Tuesday, 16 September 2014

The Red Door Desk

Oops. I did it again! I created something I fell in love with and then shed a small tear
 when it sold 2 days later :(
It went to a FABULOUS customer though! I  know she will give it all the love she deserves.
Wow. I really do talk about my pieces as if they are humans. Haha. I should work on that!

Without further ado - the Red Door Desk!

Now, how do we get this look?
Allow  me to walk you through it!

 I started with this most wonderful door that I just happened to be driving past as her owners stuck her on the curb! A wee bit of damage from old hardware and maybe a dog or cat scratching the base. Nothing we can't overcome. No reason for this great solid piece of wood with so much character to head to the dump! A coat or three of some great red paint I mixed up and she was starting to take shape in my mind!

Then I had to sit and think about how I wanted to use this door. The desk image appeared in my head and I got to sorting out pieces to use in its creation. I had a few crates that had seen better days, but I knew I would eventually find a way to incorporate them into something. Just so happens, this was their day to shine!  I pressure washed them, fixed up their breaks and reinforced the lower crate with strips of hardwood flooring. There would be a bit of weight resting on top of it, so I wanted to ensure it wasn't going to "crack under pressure" literally.

The next step was figuring out a nice  top for the desktop area. A wonderful contractor had recently dropped off a load of wood scraps instead of taking it all to the dump. his wonderful wife told him I may have use for his leftovers and boy was she right! In the load of leftovers there were quite a few pieces of damaged hardwood flooring. I pieced a few together, trimmed it to fit the size of the door and then it was refinishing time. Now, I'll be honest. The main reason I chose these colours was because I would like to refinish my floors in our house and this is pretty much what I had in mind. So I totally used this project to my advantage here! I stripped the old finish off the boards, stained them darker and then added a thin wash of black paint. Before it cured completely, I took a sponge and soaked the dried paint, left it for a minute then vigorously rubbed off quite a bit. Then I added a few layers of an oil based urethane.

Level. Level. Level.
Before attaching anything, make sure to level your door.
It needs to be standing perfectly upright.
Of course, if your floors aren't level, then put it where it is going to be homed and level it there before attaching the permanent base of crates.

After it is all leveled, add your crate base. Glue and screw them right into the door exactly where you want them to be.
After this step was done, I cut a thin piece of wood for the hardwood top to rest on and secure to.
I chose to stain the side of the wood that would be seen from underneath the table top. Completely unnecessary step for DIY'ers, however, I know that if for some strange reason its future owner was laying on the floor and looking up at it ....
(maybe they threw out their back and can't move... their spouse doesn't get home for an hour and now  leaving them to stare up at the piece for hours wondering why this piece was so different.......?
It's possible!)   So keeping this completely plausible scenario in mind,  I stained it and flipped it and the unfinished side then had the flooring strips - desk top - attached.

 How it looks completed.

 The top shelf was done with a urethaned barn board as well.
After that - it was staged, photoshot and posted on the site and FB for sale with an immediate sale!
I love this piece. It hurt to let it go.
BUT she shall be loved for years and now, that little damaged door heading to the dump shall live a new life for many more years to come!

Mission Complete.

White Kitchen Pantry Piece

I had a very large number of emails asking how I did this particular piece. 
Let's see it from start to finish and the trials and errors along the way!

 Here is the before shot of this piece. Quite a few people were talking about how they prefer the before. To each there own, however with this large number of holes in the sides, gouges and scratches and warps, I prefer to fill, sand and paint.
Notice the top drawer is  missing hardware to be able to open it whatsoever. Is this a new thing? Am I missing a design trend here?

Skipping the ugly stages.... I chose to not take time to photograph it covered in woodfill, primer and paint. There is always that ugly stage before the beauty turns out right?

I also chose to swap the top molding for something I liked a bit more.

Now the fun begins.

The cupboard doors.

People were suggesting it was a stencil, or it was a chalkboard.
What I chose for this piece was actually an ink transfer.

I used a graphic from the Graphics Fairy.
She has many fabulous free images to browse and after a lot of decision making,
I chose this particular design.

She also has a page dedicated solely to image transfer How-To's

You can find those tutorials here:
12 Easy Image Transfer Processes

It is a lot of trial and error with these. A lot depends on what types of artwork or printers you have access to i.e inkjet, toner, laser, 4 colour process etc.
Also what mediums you choose to use or have access to.
She covers methods such as mod podge, acetone, heat transfers etc.
I chose the gesso route.

As you will see in the following photos, I also chose to experiment with a homemade gesso recipe following a few Youtube tutorials from some artisans. NOTE that these homemade recipes do NOT work for this type of project haha. In fact it was a huge disaster. I pouted for about a minute before moving on and taking the loss with chuckle as I saw how much of a mess I was.
Coated in this semi sticky goo and paper shreds. ICK.

Step one. Measure the space you need to get the measurements for the printout. 
 Step 2: After you have your reverse image print out, cut it to size. Apply a nice healthy coat of Gesso to the surface.
 Step 3: Immediately lay your image face down in the gesso

Step 3 cont'd : I chose to begin at the top of the image and slowly lay it down using the angle and pressure method. I used an old credit card and as the image touched the gesso surface, i ran the credit card across the paper to immediately remove any air bubbles and ensure the image was saturated via pressure.

This is the Gesso I chose to use.

Below is the result when I tried using the homemade gesso.
Soooo........... yaaaaaa......... Fail.

