Around the World in 365 Days: A Year of Global DIYs for Paint and Pattern Blogzine

I took a DIY trip to almost every continent in 2014! Not Antarctica yet – there’s not much home decor influence there. Unless you have an ice hotel. So how did this “travel” happen? Every month I made globally-inspired DIY projects for Paint and Pattern blogzine. So after a year, there’s a whole collection of ideas.

Some projects were shared here, but not all. These projects might give you ideas for DIY gifts to make for the holidays (for family, friends OR yourself!), so here are links to all of them. Because these were written for Paint and Pattern, they all involve paint and stencils. Click the photos below to get how-to steps and helpful tips …

French Country Tea Towels

With Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan and a French motif stencil, you can turn blank tea towels into decorative towels:

French Country Tea Towels

FLeur De Lis Coasters

Get some 4×4 tiles from a tile or home improvement store, add a stencil or two with paint and you have a personalized coaster gift that’s perfect for coffee, tea or wine lovers:

Stenciled Coasters

Behind scenes story: For a photo prop (and convenient wine drinking excuse) for the photo above, I went to the wine shop in search of a bottle. But it couldn’t be any ol’ bottle. So I examined all bottles carefully. After awhile an employee offered to help. I said I was “looking for a bottle with French words and a pretty label.” He backed away slowly. Like maybe the wine stupidity could be contagious. I wanted to say, wait wait, I am not simple, I DO know about wine! But that day, I grabbed a bottle that had just the right blue on a not-trendy label.

Otomi Tote Bag

With stencils and paint, you can turn a blank tote bag from the craft store into a colorful Otomi patterned bag:

Otomi Tote Bag

Obi Table Runner

Inspired by the long rectangular fabric obi that are worn as a sort of belt with kimono, I used Japanese medallion stencils to make a table runner:

DIY Obi Table Runner

Florentine Tray Side Table

With a big candlestick, wood disks, a stencil, gold leaf and paint, I made a little side table. It’s way easier than you think! Check out how to do it:

DIY Side Table

Moroccan Medallion Tabletop

After years of living with a plain glass tabletop, I transformed it with a rich gold and black Moroccan medallion:

Reverse Painted Glass Tabletop

Old Faded Wall Stencil

I used Indian stencils with a white and light Scandinavian feel, and made them look faded and old. See the technique to do this:

Faded Stencil Effect


You can make an “antique” mirror with an inexpensive picture frame and glass, Krylon Looking Glass spray paint and stencils. Find out how to do it:

Antique Stenciled Mirror

African Tribal Pattern Lamp

This is one of my very favorite DIY projects ever! A dramatic lamp made with stencils and paint:

DIY Stenciled Lamp

Chinese Style Stenciled Box

Here’s a DIY that looks like a souvenir you might have picked up in Shanghai. But you didn’t because you can paint this Chinese style box and install the special Chinese style hardware right in your home:

Chinese Style Box

ETched Glass Bottles

For the first time ever I etched glass,to make Fourth of July themed lemonade bottles:

Etched Glass Lemonade Bottles

American Country Chicken Tracks Door Mat

You can paint any ol’ flat door mat from a store to give it your own personal touch. I gave chicken tracks to my door mat:

Chicken Tracks Door Mat

Indian Jali-Inspired Wall Art

With scrapbook paper, paint and stencils, you can make wall art layered with patterns:

Decoupaged Wall Art

Italian Terra Cotta Wall Art

I was inspired by Tuscan terra cotta garden pots from Impruneta, Italy to make this wall art with raised stencil effect:

Terra Cotta Wall Art

Sari-Inspired Door

Here I painted and stenciled a door with Royal Design Studio’s shimmery Stencil Cremes, which look like silk. I used stencil patterns arranged to look like a sari:

Sari-Inspired Painted Door

Indian-Moroccan Closet Nook

This was an epic project, still in progress! There are more teal color pillows to make, a lantern from Marrakech to hang. I turned an unused guest room closet into an Indian-Moroccan nook for reading, napping, or even working if you can bring yourself to work in this space. It was easy with paint and stencils:

Stenciled Closet Nook

Indian Stenciled Silk Fabric

Not only are the walls and the front of the nook painted, so is the silk bench cushion:

Stenciled Silk Cushion

Craft Caddy

Finally, to help cart around all the supplies for these projects, I hacked some Ikea items to make a craft caddy:

DIY Craft Caddy

Whew! It was a productive year. Believe it or not, I’m still full of ideas for things to make in the future!


Did you like this post? Don't miss out on more:

What topics interest you?

