Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Azulejo Table Top

Mosaic table inspired in Portugal's azulejos.

I had this old table/bookshelf/printer table that I wanted to beautify. I thought I could use it as a side table on the deck but then I thought it would give me the perfect piece to go with my desk. I needed some extra surface space and I wanted to have certain books accessible and in display, not in the drawers. Because I had lots of extra yellow paint I used for my desk, I decided to paint it the same color.

For the top, I would use this amazing tiles I found one day while browsing a Goodwill store. I bought these tiles because they reminded me of Portugal's azulejos, which are all over Porto and Lisbon. When I bought these tiles, they all had a horrible price sticker on them so I soaked them in soapy water and then scrubbed the stickiness away.

After I painted the table and let it dry, I used a hammer to break my tiles (I never hit tiles directly but put a piece of cloth on them) and then I started arranging them on the table.

I knew I would be short on tiles so I started looking online (Etsy) for tiles that would match the ones I already had. I originally bought more tile from Tile Envy but, even though they were gorgeous, they didn't quite match the tiles I already had. I searched on Etsy some more and found great hand painted tiles from Tide Pool Supply.

I broke the new tiles and then filled the empty spaces, then I glued the tiles into place.

After I glued them, I let them dry for 48 hours. After they were totally dry and glued, I applied grout. For this project, I choose white grout. After 24 hours of applying the grout, I removed the haze left by it on the tiles and cleaned the entire surface. Finally, I sealed the tiles and grout. See my mosaic bench post to get more details about what kind of glue, seal and grout I used.

Now I have the perfect side table for my desk! By the way, I got that super cute bistro chair on Craigslist for only 5 dollars!!! I did spend a bit more getting the cute cushion, but it was totally worth it!

From an inexpensive and plain table/bookcase to an azulejo mini bookcase! 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Jewelry Holder Art

I just got done transforming this silverware organizer into a very practical and very cute jewelry holder that can be displayed as art. Practical art, I believe it's called!

While unpacking after the move, we found this silverware drawer organizer we bought when we lived in Minnesota--we have had to buy a new organizer every time we've moved because, apparently, you can never have a silverware drawer that is the same size as the one before.

My husband told me I should turn the old wood piece into art. We bounced some ideas off of each other and decided to turn it into a jewelry holder that could be hang up like art.

Step 1
Paint the box. I chose yellow because I had left over paint from the desk I had just redone.

I applied 2 coats of paint. At this point, you could also choose to apply varnish or gloss. Up to you.

I had thought about repainting the background white to have a clean look. When I told my husband about my simple idea, he told me I could do better than that so I started brainstorming ideas for a background. First I thought I could use old book pages but then it occurred to me that I could look for fun wrapping paper to use as a background. I went on Etsy and found this great design from Ruff House Art.

Step 2
Select background paper and cut it to fit each opening.

Step 3
Glue the paper into the openings. I used the glue I happened to have sitting around. I typically use this glue to make photo cards but it worked well on paper too.

Step 4
Add gloss to the paper. I realized that if I left the paper untreated, wear and tear would eventually destroy it. To prevent this, I treated it using a coat of Medium Gloss I had bought before to use on acrylic paint projects. I'm sure there are other kinds of gloss treatments out there, but this worked just fine. One secret to it was applying it in small quantities to prevent the paper from crumpling with excess moisture.

See the difference? Also, see what I mean about crumpling? Eventually, the paper went back to normal when the gloss dried, but my heart stopped when I saw the paper do this.

Step 5
Hooks. What hooks to use? I used 1/2 inch brass plated cup hooks for the earring middle shelves, and 3/4 inch brass plated cup hooks for the necklace/bracelet side shelves.

Before screwing the hooks in, I drilled a very small hole where each hook was going to go. To do this, I used a very fine screw driver.

And, voila, the jewelry box is ready to hold my most precious treasures! If I could do one thing differently, that would be putting the hooks slightly higher than I did so that longer earrings and necklaces can dangle nicely from the hooks but, for having done this on the spot and just following my instincts, I think it turned out pretty nicely!