DIY Lamp Makeover

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One person’s trash is another’s treasure. In my life, this is always true. A friend of mine picked up this cute old fashioned lamp at a garage sale and passed it on to me. Recently, I finally got around to making it over with a new color and a new shade, giving it a complete lamp makeover.

For this lamp makeover, you’ll need:

  • Spray paint that works on multiple surfaces (I recommend Rust-Oleum)
  • Clear or sealant spray
  • Fabric
  • Wrapping paper (any)
  • Spray adhesive (I recommend Elmer’s Craft Bond)
  • Scissors
  • Pencil

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Above is the original. First, I cleaned the base of the lamp because it was pretty dusty and the paint needs something to hold on to, so the cleaner the better. I removed the shade and took the base outside to spray paint it yellow to match the new fabric I chose for the lampshade. I covered the cord and top with masking tape and spray painted a coat of sun yellow on the base. After that dried for a while, I sprayed it with a second coat. My favorite brand of spray paint in Rust-Oleum, which you can buy at Home Depot for fairly cheap. It works on just about any surface. When it’s dry, spray a coat of clear sealant over it to provide some extra shine and seal the paint.

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While the base was drying, I got started on the lampshade. You may want to iron your fabric first. I always do!

Start by tracing your lampshade onto the backside of a piece of wrapping paper. I recommend using wrapping paper because it will likely be long enough and thin enough to trace, cut and move easily. Place your lampshade at the corner of the paper and roll it upward, keeping track of where you started and using your pencil to trace one side of it. Put it back at the corner and trace along the other side. Depending on the shade, it may go straight or it may curve like mine did.

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Cut out the piece of paper. Lay it around the lampshade to make sure the size is appropriate. Then trace this shape onto the backside of your fabric. Use the scissors to cut approximately a half inch outside of the shape you made on all sides. You’ll want this extra space to fold over the top and bottom and to fold a seam at the end of the fabric. When the shape is cut, once again lay it over the lampshade to see how it will fit. Spray the piece of fabric with a thin layer of adhesive and carefully begin laying it around the lampshade. I recommend Elmer’s Craft Bond for spray adhesive because it is the only one that I have tried so far that truly works for fabric projects.  Ignore the one in the photo. I learned this was not the correct choice for this project. Go slowly, smoothing the fabric out as you go. My lampshade wasn’t flat, which made it more difficult. This project is easier with a flat lampshade.

When you get to the end, fold the fabric over and glue it down. Carefully use the adhesive glue or even a small amount fabric glue to fold the top and bottom edges down into the shade.

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Once the shade felt secure and the base was dry, I put the two together for a cute addition to my desk! Personally, I like yellow in small doses rather than large, and I love the way this lamp turned out with the grey contrast of the lampshade.

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DIY Paint Splatter Canvas

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If you’ve ever seen The Princess Diaries, you may remember the scene where Mia’s mom is throwing darts at a canvas covered in paint-filled water balloons. One day, my friend and I decided to try it, but life is nothing like movies. Instead, we found other ways to achieve the same painted splatter canvas look with other techniques.

After trying and failing to pop balloons full of paint, we opted for simply dripping the paint down the canvas. Using a few different colors that matched my decor, I splattered paint onto the canvas with a paintbrush while it leaned upright against something. I also dipped paint down the canvas, creating a similar look to what Mia’s mom created in the movie.

All you need is the canvas and a few colors of regular acrylic paint. It doesn’t take long at all, and the splatter canvas looks great on the wall.

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Add Color with Unique Side Tables

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This is a quick, easy tutorial for making personalized side tables that reflect your home. I came up with this idea when my roommate and I picked out pillows at IKEA that have a doodle-like design on them. She found some old haggard-looking stools, so I came up with the idea to paint them to match our new pillows.

You can recreate an old table or stool from your home or pick one up at a garage sale for next-to-nothing. To begin making your personalized side tables, you will need some basic acrylic paint. Choose several of your favorite colors at Michael’s, which offers a wide variety at a low price. Because you will be going over the paint with a Sharpie, remember to choose colors light enough for the Sharpie to be visible over the paint later.

