Painted Bird House Tree Topper

rustic-birdhouse_tree-topper

Painted Birdhouse Tree Topper Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Welcome to the first day of Très Frugal! I’m excited to share with you 30 days of DIY Gift idea. Handmade gifts are a rarity these days. Receiving something that someone else has taken the time to create is such a wonderful gift! I hope you’ll find one or two ideas of gifts you can make for your friends or family members this year.

Today’s DIY gift idea has several uses. I created this little painted birdhouse to function as a tree topper, but you could slip a little battery powered candle inside and have an instant luminary. Or forgo drilling a hole in the bottom at all and add a hook to have a fully functional birdhouse for those bird watchers on your list.

Painted Birdhouse Tree Topper Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Materials: [Read more...]

DIY a GIANT Artist Canvas

How to DIY a GIANT Artist Canvas

How to DIY a GIANT artist canvas | Pretty Handy Girl

Have you ever yearned to own a giant piece of artwork but the cost was prohibitive? Or you knew you could create some awesome abstract paintings, but buying large canvases would cost too much. Well, for those hesitant artists, I have this quick tutorial for building your own GIANT canvas!

Materials:

How to DIY a GIANT Artist Canvas

  • 2×2″ boards for frame supports (two sides, top, bottom and center support)
  • Kreg Jig and pocket hole screws
  • Drill
  • White fabric (canvas material would be best, but use what you have)
  • Staple gun and staples
  • Paint brush
  • Gesso (if you don’t have gesso, primer would probably work fine)

Instructions:

Cut your 2×2″ lumber down to size. Cut your top and bottom the full widths. Cut the two sides and the center support 3″ shorter to accommodate the height of the added top and bottom pieces. Note, if your canvas is portrait (instead of landscape), your support will be a center horizontal brace instead of vertical as shown. [Read more...]

Painting Metal Patio Chairs: 5 Easy Steps to an Awesome Makeover

Step 2 Wire Brush

Painting Metal Patio Chairs

What’s worse than a rusted, faded, and drab looking patio chair?

Not being able to enjoy your outdoor space because of them!!

We all want to be proud of our homes and be able to have friends or family over. Don’t let a little paint get in the way of having fun with your loved ones. I’ve made the mistake of thinking that repainting a metal chair will take forever and isn’t worth the time or effort. But I’m here to tell you that if my wife thinks the chairs in this post look good then you will, too.

By the end of this short tutorial you’ll transform your chairs from looking worn out to AWESOME in 5 easy steps. I did make a few blunders though, so please read on so you don’t fall victim to the same mistakes.

Here are the supplies you’ll need: [Read more...]

How to Fix Your Garden Gnome (and Other Garden Decor)

Garden Gnome-Before Makeover

Garden Gnome-How to Fix

Garden gnomes are the cute little guardian angels that watch over our homes. And sometimes they get a bit neglected.

In our case the poor fella was beaten up a bit by string trimming and the sun.

So today I’m going to share how you can fix any small holes or cracks and repaint your gnome so that it looks like new. These tips will also work with other garden decor that you’d like to repair.

Here are the supplies you need

  • Hydraulic cement
  • Bucket
  • Margin trowel
  • Gloves
  • Great stuff
  • Old towel
  • Rust-Oleum Primer (spray)
  • Hobby paint brushes
  • Valspar paint samples
  • Rust-Oleum Clear Coat (spray)

This is a pretty fun project and the kids can participate, too.

Let’s get to it :)

[Read more...]

Chalk Painted, Stenciled and Distressed Dumpster Table

after_art_table

Dear Beautiful Table, your scandinavian antique beauty has us mesmerized. What’s your story? Did a family of four sit around you and talk about the day’s adventures on the farm? Or were you an antique table brought over from Europe and passed down for generations?  Or were you simply an ugly table left by the dumpster of an apartment complex in Raleigh, NC? {insert record scratch sound bite here} Yup, would you believe that a few short weeks ago, this beauty was sprawled in pieces by a dumpster? All the pieces (including the leg bolts) were neatly in a plastic baggy and secured to the table. This is one of the best pieces of furniture I’ve ever found in the trash (well next to it to be exact.) I didn’t have to do any structural repairs, just reattached the legs. But, it looked like the below photo when I picked it up:

[Read more...]

