Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Easiest Pillows You'll Ever Make (And a No-Sew Option!)

Total Cost: $9.00 with pillow vs. Pottery Barn $56 with pillow

This holiday season, you might say I'm mad for plaid.  Of course, so is Pottery Barn, my BFF (best FRENEMY forever).  I got their holiday catalog and just LOOK at these plaid pillow covers!!! 

Gah. Seriously?!  And guess how much they are? $30...FOR THE COVER.  That's right cyber-friends, that doesn't include the stupid pillow form. By the way, if you want the pillow form that fits it, that's only $26 more dollars.  No big deal.  Just $56 for a stupid pillow.  

Well, I made mine for...let's see...oh, $8.00.  Okay, $10 if you count the pillow forms and I made 2! And guess what?  I think mine are cuter.  You can make some just like mine and you don't even need to know how to sew!  You do, however, need to know how to iron.  No, sorry, you can't throw these in the dryer on the wrinkle-free setting like I do for everything I own.   Seriously these are the easiest pillows of all time.  Do this project!!!

I made two pillows with two shirts so they would be different on either side.  Feel free to only make one pillow with one shirt.  The directions here will be for what I did. 

Okay, let's get started!

2 button-up shirts
2 pillow forms
Cutting board and mat or scissors
Straight edge
Sewing machine with thread 
If no-sewing, E-Z bond tape, pictured below

(Author's Note about pillow forms:  for this project I already had pillow forms that I got at a garage sale for $1.00 each, don't worry they looked unused and I still washed and sanitized them!  I've also gotten pillows at the thrift shop (ew.) that look like they are in good condition and sanitized the crap out of them.  Another option is IKEA.  They sell great pillow forms for $3...and you don't have to worry about bed bugs which is worth a dollar in my book.)


You're going to need some plaid button-up shirts.  The local thrift shop is perfect for this because there are racks and racks of plaid shirts.  Not so cute for shirts, super cute for pillows.  You may recall these shirts...

 from our Christmas card this year:

There's really no trick to picking them out.  Just look for a pattern that makes you feel Christmas-y inside.  Also, try to find a shirt that's a Large or XL.  You want as much fabric to work with as you can get.  

STEP 1.5:

Please, for the love, wash and dry your shirts.  They are from a thrift shop.  Bed bugs live in thrift shops.  So do old lady smells.  You might consider using one of my all-time favorite laundry products, Clorox Gentle Bleach.  

Without boring you with too many details, it contains the same germ-killing ingredient of regular bleach (Clorox2 doesn't have this ingredient) just less of it so you can use it on colors. I use it in every load. I'm not getting paid for this endorsement.  Clorox really doesn't care what I have to say.  I just love this stuff that much. 


Lay your shirt out on a flat surface and smooth it out so there aren't wrinkles, especially on the bottom layer.  

Now, here you can do one of two things:  measure your pillow and then draw an outline of the pillow on the shirt accordingly OR, suppose you don't want to go find your fabric marker, just lay that sucker on the shirt and line your straight edge up and cut.  Do the same to the other shirt

*MISTAKE TO AVOID: In retrospect, I should have made my fabric cuts about 1/2" larger on each side.  I've read several pillow cover making tutorials online and was lured into believing that cutting my fabric to the exact size of my pillow form  would result in a fluffier pillow that holds it's shape better.  While that may be true, for THESE pillows, just cut the fabric 1/2" larger than your pillow otherwise, yours will look like mine, where the buttons are pulling like your Aunt Margaret's blouse.  It's not horrible but I do notice it. 

STEP 3: 

Once you have your squares cut, switch one of the layers so that each pillow has a button-up front and coordinating back.  (Pardon the light in this picture...Thank you.)


With the right sides facing each other, pin around the edges. 

STEP 5: 

Sew with about a 1/2" seam allowance ALL AROUND THE EDGES. Didn't I tell you this was the easiest pillow ever?  You don't need to leave a gap to turn the cover right side out because we're going to do that through the buttons!  Genius! 


