My Nature-Inspired Bedroom

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I’m having an I-can’t-believe-I-live-here moment.  From the day I moved in with a blanket, a laptop, and a garbage bag of clothes, I knew I wanted a giant mountain scape headboard and a huge branch in my bedroom.  This past week I finally made it all happen, and I’ll walk you through all the little pieces necessary to make it happen.  I broke them into three separate articles:

  1. The Headboard
  2. The Lamp
  3. The Shelf

 

The Shelf

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I needed more room for all my tchotchkes and a way to make my branch lamp look more finished.  This shelf is easy peasy!

Supplies
2 shelf brackets
2 pieces of wood (one should be slightly shorter than the other so the cord can fit through it)
Gold spray paint
Wood stain
4 drywall anchors
4 long screws that correspond to your anchors
4 short wood screws
Polyurethane sealer

Tools
Drill
Screw driver
Paper towels or clean rags for staining
Sandpaper

Steps

  1. Sand down your wood
  2. In a well ventilated space, lay down a tarp (or, in my case, a garbage bag), and apply your first coat of wood stain
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    I originally went with Minwax Gunstock which should have been a honey brown and came out like the grossest mulch-y red despite three coats (on the left).  I then bought it in Jacobean instead to tone down the redness (on the right) and was really happy with the resulting color.
  3. While your stain is drying, spray paint your shelf brackets
  4. Once you’re happy with the stain color, apply the sealer and let that dry
  5. In the meantime, measure the screw holes in your brackets and mark the placements on the wall so you know where to install the anchors.  You absolutely should be aiming to install this into the studs in your wall, especially if you’re planning on putting anything heavy on the shelf
  6. Install your drywall anchors
  7. Measure the distance between the anchors and the distance from the wall to the closest anchor.  Mark those measurements on your boards
  8. Using the small screws, attach your brackets to the boards at the markers you just made
  9. Using the screws that came with the brackets, attach your shelf to the wall
  10. Decorate with books and things!

The Lamp

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This was a pretty simple piece, minus the years spent finding the perfect branch and my spray paint flub.

For the basic lamp, I followed this tutorial.

Supplies
White paper lantern
Pendant light cord
LED bulb
Yarn (optional)
Branch
Fiberfill
Very long wood screws, at least an inch longer than the thickness of your branch
Drywall anchors (optional, but highly recommended)

Tools
Power drill
Hot glue gun

Steps

  1. Have a friend hold your branch in place (if you’re using anchors, mark where you need them to be placed and install them)
  2. Drill your wood screws into your branch to secure it to the wall.  If your branch is in a corner like mine, you must drill screws into the branch in both directions.  I also highly recommend putting installing screws higher up on the branch if possible to support your lamp.
  3. Open up your Chinese lantern and hot glue handfuls of fiberfill to it like in this video tutorial
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  4. Put your light into your lantern and plug it in to make sure the cloud looks the way you want it to
  5. If you want your cord to be a different color, remove the light from the lamp and wrap the cord with yarn (see an example here)
  6. Hang up your lamp on your branch!

Tips

I had what was probably the worst crafting flub of my entire life.  Originally, I tried spray painting the cord.  “How simple,” I thought.  “Why are there no tutorials for this online?!”  Because it doesn’t work.

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If you spray paint rubber, i.e. an electric cord, the paint will only ever dry to “tacky” which is THE WORST thing to try to fix.  I originally tried crocheting yarn around it, but it was so sticky (note the large amount of guinea pig hair stuck to the only portions of paint that didn’t rip off).  After several days of wanting to throw it away and just buy a new one, I ended up covering the cord in baby powder and then wrapping it with yarn.  It takes for-freaking-ever, so I have no judgement for anyone who doesn’t want to wrap a cord.  It’s terrible.  But it looks so nice.

The headboard

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My wonderful friends Ryan and Luke helped me assemble the headboard of my dreams! It’s a lot easier than it looks. We followed a basic upholstered headboard routine with a few modifications. Mine is three separate upholstered headboards bolted together.

Supplies
3 pieces of plywood, at least 3′ tall and the width of your bed
Enough batting to cover the back and middle layers
A bag of fiberfill
6 yards of fabric (2 yards per layer)
4 bolts
4 washers
4 nuts
1 cleat
And a friend to help

Tools
Table saw
Drill
Staple gun
Scissors
Box cutter or knitting needle
Bolt cutter optional

Steps

  1. Outline the mountains you’d like on each piece of plywood
  2. Use the table saw to cut out the mountains
  3. Lay the plywood on the ground, overlapping it in the exact position you want
  4. Drill two holes where the front layer overlaps the middle layer
  5. Drill two holes where the middle layer overlaps the back layer
  6. Roll out your batting and lay your back layer FACE DOWN on the batting
  7. Cut the batting so that it’s 2″ wider than your layer
  8. Pull the batting over and staple it down around the back of the plywood (just like on a basic upholstered headboard)
  9. Lay your back layer fabric face down and set your padded plywood on top of it, with the batting facing down
  10. Cut the fabric to the width of your plywood
  11. Just as you did with the batting, pull the fabric taught over the plywood and staple it down.  You may need to make extra cuts around the mountains to keep the fabric from buckling on the front of the piece
  12. Using the box cutter or knitting needle, you’re going to need to pierce the fabric to make way for the bolts.  Make a small hole in the fabric in line with the holes you drilled for the bolts.  I used a knitting needle to do this, kind of janky but it was so much easier going through the hole from the back and piercing the fabric from there.  And you’re done with the back layer!
  13. Take your middle layer and put the bolts through the holes you drilled previously with the threaded end on the back side of your plywood.  Then repeat all of the batting, fabric, and piercing steps as above.  Do not attached to the other layer yet!
  14. For the front layer, put the bolts through the holes you drilled, do not apply batting
  15. Lay the front layer plywood on  your fabric of choice, and staple the fabric to the top, left, and right sides of your plywood
  16. Take fistfuls of fiberfill and stuff the front layer (we used fiberfill instead of batting for the front layer because it’s so much comfier to lean on and gives the layer a cloud-like look)
  17. Now assemble!  Put your layers on top of each other, pushing the bolts through the drilled holes on the layer behind it
  18. Put a washer and nut on each of the bolts, securing it tightly
  19. Screw one half of the cleat into the back of the back layer
  20. Measure the placement of the cleat on the headboard, and screw the other half into the corresponding location on your wall
  21. Cut the bolts if you have a bolt cutter, otherwise drill holes for them in the wall or, if you’re willing to potentially lose your security deposit go ahead and just jam those bolts into your plaster and let your future self worry about spackling later
  22. Hang up your headboard!

What should I do with these mailboxes?

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The building I live in was built around 1911, and a few weeks ago I saw my landlord taking out the original mailboxes (replacing them with not-asthetically-pleasing-whatsoever-but-apparently-more-functional grey monstrosities, ew).  I asked him if I could have them all, and a few days later I found them all stacked on my deck.  SICK!  But I’m not sure what to make out of them yet.  I have three sets with three slots and one set with four slots.  Most of them still have the buzzer buttons and original wiring, but all the locks have been taken out.

So, what should they be?  Mail sorters?  Necklace storage?  General art?  I’m open to suggestions.