A Cute Mother’s Day Craft

I saw this somewhere and I think it would be such a great craft for kids to give their mom for Mother’s Day. I think I originally saw it on Pinterest but have seen it twice more since then.

The supplies you need are few. The sticks you can get at Walmart or a craft store. Also the paint brushes. For the paint I used one color that is actually a wall color, but very fashionable. Or, as shown, the craft paints.

You will also need a couple of drinking glasses or cups.

While you are preparing your work space bring a pan of water to a boil. The pan should be big enough for the sticks to lay in with a little room to spare.

Once the water is boiling put your sticks in it and boil for 15 minutes. Put in a few extra sticks in case some break, although I did’t have a problem.

After 15 minutes take them out one at a time, immediately starting to bend them easily into a “C” shape. Fit them in to the sides of a glass. They cool quickly, so once you take one out of the pan using tongs, you’ll be able to start shaping it right away.

The sticks need to dry overnight. Once dry, they can be painted and personalized.

Voila!
Have a great week!
Doris

Update: the chair is coming along nicely. I have the fabric and this week will be finding the right trim. I heard about a huge fabric and trim warehouse in Chicago that will hopefully have what I need because I haven’t found the right one out here. Field Trip! I may even take pictures and post on it if it’s as good as I was told.

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#1 Choice of 3 Wood Strippers

Refinishing furniture is messy and odorous, no two ways about it. But the rewards can be many. The look of wood coming into a new life, maybe taking on a totally different look even.

The chair I had mentioned previously is one that in some ways has gone very smoothly and in others has been challenging. The biggest challenge has been dealing with all the staples in it. It is an Ethan Allen chair I came across at Goodwill for $7.00, therefor the quality is high.

The products used are shown here along with other items you will be using. I also picked up some cheap toothbrushes which really come in handy for crevices. The container you use to pour the product into should be nonporous, a tin can works well.

Two of the products I tried, whereas they worked okay, they were slower at the actual removing of the finish (which I believe to be 2-3 coats of varnish). Only one of them, the Jasco Premium Paint & Epoxy Remover, actually made the finish bubble up, which in the past was the sign of a great wood stripper. The other one, the 2 Minute Remover, worked about the same without the bubbling. They both had strong odors.

Here is a peak at how the wood looked once stripped. I hope to have the chair completed this week and Reveal it in next week’s post.

Maybe here would be a good place to insert the setup of such a project. Number one is have plenty of ventilation. Make sure the flooring of wherever you are working is covered well with some very protective tarps or papers.
Ideally you will have your own space set up for this task. Unfortunately with my physical condition being what it is I wasn’t able to carry the chair to my workroom.

My #1 product choice is ……….Klean Strip Klean Kutter Refinisher!
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It surprised me really. It is more runny whereas the others were more gel like. The others you brush on, let sit a few minutes, then remove. My choice to remove the finish is steel wool and then old tshirts.

The Klean Strip, however, you apply with the steel wool and start rubbing. It didn’t need a lot of pressure either. I dipped the end of a steel wool pad in the solution being careful of the dripping, I wiped the wood once with the grain, and when I went to wipe again the finish came right off. I was thrilled! So the one I thought I would like the least, actually turned out to be my favorite.

With this project I got a reminder of how much I always enjoyed stripping furniture. Not because of the process by any means, but because of the results. Makes me think of 2 pieces that have been sitting around maybe needing to be refreshed.

It looks to be another good week here in Illinois. Maybe some rain but more badly needed sunshine as well.

Enjoy the day!
Doris

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Chalk Paint II

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Yay! Once again I am posting pictures! 4 hours later and a bit of frustration to mix. I am reposting the initial one with the photos added. A little update though, I have not heard back from the health food store yet as to whether or not they can order the calcium carbonate. I will call them this afternoon before I head to work. Also, Dixie, you had asked what type of brush I was using and I said my 2 1/2″ angled sash brush. I am still doing so for the most part but I did try a sponge brush for the flat surface of a piece and I was duly impressed by how smooth the finish came out.

So glad to be back to it! I am taking some new photos of some other pieces and will be posting on them shortly.

I have had the chance to work with the calcium carbonate mix of chalk paint and I must admit it wins hands down. Not to say that when in a pinch I won’t use the Plaster of Paris type. It is just that the CalCarb is much smoother. You hardly even know that it is mixed into the paint. It dries a little more slowly but not much. And it seems that there is less of a chance for brush strokes. Speaking of which this is another area I would like to address.
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I tried brushing the two different chalk paints on with two types of brushes. A sponge brush and my usual 2 1/2″ angled brush that I use for pretty much everything. The sponge brush wore out much more quickly than usual, especially with the PoP varity of paint. I think maybe the chalk dries it up. Both types of chalk paint went on just fine with my angled brush (I guess I should be calling it a sash brush) and it washed out quite easily as well.

The Calcium Carbonate is a little more expensive but you don’t use as much and I think it balances out actually. It didn’t come packaged like I thought it might. It was simply in a plastic bag. Not sure what I was expecting but that wasn’t it, lol.

