SURPRISE! How to upholster a rocking chair.

Okay, so I haven’t been a very good blogger as of late.  I’m sorry, I apologize.  Part of it was due to a lack of projects, and also because I got a new job where I’m working more hours.  And because… WE’RE HAVING A BABY!  Ha!  That’s right, baby F will be coming mid-September of this year.  We are excited/nervous/can’t wait!  So having a baby led me to some projects, of course.  One of them was the dresser I bought a while back exactly for this purpose.  I wasn’t super jazzed about the way it all turned out (see using paint sprayer for the first time), but I’ll talk about that later.

Having a baby brings me to my $3 rocking chair.  About 4 years ago I found a rocking chair for $3 at a yardsale.  Was I looking for a rocking chair? Well no, I was looking for a queen sized bed, but I couldn’t pass up $3 for a seemingly decent looking chair.

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Okay, so maybe other people would think it wasn’t that great, but I saw potential!  I knew that I would have to do some work on the springs, one was already broken.  I had been saving this for when I had a baby.  Once we found out we were having a boy, it was game on.  Because this chair isn’t just  a simple take the seat off and recover kind of chair, I wanted to use a fabric that was somewhat gender neutral.  For a girls room I was going to do purple/gray/turquoise (because who doesn’t love turquoise?!?!) So for Baby F’s room I am doing navy/gray/turquoise.  I only had a limited amount of time to find a fabric, and luckily I stumbled upon “the one.”

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Hello lovely 60% off fabric from Joann’s.  This fabric is outdoor fabric which is a plus in my eyes because it’ll be poop and puke resistant… kind of.  So let me tell you about the awesome deal I got on this fabric, it was already 60% off, and I used a 20% off coupon in addition to that (yes you can do that apparently!)  So I got this $22 a yard fabric, 3 yards, for $26.  I was pretty excited… Anyways…  Before  I did all that, I had to refinish the wood parts of the chair and strip all the old stuff off.

The hard part about this chair was that I had no idea exactly how the upholstery was before.  I could kind of tell from where the tacks and stuff were that the fabric generally went in that area.  So I painted the areas I knew wouldn’t be covered in fabric.  I decided that I hated whomever put whatever coat of stuff on this thing because they did a terrible job and I couldn’t really get it out of the nooks and crannies without stripping, and I wasn’t stripping.  Haha.  I painted this the same way I paint everything, first step: Krud Kutter, magic in a bottle.

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I then sanded, as best I could and repaired any damaged areas with wood glue.  Primed with Kilz spray primer, and painted with Rustoleum spray paint in flat white.  I did not want this piece to be distressed although it would have been a whole lot easier!  For more details on painting, see my other blog posts.

Now we get into the fun  nitty gritty of upholstery, from the ground up.  First of all, I will say that I couldn’t have done any of this without this blog post: How to upholster a chair. Her post was the closest I could find to the type of chair I had, and she actually provided really great details about upholstering from the ground up.  I used her post to get all the groundwork done, then I watched these video tutorials on youtube to do the actual fabric work.  The guy in the video owns an upholstery supply store (online) which actually is pretty reasonably priced.  I had considered getting someone to repair the broken spring for me but they had the replacement spring bars so cheap at diyupholsterysupply.com that I just got them there, plus I knew I’d need some of the supplies they had there that I couldn’t find in a store anywhere around here.  You can get an entire spring bar on there for $6.99, can’t beat that!

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I was super jazzed when all my supplies showed up (because I’m kind of impatient), However, the spring bars were a smidge too short, what I needed was in-between the sizes offered.  So I found somebody who could weld, and they took the old ends off my old springs and put them on the new springs.  I put that end at the back of the seat in case there was any roughness from them.   They make special nails for bar springs but given that they were $9.99 a pound and I only needed 8, I opted to use screws.  This served a dual purpose as I didn’t want to be hammering away on this ancient wood and I figured screws would do less damage.  Then comes the fun part, tying the springs!

It wasn’t too bad, once you figure out the knots.  Thanks Mr. F… haha.  Once I got that down I was unstoppable!  I also ordered the spring twine from diy upholstery.  And all these tutorials tell you to use an air powered staple gun.  Well, if you’re like me you may or may not have an air compressor and don’t feel like splurging for one just for one project.  I picked up an “upholstery” staple gun at Hobby Lobby for $9.99 and it worked just fine for me.  Probably a little harder on your hands, but it’s okay.  Any loose staples I just tapped in with a hammer.  You’re making progress now, you get to put your burlap down next.

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I stapled it down then folded the edges over and stapled again.  I didn’t have any of the welting stuff for the where your legs go so I used some batting there for extra padding.  After you do the seat you’ll want to put the burlap webbing on the back (I purchased this from diy also).

Since there was only two pieces on there to begin with I figured this would be sufficient.  Now you can burlap the inside back of the chair.

Tadaaaaa!  Now you get to lay down your foam.  I used 2″ thick foam that I purchased from the hob lob.  I also used a sharp kitchen knife to cut with.  You’ll have to figure out the dimensions of your seat and go from there.  I applied the foam with spray adhesive.

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After that, I applied the batting.  I’m assuming batting is the same as dacron?  All I know is I couldn’t find dacron so batting seemed close enough.  I got the thicker type of quilt batting.

