Garden Cloche DIY Tutorial

I’m sure I’m not the only one using tomato cages, or garden fencing, to protect plants and new sprouts in the garden and yard.  Rather they’re protecting from animals, grand kids, or an inattentive mower, they can sometimes stay put most of the summer. That’s what made me think of a large garden cloche; if you’re going to look at it for months, why not make it more attractive? And, no one else will have one like it … that’s always a bonus, right?

My garden cloche design got a jump start when I stumbled upon a pair of wire planter baskets at a local thrift shop for a dollar. The wire spacing on them was similar to a discarded air conditioner guard I had tucked away at home.

I quickly realized I could not bend and shape the steel AC guard to match the 14″dia. of the planter basket with just my hands. After searching around, I finally found an old milk can of that size to roll, wrap, and shape it around. I used bolt cutters to cut the length of guard needed, then connected the ends together by wrapping the entire length of the seam with thin wire, crisscrossing the wire at the intersections, for a smooth seam and firm connection.  Cut the wires from bottom ring, leaving prongs to push into the ground.

  

Cut and remove the crossbars from the bottom of the basket. Once I cut them in the center, they just snapped off.

Spray both of the wire pieces black with an exterior paint recommended for metal. Let dry completely.

    

I gathered some odd lamp pieces and a short piece of threaded rod to stack and build a large finial to adorn the top of the upturned basket. One lamp piece (the base piece) will need to fit nicely inside the basket below where the crossbars were.

Spray paint the base lamp pieces black, let dry.

  

Beginning with the painted base pieces on the threaded rod, stack and build the lamp pieces. Leaving room for a small finial, use tape to mark where the threaded rod will need to be cut. Remove the rod to cut, restack the pieces, add a dab of E6000 to the tip of the rod, and twist the small finial on to tighten your pieces together firmly.

  

 

  

 

    

Cut back all but 6 or 7 of the wires on the top ring of the AC guard, these will be used to bend over the wire ring of the basket and hold it in place. Touch up the cut wires with black spray paint. Attach the basket to the top and its ready for the garden.

   

Kind of gives the garden a little majestic touch, don’t you think?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Large Decorative Finial with Repurposed Lamp Pieces

Just a quick share ……

Do you like large decorative finials? What do you think of this one? Yep, I’m using those salt shakers again.  Want to make your own? You can. Follow the easy steps in my August 2016 blog post, substituting a short piece of threaded lamp rod for the 5/16″ rod.

I’d love to see what you create … please share. 🙂

Repurposing with Salvaged Aluminum Screen Guards

Aluminum screen guards – look at all those pretty scrolls!  You may want to keep your eyes open for these my repurposing friends, they’re a treasure, and have so many possibilities, used whole or cut into smaller pieces.  I’ve had a small pile of them hoarded in my garage for sometime now and recently pulled them out when I was making for the market event last month.

My first thought was to cut them into separate scroll pieces and make brackets by trimming them with thin wood pieces as in the finishing step of my last post.  I haven’t found time to follow through on that yet, but did get them used in a couple other ways.

For pieces, we used a hack saw to cut the guard in half before grinding off the head of the rivets with a cutting wheel on a die grinder. Thank goodness my husband is much handier with a cutting wheel than I am. He got the job done smoothly and didn’t leave hardly any marks on the aluminum. After grinding, tap the rivet out with a punch if needed.

    

Scroll pieces were attached with small wood screws, in the holes already provided, to quickly dress up old boards for indoor/outdoor decor. If more holes are needed, I would suggest using a drill press.  The one with the hooks is my favorite.  The top board can be hung with the scrolls up or down, away or against the wall.  The scroll piece on the bottom board is from an old mailbox; wouldn’t it be fun to personalize?

Two guards, with their side ends cut off, fit nicely into a couple empty window panes to make a flower box and decorative wall panel. To achieve an iron finish, one guard was first spray painted with Rust-oleum gray hammered paint, let dry, brushed with a black glaze, then burnished with #1 steel wool.  The aluminum guard pieces each ran a different direction on these two projects.  With no rule of thumb to follow on how to secure them, I did what was easiest for me.  E6000 was used to glue short lengths of 1/4″ wood into the notch of the flower box guard, held tightly in place with tape until completely dry, then painted.

 

 

A notch was cut from a very thin piece of wood to fit over the painted guard on the wall panel, glued and nailed in place with a brad nailer, then touched up with paint.

