DIY Pallet Flag

flag2I’m sure you’ve seen these before.  An old pallet painted like a flag.  I know I’ve seen them around, and with a new house to decorate outside and the Fourth of July coming up this weekend, I figured I’d give my own version a try.  I went for an older, more handmade look but you could make yours however you want!  I’ve included how I made mine in the instructions below…

Items Needed:

Pallet
Electric or Battery operated saw
Sand paper or orbital sander
Red, White, and Blue Paint
Paint Brushes
Brown Paint Glaze or Stain (optional)
Clear Coat, like a Shellac or Polyurethane

How I did it:

1. Decide on how large you want your flag.  Do you want it to be the entire size of the pallet, or do you want to cut some pieces off?  The bottom board of my pallet was broken in half, so I decided to cut off the bottom two boards so that my pallet was more of a rectangle shape.  Be sure that you cut both the front and back of your pallet evenly so that it sits well.  Make sure you keep in mind the construction of the pallet and that you don’t cut it in a way that it might fall apart later down the road.  I wanted my pallet to have an uneven number of stripes, so that there was red on the top and on the bottom, which is another reason why I cut two boards off of the pallet.

2. Depending on the condition of your pallet, lightly sand it with sand paper or do a more thorough job with an orbital sander.

3. Once that is complete, find a clean place to begin painting.  Decide what part of your pallet will be blue and begin there.  You might want to use a ruler or level and pencil in a straight line.  I opted not to do this, because I was going for a more handmade look.  I chose to paint only the top of the boards and filled in the edges and supports with a brown glaze that looks like stain.

4. After the blue is in, paint your stripes red and white.

5. When the blue is dry, paint your stars.  Decide on how many you can fit in each row, whether you want to use a ruler or level, and whether you want to stencil them in or paint them freehand.  Since I went for a handmade look, I purposely made my stars go in different directions and did not use a ruler or level.

6. Once the red, white, blue, and stars are dry, consider using a brown glaze or light brown stain.  I glazed the edges of the boards and put a light coat on the tops of the painted flag, wiping off the excess until it had the aged look that I was going for.  If you really want to go for an old look, you could lightly sand the edges and some of the painted surface of the flag before staining.

My pallet flag before the clear coat was applied.

My pallet flag before the clear coat was applied.

7. When all that is dry, protect it with a clear coat like a shellac or polyurethane.  If your pallet will be in direct weather, consider two coats.  Since mine is semi-protected along the house, I only applied one coat.

8. After you’ve waited until it is completely dry (or as long as you can handle waiting!) place your pallet somewhere where everyone will see it and enjoy the complements!

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Pallet Board “Beware of the Dogs” Sign

dog2This sign was free to make and super easy to do.  It looks much nicer than the scary “Beware of Dog” signs they sell in the stores.

Items Needed:

Board– I used a pallet board in decent shape but cracked on the ends.  The cracks and nail holes give it character.  You might want to sand it before you begin this project, depending on the condition of the wood.
Paint and paintbrush– Any craft paint or interior paint will do.
Stencils or Computer and printer– Unless you plan to freehand your lettering.
Pencil
Permanent Marker or Black Paint
Clear coat– Some sort of protectant like Shellac or Polyurethane.
Hammer and a way to hang your sign– I used two screws and picture hanging wire on the back of the sign, and a picture hanging hook on the fence.

How to do it:

1. Paint your board.  I used a brush and lightly brushed the paint on.  I purposely let the paint skip over the cracks and crevices of the wood to give it more depth.  If you don’t like the weathered look, paint it solid without leaving any empty spots. If you really like a weathered look, you can take sandpaper to it after the paint is dry and rough it up even more.

2. While the paint dries, figure out your lettering.  Your sign could say anything you want- the only limit is your imagination! (and the space of the board, of course!)  I chose to use a transfer method I’ve done many times before.  It’s super easy.  I printed out my letters with my computer using a font that I really like.  The key here is to make sure the sizing is good and the font is readable and will not be too difficult to trace onto the board. (Remember, boards aren’t always super smooth!)  Once your letters are printed how you want them, color the back of the paper with a lead pencil.  Make sure to get the outlines of the letters.  Place your paper, lead side down, onto the board where you want them.  Trace over the outlines of your letters, pressing firmly.  The lead behind your letters should transfer to the board.

3.  When your letters are transferred onto the board, fill in the letters with a black permanent marker or black paint.  I used permanent marker and it worked very well.  If the permanent marker doesn’t look good, you can always use black paint and a small craft brush.  It will take you a lot longer than using the marker, though.  Keep in mind that the marker might bleed a little on the wood, so start well within the lines of your letters until you see how the marker reacts to your particular project.

My finished image before the clear coat.  Note the computer print out of the words above the sign.  That is what I printed out and transferred onto the board by coloring the back of the paper with a lead pencil.

My finished image before the clear coat. Note the computer print out of the words above the sign. That is what I printed out and transferred onto the board by coloring the back of the paper with a lead pencil.

4. Once your image is finished, let it sit for a few minutes.  If you used permanent marker, a few minutes is all you need before you can apply your clear coat.

5. When your clear coat is dry, hang up your sign and enjoy!

Custom Pallet Painting- Ironman

Pallets are good to make all sorts of things, and something that I have been wanting to try my hand at is painting art on pallets formed into a sign.  It’s a bit of work at first: get the right boards, decide what size you want your sign to be, cut the boards, sand the boards, then attach them.  I used a 1X2 cut just shy of the width of the sign and screwed into the back of the 1X2 so all of the boards would be attached.  Just make sure your screws aren’t so long they poke out the front.  I did 2- 1X2’s on each sign.

Once your sign is made the fun can begin!

This pallet was sign was the larger of the two at about 12X17 inches.

This pallet was sign was the larger of the two at about 12X17 inches.

I started Ironman by finding a picture similar to the one I wanted to paint.  (I am much better at painting than I am at free-hand drawing)  I painted the red background onto the whole sign.  Make sure to get into all of the grooves, because when you distress the sign it will take paint off of the high points and leave it in the low points.  For the paint on this project I used acrylic.  I chose acrylic because it is easy to work with, washable, and I am going to finish it with a waterproof stain.

Once the base color was dry, I penciled in my drawing.  I traced a lot of the picture by coloring the back with a lead pencil, then tracing firmly on the top of the picture where I wanted the lines to appear.  Once my lines were in, I began painting.  Once again, I was sure to get the paint in all the low points of the wood.  I let my paint dry overnight.

The next day, with a fine grit sandpaper, I lightly sanded over the painting.  Once I saw how the paint responded to the sandpaper, I adjusted the firmness according to how I wanted it to look.  Since I was going to use a stain over the painting to help distress it, I focused on removing pain from the high points of the wood, especially the edges.

After wiping off the dust, I was ready to stain.  I used a relatively dark mahogany gel stain for this project.  I brushed it on and wiped it off.  After I had done the whole painting, I went over it in places where I wanted it to appear a little darker, and wiped it with a light touch to keep some of the stain on the paint.

After the stain had dried, I attached some picture hanging hardware and it was ready to be hung on the wall.

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Easy Products for Spring Cleaning

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I must admit I am NOT a fan of spring cleaning.  I remember my mom  and grandmother doing extensive cleaning every spring, and even a young age I recognized how much work that had to be.  I have yet to live more than 6 years in the same house, but I can imagine after 15 or 20 years in a house spring cleaning inevitably becomes a necessity.  However, there are some products out there in today’s world that would have helped make my mom’s dreaded cleaning week much easier.

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1) Swiffer Dusters

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These dusters come in two lengths.  There is a shorter one made for your average dusting jobs, then there is a long one made for high and hard to reach places.  The material that the dusters are made of grabs the dust instead of just spreading it all over the place.  Use the long handled one to get in the corners and disperse spider webs, or dust off that ceiling fan that has been gathering dust all winter.

2) Norwex Polishing Cloths

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These cloths may seem a bit spendy at first, but they really are amazing.  They clean glass with nothing but water!  Get a spray bottle of water and mist the surface you want to clean, or wet your polish cloth under the tap and prepare to be amazed!  I keep one of these in each bathroom for easy mirror cleaning.  When I get out of the shower, I wipe my dry cloth over the steamed mirror and it is shiny and flawless.  No streaks, no residue- just clean!  Time to clean windows?  All you need is a damp polishing cloth!  Forget about wrestling with a spray bottle and rolls of paper towels, only to see streaks on your second story windows after you’re already done!

