DIY Cabinet Door Coat and Key Hanger

Today I’m sharing about one of my favorite finds, which became one of my favorite little projects, of all time—this cabinet door turned coatrack/key holder!

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A couple of years ago, we were out to eat with my family at a sweet place called The Local. Everything on their menu consists of locally sourced and often organic produce and meat. You can always count on places like this to have some sweet décor, and this one doesn’t disappoint. It’s simple, but classic and trendy all at the same time. I noticed that their coat hangers by the door were simply hooks mounted on old cabinet doors. I was determined to copy this look at home for a much needed space by our front door to hang coats and keys.

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I had some old cabinet doors in my basement (ones that actually came from our kitchen cabinets), but they didn’t have much character. I decided to keep my eye out for one, or even just a piece of wood with great character, and if I didn’t find one, I’d settle for one of the doors we already had. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again—I’m a big believer in working with what you have.

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Wouldn’t you know it…not long after, my husband and I went for a walk around town one summer Saturday. We came across an estate sale, and even though we didn’t have any money on us, we decided to stop in. We wandered around in the house and had fun looking, but didn’t see anything we had to have. On our way out, we meandered through the backyard. Amongst lawn furniture and tools, we found one old, random cabinet door. It was perfect—painted white over layers of green and black, which could be seen where the paint was chipping on the sides, with just the right balance of vintage imperfection and sturdiness. I wouldn’t have to do anything to it to get the look I wanted!

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The door wasn’t marked with a price, so we tracked down the owner and asked how much he would like for it. He replied, “I’ll give YOU $4.00 to take it off my hands.” Right answer, sir.

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With a free cabinet door in our possession, all we needed were some hooks to complete our shabby chic coat/key hanger. All of the hooks came from Hobby Lobby and were 50% off, for a total of around $10.00. I spray painted the cross white, and that was the most effort I had to put into the whole project, because my dad actually screwed the hooks onto the door. I’m still learning to be handy with stuff like that. I have the ideas, but the carrying out of the ideas often depends on my husband or my dad.

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So there you have it! It’s one of my favorite things in our house, and it is also one of the things for which we get the most compliments and questions. I love telling people I got that door for free!

A French-Inspired Writing Desk

 My mom bought this little vintage school desk at an auction. It was in pretty rough shape on the surface, but it had character—perfect for a project! She was kind enough to give it to me to fix up for my booth space.

I never worry about redoing pieces that have existing finish, stains, or even rough spots because I use Annie Sloan Chalk Paint (I’m not getting paid to promote her paint by the way…I wish. I just love it that much). You don’t have to sand or prep or anything with this paint.

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I got a little overly excited to get going on the desk and forgot to take a before picture, but here’s the desk, um, half-painted. I used Paris Grey ASCP. I only had to do one coat on all parts of the desk except the top, where I touched up a few spots with a second coat.

I decided to do something kind of fun with the inside of the drawer, and as you may know, if you’ve seen any of my other projects or pictures of my booth space, I love old book pages. I have several old books from auctions and flea markets—some I use for decoration because I love the covers, and some I keep just to tear out the pages for projects like this. You can get old books for cheap, cheap, cheap at auctions, flea markets, garage sales, Goodwill, etc., so never overpay for an old book, unless it’s just amazing and you’re confident you’ll never find another like it :).

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I simply applied some Mod Podge to the bare wood in the bottom of the drawer, laid my book pages down, and then applied another layer of Mod Podge over the book pages to seal them. Normally, my biggest pet peeve with applying a top layer of Mod Podge is the bubbles that pop up in the paper. I didn’t worry too much about bubbles in the pages, because, after all, it’s the inside of a drawer. I could’ve skipped the top layer, but since the pages are acting as the lining of the drawer, I felt that they should be sealed so that they wouldn’t get ripped when the future owner is rummaging around for a pencil or calculator or something.

While the desk was drying at home, I happened to find a sample pot ON SALE (which, like, never happens with Chalk Paint, at least at my supplier!) of a color I had never tried, nay, even noticed before. I decided I would paint the little pull out writing desk thingie (does anyone know the formal name for one of those?) to add the perfect pop of pink. I LOVE IT. The color is called Antionette, and I will definitely be using more of it! Can you imagine using this color in a baby girl’s nursery?! I’m freaking out just thinking about it! Someone hire me to decorate a nursery so I can use this color!

