Monday, May 28, 2018

Spray Painted Decorative Boxes

I was organizing some of my board game collection the other day and realized I had some empty boxes from expansions. The extra pieces and new rules fit in with the base game, so the boxes were destined for the recycle bin. But they were such nice sturdy boxes, it seemed a shame to toss them, so I figured I'd try spray painting them.

I started with an ombre method that I used before to spray some cylindrical tins and some terracotta flower pots. I used a teal, medium blue, and a purple spray paint.

I started out with the teal (Rustoleum's lagoon). It's a pretty bright color that has great coverage, so I knew it would be my primary color. I sprayed the ends and the top half of the boxes with the teal and then set them aside to dry.

Then I set them down and sprayed the blue across the middle.

Then I sprayed the other end purple. I did have to set the boxes up and spray the edges to cover the printing and the bright orange color of the original box. This box had a relatively loose fitting top, so as long as the spray paint is allowed to dry all the way, spraying the sides shouldn't be a problem.

The other box I had was a bit tighter fitting, but the sides of the bottom box were plain black, so I didn't need to spray them if I did a space pattern. I've been working on perfecting my galaxy spray paint methods over the last couple of months. First with some plastic composition notebooks and then with some dollar store altar candles.

So I set my two halves of my box out and sprayed them black with a little bit of blue.

After they had dried, I had to spray the sides of the top half of the box to hide the printing.

Then I selected my teal paint (same as above) and made some random striping or veins across the box.

Then I added in some purple striping. And finished it with some metallic silver and a bit of white. If you think you're paint is getting to mixed, adding some black can help to break it up again. I just added paint until I thought it looked space-y enough.

Then I pulled my box halves out to dry. Spray paint usually dries to the touch in minutes (if the weather conditions are right), but it takes 24-48 hours to dry fully--longer if it's humid. Be sure not to put your box halves together for a few days to make sure they don't end up sticking.

I'm pleased with how these boxes turned out. I ended up with some cute little storage boxes that are no longer destined for the trash. The little galaxy box might benefit from a few tiny stars painted on, but they are perfect for storing colored pencils or pens or playing cards or any number of small items you might have laying around.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Kitchen Sink Cabinet Makeover

I've been in major spring cleaning mode in my house lately, so once the kitchen was fairly cleaned out, I knew I needed to tackle this project that I had been meaning to complete ever since we got a new garbage disposal installed last spring. Our kitchen sink cabinet had a bit of water damage from the previous garbage disposal malfunctioning. And in general was looking pretty shabby from being 20 years old. So I decided to give my cabinet a bit of an upgrade.

So I went to the local hardware store (in our case Home Depot is closest) and picked out some peel and stick vinyl tiles. I measured our cabinet at 2 feet by 3 feet--give or take an inch. So I knew I needed at least 6 tiles. Be sure to get a tile or two extra in case you make any mistakes in your cutting. These vinyl tiles are available at pretty much any home improvement store (and even sometimes Dollar Tree) and are usually around a dollar a tile.

The first thing I did was dry fit my tiles into the space so I had an idea where they would need to be cut. I opted to work from left to right and keep the tiles in the front of the cabinet (where they'd be most likely to be seen) whole. So I knew the tiles in the back would need to be cut to fit. The tiles on the right would also need about an inch trimmed off.

With the tiles in place, you can mark the tile that needs to be cut by marking where the tile overlaps with the tile next to it.

My front right tile needed to have the side trimmed to fit, so I put the two tiles to the left in place (with their backing still on) and flipped the right tile over to reveal its backing. Then I used the edge of the tile and a sharpie to mark where it would need to be cut.

I used a sturdy scissors to cut the excess off. You'd probably get a cleaner line with a utility knife, but I was being lazy and didn't want to dig out a cutting surface and a straight edge, etc...The scissors did the trick.

Once the front was all fitted, I started working on the back row of tiles. I went ahead and peeled the backing off and stuck the front row in there right away, but if I had to do it again, I'd make sure all the pieces were marked and cut before sticking them in. The back section was marked by laying the pieces over the existing ones and marking on the edges where I'd need to cut and then using a spare tile as a straight edge. It would have been easier if I could overlap and use the same method as I did with the front row, but it was still a pretty easy process.

The only tricky part was cutting around the pipes in the back. I accidentally flipped the tile over and marked it, not realizing that since the pipes weren't centered on the tile, once I flipped the tile over, the cut out would be in the wrong spot. Oops. So I used the cut out I made incorrectly, to mark a new tile. Thank goodness I bought extras.

In the end, I have a much smoother, cleaner, and more water resistant cabinet under my sink. It's not perfect, but since it's in a cabinet, it doesn't need to be. It's also an excellent project to do if you are thinking about using the vinyl tiles in a larger area to get a feel for how they cut and how to fit them, etc... It's also a great project to do if you have some extra tiles lying around left over from a larger project.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Fired Alcohol Ink Ceramic Tiles

Earlier this year, I started playing around with starting alcohol ink on fire (a controlled burn). Lighting the ink on fire mixes the ink and makes the ink seem brighter or darker (depending on the color). It's a really addicting process. My first attempt was on a larger ceramic tile. I also tried it out on a mirrored candle plate and plain glass plate. I feel like I'm finally starting to get the hang of it.

