Thursday, June 28, 2012

Crafting on the cheap

As much as I love crafting and wish I could do it all day every day, it's not a cheap hobby to have. Almost every project requires a trip or two to Michael's, Jo-Ann or Home Depot and all of the materials add up, especially if you're buying everything needed to create something. I haven't yet gotten into building projects, so thankfully I don't have lumber to purchase, but spray paint gets expensive, too!

I have always had a love of scrounging around Goodwill to find hidden treasures that I could turn into masterpieces. Since moving into a house and having a lot of walls to fill, Goodwill has become my closest friend. I go at least every other week (on Sunday since that's 50% off a color tag) to see what I can find for the house and I have scored some awesome things (to me, at least)!

Here are some of my favorite things to get at Goodwill that help me craft:

  • Picture frames: in my opinion, one of the best offerings of Goodwill. I'd say 75% of the frames in my house are from there. They always have unique shapes and designs that I can spray paint to fit whatever room they are going in to. 

Ombre hearts frame, white frame and canvas from Goodwill. 
(Canvas and white frame spray painted by me.)

Ombre specimen art in bathroom. Frame from Goodwill for $1.50. 
  • Fabric for crafts: I make little onesies with a necktie on them and I get the men's dress shirts to cut up at Goodwill. They also usually have a great selection of old table cloths and other fabric that can be cut up for crafts. 
  • Wreaths: The usually have a good collection of ugly door wreaths that can be stripped and repurposed to make all of those cute yarn wreaths you see on Pinterest. I've bought two small wreaths recently for $.99. 
  • Home decor: A lot of the home decor is junky and outdated, but there are definitely some treasures to be found.  
Pottery Barn Hurricane Vase for $6.99
Fork and Spoon in background for about $1.50 each

  • Vases: There are always tons of vases at Goodwill and a lot of them are milk glass, which I think is super cute. I got two of these cuties last year and I think they are one of my favorite Goodwill finds of all time!
Around $2

  • Furniture: I actually haven't purchased much furniture from Goodwill, but I always see cool and unique pieces around here. I haven't gotten into the whole repurposing and painting furniture thing yet, but I want to try it soon. I have bought a $5 small outdoor table that I spray painted black and put my plants on and a stool to use for crafting at the counter for $2.50. Good deals in my book! 

I'm praising Goodwill so much that it sounds like I'm getting paid by them, but I assure you, I am not! I just like crafting on the cheap and find that Goodwill is a great place to start to get some of the 'base' pieces to use for crafting projects. 

I also like to use free online prints to fill the frames or frame things that are meaningful to my husband and I. I don't want the same Target artwork as 50,000 other people; I want something meaningful to show our personality.

In addition to my Goodwill obsession, of course I shop at Michael's and Jo-Ann Fabric when necessary. But seriously, if you EVER buy something for full-price at either store, you are crazy. There is not a day of the week/month/year that they don't have a sale going on or a 40%-50% off coupon sitting right at the front of the store in their circular. I personally find that Jo-Ann has more of the things I need than Michael's, but Michael's has a much better selection of canvases and craft painting supplies.

Other than those stores mentioned, of course garage sales can be a great resource as well as Ikea, if you have one near you.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

DIY: Faux Wood Vases

I made these vases last year after seeing a tutorial on a blog that I read daily (I can't remember which one, so I apologize!). It was getting close to winter and I thought these would be really cool on some shelves in my living room filled with wintery branches.

I have about a billion leftover 9" tall vases from our wedding, so I was happy to put a few of them to use.

And, I actually took pictures of this in progress for some reason, so you'll see more than just the final outcome for once!

I just used some craft glue and drew the tree bark pattern right on the vases. 

Then I spray painted over that. 

This was a really easy and cheap project since I had all of the supplies already. You could also use hot glue to draw the bark, but a bottle of glue was easier to control for me. 

I don't have a photo of them in action, but when I bust them out this winter, I'll be sure to post one. I also think these would be really cute as centerpieces for a wedding that was more rustic or laid back. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

DIY: Painted Door

I've been wanting to paint our front door for as long as we've lived here, but we didn't get around to it last summer and I wasn't going to paint a door in the winter. Since we have a party at our house coming up, that gave us the perfect kick in the butt to get it done.

I'd read a bunch of tutorials on how to do it, and they all involved way more steps than I wanted to take. We have a metal door that's in good shape, it was just stained from the sun beating on it. There was no flaking paint, so we decided to skip sanding. All I did was wipe it down to remove any surface stains and dust and we went to town.

I used regular wall paint because the guy at Home Depot said there wasn't really a special paint I should use. He also said I didn't need any type of sealant on it to protect it from the sun. Who knows if he actually knew what he was talking about. I guess if it fades quickly, we'll know the answer.

We used a sponge brush for the crevices and a roller for the big parts, which gave it a little texture. Overall, I really like how it turned out.

View from outside our house. 

We went back and forth on the color to go with. I've seen so many awesome bright yellow doors and I love the look, but not for our house. We have a combination of materials on the outside of the house- brick, cream siding, white shutters. I just didn't think yellow would look right. Also, a bright yellow door in the middle of a snowy Minnesota winter seemed weird, too. We just painted our bathroom navy, and I love the color, so we decided to go with navy for the door as well (the fact that we only had to buy one gallon of paint helped, too). It pops just enough for my taste and I think it translates well between winter and summer. 

