Best of DIYs | Getting Crafty in Chinatown

This was a fun little DIY by Janis Nicolay of Pinecone Camp, where we took to Chinatown looking for things to make under $25.  With my love right now for all things Chinoiserie, I thought this craft had to be revisited for our Best of DIYs series this summer.  I think Janis has been onto something all along. 

Contributor post by Janis Nicolay of Pinecone Camp

I recently had a little Chinatown adventure with the lovely Jan of Poppytalk. I was on a mission to find little bits of happiness to create a few crafty projects, and my budget was $25. Chinatown, as I've mentioned on my blog, is one of my favourite neighbourhoods in Vancouver, and my go-to place for a quick pick-me-up like a coconut bun (huh, yum) or a pair of sparkly slippers.

Not sure what these were meant to be used for, but I wanted to make trays out of them.  I had a few sample pots of paint at home, so I picked up some wrapping paper that would work with the paint I had. The total for this project was about $12, and I have heaps of extra wrapping paper left.

Trio of trays "before".

Trio of trays "after".

All of the materials for the small tray. I had a scrap of another paper that I thought looked cute with the bird paper.

After a light sanding, I applied 2 coats of paint. Once dried, I glued down the paper, let dry and applied several coats of Mod Podge (though you could use a watered down white glue). Voila! This tray is about 10"x10".

I love a mix of plants as a table centre piece. I bought 3 soup bowls and 3 small plants. The total was $6 for everything.

Place a few pebbles in the bottom of a soup bowl (for drainage), add a plant and you have a pretty centre piece. So easy and inexpensive.

Next up are place card vases. Chinatown has so many cute writing pads with fun graphic covers. After tearing off the cover for the tray, I cut the lower part of the paper to fit a small jar. Using double sided  tape on either end of cut out, I attached it to the jar. Cost for this project was about 75 cents.

Last project is a side table for my nephew, Jake. I had a lonely little table/stool, that I think was from Ikea. With some leftover paint (Benjamin Moore's "cloud 9"), I applied two coats to the table then let it dry completely, over night.  It felt great to use up that paint.

As Jake likes maps and planes, I cut up an old road map and used a cover of a writing pad for the top of the table. Cost for this project was about $2 plus the table (which I paid 0 for).

I actually spent less than $25 and still have heaps of paper left.  Thanks Jan, for hanging out with me in Chinatown. It was so much fun!

All crafts and images by Janis Nicolay of Pinecone Camp.

Jan Halvarson


gabricci said...

Love the ceramic bowl planters and the pretty glass jar vases. So simple, so elegant.

Unknown said...

Yes! I made a table in Grade 10 wood shop identical to that Ikea one and have been wondering what to do with it for the past 9 years as it's just been sitting in my parent's basement (I wouldn't dare to throw it out!) I knew it just needed a coat of paint, but I love the addition of the map to spruce it up a bit more! Was it painted with BM alone, or did you have to coat it with something else first?

Meesh @ I Dream of Chairs said...

All very cute projects! Gosh, it's been so long since I've been to Chinatown. This post has me feeling the need for a little trip to the city and a coconut bun!

mel m. m. mccarthy said...

Your projects are amazing, Janis! I live in Port Moody & have dreams of making it to ChinaTown this summer to visit the Poppytalk booth. Love your gorgeous trays especially! The wooden trays are called 'Cradled Panels' (amazing for paintings & collage work) You can find them at Opus art supply in a zillion sizes and square too (They're really affordable as well and made using renewable resources). :)

j. wilson said...

oh my goodness, these are GORGEOUS! I too love an adore finding goodies to craft with in Chinatown. This makes me miss living in Los much pretty. I think the trays are my favorite!

Claudia said...

Great DIY ideas, I really love the side table!