DIY Fabric Covered Photo Mat – Made from a Cereal Box!!!

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Who doesn’t love free stuff? I actually have quite a few “free” projects in the works currently that I’m super excited about, but for now I’ll share this one with you as it was part of our gallery wall which I will reveal soon! This project actually happened by accident when I realized that the frame I was using wasn’t a standard photo frame and I was going to need to cut a photo mat to fit it. Since the piece of art (I shouldn’t say art, it was a weird picture of a cat or something, lol) that was originally in the frame had an ivory mat around it I was going to have J cut it to fit using a box cutter. Of course he misunderstood me (anybody else have an issue with their men having selective hearing when it comes to their crafting requests? lol) and cut the wrong part of the mat, rendering the part I needed useless. Boo-hoo! It was time to come up with a plan B, which I thought would be just to buy and cut a standard mat to size but then I realized that a standard mat wouldn’t fit this frame either (gahh!). Just as I was getting super frustrated and about to ax the use of that particular frame altogether, I remembered that I had seen a picture mat that somebody had covered in fabric by simply mod podging fabric onto a plain picture mat. Now, that still didn’t solve my problem of not having the right mat size, but if I thought that if I could only find a thin cardboard to fashion my own mat I could take advantage of my left over fabric from past projects. I knew that a poster board cut to size would work just fine but in the interest of not having to traipse into town to get one I thought to myself “what do I have in the house that is of similar thickness/material to a poster board?” and then it came to me – a cereal box!!! About a half hour and a little mod podge later I had myself another fancy photo mat (check out my first DIY photo mat here) that not only matched the fabric on our side-light window panels but was free!!! All it required was a little thinking outside of the “box”, so to speak (get it? cereal box, ha.ha.ha). I hope this inspires a free photo mat on your end (you need not use a cereal box like I did, any thin cardboard will do) and should you not have the need for a photo mat right now, keep this one in mind as a great DIY gift opportunity come the holidays!

I'll have plenty of more frame projects in the works if I keep catching more adorable moments like this! These two melt my heart <3

I’ll have plenty of more frame projects in the works if I keep catching more adorable moments like this! These two melt my heart ❤

 

DIY FABRIC PHOTO MAT

SUPPLIES:

  • 1 large cereal box or poster board of some sort
  • fabric of your choice
  • mod podge (I used matte finish but it doesn’t matter what you use)
  • glue gun & hot glue
  • foam brush
  • measuring tape
  • scissors

INSTRUCTIONS:

Step 1: If you are using a cereal box break the box down by cutting along one of the corners so that it can lay flat like a piece of cardboard. Then measure and cut four strips of equal length or four pieces that can come together to form a rectangular mat since it wont matter what your pieces look like beneath the fabric as long as the shape of the mat is even (depending on the size of your box you may not be able to get four equal pieces but rather four pieces just long enough to overlap and connect to form a rectangle). If using a poster board simply measure and draw out your mat and then cut it out already formed.

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My cereal box! In the interest of pinching our pennies I opt for “crisp rice” instead of rice krispies haha

Step 2: Once you have your four pieces connect them so that your print side (if using a cereal box) is all facing one direction using hot glue to form the mat. Ignore this step if you have used a poster board and your mat is ready to go. Now you are ready to measure and add your fabric!

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ensuring that it fits in the frame

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Step 3:  Measure your fabric by laying the fabric print side down (upside down) and laying your mat on top, use a pencil or pen to mark an area just a tad bit larger than your mat size or enough to be folded over the edges (I will explain in the subsequent steps). Once you have marked your rectangle on the fabric, cut it out using your scissors (this should be obvious but keep the rectangle in tact! To cut the center simply puncture a hole in the center of your fabric and cut along the insides).

Step 4: Place your mat so that the non-print side is facing up and lay your fabric cut out over the mat to make sure that it will line up correctly. In each of the inner and outer corners cut a small slit that extends from the edge of the fabric to the corner of the mat (this is so your fabric can be tucked underneath without puckering at the corners).

Step 5: Now you are ready to attach the fabric to the mat. Using your foam brush, brush a generous amount of mod podge onto the mat surface and then lay your fabric atop it and press down to secure. Some mod podge will likely seep through the fabric, this is fine, simply use your foam brush to brush it off so that it doesn’t form clumps. At this point your fabric will still be larger than necessary for the mat but allow it to dry this way before moving onto the next step.

