Posts Tagged ‘Upcycled’

19 Halloween Décor, DIYs, Ideas…Simple, Easy and Affordable!

Halloween Projects

I love Halloween…I’m not sure if it’s the crisp fall weather, the smell of the leaves on the ground, or the opportunity to scare little wee ones who come to the door looking for a treat. So of course, I go a little crazy with DIY decorating projects-some scary and some not so scary. Here are 19 simple, easy projects you can create yourself. Some of them I have created for DIY NETWORK, so I’ll link them to their HOW-TO step by steps and some I just made for this Halloween and are so simple, just looking at the picture, you’ll know what to do!  Happy Halloween!

My scariest wishes, Joanne

Want a glamorous Halloween party — look no further than this silver lighted pumpkin topiary… Photo by Susan Teare, Project by Joanne Palmisano for DIY NETWORK


Perfect for Halloween and Thanksgiving — the pumpkin topiary with natural looking white pumpkins, is perfect for a fall harvest fronth porch display.

30 minutes…black paint and a carpet remnant and you have created a spooky Halloween welcome mate. Photography by Susan Teare. Project by Joanne Palmisano for DIY NETWORK.

Your very own creepy simple and kid friendly! DIY NETWORK project. Click the picture for the step by step.

Halloween Walkway Laterns from old Picture Frames for DIY NETWORK made by Joanne Palmisano Salvage Secrets Photo by Susan Teare

This is still one of my favorite Halloween projects I’ve made for DIY NETWORK. What a great way to light up your walkway for the trick or treaters…old picture frames, vintage prints and some candles. See the step by step. Lanterns.

Have only a few minutes before your Halloween party guests arrive? Grab an old frame, some yarn, spiders and voila — instant Welcome sign.

Make your own spooky Halloween bar for DIY NETWORK made by Joanne Palmisano, Salvage Secrets Design, Photo by Susan Teare

YUP!! Love making Halloween bars—especially ones that serve TRUTH SERUM!!

This pumpkin topiary might give you the shivers! It looks like a three story spider condo with the momma spider ready to pounce!

Retro Cheveron Pattern Pumpkin Topiary for DIY NETWORK made by Joanne Palmisano Salvage Secrets Photo Susan Teare

Get retro for Halloween — this painted pumpkin topiary — is fun and easy to create!

Design by Joanne Palmisano for DIY NETWORK. For Halloween turn your house into a scary inn with this sign!

I made this fun Halloween mirror with spiders with my nieces…great project with kids. Click picture for an older blog post on the step by step.

Faux Pumpkin Bonfire…a must for any Halloween or Fall Harvest Party! Joanne Palmisano for DIY NETWORK

halloween yarn wrapped recycled bottles joanne palmisano salvage secrets design

I can’t just sit around — so I found some old bottles and jars, and used some left over yarn and created this Halloween table display décor pieces. Bring as a gift to a party or line the center of the table with them! Hot glue and some time is all you need!


Floral Pumpkin Topiary — made with coffee filters… Halloween and Fall Entrance Way display.

Vine Wreath made simple — paint it black — add some spiders!! I loved making this project. So simple. Start with a floral wooden wreath form. By Joanne Palmisano

Halloween Creepy Family Picture by Joanne Palmisano

Printed out a vintage family picture — added some moss and a spider — instant scary family tree! By Joanne Palmisano

Halloween Dream (or Nightmare) Catcher by Joanne Palmisano of Salvage Secrets Design Photo by Joanne Palmisano

Nightmare Catcher!! Old bicycle rim, black and orange yarn and a vintage dollie painted place. Strips of fabric and voila — Halloween wall décor done! By Joanne Palmisano

Halloween Dream Catcher by Joanne Palmisano Salvage Secrets Design

Halloween Dream Catcher by Joanne Palmisano

skeleton vase by joanne palmisano

Spooky Skeleton Vase — You can add flowers or a battery candle — just use skeleton cocktail napkins and some decoupage glue! (Make sure to pull the layers of napkin apart first) By Joanne Palmisano

Left over plywood, screws and some orange yarn — that’s it. This skeleton wall hanging is sure to create a fright! By Joanne Palmisano

Most important! HAVE FUN!!




Tips on picking wood and furniture for that next home project

Seeing the Forest through the Trees, Some tips on picking eco-friendly wood for that next home project.

Here are stacks of gorgeous reclaimed wood at Mason Brothers Architectural Salvage Shop.

