Sunday, November 9, 2014

holy succulents!

A couple months ago while 'antiquing' with Eric and his parents, I came across what reminded me of the little tins that hold holy water in church.

I loved the bronze finish and knew I could find a place for them. And Eric's dad was nice enough to buy them for me!

I thought about filling them with pebbles and a tea light in each, but then I found the sweetest little succulents at Home Depot and....

Tarva: Round 2

After a successful (imo) hack of the 3-drawer Ikea Tarva chest, I set out to spruce up my 6-drawer Ikea Tarva chest. I wanted the two pieces to match, but at the same time I didn't want an overwhelming amount of wood finish in my small, neutral tone bedroom. Confession: I also did not want to go through the whole pre-stain+stain+gel stain+polyurethane process again

My solution: Paint

We did everything the same, from framing the drawer fronts, to using a satin polyurethane finish, and adding matching hardware. But, rather than stain the wood, we painted it a rich navy blue. Oh, and we chopped off 2 inches from the awkwardly-long legs.

I couldn't be happier with the results!

It ties in well with the existing 3-drawer chest, and adds a pop of color to the room that isn't overwhelming.

Paint color: Old Navy by Benjamin Moore (we used flat paint)
Polyurethane: Varathane - Satin Finish
Hardware: WorldMarket

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Ikea Tarva Makeover

For my tarva makeover, I searched the depths of Pinterest for feasible hacks. My biggest lament about most of the tarva hacks I see is that they lack dimension, which doesn't improve the overall 'cheap' look, in my opinion. So simply painting or staining the furniture was not an option for me. At the same time, I wanted a project that was going to be at my skill level (novice).

I was inspired by these two simplistic hacks:


From Dear Lillie

From what was described, the biggest modification to these two pieces was the addition of simple molding to the drawers, followed by paint and hardware. Totally doable. 

I purchased stain-grade molding from Home Depot (in the lumbar section). I made sure to measure how much I would need. For the 3 drawer dresser and the 6 drawer chest I bought 52 linear feet. That gave me a few extra feet to test the stains on, and allow for a mishap or two when making cuts. 

Eric did most of the wood work. After we (he) cut the trim to frame each drawer front, we applied the strips with wood glue and held them in place with clamps (great investment at about $1 per clamp!) for 30 minutes. Once dry and secure, I gave the newly applied trim a quick once-over with 220 grit sand paper, to match the smoothness of the rest of the dresser, which I had previously sanded

I tested numerous stains and combinations on a leftover piece of molding. I was so unimpressed by the Minwax Wood Finish stains compared to the Varathane Wood Stains. The Minwax Wood Finish stains were incredibly thin, and had to sit for at least 10 minutes to get a decent amount of color (albeit, this may very well been due to the type of wood I was using). The Varathane stains on the other hand, resulted in much richer and more even color. It was also easier to work with since it was slightly thicker. 

Before and after one coat of Varathane stain

I will say though, that I am a fan of the Minwax pre-stain conditioner. After applying the conditioner, I applied Provincial by Varathane. I decided I wanted it a tad darker though, without enhancing the contrast of the grain (I highly suspected this was going to happen, as pine is a type of wood that does not achieve uniform stain coverage).

So in comes Minwax Gel Stain in Hickory. It is not really a "stain" by true definition (a lot of DIYers use it to darken their kitchen cabinets or entry doors), it is more so a translucent paint that you apply and wipe off. I was able to apply varying amounts to the lighter and darker areas, which evened out the overall contrast.

On the left: Provincial Stain with one quick coat of Hickory Gel
On the right: 2 additional coats of Hickory Gel

After achieving the color and tone I wanted, I let it dry for 2 days (until the gel stain was no longer 'tacky'), and then applied a couple of coats of satin-finish polyurethane. I'll most likely go back and add a third coat to the top since it's a frequently used surface. Note: you don't have to apply the gel stain over a wood stain, but there are limited color options for the gel, and I wanted some added warmth.

Hardware was the final step. I never thought it would be so difficult. Well, what actually made it difficult was that I wanted all the gorgeous hardware from Anthropologie, but I refused to pay $8 to $12 per knob (I needed 18+ knobs total). After testing out several different options, I inevitably fell in love with the mercury glass knobs I found on the World Market website (2 for $7.98! + shipping) Which is a total steal compared to the other prices I found online). 