  

Anyone eager to go scroll hunting yet?  I know I’ll be toting home more if I come across them while out gathering this summer.  Don’t limit your search to door guards, give those old picnic tables and awning legs a good look over too!

  

I’ll be back with an update on those brackets ……..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making Poppies DIY Tutorial

A quick post to share a new rustic poppy design.
Not too many supplies are needed for these fun flowers; salvaged thin metal sheeting, fiberglass window screening, thin wire, small flat bead, 8 to 10 mm glass bead, and paint. I went back to Lowe’s and bought one of those cute 8 oz Valspar paints again, this time “Oh So Red”.
Like many faux poppy patterns, stacking three layers of petal pieces makes this easy. The base piece is the largest and the other two get smaller in diameter as you go up. My base was about 2 3/4″ diameter.

Before getting started, some fiberglass window screen had to be painted.   This was my first experience painting screen and it took me some time applying the paint and getting all those itty bitty squares to stay filled in; when you brush over them, they open back up. I painted in layers, drying with a fan, and discovered laying the paint on was more productive than brushing most of the time. If anyone out there has a secret or helpful hints for painting screen please do chime in.

Flatten a piece of scrap metal sheeting (as in The Spirit of Christmas). Trace and cut out the base petal piece. Paint it red. Dry. Sand lightly with fine grit sandpaper to reveal some of the metal.

Hold the top two petal pattern pieces in place on the painted screen and cut around them.

Cut a small circle, a little larger than a quarter, from the window screening.  Darken it with black paint.

Sand the screen petal pieces with fine sandpaper to reveal the texture of the screen. Do not sand the black center piece. This is a good time to put a light black speckling on your pieces, and let it dry before spraying all the pieces with a clear matte sealer, front and back. I forgot, and didn’t speckle until my flowers were done, then had to respray them.

Trace three poppy leaves on the thin metal, flipping your pattern to trace one face down. Cut, paint green, sand, speckle, and seal.

On a board, drive a finishing nail through the stacked flower petal arrangement.  You can shape and bend the flowers first, or keep the petals flattened and shape after. Remove the nail.

Center and twist a glass bead on a length of straightened thin wire. Thread the black screen circle on to the wire stem and shape it around the bead. Add a small flat bead with a dab of E6000. Slide the other petal pieces in place, applying a small amount of glue between layers near the wire. Arrange and form the flower to your liking before pushing firmly into a piece of thick foam to dry. You can do more gentle bending, shaping, or trimming on the petals after the flowers are dry if needed.

    

I think this makes a cute, versatile little flower to have some fun with. Change the shape of the petal a bit, the color, and the bead, and you’ll have a whole new look.  Another layer of petals could be added for a larger flower.

I wired my poppies to a basket for a pop of color, then glued on the leaves, but they could easily be wired, or glued, to wreaths, canvas art, frames, or wood.

  

It makes me feel good to find uses for salvaged, and reclaimed materials.  Keeping anything out of the landfill is a plus.  Hearing from my readers makes me feel good too, please leave me a comment and let me know your thoughts.  Enjoy your week!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Console Table Upcycle DIY Tutorial

We are blessed! 2018 finds my family all healthy and happy. Although we are all still temporarily under one roof, it’s an exciting time. Many remodeling plans were slowed or halted by frigid winter weather, but now, everyone’s plans and projects are ready to move forward again. For some, there’s career advancements on the horizon, and for me, a little more free time to do what I like best; make stuff, and go gather things to make more stuff.
With more free time also comes the opportunity for me to lay claim to the old chicken shed behind our house. It has served as storage and even an extra pet kennel when needed, but now it’s vacant. I’ve long yearned for a space to store found treasures and set up a small shop to sell my wares, maybe host some garden art classes. I’m still kicking some ideas around, but after repairs and a hot power washing, I’d like to have something going in the very near future.
My sister has recently retired. Like me, she enjoys a good hunt and repurposing her finds too. We’re looking forward to meeting a bunch of fun, like minded people on June 2nd when we participate in the 6th Annual Back Roads Vintage Market in Dysart, Iowa. I’ve often heard good things about this event, but have never been free to go. The pictures shared on their Facebook page are impressive, can’t wait to get there. https://www.facebook.com/BackRoadsVintageMarket/

Thinking of wares, and with the market only 3 months away, I needed to kick it in gear and get busy. I took a poke around my garage to see what could be started right away. Holy Cow, there’s a lot out there. I was happy to find quite a few things I already had a plan for. Yep, one was the console table, a perfect upcycle piece. It was purchased at Hobby Lobby originally. It held a pencil lamp behind our living room couch for several years, but wasn’t much good for anything else because it tipped easily. It was moved out over a year ago when the kids needed more room to play.

