Here are some super-stylish do-it-yourself ideas that are painless to pull off: easy stick-on embellishments that give almost anything in your wardrobe or home a flair that’s beautifully, uniquely you.
Leaves of brass
Turn a low-intrigue lamp (you know, the one hiding in the corner of your family room) into the highlight of the room with custom 3-D details, using ceramics glue to attach a cascade of brass oak leaves to a moss-colored lamp base.
Tip: Before gluing, do a dry run with poster tack.
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Sources: Brass stampings, from 55 cents each, metalliferous.com. Gorilla Super Glue Gel, $6.75, homedepot.com.
The usual winter forecast: you in the same hat, every single day. Why not brighten up a basic cashmere beanie with vintage bullion appliqués (attached with fabric glue) and iron-on metal studs. Your hat and coat may be the only things people see you in for months, so this adds some personality.
Tip: To clean a bedazzled hat, dry cleaning is best.
Sources: Bullion ornaments, $3 each, tinseltrading.com. Iron-on studs, $4 for 12, Toho Shoji, 212-868-7465.
A plain mirror and dresser become an elegant matched set, thanks to botanical accents and chalk paint. A matte finish makes things look aged. Paint vines and furniture separately, and once both are dry, secure them using a caulk gun loaded with heavy-duty construction adhesive.
Tip: Before you paint, lay the mirror and drawers on the floor to map out vine placement.
Sources: Leaf appliqués, from $54 each, decoratorssupply.com. Chalk paint, in Paris Grey, $35 for 32 ounces, robynstorydesigns.com. Loctite PL200 Projects construction adhesive, $5, Wal-Mart.
Another reason to love removable throw-pillow covers: You can create any pattern imaginable with appliqués. For a high-traffic couch, use iron-ons. They’re backed with glue to prevent raised edges that can catch on things.
Tip: For extra insurance, add a couple of stitches where the pillows curve.
Sources: Clockwise, from top: Three-piece gold-embroidery plum flower cloth patches, $8.50 each, Lauren Trimming, 646-964-5734. Scrambled Eggs appliqués, $4 each, and embroidered star appliqués, 1 1/2 inch, $1.60 each, mjtrim.com. Layered flower appliqué, $9.50, Lauren Trimming. (Gray pillow) Simple leaf trim, $6 a yard, shinetrim.com. Trim, $25 a yard, Daytona Trimmings, 212-354-1713. Velvet pillow covers, from $30 each, potterybarn.com. Silk pillow covers, $39 each, westelm.com.
Transforming a cardigan from plain to oh-so-pretty is as easy as ironing or sewing on flowery fabric appliqués. For instance, adding two large beaded motifs only requires a few stitches for each leaf and petal, since sturdy mesh backing holds them together.
Tip: If you use two of the same embellishments, consider mixing things up: Sew one of the pair on upside down.
Sources: Beaded rhinestone appliqués, $39 each, mjtrim.com.
Bag of tricks
Who knew? Embroidered patches can even be ironed onto a plain leather clutch to make it pop. For a festive finishing touch, add a metallic tassel looped through the zipper pull.
Tip: If you’re worried about applying heat to a delicate or dyed bag, use leather glue instead.
Sources: Embroidered appliqués, from $5 each, shinetrim.com. Chainette tassel, $4 for four, mjtrim.com.
Here’s a brilliant, budget-friendly way to indulge a shoe fetish: Use leather glue to add chic details to new pairs — or older ones. Give suede pumps a vintage flourish by wrapping ornate florals around the sides and back. Or, jazz up loafers with strips of sequined flower trim between the toe seams.
Tip: Apply glue precisely with a toothpick to the edges of add-ons, so they don’t curl upward later.
Sources: Tulip appliqués, $4 each, shinetrim.com. Sequin flower trim, 5/8 inch, $10 a yard, mjtrim.com.
Address questions to Ask Martha, care of Letters Department, Martha Stewart Living, 11 W. 42nd St., New York, NY 10036. Or go to www.marthastewart.com/contact-us-form. Please include your name, address and daytime phone number.
Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate