Since October is all about resourcefulness here at Through Wolf’s Eyes, why not channel your inner craftiness to spice up the decorations in your home? Studies found in The Journal of Positive Psychology actually show that everyday creative activity can help “cultivate positive psychological functioning” and boost your mood.
I can attest to these findings firsthand. Somehow, craftiness runs through my blood. I love a good do-it-yourself project. Everytime I finish a piece, I am overwhelmed with satisfaction and pride. I look at the chair I just painted, the tapestry I just dyed, or another project I completed and proudly say to myself, “Wow, I did this!” I want to put my hard work and creativity on display. Once I finish a project, I immediately want to begin another.
As the weather changes and fall holidays approach, now is the perfect time to use your imagination and resourcefulness to work on some projects. Not only will these ideas help decorate your home, but working on them will also boost your mood! So recruit some friends or family members – both young and old – and put your creativity and handiness to good use!
Renovate a Room
Renovating a room may sound a little ambitious for a quick DIY activity, but redoing a room in your home doesn’t have to be that challenging. All it takes is a fresh coat of paint to immediately transform a room.
A few years ago, my dad decided to paint the walls of our foyer and upstairs hallway. With a fresh coat of eggshell-colored paint, the once cream-colored walls didn’t look so outdated anymore. The room became much brighter and bigger.
If you don’t want to paint any walls, consider updating light fixtures or hardware in your kitchen or bathroom. A simple change like that can immediately add to any room.
If you need any advice on what color paint to use or fixture to switch out, ask a pup!
Make a Cutting Board
This project is for those who enjoy working with wood and tools. I made a small wooden cutting board in high school, and I still use it to this day! This project takes a few days, but you end up with a custom cutting board, so I believe it’s worth the wait.
To start, you can either use scraps of wood you may have lying around your workshop or you can purchase wood from a local lumberyard. If you have a long plank of wood, you will want to cut the piece into chunks depending on how long you want your cutting board to be. I recommend creating a cutting board that is about 16” long. Therefore, you will want each strip to be about that length. You will want to make sure that each piece of wood is about 1” thick.
The width of each piece of wood can vary, depending on your design. I recommend starting with pieces that have a width of about 1/2–1”.
The wood can be any color or kind that you like. Feel free to mix and match different colors – that will give your cutting board a unique look.
Once you’ve cut your wood into 16” by 1” by 1/2–1” strips, arrange your wood in any pattern you like with the thin side of each slack facing down. Here is an example. Here is when you can adjust the width of your wood strips. Perhaps you want a thick piece in between some skinny pieces. Just adjust the width of the desired pieces and create your pattern. Once you’ve designed your pattern, slather the sides of each slack with wood glue and hold tight with clamps. Wait about a day for the glue to dry.
After the glue has dried, remove the clamps and saw off the uneven edges of the glued board to however long you want the cutting board to be. If you have a planer, run the board through the machine a few times to even out the top and bottom surfaces of the board. If you don’t have a planer, use an electric sander to do the same thing. Sand the edges as well so the board is nice and smooth. Be prepared for the sanding process to take a long time. However, with some patience and time, your board will be soft and smooth!
When you finish sanding, rub the board with mineral oil. This will help seal the wood so the board is safe to hold food. Let the oil dry and use your custom cutting board the next time you entertain!
Dye a Throw
A few weeks ago, I discovered a new dying technique and now I can’t stop thinking about it. The technique is called ice dying, and the best part is how easy it is! All you need is ice, dye, and material!
I ice dyed a tapestry for my apartment, but you can dye a blanket, shirt, pillowcase – you name it! The process is simple. First, make sure whatever you’re dying is plain white and has been washed at least once. Then, purchase powder dye. I used Rit dye from Michael’s but you can use any brand you prefer!
Once you gather your materials, you will need to set up your workstation. Depending on the size of the material you’re dying, a few cookie drying racks placed together over a bucket or in a sink works great. Wet your material so that it’s damp and arrange it on the cookie rack. You can add as many twist and turns as you like – the more random the better.
Completely cover the material in ice. Try to not let any of the material be exposed! After you stack your ice, lightly sprinkle the dye over the ice. Start slow because a little goes a long way. You will start to see the ice melt and the dye run through the material. Once you’ve added your dye, let the ice melt for 24 hours.
After the ice is melted, run the material under cold water until the water becomes clear. Then wash the material according its instructions. You’ll finish with a beautiful product that is truly one of a kind.
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