Monday, August 25, 2014

DIY Herringbone Canvas Art

Woo! It has been SO SO long since my last post. Time to dust off the keyboard and get back at it.

During my not so brief intermission, I have had a lot of life changes. I went through a divorce, moved to a new home, switched my children's schools, took on a new job, and I am still alive to tell about it!

As a newly single mom in a newly rented home, I don't exactly have a ton of cash for decorating.  Of course, this isn't a problem if you are sufficiently able to start where you are and use what you have. In this case, I had several bottles of acrylic paint, some painter's tape, a can of white spray paint, and a couple of canvases.

The fuse box in my rental home is located on the dining room wall, and is quite the lovely eyesore.  I wanted to cover it without purchasing a large piece of art.  Here is what I did in the wee hours of a sleepless night.

I started out by dragging paint in vertical lines using dry paper towels as paintbrushes. Now, of course if you have brushes, go for it, but I made do with what I had available.

I personally chose to start with my lighter colors and move gradually darker. Then, I rubbed a thin layer of silver metallic paint over the entire canvas for dimension.

The next part is probably the most tedious part of the whole process.  I started by cutting about 8 billion 3 inch strips of blue painter's tape and affixed them over the acrylics in a herringbone pattern.  You are more than welcome to measure these out and make your spacing perfect, but you know what I always say.....perfection ruins a good project.

Once I had all of my tape in place, I selected a few strips to remove for an added flair.  Everything not covered in tape will become white in the next step, so make sure if you remove some pieces, you still are able to maintain the lovely pattern you just so painstakingly created.

Once I had my tape strips just as I wanted them, I headed outside to spray paint white over the entire surface of the canvas. Please make sure that when you perform this step you are outdoors in a well ventilated area.  Spray paint is no joke!

As soon as I had coated the entire canvas in white spray paint, I peeled away all of my tape strips.  You want to do this step while the paint is still fresh and wet.  If you wait for it to dry, the tape will peel the paint away with it.

Voila!  A finished work of art.  Now to repeat all of those steps for my second canvas.  Of course, you can do one, two, or even more of these in the color variation that best suits your decor and style.  Right now, my entire home is done in quite random colors.  The kitchen has vibrant shades of so many colors that just about anything would fit.  Use your best judgement on what colors to select.

Once I finished, I hung both canvases on my dining room wall.  Care to guess which is hiding that big ole mess of a fuse panel??

I'll give you a hint: It's the one on the left.  I think that later I'll probably go back and add some vinyl wording above the canvases or some other pieces just to add to the look, but I am pretty pleased with how this project turned out considering it was a spur of the moment, midnight project. 

How do yours look?  I bet you did an awesome job!

Thank you so much for bearing with me during my extended break.  As a is a picture of my little crazy man when he first woke up this morning.  Imagine how fun this was to tame before school!

Happy crafting, and stay tuned. I'll be posting again soon....promise!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Stereo Cabinet Refinish

I naturally have a love for all things crafty, but as a mom I also have a love for all things thrifty.  I have been wanting desperately to refinish an older piece of furniture.  The problem...the only older pieces of furniture I already own are family heirlooms that I wouldn't sand or paint to save my life.  I couldn't bear the thought of sanding my grandmother's furniture.  If you have looked around for older furniture pieces, you know that people often ask way more than a piece is truly worth just because they can tag it with the word "antique" or "retro."  This drives me bonkers, but in a world where re-purposing is trending, what is a girl to do?  After a few days of scouring local yard sale pages I finally found an inexpensive piece that I fell in love with.

Sure, it didn't look like much, but for some reason this piece gave me vision.  I was immediately drawn to the geometric design of the cutouts around what used to be the speaker vents.  I just knew that I could give this piece a little love and new life.  When I picked the piece up, the furniture dealer who had posted the piece gave me a little background story on the cabinet.  Apparently the girl who had sold it had been given the piece by her father.  He had converted the top areas into a drawer and a cabinet and put the plaid inserts into the speaker vents in the early 80s for her to use the piece as a tv stand and have storage. Her father had told her at the time that she would have to live with the piece forever because of how much work he put into converting it for her.  I don't know why she got rid of the piece, but I was happy to carry on her father's "make it do" spirit.