80’s Ottoman Makeover: Mauve Monster to Terrific Tribal

A few years ago, I was “gifted” with an ’80s throwback — a mauve fabric covered ottoman. It needed a major makeover. I found a pricey Missoni zig-zag ottoman that gave inspiration for a makeover. Because if you show me 10 things, I’ll pick out the most expensive, no fail!

Following the inspiration photo, the ottoman should have geometric pointy shapes. That made me think of the Tribal Stencil from Royal Design Studios’ Raven + Lily stencil collection. I have it in the small furniture size which is a perfect size to fit on a typical ottoman.

Ottoman Makeover

I did this project to enter in 3M’s ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape contest where you create something beautiful for $100 or less. So obviously the design needed to use ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape. I decided to paint several colors on the Tribal Stencil. Because, as you’ll see below, the ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape was critical to being able to do this.

I started painting without knowing entirely where this was going, except for the colors. But as the project evolved, I thought the design was feeling a little Navajo-ish, although the stencil pattern was inspired by Africa. Because of the Navajo feel, I thought of New Mexico and stenciled a pattern on the top of the ottoman that’s similar to the Zia sun symbol on the New Mexican state flag. Here’s the before & after:

Before and After Fabric Ottoman Makeover

Let’s see how this happened! The photos below show how the ottoman got from plain mauve to terrific tribal. It’s a lot of steps and it’s not a gorgeous process, so here’s a thumbnail gallery:

Ottoman Makeover Stenciling Steps

As you can see, I kept moving the tape to mask off areas of the stencil for the different colors of paint. Some areas of color are really close, so reliable tape was important for the success of this project!

Here’s the result after the first stencil was removed:

Tribal Stenciled Ottoman Makeover

And after the entire ottoman was painted:

Tribal Pattern Painted Ottoman

But after hours of painting, I was bothered by something. The paint color was just too saturated looking for my taste. It felt like elementary school project. But I was listening to 80s music and drinking glasses of Riesling while painting. (And no I was not doing impaired painting, because all the lines are straight and the paint is even, right?!) So I wasn’t bothered by a slight disappointment. I was in a good mood and knew there’s something you can do to easily fix this.

The fix? I simply painted a very light “dry brushed” layer of the original first layer of beige paint over everything. Yep, paint it all over all the stenciling! I made sure to rub as much paint from the brush as I could onto paper towel first, so I didn’t put too much beige paint all over the colors. This step created a distressed look and toned down the saturated colors:

Dry Brush to Give Distressed Look

After lightening the colors with some distressing, I was happy with the result!

Also as I mentioned above, as this project unfolded, it made me think “Navajo” more than “Africa.” Maybe that’s because of the colors. I’ve traveled around New Mexico many times, and through the Navajo Nation. When you spend time in New Mexico, the state’s icon of a Zia sun with points extending out in all four directions kind of becomes burned in your brain. Because you see it everywhere. So I decided to put a Zia sun-inspired design on the ottoman’s lid:

Painting Zia Sun Inspired Motif

I should note, I used Behr and Benjamin Moore latex paints for this project because the contest’s cost limit was $100 and the sample pots of these paints are very economical, plus they paint well with stencils. I have an easier time controlling the thicker latex paints when stenciling than acrylic paints, but maybe acrylic paints work better for other people.  But one issue with the latex paints is they made the ottoman fabric stiff. That’s okay with me because this ottoman didn’t even have upholstery fabric on it. It was a thin fabric. Now it has a heavier canvas feel and that’s fine. But you might not want to do this project on a chair unless you mix textile additive in the paint. I do have bottles of textile additive, but they’re in plastic bins in a closet in our basement that I couldn’t get to, because concrete was drying in our basement while I did this project! Of course I had that additive for a year and the one day I need it … (!!) We’re re-tiling the basement and the tile guys are leveling the floor. Once the basement is done, this ottoman will be in the new media center (ahem, man cave) there. The ottoman’s new exciting job in life will be to hold bottles of beer and chips and salsa. And maybe a magazine or two about airplanes.

For now, here’s the ottoman all styled up in our guest room:

Terrific Tribal Ottoman

Shared at:

The DIY Dreamer |

Did you like this post? Don't miss out on more:

What topics interest you?

A Mauve Monster Makeover

This week there’s a big challenge going on around here. Maybe the biggest challenge yet of my painting DIYs:

How do you make this mauve fabric ottoman look good enough to enter into a contest?

A Mauve Ottoman Makeover

Huh? How?!

