Tag Archives: DIY

DIY paper mache bowl - the sweetest digs

a craft basic: a paper mache bowl

27th February 2014

Before diving into this week’s crafty stuff – I just wanted to say a huge thank you to you guys for the overwhelming support on my post about my breastfeeding experience on Monday. I was completely surprised about the number of comments, facebook messages, and even private emails that I received from other parents out there who could connect in some way with the post. Clearly we need to talk about this stuff more, and throw all of that judgment out the window! So anyway – thank you. It was lovely, humbling, and touching to hear from so many of you.

Okay – back to the usual fare around here. We are kickin’ it old school today, guys. Remember how you used to make paper mache as a kid? Well I don’t quite know why I got a hankering to do some recently, but I did. I kept it to a basic bowl… but you know what? I’m kinda loving it.

DIY paper mache bowl - the sweetest digs

First up are the supplies. You can make your own paper mache solution with flour and water, but had some modpodge hanging around so opted to use it instead. Along with that you need a balloon, some newspaper, and a paintbrush unless you want to get messy and use your hands (this is admittedly the more fun option!).

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It’s pretty simple. Smear modpodge on the balloon, put your strips of newspaper down, and cover them with more podge. If you had a bowl of the flour and water paste, you just dunk in the strip and then stick it to the balloon. I would do a layer, let it dry overnight, and then do another. In total I did 4 layers as I wanted the bowl to be reasonably sturdy.

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In a craft fail, the smaller balloon did not hold up. When I popped it, the whole bowl collapsed into itself (you can see it on the right). Good thing I had that bigger guy to keep me going. After you pop the balloon, you need to cut around the edges of the bowl to get it smooth.

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I got all the bits of the balloon out from the inside, and then gave the exterior a coat of white paint. It took a few coats to totally cover up all of the newspaper.

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I had planned on doing the inside in gold, but then was craving a little black + white action, so did the inside in a matte black. I loved the look – it’s pretty striking – but it was lacking a little something.

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Time for some stamping! I cut a sponge into a triangle shape, dabbed it into my black paint, and stamped around the edge of the bowl.

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The result is actually pretty cute. I had totally thought that this might end up in the ugly craft category, but I’m happily digging it. I like that the stamps aren’t totally perfect, and that you can see the texture on the bowl. I haven’t put a coat of a sealant on it, but might down the road if I notice it’s getting marked up.

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I haven’t quite figured out where I like this guy yet, so have been moving it around from spot to spot over the last few days…

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So easy, right? And for free? Love those kinds of projects.

Have you done any paper mache-ing since graduating from 8th grade? Any stamping? Any other little crafts lately? 

project nursery: a DIY raindrop mobile

8th July 2013

What would a baby’s room be without a mobile, right? As you could guess, I was itching to DIY something. I did some thinking about the theme of the room and gave myself a good helping of inspiration from other people’s projects on Pinterest.

My two starting points: I knew I wanted to do the stick idea after I saw my sister-in-law’s versions for her kiddos (see them in their house tour here), and also knew that I wanted something that had some sort of rainbow element going on. I was a rainbow freak as a kid – my parents’ always talk about how I would churn out rainbow drawings on the daily. You’d think I grew up in a rainbow factory of something.

When I saw some cute felt mobiles on Pinterest, I was inspired. There were cute hot air balloon versions, ones with animals, but considering my sewing skills are pretty rudimentary, I liked the simplicity of the clouds and raindrops. Here is my version.

