Tag Archives: decoupage

Point #35- Your Brother’s Old Furniture Sucks

22 Sep

There comes a point in your life where you should not be getting hand-me-downs from your YOUNGER brother. When that brother is (sorry, Alastair…not that he will ever read this) of typically dubious taste (as a young bachelor should be), the suck increases exponentially. I know I am a dumpster diver, but getting my brother’s old dresser, by way of my sister, who had it in my niece’s room, gah! It seemed just a little too “Please, sir, may I have some more…sketchily painted and sadly handed down cheap pine bedroom pieces?” for my liking. Ya know, if Oliver Twist was having trouble furnishing and decorating an en suite.

It isn’t a bad little dresser, save for one slightly wonky drawer. It just belonged to that that 90s school of thought that says absolutely everything is better with a light white wash stain, including furniture, pets, jeans, your dreams, and the economy. It’s certainly a roomy creature, having six big drawers and four small ones, with a lovely big top to hold all of one’s little knick knacks and doohickeys. And all kidding aside, I was pleased to have it.

And so it sat, with a deep, profound sitness, performing the important function of being the place I always intended my clean laundry to be put into but usually ended up wearing right out of the rumpled basket, and gathering assorted detritus on its top. One day I decided enough was enough, and resolved to paint it black. Unintentional Rolling Stones reference notwithstanding, I thought it would work well in my bedroom.

Quick explanation: I have settled on the theme of “vampire bordello” for my bedroom. I wanted a rich, cozy, low light nest with ornate details, Asian and Eastern influences, a little Victorian, definitely sexy. Like someone had lived a long life, travelled much, and surrounded him/herself with the resulting trappings of same. Lots of red and purple, black accents, texture, colour, etc.

So I got the dresser about half painted before I thought to take before pictures. Whoops.

The bottom half is the original “This would look awesome with my Friends poster!” white wash finish.


Aw, fart…it’s sideways, but you get the picture.

The black was just plain craft paint, which in addition to being a bad idea texture wise (I never sand crap, remember? It shows) was too flat to be appealing. I figured I would eventually polyurethane it and that would fix the problem. Again with the sitting for months.

Recently I decided to kind of start over and cover the black with a nice dark reddish purple glossy paint. The first coat, streaked like a glaze with the black just peeking through looked so cool, I went with it. I am lazy, so the painting process took the form of “whenever I damn well feel like it” meaning essentially a drawer or two…read my book…a drawer or two…work on another project….a drawer or two…take a nap, and so on. This went on until this past weekend, when, the dresser almost finished, I took a trip to IKEA and found some gorgeous purple napkins that I knew I could decoupage on SOMETHING. I wasn’t thinking of the dresser at the time, but when I came home and took them into the bedroom to find some inspiration, I realised the colours were perfect. And so:



I can’t really say that the flash does or doesn’t make it look lighter or darker, because while it does make the glaze “hot”, to borrow a theatre lighting term, so does natural sunlight hitting it right. The colour is immensely changeable, which would normally bug the crap out of me, but perfectly fits in with the look I am going for.

Mod Podging with napkins can be tricky, you want to have your placement pretty well set before you squish it down and smooth out the bubbles. Make sure you remove at least one ply from the napkin (I suggest, at least), although I left a second one to give it heft. Even the wrinkles work when you smooth it down…gives it a cool fabric or even leather look.

So that is my first big furniture redo. It only took the better part of year to get around to. Remember, if it’s worth doing, it is worth involving a lot of naps.

Point #32-Always Look Past a Bad Paint Job

12 Sep

Oh man, is there a lot of crap out there. I, like many fellow crafty types, like to troll the thrift stores to find treasures just waiting to have their potential unlocked. I found one such diamond in the rough at my local Goodwill: a tabletop cabinet that revealed itself upon getting it home and untaping the taped-shut doors to have a tiny set of drawers inside. Not even that tiny; they easily hold my makeup and other small items. But I digress…in very un-me fashion, I will leave off the thick wall of bloggy text and let my pictures and commentary do the talking on my latest project.

This is what I started with. I saw its awesome bones right away. The dreadful country nightmare of a paint job will HAVE to go, though.

