Pillow Talk – Making Red & Blue Star Pillows

If you read yesterday’s post, you saw two star pillows on my son’s reading nook bench. I promised you the tutorial, so here it is:

These were super easy to make. I made two pillows in just over an hour on my Brother CS6000i sewing machine. This was a great Mother’s Day present from my hubby 2 years ago. (Last year he bought something most men would swoon over – A 10 inch sliding dual bevel compound miter saw. I just love saying that long name!)

This sewing machine is very reasonably priced at $125 and it has loads of decorative stitches!

The first thing I did was print out a star symbol from the computer as large as I could on letter size paper. (Look through your dingbat fonts if you can’t find a star. Mine is Option + H when using zapf dingbats font. But, yours may differ. Or better yet, google star in the images tab.)

Then I traced the star slightly larger than my print out onto white felt. Be sure you are using sharp scissors when you cut the felt or it will tear.

Luckily I had leftover fabric from some pillows I made for Christmas presents and 2 denim cloth napkins handed down to me from my super stepmom!

I simply cut out two squares of red corduroy the same size as the napkins. At this point I should have ironed my fabric, but I was too impatient to finish sewing these starry stunners.

I laid out the stars on the center of the fabric (one on blue and one on red.) Then pinned them in place and stitched the stars onto the fabric.

I used this decorative stitch (I don’t know the name of it…can anyone tell me?), because it made it looked hand-stitched. I used red thread on the blue denim pillow and navy on the red corduroy pillow.

Then I matched up one denim napkin with the red corduroy star front and vice versa for the denim star pillow. After laying out my pillow (gotta love that I kept those hunter green pillows from the 90′s!) on top of the fabric, I pinned the fabric right sides together forming a guide for where my seams would be.

Next I straight stitched the sides together leaving an opening, about half the width, at the bottom to stuff the pillow inside. I checked to make sure the pillow fit before I turned it right side out. Then trimmed my extra salvage edges and made 45 degree cuts at all corners. At this point, I turned the pillow case right side out.

I used the blunt tipped scissors to poke the corners out (broken tipped pencils or other blunt pointy objects work just as well. Wow, that sounds like a murder weapon.) Then stuffed my pillow back inside and pinned the bottom of the pillow together.

Last, I stitched a straight stitch as close to the bottom of the pillow as I could to seal the open edge.

And that is my super-duper, easy and quick guide to creating star pillows.

But, who says you have to make star pillows. Get inspired to make your own pillows! Here are some other ideas:

Poinsettia pillows made with corduroy and felt on Centsational Girl’s blog.  I loved the combination of the textures and the graphic images.

Or adorable pet silhouette pillows. I made a dog portrait pillow for my pretty handy sister and my super talented mom (who both coincidentally own black dogs.)

Next up will be a tutorial on rewiring and adding a switch to the copper wall sconce lamp that hangs in the closet turned reading nook project, that I bought from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore!

Inspired by:
Visit thecsiproject.com
Check out some other Independence Day inspired projects on their site.

and

Project completed just in time to participate at Centsational Girl’s
Check out other Independence Day themed projects on her site as well!

Happy Fourth of July!

When is a Closet not a Closet? – When it is a Reading Nook!

PHGAfterShot

This past weekend my husband took the boys camping. A free weekend – by myself – peace and quiet!

(insert sound of hammers, jigsaw, table saw, and more hammering)

Well, forget the quiet part, I decided to tackle another DIY project I had been thinking about for almost two years. I first got the idea after seeing this photo in Creative Home Magazine:

 

 

Kym, the homeowner, had turned her son’s closet into a private nook. I thought, no problem, I’d complete this project in an easy 2 days. After all, how long can renovating one 6′ x 2′ closet take? During stopping points I could squeeze in a pedicure, swim some laps and possibly have a friend over for wine and some chat one evening.  Truth be told, it ended up taking a full 3 days (and nights)!

So, here is the abbreviated (press fast forward on the remote) version:

My three year old has two full size closets in his room. And, yet, his toys were always strewn around the room. Here is my “keeping it real” BEFORE picture:

Last year I took the doors off one of the closets and put up some curtains so he could have a little hideaway.

First task (after cleaning up all those toys, of course!) was removing hardware, demolition and patching holes (where I found I didn’t know my own strength.)

Phew, glad that is done. Now comes the fun part, time to build!

First I cut all my wood to size, then built two frames. One for the base and one for the bench.

The base frame only had one center support since it didn’t have to hold much weight. The bench seat frame had two center supports at 2′ intervals.

I bought paint quality (almost smooth) plywood for the tops of the base and seat frames.

Here is a little trick I learned for scribing the profile of trim or other obstacles onto your board. In this instance, I used a compass and set the width to the same distance from the wall to the outside of my door casing. Then drew a line around the casing being careful to keep the compass perpendicular to the casing. Then you can cut out the profile with a jigsaw or coping hand saw.

See, perfect fit!

