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Giraffe - painted

I would never profess to be a painter, but I am not afraid to open a paint can and dab away at a boring room or an old piece of furniture. The lack of fear doesn’t necessarily make me do a good job, it just means that I am not afraid to try, and if I mess up, it is my own home, and I’ll try my best to fix it.

From small picture frames to bedrooms and countertops, I have learned that painting is an unpredictable process (and there is a lot of “p’s” in this sentence). Just when I think I have it all figured out, the color will not be as expected, a paint can will rust without warning, or I will accidentally spray sunshine yellow all over my new, black shoes.

Some things are best left to the professionals, but before you make the call there are a few DIY paint repairs and ideas that you really (really) can do yourself.

FRESHEN UP BIKES, LIGHT FIXTURES, PICTURE FRAMES, CANDLESTICKS, DECORATIVE DISHES, CHAIRS ETC

Spray paint is a great, fun fix for old and dated items. Just remember to practice a bit first; give it light, slow sweeping coats (too heavy and saturated will make it drip) and I find that it is best to always do it outside (the mist can reach much further than you can ever imagine) wear old clothes and shoes, and put up newspapers or tarpaulin to protect your deck, patio, fence etc. Personally, I do any spray paint projects on the grass, away from the house, then mow over it.

For old chairs, dressers and tables, you can either sand and saturate them with paint, use a very dry brush to give them a worn, antique look, or rub and dab on some diluted color with a damp cloth to see what happens. I wouldn’t do this on anything too precious, but painting a flea market find, or refreshing an outdated piece, is a good way to while away a few hours.

FIX CORNER NICKS

You know those little annoying corners that you and the children bang into, and because the room has been painted so many times it chips off sometimes? Just spot paint them. If you have extra house paint, use that to dab onto the corner nicks, but if not, try mixing some colors from your kids paint box, or go to the craft store and look for a paint color that matches. It doesn’t get much wear, so it doesn’t have to be the exact right type of paint. Layer it, let it dry for a few hours, then add another. Three or four times should be plenty. Use a cotton bud, eye shadow sponge, your finger, or a small art brush. It will wear off again over time, but it will be a good fix for a year or two, and saves repainting the entire room.

WATER DAMAGE STAINS

This is for old, you-are-sure-the-water-and-the-walls-and-ceiling-have-really-dried-out stains because if you paint while they are still damp, you will lock in the moisture and cause a heap of trouble. Use a stain blocker (in a similar or identical color to the ceiling or wall) and dab it onto the stain. I find that a damp cotton cloth is often easier than a brush, and several light layers are better than one, as you can feather it as you go, and it won’t be as new looking. If it is in a very obvious place, try diluting the paint with a little water (if it is water based) dabbing it on gently, then letting it dry. Leave it for a day, then see what you think. Even softening the look of the stain will make a world of difference.

DOOR KNOBS, LIGHT SWITCH COVER AND HARDWARE

I have painted all of my light switch covers, and most of my door knobs. The outside door knobs I painted with an antique copper finish, and the light switch covers I paint to match whichever room they are in. It is ridiculously easy, makes your home look a little more personal, and lasts until it wears off – which by my estimation is coming up on twenty five years.

A few DIY Paint Notes:

  • I find that the original spray paints are the best quality, and have more staying power than the new, more specialized finishes.
  • Sometimes, it is easier to spray a bit of paint onto a plastic plate, then paint from that with a small (disposable) brush. If you do this, be prepared, as it dries quickly and is quite sticky.
  • I have had no luck with the paint that is made exclusively for plastics – it chips off at the first sign of use.
  • Rustoleum Chalkboard Paint is always in my closet. I have used it to paint my chandelier (which is brass, and I didn’t even prime it first), the stand of my floor lamp, my walls (several upstairs and downstairs), labels on Mason Jars, my bathroom floor (with a polyurethane over it for durability) and my outside light fixtures and lamp post.
  • Acrylic paint will wash off your hands with soap and water (and dries within a few hours). Oil based and Spray Paint is a lot more difficult to get off your skin (wear gloves) and can take a few days to dry.
  • No matter what google says, sometimes paint is impossible to remove from your clothes, hair and shoes.
  • When painting anything near electricity, turn the power off, cover the outlet or socket with painters tape, and paint carefully with a brush rather than using a spray (which could easily get inside the wiring).
  • If you’re not confident in the beginning, just try a very small, easy fix; the worst that can happen is that it doesn’t work, but the best is that it will.

