Tag Archives: budget decor

How to Spray Paint a Thrifted Owl Figurine

So I met this little guy in a Goodwill in East Tennessee over Christmas. (You may remember him from my Instagram picture “Mr. Hoo” post a few days ago.) Not only had he been cast off once–but twice. He was sitting behind the check-out counter, where somebody had rejected him yet again.

Poor little sad owl.

I had been getting something else at the checkout counter, but I asked the sales lady about him and if he was for sale or was being processed and she told me somebody had decided against buying him, so yes, he was still for sale. I scooped him up for A DOLLAH.

He came home with me, and this weekend I gave him a little owly makeover and thought I’d show you how to do the same thing to a thrift store owl. Funny how things that were all the rage in the 1970s can come back reincarnated as hip 2012 tchotchkes!

Here’s what you need:

Here’s what you do:

  1. Make sure your temperature is acceptable for spraying. I think I just barely cheated on this one. The bottle said to use at 65 degrees Fahrenheit or above. I’m pretty sure by the time I got to spraying him over the weekend that the temperature was barely that. Our mild Tennessee weather has been weird lately, and it felt more like spring, so I thought I’d risk it.
  2. Take the owl figurine, cardboard, and spray paint outside. Safety first! You don’t want to be breathing those paint fumes.
  3. Place your owl on the cardboard box (or newspaper) to protect your grass or other ground surface.
  4. Shake the spray can thoroughly. My can recommended 2 minutes.
  5. Spray 8-10 inches away from your owl, in even strokes. Don’t worry if it isn’t 100% covered on the first go-round. It took me two heavy coats.
  6. Let your owl dry between coats. My can said I could recoat after just a few minutes and he’d be touch-dry in 40, so I gave him 45 minutes after each coat before handling it again, just to be safe. I used my microwave timer to let me know when to go outside and spray again.
  7. After two even coats, your owl should be ready to go!
  8. Let him dry for 45-60 minutes before handling. I made the mistake of getting a smudge on his belly. I rubbed it down with some water on my finger and it seemed to go mostly away. It was like I had just gotten a manicure and then smudged a finger on the way out the door. So close, and so frustrating!
  9. Ta-da! You have a rejuvenated owl figurine to display.

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I love my little guy. He’s so darn cute. I used glossy white Valspar spray paint on him and I’m pleased with the result.

Side note: the entire time I was working on this project, Daniel and I kept making “rotate your owl” references. I couldn’t help it. So, hey, I hope this little how-to post helps you spraaaaay-paint / spray-paint your owl /spray-paint your owl for sciiiiennnce!

But back to the “how-to” part … I learned a few things during this his transformation.

First, take the wind into account when you decide where to paint. I had to hold down the box with a heavy object while he dried, so the cardboard wouldn’t be lifted up by the wind and topple him over. I also had to pick out a couple of dry pine needles the wind had blown on him while he dried. Second, after he was done, I read that I probably should have coated him with a primer spray first. Oops! We’ll see how his paint holds up on his ceramic base. I suspect he was one of those homemade ceramic pieces that were so popular years ago. Or he could be younger than 30-something. Who knows. All I know is he’s a handsome little devil now.

Happy Monday!

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Linked up at:  I Heart Naptime | I Heart Organizing | House of Hepworths | Bowl Full of Lemons
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The Cheater’s Guide to Hanging a Type Drawer as Decor

During my mad weekend makeover of our dining room, I kept telling Daniel that I needed something with some oomph to put on the wall. Something that would tone down the girly-ness and not cost too much.

I searched high and low in our house, only to discover that 90% of my vintage “stuff” that I like to swap out from room to room was too small, or just plain impossible to hang on a wall.

That’s when I re-discovered my type drawer. It was a gift from my mother and father back several years ago and I was so excited to get that gift, but I never did anything with it! Finally, it went to use, but first it needed a little TLC of the MacGyver variety.

Here’s how it looked before I got to work:

I took a good look at it and realized 1) there was a LOT of grime on those sections of the drawer, and 2) there wasn’t a way to hang it up on the wall.

I grabbed a couple of old rags, wire cutters, a hammer, a can of Kleen Guard spray, and an old frame I had picked up at a Goodwill store a few years back.

First, I stole the hanging wire from the back of the old frame, cutting it on each side as close to the nails as possible.

I took my cue from the old frame and grabbed a couple of nails from our stash. I figured if they could jerry-rig it that way, I could, too.

