Lego storage box

Following my Lego Decoupage: chest of drawers project I caught the Lego bug  and decided to use some of the leftover wrapping paper I had to decorate a basic storage box for my son. He got a lot of Lego for his birthday so more storage was seriously needed. I bought a basic box from B&Q to ‘do up’, fondly hoping that maybe a fun, colourful box would encourage Alex to leave less Lego on the floor and to tidy it all neatly away instead (3 guesses how that one turns out!) This is the box I bought (with a black lid) as I wanted it to be quite sturdy and to be able to secure the top.

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I painted ‘Mod Podge’ in gloss onto the box then added the paper, left it to dry and did 2 top coats leaving 20 minutes of drying time between each (as I did with the chest of drawers). Because it’s just for storage I didn’t worry too much about how well the paper overlapped or matched up. Once I’d finished that I decided to paint the lid and top of the main box blue to make it look a bit cheerier. I used some left-over Rust-Oleum chalk finish paint in ‘ink blue’. For the finishing touch I stuck a little more paper across the handle and here is the finished result:

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It definitely looks more cheerful and now houses all of Alex’s Lego train set bits to hopefully keep it in one place. The rest of the Lego still spends most of its time on the floor waiting to attack my feet!

In other news, building works have finally started on our extension – hooray!! The foundations are done so actual building will begin soon. In a few weeks I will hopefully have at least one lovely room and somewhere to take photos of my projects without scary carpets/wallpaper and curtains in the background. My Pine Chest of Drawers Makeover has also been doing well on Pinterest with over 100 pins now and it’s lovely to think that hopefully there are other people out there getting inspiration to do some furniture painting.

I have started work on the Jack and Jill chairs in the garden as well. Unfortunately the first chair took me a lot longer than I thought so only one half of the chair set is done. The builders have since taken over the garden and are now hogging the chair for their breaks!

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This will be a good test of how durable it is but I think it might be a while before I’m able to get the whole thing finished. Watch this space!

Here’s what I used for the storage box…

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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!!

 

 

Children’s Craft Table and Chairs: Part 2

It’s been a really busy couple of weeks as work has gone crazy and I’ve also been trying to train for the Nuclear Races, a very muddy, obstacle-filled run that I’m slightly dreading (by slightly I mean majorly!) This has meant I’ve been covered more in mud than paint but somehow by doing a little bit here and there I’ve finally finished the table and chairs. Here is the reveal…

I’m very happy with it and can’t wait for the kids to be able to use it whenever they want. I’m especially pleased with the first two chairs: my messy two have been sitting on them at every meal for several days now and they still have no chips or other damage. All food gunk, spills and stains have rubbed off so far. I’m not even shouting ‘WATCH MY CHAIRS!’ as many times per day as I was! The layers of wax and primer paid off.

I let the children try out the table for the first time today, in between meals, and they had so much fun. It was lovely to see them enjoying something I had made for them and getting so much out of it. Here’s some of their amazing artwork (and the odd bit of mine if you can spot the difference!)…

There’s not much more to say about how I got it all done. For the table I used 2 coats of primer and ended up using 3 coats of chalkboard paint. This was because I used a roller for a smooth finish which also means very thin coats.

Table after 1 coat

 

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Table after 3 coats

For the chairs I did exactly the same as in Part 1 although this time I waxed the seat covers before putting the backs back on just to ensure complete protection at the back. For some reason the blue seat caused me a bit of trouble this time (husband look away now) as the paint kept rubbing off when I was trying to wax it. This means I’m taking a little longer to think about painting the sofa!

The last week or so has been quite eventful as our planning permission came through for the extension we want which resulted in lots of happy-dancing and prosecco-drinking. My Uncle, who is a fantastic architect and has done all our plans, visited us last weekend to finalise a few things and I think we are almost almost ready to book our builder (hooray!). Excitement is starting to build and the carpets are looking a bit worried that their days are numbered!

Another thing my Uncle brought with him was a bag of goodies including some furniture painting books and some amazing antique drawer pulls and handles…

I can’t wait to hopefully use some of these in a future project. If anyone has an old chest of drawers or similar they want to donate I’ll happily take it!

For my next project I’m still considering painting the faux-leather sofa. I also have a very old Jack and Jill chair left in the garden by the previous owner which I think will look amazing once painted. Hopefully I’ll be posting again soon. Once again, if anyone wants to ensure they keep up to date by receiving email alerts please sign up at the bottom of this post. Here’s a final before and after picture…

…and what I used for the project.

