Upcycling


Fabric Flowers, The Tamara Blog

Fabulous Fabric Flowers -- The Tamara Blog

Fabulous Fabric Flowers -- The Tamara Blog

I adore the look of fabric flowers. They have a lovely vintage, sentimental feel, perfect for weddings and other special occasions. And when making them, there are lots of opportunities to add trinkets, personality & meaning to create everlasting mementoes.

 

These flowers can be applied to shoes, used as brooches/corsages/boutonnieres, or even as a gorgeous bridal bouquet. They’re easy to make, and last long after fresh blooms have faded.

Fabric Flowers, The Tamara Blog

Supplies:

  • Polyester/nylon fabric – satin, chiffon, organza, lace
  • Needle and thread
  • Compass or household items for making circles (like lids, jam jar rings)
  • Beads, cast-off earrings, stick-on stones, etc.
  • Fabric marking pens/chalk
  • Straight pins
  • Scissors
  • Candle
  • Glue
  • Ribbon
  • Bouquet form (optional)
  • Shoes (optional)
  • Shoe clips – if applying to shoes

 

Flower Centers

Jeweled buttons make eye-catching centers for these flowers, but consider lost-earring-half-pairs, broken jewelry pieces, or other un-useable items from the bottom of your jewelry box or junk drawer. This can also be a beautiful use for Grandma’s old brooch or that earring your man gave you that you never wear. These elements are especially meaningful when making flowers that will become a bridal bouquet.

 

Fabric Flowers, The Tamara Blog

Choosing Fabric

I recommend at least 5 different types of synthetic fabric.  The use of synthetic material is essential, as the process of making the flowers involves melting the edges.  If you use natural fabrics (silk, cotton, rayon) the edges will burn rather than melt/fuse… not a good look.  Choose lightweight satin, chiffon, lace, organza. I used a lovely pleated fabric as one element.

Also consider color and texture.  If all the fabrics are one color or shade, the blooms may just appear as a ball of one single color. Contrast in hues and styles help highlight the main color and give depth to the overall appearance.

If using lace or tulle (netting) the edges do not need to be melted. These fabrics add a nice texture layer to the flowers.

For one bouquet, I began with ½ yard pieces of 7 different fabrics.

 

Fabulous Fabric Flowers -- The Tamara Blog

Cutting Flower Circles

Determine the exterior diameter desired for your flowers.  My roses were 3-1/2″ across.  Stack fabrics one atop the other, pin in place, and use the water-soluble pen to mark circles, using compass or household items as a guide. Cut. Then create circle stacks 1/2″ smaller until you have 4 or 5 different sizes.

Fabulous Fabric Flowers -- The Tamara Blog

20160516_161249

Fabulous Fabric Flowers -- The Tamara Blog

Fabulous Fabric Flowers -- The Tamara Blog

Prepare Flower Elements

In preparation for the next step, you may want to have a glass of cold water or ice cubes handy, in case you inadvertently touch a molten edge before it has cooled. If you do make contact with a hot melted bit of fabric, grab an ice cube to help with the burn. Protect your paws!

Carefully hold the edges of the fabric circles over the candle flame until the edges begin to melt and curl.  Continue turning the circle until the entire edge is finished fusing.

Fabulous Fabric Flowers -- The Tamara Blog

Fabulous Fabric Flowers -- The Tamara Blog

Fabulous Fabric Flowers -- The Tamara Blog

Fabulous Fabric Flowers -- The Tamara Blog

Assemble Flowers

When you have completed finishing the edges of all your circles, assemble.  Stack the circles, gradually working toward smaller circles until satisfied with the result, then stitch together.

Fabulous Fabric Flowers -- The Tamara Blog

To secure and create dimension, turn the flower over, and pinch in half.

Take a few stitches in the center of the stack to hold that pinch in place, and knot the thread.

Fabulous Fabric Flowers -- The Tamara Blog

Turn flower right side up.  Add a center to the bloom.  This is where the crystals, buttons, pearl paint, glitter, or old earrings come in handy.  Go crazy with the accoutrements!

