DIY Nursery Decor – Part One

Dear Auntie Moonbeam

As promised today we’re going behind the scenes with some DIY nursery decor.  Today we’ll cover fabric (Friday we’ll do the fab mirror and assorted other art projects)

When a budget is tight a little fabric can go a long way. All told I think we spent approximately $60 on fabric, which bought us this pile of awesomeness (all from the fine folks at Tonic Living – did you know you can buy a bag of scraps from them for 49 cents?  Genius!)

Nursery Fabrics

The pile of fun (which is a technical design term by the way) became this:

Nursery Fabric projects

I won’t cover the sewing projects in detail because frankly my sewing skills are rudimentary at best and I wouldn’t want to offend the sensibilities of proper seamstresses with my shoddy workmanship.  The only thing I want to mention is the drapes – those are simple cotton drapes from Ikea made fancy with a chevron pattern border.  Chic, no?

Fun fact: I’d never made a pillow case or drapes until Saturday night around 10pm when I sat down to try my hand at both projects. Heck, I’m barely capable of handling my sewing machine (admission: it scares me).  Poor Preggers looked on with mild horror while I cheerfully announced my complete inexperience. To her credit she smiled gamely when I stood up from the machine, held up a finished pillow case and said, in a somewhat surprised voice “Score!  It worked!”

Fortunately the focal art project of the nursery required no sewing whatsoever. Only an exacto knife, some glue and a willingness to think a little silly!

The inspiration for this project was this fabulous fabric:


I mean, c’mon! How freakin’ great is that fabric? I’m a sucker for anything typography based. Plus Preggers is a teacher so I thought this referenced that nicely.

I ordered a yard with no clear idea of what I was going to do with it and when I finally had it in my eager little hands I couldn’t bear the idea of cutting it up.

Alphabet fabric

Then it hit me – wouldn’t it be great just as a large canvas on the wall – it’s such a wonderful graphic it would work as-is for some makeshift art.

And then another thought struck – Wait a minute! Let’s add something simple and graphic! Now….what kind of visual would be minimal but impactful?….hmmmm…..

And another – Oh man, a map! Perfect!! Mom & Dad are world travelers, they’d love a map!

And then – Dude (yes, I call myself dude in my own head) a map made out of jeans! A deep blue colour would blend perfectly!

Then the final thought – Duddeee! I have the perfect pair!!! A dark wash denim my kid just grew out of!!

(I’m not sure it’s a good sign that conversions in my head are that interactive….)

Unlike most creative evolutions this one didn’t take days. The total time elapse for these thoughts was about 1.28 minutes. At the end of which I think I actually made a noise out loud. Something really profound like: “Guuh!!!”

Once an idea like that is rolling around in the noggin nothing will do but to start right away.

So that night when I got home I laid it all out…

  • A print-out of a world map
  • A pair of cut up jeans
  • Tape
  • My trusty exacto knife
  • Mat cutting board
  • West Wing reruns playing in the background

Map Print


Map in progress

Map in progress

Cutting it out proved to be more difficult than I thought.  Denim can snag if you go too fast.  My advice is to make sure your blade is as sharp as can be and don’t rush.

After the map was all cut out, trimmed and cleaned up it was time for the mounting. I glued down the jeans with fabric glue and let it dry over night. The fabric glue did cause the jeans to pucker slightly but nothing a little ironing couldn’t solve.

Then I used a canvas stretcher frame I got at an art supply store. I thought about framing it out many different ways but the great thing about stretchers is the clean finished look – plus stretcher frames are cheap and budget is always paramount!

Map in progress

And here we are all stapled down:

Map in progress

And there you go – easy peasy wall decor!

I actually like the evident seam and fading.  I think it adds whimsy and character.

I hope it’ll serve as a reminder for Preggers & her baby daddy of all the fun places they can explore with their wee one in tow!

Finished Map

For more pictures of the overall nursery click here!

For more DIY decor details on the nursery click here!


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