Perhaps this is not a novice DIY project, but a bevy of scrap materials can yield and impressive construction with a bit of know-how. Author and cofounder of She Shed Living Erika Kotite turned scrap siding that she found under her aunt’s house into a backyard office and studio. “I needed to create a she shed of my own while working on the books,” says Kotite, who’s written two books covering she sheds and helps others build theirs as well. For her own construction, she bought used bricks from Craigslist, while the door cost about $35, “which I then cut in half to make a Dutch door,” she says. The whole structure was then painted in chalk-based paint. Thrifty to the core, this backyard space integrated many other leftover building materials as well. “We also had a few old windows and supplemented with some salvaged windows that we purchased. The cupola is made from some old shutters we had in the garage,” Kotite adds.

3. Crafty wallpaper backsplash 

Don’t toss those wallpaper scraps; they make for a cheeky backsplash, as seen in this display by Chasing Paper founder Elizabeth Rees.

Photo: Anna Spaller

Wallpaper scraps can be easily reused as a backsplash. Milwaukee-based Elizabeth Rees, founder of Chasing Paper, uses leftover removable wallpaper to continue creating even more home projects. Choose bright patterns to make kitchen cabinet colors stand out. Create a collage-like layout on a flat surface before adhering it to the wall.

To make wallpaper backsplash, you’ll need:

Step 1

Make sure the surface area below the kitchen cabinetry is smooth and grime-free. “Wallpaper adheres easiest to clean surfaces that do not have texture or bumps,” Rees says. Wipe down the surface with warm water at least two days ahead of time, allowing the area to dry fully before the wallpaper is added. Be sure to remove any light or outlet plates before adding wallpaper.

Step 2

Add the wallpaper on the edge of the wall where you want the backsplash. Carefully and slowly peel the backing. “Peel-and-stick wallpaper is generally very forgiving,” Rees says. If you get a crease in the wallpaper while applying it to the wall, you can just take the wallpaper off the wall and re-stick. “For any tricky spots, like light plates, trim. Use a ruler and an X-Acto knife to cut out the holes or angles as you go,” she says.  

Step 3

Smooth out the wallpaper with your hands or with a straight object, like a ruler. “If you still have an air bubble, just prick it with a small pin to release the air,” Rees says of the nifty hack. “Repeat until your wall is complete.” 

4. Lumber to table