Friday, January 29, 2010

Super Easy Coat Rack

While shopping at one of my fave stores, Cost Plus World Market, I fell in love with a coat rack. It had 7 hooks and above each hook was a chalkboard with a day of the week written under it. It was such a clever idea, but for around $35 I knew I could make something similar that was just as cute. So I got to work brainstorming and hammering out all the details, and of course, figuring out how to keep the cost down. As much as I loved the idea of having a hook for each day of the week, I really didn't want to make something that big. I also wanted to make sure the chalkboards were framed out, but didn't wanna have to do the work of making a frame for each one, which is where I got the idea to use these picture frames from Ikea.
I bought 2 packs and used 5 of the 6 frames. They aren't top of the line quality, but they do the job, and really, who can beat $4 for 6 frames! So after doing the math and giving myself a headache (boy, do I hate math!), I figured that if I bought a 4' piece of pine, which cost $4 or $5, everything would be spaced slightly over 2 inches apart (yay, no cutting wood!).

The only thing that needed to be cut was the 1/8 inch plywood for the chalkboard paint. And the best thing about it is that you can use the glass, or in this case plastic, that comes with the picture frames as a template for the size you need.

Next, I primed and painted the pieces with chalkboard paint.

This is not a neccessary step, but if you would like to be able to remove the chalkboard, you can cut a notch on the top of the frames. It doesn't have to look pretty since no one will see it =)

After it's stained, you need to figure out how you want to attach the frames. I wanted to use black nails to match the chalkboards and the black hooks I got, but unfortunately, they didn't have black nails at Home Depot so I went with #14 (don't know what that number stands for) carpet tacks. I originally wanted to hammer them into the corners, but someone saved me from my lack of common sense and pointed out that that would split the, onto Plan B - hammering in the sides. This was probably the biggest pain of the project because since the frames are fairly cheap quality and are thin, I had to drill holes into the wood prior to gettin' the nails in (this is where that 6th frame comes in handy for practice!). I measured where I wanted the frames, put some Elmer's glue on the back, then hammered away. If you don't make a notch on your frames, make sure you put the chalkboard in the frame before attaching them. Sounds silly and pretty obvious, but I could so see myself doing that!
Now, after the frames are attached, you just need to measure where you want your hooks and screw them in. I got my hooks at Lowe's. Each pack of 2 was a little more than $2. I just LOVE how my coat rack turned out and it was (pretty) simple to make.
Here are some pics of the (almost) finished product. I just need to do a coat of poly and buy some chalk to write our names.

If this isn't your style, you can easily modify it to your taste. For example, you could do beadboard on the back with a whitewash for a beachy look, or do primary colors for a playroom, or use diamond plate for an industrial look.
Another way to change the look is to put pictures of your family members in the frames, instead of writing their name on chalkboard (this is where those notches come in handy 'cause you don't wanna be stuck with a 20 year old picture of someone!).

*UPDATE* Remember how I said you could use the plastic that comes with the frames as a template to cut the plywood? Well, I ended up painting the plastic with chalkboard paint to get a smoother finish. I haven't written on it yet, but it seems like it will hold up well. Aaaand if you use the plastic instead of cutting the wood, this is a no-wood-cutting project! Woohoo!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Pretty Little Plant Pot

While on a quick trip to Home Depot the other day, I spotted a 75% off Christmas clearance table with the cutest little pot that only cost 97 cents!

Ok, so maybe the color isn't so cute, but I loved the detail at the top and knew I could fix the color with a lil' bit of spray paint. I was pondering doing a solid color, but really, what's the fun in that?! Instead, I decided to attempt the look of stone. This is what it looked like after a coat of primer and a bottom coat of brown spray paint.

I gathered several craft paints with absolutely no plans as to what to do.
I finally just grabbed an off white and tan color, wet the sponge, and started sponging away. This is what it looked like after the first coat (don't worry - it gets better).

TIP: If you are impatient like me, you can take a hair dryer to it vs. letting it air dry. Apply as many coats as you need to get the look you want. The most important thing is to use 3-4 colors and don't over blend. You want all the different colors to show through. Also, make sure to at least partially paint the inside since the soil usually doesn't come to the top of the pot. My pot has the detail at the top, which I could've painted more with the light colors, but I like how seeing the dark brown gives it some dimension and age. This is what it looked like after 2 coats and some touch ups.
Next, I sprayed it with some matte finish, which seals it, but the matte finish helps it retain the look of old stone.

And now for the finished product (drum roll please):

I am thinking I will plant an orchid in this pot, like the ones at Ikea.

UPDATE: I wasn't quite happy with how the pot had a cool tone, so I ended up staining it with some wood stain. I love how it feels so much warmer now.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Ode to Stain

While perusing the aisles at a local flea market in Roseville, I found this lonely drawer, waiting to be snatched up. I asked "How much?" and the vendor replied "$5". Now, normally I am all over bargaining, but I was happy with the price and told him I would take it! There were some water marks on the top and some other imperfections, so of course I sanded and stained it, but I veered away from my usual Minwax Early American (230) and went ahead with Minwax Special Walnut (224) just to add a little variety to my decor. This is what it looked like after it was sanded and before the stain:

And this is what it looks like now that it has been stained. I still need to do a coat of polyurethane, but it just goes to show the wonders stain can do. I think this will be perfect for storing all of my board games!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Chalkboard Craze

As with many other folks, I have been hit with the chalkboard craze, but was seriously disappointed when I tried to find some online. Well, I'm really impatient and didn't do a completely thorough search, but the best thing I could find (nice shape with a wood border) were some chalkboard labels at Pottery Barn Kids that cost $8 for 2 labels!! That might not sound disgusting to some people, but I'm cheap and couldn't bring myself to spend that much, so I got the bright idea to make my own. Buuuut while I was out shopping at one of my fave stores, Cost Plus World Market, I noticed that they had a 2-pack of the little stinkers for just $3.49 - That's MUCH more up my alley!
But as much as I loved the suckers, the wood was a little too light for me so I brought out the handy dandy sandpaper and went to town on them. Then I brought out my favorite stain, Minwax Early American (230), and gave them 2 coats.
The chalkboards on the top are the ones with stain and the bottoms are pre-stain.
And this is what the beauties looked like when I was done. The stain is only a little darker than the original wood, but it just warms them up so much!

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