Next I built the second platform the same way (with the exception of the extra center supports.) I highly recommend priming as much of the wood as you can before nailing it into place. It is easier to prime wood on sawhorses.

I pulled out my levels (both a carpenter’s level and laser level) and carefully leveled my bench platform before nailing it in. Then I used framing nails to nail the platform into the studs in the closet. (I promise to post about finding studs at a later date.)

Seriously, I really did level it! I even have the pictures to prove it! Because, at some point the right hand side of the bench must have shifted while I was nailing, which resulted in a slight slope. Shhhh, don’t tell anyone! My lesson learned is that next time I will either screw the frame in place to hold it or put a brace underneath to keep it from slipping.

Somewhere during the process, I cut the foam cushion for the bench seat. If you haven’t heard, the best way to cut foam is with an electric carving knife! (Huge thank you to my friend and neighbor Karen for the use of her 1970′s electric carving knife.)

Next I installed all the moulding, wainscoting and trim. Did I mention that I bought all my trim and decorative moulding at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore? Super cheap at $.50 (yes, 50 cents!) per linear foot! My total for all the trim was $18, and I still have two 6 ft. pieces left.

Before I could prime I had to caulk all the seams. Did you know that some of the moulding in your home, especially crown moulding, is usually made up of several different pieces and then caulked to hide the edges?

This is the Pretty Handy Girl’s tried-and-true caulking method:

  1. Squeeze out your bead of caulk.
  2. Run your finger along the bead to smooth it (then wipe your finger off on a rag.)
  3. Follow up with a slightly moist paper towel for a super smooth finish!

Once the caulk dried, I primed all the wood and wainscoting.

After trying some Benjamin Moore paint swatches, I settled on a deep navy blue called “Symphony Blue”. I knew I’d need to use some tinted primer before trying to paint such a dark color on the light walls. Unfortunately our Ace Hardware was out of stock. Luckily George, my friendly Ace Hardware paint consultant, told me how to mix my own.

Isn’t the marble effect pretty! I used 1 part paint to 3 parts primer and stirred it up really well.

Once everything is dry, the painting can begin. I always use two coats of paint. The only time I got away with one was by using Benjamin Moore Aura paint in our living room. But, I was going from a medium green to a slightly lighter green. Not a major change in color.

So, are you ready?? The drumroll please…

Can’t you hear the Symphonic Chords playing?
The copper wall sconce was also from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. I scored that gem for  only $5! It has a cord that I snaked around the moulding and then plugged into the outlet just outside the closet. A tutorial on re-wiring the copper sconce with a white cord and adding a switch is poster here.
Plenty of storage bins for all the toys a three year old can hoard.
Finally, a nook built for reading, sleepovers…
…or just hanging with big brother.



That’s all folks! Bye-bye!

Visit to Habitat for Humanity ReStore – A Peek Inside My Head

On Wednesday, I had the morning to myself since the kids were in summer camp.  I decided not to work since it was my birthday. Most people would probably take the free morning to get a massage, or a pedicure, or go shopping. I chose the later. But, the shopping mall wasn’t calling me. My destination was far from the marble floors and glittering displays. I was headed to the industrial part of town where warehouses and construction equipment rental stores reside. I visited my local Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

I am always amazed by the things that are donated to the ReStore. When I enter those doors, my mind begins to whirr. Before me are shelves and aisles of discarded items. Each one calling to me to transform him or her from an ugly frog into a beautiful prince or princess. I happen to possess the magical powers to do just that! It starts with the ability to see into the future (well, maybe just a vision of what could be.) Then it takes some concentration and before you know it…bippity boppity boo! There before me stands a beautiful object and no one can guess at its humble beginnings.

I’d like to give you a look at some of the visions I had.  Won’t you join me on my tour?

First I headed down the furniture aisle. This little knotty pine night stand whispered to me, “Psst, look at my beautiful handles!” She had only been at the ReStore for a few days, so her price was a little steep. But, her drawers were solid and on gliders. Structurally she was solid.

I closed my eyes and when I opened them, I saw this beautiful off white dresser. Freshly painted a crisp white and her handles had a satin black finish. Beautiful!

Then I heard the sounds of water splashing on a classic marble sink. I turned the corner and saw this builder’s special white vanity with brand new brushed nickel faucet.

It didn’t take much to invision this gentleman with a black tuxedo coating of paint and brushed nickle knobs and handles. At $75, he is a diamond in the rough. The sink set alone would cost that!

But, the best is yet to come. Continuing down the cabinet aisle, I see this poor late 70′s kitchen cabinet set. Her handles are charming and exotic. She has some nice curves and pretty lines.

I squint my eyes and begin to see a miraculous transformation! Antique gold handles pop out. Legs grow at her base and a table top sprouts on her head. Oh she will be the belle of the ball as a sideboard in anyone’s dining room.

The next cabinet can not be ignored with a $5 price tag. He begs for someone to take him home.

Imagine a built in cabinet and window seat in a dormer window. Fresh white paint and slate blue trim with black handles.

