Monday, April 24, 2017

Triple French Themed Redux

I had three items in my stash that needed to be upcycled.  
I decided to go with a French theme, using some of my favorite techniques.  
First was this oak card box.  I removed the inner divider and covered the bottom with decorative paper.  I changed the inside and outside with a distressed white chalk finish.  On the top, I added this lovely French label transfer. 
The larger box shown above started out as a beat up wooden cigar box.  The hinges were past redemption so I simply glued the box shut and went to work, giving it a distressed white and vintage green chalk finish.  A lovely French transfer finishes it off. 
Finally there is this small mirror that started out as an unfinished piece from Ikea.  I wanted to try out the lovely decor molds I've had for about a year.  These are gorgeous vintage style molds from Prima Marketing.  For my first try, I used Plaster of Paris.  I had some issues with getting the right consistency but I found that even if the molded pieces broke, I could glue them together on the board and once painted, they looked perfectly fine.  In fact the upper right embellishment lost a large chunk but looks awesomely ancient on the piece.  After gluing on the plaster pieces, I gave everything a shabby vintage chalk paint finish.  Then I stamped various images all over.  A coat of wax protects the piece.  I really love these molded embellishments and will be sure to buy more!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Cheerful Birthday Cards

Coordinating designer paper scraps were used in these two cheerful cards.  The top card was accented with matching turquoise ribbon and sentiment strip.  I created the embellishment using a Sizzix die cut.  I distressed the edges and added details with a brown pen.  A bronze brad holds the two layers together. 
This card is accented with a simple stamped sentiment.  I colored the letters with Distress Markers and distressed the edges with Vintage Photo Distress Ink.
I always enjoy using up scraps in cards!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Paint Review and Two Painted Tables

I recently purchased a new-to-me paint to try on my upcyled furniture-- Decoart Americana Satin Enamels.  I was intrigued by this paint because not only was it branded as for furniture, it also had some great features.  Like chalk paint, you do not need to sand or prime before using it.  And according to the directions, no need to varnish!  And being an enamel, I knew I'd get a nice shine too.  So I bought the basics--black and white--and decided what to use them on.
While this wouldn't be a great paint for shabby style furniture, I thought a perfect test run would be to paint this shaker table.  And I was very pleased with the results!
The black took two coats to cover the legs.  The shine was amazing and the finish was smooth.  I left the legs varnish free as suggested.  The white top took three coats of white.  The white seemed a bit thin but once I got to full coverage, I was pleased with the look.  I also used the black to hand letter the French design.  I didn't have to thin the paint with water to be able to do the lettering.  For added use protection, I did add several coats of varnish to the top.   
Another thing I wanted to see was how this paint would look with chalk paint.  I envision using it for shiny tops instead of gel stain.  On the table above, the bottom was painted in chalk paint and waxed, giving it a shabby matte finish.  The top, done in white enamel (again, it took three coats) has a beautiful glossy shine, without having to varnish!  
The verdict?  If you are looking for a paint that has built in shine and durability, I recommend Americana Satin Enamel.  I plan on purchasing a few more colors to use on my upcycled furniture.  Of course I'll share them with you when I do!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Project: Vintage Style Note Holder

Recently I needed to make several favor gifts for an event I put on.  I had these wooden post it note holders in my stash and decided they would be perfect.  My dad made these holders for me but you can buy them very inexpensively from Cabin Crafters.  Shop your local dollar store for the actual note pads.
Here's how to make your own: 
First I grabbed a lovely vintage graphic from my favorite site, The Graphics Fairy.  I placed the image into PhotoShop and created the layout I wanted.  Then--VERY IMPORTANT--I mirrored the image and printed it out using a laser printer. 
Next I painted the wood note holders using Americana Decor Chalky Finish (Timeless).  While they were drying I "fussy" cut each of my printed images out. 
To transfer, I used the Polycrylic method.  
To do this, simply paint a coat of poly where your image will be placed.   While still wet, brush poly over the reversed side of the image.  Flip the image over onto the wet surface.  Brush another coat of poly on top of your image and smooth out, using your fingers or brush.  You want to make sure that there are no bubbles trapped under the paper image. 
Now let the image dry.  It doesn't take long.  I like to do this in the morning and then come back to it after lunch.  Once dry, you want to wet the paper to reveal the image.  You can use a sponge or spray bottle but get the paper as wet as possible.  Let it sit for about 10 minutes and then wet again.  Take your finger and gently start to rub the paper away from the image.  It may take more water spritzes to remove all the paper.  If some of the transfer comes off, you can leave it as is (giving your piece a true vintage look) or you can touch up with black paint. 
Once I removed the paper, I gave the top of the note holder one more coat of poly.  I did this because I wanted to shade around the image and if I didn't, any remaining paper around the image grabs the paint.  Once that was dry, I used brown acrylic paint to shade the image and around the letters. 
I also shaded around the entire holder bottom, sides, and back.  I then flyspecked the entire piece.  Once everything was dry, I brushed on a final coat of polycrylic. 
Using double sided tape, add a strip to the back of a post it note stack and attach the pad to the holder.
And here it is!  A lovely and practical gift.  
Here's a look at the rest of the holders I made.  
I chose graphics to fit each person's personality.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Spring Floral Cards

It's going to be about a month before I see any flowers popping up here in northern Michigan.  So it brought some happiness into the studio when I put together these cheerful floral cards.  Both feature coordinating scrap paper that I layered onto a card stock base.
The top card's floral layer is matted with brown card stock.  Over that I added another similar scrap (also layered with darker brown card stock).  I matched up the ribbon with the color of the sentiment sticker.  The embellishment is a die cut two layer flower that I accented with distress ink and markers.  The pieces are held together with a bronze brad. 
For the card above, I rounded the corners of the floral scrap and laid it directly on to the card stock base.  I stamped the "WISH" sentiment in archival ink onto cream card stock and colored with  markers.  That piece was then rounded, distressed and placed upon the green piece--also stamped, distressed and rounded.
I love using up my scraps and it makes it super easy when you have pieces that coordinate together.  

Monday, March 6, 2017

Upcycled HOME

Here's a sign I recently created. 
Remember when these plastic home decor company letters were popular?  Well, not so much anymore because I found them at a garage sale for a buck.  I figured I could recycle them into something new so I took them outside and spray painted the letters completely black. 
 I painted white chalky paint on the front only of the letters.  I didn't mind if the paint edges were uneven and messy.  For interest I used a background stamp with black chalk paint and added the cool  screen design.  I softened the edges with more of the black paint.  I used a pine board as the sign base,  painting it with red chalk paint and distressing. 
I glued the letters to the board and added eye hooks for hanging.  
This is now a large piece of sign art that will add a pop of color to any style of decor!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Man Cards

I don't know about you, but I have a hard time making "manly" cards.  Maybe because I like pretty and sparkly?  Whatever reason, I have to really try hard to come up with something that looks masculine.  One way is to use my classic car stamp set.  Cuz all guys like cars, right?!  lol
For the card above, I used a chevron background stamp directly on the cream colored card stock base.  Over that I layered a piece of dotted scrap that I wrapped a bit of washi tape around (yay!  I used some of my giant washi stash up!!).  I stamped the image using Sepia Archival ink.  To finish, I stamped and punched the sentiment circles.  Pretty easy and I think it's manly enough. 
For this card, I got out the markers and did some coloring on the black Archival ink stamped image.  I wanted it to be bold to match the colorful dotted paper I layered over the blue card stock base.  Another piece of washi tape for accent and it's done!  I think this would be a great card for that "young at heart" guy, don't you?