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Friday, March 6, 2015

With SPRING around the corner, try these Budget-Friendly DIY projects to get a jump start on the season!

Welcome Mat ~ Make a colorful statement at your front door with a DIY doormat. Cut 1x2 medium-density fiberboard (MDF) into fifteen 24-inch-long pieces. Spray-paint the pieces with exterior spray paint, let dry. Cut coordinating fabric strips to size, and affix to the slats with spray adhesive. Once dry, apply three coats of clear exterior varnish. To assemble, drill holes through each plank 1 inch from each end and at the center. Thread a small nut onto one end of each of the three threaded rods; insert the rods through the holes in one MDF plank. Slide a larger nut onto each rod. Continue alternating planks and nuts. Secure the slats with a nut threaded onto the end of each rod.

Budget Art ~ Turn ordinary items into gilded art. Arrange gold seal stickers intended for envelopes and official documents in rows on solid-colored paper to create easy modern art. Or group house numbers -- both old and new -- inside a picture frame.



Poster Board ~ Take an afternoon to add a creative focal point above your headboard. Poster board, a small mirror, and a hot glue gun are all you need for this simple sunburst mirror.



Felt ~ Bring warmth and style to your bathroom floor with this Pop Art-inspired rug design. Combine regular crafts felt with thick felt furniture feet pads to make this rug.

Frosty Glasses ~ Boost the sophistication of a set of clear glass vases by adding subtle stripes. To get the etched look without messing with caustic etching cream, mask off stripes of different widths using painter's tape, then spray with paint that mimics the look of frosted glass. DIY Tip: The more coats of frosted-glass paint you apply, the more opaque and noticeable the stripes. We applied two coats to our vases.

Super Bowl ~ For virtually no cost at all, you can mold an attractive centerpiece. Employ the simple technique of paper-mache, which involves dipping strips of paper into a solution of equal parts white glue and water. Turn over a mixing bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Tear strips of paper: book pages, magazines, sheet music, wrapping paper, or wallpaper will work. Here, the artistic look comes from copies of blueprints placed facedown with a layer of patterned scrapbook paper laid right side up. Apply at least three layers of paper to develop a sturdy vessel; let dry. Remove plastic wrap and bowl, and, if necessary, smooth any rough edges with fine-grit sandpaper.

Tea Cozy ~ Dress your windows quickly and smartly with tea towels turned into cafe curtains. Simply clip drapery rings to the top edges of the towels, and thread the rings onto a curtain rod. You'll want the curtains to hang down to the windowsill, so mount the rod accordingly. If you have a double-hung window, position the rod so the top edge of the curtain lines up with the sash. DIY Tip: If necessary, trim the towels to length and hem using a sewing machine -- or iron on fusible webbing for a no-sew option.

Clipboard Organizer ~ Bring on order with these clipboard organizers. Use painter's tape to mask any areas you don't want covered in paint. The tape can also serve as a guide to paint straight lines. Brush the clipboard with chalkboard paint and let dry. Rub chalk on chalkboard-painted surface to prime it. Wipe off chalk with damp cloth; wipe dry. Peel off the tape and repeat steps to add another color in unpainted spaces. Embellish with stencils, stickers, or other fun accents.

Birch Perch ~ Create shelves with panache using birch logs as supports. Trim sturdy branches to equal lengths, keeping the cuts straight. Paint two 24-inch-long 1x6 boards in the desired color. Attach one board to the bottom of the branches using wood screws, and attach the second board to the top of the branches, again, with wood screws. Hang the shelves using picture-hanging hooks driven into wall studs.

Order in the House ~ Make labels from hardware store wood shims and institute order. Cut a few shims to the desired size by either scoring with a crafts knife and snapping, or trimming with a rotary cutter. Sand each corner to round, and drill a hole in the middle of the thick end, about 1/2 inch from the edge. Use a small foam brush to paint the front and back of each tag with chalkboard paint. Let dry and write or stencil on labels with white charcoal pencil or chalk. Tie onto a bin or basket with a length of baker's twine.

Gilded Jars ~ Rescue glass jars bound for the recycling bin for this upcycled project. Clean out the jars, poke a hole in the top of the lid, and screw a cabinet knob through the hole. We paired gold knobs with gold lids, but you can also paint the lids to match your hardware.

Shiny Starburst ~ Stir up a DIY mirror using a common project must-have: stir sticks. Use a handsaw to cut stir sticks to desired lengths, then spray-paint them (we used metallic gold paint). Cut a circle from newspaper to match the size of your mirror. Use the newspaper pattern as a guide for edge alignment of the sticks. Adhere the longest sticks at "north-south-east-west" compass points using strong crafts glue. Fill in the remaining spokes, leaving room for the wall hanger.

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