DIY Keep Calm and Carry On Canvas

Keep Calm and Carry On Canvas finished product

The New Year can be stressful.   At Cal Poly, it’s a new quarter, which means all new classes, all new responsibilities, and all new stresses. One of my favorite sayings is “Keep Calm and Carry On.” It’s probably because … Continue reading

DIY Framed Bulletin Board

Framed Bulletin Board

When thinking of frames, pictures usually come to mind. However, sometimes frames come to life when they hold things other than pictures, or even nothing at all. Deanna is a sales associate at Aaron Brothers Art & Framing in San Luis Obispo. … Continue reading

Thanksgiving Banner

In my last post, I talked about using bunting and banners as holiday decoration. Now I can show you how easy and fun they are, because I made my own!

Thanksgiving Banner

This banner was super quick and easy to make. I think it took me less than 15 minutes.

I had some extra scrapbooking paper on hand, so I picked out a few patterns that reminded me of fall. Then, I cut the same size triangle out of all of them.

Scrapbook paper cut into flags

(A good tip: figure out how big you want each flag – or triangle – to be with your first piece of paper and then use that as a stencil for the rest.)

Then, I wrote out each letter on a separate flag with metallic gold acrylic paint.

This paint is great for fall. I’ve been using it in all of my crafts in the past few weeks because I love it so much!

Folkart Metallic Gold Acrylic PaintGold "E"

After the paint dried, I outlined each letter with a brown sharpie to make the letters stand out against the busy patterns.

Then, I punched a hole in each corner of the flag and threaded yarn through each hole.

Its so simple and it was a free and festive decoration since I had everything on hand!

What do you have in your craft stash that you could transform into fun holiday decoration?



Target Bookshelf Makeover

“I used my bookshelf as a nightstand, a vanity, a place to hold all my school supplies in my tiny dorm room. It was a place for everything. But I think bookshelves are very bland and simple and they could easily be beautified.”

– Elise Kiland, Cal Poly Mechanical Engineering Junior

Bookshelves are wonderful means of organization, but unless you want to spend hundreds of dollars somewhere like Pottery Barn,  they’re not particularly pretty to look at. This tutorial will show you how to take an ordinary bookshelf and turn it into a piece of statement furniture.

Bookshelves are a staple of college dorm rooms – probably because they are generally inexpensive, they save loads of space, and they are great for storage. Because they are under $50, bookshelves like this one from Target and this one from Wal Mart are typical dorm room buys. Jennifer Dragan, a Barnes & Noble Bookseller, is constantly surrounded by bookshelves in her workplace. She owns the Target bookshelf and says:

“As someone who loves books and wanted to fill my college ‘home-away-from-home’ with them, the Target bookshelf was really cheap and the dark oak finish that I have makes me feel like I’m in my own private library. It looks really nice and it’s quite functional.”

This tutorial will use the bookshelf from Target mentioned above. Currently, it’s on sale for $26, making one of the least expensive 5-shelf bookcases available nationwide.

What You Need:

Here We Go!

Step 1: Take the shelves off of the bookshelf and set them aside.

Step 2: Cut a piece of the paintable wallpaper to the approximate height of the bookshelf (longer is better than shorter).

Step 3: Use spray adhesive to adhere the strip of paintable wallpaper to one side of the bookcase. Line up the edge of the wallpaper with the front of the bookcase. There will be leftover wallpaper hanging off of the back.

Step 4: Using scissors, carefully cut off the excess wallpaper from the back of the bookcase.

Step 5: Repeat this process with the other side of the bookcase and the top. Make sure the edges are glued down, touching up with the spray adhesive as you go.

Step 6: Tape off the front edges of the bookcase with painter’s tape so the paint doesn’t get onto the front of the cabinet.

Step 7: Paint the wallpaper in the color of your choice using the cabinet foam roller. Note: The paintable wallpaper has a spongy texture and soaks up the paint. Be liberal with your paint. You may need to do two or three coats to get maximum coverage.

Step 8: Let the paint dry and remove the painter’s tape.

Step 9: Cut strips of contact paper to the approximate width of the inside back of the bookcase. (Again, too long is better than too short.)

Step 10: Adhere the contact paper to the back of the cabinet using spray adhesive. There will be excess on either side of the cabinet.

Step 11: Using scissors, carefully cut off the excess contact paper so that it is the exact width of the back of the bookcase. Go back and make sure all edges are glued down, touching up with spray adhesive as you go.

Step 12: Repeat until the inside back is covered with strips of contact paper.

Step 13: Replace the shelves and add your favorite books and decorations to them.

 Easy as 1, 2…13 !

