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Hello Color: 25 Bright Ideas for DIY Decor by Rachel Mae Smith

Penguin Random House Canada sent me Hello Color in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and from the heart. 

Sometimes a book falls into your lap just when you need it and that was exactly the case with the with the one I’m talking about today. With the end of the school year not far off and the kids soon home for the summer, I’ve been stressing about finding things for us to do. Enter Hello Color: 25 Bright Ideas for DIY Decor by Rachel Mae Smith. While it’s not a kids’ book per se, it’s filled with all kinds of fun and inexpensive projects my 9- and 11-year-old would love to do with me, and even a few they could do on their own. (And not junky things either — I mean things we could actually use that would add a bit of cheer and crafts we could personalize for a thoughtful gift.) And for anyone looking how to incorporate colour into their home, there’s a colour theory 101, tips on how to create a colour scheme, and how-to’s for colourful conversation pieces for every room. Learn how to set a charming table, how to style a beautiful bookcase, how to stock a bar cart and how to photograph your projects so they’ll shine. And even if you never get around to making anything, there are pretty prints to tear out and frame that’ll add a bright pop of colour to any space. I picked three of my favourite projects in the book to show you here. 

Hello Color by Rachel Mae Smith cover


Rachel’s catch-all mini tray is super easy to make with just a couple of widely available supplies that won’t cost a bundle to buy. (We like that in a craft, don’t we?) I need one for the entry way, another for my bedside table, one for the end table beside the couch — basically I need to catch all the things!

“Between kicking off our shoes and changing into sweatpants after a long day, we can — and often do — lose our keys in the post-work shuffle. To save you hours of searching, create a dedicated place in your home where, when you walk in the door, you can set down everything you’re carrying (keys, phone, wallet.) To wrangle it all in one place, and to help you establish a routine so you can find things easily, make yourself a catch-all tray in a bright eye-catching color scheme! Because no one has time to ask their loved ones (or their pets) ‘Have you seen my keys?’ every time they leave the house!” — Rachel Mae Smith


A mini photo block is great for displaying photos that don’t fit traditional frames and you can make a whole bunch inside of 30 minutes. You could put a letter on each of them to spell out something in a group or vary the heights and sizes to mix things up.

Hello Color_Geometric Patterned Pillow

And I love (love!) the geometric patterned pillow, this one decorated in shapes cut from iron-on vinyl. Rachel says the vinyl’s not cheap so you’ll want to try your design with scrap paper before cutting the real thing.

“If you haven’t crafted with iron-tranfer vinyl, then get ready for a new addiction! This type of heat transfer is great because there’s no paint cleanup or mess. Plus, whatever design you create will be exactly how your project turns out. No surprises, just perfection — and done in a matter of minutes! Really, this material is the stuff dreams are made of.” — Rachel Mae Smith

Have you worked with iron-on vinyl? Do tell!

Hello Color_ 25 Bright Ideas for DIY Decor feature image

I have a decent-sized collection of craft books now and I’m always impressed when the authors — like Rachel here — are able to come up with all kinds of fresh ideas or clever twists on trendy favourites. Rachel’s DIYs are definite do’s. You’ll be seeing more of them here when we try some this summer.

What would you like to learn how to make? How do you incorporate colour in your home?

Photographs 2, 3, 4 and the cover copyright © 2018 by Rachel Mae Smith and shared here with permission from the publisher. 

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  1. Phyllis

    Love the earth tones and lots and lots of sunny yellowy gold, shots of red – not over done – and the rich greens from healthy plants.
    Not to brag, but I bought a sheet of classy wrapping paper, covered a small stool with it, coated it with clear packing tape and voila —- a little stool to sit on at the front door for shoe putting on, adding a punch of colour at my front door….
    Love your pics and it always feel good to be creative, particularly if you feel you aren’t.

    1. try small things

      Not to brag, ha ha. Look at YOU! SO CRAFTY!!

  2. Deborah Perlman

    Darling book, I have a thing for color 😉

    1. try small things

      Yes you DO! In the best of all ways!

  3. Joy Mills (@Jemrah1)

    very cute !!

    1. try small things

      Thanks Joy! So many great ideas — I think it’s gonna be a lifesaver on rainy days!

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