Painting with Bleach

I spotted this idea for painting with bleach on one of my favorite blogs, A Beautiful Mess, and I was dying to try it out.  In just a few hours, you can easily revamp that old shirt you never wear.

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Using bleach, you can permanently set  your favorite quote on any dark-colored top. First, you will need a bottle of fabric-safe bleach, which is cheapest when you chose the generic store brand. I used the Safeway brand from Vons. You will also need chalk and a small paintbrush, which are both available at Michael’s. Choose the cheapest synthetic paintbrush because the bleach will most likely eat away at the bristles. That’s what happened to mine. You will need a piece of cardboard, a ceramic bowl, a white towel, and some kind of clips.

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Start by inserting the piece of cardboard between the front and back of the shirt to prevent the bleach from bleeding through. Use the clips to hold the shirt in place. Next, outline your design in chalk. I came up with the line “Be the Outlier” based on the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.

If you mess up with the chalk, simply dampen the towel, and use it to erase your mistakes. Add some bleach to the ceramic bowl, and dip the paintbrush in the bleach. Drag the brush against the side of the bowl to avoid drip marks. Carefully trace your chalk outline with bleach, and wet your brush often to make clean lines on the shirt.

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The design should show through quickly. Take your time, and trace over the areas that you feel need filling in. After letting the bleach set for at least 10 minutes, hand wash it with cold water. The longer you let the bleach set, the lighter it will be.

On my black shirt, the bleach faded the brush strokes an orange tint because I only let it sit out for about 20 minutes. Once the shirt is washed, you should be able to machine wash and dry the shirt normally. The bleach is set and your shirt is ready to wear.

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Herringbone Painting

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Based on a Pinterest post I fell in love with, I painted my own herringbone pattern on a 12 X 12 canvas. I can share with you what difficulties I came across trying to make this, and hopefully you can perfect it if you try it on your own.

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You will need a canvas, several colors of acrylic paint, brushes, a sponge, and painter’s tape. I used a 12 X 12 canvas, but I believe any square canvas would be appropriate. I used a lot of different colors, but you should use as many as you see fit.

Using a medium-sized paintbrush, blot several colors over the canvas. Blend your colors together using the brush and/or a sponge. Make sure the entire canvas is covered with color. Let the paint dry completely.

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While the paint dries, take the time to cut your tape. This is the most time-consuming part of the project. My 12 X 12 canvas required about 50 pieces of tape, which I cut to a 3-inch length. I also cut the tape to 3/4 of an inch in width. If possible, I’d recommend buying thinner tape, but I already had a thicker type at home.

When the canvas is dry, begin laying the tape in a herringbone pattern, starting from one corner. Lay the tape gently so that you can rearrange it if necessary. When you’re sure you have the pattern fixed, press the tape down firmly.

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Paint over the tape with white (or another color if you prefer). I used two layers of white paint to cover the open areas. Let it dry completely before removing the pieces of tape. This is where I encountered my biggest problem. The white paint seeped underneath the tape, and it didn’t allow for a clean line when I removed the tape later. The type of tape I used is probably responsible for my problem, so I’d recommend buying “the good stuff” for a project like this. Spray paint could also remedy this problem.

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After you’ve removed the tape and the canvas is dry, paint the edges of the canvas with a color that compliments the colors in the pattern. Once this is dry, your herringbone painting is complete and ready to hang.

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Sound Wave Painting

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My original idea for this project was to copy the sound waves of a song onto a canvas, but this proved much more difficult than I thought. I should start by admitting that I absolutely cannot paint. I can splatter some paint of a canvas or paint some random patches, but I’d be surprised if I can even paint a respectable tree. Because of my lack of painting skills, I googled some ideas to get me started, and I found some amazing examples on Apartment Therapy. This became the inspiration for my idea, and although my painting did not match the image in my head, I’m still happy with the outcome.

