Category Archives: DIY

Mid Century Craigslist Dresser Makeover

Let me begin this post by addressing the furniture purists.  Hello, you.  You’re smart, and you have valid opinions, and I love that you’re passionate about maintaining the original beauty of pieces.  Because someone put their blood, sweat, and tears into designing them in all their glory.  So you shouldn’t mess with that.  I get it.  I feel you.  I mostly agree with you.  But this dresser… THIS. DRESSER. was too far gone, and it was paint, or get off the pot trash it.  I promise I didn’t mess up a good thing.  I made a mediocre thing great.  There were, however, some bumps in the road on this journey.  Come along with me and see…  Sorry in advance for some of the more blurry pics.

Uhhh, how long ago did I buy this dresser?  Oh right… like three years ago.  I found it via craigslist.  Three years, and I’m just getting around to giving it a makeover.  Sorry, dresser.

Mid Century Modern Dresser

This MCM dresser has a beautiful masculine shape, and great bones.  Dovetailing, wooden drawer glides, sturdy build, tapered feet, gorgeous hardware, simple decorative fluting.  Overall a great piece…

mcm-dresser-before-ick

The veneer surrounding the piece was a MESS.  Scraped, chipped, scratched.

mcm-dresser-chipped

At some point, a previous owner sought to paint it, I guess, because there was a big white unfinished spot on one edge…  And the color… The color was atrocious.  If I’m spitball guessing, I’d say that someone, at some point, polyurethane’d the heck out of it, which left it with a stale, burnt, pale yellow hue.

mcm-dresser-drawer-close

The outer surfaces were beyond repair, so I decided to paint them.  Guys, I made my own chalk paint, and I messed up…

I used a diy chalk paint formula that calls for plaster of Paris, and when I picked out a perfect, very dark navy blue, I didn’t account for the fact that the powdery white plaster of paris would *significantly* lighten the color. I tried to convince myself that it wasn’t awful for weeks, but really, I hated it.

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So when I was ready to pick the project back up, I went with a crispy bright white.  A – I thought it would look amazing and B – there was no worry of the plaster of Paris changing the color.  I used this formula for the chalk paint, and used a sample size of Valspar Polar White for the color.

I was wayyy happier with the white.  And really, despite hating the first color I picked, I loved using the diy chalk paint.  It takes some getting used to (the texture is different, even when compared to professionally mixed chalk paint).  It was almost like painting icing on a cake.  A lot of icing on a very large cake.  I recommend making your coats as thin as possible with chalk paint.  It’s super thick and has amazing coverage.  I covered the crazy blue with just THREE COATS of white.  No priming, no sanding, straight up paint on a brush, applied to the dresser.  Three coats, plus one coat of paste wax on top to protect the finish.  How’s that for a slice of fried gold?

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For the drawer fronts, I used Minwax Polyshades in Mission Oak, in a satin finish.  A flat finish may have been a better choice considering the chalky flat finish you get with chalk paint, but the difference in finishes isn’t noticeable to me.  I did sand these before applying the stain to remove the existing layers of poly and general yuck.  The wood veneer on the drawers was in good condition, and it was thick, so it held up to a moderate session with my power sander.

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The big plus of the polyshades product (no, this post isn’t sponsored) is that you have your stain and poly all in one step.  Efficient and easy.  Two coats, and I was good to go.

mcm-dresser-drawer-stained-two

The end result?  A super handsome, two-toned, MCM dresser, upgraded from ick.  I am ecstatic with the outcome of this long-awaited (if only by me) project!  Side note – I also switched out my green window-pane mirror (which was too small for the wall) for a six piece gold sunburst set… have mercy.  What a big difference!

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So what do you think?  Love it?  Hate it?  Opinions on diy chalk paint?  Do tell…

DIY Hanging Bud Vase

Oh hi, blog land! It’s been, uhhh, six-ish months since I’ve posted anything here… Which, well, sucks. I’m still here, you guys, and I still want to do this diy blog life thing. It’s hard lately. By way of explanation, a second job kind of fell into my lap last December, and I jumped at the chance to take it. It’s a lot of work, dudes. Like, a LOT. I’m not complaining, though, because it’s fun work. And, well, I like money. I’ve got lotsa diy dreams, and money will certainly help me accomplish them. It’s just been a busy whirlwind that hasn’t left me a cache of energy to work on projects (or finish the five or so that I’ve got in progress/half done). In any case, I want to pledge to balance business and pleasure better, so hopefully I’ll be around on here more often. I’ve got something to share today, though, so let’s get started!

I’ve got a history of making garden related things for my flower child mom and posting them here (painted flower potsplant markers). This post continues that tradition.

My mom has these rose bushes… She loves them dearly. She planted them at the house where we lived while I was in junior high and high school. When she and my father downsized after my sister and I moved out, my dad carefully dug them up so she could transplant them to their new yard. Five or so years later, they’re still doing pretty well, despite one getting a rose disease. Yes, rose diseases are a real thing.

