Quilt Cover Curtains…and a faux bamboo blind

There’s something about the large-scale use of bold patterns which scares me a bit.

I know that probably sounds stupid (I mean, it’s just ‘stuff’ after all) though as a budget-concious DIY decorator with a decidedly fickle streak I think it’s the fear of expending a fair amount of both cash and time on something only to tire of it after five minutes – not to mention the ridiculous dread of getting it just plain wrong in the first place!

I’m sure some of you probably feel the same way, and, like me, wish that maybe you didn’t, because as much as I adore the timeless appeal of my go-to ‘subtles’ there’s no denying the energy and impact a striking pattern can impart. Which is why I decided to step outside my comfort zone with this window treatment project for Charlotte’s room.

It all started with the Pottery Barn Florian Palampore collection…

Florian Palampore Quilt Cover

The Florian Palampore range (which included quilt covers, window drapes and shower curtains) is around four years old and now discontinued.

I was smitten!

Despite my instant love however, I never intended using anything from the actual range. You see, aside from the fact it was already discontinued, it was never even sold here in Australia (and even if it had been I’m betting it wouldn’t have been cheap). So, I decided instead to go on one of my relentless (and in no way obsessive :-) quests for something similar. I was concentrating on sourcing affordable vintage sheets which could be repurposed into curtain panels and after a few months of fruitless searching, guess what I just happened to stumble across on eBay? Yup, an actual Florian Palampore queen-sized quilt cover! Squeee!

Although a little more than I was intending to spend, at $80 (plus $20 for international shipping) I couldn’t say no. The best thing was I also discovered that the quilt cover was actually double-sided – same beautiful fabric front and back! – and based on my calculations one side alone was all I needed to create my pair of curtains. Soooo, I really only used half of the quilt cover which means that technically each curtain panel cost me just $20 – and, as a bonus, I have a whole “sheet” of that gorgeous fabric remaining!

I always intended using the curtains purely for decorative purposes so of course needed something functional to accompany them. I settled on my go-to of an inexpensive block-out roller blind concealed by a faux bamboo roman shade (a pretty yet practical combination I  also used in my master bedroom and my parent’s bedroom). Anyhoo, here’s how the whole project went down…

Just as a note, the window I worked with for this project is a standard-sized floor to almost ceiling (180cm wide x 210cm high). There is also an external blind (which you can see in some of the photos) as this is a westerly facing room which can get super hot in summer.

The Roller Blind

This is what forms the functional component of the window dressing, helping control light (and temperature, to some extent). I like using roller blinds because they are effective, easy to operate, slim and discreet and generally really affordable. I picked-up this basic block-out roller blind (just $20 on sale from Spotlight) and mounted it just above the window frame.

Block-Out Roller Blind

Prices for roller blinds can vary dramatically. For a project like this where the entire thing is concealed, there’s nothing wrong with using a low-end version. I find the basic functionality is completely comparable. Of course, if you don’t have standard sized windows then buying off-the-shelf might not be an option. I considered using a textured roller blind (so I could forgo the bamboo valance) though I couldn’t find any suitable ready-made options and the price for a custom blind was super expensive. I also toyed with the idea of topically covering my cheap roller blind with a textured fabric or wallpaper, though decided against it. Maybe that’s something for a future project.

 

The Faux Bamboo Shade

This is really just a valance imitating a bamboo shade. It does double duty by concealing the roller blind and instilling some lovely natural warmth and texture. It also hides the external blind from view when inside the room. To create this valance, I first mounted a basic curtain rod ($10 from Spotlight) just above the roller blind (making certain the brackets were deep enough to comfortably clear it).

Valance Mounting Rod

I then simply cut an inexpensive matchstick blind ($35 from Bunnings) in half horizontally, removed a few of the “sticks”, re-tied the strings (this is why I needed to remove a few sticks, to give enough slack to re-tie the strings) then wrapped and draped one half over the rod until I was happy with the look.

Valance - Using a Matchstick Blind as a Faux Shade

Remember, all the ugly exposed ends will be completely hidden by the curtains.

Note: I played around with using the upper half of the blind complete with the solid length of mounting timber though couldn’t get it to look and work as I wanted. If you plan to use the upper half, I recommend removing the mounting plank.

My valance is merely balancing on the rod though it’s incredibly stable (I’ve had this exact treatment in my master bedroom for over three years and the bamboo has never budged). You could use some clear string or thin wire to secure it if you like.

Here you can see how the block-out blind is lowered behind the valance without disturbing it in the least.

Bamboo Blind Valance

The above pic shows the blind only partially lowered for photographic purposes. Obviously it can be lowered all the way to the floor.

You might be wondering why I didn’t just forgo the roller blind and valance and use a real bamboo shade in their place. This does seem to make sense though I needed something with block-out capabilities and most bamboo shades are merely light filtering. This limited my options somewhat, though more than that, given the width of my window a bamboo block-out blind would have been extremely heavy to operate (and using two, with alternate string sides, would have required customisation – pricey). Charlotte likes opening her blind in the mornings and simply wouldn’t have been able to lift a big timber one. Also, they are pretty expensive. The cheapest ones I came across were more than double the price of my combined roller and valance alternative!

 

The Curtains

These lovely, bold botanical drapes are the real statement component of this window dressing. From a cosmetic perspective they add pretty vibrance whilst concealing the ends of the valance and plastic cord of the roller. From a functional perspective, although they are essentially “dummy drapes”, they help filter excess light which creeps in from the sides of the roller, making the room even darker (and they can be closed too if need be).

