While some folks like to relax on weekends, do-it-yourself decorators are often working on or looking for their next decorating project. If you'd like to join the ranks of the decorating weekend warriors, any one of the five following projects could be the next great idea for your home.
Fabric Panel Wall Art
An easy alternative to wallpaper, fabric covered panels are simple and inexpensive to make. It's a great way to spice up your living room with color and pattern, especially if you're renting your home, and there are so many ways to do it. For example, you could place three evenly spaced rectangular panels behind the couch or do one large panel. Use multiple rows of small square frames to create a square grid grouping over a console table. Create an asymmetrical grouping of panels in varying sizes, placing panels both horizontally and vertically.
- Fabric- Choose two to three patterns in the same color family or use a color wheel to devise a coordinated color scheme. Consider the wall color and surrounding décor when choosing your fabric.
- Canvas frames or canvas stretchers- Canvas stretchers are mitered pieces of wood that fit snugly together to form a frame.
- Fabric scissors
- Staple gun with staples
- Hot glue gun with glue sticks (optional)
- Decorative trim (optional) - ribbon, lace, buttons, sparkling gems, jewelry chains
- Picture hanging hardware
Before purchasing your canvas frames, measure the general area on the wall where you plan to hang the fabric panels. Decide how you want to fill this space so you know roughly how much fabric and how many frames to buy.
- If you've chosen multiple frames in varying sizes, lay them out on the floor to figure out the best arrangement and determine what fabric goes on each canvas.
- Place the canvas frame face down on the fabric. Cut around the frame, leaving 1 ½ to 2 inches of fabric on each side.
- Starting in the center of one side, fold the fabric over and staple it to the frame. Repeat this on the opposite side, being sure to pull the fabric tight. Staple the middle of the top of the frame and the middle of the bottom of the frame, continuing to pull the fabric taut.
- Fold the fabric over and pull it taut on the other two sides, placing a staple in the middle.
- Once all four sides have a staple, continue to fold the fabric over and staple it along each side, stopping two to three inches before each corner.
- At each corner, pull the fabric up and fold it back toward the center of the frame, creating a diagonal crease (as if wrapping a present) and staple it down. Use several staples to ensure it will hold.
- Use a hot glue gun to add any additional embellishments to the front of the frame.
- Attach picture hanging hardware to the back of the frame with small screws or nails and hang your panels on the wall.
You can also use foam panels to create very lightweight wall art that can be held up using poster putty. The fabric is wrapped around in the same fashion as the canvas panels but is secured with double-sided tape instead of staples.
Lacquered Home Office Desk
If you've dreamed of having a beautiful home office desk but think it's out of reach after pricing desks at furniture stores, you may have just found the solution. All you need is a desk with sturdy legs and drawers that glide open and closed properly.
Note that according to the lacquer tutorial on expert Amy Howard's YouTube channel, one can of spray lacquer covers about 18 square feet of surface, so plan according to desk size. This desk project uses a similar technique as her chair project in the video; you can use her product line if desired.
- Plastic tarp or dropcloth
- Degreaser solution
- 2 lint-free cloths
- Sandpaper, 400 grit
- Dust mask
- Tack cloth
- Lacquer primer
- Lacquer paint
- Clear acrylic top coat sealer
Work in a well-ventilated area such as the garage. Wear a dust mask when sanding furniture to avoid inhaling the fine particles.
Lay the drop cloth or tarp down and place the desk on it. Dilute the degreaser with water if concentrated and spray a liberal amount onto one lint free cloth. Wipe down the entire surface of the desk. Use a second dry cloth to dry the desk.
Lightly sand the desk with 400 grit sandpaper. Use a tack cloth to remove any loose debris.
- Shake the primer can to mix up the material inside.
- Hold the can eight to 10 inches from the surface of the desk and spray, moving across the surface as you would with a paintbrush.
- Start at the top of the desk and work your way down, shaking the can between sprays.
- Apply two even coats of primer and allow it to dry thoroughly.
Lightly sand the primer, taking care to remove any bumps or puddling. Use a tack cloth to remove the loose debris.
- Shake the lacquer paint to mix the material inside.
- Starting at the top of the desk, spray a thin coat of lacquer, holding the can eight to 10 inches from the surface and gliding along as if using a paintbrush.
- Allow each coat to dry one hour and then lightly sand before applying the next.
- It is recommended to use three to four thin coats of lacquer instead of two thick coats.
Once the last coat of lacquer is completely dry, apply one coat of clear acrylic top coat to seal and protect the finish. Allow the desk to cure for two to three days before using it.
Always start at the top of a furniture piece and work your way down when spraying lacquer. Try to avoid getting over spray on other parts of the furniture as this can make the finish bumpy and dull.
Create a Family Tree
Although this project might require a little pre-planning to prepare your background, order the tree wall stencil and prepare your photos, once your materials are ready, your family tree can easily be created in a weekend. This is a great idea for a family room, a staircase landing wall, a wide hallway or even behind the bed in the master bedroom.
