I first fell in love with marbleized paper on a college trip to Italy — the swirl of rainbow colors just seemed so magical. In Florence, a local artist showed us how it was done. It’s an amazingly simple process: You mix olive oil with watercolor or gouache paints then drop the mixture into a shallow pan filled with water, swirl the floating paint to create patterns then lay paper on the water’s surface. Because oil and water don’t mix, the paint isn’t diluted and floats on the surface, creating a swirling multicolored pattern on the paper. I loved the process for its ingenious simplicity and the fact that the results couldn’t be controlled.
With Easter on the horizon, I thought I’d try a twist on the Italian marbleizing technique when dyeing eggs by adding olive oil to the food coloring dye solutions. Here are my results:
I have to admit the polka-dotted effect was unexpected but I really like it so I left several eggs as-is after a single dip in the dye bath. Others I dipped in a second color for a more traditional marbleized effect. Ready to get started? Here are the step-by-step instructions>>
Proudly display your finished eggs in a handmade nest or bed of excelsior: MORE EASTER IDEAS:
15 Easter Egg Decorating Ideas
Our Favorite Easter Decorating Ideas
Easter Kids’ Craft: (Cute!) Painted Pail With Ribbon Roses
Weekday Crafternoon: Easter Wreath With Paper Flowers
Printable Bunny Ears — Free Printable PDF
Hatching Chick Egg
Kids’ Craft: Dyed Easter Egg Animals — Free Printable PDFs
How to Make Cascarone Confetti Eggs
Welcome back, spring — I’ve missed you so! The weather here in Knoxville has (thankfully!) warmed, birds are singing and flowers are popping up everywhere. My backyard is abloom with crocuses, daffodils, tulips, forsythia and lenten roses putting on a colorful show. I’m a flower picker from way back. There’s hardly a photo of a preschool me where I don’t have a bunch of wildflowers (and honestly, sometimes just plain weeds) clutched tightly in my chubby fist. So when my yard breaks into bloom, I break out the scissors and head outside to claim some spring color to brighten up the indoors.
I’ve also always been fascinated by that other harbinger of spring: bird’s nests, eggs and baby birds hopping about. Obviously, I’ve no plans to bring those inside — but – in under an hour I can turn aluminum foil, moss and hot glue into a realistic looking bird’s nest that adds a sweet spring touch:
Pretty, huh? It was actually easy to make – get the complete step-by-step instructions here>> The tiny robin’s eggs are easy to craft too, my instructions include how to paint and speckle them.
You can make your nest any size you like. I made this one large enough to work as an Easter basket of sorts:
Easter celebrations are right around the corner — time to banish winter blahs and freshen up indoors and out with a few springy touches. We’ve gathered 25 of our favorite Easter decorating ideas to inspire you. From quick-and-easy centerpiece ideas to a clever way to glam up your Easter eggs to a free, printable Easter banner — we’ve got you covered.
All 25 ideas have the official Easter Bunny stamp of approval (seriously!) but here are my 5 favorites:
Delight Easter guests with this creative place setting idea featuring cute (and oh-so-fluffy!) feathered chicks and candy eggs:
Weather permitting, bring your dining table and chairs outside and enjoy Easter dinner al fresco surrounded by Mother Nature’s changing scenery.
Can you believe it’s only 3 weeks till Easter? Time to hop to it and get crafting! For a fun twist on a traditional Easter basket, try a painted pail instead — it’ll look great filled with treats on Easter morning and is just the right size for stashing toys or craft supplies the rest of the year.
All you need is a metal pail, spray paint and round stickers. Get step-by-step instructions here:
The ribbon roses may look complicated but they’re actually a snap. Wired ribbon and scissors are all you need — no sewing necessary. Learn how to make them here:
So, are you ready for Easter celebrations? No? Well then you’re in luck — check out the project ideas below and keep checking Design Happens for more Easter inspiration to come!
MORE EASTER IDEAS:
Printable Bunny Ears — Free Printable PDF
Hatching Chick Egg
Kids’ Craft: Dyed Easter Egg Animals — Free Printable PDFs
How to Make Cascarone Confetti Eggs
My sister bought a fixer-upper beach house almost two years ago which we’ve slowly but surely been hammering back into shape. In addition to a long list of structural changes, we needed to find a house full of beachy furniture and accessories on the cheap. I hail from a family of bargain hunters/diy-ers so the beach house has been a fun challenge for us.
Before: We started in the main living area which was dark, crowded and just plain sad. Sunny yellow trim did nothing to brighten up the driftwood gray paneling. Unfortunately, you can’t see the pitiful greenish-gold shag carpet which, thanks to leaking windows, had mildewed and actually smelled worse than it looked (hard to believe, I know).
