Showing posts with label Stenciling. Show all posts

Acting on a Hutch

This post will show the snail’s pace at which we project these days…in case you’ve ever wondered how we get it all done with four kids in tow.  Answer:  WE DON’T!  Haha…oh *sigh*. 

The hutch I’m about to unveil has been around and waiting to be finished for a few months now.  Actually, it was part of the yard sale fundraiser that this table was also a part of.  One of the teens going on the mission trip painted it and it was up to me to do some slight distressing and stenciling of the back.  I didn’t get a before shot but I did find this one Googling, and it’s kind of similar to what ours (ours as in the donated-to-the-fundraising-effort) looked like:  IMG_0554
It was brown all around with that dated gold pattern on the glass doors but thankfully, in really good shape.  Perfect for a few coats of paint and a trip to 2016.

We put the teens to work on giving it a light sanding, giving it a coat of white primer, and then going over that with a couple of coats of a creamy white latex.  We removed the backing behind the top part of the hutch (it was just held on by several small nails) and, on it and on the back on the inside of the doors, the teens painted on a coat of the leftover chalk paint we used on the table mentioned earlier. 

And then that backing sat,

and sat,

and sat,

and sat at our house, waiting for me to stencil it.

And finally, I got around to it one night last week.  I used the Beads Allover Stencil from Cutting Edge Stencils (the same stencil I used on an accent wall in the twins’ room last year) and some of that creamy white latex paint to add a unique touch to the hutch.

And pretty unique it is:

It’s currently sitting in the youth center waiting for a buyer and for sale pictures, I ran around Anthony’s office, trying to find what I could stage her shelves with.  I didn’t have many options, as you can tell but either way, it was a fun challenge.IMG_0818

The stencil goes horizontally but actually I meant to paint it on vertically.  We sort of guessed on which way the backing went on while it was sitting at our house, miles from its counterpart hutch and our guess was wrong.  But it’s okay because we were both pleasantly surprised at how good it looked going the “wrong” way.  But really, with a stencil this pretty, there’s probably no wrong way anyway.  :)

IMG_0820(spot the selfie)

The mission trip is done and over this year so the proceeds from this hutch will go towards the trip next summer.  One of the coffee tables I’m working on turning into a tufted bench is also a part of the fundraiser so you’ll see that finished on the blog in approx. three months.  Ha!  Slow and steady does not win the race folks but as long as what you’ve got looks better than what you had, hopefully no one will notice.  Disappointed smile

Stenciled Concrete: Part II

Well, I don’t wanna make anyone jealous but, I’m currently sitting outside behind the protective screens of our not-completely-decorated but completely functional patio and it. is. awesome.  This atmosphere is going to make writing posts even more fun.  But anyway, while I’m looking at it, let’s get back on the stenciled concrete train and talk about how I painted the stencil onto our floors.  (In case you missed it, here’s how I made the stencil.)

With the floor all clean and sealed, l ran to Lowe’s and grabbed this porch and floor paint by Valspar.  IMG_3124
They had a bunch of different colors to choose from plus a few base cans you could get tinted so, since they didn’t have a plain white, I grabbed a tintable can and had the paint dude make me white.  I was a little nervous when he just told me “sure, I can make it white” right after I asked him if he could because I hadn’t had time to figure out which white I wanted nor did I have any swatches in hand.  But, I convinced myself in those two seconds that it would probably just be a neutral white and there was nothing to fear and to just get over it.  And all turned out ok and I saved myself loads of hemming and hawwing over which of the 105853 whites to get.

Home I went and during the next naptime, I got to work.  The supplies:
IMG_3125-the stencil
-my new paint in a small paint tray
-a small foam roller
-a measuring tape
-something to kneel on
-sticky tack
(Note:  Freshly painted toe and fingernails NOT recommended!  They will look scuffed and chipped after an hour of brushing up against the concrete.  Whoopsie.)

By using a foam roller instead of a thick fiber roller, I was able to paint on a thinner coat to achieve an imperfect, semi-worn look.  I didn’t want the stencil to look solid white but I wanted scratches that developed over time to blend in and look like they had always been there.

