Cheap, Cheerful, Charming: DIY Home Decor Ideas You Can Use

Posted: April 9, 2014

Ever tried your hand Do-it-yourself (DIY) home decor? Here are some easy, affordable and creative ideas to make your own art or decor for the house. 

I always thought I wasn’t the arty-crafty kinds. I mean, I had the done the odd art and craft work in school – painting, cross stitch, clay models, science projects, but I never had any strong talent or interest in this area.

During the course of setting up some of my six homes though, I realized there was a whole lot I could do and make on my own. The Internet is also a big help and the blogging community a motivator. It was a pleasantly surprising learning experience and I had a whole lot of fun as well as a sense of achievement while working on my DIY home decor projects.

Here are some of my favourites.

Sketch your own wall art

This is a very flexible idea where you can use a variety of material with little or no cost.

DIY Home Decor: Bird Canvas

An easy DIY bird canvas

The raw materials used are:

  • 2 canvases of the same size (mine were 11×14)
  • Fevicol
  • Permanent markers in black – one thin to outline and one thick tipped to fill in
  • A pencil
  • The local yellow pages directory (which was free by the way) and
  • Printed bird images off the Internet.

I chose the pages from a yellow pages telephone directory. You can choose any material – newspaper, pages from an old book, scrapbook paper, vintage maps, gift wrapping paper. Let your imagination go wild!

I started with mixing 1 part of fevicol with 1.5 parts water. You can thin it out further if it seems too thick. (Thin is easy to spread with a brush.)  Next, I tore out random pages from the telephone directory and spread the fevicol mixture on one side with a brush. Then you stick the pages on the canvas in any shape and manner that you want to – random is good! Overlap, overlay and cover the sides of the canvas too. Once both the canvases were done I kept them overnight to let them dry out completely.

The next day I started with drawing branches on the canvas freehand with pencil. Make sure that you continue the branch from one canvas to the other to get the illusion of one single branch across. Once the branches were done I outlined them with the thin marker and filled them in with the thicker marker.

Once the branches were all done I placed the bird images at different places and traced the outlines. You can also stick the images onto a harder paper like card stock and cut along the outline. This will make it easier to transfer onto the canvas.

Then I filled in the birds and added the details like leaves and small branches. After this I coloured in the images one last time to ensure an even colour.  You can draw anything on any medium using this sketch and fill in technique. I also made a picture in a frame using the same process.

Butterflyframe

DIY Photo frame – use it or gift it!

Bottle and jar showpieces

There is so much “waste” that is generated as part of running the household – such as glass bottles in the form of jam, sauce, honey, pickle, wine bottles. Paint them and they make for some lovely and bright home decor.

DIY Home Decor: glass bottle collage

Art from glass bottles

Shilpa of Shilpkala- Bangalore, puts these objects and more to some wonderful use and turns them into upcyled home decor products.

As she says, “Paint glass bottles of different shapes and sizes either with glass paints or with acrylics. For a longer stay, you can apply varnish after painting and forget about the paint coming off. But if you are mostly using it as a showpiece, then no need for a varnish, just dry dust it…”

Upcycle cardboard boxes

You might not even notice but there are so many cardboard boxes around the house – toy boxes, shoe boxes, the odd box in which the new watch or smart-phone came in, crockery and jewellery packaging, perfume boxes and you will be amazed, even camera lens boxes or fancy biscuit gift sets. All of these can be reused, painted, decoupaged and turned into beautiful home decor as well as gift boxes. Shilpa uses some of these for organizing around the house!

DIY Home decor: cardboard boxes

Just a box – to a gift box!

The materials used to upcycle these boxes are simple and very easy to use – ribbons, glue, acrylic paints, glitter, trinkets lying around the house, bells, toys or even old perfume bottle minis.

Lamps & candles refurbished

Do you have a lampshade which looks old, weary and lackluster now? Or maybe you are just bored of the same look? A simple and quick way to brighten it up is adding some lace, ribbons or borders in fabric or paper as decor. It results in a new lamp and you don’t end up shelling out big bucks.

DIY Home Decor: New lampshade

Voila: A new, fancy lampshade!

A very simple yet elegant idea is also making this dainty paper wrap for the candles in your house.

Take a rectangular sheet of paper big enough to be wrapped around a thick candle. Take a paper puncher if available at home or you can fold the paper and cut same sized circles through it. Wrap the paper around the tea light or candle and Voila! you have this amazing looking candle showpiece or dinner table centerpiece which easily becomes a conversation starter too.

Print your own wall art

One more DIY home decor idea which is fun and quirky too is this eye chart word art.

DIY Home Decor: Wall art

Eyechart to Wall Art

For this, I went to this website that allows you to make a custom eye test chart for free. (It also allows you to make custom road signs, receipts, prescriptions and more!)

Once I customized the letters on the chart I saved the image file to my laptop. I opened the image file in Microsoft Paint to erase the last line of text at the bottom. When I went to my local printing store, the guy said the resolution was really low on the image file and it wouldn’t look great when printed. So I downloaded the Photoshop workable version (PSD) from the original blog post.

I basically know nothing about Photoshop so I had the store person help me. He modified the letters to put in what I wanted. If you know your way around Photoshop, this post has all the details about fonts and sizes. I got it printed on a 9×12 semi-hard poster sheet and got it framed in a simple black frame to make it look more authentic!

Have fun doing some DIY home decor and share your ideas with us!

Pictures courtesy: 1,2, 6 – Simran Dhaliwal 3, 4, – Shilpkala – bangalore 5 – OblioZen Flickr Creative Commons

Simran Dhaliwal is an engineer, a wannabe traveler and a newbie runner. She has worked

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Comments

2 Comments


  1. i made the canvas two months back! Super easy and fun to make. and looks very cool.

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