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Category Archives: Use What You’ve Got Projects

beach frame

beach frame

make-it-for-less-beach-style-vintage-photo-holder-tutorial-by-cheltenham-roadI’m a silly person (it’s possible this has dawned on you previously)

And I have a question.

Is it wrong to do projects just out of spite?

Because I think I just did.

Welcome to Spite Crafting with Cheltenham Road

Backstory:  I can be a bit over-thrifty.  I don’t like to spend money.

Total Truth: I started Cheltenham Road partly because I was tired of the sticker shock I got every time I visited PB or Restoration Hardware.  My vow was that I wanted people to be pleasantly surprised when they flipped a CR price tag over and I try very hard to hold to that goal.

But I’m still subject to sticker shock.

The other day I was wandering a big box store and came across this:big-store-photo-holder

Cool.  Kinda fun.  Not something I need or want but I liked it.

And then I checked the pricebeach-photo-frame

$50?!!!

And that….kinda made me mad?  I don’t know…I just suddenly had to make one.  Just to prove that it didn’t need to cost that much.

Spite crafting.

So I went home, pulled supplies and did my own.

Here’s what I used.

simple-rustic-photo-display-tutorial-by-cheltenham-road

  • 16×16  frame*
  • Folk Art Milk Paint (Petticoat and Veranda Blue)**
  • 6 pieces of thin Luan scrap wood cut to 2 inches high by 16″ long
  • Sandpaper
  • Glue
  • String
  • Screws
  • Clothespins

* I want to be honest here.  I had intended to use a thrift store frame for this project.  But my local thrift store is “closed for remodeling.”  (Who remodels a thrift store?  It’s a big room with stuff piled in it – it’s not like anyone is hoping for better lighting or a juice bar…..well,…actually I do live in Southern California so actually someone might be hoping for a juice bar…OK I take it back.  I look forward to my next combo thrift shopping/cleanse experience).  So I made this very basic frame from scrap wood.  

I cut the scrap wood backer to size and painted the frame, 3 backing strips and 3 clothespins with the Petticoat White Milk Paint.  I painted two strips and three clothespins with the Veranda Blue Milk Paint and left three of the backing strips unpainted. Once everything had dried I did a light sanding for a distressed look.

The Folk Art Milk Paint worked beautifully for this project.  It’s easy to work with, has great coverage (one coat this time) and dries very quickly.   I’m enjoying working with it.

photo-display-idea

After gluing the slats in place

rustic-beachy-photo-display-tutorial-by-cheltenham-road

It was time to attach the string.

I drilled holes through the frame at 4 inches from the top and bottom on both sidesphoto-frame-tutorial-drill

and ran the string through the holes.

To keep the string in place I wrapped the ends around screws and drilled them into the holes.diy-cottage-style-photo-display-frame-tutorial

And that’s it!simple-beachy-photo-display-holder-by-cheltenham-roadDone!  It took, at most, a couple of hours not counting paint/glue drying time.rustic-photo-display-tutorial-by-cheltenham-road

And not too different from the originalstore-bought-vs-diy-photo-display-tutorial

A beachy,  vintagy,  sorta spitefully motivated photo display!!!!

In Fairness: I do recognize that stores have lots of expenses, employees, overhead, insurance  and $50 isn’t that exorbitant.  I just….had a moment….

I also recognize that not everyone has easy access to the tools and supplies I had on hand to make this project.  But I do believe anyone could make something similar for very little money using a thrift store frame ($5-$10) and any leftover paint.  The backer strips aren’t structural and could be made out of anything – scrapbook paper, cardboard, matte board, heck, even fabric.  If you didn’t have access to a drill the string could be, as it is in the store-version, just tacked on the front of the frame.

**Disclaimer:  The good folks at Plaid provided me with the milk paint for this project as part of their Plaid Ambassador program.  I received no other compensation and all the opinions and experiences are my own.  Any links provided are simply for informational purposes – I receive no remuneration if you click on them.

Folk Art Painted Finishes and Mossy Skulls

Disclaimer: The products used in this post were provided to me free of charge by Plaid Enterprises.  I have not been compensated in any other way and all opinions are my own.

As I’ve whined about noted previously, the challenge for me of late is to find time to step away from being a little factory, to get to just play and make things that aren’t “potential products.”

