Thursday, May 28, 2015

Decorative Bird Cage

I work on smaller projects in between larger projects. Mainly because I can price them lower which results in quicker sales that help pay the monthly booth rent. If I could simply "flip" an item I will do that, but I tend to be attracted to items that I think could use a makeover.


I snatched this decorative bird cage up recently from a thrift store. It was very dusty and although the green paint wasn't horrible, I felt it could benefit from an update.
I just started painting before I remembered
to snap the "before" picture!


I decided on a shabby chic theme and used white for the base with Versailles for the leaves and subtle hints of pink on the decorative hearts around the bottom of the cage. I worked with the previous paint color by allowing it to peek through on the leaves by distressing the Versailles paint with sand paper. I sealed the paint with clear Mod Podge.

I think there was a little too much back light when I shot the "after" photos, so unfortunately not all the details are clear, but I think you'll get the general idea. Thanks for reading and enjoy the rest of your week.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Pink and White Chest of Drawers

Yuk! That is what I said when I first saw this chest of drawers. And "yuk" was an understatement actually. The base itself wasn't too bad except it needed a good cleaning, but the hardware was horrible! So of course I snatched it up and bought it. :-)


Dirt and grime I can deal with fairly easily, but the hardware was corroded and had crusty stuff all over it. I didn't even want to touch it. Also, the drawer slides were missing on three of the four drawers. My initial plan was to replace the hardware, purchase replacement drawer slides, and paint it black. Turns out I changed my mind on all three counts.

Soaking in vinegar.
I searched and searched for new hardware, but couldn't find anything that I felt would work well on this piece that would also fit my limited budget. So I decided to try to restore the hardware. I did some research about how to clean the hardware and was a bit put off by the harsh chemicals recommended. At this point I thought I would need to go back to Plan A and buy new hardware, but my husband suggested soaking the hardware in vinegar. It worked like a charm!

The scrubbing process.
I started by putting one of the drawer handles in a small container of vinegar. Within a short period of time I notice tiny bubbles starting to form. I figured something good was happening, so I added all the hardware to the container. After about an hour I took one of the handles out and scrubbed it with a toothbrush and Bar Keeper's Friend. It had an amazingly good result, but I felt it could be better, so I put it back in the vinegar and let everything soak overnight. I was very pleased with the results. They weren't showroom perfect but I planned to paint the handles, and now they were good enough to receive a new finish.

Fresh and clean! Not perfect, but good enough for paint.
Here's another comparison of the
"Before/During/After" of the hardware.
Next I decided to go ahead and buy new wood drawer slides. All the drawers had the wood runners, but three of the four drawers were missing the slide. I thought replacements would be a buck or two, but I ended up with sticker shock. Actually the price wasn't too bad if it was for something I was working on to keep, but since I need to make a profit, I needed to keep the costs down. What I needed was a block of wood with the center notched out so it would slide on the bottom runner.
The bottom drawer runners were all intact.

This was the only drawer with the original slide.

Newly constructed drawer slide. Brilliant!
This would have been a piece of cake if I had a router, but I don't, so I was stuck at this point. My husband once again came to the rescue and said he could build new slides by adding two small wood strips on either side of a center piece of wood. I'm not sure if I am explaining that right, but hopefully the photos will give you an idea of what I'm babbling about. In hindsight it was such an obvious solution, but I just didn't see it at the time.

As I mentioned earlier, I initially planned to paint the chest black. However, I didn't have enough black paint to finish the job, so I decided on something lighter. I still had a good amount of pink leftover from a previous project, so that decided the color scheme.


The base is painted in Antoinette Pink and the top and drawer fronts are painted in Old White. I applied light distressing to highlight the details and finished with a soft wax. I initially painted the handles in pink as well, but my family voted it was too "sweet", so I repainted the hardware in Old White and then distressed it so some of the pink would still show through.

It measures 44" high x 34" wide x 17.5" deep. We took the dresser to the Lebanon Peddler's Mall yesterday (row 5, booth #139). I think it will make a lovely addition to a little girl's room by adding a touch of vintage charm.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Rustic Cottage Shelf

I picked this wood shelf up a while back, and it sat in my booth for a long time. So I decided I would give it a makeover and perhaps make it more appealing to buyers. It's not a dramatic transformation that gets a "Wow!", but I really had fun with this project and love how the shelf turned out.


Admittedly it was a little plain before, but I liked it because the shelf is deep enough to hold larger items and not just knick-knacky things. It's versatile enough to hang in just about any room, but I think it would work wonderfully in a laundry room to hold laundry supplies, bathroom, or mudroom. If it doesn't sell this time then I will definitely use it in my laundry room.


I painted the shelf in Cream (Annie Sloan Chalk Paint) and added medium distressing in keeping with it's rustic cottage style. I sealed the shelf in soft wax to protect the finish and for durability. I think it now has the look of a well-used shelf, but the finish is clean and shiny. The best of both worlds really.

I didn't have an appropriate nail already in a wall for a photo shoot, so I used an S-hook and hung the shelf on a trellis; my apologies for the distracting background!

The shelf is at the booth!

I've been busy getting a lot of projects, both large and small, completed. Two larger projects that I recently finished are a chest of drawers and the Jenny Lind bed. I will post about those projects as soon as I get around to taking a few photos. I don't have room in the house to put the bed together, so I'll need to find a spot for assembling the bed for a photo shoot. The good news is now that I'm getting a lot of projects completed I can go shopping for more furniture!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

This One is for the Birds!

