Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Roadside Dresser

Back in December (yea, it's been that long) I wrote a quick post about a dresser I had found by the side of the road.  It was gorgeous, like all discarded dressers that I find.  But more importantly, someone had done All. The. Hard. Work. For. Me.  A huuuge thanks to whoever decided that refinishing this dresser was just too much work and left it for me to find.

This is what it looked like the night I took it home.  Pre-stripped and sanded, knobs and screws in a plastic bag inside one of the drawers.  It was fate, I assure you.

I'm not sure how I ended up not getting any "in-progress" photos.  Possibly because it spanned over the course of six months and sat lonely in the garage for most of that time.  Either way, I gave it new stain, new varnish, and vintage glass knobs picked up at a salvage store for $8 total.

Not bad for a roadside find, eh??

It sat like this for a loooong time, waiting for a new home (we have ZERO room for it, or else I would have hoarded it for myself).  But my mother-in-law graciously accepted it when I told her it was taking up space.

I snapped this picture quick while visiting in New York this past weekend.  She uses it in her spare room for all her jewelry and extra clothes.  Right at home :)

And guess what??  Tonight is garbage night and I've already staked out something good down the street :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Mirror, Mirror on the Mantel

Pinterest has been blowing up lately about mercury glass/mirrors/reflective jars/etc. all made using this fancy shmancy spray paint.  It's made by Krylon and called Looking Glass.  I searched all over for the blasted stuff (Walmart has a huge Krylon section, but no stores within 50 miles carried it), and finally found it at a Hobby Lobby in the area.
Don't let the pretty pictures and easy tutorials online fool you.  Most blogs I visited referred to it as "cheap" mirror in a can.  Lemmi tell ya....stuff ain't cheap.  I bought two cans to the tune of $12 a piece.  And they aren't even normal sized spray paint cans!  But I had high hopes and I'm always doing the thrifty thing, so it felt good to splurge a little.

I wasn't really sure what purpose the end result would serve, but I was itching to see how well this stuff really worked.  I started with a garage sale find - a 6 pane window purchased for 3 smackaroos.
The tutorials and the can itself all said to make sure you spray the back side of the glass to get the best results.  So i chose the nicest side of the window and flipped er over.

I decided I wanted an "imperfect" mirror finish (equivalent to mercury-ish glass) and something that appeared older rather than fresh and clear.  Ever see an old mirror that has marks and smudges?  Yea, that's what I did....intentionally. 

Tutorials were saying to splash the glass with water droplets before spraying.  So that's what I did.  Then I applied several light coats of paint, making sure to work from one side all the way to the other without stopping.
One can later, I had a silvery finish on the back side of the glass.  I wasn't impressed until I flipped it over, but we'll get to that.  I did notice that the water droplets left marks a lot like leopard spots.  They weren't as random as I would have liked.  So while the paint was still wet, I took my finger and smudged the water around a bit to smear it and make it less perfect.  Then I started with the second can and sprayed some more.
See the water droplets?  It was really weird how the paint just covered over them but they stayed wet for awhile.

Once the paint was completely dry (it didn't take long in 90 degree heat), I decided to do another step that no one else seemed to do.

I used some leftover black spray paint and painted another layer over top the silver.
My theory, which proved to be correct, was that once the water droplets dried, the silver paint would flake away and leave clear areas.  So the black paint sprayed on the back would make those clear areas appear dark from the front.  Which would ultimately add to the "old/vintage/antique" effect.  You follow?  Not yet?  Keep reading...

Side note:  My parents recently gave me a box of old blue tinted mason jars that they unearthed from their attic.  Add those to the ones I just bought at the flea market and the ones I already owned, and I had quite the mini collection going.  Fast forward to this project where I had no idea what to do with it when it was done and....

I decided to redo the fireplace mantel with softer colors for summer.  In comes the new "mirror".

The paint actually worked really really well.  See the dark imperfect marks on the mirror?  In person, you would find it hard to tell it wasn't 50 years old.

I also did a little dry-brush paint effect on the window frame itself.  My "go to" colors are always blue and green in our living room, so I paired those two with black.

The reflection, though slightly muddled by the antique-ing, would actually work great as a real mirror.  I was admittedly impressed with how well it worked (almost $25 later, it better look good!). 

I love fillin' up a mantel....the thing just looks so boring when it's empty!

It ended up being a successful project and something I would do again if the right piece presented itself.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Craftswoman Tool Chest

For the longest time, Dan and I have both been wanting one of those fancy, free-standing, rolling Craftsman tool chests.  However, neither one of us are willing to cough up $400+ for one, no matter how cool they are.  But nevertheless, every time we are in Sears, we pass them by with longing in our eyes (Note: did you know they make a PINK one now??! Whaaaa??).  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized they don't really hold that much - nothing big at least.  He has the small metal chest he fixed up for his basement man cave for all the little things (nails, screws, small tools, tape, glue, misc.) but he was using an old bookcase to house the drill, nail gun, drill bits, socket set, saws, etc.  Stuff that came in big boxes and wouldn't fit in the standard rolling tool chest.  I decided to not only remedy this situation, but also finally give us the Craftsman tool chest we've been coveting.

So the hunt was on to find a dresser.  I knew it couldn't be just any old dresser, either.  Not like the ones I usually find by the side of the road.  This one had to be specific.  I searched some local thrift stores and came home with this beauty:

The price tag was a little more than I would normally spend (considering I usually get them for free), but I justified it by knowing I found something that would work perfectly!

Can you visualize it yet??

With Dan being out of the country for work this past week, I decided to make it a surprise for when he gets home. 

I started by sanding the whole thing down to give the paint something to stick to.  This is a shot of the top of the dresser after about 10 minutes - it was sooo easy!  Sanding is by far my least favorite part of a project and I only wish they all went this well.

After sanding it all down, I applied 2 coats of Rustoleum Sunrise Red oil-based paint.  A little messier than latex paint, but it gave it a nice, crisp, shiny finish (the goal was to make it look more like metal than wood).

I debated on the color of the drawers.  Red or black??
I decided on black because I liked the contrast and didn't want to overdo it with the red.

Finished product:
Pretty good, huh?  I lucked out with the handles.  The existing ones were already perfect for what I needed, so all I did was spray paint them silver.

I cut off the legs and added rolling casters.

I added black industrial handles to each side to make it easier to move around.

I purchased a roll of ribbed vinyl floor runner from Home Depot and used it to line each drawer.

And because it looked so darn cool, I posed it with some of Dan's antique tools he has in the garage.

There's even going to be a special tool surprise for him inside :)

Total cost was around $75 (remember I spent quite a bit on the dresser itself, but that's because it didn't need ANY modifications!) which is a fraction of the cost of buying a "real" one at the store.  Plus, this can hold all the bigger stuff that these chests don't usually fit.  Overall, I'd say it's a sweet deal, and a sweet surprise!!