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Today’s the big day!  The $5 Challenge is live at Lindsay’s!  (Click the glue gun graphic to go see all the wonderful projects.)

Earlier this month, I posted a tutorial for bamboo vases, and after using them for three weeks, I have to say I’m still in love with them.  This week, I finally got started on my second project.

Here’s the second half of my haul from the dollar store:

-One small oval serving tray
-One set of four small bowls
-Two bags of decorative “accent gems” – a nod to the current decor trend of teals and aquas
-One resin birdie on branch

Items on hand that I used: Spray paint, spray poly, and a bag of tea lights.

Yesterday, while the weather was beautiful, I took the tray and bird outside to my high-tech painting booth (*cough* *cough*) and gave them each a couple of coats of paint & poly.  (I wanted a glossier finish than the paint alone would give.  I also planned to put things on the tray, so hopefully the poly will protect the paint from scratches.)

I went in wishing I had a brighter white paint for this project, but I only had Heirloom White on hand.  It always goes on creamier than I want it, but now that it’s dry, I’m pretty happy with it.

Learn from my mistake – prime the bird.  I used way too much of the precious Heirloom White trying to cover up his darker feathers and the branch.  (Also, if you come over to my house, don’t look underneath his tail.  I kind of missed a bit.  Shh.)

After they’d spent a couple of hours basking in the sunshine, I brought them inside to cure overnight.

This morning, it was time to play.  It did not go quite as planned.  My original thought was pebbles on tray, bowls amongst pebbles, tea lights in bowls.  I didn’t like it, so I started messing with it.  (That’s how the pros do it, I promise!  Mess around with it until you like it!)

Hmm.  Seems I didn’t need the bowls after all.  Okay, so it’s a $4 project!  If you have clear cup tea lights on hand, I think it would be even prettier.  I’m fresh out.

And there you have it – a $4 candle arrangement, suitable for end tables, very wide mantles, breakfast bars, and kitchen tables.*

P.S. I’m also linking this up to the Frugal Friday Linky Party over at The Shabby Nest.  Have fun looking through those projects, too!

*This isn’t the steadiest candle arrangement in the world…As with all candles, please don’t put this anywhere a child or animal could disrupt it and get burned or spread the flames.  And, of course, don’t leave it unattended!  You knew that, right?

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