How To Turn a Bookshelf and Finials Into A Storage Ottoman

I know – that’s not something you see every day! But when Continental Window Fashions asked me to make something with finials, I immediately thought that the cute shape of a pretty finial is perfect as feet for an ottoman. And well, the bookshelf was standing around doing nothing and waiting to be useful.

west elm essex ottoman

And when I saw this lovely little ottoman from West Elm, I knew exactly what I wanted to do!

ottoman and Chinese lady cushion

Here’s how to take an old bookshelf and turn it into an ottoman with finial feet.

ottoman materials

You Will Need:

An old bookshelf (for a sturdy ottoman, it’s best to use a bookshelf made out of solid wood and not chipboard)

  • 16mm thick chipboard, cut to the same size as the face of the bookshelf (this is for the ottoman lid)
  • 100mm medium density foam, cut to the same size as the face of the bookshelf
  • 22mm coverable buttons (we used 18)
  • Upholstery thread
  • Batting to cover the top and sides of the ottoman
  • Fabric of your choice (we used about 2.5m linen)
  • Thin cotton lining (we used 1m)
  • 4x curtain rod finials to use as feet. You can use regular wooden ball finials or go for more decorative Chaucer finials.
  • 4x  44mm x 44mm wooden corner blocks to support the feet
  • Wooden screws, filler, and touch-up paint.
  • 2x 40mm brass hinges

You will also need:

  • Staple gun and staples
  • Extra long upholstery needle
  • Electric drill with a variety of wood drill bits
  • 25mm hole saw bit

 

STEP 1:

foam template

Create a grid on both the foam and the chipboard lid. We made a 4 x 3 button, or you can create your own grid based on your ottoman’s dimensions. Then mark where the buttons will go.

 

STEP 2:

grid and drill

Use a 4mm drill bit to drill holes into the chipboard lid.

 

STEP 3:

foam grid drill holes

Next, use the hole saw bit to drill holes into the foam carefully.

 

STEP 4:

linen and batting and foam

Place the foam onto the chipboard, making sure that the holes line up. Then cover the foam with the wadding and lay over the fabric, taking care that the centre of the fabric is in the centre of the foam.

 

STEP 5:

how to cover buttons

Now you’re ready to start with the buttons! Cover the buttons with your chosen fabric – a button covering tool makes this really easy. The lid of a spray paint canister works perfectly as a template!

 

STEP 6:

how to do diamond buttoning

Thread 20” of upholstery thread through each button, and then use your extra long needle to thread the button through the fabric, wadding, foam and lid.

ottoman art nouveau book

PRO TIP:

Start from the central button and work your way outward, finishing with the buttons on the edges.

STEP 7:

thread and screw driver

Use a screwdriver to get a better grip on the thread at the back, and pull until you are happy with the depth of the button at the front. Then apply staples in a zig-zag way to secure the thread. Repeat until you have secured all the buttons.

 

STEP 8:

fabric and staple gun

Frist fix the wadding and then proceed to secure the fabric at the back of the lid. Make sure that you tuck the pleats as you go!

linen and staple gun

Take special care with the pleats around the corners to ensure that they are tight and even.

 

STEP 8:

 

chinese floral fabric

Add a lining to the inside of the lid to finish it off – we used a colourful floral for a fun twist!

STEP 9:

upholsery gun

 

Cover the sides of the base with a layer of wadding and fabric, and use your staple gun to secure it. Be sure to tuck the edges in on the top edge to finish it neatly.

cotton lining staple gun

For a professional touch, add a layer of lining to the bottom as well!

Chinese floral brass hinges

Then secure the lid to the base with the hinges.

STEP 10:

ottoman support blocks

To attach the legs, first add the support blocks on the inside of the base. Then drill holes big enough to take the dowel that’s attached to the finial.

finial leg

Add a drop of wood glue to the hole before you push in the finial.

open ottoman

Place some boxes inside and use it for storage!

ottoman storage boxes

Happy DIY-ing!

Make your own diamond tufted headboard

Ideas Magazine asked me to make this headboard for their gorgeous July/August issue, and when you get the chance to make something beautiful, you have to grab the opportunity! This is not my first headboard, and it’s certainly not my last! I love headboards. Aside from providing a beautiful focal point in your room, they are super practical – especially if you like reading in bed. This one looks fantastic and costs much less than the store-bought version. And don’t be afraid to tackle this project – it is surprisingly easy to make!