I ended up doing two or three coats of this color, which is very rare, indeed, with ASCP, but it was necessary in order to cover up all the spots where kids had so lovingly written their names. Youths. No respect for school property.

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For the top, I wanted something Frenchie (yes, Frenchie) that made sense with the desk. I didn’t want to put just any old French typography on there, or my desk would end up saying something like “olive oil for sale,” which I guess is ok if the person who buys it doesn’t know French, but that seemed nonsensical to me. I found this typography with the name and address of an editor on Graphics Fairy—perfect for a desk!—when revisiting one of my pins on my DIY board entitled “11 DIY Painted Office Furniture Projects.” HELLO! Exactly what I needed.

For these sorts of things, I almost always use the same method—no special printer or transfer mediums required. I resized my typography in a Word document and printed it out using our plain old (and I do mean old) inkjet printer. I used some painter’s tape to keep it in place, and then I traced over the letters with a permanent marker. For this particular project, I used a fine-point Sharpie, since the letters were so narrow. The marker bleeds through the paper onto the desk, and then all you have to do is fill in your letters!

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I used my trusty acrylic paint pen to fill in the letters. These are so cheap, come in lots of different colors and sizes, and get used in so many of my projects. I get them from Wal-Mart and Hobby Lobby.

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DSCN0485My pup pup keeps me company while I work on projects. Sorry about the yucky basement floor in the background. Just focus on the cute pup. I also had my laptop propped nearby so I could watch Gran Hotel on Hulu while working. I’m a great mutli-tasker…or I just love TV. 

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paris desk 1

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Here she is in all her glory in the booth! Someone come buy her! I don’t have anywhere to put her, or else I would keep her. I’m going to stop referring to the desk as “her” now, because it’s getting creepy.

Here are a few other projects I’ve done for the booth with acrylic paint pens. You can read more about the corner cabinet here. I don’t have pictures of how I did the poison label mirror, but it was SO fun. I didn’t document it because I wasn’t sure it would turn out, but it ended up being one of my favorite pieces! I’ll do something similar to it in the future so I can show you step by step. The Jardin chair was done using the same technique as the mirror, so stay tuned–I’m sure I’ll do some more like it!

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poison mirror

"Eggs"--outlined with paint pen and filled in with acrylic paint and brush
“Eggs”–outlined with paint pen and filled in with acrylic paint and brush
"Hayrides" lettering was filled in using a brush, while "pumpkins" and "apples" lettering was done with a paint pen.
“Hayrides” lettering was filled in using a brush, while “pumpkins” and “apples” lettering was done with a paint pen.

How to Trace Vintage-Inspired Advertising onto Glass

Hey, guys! Ok, really quickly, I have to share a story about “hey, guys”. I went to Ireland for an internship between my junior and senior years of college. I helped at Dublin Christian Mission’s summer youth camps. All the kids thought it was so funny when I would refer to them in a group as “guys,” so they would make fun of me in their best American accents and say things like, “Hey, guys. Let’s eat a SUCKER and then go get a COOKIE at Staaaaarrrrbucks.”

My husband and I went back to Ireland for our honeymoon, and we took a couple of Paddywagon tours to travel around the country (I would HIGHLY recommend Paddywagon if you go to Ireland. SO fun.). We had three different drivers, and one had actually gone to school at Indiana University. He had picked up some American phrases and added them to his regular vocabulary while living in the States—one being “guys.” Our next driver loved to do impressions of our previous driver, saying things like, “Alright, GUUUUYYYSSS! Come on, GUUUUYYYSSS! Hey, GUUUUYYYSSS!”

I can’t think of a better way to address a group, so I’m sticking with “guys,” no matter how funny that sounds.

Anyway, I moved into my new booth space over the weekend! I wanted to share it with you, especially one project in particular—my corner cabinet–because I used a technique I had never tried before, and I think you’ll want to try it yourself as soon as you see how easy it was and how it turned out.