At Michael’s or Home Depot, you may also want to pick up a can of clear spray paint to use as a sealant. The only other items you will need are a couple of medium sized paintbrushes, a regular-sized Sharpie, and some everyday paper towels.

Depending on the stool or table you’re painting, you may also want to buy primer, which is inexpensive at your local Home Depot. Unfortunately, I don’t have a before picture of these stools because I didn’t plan on this blog a year ago, but I used primer in my case because the original stain on the stools didn’t look very nice. If the piece is  a dark color, primer would be a wise choice.

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If you feel the need to use primer, first prime the section of the piece that you plan to paint. Once the primer is dry, begin painting large chunks with your colored acrylic paint. It does not need to follow any pattern. Follow it with a second coat. Give this plenty of time to dry before moving on to the stenciling.

If you are unsure what to draw, outline it first in pencil. It should erase easily and will be visible enough to see over the paint. Next, trace your doodles in Sharpie. If you mess up, simply paint over your mistakes, but it may take a few coats.

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Take your time and draw whatever reflects your home. If the Sharpie appears light, trace over it a second time as you see fit. Once the ink is dry, take it outside and generously spray the clear spray paint over the top. This will keep the marker from wearing away easily.

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For only a few dollars, you’ve revamped an old piece of furniture that once blended into the background. I get compliments on mine all the time, and it’s nice to know my stools are one of a kind.

Square Photo Collage

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I have an incredible amount of extra photos lying around. These are either duplicates of the photos in my scrapbook or photos that just never found a place. For a while, a lot of people were posting about instagram collages, which really just means a bunch of square photos. I took this idea and ran with until I came up with this collage. Let’s be honest. There’s nothing very special about it, but it looks great sitting on my bookshelf in our tiny excuse for a hallway.

For this project, all you will need is a frame (the size is up to you), photos, a paper cutter, multiple colors of cardstock, and some type of glue or sticky squares. My frame is 16 X 20 in., and I chose it with the intention of never actually hanging it, so I chose the cheapest thin frame I could find. I began by cutting my photos to 4 X 4 in. because of the size of my frame, so adjust accordingly based on the size. Because of the way I laid out my photos, I used ten. When cutting, always remember that it’s better to cut something just a tiny bit too big than too small. You can always shave off a little on the sides, but you can never get it back if you trim it too much.

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Next, I cut different colors of cardstock to the same size. I also needed ten of these. After everything was cut, I laid out the pattern I wanted to make sure I liked it before I glued everything down. If you want, you could also leave out the cardstock completely and use all photos throughout the collage. In fact, this would make it more of an actual collage. Because of where I planned to put it, I didn’t want to go for the cluttered look. It would be too difficult to tell what you were looking at when it was in a corner with a bunch of other things.

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I chose sticky squares to lay down the pieces because glue is messy and if you don’t like where you put it, good luck trying to move it. When you buy a new frame, it generally comes with a paper inside that fits the size of the frame, usually with a smiling couple or something on it. Using this perfectly cut piece of paper, I alternately stuck down my squares, making sure to fit each piece directly next to the other and along the edges of the paper. All your lines between pieces should line up. If they don’t, adjust. If adjusting isn’t enough, you may need to trim a little off the sides of certain pieces.

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When you’re satisfied, lay the collage in the frame, put the back on, and your photo collage should be ready to display. You could go so many ways with a project like this. If making it for a gift, you could replace the cardstock with little notes, signatures of party guests, or even quotes. You could also use newspaper clippings or book pages or more photos. It simply depends on you and the occasion.

Herringbone Painting

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Based on a Pinterest post I fell in love with, I painted my own herringbone pattern on a 12 X 12 canvas. I can share with you what difficulties I came across trying to make this, and hopefully you can perfect it if you try it on your own.

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You will need a canvas, several colors of acrylic paint, brushes, a sponge, and painter’s tape. I used a 12 X 12 canvas, but I believe any square canvas would be appropriate. I used a lot of different colors, but you should use as many as you see fit.

Using a medium-sized paintbrush, blot several colors over the canvas. Blend your colors together using the brush and/or a sponge. Make sure the entire canvas is covered with color. Let the paint dry completely.

