Trash to Treasure Headboard

Hello, all.  I know, I haven't posted for quite awhile.  Life has changed a lot for me lately so I haven't had much time to do any crafts.  But recently I redecorated my son's room, as he was growing out of his "kid" decor and needed something more mature, so I thought I'd share the trash-to-treasure project I did for him.

In his old room, my son had a set of bunk beds -- the loft kind with the desk/dresser/shelves built in.  Part of the plan was to get rid of his bunk beds, and I couldn't be happier about that!  But that meant he needed a new bed.  Since his bookshelves were going away with the bunk beds, I need to come up with something different.  Pinterest is a wonderful place for ideas, as I'm sure many of you already know, and after browsing a bit, I was inspired by this:

 And here's another one:

I loved the look, but didn't spend much time looking for the source of the images, because I knew it was unlikely I would be willing to spend what it was likely going to cost.  I did find one similar, but it was $2500,  which simply confirmed it was not in my budget.  So I knew I was going to need to be resourceful.

Well I love buying and selling on Craigslist.  It's a great source for inexpensive alternatives to things, if you just apply a little creativity.  And I found this:

It's a Sauder entertainment center.  This is the new version:
I got it for $100.  Bargain!

So here's the thing.  I'm willing to risk experimenting doing things I'm not familiar with, at least when I don't have much to lose anyway.  I figured I could play around a lot with this, and even if I completely trashed the plan, still only be out $100.  So I made a few modifications to the original piece and it was all pretty successful, I think.

First, because it's really an entertainment center, I felt it was too deep.  It measured about 21".  I opted to shorten the depth of all of it by 6 inches.  Since it's made by Sauder, the parts were fairly easy to take apart again  (it was mostly assembled when I got it.)  Thankfully the person that assembled it didn't glue the parts together.  Keep that in mind if you want to try something similar.  So I made note of which pieces needed to be cut and shortened them all by the same amount.  This meant I also needed to realign/redrill the brackets since I was actually cutting some of them off, but it wasn't too difficult to do.

I wanted a mocha finish as I was trying to match a dresser I had already purchased.  The wood was just a laminated veneer, so I couldn't exactly strip and stain it.  So instead I lightly sanded the finish to rough it up a bit, then black-washed it.  When it was dry, I applied a light coat of spray varnish to the painted surfaces.  I wasn't sure how well the paint would hold up, but seems to be doing pretty well so far.

I also moved the cabinet to the top, rather than leaving it at the bottom.  If I left it at the bottom, it would have been covered by the bed and primarily unusable.  I could have done it like the inspiration photos, but I thought it would be more accessible if it weren't behind the pillows either.  And the "space" below the shelf actually helps keeps the throw pillows on the bed, so there's a double advantage.

I also painted the handles silver to match the industrial theme in the rest of the room.

A little paint on the walls, a new desk, and my little boy now has a big boy room.

He seems happy with it, which is the important part.  And since I sold the bunk beds for $400, I might actually have come out ahead in the deal, even after purchasing new linens, paint, a desk, and dresser!

What do you think?  Close?   Close enough for me!

I hope you can use this as an inspiration for your future remodels.  Let me know if you have any questions.  Thanks for stopping by!

And be sure to check out the endless list of inspirational ideas at my home page

Grandma's Scrabble Wall Art

Ah, it's Christmas again. Every. Single. Year.

No, I'm not all bah-humbug about it. It's just that each year I'm racking my brain on what to get for my two 90yo grandmothers. I love them to death, but they simply already have everything. And with one of them having 6 children/spouses and 19 grandchildren, it makes it even more difficult to get something that won't be duplicated by someone else.

So I try to make something for them instead of buying it. At least I can eliminate the duplicates that way. But still, there's the ever-elusive answer to the question, "But what??!!"

Both of my grandmas are sharp as tacks. Sadly, their bodies are failing them, but their minds seem fully intact (better than mine on many days!) One of the traditional things I do when I visit my one grandma is to play a game or two of Scrabble. I admit, she cleans my clock most times we play, but I don't mind. She's good! And that little activity we share is the inspiration for this year's gift.

