Decorate your home on the cheap with these easy ideas for refinishing old items once destined for the trash and simple craft projects that require only a few inexpensive supplies. Plus, we’ve made your DIY coin bank even easier by creating the perfect label!
Old cabinet door destined for the landfill? Don’t be so closed-minded! With paint and a pair of drawer pulls, a salvaged cabinet door makes a great tray for entertaining. Fill any holes in the board with wood filler from a hardware store; let dry at least two hours. Sand and paint the surface; pre-drill holes and screw in handles of about four inches, as shown.
Give your dining table a cheery face-lift for fall by making these custom, easy-care place mats. To start, gather fabric (heavier, “home decorating” weight, like the Amy Butler design shown here from amybutlerdesign.com, works best), pinking shears, and iron-on vinyl topping, which is available at most fabric stores. Cut fabric into 12″-by-17″ rectangles; iron. For each mat, cut two rectangles of the same size from the vinyl. Following package directions, iron a piece of vinyl onto each side of the place mat; use pinking shears to trim the edges of your mats. You’ll be able to sponge away any spills.
Perk up your pencil cup with a bud vase that adds some life to your office space. Remove the ink cartridge from a dried up pen (most snap out easily). Fill with water, cap the pen at the bottom, and pop in a thin-stemmed bloom.
Change Is Good
Want to teach wee ones that every penny counts? Make a coin bank — for free. Rinse an empty cleaning-wipe container; remove the label. Download and print a new label. Cut to fit; affix with tape. Change can be dropped right in through the top hole.
Disposable tissue box designs tend to (pardon the pun) blow. Here’s how to DIY an attractive topper that’ll last: Pick up an unfinished wooden tissue box, X-acto knife, wood veneer, decoupage glue (like Mod Podge), and polyurethane from a crafts store. Coat the box with polyurethane three times (follow product instructions). Cut four two-inch-wide strips of veneer, one to fit each side of the box. Glue on strips (ours are an inch from the bottom), coating both sides of each strip with glue, as well as the entire box; let dry. For a smooth finish, add a last polyurethane coat.
Stake Your Claim
For your next dinner party, try this trick to mark guests’ seats: Spear place cards onto wooden skewers atop lemon slices, then park them in glasses as you set the table. Simply snip card stock into two-inch squares, write names, slice lemon, and assemble on skewers. Hint: Remind guests to remove them before drinking.
Tack It On
The upholstery tack isn’t just for sofas anymore. This fabric finisher is back in fashion — and makes an inexpensive way to add pizzazz to plain pieces of wood furniture. Buy tacks from a hardware or fabric store for about $10 a pack (we used two packs in two sizes); push or tap them in along the lines of a table, bench, or chair for an eye-catching accent.
Keep the clicker in easy reach of your armchair quarterback with this no-sew pillow pocket. You’ll need: a throw pillow with a removable cover, the pocket from a pair of jeans (men’s work best size-wise), and fusible webbing (found at fabric stores). Cut the whole pocket out of the pants. Sandwich the webbing between the cover and back of pocket edges; iron layers together. Put the cover back on, and settle in for the big game.
What to do with a worn-out sweater? Or one you accidentally washed in hot water? Don’t sweat it; this simple craft turns your tattered cardigans, shrunken V-necks, or the kids’ castoffs into cool coasters. Wash 100 percent wool in hot water, then dry with an agitator like jeans. After three rounds, sweaters should feel taut and feltlike. Use a pencil and a large-mouthed glass to trace circles onto the fabric, then snip out a set.
Handle with Care
Give lingerie a hamper that befits its beauty — and separates delicates from the rest of the laundry. Gather a pretty patterned pillowcase, an embroidery hoop (we used a 12-inch ring), and 10 inches of ribbon to hang. Clamp the case into the hoop, tie on a loop of ribbon to the hoop’s clamp, and hang near where you disrobe.
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