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While the paint dries, take the time to cut your tape. This is the most time-consuming part of the project. My 12 X 12 canvas required about 50 pieces of tape, which I cut to a 3-inch length. I also cut the tape to 3/4 of an inch in width. If possible, I’d recommend buying thinner tape, but I already had a thicker type at home.

When the canvas is dry, begin laying the tape in a herringbone pattern, starting from one corner. Lay the tape gently so that you can rearrange it if necessary. When you’re sure you have the pattern fixed, press the tape down firmly.

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Paint over the tape with white (or another color if you prefer). I used two layers of white paint to cover the open areas. Let it dry completely before removing the pieces of tape. This is where I encountered my biggest problem. The white paint seeped underneath the tape, and it didn’t allow for a clean line when I removed the tape later. The type of tape I used is probably responsible for my problem, so I’d recommend buying “the good stuff” for a project like this. Spray paint could also remedy this problem.

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After you’ve removed the tape and the canvas is dry, paint the edges of the canvas with a color that compliments the colors in the pattern. Once this is dry, your herringbone painting is complete and ready to hang.

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Sound Wave Painting

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My original idea for this project was to copy the sound waves of a song onto a canvas, but this proved much more difficult than I thought. I should start by admitting that I absolutely cannot paint. I can splatter some paint of a canvas or paint some random patches, but I’d be surprised if I can even paint a respectable tree. Because of my lack of painting skills, I googled some ideas to get me started, and I found some amazing examples on Apartment Therapy. This became the inspiration for my idea, and although my painting did not match the image in my head, I’m still happy with the outcome.

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For this project, you will need a canvas (or two), paint, brushes, and an idea of what sound waves you plan to create. I used two 12 X 12 canvases because I believed it should look longer, and they were the only size canvases I had. In the beginning, I opened “Skinny Love” by Bon Iver in the computer program Audacity to get an idea of what I was going to paint. I printed it out with the intent of painting what I saw, but I ended up making things up as I went when I realized the difficulty in it.

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Start by deciding what color you want the background to be. Personally, I like the look of color on black, so I painted the whole canvas black, and let it dry. Then I chose a very dark blue to paint the sound waves because I wanted the colors to fade lighter and brighter. When that was dry, I mixed a lighter shade of blue and slightly painted over the dark blue, hoping it would create a shadowy look. To make most of the sound waves, I just used a small brush to paint lines really close together. Once that dried, I mixed an even lighter shade and painted my next round over the sound waves.

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After some time, I went over the last color with another coat where I needed. Lastly, I painted the sides of the canvas black to match the rest of the background. One piece of advice I can offer is to make sure you’re painting in a straight line. I had to paint over part of my canvas when I realized how crooked it was becoming. Also make sure that if you are using two canvases, the lines line up from canvas to canvas. When it’s all dry, hang it up, but be sure to measure it beforehand so that the canvases line up when hung on the wall.

Quotes on Canvas

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I’ve seen a million different versions of quotes on canvases using this technique. They’re all adorable, and I have plans to make many more. This is my first attempt, and it is not my favorite example, but I’ll do better next time. Sooner or later you’ll see at least one with book pages and a Harry Potter quote.

For this project, you will need a canvas of any size, magazine pages or clippings, Mod Podge, paint, a paintbrush, and vinyl letters. Instead of magazine clippings, you can also used book or music pages, which I plan to do in the future. My letters are about an inch, and I purchased them from Office Depot. Consider the size of your canvas and how large you want the print to be. My canvas was a square 12 X 12 in. piece.

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First, use Mod Podge to glue pieces of magazine or other paper to the canvas. Cover it completely. After the glue is dry, you can put down your letters. I put “wish” at the top and “11:11” at the bottom. Be sure the letters are firmly pressed down, and paint the entire canvas using your choice of acrylic paint. It may need at least two coats.

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When the paint is completely dry, carefully peel off the letters to reveal the paper underneath. When I tried this, I noticed that the paint seeped underneath the stickers, leaving it difficult to clearly distinguish the letters. To fix this, I traced the outline of the letters with black paint. This way, you can see the letters while still being able to see the paper underneath the outline. Depending on how your letters turn out, you may or may not consider this step. Once it’s dry, it is ready for display.

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