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DIY Tips

Easy Decorating Ideas for Your Home

Couches covered with cut-rate curtain panels, pillows jazzed up with 50-cent cloth napkins, and shower curtains hung at the window are a few of the easy and ingenious ideas offered by shopping expert Maria Calleia.

Instant Window Treatment

Inexpensive tab-top shower curtains and cheap metal plant hangers come together to brighten a big window. Splashed with gold paint and hung upside down to support curtain rods, the hangers pair prettily with blue-and-white-striped curtains.

Romantic Cottage Theme

For a romantic all-over-the-house cottage theme, mix all kinds of floral fabrics and patterns — the cheaper the better. Extend the mood by searching out bargain-basement antique accessories to which you can add your own flowery touch, as Maria did with hand-painted roses on a bargain urn.

Curtain Cushion Covers and Napkin-Covered Pillows

Cover worn couch cushions with cut-rate curtain panels purchased from an outlet store, and top them with napkin-covered pillows without ever sewing a stitch. Tuck the curtain panels around the cushions, and seam the marked-down pillow covers with hot glue.

Stamped Lamp

Crown a thrift store lamp with an inexpensive rubber-stamped lampshade. Maria stamped a fleur-de-lis pattern on a shade, filled in the pattern with permanent marker, and outlined the design with a gold pen.

How to Make Halloween Lanterns


This Halloween, greet trick-or-treaters in style by lining your walkway with picture-frame lanterns filled with vintage-style drawings.

hese spooky lanterns cost very little to make. Black-and-white drawings found on the internet were printed on vellum paper and inserted in secondhand 8 x 10 picture frames. The frames were then fastened together to make a square, and then a candle was placed inside.

Materials and Tools:

flathead screwdriver
painter’s tarp
picture frames ( we used 12 frames to make 3 lanterns)
white vellum paper
clear packing tape
black duct tape
black craft paint and paintbrush
black spray paint (matte)
3 votive candles

Gather the Frames

For each lantern, use four picture frames that are all the same size. We were lucky to find a bunch of standard-size frames at a resale shop. Discount stores often carry basic frames that will cost just a dollar or two.

Prep the Frames

Remove the matting and glass from the frame and set aside. Keep the brackets or nails that hold the glass in place.

Paint the Frame

Lay the frames out on a tarp and spray them with black spray paint. Let dry and then turn them over to spray the back and sides.

Find Halloween Drawings

Search the internet for vintage-style black-and-white Halloween drawings. We used bats, skeletons, witches and old medical drawings. Size the images accordingly, then print them out on the white vellum paper.

Attach Picture to Glass

Cut the printouts to fit the frame. Place the front of the picture down upon the glass. Cover the back of the paper with the clear packing tape (this way water will not get on the paper and potentially damage it). Lay the packing tape so it overhangs the glass, then fold it over the glass by about 1/4″.

Place Glass in Frame

Place the glass and print back into the frame and fold the brackets (or nails) back over to hold it all in place.

Lay Out the Frames

Lay the four frames down beside each other with the backs facing up (Image 1). Use black tape to secure the edges of the frames together (Image 2). Leave one at the end unattached for the moment. Stand up the frames and put them into a square, then attach the last piece of tape from the inside (Image 3).

Insert Candle

Place lantern frame over a candle (battery-operated or standard).


Hoe To Create Photo Artwork

It’s easy to turn ordinary snapshots into extraordinary masterpieces. And you can get that “photo lab” look right from your home printer.

Step 1: Watch an Overview Video

Step 2: Experiment With Sizes and Borders

There are two basic types of photo printers, the ink jet and the dye sublimation kind, which is much like a laser printer. For printing a large amount of pictures, a cost effective ink jet is the best option. Ink jets with the best quality have a small ink-drop size (about 1 picoliter or 1 trillionth of a liter). Many printers have dye-based inks but pigments inks may last longer. Higher-resolution sensors on digital cameras keep image quality when you are cropping or enlarging pictures.

Photo printers also come with special features: big image displays, multiple memory card reads for printing without a computer, 4 by 6 photo paper trays, editing functions like red eye removal and fun color effects and borders. Four by six inches is the standard size in photo printing and has the best quality.

The DPI, or dots per inch, tells you how clear and detailed the printer can reproduce your pictures. The higher the number, the better. You’ll want at least 600 DPI. Digital prints will last longest if you use photo paper made by the same company that makes your printer. Try printing all different size, including 8.5 by 11. Iimages can be printed with or without a border.

Step 3: Display the Photos in Stylish Frames

Consider using acid-free matting to display prints. It will keep them from sticking to the glass. Heat and humidity cause the photo to stick to the glass and can ruin it. Photos with similar frames and matting create a bold, unified statement that will give your room a very stylized look. For a timeless look, you might want to experiment and print in black and white or sepia tones.

How To Make A Headboard with Picture Frames

This project was very inexpensive to make. The picture frames were all purchased at a thrift store and the headboard frame was made from scrap lumber. We spelled out “sweet dreams” and embellished each letter with flowers. Create your own personalized message or spell out your child’s name.

Materials and Tools

drill with 1/16th bit and regular drill bit for screws
chop saw
(11) 8″ x 10″ wooden frames varied looks
(11) sheets of card stock paper
yellow paint — pint
pink paint — craft size
white paint (for trim pieces)
paintbrushes in various sizes
flower stickers
(22) small eye hooks
(11) small nails
(4) longer nails for trim to go into wall studs
wood putty
pieces of salvaged trim — enough for frame
(4) flat L-brackets with screws

Paint the Frames

Remove the glass and paper from the picture frames. Paint all frames the same color — we painted ours yellow. Apply two coats if necessary.

Spell Out Your Message

Cut card stock paper to fit snugly into each frame. Print out large letters from a computer and trace them onto the paper. Paint each of the letters. Let dry and add flower stickers around each letter.

Drill Holes in the Frames

Use a small drill bit to make two holes in the top of each wooden frame. Then screw in the small eye bolts.

Place Letters in the Frame

Place the card stock and the glass in the frame and secure in place. Thread ribbon through each eye bolt, then tie in middle. Make the ribbon on each frame the exact same size.

Make the Headboard Frame

Make the headboard frame from wooden boards. Cut two boards at 50 inches each for the horizontal pieces, and two boards at 60 inches each for the vertical side pieces. If necessary, paint the wood. Attach the horizontal and vertical pieces together on the back side using L-brackets.

Lay Out the Frames

Lay out the picture frames in your desired locations. Pull ribbon to center and mark where nail will go on the horizontal pieces. Hammer nails into your marked locations.

Nail Headboard Onto the Wall

Secure the wood frame to wall and nail into studs. Countersink the nails, then cover with wood putty and paint. Hang picture frames from the nails.

Courtesy of Susan Teare

Joanne Palmisano is the author of Salvage Secrets (W.W. Norton, September 2011). Visit her blog, also called Salvage Secrets.

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