Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Cedar Chest with DIY Chalk Paint

I think I’m frugal.

My husband calls me cheap.

Like that’s a bad thing! (Whatever.)

What does that have to do with furniture?? Well, it means that despite great temptation, I have not made the switch to chalk paint. Despite all it’s good qualities, I can’t justify the price.


Last week Sherry from No Minimalist Here posted about how to make your own CHEAP chalk paint!

I was very intrigued.

Sherry gave three suggestions for additives to make your own chalk paint: calcium carbonate, Whiting powder, or Plaster of Paris. Reading through the comments, another suggestion from Carole at Maynard Greenhouse was to use unsanded tile grout was to use unsanded tile grout, and that’s what I chose to use because it’s what I found first! Note: the grout comes in different colors; I bought white.

I started with this cedar chest I bought off a classified ad:

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It was advertised as a “Mediterranean-style” chest, and I don’t really know what that means…but I’m going to go with it!

I mixed 2 T. unsanded tile grout with each cup of ordinary latex paint. It gets VERY THICK, so I diluted with at least 1/4 c. water, I think…then I got to brushing! And despite my misgivings, I did not sand or prime.

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The paint was still VERY gritty, no matter how much I stirred it (I would love to know if the other homemade versions are the same). However, as it dried most of that magically disappeared. And…there were no brush marks!

I was virtually painting in the dark, so I noticed the next morning that I had some drips. I got out the sandpaper. With latex paint, sanding drips is usually a disaster, as it all just peels off, and I never seem to be able to make the flaw blend in again. With the homemade chalk paint, that did NOT happen! I was able to sand the drip down until it was invisible, with NO peeling paint.

I painted the whole chest with two coats of red (the same red I used on the retro buffet), but I wasn’t feelin’ the love.

So next I combined the leftovers from the three sample pots I used to paint the gradient dresser, tossed in more unsanded tile grout, and painted again.

Much better.

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I glazed this piece with a diluted white acrylic paint, and then I also distressed it quite heavily.

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True to the hype, the paint sanded away into powder. That also got rid of the last bit of grittiness. You do have to sand A LOT, though. When it’s smooth, it feels just like…chalk!

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There was one spot which, when sanding, peeled away as latex paint is wont to do. I attribute that to a not-very-well-mixed spot of paint. When that happens when I’m distressing a piece, it makes me cringe…it’s SO hard to cover up a spot that peeled away.

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This time, though, I “filled in” the bare spot with two coats of the DIY chalk paint, and sanded again. You can’t see a difference.

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Overall I would say I’m quite impressed with the DIY chalk paint. The biggest ‘con’ in my book is that it would not go through my Harbor Freight paint sprayer. And let’s face it, painting spindles and detail work by hand takes F.O.R.E.V.E.R! And I don’t think you get as good of coverage or as smooth of a finish that way.

But since it’s also a bugger to sand spindles and detail work—it may be a bit of a wash!

I finished this cedar chest with Minwax paste wax in natural. No, I haven’t purchased the more expensive/better waxes either—I told you I was cheap frugal!

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So, will I try it again? Absolutely.

Am I going to give up on latex paint for furniture? Not for the moment.

Just another tool in the arsenal. And that, as Martha would say, is a good thing!

I would love to hear your thoughts about DIY chalk paint (what versions have you tried?), as compared to Annie Sloan, or to latex paint! What do YOU think the pros and cons are?


This project was featured at Mod Vintage Life.


Linking up here and The DIY ShowOff.Link

Design Challenge

Remember my poor despised front room that I talked about here?

I’m still working on getting a picture in my head of what I want that room to be when it’s all grown up!

Debra at Common Ground has agreed to help me out as part of her Design Challenge feature today.

I hope you’ll come on over to see more pictures of my now (mostly) naked front room, and help me figure out what to do with it!

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Click here.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Beadboard Garland for Fall

I love the look of beadboard, and I’ve been using it for signs for months now (you can see some here), …but I also love the look of pennant banners, so I thought, “How about a beadboard pennant banner?”
Why not?
The first step is to draw out your pennants. There is no magic formula here, just do whatever looks good to you. My pennants are 7” long, and 5” wide at the top. I marked the top and bottom at 5” intervals, except I started the markings on the bottom after coming in 2.5” (because that’s half of 5). Then I just had to connect the dots!
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Once my lines were all drawn, I used a table saw to cut along the lines. Note: You could also use a jigsaw if you don’t have a table saw!
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Once you get the first piece off, you can use a fence to cut your parallelograms easily…
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…but that’s not going to help when it’s time to cut the triangles off!
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I ended up with ten little triangles. Rather than drill each triangle separately, I stacked them and clamped them together. Then I could drill five at once! This is a great time saver.
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I base-coated all my triangles with Rustoleum Heirloom White spraypaint, but then I decided to get further color inspiration from candy corn! I used acrylic craft paint, and didn’t even worry about getting lines perfect or anything. Have you ever seen a perfect candy corn?? Another Note: OK, so now I know that candy corns are actually yellow-orange-white and not orange-yellow-white. Sorry! I don’t actually eat them! Bleah.
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I used black acrylic paint to stencil on letters…
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…and the next day I distressed and glazed all my little pennants.
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I tied the pieces together with twine, and anxiously hung my banner on my buffet so I could admire my handiwork!
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Oh, that’s much better!
candy corn banner
I like the little-bit-faded look the pennants have.
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No tricks for me….just treats, please!
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Want some other ideas for an Autumn banner? Well, how about a banner that just says “autumn”? The one below was actually the first one I made. For this one, I use vinyl as a “reverse stencil,” and sprayed the pennants with Rustoleum Summer Squash paint. You may notice that these triangles are all equilateral, so you can make any size/shape triangles you like!
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This particular banner now lives on my sister’s buffet!
I like this little “fall” banner with the different fonts for each letter.
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The possibilities are endless! What would you put on a banner?


