Ikea Hack – Bookcase Unit – Part 2

before and after, Decorating, DIY, hack

How to hack a Kallax or two….

So it seems ages ago that I started on the Ikea Hack, which you can read my plans on here.  I spent 3 afternoons at my sisters building away, and it took ages to get around to photographing it due to flu, distance and time!  However, here it is finally.  Apologies in advance for the photos not being totally crisp, but the room has very little natural daylight so my flash was needed a lot…

Ingredients

We went down to Ikea and spent ages looking at the bookcases they had available. On reflection, we decided to forego the breakfront effect and go for a freestanding simple piece that could take all of her LP’s, books and more.  LP’s are deep, so they fit best in this type of storage system.  Kallax units seemed the best as they are extra deep.

As you can see they are very modern and graphic.  But they baskets are nice made from rattan and palm leaves, and give a future option for storage.

So we bough one 16 x cube Kallax and one 4 x cube horizontal Kallax.  We then headed home and I put them all together (top tip, electric screwdriver…)

Putting the Units together and joining them

The larger Kallax went underneath and the horizontal one was put on top.  This made the unit a good height.  Obviously it needed to be secured into one safe piece, so on the rear I used fixing plates at regular intervals to keep it secure.

Once that was done, we also added  simple 2 x 4 wood batons to the base at each end and in the middle so we had extra height for the base board we wanted to be attached.  I also added felt pads so that the piece can be easily slid on the wooden floors without catching and causing damage.

Now this was done we measured the sections we would need cornice for; top and bottom would be the same piece but inverted.  On the front of the piece is a double width horizontal section of front shelf where the two Kallax units meet, and so we measured this to make sure we got decorative moulding to cover it. You can see this wide section below.

Master Bedroom gets a makeover

before and after, Decorating, Interior Design, Makeover

Farrow and Ball paint and things lurking under the stairs.

This week I was browsing a paint department, and happened upon a discounted 5L tin of Farrow & Ball’s ‘Brinjal’ matt emulsion.  This leaves me with 2 thoughts:

a) I need to get out more and stop loitering in paint departments when I have free time.

b) Loitering in paint departments can be seen as serendipity when bargains are to be had.

Anyhow, onto the paint… This is the most intense dark aubergine with red rather than blue tones, and I have always dreamt of doing a room in it.  Like an Olympian athlete I launched myself toward the paint pot it at high speed, and clutching my bargain I sped home.  I also managed to secure some bargains on some anthracite emulsion paint on sale, which have been stashed until I decide what to use them for, no doubt they will appear soon in a post….  (and if you don’t want to read through the procrastination and details, scroll down to the bottom of the post for the before and after photos.)

This is what the colour look likes… wow, it’s dark…

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Photo: Brinjal by F&B photo from Farrow and Ball Decorating with Colour by Ros Byam Shaw

The Existing Room

The Master bedroom is already shades of Khaki, (this paint is called Drab), with aubergine accents, but it has been like that for quite a while, so I thought I would use the paint to overhaul the room.  The ceilings are really tall, and the expanse of white from the picture rail upwards to the ceiling sort of annoys me, as the rest of the colours get lost in the room as the eye automatically goes up to the brightness and it is so WHITE.  I love aubergine, so decided to paint out the khaki walls with the new paint, but to leave the wardrobes as they are.  So I am sort of reversing the colour scheme.  I am happy with where the furniture is and accessories, so it is just a case of the walls and woodwork being changed.

Wonderful Tattoos that come off!

Art, semi-permanent, tattoos

This is a bit of shameless reblog, but it is so cool I had to share….  I am not even sure if I can get this paper in the UK but I will endeavour.  The post comes from the fantastic Apartment Therapy and the lovely photos are by Ashley Poskin.

Homemade Holiday Gift Idea: Make Custom Temporary Tattoos

Personalized temporary tattoos make the best little stocking stuffers or secret snowflake gifts. Create your own artwork, or find clip art online, and simply print them out on specialized temporary tattoo paper. It’s a fun way to spice up the holidays and pull a fast one on grandma.