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Guess what???? Now you get to upholster the seat, woohoo!  I made sure I ironed out any creases before I put the fabric on.  The upholstery videos will really help you at this stage.  I made sure I had my pattern centered and I went from there.

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I was so excited about how pretty it was looking (keep in mind it’s like 11pm at this point) and I got to the very last corner and I cut the fabric a smidge too much, cue utter disappointment.

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Sighhh.  What’s a girl to do?  Not replace it, that’s for sure.  lol.  This added another time delay to my project until I could get to town and find something to fix this.  I ended up getting something similar to stitch-witchery but it already had the adhesive on it (no ironing). I stuck one side to a small scrap of fabric and fished it into this hole, then I applied the other side to the cut, getting it as closed up as possible.  I don’t have an after picture, but you get the idea.

After the seat, you’ll move on to the inside back.  This part was a bit tricky for me because I had the curve at the top.  I could tell this had never been exposed so I assumed fabric went on it one way or another.  I also used 2″ foam on the back.  This one was a lot harder than the seat.  I left myself a little gap at the top.

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Then you’ll also cover this up with batting.  And watch more tutorials about how to apply the fabric, and then you get this:

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The curve at the top was pretty tricky to get it to look right so I kind of had to staple, re-staple, cut, pull it this way and that to get it looking decent.  After that’s done, you get to move to the outside back.  You’ll need to burlap this as well.  I knew that the back would be my biggest pain the butt, and it didn’t disappoint.  I got the curved tack stuff (I’m sure it has a proper name…) from diy as well as the tack strips for the sides.  I decided not to use welting around the edges which may or may not have been a bad idea.  I should have also put my strip closer to the top because after I was done some of my staples from the front of the chair fabric were sticking out 😦 get ready to curse a lot during this part of the process.  You only have one curvey strip thing, it HAS to be perfect! He shows you how to do this in the videos as well.  Side note: I purchased my regulator from them as well.

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I don’t have any pictures, but I did the batting then the fabric.  In his video he puts his tack strips over the welting to tack the fabric down, then folds over.  If you’re not using welting, don’t do that, I learned the hard way… after I already had like 10 holes punched through the fabric.  So what did I do?  After a string of curse words, I used my trusty fabric adhesive tape and cut a little square for each hole and applied it underneath.   Then I relocated my tack strip.  What worked best for me was to punch the fabric down with my tack strip right next to the wood on the chair, that way when I folded it under it was positioned just right for me to hammer it down.  After this, the rest is pretty much easy peasy.  Just don’t accidentally cut your fabric with the razor blade when you’re applying the black fabric stuff to the bottom of your chair… that adhesive tape was a life saver…

After all that, and some less than ideal situations, here’s how it turned out:

 

Not too shabby for a first-timer.  It’ll do the trick I think, just don’t look at the back too closely.  After all that, I finally got to sit in the chair for the first time… it’s comfy but doesn’t rock very well.  Isn’t that nice?  All told it probably cost me about $120 to do the chair.  If I can do it, so can you!  Just learn from my mistakes and you’ll do fine.

My step by step furniture refinishing tutorial. You can do this!

So ever since our wedding (when I got some awesome fancy china as a wedding gift)  I’ve been on the hunt for a china cabinet to put it in.  Fast forward roughly six months and I happened to stumble on this gem at a yard sale…

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for $40.  You can’t go wrong for $40!

There were lots of indecisive moments going in to this project.  Moment #1 paint or stain?  Even though 90% of this piece was real wood, ultimately I decided to go with paint because the background was cheap wood paneling that I really couldn’t stain.  The first thing you have to do before anything else is to decide what color you’re going to paint it (duh)  haha.  My kitchen table has a dark stained top, and weathered white legs with green chairs.  My kitchen colors (even though this isn’t exactly in the kitchen because I don’t have room in there) are turquoise and green.  I decided to do the outside a weathered white to match the table and to paint the inside turquoise to give it a pop of color.  Plus turquoise is a pretty popular color throughout our house (just ask my husband)  so I could put it virtually anywhere in our home.

Now that you’ve settled on a color, it’s time to breakdown your furniture and prep it for painting.  You will need to remove all hardware, doors, and drawers.  Make sure to keep your hardware and screws in a plastic baggie and remember what they go to.

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Next, you’ll want to prep and de-scuzz the piece.  This item had a little bit of mold and nasty sticky stuff on it everywhere so I used my favorite furniture prep tool ever, Krud Kutter.

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This stuff is ahhhmazing.  Just coat the item, let it sit, and then scrub with a stiff scrubby pad, then wipe clean with damp rag.  Krud Kutter also works great as a deglosser.  I’ve also had this same bottle through several furniture projects so it goes a long way.

Once you’ve finished Krud Kutting, then you’ll want to rough up all surfaces with 220 grit sand paper.  I know, sand paper (insert eyeroll here), but seriously, I can’t not sand things, I don’t care what you tell me.

Next I applied a coat of brown paint (what?!)  You may think this is strange and unnecessary and that’s okay, but since I was planning on weathering it, I knew I wanted the dark paint to be visible in some areas.  I used a Valspar exterior paint that they apparently no longer make anymore (but is super awesome, naturally) it is awesome at not showing brush marks, almost like it came with a thinner built in.  I would imagine that the paints made specifically for furniture are the exact same thing.