I decided to make her a pseudo scrabble tile wall art with the names of all of her grandchildren! I think it's perfect for her! I know, I know, names aren't allowed in the game of Scrabble. Too bad, I'm making my own rules with this one!

Wanna make one too? Follow along and I'll show you how.

I made my tiles 2.5 inches square. You can make them any size, of course, but this made my finished product about 40" x 35" -- a good size for a wall hanging. To get the 2.5" squares, I used 1x3" boards.

When purchasing your boards, be sure to check the face of the board for knots. You want boards that are as knot-free as possible. It's not even that important if the boards are warped or not, since you'll be cutting them into tiny pieces, but you don't want to have knots showing on your finished tiles.

I picked up some really nice boards at Lowe's. They were really clean, and most importantly, they had edges that were already a bit rounded.

Cut your wood into squares and sand the edges. My dad got me a grinding wheel some time back and it works wonderfully for smoothing the edges.

You'll also need some appropriately-sized alphabet stamps. This was by far the toughest part of the project for me. I knew if I couldn't find the right letters, then I just wouldn't be satisfied with the final project.

I tried several office supply stores and craft stores for the pre-cut vinyl letters, but none of them were the right font or right size. Plus, I would have had to purchase several packages, which would have made this project too expensive to be practical.

I also looked into stencils, but with alphabet stencils, the letters are usually choppy as part of the design for holding the cutouts in place.

I also looked at stamps. I knew it was very unlikely that I would find 1.5" stamps in the font I needed, for under $10. And of course, I didn't. I did find a set of number stamps that were just right.

I still liked the idea of stamping, I just needed the letters. At Michael's, I found the perfect size and perfect font in this canister of adhesive foam shapes! I was set!!

I needed to mount the foam shapes onto something stable so I could use them as stamps. Well for Thanksgiving, I made these little turkeys with my family. If you look closely, you'll see that the head is made out of a 5-gallon paint stirrer.

I had to cut the paint stirrers down to the height for the turkey, and since I never throw anything away, I had the perfect item for the stamps! I just cut the paint stick left-overs into square pieces. I also cut a couple of slightly larger pieces for the W and M.

I assembled the adhesive foam stickers onto the tiny squares. Since I had a whole canister of letters, I put the letter on the front and the back. There's only a few letters that aren't symmetrical in some way and so I had to glue them backwards to the stamping side instead. I also had to work with the adhesive a bit so that it didn't mess with the stamping ink.

I had lots of names, and I needed help getting them all positioned. My son pointed me to Discovery Education where they offer tools for creating all sorts of puzzles.

I used the crossword maker to come up with my layout. If you put your names in and don't like the arrangement, just click the "create my puzzle" button again and it will do a different form. I had to try it a number of times before I got a shape I was happy with. Also, just a note, sometimes it won't use all the names for some reason, so check the note at the bottom of the puzzle indicating how many words were used to be sure you don't leave anyone out.

If you do this step before stamping, it will reduce the number of letter tiles you need, since some of them are used twice. Before I started stamping, I counted how many of each letter was needed.

Once the Scrabble tiles and stamps were made, the rest went super fast!

I used a fresh stamp pad and started stamping the letters. Because I placed the foam pieces onto a square that was just slightly larger than the letters, it was easy to position the letters into the center of the tiles.

After stamping the letters, I came back and stamped the point values.

Once the letters were all completed, it was time to arrange and glue.

I laid them out on a flat surface and began gluing them together. I used basic Elmer's wood glue to secure mine and it worked great, but it's important to really let the glue dry before messing with it. It seems like it's holding after about 15 minutes, but any significant force will pop it apart. If I had it to do over, I think I would first glue the horizontal names, let them dry, then arrange the vertical names into the horizontal names.

