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How to Paint a Craigslist Dresser in 4 Easy Steps

I finally had it one day with our cluttered hallway. It was full of plastic bins, boxes of diapers, items destined for Goodwill, and all sorts of odds and ends stacked precariously. We knew that some day in the future we would make built-in cabinets, but for now it was screaming for some TLC. So I began looking on Craigslist for some possibilities.

Tip: Use a Craigslist mobile app – so helpful when you’re not at a computer.

Step 1: Choose your dresser
Using the app, I found several that suited my needs both aesthetically and size-wise. I was looking for something kid-friendly and streamlined, no knobs or funky carvings. Just basic. One in particular was priced just right at $20, and solid oak to boot! No particle board for me, thanks. Ironically, there were two of the same model of dresser for sale (see above photo). The other was selling for $195 (and in much better condition)!

Step 2: Clean & Sand
After bringing the dresser home and taking out all the drawers, we noticed some mouse droppings in a few of them. Alarming, but not a deal-breaker. I looked on the CDC website how to properly clean and disinfect the dresser, including making a homemade bleach solution of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water. It sucked, but I wasn’t going to take any chances. Then came the sanding. I was expecting to do the work myself, since my husband wasn’t crazy about my plan, but he kindly offered to do the remaining work for me. He used a palm sander and gave it a good once-over. I recommend using a mask and eye protection. A benefit of this dresser’s flat, no frills style is that there aren’t any details that require special sanding.

Step 3: Prime
We have a huge 5 gallon container of primer left over from when we did our home addition last year. Some people skip this step, and that might be okay on rarely used pieces, but this will be a working dresser. If you don’t want to see chips in the paint the first time you use it, or anytime soon, then you need to prime. Tape off any areas you don’t want to paint, or when a crisp line is desired. Use a roller for ease of coverage, but have a paintbrush handy to swipe corners and other details. We decided to not paint the inner drawers, but I plan to use drawer liners. Once the primer is dry, give it a once over by hand with fine sandpaper (and maybe a sanding block).

Step 4: Paint
Because we were looking for a small budget solution, we decided to use the leftover paint from our bathroom – a medium gray semi-gloss with a bit of blue called “Still Creek”. Make sure to roll it on smooth and constantly check for drips. You can see from the photo that David had a little helper. I thought this might leave streaks on the drawer fronts, but it doesn’t as long as you roll over it while it is still wet. Chloe loved “helping” daddy.

Now that the painting is done, don’t rush to use the dresser until the paint is fully cured. The longer you wait, the harder the finish will be – up to two weeks. Otherwise you risk smudges and marks. I asked at Home Depot about a top coat, but he assured us that one wasn’t needed as long as we waited for it to fully cure.

Ta da! Here’s our dresser sitting in its new hallway spot. Soon it will have a framed wall display to go above it, but that project is still in the works. I hope to be able to share it soon. Until then, good luck and happy painting!


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DIY iPhone 4 Bumper Idea + Template

I finally joined the ranks of the many iPhone carrying mamas this week. After constantly reaching for my husband’s iPhone, “borrowing” it during travels, and having him phone me while I’m out to tell me I received a work email that needs attention, I figured it was high time I got my own. Call me a brainwashed consumer, fine, but ask me what the weather is going to be, directions to the nearest coffee shop, or which apps are best for entertaining toddlers, and I’ll be able to show you with the touch of a button.

Brand spankin’ new out of the box, the new iPhone 4 is a pretty sight – shiny, hefty and fingerprint-free. But that doesn’t last – at least for me. Not only is the iPhone shared by my toddler, but just three days after I got it, I forgot and left it on my lap after a phone call in the car. When I got out of the car, it dropped off my lap and onto the pavement, chipping tragically in 3 places. Very sad indeed.

So, I got to thinking – how can I make an inexpensive, temporary bumper to protect my new investment while waiting the 4-6 weeks for the free case from Apple to arrive in the mail? A quick search pulled up this idea, but I don’t own one of those rubber “Live Strong” bracelets. Next I tried modifying this free template from case-mate, originally designed for the iPhone 3Gs. It didn’t fit. Then, I remembered a sheet of adhesive craft foam I picked up at the craft store (was it Michaels?) for about $1. Perfect!

How to make your own iPhone 4 bumper:

1. Cut a strip of adhesive or “sticky back” craft foam 12mm wide (.47 inch) using a ruler and an X-Acto knife. Although the iPhone 4 is only 9.3mm (0.37 inch) thick, this gives about a 1mm (0.04 inch) overhang on both the face and the back of the iPhone to act as a buffer during impact.

Ideally, you’d be able to cut just one strip about 345mm (13.58 inches) long to wrap completely around the perimeter, but since my foam sheet was letter-sized, I had to do it in two pieces.

2. Cut out holes within your strip: approx. 47mm x 5 mm (1.85″ x 0.196″) for the speakers and dock connector, 30mm x 5mm (1.18″ x 0.196″) for the volume and ring/vibrate controls, and 7mm x 5mm (0.275″ x 0.196″) for the headphone jack (7mm x 5mm). I left the on/off switch covered, which doesn’t affect it’s usage.

3. Carefully remove the backing and apply it to the sides of the iPhone, keeping about a 1mm overhang on each edge (centering the foam on the steel antenna band as neatly as possible) . If you need to, join two separate pieces to completely cover the perimeter, slightly pulling on the foam to stretch it only if you need to bridge the gap where the pieces join.

And there you have it, a cheap and easy DIY alternative to the more expensive bumpers for sale. Even better, craft foam sheets come in a rainbow of colors (I just happened to only have black and white on hand). While possibly not ideal, it is working great so far (with no dropped calls).

Not sure where to cut out all the appropriate holes? Try this free bumper template.


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DIY Paper-Covered Jewelry Organizer

Over the years I’ve collected, or been given, various pieces of jewelry. I stopped wearing most of it when Chloe was born (except for my wedding ring), and now that she is a little older I’ve begun to phase in a few pieces every now and again. Often I forget what I own until I go digging around in the box. The earrings and bracelets are organized somewhat decently, but the lengths of necklaces and pendants are all jumbled together. It is not a pretty sight.

Months ago I chose some paper and hardware to make two necklace hangers, although the hooks would also work nicely for rings and bracelets, too. Here is the one I made last week. It is sized to fit a narrow space on the wall of my closet. That’s the nice thing about making something yourself – it can be whatever you want it to be, plus it would make a sweet gift. The wood came from Home Depot (recycled from another project), the paper from Craft Warehouse and the hardware from Target.

Materials
12 x 12 sheet of heavy scrapbook paper
4 x 10″ piece of wood
7/8″ nickel-plated cup hooks
2 sawtooth hangers

Tools
Xacto Knife
Cutting Mat
Bone Folder
Glue or Double stick tape


Step 1: Fold the paper around the board, basically like you’re gift-wrapping a present. For best results, run the tip of a bone folder along the edges to make the smoothest and straightest folds possible.


Step 2: Seal the sides down with adhesive. I used double stick tape.


Step 3:
Make a tiny mark where you want the cup hooks to go. Drill pilot holes at each mark so the cup hooks will go in smoothly, and then screw them in. Finish by lightly pounding in the sawtooth hangers on the back side, one at each of the upper corners. Enjoy!


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Valentine Idea: Day 10 – Origami Love

Origami Love – Paper is truly a remarkable material, and an inherent part of Valentine’s Day! How about spreading a little love around by folding a batch of these beauties to share…


Origami Kusadama Flower


Origami Fortune Teller


Sweet Origami Hearts


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New Masthead

Did you notice I updated the masthead? I don’t know how bloggers like Dooce find the time and inspiration to put up a new one every month. I’m lucky if it gets update once a year. Actually, I didn’t even fully design this one myself, but incorporated free artwork from Vecteezy. There was something about the cheerful color and simple landscape that drew me, or maybe I just had trees on the brain. It is also worth checking out brusheezy (photoshop brushes), flasheezy (free flash), and fresheezy (free websites).

