Leading up to Christmas, I’ve had such a wonderful time looking at DIY projects I absolutely love! I’m finding ideas on Instagram and from lots of talented bloggers all over Australia.
Seeing what other people do makes it easy to get prepared for Christmas, without spending a fortune. By upgrading what we already have, we can give a new lease of life to an object that is inexpensive and on trend.
Here are the main DIY ideas I have seen that are really popular, easy to do and not too time consuming – a blessing at such a busy time of the year!
Trash to Terracotta
This is the fashionable craze! Start within your home, and find a vase or jug, anything with a nice shape. Glass works well too, just give it a rough sand to etch the surface of the glass first before you start. I love the look of this and it is so easy to do. We live in a society where we may not like the colour or look of an object in our homes, and just throw it away. We can easily paint over what we have as it can dry within 15 – 20 minutes, if you need to, apply a second coat.
Get your trash to terracotta on by adding one teaspoon of baking powder or bi-carb of soda, to one cup of water based acrylic paint. Bi-carb of soda has a slightly grainy effect and you’ll see what is behind it, through the soda mix. Add more texture to the finish by using the baking powder. If you already have a textured surface vase, and want it to appear through, use bi-carb of soda. Just add a couple of teaspoons and stir it in and once you are pleased with the thickness, the bi-carb reacts with the water in this mix, whereas the baking powder does not react. If you need to, you can watch the “Trash To Terracotta” videos by Geneva Vanderzeil, if you are unsure.
It is cheap and easy to use sample pots of paint, as the appearance you are after when finished, is matte and flat, not glossy.
In my excitement, Mum and I have been running around, gathering old or forgotten items around my house, to put aside so we can trash to terracotta them as projects. The blend of shades from deep terracotta through to the whites and off whites, sitting side by side, is fantastic! Mum loves dusty pink in her home, at the moment so the pale creams to pink are the colours she favours.
This is a beautiful way to freshen up the look of dated vases, and by picking items up from thrift stores too, you add new life with colours such as black or cream shades. Find a lamp? Buy one and paint over the base, then add a new lampshade, and you have a stunning new lamp on your bedside table. Look out for trays, dishes and old Christmas baubles too. Trash to terracotta will joyfully be my Christmas project this year.
One of my long-time DIY loves is revamping furniture. Back in the day when hubby and I were completely broke, up to our eyeballs in mortgage debt and high interest rates, we had no choice but to update furniture. Most of it in fact all of it, when we first got married, was second hand! Neighbours put out items during council clean ups and hubby and I got out there, found items to take home and gave them a good scrub and paint.
People would visit us, compliment us on the house, not realising that what they saw was revamped second hand. There are so many clever things you can do.
Cupboards from IKEA can be revamped. The draws can be redesigned using a router and cane webbing and weave from Ebay or Spotlight, to save money. If you want some inspiration, go to Oz Design or Freedom and have a good look at their furniture. You’ll see webbing designs on top of ordinary drawers, which is really simple to do, if you don’t have the router to cut holes in the drawers. It’s an easy look to get and does not take long. I showed hubby and he said “no worries at all”. Before you throw anything out, have a look at being a bit artistic with it, choose a new colour and appreciate the total difference that makes to the cupboard.
DIY is 100% one of my favourite ways to spend my time. Upstairs there’s a cupboard I still have, and back in the day, in 1989, I added dusty blue gloss paint and my friend Jenny did folk art on the doors. We ripped out the internal panels and then hubby placed wood lattice from strips at the hardware that he hand built for me. A couple of years later, I revamped that same cupboard, painted it black and then did a mustard colour crackle effect, for that rustic feel.
That one revamped cupboard from 1989, has lasted until today.
After that, when we were selling a Hamptons style home, I pulled out the lattice and replaced it with louvres and painted the entire cupboard white. Now I have a Mediterranean style, I’m not sure what to do with that cupboard, but I love the challenge of taking it through trends and the ages.
When I paint DIY, I love using chalk paint. It sticks to just about anything straight off, with very little preparation, coats really well and sometimes you can get away with one coat, especially if you are painting chalk paint white over white or another light colour.
I really love fusion mineral paints by Miss Mustard Seed, they are in America and are now in Australia. There are quite a few people running courses so why not treat yourself to lessons for Christmas? If anyone asks you, just say I’d love to do a painting course at my local Annie Sloan stockists or Fusion Paint stockists. Or engage with another community of people that love DIY. Great fun.
The colours are beautiful and on trend. One thing about chalk paint, is that it is very “here and now” as it is soft and matte. It can disappoint some people if they do not wax it properly. I prefer to give it a soft matte look varnish using a water based clear top coat, making it easier to wipe and clean.
