I’m a serial upcycler. When I can find relatively free materials and turn them into something worth displaying, I’m thrilled! This Magnetic Chalkboard frame is one of those upcycled projects I am proud of.

Upcycled Magnetic Chalkboard Frame | Pretty Handy Girl

Upcycled Magnetic Chalkboard Frame

Earlier in the week, I showed you the changes I made in my oldest son’s bedroom. One of the switches I made was to replace his bedroom door because the old one had cracked after one too many slammings. Ugh, cheap hollow door.

In an effort to keep my son from taping all types of signs to his new door, I found an ugly old frame and married it with some scrap metal from a junky set of shelving a neighbor was throwing away.

bookcase in love with ugly frame

That’s not real wood, it’s metal…fake wood metal. Yuck. Wait until you see how they were transformed. You won’t believe your eyes, so watch closely how I made this Upcycled Magnetic Chalkboard Frame.

Before you leave this tutorial thinking you can’t possibly make this project because you’ll never be able to find cheap faux wood shelves, let me share with you some alternate materials you can use!

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Magnetic Material:

Non-Magnetic Material for Chalkboard:

Now that you have some additional material options, let’s get busy making a Magnetic Framed Chalkboard (or just a framed chalkboard).

Materials:

Upcycled Magnetic Chalkboard Frame | Pretty Handy Girl

Optional: You may need some Goo Gone, a scraper, and rag to eliminate any glue on the back of the frame.

Instructions:

Begin by cutting your metal (or backing) to fit into the back of the frame.

Upcycled Magnetic Chalkboard Frame | Pretty Handy Girl

Paint one side of the metal with chalkboard paint. Let it dry. Apply a second coat of chalkboard paint. Let it dry.

Upcycled Magnetic Chalkboard Frame | Pretty Handy Girl

While the chalkboard paint is drying, time to work on the frame.

If your frame has paper on the back, peel it off and use Goo Gone, a scraper, and sander to remove any of the glue residue.

Upcycled Magnetic Chalkboard Frame | Pretty Handy Girl

 

When the chalkboard paint has dried, insert it into the frame, chalkboard side up from the backside of the frame (are you seeing where I’m going with this?)

Upcycled Magnetic Chalkboard Frame | Pretty Handy Girl

The back of the frame is much prettier than the front, but in order to hold the chalkboard in place, we need to cut some picture molding. Cut the end of your molding at a 45 degree angle. Fit it into the frame and mark where to make your second cut.

Upcycled Magnetic Chalkboard Frame | Pretty Handy Girl

Continue fitting and cutting molding around your frame.

Upcycled Magnetic Chalkboard Frame | Pretty Handy Girl

Once all four pieces of molding fit, you are ready to secure them.

Upcycled Magnetic Chalkboard Frame | Pretty Handy Girl

Apply a bead of wood glue along the inside edge of the back of the frame.

Upcycled Magnetic Chalkboard Frame | Pretty Handy Girl

Set the molding pieces in place and wipe up any glue that squeezes out.

Upcycled Magnetic Chalkboard Frame | Pretty Handy Girl

Clamp the molding pieces and the frame. Allow the glue to dry for at least an hour.

Upcycled Magnetic Chalkboard Frame | Pretty Handy Girl

When the glue has dried. Attach two D-rings to the back of the frame.

Upcycled Magnetic Chalkboard Frame | Pretty Handy Girl

Season the chalkboard with the side of a piece of chalk. Then use a dry rag to buff it off.

Time to hang it up! (In my case, I hung it on my son’s door.

Upcycled Magnetic Chalkboard Frame | Pretty Handy Girl

To keep the frame from bouncing any time the door is opened or closed, I put a 3M Command velcro strip between the bottom of the frame and the door.

Now my son can put up pictures, messages, and more without damaging the door.

Upcycled Magnetic Chalkboard Frame | Pretty Handy Girl

Pretty cool huh?! Would you ever guess the back of an ugly frame and metal shelves could look this beautiful?

Upcycled Magnetic Chalkboard Frame | Pretty Handy Girl

I especially like the little metal fasteners showing in the corners of the frame.

Tell me, do you have an ugly frame hanging around your house? Have you ever looked at the back and found it more beautiful than the front?

PHGFancySign

 

Pin for later!

How-to-faux-paint-a-fake-pumpkinHow to Fake a Fake Pumpkin

Have you seen those neon orange fake pumpkins and nearly vomited because you wouldn’t dream of decorating with them. I mean—get real—everyone would know they were fake. Ah ha, but have you seen the price tags? $1 – $6? For that price you might just be willing to take a leap of faith with me, wouldn’t you? Awesome, because I’m going to show you how to faux paint a fake pumpkin so you can decorate with them year after year and fool your friends.

Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

materials

Instructions:

Start by painting all the pumpkins with Chalk Paint (use gray, white, green and blue paint.) Allow the pumpkins to dry.

paint-pumpkins-french-linen

Painting Realistic White Pumpkins:

It helps to look up some pictures of real pumpkins to refer to.

pure-white-country-grey

Using the stencil brush, paint a mixture of grey and white on one of the pumpkins.

paint-white-mixture

Before the paint dries, dab some of it off with the sea sponge. (Keep your sea sponge dry, not wet during the process.)

sponge-off-white

Dip the stencil brush into the white paint and add paint on the outer most bumps on the pumpkins. This is adding highlights.

highlights_on-white-pumpkin

Dab the highlights gently with the sea sponge to blend.

sponge-off-white-2

Use the fan brush dipped in a small amount of green paint inside the pumpkin ridges. Dab the ridges with the sea sponge to blend.

white-gourd-pumpkin

Have you ever seen a truly unblemished pumpkin? I think not. It’s time to add some spots or marks on the pumpkin to truly fool your friends. Dip the end of the paint brush into brown paint and dot it onto the pumpkin. Blot the spot with a sea sponge and maybe even transfer a few new spots with the sponge.

add-blemishes

Paint grey around the base of the stem and into the grooves with the round paint brush.

add-dark-depth-around-stem

Paint brown and green paint onto the pumpkin stem. Blend slightly with the sea sponge.

paint-sponge-stem

Can you spot my fake white pumpkin? Well, of course you can because I just showed you how to paint it. But, it will definitely fool your friends!

grouping_left_pumpkins

Painting Realistic Blue Pumpkins:

Painting blue pumpkins uses the same technique as painting the white pumpkins, only using a few different colors.

Use the stencil brush to paint blue onto another pumpkin. Dab the blue paint while it’s still wet with the sea sponge.

add-duck-egg-blue-sponge

Use the fan brush dipped in gray and brown craft paint to fill in the ridges.

darken-crevices

Dab the paint with the dry sea sponge to blend.

sponge-crevices

Add some highlights with a mixture of grey and white. This serves two purposes. 1) It adds dimension. 2) It tones down the excess blue on the pumpkin.

add-highlights

Paint the stem the same way you learned above.

To truly fool people, set up your fake pumpkins with some real pumpkins and real gourds. Sooo, can you spot the fakes?

guess-the-fakes

How many did you get right? The metallic gourd is simply spray-painted with copper spray paint. But, I did try my hand at faking a green and yellow gourd using the same technique as the pumpkins, but adding green to the top and yellow to the bottom.

the_fakes

Okay, I’ll give you a second shot. Guess the fakes:

vertical-fall-vignette

How did you do this time? Ha, you can now apply for a job as an art forgery detective ;-).

truth_fake_gourds
Now seriously, how many people will be viewing your pumpkins that close? Umm, next to no one. Normally they’ll view them from afar.

full-living-room-shot

Get your paints and palette out and go fake some fakes! It will be our little secret.

fall-vignette-grouping

PHGFancySignDid you like this painting post? Ahhh, then I know you’ll like this Ballard Pear painting tutorial:

Or if you’re feeling like taking on a larger scale project…how about Faux painted bricks!

Or perhaps you’d like to perform some faux zinc painting magic:

You can do it! I know you can.

We recently completed Habitat for Humanity Bathroom Renovations in a Weekend.

I don’t usually work for others, but when the executives at my local Habitat for Humanity office asked me to come in and take a look at their dated bathrooms, I said I could. But, I quickly stated I don’t traditionally offer my general contractor services to anyone. Most of you know that Habitat for Humanity is one of my top charities. And for good reason! Our local Habitat for Humanity has built over 600 homes to help address the affordable housing crisis in our area. I would do anything for this organization, but renovating two bathrooms wasn’t a job I’d usually tackle unless it was for one of my own properties.

However, when I saw their sad and dated twin bathrooms, I changed my mind about offering my services. I knew I could improve the bathrooms as a way of thanking the employees for the work they do for our community. I also knew it would be a great way to keep busy before closing on Millie’s Remodel. Between Habitat for Humanity’s calendar and mine, we finally settled on the last weekend before I signed the contract on Millie.

In my head, I thought it would be a quick two day renovation easily accomplished over a weekend. Instead, it turned into a four day marathon working into the evening on two of those days. In an effort to explain my faulty time estimation skills, I submit two facts:

  1. I’m an overly optimistic person. I will always see the glass half full.
  2. I’m not the sharpest math person and forgot to multiply my time by two for two bathrooms.

Oops! Luckily, I got some help from two local friends: Sophie from @TheHipperFam and Stephanie from @UncommonOutpost. Without their help, I might still be working on these bathrooms.

The Before:

Although the pictures look dark, what you can’t see in these photos is the horrible flickering fluorescent light fixtures. The lighting was so dismal, I knew I had to change out the fixtures. Because no matter what updates were made, the lighting would always act as a wet blanket on the new look.

