So, Lindsay has thrown down the gauntlet and wants to know what attractive home decor items we can make with $5 of materials from the dollar store.  My trip to Dollar Tree after she posted last week netted me materials for two different projects.  (Here’s the second one!)

I was inspired to make vases the instant I saw these  colorful bamboo place mats.  I spent about ten minutes playing with the glassware at the store to make sure I could make the number of vases I wanted with only $5 worth of stuff.

I came home with this:

-Three large sugar shakers (at least that’s what they’re labeled – I think they look more like Parmesan cheese shakers)
-Two bamboo placemats

Yesterday, I gathered my tools:

-Hot glue gun (with extra glue) – plug it in before you start cutting
-Craft knife
-Self-healing mat (um, you might want to have yours right-side up)
-Rubber bands (not shown)
-Silver Sharpie (not shown – I chose silver rather than black, so any marks left on the bamboo wouldn’t be too obvious)

I began by setting the shakers’ tops aside (they might come in handy for another project someday, right?) and wrapping a mat around one of the shakers.  I then cut the mat to just fit around the shaker.

I figured out pretty quickly that you’ll want to secure the end pieces of the mat immediately with some hot glue in a couple of places, to keep it from falling apart.  Once the strings are cut, the bamboo sticks will pop off and scatter like mad.

I then applied hot glue to the mat and carefully wrapped it around the shaker, being sure to line the bottom edge of the shaker up with the bottom edge of the mat, and secured it with rubber bands.

My plan was to come up with three vases of different heights.  Here’s where I spent my time in the dollar store: making sure that I could get two shorter vases out of one place mat.

The manufacturers of the “sugar” shakers were quite helpful and made them exactly 5 inches high.  So, I measured and drew a line 5″ from the edge of the mat with my silver Sharpie.  I scored it a couple of times with the craft knife (I put a fresh blade in first!) before cutting it with my scissors.  The scoring helped keep my scissors on track, and I ended up with a pretty straight cut.  I cut and applied the two pieces of mat to their shakers and set them to dry/cool while I hit the yard for some appropriately springlike blooms.

Doesn’t forsythia scream “Spring is coming!!”?  It reminds me of my parents’ yard in Georgia.  By the time I had the stems de-budded, the vases were all ready for some water, flowers, and a photo shoot.

I have got to learn to use the manual settings on my camera…

Don’t they frame the boys nicely?  I’m thrilled with my new $5 set of vases.  It occurs to me that they might make nice tea light holders, too.  I’ll give that a try with the forsythia dies and let you all know how it works out.

So how about you?  Are you up for Lindsay’s challenge?