When I found out I was expecting after having my twins, I of course, was excited. Excited, mixed with wanting to throw up thinking of how much another nursery would cost (or was that just good ol’ morning sickness?). I began the decorating-the-nursery process by doing what any other mom-to-be did: imagined what her nursery would look like … in gold leaf everywhere, Donald Trump style. Ha! Just kidding. Tacky! I digress. Anyway, I started imagining these amazing nurseries that were put together, unique, and yes, VERY expensive. I envisioned a room totally different from my twins’ pink room. We were having another girl, but why couldn’t I have something like a blue room? Blue can be girly, too! So I started looking at bedding and accessories, but $700 bedding by itself was out of the question! I found stuff I liked, but didn’t love. So what to do? Do I settle with something that’s okay, or do I sell a kidney? I didn’t like either of those options (besides, surgery is a no-no in the third trimester, so the kidney option was clearly out), so I thought, why not make it myself? I can customize my nursery to be the way I want it, I get bedding to match my blue room, AND I stay budget-friendly! PERFECT!

Furniture

I bought the furniture at Babies R Us (Europa Baby Palisades Lifetime Convertible Crib and Combo), while the combo was on sale and used one of their “20% off all bedroom sets” coupons. Score! That was a chunk of change saved right there. Money-saving tip: BRU often sends you 20-percent off coupons if you are part of the “Rewards ‘R’ Us” program (which is free), but if that isn’t in your budget, check out consignment or garage sales for cribs and dressers (long and deep enough to place a changing pad on top). If you find something you like and it’s not the color you want or is worn-looking, add a coat of paint and voila! Good as new! Add customized drawer pulls or Mod Podge and scrapbook paper and it’s an art piece! If you paint the crib, I’d be drawn more towards the eco-friendly paint, because kiddos love to chew on the crib rails when they’re teething.

Fabric

The fabric I used is from the Kumari Gardens by Dena Designs line (I used “Sanjay in Pink” for the bumpers and curtains, “Tarika in Blue” for the fitted sheet and changing pad cover, “Kamal in Moss” for the crib skirt, and two charm packs of the Kumari Gardens fabric from Etsy for the rag quilt). I love this fabric so much! It’s so bright and cheerful … it makes you happy just to look at it! And, the “Tarika in Blue” fabric was the perfect blue color! I also used a solid, deep pink for the piping and ties on the bumpers, and on the bottom of the curtains for some visual interest and to break up the busy pattern. Money-saving tip: Some online stores offer free shipping when you total a certain amount, and some have “tiered pricing,” meaning the more you buy, the more of a discount you receive. So before you begin, total the amount of fabric you will need and buy it all at once. It’ll save you in the long run!

Paint

Next was the paint. Mmmmm, my beautiful aqua-colored paint! We went with Disney’s “Atta Boy Blue” paint (DC3C-80-3). It matched the bedding perfectly. We went with an eggshell finish because flat paint and kiddos = not-so-good-looking walls. Money-saving tip: If you have a large room, paint can cost you. Sometimes hardware stores will run specials on flat paint. If you are going with a darker color and will need more than one coat, use flat paint for the first coat to save money, then use your finish paint for the second coat.

Wall Hangings

For the goodies hanging on the walls, I visited heaven on Earth, a.k.a. Hobby Lobby. I picked up this adorable clock and “Love” wall hanging. I repurposed the stained glass window by painting the frame white. Okay, okay. You caught me. My husband painted it white. I guess I ought to give him a little credit. Money-saving tip: Hobby Lobby almost always has a “40% off of one item” coupon on their website. Don’t forget it! It can save you some big bucks!

 Tree Mural

Now for my favorite (besides my oh-so-amazing blue walls) … the tree mural! I absolutely DID NOT want to pay $200 for a tree mural … hand painted or vinyl. I wanted to do it myself. Keep in mind, this is coming from the person who draws stick figures (which reminds me of a story—I “painted”—I’m using that term loosely—a picture of a moose for my husband’s room, then boyfriend at the time, in an effort to be crafty. He couldn’t even tell what it was. You should’ve seen his face. It was a combination of contempt and an extreme effort to look pleased. A total walking oxymoron. I’m laughing just thinking about it!) Anyway, my point to that rambling is that you DON’T have to be artistic to use this next trick.

