DIY Block Print Stamped Tea Towel

diy block print tea towel

how to stamp with potatoes

Hey there! It’s Melissa from The Happier Homemaker back again with a fun and easy DIY tutorial you can even get the kiddos involved with! I’ve been noticing block printing coming up a lot in my home decor magazines and catalogs lately. Last week when I was prepping a little rainy day potato stamping activity for my 3 boys, I decided it may be time to try a little block printing DIY of my own.

Supplies:

  • Flour Sack Tea Towels
  • Large Raw Baking Potato
  • Knife
  • Craft Paint
  • Fabric Medium
  • Iron and Ironing Board

Instructions:

Cut your potato in half and use your knife to {carefully} cut your design.  Simple shapes work best for this type of stamping.

diy potato stamped towel

On a paper plate, or paint palette, mix your craft paint with fabric medium in a 2:1 ratio (or according to fabric medium instructions.) [Read more...]

DIY Striped Euro Shams

striped euro shams 1

striped euro shams

Every DIYer loves a little drop cloth project right?  Jaime from That’s My Letter here to share how to make striped euro shams.

Using drop cloth and acrylic craft paint, I made these grain sack inspired shams to finish off our new poster bed.

striped euro shams 1

I added piping to finish the edges. It wasn’t too hard, and it was worth the extra effort.  Brittany has a great piping tutorial here or you could always leave off the piping if you choose.

05-CLX-digging-deep-striped-duvet-cover-0613-xln 1

I found my inspiration for these shams from a Country Living article in the June 2013 issue.  The master bedroom in the featured home had the perfect striped lumbar pillow and I knew I just had to have my own!

striped euro shams 3

Similar but different, these striped shams coordinate well with my Joseph’s Coat quilt.  Check out how easy it is to make your own shams:

Materials:

striped euro shams supplies

  • drop cloth (2 – 26″ x 26″ square piece per sham)
  • cotton cording (2 yards per sham)
  • 22″ zipper
  • painter’s tape
  • stencil paintbrush or stiff bristle brush
  • acrylic paint
  • pencil
  • clear quilting ruler
  • rotary cutter
  • self healing cutting mat
  • scissors
  • thread
  • sewing machine
  • iron & ironing board

Instructions:

striped euro shams step 1

Step 1: Measure your sham inserts and add 1″ to each side.  (My inserts measured 25″ x 25″ therefore I cut the drop cloth at 26″ x 26″.)  Tape the corners of the drop cloth to a hard surface.  Slide a piece of cardboard under the drop cloth to protect your surface. Mark a 1/2″ wide stripe at the center and secure painter’s tape down either side of gap. [Read more...]

Repurposed Vintage Milk Jug Side Tables

milk jug side table 2

milk jug side table

Jaime here from That’s My Letter sharing a DIY repurpose project that works great outside or inside.

Take a vintage milk jug, add a precut circular wood top and you have a functional and stylish side table.  If you want to get fancy I’ll show you how to add the personalization too!

milk jug side table before after

I started this project with some crusty old milk jugs that really serve no purpose these days and after a little paint and adding a wood top we have a beautiful and useful piece of furniture.

milk jug side tables 1

Together the two milk jugs make a great pair on either side of our diy outdoor sofa but ‘S’ is not my last name, these milk jugs will be going to a friend’s home.

milk jug side table 3

The personalization is icing on the cake, if you have a steady hand you can add any letter in nearly any font you desire. Ready to get started? [Read more...]

Easy Card Table Makeover

Card Table

Super easy card table makeover
I can only imagine that Matt and I are not the only family in America with a less than stellar card table.  In fact both of ours were hand me downs from grandparents and though they may have been fabulous in the 80′s, now they are really lacking in the attractive decor department.  A few years go I picked up some vinyl table clothes with hopes of breathing new life into our sad card tables and once again life got in the way and I never recovered them.  I recently came across the table clothes and decided it was time to move on with my project but there was a small problem, I no longer liked the table clothes I had previously picked out.  Have no fear, after a quick trip to Target I was back in business and ready for my amazing, fabulous, incredible card table makeover!

Materials:

  • Card Table (old or new)
  • Damp rag for cleaning
  • Ratchet with socket
  • Vinyl Tablecloth
  • Drop Cloth
  • Spray Paint
  • Sand Paper – 180 grit
  • Drop Cloth
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Hot Glue Sticks
  • Scissors

Instructions: 

Card Table

Give the table a good wipe down with a damp rag to remove any dust or possible cobwebs that may be lingering on the underside of the table.

