Wednesday, August 27, 2014

How to paint hardware (and make it last)

A while back, maybe 2 years ago, I painted a dresser and chose to keep the original hardware. It went from a gold to an oil rubbed bronze, but I didn't know what I was doing, and it was obvious. Right away the paint started chipping and I had to figure something else out. The good thing is, you can learn from my experience and skip all of the mistakes! So, here's how to paint hardware the right way.

1. Remove your hardware from the piece and clean it with soap or a degreaser.

You can use steel wood to help get any old flaky finish off if you need and smooth everything out, then wipe the hardware down with a cleaner. Soap and water works just fine (that's what I use, or a liquid cleaner/degreaser). You want to get all oils and grime off of the hardware to prep for the finish you are about to put on.

2. Wipe off the hardware and let it dry.

I let it sit for about 10-15 minutes. I also made a point to not touch the hardware, but to put it on a piece of cardboard and take it outside so that any oils from my hands weren't getting back onto the hardware

3. Prime the hardware with an oil based primer.

There are a few different types and brand of spray primer. I highly recommend Zinsser Cover Stain. It's an oil based primer and on the label it says it acts a bond coat. This step is very important to ensure a lasting finish that actually sticks to the hardware. Do thin coats to prevent drips. I waited a minute or two before spraying again so the primer would begin drying. Just make sure all areas of the hardware are covered with a good coat of primer.

Once the primer is dry you may want to use 0000 steel wool to very lightly go over the primer coat and make sure it's smooth (I primed on a piece of cardboard and some of the cardboard debris was sprayed into the finish. The steel wool smoothed it right out).

4. Spray on your paint color

For my hardware I just wanted a true gold, so I used Rustoleum's Metallic Gold. Again, thin coats are key. I did about 2-3 coats and made sure to spray at all angles for full coverage and a smooth finish.

5. Seal the hardware with lacquer or another clear sealer.

After you cleaned, primed and painted the hardware it's best to seal it. It will help the finish last longer and hold up to more wear. The paint I used said not to use a topcoat on it, but I made sure to test it out first to make sure it didn't affect the gold color or finish. I decided to use a lacquer becasue of it's shine and durability. I've also had problems with other sealers I've used in the past giving an uneven finish. I highly recommend the Valspar lacquer and I loved that it's fast drying.

6. Let everything cure, then re-attach the hardware, and you're done!

I know a lot of people just clean and then spray paint hardware, but actually taking the time to prime and seal it will really make a difference in how the paint wears and the finish holds up. Hopefully you found this useful, and now you can update some hardware with some paint!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Grey Cabinet with Washed Doors (Before & After)

I posted about the before of this piece a short while ago. I love antique cabinets like these and was really happy to finally find one to paint. Overall this piece was in good condition, but there were locks to be taken off and holes that needed to be filled all over. I don't know what someone used to keep in here, but 3 locks is a lot to have on one of these wardrobe cabinets.

You can see in the previous 'before' picture that there were two sets of drawers inside. The set on the right was added at some point, and they weren't the most quality little drawers. The rails that the drawers slid on were coming off, so I chose to take the drawers and all of the other parts out of the right side and make it back into a storage/hanging area. It still has the original hanging rod and while I did consider adding a shelf, I ultimately decided to leave it at it was originally made to be. 

I did some light sanding over the whole piece and a bunch of filling. For paint I used 'Lazy Linen' by Country Chic Paint. CCP is a chalk paint that is no VOC and while I don't normally prefer using chalk paint, I'm really loving this stuff. It's not thick like other chalk paints and... it has awesome coverage! I only used 2 coats on the outside with no priming or anything. That made my week! The outside color is just this gorgeous, soft, creamy grey. I will definitely be using it again in the future :) As I began painting I opted to give the insets on the front of the doors a wash. I really didn't know how it would turn out, but I like it. It helps to add some definition and highlight the insets. I seem to be wanting to add a washed detail to everything after I painted the striped washed top on this table

