Quick Tips from the Dollar Store Diva



We’ve all seen these plastic picture frame holders at the dollar store. It occurred to me that one of these would also make a great stand for your tablet or smart phone. Then you can more easily watch movies or type in Word with a wireless keyboard.



If you’re looking for something different to use as a party favour this year, buy a couple of packages of gift card holders. I found these at Dollarama for$1.25 for a package of four. Instead of a gift card, enclose wrapped chocolate and a small gift inside. (I tried it and it works!) You could even add a Christmas riddle, if you like; sort of a Christmas cracker without the snap. 

Fresh flowers are a wonderful addition to any room. Unfortunately, they’re not long-lived. When the bouquet gets to be past its prime, there are usually a few blooms that still look good. Fill a clear low vase with water, snip the heads off and float one or more of them in the water for continued enjoyment. You may want to add some decorative stones to the bowl or a piece of greenery from the same bouquet. 

Give a plain lampshade a quick boost with a couple of rolls of decorative trim. This corded trim has faux leaves weaved throughout. One roll contains 6 feet, 6 inches of trim and costs $1.50. One roll would be sufficient for a smaller lampshade. I used a clear-drying glue to secure the trim to the top and bottom edges of this larger shade.

Dress up plain vases and other objects using stickers from the dollar store. In this case I used part of a set of laptop stickers. Get more ideas from Sticker Situations.

Make your own battery-operated lantern using a candle lantern you have on hand and a set of battery-operated lights. I used this set of blue butterflies from my summer stash. I pulled a few of the lights up through the top of the lantern, rested some of them between the bars at the top of the cage and spread the rest out around the base. 

Tuck as much of the cord inside the lantern as you can, leaving just enough so that the battery pack can be attached to the bottom of the lantern using Velcro or Command strips. That way, you can hang the lantern up and still
have easy access to the on/off switch, while keeping the battery pack pretty much out of sight.

Every spring, I get masses of pretty yellow primroses blooming in my garden and I wondered why I couldn’t bring some inside to enjoy, just like any other flower. Trouble is finding a vase small enough! The solution: a shot glass. It’s the perfect size for holding tiny flowers like these.

Here’s an easy idea for Mother’s Day that’s sure to please. Just buy a pretty pot  at the dollar store, a flowering plant, (I found this pretty pink geranium at my local grocery store garden center for $3), and you’ve got a gift that will serve double-duty. 

Just put the plant, still in its plastic pot, into the dollar store ceramic pot and tuck some Spanish moss around the top edges. Add a butterfly pick or some other embellishment, if you like. Mom can plant the flower in her garden this spring and reuse the pot for another plant either inside or outside.

Choose an appropriately-sized flower pot or planter, fill it up with stones (I’ve used small ones here) and just stick your succulent picks in to make a pleasing arrangement, varying the heights. Easy to do, easy to change! 

Dress up some taper candles using rings. You can buy these rings at Dollarama for $2.50 per  card of four. I used three thin ones on the left candle and two wider rings on the right one, as examples of how you can use them.
Of course, you’ll want to buy two sets of the same rings for a matched look.

Keep all of your instruction manuals that are related to the TV in a plastic folder like this from the dollar store and tuck it in behind the TV. Then, when you need to check the TV, game system, or Bluray manual, you won’t have to dig through a file cabinet or drawer to find what you’re looking for.

Make a fragrant sachet for drawers and closets by filling a few of those drawstring gift bags from the dollar store with your favourite potpourri. This would also make a thoughtful gift for Valentine’s Day. 

If you’d like to keep your mini lights with the same box they came in, but struggle to fit those strings of round pegs back in the square hole, try wrapping them around the outside of the box. You’ll save a lot of frustration while at the same time keeping the lights from becoming tangled. Mark where they were used on the box lid.

Dress up your ribbon with clear stickers. Use clear-drying glue  to adhere them to wide ribbon. Let dry thoroughly before using the ribbon on a package or for holiday decorating.

Here’s an idea for place card holders that use decorations you may already have on hand. This snowman’s “hands” make the perfect place to insert a name card. Plain cards can be embellished with a bright Christmas sticker. Ornaments with flat bottoms and that have a bit of weight to them work best, but don’t limit yourself; try other types of ornaments as well, until you find something that works for you. Place names can always be glued to an ornament’s surface. 