So, starting in the far corner of the room, I started stenciling away.  I used the dots on either side of the design to line up the stencil. IMG_3126 (Note:  I realized a few stencils in that those dots weren’t evenly spaced, something I wish I would’ve noticed while making the stencil.  One was a little farther away from the design than the other.  Once I realized that, I continued by basically eye-balling the design, making sure it was centered, and using just one of the dots as a guide.  If you ever make this stencil, make sure you draw in your own large dots instead of tracing the ones already there like I did and make sure they’re spaced the same distance from the larger design.)

To secure the stencil to the floor so that it wouldn’t slide around as I painted, I grabbed some sticky tack and stuck it to the bottom two corners and the concrete.  I secured the stencil I used in the girls’ room to the wall the same way and it works like a charm; so much better than tape.
IMG_3127As I moved, I lifted the stencil with the sticky tack and restuck it to the concrete.  I wasn’t sure if it’d get stuck in the concrete or not but thankfully, it didn’t.

After I had stenciled the first row, I realized that the upper corners of the stencil were going to get in the way of the freshly painted stencil above.  So, I quickly grabbed the scissors and cut off the corners.
stenciling (2)(I went back in after I was finished and the stencil was dry to stencil along the edges of that upper wall above too.  More on that farther down.)

I got about eight rows done during naptime that day (about 1 hour of time) and I was able to finish that one small slab (there are two slabs that make up our patio) after the kids woke up.  It was risky, painting while they were awake, but they listened so well and didn’t step in the paint but gave me a good audience and loved being able to play outside on the part I hadn’t gotten to yet.  Crisis averted and no face palms necessary.

stenciling (3)
A little more progress:
stenciling (5)
I probaby could’ve gotten it done in half the time but I took a ton of breaks…haha!  My legs needed them!

As far as measuring goes, I tried to keep things as evenly spaced and straight as I could by eye-balling but occasionally, I broke out the measuring tape to measure the distance from the next stencil I painted to the wall.  Making sure each row was the same distance from the wall on both ends helped everything line up. 

This is what the first stage of stenciling looked like:
stenciling (4)
After I was done stenciling and everything was dry and able to be walked on, I went in with a paint brush around the edge of the room and free-hand painted the design so that it almost touched the wall.  I didn’t want a gap between the stencil and the wall.
stenciling (1)
Here you can see what a difference it made:
IMG_3215It wasn’t a huge deal to have the gap but it made it look better in my opinion and didn’t take long to do; maybe fifteen more minutes.

After extending the design all the way to the walls, I went back in with one of my favorite foam pouncers and added the small dots inbetween the design.
IMG_3135That part might sound tedious but it took me all of ten minutes.

I mentioned above that our patio was made up of two slabs; one must’ve been poured when the house was built and then the smaller added to expand later because they’re two different textures and one is a slightly lighter color.  The difference in the slabs was one reason I wanted to stencil the floor – I thought it would make them more cohesive.

Having two slabs though made it a little easier for me to stencil.  I did the smaller slab at the far end of the room first – first painting the stencil and then going back over it with two more coats of sealer.  After that small slab was done, we were able to move all the furniture from the other slab to it, making it so that we didn’t have to keep our furniture outside for a few days while I stenciled.

One problem I ran into was getting the stencil to line up in the end.  I had to stencil so that I ended at the french doors and didn’t back myself into a corner, unable to step on wet paint.  So, since I really wasn’t too strict with my measuring and had to skip over that entry area to stencil the opposite side of the room, things got a little wonky by the door.   IMG_7754It irked me a tad but I think we’ll put a rug down there anyway so hopefully it will go pretty unnoticed.

In case I lost you on my process, here’s a breakdown:
1.  Stencil the first slab.
2.  Go back in and extend the stencil to the wall once everything is dry.
3.  Add the small dots amongst the larger design.
4.  After all is dry, roll on two more coats of sealer, making sure the first is completely dry before adding the second.  (One coat would probably do too but we had sealer leftover so we figured we’d use it all up.)
5.  Repeat with the second slab.
(Obviously, if you’re just working with one slab, you’ll just stencil, extend, dot, and seal.)

