My Entry in the Mystery Thrift-Off Challenge

For those of you that don’t follow me on Instagram (ummm…I’d love it if you did!) – I was lucky enough to be part of the Mystery Thrift-Off.  A crazy fun contest that Lindsey, of the blog Better After, dreamed up.  For more details on all of this contest madness – READ HER POST HERE. (while you’re there – you should browse – her site is FANTASTIC!!  SUPER INSPIRING!)

One day my hubby and I were just chillin’ on the couch on a Saturday afternoon…and suddenly there was a knock at my door.  I had a very SPECIAL delivery!!

Mystery Thrift-Off Delivery

I was super nervous to open this box – the letter she wrote me apologized profusely for how hideous and horrible it was inside…and I was supposed to make it fabulous.

Here’s what I found inside:

My Mystery Thrift-Off Item

Hello Mr. Shepherd.  What the heck am I going to do with you????  There was a significant amount of stewing.  I contemplated busting the mirror and making a mosaic, but it’s not really my style.  I could make a mirrored table…hmmm…possibilities.  I could make a serving tray that would also be a great conversational piece.  My sister threw this idea at me:

A distinguished German Gentleman

………………………………………………………………………………………………

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha

………………………………………………………………………………………………

It finally boiled down to: what could I make that I need?  We are in the process of moving kids rooms and my oldest daughter is first on the list to decorate hers.  She wants to do a teal and white room with gold accents, so I thought that I could use this mirror above her vanity table in her room!  She, as I’m sure most teen gals do, struggles with self-confidence.  She has a very unique personality and I wanted a daily reminder for her that she is unique and beautiful!!  I found the quote, and I had recently seen a tutorial on using Heidi Swapp’s new screen printing supplies, and I REALLY had been wanting to try them out.  So, I thought that this project would be the perfect platform!!

Mystery Thrift-Off Transformation

Here’s the process I used to transform my Mystery Thrift-Off item:

Step 1: I removed the silver frame and spray painted it gold.

Step 2: The dog had to go, so out came the razor.  It scraped off super easily using a little bit of an angle on the razor (thanks, mom!)

Mystery Thrift-Off Transformation

Step 3: I used the Heidi Swapp Screen Printing Kit  to add the teal flowers to the border of the mirror:

Mystery Thrift Off Transformation using the Heidi Swapp Screen Printing Kit

Mystery Thrift Off Transformation using the Heidi Swapp Screen Printing Kit

Step 4: While the paint was drying, I designed the graphic and cut it onto vinyl using my Silhouette Cameo

(seriously – almost every project I create revolves around this machine!  If you don’t have one – GET ONE!! I don’t get paid to say that.  So you can trust me ;0)…ha ha)  If you can’t get one – you can always use an exacto knife!!)

Step 5: Using transfer paper – I transferred the vinyl to the mirror.

Mystery Thrift-Off

 

Mystery Thrift-Off

Step 6: Remove the transfer paper.

Mystery Thrift-Off

Step 7: I applied Heidi Swapp’s Gold Metallic Screen Ink {using the rubber scraper that came in the kit} to the vinyl.

**Tip** I thought that it would be pretty easy to apply the ink over the vinyl, because it was so easy applying the flowers over the screen.  But…it was a little trickier than anticipated.  Still possible – but trickier.  When using the screen – you want to scrape off all of the excess ink so that it has a smooth finish, and because the screen is between the mirror and the ink, you can.  Without the screen there, I had to lay the ink on pretty heavily, or the scraper would just take it right off of that spot.  So – if you’re using vinyl, go heavy on the ink.  In the end, I kind of like the textured look that it produced!

Mystery Thrift-Off

Step 8: **IMPORTANT!** Remove the vinyl before the ink dries…otherwise you’ll be cutting around the ink with an exacto knife.  I learned this the hard way!!

Step 9: I wanted the YOU to stand out a little more – so I masked off the “BE” and the “TIFUL” with paper and the creative caution tape that came in the kit. (so cute!)

Then I sprayed just the “YOU” with gold Glitter Blast Spray:

Mystery Thrift-Off

Mystery Thrift-Off

Step 10: Peel off the vinyl and use the razor to clean up any mishaps and you’re done!

I just hope that this mirror sends subliminal messages to her every morning!!  {She is pretty beautiful, if I do say so myself.}

Step-by-Step instructions to transform a thrift store mirror into a beautiful vanity mirror with an important message every teen should have in their room!

Mystery Thrift-Off

And just for fun – here’s a close-up of that glitter!!  Love that stuff!

