Before & After

DIY: Paint Can Planters

Tuesday, May 19th, 2009

I came up with a great idea for a garden planter the other day as I was browsing the paint aisle of all places.  I spied a stack of plain paint cans and thought, those would make amazing planters so I brought a few home and with a little painter’s tape and spray paint created these:

I had a bare patch of fence in my rear yard that was in need of attention.  I really didn’t feel like painting it again, which is what it needed (ha!), so I thought I’d distract everyone with some whimsical decor.  And this was such an easy and inexpensive way to do it.

How To Make a Paint Can Planter:

Supplies:

  1. Paint cans, recycled or new.  Plain metal paint cans are available at most home improvement stores.
  2. Outdoor spray paint
  3. Painter’s tape and/or stickers for lettering
  4. Hammer and nail
  5. Hooks for fence (if you will be hanging your planters)

Step One:  If your cans are recycled, clean off the labels and scrape off any drips from the sides.  Spray paint your cans with your first color of spray paint.  Allow to dry thoroughly, usually at least 5 to 6 hours.

Spray paint your hooks and screws to complement.

Step Two:  Apply painter’s tape in your design of choice.  In my case, I wanted striped cans so I used the painter’s tape to allow for green stripes underneath.  Apply your second color of spray paint and allow to dry thoroughly.  When dry, gently remove your painter’s tape.

Step Three (optional):  Add your word of choice with simple stickers.  In my case, I spelled out the word “BLOOM” for my third paint can.   I also applied more painter’s tape to my striped cans so I would end up with a third white stripe, and then spray painted them with a third shade of white.  When dry, gently remove your painter’s tape and/or stickers.

 

Step Four:  Use your hammer and a nail to puncture drainage holes in the bottom of your paint can.  Use a soft cloth or towel underneath your can so you don’t cause any damage to your paint.

Step Five:  Add gravel to the bottom of your planter, then some potting soil and your favorite blooms. In my case, I chose Iceland poppies for their color, and I know they will tolerate heat and full sun.  Using outdoor spray paint will allow your cans to withstand the seasons, and the sun’s rays.

These painted cans will brighten any fence, deck or balcony.  They would also make an extra special housewarming gift – imagine them with a monogram, or the homeowner’s new street address !

 

 

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DIY: Painted Thrift Store Desk

Monday, May 18th, 2009

Y’all know I often circle the local thrift stores in the hopes of finding new treasures.  Last week, I found a solid wood desk with a few scratches and dings, but overall in really good condition.  I mixed up a batch of color with some leftover paint samples, and transformed this old fashioned desk into a lovely green gem perfect for my little girl’s room.

Here’s the Before and After:

 

I had been looking for a desk for my daughter’s room, and got really lucky when I saw the $16.00 price tag on this desk at the local St. Vincent de Paul.  Yes I know.  Sixteen dollars.

 

But get this.  I asked the manager for a discount, and he gave me 40% off, so I only paid $9.60 for this solid wood desk.  Total score !

It would have been easy to sand it down and stain it like I did with this dresser, but with those feminine base legs and that French style hardware, I just had to place it in my daughter’s room, and that meant I had to paint it.

I was inspired by these bright pieces I saw at the local Antique Fair a few weeks ago, selling for hundreds of dollars.

 

I decided, rather than painting the desk a cream color like all of the other furniture in her room, that I would mix it up !  Be bold ! Paint it green !  But what color green ?

I had some leftover color from her wall paint, added some apple green paint from my stash, and I mixed in some gray too for a custom color.

Painting Older Wood Furniture:

Supplies:

  1. Medium grade sandpaper
  2. Primer
  3. Paint color of choice
  4. Roller brush and holder
  5. Polycrylic protectant

Step One:  Remove hardware. Sand your surface to remove any varnish or debris in preparation of primer.

