Thursday, August 11, 2011

Faux Whitewash Goodwill Piece (~$20)

This was a great Goodwill find! $10 and in decent shape. It was plain wood laminate at time of purchase.  The idea was to make it look like an old, beloved book that has been reread throughout one's life.

First Step: Sanding
Second Step: Primer
Third Step: "Whitewash"
I achieved this effect by using white acrylic paint. It's very thick and dries quickly, making the coat very uneven. Perfect for a distressed appearance. I did two coats but you could really get away with one.
Fourth Step: Distressing
This needs to be done before the paint dries.  I used a wet washcloth and simply wiped away the paint around some edges and corners.  Once the paint had dried I took a razor blade to the top and scraped away some paint to achieve a "chipping" effect.
Fifth Step: Accenting
I used a color called "calypso sky", also acrylic for the drawer pulls and door knobs, as well as the bottom molding.  
(I felt that the sides were too bare so I accented them with this color also. See bottom for instructions.)

 Inside the doors I used torn pages from an old, yellowing book and decoupaged them with diluted Elmer's.
Continuing with the theme of "old book" I printed out some very large font Times New Roman letters, placed them under clear contact paper, traced, and then cut the contact paper to create stencils.  Since the contact paper has an adhesive side it lays perfectly still while you paint within the stencil.  I created the blurred, printing press look by wiping the black paint with a wet washcloth and making fingerprint smudges around the letters.

This is a birthday present for my best friend so in order to make it special I summoned all her friends to think of ONE word that describes her best.  Using one of the same pages I used for the insides of the doors, I printed those words as though they were a paragraph in a book, with her first name as the chapter heading.  I put a very small amount of glue on the back of the page and placed it to the right of the word "loved".  

Then I finished the whole piece with satin polyurethane, (although I think matte would have been more in keeping with the old, distressed look). 

Finally, since the purpose for this piece is to house her jewelry boxes, I added ten eye hooks to each side for long necklaces.  I also put a chain across each door for fishhook earrings.

Here you can see one hook in the top left side of the piece.  I added nine more to this side and ten to the opposite side.
Side Accents: I removed one of the drawer pulls with a screwdriver.  Holding it in place on a piece of clear contact paper, I carefully traced around the edges.   I then cut out the shape with an x-acto knife and discarded it.  I removed the paper backing of the contact paper, exposing the adhesive, and placed it directly on the side of the cabinet.  I used a wet sponge to dab the paint within the stencil and then removed the contact paper carefully.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Lentils for Dummies ($1)

I have a friend who doesn't cook.  She lives above people who are constantly cooking Indian food, thus making her fiend for the heavenly spices and textures of Krishna's cuisine.  I am going to surprise her with this tonight:
1. Jar of dry lentils.
2. Jar of Indian spices.
3. Easy instructions on how to cook Indian food.

Here's what I did:
1. Purchase 1 bag lentils for 1 dollar.
2. Paper mache a glass jar.

3. Type, print, and cut out instructions for cooking lentils.

4. Glue instructions to pretty Mulberry paper. (Can be purchased at Dollar Tree for, you guessed it, one dollar.)
5. Wait for everything to dry.
6. Thread a pretty ribbon through the instructions.
7. Ta-da! 10 Indian meals in a jar!
8. Don't forget the jar of spices.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Key Organizer($0)

3 clean tuna cans (no lids)
tape (any kind)
3 metal eye hooks with anchors (you will need a power drill to make the holes for them)
paint and paintbrush
1. Drill a small hole into anywhere along the side of each tuna can.
2. Screw a metal eye hook into each hole, making sure to insert it into the anchor on the other side of the hole.

 3. Paint each tuna can with acrylic or tempera paint.
 4. Line up all three tuna cans so that the eye hooks are parallel. Tape them together where they meet.

