Curb Appeal (aka the May Lowe’s challenge)

This month’s Lowe’s Creator challenge was “curb appeal”.  The budget was small ($100) and the next couple of months involve the yard, so I wanted to focus my efforts elsewhere.  I chose my front porch.  Here are a couple of “before” shots:

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So, we headed to Lowe’s where I picked up a new front porch mat ($14.95), some teak oil (for the table makeover I shared yesterday),

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a small bag of “coarse sand” (also for the table makeover),

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and I spent the rest on succulents (again, for the table project) and flowers and plants.

The first thing we did was clear the porch completely.  Then we power washed the porch and the porch furniture.

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The dead plants in my paint bucket planters (still one of my favorite projects) were removed and replaced with new ones.  The antique white thing (sink? basin?) in the corner found a new home on the back deck and the dead plant was junked.  That whole situation was replaced with an aqua pot (also from Lowe’s) filled with flowers.

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The glider was an anniversary gift a few years back and the green side chairs came from Lowe’s 2 or 3 years ago.

I swapped out the front mat

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and hung some summery décor.

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And the whole place feels much more “come and sit a while” instead of “throw your junk here”, which is TOTALLY what I was going for.  Winking smile

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And here’s a friendly reminder to head on over for your FREE Subscription to Lowe’s Creative Ideas Magazine:

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It really is a good one.  I loved so many of the ideas is this month’s!

Disclosure:  Lowe’s provided me with a gift card for this month’s curb appeal challenge.

Outdoor Table Makeover

How was your weekend?

Did you do any work in the yard?

We did.  And we gave a $10 thrift store find some new life and a new home on our front porch.

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My mom and I were at a thrift store a few months back, following up on a Pyrex tip (yes, really), and we saw this teak table.  It was $10 and we both NEEDED it.  She drives a tiny little 2 seater and couldn’t actually get it home, so I won. Open-mouthed smile

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See how you can turn that middle part over?  Fun, right?

Structurally, it was in great shape but the wood needed some love.  And by “love” I mean “child labor”.

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Yes, my 4 year old is wearing a Santa shirt in May…what of it?

And then we planted the shallow tray with some succulents

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and added some gravel.

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And a before and after shot:

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Totally worth $10, right?

To see the rest of my $100 porch makeover (and some prettier shots of the table), come back tomorrow!

Glitter Glasses

(If you’re looking for the CAMEO giveaway, it’s one post down)

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I posted these and the general how-to on Facebook, but I know that a lot of you don’t Facebook and you can’t pin stuff from there, so I’m posting it here as well.

You’ll need:

Painter’s tape
Craft Knife
Primer
Glitter Blast
Glitter Blast Clear Sealer
Glasses

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Now, I wouldn’t recommend doing this to a pair of $250 glasses or whatever, but we get most of Macy’s glasses from Zenni Optical (seriously…11 pairs in assorted colors for less than ONE pair of boring brown at the eye doctor) and I would DEFINITELY recommend doing it to an inexpensive pair from there. Open-mouthed smile

Tape off the lenses with painters tape.  Get a really good tight seal and trim the edges carefully with the craft knife.  Do the inside and the outside.

The trick with all of this is to go slowly and allow plenty of drying time.

Give the glasses a coat of primer.  I tried one pair (dollar store reading glasses to make sure my technique was good) without and the glitter didn’t stick as well.

After the primer, coat with Glitter Blast.

After that has dried, coat with the Glitter Blast Clear Sealer.

Carefully peel off the tape…like I used a pin to pry up a tiny corner so I wouldn’t scratch the lenses.

And you’re done!

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Now, I don’t know how these are going to “wear”, because that hasn’t happened yet.  I’ll update if something goes horribly wrong, I swear!

“Vintage” Sign Tutorial

Do you love the look of old metal signs?

I do.

Do you love the price of old metal signs?

I do not.

Plus, what are the odds that it’ll be just the right size and color?  Not good, friends…not good.

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So, when I had the idea to put one on Macy’s pallet headboard, I knew I’d have to DIY it.

My first stop was the ducting section at Lowe’s.