I’ve also added a Paperseed blog button, which you can find on the sidebar. I followed the instructions here to learn how to make the text box for the code, in case you want to make a button of your own available. If you want to place my button on the sidebar of your blog, you can follow these directions (for wordpress): Go to your dashboard and click on Appearance > Widgets. Drag a new “Text” widget to your sidebar. Copy the code from the box underneath my blog button and paste it into the textbox of your new “Text” widget. Hit save and close and you should see it on your homepage. Enjoy!


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Baby Craft Tutorial Roundup

A while back I started a page devoted completely to cool baby craft tutorials. There is a tab below the blog header that links to it. It contains a mix of my own tutorials and other people’s projects. So far there are tutorials for baby hair clips, appliqued onesies, felt baby shoes, burp cloths, kimono wrap, diaper and wipes pouch (poopy clutch), knit hat with earflaps, LED baby booties, diaper cake and embellishing baby tees. I hope to add more as I come across them on the net, so check back if you’re interested, or let me know what some of your favorite ones are and I’ll add them to the list.


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Easy Felt Photo Album – Tutorial

felt album cover

Yay! My first real sewing craft project (okay, not including pant hems or that dog pillow I did in 7th grade)! Anyway, this was so easy. As I wrote previously, sewing just doesn’t come naturally to me. I wanted to start small to ensure at least moderate success on my first foray back. My mom sewed a lot when we were kids, to the point where all three of us had sunday outfits of matching fabric and I wasn’t even embarrassed (hey, I was young!). I wish I had paid attention back then.

I remember seeing these covers somewhere before. The construction seemed fairly straightforward, with only three pieces stitched together. Another bonus is that felt doesn’t unravel, and is forgiving to work with. If I can make this then I know that everyone else can, too! Fun fact: according to Wikipedia, felt is the oldest form of fabric known to humankind and predates weaving and knitting.

Items Needed
2 sheets of felt
photo album insert
thread
embellishment (optional)

Instructions
For the album above, I chose a red embossed sheet for the outside, a smooth dark brown for the inside, and red thread. I’m not sure of their types, but the red sheet was softer and floppy, like typical craft felt, and the brown one was stiffer. The album insert came from Target.

1. Begin by measuring the album opened flat on a table, and add .25″ to the top and bottom and .5″ to the sides for seam allowance. For example, if the opened album measured 10″wide x 6.5″tall then the end measurement would be 11″wide x 7″tall. Cut this rectangle out of the outside felt cover sheet.

2. Measure the front cover. Add .25″ to the top and bottom only. For example, if the front cover measures 4.75″wide x 6.5″ tall, the end measurement would be 4.75″wide x 7″tall. Cut out two of these shapes – one for the inside front cover and one for the inside back cover.

3. Lay the pieces together as shown below (large red outside piece face down, with two brown pieces facing up, matching outside edges). Stitch around the whole perimeter, keeping about .1875″ from the edge and backstitching at the end. I used a sewing machine, but this could be done by hand, too, and might look neat using a blanket stitch. Trim the thread ends.

felt photo album diagram

4. Now tuck the front and back covers of the album into the side pockets. That’s it!

Adding An Embellishment
I happened to have a set of EK Success “Inspirables” metal charms that I bought for our wedding and never used. For this project I chose the “Love” charm. Using the same red thread I stitched it onto the lower right of the front cover for a simple finishing touch. Craft stores are filled with neat ad-ons that could be glued or stitched on. Or simply cut some fun shapes out of the remaining felt scraps and stitch them onto the cover before completion.

The inside. This will be a gift to Marcy so I’ve included one of her wedding photos.

The red thread makes a nice contrast on the brown

Detail of the spine and discreet backstitching to keep the thread from unraveling

Detail of the “Love” embellishment, hand-stitched with red thread
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