5 Tips For a Professional Paint Job

Recently I have been working with my uncle a lot who owns Custer’s Renovations & Paint. He does any kind of finishing work you can think of, and I have been learning a ton about painting. So today I’d like to share with you 5 tips on how to achieve a professional paint job on your own. Specifically, I’ll show you how I implemented what I learned when I painted my own bathroom.

Scrape, Repair, & Caulk

One of the first steps to achieving a professional paint job is doing the appropriate prep work. If there are any bumpy areas left from a previous paint job make sure to scrape them away. Fill in any holes and areas that have been dinged. If there are any gaps in the trim make sure to caulk them with paintable latex caulk.

When my bathroom was painted previously there were a bunch of areas where paint splattered off of the roller and left tiny little bumps everywhere. Scraping these away ensured my paint job would be as smooth as possible. The window was painted quite poorly before so it made it difficult to get everything scraped off. However, what I did manage to scrape off and fix made a big difference. There were also huge gaps around the window that made the room look unfinished and overall kind of dingy.

5 Tips For a Professional Paint Job

5 Tips For a Professional Paint Job

 

5 Tips For a Professional Paint Job
Before

5 Tips For a Professional Paint Job

5 Tips For a Professional Paint Job
After

Sand & Dust

After your repairs dry, make sure to sand the patches and ideally, sand all of the walls with a fine grit sandpaper. Sanding the entire wall ensures you didn’t miss any little bumps and the finish will be smooth. Before painting, take a rag and dust the walls and trim.

It’s also a really good practice to sand in between coats and to do at least two coats.

Lighting

One of the most interesting tips my uncle showed me is how he uses lighting. In his opinion, lighting is one of the biggest factors in catching imperfections. By shining a big, bright light across the wall, you see any flaws such as bumps or drips because the light will create shadows across these areas. Without the light, you might not catch these because natural light doesn’t have the same effect. You might not notice some imperfections when you’re painting but will catch them later on because the lighting has changed. By using a light right off the bat you’re more likely to catch the mistakes.

Details

Another major factor in achieving a professional paint job is paying very close attention to detail. Wipe up any drips you spot or anywhere you painted “outside the lines”. By paying attention to detail throughout the process you will avoid fixing mistakes later on, which is often more difficult than fixing mistakes as they happen.

You want to roll on a decently thick coat of paint, but there is a fine line because you really want to avoid drips. It takes a bit of practice to get used to the feel of the perfect amount of paint and it can also depend on the type of paint you’re using. Some paints, such as Behr, are runnier than others.

One thing I noticed that makes a huge difference in the quality of my own painting is not taping things off. It takes me a lot of time to tape trim off and I can never seem to get the tape sealed right. I actually end up getting more paint on the trim when I tape than if I don’t tape and paint carefully. The key here is to keep a damp rag near you so you can wipe up any little spots where you go outside the lines. The more you practice the less you’ll have to wipe anything up. My uncle is a very skilled professional who is a lot faster, and better, at taping than I am so he’ll tape things here and there.

Stipple

Last but not least, stipple your brush as you’re cutting in. By this I mean dab your brush on the wall instead of dragging it down the wall. This helps match the texture of the roller so you don’t end up seeing brush marks. Typically I drag my brush down the wall to get the right amount of paint on. Then, I go back and stipple it.

These techniques are easy to do and don’t take much time on top of the amount of time it already takes to paint. In the long run, it’s well worth it in order to achieve a professional paint job.

And, of course, I have to show you the before and after pictures ūüôā

5 Tips For a Professional Paint Job 5 Tips For a Professional Paint Job5 Tips For a Professional Paint Job 5 Tips For a Professional Paint Job5 Tips For a Professional Paint Job 5 Tips For a Professional Paint Job

The walls are painted with Sherwin Williams Svelte Sage, and the ceiling is painted with Devoe Paint Simplicity Stone.

What’s your favorite tip for a professional paint job?

If you liked this post, feel free to share it ūüôā

See You Around!

Lauren <3

Bedroom Reveal and Item Sourcing

Now that it’s been almost four months since I moved in it’s about time that I give you a bedroom reveal. But first, let me show you what my room looked like as a blank slate.

Room Before

This room has a lot of white and a lot of windows. I was actually kind of excited to decorate with the white (there’s a lot of white throughout the whole apartment). I’m not so excited about the weird texture on the top half of the walls, but I’ll live.

It was also pretty interesting to see how the room was set up when my friend lived here. Honestly, I think that helped me get a better idea of what I wanted and reach the “end” result quicker. As I’m sure you know, there really is never any end to decorating a room.