I also made the little frame wreath and I love how the yellow pops against the navy. Now if only I could get the flowers to stop falling off from overheated hot glue...

Thursday, June 21, 2012

DIY: Gallery Wall

I've had the bug to create a gallery wall for a while, but was too lazy. It seemed like a lot of work to figure out the alignment and hang everything up. But while my husband was in China and I was bored, I realized I pretty  much had most of the pieces I wanted to use. I worked on a few additional pieces and before I knew it, I had my wall laid out on our living room floor.

I had to do a few extra steps because we had some shelves on the walls from the previous owners and they were a pain to get off. Half the screws were stripped and each shelf had seven of them. I had to go buy a long drill bit to finally get them all out. Then I had to paint the spaces they were in because the old owners painted around them. Thankfully, they left us all of the leftover paint from all of the rooms in the house. I'm pretty sure the paint was well past its expiration date, but it worked.

Offending shelves on left wall (old owner's furniture and stuff)

I didn't trust myself to hang all of the stuff myself, so I waited until the Mr. got home so he and his perfectionist self could help me hang things evenly. I didn't want it perfectly symmetrical, so that was one good thing we had going for us. 

I roughly cut paper into the shapes and sizes of my pieces and taped them to the wall. We stared at them for about a week, rearranging things here and there until we decided we liked how it look. It took us about two full hours to hang things up, along with a few frustrating moments (for my husband) when measurements didn't quite add up. But in the end, I'm thrilled with the result!

The final product.
The little asterisks by some of the items means I made it or it was something special that I framed. I love that the wall incorporates so many unique things that aren't just photos.

Here's a closer look at some of the pieces:

I made this wreath over the winter and making all those flowers was a pain, so I wanted that work to be a permanent fixture on the wall. 

My sister-in-law and I took a class to create a mosaic mirror last summer. 

I bought this little frame at Goodwill for $.25 and decided to paint it. I didn't know what to put in it so I was rummaging through some mementos and found the receipt from the first date with my husband. It fit perfectly! (And let it be known that he's the one who kept it, not me! Such a sentimental chap.)

I ordered one of these plates for a friend's wedding about three months after ours and decided I liked it so much that I ordered one for us, too. (Husband's name blurred to protect the innocent.)

We saved the corks from the champagne we drank on the night we got engaged and the night we got married and wrote the dates on them. I just removed the glass from a Goodwill frame and glued the corks to some felt. 

We had a boutonniere that we made for my husband and the groomsmen for our wedding so I decided to glue one to a glass-less frame that was also leftover from the wedding. 

Three Pinterest projects rounded out the homemade wall. The ombre hearts was something I've seen all over, so I glued some scrapbook paper and hearts on top of this ugly painting I got at Goodwill. The L was just a random project I decided to do after getting a little wooden 'L' at Goodwill. And then geometric piece was a whim as well. I had a blank canvas from Goodwill and wanted to do something with it, so I grabbed some tape and some spray paint and got to it. I love the copper color! 

Finally, here's a picture that shows the scale of the wall with our giant couch underneath it.

I suppose I could have propped the pillows nicely and moved those spare frames from the floor, 
but I'm just keeping it real! 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

DIY: Toilet Paper Roll Art

After starting this blog six months ago, I fell off the wagon- again. But, I've done a ton of projects since then and I think I'm finally ready to blog them out.

I want to reiterate that I am not that good at coming up with ideas on my own. I get almost all of my ideas from Pinterest and go from there. I'm all about giving credit where credit is due, so I'll try my best to link back to whoever came up with the original craft I'm recreating. 

Also, this blog is not going to be a step-by-step guide on how to recreate something. You can go to Pinterest for that. In fact, I encourage it. Pinterest is a great way for people like me who like to craft, but aren't that good at coming up with the idea. 

So, now that we have that out in the open, here's my first project! (Keep in mind that almost all of these were done in the past six months.)

Last year, my husband and I bought a big house. It has a lot of extra rooms that we barely use and lots of walls to fill. I'm a cheap-ass when it comes to buying decorations and get a lot of mine at Goodwill or HomeGoods. Otherwise, I make them. 

To fill a blank wall in the basement, I wanted a big piece that was cheap. Cue toilet paper roll art

This DIY projects was one of the slower going ones, as I had to save up toilet paper and paper towel rolls. But, sure enough, I collected, cut and glued enough to make this. I know this picture looks like crap (it's an iPhone picture), and for some reason the scale of the couch and the TP art looks off, but alas, that's the point of this blog. I don't take professional quality pictures of my projects and I sure as hell don't edit them. 

This project was free, except for the spray paint, which I'm guessing ended up costing about $5. 

A very high level breakdown of the project:
  • Cut TP rolls to desired width. I did about 1" and was not exact. I bent mine a little to give them a petal shape. 
  • I would recommend spray painting them before gluing, because getting in all of the crevices was a pain. Plus, I had to use more spray paint to get in said crevices. 
  • Hot glue the pieces into a desired pattern. There are many ideas on Pinterest.
This really was easy, just a little time consuming. Since I created it, gravity has taken over a bit, so I need to revisit the hanging situation. Other than that, I'm happy with how well it covers the empty wall and the fact that it was free doesn't hurt either!