Tag Archives: Design

Chalk It Up to Johnny

DO or DIY | Easy Chalkboard Transfer Art Tutorial

Hers.

Confession time.  I suffer from a pretty severe fear of unnecessary nail holes, meaning I have a total inability in deciding what and where to hang things on the wall, which ultimately leads to some pretty bare walls in our house.  I’ve mostly hidden it from you all, thus far, but it’s time to come clean and fess up with picture proof.

Sigh.  Our dining room.  It is, by far, the worst offender.  I hung the beautiful painting Chris’ grandfather painted on one of the small walls by the window but, four years later, had still not made a decision on what to put on the largest wall above the buffet.  Now, for the big reveal… the corner of the dining room I’ve been avoiding to show you…

DO or DIY | Easy Chalkboard Transfer Art Tutorial

The walls haven’t remained empty all these years due to a lack of ideas.  About twice a month a light bulb would go off and I’d excitedely tell Chris all about my grand plans for that wall.  He’d nod and agree, I’m sure figuring I’d never commit and he was safe from any real work.

The real push finally came in the middle of my weekly “Fixer Upper” fix.  Anyone else obsessed with that show on HGTV?  It almost makes me want to move to Waco… until I remember suburbia already feels like the boonies to me.  In one of the more recent episodes, they framed a chalkboard for wall art in the dining room (see below).  Feel free to drool over those lanterns above the island with me as well.

DO or DIY | Easy Chalkboard Transfer Art Tutorial

Here’s a closer shot- ignore the creepy shot of the people.  While I’m confessing, I may as well share that this is a picture I took of my TV while this episode was airing so I would remember the idea.  I’d like to say this is the first time but it happens quite a bit… #nojudgments

DO or DIY | Easy Chalkboard Transfer Art Tutorial

Now while the idea of using a chalkboard for art isn’t novel by any means, there was something about the frame they used that got me thinking.  We had one pretty similar that we had scored for free a few months back.  I had used the mirror for something else and the frame had been laying around ever since.  I knew I had to find a use for it soon or else it would meet the fate of one of Chris’ garage purges.

The first decision I needed to make was whether or not I wanted this to be permanent.  While I love the idea of a chalkboard in theory, I have a few problems with it in reality.

1) I hate the sound and feeling of writing with chalk on a chalkboard.  Just thinking about it makes me shiver.  Yech.

2) I know way too many kids under the age of 10 (including two brothers with a sense of humor of about an 8 year old) to know that one look at a chalkboard and the art will be a distant memory.

3) I know myself enough to realize that I’ll spend a ton of time laying out what I want to say and how to write it that I’ll never want to erase it and start over.

So, the decision ended up being pretty easy- I was going to make a faux chalkboard with permanent art.

Next came the hardest part- figuring out what to write on it.  I filled up a whole Pinterest board of ideas and drove Chris crazy with showing him dozens of options on a daily basis.  Should I go with a food pun being that it’s in a dining room or maybe a cliche inspirational quote about homes, hearts, etc.?  I ended up deciding on song lyrics, something meaningful to us and something that could work in case I ever decided to move this into a different room.

And what screams “let’s dine in the fancy room” more than the man in black?  Well, maybe not, but one of Johnny Cash’s songs is pretty sentimental to us so the decision was made and away we went.

Now, get ready to have your mind blown.  This is seriously way easier than I ever expected it to be and I’m going to use this transferring trick all the time.  Once I finally figured out what I was doing and laid out the art, this took no time at all to complete.  Here are the six easy steps to transferring a printed image and pulling off a chalkboard look.

Materials Needed:

  • Plywood
  • Flat black paint (or chalk paint for erasable option)
  • Fine tipped white paint pen (or chalk for erasable option)
  • Chalk
  • Ballpoint pen
  • Printed piece of artwork
  • Tape

Step One: Cut a piece of plywood down to the size desired and paint with flat black paint.  Again, I wanted something permanent but you could also do this with chalkboard paint if you wanted something erasable.  I ended up painting two coats for an even look.  I left it overnight to dry completely.  Pre-paint tip: sand the plywood thoroughly for a smooth surface- I used two different grit sandpapers to achieve the smoothest finish.

