Playing Dress-Up!

Restoring or completely altering the look of a dusty old piece of furniture that you found at Father Time’s yard sale can sometimes seem like more work than it’s worth.

I’m here to tell you otherwise, my friend. Pretend I sound like Sam Elliott as I gently guide you through what it took to turn these…

dresser drawers, unfinished drawers

…into these.

white campaign dresser, refinished campaign dresser

Most of this project, and any other project as I have found them, comes down to prep work. And every time I try and take a shortcut, I get burned worse than Lana’s favorite, “Burnt Broccoli”. In this case, I tried to go straight to priming the body of the dresser before I sanded them. I thought a good wipe down would do the trick. I ended up with raised specks and lines of imperfections that would ultimately ruin the look of the finish. So, if you haven’t done this before, learn from me and just start with a good ol’ sanding.

sanding a dresser

Look at me. I’m doing it again. Jumping ahead with no regard to process. FIRST, you’ll want to remove the trademark brass fixtures from the campaign dresser drawers and the cabinet itself. The drawers are easy enough, just a couple screws and they pop right out. For the nailed in decorative pieces on the dresser I used a spackling knife to gently get in between them and the wood and pry them out. Keep everything in a little bag! You will lose these little nails if you don’t and I wouldn’t want to be the one trolling the internet trying to find replacements. Now back to the sanding.

sanded dressers

campaign dresser hardware

You don’t need to go crazy with it. These particular dressers were made with just a thin wood-like veneer pasted onto particle board. So you definitely don’t want to go on a sanding bonanza. Just a quick once over with a fine grain sandpaper (I used 220). The handheld Makita sander I have made it a snap and the 3M sheets helped me make sure it was perfect.

I’m lucky enough to have a workshop downstairs at our place. But good fortune also has a good sense of humor. Everytime I try and spray paint down there the smoke alarm goes off and I have to donate gas money to the fire department. This time, however, I had an equally poor idea. I’d spray paint in the garden room. Long story short, if you don’t want to spend the day after on your hands and knees cleaning up overspray like I did, go back to step one… Prep work! Eventually, after I had already made a mess, I covered the ENTIRE floor (not just the general area I was working in) with a tarp. This simple act should go without saying, but no one was watching me. And I like to play the long odds. I lost.

Let’s assume you’re not like me and you have protected your assets. Now you can get to MORE PREP WORK! Tape off the edges around the area where the drawer face meets the shelvy bit. Here’s a pic since I can’t seem to find the word that differentiates the two.

campaign dresser drawers

Lovely. Now start priming. I used this Rustoleum 2x coverage primer. Why? Because it said 2x. I don’t want to manually apply the second “X” if I don’t have to. It also says that it bonds to just about anything, which is the quality I look for in my primer just after seeing how many “X’s” it has. I gave them two coats. If you’re keeping score at home we are up to four “X’s”. Astonishing. What will modern science do for us next? Primer dries quickly, but it got dark, so I went to bed. Sidenote: I was painting barefoot. If you get primer on your toenails it will be there for a long time.

rust-o-lium primer

After a healthy rest you can continue. I happened to have a bunch of these X-O Rust gloss white spray paint cans from a previous project. They say, “Direct to Metal”. I say, “Don’t tell me what to do”. And guess what… beautiful. I’m not sure how X-O feels about having a Rustoleum space helmet on, but that thing really takes the pain outta your sprayin’ finger, so I say deal with it X-O. Two coats of this later and you’ll be on the home stretch. Sidenote 2: I didn’t tape anything off on the dresser itself. If I ever have anyone at my house removing drawers to see if there is overspray, I’ll need to rethink my choice in friends.

how to prime a dresser

If you plan on touching or using the dressers you’ll want to put some sort of clear coat on them. I went with Krylon clear gloss. Why? It was ? the price of Polycrylic and I knew, one day, I’d want an extra hot dog, and now that dream can come true. By now you’ll know how many coats I did. Three! I just went for it.

