Friday, February 28, 2014

D.I.M. Project = Did It Myself Project | Coffee Table with Mercury Glass Mirror

I'm feeling a bit back on track with things this week.  Hopped on the blogging wagon, worked an event last night and getting started on a new painting.  While there's lots ahead, I want to cap off the end of this week with another D.I.M. project of mine that helped make my place ready for my The Everygirl feature.

In my quest to be economical and resourceful, I was kind of stumped when it came to a coffee table.  Still using my old college table that actually was tossed in as a freebee when I purchased my off campus living twin bed, it was definitely time for an upgrade.  Look at that sad lil table.

After lots of searching through piles of oversized and expensive options, I decided I would have to take matters into my own hands.
Wanting to use the same table as the bones for the newer version, I set out to find a "table top".  I wanted something classy that would fit into my homemade esthetic.  I decided a mirror would be fitting, so off to my favorite place to get large, cheap mirrors: Fort Pitt Furniture.  I'm so mad that I never took pictures while I was there because this place is seriously ridiculous.  I like to call it the graveyard where hotel furniture goes to die….or find a new home.  It's like a pound for furniture; so much of it without a home.  When hotels makeover their rooms, there is an abundance of the same furniture, and Fort Pitt takes it on.  So there are multiples of things and they are super cheap.  For example, their "room of mirrors" doesn't have anything higher that $80 (and that's for something larger than 6ft tall).
I found this beauty in a pile of it's look-a-like brothers and sisters for $20.

Checkout the the gilded, beveled frame on this puppy.  This is a 26 x 36 inch frame that would sell for at least $150 in the real world.

First thing I did was remove the backing on the frame and the mirror itself.

I wanted the mirror to resemble mercury glass and not be soooo reflective.  To achieve this, I purchased Citristrip ($11.98 at Home Depot) to remove the gray paint from the back of the mirror.  I choose the Citristrip since you are able to use it indoors.  Wear rubber gloves and spread a generous layer of the striper over the entire mirror.

 I watched a couple of videos and read a few blogs about this, and many of the times varied as to how long to let the goop sit on the back.  I had a crappy dorm room door mirror that I tested the timing on.  You want to scrape the paint off but not leave the striper on too long so it eats through the mirror material.  With the cheapy mirror, this took about 8-10 minutes.  With my industrial strength hotel mirror, this was a different story.  I wound up leaving the striper on overnight because I was getting nowhere with it.  So, depending on your mirror quality and probably even age, the striper could take anywhere from 8 minutes to 24 hours to make a dent in your goal to remove the paint.  Frustrating and incredibly varied, I know.  Luckily, you can continually test a section of your mirror to see what stage your paint is at.

I also found that while the plastic scrapers worked just fine for my cheap mirror, they did nothing for my hotel mirror.  I resorted to my razor blade paint scrapers.  Be careful with these as you can easily scrape away the mirror too.

Once all/most of the paint is removed, wipe down your mirror with soap and water.  To create that mercury glass, spotted look, I made a bleach/water solution.  A lot of the "recipes" for this project called for muriatic acid.  Again, because I was doing this inside my home in winter (no window ventilation) and not a garage, I wanted to keep it as eco-friendly as possible.  Plus, this meant I didn't have to go purchase another product to later store in my limited space.  I had bleach.  I purchased a spray bottle.  That's it.  The mixture is 3/4 water to 1/4 bleach which also can be varied by the type of mirror you have.  I think I added a little more bleach to my mixture to make it work a bit faster.

Be sure to cover all surfaces you do not want dotted with bleach white polka dots, and spray the solution on to the back of your mirror.  You'll want to monitor the timing on your bleach sitting and eating away at the mirror.  This part of the process is purely adjustable to your desired mercury glass effect.  I would spray, let it sit, then dab away the areas the bleach had evaporated.  The result was the mirror being dissolved into a dust that could be brushed away to my liking.  You can really start to manipulate how you want things to look during this process.

Once I had achieved my desired effect, I wiped down the back of my mirror with soap and water to remove any access bleach.   I had all intentions of repainting the back of my mirror with gray, black and silver paint, but instead, I already had some black foam core.  This was perfect because it gave a background to my new mirror look and also provided some extra padding to the mirror once in the frame.

Here's my sad looking table.  I glued some of the joints with wood glue to better stabilize everything, and also added some wheels to the legs.  With limited space, it's nice to be able to wheel furniture around.

To attach my mirror to my coffee table, I took the old mirror backing and screwed it into the top of my table.  With the mirror in the frame, I placed everything face down on my rug as shown, and used a staple gun to staple the mirror backing to the actual frame.  I didn't use any glue, so if anything ever becomes loose or needs a quick repair, or for some crazy reason I decide to switch out the mirror, it all will be very easy to remove (though sturdy while put together).

