How to Faux Finish Weathered Wood Grain {Lowe’s Creative Idea}

Faux Weathered Gray Wood Grain Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Faux Weathered Gray Wood Grain Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Do you love the Restoration Hardware tables that have that beautiful gray (driftwood-like) weathered wood? Me too. But, I can’t justify spending thousands of dollars on their furniture. Instead, I found a Craig’s List pedestal table that had the right shape and size for our kitchen. It was a cherry veneer finish, but after some paint you’d never know!

Faux Weathered Gray Wood Grain Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

And then, I created my own Faux Weathered Gray Wood Grain top. All you need are some Valspar paint samples, some wood grain tools and a dry brush to achieve this look.

Ready to get started?

Materials:

Faux Weathered Gray Wood Grain Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Base Coat and Glazes:

Faux Weathered Gray Wood Grain Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Before you begin creating your wood grain, you should paint your surface with Valspar Woodrow Wilson Putty and allow it to dry.

Faux Weathered Gray Wood Grain Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

If you are painting furniture, lightly sand the piece. And be sure to use Valspar Paint + Primer in one. This will allow you to paint directly onto the furniture and skip the primer. [Read more...]

Upcycled Plant Cart Saved from “Above the Rim”

Upcycled Metal Rolling Cart Plant Stand | Pretty Handy Girl

Upcycled Metal Rolling Cart Plant Stand | Pretty Handy Girl

This past summer I spied a metal cart in a dumpster. To be frank, I have never truly actually participated in dumpster diving. The thought of actually climbing inside a dumpster has never been on my acceptable things to do list. But, this metal bar cart was floating on top of the trash pile. It was (to quote a Seinfeld episode) above the rim! And it was begging to be upcycled into a beautiful plant cart.

So, I convinced myself it was okay and wasn’t officially dumpster diving. Feel free to debate this fact in the comment section.

I brought it home and knew I could do a quick makeover with some spray paint. But, first it needed a good cleaning and some prep work. The tops of the shelves were very rusty:

Upcycled Metal Rolling Cart Plant Stand | Pretty Handy Girl

And the undersides were filthy. But, the end product was worth it! Here is how to upcycle your own little metal rusty bar cart into a beautiful plant stand!

Materials:

Upcycled Metal Rolling Cart Plant Stand | Pretty Handy Girl

  • 1 Discarded rusty bar cart (rescued from above the rim)
  • Socket set
  • Hammer for coaxing rusty bolts loose
  • Can of Rustoleum Heirloom White spray paint
  • Can of Krylon Copper Spray paint
  • Sander/sanding block
  • Fine grit sand paper
  • Wire brush
  • Rag and/or damp wipes
  • Painter’s tape
  • Drop cloth
  • Scraps of wood to elevate while painting
  • Optional: Drill

Instructions:

Loosen corner bolts with a socket wrench or drill and socket bit. Hammer out any that are too rusty to budge. [Read more...]

How to Recover a Butterfly Chair

How to Recover a Butterfly Chair | Pretty Handy Girl

How to Recover a Butterfly Chair | Pretty Handy Girl

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Do you have a butterfly chair that is sun-faded or has hideous fabric on it? I bet you thought it was a lost cause, right? Nope! With a sewing machine, some new fabric and a little spare time you can recover that ugly butterfly chair and have a new one. Okay, so I didn’t recover it with green fabric in honor of St. Patrick, but what could be greener than a good old upcycling project! Believe it or not, this was a much easier project than I had anticipated, so don’t get scared by the curves. You can “sew” do this! ;-)

How to Recover a Butterfly Chair | Pretty Handy Girl

I stumbled upon this chair at Goodwill for $9.99. Normally I wouldn’t spend this much for a sun-faded chair, but because I was working on the school library makeover project — and we needed more comfortable seating — I bought it.  After all, we would have had to pay at least double for another comfy chair.

How to Recover a Butterfly Chair | Pretty Handy Girl

Luckily, I had some soft leftover fleece fabric that I could use to recover the chair. I wish I had measured how much I used, I think it was a little less than 2 yards.

Materials:

  • 2 yards of fabric
  • Coordinating thread
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Old butterfly chair + old cover

Instructions:

1. Remove the old cover from the butterfly chair frame. Lay it on top of your fabric (both right sides up.) [Read more...]