I decided I needed one good display piece in the booth, and by that I mean one that is not for sale. In my previous booth space, we would get a big hutch or pie safe or bookshelf or cabinet or what have you, make a great display in it with all of our little pieces, and then it would quickly sell. The little pieces would be a mess on the floor or just placed awkwardly wherever the buyer could find a space for them, and it would be another couple of weeks before we could get another big piece in to replace it.

Tony’s late grandfather bequeathed a corner cabinet, as well as several other pieces of furniture, to us. Corner cabinets are great, and I know buying a new one is really expensive. This one was immaculate, and we very much appreciated it…buuut we didn’t have a space to put it, and it was rather outdated. With a little bit of work, we thought this would make a perfect display piece for the booth. I wish I would’ve taken a before shot, but I was too eager to get some Annie Sloan chalk paint on her! I used my go-to colors, Paris Grey and Old White.

It looked beautiful with just the paint, but I wanted to do something to make it really unique. I thought about replacing the glass with chicken wire, but I just couldn’t bear to bust out this perfect glass. Authentic and faux advertising pieces are super popular (and one of my very favorite looks), and I’ve really been wanting to try my hand at it. One of the easiest ways to achieve this look is by tracing advertising text onto glass—BRILLIANT!

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My inspiration for painting advertising typography on glass: http://thegraphicsfairy.com/painted-french-windows/

I searched through some old advertising pieces for inspiration on Graphics Fairy, and found one that would be perfect for a China cabinet. I wanted to change the text to something more my style and perhaps easier to trace, so I made my own signage in Word. You can do the same! I suggest using landscape format (turning the page horizontally), and adjusting the font size to fit your project. If none of the fonts in Word thrill you, you can always download free fonts from sites like dafont.com. Check out my DIY Pinterest board for lots of downloadable fonts.

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My inspiration for China cabinet advertisinghttp://thegraphicsfairy.com/vintage-advertising-clip-art-ironstone-pitcher/

Once I got my advertising printed out, I cut down the unnecessary blank space at the tops and bottoms of each page and taped them to the inside of the cabinet door with painter’s tape. I used this acrylic paint marker that I got from Hobby Lobby for about $4 to do the tracing and filling in of the letters on the outside of the cabinet door glass. This is a medium sized tip, but they come in different sizes (as well as different colors) for smaller and larger jobs. I suppose you could use a Sharpie, but I think it would turn out rather streaky. The paint marker was especially great for filling in the traced letters. You can fix mistakes as you go while the paint is still wet, but once it’s dry, it’s permanent.

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You might notice some of my Downton Abbey references.

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I don’t have a very steady hand or great handwriting, so if I can do it, you can do it! I didn’t worry too much about getting it perfect. It is hand drawn, and it’s supposed to look hand drawn. It adds to the character and the shabby, vintage look.

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I took the signage down once I traced the letters so I could see better to fill them in.

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 Hope you’re enjoying the reflections of our very old basement in the glass…

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I removed and painted the hardware with Paris Grey.

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Everything’s dry and finished, and ready to move in to the booth…

And here she is in all her glory and filled with merchandise in the booth!

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I’ve already had several people inquire about purchasing it. My urge is to just sell it knowing that there are buyers ready and waiting, but I think I would kick myself once it’s gone. It makes sense to use a piece that was free to me for displays, rather than to go buy a piece for displays…I think. For now, at least.

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In the process of moving in…

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I love that there is storage down below, too!

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My husband very patiently decopaged all those book pages onto the wall while I worked on price tags and inventory. The pages are from an old songbook and an old Bible that I bought at an auction and a flea market, respectively.

One last thing I want to point out…this tub. There are few things more adorable than a claw foot tub, but it’s hard to find old ones in good shape. I found this one at an estate auction. The couple had used it in their garden, which I think is an adorable idea, but it had been out in the elements for a long time. The inside was covered in dirt, rust, and algae, and the outside had been spray painted a pretty hideous color of bright blue. After a lot of scrubbing, cleaning, painting, and heavy lifting (it’s IRON, folks), it’s gorgeous again and waiting for someone to do something adorable with it. I hope whoever buys it sends me a picture of where it ends up. A lady at the auction told me she bought one once and made a garden fountain out of it by installing a pump and a plug. Her grandkids love to play in it. CUTE!

