DIY PROJECT: FROM WHITE TO BROWN CABINET STAND

The white laminated stand belonged to Charlie and followed him into our first place together. I think he wanted to throw it out during the first move, but I knew it could be used at the new place. For about five years, the stand held the bath towels and Riley when he needed somewhere to nap. After discovering Riley could open the front doors and slept among the clean towels, a baby proof lock was looped into the handles.

The white cabinet stand followed us to Iowa, where it was kept in the second bedroom next to the bathroom and held the office supplies. Because the second bedroom served as a workroom with wires, pins, needles, and other dangerous stuff for cats, the door was always closed and the stand didn’t need to match the living room decor. With a house and with more space, the cabinet stand will be visible in any room.

With my painting mode in full swing (three items and counting), I decided to tackle the cabinet stand, with the drawer serving as my test dummy. With the surface shiny and smooth, was a primer needed? The answer is yes. Did I use one? No. I headed directly straight to the brown paint and discovered it could be easily chipped off once dry. A little research on the interweb advised priming and sanding was needed with laminate furniture.

Along with some old paints and stains, the previous homeowners had left behind a can of primer. Yay! A primer for ALL SURFACES! After scrapping and sanding off the brown paint, I slathered the surface of the drawer with one coat of primer because I didn’t know if it needed more than one coat. Once the primer had dried, the drawer was hit again with brown paint until I was happy with the results.

I worked on the drawer when I wasn’t painting the old stereo stand, and so when the stereo stand was finished with clear top coat spray paint the drawer was sprayed with it too. To be honest, I don’t think I like the clear top coat spray paint because it feels sticky even after a few days of drying in the sun. Charlie suggested the humid weather may have been a factor and maybe the pieces should have dried in the garage. Lesson learned. I guess.

*sigh* Sometimes I make life more difficult because of these three words, “I wonder if … ” I used the small can of primer on the drawer, but then I thought, “I wonder if the leftover paint plus primer would work on the cabinet stand?” Another great question: “I wonder if the paint plus primer is the same as primer?” The answer is not really. Because after painting a small part with the paint plus primer, I tested the area with brown paint and dragged my fingernail over it when the area was completely dry. The brown paint could still be chipped or peeled off!

Riley usually likes to keep an eye on me when I paint outside on the backyard patio. When the test patch of paint plus primer didn’t work out, I covered the cabinet stand with primer from a spray can, which I don’t recommend using even on a slightly windy day. I would make a terrible graffiti artist, not being able to fully control the dumb spray can (the wind probably was a factor too).

If I had only ignored all the “I wonder if” questions, the cabinet stand might have been finished by now. Seriously. Ugh. I painted whenever I had a chance or at least the ambition. Even after all this effort to make the cabinet stand match the rest of the decor, I think this house is its final resting place. Even with a top coat of sealant, I don’t think the paint will hold up for another move.

Almost done! Woot! After spending hours painting, the cabinet stand needed hours to fully dry before repainting and touch ups. When I wasn’t outside on the back patio, a couple of pesky little chipmunks found refuge underneath my project, cracking open sunflower seeds. After several coats of paints and more touch ups than I could ever possibly imagine, the top coat was finally sprayed on several times over two to three days.

And sorry for the less than stellar “after” picture, but the cabinet stand has already been put to good use. My paint projects have been dwindling (yay! or yay?), but the responsibilities of being a homeowner has been keeping me busy (mowing the big front and back yards — booooooooo — and finding home for all our stuff). My big project or distraction of the moment is scanning old photos and saving them to my computer. Knocking on wood that my computer doesn’t crash.  🙂

 

 

DIY PROJECT: POP OF COLOR FOR MAGAZINE RACK

I picked up this lovely wooden magazine rack for $3 at the local Salvation Army, hoping it would serve as a temporary end table next to my side of the reclining couch. The rack was in good shape, with the knobby end pieces needing to be tightened and the bottom shelf piece needing glue or nails to keep from sliding back and forth. When Charlie inspected my new purchase, he kindly offered to attach a piece of leftover wood to the bottom shelf for stabilization. I love my husband so much.

As soon as Charlie cut and nailed the extra piece of wood to the bottom of the magazine rack, I started priming it with some leftover yellow paint from the kitchen paint project. I was searching for ideas and inspiration on Pinterest about repainting the magazine rack when I briefly glanced at a picture tutorial of adding stickers to the side and painting over them for a textured look. Hmmmmm. I can do that!