When I bought it, it was taped shut and so I wasn’t sure if the inside was shelves or what, so I was really excited to get it home and find a tiny set of drawers inside. This would be a cool way to hide away makeup and other small items on my bureau. The horrific festival of suck continues on the inside paint job, however.

I assault your eyes with a view of both the inside and outside at once. You are welcome. And ack! with acking…the paint carnage wraps around both sides, too.

Oh my dear sweet Jesus…this thing does NOT want to take paint. Yes, I know sanding helps. No, I do not want to. It will take eight trillion coats to cover the grim jollity of the world’s tackiest cheer fest. I think dozens of My Little Ponies died painting this thing. I don’t know how, I just sense they did.

In spite of the fact that the original paint is still leering like an undead spector at me, I can already see improvement. My plans for the doors mean I can ease up on the frantic painting on those sections at least. This helps alleviate the “The hills, THE HILLS! The flowery, bloody, evil hills” that I keep muttering as I feverishly splash red paint about with terrified abandon.

Ok…the bad paint job has almost entirely gone away now. I am breathing more easily and the South Park episode “Christmas Critters” has ALMOST stopped flittering through my brain.

Drawer is painted copper, the sides are fully coated, and I know the door will soon be covered so thoroughly the scary romping cheermongers of doom will never escape that damn meadow. The door knobs are copper, too, and wanting a little extra detail up top (where formerly was seen a painted pink bow….a frightening, frightening bow) I stuck on a clear plastic self adhesive scrapbook detail and than splattered some copper paint on it.

Ha! Take that, frolicking hordes! I have covered the sylvan terror with sheet music (The Coronation Mass, same as the mirror I recently did) that has been aged with coffee and walnut ink. I decoupage it on the doors and the tiny piping voices of evil woodland creatures finally cease.

The little bun feet painted copper. A word about a couple of details: as horrible as the original paint job was, a couple of original bits were allowed to show through. The inside of the doors, for instance, went from a stark, uneven black and white stripe to a softer, more festive looking stripe reminiscent of a turn of the last century carnival or Moulin Rouge look. Very 19th century. It reminds me of carnival bunting or a lady’s walking costume, all striped silk and elegance. The round feet had a swirled design with that same feel, and I didn’t cover them quite as thickly to let that show through the copper.

The paper has been decoupaged on and a dry brushing of gold paint to make it shine more. It catches the light and adds to the luxe look I was going for. Suck it, flowery hills. The sides have also been dry brushed with a bit of gold/copper paint to help mask the last remnants of the first paint job, and the upper edges has likewise been kissed just a bit with the metallic paint.

Little drawers to hold my treasures.

And there we go. I realise that that super cute country look has its place. But sometimes it is time to step away from the Donna Dewberry “Peaceful Meadow” collection and let the developers take over.

Point #27- The Day the Music Died

18 Aug

No, seriously. I have defaced a tiny guitar. Top that for a Tuesday night.

So I bought this little guitar at a cheapo Asian export dollar type store…it’s hard to explain, it’s not quite a dollar store, it isn’t actually Asian imports like rugs or furniture. What it is is cheap crap, but super fun cheap crap out of which can be made all sorts of fun stuff. Also they sell a lot of “novelty” knives and other weaponry. That can’t possibly end badly.

One of the things they had at this store were little guitars, slightly larger that a ukelele, and unbelievably badly put together, for about ten dollars. It was very clear when I got it home that this thing was never going to be fit to be played, but I knew I would find a use for it. And then tonight, suddenly, I did. Hurray!

First a sanded it a little around the edges:

And painted the sides with three colours of metallic paint, to make it look gold leafed, sort of:

Then I snapped the pokey bits off of some copper brads and decorated the fret board:

Next, I acquired some fabric scraps. These were some really nice gold and red silk bits from a sample book:
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Started feeling a little punchy:

I think I might have hallucinated these guys.

