Posts Tagged ‘diy’

DIY: Revamp for 2015 by Painting Old Furniture like New

Photo courtesy of Leslie Howard

Photo courtesy of Leslie Howard

By Bailey Lucero-Carter

With 2015 just around the corner, you may be thinking about replacing that old dresser or closet with something modern and new. But before you break bank on a new piece of furniture, consider revamping your old classic with a modern twist.

Blogger, artist and refurbisher extraordinaire Leslie Howard gives advice on painting an old piece and adding modern touches for the new year. Raised in Falls Church, Howard is known for her blog City Girl Arts, where she showcases her makeovers of vintage—often used— furniture pieces. She shares her process on redesigning a Vintage Henredon Spanish Dresser in Eggplant, which is available for sale, along with other items, on her Etsy.

Photo courtesy of Leslie Howard.

Before the repaint. Photo courtesy of Leslie Howard.

“Painting your furniture for the new year is obviously a great way to get a new look for very little money,” says Howard in an email. “With this project, I changed not only the color of the dresser, but the hardware as well, which modernizes the piece while keeping the global feel.”

For paint, Howard recommends a good quality latex paint with a low sheen. She strays away from chalk paints, saying, “I don’t feel they have the durability and low maintenance that most people expect.” Howard chooses an eggplant color for its modern and dramatic appeal.

Before painting, prep your furniture by sanding, cleaning and priming the surface. And after the paint job, Howard always seals with a clear top coat, either flat, satin or gloss.

Photo courtesy of Leslie Howard.

Photo courtesy of Leslie Howard.

This vintage dresser was also made modern with personally customized hardware. These quatrefoil backplates were designed by Howard and then custom cut using an online laser cutting service, like Pololu. After attaching the backplates, Howard painted them in metallic pewter to match the new rings for an elegant and vibrant finishing touch.

“If you compare the before and after, you can see how much more sophisticated and modern the pieces feel, while retaining their [M]editerranean attitude,” Howard writes. “What a great way to update a room for the new year!”

Magical Makeup Ideas for Halloween

Posted by Editorial / Thursday, October 16th, 2014

By Cate Jensen

With Halloween just a few short weeks away, time is running out for those still on the fence on what to dress as this year. If you have yet to decided on the perfect spooky getup, check out these makeup tutorials for some ghoulish or glamorous ideas.


The Lana Del Rey

Read the rest of this entry »

DIY: Repurposing an Old Shutter

DIY Repurposing an Old Shutter

Photo by Mike Ramm.


Shutters are no longer one-dimensional items used solely for shading a window. Turn an old wooden or vinyl shutter into a kitchen display for recipe cards, aprons and pieces of art. –Cassandra Sturos


Materials needed:
Δ Window shutter  
Δ Wooden clothes pins
(available at Michaels or other craft stores)
Δ Recipe cards


  • Locating a shutter is as simple as foraging your local thrift and antique shops (or barn sales). Photo by Mike Ramm.

  • Simply prop on a kitchen shelf or hang from a wall and begin pinning up your memorabilia. Photo courtesy of Anna Oleksenko/ (wall).

  • I chose recipe cards for easy viewing when cooking. These are also easily interchangeable every time you cook something new. Photo by Mike Ramm.

  • Hang one or two aprons from either side for quick access when cooking. Photo by Mike Ramm.

  • Display your children’s drawings or pictures with clothes pins. Photo by Mike Ramm.

  • Clip magazine articles or cards from family and friends. Photo by Mike Ramm.

  • Voila! Photo by Mike Ramm.



(September 2014)

DIY: A Lesson in Decoupage

Decoupage is an easy way to liven up furniture pieces or to create new pieces from scratch with art or magazine clippings.

Thinking of the hub of the home, the kitchen, we decided on a cutting board covered in food ads from vintage magazines, and a classic-looking  dining chair in a bright color. –Cassandra Sturos


DIY: A Lesson in Decoupage.