For projects for I'm too lazy to drag the sewing machine out, I like this fusible double-stick tape: 

It's about $3 at Jo-Ann's and it's really easy to use.  Anyway, with fusible double-stick tape in hand, with one layer of your pillow form right side up, tape all the way around the edges. (By the time I thought of this option, I'd already pinned mine so just pretend the pins aren't in the picture, okay?) Remove the paper backing and stick the top layer (right side facing in, right sides of fabric together) to the bottom layer.  

STEP 7: 

Your pillow cover should be inside out.  Undo the buttons from the inside and turn the pillow cover right side out. 

STEP 8: 

Insert pillow and button up the front!  Done!  It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Ikea Hack: Malm Mirrored Dresser

Hey Everyone!  I'm so flattered by everyone's interest in how to do my latest DIY project! You guys make me feel so fancy :).  Anyway, I figured this would be the easiest way to explain to everyone how to do it.  I could have given a quick run down on Instagram but there were a few things I would have done differently if I had to do it again so I'll be sure to explain those.  Also, I wish I had taken pictures but I didn't know this would be so well received!  So I'll try my hardest to explain things but feel free to comment with questions.  Thanks again for loving my project, guys!


Total Cost: $103.00-$153.00 depending on the furniture you choose.

Do you love it, Dolls? I had been seeing these mirrored dressers around...

Like these ones.  For $500 and $800, respectively. And those were the low prices I found! Yeeeah.  Not in MY budget.  Then I found these overlays on Pinterest:

Seriously, these girls are geniuses.  How their company works is s follows:  They make these overlays that are made to fit Ikea furniture.  On their website, you can even shop by Ikea piece!!! Also, if you already have a piece of furniture that's not from Ikea but needs some sprucing up, they do custom orders. The other thing I love about this company is that their customer service is wonderful.  I contacted them with a few questions and they were so prompt and friendly!  I recommend these girls and their company to anyone! Also, when they heard I was doing a blog post about this project, they offered to give me a coupon code to share!!!  Scroll down to the bottom to find it! Tell your friends! They really are the greatest. 

Anyway, back to business.

-Dresser or other Ikea piece, or any ugly piece of furniture, for that matter. 
-Overlays from
-Mirror cut to desired size
-Liquid Nails or similar construction-duty adhesive
-Rubbing alcohol
-Gloves (optional but recommended.)

STEP ONE: Get a dresser.

I needed a dresser/table/something to replace the U-G-L-Y fishtank stand in my living room.  So, for the space, the 3-drawer Malm dresser fit my needs perfectly!

This baby retails at Ikea for $79.99 and comes in a few different colors. That's not a bad price for a dresser. But of course, even $80.00 seemed a little pricey for this cheapskate so I took to .  I got really LUCKY and found this exact one, only a few months old and untouched for $30.00.  I have seen them periodically since but you need to keep your eye out. They go pretty fast! 

STEP TWO: Order your overlays.

I snatched the used dresser up and ordered my overlays. 
I chose the Jasmine but they have a million cute patterns on their blog.  Literally the hardest part of this project is choosing which pattern you want.  It took me days. 

STEP THREE: Get your mirror.

When my shiny new overlays arrived, I headed to Lowe's.

Life Pro Tip: Did you know Lowe's sells big sheets of mirror and WILL CUT THEM TO SIZE FOR FREE???
That's right.  And don't let the grumpy ladies in the carpet department tell you they don't have mirror to cut, only glass. They are wrong.  You might, however, take that mirror that you had cut (you know, the mirror that carpet ladies said they don't have) back to them to prove a point...
If you live by me, the glass cutting is on aisle 15. Just so you know. 
The size you need for this project is the 30" x 24" piece.  Guess how much that piece costs?  $11.50.  You read that right.  $11 American dollars.  It seems like robbery doesn't it?  This size is almost meant to be for this dresser because you just happen to need three 8"x30" strips.  So you have it cut and there's no waste.  Don't worry if the glass cutting guy is a little inexperienced and chips the edges, they won't show. 
STEP FOUR: Don't leave Lowe's without your adhesive.
You need glue for this project.  My Overlays recommends using Liquid Nails construction adhesive.  This is the kind I used:
I think it was about $3.00-ish.  A sound investment because I didn't even use half the tube.  Because I'm helpful, here is a tip: the Lowe's by me has this by the paint.  It's DIFFERENT than the caulk-style liquid nails on a different aisle.  This stuff is by the Gorilla Glue.  Ask a friendly Lowe's associate...not the grumpy ladies in the carpet section.  Not that I am bitter.