What You Need

Materials

  • Temporary tattoo paper (we used this brand)
  • Digital art
  • Design software (Photoshop or software provided by paper company)

Tools

  • Color printer
  • Water
  • Washcloth
  • Scissors
  • Burnishing tool ( a spoon works great!)

Instructions

1. This first step is the most time consuming, as it requires quite a bit of surfing around the web for art and/or creating your very own one-of-a-kind masterpiece. Once you’ve collected the art you’d like to use, you can create your template in a few different ways. I made a new document in photoshop by choosing “US Letter” which comes out to be 8.5″x 11″ at 300 pixels/inch. I then created multiple layers by dragging all the images I wanted to print onto the sheet, arranging them until they all fit perfectly.

If you don’t want to mess around with Photoshop, most temporary tattoo paper companies will provide free downloadable templates to use, just check the back of the package for download instructions and you’re on your way.

2. My packet came with two sheets of thick, white temporary tattoo paper, and two adhesive sheets stuck to green film. The white glossy paper is what you’ll send through the printer, face up. Wait until the ink has dried completely before moving on to the next step.

3. Remove the adhesive sheet from the green film and press it firmly over the printed designs, starting from the top and working your way to the bottom. Work carefully as the adhesive will cling to anything it touches.

4. Transfer the adhesive from from the top sheet to the white paper using a burnishing tool such as a wooden spoon, popsicle stick, or scraper tool. It’s only necessary to burnish over the designs, don’t worry about the negative space.

5. Cut each design from the sheet, then go back and cut around each design in detail, leaving as little negative space as possible. The area with a design does a great job of masking the film that transfers to your skin, but any space that doesn’t have a printed design (significant space around your tattoo) will show up and look kind of filmy. Definitely not rock ‘n roll.

6. Apply the tattoo to your skin by pressing it face down (paper side up) and holding it in place with a wet cloth for 20-25 seconds. Once set, the paper backing will slide off easily.

Vintage paper tree ornaments

Decorating, DIY, tutorial

To continue on from my last post of vintage paper Christmas decorations, I have been adding old sheet music paper to ready-made basic shop purchased wood shape decorations, plus also creating 3D paper ornaments.

revamping old decorations:

For the wooden decorations, I really simply added shapes cut from old musical scores:

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Decoupage:

With a plain wooden decoration I simply added torn up strips of old paper glued on with Modge Podge:

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And hey presto:

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3D paper Decorations DIY:

Finally, I made some 3D decorations which are really simple:

  1. Cut 8 identically sized circles/shapes.  Fold all in half with a strong crease in the middle.
  2. Glue one 1/2 side to the next piece, work your way all around until you have 2 pieces left to glue.
  3. Add a ribbon and glue shut.  Here is a really simple video tutorial on how to make them in case the above makes no sense!
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Circle shapes

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Diamond shapes

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Heart shapes

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Very simple, but very sweet I think….

I shall be trying all sorts of shapes now.  In fact my children had better keep busily moving about or I may decoupage them….

Chalk Paint on Fabric – Vintage Chair Upcycle Project

before and after, chalk paint, DIY, Makeover
FINDING THE RIGHT CHAIR

My mother appeared with a chair a few months back that she had rescued from going onto a bonfire.  It was in a pretty bad way, with ruptured springs, very dark wood which is not really my cup of tea at the moment, and a needlepoint that had definitely seen better days.  She told me I should try and do something with it, so I chucked it into a corner and sort of ignored it!

Before collage

However, I have been itching to try the chalk paint on fabric method, so decided that this should be the guinea pig of a chair, and if it did not work it could always head back to a bonfire.  On the plus side is that it is a pretty shape, and the carvings are actually very good, so it was worth a try.  I had no idea what I was going to do with it, so started out by painting the wood of the chair and sorting out the saggy seat.  I removed the very crusty edging braid and refixed all of the underside webbing elements with my trusty staple gun.

The painting started out in a buff chalk paint, it looked OK with the needlepoint, and if I had waxed it and added dark wax into the crevices it would have been very typically shabby chic.  But I felt I should push it (and myself) more.  So I left it alone for a while and had a think.