It doesn’t take too much imagination to see these old newel posts cut down and fitted onto a plain jane desk to add more curvaceous legs:

Now it’s your turn. Imagine these items transforming before you very eyes:

I have a friend who has an old set of lockers by her door. It is her upright family organization center. Each child has a locker and he/she can store shoes, book bag, etc. inside.

I can just see this set of red lacquer cabinets in a retro modern dining room or living room:

A little black paint on the shelves and some feet. Maybe a black marble or granite top?

The ReStore has a large selection of donated lights. Chandeliers twinkle in the light above your head. Envision the shiny gold fading to a beautiful oil rubbed bronze. Another friend shared this link with me detailing such a transformation with Krylon spray paint.

The ReStore staff actually has a display model that someone has transformed into a shiny black chandelier with crystals dripping off her arms. 

With an $8 price tag, it is hard to walk away from these beauties. But, I’m seeking something in particular. A new hanging fixture for our foyer.

I find these two potential hanging lights.

At $5 a piece I should bring them both home. But, I decided I prefer the one on the right with his open base and seedy glass. Check out the transformation here!

This glass globe used to be a large exterior hanging light fixture!

Can’t you just see it as a cloche in your garden? At $35, her price was a bit steep for me, but maybe she will still be there in a few weeks with a lower price tag. (Update: I went back to buy this exterior light and the second lantern above, but they were both gone. My loss, but hopefully someone else’s gain.)

As I gather my treasures (the hanging light, an old rickety ladder, some decorative moulding and a copper wall sconce) I am nearly bowled over by the detail on this solid armoire. At $450, it would be a nice addition in someone’s bedroom, but alas our rooms are too small for this towering king.

I hope you enjoyed the tour and check back soon to see the magic I am going to perform on the treasures I bought: copper sconce, decorative moulding, ladder, and hanging lantern.

In the meantime, I have a busy weekend ahead building a built in reading bench with storage in my youngest son’s extra closet.

What’s In Your Toolbox? – What Every DIYer (or Homeowner) Should Own

When I was 18, and bought my first car, and thought I was the coolest girl in town with a little zippy sportscar – sorry, just a little trip down memory lane.  My parents gave me my first tool kit. That tool kit is still with me today and I do use it a lot. The set has a series of sockets, crescent wrenches, interchangeable screwdriver bits, allen (hex) wrenches, needle nose pliers, and locking pliers.


That set got me through several repairs (both auto and home). Now, as a homeowner, I have found that there are a few more tools to have on hand.
You will likely want to look for a multi-piece set like this one:
This will give you a wide variety of tools for a low cost. If you want a deal, try shopping for these sets around Father’s Day or Christmas. The set above was listed on Amazon.com for approximately $50 – $60.
Regardless if you are buying these items in a set or separate, these are the tools I recommend:
Homeowner essentials:
  1. Hammer
  2. Screwdrivers – Phillips head and a flat (straight or slotted) head. Try to buy a small and medium size of each.
  3. Allen (Hex) Wrenches in several sizes
  4. Adjustable Crescent Wrenches – I suggest buying at least two. One 6″ and one 10″
  5. Slip Joint Pliers (handy for overall gripping)
  6. Needle-nosed pliers
  7. Vice grips (Locking pliers)
  8. Tape Measure
  9. Level – 24″ is preferrable
  10. Utility knife (mat knife)
  11. Safety glasses
  12. 12″ Handsaw
  13. Stud Finder
  14. Flashlight
  15. Pry bar (must have a flat sharp side and the other side a notch for pulling nails.)
  16. Tool box or case to keep all of the above in 
  17. My favorite DIY guide to my home: Home Depot’s Home Improvement 1-2-3 – the best $15 I ever spent!
 Screwdriver bits:
 

Last but not least, the most indispensable tool I’ve ever owned:
Cordless Drill with screwdriver bits and a small set of drill bits 

For Electrical DIY:
  1. Wiring instruction book or guide
  2. Wire Cutters/Strippers
  3. Electrical Current tester 
    • You only need the simple tester with two probes and an indicator light to test if the power is on. 
For the committed DIYer:
  1. Palm sander
  2. Carpenter’s square
  3. Staple gun
  4. Power Circular Saw 
    • Be sure to hold one in the store and feel how the grip feels in your hand. This is especially important as a woman with a smaller hand size. (more on power tool shopping in another blog post – coming soon!)
  5. Jig Saw
  6. Saw Horses or Folding Work Bench
  7. Clamps – A Variety of Adjustable Clamps and Clips

I hope this list gives you some good information so you won’t feel overwhelmed when buying tools. Definitely ask a sales person for help or opinions. Don’t tell them you are new at this. Ask them for the tool they would purchase if they were buying one for their shop. You should aim to buy a quality tool (especially power tools) that will last your lifetime. A cheap tool will either break or not have the power to do the job you need it to do. However, you don’t need to buy top of the line or break the bank to get a good tool.
Savings Tip: Many of the big box home improvement stores will usually price match tools that are priced cheaper at a competitor if it is the same make and model, plus take 10% off the price. Be sure to bring the ad with you or they will need to call or look up the price online.