- Clean lint-free cloth
- Rubbing alcohol
- Painter's tape
- Vinyl tree wall decal, like the one from The Simple Stencil
- Transfer tool- usually included with vinyl wall decals but a flat craft stick, plastic squeegee, or credit card will work
- Framed family photos- Vary the size but use the same color on mats and frames. All black-and-white or sepia pictures add a sophisticated look.
- Small nails
Wall decals are typically shipped in round shipping tubes. Large tree decals come in several pieces. Remove each part of the decal from the tube and lay it on a flat surface. Use heavy objects, such as books, to flatten the decals overnight to make installation easier. If the wall has been freshly painted, go directly to Step 2.
Pour a small amount of rubbing alcohol onto the clean cloth and wipe down the area of the wall where you plan to place the vinyl tree decal to ensure good adhesion of the material.
While the tree trunk and branches are laying on a flat surface, take the transfer tool and rub firmly over both sides of the design. One side is covered by transfer tape and the other side is covered by backing paper.
- Find the bottom portion of the tree trunk.
- With both the backing paper and transfer tape still on, position the trunk along the wall where you want to place it, with the backing paper against the wall and the transfer tape facing you.
- Check the level guidelines or arrows with an actual level to ensure it is straight.
- Use small pieces of painter's tape to tape it in place along the edges.
- Be sure to include a piece at the very top.
- Use a longer piece of painter's tape, tape straight across the middle of the trunk piece. This piece of tape will serve as a faux "hinge".
- Remove the tape holding the trunk underneath hinge and flip the bottom portion of the decal up so you're looking at the back that was facing the wall.
- Hold the bottom edge against the wall with one hand and use the other hand to slowly peel the backing paper off, starting in the upper right-hand corner and pulling it off at an angle.
- Continue to slowly remove the backing paper until you reach the taped hinge.
- Carefully tear the backing paper off at this point or cut it with scissors placed within reach because you will still be holding the exposed part of the trunk against the wall.
- Discard the backing paper and carefully lower the tree trunk back against the wall, smoothing it out as you go down.
- Remove the hinge tape and the tape holding the top of the tree trunk.
- Flip the top of the tree trunk upside down, stopping where the backing paper ends.
- Slowly peel the backing paper off the top portion of the trunk as you did with the bottom portion.
- Discard the backing paper and carefully place the top portion of the trunk back against the wall, smoothing it up as you go along.
- Use your transfer tool to vigorously rub all along the design, which is visible through the transparent transfer tape.
- Starting in the bottom right corner of the trunk, slowly peel away the transfer tape, leaving the vinyl design on the wall. Peel at an angle going up.
- If you notice any part of the vinyl still sticking to the transfer tape, stop and lower the tape over that section and rub it again with your tool.
- Be sure to include all the registration marks near the ends of the design as these will help you line up the next section. You can remove those later.
Once all the transfer tape has been removed from the trunk, line up the registration marks for the next section of branches. Match up the numbers and arrows for a perfect fit and tape it in place. Cut a small portion of the backing paper away from the bottom of the branch piece and rub over that section to secure it to the wall.
- Remove the tape from the top of the branch section and flip it upside down, holding the secured bottom portion with one hand.
- Use the other hand to slowly peel away the backing paper.
- Discard the backing paper and push the branch back against the wall smoothing it out as you go up. Repeat the process for rubbing the vinyl against the wall and removing the transfer tape.
- Repeat this for all the branch sections.
Refer to the enclosed guide for instructions on where to place groups of leaves. The leaves won't require taping to the wall, just peel away the backing paper and place them at the end of a branch, using the same method to remove the transfer tape.
Practice with arrangement ideas on the floor to configure your photo arrangement. Hammer a small nail in the wall at each point where you want to place a photo and hang the picture.
Use larger photos in the center of the grouping to anchor the display. Frames oriented both vertically and horizontally add interest or use a mix of rectangular and oval shapes.
Paint an Ombre Accent Wall
If you love the look of layered, graduating colors going from light to dark, an ombre accent wall might be the perfect weekend project for you. This decorative painting technique would be perfect for a small wall in a powder room or the end wall in a hallway.
If using monochromatic paint colors you can pick varying shades from the same paint chip to make it easy. For a little more variety, choose various shades from the same color family, such as shades of blue and green or shades of red, orange, and yellow. You can also mix warm and cool shades, such as a twilight effect going from indigo to periwinkle to lavender to orange and ending with pale yellow. For a sophisticated look, use shades of gray or brown.
- Plastic tarp or dropcloth
- Tape measure
- Painter's tape
- Primer- unless painting over a white wall
- Paint colors- 3 minimum, 5 for more depth
- Paint sticks
- Paint tray for each color
- Paint roller covers for each color
- 4-inch paintbrushes, 1 for each blended stripe
This method will give you a blended ombre wall. Colorhouse Paints recommends working in five-foot sections of wall to make blending more manageable.