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They sell metal sheets elsewhere in the store (near the plexi glass), but they’re about 2-3 times as much.  Is it “nicer” metal?  Probably, but we don’t need nice for this project. Open-mouthed smile

The sheet measured 24” X 36”, but I wanted a slightly different size.  I cut about 2.5” off one of the long sides so my piece was 21.5” X 36”. You can score with a razor blade/utility knife and then snap the metal along the line, but it takes some SERIOUS patience and massive amounts of scoring.  I went the quick route and used tin snips (WEAR GLOVES) and then used a file to smooth the edge (WEAR GLOVES).

I liked the look of a metal border, so I taped off the edges and then I applied some yellow paint.  I used Jonquil from the new Martha Stewart Crafts by Plaid line.  That paint works on pretty much any surface, including metal.  You don’t need a great coat, because you’re going to sand it and beat it up.  Make sure it’s mostly covered, though.  Peel off the tape and sand.  I used an electric sander with 220 grit.  If you’re doing it by hand, you could use rougher paper (lower grit #).  Here’s a shot after I had sanded:

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I put the tape back on and applied some vinyl, cut with my Silhouette CAMEO™, in the center in the shape of a vintage Chevrolet logo.

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I traced the center part manually in the Silhouette Studio® Designer Edition software and then used the font “Hood Ornament” to add the lettering.  It’s not quite the same font that Chevy actually used, but only true car dorks would know that.

Once the vinyl was applied, I put on a coat of Martha Stewart Crafts by Plaid paint in carrot.

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After I peeled off the tape and vinyl:

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And then I sanded some more.  Once I was happy with it, I mounted it to the headboard with a screw in each corner.

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I will probably go back and put a clear coat on it, but it’s cold today and I’m a wuss.  Open-mouthed smile

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Mother’s Day Sign with Martha

So, you realize there are only 16 days left until Mother’s Day, right?

Coming off the awesome insanity that was SNAP! = Mother’s Day totally sneaking up on me

Fortunately, I had all this Martha (yes, THAT Martha) goodness to inspire me:

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Available at Michael’s and now also at JoAnn’s

If you haven’t already, you MUST check out the Martha Stewart Crafts by Plaid paints.  You can use them on virtually any surface (glass, metal, wood, terracotta, etc) and the colors/finishes are FAB.  And don’t even get me started on the tools!  The tops that screw directly onto the paint bottles make me WAY happier than they should.

So, what’d I make?  A sophisticated beachy sign/piece of art with my favorite mom saying:

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I started out with a board from the hardware store (cheap…$7 or so) that I had BC cut down a bit and 3 colors of paint.

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The one on the left is called Sea Lavender (I don’t know).  The one in the middle is Beach Glass.  And, the one on the right is Sterling.

I did a very thin coat (watered it down…is that called a wash?) of the Sea Lavender over the whole board.

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Then I picked out one of the stencils, a damask-y pattern from the Flourish set

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and used some stencil adhesive spray and the foam pouncer tops

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and I did some stenciling.

I applied the Sterling first

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and then layered on the Sea Glass.

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Once it was dry, I gave it a light sanding.  I wanted it to look old and faded.

The last step was to add the lettering.  I cut the phrase out of vinyl and removed where I wanted the paint to be and then applied it to my board.

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I used the Sea Glass with the foam pouncer top to fill in the vinyl stencil as well.

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Are you making a Mother’s Day gift for someone that has mothered you?

Will you tell me what it is?  (This isn’t actually for my mom…she reads my blog!)

 

Find my post disclosure here.

 

· Twitter: http://twitter.com/plaidcrafts (@plaidcrafts)

· Facebook: http://facebook.com/InspiredByPlaid

· Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/plaidcrafts

World’s Easiest Pallet Headboard

If you’ve ever asked me what BC does for a living, you probably remember me saying “I don’t know.”  It’s true…I don’t.  Here’s what I do know:

There’s a crate shop involved.

This crate shop is the source of LOTS of scrap lumber.  And pallets.

So, when I couldn’t figure out a way to make my initial dreams of a corrugated metal headboard be non-tetanus inducing, I decided to go the free route and use some pallet wood.  I thought the rustic wood would be a nice contrast to the white board and batten and that it would go well with the vintage car vibe we’re going for, too.

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BC came home with a double sided 42” pallet.  Apparently both of those characteristics are rare?  (Shipping dork alert!)  I loved the look of it so much that I decided not to rip it apart.

