DIY Lamp Redo Fail + Fix

I have so much to share with you (LA Secret Stair posts, art projects and of course, last night’s Newsroom Season 2 premiere party) but until those are ready, I’m going to share this DIY gem I completed a few weeks ago.

It all started with a trip to the sale section of Ikea (by the checkout). Usually Ikea’s damaged goods section is still over priced for what you get, but for some reason I always check it out.

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That’s where I found this simple lamp of beauty.

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This lamp was in good condition, it just needed some cleaning and the white lampshade needed to be recovered. It had been a display lamp, so you can imagine all the hands that touched it.

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I’ve not worked with lamps before, so I was in new territory. My brilliant idea was to spray paint it. Warning: this is not brilliant, it’s actually a bad idea. But go with me…

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So I taped off the inside and sprayed the metal hardware gold, to jazz it up.

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Doesn’t the gold look nice?

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I wanted a top stripe of gold, so after a layer of gold, I taped off the top inch of the lamp, and sprayed the bottom of the shade a teal blue.

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…I thought it would be a little more blue.

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Yes, I know, together it looks like a Green Bay Packers lamp. That was not my intention.

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My other fail is that when you light fabric sprayed with paint, if it isn’t perfectly even (which is crazy hard), it looks blotchy. Very blotchy. I did get compliments on it (while not lit), but it’s a lamp and needs to look good when lit.

Thankfully, when I fail at a project I always learn something from it (don’t spray paint fabric unless it’s a canvas on a wall).

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After a trip to the fabric district, I bought this beautiful gray/white fabric. I removed the green canvas (it was just glued in, so easy to remove) and replaced it with this new fabric. Now it’s a much more subtle lamp, which works better in the room.

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I had enough fabric left over to make a small pillow for my barrel chair. I love it! It helps tie the room in together.

Finished: My Barrel Chair Makeover

As you know, I’ve been working on my Barrel Chair. Since I finished it this past weekend, I feel it’s only fair that I share this process with you. It’s my first reupholstery project and I even learned to use my sewing machine to tackle it. It was a lot of fun, but it’s also a weight lifted now that it’s done.

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Here she is above, the day I got her from Salvation Army. Isn’t she a beaut? She just needs some TLC.

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After looking around pinterest and google images for different type of barrel chairs, I did a mockup in photoshop and decided that above rendering was the way to go. I just need to fix and darken the wood, and buy a creamy white fabric to reupholster it. This way I could mix and match fun  pillows to add an accent color. Also, by avoiding a pattern, that would make my first sewing project way easier.

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I started by cleaning and taking inventory on what needed to be replaced. I also took TONS of photos as I dissected the chair so I could really understand how it all needed to go back together.

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I really paid close attention to details like what order were these materials placed? How are they connected? So first sewed then stapled? I made a little map for myself of what I thought the order of assembly should be.

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Stapled below, then stapled on top, then covered? I’m a fabric detective.

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Well that’s sneaky.. glue, staples and tread.

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CHAIR GUTS!!!

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All the insides. What can be saved and what must be tossed?

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Once the chair was fully detatched from the frame, I took it outside to spray.

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I used wood filler to smooth out the many notches and damages in the wood. I decided to skip traditional stain and instead spray paint it a chocolate brown. This was an excellent idea, as stain would have drawn attention to all the rehab work I had to do on it. After a couple coats of spray paint, the chair looked brand new. I then put a glossy coat of polyurethane over the whole chair to make it look shiny and clean.

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Next up, upholstery time! Get out those sheers! I was able to find a fabric I liked at Jo Ann’s Fabrics (although after my trip downtown this weekend, I wish I had looked at Michael Levines). I got tons of fabric because I assumed I would fail and have to start over.

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I decided to start with the backing, which was a lot easier than it looked.

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I also added a strip of piping to the front seat of the chair. This is how the last fabric had been applied, and I was set on matching it.

