Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Chicken Wire Mercantile Spice Rack....Chalk Paint Transformation

There’s a project I’ve had in my head for years, but up until recently, I wasn’t able to produce it. I never had the right chicken wire, as in the small ½” hex. Now that I do, the right wooden rack came along, so finally my idea has come to fruition.







I have transformed this Plain Jane spice rack into an old-fashioned, mercantile-inspired treasure. I designed and hand-painted every letter on this piece, in a beige crème, and outlined each in black. The Sundry letters are accented with metallic gold. I added 5 sunrise shapes as a tie-in to the word Sundry, each with metallic gold accents as well.

I layered chalk paint colors, first with Marigold Yellow over the entire piece. I then haphazardly applied Annie Sloan’s Emperor’s Silk Red, then Grass Green the same way.

Once I designed the graphics placement, I applied more red and green, this time in a solid fashion, in the areas that needed filling.

Metallic gold lines accent the body shapes. And, as usual, I heavily distressed the whole piece, and sealed in clear and dark wax.

Although the graphics and colors are more than enough to satisfy my General Store fix, it’s the final detail of the chicken wire that really puts this piece over the top into nostalgic perfection. As I mentioned, this is small, ½” hex, which is a far better scale for this piece, than the typical 1” hex from the big box stores. I oxidized the chicken wire till it was a matte charcoal in color for a more authentic aged appearance. 

Since I chose not to use staples because they would look too modern, I secured the hexes on the outer edges and center using fine wire wrapped around small nails, and hammered them all into place. 

The top edge has been secured with evenly-spaced tiny brass screws, so this chicken wire is not moving!

I left the original hanging loops, but the lucky owner can always pull them out to install their own hardware. Yes, I said lucky owner, which means I’m selling it in my Etsy shop. I am always grateful that I have the artistic ability to re-create something for myself if I choose to, and I never take that for granted. It’s pretty much the only thing that allows me to let go of a creation I love so much, and one that required sooo much detail and time. No first dibs this time, Folks….:)

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Chalk-painted Frame/Chalkboard & First Dibs to my Readers

One of the top posts I’ve ever written was about morphing a frame using chalk paint. The photos are sub-par at best, and I cringe every time I look at them, perplexed how it could be such a popular post.

Today I’m going to remedy that.

I found another gold resin frame recently, and knew it would be the perfect candidate for a chalk paint makeover.

This time, I chose to start with a base of vivid grass green. I painted it over the entire frame.

The next color is a dark turquoise. I applied this color haphazardly using a bristle fan brush.

I then did a wet distress, which is nothing more than wrapping a portion of a rag around your index finger, dipping it in water, then rubbing the paint off all the raised details of the frame. (If you accidentally rub paint off where you didn’t want to, you can always touch it up later.) The reason I wet-distress a gold resin frame, is because if you use sandpaper, it will reveal the white resin beneath the gold.

After that step, I did some fine-tuning with metallic gold paint. Finally, I sealed it with clear wax. I didn’t use dark wax this time, because I wanted to keep all the coloring fresh and brighter.

I added a chalkboard I made with a 5x7 canvas board. The easel back allows for displaying horizontal or vertical. Outer dimensions of frame are
8-1/2” x 6-1/2”. 

As I stated in my last post, I am testing out the possibility of selling some of my creations from this blog. Today, I am offering first dibs on this frame to my readers, before I list it in my Etsy shop. 

UPDATE: Offer has ended. Now Listed on Etsy.
Reader’s Special Price: $24 + Priority Mail. If not sold via the blog, $32 + Priority Mail via Etsy. Email me with your Zipcode for exact shipping rate. I will include the frame’s original glass upon request.

Next creation in the works…..something that involves rusty, aged chicken wire!

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Nostalgic Train Case Makeover with a First Dibs Offer to my Readers

It seems that the majority of the makeovers I feature on my blog involve chalk paint. While that may be true, every once in a while I stumble on a piece that has a lot of character, and just a little accessorizing puts the charm factor over the top.

