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Oh The Horror! Halloween in August!

Framed Halloween 31 sign by Cheltenham Road Hi, I’m David.  You may remember me from such lies as:

I’ve totally got this under control!


I’m on top of things now and will blog regularly!

Well, two back-to-back, two-day Halloween shows pretty much put the kabosh on that sense of togetherness.

I went into crazy manufacturing overdrive to have enough stock on hand and I still ended up running out of a few things (good problems!)

These Halloween shows are always a lot of fun and the creativity displayed by both the vendors and the attendees is always amazing and pretty inspiring.

I opted for doing just table set ups this time around and though it got a bit crowded it seemed to work.Cheltenham Road Table Set up for Scare LA 2016

There was a mix  of my old standards like the Glowing Eye candle holders (you can see the tutorial for how to do them here)Glowing Eyes Candle Holders for Halloween by Cheltenham Road

along with a slightly revised subway sign design and potion signsHandmade Original Design Halloween Signs by Cheltenham Road

I came up with the idea for these new, slatted “31” slatted signs at the very last minute (cause that’s how my mind works).

I did three variations and they sold out pretty quickly (there’s a fourth version of the same idea you can see in the basket of the picture above with the Trick or Treat cat)

Framed Halloween 31 sign by Cheltenham Road

I did, however, mange for once to think far enough ahead and sized them to fit in a USPS box (my creativity is only limited by box size I’ve discovered since I keep making things that are too much of a hassle to ship) so they will soon be available on EtsyHalloween Collage Original Sign by Cheltenham Road

And, of course, I needed a few, themed wine charm sets  for all those Halloween party throwers.

I only had time to grab some quick pics before the first show but you’ll see the idea.

I designed some covers for classic, Gothic horror novels

Gothic Novel Wine Charm Set for Halloween by Cheltenham Road(with, of course one for the poor, sober Designated Driver).Classic Horror Novel Halloween Drink Tag set by Cheltenham Road on Etsy

People actually requested coaster version of these which I ended up making for the second of the two shows.

There was a set for the the Lucretia Borgia crowd featuring classic poison labelsChoose Your Poison Halloween Wine Charm Set by Cheltenham Road

And finally a set for all those folks who love the vintage Halloween graphics.Vintage Halloween Wine Charm Set by Cheltenham Road

I’d been toying with the idea of making T-shirts out of my funny, Gothic ad coaster designs but it just didn’t seem to be viable cost-wise.  So I had some tote bags made featuring three of the designs and they seemed to go over well Halloween Tote Bags by Cheltenham Road(although they might have gone over better if the second show hadn’t handed out free tote bags to EVERY.  SINGLE. ATTENDEE…..argh!)

All in all it was an exhausting but great couple of weeks.  And I’m very happy to, for the first time, have Halloween stuff designed and ready to go well in advance (I even have a few more ideas I want to try out).  Now if Starbucks would just get that Pumpkin Spice Latte going I’d be all set.







Sewing Cabinet Makeover with Milk Paint and Mod Podge Transfer

My name is David and I am your Plaid Craft Ambassador.

I promise to keep things civil, try to hear all sides of the argument and I hope we can come to some consensus on the issue to prevent an outright craft war.

OK, actually, I want to reiterate that Plaid provided me with craft supplies for this project but all the opinions and experiences are my own.  Other than receiving the craft materials I was not compensated for this project and any  links I provide are purely to be helpful – I don’t receive an affiliate kick-back or anything.

All the products I used are new(ish) and are now available in most craft stores or via the Plaid Enterprises site.

With that out of the way lets get on to the project.

Geralyn asked me if I could fix up this woebegone little sewing cabinet thingy. Sewing Cabinet Makeover Tutorial

I happily said yes, put it in the garage and then pretended not to see it for….. several years.

As you can see it was damaged on that front corner and I couldn’t figure out how to fix it.

So I kept hoping inspiration would strike (or that Geralyn would forget about it).

Happily it struck!  (and I don’t know if Geralyn forgot although if she didn’t she did display great patience)

But that repair is the subject of different post.

