It’s amazing how serving food on a rustic tray can elevate your standard meal or dessert into an elegant occasion. This simple decorative rustic pallet serving tray is a simple project anyone can do!

Rustic Pallet Serving Tray | Pretty Handy Girl

Rustic Pallet Serving Tray

When I worked on a deck makeover with my sister, Caitlin (of Symmetry Designs), we shopped for a lot of the accessories ahead of time. She wanted me to find the perfect Bali-esque tray. Unfortunately I was coming up empty-handed. But, sometimes, you just have to DIY it! This Rustic Pallet Serving Tray was the brainchild of my sister, but I took her idea and ran with it.

Here’s how to make one for yourself.

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:

Fold a piece of paper into eights. Cut a design along the edge. (I used a simple scallop shape like this “}”.)

Rustic Pallet Serving Tray | Pretty Handy Girl

When you unfold the paper, you should have a paper template to use for tracing.

Rustic Pallet Serving Tray | Pretty Handy Girl

Trace the template onto a piece of thin plywood.

Rustic Pallet Serving Tray | Pretty Handy Girl

Use a jigsaw or band saw to cut out the shape. You might find this tutorial helpful for cutting out intricate shapes.

Rustic Pallet Serving Tray | Pretty Handy Girl

Lay your plywood shape on top of the rustic boards. Move the boards around until you like the sections that will make up the tray. Mark a square around the shape with a ruler.

Rustic Pallet Serving Tray | Pretty Handy Girl

Cut the boards down to size using the pencil mark as a guide.

Rustic Pallet Serving Tray | Pretty Handy Girl

Dry fit the boards together on the plywood shape.

Rustic Pallet Serving Tray | Pretty Handy Girl

Wet both the plywood shape and the boards with a damp rag.

Rustic Pallet Serving Tray | Pretty Handy Girl

Apply Gorilla Glue to the plywood shape.

Rustic Pallet Serving Tray | Pretty Handy Girl

Set the rustic boards into the glue on the plywood shape.

Rustic Pallet Serving Tray | Pretty Handy Girl

Weigh the boards down with weights or heavy books.

Rustic Pallet Serving Tray | Pretty Handy Girl

Allow to dry for at least an hour. Remove the weights and clamp the boards onto a work surface (with the area needing to be cut hanging over the edge. Make sure there is clearance for the jig saw blade. You’ll need to cut half the boards and then turn and re-clamp to cut the entire circumference. The Rockwell JawStand works beautifully for this task.

Rustic Pallet Serving Tray | Pretty Handy Girl

Draw a pencil line 1 inch out from the plywood shape. Cut around the pencil line with a jig saw.

Rustic Pallet Serving Tray | Pretty Handy Girl

Sand edges and grooves with sandpaper or Dremel Multi-Max.

Rustic Pallet Serving Tray | Pretty Handy Girl

Measure and mark the location of the handles on the tray.

Rustic Pallet Serving Tray | Pretty Handy Girl

Pre-drill holes using a bit that is the same size as the handle screws.

Rustic Pallet Serving Tray | Pretty Handy Girl

Flip the tray over and drill countersink holes with a larger drill bit.

Rustic Pallet Serving Tray | Pretty Handy Girl

Attach the handles with the screws. The screw heads should sink into the plywood.

Rustic Pallet Serving Tray | Pretty Handy Girl

If you want a truly rustic look, lightly sand your handles.

Rustic Pallet Serving Tray | Pretty Handy Girl

If you are going to use your tray for food, use a plate or doily under the food.

Rustic Pallet Serving Tray | Pretty Handy Girl

What do you think? Do you like this beautiful rustic tray? Think you could make one? I bet you could!

Rustic Pallet Serving Tray | Pretty Handy Girl

You can see this tray and our Bali-inspired deck makeover here.

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This DIY Rustic Pallet Serving Tray is easy to create with a cutout pattern | Plank serving tray | Pretty Handy Girl #DIY #woodworking #DIYtray #servingtray #rustichomedecor

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?

