Trash to Treasure Vases…using Old Food Jars & Vintage Handbag Straps!

DIY Upcycled Jars using Paint and Handbag Straps

Who woulda thought an instant coffee jar wearing a belt could look so cute?

Not me, if I’m honest.

This was one of those experimental projects which could have gone one of two ways…epic fail or surprising success.

Thankfully, it appears to have been the latter!



Jars Before

Of course, the very first thing to do is gather a collection of old food jars, remove the labels and clean them thoroughly. I simply used some warm soapy water and a dash of eucalyptus oil for the more stubborn label glue.

Jars Before

To finish I wiped the jars with isopropyl alcohol to remove any residual oil or grime and ensure they were squeaky clean.


Next I hit the jars with several light coats of spray paint. I used Dulux Duramax Chalky Finish in Classic Duck Egg. Absolutely love the matte velvety finish of this paint. And, as a bonus, it adheres super well too!

Dulux Chalky Finish Spray Paint


Although I’d always wanted to try revamping some old food jars, there was one thing holding me back…how to deal with the threads left visible after removing the lids.

DIY Jar Upcycle

Granted, it’s not a huge problem and can actually be desirable if you want that upcycled feel, though I wanted my jars to look quite refined, like ‘proper’ vases. So, for me, the visible threads simply gave away the fact they were merely old food jars.

Enter…vintage handbag straps!

Old Handbag Straps

I removed these from some leather handbags I bought from an op shop for just a few dollars each. You could also use pet collars, skinny belts or dog leads.

I figured that by using straps of leather I could conceal the jar threads AND give the jars a stylish twist to boot!

I contemplated and trialed several methods of attaching the leather though settled on creating snug bands which can be slipped on or off, just like (tight) bracelets. Not only does this provide the means to remove the leather if ever desired, though I found it much easier to create neat joins this way.

To make the bands I first cut a strap of leather to fit. This meant ensuring the ends of the strap just touched when wrapped around the jar. Next I applied rapid set super glue to each end before bringing them together and holding neatly in place until bonded – around thirty seconds.

Leather Join

I was skeptical as to how well this would work, though it created a very neat and strong join.

Once the glue was fully set I carefully shimmied the bands into position on their jars.

DIY Upcycled Jars using Paint and Handbag Straps

The leather has some give though you don’t want to test the glue too much so take your time. I found twisting the bands worked well.


Now all that’s left to do is make everything look pretty!

You can leave the jars empty and display as a collection of vessels, dress them up with flowers as I’ve done, or use them for general storage (maybe holding pencils, jewellery, cotton tips, kitchen utensils, or so on).

DIY Upcycled Food Jars using Leather and Paint

DIY Jar Vases

And of course these are great for table settings or decorations at weddings and other events.

A few of my jars didn’t have threads because the lids were push on caps. For these I used the buckles off the handbag straps to create little “belts”.

DIY Upcycled Jars

For the littlest jar, I found that the radius was too tight to create a neat band using the leather. Instead, I concealed the thread using a strip of faux leather contact paper I had left-over from this old project.

DIY Spray Painted Glass Jars

Hope this helps inspire!



Amazing Old Jar Upcycle using Paint and Handbag Straps!

The FREE Dining Room Reveal!

Budget Friendly Dining Room Refresh

After lots of indecision, uncertainty, and sanding, it’s done!

Free Dining Room Makeover

I questioned myself A LOT throughout this project, and it really wasn’t until I pulled everything together that I realised I had actually pulled everything off!

In case you’ve missed my previous posts about this makeover, I was endeavoring to refresh my sister’s dining room for free by selling her old furniture then using nothing but the money gained to fund the overhaul.

Here’s how the room looked a month or so back…


Dining Room Before

And this was the true state of the dining setting…

Chairs and Table Before

I managed to sell the dining setting (following a quick spruce up) and pendant light on Gumtree for a total of $200. This gave me a modest, yet very workable, budget to acquire some ‘new’ pieces…

Furniture Before

It was a ramshackle bunch, and, like I mentioned, I wasn’t quite sure how things were going to come together!

Free Dining Room Makeover

The new table, which I feared might be too large and disproportionate, is thankfully perfect.

