DIY: Update Your Old Christmas Decor

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Happy December!  It’s that time of year again where the red Rubbermaid boxes with green lids come out of hiding and my house explodes in Christmas décor.  I love, LOVE, L*O*V*E this time of year!

Question: Do you have Christmas décor items that you put back in the box year after year without using them in your holiday decorating?  Stuff that you LOVED way back when, but now no longer fits with your Christmas design style or colors?  I decided to update a couple of items that I haven’t used in the past few years and I couldn’t be more pleased!

First, I have this wooden holly swag that my friend gave me many years ago (thanks, Renee!).  It’s super cute, right?

Green Red Wood Holly Swag

I have decorated with it and loved it for more than a decade, but my Christmas décor colors have changed over the years and it no longer matches my style,  plus the raffia was all snarled up.  For my DIY, I removed all of the raffia then painted all of the pieces with flat black spray paint,

Black painted wood holly cutouts

then painted the round “berries” white and the leaves a light greige color.   I did this to both sides to make the finished project look good from all angles.  After the paint dried I grabbed an old spoon and scraped the edges to reveal the black paint beneath for a distressed look.

distressing paint with a spoon handle

Using the spoon handle to distress the paint edges was way faster than sandpaper would have been.  If you notice how I was holding the spoon, it felt similar to peeling potatoes.  I just love the little center vein that was routered down the middle of each leaf.   That, coupled with the distressing, gives these holly leaves nice dimension.

Once all of the pieces were distressed, I grabbed some light blue ribbon and inserted it in the holes.  I added the 3 round “berries” to 3 of the leaves with the ribbon and laid it out on my counter in the approximate way that I wanted it to hang…

wood holly swag

…and then I tied a knot at the top.  So, here is the finished swag:

Just in case you are interested in making a set of your own, here is a pattern for the holly leaves and round berries.  This would make an awesome neighbor gift, right?

My other project was an item that I painted sometime in the 90’s which was in sore need of a makeover in order to come out of the Rubbermaid this year:

Green red wood JOY sign

Again, it wasn’t horrible, just didn’t fit my current décor.  This little “JOY” sign got the same treatment as my holly swag and I kind of love it now:

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I half thought that I would paint the stars with silver nail polish.  Who knows, maybe next year.  I am really liking the subdued whites this year, so for now, it’s just how I want it.

And, here is the final resting place of each for Christmas 2016:

green wreath holly swag

I’m liking the new looks…for now.  Who knows, I may change it back to bright colors in another decade.

So, do you like the before: colorful versions, or the after: distressed shades of white?  What Christmas color scheme are you liking right now?

 

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My Price-less (seriously, it was FREE!) Nightstand

Cover Pic Free Nightstand

Do you want to know my favorite price?  Free, of course!  Same with you?  I like to peruse the Free section of Craigslist every once in a while.  Have you ever done that?  People give away all kinds of stuff:  pianos, boats, yard sale left overs, plaid couches, building supplies, pets, etc., etc., etc..  For the most part, I’m not the least bit interested in what I see, but a few months ago I saw this awesome nightstand posted:

Free Craigslist Nightstand Unpainted

School lesson:  The suffix “less” means “without”.  In other words, without a price.  Free.  Remember…that’s my favorite price.  Yep, this nightstand was price-less.  You can bet that I snapped it up!  Once I got it home, it went straight to the back of my garage, where all good projects go to wait their turn to become awesome.  Soon thereafter, HomeRight kindly sent me this awesome paint sprayer:

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The HomeRight Finish Max Fine Finish HVLP Sprayer.  Imagine a choir of angels singing…I swear that’s what I heard when the package arrived.  Thank you HomeRight!

My free (I love saying that!) nightstand was the first project that I decided to tackle with my new sprayer.  Piece of advice…read the instructions + follow the instructions when you are tackling the unknown.  Smart people wrote those instructions, but, after reading them, I decided that I know what I’m doing.  I have painted a lot.  I mean, a lot, so I decided that there was no need to thin the paint.  Big mistake.  Once I humbled myself and thinned the paint like I should have in the first place, the thing worked like a dream.  I think it took about 3 minutes to paint the whole first coat.  Seriously, it took more time to open the paint, mix a batch of chalk paint (thinned a bit…the instructions show just how much), and walk out to the garage than it did to paint my nightstand.  I was insanely impressed!

Hold it!  I’m getting ahead of myself.  Before I started painting I had some prep, of course.  Worst part of painting furniture, wouldn’t you agree?   Actually, it was just a bit of hand sanding.  I lived through it, somehow.

Even though it is widely known that chalk paint can go on pretty much any surface, I decided to spray on some canned primer just because.  I remember watching a YouTube video years ago of Annie Sloan hand painting a dresser and she painted the handles at the same time with the same paint that she painted the dresser.  I really like the look of the handles being more of a texture, not a standout color, so I decided to also spray a coat of primer on those.