Table

Remove the top of the table from the frame and legs. (Be sure to store your screws in a safe place because you will need them later.)  Most tables will be attached with a few hex screws that can easily be removed using a ratchet and socket or a socket wrench.

[Read more...]

How to Tile a Small Table Top

How to Tile a Small Table Top

How to Tile a Small Table Top

Hello and happy summer pretty handy readers. It’s Jessica from Decor Adventures. With the weather getting warmer, I’m completing lots of outdoor projects these days. One DIY adventure I’ve never actually tackled is tiling, but I’ve always wanted to. Today I’m going to show you how to tile a small table top. It’s easier than you think and is perfect for the outdoors too.

Materials:

How to Tile a Small Table Top

  • Small table
  • Tile adhesive (also called mortar or thinset)
  • Tile (enough to cover the top of the table)
  • Notched trowel
  • Rubber float
  • Grout
  • Grout sponge
  • Tile cutters
  • A bucket
  • Paint for the table (optional)
  • Water
  • Plastic gloves
  • Eye protection

 

Instructions

First, prepare your table. The small table I’m using was the one we used for my pet parrot when I was little! His name was Woodstock, and no he didn’t talk. I guess my mom taught me and my sister to talk instead :-). The table had sentimental value, so I knew I wanted to create something special with it.

[Read more...]

DIY Lollipop Stand

lollipop stand 1

lollipop stand

Happy Spring folks!  Jaime here from That’s My Letter back to share a fun DIY party decor idea: make your own lollipop stand.  I promise it’s fast and easy and adds tons of charm and sweetness to any party.

lollipop stand 2

This lollipop stand holds a ton of lollipops – 52 to be exact!  You could probably even use this stand for cake pops.  (The tutorial for the ‘celebrate’ script sign can be found here.)

lollipop stand 3

 

Materials:

lollipop stand supplies

  • 1 – 1 1/4″ wood dowel x 11″ long
  • 1 – 1×5  cut to 4 1/2″ (or any scrap wood 4 1/2″ square x 3/4″thick)
  • white gloss spray paint
  • sandpaper
  • 1 – 2″ wood screw
  • countersink bit
  • 5/32 drill bit
  • pencil
  • tape measure
  • drill
  • glue
  • scotch tape

Instructions:

Step 1: Mark the center point on the 4 1/2″ square wood base. [Read more...]

Knock off Garden Table

Knock off Partridge Garden Table Tutorial

Knock off Partridge Garden Table Tutorial

I often find myself searching online looking at furniture and decor on sites that I consider full of unique items.  I recently came across the Anthropologie Partridge Garden Table and fell in love.  The creative use of old mismatched legs was awesome.  Then I saw the price; a mere $ 148.00.  As cool as it is, spending that much for a plant stand is way more than I could ever justify.  I knew I could make it cheaper and am excited to show you how to make your own!

Materials

  • 3 different banister Spindles or table legs
  • 10″ clock face round
  • Wood Glue
  • Nail Gun
  • Wood Filler
  • Painters Tape
  • Three different colors of Paint
  • Sliding T-Bevel Square
  • Miter Saw
  • Spray Paint (Rust-Oleum Rustic Mist)
  • Spray Paint (High Gloss Sealer)

Round Legs

Instructions

1.  Lay  out the spindles and decide which sections will be used for the legs. [Read more...]

How to Stain a Basket

stained thrifted basket

how to stain an old basket

I admit it, I’m a basket addict!

Baskets are one of the best ways to organize and accessorize your home but they can be very expensive when purchased new. Thrift stores are a great source of affordable baskets but they are often out-of-fashion colors and can have missing or broken pieces. Today I’m going to show you how to take those old, thrift store baskets and make them a beautiful accent piece for your home.

Materials:

  • super glue
  • hand broom
  • stain
  • paintbrush

Instructions:

The first step in fixing up an old basket is to clean out any dirt or debris using a hand broom. Be thorough on both the interior and exterior.

before old thrifted basket staining

Next inspect your basket for any broken pieces. Use super glue to repair any areas that may need it. [Read more...]

DIY Colorful Coffee Stirrer Keychain

coffee stirrer keychain

coffee stirrer keychain

Hello Pretty Handy Girl readers, Jaime from That’s My Letter back again to share a fun craft project.  Today we’re making DIY wood keychains using coffee stirrer sticks.