This is a lovely birdbath that was generously given to me. My sister and brother-in-law inherited the birdbath when they purchased their house then gave it to my Aunt. My Aunt no longer needed it and wondered if I might want it. Uh, yes, of course I wanted it! Thanks guys!



It is made of concrete and is heavier than it looks. It has a surface crack that circles the pedestal, but I think it adds to the charm, so I decided to leave it as-is rather than patching it as it doesn't impact the stability of the piece. It was painted at one point with what appears to be a latex paint which was peeling heavily. I removed the loose paint and then applied a fresh coat of chalk paint.


The base is painted in Versailles and I used Chateau Grey sparingly as a highlight and to give it subtle dimension. I decided on a blue theme (of course!) for the bathing area, and used Louis Blue which I then deepened with a light layer of Napoleonic Blue. It was a little too "new" looking, so I sanded with coarse sandpaper to allow some of the previous patina to show through.


Blue bathing area!
Close up of surface crack

One more shot. I think it is charming. I hope the birds like it! 

I was trying to come up with a price and asked my husband for his opinion. He said he thought we were going to keep this one for ourselves. Needless to say he didn't need to twist my arm to get my agreement. :-)

I'm trying to rebuild my inventory, and I've finished quite a few projects recently. But haven't had time to post, so I'll try to get as many posted without bombarding you with information.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Vintage Wood Chairs

These chairs went from bright-and-crazy to calm-and-serene. Not that there's anything wrong with bright and crazy, but the paint wasn't holding up so they definitely needed a fresh finish. The chairs were purchased as part of a set with the Vintage Occasional Table.  However, they were not original to the set, so I decided to split the set up.

My dilemma was I sure didn't want to strip the paint. Partly because I was feeling lazy, but also because I didn't think I could charge enough for the chairs to make it worth my while to invest the time to strip the paint. So I decided sand off the areas with peeling paint and then simply apply a fresh coat of paint and soft wax.

The chairs are painted in Versailles and Old White. I think they will look lovely with a vintage table; so now I'm on the lookout for just the right table to pair these with.

I've finished up quite a few projects recently, but haven't had time to add them to the blog -- more projects to come soon!

(flowers in background were from my
daughter and son-in-law for Mother's Day!)

Sunday, May 17, 2015

How to Paint Decorative Trim on Furniture

I've had a few people ask me about how to paint decorative trim on furniture. So today I am sharing with you how I painted the Oval Mirror with Bow on which the trim is white and the base is Paris Grey.

It's important to understand that each project is different. Some projects will be easier while others will have unique challenges. So the first step is to evaluate the project and develop a plan. I will walk you through the steps I used for the oval mirror.

Many times I will paint the base first and then paint the trim, but depending on the project a different approach is sometimes necessary. One of the challenges on this project is neither the frame nor the bow is a flat surface. The frame has a curved edged as well as having a slightly bumpy surface. Also the bow has some tight angles in some of the spots where it meets the frame. One of the positives to this project is that it is a small piece that I can easily move about to get a better angle when painting.

In order to decide on what the best approach is, I "air painted" with a dry brush (no paint) and practiced in this manner until I felt comfortable. Because of the tight spots where the bow and the frame meet, I determined it would be best to paint the bow first and then add the grey to the frame.

I painted the bow white and allowed some of the paint to overlap slightly onto the frame.

After the white paint was thoroughly dry, I once again used dry brushes (no paint) to evaluate which brush would work best. For this project I used flat artist brushes. I like to use the largest brush possible, but for some of the tighter areas I switched to a smaller brush.

To save yourself time, tape off areas whenever possible. In this case, I used Frog Tape for Delicate Surfaces (yellow) since I was placing it over freshly dried paint. Due to the angles I was unable to tape off the entire bow, but I did want to cover as much as possible to avoid "oops" and touch-ups later. 

All supplies are ready.
Snip off thin pieces of tape.
I couldn't tape off exactly where I needed to,
 so I taped off as much as possible
 in order to avoid as many "oops" as possible.
For areas without tape, load the tip of the paint brush with a very small amount of paint. Then place the brush flat just below where your edge line will be. Push the brush carefully towards the edge line and then brush backwards away from the edge line. Reload the brush with a small amount of paint and brush across the area to feather and smooth out any vertical brush strokes.

Push brush carefully towards the edge line.
Then brush the paint backwards away from the edge line.

Brush across to smooth out paint strokes.
The tape allows a little more room for error, but you run the risk of paint seeping under the tape, so continue to carefully apply the paint around the taped off edges.This was especially true for the mirror as the surface was slightly bumpy.

For areas that aren't as "clean" as you would like, simply dab paint on with a fine tip brush to clean up the edge lines. 
The edge line wasn't as crisp as I would like on some areas as shown in this photo.
 So I went back and dabbed paint with a fine tip brush to clean up the line.

And here is a close up of the bow after it was distressed and slightly aged:

Remember that each project will present its own challenges and require a different approach. But I find that with each project my skills improve and yours will, too! So I hope you found this tutorial helpful. If you've made it this far, please leave a comment and let me know what you think or if you have any tips of your own to share. I absolutely LOVE making new friends and connecting with others and I would love to hear from YOU either on the blog, my Facebook page at The Black Sheep Shoppe, or find me on Google+!