DO or DIY | Easy Chalkboard Transfer Art Tutorial

Step Two: print out your artwork.  You can print it on any printer- black/white, color, laser, inkjet, anything.  I wanted a pretty big piece so I had to print my artwork in a panel fashion then tape together.  If you want to be really fancy, you can print it on one oversized piece of paper at a copy shop but paneling and piecing together works just fine- you’re not keeping the paper anyway.

DO or DIY | Easy Chalkboard Transfer Art Tutorial

Step Three: With the side of a piece of chalk, rub the back of each piece of paper and retape it to the board in the final pattern desired.

DO or DIY | Easy Chalkboard Transfer Art Tutorial

Step Four: With a ballpoint pen, trace the lines of the artwork.  Press pretty hard so the image transfers clearly.  I used a red pen so I could see where I had traced.

DO or DIY | Easy Chalkboard Transfer Art Tutorial

DO or DIY | Easy Chalkboard Transfer Art Tutorial

Step Five: After tracing the full piece, remove the paper.  You’ll see faint white lines on the board that will serve as a guide for this step.  Using a fine tipped white paint pen (or piece of chalk if you want to keep it erasable), trace over those transfered lines for a clear image.  Tip: I removed the papers one by one and did this in stages so I didn’t accidentally smudge the lines with my palm as I traced.

DO or DIY | Easy Chalkboard Transfer Art Tutorial

DO or DIY | Easy Chalkboard Transfer Art Tutorial

Step Six: You’re almost there!  To make it really look like an authentic chalk board, rub the side of a piece of chalk across the board and smooth with your hand for the chalked background effect.

DO or DIY | Easy Chalkboard Transfer Art Tutorial

Boom.  Chalkboard art!  I really don’t know why I waited so long to do this.  This was seriously one of our easier (and quickest) projects!  It makes me want to do it again… and again… Hey, Chris, what do you think about a full wall of chalkboard art?  Muhaha.

His.

Confession time. I hate country music. Actually, that’s not much of a confession. Anyone who knows me knows that, as Joe Dirt would say, “I’m a rocker, dude, through and through!”  It all sounds like twangy complaining intertwined with shout-outs to step mommas, guns, and trucks, and I find it really irritating- the exception, of course, is Johnny Cash. While I’d consider his style more in line with rockabilly, he is widely regarded as the godfather of country music, and he’s one of everyone’s favorite artists. In fact, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like at least one Cash song, and frankly, I wouldn’t trust anyone who didn’t.

The song he is most renowned for is, by far, Ring of Fire. While there is some controversy surrounding when, why, and by whom the song was originally written, there is no question that it’s proven to be one of the greatest and most unique love songs ever written. And it’s awesome. So when Julie came to me with the idea that it be immortalized in our dining room, I was totally on board.

Now, here’s the problem: she wanted to do a chalkboard. Last time we did a chalkboard we ended up going for a ride on the failboat, so I was hesitant to give in. After some debate, though, we decided that since we wanted the piece to be permanent and only look like a chalkboard, we could get away with using regular paint. The best part of this project, though, is that Julie had saved an old frame from some other project that had gone awry (why, I’ll never know) and we were finally going to get it out of the garage (it had only gotten in my way EVERY time I tried to do ANYTHING in there)!

Now, making a fake chalkboard is actually pretty easy. The frame originally housed a mirror and had a piece of plywood over the back, so I just pried off that piece and cut it down to size to fit inside the frame. Next, I primed one side and painted it black. We had some weird amalgamation of various sheens of black paint that we decided to use, and we BARELY had enough for two coats… but since the whole thing was getting smeared with chalk anyway, we figured any thin spots would be covered up.

The final order of business, once the art was actually transferred onto the wood, was mounting the wood in the frame. Since the wood was actually a different thickness than the mirror had been, we weren’t able to reuse the same mounting tabs. So, being the lazy fellow that I am, I just ran some short screws into the backside of the frame overlap:

DO or DIY | Easy Chalkboard Transfer Art Tutorial

Boom. Fake chalkboard.

After.

DO or DIY | Easy Chalkboard Transfer Art Tutorial

 

DO or DIY | Easy Chalkboard Transfer Art Tutorial

 

DO or DIY | Easy Chalkboard Transfer Art Tutorial

Hers.

