What do you do when you see something on Pinterest or Etsy, but you can't just bring yourself to shell out the money to go full hog with the project or product? You do it yourself. My house is full of DIY projects...some were great successes, others lined the trash can. One thing we've struggled with is what to put on our walls so it's not completely bare. Even just one or two wall hangings can make a huge difference in a room (it's always depressing when moving to take the stuff off the walls because that's when it doesn't feel like home anymore). Prints can be expensive. Canvases can be expensive. Shoot, everything can be expensive. Sometimes we can work with the expense, and other times it's not even an option. So what do you do when you are trying to decorate on a budget? Get creative and do what I call a "Use it Up" project. Some call it upcycling. Some call it "Crap to Crafts". I've seen all sorts of names for this.
Some months I have "Use it Up" months where I'm not allowed to buy any craft supplies (no glue, no fabric, no paper, nothing) and anything I make has to be from things I can find around the house. Today's post features two of these "Use it Up" projects, showing ways to get projects done cheaper and how to use things that might normally be thrown away.
Jessica sent us her Pin Spin (or we called them MIYO, "Make it Your Own" projects at the time) back in November. She found these prints that she fell in love with, but "for $45, then still needing a frame, I couldn't pull the trigger".
The Original Pin:
Isn't that pretty? I think so at least. So serene and pretty. Jessica decided to get creative and use what she could find at home and at the craft store.
The Pin Spin:
She started with a set of
shoe paper box lids (thanks for keeping me in line everyone):
And then covered them in paper and stickers:
And hung them up on either side of her awesome clock:
I love how they look! And I love that she thought outside the box (or that she thought of using the box, hehehe) to get the project done. Great job!
When the "upcycling" trend started, I started a box of "trash to crafts" items. I put in shoe boxes, cardboard edges that would work for mini shelves, and various odds and ends that I could use in projects. It's been fun to go through the box and be able to make useful thing out of objects that would have otherwise gone to the trash heap.
A while back I started saving some of the empty cardboard fabric bolts from the fabric store I work at.
I actually have a whole stack of these. I had visions of painting shutters on them, doing panel paintings, making them into "canvases", etc. They've been sitting in our "spare oom" (only ours never opened up to Narnia) for a while and I was finally able to put some of them to use.
I've always loved the long skinny canvases...but it seems like the less "mainstream" the shape/size of the canvas is, the more expensive it is. Our specialty art store in town has various canvas sizes, but not usually these "funky" ones...and they are super nice quality and I just can't justify paying the super nice quality prices just to craft with them. If I were painting a masterpiece, maybe that would be a different story, but since I'm not at the masterpiece level...it'll be a while before I splurge on a canvas that nice. So for now I'm resigned to making my own, or stopping at a cheaper craft/art store when we're in a big town/city.
So for my project I grabbed 5 of these bolts (I only needed 4, but I thought I'd get one extra one prepared just in case I messed something up), a container of gesso and I got slathering.
It only took 2 coats of gesso to get a nice uniform coverage and I LOVE the texture that it gave the board. Never used gesso? Give it a try, you'll love it. It made such a great base to paint on and was so easy to use.
They didn't take long at all to paint. By the time I got all 5 painted with the first coat, the first board was dry and ready for its second coat. Great stuff. This bottle cost me about $12 at Walmart (a regular white acrylic craft paint bottle was a buck cheaper, but I'm sure I had to use fewer coats of this and it gave a much better texture...so the extra buck was worth it to me).
In the future kid's room we have a painting by my Great-grandmother of some circus clowns, and some clown figurines that we saved from my sister's trash can and thought it'd be fun to add just one or two more clown touches to the room. We're not going all out clowns, but thought just a few would be fun. So I got looking for clown pictures to put on these boards and finally happened on some great Aunt Martha's Hot Iron Transfers called Clancy the Clown. I wasn't sure if they'd work with the gesso or not, but I gave it a try anyway, and it did pretty decent!
I picked the four Clancys that I wanted, ironed them on, and then pulled out my stash of craft paints.
Like my painting mat? The DDR game pad doesn't work any more, but it serves as a great crafting/painting pad.
Basically if you can color in the lines, you can paint these. That's all I did. It was relaxing and fun to sit there and paint these. I finally go them done, dried, and eagerly ran to the room to see how they look.
And here they are a little closer up:
I'm pretty pleased with how they turned out! The only thing I bought for these was the $2 Iron-On Transfer (which can be reused a few more times), and the $12 bottle of gesso (which I didn't even use 1/4 of, so I have it for future projects).
So if you're decorating on a budget, just giving yourself a "go cheap" challenge, or if you just don't want to go to the store but you really want to make something, take a walk around your house. We all have things we can use for projects, we just don't normally think of them as "project fodder".
What Pin Spin/MIYO projects have you done? Send them our direction and tell us what you did!