If you’re a Facebook follower, you’ll know I’ve been working on the table, in spurts, for the last couple of weeks. Basically, it was just flipped end for end, making the top the bottom, and the bottom the top. It could have gone together much quicker, but, well, you know, life’s little interruptions. I’ll need to start working more diligently though. I hope you stay tuned, I think you’ll like some of the projects that will be coming.
I replenished my favorite Stowe White paint at Lowe’s recently, and found a few new Valspar colors I thought would work well together. The small 8 oz size paints are perfect for projects like this.

The original size of the table was 33″T x 35″W x 9 3/4″D.
Two pieces of 1″ pine were cut for a new top and bottom, each 36″L x 11 1/4″W. Sanded smooth.
Three screws holding the metal table top were removed. The screws were too short to be used again. The metal top was centered on one of the boards, flush on the back edge.  Holes were drilled down through the existing screw holes, through the metal and into the wood. Flip the metal top over so the finished side is up. Check to see if the holes line up nicely, if not make adjustments. This stacked piece will be the base of the table when finished.

All surfaces of the boards were brushed very lightly with streaks of Granite Dust, Gravity, and Stowe White in a random pattern. Let dry completely, repeat. Let dry completely again, then sand to see the grain. Wipe with a tacky cloth to remove any dust before staining with a Dark Walnut wood stain. Let dry overnight. To finish, following the directions on the can, wipe on two light coats of low gloss Tung Oil Finish. Dry completely.

       

Four corner, or “L” brackets, will be needed to attach the new top board to the legs. There are fancy ones available but I used ones I had.
A slot was marked on the inside of the legs, on each end of the table, to accommodate a 1/2″ wide bracket. Cut the metal with a cutting wheel on a die grinder. Position the brackets so the tops are flush the the top of the legs, screw into place.

  

The metal table frame was painted with two coats of Brisk Olive green paint, drying completely between coats. Distress the edges by rubbing the paint off with a dampened cloth.

Position gliders and nail them into place on the bottom of the base board.  If needed, clip the end of the nails so they don’t protrude through the wood.

  

To add weight, scrap plywood pieces were glued on the underside of the metal top. Weighted down and dried overnight.

On an even surface, stack the base board, weighted metal table top piece, and the upturned green table frame. Line up the pre-drilled holes and screw solidly into place. I used small washers on 1 1/4″ wood screws. The tips were cut off of the screws so they wouldn’t protrude.
Turn the table base over and center it on the newly finished top board. Keep the back flush like the base. Mark the bracket holes. Drill starter holes before screwing into place, again, making sure the screws don’t protrude through the top.
        

And, there we go. Finished and ready for a new home.  I really like how this shade of green looks with the dark stain. But then again, I like almost anything green.  I’m sure you’ll be seeing this color again real soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reversed Etching A Christmas Window DIY

No time for fall crafts this last month; the beautiful late summer weather motivated me to start a garden project I’ve been waiting to do. Although it’s a WIP, I’d like to tell you a bit about it before we get on to the etched window.

Last year, I got rid of the five year old trumpet vines on my garden trellis because new vines were popping up everywhere and taking over. Wanting the trellis covered, but not with vines again, I got the idea of weaving willow branches through the steel frame. Thanks to my niece and sister’s tree trimming, I was able to gather, and weave, two big batches of branches. It needs a lot more branches, but I’m very happy with the way it’s shaping up. I guess I’ll just have to be content for now, until next spring when the weather is more accommodating, and someone starts trimming again.

With the temperatures dropping and Halloween passed, I’m ready to shift straight into Christmas crafting mode.

The idea of reverse etching on old window panes came about after I noticed some little brass embossing stencils in my daughter’s scrap booking supplies. They were so cute! Out of curiosity, I laid one on the overhead projector just to see what it looked like in a larger scale, and that’s all it took, I wanted to get the designs on a window somehow.
Easily a weekend project, they’re great for gift giving, vendor shows, or your own Christmas decor. I used an old window, an enlarged snowflake stencil pattern, small clear ruler, matte contact paper, exacto knife, template pencil, large snowflake paper punch, hole paper punch, 10 oz. Armour etching cream, 3″ wide chip brush, E6000, small beveled glass star sets, and clear glass globs. My pattern was planned around the small glass bevels I had on hand.
My window looked a little rough, so after giving it a good scrub, it got a couple coats of white paint.

