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...]

Galvanized Tub Storage Bench with Furry Upholstered Lid {Lowe’s Creator Idea}

Galvanized Tub Storage Bench for Kids | Pretty Handy Girl

Galvanized Tub Storage Bench for Kids | Pretty Handy Girl

Every month Lowe’s challenges me to create another unique project to share with you. This month’s challenge was creative storage ideas. Have kids? This is a unique storage solution using a galvanized tub and a furry upholstered lid. It’s the perfect place to store and corral all that kid clutter in your child’s bedroom. The storage tub doubles as a bench and a step stool. Don’t be deterred if you don’t have children, the storage bench could be used for magazine storage and much more!

Grab these materials and tools and follow along with me (and my 13 year old assistant.)

Creating the Galvanized Storage Bench and Lid

Materials for the Galvanized Storage Tub and Lid:

Galvanized Tub Storage Bench for Kids | Pretty Handy Girl

 

Instructions:

Turn the galvanized tub upside down on the plywood. Use the sharpie to mark approximately 1/2 – 1″ out from the edge of the tub. [Read more...]

Creating Vintage Painted Oars with 3M

3-oar-on-deck

How to Make Vintage Painted Oars | Pretty Handy Girl

Vintage painted oars are nostagic objects for me. They bring back memories of camp and watching crew teams rowing along the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia. So, when my sister wanted to find some oars to decorate the beach condo with, I jumped at the opportunity to make some. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook you know that my sister Caitlin (of Symmetry Designs in San Jose, CA) and I have been renovating Diane Chamberlain’s Topsail Beach condo. The condo is a great size (three bedrooms) and located ocean front. That’s where the pros ended. Sadly the condo was stuck in the 80′s: teal carpeting, orangey wood trim and cabinet doors that were falling off. We converged on the property back in September to start the renovation process.

Before the trip, I whipped out these fun painted oars. They were easy to make, you could sooo do this!

Materials:

3M™ Safety Products:

  • 3MTekk Eye glasses
  • 3MTekk Ear plugs
  • 3MTekk Painter’s glove
  • 3MTekk Cool Valve dust mask

3M Advanced Abrasives:

  • 3M Sand paper for sander (80,120 & 180 grits)
  • 3M 220 Grit Sanding sponge
  • ScotchBlue™™ Painter’s Tape
  • 3M Sanding block
  • 1″ x 6″ pine boards
  • Jigsaw
  • Sander
  • Paint brushes
  • Stencil brush or sponge
  • White paint
  • Red Paint
  • Red Paint
  • Number stencils
  • Minwax Early American stain
  • Rags

Instructions:

Clamp your 1″ x 6″ board to a work surface. Trace out the oar shape onto your board. You can use rulers and rounded paint cans or plates to trace the curves.

Put on your safety glasses, ear plugs and grab the jig saw.

How to Make Vintage Painted Oars | Pretty Handy Girl [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...]

White-Washed Patriotic Flag Sign Tutorial

adding star stickers to sign

White-Washed Patriotic Sign

Hi every one! I’m glad to be back here today sharing this project with you all.

The other day I was at the fabric store but after not finding that perfect fabric for one of my projects,  I went to the other section of the store to take a break from it all.  While there I saw a little sign that read:

“This Is A Place We Gladly Call Home…

and for that we are truly thankful”

Those words totally spoke to me!  I didn’t buy the little sign but I came home thinking about how to create my own version.  The sign was more expensive than the materials to make my own sign ten times bigger!

Patriotic sign final2

I wanted the look of the American flag on the background, so this is how it was created: [Read more...]

Vintage Coca-Cola Dog Bowl Crate – Guest Posting by Sew Woodsy

vintage coca-cola crate turned dog bowl

I met Katie & Jon at Haven recently and fell in love with their DIY Tutorial blog, Sew Woodsy, immediately. This fun couple really write great tutorials, like the DIY Corn Hole Game

…and a Sew Your Own Yoga Skirt tutorial.

So give it up for the FAB DIY duo! Sew Woodsy!!! [Read more...]

