Category Archives: Home DIY

Book Shelf Makeover with Paintable Wainscoting Wall Paper

Book Shelf Makeover with Paintable Wainscoting Wall Paper


Looking at my book shelves one day, I realized they needed a makeover.  They were cheap to begin with and I didn’t want to spend a lot of money to update them.

bookshelf 1

I was wandering around Lowes pricing out various ideas and came across WAINSCOTING PAINTABLE WALL PAPER.  Never heard of the stuff, but it looked dang cool, so I thought I’d give it a try.

bookshelf 2

I first spray painted everything that I was going to paint white:

book shelf 3

Then I painted with semi-gloss paint the shelves and box.  It took THREE coats and I used Swiss Coffee from Home Depot color, the same as my house trim.

book shelf 4

I then laid the shelves down flat and applied the wall paper following the directions.  That middle shelf is permanent, otherwise I would have pulled that out too.  It took four separate pieces of wall paper for each shelf.  I wasn’t worried about getting it absolutely perfect because it would mostly be covered by books anyway.

book shelf 5

I then taped off with painters tape and painted the wall paper a Sherwin-Williams color called Mega Giege, which is the same color as my walls.  It took two coats with a small foam roller.  Again, I wasn’t too worried about perfection.  Here’s a close up with a few of my favorite books:

bookshelf 7

I wish I could arrange my books to look prettier, but we’re going for functional here.  But, you get the idea.  It completely brightens up the room and matches my other furniture and decor much more!

book shelf 6

A side-by-side view:

book shelves front



My Fence Fell Down, So I Made Stuff


The morning after a wind storm we awoke to our fence laying flat on the ground.  Not the best news, but at least I had a whole bunch of distressed wood to make a few things.  I wish I had patterns to tell you for these, but really I just got out the skill saw and drill and went to town with no real plan.  Here’s what I did:

US flag: Wood split in half longways to make smaller pieces.  I used barn red, navy, and off-white paint and made the vinyl wording and star stencil with my Silhouette.

flagGarden Table: I made this garden table as a gift for my cousin.  I love how it matches her door!  I did have to get some 2x4s for the base, only the top is wood from my fence.

table“Be the Good”: This sign hangs in my kitchen.  I love the message!  Again, I made a stencil with vinyl, then painted it colors to match my decor.

be the goodFront Entry Sign: This hangs on my front porch.  I love how it compliments the color of my house.  I use the little knob to hang seasonal signs.

front signFrame: I tried something new with this, still deciding if I like it.  I had a green distressed frame, so I made a pallet background for it to help it to stand out and make it look bigger.  I covered it in Mod Podge (after washing with water) to give it a shiny look.  I like how all the grain shows through, but not sure if I like the overall look.  This is just a stock photo added in.


Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Projects


I’ve been working on refinishing a few pieces I received from my 95 year old aunt. I used Annnie Sloan chalk paint with the clear wax on both projects.  There’s a million great posts on how to apply Annie Sloan paint, so I won’t repeat it here, but hopefully you can get some ideas!

This cedar chest was in pretty bad shape. Here’s the “before” picture:

chest 1    I used Paris Grey to updated it a little. Like my stairs? I refinished those too.chest 2

I also got this great little desk that my kids use for homework.  While I was working on it, I found a drawer signed by my great Uncle dated 1978 as the last time it was refinished.  Here’s the before:

desk 1

And here’s the after.  I used Fresh Linen for the main part of the desk and Graphite for the top.

desk 3desk 2

My New Master Bathroom


Our master bath got a serious facelift.  Having a twenty-five year old house means there’s 4×4 white tile with big grout (now grey instead of white) EVERYWHERE.  Now, before you look at the “before” picture, know that this is one of those widened Photoshopped pictures that a realtor took- it didn’t look this awesome or this big before.  Notice the white tile all the way to the ceiling, the odd ceiling soffit, yellow oak cabinets, and the crusty gold shower. You can’t tell from this picture, but the tub in corner takes up a huge portion of the bathroom since its sitting at a diagonal.

Master_BathHere’s the after, I don’t have a wide lens to get the whole bathroom at one time.

