Do’s & Don’t’s
If you’ve been keeping up with my blog, you know that I enjoy DIY and saving money. My favorite thing is to combine the two. Thus, a lot of my decor is DIY from the dollar store. And while you can check Pinterest for loads of ideas, there are a few tricks I’ve got up my sleeve that I’ll share with you now.
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Keep in mind that your town probably has loads of discount dollar stores. So, if you can’t find something worthwhile at one, try checking the others. There’s Dollar Tree, Dollar General, The Dollar Spot, etc. Even Five Below will have some inexpensive finds.
Absolute Do’s of DIY Dollar Store Decor
You can easily find small flowerpots and planters at any of these stores. And, they look great on their own – no additions necessary, besides the plants. You can even purchase flower seed packets.
You could also give your flowerpots a little pizzazz with a coat of spray paint or a wrap of twine. Make sure to properly adhere the twine with superglue or hot glue, so it stays in place. And choose a spray paint with gloss that covers plastic fully. Plan to do two coats to make certain you get full coverage.
If you’re planning to put your pots outside, make sure to punch holes in the bottom of the planters, otherwise, they’ll pool water and nothing will grow. If you’re keeping them in the house, choose a plant that doesn’t need much sunlight and just water it as necessary.
I will warn you against their potting soil, though. It’s not the best and my most recent try at it created mold growth. And, you don’t want to plant vegetables in these pots. Technically, you could, but these pots may have BPA in the plastic that could leach into the growing vegetables, and no one wants that. I’d stick to flowers if I were you.
Picture frames are cheap at the dollar store, I mean, obviously, they’re $1. Sometimes, they can look extremely cheap, too. Make sure to give your frames a good once over before purchasing them. Check to see that they aren’t scratched and that the corners all line up. If the corners aren’t at perfect angles, they’ll look cheap.
Again, spray paint in a matte color can give a great pop to a gallery wall.
Aren’t these things lifesavers? I love Command Strips, as evidenced here. Purchasing too many of them from a box store retailer can really add up. But, if you only need one or two, here or there, or can cut a large in pieces, you can get away with just spending $1.
Glassware from the dollar stores is great! Granted, it’s not the thickest, and may be more fragile than traditional glass decor, but it still offers the look. As a matter of fact, I’ve fashioned quite a nice terrarium from a dollar store vase with some sand and seashells we collected on our most recent family adventure.
They also work great just as vases, as centerpiece elements, candy dishes, candle holders, you name it. I even repurposed a glass jar and solar light into a lantern for #1. You can get the directions for that in my Summer Activity Workbook.
Rubbermaid totes are great, but the big one’s (18-gal+) can really add up. If you’re looking for something smaller to sort and store your child’s toys, check the dollar stores.
They’re also great for organizing snacks in your cupboards, craft supplies, your bathroom, your desk, etc. Just make sure if you’re using them as focal pieces that they don’t look like flimsy plastic containers. Spruce them up with a little twine or spray paint.
Our bathroom has small baskets in it that were purchased from Dollar General for $2 each. They look the part – on par with Pottery Barn, I’d say. The only problem is, the stain on the basket doesn’t do so well in the humidity of the bathroom. I’ve actually had to place a small towel underneath each to prevent them from staining the counters. A small price to pay for inexpensive home decor!
I don’t really ‘get’ the whole candle craze, but if you’re looking for decorative candles, rather than amazingly scented one’s, look no further. You can usually pick up ivory pillar candles at any of these stores. Make them your own with a little crafting. Use double-sided tape and glitter or wrap some satin ribbons around the bases.
I’ve also used the taper candles and some melted wax from a red candle I had lying around to make Halloween candles that looked like they were dripping with blood. Gruesome, but we love Halloween in this house!
Along the same lines, you could melt a colorful candle down and dip your pillar candles into them to create some cool color block designs. Or, pair several of the pillars together to get a nice little centerpiece.
You can find some of the tackiest knick-knacks ever at the dollar store! But, you just have to look at them with a little imagination. If you spray painted them a glossy white, how would they look? Could you turn them into super cool bookends? In this instance, you’re going for shape over color.
I told you all about my Magnolia Wreath previously, and while none of the supplies for that came from a dollar store, they very well could have. Not only does our local Dollar Store offer grapevine and wicker wreath frames, but they also have wire one’s. Pair that with some wired-edge ribbon or faux foliage and you’ve got yourself the makings of a great door decoration.
Keep in mind that some of their fake flowers can look super cheap and fall apart easily. Choose wisely and reinforce the flower pieces with hot glue or super glue. Make sure to trim any loose edges, too.
Our Dollar Tree has started carrying canvas. It’s not high-quality, but it may be able to pass. If nothing, use it for the wooden frames. (Remember the corner recommendation above? Same goes here.) You can grab up some painter’s tape and do some color block wall art, or even stretch fabric over the frames. I even had wall art before that was just blank, white canvases. On a painted wall, it speaks volumes (about my indecisiveness).
Absolute Dont’s of DIY Dollar Store Decor
I love Pinterest. You may have even found this post through there. But, sometimes a recommended Pinterest project just isn’t the best idea. Here’s a few things I’ve learned about DIY Dollar Store Decor:
1.) If you find yourself gluing picture frames together, stop.
Lanterns can be purchased for really cheap nowadays, and you’re not going to get those frames perfect. Just don’t.
2.) If you find yourself spray painting plastic and it still looks like plastic, stop.
This also goes for spray painting something that ends up covered in drips. And it goes for all DIY projects, not just Dollar Store Decor. Practice with your spray paint before you start on your project. And make sure to chose the right kind for your surface and coverage needs.
Lesson learned: When I was much younger I actually purchased $0.88 cans of black spray paint and tried to repaint a set of kitchen chairs. Hahahaha! Don’t!
3.) If you find yourself making a project out of something so flimsy it won’t hold up for a week, stop.
This goes for all DIY projects. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. If you can spend a dollar more and avoid a headache and potentially replacing the item in a short time, do it. Quality, people!
The Ultimate Home Decor Tip
A long time ago I heard the ultimate home decor tip! This is predominately for stylized bookcases, but I use it for everything.
If it’s not bigger than a cantaloupe, it’s clutter.
Don’t stock up on chinzy knick-knacks. You’ll be going in the opposite direction of Pottery Barn. If you find something small that you really like, pair it with something else. Hence the terrarium creation I made of collected shells. The shells were neat, but they were clutter on their own. Pairing it with sand, a glass vase, and an air plant created a work of art.
So, now that you know my Do’s and Don’t’s and the ultimate home decor tip, get yourself to your local dollar store and spend a buck. Good luck and don’t forget to share your photos and success stories with me!
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