Archive for September, 2010

Red Chinese Phoenix Vanity

Vanity after closeupOK, I’m just too sleepy to come up with a pun-y title this morning.  If anyone wants to comment with a suggested title, I’m all ears.

This article is a continuation of the article “who says vanity is a bad thing?!

Well, here it is, the big reveal!  This is the $3 yard sale vanity I adopted months ago.  I actually finished the rehab a few weeks ago, but I have such an extensive set of after photos, I’ve been putting off posting.  I plan to include a series of articles on the how-to on this one.  But for now, just the fun stuff.

I prepped the vanity by cleaning, sanding and removing all the hardware.  I didn’t bother taping off the mirror.  I just thought I would scrape off the spray paint with a razor blade when I was done, but that was harder than I thought.  The spray paint really set and adhered much better to the glass of the mirror than I would have imagined.  If I did it over again. I would insert several pieces of plastic paper between the mirror and the frame and tape them down for a clean and easy finish. I sprayed on a white acrylic primer.  It was so pretty in that stage, I wish I took a picture.  Red paint is particularly sheer, so it was important to start with a white primer to insure a bright cherry red finish.  I used Krylon Banner Red.  It was very affordable at Walmart.  I think it took 4 bottles, but there were several places where I had to refinish due to bubbling of the finish coat.   I finished with 2 coats of a high gloss lacquer spray paint.  It did bubble in a couple of places, but I think it was due to the fact that I had left it in the sun and was spraying on a hot surface.

vanity detail dragon

vanity detail topOnce the base coat of red was complete, I hand painted the Phoenix and Dragon on the top surface using watered down acrylic paints.  I sketched it out using a light color colored pencil first and printed lots of online images to inspire and create my  own compilation of the icons.  I’ll do a step by step post on that painting in a later post.  This part was so fun.  After the top was complete, I went to the paper store (see article “Papers!“) you recommended to find a red a black paper.  I found a very inexpensive toothy tissue paper with a screened kanji pattern on it that was perfect.  I decoupaged the paper onto the vertical surfaces of the unit.  This step was really fun, too.  It was so fun, I decided to line the drawer for a special surprise inside.

vanity detail decoupage

I took process photos of the decoupage, so I will post those later, too.  I painted the hardware black and hit those with a durable clear coat of glossy spray paint.  I reattached the hardware and she was ready to go!

vanity drawerI converted a country looking stool to use as a seat.  It had a great asian profile.  I’ll post about that separately.

Sadly, I left the vanity outside under my pop-up tent for one day (intending to deliver to the furniture store the following day) and a gust of wind came and knocked the tent over crushing my newly finished vanity.  The mirror is broken and two of the legs are busted.  I kind of feel like the universe does not want anyone to ever use this vanity.  It currently sits in my shed, legless once more.  I plan to replace the two broken legs with legs from the local Habitat for Humanity Restore, a great resource for hardware and some furniture parts.  But, it was a really fun project and at least I got pictures of it before it was mangled.

Vanity Before

$3 is cheap for the cost of beauty.

vanity after

Vanity After

vanity after front

vanity after front view

vanity after detail 1

vanity after detail 1


September 22, 2010 at 2:53 pm 3 comments

Awesome Flotsam & Jetsam Art

Giant 8 foot fish made from debris found on the beachGiant 10 foot squid of found objectsCaught a fun and informative show entitled “Washed Ashore:  Plastics, Sealife and Art” while on my vacation today in Oregon at the Newport Visual Arts Center. It was a show of large installation art made completely of found objects that have drifted onto shore. I was amazed by the color and variety of objects. One display showed plastics that had been nibbled on by marine animals. It was sad to think of the creatures that had consumed this refuse.

The “fish” pictured has a hollow metal armature and plastic “scales”. The hollow belly is filled with styrofoam, a trash item commonly consumed by sealife. It is an inviting tactile display that invites you to explore with your senses.   My kids enjoyed drumming on the “bones of a whale,” and dancing in the “tentacles of a jellyfish” among other activities. Will add more detail photos and more later.  In the second photo, you can see how the bits of plastic are attached to the armature.  There is a heavy steel frame making the general shape of the fish.  Then, something like chicken wire (metal mesh) is applied.  The plastic pieces have been drilled with several holes and are then wired to the  mesh.  All in all, the show is sturdy and took the abuse of my two toddler boys quite well.  If you are in the area, it’s worth exploring, especially with children & children at heart .

View into the mouth of the fish armature.

fish eye detail showing how the pieces are attached

Even my toddlers enjoy contemplating the art. tunnel of trash!

For more on the center or the show, follow this link:

Washed Ashore show and Newport Visual Arts Center

Sean Wells via iPhone

September 11, 2010 at 1:01 am Leave a comment


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