The walk-in shower with cascading glass panel, SO EASY to clean:

showerThe vanity: vanity 1vanity 2Where the tub used to be, but for now empty.  We might add a free standing tub later, but for now I’m loving the empty space.  I’ll probably just put a small shelf with towels in the corner.  I love the 12×24 tile on the walls.  The whole bathroom is grouted with mold free grout.  Sweet.cornerA few close-ups, here’s one of sinks:4Here’s the tile floor, it looks like white washed wood, and I LOVE IT.3 The cool shower drain, no circle drain in the middle of the shower.2 Some of the tile detail in the shower.1This new bathroom is a million times easier to clean and is now the nicest room in house.  We might just have to have Thanksgiving dinner in here…

Praises to Ana White


There are no words to describe how much I love Ana White and her site of free designs.  I have a LONG list of many of her projects I’d like to try.  Here’s the first attempt at one of her designs, an entry table I’ve been eying for awhile.

If I were to do anything different, I would have stained the wood, then wiped it off with a microfiber towel so some of the wood grain could show through.  I did it this way to match my stairs, but I would have preferred the grainier look.  If you like the stain color, its Rosewood from Home Depot.

table1Can’t wait to get it decorated!

Wood Letters Decorated with Card Stock and Mod Podge


Lately, I’ve been giving wooden letters as gifts to friends.  If using a coupon at a craft store, you can usually score a letter about a foot tall for $2.  I get a pretty card stock to match their house, and pull out the Mod Podge.

Here’s a letter “C”:

Quick tutorial:

Paint your letter whatever color you want, back and front, two coats.  Let dry completely.

Trace with a pencil around the letter on the back of the card stock.  Cut out along your line a little more than what you traced to give you a nice border:

Sorry, not pictured, but do a layer of Mod Podge on top of the letter and carefully lay card stock on top.  Its very important to press down completely and get out any air bubbles while the Mod Podge is still wet.  I turn the letter over to dry completely pressed against my counter.  You can seal the whole thing with another Mod Podge layer if you’d like.


Here’s another:

And here’s what I did for my kitchen.  I had a weird, long and skinny spot above a window that needed a little something.  These letters I cut out myself with a hand held jig saw.  To get the shape of the letter, I just found a font I liked on the computer and printed it off, cut it out, and used it as a pattern.

Wainscoting Perfection


Hey, long time no blog!  I’m back, after a completely wonderful and relaxing summer.  I’ve got lots of posts to catch up on!

This is my friend Anneli’s home and she was nice enough to take some pictures for me to post.  Take a good look, cause I want to copy it exactly.  Her husband added all this beautiful trim work to their home and I think its A-MAZING.

Wondering what color she painted her bedroom?  Its Benjamin Moore, gull wing grey.  I also asked how tall the wainscoting is; its 64 inches including the baseboard.

Husband, take note.  Our house is next.

Here’s the work in progress:

And here’s the finished master bedroom.  Beautiful!

Check out the other awesome trim work in their house.

Mod Podge Tables


Here are a few tables I gave a facelift to using just Mod Podge and paper.  This first one is just a kids table from Ikea, I think they are $25, but its been awhile since I purchased it.  I first painted with regular craft paint, got wall stickers from the Dollar Store, then Mod Podged over everything.

This second table a neighbor gave to me, but there were scratches all over the top of it.  I got a pack of pretty card stock from the craft store and cut 3 inch squares.  Once I had my design figured out, I Mod Podged a few rows at a time.  To keep paper from wrinkling, apply a thin but complete layer, put square down, then rub with finger to get a tight seal across the whole piece.  Once all the squares were on, I did another layer over the top.  This table fits nicely in my guest room.

How to Refinish Stairs


So remember when I said I think I’m more talented in the DIY home repairs then I actually am?  Perfect example here.  My stairs, the first thing you see when you walk in my house, were driving me crazy.  I am on a quest to purge all yellow oak from my house, and these were the biggest offenders.  I thought it could be a project I could work on at night while the kids were sleeping and be done in a week or two.  Two and a half months later its  finally done and was way harder than I thought.  The total cost of this project was about $200 including the plexiglass (see below).  To pay a professional would have cost thousands, but there’s a reason; this project takes a billion hours.