Photo by Mike Ramm.



How to decoupage a cutting board

DIY: A Lesson in Decoupage

Photo by Mike Ramm.



  • 1. Find images or clippings to use and cut them to desired shape and size. Photo by Mike Ramm.

  • 2. Before gluing, align photos on the board, playing with the design until you find the placement you want. Photo by Mike Ramm.

  • 3. Piece by piece, glue the pictures down with wood glue. Spread evenly with your finger or a foam brush. Photo by Mike Ramm.

  • 4. Paint over everything gently with a foam brush and decoupage glue. Do a couple even coats. The pictures may bubble a little. Don’t press too hard to spread out the bubbles or the pictures may rip. Let it dry and determine whether another coat is needed. Photo by Mike Ramm.

  • 5. Once dry, lightly brushed white paint over the top to make the surface of the cutting board looks as if it were floured. Photo by Mike Ramm.

  • 6. Once the paint is applied to the board, dab at it with a lightly dampened towel to prevent the white paint from covering the decoupaged pictures completely. Photo by Mike Ramm.


How to decoupage a chair

DIY: A Lesson in Decoupage.

Photo by Mike Ramm.


  • 1. For the chair, we also used vintage pictures from old periodicals to continue the theme. Photo by Mike Ramm.

  • 2. Use wood glue to adhere pictures, then cover with descoupage glue. Use different pictures for every chair around a kitchen table to create a unique mismatched set. Photo by Mike Ramm.

  • 3. Repeat this process on almost any wood surface with pictures or cut-outs of your choosing. Photo by Mike Ramm.



(August 2014)

Forget the crowds and bad seats, bring the theater to you

What You Need to set up Backyard Theatre

Photos courtesy of Nejron Photo/ and

By Jessica Godart

Summertime is the best time to relax outside and enjoy the beautiful weather with friends and family; so why not spend an evening watching your favorite movies in the comfort of your own backyard? These tips and products can help you create a cinema just outside your door.

Blu-Ray Player:
Of course you’ll want the best quality to put up on your own big screen and with the Samsung Blu-Ray Player you can hook it up to your projector and pop in your favorite movies to enjoy on the lawn.

Photo courtesy of

Samsung BD-F5700 2 Channel Blu-Ray Player; $94.69 


Projector Screen:
You’ll probably want something big enough to get the best quality out of your movie, but small enough to fit in your backyard. This 100-inch screen fits that perfectly and gives you the option to move it wherever you would like with it’s foldable stand.

Photo courtesy

100-inch D Tripod Portable Projector Projection 16:9 Screen 87×49 Foldable Stand 1.3; $79.95 


It’s a good idea to make sure your projector delivers the right resolution for the size of screen you plan on using. Research your sizes before purchasing.

Photo courtesy of

Epson V-S230 SVGA 3LCD Projector; $339.99 


Sound System:
Yes, the projector offers speakers but just in case they aren’t loud enough, be sure to have a back up sound system.

Photo courtesy of

Panasoni SC-HTB370 2.1 Home Theater System – 240 W RMS; $276.95


Lawn Chair:
If you run out of blankets and pillows, some lawn chairs work great for movie seats. With a cupholder and comfy back, you won’t need to get up for the whole movie.

Photo courtesy of

Room Essential Backback Folding Chair; $30.00

For help installing check out the local stores that sell the products you’re looking for. For example, Best Buy offers full installation of your products for a starting cost of $149.99.

The Only Time of the Year a Stain is Welcome

By Jessica Godart

With the hot summer sun starting to appear, tan lotion isn’t the only thing that decks need to be repelling. After a long winter and lots of snow, decks are sure to have become worn and faded by summer’s start and in need of a fresh coat of color. If you’re looking for a DIY project for a day, head out with these products that are sure to make your deck beautiful again.

