Sunday, November 27, 2011

DIY chalkboard table with milk crate seats

I am super excited about my latest project!

It started with this:

 a few of these

A little of this

A little of that

And it ended up like this

An awesome chalkboard table with locker crate seats (with storage!!) to match.

Wanna know how I did it? Read on if you want.

So a few months ago I found this coffee table on craigslist and thought it would make a perfect chalk board table for my guys. 

Well it sat in their room collecting dust until a couple weeks ago when I realized it would also make the perfect "kids" table for our upcoming Thanksgiving get together. This realization was just the motivation I needed to get going on this project. So I set out to find some seating. 

I really liked the idea of crate seats that I've seen popping up all over pinterest. So I bought some and realized they were going to be waaaaaay too big for my little table. Bummer! But strolling down the clearance isle at WalMart I found these:

They are locker crates: the same height as milk crates, but half the width. Perfect! Of course I wasn't crazy about the colors (they were the last three they had). I decided to try spray painting them a color more to my liking.

I tried using this krylon spray paint for plastic, but it clogged in like 5 minutes and I couldn't get it to unclog. So I ended up using Rustoleum brand instead. However, while I love the color the durability leaves something to be desired. The paint is already chipping a little bit on the edges. What?! My guess is that this is because the plastic was new and not "weathered." I think in the future I'll go with Krylon since they had some specific instructions for new plastic. But that was the only hiccup in the project.

We {READ: the husband} cut three seats out of a sheet of plywood and sanded down the corners so they'd fit perfectly. We have a little palm sander and this didn't take much time at all. We used 2 inch high density foam for cushioning and some flannel backed vinyl I had on hand to cover them with. Bonus: we can wipe the seats down! The final touch was to add a loop of ribbon to one side in order to pull the seat up. 

{I used this crate seat tutorial to get the general idea)

I sanded the table down and repainted it to match the seats. I used the same spray paint I used on the crates for the legs of the table and then made my own chalkboard paint using this tutorial. I got the paint for FREE at Joann's (love it!). It wasn't quite the right color so I ended up adding some black (3 tsps black to 1/2 cup brown) and it turned out perfect. I can't believe how closely it ended up matching the other paint color. Saweet!

{A before (in the measuring cup) and after (on the paint brush) of the paint colors}

As with all my projects I worried about whether it would be a hit or not. Well I'm very pleased to report that it got broken in over Thanksgiving by my darling nieces.

Overall I'm really happy with how it turned out. While my boys are bit too young for the chalk board part (they are still in the open-mouth-insert-chalk phase) they love to sit at the table on their little seats and "read" a book or have a snack.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Halloween 2011: Where's Waldo

So one of the things Nathan brought to our marriage was an enthusiasm for dressing up on Halloween. The first year I knew him he was the Jolly Green Giant.
(And after not having dressed up for Halloween in years I opted to be a giant potted flower)

Our first year of marriage it fell to Nathan to come up with our first couples costume. He managed to pull off this brilliant idea in a very short time period.

The cutest PB&J you ever did see!
(he made the bread slices himself and they were awesome!)

The next year I was hugely prego and he was super busy with his internship so we reused the pb&j.

Which brings us to Halloween 2011.

We are now a party of four instead of a party of two and we wanted to doing something the whole family could participate in. We threw around a lot of ideas (Alice and Wonderland , Bo Peep and her sheep, big bad wolf and 3 little pigs etc) and then settled on this one.

Waldo, Wenda, and their twinner Waldo babies!

Inspired by this tutorial I painted white t-shirts for the whole family and some white leggings I never wear (you can see them in the picture below), made the hats from knit, and Nathan made the glasses. As always I learned some things in the process:

1. I used packing tape (because it's what I had on hand) instead of masking tape to tape off the shirts and I think that helped create cleaner crisper lines.

2. Not all fabric (or textile) medium is created equal. I used several different kinds (don't ask!) and each called for a greater or lesser ratio of medium to acrylic. A 2 parts acrylic to 1 part medium created a much stiffer (but better color) design; 1.5 parts acrylic to 2 parts medium created a more vintaged color, but the clothing didn't lose it's flexibility and softness. If I had a do over for this project I'd go with the vintage flexible look. With so much of the shirt covered in paint the stiffness got annoying (but it's only a costume, right?)

3. The hats were a labor of love and I pulled ideas from multiple tutorials to finally come up with something that worked. But I will never post a tutorial about it because I do not want to go back to that unhappy, frustrated place. Let's just say knit was harder to work with than I thought. Fleece would have been a more forgiving choice.

4. My kids never cease to surprise me. Nathan made the glasses out of cardboard with an elastic around the back. I was sure they wouldn't wear them. I prepped him not to be too disappointed if they didn't.

And then of course they wore them without a fuss for the entire night.

(We also learned it helps to show them how they look in the mirror. They kept their hats on after they saw how adorable they looked in the mirror. No joke)

And I've saved the best for last. On a whim I submitted a photo to Make It and Love It's costume photo group and we were featured as part of her virtual costume parade!!!

(you can go here to see us)

I was seriously so excited to see that! Her crafting site is pretty famous and it was such a delight to have something I put blood, sweat, and curse words into featured in even a small way.


I'm already starting to get excited for next year.
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