Mystery Thrift-Off

**AND**  Just because I like you so much, If you’d like to make your own, you can download the ‘beYOUtiful’ graphic as a PDF:

Glittered Download Button

or if you already have the Silhouette, you can download the cut file:

Glittered Download Button

It would also make a fabulous art print, if the mirror and screen printing route seems like WAY too much!  Just print and frame.  Easy peasy.

Mystery Thrift-Off Transformation

What NOT to do:

Ha Ha.  It was trial and error on this one…I’m not gonna lie.  Here are some things that I tried that just really didn’t work.  AT ALL.

1.  I thought I could do this using Gold Vinyl and Glitter Vinyl and skip the painting all together.  You could.  But, I tried it & it just looked a little chintzy.

2. I tried using gold spray paint instead of the Heidi Swapp Screen Printing Ink.  It dried too fast and peeled off with the vinyl.  And when I wiped it with a cloth – it rubbed off. Boo.

3. I tried sprinkling gold glitter onto the “YOU” instead of using the glitter blast spray.  It made a mess and rubbed off too easily.  The glitter is sealed in with the spray.  Much better.

 

I hope that you’ve enjoyed the tutorial!  Voting begins tomorrow, Thursday June 9th, Go take a peek at ALL OF THE ENTRIES and cast a vote for your favorite!

**Shameless Plug**

If this was the first visit to my site – I’d love to send new projects and inspiration right to your inbox!  If you’d like to subscribe – you can fill out the sidebar info – or simply CLICK HERE.

Thanks in advance!  I look forward to getting to know you!

**Erin

p.s. If you use the graphic in a project, please share your link in the comments!  I’d love to see it put to good use!

 

 

My Chalkboard Calendar {Tutorial}

As promised in my Top 5 DIY Projects post – here is the tutorial for the chalkboard calendar in my command center.

With 4 kids involved in more than I like them to be – we need to have our lives mapped out.  The iPhones help A LOT – but I’m that mom that hasn’t let her kids have a phone yet…so they need to be in the loop, too.  We always have a breakdown of the week at our Family Night on Monday nights, and we all say what we’ve got going on and then….it goes up on the Family Calendar.

Chalkboard Calendar Tutorial

 

Sorry about the terrible photos – that area of my house has TERRIBLE lighting!!! {and I have no tripod!}

Chalkboard Calendar Tutorial

It’s big and beautiful and you can’t miss it!  I have a little command center right as you walk into the house {well…where WE walk into the house}, and right where we walk out of the door.

Command-Center

Backpacks, Lunchboxes, even our SHOES are stored here so that we always know where things are, and getting out the door is MUCH easier!!  The kids each have a bin to keep homework folders, Cub Scout books, etc.  It’s ALL HERE!  But, the Calendar is still the main attraction.  And the best part about it…it’s SUPER EASY TO MAKE ONE!

**If you don’t have this kind of wall space – you can make this in a MUCH more scaled down version – and even put it INSIDE OF A PICTURE FRAME if you’re not handy with the power tools!

Since I made this before my blogger days – I have no pictures of the step by step {SORRY!!!}  So – I’ve created graphic visual aids that I HOPE make sense!  Just make sure to read ALL of the instructions.  I know – not as easy as picture tutorials…

*I’m going to give you instructions for how I made mine – so if you’re doing a different size – just make the changes accordingly.

What You’ll Need:

**Sheet Metal – you can find it with the duct work materials (heat & a/c) at a Hardware store.  I wanted mine to be magnetic – so that I could just stick up party invites or appointment cards easily where they are very visible.  If you don’t care about it being magnetic, you could just use backer board found by the wood trim.

**Chalkboard Spray Paint – you could use brush on paint – but I wanted my finish to be smooth like buttuh.  No brush marks or drips for me!

**Primer – Again, I like mine in a spray can. :0)

**1/4″ Square Wooden Dowels – how many you’ll need will depend on the size of calendar you are making.  I used 16 of them :0)  It’s a good idea to buy a few extra sticks in case you have cutting errors.

**MDF casing molding – it’s already primed and ready for your paint!

**Caulk in a Tube – I find that if you’re not used to using a caulking gun – the tubes make it pretty easy to use caulk!

**Glue – I used my Hot Glue Gun.  I know…I could use something stronger.  I didn’t want to stand there and hold each piece on until it was set enough to let go.  AND it’s been up for 5 years with no issues…so there you go!  Just make sure the glue is REALLY hot!  No cold temp guns allowed! **you could also use caulking – since it’ll be hanging around the ‘job site’ anyway!**

**Scotch Permanent Mounting Tape – this is going to need to stay up for awhile.  You could also use Liquid Nails if you’d like…but you’d need a caulk gun :0)

How To Make It:

**I had a big wall to work with – so I chose to make my board 60″w x 46″h.  You will have to figure out what size of board you want to make and buy materials accordingly.**

Step 1:

Decide what size you want your calendar to be.  To figure this out – I knew that the sheet metal I wanted to use was 24″ wide – and I wanted to cut as little as possible – so I decided to make my calendar according to those dimensions.  I also wanted the dowels hide the seams of the sheet metal – so I made each “weekday” box 8″ wide to get 3 “days” per sheet of sheet metal.  The length of the sheet metal is 36″ – so by making each “day” 8″ tall – I could get 4 “days” down – leaving 4″ to put the days of the week at the top.  Perfect! Since there were 3 “days” across & 4 “days” down  per sheet and I needed 7 days wide and 5 days long – I knew that I needed 3 pieces of sheet metal.

