Quick and easy shower gift: DIY plywood art

I recently hosted a baby shower for my middle sis, Megan. We are so excited to meet my new nephew any day now. Eek!

As part of the shower decor, I wanted to create a focal point for the cake table that could also double as a gift my sister could take home with her. This is what I came up with (these are baby’s initials):

Plywood-baby-shower-art

This project was super quick, easy and absolutely free, considering I already had on hand all the materials I needed! You could do this for a baby or a bridal shower, as the initials would work for a couple, too.

I started by cutting out a square from an old piece of plywood that was stored in our garden shed. Then I sanded all the sides really well.

Cutting-and-sanding-plywood

For years, the only power saw I would attempt to use was my beloved miter saw. I’ve since gotten pretty comfortable using this skill saw. I have no idea why I shied away from this tool before (aside from the ever-present thought of cutting off my fingers). It’s my new BFF. It cut this plywood like buttah.

Next I gave the plywood a coat of Rust-Oleum® Universal®* in Weathered Steel. After that dried, I applied bands of Chevron FrogTape®, spaced about one and a half inches apart. If you have only regular painter’s tape on hand, you can do stripes or create a chevron shape using a craft knife. (Tip: Cut the chevron shape in your painter’s tape first before applying it to the board or it will scratch the finish.)

Chevron-Painter's-TapeI brushed on the second layer of paint, which was a sample pot of turquoise chalk paint I got at a Haven conference a few years ago. Any spray, chalk or acrylic paint should work, though. I chose to paint the sides of the piece, too, to get rid of those noticeable, raw plywood edges.

Painting-chevron-stripes

I sealed the piece with a coat of Rust-Oleum Satin Clear Enamel. To add the letters, I cut them out on gold adhesive vinyl using my Silhouette electronic cutting machine. If you don’t have one of these nifty tools, you can use my tracing method and simply fill in your letters with gold paint or a permanent marker.

Plywood-baby-shower-art

DIY-baby-shower-sign

I apologize I didn’t get very good photos of the finished product. I was trying to host a shower at the same time and only had my phone on hand to take the pictures. #bloggerfail

What do you think of my no-spend shower decor and keepsake?

* Affiliate links are provided in this post for your convenience. 

DIY hand soap and jar dispenser (plus Ball® giveaway)

It’s almost that time of year when our family gets together for an annual tomato canning extravaganza. It’s also the time when I fall in love, all over again, with my ever-growing collection of canning jars.

Since I have so many, I’ve explored different ways to use my Ball® jars beyond stuffing them with food. I’ve crafted a holiday vignette, displayed flowers, caught lightning bugs, and served drinks in them.

But I’m most proud of my latest canning jar creation – a DIY hand soap dispenser.

Essential-oils-hand-soap

To make your own soap dispenser and the homemade hand soap for it, you’ll need the following:

  • 1 Ball canning jar (pint-sized or smaller)
  • 1 canning lid and band (I’m loving the new Design Series lids.*)
  • 1 dispenser pump (I reused one from an empty bottle.)

Homemade essential oil foaming hand soap recipe:

  • 2-3 Tablespoons liquid castile soap
  • 5 or so drops of essential oil (I like the Young Living™ Thieves blend. The oil is optional, though.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vegetable glycerin or Vitamin E oil (also optional)
  • Filtered water

Homemade-soap-ingredients

Step 1: Use a 5/8-inch power drill bit to cut a hole in the center of the canning jar lid (or use whatever bit matches the size of your soap pump).

Drilling-jar-lid

Step 2: Insert soap pump into hole. To seal and secure it to the jar lid, I used hot glue.

Homemade-soap-dispenser-lid

(For the record, glue gun burns are the worst! They make me feel like saying words no church-going woman should ever say. Can I get an “Amen?”)

Step 3: Add homemade soap mixture and filtered water to jar.

Step 4: Secure top to jar. Shake vigorously to activate foam. Done!

Essential-oils-hand-soap-dispenser

To make my dispenser pretty, I added a chalkboard label from Walmart and wrote on it with a silver permanent marker. Tip: Use a smaller, narrow label. I had trouble getting mine to stick because it had to wrap around the jar.

Do you enjoy using your canning jars for more than food storage? Ball also has some cute jar accessories to help us multi-purpose our jars even more.

Ball-brand-drink-glass-accessories

Ball Regular Mouth Sip and Straw Lids on drink mugs

For all my fellow canning and jar enthusiasts: On Aug. 1, Jarden Home Brands will host this year’s fifth annual Can-It-Forward Day, broadcast live online at FreshPreserving.com from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. EST. The webcast will have an integrated chat function where consumers can submit home-canning questions to be answered in real time. New this year, there will also be an exciting celebrity mason jar auction unveiled during the webcast.

(AUG. 1 UPDATE: The link to the webcast is here.) 

So be sure to tune in to that. I’ll be sharing a link to the broadcast here, so you can also check this post on Aug. 1 to watch.

Until then, enter below to win a coupon for a free case of jars. This year’s limited time, vintage-style jars are gorgeous!

Ball-vintage-jars

a Rafflecopter giveaway

* Affiliate links are provided in this post for your convenience. 

Easy DIY wall art with plywood and vinyl

When designing or decorating a room, I’m always on the lookout for fresh, original and thrifty art for the walls. If I can use wood scraps or leftover materials I already have on hand, all the better!

For example, I recently put together a large piece of artwork to display on top of the board and batten in our upstairs hallway. I used some scrap plywood, stain, paint and a vinyl wall decal to create my masterpiece.

Royal-Design-Studio-Enjoy-all-the-little-things-collage

For a complete list of the supplies I used for this project as well as my step-by-step instructions, head over to Royal Design Studio’s Paint+Pattern online design magazine here.