10 Upcycled Craft Projects
Mason Jar Soap Dispenser
Country Living Editor-in-Chief Sarah Gray Miller showed these fast and simple ways to repurpose vintage finds on The Nate Berkus Show!
Repurpose the classic Mason jar as a soap or lotion dispenser in your bathroom.
1. First, measure and mark the center of the jar's lid.
2. 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.
3. 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.
Rake Stemware Holder
Take advantage of your vertical wall space by hanging a rake head and suspending stemware from its tines. We found one of these rakes at the Country Living Fair in Columbus, Ohio, for $3, but you'll likely find them at a yard sale, or even on Etsy.
1. Remove the handle. Carefully cut it off (or ask your local hardware store to do it) and sand the cut end.
2. Use a 3/16" metal drill bit to drill two holes per rake head directly into the center of the handle's back side, spacing them about an inch apart. Using either 3" toggle bolts or 3" anchor screws (available at any hardware store), screw the rake heads into the wall — making sure they're hanging upside down and are level. You can use the same trick in your bedroom for a practical tie-and-belt rack or to hang your most tangle-prone necklaces.
Old blueberry crates — like the six that make up this ruggedly good-looking shelving uni — are the perfect size for displaying and storing Mason jars.
1. Find a pattern/layout you like by arranging the crates on the floor.
2. Mount the crates on a wall, starting with the top row, using a level, anchors, and screws. For each box, drill holes through each of the four corners, then insert anchors into the holes. Holding the box in place so that the holes align, drill screws through the holes to affix the box to the wall.
Photo-Imprinted Throw Pillows
Create a personalized throw pillow using your own favorite photograph.
1. To begin, scan the photo and save to your computer's desktop.
2. Go to spoonflower.com, and upload your image to create custom fabric. The site gives you detailed instructions and options for repeating and placing the image, as well as fabric color and size (be sure to include at least a half-inch border around the image for seam allowance). If you'd like to see the fabric in person, order a sample for just $1. Spoonflower usually needs 6-7 days to complete your order, but they do offer expedited shipping.
3. Order the fabric (a canvas "fat quarter," which is the size we ordered for our pillow, cost just $14). Once you receive it in the mail, trim any excess. Then, cut a same-size piece of backing fabric, like linen or broad cloth.
4. Pin the two pieces of fabric together, right sides facing. Stitch a running stitch around the pillow along the seam allowance, leaving a four-inch-wide opening along one side.
5. Use small scissors to clip the corners, and then turn the pillow right side out.
6. Push out the corners, iron out any wrinkles, and stuff the pillow with loose fiberfill stuffing before blind-stitching the opening closed. (Stuffing, $4.33 for one pound, amazon.com)
Oar Curtain Rod
Add a nautical touch to your window treatments with a vintage oar-turned-curtain-rod.
1. Hold the oar handle, horizontally, up to your window to make sure it's long enough to reach from side to side. Next, you'll need two semicircular curtain-rod brackets that are open at the top (curtain-rod brackets, $8.97 for two; lowes.com for stores).
2. Position each bracket, top up, just above the outer corners of the window frame, then screw to the wall.
3. Thread curtain rings with attached clips onto the oar, snap the clips onto a curtain at evenly spaced intervals, and place the oar handle in the brackets.
Framed Flash Cards
Elevate one of these educational tools to the level of art, with a stylish display. We selected a set of frames (about $15 from Michaels, K-mart, or any craft store), then created our own matting by cutting pieces of 11" x 17" white card stock to fit.
1. Simply lay a piece of 11" x 17" card stock atop the frame, and mark the frames edges with a pencil on the card stock. Cut the card stock at the marks, trimming as necessary to fit the card stock inside the frame.
2. Next, lay the card stock on a flat surface, then center a flash card, right side up, atop the card stock. Flip the flash card over, then apply a glue dot ($5.97; amazon.com) to each of the card's corners. Flip the card back over and press it into the card stock until it's secure. Slide the card stock into the frame before hanging.
Transform a tired side table by covering the top in vintage or store-bought yardsticks — be sure to get a variety of colors that are all the same thickness. (For a 19-inch by 17-inch table like this one, you'll need about 16 yardsticks; yardsticks, $1.99 each, staples.com)
1. To figure out how best to align the sticks, create a template of the tabletop by tracing it onto a sheet of paper. Arrange the rulers on the template, marking where you'll need to cut so they fit the width and length of the table.
2. Once you know where each ruler segment will go, make the cuts with a hacksaw or small electric saw. Smooth out any rough edges with medium-grit sandpaper.
3. Starting at one corner, attach one of the ruler segments to the top of the table lengthwise by hammering a flat-head nail in at each end. Repeat in rows until the entire surface is covered. You can stagger the sticks as shown, but line them up carefully to avoid gaps.
4. Working in a well-ventilated area, apply several layers of polyurethene (about $6 at a local hardware store) over the yardsticks with a wide brush, according to the can's directions. Allow ample time for drying between coats. Once you're done, let the table dry for another 48 hours before putting anything on its surface.
Remove and salvage the faces from old watches or pocket watches to create timeless refrigerator magnets.
1. Place the watch faces pattern-side down.
2. Using hot glue, adhere a magnet to the center backside of the watch face. Let dry for five minutes. (Magnets, $1.40 for pack of 10; walmart.com)
Use Mod Podge to adhere vintage sewing patterns onto the outside of wooden craft boxes for personalized storage.
1. Using a damp rag, wipe down the outside of each box. Then, cover each one with a coat of matte white spray paint. Let dry for 30 minutes. ($14.97 for three boxes; hobbylobby.com)
2. Meanwhile, measure the top and bottom sides of your box. Cut dress patterns into pieces the same size as those measurements. (You can find sewing patterns online at sites like Etsy.)
3. Cover your workspace with wax paper; then pour Mod Podge Matte All-In-One decoupage sealer into a small bowl. ($4.99 for 8 ounces; hobbylobby.com)
4. Using a narrow foam brush, spread an even coat of Mod Podge on the back of a pattern piece.
5. Press the piece onto your box, smoothing out any air bubbles. Trimming away any excess pattern with an X-Acto knife.
6. Repeat until the outside of the box is covered, then use a foam brush to add on a thin coat of Mod Podge. Let dry for one hour, then repeat with a second coat to seal. Let dry for one full day.
Chicken Feeder Lamps
A chicken feeder with a wire cage is a perfect piece to create an industrial-looking hanging lamp.
1. Clean the feeder and cage with soap and hot water. Allow to dry, then use medium steel wool to clean heavy rust from the metal, until it reaches a nice patina.
2. Using a 3/8" metal drill bit, drill a hole through the bottom of the feeder, directly in the center, allowing clearance for a lamp kit. We used a cotton-covered wire to assemble our own lamp kit. (If you decide to go this route, you'll need a socket, a switch, a plug end, and a hook, all of which are available at Lowes.) Nice cotton-covered wires are available at some small hardware stores for about $1 per foot, or you can find them online at sundialwire.com. Otherwise, purchase a swag lamp kit ($14.93; amazon.com).
3. Follow package instructions to assemble the fixture, then add a light bulb. Snap the cage on to the feeder, and you're ready to hang your lamp!