This is a great product to eliminate paper waste and use of chemicals in your home without sacrificing quality.  The cloths are washable.

There may be other brands of polishing cloths out there, but I have Norwex brand ones and I love them.  Use other brands at your own risk!

3) Microfiber mops

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There are hundreds of microfiber mops out there, and I’m sure some are much better than others.  The benefits of having one of these when spring cleaning is that you can use these to wipe down ceilings and walls.  I’m sure hand scrubbing your walls and ceiling would probably result in a greater depth of clean, but if you can live with a quick wipe down, why not save yourself the time and energy?

For a quick way to get the corners of your hardwood or laminate floors, let the microfiber pad overlap on one side, and use that to really get in the corners and edges of the floor.  After that, use the mop to go along your baseboards instead of getting down on your hands and knees.

4) Norwex Scrub Mitt

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I know I already have listed Norwex product, but this one is also equally amazing.  When I clean my shower with this mitt (with nothing but the mitt and water) the plastic in my tub surround is literally squeaky clean.  I rub my finger over the plastic, and it squeaks.  This mitt has a microfiber side and a scrubby side.  It was designed for the bathroom, but really could clean anything. Cleaning out your fridge?  Just wet it and go!

5) Anti-allergen Spray for Mattresses and Furniture

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I don’t have a lot of experience with sprays like this, but I am looking into including on in my spring cleaning regime.  Eliminating dust mites and other allergens in mattress and furniture sounds like a good idea, and would likely help the quality of air in your home.

6) Norwex Grill Cleaner

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Believe it or not, this grill cleaner does wonders in an oven!  Use half the muscle, half the time, with no fumes!  I’m not affiliated with or selling Norwex products, but they really are a great product!  This grill cleaner makes cleaning a dirty oven easy.  One great thing about it is that there are no fumes to deal with, so you don’t have to be afraid of using it around the kids or even yourself!

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Is there a particular trick or product that makes your spring cleaning a breeze?  Comment and let me know!

No-Sew Cornice

Hide the top of those ugly blinds cheap and easy without using a sewing machine!

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The blinds covering my sliding glass doors have been screaming for a personal touch.  As usual, I wanted something cheap, easy, and pleasing to the eye.  I managed to complete this in about 2 hours, and it makes the room a lot nicer.

Supplies needed:

Tape measure
Sharpie marker
Large piece of foam board approx. 2 inches thick (the longer the better- I had a spare sheet of foam insulation)
Box cutter/foam cutting knife
Push pins/fabric pins (see picture below)
Duct tape
Fabric (I used 1 yard for this and barely had enough)
Hot glue gun
Hammer

Directions:

1. Measure the width of the door/window opening from the outsides of your trim.  Add the width of your foam to each side.  This is the length of foam you will need.
2. Decide how tall you want your cornice to be.
3.  Measure out these dimensions using your tape measure, sharpie, and straight edge.  Cut your foam.  (This can get messy- I suggest cutting it in a garage or outdoors)
-If your foam board isn’t long enough, as mine was, piece it together and attach using duct tape.  Wrap the tape around several times to build support.

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4. Measure the depth you would like your cornice and subtract the width of the foam board.  Cut a foam piece out for each side, then attach them to the cornice front with fabric staples.  (see picture below)  I chose to double the foam for added support on the side.  This also helped in attaching the staples.  It held surprisingly well, even after flopping it around attaching fabric.

Be sure to measure your crease if you are overlapping fabric.

Be sure to measure your crease if you are overlapping fabric.

