile with her beautiful, bright, and original makeover of her daughter’s room. It totally makes me want to be a kid again (only hipper this time)! June’s design was inspired by a Ferm Living wallpaper, which she recreated using a potato stamp. GENIUS.

I seriously want to do the DIY here. And definitely do not miss the full room reveal here. June did an awesome job! She made the lovely lantern light pictured above, too.

7. Glam Office Desk

Kimberly from Swoon Worthy transformed a common (and honestly not too attractive) office desk into a statement piece perfectly suited to her glam and gorgeous office. This one took some vision, folks.

See the desk makeover here, and swoon over all the details of her office reveal here.

8. Reclaimed Wood Valance

Jenna Sue of Jenna Sue Design Co. did so many DIY projects in her bathroom that it was hard to pick just one, but I love the simple wood valance she made with just a plank and a jigsaw.

I’m in total awe of this entire makeover. Even as stunning as this photos is, you HAVE TO see the befores to really appreciate what was accomplished here. Check it out immediately right here.

These are some really creative ladies, for sure! Which was your favorite, or would you be most likely to try in your own home?

I was considering taking a small hiatus to rest up after finishing the kitchen, but then I did some impulse painting in the downstairs bedroom, so it looks like I’ll be taking that on for my next project. I should have an update (and cautionary tale against impulse painting, which should really be self-explanatory) on that coming up for you soon!

10-Minute, No-Cost Holiday Centerpiece


About a week ago, I mildly offended my mother by telling her that I hadn’t really decorated much for the holidays. She actually said “that isn’t how you were brought up.” I think it was the first time I’ve gotten the “I raised you better” line, which tells you both what a law-abiding citizen I’ve been these 29 years and how much my mother really, really cares about holiday decorating.

I care about holiday decorating, too, I guess, but caring about it also conflicts with my other interests in extreme procrastination and avoidance of retail environments between the months of November and January. This is not to mention that costs can add up quickly, considering how easy it is to go shopping for a thing of garland and end up with a life-sized lighted rooftop Santa complete with moving parts and theme music.

So, this project represents my attempt to care about holiday decorating without really doing anything. It took very little time and cost nothing, because I only used things I could find in and around my house.

Here’s what I used:

Holiday centerpiece using tree branches
Holiday centerpiece using Christmas balls  Purple, silver, and gold Christmas balls

  1. Tree branches. I’m married to a dedicated tree trimmer, so I had to snag these from the yard next door. Some might call this stealing; I call it “helping with yard clean-up” and “generally being an awesome neighbor.”
  2. Spray paint. I had gold and silver in the house. Very convenient.
  3. Christmas balls. Use your left-overs! Smaller sizes work the best.
  4. A vase. The one I used got elected by being empty on my coffee table.

I spray-painted the branches in a pretty haphazard way. They don’t have to be covered perfectly or evenly; I kind of like some of the branch showing through.
Spray painted tree brances -- gold and silver tree branches

To assemble, you only have to put your items together. If you have different sized Christmas ornaments, it helps to put the larger ones at the bottom and let the smaller ones fill in.

Christmas balls in a glass vase

This probably won’t be a centerpiece that gets me featured on the cover of Martha Stewart Living, but for little time, no money, and to show my mother she raised a decent human being after all, it will suffice for my holiday. Maybe I’ll try a little harder next year.

Fast, free holiday centerpiece

Crafted! Faux Crochet Wreath with Floral Applique

This is probably the most complex of the my three wreath projects. You can see the other two at Crafted! Striped Yarn Wreath with Cork Letter and Crafted! Mini Pom Pom Wreath.

I got inspired to make this because Justin’s grandma is a master crocheter, and I wanted to be just like her.

But the truth of the matter is that crochet is not super easy to pick up, so I devised this method for faking it using only the basis for a crochet: the chain stitch.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Styrofoam wreath form
  • Skein of yarn
  • Crochet needle (I used a chunkier yarn and so a larger size J needle)
  • Two straight pins
  • Floral appliques (or substitute an accessory of your choice)

I will not insult real crocheters everywhere by attempting to instruct you how to do it myself. I’ll simply tell you that it’s not hard, and there are plenty of YouTube resources to guide you. Here’s a quick and simple one to get you going: How to Crochet for Beginners : How to Make a Crochet Chain Stitch.

And here’s what my chain looked like when complete. I’m going to be honest, but don’t be deterred when I tell you that something like 80 yards of crochet chain were required to cover the wreath. I only mention it because at about 33 yards, I thought I totally had enough, and I was way off. So just FYI.