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For this project, you will need a canvas (or two), paint, brushes, and an idea of what sound waves you plan to create. I used two 12 X 12 canvases because I believed it should look longer, and they were the only size canvases I had. In the beginning, I opened “Skinny Love” by Bon Iver in the computer program Audacity to get an idea of what I was going to paint. I printed it out with the intent of painting what I saw, but I ended up making things up as I went when I realized the difficulty in it.

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Start by deciding what color you want the background to be. Personally, I like the look of color on black, so I painted the whole canvas black, and let it dry. Then I chose a very dark blue to paint the sound waves because I wanted the colors to fade lighter and brighter. When that was dry, I mixed a lighter shade of blue and slightly painted over the dark blue, hoping it would create a shadowy look. To make most of the sound waves, I just used a small brush to paint lines really close together. Once that dried, I mixed an even lighter shade and painted my next round over the sound waves.

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After some time, I went over the last color with another coat where I needed. Lastly, I painted the sides of the canvas black to match the rest of the background. One piece of advice I can offer is to make sure you’re painting in a straight line. I had to paint over part of my canvas when I realized how crooked it was becoming. Also make sure that if you are using two canvases, the lines line up from canvas to canvas. When it’s all dry, hang it up, but be sure to measure it beforehand so that the canvases line up when hung on the wall.

Spice Up Old Clothespins

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When I get bored, I look for projects to do. One day, I scavenged for all the clothespins I could find in my apartment, and began painting. It adds a little color to my otherwise boring, crowded pantry, and with a little glue, I made magnets for my fridge.

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All you need are clothespins, paint, small brushes, magnet(s), scissors, and a glue gun. If you feel like going all out, add some glitter. Paint them however you please. If you plan to turn them into magnets, there’s no need to paint both sides.

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To make the clothespins magnetic, I found an old sheet to cut up. It was one of those tiny little calendars realtors give out with their faces on them. Measure it according to the clothespin, and cut a sliver of it to match the top part of the pin. With your glue gun, paste the magnet to the back and press. Give it a second to dry, and it should be ready for the fridge.

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Use them to hang pictures or reminders to personalize your kitchen. Just remember, it won’t hold very much weight unless you have a heavy-duty magnet glued on. Mine are kind of flimsy, but that’s what I get for choosing not to actually purchase real magnets. After all, I am a poor college student, but I’m sure better magnets are available for cheap at your local craft store.

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A Trip Through my Scrapbook (Part 1)

I am an avid scrapbooker. I started playing around with scrapbooking when I was a kid and have progressed every since then, making my way through at least eight full scrapbooks of my life. Unfortunately, I don’t have as much time or space for it anymore because my small apartment and busy schedule don’t allow for it, but I’m trying to keep it up.

I believe anyone can scrapbook. It’s just about taking your time and making pages that reflect your life and your experiences. In other words, everyone scrapbooks differently. This post will be part of one of at least two peaks into my scrapbook. I pulled out a few of my favorite pages to display. None of them were extremely complicated. They just took time and effort, but mostly time. Personally, it can take me hours to do one page because I am so indecisive about what I want each page to look like in order to make each one stand out from the others.

So here’s a little trip through my life in photos over the last few years.

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I have tons of extra photos lying around that never fit into a page, so I grabbed enough to make a sort of collage to demonstrate “the many faces of me.” Some show me as a kid and some are more recent, but they all are cut and fitted together to demonstrate who I am. I painted chipboard letters to give it some texture and used a small stamp to create small text in the corner of the page. Other than that, I just cut the photos to different sizes and arranged them in a square pattern on layered cardstock.

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I find it really difficult to make a page when there is only one picture to work with because it means, unless it is a large picture, that you will need a lot of embellishments. In this case, I used a stamp on two layers of paper to add a large embellishment, attached with colored paperclips. I also used a framed look, meaning I added a frame around the page in a different color, which takes up more space. Using a label maker and die cuts from a Cricket machine, I created a title for the top. Lastly, I added flowers to add to the empty space. Sometimes I really enjoy the look of a crowded page with lots of embellishments.

