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 ……..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catching Up!

Oh My Gosh, I sure have missed my blog. I didn’t desert my post; things have just been busy and I needed to take a little unplanned hiatus, I guess you could say.
Our household occupancy increased by three, in February, for the summer. Us, and our daughter, have been preparing to finish up some remodeling projects in our homes, and begin some new ones. There’s been a lot of sorting and organizing, purging and purging, and lots of double duty grandma and grandpa time going on. We’re gearing up for a very busy summer, but very thankfully, all is good, no, great!
Its not all work and no play though. In May, a group of us checked out the awesome shops along the @https://www.facebook.com/LincolnHwyJunkathon/. I scored big at @sweetbettylous in Paton, Iowa, finding some great pieces for making old world style and salt shaker garden stakes for the https://www.facebook.com/BackRoadsJunkItTrail/.

Getting back in the swing of things, I thought I’d share some pictures of more garden stakes made using the basic steps from my Aug 2016 posts.  I have so much fun making these.

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I’m itching to get started on some new projects. I’ll be back soon!

Vintage Style Toilet Paper Storage

I finally thought of a useful purpose for the curious little copper piece I picked up at @gypsyalleyus last year. Some of you may remember seeing it on my Facebook page. I definitely remember the dumbfounded look on my husband’s face when I unloaded it from the back of my car. Once again, I didn’t have a clue as to what I was going to do with it either, but, recently, as I was looking for a cute way to store spare rolls of TP in the bathroom, the answer seemed obvious.

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Before I could get started, all the plumbing was removed from the inside of the tank and it was given a disinfecting scrub. I had to find a set of four 1 1/2″ dia. vintage porcelain casters, eight large flat washers, and four cotter pins. I tried looking around locally for the casters, then got impatient and ordered some off of Ebay. A toothbrush and some Comet cream cleanser cleaned them right up.

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A piece of 1/2″ plywood had to fit in the bottom of the tank to help hold the wheels firmly. There was a lip on the edge of the tank opening, so, after tracing the top edge of the tank on cardboard, I reduced the template by 1/2″ all the way around, before transferring it to the wood. Cut and sanded the rough edges.20170106_150135  20170113_084338  20170113_085429

I used four of the large washers to determine and mark the placement of the casters.  For ease of drilling through the copper, a pilot hole was drilled first, then a 7/16″ hole to accommodate the size of the caster stem.

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Hold the plywood firmly in the bottom of the tank to mark through the holes.  Drill 7/16″ holes in the wood and replace in the tank.

Put one washer on each caster stem and insert them through the holes on the bottom of the tank, up through the wood. Turn tank upright so its resting on the casters. Put another washer on each caster stem. Use a white paint pen to reach inside the tank and mark the caster stems at the top of the washer. These marks will be used to drill holes for the cotter pins.

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Center punch the caster stems on the white marking. At the drill press, hold the caster firmly with vise grips and drill an 1/8″ hole, on the center punch, through the stem.

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Paint the plywood black. Paint the bottom of the tank. Let dry.

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Put the plywood back in bottom of the tank and insert the casters again. Push the cotter pins through the drilled holes of the caster stem.

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Paint the tank and lid. I beat a small dent out of the lid before painting. Lightly sand dried paint with a piece of wrinkled brown paper to smooth the finish.

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The porcelain handle was taken apart.

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My husband helped me figure out a way to twist the handle back on firmly by customizing a 3/8″ coupling fitting.

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I found the perfect lid handle at the Habitat store for 50 cents. After taping off the porcelain parts, I sprayed the handles, and the handle pieces that would show, with a hammered metal paint. I used a q-tip with a little fingernail polish remover and a ceramic tool to clean up some paint bleeds before attaching the handles.

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I’ve been saving an old necklace from my high school years because I liked the fleur-de-lis (never thought I’d be using it for something like this). The link at the top of the fleur-de-lis was pretty weak and bent right off without leaving any sharp edges. I sprayed it to match the handles and let it dry.

For good adhesion, I scrapped off a small bit of paint where I wanted to place the fleur-de-lis, then glued it on with a small dab of E6000.

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This is a fun piece, I love it!  It’s sure to add a bit of vintage charm to my bathroom.

 

Embellished Painted Mason Jar Fall Decor

I’m so excited! There’s a big 3 day happening in Central Iowa this week-end.  If you like treasure huntin’ and junkin’, you won’t want to miss this one.  Check out @Back Roads Junk-it Trail to print off a map of all the wonderful places to go, and join in the fun!!

My Thanks to @Gypsy’s Alley, in Nevada, Iowa, for graciously accepting me as a new consignee recently so I can participate in the event.

I have a few gourd projects to finish up, and some cool junk pieces to load up too, but, stained glass leaf sun catchers, garden stakes, and garden chandeliers have already been delivered. Its a good thing I was in a hurry when I stopped by to make a delivery the other day.  The place was filled to the hilt with so many new things, and awesome displays, that I know I would have spent the whole morning there and surely brought home more than I took!

