Tag Archives: diy

It Has Got the Midas Touch- a tired chair gets a golden touch on the cheap

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It Has Got the Midas Touch- a tired chair gets a golden touch on the cheap

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I don’t know how many tired, dirty saggy chairs I have passed up while thrift shopping for my projects.  Over and over I walk-on-by because somehow I had the impression that upholstery is an expensive hobby.  Perhaps it is all the tapes, nails and underlays that I see at the upholstery store – or the $50.00/yard price tag on some of the fabrics I drool over.

This project is proof that with a little creativity, a lot of staple pulling and some clever shopping – a dusty old thrift store find can become the golden girl in your room.

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Before you begin, grab a notepad or even your camera and document how you take the chair apart. You’ll be glad you did, trust me!

There is no need to break a sweat sanding every surface – just smooth out any chips, then paint with a can of your favorite spray paint. I got started with some heavy sanding first, then decided that it really wasn’t necessary.

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Money saving tip #1: Use as much of the original foam as possible. We added a thin foam underlay and a thick quilt batting to the top of the original yellow foam. A few whip stitches keeps it all together. Or if your foam isn’t reusable, find a camping foam or foam baby mattress to upcycle

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Pick apart the original pieces to make a pattern for the new covering

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Money Saving Tip #2 – Don’t buy expensive upholstery fabric.  Look for discounted tablecloths or curtains. Or, hit your favorite vintage shop and find something fabulous.

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Add a covered button for a little style – and to secure the fabric tightly to the curved back.

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Then put it all back together – and fasten where needed.

No longer tired and saggy – this chair has got some style.

Cost for this project:

Chair: $5.00

Paint: $4.75

Foam and Batting: 10.00

Curtains for covering: $11.00

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Because we all need a little lift- a pot stand turned foot stool

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Because we all need a little lift- a pot stand turned foot stool

I love to cruise through my favorite bargain shops- it’s a bit of a fast paced buzz through, scanning quickly aisles and end caps looking for some clearanced cast off that no one wants. Too much time thinking results in a cart full of mediocrity. But if you work fast, only the truly inspirational things jump up and scream “Take me! Take me!

  
On one of these trips, an odd little four legged pot stand (at least I think that is what it was) made me do a double take. It sat on top of a rickety desk acting like it was 3 feet tall.  

  
But when I picked it up- it transformed in my imagination into a luxurious place to put up my feet after a busy day- or a great little place to rest a cup of coffee while I curled up in my favorite reading chair.  

  

This is one project that was pretty simple- and with a couple little tips and tricks, anyone could accomplish. 

Supplies are minimal: 

  • A round surface with legs- just imagine all the items you could repurpose! Stools with shortened legs, plywood circles with legs attached…)
  • Fabric- enough to cover top and sides and wrap under the surface
  • Foam- choose your favorite thickness, factoring in how high you would like the finished project to stand
  • Shank style button, large size
  • Stapler and staples
  • Cambric or a light weight fabric to finish the bottom of the stool. 

Step 1- cut the foam to the diameter of the surface being covered.  Tip: use an electric knife for easy cutting.  I used a good old fashioned bread knife. Not pretty, but effective!

Step 2: cut the fabric, allowing enough additional fabric to cover the top, the sides and at least 3 inches underneath. Trick: tie a string around a pencil with the tail measuring half of the following equation:Diameter+depth of foam+ 3 inches.   Hold the tail in the center of fabric and trace a complete circle.  Cut out just outside the circle. 

  
Step 3- placing the button

Find the center of the foam circle and the center of the fabric circle. (Tip: fold the fabric circle into quarters and pin the point to find the center). With a sharp pointed instrument (open scissor blade, awl, thin knife) poke a hole through both the center point on the foam and the fabric. 

Lay the fabric over the foam, right side up. With a strong thread, or dental floss, thread through the button and the foam a few times.  Pull quite right and tie off. 

  
Step 4: Stapling the fabric

Place the fabric covered foam with the fabric face down on a smooth surface. Center the wood surface over the foam. 

Now comes the fun part! 

Starting at one side, staple the fabric edge approximently 3 1/2 inches from the bottom edge.  Then, working directly opposite, pull the fabric tight and staple. 

