Thursday, September 30, 2010

Distressed and Beachy Chest of Drawers (also Doom) (UPDATED)

This is the probably-boring backstory to the COD. Skip this part if you don't care, but please know that by doing so you are destroying my bard-like spirit.
About a year back BFF and I were driving down the mountain to my house for post-archery cuppas during council pick-up week. I fucking LOVE council pickup week. Council pick-up week = free furniture and untold plans to renovate said furniture, which normally just sits in Mum's garage until she gets the shits and takes it to the tip a few months later. Mum doesn't like council pick-up week as much as I do.

This time I found a chest of drawers that looked to be in pretty decent condition. It was also about to rain and I was worried it would get wet and ruined before I decided if I wanted it or not, so we jammed it in BFF's Lancer and shimmied on down to my house where I whacked it in the back room and promptly forgot about it.

A few weeks later I was getting the shits with the mess in the study and after 3 days of clearing away and filing papers randomly (god forbid the ATO should ever audit me) I found the COD. Inspired by recent episodes of Better Homes and Gardens (or maybe I was just in a manic phase) I decided to repaint it and put it in the lounge room. So off to my Mum's garage it went.

Scroll to here for actual blow-by-blow directions for stressing out your furniture.
First I had to strip back the paint. The COD was wooden (not that chipboard shit) and had been painted a few times, once with a matte white and at least once in gloss white that had gone creamy-yellow. Originally my plan was to get the belt-sander out and just rub off all of the paint back to the original wood base. 14 000 slipped sanding strips and 10cm later I got the shits with this technique and decided to just get rid of the gloss. I grabbed a metal ruler and planed the paint off by dragging it towards me along the surface like a razor. This got the majority of the gloss off. The smaller bits were done with an actual paint scraper. This technique worked better than using the paint remover, which just sort of bubbled and then sat there looking pathetic and useless. Go figure.

OK. Next step. I sanded all of the surfaces to make sure they were smooth but slightly rough. Paint will only stick to porous surfaces, but I didn't want splinters either. This only took about 20 minutes to do, including  making sure all the corners and edges were smooth.

Then I got my sea-blue pot of paint from Bunnings. It was only a sample pot of water-based paint that I had bought on sale for $4 (they sell out old sample pots cheaply, and they're more than enough to coat most furniture a few times over) and I poured it into an old ice-cream container. I mixed in about the same amount of water and stirred it well to make a thinner paint mix and did a coat of paint all over it (making sure to do the drawers separately of course). Once that had dried I noticed that the 10cm spot I had done with the belt sander was actually pretty noticeable because of the thinned paint, so I did another coat of blue.
If you do this yourself, remember that the point of it is to look distressed, so it's not too important to do a good job. I mean, try not to make a real hash of it, but missing little bits in corners and stuff is actually a good thing. You may want to make sure that just inside where the drawers sit is done, and between any legs (of the COD, not yourself - no one finds Blue Waffle attractive). If this is going to be the outer layer, you may like to take more care to get it right than if it's the inner coat.

Once that had dried I got an old tin of white ceiling paint (water based) and did two coats of that (allowing for drying time). This step is not essential. You might like to just have the one colour, with the wood grain peeking through at some points, but I wanted blue, white and wood to fit in with my beach theme.

Once dry, I grabbed the sanding strips and went to town. I made sure to work on corners and edges, which always get bumped when moving furniture, and added a few rubbing circles on the top and on the sides. I left the side panels alone, because I plan on adding a painting on each of those, but they would look good with some rubbed circles as well (from leaning on them, of course). I scraped away at the drawers, and made sure to match scraped parts on drawers with the parts between the drawers, so they look natural.

Then I covered the whole thing (separated again) with a coat of satin wood seal. It needed to be sealed because water-based paint rubs off fairly easily, as is very porous, so it soaks up any dirt or stains. Since my cats like to sit where it's going I decided I should probably give my masterpiece some protection from the little douche-bags. I picked satin because a) I hate glossy paint on furniture, and b) it's meant to be beachy and glossy just doesn't suit that theme. Satin was a good compromise between matte (which I couldn't have) and gloss.

Then I added the handles I found at this gorgeous little vintage shop in Thirroul. They were only $2.50 each. It turned out though that the screws were a little bit too long, and I had about 5ml left after screwing it all the way in. I didn't have any shorter screws, so I got some thin wood, sawed some small squares out of it and drilled a hole in each of them about the diameter of the screw. I then screwed the screw into that (to act as a buffer) and then through the drawer and into the handle and the whole thing was finished!

Now as soon as I find my damn USB cable I'll add the photos.

UPDATE: Here are some radical beachy-type photos!

Here's the drunk-ass looking photo from the front
Slightly less drunk-ass side photo

The Paddington house ink-and-watercolour

My swexy drawer lining and stuff
When I got the COD to my house I was intending, at some point in the probably-distant-future, to paint something cool onto the fairly-boring side panel. While clearing out the old COD I found the third in a series of ink-and-watercolours I have up on the wall of various terrace houses in Sydney. Conveniently, it fitted perfectly on the panel. So yay!

The drawer lining is done half-arsedly with wrapping paper :D

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Plans, Plans, and Lack of Effort

Lack of Effort really does seem to feature a lot in my blogging, doesn't it? I'm such a lazy bitch, but I guess that's just me.

In an effort to make an effort, I've found a new sewing blog with a Dresden Pillow plan that I would like to attempt. I love quilting, but I'm not the type to use quilts or blankets with that scrappy-sort-of design on them (the doona cover does me fine) so a floor pillow sounds like a good idea, and it looks simple enough for me to do.

I've also signed myself up (slightly late) for my first craft swap on Cut Out And Keep, a sewing/craft website that I've been a member of for ages. The plan is to swap an office-envelope of small things with someone from another country. I like the idea of getting in contact with someone from the other side of the world (maybe get another penpal and exchange REAL letters instead of just emails and facebook) and maybe if I get something crafty and small that I haven't seen already it'll inspire a new work from me. Fingers crossed I get to join in because I was a day or so too late for the sign-ups but there's always someone who pulls out or turns up late like me so I'll hopefully get partnered up with someone anyway.

In the meantime, I've been avoiding my latest essay by finally working on the chest of drawers I found halfway up Mount Keira during Council Clean-up Week. When I found it it was all shitty with glossy-cream paint all over it and looked like it'd had a hard life. Nice though, and real wood too instead of that chipboard crap. I've stripped most of the gloss from it, back to the original matte white (with some bare patches in places) and then, once I get a chance, I'll paint it with the light-blue paint I got for $4 from Bunnings, wipe a lot of that off so it's all faded, then a few more coats of matte white over the top which I'll then sand back so it's distressed looking.

w00t. I can haz planz. Still no money though.