Ideas Idees Magazine

Remember to get your copy of Ideas!

 

 

Here’s how to make your very own diamond tufted headboard!

To make a ¾ bed headboard, you will need:

  • Wooden base for the headboard – we used 1mx1mx19mm strand board
  • 5m fabric (we used charcoal linen)
  • 1m batting
  • 18x 22m coverable buttons
  • Thick thread (we used crochet thread)
  • Mattress needle
  • Staple gun & staples
  • Spray adhesive
  • 1mx1mx75mm thick foam
  • 1x Pine PAR 22x44mm x 2.4m batten, cut into 2x 1.2m lengths
  • 4x 3mmx32mm chipboard screws
  • 1m cotton lining

You will also need:

  • Headboard Template
  • Carpenter’s Pencil
  • Marker
  • Jigsaw
  • 22mm hole saw drill bit
  • Electric Carving Knife
  • Drill with 3mm wood drill bit
  • Scissors
  • Screwdriver
  • Measuring Tape
  • Straight Edge

STEP 1:

chipboard and jigsaw

Use the template to cut the curve at the top of the wooden base. Then give the edges a quick sanding to make sure that there aren’t any rough areas.

 

STEP 2:

foam and grid

Draw a grid of 10x20cm on both the foam and the wooden base. Then carefully mark the position of the buttons using the marker.

 

STEP 3:

drill and foam

Use the hole saw drill bit to cut the holes into the foam only. Place a piece of sacrificial wood underneath to protect your work surface!

 

STEP 4:

chipboard, foam and spray glue

Fix the foam to the wooden base using the spray adhesive. Ensure that everything is perfectly straight and allow to dry.

 

STEP 5:

chipboard foam saw

Using the curved edge of the wooden base as a guide, cut the foam to the same shape with the electric carving knife.

 

STEP 6:

foam drill

Placing the 3mm drill in the middle of each foam hole, drill a hole through the wooden base. This is where each button will be threaded through.

 

STEP 7:

headboard back

Cover the foam with the batting, securing it at the back with the staple gun. Then cut away any excess batting afterwards.

 

STEP 8:

foam scissors

Cut a small cross into the batting where it covers each foam hole. You should be able to easily see the small hole in the wood once you’ve done this.

 

STEP 9:

fabric batting

Lay the fabric over the batting, making sure that the centre of the fabric is in the centre of the headboard.

 

STEP 10:

covering buttons

Cover the buttons with fabric and attach a 40cm piece of thread to each button. Make a double knot at the back to make sure that they’re secure. A 2-litre milk bottle cap makes the perfect fabric template for a 22mm button!

 

STEP 11:

headboard buttons

Using the mattress needle, thread the buttons through the fabric, batting, foam and wood. It is easiest to do this if you place the headboard upright on the floor so that you can catch the needle at the back.

 

STEP 12:

staple gun screw driver

Wind the thread at the back around a screwdriver and pull until you’re happy with the depth of the button on the front of the headboard. Then use the staple gun to secure the thread by stapling it to the wood in a zig-zag pattern.

 

STEP 13:

pleat pinch

Tuck the pleats between the buttons as you go, making sure that they’re all facing in the same direction. Once all the buttons are in place, use the staple gun to secure the edges of the fabric at the back.

 

STEP 14:

headboard legs

Measure the height of the bed and secure the legs to the back of the headboard accordingly. Ideally, the lower edge of the upholstery should sit just above the top of the mattress.

 

STEP 15:

headboard backing

Staple the cotton lining to the back to finish off your headboard, tucking in the edges.

I hope you love your headboard as much as I love mine!

Make Your Own Faux French Tablecloth

I have had a soft spot for French table linen for a few years but somehow a tablecloth has never found its way to me. My dining room table was commissioned by my husband’s grandfather in 1926 and can comfortably seat 12, or even 14 at a push. So you can imagine that a beautiful, traditional French linen tablecloth of that size would be quite a sizable investment! In fact, I only have 2 tablecloths that are big enough and both of those we inherited with the table. Naturally, when I was left with a beautiful piece of double-width natural linen left after a project, I immediately started to employ it as a tablecloth. But I always felt that the traditional red or blue striped detail was lacking. And then it dawned on me: I have a red and natural woven ribbon! And that is how my faux French tablecloth came to be.

