Turn ordinary objects into prized possessions with these project ideas for your home.
1. From Old Cable Spool to New Library Table
Step One: To build this brilliant "bookmobile" - crafted by Halligan Norris Smith and featured in Grace Bonney's Design*Sponge at Home ($21.24; barnesandnoble.com) - search a commercial salvage yard or sites like eBay for a wooden cable spool (usually under $50). You'll also need about 12 three-quarter-inch-thick wooden dowels that measure at least as tall as the spool when it's lying flat on either wheel.
Step Two Lay the spool on one of its wheels, then use a ruler to measure the distance from the top of the top wheel to the top of the bottom wheel. Use a handsaw to cut the dowels to this size, then sand the spool and dowels.
Read more quick DIY projects to transform your home.
Step Three: Measure the distance from one wheel's outer edge to the spool's core. Divide that number in half.
Step Four: Beginning at the outer edge of the top of the top wheel, measure in the distance computed in Step Three. Mark with a pencil. Repeat around the spool's circumference, spacing marks an equal distance apart.
Step Five: At each mark, drill all the way through the top wheel, using a three-quarter-inch spade bit. Then, with a hammer, drive a dowel into each hole, until the dowel's bottom is secured against the bottom wheel. Paint spool and dowels, if desired; let dry.
Step Six: Evenly space three casters ($12 for five; ikea.com) in a triangle pattern atop the top wheel, placing each caster about an inch in from the edge, and drill into place. Flip the spool over and you're ready to roll.
Plus: Budget-Friendly Entertaining Tips
2. From Basic Pillow To Button-Cute Cushion
Blogger Shelly Leer devised this nifty trick for transforming a round pillow ($13 for 15-inch-diameter case; $18 for pillow insert; cuddledown.com). Center a 12-inch dinner plate facedown on the empty case; using a pencil, trace the shape. Within that circle, repeat with a 9-inch salad plate. Using a ruler and chalk, divide and mark the inner circle into equal quarters. Within each quarter, center a 2½-inchdiameter juice glass; using a pencil, trace the shape.
Trace over all six pencil-marked circles with a red, chisel-tip fabric marker ($2.99; amazon.com). Let dry for two minutes, then slide the pillow insert inside the case. Run a long needle threaded with embroidery floss through the center of each of the four small circles twice, to create tufting. Securely knot the floss on the pillow's back side; clip excess and dust off chalk marks.
Want more? 10 Practically Free Craft Ideas
3. From Ho-Hum Headbands to Ooh-La-La Accessories
Elevate inexpensive fabric headbands ($3.89 for three; shoprite.com) in just minutes by hot-gluing on adornments. Check out the selection at mjtrim.com, where we bought this vibrant straw flower and braided frog closure. Let the glue dry, about three minutes, then don your crowning achievement.
Plus: More Stylish Toppers
4. From Plain Paper to Customized Notepad
Step One Select one or more photos and use a program like Photoshop to silhouette and size each image so that it measures about 2 1/2 inches high. If desired, apply a filter to achieve a colorful tint, like the red above. Place one image in the bottom right corner of a horizontal Microsoft Word document. To create two notepad pages per sheet, align a duplicate of that image (or use a different one) along the bottom edge of the document, just left of center, according to your on-screen ruler. (Repeat on separate pages, as desired.)
Step Two Print out enough 8 1/2"W x 11"L sheets (at least 20) to make a pad; stack, then cut in half. To form a backing for the pad, cut out an 8 1/2"W x 5 1/2"L piece of cardboard.
Step Three Stack and align the pages with the cardboard piece at the bottom. Clamp the stack together on the left and right sides, near the top, with binder clips.
Step Four Using a paintbrush, apply a thin layer of Aleene's Tacky Glue ($2.99 for eight ounces; amazon.com) across the top of the notepad, making sure to completely cover both the paper and cardboard backing. Let dry for two hours before adding a second layer. Let dry again, then remove clamps before using.
5. From Backyard Stone to Playful Photo Display
Danny Seo, author of Upcycling ($18; Running Press), created this rocksteady holder with an 18-inch-long piece of floral craft wire (99 cents for 20; afloral.com). Tightly loop one end of the wire around a stone; then wrap the wire around itself to secure. Stand the remaining length of wire upright, twisting the top inch or so into a flattened spiral circle (as shown). Insert a postcard or snapshot for a picture-perfect effect.
Want more? Other Creative Photo Display Ideas
Get More From CountryLiving.com:
Refresh Any Room in a Flash
Boost Your Curb Appeal
Ultimate Outdoor Party Guide
60 Living Rooms You'll Love
Cute Summer Crafts
Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.