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Unfortunately, as I started attaching the back, I could see wrinkles because it wasn’t tight enough. When I tried to make it tighter, you could see the bumps of the buttons from the front. That’s when I realized I still needed a material (like what was originally on the chair) to sculpt the backing to be smooth. That’s why I went to Michael Levine this past weekend, and for $2.50 my problem was solved.

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I then came home and continued with the backing, making it extra tight and firm with the addition of the padding. Once I stapled it in and cleaned up the edges (above) it was really starting to come together.

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Now on to the bottom cushion and the piping!

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I was able to ruse the inside of the piping. And the bottom cushion, which I was SO afraid to tackle, turned out to be the easiest part of the chair! Just wrap and staple!

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Isn’t she pretty? I know the piping didn’t turn out perfect, and Im sure I made some other mistakes along the way, but she really came out beautiful. It’s so comfortable and fits in nicely in the house.

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Look how smooth that backing is?! The $2.50 foam really made the difference, and I’ve got plenty left over for future projects.

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Here’s a throw pillow we had around the house. It’s a nice size and the bright color stands out nicely. I’m thinking maybe my next ( or down the line) project will be making a pillow with some fun fabric I saw at Michael Levine. It’ll help me learn more about my sewing machine and you know how I love DIY!

Garage Make-Over

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You probably can tell by now, I love to build things and work with my hands. Part of purchasing my miter saw is that I want to turn my tiny shared garage into a functioning workspace for weekends and unemployment (and who knows- maybe more!).

I’m a renter living in a town house with two other roommates, so I’m tight on space, forced to make everything removable, and need to be mindful of my roommates needs. Despite all of these challenges, I’m excited to turn the above space into a functioning workshop. Not just user friendly, but girlie and fun. I want this to be a space that I look forward to spending time in, so that I have no excuses not to get to work.

Since Im very tight on space, I’m going to have to make the table for the saw myself. This is a nice first project for the saw and totally doable. The storage shelving unit (above) I recently bought for $30 at Ikea and plan to paint in the coral and gold colors below.

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The stools in the top photo are going to become this fun pink color in the rendering. The peg board I need to purchase will eventually be painted mint green. I also want to buy hanging light sockets (paint the cords pink to match the stools) and then attach a gold cage to them. It’s got a steam -punk vibe to keep this space girlie and fun as well as industrial.

I’m excited to share this transformation with you, as well as all the inevitable DIY projects to come from this. Stay tuned.

Miter Saw

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I did it! I FINALLY bought a miter saw. This is a huge purchase for me, as saws aren’t cheap and they take up lots of room. But any DIY’er will tell you that tools are key and this saw is a game changer. I now have so much flexibility in my projects and do more of my own designs in conjunction with my up-cycling projects. Why buy it today? I don’t know. I’m tried of dragging my feet when it comes to decisions and my future. I’ve been feeling like things have been “the same” for too long. And while I’ve been working hard to move forward when it comes to future plans, I realized, what am I waiting for? Big day… big day.

DIY Bon Voyage Party Decorations

As you just learned, my sister As Her World Turns just moved out of Los Angeles to embark on an endless trip around the world. We were sad to see her go, but excited for her, as this has been something she’s talked about since we were kids. There’s no way she could leave without us throwing some kind of Bon Voyage (and coincidentally, Birthday) celebration.

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She chose the venue of Cafe Gratitude in Larchmont Village. You can see above, Kelocity and I made map party hats, goodie bags, map pennants, stamp+map confetti and more!

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The balloons were cheap and so easy to get from Vine America. They have so many color options and even had globe balloons! To make the map party hats I just collected a variety of fun map images online and printed them onto 11X17 paper. I made a hat prototype to get the cone shape and then traced that shape onto all of the map papers. I bought elastic string for like $1.50 at Michaels. Once you get the cone shape and cut two holes for the elastic it was helpful to staple the string in place in addition to the knot. None of the hats ripped during the party and it made for some fun photos.

