Category Archives: Painting Things

Ombre Dresser DIY


Months ago I joined a group on Facebook called Buy Nothing after circuitously reading an article about the project. So far I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see this great community of giving in my own little neighborhood: “Give where you live” is the motto. If you’ve never heard of it, check it out! Giving through the group generally feels better than receiving, but I was pretty excited when someone posted a dresser they wanted to part ways with, which had seen better days. I had ideas for that thing! (Plus dreams about not sharing one lone dresser with my husband anymore)

The dresser as it was kindly dropped off by a neighbor I didn't realize lived on my block.

The dresser as it was kindly dropped off by a Buy Nothing member I didn’t realize lived on my block. Her partner even brought it to my door, it was so nice and neighborly 🙂

At first I had a few different concepts in mind, but I was quickly waylaid by the fact that it had already been painted many times in its previous life and needed to be sanded down. Living in a condo with no immediate outdoor access, I was worried about how I would accomplish that. Luckily, a lovely friend of mine loaned me his sander which even has a little catch bag attached to it, so the sawdust wasn’t flying all over the place. I’m sure my neighbors appreciated sawdust not getting all over their balconies as well. (Thanks to my husband for doing about 75% of the sanding, too. My shoulder injury made it difficult to do it all myself.) Note: I did attempt to use some liquid paint stripper first, but I found that as it ate through the many layers, to get the last bit off was really tough and ended up with me gouging the wood with my scraper. I switched over to sanding after that, and it was labor intensive. Read the rest of this entry

Thrift Store End Table


I saw this little end table at St. Vincent DePaul’s thrift store when we first moved to Seattle last year – for $3! We had gotten rid of the super rickety table we used next to our couch (which had maybe collapsed once or twice…) when we moved so I figured this could be the replacement. I had visions for it.

End Table

$3? Sold!

Of course, it’s laminate which I was worried about how I would paint. Research suggested that instead of trying to sand it down, which would just damage the laminate, to buy some especially sticky primer. I got Zinsser 1-2-3 primer per some suggestions from other crafty folks online. I took off the back (a little panel only blocking the back of the top shelf) and got to work.

I originally thought I would make it a nice teal color, but as I painted with the primer, I realized I really liked the look of it remaining white and wood. So here’s what I ended up with:

Primer coat

Primer coat

Then I finished it with a “delicate white” eggshell paint that I bought for another project which I will post about later this month.

Completed makeover.

Makeover complete!

Later I can always change my mind if I want it to be teal after all — I still have more primer!

Sandwich Board: Chalk Paint


It’s Mental Illness Awareness Week, y’all. Well, it was when I first wrote this in October. I work in mental health myself, and I created these chalkboard sandwich boards for a special event. Added bonus: something to tie bundles of balloons to and catch people’s eye. We had these real estate sandwich boards getting cobwebby in the garage, which had been used for events before, with printed paper taped to them. I figured with a new year almost upon us, I would come back and finish what I never got around to posting.

Sandwich board


The husband helped sand off the remaining tape bits since my shoulder is still injured…and then he actually had to finish the painting, too.

Things you’ll need:

  • Sandpaper
  • Paper towels
  • Small roller (knap for smooth surfaces)
  • Primer
  • Chalkboard paint

As with any painting project, you want to prepare your surface first- that means cleaning, sanding, and cleaning again before you actually get started on the fun part. [Do as I say, not as I do.] Once that’s complete, prime your surface. Thennn you can finally start slapping on that chalkboard paint! Make sure you do two coats, and DO NOT attempt to write on it until a full 24 hours have passed. If you get antsy and started drawing on it early, you run the risk of gouging your paint and having to paint it all over again.

Chalkboard Sign


There’s the finished product! (pixels added for privacy and all that…). The best part is, they can be reused for other events.

Watercolor Bubble Cards


Wow, it’s been a bit since I wrote a blog post! So much for my once a month self-imposed quota. It’s been a real busy summer.

The other day I decided I needed to craft SOMETHING to write about, and since a friend somehow coerced me over to Pinterest, I was in the land of crafting plenty.

Every time one of my interns wraps up their time at our office, I generally like to give them a thank you card. I thought it would be fun to make some handmade cards to use.

So in the land of craft-spiration I saw this fun (and easy but also messy) painting method and thought I’d give it a try for a fairly low-effort, low time commitment craft project.

Things you’ll need:


Paint (everywhere I read said Tempura…I used acrylic because that’s what I had in my craft stock)


Containers you don’t mind getting painty (this is why I save all those sour cream and cream cheese containers y’all!)

Newspaper or something else to protect your work surface

Cardstock or watercolor paper



Read the rest of this entry

Nightstand Makeover


When my sister moved in with us, I gave her my large red nightstand that is too big for our bedroom. The rooms in this place are TINY. I’ve had it since I lived in Louisiana and have trucked it around through about 4 moves. It had a great huge dresser that matched, but I ended up selling it two apartments ago because there was no space for it. Tiny rooms plague most of Chicago. Ah, urban life. You are the opposite of spacious.

Anywho, I told her she could keep it and offered to give it a makeover for her for her new apartment!

Things you will need:

Paint (and maybe primer)

Small roller and paint tray

Small paint brush

The ability to not get paint all over your apartment/clothes/self because painting outside in 30 degrees isn’t a great idea

Oops. Clearly failed. Though I think I could rock some blue hair.

Clearly I failed those instructions. Though I think I could rock some blue hair.

Optional: Sand paper (for those of you who like to do things the right way and want to sand your furniture down before you paint it.) and shellac.

I did not sand this before I started, but I did put a light shellac coat over it when I was done.

As you may or may not know, red is just about the hardest color to paint over. That’s why I looked specifically for one of the primer+paint combos that has become popular for lazy people like me who obviously don’t want to do all this painting TWICE. I got Glidden Duo tester cans because the surface area I was painting was so small. I think they were $2.97 each and I actually only used one of them!

Glidden Duo Tintable Tester in Eggshell

Glidden Duo Tintable Tester in Eggshell

I wanted to do something more than just slap on a new shade of paint. She loves peace signs almost as much as she loves owls, so I made a stencil and painted one on the top.

Facelift. And I keep wondering why I never painted this while I actually used it, since red matched nothing that I owned. At all.

Facelift. And I keep wondering why I never painted this while I actually used it, since red matched nothing that I owned. At all.


Ready to be loaded into the truck and taken to her very first apartment!

All together it only cost me about $9 to buy the supplies to do this. ($5-6 for the roller and paint tray, $3 for one can of paint). I used some silver acrylic I had on hand to paint the peace sign, and I did a light coat of shellac over the whole thing in hopes it will help keep it from getting chipped.

Congratulations to my little sister on getting her own apartment!