Room Reveal

When I first walk into my room this is what I see. I got the desk from my step mom, the chair from my mom, and the wool blanket belonged to my maternal grandfather. The corkboard is a DIY I did a while back.  

Looking to the right of the room you see the “closet” area. The bump-out is actually my roommate’s closet which left just enough room for two short rods on either side of it. I also keep clothes in the plastic drawers and in the cubes.

I bought the mirror from Target when I moved in and I got the tapestry from Amazon a while ago. The stickers on the drawers are reusable chalk labels by VersaChalk.

Looking to the left in the room you’ll see my bed.

When I moved in I already had two pillows, and bought two additional pillows from Walmart. I bought a sheet set from TJ Maxx which had a fitted sheet, flat sheet, and two pillow cases. The set is a very soft gray and almost has a slight purple undertone to it. The back two pillow cases are navy cotton from Target. The gray blanket is also a purchase from Target that I got two or three years ago. The blanket I linked to is basically the same one, except mine has a faint herringbone pattern in it. 

On my night stand I have a DIY painting I made, a geometric container from TJ Maxx, and a lamp from Target (which I bought a few years ago). Again, the lamp is the same it just doesn’t come in gray anymore. The trunk is an upcycle I did a while back and you can read about that here.

 

In case you missed it, my curtains are made from sheets and you can read all about the cost break down and where I got my materials here.

I’m really happy to have my own space, and I’m glad I put some thought into each of the items in my room. It feels more cohesive than any other room I’ve had before and it’s definitely a relaxing space to go at the end of the day.

What do you think makes a space feel like your own?

See You Around!

Lauren <3

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Comparing the Cost of DIY Curtains and non-DIY Curtains

Easily¬†the best feature of my new room is the insane amount of windows I have. On the other hand, having an insane amount of windows is not so great when you’re trying to sleep.

When I moved in, there were plastic blinds on half of the windows and the ones that were left looked like junk. My friend that lived here before me tacked blankets up to keep the light out. I knew I was going to go in a different direction and wanted something pretty. Something that would block out the light when I wanted and let light in when I wanted.

Comparing the Cost of DIY Curtains and non-DIY Curtains | Windows Before

As I’m sure you know, curtains are freaking expensive, especially when you have a bunch of really big windows. So, I made¬†curtains out of sheets which was an idea I had seen from a few different bloggers on Pinterest. In this post I’ll show you the materials I used and their cost so you can weigh the pros/cons of doing a similar project.

My Window Dimensions

In my room I have 3 windows that are all 70 inches by 70 inches. Therefore, I needed 6 curtain panels that were at least 35 inches wide and 70 inches long. Obviously, these dimensions would cover the window but the length would not look great.

Ideally, curtains are hung at least 3 inches above the window. Personally, I like the curtains to touch the floor but not pool too much. To make sure I got sheets that were long enough, I measured from the top of the window to the floor and added three inches.

Curtain Materials

After searching around a little bit for different sheets I decided on the Mainstays 200 Thread Count Sheet in twin size. They had the best color option at the cheapest price so it was an easy decision. I used both a solid and patterned sheet to make the curtains thicker as well as reversible. I chose navy for the solid color and the blue diamond ikat pattern.

These sheets are $4.97 each and I needed 12  (6 patterned, 6 solid) for a total of $59.64. Each sheet is 66 inches wide by 96 inches long. In a different room I think one sheet would have been fine, but I wanted to block out a lot of light in my bedroom.

Below is an example of how much light 1 sheet (left) blocks versus 2 (right).

Comparing the Cost of DIY Curtains and non-DIY Curtains | 1 sheet versus 2

Cost of DIY Curtains (Fabric) and Pre-Made Curtains

I thought I was shelling out a decent amount of money for these curtains, so I was interested to see how much more I would have spent to buy fabric or just straight up buy curtains and achieve a similar look.

If I would have bought fabric from JoAnn’s:

  • Lining Fabric (54″ wide) – $3/yd (on sale) x 16 yds (to match 96″ length)= $48 (not on sale = $96)

  • Print Fabric (54″ wide) – $4.50/yd (on sale) x 16 yds = $72 (not on sale = $144)

The total price for just fabric would have been $120 on sale, $240 not on sale!

I found a pretty good deal at JCPenney on 50″ x 95″ back tab curtains for $13.99 each (clearance) times 6 panels for a total of $83.94. These aren’t that much more expensive, but the user reviews mention these curtains¬†are not the best at blocking light.