DIY Automobile Headlight Restoration

P500 Grit Sanding Disc

DIY Headlight Restoration | Pretty Handy Girl

I have found that most of my driving is done when it’s dark outside.  I get up pretty early to go into the firehouse and on my drive in I tend to notice things around me, things like how bright my headlights are compared to other vehicles on the road. What surprises me is how many vehicles have cruddy looking headlights.  Nowadays most headlights are made from plastic.  It’s cheaper and more durable than it’s glass predecessor, but the disadvantage is that it’s prone to oxidation.  In simpler terms,  over time, ultraviolet light from the sun, breaks down the plastic, causing a hazy or yellow film to appear.  It lessens the effectiveness of your headlights and during the day, makes your car look bad.  Luckily, 3M Car Care makes a DIY Headlight Restoration Kit to get your headlights looking as good as new!

The Kit Contains:

  • 1- Disc Pad Holder
  • 1- 3M™ Automotive Masking Tape
  • 1- 3M™ Soft Interface Pad
  • 6- 3M™ Sanding Discs
  • 4- 3M™ Finishing Discs
  • 1- 3M™ Trizact™ Disc
  • 1- 3M™ Headlight Lens Polish
  • 1-Buffing Pad

What Else You’ll Need:

  • Drill
  • Spray Bottle and Water
  • Safety Glasses

Here’s the condition of the headlight that I’ll be using in my restoration.

Headlight in Need of Restoration

Start by masking off the area surrounding the headlights. (For demonstration purposes, I’ve added a strip of tape in the center of the headlight.  You won’t need that on yours) [Read more...]

Video Tutorial: How to Reupholster Dining Chairs and Protect the Fabric

How to Easily Reupholster Your Chairs | Pretty Handy Girl

How to Easily Reupholster Your Chairs | Pretty Handy Girl

In the very beginning of this blog I showed you how to reupholser a yard sale chair. Almost four years has passed and I learned a lot since then. I hope this tutorial will be more helpful to anyone who wants to reupholster a simple dining chair. But, most of all, I want to show you how to protect your fabric seat after you put in the effort to recover them.

How to Re-upholster a Seat and Protect the Fabric | Pretty Handy Girl

Let’s get this chair party started!

Materials:

How to Re-upholster a Seat and Protect the Fabric | Pretty Handy Girl

  • Drill with screwdriver bits
  • Pliers
  • 5-in-1 Painter’s tool (or thin pry bar)
  • Fabric (upholstery fabric will hold up better than thin fabric)
  • Staple gun
  • 3/8″ staples
  • Hammer
  • Safety glasses

Instructions:

Turn your chair upside down and locate the seat mounting screws. Unscrew them all to release the chair seat.

How to Re-upholster a Seat and Protect the Fabric | Pretty Handy Girl

Set the chair cushion onto a flat surface. Pry up the staples with the 5-in-1 tool and/or the pliers. [Read more...]

How to Add Molding Panels to a Flat Door

How to Add Panels to Flat Hollow Core Door | Pretty Handy Girl

How to Add Panels to Flat Hollow Core Door | Pretty Handy Girl

When my sister brought me on to the Topsail Beach condo renovation, she had a laundry list of DIY projects she wanted me to complete. One of them was dressing up the hollow flat doors with moulding panels. She showed me a pin that led to One Life to Love’s DIY beadboard panel doors. After seeing the photo, I knew it would be a great DIY upgrade to make. But, we decided to use real beadboard (instead of beadboard wallpaper) because it had to hold up to the stress of being a rental.

To begin, start by measuring and marking the doors to determine the size of your panels.

How to Add Panels to Flat Hollow Core Door | Pretty Handy Girl

Draw lines 5″ in from the top and two sides of your door.  Draw the bottom line  6″ up from the bottom. Finally, leave 5″ between the top and bottom panels.

How to Add Panels to Flat Hollow Core Door | Pretty Handy Girl

When marking your doors, use a pencil and level to draw your lines.

How to Add Panels to Flat Hollow Core Door | Pretty Handy Girl

After we had our panel measurements, Caitlin and I headed to Lowe’s. But, she refused to push me in the cart (party pooper!)

in-lowes-shopping-cart

We pulled some 4′ x 8′ beadboard panels and took them to the lumber cutting area. We gave the Lowe’s employer our measurements and asked him to cut the boards for us. While he cut our beadboard, Caitlin and I gathered the rest of our supplies.

