DIY Wooden State Art

Last week I posted about a DIY Wedding Guest Book Alternative (here), and this week I’m following up with a little DIY gift I made the bride and groom… but it’s totally something you could just make for yourself and frankly I probably will make one for myself because it’s freaking awesome.

I used cut and stained plywood as well as a painted canvas to make a very cute piece of art:

DIY plywood state art- rhode island

I don’t have a ton of in process pictures because I had no idea if I could successfully make those cuts, but let me break it down for you…

Create your state:

  • I googled “Rhode Island outline” and then brought the image I chose into my Silhouette Cameo and cut the shape out onto paper to create my template. (You could also just print and cut out the design yourself if you don’t have a Silhouette)
  • Trace the template onto your plywood with a pencil, then use a Jigsaw or Skillsaw to cut it out. Holy cow is tough- but you will feel like a superhero once you’ve succeeded. I used a jigsaw and very slowly and very carefully cut this out in sections. Please be careful not to cut your fingers off and also wear safety goggles. I am literally the worst at safety precautions but you need to be careful when a power saw is inches from your precious fingers.

Note: I did not use a “scrolling” blade because it kept bending, the plywood was too thick for it. I used the “10 TPI smooth” blade with my saw set to “curved” and that worked much better. There are different blades to switch in and out of your jigsaw to help you cut different materials and achieve different edges.Jig Saw settings- black and decker

  • Once you’ve cut it cut out, sand down all your edges and wipe it with a damp cloth
  • Stain with your desired color! Pictured is Minwax Special Walnut, one heavy coat.

Paint your canvas:

  • As you can probably tell, I am not an artist (sorry, lower right section of the canvas), but I thought the ombre look would be perfect for this. I used a test size of Behr’s Smokey Blue and feathered it on with a bristle brush, mixing in a little bit of pure white paint at each layer.
  • For some reason I added a little water to the paint because I thought it would be too thick, and that was a bad idea. So, if you use wall paint instead of actual painting-a-canvas-paint, don’t water it down. It’s fine.
  • Let it dry completely!

Once your canvas and stained wood are dry, it’s time to bring them together! I used Gorilla super glue to adhere the state to the canvas… and this is trickier then it sounds because you want to press the wood and canvas together while it dries. Your canvas is wrapped around a frame, which means when you place the canvas down the edges sit on your surfaced and the middle is suspended… so toss a book under there, then glue your state where you want it, and then put a weight or another big heavy book over the state to sandwich it together while it dries. Perhaps this doesn’t make sense? Let me know if you have questions!

Anyway! Voila!wood and painted canvas state art

This piece isn’t perfectly sanded smooth, but I kind of like that because the edges of the state aren’t perfectly smooth either, you know? Also, it’s hard to sand in those little grooves and the wedding was like 12 hours from when I started this project so I was kind of in a time crunch. 🙂

personalized state art gift- a DIY project from Sandpaper And Glue


DIY String Art – an easy last minute Christmas project!

We’re having a $10 and under Yankee Swap at work this week, and instead of running around trying to find something to bring, I thought I’d make something I’ve been seeing for ages and ages but haven’t tried yet- string art!

string art how to instructions

This is such an easy project, and you can do it in any shape so it’s super versatile. Here’s the supplies:

supply list for string art

I got a 1×8 pine board and cut it down to about 15 inches, then stained the front and sides. Next, I used my Silhouette Cameo to cut out the tree shape (but you can just as easily print and hand cut whatever shape you want). The embroidery thread I already had on hand because I’m a hoarder (2 shades of green for the tree, cream for the base, and yellow for the star).

It doesn’t really matter what type of nails you use, as long as they have a wide enough head that the string won’t slip off (so no brad or finishing nails). I accidentally bought nails that had some sort of oily coat on them, but I just wiped down the tops with paper towel and it’s no big deal.

To start, I centered my template and spent about 15 minutes hammering in nails all the way around it. The more nails you use, the more spots you’ll have to wrap the thread.

embroidery thread string art close up


Tie a knot with the thread around the nail you want to start with, then just keep wrapping it in a random pattern until you think it’s full enough. When you get to the end of your piece of thread, just wrap it several times around the last nail and glue it into place (you can use, Elmer’s glue or Mod Podge, and I just used a tiny craft paint brush to apply it all the way around.)

diy string art - easy and quick holiday gift

I really love how it came out, and the possibilities for this are endless!!

It’d also be a really great kid project, just hammer in the nails yourself first and let them spend time wrapping the thread. 🙂

diy holiday christmas gift- string art


What do you think? Any string art making in your future?

Unique Ways to Display Ornaments

A few days ago I was chatting with my husband’s aunt and she asked me if I had any good ideas for displaying her vintage Christmas ornaments, because they’d get lost in a whole tree and she didn’t want to just put them in a bowl and call it a day.

