17 August 2011

DIY: aquarium stand skirt

Today I’ve got another DIY for you! That's right, two in a row! Clearly I am very excited about showing you how I spiffed up our dining room.

I mentioned a few times in yesterday’s dining room post that Mr. P has an aquarium, and we keep it in the dining room. I wouldn’t ever want an aquarium myself, because fish are the sort of pet with none of the snuggly but all of the cleaning. Mr. P happily cares for his fish, though, and I get to reap the benefits of aquarium ambiance:

Nice, right? Well, the fish are hiding, but the aquarium itself is nice! Mr. P picked out the aquarium stand himself and I love what he chose. There is, however, one little thing that... well, it makes me put on my crazypants. I can’t see it while I’m enjoying my dinner, but I know that if I zoom that photo out a bit, and just peek around the table...

Ick. Not the fish disease. Just ick.

It’s really the perfect storage space for Mr. P, and I am glad he can keep them contained within the aquarium stand instead of next to it. Really! And the visible buckets don’t bother him – but that’s because he is a pet owner, not a neurotic decorator. Once we started spending more time in the dining room, I decided it was finally time to act on my impulse.

The solution? Why, another yard of coordinating Waverly outdoor fabric should do the trick! 15” aquarium stand skirt, please.

I didn’t actually make a skirt so much as simple fabric panels. Mr. P was not wild about this skirt business, after all, so I wanted to maximize accessibility to the fish buckets. Instead I just made four fabric panels, two for the front and one for each of the sides. To span the front, which was 22” inches across, I made one panel 11” wide and another 12” wide, so that they overlapped slightly.

I hem-taped three of the sides for each panel by ironing a pleat, then tucking in the hem tape and ironing the edge down:

On the top edge, I just ironed a simple pleat:

Which I then simply stapled into the underside of the aquarium stand with my trusty staple gun!

Yes, I broke my don’t-touch-guns-that-shoot-things rule with the staple gun, but for the record I was quite uncomfortable staple-gunning upside-down and super close to my face. For perspective? This is how I had to attach the panels:

But in the end it was super duper worth it! Because now when I look over at the fish, I know that there are no unsightly fish buckets to be seen, just some lovely green coordinating fabric!

Yes, it’s simple, but it did the trick! I could stencil a fun little design on the fabric someday, maybe, but for now I'm liking the clean look that doesn't draw attention. Because not drawing attention means one thing: NO MORE FISH BUCKETS!

Time spent:
This went way faster than the other linens! I believe this took a little more than an hour, start to finish.

Fabric: $8, marked down from $20
Hem tape: already owned (I counted it in yesterday’s post)
Staple gun and staples: already owned (~$10 at the store)
Total cost: $8

By the way, do you see how the fish came out for the last photo? I thought maybe they were excited that I glammed up their house, but when I told them they seemed... unimpressed. And THAT is why fish don’t do interior design.