I found this fabulous light at Lowe’s in the outdoor lighting section:

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I bought a cord kit and wired the light to work as a plug in.  I’m not going to tell you how to do this, because I’m not an electrician.  You should probably consult one before you do this.  Open-mouthed smile

I mounted the light to the pallet and loved it

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but it needed some height.

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I went for another cheap and easy solution.

BC cut me three 17” pieces of a 4X4 and a 42” long piece of 2X4.  We screwed the legs (the 4X4) to the 2X4 and then mounted it to the bottom of the pallet.

See?

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The bed frame will be bolted directly into the 4X4’s.

Whether or not I stain/paint/something that wood to make it the same color as the pallet has yet to be decided.  It’ll probably depend on how visible it is once there’s bedding on the bed…that’s how I roll.  I’m also pondering another potential addition to the headboard involving something I got in the ducting section at Lowe’s.

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In the mean time, I wanted to remind you all about the $100 Lowe’s gift card giveaway I’m running through noon tomorrow.  GO HERE to enter.

And while you’re waiting to see what else I’ve done to the room/if you’re the lucky gift card winner, head on over for your FREE Subscription to Lowe’s Creative Ideas Magazine:

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Disclosure:  Lowe’s provided me with a gift card for this month’s room makeover challenge.

How To Paint a Mailbox

(Or at least how to make it polka dotted)

I promised the how to on the paint job from the mailbox I used in yesterday’s post, so, without further ado…

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The first thing you’ll want to do is remove the flag from the mailbox.  Mine had a nice little pin to pull out and the flag came right off.

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Next you need dots.  Lots and lots of dots.  I used vinyl and cut them with my Silhouette CAMEO™ and my Silhouette Studio® Designer Edition software, but you could easily trace and cut them by hand or even use a large punch.  Because I bought an oversized mailbox, I wanted my circles big…1.5”.  I made one and then used Object > Replicate > Fill page in my software to fill my vinyl.  A 9” by 24” piece gave me enough 1.5 dots for my whole mailbox.

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I drew a pencil line down the top of my mailbox and found the center.  I placed my first dot there.  I then spaced the dots 2 1/4” apart (from edge to edge) along the top of the box.

To make the next row, I drew a line 2 1/2” from the bottom edge of the dots and placed the bottom of the next row right up next to that line.

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I centered a row of dots down the front and back of the mailbox with the same spacing, and then filled in the ends the same way.

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Once all the dots were in place, I had a kid run her finger around all the edges to make sure that the vinyl was sealed tightly.  Then, I headed for the garage with a can of Valspar Gloss Exotic Sea.  (Random side note:  I’m enjoying the new Valspar spray paint cans immensely.  The big old trigger button makes the painting much more comfortable.)

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My favorite “duh” spray painting tip is to always start with your item upside down.  Get all the bottom edges painted nicely first.  I gave the whole mailbox a couple of coats and then peeled off the vinyl.  I used the hook tool from Silhouette, but again…not necessary.

Put the flag back on and you’re good to go (chains and bird perches optional)!  I’m totally wishing my mailbox wasn’t brick right about now.

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Check back tomorrow for a seriously awesome deal on the Silhouette CAMEO™ and the Silhouette Studio® Designer Edition software.

Basement Bathroom Makeover, courtesy of Lowe’s

The Lowe’s project/challenge this month was a bathroom.  I was stumped.  My house is newer, only 8 years old, so all of our bathrooms are in pretty good shape.  Our basement bathroom has been finished even less than that…maybe 5.5 years.  So, I picked a bathroom based on the process of elimination.

Kid bathroom?  Dr Seuss-y and I love it.  Don’t want to change that one yet.


Master bathroom?  Has a wall that doesn’t go all the way to the ceiling, which means that any painting would have involved also painting my entire master bedroom.  Last time I did that by myself it took 5 whole days.  And, if I picked a color that didn’t work with my existing bedding…  You see the size of project this could have turned into, right?

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Powder room?  Like one square yard.  You can’t get in there to photograph (we bloggers worry about these things) and I just redid the mirror in the last couple of months.  Plus, there’s not really space for anything other than the toilet and the pedestal sink.

So, the basement bathroom it was, in spite of the fact that there’s no natural light (back to that thing where we bloggers worry about our pictures Winking smile).

