Thursday, June 19, 2014

Frugal Decorating 101: Dumpster Diving

Trash to treasure, dumpster diving, or digging through the garbage can like a kid looking for their broken crayon that their mom rightfully trashed, can all be valid ways to get materials for decorating.  If there is anything I've learned from my children its that you never take out the garbage without thoroughly digging through every last piece to see if your sneaky mother has decided to toss your latest "treasure".  Treasure of course could be anything from a popped balloon, to a pudding cup that hasn't been extremely scrapped clean (if you are almost two and hard up for chocolate).  I kid...mostly.  This project was literally saved from the garbage can...well at least part of it.

Señor Hotness asked me if I had any extra frames, from my last thrifting trip a few months back,  that I could use to make up a nice sign for a family at church.  That was a big YES.  He wanted me to make a sign that had the The Family: A Proclamation to the World, and of course I couldn't just print off a standard sign.  It had to be pretty.  Like something I would want in my own home.

As a youth, at church, I remember making up pretty framed signs.  One in particular was a beautiful poem overlaid a picture of the Savior.  They used a shear card stock, but I didn't have anything like that.  What I did have was tissue paper and huge book of awesome craft paper.

Lets all please ignore the fact that I worked a portion of this project on my unmade bed.  It happens.  I'm not proud of it.

I took a piece of printer paper, a pack of white tissue paper, and my awesome book of craft paper.  I had the theory that you could print onto tissue paper so long as it was carefully taped to a regular paper.  Then I could move it over to the pretty paper.  Easy peasy right?   Wrong.  I pulled out the tissue paper, cut it to size, and carefully taped it to the printer paper.

I used masking tape instead of scotch tape simply because I knew where the masking tape was.

In the printer ready to give it a go.

This go around almost worked, but half way down the sheet the tissue paper wrinkled and messed up the words.  So then I felt like if it wasn't even remotely wrinkled it would work.  That and it felt like the heat of the printer slightly shrank the paper contributing to the wrinkling problem.  So then things got serious.  I pulled out something that so rarely gets used around here that I had to dust it prior to using it...

That's right, ladies and gents, the ironing board.  This is one item that Señor Hotness wished saw way more use.

If only this picture showed how truly dusty this sucker was you all would be properly horrified, and feeling super sympathetic for Señor Hotness.

So then I decided that if I ironed both the printer paper, and the tissue paper it would do its weird shrinking business prior to getting into the printer and be fine.  Here is where I ran into a problem.  I actually needed the rest of the tissue paper for another project so I didn't want to use it all up trying to get this right.  So I was racking my brain when I looked in my bedside waste paper basket, and what was in there?!?!  Besides trash you ask?  Tissue paper from Señor Hotness's most recent batch of dry cleaning.  I don't know if all dry cleaners do this, but all of his suits come back with the sleeves stuffed full of tissue paper.  So I had a waste paper basket full of exactly what I needed.  Total score right?  So after some minor digging in the trash my project was back on track.

Ready for the iron.

After ironing all of it, trimming it, and then carefully taping it, it was time try the printer again.  This time was SO close.  It wrinkled at the very bottom this time around.  Then I had a light bulb moment.

See that black lid WAY back there in the back.

Bam!  I had spray adhesive.  I have had this spray adhesive for almost two stinking years, and I have used it exactly zero times.

To use this I would need to put it straight on the pretty finish paper.  So this was a sink or swim round.  So I ironed them both again.  Then I carefully sprayed my craft paper, on the patterned side, with spray adhesive.  I may have had a moment of stupidity madness and sprayed this indoors...DO NOT SPRAY THIS INDOORS.  It smells horrible, but it did dissipate fairly quickly.  Then I came back with my sticky hands, and smoothed the tissue paper over the, now sticky, craft paper.  I really rubbed it in, and smoothed it out to make sure that it was completely adhered to the paper below so that it couldn't possibly wrinkle during the printing process.

I folded the corners like I was wrapping a present when I taped in on.

Here it is all ready to go.

Here goes nothing...


Now it was time to turn my attention to the frame.  I paid $.50 for the frame from Good Will, and there wasn't anything special about it except it was wood and not plastic, and came with it's very own sheet of glass.

This looked okay, but certainly not great.

I opted to paint it with acrylic glue.

In Ivory White Gloss.

One coat down, but definitely not where I want it.

I only did two coats total.  This didn't cover all the underlying wood, but made for a slightly streaky topcoat.  I left it because after I add the glaze it will be added depth to the overall finished look.

This was after I added the glazing to the top, left and bottom of the frame, and it was looking exactly how I wanted it to.

Doesn't it look awesome?

I always have the hardest time with the corners, but I think it turned out nicely.

Here is one up close.

In the end I was a little sad that this was meant to be a gift for someone else.  Then I realized that that made me sound like an incredibly uncharitable person, and then I remembered that I made this entire thing out of stuff that I literally had lying around or, you know, trash.  So now that I have field tested this I can make another one even more personalized to match the decor in my home.

So there you have it folks.  How I used something out of the trash to help me make something that ended up looking crazy spectacular.  Now go forth and be a trash digger.  You may just find that special something that adds the perfect touch to your next up coming project, or a nasty old sandwich.  Its a gamble, but aren't most things in life worth a little risk?  Also you really can't beat a $.50 price tag for something that ends up looking like this.

1 comment:

  1. This turned out great! Would you share the text or graphic you used in the frame? Love how you used salvaged materials to make a beautiful gift.