Home Depots price guarantee:  
NOBODY BEATS OUR PRICES
If any competitor tries, we’ll beat their price by 10%. Guaranteed.*
*If you find a current lower price on an identical, in-stock item from any retailer, we will match the price and beat it by 10%. Excludes special orders, bid pricing, volume discounts, open-box merchandise, labor and installation, sales tax, rebate and free offers, typographical errors and online purchases. 
Lowe’s price guarantee: 
Everyday Low Prices, Guaranteed
We guarantee our everyday competitive prices. If you find a verifiable lower everyday or advertised price on an identical stock item at any local retail competitor that has the item in stock, we’ll beat their price by 10% when you buy from us. Just bring us the competitor’s current ad or we’ll call to verify the item’s price that you have found. Cash (charge card) and carry purchases only. Competitor’s closeout, special order, discontinued, clearance, liquidation and damaged items are excluded from this offer. On percent-off sales, Lowe’s will match the competitor’s percent-off offer. Limited to reasonable quantities for homeowner and one-house order quantities for cash and carry contractors. Current in-store price, if lower, overrides Lowe’s advertised price. Price guarantee honored at all Lowe’s retail locations. Labor charges for product installation are excluded from our price guarantee offer in our stores with an Installed Sales Program. Visit store for complete details.
Sear’s price guarantee:
If you find a lower price on an identical branded item with the same features (in Home Electronics identical brand and model number) currently available for sale at another local competitor retail store, Sears will match that price plus, give you 10% of the difference. Just bring in the original advertisement to a sales associate at the time of, or within 14 days after, your purchase. More fine print…

Happy Shopping!




Top 10 Reasons to Do-It-Yourself!

So, I still haven’t convinced you yet? Let me give you a few reasons to try a DIY project yourself.

1. Save Money, Save Money, Save Money, (do I need to emphasize this again?)

2. If you are trying to repair something, you will either fix the problem or need to call a repair person anyway. (That being said, recognize your limitations. Don’t take on a complicated electrical project if you don’t know what the black, white or green wires are!)

  • Now, if you do end up calling a repair person, stick around and watch how the repair is made. Ask questions. A lot of times you will realize that you could have done the repair yourself and next time you will!

3. If you are human and able to follow directions, there is a 95% chance that you will succeed. There are so many resources to assist you:

  • instruction manuals that come with the item to install
  • online resources, try googling “how-to” instructions
  • ask a home improvement store employee for advice
  • search for instructional videos on Youtube.com
  • check out a DIY book at your library
  • buy a DIY book at your local home improvement store
  • ask a friend, family member or neighbor who you know has the skills

4. You can complete your project now instead of waiting for someone else to do it.

5. You never know how you will like working with your hands. You may find it very relaxing.

6. Learn something new. It improves your brain functioning and protects against Alzheimer’s.

7. Loose weight. If you involve yourself in a DIY project, you will probably sweat a little! You will likely be climbing, moving, and staying busy.

8. You won’t know if you can do it until you try.

9. Bragging rights.

10. The sense of accomplishment you get when you succeed is HUGE!!!

Quick and Easy Bookcase Facelift – I’ve Got Your Back

Now that my re-upholstered office chair is complete, I wanted to address the dark looming bookcase that I sit next to. I am obsessed with natural light and the color of a room can really effect my mood. We recently painted our office and had ceiling lights installed in the ceiling. Anyone else out there have one of those old houses where the light switch on the wall controls the outlets? I HATE this! Let there be light in all my rooms.

Now that we have light in the ceiling, I also want to be sure that I take advantage of natural light as well. The majority of the furniture in our office is a dark cherry color. Bookcases, armoires and other recessed furniture will absorb light. I knew I wanted to lighten up the back of the bookcase, but didn’t want to paint it or do anything to destroy the value of the furniture. So, I set to work on this super quick and easy project, making decorative backer boards for the bookcase.

Materials:
Foamcore (32″ x 40″ made 3 backer boards)
Decorative Fabric (leftover from my chair upholstery project)
Batting
Scissors
Hot Glue Gun
Cutting surface
X-acto knife and fresh blade
Metal Ruler (or ruler with a metal edge)
Pencil
Sharpie Marker

First measure the bookcase cubby dimensions.

Next draw out the dimensions on a large piece of foamcore.  Then lay your foamcore on top of your cutting surface. Personally I like the self healing cutting mats. I use them for everything (matting, paper cutting, sewing, craft projects, etc.) I recommend buying at least a 24 x 36″ size. You can find them for about $40 here: http://www.jerrysartarama.com/discount-art-supplies/Mat-and-Paper-Cutters/Creative-Mark-Self-Healing-Cutting-Mats.htm

A Note on Safely Using an X-acto Knife:

First, be sure that you always use a clean and new x-acto blade while you are cutting foamcore. Otherwise, the blade will catch on the foam interior and tear up your board.  I learned the hard way how to use an X-acto knife while in art school. Let’s just say I’m glad that thumb tips grow back. Always use a ruler that is metal or has a metal edge. When holding your ruler, be sure your fingers are WELL AWAY from the edge of the ruler you are cutting on.