After the party I threw myself for doing a third coat wound down I got to replacing the hardware. My trusty bag had not disappeared any of the tiny nails so it was just a matter of lining everything back up. Here’s the face I make when I haven’t lost any critical pieces of a project. Pure joy.

joey make a house a home

Here’s the finished product again. And I gotta tell ya, I’m pretty happy with it. The drawers still pull out and everything!

white campaign dresser, refinished campaign dresser

refinished campaign dresser, white campaign dresser, sharron montrose, nursery dresser

No math, no measuring, no reason anyone couldn’t do the same. But wear shoes.

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Campaign Dresser Prep

I finally found a matching pair of campaign dressers on criagslist! They are the right shape, the right amount of drawers, and have all their hardware! I don’t know if it’s an East Coast thing, but it was super hard to find a pair at a reasonable price. I feel out West, they basically give them away. They are in far-from-perfect condition, but with a little DIY-TLC, I am pretty confident we can get them ready for the nursery and looking good enough for our little prince!

We have been inspired by so many great refinish jobs around the web! There are so many how-to’s out there (below is a tiny round up!), however we noticed most of them didn’t focus on the prep , so we wanted to dedicate a post to proper prepping before we got into distracting before and afters.

campaign dresser blue, campaign dresser

campaign dresser before and after

campaign dresser kids

campaign dresser how to

1. 2. 3. 4.

Before even deciding on a paint color(s) for the dressers, we decided to test the dressers for lead because we knew they were made and painted in the 70′s, and it being the 70′s you never know. Our hearts dropped when we did a lead test on the exterior of our home and found out it was positive for lead. Call us over cautious, but we didn’t want to store our baby’s clothes in a lead riddled dresser, or use it as a changing table until we knew. Check out Joey below take 30 seconds to give us peace of mind.

Whew. Looks good. I would hate for Joey (or you!) to dive into sanding and inhaling lead paint. After the most-important-part comes the fun DIY stuff. We recently learned the power of sanding in steps. We want a super smooth finish on these babies, so here is the trick we used to accomplish a smooth finish:

First, start off with multiple grit types of sandpaper. We used the 3M sheets below. Usually using grit 100-150 works best on flat surfaces (you can find a slew of tips  like this at 3MDIY.com)

3m sandpaper

What this does is creates a more even surface for you to then prime and paint. We want the dressers to have a smooth and glossy look once painted, so creating this foundation is really important.

We are not showing anything just yet because we have some surprises up our sleeves! Did you conquer one of the beauties yourself? Can we drool over your refinished campaign?! Share!

This post is a collaboration with 3M DIY. To learn more about safety and preparation, visit 3MDIY.com.

DIY Wooden Lamp Base with the Beatiful Emily of Merrypad!

Hi Friends! It’s been busy. You know the story! Our friend Emily from Merrypad did an awesome job on transforming some reclaimed wood into lamp bases and making DIY paper shades! You know how we love a good wood lamp base! Give her a nice warm welcome, and don’t forget to check out her site. The girl has mad DIY skills.

Hey friends of Joey & Lana! Happy to have been invited to play whilst miss Lana’s away (at NYIGF, lucky girl). Hope you enjoy this little tutorial (it’s one of my favorite pieces).

 

In my cozy real-life merry pad, I’m frequently scheming new ways to provide adequate lighting; the ceiling lights in every room are most often attached to fans and don’t produce much light, so I’ve slowly-slowly been building my own little lamps to illuminate the space from the ground up (I’m talkin’ desk lamps, floor lamps, anything that will make the place look brighter than the overhead lighting). I thought it might be fun to share one of my favorite how-to’s, making a wooden lamp base and DIY paper shade from scratch:


The inspiration started when I found a large piece of driftwood ashore on my local beach; the lumber is clearly something that had been used in real construction at some point in its history, it was well-weathered and had had a lot of potential thanks to rusted nails and sheer size. No, it’s not something you come across every day in this condition, but yes, you could pretty easily find a piece of lumber this size and manually stain/weather/beat it into submission with a hammer until it’s a comparable condition. Or submerge it in Lake Ontario for 6 months with an anchor.