Here is the recipe info for

Calcium Carbonate Chalk Paint

2 parts paint
1 part Calcium Carbonate
or
2T Calcium Carbonate mixed with 1T water and added to 1C of paint.
or
8T Calcium Carbonate mixed with 4T water and added to 1qt of paint.

The mix should be about the consistancy of pancake batter.

As with the Plaster of Paris mix, a flat finish paint should be used that does not have a primer already mixed in it. Once again, I want to mention that I had already bought paint that had a primer in because I didn’t have that bit of information. I am continuing to use it and have had no problem. Just know that ideally get the one without primer and be safe.
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The pieces shown here are ones I am working on for a market. The chair, painted in a cool gray and then glazed is getting an updated fabric for the cushion.
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The stool also has a small cushion that I am updating. I will be distressing this stool today.

You won’t believe the piece I got at Goodwill for $10.00. It’s a gem. I got it finished and will be photographing it today.

Oops, one thing I wanted to add – if when done painting for the day and you have extra PoP chalk paint, it will keep. You will most likely need to add a little water when you go back to it, but just stir again and it will be fine.

Have a good day!
Doris

Chalk Paint

Over the next few weeks I will be working with chalk paint alot. That is not the same as chalkboard paint although you can write on it with chalk. Chalk paint has been around a long time but has recently regained a popularity among decorative painters. It can be used on walls with some effort but it is mainly used on furniture. Why? You may ask. Well, it has excellent adhesion. So much so that you do not have to prime. It dries faster and sands more easily for sanding or making a chippy painted piece.

Now, you can go out and buy ready made chalk paint. And if you do so I highly recommend Anne Sloan products. It can be quite costly if you are doing a large piece or a number of pieces such as I am doing. Beside, I, of course, just want to make up my own.

There are a number of kinds of recipes for chalk paint. I am going to be working with two. The first one is made with Plaster of Paris which can be bought at Home Depot. It is quite economical and goes a long way. The other is Calcium Carbonate which is not that easy to come by. I ended up ordering it from Amazon.com. I have heard of people getting it through there health food store which I will be looking into and maybe will know that little tidbit by the time I get to that kind of recipe. Getting ahead of myself a bit here. The cal carbonate won’t be in until next week and seeing as I have a deadline and am just itchy to get started I am going forward with the Plaster of Paris recipe.
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This recipe usually comes in second to calciumn carbonate one because it doesn’t always want to mix well supposedly and doesn’t keep its’ consistancy overnight at times. I will say, however, I had no problem getting it to mix to a smooth consistancy. I’m starting with the smaller piece just to get my hands dirty, so to speak. Remember the piece with the Christmas tree on it? It is perfect for a starting point and I know exactly what I want to do with it to transform it. The other pieces I am still playing with colors for them.
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The recipe for this one is::
Plaster of Paris Chalk Paint

3 parts latex paint, flat
1 part Plaster of Paris

Mix the PoP according to directions until it is a smooth contistancy.
Stir into the paint slowly. Combine until it is well mixed. You will know.
They say it should be the consistancy of pancake batter. Mine didn’t come out quite that soupy and tomorrow I will find out if that makes that much of a diffeerence.
Also, it is recommended not to use paint with a primer already in it. I didn’t know this tidbit until I had already purchased some of the paint. Again, supposedly it dries too fast using a paint with a primer in it. Personally I had no problem with it.
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I put two coats on and am letting it dry overnight before moving on to the next step.
Doris

Shabby Chic Bud Vases

You may have seen these around, but did you know how easy they are to create? Simple. First of all you need to get yourself to Goodwill. They usually have a good supply and several styles of bud vases and cheap too.

At your favorite art and craft store you can pick out the colors of paint that you want to use. I used white, pastel pink, blue and green. It doesn’t have to be the kind of paint you use on glass, actually it may be better if it isn’t. I used standard craft paint for mine.
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The main thing is to make sure the vases are clean before you paint them. If they really need it rub them with alchohol to remove any residual dirt.

I put 2 coats of paint on mine using a small craft brush (a foam brush would work as well). Once they have dried thoroughly, usually overnight, they are ready for the next step which is sanding.
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A medium grit sandpaper works best. When sanding the vases you don’t have to sand too hard to get the raised surfaces clear of paint. They should look a little rough, that’s part of the charm. Once I had them sanded I took a look at them and decided I wanted to tone the color down a little and give them a little more of a distressed look. I did this by mixing a little of the white paint with a little glaze medium and brush it on. I immediately wiped the glaze down leaving it to sit in the crevices. Let dry overnight. (You don’t have to buy a whole quart of glaze for the distressing, the craft stores sell small bottles of it in the craft paint aisle.)
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You can use them as individual bud vases or you can do as I have done by putting them in a grouping with an assortment of flowers. They would make a nice addition to an Easter arrangement too!
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Have fun!
Doris
https://www.etsy.com/shop/dcartwork

Faux Finishing 102

Basecoating

Whether you are going to do a faux finish or if you are just planning on painting your walls, you will need a good basecoat on the surface.