“As a freshman living in the dorms, being organized is one of the key factors in being successful. Bookshelves are a great way to accomplish organization. They allow you to see everything, while also allowing you to make organizing fun by cutely arranging your books, notebooks, and binders!”

– Katy Hovious, Cal Poly Business Freshman

Tips, Tricks, and Advice:


  • If you can find contact paper that already has an adhesive backing, you will save yourself half of the work. The contact paper linked in the “What You Need” section above is already adhesive.
  • You do not need contact paper to add color to the back of your bookshelf. Think outside the box and get creative. You could use: gift wrap with a fun pattern, your favorite posters, wallpaper, scrapbooking paper, fabric. The possibilities are endless!
  • The paintable wallpaper on the outside of the bookcase adds great texture, but if you’re in a time or budget bind, opt to just add some color to the inside of the bookcase. This will draw people’s eye to what is displayed on the shelves.


Take a Blank Wall from “Blah” to Bright!

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Fabric-filled embroidery hoops are a great way to brighten up any plain wall. They’re cost effective and you can hang them without damaging walls. This makes them great decorations for renters and college students.

What You’ll Need:

How to Make Them:

Step 1: Place your fabric in the embroidery hoop and tighten the closure so that the fabric is taut.

Step 2: Flip the hoop over and cut the excess fabric, leaving a half-inch border of fabric.

Step 3: Hot glue the fabric to the inside of the wood embroidery hoop so that no excess fabric will show when you flip it back over.

The embroidery hoop is now completed. The next step is finding the perfect spot to hang it. I recommend using the small command strip hooks pictured above. They’re great because they hold the light-weight embroidery hoops while leaving no permanent damage when you remove them.

The best part about this DIY project is that it cost less than three dollars per hoop. Beverly’s in downtown San Luis Obispo sells discounted fabrics for less than 4 dollars per yard. Embroidery hoops usually cost about one or two dollars each.

That’s an easy way to take a blank wall from boring to bright and colorful.

Add a Little Flower Flair to Your Hair

Make Your Own Flower Hair Clips

Flower clips are a simple way to add a little fun to your hair. Sierra Portue, a Junior Agricultural Business Major at Cal Poly, says flowers are the perfect standout accessory. She says they are “a great statement without going over the top!”

While they’re adorable accessories, they can get a little pricey – especially when you buy them in San Luis Obispo boutiques. The store Hep Kat in downtown SLO sells flower clips for up to 15 dollars each. Luckily, there’s a cheaper alternative. In this post, you can learn to make your own flower clip for under three dollars.

What You’ll Need

– artificial flower
– hair clip
– hot glue gun
– safety pins (optional)

Beverly’s in downtown San Luis Obispo sells artificial flowers for as low as 99 cents each. Often, they have sales on their flower stems. This bunch of four sunflowers was regular $4.99 but they were having a sale on all fall stems for 40 percent off. Beverly’s also sells metal clips for $1.89 for a pack of 8. If you can’t make it out to your local craft store, Amazon also sells similar flower bunches like these and snap hair clips like these.

Once you’ve gathered all of your supplies, the fun can begin. The first step in making flower clips is cutting the artificial flowers off of their stems. Linda, a sales associate at Beverly’s, recommends using wire clippers or pliers to separate the stem from the flower head. Scissors will also work as long as the stem isn’t too thick. Some types of flowers are held together by their stems, so you may have to hot glue the flower to its plastic base to make sure it remains sturdy.

The rest of the process is easy as pie. Simply hot glue the snap clip to the bottom of the flower. Don’t be afraid to lather the clip with hot glue to make sure it stays attached when you clip it to your head. Wait for the hot glue to cool and, Viola! You’ve just made your own flower clip.

“I love wearing flowers in my hair; it spices up any outfit while still looking casual and fun!”

Michelle Stenz, Junior Communication Studies Major at Cal Poly

Clip on Back of FlowerTips and Bonus Tricks:

  • The hair clip can double as a pin. Hot glue a safety pin to the bottom of the flower as well and clip it onto a favorite dress or top to add a little pizzaz.
  • When clipping the flower into your hair, it’s helpful to use bobby pins to secure it. It also helps to bobby pin the base of the flower into your hair – especially when using a bigger flower that may be on the heavier side.
  • The more the merrier! Buy a few bunches of flowers if they’re on sale. Make different colored clips to match different outfits or give them as gifts. They can even double as the bow on a present.

“They make you seem like you are a genuinely happy person and they gave off a happier vibe. I like to wear flowers when it’s sunny outside and I’m in a very happy, light mood.”

Aly Wente, Senior Journalism Major at Cal Poly