Voila! I may go back and fancy-up the legs, 
but for now I am quite pleased.

For more inspiration, check out my other Tarva makeover here!

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Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Maiden Voyage

This was pretty much my first [completed] DIY project.

I'm going to keep this short and sweet. Pretend it's a poem or something...

I bought a credenza/dresser off Craigslist in anticipation for moving into my new home. 
It had been painted white. I didn't want it white.
I had no idea what I wanted to do with it. 
All the drawers were quite 'sticky.'

I wanted a DIY project. Eric wanted power tools (a circular sander). 
We decided to sand and stain it. 
But the top was laminate. So we realized we had to paint it.
So we sanded everything, primed, and painted it.

And then I realized I didn't like the paint color.
And the drawers were now even 'stickier.'
So I bought some antiquing glaze.
And Eric bought more power tools (a mouse sander).
And I fixed both those problems. Then I added hardware. 

Primer: Zinniser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Water-Base Primer
Paint: Behr "Ancient Pewter"in semi-gloss
Glaze: Valspar Antiquing Glaze
Hardware: Home Depot (online)

The paint and primer were applied with foam rollers. This was because I was originally going for a 'lacquered' look.

The glaze was brushed on with an old dry paint brush. I let it sit for a few seconds, then wiped it away with an old t-shirt (dry) in long strokes. Since the surface was very smooth, I got most of the 'grain' effect from the brush and with varying techniques with the t-shirt (in my opinion, with the antiquing glaze, the more imperfections in the surface, the better). The glaze comes off with water if you remove it before it starts to dry. So if you aren't happy with the way it went on, just clean it up and try again.

The glaze seeks imperfections

The drawers were a little too dark at first (too much glaze), so I took a sanding pad and scuffed some off.

Finally, I brushed on Varathane Polyurethane in Satin.
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From TIY to DIY

I think I just got a high from sanding.

And I can't say wearing a mask or respirator would have prevented it. It's the kind of high that comes after beginning a project that's been shelved for months, or even a year. It's the kind of high that comes after even the slightest bit of success, where you can see that things are going in the right direction. I'll be the first to admit that I'm a "talker" and not a "doer" when it comes to DIY (so I guess that makes me a TIY-er?). Which is why I'm patting myself on the back right now for [partially] dismantling my naked Ikea Tarva chest, fumbling it out to the patio, and giving it some love with the sander.

I was on the fence about sanding everything. One of the best pieces of advice I've ever received was from a fellow crafter (Sara), who told me to "just paint that sh*t!" This was in response to the story of how I spent nearly 3x the money on supplies and tools to rehab an old credenza. Instead of just painting over the existing white paint, my boyfriend (Eric) and I insisted on sanding the whole thing down, priming it, and then painting it. In retrospect, I would have been just as well off following Sara's advice.

Eric on the other hand, is a huge advocate of sanding for surface prep. And not just sanding, but sanding three-fold. So I figured, what the hell, it's a nice day out, I've got the supplies, might as well! 

The surface of the wood on Tarva furniture is already quite smooth and soft IMO. But with Eric's advice I did the following (with a circular sander):

  1. Sanded the entire surface with 80 grit sandpaper (to "open the pores of the wood")
    1. noticed how rough it had become
    2. considered the fact that I was potentially ruining the dresser and almost ditched the sanding idea 
  2. Sanded the entire surface with 150 grit sandpaper (to "make the pores smaller" or something counterproductive like that)
    1. noticed how wonderfully smooth it felt
    2. almost considered calling it day, because how much smoother could it get?!
  3. Sanded the entire surface with 220 grit sandpaper (to be thorough and appease Eric)
    1. ran my fingers across the surface
    2. holy smoothness!
Post-sanding (can't you tell?!) and re-assembly

In addition to being super smooth, it is noticeably lighter in comparison to the other unsanded Tarva dresser. I'm not sure if this is because Ikea put some sort of protectant on it, or if the sun altered the wood color over the past year. Regardless, sanding it evened out the tones in the wood, and also got rid of a lot of careless stains that were acquired over time. To protect the top in the meantime, I've put down a table-runner.
My next victim. I swear it's darker (and more yellow) in person. 
Notice how there is more contrast in the wood grain though.