Anyone else instantly gravitate towards this tray? Did you get anything from the Liberty of London collection?
In case you're wondering, yes the dry erase marker comes off very easily from the plastic. I even left a test mark on it overnight to make sure that it would work as well as a dry erase board. If there's any haze or residue, Windex should pick it right up.
PS I'm linking this $2.50 Dollar Spot project up with Living With Lindsay's $5 Challenge.
If you've been reading along, you already know about my struggles with trying to refinish my Craigslist Pottery Barn table. I started off with a positive attitude and a bit of confidence. I had Google and Blog tutorials on my side; what could go wrong?! Everything went wrong. After not one, but TWO failed attempts at getting the beautiful, rich stain that I wanted, I finally came up with a solution to my problem:
*Take baby steps with the sandpaper. In my first two attempts, I jumped straight from 80 to 220 grit sandpaper mistakes #3 & 4. This resulted (both times) in swirly orbital sander marks all over the table's surface. To prevent this from happening, Mike suggests starting low and then making gradual steps that will slowly smooth out any visible marks. We used 80, 120, and 150 before finally using 220.
Note: Mike said that this was very important in my case because of the type of wood that I was working with (pine), but jumping grits might work if you're blessed with a harder wood.
*Sand within the circle. If you're using a orbital sander and gradually stepping up your grit, it doesn't matter if you sand with the grain. The important thing is to sand each square inch of your surface uniformly so that you avoid creating any dings or dips in the wood mistake #5. To do this, Mike sands in a circular fashion: he circles the outside of the surface twice and then "fills" in the center area. He said that it is common for people to under sand the outer edges
*Don't finish sanding until the piece is consistently smooth. To check if your surface is ready for the next step, shine a light across the horizontal plane and look for uneven portions mistake #6.
*Know your wood. In my case, I wanted to go super dark with a light pine table. It was no surprise to Mike that I ended up with a zebra stripe look when I first attempted to stain it mistake #7. As an expert, he knew that that type of wood sucks up stain color at an uneven rate and by lightening my stain choice and going with a good wood conditioner, I was able to come up with a better product. Here's a quick article that might help you work best with your wood.
*Invest in some lent-free rags (honestly, not a big expense). This is a mistake that I didn't actually make! When you're wiping down your table, you don't want to ruin the finish with little clumps of dust or debris.
*Condition it correctly. Using a good conditioner can work wonders for producing an evenly toned product (trust me!). The first time I attempted staining I didn't even use conditioner and the second time I went with one that was for water based stains mistakes #8 & 9.... both mistakes led to major spottage on my finish. Mike recommends following the directions on the can and then using a lent free rag to scrub off the remaining residue before staining. This isn't something you can usually do the day before staining (my product recommended to stain within two hours) so only condition the piece that you plan on staining mistake #10.
Third time IS the charm in my case. I'll reveal my final staining steps and the finished product soon!
Did you make any of the mistakes that I made? Have any other tips that I forgot to mention?
PS Here's how to finish up.
First, I'm lucky enough to be featured on Remodelaholic today! If you haven't been to that blog yet, make sure to check out this and this. Oh, and don't miss out on the Remodelaholics parties that Cassity hosts every Friday.
Next, I have to give a shout out to my new BFFs, Erin at Slipcover Your Life, (aka the first one who sided with me in the great fabric fight) and chacha (who even pointed me towards a couple thriftier sources). Nate said that we could go off and live in an 1980's beach house together. What do you think, maybe somewhere in Key West? I'm not sure how we can get back to the 80's... do you happen to have a hot tub time machine?
Finally, it looks like Nate's going to win this fabric fight. He vetoed Mrs. Chic's cute and affordable suggestion and came back with a few fabric selections that were "okay" by his terms:
First, I have to say that I did spend this weekend redoing the table and, in Nate's words, "it looks a hundred times better!" I'm not finished with it yet, but look out for a post outlining the many, many mistakes that I made when refinishing it and all of the tips I learned when I went over to my friend's professional wood shop on Saturday.
Now, on to the important stuff! I could use a little advice when it comes to recovering the seats of the dining chairs. When I first made the dining room plan, it looked a little like this:
After Nate finished puppy-proofing the garden by adding chicken wire, I knew I needed to grab him to do one more tiny project.
If you're anything like me, this little step could save you big time. A few years ago, I called my landlord to tell her that the dryer had stopped working. After shelling out a good bit of cash just for a repairman to tell her that the dryer was fine, we realized what the real issue was. Oops... the 'broken dryer' was actually a bird's nest lodged in the air vent. The warm air and secluded location made for a perfect nesting spot for an expectant bird mother. Guard your vents this weekend so that you don't need to worry about de-homing any bird families or calling out any expensive reinforcements!
Already bird-proofed? Why not tackle one or two other quick and thrifty projects this weekend:
*Replace those smoke alarm batteries... I'm sure you did that last weekend ;)
*Swap out your air filters. I'd rather not have the extra dust in my lungs or expensive air conditioner, thank you!
*Replace your old light switches. Can we say fire hazard?
*Keep Fido clean. I'm sure all of our pets are squeaky clean, but don't forget your pup's bowl, bed, collar, and toys! A healthy dog makes for a happy dog... and fewer vet visits!
*Organize your supplies. I know we all have a half page list of DIY projects to tackle this spring. Get organized now so that you don't end up buying those unnecessary paintbrushes, tape measurers, or screwdrivers.
What other quick and thrifty projects do you like to do this time of year?