I set the wire and nails aside for a few minutes and took up the rags and Kleen Guard spray. I had no idea what I had just signed up to do …

I sprayed all over the tray drawer several times and rubbed hard with the rags for each application. If I was being a little more obsessive compulsive about the process, I probably would have grabbed an old toothbrush or cotton swabs or something to get in the crevices. There were A LOT of partitions to clean.

After about a thirty minutes to an hour of elbow grease later, this is what I had to show for it:

Ewwww. GROSS.

Still, I had to wonder if some of that grime was actually from the time when the drawer had been used. While part of me felt a bit alarmed at the idea of lead touching some of the areas (the graphic design layout term “leading” actually comes from actual use of lead to separate lines of text), the other part felt an odd sort of excitement that I was coming in contact with history. I daydreamed a bit about what kinds of printed matter the type was used to create, and where the drawer could have been from. This is why I love vintage things. You touch the stories behind those things.

My drawer “cleaned up good”, as they say. See?

After cleaning, though, I took up my hammer and nails and tried to figure where was the best point on the back of the drawer to hammer the nails into for support.

I tested the length of the wire to make sure at its fully-extended length when hung on the wall would not extend above the top of the drawer. Then I realized I didn’t have quite enough wire to stretch from the sides to that point. I decided to improvise and found two partition pieces wide enough to support the nails and drove them in there. I then hammered the nails down so that they bent sideways and trapped the wire.

And that’s it!

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How to Spray Paint Branches

Every room should have a statement piece–something that acts as a focal point and adds a finishing touch. Unfortunately, statement pieces often cost too much to invest in on a tight decorating budget. I was determined to make something work, so I went for impact over dollar signs and walked out to go pick up something for our home. Literally. I put on my trusty flip-flops, grabbed the dog leash, and walked out the door with my mutt, taking her for an impromptu jaunt around the parking lot, through the landscaping, and under the biggest trees.

About ten minutes (and one very confused dog) later, I came back inside carrying an armful of fallen branches, which I deposited in our dining room for safekeeping from potential rain. When Daniel came downstairs later on I heard a “what is THAT” from the general vicinity of my secret stash, so I sweetly explained to my dear hubby that THAT was our new artwork. He looked skeptical.

No really. It’s our new artwork. Ever since I minored in art in college, I’ve been a fan of designs that utilize white space to make interesting angles and dramatic “movement.” So I drew from nature’s designs and added a bit of Krylon spray paint to add height to my living room fireplace mantle. For only $6-10 and 45 minutes or so, you can, too.

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Supplies Needed:

  • Small branches
  • Krylon Matte Spray Paint (I used white)
  • Large plastic sheet or tarp
  • Sandpaper (I used whatever I had on hand already)
  • Some kind of hedge clippers or a similar tool

Directions:

1.  Find some loose fallen branches with interesting angles and nubby bits where twigs are or have been. Make sure they aren’t wet. If they’re damp … let them dry before continuing.

2. Trim the branches to the size needed, clipping twigs to streamline the branch into something that could easily be placed in a vase or other container. Leave enough of the branch bare of twigs so that it can be added to the bouquet of branches and not get too thick and scraggly around the bottom. The final effect should be like a flower stem.

3. Sand off the rough spots where you’ve clipped, where twigs have fallen off on their own, and any nubby patches. Gently blow or wipe off the dust from sanding.

4. Lay out your protective plastic sheet. Place the trimmed branches on the sheet, leaving enough room between each so that the spray paint can cover the entire exposed side. (Note: mine never liked to stay flat, so just be aware of this and make sure to maneuver through all the angles!)

5. Shake your spray paint can to prep the contents. I purchased the more expensive Krylon matte white paint for around $4 at Wal-Mart. You may choose something cheaper or a different color or finish, depending on your preference. However, from other spray-painting tutorials I’ve read, they said to use Krylon for its directional flow sprayer, and I can tell you they ain’t lyin’. That sucker is the BEST. I switched mine to a horizontal spray for this project so I could go back and forth over the branches. Worked like a charm.

6. Let this layer dry for about ten minutes, turn over the branches, and repeat. Continue turning and spraying until you have achieved the coat coverage you desire on all angles of the branches.

7. Let dry for one hour.

And that’s it! Seven simple steps. Now you just have to find the perfect vase to put them in, and set out the whole piece in a spot that could use a little dramatic impact. I used one we had received as a wedding present:

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Filed under Art, Budget Decor, DIY, Living Room