Friday, February 7, 2014

Tray Chic !

I have a bit of a cluttering problem. I’m not a malicious clutterer. It all starts off very innocent. A hair clip here...some lip gloss over there...bits of opened mail on the table. It’s as though I suddenly get tired and cannot possibly put these random things in their proper place. As my five year old niece exclaims, when she has a cold, “Oh what’s the use.”

A clever way to look more organized, while still leaving things in inappropriate places, is to put them in trays. You'll remember I started doing this little trick with fabric and picture frames on a previous post.

This time I picked up a couple wooden trays at Michaels and got to work. I designated one tray to be a mail tray for our kitchen table with the other tray set for my nightstand.

I primed both trays and chose the colors I wanted.

A salmon color for the mail tray and gray for the nightstand tray. I based this decision on some wrapping paper I found at TJ Maxx a month or so prior. I liked the designs (and the price) and bought them before I knew what I would do with them. 

I bought this design in light blue, salmon, and gray. There were more colors but I had to stop myself from going overboard. There are so many other craft projects where wrapping paper comes in handy. Book covers, mattes in picture frames, covering soup cans for pencil holders, etc.

Once both trays were primed, I taped off the tops  and painted them in contrasting colors.

Probably wasn't necessary but I then sprayed both with a clear sealant. 

Once all paint/sealant had dried, I measured the inside of the trays and cut the appropriate sizes from the wrapping paper.

Mod Podge is a crafter's best friend. It is the Janet Jackson of craft supplies. It is a sealer, adhesive, and finish all in one. A triple threat. Ok, I'm done.

Each tray received one coat of Mod Podge.

I then carefully placed the wrapping paper pieces inside the trays, lining up best I could, before adhering. It can be helpful to use an old credit card or zero balance gift card to slowly attach the paper and avoid bubbles from forming underneath.

When the wrapping paper was attached to each tray, I painted over the paper with two more coats (20 minutes between coats) of Mod Podge. 

I decided to add a little embellishment to my nightstand tray so I grabbed my hammer and thumb tacks and randomly added them around the tray.

The tray for the nightstand:

Mail Tray:

Just goes to show, sometimes my craft obsession and knack for buying things without an exact purpose pays off!

~ B

Monday, December 2, 2013

DIY Oilcloth Placemats

Well, it's been awhile but I'm back with a new post and I plan on posting every day more frequently from now on.

When we got married one of the items I registered for was placemats. Exciting, right? While I love my denim colored placemats, spilled drinks and food meant tossing them in the wash, which lead to shrinkage.

I decided to make my own. I gathered my sewing machine, fabric, iron, and fusible batting. This is not a complicated sewing project. If you know how to thread your sewing machine, you will be able to handle this easily. I found my inspiration on this great blog, A Pretty Cool Life

I cut two pieces of fabric (15 1/2  x 20 1/2 inches) and one piece of fusible batting (also 15 1/2  x  20 1/2).

I ironed the fusible batting to the "wrong" side (the non patterned side) of the fabric.

Once the batting was ironed to the back of the fabric I took the other piece of fabric, placed it on top of the first piece of fabric (right sides facing) and stitched all pieces together. 

* Leave a 5 inch gap on the bottom of one short side to turn out *

Once all three layers were sewn together, I clipped all four corners. 

 Next I pulled the fabric through that 5 inch gap to get the "right sides" of the fabric on the outside (the batting will stay on the inside). 

I ironed the placemat, making sure to fold the pieces of the gap inward.

I then topstitched around the entire placemat (1/4 inch away from edge). I stitched around a second time, 1/4 inch inside that first stitching.

The sewing part of the project was done.

Now on to the stenciling.

I used my usual acrylic paint but this time, because I was painting fabric, I added a fabric medium. This is to prevent any cracking in the paint from bending the fabric. This comes in handy if you are painting clothing or totes. I didn't see myself throwing my placemat around but you never know how aggressive I may become if there is chocolate cake involved.


Don't judge, crafting makes me thirsty.

Applied a little stencil adhesive, slapped the first stencil down, and got to work. 

If these stencils look familiar, you may remember them from my Trendy Tray Table Project.

I let the painted placemats dry for about a day or so before my last step.

To avoid having to continuously wash my placemats I decided to give them an Oilcloth finish. I picked some up at Michaels, grabbed a squeegee (a balance free gift card would also work), and got to work.