Are You Woman Enough to Handle My Power Tools? – Plywood Sign Tutorial

sign_hanging_over_windown

There is a joke on our street that Pretty Handsome Guy isn’t allowed to touch my power tools. Okay, it isn’t really a joke, it’s a fact. He knows he is not allowed to use them without me around (smart guy.) ;-)

Before the Woman’s Day shoot I decided at the last minute that I wanted a sign that really labelled the workshop as a “Woman’s” workshop. In an instant I had a creative spark and came up with this question, “Are You Woman Enough to Handle My Power Tools?”  Then I called my good friend Leen the Graphics Queen and asked her to make a wall decal for me. (Did you know she can create custom wall vinyl for you too?! And you don’t even have to be a close friend! But, I’m sure she’d be your friend immediately if you met her because she’s a sweetheart like that.)

Once the vinyl arrived, I set about creating a fancy and feminine sign with some scrap plywood. Here’s how to create your own custom wooden sign. [Read more...]

Painting an Antique Wash Stand with Wagner Power Painter Plus Sprayer

wagner_product_giveaway

I have amassed quite a collection of “project” furniture and objects waiting for a future date with my creative magic sessions. I worry that some of this behavior is bordering on packratness (I don’t think that is a word, at least my spell check says it isn’t. But, you get my drift, right?!) So, when a Wagner rep contacted me about trying one of their paint sprayers, I couldn’t reply “YES!” fast enough. I had visions of setting up all those projects and spraying them down in a line-up fashion. But, I reined in my “glass half-overflowing” mentality and decided to tackle one project at a time. Good thing too, because although the Wagner Power Painter Plus with EZ Tilt did spray at lightning fast speed, there were a few drawbacks.

But, I don’t want to get ahead of myself. I still want to give you a bonafide tutorial on how to fix, prep, paint and finish a wobbly yard sale find for yourself.


Materials:

  • Sanding Blocks  - 60, 100 and 220 grit
  • Gorilla Glue
  • Clamps or rope to secure glued joints*
  • Finish Nails (or brads)
  • Baby Wipe or wet rags
  • Paint Brush
  • Primer (I used KILZ Clean Start)
  • Acrylic Paint (semi-gloss or gloss preferred)
  • Paint Sprayer*
  • Power sander
  • Wipe on polyurethane

*These items are purely optional. You don’t NEED them, but they help.

This wash stand had a $5 price tag on it. But, my neighbor gave it to me for $3. Is that robbery to talk someone into less than $5 for this antique?! In self defense, the stand was in pretty poor shape. It was VERY wobbly and had some big scratches on it. Can you forgive me?

Here is what you do when you find yourself as the new owner of a “this really should be trashed” purchase. Take it apart and rebuild it from the ground up. Having done this before with Daisy the Discarded Chair, I was prepared to tear this wash stand down to the ground. But, luckily it had some better joints than I had anticipated. So, I basically pulled apart anything that was not tightly joined.

The shelf over the drawer came off super easy.

As did a few joints.

I wiped the whole wash stand down with a wet rag.

Then, the side of the stand got some new glue and a few finish nails.

The joints got some Gorilla Glue and were set back together. And, I added a thin bead of glue and some finish nails to re-secure the shelf.

Next I sanded down the whole piece of furniture with these two 3M sanding blocks. I like to call them Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum because they are super easy to use. Even an idiot can’t screw up.

They work great for around spindly legs because they can bend and flex (I wish I could bend and flex like that!)

After wiping off all the sawdust, my wash stand looked like this:

Almost too pretty to paint, but it had some serious gouges, so I took a picture and said goodbye to the beautiful wood.

Here is where the race began. I decided to time myself painting on the primer with a brush. Then time myself using the sprayer for the first coat of paint.

Start your engine….paint brush and KILZ Clean Start Primer…GO!



After 30 minutes I had primed the entire stand from top to bottom.

After the primer dried, I gave the stand a quick, light sanding with a 220 grit sanding block and wiped it down with a damp rag.

I set up the sprayer, read all the directions (very important!) Then I filled the quart size reservoir and attached it to the sprayer. The Wagner Power Painter Plus doesn’t require a compressor, just a good old fashioned extension cord plugged into your household outlet.

Start your engine…Wagner Power Painter Plus…GO!

VROOOOOOM! The sprayer let out the loudest and most obnoxious noise I had ever heard (Note to self to wear ear protection next time.) I thought the sprayer was going to self distruct, so I let go of the trigger. Then I pulled it again and the noise returned, only to abate after a few seconds once the paint started to come through the nozzle. Phew, that scared me.

I breezed through painting the entire wash stand from top to bottom. I started with it upside down and quickly flipped it while it was still wet (I left a finger print underneath, but no one will know about that unless you squeal.)