 

Originally, I envisioned it as a 20″ tall lamp base, but after weighing my options and considering the scale of the lamp compared to the rest of the decor in the living room, I eventually cut it in half to create a matching set of driftwood lamps.

Cutting a hole all the way through the wood with a drill and a long paddle bit, I created an access hole for new wires to be run through.

I saved a few dollars by using the electrical system from a lamp I found at a garage sale, laying out all of the components to re-thread them into one of the new lamp bases. You can find the same components at the store pretty easily for <$15.

 

Running the cord up through the bottom hole in the wood block, I quickly had one lamp hooked up and lighting the room. (There’s an extra channel along the base of the wood block too, BTW, the wire isn’t being crushed at all.)

Following suit with the second block of wood, I now had a matching set of lamps to flank my couch and provide much needed light to the living room. They needed shades too, of course, and after considering a few store-bought drum shade options, I decided to create something myself, a low-cost decision that was worth trying; after all, if the DIY plan flopped or the shade eventually got destroyed, it could easily be replaced. You can use any heavy stock you want for a DIY shade like this, but I chose pages from a well-designed coloring book (literally, something I bought at Anthropologie and and been using sparingly over the last few months, like in projects like this). Because the pages were only 9×12, I chose a few of my favorite complementary pages and cut the pieces of paper into strips, only to hot glue them back together edge-by-edge in succession to create a more randomized effect.

Using an assemblage of pieces from old junky lamp shades (thrift store and garage sale finds), I began to craft something that would be a sturdy frame for the new paper shade to be affixed to.  

Cut, chop, e-6000 and clamp together, the lamp shade structure was starting to come together nicely. Here’s one example of how I created a form to rest on the lamp halo. 

 

I spray painted the frame components white, and once they were dried, looped the paper shade around it’s circumference and hot glued it directly to the frame. The round frame keeps the paper shade holding its form, and also sits right on top of the lamp halo with ease:

The duo complete, I’ve really enjoyed the warmth that they bring to the room; the ivory and black paper complements the gold/yellow walls and soft wood ties in nicely to other natural and reclaimed pieces in my house.

Thanks again to Lana for inviting me to share a little tutorial in her absence! Check out merrypad.com to learn more about me and see projects I’ve been working on.

The Tree is Done!

I am so  so so over the moon excited, happy, and overjoyed (they all mean the same thing, eh?) that the amazing mural Duane has been working on is, in fact, complete. It’s the most amazing tree I have ever seen in my entire life, and the face that it was created by one of the most amazing people I have met in my life, makes it beyond special. The Tree of Life, over at Disney use to be my favorite tree ever. That was until Joey broke my heart and told me it was a fake tree. Kinda like the day I found out Santa Clause wasn’t real.

So now we have our very own special fake tree, which was a total labor of love from our very special and methodical friend. Needless to say, it’s my new favorite tree. 

From this here above, to this here below, she was grown.

The details can not be missed!

There she is. We love her. And we love Duane too. Yay for another step in the kids room. 

 

TRUE VALUE BLOG SQUAD CHALLANGE – A BED FIT FOR A KING! The Final Chapter!

Drum roll please!!!! The day has come where we are actually sleeping on our brand spankin’ new King size bed we made from scratch! I can’t believe we finished this massive project. I cried. I actually cried the moment it was complete. Half out of pure frustration of the time it took, and half because I am so proud Joey was able to make the most beautiful bed! Behold (along with the glorious mess we made) the bed!

 

Now, this bed is HUGE. I’m not kidding or exaggerating. It’s massive. See the pillars behind it? Those are 7+ ft. tall. We had to inch it over into position, 3 inches at a time. It’s very rewarding to have finished, and we want to share how we completed this project!

