Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Part II: Decorating a Small Room on a Small Budget

I'm still a decorating fool! Last time I introduced my new rug and color scheme - this time I'm here to share a little project I did with these mystery materials ... 

... and a cheap{ish} solution to a big {decorating} problem. If you've been following my Instagram, I bet you can guess the project!! 


SO here we go! Project one: mystery materials. These two are pretty important areas in my classroom - pencil bins and girls' / boys' bathroom passes! I LOVED those vinyl chalkboard labels {$3, OKAY?!}, so I slapped a few on the mason jars and BOOM: 

Next up: bathroom passes. Always a pain, and I am NOT a fan of spending lots of money on something that inevitably gets lost. So I took a little bit of that ADORABLE burlap and polka dot ribbon and some rope, added a chalkboard label and again ... BOOM. Done. I will probably laminate the writing part so it doesn't wash off when it gets wet (I used a chalkboard pen --- soooo much easier than actual chalk). 

Now ... how about that BIG decorating problem? It's definitely the bajillion tubs I have floating around my room, with the four different color schemes I've tried throughout my teaching career. Last year I just went with a "colorful" theme because I had so much going on in my room (#AMIRIGHT?!!)

But this year, as you know, is my "make-my-room-feel-more-homey-I-spend-enough-time-there-that-I-want-it-to-be-a-space-I-like-and-that-kids-feel-comfortable-and-relaxed-in" year (say that five times fast). The primary colors were not doing it for me: 

Plus I had this {ultra-cute, oh my gosh ... but still primary ...} easel. 

The point is: I needed to change the color of those bins, and I didn't have a whoooolllle lotta dollars to spend buying new ones. Enter ... spray paint. I know. It doesn't stick to plastic. BUT! BUT!! After a lot of googling I found out that some smart person over at Krylon had engineered a spray paint that bonds with plastic! And it had great reviews! HALLELUJAH! 

So, I laid them all out on an old plastic tarp we had leftover from painting our living room, and got to work. I was REALLY pleased with the result. There are a few touch-up spots here and there, but overall the paint is sticking and I'm hopeful they'll last in my room. 

A few pro-tips {HAR HAR}. 
  1. Give yourself enough time, and do it outside. This was definitely a two-day project because of the number of bins, and the smell that comes from the spray paint. I plan on leaving mine outside to air out for at *least* four days. 
  2. Wear gloves and a mask. Painting the outside isn't hard, but when you get to the inside of the bins the spray paint billows up and gets all over you and in your face. I *should* have worn a mask, because I *know* breathing in that spray paint wasn't a good idea. Be ye not so dumb.
  3. Get close to the bins. Keep the paint moving so it doesn't drip, but if you stay too far away you'll waste a TON of paint. Get close enough that you can see it going on in a nice even coat. 
  4. I didn't see a huge difference in the gloss vs. satin finish, but I liked the way the satin coated better, FWIW. 
  5. It does take a LOT of paint. It took a good 2-3 passes on each bin for each to be covered fully. I painted probably 50 bins and the easel with 6-7 cans of paint (I stopped counting after the third trip to get more). Get more than you need and then return the rest. 
WHEW! I'm not done yet! I'll be back soon with more decorating updates, my summer/fall teacher wardrobe annddddd a Lucy Calkins update. :) See you soon! 


  1. It looks great so far! I can't wait to see what's next! I have to spray paint my toolbox soon, but it is way to humid here. Seriously I need a humidity/heatwave free day before I can even attempt that!!

    Fashion Craze Learning Days

  2. Looks great! Nothing says classroom more than bright primary colors. Black is defiantly a more homey look.

    The Math Maniac

  3. Pretty cool idea. The primary colors can get old pretty quickly. I would love to see a picture of your room when it is all done. Good luck!

    Sharon Winter

  4. Thanks, guys! I'm excited to get into my actual classroom - still waiting on the inspections from some of the work we had done over the summer. Fingers crossed it'll be soon. In the mean time, I'd love to see if it works for y'all! :)

  5. A yeast later, how are they holding up? Thinking about sprucing up my random colored bins, too...just worried about chipping.

  6. I'm wondering how these are holding up!? I'm curious to try, but I'd love to know from someone experienced first :)


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