Monday, June 22, 2009

DIY decor not just for nurseries

In this week’s baby bargainista column, Rebecca Atkinson completes her DIY nursery series.

As a final follow up to the Nursery on a DIY budget series, here’s a recap of two bargains we found/created for less than $20, which in theory could be applied to any room of your house really.

When painting, generally you take off the light switch and electrical plate covers, which of course got me thinking. They were boring, plain, white things. I wanted to dress them up somehow – and have them match the theme of the room if we could. I went looking in stores and online and saw lots of light-switch covers, but also saw the prices and thought surely this could be recreated for less.

During one of our trips to Michaels, Mark showed me some scrapbook paper he found for $4.99 which matched the flash cards we had. He wanted to know if there was something we could do with it. For $4.99 I said we must be able to and threw it in the cart.

It wasn’t until we got home that it dawned on me. Why not cover the light switch and electrical covers in the paper? I passed the idea on to Mark who is much better with a pair of scissors than I and he too was game. After wasting a few sheets trying to figure out how to make it work, we finally figured it out and found yet another use for that wallpaper glue we still had left.

After tracing the light switch cover (including showing the outline for where the hole would need to be for the switch itself and cutting out the shape, we affixed it by applying the wallpaper glue to the paper (minus where the hole cut out was traced) and then carefully sticking the paper on the cover. Once we’d let it set for a couple of days, we then took an exacto knife and carefully “exed” out the middle, affixing it with some more glue as needed. For a final touch, we applied al light coat of a shellac just to protect the paper so it wouldn’t tear prematurely from everyday use.

One other piece of the puzzle we wanted was to find a nice drape or shear for the room. We already knew from advice from friends that we wanted a blackout blind for the room so it could be closed during the sunniest of days allowing baby to sleep.

With an older style house, we have some odd-shaped windows so on a trip to Fabricland looking to buy fabric to make curtains for another room in our house, we thought we’d see if there was anything we could find for the baby’s room. Always one to look through discount bins, my husband and I were rummaging through the “clearance” bin for packaged draperies, when he exclaimed – “I found it!”

Sure enough, it was the perfect sheer for the room, the exact colours we were looking for and everything. We checked the price tag and found it said $7.99. Bonus! So excited with our find we immediately headed for the check out in case it was a mistake…

As I neared the cash register, I saw something on the package that made me stop. It wasn’t a sheer, it was a shower curtain! I immediately groaned, showed Mark and we went back and put it down looking for something else. Very disappointed we were getting ready to leave when we both stopped and asked ourselves why we couldn’t use that as a sheer? Immediately we went back and checked it out and discovered that if we didn’t tell anyone it was a shower curtain, they might not know. All we had to do was buy some nice curtain hooks and none would be the wiser.

However, we’re so proud of our find and our thought to use something “unconventionally” that we now proudly point it out to anyone who sees the room asking if they like our $8 shower curtain turned sheer. What do you think – can you tell the difference?
Lessons Learned
1. Practice with scrap paper first – especially good if you have paper the same thickness (scrapbooking paper is a thicker stock)
2. Once you glue on the outside, the middle gets hard so you need to cut with precision and trim carefully; don’t glue anything until you’re sure it will fit where you need it to
3. Just because something is labeled with a purpose already, doesn’t mean that’s what it has to be used for – get creative
4. Bargains are available to be found, you just have to be open minded

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