We wanted some dark wood feet, so we bought raw feet from True Value and just stained them. A lot of the prep work for the bed can be found here, here, and here, including the feet. After they were stained we added them to the body Joey constructed.

 

For Christmas, I got Joey some new tools, which came in very handy while constructing the bed. The compressor I got him is super portable and he loves all the attachments you can get. For the bed the nail gun got used most.

After attaching the feet, all that was left to do was assemble the whole darn thing. First we attached the headboard, then attached the wings to the “back” of the headboard. We used the nailgun to secure the back to the headboard and some hinges to secure the wings. As you can see, we were super excited to see it all coming together.

To keep the mattress sturdy, we nailed down some “ladder” pieces to support the mattress. We used clamps to make sure it was all straight. We also numbered the pieces so when we reassembled, we knew it would be a perfect fit.

We would like to say it was easy, but it wasn’t. It was in challenge, but it is also an awesome reward. We made a bed from scratch. Our biggest DIY furniture project to date! We got exactly what we wanted, except now – we need to find a King size mattress we agree on! Let’s check her out one more time!

 

 

 

Fireplace Facelift: A (semi) Quicky Blog Squad Project

Good morning, friends! We have a few fireplaces in our home. Well, more like four. Ok, wait, three. See, the one is the basement is for “show”. Kinda weird, right? A faux basement fireplace….wonder what they were thinking when that happened. So the three real fireplace are in the living room, master bedroom, and my office. We were very excited about all the fire places when we moved in. We actively use the one in the master suite, and the one in the living room. We have plans for the living room one, kinda massive plans, but the rest will pretty much stay “as is”…almost. We liked the brick texture in the master bedroom, however the “red brick-ness” didn’t quite fit into out master plans. So we decided to give her a ‘lil face lift. First we thought painting it white would be good enough. Fail. After a few days I hated it.  Take a look.

So we figured out how to “rectify” the situation, and wound up with something we seriously love and absolutely fits in with what we are trying to do. Painting a brick fireplace is kind of scary. We aren’t going to lie. It’s a little permanent to be honest. But we are going to show you what to do, how to do it, and what it costs.

We started with the following:

1-2 paintbrushes – $2

Kilz sealer – $6

Easy Care semi Gloss in white- $8

Plastic tarp – $3

Paint pan – $2

Mini Roller – $3

Total for round: $24

We got all of our items at True Value, as well as advice on which brands would work best for this project. The fine people at True Value warned us that if we were going to paint brick, it was going to stick. They also advised us that the brands above were safe to paint the outside of a fireplace.

As you can see above, step 1 is pretty simple. Brush off any debris, and clean the area before priming. Paint the fireplace and let it dry for at least 24 hours. We believe in taping stuff off and suggest you do too if you like clean lines and ensuring not to paint the mantel or wall.

 

So you can see getting from step one to two is pretty easy. Getting from step two to three takes a little more work, but is so worth it. Joey figured out about half way through that spraying the painted brick with water helped the process of sanding. We tried a blow dryer before that, and it didn’t help much. We used a Milwaukee hand sander, and a dozen rough 60 grain pads to “rough her up” once it was completely dry.

It took about a solid hour to buff through the perfectly painted white paint, and transform it into more of an aged and weathered look. But here is our shiny new fireplace we love!

We have some styling to do around the fireplace, but now we are totally happy with the results of it’s new look. We encourage you to not be scared and go for it. It was really simple. The hardest part is making the decision! Once you do, stop by your True Value and ask a friendly face to walk you through the process and you’ll have a cheap and quick way to update your fireplace too.

Lets get legal: We were one of the 10 bloggers True Value has chosen to work on The Blog Squad , and we are way excited to take on the challenge of showing you exciting DIY projects.  They have compensated us for our time and writing, and provided materials for the projects we have worked on. However, our opinions are entirely our own and we have not been paid to publish positive comments. Did we mention we are excited to show you our DIY Blog Squad Projects?

 

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