  
Trick: work the way around leaving large spaces between staples. After placing a staple, immediately work the opposite side to keep the fabric straight and taught. Don’t be afraid to pull tight (but evenly) all the way around for a smooth firm surface. And if necessary, don’t hesitate to remove a few staples to make adjustments if needed.  

Once staples are place evenly around the wooden surface, begin softly folding small pleats to take up the slack in the fabric. (Note: if using a foam that is thinner in depth, this may not be required as slack can be eased in as you move around the circle)  
Now! Have fun with the staples! After having done a few smaller upholstery projects and removed an unimaginable number of staples- I can be quite sure that inserting staples in massive quantity has therapeutic value.  This must be why upholsterers are such happy calm people! 

  
To finish the stool off properly, attach a thin fabric such as cambric or even sewing interfacing to hide the raw edges and staples. Simply cut a circle just shy of the diameter of the top, and while folding under the edge, staple it neatly in place. 

Finally- and most importantly- grab yourself a cup of your favorite beverage, sit in your favorite chair and prop your feet up on your beautiful new footstool. You deserve a rest! 

Play with Color! Jazz up a canvas with a paint scraper

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This project is a great one to (re)create a a canvas into a fun bit of wall art. All you need is some paint, a paint scraper or putty knife and an old (or new) canvas -you know the one that you bought at the discount home decor store that is outdated? Or the juvenile print that your teenager has rejected?

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  1. For this bit of “art”, I had a ton of fun playing with color.  Rainbows were a favorite of mine long before they became symbolic of anything other than a promise and this project combined an image I love – a tree by a stream -with the beauty of a mosaic style background.  It felt reminiscent of my childhood days when I could squish my fingers into plates of  paint – and brought about a ton of joy as I played with the color.

The supplies are pretty simple – Acrylic paint in the color of your choice, gel medium (I recommend matte) to keep the edges of your paint raised, a paint scraper/putty knife measuring the width of the squares you would like to create and a standard paint brush to create the tree trunk and leaves.  A large plastic tray works well as a palette for mixing the color, but you could easily use disposable plates.

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First things first: choose your color palette.  The beauty of this style is that you can choose almost any color.  Blues (imagine water, sky and clouds!), greens (a deep forest, or a wide open meadow) or your favorite colors, swirling and rolling across the canvas.

Next, plan the placement of your focal point, if you have one – and the outline of how you would like the colors to lay. Sketch them lightly on your canvas with a pencil for reference.

Now, roll up your sleeves and get ready to have some fun!

Start with the lightest color, mix 1 part gel medium to 2 parts acrylic paint. This will create a paste like paint that will be slightly more opaque than it will appear when dry.  Load the putty knife’s edge with the color and beginning in the center of where your focal point will be,  lightly stroke down for one square and then stroke to the side for the second.

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Next, without cleaning your putty knife, pick up a bit of the next color and stroke on the paint palette to blend the color slightly.  As you work across your canvas, you may need to pick up some of the previous color along with the current color.  Remember to stroke the paint palette to blend the color ever so slightly on the putty knife.

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Continue  to work through the design, laying down the background in the same “stroke down, stroke across” pattern. The gel medium will give your paint body, and the edges of your squares will be slightly raised.

Once you have completed the background mosaic, allow the paint to dry completely. Because of the added gel medium, this will take a little longer than standard acrylic paint.

When the background has dried completely, begin to paint your focal point.  A field of flowers? A boat? A silhouette of a child?

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For added interest, you can add a significant amount of gel or modeling paste to the acrylic paint for the final details of your focal point.  For my tree, the leaves were quite raised.  The pedals on a flower stem, or the sail on a boat would also look quite interesting.

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Go ahead and give it a try! It might just take you back to your childhood as well.

Little touches that take up big space- Guest Room Wall Art

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Little touches that take up big space- Guest Room Wall Art

My husband has a favorite hotel. It’s one where he stayed many times when he traveled for business. When he arrives, they speak to him as if they know him personally; the cook at breakfast remembers the way he likes his eggs; and when he walks into his room, he is greeted with not only a comfortable bed and chair, but a little box containing some refreshment and a newspaper.

