New Patterns

Winter is just ridiculous here.  Boston is buried.
This is my house...
My kids have had more snow and vacation days this past month than school days.
I'm a cranky shell of a human and snow is a four letter word.
 And I have developed an unhealthy relationship with memes from texting with snowbound friends,
a territory I NEVER thought I'd enter..
I've officially cracked and I now find myself cackling at pictures of giant snow penises.
Wait.  I always did that.
OK, so nothing new...

 One of the things I've been doing to pass the time this winter
-besides over eating and drinking-
has been designing some new stuff on Spoonflower
Dragons, splats and pirate skulls with a paisley tossed in.
I usually start by designing for myself- in this case the boy's bath- 
and then it grows into several color ways.  You too can be a snow bound fabric designer, 
so get busy and get on it!

 I wound up using the Splat in Indigo for the boy's shower curtain...
as you can see the "Bleeding Sharpie Fail" is still on the walls.

I still am trying to decide on the wall pattern.
Most of you know decision making for myself is not my strong suit, 
so stay tuned for like ever....

I'm stuck on these two:

Paint is no problem, I can change it quick. It's like decorating speed dating.
Wallpaper and I though, ugh.  It's a commitment thing.  I have to really really like it, and basically want to marry it- for a good long while.  

I also design this one, the Aztec Trellis in Valentine, for my living room ottoman:
Living room is getting some updating love slowly...

like super slowly.  
Go ahead and blink.You won't miss anything.
Up next are these chairs.  
They need some reupholstering, and I'm on the "citron or aqua" velvet fence.
Bases are getting gilded.  But at this rate it will be summer, but who knows.  
Give me another snow storm and I just might get crazy enough to do it.

and the winning color is....

Pale citron.
I just bought 10 yards of this fabric.  
It looks like velvet and it's kid proof (deal-sealer). 
Now for the real work....
Be back with upholstery pics!

Weekend Project- DIY Upholstered Headboard with Nailhead Trim

I have been busy redoing the boys’ bedroom.  One of the biggest changes was getting rid of their old wooden beds and switching over to upholstered headboards. The old beds were very durable, but not that comfortable.  I can’t tell you how many times they’ve banged their heads while rough housing.  I was over the head injuries, and secretly I was looking forward to a soft place to rest my head during story time.  I found the style I liked, a clean and simple rectangle with a double row of nailheads, but I was shocked by the price.   The lowest I found was $299.00 for a twin size, and I needed two!  This called for a DIY.  Making an upholstered headboard is so easy, especially this style. You will save hundreds by doing it yourself.  As an added bonus you will get to pick your own fabric, so you will have unlimited options as opposed to having to select from what’s available online.  

I created a simple tutorial with materials that are easy to find.  Almost everything below came from my local True Value Hardware or a fabric/craft store.  I sized the project to fit 24” wide foam, a size that is readily available to purchase online and in craft stores. I also sized the twin and king sizes to fit 2’x3’ and 2’x 6’ pieces (also easy to find, no trimming required).  You can use 2” or 3” thick foam, the choice is yours.  I used 3” thick foam, which created a greater profile. The 2” thick foam will give a flatter look.

To get started you will need to gather supplies.  Choose your bed size below for quantities of each specific item:

You will also need:
1/2” Thick Quilt Batting (I bought a twin size and did 2 headboards)
30” Heavy Duty Picture Hanging Cleat (I used this one, holds up to 300 lbs.)

Step 1:
On a flat surface you are going to assemble your 3/4” plywood and 2x4 pieces to create a frame to hold your foam.
Apply wood glue to the back sides of the 2x4s.  Arrange with the long 2x4 going across top and the two shorter 2x4s along the sides.  The bottom remains open.  Pre-drill two holes on the sides and three holes across the top. Using 2” screws, set the 2x4s in place with a drill.

Step 2:
Spray the inside area of the headboard and the backside of your foam with spray adhesive. 
Press the foam into the framed area and let set a few minutes. 

Step 3:
Wrap the entire front of the headboard in batting. I used 2 layers of batting because I wanted a very plush headboard, but one will suffice.  Batting is important because it will soften the 2x4s.  Staple the batting along the backside edge of the headboard every couple inches being sure to smooth the front and gently pull as you go.  Don't make the batting too tight… you want it smooth, but not “facelift” tight.  You will be adding nail heads, so if using the 3” foam you’ll want a little give when you push down on the area over the 2x4s.  Trim any excess batting from the back.  You are now ready for fabric.

