Monday, June 20, 2011

Painting Laminate

I feel like I should be back with something fabulous after being away for so long.
However, it's 8:39 on a Friday morning. I've got about 20 minutes until my brother in law shows up to drop off my nephew and my own kids are awakened by my two dogs barking their heads off at the knock on the door. So instead of fabulous, you get fast and easy :)
Fabulous will come later.

Every DIY/Crafter wonders about painting laminate, right? It's the one thing that no one wants to say "sure! we can do that!"
That's because there are so many different TYPES of laminate. Some are a lot cheaper than others. Some chip off the particle board underneath them.
Some of them, however, are perfectly suitable for painting. It's just a matter of finding a piece that will work. Look for one without chipping or peeling. You shouldn't be able to get your fingernail into the laminate seams. And it should just FEEL thicker. Less glossy.
It's hard to explain, but if you look at enough laminate furniture, you'll be able to tell the decent stuff from the crap.

I found this 3' tall, 2' wide bookshelf at my local DI for $5. For that price, I thought I'd try it. I was my daughters room mom this year, and I really liked her teacher. I wanted to give her something special for Teacher Appreciation Week, and a bookshelf for her classroom seemed like a fun, appropriate gift.

First step was sanding. I used 80 grit to go over it once - fairly lightly - then 100 grit to go over it a second time.

Then I gave it a coat of spray primer.

I painted it a pale aqua - a beautiful color I had mixed at the Home Depot in one of the Glidden paint samples for less than $3. I like using Glidden because their tiny pots come in both flat and eggshell, instead of just flat (like Behr.)

Once it had a couple coats of gorgeous on it, I decided it still needed...something. I considered distressing, but decided to go with a stencil on the sides, instead.

They totally played up the "grandma" feel of the piece - which I loved <3

My daughters teacher loved it, too.
On the last day of school I helped her move some furniture around the room - it all had to be stacked in one area so the rest of the class could be cleaned. The paint had held up perfectly - despite a class of 25 third graders using it daily.
So...painting laminate is definitely possible - as long as it's good laminate, and you do it right :)

NOTE: 8:39 on Friday morning actually turned into 9:15 on Monday morning, because on Friday the kids woke up at about 8:42 and my brother in law showed up at about 8:45 and then, before I knew it, it was Friday night at 9:30 when I was finally done doing kid stuff. Whew! Blogging is tough when you're a mom!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Valentines Decor?

I'm not even going to talk about how I'm the worst blogger ever. I'm just going to post a new project and try to be more dedicated than I have been. Forgive me, followers! I still heart you!

I saw this project posted eons ago and filed it away in my head.

At one point, I even purchased the wood to build my own.
I never got around to it, though.

This is the view from my front door when looking directly to the back of my house.

The little wall over the stairs has never bothered me before, but a couple of weeks ago I suddenly decided it was the perfect place to hang something. I was putting my Valentines decor out at the time, and all the "Love" themed pieces must have reminded me of my Beatles inspiration piece.

The wood I had in the garage, however, was far too big. Instead I picked up a 2 gallery canvas's at JoAnn's.

For my letters I created a custom document in microsoft publisher that was the same size as my canvas (24x12) and played with the size and stretch of the letters until it fit the way I wanted it to. Then I turned those letters light grey (so as not to waste too much ink) and moved them to a standard letter size sheet of paper to print them out. 
Then I cut the letters out and attached them to my canvas with a regular old glue stick. 
(I started by just doing one canvas. That way, if it didn't work, I'd only ruined one, lol)
I love this reverse-stencil technique - and using a glue stick to make the paper stay works perfectly. It peels off without too much trouble but stays well enough if you don't jostle it around.
Anyway, I sprayed over the entire canvas with black spray paint. Two light coats.

When it was completely dry, I peeled the paper letters off. They came off surprisingly well. So, instead of printing and cutting out an entire new set of letters, I reused these ones. They were a bit curled, but I pressed them with my iron between two towels and they were perfect.

The letters stood out as extremely white and the black was just a pit too perfect for my taste, so I took some fine grit sand paper to it. Then I diluted some bronze paint and rubbed it over the canvas, giving the letters a bit of color and softening the black.

I love the result. The question is, is it Valentines Decor, or not?
I'm leaning towards not. I think I'll probably keep these up all year long.

Before and After:

Now I just need to replace those hideous sconce's. Bleck!

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