Spring fever is in full swing and it’s a great time of year to give your creativity a boost. We are thrilled to welcome back Morgan of A Little Kooky with three fabulous projects to save your sanity as we wait for spring to fully arrive for good.
It’s that semi-depressing time of year when the holidays are over, but spring hasn’t quite sprung. Luckily for me, keeping myself busy also keeps me sane throughout these dragging weeks. That’s why it’s the perfect time to take on some DIY crafts or home improvement projects you’ve been putting off. Easier said than done, I know, but hopefully these simple projects will give you the winter boost you need to unleash your creativity—and productivity. And if these projects aren’t your cup of tea, check out my design, home decor and DIY blog, A Little Kooky, for endless amounts of inspiration.
3 Sanity Saving Spring Projects to Awaken Your Creativity
Keepsake Title Photo Coasters
Gift-giving is hard. Just when one holiday or special occasion ends, another is just starting, and buying gifts for every one of them is NOT. EASY. That’s why I love this sentimental project. It’s out of the ordinary. It’s heartfelt. And my all time favorite part, it’s SUPER CHEAP. You can opt for any style of photo for these tile coasters, but my favorite is old family photos. So determine the style you want, and get to DIY’n.
- 4×4 tiles
- Photos (I chose all black & whites)
- Photo cutter, scissors or exacto knife & cutting mat
- Mod Podge
- Sponge brush
- Cork for the backs
- Hot glue
- Waterproof sealant
- Cut your photos down to size. Since I chose a natural stone tile that’s 4 inches by 4 inches, that’s the size I needed my photos. My go-to, last-minute print lab is Walgreens, and since they don’t have a custom size option, I sized my photos at a standard 4×6, and trimmed the borders. I always use an Exacto knife, ruler and cutting mat to make my cuts, but if you have a steady hand, more power to your scissoring-self.
- Once your photos are sized correctly (Note: I also rounded my corners, but you could keep yours crisp, too), get out your foam brush and apply a thin layer of Mod Podge to your tile. Then, center your photo and press it down. Cover the top of the photo with another layer of Mod Podge, and because this acts as your “seal,” be careful that you’re covering the edges and corners completely.
If you’ve never worked with Mod Podge, I first want to know, what planet do you live on? (Kidding.) But I do want to mention that it may seem like you’re ruining your precious photos, but trust me, once the Mod Podge dries, you’ll see the nice finish it leaves behind.
- Next, it’s time to address the back. To me, cork is the perfect solution to ensure your tiles won’t nick or scratch any surface. Plus, it gives your project a nice, finished look. I bought my cork in a roll (from a local craft store), but it also comes lots of other ways. Pre-cut with adhesive on the back is just one example. A roll is the cheapest route in my opinion, especially since I know I will use it in the future. Then all you have to do is get out your Exacto, cut your cork to size and hot glue it into place. Like so:
- Seal, seal, seal. You might think Mod Podge is enough to seal your coasters, but not me. I want my DIY projects to be functional, and in this case, that means 100% waterproof. So I chose a durable top coat—Valspar’s Clear Sealer in satin.
- I applied two coats to be safe. Maybe it’s overkill, but I’ve made multiple sets of these over the years, and they’ve all held up really well. And that’s it. Wrap it in a pretty little bow, and you’ve got yourself a gift that’s totally re-gift proof : )
Modern Floor Pouf
Or as I like to call it, the triple threat. That’s because it can act as a foot stool, end table or makeshift seating. And anything that can be multi-functional in my house, is multi-amazing in my mind. The reason I came up with this project in the first place is because I’ve had another pouf for years. But it’s bulky, tired and just not the right color scheme anymore. So I decided I could re-use some of its stuffing to make a smaller one to fit my needs. (If you haven’t noticed, saving money is a favorite pastime of mine.)
- Fabric (you don’t have to go crazy and get full-blown reupholstery fabric, but depending on how you’ll be using the pouf, you want to make sure you choose the right weight for the job)
- Stuffing / fill
- Sewing machine & sturdy thread (all-purpose worked for me)
- Determine the size and shape you want for your pouf (this tutorial will showcase a perfect square), and cut your fabric accordingly. There are sooooo many options here, but a simple, modern square is what I chose. West Elm has a bunch of square, as well as round, poufs that I love, so that’s where I took my inspiration. And because I wanted this pouf to be fairly small, I decided 13-inches all around would be perfect. To achieve this, I cut each square to 14 inches, allowing for a half-inch seam on each side. In the end, you should have 6 squares (4 sides, 2 ends), each cut to 14 inches.
