B.D. Inspired Christmas Centerpiece

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I love getting catalogs in the mail, especially at Christmas time. 
That’s why I’ve had this page from the Ballard Designs catalog on my bulletin board for the last few weeks.

I love everything about this look, especially the bucket planter with the hand applied antique white finish.

But as it turns out, I was fresh out of bucket planters with hand applied antique white finishes.

And I had roughly a thousand other things that I wanted to spend that money on right now … and spending anything would break the rules of my self-imposed THRIVE challenge … so there was only one thing left to do:

Grab an old oatmeal container and get to work.

And voila!

Catalog style for flat-out free!

Want to make your own?
For this project you’ll need:

… and …

(FYI: I took this picture before I made my planter boxes.  I ended up using different paint.)

And as always, Rock What Ya Got and see if you can pull this project off without spending a dime.
Measure out, mark and cut five 1.5” wide strips from a sheet of thin craft foam. 
Nov 20104

Mark your guide lines on your oatmeal container.

The 42 oz. container I used was 9.5” tall, so I made marks at 1.5”, 4”, 5.5” and 8” down. I also made four sets of marks around the container so that I could keep the foam strips level as I glued.
Hot glue foam around the top, bottom and middle of the oatmeal container, keeping the strips flush with the top and bottom and the center band level. 
Nov 20107
My bands weren’t long enough to go all the way around …


… so I cut filler pieces from the remaining two strips to fill in the gaps, making sure that all of the seams lined up in the back.

When I finished gluing all the strips, it looked like this:
Nov 20105

nice and neat on the front … back seams lined up nicely.
Before covering with the newspaper, I added a few drops of water to my Mod Podge to thin it out just a touch to help it really soak into the heavier newsprint.  And you know the drill for Mod Podging anything:
Coat … Cover … Coat again …

… making sure to get plenty of Mod Podge along the lip of the foam strips so that the paper sticks well.
And don’t freak out if the Mod Podge looks like it’s not sticking at all. 

It’s okay.  It’s still sticking enough to make this work.  I just went a little heavier on the top coat of Mod Podge to make sure the newsprint was well attached.
A quick tip here: make sure you line up your newspaper seams over top of the foam seams in the back or you’ll end up with lots of seams all over the place. 
It’s not a big deal, but if you’re OCD, it will drive you crazy.
Please don’t ask me how I know this.
For paint, a couple coats of spray paint will work, but I decided I wanted the more textured look. I ended up rollering my planter with a small roller brush …

… and some left over latex ceiling paint.

Ha! Rock what ya got.  Craft paint would work fine, too.
After one coat, the planters looked like this:

… and after a second coat, they looked like this.

So loving the added texture from the Mod Podged newsprint and foam roller.  Big, puffy heart love.
For the filler, I grabbed some tall branches off the only trees I have in my back yard--tall arborvitaes—and stripped off the greenery …

and thoroughly trashed my kitchen and arranged them in my planter.  You’ll probably want to weight your planter like I did.  Oh, and for the record, two cans of Campbell’s cream of chicken soup work great.
Decorating is a snap.

I used ornaments from my stash, including these beautiful hand-crocheted snowflakes that my grandmother made for me as a newlywed.
And that’s it!
The back side of oatmeal never looked so good.
A few THRIVE tips to rock what ya got:
Do I really need to Paper Mache this? Can’t I just spray paint the oatmeal container after gluing on the foam strips?
Um, no. I tried, see?

The foamies are crazy porous and after four coats, it still looked like crap. Also, the shiny coating on the container makes the paint run like crazy.  If you really want to skip the newsprint step, hit the outside with some fine grit sand paper and a coat or two of primer.  Just remember that every little hot glue blob and scratch will show up.
What do I use if I don’t have foamies? Or an oatmeal container?
For the bands, try thin cardboard, weather stripping foam or even several layers of folded newspaper.  For a container base, try using an old garbage can, #10 tin can, or even a 3 - 5 lb. plastic bucket.
Wishing you and your family happy holiday decorating!
Linking up to the amazing link parties on my sidebar including this sites:
Join  us Saturdays at tatertotsandjello.com for the weekend wrap    up           party!