Materials: [Read more...]

DIY Aged Chippy Paint Technique

DIY Aged Chippy Paint Technique | Pretty Handy Girl

DIY Aged Chippy Paint Technique | Pretty Handy Girl

This is another one of those tutorials that I’ve been dying to share with you! Like sitting on my hands and anxiously waiting to type it out. But after taking 2 weeks off from blogging, I’m back and ready to give you this fabulous tutorial for achieving the aged chippy paint look on your next project.

DIY Aged Chippy Paint Technique | Pretty Handy Girl

Before I give you the chippy gritty, I want to give you the background story on those gorgeous corbels.

If you’ve been following along, I finally completed my 13 month kitchen renovation. The last task was installing two open shelves on the full tile wall. Finding the perfect corbels to use as shelf brackets was not an easy task. I scoured eBay, Craig’s List and salvage shops. I was really getting discouraged. That was when I met Garlan from Southern Accents Architectural Antiques at Haven. We talked for a few minutes and he showed me some of the corbels he had in his store. There were some wonderful old ones, but I felt a bit like Goldilocks. One was too tall. The other not big enough, but the biggest problem was that I needed four of them. Garlan showed me some new corbels that he had. He told me he has a guy that can duplicate any corbel design and can customize them to meet any size requirements. It was as if the heavens parted and angels sang! I was elated and couldn’t wait to find an image of a design I liked. But, again, the Goldilocks in me couldn’t find the “perfect” corbels. So, I opened up Adobe Illustrator and started to design my own unique corbels.

PHG Corbel Design for Sa1969.com

 

I designed a scroll pattern based off of one corbel I saw, but also added some relief portions inside the corbel. I sent the image to Garlan and a week later he sent me a picture of one of the corbels. It was love at first sight! I quickly approved the initial one and waited anxiously for the corbels to arrive. When I opened the box, they were beautiful and exactly as I had pictured them in my head.

Southern Accents Architectural Antiques corbels

I set forth to give them an appropriate aged chippy paint look to fool people into thinking they were actually antique salvage. Here’s how I did it. [Read more...]

Pen & Ink Sketch Decorative Plates + Silhouette Portrait Giveaway

Pen and Ink Sketch Decorative Dessert Plates | Pretty Handy Girl

Pen and Ink Sketch Decorative Dessert Plates | Pretty Handy Girl

My goodness, November is flying by! Get it…flying…insects. I crack myself up. But seriously, I have been having a blast coming up with new creative gift ideas that you can make. This idea for making pen and ink sketch decorative dessert plates turned out better than I expected! The only downside is that they really are only for decoration. The paint used on the plates can be cured, but the manufacturer states that it technically isn’t food safe.

With that disclaimer out of the way, think about how you could commemorate an event with a personalized plate. Or you could use the same stenciling technique on the outside of a pitcher, mug, glasses or anywhere that the food wouldn’t be in contact with.

Materials:

Pen and Ink Sketch Decorative Dessert Plates | Pretty Handy Girl

  • Dessert plates (bought mine at a thrift store for $1 each)
  • Porcelaine Chalkboard paint
  • Porcelaine gold paint
  • Scissors
  • Credit card or spatula for burnishing
  • Sponge applicator or paint brush
  • X-acto knife
  • Decorative stencil cut outs (used my Silhouette to cut bug shapes)
  • Transfer paper

Optional: Porcelaine or glass ink pens for writing

 

Instructions: [Read more...]

Elementary School Library Reveal

School Library Reveal | Pretty Handy Girl

School Library Reveal | Pretty Handy Girl

For a month I’ve been working on the school library makeover that was facilitated by a donation from Overstock.com. This morning I got my emotional reward. I walked into the library ready to put on the finishing touches in the room. There were a few kids in the main section of the library reading. But, when I turned the corner and gazed into what used to be the dark back corner…

library-before-pic-1

…I was surprised to see a dozen kids sprawled on the rug, dog beds and bean bags.

School Library Reveal | Pretty Handy Girl

They were all piled back there and quietly reading! My heart almost burst. The librarian told me it’s been like that since we finished painting. The kids love to hang out there. And not just the younger grade levels, all the kids love it! My heart is just singing with joy. [Read more...]