You need:

  •  Overhead projector
  • Transparencies
  • An inspiration image
  • Pencil or chalk
  • Paint (acrylic or latex)
  • Permanent marker
  • Silk flowers
  • Gorilla Glue
  • Hot glue
  • Pack of crystals

I borrowed an overhead projector (you know, the old school projectors that your teachers used to use? Yup, that one) and set it up on the opposite wall of the mural wall. Find an inspiration image. It can be from a photograph, a drawing, anything. Print your inspiration image onto a printable transparency. If you can’t find a printable transparency, use a regular transparency and print your inspiration on a sheet of paper, then trace it onto the regular transparency using a thin permanent marker. Flip on the projector and lightly trace the image using a pencil onto the wall (if you are worried about the pencil bleeding through, use chalk. It’s easy to paint over and remove with a damp cloth. I personally didn’t have any problems with using pencil). After it’s traced, you can begin painting inside the lines. Let it dry and then paint a second coat if needed, or just spot-paint the problem areas. After the paint was dry, I marked where I wanted flowers to be placed with a small dot using a permanent marker. Next, I added flowers. Again, Hobby Lobby. They have one of the best selections of silk flowers! I bought my flowers and took them off of the stems. When I did this, there was a plastic projection that sticks out of the flower. This gave me the perfect anchor into the wall. We used a small drill bit (1/8”) to drill a hole into the wall (these suckers aren’t coming out…no choking hazards for us!), then added Gorilla Glue into the hole and onto the plastic projection. I then put hot glue around the base of the projection, and stuck the projection into the hole we drilled. Hold the flower on the wall long enough for the hot glue to dry. The hot glue holds it in place while the Gorilla Glue has time to dry and really holds it. After you have your flowers up, mark where you’d like your crystals. Make sure they’re spaced out and aren’t clumped into one place. This next part is important: these crystals can be a choking hazard, so MAKE SURE you have enough Gorilla Glue on to hold them into place. Gorilla Glue will hold them, but you need a sufficient amount to make sure. (Remember that Gorilla Glue expands and can bubble out if you have too much. Put one crystal on to dry if you aren’t sure how much to put on.) Put Gorilla Glue on the back of the crystal and a drop of hot glue (to immediately keep it in place). You’re finished! Step back, enjoy YOUR artwork, and let the compliments begin!

Money-saving tip: Most murals are done with acrylic paints, but this can get expensive. I used just plain ol’ eggshell-finish latex paint. It’s less expensive (I only needed a fraction of a quart of it!) and it’ll hold up better to dirty fingers and wandering crayons. And don’t forget your 40-percent off Hobby Lobby coupon for the flowers!

 Bedding, Curtains, and Changing Pad Cover

The thought of having to do all of that bedding made me procrastinate, hoping the little mice from Cinderella would pay me a visit overnight. But actually, it wasn’t bad at all! It was DEFINITELY worth doing it myself and not paying $700! I followed the bumper tutorial here. I ordered 1/2-inch piping because I liked the look of larger piping. I also like the look of larger ties, so I made my ties three inches wide (so cut your tie fabric six inches plus seam allowance).

The fitted sheets were easy-peasy! I made sure to make three sheets … you know how kiddos can be! I followed the crib sheet tutorial here.

The crib skirt was probably the easiest part of the bedding! I followed this pleated crib skirt tutorial here.

The curtains are one of the most important things in a nursery. When your annoying courteous neighbor decides to mow his lawn as soon as he sees you shut your blinds in the nursery for nap time, the right curtains can help drown out the noise. During naptime, I second guess whether or not we live directly on the sun—any little bit of light is a nuisance! In comes a blackout curtain to save the day. The basic curtain tutorial can be found here. However, if you want blackout curtains, you need to do things a little differently. You’ll need to line the curtains with a blackout fabric. This is a very dense fabric that can help to block the light and reduce the sound. Follow the basic tutorial. However, you do not need to hem the top and side portion of the printed fabric. Instead, just hem the bottom. Then, take your blackout fabric and line it up right sides together onto the printed fabric. There’s no need to hem the bottom of the blackout fabric because it tends not to fray. Now, sew along the sides and top of the fabric, leaving the bottom open. Turn the fabric inside out so the printed fabric is on the outside. Iron the fabric and then topstitch around the sides and top of the curtain, leaving the bottom open. The bottom stays open because the fabric hangs more uniformly when the lining isn’t attached at the bottom. Turn the top of the curtain over to form a casing, enough that your curtain rod can fit through (two to four inches). Sew the top casing and hang. Enjoy your new room with minimal light and noise! And, ahhhhhh. Breathe easily!

Lastly, for the changing pad cover, I followed this contoured cover tutorial here.  If you have a non-contoured changing pad cover, this is a good tutorial.

Money-saving tip: Get your bumper pads, piping, and elastic with your large order of fabric and save money on shipping!

Having a beautiful, personalized nursery doesn’t have to be expensive. It can be pretty posh without breaking the bank! Let’s see yours!

*This post was brought to you by Kristin. Kristin lives in the Bluegrass State with her husband, two-year-old twin daughters, and six-month-old daughter. She is an RN turned stay-at-home mom working on her MSN. She loves all things crafts and sewing, and loves taking pictures of her girls. When you can’t find her chasing after two crazy toddlers with a baby in tow, she’s on the computer (Pinterest is an obsession!) or reading a good book.