Tutorial – Plaster and Gold Leaf feathers

Craft, DIY

Plaster and gilt feather being prepared

I have had a couple of queries about my plaster and gold feathers, so I thought I would put a tutorial up about making them.  They are quite fiddly to make, but perseverance makes it possible!

They look great framed, or randomly lying about.  I balance mine on top of picture frames or keep them in pots.  They look like the most delicate matt china sculptures.

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INGREDIENTS!

Feathers – you need quite strong  and long ones such as pigeon/pheasant/seagull types.  Strong quills and dense tight plumage are best rather than ones that have fluffy edges.  Also, if you can get pale ones go for those as a preference.  If you cannot find real ones lying around, ebay sell great feathers in the fishing section (used by people for making fishing flies, and much cheaper than buying via Haberdashery or Craft sections and suppliers).  I have tried the ones from kids craft shops that are already dyed, but the colours are usually very bright and make it a longer process to create a pure white finished article.

Plaster of Paris – I use regular art shop/craft shop plaster.  You can go for expensive fine grade versions, but you will be building up layers so the former is just as good.

Gold leaf, or gold acrylic paint or gold spray if you don’t want to try gilding.

Washing Line – You will need to hand the feather to dry, so some sort of washing line or string home-made version.

Thin Garden Wire – this is to tie onto the end of the feather where the quill is visible, sort of like a little handle.

Plastic Jug – this has to be a t least 2/3rd of the length of the feather.

A hand whisk.

Separate jug/bottle of tepid water.

PROCESS

Find a plastic jug that will fit your feather in lengthways once the plaster is made up.  You will also need to fit a hand whisk into it so bear that measurement in mind.

Prepare the feather by twisting the wire onto one end, bend one end of the wire into a S hook shape for hanging the feather later

Mix up the Plaster of Paris.  I do it by eye instead of measuring.  Fill up the jug by 2/3rds and start adding the plaster to the water and whisking vigorously until it is like single cream in consistency.  It starts to thicken really fast so you need to work quickly now!

Take the feather by the wire end and start rolling it around it in the plaster, tilting the jug so you cover all areas of the feather.  You will find that the natural oils in the feather try to repel the plaster, so keep going until all the feather is covered.  Gently tap the feather to remove excess and hang up to dry.  You should have time to do one more feather with this mixture.  Don’t worry if not all areas take the plaster mixture, as you will do a second coat later if it is needed.  Some feathers take one coat, others need more…. luck of the draw.

After this, the remaining plaster will be trying to thicken, so add some more tepid water and whisk, you should get it thin enough to cover a couple more feathers.

Leave the feathers to dry totally and wipe out your jug asap before the plaster sets hard, use really hot water to dissolve what is left in the jug and flush the sink thoroughly for 5 minutes with hot water to stop drains blocking.

The plaster on the feathers feels damp and cold until it is fully dried out,  I leave mine at least 6 hours or overnight to harden off.  Then I run another plaster layer again on them if they need it.  Again, let them dry totally.  They will resemble very fine matt porcelain when finished.

When dry start the gilding.  I had never done this until recently, and it is much easier than people think, and it has such an amazing lustre compared to gold paint.

I use diluted PVA as my size, about 50% water added, and brush it thinly over the area in smooth even strokes, avoiding puddles and runs, (as the leaf is wafer thin any marks underneath will be visible when finished). As the size dries it will become clear with a tacky consistency. To test if the size is ready to accept the leaf lightly press your knuckle to the surface, if it clicks when you pull it away it is ready. Do not test using your finger tip as it will leave a print that will show through the leaf, or will remove the size from that area.

APPLYING LEAF

The tricky bit – Gold coloured leaf is available in genuine gold and imitation leaf, the genuine leaf will be richer in colour and finish, different coloured metal leaves are also available. I use transfer leaf, (attached to tissue paper), making it easier to apply.