Following the directions on the back of the oilcloth finish, I put a heaping amount on one edge of my squeegee and covered the entire placemat. 

Note: The finish will pool, a bit, in the stitching. I simply used the corner of my squeegee (I cannot type that word enough), and removed any excess. I applied two coats to each placemat (I made two), waitied two hours, then applied two more coats.

Here is the finished product:

Such an easy project that can be personalized with any stencil or paint color. 

~ B

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Crackled Kitchen Crates

As much as I love my updated cabinets, I am always looking for a bit more storage in my kitchen. Something that wouldn't take up too much room but could hold things I use daily (coffee, sugar, bowls, etc.). I found some inspiration at the amazing blog: DIY Vintage Chic and while my project looks a bit different, I always like to give credit where it is due. I have seen wooden crates at Michaels and decided to put my 40% coupons to work.

Just a quick note, the crates are not perfect and no amount of sanding will get them perfectly smooth or measuring identically but they were about $7 each so I can't really complain.

First, I used a gray primer from Home Depot. Historically I've used white primer but because of the weathered look I was going for, I wanted the base color to be gray. 

Spray painting is such an easy, convenient way of painting or priming an object, especially a crate with slats that a brush would have a tough time getting between.

All three crates were now primed.

I wanted these crates to have the white weathered look you sometimes see in Cape Cod.

I filled a red solo cup with a little of Martha Stewart's Weather Crackle Effect, grabbed a soft bristled brush, and got to work.

This is NOT the Martha Stewart Crackle Effect you would find at Home Depot. I considered that but read a few not so great reviews and decided to use the craft type found at Michaels and most other craft stores.

I promise you, my hands are much smaller and cuter than how they look in this picture. Anyway, I lathered (for lack of a better word) on the weathered crackle effect finish all over each crate. The directions said to wait "until dry" before applying paint over it but I painted the side of one crate once it dried and felt the crackle effect wasn't quite prominent so I stopped painting. I'm glad I did.

 I grabbed my paint the next morning to try again.

I used a shade of white acrylic paint (Wedding Cake) and covered each crate with ONE coat. You don't see the weathered/crackle effect until you paint over it and that layer of paint dries. I'm glad I waited overnight to paint the rest of the crates because I was able to get the look I wanted:

Since I was balancing the crates on top of each other I wanted to connect them so they wouldn't topple off each other.

My handsome groom picked these dowels up at our local Home Depot. I can't be trusted with a drill (or the opening of a champagne bottle but that's a story for another day), so I passed this part of the project on to him.

As previously mentioned, these crates are not exactly identical in measurement but he measured and marked each one as best he could.

The bottom crate received four holes in each corner on top, the middle crate received four holes on the bottom plus four holes on top, and the top crate received four holes on bottom.

His measurements paid off and each crate was fitted with their dowels and connected. I now have some extra storage for my coffee, sugar, mugs, and bowls. This is probably the tidiest each crate will look as I plan on adding extra plates and wine glasses that have been cluttering our cabinets.

~ B

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

DIY (No Sew) Table Runner

Our dining room table is such a random size. It's definitely not a rectangle but not quite a square. I wanted to make a table runner to put across it but didn't feel like sewing on this particular day. I found some inspiration from a placemat project that Michaels had on one of their free project cards in store and added my own flair.

I found some laminated burlap at my local Michaels, grabbed my stencils that I had just used on my mirror makeover project, and a permanent marker.

The laminated burlap was in a rolled up package so I stretched it across my table and held it down with painters tape.* 

*My Mom suggested I roll the burlap up in the opposite direction to counter the direction in kept curling. I rolled my eyes and figured the painters tape would do the trick but, of course, my mother ended up being right (per usual, when does it stop?) After I stenciled all my words I followed her advice.

Secured my first stencil with more painters tape, grabbed my permanent marker and started my first word.

I chose words that pertained to both feelings (love) and eating (savor, etc.), mixing them up and separating each word with a cute symbol I found in my alphabet stencils.

Here is how the table runner looked once I was done with all the stenciling.

My dining room has some dark wood, a small bar, and wine racks adorning the wall so I wanted this table runner to have a bit of a romantic edge. I realized I had a few leftover rolls of the chiffon ruffle ribbon I had used on my crafty curtain tie backs.