Luckily, a packet of heart stickers were just lying around the kitchen counter because I hadn’t found a place for them in my completely unorganized workroom. Eight hearts in the package. Four hearts to each side. I think these stickers were meant for this project! Having the hearts simply run down the side was a simple but pretty design, and I didn’t waste time with a ruler — I just eyeballed the space between the hearts.

I’m really not looking for pure perfection with the sticker placement or my paint job for that matter. As long as the paint drips aren’t too big or outrageous, I’m totally cool with small imperfections. I found myself itching to work on the project during the evenings, which meant sitting in the basement with the box fan. Fortunately, the cats had no desire to help or bother me so I was safe for a few days.

I think I have a magazine rack addiction. After having lunch with a friend and her adorable 1-year-old kid a few weeks after picking up the first magazine rack, we ended up at the Salvation Army store and I nabbed TWO more wooden racks! The darker colored one was $3 — and I would’ve been cool with paying that — but it had a 50% off sticker. No internal debate was necessary. And I didn’t need to talk myself into buying the second rack for the full price of $3.

Was yellow too babyish? Too bright? Charlie suggested placing one of the magazine racks next to the couch and looking at it among the surrounding. My husband is a smart man. I followed his suggestion when the magazine rack was dry enough to handle, and I was pleasantly surprised how much I like the pop of yellow in the sea of rich brown decor. Satisfied yellow was the correct color choice, I continued to paint two of the three racks.

For now the first newly painted magazine rack sits beside my side of the couch and holds my laptop until I can find end tables that meet my high expectations. I’m really happy that I stuck with yellow because it pops next to the brown couch and matches the curtains. The rack is perfect for housing my laptop instead of leaving it on the couch’s armrest. One yellow magazine rack down two more to go.

The second wooden magazine rack was in good shape but it was a little rough around the edges — literally. Maybe whoever made it was aiming for a rustic look because some areas definitely needed sandpaper. After sanding some areas here and there, I simply gave the second magazine rack a few coats of yellow paint over the course of a few days. Now, it sits in one of the bathrooms holding extra rolls of toilet paper. And the third and final magazine rack? Well, that one deserves its own post. Stay tuned.

DIY PROJECT: PLANT STAND SCORES NEW PAINT

Like a moron, I had forgotten to take a “before” picture of a simple plant stand I had found at a local consignment store. Even though I have no plans to use it as an actual plant stand, the simple design, the price ($7), and the possibilities persuaded me to buy it. After tightening the screws on the legs (an easy fix), I decided the wood stained plant stand needed to match everything else in my house.

Because the stand was laminate, I covered it with a white spray-on primer and left it to dry for a few hours, which was probably longer than necessary. I was actually surprised how quickly I painted the plant stand despite all the curves and nooks. Two days was all I needed to cover it with two to three coats. After letting the stand dry outside for a few days, I loved the smooth feel when I ran my fingers over it so I opted not to use a top coat.

At first I had no idea how I was going to use the stand, but then a brilliant idea (brilliant might be an overstatement) hit me. A mail stand next to the door leading into the garage! Charlie usually checks the mail when he comes home from work, and after rifling through it, he can leave everything on the stand for me. Brilliant!

DIY PROJECT: STEP UP AND DINE IN

With some plywood and some 2×4, Charlie built a new feeding stand for Clara and Riley because Riley, the troublemaker, likes to push the dish off the current stand and spill the food all over the floor. Before giving the cats their new gift, I needed to paint it. Using some leftover paint I found in the basement from the previous homeowners, I primed the feeding stand and an old step stool my dad built when I was younger.

I didn’t have my phone with me when I primed the feeding stand and the step stool, and I thought, “Oh, I have plenty of time to take photos. I’ll do it later.” Instead of taking pictures, I dove right into the brown paint because I’m a moron. For proof that I actually primed both items, I snapped a shot of the area in the backyard where I painted. I figured the lawnmower would take care of the painted grass. I was wrong.

Once the feeding stand and the step stool had been primed with the old paint (one coat because I don’t really know any better), I started painting both items a rich brown to match the other decor (bookcases, couch, etc.) in the house. I used a smaller paint brush because I felt I had more control and I could take my time. My reasoning probably doesn’t make any sense to anyone else, but I feel rushed when using a bigger brush.

Nothing fancy — just a simple step stool my dad built a long time ago and moved it from house to house. I nabbed it when he cleaned out his last house. I probably could add a monogram or something cute, but my project list is way too long right now. A fresh coat of paint definitely made the step stool look nicer and made me happier.

The feeding stand was a few brush strokes away from being complete when Charlie added some trim to the top because Riley likes to either push or tip the slow-eating food dish over the edge for easier access to the food. Charlie believes the trim will keep the food dish in place despite Riley’s attempts to knock it the ground. Time will tell who will win this battle.

