4 Questions to Ask Yourself When Planning a Home Renovation

Are you considering a home renovation? When it comes to renovating your home, starting out with a plan is absolutely critical. To brainstorm about your home renovation, there are a few key questions to ask yourself prior to demolition. Here are the top four questions we at Décor Plastics think you should ask when beginning the first steps toward planning a home renovation.

1. What’s My Budget?

Budget is probably one of the most important factors of your home renovation. Without determining a budget, you cannot make any decisions about the project – what materials you will use, whether you will hire a contractor or go DIY, how extensive the renovation will be, the style, etc. The first step is to determine a working, and reasonable, budget for the project.

2. What Don’t I Like About This Space?

If you are choosing to remodel a specific space in your home, first determine what exactly you dislike and why. This will help determine how you want to change the space for the better.

3. What Look Am I Going For?

When it comes to remodeling a home, there are endless possibilities available. Without first deciding on a general theme or look, you could become completely overwhelmed by the potential choices. Before beginning a home renovation, ask yourself what look you are going for to help begin the process of narrowing down the choices.

4. Do I Want to Hire a Contractor?

Hiring a contractor is one of the most important decisions you will make when planning a home renovation. If you are considering a rather small home improvement project that can be easily completed, you may choose to forgo the contractor.

At Décor Plastics, we offer the products you need for a successful bathroom remodeling project. Contact us today to learn more.

4 DIY Projects for Your New Year’s Eve Party

Another holiday, another opportunity for DIY decorations! For your New Year’s Eve party, there are many different DIY projects out there that will reduce your decorations budget and impress your guests. Here are four DIY decorations that we love for your New Year’s Eve festivities.

1. Paper Cube String Lights

For a project that will light up your New Year’s Eve party, try this tutorial for paper cube string lights. This project allows you to reuse your string lights from Christmas, simply adding paper to create the cubes. While you can use any type of string lights, LED lights are preferable to prevent any fire hazards. Simply follow the folding instructions to create the paper cubes, then poke a light through each cube and your project is complete.

2. Confetti Matchboxes

Want to have your guests throw confetti when the clock strikes midnight? Follow this tutorial for simple confetti matchboxes that you can hand out at your party. First, wrap your matchboxes with brightly colored foil paper. Next, add in either confetti or colorful paper punches leftover from previous projects. Top them off with ribbon and a countdown number.

3. Star Drink Stirrers

For a sparkling addition to your drinks, use these directions to create sequined star drink stirring sticks. You will need sequined star appliqués that are 2 inches in size, craft felt, bamboo skewers, scissors, and a hot glue gun. Simply cut out craft felt that is the same shape and size as the appliqués, and then hot glue the bamboo skewers in between the two pieces.

4. Colorful Crackers

What’s a New Year’s Eve party without crackers? Use this guide to create simple crackers using colorful paper. All you need is different colored construction paper, scissors, a craft knife, ribbon or string, and party favors to place inside the crackers. Follow the instructions for cutting and folding, then stuff your cracker and tie it off with string.

4 Ways to Save Money On Your DIY Holiday Decorations

Holidays are the best time of year for DIY projects. This holiday season, plan to go all out with your DIY decorations without breaking the bank. While DIY is a money-saver in and of itself, there are many ways that you can save even more by being smart about your holiday DIY decorations. With these four tips, you can save money on your DIY decorations this holiday season and spend that money on gifts for your family and friends.

1. Take Advantage of Nature

When you’re making DIY decorations, nature is one of your best resources. Better yet, nature is free! Before you start purchasing supplies for your DIY holiday decorations, take a stroll through nature and find supplies there, such as leaves, pinecones, acorns, twigs, etc. Find DIY project ideas online that make use of the supplies that nature has to offer.

2. Buy in Bulk

Another tip for saving money on your DIY projects is to buy in bulk. If you start planning your decorations early, you will still have time to shop online for supplies and find the best deals. Everything is cheaper in bulk, and fortunately, craft supplies are something you can always find in large quantities.

3. Start Shopping Early

In line with buying in bulk, it is also important to start shopping for your DIY decoration supplies early. By starting early, you will be able to compare prices and ensure that you get the best deals. Starting early is also beneficial because it will help you beat the holiday rush and give you plenty of time to think about your holiday gifts rather than decorating your home.

4. Collaborate With Friends

When you collaborate with friends, DIY projects are even more fun. By doing joint DIY decorating with your friends, you will be able to save money on supplies by purchasing more of your supplies in bulk and sharing them.

Tips for Using Pinterest to Find Holiday DIY Projects

When it comes to finding ideas for your next DIY craft project, Pinterest has quickly become one of the most popular websites out there. This holiday season, Pinterest will be your best friend if you are planning on creating your own holiday decorations or gifts. Use these four tips to find the best holiday DIY projects.