I first wrote this post in 2013, and now, 5 years later, I can honestly that this is one of my favourite tablecloths! We entertain regularly, and this one has featured numerous times!

You will need:

  • Linen or synthetic linen*
  • Woven cotton ribbon in the colours of your choice
  • Matching thread

*  Linen is an excellent and durable choice, although natural linen can be very costly. Synthetic linen is made from polyester. It is much more affordable, stable (won’t stretch or warp) and stain- and crease resistant. 

To determine the length of fabric needed, add 40cm (20 cm each side) to the length of your table. Most fabrics are 140cm wide, so that should be sufficient for the width of your table.

 

You will also need:

  • Pins
  • Measuring tape
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron

STEP 1:

linen and ribbon

Ensure that the fabric and ribbon are both prewashed to eliminate any risk for shrinkage. Then iron both to remove any creases.

STEP 2:

french tablecloth diy

Lay the fabric on a table or other large, flat surface, and pin the ribbon down the centre of the fabric. Measure regularly to ensure you pin straight!

STEP 3:

red striped ribbon

Carefully stitch the ribbon to the fabric, using a long straight stitch.

STEP 4: 

french tablecloth glass

Iron the tablecloth again and admire your work!

This is a super simple project! The only trick is to make sure that you don’t pull on the fabric as you stitch. This will prevent the tablecloth from warping down the middle.

Sometimes you really just have to relook things in a new way – you’ll be surprised at the possibilities right under your nose!

Happy Creating!

This post was originally published on August 26, 2014. It has since also appeared in my book, Make Your Home.

DIY Cement Coasters: Super Easy Tutorial

This post was first published in May 2016.

Something I’ve struggled to find is decent coasters for mugs or glasses (without spending a fortune). There are lots of standard options out there, but it’s good to have some pieces in your house that are not standard, pieces that say something about you. These cute DIY cement coasters are practical and rustic, but have a touch of glam. They’re easy to make and you can get creative with your own painted designs. Go on, give it a try!

cement coaster DIY-5

What you’ll need:

Template for mould – Download here
Cardboard, preferably with a shiny coating
Cement mix
Spray paint
Masking tape
Thin cork board or felt
Glue
Sandpaper (optional)

cement coaster DIY-10

Here’s How:

Start by printing and cutting out the template. Fold along the dotted lines and tape the hexagon mould closed using masking tape. Using a shiny card, such as the back of an old magazine, will allow the card to peel off the cement easily once it is dry.

Mix the cement with sand and water. I used a ratio of 1 part cement to 3 parts sand, with 1 part water plus a little extra to make a nice soft paste that will take the shape of the mould.

Add mixed cement into each mould to about 5mm and allow to dry for a few days. If the cement is too thin, it will be brittle and break easily. However, if thick enough it is durable, especially once the cork or felt is attached to the underside.

cement coaster DIY

Gently remove the mould once cement is dry. You can see below that normal cardboard can leave some paper residue where the cement was drying on the card. If this happens simply remove as much as you can and then use sandpaper to remove the rest. This is the side that will be the top of the coaster. You can also use sandpaper to give it a bit of a rougher texture on top and to smooth the bottom of the coaster. Be sure to brush all dust off the coaster after sanding it.

cement coaster DIY-2

Use masking tape to cover parts of the coaster that you do not want spray painted. Lightly spray, ensuring that all exposed cement is painted. Once the paint is fully dry, remove the masking tape.

cement coaster DIY-3

Use the cork template to cut hexagons, slightly smaller than the coasters, from the cork or felt. Glue the cork onto the underside of your cement coasters and they are ready to use!

cement coaster DIY-4

cement coaster DIY-8

Happy crafting!

Deborah Signature Featherly

For more creative inspiration, follow my Instagram at @Puresweetjoy or visit me at Pure Sweet Joy.

Who’s Your Daddy this Father’s Day?