Step 6: Once your fabric has dried for the most part, turn your mat upside down and use hot glue to attach your fabric’s edges to the underneath of the mat, making sure to pull it tightly so that isn’t loose along the edges and holds to the mat securely.

Step 7: Now turn your mat back over and add another coat of mod podge to the top of the fabric, ensuring that you are adding and even layer and are not allowing it to pool or clump along the top. Allow it to dry and you are ready to use it in your frame!!! Ta-da!!! 

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My DIY frame displayed on our gallery wall!

 

To see more of our family pictures from baby P’s 6 month photo session see this post! 

 

DIY Printed Photo Mat

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When planning my gallery wall I knew that I wanted to incorporate some unique design elements when it came to our pictures and frames. Since I had to scale down the size of the gallery wall due to lack of space in the new house, I decided that instead of incorporating typography prints into the design I could free up room for more photos on the wall by simply adding a printed mat to one of the larger photos. I drew inspiration from a photo mat I had seen handwritten on using a sharpie but didn’t duplicate the idea exactly because while I do believe my hand writing to be pretty neat (*hair flip* lol), I figured given that I would have to see this project on display everyday that I would leave the printing job up to my trusty ol’ laser printer. The particular photo I was needing a mat for was one of our wedding photos, so what better wording to surround it than the lyrics to our first dance? Which is “The Book of Love” by Peter Gabriel if you’re wondering (if you want to see me cry buckets just wait until I finish my third glass of wine and put this song on repeat, lol), if you’re a Scrubs fan you’ll know this as the song that plays in last scenes of the series finale. Anyway, enough about that (but really, how awesome is the show Scrubs? lol). This project is quick and easy and with the holidays right around the corner, would make a great gift! This can be done using any text, you can use song lyrics, the text from a love note or even an excerpt from a novel (for all the book worms out there like my hubby!), to name a few. Lastly, if the adorableness that is my hubby and I in the vineyard hasn’t already made you nostalgic for your own wedding and itching to craft (haha), allow me to further convince you – this project costs next to nothing, all you need is access to a laser printer, a photo mat and some mod podge! I hope this inspires you to frame one of your favorite photos or jazz up an existing framed piece 🙂

WHAT I USED:

  • Plain Photo Mat
  • Laser Printed Wording –  it must be a laser print! If you use an inkjet print it will smear when you paint on the mod podge. If you do not have a laser printer you can print the document at your local print center for a few cents a page. NOTE: I printed mine at home and cut it into sections. If you are going to be super OCD about your wording all lining up, print your wording on a paper size that is LARGER than your frame mat and cut the paper to fit the mat using an x-acto knife. This way your paper will fit your mat exactly.
  • Mod Podge – matte or glossy, doesn’t matter. Personally, I prefer matte.
  • Scissors
  • Foam Brush

WHAT I DID:

Step 1: I began by typing up my wording. I simply copied the lyrics from a lyric site, then pasted it onto a Word document and lined it up as shown below. Next I copied the entire body of text and just pasted it over and over until I had a full page of wording then printed.

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Step 2: Next I cut the pages into sections to fit my mat. I did not care about my wording lining up perfectly since it was going to be displayed at a distance, but if I had wanted it to be perfect I would have done as I suggested above by having a 16X20 sized document printed at my local print center then cutting it to fit the mat using an x-acto knife.

Step 3: I coated the backs of each of my printed pieces with mod podge and placed them carefully onto my frame mat. I gently smoothed the paper once I had placed them onto the mat ensuring that there were no air bubbles trapped between the paper and the mat. I then allowed the mat to dry.

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Step 4: Once my mat had dried I used a my foam brush to coat the top of the mat (atop the print), then allowed this coat to dry. That’s it! Once the mat dried my beautiful picture was ready for assembly and display 🙂

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Total project cost was right around $5.00!!!

Laundry Room & Command Center Transformation

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Finally! I am so excited to share my laundry room and command center transformation with you! Now it may not seem like much of a “transformation” to you, but in the short time that we had been living in this home pre-transformation this room was one of my least favorite rooms in the house. Not only is the room barely big enough to fit a standard size washer and dryer, it quickly became the catch-all and family dumping area of the house, anything that didn’t have a place would just get tossed in the laundry room. I was on a mission to fix this problem room because as much as I disliked the laundry room, I knew that if I was successful in transforming the room it would be so wonderful to finally have an actual “laundry” room as opposed to having the washer/dryer hook-ups in the garage as it was set up in our last home. Additionally, I was super excited to draw inspiration from so many of the amazing laundry room and command centers that I’ve seen on Pinterest but were never able to apply to our Honey Tree home.