Fabulous Fabric Flowers -- The Tamara Blog

Fabulous Fabric Flowers -- The Tamara Blog

Fabulous Fabric Flowers -- The Tamara Blog

Fabulous Fabric Flowers -- The Tamara Blog

Fabulous Fabric Flowers -- The Tamara Blog

For another choice for flower centers, embellish small felt circles with glitter glue or pearl paint.

Fabulous Fabric Flowers -- The Tamara Blog

Assemble Bouquet

Fabulous Fabric Flowers -- The Tamara Blog

When you have plenty of flowers, begin assembly on the bouquet form.  I also added ribbon roses to my arrangement.  My tutorial for ribbon roses is here.

https://tamarajewelry.wordpress.com/2011/04/26/ribbon-rose-wrist-corsage/

To attach the flowers to the bouquet form, push a long straight pin through the center of the flower. Dip the pin in glue, then push into the Styrofoam of the bouquet form. Repeat until the form is completely covered. Once the larger flowers are in place, use tufts of fabric, ribbon roses, or other elements to fill in any gaps between flowers.

Fabulous Fabric Flowers -- The Tamara Blog

Create Shoe Clips

Fabulous Fabric Flowers -- The Tamara Blog

Shoe clip hardware allows you to wear your flowers on different shoes, or remove them when you want to go back to unadorned shoes. Attach flower to purchased shoe clip hardware. Since shoes take quite a beating, I recommend sewing the flowers to shoe clips, rather than using glue, for maximum security.

Fabulous Fabric Flowers -- The Tamara Blog

 

Fabulous Fabric Flowers -- The Tamara Blog

 

Fabulous Fabric Flowers -- The Tamara Blog

 

Fabulous Fabric Flowers -- The Tamara Blog

Enjoy and… make something beautiful!

 

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Dollhouse Bookcases P1060242  

I really LOVE this project. There are endless possibilities for design and décor… you can build your dream house, try out designs you’d never do ‘in real life,’ and more than anything… have a blast.

Beach House Hero Straight P1060276

When I began this project, I had intended to make a Dollhouse Bookcase… rather than a Bookcase Dollhouse. (One being a place that looks like a house, where you can display books and objet d’art, the other being a house for dolls that is made from a bookcase.)  But as the pieces progressed, I decided to make one of each. (Click here to see video of the bookcases on Home & Family!)

Brick House Hero P1060236

Variations I’d seen were very pink and very fancy, and designed for a little girl’s bedroom. I wanted to stretch the capabilities of a cabinet. Who says a boy can’t have a place to house his books? Why can’t a chic city-dweller use this architecture-inspired repository to shelter her curios?

A beach cottage and a brownstone house were my choices.

Beach House Materials:

Photo: Ikea

Photo: Ikea

White Ikea “Billy” 41 ¾” tall Bookcase (or comparable)

4 Foot Pine Board 1” thick by 12” wide (NOTE as this is “dimensional lumber,” the actual size of a 1-by-12 is ¾” x 11 ½”. Go figure.)

4 Foot piece of Decorative Molding

Picture frames for Windows

Screws

Wood Glue

Glue Gun

Paint

Wood Putty

White Spray Primer

Acrylic Paints – Turquoise, Apple

Laser-cut picture frames

Wooden craft sticks or popsicle sticks/tongue depressors

Bead-board style panel

Assembly:

To cut holes for windows, measure and mark outsides of bookcase. Drill 2 holes at opposite corners inside the border, to create starting point for jigsaw blade. If using the Ikea bookcase, I highly recommend taping the surface of the board, to reduce tear-out of the board finish.

Drill Window Holes P1060106

Cut Window Holes P1060108

Tape Window P1060102

For a more finished look, putty and paint the inside “sills” of the windows. Remove tape. Glue picture frames to outside.

To make Roof:

Cut 1” x 12” in two pieces, one at 24” long, one at 23 ¼” long.

Drill Holes P1060010

Drill 3 holes along the short face side of the 24” board.

Drill Pilot Holes P1060014

Butt the shorter board up against the longer one at a perpendicular angle, drill pilot holes.

Screw roof P1060062

Finished Roof P1060066

Glue the two boards together, secure with screws. Putty holes if desired.

Prime and paint.

Cut decorative fascia molding and attach to front of roof edge, using hot glue.

Attach Roof P1060149

Screw roof onto bookcase house at inside corners of bookcase.

Atop Beadboard P1060135

Lay bookcase house atop bead board panel, square up cabinet. Trace outline onto bead board, remove house and cut along outline.

Attach Beadboard P1060171

Attach to back of house with screws (best to drill pilot holes before screwing).

Popsicle Stix P1060170

To make fence pickets, cut rounded edges to a point, and straight cut the opposite end.

Picket Fence CU P1060191

Glue fence pickets along the side of house.

Adorn with shells, sea glass, etc.

Interior Beach Ttop P1060209

Beach House Hero Side P1060260

Picket CU w Stuff P1060256

Brick Cottage Materials:

White Ikea “Billy” 41 ¾” tall Bookcase (or comparable)

4 Foot Pine Board 1” thick by 12” wide (NOTE this is “dimensional lumber,” but the actual size of a 1-by-12 is ¾” x 11 ½”. Go figure.)

4 Foot piece of Decorative Molding

Picture frames for Windows

Screws

Wood Glue

Glue Gun

Paint

Cellulose Sponge

Gray Spray Primer

Acrylic Paint – Brick Red, Chocolate Brown

Roofing material

Wood 2” x 2” cut at 8” long at 45° angle

Trellis fence material

Ivy

Assembly:

Apply gray primer to exterior sides of bookcase. Let dry.

To make brick detail, cut cellulose sponge with a serrated knife to 4 ¼” x 1 ½”.

Mix Brick Paint P1060034

On a ceramic or plastic plate, pour out brick-colored acrylic paint, spread out on plate. Add a few drops of chocolate brown to add dimension and variation in brick color. Dip sponge into paint to cover the stamp ‘face.’

Finished Brick Stamp P1060039

Beginning at the bottom of side of bookcase, place sponge “stamp” to create first row of bricks. About ¼” to ⅜” away, apply another sponge stamp of paint. Repeat, until first row is complete. Re-apply paint as needed to fill any gaps or blank spots.

To make next row, place sponge ¼” to ⅜” above the top of the first brick line, and center the sponge above the ‘grout line’ of one of the bricks from the first row. This will give your wall a staggered brick look. Continue with the rest of the row. Repeat until the bottom half of the house is covered in bricks. Let dry.

To make Roof: (Same method as Beach Cottage, above.)

Cut 1” x 12” in two pieces, one at 24”long, one at 23 ¼” long.

Drill 3 holes along the short face side of the 24” board. Butt the shorter board up against the longer one at a perpendicular angle, screw the two boards together. Putty holes if desired.

Glue on Roofing P1060185

Cut roofing material to size, adhere with hot glue.

Attach Chimney P1060187

To make chimney, paint pre-cut eight inch wooden 2“ x 2” using brick pattern. Attach to roof with screws.
Adhere picture frames to exterior ‘wall’ for windows.

Trellis Fence CU P1060190

CU Brick Side P1060270

Make your own trellis fence, or find at a craft or hobby store. Secure to house and weave in faux ivy.

Hero Both w Brick Side P1060275

Interior Dollhouse CU P1060272

Use scrapbooking paper as wallpaper. I even had vinyl flooring scraps for the floors!

Bathtub P1060245

I envision making a series of these… seven-foot bookcases, lined up side-by-side, each decorated a little differently. Use as bookcases, maybe fashion some bookends that look like railings… add some steps… a perfect row-house neighborhood in my own library. A gal can dream, can’t she?

Tamara w Houses P1060248

Wait. Is that a skeleton in the attic?! Enjoy!

 

Shirt Bottle Wrap -- the Tamara BlogHere’s a quick, but super-handsome method to wrap a bottle for a man.

Caution: Don’t use one of HIS shirts for this one, or your gift may be received in a less-than-welcome fashion.

You’ll need:

One long-sleeved dress shirt (makes two bottle-wraps!)

Spray starch

Rubber band

1-1/2” wide ribbon

Scissors

Iron the shirt sleeves and cuffs, use a little bit of spray starch to really make the finished product look perfect.

Place shirt on table, lay bottle on sleeve, with the top of the bottle about 1” below the edge of the cuff.  Measure about 4” below the bottle’s bottom, and cut sleeve off.

P1050471

Turn the sleeve inside out, secure the bottom with a rubber band.  Place bottle inside the sleeve to verify you have the right length.

Slide rubber band close to the bottom of the bottle, as shown.

P1050501

Once you’re satisfied with the height of the sleeve, remove bottle and cut away excess fabric. Turn sleeve right-side out, and insert bottle.

P1050503

P1050492

Note: If you’re giving a bottle of wine or champagne, the punt at the bottom (that’s the dent in the base) will accommodate the gathered fabric. If you’re giving a flat-bottomed bottle, you’ll have to sew the fabric, to minimize the ‘bump’ on the underside.

P1050496

Add tie-ribbon to bottle, using the four-in-hand knot. It’s pretty easy, find out how to tie it here:

http://www.wikihow.com/Tie-a-TieShirt Bottle Wrap

Adjust tie and “collar,” trim ribbon-tie if necessary, and present your gift. Works beautifully for a wine bottle, but equally good with a nice bottle of scotch, fancy flavored vinegar, even aftershave!

GREAT TIP: Reserve remaining shirt fabric, cut into squares, and make into sachets for him. Fill with lavender (great for repelling insects, not too girly-smelling). Other unisex scents include peppermint, citrus and cinnamon.

DIY Screen Printing NEW Technique

P1050795 Pink Shirt in Window

I am thrilled to share my latest obsession: screen-printing. It’s fun, easy, and sooooo creative! I’m familiar with fabric paints, but never knew that bold, graphic, repeatable designs were something I could do at home with items I already had in my craft closet. Helloooooo gift giving!

Screen Printing Collection

There are other tutorials available, but I think I’ve improved upon the home-printing possibilities.

Some techniques recommend using pantyhose for screen fabric. I found they stretched too much and the spaces between fibers in the fabric were too large, creating messy-looking images.

Some folks found success using white glue on their screens. For me, decoupage medium is sturdier, more reliable, and holds up to repeated screenings and cleanings.

As for creating the mask, most suggest tracing the image onto fabric, then hand-paint decoupage medium outside the lines. For me, this method was imprecise and very time consuming. What I’ve come up with is faster, easier and creates a better, sharper design. This allows me time to make lots of screens and many prints!

Click here to link to the segment on Home and Family site.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Embroidery hoops

Sheer woven fabric – organza, voile

Decoupage medium – Mod Podge, etc.

Clip art images – silhouettes, bold shapes, etc.

Full-sheet stickers – available at office supply stores

Scissors, large punches or Sizzix/Cricut cutter

Screen printing ink made for Fabric

Expired gift card or credit card

Foam brushes

Small paint brushes

Paper plates

Heavy paper or cardboard

Items to print on – onesies, t-shirts, dish towels, aprons, totes

Pull organza fabric over the smaller of your embroidery hoops, and secure with the larger.  Once in place, adjust and pull until fabric is taut. Make sure there are no wrinkles or gaps in the fabric.

Choose your print design.  Simple outlines, bold shapes with minimal detail work best.  Here are some silhouette designs (from my Cameo blog).

Print designs on the sticker paper and cut out with scissors, or use a Sizzix/Cricut, etc. to cut out shapes. (My fleur de lis is from my Sizzix.) If you’re using letters or something that has a ‘right’ and a ‘wrong’ direction, make sure that designs are printed in mirror-image as they’re being apply to the underside of the hoop.

On the ‘flush’ or ‘drum’ side of the fabric, apply your sticker.  Turn over the hoop and fabric, and burnish the underside of the sticker with a credit card to make sure the sticker is … stuck.

Burnish Fleur Sticker

Turn over the hoop and with a foam brush, apply decoupage sealer to the fabric on flush side of the hoop. At this point you can use one of two methods:

-Apply a thick coat of decoupage sealer. This is an easy method, but drying will take several hours – and in some cases overnight.  My latest batch took nearly 8 hours to dry, so plan accordingly.

-Alternatively, you can apply two thinner coats of decoupage medium, letting the first coat dry at least 30 minutes before adding the second.  This method will dry faster, but requires more attention.

Screen with Podge

P1040459 Fleur with More Podge

When painting on the sealer, make sure it coats the edges of the sticker completely. If not, your image will have bumpy edges. Carefully turn over the hoop and check the underside to make sure there are no holes or voids in the fabric where you don’t want them.

P1040492 Cupcake Underside

Lay the hoops flat to dry.  Do not prop the hoops vertically … the decoupage glue will run!  (I learned that the hard way.)

P1040517 Multi Screens Drying

When the decoupage medium is dry, carefully remove the sticker.  You may have to pick a bit at the stubborn edges. Once most of the sticker is removed, run the screen under water to help rub away and remove the extra bits.

Screen Printing,  Peeling Sticker

P1040509 Finished Fleur Screen

What you’ve created is called a “mortise mask.” That’s a big fancy word for a cover that leaves your ‘subject’ area exposed, and the area around, masked.

After the sticker is removed, you can begin printing!

Place a piece of cardboard under the item you’re printing (or inside, if a t-shirt), to keep the ink from bleeding through.  Place the hoop flush-side-down on top of shirt.

Put Paper In between layers

I used the tag to help me position the screen.

Hold the screen in place with one hand. With a foam brush, dab ink into the voids in the mask.

P1050734 Screen Printing,  Add Ink 2

Using the credit card, scrape off the excess.

P1050737 Screen Printing, swipe with card

Screen Printing After Swipe 4

Carefully lift the screen off, and look at your beautiful work! If there are any spots that got missed by the screen, use a small paint brush to fill in.

P1050725 Filling in Mustache with BrushP1050771 Fill in Green Fork with Brush

P1050730 Fleur Finish wout Tag

P1050781 Red Fleur on Tote

Follow manufacturers instructions for heat setting your image – usually you just have to pop the t-shirt in the dryer for a bit, or iron for 3 to 5 minutes.

Once used, you can get many images from one hoop-screen.

P1050807 Hero Collection Later

TIPS:

For the screens, you’ll need fabric. You can get new pieces from the fabric store, but here’s a great tip: Use old sheer curtain panels! They’re pretty easy to find at thrift stores, and a terrific way to upcycle.

I sometimes test my screen on a piece of scrap paper to make sure there aren’t any undesirable holes in the mask. If you do find some, cover with tape, and begin printing. If you want to reuse your screen, reapply another coat of decoupage medium to the unwanted voids in the screen.  Let dry completely before printing.

P1050733 Fleur Fix Screen with Tape

Screens can be washed and re-used if rinsed quickly and carefully.  Don’t let them sit more than 5 minutes with ink on them, or you’ll be too late.  Also, take care not to wash away the decoupage glue. Rinse, rub lightly with fingers to remove ink, and let dry.

P1050775 Rinse green Fork Screen

Tips on silhouette clip art:

You can find them all over!

I found this dinosaur one here:

http://www.arthursclipart.org/dinosaurs/dinosaurs/page_05.htm

Folks sell beautiful ones on etsy – just search for silhouette clip art.

www.etsy.com

Search online for silhouette ‘vectors’ and you’ll find zillions.

P1050804 Tamara on Set

Enjoy your art!  And remember, it’s supposed to look hand-made.  Little rough edges add to your piece’s personality!

Three Chair Bench

Earth day is coming up so I was inspired to do a little upcycling with a project that has been brewing in my brain.  The end result is beautiful, the process easy, and it can prevent a bunch of ‘junk’ from landing in the landfill.  And if you are creative, you can spend almost no money!  It’s a bench made from three chairs.  It requires only basic tools and simple skills, and here’s what you’ll need to make it.

Three ugly chairs become one beautiful bench!

You’ll need:

3 chairs

Bench base material – planks or solid wood

Tools – drill, saw, sander, file

Primer

Paint

Hardware

The Three Chair Bench can be done in lots of variations, and often the chairs you have and the place you want to use your bench will dictate the design.

Gal with a jigsaw

A mention about power tools… this project can absolutely be done without them — a hand saw to cut the bench seat, a coping saw for notches, sandpaper and a screwdriver are all that are needed.  But, if you haven’t before, give power tools a try!   In making this bench, I used a chop saw, a jigsaw, a sander, and drill.  I know that power tools can intimidate some, and if you don’t have easy access to them, the prospect can make you want to stop before you begin.  My advice:  Don’t let them intimidate you!

“If you want to control someone, all you have to do is to make them feel afraid.”
Paulo Coelho

A healthy respect, yes, but fear not the tools.  They are, by definition, there to assist you.  So use them, and remind them that they work for you.

First, the chairs

It’s easy to find cast-off chairs – look in your attic, you might find some gems.   Ask neighbors if they have old college-era furniture they have squirreled in the back of the storage unit, or you can check out garage sales, flea markets and thrift stores.  Your chairs can be all the same style, all different, or a combination of the two.  I had two inexpensive, pine Ikea dining chairs and a weird metal upholstered chair.  They happened to all be rather angular, so fit together nicely.

P1030817

Now for the seat

Decide if your bench will be used outdoors or indoors.  If outdoors (as mine is intended), decking planks are a perfect choice.  Again, leftover materials were used, from the deck-building project lefovers of a friend.  Deck boards are made to be durable and resistant to weather.  I was lucky, in that my friend’s deck had been constructed from ipe – a Central- and South American- grown hardwood.  Ipe  (pronounced “ee-pay”), also called Brazilian Walnut, is the ‘rock-star’ of outdoor woods.  It’s resistant to rot, bugs and water.  It is very hard and very dense – 368% harder than teak and 40% heavier.  It is the wood used to create the famous Atlantic City and parts of the Coney Island Boardwalks!  Ipe will turn silver after several years of outdoor use, and because of its properties, doesn’t require any protective finishing.

20130409_121721

(If you want to know a little more about ipe, look here.)

You can also create your bench seat from a solid piece of wood – a slab of hardwood, plywood, butcher block counter-top material, etc.  If a solid piece of wood is used, create a template from cardboard to help visualize the finished size and shape.

Arrange chairs, paying particular attention to the spacing between them.  When mine were laid out, I didn’t like the jumble of legs in the center, so decided to remove the front legs from my middle chair.

20130407_125840

This particular chair’s construction required simply removing the back from the seat/front legs section.  Since I knew I was also going to remove the seats, this made the disassembly quite easy.  Depending on the design of your chair, you may cut off the front legs, remove the seat and legs from the back… or leave it all intact.  You choose!

Removing the chair back

Once satisfied with the chair arrangement, measure the overall length of your bench.

Measurement Screen Shot

Because my center chair wasn’t free-standing, I made a brace to mark its placement, to help keep the outside chairs at the proper distance.

chair brace

Next, decide the overhang measurements for the side and front of bench.  Cut bench seat to size.

Notching the back board

For a more finished look, notch the bench seat around the chair’s uprights.  Use template to transfer markings to wood, or use a square.

P1030863

Measuring notch

Measuring depth of notch

Transfering measurement to wood

Cut the notches using a jigsaw. Dry-fit the seat to make sure everything fits properly.  Make adjustments.  If necessary, file or sand the raw edges.  Sand other edges to soften any sharp sides.

jigsaw

Cutting cross mark

Filing notch

P1030904

Painting

For best results, sand, prime and paint.  I used 120-grit sandpaper then a second pass with 220-grit.  Next, I sprayed on a coat of primer.  Since my bench is intended for outdoors, I applied three coats of exterior paint.  Always follow manufacturer’s directions on the paint cans for drying times and when to apply additional coats.

Primer coated chairs

Assembly

Once paint is completely dry, arrange seat planks, making sure all boards are set properly.  From underneath, use a pencil to transfer chair placement onto deck boards.

Marks for chair placement

Chairs in place

Remove seat planks, and arrange upside down on workspace.  (I highlighted my pencil marks with tape, to make them more visible)  If the back board is notched, make sure that the plank hangs over the table edge far enough for chair upright to fit and not scrape workbench.

