EclectiCheap Crafting and Décor 101
Eclectic Plus Inexpensive = EclectiCheap
EclectiCheap - Yes, okay, I made up the word. :) I'm enjoying a little word play here. EclectiCheap is pronounced as two words "Eclectic Cheap". It describes perfectly my attitude towards decorating and crafts in general.
I've always been drawn to the eclectic form of decorating but I'm unable to afford the often hefty retail price tags that accompany this style. Likewise with the crafting trends, I prefer to devise or procure a less expensive way to accomplish the look I'm after.
As far back as I can remember and honestly, that's over half a century of thoughts now, I've been making or remaking things. Still, I was a little astounded while looking around our cottage the other day to realize with the exception of the televisions and the standard metal bed frames to hold the mattresses, we only have two pieces of furniture that were actually purchased brand new. One is the dresser in our bedroom and the other is a wicker trunk my husband bought me as a gift from Pier 1 several years ago. Every other piece of furniture and the majority of the decorative art was collected secondhand from thrift shops, garage sales, Craigslist or gifted from family.
To me, home just isn't home if it doesn't reflect the occupants. Each piece whether crafted or refinished or serving merely as art should be able to tell a story even if sometimes you may have to look very closely.
Nearly everything in our home has evolved in some way or the other. On this page, I'm going to share some of my favorite looks and projects over the years. Some I may still be using currently. Due to the small size of our cottage though, many have been retired and given to family or donated to charity. I think they all have value and I hope you can find one or two of your liking.
(All photos on this page credit: Pam Irie)
Found on the Ground Decor
I call this crafting project my found on the ground dÃ©cor because that's exactly where I discovered these old gears. Following the numbers in this collage of the project, you'll see I used a piece of fine steel wool to knock off all the loose rust and dirt. This step was followed with a good rinse and the gear was then allowed to dry thoroughly.
A satin finish polyurethane spray was applied to the front and back of each gear to prevent further rusting. I used basic household white glue to attach some felt to the bottom of the gears to protect my furniture top.
This crafting project was as cheap as you can get considering I already had the few items needed. How cheap? It cost me nothing but a little time. :)
A Few Basics for EclectiCheap Décor and Crafting
Every suggested product here on this page is very budget friendly and all are used by me. You'll find these products invaluable for so many crafting and decorative projects for your home.
I use a LOT of this exact glue. Buying it by the gallon is smart and cost-effective for my style of decorating and crafting.
A glue gun is essential whatever your style of crafting or home decorating may be. Get one like this with a stand. It's so convenient and makes the application process easier.
Why Call it 101?
Because I want you, the reader, to go back to the basics and use your imagination, use found objects, use what you have, try new things, do a little research online and a lot of experimenting, make some mistakes and when that happens go back to the basics again.
How will you know when you've got it right? When it feels right TO YOU!
My go-to, must-have supplies are not complete without a stash of these exact markers. Fabulous, functional and inexpensive. These are perfect for EclectiCheap crafting and decorating.
Let's Put Some Light on This Subject
These canister up lights are so versatile. Use your imagination to make something unique.
If a room feels empty you can remedy that quickly just by adding light. I've made many DIY lamp projects over the years. Here are just four....
Pictures # 1 and # 4 both use an inexpensive canister-style up lighting fixture. (resource found below). I created the light covers out of wooden disposable chopsticks for the first photo. The third photo's light cover was made with four air vent covers attached together with key rings from the hardware store.
Photos # 2 and # 3 don't do the lamps justice; I apologize for the lack of drama. Both lights are visibly striking in the evening light. A single strand of Christmas lights was threaded through each of three of the five bamboo poles in the second photo as well as through the plastic dryer vent hose shown in the fourth picture.
(Note: I'm currently writing a tutorial for the bamboo light fixture and will post the link here when it's complete.)
Don't Know How To Do Something?
Don't let lack of knowledge prevent you from trying something. Gift yourself the satisfaction of doing things yourself. The internet especially abounds with informative step-by-step tutorials showing the how/why/where/when of crafting and home décor.
Every mistake over the years (I've made lots!) just makes my successes that much sweeter. So make it a point to experiment with materials. Look around your home to see what you have first before purchasing supplies.
My EclectiCheap Kitchen - What's the first thing you notice in this picture?
This is my almost done EclectiCheap cottage kitchen. (Someday we are going to replace the generic countertop with a concrete counter but that will be another article, I'm sure.) There are 3 easy DIY projects shown here.
- I framed my grandmother's old vintage kitchen spoon in a brightly painted red secondhand frame. The mat is cardboard with red gingham fabric attached. It's a sentimental piece of art work to me. My mom said my grandmother used this spoon daily to serve beans in the kitchen. (This was during the Depression years so you know they had a lot of beans.)
- Look closely to see a bit of the upcycled glass liquor decanter sitting in the window corner. I simply filled it with water and a little red food coloring and let the light shine through.