Faux Zinc and Chalkboard File Cabinet – Lowe’s Creative Idea

open_drawer_cabinet_chalkboard

This summer I was out thrifting with a few friends for I Heart Thrifting Day. At the Goodwill I grabbed a metal chest that had extra wide and deep storage! That was about the only thing that it had going for it. The hot pink and mint green were disguising the true potential of the chest, but like a color-blind dog, I was able to see beyond its garish appearance.

And then the poor chest sat in our garage for months and months until I had a chance to work a little spray paint magic and turned it into….ta da: [Read more...]

Chalkboard Calendar for the Refrigerator

adding_the_chalk_ledge

You may remember when we created our Summer calendar and bucket list. The boys really responded well to being able to see what was coming up on the calendar. And I enjoyed not having to pull up my Google Calendar on the computer whenever I was put on the spot for a play date. So, continuing to use a calendar in the kitchen was a no brainer. But, creating new calendars on poster board each month — although fun — seemed a bit tedious.

In a sheer stroke of genius suggested by Pretty Handsome Guy I decided to paint a chalkboard calendar on our fridge: [Read more...]

Nope, It’s Not a Pier 1 Lantern

close_up_lantern

Thanks to my Facebook fan, Heather H., for the ultimate compliment on this lantern. She asked if I got it at Pier 1! Nope Heather, I got it at the Habitat ReStore and it found its way into my hands in this condition:

After a Women Build meeting at the Habitat ReStore a month ago, I spied that dusty relic. An old discarded hanging light fixture. I grabbed it and promptly paid $5 for it. Then I got to chatting with the clerk at the ReStore and absentmindedly walked out without my lantern. By the time I remembered, the ReStore had already closed. It was sad… it was tragic… I didn’t know when I’d be reunited with my light fixture because the ReStore is about 25 minutes away from my home. But, there is a happy ending to my story, my mother-in-law (who gives a good name to all MILs out there) offered to swing by the ReStore the following day to pick up my lantern for me. Hugs to her for reuniting us. But, I had to laugh at the look of skepticism she gave me as she handed over the dusty light. She couldn’t see its true potential, but I could.

How about you? Would you have passed this light fixture by? Or would you have seen the potential?

Well, next time you see a light fixture like that, grab it and I’ll show you how to transform it.

Materials:

  • Old lantern style light fixture
  • Pliers
  • Wire cutters
  • Two screwdrivers (at least one needs to be flat head)
  • Damp rag
  • Sandpaper
  • Plastic drop cloth
  • Kilz spray primer
  • Rustoleum Lagoon spray paint
  • Rub n’ Buff Gold Color
  • Paper towels
Difficulty: Easy
Step 1. Disassemble the lantern by unscrewing all the parts.

Step 2. Use wire cutters to cut the wire to the light housings.

Step 3. Pull the light sockets, bulbs and lighting out of the lantern.

Step 4. Remove the finial from the bottom of the lighting and set it aside with the lantern. Discard or keep the lighting parts for some other project.

Step 5. If there is a chain attached to the lantern, insert the two screwdrivers into the link attaching it to the lantern. Rotate the two screwdrivers in opposite directions as shown to pry the chain link apart.

Step 6. Pry up the tabs on the lantern that are holding the glass in place. Remove the glass panels and set them aside.

These are the parts that I kept for the lantern:

Step 7. Wipe all the parts with the damp rag to remove any dust and debris. Then scuff the lantern parts with sandpaper and wipe off any remaining dust.

Step 8. Set the lantern and parts outside on the drop cloth.  Spray them with Kilz primer, flip the pieces over and spray again.

Step 9. When the primer has dried, inspect the lantern for any paint drips that need to be sanded smooth.

Step 10. Spray paint the lantern and parts with Rustoleum Lagoon. Flip everything after the first coat is dry and spray a second coat of paint.

Step 11. After the lantern has dried thoroughly, reassemble the lantern.

Screw the finial onto the inside of the lantern where the lighting used to attach.

Step 11. Wipe a small amount of rub n’ buff on a dry paper towel. Rub it on the cross bars of the lantern.

Step 12. Clean the lantern glass with windex and a clean rag. Then insert the glass panels back into the lantern.

Admire your new aqua beauty!

