Reusing many items you likely have around your home, you can have the best front porch in the neighborhood this 4th of July. These ideas cost little and but are big on patriotic fun!
I’m so excited to be participating in Garden and Outdoor Spaces Blog Hop for the second year in a row! I had such a fun time creating a functional and charming outdoor seating area in my driveway last year. Many thanks to the always sweet Tara at Lehman Lane for hosting this fun hop and be sure to check out all of the other Garden and Outdoor spaces from my blogging buddies at the end of this post.
As for me, I’m talking about my front porch and the 4th of July.
For me, the 4th of July brings to mind a time gone by. Parades, fireworks, apple pie, picnics and ice cream cones, cook outs with hot dogs, cheeseburgers, and corn on the cob – banners on every door and the flag flying high on every front porch, which by the way, has a pitcher of lemonade ready to serve! It’s America at it’s best, but with a nostalgic spin.
With the 4th quickly approaching, it is time to get into the patriotic spirit. What better way to celebrate than to decorate your front porch during this festive day? Reusing many items you likely have around your home, you can have the best porch in the neighborhood that’s little on cost and big on patriotic fun. *This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Please see our disclosure statement for further information. Thanks for supporting Knock it Off Kim!
How to Make Your Front Porch a Showstopper this July 4th
START WITH A FLAG
An easy and inexpensive accessory, nothing says 4th of July more than Old Glory!.
What says Americana and summer more than a bicycle? It’s funny, this bicycle of mine doesn’t get a lot of use in the riding department, but it certainly makes an adorable planter.
The blue ribbons holding the basket add a nice pop of color. When my husband saw I’d parked the bike at the front door, he only shook his head. We’d recently decided I should get rid of it because I don’t use it, but clearly, I’m a hoarder, and will do anything to keep it!
A few decorative signs, an antique-style wall planter, and plaques complete the look.
Red, white, and blue, with shots of yellow flowering plants add color and texture to an otherwise neutral front porch. I love how the colors pop off of the white and turquoise in the bicycle.
PUT UP A PATRIOTIC DOOR WREATH
I made this DIY Red, White, and Blue Swag Wreath years ago but it’s still one of my favorite things to ring in the fourth. The tea-stained fabric has a nostalgic look that I love.
With a few additions to your front porch, you’ll have an outdoor space to enjoy long after the 4th of July!
How are you planning to show your red, white and blue?
Be sure to check out my blogging buddies outdoor space ideas! Thanks for stopping by!
Can you paint your stairs? The short answer: Yes! If you’re looking for a budget way to replace the nasty carpet on your staircase, consider painting a faux stair runner! Read on for the tutorial.
We were in desperate need of a staircase makeover. The staircase is the first thing you see when you enter our house. A depressing sight for sure, carpeted in what at one time had been beige builder-grade carpet. I hated it. It might have helped if I’d cleaned it once in a while.. but I digress.
Having our five kids tramp up and down the stairs, five hundred times a day had the area looking as though an army had been going up and down instead. The added feeling of ascending to a spooky, creepy cave, made a change inevitable and mandatory, what with the lack of light and tobacco-colored walls – in a flat finish no less – Can you imagine an unwashable flat paint finish with a bazillion kids?
If you’re here, I’d guess you can relate.
I’m not going to lie to you, it’s work to paint your stairs. It’s time-consuming. And can be painstaking. But, it costs almost nothing, and when you’re done, you’ll be SO thrilled with the results. Trust me when I say you’ll be looking for excuses to go up and down your stairs, gazing all the while in admiration and awe.
Shall we start?
I say yes. Let’s go. You’ve got this. *This post contains affiliate links. Please read my disclosure statement here.
Remove the nasty carpet. Look for a loose corner on the side of your carpet – you’ll likely find this on the side where the riser meets the wall. Grab it, and pull. Your carpet will come up fairly quickly. Underneath, you’ll find carpet padding and tacking strips. And a few staples.. like, a few thousand. No sweat.. you can do this!
Remove the tack strips. Wear gloves. I used a pry bar – one of my absolute favorite tools, pliers, and a hammer to pry up the tack strips and staples. The pry bar helps you get right under the staples. A small investment makes this job so much easier.
Clean the stairs. They will be disgusting. Hair. Dust. Dirt. Sand. Take a deep breath.. under everyone’s carpet you’ll find a whole range of grossness. Press on, my friend!
FILLING THE HOLES AND GAPS
Your stair treads will likely be in decent enough shape to paint, though you will need to fill all of the holes and gaps in before doing so.
Replace any necessary treads or risers. You can find a great tutorial on how to do that here.
Use 3M Wood Filler to fill all of the minor imperfections in using either a putty knife or your fingers to smooth the filler into the holes. I used my fingers to work the putty into the grooves and gaps.
Fill any seams or gaps larger than a 1/8″ with silicone caulking. I prefer to use the caulk in a tube. I’m uncoordinated with a caulking gun, and I find I have more control squeezing the caulk out by hand – If you’re more coordinated than I either tube or gun will work.
Attach a piece of cove trim under each tread using a Brad Nail Gun and wood glue. We used a compressor version, but an Brad Nail Gun will work just as well and will save both your hands and time.
Let it dry.
SMOOTHING IT ALL OVER
Congratulations, you’re about half way through! For the final step before painting, you’ll need to sand all those treads smooth. Friends, this will be beyond a messy job. You’ll find sawdust places you didn’t even know you had in your home. Plastic off the area as much as possible, you can reduce the dust travel.
Use painters tape and plastic sheeting to section off your sanding area. I applied plastic to the doorways to keep the sand in the foyer and out of the rest of the house.
