Holiday at home: 4 Fun And Kid-friendly DIY Projects

1

Design a mug: Make a mug that’s absolutely unique. First, freehand your mug-friendly motif in pencil on paper.

Hold the paper, lead side down, against the mug or cup and transfer the pencil drawing by rubbing over it. (You will need to apply a bit of pressure.) Now you have an outline to trace over with a porcelain marker from a craft shop like Spotlight.

Once completed, the designs will need to be “set” in an oven – just follow the instructions that come with the pen.

2

Make a party straw: To make floral straws, you’ll need two sizes of fluted cupcake cases. Fold a larger-sized case in half and then in half again, continuing until the case measures about a centimetre in width across the top.To shape the petals, cut across the top in an arc. Now also nip the pointed end so that you can get a straw-sized cutout in the centre of the case when it is folded. Repeat the process with a small case (for the flower’s centre). Open and shape the cases and thread through a bendable straw.

3

Go pompom crazy: Making pompoms is a great way to keep kids busy over the holidays – but then what do you do with them?

Here’s an idea – use them to edge a cuddly blanket, although you could add them to everything from cushions to curtains. We made these with a pompom-maker (an inexpensive tool easily picked up from a wool or craft store, such as Spotlight).

In under an hour we had enough woolly balls to trim our blanket and change it from plain to a pretty puff piece.

4

A dinosaur lolly jar: What better guardian could there be for cookies or lollies than a staunch-looking dinosaur. These cute top-turners started life as figurines before morphing (with the help of glue and paint) into kitchen accessories. They could also be used to store all the endless little bits and bobs that kids accumulate – hair ties, stray bits of lego, pens and pencils perhaps?

There are few rules to follow in the making. Just match up the critter’s size with your jar and don’t forget to use a paint primer if your jar has a metal lid.

There are endless possible variations – farm or wild animal figurines would do the job just as well – although if you’re guarding a lolly jar, we recommend something that roars!

5 DIY ideas for Easter

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1. Prep a room. A long weekend should be more than enough time to repaint a room, but when there’s prep involved, it can take much longer than you think. If you want to paint walls that were wallpapered, it’s common to discover all kinds of problems once the wallpaper is removed, including damp and blown plaster. Filling and sanding can go a long way to improving less-than-perfect walls, but only if they’re not too bad. For some walls, only replastering will do and sometimes it’s necessary to remove the plaster and start again, doing a waterproof render first if the brickwork is damp. When painting newly plastered walls, remember to seal the plaster before applying emulsion. A popular way to do this is with watered-down emulsion, although I prefer to use No Nonsense Trade Bare Plaster Paint because it’s less drippy.

2. Paint a room. If you’ve already done the prep, or there’s not much prep to do, a long weekend is plenty of time to paint a room, although it does depend on whether you’re painting every surface or just some of them. If you want to paint over a dark wall colour with a paler one, you’ll probably save time and effort by using a basecoat emulsion before the topcoat emulsion. Basecoats are white and one of their main benefits is that they cover strong colours in fewer coats than standard emulsions. Some emulsions cover better than others – as a general rule, the cheapest ones don’t cover well, so while you don’t need to spend a lot to get a good paint, budget ranges can be a false economy.

3. Wallpaper a room. Wallpapering isn’t the easiest DIY job, but once you’ve mastered it, it’s a good way to transform a room in a weekend with colour and/or pattern. If the walls aren’t in the best condition, wallpaper should help to disguise it – textured wallpapers are ideal, but ones with a sheen should be avoided. You can also, of course, use lining paper on walls to improve their appearance without replastering. To make a statement, do a wallpaper feature wall and paint the other walls a matching, tonal or contrasting colour.

4. Sand floorboards. Hiring an industrial floor sander and an edger (for sanding around the edges of the room) isn’t the most relaxing way to spend the Easter weekend, but you can create a stunning new floor by turning tatty old floorboards into beautiful sanded and varnished ones. It’s hot, hard and dusty work though, and sanders aren’t the easiest machines to use. For a quicker way to transform floorboards, paint them. Providing the boards aren’t too rough, you can sand them with a hand sander – once they’re cleaned and primed, you’re ready to paint. Water-based floor paints dry quickly and so are ideal if you need to use the room again soon, although you’ll have to do several coats of white to avoid a patchy finish.

5. Freshen-up woodwork. Oil-based white wood paints tend to yellow over time, sometimes in no time at all in rooms with little or no natural light. For woodwork that stays white, use water-based versions, which are mostly available in satin and eggshell finishes. Like floor paints, white water-based wood paints don’t cover particularly well (compared to oil-based ones), but because the paint dries quickly, you can do several coats in a day or two (other colours usually cover in two coats). Old oil-based wood paints tend to need a sand to take the gloss off them. Painting them with a good wood primer-undercoat (see Products of the Week) also makes the surface more matt and helps subsequent coats of paint adhere better.

HOW-TO TIP

If you’re painting outside, it’s a good idea to work from a small paint kettle rather than the tin of paint itself. The kettle is easier to use on a ladder because you can pour in as much paint as you can comfortably hold and if leaves, insects and other debris get into the paint, the whole tin isn’t contaminated.

DIY Paper Towel Holder

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Like many style-minded home decor bloggers, having well-designed everyday products in my home is a luxury I couldn’t do without. When this product is something I not only use everyday, but keep in full view on my kitchen counters, it’s even more important that it be aesthetically pleasing.

This DIY paper towel holder is one of my easiest craft projects to date.

Step 1: Take your dowel, and cut it down to 13”. Using a ceramic drill bit (ours was 3/16”), drill a hole in the center of the plate. We did this while the plate was submerged in water to cut down on dust production and to keep the bit cool. Don’t forget to place a sponge or other item underneath your plate to protect your sink!

Step 2: Using a 3/32” bit, drill a hole in one end of the dowel.

Step 3: Using a screwdriver, attach the screw and washer to the dowel. Be sure not to over tighten the screw to prevent the plate from cracking.

Step 4: Using a 5/16” bit, drill a hole into the top end of the dowel. Shorten your knob, if needed, and insert the knob into the top of your paper towel holder, using hot glue to secure it down. One quick note about choosing a knob: make sure that the widest part of the knob is smaller than the inside of a roll of paper towels. This will ensure that you’ll easily be able to slip a roll of paper towels on and off it with ease.

And that’s it! A quick DIY that’s the perfect complement to my kitchen. If my countertops could talk, they’d thank me, I’m sure of it. 🙂