The hardest part of this project was trying to decide where to display my lantern. I could see it in every room of our home!

But, ultimately I gave it a place of prominence on our mantle. And included an old picture inside it.

Have you seen these old light fixtures? Could you ever guess that they could be turned into beautiful decorating gems?
Have a great weekend y’all. I hope you make a trip to your local Habitat ReStore and search for your own lantern.

I hope you’ll join Heather and some other friends on Facebook so you can see what I’m up to next!

Sharing with Tater Tots and Jello Weekend Wrap Up Party

 

Removing Wallpaper Borders

before_bathroom_shower_view

Last week I started to give my boys’ bathroom a facelift. The room was…well…a little fishy.

Complete with fishy wallpaper border…

And a fishy toilet seat!

The room was cute and I didn’t mind it so much. But, the border had started to peel. And the toilet seat was rusting. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT buy any cheap toilet seats that have metal hinges. They may look cool, but the nature of moisture collecting around the toilet makes them rust in no time. This was our third seat to do this. Why I didn’t learn after the second? I’m optimistic by nature I guess.

Anyway, I had wanted to help this bathroom grow up a little. And I’d been anxious to try another moulding project after doing my son’s closet last year.

Before delving into the wonderful world of mouldings, I had to remove that wallpaper border. When wallpaper starts to peel, you think, “Oh cool! That means it will be easy to remove.” So you start picking and tearing at it. Well, resist the urge, it is just a funny joke wallpaper likes to play. You really need to be well stocked and prepared with the appropriate supplies for stripping wallpaper.

Materials:

  • Wallpaper stripper (DIF or a cheaper alternative is to use 1:1 concentration of cheap pink fabric softener and water)
  • Scoring tool (aka Paper Tiger)
  • Scraper or spackle knife
  • Spray bottle
  • Lots and lots of rags
  • Sponge
  • Bucket of water

Instructions:

Start by using the scoring tool. Make lots and lots of holes until you just can’t lift your arm anymore.

The more holes the easier it will be for the stripper to soak into the wallpaper glue.

Spray on the wallpaper stripper and let it sit for 15 minutes.

Repeat spraying the wallpaper (really soak it), and then gently try to slide your scraper behind the edge of the wallpaper.

If you can remove the whole strip easily, go for it. In true stubborn form, my border was hanging onto the walls with a death grip. So, I sprayed more stripper behind the border and let it sit for about 5-10 minutes. (Please ignore the giant gaping hole in the drywall! I patched it later.)

Hopefully by now, it has loosened it’s grip.

Gently pull the strip off while using the knife to help separate the border from the wall.

Remove any pieces that are left behind.

Spray down the walls again with the stripper.

Wipe it off with water and a sponge or rag.


This should get rid of all the wallpaper glue residue. But, it is still a good idea to use a primer on walls that previously had wallpaper on them. This will protect your paint job from doing something alien like bubbling up, flaking or who knows what!

If you follow me on Facebook, you were privy to my post over at Parentables. I gave them a special all accesses pass to my brain on a recent trip to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore on THIS day.

You can view this and more transformations over there! Be sure to leave me a comment. It seems those Parentables readers are a bit more shy than y’all!

And, one last note. I finally delivered my promised Pretty Handy Girl in a box to Cheri (pronounced like Sherry), who writes Dragonfliez Creationz. She is such a sweet person and she didn’t even complain that it took me a month to deliver her box. Cheri and I like the same burritos from Tijuana Flats (thanks to Courtney for introducing me to this Raleigh gem.) But, unlike me, Cheri has a tough side too (luckily I didn’t get to see it.) She’s giving me assertiveness training because I’m too nice.

That’s all for today. See you next week with some more bathroom updates.

 

 

 

New Life for a Borders Bookshelf

light_seeping_out_back

I hope you will take a moment to view how I test drove my Dremel Trio. This is seriously a really fun power tool! Just be sure you are safe so as not to ruin the fun. Eye protection, face mask, and ear plugs. Check.

For those of you who like to skip to the end of the book and see the ending, here you go:


For the rest of you, here is how I created this cut out/back lit bookshelf that started life as a bookshelf from a closing Borders bookstore.