And, a cost breakdown:
stencil:  83 cents (used a stencil blank I had leftover from stenciling this rug)
sealing/stenciling supplies:  $0 (already had the paint trays, rollers, and trim edge)
floor paint:  $15 (but there’s still 1/3 of the can left so…front porch?…Anthony says “I don’t think so.”)
sealer:  $20
grand total:  about $40 (add $10 if you had to buy everything I had on hand)

It’s kind of sad that we’re covering a big portion of all that tedious stenciling up with a rug but, we are.  I want the kids to be able to bring out their toys and play in comfort and overall, I think the rug just ups the cozy ante out here.  Here’s what the floor looks like right now:IMG_7752The rug was originally from Target (Threshold line), but I found it at Dirt Cheap.  It’s a natural fiber 8’ x 10’ and was a steal for $35 but a few of the edges are a little worn (like they had been drug along the floor for awhile somewhere) and they were a little dirty but I cleaned it right up after I brought it home and don’t mind the little wear.  I wanted something neutral on the floor in here so that I could play up the color wheel elsewhere, like on the chairs and sofa and with pillows and art and so this rug is perfect.
I cannot WAIT to finish up decorating this space but there’s much to be done before we call that finito – sanding down and either restaining or painting the furniture (all thrifted/handed-down!), recovering the furniture cushions, hanging string lights, hanging a big ‘ole piece of art on the wall (still just an idea…), setting down some big, potted plants, finding a shallow table for the wall near the french doors to hold party food (oh yes, there will be parties out here), whipping up some ottomans/stools, etc…, and then there’s lots of landscaping to be done on the other side of the screens too.
But, the main thing right now is that it’s functional.  Lady baby will get here before it’s functional and stylish, I’m sure, but at least she’ll be here to put in her two cents on decor when I do get around to finishing up.  “My swing can go here and I only want to be nursed in a striped chair”…things like that.  ;)

Now, who wants some lemonade?  The weather is fantastic and these Southern mosquitoes can’t get us so let’s toast to finally seeing something come to life that we’ve saved for for a couple of years.  I’ll detail exactly how much we had to squirrel away to make this entire room happen in a later post but for now, sit back, relax, put your feet up with me, and…zzz…  ;)

Stenciled Concrete: Part I

Every so often I do one of those projects that, once it’s done and finished, I swear that I won’t do that again for a long, long, longlonglong time.  Stenciling our screened-in patio floor was one of those projects.  Not pregnant it would’ve been tough and tedious.  Pregnant and carrying a little extra weight while moving up and down and squatting and standing up?  Let’s just say, who needs the gym?

But, all that work was so worth it…aaaaand some of you probably think I’m crazy but just look:
IMG_7753Patterened concrete is so much better than plain, right?  I have nesting and an inordinate amount of motivation to get this outdoor space finished to thank for getting it done.  Picture me with a newborn, chillaxing on the comfy outdoor couch on the screened-in porch with the three other tots playing outside in my view this summer…straight-up motivation, like I said.

Let’s talk details, shall we?  You know, just in case you want to stencil your concrete…you know you do.  :)

Prep.  Before any paint went down, we had a bunch of prep to do.  Because it’s concrete and concrete is somewhat porous, we were getting condensation spots inside which made laying a cozy rug on top of the concrete a no-go.  The rug we had was getting wet and then we’d have to pick it up and dry it and it was all just a big pain in the arse.  Besides that, when the concrete did get wet, it would take forever to dry and also, tiny pieces of rock in the concrete were everywhere because everytime we walked around or the kids rode something on top of it, it chipped a little.  So, I consulted smart Chelsea and her dad, the Today’s Homeowner pro, on what to do to fix all of that and they recommended sealing it.  When I mentioned I wanted to paint it too, they said to seal first, then paint.  And so I did.

First, Anthony and I went out during nap time one day and scrubbed the floor clean; getting rid of any loose particles and dirt.  When it was dry, it was time to seal.  Here’s what I used to seal it:IMG_3097-Quikrete concrete sealer (via my Amazon affiliate link but we actually purchased at Lowe’s where it was about $10 cheaper)
-paint roller on a stick
-paint brush
-paint tray to hold the sealer
-painters’ trim guard (affiliate link) – optional…you could just tape off your edges

To start, I went around the entire edge of the patio with the paint brush since the roller wouldn’t be able to get as close to the edges.
I used the trim guard against the aluminum walls to make sure I didn’t get any sealer on them.  IMG_3099To me, using the trim guard was easier and quicker than taping everything and usually, I don’t ever tape or guard against trim or walls but since the concrete wasn’t a smooth surface I could easily glide along, I thought it might be smart to this time.