Step Two:  Prime your piece with a good primer.  I prefer the spray variety since it saves a lot of time, but you can also use a brush on like Zinsser’s oil based in the brown can.   Allow to dry for recommended time.  I highly recommend these snap on spray paint guns, they save time and finger cramps, plus assist with even application.

 

Step Three:  Roll on the paint with a roller and follow up with a paintbrush to smooth any uneven spots and fill in any hard to reach nooks.  Apply two coats and allow to dry for 24 hours.

A few helpful tips on paint application:

  1. Use a new roller brush (not the rolling tool, the roller brush itself).  I tried to be “green” and reuse an old roller leftover from a previous project, but it had tiny fibers and dust on it, which ended up in my paint, and I had to hand pick it all out, wasting about thirty minutes and causing intense frustration.  Aaarrrggghh.  Spend the extra $2 for the new roller – trust me.
  2. Paint in an area where there is no chance of a breeze.  In my case, it was my garage with the garage door closed and the screened window open.  I have tried to paint outside several times, but the gnats and dust always ends up in my paint, and I really wasn’t looking for that extra “texture”.

Here I am painting in my garage last Thursday late at night in frustration because my personal favorite was kicked off American Idol.  I was working off my anger.   (My poor Danny. Sniff, sigh.)

Step Four (optional):  If you seek a distressed or antiqued look, go over the edges of your painted surface lightly with sandpaper to expose the wood underneath.

 

Step Five:  Apply a protectant like Minwax Polycrylic to your piece to protect your marvelous paint job.  I like to use Minwax products for a good reason.  If you’ve distressed your edges with sandpaper, the poly also helps to enhance the wood tone underneath.  Allow your poly to dry for at least 24 hours.

This French style hardware antiqued and beautiful so I didn’t paint or polish it.

I lined the drawers with some pretty paper too.

 

Final Result

Here’s the desk in her room:

What do you all think of the new desk?  Are you about to paint a piece of furniture and completely transform it?   Do tell.

 

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The 4 Point 8 Hour Challenge

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

You’ve all heard of the Better Homes & Gardens 48 Hour Challenge, right?  It’s where five top bloggers were chosen to makeover their porch in 48 hours with a $500 gift card from Home Depot, at the chance of winning a $5,000 bonus. Today was Mr. CG’s birthday, so while the tots stayed a bit late at school, for his birthday I spent 4.8 hours redoing the outdoor balcony he shares with his male business partners.  Yes, you heard me, four point eight hours!  I was entrusted with the job and given the same budget of $500 from the office, and all of my purchases came from Home Depot as well.

Here’s the CHALLENGE:  $500 budget from the office.  300 square feet of barren balcony, except for a few pieces of neutral furniture.  Four point eight hours (before the kids need picked up from school).

First things first, two rugs to define the seating areas.  At Home Depot, I purchased two 5×7 outdoor rugs for $59 each.  Then I also purchased one can of spray paint for $4.  With a bit of painter’s tape, I gave the neutral outdoor rugs a dark red band around the edge.  I also purchased some red and tan patterned pillows for $13 each to accent the loveseat and the chairs.

Next, I purchased some  deep red fiberglass planters for $39 each, and some plants to fill them.  I chose bamboo plants ($20 each) and a dwarf palm ($15).  I topped them off with ‘borrowed’ river rocks from the gigantic supply in the rock garden on the first floor.   River rocks on top of soil help make great mulch.

Then I created a mini garden in a $12 pot with $1 succulents, some aloe vera, and a red blooming cactus.  I also added the rock fountain from the office’s interior, and my own rock sculpture (that’s just river stones stacked on top of one another).

The business partners were very pleased with the transformation.

 

 

 

The deep red adds the necessary burst of color.  The river rocks and bamboo add “zen” as well as the succulents garden.  The rugs, planters and pillows unite the whole space, and it was all done for less than $500 and in less than five hours.  Rugs and paint = $123; Plants = $90; Planters and Soil = $130; Adirondack chairs and 6 pillows = $104; Bird Feeders and Nectar = $13.  Total without tax = $460

 

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