Distressed Paint Effect Using Vinegar

Use something we all own to get a great distressed finish
Use something we all own to get a great distressed finish

I’m an old-fashioned kind of girl who finds a method that works and sticks to it. That means I can spend hours, days even, gently rubbing back paint to get just the right distressed finish required.

Recently I’ve been thinking that there must be an easier way? I believe in doing the job right but if there’s a way to do it right and quickly shouldn’t I be using it? Sure enough there are lots of ways people distress their furniture I hadn’t even considered so in the next few weeks I’m going to be trying them out (or some at least) and sharing my findings with you, dear reader.

 

White Vinegar for distressing
This cost pennies

This first method uses something most of us keep in the pantry… vinegar. I decided to opt for distilled or white vinegar as I didn’t want it to stain the paint in any way.  Obviously I didn’t have any distilled vinegar in my store cupboard so that meant a trip to town and another hour out of my day!

Anyway I already had this cute little shelf unit (spice rack maybe?) that I found in a charity shop a few weeks back. It is pretty featureless so will rely on having a good paint effect to give it some oomph.

Charity shop spice rack
You will often see pieces like this in charity shops

I started with a quick coat of Annie Sloan’s  Antibes Green, as I had some left over from an earlier project. As always with this colour I was tempted to stop there, but then I’d have nothing to share with you, so I gave it a quick wax using Rusto-leum clear furniture wax. Then it got 2 coats of my own deep lavender (okay, I’ve got to come up with some cool names for my paints) and left it to dry thoroughly.

Antebes Green
I just love this as a contrast colour
Little French Paint Co
My own mix over the green

Once dry, I just dipped my microfiber cloth in the vinegar and wiped it over an area. Nothing happened. I rubbed a bit harder. Nothing happened. Then, as I was showing Mark how ineffective it was, a huge streak of the lavender rubbed clean off!

Distressed with vinegar
This big chunk wiped off in one go!

I think the knack is to almost soak the paint in vinegar and give it a second to soak in. I’m really glad I took the time to wax after the green or I think it would have wiped off at the same time – the wax was just enough of a barrier to protect it.

Once I got the hang of it, it was so easy! I wouldn’t want to use it on everything because you just don’t have the same control as you do sanding by hand, but if you want a beat up, rustic look then this is great.

Vinegar distressing
You need a gentle touch until you get used to it!

In the interests of science (or maybe just because I’m still a wee bit sceptical) I’m going to try a similar experiment using plain water and another using something like lemon juice so I’ll keep you updated – be sure to follow us so you don’t miss a thing!

Finished piece after a top coat of wax varnish
Finished piece after a top coat of wax varnish

Tune in next week to see how I got on using Vaseline to distress a mirror in my lounge, and please let me know if you’ve heard of a method of distressing you’d like me to try, and review!

Soap Sock Tutorial

Easy knit soap sock
A Soap Sock!

I first published this tutorial on a now defunct craft blog but thought that it was worth bringing over here. I know that primarily this is a DIY blog but when the weather is cold you don’t always want to be in a cold workshop but your fingers still itch to do something!

This soap sock is a neat way to make your soap stretch a little further while gently exfoliating your skin. You can knit them up in half an hour and use whatever yarn you have to hand. I’m told that felting wool is great because it actually shrinks with the soap as you use it, but my particular favourite is using string! Not the horrid nylon stuff but the old fashioned 100% cotton twine. It’s a little strange, at first, knitting with something that has no ‘give’ whatsoever but it’s a simple project so doesn’t cause too many headaches!

First of you will need…

Use what you have to finish up your yarn

A ball of your chosen yarn (or string)

A pair of knitting needles – I use 8mm but play around to find what works best with your yarn.

A bar of soap – whatever you like best!

A pair of scissors and a cup of tea (all the best projects involve tea or wine and since I’m detoxing it’s tea for me!)

Start by casting on in your preferred style. I’ve always gone for the ‘Thumb‘ method myself! You’ll need to cast on enough stitches to cover 3 sides of your soap (2 short and one wide) – I have cast on 12 with this chunky string and 8mm needles. Just remember to cast on an even number of stitches.

Now this next stage could sound daunting if you’ve never tried double knitting but it’s unbelievably simple and so quick to do you will be a pro in no time.

Knit your first stitch. Then slip your next stitch as if to purl – this means put your needle as if you are going to purl the stitch and then just slip it over. Carry on with knit one, slip one  until you reach the end of the row. You will always finish on a slipped stitch.

Once you have worked a few rows like this you will be able to feel 2 sides to your knitting and actually be able to separate them a little!

There is a great video explaining the method:

 Turn your work around and repeat until your ‘sock’ is long enough to hold your bar of soap. Always start on a knit stitch and finish on a slip!

Once your sock is long enough you’ve reached the scary part! Leave a long tail – about 1.5 meters – and slip your work off your  needle. Yes, I said slip it right off without casting off.

Just be brave and pull the needle out!

Now gently prize your work open (like opening a bag of crisps!) and carefully thread your long tail through each of your stitches, starting with the last knitted stitch.

Gently prize work apart

Be careful not to drop any stitches as you thread your tail through them!

This is the hardest part!

Once you have caught every stitch on your tail you can turn it inside out, pop your bar of soap inside and pull the tail to tighten around the top of the bar.

Now the reason for the extra long tail…  We’re going to make a handle to hang your soap from so it can dry out and not go all squishy between uses!

Make a slip knot in the yarn, as close to the sock as you can get it. Form a loop and tuck it into the noose. Make another loop and tuck it into the previous loop. Keep repeating. When the chain is long enough, lock it by passing the end through the final loop. See here for animated instructions.

 Tie the loop to form a handle and you’re done!

Please let us know what you think, and feel free to ask questions or show us your finished soap socks!

Nikki x

Oak Stool Makeover

As I’ve mentioned, I’m really snowed under right now so don’t have a huge amount of time to blog. I’m finding it very frustrating as I really want to share a lot with you but I guess I’m just going to have to wait until the new year!

This project was something I worked on a few weekends ago, a real simple piece but a lovely one!

In fact I was so excited to get started on the project that I almost forgot to take a ‘before’ shot, but this one will do as you can barely see where I’ve started to remove the paint . I found it at an auction covered in a sticky residue and about 20 layers of white gloss paint. It was in a sorry state but fundamentally still a sound piece of furniture.

After I had washed the worst of the dirt off I set about removing the paint from the seat using a heat gun and scraper. If you are restoring an older piece of furniture make sure that you do this, or any sanding, in a well ventilated area and wear a mask as it is likely that some of the old paint layers contain lead.

Once you have scraped off the majority of the paint it’s time to break out the sander. You’ve probably realised that my weapon of choice is usually the angle grinder with a sanding disc but please do practise this on scrap wood before you take on a lovely old piece like this stool.

It was only after some serious sanding that I realised that this stool was actually made from oak and not pine, as I’d first thought! I didn’t want it to look too new so I stopped sanding while there were still some marks and dents to show its age.

Scuff up the legs a little to break up that old gloss look. Then give the seat a few coats of a soft wax. I like Annie Sloan’s Soft Wax as it smells slightly nicer then Briwax but it is a bit more expensive. (I will be reviewing both in a future post so watch out for it)

I love the finished stool and think I might use it in my new ‘corner office’ when I eventually set it up.

We’d love to see your restoration projects and tutorials so why not drop us a line?

Baby Blue Dresser/Changing Table

I found this lovely furniture transformation online today and just had to share it with you. Have a good look around her blog, it’s full of fantastic information and interesting projects!

Nicole Scott-Howe for: Re-Design In A Day

0514141104

I found this piece at a cute store called Haywoods Variety (https://www.facebook.com/HaywoodsVariety), in a small town on the Northern Neck called Urbanna, VA. I grew up in Urbanna so it fun finding this piece in my home town. To give you an idea how small this town is, there are no stop lights!