Place chairs onto the boards, aligning chair edges with pencil marks.  If using hardwood, drill pilot holes for seat screws, using existing chair holes as guides.  Be sure not to drill through the deck boards.  To prevent over-drilling, use tape to mark drill bit depth.

Securing screws

Attach boards to chairs with screws.  For an outdoor bench, use stainless steel hardware, it won’t rust or stain if the wood gets wet.

Because my center chair was only a back, I created this brace to keep it from pivoting on the bench seat.

Brace on center chair

Underside of bench

Turn over your creation and enjoy!

P1030830

Before

Three Chair Bench

Other tips:

If your bench is made for indoor use, consider making a cushion or pillows.

Hardware stores and lumber yards often will cut wood to size, sometimes for free!  Additionally, they also rent power tools.

Occasionally lumber yards have scrap piles… dig around to see if you can find some good deals!

Wooden palates can be another source of cheap/free wood.

P1030972

Happy New Year everyone! 2012 was pretty good to me, and I’m filled with anticipation to see the gifts and blessings that this new year holds.

A while ago,  I wrote a blog and created a video demonstrating how to make tiny chairs from champagne cages.  You can find that blog here:

Click here to see my latest Champagne themed video… crafts, food, trivia, great stuff!

Bubbly Bistro Chairs

Since then, I’ve found out some things I thought you’d like.  It turns out that the wine-cork-holder-inner-thingambob is indeed called a cage, but is more formally and properly known as a muselet.  It comes from the French museler, “to muzzle.”

I read (and talked about in my video) that it’s important to pay attention while turning/opening the muselet.  I was told that if it takes 5-1/2 or more turns to open the cage, you’re getting quality wine.   Well, it appears that the 5-1/2 turns thing is a bit of a myth… I haven’t tested this theory, but read that ALL champagne takes 6 turns (6 half-turns, or 3 full-turns) to open.

Chairs in a line

Regardless, enjoy your celebrations.  If you want to wow your friends, or create a pretty keepsake from a fete, you can learn how to make champagne cage chairs here.  This year I added some beads, to make a little more sparkle.  There’s also a bench and a chandelier.  Champagne cage chandelier, imagine that!

Chairs with rug

I hope you have a beautiful 2013, filled with laughter and love, music and joy, peace and adventure. For more in depth info on muselets (and champagne, for that matter!) you might visit here:

http://champagneandsecurity.wordpress.com/2011/01/09/champagne-and-the-mystery-of-the-6-turns/

Click here to see my original blog on Bubbly Bistro Chairs.  Happy New Year, and happy creating!

Chairs with chandelier

Photo: Pottery Barn

MIrrored Dresser

I’ve been infatuated with these mirrored furniture pieces since they started popping up a few years ago.  Fabulous in an art deco boudoir, and equally welcome in a glitzy dining room, mirrored furniture expands and brightens a room.  I’m not one to succumb to trends, and perhaps this could be a tad trendy, but oooh… it’s so pretty!  The price tag to purchase, however, is prohibitive.  The really beautiful ones start at $800 and go up into the thousands.  Tack on shipping (usually $130 and up), and that’s one pricey piece.

My dresser on set at Home + Family.

My dresser on set at Home + Family.

I wanted to see if I could come up with something cheaper and more pride-worthy on my own.  Truth be told, it’s a VERY easy project.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Used or new dresser

Sander (belt sander, oscillating sander, etc.)

Sand paper (for hand-sanding nooks)

Spray Primer – I used Rustoleum Rusty Metal Primer

Spray Paint – I used Rustoleum Bright Coat Metallic Finish in #7718 Chrome

Mirrors cut to size

Gunther Mastic

Knobs

1” round mirrors

¾” acrylic gems

Hot glue

I started with a furniture search.  I began at Ikea, and if you’re looking to make something that has a more modern feel, you can find great dressers there.

I wanted a piece that had a little bit of character – moldings, turned legs, edge work – something that would make my dresser look a bit more interesting.  Craig’s List was my destination.   I found several candidates, and one winner within a day.  Here’s the before.