Wendy E. Wrzos http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/
Amazing giraffe art from: http://quotesgram.com/giraffe-amazing-quotes/

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I painted my bathroom last weekend. Black. The bathroom was remodeled about 10 years ago and, as conventional wisdom goes for a room that is barely 4 foot square, I painted it cream and white. I really liked it; vintage inspired fixtures coordinated perfectly with the subtle cream color on the wainscoting and the new oak floor. The artwork was simple, pages from an old book, framed in black.  The room always looked nice.

However, as time went on the painted white walls started to show signs of wear. I tried to perk it up with different artwork, but all of a sudden the classic room began to look cheap. Bright colored, children’s art looked silly against the white walls, like a classic black dress with a gigantic crepe-paper flower stuck at the hip with a safety-pin. It began to bother me, and, as my daughter and I use it every day, it’s confused style was a daily reminder that I no longer liked the room.

So, I decided to paint. I knew that I wanted to keep the artwork and the cream-colored wainscoting, all I needed was color on the walls. Because the bathroom is at the top of the stairs I couldn’t paint it red; the risers on the stairs were already red, and I knew it would appear very odd to have the stairs and bathroom the same color. (For more about the red stairs click on the link) http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/2010/02/would-you-tell-me-please-said-alice.html  Blue didn’t feel right, and my kitchen was already green, so I started to think about black. The more I thought about it the more I liked the idea, plus if I used chalkboard paint (my favorite paint) then we could also write messages to each other or, rather strangely, doodle while on the toilet (that thought just occurred to me…..I wouldn’t recommend doodling while on the toilet). 

It took me the whole weekend (black not being the easiest color to work with) but in the end it was far more than I had hoped. Despite what you would assume, the room doesn’t look smaller at all. The subdued, black color is the perfect background for my daughter’s pictures. A geranium and a few empty, wooden frames gives a classic feel to a room that now has a slightly beautiful sense of whimsy.

Wendy Wrzos http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/

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Have you been to look for paint recently? Last weekend I went to the local hardware store to do some research for a friend. Two hours later, armed with paint chips and several “helpful guides”, I went home to look (again) at the miniature pieces of colorful information laid out before me. As I got out my pencil and  notepad, I reminisced about the easy, lazy days of Red, Yellow and Blue.

In their efforts to help, Paint manufacturers have given us far too many choices, making it so overwhelming that many of us buckle with fear; after anxious nights, looking at various shades of taupe, we finally end up with walls that look suspiciously like antique white.

Honestly, I never go to the paint store to choose a color. It’s too much, it does my head in. I am lucky in that the colors that I choose are usually inspirational, happy accidents, that I find along the way. I will photograph something, rip it out of a magazine or borrow it from someones house, anything so that I can copy and recreate that color in my own home.

If I need to paint, and I have not found something that I love, then I will go through magazines or the Internet,  looking at homes to see what others have done. Seeing a photograph of  a completed wall is far more helpful than imagining a 2 x 3 inch pigment covering your 15 x 20 foot living room. Often, these beautifully decorated rooms provide the name, number and manufacturer of the paint, which can help a great deal if you decide to use it. If the details are not there, just take the page and match it as best you can (or use the color matching machine available in most of the larger stores).

Paint is fun; explore your options, but don’t become lost in the process…….

Thanks to: www.atticmag.com/…/paint-swatches-rug-style/ for the paint swatch photograph.

Wendy E. Wrzos (who really does love Paint companies) http://wendyandthebluegiraffe.blogspot.com/

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