Step 4:
Time for fabric.  Be sure to use a suitable fabric, nothing too thin or flimsy.
-Twin frames can handle 48+” wide upholstery fabrics vertically right off the bolt since they are so narrow, so no railroading is necessary.  If your fabric pattern can be “railroaded,” run horizontally across the frame, you are all set.  For full to king sizes you can easily railroad a solid, stripe or small patterned fabric so no seaming is necessary.  If you chose a pattern that needs to go vertically, you will need to seam it together by sewing it to create a large width.

-I like to find the center point of my fabric at the top and bottom.  I cut a small notch in it to mark it.  I then mark the center point of the top and bottom of my headboard with a permanent marker.  When I begin to apply my fabric I simply line up the top mark with the top notch in my fabric and start stapling from this point.  Next I smooth it down across the front and staple the bottom center at its respective marks.  This guarantees a straight pattern layout.  I then continue to smooth and staple the fabric to the backside of the headboard, stopping a few inches from the corners. Be sure to tug gently and pick up any slack as you go.

-When you get to your corners, you want to make a neat fold to keep your edges clean.  You can cut away excess fabric here before you tack it down to keep it from getting too bulky. 

Step 5:
Once you have stapled all four sides and corners flip the head board over onto its back.
You are now going to apply the nailhead trim.  This trim comes as individual nailheads (single nails), or in connected rolls in 5 yards lengths.  I prefer the look of individual nailheads, as there is no connection points visible like with the rolls of trim, but since I am going to be using 10 yards, that would take forever to do individually.  Also, since I am using a velvet, the fabric’s plushness disguises the connections a bit.
-The rolls of trim have a blank every 5 nailheads that requires you to nail through it to attach the trim.  You will want to begin in a corner.  I like to unroll the trim and lay it out to make sure that I will have a blank pretty close to the opposite end.  If not, I center the piece so I can add single nailheads to each side to balance it out.
-Hold the nailhead trim with needle nose pliers and use a rubber mallet** to drive the nails in.  Continue along the outside edge, straightening the trim as you go.  When you reach a corner, finish on your last blank and then bend the nailhead back and forth until it breaks off. 

-Add single nails until you are close enough to the corner to start the perpendicular edge.  Continue until the top and side edges are finished.  Now for the second (inner) row, measure in about 3 inches and begin again.  This time use your fingers to press and smooth the fabric towards the foam.  Continue around until you have two complete rows. 

**If you don’t have a mallet handy, here is a little trick I’ve used… 
Stick a 1” round felt furniture pad to the tip of your hammer.  It keeps the nailhead from getting scratched or dented and does the job!

Your headboard should be looking good, and it is almost ready to hang.

Step 6:
Using a heavy duty picture hanging cleat system, follow the instructions on the packaging to hang.  I measured and marked 4” down from the top of my headboard in a few places and used this as my guide to attach the cleat to my headboard.  I then determined where I wanted the height of my headboard over my bed and attached the other cleat to the wall.  I used a stud finder and marked where to drill.  I really loved how easy this system was to use. It even had a built in level!  

Step 7:
Once it was attached I simply slid the headboard down onto the cleat.  It attached so easily and is very stable.

I can’t tell you how excited I am by this project.  It has totally transformed my boys’ room, and my youngest absolutely loves his new bed.  Each headboard cost less than $100, and I even reused the plywood from their old bed’s platforms.  And best of all this only took a few hours to do, so it is a great weekend project.

Be sure to check out my past projects and more by visiting, as well as True Value on Facebook

 I was one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program as well as writing about my experience. I have also been compensated for the materials needed for my DIY project. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.

Super Easy Snow Storm Project- DIY Wall Texture

I got a little hut happy during one of the recent snow storms and decided to deck out the boy's room  with some wall pattern.  I was going to stencil it, but I was coming off a stencil bender and needed a break.  Instead I pulled out some paint pens and got busy drawing on their walls.

It took most of the day, but hey... I was snowed in and going nowhere.
To do this you just need some heavy cardboard ( I used mat board), an Exacto knife, a design (I went for a repeating rectangular line) and a few paint pens.  I used Krylon Short Cuts and Sharpie Paint Pens in white. I liked the Krylon, it just flowed and covered much better.
 Draw out your design and then cut your tracing template...