Once you have your chain made, this wreath is just as easy as my other yarn wreath. Secure the end of the crochet chain to the back of wreath with the first straight pin, wrap the chain around, and secure the other end with the second straight pin.

Yes, my nails look terrible in virtually every photo on the blog. This is the unvarnished reality here for you, friends. Quite literally.

Originally I wanted to make a crochet flower to finish this wreath, but that proved a little beyond my skill level at the present moment, so I settled for a pack of flowers I got at Michael’s for about two bucks and attached them with a bit of hot glue. The colors were a perfect complement. Voila!


Crafted! Mini Pom Pom Wreath

Did you catch yesterday’s wreath idea? If not, check it out: Crafted! Striped Yarn Wreath with Cork Letter

Today’s wreath takes a little bit longer but is by no means more difficult.

DIY colorful pom pom wreath on yellow door.
Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Styrofoam wreath form
  • Butt load of pom poms in colors of your choice (For reference: a “butt load” is not a strict quantity you will find in craft stores. For this project, it is roughly equivalent to 10-12 bags of approx. 10mm pom poms consisting of about 30 pieces each)
  • Hot glue gun

I made this wreath last fall after my wedding. I’d spent a lot of the summer making paper flowers, and it’s hard to quit crafting cold turkey, so this was the project that helped me taper off in a healthy fashion. To assemble:

  1. Glue pom pom(s) to wreath
  2. Repeat

There’s not a lot else I can tell you. Except maybe to have some Netflix queued up while you do it, because there is a certain amount of tedium involved (totally worth it, of course).

Ah yes–there is actually one other thing I can tell you: the pom pom wreath can withstand a pretty major thunderstorm, though hopefully you will never have to discover this firsthand. Normally the porch protects my wreaths from the elements (which I why I feel okay using a lot of fabric-like materials), but I used this one on the greenhouse door last month to spruce up the yard for Justin’s backyard birthday party. It was mega cute.

Cute garden shed greenhouse. Backyard with tiki torches. Green door with gray house.
But then I forgot about it for several days, and Justin likewise did not bring it in because he thought I was “done with it.” (PS to the menfolk –you can’t automatically apply the same rules of disposal to wreaths and left-over take-out.) Anyhoo, it was a little soggy but generally no worse for the wear. The pom pom wreath lives to grace the door another day.

Multicolor brown, green, red, white, orange, green pom pom wreath.

Crafted! Striped Yarn Wreath with Cork Letter

A guy at a yard sale once told me that a real estate agent told him (because all great wisdom comes from anecdotes relayed at garage sales, after all) that the front door was the most important part of a home, because it set the tone for the entire house. Is this true? Mmmm, probably questionable. But your front door is basically you’re home’s way of saying hello, and a colorful wreath is a great way to greet your visitors in style.

Plus, it’s starting to get cold out there, and while you’re hauling out the scarf and gloves, it’s just unkind to let your door stand naked all winter. So it’s really for your door’s sake that I offer these simple and cheap options for door adornment.

I’m going to present them to you starting with the one that will take you the least time.

And so: If you have all the supplies in front of you, you can whip this baby out in under ten minutes.

DIY striped yarn wreath with cork letter on my yellow door.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Styrofoam wreath form
  • Skein of multi-colored yarn
  • Cork letter (or substitute another accessory of your choice)
  • Minimum of two straight pins
  • Hot glue gun

The only trick to this is to make sure you buy multi-colored yarn if you want your wreath to be striped. This is the skein I used:
Multicolor yarn used for my wreath

I bought this yarn simply because I liked it. I didn’t realize at the time that it would give me a perfect stripe, but that’s how things measured out, and the effect was actually much neater than I expected.

Other than that, this one’s about as straightforward as they come. Secure the beginning of the yarn to the back of the wreath with the first straight pin, wrap it all the way around, and secure the other end with the second straight pin. It’s that simple. And because you haven’t glued the yarn in place, you can theoretically reuse the wreath form in the future if you really want to. It always helps to finish a simple wreath like this off with some kind of accessory to make it a little more special. I chose a cork letter I got for a buck or so at a craft store and stuck it on with a few beads of hot glue. I also stuck a few pearl head straight pins in here and there because I happened to have them and just don’t know when to quit. I wouldn’t go out and buy some solely for this project.

Multicolor yarn made a striped yarn wreath. I added pearl head pins for embellishment.

Maybe the best things in life take time, but there are still some really good things that take almost no time at all. Instant macaroni and cheese is one; this wreath is another.