Let it be noted, the carpet would have been long gone too if I didn’t have small children that still take frequent falls on the stairs.  I think if I had the choice again, I would have just painted everything white.  But, if you’re crazy, and what to know the gory details, read on my friend, read on.

STEPS (all products purchased at Home Depot and Lowes):

1) Wash all wood with gritty green sponge.  I had left over deglosser from this project, so I used that.  As with all the steps GO WITH THE GRAIN of the wood.

2) Use a very smelly and awful chemical called STRIPPER (insert many fume-induced jokes here).  This began the problem of why I couldn’t work at night why the kids were sleeping.  The fumes for this and future steps were just too much and too dangerous.  I had to take the kids to grandma’s house for a few days while my husband did the smelly steps.

Back to the stripper.  This stuff is tricky.  Read the directions carefully.  You glob it on with a paint brush, wait ten minutes, then wipe it off with a cloth.  You can’t leave it on too long or you have to wash it off with mineral spirits (step 3) and start over.  This step strips off all old polyurethane, taking away the shine.

3) Using a rag, wipe everything down with Mineral Spirits.  This should get everything nice and clean.  You should be down to the plain rough wood.  Sand everything here if needed. (Remember, all these steps take FORVER!)

4) Do 2-3 coats of stain on parts you want stained.  I used a foam brush using a stain color called Rosewood.  I did 2 coats, wish I would have done three.  Everything turned out lighter than I would have hoped.

5)  This step is optional.  I did a black stain with a foam sponge, let it dry a minute or two, then wiped it off.  It ended up giving a two-toned look.

6) The polyurethane is next.  This is the worst step, smell wise.  If you can, leave the house for a few days.  If you have kids, don’t let them sleep at the house for at least a few nights. Read and follow the directions carefully!  We did two coats, fine sanded, then one more coat.  Awful, I tell you.  After this step, I took a two-week break.  It took a few days for my husband to like me again too.

7) We let the polyurethane cure for a week or so.  Then I taped everything off to begin painting the trim.  I first primed everything.  I used Swiss Coffee (Behr brand from Home Depot) since that’s the color of the rest of the trim in my house.  I used a high gloss finish with a very fine tipped paint brush.  It took a quart and a little more to paint everything with two coats.  This was the only step I could do at night while my kids were sleeping.  Some trim pictures:

8) Our spindles on the second story are a little too far apart for my comfort with my small kids.  We’ve had this not-too- pretty netting up.  I switched it out for plexiglass.  They will cut it for you at Lowes, but we drilled the holes in ourselves for the ties.Finally, done!

Anthropologie Lamp Shade Copy Cat


So I saw this darling lamp shade from Anthropologie for $98.  I needed two, and wasn’t willing to spend $200 on just the shades.  $200 is my budget for my WHOLE bedroom facelift.  These lamps are my first project in the transformation.  So, I headed to Walmart and grabbed the cheapest shade I could find for the shape I wanted, $10.  Then, at Joanne’s fabric I got two kinds of gray fabric because the flower material was shear and I didn’t want the original color of the shade showing through.  Total price of fabric (with my Joannes coupon) was $10 for both shades.  (By the way, if you want to make a white shade, look in the bridal fabrics, tons of options.  There was only this one option in gray.)  I read this tutorial I found on Pinterest, then followed their advice and got my friend, Britt, to help.  This is for sure a two person, four hand project.

We made a pattern (out of my kid’s coloring book) and cut out both fabrics.  The tutorial we followed didn’t do this, but the pattern worked really well for us.

Here’s the first layer of background fabric, hot glued on.  Did I mention this was a NO SEW project?  Best advice I can give is make it as tight as possible.  This is where the four hands come in.  We then did the exact same thing with the shear fabric over the top.

This was so simple, and if our kids weren’t throwing fits, we could have made both in about 45 minutes.

Next on the list is figure out what color to paint the wall behind the lamps…