Tutorial for creating a cut out bookcase:
Almost any bookcase will work for this project, but the ones that have a thin wood (can be masonite) backing will work best. Set up a work area that you don’t mind getting dusty and dirty. Remove the shelves from your bookcase.

Cutting the endcap:

Materials:

  • circular saw
  • level
  • clamp
  • scrap wood
  • screws
  • drill

I cut the endcap in half lengthwise so I could use half for each end of my bookshelf, and to position it flush against the wall. To cut a straight line using a circular saw, I clamped one end of a level to the endcap. My level wasn’t long enough, so I drilled a scrap piece of wood on top of the level and into the end cap to support the other end.


I set the circular saw blade just below the depth of the endcap. By resting the endcap on two 2×4″ boards, I was able to creative a gap below the endcap for the sawblade to pass through.Then I ran the circular saw along the level for a straight cut. Straight as an arrow, and it met Pretty Handy Dog’s approval.

Cutting out the backing design and painting:

Materials:

  • Dremel Trio
  • Palm sander
  • Sandpaper (100 grit & 220 grit)
  • Scrap 2×4 lumber
  • Chalk or pencil
  • Wood putty
  • Putty knife
  • Primer
  • Paint (white and navy blue)
  • 3M Clean Edge technology painter’s tape
  • Newspapers
  • 2″ paint brush
  • Small paint roller and tray

Sketch out the design on your bookshelf (using chalk or pencil) before beginning.

Before using any new power tool, take some time to read through the manual.

To insert a bit into the Dremel Trio, you push in the blue (shaft lock) button on the front and use the enclosed wrench to loosen the collet nut on the tool.

Insert the cutting bit into the Trio. (The trio also comes with a sanding drum bit and a routing bit!)

Tighten the collet nut with the wrench.

Turn the blue handle on the side of the TRIO to raise or lower the base plate.

Adjust the base plate until the cutting bit extends slightly below the wood backing of your bookcase.

Lay the bookcase down on its back. Position 2×4 boards under the edges of the bookcase (or you will be cutting into concrete. I’m pretty sure the TRIO is not capable of that, but I could be wrong.)

Plug in your Trio and get ready to have some FUN! You may want to practice on a scrap piece of wood before working on your bookcase. The TRIO allows you to change directions quickly and easily. Creating fanciful cuts is a breeze!

Squeeze the trigger and when the bit reaches full speed you can plunge it into the workpiece. For the pin holes hold the Trio steady, insert the bit and then lift it back out of the same hole.

To cut trees and other designs, plunge the TRIO into the wood and then slowly move the tool through the wood to carve your design. Be wary of long “V” shape cuts as they will make the backing weaker.

When your design has been completed, use the power sander to sand the back of the bookcase (where the majority of the splintering will have occurred.)

Insert the sanding drum bit into the TRIO and sand any large cut out areas.

Fold a piece of sandpaper in half and feed it through the thin lines of the branches to sand any rough edges that can’t be reached with the sanding bit.

Set the bookcase upright and inspect the cuts for more splinters. You can preview what your design will look like when lit up. Lookin’ good, huh?!

Before sanding the rest of the bookshelf, repair any dents or holes with wood putty. (This is a post I wrote about repairing all types of holes if you need help.)

Use the palm sander and a fine grit (220 grit) sandpaper to rough up the rest of the bookshelf.

Apply a coat of primer to the bookcase, shelves and sides. (Still working on emptying that can of KILZ Clean Start primer! Love that stuff.

When the primer has dried, mask off the sides of the bookcase where they meet the back.

3M sent me this Scotch Blue Painter’s tape with Edge-Lock protector to try. I was skeptical, but when I pulled the tape off it did give me a clean edge. The only place I had a little bit of seepage was in the corners where I didn’t press the tape tightly into the corner. The key to using this tape is to firmly press the edges with your finger to engage the “Edge-Lock” seal. I haven’t tried it for painting walls, but you better believe I have a wall project coming up that I can try it on.

Paint the back of your bookcase. I chose a very dark navy blue. To save paint, I used a medium blue paint for my first coat to darken the back and hopefully save paint.

Then paint one coat of the navy blue.

Follow up with a second coat to eliminate any streaking.

