Today we’re going to change things up a bit! For a change, I didn’t write this farmhouse decor post. I’m thrilled to welcome my daughter, Jamie Goveia, as a contributor to my blog! Jamie is a wonderful mother, talented writer and artist, and likes to tackle the occasional DIY project. Welcome Jamie!
One of the hardest places to organize in our house is our daughter’s room. She’s five and loves ALL THE STUFFED ANIMALS. They take up the bulk of her toy space, and when we moved her to a different bedroom and tried to make it a little more decorated and cohesive, all the stuffies created a bit of a problem. I did not want to spend a lot of time or money finding a solution, so here’s my cheap, quick fix for hiding junk in a kids room or anywhere else!
Sidenote: This project is NOT for perfectionists. This is a bit of a chinzy, slap-dash storage solution, and there are a lot of better ways I could do almost everything here. This project is mainly about the quickest, easiest fix using what I had available.
The Bench that Started it All
First, I started with a very beat up dark wood bench we got from K-Mart (remember K-Mart?) back when we first got married. Daughter’s room didn’t really need seating, but the bench had three cubbies in the bottom of it that could hold quite a lot of stuffed animals. However, it had literally fallen apart, and when my husband screwed and glued it back together, all the “fixing” was visible and too ugly to keep out in a nice room. So when the weather got nice last spring I hauled it up into the garage and painted it out white to hide the screws, as well as all the scratches and nicks it had picked up through the years. This took me about two days, and since I used my mom’s leftover, highly-durable cabinet paint, it didn’t cost me anything. Thanks, Mom! Tip: The wood was very glossy, so I used (some of Mom’s) chemical de-glosser TSP substitute. You can learn more about it here on Mom’s post on how to paint laminate furniture.
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Once the bench looked nice and new, I wanted a way to store things in the bottom without being able to see into it. In the past, we had some fabric bins, but those fell apart way too easily when kids were pulling on them all the time. So I decide I would just make little curtains for each 14-inch opening.
Every curtain needs a rod, right? But have you ever seen tension rods so short? If you shop for your sewing supplies at Wal-Mart like this this lady does, you have not. The smallest length they have is 18 inches. As it turns out, though, the five-year-old instantly knew what to do—“We should use tape, Mom!” Sometimes she really gets me. So I bought some “tape”—actually it was some of the heavier-duty adhesive Velcro tape, like this, and I’m glad I did. I think it’s actually the better option since this project is for a kid who will be messing with these curtains often, and I can just imagine how many times I would have had to “fix” the tension rods every day. Also the idea of tape reminded me that I didn’t have to sew at all! I could just use the hemming tape I have already, which I use way more often than I do my sewing machine. There are lots of brands out there, but for this I used Thermo Web Peel n’ Stick Fuse tape, which you can find here.
While we were at the store, I picked up around two yards of this pretty Waverly Inspirations cotton fabric (PR Birds, Lilac) from the remnant bin.
We got the bird fabric at Wal-Mart because we were already there, but I also really like these options from Amazon.
Farmhouse Bench Makeover
- About 1 yard of light-weight fabric
- Iron and ironing board
- Measuring tape
- Peel n’ Stick Fuse Tape
- Heavy Duty Adhesive Velcro
Step 1: Iron
Now, as much as I hate to iron (I don’t even have a full-size ironing board!), I knew the curtains would look weird if I didn’t smooth the fabric first, so I literally dusted off my mini-board and iron. Actually, ironing this fabric was easy and fast, and it was worth doing just so I could feel better about taping the hems rather than sewing them.
When it comes to the fabric, what I chose was pretty thin and easy to work with. I would not suggest a fancy silk or heavy upholstery fabric for this. Also, you might notice that I cut it with pinking shears. Did I need to? No. But it was fun, and since every other pair of scissors in my house has been used to cut paper, stickers, plastic, plants, and of course my own bangs… the pinking shears that I have hidden in my “sewing drawer” (ha!) in the basement were definitely the sharpest implement I was going to find.
Step 2: Measure
Since I enjoy measuring as much as I do ironing, I usually just “eyeball” things when I can get away with it, but I knew if I didn’t measure, it wouldn’t even be worth doing the project at all since the point was to hide the mess, not just create a new mess. So I grabbed the measuring tape and found I needed pieces that would be 13 and ¾’s wide and 12 and ½ inches long. (I was proud that I even measured to the quarters, folks!) I added two inches to both measurements so I would be able to fold the fabric over one inch on every side to have a finished edge. While I had the iron right there, I folded over each edge and ironed it down so it would be easier to apply the Peel n’ Stick later.
Step 3: Cut
Make sure you pay attention to the pattern before you start cutting. At first, I figured I would cut down my two-yards-worth of fabric long-wise, which would have been the most efficient use of fabric—but ugly! Then my birds would be sideways, and I definitely would have heard about it from the daughter. Again, the point was to make the room look cute and less weird, so it was worth doing things right and end up wasting a bit of the fabric.
To cut straight lines, I used some large pieces of cardboard as straight edges. A yardstick would be better if you have one, but that’s not what I had on hand. I also used a fabric marker that disappears after it dries, so we wouldn’t be seeing the marks later.
Step 4: “Tape”
Applying the hemming tape is pretty simple. Just measure a strip and cut it to size. Then apply it to the wrong side of the fabric, pull the paper backing off, and fold the hem over. You can lightly iron the fold to smooth it, but only on a low setting because otherwise the adhesive might melt and leak through the fabric. I did that for all four sides of each of the three curtains.
Step 5: Velcro
I cut the Velcro tape to size and put it on the upper inside ledge of each cubby, using the hook side. Then I put a matching loop strip at the top of each curtain—on the front side of the fabric. And then I just pressed it in place!
I will say that I wish they hung a little straighter and smoother, but for as easy and cheap as this project was, I’m happy. And it will be easy to change out if we ever need a different look!