Tag Archives: DIY

Affordable and Easy DIY Art

Because I set a pretty strict budget for the One Room Challenge, I am going to try and DIY some art for the walls as placeholders until I can afford find the perfect “forever” art for the walls.  I definitely need an impactful, oversized statement piece for over the bed.

My super creative and thrifty friend Alyson, who is also participating in the One Room Challenge, posted last week about framed botanical wrapping paper (so genius).  And I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.

It got me remembering some beautiful blog posts about framed marbled paper….

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Kristen F. Davis Designs via Little Green Notebook

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Danielle Oakey Interiors

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Centsational Girl

There are some tutorials on how to make marbled paper, but there are some really affordable and gorgeous “pre-made” options out there:

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Paper Mojo $6.15 for 24×36

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Paper Source $6.50 for 20×29

I think these would be beautiful put into simple oversized frames, with or without a mat.

Here are some other easy and affordable ideas I am considering attempting:

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via Flickr

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Style Theories

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the amazing Jamie Meares of i suwannee

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Thrifty Decor Chick

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With Intention

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Kendall Hailey

What do you think?  What is your favorite?  Can I pull this off??

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The Big Reveal: DIY “Custom” Rollerblinds

Tah Dah!  Our “custom” rollerblinds are finally finished.  Whew!  It took me a little longer than I had anticipated.  Pictured above and below is the first dormer:

Here is the other dormer:

I LOVE IT!  I am so glad that we undertook this project.  So, I had been thinking about this for a while, and saw a similar project posted on Emily A. Clark’s blog, and I decided to take the plunge.

We inherited hideous metal mini-blinds in our master bedroom and were looking for a (cheap) more aesthetically pleasing and room-darkening option.  We went to Lowes and bought two Levolor black-out roller shades (~$10 each).  The kind peeps at Lowes cut the shades to our measurements right there.

Then I made a trip over to Williams & Sherrill and purchased 4.75 yards of fabric (~$80).  I liked the ikat-y feel of this green damask.  Then I ironed the fabric and my sweet and patient husband, Matt, glued the fabric onto the roller blinds.  He only glued enough fabric to cover the blind when it was all the way down.

Naturally, I wanted to cover the hardware at the top of the rollerblind.  I planned on re-creating Jenny’s pelmet box idea made of foam core board (see here for one that I made in our hallway).  However, I needed a width of 32 5/8 and I couldn’t find any foam core board with a width greater than 30 inches.

So, we were off to Lowes again and bought a piece of birch wood (~$8 and the least heavy wood board we could find).  Matt measured and cut the “cornices,” and epoxied on L brackets.

Then we wrapped each cornice in batting (~$5 from Michaels) and staple gunned it into place.

Then we wrapped the cornices in fabric (which was a little challenging because we had to line up the pattern on the rollerblind with the pattern on the cornice), staple gunned the fabric into place and cut around the L brackets.

Then Matt screwed the cornices into place, and voila!

I priced out similar rollerblinds at Smith & Noble and even with a lower quality fabric, it was over $850 plus shipping for 2 similar rollerblinds!  This whole project cost me about $125 and I got to pick my own fabric.  The bulk of that expense was the cost of the fabric, so you could do it much cheaper if you chose a less expensive fabric.

Another thing to note, I chose a thicker gauge fabric and the rollerblind only retracts up by about 2/3 (which is ok with me), but I bet you could get around this if you used a thinner gauge fabric.

What do you think?  Would you try it?

In Case You Missed It….

Here are all the destinations around the blogosphere that I can’t stop thinking about….

For all of the design bloggers out there, you must check out this fun conversation with Lauren Liess of Pure Style Home on The Skirted Roundtable — I am a huge fan of her design and vision and am so appreciative of her honesty and candor on her blog. 

{Lauren’s Foyer — one of my favorite front halls ever!  I love that orange door.}

My very talented girlfriend, Amanda, at Namesake Design, revealed her baby girl’s beautiful nursery.  There was a lot of DIY and love that went into this amazing space. 