Free Dining Room Refresh

Even though it’s bigger than the previous square table it makes the room look so much more spacious. The round top helps soften everything and really aids with the flow of the space whilst the geometric base adds a crisp, contemporary touch.

I completely refinished the pine top by sanding it back to raw before applying a mid-brown stain followed by a few coats of clear satin sealer.

DIY Table Top

Table Top Stain

So much nicer than the streaky red mess it was before!

My DIY table base (tutorial coming soon!) got a lick of fresh white floor paint which I had left-over from a previous project.

Budget Friendly Dining Room Refresh

The dining chairs, which were never quite what I wanted, actually work really well.

The traditional Windsor style gives a timeless edge whilst the playful paint finish lends a youthful and relaxed vibe.

Paint Dipped Chairs

From the start I had envisioned a soft blue-grey colour for the dipped effect though was never convinced it was right. Thankfully it teams beautifully with all of the warm wood and gold. And it off-sets the white of the table base and neutral kitchen perfectly to create a bit of interest and vibrancy.

Free Dining Room Refresh

You can learn more about how I refinished the chairs in this post.

For the most part I love the light.

Budget-Friendly Dining Room Refresh

I’m sure some of you may think it’s out of place though I wanted that unexpected modern punch to cut through the predominately classic feel. To me, it elevates the room and adds a bit of oomph.

DIY Dining Room Makeover

I must admit however that I’m a little disappointed with the gold finish. The eBay listing showed it as brilliant burnished brass whereas it’s actually quite flat paint. Of course, for the price I really can’t complain and when you buy things online there is always that element of risk. In all honestly though, it’s fine.

To finish the space I added a mix of vintage and modern artwork. The two landscapes were only a few dollars each from charity stores and the abstract is an Etsy download in a Kmart frame.

Thrifty Eclectic Art

Yes, I realise they aren’t evenly spaced. I did that deliberately to give them a less formal feel.

I agonised for ages over the wall decor. For a while I was going to go full modern, though this room made me realise something: vintage art is basically my patronus – seriously, it’s a force not to be reckoned with!

Free Dining Room Refresh

All of the styling pieces are things we already owned.

Dining Room Styling

So now, let’s see how I did budget-wise! Remember, in order to make this a free room makeover I can’t spend more than $200 – based on how much I was able to sell my sister’s original pieces for.

Below are all of my purchases for the space. This list excludes items and supplies I already had (such as paint and stain for the table and chairs and most of the decor).


Pendant Light $72

Dining Chairs $40

Dining Table $8

Edison Bulbs $27

Paint Stripper $17

Clear Sealer $18

Artwork $23




You can find out more about where I sourced the main items in this previous post.

Oh man, guess I need to start calling it “The $5 Dining Room Makeover”. In all honesty, I never tallied everything up to the exact dollar until just then. I don’t think my sis will begrudge me the slight overspend!

Hope you guys like it.


Free Dining Room Makeover

Dining Room Before

Free Dining Room Refresh



If you’d like to save this project you can pin the image below.

How to Transform a Room For Free | Amazing Free Room Makeover

How to Make Hat & Sock Seats (AKA Paint Dipped Chairs)

DIY Paint Dipped Chairs

When I mentioned to my son that I was planning on painting just the tops and bases of these chairs, I described it to him as giving them all hats and socks. I thought that was kind of cute until he went on to add that “the hats will eat the socks and then the chairs will poo them out.” Five year olds are certainly hilarious.

Of course, these are the Windsor style chairs I picked up for my sister’s dining room.

DIY Dipped Chairs Before

Photo from the Gumtree listing.

Originally, they had a worn and dated two-tone stain complete with plenty of chipped, shiny varnish. The finish was so opaque you couldn’t even see the lovely timber grain beneath.

I had visions of a much more natural and contemporary look, using a simple mid-brown stain with some soft blue-grey accents.

DIY Paint Dipped Chairs

Getting to this point wasn’t exactly simple!