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  1. Neek this is totally awesome! I love love love it!

  2. You have some very unique ideas up your sleeve!!!! I love how you use everyday items and transform them into gorgeous pieces. Love it!

    ps thanks for the congratulations! I really appreciate it!

  3. Oh my gosh. This is so creative. I enjoyed reading this post so much....and I am going to book mark it and try this myself. I am hoping mine comes close to yours. This looks great!!!

  4. That looks awesome! You are super creative, I die. I am NOT creative at all. I am totally impressed.

  5. I love this project! What a fabulous idea! You are one smart chick! Angie xo

  6. I love anything with twigs or curly willow~~fun project :))
    Thanks for sharing!!

    Kay Ellen

  7. Oh I love that you did this! I saw it in the catalog I got and thought 'really they want me to pay for bare tree limbs'?? I mean seriously this is too cute and you totally rocked what you got!

  8. wow! I love this and am totally going to have to try it! It looks so pretty and would be a great centerpeice for the holidays! Thanks for sharing.

  9. WOW! I love Ballard Designs...and especially love posts that teach how to get their snazzy decor for next to nothing :)

  10. Thank you so much for this idea. I have had 2 tall perfume cans for several years and they are still in my junk box waiting to be transformed into something pretty and useful.
    I think this idea is just perfect for them and I have a large amount of felt in which our furniture was wrapped (i'll use that for the stripes).

  11. I love this project (yup, I'm a Quaker Oats girls too!). I really liked it that you showed the out-takes too.

    And I'm totally checking out your glam nail varnish...


  12. Sarah,

    Ha! Thanks for the shout out for my nail polish. That little black polish number is actually black sharpie pen. I had black spray paint from another project all over my fingers that would not come off. I was so grossed out when I saw how bad my hands looks that I hurried and colored over all the paint so at least it looked like polish instead of crusty craft left-overs.

  13. That is very cute!!!
    Your family sounds alot like mine!! I have 5 kids ranging in ages 9-3 1/2!! Keeps life interesting huh?!LOL!! Keep up with the great craft ideas...I love them!!


  14. I love how this vase turned out. It is so great. I will need to try this for a centerpeice.

    Visiting from The Girl Creative

    Maka'z Home

  15. I love this!! It's so fabulous!

    I can't believe all of the fun things that you post on your blog...I hardly have time with 1 1/2 kids, let alone 6!!! (Although, being in school full time definitely helps a bit too with the exhaustion. Haha!)

    Keep up the good work!!!

  16. Great job. I was just looking at that same Ballard Designs catalog tonight.

  17. I think you're project is great. I made a little "tree" for my daughters room, and then used it for a fall/Thanksgiving center piece on our table just by changing the ribbon and adding a handmade mini banner. And when Thanksgiving is over I'm going to turn it into a tree decorated with Christmas ornaments.

  18. This is so great! I think we are also to the bottom of an oatmeal container...I may have to give this one a try!

  19. wow, what a great idea. this is adorable!

  20. This came out awesome! I really love the imagination that went into it, and how you explained the steps, including why NOT to just paint it. Great job!

  21. That is awesome! I would love for you to come link up at our Strut Your Stuff Party!


  22. You did an amazing job and I think it is even prettier than the BD inspiration piece! Thanks for taking the time to do a tutorial. I can't wait to try it!

  23. Thanks so much for linking up to Not "Baaad" Sundays! You were nominated for Best in Show this week - stop by and vote :)

  24. New follower via Sassysites :) LOVE this, so Pottery Barn-ish!!

  25. I like it BETTER than the one on your design board! Lovely! :)

  26. Hi Nike, I love this idea! The texture is fabulous and I love the branches. So simple with a huge statement. Thanks so much for joining the Sunday Showcase Party - I greatly appreciate it. I have featured this today - Stop by and grab a featured button if you like. Hope you are enjoying your week. ~ Stephanie Lynn

  27. OH MY LANTA! This is amazing! YOU ARE BRILLIANT! WOW! So awesome!

    Thanks so much for sharing! I found your link at tipjunkie!!! I would love it if you would stop by my blog, http://vintagewannabee.blogspot.com/! I'm doing a giveaway of a bag I made! I LOVE IT!

