Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Trendy Tray Table

Before we were married, my husband acquired a tray table. This tray table somehow made every move and often found itself right next to his lazy boy, dutifully holding his lap top and drink. Eventually we found a better side table and this tray table's days were numbered. I just hate tossing something that is not broken and we did need a table upstairs so I decided to save it. But this table needed a new look.

This will not be an "every day" table. Just an extra side table for entertaining.

I sanded the table down, then washed it. I like a clean, smooth surface when painting.

Flipped it upside down and sprayed it with primer. Flipped it right side up and primed the top and edges.

Once the primer had fully dried, I prepped the top of the table for painting.

I taped off the edges and used a 1 inch brush to paint along each side.

I used a foam roller to fill in the rest.

Foam rollers are a great alternative to brushes, especially if you are painting wood and do not want the grain to show through.

~ An important message regarding painter's tape ~

I use painter's tape often but it took me one time of tearing off the majority of the fresh paint I had put on our crown molding to realize how patient you have to be when using it. Now, when paint is dried, I slowly tear it off in a downward diagonal motion (see picture above). This has saved a lot of heartache and unfortunate language being shouted.

~ Now on to stenciling ~

This was the first time I used stencil adhesive and I've been wondering where it has been all my life. I dabbed it around the stencil, waited for it to dry, and positioned it where I wanted.

A little paint goes a long way when stenciling. Whether using a foam pouncer or a brush, I always get rid of excess paint and dab the applicator a few times before applying.

As usual I used Martha Stewart's multi-surface craft paint that I bought at Michaels. Besides being able to use it on various surfaces, it can also be mixed with other paints or finishes to get the desired effect you're looking for. For example I used a dark brown (Vanilla Bean) and mixed it with a glitter paint (Smokey Quartz) to paint one of the branches.

When the stenciling was finished and all the paint was dry, I took the table outside and sprayed it with sealant.

A little craft paint and some stencils can take an old (random) tray table and turn it into a decent side table for drinks & appetizers.

~ B

Monday, March 25, 2013

Revitalize Your Vanity

When my husband and I moved into our home, we noticed the previous owner splurged on a couple things to add resale value right before selling. The bathroom vanities were not one of those items. We will, eventually, replace the vanities. For now I decided to give one vanity a little sprucing.

I took off the vanity doors to survey what I was working with:

Not quite off white, not really cream. A yellowish shade with a bronze situation happening. At the very least, a coat of paint was required.

When painting anything I always start with the cleanest surface possible.  

The TSP Solution was probably overkill  but since I had some leftover from painting the cabinets I decided to wipe down the vanity.

I knew I wanted to start with a white base just to get rid of that horrid yellow color. I used a small foam roller and started on the inside of the vanity door.

You can already see the difference a fresh coat of paint can make:

Once the "inside" of the vanity doors were painted and dried, I flipped them over and began painting the fronts. I started by painting the design indent with a 1 inch brush knowing I would be painting the rest with a foam roller.

With both the front and inside vanity doors painted white, I then focused on the stenciling.

I chose my stencil, measured the center of each vanity door, and taped it where I wanted. I have used stencils from Michaels for most of my stenciling projects but I believe I found this one at 
A.C. Moore.

I have only used Martha Stewart craft paint, which can be used on most surfaces, also found at Michaels. Although you can use any of them on their own, I wanted an "antique" look so I mixed the main color I was using with Martha Stewart Crafts Tintable Antique Effect.

Something else to consider is which type of applicator you want to use. I used stencil brushes but you can also use "pouncers" which are basically little foam applicators that you pounce on the stencil (hence the nickname).

When using a "finish effect," whether antique or
otherwise, I first add my color paint then add the effect paint. I mix and add until I have the shade I want. The main rule of stenciling is to keep the paint application light. Too much paint around the edges can cause the design to appear messy.

While not drastic, the change from before to after is enough for me to actually like my vanity now.

The paint was leftover from our cabinet painting project. Most craft stores have weekly coupons and I used mine for the stencils and brushes. This project was pretty low budget.

If you are unhappy with your bathroom vanity but don't want to shell out the money for a new one, a fresh coat of paint and stenciling is a quick and inexpensive solution until you are ready to replace it.

~ B

Monday, March 4, 2013

Cabinet Catastrophes

Besides covering the majority of the 2nd floor with horrific bird
wallpaper, the previous owner, in an effort to add more resale value to the home, installed hardwood floors and granite countertops in the kitchen. If not for these last two things I may have wanted to just gut the room and start from scratch.

 The cabinets were just rubbish, for lack of a better word, and always bothered me.

Besides being poorly made, they were a dull stained wood. New cabinets can be obscenely expensive and even refacing cabinets, while cheaper, is still quite costly.

We did what we could to make it a little nicer. Took down the crumbling chair rail and painted the hospital-white walls a sassy red...

But those cabinets still bothered me so I formed a plan. Instead of buying new cabinets or refacing the ones we had, I would use some leftover paint and create the cabinets I really wanted.

Warning, you have no idea how cluttered your kitchen will look until you take off all your kitchen cabinet doors. Only then will everyone see your inner most secrets. Such as having both crunchy and creamy peanut butter available in your cabinets or the exorbitant amounts of oils and balsamic vinegars you require in your kitchen at all times.

Once we took off all the cabinet doors my clever husband drew a diagram, numbering each one to take the guess work out later. I highly recommend this.

We then kept a piece of paper with each cabinet's number next to it. This makes your lives easier at the end when you have been inhaling paint fumes, you're hungry, and you just want your kitchen put back together. Trust me.

Next you need to decide if you want/need to sand before painting. I was dreading this but I am a big believer in having the best surface you can have before you paint it. Deciding to sand, and painting a cabinet in general, depends on what your cabinets are made of. I was convinced my cabinets were made from cardboard so you can imagine my delight when Stan,  a retired painter and current HD employee, told me it was actually oak (albeit a cheap one). He also assured me I could skip the sanding if I used a TSP Substitute instead. *Disclaimer - I cannot say this would work for everyone, but it did the job for me.*

Once I wiped down the cabinet doors, drawers, and structure with the TSP Solution, I began painting the cabinets. I put the cabinet doors face down on the tarp and painted the inside of the doors first, figuring if I messed up in the beginning people wouldn't see the inside as often as they do the outside. Clever, right?

I used a 2 inch paint brush for the frame part of the door and a foam roller for the inside part of the door.  This was Stan's advice and it worked very well. Each side received two coats.

The drawers were pretty simple, I didn't bother to empty them. Just propped them up with old paperback books and painted the front of them.

I then wiped down the cabinet frames with TSP Solution and painted 2 coats on there as well. It goes without saying that you need to section off everything with painter's tape and cover anything you don't want paint on with a plastic tarp.

Here is the end product:

Paint and new hardware is a cheap and easy solution to upgrading your kitchen. Next entry is a new backsplash....

~ B