Truthfully, I NEVER use this bathroom.  As in, I have never ever ever bathed/showered down there (in 5.5 years) and maybe use the toilet portion once a month.  My kids have get to clean toilets when they talk back, so I can’t even think of the last time I was down there to clean it.  Once I got down there, I realized that this should have been my obvious choice from the get go.

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The towel bar had been ripped off by a kid doing chin ups.  The wall patches hadn’t been painted.  The toilet paper holder was broken and no longer able to actually hold toilet paper.  The kick place on the cabinet had fallen off.  And don’t even get me started on that wall color.  When I showed a friend the before picture, she called it “cat turd brown”.  Let’s also not talk about what happened when someone washed the formerly white rug with the towels:

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I was not a fan of the light fixture either…too pointy or something.

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So, I headed to Lowe’s for some inspiration.

I don’t have a way before picture of the towel rack situation, but you’ll just have to imagine that it was pulled completely off the wall based on the super human girth strength of one or more of my children. Because it had been securely drywall anchored in place (after the first time it came down), A LOT of the wall came out with it.  Instead of replacing a huge chunk of drywall, I decided to come up with another option for towel hanging.  I found this coat rack in the closet/garage/organization section at Lowe’s and thought it would be perfect:

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I picket up a new toilet paper holder and a light fixture and then headed back to get some molding to frame the mirror.  I also picked up 398472 paint samples.

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(That fabric is a laminated cotton from Riley Blake that I’ll be using for the new shower curtain.  That tutorial will be over on the Riley Blake blog in March.)

I went with a color called Modest Silver from Valspar and it is PERFECT.

When I went back to get the paint, I got some Liquid Nails (to fix the kick plate), painter’s tape, garbage bags (to wrap the toilet so I could paint behind it), white silicone (to adhere the frame to the mirror), spackle (I like the kind that goes on pink and turns white as it dries) and assorted cleaning supplies (because I really have no idea when that tub was last cleaned).

The other thing I want to mention about this makeover is that I did it entirely by myself…no husband help at all.  I’m not telling you this to mock him (he he he Open-mouthed smile), just so that you’ll know that YOU CAN DO THIS BY YOURSELF!

Want to see some after pictures?

(Keep in mind the shower curtain isn’t finished yet, so the fabric is just sort of draped over the rod.)

Kick plate glued back in place:

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Toilet paper holder replaced:

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Paint applied (and Cheetos eaten):

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Light fixture swapped:

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Coat rack turned towel rack installed:

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Mirror framed:

I gave everything a good scrubbing, too, and voila!  A much more pleasant bathroom!

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Don’t forget to pick up a FREE Subscription to Lowe’s Creative Ideas Magazine:

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You can also find Lowe’s Creative Ideas on Facebook.  (They’ve moved, so if you “liked” them before, you should “like” them again!)

And, now there’s a Lowe’s Creative Ideas blog.  Go have a look around.  You might recognize a face or two.

Disclosure:  Lowe’s provided me with a gift card for supplies for my bathroom makeover.

Playroom Organization + $100 Lowe’s Gift Card Giveaway

You all remember the great playroom purge a few weeks back?

We’ve had some great shelving in there since we finished our basement 5 or 6 years ago…

Super old crappy picture alert:

but the fabric bins were just not working out for us.  I had little kids when I bought them, and only one boy old enough to play with toys.  Since that time I’ve discovered something:  Those cloth bins do not hold up to little boys…at least not mine.  We had an incident with scissors where some of the handles were snipped  Several others were missing bottoms.  Pretty much all of them were bent in weird places.  And, there was no way to label them.

So, here’s my industrial boy friendly organization solution:

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PAINT BUCKETS!

I found these buckets at Lowe’s in the paint department.  They’re $6.57 each, so not a whole lot more expensive than the cloth bins.  They fit perfectly in my shelving (Pottery Barn Kids) and would also fit in ClosetMaid or IKEA stuff as well…anything where the holes are 12” X 12” or larger.

I also wanted my buckets labeled, and I wanted them labeled in a way that could be changed, because in a year or two we’ll be out of the Little People phase and have 5 buckets of Legos.  I thought about vinyl, but I wanted it to be easier to change than that.  My solution?

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Chalkboard paint.