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Like the previous example, I only had one picture to work with, so I tried to add as much as I could to the page. Because in this picture, I am surrounded my a large mosaic and mirrored tiles, I attempted to create a similar pattern on the page. I cut random shapes out of black, silver, and grey paper as well as aluminum foil. Yes, foil. That’s what the shiny pieces are. I was surprised to see that it all came together really well. Don’t be afraid to add random things to your pages just because they aren’t usually considered scrapbooking materials.

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Sometimes I worry there are only so many ways to lay out a page when you have three or four photos. Play around with arrangements before you paste it on so that you can create new ways of laying out pages. Layer them if you must. Cut them if you must. And don’t feel like you need to be confined to paper cutters and straight edges. I wanted something extra on this page, so I cut a layered scallop border for the top and bottom of the paper. Add chucks of paper and small embellishments like dots or squares to make your eyes dart around the page. The whole point is to attract attention.

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This is the last page I’ll post for now. Like my other examples, I layer paper a lot to give dimension and take up wasted space. Because this page was all about my beautiful niece, I used large chipboard letters to spell her name, and placed smaller stickers toward the bottom to indicated how old she was at the time (she’s three now!). Using different types of string, I hung metal pieces and fastened them together using an eyelet.  I also used glue to paste the metal pieces to the paper in order to keep them from simply hanging in a way that you couldn’t see what they are.

I’ll plan to post a part two of my scrapbooking obsession soon. My best advice to fellow scrapbookers is not to rush. The memories are already there. They aren’t going anywhere, so don’t glue anything down until you know what you want.  Scrapbooking is about creating something that reflects who you are, so you should never worry that you’re doing it wrong. There is no wrong way.

Quotes on Canvas

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I’ve seen a million different versions of quotes on canvases using this technique. They’re all adorable, and I have plans to make many more. This is my first attempt, and it is not my favorite example, but I’ll do better next time. Sooner or later you’ll see at least one with book pages and a Harry Potter quote.

For this project, you will need a canvas of any size, magazine pages or clippings, Mod Podge, paint, a paintbrush, and vinyl letters. Instead of magazine clippings, you can also used book or music pages, which I plan to do in the future. My letters are about an inch, and I purchased them from Office Depot. Consider the size of your canvas and how large you want the print to be. My canvas was a square 12 X 12 in. piece.

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First, use Mod Podge to glue pieces of magazine or other paper to the canvas. Cover it completely. After the glue is dry, you can put down your letters. I put “wish” at the top and “11:11” at the bottom. Be sure the letters are firmly pressed down, and paint the entire canvas using your choice of acrylic paint. It may need at least two coats.

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When the paint is completely dry, carefully peel off the letters to reveal the paper underneath. When I tried this, I noticed that the paint seeped underneath the stickers, leaving it difficult to clearly distinguish the letters. To fix this, I traced the outline of the letters with black paint. This way, you can see the letters while still being able to see the paper underneath the outline. Depending on how your letters turn out, you may or may not consider this step. Once it’s dry, it is ready for display.

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DIY Mustache Magnets

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While browsing the internet one day, I came across a set of mustache magnets for $10. Anyone who knows me knows my odd obsession with mustaches, and I decided I had to have these. However, being the poor college student that I am, I knew I could make my own mustache magnets for less than $10.

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All you will need are a magnet sheet, scissors, black (or another color) paint, and a paintbrush. Depending on what magnetic sheet you find, you mad be able to ignore the necessity for paint. I’m sure you can buy a sheet fairly cheap at Michael’s. As you can see from the photo above, I used one of the sheets realtors give out with their faces on them. Also, if you’re anything like me, and your drawing skills are not up to par, you may want to create a stencil. Using the stickers below, which I purchased at Target because they were only a dollar, I traced the mustaches onto a white sheet of paper over the mustache sticker to get a general outline. Then I cut out the mustache from the white paper and used that as my stencil.