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First up was to grab a bunch of felt. I picked up various sheets from Michael’s – dark and light pink, yellow, grey, and white. I could have done all of the actual rainbow colours, but I felt like it might be a little overkill. Keeping it to a few colours in the scheme of the room seemed more cohesive. Oh, and felt is super cheap – I think it was either 49 or 99 cents a sheet?DSC_1042

I started with my raindrops. I didn’t pay too much attention to how many of each colour I was doing – I just started cutting and sewing. DSC_1043

I put two sheets of the same colour on top of one another, and then just free-handed cutting the raindrops. Some are a little smaller than the others, some have wonky sides, but I figured it would just add to the imperfect handmade effect.DSC_1044

Next up was to sew the two pieces of each raindrop together. I used embroidery thread and a big needle (again both from Michael’s). Since I wanted groups of 3-4 hanging on pieces of string (which I would later hang from the clouds), I threaded the long piece of string down between the two pieces of the raindrop, and then sewed around it.
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Then once I got to the next raindrop I would thread it onto the same piece of string, and sew that one. Once I had 3 or 4 raindrops on the piece of string, I moved on to the next.

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The clouds. Again same method – I free handed these with two sheets of felt on top of one another.
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Just like the raindrops, I sewed around the perimeter. Once I got almost the whole way around, I grabbed my batting (I had it leftover from old projects) and stuffed the clouds. Once they were stuffed, I just finished sewing up the edges. DSC_0176

Three clouds, six raindrop strings, and a big stick, I laid everything out for the assembly. The stick I had found on a walk, and my lovely mama gave it a good sanding so all the gnarly bits came off and it became nice and smooth.DSC_0177

To attach the raindrops to the clouds, I sewed the piece of string up into the bottom of the cloud, tied a knot in it, and cut the excess. In the pic below, you can see that the string on the right has been tied and cut, and the one on the left has just been sewn through.DSC_0180

Then I also needed to somehow sew the bottom of each raindrop string into the bottom raindrop (so that you wouldn’t have raindrops just falling off the string – make sense?). I double-backed the loose string into where the raindrop had been sewn before. I did this almost all the way around again so it was nice and sturdy, tied a knot and tucked the remaining string back into the inside of the raindrop.
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Some string loops on the clouds to hang it from the stick, and I was finito. Cute, right?DSC_0193

Sweet hubs came in and got up on the chair to screw in the hangers from the ceiling. They are just those little metal loops that are pretty inconspicuous and easy to install.DSC_0337

I ran some thick ribbon through the loops, and then tied off each piece on the stick.

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I love the sort of rustic but sweet vibe it has going on. And the stuffed clouds make it more dimensional, which is fun.DSC_0339

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I think it’ll be pretty fun to look up to from the crib, don’t you?!DSC_0342

So, mobile: check! Sorry for the lack of wide-angle shots of the room, but we’re in that final stage of finishing things up when everything looks a bit crazy before it looks better… know what I mean?

Have you guys DIY’d any mobiles before? I have also done this one using paintchips for my sweet godson, and apparently he has loved staring up at the different colours. In other news, did you have a good weekend? We saw the Dixie Chicks at an Ottawa outdoor festival on Saturday night – SO much fun. Baby Sprout was dancing away in my belly the whole time! 

the nursery: a DIY ribbon garland

26th June 2013

Alright guys, back to the nursery. After we picked out and setup our crib, I knew I wanted to do something crafty to dress it up a little. I could’ve done a bunting, but I have done quite a few of those before… and then I remembered seeing some seriously sweet ribbon garlands on Pinterest. Winner winner, chicken dinner.

I grabbed a bunch of ribbon in my room colours (pinks, turquoise, gold and white) from the craft store and got to work.

Step 1: Cut your ribbon into strips. You don’t need to have these be *exactly* the same length, but it’s good to have them pretty close for a nice fring-y look.

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Step 2: Cut a long piece of string to attach all the ribbon to.

Step 3: Start attaching your ribbon to the string. What I did was a loop in my ribbon (at the middle point), put the loop behind the string, and then brought the long pieces back through again to form a knot around the string. Practice a few times and you’ll get the hang of it pretty easily.

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Then you just keep repeating and adding ribbon, switching out the colours as you go (and sliding them up to be close together). I wasn’t too careful about what colour went next, as I wanted it to look a bit random. Oh, one tip was that I found some of the really thick ribbon was harder to loop and knot – so medium and small sized ribbon was definitely easier.