See the Afters
If there’s one thing my frequent estate/garage sale forays has taught me, it’s that no one need ever pay full price for a candle. Ten bucks for a pillar candle? What?! I can’t remember the last time I shelled out more than $1 for one. The only downside to purchasing secondhand candles is that they’re often dented, scratched or are a color that won’t work with your decor. No worries, a little hot glue and twine will cover up a world of sins.
I recently picked up some bargain candles at an estate sale in Knoxville before heading down to my sister’s work-in-progress beach house. I had some jute twine and furniture webbing left over from other projects so I decided to give these 3 thrifted candles a quick beachy makeover — et voila:
Pretty, huh? I paid $2 for the 3 candles and, as I said, all the other materials I already had on hand — but, if I had to buy them, this would be a $10-$15 project. They fit right in with our other beachy bargains:
I know people will ask about fire safety for obvious reasons — twine and upholstery webbing are flammable. First, as with any candle, you shouldn’t leave it burning without supervision — but — I’ve done variations of this project (covering pillar candles in paper, ribbon, bark and even paint) many times and never had a problem. The key is to choose a pillar candle wide enough that the wick burns down the center leaving a wax shell. Don’t try this technique on a narrow pillar or taper candle.
My love affair with stately, opulent marble began in college and my first trip to Italy. Semesters spent in art history class poring over photos of classical sculpture and architecture didn’t prepare me for experiencing it firsthand. By the end of Day One, I was hooked and my quest for Carrara marble began.
The first bit of marble awesomeness I bought was a small bedroom lamp. I’ve since graduated to these big beauties (below). You can find them on ebay, 1stdibs and V&M but be prepared to shell out the big bucks. The lamps themselves are pricey but shipping is the real budget-buster. Plus, because these date mainly to the ’20s, ’30s and ’40s (Art Deco and Hollywood Regency periods), the wiring will need to be replaced meaning more $$.
To score a marble lamp within budget, hit local antique or thrift stores and, of course, estate and garage sales. Before purchasing, carefully check the stone for chips, cracks and discoloration. A good cleaning with mild dish soap and a toothbrush will do wonders, but marble is porous so if the lamp has spent decades exposed to cigarette smoke, regaining its original creamy color will require professional help.
Oh, in case you’re wondering: I paid $35 for the lamp below at an antique store which my dad and I then rewired for around $12, $15 for the drum shade and $18 (a total splurge) for the crystal finial.
How amazing is this bowl?! I found it full of stagnant water and rotted plants at an estate sale. It was so grimy that both I and the seller initially thought it was concrete. After wiping off a layer of black slime (eww!) I could tell it was marble and knew I had to have it. The price: just $10 — a real steal. Of course, I tweaked my back man-handling it back to the car…but….it was totally worth it.
Here you can see the planter’s detail. The marble isn’t polished but the lion’s heads and banded detail are well carved.
With just one week till V-Day, it’s time for some quick-and-easy printables to put the finishing touches on your celebrations. From valentines you can print then embellish, to lettered tags perfect for topping gifts or treats, we’ve got you covered.
These charming printable tags can be cut into any shape to top their favorite sweets:
If an old-school valentine is more your speed, print one of our cute valentines onto card stock then embellish them with self-adhesive rhinestones and ribbon:
Just 2 more weeks till Valentine’s Day, can you believe it?
The stores are stocked full of tasty little bon-bons packed into pretty packages — which are all very tempting but so…well, mass-produced. If you’re looking for an easy way to surprise your valentine with an equally pretty box filled with homemade tasty bon-bons, then I’ve got you covered! This heart-and-arrow takeout box is a snap to craft and dipping fortune cookies into chocolate couldn’t be easier — even for a certified non-cook like me.
Kids will love making these to give to classmates, family friends or grandparents, and your wallet will appreciate that the materials can be picked up, inexpensively, at your local market and craft store.
Ready to get started? Get the complete step-by-step instructions.
As a variation to the heart-and-arrow box, I added square corners cut from paper doilies to each side, then surrounded the lace with self-adhesive rhinestones.
If you’re like me, you’ve *just* finished packing away the holiday decorations and it’s already time to start thinking about Valentine’s Day. While it’s true that time does fly, it seems to go into hyper-speed whenever we approach a holiday centered around sweets. Well, honestly, Valentine’s Day is about letting the people in your life know how important they are to you — but — you get to say it with chocolate. Which is a win-win in my book any day.