 I used tape to hold it in place and I traced away like a crazy lady.
And traced...
Start on a wall at the top left corner and do a full line of repeats across the wall.
Be sure overlap the last part (one rectangle in my case) of each repeat so it stays seamless.
Move down to start your next row, and repeat...

Bourbon drinks were had, and things got a bit unleveled in a few spots.
I also eyed the spacing between rows, so its not perfect.
But hey, perfect is boring... right?
At least that's what I like to tell myself.
You can do any pattern you like.
And hey, if you get sick of it-
it's only paint.

How to Design Your Own Stencil

I realized I've stenciled a ton of stuff on this blog.  I've even done tutorials on how to make complex pattern repeats.  I've just never done a basic post on how to design and make a stencil.  It is such an easy thing to do, and it allows you to quickly add pattern to any flat paintable surface (even fabric).  I prefer it to wallpaper since its much less of a commitment, and all I have to do is paint over it if I change my mind.  So lets get started...

I've got a laundry room that has been begging to be finished, after all I did wallpaper the ceiling well over a year ago!  I have been living with white walls in there and had a vision of a red and blue design.  I had so many pattern ideas, and it was actually my indecisiveness that has held up this project.   When you make your own stencil you control EVERYTHING... the scale, color and layout.  You can design your own pattern, or access the many free pattern downloads available online .  You can use a single motif (which is what I did, and I recommend it for beginners) or make a continuous overall repeating pattern (click here for a tutorial on that).  Best part is that is costs just a fraction of wallpaper, and you can get the supplies you need a your local True Value!

To get started you will need:
-a pattern/design
-stencil material: sheets of clear mylar; also called transparency or clear overlay (often sold in art and office supply shops) 
-hobby knife  or snap-off knife and/or heated stencil cutter
-paint applicators (4" foam roller, stencil brushes)
-paint in the color(s) of your choice
-pencil with eraser
-large piece of cardboard to practice on

-cutting board/surface

1) First choose your design.  I actually designed a single paisley pattern, but you can use anything you like.  Get it to a scale you like and make a dot on the upper left hand corner.  This is going to be your registration mark and will come in very handy.  Now photocopy this image a few times.

2) Now it's time to figure out the size of the pattern repeat.  Since this entire process is customizable you can make your pattern lay out perfectly on your walls.

Here's the trick I use.  I take my photocopied images and tape them on the wall.  I arrange them in a layout I like.  It definitely helps you visualize what the end result will look like and you might decide you want the image to be a little larger or smaller.

When you are happy with the layout, measure the horizontal and vertical repeats.  Take a ruler or a tape measure and simply measure the distance from that little dots in the upper left hand corners. Make note of these numbers.

3) Next you are going to be tracing your image onto the clear mylar.  You can do just a single stencil, or stencil that has several repeats on it.  I wanted to have two motifs on my stencil to make the painting part go faster, so I taped my images down on the table using the same repeat measurements from the last step.  I laid the mylar over this and taped it down as well.  For a one color stencil simply trace your images using a fine Sharpie marker.  Be sure to trace the registration dots too.  

If you are only tracing one motif be sure to measure and mark your repeats off of the left hand corner dot.  Example: If your repeat was 8" horizontal and 10" vertical you will measure and mark 8" to the right of your first dot, and then 10" down from both of these.  You will be using these later to align your pattern on the wall. 

3a) This next step is if you are doing a two or more color stencil.  I was doing a red and blue stencil.  I made sure to colorize one of my photocopies first to get the color placement right.  Next I traced the areas that would be blue first. Then I laid a second piece of mylar over the previous one and traced all the areas that would be red.  In the end I have two separate stencils, but the registration marks and patterns line up perfectly. 

4) Time to cut your pattern out.  You can use a heated stencil cutter (best for curvy patterns) or an Exacto knife (best for straight lines).  I tend to use both.  You will need an area to cut on.  If you are using the heated stencil cutter I recommend a hard surface like a piece of glass or a smooth piece of ceramic tile.  You don't want to burn your table!  If you are only using a knife I recommend a rubber cutting board or mat.  Carefully cut out your stencil.  Be sure to cut out the registration marks.

