Monday, March 28, 2011

Project Ideas: Customize Kids Furniture and Curtains

This blanket was purchased at the Mountain State Arts
and Crafts Fair for my son by one of his many adoring
grandparents. :)
Before we even moved into our new house, I knew how I wanted to decorate my girls' room: the theme was "Fairytale Forest," and I planned to hunt down birds, butterflies, and fairies to decorate the walls, bedding, and furniture. I've got a pretty good start in there with pink floral garlands, large butterflies and dragonflies, and pink and brown bedding with bird's nest appliques. My son's room, however, was a different story.

Eli, having reached the ripe old age of 4, has opinions of his own. He has a wide and varied range of interests, and aside from his favorite color (green) and his favorite number (4), he doesn't have too many other favorites. He likes pirates, knights, dragons, G.I. Joes, super heroes, and rocket ships equally, so it has been hard to narrow it down to a single, cohesive theme. Today he made his choice: (drum roll please......) Space Adventure.

My son has been sleeping under a heavy, plush rocket ship blanket for about two years now. His blanket goes perfectly with his theme (sigh of relief), so bedding is already done. And he has been drawing pictures of suns and planets lately, so his own art projects will work as well. We haven't had a chance to paint his walls yet (he just picked his theme today, silly), but I did have a couple of free hours while the little ones were napping to get started!

Project 1: Stellar Clothes Chest

I probably should have painted this black first, but I didn't have the paint or the patience
to wait. We can always peel the stickers off, paint it, and either reapply stickers or paint
stars and planets on the dresser later.

Eli's clothes are all stored in an old dresser we inherited from one of his grandparents, so since this piece of furniture is going to stay in his room, we might as well make it fit with his theme. I did not paint it first, but if you are going to do this project, I suggest putting a fresh coat of paint on your dresser and giving it plenty of time to dry. We found a packet of giant wall stickers at the Dollar Tree ($1) and applied them randomly across the front of the drawers. We had a few extra stickers left, so they went on a mirror that hangs on the back of his bedroom door. This project is simple, easy, and cheap, as well as being kid friendly. Now we have a custom furniture piece that matches his room! We used these stickers on his dresser, but if you have smooth walls in your room, you could also put these on the walls to extend the theme around the rest of the space.

Project 2: Field of Stars Curtains

I jumped into this project without a pattern or a plan. That's right, I like to walk on the
wild side. If you do plan ahead, however, your curtains will probably turn out better. :)

Eli's room had frilly pink curtains when we moved in, so those had to come down ("Pink is a GIRL color, Mommy!"). Because we hadn't chosen a theme for his room, we never bought or made curtains to replace them... until TODAY, that is! I rummaged through my fabric stash to find anything resembling the night sky, and I didn't have much. I had less than a quarter of a yard of blue with silver stars, so I decided to improvise. I patched together the darkest blue fabrics that I could find to form a night sky that gradually gets darker the further away from the horizon (bottom of curtain) you go. Well, I spread that out to see what it looked like, and to be honest it was boring. It needed some details. My next step: form a long strip of the starry fabric and run it along the seam between the mid-tone and the lightest color. That was better, but still not great. Upon further excavation of Fabric Mountain, I struck a silver vein. A person with time and patience could have cut out precise star shapes, pinned them, and hand-sewn them to the fabric. A person with three children under the age of five (me) might cut out squares of sparkly silver and hot glue them to the fabric. This hot glue technique can be used to jazz up boring store-bought curtains with silk flowers, buttons, ribbons, etc. Note: you will want to iron the fold marks out of your curtains BEFORE you glue your accessories to them, because Iron + Hot Glue = Mess.

With the addition of his "stellar clothes chest" and "field of stars curtains," my son's room is starting to look a little more cohesive. It is still overflowing with random super hero toys, books, G.I. Joes, and other non-space-related items, but this is a start. All we need now are some toy boxes that look like USS Enterprise Shuttlecraft (yes, I am a nerd) to hide all the non-stellar toys in, and we will be all set! (When I figure out how to do that, I will post pictures, I promise.)

What kind of do-it-yourself projects have you used to personalize your kid's room or other space in your home?


  1. Are you going to go with the tried-and-true glow in the dark ceiling stars and/or styrofoam mobile as well?

  2. I am considering it, but if I do use the glow in the dark ceiling stars, I am going to have to find an adhesive that will actually hold them to the ceiling. I think what will make the biggest difference is paint (both in his room and the girls), and I am thinking of doing his a dark blue with silver spray paint for stars/galaxies and then go in with a paint brush or stencil to add other stars and planets. We'll see.

  3. And should I paint the ceiling? or perhaps leave it white and find a border that I can apply all around? Also: he has that wall of shelves and the wood wall too. I'm thinking maybe his shelves would be silver... but none of this has been discussed with Daddy yet.

  4. Why don't you try glow in the dark paint for the stars? We used that on Saria's first room's ceiling. Just made various sized dot with a stencil brush and attempted a few constellations! (also added a few lightning bugs who glowed :) on the walls, amongst other things.

  5. Hey, that's a great idea. I may have to do that... especially since it would almost match the ceiling color (discolored white, lol).