Posts Tagged ‘craft paint’

Thrift Store Highboy: Elegant UpDo

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

For years, I’ve wanted to bring some glamour and elegance to my foyer.  It’s the first impression for guests, and it has been nothing short of dull for quite some time.  Since our entry is only ten feet wide, I also wanted to bring reflective light and shimmer to the space as well.

Last week I hinted at the fabulous highboy dresser I picked up at the Goodwill for $35.  Lucky me, it had only been on the floor for thirty minutes before I snatched it up.  SCORE !  With a bit of stain and some new hardware, I brought this wonderful vintage piece into the modern age, and gave it a special new glow.

Here’s the foyer Before and After:

Here’s how it all happened.  As you know, I frequent the local thrift stores looking for treasures.  I chanced upon this solid wood new arrival and hustled – no I seriously ran – to the cash register to buy it before anyone else could, with my poor little boy shouting “Mooooommmmiieee waaaaiiiit” as I dragged the poor little guy behind me.  I spent part of my weekend giving this piece the TLC it needed.

Re-staining Previously Stained Furniture:

Step One, Sanding:  Give your piece an all over good sanding, removing all varnish that may exist.  Wear a disposable mask so as not to inhale any microscopic dust.  In my case, I sanded the highboy by hand with coarse, and then medium, grade sandpaper.  (My electric sander, although faster, would have been too rough on this delicate piece.)  Work with, not against, the grain of the wood.  It took over an hour to fully sand this dresser, but hey I look on the bright side:  I got a great upper arm workout.

Step Two, Conditioning:  I’m a Minwax fan, so if you want to create better absorbency in your wood, you can consider using a wood conditioner like Minwax Wood Conditioner.  Grainy or gnarly woods like oak or pine should definitely be conditioned beforehand.

Step Three, Staining:  To stain this piece, I used a staining pad and Minwax Gel Stain in Walnut.  I truly madly deeply love this stuff.  The gel formula is thicker, unlike regular stain, so you don’t need a brush, and it doesn’t drip.  I recently used it to re-stain my entire two story oak staircase (reveal coming soon).  How convenient is it to be able to stain upside down without drips?  Brilliant !

The imperfections in the dinged up dresser soaked up this stain and were transformed into those ‘distress’ marks you’d pay so much for at a top retailer.  This gel stain buries itself in the ridges, and translates into deep character, just like a glaze on painted wood.  One caveat: this gel product dries a bit more quickly, so you must work fast to get your stain strokes right.  And don’t forget to wear gloves, cause this stain really stains !

Step Four, Reapply:  If you desire added depth from your stain product, then reapply a second coat 24 hours later.  Here’s what two out of three drawers looked like after just one coat (I applied two coats).

Step Five, Protectant:  If you’ve used a regular liquid stain product, then you will probably need to apply a polyurethane to protect your piece. I’ve used Minwax Wipe-On Poly with success in the past on several projects.   However, this gel based stain gave my piece such a nice glow that I didn’t find it necessary to add poly this time.

 You can see how the ‘Before’ piece had a washed out honey color, plenty of dinks, and old-fashioned hardware.  Just by staining the piece and adding new oil-rubbed bronze hardware from Home Depot ($12 for a set of ten), the dresser now looks like something out of a new furniture collection.

So now I need your input, playing a bit of multiple choice.

I played around with a few preliminary vignettes, and I have a favorite, but I’d appreciate your vote.  You’ll notice the flea market silver pitcher remains a constant.  I love fresh flowers in the foyer, so it stays.  And you’ll notice that a white ceramic bust makes an appearance (antique store find).   Your opinions please.

A) Botanical Print with bust and clock

B) Paris Print with bust and clock

C) Silver Candlestick with bust and clock

D) Wedding Print with pair of busts


So friends, give it to me straight.

Which scene do you prefer ?



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DIY: Hand Painted Candles

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

Every once in awhile I get a wild hair.  I was daydreaming about milk glass and how much I really like the effect of chalky painted color inside of a glass vase. 

Then it hit me:  why not painted candles?  I remembered I had some leftover paint specially designed for glass from this project, and some extra glass jars just collecting dust, and I saw some microwaveable candle wax at the craft store, so then my brain started spinning totally out of control. 

Here’s what I came up with:  custom painted glass candles personalized with my own design.  A great gift for Mother’s Day ! 

Candle collage

Read the rest of this entry »

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Cherry Tree in 3-D

Friday, May 1st, 2009

I am in the process of redoing my five year old daughter’s room, adding a little French garden inspired style to the space.  All of a sudden I was struck with the grand idea to paint a tree on her wall to carry along with the jardin theme.  What’s very strange is I don’t fancy myself a mural artist by any means, I typically shy away from wall murals as a bit “themey” and I rarely decorate with fake flowers.  Which makes it all the more bizarre that I would take upon myself the task of painting a cherry tree mural on my daughter’s wall and then glueing fake blooms to the branches.  Go figure.  But it turned out pretty cute!

My inspiration came from these images:

For the task, I gathered up some supplies including:

1. Three colors of brown acrylic paint from dark (burnt umber) to medium (brown velvet) to light (tan). (The third color is not shown in the picture below.)
2. Two colors of green paint, from forest green to light green.
3. Medium sized paintbrush, and No. 10 or similar sized artist’s paintbrush, and a kitchen sponge
4.  8 faux cherry blossom branches (optional)
5. Hot glue gun
6. Courage
Use a pencil to lightly sketch your branches and trunk, then take a step back and make sure it is the size you want. Then fill in your sketch with the dark brown paint using your medium sized paintbrush.


Follow up with your artist’s paintbrush to create finer lines around your edges. (It’s also a good idea to have your wall color paint ready in case you absolutely hate it. . . or just want to clean up the edges a bit more.)   Paint over center of trunk and branches with medium color brown paint to add some depth. Note: all of you folks with ‘orange peel’ wall texture will appreciate the bark effect that results from the texture underneath.  I didn’t paint it that way – it just happened.

While the trunk dries, paint simple leaves with your medium sized paint brush and light green paint in a simple leaf shape.


Then add a lot of dark green paint to your leftover light green paint, mix it, then swipe the leaves on one side or another to give some shading.

 You can even go back a third time with just the dark green paint to add more depth.

Return to your tree trunk with your lightest shade of brown/tan paint. Swipe the center of the tree trunk and the branches with your paintbrush using the paler color, then use a kitchen sponge to smooth it out. This gives the subtle look of light cast upon the tree trunk, and provides even more depth and shadow. If you’re sentimental like I am, carve a message into your tree trunk!

 (if you dare to decorate with faux blooms): Pluck the bloom off the plastic branch, and trim the plastic bottom of the bloom so that your blossom will glue flat to the wall. Apply with hot glue to the end of your painted branches.


And in the end, this is the result!


So tell me readers, give it to me straight.

Is it a botanical beauty, or are you totally allergic?

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