Wednesday, July 25, 2012

DIY chalk paint dining chairs: a review

After the dining table was completed and in place, it took us weeks to find dining chairs. I was set on finding some metal Tolix style knockoffs, and was probably going to buy some from Overstock.

But then my husband brought home four chairs from a yardsale for just five bucks for the lot.  Yes, the same husband ( I do only have one, afterall) who bought two desks for $10 from a different yardsale.

The four chairs were three matching blond/yellow wood ones (sorry, I forgot to take before pictures!) and a fourth black one (that one lives by the computer now).
behr mint majesty
I've already mentioned our small dining area is a challenge to find furniture for, and it was going to be an even bigger challenge to find the right-sized chair for the teeny dining table.

My husband had intended these chairs to be temporary, and I agreed; I hated their yellow-and-mildew color tones!

But as time wore on, I realized they were just the right size. And, we already had them anyway... time to mend and make do.
mint chalk paint chairs
First, I tried spraypaint. The Rustoleum Satin Green Apple just wasn't the right shade OR finish. So the lone spraypainted chair sat outside for a few days before I decided what to do next. That decision came to be chalk paint.

I probably don't have to tell you that Annie Sloan Chalk Paint is taking the web by storm. I was totally surprised to find that there's an AS retailer in my town, and was all prepared to pay for it.

But then, I got to thinking... I guessed it was around $35 bucks for a quart of Annie Sloan, and I was pretty close. These chairs were just $1.25 each. It seemed to sort of go against the frugal find that they were if I were to cover them in expensive paint. Plus, there wasn't the right shade of minty green on the AS color chart.

I'd already been seeing all the DIY chalk paint recipes when this post popped up on Apartment Therapy. Most recipes have you mix Plaster of Paris, water, and latex paint in precise measurements and ratios, but the one on AT said the gal kinda winged it until she found a consistency she liked. Works for my lazy artsy, go-with-the-flow self.

I planned on using the lines on the side of my quart container to make pretty precise measurements, and filled Plaster of Paris up to the first line. I thought I was putting water up to the second line when I noticed there was way too much water.

Instead of dumping out the water and PoP to start over like I should have, I went ahead and added my paint, Behr latex paint and primer in one in the color "Mint Majesty". It took a lot of paint to catch up to all the water, and I got a very watery DIY Chalk Paint mixture to work with.

Still, I loved how my first chair came out. I'd done minimal sanding and hadn't technically primed it, which is a supposed benefit of chalk paint-- especially if you're using the real Annie Sloan deal. But it HAD been painted with that apple green Rustoleum, which was acting like a kind of primer.

The next two chairs were another story. With having a little one, I didn't get to do all three at once. So my DIY chalk paint mixture sat overnight. Maybe I should have Googled whether or not leftover DIY chalk paint keeps.

By the next day, the PoP had settled to the bottom in a thick layer. The water was on top. I mixed it up and started painting anway.

I love the color of all three chairs, although I think the first one came out more saturated because of the layer of apple green underneath. But the second two also came out with some large glops of PoP here and there thanks to the day-old mixture. There are brush strokes on the seats, while the first one came out with a smooth seat.

I distressed all three before finishing them off with a couple of layers of Minwax pastewax.

The verdict: I might use DIY chalk paint again, but not for any projects I have in my current queue. This hasn't turned me off from trying the real ASCP, but I think the price for AS has. I like my Behr latex paint and primer in one and plan on mostly sticking with that.

This post is linked at:
Ginger Snap Crafts, Someday Crafts, Southern Lovely, House of Hepworths, Momnivore's Dilemma,

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

"Thomas the Tank Engine" post round-up

diy thomas party
I hadn't planned on posting these cupcakes from my son's Thomas the Train first birthday party, because we all know I'm no baking expert, or cake-decorating expert.

But then a lot of people started landing on my blog by Googling variations of "Thomas the Train DIY Birthday Party" and the like, so I thought it might be helpful to share what we actually did. I also thought it was a good way to round up my previous Thomas posts...   diy thomas train birthday
My husband baked these cupcakes, and then we decorated them together. He made the cake batter from scratch, but we cheated and used store-bought frosting! We're kickin' it on the "Semi-Homemade" tip. The frosting was a white (so likely vanilla, buttercream, or creamcheese?) flavor from Pillsbury or Duncan Hines. I know, helpful.

We didn't use foodcoloring on the frosting, opting instead for Wilton frosting coloring (available at WalMart and Jo-Ann) in red, blue, and black to create gray, light blue, and hot pink red cupcake tops.

I sprinkled some with red and white sprinkles, some with red only, poked some Thomas the Tank Engine Party toothpicks, and placed sugar Thomas icing decorations on others. We bought the toothpicks, sugar decorators, and lots of other decorations from Party City. Some plates and cups were purchased from Target.

For our DIY Thomas the Tank Engine Smash Cake, we just picked out one of our smaller rectangular cake pans and backed it in there. Once it was baked, we cut a good-sized circle from the rectangle (pictured in the collage above). Husband frosted it with gray frosting and I used a Wilton black icing tube to draw Thomas' face on it.

Links to my other Thomas and Friends posts:

Before & After: Dining Table Makeover

Our dining area in our small eat-in kitchen is a challenge to get just the right-sized table for.

We'd first bought an awesome mahagony table off Craigslist for just $40... and it ended up being way too big.
farmhouse table before after
So we snatched this table up when we saw it at the thrift store. It was priced higher than I wanted to pay for a rinky-dink table like this, even on sale, but it was the right size for the space.

I directed my husband to remedy the yellow/orange wood with a coat of dark stain on the top, and to paint the base white. I'll just say, I would've used different materials than what he chose (spraypaint and all-in-one stain/poly), but it's still pretty close to what I wanted. I wish he would've put one more coat of poly or the stain/poly on top, but I love the color.

I know I usually post a materials breakdown, but I have now idea what either of these colors are! A satin Rustoleum on the spraypaint with no top coat, and the stain/poly in one is most likely by Minwax.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Thomas & Friends birthday party bunting (paper)

thomas the train bunting paper 1
I hadn't planned on making two sets of bunting for the young mister's birthday party, but when I saw this book for just a buck at the thrift store, I thought it should come home with us.
It's one of those books that makes sounds... but this book was pretty old and beat up, so the sounds were less children's book and more creepy horror movie-- all scratchy and hard to hear.

I thought I could rescue it by giving it new life-- Thomas the Train Book Bunting! I used thrifted bias tape for the project as well.
thomas the train bunting paper 3
I actually made this one before the Thomas the Train Fabric Bunting, which is now hanging in his room. I decided that hanging this one too might be overkill, so... I'm actually going to disassemble this one and use it in a different project! This Thomas the Train book is getting more lives than a cat.

I used a fancy paper punch around the edges, which kinda gave it a Papel Picado feel.
thomas the train bunting paper 2

Thomas & Friends Book Bunting
Materials: Thomas the Train Book ($1 - thrifted), bias tape (.50 cents - thrift store), thread
Total cost: ~$1.50
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