One of the great things about being a Plaid Ambassador is that, when I find that time, I am surrounded by potential projects that they have generously provided.

They have given me a great selection of their Folk Art Painted Finishes line of paints including:   Barnwood (my previous project), concrete and….moss.folk-art-painted-finishes

Now, I must admit that when I opened the box  and saw “moss” my first thought was “and why would I want to do that?”  I have enough trouble with actual moss cropping up – fake moss seemed like an unnecessary addition.

But then Halloween season happened and I discovered that I was brimming with sort of odd, creepy Halloween ideas and that one of those ideas required fake moss!!! Huzzah!

So, you may recall my ugly, 1970s porch light had conked out recentlyporch-light

and rather than throw it away I thought I might be able to do something with it.  Blog-reader (and genuinely very cool lady) Denise came up with a fun suggestion that sparked an idea.  I didn’t use the broccoli but I did keep it green!

The Painted Finishes come in two colors:  Light Moss and Dark Moss and applying them is quick and very, very easy (I say this as a person who is deeply unskilled at faux painting techniques)folk-art-painted-finishes-technique-moss

After removing the glass and cleaning the porch light I went over it, as directed, with, well…. lets just call them splotches…..of the Dark Green Finish using the Painted Finishes Shortie Brushes.8b62e23f0ba81b7b9dfc8274c86f5e02

folk-art-painted-finishes-halloween-decoration-projectThen, while the paint was still wet I went back in with the light green color.folk-art-painted-finish-moss-halloween-decor-idea

The paint has some texture to it and when you combine them it really does have depth and realistic, mossy, look.

I did the same technique on the decorative crown and on a little round – I-don’t-know-what-it-is-nor-why-I-have-it decorative piece of metal that I wanted to use for the base and as a holder for a tealight.create-faux-moss-look-with-folk-art-painted-finishes

With the addition of a small, plastic skull from the .99 Store I had a suitably unnerving centerpiece/diorama

The moss technique looks good in broad daylight (I think I did a better job on the sides than I did on the crown thingy but i can always go back in and touch up)faux-moss-technique-with-folk-art-painted-finishes-tutorial

But when darkness comes and the candles get lit ……halloween-decoration-easy-skull-centerpiece

(although I may have freaked out my neighbors since I photographed this on the driveway and it looked  like I had invested in some random, disturbing shrine.)

I don’t think the plastic skull was actually made to be a illuminated  and doing so revealed a very odd/bad/splotchy paint job that really like!

halloween-skull-project-by-cheltenham-road

But, in conclusion, I have to say I’m a fan of the faux moss! halloween-decor-by-cheltenham-road It took, literally, 5 minutes to apply, dried quickly and looked great. It would be easy to apply to a terra cotta pot that you wanted to give a bit of age to.  Or maybe a faux brick wall.  I’m now kind of flooded with ideas for things that NEED to be mossy.

Happy Halloween Season everyone!

 

 

Snow Day! And DIY Candle Holders

It’s been a trifle, um warm here of late.  Like, 112.  Ugh.

My friend Mary referred to this as LA’s version of a “snow day.”

That made me feel better.  Who doesn’t love a snow day?!

When I was little my mom always managed to have some fun craft project for you to work on during  a snow day.  I’d do paint by numbers or she and I would experiment with Shrinky Dinks or some such thing.  I have some very fond memories of those times.

(Honesty Alert #1: I don’t want to get to fake sweet nostalga-ish  – She also made me clean my room and stuff so it wasn’t all joyful crafts and warm chocolate chip cookies)

So, in honor of my my mom and her creative use of down time I spent most of last week holed up in my house launching on bunch of different projects and, honestly, really enjoying myself

(Honesty alert #2: I also ate a lot of ice cream which greatly added to the “I’m having fun” feeling.  I highly recommend it)

I’d recently stumbled across this awesome post by Jen at House of Wood.

She’d taken a bunch of scrap plywood and turned them into super cool candle holders.

Jen totally inspired me and I was eager to try my own hand at it.

I gathered my scraps  cut them all to the same size and glued them together.Plywood Candle Holder by Cheltenham Road

(Honesty Alert #3: this part required me to go outside and work in the garage which was….not fun…..I ate more ice cream to compensate and was back on track.)

After letting them dry I sanded them smooth, drilled out the holes for the tealights with my drill press and stained the wood.