On the interior I wanted to add some color. I originally painted the drawers in CCP 'Rustic Charm' which is a pretty green, but I thought the light grey and green looked too juvenile, so I changed the color of drawers to CCP 'Backyard Picnic', which is more of a teal green. On the right side of the interior I mixed up a custom grey using General Finishes 'Seagull Grey' and 'Queenstown Grey'. It currently only has one coat and I like the worn look of some of the wood showing through, so I plan to leave it. And not that anyone would notice, but I left the hanging rod wood, but that's really the only part that remained untouched by my paint brush. Really happy with how it came out. To seal I used Maison Blanche clear wax. I've been having trouble with poly topcoats yellowing lately, so I stayed away on this piece. 

If you want to see more Before & Afters, visit the 'Before & After' page, or click here

Linking up with:

Monday, August 18, 2014

DIY Geometric Planked Wood Headboard Tutorial (for under $100)

I'm giving you all the details today on the geometric wood headboard I made. First, go here if you have not already seen photos and to find out where the idea came from.

After deciding I was building my own knock-off Urban Outfitters geo headboard I had to begin deciding how large I wanted it to be. I looked at the measurements of the full/queen headboard UO sold and I measured my bed (it's a full size) too see how high off of the ground it was and the width of it. My bed is 27" high and about 54" wide, and I wanted the headboard to extend just past the width of the bed, so I made it 56"w, raised it 27" off the ground, and the height of the actual geometric part is just under 47". Here's a photo that might help you visualize all of those measurements.

Let's start off with supplies and what I used to build the headboard.


  • 3, 1"x10"x10' whitewood boards from Lowes (had them cut to 56" so I ended up with 6 boards and only used 5 for the planked part of my headboard)
  • 1, 1"x6"x12' whitewood board (had this cut in half to hold the planks together and act as legs to hold the headboard up)
  • 1 1/4" screws 
  • measuring tape
  • drill

My dad was my building buddy on this project, but I could have easily done it myself (this isn't difficult). Since I got the boards cut when I purchased them from Lowes all my dad and I had to do was line them up and screw them together. Before actually screwing the pieces together, I picked the 5, 10" boards I liked best and arranged them in an order from my favorite to least favorite. I did this so that the boards I liked the least were at the bottom of the headboard and would be covered by pillows.  (In the picture below the boards are arranged in the order I liked, and numbered on the back)

First, before putting the headboard together I stained the boards. For stain I made a custom mix using General Finishes (GF) Gel Stain in 'Antique Walnut' mixed with Minwax 'Ipswich pine'. [Note: the GF can said not to mix or dilute the stain, but I did. I tested it on a scrap piece of the wood and it was fine] Before staining I applied a good coat of Minwax pre-stain conditioner. I just wiped it on with an old sock, let it sit for maybe 3 minutes, and then applied my stain mixture. I did end up applying a second coat of the stain 24 hours later (once the headboard was assembled) because it wasn't as dark as I wanted it to be. After the second coat of stain cured, I applied 2 coats of GF HP topcoat in flat to seal everything.

Assembling the Headboard
After the boards were stained and dry, my dad and I began laying out the headboard. We laid a work blanket/sheet down to protect the boards and just eyeballed everything to start with. I had to make sure all of the ends of the boards lined up. Even though they were all supposed to be 56" long, they varied so I switched the order until I liked they way it looked. Next, we lined up the legs. We put the legs so they started about an inch and a half below the top board and were the same distance from each side. We then used a measuring tape to make sure the measurements lined up and everything was symmetrical.

*Note: if you build a headboard and plan to attach it to a bed frame, make sure the legs are the correct distance apart so they match up with the bed frame. I chose not to attach the headboard to my bed frame, so I didn't need to worry about this.

Next, my dad made pilot holes only in the 1"x 6" boards with a drill bit smaller than the size of screws we using. Screw placement didn't need to be exact, so we did not measure. Total, we used 20 screws. Each of the 5 planked boards are held on with 4 screws, 2 in each of the legs.

Taping and Measuring
Here's the part where things got exciting! But first, calculations. Boo!