Once the size is tacky place the gold leaf on the object and brush it gently with a very soft brush. Lay the next sheet of leaf down so that it overlaps slightly, and repeat until the surface is covered. When applying to raised surfaces you may need to use small pieces of leaf to fill crevices first, and use a soft bristle brush to tamp the leaf into the grooves.  Wait 30 minutes and then buff with a lint free cloth.  You can apply a clear varnish if you want to, but I don’t on my feathers.

Here is a useful video showing you how to apply the leaf if you have not done it before.

Framed gilded feathers

Framed gilded feathers

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Framed gilded feathers detail

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DIY : Botanical Cupboard Makeover

Decorating, DIY, Makeover

My recent decoration of the Breakfast Room left one piece of furniture standing out like a sore thumb, a cupboard I had perviously overhauled as a shabby chic affair.  However, it was the wrong colours for the room I felt, and did not fit the new scheme.

IMG_0018I am really into using wallpaper on furniture at the moment, and spent ages scouring the net for something with dark backgrounds and botanical to compliment the room.  It needed a smallish pattern as I want to use it in the inset panels on the doors.

Everything I found that I liked cost at least £90 per roll, and some were an eye-watering £270… but they are stunning.

I wanted a very punchy green for the rest of the woodwork, and I had a pot of Annie Sloane Olive Green sitting around, but it is a very dark, sludgy colour and not as eye popping as I wanted.

The green chalk paint

The green chalk paint

At this point I gave up, thinking that I could not get want I wanted on a tight budget…. BUT…. THEN…..  HALLELUJAH!!!!!

I was in my local B&Q (a place I can found in very often actually – some like Prada, I like paint shops), and I found this wallpaper by Ideco Home in EXACTLY the colours I wanted for the piece… navy and chartreuse or lime.  And it also only cost £14 for a roll…. Bargain!

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It has beetles, flowers and everything that I need.  So I promptly matched some Valspar paint to the green, it is called Chartreuse:

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I painted up the cupboard in the green (eggshell, water based), and wallpapered the panels.  It looked very bright and had quite a sheen… maybe a bit too bright… so I was not convinced.

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So I then mixed up some of the ‘Olive’ Annie Sloane Chalk Paint with the Valspar eggshell, and mixed until I found a tone somewhere between the two.  This also was great as it turned the eggshell into chalk paint, which I much prefer to paint with.  A coats or two of clear wax after and I was done….

Starting to apply the new tone of green paint

Starting to apply the new tone of green paint

I warm up my wax to make it easy to get into crevices.

I warm up my wax to make it easy to get into crevices.

Here is the finished result, I love it and it suits the room much better.  I still have nearly a whole roll of the paper left over, and I was really tempted to use it on the chimeny breast, but then it all becomes a bit ‘matchy-matchy’?

The finished cabinet

The finished cabinet

Before & After:

Paint Storage Continued…. or is it baby poo?

Labels, Organising

So following my recent post about Paint Storage, which showed pastel paints looking great like the below, I spent the afternoon decanting my own paints into jars.

fcf65-paintinjarsI made some sweet labels for the lids, and put them into my own mason jars (free download at bottom of post which is editable).  I got rid of 4 large bags of old paint tins and was feeling super tidy, if not a little worried that I am developing OCD.

BUT WAIT………! 

I am realising from the below photos that the colours in my house look like the insides of various babies nappies, all except one vivid aubergine.  Hmm, feeling that I need to up the ante on stronger colours now…  Hurrah, another reason to redecorate!

paint montageClick here for download of paint label

Painting a Piano – Before and After

Decorating, DIY, Makeover, Upcycling

My friend Anne-Marie has been given a piano, and although it is in tune and plays well, it was a bit battered around the casing and woodwork.  It is also very dark brown and stood out like a sore thumb in their living room which is very calm in design.  So she asked me to have a go at painting it to make it blend better into the room.  The room has pale creams, greys and a sage green in it, so I took those colours and used them on the piano.  We ‘ummed’ and ‘ahhed’ about using decoupage, but as the piano will be situated next to curtains with a strong and graphic pattern, so we felt it better to leave it simple.