Applied the silk scraps with Mod Podge. Got deeply concerned that the silk irreparably darkened as a result of the damp decoupage medium. Had mild rage as original vision of project floated away. Stared blankly at tiny, glued covered guitar for several minutes while fiance played Madden 10 in the background. Will now forever associate this with Cris Collinsworth voice, which is disturbing:

Once the Mod Podge started to dry, the patterns in the silk scraps started coming through beautifully, although my imagined view of a vibrantly coloured red and gold patchwork was gone. Instead, there was a really pretty, kind of antique Venetian carnival look to the surface. After staring at it a moment, I got an inspiration and brushed some gold lightly over the surface to give it a little shimmer. Because shimmer rox. Add a couple of little details, including a tiny “beautiful” plaque under the mirror, to remember I am beautiful even when I look like a troll with a disturbing skin condition.

This is the finished product. Feel free to “ooh”, and if you really feel like getting loose, “ah” as well:

I will add little hooks to the bottom, in the copper swirly pieces (which are simply sexy paper clips), so I can hang jewelry on them. Yay for me! It’s ok to think I am awesome.

Point #22-Walm-Art is okay.

4 Aug

I have invented a word. Following in the august footsteps of such lofty wordsmiths like Shakespeare and Sarah Palin, I have felt the need to create a term to describe some of the “art” I do. I have stated many times that I do not consider myself an artist. (Sidenote: there is one exception to this. If I am at a party, and I don’t want to sound like a useless, space sucking slacker, I will not respond to the query of “So what do you do?” with “As little as possible as I wait for the bleak and barren landscape of the economy to bloom with fertile majesty and bear fruit in the form of a low stress, high paying job for my exclusive pleasure, but in the meantime I mostly eat Hot Pockets and troll Facebook.” No. I say, “I am an artist.” Craftswoman, artisan, etc I believe indicate more industry and practical application of the concept of work than I am usually capable of rousing. Artists naturally slack.) Sometimes, though, I feel the need to have something on the walls that I have actually made. Some crafty type items, like decoupaged mirrors, or painted doodads count as decorative items, but because scrapbook pages or comical crocheted hats or whatever else my craft de jour look odd tacked haphazardly to walls, I make “art”. And I have dubbed it Walm-Art.

It’s simple really. You go to Walmart or similar discount emporium, you can find some surprisingly decent pieces for a normal, non-art buying person to hang above the flat screen. Sometimes the flat screen IS the thing on the wall, but your bathroom could use a picture of some flowers in a rustic jug sitting on the edge of a well in springtime. (raise your hand if you have seen the picture in your home, your parents’ home, or the homes of your friends. I knew it) It’s inoffensive, sedate, non-meaningful eye pap that can be bought for a song and cover up that spot the pizza hit the night you were so drunk you thought it was a Frisbee. I have made a few pieces of Walm-Art, in various media on canvas, and I think they do much toward making the walls of your cheap and beer soaked rental less, and I mean this from the bottom of my artistic soul, “gross”.


This are three Big Lots canvases, cheap as butt, painted by me to be vaguely evocative of a dogwood or something.

This:

and this:

were just made with Dollar Tree canvases printed with birds and flowers and shit that I painted over black and decoupaged paper pieced designs to.

Point #21-Mod Podge Rocks and I Need to Write More

3 Aug

Ah, muse…where have you been. No matter. Here I am again, on my own, bringing to the world more adventures of the Accidental Artisan and her latest obsession, the art of decoupage. It’s nothing new for me, having been wont to glue things to other things for some time now. Once upon a time it was random objects to my bedroom curtain, and that was before the drugs. Decoupage is awesome because it is so very basic and awesome.

Step 1: Find something.

Step 2: Find something flat. (like magazine cut outs, etc.)

Step 3: Glue the shit together.

That’s it! Ok, there’s slightly more to it than that. First off, Mod Podge is your friend and you should accept no substitutes. Second, have a vague plan. Third, if you are mosaic-ing things, lay down all the big stuff first and fill it in with littler things. Fourth, colour is also your friend. Go f***ing bananas. Go here:

for the best ideas on the whole entire Intarwebz.

In other news, I finally got a Holga, but have not developed any pictures from it, I am still planning a wedding, but it’s sort of on hold at the mo’, and the tree that was cut down will not die quietly, but I haven’t really trimmed the suckers recently. In short, my life is kind of a big soup of half assery and I am ok with that.

This was so easy. Just cut pieces of scrapbook paper of different patterns and Podged that effer together. I am quite pleased with it.