Thursday, March 27, 2014

DIY Taking Your Piano From Drab to Fab

Hey there! Chelsea, from Character Revival here to share some tips and tricks on how to turn your piano into a beautiful conversation piece.  One that will not only look beautiful, but may have you playing on it more than you normally would!  Music brings joy into our life, and the appearance of the instrument should as well!

I recently took a trip to sunny Arizona and while I was there my sister and I refinished her piano.  It's the first thing you see when you walk in her door.... and it was BORING!

With a little chalk paint and a few tricks we took this baby from drab to fab!

Lets get started!

Before you start anything, TAPE!  Tape anywhere you don't want paint to go.  Wheels, pedals, hardware, and most importantly the keys.  It's tedious work taping around the keys, but this is an instrument and we DO NOT want any paint getting into the keys.  Luckily piano keys are easy to clean and if any paint happens to get on them it will easily wipe off with a wet cloth.

My sister wanted a distressed aqua with some cream undertones so we began painting random bits of Annie Sloan Old Ochre in places we would later distress.

Next using a foam roller (this will give the finish a nice clean stroke free look).  You can find these handy rollers at walmart or home depot.

We painted the piano in a mixture of 2/3 Annie Sloan Provence to 1/3 Florence. 2 1/2 coats.  I say 2 1/2 because some areas need a little more than 2 coats. Once dry start distressing.

Distress here and there until your distress happy :)

 When distressing by hand I like to use a "criss-cross" pattern.  Distress in one place in multiple directions.  This will add a little character, and will also allow different levels of distressing in one spot. Notice the Old Ochre coming through, the dark wood finish, and then a little bit of the bare wood.
DEPTH is a beautiful thing!

Wipe your piano down lightly with a damp cloth. 
We actually vacuumed the piano and floor before wiping it down to remove paint dust.

GLAZE:  adding a glaze will darken your piece and add a little more depth.  For this piano we used dark walnut stain as a glaze.  

First wipe the area your glazing down with a damp cloth. 
Apply the stain with a brush.
Rub the glaze in with your damp cloth.
Repeat  until the piano is completely glazed.

Almost finished - grab a beverage, sit back, and stare at your beautiful work of art....

Now, get back to work  - we're not done yet!

Lastly top coat your piano with Polycrylic.  Satin is my personal favorite, but if you are wanting a little more of a glossy finish I recommend Semi-Gloss.  Polycrylic will protect your piano and will make for easy dusting and cleaning.  2-3 coats will ensure a long lasting finish. Just brush it on and allow 10-15 minutes drying time between coats. Polycrylic will cure within 24 hours and over time will continue to cure.

We finished the bench in old ochre to add some character to the piece.  
Now stop reading this and go turn your instrument into a conversation piece!

If you would like to see more pieces done by Character Revival, Check us out on Facebook

If you like what you see here be sure to check out our 24/7 Online Boutique Reclaim-ologists and Other Crafty Chicks!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

How To Remove and Replace Glass

This is not your everyday BloG!
Not sexy. Not Pretty.
Down and Dirty!

Today, we're fixing an old putty window!
It's called "glazing", to put glass into a frame.
And officially my job title is "glazier". 
OK. English lesson, over.

Identify the Outside of the window
 you'll see a routed wood edge next to the glass on the inside.

On the reverse side, you'll see
the putty side, usually obvious because
      some putty is probably falling out!

Run a knife along the straight wood edge to
loosen  and remove the putty.

As with any woodworking project run your knife with the grain. 
Going against the grain will cut into the 
wood, rather than cut out the putty.

My dad used to describe the scale of hardness on old putty as:
Hard as concrete
Hard as a rock
Hard as the back of your Head!

So be very careful you don't slip and get cut!

Woops! Almost forgot, Use safety glasses
             and gloves! Much better than cuts and errant glass slivers!

 By pushing up from the underside you can get the glass to
come out, with hopefully some of the putty.

There are many methods to removing glass and putty.
A woman I know used to lay the window face down on the concrete floor
and pound it out with a hammer. Hopefully today's method is a little less destructive!

On bigger pieces of glass you can use a glass cutter to score the glass, break it from
underside, and remove as before.
I like to cut the glass beginning at the corner moving toward the middle.

 Along with glass and putty, you need to remove any "points"
like the diamond points shown.

Clean out the groove with either a razor knife,
a wood chisel or chisel type putty knife.

Now you're ready for glass.

Measure so that you have about 1/16 of an inch clearance all the way around.


Place the glass in the opening.  Then use push point type glazing points that can be pushed into the wood, OVER the top of the glass as shown.
Instructions on the package will suggest wiggling the knife as you insert the point.
Too much pressure may cause the glass to break!