Candy and cupcakes are great by themselves, but to take your V-day gift-giving up a notch, you need a cute handmade container — preferably one that’s quick, easy and inexpensive to create. Voila! May I present doily treat cups that are SO easy to make that they’re the perfect Valentine’s Day project for kids.
Honestly, you won’t believe how easy these are — and they’re totally food safe and kid friendly. Ready to get crafting? Well, alrighty then, here are the complete step-by-step instructions plus a few photos to spur your creativity.
Because you use a muffin tin to shape them, they’re just the right size for cupcakes:
Or you can sandwich wired ribbon between the doilies to create a cute handle: READ MORE
Seriously, what did we do before Pinterest? It’s not only a great way for the HGTV.com editors to stay on top of design, craft, entertaining and gardening trends, it also lets us know what you guys are interested in so we can tailor our content to suit it.
So, needless to say, we keep a close eye on the photos HGTV fans pin and the ensuing comments — we love feedback! Wondering which 35 HGTV images were most pinned (and repinned…and repinned) in 2012? Check em out then feel free to pin away to your own boards or leave comments letting us know why that photo is one of your faves.
All 35 images are stars but here are 6 stand-outs:
Not surprisingly, beautiful indoor spaces, like this chic and restful bedroom by Sarah Richardson, topped the list:
Dreamy outdoor rooms were also big. HGTV fans love how John Gidding turned the under-used corner of a deck into a party-ready outdoor lounge:
The chalkboard paint trend is still going strong. Tinted a cheery red, it gives an old dresser new usefulness:
As the holidays inch ever closer, I bet you’re ready for another crafty gift wrap idea, right? Well, I’ve got you covered with two (easy!) ideas for doily gift wrap that are oh-so-feminine to complement the dude-tastic gift wrap I shared last week.
BTW, if you haven’t already jumped on the brown-Kraft-paper-as-gift-wrap train, I recommend you hop on at the next station. Simply put, it is the bomb. Inexpensive and available year-round (I buy mine at the dollar store), the thick paper makes crisp corners and the neutral color works with any embellishments. For me, it’s the perfect year-round gift wrap and I always keep a few rolls on hand.
What are the holidays without a little sparkle? After wrapping the gift in Kraft paper, I glammed-up a paper doily by coating it with spray adhesive (like Super 77), then dusting the still-wet glue with glitter. Once the glue had dried, I attached the doily to the package with glue dots to prevent it from shifting when I added the ribbon. As a final touch, I tied on one of the glittery pinecones I made for my salvaged molding/evergreen bough and added a few self-adhesive rhinestones for extra glitz.
Or, you can skip the Kraft paper and just wrap a paper doily around a pretty box. I used glue dots to secure the doily’s edges then wrapped the box with yarn and tied on a pom-pom. These are soo cute and soo easy to make, learn how to craft one yourself below.
Step 1: Wrap yarn around your fingers a dozen or so times. The more times you wrap it, the fuller the pom-pom will be.
The holidays are sneaking up on us fast! Hanukkah began this weekend and Christmas will be here in less than 2 weeks. If you’re like me, you’re in gift wrapping crunch mode.
Honestly, wrapping gifts is one of my favorite things about the holidays but wrapping guys’ gifts can be tough — the trick is to keep them seasonal and masculine. For my mens’ gifts this year, that means this awesome blue plaid ribbon (love!) and handy-dandy, works-with-anything Kraft paper.
Another Kraft paper bonus: Thanks to its thickness, you can paint it without rippling the paper. So for Grant’s gift, I painted on a chalkboard gift tag then topped it with a blue plaid ribbon rose (in honor of his bowtie obsession) and a sparkly snowflake ornament.
Step 1: I planned to add the ribbon rose on one side and have the chalkboard tag take up most of the remaining space so I first taped on a band of ribbon to determine the tag’s placement. Next I used a ruler to mark out a rectangle, leaving the corners unmarked. To round the tag’s corners, I sketched around a small tin then erased any pencil marks that wouldn’t be covered by the chalkboard paint.
As you guys know, I love a good estate sale. One of my favorite places to search for treasures is the garage — but I’m not looking for tools. I’m on a quest to find broken bits with potential — like drawers, keys or old knobs that have been separated from their original piece of furniture or vintage harps, finials or other electrical hardware — essentially anything with character that I think I can repurpose.
A few months ago, I discovered a 4-foot board with a carved detail along the top and beautiful raised acanthus leaves at either end. The seller found it in a barn and had no idea how old it was or whether it once framed an elaborate doorway or was part of a long piece of furniture, like a buffet. The white paint was crazed and chipping – just how I like it. The seller seemed shocked that I even wanted a beat-up old board so he priced it low – 2 whole dollars. Originally, my plan was to strip all the paint and stain it but once I had removed the chipped paint and sanded it smooth, I decided to leave it as-is.