So, just bear with me as I fast-forward.  I fixed the problem and now it’s time to spruce the little guy up a bit.

I used the following productsSewing Box Makeover Tutorial by Cheltenham Road

  • Folk Art Milk Paint – Petticoat
  • Folk Art Milk Paint Bonding Primer and Sealer
  • Mod Podge Transfer Medium
  • Folk Art Milk Paint brushes
  • A reverse printed image from the Graphics Fairy
  • Glass cleaner
  • 120 grit sandpaper
  • damp towel (for the image transfer part)

After cleaning the whole piece with glass cleaner (new idea for me but recommended by the Folk Art directions and it worked quite nicely) I primed it with the Folk Art Bonding Primer and Sealer.

The Primer goes on with and looks slightly milky but dries clear.  Actually, it almost made me not want to paint the thing because it made the finish look much better….but where’s the fun in that?

Up next, my first experience with milk paint.

Like all of you I’d heard about it for a long time but hadn’t tried it.  Plaid has come up with a version that comes pre-mixed and ready to go.

I brushed on an initial coat using the designed for the purpose.

A minimum of two coats is required for this paint and, as you can see, the first coast went on a bit streaky.
1st coat

But, it’s ready for it’s re-coat in 30 minutes  and the second coat gave a beautiful finish.Folk Art Milk Paint Furniture Makeover by Cheltenham Road

Up next was the image transfer.

As you know I’ve experimented with a lot of different image transfer techniques.  What I’m discovering is that each one has it’s advantages and disadvantages and I like having kind of an arsenal of options at my disposal.  I’ve had very satisfactory results with Mod Podge Image Transfer in the past – it’s easy to work with and produces the perfect, slightly distressed, vintage look I wanted.

I printed my image in reverse on my laser printer.

To do the transfer I lay a good thick coat of the transfer medium over the printed side of the paper*sewing case makeover with Mod Podge Transfer by Cheltenham Roadand then place it, Mod Podge Side, down on the surface of the furniture and smooth out any wrinkles or air bubbles.

You also want to have a damp towel on hand to clean up any excess MP Transfer that squeezes out because it’s much harder to clean it up when it dries.

I applied it to the cabinet and let it dry overnight (the long drying time is the only disadvantage of this technique – I’m just seldom that patient).

(*spreading the transfer goo on the paper can be a bit messy.  Mod Podge makes a really great silicone mat that you can buy – you can kinda see it in my picture- that works great and is easy to clean up.  If you don’t have that (I bought mine a few years ago) though, lay down a piece of plastic wrap or something to protect whatever surface you’re working on)

The next day I dampened the image with a cloth and then, using the same damp cloth gently rubbed away the paper to reveal the image underneath.Image Transfer with Mod Podge Transfer Medium by Cheltenham Road

With all of these transfer techniques keep in mind that you’re not transferring just the image but also a super thin, pretty-much transparent layer of the paper that the image is attached too as well.  If you rub too hard you’ll just rub off that thin layer of paper along with your image (I did that in one spot you’ll see in a sec) so “gently” is the key word here.

Once I was satisfied with the look of the transfer I sanded the edges of the whole piece using 120 grit sandpaper and then gave the whole thing a protective sealing coat of the Folk Art Bonding Primer and Sealer.

Image transfer for vintage sewing cabinet by cheltenham road

You can see, in this pic, where I got a bit to agressive with the rubbing right there in that black circle at the end of the word “Barbour.”  I think it just adds to the distressed, vintagy look but it is a goof.
vintage sewing case makeover by cheltenham road

I think Geralyn will be pleased with the look.

So, I’m happy to report that my first experience with Milk Paint was pretty great.  It went on smoothly, clean up was easy and I really like the look.  This is particularly good because, as you know, I have A LOT of it!Folk Art Milk PaintSo I’m looking forward to more projects (and to mixing my own colors which is, apparently, an option).

I will share a post about how I fixed that banged up corner soon.




A Sudden Vacation

As my Instagram followers know I actually left the house recently!