Are you building a home, adding a floor or purchasing a table? Well you don’t have to give up being environmentally friendly just because you need wood, a slow-growing renewable resource, for the project. Instead follow a few of the tips below and you can leave your environmental guilt at the (salvaged) door. Have fun! My best, Joanne

The coffee table is built from reclaimed wood from an old weaving loom.

Think Antique, Second-hand Furniture, Custom Made:

Furniture is obviously big part of wood industry. Even upholstered furniture needs wood for framing. Going the route of antique pieces, furniture made from old wood, or second-hand furniture prevents the need of using new wood. Or consider having a piece made out of reclaimed wood, for example, my coffee table is made from an old weaving loom. Many local woodworkers will make custom pieces. You can ask one of your local salvage shops or reclaimed wood centers for a list of names of carpenters who work with reclaimed materials. For second-hand furniture you can easily find it at your local furniture consignment shop, antique shop, Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill or even online on Craigslist or Front Porch Forum. or or do a search for locally made furniture with reclaimed wood. You’ll be surprised what is available to you.


All the cabinets in this kitchen are from reclaimed Douglas Fir from the old Port Authority Building in Portland, Oregon built by Cabinet Maker George Ramos.

All the cabinets in this kitchen are from reclaimed Douglas Fir from the old Port Authority Building in Portland, Oregon built by Cabinet Maker George Ramos.

Consider Recycled and Salvaged Wood:

Reclaimed wood can be anything from 2 x 4’s just taken down from a recent house to vintage 1880s floorboards.. Old wood, doors, and other wood-salvaged materials not only keep you from using new wood but it also keeps these products out of our overflowing landfills. My island top is made from 1880’s Douglas fir that was from a railroad building. Wood is as different as your designs are, so choose wisely…thicker wood for island tops, thinner wood for wall paneling, tongue and groove for flooring…etc.


The floors are local cherry wood from a certified forest and the table is a vintage Stickley dining set. Both great examples of new and reclaimed wood.

Shop Local:

When purchasing wood for a building or other projects consider local first. Purchasing your wood from a sustainable managed local forest, whether or not it is certified, is good for the forest, the watershed, the community. A forest that is managed correctly, following sound forestry practices, will have an environmental impact far greater than simply good management of the trees themselves. A well managed, and/or a certified forest, will positively impact area watersheds, for example. Added bonus of buying local wood?  Transportation needs go down, which is also good for the environment.


Here I am, looking for salvaged wood for a mantel project.

Here I am, looking for salvaged wood for a mantel project at the rebuild center in my town.


When you shopping online, at a larger retail store, or you if are not sure about your local forests’ sustainability practices, always look for certification. There are many types of certification. One of the most credible forest certification programs is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). It is an independent, international nonprofit organization that sets a strict environmental and social standard for sustainable forest management. Their website,, gives you information about their organization and places to find local FSC products and services. Look for their logo or ask for FSC certified wood.


Even the smallest pieces of wood don’t have to go to waste. This gorgeous cutting board made from a variety of reclaimed wood species took the artisan a couple of weeks to make.

Rethinking Design Can Mean Less Waste:

Most woods have a variety of grades. Knowing which grade creates the least waste can help save wood and lower your costs. Number one common (sometimes called third grade, or rustic wood) cherry, for instance, is a more basic grade of wood with more knots and color variation, then for example, clear or first grade, which is free from most visible defects and discolorations.  Each wood has variations in their grading system, grain and cut, so take a few minutes to learn about the wood you want.  But no matter which wood you choose, opting for a more “perfect” wood will result in more waste. Remember, that older salvaged wood is from a natural forest where the growth rings are tighter which makes the wood much harder than wood that is grown faster in a managed forest…so even when it is a softwood – if it is from an older tree – it can be very hard…get to know your options and your woods.


reclaimed wood comes in all shapes and sizes. These old porch posts have a new lease on live as farm house table legs at the Mad River Barn.

Reclaimed wood comes in all shapes and sizes. These old porch posts have a new lease on life as farm house table legs at the Mad River Barn.

Avoid the Endangered List:

Teak and mahogany from old growth forests in Brazil or Indonesia are places that suffer from over-forestation that not only devastate the forests but the communities around them as well. With the number of sustainable wood and non-wood options, there is no need to continue to support over-forested woods.  If you must use Teak, make sure it is reclaimed or certified.  These same types of wood, from certified managed forests, can be just fine to purchase. This is where certification is important — do not use a tropical or exotic wood that are not certified. And stay away from endangered forests.