I have replaced glass with mirror, paneling, chalk board, sheet metal
 and many other things in projects I have done.
But, removal of the glass is the same
for all projects.

Then using an acrylic caulking (acrylic caulking is paint-able) run a bead
of caulking over the points AND glass in a V shape.  Cut the nozzle
slightly smaller than the groove, so that caulking is not visible through
the glass from the outside.

This would be considered a upgraded repair rather than an
original restoration grade repair, using putty!

I recommend caulking because it lasts longer, and remains pliable.
Many times I choose a caulking the same color as my project, if
possible because I am insufferable lazy!
If' you'd like a tutorial on putty contact me at

The caulking can be smoothed with a putty knife or a moistened finger.

If the back side of your project will never be visible, you may want to skip the
caulking altogether, and just use the glazing points alone.
I used framing points that are shot from a gun over paneling here.

All Set!  This is the same procedure for almost all of your window projects.
Have fun and be careful!

Oh, did I mention, BE CAREFUL!!

Here's the end result!
a 2' x 2' simple chalk board
available at the Boutique
Friday & Saturday!

If you like what you see here be sure to check out our 24/7 Online Boutique Reclaim-ologists and Other Crafty Chicks!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Arranging Vintage Marriages!

Hi all, it Paula from flea.ology again.  Today I want to share a favorite blog post from my blog  This post is about the fun of Arranged Marriages.  Let me just confess, right from the start.  I am a match maker.  I love putting together pieces of vintage and antique furniture to make fresher, prettier or more functional pieces.  Today you will witness the marriage of a set of cubbies and a small cabinet with screened doors.   I found the small cabinet at Treasures, the antique store where I work. 

It was in the mall over a year before I talked the dealer down to a price that I could work with.   I found the cubby set at a flea.o.logy sale last summer.  It was painted turquoise blue and had no back on it.  As you can see I tried a couple of methods for painting it, before settling on the tedious choice of hand painting it with a brush. The two were attached by making the back piece of plywood slightly longer than the cubbies and attaching it not only to the cubby but to the small cupboard as well.  (We used screws)  After I finished painting the entire married piece with a slightly cream colored paint, that looks like an aged white, I set to work putting on a transfer by my preferred method of reverse modpodge application.   This includes printing off the graphic in a reverse mode, and trimming it closely.  Then painting the front with Modpodge.  The graphic is then placed face down into the position you want for your furniture item.  Press it firmly into place with your fingertips, until it has no bubbles and is fully adhered.  Allow it to dry for 3 or so hours then, with slightly dampened finger tips, rub away the extra paper.  Its messy and imperfect, as you will rub off some bits of the graphic inadvertently, yet it suits vintage and antique items, as one wouldn't expect perfectly intact graphics on an antique.

Next I got out my rubber number stamps and numbered each box.  I think it makes the cubbies look like the key holders they had in old hotels.  This is kind of fun, because the graphic I found at Graphics Fairy is for a French Lock making company.  I like how the key element and the lock graphic dovetail.

Here it is with a few of my orphan figural salt and pepper shakers, just for fun.  I am pretty happy with how it turned out.  It is functional and whimsical at the same time.   
Thanks for coming along and witnessing the marriage of these two great old pieces.
If you like what you see here be sure to check out our 24/7 Online Boutique Reclaim-ologists and Other Crafty Chicks!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

DIY Marquee Arrow Light Tutorial

Welcome!  We are finally sharing the DIY version of our marquee light arrows with you.  Happy day, happy day! This tutorial does have a lot of pictures in it to hopefully help you understand the process.  If at any point you need help please message us at and we will gladly help you along the way.  

A few helpful tips....
1. Don't over think craft projects!  Many times we grab whatever is available to finish off a project.  They are never perfect nor do they need to be.  

2. There is usually always more than one tool that will give you the same result.  For example in this tutorial you will need a saw. You can use any saw that cuts a straight line.  The 3 we have used are a table saw, jig saw and chop saw.  

3. Most lumber stores will make cuts for you! So don't feel like you cannot do this project because YOU CAN!! 

Embrace your creative side and lets get started!

Here are your basic supplies needed
1. A 36"x 24" or larger piece of 1/8" MDF or another type of flat board for your base.
2. 4-8' pieces of 1"x2" pine (they call them 1 by 2's) 
3. Tape measure or yard stick
4. Wood glue or liquid nails
5. Drill with 13/16 paddle bit 
6. Miter saw to cut 45 degree angles for the trim (or way to cut 45 degree angles).
7. Any type of saw to cut straight lines. 
8. Pin nail gun and nails or you can use screws and wood glue. 
9. 1 set of 25 count string globe lights.  We get ours at for $12.99.
10. Zip ties (5-8) and scissors
11. Paint of your choice
12. heavy duty D-rings for hanging
13. Start with pattern that is in the next step. 

Start with a piece of paper that is at least 11" tall and 22" wide.  I taped together 3 letter size pieces of paper for this.  Fold it in half and measure 10" on the creased side and 10" on the bottom.  

Take something straight or a yard stick and draw a line from one mark to the other.  

Cut along the line that you have drawn and it will give you the top part of your arrow pattern.  It should measure 20" across and 10" from the tip of the arrow to the bottom. 

For the bottom half of the arrow you can make a pattern or just draw it directly onto your MDF.  Either way works.  Just make sure that if you draw it directly on you leave enough room for the top half of the pattern to be drawn on as well. 

Measure a 24" by 6" rectangle. 

If you did not draw this directly onto the MDF use your pattern and trace the bottom half onto the MDF. 

Trace your top arrow pattern onto the MDF.

Cut both pieces out with the saw of your choice.  

Once you have your base then cut out all of your 1x2 pieces.  
You do not cut the trim pieces yet just the center. 
You will cut in this order 
4- 35" pieces
2- 2" pieces
2- 3 1/2 " pieces
2- 5" pieces 
2- 6 1/2" pieces
2- 8" pieces
If you cut in this order then it is easier.  If you start with all of the big pieces first cutting the smaller pieces can be difficult. 

Line up your base and put your glue or liquid nails on it.  Do not worry about centering it yet that is the next step. 

Start with 2 of the 35" pieces line one up with the side of the bottom part of the arrow and the second one in so that the end is at the tip of the arrow.   This is what centers your arrow and you can build off of it. 

Start adding your pieces to each side.  Begin with the 8" then go down ending with the 2" piece on each side. 

Make sure you line up the bottom of the 1x2's with the bottom edge of the top part of the arrow and the bottom part of the arrow.

When you have all of your pieces all glued on and dry (dry is very important) trim the top part of the arrow using the back side base as your guide.  It is just a straight line. 

Next you are going to mark where your holes will be drilled. 
You can mark directly on to your arrow. 

Start 1" in from the side all the way around the arrow.
Mark the bottom half first starting with the bottom corners.
Each mark on the bottom is 1" from the sides and 4" apart.  With a total of 14 spots on the bottom half of the arrow. 

The top half is more specific.  Start with the center tip 1" down and then go straight down the middle 4" make a mark and then 4" down from there.  Those marks should be directly down the center part of your arrow.  

Start on either side building off of the top center mark of your arrow staying 1" from the edge make a mark at 4" away from the center mark then 3 1/2" from the second mark then 3 1/4" away from your third mark.  This should put you at a bottom tip of the arrow. From here go in towards the center and make a mark 4" in.  The do the exact same process on the other half of the arrow tip.  This should give you 25 marks across the entire arrow.  Refer to the above pictures as a reference point. 

Now comes the trim.  Most cuts are straight and instead of measuring you will use the actual arrow to make your cut marks.  You turn your 1x2 on its side, line it up with the arrow and make your mark, then cut.  You do each side on the bottom first and the very last bottom piece.  Once this is done you will move onto the top half of your arrow. 

The top half of the arrow is the one thing you need to be able to cut a 45 degree angle with. Again you use the actual arrow to measure out your pieces starting with the tip of the arrow.  The following photos show you how to place the pieces together. 

Once your trim is done you drill your holes.  It is best make sure something is underneath the arrow as you drill through.  We use a table with a scrap piece of wood on it.  This will help you avoid breaking pieces.  Sometimes the drill can be a little harsh and pop up a piece.  Just use your wood glue or liquid nails to put it back on.  Not a big deal. 

At this point you will sand and paint your arrow with your most favorite color!  While your paint is drying get your lights ready.  Take them out of the box and unscrew the bulbs from the string. Make sure you put the bulbs somewhere safe.  
On the bottom of each socket is a little clip that has to be removed. 

Once all of the clips are removed you are ready start 
putting them in your arrow. 

Start with a bottom corner on the back side of the arrow.  You can start with either end of the string lights.  Put a bulb in each one as you go along. 

Putting the bulbs in will hold your cords into place.  Make sure the bulbs are in straight or they will not light up.  If you plug your lights in and one is not working, unscrew it and put it back in.  That usually fixes the problem. 

You string it all from bottom to top, then back down to the bottom so your cords end up like this. 

To keep the cords from being seen from the front use zip ties. 

Get a group of cords pull them to the center and then zip tie them.  We recommend this method
 over using a staple gun so you don't ruin your cord. 

Hopefully at this point you are done and have something that 
looks like this!

Happy Creating!!! 
Shannon & Mandy 

To find out more about our monthly craft classes and our upcoming boutique March 28-29, 2014 in Spanish Fork please go to our facebook page