With re-purposed and painted Mason jars being so trendy these days, and with a little time to spare, I thought I’d make a little fun Fall decor to take too.

Last spring, I had saved some jars because they were embossed with a small checkered design on three sides, and had a smooth front, which I’m assuming was probably for a label.  I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with them, but I liked the texture, and remember thinking the front might offer a nice surface for a tiny mosaic.

After rethinking it a bit, I still liked the idea of a design on the front, but scratched the idea of a mosaic with grout, and choose to go with a fused glass tile instead.

I measured the smooth surface on the front to determine the size of the clear glass tiles I wanted, then drew a simple leaf pattern to fit on top of the tile piece.  My drawing skills are not what they used to be, so this was definitely the most difficult part of the project for me. You could also find a pattern to trace if you like.

I picked out some fall colors of glass, and cut and ground them to fit my pattern. I had three jars, so I changed the leaf colors around so they were not all the same. All of the pieces were cleaned, then fired in a tabletop kiln, up to 1700 – 1750 degrees, just until the edges were rounded.  My glass was all 96COE, but it doesn’t have to be.  The only pieces that need to be COE compatible would be the middle leaf and small brown dots, nothing else is fused together.

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Wanting my jars to be dark brown, I waited until I could take a piece of fired brown glass to town to match it.  A brown spray paint would work too, but I opted to have a small sample sized can mixed for about $3.00.

Each jar was washed and given a quick wipe of alcohol, then painted with a foam brush.  I did 4 coats for nice coverage. In between coats, I wrapped the end of the brush in a baggie and clipped it closed, so I only had to use one brush.  After the jars were completely dry, they were speckled white.  Once the speckling was dry, they were sprayed with clear matte sealer. Even though the paint is sealed, they may still scratch easily, so handle gently.

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A fired leaf arrangement was traced inside the traced shape of a clear glass tile. Remove the leaves and replace the clear tile in it’s place over the leaf tracing. Following the traced pattern, glue leaf pieces in place with E6000.  Let dry completely.

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Lay a dry tile on the front of the jar to determine where your leaves will be located before gluing. For the best adhesion, scratch off a very small amount of paint in the areas that the leaves will cover.  Put a small dab of E6000 on the scratched areas, lay the tile in place, and press down very lightly, obscuring the glue.  Be careful not to use too much glue or it will seep out beyond the leaf and be seen through the glass.  Let dry overnight.

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Knot a length of raffia around the neck of the jar. Fill with fall flowers, a pretty napkin and tableware for an informal fall gathering, anything you like!

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Gosh, I really like these colors … one of these may have to stay here …   Happy Fall!

 

 

Salt Shaker Decorative Plant Stake

Okay, I couldn’t help myself, just one more. I don’t want to run a good thing into the ground, but this one is just so quick and easy I had to do it! I promise to move on after this …. really!

As I was cleaning up some of my latest messes, I came across this small pair of shakers. I picked them up at a garage sale somewhere along the way, thinking at the time that they would be cute on a small plant stake. So, since I had them in my hand, well, you know …..

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Nail a pilot hole in the lid. Drill a 1/4″ hole. Use small pliers to straighten out or bend jagged edges, just until a length of 5/16″ threaded rod will fit through it easily, you don’t want the hole any bigger than it has to be. My rod was a scrap piece, 20″ long, so I just left it that way.

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I like to experiment quite a bit, and have a habit of throwing odd little pieces of glass in a kiln to see what they will do. It was in some of my trials that I found a wonderful pale green bottle spout, PERFECT!  I got to thinking about all the bags of pretty round, resin napkin rings I often see at sales, they might work in something like this. Might have to start giving them a second look.
Find two nuts that fit the rod threads, and run one a couple inches down the rod. On the rod, stack and arrange your gathered pieces as we did in my last two posts, until you have something to your liking.

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I found an awesome new glue last week. It looked like it would work great on a lot of the projects I do, so I grabbed a tube to try. Otherwise I would have used E6000 or another silicone glue.
Stack your design loosely on the rod. Stand the rod in a heavy bottomed bottle or a bucket of sand. With a toothpick, apply a liberal amount of glue inside the shaker lid tip and around the nut. Push the shaker lid up firmly over the nut.
Apply more glue to the threads of the lid and screw the glass shaker on solidly. Gently push the rest of the pieces up to the shaker and tighten the nut. Leave to dry overnight. Don’t worry about getting everything lined up perfectly at this point, the important thing is for the glue to dry. After it’s dry, you can loosen the bottom nut a bit to center things up if needed.

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There! Enough of the garden stakes, for this year anyway. Thanks for bearing with me as I worked through my obsession.
Just a reminder, glass and metal expand and contract at different temperatures, so please store them indoors during cold winter months. I stand mine in a bucket of sand, in the garage, through the winter so they don’t get iced over.
Now, moving on …..