Anyhow, when I saw this dresser I immediately thought it would make a great dresser/changing table for a nursery.

0514141102aWith two small and two large drawers, I knew there was plenty of storage space for diapers, onsies, lotions, etc.

0514141102And, the top is large enough for a changing pad for the baby.

OK, I realize it’s hard to imagine a baby on this dresser, but trust me its going to look great!

0519141622So the first thing I did was get out the sander and sanded the top.  It’s looking better? Right?

0519141548I then painted the drawers a…

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Shabby Chic Sign Tutorial

Hello! I hope this cold weather isn’t slowing you down? It’s taking the paint a little longer to dry than normal but that just means I have time to write you another quick tutorial. I’ve had the photos for ages but only now have I got the time to share it with you.

Shabby Chic Signs
Really quick and simple!

I started by finding a couple of planks taken from a reclaimed pallet. Be careful when taking pallets, if possible, ask whoever owns it. They will usually be glad to get rid of them but check all the same.

Pallet wood
A small part of my stash!

Once you have some suitable wood cut it to your desired shape and size. If you are going to stencil or use a transfer (look out for another post regarding this) of a word then make sure your sign is long enough to fit it on!

shabby chic sign

As you will soon discover I L O V E my power tools so used an electric jigsaw but an ordinary hand saw would work just as well. Then I brought out the big guns. No electric sander for me, not when I have my angle grinder!!!

Angle Grinder for sanding
My favourite tool ever!

Now there’s a real knack to sanding with an angle grinder but playing with a piece of scrap wood or a ‘rough’ project, like this one, is a great place to start. Be gentle and ‘stroke’ the wood, using just the weight of the tool and no more. I will try to get a video of this but it probably won’t be ’til the spring now!

Obviously you can sand by hand or using an electric sander but where’s the fun in that??? You also get results super fast using the angle grinder.  (I guess I should warn you to wear goggles, clamp wood securely but you know that already, don’t you?)

Cleaned with an angle grinder
The larger piece was sanded in 2 minutes!

Then I forgot to take a photo of the paint I used but it was an Annie Sloan in a pale lilac/blue colour. I had some stencils from another project but couldn’t find my stencilling brush. If you don’t use them a lot then it’s probably not worth buying one and you can get good results by wrapping an elastic  band around a small brush to hold the bristles tight together. If you can sacrifice the brush then you can trim it to get a flat head.

Stencil Brush
Improvised Brush

 

Stencil on Wood

Once your paint has dried you can add wire or string to hang, or mount your sign on a stake in the ground. If they are to be used outside you should give them a good coat of suitable varnish.

Toilet sign

Since doing these signs I’ve come up with a couple of different methods of applying the writing that are more versatile and easier to apply so check in again soon for that tutorial!

Nikki x

Kidney Pains.

Firstly let me say that this isn’t a proper tutorial.  There’s no step by step detailed instructions, I can’t remember exactly what paints I used, and the photos aren’t the best either. (I’m really selling this post, eh?) That said, I wanted to share one of the first commission pieces we got into the shop.

It was from a couple who turned into a very loyal customers and, have since put a lot of business our way.

Mrs M. called in one day with a rather sorry looking kidney shaped table…

Kidney Table
Mrs M’s Table

As you can see, the top is badly scratched and stained. What you can’t see is that one leg was hanging off!

Table leg
Loose joints make for wonky tables!

But there was some beautiful detailing…

Table Detailing
Heaps of potential there

So we set about gluing, clamping and making it stable.

Sash clamps on the table legs
Some strong glue and long clamps

Then we gave it a couple of coats of Craig & Rose in a rich cream shade.

Painted Table

After a generous covering of Annie Sloan’s Soft Clear Wax we rubbed it back on those beautiful legs.

Lightly distressed leg detail
Lightly distressed details

Maybe you have a piece of furniture just begging to be loved back to life? Look at it in a different light and give it a go! I’d love to see what you come up with.

‘Till next time,

Nikki