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Pencil will show up enough to see on the black magnetic sheet, so trace the outline of your stencil and simply cut the mustache out using you scissors. I don’t have very high quality scissors, but with some nice small ones you could make much more delicate and detailed mustaches than I display here.

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In my case, I painted the pictured side black, which needed at least two coats. Once they’re dry, they are ready to hang on the fridge. They’re perfect for overlaying a picture because, let’s face it, mustaches make everything just a little better. And because I had all of the material already laying around the house, this project was free!

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Transform an Old Dresser into a TV Stand

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I wish I had a “before” picture to show you of the table our television stood on because I am extremely proud of this improvement. We used to have a small glass table where the TV sat, and underneath were all of the boxes and ugly cables, just hanging there and sitting on the floor. In the meantime, I had a dresser shoved in my closet that was of little use to me, so I decided to change it. I turned the two top drawers into shelves, painted the entire piece, and added hardware to the drawers that didn’t exist before.

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The materials you require for a project like this are dependent on what you would like to do to your existing piece of furniture. If you don’t have any special project needs, I would recommend simply the piece of furniture, such as an old dresser, sandpaper, paint (or spray paint), large paintbrushes, slabs of wood, and drawer pulls or handles. If you need to drill new holes for drawer pulls or handles, or if you need to drills holes in the back for cables to run through, you will also need a drill.

You may or may not need sandpaper. Hopefully not. Sanding furniture is a pain. The only reason I used sandpaper was to even out some distressed areas of the wood that needed to even out with the rest of the top. To avoid sanding the entire thing, either prime it first or buy a paint that has primer built in. I went to Home Depot and chose a combination paint in a light grey-purple color to match my decor, but I love the look of bold, colorful pieces, depending on the size.

Measure the opening of your drawers in order to determine the size of wood you will need to create a shelf. My dresser had a piece of wood down the middle where the drawer slides in that prevented me from easily laying down one piece of wood. I’m very limited on tools in my small apartment, so instead of attempting to remove this piece (which would not have been extremely difficult), I asked my dad to cut me four pieces of wood to lay around the middle piece. It’s not perfect, but it works, and you can barely tell the difference.

First, remove the drawers. They are to be painted separately. Cover the entire piece with your first coat. Make sure you’re painting in a safe area, and cover the floor with some type of mat or newspapers to protect it from paint stains. Let it sit for a while. Because I did this indoors, it took quite a while to dry.

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Don’t let your impatience get the best of you. Painting a second coat before the first is dry can result in a change in texture. It will look best if you let it dry completely. While the dresser sits, you’ll need to paint the shelves and the drawers. Like before, let them dry before painting another coat. To create the look I wanted, I painted three full coats over the entire piece, and I set the pieces of wood inside the top opening.

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Next, I used a drill to install the drawer pulls I picked out at Home Depot. Yours may already have holes where previous hardware was, so there should be no need to drill new holes. If you do need new holes, please remember to measure first.

Lastly, I created holes in the back of the dresser to pull cords through for my DVD player and DirecTV box. I drew a circle in the back, just above the shelf so the hole wouldn’t be extremely visible. This is where I had difficulties. Perhaps you have an easier way to do this, but I was limited. I used my drill to poke a bunch of small holes around the circle and drilled my way around the circle until I created a large enough hole for cords to fit through. It doesn’t have to be pretty. You won’t be able to see it.

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I set my TV equipment in each compartment, pulled the cords through, and connected everything to a power strip conveniently hidden behind the TV, which sits on top. I filled up the drawers with useless things and set my painted beer bottles and pine cone vase on top. During Christmas, I entwined colored Christmas lights with white tulle and displayed it on top, wrapped around the TV with a small silver tree sitting on top. I like it so much better than the table we started with, and it was a lot of work, but it was absolutely worth it. And all I really had to buy was paint and hardware, which is nothing in the long run. It wasn’t nearly as hard of a project as I expected it to be.