She’s always snipping off a rose or two and giving them to me and my sister, or displaying them in jars around the house. So for Mother’s Day, I made my Mom a wall mounted bud vase!

I can’t take full cred for the idea. Buzzfeed’s Nifty Facebook page posted a video of three mason jars being mounted to a board to display succulents, organize your bathroom, etc. I just took the idea and modified it. It was easy peasy, lemon squeezy!

Supplies

  • Block of wood (mine was a scrap)
  • Jar
  • Twine
  • Acrylic paint
  • Hose clamp
  • Screw
  • Sawtooth hanger

Tools

  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Foam paintbrush
  • Hot glue gun + 1 hot glue stick
  • Hammer

Steps:

1. Paint your wood block. The first coat is pictured here, but I ended up painting three coats on the front and two on the edges.

2. Prep your jar. I used a salsa jar, which still had salsa in it, and since I don’t waste salsa EVER, I poured it into a plastic food saver and proceeded to wash the jar.

Pro tips:

  • Wash the jar thoroughly with hot water and dish soap.
  • Use goo-gone to help you get the label off. The kind in the spray nozzle bottle is amazing.
  • To remove printed-on “best if used by” dates, soak a cotton ball in a little bit of rubbing alcohol or nail polish remover and gently wipe off the ink.

3. Add twine or ribbon to the rim. The threading on the top rim of the jar makes it very obvious that it’s a salsa jar. Using hot glue to affix twine around the rim gives it a much more finished look.

I don’t have pics of the below parts of the process, but Buzzfeed’s video is a good resource for visuals for the parts I’m about to explain.

4. Attach your sawtooth hanger to the back of your board. Because I did a vertical bud vase I attached it to the very top in the middle, using the tiny nails that come with the hanger, and a hammer. If you’re making a horizontal hanger, you’ll probably want to use two sawtooth hangers towards each top corner of the board. Because I sometimes get asked what a sawtooth hanger is, look here:

5. Attach the hose clamp to your board. You’ll want to measure to find the middle of your board and then mark where you’re going to screw the hose clamp in. Make a very small pilot hole for your screw. Open the hose clamp and use a Phillips head screw to attach the clamp to the board.

6. Insert the jar in the hose clamp, and use a flathead screwdriver to tighten the hose clamp down taut so that the jar has no wiggle room. Not too tight, though, you don’t want to break your vase!

7. Hang, add water and pretty flowers, enjoy!

And because I love the waterlogue app and how pretty it makes flowers look, here’s a waterlogue pic of the vase:

This was so easy and inexpensive to make! I want to make a ton more so I can display all of the flowers! 🌻💐🌺🌸🌼🌷🌹

Spray Painting Tips and Tricks

Hi friends.  I have joked before that I’ll spray paint anything that holds still long enough.  While that’s a bit of an exaggeration, a big chunk of my projects and my posts here on jhb involve spray painting, so I figured I’d share my best tricks and tips with you guys!

*This one is obvious, but, always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the can!  Not all spray paints are created equal, and they can behave differently depending on the brand, finish, and even the climate you’re in.
*Make sure your object is spray-paintable! The instructions on your spray paint can will tell you what surfaces it’s designed for.
*Shake, shake, shake!  Make sure you shake the can until the ball rattles and then for another two minutes to make sure that everything in the can is thoroughly mixed together.  My arm gets tired when I do this but skimping here can mean a gloppy, uneven mess.  Ick.
*Protect yourself!  I always wear gloves (can’t be messin’ up my mani), clothes I don’t care about, and a dust mask.  I don’t want to breathe in paint particles, and neither should you.  It’s plain bad for you.
*Prep your surface!  Plastic drop cloths are very cost effective, and can usually be re-used many times if you take proper care of them.  I always lay a drop cloth on my work surface, and if there’s a light breeze going (a luxury here in North Texas), I protect items around me from overspray with an additional drop cloth.
*Take it easy!  Use a light trigger finger on that spraypaint can to avoid a gloppy, drippy mess, friend. It should take at least three light coats to get full coverage with spraypaint.
*Move swiftly!  Quick, even strokes (paired with the light trigger finger) make for beautiful coverage and a smooth finish!
*Paint at your own risk…  Guys, I’m an amateur home diy-er.  I have a lot of experience, but I am not licensed, and I am not a professional.  Everything I write on this blog is an account of, or based upon an experience of my own.  If you don’t feel comfortable using spray paint, tools or anything else, consult a pro first, okay?

I hope these tips are helpful to all of you in diyland!  Here are some of my spray paint projects:

Post links: green mirror | gold mirror | instagram t-shirt | gold metal and glass console | pattern top accent table | coral frames

Do you have any tips, tricks or warnings about spray painting?  Holler at me in the comments!

My Key Lime Green Mirror

It’s the New Adventures of Old Mirror up in here, dudes.

A friend gifted me this mirror a couple of years ago. It didn’t match my stuff, but I knew it was a great piece that I could somehow work with, so I happily accepted her generousity.

green spray painted ornate antique mirror

First off – this thing is big. Like, 38″ x 48″ x 2″ and heavy big.