Father’s Day is this coming Sunday, and what better way to thank your Dad for his awesomeness than with a R1,000 voucher from Builders Warehouse?? Just tell us Who’s Your Daddy: is it DIY Dad, Garden Dad or Braai Dad?

whosyourdaddy

#1: DIY DAD

whosyourdaddy

Does your Dad love to get his hands dirty in the garage? Is he always working on things, building and tinkering with projects around the house? Then he is most likely DIY Dad, that guy that can fix anything and everything with his tools and tool belt.

#2: BRAAI Dad

whosyourdaddy

We all know this guy! Rain or shine, he’ll make any excuse to light a fire and cook his meat the way God intended. He has every possible gadget that he could ever need for his outdoor culinary adventures. And loves to hang around the fire showing off his skill.

#3: GARDEN Dad

whosyourdaddy

You can spot his exquisite garden from the window of an aeroplane. The borders are perfect, the gravel meticulous and he takes pride in his roses and gladiolas. Not to mention the harvest from his kitchen garden!

Now tell us Who’s Your Daddy!

Click here to enter the lucky draw to win a R1,000 voucher from Builders Warehouse for your Dad this Father’s Day.

 

Give Crockery a Creative Make-Over with Paint and Plants

This post was first published in March 2015.

Everyone has some old crockery that they don’t like. It might be something that you got as a gift (those quintessential horrid wedding gifts from 13 years back!) or something that just went out of fashion.

Which brings me to the 4 unused bowls I’ve had in my kitchen cupboard for years now. Sometimes I get into a let’s-throw-everything-out-that-we-don’t-use-anymore mood, but even after several of those, these little creations remained. I realized that’s because I rather like the shape of them, even though the designs were not my style at all. So I got out some paint and started playing around!

palette

You will need:

Paint (I used Chalk Paint™ decorative paint by Annie Sloan because it sticks to anything!) | Brushes | Leaves and things to print with | CPG (Ceramic, Porcelain, Glass) Podge

You can paint the bowls any way you like: with a brush, a roller or by swirling it around in the bowl. I painted directly onto the ceramic without preparing the surface first. The paint gives a rough texture which gives the impression of clay – love it!

paint me pretty

The fun starts when you work a with a few leaves or plants from your garden to see what patterns they make. Have a look at the play-with-print session we had earlier – anything can make a print!

natures stamp

To dip a bowl, add some packing tape to the back. This will give you a better grip on the bowl and will help with getting just the right depth of dip on the edges. Leave it dry by balancing it on a can of spray paint – works like a charm!

daintily dipped

To finish, paint the dried bowl with 4 layers of CPG Podge and bake according to the instructions on the bottle. This will seal the paint and prevent it from coming off. I won’t advocate putting it in the dishwasher or using a scourer on it, but you will be able to gently wash it in warm water.

colorful snack bowls

So now you also don’t have any reason to have ugly crockery – go on, paint and stamp them!

gr

Printing with Vegetables – a creatively fun experiment!

This post was first published in July 2014.

I have very fond memories of my fibre art class in high school and all the amazing textile-related techniques I was taught there. Amongst others, I learnt that a potato makes a very handy printing tool and can be carved into various shapes to create all manner of interesting patterns. Lately, though, I’ve been wondering if other vegetables could also be used as printing tools and when I walked through my veggie garden today and found a mammoth cauliflower, an idea started taking shape. So, I have taken it upon myself to do a bit of experimental printing with vegetable, and oh my goodness, was I surprised?!

v 1 - watermarked

v 8 - watermarked

CAULIFLOWER. Seriously, who knew? I certainly didn’t! I am already conjuring up images of walls being printed with this interesting floral pattern – watch this space and expect amazing things! I really feel that the sky is the limit when it comes to this one.

v11 - watermarked

Break off a large floret and cut through it so that you get a nice smooth face with a curly edge and stem (using a VERY sharp knife greatly helps). Print them in a circle with the stems touching to create a floral pattern or any way you want really!

v 7 - watermarked

GARLIC: It makes beautiful butterflies or hearts and pretty little flowers. You can also half the entire bulb and use that to print – perfect for gift wrap or a small canvass.

v 10 - watermarked

v 6 - watermarked

ONION: It’s amazing that it makes a perfect set of concentric circles. So beautiful that I just had to do a whole canvass with it. Isn’t is stunning!?

v9 - watermarked

By printing your own, you can create original artwork, gift wrap and cards, fabric and linen.

v 2 - watermarked

It’s so simple; even my kids got involved although Jean much preferred printing himself than the paper!