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Geometric Coasters

I spent a lot of time deciding how to make coasters. After spending too much time on Pinterest, I decided ceramic bathroom tiles were the best choice. Luckily, my dad had a couple extras laying around, so I didn’t even have to buy them.

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All you need to make these geometric coasters are small, white bathroom tiles that are approximately 4 x 4 inches, painters tape, clear spray paint, felt, a hot glue gun, acrylic paint, and small paintbrushes. The tiles, tape, and clear spray paint are inexpensive at Home Depot, and the rest of the supplies are just as cheap at Michael’s. For my coasters, I chose two metallic colors that fit in with my color scheme, but additional colors work as well. You will also want black paint to make lines between the different color blocks. Any color of felt is fine. I had white laying around, so I went ahead and used that.

First, spread a piece of tape diagonally across the tile, and then across the other side. The edge of the tape should be touching each corner so that the tape forms a clear triangle patch. Paint this with you first color. You will probably need more than one coat. I needed about three. Give each section as much time to dry as possible so that the tape will not distort paint. Take off the top piece of tape to open up a second triangle. Paint this with your second color.

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Remove the remaining piece of tape, and move on to the other side of the tile. Tape a new piece down the middle of the tile, making a small triangle. Paint this with the first color you used so that it is different than the color next to it. Remove the piece of tape, and place a new one down the middle on the adjacent side, creating the same triangle pattern in the opposite corner. Paint your second color here. At this point, it should look something like the picture below.

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You should have a small square remaining. Place a piece of tape diagonally across the open square, and paint the color that will be different than the triangle next to it. When you peel off the last piece of tape, paint your final color in the open triangle.

When all of the paint is completely dry, use a very thin paintbrush and black paint to trace the lines between each color block. The black lines should cover up any residue between the opposing colors.

After the entire tile is dry, generously spray the entire thing with clear spray paint to seal it and create a glossy finish. At first, I used some good ol’ fashioned mod podge because it was all I had, but it left a sticky residue, so I would definitely recommend the spray paint instead.

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Lastly, cut your felt a little smaller than the size of the coaster tile, and use the glue gun to glue it to the bottom of the tile. The felt will prevent the tile from scratching your table.

Your coasters are complete and ready to use.

Stay tuned for more coaster projects. While searching through the Michael’s clearance bins, I bought a pack of coasters for next-to-nothing. Eventually, I plan on mod podging them with something. We’ll see what happens.

Personalize Dollar Store Plates

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This is one project that everyone on Pinterest is obsessed with, and I was curious if it really worked as well as everyone says. Well, it does, and it’s one of the cheapest projects out there.When you’re in need of a cheap, easy, thoughtful gift, look no further than your local bargain store. Using only a marker, you can personalize ceramic dishware in just a few quick steps.

At the 99¢ Only Store or Dollar Tree, you can find ceramic plates, bowls, and mugs for literally only a dollar. This amazed me. I never wanted to leave. When choosing a dish, it is better to pick a white or light-colored one so that your design will show up better. However, I am really interested in trying a metallic Sharpie on a dark-colored dish to see how it turns out. The only other item you’ll need is a Sharpie, which you can purchase just about anywhere.

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Set your oven to 350 degrees. Using your sharpie, draw whatever you want on your dish or cup. This part took me a while. I had no idea what to do, so I wrote “hello” in a few different languages.

Don’t stress out if you mess up because some water and a sponge should wash away your mistakes. Make sure to scrub your errors right away because they will be much easier to erase if you act quickly. The longer you wait, the harder you will have to scrub.

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Once the oven is heated, bake the ceramic dishware for 30 minutes, and let it cool completely. Your design should be set and ready to use. Although the design is permanent, it will probably not last in the dishwasher, so be sure to hand wash it. This part could be kind of hit or miss, so use caution the first time you wash it.

Personalized dishware are perfect for gifts and special occasions, and no one ever has to know how easy it was to make. This is my future backup plan for Christmas gifts. It’d be perfect for a plate of cookies.