DIY Backdrop

It’s been a while since I’ve popped in here!    I just had to share this fun little project I’ve been working on (and am still working on).  I’m always trying to find nice backgrounds to take my photos.  A few month ago I found some white faux brick wall paper at Home Sense and taped it up in my garage, it’s perfect for getting a nice clean shot that doesn’t distract from the piece I’m photographing. 

 
Often in my photos you’ll see that I use this old fence panel that was taken down when we had our garage built.  I painted and distressed it and it’s an awesome fun pop of color when I need it in a picture! 

   

When I need a change of scenery I’ll use my old painted shutter doors or even certain walls in our house. The one below I used my silhouette cameo to create these gold polka dots that frame my work station above my desk and below it’s shelf 🙂

  
  

All of these things are wonderful, but I had a stroke of genius last week when we were going through stuff in our basement and lined up against a wall (for the past 3.5 years) sat multiple pieces of this huge puppet theatre.  It used to belong to our church but when they changed their kids church format they needed to get rid of it, and at the time we thought we’d take it off their hands – we thought the kids would love it!  Uhhhh… this thing is massive – way too big to set up in our basement and crazy complicated to piece together!  So it just sat there, for years and years.  Until last week our neighbors let us know they rented one of those huge garbage bins and if we had junk to get rid of we could haul it over and dump it!  And as soon as my hubby had the idea to throw this huge thing away, boom it hit me!  I could use this as a backdrop…. a portable one!  It could come with me to markets and stage my areas, it could create little walls for my space!!   Woo hoo!

Here’s one set of the panels 

  
I’m only going to repurpose/upcycle two of these to box in my market space for now.  

So I went to Lowes and found some adhesive vinyl flooring and got to work! This pack was about $35 and I used just over a half of the package. 

  
It really wasn’t a lot of work.  Just pealing and sticking. A little bit of cutting and measuring – but mostly easy peasy! 

  
Here’s one side of it finished – I’m planning on painting the other white panel with chalkboard paint and then doing another set of two the same way.  I even was considering white washing the vinyl and distressing it, but I’ll have to test that out first.   The back of this is coloured so I plan on covering it with some cute wrapping paper for my upcoming holiday market.  

I’m so happy with how it turned out!  Who doesn’t like quick DIYs that turn out even  better than you imagined!?  I can even use this laying down for flat lays.  I might create a separate smaller one with a panel specifically for that – maybe I’ll do the white washing on that one 🙂

  
What do you like to use as a backdrop!?  There are endless things to choose from – you just have to get creative!

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Gold Dipped Drop Leaf Table Makeover

Over a year ago I bought this little number off of Kijiji. When I received it, the top had more damage to the veneer than I anticipated, and I knew it was going to take a big effort to update, so it sat… For over a year, until the right person just happened to notice it in this photo I posted on my Instagram.


You can hardly see it and it’s details on the left hand side of this photo but my customer had an eye for pretty things!

Here it is before I got to work, it really became a catch all in my garage… so neglected 😦


 I have never stripped veneer off of furniture before, but I knew it could be a challenge.  So I got out some high grit stand paper and a flat knife and began peeling.  I peeled with the knife what I could and oh how satisfying it was to peel off a big chunk of veneer, but there were moments where I fully had to sand down the veneer – two and a half later I had finished just the middle section! 😳
I missed taking pictures of this process, as I was fully focused on the grunt work.  But once I had it smooth and sanded, i moved onto sanding those legs.

I needed a break from the top, so after sanding down and prepping the legs I used my favourite gold spray paint and lightly added layers of gold, letting fully dry before each coat.  Once the spray paint had fully dried, i measured and taped off where I wanted the legs to be dipped to and began painting the rest of the base.  I primed each step with Zinssers stain blocker.  When you’re tackling really old furniture it’s almost a guarentee that it will bleed, especially if veneer is involved and your bright white colour (or whatever colour you’re using) will dry to have a gross yellow look to it – and no matter how many coats of paint, it wont go away.  So you’ll save paint, time and your sanity if you just use a primer/stain blocker from the get go!   The veneer was in really good condition on the actual drop leafs and since I was painting the whole thing I ended up leaving that veneer and just sanded it down.  Although I was using chalk paint, sometimes it’s still necessary to sand furniture.  I much prefer to sand down old surfaces to get the years of grease, and grime off rather than scrubbing it down!  During this process there were a couple edges that I had to fill with wood filler and smooth out, but that’s a much easier process than stripping the veneer!

Here’s a quick shot of the table flipped and the coats of the stain blocker and fat paint.  Being a drop leaf, I had to make sure the underneath looked just as pretty as the top!  I did end up lightly painting the hinges too, but just lightly so that they wouldn’t lock up.

