Making Pom-Pom Cushions

Anyone who has been following my blog will know that I’m fairly new to DIY/upcycling in general and tend to stick to painting. I’ve never been particularly artistic so crafts scare me a little but last week a friend of mine organised for a group of us to do a workshop making pom-pom cushions. It sounded fun, I knew there would be help at hand if it all went wrong (yes that help was needed!) and Prosecco would also be on offer (yay!) so I jumped at the chance. The company who runs the workshop is called Me Time and you can check out their Facebook page here.

Instead of the traditional ‘2 circles of cardboard’ we used proper pom-pom makers, and I will definitely be ordering some of these as they are fab. I wanted the cushion to match the colours of my new craft table as it will eventually live in the playroom so I chose dark blue for the cushion itself and made one large pom-pom for each corner: 2 in teal, 2 in neon pink. The pom-pom making was fairly straightforward but believe it or not I managed to completely mess one of mine up (it was declared unsalvageable!) Fortunately the lovely ladies of Me Time helped me out (at one point one of them was untangling my wool while the other remade my pom-pom) so I ended up with a gorgeous cushion that I’m very happy with. Here is the finished article…

Pom-poms will definitely be featuring again in a future project (once I’ve worked out how to make them without help!)

Car-Themed Child’s Birthday Party

I’ve been crazily busy lately but thought I’d quickly catch up with something slightly different from my usual painting projects.

Alex recently turned 5 and for his party we hired out a hall and a great couple of guys who came in with go-karts and an inflatable track to keep the kids occupied (go-kartparty.co.uk). This left me to sort food and decorations.

After quite a bit of research online I decided on Grand Prix table cloths and cocktail sticks (both from Amazon) and some really fantastic plates from partypieces.co.uk. I then got a bit creative with some foil and oranges, taped them to Duplo cars and stuck strawberry and grape sticks in them. I was a bit lax with the camera but here are a few photos…

I was really pleased and my boy had an amazing day so it was all worth it. The plates especially were fantastic. The only slight problem I had was being very bruised and stiff from my Nuclear mud race the previous day. It was extremely muddy, very scary and lots of fun, though if I ever find the camera man who took this photo (among others) I will have a few choice words for him!…

I have a few painting/decoupaging plans whirling around my brain so hope to be posting these soon 🙂

Lego Decoupage: chest of drawers

I’ve been keen on trying a bit of decoupage for a while now and saved many a pin on Pinterest to repeatedly browse through. For those of you who don’t have a clue what decoupage is (like me until recently) it’s basically a technique where you use paper or fabric to cover/decorate your furniture or other items, e.g. vases, glasses etc. I’ve saved some of my favourites on my Pinterest ‘decoupage’ board if anyone fancies a look (see below for general link to my Pinterest). At first I was a bit put off by the fact that it sounds really complicated and professional, but I gradually realised that in essence it’s gluing stuff onto other stuff.

A couple of weeks ago I took the next step by ordering some ‘Mod Podge’ on a whim from Amazon…

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This product can be used for both the bottom and top coat layers for decoupage which got the thumbs up from me. I then came across a great blog all about using Mod Podge, aptly named Mod Podge rocks. I would definitely recommend a look and especially watching the videos she has done for beginners. Then it was time to have a think about what to do for my first attempt.

A couple of months ago I found some fab Lego wrapping paper in Tesco and bought a load in preparation for Alex’s 5th birthday (my boy is Lego obsessed!) What better for a first project than to use the paper to decoupage something Lego-themed for my son? I hoped this would also slightly improve his room which currently contains hideous flowery wallpaper, hideous flowery carpets and hideous flowery curtains (that have all been there since the 70’s.) Poor boy! Also on a bit of a whim, I decided I would cover the front of some of his drawers rather than opt for something smaller and safer. It was a bit of a risk but actually the whole thing went very smoothly and this is what I ended up with…

Here’s the technique I used:

  1. Measure and cut out wrapping paper to fit drawer front.
  2. Lightly sand the drawer front to create a slightly rough surface.

