All posts by Stephanie

I am a mom of two and DIY junkie. Join my as we renovate our second house!

Tutorial: How to extend a small curtain rod with conduit piping

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA In our master bedroom we hung a wall of curtains behind our bed to mask the awkward window placement, but finding a curtain rod large enough (ours is 110in) can be costly. A nice one will easily run you $100. Plus we wanted the rod to match the one we already had over the other window in the room. The solution: Buy a small (40 in) matching curtain rod and extend it with $2 worth of conduit piping.

Supplies:

  1. Small curtain rod with finals
  2. 1/2 in EMT conduit piping cut to size
  3. extra wall bracket
  4. pocket drapes

The conduit piping can be found in the electrical section of your hardware store. Make sure to measure how long you want you rod to be before going. Most stores will cut the length for you but if they don’t offer this service you can use a hacksaw. We used 1/2 inch piping because our rod slide into it, but you may want to bring your rod to the store with you and try out different widths to see which will work best.

First take your rod apart and insert each end into opposite ends of your conduit ( see below). If the fit is loose crimp the pipe to the rod using pliers or a vise. You could also add some glue here if the fit isn’t secure.

Use conduit piping to extend a small curtain rod
Use conduit piping to extend a small curtain rod

Now that the original rod is attached at both ends of the pipe, screw in the original finals.

Add the finials from the original curtain rod to the conduit.
Add the finials from the original curtain rod to the conduit.

Install the original wall mounts at each of end of where you want to hang your rod. Depending on how long you have made your rod, I would recommend you install one or two additional wall brackets in the center. These can be purchased for cheap in the hardware section of your local store. Below you can see the new rod hung on the wall.

A small curtain rod extended using conduit piping.
A small curtain rod extended using conduit piping.

Finally, add your pocket drapes and you are done! You’ll notice with the pocket drapes you can’t even see the rod. Only the finials show.

A wall of curtains masks the awkward window and adds softness to the room.
A wall of curtains masks the awkward window and adds softness to the room.

Decorating around an awkward window placement

Awkward window placement in the bedroom
Awkward window placement in the bedroom

Since we have a high headboard we opted not to put it in front of the windows and effectively block them, but if we put the bed on awkward window wall we ran into a similar problem of the bed blocking half the window. We could have removed the bedside table on the left and pushed the bed all the way to the left wall, but I have a serious problem with my master bedroom looking like a dorm room. I always prefer the bed to float against a wall.

Our king size bed blocks the window.
Our king size bed blocks the window.

Our solution was to hang curtains along the whole back wall which now masks the window entirely. I love the soft feel it lends to the room as well.

A wall of curtains masks the awkward window and adds softness to the room.
A wall of curtains masks the awkward window and adds softness to the room.

DIY Burlap Art

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After completing my sisal lamp shades I’ve become a little obsessed with texture, so burlap seemed like an obvious next choice to try my hand at.  I decided to replace the pictures hanging over the credenza in the living room with a stenciled burlap art depicting the most important dates for our family (if you’ve been on pinterest lately you’ve seen the plethora of inspiration out there). I particularly love this project because it is cheap (it only cost me $3.19 total) and because it is so easy to customize for anyone. Oh, and it’s also super easy!

Here is what you will need for this project:

  1. A picture frame with mat
  2. 1 yard of burlap (this did all 3 of my 11×14 mats)
  3. black acrylic paint
  4. a paint brush (I used foam but a stiff bristle brush would be even better)
  5. an exacto knife
  6. a cutting board or mat
Burlap art tools: 1 yard of burlap, card stock, paint brush, black acrylic paint, an exacto knife, and a cutting board.
Burlap art tools: 1 yard of burlap, card stock, paint brush, black acrylic paint, an exacto knife, and a cutting board.

The first thing I did was create my stencils. I decided on 3 dates (our anniversary and each of the girl’s birthdays) and I picked a picture to symbolize each (a heart for our anniversary, a tiara for princess Sophie, and a teddy Bear for Lizzie Boo Bear). I created them using PowerPoint, 1 slide for each stencil. I used that standard Stencil font, but you can really use any font just make sure that you will be able to cut away the negative space. Enact the grid lines to make sure you have centers the symbol. Once you are done print them onto card stock.

Create your stencils in PowerPoint
Create your stencils in PowerPoint

Next get out a clean cutting board or mat and using your exact knife remove all the black areas from your stencil. I find it easiest to keep the knife straight and turn the paper when cutting. Do not worry about perfection here. You are going to dry brush the stencil on which is a very forgiving process.