Now’s the time to start picking up items for gift baskets and stocking stuffers like this box of fancy cookies I found at Dollarama. Buying a few small items every week will prevent panic from setting in as Christmas draws near. 

The natural elements all around us are free for the taking and make for easy fall decorating. Here, a combination of small pine cones and acorns in an attractive dish makes a quick and easy decorating accent for fall and winter.

If you’re living in a rental apartment with a boring back splash area, try using over-sized wall stickers to give the area some colour. Vinyl wall stickers won’t leave a sticky residue when removed and can be wiped down with a damp cloth, so kitchen splatters shouldn’t be a problem. When you get tired of one pattern, these stickers can be easily replaced for a totally new look. 

Each sticker sheet has six large decals on it. I found these at Dollar Tree.

Add a little inexpensive bling to your curtains by using a dollar store necklace as a tieback. Experiment with different types of necklaces to get a look that’s right for your curtain and room décor. 

Tissue boxes sit out in the open in our homes, so we want them to be attractive, as well as useful, especially in places where visitors may see them. I usually buy my tissues in packages of six and sometimes there’s a box or two that I don’t like the looks of, for one reason or another.

Here’s an easy fix: Cut two-inch strips of wrapping paper or scrapbook paper and tape or glue them around the outside of the tissue box. (I recommend gluing to ensure that all the edges lay flat.) I found this mirror-like paper in my scrapbook paper stash and used it to glam up a plain tissue box for the powder room.

Did you know that you can use a mug warmer to release candle scents? Well you can! I tried it and
it works great, especially when you have someone in your house who is leery of open flames. 😉 Of course, you only want to do this with candles in glass containers.

Re-purpose an old metal pencil cup as a candle holder. Here, we’ve just turned it upside down and added a mirror sticker embellishment. If you have a metal pencil cup with cut-out shapes, you could put the candle directly inside the pencil cup.

All you need is a package of plain shower curtain rings and a bag of craft accents to make your own version of fancy shower curtain rings. Be sure to use a strong glue to adhere the accents to the rings. (Hot glue melts in the heat and humidity of a bathroom.)

Use your imagination to come up with the right accent for your particular bathroom décor, keeping in mind that they should be waterproof, of a comparable size to the ones you see for sale in stores and not too heavy.

Read Tub Time to see more easy bathroom upgrades.

I’ve been using this desk organizer on the kitchen counter to hold things I use often. Keep scissors, pens and pencils, note paper and even small tools handy and within easy reach. It’s also a great place to store take-out menus that you use often.

If you’re traveling this summer, put together a first aid kit with supplies from the dollar store. Besides these shown, you can find alcohol wipes, diarrhea medicine, muscle ache patches, medical tape and more. Use a small lidded box to store everything.

To save space, remove things like bandages from their original containers, taking just a few for your travel kit. You could also add a few cotton balls, cotton swabs and/or cotton pads stored in a small zipper seal bag. 

Customize your first aid kit according to your family’s needs and be sure to replenish anything you use after each outing. 

Dollar store garden ornaments will have a greater impact if you group them together in sets of three, rather than spreading them throughout the garden. 

Who says you have to use the same type of candle holder in a grouping? Here we’ve used twodifferent tea light holders along with a  votive holder. Unify the grouping by using the same colour tea light candle in each holder. Fill the votive holder three quarters of the way full with small shells or decorative sand to make a base for the tea light. 

Got too many snack boxes taking up space in your cupboards? Reduce the space need to store them by using a cheap plastic box to store the snack bars in. Then recycle the cardboard boxes.

This storage box is about 9 1/2-inches long by about 6 1/2-inches wide and can store at least three boxes worth of snack bars. Use these lidded boxes for storing other things and stack them to save even more space.

You can throw some mood lighting together quicker than you can say, “summer party,” by putting clear glass stones in a small glass bowl and nestling the top of a cheap solar light into it.

Now that the weather is getting warmer, many of us want to hang our clothes outside. I love the fresh smell  my clothes get after they’ve been hanging outside to dry! But there’s a problem. With small backyards being the norm these days, we are limited to using portable clothes racks, rather than a clothes line. On a windy day, these racks tend to tip over. 

