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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Mister, Mister

Hello, y'all. Yes, it's true the South is creeping into my vocabulary. And despite living here for almost two years, I'm still being told that I am the one with the accent. Funny! I guess the Buckeye takes a while to melt away.

Well, the major house renos will shortly come to an end. Kids and hubs are going to school and working. So, I'm finding myself with more time to be creative in some not-so-labor-intensive ways.

I dove back in  - or at least dipped my toes in the water - with some smaller projects. You might have seen a couple of them on past blog posts, such as the typewriter earrings and my Home with You wall art .

Well, last week, I actually lugged a hoarded  stored piece from the garage to the basement.  This piece was once a simple but gorgeous vanity, but had seen better days. The bottom shelf was missing, it had a dime size burn hole in the top and the knobs were all askew.  I had a lightning bolt of creativity and decided this piece might be better as two instead of one. In order for that to happen, some surgery needed to be performed. It included cutting the remaining bottom shelf off. (Excuse the knobby knees in the pic. My husband had the saw in hand and was antsy to push the on button)

After cutting the shelf out there were two issues that needed to be solved before proceeding: filling in the slot where the top shelf had been attached to the sides; finding four more legs because now there were two tables instead of one vanity.

The first issue was the easiest. There were a couple of ways to attack this problem. I could have used wood filler or joint compound. I chose the joint compound. Here's why. Wood putty might have been the better choice due to its strenth, but it would have been a little costly to fill in a slot 3/4 of an inch wide and 2 feet long. That left the joint compound - yep, that stuff you use on your sheetrock walls to make them nice and smooth. Here are the reasons why I opted for it. It would give me the working time to fill the slot in completely, it would dry quickly and I could sand it quickly and easily.

When I was happy with the sanding, the pieces were ready for paint. Both tables were given two coats of General Finishes Lamp Black Milk Paint. It's not a true milk paint. It's a latex, but I love the true black color. It's also very self-leveling. It leaves almost no brush marks in the paint. Just the look for these two little guys.

The second issue, the legs, gave me a little more puzzling than the slot. At first, I wanted them to match the existing legs. They were chunky and little mid century looking. I searched ebay and Amazon. I found a couple of possibilities, but they were costly. My next thought was to look at some home improvement sites. Maybe there were some options there.

The legs had to be at least 5 inches long. After some more searching (Phew!) I found them!  They were longer than I needed, but they were affordable ($2.98 each) and easy to get.

Although these were a little too long, if I chopped them off right above the the first taper, they were the perfect length. (I always have a small tape measure in my purse. You never know....) I purchased 4 and took them home to my vanity.

I removed the 2 existing legs on the front of the tables, moved them to the back and applied the 4 new legs to the fronts of the tables. Here you can see. Even though the front and back legs don't match, they work and the chunky back legs give the tables a lot of stability.

I know you must be thinking that there was a lot of prep work for 2 little tables. Honestly, even though it was quite a bit, it was easy and fast. I knew that the end result would be worth the couple of hours I spent filling, sanding, and moving and adding legs.

Now that I was ready to paint, I noticed that the tables had a masculine feel even with the new curvy front legs. You know, if you wait long enough the pieces almost tell you how to restyle them. I don't know if it was the scent of leaves in the air or the end of summer, but I wanted this piece to have a cozy fall feeling - sweaters, hot tea, bonfires and hayrides.  But I also wanted to keep them a little masculine with little dashes of femininity scattered in.

I knew they had to be black. I knew that I wanted to camouflage the burn and the divots from the bent knobs. That meant using paper to decoupage. I usually opt for painting, but this felt right for these pieces.

I always keep an eye out for deals and interesting things for my pieces. I already had a typographic wrapping paper that I had purchased a year or so ago to use on the tops. I found samples of a gray and tan flannel print wallpaper for the drawer fronts (it reminds me of a sweater) and I had picked up some black and white knobs a couple of months ago at a Home Goods store (I think they were Cynthia Rowley). All of these were purchased at different times. I had no solid plan to use them, but I have a small stash and I'm always looking.

I applied the wallpaper and wrapping paper with a wallpaper paste. For me, wallpaper paster has more open working time than a product like Mod Podge. Apply the paste with a large paintbrush. Use more than you think you'll need. The excess is easily smooshed out using the side of a credit card or plastic putty knife. When the paper is nice and smooth with no bubbles, clean up the top surface and under the edges with a damp towel. I let mine dry overnight. Then, using a sharp utility blade I ran the side of the blade along the edges of my pieces, using the cutting edge to trim the papers. This makes neat, clean edges. Anything that wasn't nice and clean is easily made that way using a piece of fine sandpaper run smoothly along the edges of the paper.

After cutting and sanding the paper, the little white edges of the paper will be visible. This is easily remidied by just applying a little more of your basecoat paint to these edges. You don't have to be very neat with this. As long as you're not a turtle, the wet paint will easily wipe off the papers with a damp paper towel or rag.

After putting the drawers back in the tables, the typographic paper looked a little too brown. I wanted to gray it up a bit. The paper had a slight sheen to it, so I knew that it was coated with some kind of finish. Using a large brush, some water and my black paint, I dipped the brush in the water and then into the paint. Working quickly, I brushed the paint over the brown paper in large, messy swaths. Then using a dry paper towel, I moved the paint around and wiped it off until there was just enough glaze left to tone the brown down a bit.

The paper on the right has been glazed. If you look closely you can see the wash. It's a very subtle difference, but it made ALL the difference.

All that was left to do was to protect the tops with some polyurethane and add the knobs.  Iuually use brush on varnishes, but in this case I used spray ons. I was afraid if I used a brush on varnish, the paper would change color.  Now, these pieces won't get a lot of wear, but the tops needed to be water resistant. They got two coats of a spar varnish. Spar varnish is made for outdoor use and it's very water resistant. It's even used on boat hulls. Then, they got two coats of a spray on satin polyurethane.

Finally!!! It's so exciting to see a piece come together and finished. The knobs!! The piece de resistance!! Ugh...after I got the on, they almost disappeared on the black and tan background paper.

Back to another search: this time for some backplates. Again, ebay, Amazon, home improvement websites. I knew the backplates had to be a little masculine to counter balance the feminine drawings on the knobs. That meant angles not curves.

I always strive to be frugal with my revamped pieces. Spending $4 - $8 a piece wasn't going to work. I finally found the exact backplates and they were only $1.98 each! The only problem was they were silver, which would again disappear on the black and tan paper.

To fix this, I primed them and painted them a solid satin black. I also gave them several coats of the same satin polyurethane that the tops had gotten. Now, they were PERFECT!!

I put them on an angle under the beautiful knobs.  What a difference a little black paint made. They were finally done!!

mister mister final

I hope you found this post informative as well and enjoyable. As always, comments and questions are always welcome. Don't hesitate to interact!!

Enjoy your day!

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