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Spring is here and there are countless flowers awakening from the cold winter slumber. When it happens you can pick some blooms and turn them into easy gift ideas. Today I’ll show you how to make easy pounded flower art.

easy_pounded_Flower_Gift_ideasjpg

Easy Pounded Flower Gift Ideas

The results can be used for a framed quote, a paper-wrapped vase, notecards, and much more! I’d go so far to say, the results are close to high end (and expensive) handmade pressed flower paper.

Ready to make some beautiful pounded flower paper? I am (because I could also use an activity to get a little frustration out 😉.)

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:

First, you’ll want to collect some flowers. Smaller colorful flowers work best. But, you can collect larger ones and experiment.

Lay one sheet of paper on top of the block of wood. Arrange your flowers on top of the paper and tape down any strands that don’t cooperate. (The flowers I picked are from a money plant that grows in our woods.)

tape_flower_into_shape

Lay a second sheet of paper on top of the flowers.

cover_flower_with_2nd_paper

Pound the hammer around the paper until you have squished all of the flowers beneath. (This doubles as a stress relief exercise, trust me!)
hammer_paper_and_flowers

Peel apart the papers and you’ll have a pulpy mess.

pull_apart_papers

Remove the flowers and wipe off the excess bits and pieces with a clean chip brush.

wipe_off_flower_guts

Look at that! You got two prints that are a mirror image.

duplicate_pounded_flower_prints

Print out a quote or type a message on coordinating paper and tear around it. Tape it onto flower paper.

tape_phrase_onto_paper

Put your verse artwork into a frame for a sweet gift to your sister, your mother, or a friend.

close_up_phrase_flower_art

Take the other sheet and wrap it around a can, mason jar, or vase.

roll_paper_around_mason_jar

Wrap some twine around the paper to hold it in place. Add water to the vase and pop some fresh flowers in it.

close_up_pounded_flower_vase

Quick and easy gift idea, right?! Give a vase to brighten someone’s day. The best part of this gift is it only cost a pound! (Get it? Like a British £? I know, I have a corny sense of humor. You can blame it on my Dad, it runs on his side of the family.)

Maybe I’ve also been hammering a little too much lately. Leave me a comment if you have any corny jokes to share!

pounded_Flower_art

Do you have any creative ideas for using this pretty flower paper? I set some up for the kids and they had a blast pounding flowers.

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Many of us have been staring at the same walls and doors in our homes for many years (or maybe many decades.) If you’ve wanted to give your home an update, painting a door is a quick and easy way to do just that. Today I’ll to show you how to paint doors (the professional way) so they look amazing for years (or decades) to come.

How to Paint Doors like a Professional | Pretty Handy Girl

How to Paint Doors (The Professional Way)

So you want to paint like a pro? Well, sit back and let me give you some tips and a tutorial for painting a door. This tutorial pertains to any paneled door (interior or exterior).

How to Paint Doors like a Professional | Pretty Handy Girl

Our doors are all the six panel type. If you have flat (non-panel) versions, you can skip this post and come back later. For the rest of us, get out your paper and pencils and take some notes (does anyone do this anymore?)

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: Painting Pyramids

How to Test for Latex or Oil Paint?

To determine if you need to prime your door you need to assess if your door was painted with latex or oil paint first. To test the paint, rub a small spot with rubbing alcohol (or ammonia) and if the paint comes off it is latex. If not, it’s oil paint.

How Do I Know if My Door Has Lead Paint:

You can easily test your door (or any paint) for the presence of lead by using a lead test swab. I go into more detail about lead paint in this tutorial.

How to Easily Test for Lead Paint

But, the short of it is, if you have lead paint, you must be very careful when sanding it. Cover the area with disposable plastic. Use a wet sanding block (never use a power sander). Wear a respirator and be sure to clean everything with disposable wet wipes.)

When Do You Have to Prime?

As we determined above, if your door was painted with oil-based paint (and you want to use latex paint) you will need to prime. But, here are a few more reasons you need to prime your door first:

  • Bare wood or stained wood doors.
  • Dark painted doors you wish to paint lighter (or vice versa), you want to use a tinted-primer to cut down on coats.
  • If the door was painted with oil and you want to use latex paint. If you are painting over latex with latex (or oil over oil) and the previous paint job is in good shape you can skip the primer. (This was the case with my door, so I didn’t prime it.)
  • The paint is chipping. First, scrape or sand any flakes and then prime. (Important: Check for Lead Paint First.)
  • Lead paint (whether in good shape or not), you will need to prime.

Should I Remove or Paint a Hung Door?

The easiest way to paint a door is to remove the door, then remove the knobs and latch. Then you can lay it horizontally on sawhorses. Painting a door on sawhorses eliminates potential drips and is easier on your back. But, removing the door can also be a pain, especially if it’s a large solid wood door. I’ve painted plenty of doors without removing them, and they look great. It comes down to personal preference.

Preparation:

Whether you are removing the door or painting it in place, be sure to cover the area underneath with a drop cloth, newspapers, or flattened cardboard boxes (my favorite for hung doors because it gives some cushion when you are kneeling on the floor.

Lightly sand the entire door. No need to bust out the power sander, you can use a sanding block or sheet of sand paper. Be sure to sand down any bumps or blemishes. The main goal is to give your door a little “tooth” for the new paint or primer to adhere to. Wipe off the door with a damp rag to remove any sawdust.

Instructions for How to Paint Doors the Professional Way.

Step 1: Paint the interior panels first as shown in the graphic below.

How to Paint Doors like a Professional instructions

Using a small roller to paint doors can greatly speed the process. Begin by rolling paint on the flat panels. Work quickly by rolling on the paint, then use a brush to smooth out the paint and fill in the detailed areas around the flat panel.

This is one of the most important tips for getting a professional look:

Follow the grain direction when brushing on the paint

If you follow the grain and the direction of the arrows in the graphic above, you will maintain the look of the door construction. Original wood doors are made with several pieces and the wood grain changes direction. Even if you have cheap hollow core doors, you can fake the look of a quality door by following the grain pattern.

How to Paint Doors like a Professional Panels

In other words: NEVER run your brush strokes perpendicular to the wood grain. This does NOT look professional.

How to Paint Doors like a Professional | Pretty Handy Girl

Step 2: Next, roll the inside center vertical piece. Start by rolling the paint on in an up and down direction.

How to Paint Doors like a Professional | Pretty Handy Girl

Then drag your brush up and down vertically with the wood grain (see arrows in the above diagram.)

How to Paint Doors like a Professional | Pretty Handy Girl

Step 3: Next paint the horizontal cross pieces in the middle of the door.

How to Paint Doors like a Professional | Pretty Handy Girl

Keep your brush strokes horizontal (with the grain) and cross over the tall vertical center.

How to Paint Doors like a Professional | Pretty Handy Girl

Step 4: Paint the door border. Pay attention to the direction of the wood grain for this last step. The grain on the two sides should go vertically from top to bottom.

How to Paint Doors like a Professional | Pretty Handy Girl

There are header and footer panels sandwiched between the left and right sides. These “sandwiched” pieces should be painted by dragging your brush horizontally (see diagram above.)

How to Paint Doors like a Professional | Pretty Handy Girl

Step 5: The last step is to paint the edges of the door. (Do Not paint the hinges…that’s not very professional either!) If your hinges or doorknobs were painted previously you can follow this tutorial with four ways to remove paint from metal hinges.

4 Ways to Remove Paint from Metal Hinges (& more) | Pretty Handy Girl

Roll paint onto the edges then smooth them with the paintbrush. Be on the lookout for drips or puddles of paint. Go back and check the face of your door for drips now before the paint cures.