If you love coffee just as much as I do, what could be better than a nifty craft made from coffee stirrers!

coffee stirrer keychains 1

The pattern possibilites are endless, stripes, diagonal, rainbow, chevron and on and on.  And what a great gift or favor idea for a party – you could paint them to match the party color scheme.

coffee stirrer keychain sticks

I may or may not have borrowed a few wood coffee stirrer sticks from my local coffee shop with a green and white logo.  Of course, I let my daughter do the dirty work but you only need about 5 sticks for one keychain.  Or more appropriately you can purchase coffee stirrer sticks or thin wood craft sticks from most craft and hobby shops.

coffee stirrer keychains 3

The painted coffee stirrer sticks are sealed with clear gloss varnish which gives a super hard finish that will hold up to everyday wear and tear while protecting the wood and paint.

Try one and I guarantee you’ll be hooked — then you’ll be making different styles and versions for everyone you know in a school or team color scheme ;-).

coffee stirrer keychain 4Materials:

coffee stirrer keychain supplies

  • 5 wood coffee stirrer sticks
  • acrylic craft paint
  • small paint brush
  • basswood (purchase one stick at 36″ l x 3/32″ thick x 2″w)
  • super glue (gel version is best)
  • scissors
  • rubber bands
  • clear gloss varnish (Americana DuraClear or similar)
  • sandpaper
  • clear gloss polyurethane spray (optional)
  • drill & small drill bit
  • keychain hardware

 

Instructions:

coffee stirrer keychain step 1

Step 1: Paint wood coffee stirrer sticks desired colors using acrylic craft paint.  Paint the edges too but not the back. [Read more...]

How to: Build a Wall Chalkboard with a Chalk Ledge

wall chalkboard

wall chalkboard

Chalkboards are popping up everywhere (like Brittany’s DIY chalkboard calendar from last week) and you can easily make one, but how about upping the usefulness by making a chalkboard WITH a chalk ledge?  Jaime here from That’s My Letter to show you how easy it is to add a chalk ledge to your chalkboard.

chalkboard with ledge

You definitely need a place to put all that chalk (or chalk markers like we prefer).  This chalk ledge protudes a minimal  1 3/4″ from the wall but still has space enough to hold lots of chalk.

chalkboard with ledge 5

I also attached a galvanized pail for more chalk markers.

chalkboard with ledge 1

wall chalkboard 1

I installed this chalkboard near our back door mudroom area.  Unfortunately the key pad for our alarm system is nearly smack in the middle of that wall.  I simply cut out a square in my plywood using a jig saw to accommodate the key pad.  My kids love their new chalkboard and somehow the key pad isn’t quite so obvious once they start drawing around it.

chalkboard with ledge 2

Supplies:

  • 1/2″ plywood (cut to desired size)
  • 1×2 pine board (cut to length of plywood)
  • 1 3/8″ x 1/4″ thick flat trim moulding (cut to length of plywood)
  • black chalkboard paint
  • blue painters tape
  • stain
  • polyurethane
  • foam brushes
  • drill
  • Kreg pocket hole jig (not necessary but definitely easier if you have one)
  • 1″ pocket hole screws
  • wood glue
  • 3/4″ trim nails
  • countersink bit
  • 2 1/2″ toggle bolts
  • 5/8″ spade bit (check toggle bolt requirements)
  • pencil
  • level

Instructions:

Step 1: Cut your plywood to size, using your Kreg pocket hole jig make pocket holes every 8″ along bottom edge of plywood (on back side). (I used the portable base with automaxx clamp here, much easier that slipping a large piece of plywood into the jig.) [Read more...]

Perpetual Menu Board

Reusable monthly menu board with magnetic meals - perpetual menu board

Reusable monthly menu board with magnetic meals - perpetual menu board

We were recently in North Carolina visiting with Matt’s family.  While we were there I took the time to visit an old dear friend of mine.  This girl has known me for years!  In fact I just realized it’s been 21 years since I first met her.  Needless to say it’s important to catch up with friends like this whenever you get a chance. While visiting her, I noticed she had an adorable menu board in her kitchen where she keeps track of all of her meals for the month.  Since “What’s for dinner?” is one of Matt’s favorite things to ask me, I knew I had to make one of these menu boards.

Materials:

  • 12×12 Frame
  • Clear Plastic Calendar Page
  • Scrapbook Paper
  • Magnets
  • Dry Erase Marker(s)
  • Printer Paper or Card Stock
  • Printer
  • Laminator or contact paper
  • Sheet Metal
  • Magnetic Paint
  • Tin Snips
  • Safety Glasses
  • Gloves

Instructions:

Start by measuring the inside of the frame.  (In my case that measurement was 12″ by 12″.)  Using a marker, mark a dot 12″ down from the edge onto your sheet metal.  Repeat this on the opposite side.

Reusable monthly menu board with magnetic meals - perpetual menu board

Use a straight edge (or carpenters square) lined up on the dots and draw a line.  This will be where you make your cut.

[Read more...]