Once I flipped her back over, i finished the table tops using a couple coats of stain blocker and a couple coats of Warm White Fat Paint.  I do use a synthetic bristle brush when using chalk paint – as a roller soaks up and wastes so much.  So I do end up with some brush strokes.  My secret to smoothing down brush strokes is using a slightly damp sanding sponge between coats.  Make sure your paint is fully dry before doing so, and lightly sand over your surface wiping as you go.  It creates such a nice buttery finish.  I used multiple coats of General Finishes Flat Top Coat on the entire piece.  It goes on so nicely and provides such a great top coat.  It’s my favourite!
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I had the table finished for a couple days and it was just hanging out in my garage before i could deliver it and I thought it needed a special touch.  So I used my Silhouette Cameo to add a special little pop inside the drawer.

Please ignore my terrible garage shoes – i’ve stolen them from my hubby – and they’re awesome and terrible lol.
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Now this wonderful piece is in it’s new home over at Greater Goods and it’s so perfect in this space.  It was such a pleasure to make something for them to display so many local pretties on!  This labor of love was 100% worth the work!!

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Retro Grunge Hutch

I’ve been really slack on my blogging game lately.  I have so much to share with you all about makeovers and different projects and then another project comes up and blogging gets put on the back burner.  Well this morning I figured I’d share my hutchmost recent furniture transformation.

A customer dropped off a hutch that she was less than thrilled about, she said it was boxy, boring, meh and ugly but hoped that it could be revived with a facelift!  Here it was before, she was right, pretty boring and boxy, but look at that retro goodness!  It was full of potential!

IMG_7232First I removed all the doors and gave the whole piece a sand down.  You don’t have to sand down the raw wood, I’d still be there sanding if that was the case.  You want to get as much of that glossy finish off so that the paint has something to stick to!  Once you sanded it down give it a good wipe.  I used a paint & primer so after it was dust free I got right to work.  For big pieces like this with clean lines I like to use a roller (especially if I’m NOT using chalk paint – i find a brush is a better way to apply chalk paint.) you’ll get nice smooth application with no brush strokes.

So here’s the piece all nice and painted.  Looks  nice and clean and already was such a major transformation.  But my client wanted some more depth… grunge if you will!!!  I was more than excited to mIMG_7449ake that happen, and just knew it would give this piece that wow factor.  I used Ralph Lauren Faux Glaze mixed with about a teaspoon of black paint and began the glazing process.  Applying, then wiping off with a wet cloth.  At some points to get the level of glaze I wanted on the piece I would just dry brush the glaze on.  Here’s a picture of the difference!

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We loved the idea of adding some brightness to this dark piece, but it also needed to have some grunge to it!  (forgive the crooked picture!)
IMG_7457After everything was glazed and good, I added some General Finishes Flat Top Coat.  It’s my fave!  Here’s the finished project!!!

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Hopefully I’ll be back soon with some other projects I’ve been working on while prepping for a Christmas market!  Have an awesome Wednesday!
xo Meryl
Inspired Findings

Quick DIY – Trash to Treasure

I feel like I should get paid to thrift shop.  I’m pretty confident in my thrifting skills, but only when it comes to the perimeter of the store… the home decor, the furniture, the frames.  I love clothes shopping as much as the next girl, but when it comes to a thrift store I need to be in the right mind space to sort through ALL. THOSE. CLOTHES…. it’s usually not my thing.  But when it comes to the other stuff, I got that part down.  I have my “thrift circuits” on each end of the city that if I’m going to one, I might as well go to them all, they’re all close enough to each other that it’s worth it to power through them as fast as I can.  I usually can do four in a hour!  That’s including paying and driving to and from each.  Impressed?  I obviously think you should be!  ANYWAYS…IMG_0304. Last week my brother surprised me telling me that he was in the city and so I drove to the other end to see him, which just so happens to be near the north “circuit”… lucky me!  I hit up the four stores and found these gems!  IMG_0432

I’m sure I was getting some looks walking outta the thrift store with this glammed, leopard print, plastic clock.  I sure got some from my hubby when I brought it home.  But I saw it and I had a vision!  I had to have it! (you can’t really see it here, but that leopard print is bedazzled up, kachow!)

First thing first, I had some Krylon Ocean Breeze spray paint on hand – it’s just the prettiest of all the spray paint coloIMG_0435urs isn’t it?!  I didn’t even prime it first to be honest, spray paint is a pretty awesome thing, it sticks like crazy.  I figured since this was just a quick little project for my home, it wasn’t a big deal.  Once it was dry I took some black glaze that I had mixed up and covered the pretty blue then wiped it off lightly until i achieved the vintage, dirty and worn look.  For small glazing projects I’ll sometimes use baby wipes (cuz we always have them).  One will go a long way, as i rinse it out and reuse to wipe off the glaze.  This one I didn’t actually rinse as I wanted the glaze to spread over the surface to dirty it up.  I then did some light distressing on the edges.  Afterwards I sprayed on a clear coat to protect the finish.  Once that was dry I painted the plastic clock face with a couple coats of chalkboard paint and Voila!  Isn’t it fun!  I’m so happy with how it turned out.

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So my tip while you’re thrifting – don’t look at the piece at surface level.  Look at their shape, at what they are made of, their potential.  Don’t look at it for what it is, unless it’s already awesome… It’s kind of like choose your own adventure!  Anything is possible!

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Happy Wednesday, and Happy Thrifting!