Sometimes old varnish flakes off really easily – and, of course, that’s exactly what I imagined this old varnish would do when I optimistically decided to buy these chairs. Though the existing finish was incredibly stubborn! Each chair took two coats of stripper followed by copious amounts of electric sanding (I used a palm sander with medium grit paper) followed by lots of fiddly hand sanding (again, I used medium grit paper then fine paper to finish). All up, it probably took around six or seven hours to take the entire set of chairs back to raw timber.

Chairs After Sanding

I left some of the more obstinate stain and varnish around the tops because I knew I was going to be painting over it.

I know it probably seems like there must be a better way, though short of using a professional dipping or blasting service, there’s really no other option. I was so desperate at one point I even went out and bought a soda blaster! Sadly, it was no match for the gummy varnish. In case you’re interested, I did try it on some other old furniture and it worked okay, though it’s certainly no magic bullet. I found it left the timber very rough, plus it’s slow going, messy and the soda is pretty pricey.

Anyhoo, with the chairs finally ready, I gave them each one coat of stain (Feast Watson Prooftint in Oak – which I had left-over from a previous project). I chose to stain them, rather than leave them natural, because I wanted a nice contrast between the timber and the paint. Plus, although it’s hard to tell from the above pic, the natural timber has quite a bit of orange in it which I didn’t want clashing with my sister’s honey-toned floors.

Once the stain was fully cured I added the “hats and socks”.

Creating a paint dipped effect is a pretty straight forward process…


DIY Dipped Chairs - Step 1

First I taped off the lines, ensuring the tape edges were smooth and well adhered. Getting the lines perfectly straight along the back rests was a little tricky due to the offset and angle of the spindles which creates a bit of a visual illusion.


Priming Dipped Chairs

Next, just to be safe, I used a stain blocking primer. I probably wouldn’t have bothered if I didn’t already have some in the shed.

Note: I’m sure most of you have heard about the “perfect line” trick which suggests using the base paint colour first to seal the tape and conceal any bleed. Of course, my base was stain, not paint, so I decided to experiment by using a similar toned brown craft paint. I actually found that it made no difference. My lines were all nice and crisp regardless, which I think can be attributed to the smoothness of the wood. I imagine on a more textured surface there would be more chance of bleed and this technique would be beneficial.


DY Dipped Chair Tutorial

Once the primer was dry I applied two coats of paint. I created a custom colour using a variety of water-based paints I already had. The major component is Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Duck Egg Blue.

Hat & Sock Seats

I went slightly deeper with the socks by adding a dash of charcoal to the paint. The difference is only subtle though creates a bit of interest.


DIY Dipped Chairs How To

With the paint still wet from the second coat I carefully peeled the tape away. It’s important not to let it dry as once it ‘bridges’ over the tape there is a high chance it will chip as the tape is removed.

DIY Paint Dipped Windsor Dining Chairs

To finish the chairs, I sealed them with a few light coats of clear spray poly.

DIY Paint Dipped Chairs

Am loving the way they turned out! Here’s hoping they work in my sister’s dining space.

And speaking of my sister’s dining space, I now have everything needed! Will try to pull the room together and hopefully share next week.



PS I haven’t forgotten about the table base tutorial. Stay tuned for that too!

DIY Paint Dipped Windsor Chairs

You can now find the completed dining room HERE.



The New Furniture for the FREE Dining Room!

I’ve found stuff!

This pendant light on eBay for $72…

Budget Friendly Gold Pendant Light

I knew I wanted something modern and gold and somewhat impactful and this seemed to fit the bill. Let’s hope it also fits the space!

On Gumtree I came across a set of four Windsor style chairs for $40 (listing states $50 however the price was negotiable)…

Windsor Style Chairs from Gumtree

So glad I bought these to remind myself just how much “fun” stripping chairs back to raw can be. They’re not exactly what I wanted though will do just fine. I think the dated two-tone stain must have been putting buyers off because I’ve seen similar sets sell for lots more. I’m not totally sure yet however am thinking about a natural ashy stain with a blue-grey dipped effect. We’ll see.

Also on Gumtree I found this round dining table for only $1…

Gumtree Dining Table

I know it’s not the prettiest specimen though I just need the top. Am planning on stripping it back to raw then refinishing it to coordinate with the chairs.

