Nail Art

My sister stopped by my house last night and as I gave her an update on some of my art and building projects she pointed out a piece she enjoyed and said I should share it. It wasn’t personally my favorite which is why I haven’t shared it with you yet, but she liked it so I figure it was worth posting about.

Several months ago I collected some scrap MDF (although I think the project would have worked better with real wood) and painted them. For the first piece I painted it a creamy pink color I already had (yay for saving on supplies!).

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Next I printed a heart image that fit the mdf and taped it down. I bought some small gold nails from Lowes, and used a T-square (above) to nail in the outside shape of the heart in an organized manor. I nailed it in right through the paper.

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Once nailing was complete, I ripped the paper away to reveal the nail heart outline.

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I bought pink and red thread from Michaels (look up their online coupons on your phone while in the store and you’ll find instant coupons that they scan right from your phone. SAVINGS!) and wrapped the thread around the nails in a random way. This image makes it hard to tell, but there’s an ombre effect in person of light pink to dark red.

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The piece that my sister really liked is this LA metro map made in nail art (she’s a travel buff as you know). Each nail represents every station stop, so not only does it look cool but it functions as a real metro map. I think the mdf backing is why I don’t like it and I’d love to remake it on real wood boards where the grain shows through. Ahhh, future projects.

This was made with the same technique as the heart piece. I painted the mdf and then printed an LA metro map to trace with nails. It didn’t take too long and the tread colors match the real metro line colors. It was a cheap fun project that I did while watching a netflix movie. Give it a try!

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.

DIY: Herringbone Pattern Painting

When my roommates moved out, they left some rather large (36″X36″) prefab art canvases. I decided it was about time to revamp them because now they don’t match much in the house. After browsing around pinterest, I came across some great art pieces where a white herringbone pattern was painted over brightly colored designs and I thought- easy-peasy!

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Here’s what I started with. Since canvases are expensive, it’s nice to start by recycling something else to use as the base. Check out Goodwill for old canvases, and you can find something that’ll work for you, for cheap.

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I went to the fashion district recently, where I picked up fabric for several projects. Knowing this has been on my to-do list, I made it a point to find bright, colorful fabric, in a linear direction. I then wrapped the canvas with this fabric.

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Since I don’t have a ton of pinks around the house, I decided to paint and add in colors from my left over paint. I added lots of blues and oranges.

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After 5 minutes in the hot LA sun, it dried up quick.

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I was dreading this next step, because I thought it would take a long time. The next step was taping off the herringbone pattern. This past Saturday I was up early drinking coffee in bed while TBS was on. A movie had just started and I decided to use the time efficiently, and I just started taping it off while watching the movie.

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It was actually very easy, as I wasn’t being fussy with it. It was kind of nice repeating the steps over and over while watching the movie.

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Time flew by and before I knew, I finished!

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That’s a lot of herringbone! For visual interest I pulled a few pieces off to reveal…

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This! Keep in mind, where the tape is, is where the colorful pattern will be showing on the final product. It’s challenging to think reversely like this.

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Time to paint before the masking tape peels off! My white spray paint was acting up, and I was still in pjs (not about to run to the hardware store) so I decided to use a roller and my left over Dove Valspar paint from Lowe’s.

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I was careful to not un-stick the tape while rolling the white paint. Three coats of paint and a short drying time later…

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It’s time for the big reveal.

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It came out excellent! It adds just the right amount of texture and color to the room. I just can’t get over how easy it was.

Garage Makeover- Update

Remember how I told you about my garage makeover? Well, I spent this weekend working away on it.

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First off, it’s dark in the garage. Even midday, shadows make the lighting uneven. I decided to build my own pendents starting with these ikea sockets. For $8 (each) it includes a bulb and hooks for the ceiling.

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I put tape to show where the peg board will go as well as the table height. This helped me measure where I want the pennants to hang. I also ordered these light cages from amazon, which once they arrive, will be painted and hung. That won’t happen until this upcoming weekend.

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Now it’s time to build my table! I started by doing extensive drawings and measuring the space to make sure I’m working within my limits. For example, I need to be able to open my car door and not hit it. The height is customized to my height for the best leverage when using my miter saw. I also added extra braces to make sure that when the saw’s in use, it wont shake the table (which would be unsafe).

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After doing all the drawings and cut lists, it was time to cut and assemble my table! Within 3 hours I was able to turn a pile of wood into a functioning stable work table!

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It’s time to think about color. Since I want this space to feel girly, light and fun I’ve decided to go with the color scheme above. Since I might be in the garage in the evenings, it’s important to keep everything as light as possible to avoid creepiness.

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I painted the table a creamy white (which I already owned- score!). You can see I did a test swatch of the coral color on the storage unit.

What’s next you ask? Next up is fully painting the cabinet, getting some pegboard and painting that, painting the stools, and lastly hanging the light cages when they arrive. While it sounds like there’s tons to do, I actually feel close to finishing this project and I’m LOVING it so far.

 

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.

Cheap Art Project for a Rainy Saturday

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I have MANY do-it-yourself projects in the works, and although they are cheap projects they all involve a little seed money. For this upcoming rainy weekend, I gave myself the challenge of doing an almost-free art project. I found the image on the left from pinterest and thought pixel art could be fun. Then I found an image to blow up and become the image on the right. I also made a square viewfinder out of some scrap paper. My plan is to either use magazines or paint chips to generate the artwork above. The white viewfinder is to isolate the color square making it easier to find a color match. I also numbered each tile, so when I find the color to match I can label it on the backside, so I dont end up with a giant pile of random multicolored squares. I already own the glue and paper to mount it on, and paint chips are free! I also love that instead of a frame it’s hanging via old-school metal clip (something I don’t already own, but cheaper than a frame!). I’ll have to share the final product with you next week.