Sand each tread and riser with a minimum of 100 grit sandpaper and follow up with 220 grit. If your treads are extremely rough, start with 80 grit and work your way up. I used an electric orbital sander like this for the majority and a Dremel for the corners and details.
Clean the stairs – Again. I recommend a tack rag to get up every bit of dust possible.
PAINT THE BASE
Okay, here’s my little secret: Use a good quality paint – it’ll cost more, but you don’t need much, and it will save you SO much time. I use Behr Marquee for almost everything. And so you know, Behr has not sponsored this post; I simply love their paint. The below image was the first coat without primer, on bare wood.
I used almost an entire gallon of pure white paint, straight out of the can, but I also painted my railing, the stairs AND the board and batten we installed. If you’re doing your stairs and even your railing, you’ll need closer to a quart – maybe even a sample size.
Grab a brush and a mini-roller and go to town! I found it easiest to paint every other stair from the top down, then to go back and paint the remaining treads once the initial set dry.
Let it dry for a few hours, then go back and touch up any smudged or missed spots in your stencil.
Let dry for 24-hours.
PAINT THE FAUX STAIR RUNNER
Still with me? You’re SO close to finished, and I bet you’re already amazed at the difference. Next, let’s take your stairs from Wow to Holy Cow! First, you need to determine how wide you’d like your runner to be. Then, as before, work on every second stair, from the top down. Let’s go.
Measure an equal distance from the wall on each side towards the center of the treads. Mark this line with a pencil.
Run a strip of painters tape down the length of your pencil line. I use Frog Delicate Painters tape – yellow – anytime I’m painting lines – it’s easy to remove and stays put.
IMPORTANT: Apply a thin coat of your base color along the inside edges of the tape line – THIS WILL ALL BUT ELIMINATE THE PAINT SEEPING THROUGH AND GIVE YOU A CRIPS LINE. Let dry until dry to the touch (about 20-60 minutes, depending on your paint).
Apply your contrast color between the tape lines, including over the thin coat of your base color.
ADD DETAILS WITH A STENCIL
When dry, place your stencil on top of the contrast area and use painters tape to hold in place. I found it easiest to use a stencil the exact width of what would be the runner.
Use a stencil brush or foam pouncer to apply your base coat or desired paint color.
When the paint is dry to the touch, remove the stencil, use a small paint brush to touch up any needed areas.
Repeat for each stair tread, from top to bottom.
If you’ve used something other than floor paint, when the paint dries, you’ll need to brush on 2-3 coats of Polycrylic to protect all of your hard work. I’ve been pretty happy with General Finishes Water Based Topcoat and applied two coats to the railings, stairs and the board and batten to ensure it remains protected and easy to clean. I used a satin finish to give the stairs a bit more grip.
And that’s how to paint a runner on stairs! I tackled this project a few months ago and the stairs held up so well. Clean-up is a snap – I can sweep away the grime and dust and a quick wipe down hides the evidence of the army using this staircase. Worth every moment of effort, our stair makeover completely transformed our front entrance! And, all for less than $50!
Although I still have an army climbing the stairs 500 times a day, at least we’re all doing it in style!
Now.. about the landing at the top of the stairs.. #sigh.
What do you think? Ready to take on your stairs now? Let me know if I can help in any way!
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A simple dollar store craft that takes a $1 vase from plain to wow with painted pineapples! Perfect for your summer home decor.
Yay! Yes, it’s the first Tuesday of June – by the way, what?! how?! – which means it’s Create With Me time!
Our task for June was to show you our favorite dollar store DIYs and crafts! My take on the challenge: a candle holder makeover with pops of pretty pineapples, perfect for summer. …And, suddenly it’s as if I’m a star in Mr. Popper’s Penguins. Pretty Marvelous.
Be sure to read to the end of this post for more dollar store ideas and fun and of course, to place your vote for next month’s challenge!
You may remember back at Christmas when I created these monogrammed wine glasses using a method similar to the one below. I loved these glasses SO much and couldn’t wait to try the application again!
How to Makeover a $1 Vase with Pops of Pretty Pineapples
This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience.
1. All-purpose acrylic craft paint worked fine for this candle holder but if your project will use drinking glasses or other glass items that will often be washed use a water-based paint specially formulated for glass painting. When cured, it is top-shelf dishwasher safe.
2. Wash your glassware in warm, soapy water to remove dirt, dust, and grease. When dry, use a paper towel dampened with rubbing alcohol or white vinegar and wipe the outside of the glass to remove any residual soap film. Set aside and air dry for 10 – 15 minutes.
APPLY STENCIL OR PATTERN
3. My vase was all about whimsy, so I arranged my pineapple stencils in an irregular pattern, almost like polka dots. If you’re using a purchased stencil, cut out each pineapple from the stencils and apply them to the glass using a spray adhesive, arranging them until you’re happy with the pattern.
5. You can dry your piece using one of the two methods: Air dry or oven dry. To air dry, allow the piece to dry for 21 days. Ain’t nobody got time for that! To speed up the process, place your glassware on a cookie sheet in a cold oven. Set the oven temperature to 350ºF and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, turn the oven off; let the glass cool completely in the oven before removing. Important: Glass must heat and cool gradually with the oven to avoid breakage. Be safe!
CARE OF GLASS
6. Washing your item by hand in warm, soapy water, will prevent fading and ensure you can enjoy your painted glassware for years to come!
This little pineapple candle holder will be purely paradisiac on my deck table. Seeing it perks me right up – particularly on practically plain days, and puts a prompt smile on my face! #seewhatididthere
Like it? Don’t forget to Pin it!
More Dollar Store Makeovers
Huge thanks to Samantha from Little Bits of Home for putting together this fun challenge! Be sure to check out the other ideas for this month but before you go, be sure to vote for July!