Curtain Hardware

In all honesty, I didn’t want to do a whole lot of work besides hanging the curtains up so I didn’t get all fancy and make back tabs or put in grommets or anything. Instead, I just bought clip rings in oil rubbed bronze. There are 7 rings in each package, each package costs $4.74 and I bought 5 packages for a total of $23.70. I ended up using 5 rings on each panel so I still had 5 left over.

Last but not least I got curtain rods from Home Depot, also in oil rubbed bronze, for $6.97 x 3 for a total of $20.91. They’re 48 – 84 inches long and 7/16 in. thick. ¬†I was trying to get the cheapest option possible, but aesthetically I think a thicker curtain rod would be better.

Total Cost Breakdown

here is an overview of the items I bought and their costs:

  • 12 twin sheets x $4.97 each = $59.64
  • 5 packages of (7) curtain rings x $4.74 each = $23.70
  • 3 curtain rods x $6.97 each = $20.91

Bringing the total cost of curtains and hardware (without tax) to $104.25

Comparing the Cost of DIY Curtains and non-DIY Curtains | Curtain Pattern

I absolutely love the way these curtains turned out and I think they add a lot of style and function to the room (but hey, I may be a little biased). I know in my next apartment I won’t be using all of the panels but I think it was a great investment compared to buying pre-made curtains.

What do you think? Would you try sheet curtains, DIY curtains out of fabric, or just buy curtains? I would love to hear your pro/con list!

See You Around!

Lauren <3

Comparing the Cost of DIY Curtains and non-DIY Curtains

5 Tips For Simple Furniture Painting

Sometimes we tackle projects because we want to test out a new idea, or spend some time doing something we enjoy, but we don’t necessarily expect them to be easy or quick. Other times we know a project will make a big impact in our home but we don’t want to have all the fuss that goes with it, so we put it off.

One of my friends, Jake, has two dressers that didn’t go with the rest of the pieces he owns, so last spring we began throwing around ideas on how to refinish them. The project kept getting put off because we’re both busy people, and we had to be creative in figuring out a decent workspace.

Now Jake is moving to Chicago in less than a month, so I knew we needed to get our act together and get this project done. I wanted him to be able to have furniture he loves to take with him to a new place and have a fresh start.

While doing this project, I was conscious about the things that make a project less daunting, and these are the 5 tips I wanted to share with you!

1. Listen to Your Piece

This first tip I think really applies to houses, but can also apply to furniture as well. In a house, we take clues from the architecture to guide us to different design choices. I think in some ways furniture does the same thing. Maybe this is me justifying laziness, but after a while it becomes clear how I want to refinish a piece. Whether it’s paint, stain, fun details, or new hardware.

This time I didn’t have the furniture in my house to stare at nonstop so it was a little trickier. Jake didn’t really know what his style was, or more accurately how to explain it. To find the best fit, I took cues from the other objects he has in his apartment. He likes clean lines, silver metals, and doesn’t mind dark colors. Overall, he’s drawn to a crisp look with some texture thrown in here and there.

5 Tips For Simple Furniture Painting 5 Tips For Simple Furniture Painting
As you can see, both dressers have outdated hardware that doesn’t go along with Jake’s aesthetic. One of the first things we decided was to replace the hardware with matching hardware for both dressers.

The dressers don’t have anywhere close to the same style so I thought it made the most sense to paint them different colors. I knew I wanted to use General Finishes and Jake¬†decided seagull gray milk paint for the tall dresser, and midnight blue chalk style paint for the long dresser.

2. Use Sprayer Without Paint

After sanding the tall dresser I kind of hit a wall of oh crap how are we going to get all the dust out of these details? And then I was like oh! Canned air. And then I was like OH. I can just use my sprayer without paint to do the same thing.

I’ve never heard of anyone else doing this so maybe it’s just too obvious to blog about, but it was definitely an aha moment for me.

5 Tips For Simple Furniture Painting

3. Paint Consistency and Spraying Technique

I didn’t have any issues with the long dresser, likely because that is the second one we painted. However, there were some flukes with the tall dresser painted with milk paint.

I have a HomeRight Finish Max HVLP sprayer and in the manual, it says to thin paint out so that it runs through the cup that comes with the sprayer in 25 to 40 seconds. When I timed it, my paint was running through closer to 25 seconds, but I was ending up with drip marks.

5 Tips For Simple Furniture Painting

I didn’t troubleshoot all the possible issues, but I think it was because my paint seemed a little runny. It also could have been because I was applying too much paint at once and standing too close to the piece. These are some general rules I like to keep in mind when I’m spraying to avoid issues like this:

  • Make sure your paint is a good consistency
  • spray in even strokes, starting the spray away from the piece then moving across
  • Let go of the trigger after each spray to avoid moving too quickly and creating areas with too much paint
  • Don’t stand too close (or too far) from the piece. I generally stand about a foot or so away.

