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  • Writer's pictureDiane M Kellogg


A fun project made from Dollar Tree materials.

By Margaret Riley

Looking for a cheap surface to paint on? Just roam your local Dollar Tree® store. These items can even be found in a Dollar General® store. With a little glue and paint, you can have a great gift for a special occasion. In the frames, you can use favorite photos, do a painting, or even a colorful piece of fabric. This is a great napkin holder, too. Or maybe place two small potted herbs in the carrier, add a bow, and it’s ready for gift giving. No matter what you chose, the basic items for this project will give you great satisfaction in a finished project.



2) Small plastic cutting boards (approximate size 5-3/4” x 12-1/2”)

3) 5” x 7” plastic or wood frames

2) 4” x 6” lightweight watercolor paper


DecoArt® Americana Acrylic Paints

DA191 Camel

DA065 Dark Chocolate

DA163 Honey Brown

DA350 Laguna

DA241 Light Mocha

DA053 Mistletoe

DA099 Sapphire

DA02 White Wash


Royal & Langnickel® Soft Grip

Shader SG150 Nos. 4, 8, and 12 or Angular SG160 Nos. 1/4", 1/2”, 1”

Round SG250 Nos. 4 and 8

Short Liner SG595 Nos. 20/0 and 2

1” sponge brush

Old #4 flat brush (bristle should be fanning out from the brush, or use a very small fan brush)


Tracing paper and pencil

Transparent tape (to secure tracing paper from moving)

Graphite (gray or black)

Red ink pen (to trace the pattern to surfaces)

Water basin


Paper towel

Matte Varnish Spray

10” dowel (1/2” thickness…measure hole on cutting board to be sure dowel goes through)

Fusion Glue by I Love to Create

Hot glue gun and glue sticks

Optional: 30” burlap cording

Optional: Fabric to cover dowel (if gathering on fabric, will need 2-3/4” x 20”­)

2 Wood candle cups that will fit on dowel ends



Use brushes to accommodate the area.

Fabric can be used on the dowel handle or the dowel can be painted.

Read the preparation section before starting.


No need to pre-paint the cutting boards if they are white plastic. But spray them with a matte varnish so the paint will adhere better.

Paint frames in the color of choice without backing and glass insert. It may take 3-4 coats of paint if using white over a wood-colored frame. Or frames can be spray painted instead of using the brush-on technique.

Assembly of the carrier can be done before painting the design OR you can paint the design first and then assemble.

Trace pattern by taping the top of the pattern to surface, slip graphite between surface and pattern, and use red ink to trace pattern. Enlarge pattern, if needed.


1. Paint sky Sapphire and White Wash blending the colors softly together and keeping white at the horizon line. Be more prominent in the middle of the sky for distant clouds.

2. Starting at the horizon line, paint the ocean in Sapphire and for 1/2” then start blending in Laguna. Continue to edge of the sand. Tap in White Wash waves with Sapphire shading under each wave.

3. Starting at the water edge, paint downward with Camel and continue blending downward in Honey Brown until reaching the sea oats base.

4. On the palette, mix Texture Sand Paste with Light Mocha. Spread this mixture from sea oats to the bottom of the surface.

5. Paint Laguna at the base of the sea oats referring to photo for placement.

6. Add some streaks of Honey Brown and White Wash into the sand.

7. Using liner brush, paint blades of grass in Honey Brown, adding shadowing blades of grass in Dark Chocolate.

8. Add some Light Mocha and Camel randomly on blades of sea oats grass.

9. Here and there, add some touches of Mistletoe.

10. Light Mocha can be used for highlights.

11. Using an old #4 brush or a fan brush, add some Dark Chocolate at the base of sea oats pulling paint up from the sand.


Stand up the cutting boards with one frame butted up to the bottom of each board to be sure the frame will fit comfortably.

Apply Fusion glue every other 1” along the bottom of the cutting board, then fill in the empty spaces with hot glue. The fusion will be more “gripping” to the two surfaces, while the hot glue adheres quickly with no waiting for a glue to set up.

Quickly adhere the bottom of the glued cutting board with a 5” edge of one frame.

Repeat for the other end of the frame, adhering the other cutting board to the frame.

Apply glues to three sides of the second frame and adhere it to one side of the carrier.

Repeat with the third frame on the opposite side.


If desired, glue on burlap cording to cover any small gaps and hot glue showing around side frames.

Sew together the long side of the fabric with 1/4" seam on the wrong side. Sheer this onto the dowel.

Place dowel into the hole on one end and into the opposite hole on “cutting board”.

Paint candle cups desired color. Let dry.

Place candle cup at each end of the dowel. If candle cups are loose, add a drop of glue to secure them in place.



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