The Dirt on MudPaint

A few weeks ago I stumbled on the Instagram account @mudpaint.  I’m not even sure how I got there, isn’t that the crazy web that Instagram weaves!?  One follow leads to suggested users and clicking on hashtags and suddenly your liking a picture of a cat from a guy in Norway.  Anyways, I ended up checking out Mud Paint and was so excited to see their beautiful transformation pictures and was almost giddy when reading about their claim for better coverage and smoother finish than other furniture paint on the market.  I needed to get my hands on this paint!  So graciously they sent some from sunny California to pretty sunny (not as warm) Calgary, Canada.  As soon as my hubby got home I dusted off an old piano bench that I picked up from GoodWill a couple weeks ago and got to work!

I gave the top a light sanding as they suggest, but lIMG_1974et’s be honest, other peoples gunk freaks me out, especially when there’s crusty, old, stuck on gunk…. i just can’t handle it!  I guess the quicker option would be to wash it off but I just feel better hiding behind a sanding sponge, and it’s the best way to prep your piece so it works out!  So, I gave it a quick sand and THEN I wiped it down.

Here’s where I got a little excited.  The whole concept of just one coat on a piece of furniture kinda threw me for a loop.  I guess subconsciously I put on quite the thick layer.   It went on great and let me tell you the coverage was shocking.  Really just one coat gave amazing coverage, just like they claim.  I did touch up some brush strokes and likely didn’t wait the appropriate dry time.  Here’s a pic after the one and only coat plus a couple touch ups – as you can see I hadn’t even painted the bottom of the legs yet, I was that excited about the coverage.

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To my surprise – and let me be real – delight – as the piece began to dry the paint began to crackle.  This was super exciting to me, but also had me curious as to why, I didn’t expect it… thankfully it works for this piece, but I don’t think it was supposed to happen.  So I just carried on and went onto distressing and finishing the piece.

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Even before I began to distress the piece I noticed the smooth finish.  It wasn’t the same chalky, matte finish that most chalk paints have, this was smooth and only made smoother with my handy dandy sanding sponge!  Distressing was a dream.

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WhIMG_2061o doesn’t love a pop of colour?  I love a good ol’ drawer or compartment to sneak a little colour into a classic piece.  I painted the inside of the piano bench with some homemade chalk paint – a go to when I’ve found a pretty colour of flat paint in the clearance section of the paint store!
I have been in touch with the sweet people who sent me this glorious MudPaint to see if they had any idea of why we got this beautiful crackle and I’m pretty sure that it has a lot to do with my eager beaver thick coat of paint I put on theIMG_2062 piece.  A quick solution would be to lightly sand and reapply a thinner coat, but I decided to leave the crackles on this piece!  I have a piece lined up to give another go with a more of a conservative coat planned.  I’ll keep you all posted on what becomes of that!

Long story short….ish…. I’m super happy with this paint!  I wasn’t sure if I could believe all the claims, but the coverage – amazeballs, and the finish – smooth as butter!  The customer service has been great too!  Thanks so much MudPaint, I can’t wait to get my hands on Charcoal Black next!!!

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Chevron Side Tables

A month or so ago a family friend gave me these beautiful tables that she just had sitting in her basement so of course I took them off of her hands! I’ve been wanting to get more practice painting, and refinishing furniture and what better way to try it out than with free furniture! It also helps that we have family who own a paint store so the discount makes experimenting a lot easier and more fun!

A thought that’s been floating around in my head lately is “if it’s worth dreaming then it should be worth the risk.” I know painting some furniture isn’t really a huge risk, but there are dreams floating around in my head that make the small risk of practise painting some furniture a step towards making dreams reality. It’s exciting and terrifying, but fear of failing or not trying because it’s scary isn’t an option anymore… Life is just too short to let fear stop me.

So back to the tables :) here are the beauties. I love anything with pretty curved legs, it just adds so much character! Being a mama of two busy boys, these sat around in my basement while I dreamed up what kind of facelift they would get!

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I’m on the chevron bandwagon, I want everything to be either minty/turquoise or have a chevron print on it… I’ve learned though, it’s one thing to love chevron, it’s another to create it! It’s not easy friends! So out came the Frog Tape and tape measure and voila! (I posted this photo and had quite a few people thinking I painted a green chevron on the tables…. Lol, I’m not that out there people!)

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Then the moment of truth… I had never used frog tape, but I just gotta say, A-MAZING! Look at these sharp lines! I’m sold!

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Then of course, I needed to rough up all those sharp lines and smooth paint! I’ve had a small amount of experience with distressing furniture, but like I said, I am learning! I was so nervous to break out my sander. I used my electric sander (a Dremel with a sanding attachment). I love it because it has 10 different settings so for nervous distressers like me you can start out slooooow. I definitely felt like an artist when I was distressing these tables. I just wanted it to be perfect: not too distressed, but not plain looking. I was kind of freaking out thinking that I did too much, but after I took a few hours away and came back IN LOVE!

Here’s le produit fini! (You may notice on the table on the left under the tabletop two yellow marks, I filled a couple holes and have yet to paint over… Just thought I’d fill everyone in incase you were wondering!)

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