I’d like to say I’m on the path to “empty wall syndrome” recovery but I have quite a few walls left to go.  At least one room has finally been conquered.  And here’s a fun picture I dug up.  Here’s where the room started when we first bought the place (the furniture in the picture was the seller’s before we moved in).  And for those of you who haven’t heard the story of that fabulous leopard print/black fringe chandelier, catch up here.

DO or DIY | Easy Chalkboard Transfer Art Tutorial

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3 Comments

Filed under Dining Room, Easy DIY Projects

Trash Talk

DO or DIY | How to Make a Pull-Out Trash Cabinet

Hers.

It’s time to get trashy in the kitchen, people.  No, not as in “let’s decoupage the cabinets with faces of kittens.”  I’m talking about the age old kitchen question of where to stash the trash.

On day 1 of move-in, we put a trash can on the end of the kitchen counter by the breakfast nook and there it stayed for the next three years.  Not that we loved it being the first thing anyone saw when entering the kitchen, but we just had no idea where else to put it.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Pull-Out Trash Cabinet

For a small family unit of 2, we go through a lot of trash, even after sorting recycling.  There was the option of downgrading to a smaller can to put under the sink or in the pantry but I knew we’d never have a successful marriage because I’d be saying, “Chris, can you take out the trash” more often than “Honey, can you take care of dinner tonight?”… (which is already pretty common).

I found the perfect solution while perusing Pinterest the other day.  Why yes- let’s just build a pull-out trash cabinet!  I could find a medium-sized trash can and just tuck it away behind a cabinet door when I didn’t need it.  Genius!

pull out trash cabinet

Source: Schrock 

pull out trash cabinet

Source: Houzz

I even knew exactly which cabinet I could sacrifice for this purpose too.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Pull-Out Trash Cabinet

This cabinet never had an interior shelf and was an odd size for normal kitchen storage but would be the perfect space for a hidden trash can!

DO or DIY | How to Make a Pull-Out Trash Cabinet

I knew it was meant to be because we even had a pair of drawer slides leftover from our pantry project (catch up on the pantry project here).

We purchased the drawer slides for $5.99 each here (they’ve worked perfectly on the pantry since we installed them nearly 2 years ago, by the way.  We highly recommend them as a super cost effective solution for pull-out shelving!).

With the solution in mind, I turned it over to the execution department (hm, maybe another term is in order so it doesn’t sound like I turn our projects over for beheading).

His.

Growing up, there was a constant battle between my parents about where to put the trash can: my dad wanted it in a convenient area in or around the kitchen, but my mom wanted it completely out of the house. Their compromise was to keep it in the laundry room, which was technically halfway between the kitchen and the back door. Somehow, though, the battle ensued once again after I moved out, and the trash is always in a different location every time I visit.

Fortunately, though, Julie and I never had such a conflict; we both tend to be a bit lazy, so keeping the trash anywhere outside of the kitchen was definitely not an option. There also wasn’t really anywhere in the kitchen to keep the trash can, so… out in the open it stayed. We did, however, put another trash can in the garage so that we could dispose of the “funkier” items so as not to stink up the house. This system worked quite well for about three years until one Saturday afternoon, the inevitable happened: Julie changed her mind, and now she wanted somewhere to hide the trash. Lucky me.

It turns out, though, that luck was actually on my side for this one, as Julie had already decided where she wanted it and I already had everything I’d need, which was really just some wood and some sliders, all of which I had leftover from previous projects.