5. Hold your foam cornice up to the space to make sure it is the correct size.
6. Begin to attach your fabric to the foam using straight pins and staples every so often for support.  These straight pins are very short.  Point your straight pins towards the outside of the cornice so that the fabric won’t pull the pin out.  The back can be uncovered, like the picture above, or fully covered.  To fully cover it simply overlap the edges and pin.
7. Be sure to cover all sides of the cornice supports, as they will be visible.  You may need to piece the material together and use multiple pins.
8. If you need to use two strips of fabric (or more) make the overlap in a symmetrical location.  Fold the edge of your material over at least a quarter inch, and iron in place.  Line up your pattern and continue pinning.
9. If your cornice will be long like mine, you might want to attach a support in the middle as well.  Mine was attached directly to the plastic of the blind frame, so I measured the size and attached it to the middle of the cornice with staples.  All four sides of this will need to be covered as well.  (leave the ends that will connect to the cornice and the wall bare)
10. Once your fabric is attached, decide how you would like to attach the cornice to the wall.  I had some simple picture hanging supplies already, so I hot glued a circular hook onto each end support.  It was then hung on a picture hook nailed into the wall. (see picture below)

The middle support attached to the frame for the blinds.  I used a command strip to attach the foam to the blind.  Rubber cement could also be used.

The middle support attached to the frame for the blinds. I used a command strip to attach the foam to the blind. Rubber cement could also be used.

Close up of the cornice and the hardware that it was attached to the wall with.

Close up of the cornice and the hardware that it was attached to the wall with.

Hanging the cornice was quite the experience simply because of how long it was.  Since the foam makes it super light, the picture hanging nail and hook is enough t keep it secure.  Mine has been hanging for a while now and I have never had a issue with it coming off or falling down.

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Ugly Desk DoOver

My husband picked up this super ugly desk at a thrift store.  We got it for a good price because the top of it was a cheap PINK laminate.  Yeah- not too many takers on that one.  The good think about this desk is that the wood part of it was actual REAL wood- not laminate.  (It also made this super heavy!)

desk1The hardest part on this desk was the laminate top.  I wasn’t sure how any sort of paint would take to it.  I tried to lightly sand it in one spot, but the sanding showed through the paint so DON’T do what I did!  I used a spray paint made specifically for plastic, which overall worked well.  There were just a couple tiny spots where the paint wouldn’t stick to the laminate.  Since this desk was going to be a work station for my husband and covered with stuff anyways, I wasn’t too worried.  I hit it with a couple of thick layers of polyurethane to make sure the paint wouldn’t scrape off.  In hindsight, refinishing a surface like this would be best if wiped with acetone, then with a clean wet rag, dried, and treated with the laminate countertop paint you can get a home repair stores.  That sort of paint is made to cover laminate and would be your best bet for a nice finish.

The wood on the desk wasn’t bad, but was a little light for our preference.  I lightly sanded it all around, then applied a darker stain.  The darker stain really brought out the natural grains in the wood.  Since the stain on the wood had a sealer in it, I didn’t have to do anything to it after applying the stain.

The “after” results are so much more appealing than the “before!” and my husband loves it.  :)

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Sewing Machine Stand Makeover

sewing2I got this sewing machine stand for a great price at a local thrift store.  It’s the kind of stand that allows the sewing machine fold down into the stand, then a lid  covers it when not in use.  When I did this project, I was living in a small apartment and my sewing machine had no other place to live than my living room.  This was great, because when it wasn’t in use it was tucked out of the way and I could put items on the stand as a display.

Since the stand is a low quality particle board, I lightly sanded it so the paint would adhere.  I knew I would have to paint this as opposed to stripping it because it’s not real wood.  The top had some water damage when I bought it- particle board isn’t too fond of water.  I managed to smooth most of the bubbling out that the water had caused by sanding it.  The condition wasn’t ideal, but it was worth the price I paid!

After giving it a light sand, I chose to spray paint it an off-white color.  Before painting it, I removed the hardware to keep it’s original color.  I chose to paint the decorative handle to match the stand, but I left the hinges alone.  Usually when hinges are painted the paint rubs off anyways.  After a couple of coats of spray paint, I let it dry, then applied a brown glaze to it.  The “wipe on, wipe off” method was utilized for the glaze application. :)  After the glaze was fully dry, I sprayed a clear coat of polyurethane to protect it from further water damage and to keep the glaze from rubbing off.

The finished result was nicer than I had hoped and the best part is that it hides my ugly sewing machine in the living room!

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