The whole thing took a bit longer than I had anticipated. Probably a few hours – which seemed long for a relatively short garland. But worth it! Here is the final product. Kinda whimsical and sweet, right?

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It was super easy to tie to the crib – I tied it around the last post on either side and tucked in the string so there are no loose parts floating around.

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The colours are perfect in the room, and I think it just adds a little sweetness to the space.DSC_0256

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Oh and you may have noticed a few other new crib goodies. The first is this super lovely organic fitted sheet, which a girlfriend got me from Pottery Barn. Love those elephants.DSC_0268

And the second is this beautiful quilt, handmade by my sister-in-law. She’s the bomb and clearly a super-sewer (you can check out her pillow covers on her etsy shop here). I think the blanket is definitely going to be one of those treasured items that I’m sure our little gal will have forever.DSC_0269

Lots more crafty projects on the go for this room (you might have spotted one above in the pic with me in it!). Tutorials and details coming!!

Have you guys made one of those ribbon garlands before? It would be perfect for a party decoration or could look really cute hanging on a wall above a dresser. The really nice thing about them is that you can customize the colours to match your space perfectly.

the DIY files: a vintage card box

1st March 2013

TGIF! Hope you guys have been having a good week. Mine has been busy – I was travelling for work and then got stuck thanks to a big snowstorm that hit Ottawa on Wednesday. I got home yesterday afternoon (just a day later than planned), but this girl is tired! It’s amazing how much things tire me out way more than they used to, pre-pregnancy! Anyway, I’m looking forward to a quiet weekend at home with the hubs. I see some winter walks, hot chocolate, and a few crafty projects in my future.

So… remember my no-sew fabric bunting that I whipped up for the Wed by Hand show? Well, that wasn’t the only bunting I put together. The other was a teeny tiny paper bunting for a ‘cards’ box.

Supplies? An old book of sheet music (bought from the thrift store a while back for projects like this), scissors, a 1-hole punch, and some string.
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Cut out matching triangles to size. I needed at least 5 to spell out “c-a-r-d-s”. Then it’s super simple (well, the whole thing is super simple, frankly) – just hold punch in the top corners, string the string through, and write out whatever you want on the triangles. I used a black sharpie and free-handed “CARDS”.

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Here is the final product! Cute, right? I just used a bit of scotch tape to tape the bunting on the back of the box.

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The old toolbox is one part of the inventory for my Pieces of Love business, and I think it makes such a sweet box for cards or other stationary at a wedding/event.

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I know I’m a little bunting obsessed… they are just too sweet. Have you guys done any paper ones? Have any other good ideas about collecting cards at a wedding? Or cute card signs? Do tell. And what are you guys up to this weekend? Anything fun?

side entrance makeover: the lighting issue

21st January 2013

So before the holidays, I shared with you guys the first couple of steps of our side entry makeover: the uuuugly before, painting the space aqua and yellow, and adding some artwork.

Still on the to-do list for this phase 1 makeover? Addressing the lighting. It had a bad case of dated lighting syndrome. Not only was this was one of those small brass glass-covered chandeliers, but the glass was actually etched with some sort of floral design. Barfity barf. Let’s take a look back at where we started.

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Since we were trying to keep the budget to the bare bones for this project, I had to get creative with the lighting. Imagine my delight when I uncovered this oversized pendant at the thrift store. My sister, nieces, and Mum looked at me with a bit of a puzzled look when I was totally squealing, but I knew this guy had potential. Plus, at $4.99 I couldn’t beat the price.

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Although I’m kinda digging brass and gold tones these days, this brass was scratched pretty badly and beyond repair (it was worse in person than how it looks in the photos). Spray paint for the win! It took several thin and even coats, but I turned this bad boy into a matte black beauty.

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Hubby got up on a precarious ladder (leaned up against the door – giving me a heart attack), to remove the old fixture.