Friends somewhat randomly scored a suite in Las Vegas and it was an invitation I couldn’t refuse.

I did almost refuse it though because, well, here’s the deal.

I don’t like Vegas.

I’ve been there three times and pretty much hated it each time.

It’s not really a mystery why Vegas and I don’t get along.  I’m insanely cheap pretty frugal.

When a friend asked me if I planned to gamble I had to be honest and say:

“I don’t even like to spend money when I’m guaranteed to receive an actual product at the end of the transaction. “

So it’s not really Vegas’ fault.

But this time I did Vegas on my terms!  And I had a blast.

What are my terms you may ask?

Let’s just say my favorite part was the Neon Museum.

They’ve gathered all the old, discarded neon signs from all the casino’s and resorts. Las Vegas Neon Museum They’ve restored some and plan to restore moreNeon Museum Boneyard Las VegasYou can take a tour of the “Bone Yard” which, as you can see, is a giant, vintagey, chippy paint, letter lovers PARADISE!!!The Neon Museum Las Vegas Nevada

(I highly recommend the tour  – just don’t do it in the summer.  It was 114 degrees that day…..)

Also, in a town full of fake (fake New York, fake Paris, fake Rome, fake Egypt) I found an authentic, from the 50s, greasy spoon diner with a terrific staff and great(ish) – it IS a greasy spoon after all -food.  Vicki’s Diner is a hot pink, retro throwback.Vickis Diner Las Vegas

And I discovered an unexpectedly huge antique mall that was full to overflowing with cool stuff.  (I didn’t really peg flashy Vegas as a resource for vintage but I was wrong).charleston-antique-mall

And I couldn’t pass up the Mob Museum!Mob Museum Las Vegas

Housed in the old Post Office it also offered huge banks of these awesome old PO boxes.Las Vegas Mob Museum  I want a wall of these in my house.  You know, for storage….

So, I managed to go to Vegas and neither gamble nor drink.

Because that’s the kind of crazy hedonist I am!

But now I’m back home and working on Halloween!Vintage Halloween Decor by Cheltenham Road

Getting ready for the first of two big shows.

Up first Midsummer Scream in Long Beach!  It’s a huge show and the Long Beach Convention Center on Saturday and Sunday July 30 and 31st.MidsummerScream Long Beach

And up next?  My first Craft Ambassador project.

Yardstick Tray and an Easy Image Transfer Tutorial

Easy Image Transfer on WoodOK, I realize, this project sorta falls under the  “yes you CAN do that but..why?” category.

And I wouldn’t argue too much with that.


I have my reasons.

OK, to start at the beginning.

My sister who was either trying to inspire me or make me insane pinned  this terrific project from Betsy at My Salvaged Treasures  to our shared Pinterest board.tray tutorial from My Salvaged TrasuresLike all of her stuff it’s super cool and very creative.  And, of course, I immediately HAD to make one.

Stumbling block?  Not enough yardsticks.

And unfortunately, I live in an area where anything remotely inexpensive, cool and popular instantly goes from affordable to crazy.  So old, beat up yardsticks in LA cost $12 each which sorta takes the fun out of it.


I had just learned a new image transfer technique via The Oracle at Delphi The Graphics Fairy.  It’s quick, easy, pretty affordable and GREATLY lessens the chance of me burning down my house!

I’d tried it on my new, stained, candle holders and it worked greatTea Light Holder by Cheltenham Roadand I wanted to try it out on a painted surface so why not make my own yardsticks?

Here is what I used

  • 5″ Poplar craft wood from Lowes 2 pieces 16″ long and two pices 11.5″ long
  • 1/4″ MDF for the base A piece of 1/4″ MDF cut to 16×11
  • a section of metal roof flashing (also from Lowes)
  • E6000 Glue
  • Red craft paint
  • Wood stain
  • A scan of a yardstick
  • Polycrylic
  • Wood glue
  • Metal shears
  • Pin Nailer (not absolutely necessary)

I painted the craft wood with some slightly watered down red craft paint and then, when it dried, I went over it lightly with a bit of wood stain just to give it an aged look.  Here is the before and after.Painted Slats for DIY Ruler Tray

A light sanding blended the two even better.

