Do It Yourself, Dayton

Creative Projects to Vamp Up A Dull Scenario

By Kate Eviston

DIY projects are springing up faster than wildflowers. The idea originally stemmed from home improvement projects in the ‘50s but has grown vastly to include décor, art and style.  When I see something I like, I instinctively want to buy it.  But why not get a little creative and cultivate a masterpiece out of junk drawer items, a little hardware and some spare time?  These projects are enjoyable for a number of reasons, and being easy on the wallet is only one of them.

DIY allows you to create unique, one of a kind items that hopefully turn heads without breaking the bank.  Since style changes so frequently, it doesn’t make sense to spend a lot on costume jewelry or accessories, so save your money and get creative.

“The most important thing is to be aware of what’s being worn. Don’t get too trendy,” advises boutique owner Mary Ellen Lee of Pieces of Style in Centerville (18 W. Franklin Street). Certain items will inevitably go out of style, but by investing in classics and finding ways to update that with hand-crafted originals is the one of the best ways to transform a classic into your own personal style.

With websites like and Pinterest, and the multitude of bloggers, it is now easier than ever to see something you like and create the look yourself for a fraction of the cost.  Here I have broken down some projects that are easy and enjoyable, yet not too time-consuming, that will do a lot to vamp up a dull scenario.


If you have extra fabric lying around, there are numerous projects that can put that extra half-yard to good use.  Headbands are easy: what you’ll need: scissors, rope, extra fabric (even a shoe-string could work for this) and a ball chain (can be purchased at any hardware store).  Tie items together to the hair elastic and braid.  Fasten the braid to the other end of the elastic.  Voila!

Scarf: If you like braids and aren’t ready to part with scarves, this project is right up your alley.   You can buy fabric or use an old t-shirt.  By cutting the t-shirt into strips and braiding it at the end you have a nice accessory made to withstand the summer heat.

Bracelets/Necklaces: If you have several necklaces independent of one another, why not link them all together with a clasp to create a multi-textured look?  What’s great about this is if you get bored with it (or it gets too heavy), take some pliers, open the clasp, and rework the necklace.


Free patterns are out there.  Everywhere.  If you have a particular pattern you are looking for, I suggest doing a little research, some websites will try to charge you but look hard enough and you’ll be rewarded. Tutorials are available for almost any project, including screen printing.

Décor: This weather has me feeling a bit green.  Not only do plants emit oxygen but they’re also aesthetically pleasing.  For this planting project all you’ll need is a wooden board, some screws and clamps, old Mason jars, plants, and potting soil.

Another way to add some style to a boring living room is with colorful, decorative pillows.  Fabric can be cheap and coupons are usually available.  A pillow runs around $11 at Michaels.  Adding varying textures and patterns allows for blasts of color.

But these are only a few ideas, and there are literally hundreds upon hundreds of great DIY projects waiting for the right pair of hands to take up and make something fun.  This early spring weather has motivated me to seek out particularly interesting DIY projects, and if you’ve got the spring bug like I do, find something that interests you and give it a Do It Yourself touch that only you can give it!

DIYs not only add unique elements, but they give you a great sense of accomplishment.  With a little hard work and patience, you can master the DIY craft.  Get to work!

Reach DCP editorial intern and freelance writer Kate Eviston at

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