Round-up of Small Projects for the Girls Room

Monday, June 27, 2016

Once Upon A Time there was a 4H Project called Makeover My Space that my oldest two children decided sounded like fun.  The Oldest worked and worked and worked, ended up with some nice furniture, but ultimately decided he doesn't much like DIY.  The next one decided she would approach this differently.  Instead of new furniture, she wanted decor.

We scoured Pinterest together and she found some darling quick projects to pair with a few Ikea purchases that she made from her (miles long) wishlist.

Covered Coarkboards

Kristen knew she wanted a place to display her photos of friends and special papers, and I thought it was a good opportunity to make something functional also be a pretty design element.  She chose a fabric and we bought 5 yards so it could be used for all of the projects for consistency.  We ended up having extra so she can add to her decorations if she comes up with another idea later (otherwise I'm pretty sure I can find a place to use it!).  
We cut the fabric slightly bigger than the coarkboard on all sides, sprayed adhesive on the board, very carefully positioned the fabric piece straight on the board, smoothed, and wrapped the edges (using a little more adhesive to get it to wrap clean around the edges).

Matching Canvas

This was a cute little addition that Kristen wanted that I ended up really loving.  It was a nice touch since we hung it in a different spot, and it really helped to tie her decor together throughout the room (which was one element of her 4H project anyway, so I think she nailed it with this one little square canvas!) 

We bought a plain sqare canvas and covered it the same way as the corkboards.  She made the felt flower based on this tutorial from Craftiness is not Optional and then we added a smaller version of it to her corkboard (above) to make them match... and because they were fun to make ;)

Storage Crate Seats

Kristen actually wanted a small couch from Ikea, but I vetoed it because of space issues in their room (as in, there was none). These were a fun compromise between seating and storage, since she wanted the first and needed the latter.  I have always wanted to find a place for some of these little crates and I'm so glad she decided on them.

They were quite simple and went together exactly the same as the squares for AJ's headboard.  Cut a square(ish) piece of backerboard to fit the top of the crate, cut foam piece slightly smaller, and a piece of fabric and quilt batting slightly larger.  Sandwich together, staple, Done!  And FYI, these file crates seem to only be available during the back to school shopping season, during which you can find them in a variety of colors that seem to change every couple of years - so I recommend you stock up during that season and always have a few extras laying around because they are truly wonderful for storing random stuff throughout the house!  I use them in all kinds of places!  

Other (all from Ikea):
Curtains - (no longer available)
Chandelier - KRISTALLER chandelier $39.99 (DH still needs to shorten the hanging mechanism because otherwise the girls would be banging into the lights every time they move thru the room....)
Duvet Cover - (no longer available)
Bedside bookshelf - BEKVAM spice rack $3.99

"Puffy Squares" Upholstered Headboard

Monday, June 20, 2016

Let me start by saying.... not my favorite project ever.  AJ designed this bed with some help from Pinterest as part of his 4H Makeover My Space project.  I was very proud of him for being able to see past the specifics of the inspiration photo (like color, for instance), which is not normally one of his skills (I'm not sure who he inherited the lack of design vision from, really.  It's a mystery).  The project sounded like a good idea to me at the time.  And really, he did a ton of the work himself, so I won't complain too much.

He basically wanted this except in solid black.

The idea is pretty simple - we cut a piece of backer board down to the size he wanted for his headboard, then determined how big the square "tiles" were going to be and how many we would need.  The base for the tiles was also cut from backer board.  We then cut the same number of squares, slightly smaller from 1.5" foam and the same number of squares but slightly larger from a plain black flat sheet and quilt batting.

The squares were then sandwiched together, layered by backer board, then foam, then batting and finally fabric.  Then we pulled and stapled the daylights out of them.

I had some experience with this procedure after re-upholstering my dining room chairs last year (I hated that project, too, so that probably should have tipped me off to this project not being so much fun for me.  Sigh.  Oh well.), but it's definitely a two person job and AJ was very uncomfortable with the staple gun so getting him to hold the fabric tight enough in the right places was a big challenge.  Basically, if it had been my project, I would have insisted on Hubby's help and they would have been a lot tighter.  But, it was AJ's project and once the frustration was over, he and I were both very happy with the results.

The last step was gluing all those square "tiles" in place on the large piece of backer board.  Surprisingly, I think this was the worst part.  It probably wouldn't have been so bad if the wind hadn't been so gusty that day, but alas it was.  More than once I thought the entire project was ruined because one of the squares would flip or a gust of wind would blow glue right onto the fabric of another tile.

Regardless, the whole thing turned out fairly well and it is now in his room with the rest of his homemade bed.  How many kids can say they actually constructed their own beds?  Pretty cool, I think.


Building a Twin Bed Frame

Monday, June 13, 2016

A friend invited us to participate in 4H with them a couple years ago and for their very first projects, AJ and Kristen both chose to do the Makeover My Space project.  It was a much bigger undertaking than I was expecting and we ended up putting a lot of work into it.  So much that it pretty much turned AJ off of ever doing 4H again.  But since the weather and our schedules don't ever seem to match up our timeline kept getting stretched further and further, which didn't help him enjoy the project, either.

Anyway, we finally got the bed built.  Over the years he has had a few different beds.  The race car bed was his favorite.  I got rid of it too soon, I thought he was growing out of it and a family member had a loft bed that she was looking to give away so I went ahead and switched his beds and he ended up being really mad at me for it.  He never liked the loft bed or used the play space underneath like I had anticipated he would.  He begged me to get him a different bed, so I put his mattress on a metal frame for a while til we could decide what kind of bed he actually did want.  That was about 3 years ago.  When we moved, he was still sleeping on this metal frame.  He swears he likes it just the way it is.