I then cut my roof flashing to size and, using the E6000 glued it to my MDF base.Image Transfer and a Rustic Ruler Tray by Cheltenham Road

I scanned the yardstick that I had and, using Photoshop removed everything but the numbers.  Then, for fun, I added my own text.  RULER NO BACKGROUND 4TH STREET MASTER

Here is the blank version if you’re keen on doing something similar.  Just right-click to download the high res version

ruler no background appliances

I reversed it and printed it out on legal sized paper using my laser printer

Now the new transfer technique.

It’s the same as all the other ones except you use PolycrylicPolycrylic

You simply brush on the PolycrylicImage Transfer Technique Using Polycrylic by Cheltenham Road

Lay your image downEasy image transfer to wood technique by Cheltenham Road

Use a roller or an old credit card or whatever to smooth out and get a good seal between the paper and the wood, and set it aside to dry.

It’s sunny and hot here so I just left it outside for 3 hours.

Then you just use a damp towel and rub away the paper to reveal the image (I forgot to take a picture of that part.  Trust me.  It’s just like all the other wet paper rubbing I’ve done.  Like this)Image Transfer using Wall Lenk Tool

After that  I just glued and pin-nailed my sides into place around the base and gave the “yardstick” a sealing coat of Polycrylic and I was done.DIY Yardstick Tray by Cheltenham Road

So, I know what you’re thinking.

“You just went through all that to make….a yarrstick?  I mean, it looks exactly like a yardstick.  You just made something you can buy.  Your sister has succeeded.  You’re insane”Image Transfer Yardstick Tutorial by Cheltenham Road

And you are correct.


This told me that the transfer technique works great on painted surfaces.

AND I am no longer subject to the tyranny of the Yardstick Pickers of Los Angeles.  HA!!! I can make my own yardsticks and I can make them say whatever I want them to say and I  can make them whatever color suits me!Image Transfer Technique Tutorial by Cheltenham Road

See?  Victory!

Actually, I just like that I have another easy  technique in my arsenal for image transfer.   Polycrylic is readily available and pretty affordable (you don’t use much) and it really allows the wood to show through.  This could be used for any kind of graphic transfer and, trust me, I have a lot more ideas coming down the line with this technique.


Vintage Sign Coat Rack Version 2.0

DIY Vintage Sign by Cheltenham RoadI hope everyone had a fun, safe 4th of July.

The ball is rolling on Plaid Ambassador projects but in the meantime a few other ideas are coming down the pike.

However, I do apologize.

You may experience a bit of deja vu as we go along.  For instance this is yet another:

  1. vintagy sign
  2.  coat hanger
  3.  project involving slats
  4. project involving diy knobs
  5. Lenk tool graphic transfer

OK, here’s the deal.

I need some new products -both for my own sanity (possibly too late) and to keep the shops that sell my wares interested.

New products are kinda tricky to develop because whatever they are they need to be: unique,  easy to replicate, in keeping with what I already make, affordable (both for me, the shops and the final customer) and….not a nightmare to put together.

Oh, and people have to love it.


So, over the next few weeks I want to zero in on some options, refine the ideas and figure out better techniques.

Won’t you join me?!


Up first is Coat Rack 2.0.

Folks responded well to that Santa Monica sign I madeDIY Vintage Sign by Cheltenham Road but I need a version that is a bit more affordable.

So I’ve played around with this smaller version to see what I could do.

The actual sign-making process was the same as the Santa Monica sign (click HERE for the full tutorial and image transfer instructions).

The size is a bit smaller (14×12)

The new(ish) thing here are the knobs so I thought I’d share how I did them this time around.

I found these little spools at Michaels and thought they had possibilities.DIY Wood Hangers

I added a piece of of 1/4 dowel in the bottom of each one.DIY Knobs by Cheltenham Road

I then glued a wood disc to the front (I made the disc by using my chop saw to cut slices off a dowel I had but they also sell just plain wood discs)Inexpensive DIY Knobs by Cheltenham RoadI pained them out with white craft paint and sanded/distressed the edges.