Clear away any furniture and cover the floor with a drop cloth. Apply painter's tape to the top of the base board, at the ceiling, corners and any casement trim on doors and windows. Remove any light switch covers or outlet covers.
Roll two coats of white primer on the wall to cover up the previous wall color unless it is white. You can also use the very lightest shade of your ombre colors if it is close to white. Allow the base coat to dry overnight.
Use a tape measure to measure the height of the wall, measuring only the surface area to be painted. Divide this by the number of colors you're using. Use a level to lightly pencil in dividing lines for each color.
- Use a paint stick to thoroughly stir each can of paint when you open it.
- Pour a small amount of your lightest color into the paint tray.
- Use a paint roller to apply that color to the top of the wall, stopping three inches above the dividing line.
- Unless you're going for a sunset effect, it's typically best to use the lighter colors at the top of the wall to keep a balanced look.
- Repeat this for each color, stopping three inches above and below each dividing line, so each color is separated by approximately six inches.
To blend the first two colors, place the paint trays side by side and dip a four-inch paintbrush in both colors, covering half the brush with one shade and half the brush with the other shade.
Brush back and forth along the dividing line of each color, blending them as you go. Work quickly before the paint has a chance to dry.
Repeat the process for every two colors you want to blend. Check out the following tips section for variations on blending colors.
- Before you start to blend, mix a small amount of glaze in each color to extend your working time.
- Lowe's recommends painting each stripe so that the colors touch but don't overlap. Allow the paint to dry for an hour. Then come back with a paintbrush and starting with the bottom section color, load the brush with that color and paint over the dividing line, blending those two sections. Repeat for each section going up the wall.
- Sherwin-Williams recommends using a half-and-half mix of each adjoining paint color to fill-in the space left between the colors, blending them further with a dry brush technique.
- Practice these techniques on a sample board to see which one gives you the best effect.
Style a Bar Cart
The bar cart was a must-have accessory in mid-century homes during the 1950s when cocktail hour marked the time of day and entertaining was done with style and flair. For a nod to chic entertainment, create a well-styled bar cart to add a dash of glamour wherever you like to entertain in your home, whether it's the kitchen, dining room, living room, or for an after-hours drink in the home office.
- Bar cart-3 tier- look for vintage versions in thrift shops or on eBay
- Premium liquor- These bottles will be on display, so go for top shelf brands or pour mid-grade liquor into classy crystal decanters. A good mix includes whiskey, vodka, tequila, rum, gin, scotch, and brandy.
- Mixers- sparkling water, ginger ale, triple sec, sweet-and-sour, soda (include tomato and fruit juice when entertaining)
- Glass bowl
- Oranges or limes
- Cigar box
- Cocktail glasses
- Cocktail straws, swizzle sticks
- Flower vase and silk flowers
- Ice bucket
- Single serve coffee maker- compatible with K-cup packs or soft pods
- Tea tray
- Assortment of K-cup or soft pod coffee, tea, cider, cappuccino and hot cocoa
- Coffee mugs
Bar carts come in many styles and materials including wood, wicker, metal, brass, and glass. Choose a style that complements your decorating style. You can also paint the frame to match the surrounding décor. If you can't find a three tier bar cart that you like, make the most out of a two shelf cart. Fit what you can without overcrowding it.
- Arrange the liquor bottles on the top shelf until you are satisfied with their placement.
- Use the cigar box as a pedestal for the vase of flowers, placed in a back corner of the top shelf.
- Fill a highball glass with cocktail straws and a lowball glass with swizzle sticks. If there is room, place them on the cigar box in front of the flowers or place them in front of the cigar box.
- Fill the glass bowl with oranges or limes for a pop of color and to garnish drinks if desired. Place the bowl in the front of the top shelf, near the center. Fill in any unused space with cocktail glasses.
- Place the coffee maker in the middle of the second shelf. Fill the tea tray with the assorted K-cup or soft pod coffee, tea, cider, cappuccino and hot cocoa. When entertaining, try to park the cart near an outlet for the coffee maker.
- Place the tea tray on one side of the coffee maker and place the coffee mugs on the other side.
- Place the ice bucket and mixers on the bottom shelf of the bar cart. Store wine bottles on the bottom as well, to help protect them from exposure to sunlight coming through a nearby window during the day.
If you store the bar cart next to a wall, place a mirror behind the liquor bottles and lean it against the wall. The mirror serves as an anchor to your styled top shelf and mimics the mirrors commonly seen behind liquor shelves in actual bars. Depending on the design of the cart, the coffee maker might work best on the bottom shelf. Place it on the shelf that has the most adequate space.
Pick a Room
What room or area in your home needs a little sprucing, color, or excitement? Narrowing down the area you want to work on can help you decide which decorating project to take on this weekend.