Success with chalk paint

So, here’s the thing. About a month ago, I took a workshop on how to use Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (and wax!) at my local stockiest, Laissez Faire. I took it because painting furniture is intriguing to me, but lots of sanding and stripping just isn’t. So instead of buckling down and learning how to strip furniture so I could paint with latex, I jumped on the chalk paint wagon and I’m never looking back.

For my first project, I really tested the boundaries of the no prep claims. We went to Goodwill, where I picked up this debacle of a nightstand for $5.

So, take a good look at this “lovely” piece. I would especially like you to note the contact paper. There is one layer of it on the shelf at the bottom. And there are two layers of it on the top.

Yeah. So apparently the finish was so damaged that the previous owner felt covering it with wood grain contact paper was an improvement. And then that got too damaged….. so they did it again. I think Craig thought I was vaguely daft when I picked this one. But it was only $5 and I was pretty sure the contact paper would come off.

For the record? I was right. The first thing I did when we got this thing home was rid it of contact paper. Then I was left with this.

So right… that’s pretty bad. But it doesn’t really matter because I’m just painting over it anyway. I did sand just the tiniest bit to make sure all the sticky goo was off. And I puttied a particularly nasty gouge on one side and a hole at the bottom of one of the legs.

Then I painted. I did a two color technique on these with Primer Red as the bottom color and Arles as the top. Two coats of each made this nightstand perfect for our guest room. (Did I not mention that? I bought this $5 monstrosity for our guest room. I figured it was either going to go horribly right or horribly wrong. I was right… it was one of those, I think.)

Oh… so you want to see it? Yeah, I suppose we could do that. After I was all done painting, distressing, and waxing, my little $5 nightstand looked like this.

I kind of love it now. So just to summarize, here is the before and after on my Goodwill $5 nightstand, all prettied up with chalk paint.

Please note, I did not realize until I was editing that image that I’d put the drawer pull back on upside down. I have decided that perhaps it looks evil (horns!) in the before picture and like a softer, gentler drawer pull in the after. Just go with me on this one.

Now, our guest room has a long way to go, but the nightstand is in there now sitting happily next to the bed and taking it one baby step forward towards being a finished room.

So what have you been up to in your house lately? And have any of you tried chalk paint? I’d love to hear your stories too. :)

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Entryway Art

So this weekend, I was minding my own business and having a lazy Saturday, when I suddenly realized I couldn’t stand the way our entry hall looked for another minute. To the right of the entrance hallway, there was a wall where the previous owners had something or other hung that left nail holes in the wall and scrapes in the paint. I was just randomly and all of the sudden tired of it. So what is a girl to do? (Also, am I the only one who has sudden psychotic breaks over weird details that I’ve been able to successfully ignore for months on end? Please say no.)

Pinterest to the rescue! A while back, I had pinned this tutorial for flower wall art. After looking it over again, I figured with different colors and materials I mostly had on hand, I could make my own version.

Now, in truth, what happened next was that I sort of did everything differently from the gal who wrote the tutorial. But that has more to do with me being lazy and stubborn than anything else, I promise. I think either way works just great… or maybe you have a totally new way to make this craft your own.

So I started with a 22″ x 28″ Artist Loft canvas from Michaels. Not because I like making giant pictures, but really because that was the size needed to cover the holes that started this whole mess. After consulting with Craig, we decided the background should be yellow so I got yellow acrylic paint too. And I knew I could use paper and adhesive I already had. I did end up buying more Mod Podge, but that’s only because my current bottle was getting low. So to sum up, here’s what I had:

  • 22″ x 28″ canvas
  • assorted paper (I used 7 sheets and had some left over)
  • Mod Podge (glossy for me)
  • tape runner
  • acrylic paint (mine was yellow)
  • large paint brush (I had this already as well)

Then I started doing kind of whatever I wanted. I painted the canvas with one coat of yellow paint. I kind of dug the character that the slightly uneven color gave it so I opted not to do a second coat. Important point – I let the canvas dry overnight. Let me repeat…. I let the canvas dry overnight. I’ll tell you why in a minute.

The canvas was so large I had to do this on the floor.

