Stenciled Animal Mugs
Look no further than the nearest pasture for inspiration to dress up plain dishware. To duplicate these mugs, print and cut out the animal shapes. Use these templates for Cow, Sheep, and Pig shapes. Place each shape atop a small piece of contact paper and outline it in pencil. Cut out with a craft knife; then discard the paper inside the outline. Peel away the backing and affix the stencil to a clean, dry mug, making sure to center the image. Following the package directions, use a soft brush to fill in the outline with dishwasher-safe PermEnamel paint ($3.49 for two ounces, joann.com); let set for a few minutes. Carefully remove the contact paper, clean up any edges with a damp cotton swab, and allow the paint to cure for 10 days.
Create A Hankie Table Runner
Inspired by Amy Barickman's latest book, Hankie Style , this craft breathes new life into old-fashioned linens. To make a table runner, measure the length of your table (plus overhang) to determine how many hankies you'll need (we used ten 12-inch squares for an 82-inch-long table). To connect the first two, flip them pattern side down, overlapping the edges by about ⅜ inch; pin, then stitch together. Continue attaching handkerchiefs in this manner until the runner is complete.
Make Your Own Vases
Floral foam and glass marbles aren't the only ways to hold flowers aloft. Instead, a bunch of vintage milk bottles gives this arrangement—featured in Decorating with Flowers by Paula Pryke—its structure. Simply line up nine same-size vessels in three rows of three. Then wrap gardener's twine around the grouping twice and tie the ends. Finish the blooming display by placing two to three stems in each container. Smart idea: Separate the milk bottles and flowers afterwards to give to your guests as party favors.
Bright taffeta ribbon and a hot-glue gun are all you need to give a pair of shoes a quick and easy update.
Dress Up a Plain Mirror
To fashion this pretty piece, print out our template, sized to fit an 11¾"W ×16"H mirror ($19.99; kmart.com). Trim the template as directed and place the resulting hand-mirror shape atop contact paper. Outline; then cut out. Peel away the backing and center the shape, sticky side down, on the mirror. Spray the mirror's surface with a coat of no-prime acrylic paint ~ here is used Montana Gold's Bazooka Joe ($6.83 for 13½ ounces; dickblick.com). Let dry for 30 minutes; then peel off contact paper.
Transform a plain window shade with a sweet stencil. Painting this birdcage motif is a snap, thanks to a goof-proof stencil ($26; 9"W x 14"H; designerstencils.com). Simply center the stencil on the front side of a bamboo shade — ours cost $21.50 at pearlriver.com — so that the top of the design lines up with the top of the shade; secure with painter’s tape. Following the stencil package directions, use a stencil brush ($1.99; joann.com) and acrylic paint to gently tamp the design onto the shade. Let dry for 30 minutes, then apply a second coat. Wait another 30 minutes before carefully removing the stencil. Allow the shade to dry for an hour before hanging.
A roll of bakery twine, pinking shears, and hot glue are all that's needed to repurpose a well-worn-though-cherished quilt into a pretty basket liner.
Pump Up a Plain Mason Jar
Repurpose the classic Mason jar as a soap or lotion dispenser in your bathroom. Step 1: First, measure and mark the center of the jar's lid. Step 2: Using a 1/2" high-speed steel drill bit (about $10; local hardware store), drill a hole to fit the width of a soap dispenser pump. We used pumps from old lotion bottles. Step 3: Fill the jar with liquid soap, screw the lid back on, and insert the pump. You may need to trim the bottom of the pump to fit your jar.
Put your fabric remnants to good use by turning them into a unique patchwork pillowcase.
To create this handy hook, drill a small hole approximately one inch in from the end of the fork's handle. Hold the utensil faceup, then use pliers to bend the prongs back toward the handle, making sure to form a rounded C shape rather than a V. Finish by screwing the tieback into your window molding.
Crocheted Tea Towels
Ready-made edgings and borders, available by the yard at fabric stores or adapted from flea-market finds, make it easy to transform even the simplest home textiles into vintage-style home accessories. You can machine- or hand-stitch the filigree embellishments to almost any fabric surface — dish towels, bath towels, bedding, or attire — in an afternoon.
Renew An Old Phone Bench
Create the perfect spot for pulling off boots and sorting letters by rescuing a relic from the rotary-dial days. To begin, pop off the cushion, remove any existing upholstery and padding, and measure the remaining seat base. Cut a piece of three-inch-thick memory foam to those dimensions. Enlarge dimensions by five inches on all four sides and cut fabric (red houndstooth, $9.99 per yard; premierprintsfabric.com) and cotton batting to this size. Next, place foam atop the seat base and wrap tightly with batting, using a staple gun to secure the batting to the base's bottom; repeat with fabric. Finally, lightly sand the wood surfaces and wipe clean with a damp rag. After priming, apply two coats of glossy white paint, allowing time to dry in between. To finish, reattach the new seat.
Tightly wrap a doily around a vase. Snip away any excess, then hand-stitch the doily securely in place to create a snug fit. A clear glass vase creates an elegant illusion, but experiment with different vases and doilies to find a combination you like.
Not only decorative, these bandanna covers also prevent strappy tops and dresses from slipping off hangers. 1. Fold a bandanna in half; slip a hanger in between fabric so its bottom meets the fold (fabric should cover the hanger's front and back). 2. Trace the shape of the hanger's arms on the bandanna; cut, leaving room for the hook and a 1/2-inch hem on the side of the bandanna facing up. 3. Fold hem over the hanger's arm, pulling the back side of the bandanna up to meet it, and secure with fabric glue; let dry. 4. Trim any remaining excess fabric.