The old vanities were both built for handicap accessibility which left no room for storage under the sinks. Therefore, each bathroom had a ReStore salvaged kitchen cart to make up for the lack of storage. But, the carts were dirty and looked out of place in the bathrooms. I knew I had to come up with a plan to get rid of them.

Speaking of dirty, the walls definitely needed a new coat of paint. The grime and scuffs were everywhere.

The Design:

For the design plans, I challenged myself to work within a small budget and use as many items as possible from the Habitat ReStore. With this in mind, I created a plan in Photoshop and submitted it to Habitat for Humanity for approval.

Luckily they loved the design idea and gave me the go ahead to renovate the bathrooms. But, I kept a few things secret from them. After all, what fun is a makeover project without a little surprise, right?!

The Renovation Plan:

  • Electrician to replace CFL tube lights with LED Recessed Can Lights
  • Pretty Handy Girl build storage cabinet and one handicap sink frame
  • Plumber to Remove Sinks and Toilets
  • Remove all Fixtures from Bathroom
  • Remove Flexible Vinyl Baseboards
  • Clean and Patch Walls
  • Clean floor with TSP Cleaner
  • Paint Walls
  • Lay Waterproof LVT Flooring
  • Sand and Prep Reclaimed Lumber
  • Install Reclaimed Wood Wall
  • Install Vanities
  • Add Wood Baseboards and Paint
  • Plumber Replaces Toilets and Installs Faucets
  • Add Mirrors, Art, and Replace Fixtures
  • Stand back and admire the renovation results (and snap a few pictures)

Let the Habitat for Humanity Bathroom Renovations Begin:

A few days before I started the renovation, my electrician stopped by the offices to swap out the old fluorescent lights with brighter (and less flickery) recessed LED lights. Immediately the room felt brighter, but it wasn’t as bright as I had hoped. To help lighten the space more, I chose light paint shades for the walls. The colors I selected are from Magnolia Home Paint Line because I loved working with the paint in the Saving Etta house.

The handicap accessible bathroom was painted Carter Creme. I knew this color would look beautiful with the reclaimed wood wall and add a little warmth to the room.

Carter Creme paint color by Magnolia Home Paint

I would have liked to use the same color in the other bathroom, but the vanity color  was already a cream color and I didn’t want to draw attention to the slightly dated vanity color (or accidentally match it). Using Cloudy Gray, a paint color with cool tones, helped tone down the warmth of the vanity and provided some contrast.

Cloudy Gray paint color walls by Magnolia Home Paint

Both paint colors were light enough to do wonders for improving the light in the windowless bathrooms.

After painting, Sophie and I worked the afternoon to lay LVT waterproof flooring (also from the ReStore) in one bathroom. The flooring went in very easily, but we did have to slow down to cut around the toilet flange and the doorway.

After Sophie left, I tackled the second bathroom floor, working late into the night. It’s amazing what a difference the new waterproof LVT flooring made in these bathrooms.

On Sunday, Stephanie helped sand and prep reclaimed lumber from the ReStore for installation. We ran out of weathered boards, so had to improvise with a vinegar and steel wool concoction I whipped up the night before. My friend, DIY Pete, has a great tutorial for making this solution here. After the boards were dry, she and I clad the back walls of the bathrooms with the reclaimed lumber.

To achieve the striped look, we alternated the weathered side with the protected side of the wood. These boards were originally subflooring in an old house, so they have lots of character, nail holes, and a beautiful warm color. To protect the boards from water and to keep them from flaking, we coated them with a clear varnish.

Finally on the afternoon of Day 4, I gave my plumber the go ahead to come back to install the new toilets (courtesy of Wilkinson Supply Co.) and the sink faucets. Stephanie and I worked feverishly ahead of him trying to hang the mirrors and art.

We replaced the dated oak mirrors with pretty gold framed ones. I found the first mirror super cheap at a thrift store.

The other one was a gold art frame from the ReStore. I replaced the picture with mirrored glass and it looks like it was always a mirror!

This is a little message area was created by screwing two drawers (salvaged from the ReStore) together and adding cork and a clip board.

The handicap bathroom needed additional storage since it didn’t have a sink cabinet. To solve the issue, I built this little wall cabinet using an old window from the ReStore.

Then I added a little reclaimed door latch to keep the door closed. Hooks on the side are for hanging up a purse or light jacket.

Two Bathrooms in One Weekend – The Reveal:

Are you ready to see the final results? First here’s a reminder of what the bathroom looked like four days earlier. (The new LED light was already installed by my electrician in this photo.)

Habitat for Humanity Bathroom Renovations

And here’s what the same bathroom looks like now!

Originally I thought we could secure the sink base to the studs. But, after discovering the studs were all metal, we decided to add one leg to the front corner of the sink apron for more support.

The art quotes were created by reusing ReStore art frames. I simply created some watercolor art and added the quote in Photoshop.

Habitat for Humanity Bathroom Renovations

The twin bathroom looked like this before:

And now!

The sink vanity was from the ReStore. We were lucky the Raleigh ReStore has a huge selection of donated cabinets.

Habitat for Humanity Bathroom Renovations

I documented the entire renovation on video, hopefully, you’ll enjoy watching the whole Habitat for Humanity Bathroom Renovations process.

Want to Help Habitat for Humanity and Work Along Side Me?

Have you ever wished you could work next to me? Learn some tricks and tips of the trade? Well, now you can! I’ve signed up to volunteer for this year’s Women Build, She Nailed It Campaign with our local Habitat. This is a one day opportunity to help build a house with ALL WOMEN! Don’t be intimidated, you won’t be asked to do anything you aren’t comfortable with. But, you may gain a little empowerment and learn a new skill or two!

Habitat for Humanity Women Build Charlotte, NC | Pretty Handy Girl

The date is Saturday, September 28th in Wake Forest and I’d love to meet you there and share a day of swinging hammers. What do you say? Want to join me? If you can’t, but still want to contribute, please make a donation to the Women Build Campaign. Even the smallest donation will help us accomplish our goal.

Again, I have to give a huge shout out to Sophie from @TheHipperFam and Stephanie from @UncommonOutpost who came to help me on this project and gave up their weekend. Also, a big thank you to ALM Plumbing and Wilkinson Supply Co. for donating the toilets.

I hope you liked the video. If you aren’t subscribed to my YouTube channel, definitely do so now to stay up to date on all my tutorials and renovation projects!

Subscribe to my YouTube Channel

See you all soon.

Be sure to pin this image to share how to accomplish a bathroom renovation in one weekend!

 

How to Install Privacy Film on WindowsHow to Install Privacy Film on Windows

Do you have a window in your house that puts you on full display? Or maybe your neighbor’s house is very close to your’s and you feel like they can see in your window (especially a bathroom or bedroom window.) Sure you can add curtains or blinds, but then you won’t get the natural light you want from your windows. Today I have the solution to your privacy needs without blocking the light. Let me show you how easy it is to install privacy film to your windows with professional looking results.

Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

About the Privacy Film:

Before we begin, I have to tell you when Stick Pretty approached me about using their product I was thrilled to find they have some very attractive options for privacy film! Those of us that shop at the big home improvement stores know the options for privacy film are fairly limited. Feast your eyes on just a few of the beautiful adhesive film patterns Stick Pretty has to offer:

And there is a semi-transparent option for blurred viewing (less opaque.)

That’s not all. You can also order any of the patterns in a sheer adhesive film to dress up your windows. All the adhesive window films are customizable with white, fog, mushroom, or black designs.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Stick Pretty also sells tile decals (to brighten your tiles or cover up ugly tiles.)

And they offer decorative adhesive panels for use on walls, furniture, or anywhere your imagination can think of.

If you find yourself falling in love with any of the products on the Stick Pretty website, don’t forget to get 20% OFF your order if you use the code: “PrettyHandyGirl” at checkout.

Now, on to the tutorial for installing privacy film on  your windows.

Instructions:

Watch this quick video to see how easy it is to install privacy film to any window.

Step 1. Clean

Use glass cleaner and a lint free rag to clean the window really well. Make sure there’s nothing on the glass that will stick under the adhesive film (which would stick there forever until you take it off).

Step 2. Measure & Cut

Measure each pane of glass on your window. Add 1/8 of an inch, because it’s better to cut the film too big. We will cut off the excess at the end.

Transfer your measurements onto the privacy film. Use a sharp x-acto blade and a metal ruler to guide your cuts. Apply gentle pressure as you cut the film.

3. Installing the Privacy Film

Carefully peel up your privacy film and take it to the window immediately. If you wait, dust can settle onto your film.

The key to a really good adherence of the film to the window (with no bubbles or wrinkles) is to use a mixture of water and a few drops of dish soap in a spray bottle.

It also helps to use a good squeegee.

Spray a liberal amount of the water and soap mixture onto the glass. If you find the film sticking too much to the glass, spray more of the mixture onto the glass.

Line up the film at the top. Using your hands, push from the center, down and out to set the privacy film. If needed, lift the film and reposition.

Use the squeegee to push out any water and air bubbles. Again, working from the center out and top down.

Use a clean rag and run it along the edges to clean up any water that has squirted out.

Step 4. Trimming Excess

If your film is too large and overlaps off the glass, take a sharp x-acto knife and cut off the excess. Peel off the trimmed excess.

Then squeegee the film again and clean it up any water from the edges.