Just like the UO headboard, I wanted 5 full white diamonds to go across the top. To figure out what size they needed to be, I took the 56" width of the headboard and divided it by 5. You get 11.2 if you are wondering :) This meant that the height and width of each diamond would be 11.2". Next I had to figure out how thick I wanted the herringbone/chevron looking pattern between the diamonds to be. In order to make it easy for me, I made it half the size of the diamonds, which is 5.6". This made it simple because that is also the amount of space the next row of white diamonds is offset from the top row. The only 2 measurements I really worked with were 5.6" and 11.2". For measuring I used a measuring tape and a ruler. I made a mark with a sharpie on the ruler at 5.6" and 11.2" so it was obvious for me to see.

I spent 4 and 1/2 hours taping one night... until 1:30am. My back was killing me from kneeling and bending over (I had the headboard laying on the floor inside and I just sat on top of it and taped), so I called it a night and finished in the morning. The total amount of time I spent taping just the white part of the design was 6 hours. Of course there was a mistake in there that meant redoing part of a row. I also tend to be a perfectionist, so I took my sweet time. It's not a hard project to do, just time consuming!

I have a taping and measuring technique that works for me when I am painting designs (like the geometric designs here, here and here). The horizontal lines of tape you see I put down to mark the 11.2" of the design I was working with. It also made it easy for me to make marks with a sharpie directly onto the tape. People in my family do not understand what I did to tape it and thought I was doing it wrong the whole time, so if the photo confuses you, ignore it. haha! I'm the one who did it and it looks confusing! I just made sure to measure out each diamond but to also measure the distance from each line and point to others around it so I knew my tape was in the right place.

*The picture below just shows the white diamond taped out, after taking the picture I taped off all parts of the wood that were not being painted white since I always get paint splatter when I'm painting. I definitely recommend covering the other parts!*

I have a really great trick for getting clean, crisp lines when painting designs, if you want to know how to save yourself frustration you can read about it here.

For paint I went with a pure white paint. I wanted something crisp and didn't like the dullness of the UO headboard, so I used General Finishes Snow White milk paint which I had on hand. Here's just one coat of paint on the headboard. It ended up needing 4 coats of white to get full coverage and not see wood showing through. On the 4th coat of paint I only let the paint dry for about 10 minutes before pulling all of the tape off. By the time I finished painting the top row of diamonds, I could pull off the tape on the bottom row.

Before starting on the coral part of the design I let the white paint dry for 48 hours. 24 is long enough, but I went on a trip to visit my sister. The reason I waited that long was because in order to tape the next part, the tape went over the freshly painted white diamonds and I wanted to make sure none of the paint would pull off and stick to the tape. 

Taping this part was much easier because I did not really have to measure many parts. I just tape over where the edges of the white diamonds and connected the points. The only places I did need to measure were on the vert top and bottom rows where the design goes off of the wood.

For paint I used General Finishes again. I wanted a pretty coral salmon color so I made a custom mix using Coral Crush, Persimmon and a small amount of Seagull Grey.

Once all of the sections that were to be painted coral were taped off I used some paper I had to cover up everything else that was not being painted coral. I didn't want any spatter or drips on any other part of the headboard. I don't have a great picture of this part because we were have rain and thunderstorms, so this is a garage photo with bad lighting.

The coral covered much better than the white paint and because I'm such an indecisive person I only used 2 coats of the coral color. If I ever want to change the coral accent color to a different color, I can easily tape off those sections and paint right over. For that reason I also chose not to seal the piece with a coat of water based poly. The wood areas do have sealer since I put 2 coats on before painting. The good thing is, General Finishes paint does not necessarily require a sealer when used on pieces that do not receive high traffic. I may choose to seal it down the line, and if I do, I will use General Finishes HP topcoat in Flat. 

For now, I just added felt pads to the back of it and leaned it against the wall. I did the same thing with my last headboard. My bed is pushed up against it and it can't fall on me, so don't freak out about that ;) Now, let's talk about cost.