I used the  Lenk tool to transfer the graphics (I was going for the signs on a pool that tell you depth of the water).

And they are sealed with polycrylic for durability.Handmade Knobs by Cheltenham Road

To assemble it I pre-drilled holes for both the shelf and the knobsVintage Sign Coat Rack Cheltenham Road Tutorial

And then simply drilled the shelf into place from the back

And glued the knobs in place.Image Transfer Vintage Sign

I’m happy with the design and ease of assembly.  The knobs are easy to make and looking pretty good.Handmade Knobs by Cheltenham RoadThere are some minor tweeks to make (the knobs need to be a bit lower, I need to stain the MDF slats before I paint them.Coat Rack by Cheltenham Road

My brain is already whirring on different design ideas.

Maybe a typewriter graphic with typewriter key knobs?

Or a dairy (sorry) graphic with milk label (sorry) knobs?

Baseball with baseball knobs?

Soda with soda pop knobs

etc etc.

More to come.  And thanks for bearing with me during this.  I assure you I will  mix in new stuff with the reruns!


Craft Ambassador

I got an interesting email and a fun opportunity the other day.

Plaid Enterprises – the makers of Mod Podge and a billion other products –  asked me if I would like to participate in their “Brand Ambassadors” program which allows bloggers like me to try out new Plaid products and, of course, blog about them.

I said yes immediately because I like the idea of  being an Ambassador.

I’m assuming the job comes with a little flag for my car, special license plates and, of course, diplomatic immunity.

I look forward to my next run in with the police:

“Officer I cannot be bothered with your silly, local traffic laws. I am a CRAFT AMBASSADOR!!!!! and I’m on my way to negotiate a truce at a scrapbook party that’s devolved into chaos!”

Anyway, the folks at Plaid said “great,” assured me that my flags were on the way and promised to send me some product samples to get the ball rolling.

A few days later there was a very loud thud on my porch accompanied by a visibly exhausted UPS employee and two enormous boxes.

It was Plaid.  They sent me….


I’m not kidding.New Products from Plaid Enterprises

This isn’t even all of it.  This is just what fit on the table.

I have hundreds of stencils (there are 30-50 in each pack)Stencil Sets by Plaid Enterprises

I have  something like 25 different colors of milk paintFolk Art Milk Paint

I have a rainbow of craft paintFolk Art Paints by PlaidI don’t even know what Ultra Dye is for yet.  But I have a lot of it so I’d better figure it out.Ultra Dye by PlaidI’m very VERY curious about “painted barnwood effect.”  And apparently I can do it in 12 colors.Folk Art Painted Finishes by Plaid

I’m excited to try everything!

(I’m a bit less excited about  figuring  out where I’m going to put all of it)

So, since I’ve been using Plaid products right along and have faith in the company this seemed like a good fit but I realize this borders on a kind of “salesy” thing which I’m not totally comfortable with.

But here is the deal I’ll make with you.

It’s not a Body Snatchers situation – I haven’t been taken over by Plaid to do their bidding.  I’m free to use products by other companies and I will.  They only ask that I not mix non-Plaid and Plaid products in a single post or project.  Seems straightforward.

I don’t get kickbacks or anything if you purchase an item so there is no tangible financial incentive.

I’m also not under any obligation to LOVE everything they send me.  (Or to use it all I assume.  I mean, I’m eager to try new things but I can’t imagine a scenario that has me stenciling strawberries onto something.)

So I’ll be honest.

If I try it out and it works great I’ll let you know.

On the other hand, if it goes south, I’ll let you know my experience in that way too.

I’m hoping that this will be an opportunity for me to keep trying new things and stay creative (it’s easy to get very caught up in Factory-mode for me) and I hope it will be of help to you as well.

And if it doesn’t work out at least I now have enough product to open my own craft store!Davids Arts and Craft Store

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. 


Have a good week everybody!



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