5 Tips For Simple Furniture Painting

4. Fixing Mistakes, Don’t Panic!

However, if you¬†do¬†mess up (like I did) don’t freak out! Whether it’s drip marks, accidentally touching the wet paint, or dirt in wet paint these are all fixable. In spots like the ledges of the drawer frames I wiped drips off because it wasn’t going to affect the finish. In spots like the side of the dresser, I just left them to sand (gently) before doing another coat. It would also be beneficial to just tap the drip with your finger so you don’t have as much to sand out.

One of us also bumped the bottom corner but I left it that way because I didn’t want to put too much paint on one area and end up with even more drips. I think it’s just easier to apply more paint than have to sand it off and then apply more paint.

I didn’t get any dirt in the piece this time but that is a super easy fix. Just wait until the paint dries and knock it out with a dry cloth. This shouldn’t mess with the finish at all.

5. Work with a Friend!

Typically I do projects on my own at my own leisure unless I am frustrated and need help. In this case, I felt there was more of a time crunch with the big move coming really soon. I didn’t want the project to take any longer than necessary so Jake could focus on packing and making the transition to Chicago.

That being said, it was so much faster to have an extra set of hands throughout the entire process. It’s also great because you have someone else to blame if things go wrong. Just kidding… sort of. If you’re looking for a project to go smoothly and take less time, definitely enlist help.

The project start to finish took a weekend and I wasn’t completely drained by the end. We bought supplies Friday night and worked from about noon to seven on both Saturday and Sunday. So really we put in about 14 hours, maybe less, since I didn’t really account for eating. Although I don’t think we really had any down time for paint and wood filler to dry.

So there you have it! 5 easy tips to make painting simpler and hopefully to help you gain some motivation instead of putting a project off. Now what you’ve probably been waiting for… before and after photos!

 

5 Tips For Simple Furniture Painting

5 Tips For Simple Furniture Painting

5 Tips For Simple Furniture Painting

5 Tips For Simple Furniture Painting
Have you ever tried any of these tips for painting furniture or have any other tips I didn’t mention? Let me know in the comments! ūüôā

See You Around!

Lauren <3

5 Tips For Simple Furniture Painting

If you liked this post, you may also want to check out this post.

How to Clean Up Your Yard When You Have no Idea Where to Start

One of the biggest issues I have had with this house is the exterior. Especially now that most of the big projects are done inside. ¬†It seems like whenever we invite someone new over I always give the disclaimer of “I know the outside is a hideous mess but I promise the inside is completely different”.

First impressions are a huge deal and the curb appeal of this house is giving a seriously bad first impression. If future renters saw a listing of this house and all they saw was the exterior I have no doubt that would seriously limit the pool of potential tenants.

How to Clean Up Your Yard When You Have no Idea Where to Start

How to Clean Up Your Yard When You Have no Idea Where to Start
Some very generous photos of what the exterior looks like (taken in the summer)

This spring I want to get serious about bringing in some much-needed curb appeal (I’ve said that before). But, the problem was I had no idea where to start because there are seriously SO many issues. I think this is a common problem, so I wanted to share my process on how¬†to get started. So here it is, how to clean up your yard when you have no idea where to start.

1. BRAIN DUMP

I originally was going to call this step a brainstorm but quickly changed that because I have been brainstorming ideas for like ever. Really this is a brain dump because I’m putting all the crap in my brain down on paper.

To do this step think about all the issues that are going on, anything that you would like to accomplish, and write it down. Write stuff down that you know you won’t get to until years later, and write stuff down that you don’t have a budget for yet. The point¬†is to put¬†your thoughts on the page to¬†realize your overall vision and set goals.

My yard is a yucky mess, but there are also costly cosmetic fixes that I would like to do. I wrote everything down even though some might be unrealistic to accomplish in the short term. And some might not be possible at all due to lack of landlord approval.

During this step I put various amounts of dollar signs next to certain items based on their estimated cost.

How to Clean Up Your Yard When You Have no Idea Where to Start

This is purely a guess on how expensive things are. I did not do any research at this phase on project costs, I will do that later. This simply gives me an idea of when/if I will accomplish these projects and how big of a priority they are.

2. Recognize what is easiest to accomplish, and will make the most impact

After I dumped out all my ideas I starred the projects with the most impact. These are the items¬†I will start with. There’s no point in thinking about painting the house to make it all pretty if there is a yard full of leaves and junk. For this spring I absolutely want to focus on:

  • Cleaning up the leaves and pine needles from the yard and all the “garden beds”
  • Getting rid of the junk in the yard by the garage, by the house, on the porch, etc.
  • Get the village to¬†actually¬†fix the driveway this spring. It’s a serious mud pit over here

How to Clean Up Your Yard When You Have no Idea Where to Start

3. Identify projects that should be done soon but aren’t huge eye sores

These are the kinds of things that are preventing you from adding all the pretty stuff to your yard, or things that are pretty much necessary but aren’t awful to look at. On my list these things include:

  • Make pallet compost bin
  • Kill moss
  • Wash outsides of windows
  • Plant grass seed
  • Power wash: house, porch, garage, and cement
  • Remove rock beds from South and East sides of house
  • Trim trees if needed

Most of the things on this list are pre-cursors to the tasks that I don’t have the budget for yet or need time to get to (the remaining things on the list)

How to Clean Up Your Yard When You Have no Idea Where to Start

4. Research, Planning, and Goal Setting.

This phase is somewhat ongoing and is really where you can get into either a loss of steam or seeing some real progress. Set specific goals that are realistic and have relative deadlines attached to them. This way you will know what to work on when, and you can manage your time between other projects.

Pinterest is what I use the most for research and planning. Once I have my general ideas down I start to look up specifics to see how I am going to do a project. You won’t need to do this for everything you have in mind but it’s helpful when taking on a big project or a project that requires learning a new skill.

One thing I found recently is an article on maintaining dirt roads and driveways. I won’t be able to accomplish it myself but I have a better idea of what the village should be doing to repair our driveway. Basically, the research and planning notes should be a more detailed explanation of the project. This is what my notes for the driveway look like:

How to Clean Up Your Yard When You Have no Idea Where to Start

This process is something I do for a lot of projects even when I somewhat have an idea of where to start, it doesn’t have to be just for your yard. I feel like this system helps me to make actual progress instead of constantly rethinking the first step and remembering all the projects I want to do.

What do you do to help you accomplish big projects? What do you have planned this season to clean up your yard? Let me know in the comments!

See You Around! (and have fun crossing stuff off your lists) ūüėÄ

Lauren <3

How to Clean Up Your Yard When You Have No Idea Where to Start

Spray Painted Counter Update – Almost 2 Years Later

I wanted to share an update since it’s been almost 2 years since¬†my post about how I updated my counter tops with spray paint!¬†When I researched doing my counters, my main concern was how well spray paint would hold up.¬†If it tells you anything about how they’re holding up, I can’t believe it’s been almost 2 years since I did this project!

If you want to see what materials I used and the how-to for this project, check out this post.

My biggest concern was next to the sink where we put our dishes to dry. We have a drying rack but most of the time all the dishes won’t fit in that. So, Chris lays a dish towel down and lays dishes on that. As you can imagine this gets a lot of moisture on the counters, and it discolors. I went back and added another layer of poly because I was concerned it was hurting the counter, but so far it hasn’t done any damage. (It still discolors when wet, but like only when it’s really wet).

Spray Painted Counter Update - Almost 2 Years Later

We usually clean down the counters with a Clorox disinfecting wipe or just with a sponge and soap. Initially¬†I didn’t think the Clorox wipes had any effect but I did notice a little bubbling of the poly.

Spray Painted Counter Update - Almost 2 Years Later

I’m not 100% sure that this is from using Clorox wipes but I’m pretty sure because I don’t really use them on either side of the sink and those areas don’t have any bubbling.

Spray Painted Counter Update - Almost 2 Years Later

I’m not sure what it’s from, but there’s also this area that looks a little gummy. It’s not very noticeable and the only difference is that it’s not slippery smooth like the rest of the counter.

There’s also a tiny little scrape or two on the edge of the counter where the white is peaking through. I thought maybe it was a flake of white paint because that’s the case in other areas but I think this is a little ding. When I scratched at it though it didn’t make it any worse.

Overall I’m really happy with how they’ve held up and I’m surprised considering we’re not as gentle on them as I thought we should be.

Here’s a full picture of the counters now:

Spray Painted Counter Update - Almost 2 Years Later

And here’s the before and after from when I originally did the project:

Spray Painted Counter Update - Almost 2 Years Later

Spray Painted Counter Update - Almost 2 Years Later

You might also notice that we have a tile backsplash and we removed the upper cabinet doors. If you want to read more about the backsplash check out this post about doing the tile, and this post about prepping the wall.

For the time and money this project takes it’s a perfect solution to fixing up counters before a complete overhaul. This could even be a permanent solution for areas like a laundry room.

So there you have it! My counters are holding up great and I’m really glad I decided to spray paint them. My ongoing struggle now is to make our open cabinets look a little prettier.

See You Around!

Lauren <3

Garage Sale Frame to Cute Corkboard 

This is honestly one of those projects that took a turn because I got lazy. My roommate broke my full-size mirror a long time ago and I tried to come up with a way to reuse the broken glass. I decided on making a mosaic and searched a while for just the right frame. Then I found this:

Garage Sale Frame to Cute Corkboard 

It was perfect for my original project because it was a sturdy frame with a solid backing to lay glass on. The first thing I did was sand it down a little and give it a coat of black spray paint.

Garage Sale Frame to Cute Corkboard 

I started laying the glass pieces (without glue), but this is as far as I got before giving up (or at least I told myself I would finish it later).

Garage Sale Frame to Cute Corkboard 

It looked pretty cool, but it got harder to arrange the glass pieces without much space in between. I also decided when I was finished it was going to be really heavy.

Instead I had Chris dump all the glass for me and I  pulled out some leftover cork and fabric. I decided to make a corkboard for the office I keep dreaming about.

To begin I laid out the cork and measured the dimensions of the inside of the frame. I measured it out on the cork and drew the lines where I needed to cut.

Garage Sale Frame to Cute Corkboard 

After cutting I put the cork in the frame to check it was right before cutting the fabric.

Garage Sale Frame to Cute Corkboard 

To cut the fabric I placed the cork on top and cut it leaving a little bit extra to fold over the edges of the cork.

My fabric was a little wrinkly, and we have very limited resources to fix that. Iron? Nope. Dryer? Nope. DIY de-wrinkle spray made with fabric softener? Definitely nope. Instead, I tried the next closest thing to the dryer trick. Which was hanging my cut piece of fabric on the towel bar in the bathroom while I showered. Took the wrinkles right out! ūüôā

To glue it together I used mod podge on the face of the cork and used my hot glue gun to glue the edges of the fabric to the back of the cork.

Garage Sale Frame to Cute Corkboard 

Then, to glue the cork¬†to the frame I put hot glue all along the edges and an X through the middle. I had to do it quickly so the glue wouldn’t cool.

Garage Sale Frame to Cute Corkboard 

Quickly after I placed the corkboard, and tucked the edges into the frame.

Garage Sale Frame to Cute Corkboard 

And that was it! I plan on using it to “pin” ideas for inspiration and home makeover ideas. Like a little project board.

What do you use to corral your inspiration?

See You Around!

Lauren <3

Painted Glass Jar Pencil Holder

As I mentioned in my Friday Finds post, I collected a bunch of old bottles and was brainstorming some ideas of what I could do with them. I decided to make pencil holders out of a few of the smaller jars that had some cool detail on them. My old pencil jars were tin cans with spray paint and string. It was time for something different.

Below is a picture from my college apartment, and you can see my old pencil holder on the right.

Painted Glass Jar Pencil Holder

First I put all my pens and pencils in the jars to make sure they would all fit, and the jars were the appropriate heights.

Painted Glass Jar Pencil Holder

Then I took the jars outside and gave them a couple coats of black metallic spray paint.

Painted Glass Jar Pencil Holder

I liked how they looked, but I thought they needed something that would bring out the cool details in the jars. (the one on the far left doesn’t have anything special)

Painted Glass Jar Pencil Holder

To try to bring out the details more I sanded the ridged areas.

Painted Glass Jar Pencil Holder

You can tell from the angle above that I sanded the jars, but¬†you can’t see a lot of difference from the outside.

Painted Glass Jar Pencil Holder Painted Glass Jar Pencil Holder

Like basically no difference at all. ūüôĀ

SO, I decided to pull out some of my craft paints and paint the insides of the jars.

Painted Glass Jar Pencil Holder

I used a craft brush and painted the two jars with aqua and one with lilac. I also painted slightly on the rims too.

Painted Glass Jar Pencil Holder

Here is what the jars look like from the top. I didn’t bother making the paint thick because the jars will be filled and from the outside it looks solid.

Painted Glass Jar Pencil Holder

Here they are all settled on my china cabinet with some DIY canvas art I did a while ago.

What do you think? Do you like the chippy look of the jars?

See You Around!

Lauren <3

DIY Staircase Update

About a month ago I texted my landlord about ripping up the carpet on the entry stairs and replacing it with some vinyl. It took her about a week to respond, so I figured the answer would be no as it usually is.

Quite the contrary, she texted back and said sure! That surprised me. Having permission to sporadically change things in the house is very exciting.

I started ripping the carpet up within half an hour of getting her text.

DIY Staircase Update

Here’s what we started with. The big rug is usually in the kitchen, but it’s been up there a while because spring tracks a lot of mud in, and it’s annoying having to vacuum the landing all the time.

DIY Staircase Update

We also track in a lot of pine needles which hurt like a SOB to step on when they’re stuck in the carpet.

Since I had permission from the landlord and was raring to go, I didn’t bother telling Chris before I started destroying the carpet. I was so sick of it and wasn’t going to wait any longer.

DIY Staircase Update

The first thing I found was the landing is made of plywood and covered in that black stuff. I think the black stuff is some sort of non-slip sand adhesive. Then I kept pulling up the carpet and got this piece of joy.

DIY Staircase Update

Nice pine steps and risers! Yay.

After ripping the carpet and padding off I pulled out all the tack strips and staples from the stairs. I didn’t pull all the staples from the landing because I’m going to cover it with vinyl, and the stairs will be painted and stained with General Finishes Java Gel. Instead, I pulled all the padding out of the staples¬†and hammered them down.

One issue that I ran into with the tack strips is that I don’t own a crowbar. Instead, I just used a hammer and flathead screwdriver. Just wedge the screwdriver under the strip where the nail is and use the hammer to wiggle it under further. Then use the leverage and pull up on the strip (by pushing down on the screwdriver). It’s kind of a pain in the butt on some of them, but it works.

After getting all the staples off the steps they were ready to be sanded in preparation for stain. The picture below is before sanding.

DIY Staircase Update

I took my Ridgid random orbital sander to the steps with an 80 grit sanding pad. Since I have an orbital sander (which is round) I couldn’t get all the way to the edges of the stairs very well which left some paint. I went back by hand to try to get as much off as I could, but it wasn’t very efficient.

The picture below is after sanding. It’s a little hard to compare because of the opposite angles, but they’re a lot cleaner with fewer paint splatters.

DIY Staircase Update

Next, I cleaned the steps off with a shop towel and some mineral spirits. Then I applied mineral spirits to each step right before I stained. General finishes recommends this to help the stain go on smoothly.

Make sure to apply stain to every other step so that the stairs are still usable while the stain dries (6-8 hours).
DIY Staircase Update
And then here’s a picture of them all stained.
DIY Staircase Update

After the stain dried, I taped the stairs off to paint the risers.
DIY Staircase Update
I also used paper so I wouldn’t get paint on the steps. As you can see in the picture, I didn’t tape off the risers when I stained. I figured it would be easy to paint over. It seemed that it actually was easier to cover the paint with gel stain than the other way around.

Before priming I sanded the risers by hand with 80 grit sandpaper.
DIY Staircase Update
After the first coat of primer I went back and filled in the holes with spackle. Then I sanded lightly and did another coat. I like to wait until I prime to fill in the holes because it makes them a lot more visible.
DIY Staircase Update
After two coats of primer I applied two coats of paint.

I also sanded and repainted the trim by the landing to make sure it looks crisp before installing the vinyl
 imageDIY Staircase Update

I’ve repainted this trim probably twice already, but it gets dingy pretty quickly and the new floor will be lower than the carpet.

Before putting in the new vinyl I also wanted to stain the threshold of the front door to match the steps.
DIY Staircase Update DIY Staircase Update

Since the stairs are going to be a different color than the vinyl on the landing, I wanted to make sure the entry looks as cohesive as possible.

And of course, since stairs are high traffic I added a coat of General Finishes Gel Topcoat.

And after several days of putting it off, we finally got around to laying the vinyl on the landing! It’s really easy to do, and I was going to attempt doing it myself. Chris wanted me to wait until he would be around to help me though, which honestly was a good idea. Laying the floor and cutting the boards isn’t too bad when it’s just straight cuts, but having to work around the trim pieces was really frustrating for me. I explain in this post how we laid the floor in our bathroom, and what exactly we used if you’re interested ūüėÄ

DIY Staircase Update

Chris did up until this point on the landing, and I got to do the rest until the trim on the other side of the door. I didn’t get to do much cutting when we did the bathroom floor, so I’m glad I got to try it out.

DIY Staircase Update DIY Staircase Update

DIY Staircase Update DIY Staircase Update

I am so obsessed with how¬†this project¬†turned out. The entry is so much brighter and spacious now that the carpet is gone. And it’s going to ¬†be way easier to keep it clean. No more lugging the vacuum all the way up the steps!