You can see the difference between the regular window glass and the glass with privacy film on it below.

Half installed window privacy film see the difference

After installing your privacy film, you may see some ghosting between the film and the window. As long as you have pushed all the air bubbles out of the film, the ghosting should go away after a few days. (Can you spot the ghost spots in the picture below? Within 48 hours they had disappeared.)

Hopefully this tutorial will help someone reclaim some privacy in their home without giving up natural light! Pin this image to share with a friend:

How to Install Privacy Film on Windows

Friends, I have a question for you:

I decided to let the video tutorial guide you through the process on this tutorial instead of the usual step-by-step photos. Let me know what you think and if you miss the photos when there is a video tutorial. Thanks for your feedback.

Disclosure: Stick Pretty sent me the privacy film at no cost to try out on the Saving Etta project. I was not told what to say. All opinions are my own. If you use the coupon code: “PrettyHandyGirl” on the StickPretty.com website, you will receive a discount and I will receive a small percentage of the sale. As always, I am very particular about the brands I represent on this website and will always let you know if you are reading a sponsored post or if I received free materials.

If you liked this tutorial and want to add a layer of security to your glass doors or windows, you’ll appreciate my tutorial for adding security film to your home.

How to Add Security Film to Glass Doors & Windows | Pretty Handy Girl

Rustic Wooden Caddy with a Branch Handle

Spring is right around the corner and I’m itching to cut some fresh flowers to bring inside. I love displaying them in jars placed inside rustic wooden caddies. Making a little caddy or tote out of salvage wood and branches can be an easy beginner DIY project. But, it’s also satisfying for experienced woodworkers looking to use up some old scraps or upcycle an old wooden box. Here’s how to elevate a simple wooden box into something more quirky and special by adding a branch handle.

Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

I happened to be browsing through a yard sale and spotted a sad little box begging for me to buy it and give it a new life:

How could I say no! It was only $3. I couldn’t leave it at the yard sale in its sad burgundy dust-covered state. I brought it home so it could sit in my garage collecting more dust. (This happens more often than I’d like to admit. It’s a sickness I have.)

Using the pry bar and pliers, I pulled off the lid of the box and removed any nails.

Then I had a basic box to work with. You can use this tutorial to create a simple box if you don’t have one.

Instructions:

Cut upper handle supports out of 1×3 or other scraps. Clamp them inside the box.

Pre-drill holes and drive wood screws through the sides of the box and into the vertical supports.

Now it the time to finish the wooden caddy using your choice of paint or stain. (I like to create a rustic look using a relatively dry brush and by letting some of the wood grain show through your brush stokes.)

While the paint is drying, use a hack or coping saw to remove any bumps or burrs from your branch.

Measure the ends of your branch and select the spade bits that are closest in diameter to your branch (you want the holes to be equal to or wider than the branch.)

Drill a hole into each side of the vertical handle supports.

Insert the branch into the side of the caddy. You might have to experiment with which direction to install the branch.

Fill some jars with flowers and set them inside the crate.

Set it out in a prominent spot in your home.

Enjoy your shabby chic crate, caddy, tool box, or whatever you like to call it.

Personally I can’t get enough of this branch handle:

I’m curious, would you have bought that little dusty box too?!

If you liked this tutorial, you’ll love these other easy DIY Projects:

Mini-Picket Fence Caddy

Make a Driftwood Gift Crate | Pretty Handy Girl

Make Your Own Driftwood Crate

How to Re-Paint Dated DecorWant to know How to Repaint Dated Decor?

Raise your hand if you are a thrift shopper? No, what about yard sales? Have you ever seen any ugly ceramic decor items that shouldn’t have survived the 70’s or 80’s? Nodding your head YES? I thought so. Today I’m going to show you How to Repaint Decor. Those dated monstrosities can look like something you bought from Ballard Design or Pottery Barn! Don’t believe me, well check out this groovy pair (emphasis on pear. LOL.)

Would you believe this is the same fruit duo?

Yup! I scored them both for $5.

Now, have you seen these deliciously rustic pears from Ballard Designs? Yes? Did you happen to catch the price tags? $49 each!

Umm, no thank you, I’ll stick with my $2.50 fruit—Thank you very much. Let me show you how you can paint any ceramic, pottery, or china decor item to give it a new updated look. You’ll need a few things first.

Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Optional: Rustoleum Comfort Spray Paint Handle (saves your fingers from cramping!)

Instructions:

Clean your decor item with soap and water. Dry thoroughly.

Lightly sand the surface to give a little roughness.


Lay your decor item(s) on paper and spray with several thin coats of spray primer. Allow the primer to dry.


Spray several light coats of Rustoleum’s Heirloom White spray paint. Allow to dry.


If you want, you can leave the base color white. But, if you want to color your item, mix a base color with the acrylic craft paints. Using the fan brush use a “cross-hatch” pattern to apply the paint onto your item. (This gives more depth and interest than painting on a thick coat of paint.)

Next mix your glaze by combining acrylic paint (Mix raw sienna (dark brown), burnt sienna (red brown) and yellow ochre until you have a nice golden brown antiquing color.) Pour a small circle of glaze material onto your plate. Dip the fan brush into the glaze medium and then into the mixed acrylic paint. Dab off some paint onto the paper plate (you don’t want your brush to be saturated.) Brush the glaze onto the item and use the fan brush to blend the glaze around. Feel free to use the same cross-hatch pattern you did earlier.

Work in small areas and brush the glaze around until your brush doesn’t have any more glaze on it.
Then use a rag to dab around the decor item until you are happy with the results.

Paint any features onto your decor item (stems, branches, faces, etc.) To paint the pear’s leaf, try a dark brown (raw sienna) and a yellow ochre for the highlights. Acrylic paint is really forgiving. If you don’t like it you can paint over it.


I couldn’t be happier with the results of my repainted home decor! I saved myself about $95 for two decor items!
This fruit decor is perfect for any season . . .

But, I like to bring them out in the fall.


Happy thrifting y’all! Never leave cheap dated decor behind again.

Did you see that ladder above? It is the other half of this ladder and I added shelves to create my own ladder display shelves!

Ladder Shelves

A refinished wooden sideboard left with a natural stain – not painted! Learn how to refinish this sideboard.

Have you ever turned down a piece of furniture that looks ruined? Aha, today’s rocker is Emily and she has the superpower to make furniture look brand new again!  On the Rockstar DIY stage today is a performance you won’t forget. Emily will single-handedly take you through the steps of Refinishing a Mid-Century Sideboard.

Rockstar DIY Series

If you haven’t met Emily yet, she is truly a Rockstar! Emily lives in Rochester, NY and is ALWAYS working on an amazing home improvement project.

Emily-MerryPad

Emily can be found with a hammer, saw or drill in her hands at MerryPad. She has painstakingly renovated two homes. And, as if she wasn’t busy enough with home projects (and taking care of a baby and her step-daughter), she can also be found blogging at DIYNetwork’s Made + Remade. That girl is a machine!

Oh, I hear the sound of a sander, so put your hands together and give it up for Emily!

page_break_2

Hey guys! Super nice to meet you. If we haven’t already met, I figured there’s one thing you should know about me: I really like getting my hands dirty. Building furniture can be fun, and learning how to maintain my home has brought me a lot of pleasure, but if you see me and you notice my hands and arms are coated by stain? Well, you’ll know that I’ve been having a really good time (and I’ve probably run out of mineral spirits, again). Refinishing and restoring furniture–and cabinets, and floors, among other things–is one of my favorite DIY endeavors, always a fun learning experience, and always an opportunity to bring new life into an item that was once beautiful. I’ve had some lucky secondhand finds over the years, from bedside tables to chairs, but one of my favorite transformations was this Bassett Sideboard that I scored from a garage sale for $15.

How to refinish a vintage midcentury sideboard with scratches and water damage.

T’was one of my first refinishing projects, swoon.

If you’re tackling your first refinishing project (or just looking for tips), here are the products and tools I used for this makeover:

  • Detail palm sander and normal sandpaper to get into small crevices
  • Rags (general clean up cloths, and old rags or socks for applying the stain)
  • Tack cloths (the tack cloths are wonderful for cleaning all evidence of sanding dust before staining)
  • A paint brush and high-density foam roller (for application of the conditioner and polyurethane topcoat)
  • Pre-stain wood conditioner
  • Oil-based stain (for this piece I chose English Chestnut by Minwax)
  • Gloss polyurethane

An extraordinary amount of sanding went into eliminating the damage that had existed in the top surface. Scratches are relatively easy to cure, but you never know how bad the water damage is until you start sanding deep, as evidenced by this progress photo:

How to refinish furniture with scratches and water damage.

Elbow grease and a few more courses of low-grit sandpaper (80-120) helped to transform the surface of the sideboard into a raw wood state and eliminate the visible water rings. You might find that your water damage runs deeper – every case is different. Read more

It occurred to me the other day that many woodworking projects may deter people simply because they don’t have power tools or they don’t know how to use them yet. For that reason, I created this tutorial to help you Build a Vintage Produce Crate Centerpiece using no power tools!
How to Build a Rustic Crate Centerpiece (No Power Tools Needed!) #DIYCourage | Pretty Handy Girl

Build a Vintage Produce Crate Centerpiece – No Power Tools!

Many people are turned off by DIY projects because they fear using a power tool. Although I can tell you, I know you can learn how to use power tools safely, let’s go ahead and skip them today so you can get your hands busy creating a beautiful crate. This little vintage produce crate can be used anywhere in your house on display. Use it as a centerpiece, or in the office to hold files or utensils, or fill it with flowers or small items to give as a gift.

