Wednesday, October 23, 2013

DIY $10 Living Room Table

One of the best parts about living in an older, small town, is all of the antique and thrift stores in the downtown area. Although often times furniture is overpriced or junk, there are always a few special items that can be turned into something nice. I came across one of these hidden treasures two years ago when I went to one of my local thrift stores that normally just boasts overpriced junk. After searching the store, I had almost given up when I came across a little $10 square-top table around the outside of the store. Although it was not much to look at originally, I figured with some paint I could use it in my room.

The Process:
1. The first step was to sand the little guy. This project was done before I got an electric sander, so I slaved over the table for a couple hours, sanding every inch by hand.  

2. Next, I needed to wash it off. 
3. This third step was optional, but I wanted the table to look old. I also wanted the table to look a little beaten, so I grabbed some scissors, a screw driver, and anything else pointy, and made some dents and scrapes on a couple of the corners, as well as along one of the legs. In order to keep these from being painted over I rubbed wax on them to serve as a sealant. For safe measure, I also put a very thin layer of Vaseline on the marks too. 

4.  To "age" it, I simply set a couple chunks of steel wool in a tub of apple cider vinegar for about two hours. After letting the vinegar soak into the steel wool, I took it out and scrubbed the wool all over the table. I did this twice, and by the second coat, the table turned a darker shade, and looked almost a little rotten. I let this dry, and for some reason didn't take any photos, so you'll have to trust me that the wood got darker.
5. Next, I found some primer that we had sitting around the garage and painted one coat on.

6. Finally, I grabbed some very light mint/blue paint that I'd used on a previous project, and put two coats on, let it dry, and wiped off the vaseline and candle wax to reveal my "beaten" table look. These pictures give you an idea of the change in color that the table made after spreading the apple cider vinegar and steel wool on. Unfortunately, I don't have the paint cans any longer to share exactly what type, brand, and color I used. However, I do believe that it was an Interior Flat paint.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Don't Mess With Texas

During Purdue's October break I took an awesome four-day trip down to Houston Texas to visit and relax. I have an awful habit of either not remembering my camera, or simply forgetting to take pictures. I'd like to think that my lack of photography motivation is because I'm enjoying the moment too much, but its probably just forgetfulness. Either way, these are the photos I did manage to take during my trip, and although there are some gaps, they relay the story of my Houston adventure pretty well. Side note: There are a couple of delicious looking food snapshots, so if you're hungry I advise against looking.

On the first full day, we went to breakfast at this small waffle cafe that I can't even remember the name of because the waffles were so incredibly mind blowing. The rest of the day, not photographed as per usual, consisted of kayaking and some Texas two step at a country bar.

The second day began with a hearty, meat-filled, late breakfast at a BBQ joint/gas station, followed by exploration of downtown Houston and it's parks. We ended up getting lost in a very nice part of one of Houston's suburbs and found an old movie theater that played independent films. After our movie, we were greeted by a crazy beautiful sunset while walking down the street to grab a bite at a Japanese restaurant.  

Gavelston was our next, and possibly best, stop. Seafood, fortune-telling robots, and tourist shops galore! We played around Galveston for a couple hours, then took a ferry over to Bolivar Peninsula. At first it looked as though the most interesting part of Bolivar was going to be the ferry ride over, but then we found the beach...

My final day in Texas consisted solely of touring Johnson Space Center Houston. As the government is shut down, a lot of the official buildings were closed, but we went into the museum, touched some moon rocks, and took a tram tour that finished with the Saturn V. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

DIY Painted Rug

In the beginning stages of planning my room, I would have never thought that I’d end up with a softer color pallet because I normally side with reds, teals, deep purples, and anything bold. However, as I began planning it all out I realized that every project I had in my head was either a baby blue or light pink. The final decision came when I went home for a visit last school year and decided on a whim that I was going to stencil paint a rug. I went to Lowes and picked out a plain beige rug from their discount bin. The idea I had in my head was of this beige rug with baby blue, almost periwinkle, designs. That ended up not working out too well, as stenciling a rug is harder than I had imagined. I did some research and read blogs about how to stencil a rug, and finally went out to purchase my products.

The Process:
1. Like I said, I started with a rug from Lowes, but I also grabbed some baby blue acrylic paint from Michael’s, and a stencil from Hobby Lobby.
2. The next step was to vacuum the rug just to make sure all the dust and dirt particles were off.
3. Then, I lined up my stencil and used blue painter’s tape to tape it down. This is where things got tricky. I began dabbing paint onto the open part of the stencil so that there was enough paint to cover the surface of the rug, but not enough so that it seeped and leaked into the design. Once it dried and I picked up my stencil this is what it looked like:

As you can see, there’s only a faint outline of a design. I’m not sure if I should have painted it a different method, or if the rug was too thick for a stencil, or even if the stencil was too intricate, but whatever the case, I was not a fan. This is where my stencil rug turned into a striped rug.
4. Once I decided on stripes for my rug, I had to measure out even stripes that would allow for the first stripe to completely cover my failed attempt at stenciling, while also allowing for two more stripes equidistant away from one another. 
5. Once the measuring was all finished and I was satisfied with my stripe sizes, I taped to the edge of where my colored stripes would be painted and went to town.

6. I was na├»ve enough to think that this project could be done with two small bottles of acrylic paint. Needless to say, an additional trip to Michael’s was required. After about five hours and two coats each stripe, I finally got my stripes covered. I made a small chair barrier around it to deter my cats from walking on it and tracking blue paint all over my house, and let the paint dry over night. 
7. The final step was simply to take the painter’s tape off once the paint was dry. 