Spray Primed Decorative Nightstand

Ready for the after?  Want to see what 2 coats of paint and about 6 minutes of total spraying time with my new HomeRight sprayer can do?  Well, here you go!

White Painted Decorative Nightstand

Do. You. Love. It?  My price-less nightstand?  I totally do, but I’m not done yet.  Check back soon to see the finished product.  I also plan to share some things that I have learned by using my paint sprayer.  I’ll keep you posted.  Now, head right over to your local Craigslist and check out the Free section.  Hope you find something good!

 

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Scraptastic Saturday Featuredsm

 

 

 

Easy DIY: Distressed Metal Art

Chippy Metal Art

Check out this awesome piece of metal art that I bought 4 years ago at Ross.

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I thought that the design was okay-ish and the size, awesome (3 feet by 3 feet),  but above all, I loved the price:

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7 bucks?  That, I can do! I’m thinking that it was discounted because it was kind of scraped up in a few places…

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…which is ok since I didn’t like the finish on it anyway.  So after moving it from place to place in my garage for the past 4 years, it got some attention today, and I LOVE it!

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Wanna see how I did this uber-easy project?  Of course you do!  First I grabbed a can of black spray paint and mainly focused on painting the edges and raised portions:

Sorry, the dappled sunlight makes it kind of hard to see, but if you look at the upper left corner of the above pic, you can kind of see the black edges which will be visible once the piece is distressed.   Next, came two coats of a semi-gloss white paint:

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Of course I could have called it “Done” at this point if I was going for a clean modern look, but I wanted to take it a step further and distress it up a little to highlight some of the details.  Of course that is why I painted it black in the first place.

***Very Important*** If you plan to do a similar project, spray the top coats with only a short time between coats and distress while the paint is still a bit tacky.  They make spray paint so well these days that it dries to form a really tough surface, which is really what we want, right?  SO, if you are distressing spray paint, you have just a short window of time to accomplish that task.  Even though the distressing process took me about 10 minutes, I could tell a big difference between how easy it was when I started, compared to when I was finished.  Work fast, ok?  If, heaven forbid, you miss that window of time, you can try using some fingernail polish remover and a Q-tip like I did with my metal star project.   Just make sure that you change Q-tips often to avoid a smudgey look.  Got it?  Good!

Now, do you want to see my high-tech distressing tool?  Of course you do:

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Let me be honest:  I started out by using my thumbnail and realized that I would likely wear it away to nothing so I figured that a plastic spoon would do the trick and it did.  Sometimes I scraped away with the spoon part…

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…and sometimes I used the handle to cover more area at a time…

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Here is the finished project…

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…which I LOVE!!!  With the new finish, it is no longer “okay-ish”, it is fabulous.  I thought that I knew exactly where I was going to place this baby, up high in my dining room, but now I want it more front and center.   Hmmm.  The easy part was re-creating this piece.  The hard part is deciding where to put it:

What do you think?  Where should it go?

 

Yep, I can honestly say that I love this piece.  Love!   So, do you have something hidden away in YOUR garage that could use a couple of coats of paint and a spoon?

 

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Updated Metal Star

Once upon earlier this morning, I had a metal star that looked like this:

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I bought this 28 inch metal star at a garage sale about 5 years ago for $1.  Loved the price, but I wasn’t crazy about the finish.  Still, I slapped it up on my wall and forgot all about it.   It was up high enough that the unfortunate color and scraped-off paint didn’t really look too bad against the beige wall it was hanging on.  As you may or may not know, I’m going gray in my house.  The metal star came down so the gray paint could go up.

I will give you a preview of what this star looks like now:

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Kind of looks like something that you would see in the aisles of Hobby Lobby, doesn’t it?   Do you wanna know how I got this look?  So easy!  First I spray painted the whole thing black and once that dried, I sprayed on 2 coats of a nice shade of aqua:

I tell you, spray paint these days dries so fast.  Of course, the reason that I painted the star black in the first place is because I wanted to be able to distress it and have black showing through the aqua.  You already knew that, right?

To distress projects that I paint with water-based paints, I usually rub the areas that I want exposed with a damp rag or scrubbing sponge, but water really didn’t have the same effect with spray paint.  I ended up going with pure acetate nail polish remover.  I messed around using the scrubbing sponge…

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…but ended up liking the look achieved by using Q-tips and cotton balls the best.  As the acetone hits the paint, it tends to smear the black beneath into the top coat so I messed around with that a bit :

Here’s some practical advice:  be smart and wear gloves.  Trust me on this one.

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After re-spraying the portions that I over-distressed (which was way easier than I thought it would be) I favored using the Q-tips.  Be prepared to use a lot of Q-tips to avoid a smeary look.  Really, it is so super easy.

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Perched on the same screw that it originally hung from, my updated star really shines.  Never to be ignored or forgotten again.  I must say that I L*O*V*E the finished project.

Updated Metal Star

What do you think?

 

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