I traced an oval onto some contact paper and then cut it out, leaving the edges in tact.

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Here’s my oval template, but really…it’s just an oval.  Find something and trace it. Open-mouthed smile

I applied the contact paper to the buckets as a stencil.  It’s a little bit tricky because of the slope of the bucket, but go slowly and make sure to seal the edges tightly.

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DO NOT SKIP THIS NEXT STEP:

Prime the bucket with primer for metal.  If you don’t, the paint will peel right off.

Apply 2 or 3 thin coats of chalkboard paint.  I like to alternate between vertical and horizontal coats to minimize brush lines.

Carefully remove your stencil and then label your buckets as desired.

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Easy and customizable!

Random questions I always get asked when I post pictures of my playroom:

What color is your paint?

It’s called Apple 2 and I got it at Lowe’s.  It’s pretty much my favorite light green ever.  I used Apple 1 in another room in the house, even.

Are those rain gutters?

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Yes. Yes they are.  I put them up in 2006 when we finished the basement and they’ve held up beautifully.  I saw the idea originally in Family Fun (see here).  They’re a great way to have the books visible and accessible to my kids and they made great use of an awkward spot behind the door.

And now for the good stuff:

LOWE’S IS GIVING ONE LUCKY CRAP I’VE MADE READER A $100 GIFT CARD!

To enter:

Leave a comment ON THIS POST (on the blog, not on Facebook or in response to your email subscription) saying which room in your home needs some Lowe’s organization help.

Optional bonus entry:

Like Lowe’s Creative Ideas on Facebook.  Leave a separate comment saying you did.

Giveaway is open to US residents age 18 and over only and closes Friday, January 27th at noon MST.  Winner will be chosen at random using a WordPress Plugin (And The Winner Is…) and notified by email.  Winner has 24 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen…I need the winner’s info before the end of the month!

And while you’re waiting to see if you won, head on over for your FREE Subscription to Lowe’s Creative Ideas Magazine:

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Disclosure:  Lowe’s provided me with a gift card to organize my playroom.  The paint and rain gutter projects happened many, many years before I started working with them…I’m a Lowe’s fan from way back.

Faux Feed Sack Pillows

IF YOU’RE HERE TO ENTER TO WIN A CAMEO, IT’S ONE POST DOWN.  (And this would TOTALLY be a great first project for it!)

You’ve seen the fabulous pillows made from feed sacks all over the internet, right?  Pottery Barn had some made from coffee bags, even.  I love them, but I don’t happen to have an abundance of feed sacks sitting around.  OK, I don’t have any feed sacks sitting around and I don’t know where to get them either.  So, I came up with this project to satisfy my love of the feed sack.  Desperation is the mother of invention, right?  And, this tutorial *might* even be better than the real deal because you can totally personalize a faux sack.  What are the odds that you’d find an actual feed bag with your last name (or Santa or whatever) on it?  (Hint: none.)

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(I went the Santa route, since I originally developed this project for the A Swell Noel series over at Positively Splendid, but this technique would work for any image/lettering.)

SUPPLIES:

Canvas drop cloth, from the paint section.  You can get a 6’ X 9’ one for around $10.  That’d make A LOT of pillows.
Contact paper, vinyl, or freezer paper.  I used contact paper because it’s cheap and can easily be fed through my Silhouette.
Silkscreen ink.  I like Simply Screen by Plaid.
Sandpaper

HOW TO:

Cut your design or lettering out of your contact paper (or vinyl or freezer paper).  I used a Santa silhouette from the Silhouette download store and then cut it with my Silhouette (on vinyl settings but slowed down to a speed of 5 and a depth of 7).  You could easily do this with a craft knife as well.

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Apply the contact paper to your drop cloth.  I cut an 18” X 18” square because my pillow form was 18”.

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I used that green scraper thing to get a good tight seal around the edges.

I like to stick the vinyl backing under my fabric to keep the ink from bleeding through and getting on my table.

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Apply silkscreen ink with a sponge brush.

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I like to use a scrap of contact paper to squirt the ink out onto.

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Once the ink is dry, you can peel off the contact paper.

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Then, take some sandpaper to your design.

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Keep sanding until it looks old and worn and like it’s been part of the canvas forever.

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Assemble your pillow (I made a simple envelope back).

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And you’re done.

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