The first thing you want to do when refinishing any piece of furniture is to go in and remove any hardware you don't want painted and in this case, any fabric panels that need removing and replacing.  You will see in later pictures that I left the hardware on the front of the piece attached.  While I would like to claim that this was a purposeful design choice, the fact is that the handles are attached with specialized furniture screws I don't have tools for.

The next step for any refinish project is of course to wipe down any debris from the piece and sand it down.  If  I were wanting to stain this piece a different shade, I would have needed to sand it down to the bare wood all over.  Since I was going to paint over it and distress it, I took the topper down to the bare wood grain, but just gave the rest of the piece a good sanding to remove the shiny finish so that the paint would stick. For this step, you want to use a coarse grain sandpaper or sanding block.  If you shop at a certain blue home improvement store, the sandpaper is sorted into strip, smooth, and finish.  You want to select a block from the strip section.  This is what the top of the cabinet looked like when I got it down to the bare wood.

Sanding can be a lot of hard work, but the fun part is coming.  For the paint color, I selected "Betsy Ross House" by Valspar.  I purchase the paint plus primer version in an interior semi-gloss.  The color is a very bright turquoise that leans more toward blue.  For this project I could have gotten away with a single quart and had some leftover, but I got two quarts just in case I needed to repaint the whole piece or in case I wanted to paint anything else to match later.  Better safe than sorry.

I popped my paint open and went to town, making sure I got down into each little cutout.  Design tip: if you are planning to distress a piece and want to do less distressing work, don't saturate your brush with paint in the same way you would to paint say a wall.  Using less paint on your brush will allow brush strokes to shine through and automatically give it that worn look.  I just painted over the hardware and am actually happy with the way that turned out.  If you don't want painted hardware, just remove it or tape over it before you start painting.

While I waited for the paint to dry so that I could distress the piece, I went ahead and recovered the fabric panels.  The fabric on these was TERRIBLE.  It was a really awful brown plaid upholstery fabric.  Think the most horrible late 70s couch EVER.  So what did I do?  I replaced it with the most horrible, putrid gold polyester suit fabric that was handed down to me from my great grandmother.  I have no idea what drew me to this fabric, but for the project at hand it just felt right.  At this point I was sending nervous text messages to my friends asking if it sounded like I was maybe losing my mind for choosing this fabric.

At any rate, I just popped the staples out to remove the old fabric.  Then I place the wood panels on top of the new fabric I selected and cut the fabric leaving enough margin to wrap it to the back of the panels and staple in place.

Once I had the fabric cut out, I stapled it all into place around the back of the panels making sure to tuck in the corners.  For this step you want to take note of how thick your plywood panels are as opposed to how long your staple legs are.  I would really hate for someone to do this project and staple wood panels down to their floors. (Not that I did that...ok I did, but the floors are vinyl plank, so the holes closed back up)

Once I had finished recovering the panels and the paint dried on the cabinet, I went back in with a fine grain sandpaper block to distress it a bit.  I don't usually like things to look super distressed, so the picture here is about the most distressed spot on the whole cabinet.  For this step you want to use a sanding block with a fine grain that is from the finish section of the sandpaper aisle.  Please excuse the little peep of finger in the bottom right corner.

Once I distressed the cabinet to the desired level, I reinstalled the fabric panels.  Then I stepped back to admire my handy work.

 At the end of the day, I am SO happy that I chose the fabric that I did.  I love the way the putrid gold polyester pops against the Betsy Ross House blue.  I can't say for certain, but I think the girl's dad would be happy to see the piece brought back to life to be loved for many more years.

Here is a before and after shot so that you get the whole effect.

Have you tried any restoration projects of your own?  Comment and let me know about it.

Happy Crafting