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!!

 

 

TV Cabinet/sideboard stencil and border

As you may remember, I wanted to improve on my TV cabinet repaint by doing a little something extra to make it stand out. This inevitably led to DI-WHY?? (stencil-style) but after some rework and a bit of practise I am really pleased with the results. This…

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Now looks like this…

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Much improved I think!

When I finally got the stencilling right the doors looked like this…

I was fairly pleased but still felt like something was missing and decided to try to do a border around the doors to frame the stencil pattern. Knowing I don’t have the steadiest of hands I did some research and ordered a ‘paint pen’ in grey (never knew these existed before). I edged one cupboard door, did a bit of comparison…

And decided I liked it so got to work.

Initially I thought this would be a fairly quick job, but the more ‘edges’ I lined with the paint pen the more edges I saw that looked like they needed edging and then the top looked bare, then the sides, etc. etc. so I just kept going.  I even turned down a glass of wine to keep my hands as steady as possible (people who know me are probably now in shock.) At first my lines were a bit wobbly but the more I did the quicker and steadier I got. Also, the best thing about the pen is that it takes a while to dry and can be wiped away with a bit of kitchen roll and water very easily when a mistake is made (lots of slips and wobbles were made by me, despite the lack of wine!) The only thing I’m not sure on is how well it will stand up to daily wear and tear.

Here’s the obligatory ‘before and after’…

  And another close up of the cupboard doors.

I’m pleased with the final result and can see it looking even better with the right walls, carpet and accessories. I’d love to know what you think? I would also definitely stencil again, and will probably be buying lots more paint pens in different colours.

I’m currently working on a new project: repainting some chairs and a table in bright colours (hooray!) to eventually be used as a craft table for the kids. Watch this space! Here’s what I used for this project…

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DI-WHY?? (stencil-style)

For the last couple of weeks I’ve been trawling Pinterest for inspiration on how to make my TV cabinet repaint a bit more interesting. I came across some lovely pictures of painted units on my hunt and narrowed it down to 2 options:

1. Use wallpaper or contact paper to cover the panel in the doors or the back of the shelf section.

I really liked this idea and it seemed easy but I was a bit worried the paper might start peeling off and look awful fairly quickly.

2. Stencil!

This involved painting and I had a little pot of Rust-oleum chalk paint in ‘flint’ that was begging to be used so I decided to go with this option.

How hard could it be? In fact, I remembered helping my mum to stencil a border around the kitchen when I was a teenager (all the rage back then) so surely I already knew what to do? One fact I forgot was that my longterm memory isn’t so great.

I found a stencil online from ‘idealstencils.co.uk’ and even bought some Rust-oleum ‘quick drying low tack adhesive’ so that I could do a really professional job. Nothing could go wrong! This TV cabinet was about to be transformed…

Due to impatience (previously mentioned) I looked at lots of pretty pictures of amazing furniture but didn’t really read in detail how to actually DO stencilling. It seemed pretty straightforward. Big mistake!

Error 1 was to happily paint the adhesive directly onto the cupboard door and stick the stencil on it (thinking I was following the instructions on the back of the tin correctly). Almost straightaway I started having doubts. The areas to be stencilled felt pretty sticky (not paint-friendly) but  I optimistically assumed the adhesive would magically disappear when needed or have no effect on the paint so I carried on. Error 2: I chose a mini roller for the job, partly because it was new and cute and I wanted to try it out. Then the nightmare began. Each time I rolled the paint up and down it slipped on the adhesive and disappear in patches. I tried a brush but that was even worse so went back to the roller and just kept on waiting a bit, trying again, waiting a bit etc. until I had a vaguely even covering of paint. Surely it would all turn out ok? (sometimes I take a while to catch on). Due to all the coats of paint I didn’t dare take the stencil off straight away so left it overnight to dry.

In the morning I proudly lifted off the stencil to find – Tada!! This awful mess…

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Left with no other choice I used a sander (and sharp finger nail) to scrape it all off, touched up the peeled off white paint, painted another coat of white paint and was ready to try again (all this with 2 children running around.) This time I did a little research, painted the adhesive onto the stencil (correct!), left it to dry for a bit (correct!) and selected a round brush with a dab technique (correct!) A few minutes later this was revealed…

Still a lot of marks from bleeding paint!! Aggghhhh!! And then I had to deal with more bleeding from 3-year-old’s teeny tiny papercut that went everywhere (will it teach her not to snatch things from her brother? Unlikely.)

Despite having the right technique, I needed a fair bit of practise to get used to using the right amount of paint on the brush. Fortunately, I have finally had some good results so hope to post the finished result soon. I’m also waiting for the arrival of a ‘paint pen’ which I’m hoping to use to do some border work on the unit (fingers crossed for no more DI-Why?!? issues).

The take away message is that stencilling is not easy, or at least not for impatient not-very-artistic beginners like me!

Pine Chest of Drawers Makeover

The chest of drawers is finally finished – hooray! And I have to say I’m very pleased. I’ve learnt a few things from this project and had a few minor disasters along the way (of course) but this is how I did it…

The chest of drawers is made of pine, which scratches so easily that I will be tiptoeing around it very carefully now it’s finished. Because of this it had quite a lot of big scratches on it already, especially on the top, so I decided it was the perfect time to get out my husband’s electric sander. After lots of fun feeling like a DIY pro with my mask and power tools the chest looked like this…

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It was at this point that I realised I should maybe have used wood filler on the biggest cracks as I intended to varnish the top and didn’t want a patchy look. I ended up having to do quite a lot more sanding to even it out a bit more (creating a LOT of dust!)

