Creating an outdoor haven has never been so easy -- or inexpensive. By building a sofa from cinder blocks and adding art made from found materials, Michele Beschen fashioned a place to work on crafts, read, or bring family time outdoors. Tip: To keep your creation kid-friendly, use construction adhesive to secure the backrest pieces.
Create an entire concrete furniture set for less than $50. With four blocks, you can make a side table or ottoman, perfect for putting your feet up or for serving lemonade or iced tea on warm days. Keep fave reads, crafting materials, blankets, and other must-haves within easy reach tucked into the hollows of outward-facing blocks.
Take a practical path and insert plants in your cinder blocks. They add an earthy tone, plus, if you plant citronella, it will keep the mosquitoes away.
Turn a few burlap sacks printed with fun fonts into pillows. This quick, easy-sew project softens the hard edges. Find sacks in different colors and make a variety of pillow cover sizes for a textural and colorful twist. Insert a pillow form before you sew the final seam.
Embroider a design on a cast-off window screen with yarn or twine. Follow Michele's initiative and make your wall art functional -- spell out your house number or your family's name. In the example shown, each stitch is about 1 inch long. Or use exterior paint to paint a variety of designs on old window screens. Match the colors to your plants or mix up a lively palette.
Tip: If you love this idea but the look of concrete isn't your thing, it's your lucky day. This versatile project can meld into any outdoor scene. These variations on the traditional concrete look will get your crafty mind reeling.
Paint it. Choose an exterior paint color and go wild! Because this furniture will be showcased outside, the weathering will look natural in its environment -- and add vintage appeal to the scene.
Stain it. For an earthy look, go with exterior stain. Wear gloves to protect your hands from long-lasting color, and give your project plenty of time (and the promise of good weather) to dry.
Stencil it. Grab a purchased stencil or make your own! Keep it simple and leave the natural concrete look in the background, or take it up a notch and paint the sofa. After it dries, stencil another color.