DIY Wooden Arrows

DIY Wooden Arrows

DIY Wooden Arrows

Although I don’t typically decorate for Valentine’s Day, this year I couldn’t resist a little craft project to celebrate the holiday. After all, it is about love and chocolate and who can resist love and chocolate? Instead of the usual craft creating something heart shaped, I decided to pay a little attention to Cupid and his arrows. I put together these easy DIY wooden arrows and now I’m going to show you how you can make one too!

This project is really easy, and totally customizable so you don’t have to be exact with your measurements. Feel free to be a little more free style. You can paint it {or not}, just about any color you’d like.

Materials

  • Wooden Shims
  • Wood Glue
  • Miter Saw (or a hand saw and miter box)
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Spray paint, craft or wall paint or wood stain {optional if you will paint/stain it}
  • Frame for framing {optional}

Instructions

1. First select some nice wood shims to use. Make a rough representation of what you’d like your arrow to look like.

This was a rough image of what I came up with. Two shims for the point and a few more for the tail. Wooden Shims

2. Start cutting your arrow and tail parts. You can cut the pieces like the arrow on the right or left, shown below. Either way you’ll need some pieces with a 45 degree angle. That’s where your miter saw comes in. See Brittany’s post about how to use a miter saw here. It’s one of the first power tools I learned to use and is very easy to handle and work with.

Wooden Arrows3. To cut the 45 degree angles, first set your saw at the 45 degree mark. Then cut one end of the wooden shim to 45 degrees.

[Read more...]

Desk Makeover {Paint Stripping with Citristrip & Painting with Latex Enamel}

desk painted with Latex enamel

desk makeover sitristrip latex enamel

One of the unique features of our home’s floor plan is a “tech room” with built in desks just off of our mud room.  When we first built our house I thought they would make the perfect place for our older boys to do their homework.

PicMonkey Collage

The builders painted the desks with latex paint and unfortunately it showed evey little mark and scratch almost immediately after we moved in.  Within a few months I had already given the tops of the desks a coat of black chalk paint in the hopes of giving it a more durable surface.  I was again disappointed within a couple of weeks.

chalk paint on desk

In a last ditch effort to make the space look nice I did a total overhall last summer and redecorated the entire room.

TechRoom-Makeover2

It looked fantastic at first but again, it held up horribly.  I knew I needed to come up with a solution that would make the desks both functional and durable.

At this point the desks had multiple coats of paint and my husband and I decided to strip them bare and start over.  We opted to use Citristrip to strip the paint after much research.  We have three small children and the lack of toxicity was a big plus for us.

how to use citristripMaterials:

  • Citristrip Stripping Gel
  • Paint brushes
  • Scraper/Joint knife
  • Sanding block
  • Latex Enamel Paint
  • Safety Gloves
  • Protective Eyewear

Instructions:

Clean your surface of dust and debris. (You can see how horribly my latex painted desk held up to three little boys!)

painted desk stained

Apply a generous coat of Citristrip to the painted surface using a paint brush, you’ll notice the Citristrip has a thick, gel-like consistency and does not have the strong odor of other paint strippers.  It is important to use a thick coat (if your Citristrip begins to dry out, it was not thick enough.)

You should wear gloves and protective eyewear when working with Citristrip. (I didn’t realize until later that my husband didn’t have his gloves on in many of these pictures.  He has been sufficiently reprimanded!)

stripping paint citristrip

Allow the Citristrip to sit on the project for 30 minutes and test a small area with your scraper.  You can leave the Citristrip on the project for up to 24 hours before scraping.

Scrape the Citristrip and paint off the surface, scraping in the direction of the wood grain. The paint should be removed easily.

scraping paint citristrip

Remove paint debris and thoroughly clean the bare surface.  Sand surface lightly to remove any residual paint if necessary.

desk after stripping citristrip

When our desk was stripped we were left with a large piece of MDF.  We originally thought it would be regular wood so I attempted to see how stain would look on the MDF but the results were not good so that plan was quickly abandoned.

stain on mdf

After much research into durability we decided to use a latex enamel paint to finish the desks.  We chose latex enamel because it is a harder, more durable finish than traditional latex paint.

latex enamel

Apply one layer of latex enamel paint with a paintbrush and allow to dry fully.  Do not place anything heavy or damp on the painted surface for 7 days to allow the paint to totally harden.

desk painted with Latex enamel

I’m happy to say it has been three months so far and the latex enamel is holding up perfectly! It’s durable enough to scrub and I love the deep, velvety appearance of the paint!