But being me I had to add text or graphics or something so I did a quick search on the Graphics Fairy site and turned up vintage bicycle ad.  bicycle advertisement

Seriously, pretty much anything you ever needed in life can be found at the Graphics Fairy.

I grabbed just the text on the bottom, reversed it, printed it and applied it to the plywood.DIY rustick wooden tea light holder by Cheltenham Road

I know you’re thinking.

“Oh great he’s about to get out that stupid Lenk thing that I don’t own and therefore can’t use”…. but I’m not!!!!

I found another way to do transfers!  It’s even easier AND it greatly reduces my chances of burning the house down (win/win!).

I’ll share the technique in an upcoming post after I’ve done some more experimenting but I’m really excited about it.

Anyway, I think the the candle holder came out looking pretty cool.Tea Light Holder by Cheltenham Road

And now my brain is spinning with other ideas and shapesRustic Industrial Wooden Tealight Holder by Cheltenham Road (although I’ll feel dumb if I actually have to go out and buy wood to make my scrapwood candle holders…..)

Here is the other side.  I was playing around with text size and placement…..
Industrial Wood Tea Light Holder by Cheltenham Road

Thanks  Jen!  Really you should check out her site.  Full of great ideas, tutorials and downloads.

Oh, and on a final note, I wanted to say thanks for the comments about my dad’s Father’s day presentUsing a vintage Mustang dashboard as a picutre frame for Fathers Day by Cheltenham Road

A couple of folks asked if he liked it.  My sister Paula was there at the unveiling and reported that he loved it.  And when I called later he seemed enthusiastic (he’s not really given to gushing outbursts of enthusiasm but, in his own way, he seemed pleased).

And although I really do believe him, the Eyore side of my personality can’t help imagining his thought process upon opening it going more like:

What the?…..

Well, that seals it.  It wasn’t a phase. That kid just  isn’t gonna get any less weird.gets beat up

At least the girls seem well adjusted……

I guess I just have to buy my own books and ties. 

Typical……

Have a good week everybody!

 

 

Continuing to Experiment and a Christmas Gift Update

Thanks so much for the feedback about the HOME sign keyholder . Truly appreciated!  I’ve “gone back to the drawing board” to incorporate some of your ideas and few of my own.  And I think it has real possibilities.

I’m continuing to experiment with new ideas while simultaneously attempting to use all those craft supplies that stack up due to the “Oh this has so many cool possibilities! I must purchase it!” thinking that plagues me.

Sometimes playing around leads to great things. Sometimes it leads nowhere.

Let’s start with nowhere first shall we?

One of my vows for this year is to actually USE the Silhouette machine I bought on impulse a loooooong time ago.

I had also bought (a while ago……OK, to save time you can just fill in the phrase “a while ago” every time I mention purchasing something in this post), bought several little glass milk bottles. I also wanted to try Armor Etch glass etching cream.

In addition I received some Mod Podge Tints that I wanted to experiment with.

Each on it’s own was fine. Together…..I kinda made a mess.

First up using the Etching Cream.

The Silhouette worked perfectly in creating the stencil.Milk Bottle Etch

The Etching Cream worked fine – not quite as dramatic a difference between the etched and non-etched glass.

So I thought why not use the tint! It will make the dark part darker and the clear part different.

Not so much.Cream Bottles Tinted

Not horrible (and it hadn’t completely dried yet) – all the products worked just as advertised – they just didn’t work together very well.

……..also…..blue milk bottles.  IT WAS A PHASE!  I WAS EXPERIMENTING!!!!!

Anyway.

Not really knowing when to let a mediocre idea go I thought I’d try again!

I grabbed a vase and, in a real stroke of creative genius etched the word “VASE” on it.Etched VaseNo more confusing glassware in my house, no sir!

Then I taped off the etched part and tinted the outside of the glass.Etched and Tinted Vase

Interesting.Tinted Etched VaseNot awful. Not great. Interesting.

So.  Things were learned, supplies explored, I didn’t injure myself so….good….I guess.

Up next, and with better results, I tried out a new way of using Mod Podge and paper napkins.

I sanded and stained some scrap wood and grabbed some cheap napkins from the dollar store.Mod Podge with Napkins(I may do a tutorial on this at some point if I decide I like it so forgive a few skipped steps here.)

Basically you pull the napkins apart, Mod Podge them into place and then use an orbital sander so distress them and bring out some texture.