When he decided to take on the bedroom makeover project, I insisted that he was going to pick a new bed. Andrew and I like this Malm storage bed from Ikea....

But AJ wasn't sold on it so I made him look at a bunch of Pinterest photos with me (OMG the Torture!!) and I was super proud of what he came up with.  It took him about 15minutes to design a really awesome custom bed.  

We are using the basic idea of Ana White's farmhouse bed but altered the dimensions to fit his twin mattress.  We used 1x8's for the side rails and 2x4s for the boxspring base.  In retrospect I probably would have used 1x6s so that there wasn't such a tall outer box, it would have saved a couple bucks too.

Buying supplies was the fun part, can't you tell?!?

Then we sat down and figured out exactly what cuts we needed and got to it.  Yes, we did this out of order and I ended up with 3 extra 2x4s because I didn't plan well ahead of time.  Go me.  

Painting, I thought, would be his least favorite part.  Kristen is the one that enjoys painting with me, AJ not so much.  There weren't really that many pieces, so thankfully it went pretty fast and he didn't complain (that much).

Assembly was slow and tedious with just AJ and me working on it.  Thankfully I had experience from building my own bed with Andrew last fall, so I wasn't completely helpless.  I am ok using the drill to attach screws, but the actual drilling part still makes me nervous.  For AJ it seemed the biggest problem was either lack of muscle or not knowing how to properly apply the muscle.  Either way he got frustrated with the predrilling step about halfway around the frame and had to muster a bit of determination to push through.  Then he was really proud of himself and had a bit more respect for the work that Andrew and I have been doing around the house the past few months.  Life lessons are hard learned, I supposed.



Then we added the legs (which were just 2x4 scraps cut to the height we wanted) and AJ had to weight test it :)

We also put a second coat of paint on the outside, legs, and top edges where the frame would actually be visible.  The weather wasn't playing nice with our painting schedule (ah, Ohio), but we finally had a nice day to do it.

Then it was out with the old and in with the new!



No-sew Curtains

Monday, June 6, 2016

Last week, I showed off my backdoor "shower" curtains.  Since then, I have been busy transforming the remaining curtains for our other main room windows.  Thankfully there were no more ruffles or gathered seams to do!  Instead I opted for a no-sew option for all of the remaining hems.

Originally I purchased both Stitch Witchery and Liquid Stitch, both of which are wonderful aids for no-sew projects.  I was really hoping that the tape would do the trick, but I bought both just in case it wouldn’t work with the unique fabric.  Thankfully it did.


  • Fabric shower curtains
  • Fusible bonding tape (like Stitch Witchery)
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Iron & Ironing board
  • Curtain clips & rings OR shower curtain rings

To hem using fusible bonding tape:

1)   Measure - The first step is to measure your curtains against your window sizes.  Actually, I hope you have already done this at least in general terms so that you know exactly what you’re working with.  If not, do it now.  I have two living room windows that are already the right length for the curtains so I will only need to cut them in half and make two panels out of each shower curtain.  For the kitchen window, I will need to split it into two panels and then hem across the bottom to fit the short window.  I hung the curtain and pinned up the ends so I could see how much length needed to be taken off. 


2)      Iron - the first rule of working with fabric is that it needs to be nice and smooth before you start cutting.  Sometimes I skip this step (don’t tell my grandma!), but for projects like this it’s really not an option.  If you don’t iron you WILL end up with an uneven edge and it will either make your life much more difficult or ruin your project.  Maybe both.

3)      Cut - If you have a rotary cutter & mat, then please use it.  Since mine is still packed away in a horrible box tower in the garage, I folded and used scissors to cut.  It is possible to get a fairly clean edge this way, you just have to be VERY careful.  I cut mine right down the center from top to bottom - this way I can get two curtain panels out of a single shower curtain.

      4)      Iron - Fold over your raw edges to begin your hem.  This step basically just hides the raw edge and will also help straighten out the edge if you skipped the first ironing step.  Or if you are no good at cutting a straight line…. Maybe both (I will let you guess which one applies to me).  Fold it over and iron it.  You will want a very crisp line here so that the next step will be easier. 

5)      Second fold - The tape needs to be slid into place and then ironed on to fuse.  I was trying to make my hem fairly narrow so I slid the edge of the tape just under the raw edge and then folded the hem over again so that the raw edge was completely hidden and the tape was just barely covered by the fold of the hem.  I worked in small sections at a time, alternating between Step 4 and Step 5

6)      Iron - Are you tired of that word yet?!? The directions for the tape are to place a “damp pressing cloth” between your hem and the iron…. I have no idea what a pressing cloth is, but I figured a towel would work just fine.  Just keep it damp enough to produce a bit of steam when you first set the iron down.  Be careful that your fold doesn’t move when you put the towel on top and press the iron straight down on the area you are fusing - no sliding!  Hold in place for 10 seconds (or follow the directions on your product if they differ!)

7)      Check the bonds - Hopefully you ended up with a nice clean edge that is holding together at this point.  Run your finger gently along the inside edge of the hem to make sure the entire length has bonded.  Patch any loose spots with additional tape.

This served as the vertical hem for my curtains, since I split a single panel down the middle to make two panels.  I repeated this process for both halves and at this point my long window curtain panels were done.  If you need to shorten your panels, like I did for my kitchen window, you can follow the same steps again for the bottom hem.


For the record, it is difficult to take pictures of windows.  Figuring out how to do this properly is now on my to-do list!  Until then, we will have to deal with these improperly exposed photos.  Thank you for your patience.


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