Makeover | Decoupaged jewelry box

Here’s my latest makeover project: a jewelry box.

decoupaged jewelry box

Here’s what it looked like when I found it at a thrift store:

exterior before
The grey pleather and the plastic handles were a little sad.

interior before
But when I opened the box up and saw the beautiful blue velvet interior, I knew it had to come home with me.

jewelry box handles
I figured I’d decoupage over the pleather and see if I could find replacement handles, or at the very least, put a fresh coat of paint on the old ones.

idea-ology tissue paper
When I dug through my crafts cache to see what I could decoupage over the box, I unearthed this roll of idea-ology tissue paper that I had bought a few months earlier just because I loved the design on it.

painting before decoupaging
I basecoated the box with white paint to make sure the grey pleather wouldn’t show through the semi-transparent tissue paper. The blue inserts popped out easily so I was able to get paint into all the nooks and crannies inside.

basecoated jewelry box
I decided to remove the white plastic handles to make the box easier to decoupage.

jewelry box handles
Most of the pegs on the backs of the handles broke off as I pried them out, so I wasn’t going to be able to reuse them. I wasn’t sure at that point what I would use for replacement handles, but I figured I’d cross that bridge when I got to it.

decoupaging with tissue paper
 In the meantime, I started decoupaging.

decoupaging with tissue paper
I used watered-down Elmer’s glue for decoupage medium, painting it onto the box one side at a time, wrapping the paper around the corners as I went along.

smoothing out wrinkles while decoupaging
 I used a plastic scraper to smooth out wrinkles and bubbles.

jewelry box decoupage
The drawer was the last piece I decoupaged.

replacement knobs for jewelry box
 I couldn’t find any replacement handles with the pegs the right distance apart to fit into the holes in the box, so I ended up having to use some screw posts I found at Menards.

replacement knobs for jewelry box
I didn’t like the silver color they came in, so I painted them before I screwed them into place.

new knobs on jewelry box
 The black knobs match the box’s new vintage/industrial vibe.

jewelry box makeover
By the time I had the last piece of tissue paper adhered, my glue bottle was empty, so I finished the box off with a couple of thin coats of matte-finish polyurethane for protection.

jewelry box interior
Here’s what the jewelry box looks like now when it’s open.

jewelry box blue interior
Here’s the bottom drawer opened.

jewelry box blue interior
 And here the box is filled up.

jewelry box blue velvet interior


Valentine’s Day | Hearts on a string decoration

Valentine’s Day decorations are generally not my thing. Most of the mass-produced ones out there are way too saccharine sweet and frilly for me.
Valentine's Day craft project
So this year, I decided I’d make my own Valentine’s Day decor: something with a vintage industrial vibe that I wouldn’t mind actually hanging in my house.
Valentine's Day craft
I started with these little aluminum pans that I found at a thrift store. I wasn’t sure exactly what I was going to do with them when I bought them — but I knew it wasn’t going to involve baking.
Pretty much every craft project I do lately begins with a coat of black chalk paint, so that’s where I started with this one, too.
Then I cut a few hearts out of an old newspaper to layer over the black background.
And, as luck would have it, I had the letters I needed to spell out the word “LOVE” in the stash of random letters and numbers that I have hoarded over the years.
I wasn’t thrilled with the bright colors, so the letters got a coat of black chalk paint, too.
Then I put some silver craft paint over top, slapdash style, letting the black peek through for a tarnished metal effect.
Valentine's Day craft
I drilled holes in the top and bottom of each pan …
drilling a hole in a metal pan
… just big enough to pull a piece of twine through.
Valentine's Day craft
I grunged up the newspaper hearts with some watered down paint and old coffee grounds…
Valentine's Day craft
… and I Mod Podged the newspaper onto the bottom on the pans.Valentine's Day decoration

To tie the hearts all together, I threaded pieces of jute twine through the holes.
string of hearts
I had a few beads on hand that I added here and there. (I wish I would have had more.)

string of hearts

The last step was to glue the letters on over the newspaper.
string of metal hearts
(The letters have magnets in them, but the pans are aluminum, and unfortunately magnets don’t stick to aluminum; hence the need for glue.)

Valentine's day craft project

Here’s the completed string o’ hearts. Love it.

Collecting | Secondhand stars

star ornaments
I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ll collect almost anything. Except for stuff that’s made specifically to be collectible. Hummel figurines? I’ll pass. Precious Moments? God no. Those faceless Willow Tree people that everybody else loves? Not my thing.collection of stars

But turn me loose in a thrift store or at a garage sale and I guarantee I will find some random castoff that has absolutely no monetary value that I will just HAVE to have.
And then I’ll find another one. And another one. And another one. Case in point: my collection of secondhand stars. Most of them cost next to nothing.
Some of them I’ve given makeovers, like these two. The star on the left was unpainted cardboard when I bought it. The one on the right was one of those plastic glow-in-the-dark models. I gave them both a coat of copper paint and now they look like they’re metal.
These were all basic pine stars that I’ve picked up one or two at a time. Most of them were unfinished wood when I bought them. One was bright blue. I painted them all white, glued a little newspaper on them and grunged them up a bit.
collection of stars
This one was obviously a cookie cutter that someone had drilled holes in and turned into a Christmas ornament before casting it off.
star Christmas ornaments
Most of these were bright shiny gold stars, which I didn’t love, so I brought them home and painted them silver.
collection of stars
I tend to put out a star or two here and there occasionally, but most of the time, my stars live in a box.collection of stars

With Christmas coming, I decided I’d pull them all out and give them a chance to shine.
They’re still just a bunch of random, discarded, picked-up-at-a-thrift-store-for-a-quarter-each stars.
collection of stars

But all together, they make a lovely collection.

