Friday, April 5, 2013

Victorian Parlor Chair Makeover

A good friend of mine, who I met at our first assignment and is now at the same base as us for our forth assignment, has gotten me hooked on going to these Saturday night antique auctions. They happen once a month and I can honestly say, I genuinely look forward to auction weekend. Oh, how Saturday nights have changed...

Some might find them boring, but if anything, the people watching and down home cooking is worth the trip. Who can say no to homestyle chicken and rice, crockpot chili or Georgia BBQ? Not to mention grandma's carrot cake.

Sometimes going to these makes me wish I was more educated on antiques. Some of the little trinkets that go for hundreds of dollars leave me scratching my head. What is someone really going to do with that? Lucky for me, a lot of the pieces of furniture I like, others seem to have little interest in. Like this Victorian era parlor chair. Maybe I have bad taste, because I was literally the only one who bid on it.

I brought this chair home for $40. I debated back and forth on whether or not I wanted to reupholster the chair or not. The upholstery was in nearly perfect condition except for some staining due to age. Ultimately, I decided I couldn't trash the original fabric. However, I did paint it.

What you'll need:

  • Chalkpaint OR sample can of paint mixed with 1.5 - 2T unsanded grout (I used a Valspar sample in Notre Dame)

  • Another sample of latex satin paint for fabric (I used Valspar in Lucy Blue)

  • Spray bottle full of water, ready for refills

  • Paint brush and rag to blend into fabric

  • Fabric medium (equal to the amount of paint that you use)

  • 2 packages of white upholstery trim (8-10 yards)

  • Furniture wax

First, I pulled up all the old trim and trashed it—It was gross. Next, I started by painting the wood with the chalkpaint. Looking back, since I decided not to distress the wood, I wish I would have primed it first with a Zinsser product and then painted it. Since the upholstery painting requires a lot of water, in a few places the paint started to come up. It's fixable, just something to think about.

After the paint was dry, I followed Hyphen Interiors tutorial for painting upholstery. I skipped the acrylic layer she suggests and applied a third coat of the latex/fabric medium blend instead. It worked perfectly and covered all the old stains and discolorations in the fabric. I wanted to keep the fabric color as close to the original as possible—just freshen it up a little and create a more uniform color.

I could find any trim that was a close match so after my last coat on the upholstery, I took the remaining latex/fabric medium mixture and diluted it with a little more water. I submerged my white trim in it, squeezed off the excess, and then hung to dry.

When it was dry, I hot glued the trim into place and then finished the wood with some furniture wax. I think she turned out pretty cute! Here is the before and after:

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Thursday, April 4, 2013

DIY Traffic Letters

My almost two year old is currently obsessed with all things cars, trucks, planes and trains and his room has become a hodge podge of all of the above. While my husband was out of town, I tackled (or should I say started) a ridiculous number of projects I had found on Pinterest. One of those being, the infamous gutter bookshelves. I did not take any photos for a tutorial. 1.) I had no idea what I was doing how they would turn out, and 2.) I was too busy simultaneously wrangling a toddler, propping one side of the bookshelf up with a stack of board books, hoisting the other side up with my knee, working a power drill in one hand and a level in the other. Let's just say, this is really a project for two people. However, it can be done!

Anyways, I wanted some letters to hang above the shelves. I was inspired by some framed traffic letter art I had seen, but decided it was something I could make myself.

What you'll need:

  • Craft letters
  • Craft paint
  • Paintbrush
  • 8.5 x 11 sheet of shipping label paper (I used Avery)
  • Paper cutter
  • Miniature cars
  • Mod Podge (or make your own using equal parts water and glue)

Start by painting your letters with your color of choice. I started with black, but then decided it was too harsh looking for a toddler's room. I mixed my own grey with these:

Cut your shipping label paper in 1/4" strips. When you're done, snip them into 1" pieces. You could probably use regular paper for this, I just liked the fact that I had a little more control with the adhesive backed paper.


Now you're ready to stick the lines on. Start in the middle of the letters and space your stickers however you like. On corners, I overlapped two 1" pieces to get really crisp angles. At this point, I thought I was done, until the corners of the paper started peeling up. To be on the safe side, mod podge over the entire letters (or make your own like I did) to seal the edges. 

I found these teeny tiny "Spinball Racers" at Toys R' Us for $5 a package. They were the perfect size and came in cute styles. There are race cars, police cars and firetrucks just to name a few.

I started feeling a little guilty for wanting to glue these on to the letters because J was having so much fun rolling them along the "roads". That is, until I picked up teeny tiny cars about 20 times in less than 10 minutes. Yeah, these really aren't for toddlers...

Hot glue your cars on and you're done! I adhered these to the wall with medium, velcro command strips and they worked perfectly. I'm really happy how these turned out and J loves looking at his "chuck" letters.

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