One thing to keep in mind before you cut is the orientation of your fabric pattern. For example: If you choose a chevron print, you’ll need to be super careful of aligning your chevrons at each seam. Otherwise the pattern will be all wonky at the end = no bueno. The fabric I chose is abstract so it didn’t much matter which way I cut, but just make sure you think about this before you even start.
2. It’s time to fire up your sewing machine. I wanted my pouf cover to be removable (so I can take it off to wash), so I opted for a zipper. And that was my starting point. Using a 9-inch zipper, pin one of your side pieces to it (making sure the fabric is oriented the proper way, and you are keeping to your ½-inch seam allowance) and start sewin’. Repeat with side 2.
3. Once you have the zipper in place between two of your sides, continue in the same vein with the other 2 pieces, until all four sides are sewn together.
4. Sewing on your top and bottom pieces are just about as simple as the side pieces, except you have to be careful at the corners. Work the material to make sure your fabric isn’t bunching too much, and that’s about the best advice I can give. You’ll end up with something like this:
5. Before sewing on your last piece, just make sure you have your zipper OPEN so you can turn the cover right side out when you finish sewing. I know this may seem obvious, but when you’re in-the-moment, it can be overlooked.
6. Turn your cover right side out, paying special attention to pushing your corners out completely, and now it’s time to fill. Now, there are many types of fill. As I said at the beginning, I had an old pouf I wanted to utilize, but you can use old fabric scraps, stuffing from old pillows, foam pieces, standard poly-fill (though keep in mind, it can get expensive) or any number of things. I recommend using anything you have on hand (since I’m cheap!) and supplementing with more expensive foam or poly-fill.
Remember, you want the center to be dense, and the outsides to be fluffy, so you can also do things like insert a thicker density foam piece in the middle, and your fluffier fill around it. The more foam you use, the more “seat-like” it will become. So keep that in mind. Also take care not to overfill. You want your pouf to be full, but still soft and fluffy.
7. Zip ‘er up, and that’s it! The most gratifying step of all is putting your feet up on your new floor pouf.
You’ve probably seen DIY paper garland filling your Instagram and Facebook feeds. And for good reason. It’s so darn cute! That’s why I absolutely love this project. You can use the final product in so many ways—for holiday decor, party decorations, even as embellishments for a kid’s bedroom or rec room. Plus, the steps couldn’t be easier. In my mind, tackling this one is a no-brainer.
- Cardstock of varying colors
- Paper punch (I used a circular one, but you can do anything: hearts, squares, etc.)
- Sewing machine with all-purpose thread
- Tape or tacks to hang
- Determine your color scheme and buy a few sheets of cardstock in each color. You don’t need a super thick paper, but if it’s too lightweight, you run the risk of it tearing while you sew the pieces together. I also chose my needle through trial and error, until one seemed to handle my paper thickness the best.
- Get out your paper punch and punch away. My set of punches is from Creative Memories, and I love them.
- Identify how and where you want to hang your garland. This is so you have an idea of how long you want to make each strand. I varied my lengths because I like the look of long and short strands paired together. If you’re unsure, just start sewing, and stop periodically to scope out length.Another thing to note is how to feed your circles through. My machine has guidelines along it, so I had a visual cue for ensuring I was sewing along the true centers of my circles. If your machine doesn’t have guides, you could use masking tape or painter’s tape to mark the width of the circles, and that will help you stay centered when sewing.Then, you simply feed your circles through one at a time. It’s slow going, but once you get the hang of it, you can speed up a bit. I also wanted my circles to touch end-to-end, so you will be feeding circles through super quickly. Hopefully these photos help explain.
- Sew as many colors as you want, and you’ve got a versatile party decoration! Hang, admire and maybe get some vino while you’re at it (I told you these steps were easy).
I hope these projects will inspire you to take on even more DIY and home decor projects. Don’t forget check out my blog for daily doses of kookiness and decor inspiration. Happy spring!
About the Author
Morgan is a full-time writer & associate creative director for a downtown Milwaukee ad agency. And full-time mom & wife for an uptown home. (How’s that for a job title?) She began her love affair with writing at UW Oshkosh, but honed her craft at Miami Ad School. She’s worked everywhere from traditional Mad Men-esque agencies to branding firms to digital shops. When she’s not writing for her clients, she’s writing, DIY-ing and doing lots of other-ing things for her design blog: Alittlekooky.com. The rest of her free time is spent eating, sleeping, traveling, running, practicing yoga and attempting NOT to instill in her toddlers the colorful vocabulary that she has.