Decorated Chalkboard Clipboards

Easy Decorated Chalkboard Clipboards | Pretty Handy Girl

Easy Decorated Chalkboard Clipboards | Pretty Handy Girl

Decorated Chalkboard Clipboards are a great little DIY gift idea for the teachers in your life (or anyone who uses clipboards.) I plan to give these to my boys’ teachers with a gift card to an office supply store tucked under the clip.

Best of all, they are a project that the kids can help with. So gather the munchkins around and let’s get started.

Materials:

Easy Decorated Chalkboard Clipboards | Pretty Handy Girl

  • Clipboards
  • Chalkboard or Chalk-like Paint
  • Foam brush
  • Emory board or a scrap of sturdy cardboard
  • White chalk
  • Makeup pencil sharpener
  • Washi tape
  • Small ruler

Instructions: [Read more...]

Plans to Create a Library Reading Retreat

Library Before Pic

library_entrance

The elementary school library at my kids’ school is one of my favorite spots to volunteer. The main library has soaring ceilings with windows and lots of natural light. It is truly a pleasure to spend an hour volunteering to shelve books.

soaring_library_ceilings

But, there’s one spot that seems like the forgotten corner. It’s a bit of a cave with less natural light and lower ceilings.

library-before-pic-1

This corner of the library houses the picture books and easy reader books, and is often the introduction to reading for Kindergartners. As you know, instilling a love of reading is crucial for young children. Fostering a love of books and reading can be paramount to a child’s future.

With this in mind, the school librarian and I decided to turn this dark corner into a reader’s retreat — an inviting spot for kids to explore, relax and READ. As fate so often happens, Overstock.com contacted me and asked if I’d like to complete a room makeover with credit to their online store. I immediately thought of the school library.

If you’ve shopped on Overstock before, you know that your money can go far because they have good quality furniture, home décor, electronics and much more for a lot less! (They also have a section called World Stock that has a virtual marketplace of artisan goods available for purchase.)

world-stock-items

When you buy from the World Stock section, 60-70% of the purchase price goes back to the artisan and suppliers! What a great way to help less fortunate communities around the world.

[Read more...]

How to Fake a Fake Pumpkin (Faux Painting Tutorial)

sponge-off-white-2

How-to-faux-paint-a-fake-pumpkin

Have you seen those neon orange fake pumpkins and nearly vomited because you wouldn’t dream of decorating with them. I mean, get real, everyone would know they were fake. Ah ha, but have you seen the price tags? $1 – $6? For that price you might just be willing to take a leap of faith with me, wouldn’t you? Awesome, because I’m going to show you how to faux paint a fake pumpkin so you can decorate with them year after year and hopefully fool your friends.

Materials:

materials

  • Fake pumpkins
  • Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (French Linen, Country Grey, Pure White, Versailles, Duck Egg)
  • Acrylic craft paint – Brown and Green
  • Sea sponge
  • Stencil brush
  • Medium round brush
  • Fan brush
  • Palette knife for mixing
  • Container or palette for mixing

(Ignore the extra paint tubes and brushes above, the listed ones are all I used.)

Instructions:

Start by painting all the pumpkins with French Linen. Allow them to dry.

paint-pumpkins-french-linen

 

Painting Realistic White Pumpkins: [Read more...]

Why My Grandmother Would Love that I Wrote All Over Her Coffee Table

gma_bunny

close_up_signature_on_table

My grandmother wouldn’t mind that I painted and then wrote all over her coffee table. She was one of the most giving people you’ve ever met. She truly was the type of person that would give you the shirt off her back if you needed it. I strive to live up to her legacy every day of my life.

She was also a very lucky lady. I mean lucky as in she could spot a four-leafed clover in a field of them. She was constantly finding money on the ground.

gma_in_silver_sweater

When I was living with her my freshman year in college, she made me do a U-turn on a street because she saw a five dollar bill in the middle of the road! She was a hoot and loved to make people laugh with her jokes or just dressing up as a bunny every Easter.

gma_bunny

(That’s my sisters and me in the floral skirt.)

She also won several contests in her life. But, she rarely kept her winnings. One of the things she won was a solid construction coffee table. When I was moving into my first apartment, she gave it to me. We used it for years until my design tastes changed and I bought a new one. Grandma’s coffee table moved into our attic. It sat there for years, buried under bags and suitcases.

