Decoupaged Dresser Do-over (and an Armoire)

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This dresser was my first furniture purchase as an “adult”.  I bought it from a woman in my friend’s  dorm at Parson’s when I was staying with him during the summer after college.  I hauled this thing around NYC to 3 different apartments and then an apartment and 2 homes in Western Mass.  It was desperately in need of a makeover.  (It was probably in need of a makeover when I first got it, but all I did was chop off the legs so it would fit under my loft bed with a clothes hanging rack over the top.)

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So… I spent a couple days decoupaging pages from “Thoreau: On Education” on each of the drawers.  It was actually a really easy project.  I sanded it down a little (mostly just to get the grime off) and then just slapped on the pages.  The hardest part was actually just keeping dog-hair out of the glue while it dried.  I like the little illustrations from some of the chapter title pages that I snuck in there.

 

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This armoire was even more desperately in need of a makeover.  I originally intended to strip and refinish it when I bought it, but as I got to work I started realizing that a lot of the wood was veneer.  IMG_4703

So instead of stripping, I painted and covered it up.  The top is actually a really deep purple acrylic (that looks brown in most light).  The cards are from a set of Penguin Books postcards that I got on Amazon (I found the link in a neat wall-art project on Pinterest).  I laid out a kind of a pattern with the cards, took them off in piles, and then started decoupaging them back on.  To hold them down while they dried (because there was a bit of a relief design that I had to cover up and because they REALLY wanted to warp), I laid my all my wife’s cookbooks on top of them for about a day.  A couple new knobs, a ribbon across the bottom and voila!

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These were both fun, easy projects and it’s almost like having new pieces of furniture.  They’ve really brightened up and added interest to our room.

Father’s Day pillows

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I’m so excited!!!  I made it to “Make”, one of the all-around coolest craft and DIY blogs with a head-spinning variety of ideas.  They posted my Father’s Day gift project of making pillows out of old t-shirts.

http://blog.makezine.com/craft/fathers-day-pillows-from-upcycled-t-shirts/fathers-day-pillows-1/

The one I started with, above, is for my dad.  How could I not make this t-shirt into a pillow for my pop!?!  I had made him a couple other pillows out of t-shirts for Valentine’s Day, which he loved, so now he has a collection.  I made even made a card using a sewn-on heart from a left over scrap of fabric.

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I got a little more daring on this one and added a ribbon trim.  I got the idea while browsing through some Father’s Day ideas on a great blog for a trim store:

http://blog.mjtrim.com/2013/06/10/fathers-day-diy-fun/

This one’s for my father-in-law who loves Orange Crush.  It won’t go with anything in his house, but I couldn’t resist.  Another scrap-fabric card finished it out.

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The last one is for my friend’s birthday.  “Piebald” is a band from Boston that I’d never heard of (which I rather like after checking them out).  I just liked the phrase (the name of one of their albums):  “The Rock Revolution Will Not Be Televised.”  I put the ribbon trim on this one, too, and made an accompanying card.  I just gave it to him and he said he wants me to make another one with a t-shirt he has that ripped (but that he can’t bare to get rid of).

Here are a couple other Father’s Day crafts I’ve found on blogs.  There are so many cute ones out there, why waste your money on Old Spice and ties (my go-to gifts for my dad when I was growing up)?

http://inspireschelsea.wordpress.com/2013/06/15/fathers-day-diy/  – These are an extra-cute way to use kids’ handprints.

http://calmchaosblog.com/2013/06/14/diy-more-recovered-corkboard-fathers-day-edition/  – This is a great idea for a neat cork board… I may just try it for myself.

What did you make for Father’s Day?

Dresser Drawer Shelves

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It’s Spring!  That means Spring cleaning and people putting out unwanted/broken stuff on the tree belt!  That means fun new crafting items for me.  My latest adventure:  making shelves out of dresser drawers.

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I’ve found quite a few in various states of “distress”.  I haven’t taken any of dressers that seem to be in good shape (in case someone actually wants the whole dresser).  First, I cleaned them off and took off any contact paper in the bottoms of the drawers (I hate that stuff).  I decoupaged scrapbook paper to the backs of the shelves from my favorite handy-dandy scrapbook pad:

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The good thing about this pad (from Jo-Anne’s Fabrics, I think) is that there are 3 pages of each pattern so I could piece them together to make a single pattern in each drawer.  And I love this “Heirloom” look.  It seems perfect for this project.  For my decoupage medium, I just used a mixture of white glue and water.  It did bubble a little, but I kind of like the creases for texture.  If you want to make sure it adheres more smoothly, I’ve read that you can soak the paper in water to “relax” it first.