When the navy paint has dried, tape along the edges of the navy blue backing, where it meets the sides. Slip pieces of newspaper underneath to catch any paint splashes. (Will you get a load of my lazy supervisor! You think he’s been working hard in the heat? Uh no, that would be me doing all the work and him snoozing away the day.)

Paint the rest of the bookcase, the sides and the shelves white. I used two coats of Benjamin Moore Impervo Semi-gloss white.


Once the paint has dried completely, re-assemble the bookcase. And screw the end cap halves onto either side of the bookcase.

I installed a light rope behind the bookcase (tutorial to come at a later date) and set the lights on a timer. The rope light comes on at dusk and illuminates all the cut outs.

There is a very soft glow emitted from the back of the bookcase.

It provides the perfect amount of light for my son who HAS to have a light on at night.

My only complaint about the rope lights is that they give off a strong plastic odor. But, after a week the smell has dissipated.

I had the foresight to purchase a few of the clear display stands that slide into the end caps of the bookcase. It makes it easy to display books to pique my son’s reading interests.

Oh look! There he is now! Mission accomplished, reading interest piqued. Yes, I think he is double-jointed and a teacher pointed out that both my son’s sit like that. Must be in the genes.

A few more detailed pictures of the bookshelf. This has to be one of my favorite projects I’ve created recently. And it wasn’t very difficult to complete.




 

 

 

Kilz Clean Start Primer Giveaway and Refinishing a Garden Bench

baby_wipes

Happy Father’s Day! I hope all you Dads and Grandfathers out there have a fabulous day. We love you and we wouldn’t be here without you! Speaking of fathers, I was asked by Parentables to write about the best advice my Dad every gave me. I wrote about how my Dad’s actions spoke louder than words. You can see a very adorably funny picture of my Dad and his three girls HERE (3rd slide).

By the way, I’m glad so many of you got a good laugh from my prom picture. I’m so thankful that perms and dyeing my hair is a thing of the past. Okay, I admit it, I might have a few highlights added now and then.

Getting down to business. You may remember my garden bench that used to be a Craig’s List bed frame.

Well, it wasn’t weathering the elements too nicely. Or maybe I should say it was weathering them poorly. Regardless, I really liked the bench and decided to strip it and start over again. I believe the main problem was that the bed frame was not solid wood, it was glued pieces. Then, if you factor in that I used spray primer and spray paint, the rain and moisture got in easily and caused the wood to swell and some of the glued joints to come undone.

But, the bench was still structurally sound, so we moved it onto the screen porch and I got ready to refinish it.

Refinishing a Weathered Garden Bench

Safey First, (as Meri-K will tell you.) Because I was sanding and scraping the old paint I had to wear eye protection and a dust mask. I also wore ear plugs while sanding and gloves to keep my hands from getting rough.

Materials:

  • Power Sander
  • Sand Paper (100 grit & 220 grit)
  • Purdy Paint Tool Scraper
  • Wire Brush
  • Gloves
  • Safety Goggles
  • Dust Mask
  • Wet wipes
  • Primer
  • Roller & Tray
  • Brush
  • Paint
  • Gorilla Glue
  • Clamps
  • Wood Glue
  • Toothpicks

Instructions:

Begin by using the wire brush to remove any flaking paint and to get into the grooves of the spindles (and other hard to reach places.)

Tip from a Handy Girl: I am about to share with you a helpful time saving trick, so pay attention. If you have a power sander that holds the sandpaper with a clip. You can stack your sandpaper. I put the 220 grit on the bottom, then put the 1oo grit on top of that. After sanding my bench with the 100 grit, I simply tear off the top sheet and expose the finer 220 grit.

Sand down the bench with a rough 100 grit paper first, then follow up with a finer 220 grit sand paper.

Secure any loose pieces of the bench. To use Gorilla Glue, you need to moisten the two pieces that you will secure.

Then put a small amount of Gorilla glue onto one of the pieces.

Clamp the joined pieces and allow to dry overnight. (By the way, don’t waist your money on cheap clamps. That little black & orange number below just bit the dust last weekend. My Irwin clamp is a CHAMP!) Check back after 30 minutes to wipe off any Gorilla glue that has spread out of the seam.

Because the posts on my bench were really falling apart, I decided to remove the ball finials.

Use a saw to cut both finials off.

Patch the hole using toothpicks and wood glue.

After the glue has completely dried, saw off the toothpicks.