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3. Paint the Mod Podge on to the drawer front (a medium-think layer using a standard paint brush.)

4. Paint the Mod Podge onto the back of the wrapping paper.

5. Carefully place the paper onto the drawer front and smooth out, making sure there are no air bubbles. The Mod Podge blog recommends using a ‘Brayer’ for this but as it was sitting in my Amazon wishlist not yet ordered I used a foam roller and my hands instead. It turned out well but I will definitely be ordering the Brayer soon for a really smooth finish now that I have got the decoupaging bug!

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6.Leave to dry for 15-20 minutes.

7. Apply the first top coat of Mod Podge. I did this by painting it on to the paper then using a foam roller to smooth it out as I don’t like to see brush strokes. It goes on white but dries clear and glossy (though you can buy other finishes, e.g. matt.)

 

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can you tell I was working late?!

 

8. Using a sanding block I sanded the edges to remove any remaining bits of overhanging paper and create a clean line. See this pin I saved for an example of how this works. I found it worked well but needs a bit of practice to perfect. The other option is to cut the paper to the perfect size in the first place (not generally the way I roll!)

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9. Wait again and add a couple more layers if you like. I did 3 in total then added a spray of Valspar’s clear sealer as added insurance against knocks/scrapes but this is probably overkill!

Alex loves the drawers and I am pleased as well. I’m also considering adding some proper 3D Lego bits into the mix or maybe painting the wood or papering more so this may feature in a future update. Decoupage is definitely a fun, straightforward technique which takes relatively little time and has endless possibilities so I would highly recommend it.

Thanks for reading and for anyone who doesn’t want to miss any posts please follow as they don’t all go on my Facebook. I still have my eye on painting the old chair outside now that the weather has improved so that may be my next post (but who knows, the sofa is still a possibility despite some setbacks in the testing phase!) I forgot to take a before picture this time but since I kept one drawer of each colour the same I hope I get away with it 🙂

DI-WHY?? (chalk paint gone wrong)

You may remember me briefly mentioning in my last post that I had some trouble with the second blue chair on my craft table project. ‘Some trouble’ unfortunately turned into another DI-WHY disaster.

I first noticed a problem when I went to do the first layer of wax and realised that the brush was still wet. Paint started smearing and looking funny and the wax went cloudy so I ended up doing another coat of paint then more wax then sealer (and maybe even more, I just kept going with various brushes!) hoping it would all be o.k. Unfortunately within 5 minutes of my son Alex flopping all over it it looked like this…

 


Oh dear!

I ended up having to scrape all the paint/wax/sealer off and trying to work out what went wrong. The wet wax was definately one issue but I also suspected I had forgotten to spray down the chair with water before putting on the paint. I’ve read that if you don’t do this when painting fabric, leather etc. the paint can sit on top rather than absorb in and then crack.

So I did it all over again, with the water this time and everything seems fine now. The only problem is I haven’t got the smooth shiny finish of the other chair as all the scraping ruined the leather slightly in places. Anyway, lesson learned! The rest of the chairs are still doing well, except one which needs slight retouching after my daughter Annabel decided to bite the back of it. Furniture and teeth don’t mix! It is great having all the paint and tools at my disposal for the retouching though, something that you don’t usually have when furniture gets scratched or damaged.

I’m being very cautious about the sofa now so am doing several test runs on the backs of sofa cushions before I commit. I’m honing my technique and the kids loved being told to jump on and throw my first test cushion to their hearts’ content yesterday. It’s still a work in progress but I’m still fairly sure I’ll be giving it a go in the next few weeks.

Another thing I’m trying for the first time at the moment is decoupage (with Lego wrapping paper!) so I will hopefully be posting about that very soon. It may turn into a new obsession as it’s quick, easy and has endless possibilities. I love it!!