Never Judge a Piece of Wood by It’s Cover

I always tell folks to never turn their backs on ugly reclaimed wood — because there is a swan underneath all that grim and years of oxidation. If you are looking for wood — bring a piece of sand paper with you and a water bottle. That way you can sand a bit of the top off and then moisten (to get the feel of what it will look like with polyurethane, shellac or a wax sealer on it.)

Here is what the wood looked like before we made sliding barn doors out of it.


Here is the design project “after” the wood was sanded and cleaned and sealed. Mad River Barn design project.

Demand Action:

First and foremost, get involved. If you (or even your community) are building, remodeling or purchasing lots of wood, do it with a conscious decision to choose the right kind by following the above guidelines.  Also, avoid pressure treated, or chemical treated wood, much of the inexpensive wood (including particleboard), contain toxic substances that can off gas and are not good for you or the planet. Encourage your retailers to carry wood from well-managed forests. Remember, it is all about supply and demand. If you demand protected, well managed forests, then you’ll get them.

Salvage Secrets and Salvage Secrets Design & Décor.

Salvage Secrets and Salvage Secrets Design & Décor. Internationally acclaimed books by Joanne Palmisano, Photography by Susan Teare.

For more information about wood, designs and other great ways to decorate using reclaimed wood and other earth-friendly ideas, I hope you check out my books, Salvage Secrets and Salvage Secrets Design & Décor.





Pop Sugar Post…How to Create a Wooden Ladder Light

Thank you Pop Sugar for asking me to share how to create your very own Wooden Ladder Light. When Mad River Barn asked me to be their designer for the renovations of their Inn, Restaurant, Pub and Game Room…I knew this was my chance to create this light! Follow this easy step by step tutorial on the Pop Sugar site. You’ll be thrilled on how budget friendly it is!  Have fun…and send pictures of your light. My best, Joanne 

Mad River Barn Restaurant Design by Joanne Palmisano

Not only is the light made from a vintage ladder but the farmhouse tables are made from reclaimed wood and old porch posts. The chairs were reused but painted a fun red color and the wall paneling is old paneling from the bedrooms. Lots of fun salvaged and vintage fills the restaurant at Mad River Barn. Photo by Susan Teare

Here is the tutorial...

Here is the tutorial…

Don’t forget the Categories Button to see more DIY projects! Hope you sign up for my blog as well. Thanks! J

Turn a Kitchen Cabinet Door into a Vintage Sign

The after vintage inspired sign -- easy to make and friendly on your budget!

I’m going to be lazy today — I’ll admit it! But it is such a glorious Saturday here in Vermont that I can’t waste it inside on my computer. So since I just did a great GUEST BLOG POST for Mad River Barn, about how to create a Vintage Sign using a $5 kitchen cabinet door, I thought I’d link over to them and let you see how to do it on their site. Not to mention, you’ll get to see one of my interior design projects as well.

But I’ll tease you with the before and after :)

Happy Summer Weekend! My best, Joanne

The $5 before kitchen cabinet door...

The $5 before kitchen cabinet door…

The after vintage inspired sign -- easy to make and friendly on your budget!

The after vintage inspired sign — easy to make and friendly on your budget!

Office Furniture to Home Furnishings, Apartment Therapy Post

Yahoo! So thrilled to see the DIY Office Credenza turned into Wine Bar project on Apartment Therapy’s Before and After section.  (I did this at my sister’s house -it’s her kitchen and it was an office piece she had sitting in the garage — waiting for the good DIY to come along- and YES — I used a TARP.)  A BIG THANK YOU to Apartment Therapy and to all who commented on the project! :) The vintage green and gold glasses on the top were from our parent’s bar — how fun is that!  PLUS… a couple more office furniture turned home furnishings DIY projects. My best, Joanne

Project Joanne Palmisano Photo Susan Teare

Want the INSTRUCTIONS on how to do this? Head over to the Apartment Therapy Post for one paragraph instructions — so easy!  Photo by Susan Teare.




How about the old office or kitchen cabinet turned into mudroom bench?



Joanne Palmisano for DIY NETWORK

Or the top of an office chair turned dog bed?

joanne palmisano for DIY NETWORK

Or the metal bottoms of office chairs turned into side tables? These 3 projects for DIY NETWORK. Photos by Susan Teare



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