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Now that you’ve got a coat of brown paint on your piece you can apply your wax.  Yes, wax, good ol’ candle wax to be specific.

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The areas where you rub the wax will be the areas that you see weathering so keep this in mind.  I love to do the edges of things with it, it’s a little harder on flat surfaces because it’s not as easy to find once you’ve painted (more on this later).  Also, get as crazy with the wax as you want to, it won’t all come off when you go to scrape so it won’t look exactly like it did when you put it on, this is a good thing.

After you have all your wax on, brush off the excess with a clean dry paint brush.  I have a brush that I use specifically for this, and only for this.

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I should also mention that you want to make any repairs before all of this happens.  haha, the only thing I needed to fix was some wood on a drawer.  I painted the drawers after everything else because I thought I might be able to find handles that fit the same holes and didn’t want to fill them in until I knew for sure.

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A little wood glue goes a long way!

So now you’re ready to paint.  I started with the exterior of the piece.  I used the Valspar chalky finish paint from Lowe’s.  The color I used was Kid’s Gloves which is a very bright white.  This was the first “real” chalk paint I have used and I really liked it.  The only thing is that you can’t feel the brush marks but you can see them.  The surface is smooth but you can still see the strokes.  A paint sprayer would certainly remedy this (and as I mentioned previously, Santa Claus is bringing me one…).

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This is one coat with the chalky finish paint.  This looks cool in its own right, but I knew I wanted a solid finish.  Oh, and another great thing about distressing is that you don’t have to be perfect.  I am a perfectionist so when I paint something and it doesn’t look perfect is bugs me, you can’t go wrong with a distressed piece.  Plus, if you move around a lot like we do, a few dings from moving aren’t going to ruin it.

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At this point, I hit another moment of indecision.  Put the glass doors back on, or leave them off?  As you could probably tell from the initial photo, two of the panels had broken glass and were curved at the top.  I could have gotten the glass replaced for around $70.  I decided that I liked the look of the doors off, with the straight lines going across the top.  Something about the arched doors just didn’t do it for me.  I decided to save the doors in case I want to put them on in the future.

Moment of indecision #3… paint the shelves white, or paint them turquoise?  Having the inside already painted brown helped me to make this decision.  I had an idea of what it would look like being all one color.  I decided to go this route, plus it was a lot easier than having to paint the shelves.

All said and done, I applied 4 coats of paint to this thing.  Three coats of paint is typical, but even on the third coat I could still see some of the under coat coming through.  This might be a drawback for you with the chalky paint.  Once you’ve got your paint the desired consistency, then it’s time to peel off all that wax!

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This is the fun part.  Take a plastic scraper/putty knife and go over all the places you put the wax.  The reason it’s hard to do it on large flat surfaces is because it’s so hard to find the wax that you’ll end up having scrape marks everywhere that only affect the paint finish and don’t actually take it off.

After you have scraped off all of your wax, you will sand the piece.  This is very important to obtain a smooth finish.  Again, I used 220 grit sand paper.  You will lightly sand, making sure to run your hands over where you have sanded to feel for smoothness.  Once you’ve reached your desired level of smoothness, you can dust off the piece with a stiff bench brush.

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This is also a good chance to weather a little bit more.  The sandpaper will add a nice effect to the edges of the wood.

Typically when I distress, I like to go over my paint with stain.  It adds a nice patina to the piece.  However, the bright white was just so pretty that this brought me to moment of indecision #4 haha.  I tried out a sample on a paint stick and thought, “well this isn’t too bad.”  Then I tried it on a piece of my cabinet door and I panicked.  I thought, “Oh my gosh, this is SO dark!”  There was no turning back at this point.  It wasn’t until I started applying it to the cabinet that I knew I had made the right choice.  It really made the piece pop, and looked awesome in all the nooks and crannies.

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Scary right?  Ha.  So to do the staining effect, you’ll just brush your stain on the piece in small sections, then wipe off with a rag.  That’s it, that’s all you do.  You can also add some extra effect by leaving some stain in the corners and groves.  My favorite stain to use for this is Minwax stain in Provincial.

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This is the part where I started to think, “Okay, this looks awesome!”

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Once you’ve got the whole piece stained, wait at least 24 hours before you seal it.  Because you have stain on paint, you will definitely need to seal it.  There is much debate between wax vs. sealer.  I choose to use a water based sealer because the durability is much better and I know that it will not affect my stain.  As I mentioned in my previous post, I ordered some General Finishes Flat Out Flat sealer for this project.  This sealer is made to be applied over chalky finish paints to maintain that dull smooth surface.  I’ll just say this, it did not disappoint!  I have loved every General Finishes product I have ever used.

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I order my GF products on Amazon because we have no dealer where I live.  Yes, they are a bit pricey but in this instance you get what you pay for and it’s worth every penny.  Follow the directions on the can and you’ll be all set.  With any sealer, you need to lightly sand between coats.  I applied three coats and I couldn’t tell I even put anything on, it’s that awesome.  No brush marks, no nothin’.

After you’ve got the outside of the piece done, then you can start on the inside.  I taped off all the areas I didn’t want to get paint on.  I considered not painting the inside top, or the undersides of the shelves.  I decided to paint them and I’m glad I did because you can totally see them from our couch.

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I knew buying a quart of paint would be way overkill for the inside of this cabinet so I got two jars of sample size from Lowe’s in Bayside.  Each jar cost about $3 and I used 1.5 jars.  I applied three coats to the inside.  The only part I applied wax to (pre-paint) was the outsides of the shelves.  I figured these would be the main parts getting dinged in real life.  After I painted I scraped off my wax and very very lightly sanded.  This is regular paint so it doesn’t work the same as the chalky paint does.  Once I did all that, I applied the stain to the insides as well, leaving stain the in corners for more aged effect.  I let this dry for 24 hours then began sealing the inside.  After you’re all done with that, here comes the fun part… removing the tape!

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Tadaaa!  If you’re uncoordinated like me, you’re probably going to get some of the turquoise on the white paint by accident.  That’s okay, just dip a q-tip in some finger nail polish remover and lightly wipe over the spot until it is gone.  Don’t get too carried away or you will end up taking everything off.  This is another reason distressing is great, no one can tell you messed it up!

Now, moving on to my hardware conundrum.  I really hated that the hinges were on the outside.  I tried to find an alternative but quickly gave up.  I knew that whatever knobs and pulls I chose had to coordinate with my hinges, so that really limited my choices.  I decided on the oil rubbed bronze look because I knew I could paint the hinges to match.  This was definitely moment of indecision #75984.  Haha, just ask my poor husband who got sick of accompanying me to Lowe’s by this point.

The idea of painting your hinges might scare you.  Don’t be scared, it’s super easy and will be durable if you do it right.  The first step is to get them clean.  I did this by soaking them in hot soapy water and scrubbing them.  Once they dried they had clear crusty stuff pealing off which I assumed was some sort of factory finish.  I soaked them again.  Then I sprayed them with Krud Kutter (naturally) and scrubbed them.  After that I took some 220 grit “wet or dry” sand paper while they were still damp and sanded the crap out of them.  Making sure to get all the crusties off.  I rinsed them off and then let them dry.  Make sure they are 100% clean and dry before you start painting.  Once they are, you are ready to prime.  Priming is VERY VERY important here.  I used Kilz spray primer.

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I started with the fronts facing up.  You’ll want to do a couple light coats.  Once dry, flip them over and do the back.  After that dries, open and close them to make sure you painted the hinge all around.  Then lightly sand with a small piece of 220 grit (can you tell this is my go-to sand paper number??).  Dust them off with your bench brush.  After that, you’re ready for paint.  I used Rustoleum Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint.  This was also another moment of indecision, but I digress.  You’ll do some light coats until covered.  Let dry, flip, let dry.

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They should look nice and pretty once you’re done.  Then you’re ready to put everything back together!

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I did have to drill new holes for my drawer pulls.  I just filled the old ones with drywall filler (because I loathe wood filler).  Let dry, sand until smooth, then paint like you did for the rest of your piece.  Once you’ve done that, find the center of your drawers my measuring, then measure the holes on your new handles and mark their locations, drill your new holes, install your pulls, and you’re done!

Now that you have everything put back together, it’s time to admire your work, by taking approximately 127 pictures.

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Then, after you’ve waited one agonizingly long day for your poly to dry, it’s time to decorate!

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And then the sun shines through your windows in just the right way, and you have to take more photos. haha.  How lovely is this piece?  The painting process is really very simple, you can do it, I promise!  That’s the beauty of distressing, you can’t mess it up!  I would love to hear your thoughts on this project, feel free to comment below!

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My DIY “designer” litter box.

So as I mentioned in my previous post, I have a serious case of baby fever.  This has inspired me to make my office (aka future baby room) more baby friendly, or just baby in general.  My office is kind of the catchall for everything and it is also Nugget’s room (our kitty cat).  The closet in that room was basically useless because her litter box was in it and it’s very dusty and perfumey in there.  This presented a problem for me, how can I get her litter box out of the room but also move it somewhere that no one will know it’s a litter box?  We’ve all seen those fancy litter boxes that are enclosed in a table or other piece of furniture.  These proved to be somewhat pricey in my opinion, not to mention they are all pretty short and my cat needs a bit of room to get all the litter off her paws before she gets out of the box.  So then I thought to myself, “Hey, I should just make one of these!”  I already knew where I could put it (our house is pretty small and space it limited) so I started my google search for a storage bench.  I found this one from Hayneedle at an awesome price.  We ordered it and it was here within the same week, shipping was free too!

Once I secured a sweet bench, I ordered a cat door from Amazon.  The bench was actually pretty easy to assemble, I did it by myself and it probably took about an hour.

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Some assembly required.

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Nugget’s idea of helping.

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I made sure I could find a cat box to fit in the bench before I cut a hole for the cat door.  Initially I thought using a storage tub would be such a great idea20151020_190216 20151020_190235

Then I remembered that Nugget is a big litter slinger and I didn’t think that the lip at the bottom would be tall enough for her.  So, the search was on again.  I ended up finding one at Amazon (of course) haha.  After I had everything I needed I put in my cat door.  All you need to do this is a drill and jigsaw, and a screwdriver.

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Then I had to train her to use it.  This was pretty easy because she loves to eat so I started out putting a little bit of food inside and cracking the door, she figured it out pretty fast.  I stuck her auto feeder in there for a few days so she would get the hang of it.  After that, I put down a cat litter mat and then inserted her litterbox.  I stuck a command hook in to hang the poop scoop off of, and then it was time for the moment of truth… success!  She used her litter box and I think she actually likes it better, she spends a lot of time in there.

Here is the finished product:

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Now I am on the hunt for a dust-free, scent-free litter.  Once I find a good one we’ll be all set.  All in all, to DIY my own litter box, it cost me about $150ish, still cheaper than the kind made for cats, and it’s a lot longer.  Looks nice and stylish in our kitchen, you can’t even tell what it’s really being used for!

My DIY “chalk-like” paint experiment.

So if you’re anything like me in the, “I love thrifting furniture” department then I’m sure you have heard of, and maybe even tried out chalk like paints for yourself.  I am always so jealous when I see furniture painted with this type of paint, it looks so smooth and feels so soft, like it came straight from the factory that way.  Well, after many years of lusting after that same look but not wanting to spend some serious $$ on paint for a cheap piece of furniture, I decided to give in and try a DIY recipe.

You can find the recipe I used here.  I will just go ahead and say that I couldn’t find a sifter to save my life.  The sifter would have made a huge difference I think, because I had little balls of plaster of paris that I kept having to pick off of the piece of furniture.  I recommend trying this out on furniture you don’t care about.  Enter $10 nightstand I found at the thrift store:

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It even came with a free bible!  I know the whole point of chalk paint is that you don’t have to prep.  Well, I am a firm believe in prepping everything.  It was shear mental torment deciding whether to prime or not.  In the end, I did not prime, but I did sand and fill in holes.  First things first on any furniture prep I do… Krud Kutter.  This stuff is awesome.

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It’s a cleaner and de-greaser, it will strip off latex paint (no harsh chemicals!), and it also de-glosses your surface.  Apparently, you can also use it on your laundry as well, I have yet to try this out but when I do I’ll let you know.  This stuff is pretty easy, just spray it all over your piece, let it sit for a few minutes, then go to town with a stiff scrubby pad.  After that you just wipe with a damp cloth and you’re ready for step 2.

I wanted this piece to actually NOT be weathered looking and look like a nice new-ish piece of furniture.  This didn’t work out so well, and I’ll explain why in a bit.  So because I wanted it to look new, I filled in all the dings and dents I could.  Typically one would use wood filler for this but if you’ve ever used wood filler you know how much of a pain the arse it is.  Therefore, I like to cheat and use drywall patching.  Same concept, just easier to work with.

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The piece was laminate and I’m guessing had some water damaged on top because the surface was very rough.  I decided to put a layer of the drywall patching all over it and smoothed it with a putty knife.

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Don’t be afraid, it is pretty forgiving stuff.  Next you’ll want to lightly sand it with 220 grit sand paper and remove all the excess filler.

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Tadaaa!  See, that wasn’t so bad.  Next I scuffed up the whole piece with my same piece of sandpaper.  Then I wiped it all down with a wet rag and let it dry before painting.

I followed the recipe for the chalk paint exactly, except for the water, I used HOT water.  It was pretty hard to mix it all up and get all the lumps out.  Once I started to apply it I noticed that it was thin (duh, I added water)  and I could see every brush stroke (I thought that was the whole point of using chalk paint, to avoid this?).  Anyways, generally any first coat of paint is going to be streaky, like so:

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I looked at this and was immediately mentally torn.  Like, omg this is so pretty, then, no you need this to look flawless! So yea, if you’re going for the whitewashed look, this would be awesome.  I believe all told I had to put 3 coats on this.  By the third coat I was getting a lot of the little plaster balls in there and I decided to add an additional tablespoon of water to the paint mixture.  This helped a little bit.  Some areas that I painted just wouldn’t cover, this is why I decided to just weather it after all.  This was a bit disappointing but it turned out okay.

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(Ignore the dog face in this photo) ha.  I was a bit sad that my brush strokes were still visible at the end.  I did lightly sand after each coat and the finish was very smooth and chalky which I liked.  I took my sand paper and ran it over all the places I wanted to look a little worn, or places where the paint didn’t cover.

At the end came the battle of poly vs. wax.  I have never used wax before so that was a drawback for me.  Plus from the reading I’ve done I know that it’s not really that durable.  Wanting this piece to hold up under tough conditions I opted for a water based polyurethane from General Finishes (I LOVE them so much).  I already had some from a previous project so I just used that.  It was satin finish so it gave the piece a little shine which I was sad about.  However, for my next project (coming soon!)  I discovered that the same company also makes a “flat out flat” finish made specifically for chalk-like paints.  If you are interested in trying out their stuff, I recommend buying it on Amazon, we don’t have a distributor where I live.  And for the cost you are getting more than you would be from some other companies that make similar products.

Once all that was said and done, I made a trip to good ol’ hob lob and purchased some cute knobs to go with the piece.

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And now (drumroll please…) time for the finished piece!

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I haven’t decided yet what I’m going to do with this.  I thought I might use it in our (future non-existent baby) baby room (can you tell I have baby fever?) but now I’m thinking I might just sell it instead.  Either way, it was a great learning experience and I am excited to see how my next project turns out using chalk paint.  Also, I’m asking Santa Claus for a paint sprayer for Christmas so if he comes through, expect more blog posts 🙂

A little idea, and a little update.

I’m sorry that I have been neglecting you blog, I’ve been a little un-motivated as of late.  Life has been happening for the last month or so but I’m getting back on track I think.  I wanted to share a little fun idea with you in this blog post.  I came up with it while trying to reorganize our large furniture/junk warehouse at work to make old things look prettier.  I find that someone is more likely to purchase something if you give them an idea of how to use it.

I happened upon this cute little metal toolbox amidst some other junk and thought it would be perfect for the trunk coffee table display that I was creating.  Just stuff it full of decorative balls, and wallah, you have a conversation piece!

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I thought this was a pretty cute and clever idea and wanted to share it with you all.  Think of all the junk you have lying around, what could you do with it?  Next time you see a cutesy little toolbox, bring it home with you and try this out!  These decorative balls also look great on candlesticks or in lanterns for a different take on a traditional candle holder.

I shall try and not neglect you as much anymore.  I will have a new blog up soon on how to re-finish outdoor furniture so stay tuned!

When you take your knobs for granted…

You never realize how much you use those little knobs on your cabinet doors until you no longer have any.  In my previous post I told you all that our kitchen cabinets were lacking this amazing feature. Well, I couldn’t take it anymore.  I lasted roughly a week and decided that we I had to install some.  Mostly because I couldn’t remember which way the doors opened for each cabinet.

Perhaps you have the same cabinet conundrum that I do, maybe you’re a little bit scared to tackle a little DIY knob installation project.  Don’t worry, it’s super easy!  Wanna know why?  Because THIS.  Did you know they make hole templates specifically for knob and drawer pull installation?  If you didn’t know that, now you do, and they’re super cheap and a headache life saver!  I got mine on Amazon (of course)  but they sell them at Lowe’s and Home Depot as well.  Mine came with a drill bit as well.  I ordered some oil rubbed bronze knobs and pulls from Amazon because I thought it was a really great deal, however, Lowe’s actually had a better deal on their knobs and they were kind of prettier haha.  So if you’re more patient than I am, do some comparison shopping first on your hardware.

Once you have your templates, your hardware, and a trusty drill, you’re ready to get started!  Decide where you want your pulls and knobs to sit and mark all your holes with a pencil, then drill all the holes, install your hardware, and boom!  Done.  I had a little more difficulty because the screws that came with the pulls weren’t long enough to fit through the drawer fronts so I had to wait until Monday when the hardware store opened to get screws.  Then I had a huge mental breakdown in the store apparently thinking that ten handles with two holes each equaled 10 screws.  Needless to say I had to make an additional hardware store trip the following day.   Anyway, super easy to do and definitely gives the cabinets the pop that they needed.

BEFORE

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so nakey!

Here’s the AFTER

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For about $50 I transformed our cabinets and I no longer take knobs for granted anymore!

It’s been awhile.

It’s been awhile since you all have heard anything from me.  Sorry!  As you may know we had a surprise move/find a place to live within a short amount of time.  Where we live it is very difficult to find (semi-decent) rentals.  And let’s face it, buying was simply just out of the question, although we actually considered it out of sheer panic because we couldn’t find anything to rent.  Even the buying market is rough out here, everyone wants $$$ for a house that hasn’t been updated since 1950 to include wood paneling and all.  We looked at a couple places to rent, one of which included no front door lock and a tiny camper sized shower (no bueno!).  Then one day I lucked out and got a message on facebook from somebody asking if we were still looking.  We went to look at the house that night and were like, yes!  In fact I was so excited that we found a decent place to live that I hardly noticed anything about the house.  I thought there was a window in the kitchen (there isn’t haha) and I thought the sink was like on the opposite side from where it is.  Needless to say, we were relieved.

We started our move last weekend (through a plethora of issues, of course) and now we are all moved in.  I get the pleasure of decorating all over again, and to top it off, we got the green light to make any improvements that we want to the place.  How pumped am I?  I think the first order of business might be installing some knobs and drawer pulls in our kitchen.  I am excited about the flurry of new blog post potential from our house.  Stay tuned for updates as we get settled in.  Here’s a little sneak peek of our place:

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Isn’t it cute?!

Wedding invitations… are how much?!?!?!

So by now in your wedding planning journey I’m sure that you have oogled over pretty wedding invitations at some point. You’ve seen the shutterfly/minted/weddingpaperdivas invitations and been totally amazed.  Until you see the price.  Oh $5 per invite?  That’s not too bad! Multiply that times 100 and you’re like holy crap!  Luckily, this is something you can DIY also.  Many stores carry their own printable wedding invites.  The best place to get them is probably Hobby Lobby, their wedding items go on sale every other week (oh you didn’t know that?? Well now you do!).  That brings me to another point, never buy anything from Hobby Lobby if it isn’t on sale!

So maybe you’ve perused the print yourself wedding invites and you’re like ehhh I don’t really like any of those.  Never fear, Pinterest is here!  Pinterest is a good place to gather ideas, especially if you are a pro at using Illustrator or Photoshop. Lucky for me my autocad and photoshop skills came in handy during this process.  I found this blog post, I loved her wedding invite idea and she has free downloadable templates as well.

Since I was more acclimated with photoshop than with illustrator I just changed all the colors there to make it custom to my wedding theme.  I also decided to skip the extra step of having to adhere the invite to a larger decorative piece behind it and just added the colored border in photoshop.  Don’t be nervous about printing them yourself!  it’s super easy and I didn’t really use as much ink as I thought I would.  Probably 1.5 sets of ink cartridges and that included printing all the inserts and envelopes.  You don’t have to have photoshop to make your own invites, you could certainly whip something up in Word just using cute fonts.  You can find many free fonts just by doing a google search.

Supplies

I got my cardstock in bulk from Amazon.  At the time I think it was the cheapest I could find, but you might also check Sam’s Club or Costco.  It was plenty to print my invites and inserts and to make several mistakes as well (and I still have a ton left over).  To give you an idea, I sent about 75 invites I think.  I also bought this sweet paper trimmer on Amazon (can you tell I’m a Prime member? ha). I had one already that I had gotten in college, it was just one of those small Friskars trimmers made for scrapbooking.  I thought it would work but it just wasn’t cutting it (pun intended).  The only drawback to the Swingline trimmer is that if you aren’t careful your cuts can get a little sideways.  I made sure that I had separate lines to follow on my prints outs for cutting.  Even so, you’ll still need scissors to kind of trim off the excess parts.  I only did one sheet at a time for the invites, and I did two at a time for the inserts.  I was able to fit three inserts on each page of cardstock.

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You’ll want to do several test runs to make sure the color on your computer screen matches the actual printed color.  I got the pocket fold invites and the envelopes at cardsandpockets.com I also liked this site because they tell you the dimensions of the inserts as well, which is what I based mine off of so they would fit properly.  Make sure that you get the A7 envelopes for mailing, they are slightly larger than 5×7 so they’ll fit your pocket invites better, especially if you do a wrap of some sort.  I also got the RSVP envelopes here.  If you are wanting the kraft paper look, I suggest getting the color “harvest.”  Make sure that you order samples of any color that you get so you know what it’s going to look like.  I used scrapbook adhesive tape to attach the invite to the pocket invitation.  I got my paper for the wrap at Hobby Lobby.  I picked a 12×12 scrapbook paper because it was easy to divide into four 3″ wide sections.  I also cut these with my paper trimmer, I folded them around the pocket invitation and secured it to its self with adhesive tape (you’ll want them to be able to slide off the pocket invite).  Then I used jute string to tie a bow around it.

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For the large envelopes I printed them myself, this takes a bit of trial and error also, but for the most part it was pretty easy once I figured it out.  You can do this in Word.  You’ll want to order extra envelopes for when you mess up, because you will.  I learned that tucking the flap into the envelope was the best way to run it through the printer, otherwise it jammed up and would rip my envelopes.  For the RSVP envelopes, they are too small to run through the printer so I ordered some labels from Amazon and was able to print the address on there and stick them on.  These are also great after the wedding because you can make your own cutesy return address labels with their online templates with your new name on it… for freeeee!

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My cutesy free return address labels

Now, as far as stamps go, don’t be stupid like me and go buy two rolls of stamps because you think you’re going to put two stamps on each invite.  Even after sending all the invites, plus thank you notes, I still have like 50 stamps left.  haha.  Make sure you weigh your invite.  I believe anything less than 1.5 oz 1 stamp will cover, if it’s over you only need a $.21 stamp for every additional ounce.  So when you add that up you will be saving a ton doing the two stamps together instead of doing two forever stamps.  I’m sure you already know this, but make sure that you put stamps on your RSVP envelopes as well.  I should mention that I didn’t trust the adhesive on my envelopes so I used a glue stick to seal them instead.

Remember that your wedding theme should translate throughout your whole wedding, this includes your invites.  Since the invites were one of the first things that I did, I was able to use elements from them to tie into other aspects of the wedding, like my wedding programs and my favor tags.

What about save-the-dates?

These you can DIY also.  However, I opted to go commercial on this one.  I knew that I wanted a postcard because I liked the look (and the stamps are cheaper!).  I designed ours at minted.com.  I didn’t send them to everyone, just those that I knew lived far away from the event and might need more notice than others that lived closer.

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This is also a great way to use your engagement photos.  I think I sent these out about 6 months before the wedding.  The invites I wanted to send in February (I was chomping at the bit, okay?) but since our church burned down I had to wait until we knew what the new venue would be (yea, so that happened…).  I already had all the invitations printed out so I was pretty devastated about everything.  What I ended up doing was just printing up little slips of paper in Word that said something like, “Due to unforseen events, the ceremony location has changed, the new location is…”  I made sure that these looked very plain jane so that people would know it was different from everything else and would see it first.  I stuck it in front of all of the inserts so it was very noticeable.  This ended up working out, I don’t think anyone got lost!  Haha.