When the big tree fell on our house, we did some serious purging in the attic. I should have taken the coffee table to Goodwill or sold it at our yard sale. But, something made me keep it a little longer. [Read more...]

How to Cut and Finish an Old Tabletop to Create a Wood Desk Top

kitchen_desk_top

turn_an_old_table_into_desk_top

Have you seen my command center in the kitchen? It’s a beauty to look at, don’t you think? Especially that gorgeous wood desk top.

kitchen_desk_top

Well, I have a secret! It’s actually an old kitchen table top that was given to me for FREE! Yup, zero dollars, no moolah, nothing! And this is what the table top looks like:

underside_desk

I actually flipped it upside down to refinish it. But, I’m jumping ahead of myself. Here are the details: [Read more...]

Easy Sofa Makeover and Living Room Mini-Makeover

Sofa makeover1

Have you ever been bored with the way a room looks?  For me, it was my living room. It houses the same sofa… The same lamps… The same golden frames surrounding the same prints we loved so much 13 years ago! I have a quick tutorial for giving your room a mini-makeover for not a lot of cash.

living room with sofa with nailhead trim2 [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...]

15 Painted Floors You’re Gonna Love

caitlin_pic

15_painted_floor_ideas

Hey everyone, I have a very special guest for you today! Her name is Caitlin and she is a fabulous interior designer. She lives in the San Jose, CA area with her wonderful husband and their two adorable daughters.
caitlin_pic
She and I share a similar design style and I use her as my sounding board. (Maybe more often than she would like.) She’s arguably one of my best friends, but she and I have been known to fight on occasion too. I also know a lot of embarrassing things about her, but she’d kill me if I told you them like she used to be able to belch like a full grown man when she was TWO!
Big_burp
Why am I embarrassing this poor gal? Because that’s what sisters do! It’s true, she’s my littlest sister and Caitlin has agreed to fill in for me on occasion when I need a break.) Please welcome her with open arms (or I’ll have to beat you up…that’s sister talk for you better not mess with my baby sis.)
Hi everyone, this is Caitlin, a loyal admirer of Pretty Handy Girl from the start.  One might argue that I am one of her biggest fans.  Thank you Brittany for allowing me to pop on over and visit you and your Pretty Loyal followers.  As an interior designer, I am a sucker for all things home design and today I wanted to give overdue attention to the workhorse of our homes.  Day in and day out the floors we walk all over don’t get enough love. Sure, the walls are the first place we typically think of dressing up with paint, wallpaper, artwork and stencils.  But many times our poor floors get covered up and forgotten about. Not anymore! Today we are celebrating those hardworking horizontal surfaces we couldn’t do without.  Here are my top fifteen picks for hand painted floor treatments and even one for those of you afraid to commit.  But be warned, you’ll love these floors so much you might want to get rid of all your furniture just so you can appreciate them even more. [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...]

Recovering This End Up Style Kindergarten Chairs

polycrylic_coating_on_chairs

How-to-recover-this-end-up-chairs

As a parent of two elementary school students, I always ask my kids’ teachers if they need anything for their room. Usually the answer is markers, wipes, or snacks. But, my kindergartner’s teacher knows about my secret identity after having taught my older son for a year. So, she didn’t hesitate to ask me if I could possibly recover a few really sad looking chairs that had seen their fair share of kindergarten butts. ;-)

old_school_chair

These poor chairs were still very study, but the fabric was nubby, pilled and stained. I love a good challenge, so I took all three of the chairs home over the Christmas break.

The first task involved removing the seats. Before I touched the seats, I flipped over the chairs and marked the front side of the chair so they would fit together perfectly when I put them back together. [Read more...]

Rustic Red Pie Safe Painted with Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint

brushing_wax_on

Over the holidays, I had the good fortune to attend one of Miss Mustard Seed’s painting demos here in Raleigh. Marian is such a joy to watch. She’s so laid back about her painting techniques, that you want to jump up there with her and start painting. Of course, I resisted the urge that day. But, I did have a little time to experiment with some Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint over the break. I know, I must be one of the last people to give it a whirl, but you know this handy girl has been a little busy ;-). [Read more...]