STEP FIVE: Glue everything together!!!

First, tip the dresser so it's lying on its back.  Science tells us that trying to glue things while the dresser is upright will only result in disaster due to the natural phenomenon called gravity.  For your convenience, I have linked the wikipedia page on gravity so you can find out more.

Tips for Glue Success:

So you have your dresser on its back.  First, rub everything down with rubbing alcohol.  The mirrors (front and back) and the overlays (back) and the dresser drawers so everything is squeaky clean and ready to stick.  Don't use windex or anything else.  Just rubbing alcohol.  It preps the surfaces nicely for adhesion.

When I cleaned the mirrors, I wore some gloves.  Actually, I wore gloves the whole time.  Mainly to prevent getting fingerprints on everything the second after I cleaned it.  I recommend this method. 

First thing you will notice: the mirror is about 1/2" too short on either side. No need to panic! the border of the overlay will cover this. 

According to the online tips for the Liquid Nails, you should put a bead of glue on the surface to be glued, apply to the surface to which you are gluing, then immediately pull it apart again, count to 3 and place it back down.  Since I read this AFTER I completed the project, I didn't do this.  I think mine took longer to dry this way, but it still worked. The choice is yours.

So place a thin bead of glue all around the edge of the back of the mirror.  Then, if it gives you a sense of peace (like it did for me), draw a big "X" across the back of the mirror.  You only need a very thin bead of glue.  I only used about half the tube for this project.  Keep this in mind and don't get crazy. Again, I only used about half the tube for this project.

Once you have your mirrors glued onto the dresser, clean them one more time for good measure.  It will be a lot harder to clean them once the overlays are on, so best to do it now. 

On the back of the overlays, draw another bead around the border of the overlay.  Then, dot the glue in increments and in the corners/edges of the pattern.  Especially if you have littles, you want to make sure all the edges are glued down so little fingers can't pry the overlay off...or the vaccum to get caught on an edge and rip it off...There are several scenarios ending in disaster.  Just make sure all the edges are glued.  Again, don't get crazy with the glue. Especially at this point in the game.  The glue is going to spread when you press it on the mirror and you don't want globs of glue pressing out from underneath the overlays.  It dries clear, but it's still visible against the mirror.  Trust me, a little dab'll do ya. 

Once you pressed the overlays to the mirrors, check for any spots of glue that may have overspilled the edges of the overlays and, using your nail, scrape it off while it's still wet and and clean the smudge you left behind with alcohol. 

STEP SIX: Weigh down.

Now, gather some heavy items.  Preferrably in your immediate area so you don't have to walk around too much.   Oh wait, maybe that's just my laziness.  Some recommendations: coffee table books, potted plants, canned goods, an old dog that doesn't move very often, milk jugs filled with water, the list could go on..


This part is painful.  You should wait AT LEAST 24 hours.  Since I didn't do the method of pulling the surfaces apart and sticking them back together, mine took about 48 hours to dry.  The dresser sat on its back in the living room for two days straight with books on it like a monument to my DIY neuroticism.  I put a "Pardon Our Dust, We're Remodeling to Serve You Better" sign on it just in case company arrived. 

Once the appropriate amount of time has elapsed, gird up your loins, hold your breath and tip the dresser back upright.  Everything will be fine but in the moment, I'd say a brief second of panic is normal. 

Once all these steps are completed, you are done!  Congratulations!!! Now, please roll your mouse over the fish widget below and enjoy the relaxing scene as the fish follow it. My gift to you.
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