A snowflake pattern was used to redraw the design with the glass pieces I had to use.

Copies were made of the pattern, then a window was used as a light box to trace the patterns on their backside.

Arrange the patterns to your liking, on the front side of the window, and tape them into place.

  

 

    

Flip the window face down. Clean the glass thoroughly. Apply matte contact paper down over your patterns. Use an old plastic gift/credit card to help apply it smoothly and work out any air bubbles. Trace the patterns on to the glass with a template pencil.

Remove the paper patterns from the front, then, use an exacto knife and a small clear ruler, or straightedge, to cut the snowflakes out of the contact paper.

  

  

I used a large Martha Stewart Snowflake Punch and a regular hole punch to punch more shapes out of the matte contact paper. I found it worked best if the paper was inserted into the punch sticky side up. Card stock was punched a couple times in between each large snowflake to keep the punch from getting sticky and causing the contact paper to bind.  My hole punch was pretty sharp so I didn’t have to punch the card stock much to keep it clean.

Peel the contact paper from the punched shapes and arrange them around the snowflakes.

   

I stood my window up, in a window, to get a good look at it. Tiny pieces of painter’s tape marked where more dots were needed.

The etching process goes quickly. You will want to be near a water source where you can rinse the etching cream off easily. I hook a short length of garden hose to my sink faucet and rinse over the old drain in my basement, works like a charm.
Lay the window on a flat work surface. I usually lay a big piece of cardboard over a 33 gal trash bin, and use it as a table near my sink. With your fingers, or fid, make sure all your pieces are burnished down well. Spray a paper towel with glass cleaner and lightly wipe your window again to remove any fingerprints or sticky residue, especially around the edges of the contact paper shapes.

For good coverage, the etching will be done with two coats, one horizontally, one vertically. It doesn’t make any difference which one you do first. Use a soft, natural bristled 3″ paint brush. When working with etching cream, work in a well ventilated area, wear eye protection and rubber gloves.
Shake the etching cream well. If it has sit for a long period of time you may want to stir it first to make sure there is no sediment in the bottom of the bottle. Pour about half of etching cream into a wide mouth lidded container.

  

Brush on the first coat of etching cream over the contact paper shapes, horizontally, in long, straight, even strokes. Do not over brush. Let the etching cream set 2 minutes.
Rinse out the brush and wipe it dry. Cover the container so the remaining etching cream doesn’t dry out.

After 2 minutes, gently rinse the etching cream off of the window by running water over it as you rub very lightly with your hand. Don’t disturb the contact paper shapes. Let the window glass dry naturally, or put a fan on it for a few minutes.

  

Lay the window flat again and apply the second coat of etching cream, vertically this time, in long, straight, even strokes. Let set 2 minutes, then rinse the window clean. Some of the contact paper shapes will probably start coming loose with the second rinse.

  

Put any remaining etching cream back in the bottle, wash the brush and container. For safety reasons, please remember to mark all your work containers and bowls, and keep them in a separate area far away from any food containers.
Peel off the contact paper to reveal your design. Use an exacto knife to carefully pry up stubborn edges if needed. After all the contact paper is removed, clean the window with glass cleaner.  Repair any glazing if needed.

  

After lightly distressing the paint on the window edges (which I should have done when I painted the window), a hot glue gun was used to add some greenery and pine cones to the front, upper left corner.  Lay the window flat, face up, to glue on the glass embellishments with E6000, matching them to the shapes in the snowflakes underneath.  Let the glue dry at least 12 hours.
Eye hooks can be added to the top for hanging in a large window, but, I think they’re prettiest leaning in a lit Christmas display on a mantle, console, or buffet. You can decide.

  

I know Thanksgiving is not even that close yet, but, I’m really excited for Christmas. Our youngest daughter has returned home from teaching in South Korea for a year, which means we will have everyone home for the entire holiday season! I’m looking forward to crafting, playing games, holiday movie nights, shopping trips, and hopefully some snowman building.
Some pretty white owls caught my daughter’s eye at a craft store the other day, so we picked out a couple. It looks like we’ll be going with an out-doorsy, nature theme on our tree this year. In anticipation, hydrangeas have been hung to dry, and the grand kids and I have been foraging for materials. It’s going to be fun to see what we can make for the tree. I can hardly wait to get started!