Try to cut with your blade on the waste side of the piece you are cutting. That way if the blade slips, it will mess up on the waste edge. For cutting foamcore or mat board, use light pressure and pull your blade through the material and towards you. You will need to make several light cuts until you are through the material completely. You will get a cleaner cut this way as opposed to using heavy pressure and try to cut through your material in one pass.

If your board is larger than your cutting surface, cut half your foamcore, then move the board on the cutting surface to protect the floor or furniture you are cutting on.

If you successfully cut your foamcore backer boards and still have all your fingers, you can now lay your decorative fabric on top of the foamcore. I played with the placement to make sure I liked the pattern that would be shown. Then trace a 1″ border around the boards and cut the fabric.

Next you will want to trace your backer board on top of the batting (no need to add a 1″ border on the batting. Just trace to size.) Then cut the batting.  Lay your fabric right side down, then the batting, and finally put your foamcore backer board on top.

Heat up your glue gun. While you are waiting for it to heat up, trim the corners on your fabric. Trim about 1/2″ away from the corner. This will help you neatly fold your corners when you glue them.

Run a line of glue on the edges of your backer board and fold your fabric over on top of the glue.

When you are done, flip over your board and admire.

Now comes the super easy part! Walk over to your bookcase and insert your backer boards. Tilt the top in first and then push in the bottom. The fabric and batting should allow the board to stay in with tension. Plus, the great thing about using foam core is that it will crush slightly to fit your space. 

AND, if you want to use it as a bulletin board you can! I’ve been thinking about using the leftover decorative nail head trim nails (from my chair upholstering project) as push pins. But, for now I’m enjoying the lighter back of my bookcase! And, loving the way it coordinates with my desk chair.

Adding Nail Head Trim – Give me some bling!

If you are coming here from a link party, this is the final post on my Extreme Rattan Chair Makeover. Click HERE if you want to see the transformation from the beginning. This chair started out as an U-G-L-Y silver painted dining chair that I scored at a yard sale for $5! I handed over my Abe Lincoln and ran before the owner could change her mind. 

Today I will show you how to upholster the front and back of the rattan chair, add nail head trim, and then you can see the final results! Can’t wait, can you?

Well, grab your tools and let’s get crackin’.

Materials Needed:


Nail Head Trim* (Purchased every third hole style trim. It cost $1.25 per yd. on Amazon.com)
Decorative Nails* 7/16″ x 1/2″ – French Natural (sold in bags of 50 nails for $1.70)
Rubber Mallet
Wire Cutters
Posterboard or Tracing Paper
Scissors
Batting
Cardboard
Spray Mount
Hot Glue Gun (with glue sticks)
Screwdriver or cordless drill

* Just a quick note that I measured the areas on my chair using a sewing tape measure so I knew how much trim I needed. Then made sure I had enough decorative nails to fill in every third hole. Always order a bit extra in case you make a mistake or if you miss measure. Plus, as I will show you, I had to end some sections early and add extra nails.

First thing I did was make a template for the back of my chair. I used a large sheet of posterboard (the cheap kind you can buy at the drug store works great!) I used my finger to press hard on the paper and the edge of my chair back opening. When I removed the posterboard, you could see a faint score line. I then cut out the template. (You could alternatively tape several pieces of tracing paper together and draw around the chair backing.)

 

Then I fit my template into the back and made any cuts until my template was perfect. Next I traced my template onto thicker cardboard and cut out the cardboard for my chair back.


Now I could start cutting out my fabric. You will want to lay your fabric on top of the cardboard and play with the pattern placement until you are happy. Then trace about an inch outside the cardboard and cut out your fabric. This is where I wish I had followed Centsational Girl’s directions for her Cinderella Chair Makeover! She cut out a piece of batting that was the same size as her chair back fabric. She wrapped the batting around the cardboard and stapled it. Then she used the glue gun to attach her fabric to the cardboard. I didn’t see the need since I wouldn’t be resting my back on the back side of the chair. But, what I didn’t realize is that it would hide the folds in the cardboard. Oh well, live and learn. Luckily my chair back faces a wall so no one will see it.

So, next I pulled out my spray mount, after putting a tarp down on the garage floor that extended about 4 feet in every direction from my cardboard. (Did I mention that spray mount can also travel when airborne? Be sure to cover a larger area than you will be spraying and prop up cardboard or more plastic if you are spraying near something you don’t want the spray mount to adhere to.)

I sprayed a light coating on one side of the cardboard. Then laid it on top of the fabric (Next time I will replace the fabric with the batting – having learned my lesson.) Make sure your fabric (batting) is stretched out so there are no wrinkles. Now, if you are using batting, you will want to get your fabric and lay your cardboard sandwich on top of the fabric.


