Handmade Gifts: S and P

Better (and safer) than S and M.  No, we’re not changing our tag line anytime soon.  Actually, this post don’t have much to do with salt and pepper.  More than anything, we wanted to share a hand-made gift idea.  It all started with, you guessed it, Pinterest.  I saw adorable painted mugs from Country Living.

Even before seeing the article, I had a similar idea, but only knew about the Porcelaine paint pens, but wasn’t thrilled with the results.  Country Living mentioned the PermEnamel brand, found at JoAnn, so I stopped in to see what our local store had.  I found the paints, but the color selection was very limited.  After JoAnn, I went to Michael’s to see what they had.  And there, right next to the regular acrylic craft paints, I had a revolution.  Americana not only makes acrylic paint, but Gloss (and Crystal) Enamels, too.  Perhaps I hadn’t noticed before because these paints are packaged in the same tubes as acrylics.  And, the color selection was much better than the PermEnamel paint.  So, I grabbed a turquoise color and went home to get started.  Started on what, though?  Good question!

You see, before we started the kitchen reno, we kept two small bowls on the back of the stove.  One for salt and another for pepper.

Yes, I am lazy enough to get annoyed at shuffling the spices around to find salt and pepper nearly every day.  The system worked, but I didn’t like that the containers were open.  That, and we now have a backless stove.  Oh, and it didn’t hurt that I found these cute lidded bird jars at World Market for $4.99 each.

Sure they were in the bath section, but why keep these cuties confined?  I bought two for salt and pepper.  That solved the problem of exposure, but now I had another problem.  Which was the salt, and which was the pepper?  And that’s where the ceramic paint comes in.

Actually, in my excitement for the newly discovered painting world, I accidentally grabbed a tube of the Crystal Enamel paint, which is for glass.  Back to Michael’s to get a tube of the Gloss Enamels.  The Porcelaine paints must be baked to set properly.  Bonus, the Gloss Enamels paints can either be baked, or can air cure for 21 days.

After cleaning one bird with alcohol, I started painting.  I worried the paint wouldn’t apply smoothly, but it was wonderful to work with and coverage was great.

This guy has been air curing for about two weeks, with use, without problems.  That’s a win in my book.  Now we know  before taking off the lid, that the blue bird has pepper.

All that to say try the Gloss Enamels paint.  You could paint mugs similar to the Country Living article, but personalize more with a family pet, child, monogram, whatever tickles your pickle, really.  Or, you could paint decorative plates.  Note the emphasis on decorative as the instructions are clear the paints are not for use on food surfaces.

Have you painted a design on glazed porcelain or ceramics?  Thinking of painted gift ideas now?  What would you make?

On the Drawer Front

Yesterday, we shared some of our kitchen progress.  On Sunday, Ben the builder and Handy Sammy worked on drawer fronts.  We have a post in the works detailing how we made our own cabinets, drawers, drawer fronts, and cabinet doors, so I won’t get into too much detail right now.  Basically, Ben cut a sheet of 1/2 inch thick MDF to the drawer sizes.  Then he cut countless strips of 1/4 inch thick MDF into 2 1/2 inch wide strips.  Then, he glues…

and nails (using the same pin nails) the thin strips on the 1/2 inch MDF.

Wipe away the excess glue and you’ve got a drawer front.

Repeat these steps twenty or so times and you’re almost done.

Ben likes to run each edge through the table saw to get everything perfectly lined up.  Once that’s done, he passes the unfinished fronts on to me.  Montana winter is setting in, so I hauled all 20 drawer fronts to the large basement bedroom to get started on filling the holes and seams.

In a way, I’m happy Ben used pin nails.  The holes are tiny, which makes filling easier.  At the same time, it makes finding the nail holes much more difficult.  Can you spy all six nail holes in this picture?

The brown flecks in the MDF make it difficult to decide whether I see a nail hole or just a spot.  But, I just filled every hole and crack I saw.  I like to use my finger to fill nail holes and a small spatula to fill the seams.

Two episodes of Bones later, I finished.

With the fronts!  I still have to fill all four sides of the drawers.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to fill some seams.  I think I’m going to go crazy after that.  After that, tons of sanding, priming and painting.  Yep, I’ve got plenty to keep me busy.  And you thought our kitchen was chugging right along.  This is going to take a while.