After sanding the top I roughly sanded down the rest of the chest and filled in some cracks and dents with wood filler (see orange patches in the picture above). This project ends up involving quite a lot of sanding as you will see! Then I got started on varnishing the top with Ronseal interior varnish in ‘Satin Medium Oak.’

I ended up doing 3 coats of varnish after mistakenly painting against the grain for the first coat (faint stripes still visible in the wrong direction). In the end it wasn’t perfect but still looked pretty good so it was time to start painting.

My struggles with chalk paint are outlined in my last post How to paint without leaving brush strokes and bobbles. I have since learnt that it also helps to add a bit of water to chalk paint to make it go on more smoothly. Anyway, for a smoother finish I ended up doing a light sand in between coats (of Rust-oleum chalk paint in ‘Winter Grey’) with one of these amazing things…

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Two coats was enough for most of it and the chest now looked like this (minus the drawers)…

Check out the fitted wardrobes in the background – definitely a future project.

Now it was time to put the new handles on. I wanted shaker-style drawer pulls and chose some from Screwfix in ‘antique brass’ because they looked nice, weren’t too expensive and were fixed with screws through the front (I thought I might have a DI-Why?? moment if I tried to drill through the back of the drawers). Because the wood was so soft and I didn’t want to scratch the new handles I did some careful measuring and used a manual screwdriver. I then forced myself to get on and cover the whole chest with one coat of Rust-oleum furniture finishing wax for protection. Here is the finished result…

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I love it! And here’s another photo now it’s back in place in the spare room…


And a close up of the varnished top…

Unfortunately all pictures are slightly ruined by the hideous decor that is still in every room of the house (but hopefully for only a few months longer.) Here’s what I used for the project…

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I’m still deciding on my next project but if the weather improves I might move outside and try out spray paint for the first time (very excited about this!) Watch this space…

 

DI-WHY??

While I get on with the chest of drawers project I thought I’d own up to a couple of disasters that occurred while painting the piano stool. I’m quite prone to these small disasters and like to call them…

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In fact, if I’m being honest I first directed the term towards my husband when he tried to put a TV up on the wall. As you may have guessed it fell off. And broke. And we’d had it less than a day. Ouch.

Anyway, I have a tendency to get a bit impatient and rush things. As I mentioned in my piano stool post I needed to glue the legs in on one side as they kept coming out of the main frame. I put some glue where I thought it should be and then tried to push the two bits together by hand. This got me nowhere so I picked up the nearest thing to hand and start bashing (deeming the mallet in the under the stairs cupboard too far away.) Unfortunately, my object of choice was a pot of wood varnish that I’d just bought for the chest of drawers. After about 2 whacks the lid popped off and every drop of varnish poured out all over the carpet (yes I hadn’t even thought to use the bottom of the tin.) In my rush to clear up I then knelt on the tube of superglue that I had left on the floor with the lid off. Then got it on my hands. Then tried to peel some off and peeled off some skin as well. Then had to wear a jungle animals plaster for the next 3 days.

Fortunately all of the carpets in the house are currently 70’s hideous and so the fact that a big patch is now crunchy and discoloured doesn’t really matter. My jeans, however, are ruined (yes it was one of those occasions when I hadn’t changed my clothes first.) I also had to buy a new tin of varnish which added to the cost of the project. My finger is now mostly recovered, though I’m now sporting a jungle animals plaster on the other hand after managing to grate my thumb (I really need to buy some adult plasters.)

Hopefully I’ve learnt a bit from the experience and will strive to do better next time. I suspect, however, this won’t be the last time a DI-WHY?? moment occurs.

Quick update on the chest of drawers…I used an electric sander for the first time today and it was FUN!!

 

Piano Stool Makeover: Wood and Velvet Repaint

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My very very old, falling-apart piano stool had been in desperate need of a makeover for years and last week I finally got around to starting it. Step one was a bit of glue as one side kept coming loose. Then I got the Rust-oleum satin furniture paint in ‘Cotton’ out yet again (I promise I’ll use more interesting colours soon!)

After 4 coats on the visible bits and 2 on the rest it looked better but the velvet top was still in need of recovering. I do own a staple gun but this velvet was nailed to the actual wood and the seat does not detach so staples weren’t really an option. I considered getting some new fabric, taking the old nails out and using them to hammer on the new fabric (or using new ones if necessary). However, I’d been reading up about using paint on velvet and other fabrics and since it was such a small piece I thought I’d give it a try. I could always recover it later if everything went wrong and I do love my paint. Here’s the stool before…

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I used Dylon fabric paint in navy, which I could pick up from my local Hobbycraft (again I was impatient to wait) and which claimed to keep the material soft. Unfortunately the pots are really tiny so I ended up buying four to do two coats. I’ve since realised you can buy a bigger pot, but quite a lot bigger so only worth it if you’re doing a large chair or sofa. I was really pleased with the results…

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The fabric is not quite as soft but still feels and looks like velvet and I love the rich colour. You can also iron the fabric to lock the colour in.

All that was left to do was put a trim around it. I used some velvet ribbon from Hobbycraft that I bought for under £2. Then the usual wax and it was finished…

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All in all I’m very pleased. It looks loads better and cost hardly anything to do up. Result! And I will definitely be painting more fabric in the future as it’s so easy. As long as you’re not painting a really comfortable sofa I don’t think the slight decrease in softness is a big problem. Here’s what I used for the project…

 

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For my next project I’m tackling a chest of drawers. And (shock horror) I won’t be painting it white!