A lot of this project was simply de-cluttering and organizing the space. With the addition of a few storage solutions and DIY decor I was able to transform the space for very little money (and it was worth every penny! lol). The “command center” was just my little addition to help organize our random to-do lists, receipts, coupons etc. and centralize all of the little “hey-where-the-heck-did-I-put-that ______?!” items. Oh, and to display a calendar of course, which is a great point of fascination to my hubby who had no idea how busy our lives were, haha! I hope this inspires a transformation on your end, you will be amazed at how easy this project was and even more amazed at how much it has organized us with just a few small additions to a tiny under-utilized space. Check out my pictures below for DIY ideas and links to their tutorials, as well as sources for all of my decor!

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Before! Okay, I know a lot of this transformation ha to do with organization lol but I think a lot of people can agree that the mudroom tends to become a family dumping ground for miscellaneous items and I was determined to change that!

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After! Organized and stylish, if I do say so myself 🙂

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Command area, before and after!

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Laundry area, before and after.

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See sources below to see where I found these free printables!

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Follow this link to find see how I went about creating this sign!

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These serve no purpose other than to cover up the ugly wall and washer hook-ups behind them but I think it adds a little pretty somethin’ to the room 🙂

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These descriptive chalkboard signs are held on to the totes by magnets, the perfect thing for me since we are not staying here long and who knows what we’ll be using these bins for in our next home. Follow the link to see how I made them!

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DIY calendar I made using paint chips, unfortunately I didn’t have my day planner handy so I could only remember two things we have to do this month, haha, obviously I REALLY need this calendar! lol This picture links to my tutorial so check it out, this project is basically free!

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This transformation cost me somewhere in the neighborhood of $200.00, however, to permanently organize and stylize this room using items that can easily be reused wherever we end up next, it was a small price to pay! That being said, a similar look can be achieved for next to nothing if you’re open to different color schemes and products. 

 

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1  // Fabric Totes with Magnetic Chalkboard Signs – Totes available here via Amazon for $13.97 each. These were a little pricey but were exactly what I was looking for, they are sturdy, just the right size and will I will definitely be using them in our future homes. The magnetic chalkboard signs were a little DIY addition that I came up with out of necessity for these bins, check out my tutorial here.

2 // Fabric Curtains/Wall Coverings – These do not serve an actual purpose other than to cover the ugly water hook ups and white wall behind them. I simply used left over fabric from my living room curtains using the same method as I did when creating my sink skirt, just added little loops of ribbon to hold the decorative shower curtain hooks (available here via Amazon for $7.64, lots of other colors available!) I used to hang the curtain from the wire shelving.

3 // Sink Skirt – This is a DIY project I finagled to cover the ugly laundry sink using left over fabric from my side-light curtains, check out my link to see how I made it!

4 // Chevron Rug – Available here via Overstock for $35.49.

5 // Ironing Board Holder – The perfect thing to free up space for the bins above the washer/dryer. Available here via Amazon for $34.99.

6 // Ironing Board Cover – Purchased at Walmart for $7.50. It was just a coincidence that it happened to match my wall coverings perfectly!

7 // Family Bulletin Boards – Available here via Amazon for $6.53, I attached them to the wall using Command picture hanging strips. I personalized them using unfinished letters from Walmart ($1.97 each) that I spray painted white and attached to the boards using hot glue.

8 // Large Striped Totes – Available here via Target, $25.98 for a set of 2. I used the fourth bin as extra toy storage for baby P. These bins are perfect for holding our daily items (pocketbook, keys, wallet, hats etc.) so that we need not leave them randomly about the house. I used left over chalkboard favor tags to label each with our initials.

9 // Dry Erase Paint Chip Calendar – Check out my post to find out how I made it!

10 // Laundry Room Printables – I printed and framed these two free printables I found via Pinterest: “This home has endless love and laundry” and “Laundry, drop your pants here”.

11 // White Floating Shelf – Originally purchased at Home Depot, I reused one from our guest bathroom update on our Honey Tree house.

12 // Metal Wall Mounted File Holder – Purchased via Amazon and available here for $25.00. It is very helpful in organizing receipts, coupons etc.

13 // Candy Jars – Used for holding detergent pods and dryer sheets. I purchased mine at Walmart for $2.98 each.

14 // “Schulze Central Command” Hand Painted Sign – Check out how I made this sign by reading this post!

15  // Wall Clock – Cheap-o wall clock purchased from Walmart for $2.98! Gotta love all that cheap back-to-college dorm decor!