It was advertised as a “shabby” piece, was covered in several layers of paint, and some of the veneer was chipping off.  I chose not to fix this, because I wanted it to still look a bit worn.  If you want your piece to be closer to perfect, fill any chips with wood putty before painting.

As with most paint projects, the keys are preparation and patience.

Sand any surfaces that will be painted.  An oscillating sander makes quick work of this.  I sanded my entire piece in less than an hour.  I sanded in two passes, the first with 150 grit (coarse) and the second time with 220 grit (medium) sandpaper.   I also took just a bit of paint off of the surfaces that would be covered in mirrors, just to be thorough.

Next, prime.  Since I wanted to use a metallic finish spray paint, the manufacturer recommended a “stops rust” primer.  Even though I was painting wood, I paid the extra 2 bucks for the heavier primer paint – designed for metal surfaces – because that was what was suggested by the paint experts at my hardware store.

Follow the directions on the can of primer, and give your wood surfaces a primer coat.  After it dries the recommended amount of time, move on to the paint.

This metallic paint is so cool!  It’s nothing like the silver and gold spray paints of days of yore.  It takes a bit of practice to get right, but really looks amazing.  Test on a piece of scrap to figure out how thickly and how close to spray to your piece.  The can recommends 10” to 16” distance from your subject.  I found that this application gave my finish a ‘mottled’ look, not the shiny appearance I wanted.  Start further away on your test surface, and then move closer to figure the best coverage for your surface.

In the end, I put 3 coats of paint on my piece.  My dresser took about 24 hours to cure completely, and looks really beautiful.

There were the problems.  A few times, my paint went on too thickly and I got drips.  Best not to touch them while wet, but wait for the drips to dry, rough up with 000 steel wool, and repaint.

Paint Drip Tamara Twist

Mirrors.  You can use acrylic mirror.  It’s not as ‘sparkly’ as glass, but it’s cheaper, lighter-weight and easier to work with.  But because acrylic is not as hard as glass, it scratches easily.

Glass mirrors are simply prettier, so that’s what I wanted.  Measure your dresser, head to the glass store, and place your order.  I recommend getting your glass pieces cut slightly smaller than actual dimensions (subtract 1/8” from the width and height,) so that the edges don’t scrape.

I used ¼” thick mirrored glass, with a standard polished edge, and ¼” holes drilled for my knobs.  (Note: Apparently drilling holes on glass is very tricky, so be prepared for your glass company to charge you anywhere between $2 and $10 per hole drilled.)

I changed the placement of the holes on my dresser drawers, so I used the mirrors as templates to drill the holes in my drawer fronts.

Mirror installation.
Once the paint is completely dry on your surfaces, you can attach mirrors.  Gunther mastic was the adhesive recommended by my glass store.  Whatever you use, be sure that it is formulated for use on mirror – some adhesives can actually strip the mirroring off the back of glass.  Apply dollops about the diameter of a quarter (or in stripes), making sure that you are at least 3” away from the mirror edges.  Press the mirrors in place, add spacers at the bottom if necessary, and brace or weight while the mastic cures.  Follow manufacturers instructions for curing time, but definitely wait at least overnight.

Once the mirrors are in place, add knobs.  Pretty glass knobs retail anywhere from $6 to $20 each, which busts my budget.  I opted for a DIY version.

These knobs cost .98 at my hardware store.  Add 1” mirrors ($1 for 12), and acrylic gems ($2.25 for 20) and I had these pretty knobs for $1.18 each!

Another embellishment option was these adhesive rhinestones.  They come in 3-packs for around $3 or $4 a package.  Just stick and you’re done.

Quick tip:  Don’t buy colored crystals!  Use a sharpie marker to hand-color the stones whatever color you like in custom hues!

Here’s my finished dresser.   It’s perfectly suited for a 1940s glamour-décor bedroom, or as a sparkly complement to modern clean-line designs.

All in all, my project cost around $300.  Not cheap, but FAR better than paying retail.  It’s beautiful, up-cycled, and I made it myself.  Definitely a pride-worthy project.

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