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The map pennants were made with some yellow yarn and triangles cut out of some AAA maps. The scrap pieces of map were turned into confetti with my circle cutter (which I used in THIS art project). I also cut out stamps as more table confetti. Lastly, I made little colorful picture holders to fit my polaroid film. These images fit perfectly in a little moleskin sketch pad. The pad was passed around and people took photos and wrote notes to my sister wishing her a safe trip. It’ll be a nice little memory that she can carry around and look at when she’s missing home.

DIY Chalkboard

A while ago I got a gold $10 frame from a yard sale in Los Feliz. What a great find! I spent time sanding and repainting this frame which became my Christmas card holder (see that DIY here). Well I decided to take it a step further and turn it into a chalkboard where I could also hang cards and photos.

Step 1 was having wood cut to fit inside the frame. You can buy the wood and have them cut it at any Home Depot or Lowes type store.

Step 2 was making my own chalkboard paint. I bought flat regular ol’ house paint (so I could make the board any color I want). I also bought unsanded grout and added 2 table spoons into an 8oz container of paint ($3 at Home Depot). I used a mini paint roller and did a couple coats until it looked like…

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…this!!

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All the guides I found to making chalkboards recommended rubbing chalk all over the board and then lightly erasing the chalk (photo below). The light dusting helps keep the chalk from sticking in the future.

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Lastly I tapped up the board into the frame and included the twine and clips so that I could hang cards and photos and write fun messages next to them on the board.

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Isn’t it beautiful? I LOVE the blue green color. It’s so much more fun than a black board and has an antique green school board vibe. It’s perfect.

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Let the chalk fun begin!

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I’m so happy with the results. (The above photo is of my grandparents ❤ )

DIY Ikea Bookcase Re-Do

If you remember, a while back I made a vellum backing to a hand-me-down Ikea bookcase that was backless. It was an excellent fast/easy/cheap temporary solution. It wasn’t the worst bookcase ever… but it also didn’t match anything and felt like dorm furniture.

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Im not one to just throw away a perfectly good bookcase, so I got creative.

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I was inspired by Young House Love’s new book! I got it for Christmas and LOVE it. See the photo above of the white bookcase with the blue/green backing? I want that bookcase… so why not just make it?

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Since I had to work with the heavily lacquered birch Ikea bookcase, I researched the best way to sand/prime/paint this surface. So many blogs posted that the Rust-Oleum Painters Touch Ultra Coverage (X2) was the best way to go. I decided to go with the flat white and it was $3 a bottle at Home Depot.

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I did a coat of white spray paint over everything. By using this paint (made for plastic) it means no sanding! Woo hoo!

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You can see above that the spray paint leaves a texture. Im sure with multiple coats, this would go away, but I had left over white paint from my dining table so I decided to do a top coat of my paint. This also means the bookcase will exactly match my table, instead of being a cold white it’ll be a warm white.

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To create the backing, I bought 5 sheets of white foam boards from Michael’s (with a 30% off coupon!). I leaned the foam core against the back of the bookcase and traced the bookcase. This way I know exactly how much to paint.

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This was a good part to work on while the bookcase was drying. Above you can see the 4 boards on the right have 1 coat, and the board on the left has 2 coats. What a difference?! Do two coats over all the board. It’s super easy using a small paint roller. The paint I purchased was an 8oz container from Home Depot (flat) for $3.

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I decided to do the assembly of the backings inside my house (which meant waiting until everything was fully dried.

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I laid the bookcase upside down, traced the bookcase again (very precisely) and then cut the foam boards using a metal ruler and exatco blade.

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I used just a standard stapler to staple the foam core to the back of the bookcase. It was so easy and took maybe 15 minutes to do all 5 panels. Keep in mind if anything requires cords on the shelves, youll need to cut a notch. For example, we keep our internet router on the shelf, so I cut a small triangle on that shelf’s backing.

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I was so excited while assembling, I had to test out how my stuff would look on it. Love it! Do you like my spice rack/diamond shaped sculpture? Check out that DIY here!

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You like? It adds such a pop of color and fun to the room. Before the bookcase disappeared into the corner, and now it’s fun to look at and stands out. This project was SO cheap and just required an afternoon of effort.