Tag Archives: IKEA

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.

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Point #29-Just Tell Yourself You Really WILL Paint the Spare Room Someday

2 Sep

I am obsessed with paint chips.

I promise I am going somewhere with this.

I collect paint chips with a furtive, secretive, obsessive glee that is going to land me on Hoarders one of these days, I swear. I have gone so far to acquire a small, desktop plastic little set of drawers to hold them, carefully arranged in order of colour and by manufacturer. I have even added a small label, helpfully proclaiming “PAINT CHIPS” in sensible white on black traditional label tape; indeed I used my handy (if slightly outdated) label maker, taking my customary pleasure in the solid “GRONCH! GRONHCH!” noise it makes as each letter is punched. I acquire these chips and then I sorta just…have them. It’s a pride of ownership thing that happens with many crafters, especially shoestring, seat of pants type crafters like me. You don’t even want to see the jar holding my bottle cap collection.

I knew someday that I would find use for this vast collection and recently I did! Now in the words of the great auteur Kevin Williamson (c’mon…you watched Dawson’s Creek, just freaking admit it)my idea is a “rip off of a rip off”, but I like my take on it. (Edit: I found the original post I was snaking the idea from!!!! In the world of commercial type art, those big canvases covered in colour blocks are very popular and tend to go with everything. The more expensive ones can be upwards of $200; the cheaper ones at Target are still around $50. As readers of this blog are aware, I tend not to spend money on commercial art I can make myselfand this was no exception.

Since I don’t have a start to finish tutorial on this, being a very simple project, I will share a few photos and then outline what I did. I know you are panting to know.




Pretty, no? And oh so easy peasy. I used some particularly cool almost square ones that are textured in some way…sandstone and Venetian plaster finishes and the like. I glued them down onto, of all the weird things, the packaging from a DAVE computer table from IKEA. The size and shape were perfect to emulate a broad canvas. Once they were all glued down, a quick smear of burgundy paint around each chip to rough up the edges and the whole thing looked painted. The whole thing was covered two layers of ModPodge to seal it and give it a nice shiny finish. Now, I wasn’t sure how to finish off the cardboard edges, which were not only the wrong colour, but also a bit torn from opening the merchandise to begin with, but some cool burgundy coloured duct tape wrapped around the edges finished it off nicely.

So there you go. Obsession is good, boys and girls. Hoard like mad. Saunter out of home improvement stores with your blouse stuffed with paint chips. Date the paint counter guy so he can hook you up. Live at the top of those big shelves and live off of plants in the nursery. No one will think it’s weird at all.

Point #28-Sometimes You Just Have to Let Your Geek Flag Fly

24 Aug

I think the main telling point of a crafty or creative person is an utter inability to let well enough alone. This is why places like IKEA are so popular to crafty types. You can buy a cheap pine box of some kind or a table made of sheet metal and do amazing things to it, making it a one of kind piece. Easy peasy. I was able to hit my local IKEA for the first time in awhile and purchased, among other only semi-necessary things, a long mirror, because I am tired of trying to see my whole self in the various windows and bits of mirror I have hanging about. Lying in bed yesterday evening, I was staring at the mirror, looking at its plain piney plain-ness (it’s still hanging crooked, dammit) and thinking “Oi, I have got to do something with that mirror, considering the increasing kickassery of the rest of my room.” (I will not apologise for my internal wordiness, either, and yes, that is how I talk to myself. 🙂 )

As I lay there, ideas swirling about, I got a visit from a very special muse. This is the same angel that whispers the very best character stats she can into the ears of eager little gamers sitting in a basement somewhere, the muse that tells that cosplayer exactly what leather bustier will make her bosoms the very perkiest. I was visited by the Dork Muse.

Here’s how it all went down, and you be the judge. Nerdiest project ever?

Started with my IKEA mirror:

Added some detail in the form of moulding corners on the bottom and washers of different sizes and textures for an old little carved, steam-punk, really-don’t-want-it-plain-and-lame look:



Painted the whole frame, including over the details, to give it first a base of bronze, and then two different shades of gold, to look sorta like old, gilded wood:

Here’s where it gets geeky. Harry Potter fans will see where this is going right away. (Those that do not, here is what I was going for. Not the same thing at all, but my own version: http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Mirror_of_Erised):

The word is made from some large cardboard letters, used primarily for scrapbooking and paper crafts. (A close look at the second “E” will reveal that, only having a singular E, I had to improvise with an F and a part of an L ruthlessly removed with a craft blade.) I glued them down onto a random board I had lying about-a lesson NEVER to throw out scrap wood! Next I needed to make the letters blend seamlessly with the board backing, almost carved or sculpted. You all know by now, I am a) pretty cheap and b) (say it with me, kids) lazy. I wanted something easy to spread, manipulate, and shape. Most would suggest a gel medium, but I had already gone to Home Depot for the moulding and washers and my feet hurt. I wasn’t going to the craft store for gel medium when I had perfectly good plaster of paris at home. The kiddie craft supplies, as stated in an earlier post, are often the best. Smearing that one was fun. I just brushed it over and around the letters, shaping a little beveled edge with my paintbrush, and added a scrollwork topper:

The plaque was painted in the same base shade and gold glazes, the letters first being drybrushed (generously) in black to make them stand out:

The topper piece was wood glued to the mirror and the whole shebang stuck on the wall:

So that was my nerdiest project to date. The &*%$ thing still isn’t hanging straight.