Add a curtain rod finial on top of the sawed off posts.

It looks like those finials were there all along!

Clean your bench off with a damp rag to remove any sawdust.

Cover the entire bench with one coat of KILZ Clean Start Primer. Want to know why I use KILZ Clean Start primer for all my projects now? Read how much I love it in this post where I used the same primer for painting a bamboo rug. I’m never buying any other primers (unless I’m priming a tricky surface, then I’ll use BIN 1-2-3 oil based primer. But, I won’t be happy about using that stinky stuff.)

After the primer has dried, use a piece of fine grit sand paper to gently remove any burrs or imperfections.

Then wipe off the bench with another damp wipe. I used Benjamin Moore Impervo Semi Gloss paint for the top coat on my bench. It leaves a really tough coating and will hold up to wear and tear.

Roll on the paint in one area. Then follow up with a brush to even out the paint. Remember to run your brush in the same direction as the grain of the wood.

Lightly sand after the first coat has dried and finish up with a second coat of Benjamin Moore Impervo paint. I didn’t add polyurethane, but if you are really concerned about a piece of furniture that will be exposed to the elements, go ahead and add two or more coats of polyurethane.

My bench should successfully last outside now for three reasons:

  1. I moved it inside the porch and out of the direct sun and rain.
  2. I primed the bench with a good quality brush-on primer (instead of a spray paint type.)
  3. I brushed on two coats of paint making sure I got into all the cracks and crevices of the bench.

Here she is in her newfound home, our screen porch:



Would you like to try a gallon of the KILZ Clean Start Primer for yourself? With zero VOCs and the quality that is standard in all the KILZ products, this primer is a must have for the DIY painter!

The wonderful folks over at KILZ have offered to give one gallon of this amazing liquid to one of my readers.

Here is how you can enter to win!   Sorry this giveaway has ended.

Disclaimer: The products mentioned in this post are products that I use and stand behind. The opinions expressed in this post are authentically mine. I was sent a gallon of KILZ Clean Start Primer and the Irwin Quick Grip clamp to try out, but I was not paid or swayed to write favorable things about the products. If I don’t like a product, I won’t write about it. And I certainly won’t pass it off on my valued readers.

 

 

Painting a Bamboo Rug

close_up_rug

 

Back story and my ramblings:

Sleeping outside on the screen porch was nice until I woke up with a sore neck. So, I won’t be doing that again for a while. But, I won’t complain because we are lucky to have a screened porch and I am really loving it after the recent makeover.

The makeover was spurred on by this Pier One bamboo rug that I scored for $25 while thrifting!

It’s nice isn’t it? Especially with the splashed paint on it. Yes, I was the sloppy culprit who dripped paint while repainting my garden bench. But, no big deal, I had bigger plans for that rug.

So I sat down at my computer and spent a few minutes hours on Pinterest to research some patterns for my rug – seriously addictive site! But, it is also proving to be a huge organizational tool for my blog. I can pin ideas I want to create. Or I pin other bloggers projects that I want to make sure I give credit to when I steal borrow their ideas.

Once I narrowed down the designs I liked, I used my photoshop skills to change color palettes and design to create a sketch for my painted rug.

Then I ran over to Ace Hardware to purchase some paint. I ran into my good buddy, Mr. Paint Dept Guru – and guess what he did! He told me he had just finished going through the mistinted cans and hadn’t even priced them so he let me have my pick of some cans for….FREE! That is why I love my Ace Hardware. They are a small neighborhood store and all the employees know my face. The cashier and I even have a running joke. She couldn’t remember my name once (how can she, there are only 300 customers in there a day), so I told her that I’d give her a hint. I told her that I share the same name with a famous pop singer. She laughed and said, well, I keep thinking Beyoncé but I know that isn’t your name. So, now she calls me Beyoncé everytime I walk in.

Tutorial:

If you just came here to find out how I painted the rug, I’m sorry about my story-telling. Anyway, here is the tutorial, you found it!

Materials:

  • Kilz Clean Start Primer
  • Stir stick
  • Drop cloth
  • ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape
  • Gloves
  • Paint brushes (thin and thick)
  • Paint roller
  • Butcher paper
  • Chalk
  • Scissors
  • Latex paint colors
  • Minwax Polyurethane
  • Mask Yeah! No need to wear a mask with the new KILZ clean start primer!