So… here’s what I came up with:

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For the dining room.  This one sits on the floor and I added the front from another drawer that was more broken to the top with glue.  Another drawer front sits on the floor, which seemed to give it a little more stability.  I drilled through the bottom of each drawer into the one underneath it and only had long screws so I put in chunks of 2×4 to screw into.  These drawers are a little more flimsy, so I thought that would be helpful, too.

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For the porch.  This one is for grill stuff.  I attached them to each other sideways so the knobs could be used on either side to hang things from.

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Another one for the porch.  This one is for gardening stuff.  I hung it on the wall by just screwing it in.

p.s.  I found the link for my inspiration for this: http://diyshowoff.com/2012/04/04/diy-drawer-shelves/  – I LOVE Pinterest and I love DIY & Show Off!

Here are a couple others I’ve found on WordPress blogs:

http://applesforolive.wordpress.com/2012/11/03/dresser-drawers-turned-wall-shelves-phase-1-installation/ – I love her arrangement and the way she set them up ahead of time using paper templates to get the perfect display.  All in all, one of my new favorite blogs!

http://thepearlowl.com/2012/08/20/drawer-turned-craft-shelf/ – I love this one.  The dowel and the jars make it the perfect craft material display case… and who couldn’t use more of those?

Update:  I just added a spice-shelf to the dining room one at my wife’s request.  Anything that helps her cook more delicious stuff for us is fine by me. 🙂

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“Treasure Rocks” for Easter

My mom has some Australian friends who e-mailed her a cool alternative to Easter eggs which I’m trying out for our annual “hunt” this year. I used baking soda, cocoa powder (for color) and water to make a play-dough like substance and then hid “treasures” inside them, forming a rock shape. This, I’m told, will dry to be relatively hard and I’ll then hide the “rocks” amongst real rocks in my parents’ patio. The cool things is that when vinegar is added (either dripped on slowly or through immersing the “rock” in a bowl of it) the baking soda concoction will fizz up and dissolve, leaving just the treasure behind.

I’ve tried a few with red sprinkles to give them a pinkish hue and a bunch with silver and gold glitter (I like those the best). Inside, I hid quarters and tarnished pennies (so we can watch as the vinegar shines them up), little plastic dinosaur toys, and a couple of rubber Dora bracelets (she’s my niece’s favorite).

I can’t wait for the kiddos to find them and then go through the process of uncovering the treasures inside! What a great tie in to the Easter story (and a little science experiment to go along with it).

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Update:  The “rock hunt” was a huge success!  They actually blended in amazingly well with the rocks on my parents’ patio and were somewhat difficult to find, but that made it all the more fun.

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We had done a test run with the boy and realized that the dripping vinegar slowly on the rocks would take until next Easter to dissolve them so we went for the full immersion/volcano effect.  They loved it.  We had to help them along by squeezing them a bit to crack them open but once they saw that there was stuff inside, they were even more eager to get in there and help out.

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The best parts about it:  it did not result in any extra Easter candy, we made it into a little science lesson (about acids and bases), and no plastic eggs were harmed in the making of this adventure.

If you’re interested in trying these with your kids, but don’t have the time or inclination to make them yourself, I’m also selling some in my Etsy store.  I’m happy to customize them with whatever kind of toys or coins you’d like!    https://www.etsy.com/listing/129853106/treasure-rocks

If you want a little more specific instruction, I wrote up the “recipe” last time I made them (for Vacation Bible Camp):

32 oz. baking soda

1 oz. baking cocoa (for color) (A little goes a long way and too much will make them look like poop- literally.)

approx. 1 cup water

 

glitter (optional but highly encouraged)

Directions:  Mix the dry ingredients together.  Add about 3/4 of the water and then try mushing it around with your hands.  You want it to be moldable and stick together well, but not so wet that it doesn’t keep its shape while drying.  Add more water or baking soda if needed.  Make rock-shapes and then stick whatever small object you want to hide inside, mushing the dough around the object.  Let dry overnight before dissolving them in vinegar.  (I tried using a drying rack at first, but then realized that my “rocks” were getting a waffle pattern on the side that was resting on the rack.  I put newspaper under them and they dried just fine.)