Once all of your stencils are cut you’ll need to cut your burlap to size. I used my matting as a template. This will ensure that you have room to rim if need be.

Use your mat as a template to cut out the burlap to size.
Use your mat as a template to cut out the burlap to size.

Now, center your stencil on the burlap and tape it down to keep it from shifting. I placed my mat over the stencil to make sure I had it place correctly before taping.

Center your stencil on the burlap and tape it in place.
Center your stencil on the burlap and tape it in place.

Painting time. Squeeze out a small amount of paint onto a paper plate and dab your brush into it. Usually, you would use a stiff bristle brush ( a great use for brushes that you didn’t get all the paint out of), unfortunately I couldn’t find any so I used foam. Next, dab the brush onto clean parts of the place a couple of times to remove most of the paint. Hold your brush vertical and dab and the stencil, do not brush the paint on. The goal is to make the paint look worn and allow some of the burlap to show through.

To dry brush hold the brush vertical and dab at the stencil.
To dry brush hold the brush vertical and dab at the stencil.

When you are done it should look something like this. Note that the paint application isn’t thick or cohesive. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Remove the stencil and voila! It’s that easy. The burlap will absorb the paint quickly but I still allowed mine to absorb for about an hour before framing them.

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Here’s the finished product. I love how simple and yet rich it is.

Custom DIY stenciled burlap Art
Custom DIY stenciled burlap Art

Here’s all 3 of them in the Living room.

Trio of custom DIY stenciled burlap art
Trio of custom DIY stenciled burlap art

 

Beefing up plain bookshelves and bookshelf styling

[pinterest] Cody made these simple bookshelves and entertainment center not long after we moved in 6 years ago. They’re easy peasy to make: just cut pine boards to length and screw them together. Add some stain and you’re done.These were custom made to fit our wall and TV, so I was quite fond of them, but lately I got to thinking they looked a little puny and a little dark.

Before: Cheap, dark, and simple bookshelves
Before: Cheap, dark, and simple bookshelves

We beefed them up by facing all the fronts of the shelves with shelving quality pine boards then added a large baseboard molding to the bottom which also conveniently keeps DVDs from getting pushed under them (see above). If you are painting over a dark stained wood I recommend to give the shelves a light sanding first to remove any finish then prime. Do not skip the priming. We did and it took nearly 8 coats of paint to cover the stain. Apply the paint with a foam roller to get a super smooth finish. We used Olympic Premium Exterior Semi-gloss in Delicate White.

After: Shelves have been beefed up with pine facing and baseboard molding and lightened with white paint.
After: Shelves have been beefed up with pine facing and baseboard molding and lightened with white paint.

I love how much more presence the shelves have in the room. Next up was re-styling the book shelves. I originally had the books arranged by color but I decided to re-order them by theme. I knew I wanted to not only include my book collection but also our knickknacks that we have collected on our travels. I was feeling a little overwhelmed until I found this post from The Art of Doing Stuff on 7 ways to stack books.

Honestly, it did take me most of the day to re-sort the books and then play with the displays. I started by making 10 stacks of books (since I have 10 shelves). I stacked them based on theme. Then depending on how many books were in each stack I arranged them in different ways on each shelf. I did one shelf, stood back, studied it for a while, redid it, then moved on to the next shelf. As you are going you want to make sure each shelf balances the next. You may want to consider which books you want easy access to such as albums, children’s books, and reference books and make sure they are at a level you can reach. Once I had all of the books placed, I began placing the frames and knickknacks. This again required re-shuffling of books, a lot of observation, and trying again. If you have children or pets consider which items can take a beating and be placed low and which ones are priceless and need to be placed high. If a shelf isn’t really working for just leave it for a while. I find the more you live with it you’ll either come to love it or will be struck by inspiration for a better idea. Here is a close-up of each of our shelves.

Different ways to style of bookshelf
Different ways to style of bookshelf
More ways to style a book shelf
More ways to style a book shelf

Keep in mind that this is not a place where perfection is necessary or ever wanted as your book and knickknack collection will mostly likely grow over the years, so the shelves will be a contrast work in progress!

Do you have bookshelves in your house? Do you style them or just try to cram as much stuff on them as possible? If you style them, how often do you find you have to re-work them?