I’m not much for Christmas decorating, so I asked a few of my blog friends if they had any good ideas and they totally did, so I thought I’d post a little round up and share with all of you!

unique ways to display Christmas ornaments

1. Plum Doodles– hang them on their own little tabletop tree:


2. Pretty Handy Girl– stack them in an apothecary jar:

pretty handy girl- apothecary

3. House of Hawthornes– display ornaments in an old colander or punch bowl, mixed in with some acorns:

house of hawthornes- colander

4. Mommy is Coo Coo– group the ornaments together on a wreath and hang in front of a frame (or mirror):


5. New House New Home– create a little vignette on a buffet:

new house new house- buffet

6. Pretty Handy Girl– place them under a cloche:

pretty handy girl- cloche

7. House of Hawthornes– hang ornaments from a chandelier with some festive garland:

house of hawthornes- chandlier


I don’t know which idea I love most- maybe the tabletop metal tree though because it’s just so simply and places the attention in just the right spot. Which is your favorite? Do you have any other ideas?

DIY Wood Stain Wall Art

My Dad is the director of the senior center in my hometown, which is about 5 minutes outside out of Boston. So it totally makes sense that he has a southwestern themed office… right? Right! Anyway, I’m obviously always down for decorating anything so I told him I’d make some large scale art for him.

Enter: 3ft x 2ft wood stained and burned wall art:

wood stain large wall art diy

I bought 2 pine boards at Home Depot and had them cut in half (about $16 total). When I got home I used Gorilla Glue to initially attached the boards, and later screwed 2 1×2’s to the back for extra security (and added some D-rings for hanging).

After I let the glue dry I lightly sanded the boards and marked them up for stain:

frog tape outline on wall art

I used the chevron Frog Tape along the edges (in yellow) and 1 inch Frog Tape (in green) to mark the first round of stain. After the first round of staining, I pulled the tape off (while the stain was still wet) and let it dry for a day. Then I taped the next area I wanted taped off for round two.

There was a little bleeding here and there, but that was mostly my fault for loading on too much stain and actually I really like that it came out a little imperfect- looks more rustic that way. I used a lot of different colors and 3 types of stain (just 1 coat of each- painted it on with a foam brush then wiped it off with a rag):

minwax stain types

The color stain was awesome and goes on just as regular liquid wood stain does, the finishing cloths were great for really controlling exactly where the stain went (I used them in round 2 of staining), and the express color was sort of a gel consistency- probably my least favorite, but the most vibrant for sure.

After all the stain was dried, I used a wood burning pen to outline the center designs a bit more. This side by side shows the wood burning in the middle and how crisp the lines are between each color:

wood burn up closeOverall, this thing came out freaking awesome and I can’t wait to give it to my dad when I see him this weekend. For now, here’s how it looks staged in my office:

wood stain wall art large DIY

It’s baller. Also, it can be hung tall ways (as seen above) or long ways (with 2 screws and the D-rings already on back). I wish it matched the style of my house so I could make 900 more and plaster my walls with them. But for now, I guess I’ll just have my dad text me a picture of it in his space.

how to make wood stain art

What do you think? Are you loving the color? Or the wood burned detail? I personally love the green diamonds the most.

minwax frog tape wall art DIY

Minwax provided some of the stain for this project, but it was after I pitched this idea to them so all opinions and reviews are 100% mine. All day every day.

Thrift Score Thursday #38- HALLOWEEN COSTUME EDITION!

I am super excited to be guest posting for Thrift Score Thursday again, hosted by Brynne (The Gathered Home), Trisha (Black and White Obsession) and Cassie (Primitive and Proper). Corinna (For My Love Of) and I are joining in to help hype up thrifty Halloween costumes, and if you saw my post Monday you can probably guess that Halloween costumes are right up my alley. 🙂

thrift score thursday halloween editionTake over the #ThriftScoreThursday tag with your thrifty Halloween costumes, old or new, and the favorites will be shared next week! 🙂

Over the years, I’ve have many-a-thrifty costumes. Last year I went the easy route and just bought a cheeseburger dress and called it a day, but my husband got creative with his Jayne (from Firefly) character: a shirt and pants from Salvation Army, and a knitted hat made by our friend’s mom, and a watch borrowed from our friend (the blurry one creeping in the back of the picture, haha). However, I think every year on this blog I’ve shared at least one image of my favorite Halloween costume, an astronaut I pieced together with a child’s puffy winter jacket, a cardboard box wrapped in a white sheet, some dishwasher hoses, and a DIY shift skirt.

Jayne costume hamburger costume astronaut girl female costume

Alright, let’s get down to business. How about this week’s awesome finds?

Sandra found these amazing brass deer, perfect to decorate with come Christmas time:

lightglassandtrend Heart her photo and follow her at LightGlassAndTrend

Shannon scooped us this amazing octagon table, and I’m super in love with it and all its’ spindles:

aninspirednestHeart her photo and follow her at AnInspiredNest

Thanks for having me, ladies! And everyone be sure to hop on to Twitter or Instagram and start sharing your best costumes with #ThriftScoreThursday!