    Mucho love! -Nichelle

    p.s. I'm your newest follower!

  28. genius ... love it and will do this one with my kids

  29. LOVE this idea it turned out SO cute! I'd love for you to link them up at our holiday party! http://iheartnaptime.blogspot.com/2010/11/crazy-christmas-crafter-link-up-w.html

  30. Beautiful! It reminds me of a Valentine's project I did with quilled hearts. But yours is so elegant in it's simplicity. Great job!

  31. VERY very pretty!!! I too have that page of the Ballard Design catalogue torn out. YOu did such a great job and I can't wait to try out your tips and make my own. Happy holidays, I love your blog :)

  32. How very clever of you to think of this knock-off. I'm a newbee blogger with so much to learn and about to become your newest follower. Rock on (with what you got)!

  33. I had this tore out of my Ballard as well! :)
    I featured you today on my blog. I love the fact that you have a whole blog full of high dollar ideas without the high dollar (totally us right now!) But you know what -- even if I were super rich I think I would still shop at Goodwill and make stuff myself. I like it better that way! I would love if you stopped by to check it out! Todaystoptwenty.blogspot.com


  34. Very cool!! Good idea using the oatmeal container. You did a great job copying the magazine!! :)
    Hope you have a wonderul week!

  35. I imagine you using these at your wedding. You still love the same color scheme!

  36. I LOVE IT!!!

    I would love if you would link it up at my little talent tuesday party at


    mucho love!

  37. I have to be honest - - I like yours better than the picture! Beautiful

  38. This project made me a follower. Thanks for the idea! I love the recycling aspect.

  39. I guess I was under a rock when you did this post - puffy {heart} is right! I wish I would have seen this before my decor was up, I may have to add somewhere anyway. I think yours looks better than the BD.

  40. This is friggin' awesome! I have that catalog too and have been salivating at that same exact display. I love to decorate with branches and this can work year round!! I am totally adding this to my neverending list of projects :)
    I officially heart you :)

  41. I admired this when you first posted it and saved the link until I got my site editable again. I've now added the link to my page of reusing ideas. I love the way you got the look you wanted without spending money!

  42. AMAZing! Love this idea...i'm going to do it for easter and hang pretty pastel eggs on it. Thx so much for your ideas. You are definitely rockin' it!

  43. I have just found your blog. What Fantastic Ideas!! Wanted to let you know that I think YOUR bucket and sticks look ALOT better than the one in the catalogue.

  44. I just found you through Beckie over at Knock Out Decor. I am so glad I found your site. I love creating something from nothing too. I save oatmeal boxes, so I already have a stash to start working on.
    I love how you write - funny, informative, yet to the point - I really enjoyed this post and am looking forward to reading more.
    My best- Diane

  45. FIrst of all... your blog is my favorite as of today. I want to make the lantern :) Secondly, last year I lived in the california desert and wanted a christmas tree soooo bad(lived on a naval base, far from home, had a limited choice of still living trees to choose from because temperatures were in the 100s) so....I spray painted a bunch of dead tree branches white, then stuck them in a huge mexican clay planter, sprayed the fake snow all over everything, and hung ornaments. It was really beautiful!! Then the kids started pulling the ornaments off, and I got a real (half dead) pine tree. That lasted a week.

  46. Wow, that was pretty amazing! That's worth a try this coming Christmas.
    I'd be glad to share this tutorial to my Christmas table decorations pinterest board if you don't mind.
    Happy holidays!

  47. What a clever idea for the base of your centerpiece. This is what I want for our dinner table, I think that will rock! thanks for sharing clever ideas for Christmas table decorations. Much needed this coming holiday :)


Thanks so much for the comment love! I do cartwheels when I read each one. Well, I imagine my pre-pregnancy self doing cartwheels, but you get the idea ...