 

 

DIY Craigslist Dresser turned Credenza Makeover

[pinterest] We have this long wall to the left when you first walk into our living room that has always been difficult to decorate. I decided that a credenza would be nice as it would create a dropping off point for when you first walk in since we do not have a foyer, and it would create more storage.  I was looking for 3 things in the new credenza: color, legs, and detailed trim work. I love these blue ones below from Vintage Chic Furniture on Etsy but the $450 price tag wasn’t really in the budget .

vintage mahogany dresser metallic blue shabby chic modern cool beach cottage

So I headed on over to Craigslist and found this beauty for $20!

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It’s amazing what you can find on Craigslist. Only $20 for this beauty!

I like that it doesn’t sit flush with the floor, and I love the molding around the bottom and around the top 3 drawers. It had a little damage to one drawer and it appears as if a dog had been chewing on the bottom but it is solid wood and did I mention it was only $20?! The only problem is the color, but that’s easily fixed. I removed all the hardware and gave the whole thing a good sanding and then primed it white. I wanted a high gloss finish so I went to Lowes and got a quart of Valspar Anti-Rust Armor Oil Based Gloss Pastel Base. I used a small foam roller to get a really smooth finish. And Voila!

We turned this dresser into a high end credenza by painting it a high gloss blue and swapping out the hardware.
After: A $20 Craigslist dresser gets a new coat of paint and new hardware to become a living room credenza.
After: A $20 Craigslist dresser gets a new coat of paint and new hardware to become a living room credenza.


As you can see I also replaced the hardware. Originally I was going to keep the old brass ones but they just weren’t jiving with the room.  Seeing as I needed 15 handles this is where the project could have got very expensive. For the bottom six drawers I went with a simple brushed nickle design that you can pick up at Target for $20 for a 6 packs. The two end pulls on the top drawer also came from Target in a 4 pack for $15. The middle top handle came from Lowes for $3. Here’s a close-up on the pulls which were really my inspiration for the hardware.

Close-up of crystal and brushed nickle pull from Target
Close-up of crystal and brushed nickle pull from Target

I also dressed up the inside of the drawers with some wrapping paper I found at Target. I just cut them to size and attach them with spray adhesive.

Use wrapping paper to dress up the inside of drawers.
Use wrapping paper to dress up the inside of drawers.

Cody added a left over knob that he found in the garage to the side of the credenza so that I can hang up my purse. Apparently he finds my habit of throwing it on the floor annoying.

Add a knob to the end of a credenza to hang up your purse.
Add a knob to the end of a credenza to hang up your purse.

And finally, my favorite feature we added to the credenza was a media portal. OK it’s really just a hole in the back of the drawer to run our chargers through, but now we can charge our cellphones out of sight!

Drill of hole in the back of a drawer to run charger cords through to keep them out of sight.
Drill of hole in the back of a drawer to run charger cords through to keep them out of sight.

And here’s one last before and after shot. Before and after of a $20 Craigslist dresser turned living room credenza.

Before and after of a $20 Craigslist dresser turned living room credenza.

 

More to come on my dilemmas of decorating the top. Have you ever bought an ugly piece of furniture and given it a make-over? What features would you like in your furniture that would make it more functional?

Lamp Makeover and DIY Sisal Lamp Shades

[pinterest] We got these lamps as a wedding gift, and I really love the shape of them but our living room was feeling a little dark so these got the short stick for being painted. I painted them a golden yellow that we had in the pillows on the couch and I liked them well enough buy the shades we not quite cutting it.

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Before I could do anything about the shades; however, we decided to move some tables and lamps around and these got relegated to the Master Bedroom where their size worked much better with our high headboard. Unfortunately, the yellow had to go now. I decided to spray paint them the same teal we used on the dining room chandelier which picked up on the darkest teal in our bedding. The color looked great but the lampshades had to go. Not only were they the wrong color but the were falling apart.

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Then I saw this DIY lamp shade over at Naptime Decorator  and fell in love.

I fixed up the original shades by hot gluing them back together than bought 100ft of sisal rope and went to town on hot gluing it to the shade. The gluing took forever and I dramatically underestimated how large my shades were. It took 300 feet of rope to complete at $28 which was more than I had hoped but I guess at $14 a shade I still can’t complain. I do love how they came out, and I love the texture they add to the room!

DIY lampshade made from sisal rope with a teal lamp
DIY lampshade made from sisal rope with a teal lamp