In addition I’ve made a table base using a $7 length of merch grade pine…

DIY Table Base

I totally surprised myself by knocking it up, all alone, in one afternoon. Obviously it still needs to be finished. I’m thinking simple white paint for a light, fresh feel and to contrast with my sister’s wooden floor.

Note: I haven’t created a tutorial for the table base because, well, I was just making things up as I went along! Be sure to let me know in the comments if you’d like to see one.

Remember, I have a grand total of $200 for this room makeover based on how much I was able to sell the original furniture for. As things stand I’ve spent $120. This leaves me $80 for a few DIY supplies, decor pieces and possibly some wall art. I think I may actually come in under budget!




Catch up on my previous posts about this room makeover HERE.

A Plan for the Free Dining Room

The furniture is sold!

Dining Room Sold on Gumtree

The dining setting fetched $180 and the light went for $20. This gives me a grand total of $200 (I know, don’t be too impressed by my amazing math) to overhaul the space. What a nice round figure.

In all honestly, I was hoping for a tad more though this will absolutely suffice.

So now, onto the fun bit – decorating!

Like many people, my sister doesn’t really know her interior style. In fact, she’s not even sure she has one! In a way this offers an advantage as it provides lots of flexibility, though with flexibility comes indecision. And I think we all know how awesome I am at making decisions (insert sarcastic emoji here).

So, with no clear scheme to dictate the direction for the new design, I’ve taken some cues from the surrounding rooms and furnishings along with the general vibe of the house itself.

And I’ve landed on Transitional.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, Transitional is basically a blend of classic and contemporary.

This makes it sound like you can simply throw anything together, however Transitional is generally a considered collection resulting in something quite clean, fresh and understated. It can be a tricky balance to strike, though when done right is a lovely fusion of sophisticated and homey.

How you meld the old and new is entirely up to you. Here’s my vision…


Lighting can set the tone for a room and make a real statement. I see something quite modern and geometric with exposed bulbs, probably finished in brass to help lift the space (there is lots of wood and a dark leather lounge in the adjoining living room). Given there is no defined dining room a substantial pendant will help anchor the table and define the zone.

Brass Pendant Lights

Note: As here in Australia all electrical work must be certified, paying an electrician to install a pendant light is simply unavoidable. And in my case it’s an expense which would most certainly blow my tiny budget out! As there’s simply no way around the cost, ordinarily I would factor it in as additional, however we’re lucky to have a good friend who’s an electrician and will do the install for free.


I love a classic dining chair. Nice ones can be pricey, even second hand, so I’ll probably be looking for something a little neglected and unassuming I can elevate with a little bit of paint. My initial vision included Windsor or Bentwood style chairs though I’m doubtful I’ll be able to find a set within budget. So, I’m now also looking at more generic cottage style chairs, which seem abundant and affordable.

Classic Dining Chairs

Given my sister has young kids she doesn’t want anything with fabric – who can blame her? I’m thinking of a two-tone dipped look though am still undecided on colour. I’m guessing that lovely coral will not get past her husband though :)


To off-set the traditional chairs I want a modern dining table. The problem with that being modern dining tables are expensive! Even the second hand ones get snapped up super quick for far from cheap. My solution at this stage is to make my own! Well, the base anyway. My sister wants a petite round table and I figure I should be able to find one for pretty cheap, remove the legs and add my own new stylish ones! I’ve been crushing on the angle braced style and think it shouldn’t be too hard (famous last words?) to DIY something.

Cross Base Tables DIY

I did consider simply using a cottage style table (which are abundant and affordable and would have looked quite sweet) though decided I want a bit more edge, and something which can “talk” to the light fitting. Again, I’m still undecided on colour for the table though am thinking a timber top with a painted base to provide some contrast against the wooden floor.

So, there you have it. Of course, all of the items in my inspo pics are waaaaaay over budget and probably much more fancy than any I’ll be able to find! Remember, I need to source comparable pieces for $200 collectively, and this includes the expense of any DIY materials and final styling decor too. That said, I’m all about the power of a well considered space and believe money should be no obstacle!

Still…wish me luck.

The good news is this should be a relatively quick makeover because at present my sister’s husband is less than impressed about having to eat dinner on their outdoor table!


You can now find the finished room HERE.