Sunday, February 24, 2013

Shelf Display #1: DIY Decorative Vase Filler

A couple weeks ago, I revealed our new (albeit empty) floating shelves in the living room. Well, they're slowly filling up with a combination of DIY projects, travel souvenirs, and yes, even a couple of items that were just bought from the store (gasp). So I thought I'd go through shelf-by-shelf and give a closer look at each display, starting with this one:

As you can see, the glass vase contains some decorative balls, which is a project I've been wanting to try ever since I found it on Pinterest several months ago. Depending on where you go to and what they're made out of, store-bought vase fillers can run anywhere from $5-10 a piece, which can add up pretty quickly if you have a big container to fill. 

And the new empty shelf was the perfect excuse to try and make my own. I headed to Hobby Lobby in search of some styrofoam balls and bought a bag of 2.5" balls and a bag of 3" balls (there are a lot of jokes just waiting to be made throughout this post, but I'm going to refrain and be mature about it). Surprisingly enough, I bought these both at full price without any coupons, so it cost about $7.

Next stop? A trip to Office Max to get some thumb tacks. A lot of thumb tacks. I really didn't know how many I'd need, so I started with two packs of 400 each. That cost another $8, but I was hoping it would go far. Back at home, it was time to start, er, decorating my balls...


This particular foam was very smooth and dense, and I had no problem getting the thumb tacks to stay stuck in them. I think other kinds of foam (floral, maybe) are much more porous and probably wouldn't hold the tacks as well. Anyway, it took a little over 30 minutes to cover one ball with the tacks. I really didn't mind since it's pretty mindless work and I was able to watch TV at the same time (hello, Bachelor!). 

However... I ran out of tacks after just two balls, so I had to go buy another package. The thumb tack option was starting to get a little pricey, so I quit after covering three of the 3" balls with them. It was time to come up with some more budget-friendly balls. Once again, I turned to Pinterest and searched for "DIY vase fillers." Voila! This pin caught my eye and I knew I had to give it a shot. During my next grocery shopping trip, I picked up a bag of dry white beans for about $1.50. Then I just started gluing away like a mad woman, until I finally had the remaining three 3" balls covered with beans. (Looking back, sometimes I even amaze myself at the lengths I'll go to in order to save a few bucks.)

Now it was time to decorate the 2.5" balls. I wanted to experiment with even more textures and remembered that I had some jute in the closet from my crafty bottles. This would be perfect! Starting at the top of one of the balls, I began wrapping the jute in a tight spiral and hot gluing it down every so often. 

Three more balls down, and I was getting tired of the jute-wrapping. Frankly, by this point I was ready to just get the %(#&* balls done with. It was time to bring out the spray paint. For the final three balls, I used some textured gold paint that I had bought on clearance awhile back. 

But alas, I wasn't done yet... I still had to spray paint the balls that were covered in thumb tacks and beans. My plan for these was to use the three colors that I used for my ceiling medallion mirrors, which also match the colors on the throw pillows in our living room.

Love this color combo: 
Rust-Oleum Painter's Touch Eden, Aubergine, and Cinnamon.

Here is my very professional method of spray painting
all the balls in our back yard:

It took 2 coats of the Eden and Cinnamon, and 3 coats of the Aubergine until the balls were evenly colored (I probably should have primed the thumb tacks first, since they were multi-colored). I allowed several hours for them to dry before handling them. Then, finally, it was time to put all 12 balls in my vase. Easy, right?

Wrong. It was like putting a puzzle together. It probably took me five attempts of putting them in the vase and taking them all back out again until I came up with an arrangement that looked good. Yeesh.

Ok, so the project turned out to be a little more labor-intensive and time-intensive than I had planned. BUT... I am very happy with the end result! And the total cost to fill up this vase was around $15... not bad.

This shelf display also includes a clock from Prague (inspired by the city's famous astronomical clock), and a decorative "book" from Michael's... one of the ones you can actually store stuff in. I really just liked the aged look and the fact that it says "travel" on it, which kind of goes with the Prague clock.

Well folks, that concludes my first shelf display feature! So when was the last time that you went to great lengths to save a few bucks by DIY-ing?

Linking up to...


Mallory said...

Hi! I just wanted to let you know I've selected your blog for the Liebster Award. You can get more details on my blog at The award was passed along to me by another blogger. Feel free to play along, or just enjoy my appreciation for your blog!

elenareviews said...

I find your blog fantastic! Never thought of this kind of art.......

Anonymous said...

These decorations look really nice! I like the look of the corner shelf. I think that I may use some of these ideas to decorate my own home. Do happen to know where I could find some decorative corner shelves for my home?

Michael Williams said...

I think that is so cool that you make your own decorations. I have wanted to learn how to make my own for awhile. I don't think I'm that talented, so I think I would just have to buy my own.

Quin Trent said...

I love that you can make your own decorative glass vases from home just with things that are sitting around. Now that right there in innovation and is something that more people should be doing. I have some decorative tall glass vases in my home, but I did not design them myself. After seeing what you just did, I wish I would have.


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