Just a few paint coats away from moving the feeding stand from the back porch to the living room, where Miss Clara and Riley can jump up on and whine for food. My little troublemakers definitely have been testing the boundaries, believing the new environment means the kitchen table and new kitchen counter are no longer off limits to them. They are so wrong.

Ta-da! Beautiful! Absolutely beautiful! The new feeding stand fits perfectly between the kitchen and the living room and the top shelf seems big enough for both cats to eat peacefully. We stuck plastic cutting boards underneath the dishes because the cats paw out a kernel of food and eat it off a flat surface. As long as their feeding schedule was not disrupted, Clara and Riley adjusted quickly to the new feeding stand. Yay!

DIY PROJECT: PHOTO TO CANVAS

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I was thumbing absent-mindedly through Pinterest one night when I stumbled across a super easy DIY tutorial on creating a photo canvas. Hmmmmm. Various photo sites offer photo canvases for an extraordinary price, which is why I’ve never ordered one. According to one site, all I need is a black and white photo printed on every day copy paper (check), Mod Podge (check), foam brush (check), and 8×10 canvas (check). Basically, cover the canvas with a layer of Mod Podge, center picture on canvas, and sweep Mod Podge OVER the picture.

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SIMPLE COPY PAPER METHOD: See the bubbles! One crafter said, “Don’t worry. The bubbles will disappear as the Mod Podge dries.” Liars! The bubbles DID NOT disappear.

Sounds easy, right? So, how in the world did I mess up on my first try? I highly suspect I needed to let the photo dry once I centered it on the canvas instead of working with the edges. When I fiddled around with the edges, big fat air bubbles popped up in the middle of the picture. Boo! When I realized I couldn’t squeeze out the bubbles, I admitted defeat and peeled the picture off the canvas, which wasn’t easy since the Mod Podge was starting to dry. Back to the drawing board — or Pinterest.

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THE 8×10 PHOTO PRINT: With a coupon, I ordered three 8×10 photo prints of my nephews and niece on a tire swing my dad’s backyard. The total cost of three prints was a little less than $10.

After another night of researching different methods, I decided to test different methods and allow the dumb picture to dry first before tackling the edges. What method didn’t work for me? The one involving simple every day copy paper. I tried THREE times with normal paper, and each time didn’t work for me at all. Bubbles, bubbles, bubbles! I just could not avoid bubbles with the plain copy paper method. Argh! The poor canvas looked terrible with paper remnants stuck to it, but it still held up like a champ.

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THE 8X10 BLACK-AND-WHITE PROJECT: To hide the rough edges of the picture, I swept black paint around the edges of the canvas, bleeding a little onto the photo.

So I gave up on that method and ordered three 8×10 photo prints, hoping the heavier paper won’t cause too many bubbles. I swept Mod Podge over the surface of a 8×10 canvas (the same canvas used from the three previous attempts) and centered the black-and-white photo print on it. Either the 8×10 canvas is a teeny bit smaller or the 8×10 photo print is a teeny bit bigger because the print overlapped the canvas a few centimeters. Poop.

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GETTING THE CANVAS LOOK: Some crafters will lay a second stretched canvas across the top of the first one to create the canvas look, but then the second canvas will either have to be cleaned from the Mod Podge residue or be used for a canvas print.

Once the glue dried, I attempted to cut the excess photo print, but the non-surgical knife didn’t give me smooth clean cuts. *breathe* No worries. I am not about to give up on this project! So, I painted the canvas edges black, sweeping a little onto the photo edges and giving a more “blended” look. The paint hid the picture’s rough edges. Once the paint dried, I smoothed out more Mod Podge on the picture and carefully blotted the area with a paper towel, giving the picture a “canvas” look. Beautiful!

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Some crafters used a second stretched canvas, but I prefer the paper towel method. Easy cleanup. With the black-and-white canvas drying, I worked on the other two canvas prints. I cut the two prints a teeny bit smaller than the stretched canvas and painted the canvas edges and a small border black. Once the paint was dry, I covered the canvas with Mod Podge, centered the picture on the canvas, and let it dry a bit before smearing more Mod Podge over the photo.

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Technically, the two colored canvases look fine, but for some reason, I love the black-and-white picture to canvas more. The black-and-white canvas looks more authentic while the other two canvases look like I centered and glued a picture to a canvas (technically, that is the method). For a more blended look, maybe black-and-white pictures are the best to use? Maybe the prints were too heavy? I don’t have all the answers but I’ll definitely try this project again. In the end, I am really happy with the end results — the canvas prints look really cute.