Regardless of how you use this little vintage crate, you’re going to love making it.

Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

How to Build a Rustic Crate Centerpiece (No Power Tools Needed!) #DIYCourage | Pretty Handy Girl

Optional: 

Instructions:

I happen to stumble across this vintage produce crate and vintage bottles that a neighbor was giving away. If you don’t have a neighbor who periodically gives away vintage produce crates, you can ask your local grocery store for produce crates you can salvage. Or you can purchase a produce crate on Amazon. Or look for thin slats at the hardware store to use for this crate. (Then you can learn how to fake the Aged Wood Look yourself.)

How to Build a Rustic Crate Centerpiece (No Power Tools Needed!) #DIYCourage | Pretty Handy Girl

The crate I had was very rustic. So rustic, that I was able to pull the bottom slats off the crate with my bare hands. (In hindsight, I should have been wearing my gloves to avoid splinters.)

How to Build a Rustic Crate Centerpiece (No Power Tools Needed!) #DIYCourage | Pretty Handy Girl

If you want to spare your hands, use a handsaw to remove the slats. Set them aside for use later.

How to Build a Rustic Crate Centerpiece (No Power Tools Needed!) #DIYCourage | Pretty Handy Girl

After removing the slats, pry up the nails with a prybar. Be sure to wear gloves to protect your hands. Stubborn nails can usually be wiggled out with the needle-nosed pliers.

How to Build a Rustic Crate Centerpiece (No Power Tools Needed!) #DIYCourage | Pretty Handy Girl

Any nails that are too rusty to remove can be hammered into the wood.

How to Build a Rustic Crate Centerpiece (No Power Tools Needed!) #DIYCourage | Pretty Handy Girl

Align the front and back of the produce crate with the bottles or vases you will display in your crate. Or use 5″ as a general measurement from the outside front to outside back. Measure the distance to cut your sides, or just lay one of the slats next to the front and back and mark where to cut it with a pencil.

How to Build a Rustic Crate Centerpiece (No Power Tools Needed!) #DIYCourage | Pretty Handy Girl

Cut down the salvaged slats to 5″ widths (or your own bottle measurement). Using a miter box will help keep your cuts square.

How to Build a Rustic Crate Centerpiece (No Power Tools Needed!) #DIYCourage | Pretty Handy Girl

Squeeze wood glue onto the bottom of the produce crate front and back pieces.

How to Build a Rustic Crate Centerpiece (No Power Tools Needed!) #DIYCourage | Pretty Handy Girl

Set one of the 5″ slats into the glue and staple the slat into the crate front and back. Three staples per side should hold the slat while the glue dries. If the slat doesn’t lie flush with the crate, you might need to clamp the slat while the glue dries.

How to Build a Rustic Crate Centerpiece (No Power Tools Needed!) #DIYCourage | Pretty Handy Girl

Repeat for the opposite side by stapling the slat to the bottom. Continue working toward the center of your crate.

How to Build a Rustic Crate Centerpiece (No Power Tools Needed!) #DIYCourage | Pretty Handy Girl

Attach one slat to the sides of the crate with wood glue and staples.

How to Build a Rustic Crate Centerpiece (No Power Tools Needed!) #DIYCourage | Pretty Handy Girl

You’ll notice I left spaces between the slats for that vintage produce crate look. If you want, you can butt the slats tight up against one another. Clamp your crate as the wood glue dries.

If you have a true vintage produce crate, you might need to secure what is left of the label. Gently wipe the crate and label with a damp rag.

How to Build a Rustic Crate Centerpiece (No Power Tools Needed!) #DIYCourage | Pretty Handy Girl

Apply a coating of Mod Podge to the underside of any parts of the label that are peeling up. Then apply a second coat of mod podge over the entire label to seal it to the crate.

How to Build a Rustic Crate Centerpiece (No Power Tools Needed!) #DIYCourage | Pretty Handy Girl

When the crate is dry, load it up with vintage bottles filled with fresh flowers.

How to Build a Rustic Crate Centerpiece (No Power Tools Needed!) #DIYCourage | Pretty Handy Girl

Place it on your table and invite a friend for lunch.

How to Build a Rustic Crate Centerpiece (No Power Tools Needed!) #DIYCourage | Pretty Handy Girl

The conversation will surely turn to your Rustic Produce Crate Centerpiece you made yourself.

How to Build a Rustic Crate Centerpiece (No Power Tools Needed!) #DIYCourage | Pretty Handy Girl

Which you can proudly say you made…by hand…without any power tools.