The good people over at KILZ recently sent me a gallon of their new eco-friendly primer* (yeah, I thought that was an oximoron too.) I’ve used KILZ 2 latex primer for years and have been very happy with the product, so I had serious doubts that some “green” primer could perform the same. Well, I stand corrected! Love this stuff!!! No face mask necessary, no need to worry about off gassing. The primer had no smell that I could determine.

And it sticks like glue to the surface that needs to be primed. It worked just as well as the regular “stinky” primer. I even scouted out my local Home Depot to see if they stock it (for when I run out) and they do! (My local Lowe’s hasn’t received a shipment yet.)

Just in case you didn’t see this: Zero VOCs!!! I like that!

Sorry, I get side tracked easily.

Start by laying down a drop cloth and putting on rubber gloves.

Stir your primer well. Roll on the primer onto the bamboo rug.

Then smooth the primer in the direction of the slats with a brush.

Tape off the inside edge of the canvas border using your painter’s tape.

Roll on the border color. Yup, that pretty blue gray paint was a mistint and therefore FREE!

After the border color dries, remove the painter’s tape and then put tape on top of the border.

Roll on the base color for your rug. Then use a brush to drag the paint between the slats. You may need to apply a second coat of paint.

Using the chalk and butcher block paper, draw out your rug design.

And lay the design on top of the rug.

Cut out the largest shapes first. And trace inside the cut outs onto the rug.

Paint inside the chalk lines with the flower color.

Next draw the vines and branches onto the rug using chalk. Chalk can easily be wiped off if you wish to work with the design a little bit.

Continue tracing flowers, vines and leaves and fill them in with paint.

When your rug is completely painted and dry, wipe it off with a damp rag. Then roll on at least 2 coats of water based polyurethane. I prefer Minwax, but use what works for you.

One word of advice when painting on bamboo slats. Don’t try to be a perfectionist. Just relax and have fun. The inconsistencies will make your rug look more authentically hand-painted!

I love my new porch rug! Even better, I love the price!

It looks fabulous with my beachy coffee table I made last year.


I promise – a photo tour of our screen porch will be coming soon.



 

* Disclaimer: I was sent a gallon of Kilz Clean Start Primer for my honest review. I was not paid or compensated for the review other than with a gallon of primer. My thoughts and opinions are authentic and my own. In other words, I respect you and will not lead you astray with false product information.

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Rebuilding "Daisy" the Discarded Chair

I have a serious problem. I can’t bear to see a piece of furniture being thrown away. It could be the ugliest, most broken down chair and I still feel the need to save it from Mt. Trashmore. That was the case with “Daisy” this poor ugly chair that I found on the curb awaiting the trash trucks a few weeks ago. I threw her in the back of my car and brought it home.

Two missing parts

 Only when I got home did I assess her condition. Moldy seat, chipping and peeling paint, structurally falling apart, cobwebs, missing parts…

GROSS! Stained and moldy seat.

 …and then a dead roach dropped out! Ewwww! I must be insane.  But, I still saw potential through all the disrepair.

This chair had some serious structural issues. I knew it was a case of tear her down and rebuild. This intro kept playing in my head the during the whole process:

I pulled apart the chair (mostly with my bare hands and then with some assistance from a hammer.)

Until I was left with a skeleton of a chair.

I stripped the paint layers off the chair using the same technique as I did for this chair (see details here.) Unfortunately this chair had 5 layers of paint, therefore it took several hours and several re-applications of Citri-strip to get down to the wood.

If you remember, there were several missing parts on this chair. I had a lightbulb moment when I realized that I could used the spindles from the chair back for the missing parts to connect the legs.

I removed the back spindles.
Almost a perfect size and I had two of them!

I cut down the spindles on the miter saw (but these could easily be cut with a hand saw).

And then notched the ends so they would fit into the holes on the legs. (I did have to enlarge the holes on the legs slightly using my drill and a 3/4″ spade bit.)

Notching the spindles. Cut around the diameter, then cut from the end in towards the first cut. Repeat on all sides.

After dry fitting all the pieces back together, I used Gorilla glue to glue the chair back together.

I clamped the chair tight by using rope to wrap around the chair.