And I was done. Then I looked at my timer and WHAT?!!! 5 MINUTES! Holy Cannoli! I had no idea a sprayer could shave that much time off a paint job.

I left the wash stand outside, while I took apart the paint sprayer.

To avoid emptying the paint canister, I covered the container with saran wrap and a rubber band.


Then I took apart the ENTIRE sprayer and cleaned out all the parts. It is soooo important to clean the sprayer thoroughly or you risk paint drying in your machine and ruining it. This is a look at the sprayer disassembled.

It is paramount to clean the tiny dual spray tips on the machine. They are small slits that can clog easily if the paint is allowed to dry in them.

After the wash stand had dried. I put the sprayer back together and screwed the paint container back onto the gun.

I was all pumped and excited to be done in 5 minutes! With dusk still 30 minutes away, I had no fear. BIG MISTAKE!

What was to ensue was a stressful 45 minutes of paint globbing, paint sputtering, my cursing, and frantic cleaning of the sprayer again. I finished spraying, but I had to use a different top coat color because I ran out of the first paint color. (Which ended up being one of those happy mistakes. You’ll see.)

I wiped off the big globs of paint and decided to give those areas a little “extra” distress in the morning.

After stepping back from the project, doing some research and having a twitter conversation with Shaunna (the furniture painting guru), here is what I concluded from my disasterouos 2nd attempt:

  1. The paint sprayer MUST have a full paint cup in order to work properly. When the reservoir gets down to less than 1/4 full any air that gets into the paint suction tube will cause the sprayer to sputter and discharge big globs of paint, instead of a nice even spray.
  2. The sprayer dispenses an INSANE amount of paint in 5 minutes and when it runs low #1 happens. I used a half gallon of paint on the first coat of paint on this small wash stand. Whereas, I normally would have used maybe half a quart to brush on two coats total. The drop cloth was so heavy with paint when I cleaned up, that I realized the majority of the paint was wasted in overspray.
  3. The Plus does not have a low paint level indicator. Therefore, it is very difficult to determine when you are getting low on paint until the sprayer starts to sputter and shoot out globs of paint onto your project.
  4. In the same vein, the paint canister only holds a quart of paint, and 1/4 of that isn’t useable unless you like Jackson Pollock style painting.

The next morning, I took out my power sander and gave the sink some character by distressing it.


This is where the happy accident occured. Because I had to use an aqua blue as the top coat on my sink, you could see the blue gray color peeking out! Which I think makes it look sweet, shabby and old.

Once I was happy with the amount of distressing, I sanded any chipping paint and rough spots with the 220 grit sanding block. Then, I cleaned off the wash stand with a damp rag. To protect the sink, I used Minwax wipe-on Polyurethane. I like the wipe-on Poly for speed. But, it doesn’t leave as thick a coat as the traditionally brush on kind. So, if you really want to protect a piece of furniture, use the brush on kind instead.

I added a cute little crystal cheap acrylic knob to the drawer.

And my new/old dry sink looks right at home in the corner of my porch! Although, it needed something…hmmmm….

…how about a plant! I dropped in a plastic pot with NO holes in the bottom. I filled the bottom 1/4 with rocks for drainage. And my pothos plant. I used to have a chippy pedestal that sat there, but sadly I had to get rid of it. I’ll fill you in on the details next week. It is a sad story ;-(.

Here is my summary of working with the Wagner Power Painter Plus model:

  • Pros – Saves time. $100 price tag. No compressor needed.
  • Cons – Small Paint Cup, No Flow Speed Selector, No Low Paint Level Indicator, Lots of overspray and wasted paint.

I will definitely try the sprayer again. When I do I might add Floetrol to my paint, which is supposed to help your paint even out and give you a smoother finish. (Especially if it globs on you.)

If I was to buy a Wagner Paint Sprayer, I would cough up the extra money to buy a higher model

  • Wagner Power Painter Max has a two speed selector AND a paint level indicator. This higher model runs approximately $135.
  • Wagner Power Painter Pro (Not Available Until 2012). This sprayer will have a three speed control and will come with a backpack attachment that holds more paint than the Plus or Max and long suction tubes that can be put directly into a gallon of paint. The MSRP is expected to be approximately $180.

Have a great weekend and see you next week with some more DIY goodies.

