15 Craft Ideas for Spring
Stenciled Animal Mugs
Look no further than the nearest pasture for inspiration to dress up plain dishware. To duplicate these mugs, print and cut out the animal shapes. Use these templates for Cow, Sheep, and Pig shapes. Place each shape atop a small piece of contact paper and outline it in pencil. Cut out with a craft knife; then discard the paper inside the outline. Peel away the backing and affix the stencil to a clean, dry mug, making sure to center the image. Following the package directions, use a soft brush to fill in the outline with dishwasher-safe PermEnamel paint ($3.49 for two ounces, joann.com); let set for a few minutes. Carefully remove the contact paper, clean up any edges with a damp cotton swab, and allow the paint to cure for 10 days.
Dress Up a Plain Mirror
To fashion this pretty piece, print out our template, sized to fit an 11¾"W ×16"H mirror ($19.99; kmart.com). Trim the template as directed and place the resulting hand-mirror shape atop contact paper. Outline; then cut out. Peel away the backing and center the shape, sticky side down, on the mirror. Spray the mirror's surface with a coat of no-prime acrylic paint — we used Montana Gold's Bazooka Joe ($6.83 for 13½ ounces; dickblick.com). Let dry for 30 minutes; then peel off contact paper.
Transform a plain window shade with a sweet stencil. Painting this birdcage motif is a snap, thanks to a goof-proof stencil ($26; 9"W x 14"H; designerstencils.com). Simply center the stencil on the front side of a bamboo shade — ours cost $21.50 at pearlriver.com — so that the top of the design lines up with the top of the shade; secure with painter’s tape. Following the stencil package directions, use a stencil brush ($1.99; joann.com) and acrylic paint to gently tamp the design onto the shade. Let dry for 30 minutes, then apply a second coat. Wait another 30 minutes before carefully removing the stencil. Allow the shade to dry for an hour before hanging.
Pump Up a Plain Mason Jar
Repurpose the classic Mason jar as a soap or lotion dispenser in your bathroom.
Step One: First, measure and mark the center of the jar's lid.
Step Two: Using a 1/2" high-speed steel drill bit (about $10; local hardware store), drill a hole to fit the width of a soap dispenser pump. We used pumps from old lotion bottles.
Step Three: Fill the jar with liquid soap, screw the lid back on, and insert the pump. You may need to trim the bottom of the pump to fit your jar.
To create this handy hook, drill a small hole approximately one inch in from the end of the fork's handle. Hold the utensil faceup, then use pliers to bend the prongs back toward the handle, making sure to form a rounded C shape rather than a V. Finish by screwing the tieback into your window molding.
Floral foam and glass marbles aren't the only ways to hold flowers aloft. Instead, a bunch of vintage milk bottles gives this arrangement—featured in Decorating with Flowers by Paula Pryke—its structure. Simply line up nine same-size vessels in three rows of three. Then wrap gardener's twine around the grouping twice and tie the ends. Finish the blooming display by placing two to three stems in each container.
Craft A Spring Sachet
To make a sachet, cut a four-inch square from a hankie. With the pattern side up, fold three corners toward the square's center. Hand-stitch the sides together. Turn the sachet inside out, press, and sew a decorative button atop the flap. Fill the pouch with dried lavender, then secure the flap with some hidden hand-sewn stitches.
Renew An Old Phone Bench
Create the perfect spot for pulling off boots and sorting letters by rescuing a relic from the rotary-dial days. To begin, pop off the cushion, remove any existing upholstery and padding, and measure the remaining seat base. Cut a piece of three-inch-thick memory foam to those dimensions. Enlarge dimensions by five inches on all four sides and cut fabric (red houndstooth, $9.99 per yard; premierprintsfabric.com) and cotton batting to this size. Next, place foam atop the seat base and wrap tightly with batting, using a staple gun to secure the batting to the base's bottom; repeat with fabric. Finally, lightly sand the wood surfaces and wipe clean with a damp rag. After priming, apply two coats of glossy white paint, allowing time to dry in between. To finish, reattach the new seat.
Dress Up a Tank Top
To embellish a tank top, cut a 14-inch-square, scalloped-edged hankie into two pieces. Fold under the cut sides and hem, as directed by the templates. Place the shorter piece atop the longer one so the top edges align; stitch together, leaving a ¼-inch allowance. Finally, fold under the unfinished top edge, then center it below the tank's neck seam (as shown) and sew into place.
Painted lines transform humble canvas into a fancy tablecloth with French country flavor.
STEP 1:Wash and tumble dry a natural-colored canvas drop cloth—ours measured six by nine feet ($8.44; hardwareworld.com)—a few times to soften the fabric.
STEP 2: Lay the cloth flat. Run a strip of 1/4-inch grout tape down the middle of the fabric widthwise. Then run two additional pieces of tape on each side of the first, spacing them 1/4 inch apart (you'll have five strips total).
STEP 3:Squirt some red fabric paint ($1.89 for two ounces; createforless.com) onto a paper plate and dab a brush in it, off-loading any extra paint onto a paper towel. Working in short strokes, lightly brush the paint on the cloth between the taped areas to catch the grain of the canvas.
STEP 4: Continue to layer the pigment until it appears as dark as desired. Remove the tape once the paint has dried according to the package instructions.