Now it is time to glue the fabric to the cardboard backing. Heat up your glue gun, and run a bead of glue along one edge of your backing. Fold the fabric over the back (being careful not to burn your fingers on the hot glue like I did) and press into the glue. Carefully fold the fabric around your edges.

At the top of my chair was a heart shape, which required that I cut a few slits into the fabric so I could fold the fabric into the cardboard notch.

You are almost ready to insert your backing into your chair. Before you insert the backing, run a line of hot glue all the way around the back of the chair where the rattan meets the chair frame. Then I set my chair back in place. This is where I realized that I should have added the batting. You can see two slight horizontal lines at the top and middle where the cardboard had a fold in it. So, I hope you can learn from my mistake. Although, I really don’t think it looks too bad (does it?)

Nail head trim time – Make her glamorous!

I pretty much repeated the same process for tracing the back (pressing my finger on the edge of the rattan area.) The front of the rattan was wider than the back. The good news is that once you have your template cut out of posterboard, you can go right to cutting the fabric and batting, instead of cutting a cardboard backer. I used two layers of batting for extra cushion. But, I could have used more.

 

Cut your fabric about an inch wider than your template on all sides. Trace and cut your 2 + layers of batting to the exact size of your template.

Now you are ready to put your fabric and batting on the chair. I laid my chair down on its back so I could work with gravity holding down the fabric and batting. Starting in a corner, gently fold the excess fabric around the batting and lay your nail head trim on the edge of the fabric. Use your rubber mallet to hammer in the first nail into the first hole in the trim. Continue along slightly bending your trim to match the curves on your chair.

 

When you reach a corner, you will need to cut your trim. If you can’t end with a nail hole at the corner, you will want to cut your trim at a hole and add a nail or two next to the hole to finish at the corner. This will insure that you don’t have the excess trim popping up or catching on anything. Then I cut two extra nail head bumps off my trim so that I could start with a hole again.

 

Work your way around the whole back of your chair until you have completed the nail head trim border. I also chose to add nail head trim along the edge of my chair below the chair cushion. Why not?! At only $1.25 per yard, it is has big bang (or should I say Bling!) for little bucks!

 

Now the moment you have all been waiting for. Time to re-attach your seat cushion to the chair. Lay your cushion back in place, and locate the four mounting screw holes underneath. Use your cordless drill (highly recommended over the screwdriver) to screw in the mounting screws.

 

Then, set your chair upright and swoon over your “ugly duckling turned into a beautiful swan!” Isn’t she lovely!

This concludes my Extreme Makeover of a Rattan Backed Chair. I hope you will check back soon as I show you some of our office renovation.

Check out other wonderful yard sale finds
at
The Lettered Cottage – yard sale link party.

Visit thecsiproject.com

Re-Upholstering the Chair Seat

The next step in my extreme rattan chair makeover is the upholstery. Time to give your tushie a new cushy!



Seat Re-upholstering:

I removed the seat from the chair before I started any of the paint stripping and painting. Removing the seat on a cushioned chair is really simple. Flip your chair over, look for four holes where the mounting screws are located (see red arrows below.)

Tools You Will Need:

Cordless Drill or Phillips head screwdriver
Flat head screwdriver
Needle-nosed pliers
Scissors
Batting
Fabric
New Foam Cushion (if your foam is in bad shape)
Sharpie Marker
Staple gun w/ staples (I used 5/16″ staples)
Hammer

Grab a screwdriver or cordless drill with a phillips head attachment and unscrew the mounting screws. Be sure to save the screws as you will need them to re-attach the seat later.

If the fabric on your cushion is in good shape and you are using a fabric that is thick enough to cover the old fabric, you can leave the seat intact. In my case, the fabric was very old and stained. Not exactly something I wanted to be sitting on….ewwww!

So, I began the demolition phase of this makeover.

Grab a flat head screwdriver and needle-nose pliers. Wiggle the screwdriver underneath the staples and then use the pliers to pull them out.

Once the fabric has been removed and all the loose staples have been pulled, take a look at your foam cushion. If it is stained, crumbling, or smelly, you will want to replace it with new foam. Luckily the foam seat was still in good condition and no stains or odors, so I kept it.
I laid my fabric on top of the seat and played with the pattern until I liked the layout on my chair. Then I took my sharpie pen and drew an outline about 3 inches out from the edge of the seat.

Next, pull out your new batting. I like my seats to be nice and cushy, so I chose two layers of batting.

Next, I laid out my fabric, then the two layers of batting and finally the seat. Make sure that the batting will wrap around to the underside of your seat. Then cut your batting. Usually my batting is about an inch smaller than the fabric on all sides.

Now it is time to get your staple gun and hammer. Start by pulling your fabric up and wrap it over onto the bottom of the seat. Use your staple gun to put in one staple. Hammer in the staple if it is sticking up.

Next you will pull the fabric across from your first staple and affix that side. Repeat this step as shown below:
Now you can finish stapling the sides and hammering the raised staples. Leave about an inch to two inches from the corners. Pinch the corner fabric together as shown at the left. Then neatly fold it over onto the seat and staple a few staples to secure it.

