Friday, March 15, 2013

3-Way Dimmer Touch Lamps and Mirror

Have you ever wanted to know how to paint those ugly, outdated, brass lamps (or mirrors)? And do it in a way so the paint doesn't chip off? 
I found these two dusty touch lamps at a thrift store. Clearly they had been there for a while, because they were like sticky dusty. You know what I mean? Like they had been in an old lady's house for a loooong time, then sat in this stinky thrift store just as long. BUT... I liked them, could see their future potential... so... I took 'em!
Ok, back to showing you how to keep your paint from chipping... start with these...
Next, you need to scratch them all up. I used steel wool, but I think sandpaper would work too.
Can you see where I have scratched it? It's pretty hard to capture because of the lighting...
 I taped the cord and light bulb socket so paint wouldn't get on them.
Then use a spray paint primer made for metal.
And don't forget to turn the lamp over and paint the bottom curves.
Do the same for the color and don't forget the finials if your lamps have them.
And finally, coat them with a couple layers of glossy polyurethane. It's easiest to use poly in a spray can when you're working on lamps or anything with a lot of curves and details. This is what I use. Also note that I will feel sticky for quite a while, don't worry, it's normal. It will be tacky... tacky... tacky... tacky... then BAM, dry! Especially if you keep it in a warm, humid-free place. Then do a couple more coats, at least 2 or 3.
Buy a couple of cute lamp shades and voila!
I also used this same technique for this old mirror.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Paint Swatch End Table

This retro table was topped off with Martha Stewart paint swatches, and repainted a dark turquoise called "Evening Symphony."
First find a cheap Mad Men style table. I even found one where someone else tried to "refurbish" it.  I know... YIKES! It was like one of those ugly pound puppies that's so cute you have to take it home to save it. And who am I to reject a pound puppy?
First steps, primer and paint
 You will want to grab some free paint swatches and lay them out in a pattern that you like. I chose a herringbone pattern. 
 I used mod podge (thinned a bit with water), but I'm sure any glue/water mixture would probably work. Paint the mod podge on the back of the paint swatch (instead of painting it on the table) and apply it to the table.
 Cover the entire surface with several coats (following manufacturer's instructions) letting it dry between coats. And if you notice the pieces that hang off the edge... well, once I cut off the excess, I used those pieces to fill in the small triangle areas on the edge (instead of wasting a whole new swatch for it).
Then sand down the rough edges, and apply another coat of mod podge.
Once it's all dry, I had to repaint the top edge blue to fix all my sand-papering lines.
Again, let it all dry.

Sand, prime, paint, and seal-coat the handles to match.
AAAANNNDDD... finally, protect the entire table with several coats of polyurethane.
Done! A Sophisticated Junk table with a really smooooth finish.

 Has anyone else tried this??? I would love to know how yours turned out...

Monday, March 4, 2013

Sanding vs. Priming

I sand only if the piece NEEDS it, like if there are deep scratches or old paint that needs to come off. Otherwise, primer all the way! I use oil-based primer on laminate because I feel like it sticks really well to laminate, and on pieces that have been previously painted with oil-based paint.
I used this oil-based primer on this dresser because of the smooth laminate top.
Water-based primer for most of my wood projects that will get a fresh paint job.
And this shellac-based primer is good for blocking odors and stains. Including heavy wood grain that will show through your paint.
I also use clear shellac (at least 3 coats) for those pieces that are musty smelling but don't need primer. Like the inside of the drawers that wont get painted.
You will also want to use this clear shellac if you want to distress your piece and see the natural wood through your paint (instead of white primer).
Sanding Tip: the lower the grit number on the sand paper, the more course it is.
I prefer an orbital sander for large areas and generally start with an 80-grit sandpaper working my way up to 150-grit for projects that you will be painting.
For bare wood, it's best to make it really smooth if you're going to stain or oil it, so 220 or even higher would probably be the way to go.
I also have a sanding block that is perfect for sanding the bottom of drawers to make them fit better.
And of course I have several regular sandpaper sheets, and many different grits  to use by hand in those weird, hard-to-reach, curvy places.
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