There is all manner of amazing patterns in nature: cucumber slices,  halved beetroot or citrus fruit, apples and pears with the seeds in the core. Go on, experiment a bit and then share with us what you’ve created!

Happy Printing!

Simple Scandinavian Ladder

I never throw away cut-offs and wood scraps! They have a special place in my small backyard, where they often prove to be little treasure troves of pain, especially when feet find them. But they are treasures nonetheless; throw-away scraps are perfect for odd jobs, and their size and shape largely dictate what you can do with them; which is how this ladder came into the world.

This ladder is not the most original DIY, but it is practical and pretty. Initially, I left it unpainted, but when I saw this West Elm version, I was convinced white paint had to be part of my ladder.

 

HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN DIY DECORATIVE LADDER

Difficulty: easy

Time: 1 hour without drying between paint coats

 

YOU WILL NEED:

  • 2 x 35mmx35mmx3.0m timber battens
  • 16 wood screws
  • Cold wood glue like Alcolin, or a strong wood bonding glue
  • white water-based paint
  • Painter’s tape or masking tape

TOOLS FOR THE JOB:

  • Jigsaw
  • Drill
  • A piece of sandpaper (or electric sander)
  • Screwdriver
  • Paintbrush
  • Carpenter’s square
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil

STEP 1:

rustic decorative adder

Measure and cut battens to 2x 1.5m pieces for the legs and 4x 0.5m pieces for the rungs.

Pro tipUse a carpenter’s square to ensure the pieces are cut perfectly square. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a wonky ladder.

STEP 2:

make a ladder

Sand down the pieces to the desired smoothness. I only sanded the edges, because I wanted a rougher texture.

STEP 3:

vintage ladder

Mark the positions of the rungs on the sides of the legs: I spaced mine 300mm apart. Remember that the rung will sit in the middle of the measurement. Drill two pilot holes for each rung, one a little higher than the other. This will prevent the wood from splitting and will ensure a stronger hold.

STEP 4:

wood ladder

Put a drop of cold glue on the edges of a rung, wait a few seconds, and press it against the inside of the leg where you drilled the pilot holes. Move the wood against each other until you feel the hold securing. Use your carpenter’s square to ensure a 90-degree angle.

STEP 5:

diy storage ladder

Fix the two screws in place for each rung and then allow the cold glue to dry.

Repeat steps 5 and 6 for each rung until your ladder is complete.

STEP 6:

timber ladder

(If you want a smoother finish, now would be the time to sand!) Use painters tape to demarcate the areas the be painted. I measured 20cm from the outside leg.

STEP 7:

make your own storage ladder

Paint the sectioned area of the ladder. Allow to dry between coats until you’re happy with the finish. Lightly sand in between coats if you want a smooth modern appearance.

Pro tip: Brush away from the painter’s tape, to avoid the paint bleeding. And don’t use too much paint.😉

STEP 8:

Remove masking tape. I love this part – it’s stressful and exciting!

Optional: Apply a clear sealant or treat the exposed wood. Wait to dry…and you’re done!

DIY storage ladder 2

Congratulations! You are now the owner of a self-made Nordic-style ladder ready to hang your towels or blankets! Well done!

Happy DIYing!

 

 

How to make your own DIY Midcentury Modern TV Stand

This TV stand upcycle has been such an awesome project, that I’ve decided to revisit it! It is now nearly three years since I’ve done this project, and this TV stand is still perfect for our living room. If you can’t get your hands on an Ikea shelf to repurpose, then any tall, narrow shelving unit will do to create this DIY Midcentury Modern TV stand.

A recent clearing out and cleaning up of my house left me with a dilemma: the teak TV stand that we had loved and used for ten years suddenly didn’t go with anything in my revamped living room! While storage in any house with kids is a dire necessity, my designer training got the better of me: I needed something slick and contemporary, and since I had fallen love with mid-century inspired furniture, I needed tapered legs as well. So off to Gumtree to scour the furniture for sale section!

Gumtree Furniture for SALE the loot

I spent a few days looking for things I needed, and finally found the perfect ingredients for my project: an old IKEA floating wall shelf (damaged on top, exactly what I wanted!), a box of left-over oak parquet blocks, and four vintage tapered legs.

