Thursday, March 13, 2014

Saved by Pinterest

From the moment Pinterest users began wowing us with upcycles and chalk paint projects, dump-worthy junk items have been counting their lucky stars. Pinterest has single-handedly helped save millions of laminate furniture pieces, tattered old chairs, ugly chandeliers, and wood pallets from a trash heap fate.

Pinterest has inspired me to save and reuse items I would otherwise have thrown to the trash too. Just last week I gave new life to three things I would have set to the curb in the past. Just look at these things . . .

Would you have bothered saving them? Probably not. They're pretty ugly. My husband thought they were junk. When I dragged a giant tarp to the driveway and laid out materials to resurrect them, he was sure I wasting my time. But I told him not to worry. "I saw how to do this on Pinterest!"

Well, take a look at them now . . .

Gone are the horrendous red mats and ugly laminate wood grain. Now they're light, bright, and full of life!

Obviously the bookcase got a couple doses of pale turquoise paint. But the John Haymsen prints of Williamsburg landmarks are my favorite transformation. By painting the mat in a softer color, the old prints have a new lease on life.

Now I'm sure plenty of you are wondering how I painted that laminate or those mats. Well, wonder no more. Here's what I did. . .

Painting a Laminate Bookcase

1. You need to "rough up" the surface to help the paint adhear long-term. Even if you're planning to use a paint that says no sanding required, it's better to just go ahead and do this step. The trouble with laminate, though, is that if you sand it, the surface will come off and you'll be left with particle board. Yuck! So in this case, I used a chemical deglosser. There are lots of products on the market like Liquid Sander and such. Just visit your local Lowes, Home Depot, or Ace Hardware. They're sure to have it. One word of caution: Don't tell the little old guy in the store that you're planning to use it on laminate furniture. He'll tell you can't paint laminate.

2. Rub the deglosser on every nook and cranny of the piece you want to paint. Remember to use gloves and do it outdoors where there's lots of fresh air. The stuff stinks. After you've covered every inch with deglosser, it's time to sit and wait. It takes at least 30 minutes for the deglosser to work its magic. In about an hour your item should look like its been covered by a white haze. That's what you want.

3. When you see the white haze, start painting. I strongly recommend that you use a chalk paint for the best adhesion long-term. I know they're more expensive, but Annie Sloane paints are the best. Once it's dry, enhance and protect it with wax. Clear, dark, or tinted - whatever you like.

Painting a Picture Mat

1. The hardest part of changing the color of a mat is disassembling/reassembling the picture -- especially if it was professionally framed. So your first step is to remove the dust cover (a.k.a. the brown paper on the back of the picture.)

2. With the dust cover removed you can now see how the frame is constructed. Is it held together with frame clips, brads, staples, or nails? In the case of these old prints, the framer used staples to hold the backing, print, mat, and glass in place. Whatever has been used, you'll need to either remove or bend it back. Because staples were containing my prints, I just bent them back with a flat head screwdriver.

3. Once you have access to the contents of the frame, begin removing each layer and set them aside. You will likely need to remove the print from the mat, so be very careful. Prints, especially old ones, tear easily. Go slowly.

4. When you have removed the mat, it's time to start painting it. Using a small, smooth FOAM roller, roll on any color craft paint you like. Be sure to use long, even strokes to prevent streaks.

5. Allow it to dry fully. Then give it a 2nd coat of paint using the same long, even strokes as before.

6. When your mat has 2 coats and is completely dry (at least 24 hours), you can start reassembling the frame.

7. First mount your art piece to the back of the newly painted mat. I used a simple clear tape on the back of the print to secure it to the mat.

7. Next clean the glass and frame using a lint-free cloth and Windex. Be extra careful not to smudge or get debris trapped on the inside of the glass. When it's clean and clear, lay the glass inside the frame

8. Stack the mat, art, and any backer boards to fill the frame completely. Then resecure the contents either by bending the staples, brads, or nails back in place or by replacing the frame clips. If you break a frame clip or need new brads, you can purchase them at most craft stores.

9. Now, replace the dust cover. In the frame section of your favorite craft store you can purchase brown craft paper that is the appropriate weight for this purpose. Attach it using a simple double-sided tape.

10. Finally, reattach or replace the wire to the frame and hang your new art.


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