Let your door dry (30 minutes – 1 hour), then follow up with a second coat of paint. When you are done let the doors dry for 2+ hours before flipping to paint the other side. I have found that it helps to put pieces of cardboard or rags under the door so the paint doesn’t stick to the sawhorses. But you can also buy Painting Pyraminds which elevate the door and hold it on tiny points.

Ready to perfect more of your painting skills? Check out the Paint Week series with 5 Lessons to Perfect Your Painting Skills:

Paint Week - 5 Lessons to Perfect Your Painting Skills

And if you really want to paint your front door but can’t decide on a color, you’ll love this collection of Bold Colored Front Doors!

Bright and Bold Colorful Front Doors

Need a quick gift using scrap wood? A Creative Block Desk & Art Utensil Holder is an easy and fun gift to make and certainly a project that you can customize to meet your needs. Best of all, the kids can help with the painting step!

create_art_block_holders_sm

Creative Block Desk & Art Utensil Holder

Mother’s Day is this coming weekend! Have you decided how to show her your appreciation and love?! I did! My mother is a professional artist. She creates amazing paintings that inspire others and brightens their homes. For Mother’s Day I wanted to brighten her studio with these art utensil holders. I call them “Creative Blocks.”

Go ahead and raid your scrap pile and join us as we make these colorful and fun Creative Block Desk & Art Utensil Holders.

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_wood_blocks_sm

Instructions:

1. Block assembly: Select two 2×4″ scraps cut to the same length. Spread glue on one board and sandwich them together.

glue_blocks_together_sm

Clamp the wood together and drill two small holes to countersink the heads of the screws. Drive two screws into the bottom of the wood to hold the pieces together.

drill_blocks_together_sm

Use a band saw, jigsaw, or table saw to trim off the rounded edges of the wood so you have a square block of wood with straight corners.

square_off_2x4s_bandsaw_sm

Putty any cracks or holes. Sand until smooth.

putty_and_sand_blocks_sm

2. Creating the mask:

If you have a craft cutter (Silhouette or Cricut) you can create a mask in vinyl easily. But, if you don’t you can use the computer to print out your words. Lay the print out on top of a strip of Painter’s Tape. Use a few pieces of tape to secure the corners.

create_art_printout

Trace around the words with the X-acto knife (be sure to have a few fresh blades on hand.) Transfer the resulting cut-out tape onto the block of wood. Press the edges of the tape mask to secure the tape.

add_scotch_blue_tape_letters

3. Painting the block: Paint a base color onto the block. Then use a brush and/or palette knife to dab thick paint over the block (minus the base.) Use the X-acto knife to gently peel off the tape mask. Let the paint dry thoroughly overnight.

lift_tape_up

4. Drilling Holes:  After the paint has dried completely, mark the location of the utensil holes with a pencil. Put a piece of painter’s tape on the drill bit to mark the depth of your holes. Clamp the block and drill holes at each pencil mark.

drill_holes

Dump sawdust out of the holes.

Wrap up the blocks in gift wrap and enjoy the look of joy as your Mom opens her Creative Block Mother’s Day gift!

create_pencil_holder_sm

art_brush_holder

You know, as an artist myself, I almost loved these too much to give them away. But, my Mom is worth it. (And I can make another set if I want ;-).)

create_art_block_holders_sm

For more last-minute Mother’s Day gift ideas and many other creative projects, check out the Gift Ideas section here on the blog.

PHGFancySignIf you liked this project, you’ll love these floating picture frames using more 2×4 scrap wood.

wood-block-picture-frames

Today we’re prepping to tile in the kitchen and bathrooms. Having seen firsthand how much damage water can cause to a home, I want to show you this tutorial for How to Waterproof Floors!

Waterproofing Floors in Any Room

Renovations are finally moving forward at Millie’s Remodel. This is the point where I feel like we already hit rock bottom and now we’re finally on the rebound. You might remember we used a self-leveling concrete in the kitchen last week. Now it’s time to waterproof the floors to prevent damage from ever happening again!

Last year I took two Schluter classes and learned about waterproofing, uncoupling membranes, and tips and tricks to keep your tile job looking flawless for a lifetime. What I learned over the four days blew my mind. I learned why and how shower systems fail. But, most importantly, I learned how to properly prepare surfaces for tile using waterproofing membranes. Today we’ll just be talking about waterproofing a floor, but I’ll have another tutorial for you soon so you can learn how to waterproof walls too.

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.)

Why should you waterproof a floor?

Before we get started, I want you to fully understand how waterproofing a room can actually save you money and save you from the headache of having a leak in your home.

If you have a kitchen or a bathroom, chances are you’re going to have a leak in your lifetime (or your home’s lifetime) if it hasn’t already happened. One of the best things you can do is to install waterproofing materials so water can never damage your floors or floor framing again. I believe so strongly in the Schluter products, that all the properties I’m working on (including my own) will have Ditra installed on the floor before tiling.

By using the Schluter Ditra uncoupling and waterproof membrane in conjunction with Kerdi band around the perimeter of the room, I can waterproof the entire floor. Which means I don’t have to worry about rot or mold happening. Any little leaks will sit on top of this membrane until I see it because the water will rise instead of seeping into your floor or walls.

Ready to get started? Let me show you how to waterproof any room in your house!

For your convenience, I made a video to help show how to install Schluter waterproofing products and how to fully waterproof a room!

Instructions:

  1. Cut open your roll of Ditra and roll it out onto a scrap piece of wood or something you can cut on.
  2. Measure the room you want to waterproof and transfer the dimensions onto your Ditra membrane. Use a straight edge and a sharp utility knife to cut the Ditra. You might need to make a few passes with the knife to cut completely through the Ditra membrane.
  3. Test fit the Ditra in your room. Cut out a hole for your floor vents by pressing your knife through the membrane where the vent is and remove the material up to the edges of the duct. Cut the rest of the pieces to fill the room. Do not overlap the Ditra material.
  4. Now it’s time to mix the thinset. When using Schluter Ditra it’s highly recommended to use the Schluter All Set. This mortar is specifically manufactured to cure against the waterproof membrane. Read the instructions on the packaging and mix your thinset as directed.
  5. Use a wet sponge and clean water to clean and wet the subfloor. Spread the thinset onto the floor using the Schluter Ditra trowel. Make sure you have good coverage on the floor.
    Then use the notched trowel to comb through the thinset at a 45° angle.
  6. Lay the Ditra membrane on top of the thinset and use a smooth float to press the membrane into the thinset. In the beginning, you should roll back a corner of the Ditra to make sure you have full coverage onto the backing of the membrane. Place the Ditra back down and use the float again to make sure the membrane is pressed into the thinset.
  7. Use a wet sponge to clean out any mortar that has squeezed out the seams or edges.
  8. Once all the Ditra has been installed into the subfloor, you’re ready to seal the perimeter and seams. Grab a Kerdi corner piece for each corner of the room. Using the Kerdi trowel, apply thinset mortar to the inside corner of the room. Use the notched side to comb through the thinset. Place the Kerdi corner into the thinset and use the flat side of the trowel to embed and scrape along the Kerdi.
  9. Now you’re ready to install the Kerdi Band on the straight sections of wall. Be sure to cut your Kerdi band so it overlaps the corner pieces by at least 2 inches. I like to pre-fold my Kerdi Band by creasing it in the middle so it’s easier to install in the corners. Apply the Kerdi Band to the wall and floor using the same technique as the corner.
  10. Clean up any excess mortar leaving a smooth surface for tile installation.
  11. Now it’s time to complete the waterproofing of the room by sealing the seams between the Ditra sheets. Cut your Kerdi Band so it overlaps any perimeter band by at least two inches. Apply the thinset over the seam, use the notched trowel to create ridges in the thinset.
    Then embed the Kerdi band into the mortar and run the flat side of the trowel over the band to smooth the thinset and embed the band.
  12. Clean up any excess and allow the thinset to cure before tiling.

Once the thinset has cured you can tile your room and rest easy knowing this room is waterproofed and there’s no way the subfloor will rot from a sneaky little leak. Or a big leak if you have kids that like to splash out of the bathtub. I know this risk all too well from my own boys.

I hope you found this tutorial helpful and you’ll consider using Schluter waterproofing materials before you renovate your next “water” room.

Disclosure: I was provided with some Schluter materials for this project. I was not told what to write. All opinions are my own. I am particular about the brands I represent and will always let you know when you are reading a post with complementary products or a sponsored post.

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.

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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.

Do you have those old discolored recessed can lights in your home that use big hot flood bulbs? If so, it’s time for an upgrade!

Update Ugly Recessed Can Lights with Energy Efficient LED
How to Update Ugly Recessed Can Lights with Energy Efficient LED Lights

Today I want to show you how to update ugly recessed can lights with energy saving LED recessed lights. This process is quick and easy, not to mention the new lights will look better, last longer, and save you money on your energy bill! What more could you want? Change out all your ugly recessed lights in no time by following this simple tutorial.

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:

Here is what my old lights look like. Not only are they ugly, but they use the large flood light bulbs that use too much energy, radiate heat, and burn out quickly. I don’t know about you, but I am tired of changing these burned out bulbs.

Update Ugly Recessed Can Lights with Energy Efficient LED

Want to see how quickly you can change out your lights? Here’s a one minute video (that’s how fast you can do it):

The first step to replacing these recessed lights is to remove the light bulb by simply unscrewing it from the socket. Unless you’re extraordinarily tall, you’ll probably need a step ladder for this project.

Update Ugly Recessed Can Lights with Energy Efficient LED

Next, find two small springs inside the baffle, as shown in photo below. They look like a wire with a loop in the center. Pull up and out on the springs to release the baffle inside your can light.

Update Ugly Recessed Can Lights with Energy Efficient LED

Remove the trim by simply pulling it off the ceiling.

Update Ugly Recessed Can Lights with Energy Efficient LED

Grab your new retrofit LED recessed light and screw the adapter into the light bulb socket, exactly as you would screw in a light bulb. It’s that easy!

Update Ugly Recessed Can Lights with Energy Efficient LED

Inside the opening, find two metal clips. Squeeze the spring hinges on your LED light and insert them into the clips inside the old recessed can. These will hold the light in place.

Update Ugly Recessed Can Lights with Energy Efficient LED

Finally, gently push your light up into the ceiling. Believe it or not, you’re done!

Update Ugly Recessed Can Lights with Energy Efficient LED

Now you have a beautiful, white, and energy-efficient LED recessed light. Take some time to admire it.

Update Ugly Recessed Can Lights with Energy Efficient LED

Now you can easily change out all the can lights in the room and voila, your lighting is upgraded! This is such a quick, easy, and inexpensive project. There is no point in putting it off any longer.

Update Ugly Recessed Can Lights with Energy Efficient LED

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Feel free to share any questions or thoughts in the comment section below. Thank you for reading!

Update Ugly Recessed Can Lights with Energy Efficient LED

Liked this project? I know you’ll love these other lighting upgrades:

Update Ugly Recessed Can Lights with Energy Efficient LED

Change Out a Dated Hollywood Strip Light

 

Update Ugly Recessed Can Lights with Energy Efficient LED

How to Convert a Recessed Can Light to Accept a Hard-Wired Light

Have you ever wished you had a chalkboard wall in your home? But, those bumpy textured walls or damaged drywall are not smooth enough? Well, today I’m about to rock your world by showing you How to Make a SMOOTH Chalkboard Wall For Imperfect Walls!

SMOOTH Chalkboard WallHow to Make a SMOOTH Chalkboard Wall {For Imperfect Walls}

I feel your pain! We have a little wall between the kitchen and the dining room that was the perfect spot for a chalkboard wall. But the drywall was ripped from the removal of the beadboard. Sure, I could have ripped out the drywall and added new, but honestly I was beyond drywall in our kitchen renovation process and I didn’t want to back track.