Now that my children are (mostly) grown, I have a guest room! This brings me all kinds of happiness because I love having guests. It is important that they feel welcomed and a part of our family.  And it’s the little things that makes this happen.

One little touch I made for this room- that actually takes up quite a bit of space, is the wall art I made for above the bed.

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The process wasn’t too complicated at all and required minimal artistic effort.

First, I cut 4 boards to the same length. I have to confess – I’m “that lady”  who approached the work crews who were working on installing new siding to several houses in our neighborhood. Those long pallets were just so appealing! 20131104_143756

After sanding them smooth, I screwed a brace across the pieces to join them together. Depending on how long the boards are, a few may be required to hold it together firmly. All the nail holes and chipped edges added to the rustic carefree feeling I wanted for this sign.

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Next, a base coat of my favorite DIY chalk paint was applied. A light sanding makes the finish so smooth.

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The wording looks great and is so simple to do, thanks to my computer. I simply printed the letters out on my pc, and using transfer paper, traced the outline onto the boards. Once painted in, there it was! Beautiful text!                                           (Here is a helpful hint: outline your text with a paint marker for a smooth clean edged  letter). 

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Like the nightstand I painted for this room, I wanted to give it a slightly aged look, so I dry brushed and rubbed a stain into the nooks and crannies.

As a final touch to compliment my sentiment on the sign, I painted a sleeping bluebird and wrote out a favorite verse. 20131111_125209

To finish the sign, I rubbed it down with finishing wax and added some saw toothed hangers to the back.

A sweet sentiment which now defines the room as a place of rest.

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What do you think?

Stand by Me – a new look for an old nightstand

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Stand by Me – a new look for an old nightstand

I have nothing against the early 80’s, I promise! I loved big hair, cassette tapes and the Cosby Show. And while big hair may make a comeback, there are just a few things from the 80’s that could use a little updating.

This handsome guy was found in a sweet little shop while browsing with a friend. There wasn’t anything wrong with it. It just needed a little something. 

Functionally, it was exactly what I wanted.  A nice surface for a lamp and a book? Check! Drawer?  Check! A place to stack some necessities for guest room residents? Check!
Now it need just a little (re) freshing!

After taping off the top, I lightly sanded the sides, shelves and drawer front. I whipped up some of my favorite diy chalk paint in an ecru color and painted away.  (I know it is all over the Internet, but I love the way chalk paint finishes! Soo smoooth!)

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While this looked good, I wanted a subtle nod to age. So, bravely I grabbed a wide brush, a can of walnut stain and a clean rag. Ever so softly dry brushing the stain, then wiping it a bit with the clean rag produced an aged look that kept it from screaming “Look at me! I just got a fresh coat of paint!”

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A soft distressing of the edges revealed the darker first layer and added some great depth.

 I then took the same walnut stain and overstained the light sanded top. It deepened the color nicely.

A coat of clear finishing wax buffed to a shine and a new brushed copper pull and that little nightstand became my favorite faithful bedside companion.


I love feedback! What do you think?

Once more a princess – the Cinderella table project

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Don’t you just love a happy ending?  One where the forgotten maiden, dressed in dust and rags, has her true beauty revealed and then goes on to live happily ever after?

I almost walked away from this little table. I found it advertised online.  The photos were cleverly taken to mask her true state.  When I arrived to pick her up, my heart dropped a little.  Her drawer was chipped and stuck, her leg was loose and she was covered in 3 colors of chipped, weather beaten paint.

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But looking at her a second time, I could see something beyond that – her graceful curve, the regal smooth top.  And I wondered…just wondered…if there was hope that she could be saved.  So I brought her home.

It took a little while to gather up the courage to begin stripping away all that nasty ivory, gold and black paint.  After struggling with scraping and sanding, my daughter encouraged me to get some stripper.  What a difference!  I found this product at our local DIY store and got busy.    (this is not an affiliate link – I just love this product!)

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and this is what wonder it made:

 

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(immediately after application and after it did its magic)

After removing all the goo – I finally began to see what a beautiful little table she was

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A little repair work, some sanding, paint and stain and there she was!  Here regal top had a beautiful grain, and her pedestal and legs got the attention they deserved.

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And she lives happily ever after with her new owner in a beautiful guest room palace.

I love to hear your comments – what do you think?