Here’s a solution using garden staples. The picture on the left is a 5 1/2-inch long garden staple. These staples come in a package of ten for $1.50  at Dollarama. The picture on the right shows how you can use three or four of these staples to anchor your clothes rack into the ground so it won’t blow over on a windy day. 

A row of three dimensional flower stickers placed around the middle of a vase makes a quick and easy way to decorate a candle holder for spring and summer.

In years past it seems that everyone had coloured covers for their toilet seat lids that matched the bath rugs, but that trend has since fallen out of favour. Still, if you’d like to add a little extra colour to your bathroom, try using some wall stickers. These came on a large sheet for two bucks at Dollarama. 

A word of warning: These wall stickers will be more of a challenge to remove from plastic and porcelain than if they were on a wall, where they can be easily re-positioned, so be sure you get the design you’ve chosen where
you want it the first time as they may stretch and tear when you’re trying to re-position them.

Arrange different shapes of cork trivets on a wall to create an outside-the-box message centre. Trivets are thicker than the usual cork board so you can be sure push pins won’t scratch walls. 3M Comand strips work well to adhere the cork to the wall.

The embellishments are 3D stickers also found at the dollar store. I’m always surprised by how many surfaces stickers will adhere to.

Label your closet bins using pictures, rather than writing on labels. Stickers work well. For instance, if you have dog gear in one basket, like I do, you can always find stickers with dogs on them. Or, if you can draw or have a talented relative in your family, put a hand-drawn picture on the label. In my case, my son Curtis helped me label the bin with extra hats and gloves in it and made another label that designates all things related to shoes, such as laces, polishes and spray protectors. 

Keeping such things all in one place makes them easy to find when you need them.

Someone gifted me with apple-scented potpourri years ago. Although the scent is long gone, the potpourri is still attractive. For contrast, I’ve added some elements from other vase fillers, such as the cream-coloured paper flower, as well as some pine cones and faux acorns. Served up in a wooden bowl, it makes an attractive decoration on a coffee table that will last throughout fall and winter.

Here’s a quick and easy party favour for your next fall party: Simply wrap regular-size chocolate bars in scrapbook paper. Here, we’ve left the ends open. Place a faux leaf on top and secure it in place with baker’s twine
as you wrap the chocolate like a gift. Tie a knot in the twine, leaving the ends long. 

Print messages such as “Thankful for You!”, “Give Thanks” or place names, if you prefer, onto a sheet of address labels and cut them out. Apply messages or names to small tags, add a small embellishment like the leaf confetti shown here and tie the label onto the ends of the baker’s twine.

Okay, so the zipper pull on one of my fabric storage bags broke. Since this isn’t something on display for all to see, a safety pin works as the perfect quick fix for the problem.

If you’re like me, you hate to throw out reusable gift bags but what can you do with a bunch of paper wine bottle bags? I mean, you don’t gift someone with a bottle of wine everyday. If you have a collection of these tall paper gift bags, here’s the answer. Just cut them down to a shorter size (however tall or short you want), leaving about an extra inch at the top to fold down on the inside of the bag and use a one-hole punch to make holes for a ribbon or decorative cord handle. Voila! A gift bag that’s wider than your average small gift bag and great for smaller gifts.

Perch small potted succulents atop glass candlesticks of varying heights for a quick and easy coffee table centrepiece. If your faux succulents are in larger pots, use candlesticks with wider tops.

Organize your craft supplies and make them easily accessible by using a lazy Susan. We cut a piece of non-slip shelf liner to fit the top of this 10-inch glass lazy Susan and added six mini glass canisters to hold small craft pieces like buttons, tacks and other small pieces. These small canisters come in a set of three for two bucks. Place a square votive candle holder in the middle to store things like sharpie markers and paint brushes.

Pull out a few of your votive candle holders, fill part way with birdseed and nestle bird-shaped tea lights into them. This is a quick, easy and very affordable idea you can use for casual entertaining this summer.  You can buy a small bag of birdseed for a buck at Dollarama. The bird tea light candles are from there, too.

See more summer candle ideas here: Light of the Party.

Quick Tips, Continued….