Make the most of your living space this new school year with these four easy and inexpensive DIY projects:
Image via Flickr
MAKE YOUR OWN ARTWORK
Artwork is the easiest way to add life and dimension to your walls. But I know I’d rather put $40 dollars towards other things than buy a print from Urban Outfitters.
Framing mini inspiration boards – collages made up of a collection of magazine clippings, photos or words that inspire you – are an original and colourful way to make your own artwork. Plus they make great conversation pieces. Make more than one collage that’ll vary in shape and size, to frame and hang on your walls for an avant-garde vibe.
What you’ll need:
Scissors, cardboard, glue stick, magazines and one or more frames for displaying (inexpensive frames can be found at your local thrift shop).
1. Choose a suitable backing that’ll withhold multiple materials – cardboard usually does the trick.
2. Cut clippings of things that inspire you, as a starting point for your collage. Consider adding embellishment, like dried flowers for added depth and interest.
3. Assemble your clippings on the cardboard before committing to any glue for a good idea of what the finished product will look like.
4. Once you’re happy with the design, glue your clippings to the cardboard.
5. Let the collage dry for five minutes, to ensure clippings are in place.
6. Remove glass, frame your collage, and hang it on your walls!
EVEN EASIER IDEA: Frame scraps of wallpaper for a luxe-looking piece of wall art.
MAKE YOUR OWN CURTAINS
Chances are the curtains already in your dorm will be dull and dated. Spicing up your room’s bare walls, sans the paint, is as easy as replacing curtains with a fabric that’s bold, vibrant and patterned.
What you’ll need:
1. Begin by measuring the height and width of the window to determine the size of fabric you need. If you plan on making two curtains that open in the middle, the fabric should be half of the width measurement, so divide the width of the window by two. The height measurement will remain the same. Remember to add six inches to both the height and the width to account for the hemming.
2. Take a trip to your local fabric store and choose a fabric that is reflective of you, but won’t clash with the rest of the room (keep your bed sheets and other coloured accents in mind). A thicker fabric is most practical to avoid transparency. Ask the fabric store to cut the fabric into the size you need.
3. Place the fabric on a hard surface to work on.
4. To hem the side edges, apply a line of fabric glue along the right and left sides of each curtain. Fold 1 inch of material over, and smooth down to bond the hems with the glue. Hem the bottom, in the same way as the sides. Iron the hems to press into crisp pleats.
5. Hem the top of the curtains, but fold over 4 inches of material, instead of 1 inch. Do not iron this edge, as it should be a loop as opposed to a pleat.
6. Pull a curtain rod through the top hem, and hang over a window. Voila!
EVEN EASIER IDEA: Drape old Christmas tree lights around (or near) your window, and hang photos of friends from clothespins.
MAKE YOUR OWN JEWELRY TREE
You’ll have minimal storage space, so personalizing your dresser with knick-knacks and trinkets is not exactly practical. Displaying your jewelry on a DIY tree will be both decorative and handy when it comes to making the most out of storage.
What you’ll need:
Hot glue gun, an old soap dish or small tray, a bottle cap, Plaster of Paris and spray paint.
1. Start the project by finding the perfect branch in your backyard. Find a branch that’s not too flimsy but not too heavy either. Ideally, you want your branch to resemble a mini tree, with an array of its own mini branches, for it to be aesthetically pleasing.
2. Pluck off all the leaves. To remove moisture and unseen critters, bake your branch in the oven at 200 degrees, for ten minutes. This will ensure that your branch is dried out to perfection.
3. Using a glue gun, hot glue the base of your branch to the cap of a bottle. The cap will give your jewelry tree extra support at its base.
4. Decide where the branch will sit in your small tray or old soap dish. When you are happy with the placement, hot glue the base of your branch to the tray. (If your tree leans a little to one side, you might want to place it off-centre).
5. To make the plaster, follow directions on the box. Once made, pour the plaster into your soap dish to make a substantial base.
6. Allow the plaster to completely harden. (It’ll usually say on the box how long it takes).
7. Finally, spray paint your tree, the soap dish and the plaster! Keep in mind that you will need a few coats.
8. Once dry, your tree is finished! Keep its delicacy in mind, hanging the lighter items on the more delicate branches and the heavier items on the thicker branches.
EVEN EASIER IDEA: Wrap corkboard with wallpaper. Frame the decorative corkboard (remove the glass), and hang jewelry from pretty pins.
MAKE YOUR OWN ART-DECO MIRROR
Mirrors instantly make a small space appear larger. But I’m betting money on the fact that the only full-length mirror supplied in your dorm will be confined to the back of your door. Having a mirror on your wall will open the space, especially when placed across from your window, or near a lighting source.
What you’ll need:
Hot glue gun and a wood board (your dad is bound to have one collecting dust in the garage).
1. Get someone who’s handy with tools to cut the wood board to your desired size.
2. Buy mirrored tiles from your local hardware store (sold for $1-$2 a tile on average).
3. Using a glue gun, hot glue the tiles side-by-side to wood board.
4. Prop it against your wall, and you’ve got your first art-deco piece.
EVEN EASIER IDEA: Stick the mirrored tiles directly on your wall using Velcro tape.
THREE THINGS TO BUY:
These three essentials will surely lend some personality to your space, while also being completely reasonable purchases:
1. A RUG: Your local thrift shop is bound to have a rug you can snag for really cheap. A rug is the most effective way to bring instant pizzazz and warmth, along with a comforting ‘feels-like-home” vibe to your space.
2. BASKETS: These will un-doubtfully come in handy. They’re a great way of keeping toiletries in place on your counters, and hiding miscellaneous must-haves. Keeping your room uncluttered is another way of making it appear larger, and wicker or seagrass baskets are far more visually appealing in comparison to your average plastic tubs. For an easy clean up, throw junk into your baskets and line them neatly under your bed for a tidy feel.
3. DESK LAMPS: Do away with harsh overhead lighting by littering your room with decorative desk lamps (which can be bought at IKEA for inexpensive sums) to achieve soft lighting.