DIY Decorating

Whether you’re shacking up with roommates, living on your own for the first time or back at your parents’ house rubbing pennies together, one thing is certain: students design on a dime. Having functional, expressive and stylish décor in your living space can be expensive if you’re shopping at department stores. However, there is another way you can reflect your personality at home, without breaking the bank. With the explosion of Pinterest and similar craft sites, do-it-yourself projects have become the latest trend. It’s time to roll up those sleeves and get down and dirty with a few DI. penny saving projects. We’ve featured several ideas, with projects for the DIY novice to expert. From vintage to chic, these projects will transform your room from drab to fab in no time.


Vintage repurposed tabletop jewelry organizer


Difficulty: hard  Price: varies

If you live near campus, you’ve probably seen massive amounts of furniture sitting on curbsides next to dumpsters from time to time. Although most of it consists of bug-ridden mattresses and smelly, stained sofas, every once in a while there’s a gem. 


What you’ll need:

—Metal tabletop (any size)

—Spray paint

—Spray metal primer

—Wall anchors and screws

—A toolkit (pliers, files and screwdrivers to disassemble the table, if necessary)

—150-grit sand paper

—Electric drill

—Finish washers      

—Small hooks


1) Disassemble the tabletop, if necessary. Once completed, use the sandpaper to remove sharp corners, rust or coating, and then spray the entire surface with the metal primer.

2) Once the primer has dried, spray on a coat of color paint.

3) Let the paint dry and then, with assistance, hold the piece where you’ll want to hang it on the wall. Mark the space, drill holes and then insert the washer anchors to secure it. Try not to screw it in too tight, as the metal may break.

4) Lastly, use the small S-hooks and clips to hang your jewelry. It’ll never get tangled again!


Vintage ostrich pendant chandelier  

Difficulty: easy  Price: $12

Trendy ostrich feather chandeliers are gorgeous additions to your space, but the price for one of those bad boys is steep. You can easily recreate the designer shades for a fraction of the cost. 


What you’ll need:

—Wax paper

—Packaging Tape

—Paper lantern ($6 at IKEA)

—Electrical cord 


1) Begin cutting sheets of wax paper into various lengths for the lamp’s hanging petals. Fold the paper over several times so you are able to cut eight petals at a time.

2) Attach the petals to the lamp with the tape. Start attaching the petals from the bottom upward, with shorter pieces at the top and longer ones near the bottom. Be sure to make lots of layers.

3) Now it’s complete! The petals should naturally curl outward and the matte on the wax paper will give it a glossy appearance.


Chic Instagram coasters

Difficulty: medium  Price: $10

Use your favorite filtered-to-perfection Instagram photos to produce cool, customized coasters.


What you’ll need:

—4-by-4 ceramic tiles (Home Depot has some for only 39 cents)

—Foam brush


—Mod Podge

—Clear, waterproof sealant

—Printed Instagram photos (one for each coaster)


1) Print out your Instagram photos; be sure to size the photos to fit the tiles. Try using photo paper instead of printer paper, as it is more durable and won’t bleed ink.

2) Coat one side of each tile with the Mod Podge, then place the photo cutout onto the tile pressing out any air bubbles. Let this dry for an hour.

3) Apply two more coats of Mod Podge onto each side of the tile. Let this dry for another hour.

4) Spray a light layer of sealant over the top of the coaster so it remains waterproof. 

5) Once everything’s dry, place the felt — cut out to the size of the tile — on the underside of the coaster. Grab a drink and you’re good to go!


Modern, upscale corkboard 

Difficulty: easy  Price: $10

This fun and easy craft will help you manage your time and stay organized. 


What you’ll need:

—4 12-by-12 inch cork tiles (other sizes will also work)      

—Foam brush

—Paper towels

—Acrylic paint

—Painter’s tape


1) After purchasing all the materials, select a color of paint to use for the base of the corkboard. You can stick with a single color or play around with a few by mixing and matching.

2) Tear long strips of painter’s tape, and create lines across the corkboard. Feel free to get creative and paint a topcoat on the board first if you don’t want the brown of the board showing. You can also arrange the lines of tape however you want for a funky feel.

3) Fold a piece of paper towel in half, and then in half again, and squeeze out a dollop of acrylic paint. Use the foam brush to cover the exposed areas of the board without tape.

4) Once finished, find a spot for the tile to dry for an hour before removing the tape. Repeat the process on the remaining tiles.

5) Now it’s time for you to find the perfect spot to place your trendy corkboard. Hang it up on your wall with tack or sticky putty, grab your pushpins and start pinning away!