I think that chalk paint is not be that great on a dining table, a girlfriend used it and it was not hardy enough for that surface, but for cupboards I love it!
There is no reason to go out and buy expensive side tables or coffee tables for about $3000 dollars, though not all are in this price range…..Temple and Webster had one for about $1500. As an alternative, you can buy oak look round drums from Kmart for $49 dollars, then go to Bunnings and get some dowel, add touches of glue, sand the top, then paint or stain to your taste. Any finish you want. You could use any type of bead, trim, or half round timber strips. Also, take a look at Bunning’s Easycraft panelling, and VJ board and think about what you can upgrade with it.
Tiles are not expensive at all and that includes Travertine tiles as well and make good side tables. To explain, any kind of really solid stone tile would be great, however, marble might be more expensive. Any type of stone tile which you can buy 3 of, you can cut down and glue them together. Really beautiful. A bit heavy to lift. Doing just two of those (side tables) will cost less than $100 each and will be amazing!
I have also used textured paint, which comes in a rust oleum spray you can buy on EBay. I don’t see it anymore in Bunnings. I applied this textured coating on a plastic outdoor table that looked very tired, it was light cream and scuffed. We did the table top surface with the textured spray and it lasted in all kinds of weather, was tough and looked amazing. This stone topped table, was in fact plastic, but took on an entirely new look for very few dollars.
This saved me from buying a new outdoor table, and I wanted our plastic one to look better when friends visited.
So, consider what you have available. Kmart have the barrels and stools, Bunnings stock round table tops. You’ll see the round table tops in the aisle along with benchtops, as Bunnings know they are selling like hotcakes. A bit of patience and time creates your own dowel drum coffee or side table, for a fraction of what you’d spend in furniture stores.
Textured DIY Art
Art has been an enduring favourite in the DIY space. On trend now is textured art on big, blank canvases. We were able to pick up some canvases that people were throwing out and although I am not an artist, I gave this minimalist art a go and this is what I did…
I threw some plaster and mixers you buy from craft shops (acrylic moulding paste) on the canvas to give it texture, and then smeared neutrals (paint in shades of white, cream and beige) over the top. This art does not have to make a statement. Create interest and calm by adding textured art to a plain gyprock walls. This type of art takes less than 2 hours. It’s cheap and all you need is acrylic paint, some modelling paste, neutral colours and gyprock paste.
Or use DIY cornice setting plaster mix on a canvas, smear the plaster mix you find in pre-made buckets, plus a tile glue raking tool and make large swoops to create arches. Doing this DIY art, produces the look of arches for display in your home, without doing it through renovation. It is a popular and cheap way to create that look and add texture too. Once it dries, then bingo, hang it up on your wall.
Jump on and have a look at Homeblog.com and see what some overseas bloggers are doing with DIY art projects, they are amazing.
Tile A Table
We bought an outdoor table and chairs set from Barbeques Galore in 2013 that had a wooden look table top, which was actually stamped concrete. As the table top faded we painted it and put tablecloths on it when we entertained, but it really needed upgrading. We decided to tile the tabletop with a modern Mediterranean influence (handcrafted Spanish tiles). Brett began by putting a nice wooden edging around the table. We bought the tiles from Jatana Interiors at Federal NSW earlier this year (check them out on Instagram as they are not using Facebook as much).
These handmade Spanish tiles were expensive (more than $200 per square metre) so this tabletop will cost us $800 all up; the tiles were $750 of that. Labour was very cheap, as Brett works for free, so long as I make cups of tea and feed him!
Our DIY love project is almost finished, we just need to apply epoxy grout, as it will remain outside in the sun. When we do up the entertainment area in our yard, the table will take pride of place. I’m so proud to have given it a vibrant new lease of life for when we entertain. The table top will last for a long time and we will revamp the chairs before Summer, with a touch up of metal paint and new cushions.
I can’t wait to see our completed tiled table and it’s so satisfying that it is unique and bespoke as well. The handmade tiles are gorgeous and the pictures don’t do them justice!
I am a lifelong DIY enthusiast and my love of renovating came from my parents. Dad was forever converting old desks, desktops, and cupboards, changing colours in rooms, changing knobs on doors or revamping drawers, for that simple yet beautiful uplift.
That’s exactly how I grew up and so have always been drawn toward DIY. So it is natural for me to find second hand items to do up, it may not be the best use of my time to try and save a few hundred dollars when renovating can earn 100’s of thousands of dollars.
However, it is something I love to do to relax.
Get into the DIY Christmas spirit, create your own beautiful bespoke pieces and enjoy this festive season.
This blog was written by the RARE team
Team RARE are passionate about renovations, interiors and
sharing our favourite DIY tips and tricks with our community.