Monday, April 24, 2017

Deck Refresh

I teach at a local community college, so it's crunch time grade wise....and we had a lightning in a bottle kind of weekend where it was sunny with no rain forecasted, low humidity, and with warm but not hot temperatures for both days of the weekend. So, we had to do yard work. After our mowing and trimming on Saturday, we decided to refresh our deck. Between the deck and grading....I didn't get much else done, so instead of a craft tutorial, you get to see our deck painting project.

Our deck was beyond beginning to get ragged. It hadn't been sealed since before we bought our house and there was a lot of mildew, cracking, and even some lichen on it. So we opted for a deck filler type product at our local Home Depot (because it was the closest hardware store). We bought Behr Wood Cleaner and followed the instructions (wear gloves, mix with an equal part water, wet deck, scrub or swab on solution, rinse off).  

We scrubbed it on as we knew there were some tough spots that needed cleaning. After a few hours of clearing off the deck, cleaning it up, hosing it down, and scrubbing it clean, we were pretty pleased with the way it turned out. It looked like a brand new deck. This stuff mostly worked as it claimed and my only complaint was that it smelled a little chemically...and burned a bit when you got splashed with it.

The wood cleaner requires you to wait 24 hours for the wood to dry before you can paint or stain. The next morning the deck still looked much cleaner, but not as golden brown as it did when it was wet.

When we finally decided on a color (not too dark because the deck gets lots of sun), we went back to our local Home Depot and picked up Behr DeckOver. After taping around the siding where the deck met the house, we started on the railings. This was by far the worst part of this task. It was incredibly tedious. We had a couple of small rollers that helped it along, but the DeckOver is like painting with pudding. It's incredibly thick and it soaks right into the raw wood and cracks, so you really have to slop it on.

Though the DeckOver wasn't easy to work with, it definitely filled a lot of the cracks. We ended up having barely enough with two gallons of paint to finish one coat of the deck. The product suggests that you can achieve 2 coats on a 75 square foot deck with one gallon. The railings make it very hard to calculate square footage though. So buy more than you think need if you need to paint railings.

Because it's so thick, there are definitely places on the deck that could use a second coat, but this is all we could get done today. We'll probably pick up more DeckOver and give it another coat or at least touch ups before we call it good, but we're pretty pleased with the improvement.

I hope you had a beautiful and productive weekend where you are too!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Tissue Paper "Stained Glass" Jar

At one of my recent Dollar Tree runs, I got a package of tissue paper squares in their craft section. The package contained multiple bright colors of squares that were a little over an inch in size. 

I had already done a faux stained glass project using pieces of tissue paper glued onto glass candle holders with mod podge. I knew it would be easy to recreate that project with a new twist. So I grabbed my mod podge, a foam brush, and a cleaned pickle jar.

I painted a stripe of glue onto the bottom of my repurposed jar and started applying my squares of tissue paper. I made sure to overlap them a bit so that there was no glass showing between.

I continued randomly alternating colors and tapping the tissue paper onto the glue. Don't worry if it's not perfectly smooth or if a few edges are not completely glued down, you can add glue as you go. The more you fuss with your tissue paper, the more likely it is to tear, so just tap it on and move on.

As I started in on the second row of tissue paper, I decided to make some of them crooked to create a more random appearance. I continued to glue edges down as I went along and tried to cover all of the glass.

When I was done with my rows of tissue paper squares, I examined the jar to look for any gaps or tears in the paper. Anywhere I saw glass, I applied a square. This added to the random appearance I was going for. When I was done gluing on tissue paper and satisfied it was completely covered, I let it sit long enough to clean up my bits of paper, etc....

I let it sit for about 10 minutes before I painted on my layer of mod podge to seal the paper. The paper is less fragile if it's allowed to set up a bit. You can let it dry all the way if you have the patience (or another project to work on). Then carefully apply a thick (but not sloppy) layer of mod podge to seal it. I try to go over it once after I've applied the glue to check for any thick white sections that might not dry clear and to smooth all the glue going roughly the same direction. If the layer is consistent, it will pretty much disappear when it dries.

The tissue paper will also smooth out as it dries. I left my jar for a day before I took my pictures and you can see that some of the tissue paper also turned a bit translucent. I spray painted the original jar lid to hide the cartoon pickle on the top, so the jar could be used for storage or, since it's so pretty when light is shining through it, I'll probably use it as a luminary/candle holder.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Alcohol Ink Easter Egg Candle Holders

With Easter just around the corner, I knew I wanted to make something festive. So I fell back on one of my favorite media to work with: Alcohol Inks. I decided to decorate a couple of the square candle holders from Dollar Tree with alcohol ink Easter eggs.

I rolled out my craft mat and grabbed my alcohol inks. I also grabbed a roll of wide painter's tape to create a stencil on my candle holders. I ended up making my stencils freehand and it was a bit of a pain. If I were doing this project again, I'd probably draw out or print out an Easter egg the size that I wanted and then trace that onto a sheet of tape (made my layering the pieces on the craft mat).

After I got my egg shapes masked off, I was worried they would just look like colored blobs, so I made some little tape zig zags to put in the middle of my eggs.

I dripped pink, orange, and yellow alcohol ink onto the felt on my applicator and stamped it onto the top half of my egg.

Then I used a clean square of felt with blue, teal, and yellow dripped onto the felt to stamp the bottom half of the egg. I did end up having to be careful along the zig zag tape, but otherwise getting the ink on the candle holders was super quick and easy.

I let the ink dry for 5-10 minutes before I removed the tape so that I wouldn't smear anything. Then I soaked a cotton swap in rubbing alcohol and cleaned up any ink that bled under the tape. I've found that cheaper cotton swabs (not the q-tip brand ones) actually work better. These are ones from the dollar store with a plastic stick that doesn't soak up the alcohol and the cotton is tightly wound and makes for a more precise tool.

These didn't turn out quite as vibrant as I'd hoped. They look better close up than with candles in them sitting on a table, but I always enjoy working with alcohol ink and trying new patterns and techniques.