The first step was to get the sliders mounted inside the cabinet. I cut some strips out of plywood (I needed thin wood) and screwed it to the inside walls.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Pull-Out Trash Cabinet

Next, I mounted the sliders to the wood, making sure the two sides were level and even with each other:

DO or DIY | How to Make a Pull-Out Trash Cabinet

Next, I cut down some 1/2 x 4 wood pieces and mounted the inner slide piece to them:

DO or DIY | How to Make a Pull-Out Trash Cabinet

DO or DIY | How to Make a Pull-Out Trash Cabinet

Initially I tried spacing everything out and making a box so I’d have a cross piece to mount to, but it turned out to be a huge pain to get the widths right, so I gave up and removed the front and back piece, and just mounted the cabinet door directly onto the sliding wood pieces.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Pull-Out Trash Cabinet

Once everything was done, we had an issue of the door slowly sliding open when it began to become weighed down with trash, so I needed some sort of latch that was easy to open but also stayed out of sight. My solution was a magnetic catch, which was just a metal tab mounted to the door that would stick to a magnet mounted inside the cabinet:

DO or DIY | How to Make a Pull-Out Trash Cabinet

DO or DIY | How to Make a Pull-Out Trash Cabinet

Next, I reused the original cabinet pull and just lined it up with the drawer pull above it:

DO or DIY | How to Make a Pull-Out Trash Cabinet

Then I had to patch and paint the holes from the old pull location and nail gun:

DO or DIY | How to Make a Pull-Out Trash Cabinet

DO or DIY | How to Make a Pull-Out Trash Cabinet

Boom. Trash cabinet.

Materials Needed:

  • Drawer slides, $5.99 from eBay
  • 1/4″ Plywood – 2 strips, already had on-hand
  • 1/2″ x 4″ Lumber – 2 pieces, already had on-hand
  •  Magnetic catch, $1.28 from Home Depot

Price: Since we already had the wood leftover from previous projects, this came out to a grand total of $7.27.  Not too bad for some trash.

After.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Pull-Out Trash Cabinet DO or DIY | How to Make a Pull-Out Trash Cabinet

Now you see it.

DO or DIY | How to Make a Pull-Out Trash Cabinet

Now you don’t!

DO or DIY | How to Make a Pull-Out Trash Cabinet

4 Comments

Filed under Easy DIY Projects, Kitchen

Four Trips Around the World

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

Hers.

What’s black, white, and chic all over?  That would be my new globe!  Before I go much further, I need to issue a warning to my former geography teacher: if you happen to stumble upon this post, please skip it.  Some funny business may be about to happen to an old globe.  No globes were necessarily hurt in the process, just altered… slightly…

But let me start at the beginning.

Now that we’re slowing down on full-on room makeovers, I’ve been more focused on accessorizing.  Sometimes, I get overwhelmed by finding things that both fit our decor, fill the space needed, but also don’t just look like I raided all the shelves of Home Goods for a generic look.  Don’t get me wrong- I love me some Home Goods but it’s hard to find unique, one-of-a-kind pieces in a box store.  That’s why I’ve been trying to outfit our home with both the new and old to give it that truly lived-in, home-y feel.

To help fill the “old” criteria, I’ve been loving the non-traditional look of black and white globes lately.  It transforms a classic school room item into chic looking decor.

I especially loved the idea of a chalkboard globe, especially with chalkboard’s newfound popularity.

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

Source: Pinterest

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

Source: Domayne 

I found these two retail options- one from Z Gallerie (non-chalkboard) and the other from Anthropologie (made of soapstone for a chalk option).

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

Source: Z Gallerie, $79.95

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

Source: Anthropologie, $368 

Hmm… a little pricey for a non-functional globe who’s only purpose is making a corner of my room prettier (former geography teacher- are you still reading? Seriously, skip this post).

I figured this would be the perfect candidate for our next DIY.

I know some people have refinished globes and used them as a message board instead, but I actually like the look of all the continents on there so I decided to stay that route (see geography teach, I’m a half truest so not all is lost!).

I was pretty on-board with a chalkboard option… until our 3 year-old nephew was scheduled for a visit and we dashed around the house child-proofing as best we could.  In the midst of our impromptu safety check, I came to the realization that a chalkboard globe was doomed for being erased if ever in reach of anyone under the age of 13 (or with my luck, the cat would think it was her new friend and lick it clean) and the thought of redrawing all seven continents again sounded like a nightmare.  No thanks.  The more permanent, the better.

His.

I’m not much of a geography expert. In fact, unless they make a car or beer I like, I probably can’t find it on a map… which basically means I can only find Germany and Ireland. So when Julie announced she wanted a globe, I figured it would at least be a learning opportunity, so the search began.