I really like the resultsNapkins and Mod Podge

You can see how the sander lets the wood sorta show through the super thin napkin.  And the wrinkles that are inevitable when working with thin paper just become a part of the look.Distress Board with Napkins and Mod PodgeI really like it!

I’m not totally sure what I want to do with this new-found skill but I like it.

I mean, you could make trays I guess or coat racks but I’m trying to think of something new to do.

Thoughts?

And finally:

A CHRISTMAS GIFT UPDATE

I got together with some friends before going to a movie recently and the occasion allowed me to say what I’ve been longing to say since my father’s Christmas gift arrived:

RELEASE THE CRACKERRACK!!!

Happy to report that although I swapped in some non-compliant edibles the rack performed beautifully and was much admired.The Infamous CrackerRack by ES Cheaney

Also, my mother informed me that it was her idea that I would use the toast rack as a bill sorter. If she says that the proper use of a 300 year old piece of valuable, handmade, silver is to hold my Ikea bill who am I to argue?

DIY Yardstick Tray with Printables

Tutorial and Free PrintablesSometimes I’m clever.

Sometimes I’m cheap (OK, a lot of the time).

Sometimes those two qualities come together and such was the case with Use What You’ve Got Project #….? (I can’t remember where I am in this series).

So, like many of us, I have, for several years, been digging all the cool stuff people are making using old, vintage yardsticks.

Also, perhaps like many of us, I have been unpleasantly surprised by the current cost of vintage yardsticks.

I mean, I get it, market demand and such but, no, dear antique-mall shop owner, I do not want to pay $10 for a HOME Depot branded yardstick. Or any yardstick really.

So what is cheapo me supposed to do?

Well, I do have a couple of rulers, scrap-wood, a scanner, rudimentary Photoshop skills, Envirotex and a deep desire to (yard) stick it to the man!

Welcome to my faux yardstick tray tutorial!

I started out by scanning two yardsticks and  a ruler I have on hand.   I used Photoshop to change the colors, add and subtract text etc until I had a good number of  “vintage” yardsticks.

So, with print outs of my rulers, a thrift store tray, some scrap MDF and Mod Podge I was off and running.DIY Yardstick Tray Tutorial Cheltenham RoadOf course -because this is the ONLY way the universe works – my tray is 14 inches long and I can only print 13.5 pieces of paper. But I was not to be deterred!

I cut the MDF into 1.5″ wide by 14″ long strips and and sliced and diced the ruler prints so they covered the entire length of each strip.

I left tiny, little gaps between each ruler and darkened that gap with a black sharpie – so it would look like two rulers butted up against each other rather than just one continuous print out.make your own vintage yardsticksAfter they dried I trimmed away the excess and fit them into the tray. It was a pretty snug fit (I actually measured correctly the first time! This is a rare event, similar to seeing a unicorn or discovering that your appliance broke down while still under warranty so let’s take a moment to celebrate) and I just used a little glue on the bottom of the tray for security.  Also the Envirotex is very strong and will hold them in place as well.

Envirotex starts out as a liquid and like any liquid it will find any tiny crack to pour through.  So using a squeeze bottle I squoze (?) a good line of Mod Podge around the edges of the trayYardstick Tray Tutorial by Cheltenham Roadand then sealed the rest.

I did two sealing coats of Mod Podge – if you miss a spot the Envirotex will discolor the paper.Mod Podge Home Decor Ruler Tray Tutorial Cheltenharm RoadAfter giving the Mod Podge overnight to fully dry all that was needed was to pour the Envirotex and let it cure.DIY Yarstick Tray tutorial

I love Envirotex and find it easy  to work with – but you do have to follow their directions very closely.

And there you go.  A “vintage” yardstick tray that doesn’t break the bank.

If you’d like to use my yardsticks you can click on the links below to save 300 dpi versions for yourself.

Free Printables – Colorful Yardsticks by Cheltenham Road

Yardstick Graphic Print Sheet by Cheltenham Road

Enjoy

DIY Magnetic Memo Board and…….Halloween?

I, David,  the man who has recently managed to goof up what day he has a big craft show will now speak of organization techniques.

Stop laughing.

Seriously.  It’s one of my (many) summer goals:

  •   Get organized (or re-organized ’cause I was, at one point, pretty well organized)
  •   Get work-flow streamlined, and
  • FIND A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING (desk-piles will no longer be acceptable).

