Any day is a fine occasion to curl up in a book nook -- but it's a must on March 2, Read Across America Day and the birthday of Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. If your home happens to be nook-free, you can create the same cozy feeling in any spare corner. Simply use painter's tape to mark off a house shape as shown (ours measures 52 inches high at the peak), then fill it in with paint in a shade that contrasts with the wall. Let it dry before removing the tape. Furnish the "house" with floor cushions and throw pillows, then add a reading lamp and some essential titles. For more on Read Across America Day, visit nea.org/readacross.
Crafted from wooden dowel segments, these colorful pegs give a plain wall kid appeal and space for gear. To make, Cut round and square dowels into 2 1/2-to 4-inch segments (many home stores will do this for you). Smooth each piece well with sandpaper and wrap painter's tape around its midpoint. Paint as shown, then remove the tape before the paint is completely dry. Drill a pilot hole in the unpainted end and insert a dowel screw (a screw with two pointed ends). Screw the peg into a predrilled hole in the wall.
Just about any simple shape can be cut from fabric and turned into an easy-to-apply (and easy-to-remove) wall decoration. We made our buildings, clouds, trees, and little cats from a range of prints and solids.
1. To make a decal, use an iron (adults only) to adhere fusible web, such as HeatnBond Ultrahold, to the back side of a length of quilting-weight cotton fabric, following the package instructions.2. On the web backing, draw a shape; for outlining buildings, use a yardstick.3. With a craft knife (adults only), cut along the lines and peel off the backing.4. Use a hot iron to adhere the shape's back side to the wall. Keep the iron moving and run your hands over each piece as it cools to help a bond form.5. When you're ready to remove the decals, peel them slowly off the wall.
For playing school, jotting reminders, and making impromptu masterpieces, you simply can't beat a chalkboard. These removable adhesive stickers, which come as 12- by 26-inch rectangles, can be cut into any size or shape you wish. Hang a bunch, then let your kids scribble on the wall as much as they please.
"Chalk by Blik" Decals, $12 each, landofnod.com
Add a dose of low- commitment fun to a kid's space with temporary wallpaper. We're especially taken with this Wee Gallery design, which covers a wall with cuteness and offers an irresistible canvas for budding artists. The paper is hungby wetting the back and applying it to the wall. Kids (and grown-ups) can then complete the critters with crayons, markers, or pencils. When it's time for a change, the paper comes off smoothly, without damaging the surface beneath it.
Dress Me Wallpaper, $75 per roll, weegallery.com
What better way to bring personality to a room than with your child's artwork? Spoonflower.com turns any image you upload into custom-printed material, which you can use for curtains, wall hangings, napkins, upholstery, and more. It's easy to do: for the pillow cover shown here, we just scanned a family portrait and made it into a repeating pattern on Spoonflower's website. Fabric prices start at $17.50 a yard; the sturdy, linen-cotton canvas we chose is $27 a yard.
Encourage plenty of drama -- and comedy and musical numbers, too -- with this simple idea for a playroom or family room. Use curtain hardware (we like the Dignitet curtain cable system, $14.99 from Ikea) to suspend panels across a portion or corner of a room. Equip the backstage area with a bin of dress-up clothes and a cord for hanging up scenery. Bonus: when the curtains are closed, it also makes a fun hideout or quiet reading nook.
We can all use extra reminders placed right where we?ll see them. To make this can't-miss-it message center, comb thrift stores and yard sales for a funky frame with its glass and backing intact. Remove the glass, backing, and any artwork. In a well-ventilated area, spray-paint the frame (an adult's job) and let it dry. Wrap a piece of fabric around the backing and secure it with duct tape. Replace the glass and backing, then hang the frame with hardware suitable for your wall. Use dry-erase markers to write reminders and love notes on the glass.
These DIY projects add a lot of look to the room. With circle punches from the craft store, they're easy to do, too. To make a garland (we also hung one above the beds), cut or punch plenty of circles from card stock, then use a large-eyed darning needle to thread them onto twine. To make the lamp, cut a piece of double-sided indoor carpet tape equal to the shade's circumference plus a few inches extra. Expose one side of the tape and stick card stock circles onto it, overlapping them (our circles were made with 1-inch, 1 1/2-inch, and 2 1/2-inch craft punches). Expose the other side of the tape, adhere it to the shade, and trim any extra as needed.
These magical globes give off a comforting glow. Each starts with a paper lantern equipped with a cool-to-the-touch LED bulb (we used a 14-inch model with a built-in LED light, $7, pier1.com). Brush tacky glue onto the lantern, then affix strips of artificial snow (such as Buffalo Snow, available at craft stores). Hang with filament or thread. Safety note: Use LED lights only. Do not use bulbs that generate more heat.
After we covered the back of the door with some of the leftover berry-pink paint, we realized it would be a lovely place to show off the girls' masterpieces. So we used washi tape to hang some lengths of pom-pom and rickrack trim, then added a few mini clothespins for clipping their work.
For a simple, inspiring homework center, pick up a pegboard (available at hardware stores), and, if needed, have it cut to fit on a door or above a desk. Stock the board with cool school and craft supplies, and your student will be set to ace everything from division to diorama building.
Kitchen towels are a fabulous shortcut for window dressing. They're already hemmed and come in such sweet colors and patterns. For each curtain panel, join two towels along a short edge with fabric glue (use painter's tape to secure it until the glue dries). Next, create a rod pocket by making a 1- to 2-inch fold (roomy enough to fit your curtain rod) at the panel's top. Iron the fold, then glue the fold's edge in place and let it dry.
If you have two kids sharing one bedroom, color-coding is the easiest way to give each child her own space, and it makes organizing and cleanup easier, too. First, create separate areas with color blocking. Use painter's tape to outline a shape, then fill it in with paint. To outfit the space, provide a mix of storage bins and buckets in each child's designated color. They'll corral toys and give each sibling special places to stow treasured items.
Put colored tape to lively use by making monograms. To fashion one, cut or tear small strips of tape, then wrap them around the back and sides of a wooden letter.
Find Baltic Birch letters from Etsy.com. Other letters (shown here) are available from craft stores.