Spray Paint Is Magic!

This really isn’t even a craft. It’s just such an easy money-saver and it’s just the type of thing I usually forget I can do. I see that someone else did this and I think “Of course, it’s so obvious and cheap, why didn’t I do that?”

I’m quite spur-of-the-moment (which often leads me to spend more than I need to) so I decided, after looking at Apartment Therapy (my new absolute favorite source of inspiration and cause of my desperate attempt to be frugal) that I needed plants in my apartment! Plants! Who doesn’t have plants? Me. Because I kill them. And the last time I grew basil it ended in a trip to urgent care and 7 stitches (long story). But it’s been a year or 2, I can handle it. Of course I bought the plants and realized I had nothing to plant them in.

But instead of buying up Home Depot’s stock of ok-looking pots that were around $5 a piece for the size I wanted, I headed to Dollar General. Right when I walked in, there was the spring gardening display and a bunch of pots…that were frumpy maroon and green colors. As I was in the process of deciding if I could live with those or needed to begin a wild goose chase for pretty pottery, I realized that my options actually went beyond expensive designer pottery (which, let’s be honest, would have been my next step) or ugly and cheap. I bought three maroon pots, mulled over the color I wished they were for about, oh, an hour, bought some glossy white spray paint (yes, it took me that long to decide on white. I even slept on it), sprayed away (2 coats in an hour, dry for 24 hours), and my $1 pots look a lot more expensive than that, don’t you think?

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Sometimes it just takes thinking about something for longer than you would to find a cheaper way to get it done. As I said, this is clearly not groundbreaking but it’s the type of thing I would normally not think of and would just go ahead and buy whatever looked good and costed more. Also, since I’m so accident prone (i.e. the basil drama), it’s sometimes nice to have a quick and easy project that goes smoothly and looks great.

Total cost: $16

  • Plants: $3 a piece = $9
  • Pots: $1 a piece = $3
  • White glossy spray paint: 1 can = $4

Not too bad to have custom (albeit white) colored pretty potted plants to add some life to your place! The tip from the guy whose apartment inspired me said he couldn’t imagine having a room without several plants in it. The more I looked at the pictures of his great apartment (here if you’re interested), the more I began to agree with him. And now that I’m beginning to do that in my apartment, I’m fully on board the plant train. (PS how adorable are those little plant babies? I hope they never grow up.)

Super Easy Ceramic Tile Coasters

In spite of the hyperbole, “super easy” is even an understatement here. These things take about 10 minutes from start to finish. I’m still deeply conflicted over this craft and the quality of it but more on that later. I learned how to make these in a HYP (Habitat (for Humanity) Young Professionals) get-together where we upcycled (buzzword alert) junk. So they were free to make (for me). But really, if you don’t already have tiles lying around and no one you know does, I’m sure you can get them really cheap at the store or at somewhere like Habitat ReStore, which is where our supplies came from. (I swear this is not a promotion post but, c’mon, Habitat is awesome.) So cost=$0 but if you’re purchasing things, probably under $10.

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So here is the recipe for personalized coasters!

Ingredients:

  • Tiles (mine are around 4×4 and were leftovers)
  • Mod Podge (you’ll know it by the great 70’s packaging and how fun it is to peel off your fingers)
  • Paper (I used scrapbook paper card stock but I mean, whatever you’ve got and like)
  • Fuzzy anti-scratch stickers (if you don’t know the real name of these or where to find them…good luck to ya)
  • A foam paintbrush

Steps

  1. Grab tiles. Sets of 4 feel complete to me but honesty, if I will probably only use those when I am drinking 4 things at once. On second thought, this might happen more than I think.
  2. You can sand the tiles first but I didn’t and it worked fine. So this step is for overachievers only!
  3. Measure the tiles and decide how wide you want the frame of tile to be around the paper. Cut paper to size. (A scrapbooking sliding cutter with a ruler on it works really well for this.)
  4. Paint the tile with Mod Podge with the brush (a thin layer is all you need).
  5. Place the paper on the tile.
  6. Add a few more layers of Mod Podge on top to seal in.
  7. Stick on the fuzzy stickers (4 per tile naturally, in each corner) so it doesn’t scratch your table and ta da!

Here are closeups of the 2 styles I made.

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Like I said, this took about 10 minutes, not counting the extra layers of Mod Podge I added in later for safety. They look pretty cute and I like that they are real customizable to your decor and taste. The issue I’ve had so far is a hot beverage did not go over so well and warped the paper a bit. I’m also not sure I love the look. I’m also debating whether it looks too cheap or not.

Input needed! What do you think? Cheap or chic? I’d love to try some variations on this, since it was so cheap and easy. I’m in love with maps so I think putting old maps on the tiles would look great and go with my decor, as well as covering an entire tile or painting it first. I’m not sure what the answer to hot drinks is though and I worry that condensation would do the same. Anyone know of any better sealants? How would you make yours unique? I’d love to hear some ideas!