diy: coffee filter flower garland

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Our Dinner x Design table scape received countless questions about the hanging rose petal garden installation we created above the table. So much so, we decided to prepare a step by step DIY guide. We dyed 600 coffee filters and used roughly 500 in our installation. The outcome was incredibly dramatic, more so than we anticipated, and we too were quite smitten with the result. We hope you find this tutorial useful should you decide to channel your inner creative and take on the simple yet dramatic task of dying this ever so popular household item.  NYLAFREEDESIGNS_DXD2015_FINAL 003 Image credit: Phil Crozier

step one

you will need:
• food colouring, a minimum of two packages (we used clubhouse brand from superstore, blue, red, yellow and their unique purple from the neon collection) buy enough to manipulate the colour, the more food colouring the higher the saturation of colour
• gloves (as fitted as possible)
• water
• large coffee cup or tupperware container
• pitcher of water on hand, in order to dilute colour as needed
• coffee filters (we used superstore no name brand no. 2,  they are smaller in scale and create a realistic feel)
• 2-3 garbage bags. place over the surface you are using to dye the coffee filters, you will also need this space to allow them to dry
*finally, wear clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty, the food colouring will stain coffee filter diy step 1 step two
• while wearing gloves, begin by adding food colouring to the water. dip coffee filter into liquid mix to test the colour. this will enable you to find the right balance in colour ratio. we used roughly:
5 parts red
3 parts neon purple
2 parts blue
1 part yellow.
• use artistic licence when testing the colours, they don’t all have to be perfect!
• variation in colour creates visual interest. also, remember the coffee filters will always dry to a lighter colour, therefore don’t be afraid to use a lot of food colouring. coffee filter diy step 2
• once you are satisfied with the colour, begin by dying 5-10 coffee filters at a time, dipping them into the coloured water. once all of the filters are saturated, lift out of the liquid and drain the excess by pressing them with your hands. set filters aside. step3 step four
• the dye mixture will slowly deplete after each 5-10 filters have been saturated. depending on the number of coffee filters you wish to make, dilute the food colouring solution, which will alter the colour, lightening each batch to create a natural ombre effect. step4 step five
• once you have used all the coffee filters or have simply run out of food colouring mix, open up the filters and prop them up like tents on the garbage bags. this allows them to dry in a open position creating a flower-like effect. allow a minimum of 4 hours for filters to completely dry. coffee filter diy step 5 step six
• when the coffee filters are completely dry it’s time for the stringing process. you will need
-fishing line (we used 20lb)
-safety pin or paper clip coffee filter diy Step 6 step seven
• depending on desired length, take 8-10 coffee filters choosing ones that vary in colour saturation and hue. line them up on the table, arranging them in the preferred order. coffee filter diy step 7 step eight
• begin by taking your safety pin or paper clip and poking a small hole at the peak/highest point of the coffee filter. take a piece of fishing line approx. 4-5 ft. long and tie a knot at the end. thread the fishing line through the coffee filter so the opening faces downward. coffee filter diy step 8 step nine
• irregularly place the coffee filters along fishing line, becoming more concentrated at the top. this gives more volume as well as creates an organic feel. coffee filter diy step 9 Repeat until desired number of garlands has been reached. Now sit back and admire your hard work and creative genius. Well done!  coffee filter diy final

Thank you to Adrienne who put this DIY together, photographing and note taking along the way. Adrienne also dyed all 600 coffee filters for our Dinner x Design installation and as mentioned they were the pièce de résistance.




chairLIFT chair revealed!

The 2014 Calgary Home + Design Show invited us to participate in a charity initiative called ChairLIFT. We chose a chair from Habitat for Humanity Southern Alberta’s ReStore and upcycled it using remnants of left over fabrics and a fresh coat of paint.

chairLIFTbefore Our chair selection was carefully considered and we got to work on selecting fabrics and finish options. We played with several Rustoleum paint colours and mixed fabrics to create a stylish chair with well appointed details. We are thrilled with the outcome! Take a look at how it all evolved.  chairLIFT chair, calgary home and design show, habitat for humanity, restore

chairLIFT chair, calgary home and design show, habitat for humanity, restore Our chair is pretty, with an unexpected twist of colour and pattern, embracing our love of both. It is a “use anywhere” statement piece. chairLIFT chair, calgary home and design show, habitat for humanity, restore All entries will be exhibited and auctioned off at the Calgary Home + Design Show (September 18-21, 2014 at BMO Centre) with 100% of proceeds directly benefitting Habitat for Humanity Southern Alberta and ReStore. Please come out and show your support and bid on your favourite chair.