{A shot of the nursery with homemade “B”, mobile and curtains.}

I loved this “before and after” post by Marianne over at Haven and Home.  The “after” post makes me want to hang paper lanterns down every hallway in my house!

{The “after”picture via Architectural Digest}

I can’t stop thinking about the ikat fabric that Alyson used on these chairs — I love this before and after!

{Alyson’s Awesome Chair Makeover}

I am always looking to turn “to the trade” into “cheap and easy“, so I have been obsessing on how to put this great post into action.  I loved this post from Erin at Elements of Style.  As she would say, “amazeballs!”

{Erin Making Retail Look Custom!}

Green Street is one of my favorite new blogs and I can’t get this great corner of Fran’s son’s “big boy room” out of my head.

{Adorable Nook in Fran’s Son’s Bedroom}

I had been thinking about something like this awesome DIY project that Emily recently completed as part of her guest bathroom makeover.  She has inspired me, I think I am going to give it a go in our master bedroom.  🙂

{Emily’s Chic and Cheap DIY Roller Shade}

Aren’t these bloggers talented???!!!

Reader Question: Mirrored Tray Makeover

A sweet Spark! reader, Elizabeth, asked about the mirror hanging in my hallway:

and I am so glad that she did, because I forgot to share its story.

A few years back, I found the mirrored vanity tray (like the one below) at a local antique store for $5.  I see them all over the place, and they are usually under $10.

The one I found was really badly tarnished and it didn’t clean up very well.  The patina wasn’t gorgeous, but I hung it in a small space in my bedroom.

By the time the hallway makeover came along, I was tired of the little tarnished mirror and decided to paint it black and hang it on the gray walls to accent the ornate “filigree” pattern and give it a fresh look.

So, I taped along the edges of the mirror, covered the mirror with two layers of paper bag (newspaper will work too), and spray painted two coats of Krylon black on the front (let it dry) and then turned it over and sprayed two more coats of paint on the back (just the silver part, not the backing!).  It was too easy!

Also, mirrors are so easy to paint because if you make a mistake or don’t get the tape exactly right, and paint ends up on the mirror, you can just take paint thinner and a rag and clean it up.  No harm, no foul!  Just be sure to wear some latex gloves when dealing with paint thinner!

When I was browsing for images, I came across this similar mirror vanity tray makeover from Miss Mustard Seed (a really cool blog):

She found her vanity tray at a thrift store for $1.50.  I love the cream version above and think that a few of those pretties would make a lovely series hanging over a headboard or settee.

So, go check out your local antique store, flea market or thrift shop for a gorgeously inexpensive and easy DIY mirror makeover!  Thanks for the question, Elizabeth!

Have a question for me?  Drop me a line: needsparkblog@gmail.com.

P.S.  Don’t forget to enter the Traveling Savannah Giveaway!

To DIY For: Painted Roller Shades

I picked up my mother-in-law’s copy of Southern Living over the weekend and my jaw dropped when I saw these awesome DIY roller shades:

They have a full tutorial for the stencil painted roller blinds in the March issue, and HERE is the online version.  It is really inexpensive and seems pretty easy!  I like roller blinds for windows where traditional panels or roman shades would block a lot of natural light, like a dormer window.  The roller shade can be pulled for privacy, but does not block any light when it is open.

The article provides a great source for re-usable stencils, Sunny’s Paints.  They have a fabulous selection! 

Check it out, you could make your own damask shade: 

{Damask Wall Stencil, $15}

Or you could make your own lattice shade — I would love to do this in my master bedroom with navy blue paint on white roller blinds:

{Kate Repeat Stencil, $30}

Stripes are fun too.  I love Domino’s take on the DIY painted roller blinds:

{Domino via Apartment Therapy}

{Domino via So Haute!}

There is so much to love about that room!  Designer Nick Olsen used high gloss black paint on white roller blinds to create this look.  I die!  This would pack a great punch in a vibrant color too, like orange or yellow.  Speaking of…. 

I am loving the simplicity and preppy feel of this striped, painted roller shade.

Of course, Martha’s got her take on the DIY roller shades too:

You can find instructions for her version HERE.

Are you convinced?  Maybe I will be your guinea pig and give this a whirl.  Stay tuned!