5. Attach to wall with thumbtacks, nails, picture hangers, et c.
6. Hang your keys on it. :)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Crafting with VHS Tapes - CraftStylish

I found this at CraftStylish.
Sooo many VHS tapes are just taking up space in my apartment but I can't make myself throw them out.
This is a great upcycle.

Pants Box-$0-$2

I made this bc my boyfriend is addicted to magazines. And they are always all over the place.

What you need:
A box-whatever size you need, but roughly about the size of your hips (you'll see why in a minute)
A pair of old pants you'll never wear again
Contact Paper
An old belt (optional)
Ribbon or felt
Stapler and glue

1. Assemble the box normally on one side. On the other side cut off all four flaps.
2. Strengthen the corners with packing tape.
3. Strengthen the whole thing with contact paper.
At this point you have what looks like a box, except open on one end and covered in clear, adhesive plastic.
4. Place your old pair of pants around the box just as you would around yourself.
5. Cut off the excess pant legs leaving just enough material that you can fold and tape down on the end of the box that is closed, as if you're wrapping a present.
6. Use epoxy or other strong glue to adhere the fabric to the bottom of the box.
7. At the opposite end (the open end) staple around the perimeter of the top. Make sure your staples are going through both the cardboard and the fabric. Staple from the outside-in so that the rough parts are inside of the box.
8. Using ribbon or felt, glue around the inside perimeter of the box to cover up the rough staples.
9. If adding a belt, put it through the belt loops and buckle it.
Obviously the applications for this are limited only to your needs. 
Use prettier fabric to make storage for your crafts, yarn, et c.
Use children's clothes to make Pants Boxes to organize their toys.
Use pants with more pockets for more storage.
Send me your pics!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Retro Kitchen Art

What you'll need for this:
epoxy or other strong glue
empty can of tuna
8 wooden spoons
acrylic paint and paintbrush or sponge brush
picture hanger or other means of hanging on wall

I recently moved into an average apartment with average rooms and average walls.  This meant my kitchen was, of course, average. 

And very white. 

And very ugly.

I decided I needed something, big, bold and Free to put on the ugly wall.

As always when I need inspiration I took a trip down the aisles of Tarzhay. I drooled over the ironic, the kitschy, the ultra-modern-but-super-retro-at-the-same-time. I lamented my empty walls and emptier wallet. 

My eyes focused in on a print in a one-foot squared, silver frame. The print was of brightly colored and intersecting cutlery on a white background. I thought:

Wow, Targ├ęt has kitchen art of stuff you have in your kitchen! 

Then my head exploded.

After cleaning up the mess, I gathered 8 wooden spoons of various size and an empty can of tuna fish.  

After asking for the obligatory Fb opinions I decided the color of the spoons should be a smooth chocolately brown.

                  ---runs out to get some smooth chocolately chocolate---

I used Folk Art brand acrylic paint #462, Burnt Umber. I knew the wood would absorb a lot of the color so I choose something a little darker than chocolate.

This is what I came up with at first:

I guess I was thinking it was going to look something like a sunburst.

But then I decided I didn't like that idea.

So I turned the spoons around.

And went for something like this.  (<---click to see much cooler versions of this project I made)

I used epoxy to attach the spoons to the back of the tuna can. This was both efficient and made a more interesting piece by adding some depth with having the open part of the can facing out.

I did have a little trouble getting the spoons to attach. Because the outer ends were heavier than the ends glued to the can they kept being pulled down, thus releasing the adhesion. This was fixed by adding a piece of cardboard to the back so that the spoons were then sandwiched between it and the cardboard.

In order to hang it on the wall I put in a picture hanger, making sure to drive the small nails through the actual spoon of course.

And this is how she ended up:

2 sets of four wooden spoons, 88 cents each
Folk Art paint, 89 cents

*It has been brought to my attention that this piece would make a great clock. Personally I wanted the focus to be on the materials I used, not on its function as a clock but it could easily be modified to add a clock to the center piece.