I lined the seam of the ribbon to the edge of the burlap and grabbed my glue gun. Hot glue dries quickly so I glued and pressed as I went along.

I glued all the way to the bottom edge of the first side, put a dot of hot glue on the top of the ribbon, folded some ribbon over (onto the glue) and continued gluing and pressing along the bottom of the burlap.

I went through about 3 rolls of the ribbon and when I ran out of one, I just lined up the next roll to the end of the last. By carefully placing each end to the next beginning roll, the result was seamless.

This project was ridiculously simple. I didn't even measure between words, just lined up using my fingers and eyeballing it (I can't believe I just used that term, it grosses me out).

Cute right? And what is easier than burlap, permanent marker, stencils and ribbon?

ETA: I just wiped barbecue sauce and juice off the table runner (not from the same meal, that would be gross). Just a damp paper towel did the trick! One of the benefits of the burlap being laminated.
~ B

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Mirror Makeover

Mirrors are a great source of decoration but they can be expensive, so I was excited when I found one for free. Anything free usually has issues and this mirror was no exception. It was pretty heavy and the wood was in rough shape. This thing needed a major makeover.

The first thing I did was sand the wood down and give it a good cleaning. 

This mirror had been in the back of a closet for years and had the dirt to prove it.

I knew I wasn't going to try to stay with this color or try to re-stain the wood so once I had a clean surface I primed the wooden frame.

I covered the mirror with newspapers (for obvious reasons) and used a white primer spray paint.

I wanted to get a denim look so I started with two coats of a cobalt blue acrylic paint that I had lying around. This one little bottle covered the entire frame.

Here is the mirror with the two coats of the cobalt blue. I wanted the "base" color to be lighter/brighter than the next color I would be adding for the combing effect I would be using later.

From cobalt blue to navy blue. I just did ONE coat of the nave over the cobalt.

Immediately after applying this coat of navy blue paint, I used these grain striping combs from Martha Stewart that I found at Michaels

 I chose which size comb I wanted and applied it vertically as well as horizontally until each side of the frame was done.

When the frame was painted and dried, I decided I wanted to add some "lace" or some sort of pattern to the denim effect of the frame.

I found some small doilies at the "Just $1" store in my town and some Mod Podge at the craft store. 

I cut 4 doilies with curves for each corner then cut more doilies in half to put along the edges.

Mod Podge is a craft adhesive as well as sealant. Some people apply it to both the object they are adhering as well as the surface they want to adhere the object to but because these doilies were on the thin side I just applied the Mod Podge to the mirror frame then stuck the the doilies to it.

Once I had all the doilies placed where I wanted, I sprayed the entire frame with a sealant. If I was using any other object besides a super thin one I would have no problem applying the Mod Podge over all the doilies to seal them to the frame (it dries clear) but, again, the doilies were thin.

Once the frame had dried completely I decided I wanted to stencil one of my favorite quotes to the bottom of the mirror and grabbed my stenciling supplies.

I've used both stencil brushes and stencil pouncers (foam) on projects but I have found that the brushes work best on mirrors. I've never stenciled letters and I'm pretty sure these particular paper stencils were not made for this type of project but I liked the font and was willing to take the risk. I'm so brave, I know.

One of the great things about using this particular paint line is you are able to mix in specific "effects" or finishes you want. Paint can look very thin on glass and I wanted the letters to look etched onto the mirror. 

I had used this etching finish once before on an old mirror that came with the house in one of the bathrooms. I painted the gold plated frame and stenciled some designs so we could hang it in our living room.

Back to this mirror.

I wiped the entire mirror surface with rubbing alcohol to get rid of any smudges or smears before stenciling.

I used painters tape and stenciled each letter.

There were a couple mistakes along the way but if I didn't like how a letter came out or got some paint outside the stencil lines, I just scraped the paint off with a toothpick or damp paper towel. 

Here is the entire stencil.

I've said this before but it is so difficult to take a picture of a mirror without getting myself or the flash in the reflection. There was a lot of balancing and contorting to get this just so you know.

This mirror didn't come with any hanging hardware attached, so I still need to acquire that, but here is the finished product before hanging.

The denim effect is more obvious in person but I think it's not too shabby considering how sad it looked in the beginning.

~ B