Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Craft Corner : Revamp

At the start of this year I mentioned that a guest blogger was going to be popping in each month as part of The Craft Corner for The Beetle Shack. Well today is the day! The day of our very first Craft Corner with The amazingly talented Tahnee of Milk Please Mum.

Tahnee is a blogger, mother, photographer and full on nut case. In between raising three children, keeping a house and running a brilliant photography business, she's agreed to share a monthly creative project with us here. Now if only I could get my children to be as compliant as Tahnee.


Hello again!

So good to be back at The Beetle Shack. I'll be dropping in toward the end of each month, all year long. Em seems to think I am full of good ideas when it comes to crafting/projects/photography.. perhaps the sleep deprivation was at an all time high when she asked me to jump on board, but too late now! I'm up for the challenge, so each month I will endeavour to bring you new projects/tutorials/tips you can try at home--with the kids, without the kids, as a family.. who knows what's coming. I don't! I'm making this up as I go along because apparently Em likes it that way. And she's the boss so I'll do as I'm told.

First up? The revamp. The reno. The makeover. The zhuzh.

Once the buzz of the festive season had passed, I looked around the house as I packed away all things Christmas, and some parts were just bleh. Cushion covers and throws that had stayed the same all year, furniture that had annoyed me but we had continued to use because it was practical. Lamps that looked tired. Tables that had been scribbled on. There was only one thing for it.


I love a little paint job and many a treasure I have saved from the tip shop or op shop has been brought back to life with a $5 sample pot of paint from the hardware store. If you've got favourite pieces around the house that are looking a little tired but you can't bear to replace them - paint them.

One thing that had been on my list for quite some time was the kids' play kitchen. It was a birthday present for our eldest when she was two. It has been used almost daily over the past four and a bit years. The dents and paint chips were solid proof. I picked the sink and oven pieces up on ebay, which needed some love. I sanded and painted them up and they really shone. About a year later I found a little hutch on ebay too but left it untouched. I think half my house is furnished with revamped ebay finds..

So, given my quality painting expertise (snort), I should pass on some of my wisdom.

PAINTING TIPS (which may or may not be correct - they just work for me)

/ Prepping your piece of furniture before putting your hand on a paint brush is important.
/ Remove all handles/knobs/hinges/screws that will be in the way. If this isn't possible, use a roll of painter's tape to tape the necessary pieces.
/ 98% of the time, your reno piece needs to be sanded. Level of sanding depends on the condition of your furniture.
/ If you are wanting to get a worn/vintage look with a fresh coat of paint, the sanding is usually done after your painting is finished, to purposely sand away patches of paint, giving it that preloved look.
/ If you're stripping the paint/varnish completely, obviously just keep sanding until you reach the original material underneath. I highly recommend a little mouse sander for this. Your back and hand will thank you. Sanding a big job by hand is THE PITS. I speak from experience.
/ If you're painting over an already painted finish, you need to sand just enough to make your surface rough enough for the paint to adhere to (like in above photo). A light sand with a medium grade sandpaper will do the trick.
/ If you are painting a raw surface, it needs to be primed. Head to your local hardware store and tell your helpful sales assistant what you're painting and they'll know what sort of primer you need.
/ Prepare your work area with drop sheets (old crappy bed linen).
/ Gather your materials so they are close at hand.
/ This includes a hot cuppa and music. If you're hiding in the garage from your children, these items are essential.
/ Cut in first. Cutting in means using a paint brush to get into corners and edges where a roller cannot fit.
/ If your reno piece allows for it, paint remainder with appropriate sized roller. Personally, I prefer to paint most small pieces (like the kids' kitchen) entirely with a brush. I find it really therapeutic, and it means I get to hide in the garage drinking tea and listening to Mat Kearney far longer than if I used a roller. My husband is none the wiser.
/ General rule of thumb - one coat of undercoat/primer, two coats of colour. If you're painting over a dark colour with something lighter, you may need three coats of colour.
/ Paint brands - I usually buy either British Paints from Bunnings, or Pascol from Masters because they give you the largest size tester pots for the cheapest price. Of course tester pots will only give you a matte finish (which I prefer) so if you are still trying to do a reno with spare change found between the couch cushions, you can buy yourself a varnish/gloss spray to go over the top.

If you can manage to follow most of these expert tips (snort again) then you will end up with a before and after that looks something like this.

It will cost you time and a handful of small change. Too easy.

The hutch deserved a little zhuzhing too - enter my trusty jar of Mod Podge and some fabric scraps from the sewing corner.

Mod Podge is a great craft cupboard staple. It's a waterbase sealer, glue and finish in one. For the hutch, I cut my pieces of fabric slightly larger than necessary, painted Mod Podge directly onto the backing board of the hutch, placed the fabric over the top, smoothed fabric out being sure to get into all the corners, then trimmed the excess away with a sharp blade/stanley knife. Once dry, I sprayed the whole piece with two coats of varnish.