before

A lovely, but very dark piano

The piano was sanded back to get a really good key, especially on the lids and music stand which would get heavy use.  Then a base of Country Grey Chalk Paint by Annie Sloane was applied all over the piano:

Base of Country Grey

Base of Country Grey

Certain areas were picked out in Olive chalk paint, such any as rims and edges with horizontal lines on the lids and legs:

coat 2

Horizontal mouldings in Olive

Finally two coats of clear wax were applied and buffed heavily to create a soft sheen, and then the original candlesticks were re-attached.  They have an aged patina which works very well against the new colours:

detail 2Here is the finished piano, which now looks great against the colours of the room and lifts the piano into becoming a stylish piece of furniture in its own right:

after

Easy DIY No Sew Window Pelmet Lambrequin Valance

Decorating, DIY, Makeover

I am not a natural seamstress, (and my relationship with my sewing machine is actually a bit tense), so when I stumbled across an excellent DIY tutorial by Little Green Notebook I was curious to see if I too could attempt a window dressing in a no-sew, no wood, no drilling way.  I had been quoted £200 per pelmet/valance to have it made by an upholsterer/curtain company, so this seemed worth a try at least.

My kitchen has recently been redecorated from greens to greys, and the two white windows were looking a bit stark against all the grey walls.  I needed to bring in some colour, but did not want curtains as they would block light and be too fussy.  So pelmets were the way to go.  I had an spare single curtain that was perfect for the colour scheme.

Curtain fabric used for the pelmets

Curtain fabric used for the pelmets

It is SO easy to do!  I recommend it to everyone who has a couple of hours free and some basic ingredients.  I used A1 Foam Board, an old curtain, fabric spray glue, a staple gun and wadding.  Plus the magical ingredient of Gaffer Tape.  My outlay was £10 for 4 huge A1 pieces of foam board, (and I have more than half leftover), old fabric, plus tape and glue I already owned so this is a highly effective budget creation.

Instructions:

Measure your window/windows and choose the depth of pelmet you want, I added 5 cms to each side length so it went past the window recess, plus a 6cm side return for each pelmet.  Cut the foam board with a craft knife to the lengths you think best.  You could scallop and shape the lower edge as it cuts like butter, but I left mine straight as the kitchen is quite simple in style.

I had two long windows so I had to join two pieces of foam board with tape to make a long enough front piece for each window:

Foam board made form two long pieces and joined with tape

Foam board made form two long pieces and joined with tape

I then reinforced the back of each pelmet across the join with a spare length of foam board just to make sure it was really rigid.

Reinforced back of main board

Reinforced back of main board

Then the sides are added on:

I then measured and cut out the wadding and fabric, I sprayed the wadding with fabric spray to stick it onto the board (although this is a step that could be skipped I think).  I then started to staple the two layers straight onto the back of the board, pulling tightly as I went so the fabric was smooth and tense.  Do the two long front pieces first, and then the two side ends.  I folded the fabric like I would when wrapping a parcel for the corners which I did last.  The basically staple gun it to heaven to make it all fixed and tight!

When the fabric was attached it looked quite messy from the back, and I did not want this to be seen from the outside as it is a ground floor window.  So I used hemming iron tape and knocked up two long neat strips of spare fabric to attach to the back to cover my edges and staples.  I used more staples to attach it, and hid them in the pattern so they are not evident.  It is not a perfect match, but not as ugly as it was!  When I went outside to look at the insides once they were up I could not see them anyhow, so it is probably just my OCD tendencies coming to light and you can ignore this step….

Hemmed back piece on the rear to tidy up the inside in case it is seen from outside

Hemmed back piece on the rear to tidy up the inside in case it is seen from outside

Hanging them up was next.  I had to get each side return to attach to a solid wall, (and I am quite impatient usually), so rather than using L shaped brackets and screws etc, I hammered in long brass nails at an angle at the back of the side returns straight through the pelmet and into the wall.  As these pelmets are so light due to the foamboard, I only needed one per side, and they seem pretty secure.

Here are the finished pelmets.  I think they look great and were so easy to make.  I am now going to use my leftover foam board to make some more around the house, and start doing some more interesting shapes.