Sanding Tutorial and Prepping a Branch Towel Bar

close_up_branch_towel_bar



We’ve moved several times and each time I’ve packed one special tree branch with us. I have had this branch so long that I can’t remember where I found it. I do know that I picked it up on one of our camping trips. Whether it was Yellowstone, Acadia, Nova Scotia or somewhere else I’ll never know. What I do know is that I kept it because I thought I could do something really special with it someday. Well, that day has arrived. I decided to turn the branch into a towel bar for my sons’ bathroom.

Materials:


  • Tree branch stripped of bark and branches
  • Coping saw or other hand saw
  • Sandpaper (80, 120, & 180 grits)
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Power sander
  • Gloves
  • Dust mask
  • Safety glasses

 

Tutorial:

Start by sawing off any nubs, knots and sticks using a coping saw.

Pull out the sandpaper and power sander. 3M just sent me these color coded sandpaper sheets. I think the idea of color coding them is brilliant! It really helps you grab the right grit quickly. I give them two gloved thumbs up.

Stack your sandpaper sheets. Lay the sander along one edge of the papers and trace a line along the edge of the sander with a pencil. Be sure to leave excess on both ends to attach under the clips of your sander.

Cut the papers along the pencil line.

Load all three pieces of sandpaper into the sander (if possible). The coarsest grit (80 grit) should be on the outside, followed by the 120 grit and finally the 180 grit sandpaper.

Now you are ready to start sanding!

Here is a video tutorial on sanding the branch down. I’ve upped my level of professionalism, so I hope you enjoy my efforts.

Coming up next. Installing and finishing the branch towel bar.



Just a teeny little reminder: Don’t forget to enter the giveaway to win a brand name sofa slipcover (think of the initials PB & J, minus the J) from UglySofa.com. Three winners will be chosen at the end of the day, Wednesday, August 31st. I just love that I get to choose three winners instead of just one. Good luck y’all!


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.

 

 

Miss Safe-T DIY 2011

RunwayQueen

This weekend I’m competing in the Ms. Safe-T DIY Pageant for 2011. What? You never heard of it? Well, let me tell you the competition is fierce. I’m up against 7 other beautifully safe women for the title.

The final 8 contestants are (click on their photos to view their Safe-T profiles):

Sandra from Sawdust and Paper Scraps

Michelle from Dream Home DIY

Katy from Mom and Her Drill

Erin from Erin's Creative Energy

Tanja from Postmodern Hostess

Jaime from That's My Letter

Pink Toes and Power Tools

And of course, there is me! Don’t you think I nailed the runway walk? I’m a muddy shoe-in to win! (Snort, snort, I crack myself up.)

Brittany from Pretty Handy Girl

In all seriousness, Sandra is hosting the Strut Your Safety Gear Link Party to get the word out about wearing the appropriate safety gear when working on your DIY project. And if you hop to it and comment by Sunday night (tonight) you can enter to win a $100 Amazon gift card. Whoo-weee.

Today, I geared up to scrape and sand my garden bench. Sadly the paint didn’t weather the year in the rain, sleet and snow. The bench is still structurally sound, so I’m going to repaint it (the right way) and and share with you the details at a later date.

I needed to use my power sander, so I pulled my hair back and put in my ear plugs.

99% of the time, when I’m working on a DIY project, I put on my paint spattered shirt and ripped blue jeans. The 1% of the time that I don’t do that I end up ruining those clothes. Safety goggles are a must when working with any power tool. (I just ordered some new molded goggles that seal on your face to help keep the dust out next time. Sandra turned me on to them HERE!)

Sanding is a messy job. It is a good idea to tarp anything you don’t want covered in sawdust. The particles go EVERYWHERE. That is why it is important to wear a dust mask and gloves.

The gloves also keep my hands from getting rough.

And finally, I wear closed toe shoes to protect my piggy wigglies from a dropped power sander. OUCH!

Be sure to wear appropriate safety gear next time you take on your own DIY project. Check out Sandra’s post for more information on safety gear HERE! She even gives you the links to purchase your own. Now that is my kind of shopping!

Aging is so Distressing – Techniques for Antiquing Furniture

age_antique_distress_wood

Well, despite the fact that I am starting to feel my age, this post is actually about achieving that well worn, loved, aged and antique look on furniture and decor items.

Aren’t these layers of paint, scratches and wear marks art to your eyes?
Nothing shows character like chipping paint and multiple revealed layers on metal.