Around the same time, my mom knew we were always on the lookout for cool antiques and was offering a few items she had picked up from my grandparents’ house, one of which was, rather conveniently, a globe. Apparently my great-grandfather was a teacher, and she had picked up the globe he had in his classroom. It was about at simple as you could get- it was round, resembled the planet earth, and had a stand that did little more than hold its axis on a tilt and allow it to spin… sort of- but it was all we were really looking for. I got my mom’s blessing to paint it, and now we had a project.

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

First of all, since we were going to paint it, we needed a way to redraw the continents after we painted over them. Granted, this thing was so old it still listed Prussia and the USSR as countries, but the continents have only moved a negligible distance since the 50s and Julie only wanted to trace the continents, so it was good enough. I’m so bad at drawing that I can’t even trace, so that part was left to Julie. I just had to spray it.

Since we were going to paint the stand differently than the globe, I had to find a way to hold it up to paint it. My solution? Cut apart and bend up a coat hangar and hang it from a tree in the backyard:

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

Pretty cool, huh? I wanted to do a scaled-down version of the solar system, but a) our entire neighborhood isn’t big enough and b) I have yet to find globes for the other seven planets. Bummer.

Anyway, once I got it strung up, I sprayed it with a coat of primer:

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

Now that I turned the Earth into the Moon, it was time for a few coats of black paint. We went with a basic flat black and since we weren’t convinced this would work out in the first place, we just used the cheap stuff from Wal-Mart.

Julie wasn’t particularly fond of me using her curtain rod to dry my globe:

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

Once it was dry, we just had to paint the continents back on! As I stated before, I can’t even trace, so that task fell to Julie as well.

Hers.

You know what’s more fun than tracing a full globe once?  Doing it twice.

Okay, so this was the more cumbersome point of the project but I just turned on Brother vs Brother on HGTV to distract me from the mundane task (anyone else watching that show and wishing they just filmed another series of Design Star instead?).

While you may already know they sell carbon transfer paper, did you know they sell white transfer paper?  This really saved the day on this project.  The regular carbon paper transfer would’ve gotten lost on the black paint so this did just the trick.

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

I taped the tracing paper I had originally traced the continents onto on top of the white transfer paper then taped that to the globe.  Be sure you have it taped in a few places so it doesn’t slip while you’re tracing it.  I found it helpful to trace each continent on its own tracing paper sheet then trace them on the globe one by one.  I also left myself guides when I ran out of sheet (i.e. Turkey goes here, or match up Spain here, etc).

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

Use a ball-point pen (color doesn’t matter) to trace the image.  Push hard on the pen so as you need to go through two layers- the tracing paper and the white transfer paper- but don’t push so hard that it tears the sheet.

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

Getting up close and personal with the world even taught me a few things in the process:

  • I forgot how close Russia and Alaska were to each other.  I mean, I know Palin can supposedly see Russia from her house but, really, she probably can!
  • Greenland is massive.  I mean seriously, that country practically took up it’s own transfer sheet.

Here’s an example of what the transfer looks like on the globe after tracing it.

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

Now to make it more permanent.  The best tool for tracing these thin continent lines was a white Sharpie paint pen.  I used the oil-based paint version with a fine point, found at art supply stores.

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

Yay for tracing the world for a third time!  Seriously, time to enter me into a geography bee (hopefully they use a 1950s map).  Be sure to shake the paint pen and press the tip down a few times to test it before going to town on the globe.

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

The paint was showing up a little thin on the first coat so I went over it a second time.  Yup, you counted right… I ended up drawing the world a total of four times.  Good thing a Brother vs Brother marathon was on… although, I’m seriously annoyed by that show.  For anyone else who watched it, was I the only one annoyed that the girl who worked her butt off despite having the flu didn’t even make it to the final two?  Also, how ridiculous was it that they wasted air time having the teams compete to see which house they would work on each week?  No one cares- just give them their assignment and let them start working.  Sorry, rant over.

With the fourth coat, we were done!  Finally!