5) Once you have your stencil cut do a few practice runs to get your color and look perfected.  You can use regular latex wall paint (which is what I did), artists acrylics or paint specifically made for stenciling.  I suggest testing out a few types to see what you are most comfortable with.  The same goes for applicators.  Stencil brushes are great for small details, while high density foam rollers work great for larger areas and make quick work of it.  Just know that a little paint goes a long way.  If you have a lot of paint bleeding under your stencil you are using too much.  Wipe your brush or roller off and keep practicing until you feel comfortable and get a hang of how much paint to use.  Whatever you do, DO NOT water down your paint.  It will be too runny and bleed easily.  You can use a latex glaze or gel medium to dilute your color if needed.

6) Now for the fun part, painting!  Make sure your walls are smooth and clean.  I don't recommend stenciling on textured walls.  I like to start in the upper left hand corner and work across and down.  Tape your stencil to the wall in a few places.  Use a pencil to mark your registration dots.

Now paint your stencil using a brush or roller (whatever felt more comfortable when you were practicing.)

7) After you finished your first repeat, remove the stencil from the wall.  If you had any bleeding you can quickly clean these areas while they are still wet.  Make sure the back of your stencil is clean.  I like to place mine face down on a piece of cardboard between repeats so it can dry and I can wipe any paint that bleeds through the back off.

Align the registration marks with your next section to the right or below. Repeat step 6 until you have finished your wall.  If you are using two colors you will now repeat step 6 and 7 with the next color.
Once you are finished erase your registration marks and touch up any smudges with your base wall color. And you are done!

Tips and tricks for corners or tight spots:
It is almost impossible to not have a spot that only requires a part of your pattern.  Sometimes you can bend the stencil to fit the area, and sometimes you might need to cut it.
-I like to paint the majority of my room and leave the tight spots for last.  It isn't a bad idea to make two stencils, one for main areas and one for cutting. If you find you have an area that requires the same piece over and over (like the bottom of the wall or corner) you can cut a new section just for that application.
-In cases like base boards, I like to use painters tape to cover the edge of the molding, and then I lay the stencil right over it and can apply the paint right up to the edge.  Just pull the tape when you're done and you will have a clean edge.
-I like to tape my stencil to a door opening so it can quickly dry on both sides.  
-If you totally botch a section, quickly try to wash it off.  If all else fails, use your base color and paint that section out. Once it dries redo it.

-Sometimes you might cut a pattern and realize it is too flimsy, or a section lifts up too easily.  Use very thin pieces of Scotch tape to make a connector to hold that section down and strengthen the stencil.

For more DIY ideas and tips, check out True Value on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest

 I was one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program as well as writing about my experience. I have also been compensated for the materials needed for my DIY project. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.

Painted Faux Inlay Floor Border with Printable Template

(My client's upstairs/stairs are currently being stained, finished and painted as I write this.  
Once the holidays are over I will update this post with new photos showing the foyer and floor in all its finished glory.  Stay tuned and Happy Holidays!)

I am a huge fan of painted floors.  They can transform a space with a big splash of color and pattern or simply add character by simulating an inlaid design.  I personally would paint my entire hardwood living area if it were up to me, but that would entail removing ALL of my furniture and having to spend a few days sanding, painting and sealing.  My family is just not up for that large of a disruption.  Instead, an easier way to add some character to a floor is by painting a border around the room.  I have painted many floors in my life, and while painting an unfinished floor is best, there are several tricks you can use that will allow you to paint directly on your previously finished floor.  No floor sander needed!

I have a client that is in the midst of renovating their entire second floor. This includes refinishing the hardwood floors on that level.  They really love the look of dark wood floors, and chose to go with a rich chocolate tone.  They plan on carrying the dark stain down the staircase treads to the first floor.  The problem is the first floor is a much lighter clear-coated red oak.  As much as they would like to redo the first floor to match the upstairs, it is just not practical for them at this point in time.  We came up with a solution to blend the two floors together by adding a dark faux inlaid banding in the foyer area at the bottom of the stairs.  It is a simple procedure that you can do in a day and you can use any color your heart desires.  I've even made a printable template and did all the math for you!  

1) You need to start with clean floors, 
so wet mop and be sure NOT to use any wax products* on them.  
*If your floors have been previously waxed, the wax will need to be removed because the paint will not stick.  There are plenty of products designed to remove floor wax, but plain ammonia and a scrub brush work just fine too.  Apply liberally and let it sit for 15-20 minutes. The wax should scrub right off.

