Wooden handles turned modern love seat (and don’t forget the tiny newspaper)

Everyday objects repurposed

Since the only furniture I can find is Victorian, I’ve been busy making my own interpretations of mid-century modern furniture. I made this little love seat from two wooden handles, part of an old napkin, and some wooden balls. Let me take you through the process.

It started with some wooden handles I found at the Habitat for Humanity Restore. I’ve determined, at least in Madison, there is no place better to shop for dollhouse decor than hardware stores. The Restore is great because there are tons of tiny trinkets, washers, nuts, bolts, handles, and hinges. All kinds of things to capture a person’s imagination, all for very little money.

Two wooden handles held with tape while the glue dries. Another in case you are confused. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Two wooden handles held with tape while the glue dries. Another in case you are confused. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

I glued two handles together. Here they are, drying. The other handle is shown in the photo in case you need a little help picturing what these handles looked like before I taped them together.

Once they dried I glued some wooden balls to them. The wooden balls are inexpensive. I got this entire bag at a garage sale or thrift shop for very little money:

Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Here is an in-progress look with the the glue drying:

Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

I turned part of a set of napkins into the fabric for my love seat. Here is the in-progress of this step:

Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Once the glue dried, I painted the love seat and then wrapped the fabric around the love seat and sewed it into place. I topped it off with a little pillow.

The thing the newspaper sits in is some little metal contraption, also from the Restore. Some kind of bracket or something, I guess. To me it just says Magazine Rack. I bought several bags of these. I have no idea what they are actually used for. I have them in other colors too. For a buck a bag, I couldn’t pass them up.

It took me two tries to get the newspaper the right scale. I didn’t worry about the details of printing on both sides of the paper, or having different text inside. I simple pasted in the same image over and over, printed it, cut it out, and put it in the magazine rack. To me, it works fine.

Tiny newspaper. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Mini newspaper by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

The end result is a cozy place to sit and read the paper:

Tiny love seat and a newspaper to read. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Tiny love seat and a newspaper to read. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

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Tiny cologne bottles, repurposed as large glass bottles and vases

Everyday objects repurposed

Bill’s been incredibly helpful lately, dousing himself in all the cute stocking stuffers he’s acquired over the years, in the name of tiny design. Here are couple of examples of cologne bottles that are about to repurposed as vases and bottles in my mini house:

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Souvenir ornament repurposed into a light fixture

Everyday objects repurposed

This trinket that someone purchased in Jamaica is going to make a fabulous light fixture! Here is the “before” version of it:

Jamaica ornament. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Jamaica ornament. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

It was filled with blue sand, little shells, a tiny starfish, and a little pail. My initial attraction to it was based upon the tiny shells, which I thought might be cute sitting on a shelf in my mid century marvel’s bathroom one day.

The only thing keeping the sand and shells inside was a small, easy-to-remove plastic cap at the bottom of the ornament.

Evidence that people spend way too much money when they're on vacation. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Evidence that people spend way too much money when they’re on vacation. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

I separated the stuff inside from the ornament:

The materials to turn my mid century marvel's bathroom into a tropical oasis of beachiness. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

The materials to turn my mid century marvel’s bathroom into a tropical oasis of beachiness. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Next I cleaned up the ornament with some nail polish remover. Without too much trouble the word Jamaica was erased. Here is a picture of it after about thirty seconds of scrubbing at the ornament with a Q-tip and polish remover. After another couple of minutes, the word was gone.

Using finger nail polish remover to erase the word printed on the ornament. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Using finger nail polish remover to erase the word printed on the ornament. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

The word and the price sticker all came cleanly off, leaving me with this little globe:

Light fixture for a very small house. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Light fixture for a very small house. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

With a little more work, this small globe is going to be a great light fixture one day!

Bottle cap turned modern planter or end table

Everyday objects repurposed

This real wooden cap from a bottle of men’s cologne from the 1970’s or 80’s is going to make a great planter or end table. Flipped one way it has a spot for a plant. Flipped the other, it has a smooth table top. Here it is shown beside some books, to give you an idea of the scale. I found it at a thrift store for 90 cents, and it even came in a faux wood grain box (made of cardboard) that might come in handy for another project at some point. The only downfall is the stench of the cologne that I had to endure for the photo shoot.

Jonathan Adler-inspired mini coffee table for next to nothing

Everyday objects repurposed

The Nixon coffee table is currently featured on Jonathan Adler’s home page. It’s part of the Warm Modernism collection. I knew I wanted a similar coffee table in my mid century marvel, but I had no idea where I could come up with one, so I decided to take matters into my own hands. I’m going to show you how to make a tiny coffee table with the same basic design aesthetic, for practically nothing.

Start with some old bangle bracelets you never wear. Everyone has some. These are from Myrtle Beach. I bought them from a souvenir shop that was going out of business. I actually think they’re really cute, but I have tons of cheap jewelry so I don’t mind donating these to a good cause.

All you need to make a Jonathan Adler inspired mini coffee table. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

All you need to make a Jonathan Adler inspired mini coffee table. Photos by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Next you’ll need a round wooden box like this one pictured above. You can find these boxes at places like Michael’s for $1.00- $2.00. When opened, you automatically have (if you have any imagination at all) a table and tabletop. The trick to creating a Jonathan Adler Nixon-inspired mini table is to add a bracelet base to the tabletop part of the box. The built in edge inside the lid makes a perfect guide to center your bracelets. A lattice style cuff bangle, like the base of the actual Nixon coffee table, would be ideal. I might shop around for one, but for now, this stack of bangles looks good to me.

All you need to make a Jonathan Adler inspired mini coffee table. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

The assembled table will look like this:

All you need to make a Jonathan Adler inspired mini coffee table. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

Here’s the one I am making, next to the original box/table. I might remove the bottom bracelet to make it even lower. I won’t decide for sure until I see how it looks in the living room, alongside (yet to be acquired) chairs and sofas.

All you need to make a Jonathan Adler inspired mini coffee table

The only thing left to do is to sand the edges lightly, put on a coat of dark stain, and glue it all together. Since this project is still in progress, it might look a little different the next time you see it, but you get the idea. If you still can’t see it as anything other than a stack of bracelets with a coaster on top, you’ll just have to wait for the final unveiling.

Measuring cups turned oversized planters

Everyday objects repurposed

Everyday objects around your house can be repurposed in unique ways. I love these West Elm measuring cups I got from a friend, and now I have found a great way to show them off: The bigger measuring cups have joined a stack of small bowls in my (real life, full sized) kitchen, while the two smaller cups have been turned into cute planters for my dollhouse. I paired them with some plastic succulents from the craft store to give them a whole new look. They’ll be cute by the front door, someday in the future when I get to that stage. The best part? This project took approximately 1 second to complete, cost very little, and has no long term effects on the measuring cups, in the event that I change my mind and want to return them to their former measuring cup status.

West Elm measuring cups turned oversized planters. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.

West Elm measuring cups turned oversized planters. Photo by Holly Tierney-Bedord. All rights reserved.