Home Office “Make-under”

Thanks to the snowstorm, I finished my home office make-under.  Let me explain.  When we moved into our current house 3 1/2 years ago, my office was in a great room with lots of natural light.  The room is off our front hall and does not have a close-able door.  So, when baby spark! came along and we decided to have a part-time nanny, I moved my office upstairs in the corner of our large rectangular master bedroom.  Needless to say, I have a much smaller home office than I used to!

So, this “make-under” has been going on since November of 2007!  First, I bought a corner desk because my traditional desk looked very misplaced in the corner of the bedroom.  Then, I got stuck.  (This is why people hire decorators — to get you unstuck and push you along so that an easy project does not take 2 years!)  I also like referring to is as a make-under because I didn’t spend much to transform the space.

Here is the before:

And taaaaaaaaaaa-daaaaaaaaah, here is the after:

Here is the run-down:

The lamps are the same, and I purchased them from a Target in Bluffton, South Carolina years ago.

I replaced my cute repainted and recovered (but way uncomfortable ) wooden chair, with the comfy white leather office chair from Overstock.

I painted the two boring baskets on the desk and under the printer using white Rustoleum from Lowes.

I got the silver bordered white frames for $4 each from Target.  The new white pen holder is also from Target.

The shelves were quite a find — the West Elm in Richmond is closing (sniffle) and I stumbled upon an amazing sale.  The shelves were 50% off, and then I got an additional 15% off of the total (paid $25 for 2 shelves!).

My beloved doggie book ends are Jonathan Adler for Barnes & Noble.  The silver Jefferson cups were given in college and law school as honors and gifts (I think it is a Virginia thing?), and I use them to hold my paper clips, rubber bands and push pins.

I covered my reference books in brown paper bags!  Remember back in high school and middle school when you were required to cover your books?  I like the cleaner look, and it’s kind of mysterious, no?  🙂

And finally, I have always wanted my very own inspiration board.  My mom brought me this white bulletin board from her house and I found some fun colorful push pins at, where else?, Target!

I would love to replace my blotter and mousepad, so I will keep looking.  Also, I would love to have a white monitor, keyboard, and printer, but work sends them to me (fo’ free!), so I can’t really complain, right?

Here is another look:

To DIY For: My $6.99 Wreath

I have been watching all of my talented fellow bloggers successfully create their own versions of the GENIUS Eddie Ross DIY wreath.  So, I decided that it was time to get in on the action.

Bear with me.  This month, 7 years ago, Mr. Spark! and I were married in a historic chapel with a ton of rules and restrictions, one of which involved the exit celebration from the chapel — no bird seed, no bubbles and (definitely!) no sparklers.  So, being three days after Christmas, we decided to give our guests jingle bells to ring upon our exit.  It was as creative as we could get!

So, 7 years and 3 moves later, I had a bag full of the surviving jingle bells and decided to give the Eddie Ross wreath a try.  Here are the original bells and the ribbon, and the wire hanger:

As I tried to untwist the hanger, I decided to use a more flimsy one.  I shaped the hanger into a circle and untwisted the top.

Then I threaded the bells (and also decided to thread the ribbon) through the wire hanger:

And I quickly realized that my wreath was going to be too small:

So, during a trip to Target, I picked up a set of jingle bell ornaments ($6.99).

And then re-threaded the bells and added the new colorful bells:

Because the bells were so small, there were gaps where the wire hanger was showing:

So, I wrapped the ends of the bows around the exposed wire hanger.  Then I twisted the ends of the wire hanger together to complete the wreath.  Mr. Spark! helped me cut the excess wire:

I decided not to use a big bow — it looked too busy with the little bows.  Here is a look at the wreath on the front door.  Sorry for the poor photography — I finished this while it was already dark out!  And it’s a little too petite for the front door — the wreath will hang on the inside of my back door in the kitchen, but I couldn’t find my wreath hanger tonight and wanted to show this baby off!

I liked using the jingle bells because I didn’t have to glue the ornament tops, as is required with the original Eddie Ross wreath.  I am thrilled with my wedding momento/Christmas wreath!  🙂