I’m cringing at the photo below because the pantry looked like that long after we finished the kitchen. Luckily, I finished the pantry last year. You would not recognize it as the same space!

SMOOTH Chalkboard Wall

But enough about the kitchen renovation. I came up with a new solution for making the wall smooth enough for a chalkboard! You could also use this technique if you wanted to remove the chalkboard in the future if you live in a rental and aren’t allowed to paint walls.

Ready? Alright, let’s get this chalkboard party started now!

SMOOTH Chalkboard Wall 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 (if you have an outlet or switch to work around):

SMOOTH Chalkboard Wall Instructions:

Cut Your Pieces:

Cut your masonite to size. (Or bring your measurements and ask the store to cut it to size for you.)

SMOOTH Chalkboard Wall

Use a jigsaw, circular saw, table saw, or other power saw to cut each panel. Dry fit the panels on the wall and make any adjustments as necessary.

SMOOTH Chalkboard Wall

Plan your sections:

Use one large sheet to cover as much wall as possible. The fewer the seams the better.  Plan to hang a small piece for over any doors. (Note: The skinny little section on the left side of the door was left blank, no one has noticed after it was painted black.)

SMOOTH Chalkboard Wall

If you have an outlet or light switch, you need to cut a hole in the masonite to accommodate them.  To cut the hole, smear lipstick around the edges of the box (or you can smear it on an outlet as shown in this post.) Hold the masonite panel in place and push against the outlet box. When removed you should  see the lipstick impressions. (I used an extra outlet box to trace around for lines that were easier to see.)

marking_outlet_location_lipstick

Drill holes in the corner of the outlined shape. Use a jigsaw to cut from hole to hole. Test fit your panel.

drill_holes_for_outlet

Install Panels:

Time to hang the masonite panels. For a permanent hold, use construction glue and then secure with finish nails. If you want to be able to remove the panels later, skip the adhesive and use only finish nails.

glue_and_nail_board

Fill nail holes and seams with wood putty. Lightly sand smooth after the putty has dried.

SMOOTH Chalkboard Wall

Prime and Paint:

Using a foam roller, prime the chalkboard with tinted primer (ask your paint department to add as much black as they can to a small can of primer. This will reduce the number of coats of chalkboard paint needed.) My Lowe’s store was able to produce a 50% gray color.

SMOOTH Chalkboard Wall

After the primer dries, lightly sand, and wipe clean. It’s important to sand between coats because this will give you the smoothest results and it gives a little tooth for the next layer to adhere to. You’ll need at least two coats of chalkboard paint.

SMOOTH Chalkboard Wall

Seasoning the Chalkboard:

After the paint has dried thoroughly, enlist the help of your son or daughter to help season the chalkboard (rub chalk on its side over the entire surface.)

SMOOTH Chalkboard Wall

Then wipe off the chalk using a completely dry rag.

SMOOTH Chalkboard Wall

There is beauty in the gray movement on a chalkboard wall, wouldn’t you agree?

SMOOTH Chalkboard Wall

Don’t forget to add  your outlet covers. You can paint them with chalkboard paint to match the wall.  (Important: Do not paint the actual outlet, this violates electrical codes.)

chalkboard_open_dining_rm

Christen your chalkboard with drawings or your to do list.

kitchen_to_do_list

Within two hours I had to erase the list because I was feeling a little stressed by all the things I needed to complete in our kitchen renovation.

This fun quote was a lot less stressful!

SMOOTH Chalkboard Wall

We added a chalkboard calendar a few years ago and this has been the best way for our family to stay organized (also the kids love seeing what’s coming up each week.)

2014 chalkboard calendar wall

What would you use a chalkboard wall for? I’d love to hear your ideas.

