Pretty Custom Water Bottle for Back to School

Finding a pretty water bottle can be expensive. Here’s how you can update an old bottle to look like new! This post is sponsored by Deco Art and Michaels Crafts. Any opinions given are completely my own. See the disclosures page for a complete list of disclosure rules.

Pretty Painted Water Bottle for Back to School|Designers Sweet Spot|
Argyle Painted Water Bottle

Pretty Custom Water Bottle

It’s fun to customize your back to school supplies with your kids. That way your children will always know which items belong to them. This project is fun for the whole family and is quick and easy to make. Your kids will love getting ready for school with this crafty project!

I started with these pretty paint colors from Americana Decor. I added in a bit of True Blue (Navy) at the end of the project that isn’t pictured here. Sometimes you change your mind at the last minute! Creativity is rather unpredictable you know.

Pretty Custom Painted Water Bottle for Back to School|Designers Sweet Spot|
Water bottle painted with Blue Haven and Pearl Medium

Custom Water Bottle Supplies:

Stainless Steel Water Bottle (mine came from the thrift store)

Americana Decor Acrylic Paint Blue Haven

Americana Decor Acrylic Mulberry

Americana Decor Acrylic Calypso Blue

Americana Decor Acrylic True Blue

Paint Brush Size 20 Flat

Script Liner Paint Brush #1

1/4″ wide (6mm) Painters Tape (Mine came from Menards)

80 Grit Sanding Paper

American Decor Multi Purpose Sealer

Americana Decor Pearlizing Medium

Custom Water Bottle|Designers Sweet Spot|
Argyle pattern with 1/4″ wide painters tape. Tape is applied in 1″ intervals.

Custom Water Bottle Directions:

  1. Sand the water bottle lightly with 80 grit sandpaper. Wipe clean with a paper towel.
  2. Combine Multi Purpose Sealer with Blue Haven Paint and Pearlizing Medium.
  3. Paint entire bottle with the Blue Haven paint mixture. You may need more than one coat if your original bottle is a dark color. Dry thoroughly with a hair dryer.
  4. Apply painters tape at a 45 degree angle on the bottle, keeping the pieces 1″ apart as pictured.
  5. Add more rows of painters tape going in the opposite direction, resulting in a diamond pattern.
  6. Load the #20 paint brush with Calypso Blue paint and Pearlizing Medium. Paint the row of diamonds, then rinse the brush and repeat for the second row with the mauve paint. Repeat the process for the remaining rows. Dry paint with a hair dryer. Remove tape.
  7. Using #1 Script liner brush, make small “stitches” on each diamond in an “X” shape with the Dark Blue Paint. Let dry completely.
Paint rows of alternating colors in the diamond pattern.


Water bottle after tape is removed.
Pretty Painted Water Bottle for Back to School|Designers Sweet Spot|
Argyle Painted Water Bottle

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Pretty Custom Water Bottle|Designers Sweet Spot|

Thanks to Deco Art and Michaels for sponsoring this post!

If you love this post, check out some of these other ideas:

Blue Painted Vintage Dresser

Rustic Stenciled Sign

What To Do With An Old Bicycle

Wrought Iron Chairs, Easy Update


DIY Lap Desk

Finished Lap Desk1

My son has to go back to college this week. I am never prepared for it.

I have been trying to focus on back to school, and there is just one more thing we are missing. Well not really, we are missing a bunch of things, but they can wait until tomorrow.

Today, we are missing a cool Lap Desk.

However, I have not seen any Lap Desks that I approve of in the stores. They are ugly. They are plastic. They are ugly. They are too small and too ugly, and too light weight. They aren’t masculine enough. Did I mention they are ugly?

I know I have issues.

It’s just a lap desk after all, not an engagement ring.

However, I just can’t spend money on something that I don’t completely LOVE.

Opportunity strikes for another DIY project!

Board before


I found this old board in a trash pile recently. It was the trash pile of my dreams, with lots of beautiful old wood. I hauled it home before I knew just what I would do with it.

The board was probably a shelf in a kitchen or basement. It had a bit of water damage, but over all was very solid. It measures 11 1/2″ wide (I suppose it’s really a 1″ X 12″ piece), and 3/4″ thick. It was just what I needed for this project.

sanded lap desk

I cut the board down to a length of 20″. Then I gave it a good sanding. I was amazed at how easily the water stains came out.
Lap Desk Supplies

I rummaged through my kids closets and came up with some very masculine things to add to the lap desk. A couple of old leather belts, and an old plaid shirt that no one wears any more.

Lap desk in progress

I trimmed the leather belt into 16″ pieces, one for either side of the desk. I wanted the belt to be old and worn looking, so I chose the parts of the belt that were the most used. As it turned out, I only needed one belt for this project.

I love worn leather. There is something about it.

Have you ever seen Harrison Ford’s leather jacket in the Indiana Jones movies? Did you know that the costume designer beat that new leather with chains and scraped it up with sandpaper to give it that worn patina?

Worn leather = masculine.

Masculine = sexy.

I rest my case.

The belt was cut long enough to span the width of top of the desk and get anchored on the other side with a few screws. I left the belt loose over the top of the wood so you can slide a book or papers underneath as you work on the desk.

Lap desk in progress-2


I almost forgot, but before I attached the belt, I used some creme wax to finish the wood. I gave it two coats. I love the natural color of the wood, and the wax leaves a nice smooth finish for writing. I finished both sides to make it look great.

Lap desk in progress-3

I cut the shirt into two rectangular pieces the same size as the wooden top, 12″ x 20″.  I focused on keeping the button placket centered and even keeping the breast pocket for extra storage (it’s there although it is hard to see in the photo).

I sewed the edges together (right sides in) with a 1/2″ seam allowance, and turned it right side out. I opened the button placket and inserted an old bed pillow (I cut it in half to get it to fit), then buttoned it up again.

Back side finished lap desk

WHAM! It’s done!

The last step, I secured the pillow on to the bottom of the board  and the pillow with some stick on velcro pieces. So far they have held up, I may need to stitch around the pillow pieces if they come loose in the wash the first time.

The pocket comes in handy as a place to store extra pens and pencils.

Finished lap desk3

The leather belt works great to hold a book in place, it keeps those pages from turning when you don’t want to loose your place.

Finished lap desk2

The belt can also hold papers and pencils.

Finished lap desk4

Looks like it’s going to be a great year!


I will be demonstrating this DIY project at the Randolph Street Market event coming soon!

Click here for registration


Hope to see you there!

Urban Loft

Finished faux brick

This post is sponsored by Royal Design Stencils. Any opinions given are completely my own.


This bedroom project was not my idea. Our college age son who is living at home while he goes to college, asked for an urban style loft bedroom. He specifically requested a faux brick wall. This is our child who never asks for anything, and is content in just about all circumstances. If this boy wanted a brick wall, I would move heaven and earth to get him one.

Our son spends far too much time on the internet. It cracks me up that he even knows what an urban loft looks like since we have so few of them here in Wisconsin. We are not known for any lofts, other than those in barns.

It cracks me up even more that our boy even thought I could produce a brick wall out of thin air. It’s rather humbling that he believes that much in my artistic ability.

front bedroom


This is the before shot, the bedroom looked like it needed some major TLC when we moved in. It was featuring grey and red walls (two walls of each, one half red, the other half grey) combined with dirty pink carpeting and beat up old woodwork. Not sure what these people were thinking when they picked out their colors, but they were definitely an unusual combination that left the room dark and dreary.

Finished faux brick2

This is the after shot. My son is thrilled with his new brick wall. It’s the urban college loft on the cheap, right here in our own home. Who could ask for more?

“Mom, it REALLY looks like actual brick!” I heard him exclaim one day when he came up the stairs.

My heart melted down to my toes. I guess I must have done something right.

This headboard is an old door we found at the Habitat ReStore. I just love it.

Finished faux brick4

Along with the faux brick, our son requested a city skyline photo above his bed. This 3 panel set features the New York Brooklyn Bridge. Perfect for a college style “loft”.

Funny thing is, he has never been to New York.

The spot light style lighting fixtures work well with the loft theme, each bed has a lamp for extra lighting for doing homework.

Finished faux brick5

The Trompe Loeil Brick stencil, by Royal Stencil Design was easy to use, but a bit time consuming. There are multiple layers of paint in different colors that I used to create the bricks.


I used a several different latex paints, including a brick red, three shades of grey (a charcoal grey, a medium grey and a light grey) soft white and a golden antiquing wax to create the bricks. These were all colors that I had on hand and I used little bits of them to create the faux effect.

I finished the entire wall with an antique wax glaze. Not conventional, but it gave the effect that I was looking for of worn old bricks. It also will protect the wall from wear and scratches.

Homework wall


Each sleeping area has a built in homework station. Wire baskets and shelves help to keep the clutter at a minimum and make it easy to study in bed. They also provide a place to keep all the phone and computer chargers, cords and extra items that teens love.

Corner wall


A few miscellaneous things make for an interesting display on the far wall. My son loves chemistry. The grey element prints were custom ordered from Etsy and feature two of his favorite elements, Titanium and Vanadium. Doesn’t every teen have a favorite element?

The process of painting the bricks was rather complex so I will cover that in a separate post.

If you would like to see some more stencil projects from Royal Design Studio Stencils, you can click here.

If you are a blogger and are interested in partnering with Royal Design Studio, they have information on the web under their Blogger Outreach Program.

We are now ready for the Back to School season. I am looking forward to a great year!

How to details will be coming up next! Stay tuned!