Topped with glittered pinecones, blue Spruce and holly boughs, my found molding makes a beautiful, rustic swag above the entry to my kitchen:
Here you can see the acanthus leaf detail on the ends — pretty, right?! Totally worth a dusty, dirty scavenger hunt in the wood pile.
Etiquette experts agree that the week after Thanksgiving or the first week of December are the best times for mailing Christmas cards — giving friends and family plenty of time to display and enjoy your thoughtful holiday greetings.
While I can’t say that I’m always that organized, I certainly do enjoy receiving cards — especially when they’re handmade.
I mean, who wouldn’t love opening this oh-so-trendy card with a three-dimensional effect? Just print out our attached templates to make assembling this card a snap:
What would the holidays be without a little snow? Send warm-climate friends and family an interactive holiday shaker card with a magical falling-snow effect:
Yep, it’s snuck up on you — tomorrow is the big day — Thanksgiving! Don’t panic, you can still put together a show-stopping centerpiece using materials you can pick up at the grocery store or find in your own backyard.
Soooo pretty, this arrangement gets its punch by contrasting colors. Hit the floral aisle to select blooms in complementary colors, like dark red and bright green. Here, we used burgundy cockscomb, dahlias and calla lilies paired with chartreuse spider mums and lotus seed pods:
No flowers needed; head outdoors to gather long bare branches for a sculptural statement:
It’s just 1 week till Thanksgiving — is your dining room ready for the big event? If not, don’t worry, there’s still time for a guest-impressing makeover. From disguising a past-its-prime dining table to an easy way to give stock white plates a high-end look — we’ve got you covered with five easy project ideas, each with complete step-by-step instructions.
A plain white tablecloth is great for covering up a scratched or discolored tabletop. For a sophisticated look, stitch on a row or two of ruffled burlap or linen:
Enlist help from the kids to glue real or silk fall leaves onto fishing line to create a magical falling-leaf effect over the dining table or buffet:
As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a big fan of finding new uses for old things. I’m the person you see huddled in a corner at an estate sale turning an object this way and that, brow furrowed, envisioning what it could be used for. Take this old wooden toolbox. It was filthy – as all great estate sale finds are — filled with rusty, old screws and nails and only partially painted yellow. A thick layer of dust covered both the box and its contents so it definitely had some age and looked to be sturdily hand-constructed.
I knew it would make a great magazine rack and I knew I had to have it:
Other uses I considered: Filling the 3 compartments with potted herbs in my kitchen; using it to hold rolled towels in a bathroom; or as a caddy for organizing craft or gift wrap supplies.
The $8 price tag seemed fair for its condition — dust, rusty nails and all. Once home, I dumped out the metal bits then gave it a good once-over with the vacuum. I then sanded all the surfaces to remove loose bits of peeling yellow paint and smooth the rough areas. Then, I stained it with an oil-based wood stain (Minwax Early American). BTW, I only use oil-based stains. I know some people swear by water-based because there are less fumes and the dry time is much quicker, but I’ve found that wood better accepts oil-based stains resulting in a richer, deeper color and less streaking.
Upon closer inspection, the toolbox is a mishmash of materials: the end pieces are pine, the sides are beadboard and the handle – I think — once belonged on a broom. You can see in the photo below how the mismatched woods took the stain differently, which for me, just adds to its vintage charm:
So, tell us in the comments below, how have you repurposed items in your home?
Okay, so I know today is Halloween — and believe me, I thought about sharing more Halloween craftiness; but unless you’re looking for pumpkin-carving templates (here and here) or cocktail recipes, the All-Hallows ship has pretty much sailed.
But, in just three weeks (yes, only 3 weeks!) friends and family will be ready to celebrate Thanksgiving. So, if you haven’t started working on your Turkey Day decorations yet, now’s the time.
Start by putting leftover Halloween decorations to good use. Give faux pumpkins a fashion-forward makeover by covering them with trendy upholstery fabrics:
Turn a canvas dropcloth into a custom-fitted dining chair slipcover, perfect if you need to visually unify mismatched chairs:
Halloween is sneaking up on you fast (only 1 week left!) but don’t worry, we’ve got 23 printable (and free!) templates to make throwing a party, spooking up your front yard, treating your favorite ghouls and ghosties and perfecting your pumpkin relatively painless.
Start with our templates and instructions for creepy outdoor cut-outs:
Get the party started with our printable party favors, like this princess crown: