Posts tagged ‘before’

A Chair for Elton

Dumpster chair getting a coat of spray paintThis is the before and after of the chair I saved from the dumpster.  It wasn’t a true ‘dumpster dive’ since, technically, the abandoned chair was sitting next to the dumpster.  But, it was a classic salvage and refinish project.  I could not make up my mind on which direction to take this.  I toyed with keeping the original seat color (mauve) which was in good condition.  I pulled out all my seat fabrics and kept putting together likely pairs like similar color schemes (pink to mauve and avocado to olive) which were just ho-hum.  I have a ton of red velvet so I contemplated going with a red seat and a white chair, like the Queen’s throne in Alice in Wonderland.  But, then I stumbled across this crazy tiger print canvas fabric in orange and hot pink.  I’ve never put it to use, but I have yards of it.  Since I only have the single chair, I thought it could really be loud and be a stand-alone accent piece for someone REALLY daring or maybe for a funky hair salon type atmosphere.  Anyway, the refinishing was short and sweet.  Here’s the quick breakdown:


    Removed broken pieces

  2. Tightened and reglued connections
  3. Reinforced weak leg and arm joints
  4. Applied sandable wood filler on ding-ed areas
  5. Lightly sanded
  6. 1 can gray acrylic spray primer
  7. 1 can Krylon Bauhaus Orange acrylic spray
  8. Power staple gunned new fabric on seat
chair refinishing project


So glad I took the time to put on a new seat fabric.  I HIGHLY recommend investing in a power staple gun if you plan to refinish.  It is so much more pleasurable to work with than the manual gun.  I regret using a grey primer as a base.  The white primer was more expensive, but would have given me a crisper orange color.  The Krylon Bauhaus Orange is lovely, but pretty sheer.  OK, hope you like it as much as I!  It will go into my new booth space 37A at Antiques & Things 4710 Central Ave.  Oh, my Chinese Vanity sold for full price from the consignment shop–whohoo!


February 23, 2011 at 4:54 am 6 comments

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

simple paintbox of spicy colors

image of colorful jars of clayI’ve been collecting local clays and minerals to continue my natural pigment retablo training.  I wanted to keep them in something I could take with me to craft shows to display the pigments.  I had some canning jars around from preserving various garden items and thought they would make perfect storage containers for the bulk of the clays.  But, I wanted something a bit more apothecary feeling for my everyday display jars.  I found a dated set of 1970 spice jars (still containing original herbs) at an estate sale for $1 that I thought were ideal.  I cleaned and filled them and used my label maker to give them delicious sounding names like chocolate, ginger and chile rojo and cumin.

image of the spice rack and tool boxI was just going to trash the ugly wooden holder until I realized it was the exact size of of my tool carrier.  I painted it white and mounted it together using some mending plates.  There was a perfect slot between the two to allow for my brushes to slip in.  I just love how it came out and it makes me want to leave the set out in plain view, encouraging me to paint.  I’ll be looking for another set of these spice racks for the other side of the tool box, mainly to adjust the weight!  I’m looking forward to displaying my setup at my first show!

Oh, I FINALLY finished and photographed the legless vanity!  Too late to post tonight, but it will be a series of how-to posts.  I can hardly wait for the big reveal…stay tuned.

tool chest in action

August 22, 2010 at 7:06 am 2 comments

an oldie revisited

Image of repainted bureau

While visiting my crafty companion in DC (featured in ‘feed me seymore!’ article), I got to spend a moment with one of my early refinishing projects.  This bureau was actually being thrown away on what we Alexandrian’s refer to as “Big Trash Day,”  a mecca for cheapskates and do-it-yourselfers.  We would find everything from bicycles to swings, benches, couches, and anything else you might want to sit on.  I even once found a knock-off Eames office lounge chair!  Well-to-do doctors, lawyers and politicians would use the city’s yearly front yard oversized trash pickup offer to unload their half-finished projects by simply dragging them to the curb.  It was a great tradition for the people with more time than money to gather in cars, trucks and vans in the dark with flashlights in hand and patrol the streets of Del Ray for goodies.  We used to do the stroll in my old mustang with the top down, heat blasting and hot chocolates in hand.  We’d nod knowingly at fellow scourers and sometimes share some hot spots.  We would fill my ride until it was bursting with furniture and we looked like some urban Santa Claus in our modern sleigh.  We’d spend the next few weeks restoring what we could.  Great memories.

This bureau was a fun project.  It was painted with three different color cans of leftover spray paint which meant I didn’t have enough of any one color to paint the whole thing.  I love the sea-loving shades.  I was worried how the painted metal pulls would hold up, but they looked great.

It was actually this object that brought Audrey Anne and I together.  I put it out at a yard sale and she bought it, after lavishing me in compliments (no bigger compliment than buying the thing).  It kicked off a wonderful relationship started from love of crafting and growing into a truly meaningful friendship.  She uses it as a catch all, but has a secret compartment that holds an old record player and records that she will, upon request, play for guests who are in the know.

Anyway, I love this idea, to use the natural breaks of the furniture and use it to play with color.   It’s hard to go wrong with the colors.  Just stay away from anything that could be mistaken for a football fan color set.  ~Sean

July 17, 2010 at 4:26 am 2 comments

i see a white light…

candle sconces before


I love these quick little projects to get my craft fix while boys are jumping on the trampoline.  They are finally at an age where they are enjoying seeing transformations of projects, too!  So, I picked up these wrought iron candle sconces at a yard sale for the bargain price of $1 for the pair!  At the same yard sale, I walked away with a box of 25¢ spray paint cans.  I could hardly wait to get home and paint those candle holders.  I toyed with several colors, but eventually decided their feminine shape insisted on being white.  It took a full can of  both primer and paint to cover them because they had so much surface area.  I put a good coat of acrylic sealer to top them off.  I found a six pack of ’emergency candles’ at the Dollar Store.  I wrapped them in colored paper to give them some contrast for the photo.  I hung them using ribbon on my son’s headboard for contrast and he was VERY disappointed they weren’t staying there.

candle sconces painted white


So excited to report I just successfully dropped off several pieces at the furniture consignment store!  They priced the cream-orange-chrome chair at $100 and the Broadway bench at a whopping $150!  The candle holders were impressively marked at $30.  My cut will be 50% of final sale price.  Finger’s crossed!    ~Sean

July 16, 2010 at 6:10 am 2 comments

faux friend is new again


I picked this vinyl chair up in the clearance center of Goodwill for $2 a couple of years ago because it had this wonderful chrome base and an appealing shape to the chair.  It was in dire need of reupholstering, but I kept putting it off because I never felt my upholstery skills were up to honoring the complex, clean shape of the chair.  Upon starting this blog, I was reinvigorated to try to tackle my little chair.

I found an inspiring scarlet-sketch print at Walmart for $1.50/yd.  I began to pull and coax the fabric around the chair back.  The only way I could maintain the clean lines of the original upholstery was to sew the cover to custom fit the back.  But, I knew I would be disappointed with the results if I attempted that–too many places for imperfection.  So I conceded to do a no-sew project that would have to incorporate exposed upholstery nails somewhere.  Once I accepted that fact, the covering went quickly.

I used all the existing foam supplemented with some thin quilter’s batting.  I used an electric staple gun to anchor everything and tidied up the arm area using small dome shaped chrome upholstery tacks anchored by the dainty blow of an upholstery hammer (If you don’t own one, get one–they are fun).  The fabric has a good tooth to it, so I sealed the whole chair (especially parts that will be exposed to a lot of handling) with a water-resistant stain guard.  I was apprehensive about the upholstery looking amateur, but I’m pleased with the results.  ~Sean



July 13, 2010 at 4:52 am 7 comments

mano print

Dad casts hand in plaster while child watches.I bought a box of plaster of paris at a yard sale for 50¢.  I thought it would be fun to cast hand prints of my boys one day for our craft time.  The box of plaster sat on my kitchen counter for a couple of months waiting for the right moment.  Then, when Father’s Day rolled around, I thought it would be the perfect project for the boys to do with their dad.  I set everything up and then let Dad cast hands with his boys.  They all loved the messy fun.  Once I had the casts. I wasn’t sure what to do with them.  I didn’t want to put them up somewhere looking like a project from their preschool.  So, I modified a creative idea found on another blog.  This crafter had mounted round mirrors into plates.  My mounted hands looked very handsome in the plates, but they were still not very refined.  I decided to try to sand the surface flat in hopes of giving it a more polished look.  I took the little hand casts outside and simply rubbed them on a pad of concrete we have out back.  I was so pleasantly surprised with how fine they looked after the sanding.  The resulting project was something I am quite proud to hang on the wall and I look forward to sending their project off with them one day when they head off into the world.

I didn’t really plan to do a tutorial here on the blog, but my husband’s hand cast broke, so I cast my hand one day and took some progress shots.   I selected  basic white plates for a chance to get approval from dh to hang in our living room.  But, there are so many creative options for the plate.  If you end up trying this, please send me photos of your completed projects!
Project List
Casting containerI used glass bowls.  Plastic would be good.  You want something with a flat bottom and smooth, steep sides with a diameter big enough to leave at least 1/2″ clearance  around the hand print.
•  1 plate per cast
•  Plate hangers -1 per plate. I went looking at a craft store for those wire ones that grip the edges, but found these fantastic fabric ones.  They were the same price.  They remove with water and best of all, they are hidden.  Both types of plate hangers come in two sizes, so you may want to bring your plate to the store to get a hassle-free fit.
•  Wall art hangersI like the white plastic ones with 4 thin metal nails.  They are secure, easy to pound in and don’t damage the wall too much.
Plaster of Paris-Available at the craft store for a premium or in a hardware store in large bags near the concrete mixing supplies.
•  Water
•  Paperclip + wire cutters (if using an inflexible mold like a glass bowl)
Directions for making a Cast Hand Plate
I’m sorry they are probably more detailed than they need to be, but I like very detailed directions with explanations, so that’s what I’m providing you.

paperclip opened to ninety degreesImage of paperclip being set towards the edge of the bowl

image placing hand flat in plaster of parisboy looking at messy hand

1.  Bend paperclip as shown.
2.  Place in bottom of mold as shown.
3.  Follow plaster of paris directions.  You can estimate the amount of plaster you need by pouring water into the bowl until it is 3/4″ high. Then pour and mix plaster in another container (do not be tempted to mix plaster in the final container as it will have a harder time releasing).
4.  Wet the interior surface of the container (this helps with release).
5.  Fill the casting containers with prepared plaster about 1″ deep.
6.  Lift container gently and tap onto surface to release bubbles.
7.  Let set.  TImes vary depending on moisture content, so I just kept testing the residual left in the pour container.
8.  Once it shows it is beginning to firm up a bit, wet the hand and place it flat into the plaster.  Push down and don’t be afraid to squeeze plaster through fingers a bit.  We’ll sand off peaks later.
9.  Hold in place for 1 minute, more if plaster hasn’t set enough yet.  You can always slide your hand back in if it doesn’t look like it’s holding the shape yet.  Some milky water will pool back in to the hand depression.
10.  Pull hand away ( I like sliding it out to discourage peaks from forming.  Wash hand immediately.

boy prepping plate hanger

WARNING:  *NEVER* keep skin in direct contact with plaster of paris (like attempting to cast a body part).  The curing process creates a great deal of heat and can cause THIRD DEGREE BURNS!
image of sanded hands in plateTIP:  I recommend letting plaster set on all utensils (setting plaster can clog drains!) then scrape, brush and wash utensils.
11.  Let cast set in a dry area for 24 hours undisturbed.  While cast is curing, apply plate holder (follow directions on holder).
12.  Remove cast from container by pulling gently but firmly on the paperclip.  You may have to use a fork or needle nose pliers to get a better grip.  Straighten paperclip and move around a bit to loosen top layer of plaster.  Snip paperclip just below the surface by poking tip of pliers into plaster a bit.

image applying glue to plateimage setting cast into place on plate

13.  FUN PART!  Take the casting outside and slide it gently face down back and forth by holding your hand evenly over the back side.  Check often until the desired hand exposure is achieved.  You may have to clip more of the paperclip.  Adjust pressure points as needed.  Just go slow.  If you push too hard in one area before it’s very flat, you can crack the casting.
14.  Remove loose plaster by brushing and blowing.
15.  Spray with a generous amount of clear acrylic sealer in a well ventilated, well protected area (Don’t be tempted to spray on your sidewalk as even clear will leave a discolored area and will irritate your S.O.).
16.  After sealer is dry (about half an hour), fit casting to plate.  You want as much even contact with the plate as possible so you may want to sand the edge or the center if your plate is a bit convex.  Clean plate with rubbing alcohol to insure good contact.  Apply plaster-friendly glue to areas that will be in contact with one another.  I used Liquid Nails.  It has an appealing creme color that matched my plates.  I also like Goop.  I would not recommend hot glue gun here.
17.  ANOTHER FUN PART!  Set hand firmly into place.  Rotate a bit to get good contact and disperse glue.
18.  Label the back with the castor’s name and date.  I used a label maker and let the boys apply the stickers to their plates.
19.  Hang it somewhere wonderful!
image of three finished plates
closeup image of finished hanging platesSend us a pic of your completed hand!

July 9, 2010 at 8:38 am 3 comments

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