Deck Stainer

Photo courtesy of

Olympic 1-Gallon Multiple Solid Exterior Paint; $36.98

Paint roller

Photo courtesy of

Linzer 12 in. Deck and Water Seal Roller; $9.96 


Photo courtesy of

Wooster 1 in. Angle 3/Pack Paints All Pro Series Brush; $19.99


Photo courtesy of

3M 2-Pack Chemical Respirator; $10.97


Photo courtesy of

Working Hands Long Cuff Extra-Large Neoprene Gloves; $4.98 

For extra assistance, check out Lowes’ helpful tips to deck staining.

3 Hot Tips to Spring Your Home into the new season

By Anjelica Michael

Photo courtesy of Oleksiy Mark/

Suzan Meredith and Jennifer Mangum of Redecorate Today share with us how to invite spring into your home. 

1. Paint your front door.

Suzan just painted hers using Benjamin Moore’s color Teal 2055-10. “It has a lot of depth and darkness, so it is sophisticated. When the sun hits it, it is full of energy and fun,” she says. This will brighten up the entrance to your home and have guests

Photo Courtesy of RTimages

Photo courtesy of RTimages/

feel the bright side of spring as soon as they walk in. This can add a much needed pop to the front of your house as well, making it stand out in your neighborhood. 

2. Add some new cushions or pillows to your outdoor patio furniture. 

Give your patio a pick-me-up by incorporating some color. This decorating pair recommends the color of 2014: Radiant Orchid because it is gaining a lot of popularity. But if you aren’t a fan of this color, try another color from Pantone’s Spring 2014 line including choices like Celosia Orange, Dazzling Blue and Freesia.

3. Remodel something!

Nothing like a new room for a new season. Take on a project to bring light into your home after this chilly winter. Been putting off re-doing your bathroom? Now may be the time. Suzan and Jennifer suggest bringing on a professional to help to get exactly what you want, “Let your designer help you get it just right.” 


To learn more about Jennifer and Suzan’s services, visit their website at


Looking for some more DIY? Meet two bloggers who know your home isn’t perfect, but will give you some tips to make it beautiful. 


Perfectly Imperfect

Shaunna is a mom from Troy, Ala. who emphasizes the home, not the house. She wants to improve your home and how you live in it. She specializes in fun projects like furniture painting and collecting vintage furniture. On her blog, she also has an online shop where you can buy some of her vintage finds and her own line of chalk paint. She wants to teach her followers to embrace imperfections within your home and have fun while doing it. Some of her projects include a lofted fort bed for her son, and how to turn an old dresser into a flower planter. Shaunna also passes on her wisdom of trying what may seem like strange products, like milk paint, which may seem intimidating to newbie painters. But she holds your hand as she takes you through a project so that you can try new things as well.

Find Shaunna’s Blog “Perfectly Imperfect” here.


A Beautiful Mess 

Elsie and Emma run this next blog just for fun, but they aim to give inspiration for your life and home. While this isn’t a home-centered blog, they have a great home section with DIY home projects to add a little bit of your personality to your home and beautify your space. They think that even if your space is a mess, there is a way to make it better. Some of their projects include handmade jewelry bowls, typographic art and DIY bronze succulent planters. This is a casual blog run by a group of friends, so the projects are simple with a lot of photos to follow along with. They believe the best things are hand-made, and that is reflected in their décor, crafts, photography and beauty tabs on the home page. This is a great blog to ease into hand-made home projects for a beginner or someone who cannot devote weeks to a project, which can be fun if you are in need of a creative outlet in your free time. 

Take a peek into “A Beautiful Mess” here. 

Create, Make, Imagine: Northern Virginia’s First Mini Makers Faire

Posted by Editorial / Friday, March 14th, 2014

By Janeé Williams

Photo courtesy of the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia.

Photo courtesy of the Community Foundation of Northern Virginia.

Get your creative juices flowing at the Northern Virginia Mini Makers Faire, sponsored by the Community for Northern Virginia Innovation Fund. Allow your creativity to run wild as you collaborate with inventors, hackers, crafters, artists and DIY’ers from across the region at this family-friendly expose of innovation.