This is how it turned out:

Also, this third picture is an accurate portrayal of the colors.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

DIY Wall Cubby

My family is currently in the process of moving, so my mom BEGS me to take anything and everything  from our house back to school whenever I visit. I came back from one trip home with a dozen new items from my house, among them were eight boxes that each fit inside one another like Matryoshka dolls. I immediately decided that I'd put them together, hang them, and put trinkets on all of the levels. 

The Process:
1. First, I had to figure out how I wanted to place them together. After a couple different designs I finally settled on the order in the above picture. 
2. Next came staining. It took three coats and a span of three days to get them the color I wanted. I used Minway Polyshades Stain in Honey Satin.
3. Once they were fully dry, I put them back in the order I planned for them and grabbed my hot glue gun. This method of gluing the sides to one another is perhaps not the most reliable, but I wanted to finish them quickly and as least costly as possible. Another way would be to fasten them together with screws, but I already had a glue gun and glue so I figured that it would work just as well.
4. My hanging method is also a little questionable, but my landlord advised against putting too many holes in the wall, so I turned to trusty command strips. Considering that I wanted to put a decent amount of weight in these cubbies, I bought a package of 12 velcro command strips and used them all. I put one strip on each of the three smallest boxes, three on the largest box, and dispersed the remaining command strips on the other boxes. It has been hanging in my room for at least two months now and hasn't budged, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
5. The fifth and final step was just hanging the boxes on the wall.

I filled the boxes with pictures, candles (not to be burned obviously), and other trinkets. I also ended up buying little gold hooks that I screwed into the largest bottom box so that it could double as a necklace holder. 
Also, I recently found a website that sells honeycomb shaped wall cubbies, here, that I'm absolutely in love with, but one is enough for me.

DIY Recovering a Chair Cushion

Moving in to a new house meant many things for my roommates and I, chief among them that it was up to us to decorate. I had spent my day-dreaming time throughout the summer thinking of a color scheme and layout for my room, but put little to no thought into how the living room or kitchen would look. This was mostly because I had no furniture to contribute and therefore wasn't sure if we were going to attempt to be cohesive, or just have a shmorgishborg of mismatched furniture. However, halfway through the summer, one of my roommates announced that her parents were willing to give us four old kitchen table chairs, but that the fabric was dated and dirty. So, we accepted the challenge and took it upon ourselves to re-cover the chair cushions. 

This is how all four chairs looked originally:

The Process:
1. First, we dusted off the cobwebs and cleaned the original fabric on the cushions.
2. The seats of the chairs were held on by a single screw in each corner, so all we had to do was unscrew them and pop off the cushioned seat. 
3. After the seats were separated from the chair frame, we tightly wrapped our fabric around and used a staple gun to secure each edge to the bottom of the seat. We got our material at JoAnn Fabrics; we used very thin cotton fabrics, but kept the older, more thick, original fabric underneath for support. 
4. Next, we grabbed a hammer and secured each of the giant staples into the wood by simply whacking them.
5. Then, for an added touch we cleaned and polished the wood frame.
6. The final step was simply to put the seats back on the frame, which just meant tightening the screws back in with a screwdriver, and voila!

This is the finished project:

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

DIY Quick Dresser Makeover

Towards the end of the summer I was convinced that my new room in the house I was moving into at school was much too small to fit anything other than my queen-size bed and a shelving unit. Upon moving in at the beginning of the school year and unpacking said shelf and bed, I realized I had vastly underestimated the size of my room. Thankfully, my mom, being the all-knowing person that she is, held on to an old cheap dresser for me. 

Although it wasn't much to look at, I figured the free, boring dresser was better than buying a nice one, especially for someone with textbook fees fast approaching. Of course, however, a small weekend makeover was necessary so that it would fit in with the design plan of my room.

The Process:
1. I began by wiping it down to exterminate any cobwebs, and clear off the dust. 
2. Then, and this step is CRUCIAL, I checked to see if the dresser was made out of real wood. Turns out, it is not. I had once assumed it was, and planned on having to sand it. Had I gone through with that plan, the pretend wood surface would have been forever noticeably scratched. 
3. With sanding no longer needed, I unscrewed the knobs on the drawers. The original handles were held in with two screws, whereas the new knobs from Hobby Lobby would be held in with one screw. Therefore, I had to fill in the two holes. To fill them, I used a quick dry putty and just pushed it in and smoothed the surface. Then, I grabbed a drill and placed a new hole equally between the two that I'd just filled in.
4. I opted for spray paint instead of the usual can and brush for this project because I had limited time and since the surface was a type of plastic sticker, I needed the finish to be flawlessly smooth. I used Rust-Oleum Universal Black with a Satin finish. WARNING: if you ever use the Universal spray paint, cover everything within a twenty-foot radius. This spray paint is so thick that the little paint cloud that normally just flies off into oblivion will coat whatever it comes in contact with. I did this on my driveway almost two months ago and my parents still claim that there are awkward black lines from where the spray paint breached my newspaper barrier. 
5. Once the spray paint dried (it only took one coat, but about an hour to dry) I twisted in the new knobs, wiped off the excess black residue, and I was finished. 

Here's how it turned out:

My mom also donated a hallway table to my furniture fund, but it too needed a little sprucing. For a cohesive look I did the same process on the hallway table as well and stuck it at the head of my bed as a makeshift headboard/bedside table. Here's an Instagram picture I took of the hallway table post makeover:


Welcome to my blog, my name is Catherine! I am majoring in communications at Purdue, and I figured a blog would be a good way to ensure that I write a little each week. This will simply be an outlet for all of the projects and ideas I have already finished and am currently working on. Here you will find DIY projects, recipes, tips, and bits of nonsense. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to comment. Thanks for stopping by!