Leanne Lee, the Diva of DIY, is all about decorating with a conscience. She takes things that most people see as junk and turns them into treasures.
She finds her supplies at estate sales, garage sales, on the side of the road, craft stores, Habitat for Humanity’s Restore and online. For inspiration she loves Pinterest. Instead of copying the idea exactly she likes to take each project one step further. She also finds inspiration in magazines, at stores and at a local event in Kansas City’s West Bottoms called First Fridays.
Leanne believes it doesn’t have to be expensive to make your home beautiful. Everybody deserves a beautiful home.
This week we kept the interview short (listen here) and included 5 videos (linked below) of Leanne showing us how to make the DIY projects.
FIVE EASY, SPRING DIY PROJECTS for the NON-DIYer
1. PHOTO BLOCKS (from scrap wood)
Perfect for Mother’s Day or a fresh photo display around your home. These photo blocks are simple to do and you may already have everything you need. Watch the video for instructions and see the supply list below the video.
Wood – Use whatever size wood scraps you have (2x4s or 2x2s). Sand edges if needed.
Paint – Paint blocks. In our example, the first coat is brown. Let dry. Rub Vaseline on the edges. Paint the second coat in cream. Let dry. Rub the block with a rag to get the Vaseline off.
TIP: Rub Vaseline around edges before you paint so the paint won’t stick to the edges. This creates a weathered look.
Various decorating items:
Photos – Use black and white or color. Cut to size.
Burlap Wide Ribbon – Layer under photos and/or fabric. Fray edges for a distressed look.
Fabric – Leanne chose a chevron pattern. She stenciled it with the word “Family.” Watch the video to see her stenciling tips.
Upholstery Tacks – Tack down the corners of the photo and/or fabric. Use a large one for the center of the twine flower if you choose to make one.
Metal Letters – Use E-6000 to glue a metal initial to a block of wood.
2. ORBS (from embroidery hoops)
Orbs are in. Think round this season. These expensive looking decor items you would find in a store are VERY inexpensive to make yourself. Leanne put one on her urn outside and a few in her home grouped with some books and a lamp.
Embroidery Hoops – 2 sets, the same size, per orb.
Thumbtacks – A regular little plastic container of thumbtacks found at Wal-Mart or the Dollar store.
Disassemble the embroidery hoops from each other. Use the two without the screw adjuster first. Insert one into the other and use the thumbtacks to hold them together wherever they intersect. Do the same with the remaining two. Insert the first two into the other two. Hold in place with the thumbtacks.
Paint or stain – Paint or stain the orbs before you assemble if you want the gold or silver thumbtacks to show, or after, if you want your orb to be all one color.
3. BED SPRING WREATH (from mattress coils)
We asked Leanne to show us how to make a spring wreath. She got literal and showed us how to make a BED spring wreath! Simple, simple once you find the bed springs!
Bed Springs – Here is an example of a bed spring. This one was sitting outside Leanne’s garage! Hmmm…what else will she find to do with this bed spring??
Wire – You can use the curled wires from the box spring or use baling wire. Connect the springs with the wire.
TIP: Wrap a portion of wire around a thick screw to form a perfect curly-cue.
Decorate! Use a bird house, nest, moss, burlap bow or whatever else fits the season!
4. PLANTERS (from chairs)
Everybody wants a unique way to display a plant or two. Leanne sees a chair and thinks PLANTER! All of these old chairs people are getting rid of can be transformed into beautiful, unique planters!
Tip: Use an old lamp shade to create a planter basket. Line with some coco fiber roll. It fits perfectly into chair planters! (Listen to our Plant the Perfect Containers for tips on watering planters like these.)
Old chairs – The easiest chair would be one that has a cushion top you can remove. Leanne had many options! She even had a double-decker bar stool that could hold two pots.
Pots: Measure the diameter of the chair seat opening and find a pot that fits. Remove the seat and drop a pot in. Fill it with plants!
5. DRAGONFLIES (from ceiling fan blades and staircase spindles)
These dragonflies are the cuuuutest! We would never have imagined this project…ever! But, Leanne sees old ceiling fans and the wood spindles that everyone is getting rid of and thinks dragonflies for her garden.
Ceiling fan blades: Paint them if you’d like. The black ones in the picture were already black! Remove the metal attachment pieces.
Wood spindle: Cut the rectangular end off of one end. Sand if needed.
Screw the blades to the spindle. The holes are already in the fan blades where you remove the metal attachment. So simple. Hang with a wire on your fence. Or, the side of your patio. Or, wherever your heart desires.
Which project will you do first?