A couple of weeks ago my little girl turned one, and whilst we didn’t have a big party for her (just small family tea parties) I did want to get some decorations, make a few things and get creative for it. I’d seen on Etsy and Instagram people selling birthday chalkboards and I pinned a few designs on Pinterest, but it was only when I spotted an A3 board in Wilko that I decided to try making one myself. (And between you and me, reader, I’m so glad I didn’t shell out a tenner for someone else to make one as, frankly, the ones I’ve seen other people have bought recently look… not as good as mine!)
I sketched out my design on paper first and painted the frame of the board. My sister suggested orange to complement my rainbow theme. To be honest I was sceptical initially about the colour, but loved the end result. I used my cheap and cheerful Poundland paint which needed a fair few coats to build up the colour as it is rather on the thin side.
I pencilled my design onto the board rather than go for it freehand, and I went over it with my set of chalkpens. I did sections at a time so not to smudge the work. A slight issue was that I couldn’t give it all a second layer of paint as the pens scratched the first coat off, but as long as you look at the board from a distance, you don’t notice that.
I’ve had so many compliments for my chalkboard and I’m delighted with how it turned out so I may now make one every year for my daughter!
Typically, my daughter seems to enjoy ‘non toys’ more than her proper toys – mobile phones, tv remotes, coasters – though she does love shaking her rattles around so I had a little brainwave to make her a simple ‘rainmaker’ rattle. An empty (clean) bottle and some (uncooked) rice later… voilà! She loves it! So I looked on Pinterest for some more ideas…
1. Marbles. I got some marbles and put them in an empty bottle. Simple. This is her favourite as it’s really loud when she shakes it!
2. Water. Just plain old water from the kitchen tap. It makes a great noise when being shaken around, and it can be made more exciting with a few drops of food colouring (or fruit squash even!).
3. Water beads. I have two bottles with these in. One is full of water beads and we can watch the air bubbles weave their way up through the multicoloured beads. The other has less beads in and some baby oil in the water – I hoped to make something like a lava lamp, but failed. It looks pretty though!
4. Rice. Our original rice bottle got pimped with some multicoloured rice (see this post for how I made it).
I haven’t got round to making any of the fancy Pinterest ideas with glitter and tinsel and stuff, but the good thing about these bottles is that they can be changed quickly and easily, so when my daughter tires of these ones, I’ll be able to make some new ones to retain her attention.
I’ve bought or been given lots of books for my little girl but had nowhere to put them in her bedroom; it’s far too small for a freestanding bookcase. Whilst having my daily browse of Pinterest and looking up ideas for nursery decor and baby play, I kept spotting the same pin, which was for a reading corner using Ikea spice shelves as bookshelves.
At only a few pounds each, the spice shelves are so cheap, but really effective as they display the books nicely rather than just seeing the spine of them, and as they’re bare wood, you can paint or varnish them any colour. I chose white as I had a tin of white satinwood paint lurking at the back of the garage, though I do regret using it; gloss paint takes ages to dry in between coats, and these needed three.
I painted each part of the shelf individually before screwing them together, but in hindsight assembling them before painting may have been a better idea.
I chose to turn one shelf upside down to display some kitsch ornaments I had as a child and to hang some decorations from, but it can easily be turned around to use for more books if needed. I think this is a really cheap but effective idea!
Whilst I have some nice jewellery boxes, they’re stuck beneath baby paraphernalia on my bedside table and so get forgotten. I came up with the idea of using some pegboard to create a hanging space for some of my jewellery (and to actually wear it!) after seeing on Facebook someone’s board that they use for their craft supplies. I looked first on Etsy and Not On The High Street for boards to buy, but for at least £30 each I felt I couldn’t justify the cost. Then I turned to Pinterest for ideas to make my own and got lots of inspiration.
I bought a piece of pegboard, some dowels and pegboard hooks from Amazon – this all could be bought from a DIY store but with a baby on the scene I found using a seller on Amazon to be far more convenient.
I used some leftover paint from painting my mirror frame and wicker basket (see links for old posts) and gave the board two coats of paint, as well as painting a few pieces of dowel. It was very quick, only taking about 30 minutes in total. I then rummaged around in my sewing basket for some ribbon to use to hang the board, and found some nice gold stuff that had probably been salvaged from an old box of chocolates!
I love the end result and it fits in well with the mirror and basket in the corner of my bedroom.
In looking for ideas for decorating a nursery, I found pins for framed butterfly prints and thought, I can do that!
I popped along to my local Homebase and picked up lots of samples of the girliest wallpapers I could find (free), to Wilkinson’s for a box frame (£4.50) and a tester pot of pink paint (£1).
One of the wallpaper samples I chose had butterflies all over it, so I cut out a small one to use as a template, rather than print an outline from Google Images or attempt to draw one myself. I then cut out 12 butterflies; two from each style of wallpaper. I folded six of them down the centre to make the wings appear to lift from the background.
I painted the frame with some basic emulsion paint in ‘marshmallow’. This needed three coats of paint as the bare wood soaked up the first coat almost immediately.
I then glued the six flat butterflies to a plain background and the six folded ones on top, and reassembled the frame. Et voilà!
On Pinterest, the frames I spotted were for sale on sites like Etsy for well over £10. Mine cost me £5.50 and only a few hours of my time. And I think it’s perfect for a little girl’s bedroom.
I have had my trusty Ikea Bekvam step stool for many years and it has seen me through many a DIY and painting job. As a result it was looking rather sad and paint-splattered, so I decided to give it a new lease of life.
There are lots of ‘hacks’ for this stool on Pinterest and initially I toyed with the idea of painting the stool and decoupaging wallpaper across the steps, but then I came across an image of a white-sided, varnish-topped stool and thought it looked classy, and would fit the colour scheme of my kitchen (where it currently lives).
My initial inspiration
A classier look
First of all I sanded the paint splodges off the stool – some paints were easier than others (the red was the most stubborn!).
I used some old B&Q quick dry varnish in gloss oak for the steps; I did the steps first so no drips could ruin the white sides. I then used some Ronseal garden paint in white ash for the sides, simply because a tin was lurking at the back of the garage along with the varnish.
It needed two coats of paint and varnish overall, though I did do a third coat on the front section to thicken it up. I’m really pleased with the end result, if I do say so myself!
Rosemaling is a traditional form of folk art from Norway, and a beautiful design appeared in my Pinterest feed after I pinned some Scandinavian Christmas decorations.
I received a plain blackboard heart from my lovely mum for Christmas and after seeing the rosemaling heart-shaped design, I thought my own version of the decoration would look effective on it, so I researched a simpler design to adapt.
Unlike my previous slate heart painting attempt, I sketched out my design on paper first, since the heart is narrower than the one in the design I pinned.
I also sketched it out on the heart too before starting to paint it. I ended up altering my original sketch to take out the side flowers as I thought they wouldn’t fit nicely; I added dots and extra leaves instead.
I was limited by the colours of the chalk paint pens I have, but I am pleased with my first attempt at rosemaling. I love the symmetry and that it reminds me of canal barge painting, which my grandma was an expert at.