Voila! You are done with the seat. Go ahead and set it on your chair and admire your work.

Be sure to join me here as I add the back and the finishing touches!

Make Me Beautiful – The Painting Step

Today I’ll show you the painting technique I used on the chair I stripped yesterday.

Here is a list of suggested materials:
Tarp or drop cloth
Brush
Primer
Rubber gloves
Sandpaper (Fine & Medium grits)
Spray paint (optional handle adapter to prevent hand cramps and spray on your fingers)
Dust mask
White paint
Brown acrylic paint or craft paint
Rag
Polyurethane
Floor protectors (chair glides)

Because I stripped and sanded the chair down to bare wood, I needed to prime the wood so it would accept the paint. If you don’t prime bare wood, then the paint will be absorbed into the wood and won’t leave a clean all over finished look. The primer is also a base that makes the paint stick to it easier. Primer is very good at adhering to lots of surfaces, including your skin. So, be sure to wear gloves or you may look like a reverse dalmatian for a few days.

I’ve used many different primers. Sometimes I use a spray primer and sometimes a liquid primer. Did you know that primer comes in different colors? And it can be tinted? Be sure to ask the paint department next time you are drastically changing the color of a room. They might be able to tint your primer close to the color you are painting so it cuts down on the number of coats you have to use.

For this project I used Bulls Eye water based primer that you paint on. You do not need much, we only had a big bucket left over from painting some rooms in our home.

Primer dries quickly, so work fast. It isn’t necessary to make it look perfect, just get a thin coating on all the wood surfaces and be careful to wipe off any drips.

After the primer dries (I used my box fan to speed the process,) you should lightly sand the chair to remove any burrs or drips. This also gives the primer a little scuffing so that the paint has something to grip to. Don’t sand so much that you go through the primer coat.

At this point you will need to “tent” off an area where you will be working. Spray paint will get everywhere if you let it. The good news is that usually the particles will dry in the air, but they will coat everything in the vicinity and will need to be wiped off. If you can spray outside, it will be better for your lungs, but be sure your drop cloth extends at least 4 feet out in all directions from the piece you are spraying.

Now comes the fun part! Grab your paint can in the color you have painstakingly chosen. I used Valspar Pistachio Satin finish in a spray can. I used to use Rustoleum, but it seems that my local Lowe’s has eliminated most of the Rustoleum brand spray paints and replaced them with Valspar. My suspicions tell me that it might still be the same paint but branded for Lowe’s.

I use light coats of spray paint about 8-10 inches away from the surface. The trick with spray paint is to use several light coats instead of trying to cover all at once. This will insure an even finish. You also don’t want to end or stop on the piece you are spraying. I use a smooth consistent sweep across the chair and then release the trigger after my spray has left the chair. If you stop on the chair, you will either get a shiny spot or drips where the extra paint has collected. Here is a graphic to show you how to spray your paint:

I used three light coats to cover this chair. I did sand VERY lightly between coats (using a fine grit 200 grit or higher) to make sure there were no rough spots and to add something for the next coat to adhere to. I also wipe off the chair after sanding with a damp rag. Just be sure to take your time to work up to your final color. This is the point where you may stop and say that you like the final results of your painting job. If you stop now, be sure to finish your painting job off with two coats of polyurethane.
I choose to add some more interest to my chair.
Milk Painting – Adding Depth and Interest
 
After the green spray paint layer has completely dried, I took the fine grit sandpaper (200 or higher) and gently roughed up the surface. Then I wiped off the whole chair with a damp rag and let the chair dry.
For this step I used some left over white latex trim paint we had lying around. I used a semi-gloss finish because that is what we had, but you can use any white paint you have left over. I dipped the edge of my brush into the paint and then wiped most of it off on the can. Then I lightly ran the brush over the chair in the direction that the wood grain would go. The green paint should show through your strokes. Only go over the area once, unless you really ran out of paint on your brush. If you put too much on the chair, or have areas with too much (see the left edge of the picture on the right below),  you can take a wet rag or baby wipe to clean it off and try it again.

Once the whole chair has the milk paint technique, I let her dry. Once again, this may be the point where you stop painting. But, I really had more distressing in mind for this girl.

I wanted to let some of her age show through, so I grabbed some medium grit sandpaper (100 – 150 grit) and sanded some edges down to the bare wood. Think about any place on the chair that sticks out and might be rubbed and worn on an antique.

Unfortunately for me, the bare wood on my chair was a little too peachy colored next to the pistachio color paint, and I really liked the look of this leg that was sanded and had a darker brown area showing through. So, I decided to fake the darker brown wood look.

I wiped off the chair again with a damp rag and then ran up to grab some acrylic paint out of my art supplies. I chose the Raw Umber brown and squeezed a quarter size dollop onto my palette. Then I grabbed a clean rag and wrapped it around my finger. I dabbed my rag into the paint and made sure I didn’t have any globs on the cloth. Then I lightly ran the edge of my clothed finger over the edges of the chair where I had sanded.