DIY Painted Plastic Planters

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When we moved into our house on base I was pretty set on not doing anything to spruce up the landscaping. After all we are technically renting this house, so what bigger waste of money than to landscape somebody else’s property? Well after about one week of staring at the ugly, weed infested pine straw “garden bed” that lies around the front of the house, my will to want my home (renting or not) to look it’s best got the better of me and I decided we needed to do something to spruce it up even if it was just changing out the pine straw for mulch.

In my landscaping-on-a-budget post I discussed how we went about sprucing up our Honey Tree home with basically empty pockets, so we decided to apply the same principals here to make our new happy little home look a little more happy on the outside. I will most likely be posting about our new little landscaping project in detail but for now I wanted to share my little pièce de résistance of my outdoor decor – my painted plastic planters! These were inspired by a pair of painted terracotta pots I found on Pinterest (see picture below) and had the terracotta pots at Lowes been on sale I probably would have duplicated the project exactly, but at clearance prices of $2.99 and $1.49 and I couldn’t resist purchasing the large plastic containers that I ended up using instead. Another reason this project had me so giddy, is that since I already had spray paint on hand all that I needed besides the pots were a few plants and of course I chose perennials so that I could enjoy my little plastic wonder pots year round 🙂 This project can absolutely be done using any kind of planter, or better yet planters that are already black in color, I just chose to go with clearance items since the black ones were full price. You can even save yourself the trouble of using a store-bought stencil by checking out my hand painted sign tutorial and using the same technique for creating a stencil using painter’s tape. Hope this inspires you to do some fall landscaping while everything is going on sale! 🙂

My Pinterest inspiration!

My Pinterest inspiration!

My version :)

My version 🙂

DIY PAINTED PLASTIC PLANTERS

WHAT I USED:

  • 2 plastic planters – 1 medium, 1 large. I purchased mine on clearance at Lowes for less than $3.00 each!
  • Black matte finish spray paint – make sure it says that it is suitable for plastic and the outdoors, something like this would be good.
  • Clear matte finish spray paint/enamel – something like this would be fine.
  • White paint – I used white latex paint that I had left over from another project.
  • Stencils – I purchased mine at Staples. If you do not want to use stencils check out my Hand Painted Sign Tutorial for an alternative stenciling method using painter’s tape.
  • Painter’s tape
  • Small paint brush

WHAT I DID:

Step 1: I began with these two medium and large sized plastic planters, in grey and blue (because that’s what they had on clearance). Since I wanted them to be black I hit them both with an even coat of flat black outdoor/plastic grade spray paint. The recommended dry time was about 15 minutes so I waited about an hour before moving on to the next step due to humidity.

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I didn't bother painting the insides since the dirt would cover the interior.

I didn’t bother painting the insides since the dirt would cover the interior.

Step 2: Once my pots had dried, I secured my store bought reusable stencils (the same ones I used for my DIY Rustic Burlap Pennant Banners) to the pots using painter’s tape and used a paint brush to paint the “NO. 3347” using white latex paint. White acrylic paint will do as well, since you will be sealing it against the elements using a clear enamel it doesn’t matter whether or not the white paint is suitable for the outdoors.  FYI, this is not an exact science, once I removed the stencils I returned and added another coat of paint and touched up any areas where the paint had leaked under the stencil. If you do not want to be troubled with this check out the above mentioned tutorial on hand painted signs for the painter’s tape method. You can also use white spray paint for the letters and stencils but I do not recommend it, it is super messy and will not be as tidy looking.

Step 3: Once your wording/numbers have dried, hit that area of your pot with a few coats of clear spray paint/enamel. This will keep your letters safe from the elements no matter what type of paint is underneath. That’s all folks! I waited until the next day to pot my plants to ensure that the enamel and spray paint had fully dried.

Finished product!

Finished product!

My goal in creating this little potted display was to cutsie up my stoop using a barely-existent outdoor decor budget. This would undoubtedly work better using ceramic pots since the paint would be less likely to peel or chip, however, the benefit to mine aside from the extremely low cost is that I don’t need to worry about these cracking come winter (which will be here before we know it, eek!). There are so many variations on this so go nuts! 🙂

For the plants I kept it simple with a small evergreen tree and three small lirope plants. The two mums alongside are potted in $1.98 Walmart pots.

For the plants I kept it simple with a small evergreen tree and three small lirope plants. The two mums alongside are potted in $1.98 Walmart pots.