Weathered paint worn thin and rubbed off.
or paint splotches on an old ladder.
And you can’t forget rust, love that beautiful brown patina!

I have been experimenting with several techniques to add age to “newer” pieces of furniture. Here are a few ways to add some character through distressing:

Throwing the chain in:
These are a few of my favorite distressing tools:

Throwing a chain at wood gives you those elliptical dents. Dragging the sharp edges of a pry bar across wood will give it some deep grooves. Finally a few random hammer marks here and there finish off the worn look.

 This is the exact same technique I used on the mudroom bench.

Sanding through the years:
The easiest way to add some age and expose layers of paint is to pull out a power sander. I use 150 grit sand paper (but use whatever you have on hand). Then go to town on the furniture, a good example of this can be seen on this Trashy Coffee Table.

A table that was previously painted white received a beachy blue layer of paint on top of the white. (You could always add a third color if you want more colors showing through.) Sand through the layers of paint down to the bare wood in spots. The challenge with a new piece of wood is that it lacks the deeper darker color tone of antique lumber. When the wood is exposed and it looks blonde and – well – brand spankin’ new.  Add some stain!

Faking age with stain:
I have a trick up my sleeve for creating those darker wood tones in seconds!
Simply paint some wood stain onto the blond wood spots.Wipe off immediately. If you desire darker wood, re-apply.

My two favorite stains for aging are Minwax Red Mahogany and Minwax Early American, but any dark color stain would work just as well.

Darker wood showing through adds instant age.

Staining Tea Stains:
You can also use the same stain to give your object a “tea stain”. An antique gold 80′s mirror can be transformed easily.

Spray paint the frame with Rustoleum’s Heirloom White. Use Oil Rubbed Bronze for the inside decorative design.

Then, hand sand some of the edges to expose the stained wood beneath.

Now use a dry brush technique* to brush on the stain and then wipe the excess off immediately. *Keep your brush dry by dipping in the stain and wipe off your brush on a rag before using it.

It is important to use a old shaggy brush. The rattier the brush the better because anywhere the stain lands is where it will remain.

The end results are pretty tea stains and peek-a-boo dark wood below.
A totally new look for that sad 80′s mirror.

Glazing the surface:

Did the permanency of the tea stains scare you? Have no fear, one of the more forgiving ways to give your object an antique tone is to use a glaze.

Valspar makes a few different glazes. Mocha glaze is great for brown tones. And Asphaltum adds some pretty gray tones.

Simply brush on the glaze (again use a ratty almost dry brush.)

The glaze stays wet and can be almost completely wiped off immediately. Therefore you need to either let it dry a little or wipe very gently.

Here is a peek at the mocha glaze on these coffee table legs:

Wipe on…
…Wax off (err, I mean dab off).
Sorry Mr. Miyagi. No wax off today.

I made sure to push more glaze into the gouges and crevices to show off the details.

Using the Valspar Asphaltum glaze (use the same technique of wiping on and blotting off), gives you more gray tones and gave this picture frame a dirty distressed look:

It may take a while to build up the glazing. But, you can end up with a really nice final product. Not my favorite aging technique, but is is very forgiving if you are new to glazing.

A spattering of interest:
Another technique I like is adding stain spatters. This is easy enough to do, but if you aren’t wearing protective clothing you might get some freckles added to your body.

Dip your brush into the stain and wipe off any excess. Then gently tap the brush on a stick or handle of something sturdy. A large screwdriver or other solid object works well. This time I didn’t wipe the stain off. I let it dry a little then dabbed up the excess.

With these techniques, you can turn a plain painted side table from this:
To a more sophisticated antiqued older sister:
Final Coating:

Once you have achieved the antiqued look you like, be sure to put a protective coating of polyurethane over the whole object. I prefer an old can of oil-based polyurethane that has already started to yellow. This adds the perfect age to furniture. (If you use new oil-based poly, it will yellow in a few years time.) If you don’t like the yellowing effect, stick to the water-based polyurethane.

Now, don’t be distressed, grab some sandpaper and a brush and give your furniture an age boost!

Spice turn table turned rustic! Chalkboard lids tutorial here.
You may also like these posts on rustic and distressed home decor:

Rustic Dream Big Butterfly Window

Build Your Own Rustic Ladder Shelves

Rustic Shutters for Displaying Cards

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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!