Does filling holes, priming, and painting drive you batty?  How about waiting for paint to dry?  I’m so not looking forward to all that painting, but I want pretty drawers.  Wish me luck.  Hopefully we’ll have something to share in a week or two.

Gray Matter

As we’ve shared, we’ve decided to paint the lower kitchen cabinets a medium grey.  Pewter Tankard by Sherwin Williams because it is warm without being beige.

Originally, we thought we’d paint all the cabinets white, just to keep everything light and airy.  Then, we examined the oak cabinets and realized how much grime was actually on the doors.  Partially due to the lack of pulls, but probably more because of two small boys.  So, we decided to paint the lower cabinets grey to disguise the dirt.  We’re also adding sleek drawer pulls.

After installing the face framing, filling the nail holes and joints and sanding smooth I gave everything a coat of primer.

Don’t worry if your primer doesn’t have 100% opaque coverage.  The point is to cover bare material for best paint adhesion and stain blocking.

Then, I finally started painting the cabinets.  For a super durable painted finish, we decided to use Acry-Shield paint by Columbia Paints in an eggshell finish.

Ben used this on exterior doors at the apartment and it has held up wonderfully.  Something super durable also costs more than normal latex paint, and this stuff ain’t cheap at $52.39 per gallon.  We decided to off set the cost by painting a coat of the cheaper Glidden before the Acry-Shield.  That, and we still have two gallons of Glidden paint left over from the drawers.

We considered spraying the cabinets before installing, but decided against it because we wanted to add the face framing after for the smoothest finish possible.  And  we should be able to touch up the rolled finish down the road without it being obvious.

For the record, I love the way the gray cabinets and red toned wood counters look together.  Haa-taa.

Even though we opted for a rolled finish, we still wanted it to look as professional as possible.  To get the smoothest finish, I worked in small sections using a good quality paint brush (we prefer Purdy) to get along the edge of the counter tops and the box detailing.  Right after using the brush, I follow up with a foam roller barely covered in paint.  Glidden paint goes on nicely and has a reasonably long working window.

After painting a coat of cheaper paint as a ‘tinted primer’ I started with the good stuff.  Actually, I tried, but it had a layer of gunk at the bottom that I couldn’t get to mix in.

I took a trip to the paint store and they replaced my old gallon of paint with a new, clump free can.  Back at home, I painted a thin and even coat of Acry-Shield.  It was a slight learning curve.  The paint is slightly thicker and dries a littler faster.  To counter this, I worked in smaller sections and made sure to go over the brushed areas well with the roller.

The color matched the Glidden paint perfectly, too.

Here’s what our kitchen currently looks like:

Sorry for the off colored photos.  It gets dark far too early for my liking these days.

You can see our stash of tile and sconces.

I’m glad to be done with that part of painting, but there’s still tons more in my future.  Gotta paint all the drawer and door fronts once they’ve been built (20 drawers and 8 cabinet doors).  And I’ll have to paint the giant refrigerator case.

Mug Shot

I recently discovered a super cool product: Pebeo Porcelaine 150 Paint Pens.  I found mine at Michael’s (after checking Hobby Lobby) for $3.99 each.  I decided to make a mug set for bridal shower gifts, so I picked up four plain white mugs at Target for $2.99 each.  I made a design template in Photoshop, printed to plain paper and cut out my design.  Then, I carefully outlined my design and filled it in.  The Mr. and Mrs. mugs were a hit at the bridal shower!  When I found some free time, I decided to paint two mugs I already had.

I decided to make a monogram mug and a whimsical tea bag mug, free handing my designs.  And here’s what the look like:

(Sorry for the blue-ish tint)  The B is a sketched fill, inspired by a set Design Mom featured

Even though I don’t drink tea, I seem to be drawn toward tea items, so this was perfect for our tea drinking guests.

These mugs are huge, (seriously, our tiny coffee pot fills one cup) so I decided to play off that.  The mug is large enough for tea for two.

Now our guests will have cute, custom designed mugs to use.  As I said, we created Mr. and Mrs. mugs as a bridal shower gift.  What are your favorite hostess, bridal shower or wedding gifts?  Have you used the porcelain paint pens or glass pens?  Anyone inspired to make a design of their own?  The options are limitless.  I’m looking for the perfect plates to make a pretty flower design or graphic print.