For faux finishing the best type of paint that I have found for a base is latex in an eggshell finish. When I say eggshell I am not talking about the color eggshell, I am talking about the sheen of the paint. An eggshell finish is in between a flat and a satin. Satin can be good to use, but not necessary, and you can save your pennies to be used elsewhere. There are the matte finish paints out now, but they are too close to a flat finish. The reason that you need a bit of a sheen is so that the paint can move easily. However it doesn’t mean that the more sheen the better. If you try using a semigloss or more you will find your faux to be a little “slippery”.

Some painting tips that I have used over the years is, number one….have a good paintbrush. A fellow contractor had told me about the kind to use and I seldom use anything else. It is a 2 1/2″ angled brush. I believe it is also called a sash brush. Most brush companies make this size. I go with a nylon/polyester one for use with all paints. I am picky, though, about whoich 2 1/2′ brush I choose. I want one with a more slender handle. Maybe it’s just because I am a woman, but I find it to be more comfortable to use, especially if I have alot of painting to do.
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Tape is another important item. Tape sure isn’t what it once was. You go to buy a roll of tape and you may find a whole aisle of just different types of tape. Yes, the blue tape is best to use when taping off for a paint job. For me, I have found the regular blue tape to work the best. The ones that I have tried that are especially for painting just don’t stick well for me and the paint then goes under the tape and onto the moulding or cabinet or whatever. Defeats the purpose.

As far as rollers and roller covers go, I tend to go for the lighter weight. The rollers themselves have lasted me a long time. I know that when it comes to the roller covers some people use specific ones. I tend to go for the less expensive and then just throw them out after I have finished a room. They are usually only good for one coat. The more expensive ones can be washed out and reused.

Along with the rollers come the paint trays. I use the liners with the trays and discard them after each use. They will keep your trays in good shape and longer lasting. I have found that repeated washing of the trays causes them to rust.

Dropcloths are another important material item as well. Here again there is such a variety. I find the cloth ones to be way too heavy and then you have to go to a laundromat to wash them in their larger washing machines. The plastic ones are a pain if you ask me. To me they are only good for covering furniture. The dropcloths I have found to work the best for me are the paper ones that have a nonabsorbent backing. They can last a long time when treated right. They are relatively lightweight too.

If you were to ask 5 different painters/decorative painters you would probably get several different answers and solutions. To be honest I would like to suggest that if you are hiring a professional let them do their job. They most likely have found what works best for them. And this is what they do, they are going to me more knowledgeable on the subject.

So does this officially fit under the Faux Finishing category? Yes, indeed. If you aren’t doing the basecoating yourself you have to make sure that whoever does do it used the right kind of paint. And learning about the materials involved may lead you to have a new respect for the people in the trade.

Good luck to you if you have a project in the works or are thinking of one in the future!

Gold Leafing

Hello there!

I thought I would give a lesson in gold leafing. This is something that can have spectacular results, and, surprisingly, is not that difficult to do. It can be a little messy but in a good way. I’ll explain that later.

The materials that you will need are an older paint brush (you will end up throwing this one away) or purchase a small spongebrush. You will also need sizing adhesive and the gold leaf itself. This is a synthetic gold leaf, which is more common and alot less costly. I would suggest you find a piece to work on on the smaller rather than larger side. When you are comfortable with that you can move onward to something larger. Maybe you would like to practice on a foamcore board as I am showing here. Or have you been wanting to jazz up a frame? That is a good project with easy results.

You also will need paint in a color that you would like to have show through in areas. Black and red are the most common, but any color will work. Don’t go to any great expense with this for starters. A small bottle of acrylic craft paint will do just fine. I am using black.
Basecoat the piece or sample with 2 coats of the craft paint. When thoroughly dry, using your old brush, apply the sizing adhesive. it will be white in color but dries clear. I will tell you that when it dries it is quite sticky, so beware.

After your adhesive has become clear, you are ready to start the fun. The gold leafing comes in 4″x4″ sheets. Remove one and apply it to the adhesive. Here I have kept them in a straight order but you may choose to angle them or tear them into pieces. Now, this is where the little messy part starts. the sheets of gold leaaf are quite thin and fragile. When clients have asked about it I tell them to think of butterfly wings and you almost have the delicacy of gold leaf. It will tend to float around in pieces if allowed to. The sheets will invariably tear somewhat, don’t worry about that. If you notice in the one photo you can see straight lines of black showing through. In the next photo not so much. That is because I went back in with the broken pieces and filled in some of the area. I like to leave small background areas to show through. it breaks up the straight lines and also can give it more character, I think. A good thing to use to help put it down is a small brush. Here I have used a mop brush, but an inexpensive chipwood brush will work just fine. After you have applied as much gold leafing as you want you will need to burnish it. All that is is taking a rag (old tshirt is good, or soft paper towel, or even kleenex), bunch it up a little , and rub the surface, ideally in circular motions. You will be able to see the difference even though it is subtle.
Here are photos to get an idea of what the process would look like, and then I added an elaborate vestibule ceiling that I completed.
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Behold! Your own gold leafing!

In a few weeks I will be using gold leaf in another project that is for Easter. I think that you will like it!