With a bit of imagination and care, ordinary household objects and found items can be transformed into decorative treasures that add instant interest to your home.
Many techniques can be used but nothing has quite the same dramatic effect as a specialist paint, which can make cheap or ordinary items look like collectables.
For DIY purposes, paint is not only affordable and readily available, it is also easy to apply. And with adult supervision, it’s an ideal medium for kids to use to create their own mini masterpieces.
TIP If using spray paints, always work in a well-ventilated area and wear a respiratory mask.
Glow in the dark stars
A hit with children for the bedroom, glow-in-the-dark items are also effective in the garden.
Stars are a favourite for this treatment. Buy pre-cut versions at craft stores or snip your own out of cardboard. Mount the shapes on bamboo skewers using adhesive and drill holes in a length of timber as a base.
The better the undercoat the stronger the glow, so invest in a good quality white primer and cover the stars completely, applying two coats for a lasting base.
Spray the stars with three or more thin coats of White Knight Glow Safe Paint, $30 for a 300g can (whiteknightpaints.com.au). Leave them to dry in bright daylight or close to a light source to extend the strength of the glow.
Pump up the glow by allowing stars to dry in bright light after spraying
Make a feature of a found item like this piece of driftwood in the shape of a bird, or a timber ornament, by painting it silver and mounting it for display.
Drill a 4mm hole in the base and insert a length of 200 x 4mm galvanised wire, apply a good quality white primer and let dry. Find a timber offcut to make a base, drill a hole for the wire and thread it through, applying a drop of super glue at the edge of the hole to secure.
Spray the sculpture with a few thin coats of White Knight Super Chrome, $22 for a 300g can, drying between coats.
Chrome paint adds the wow factor to any homemade sculpture
Use terracotta paint to give outdoor areas a Mediterranean feel. It can be applied to almost any material, including plastic, to create the effect.
This white plaster artichoke had a pleasing shape but was unremarkable as it was. Painting it with Megatreat Liquid Terracotta, $13 for 350ml (megatreat.com), turns it into an interesting and decorative piece.
TIP Wipe down surfaces first with diluted mineral turps and stir the paint well before applying.
Use terracotta paint on almost any surface and clean up with water afterwards
Take those books earmarked for the charity shop and arrange them between rusty bookends as a vintage display in an outdoor room.
To make instant antique bookends, finish concrete or plaster acorns or capitals with a two-part paint from Dulux that uses a chemical process to create a rust effect (dulux.com.au).
Mount the capital on a base using construction adhesive, making sure all surfaces are free of dust or grime. Apply a primer then two coats of Design Rust Base Paint, $53 for 500ml, leaving it to dry overnight.
Follow with two coats of Design Rust Solution, $33 for 500ml, leaving it to dry overnight again.
The rust appears within 24 hours and the finish continues rusting, so apply an exterior grade clear sealer.
TIP Application is with a brush only.
Create a mini library on the patio or verandah with these rusty bookends