Archive | June 2011

Branching Out

I know, I know… I should have put a bird on it. After all, what goes better with branches and nests? The final result of this project was definitely not what I set out to create but it definitely is weird unique. I bought the lamp for $3 at the swap meet and pulled the manzanita branches out of the garbage at work. The lamp looked to be oxidized brass and the branches were unfinished/natural.

I wired the branches to the harp with some thin gauge wire. The harp is the piece of the lamp that goes up and around the bulb to hold the shade. I gave the lamp and branches a coat of bright green glossy paint, taking care to fill up the light bulb socket with paper to make sure the paint didn’t get in there. I didn’t have a suitable shade so I created a web of paper strips and glued them together to create a shade. The shade was inspired by a bird nest. It seemed appropriate given the context. Here’s how it turned out.

And here’s a close up of the shade.

If I were to do this again I would finesse the shade some to make it a little more like a nest. I still might do that, but for now I’m happy with the final product.

As always, if you have any questions on how I did this or need advice on making your own, just holler! Thanks for reading and remember, today’s ideas become tomorrow realities.

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If You Like it, Then You Shoulda Put a (Whiskey Barrel) Ring On It

These great whiskey barrel rings had been left for dead in the side-yard by a previous tenant. Originally we had intended to use the barrel as a planter but when we tried to flip it over the whole thing disinigrated. At the last minute I pulled these from the trash and thought I could do something cool with them. We hung them on the fence and the idea of hanging the candle holders inside of them came after. Easy, cheap and packs a big punch. I think Beyonce would approve.

As always, if you have any questions on how I did this or need advice on making your own, just holler! Thanks for reading and remember, today’s ideas become tomorrow realities.

This Little Light of Mine

I happened upon a set of three palettes that I thought had really cool feet. Each palette had 9 injection molded plastic donut shaped feet that screwed into the bottom of the palette with a threaded bolt. I tossed around a few ideas and settled on making them into a light that I could either set on a table or mount to the wall. This project used all recycled materials that I had lying around.

Once I had all the feet removed I took out the thread hardware and gave them a coat of flat black paint.

Concerned that they were starting to look too much like mini tires and that the black paint would absorb all the light from the light source I decided to spray the inside of each “donut” with gold paint. I thought it would pop it up a notch and help reflect some light.

To get the gold on just the inside of each donut I drilled a large hole in the bottom of a solo cup and used that to direct the gold paint into the center.

Turns out spray paint melts solo cups. I wonder what it does when you breath it? Another reason to wear a respirator.

With all the donuts painted I got started on the board I would mount them to. I started by mapping out the locations where I would push the lights through into the center of each donut and drilled holes.

With all the holes drilled I gave it a few coats of high gloss black paint for contrast with the flat black and applied a sheet of the same contact paper I used on the houndstooth wall.

I finished the whole thing up by pushing white christmas lights through each hole and stapling them to the back. This worked out well because it helps to give the whole fixture a halo or glow from the back. Here’s the finished piece in the daylight.

And here’s what it looks like all lit up.

I like it a lot sitting flat on a table because it looks like a long arrangement of candles. The fixture is 24″ X 60″ so I just need to get a giant dining room table… and a new apartment to hold it!

As always, if you have any questions on how I did this or need advice on making your own, just holler! Thanks for reading and remember, today’s ideas become tomorrow realities.

Palm Frond Hanging Planter

In an earlier post, I turned a palm frond I found into a hanging light fixture. This project uses the other frond that I found at the same time. In the winter when storms roll into San Diego you can find palm tree debris all over the place and its free for the taking. I wanted a way to hang some plants in the window in my shower since with all the moisture, it seemed like a place plants would thrive. Of course, I didn’t want to spend money when I thought I could make some cooler than I could buy at the store. This is how the frond looked before I started. It’s a little larger than the one I used for the light and had a nice curve that I thought would help to hold the soil in place.

I started by using some left over leather cord which you’ve seen me use in other projects. I tied a few pieces around the front to keep it place after I filled it with soil. If your frond is dry, try soaking it in water to soften it up so that it doesn’t crack when you bend it.

I filled it with soil next and wadded up a plastic grocery bag to keep the soil from falling out. To hang it I used more leather cord and made a sling for the planter to rest in. I tied it up to the old curtain rod first and then slid the planter in place. The way its hung on a slight angle makes watering it really easy. So that the dirt doesn’t run out I use a wash cloth and ring it out. I only have to water it on one end because the slope allows the water to run down through the roots of all three plants and drains out the lower end. These plants were freebies and are two different types of begonias and a fern. If I do it again I might line the inside of the frond with something to keep it from rotting over time.

As always, if you have any questions on how I did this or need advice on making your own, just holler! Thanks for reading and remember, today’s ideas become tomorrow realities.

Recycled Futon Upholstered Headboard

I like the look of upholstered headboards but didn’t want to shell out hundreds of dollars. So, when I finally upgraded to a big boy apartment (a one bedroom versus a studio) it seemed like my futon would be better used as a headboard. Originally the futon was around $100 from Target. After all, I finally had room for a full-sized sofa. This is what the futon looks like assembled after purchase. Note the cheap looking chrome legs. I was more than ready to see those go. Target apparently uses a technology called “click-clack”… think patio chase lounge. It clicks up and clicks down to adjust the futon back from vertical to horizontal. What makes this piece suitable as a headboard is that folds completely flat and has a really solid inner structure. It’s not like a traditional futon with the mat sitting on top of a wooden frame.

All I needed to support the headboard while standing vertical was a few boards and screws that I had lying around in my garage. I simply attached them to the back of the futon while I had laying face down. I added a set of LEDs for dramatic effect at night. These particular LEDs are great because they can be changed to 8 different colors to suit your mood. Around $50 at IKEA. I opted to just sit the whole unit on the ground. It was much easier that way and I thought that since it was over-scaled it seemed better lower. Ya the back is kinda ramshackle but I figured no one would ever see it anyway. If I thought I would be sharing it with the world I might have taken more care to make the back look a little tidier.

Here is the final product. I finished the look off with some small floating shelves. Around $10 each from IKEA. These are great little space savers and easy to vacuum under.

I love using all kinds of lights to add atmosphere at night. LEDs are great because they don’t get hot, which makes them safe to duct tape to fabric as I did here. They are also low energy which I also love.

As always, if you have any questions on how I did this or need advice on making your own, just holler! Thanks for reading and remember, today’s dreams become tomorrow realities.

Stairway to Succulent Heaven

outdoor furniture used as garden storage and plant stand

This quarky little piece has been doubling as gardening supply storage and plant stand since before I moved into this apartment. My friend who lived here before me decided to repurpose it as outdoor furniture. Since its small in scale its the perfect size for the front porch and its unique shape makes it great for showing off favorite plants. The only downside is the elements have definitely taken their toll on this little gem. Spray paint to the rescue…again.

I started by removing all the drawers and hardware and giving it a thorough dusting.

It was about this time that I realized the veneer all along the top had become brittle and was peeling off. I took a putty knife to it and scraped and peeled away any areas that were loose to get the piece prepped for painting.

I chose a dark brown for the wood and a gloss black for the hardware. Here is the final product.

As always, if you have any questions on how I did this or need advice on making your own, just holler! Thanks for reading and remember, today’s dreams become tomorrow realities.

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