It was very classic and traditional in style, with several embellishments on its red and gold frame.  In all of its intricate crevices, there was a decent layer of clay-like, caked-on dirt.

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I knew that spray painting it a fun, bright color would accomplish two very important things: a) it would match my stuff and 2) I would like the looks of it more!

But first I had to clean it. I tried jut blowing the dirt off with my hair dryer first. Ha! That dirt didn’t budge. Then I tried soapy water with a toothbrush. That just turned the dry clay-like dirt into wet clay-like dirt, and moved it around but didn’t clean it off. Also, after it took me a whole five minutes to cover about one square inch with the toothbrush, I ditched that method.

This is when I temporarily “gave up”. Do you ever do that? Lots of times I get frustrated with a project and I bail. Ninety percent of the time I go back and finish but sometimes, the juice just ain’t worth the squeeze.

Anyway, my final attempt to clean the frame (two weeks later) came in the form of a thick-bristled cleaning brush that I used to dry-brush the dirt off of this thing. You guys, my arm got SOOO TIRED. I brushed it as hard as I could for a good 45 min. Then I thought, “okay, if the dirt isn’t coming off with this much force, I’m just gonna spray paint right over it and hope for the best”. And that, friends, is exactly what I did.

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Check out how great it turned out!

I had zero issues with the spray paint adhering, and I’m confident it will hold up well over time.  My best tips and tricks for spray painting household objects can be found here.

I used Rustoleum Painter’s Touch 2X Ultra Cover Paint and Primer in One (say that ten times fast), which I’ve used before with great success. The color is called Key Lime and I used the gloss finish.  I feel like changing the finish of this very ornate mirror to a high-shine, vibrant color creates such a fun juxtaposition!

I hung it over my 2×4 expedit unit in my dining room, and I love it there, but I’m already staring to redocorate the room around it in my head!

Before:

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After:

green spray painted ornate antique mirror

That builder’s special boob light has GOT to go.  And I’ve already got a plan to IKEA-hack that expedit.  And I need to do something with that wall on the right.

I really need to find that elusive affordable tulip style dining table I’ve been searching for to give this room a little more cohesiveness. Plus, once I refinish my sexy cantilever dining chairs, they’d look preeeety handsome pulled up under a tulip table, yes?

Anyone else working on giving new life to an old item? Hit me up in the comments!

How To Stretch Jersey Knit Cotton

Most of us have had that sinking feeling… The t-shirt you bought at your favorite concert, or those super comfy pj pants you love, accidentally got washed in hot water. Now you’re running around in crop tops and highwaters. Bummer. Or are crop tops back on trend again? Either way.

how to stretch and unshrink cotton jersey fabric

If you’ve got something made of jersey fabric that has shrunk and needs to be re-sized, give the below method a try to get your item back to it’s original shape… Or at least close!

I had to do this with my diy Shibori curtains, which shrunk about a foot and a half during the dyeing process.

You’ll Need:
*Hair conditioner – nothing fancy, anything will do
*Sink, tub or vessel to soak your item to be stretched
*Water
*A helper if your fabric is large like mine

Step 1: Put hair conditioner in your vessel. Use enough to make the water feel slick – an oz or two if you’re stretching a shirt in the sink. I used about 6 – 8 oz for my curtains in this plastic bucket. Make sure the conditioner dissolves completely.

how to stretch and unshrink cotton jersey fabric

Step 2: Fill your vessel with tepid (NOT hot or cold) water. I used water straight from the hose and let it sit for a while so it could warm up. Being that it’s August in Texas, it didn’t take terribly long.

how to stretch and unshrink cotton jersey fabric

Step 3: Soak garment. Fifteen minutes or so should work for your average garment.

how to stretch and unshrink cotton jersey fabric

Step 4: Wring out excess moisture. Many people around the internets say to wring it while wrapped in a towel. That wasn’t possible for me since my panels were so big, and I found that it wasn’t necessary to accomplish my end game. I just squeezed out as much water as I could while still keeping the fabric damp.

Step 5: Here’s where you may need another human to help, depending on the size of the item you’re trying to fix.  You want to pull gently but with enough force to make a difference on opposite sides of the fabric to stretch it.  For these panels, my handsome helper and I folded them lengthwise until they were only about 8 inches wide and then we each gripped our hands all the way around the panel in the center, and slowly pulled outward until we each reached our end.  I wish I had photos of this part of the process but sadly, I don’t.

Step 6: Line dry.  Gravity itself should keep your garment or fabric in it’s stretched out state.  I’ve seen posts on the internet about weighing down your edges, but it just wasn’t necessary for my curtain panels.

how to stretch and unshrink cotton jersey fabric

That’s it!  This method works so well on cotton jersey fabric.  As I said, my curtains shrunk about a foot and a half during the dye process, and by following the above steps, I got them back to their original size!  To date, they’re one of my favorite DIYs!

diy shibori tie dye curtains

Do you have a tried-and-true method to stretch out shrunken fabric?  Share it in the comments!