For those of you wanting to recreate this project, here’s our list of materials:

  • Flat black spray paint (the cheap kind from Walmart will do): $1
  • Tracing paper (found at any art supply store): $3
  • White transfer paper (found at any art supply store): $3 (with 40% coupon at JoAnn’s)
  • White Sharpie pen, fine point (found at any art supply store): $3
  • Old globe: ours was free
  • Total cost: $10

Not too bad for $10 huh?  You can find cheap globes at flea markets and thrift stores so even if your awesome in-laws don’t have a spare one on-hand to let you experiment with, you can still do this project on the cheap.

After.

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

DO or DIY | Globe Makeover

19 Comments

Filed under Easy DIY Projects

Baby Makers

Hers.

Once upon a time, Chris sold my beloved bedroom dresser out from under me.  This is the tale of his betrayal.

His.

OK, I’ll be the first to admit it: Julie really does have an eye for design. She sees potential in things that most people would think is just junk (myself included) and I can honestly say she’s usually right. If only she had felt the same way about my classic Audi:

4000s

Anyway, I kind of started to think she was losing her touch when she said she had found a new candidate for our furniture projects:

DO or DIY | Dresser Makeover

I had learned to trust her assessment, but this was pushing it. Just looking at it was like warping back to 1981, but I decided to trust her anyway. So off we went.

When we arrived at the seller’s house, all I can really say it that it looked better in the pictures- and that’s saying a lot. This was just about the ugliest piece of furniture I’d ever seen in person, complete with freaky little lion’s head drawer pulls. I mean, what the…?

So once again I decided I should just trust Julie, and I forked over some cash. If nothing else, it was solid wood and was so heavy that the seller had to recruit her son to help me carry it, so I knew it was a quality piece… albeit ugly as sin. I should also mention that my truck was in the shop and I hadn’t measured the rental car they gave me, but it was just a rental, so we just started cramming it in there. If it fits, it ships, right?

Once we got it home, the real work began. We decided we would paint the body white but stain the top. I was feeling lazy and decided the stain job on the top was decent enough, so I just masked it off and started sanding everything else.

DO or DIY | Dresser Makeover

DO or DIY | Dresser Makeover

All those weird curves and corners really chewed up the sandpaper, plus there was enough furniture polish on the thing to make the surface frictional coefficient effectively zero.

Anyway, once we scraped off all the layers of polish, it was time for the primer. We typically use rattlecan primer because it’s easier to apply, but after this project I went out and bought a respirator mask because the fumes were making me sick.

DO or DIY | Dresser Makeover

I should also mention that we pulled all the hardware off and painted it “oil rubbed bronze.”

Finally, it was time to paint. We used to use rattlecans for everything which is decent enough for small jobs like nightstands or small tables, but we discovered that it’s really difficult to spray evenly across large surface areas. Eventually, we wised up and bought a paint sprayer on Craigslist- and it was the best $40 I ever spent. Now we just have Home Depot match a gallon of latex paint to whatever color we like and can spray multiple pieces to an exact match for a fraction of the cost, and without killing any brain cells.

Two coats later, I had a dresser:

DO or DIY | Dresser Makeover

DO or DIY | Dresser Makeover

DO or DIY | Dresser Makeover

DO or DIY | Dresser Makeover

DO or DIY | Dresser Makeover

Julie is also obsessed with drawer liner:

DO or DIY | Dresser Makeover

Depending on how often you creep on our pictures, you may or may not see that this is in our bedroom. Or was. While I’ll happily admit that the final product looked great, it still wasn’t something I was absolutely in love with. After debating it for a few months, Julie finally agreed to let it go for the right price. Low and behold, we eventually got a full price offer, and a young pregnant couple took it off our hands to use as a changing table, which was the first in a very long line of pregnant people we ended up selling furniture to, which was a really weird trend to end up in.

Oh, and Julie is still whining that I sold it.

Hers.

Traitor.

DO or DIY | Dresser Makeover

 

10 Comments

Filed under Furniture Flip

Introducing…. Furniture Flip Friday

Hers.

You may have noticed that we’ve been slowing down on room reveals lately. And not because we’ve run out of ideas but, unfortunately, we’re reaching the point of running out of rooms. Now what am I going to do with all this time? Finally learn how to cook? HA!

Hm, I could go through and start repainting rooms over and over again for a fresh, new look but that seems to instantly turn Chris into a grumpy old man.