Another idea for a quick, cheap makeover? Lamps. Shades and bases. Clearly, I like a statement piece. Colour is my life and you just can't find something bright and vivid and just a little bit different, straight off the shelf. So all of my bases were found at the op/tip shop and old shades were recovered to suit my colourful need at that moment in time.

Same rules apply here for painting (but if you are painting over a glossy ceramic base, you will need something called griplock primer). Unless you prefer to use spray paint. The yellow bases here were sprayed in high gloss. Personally, I prefer to hand paint than spray--I find I need to concentrate far more when spraying to be careful of even coverage and no drips.

When covering your shade, I do it the same way Em does. Only I'm far lazier and don't bother tracing a pattern and draw straight onto the back of my fabric with a fabric marker.

And finally - covering up those scribbles on the table that your kids pretend they didn't do.

Hey presto, new table. Everything old is new again!

So, pick your piece of furniture that's looking a bit tired, take your $5 to the hardware store for some paint - and you're away!


See, what'd I tell ya! NUT CASE! Look at what this lady can accomplish with $5 and a few spare hours… personally I struggle to complete a 'retro party mix' bag of lollies and an episode of Dawson's Creek in an hour (yes, it's been a good few years since I've had an hour to burn).

Can't wait till next month Tahnee! Keep up to date with the woman herself over here and make sure you check out her collaborative photography project here.


  1. Is that paint safe for a kids toy? Just wondering as I want to repaint my cot (2 1/2 weeks to go way to leave it to the last minute!) and I want a safe paint but everything I read gets waaaaay too technical and I'm lost! I get VOC's then it's just blah, blah, blah!

    1. Hi Jacinta - if I were to paint an old cot, I would absolutely go with 100% toxic free paint (eg. because you know baby is going to end up chewing on the side rail. Toxic free paint is obviously more expensive, but 100% necessary for this piece of furniture. Whatever brand you choose, make sure they state the paint is 100% toxic free/baby safe/zero VOCs. I am happy to use an every day paint on furniture because my kids are past the baby-chewing stage, but if you ever have concerns about the furniture you are painting directly linked to your baby's safety, then go straight for the 100% toxic free ranges. Good luck with baby's arrival!

    2. Awesome, Thanks! I will check out the for sure. Nothing I find seems to come up with where I can actually purchase safe paint!

  2. Great D.I.Y's. I have a wooden oven that I found on the side of the road and painted almost the exact same colour. My little loves it!

    Jess | Malt Memories.

  3. Great post Em and Tahnee - keep the ideas coming.
    I'm off tomorrow to get myself some Mod Podge !!

  4. i LOVE yellow... and that yellow lamp just did it for me. so cute :)

  5. This is great! I've been eyeing off a scratched up old bedside table since last year but felt overwhelmed by how to go about fixing it up- now I know. Off to the hardware today then :-)

  6. This is a great tutorial i am off to get some Mod Podge and cover some old lampshades,thanks Emily and Tahnee xx

  7. This is a great tutorial i am off to get some Mod Podge and cover some old lampshades,thanks Emily and Tahnee xx

  8. Excellent post. I have read your post. Thanks for share this very useful post. Painting a house is no easy endeavor, but the job can be made easier if you use the proper house painting tools. Selecting what color to paint is the easiest step in the house painting process.

  9. Very useful project easy and cheap to make. But I have a question….are you a teacher in your life? You have a very good didactic way to explain projects Tahnee P

  10. Hi Tahnee,
    I read this project carefully because it is not expansive at all. As it is not very difficult,we are going to make a "new" kitchen table. Thank you for this idea.

  11. Congratulations! You did a really good job. I'm doing some research on painting. I have some old things and I want to paint them. But I'm not good at painting. I have no idea. What do you think?

  12. for me this is a very very good information, because its contents make us become better know and learn more about the

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  13. When you're looking at lathes, you'll notice that there are many different accessories available for purchase, each to help with a different kind of work, ranging from woodturning and metal spinning to metalworking and glass-working.

  14. you choose the coulor for this table vey smarly, it is very beautiful..

  15. Looks great. I love the color. I like this DIY project very much. I'm doing some research on DIY projects. I want to do something like that for my family. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  16. Beautiful! The DIY project suits for children's room. My wife also want to create the same room for her son. I will think! Thanks! Please share with me your next posts.

  17. Love the basic idea; as I already said in another post I really like crafting and the idea of having people craft as an actual job in the game, with some players fighting and leveling and those who like to craft using that to make money instead. Hope this works out well, we'll see.

  18. Really great job, i love your work and the way you did it, worth everything !

  19. Should i ever have a girl, i will revisit this. Love the color scheme and: NO PLASTIC :)


  20. دار السلام اهم شركة نقل عفش بالطائف وكذلك اهم شركة نقل عفش بمكة وجدة والمدينة المنورة تقوم الشركة بنقل العفش بحفر الباطن وتبوك وجازان وتقوم بنقل الاثاث بالقصيم
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    شركة نقل عفش بالمدينة المنورة
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Thanks so much for your words of encouragement, advice and solidarity.

xo em