Monday, March 19, 2012

large area rug DIY for under $30

A few years ago, when I visited my friend Kyrie's dorm room, I was beyond impressed with her area rug. I remember my initial assumption was that she didn't spend a ton of money on it because she just wouldn't have. But I was puzzled because it was seriously the coolest.

I eventually (or probably 2 seconds after walking in the room) commented on it and asked where she got such an glamorous rug.

This might have been the moment I knew we'd be friends forever.

She made it....
with carpet squares and duct tape!

It's been a few weeks in the making (trial and ERROR), but I finally have my own DIY area rug- and I L.O.V.E it!

So awesome, right!?!?

I happened to find my carpet squares (randomly) on Craigslist.
But here are a few tips for going through a carpet store. 
1. Call around to several places and ask if they sell carpet squares (most do) and what kind of selection they have. 
2. Go to more than one store before you buy. 
3. I don't think it would hurt to ask if they'd take $1/piece.
They were asking $2 for large squares but I asked. I cut the cost of my project in half.
4. Chances are you won't find enough of the same color to make a monochromatic carpet. But, you should try to stick to one type of carpet to get a cohesive effect. 
5. Buy a couple extra squares if you can so that you have more to work with to get a pattern you're satisfied with.

Ok. moving on:

This was attempt #1. I learned some hard lessons.

I kind of lost my patients...big time! I didn't take into consideration that Kyrie made a much smaller rug and the flipping over process probably went better for her than it did for me. 

But sometimes the best DIYs take some perseverance.

I did a little research, found an adhesive that's made specifically for carpet, and tried again. 

I started out by tossing the squares down on the floor and playing around with the arrangement. My first attempt would have actually left me with a completely different layout:

but the second time around I had somehow realized there was another way:

After switching squares around for a little while playing with the colors, I got to the real work. Surprisingly, it took less than an hour.

Here's the adhesive I used. You can find in the carpet department of your hardware store. I payed under $4 a box and used about one and a half rolls. 

I used a regular pair of scissors to cut strips. The length varied depending on which seam I was binding, but ultimately didn't really matter as long as you use enough to form a bond. 

You then peel off the white piece, lift the edge of the carpet square off the ground, and slide it under halfway. Then firmly press the square back down, take the second square and put it over the other half. 

You've got yourself a sturdy seal. Now, just do this until every seam is connected. 

There will be some places where the pieces don't quite come together and there is a gap. You can't really tell unless you look closely. I did learn from my experience that my first layout had many more of these gaps because of the number of times four corners came together. 

I had bought some colored squares with my purchase just in case. I honestly hadn't planned on using them. I thought about leaving the small squares open to the hardwood. I thought it looked kind of cool. I thought about matching a fabric to my new wall art (that I'll be sharing later) but passed on that idea too. When I realized that the four colored squares coincidently matched my new art perfectly, it was a no brainer. I used a regular pair of scissors (although, a carpet blade probably wouldn't have hurt my hand so dang much) to cut the squares down to the appropriate size. 

I also bought 4 rolls of shelf liner at the Dollar Store to use as a gripper. I haven't done this yet. The rug is heavy enough that it doesn't slide around. I might do it just to add some protection for my hardwood floors. 

There you have it! I am so happy with it. I love how it grounds the room, adding a coziness that was previously lacking. And, of course, I love that the entire project cost under $30! 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

under construction

I hadn't really planned on it- but this blog is in the process of getting a little makeover. 

I'm learning a few things and think I like were it's headed. 

We'll see. 

I've also got a few really fun projects I'm excited to share this week. You don't want to miss it!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

spool storage/display

Imagine this for a second, will you: 
nearly 100 spools of beautiful, mostly vintage, sewing thread thrown without care into a plastic storage bin. 

On Monday, I gave a sneak peak of one of the many projects I've been working on. With my dad's help, it turned out just as I'd imagined. 

drum roll please

Bam. Booya. Oh Yeah. 

The lowdown?

On one of my wandering adventures through the hardware store, I picked up two of these boards.

It's hard to see the awesome price! I really just bought them to make something. The label does say "hundreds of uses."
My dad simply (enough) cut and nailed the boards I had already painted into an old bulletin board that I had covered in burlap.  This entire project cost me $1.34 plus tax. 


This was my sewing table before: 

And now after:

It almost looks glamorous. You'd never know that I work in an unfinished basement with my fuel tank to my left and Christmas tree to my right! You'd also probably assume that I sew. ahahaha. Funny. This table is the least used one in my space- but at least now it's pretty. 