DIY: Spray Paint-ings!

Michael’s craft store often has some great deals on packs of canvases, and a while back I couldn’t pass on such an offer. I got 7, 12″X12″ canvases for around $10. I didn’t have a use for them, but I knew eventually I would. Sure enough, when planning how to fill my blank canvas, I knew these would come into play.

First I like to start with playing with colors and designs in photoshop, until I figure out a combination that tickles-my-fancy.

After making a plan and laying down a base coat of gold (to match the newly painted side-table top), it was time to tape up the design, and buy the colored spray paints.

Since I had the design (to scale) in my computer, all I had to do was print out the pattern and use it as a template for taping up the canvases. I also changed the color on the template so as not to waste ink.

In one case I needed a strip of tape half the width of the store bought painters tape. So I got out my e-xacto and cut 1 piece into 2. The other half I ended up using on the next canvas.

After the first canvas is taped up, it’s best to use that instead of the template. Since these are all being hung in a row, it’s ideal if they all look cohesive and the most accurate way to do that is to use the completed canvases as a guide.

Once they are taped, it’s time to layout the drop cloth and do some spraying!

 

Then let them dry. I was impatient and excited to see my new artwork, so I took them off soon after, but it’s best to let them sit a couple hours if possible.

I love it! Now for the others!

Color fun!

Even the discarded tape looked beautifully colorful. I’m sure if it wasn’t for the high heat that day, I would have come with a diy project that would put that tape to good use.

It adds the perfect pop of color for over the tv (and awkward space to fill). You’ll notice I added a turquoise color in the middle. Since this was so easy to do, I thought why not add in another color.

Now take these as inspiration and come up with your own fun design to spray over. Maybe a hip chevron pattern? Niiiice.

DIY: Repainting a Side Table

Once again, I’m working to revamp my blank canvas. Another item my roommate graciously left behind is this fun little side table.

The shape of the table is clean and minimalist, which I like. But the scratched up top and orangey colored wood, I don’t like. Why live with something you don’t like? How about an easy fix?

Note: If your table has a finish on it, I recommend sanding it a little so the paint will stick.

I love the revamp of the side table. The black and gold make it feel very glam-Hollywood. And all it took was a touch of gold spray paint. Since this table is mostly for looks and not one that gets a lot of use, I’m not going to put on a top clear coat to protect it. If your side-table does get a lot of use I suggest doing a clear top coat to help protect it from the elements.

If you liked this post, you might also like these!
DIY: Decorative Plants
DIY: Renovate An Old Centerpiece
DIY: Backing a Bookcase

Refinish Table Part II

It’s funny how even when you’re unemployed, you can still have a sucky day. I’m not sure how it works, but it managed to happen to me today. After a busy stressful day, I decided I needed to do a walk to pull me out of this gloom, and it really helped. That Secret Stair walk will come to you later this week, but in the meantime I wanted to share with you what 25% of the stress was about: my side table project.

Lets start with the “Before” image:

Then there’s the “Now it’s clean, but still not great because it doesn’t match anything” photo:

And here’s the “After” shot:

I love the final product, despite it’s small issues which I’ll get to later. Now the dark color matches my bookcase and makes the table feel brand new and special.

REWIND

I started by taking inventory of what I already own, and then used a Michael’s gift card to pick up some additional supplies (Thank you Uncle Doug and Aunt Chris for making this possible!).

Next, I lugged the table and it’s parts outside to my driveway, laid down the drop cloth and began sanding. I made the mistake of using too harsh a grade of sandpaper. It would have been bust to use a finer grade, and just do a lot of it. That was fail one on my part. But I did get a good arm work out from the sanding I did do. I don’t own a sander, so it was good ole’ fashion elbow grease.

After sanding I waited a day to start the staining process. I also second guessed my stain color, which set me back another day. A good rule is always test the stain in a less obvious place on the furniture, to confirm it’s the right color before you cover the top in it.

Now that the project is complete, I think I could have achieved a better result with a different type of painting process, but what is done is done. I love the results I just think over time it’s less protected this way and will probably need to be reworked when it gets scuffed. I chose to stain it, which is a heartier assignment since you have to let it sit and then remove the excess stain and do this repeatedly until the color is right. You’re also supposed to let it sit for several hours between each coat. Lets just say this process took a while and was a great excuse to sit outside and get a tan while catching up on my book.

Although the neighbors had a fancy Father’s Day gathering on Sunday and all of their guests had to pass me sitting on the driveway in my painting clothes (it’s not pretty) and stain all over my hands and legs (I’m a sloppy painter). I definitely earned a neighborhood nickname or two. Oh well, it was all worth it.

Oh and I got silly with my sunglasses and gloves. Did I forget to mention that I wear bright blue dishwashing gloves when I paint? Yeah… it’s quite a sight.

So after an extensive 3rd(?) day of staining I put on the top clear coat to help protect it. It was almost perfect when I caught a paint brush bristle in the clear coat. Thinking it hadn’t dried (since I JUST painted it) I tried to grab the single brush hair. It turns out that the clear coat starts solidifying immediately and when pulling up the hair it cause 1.5″ diameter skin-like peel of the top coat. This meant the color looked lighter underneath, and you could see the thickness of the peel. Such a fail on my part. To effectively fix it, I really would need to take off all the clear coat on the table top and start over. I just don’t have the time, so I did a quick patch and will have to learn to live with this one imperfection. My patch job made it nearly invisible, but you can feel it to the touch. At this point, it’s time to move on as it looks lovely in my room. Wanna see it again? 😉

She is such a beauty. Through all the trial and error I would still call this project a success and I am very happy with the out come.