Makeover | Painting and decoupaging pumpkins

Over the years I have collected a hodgepodge of fake pumpkins and gourds from thrift stores and garage sales.

Some are Styrofoam. Some are plastic. One is really heavy (and I have no idea what it’s made of).

This year, I decided to give them a makeover.

pumpkin craft project

I started by basecoating them all in white. (I used gesso, just because I had a bottle of it stored in my basement that I bought for a project a couple years ago. I’m sure white craft paint or primer would have worked just as well.)

newspaper pumpkins

I liked the white, but I wanted some variation amongst the pieces, so I decoupaged newspaper strips on a few.

decoupaged pumpkin

The newspaper was a little heavy and hard to work with, especially around all the curves of the pumpkins, so I scanned part of a newspaper page into my computer and printed it out onto a piece of tissue paper — which is harder than it sounds. I had to tape the tissue paper to a piece of regular 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper to get it to feed through my printer, and it took more than a few tries before I managed to get a piece to emerge from the printer un-torn.

pumpkin craft

Decoupaging on the tissue paper was easier than working with real newspaper.

decoupaged pumpkin

After I ran out of the newspaper-printed tissue paper, I remembered I had some tissue paper with faux handwriting on it, so I dug that out of my stash.

decoupaged pumpkin

I decoupaged the faux handwritten tissue paper onto a few of the pumpkins and gourds.

white pumpkins

On the remaining plain white pumpkins, I dripped and splattered some paint on, using browns and blacks and beiges.

decoupaged and painted pumpkins

I wound jute twine around the tops of the pumpkins. To make the twine spiral, I dipped it in watered down Mod Podge, then wound it around a pencil until it dried.

decoupaged and painted pumpkins

I had pictures of that process, but they were taken on an old point-and-shoot digital camera during the time when I couldn’t access my iPhone photos. And then I robbed the memory card out of the point-and-shoot to use in my work camera. And then when I downloaded the work pictures, I apparently deleted the blog pictures. Grrr.

pumpkin crafts

Anyhoo, I’m much happier with how the pumpkins and gourds look now than they did before.

before and after
An old crackle pumpkin (that I always set in the back because it seemed a little garish) now looks like this:
crackled pumpkin

The number 4 is from an old perpetual calendar that I bought at a thrift store. I repurposed the calendar part long ago, but the numbers were still in a cabinet, waiting to be used. I may tie a few more to some of the other pumpkins.

This fakey fake big orange pumpkin has now been transformed….
white pumpkins
 … into this. I like it ever so much more now.
decoupaged pumpkins

I did this project about month ago. It just took me forever to get photos rounded up and get everything together because (if you read my last post you know) my life was kind of in chaos from about Sept. 14 through about yesterday (knock on wood). I started a new job, was taking a night class and my home computer died.

pumpkin crafts
I also somehow managed to get Mod Podge on the lens cover of my old point-and-shoot when I was attempting to use that as a backup for my iPhone camera. Now the lens cover won’t open at all. So my old Cannon Power Shot may be joining my old Windows Vista PC in technology heaven.

Crafting | Decoupaged chicks

Mod Podge

I don’t decorate much for Easter these days. Primarily because most of my Easter decorations look something like this:

I admit I have a huge soft spot for kitschy flocked holiday decorations (which is why I own these chicks in the first place). But I don’t do pastels anymore. And most Easter decorations are some baby-soft shade of pink, purple or, like my little chicks, yellow.

Instead of leaving the chicks languishing in a box on a closet shelf again this spring, I decided I’d give them a makeover and then set them out on display. Step one in the makeover: Tear off the faux velvet covering…

… which left me with three naked, slightly scary looking plastic chicks. I grabbed a stack of old newspapers and a container of Mod Podge to proceed with the makeover when The Boss showed up.

I swear that cat has a sixth sense. He can be on the other side of the house — or the other side of the planet — but the minute I set a bowl of cereal or an open container of Mod Podge in front of me — BOOM — there he is. Blocking me from eating/decoupaging and shedding his fur all over my breakfast/project.

I  decoupaged the chicks in three parts: the wings and tails first, then the breast area and finally the head, using different parts of the newspaper as I went along.

When I started, I thought this was going to be a quick little project. But, as usual, I’d drastically underestimated the amount of time and detail work involved…

… and I forgot to factor in the additional time involved in removing each of the individual cat hairs that kept appearing in my Mod Podge.

I debated whether the chicks should have eyes or not. But they looked a little freaky being eyeless. So I popped the original plastic eyes back in initially.

After I was done with all of the decoupage, I scrounged around the house looking for other alternatives to use for eyes and found some old brads that were the right size. I thought the brads gave them a more vintage industrial look that matched their new personalities better than the plastic eyes.

Then I painted all of the beaks orange to match their feet.

Mod Podge
After a few touchups and a light coat of watered down white paint over everything, the chicks were done.

I dug out some dried moss and glass jars and started playing around with ways to display the chicks.

Mod Podge
Does anybody else see Dumb Donald from “Fat Albert” when they look at the chick above?

Mod Podge

Anyhoo, I liked how they looked under glass.

Mod Podge
And look who showed up again while I was taking pictures of the completed project:

I think he was disappointed to see there was no open container of Mod Podge anymore, so he quickly stalked off.

Mod Podge