DIY DIY DIY! It’s everywhere, it’s popular, it’s trendy, and we love it. Why?
- 1) Hello money savings
- 2) We love projects
- 3) CREATIVITY
With the World Wide Web chock full of all things DIY, we all know that there are a million different ways to accomplish your “rustic/shabby chic/vintage/antique/yadayadayada” project. However, much of that information is intimidating and overwhelming, and if you’re a first-time DIY’er, it can be hard to know where to start, what you need, and what to do if you screw it all up.
Guess what?!? When you DIY, you can’t screw up. And if you do, you can sand down your project and start over. Pretty cool, eh?
So. You ready to give this a try? Here are my personal tips for DIY’ing LIKE A BOSS:
- Step 1: Find item on side of road (or wherever..I like barns, basements, attics and Goodwill too)
- Step 2: Sand that shit
- Step 3: Slap some paint on that shit
- Step 4: Let that shit dry and sand it some more
- Step 5: Stain that shit
- Step 6: VOILA – DIY WORLD DOMINATION
Let me explain a bit further…
Step 1: Find item – Here is a cabinet I found in our 100-year-old barn. I believe it was used to house farm animal medications, or perhaps it housed some moonshine. (I hope.)
The back was rotted out, so I pulled it off (with my bare hands, which probably wasn’t the greatest idea I’ve ever had, but what’s done is done). I figured since my Dad was going to be cutting a new back for it, he could cut some new shelves as well, so I took those out because they were gross (as you can see by the bottom shelf below).
SIDE NOTE/FACT: My dad is the second coming of MacGyver (remember that show, kids?) This fact is very helpful. He has like a billion tools and he can basically build a mansion with toothpicks and dental floss so as you can imagine, this comes in handy. Also, his name is Guy. And this is him making waffles.
Ok back on task…
Take the hardware off. In my case it was very old and corroded, so I had to use some extra elbow grease/Dad. I personally like to clean up and re-use the original hardware (unless it’s just hideous), but you could purchase new as well. I did use new screws, but I spray painted them (as well as the original hardware) an antique bronze color.
Step 2: Sand that shit – The purpose of sanding is to expose some of the raw wood so that during the last step—sanding—the exposed wood grain soaks up the stain. Sanding also helps to clean it. Get an electric sander! They are cheap and will change your DIY life. Also, get an array of sand paper grits. I have no method, but I just make my best guess as to which grit to use depending on how much I want to take off. The higher the grit number, the less harsh the sandpaper is. I was careful not to take off too much of the natural flaky aging that was on this piece.
Here you can see the un-sanded and dirty part on the left side, and the sanded part with some exposed wood grain on the right.
NOTE: I did clean the piece off before I started. There were spider webs and yea, shawty don’t play that. I brushed it off with a stiff brush and blew it off with an extremely powerful air compressor thing that my dad has in his garage. This is just how dirty this thing was!
At this point, I also used some nails and a hammer to reinforce the whole cabinet. I also had to hammer down a few exposed nails for safety purposes. Speaking of safety, I also started drinking. No reason needed. Hammer + Nails + Booze = A Great DIY Day
Disclaimer: I don’t recommend boozing and using power tools/hammers but I’m not your mom so do what you want.
Then, BLOW IT OFF (that’s what she said). You MUST get all of the remaining junk/dirt/sand off of the piece before you paint it . . . or don’t, and roll with it. Maybe you’ll end up with a “gritty” look. Up to you! Here is a brush I found on the ground to help loosen the dirt and that air compressor hose thing (again, thanks Dad) that I used to blow all the dirt off.
Step 3: Slap some paint on that shit – After sanding and blowing off your masterpiece, grab your paint and a paintbrush. I used random paint that my dad had lying around in the garage, and as you can see, I hit the jackpot! I didn’t give a damn about the brush size, so I used the one that I found first. It was like 2 inches or something close to that.
Then I legit just slapped some paint on that bitch. TIP: The color you put on first will be the most exposed in the end because the layers on top will have the most contact with the sander and begin to disappear. I recommend using a pretty dry brush without a lot of paint; this way, it looks more “antique” and not so saturated. Go ahead and put on a few different colors and let the colors mix a bit; you might even create one more layer of color. Since the cabinet already had a cream color, I used white and a light robin’s egg blue. I love this color combo as you will see in future DIY ‘s.
Step 4: Let that shit dry and sand it some more – Make sure the paint is totally dry or the sand paper will be ruined and you won’t get the same result. Basically, BACK UP OFF IT. NOTE: It will obviously dry faster the thinner the layer of coats. Once it’s finally dry and you can finish that beer, start sanding. You can see that a huge amount of the paint I added was sanded off, but still left a decent amount of the blue and white, giving the cabinet that “shabby chic” look. See the exposed wood grain that will soak up the stain? Sand to your heart’s content. This simply comes down to a personal preference: how much paint or wood do you want to show?
I chose to paint the inside of the cabinet the solid robin’s egg blue, but I still sanded over it just a bit so that I could add some wood stain for texture and aging.
Step 5: Stain that shit – After your last good sanding, make sure you blow it off really good again (that’s what she said . . . again). Now grab some stain. My dad had all sorts of stains: cherry, dark oak, light oak, mahogany, etc . . . I grabbed the light oak because I wanted to keep the entire overall look light and fresh, ya dig?
TIME OUT. I should probably tell you to make sure you are doing this on a huge piece of cardboard (or old sheet) as to not destroy the ground if you give a damn. TIME IN.
To add the stain, just grab a rag and dip it in the stain and rub, rub, rub. Some people (those that actually do give a fuck) use gloves because they don’t want their precious paws to be stained. I, as you can guess, give ZERO fucks and my hands are always a hot mess anyways. Here, you can see the stain added to the top, with nothing yet added to the bottom. Fill in all the cracks and fully cover it in a THIN coat of stain. You will see your baby come to life!
“Y’all, I’m kinda good at this.”
I then stained the new back and shelves that Dad/MacGyver cut. I chose to keep the back panel solid wood, with no additional paint. I slapped some dark oak stain on it in a messy fashion (if that’s what you wanna call it), and then covered the remaining exposed wood with a light oak stain and I didn’t wait for them to dry in between. Guess what? It worked out because it blended it! (SEE?! You can make up your own rules!) For the shelves, I put a bit of robin’s egg blue and white paint, then sanded them down and stained over them with light oak.
One of the most addictive aspects of DIY ‘ing is the suspense and the unknown. Every project is different, and maybe not every project will go exactly as planned – but who cares? In the end, you’ll have created something wholly original, something that is completely unique to YOU. So throw out the rules, use a few key tips to point you in the right direction, and get creative! Create a new way to do it, and give no fucks while doing so! Besides, someone at someone point did just this.
Cheers to creativity! GET WILD!