What you want to do now is wait a minute or two after your image has been applied to the gesso. Start from any corner and lift the paper off the surface and if you did it right, the ink should remain on your piece.
There will be places where the ink did not adhere, and that is ok. You will end up with a nice vintage, or distressed look. If you see any paper particles on the piece still, wait until the gesso has completely dried, then lightly dampen your fingers or a cloth and rub those particles off using very gentle pressure. This takes a lot of trial and error. Do not be shocked if you rub off ink.
Either go with the extreme aged look and continue with that pressure or apply less pressure and cross fingers no more ink is removed.
For this piece, I wanted a well loved look.
I chose to apply pretty moderate pressure and remove a fair bit of ink.
Wait 24 hours before clear coating. I chose to clear coat the door images with a polyurethane.
*Only the image area. The rest of the doors surfaces were done in a wax.* 
I'll get to that step next.

Moving Forward
We now have the piece painted and the doors are ready.
Before reattaching the doors, I chose to clear coat. The look I wanted here was more of a primitive well loved look. I wanted it to look like it came straight from a fabulous shabby country kitchen.
For this look, I opted to use a mixture of clear and dark brown waxes.
I first clear waxed the piece, then went over in areas with a dark wax. I only work in small 1 foot by 1 foot spaces at a time. The was dries fairly quickly and you don't want to be rubbing it back off for hours on end.

 Wax on, Wax off.

There are a lot of youtube tutorials from some amazing refinishers that will teach you how to use dark waxes in this manner. It would take a fair chunk of time for me to explain, and if you are like me, you would likely rather see it being done to better understand the process.

Now the piece is waxed and images transferred, it's time to re attach your cupboard doors.
Add the hardware you chose to match and if you are like me at this point and needing hardware on a blank drawer front, here is what you do.

Now this is geared towards someone that has no clue how to read drill bits or 
measure depths and so on.

First things first, your hardware should have the machine screws to attach. If not, measure the thickness of the drawer it is going through and add a little extra so it can properly poke through the holes you drill and find it's way into the hardware.

Here is a good way to look at the screws and drill bits.

1 - the top drill bit is the same size as or a smidge larger than the screw you plan to use to attach your hardware.
2 -if your screws aren't long enough to get through the hole you drill and sink into the hardware to attach, then you may need to bore the hole out a little so the screw sinks into the hole to reach the pull. If this is the case, or you simply want the screw head sunk in as opposed to sticking out, then find a drill bit that is slightly larger than the top of the screw as seen in the bottom example.
Actually, I do believe I had to go up a drill bit size for that one.

Here are the looks you will achieve when deciding on leaving them out or sinking them in.
Personal preference really. It's inside your drawer where no one is going to see.

The next step is marking where you are going to  add your hardware. You will want a level, tape measure and a chalk line, or simply a piece of chalk. Pencil will be harder to remove once you have your marks.

To mark the exact place for the holes to be drilled, I tend to add a small dab of paint to the hardware and press it in place leaving behind the exact marker holes as to the location of the drill holes to be made.

You are also going to want a drill bit that matches the hardwares stems that are going to sink into the drawer front so that it lies flat. You will be drilling from the front into the piece. If you drill from the back out to make your initial holes, the wood may split where the drill bit pops through, such as it has in the image below.


Now that all of your holes are done, attach your new hardware and you should have yourself a beautiful new piece for your home!

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

The Angel Wing Cubby, burning, painting, texture, staining, glazing and more

This project was beyond time consuming, and a 100% trial and error piece experimenting with mediums.

Burning, texture, glazing, shading, staining and painting!

But with a little time, effort, patience and elbow grease ... it can be done!

The before and after to keep you inspired to read on ...

Here is the piece I found. A simple, plain little cupboard. But it was clearly meant to be a piece of art! Can't you see that?

 It was stripped down fast! The doors were removed and I set to doodling up a design with some wings that I loved!

 The next step was to go over the design with a handy dandy little crafting burning tool that you can get at any craft or hardware store.

Here is the after shot of the total wing.

My plan was to create a very 3 dimensional wing that stood out from the doors. How do you do that you ask? Well, there are a lot of ways! You can purchase 3 dimensional paints from a variety of makers. Just google it. It will come up! Or, think hard about things around your house .... what can you think of that may be there, that can blend with paint, but is thick and dries hard? *cough drywall mud* cough! Just a thought. There are plenty of other options, jsut open your mind and experiment a little!

 Here is a close up of the texture as it was drying.  Experiment with how you use your brush. You will be amazed at what can come out of it, especially with different mediums and additives! You never know until you try!

While it was drying and curing, I threw a white wash of paint behind the wings. It needed a little more character back there. I knew I was going to be sanding most of it back off, so it was very minimal!

After it dried up, I added some different glazes over it. It added more depth and texture and looked phenomenal in the end!

There she is. Done. Now for the removal of the white wash and then some stain and sealer! Choose what you are most comfortable with. Polyurethane, wax, polycyclic ..... talk to your local paint stores and find out about all the benefits from each! Learn learn learn - the free way! Ask the experts at each retail location their opinions on everything, but make sure to keep your open mind, they often try to shoot down ideas as being "crazy". And we all know that - "you are crazy" look right? or is it just me haha!

Now here she is after the sanding and staining. But it needs just one little pop of colour. I'm feeling like love needs to be added. Red. Hearts? Hmmmmmm

I chose red glass knobs! WHERE DID YOU FIND THOSE you ask? I didn't. I made them. I found some clear glass knobs and used some red stained glass window paint and coloured them!

The after shot. All done! Over a week in labour, but it came out fantastic and was in a new home almost instantly!

And of course - the before and after shot!

There you have - all my secrets dished out!

Have fun experimenting, and if you love ideas like this - come follow us on Facebook and stay up to date on the new inspiration flowing in!

Gypsy Barn on Facebook

and of course .... feel free to pin away! Just please, keep the logo on it and link responsibly. Starving artists rely on that to help fund more inspirational pieces for the future :)


Jasmin Owner of Gypsy Barn