Budget Breakdown
  • Three 1"x10"x10' for the planked front ($18.04 each from Lowes): $54.12 (I only used 5 of the 6 boards)
  • One 1"x6"x12' for the legs (from Lowes): $12.38
  • Pack of 1-1/4in wood screw (from Home Depot): $1.99
  • Stain (GF gel stain in 'Antique Walnut' and Minwax in 'Ipswich Pine'): $0 (already owned)
  • General Finishes HP topcoat in flat: $0 (already owned)
  • General Finishes 'Snow White' milk paint: $0 (already owned)
  • General Finishes 'Coral Crush', 'Persimmon', and 'Seagull Grey' milk paint: $0 (already owned)
  • ScotchBlue Delicate Surface Painters Tape: $0 (already owned)
  • Total Spent: $68.49
This project ended up being really inexpensive for me because I already owned most of the supplies. I only needed to buy the wood and screws. You could definitely do this project for under $100. You don't need a lot of paint so sample sizes or pints work! 

Here are photos of the headboard all finished! (If you want to read the post on the glossy black campaign chest, click here.)

And a comparison of mine and Urban Outfitter's headboard

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Coral Geometric Headboard (UO Knock-Off for under $100)

***If you want to know how to build this Geometric Planked Wood Headboard the tutorial is now up! Click here ***

I feel like most people have already seen this since I've been working on it for the last 2 weeks and constantly sharing updates on Facebook and Instagram. It was definitely a process, but totally worth it! So, here's how it all came about!

I got a new full size bed earlier this year (after graduating from a twin, yay for me!) and my old headboard (which used to be a tall, weathered door) no longer worked. It looked super awkward just standing behind the bed. For a while I've been keeping my eyes open for something to transform or an old headboard to upholster. After not finding anything, I just moved on to the idea that I was going to make my own. For the last month or so I thought I would make, upholster and tuft (?) a headboard. I was having a really hard time deciding on what shape, style, color and fabric I would use, and then I realized an upholstered headboard really wasn't what I wanted. I wanted something fun, unique, and modern, and with a geometric design. So, I searched "geometric headboard" on Pinterest. Enter this awesome geo wood headboard from UO.

I saw it on pinned on Pinterest and instantly fell in love. After pinning it to my own board I followed the link... and found out it was $700! Say what? That was never going to happen... but my heart was set on it, and so I began scheming to build my own!

I'm not going to go into details on this post, I'll write up another one with more details on measurements, supplies, process, building, staining, taping, and a budget breakdown, you know, all that good stuff. I've got a bunch of pictures too, which should help! For now, I'll just say if you attempt this project, it's not super challenging, just super time consuming. Even though it took so much time, I kind of enjoyed it, and I really enjoyed the fact that I spent under $70 because all I had to buy was the wood and some screws. Everything else I needed I had on hand! I only have photos to share today, but a lot more details to share later :)

Tutorial can be found here. (And the post on the glossy black campaign chest is here.)

Linking up with:

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Riverstone Striped Table for Milk Paint

Well it has been long enough since I've posted a new piece. It's not that I've haven't been doing anything, some just aren't posted and others are still in the works. Check out m Facebook page and Instagram for updates and progress shots of what I'm currently working on!

I got this little table for free while picking up a buffet. It needed some glueing and screws put into each leg to be stable, but once that was done, I got to paint it! Christina and I are retailing paint at Wallcotts in Shoreline now, and this table is what is displaying that paint!

I began with one coat of Riverstone by The Real Milk Paint Co. The first coat I mixed up I added a lot of water to so it was more like a wash. 

I liked the look, but the table had problem areas that still showed through so I just striped the top so some of the thin stripes left the washed wood. So, the washed stripes have one thin coat of paint, and everything else has 3 coats of paint. The top stripes with multiple coats crackled, but didn't chip. I wasn't the biggest fan of the crackle look, so after sealing the table with a coat of GF high performance top coat I added a layer of MMS white wax. Now the table has so much variation with the dark wood showing through, light grey paint and white wax layer. It's the perfect piece to display milk paint!

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