DIY Bulletin Boards

As my last project before school starts back up (which I am very sad about–where did the summer go?!) I decided to get organized and create some bulletin boards for the area above my desk in our basement.  Wanting to veer away from the traditional wood-framed single board, I created these three, using thrift store frames and some other materials.

A guy friend of mine over the weekend informed me that he likes to scroll all the way down and look at my finished product, then read backwards to see the steps taken.  So I thought I’d start with the finished boards first, then give you the tutorial.  Thanks for reading Brandon : )

So, here’s the very easy how-to:

  • First, I purchased 3 frames from a thrift store.  I paid $10 for the trio.  I made sure to wipe them all off before beginning! 
  • I used a screw driver to remove the cardboard backing, the glass, and the lovely print from each frame : )
  • I used the cardboard backing as a pattern to cut my cork board.  This I purchased on a roll from Michaels:
  • I decided to use a gray paint paired with an antique stain to give it a distressed look:


  • I mixed equal parts paint and stain, and then brushed the mixture on the frame with a bristled brush:
  • Using a slightly damp paper towel, I wiped back the paint gently to activate the stain and create that “antiqued” look I was aiming for:


  • After allowing plenty of time for the frames to dry (they were still a bit tacky even hours later!), I fit the cork board pieces into each frame and replaced the backing:

And you’re done!

Have a great week…I’ll be busy setting up my classroom one last time, but will hopefully find some spare moments to squeeze in another post this week!


Painted Bedside Tables

Our guest bedroom has been very sparse since we moved in, as we never had a second bedroom in our apartment!  I’ve been on a mission to find bedside tables for the room, and happened upon these gems at my neighborhood Goodwill:

I thought they had good bones….and at $14 for the pair, how could I resist?!  They were different styles and slightly different heights, so I decided to bring them together with a cohesive paint job.  I went with an aqua and black combination with paint purchased at Lowes (Olympic One Paint +Primer, semi-gloss enamel in Kingston Aqua and Black Magic, to be exact). They were $11 a quart.

I began by sanding the varnish off, using this sander and some extra sheets of medium-gauge sanding paper.

Then I taped off what I would eventually paint black using painter’s tape.  One of the tables had more detail than the other, so I created a faux grooved border on the more plain one to give it some extra pizazz.

Then I began to paint!  The aqua took two coats, allowing ample time to dry in between.

(I challenged myself on the table with the grooved border by not using painter’s tape!)

After the aqua paint dried, I taped off the reverse so I could now paint with black.

The black was slightly streakier than the aqua, but still only required two coats!

(Please excuse our laundry in the background!)

While I waited for the black paint to dry, I spray painted the fixtures (which were cute already and didn’t need replacing) with shiny black spray paint.

When the paint was dry, I peeled off the tape, revealing my two-tone tables!

Some of the edges required touching up, which I did with a tiny watercolor brush I had on hand (the kind that comes with a the little watercolor set).

After everything was completely dry, I replaced the newly re-done drawer pulls by simply screwing them back in.

I really enjoyed this project–witnessing the transformation of two Goodwill tables was very satisfying!  Such a nice addition to the guest bedroom, for just a few bucks.  Next on the list: repainting the walls of the room–the periwinkle color simply won’t do with my new tables!  My husband is thrilled that with the finish of one house project, I have created another 😉

Good night!

Drop Cloth Curtains

Jason’s aunt told me about drop cloth curtains she made, and I have been intrigued ever since.  After much online research, I realized this was a fairly easy (and inexpensive!) project, and there are many ways to alter and personalize them.  We were in need of curtains for our living room, so I was excited to give them a try.  At approximately $19 a panel (I made four), I don’t think you can really beat the price!

First, you start with a 6×9-foot painter’s drop cloth (they come in a couple different sizes), found at Home Depot or Lowes for around $10 a cloth.