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I was in charge of shining the flashlight (and taking photos – ha ha). What would I do without my handsome man?

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Bye bye dated lighting, hello sweet pendant. It sort of has a schoolhouse vibe, don’t you think?

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I like the way the black sets off the space and doesn’t try to compete too much with the other stuff going on. It would have been totally fun to spray the pendant a bright yellow or electric blue, but it would have been just too much with the aqua wall and yellow door.

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And although we moved from the four chandelier bulbs to the one in this pendant, it still provides tons of light.

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So phase 1 of this little makeover is officially complete. We’d still love to tackle the stairs (new paint + runner), paint the handrail, spray the door hardware and other little tweaks. Another phase for another day. I think we’re putting a cork in this one for now!

 What about you guys? Had any great lighting finds lately? Other fab snags from the thrift store? Or get up to something fun over the weekend? Do tell.

the christmas twig “tree”

19th December 2012

We haven’t done a Christmas tree this year (I know – grinchy!), so I had to come up with a different idea for some sweet ornaments that I had ready to hang somewhere. The alternative? A twig “tree” in a vase. I was originally going to just grab some twigs from one of our trees outside, but then I came across these faux pussy willow stems at the dollar store. I thought they might turn out to be rather pretty, so I shelled out 3 bones and grabbed a couple.

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First up was to place the stems in a tall vase (sorry for the crappy light time lighting – it gets dark too early these days!).

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Then you just hang your ornaments. This two-step “project” reeeeally doesn’t require much!

I didn’t pull out all of our ornaments (they are stashed away in a tupperware bin in the garage), but these few crafty ones are totally quaint.pussy willow 4

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Just a little splash of christmas for our pad. It’s feeling downright festive now with the decorations we’ve added (without pulling out our huge tupperware) – mason jar snow globes, a rustic chic wreath, and other recycled decorations from years past. It’s a Christmas miracle! Ha.

Doing any last minute decorating at your place? Done all of your holiday prep? Still have anyone left to buy/make a gift for? We just mailed out our Christmas cards (hopefully they make it in time!) and have all the gifts ready. Still some wrapping to do, but we’re getting there! 

the DIY files: getting frosty

16th November 2012

I am pretty embarrassed to admit that this project has taken us 3 years to do (granted we didn’t live in the house for a year of that, but still!). You know our main floor bathroom that we renovated earlier this year? Well, you might have noticed that there is a window… and that that window has a great view out to our driveway and our neighbours house. Right into their kitchen window. Well, hello there!

As you can imagine, there was a lot of quickly-hopping-into-the-shower-so-that-the-neighbours-don’t-see-me behaviour. Doesn’t really make for a peaceful, relaxing space. Haha.

So out came some of the peel and stick frosting you can get from most hardware stores (ours came from Home Depot). We got the plain stuff – so nothing with any kind of pattern or special texture. It comes in a big roll, so you measure out your window and cut it down to size using an exacto knife. Just make sure to cut on some sort of hard surface underneath (I used that brown board you see in the photo).

Next step is to give the windows a really good cleaning. Luckily my lovely mum had just cleaned our windows for us with vinegar and water (I know, I have the most amazing mama!). Right before applying the frosting, you want to give the windows a good spritz of a water and soap mixture – I used a few drops of dishwashing liquid in my spray bottle.

Then peel the backing off the frosting and stick it on the window. Follow that up with a second, liberal spritz of the water + soap mixture on top. At this point you will see lots of bubbles… don’t panic!

Take a credit card out of your wallet (or air miles card in my case) and smooth out the bubbles. I found it was best to work from the middle out towards the edges. You’ll get quite a bit of water coming out from underneath, so I found it useful to have a small towel nearby to wipe it down as I went.

Once it’s all smooth, give it a last wipe down, and let it all dry. They say it’s good to leave a gap between the edge of the film and the window. Mine is probably slightly bigger than what I needed to leave, but I figured since the screen would be on top, it wouldn’t be too noticeable.