That’s the contestant in all its pre-makeover glory, including cat hair all over it, just as it was found in a dark and feared corner of the basement. Please don’t pin this. I don’t even want to watermark it! :)

Now that it’s in the bright light of our sunroom, you can momentarily enjoy the mauve-ness of this 1980s throwback that came from my mom. What’s the right verb to describe what happened when she brought this to my house?

  • Gifted with
  • Inflicted upon
  • Dumped on

In all fairness, mom thought I would be the best and most appreciative recipient of this Mauve Monster because I “like to decorate things.” It was an act of endearment. Maybe I was “bestowed” with it. She thought I could make it better than it is. And now I must live up to this expectation.

This Missoni ottoman from ABC Carpet & Home is an inspiration, to give you an idea of where this is going.

Missoni Pouf at ABC Carpet and Home

I like the mix of colors. And the idea of pattern covering the ottoman. Don’t expect to see zig-zag, but there will be lots of pattern.

And the ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape from 3M is sitting on my Mauve Monster because it’s part of the contest project. They were so nice to send me some samples of the tape to play with for this makeover. So yes this will involve paint! And I have an idea where you must rely on the powers of the Painter’s Tape to tame this Mauve Monster.

As a bonus I might even tackle the inside:

Inside of Mauve Monster

If the ottoman is kept near chairs and a TV, the built-in tray is perfect for flipping over to hold drinks and snacks. But white plastic is just not my thing.

So as it is right now, this ottoman isn’t going to be kept near anything! Let’s hope I can recreate it into something beautiful that will be front and center in our basement TV room!

Did you like this post? Don't miss out on more:

What topics interest you?

DIY Anthro-Style Stenciled Tote Bag

Lately I’ve been drawn  to casual tote bags with a mix of patterns and colors on them. Like these from Anthropologie:

Anthropologie Border Patterned Tote Bags -- Make a DIY Bag Like These

If you want to see more like these, I’ve pinned a bunch more patterned tote bags here from Anthro, Free People, Calypso St. Barth, Accessorize, etc.

What I see when I look at these bags is mix ‘n matched combos of border patterns. Like border patterns from stencils. Thus, you could paint a bag with stencils. Right? And so I did.

You can find blank cotton tote bags in different sizes at craft stores like JoAnn and Hobby Lobby. From the selection in my local stores, I found Hobby Lobby carries slightly thicker tote bags than JoAnn. Dharma Trading also sells them online. They’re usually available in white, beige and black.

Tote Bag Blanks

You will need to iron the tote bag before painting on it. In the photo above, the bag in the front is a tote bag directly from the package; I ironed the one in the back.

I chose a mix of stencils from my collection from Royal Design Studio. I think a good “formula” for some visual variety is to 1.) mix rounded shapes with straight-edged shapes, and 2.) mix larger shapes with smaller shapes. Here you can see the finished stenciled tote bag and how I mixed patterns:

DIY Anthro-Style Patterned Tote Bag with Stencils

To create this bag, I “built” the design from the bottom-up, starting with a dark gray color pattern on the bottom. I used Chalk Paint® by Annie Sloan in Graphite for this color:

DIY Anthro-Style Patterned Tote Bag

When you want to create a line to “cut off” a larger pattern, as I needed to do with this one, just put painter’s tape on the stencil:

Making a DIY Anthropologie-Style Tote Bag

As you can see above, I used a different kind of paint – Benjamin Moore latex – for the light gray pattern. If you like a Benjamin Moore color, the sample pots of their paints are great for getting the small quantities you’d use for crafts.

Next I painted a red pattern with Royal Design Studio Stencil Creme in Renaissance Red. These paints have a little shimmer to them which really brings the color to life.

Painting Stencil Patterns on Tote Bag

Then I painted another row of light gray paint in a different small border pattern.

The final row at the top of the bag is solid Graphite.

You may notice the original tote bag “blanks” had cotton canvas handles. But I wanted to dress the tote bag up, so I cut those handles off and replaced them with long cross-body handles in black faux leather.

DIY Stenciled Tote Bag Anthropologie-Style

Here I am wearing it around the kitchen after finishing it! The tassel bundle is another DIY. I shared the how-to for that here.

Finished DIY Stenciled and Tasseled Tote Bag

I was so thrilled with this stenciled tote bag, I wore it around the house all night. Then I just had to wear it to work the next day, to carry all my fruits and veggies in it (so it’s a great farmers market bag). I got stopped that day by colleagues who wanted to order this for themselves and as gifts for family! So … you can paint this yourself, or you can order it made for you — I’ve set up an Etsy shop with this tote bag in it. More patterned bag  styles will be coming!

Did you like this post? Don't miss out on more:

What topics interest you?