East #18 - Operation "Loo"

Apologies to HandyDan! He sent his entry to Chicago, but it was meant for NY.

Name: HandyDan
Location: Sharpsville, PA
Time: This can be done in 2 or more weekends. You can take your time and stretch it out over a longer , or if you have the time you don't have to wait til the next weekend to finish it. Work out your own comfort level. It took me about a week, but you are supposed to have fun doing it! - And You Will !!!
Cost: I spent about $60.00 but still had enough supplies let over to start another project or finish 1 or 2 small ones.

Dan says: "I decided to give the bathroom a little update and I had a few dollars to at least get started. The only thing worth salvaging was the vanity cabinets. 2 side cabinets with a formica board covering them and a sink in the center...." All the pics, tools, how-to and VOTING are below...

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BEFORE

These 2 little cabinets were over 30 years old and showed their wear and tear, but still too good to get rid of. I decided they might make nice side tables for either side of my bed.

Tell us the tools and resources you used for the project:

The list of supplies I needed were fairly simple. Sand paper or stripper if the piece has a finish on it..nothing needed if it's bare wood. The main list is as follows. Black flat latex paint, Gloss polyurethane finish, scissors, ruler, pencil, dressmaker's chalk pencil, black craft paper, foil origami paper, small china bristle brush, large bristle brush and Mod Podge.

The main list is as follows:

A quart of black flat latex paint (not gloss or semi gloss)
A quart of polyurethane finish ( I don't care for polycrylic types because down the line things tend to stick to the finish depending on the weather).
A large china bristle brush for the polyurethane coating. Contrary to popular opinion - for me- this brush works better than a nylon bristle or foam brush.
A smaller china bristle brush to apply the Mod Podge.
Scissors, a ruler, a lead pencil, a dressmaker's chalk pencil (this is to draw on the black painted surface). The white lines can easily be wiped off or painted over later.
A few sheets of black craft paper to do your test designing on.
Finally about 4 packs of foil origami paper (these packs come with 10 different colors of foil in them). I tried foil candy wrappers but they tear too easily.
Optional: A plywood top and glass insert.

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MY TOOLS


Share step by step instructions for how you completed the project:

Most people will tell you to use a primer, but I found I have better luck without a primer. The paint alone tends to sink into the wood and cling. When I used a primer I always had more paint chipping later. Since my cabinets had a light matte finish, all I need to do was to give them a good sanding, wipe it off (my stripper needed here) and slap on 2 coats of flat black latex paint. I like the flat finish because it seems to hold the paper better without it slipping around and you can draw on it with the dressmaker's chalk pencil which is easy to remove or touch up with the paint. Don't worry that your flat black latex paint doesn't look very black. it will once the polyurethane paint is on.

While the paint is drying decide what your design is going to be and do the prep work. The picture of me is one working with the craft paper laying out different designs and ideas. This doesn't take long and saves tons of time. If you worked directly on the piece first without planning you could find out the best idea (you thought) wasn't it and you would have to go back and start from scratch. Once I came up with my design and size measurements it was time to prepare the origami paper.

The foil paper has a white paper backing. For a project with this many pieces it's too difficult to keep wrinkles out of the squares. So what i did is measure and draw on the back side of the paper. Crumple it up like a candy wrapper and then carefully smooth it out front to back with a ruler edge. Now cut the papers and separate your colors into separate piles. The next big step is applying paper to the project. This becomes like a regular decoupage job.

Brush Mod Podge on first, slap on your Mod Podge, smooth, and slap on more Mod Podge. Mod Podge dries quickly and you can glue more paper right over top if
something is off. For large areas like the front and sides I draw some guidelines with the chalk pencil. Once again this makes it go quicker and I don't have to worry about things looking wonky by traveling up or down hill.

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DURING

As I said the chalk is easy to cover up later. By this point - weekend one - you should be done with part one.

Day One - 2 coats of paint, work out design, and cut and prep the paper.

Day Two - apply design and let dry. That's it til the following weekend. Anything you wanted to tweak or touch up you can do during the week. This is important to remember - there are no right or wrongs
- this is your design - it is whatever "you" want it to be. Trust me - no matter how careful you are it will not be perfect. Therein lies the beauty of it all. A poster of a painting looks perfect and obscures
all the flaws and touch ups. Look at the original and you will see the stops, starts, touch ups, and little oddities. This is the way art should be. It shows the human touch and that is what gives a project
or art - heart.

Remember you are the artist and whatever you decide there are no right or wrongs just as long as it pleases you. Let's jump ahead to weekend 2. All you'll do this weekend is polyurethane.
Most poly urethanes say you can do things in coats. Don't believe it. I've found it flakes off often times. I might as well use clear fingernail polish.Personally I put on 4 or 5 coats, but that's just me. You'll notice with the first coat that the flat black latex paint suddenly gets darker and pops out at you Told Ya! Most polyurethanes say to let dry 3 to 4 hours, lightly sand and recoat. I also found out this doesn't work for me. It doesn't seem long enough between coats. I give it 6 to 8 hours between coats. that means 2 coats on day one ( I don't sand between coats). let it dry overnite and then I sand once the next morning and then slap on 2 or 3 more coats of polyurethane and let dry well for a few days before using it (this all depends on
the climate, weather or whether you do it inside or outside).

Do your finishing touches (knobs, etc.) and Voila' and artistic masterpiece of your own. As I said earlier the 2nd or 3rd or more go so much faster because you have the master one to copy from. Say you make a small parson's table next to a chair and it turns out so well you think a grouping of 3 in front of the couch would look even cooler. To knock something out the next time should take no more time (maybe even less) than the original took.

You have, my friend, mastered a new technique and there will be no turning back. You'll start seeing all sorts of things that can be changed or redone. The one thing creativity does is that it breeds more creativity!

Enjoy!

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AFTER

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Janel Laban is the Executive Editor of Apartment Therapy and has been working here, at the dreamiest of dream jobs, since March 2006.

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