And here it is the next day. Look at all that privacy! I could even start to do some air drying in here… hahaha.

I was a little worried that the frosting would look ultra tacky, but actually it’s pretty inconspicuous and doesn’t really take away from the window or the light streaming through.

Have you guys used this peel ‘n stick frosting stuff before? Have a window directly into your neighbours pad? Feeling a little too ‘out in the open’ like we were?  Have a great weekend!! 

the DIY files: a mason jar soap dispenser

6th November 2012

Ever since we finished renovating our bathroom (check that out here), we had a super ugly soap dispenser that just wasn’t cutting it. A plastic dollar store dispenser next to my beautiful carrera marble floor and floating vanity? Yeah, I don’t think so.

After seeing tons of mason jars turned soap dispensers on Pinterest that looked oh-so-sweet, I figured it was high time I took a crack at this project. I found an old mason jar that fit the lip of our sink perfectly, and removed the pump piece from our previous dispenser.

DIY Dan used his drill to drill a small-ish hole in the lid. You don’t want to make it too big, but big enough that the dispenser mechanism can slide right in.

Then I grabbed some flat white spray paint for the lid. I figured that spraying the lid would give the jar a more clean, finished feeling.

A couple of light coats and lots of time to dry (I tried bringing it in too early and smudged it… and had to go back to the drawing board.. ugh!).

I slid the dispenser mechanism onto the lid and dabbed some super strong clear glue onto the bottom of the metal piece. I held it in place on the lid for a good couple of minutes to make sure it was completely stuck down. You need that pump to be on there pretty solidly, since it’s going to get pulled and pushed so often.

And the finished product? Ta-da!

I love the way the white came out – the flat finish gives it this sort of chalky texture.

The little guy fits snugly on the back lip of our sink. It’s the little details like this that make me cheery. Just some thought and love for the small stuff.

Have you guys done any mason jar projects recently? Aren’t they useful for just about everything? I have painted them, used them for our wedding favours, turned one into a ‘date jar’, and hung some as aisle markers. Such simple and lovely things.

Linked up at DIYshowoff and Between Naps on the Porch and Tip Junkie

the DIY harvest table: stage 3 (the finale!)

1st November 2012

After struggling a bit to move in the table (this thing is solid… !), I got to the really fun part – styling. In case you missed it, check back here to see how I used Ana White’s plans to build this table (with help from my Daddio), and here for all the sanding + staining info.

Let’s take a little trip back down memory lane. This is how the dining room was looking a couple weeks ago. We liked our white table (it’s a hand-me-down from family), and hope to use it again down the road, but I had always dreamed of having a rustic farmhouse style table.

And, well, now I do! Here are all the ‘after’ shots.

I love the honey colour that the stain gave the table. It’s warm and really ties in nicely with the other elements in the room (like the pine cupboard which is a really similar shade).

I love the way the knots really came to life with the stain, and the screw holes that we filled and stained over look totally fine. They just add to the character of the table.

With our old table, even though it was the same size, we could never comfortably get 6 chairs around it. The way the legs crossed underneath meant you could only tuck in 1 chair per side. With our new table, we can definitely accommodate 6 (hence my setting for 6 in these pics). You know what that means?? We need new dining room chairs. Help me convince the hubby, k?

I feel like the whole room seems more grounded now. Sitting on our sofa and glancing over at this table makes me oh-so-happy.

The budget breakdown for this beauty?

  • $95 on wood (construction grade spruce for the legs and pine for the top)
  • $7.50 on screws
  • $45 on wood conditioner, stain, and polyurathane (and there is tons of this stuff left over for future projects!)
  • sandpaper and safety equipment provided free of charge by 3M
  • all tools needed to make the table were already owned by my lovely ‘Pa

TOTAL: $147.50

Definitely not bad when you compare it to what farmhouse tables cost from places like Restoration Hardware or even from local builders. Plus the other really great thing (that is totally priceless)? I got to make this with my Dad. Just he and I, in his workshop. That’s the best.