You can create a rod pocket by sewing the drop cloth, but I wanted to make this as “no-sew” as possible, so I purchased curtain rings….these ones (Allen + Roth 7-pack Walnut Wood curtain rings) were $8 at Lowes.  I bought a pack for each panel.

You can of course leave them plain, but who wants to do that? ; ) I decided to paint a vertical greek key design on my curtains, running down the side of the lead edge of each panel. It’s one of my favorite geometric designs right now! In order to do this, I had to create a pattern.  I used a ruler, manila folders, and tape.

Then I traced the pattern on the edge of the cloth using a pencil.  I made sure the design for each set of curtains was a mirror image so that the greek key design really framed the window once hung.

After tracing on all four panels, I laid out beach towels on the floor of our basement (you need a large, open area to lay the drop cloth flat) and ironed the drop cloth on top of the towels.  Make sure to put the iron on its highest setting so you get all the creases out.  This picture shows that I already began painting…on my first panel I ironed just over my penciled design first because I was impatient eager to see what the paint looked like on the fabric.  Then I went back and ironed the rest.

Then I got to painting! First, I laid a drop cloth underneath the drop cloth so that the paint didn’t seep through onto the towels.  You’d think a drop cloth would absorb all paint, but it does seep through.

I chose acrylic paint because it was cheap (99 cents a bottle), and it did the job!  I ended up buying 8 bottles though, which makes me wonder if there is a bulk size that would’ve been more cost-effective.  I chose this green color to coordinate with our living room, but Light Hauser Green by Americana is also a good choice.

I used a sponge brush to apply most of the paint, then came back with a smaller-bristled brush to make even lines and sharpen the corners.

The painting was by far the most time-consuming part–it took me the better part of a day to do all 4, but very worth it in the end.

I then attached the curtain rings, evenly spacing them at the top of of each panel.

My husband hung the curtain rod, which we also purchased at Lowes…I love the little bird finials on each end.  We wanted to make sure it was hung high because the curtains are so long.

The curtains were ready to hang!  It took a little fussing with the folds (I am psycho about symmetry), but this is the finished product:

I’m very happy with the results, and the inexpensive yet chic facelift it gives our living room. We’re going to hang the other curtain rod above our sofa tonight, and I’ll post those pictures later!

Happy Wednesday!

Personalized Bottle Labels

Hope everyone had a great weekend…

This Saturday I celebrated a good friend’s upcoming wedding by attending her shower and bachelorette party.

For the shower, her bridesmaids requested we help “stock their bar” by purchasing a bottle of wine for her and her fiancée.

After purchasing an inexpensive bottle of bubbly, I created a personalized label, very simply, with Microsoft Word on my MacBook.  I would be happy to explain in further detail if needed, but basically you open up a New Document in Word and:

-Choose a font of your choice–I downloaded a font (“monogram kk”) for free.

-Create a textbox (Insert>Textbox), and type each letter of the monogram in a separate textbox.

-If you’d like to make the font a certain color, choose View> Formatting Palette >Fill and then the color you’d like in Formatting Palette.  I also used the Formatting Palette to outline the letters in black, and you can choose the desired thickness of your line by adjusting the Weight.

-Once you have sized the letters to your liking, in the Formatting Palette select Ordering > Grouping > Group so that they are all grouped together. You can then adjust the size of the monogram as a whole.

-I added their wedding date underneath the monogram in a separate textbox, and flanked the date with a cute crown symbol I also downloaded for free.

After printing out the monogram:

Trim the paper to size.

-Select a background paper to frame the monogram (I used coordinating scrapbook paper) and measure a border around the monogram, cutting to size.

-Glue monogram on top of scrapbook paper, creating your label.

-Attach label (on top of original label) to the glass bottle.  I used bead and glass glue to attach.  Let dry and you’re done!

I thought it looked cute pictured with the shower gift 🙂

We finished up the weekend with a trip to Lowe’s, where I purchased materials for “drop cloth curtains” and painting bedside tables for the guest bedroom–my next home projects!