So, my newest plan has been attempting to convince Chris that we need a new house to re-do… but that hasn’t been going too well either.

Well, finally we found a new venture we’re pretty well-suited for and keeps Chris’ grumbling to a minimum (still looking for that one thing that eliminates it completely… oh yeah, steak and potatoes). It’s something involving paint. Something involving transformations. While this could potentially describe the good ole days where I forced my brothers to sit still for a manicure while the babysitter wasn’t looking (what’s a girl to do without sisters??), that’s not it either. Our latest venture is (drumroll please): refinishing furniture!

There’s such a thrill in finding pieces just waiting for a new face lift, giving it an exciting new life. And thus begins our newest category of posts that we’re shooting for featuring every (or most) Fridays. Soo…

Welcome to Furniture Flip Fridays! I do love a good alliterative line!

First up was this small three drawer dresser we found. It was solid oak, had great drawer hardware, and was just begging for a fresh new look.

Chris (as usual) had his doubts. I have to be honest, so did I. I was nervous this piece was too simple and generic… almost like if IKEA built solid wood furniture, it would likely be this guy.

DO or DIY | Small Dresser Transformation

But, we got him for a good deal and I thought he’d be a good candidate for a new look I was wanting to try out . We’ve primarily been refinishing pieces in antique white and I was ready to visit the dark side.

I decided to go with a satin black paint for a traditional yet elegant look.

DO or DIY | Small Dresser Transformation

While Chloe our cat held the dresser hostage as her new jungle gym, I realized I was at a crossroads: to distress or not to distress. I was tempted to keep it as-is but worried it was still too… well… blah. It was still looking really generic and only a step up from IKEA at this point.

I decided to go for it and busted out the sander.

In the meantime, I’m sure you noticed the glistening hardware in the last picture. I’ve been refinishing most of the furniture hardware in an oil rubbed bronze, but I knew that wouldn’t pop off the black so, instead, I decided to refinish the hardware to its natural brass finish.

DO or DIY | Small Dresser Transformation

In the above picture, on the right, you’ll see what the dresser hardware originally looked like. The handle on the left is what it looked like after being polished. I always use Brasso to refinish brass hardware (especially after this fiasco of first trying to figure out what product to use… tip: don’t ever use vinegar).

Chris had a pretty good idea of using a toothbrush to get in the small crevices. While a great idea in theory, it was taking too long. An old rag or paper towel, some elbow grease, and a lot of patience are really all you need.

I have to say, distressed black and shiny brass hardware may be my new favorite combination.

And it turned out so well, Chris has been rendered speechless or perhaps just distracted by that shiny hardware…

Transformation Breakdown:

  • Paint: Rust-o-leum black satin
  • Hardware: Refinished with Brasso to natural brass finish

After.

DO or DIY | Small Dresser Transformation

DO or DIY | Small Dresser Transformation

DO or DIY | Small Dresser Transformation

And as a reminder of how this piece started…

DO or DIY | Small Dresser Transformation

Much better! And he went to a great home – someone bought him to be used in their entryway (and, yes, all my pieces are gender-ized… this one happens to be a short, stocky male). Who knew this hum-drum oak dresser could turn into the statement piece for an entry? Amazing what a little paint will do!

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Filed under Furniture Flip

Loosen Up My Buttons, Babe

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Hers.

Ah yes, this was my anthem for the second half of our headboard project.  Curse you Pussycat Dolls and your catchy lyrics that get stuck in my head for days!  For those of you up-to-date, you know our latest endeavor has been creating a winged, tufted headboard for the guest bedroom (for those of you needing to catch up, check out the project breakdown here).  You may also remember my oath to do this all without touching a sewing machine.

Well, I had reached the final portion of the project – covering the screws with matching fabric buttons.  We decided to take a day’s break from the project… and the day turned into a week… I’m sure you DIYers know how that goes.

The main source of my procrastination was the fact that I was waiting on my button making kit to arrive in the mail… okay, so maybe that only accounted for 2 days.  The other 5 days involved me dreading the creation of 67 buttons.  Yup, we had 67 screws to cover.  Yippee…  While the ultra-tall headboard makes quite a statement, it came with quite the price.  In the end it was worth it and I love the look, but for those of you with the same mindset I had of “the bigger, the better,” here’s your warning:

Big tufted headboards = a heck of a lot of buttons = a heck of a lot of work.

