Life Hacks: Paint Swatch Hacks

There are countless problems you encounter on a daily basis that can put a little speed bump in your day. Life hacks are those “a-ha!” moments where you find the simplest solution to your daily problems, often using items immediately at your disposal. Each month this column will take you through some creative hacks to use in all different areas of your life to make your day to day as simple as possible. There are countless hacks out there for various junk in your life that will magically change it from trash to treasure. This month we explore paint swatch hacks.

Choose a collection of complementing paint swatches. You’ll need enough to cover the month plus a few for a wall calendar or even more if you want to do a yearlong desk calendar. If needed, cut out your colors. You’ll need a background so grab some corkboard if you’re doing a desk calendar, or a large picture frame with a glass or Plexi front and fabric if you’re making a wall calendar. Line up your days so they’re even using 35 color blocks and attach using fabric or super glue. You can use a circular or shaped stamp to create places to write in your dates. Once you’re happy with the layout, put your calendar into the frame and grab a dry erase or wet erase marker to fill in your calendar from month to month. For your desk calendar, you can grab scrapbooking dates and letters, use a vinyl decal cutter or even just hand write or use calligraphy and include a hole punch at the top of each square and add an eyelet. Attach your dates to the corkboard using a long pin or nail.

Pick some festive colored chips or whatever colors go with your wrapping theme and use craft scissors to cut along the sides and give a decorative look, or if you have tree or ornament stamps cut out shapes. Punch a hole at the top and use pretty ribbon, spare fabric, string or jute to attach to your gifts.

Find an inexpensive lamp shade that is whatever size you’d like your chandelier to be. You’ll likely need to cut the shade off the base using an Exacto knife to create the chandelier unless you find a bare base. You’ll need quite a few, think at least 60 squares for a smaller lamp. Use a paper punch in whatever design you like and punch out all of your chip squares. If you’re using several colors, separate them in dishes or bowls so they don’t get mixed up. Lay out your cut out chips color side down in the order you’d like them to hang and tape a thread along the middle of the backs leaving enough thread to tie to your base later. Add another small strip of tape where each paint chip meets to keep them from twisting in different directions when they hang. Flip your chandelier base upside down and start hanging your chip strips and add pretty ribbon at the top to hang from.

Grab several colors in chips and punch holes in each color of some of them. Next, lay the card with the holes punched in it on top of the other card so that you will be able to line up the words properly. Write lowercase letters on one card, through the holes made, and uppercase letters of the same word on the other.

Locate 5×7 size paint chips in your favorite colors. Using Word or a design program, type out your move announcement to a size of about 3.5 x 5.5 and include your new address and then leave about a half inch space to include a larger text reading “we’ve moved!” or whatever cute phrase you’d like. Print your announcements and attach to your paint chips. Then cut a strip from a matching or different shade paint chip of the same size and glue on to the half-inch blank space on your announcement.

To create these, you’ll need tiles, paint chips, Modge Podge, spray acrylic and felt or cork. Cut your paint chips to fit your tile making sure the edges are squared or rounded to match your tile. Apply the chips to the tile using the Modge Podge keeping coats thin and allowing each coat to dry before applying the next one. Once you’re happy with the look, spray the top with the acrylic and apply your felt or cork to the bottom of the tile.