PHGFancySign

The Perfect Rustic Paint Technique {with Video Tutorial}The Perfect Rustic Paint Technique {with Video Tutorial}

I have been painting and distressing furniture and home décor for almost ten years now. Over the years I’ve tried a lot of different techniques, but the one I’m going to show you today is the one I consider “The Perfect Rustic Paint Technique!” The reason I like this technique is because I get consistent results and it’s not as messy and time consuming as painting several layers and sanding back down to the raw wood. This isn’t to say that I don’t still experiment or sometimes go back to previous techniques. I just wanted to show you my tried and true technique.

Green and purple hydrangeas in rustic wood trough. Build Your own Rustic Trough Centerpiece tutorial.

You may have seen the DIY Trough Centerpiece I built last week. If you don’t have a piece of furniture you want to try this technique on, go ahead and build this quick little (or should I say long) DIY Trough Centerpiece to experiment on.

Finished trough build.

Then you’ll want to gather some materials and coffee (this is optional, but I find I enjoy DIYing with a cup of java.)

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:

Want to cut to the chase and watch the video tutorial? Well, be my guest:

If you like to see the step-by-step tutorial, here’s the break down:

Step 1: Sand & Stain

Lightly sand your piece to remove any rough spots.

If you’re working with a pre-finished piece of furniture, clean well to remove any dirt or oils that would resist the stain. Then sand everything lightly to give the surface a little “tooth” for the paint to grip to. Skip the next step unless you have sanded down to bare wood.

Put on your rubber glove and grab a rag or slip an old sock over your hand. Dip the rag into the stain and wipe it on the wood. Wipe off any excess stain. If you want a darker look, apply a second or third coat of stain. Allow the stain to dry (overnight is best.)

Wipe on Minwax Early American Stain.

Step 2: Painting

A quick note about chalk-like paints: I have tried a lot of different chalk paints and still don’t have an absolute favorite. Personally I like to buy them based on a pre-mixed color I like. That being said, I do have some that I don’t like as much. Although the Annie Sloan Chalk Paints were first on the scene, I struggled with them having unmixed chunks in them and they tended to dry out too quickly for my taste. That being said, most chalk paints will dry out quicker than latex paint. So make not to leave the lid off too long (it’s better to pour a small amount onto a tray or paper plate.) And store chalk paint in a temperature controlled environment. 

Dip your chip brush into the chalk paint and dab off most of the paint onto rag. Your paint brush should have very little paint on it.

Lightly drag the chip brush over your piece following the direction of the wood grain. This technique is called dry brushing (in case you wondered.) Allow some of the wood stain to show through. This will cut down on the need to sand down to the wood later.

Dry brush Fusion paint.

Step 3: Adding Dimension

Allow the paint to dry (which shouldn’t take very long.) Dip another chip brush into the white color stain. Wipe off most of the paint and dry brush some “hi-lights” onto your piece. You don’t need as much coverage as the painting step. This is just adding some extra dimension to the piece.

Use DecoArt white stain for highlights.

After the white stain has dried, dip another brush into the antiquing glaze and wipe most of the glaze off the brush. Once again, dry brush some areas on your piece to give some more dimension.

Dry brush Valspar Antiquing Glaze.

If you make a mistake or put too much glaze on, you can wipe it off within the first few seconds. Alternatively, you can always sand off any paint, stain or glaze you apply.

Sand smooth.

Once you’ve achieved your desired amount of paint, stain and glaze, get ready to seal in the beauty!

Step 4: Wax Finish Coat

Apply some dark wax onto a wax brush (or stencil brush.) Rub the wax on in a circular pattern.

Apply Dark Wax.

Then buff it off with a clean dry rag. The wax gives your piece a soft luster and protects it from water. If you are working with a piece of furniture, you may want to apply another coat of wax. And you will need to re-apply in a few years.

Buff off wax.

Now stand back and admire that Perfect Rustic Paint Technique!

She’s purdy, don’t you think?

Pin this picture to share the rustic love!

The Perfect Rustic Paint Technique {with Video Tutorial}

Liked this tutorial? I think you’re going to love my Secret Formula for Aging New Wood: