Thursday, April 30, 2015

Storage Stool Revamp Part 2 - The Reveal

Today, I continue the transformation of my little sewing stool from dated 1980's brown laminate to a modern, graphic piece of furniture that looks right at home in my recently revamped studio. Didn't it come up well?!!
padded sewing stool

You can see Part 1 of the transformation here.

What I started out with is the little stool below. It has served me well over the years; firstly as a sewing stool and more recently, as seating in my studio. It has a lift up lid with storage inside making it perfect for stowing away works in progress when I have to clean up the studio for workshops.

But this dated brown laminate just has to go! Replacing the laminate isn't an option because the composite wood underneath would probably have disintegrated if I tried to remove the old laminate. The best alternative is to paint the surface with laminate paint.

So off to the hardware store I went armed with a list of what I needed. But my jaw nearly dropped when I saw how expensive the laminate paint system is: Tile and Laminate Cleaner - $14, a 500ml tin of White Knight Tile and Laminate Primer - $36; and a 1 litre tin of laminate paint - $51...... way more than I had budgeted for this project.

So I have a dilemma! Should I abandon the project because of the cost? After all, I have only invested $6 on fabric so far. Or should I continue because of the senimental value the stool has for me?

After weighing up the pros and cons of continuing with the project, I decided it is worth splurging on the White Knight laminate paint system. So, armed with the products I needed, it's time to make that brown laminate disappear!

Read on to see how my stool was transformed.

Before I got underway, I tried to remove the screws to disassemble the stool but they were so tight that I couldn't budge them. I figured it wasn't really a big drama to paint it whilst it was still assembled but it would certainly have been easier to paint if it had been disassembled.

I started out by lightly sanding all the laminate with 240 grit sandpaper to give the surface some tooth. It's surprising how much dust that produced so I gave it a good wipe down before proceeding.

I applied a layer of Tile and Laminate Primer to the roughed up surface with a microfibre roller and allowed it to dry for a few hours.

It seemed a little patchy so I gave it a light sand with 240 grit sandpaper and followed that with another coat to make sure I had a good base to work on.

After sanding the primer again, I applied the black laminate paint in a cross hatch pattern to make sure it completely covered the primer. And then I smooth-rolled it all in one direction for an even finish.

The first coat was touch dry after only two hours but it needed to dry for six hours before sanding with 600 grit sandpaper. Then it was ready for its second coat.

I left it to dry for 36 hours (it takes a week to properly cure) but anticipation got the better of me - I just couldn't wait any longer to see how the padded seat and repainted frame looked together. So I screwed one side of the hinges to the frame......

.... and the other to the lid.

And voilà! My fabulously modern stool looks wonderful. I'm absolutely thrilled with the result and now the stool looks right at home in my clean, crisp black and white studio. The makeover was worth every cent!

'Til next time.....

If you can't get enough of My Tutorials and you want even more inspiration, click here to find my books and printable pdfs

Friday, April 24, 2015

Storage Stool Revamp - Part 1

Many, many, MANY years ago, my husband gave me the most wonderful birthday gift - a Horn sewing cabinet with a built in machine lifter. To say I was over the moon would be an understatement. At the time, I was doing a lot of sewing for the little people in our lives so it was wonderful to have a space where I could not only sew, but I could also quickly and easily stow away my machine and sewing projects out of little hands way. Over the years, the cabinet fell into a state of disrepair and we parted company but the little stool which came with it continues to serve me well.

Last week, I got a bee in my bonnet about that little stool. Whilst it's very compact and fits perfectly under my workdesk, visually, its 1980's brown laminate and brown fabric was sticking out like a sore thumb in my crisp black and white studio.

It suddenly seemed very out of place!

And whilst it's not in perfect condition, it's a very sturdy little stool that has a lift up lid with a storage compartment inside. It has a lot going for it..... just not the colour! So I thought this would be a piece worthy of updating.

Firstly, I needed some black and white upholstery fabric which I got for the bargain price of $6/metre at Spotlight. Now I was ready to get underway.

First thing to do was remove the cushion from the stool by removing the screws. I managed to undo most of them but had to enlist the help of my husband to get the last couple out.

He stuck around for a bit and removed the staples from the fabric for me too. I really appreciated that extra muscle!

There were dozens of them and some of them had snapped leaving part of them in the seat, so whatever could be pried out was pried out with pliers and those that couldn't be removed were hammered below the surface.

Next came measuring the fabric. And the easiest way to do this was to simply lay the padded cushion on top of the fabric, making sure that the pattern was straight and that there was enough overhang to staple onto the seat. No need to mark cutting lines; the geometric pattern made it really easy to cut straight!

To work out where the seams should be, I turned the fabric right side up and centred the cushion on top. Then I was able to pin the corners to the shape of the cushion.

Then, over to the sewing machine to stitch the seams.......

......before trimming away the excess.

After turning it right side out and fitting it on to the cushion, it was time to staple it into place.

I also bought some black canvas to staple to the underneath of the cushion to hide the raw edges.

Looking pretty good! The recovered seat is a great improvement.

In my next post, I'll be revamping the laminate stool. You'll be amazed at the transformation, so please check back to see the finished piece!

'Til next time.....

If you can't get enough of My Tutorials and you want even more inspiration, click here to find my books and printable pdfs

Monday, April 13, 2015

Lacey Black and White Resin Coaster

Since decorating my studio in black and white earlier this year, I've been on the lookout for a white crocheted doiley to turn into a resin coaster. In keeping with my theme, I wanted to embed the doiley in clear resin and then fill the back of the mould with black resin. But when I stumbled across a black doiley, I got so excited - this would add such an unexpected twist to the project!

Sadly, that black doiley was just a little bit too big for my coaster mould. I was disappointed to abandon the idea of a black-on-white coaster and continued my search for a smaller white doiley.

But last week, I came across a black die-cut pvc coaster and the idea was reborn! So instead of using a white doiley on black resin, I'm using a black doiley on white resin.... cool!
Square drink coaster made with a black pvc doiley embedded in clear resin against a bright white background.

Here's how this project took shape.

This is what I used (to shop for any of these products, just click on the item):
After mixing enough Easy Cast epoxy resin to cover the bottom of the mould, I let the resin sit on my bench for about 5 minutes before working with it.

Bubbles rising to the surface of the mixed resin where they can escape

This gives the bubbles a chance to disperse (one of the great benefits of using EasyCast is its self-degassing nature!). Now it's time to fill the bottom of the mould.
Bubbles have dispersed from the resin

I like to leave the first layer to cure overnight so I have a really firm surface to work on. Then I mix a second, smaller batch to embed the coaster in.  
Black Doiley embedded in resin layer

After this second layer reaches gel stage, I colour a third batch of resin with white pigment......
 Mixing another batch of resin to fill the mould

.....and pour it over the clear resin to fill the back of the mould.
Pouring the white resin layer on top of the black doiley to fill the mould.

If you use a plastic mould, it will be a full 24 hours before you can remove the cast from the mould and you'll need to spray it with Mold Release. But if you're using a silicone mould like I have, you'll be able to demould in half that time. This is a huge bonus if you're impatient like me and can't wait to see the result. Just keep in mind that the resin still needs up to 72 hours to fully cure.

Here's another look at the finished coaster:
Resin Doiley Coaster

What wonderful contrast! I am absolutely thrilled with how the coaster turned out - it will look fabulous on my desk!

But maybe black and white's not your thing. Here's some other colour combinations to try:
Square turquoise resin coaster embedded with green doiley

Black square coaster embedded with magenta doiley

Pin This Project!
Lacey Resin Coaster inspiration sheet.

DIY Lacey Doiley Resin Coasters inspiration sheet

'Til next time.....

If you can't get enough of My Tutorials and you want even more inspiration, click here to find my books and printable pdfs