And since this table idea was born from Pinterest (where I was pinning DIY harvest tables left and right), I have linked up to the fall pinterest challenge. You know the one that Sherry and Katie dreamed up to get us off our butts and “stop pinning, and start doing”?

Alright guys, have I convinced you to go build something? Just go check out Ana White to get inspired. Holy moly, that gal is amazing. I think I’m going to go sit and have a cuppa tea at my new table.

Products from 3M were received free of charge for this project, however opinions are all me! 

DIY this: paint sliding closet doors for trim effect

10th September 2012

Do you have any of these closet doors in your house? You know, the sort of flimsy sliding kind? Well I do. And they happen to be in our master bedroom. Did you know you can paint sliding closet doors and transform them?

Not pretty, hey? Oh, and want a glimpse into some real life at the sweetest digs casa? Here is our bedroom in all it’s unmade bed and strewn laundry glory. Just keepin’ it real.

Well, I was ready to do something about these doors. I thought about just painting them out a solid colour, but then the idea for a pattern came to mind. I hummed and hawed about doing something intricate or colourful, but then realized that a simple rectangular box in each door in grey and white (so that it would blend with the walls) would be the way to go.

First step was to wash down the doors to remove any residue or dust. I didn’t need to sand since these doors aren’t wood, but if you have wooden closet doors you would want to use a medium and then fine grit sandpaper to prep the surface for paint (like these 3M Advanced Abrasives). To wash down the doors I just used some basic soap and water. If they had been glossy or had some other finish, a de-glosser might have been necessary.

Then I needed to measure out where I wanted the rectangular boxes to go. I started by measuring out the box and putting X’s where the corners would meet. I marked 3 inches in from the outer edges for each door. See that faint pencil mark in the photo below?

Next up I grabbed my ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape (the kind with the edge-lock paint line protector) and taped out the boxes. I cut the edges of the tape at the corners to make sure they were nice and crisp. Since I wanted to paint the inside and outside of where the tape is (and then take off the tape to reveal a white box), I needed to make sure the corners were perfect.

And then it was paint time. I used my leftover pot of paint from the walls (Coventry Gray by Benjamin Moore), my mini-roller, a paint mask, and got to work. This was an older can of paint (before the low-VOC paints were so easily available), so I made sure to fully open the windows and wear a mask to ensure I didn’t inhale the paint fumes. You can find various kinds of masks to use when painting, sanding, or even cleaning from the 3M TEKK Protection series.

But after some easy-peasy pealing of the ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape (the stuff came off like butter… soooo smooth), I was left with nice crisp white lines. The pattern totally looks like molding and makes the doors look way much more upscale.

Doesn’t it add a nice bit of pattern without being over the top? It’s simple, but feels classic and adds another layer of interest to the room. The bedroom is slowly getting closer to what I’d like it to look like. I still don’t quite know what that final version is, but it’s fun to add different elements over time and see how it comes together.

They just sort of blend in with the room now and actually make the space feel a bit bigger. Such an easy and quick (half-day) project, with great results. Even if you don’t happen to have sliding closet doors like these, you could use the same technique and pattern on any other kind of door or even a piece of furniture to give it that two-toned/molding look.

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And just for kicks, I tried out my very first video tutorial. I feel a little bit mortified about being on camera (who knew I said “uhh/umm” and “so” that often?!), but here you go! It’s got the full play-by-play of the project with some extra tips and tricks. Promise you’ll still like me after watching, k?! Ha.


This post is a collaboration with 3M DIY, but all opinions and projects are my own! To enter to win free samples for your next DIY project, visit 3MDIY.com. Also be sure to check out 3M DIY on Facebook and 3M DIY on Twitter and 3M DIY on YouTube.

Product provided by our partner, 3M DIY.