Thanks dad!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

awesome diy area rug: FAIL

Not all of my ideas turn out like I'd like them to. It's especially disappointing when I'm really excited about what I'm making, and when I've taken the time to take pictures for a tutorial and then the whole thing just FALLS APART. 
I might have screamed at one point. 

But I can now write about it because this happened two weeks ago. I tore everything apart, stared at the material for a couple weeks, did a little more research, and finally worked up the courage to try again tonight. 

I'll share the finished project later this week. But tonight, you might as well enjoy the FAIL. 

In theory duct tape can be used for all theory.


That's all I have to say about this.

Monday, March 12, 2012

monday projects: sneak peak

We're having some wonderfully early spring weather here in Wisconsin. It's really lending well to some outdoor DIY projects. I was so motivated to work on stuff today that I ran errands in the rain (not snow...BIG difference) and, AND, I didn't read a single page of Mockingjay. (I'm halfway through. eeek.)

The rain cleared early this evening and I got to work on some things flip flops!   

Here are some of the projects that got a kick start today. 

I even got my dad involved. I snuck a pic. He's not one to stop a project and say 'cheese.' Which is also part of the reason there won't be a picture tutorial for this project. It's pretty straight forward (and AWESOME) anyway. 

I stopped to take a quick break for dinner, catch up with the Voice, and show you what's up. 
Back to work!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

be: wall art

A couple of weeks ago, I stopped at the hardware store to pick up some spray paint- and then I just wandered around. There are literally endless DIY possibilities if you open up your mind to them in a place like that. I came across an endcap in the door department and spotted Shims. I hardly know their real purpose but what my mind instantly saw was a pack of 42 evenly cut pieces of wood- maybe the perfect size for some wall art. 
Yes. The perfect size. 

The whole pack cost less than $4! 

They are shims, so they are thick at one end and get thinner. I might not have realized that when I bought them- I seriously didn't even look at the pictures on the wrapper. I was so distracted by my ideas!

Enough about the shims. I've gotten way ahead of myself. You have to see what I made with them & then I'll teach you how.

I saw this on Pinterest a while ago and really liked it. 

So, all it took was those shims to inspire my own adaptation. 

Nice, right?! I'm totally loving how it turned out. I love that it was inexpensive to make. I mostly love that it is a daily reminder to be all of these great things.

So, heres what you gotta do:

Buy some shims and sand 'em smooth. I honestly have no idea what grade of sandpaper this is. I just had it sitting around so I used it. It was gentle.  You're basically just getting any slivers off. 

I learned the hard way that it's best to paint the shims first. If you glue them together first, the paint won't cover the spots where the glue dries. It looks funny. Trust. 

I used a rag instead of a brush because I liked the look. You could use a brush if you want thicker/smoother coverage. 

Or, you can get bored with the process and think it might just be better to spray paint them instead. 

This was seriously what I did half way through painting. But, then I didn't like the shimmery finish so I went back to hand painting.

I sprayed my large chipboard letters with primer so that they'd cover easier with paint. 

Here's glance at how I really work. Neatness can be overrated!

I used this stamp set for my lettering. I think they were $12.99 at Hobby Lobby and then I used my 40% coupon. The projects I can use the for are endless- as very good investment. 

I used some Acrylic paint I had on hand for my lettering. 

It took me a little practice to get the stamping just right. I recommend using a blank shim to practice. 

Because I wanted to right align all of the words, I started stamping from the right and working backwards. 

Once I was finished stamping and the paint had dried, I was ready to assemble everything. Here you can see that I put two shims together for the backing that would hold it all together. This will allow it to hang flush to the wall. 

Once I had my two back supports made, I took E-6000 glue to the whole thing and put large globs on every other one because they are alternating thickness. I learned after the fact (and by pure luck) that you have to be pretty careful at this stage. If you use too much glue and it'll seep through the cracks potentially sticking to the surface below and ruining your art. So, just be careful. You'll also notice that I used a painted shim; this is so that if there are any gaps when the glue dries (intentional or not) you'll still have a finished look.  

Ok, this was the hard part for me. Put a heavy book on top and walk away for the night so that everything dries completely. 

The next day I simply took a piece of wire (again, I don't know the gage, just had it sitting around) and hot glued it to create a hanging bar. 
I reinforced it with some felt. Honestly, it just felt like the right thing to do. I don't know if it will have any added benefits of reinforcement or not!

