Garbage plus paint sample cards equals what?
Furniture of course!
I have told you before of Mr.Blab’s eager curbside collecting lately (here there is tradition to put any junk you want to get rid of on the curb in front of your house for others to pick up for free). I have a whole reclining chair waiting for me to fix with my non existing reupholstering skills. Its still waiting for a spark of creativity to hit me, or just a little free time to force me to tackle it. Whichever comes first.
Another piece that was waiting in the garage was a bookcase he brought home months ago. I must say it got a lukewarm reception from yours truly. It was wonky, old, dented, puttied in places and had water damage on the back piece. I kind of shrug my shoulders at it and it was destined to the waiting line. Truth me told, I didnt think anything will come out of it and I had mentally thrown it in the next skip bin.
And then something happened. Mr.Blab brought it out one sunny day and requested we do something with it.
“What do we do with it?” – he said.
There went my garbage chucking plans. Something had to be done with it. And if I didnt add in my input, he will do ‘something’ with it and that something might end up in the house. I better get on with the program…
As the wood was not nice, we decided to sand it and paint it.
Enthusiastic child labor was not hard to find:
Then my input was needed. My creative juices were necessary to moisten the deal, you see.
“You are the creative one” – Mr.Blab would say. If that doesnt seem to work on me, he would shrug his shoulders and add – “I can do it, but do you really want me to?”
What to do with the bloody ugly bookcase that just wont go away? Ideas started coming, options, colors…and then I made an executive decision (why do people love this saying anyway?) – we will paint it white and have some graphic paper cover the back. Maybe even wallpaper. Yeah. Wallpaper.
Then I was off to the hardware store to get the paint so we can continue our productive streak. And then it hit my amateurish self how expensive paints are! For a tiny little can I had to pay almost $30. Now, that will be fine, if we were not going to slather it on top of curbside garbage. Then I realized that it will just about kill me to pay another $20 or so to buy the fancy paper. I was biting my lip and walking to the paint swatch panels to choose the white I was going to go with and then it hit me. The beauty of the swatches. I have used them before for party decorations, if you remember Dodman’s first birthday. But now I had an even grander idea. Better yet, cheaper. In fact free!
So I started picking them little colorful swatch cards. It takes time to pick a lot. I am sure people were watching me – methodically picking row after row. But I could care less. When I had a big ole pile of them I put them carefully in my bag and went to buy the warm white can of paint. Now much happier to do so.
Later on I realised that my novice self should have looked further and picked a better paint, as the one I got needed close to 2 weeks of open air offgassing (my word) before it can be allowed to enter the house.
Dont do the same mistake as me. Buy low VOC paint. K?
I also purchased new backing, as the old one was indeed water damaged and now we had high hopes for the project. Do you know how hard it is to cut MDF with a bread knife? It had to be cut to size before I start gluing the cards to it. We didnt have the tools, so I suggested the bread knife. It worked, but I will lie if I said we didnt laugh at ourselves while sawing through the sheets in the backyard. It was hard work, so one would use the knife, while the other had to provide support for the violently flapping about material.
Then it was my turn. I had enough cards to play with. My original idea was to just use the ready made pattern – from blues to pinks, saturated to desaturated colors. It had a nice appealing look to it. But once I set them up, I thought they are not bright enough. I was thinking of something more graphic, stronger, funner.
I tried little area with another idea and after playing with it for two nights I settled on a pattern.
Then it was time for the gluing part. I made a little trial on the offcuts of the mdf and had a plan. The newly glued pieces needed uniform pressure on top to make sure they stay flat and nice to the surface.
So I whipped out the weights and the process went like that after I had measured and lined up the board:
Brush glue on the surface. Position swatch card. Cover with board and weigh down with weights.
Brush glue on the next spot. Position swatch card. Move board with weights to the left to cover the new swatch as well.
And so on and so on, from left to right. From top to bottom.
It took 3 hours to finish the whole backing.
After it was done, I used a varnish to cover the cards to prevent them from being scratched by the books. In the end I used the whole jar in three goes.
After all was dried, offgassed and nailed together we had a most wonderful little bookcase.
Bookcase – free
Paint – $28 (we used less than half)
Swatches – free
Glue – $5 (I had the glue already)
Varnish – $10.50
New backing – $9
I say, not bad. Especially for complete novices in the field of home/furniture renovations.
And it goes perfectly with the pillow covers I had sewn for the comfy reading area in the kids room.
I like the color names on the swatches. I have heard Miss Fab reading them out loud the other day ;)
The kids have given it the big stamp of approval and now we have space for the extra books that could not be fit anywhere and would end up piling on the floor.
And I stand corrected. I guess nothing is quite as horrid and hopeless as we may think.
Now if I can only apply this thinking to the chair that is waiting out there in the cold.