The next day, I picked out my 7 sheets of coordinating paper and pulled out my trusty Cricut. I found a nice leaf shape and decided it could be a petal too, and used that instead of cutting petals by hand. To give a little variety, I cut petals in two sizes: 2″ and 3″. I was able to get 9 or 10 of each size from each 12×12 sheet of paper. That was more than enough as I had some petals leftover. But not too too many. I also cut the center of the flower from some plain brown paper with a circle punch I had laying around.

Next I pulled out my canvas and started to arrange everything. I did like the off center look to the original flower, so I honored the original there. Basically, I tried to keep from clumping the same kind of paper up too much in any one spot, and mixed the sizes up so it wasn’t too regular. Once I felt it was too a good size, I showed Craig a picture before sticking anything down.

Not glued down yet

For the record, I realized it needed to be filled out in the bottom right after looking at this. Another good reason for taking a picture.

With the design approved, I adhered it to the canvas using a regular old tape runner. In my case, I didn’t care about edges popping up because I knew I’d be sealing it with Mod Podge which would get everything nice and smooth. Even though it was tedious, this really didn’t take as long as I thought it would.

Then I sealed the canvas with 2 coats of Mod Podge. Clearly this step is optional. Clearly you need to let it dry between coats but that won’t take long. But let’s talk about the comments on the original tutorial. If the Mod Podge messes up your paint, it’s because you didn’t let it dry all the way. I’ve been there done that, so I knew better. Hence the drying overnight. But I still tested it on the back side of the canvas to make sure I really knew what I was talking about. I did. Also, sometimes Mod Podge can make your paper bleed. I’ve seen it happen. If you really want to seal it, you can always touch up with your background paint if this happens. Although in my case no touchups were necessary. It worked just fine.

Close up on the wall

I started this project on Saturday evening and hung it, all nice and dry, in our entrance way on Sunday evening. And that is how, a little over 24 hours after I suddenly could not stand those holes any longer, they were covered up by bright cheery artwork.

See? No holes.

From the side

I like the way the flower wraps around the side here.

Entryway

And this is the entry to our house. Baby gates are due to a dog who isn’t housebroken yet… not actual babies.

What do you think… did I nail it?

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Cutting Eco Felt with the Cricut

So, for whatever reason, I recently became obsessed with cutting felt on my Cricut. It all started when I ordered a healthy amount of eco felt by the yard from Creative Goods on Etsy. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was going to do with all of it (still am not, by the way) but I ordered it because it seemed like fun.

Once I got my hands on it, I couldn’t stop thinking about cutting it on my Cricut. I mean, it seems like it should be possible, right? Well, I was sure it would be. But after searching all over the internet, there weren’t a whole lot of folks who shared my optimism on the topic. Still, I found a two promising options.

Both involved a deep cut blade, iron on adhesive backing, and blue painters tape. As well as felt and a Cricut mat, of course. Both methods were identical except for the way the felt was adhered to the mat too.

My 3 attempts

These were my three attempts at cutting a flower. You’ll notice the one in the middle is…. well…. not good. It’s okay, I’m aware. For the record, that was the result of putting the felt face down on the mat. Don’t do that. Always put the felt Thermoweb side down. Trust me,

So, in case you were wondering, the instructions were pretty simple.

First I cut a 12×12 piece of felt and the same size of the Thermoweb adhesive backing. Then I ironed the backing onto one side of the felt.

Next I placed the felt with the paper still on the backing, backing side down on the Cricut mat. To help keep the felt in place, I also reinforced the edges with some blue painters tape.

On the Cricut, I swapped out the regular blade for my deep cut blade Hooray for the deep cut blade! I was excited to use it. We were almost ready to go now.

I loaded up my Cricut with the Mother’s Day Bouquet cartridge. (I thought if it worked, it would be fun to make felt flowers for scrapbooking and card making, in case you were wondering why I chose that one.) I set the blade to a depth of 6, the pressure to 5, and the speed to 2. And I turned the multi-cut function on to 2. It was time to go!

It’s important to note that the cuts aren’t perfect. You will need scissors handy to finish cutting out the flower and catch the loose ends, but it’s not bad at all and only takes a second. And I think they turned out really well.

(The difference between the first and third flowers is minimal. The first one still had the paper backing on. The second one was after the paper backing had been removed. Everything else was the same.)

Now, I’m not sure if I like the felt flowers though. I was thinking maybe a nice stiff fleece would be more fun. Think that’ll work?

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