Thursday, March 20, 2014

DIY China Cabinet Transformation Tutorial!

This ugly green thing was a STEAL at one of the many local consignment shops in my area.  I like this one particular shop the most because the prices are absolutely affordable and usually all their pieces are in decent condition.  Actually the chairs I used for my re-upholstery tutorials were bought at the same place.  Anyway, I had been looking a long time for a cabinet to put in my dining room.  Most people on craigslist are VERY proud of their oldies but goodies.  Seriously...most of that stuff is a re-do waiting to happen, they need to remember that the 70's can't really claim any's simply "teak."  Not that there's anything wrong with that, but in my opinion it is one of the easiest decades/finishes to paint.  Moving on...I finally talked  my husband into heading over to the consignment shop and as we made our way through, I spotted this avocado green, Asian inspired diamond in the rough.  The price was the best part (not to mention the fact that it was not completely dilapidated)  I love you for $45...I just do.

It is a double-decker that we were able to separate for transport and painting.

Aside from wanting a cabinet so that I could make room in my kitchen cabinets, I wanted to give chalk paint a try.  It seems to be very popular in the DIY universe and I really wanted to see first hand how it all comes together.  I've seen some beautiful transformations using Annie Sloan paints but since I was trying to do this project on a budget, and because maybe I like to challenge myself sometimes, I thought I would make my own chalk paint.  We've all seen the pins, haven't we?  I was so excited to get started!  First though....I had to sand.  Barf.  I HATE sanding and cleaning and sanding and cleaning...yadda yadda yadda.   Commence sucking it up and getting to it.  But first lets take a look at the supplies I picked up at Home Depot.
(A few mixing buckets/cups, tack cloth, cheese cloth, plaster of paris, paste finishing wax.)

This is the DIY chalk paint tutorial I found to be very helpful:  "Make Your Own Chalk-Style Paint" (Thank you Emily!)  I already had a half gallon of white high gloss paint from a previous project so I decided to go with that.  White is so clean and fresh and you have so many options with how you want to decorate your piece and/or around it.

Ok....done sanding!  YES!  Now time to wipe it down clean starting with the tack cloth I bought.  goodbye dust!

Next it was time to mix up my chalk paint.  I had to make some adjustments to the recipe for the high gloss paint.  It was way too thick when I mixed it exactly like Emily did.  When I realized it was because I had a different paint than she did I added a full cup of water rather than the half she suggested and it was much better.  It should be the texture of runny/watery paint.  A piece of advice? Get a good quality brush.  I didn't get a very good one so it was shedding.  Grrrrrr.  Also, make sure you have nice even strokes, don't load the brush because like I said, it's runny.  

Just to give you some idea, this is the first coat.  Looks kinda scary but I heard (and now know first hand) that the homemade stuff definitely needs several coats.

The good news is the thin coats dry within 30 minutes so you can go back over, or sand any out of control moments you might have had.  I have plenty of those on a daily basis. ;)

Getting better.

Because this project took me a few days to complete because of my daughter's birthday, etc...I decided to just paint the drawers and shelves with plain white paint so I wouldn't have to keep mixing a new batch of chalk paint every time I needed to resume.

The interior of the cabinet was proving to be quite difficult when it came to full coverage over the green.  Even though there were several coats I just wasn't getting exactly what I wanted.  
Off to Lowe's I went for some inspiration!

I had already gone to Hobby Lobby to look for the knobs I wanted to use so I had those in mind when choosing a different color to use for painting the interior, which is the idea that sprouted during my discouragement.  One and a half of these is all I needed to make the change I was looking for.

Something that sprung to mind was the fact that this is a boxy, somewhat flat piece of furniture and maybe all white exterior would make it look small and well, boxy.  I went back and forth with leaving the top set of doors off, or painting both sets a different color, but I decided to go with only painting the bottom set of doors a different color in hope that it would give the cabinet some depth and style.    The color I used for the doors is called "Secluded Garden" by Valspar and yes, it IS a spray paint.  After I primed the doors, I sprayed them: one set the "secluded garden" in satin and the other set went white satin.  Yes, you read all that correctly-"SPRAYED."  I mixed things up on this project.  Call it laziness, call it creativity, call it I just wanted it finished---I have so many other projects in the pipeline. 

Once I had everything painted and ready, I used the Minwax Paste Finishing Wax on the cabinet (not the doors).  I rubbed it on with cheese cloth, waited 10 minutes, then buffed it out. (Make sure to follow instructions on the can).

(You will notice that I do not have pics of a few of the stages I just explained, I simply forgot.  I pinky promise it won't happen again.)   ;)

As soon as I got the dry doors hung (and re-hung because of some issues.  Note to self:  Next time label which door goes where, it saves a LOT of headache and scratched paint!)  I put on the knobs.  My favorite part!  Since I was out of wood filler (the original knobs were installed using two holes each) I went with large knobs that would hide the extra holes.

I LOVE these!  I got two different styles to mix it up and give the cabinet some personality.  They look so cute together!  And see??  No extra holes!


I lined the shelves with some grey and white floral contact paper I had in my stash.

And now for my big "TA-DA!" moment.....the reveal.

 I'm really pleased with this little beauty's transformation!  As you can see I painted the backs of the doors the "cathedral stone" color as well.

I love this project for so many reasons.  It has taught me different techniques, not to mention some do's and don'ts along the way.   The inspiration that comes from all the different parts of one project and learning something new changes perspective.  When you learn something new, you grow and for me, growth is the key to a happy and artistic DIY life. 

Bringing home something that cost so little and being able to do so much for it is...well...priceless. :)

Go treasure hunting in your neighborhood thrift stores!  If you find something you see potential in, take it home and love it. :)

Happy hunting!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Spray Paint is Essential in a DIY-er's Life

Let me preface that post header with "in my opinion."  In my quest to make all old/ugly/dated things beautiful, I've become a junior expert on the ins and outs of painting.  Like for instance, I wish I had my high powered, air compressor spray paint gun when we decided to paint our kitchen cabinets. Even though we researched for days and days and too many more days, bought the expensive paint and primer and perfect brushes, sanded until we were bleeding, things still didn't come out exactly as I'd hoped.  Another example is painting furniture.  Sometimes the rollers make patterns if you don't load them evenly and with the right amount of paint.  Sometimes the brushes annoyingly leave hairs in random corner that you don't see until said furniture is 100% dry....with the second coat.  UGH.  Then you have to sand it or leave it, and I choose to leave it sometimes because I am sick of steps 1 through 50.  Blah.  Now, spray painting DOES have it's downfalls, depending on which brand you use.  I find some brands work better for certain things and others on different things.  I try to keep that in the old memory bank so  I know which one will give me a nightmare on metal, but will work like a charm on plastic or wood.  Of course there is the stench of spray paint that can cause thousands of brain cells to burn always wear your ventilator masks people!  Your spraying technique can also wreck havoc on your projects if you don't take care to be patient.  This was me for many projects in the beginning, but I've learned to calm down and realize it's much more important to not have splotches and drips than it is to be done faster than fast.  Another downfall to spray paint is if you have a very large piece of furniture you could spend a small fortune on how much you will need.  If you are a serious DIYer and love to paint lots and lots of different things, I recommend getting a spray gun for those bigger projects.  Just pour the paint in and you're ready.  Click here for this cool sprayer I found recently on Amazon that gets good reviews.  Of course it's up to you what you think is best for your needs.
It seems, now that I write it all out, that maybe canned paint and spray paint have equal downfalls (that surprised me! :) )  BUT the convenience and even coats more than make up for the short comings of my loving spray paint.  The fact that you can make it look solid and dang near perfect is A-ok in my book.

Since apparently I'm such an advocate for spray painting I thought I'd be cool and give you a few tips that I've learned through trial and error...many errors. :)
1.  Always shake the can thoroughly.  On a rare occasion you will find that some colors just don't mix together the way they are supposed to.  No matter how much you "angry shake" that can, it's just NOT going to mix.  Throw it away and go find another brand that is similar to that color.  It may be something you like just as much with a lot less frustration involved.
2. Spray the can in long side to side, even strokes.  Let go of the nozzle, then spray in long even strokes again.  (Try not to continuously spray like you're in an alley somewhere breaking the law!  You're just asking to get busted by the drip police!)  You have to spay on nice even light coats, even if you have to come back a few times.  It should be as even as possible...if you are in control.
3.  Be sure that your first coat is dry and dust off the air particles that have landed on your project ie: dust particles, fuzz, etc.  Using some gentle sandpaper skills can help get those bits off before your next coat. Just be sure to wipe it with a dust magnet cloth.

Here are my top three favorite brands and colors:
1.  Number ONE has got to be Rust-Oleum in Flat Black.  The coverage is beyond compare.  It will likely cover anything!

2.  Valspar Satin White.  It has a soft sheen and the coverage is a very close second to Rust-Oleum.

3.  Krylon Premium Metallic in Chrome kicked my wooden bar stool in a modern yet retro direction. (Normally the nozzle on Krylon bugs me, but this can has a more substantial applicator.)

Hope you guys got some good information out of my love fest for spray paint.
Happy painting!

**The content in this post is only the opinions and experiences of DIY Lori.  I was not compensated for said opinions.

Friday, March 14, 2014

One Year Anniversary!

It's official!  It has been one year to the day that I submitted my first DIY Lori post!  So exciting!  (Take a look back at my first post (here)which became one of my most favorite projects and pieces of furniture.)

First of all I want to thank each and everyone of you who come by to read my posts whether it be daily, weekly or monthly.   Seriously, from the bottom of my heart...thank you.  I truly appreciate your time and genuine interest in my projects.   Because my projects take quite a bit of time and life likes to interject a left and right turn once in a while, my blog hasn't risen to the occasion as much as I wish it had.  In the grand scheme of the gigantic DIY blog universe, I'm just a tiny ball of fire trying to shine as bright as I can.  Truth be told I would love to have an art gallery, my own furniture design business, and/or write a book (or 6) about all the DIY inspiration that floats around in my head.  However, my life is full mommy antics like: sick kids, accidents, homework, potty training, etc., etc., etc.  I struggle with trying to find a balance of my many passions and running a household of 4 + 3 fur kids.  Luckily for me I have an amazing support system that is my husband.  He is my rock and my fuel every day.  Encouragement from him makes the world go 'round.   But even with all of his support, things can get a bit tangled up from time to time.  I'm doing my best to keep everything in line so that I can concentrate on the most amazing aspects of life.

I have been teetering on the fence when it comes to this blog.  Should I quit?  Does anyone really read this?  Is it worth it?  Pulling me on the other side of the fence is the "don't quit!"  "grow...evolve!"  So after a night full of sleep and weird dreams, I just can't give this up.  It is my baby steps to my big dreams and it's never too late to follow your dreams....EVER.  So to jump onto this side of "grow...evolve" I will indeed do just that.  My blog is always going to be DIY Lori and will continue to be mostly about my DIY projects, but there is so much more about me.  My everyday life consists of:  stay-at-home mommy hood; kiddos; my need and struggle to get organized; designing my dream home; women's health; gluten-free lifestyle (and apparently I like to make lists!--OCD tendencies.) :)  There is so much I feel like sharing and why not use this as my own personal venting machine.  Who knows, it might take the pressure off of my husband.  Win-win!  :)

Again, thank you for being interested in my little piece of the world.   I can't wait to see what this year will bring and what exciting new adventures are headed my way.  I'm very excited and nervous to take this blog to new levels.  I can only hope that positive energy will follow behind me and catch me if I fall.

If you feel like reading more or exploring any of my projects, here the top 3 most popular:
1. Crate Coffee Table
2. Vanity Makeover
3. Chair Re-upholstery 

Thanks for stopping by!
Love, laugh, create!!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

DIY: Crate Bookshelf Tutorial

Greetings, y'all!
I promised some tutorials for my recent post:  DIY: Girl's Bedroom Makeover so here is the first!

The crate bookshelf

I purchased three white washed crates at Joann on a whim.  There was much debate in my brains about what kind of bookshelf I wanted my girl to have.  I had no idea what I was going to do until I walked past the only three crates Joann had.  (check them out here)  They are slightly more expensive than the non-stained ones, but acquiring the white washed created one less step for me so it worked out well.

Next, the hard part of lining them up :)
(I had a tiny helper)

Once everything was how I wanted it I used wood glue for some added stability then anchored them down with wood screws on each of the "shelf" corners. 

Following this step I added some contact paper to the shelf of each crate to cover the handle hole.  It's not necessary but I thought it would add a touch of style and a tiny bit of stability for books. 

It's really one of the easiest DIY projects I've ever done.  I'm pretty sure the novice of all novices couldn't screw this one up!  It's the perfect size for my little. :)

Here is the final product one more time!

**On a side note:  My computer CRASHED ...UGH!!  I lost blog photos of upcoming/current and past ALL of them.  BUMMER.  I'm scrambling to find my pictures on camera cards and dropbox and anywhere else I may have another copy.  Luckily, I've got a big project waiting in the wings to bring to you guys soon.  Along with my computer crashing, our family has been dealing with little bits of continuous sickness and kid related injuries.  It's been quite a first quarter!

I hope to bring some new and exciting projects to the DIY blog world VERY soon.  Please bare with me as I get organized and accustomed to my rad new computer.  
Thanks for being so understanding!
Have a great day!