When I was done sealing around the edge, I grabbed the roller and my paint tray filled with sealer…
…and started at the far end, working in sections and towards the french doors to the living room so I didn’t seal myself into a corner; I could just back right into the house and shut the door.IMG_3101
I did two coats just to make sure everything was nice and sealed (which Quikrete actually recommends per the instructions).

Paint.  Picking a stencil was a tough decision.  First though, I had to convince Anthony that the mere idea of stenciling our floor was a good one (he wasn’t keen on it) so to do that I hunted down pictures on Pinterest of stenciled concrete to show him and came across this one (originally via @songofstyle on Instagram):
10979518_1523984051198042_1944797533_nThe concrete in this picture looks a lot like ours texture-wise and the design was simple and imperfect – exactly what I was going for in my head.  He was sold.  Hoo-ray.  However, I wasn’t completely sold on the design.  I really kinda liked this geometric stencil and even toyed with doing a herringbone brick pattern.

But Anthony didn’t like either of those ideas.  He liked the Pinterest design so, since I had won him over on the stenciling idea, I laid aside my stencil wishes and went with his.  I know.  Sacrificial love, right?  ;)

So began the hunt to find out where that stencil was from so I could buy it.  I searched high and low with no luck.  Dang.  “Well, I guess that means I’ll just have to make my own.”  And that’s how my brain works…if you’ve been a reader long, you probably could’ve guessed.

Thankfully, I still had two big blank stencil sheets leftover from this stenciling project so I didn’t have to buy anything to make the stencil.  Onto making the stencil…  First, I needed to figure out where the center of the blank stencil was so that I could center the design on it.  To do that, I marked out the center of each edge and connected them with a straight line; making two intersecting lines that met at the center.IMG_3113
I had a hard time trying to figure out how I was going to get the stencil made in the scale I wanted it in (free-handing was out because I’m not great at that) but then it hit me one moment while we were all on our way to church (divine intervention?) - if I could get the design projected onto our TV, I could scale it on there and trace it at full-size!  We bought Chromecast with a gift card last year (so I could watch Downton Abbey on tv vs. laptop) and so I pulled up the image on Pinterest, set my laptop screen to a 200% zoom, and casted the whole thing to the tv.  Once I had the image lined up and centered along my intersecting lines on the stencil blank, I used painters’ tape to tape it to the tv and started tracing away.
IMG_3115(In process shot thanks to Anthony who offered to “take an action shot” while he was cooking dinner.  My right-hand-blogger man, he is.  Just wait, someday he’ll be writing his own posts…)

Once I had the stencil traced, I used my exacto knife on top of our biggest cutting board to cut out the design.IMG_3117
My tracing of the inner design was a little squiggly, so I went back over it free-hand to make those lines a little smoother before I cut them out.
Next up, painting the stencil.  But, lest this post traipses into encyclopedia territory, I’ll save that for Part II next week.

Hope to see you then!  :)

Just Beadiful

I’ve been wanting to up the ante in the girls’ room since they moved in way back when Sebastian took over their old room.  During a few weeks in October, I finally got my chance.

Shortly after we moved in, we took a can of creamy beige to the walls in here and it worked as a guestroom/office for several years (paint color was Drifting Dune by Valspar).  The cream walls were a perfect canvas for adding whatever color of decor I felt like and they still are.  Except this summer a friend gave us a beige rug she wasn’t using anymore and I thought the girls’ room would be the perfect new home for it except…IMG_6105…really it just created one big, beige box.

I loved the rug too much to part with it so something had to be done.  One of those things came in the form of an idea of creating a colorful accent wall behind the cribs. 

