DIY Home Decor

Guest Post: Turning Headboards

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Rae and I found a sad, abandoned headboard outside our apartment next to a dumpster and decided it would be perfect for my headboard-less bed. Here is the story of it’s adoption into our DIY family:


In its original condition, the headboard was nothing special-noticeable nicks and flaws.  What drew our attention, however, was the simplicity of the design- a blank canvas for us to transform into a masterpiece (or at least try).  The minimalist structure made it an easy first project for me to test my DIY skills!


After deciding our general plan, we sanded only the outside edge of the headboard, knowing that we planned to partially spray-paint the piece and cover the rest in fabric.  The key to this step was borrowing Rae’s dad’s plug-in sander.  Sanding everything by hand would have taken FOREVER and really starts to hurt after a while. If you don’t have an electric sander, don’t assume you’ll finish in one sitting and stay hydrated because you are in for a work out.


The other nifty tool we used in this project is Sticky Paper which is kind of like the “Post-It” version of a paper towel.  It has a gentle adhesive that, when wiped across a newly-sanded surface, picks up all the dusty stuff left behind.  With all the sandpaper craft happening in Apartment B, it was a valuable investment but to be honest, you could also use a wet rag and you’d have the same outcome.


Spray painting came next.  If you need tips on how to spray paint, check out Rae’s Spray-Painting Tips– she totally explains everything you need to know.  She also did this entire step while I photographed so you should probably hear it from her.


Ok, so the next steps are what I think is the fun part: the fabric.  Going into it, I knew I was looking for orange and aqua to go with the overall theme of my room.  I also adore the new trend of mixing patterns right next to one another, especially with all the solids already happening in my room.  After agonizing over the rows of fabric at Jo-Ann’s, we finally decided on a classic pattern for the aqua and a modern polka dot for the orange to add to the contrasts already created by the colors and the patterns.

We cut the fabric using a measuring tape and a pair of scissors.  Ideally, I would have loved to have one of those roll-y blade things, but we don’t, so we did our best.  I also have trouble doing anything in a straight line so the drawing and cutting wasn’t the absolute best.  Luckily, there are simple and attractive ways to cover my tracks which you’ll see later!


After cutting the fabric, we move to the Modge Podge.  Again, if you are unfamiliar with this process, I direct you to Rae’s post featuring our love for Modge Podge.   It’s just the best.

DIY headboard modge podge ribbon2

The final touches were mainly to add a little flair and to cover a few noticeable cutting mistake (oops!).   The top edge of the fabric we added was not quite perfectly straight so we decided to add ribbon given that ribbon has the distinct advantage of reliably straight edges.  I bought aqua and black ribbon thinking that I would choose between the two but Karley (our third roommate) came up with the ingenious plan of layering the two- great success!

DIY headboard upholstry tacks

We also added brass studs, courtesy of the LeatherMan on Etsy, and a strip of solid aqua fabric at the top to cover all the crooked cutting I managed.  We first drew a straight line using the edge of a book.  Then we added the studs using a simple, small hammer. This was the most aggravating step and I end with more than a couple of bent studs that I removed with a pliers.  Overall, I think I hammered in about 50 or so studs to line the middle orange section.

and Voila! I had a brand new headboard that melded perfectly into the decor of my room- all all for under $40!
DIY Headboard Final Product

DIY Headboard Final Project-  Room Shot


Center of Attention

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Even though the holidays have come to an end it is never to late to jazz up your table this time of year. My roommates and I had a Christmas party and I put together this piece as a Piece de Resistance for the party, but I am finding that I quite enjoy it.- A little too much to get rid right afterwards. I think I may have to find a way to re-purpose it for the upcoming holiday of love (stay tuned for a Valentine’s day update!)

Full holiday table decor

I came across these beautiful red sticks when I went home to my parents for thanksgiving and I had to have them. Fortunately for me they were free in the ravine behind my house, so it just cost me a little bit of manual labor and some time out in the Minnesota cold. My hands were numb by the time I collected everything, but I’m always in favor of finding things free!  If you aren’t that lucky, I have seen similar style sticks for sale in any garden store and some fancy-shmancy grocery stores. As I began to plan out my thoughts, things were looking a little bland. I decided to spray-paint half of the sticks white to add a bit of contrast.  Black or gold would also have worked but I like the bright white against our dark wood trim. It takes about 3 coats of spray paint to cover the sticks completely. Also- side note- choose a day to spray paint when it isn’t -15 degrees outside.  APPARENTLY Minnesota winter turns spray paint into a gelatinous mess.  I was forced to retreat to the bathroom and stink up the apartment with fumes- sorry roomies!

Holiday Table Decor

There is no real way to describe how I arranged the sticks- I mainly just balanced white and red. Its good to take a step back to make sure that it doesn’t look one sided or awkwardly one color or the other. For the Christmas party I added some ornaments by the recommendation of my roommate. I think it added a little sparkle and really looked FABULOUS. And to add a little extra ambiance I put wine corks and cranberries in glass jars I found at a thrift shop.  I think I spent less than $10 on the whole project and it really livened up the look in our dining room.  Definitely doable on a small budget. …If you’re willing to risk a minor case of frost bite 🙂

Oranges and Cloves Holiday Decor

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Oranges and Cloves Holiday Decor

Right after the fresh scent of pine from the Christmas tree I think  the smell of oranges and cloves is my number 2 scent that reminds me of Christmas.  Thats why when thinking of a way to decorate my apartment for the holidays I decide to incorporate both into a piece of Christmas decor.

Since I live the life of a out-of-college 20 something I’m not into frivolously spending the money I don’t have, so I found a way to do this without breaking the bank…. aka not spending over $10.

Cloves and oranges Holiday Decor

To start, I got a bag of about 10 navel oranges and 1 0z of whole cloves.  To pre-puncture a hole in the orange, I just used a nail. It prevents the cloves from breaking (’cause, you know, I’m poor and I don’t want to waste them…) This is when you can just have fun, there is no pattern the cloves can really go anywhere. Just have fun with it. The best part is that the room will just fill with citrus bliss.

Now, if you want, you can place the oranges in a decorative bowl and call it a day, but i’m gonna go one step farther.

Oranges and Cloves in a Bowl

I got a collection of pine tree branches and vines that I used in a combo with the oranges. I then layered them all together. First, putting down the pine branches and then oranges and going every other after that.  The idea is to find a good mix of oranges and pines to create the best mix of scents. I find that stepping back and taking a look helps finding the perfect mix. I had to move everything around a couple times, but I eventually found the balanced I liked.

Vase of Oranges Cloves and Pine