Car seat, diapers, changing table, crib, stroller, blankets, onesies: A new baby is a bundle of joy that also costs a bundle of cash.
Nursery decor is one area where new parents can save some money by creating their own design elements.
Opting for DIY doesn't mean missing out on the fun of browsing stores and catalogs: Often a splurge item -- such as a $400 Jonathan Adler giraffe lamp -- can serve as inspiration for a cheaper, handmade version, says Pam Ginocchio, co-founder of baby design site Project Nursery.
Handmade decorations also lend the baby's room a unique personality, she says, and give parents a project to work on together before baby arrives.
Here, Ginocchio, her business partner, Melisa Fluhr, and a few other DIY design bloggers share their favorite projects for baby's room. Whether you're creating a cozy nest at home or seeking ideas for a shower gift, these crafts can add warmth and style to a little one's space.
1. DECOUPAGE TREE
(from Pam Ginocchio and Melisa Fluhr, ProjectNursery.com)
Wall trees have become a popular trend in nursery décor; try this project in lieu of a pricey vinyl decal.
scrapbook paper (any size), about 20 sheets for a 6-foot tree
Mod Podge matte finish
2-inch-wide paintbrush or foam craft brush
paper bowl or plate
ladder or step stool
Step 1: Take fabric swatches from your baby's bedding to a crafts or paper store, and grab a mix of printed, solid and glittered papers in the same color family.
Step 2: Start building the tree at the part of the trunk where the limbs begin to branch off. Cut or tear the paper (imperfect edges give a vintage feel), making each branch the thickness and length you want. Apply the Mod Podge to the back of each piece with the paintbrush or craft brush, and press the scrap against the wall. With this glue, the piece will be moveable at first if you don't like your initial placement.
Step 3: Let it grow! As the limbs reach out and up, tear the paper thinner, just like on a real tree. Create the tree trunk with various-size scraps of paper using a collage technique. For a cute addition, hang the baby's name off a low branch that reaches out across the crib.
Step 4: Stack some of the leftover paper and cut out simple leaves. Cluster them along the branches. You can adorn the tree with birds, butterflies or even rhinestones.
2. NO-SEW BUNTING FLAGS
(From Ginocchio and Fluhr, ProjectNursery.com)
printed papers or fabrics
colorful ribbon or pom-pom fabric trim
hot glue gun
Step 1: At a crafts or scrapbooking store, pick out a variety of printed papers or fabric remnants.
Step 2: Using a ruler, draw an 8-inch line on the back of a piece of paper or fabric. This will be the distance from the point of your triangle to the base. Turn the ruler perpendicular to one end of the line and make a "T'' by drawing a line 6 inches long. Use the ruler to connect the top edges of the "T'' to the point, making a triangle. Cut out this first pennant and use it as a template for the rest.
Step 3: Line up your different-patterned flags in the order you want. Lay them side by side so they are pointing down and almost touching. Apply hot glue in a line across the top edge of each triangle and affix the ribbon or trim overtop. (Optional: Add iron-on letters to the flags to spell out baby's name.) Once the glue dries, hang the bunting flags like a banner or in a zigzag pattern.
3. CLEAN AND COLORFUL DRESSER DRAWERS
(From Sherry and John Petersik, YoungHouseLove.com)
You can get a similar effect from contact paper, which comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns. But you can make your own if you're looking for a different look.
Foam craft brushes
Mod Podge matte finish
Six sheets of patterned, heavy-duty wrapping paper (or swatches of colorful wallpaper or fabric)
Step 1: Wipe the insides of the drawers with a moist rag. If they're musty, wipe them with mineral spirits or Murphy's Oil Soap and let them air dry in the sun.
Step 2: After selecting six sheets of wrapping paper (or however many drawers you have), cut the sheets down to the size of the drawers. If all the drawers are the same size, use the first rectangle as a template.
Step 3: Apply a thin, even coat of Mod Podge adhesive to the bottom of the first drawer. Mod Podge is 100 percent water-based, so it won't stink up baby's clothes.
Step 4: Glue the cut-to-size paper rectangle to the bottom of the drawer by pressing it along the center and out towards the corners to eliminate bubbles or wrinkling. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for all drawers.
Step 5: Give the drawers four hours to dry, then apply a thin top coat of Mod Podge over the paper to protect against wear and tear. Let everything dry overnight and you're left with fresh, durably lined drawers that provide a little dose of happy every time they're opened.
4. FABRIC MIRROR
(From Carrie McBride, ApartmentTherapy.com)
craft store mirror
Step 1: When you design a space for a little one, chances are you'll end up with leftover fabric. This project is a great way to use up those scraps. Lay the fabric on pieces of aluminum foil. Brush fabric stiffener onto the material and smooth out bubbles or wrinkles. Let dry completely, then peel off the foil.
Step 2: Sketch a lion or other animal onto a piece of paper and cut it out. Trace the shapes onto the back of the stiffened fabric. Cut out fabric shapes. The fabric stiffener will prevent the edges from unraveling.
Step 3: Cut a small scrap of cardboard smaller than the mirror. Punch two holes and tie a string through them. Glue the cardboard onto the back of the mirror. This will allow you to hang the fabric mirror when it's finished.
Step 4: Cut a large circle inside the lion's mane (or the face of your animal). Line up the mirror in the hole and glue it to the back of the fabric so the edges are hidden. Let everything dry completely, then hang.
PRETTY AS A PICTURE FRAME MOBILE
(From McBride, ApartmentTherapy.com)
8 mini frames (available at craft stores; check the bridal section)
one larger frame
about 3 yards of ribbon, divided into four uneven sections
photos or art reduced to fit small frames
4 screw eyes
fishing line or thin wire
Step 1: Paint the frames to make them colorful. Some may need a light sanding first. Add a coat of polyurethane after the paint is dry.
Step 2: If any of your frames has a support arm on the back to prop it up, pull it off. You want the back of the mini frame to be completely smooth.
Step 3: Put your photos or artwork in the small frames. (You could use abstract art, photos of vintage trucks or pictures of baby's cousins, for instance.)
Step 4: To connect two small frames vertically, run the ribbon behind the artwork but inside the frame back. Cut a piece of decorative paper the same size as each frame back and, with a glue stick, paste it on.
Step 5: Remove the glass and backing from the large frame. Hang the four pairs of small frames from the large frame by twisting four screw eyes into the back of the large frame and then tying a ribbon to each screw eye.
Step 6: Tie a length of fishing line or thin wire to each screw eye, then tie all four pieces together so the mobile hangs evenly. Knot the end for attaching to a ceiling hook.