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Thanks for reading, GUYS, and don’t forget to check out my booth, Bird and Tree Vintage!

My first rule as a picker and a shabby frame

You’ll probably read this again and again on this blog, but I am a big fan of auctions, flea markets, Goodwill, and really any place that I can find vintage, antique, and second-hand awesomeness for very little money. The people that are serious about it call it “pickin.”

My first tip in the art of “pickin’” is to look for things with intrinsic character. Because I’m working with a frame today, let me use frames for an example: when it comes to frames, the more ornate, the better. I would also suggest looking for frames with unique shapes and sizes. You’re usually going to end up using your frames in a gallery-style display or to prop up and layer on a mantel or shelf, so you’ll want variety, if you’re purchasing multiple frames or plan on using them in such a fashion. Don’t let the current color/stain or contents (or lack thereof) deter you. Changing the color is a super quick and easy fix, and you can always take the ugly 80s watercolor of swans swimming in a pond out to replace with something of your own, or better yet, leave it empty. Empty frames are the bee’s knees.

Since frames are such a hot item, I see a lot of people trying to mimic gallery-style displays they’ve seen on Pinterest by just taking any and every frame they can get their mitts on and hanging them in a cluster on the wall. I just want to advise you against that :). If you’re going to do a gallery wall, I would suggest your items be primarily monochromatic. You can mish-mash your shapes and sizes—definitely!—but stick to mostly one color. If you’re going for an empty frame display, remember the “intrinsic character” rule. You don’t want plain Ikea frames hanging empty on your wall, even if they’re all the same color.

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My mom purchased a multitude of these frames at an auction several months ago. She offered to let me have my pick since I was just getting going on decorating my house. I took two—one that came empty, which currently sits in the corner of my mantel, and this one, which actually came with the glass still in it. I didn’t mind a couple of chips around the edges, especially with the glass and the hanging apparatus still intact! Side note: I know I previously said empty frames are the bee’s knees, and I still stand by that, but a frame this old that can still be used as a PICTURE frame…that’s pretty sweet. I don’t have any family pictures hanging in our house after 8 months of living here, and I think this frame is perfect for a wedding photo…or an old-timey photo of your family in Western garb that you had taken in Pigeon Forge. But we don’t have any of those, unfortunately.

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While this frame is beautiful the way it is, I want to lighten it up and tweak it a bit to go a little better with the theme and color scheme of our home. It was free and it doesn’t have any sentimental value, so I say, “Do it to it!” This is a piece that could be easily and quickly spray painted, but since it’s winter and too cold in the garage to spray paint, I’ll just throw some trusty chalk paint on it with a paint brush. Lesson learned…you do want to follow the directions on the spray paint can in regards to use in certain temperatures. Otherwise, your spray paint will crack, bubble, dry weird or not dry at all, etc. I typically don’t spray paint in the basement because we don’t want it to get in our air ducts and circulate throughout the house…if that’s a thing. It seems like it might be a thing, and if it is, it seems like a dangerous thing.

I use Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint on pretty much everything when hand-painting. Old White and Paris Grey are my go-to colors. People complain about the price and try to make knock-offs, but in my experience, there’s just no substitute. A little goes a loooong way, it covers everything and everything, and it saves so much time. No sanding, no priming, you usually only need one coat…etc. etc. It’s totally worth the price, as long as you can find a stockist in your area as opposed to ordering it online.

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I had been using this can for a long time and wanted to finish it up. Because I had left the can open several times without the lid, the paint had become thick. No big deal—that just adds to the shabby look I’m going for.  Once the paint dried, I used a little bit of Annie Sloan’s Dark Wax to bring out the details around the edges of the frame. I used my brush to push the wax down into the details, then used a rag to wipe it clean. I like the way it makes the embellishments stand out, and it keeps the antique look about the frame.

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A little bit of scrapbook paper to serve as background, ma picture, and I’m done! I love white on white these days. Neutral colors and combining different shades of white are my current fave as far as decorating trends go. A little French, a little farmhouse, a little shabby chic…a little bit of country, a little bit of rock ‘n roll. Just kidding.

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