- Three white linen dinner napkins (thrifted for $1 each) serve as a charming valance in both of my kitchen windows. Just fold over one edge and sew in a straight line to form a short casing to thread the curtain rod through. You don't even need a sewing machine to do this if you take the time to do a little hand sewing.
Pause for a Poll
Which style of crafting and home decorating do you prefer?See results without voting
My 3 Painting Rules
ALWAYS prep and prime surfaces properly first.
I prefer to use water base paints and finishes.
I protect my work with a finished top coat.
Paint Is Perfect for a Cheap (Inexpensive) Redo
1. Make your own stencil to paint on the doors of a vintage cabinet. (LOTS of tutorials online) A stylized American Gothic just sets this piece apart from all others, don't you think? This was a combined piece of art created with the invaluable help of a good friend years ago. She taught me a lot about painting and the magic of the imagination. :)
2. Painting plaid on metal. Job made easy with a bit of painters tape and paint. These $3 thrift shop stools are sitting kind of pretty now, aren't they? Can we say EclectiCheap maybe? :)
3. I had two slightly different shades of partially used green spray paint to revamp this thrifted rattan stool. Neither can had enough contents to do the project. :( What did I do? I sprayed the under section first with my second choice and once that dried I used my preferred color on top. No one ever noticed and I didn't have to buy any new supplies at all for this transformation.
4. This 3-drawer dresser is the perfect size and now serves as a nightstand in our guest bedroom. It was pretty beat up when I got it for a steal at the local charity thrift shop. Black was my color of choice for this redo.
The pretty flowers I added on were simple to do. I'm no artist, so I found a design I liked online and laying the chest flat on the ground facing up WITH the drawers in place and the handles removed, I used white chalk to free hand outline the main points. I tried to replicate the design as best I could, but it turned out not much like the original design. That's the way it should be! :)
I used basic craft paint (the stuff in photo 5)to fill in the colors. The whole thing I topped with a satin finish water-base polycrylic and then reattached the handles.
5. This is the latex craft paint I use constantly. Basic shades also are available in larger bottles which is what I used to paint the chest in photo number 4.
Here's the way I apply this paint. I always squirt some in a small disposable plastic tub and add a little hot water. Mix with a wooden chopstick to make sure there are no lumps. Paint. Allow to dry thoroughly between coats and before applying water base polycrylic top coat. That's it!
This is the most inexpensive way you'll find to paint furniture besides the OOOOPS section of the local hardware store. Try it! You'll like it!
Complete Your Painted Surfaces with Water Base Satin Polycrylic
You work hard on a project, so help protect it with this super product. This is my preferred brand and finish.
Makes a great finish. Protects surfaces. Easy to clean. I recommend this product highly!
Your Style of Crafting and Décor - What's It Called?
Is it junky? Is it funky? Is it cheap? Is it chic? Is it classic? Is it trash or is it treasure? Shabby Shanty?
If you can't make up your mind, call it EclectiCheap!
EclectiCheap = This and That Done Your Way! - Why are these special to me? Because I did them my way and inexpensively! :)Click thumbnail to view full-size
Have You Ever?
Have you ever seen a cuter rooter?
I'm sure you have, BUT maybe not one made this inexpensively. :) Everything I needed to put together a plant rooter for my mother's kitchen window were things she already had. In fact the two clear glass vases were stashed under her kitchen sink so I didn't have to look far.
This project falls under the "use-what-you-have" style of decorating which is totally compatible with what I also consider EclectiCheap. :)
To make this rooter: The important part of this project is once the inner bud vase is centered inside the larger vase, the bud vase must be either the same height or a tad shorter. Colorful glass rocks or marbles should be placed around the bud vase to help keep it into position.
Fill the bud vase with water and insert a cutting so it may root. Place the rooter in the window so the cutting gets some sun and the glass rocks are reflected in the sunlight.
- Knock Off Décor — knock off décor, copycat decor
knock off décor, copycat decor
- Mean Ass People Embroidery Pattern
My original and FREE embroidery pattern can be found at this link. :)
- My Shim Chic Project
Learn how to make wall art out of shims at this link to my Sallygoodin blog.
- Silk Rose Lampshade DIY
My knock off DIY project inspired by one at Knock Off DÃ©cor. :) Featured in the lead photo at the top of this page.
Classic white household glue (dries clear)
Plastic disposable margarine tub
Squirt some glue in tub. Add a little hot water to thin out the glue a little.Stir and apply to surface. Use slightly dampened rag to gently deflate any air bubbles.
More in this Series
Don't hire a decorator. Decorate your own home with the help of your local hardware store. For best results, read this page for inspiration first. Then go shopping with your mind wide open. Have fun!
My living area is constantly changing which is another reason I love decorating in this style of found and upcycled, repurposed objects. You never know what combination you'll come up with this way!