Time to be Crafty

One of the things I was looking forward to when we moved here, was the space.  Not just the fells being on our doorstep, but the actual outside space we would have – we moved from a 2 bed terrace with a small front and backyard, into a house with 5 barns / outhouses.  One is J’s ‘shed barn’, one is the kids’ crafty cow barn, one is the chicken coop, one is currently without occupation, and one is my workshop.

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My intention was always to start doing more craft / upcycling projects, and one I have been meaning to do for a few years, is brighten up our dining chairs.  They’ve always annoyed me, as they’re so dark and just seem to drain light from the room.  Don’t get me wrong, I love dark wood furniture and we have it aplenty, but the chairs were grubby with years of use and toddlers finger prints, and just needed some livening up.

As we still need something to sit on to eat meals, I took two into the workshop for starters and used a couple of chairs I decoupaged a couple of years ago as stand ins.

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Sweet and savoury

I gave them a good wash down in sugar soap, and then set about priming them using Johnstones Multi Surface Primer – I chose to use this on a recommendation of a friend from where I used to work, as it means you don’t need to sand off the old varnish before painting over it.  This was something I really couldn’t see myself doing with the limited time I knew I’d get to work on them before child / cat / chicken came to ruin my peace and solitude.  I also used a gloss roller, again on my friend’s recommendation and must say I was pretty pleased with the result, much quicker and no bristle marks were left, but it was a bit fiddly getting into the corners and so for that I purloined a little paint brush from the kids’ craft box, which did the job nicely.

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Primed and ready to go

Once they were primed, I think I probably should have given them a bit of a sand over to get rid of any lumps and bumps / run marks, but I didn’t.

Next came the colour, again I’d been told that Johnstone’s will colour match all Farrow & Ball, Little Greene and Laura Ashley colours, but the paints are cheaper, and so we finally settled on Little Greenes Hicks Blue in eggshell.  We chose this, not just because it’s one of my favourite Aliens characters (now, if there’d been a Ripley Green…  On a total side note F&B do have some amazing paint names, to name but a few; Dead Salmon, Mouse’s Back, Churlish Green – get a chart just for the comedy factor), but I thought it was bright enough to not to be meh, go with the pinky carpet we have in the dining room, and not so bright that the chairs would look like they were out of a children’s playroom.

First coat applied, the colour looks good; it’s a bit darker than I’d hoped but hey ho.  Instead of the child’s paint brush, this time I used a sponge paint brush thing to apply the fiddly bits, and found that it gave a much smoother finish, so I rollered and then went over with the sponge to try and get a flat finish.  After the first coat I decided I really did need to sand it back a bit as there were some run marks and just a few bobbly bits – I might not have had to do this if I’d sanded after priming but we live and learn (hopefully).

Anyway, I gave them both a really rough sand and then applied the final coat.  They’re not perfect, but I think they look pretty good now they’re done.  I’m just hoping they can withstand the toddler treatment, and to give them a chance I’m going to let them completely dry out for a few days in the workshop.  I’m going to be working on the next two over the next couple of weeks, and hopefully get a better finish, now I know the things I did wrong with these two.  Whether it turns out like that or not is another matter.

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Ta da!
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