I haven't decided where I'm going to hang it yet. I'm making some changes in my living room and it'll most likely find a spot in there.

What do you think? 
What words would you add to the list?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

walking with dice

Walking in my neighborhood is a workout that is always available and completely free. But sometimes just the idea of it bores me. The same route can be unmotivating. Non-the-less, last night before I fell asleep, I resolved that today I'd go for a walk. 

I set my alarm and the coffeepot for 7am. But the coffeepot malfunctioned I didn't set the timer right and it didn't start brewing, my snooze button was in reach, and it's Saturday. So, I made excuses to stay in bed a little lot longer. When I finally got up, I did some housework and then got ready to go. 
But just before I left, I was struck with inspiration to make my walk a little less mundane. I grabbed a dice and sticky note and made this quick variation:

This simple idea really made my walk around the neighborhood more enjoyable. I went down blocks I wouldn't normally go and probably walked a little longer than I would have otherwise. Usually, about half way to the end of the block, I'd simple take the dice out of my pocket and shake it in my palm, using whatever number was facing up when I opened my hand. 

There were a few times that I had to forgo the advice of the dice because it didn't work out or because I didn't want to get myself too close to home because, let's me honest, I'd be tempted to go in it! Eventually when I had gone far and long enough, I stopped using the dice and just headed back home. 

It really was a perfect day to be outside and, bonus, with daylight savings time there are now more evening hours to spend outside.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

spontaneous trip

Last friday with the exchange of just one email from my mom, I decided we needed to get out of town. Her family lives in northern Wisconsin and they made their own spontaneous plans to tear down 3 of the old buildings on their farm; a project that wasn't supposed to happen for months. 

It didn't take much convincing, and at 6am Saturday, my mom and I started out on our 5 hour trip. We didn't tell anyone we were coming. I just love surprises. Her sisters even called a couple times to let us know the progress of the project. It all was happening much faster than we thought it would. So we put the peddle-to-the-medal and got to the farm by noon. M aunt called just as we made our way to the dirt roads of the country. She and asked what we were up to for the day. "You're going to be surprised," my mom said. "We'll see you in 5 minutes."
 There were tears of joy and excitement! It was great. 

When we got there, almost all of the buildings were down. I didn't even have time to get a picture. 
I must admit I had a couple motives for wanting to be up at the farm for this day. Aside from spending time with family, I just had to get my hands on as much barn board as I possibly could- and I did! They had saved me a few pieces for me, but I saved many more pieces from the fire! And, I have to say, my uncles and cousin were so helpful. They didn't question me. They even encouraged me to take more when I was afraid I had already asked for too much. 

And when I wanted to save cinderblocks to recreate this, they jumped in and loaded up. 

I have to tell you, I was impressed by my uncle Brian. He owns his own excavating business. It was so cool to watch him use this giant claw with such precision. At one point, he spotted a board that he thought I might want to keep and he so gently picked it up and moved it off to the side. I thought it was pretty neat. 

One of the buildings that got torn down was the chicken coop. 
Here's a picture of it from the summer- just so you can see all that awesome barn board! o yeah!

The poor chickens are displaced now. But they're still doing their thing. 

My cousin Jess and I went shed hunting. I had never heard of  it before. I envisioned looking for, like, little houses in the woods. But, NO! Shed hunting is looking in the woods for antlers that the deers shed. We didn't have success. But we did have a beautiful walk in the woods (We went our seperate ways, and I had a moment of panic and a daydream of Hunger Games itensity). It was just fun whipping around on the ATVs and goofing around. I do wish I had my camera in the woods, it was so beautiful. But we did get a snap of our beautifulness when we got back. I mean, come on! We're so hot. 

As for my loot:
We fit what we could in the car to bring back this trip. I have more piled up in the shed at the farm for my dad to bring back in his truck. 

I don't really have specific plans for them yet. But I'm pretty sure I'll come up with something. Of course I've been on Pinterest looking for inspiration. 

These drawers are from my grandpa's old workbench. My mom thinks they're gross. I think they're beautiful. I probably won't do anything with them for awhile- but I like 'em. 

Now, I can agree that this chicken grate is gross. But, I can also see it cleaned up, painted, and functioning as a coffee table. It fit in the car, but I couldn't see out so it, sadly, got left behind. 

There you have it. Our little spontaneous trip! It was perfect & now I have projects to focus on.