Uh oh, don’t peek at the fabric on my chair! That is the next step we will go over tomorrow. Plus, it wasn’t a good idea to paint with the fabric on my chair. Too many opportunities to drip or rub paint onto the seat.
Once I was done adding the brown paint, I let the chair dry. Next I took my fine grit sandpaper and sanded the whole chair lightly being careful not to sand off any paint. Wiped the chair down and let it dry.
I really liked the aged beautiful look that my chair had achieved, so I was ready to seal her with 2 coats of polyurethane. I used a water based poly and lightly sanded between coats. At this point you are probably sick of the sanding, but I am a sucker for smooth finishes. I love to caress finished wood and feel the baby softness under my fingers. Plus, this is the chair that I will spend many hours sitting in and working.
After the poly has dried, I do add floor protective legs to my chair. It protects our wood floors from damage. I’m really into protecting our wood (as you can probably guess.) Furniture glides or floor protectors are super easy to add. They go on just like nailing a nail. Be sure you have your glide centered on the leg and that you aren’t nailing it into any metal. Then gently tap it into the leg of your chair.

Extreme Makeover for a Wooden Rattan Backed Chair

This week I finally got around to giving my $5 yard sale chair a face-lift (Thank you to CentsationalGirl.com for giving me the inspiration and steps to tackle this project.) My poor chair was covered in silver paint and a horribly stained green velvet seat. I won’t even mention the glass beads that were epoxied on her. Luckily, I rescued her and offered her a new life as my desk chair.

The makeover was a bit more involved than I initially anticipated, but the results were well worth the work. Because there were different procedures for each step, I will break this transformation into a few posts. Care to see the transformation? Then read on…

1. Takin’ It All Off! aka paint stripping

Normally if furniture is painted and the paint is in good condition, (the paint is well adhered to the furniture and CAN’T be scratched off with a fingernail) I leave it! If it was in good shape, I would scuff up the surface with some sandpaper and maybe use primer if I’m not sure why type of paint was used. But, for this baby, I could scratch the paint off easily with my fingernails.

My preferred paint stripper has been the less toxic Citri-strip. Purchase it in your local hardware store. There are a few other brands that make these less-toxic products. So, feel free to substitute. (More tips on paint stripping at CentsationalGirl.com.)

The tools you will need are:
- Rubber gloves (I said less-toxic, you still need to protect your skin)
- Face mask (if you aren’t working in a well ventilated area)
- Small wire brush for detail work
- Multi-edge scraper (also called caulk removal tool)
- Sandpaper or sanding block
- Brillo pad or steel wool
- Plastic throw-away tarp (Dollar store plastic table covers work great for this!)
- Bucket with a little dish soap, water and a sponge for clean up

Coat the areas that you want to strip with the foamy Citri-Strip spray and let it sit for 30 minutes. As soon as the paint is bubbled up, you can start to scrape and strip. This is such a satisfying step as you easily clear away the abusive paint.

The scraper tool I have works well for about 90% of the surfaces on the chair. For the other 10% you’ll need to use your small wire brush. You may need to re-coat any areas that won’t come off easily with the Citri-strip.

Next you need to wash off the chemicals left on the chair. Use the soap, water and sponge to wash the chair. Let your chair dry. (I sped up this process by aiming a fan at the chair.)

Now it is time to smooth your chair. Use the Brillo pad to get any small spots left and to prep for sanding. Then you can take your sandpaper and/or sanding block and make that chair as smooth as a baby’s bottom! The wood on this old chair was so beautiful with age that I almost grabbed the polyurethane and applied two coats. But, I had bigger plans for this chair. You will notice that I left the paint on the rattan back of the chair. This will all be covered up by the upholstery. I hope you will stick with me for the next step in this chair makeover.

Check out my project and more at:

Welcome to My First Blog Post!

Thank you for visiting PrettyHandyGirl.com. This blog is for anyone who wishes they were handy and could make their own repairs, upgrades or become a true DIY-er at home.

I have always enjoyed beautifying things, especially my home. My idea of a relaxing day is working in my garage (aka workshop) and building something. The smell of freshly cut wood tends to ease away the tension of the week. Also being able to have the gratification of completing something tangible really makes my day! (Maybe this is because it is so hard to complete a task when you have children un-doing your work behind you.)

The other days of my week are spent entertaining my two little charges (two little energizer boys); housekeeping; and running my other two businesses. A graphic design/web design/illustration business and a web-based baby carrier business I started when my children were babies to sell comfortable baby carriers to caregivers.

I hope this blog will inspire you to try something on your own. My mantra is that if someone can do it, then there is a 95% chance that I can do it too! As a woman, I refuse to bow to the stereotypes that women aren’t handy. From a young age, my father and mother taught me and my two sisters that we could do anything a man could do (and sometimes better!)

Please join me on my DIY journey as I show you some of the accomplishments and pitfalls of doing it yourself!

If you like my blog, please share the empowerment by displaying my button on your website (see the side bar to grab the button.)

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