Thank you to Rustoleum for donating the fabulous and easy to use product, our wonderful upholsterer Red Eight for donating their time in re-upholstering our chair, and to our lovely client for allowing us to use remnant bits of their left over fabric.  And of course, thank you to the Calgary Home + Design Show for inviting us to be part of this exciting charity fundraiser!

Have a design dilemma? I’ll be available for Ask a Designer, Friday 1-2 and Sunday 1-2 and 3-4. Would love to see you!



diy: chalkboard mini fridge

I used to be far more into “DIY’s” (insert *before kids* here), and now it is far more limited as the perceived time and energy crushes my motivation. While the thought of it is great and always inspiring, the getting it done part is where I struggle for success. I do love making things and the feeling of accomplishment is truly so great.

When I moved into my new office space I quickly realized I would need a little fridge. I had left a space open for such a purchase however I was not keen on having a typical stainless front appliance in my school house style office.

I decided to take on the DIY of painting the front of it with chalkboard paint. After procrastinating for weeks, I received a call about photographing my office which of course lit a fire under my butt to get it done.

The longest part was waiting for the paint to dry so to speak, and all in all it was so simple, I’m kicking myself for waiting so long. Isn’t that always how it goes?

Here’s the before: chalkboard fridge before diy

Sandpaper, painters tape, metal primer, paint brushes, rollers and trays. I purchased all of mine at Canadian Tire. chalkboard fridge supplies diy chalkboard fridge in progress diy Step 1: Ensure the surface is clean
Step 2: Prepare the surface for the primer by sanding all areas with a medium grit sandpaper.
Step 3: Mask off any areas you do not wish to cover with chalkboard paint.
Step 4: Apply 2 coats of primer with a brush, allowing to dry for approximately 12 hours between each coat. Apply as even as possible and ensure all areas have been covered. Note: the primer is much runnier than expected and goes on quite thin. chalkboard fridge primed diy Step 5: Apply chalkboard paint with a small roller brush for even application. After the first coat it may look messy and uneven. Not to worry, each coat you apply will offer more coverage and eventually be a solid chalkboard surface.
Step 6: Allow 24hrs between coats. Apply as many coats as necessary to achieve a smooth finish.
Step 7: Once completely dry, prime the surface with a thin layer of chalk by rubbing a lightly chalk dusted brush all over the surface. This will make erasing and re-creating on your board easier.
Step 8: Let your creative juices flow with drawings, text or both! chalkboard fridge after diy Ta-da! It turned out great. So pleased with the results.

‘After’ photo taken by Lori Andrews.

Nyla Free Designs Inc. is a full service Calgary Interior Design studio. Our goal is to bring your home to life by revealing your style and infusing unexpected elements of design and detail. If we can help with your project please let us know! See the contact page to get in touch.

Nyla Free Designs Inc. also offers an online design service to Canadian clients through Design in a Box.



diy: framed keepsakes

I found this while browsing through Flickr and fell in love with this little DIY frame from Cottonblue. You can customize it however you would like from the size and colour of the frame to style and type of ribbon. So easy! I just love capturing special treasures in a way that is as charming as this one. Thank you to Cottonblue for a great suggestion! Hope you give it a try!

Things you’ll need:

• antique frame or mirror with glass removed

• ribbon

• stapler

• paint (optional)

• treasures and keepsakes


diy: rescue tacky tile

Mibo 6 inch x 3 inch Subway Tile Tattoos – Ventor – Black on Clear pictureMibo 6 inch Tile Tattoos – Ventor – Black on White pictureMibo 4 inch Tile Tattoos – Shanklin – Blue picture

Mibo 6 inch Tile Tattoos – Ventor – Blue pictureMibo 6 inch Tile Tattoos – Loverstone – White on Clear pictureMibo 6 inch Tile Tattoos – Ventor – Red picture

Do you have one of those bathrooms that is circa 1980’s with the tacky, builder grade tile that acted as an “accent”. Well help is here with this great product I stumbled upon in Real Simple magazine. 2Jane offers tile tatoos, an affordable, waterproof solution to kitchen and bathroom makeovers along with many more products for DIY installations such as window film (love this idea too!), wall art, and decals. I hear from clients often that they eventually want to change their kitchen/ bathroom but for now they are living with it the way it is. These rooms are after all the most expensive rooms in your home to renovate. Well take heart, because there are a few things you can do to give your dated space a quick fix before you embark on a full on renovation. These tile decals are a great way to mask the 80’s and bring your room into the new millenium, while being mindful of your budget! Watch the ‘how-to’ video and see how easy it is. Peel. Spray. Stick. Voila!

Need a few more ideas to update your space? Design in a Box may be the perfect solution for you!