1. Use Top Picks

The first step in finding great DIY project ideas is to find followers that post pins that are relevant to your interests. One simple way to find boards to follow is to use the “Top Picks” list that Pinterest provides. To do this, simply go to “Edit Your Home Feed” on the upper left side of your home feed. You will see Top Picks displayed for you to browse through and follow.

2. Browse the Popular Section

Another place to find pins for your DIY project is in the popular section. Here, you will find the most popular items across Pinterest, meaning those that have been re-pinned the most. While you may not find exactly what you are looking for, this is a great place to find new boards and see what others are into across the site.

3. Make a Contributor Board With Friends

On Pinterest, one available option is making a contributor board. This board allows not only you, but also others to add pins. Use contributor boards to create joint boards with your friends who are also searching for holiday DIY ideas. This way, you can find ideas and work on your DIY projects together.

4. Check Out Your Related Pins

Last but not least, Pinterest recently added a new feature called “Related Pins.” These pins appear in your home feed and are chosen by Pinterest based upon your interests, pins, likes, etc. Look at your related pins to see if Pinterest has found anything good for your holiday DIY plans!

3 Easy DIY Projects That Build Confidence

How many projects have you undertaken that have… well… failed? It’s okay, we get it. Sometimes things just don’t turn out like you expect them to. As a result, you might be less willing to take on the next DIY project on your list.

We’ve compiled a little best-of-the-web list of confidence building DIY projects. We hate to call them totally foolproof, but they’re pretty close!

DIY Workout Shirt

How many old t-shirts do you have around the house with holes in the sleeve or stretched out necklines? Turn them into cute workout t-shirts with this clever idea from Rabbit Food for My Bunny Teeth. This project is super easy, and if you mess up, it’s a small loss. After all, you can always go dig up another t-shirt out of the bottom of your dresser!

No Glue, No Nails Bookshelf

Okay, so we covered four bookshelf ideas a couple weeks ago. However, we’re back for more. (We told you we have a lot of books!) This clever idea requires no nails, glue, tools, anything. All you need is two ladders and a few planks of wood. Set up the ladders, lay your planks between the steps, and add books.

Visually, this concept can be really hit or miss. Ugly ladders and too many books will look junky. However, select aesthetically pleasing ladders, some nice, stained or painted wood and leave a good amount of space on the “shelves,” and you can get a great result!

To see a more visually attractive one-ladder version of this concept, check out this image.

Install a Bike Rack

Instead of buying a bike rack, why not make your own out of wooden pallets? The pallet rack in this example is okay looking, but we think you could improve upon it with some fun paint and designs!

If you need a little DIY confidence boost, try one of these virtually fail-proof projects this week!

Before You Start a Project: “What Are My Skills? What Are My Limits?”

Our team here at Décor Plastics loves to do home remodeling projects on the weekends and evenings. Ask just about any one of our team members here what they have going on back at the house, and they’ll probably talk your ear off about their current workshop project!

However, even we have our limits. Before you embark on a home improvement project, it’s important to be aware of your skills and your limitations. Knowing what challenges you can overcome and what challenges you need professional help with is an important part of becoming a DIY expert.

In order to save yourself time, money, and frustrations, take these steps:

#1 Assess the Situation

How does this project compare to other projects you’ve taken on in the past? Easier, more difficult, or just different? If the project seems like something that’s outside of your abilities, remember to budget in labor when you purchase materials.

#2 Do Your Research

If you believe that you can do the project, then it’s important to spend plenty of time in the research phase – even if the project seems to be relatively easy. If there are certain aspects of the project that are beyond you, bring in some extra help for those phases. For example, you might be able to frame a wall, but unable to raise it from the ground by yourself.

#3 Have a Backup Plan

Lastly, have a backup plan. If it turns out that you were a little overly ambitious, then knowing exactly whom you’re going to call can be a stress-reliever. When you have a backup plan, your project will stay on track no matter what!

Remember, even the best laid plans can go awry! We all have stories to tell about how an “easy” DIY project got out of hand. Don’t get discouraged, and keep on moving forward. We all improve with every failure!

4 DIY Projects We Love: Books and Bookshelves

The era of the eReader may be quickly coming upon us, but that doesn’t mean we’re about to give up our books yet. We all have stacks of books and not nearly enough shelving options to house them all. If you’ve got a lot of books on your hand, then try one, three, or a dozen of these unique shelving options…

Abandoned Fireplace? New Book Shelf!

Have an old fireplace that’s not getting any use these days? We love this inspiring book shelf idea, shared by Tattered Cover Book Store in Denver, Colorado. Adding shelves to the inside of a fireplace is an easy DIY project that can have great results! Just make sure you know what you’re doing when it comes to drilling into brick mortar.

Pipes Can Be Bookshelves, Too!

Check out this Tumblr image of piping that’s been turned into bookshelf art. If you live in a building that used to have industrial purposes, then you know that it takes a little bit of work to make a space homey. We love this approach!

The Classic Floating Bookshelf

Alright, the first time we saw this concept, we were pretty impressed. Now that we’ve learned its secret, well… we’re still impressed. The floating bookshelf is always a winner. Learn how to construct this cheap shelf – built from books – with this tutorial at Instructables.

