A little green semi-gloss paint turns a ragtag crew of (glassless) frames into an artful display.
Get the look with Martha Stewart Living Paint Color in Sultana at the Home Depot.
Bucket Umbrella Stand
Transform an inexpensive flower bucket into a nice-looking umbrella stand by painting the bottom of the bucket with glossy oil-based enamel paint. In addition to providing color, the paint will help disguise any rust caused by dripping umbrellas. Mark the bottom third of a tall galvanized bucket (available at garden centers) with painters' tape; prime and paint this area and the bottom of the bucket. Let dry 24 hours before removing tape.
Tree stumps, used individually or clustered together, function as low tables in a living room. A coat of enamel paint applied to the tops serves a dual purpose: It adds a jolt of color and creates a smooth, sealed surface. Furniture gliders can be attached to protect the floor.
Turn empty gift baskets into stylish household organizers. (Similar receptacles are sold at floral shops and crafts stores if you need to supplement your supply.) Unify the mismatched containers by coating them with a single color of latex paint; dry overnight. Then place the baskets on a hallway console table or a desk, filling them with envelopes, stationery, and other supplies. Alternatively, use a set to keep your bathroom or kitchen counter clean and tidy.
Half Table Console
Unless you want to do a lot of sawing, the likely candidate for this project will have an extending mechanism to accommodate a leaf. (Hint: Any damage or wear -- a missing corner block, a major crack -- drastically reduces table prices at flea markets.)
Clothespins can be used to organize and hang papers, photos, and cards when they're turned into refrigerator magnets. To make them, remove the springs from wooden clothespins, and lightly sand wood with sandpaper. Coat with acrylic paint; let dry. Reattach springs, and affix a small magnet to 1 side of each pin with multipurpose cement.
Magnetic Message Board
Magnetic bulletin boards are handy, but the color options are limited. Make your own and you can match the powder blue of your kitchen. First, paint a prestretched artist's canvas. When it's dry, turn it over. Coat a piece of cut-to-fit sheet metal with spray adhesive, and attach it to the back of the canvas. Place a same-size piece of foam board on top of the metal. Then screw mirror clips (one on each side) into the frame and a sawtooth hanger on the back, toward the top. Glue ribbon around the edges for a finished look.
Simple drawer pulls become fancy feet for a plain wooden tray and make it worthy of special occasions. Prime and paint tray. If knobs' screws aren't long enough to go through the bottom of your tray, replace them with longer ones.
The right lampshade can transform a room -- all you have to do is find it. Here's a simple way to make one instead. Start with an opaque white paper shade, and add paint, trim, or silver leaf. High-gloss oil-base paint gives the best results; thin it if necessary, and apply two or three coats to the outside of the shade, letting it dry after each. To add ribbon trim, cut ribbon to the circumference of shade, paint the edges of shade with craft glue, and lay the ribbon over the glue with the ends meeting at the shade's seam. The wide silver trim shown here is self-adhesive but stiff, so it can only be used on drum shades; it was scoured gently with steel wool to give it a matte look. Silver leaf can be applied inside a shade before you paint the outside.
Magnetized Pin Box
This magnetized box keeps a few pins safely within reach, so you won't have to rummage through a box at the risk of your fingers. Prime and paint a wooden crafts box; leave the face of the raised platform on the underside of the lid unfinished. Cut a rectangle of self-adhesive magnetic sheeting to the same size as the platform. Then cut a piece of fabric to the size of the magnet plus 1/4 inch on all sides; snip the cloth's corners diagonally, as shown. Lay fabric facedown, and center the magnet on top, adhesive side up. Peel off paper, and fold back the fabric edges onto the sticky backing. Apply craft glue along the 4 edges, align the magnet with the platform, and press firmly to affix.
More from Martha Stewart Living:
15 Kitchen Shortcuts That Will Change the Way You Cook
19 Tips for Perfect Laundry Every Time
10 Clever Ways to Save Space in Your Kitchen
12 Secrets for a Cleaner Bathroom Without Spending More Time Cleaning It