This train case is an example of that.
With a warm black, faux crocodile covering, a clear plastic handle, and rusty, darkened hardware, this piece already had a lot going for it in the way of vintage charm.

Although to some, the wear to the covering, fraying, dings, scuffs, and exposed wood might not seem attractive, I think it shows it’s potentially eventful history, and I like it that way.

Therefore, I only touched up a few dings here and there, keeping the vintage authenticity intact. I waxed all the covering, to seal it and give it richness and even sheen.

The real fun to this piece lies inside. There was a perfectly good mirror inside the lid, so no sense in removing it. The removable tray, that is usually in a train case, was gone, but I left the wood ledges that it rests on, so the next owner could put their own tray on
if they chose to.

Behold! Nostalgic Panache!
I have some small catalogs that are reproductions of 1909 Sears catalogs. These repros are vintage from 1979, so they have gorgeous browned/yellowed pages. I thought it would be fun to use the jewelry and shoe pages, and decoupage them to the inside. It seemed an appropriate choice for a train case.

I love love love how it turned out. I sealed the inside with several coats of gloss varnish, to extend the new life of this piece. I also painted the border paper of the mirror and the wooden ledges a gloss black to gel with the exterior.

Recently, it was suggested to me by one of my customers that some of my blog readers might be more interested in puchasing my creations more than attempting DIY. So I'm trying out that theory right now.

I am offering first dibs to my blog readers and Facebook followers to purchase this train case from my blog, before I list it on Etsy. I also want to find out what types of projects and makeovers attract the majority of my readers.

UPDATE: Offer has Ended, and now listed on Etsy.
Purchase price for my readers is $36 + shipping, via Paypal. Otherwise, I will list it in my Etsy shop for $48 plus shipping.

This piece measures 11-1/4” long, 7” high closed, and 6-1/2” front to back. It weighs 3 pounds before packaging, so I can ship it Priority or Standard Post. You can email me with your zip code, so I can quote you exact shipping before you purchase it. To purchase this piece, I will email you a Paypal invoice, which you can pay with
your Paypal account or credit card.

If this sells via the blog, I will visit the possibility of selling more of my creations here as well. I’ve also been wanting to offer newer items with vintage style and farmhouse chic, since this type of merchandise does not qualify to be sold on Etsy. Time will tell!

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Mediterranean Makeover with Chalk Paint on Metal Mesh Shelves

Today I have another chalk paint transformation. I think this one has more impact than many I've done.

We’ve all seen these metal pierced shelves, usually black, with quatrefoil shaped cutouts.

I don’t know if it’s how ubiquitous they are, or the black color, that makes these so boring and unappealing. 

They’ve been sitting in my mother’s storage for years, waiting for a new home at Goodwill, or until I took the time to brainstorm a makeover.

Well, years ago I didn’t have chalk paint.

But now that I do……..Behold. 

Hello Gohgeous!

No longer boring, but now the Moroccan/Mediterranean style the quatrefoil shapes dictate.

I did a complete basecoat of a vibrant Leaf Green, then used a fan brush to haphazardly add my go-to deep Aqua/Turquoise. The final color is a watered-down Brick Red, which I applied in random spots here and there, keeping it subtle so as not to dull the Green and Aqua.

The color combo is certainly good enough for a transformation, but I really wanted to make these stand out more, like hand-painted should. It was very important to me that it not look spray-painted, since all too often, that seems to be the extent of makeovers for these. So, as the final piece de resistance, I hand-painted brilliant metallic gold shapes, that are a simplistic mix of a Maltese cross and the quatrefoil cutouts, to all the braces outer sides. I also added gold dots to all the front and side-facing edges of the shelves, to tie them in with the braces design. And of course I sealed everything with clear wax.

I really like the quatrefoil detail, but the original black color really didn’t do justice to the intricate design. I think my paint treatment really showcases the Mediterranean style, making these way more attractive and
not just lipstick on a pig…….:)

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