How to Build a Rustic Crate Centerpiece (No Power Tools Needed!) #DIYCourage | Pretty Handy Girl

Want to know where I got my shirt? The Duluth Trading Company Crosscut Performance Flannel Shirt is super comfortable. It’s like wearing your PJs all day. The flexible gussets in the back give you more freedom of movement while working. FYI, the crosscut flannel shirt is on clearance right now. If you don’t see the color you want, check back in early fall to snag your favorites (but don’t wait, they go fast.)

How to Build a Rustic Crate Centerpiece (No Power Tools Needed!) #DIYCourage | Pretty Handy Girl

PHGFancySign

 

Pin for later!

Build a Vintage Produce Crate Centerpiece using no power tools whatsoever! | Pretty Handy Girl #DIY #rusticcrate #DIYcrate

How to Refinish Wood Floors without Sanding | Pretty Handy Girl
How to Refinish Wood Floors without Sanding

I love our antique heart pine floors! They are beautifully distressed. The round pegs and square nails securing them in place add loads of character. However, the square nails sit flush with the surface preventing us from ever being able to refinish them with a sander. The nails would tear up the sandpaper in no time. But, that’s no problem because I know a way to Refinish Wood Floors without Sanding!

 

How to Refinish Wood Floors without Sanding | Pretty Handy Girl

From time to time, our floors start to look dull…

How to Refinish Wood Floors without Sanding | Pretty Handy Girl

…and the scratches are more noticeable. This is when I know it’s time to refinish them.

How to Refinish Wood Floors without Sanding | Pretty Handy Girl

The first time I refinished our floors, it was several years ago when we were painting the office and dining room. I decided to try to refinish the floors because the rooms were already devoid of furniture. Several neighbors had recommended Bona® Hardwood Floor Cleaner and Bona® Hardwood Floor Polish. I was skeptical, but the results were beautiful floors that had luster, but still showed their beautiful age.

Before and After Finishing Wood Floors without Sanding | Pretty Handy Girl

The Bona® Hardwood Floor Cleaner did a fabulous job of cleaning the floor without damaging them. And, the Bona® Hardwood Floor Polish provided a strong finish without any waxy build up. The high gloss protective layer adds some shine, but isn’t overly shiny. The polish also fills micro-scratches, evening out the appearance of the floor.

How to Refinish Wood Floors without Sanding | Pretty Handy Girl

Fast forward to this past week when Bona asked me to write a sponsored post for them, I jumped for joy because I already use and love the Bona® Hardwood Floor Products! (Here’s my full disclosure: Yes, this is a sponsored post. No, I was not told what to write. And yes, I probably would have blogged about my experiences using Bona® Hardwood Floor Products at some point anyway. Win-win.)

I highly recommend trying the combo of the Bona® Hardwood Floor Cleaner and the Bona® Hardwood Floor Polish before spending huge amounts of money to have your floors refinished. (Bona® Hardwood Floor Cleaner & Polish will not work on floors that have an oil or wax coating. Test in an inconspicuous area to be sure it will work for your floors.)

Here’s how to Refinish Your Wood Floors without Sanding:

Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Instructions for Cleaning the Wood Floors:

Remove all rugs and furniture from the room. If you have heavy furniture pieces that are never moved, you can leave them in place.

How to Refinish Wood Floors without Sanding | Pretty Handy Girl

Vacuum or sweep the floors to remove all dirt and debris.

How to Refinish Wood Floors without Sanding | Pretty Handy Girl

Assemble your Bona® Hardwood Floor Spray Mop as shown here: Read more

Quick Kitchen Cart Makeover with BB Frösh Chalk Paint Powder

It seems I have a penchant for painting my late grandmother’s old furniture. You may remember the coffee table I wrote on of her’s. This kitchen cart was Grandma’s, but it had seen better days. It has been hanging out in my Dad’s kitchen for years now. My sister Caitlin decided to rope me into giving this kitchen cart a quick makeover over the holidays.

Quick Kitchen Cart Makeover with BB Frösh Chalk Paint Powder

It actually turned into the perfect opportunity to try BB Frösch Chalk Paint Powder. The powder is mixed with water first and then any flat latex paint to create a smooth, durable chalk paint that can be painted directly over any surface regardless of whether it is bare wood, metal, or previously painted. Primer is not needed! For a soft durable finish, you can add a coat of BB Frösch Clear Wax.

Quick Kitchen Cart Makeover with BB Frösh Chalk Paint Powder

I can’t wait to show you how this chalk powder works and how quickly you can give furniture a makeover.

Materials:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Quick Kitchen Cart Makeover with BB Frösh Chalk Paint Powder

Optional (for butcher block top):

 

Instructions:

Begin by wiping off your kitchen cart with the damp rag.

Quick Kitchen Cart Makeover with BB Frösh Chalk Paint Powder

To remove the butcher block top, turn the cart upside down and remove the screws holding the top in place.

Lightly sand the rest of the cart with a sanding block. It helps to enlist the help of one adorable niece for this step. Read more