Wine Boxes & Binder Clips

We’ve saved one of the easiest, cheapest, and best-looking bookshelf concepts for last. Check out a bookshelf made from wine boxes and binder clips over at Handmade Charlotte. Obviously, this isn’t the most resilient bookcase of all time, so don’t let your engineer’s imagination run away from you!

Still want some more inspiring bookshelf ideas? Check out this list of 50 unique and unconventional bookcase designs. Have a favorite of your own? Share with us on our Facebook page!

5 Ways to Give Your Home a Winter Tune-Up

This January, many areas of the country will be getting some nasty winter weather. However, winter weather doesn’t have to be all that bad if your home is prepared for it! Put the renovation project on hold for a weekend to make sure your home is winter-ready.

#1 Check Your Downspouts

It’s important to have clear downspouts, but that’s not what this tip is about. Where do your downspouts drip water? Next to the house or further out into the yard? It’s important to have drainage from downspouts at least 3-4 feet away from your home’s foundation. Any closer, and you could jeopardize the foundation!

 #2 Tune Up Your Heating System

Have a technician come out to your home and give your heating system a check-up. Don’t wait until a snowstorm hits and your heating system fails.

#3 Drain Your Sprinklers

You probably know to turn off pipes and exterior spigots in order to prevent pipes from bursting, but have you considered your sprinkler system? It’s just as important to clear your irrigation system of water. However, it takes a little more know-how to get this job done. Hire a professional to get the job done properly.

#4 Reverse Your Ceiling Fan Blades

By reversing the blades on your ceiling fans, you can push hot air back down to you. This is a great way to be energy efficient and save money on your utilities this winter!

#5 Caulk Windows & Doors

Feeling kind of drafty inside? It might be time to get the caulk gun and patrol the borders of your home’s interior. Small cracks in window frames, doorjambs, and other areas can let in a lot of cold winter air. Plus, these regions could be susceptible to damage from moisture.

We hope you have a great January!

Play It Safe When Shoveling Snow This Year

Blog readers in the colder parts of North America might remember the release of a study around this time last year that showed 7% of all winter heart attacks to be caused by snow shoveling. We don’t want to put a damper on anyone’s holiday season, but it’s important to remember to be safe while shoveling snow this winter.

Check out our tips for shoveling snow the safe way:

  1. Hire someone else to do it. Have a nephew? Neighborhood kid looking for work? Paying someone else to do this work can be worth its weight in gold – especially if you aren’t in great shape yourself. The risk of heart attack simply isn’t worth it.
  2. If you decide to shovel yourself, get a bent handle snow shovel. These types of shovels reduce back strain.
  3. Dress in plenty of layers before you go out to begin your endeavor. It’s important to dress warmly with the option of peeling off extra layers as you warm yourself.
  4. When shoveling, pacing is everything. We recommend that you limit yourself to no more than 15 strokes per minute. Sure, you can go faster. But why? Over-exertion, combined with extreme cold, can lead down a dangerous road.
  5. Also, we recommend sticking with no more than 15 pounds of snow per shovel. Again, you can do more, superman. But why?
  6. Lastly, throw your snow ahead of you – not to the side, and certainly not behind. Use your legs as you lift the shovel and toss the snow. This will help prevent back injuries, and allow you to reserve your strength so that the job is manageable.

When all the work is done, go take a relaxing bath, surrounded by your beautiful shower and bathtub paneling – because you did get yourself a little remodeling Christmas present, right?

Make Your Own Gifts: Best of the Web

You already love remodeling your home and making things for you. Why not try making your own gifts for the holiday season? Besides saving money (for that next remodeling project), homemade gifts are much more personal. After all, every aunt, uncle, and cousin gets to the point where they just can’t handle one more trivet or coffee table ornament. Instead of buying a gift, make a gift that matters.

Here are our favorite online DIY resources for making your own gifts…

CraftGawker and Pinterest

We lump these two sites into one category because most serious crafters already know and use them. If you haven’t used CraftGawker before, it’s essentially a huge craft-only version of Pinterest – definitely worth checking out!

Get Rich Slowly

In 2011, Time named this blog one of the best of the year. With an accolade like that bestowed upon it, we have a hard time discounting any of the knowledge J.D. Roth shares here. If you want specific ideas – with direction – check out the post linked to above. Roth has scoured the web to bring 34 of the best gift ideas, all of them fun, cheap, and relatively easy.

Wild Cards…

If you run in a circle of DIY fiends, then you might be concerned that all of your friends are looking at the same craft ideas that you’re checking out this December. Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered. Click the link above for a blog post at WiseBread. We call these the wild card gifts because they’re not holiday-specific. Posted in July, this blog post is in no way Christmas-oriented.

Really in a pinch?

If so, then check out the link above for crafts you can knock out in thirty minutes or less.

Merry Christmas, and good luck to you!