Children’s Craft Table and Chairs: Part 1

I’m almost half way through my latest project: converting a table and chairs into a craft table using lots of colourful paint, so I thought it was a good time to share how I’ve been getting on.

Thank you to everyone who’s been reading along and a reminder to all who want to keep up to date that you can sign up for email alerts at the bottom of this page.

My 2 children have been sitting at this IKEA table for years and use it to eat at/play games on/generally make a mess. It’s been the scene of many arguments over who gets the green plate, who poked who etc. and looks very well used. I still like the table as it’s a good height for them and all the chairs tuck right under the table to save space. However, it’s also a very dull dark brown colour and generally covered in food stains and crumbs which I’ve given up trying to clean off…

 

  

Eventually we will get a new big family dining table so I thought this would be great in the new playroom (once done) as a craft table. It was probably very foolish of me to start the project too soon as they will still be eating at the table for a few months, but I had lots of ideas and was desperate to try them out. I justified it to myself by saying that it would be a good test of how well the table and chairs stand up to a LOT of wear and tear and decided to go for it.

After spending a fair bit of time in Homebase deciding on colours (in between telling off the children/trying to keep track of the children/taking the children to the toilet/wishing I was patient enough to wait until the children weren’t around), I got started on the first chair. The first job was to clean it and I made the children help to teach them valuable life lessons (they in fact thought it was the best game ever.) Then I lightly sanded it down and painted the whole thing, apart from the legs, using 2 coats of Dulux multi surfaces primer and undercoat.


Note the drop cloth, a shower curtain I bought from Poundland after seeing a tip on Pinterest. It’s much stronger than cheap drop cloths sold in shops and doesn’t bunch up like an old sheet so works perfectly.

When my husband came home he told me straight away I should have taken the chair apart first. This seemed like hard work and it was also a bit too late so I decided to ignore him (what does he know?!), did some taping up and painted everything but the seat pad in Rust-oleum satin finish furniture paint in ‘Teal’ (2 coats). I used a mini roller for this and it went on really smoothly. However,  it was at this stage that I started to regret not taking the chair apart. Yes, my husband was right and I did allow him a tiny bit of smugness (this is an extremely rare occurrence for him after all).

I left an area at the back which I taped up and painted with blackboard paint so the children can draw on it or write their names.

  
Then it was time for the real fun. Neon pink paint! (again from Rust-oleum). This generally went on well, although I learnt some lessons about tape which I’ll share later.  Here is the finished result…

  

Ta-da!!! Feeling the fear about how long it would look this lovely for, I also applied a coat of Valspar clear sealer multi-surface which I spray spray painted outside (fun!) Then I applied one coat of Rust-oleum wax.

My daughter absolutely loves the chair and has been allowed to sit on it (gently.) It’s not at the table yet but I still have 2 untouched chairs there for the children to use so am prolonging this for as long as possible.

Soon after, I got started on the second chair. The only difference here is that I used Rust-oleum chalky finish furniture paint in ‘ink blue’. As this is a chalk paint I didn’t use primer on the seat cover as I’ve read that chalk paint adheres very well to all different types of fabric (in this case faux-leather). I wanted to see this for myself as I have my eye on painting our big faux-leather sofa, again for the playroom. I haven’t persuaded the husband quite yet so for those who know me any help on this would be appreciated! I also took a few minutes to take the chair apart this time, which made all the difference to how easy it was to clean and paint. Here are the finished results…

 

  
And here are the lessons I learnt about taping:

  1. Use ‘frogtape’, which is amazing as you don’t get any leaks around the edges like you do with normal masking tape.
  2. Take the tape off AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. I’d stopped using the frog tape thinking that it was too strong, as when I peeled it off paint kept coming with it. However, this also happened even with very weak masking tape (hence quite a lot of retouching needed for the first chair.) I finally caught on that if removed fairly quickly no paint comes off and you get a really clean line. Result!

And so the project is half done with not too many DIWHY?? disasters. Except…I did find a can of paint had  leaked all over the plastic box it was in  and its contents, which meant a very quick clean up of a lot of paint and going to work with ‘teal’ hands. I also can’t seem to stop picking up a paintbrush without changing first (can’t fight the laziness) so I bought this creation from Poundland…

 

I feel a bit like Dexter in it but otherwise it seems to do the job.

Here’s what I used for the project…

 

Guess which one leaked?!

Watch this space for the finished result and let me know what you think about the sofa painting!

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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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…