2) Once your surface is clean it is time to measure and tape the design.  The design I did is a symmetrical key style corner, and it can be used on an inside or outside corner.   You will need to start the design 6" from the wall if you have any outside corners to allow for it to lay out properly.  If you have only inside corners (ex: a perfect square or rectangular room) you can choose to bring it in a few inches closer.   I used a 6" wide sewing ruler as a guide and marked along the floor with pencil.  You can also cut a 6” wide cardboard strip to use as a template.  I then ran 36 mm Scotch Blue Painter's tape (for delicate surfaces around the room following my pencil marks (be sure to apply your tape on the side of the mark closer to the wall).  This is commonly referred to as 1 1/2” wide tape, but upon making the template I realized it’s actually a hair smaller than that.  I prefer this brand of tape to basic masking tape because I found it doesn't damage the existing floor finish and allows for crisp edges. 

3)  Next, add small pieces of 18mm painter's tape every of couple of feet along the edge of your first piece of tape.  This will act as a spacer/guide 
and is eventually going to be the area you will be painting.  

4) Using the 36mm tape again, apply another row of tape along the edges of the spacers. 

5) Remove the original spacers and move them in front of the second banding of 36mm tape. 

6) Repeat step 4. 

7) Remover spacers. You should now have three rows of 36mm tape running the perimeter of your room.  

8) Now for the tricky part… the corners.  I did mine the hard way with lots of math and it felt like a massive brain twister, but halfway through I realized this would be SO MUCH easier if I had just made a template.   I spared you the agony and made one for you.  Simply print and cut out.  I recommend printing it on card stock so you can easily trace it, and when printing be sure to click "do not scale" or “scale 100%” if prompted.  The file is sized to fit 8 1/2" x 11" paper.  (After you print, just double check that the black area of the design is 18mm wide- if so you are good to go!)  
Click here for the template.  
Cut out the black area of the design.

9) In each corner line the two edges of the template up with your existing tape lines (see my two fingers in the following picture).  

Trace the edges of the template, these will serve as guides as where to cut and add more tape. 

Add tape to create the inside edge of the design.  Cut away areas allowing the bare floor to be seen wherever the black design is. 

In the end you should have a design that matches the template.  
Repeat this for all corners.
(photo 12)

10) Now it is time to prep the floor for paint.  I tend to go a bit overboard, but you really want this to stick and not chip,  so a good prep job is key.  First, I burnish the edges of the tape so that they are well adhered to the floor and there are no gaps for paint to bleed into.  Use your thumbnail wrapped with a clean rag and rub down all edges. 

11) Use a fine grit sandpaper and lightly sand the area to be painted, taking care not to lift or rip the tape.  If you do, no worries… just cut out the damaged area and re-tape/ burnish.  Lightly sanding roughs up the existing smooth polyurethane surface and creates better adhesion.  Vacuum up any dust.

12) Lastly, I like to use a deglosser to remove any bits of wax or dirt I might have missed.  There are many brands on the market, but I prefer one that can be wiped on and off with no rinsing involved.  Simply rub on in a circular motion and wipe off with a clean rag taking care not to get any on the rest of your floor, as this will dull the surface.  

Once the area is dry you are ready to paint!

13)  You can use any good quality paint that will withstand high traffic.  If you have the option of using a paint specifically designed for the floor, even better.  The color is completely up to you.  I had my paint custom tinted at True Value to a deep chocolate brown to match the stain my client was using on her floors.  

Using a foam brush apply one thin coat, brushing in the direction of the grain to make sure it penetrates.  Once the first coat is dry, apply a second coat.  
Follow the dry times on your paint can. 

14) When both coats are fully dried apply one to two coats of polyurethane in a finish matching what you already have on your floors.  (In this case we used a satin finish.)  This will fully protect your hard work and give it a longer life.  

You can now pull the tape and admire your work.  

 One last tip… when pulling your tape, pull slowly at a 45 degree or less angle to your floor AWAY from your new paint.  This will prevent you from lifting any new paint up- a common mistake.

(My client's stairs are being stained chocolate brown shortly, so I will update this post with new "completed" space photos very soon!)

 I was one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program as well as writing about my experience. I have also been compensated for the materials needed for my DIY project. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.


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