MelissaSignature

 -Learn more about Melissa-

DIY Christmas Journal

Christmas journal 2

Christmas journal

Need an easy DIY gift idea that any kid will love?  Jaime from That’s My Letter here to share DIY Christmas journals made from inexpensive kids composition books.

There’s still time to make this Christmas journal gift for all those kids on your list who love to write and draw, it makes a great small gift or a nice add on to a larger gift.

Christmas journal 1

Take a peek inside and you’ll see the kids composition books are printed with lines just their size and bonus!  a place to draw pictures above the writing:

Christmas journal 3

Kids can use the journal to keep track of gifts received for thank you cards, adventures and travels during the school break, all the exciting events surrounding the holiday and on and on.

Wrap your  journal with a fun holiday pencil and printed ribbon:

Christmas journal 4

Supplies required:

Christmas journal 5

Instructions:

Step 1: Give the exterior cover (front and back) a quick sanding to rough up the ‘shiny’ surface – this will help the kraft paper adhere better. [Read more...]

How to: Hand Painted Monogrammed Ornaments

circel ornaments 3

Jaime from That’s My Letter here to share a handmade ornament as part of the Très Frugal gift ideas series running all through November.

circle ornaments

Today I’m sharing how to make a simple circular handpainted monogrammed ornament with a metal frame.

circle ornaments 5

You can choose nearly any font for the monogram, the thicker the letters the easier it is to paint.  You’ll get the best results if you use a small, fine brush, go slow, and have a steady hand.  Then you’ll be making monogrammed ornaments for all your friends and family this holiday season:

circle ornaments 7

The circular wood discs are readily available at most craft stores and the stainless steel metal hose clamp adds the perfect frame and weight to the ornament.  It’s the perfect combination of wood, metal and fabric with the added ribbon:

circle ornaments 6

Supplies: [Read more...]

How to Build a Rolling Storage Seat

rolling storage stool

Everyone can always use more hidden storage! What’s better than getting organized with more storage? How about combining it with additional seating!  Jaime here from That’s My Letter sharing with you this easy tutorial for how to build a rolling storage seat.

rolling storage stool final

Of course I couldn’t stop myself at just one seat, I had to make three – they’re just that fast and easy!  The finished size is a generous stool at 19″w x 18″ d x 20″h.

rolling storage stools 2

Lift up that cushioned top and you’ve got tons of storage space:
rolling storage stools 3

To make the rolling storage stool you’ll need the following supplies: [Read more...]

25 Ideas for Tabletop Gardens and Terrariums

Faux Terrarium

25_tabletop_garden_terrarium_ideas

As the weather changes and the flowers start to wane outside, it’s a great time to focus on bringing natural beauty indoors. I’ve gathered some beautiful and unique ideas for creating your own tabletop gardens. For those with less time to water, may I suggest trying one of the succulent or cacti gardens. Regardless of the plants you use, I love the wide variety of creative containers used for these mini-environments.

Let’s get started with some beautiful tutorials for planting a tabletop garden:

1. Easy Terrarium in Minutes! [Read more...]

Welcome to Our Newest Contributing Writer – Colleen

boston_terrier_commissioned_portrait

Colleen_headshot_sm

I have some exciting news! I’ve convinced another talented writer and empowering creative force to join the Pretty Handy Girl ranks! This gal has a real “Can Do!” attitude that she imparts on everyone she meets. She has successful taught people who didn’t think they could draw a straight line how to paint flowers, faux finishes and much more!

She’s an extremely talented artist:

boston_terrier_commissioned_portrait

Commissioned Pet Portrait [Read more...]

How to install landscape bed black edging

edging 6

Jaime here from That’s My Letter to share an easy project that will make your landscaping look clean and neat.

edging3-1

We just moved into a new home with tons of landscaping, it’s full and lush and mature AND lacks definition from the grassy yard.

edging 6

With help from the folks at True Temper® I installed landscape edging using the round point shovel and black plastic edging to create that defining line between grass and plantings: [Read more...]

How to Cut Bar Stools Down to Counter Height Stools

counter stools

counter stools

Yes you can make those wood bar stools fit your counter.  Here’s an easy DIY fix to make bar stools into counter stools (and a quick makeover too!).

Bar stools typically sit at 30″ high, this is fine and dandy if you have a proper bar where the countertop is elevated higher than the working countertop space.  Kitchen designs are trending now away from the proper bar towards one even countertop surface.  No worries, you can still use those bar stools for your counter by easily cutting off the bottom 4″ to reduce the stools to a counter height of 26″:

counter stools1

(The white stools above are counter height and in the picture for comparison purposes.)

In addition to fixing the height of your stools give them a fresh look with a quick paint job and a new design: [Read more...]