Looking for more thrifty awesomeness? Continue on to the co-hosts, we each feature different finds:

Thrift Score Thursday Brynne color

Thrift Score Thursday Trisha color

Thrift Score Thursday Cassie

TST guest host Corinna

Halloween House Tour

In this house we love Halloween. I mean we LOVE it. I love the goofy, the scary. the cliche- all of it. So I put the word out to blogland and found a few other bloggers that feel the same- and today all 6 of us are sharing Halloween House Tours. Be sure to check out links to their blogs at the bottom of this post!

Get yourself a cup of blood… err, I mean coffee. Settle in. And prepare for a lot Halloween house pictures.

This is the room you step into when you enter the house (the door is just cut out of the left side of this picture). It only has 3 walls, so it opens directly into the kitchen and provides a lot of extra entertaining space.

gray and white sunroom striped walls halloween decorations

The cauldron is holding all our pumpkin carving supplies- we host a big pumpkin carving party every October. The bats are card stock I cut out with my Silhouette cameo and the vampire in the same window is from the dollar store. Spiderwebs  are all strategically placed out of the cats reach. 😉

AH! BUT WAIT! There’s something you can’t quite see in this shot:

easy tissue paper ghost DIY

I wanted something for the bay window that was large scale, but that wouldn’t block out all the light. A few pieces of tissue paper and some freehand cutting gave me two great big ghosts. Huzzah!

halloween window displayOur window is so cheesy and awesome I can’t even take it. The sign on the left I got and the one on the right was gifted to me. The cookie canister was an apartment warming gift from a friend many years ago, and the black vine we actually just got from a friend this weekend– thanks Michelle!!

halloween serving tray

On the bar are these awesome napkins (also from a friend- are you seeing a gifts-for-Stephanie trend yet? lol) and some little plastic ants from the dollar store.

Since the kitchen opens up into the sunroom, we couldn’t very well not decorate it….

halloween decor in the kitchenOh look, there’s a napping cat on the chair. Heyyy Luigi!

Would you care for a spot of tea?

halloween decorations decorThat’s Matt’s pumpkin mug- and don’t you dare drink from it! The other two mugs were another house warming gift (Seeeee how enabled my Halloween obsession is!!)

Let’s check out the table area a little more closely too…

halloween kitchen table

Andddd we’re not quite done yet because there’s a little display on the counter as well…

kitchen halloween decorations

And lest you think we stop there… here’s one last picture. A wide shot of our living room (also open to the kitchen and sunroom):

halloween decor living roomFrom left to right: a pumpkin on the side table, an old school McDonald’s Halloween bucket on the built in (anyone else still have these kicking around), a skull & cross on the end table, graveyard display in the window, murderous tool banner above the window, and a nice big squeaky rat on the far right end table. Whew!

And that’s just the downstairs. Ahem.


Ready for some more Halloween decor inspiration? Check out these lovely ladies:

boxy colonial headshot

Gretchen – Boxy Colonial

designthusiasm headshot

Lory – Designthusiasm

the kim six fix headshot

Kim – The Kim Six Fix

our nerd home headshot

Kat & Cam – Our Nerd Home

this old colonial home headshot

Kelly – This Old Colonial Home


Linked up with: Cupcakes and Crinoline

Designer Insights Interview

fall design trends

I recently did a quick little interview with Terry’s Blinds to talk about my style, where I get inspiration from, and what I’m loving right now….you can check it out here.

I’ve been blogging here for just over 3 years now, and I am surprised at how much I enjoy it. I love sharing my home, with my family that reads here and everyone else that comes too. I’m always surprised at the growing number of people that visit this little site, and I super appreciate it. I hope you all feel like you can do anything in your home too, and if I could send every girl in the world a power drill I would (and the like, 5 dudes that visit this site too, haha.)

Every time I think I’m out of projects about a zillion more pop up and I’m excited about all of them. Currently I have plans to make a cute cabinet for a friend’s mom, a craft crate plant stand, some string art as a gift for a friend… plus I still have to finish both my bathrooms and my basement stairs (I wonder how much longer I can leave them 90% done before Matt’s head explodes? hmmm.) Thanks for coming along for the ride!

In addition to the interview, they asked me to pick out some of my top decor choices for this season, and since several of them are DIY projects I thought I’d link back to them here in case you want to attempt them yourself.

The non-DIY projects are these chairs (which are actually on their way to my house right now!!!! ahhhhh!!) and these amazing looking blankets  (I don’t think I could breathe if I spent that much money on a blanket, but just know that I want to).

As for DIY projects:

diy platform bench

This knockoff Nelson bench popped up in blogland a few months back, and I am obsessed with it. I don’t have the talent for it yet… but I will. 

top pick 4- diy nailhead wall hanging and headboard by sarah dorsey designs

This DIY headboard and feature wall is from Sarah M. Dorsey Designs (about a year back) and it’s what got me hooked on her blog. If you’re not following her yet, you totally should be.

top pick 3- diy copper and wood light by vintage revivals

Mandi from Vintage Revivials just posted this DIY light a few days ago, and it is awesome. Check out the full tutorial here.

…what’s on your wish list this fall?