So, I knew I wanted to do the whole fired ink thing again, but I didn't know what to try it on. I dug through my craft stash and found some old 4 inch ceramic tiles that I had used as experiments in the past. They were in various states of cleanliness. Fortunately, alcohol ink comes off ceramic tiles pretty well (even after sitting for a year or more) with rubbing alcohol. I put the tiles in the kitchen sink, sprayed a bunch of rubbing alcohol on them, left them for 30 seconds, and came back with a paper towel and rubbed them off. They were good as new. If you used tiles with a satin or matte finish, they might not clean up as nicely, but the good old cheap glossy ones (that sell for like 15 cents a piece at the hardware store) clean up nicely.

I set up my station with an old cookie sheet and a cork trivet (using your kitchen stove is also a good option). Just make sure you clear the area surrounding your tiles and that they are set on heat proof surfaces (that can get some ink on them if it spills over the edge).

I took a picture of the ink before I lit it on fire, but it turned out very blurry, so I just squirted some alcohol ink in three different colors (twilight purple, raspberry, and limeade) on the tile. I squirted a little bit of rubbing alcohol on the tile with an eye dropper and lit the tile on fire with a long handled lighter.

I then added some sailboat blue and lit it again (and had an interesting thing happen with my camera where it looked like I turned the lights off--I didn't). This is about as big as the flames get doing this project (unless you go crazy with the ink and alcohol). So plan accordingly. They burn for 5-10 seconds and everything cools down fairly quickly.

Next I added some more raspberry and watermelon red and I think some clover (it's a teal). The pink sort of took over the tile.

So I started putting single drops of colors I had already used onto the tile to break up the color. I'd drop the ink on and light it immediately. I repeated it until I liked the way it looked and then moved on to the other tile.

I used all the colors I had used on the previous tile and just dripped them all on with a little rubbing alcohol dripped on too for good measure.

Then I lit the thing on fire and watched the ink move around and fill in. Since I knew where I was going with the colors (the second attempt is always faster), I was able to fill the tile in more quickly and add drops to fill in areas in no time.

When I felt like it was pretty much done, I dripped tiny drops of rubbing alcohol on the tiles with an empty (just kinda wet) eye dropper. The flamed ink projects use a bit more ink than some other kinds of application, so they can remain sticky for quite a while. I left mine to dry for a couple hours before handling, and since they are matching colors, they'd make great coasters. I'll have to seal them with some glossy mod podge to use them as coasters. I've also used acrylic spray, but it can stipple the ink just a bit so you have to apply it carefully in thin coats. Some folks swear by Kamar Varnish or giving it a clear coat with resin. I don't have experience with either methods, but they are both on my list to try.

For now, I'm just really pleased with how bright and vibrant these turned out! I can't wait to try another project with flamed alcohol ink.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Spray Paint Galaxy Candles

Last week I turned some old composition notebooks into pretty galaxy (nebula/space) notebooks. In the past I have covered the plain white glass altar candles from dollar tree in tissue paper and mod podge and napkins and glitter and even alcohol ink, so I thought, what the heck, why not give them the space treatment.

I started by taking the sticky label off of the candles. The fastest way I have figure out for doing this is to run the hot water in your kitchen sink until it's good and hot, run it over the label until it's good and saturated and warm (probably about 30 seconds), and then use a plastic dish scraper and scrape the label of. If any sticker residue is leftover, use goo gone to remove it. Then I dried off my candles and put them in a cardboard box outside to start spraying.

I filled the top of each candle with a napkin to keep the spray paint from getting inside the candle. Then I started spraying a black and blue base coat. I sprayed a thin coat and let it dry. We've been having some nice warm weather, so it dried pretty quickly.

Then I flipped it over and covered that side with a thin coat of black spray paint and then blue spray paint.

I waited a minute or so (again good spray paint conditions--warm but not hot and fairly dry) until they were dry to the touch and then sat them up to dry a bit better before spraying on additional coats.

Then back in the box they went and I started spraying stripes of teal, purple, chrome silver, and even a bit of old white spray paint. Just like with last week's composition notebooks, these spray paints were all old leftovers and as long as you have a black and a silver, you could get away with lots of different shades of purple, pink, green and blue--whatever you have in your stash should work. I layered colors until I the colors were less stripey and more muted, but still visible.

It's hard to get a good photograph of these that really show the depth of colors and how shiny the silver is. They turned out really neat, and I can't wait to see what they look like burning. Spray paint is pretty flammable while it's wet, so be sure to wait until the candles have thoroughly dried (which can take 24-48 hours) before you light them and keep an eye on them to make sure they don't get too warm.