Initially, I had schemed to knock-off this Anthropologie wallpaper by stenciling something similar using some sort of watercolor technique I still had to come up with.  But then over time the room started collecting lots of colorful artwork above the girls’ dresser and I thought maybe the colorful wallpaper knock-off idea would just create too much pastel-ish color.  Is it possible to have too much color?  I don’t know but the thought of walking into a soft-palette, watercolor room read “overstimulation” to me.  Plus, the watercolor stencil would’ve probably been a lot of work and it’s not one of those designs that could easily be melded into a new decor plan in the future…the future being when the girls’ turn into real little girls and I want to turn their room into a funky modern yet girly space.

So then…I know, “get to the point already!”, I thought maybe I’d just stencil a simple pattern onto the wall that wasn’t in-your-face but wouldn't totally blend into the wall either; accentuating with subtlety.

Enter Cutting Edge Stencils and the girls’ new-and-improved, but still ever-tweaked, room:  IMG_6558

I’ve made my own stencils before but, for what I wanted on this wall, I didn’t have the skill to just whip up a diy stencil much less create something big enough to stencil it.  Good thing Cutting Edge does have that skill.  When I was set on the subtle stencil idea for this accent wall, I started perusing their site.  I had heard of them lots of times via other blogs and I knew they had some really awesome designs.  So, together with Chelsea at Checking in with Chelsea, we contacted Cutting Edge to ask if they’d sponsor a post and they said “YES”!  Honestly, I was planning on grabbing a stencil during their next sale anyway but I thought maybe we could try to collaborate with them first and so I was floored (walled?) and excited when they sent us each a Beads Allover stencil plus a Stencil Essentials kit.

But anyway, enough with the small talk.  Let’s talk about how this went up.

First, I moved everything away from the accent wall, took down the mirror, and gave the wall a quick wash with some mild soap and water.IMG_1892
I started the stenciling process by stenciling along the ceiling first.  Cutting Edge includes a top edge stencil with their allover wall stencils to make stenciling along the ceiling a breeze.  I found that using the end of the foam roller that came in the Stencil Essentials kit to stipple the paint onto the stencil worked the best for me.  The walls in the girls’ room have a fair amount of orange-peel texture to them but the foam cut the bleeding because of the texture to a minimum and allowed me to get super close to the ceiling.
I did have to wipe off the back of the stencil after every couple of rounds but having a pack of wet wipes close made it easy to do.
This might not have been as necessary with non-textured walls but since mine are, paint did tend to seep behind the stencil a tad.  Spraying the back of the stencil with spray adhesive would probably have cut down on the bleed too but I didn’t want to spray that stuff in the girls’ room and the thought of running to and fro outside and their room wasn’t appealing time-wise. 

That black strip attached to the stencil is a clip-on stencil level.  This little thing was awesome and I highly recommend grabbing one for your next stenciling project!  It’s a miniature level that attaches to the top or bottom of the stencil.  It cut out all the measuring to make sure the stencil was painted on straight.  One quick glance at the level is all you need get things nice and straight so that you can spend more time focusing on important things like painting and watching how much paint you’re getting on your roller.

Here’s what the wall looked like after I was finished stenciling along the ceiling: IMG_1895[Sorry for the poor picture!  I worked at night and you know how well poor-lighting plays with cameras…]
I don’t know if borders are out these days but I thought the Beads stencil looked cute just along the top of the wall.

Next up was…the rest of the wall.  I didn’t realize how large this stencil actually was before I took it out of the packaging.  It’s big.  Great too because a big stencil meant less work for me.

I started stenciling several inches from the corner of the wall, thinking that I’d tackle the corners last.  I wasn’t sure how the stencil would hold up with me bending it into the corners so I was a little concerned that if I did the corners first and the stencil didn’t hold up, I’d be in deep trouble.  (Spoiler alert:  not only did it hold up to the corners but there were no bends, breaks, or warping to be seen after!)

At first I just taped the sides of the stencil to the wall after making sure it was level using some painters’ tape I had on hand.  The problem was that the painters’ tape I had wasn’t really holding the stencil up.  It was painters’ tape I’ve had forever and was probably cheap.  Doh!

I didn’t have time to go out and grab more tape since I had a limited time schedule (bedtime for a couple of nights only) so I remedied the sad sticking situation with sticky tack!