Although this is the first Mini Makers Faire in Northern Virginia, the movement began in 2005 in San Mateo, Calif. and now has faires across the United States and other countries. The goal is to inspire creativity with hands-on activities. The faire will include local entrepreneurs, craftsman and investors and is for all ages. Even the makers of the show range from 12-92 of age.

“All kids – and adults – need more encouragement to follow their curiosity and be innovative problem solvers.  The Mini Makers Faire celebrates working with raw materials, engaging kids’ minds and helping them to become critical thinkers,” says Brian Jacoby, president of Nova Labs, which will provide all the tools needed for these hands-on workshops.

The Innovation Fund supports and upholds innovation and programs that promote creativity, inventiveness and new design throughout Northern Virginia. The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia looks to continue nurturing innovative ideas and solutions in the region, drawing interest from many local entrepreneurs. Tickets for the faire, which will be held at Reston’s South Lakes High School and Hughes Middle School campuses, will run between $5 and $15 if ordered online. Tickets for the day of the event will run between $8 and $20.

With more than 100 booths, you will be provided with several hands on projects to try and explore. You won’t get bored. Projects like aluminum aerogami (a combination of origami and model airplane building from aluminum cans), 3D scanning and printing, solar-powered cars, hand-spinning yarn and spy gadgets from the International Spy Museum are some of the projects that you will see.

Photo courtesy of the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia.


Northern Virginia Mini Maker’s Faire
11400 South Lakes Dr., Reston, 20191
Sunday, March 16, 11 a.m.- 4 p.m.
Tickets: $5 pre-orded for children, $15 for adults; $8 for children and $20 for adults at the door

DIY: Reupholstering a thrift store find

Reupholstering seems like one of those heady jobs reserved for the designers on HGTV, but it doesn’t have to be. And you can do it with simple tools you most likely already have at home. —Cassandra Sturos

DIY thrift store.

Photo by Mike Ramm.

Tools: Screwdriver, Power screwdriver, Hot glue gun, Plenty of hot glue, Scissors, Permanent Marker and Wooden Utensil.

Photo by Mike Ramm.

First find a chair you want to reupholster. Local thrift stores can be hubs for great finds. Measure the length and width of the cushion so you can purchase the new fabric you desire. I also added a fresh coat of paint to the chair first to bring it into this decade.


Photo by Mike Ramm.

Next tip the chair over and unscrew the cushion from the chair. Usually the fabric is stapled in around the edges and can easily be ripped off from around the wood behind the cushion.


Photo by Mike Ramm.

Once the old fabric is removed, lay out your new fabric smoothly and aligned the way you wish it to look on the front of the cushion. Place the cushion with wooden back (wood facing up to you) in the center of the fabric.


Photo by Mike Ramm.

Slowly pull up an edge of the new fabric and hold down tightly to the back where you will hot glue it to the wood. I use an old wooden utensil to then press down on the hot glue, so as not to get burnt and make sure the fabric adheres to the wood.


Photo by Mike Ramm.

 Pull up a little piece of fabric at a time, tightly so there’s no loose fabric, but not so tight that the cushion looks pinched. Slowly glue around the edges of the fabric around the whole wooden base of the cushion.


Photo by Mike Ramm.

If you cover the screw holes, which you might, mark with a permanent marker to easily locate when you screw it back to the chair.


Photo by Mike Ramm.

Once you have applied ample glue around the edges to hold the fabric down, trim the excess pieces.


Photo by Mike Ramm.

Flip the cushion over and voila, it has a fresh new fabric.


Photo by Mike Ramm.

Screw it back into the base of the chair. I use a power screwdriver for this, that way I can also screw through the fabric that I had previously marked with marker, so not only the glue holds the fabric on, but the screws will also now hold it tight to the chair.