Daisy had also lost one of her decorative corner finials. So, I bought two new finials at Home Depot for $5.

In order to screw on the new finials in, I had to plug the hole with wood. (As promised: a tutorial on filling holes in wood.)

I also filled the holes where the spindles used to be with wood putty.

Next, I primed Daisy. Just a side note here, one reason the original five coats of paint on Daisy were peeling and flaking is that the proper prep work wasn’t done. No sanding to scuff up the glossy polyurethane and no primer. It is so important to sand (rough up your surface) and use a primer. If you cut corners here, you might as well kiss your beautiful finish goodbye in a few years. Especially if the chair is exposed to the elements.)

Finally, I added two coats of white paint (sanding lightly between coats.)

The chair seat was in really bad shape. Therefore I decided to cut a new one out of plywood using my jigsaw.

Trace old seat on plywood, use ruler to make straight lines, cut out seat using jigsaw.

I checked my fit and then re-upholstered my chair. Check out this post to see how to re-upholster a chair seat.

Then for the finishing touches or the frosting on the cake. You can definitely do this step! The inset carving controls your brush for you. Kind of like bowling with bumpers.

And my chair is finished. Isn’t she beautiful!

Hard to believe that 48 hours ago this chair was definitely worthy of Mt. Trashmore.

The chair is super solid now, and doesn’t move at all thanks to the Gorilla Glue.

How about one last look at the before and after pictures?

Want to see more furniture in my guest room? Take the tour here!

Completed just in time for The CSI project, Roadkill challenge.

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Upholstering Little Bench – A sweet spot to land

If you stuck through my ugly post yesterday. I have some pretty pictures for you today!

Two years ago I happened upon a cute little bench being thrown out with a neighbor’s trash. (I am addicted to trashed furniture. In fact, I have a NASTY chair in my garage that needs a lot of help structurally and asthetically.)

The roadside bench was painted a very blah beige color. I brought her home and gave her some decorative lines and a monogram. At the time we didn’t have anywhere to sit in our mudroom, so this little bench served the purpose well. Later I built a big mudroom hallway bench with built in shoe storage (I promise to create a tutorial for that at a later date.) So, this little bench was moved to the guest room where she sat by the window until this week.

The first thing I did was give her a little rub down with some sand paper. Then I laid down 3 coats of fresh shiny white paint (leftover from trim and moulding painting).

I used some old foam I saved from our move (only 3+ years ago). This foam was the packing material used to ship ice cream cones! I received it from a nice woman off of FreeCycle.org and thought it could be used for a cushion at some point.

I cut some batting to fit over and wrap around the foam (so as to hide all the seams in the foam).

Then cut the arms off of an old t-shirt of Pretty Handsome Guys (don’t worry, he had already said goodbye to it.) And cut up the sides so I could use just the back of the shirt.

And finished off with the decorative fabric cut slightly larger than all the other layers.

I carefully folded my decorative fabric under being sure that I had the old t-shirt hidden in the fold. And put in two staples with the staple gun to hold the fabric on the one side.

Moving over to the other side, I cut the t-shirt, batting, and decorative fabric down to size being sure to leave about an inch excess on the decorative fabric.

Then I repeated the same fold under and put in two staples.

Now for the bling! I had plenty of leftover nailhead trim from this project (check that link out if you need a better tutorial on adding nailhead trim.) I began at the corner of the front of my bench and added the starter nail.

At this point my 6 yr. old had come over to my side telling me how bored he was and, “What can I do now?” I asked if he wanted to help me hammer. Once I started each nail, he was able to hammer it into the nailhead trim for me. (I did have to finish a few off myself.) We worked together adding the nailhead trim to the front and back of the bench.

Before adding the trim to the sides I neatly folded and tucked under all the layers (cutting excess off when necessary.) Until it looked like this. Then I added the trim on top to hold the fabric in place.

And there she was, my beautiful cushioned bench for our guest room. I’ve been busy trying to finish a few projects (rebuilding a curbside chair and making a night stand from a door and picket fence) in this room before my best friend from high school comes to visit. Nothing like a visitor to get your DIY butt in gear!

 Sittin’ pretty
Sweet smelling soaps in a coordinating bowl
My trash to treasure bench is now a sweet spot to land

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.