Once the wood glue was dry, I needed to add more support to the back. On the corners that were touching, I added a wire to the back, crossing from tile to tile at the corner, and securing it with a staple gun. I also glued some ribbon strips spanning the full distance. I'm sure there's better ways to do this, but it worked for me.

When everything was dry and secure, I flipped it over again and that was it! I think it turned out great. In fact, in the pictures below, I think they look like regular one-inch Scrabble tiles, and not at all like they're 2.5" tall replicas.

One other note. You'll notice that the names William and Mary in the middle of the arrangement are darker than the other tiles. These are the names of my grandparents. One of the boards that I already had in the garage was darker than the others I recently purchased, and I decided it would be perfect for highlighting their names. I had originally planned on staining the boards, but I wasn't sure how the stamping would react with the staining, so it was perfect that it was already darker.

I also had to work with the puzzle maker function a bit, until I found one with their names together, then I altered the design a bit, shuffling their names to the center. It was basically a lot like playing Scrabble.

I also tried including their last name, but thought it was inconsistent with the rest of the first-name-only list. If I do another, I think it would be cool to do just an immediate family, and then have the last name included/darker. I'll post if I ever get around to that.

The last thing I did was spray a clear coat sealer on it. The stamping ink is water-based and it isn't pretty if any water gets on the tiles. Trust me on that. A thin coating of spray varnish worked fine for me, but try it on a test tile first, to be sure the sealer doesn't do bad things to it. And for the next one I do, I'm going to spray the tiles individually before I even start to glue them together. It's amazing how easily the stamping ink smudges.

Let me know if you give it a try! I'd love to see yours and hear of any great ideas you can add.

And be sure to check out the endless list of inspirational ideas at my home page

I'll be linking to some of the fabulous link parties listed on the right sidebar ... but really, that's a LOT of parties! I probably won't get to them all, but you should stop in and visit a few yourself. While you're at it, stop by my home page and add a few of your own!

Paper Roll Santa

Yes, again.

If you follow me at all, you know just what I mean.

It's another paper roll craft. This one is a merry Santa Claus! (And I suspect I'm not done, yet.)

Okay, so you know the routine. Cut your paper tube into 1/2" wide strips.

For this one, I decided to spray paint a few of the pieces. If you'd like to do that as well, you'll need 1 red piece and 3 white ones. You only need 4 pieces total.

Shape the red piece into a sort of lopsided triangle. This is going to be the hat.

Next, take one of the white pieces and shape it into a circle.

Glue the red piece to the top of the white one, curving the bottom of the triangle to match the shape of the circle.

Shape another white piece into a wide crescent moon.

Glue the crescent-shaped piece to the bottom of the round piece opposite the hat. This will be the beard. (You could also shape the bottom of the beard into a point.)

Crumple some red tissue paper and press it into the hat, shaping it to match the hat.

Glue a 1/2" white pom onto the tip of the hat.

Place some fiberfil into the beard and lightly glue as needed.

Shape a 1/2"-wide chenille stem along the bottom edge of the hat and glue in place.

Shape the last piece of white tubing into a mustache.

Place fiberfil into the mustache and glue lightly in place as needed.

Glue the mustache to the front of Santa's beard. This is a little difficult since only the edges of the two pieces are touching.

Once again, create the face by gluing to mini black poms to a 1/2" pink pom.
Glue the nose to the top point of the mustache.

Add a little more fiberfil to the outside of Santa's face for hair.

Attach a string for a hanger and you're done! He's ready for hanging on your Christmas tree!


Merry Christmas!

This little guy was done without painting the paper tube strips first. It's not bad, but the painting helps to highlight the intended colors.

Recycle and decorate at the same time.

Let me know if you give it a try!

And be sure to check out the endless list of inspirational ideas at my home page

I'll be linking to some of the fabulous link parties listed on the right sidebar ... but really, that's a LOT of parties! I probably won't get to them all, but you should stop in and visit a few yourself. While you're at it, stop by my home page and add a few links there too!