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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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.

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…

 

TV cabinet repaint

So after my fireplace success I looked to the left and the TV cabinet was the obvious choice for my next project. It was bought originally from IKEA for a fair bit of money and has very useful cable holes drilled into the back and good storage so I didn’t want to get rid of it. However, the pine effect won’t work with the clean, bright, classic look I eventually want for the room.  See it here in original form with another photo of the original fireplace.

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After a few experiments with shades of grey I decided to go with the same white furniture paint as I used for the fireplace (the walls will eventually be a light shade of grey for contrast). I used 3/4 coats on the visible areas and 2 on the inside…

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Then finished the job with wax and some new handles, vintage clock faces which I ordered from amazon. Overall I’m pleased but it hasn’t got the wow factor I’d really like so I may need to revisit it in the future. Any thoughts and ideas would be greatly appreciated so please share!

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Reminder to self – take more and better photos! Here’s what I used for this project…

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Next to face the brush: very old and falling-apart piano stool which needs painting and recovering…but I might paint the fabric instead.