Wedding invites can be super fun.  Don’t get too stressed out about how expensive the commercial ones are, making your own can be easy and just as elegant looking!  I think everyone really loved ours.  I also loved her idea of putting, “We promise to dance if you play…” on the RSVPs.  People really loved that!  Here’s what mine looked like:

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I was torn on reserving rooms at the hotel because of the terms they hold you to.  What I ended up doing was just suggesting a couple of hotels and letting the guests make their own decisions.  And finally, here’s what the total package looked like:

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Oh and as an additional note on this, I highly recommend Target for super cute thank you notes.  You will have better luck finding them online than you will in store.  I used a more casual looking note for our shower thank-yous and then I ordered a more formal note for our wedding.  I hope that this helps you on your wedding planning journey!  The DIY route was definitely cheaper than ordering some.  Just make sure you give yourself plenty of time for all of the printing, cutting, and pasting.  Good luck!

I haven’t posted in a week, ahh!

So maybe you’ve wondered where I have been all week.  Well, I started a new job so I’ve been busy with that.  We also just found out that our landlord is planning on selling the house that we are renting (we’ve been here all of four months) so now I am in super freak out mode.  To make matters worse, we just got our addresses changed on everything finally, including our drivers licenses (we were waiting until after the wedding to do it).  And now here we are, having to move again.  You would think that two people don’t have a lot of stuff, and you would be wrong.  Moving here was a HUGE nightmare. Between weather (snow and ice specifically), and u-haul not having the right truck, problems with our house etc.

Part of me is glad that we are moving out of this house, solely because of our landlord. By part, I mean a very small part, like 5% haha.  I sit here and look around and I’m like, “Why do I have so many knick knacks?!?!?!  I don’t want to pack all this crap up again!”  So yea.  Not to mention we’ve made this place into our home, despite its flaws.  I’ve planted flowers, I’ve taken excellent care of our lawn, I’ve made our house cozy.  Now I have to take it all down and start over somewhere else.  We haven’t even gotten to have a get-together here yet.  It’s all very depressing and frustrating.  It makes me feel very un-motivated to be crafty, especially since I’m just like well I’m gonna have to move the crap anyway!

So yea, that’s where I’m at this week.   Sorry for the depressing rant I just made you read, I just wanted to keep you all posted on why I’ve been so quiet the past week.  I am going to try my best to keep posting, maybe I will dish out another wedding tips post for you guys this coming week.  So stay tuned, I haven’t abandoned you all, I promise!

From concept to creation, our guest room is done!

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My concept rendering of the guest room

First, let me just point out that we are currently renting the house that we live in.  I would love to be able to paint but pretty decorations will have to do for now!  It all started with an idea (doesn’t it always?), maybe it was a pillow, or a comforter, or how I just like red, white, and blue.  Then I thought, hey, having a patriotic room would be cool.  My Husband and I both come from military families, he even served himself for nearly ten years, so uhhh, no brainer.  haha.

If you’ve ever searched for, “patriotic comforters,” then you know that there really isn’t a whole lot to choose from.  I had to improvise, which turned out cooler anyways.  I also knew I wanted to do one of those door headboards, and I had two matching side tables as well.  Once we moved from our old place to here, it was on.  Unemployment leads you down a dangerous DIY path haha.  First I did the headboard, which was a door that my old boss was gracious enough to give me for freeeee!

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I suppose that if I had started a blog sooner I could have chronicled all these side projects, but I didn’t.  I painted and weathered the door and added crown moulding.  Let me just say that you need a miter saw for this, trust me.  This was my first experience using a miter saw, figuring out the angles weren’t hard but trying to get them to match up exactly was.  Needless to say, the far side corner is a teensy bit jacked up, but you can’t see it anyway unless you walk to that side of the room, hardly noticeable haha.  I also mounted the headboard using a french cleat.  You can find these at Lowe’s in the “picture hanging section.”  Here’s a nice how-to on the headboard: http://www.infarrantlycreative.net/door-headboard-roadkill-rescue/

Then I took my matching tables that I bought for $20 and repaired them with some wood glue and painted/weathered them to match the headboard:

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after

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Then I took the pair of lamps that I already had, and repurposed them as well.

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Before

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After

I got these cute burlap shades at Target! Oh and while I was doing all that, I decided to make a pallet flag since we have a giant pile of pallets sitting in our backyard (it’s like it was meant to be!).  I started out by laying out all my boards how I wanted them, then I secured them with 1×4’s and wood screws, taped, painted, sanded, weathered, and taddaaa:

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You can find the blog I followed to make mine here.

Our guestroom, like all the bedrooms in this house, is fairly small.  Initially we had this huge, heavy, stupid, ginormous (can you tell I hated it?) dresser in there.  I was like this is not gonna work hubbs.  So I sold it for $60 and then saw this sweet (already red) armoire on craigslist.  I think I paid $125 for it?  It was totally worth it in my opinion.  It’s solid wood and the only thing I had to do to it was switch out the hardware to an oil rubbed bronze

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I knew that I wanted some nice festive pillows for the bed.  We got some giftcards and what not for our wedding so I used those to purchase pillows, and it’s almost July 4th so they were already on sale and easy to find.  I was going to make my own curtains for the room but I wanted them to be long and lined and the cost of making those vs. the cost of buying some just wasn’t worth it.  So I bought some.  Ha.  After all that, the room is finally coming together!

And now, for the moment you’ve all been waiting for… drumroll please…

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I love the way that it turned out!  Tell me what you think in the comments below!