The first stop on that last item is a real-life Pinterest board.

Pinterest has been great but sometimes,  I need to pin actual, tangible, things and have them readily available.

Did you know you could do that?

Now, technically this could qualify as Use What You’ve Got Project 7 but it’s a double agent functioning as my latest Mod Podge Rocks project as well.DIY Magnetic Memo BoardYou can check out the pleasantly simple tutorial over at MPR.

I like the fact that this works magnetically but also serves as a place to jot down notes.Magentic Bulletin Board Tutorial by Cheltenham RoadIt was easy to put together and while I was “using what I had” the same thing could be created with any number of different pieces-parts that you might have around – picture frames, pallet wood scraps etc etc.

Speaking of being organized and getting things planned, did you know that Halloween is coming?

OK, well not super-soon but even before the actual day there is Scare LA!

I did Scare LA last year and really didn’t know what to expect and was completely blown away.  The crowd was large and enthusiastic but, even more importantly, it was a beautifully put together event.  There were speakers and panels, demonstrations and craft areas – truly something for everyone.  And the costumes!!!!  It was pretty awesome.

It’s coming around again this year (August 8th and 9th) to an even bigger venue in Pasadena and I am happy to be participating.

All that was the lead up to say that, if you are a Halloween connoisseur you might want to put it on your calendar (organized!) and, for a while you can get a discount on tickets using the code: SCARECHELT – just click on the pic below to be taken to their siteSCARE LAWhich reminds me, I need to get going….here in June….on Halloween projects!

I also need to clean up these piles on my desk…and make a couple more magnetic boards.  I’m thinking a small one could go right next to my monitor here (in place of the picture) Turn a closet into a desk areathat way I could jot down ideas and keep track of “to-do lists – quickly……because “stop losing your to-do list” should also  be on my To-Do list.

 

Craft Show Display Project

Craft Show Display Idea Cheltenham RoadAs I was getting ready for the Santa Ana Patchwork Show I went a bit into overdrive on my new passion – Patent Graphics.Vintage Patent Prints Cheltenham RoadI’d made large ones but I’d also made some smaller ones that I thought might be appealing.

I wanted some way to display the small ones without having to hang them up on a wall and while I was poking around Michaels I saw this, I don’t know what it is actually…..shelving unit?Michaels Hanging Shelf

It was too small for my needs but it did get my mind going.

So, as I was maniacally trying to finish up all the various coasters, trays, signs and projects for the show I decided that now, YES NOW! was an ideal time to launch into a new display project.

And so, a somewhat unofficial, Use What You’ve Got Project was born  because, you see, there is STILL leftover wood from the dresser.Trash To Treasure Dresser Project Cheltenham RoadThat thing is clearly magical and I’m growing concerned that it was actually a portal to Narnia or something and I’ve totally screwed up.

So I started out with this motley pile.  It’s a piece of the top, one of the supports that held the drawer up, a drawer front and a couple of drawer sides.

Scrap Wood for Craft Show Display Project Cheltenham RoadI used the larger pieces for the base and backer  and I used the rail for the front retaining piece (25″ long). I cut the other piece of wood down to make four dividers.Michaels Display Idea Knock off Cheltenham roadA quick assembly with glue and screws and it was looking OK.  Craft Show Display Project Cheltenham RoadI gave it a quick, light, once-over with some watered down white paint just to cover up the raw wood.  And, since I hate to miss an opportunity to use the Lenk tool these days I decided some text would make it look more official (and cooler).

I just typed out some text, reversed it and attached it to the front and Lenked away!Transfer Text to Wood with the Lenk tool  Cheltenham RoadAnd it worked!  Craft Show Display Idea Project Cheltenham Road It let people flip through their options quickly and because the wood was so old and dried out it is quite light considering its bulk.Image Transfer for Craft Show Display Cheltenham Road Project(Is putting patent images in a Patent Office box a bit too on-the-nose?  I can’t decide.)Craft Show Display Project Cheltenham RoadIt was up front in my booth and the signs got looked over and purchased quickly – mostly sold out by the end of the day.

And now my mind is spinning on a totally new look for my booth in the future.

However, that “future” is soon because up next is the other Patchwork show in Long Beach this coming Sunday!  Lots to do!

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