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Wednesday, February 22

3 Easy Upcycles You Can Make This Weekend

When you work full time and have a one and a half year old, crafting time happens in pockets at night and on weekends. Which means that projects I can start on a Saturday morning and actually complete by evening are super satisfying. Times that by three, and you'll feel like you rule the craft world!

1. Marble Fridge Magnets



Up-cycle your old fridge magnets! For this super simple project, you'll need:

  • A sheet of hexagon marble tiles. After looking at Home Depot, I bought these from Amazon. They were the perfect size, and the price couldn't be beat!
  • A hot glue gun.
  • Magnets. I used my cheap old fridge magnets from Target. 


I hot-glued the old magnets to the back of the marble tiles. The one thing you'll need to test is the strength of the magnets. I'd tried to upcycle some of those old flimsy old fridge magnets that have advertisements for restaurants, etc. on them, but they weren't strong enough. 

Here's the fridge before/during the magnet testing phase: 


 And after!

I love the little touch of elegance they add!


2. Paper Straw Diamond Mobile

This is one of those crafts I'd pinned ages ago, bought the supplies, made an attempt, and failed. The straws cluttered up my craft supplies drawer for months. Then one day, after watching some DIY videos on YouTube completely unrelated, I had a flash of inspiration and realized I could do this in an easier way - hot glue.

Here's my original inspiration, from Sugar and Cloth:


This is what I started with - a tangled mess of straws tied together.


Here's what you need:

  • Paper straws. I bought these at Target in the dollar section.
  • Hot glue gun.
  • Scissors, and string for hanging.


As described in the original tutorial linked above, for various sizes of diamonds, you'll need different sized pieces. I ended up adding to the pieces you see here, so there were a total of:
  • five 6 1/4″ straws
  • five 5 1/2″ straws
  • ten 3 1/2″ straws
Here's the premise: instead of stringing the straws together, we're going to hot glue them. Hot glue dries so fast, and is malleable for a minute, it seemed plausible that this would work.

Start by gluing together a triangle with two long pieces and one medium piece.


Then we're going to start to assemble the pentagon shape of medium pieces, with the long pieces forming triangles along the sides and connecting at the top.


Yay! The top section is done!


To add the rest of the diamond shape, it's easiest to lay it on it's side, and glue the pieces one by one. 


Clean up the glue by just breaking off any excess. 
Add some string for hanging, or use it as a decorative item!



3. Upcycled Lamps

Before:


Note the tiny lamp on the right in the first photo:  it, and the taller version, were a super cheap Walmart buys when Brian and I first got married and moved into our very first apartment. They're nothing special, so I considered donating them and getting something with a little more flair. And then I had a light-bulb moment, and realized that they were perfect candidates for a spray paint upgrade! 


Now, spray painted lamps can go one of two ways - tacky, or awesome. There's not much in between. So I did my research when it came to gold spray paint, and I decided to try two different types to see what the effects were. 




This paint was SO easy to use, I loved it! I had much more control over the paint, and my hand didn't get tired and cramped. It was easy to get a super even and smooth finish, and I liked the final color of the gold, not too yellow or two orangey. 




This paint has your typical spray nozzle, and typical pitfalls - you have to be careful to control the amount of paint, not let it drip, etc. The hammered finish helps disguise any drips, and looks really cool.

As it turned out, I needed some lamps in my office at work, so I didn't have to rely on horrible florescent lights. Here's how the Universal Gold turned out: 


Here's the Hammered Gold lamp: 





Between the two, I'd probably use the Universal Gold again before I'd use the Hammered Gold again. But for just the right project, the hammered gold could be the perfect effect. 

I also tried spray painting the lampshade on the small lamp - but if you're going to attempt that, be sure to vacuum them off really well first. 

As far as actual steps for painting the lamps: tape off the cords, placing them in a plastic bag like I did, and taping off the top where the light bulb will go. Follow the drying instructions on your spray paint, but seriously, without priming, these turned out fantastic and were done in a day. 


And that's it! Three easy DIY projects you can start, and probably complete, in a day. While you're waiting for your first coat of spray paint to dry, you can be hot-gluing your magnets or straws!

Now you have no excuse - get crafting!