Layout the calendar

I used the full 2 sheets with no cuts & cut the remaining piece into {3} 8″ strips.

Cut the sheet metal into thirds

So – I placed the 2 full sheets side by side and then I added one strip to the width to make my “saturday”, and the other 2 strips to the bottom.  Cut off any excess using steel snips.

Sheet Metal Layout

 

WHEW!!!  That’s the hardest part – I PROMISE!!!

Step 2:

Once your sheet metal is cut to size layout all of the pieces…

Prime it – make sure that you have even coverage and don’t stay in one place too long to avoid drips!

Paint it – with the Chalkboard paint – I like to use 2 coats of chalkboard paint.

*make sure you’re in a well ventilated area.  I put a drop cloth on my patio table outside.  It’s nice and open and the fumes don’t get to me.

Step 3:

Paint your casing molding the color that you want.  I used ‘Aged Beige’ Behr Primer and Paint in One.  This seems to be my favorite color these days!!

Set aside to dry.

Step 4:

Attach the sheet metal to the wall using Scotch Permanent Mounting Tape. (or however you’ve chosen to hang the metal)

*use a bubble level & a yard stick to draw straight GUIDE LINES on the wall at the height you’d like the TOP of your calendar to be.  Then use the level to draw guide lines for the SIDES.

*attach strips of the mounting tape to the backs of the sheet metal & then remove the plastic strip exposing the glue

*using the guide lines you’ve drawn – attach the sheet metal to the wall in the same pattern you chose to lay it out.  The mounting tape directions say to hold them in place for a set amount of time – make sure to read the time frame!  If you’re using liquid nails or another form of adhesive – follow the directions for use.

Sheet Metal Layout

 

Step 5:  Cut & attach the casing. (if you’re using a picture frame – you can skip this step and go straight to step 6)

Using a miter saw or a miter box – cut the casing as shown below to the length of your sheet metal layout. Don’t assume it is a certain length.  MEASURE TWICE & CUT ONCE!

cut linesAttach using a brad nailer if you have one.  {you could nail in finish nails and an awl, or use liquid nails, too!}

Step 6:  Add the dowels to make the grid

Once everything else is in place – use a bubble level to attach the dowels in a grid pattern that will make up the “days” on the calendar.

*I like to start with covering up the seams first.

-Cut the stick to where it won’t end in the middle of a “day”. For example:  My dowels were 36″ long – but I made my days 8″ square.  So, I would need to cut the dowel to a number divisible by 8.  So – I cut my 36″ long dowel to 32″ so I don’t have any seams where I don’t want them.

*start glueing (again – I used my hot glue gun…) the 32″ long sticks following the grid that you created to figure out the layout – so for me I placed them every 8″ across and to cover up the seams on the bottoms strips.

***the black lines are where you should be placing your dowels***

lay out the long dowels

Once you have the long dowels in place, you can start making the cuts for the short dowels.

*I like to roughly measure between the long dowels to make sure that they are straight and you SHOULD (in theory) be able to mass cut the short cuts.

But – I would cut maybe 3 sticks into your width length (for me it’s 8″) and make sure they are fitting before you go and cut up all of your dowels.

cut the short dowels

Glue them onto the calendar in this pattern:

Full Grid Layout

 

Step 7: PRIME THE CHALKBOARD!!!

I can’t emphasize enough how important this step is!

*You’ll want to turn a piece of chalk sideways and rub it in all over the chalkboard areas.

*Then use a dry cloth and erase it.

*If you don’t do this step – whatever you write on the board will never fully erase.  It needs that chalk as almost a sealer so that future chalk will wipe off.  That probably made no sense :0)

Ta- Dah!!!  You’re all done – now your kids can look and see what activities they have coming up & I have my life in front of me at a glance.  I love it!

Just as a side note:  I’ve told you before and I’ll tell you again that I LOVE this chalk cartridge set from Allary.  I stick it on top of the frame so it’s always there handy if I need to add an appointment.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed the tutorial!  I will take step by step pictures when I help my friend make hers ;0)

**Erin