Turn it all over, put a West Elm centerpiece on it and a floating flower, and there you have a brand new, expensive looking coffee table.

I am totally in love with how this turned out.  If you break everything down too, here's how much each item cost me:

Old coffee table - free
Mirror - $20
Citristrip - $11.98
Wheels - $4.99
Paint scrapers - already had them
Staple gun - already had it
Bleach/water mixture - got it
Spray bottle - $.96

So really, I had most everything and the project cost me about $38 and some elbow grease.  You can't beat that!
Special notes: If you Google "how to make mercury glass" you'll get a lot of projects that use the Krylon Looking Glass spray.  This stuff is awesome and might have made my job easier if I had just gotten a picture frame with clear glass.  The thing is though that I wanted to use this as a coffee table and have it be able to sustain any weight I might put on it (within reason of course).  Picture frame glass is much thinner and more fragile than the 1/4 inch thick glass that is my mirror.  It's nice to know that had a scraped off too much mirror or the paint remover removed everything, I could still have added "mirror" with the Krylon material if needed.

So what do you think?  If you scroll back up to my first "before" picture, you'll also notice my hideous end tables.  Guess which project I'm going to feature next!?  I hope this post inspires you to go out and take on a new project.  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Studio Storage Makeover

The Everygirl feature of my apartment is going to be published next month, and I still have a few more projects to share with you beforehand.  You've already seen my painted lamps here and my chalkboard inspiration board here.  Now it's time for one of the easiest projects I did to update my studio.

I had these storage boxes that I got on super sale at Michaels ages ago.

I don't know why I didn't make them over when I got them since my color scheme has never been gold and red diamonds, but anyways... They were still serving a purpose, so rather than hunt down new storage, I expectedly made them over with my favorite supply: paint.

Spray primer-sealer was used to prime the inside of the boxes, but the outside needed a bit more coverage, so I had to go with the Kilz primer and roll it on.

I wanted these boxes to sink into the background of my studio rather than be standout storage, so I painted them the same color as my studio walls.

While putting everything back together with some hot glue, I also added some ribbon to spice things up.  And, voila!

Aren't these cute?!  Nice, clean, subtle storage for my new studio.  I can't wait for you to see them with the full scope of the photo shoot.  Agh!  We'll just have to wait.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Bridal Fete Chicago

This Thursday I will be participating in an amazing event at Roosevelt University…Bridal Fete Chicago.  Besides painting onsite, there will also be cakes inspired by dresses and a bouquet bar.  Take a look at all the impressive talent involved this year:

Tickets can be purchased at  I hope I'll see you this Thursday!!!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Searching for Pots of Gold

Confession:  It has been 20 days since my last post.  Am I a bad person….not really.  Am I a busy person….sort of.  Am I traveling entrepreneur….why yes I am.
Last week I returned to the states from a trip to Ireland.  Crazy, right?  I feel so sneaky about it cause I really kept it under wraps from everyone.  I'd love to shout it from the rooftops that I went to Ireland, but here's the thing….some business stuff is developing and my Ireland trip is content for that development.  So, until things really happen, this is all I will be sharing with you:

In the meantime, I want to catch you up on some of my other projects, events and a new painting this week.  I'm going to make up for my lack of posts earlier this month, promise!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Celebrating 5 Years!

This weekend I will helping The Dress by Nicole celebrate 5 years of their dress boutique, as well as their expansion.  Come by Saturday from 10am - 4pm to check in on me painting.  It will be a wonderful celebration!!

Ironically, it is also Reenie Rose's 5 year anniversary this month.  Sooooo, if you want to come by on Saturday and bring me cake, I will not resist.  Cheers!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Chalkboard, Corkboard and Resolution Board All in One

It's February 1st and it's a blizzard outside today….a good day to stay indoors and refresh.  A month into the new year, and how many of you have already forgotten what your new years resolutions were?  The first couple of weeks of the new year are filled with regular reminders of improvement, but let's be honest, after that things start to dwindle.  Well, I've found a great way to remember my intentions for the new year.

I had this old cork board hanging in my studio cluttered with inspirations that started to blur into the background.  You can see it behind my old computer:

With some leftover wall paint, I decided to paint the cork board dark gray to mimic chalkboard and touched up the plain frame with some sliver paint.

This year I actually chose words for the year rather than actual resolutions.  Though they may be more vague, they open the doors to so many possibilities of how these words can shape my 2014.  Here's my list:

-Get Outside
-Stay in Motion
-Create a Path

With some chalk, a ruler and a little layout I plugged into Illustrator to get some cool fonts, I made up my own chalkboard/cork board resolution board.

Throughout the year I anticipate covering these words with other inspirations and starting again fresh for 2015.

What are some of your words for 2014?  Oh, and what do you think of the new studio color?!!