The process isn’t really that bad.  It takes about 1-1.5 minutes per button.  I sat and did mine while catching up on Real Housewives of Orange County because nothing makes dreadfully boring tasks like button making more interesting than a room full of overly-tanned, plastic-faced women screaming at each other.

So, here we go:  how to make fabric buttons without busting out the evil beast also known as the sewing machine.

First things first, you’ll need a button making kit, button shells, and button backs.  The least expensive option I found was a set from eBay for 100 buttons (buy extra because you’ll inevitably screw a few up).  I chose to buy size 24 (or 5/8″) buttons.  For those of you using the “tufting via screwdriver” method like we did, this size works great or you can go a little larger, depending on your preference.  For this method, I recommend buying flat backs (instead of wire backs) as you’ll be gluing rather than sewing it to the headboard.

Materials:

  • Button making kit which consists of a pusher (the pink item seen bottom left) and a mold (the clear item seen on the bottom right): $2.99 from eBay
  • Button back (seen at the top left)
  • Button shell (seen at the top middle): this plus the backs are $15.99 from eBay for a set of 100
  • Fabric swatch
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Step One: Take the mold (the clear piece), placing the flat side down.  Put your piece of fabric over the mold.  Place the pusher (the pink piece) on top of the fabric (flat side up).

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Step Two: Push the pusher (who would’ve seen that coming?) so the fabric is pushed down into the mold.  I gave the pusher a good twist too to really be sure the fabric was wedged in there.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Remove the pusher and you’ll see your fabric swatch is beginning to make the button shape.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Step Three: Place the button shell with the rounded side down, on top of the fabric swatch (still placed in the mold).

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Step Four: Place the pusher on top of the button shell and push down.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

When you remove the pusher, the fabric and shell should be lodged in the mold.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Step Five: Without removing the shell and fabric from the mold, trim the excess fabric from the edges.  Don’t trim it too close as you’ll need to fold the edges over the back in the next step.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Here you can see how much fabric should be trimmed.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons 

Step Six: Next, fold the edges in, covering the back of the button shell and use the pusher to push it into shape.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Meet my best friend.  The hot glue gun.  In theory, you can use the pusher to push down the button back and it should pop in, securing the fabric in the back.  My fabric, however, was too thick to successfully do this so I found gluing the back on worked just as well.  If your fabric is thinner, you may be able to use the pusher instead and skip this step.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Step Seven: Use a hot glue gun to put glue on the back side of the button.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Step Eight: Quickly (before the fabric unfolds or glue cools), place the button back on top of the glue, securing the fabric ends.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Step Nine: Warning!  The hot glue will make the button back very hot so don’t use your finger to push it into place.  I used my pusher again to be sure the button back was secure and pushed it firmly in place.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Voilah!  Fabric button!

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

To finalize the headboard, I used my trusty friend again to put glue on the backs of each button then simply placed it on each screw on the headboard.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

I gave it a little extra push with my finger for good measure.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

It’s held great was SO much easier than sewing the buttons through the headboard.  That’s just nonsense, people.

DO or DIY | How to Make Fabric Buttons

Happy button making!

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Filed under Bedroom, Easy DIY Projects

Surprise Surprise

Hers.

This week has been full of surprises.

First, I stumbled upon my husband on Pinterest.  Talk about eerie!  Not only that, but he even got a like!  Ahem, hands off, Pinterest, he’s taken.

Pinterest

Second, one of my favorite blogs, Knock Off Decor, is featuring us!  *insert boy-band-just-came-on-stage squeal.  If you haven’t stumbled upon Knock Off Decor yet, I highly recommend it.  They feature other bloggers’ DIY projects which (as the name suggests) knock off designs from high-end retailers such as Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn, and Anthropologie.  Warning, you will get hooked.  Today, they featured our latest post on our upholstered, tufted headboard!  A big shout out to their team for the honor!  Click here to check it out!

Knock Off Decor Feature

His.

Thanks, internet, you’ve ruined my shot at becoming a world-class spy.

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