The result is a stunning contemporary TV stand with character – here are the step-by-step instructions!

Search Gumtree for the following:

  • Shelving unit or something that will be suitable as a base structure for the unit
  • Tapered legs
  • Parquet blocks

You will also need:

  • wood glue
  • sander
  • 40 grit paper & 100 grit paper
  • screws
  • small wooden battens

Gumtree Furniture for SALE roughing it

STEP 1: Sand, the top of the shelving unit with the 40 grit paper, to create a rough surface. The glue will work better if it is applied to something with a bit of grip. This would also be a great time to fix up any damaged areas.

DIY midcentury modern TV stand

STEP 2: Lay out the parquet block in the pattern you desire – but don’t glue it down yet. We used a traditional herringbone pattern, but you can also use any of the patterns here. It takes a while to get the position right and to cut down all the smaller pieces, but take your time – this is the most important step. Measure twice, cut once! You can also getting little budding designers in on the action 😉

DIY midcentury modern TV stand

STEP 3: Remove the parquet blocks on one of the corners and replace them with two timber battens. Screw fix these in place – they will form the guide that you will be working from.

STEP 4: Start to carefully glue down the parquet blocks, making sure that they don’t move or slip as you carry on. When you have all of them in place, make sure that they are all perfectly positioned before the glue sets. Leave for at least 24 hours before you proceed to step 5.

STEP 5: If the parquet block that you got was new, then sand the top and edges with the 100 grit paper until everything is smooth and gorgeous – remember your safety goggles! If you bought vintage wood, then you’ll need to put in a bit of effort to remove all the grime and oil first before you can start to finish off the top. Use sugar soap and then a 40 grit paper, finishing with the 100 grit.

STEP 6: Turn the unit over and fix the legs in place.

STEP 7: Dust the top off and seal the wood with a few glugs of linseed oil. It doesn’t cause yellowing, and it brings out the natural colour variations in the wood beautifully. It smells amazing too!

I am so pleased with the result that I can hardly contain myself. If you have an idea for an upcycle, have a look through the hundreds of pieces of furniture for sale on Gumtree – you might just see something that will be perfect for your project.

Happy Upcycling!

DISCLAIMER: This post is sponsored by Gumtree South Africa

The Prettiest Little DIY Terrarium for Indoor Gardening

This pretty little DIY terrarium has to be one of my favourite projects for Ideas Magazine! Give your houseplants pride of place with this functional statement piece. You can repurpose a collection of old frames or buy new ones for the project and finish it in the colour of your choice – although this green really works!

How To Make Your Own Mini DIY Terrarium

How complicated: easy

How long: 1 ½ hours, excluding drying time

 You will need:

diy terrarium

  • 6 picture frames to make up the body of the terrarium. We used:
    • 2 x 37cmx47cm for the front and back
    • 2 x 25cmx37cm for the sides
    • 2 x 25cmx47cm for the pitched roof
  • 8x plastic corner blocks
  • 6x 25mm steel butt hinges
  • 3x10mm wooden screws
  • Spray paint (we used Rust-Oleum Ultra Cover paint and primer in Meadow Green gloss)

You will also need:

  • Electric drill with 2.5mm wooden drill bit
  • Screwdriver

STEP 1:

diy terrarium

Remove all the glass and backing boards from the frames and place them on a flat protected surface. Then spray the frames, taking care to cover the sides as well. Remember also to spray the back! Allow to thoroughly dry before moving on to step 2.

 

STEP 2:

diy terrarium

Position the corner blocks roughly 5cm from the top and bottom edges of the frames and drill pilot holes. This will prevent the frames from cracking when you fix the screws.

 

STEP 3:

diy terrarium

Use the 8 corner blocks to fit the 4 “walls” of the terrarium together. Place the caps on the corner blocks to finish it off.

 

STEP 4:

diy terrarium

Fit the “roof” of the terrarium by connecting the long edges of the 2 remaining frames with 2 of the hinges. Then fix the roof in place with the remaining 4 hinges.

 

STEP 5:

diy terrarium

Carefully replace the glass and populate with your favourite plants!

Happy Indoor Gardening!

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