Friday, September 23, 2011

Vintage Goods

Remember my birthday giveaway from last month? The winner was Laura from I’m So Vintage, and she wanted her beadboard sign to say “Vintage Goods.” Laura has a lovely etsy shop where she sells vintage treasures, like the shoe form I used as a prop in my picture below:

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Knowing Laura loves all things old, peeling, and chippy, I tried to reproduce a chippy look for her sign:

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I’m happy with how it turned out!

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She posted some of her own pictures yesterday, so I think she is, too!



The “new” sign makes a fun backdrop for her “old” treasures, don’t you think?


Linking up here and The DIY ShowOff.


I do make custom beadboard signs or pennant banners and canvases. Click on the Available Items tab at the top of the page for details.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Guest posting @ The Ivy Cottage

Today I’m participating in The Magic of Autumn at the Ivy Cottage!


Amanda was my inspiration for my faux-silver-leaf nightstands.

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Today I’m sharing how I made beadboard pennant banners like this:

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or this:

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or this!

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I hope you’ll come visit me at The Ivy Cottage!


Custom banners are available.  E-mail RedHenHome@gmail.com with inquiries.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Please be excited with/for me!!

It was kind of a whim….

Left Brain (that’s the creative side) thought, “It could be fun! And I’d have help!”

Right Brain (that’s the practical side) thought, “It would really push me! I’ll have to come up with the ideas! I’m not really a crafty person! It will take too much time! How can I compete with so many other talented people! I don't have what it takes!”

Left brain said, “You probably wouldn’t get picked anyway! Just enter.”

I listened to Left Brain.

I didn’t choose to do a new project, but just picked one that I had completed within the specified window: my knock-off clock table. (This is the "audition" piece, not a competition piece.)

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And what happened next??


(click on the picture above to visit the website)

12 competitors were chosen out of 193 entries.

Guess which side of my brain I’m listening to now??

Hint: It’s NOT the left side!

Cross your fingers for me….please!!

The contest will begin on Monday, October 3.

Guest posting @ Meridian Road

I hope you’ll come visit me at Meridian Road today.  Suzanne is one of those amazing women who has encouraged my love of all things vintage, and because of her…I am now yearning for an antique typewriter!

Come over and let me share some of my vintage-y treasures with you!

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Monday, September 19, 2011


I’m so excited!  I am going to the 365swap this Thursday!


This event was dreamed up by a group of friends who decided to get together to exchange various items they no longer wanted/needed (anything from d├ęcor to furniture to purses and more).  The catch is…it’s all wrapped up in a big party!  There are decorations, food, and lots of fun.

For this, their 3rd Swap, they decided to sell some tickets to the event, and my daughter and I got some!  I can’t wait.

Want to share in the fun a little?  Along with the invitation, each of us received a paper mustache with instructions to send in a picture of ourselves wearing it!

Time to get a little crazy!

After all, there are prizes involved!

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My daughter, the mustachioed Jedi. 

<sniff>  It makes a mother so proud!

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Yep, that’s me.  Think I should change my Facebook picture??

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And this one’s just a bonus!

(My 12-year-old son told this joke at dinner…and then my wheels started turning!)

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Do your projects ever teach you lessons?  Mine do.  This particular project taught me how not to load furniture in a truck!

Back in June we decided to replace my husband’s 10-year-old Volkswagen Jetta with a little truck.  (It was his idea to replace the car.  It was MY idea to replace it with a truck!)  I was tickled at the prospect of having a truck to cart around my furniture projects!  So shortly after we bought the truck, my oldest daughter and I took it garage-sale-ing.

We hit pay dirt.  We purchased a cedar chest and a little maple buffet for a grand total of $60 at the same garage sale!  I was cool and collected outside, but giggling delightedly inside.

There was just enough room to put both pieces in the truck (it’s not a very big truck).  How shall we put them in?  Why, back-to-back, of course!  That way the wood won’t get scratched!  We didn’t own any tie-downs yet, but we had sprung for the bed-liner.  I was sure we would be fine on the short drive home.

And truly, all was well!  At first.  I drove slow.  I was careful!  But there came a time when I had to make a right-hand turn, and I heard a big CRASH!

My heart stopped.

Quickly I pulled over and jumped out to survey the damage.

Remember your high school physics class?  What was it Newton said…

An object in motion tends to stay in motion with the same velocity and in the same direction…

InertiaIt’ll get you every time.

What inertia got was the drawer for the buffet.  The truck went right; the drawer wanted to keep going straight…and it did, right into the street!  <sigh>

One of the handles on the drawer broke, and one of the corners snapped off.  There were various other abrasions and contusions, but we came out pretty lucky, all things considered!

I am lacking a proper “before” picture of this little maple buffet.  I only found one “in progress” shot.

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I decided to give this piece on of my favorite stained-top-painted-base treatments, and some brand-new hardware.


Note to self:  When you decide to use one set of the original holes for the hardware, make sure you use the SAME SET on both sides of the drawer.  Failing to do so may result in harsh words.

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I used two coats of Minwax Antique Walnut stain on the top, and finished it with the Hand-rubbed Polyurethane.  I *love* how it turned out.

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I fixed the bottom corner of the drawer with a little wood glue, and sanded out the other scrapes.  You can’t tell that she took a header onto the street now!

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She’s just a small little buffet—only 36” wide, so she’s perfect for a small space.

Inertia.”  It may  not be the most feminine of names, but somehow it suits her, don’t you think?


Linking up here.