DIY Staircase Update DIY Staircase Update

If you like this post let me know, and feel free to pass it along!

See You Around!

Lauren <3

 

Dresser Phase 2

A while back I added some paint to a dresser, and meanwhile bickered up a storm about the idiot that did such a horrible paint job. Turns out Chris got this dresser from one of his friends, and the truth is he just didn’t care enough about this dresser to take the time to do the job right (sorry not sorry, Mike. It looked like crap).

In phase 1 I added a coat of white paint to the whole thing (minus the wood top) including the insides of the drawers. And we can’t forget about that God awful contact paper I removed. Lastly, I gave the drawer pulls a nice coat of black spray paint.

Dresser Phase 2

Dresser Phase 2

I also attempted to remove some of the paint from the wood top.

Dresser Phase 2

In phase two, this is what I started with.

Dresser Phase 2

Dresser Phase 2

In this stage, the first thing I did was pull all the drawers out and tape off the top. Then I gave the dresser one last coat of white paint with my Home Right Finish Max HVLP Sprayer.

Dresser Phase 2

We didn’t have any newspaper, so I used what we had which is colored construction paper.

To get everything prepped I made sure to strain my paint since it was leftover from other projects. I bought this sink strainer from Dollar General and it fits perfectly into my sprayer’s container!

Dresser Phase 2

Typically paint needs to be thinned to avoid clogging the sprayer. The Home Right Finish Max comes with a viscosity cup, and depending on how quickly the paint runs out that will tell you if it needs to be thinned more. For water based paints it is perfectly okay to thin with water.

Here’s what she looks like with the fresh coat of white!

Dresser Phase 2

Dresser Phase 2 Dresser Phase 2

I’m not sure what’s up with the left side of the dresser, but the color looks off compared to the right side. In the before pictures it’s also obvious that it was harder to get good coverage. Not sure why, but now the only difference is the color slightly.

Dresser Phase 2

It’s a little hard to see, but in the picture above the wind knocked some dirt into my paint job! I waited until everything dried and just wiped it off with a dry rag. Good as new.

To give this bland dresser some character I painted¬†the drawers with General Finishes Holiday Red Milk Paint. T’s bedroom is (mostly)¬†Avenger themed and I thought this color would go perfectly.

The night before painting these drawers I bought a roll of masking paper and taped the three sides of the drawers I didn’t want painted.

Dresser Phase 2

I didn’t tape the bottoms because no one will see the paint on them during general use.

Dresser Phase 2

Originally I set the drawers up like the photo below, but when I started spraying nothing came out. The sprayer can be tilted somewhat, but not to this extent.

Dresser Phase 2

Instead I used an outdoor table with a drop cloth and set the drawers on top. That worked perfectly, but I should have laid the paper side down. As you can see with the third drawer from the left in the picture above, there is some of the drawer peeping through. This is because the paper wasn’t quite long enough. When I laid the drawers down the paper sunk more and I got overs spray inside the drawers. It will be an easy fix to sand them down a little and go over it with a brush and some white paint, but it could have been avoided.

Dresser Phase 2 Dresser Phase 2

Here are the drawers with their fresh coat of red. I think the picture on the right gives the most accurate representation of what this color looks like in real life.

Next I set out to remove more paint from the edges of the wood top. To do this I taped the painted part off and used a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol. Some areas came right off, and others I just had to scrape a little with my fingernail.

 Dresser Phase 2Dresser Phase 2

You can see there are only tiny little flecks left.

Dresser Phase 2

The front had even more paint, and now there’s none!

Last but not least this baby got a fresh coat of stain on top with some leftover General Finishes water based stain in Brown Mahogany.

Dresser Phase 2

The final product is exactly what I had in mind, and I absolutely love it! Even though his room is (mostly) Avengers themed I had to style the dresser up with some of¬†¬†little T’s firefighter gear. I don’t recall mentioning¬†this on the blog, but Chris is a firefighter ūüôā

Dresser Phase 2

Even though red is a vibrant color I can think of so many styles this dresser could go along with, even in just a kid’s room.

As a side note, this is not a sponsored post in any way. This is the first project I used my Home Right Finish Max for and it worked like a charm. This is also the first time I used General Finishes Milk Paint, and I love it just as much as their other products I have tried (Gel Stain and Topcoat, and Water Based Stain).

What style would you use this dresser with? As always feel free to leave me a question or comment, I would love to hear what you have to say ūüôā

See You Around!

Lauren <3