(March 2014)

Try Chalkboard Paints for your next decor project

As someone who loves crafting, DIY and home decor projects big and small, I am constantly picking up new products for my adventures in art. My latest project was diving into the diverse world of chalkboard paints. There are quite a few to choose from as it happens. After narrowing it down, here are my top recommendations for creating wonderful chalkboard creations.

Photo by Cassandra Sturos

Quick and Easy Sprays:
Both Michaels and Home Depot offer terrific chalkboard paint sprays at reasonable prices. Michaels offers Krylon brand in both black and green sprays in a 12-ounce can for $6.99. I used a 50 percent-off coupon (check their online ads for coupons every week that you can use on your smart phone) making the paint only $3.50. Home Depot, offers Rust-oleum Brand in an 11-ounce can for $3.76 in black. 

After having wood cut at Home Depot to fit into empty frames I had around the house, I sanded the wood and sprayed with chalkboard paint. I tried both brands on different boards and both came out wonderfully.

When painting with any kind of spray paint, it’s a good idea to spray from a few feet away so the paint won’t bubble. If it does start to bubble, dab the spot with a dry or slightly damp paper towel and re-do the spot when you apply your second coat of paint. It is always wise to apply a second coat for a polished finish, but especially so with chalkboard paint as you’ll want a nice smooth surface for writing on later. 

If you don’t have any empty frames to make chalkboards, just omit the frame to create a chalkboard. Simply buy a sheet of relatively thin flat wood (available at Home Depot or other home improvement stores), paint with the spray, drill two holes in the top for some heavy duty twine or ribbon and voila. You have a chalkboard to hang. 

Photo by Cassandra Sturos


Chalkboard Paints in Color: For another chalkboard I chose to try Home Depot’s can of chalkboard paint that you can have tinted at the store (no additional cost) to one of 12 different colors. This was also Rust-oleum brand but costs a little more ($9.67) but you get 30 ounces. This can is not a spray, so you will need to buy a paint brush and take a little more time, but it’s completely worth it for the variety of additional colors you can choose from.

I chose peapod green. After spreading out plenty of newspaper on my kitchen floor, I got to painting. When using a paintbrush versus a spray paint, it takes a bit to get the hang of not glopping on too much paint and evenly spreading out the strokes to create an unblemished texture. I did three coats with this paint, waiting for each coat to dry before starting the next coat. This took less than an hour and the finish was just as pleasing as the spray paints, but now I had a new color. The benefit of buying a can of paint instead of the spray is that you can do a variety of chalkboards in your home without worrying over a major mess from a spray.

Try painting the inside of a door for grocery lists and your kids measurements. Or square off a space on a wall in a playroom to paint; then affix a frame around the chalkboard for a doodle space for your children. 

Photo by Cassandra Sturos


Mini Chalkboards: If you don’t want to fuss with chalkboard paints, but love the look for other household items, go small and simple with chalkboard stickers. Michaels offers chalkboard stickers in different sizes and shapes that you simply stick to whatever surface you please and have make-shift signage.

Try a sticker on a vase and write, fresh flowers, or a jar filled with Hershey Kisses and write, have a kiss. These stickers stay put nicely, the only downside is the chalk doesn’t show up as brightly as on the other chalkboard surfaces, so write out your words and then go over one more time with the chalk so the words are visible. 

Photo by Cassandra Sturos

Note: I would not recommend Martha Stewart’s chalkboard paints. I purchased a small bottle of the multi-surface acrylic chalkboard paint and tried it on a vase, however, after every coat, the paint seemed to clump even after many attempts to smooth it out. While Martha Stewart has other home decor products I would highly recommend, when it comes to chalkboard paints, hers isn’t one of them. 

For chalk paints that are not chalkboards but create a fun chalkboard-esque look for furniture in your home, check out local shop, Stylish Patina in Falls Church. They have an exceptional selection of colored chalk paints that are perfect for home decor projects.

Happy painting! 

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