I just stuck a little ball of it to the four corners of the stencil and it worked like a charm!  The stencil was going nowhere but onto the wall!  I think I’ll go for the tack over tape for any future stencil too.  It’s easy to remove and just stick to the next area; no grabbing another strip of tape or worrying about where the heck you laid the tape you need rightthisminute.
To paint the stencil, I used the foam roller on it’s handle.  Since my walls are textured, barely covering the roller with paint was KEY!  Using the paint tray below (Home Depot, I think?) made it easy for me to load up the foam roller with paint and then roll the excess off onto the platform.
I also figured out that if I went over the stencil twice, each time with very thin coat of paint, it cut out on the bleeding even more.  I did the coats one-after-the-other.  And, just like with the edge stencil, I made sure to wipe off the back of the stencil after every couple of uses.  In the end, I still didn’t have super-clean edges like I would’ve with a non-textured wall, but the edges weren’t awful either.  Perfectly imperfect.  :)

After I was done stenciling the entire middle of the wall, it was time for the corners.  Like I said above, I was a little nervous about these because I wasn’t sure if bending the stencil into the corners was going to  permanently bend the stencil or if all would be unscathed.  I was pleasantly surprised and super impressed with how the stencil handled corners though!  It came out looking as great as when it came out of its packaging!   

So, in conclusion…

The stencil itself?  So awesome.  The quality is so great and it was (and still is) seemingly indestructible.  It rounded the corners well without cracking/breaking and showed no signs of injury when I accidentally dropped it…oops.  Five stars/two thumbs up/hearty applaud to Cutting Edge for creating a high quality product and gaining a loyal customer in me.  (Master bathroom walls, I’m looking at you…)

Sticky tack worked so much better than tape for me and was a lot more efficient, especially since I was on a major time crunch to get the girls’ room back to normal.

If you are stenciling textured walls, wipe off the back of the stencil every few rounds.  Don’t be afraid to give a little stencil-love to textured walls!  It can be done!

Stippling with the end of the roller was a great way to get really close to the ceiling vs. rolling the paint on along the narrow edge stencil.

The paint tray I used with the small platform on it was great at helping get the right amount of paint onto the roller (this one* is similar to mine but I’m sure you’d probably be able to find one at a home improvement store too).

I used a white Glidden paint in satin to paint on this stencil.  It dried fairly quickly which is key in stenciling.  The faster the paint dries, the less chance it has to bleed or get smudged. 

Cutting Edge has a great list of FAQ’s on the actual stenciling process that you should definitely check out when buying a stencil.

Overall, I really don’t have anything bad to say about the whole experience.  I’m 100% sold on stencils (again) as a much, much, much cheaper wallpaper alternative and to liven up any room.

IMG_6561  IMG_6564                                            [refurbished mirror, over-sized letters are from JoAnn Fabrics]
I’ll have lots more details about all of the other projects I finished in this room in the coming weeks but for now, let’s take a little tour of the girls’ sweet space, shall we?
IMG_6565                                                        [diy play kitchen from an entertainment center]
 IMG_6566These pictures of the dresser wall came out awful for some reason (shoulda turned the lamp off?) but at least you can kinda get a glimpse of all the pastels going on there. IMG_6567 IMG_6569                                                                                  [mirror refurb]


My favorite tours though, are those that bring up what used to be.  Like how the room looked like this right after we moved in and scrambled to put it together before guests arrived with stuff we had on hand:guest office ip 
But then we made big progress into turning it into a guestroom guests would feel much more cozy in.may182012 008

And then the twins got moved, mom got busy and moved up in the photo-taking world to bring us where we are today:IMG_6560

And in case you’re wondering how in the heck I keep their room so clean, I don’t.  I just lock them out when I need to take blog pictures when the bright sun is shining in during the late-afternoon…and I call on a certain Explorer to babysit.  Once that lock is unlocked though and the cubs are let in, it’s all scatter and dump.  IMG_6591

And that’s real life.

.           .           .

Make sure you check in with Chelsea to see what she did with the Beads stencil!

*affiliate link


And PS, thank you for all the love after our bitty baby announcement Friday!  I’m so blessed to have such friends in my readers!  XO!