The mid-century modern (MCM) style is renowned for its understated elegance, clean lines, and organic shapes. It’s a design ethos that has stood the test of time and continues to be celebrated in contemporary homes. While authentic MCM pieces can be costly, the good news is that the style’s simplicity lends itself well to DIY projects. Here, we explore a variety of DIY projects that can infuse your living space with the mid-century modern charm without the hefty price tag.
1. Building a Mid-Century Modern Coffee Table
A quintessential piece in any MCM living room is the coffee table. To create your own, you’ll need some basic woodworking skills and tools. Opt for materials like walnut or teak to stay true to the period’s aesthetic.
- 4 pieces of wood for the tabletop
- 4 hairpin legs
- Screws and screwdriver
- Wood glue
- Wood stain and sealant
- Cut the wood to your desired size and arrange the pieces to form the tabletop.
- Glue the edges together and clamp them until dry.
- Sand the surface and edges to a smooth finish.
- Apply a stain and sealant to protect the wood and let it dry.
- Attach the hairpin legs at each corner with screws.
- Turn it right side up, and you have a mid-century modern coffee table.
2. Crafting a Sunburst Clock
The sunburst clock is an iconic MCM wall decor that adds a touch of retro flair to any room.
- Wooden dowels of varying lengths
- A round clock mechanism
- A small wooden circle for the clock base
- Gold spray paint
- Spray paint the wooden dowels and the clock base gold.
- Once dry, glue the dowels to the back of the clock base in a sunburst pattern.
- Install the clock mechanism according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Mount the clock on the wall for a timeless piece of decor.
3. Creating a Plywood Planter
Mid-century modern design often incorporates indoor greenery, and a simple plywood planter can be an elegant home for your plants.
- Plywood sheets
- Circular saw or jigsaw
- Wood glue
- Wood stain and sealant
- Plant pot for sizing
- Measure and cut four pieces of plywood to create a box that will fit your plant pot.
- Cut an additional piece for the bottom.
- Sand all edges smooth.
- Assemble the box using wood glue and let it dry.
- Stain or paint the planter in a mid-century style color.
- Seal the wood to protect it from moisture.
- Place your plant inside and enjoy the MCM vibe.
4. Upholstering a Mid-Century Bench
An MCM bench with tapered legs can be a versatile addition to your home. Reupholstering an existing bench can give it a mid-century modern update.
- An old bench
- Mid-century modern style fabric
- Staple gun and staples
- Upholstery foam and batting
- Remove the old fabric and foam from the bench.
- Cut the new foam to size and secure it to the bench with spray adhesive.
- Cover the foam with batting and then with your new fabric.
- Pull the fabric taut and staple it to the underside of the bench.
- Trim any excess fabric and reattach the legs.
5. Making a Geometric Wood Art Piece
MCM is known for its geometric patterns and wood grain beauty. You can create a striking art piece using just plywood and paint.
- Painter’s tape
- Paint in mid-century modern colors
- Saw for cutting the plywood into shapes
- Cut the plywood into geometric shapes.
- Sand the edges smooth.
- Use painter’s tape to create clean lines and patterns on the plywood pieces.
- Paint the shapes in your chosen colors and let them dry.
- Arrange the shapes on your wall in a pleasing pattern and secure them with wall adhesive.
6. Refinishing a Mid-Century Dresser
Finding an old MCM dresser and refinishing it can save you money and result in a custom piece that’s perfect for your space.
- Vintage dresser
- Wood stain or paint
- New hardware (optional)
- Sand down the existing finish on the dresser to remove old paint or stain.
- Once the wood is bare, apply a new coat of stain or paint. For a true MCM look, consider a stain that highlights the wood grain.
- After the stain dries, apply a sealant for durability.
- Replace the old hardware with new knobs or pulls that have a mid-century modern design.
7. Sewing Mid-Century Modern Throw Pillows
Throw pillows with MCM patterns can accentuate your decor. Sewing your own allows for customization in fabric choice and size.
- Mid-century modern print fabric
- Pillow inserts
- Sewing machine
- Cut the fabric to the size of your pillow inserts, adding an extra inch on all sides for the seam.
- Sew the fabric pieces together, inside out, leaving one side open.
- Turn the pillowcase right side out and insert the pillow.
- Sew the open side shut, and your MCM throw pillows are ready to display.
DIY mid-century modern home decor projects not only allow you to express your creativity but also to achieve a personalized look for less. By using simple materials and a bit of elbow grease, you can create pieces that are both stylish and budget-friendly. Whether you’re making furniture, wall art, or accessories, the key to MCM DIY is to focus on clean lines, organic shapes, and functional beauty. With these projects, you can bring the mid-century modern elegance into your home, crafting spaces that feel both retro and refreshingly modern.
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