I was itching for something new to put on the mantel, but not interested in buying something. I feel like I am doing a lot of spending for the basement now, so I am not spending for other areas of the home. I still wanted something new. So I made something…easy and cheap.
I have seen some great examples of houses as decor like these more intricate ceramic beauties on YHL and even these playful block houses. I think Crate and Barrel used to have large metal ones. All of them eventually inspired this project, but the most recent inspiration was from my kids toy bin. They have a lot of wooden play food and one day while picking up I found myself holding the wooden milk carton and the lightbulb went off. I loved the simple shape and knew I could make something similar.
I bought a piece of wood from Home Depot for about $6. It is 36″ long 2 x 2. It certainly wasn’t the cheapest 2×2 I could find, but it came in a convenient length I could fit into my car. It also has nice straight edges. The cheaper 2x2s have rounded and uneven edges.
I cut the board into three different lengths.
Then I used a miter saw to cut the angled roofs. I cut them at 45 degree angles. I did not do any measuring, I just eyeballed the cuts. They are a little off, but I like the imperfection on this project. At this point, I gave them a good sanding to smooth the cut edges.
I stained them in Weathered Gray. For quick staining and painting projects, I love wax paper! It is my countertop drop cloth solution. I just set the blocks on wax paper and used a paper towel to quickly apply and wipe off the stain.
I let them sit around like that for a few days before I decided they were too plain. To finish them off, I used painters tape to tape off sloped lines.
I wanted to give them a dipped look, like I had swished them around a bucket of paint. I painted them with three coats of leftover white paint.
My new $6 decor is hanging out on the mantel. My son says they are too tall for houses and I should call them buildings. This never-ending Minnesota winter has me thinking the dipped effect looks like big snow drifts against the building.
I love proving to myself that I don’t have to spend a lot of money to decorate my home. Little projects like this reinvigorate my DIY and thrifty spirit. I am going to try to get more creative with projects to finish my new basement space, too.