Quilt Cover Curtains and a Faux Bamboo Shade | The Painted Hive

From the beginning I had envisioned using a natural bamboo pole though unfortunately I couldn’t find a long enough one which didn’t taper down considerably (like, to pencil thinness) at one end. I eventually decided to simply cut two bamboo poles in half then connect the fatter ends together (bamboo poles are super cheap from hardware stores and garden centers). To join the halves I pumped some clear expanding glue into each natural hollow then inserted a 50cm length of dowel and forced the ends together – it’s important to use a relatively long dowel to give the joint structural integrity otherwise it may bow. This created one long, strong pole with a nice even girth and because I had cut and connected both ends at the point of a node the join is invisible. I mounted my pole quite close to the ceiling on basic cream brackets deep enough to clear the valance. For a finishing touch I added some small timber finials ($4 each from eBay – the ones I used are no longer available sorry though drawer knobs are a good alternative) and painted the visible ends of the brackets to co-ordinate with the bamboo pole.

Bamboo Curtain Rod | The Painted Hive

To transform my quilt cover into two curtain panels I first trimmed off the end section (where the buttons and holes were) then separated the front and back to give me two clean “sheets” of fabric (as mentioned above, one sheet was all I needed for both of my drapes so I  simply set one aside for use in future projects – awesome!).

I then hemmed the top and checked the length only to discover they were marginally short. Not to worry though. I had anticipated this and already pre-planned to add some simple natural linen I already owned as lengthening base trim if need be. This is not only an easy fix though also provides a nice bespoke detail. I simply added the trim during the remaining hemming process.

Base Trim Lengthens Short Curtain Panels | The Painted Hive

In this pic the base looks a little wonky though it’s just the camera angle and wave of the curtain. It was kinda hard to photograph given it’s practically behind the bed!

For the heading I defied convention (that is, my convention) by doing something that was slightly conventional (say what?). I used actual proper curtain gathering tape and hooks (super cheap from IKEA) and antique bronze rings ($15 for twenty on sale from Spotlight).

Gathering tape is more commonly associated with tailored pleats though can also be used to form the more casual ripples I went with. I sewed my tape on though you could simply use fusible webbing.

I love the soft, relaxed waves and the finish is so professional.

DIY Curtains with IKEA Gathering Tape and Hooks | The Painted Hive

You might be wondering why I didn’t just use block-out drapes and forgo the roller blind and bamboo valance? Well, I don’t really love the way block-out drapes hang. I find their fall can be a bit too stiff, heavy and ‘fat’, flanging considerably at the base. For windows with plenty of wall at either side this can be okay, though in this case they would have encroached on the actual glass, blocking some of the natural light and making the window appear smaller. Also, I don’t find opening and closing high-up, heavy drapes the most practical of options, especially in this instance where a bed impedes access – it’s much easier to simply reach over and pull the roller cord. In addition, I do like the look of layered window treatments.

Quilt Cover Curtains and a Faux Bamboo Shade | The Painted Hive

I’m kinda smitten with the happy vibe the sunny botanical print is imparting and am taking my husband’s call of “70’s caravan curtains” as some weird sort of compliment.

Of course, whilst in this instance I re-purposed a quilt cover, you can use just about anything made of appropriately proportioned fabric; flat sheets, tablecloths and drop cloths being just three options. And remember, the size doesn’t need to be perfect. Adding some co-ordinating trim at the base, head, or even somewhere mid-way, is easy and effective.

Anyhoo, Charlotte’s room is really close to complete now! I just need to finalise bedding and artwork, build some custom storage boxes and add some fun, whimsical touches – looking forward to ticking this one off!

 

Signature

AT A GLANCE
COST BREAKDOWN
Roller Blind – $20
Bamboo Valance (including rod & brackets) – $35
Bamboo Pole (including brackets, rings and finials) – $30
Curtain Panels (including tape and hooks) – $50
TOTAL
$135

I know this doesn’t sound super cheap, though compared to buying something similar the price is pretty great.

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DIY Christmas Advent Calendar Wall Chart

Just in case you’re wondering…yep, this is a re-post of my project from last year.
I wanted to share it again, a little earlier on in November this time around, to give everyone a better chance of getting it completed before December 1st.

I love Christmas. It’s my favourite time of year. So, it seemed only fitting that my advent calendar should bring together a few more of my most fave things; wall charts, chalkboards, typography and bakers twine!

Advent Calendar Wall Chart (with FREE printables!) | The Painted Hive

The countdown to Christmas day isn’t something I’ve given much thought to since childhood, though now with little kids of my own, it’s once again a time to celebrate. My vision is for this advent ritual to become a special family tradition which builds fond future memories (for myself, hubby and the kids).

This calendar was part-inspired by the old-fashioned borrowing system used at my primary school library (where there was a wall of modified envelopes filled with laminated borrowing cards) and features faux chalkboard date pockets which each hold a cute little shipping tag ready to be hung on the tree. The tags are adorned with a decorative snowflake and lyrics from ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’.

I really love the look of this calendar – it’s big, eye-catching, vintage-esque and gives just a subtle nod to the festive season – and am already kinda lamenting having to eventually take it down :( Though, thanks to its re-usable nature, I’m also looking forward to hanging it again next year!

This project is really easy, super affordable and completely rewarding (oh, and kinda awesome too :-). It’s also a project the kids can help with, and…there’s still plenty of time to have it complete before the start of December!

You will need…

DIY Advent Calendar Wall Chart Supplies

1 Fabric. I used lined (backed) seeded calico (from Spotlight). Of course you could use almost anything. I chose the calico because it had a lovely organic look and a nice medium weight (due to the backing). Plus, at only $5 a meter (on sale) it was also super affordable.

2 Hemming tape. Obviously, this is to hem the fabric. You could choose to sew the hems, use fabric grade double sided tape or fabric glue.

3 Timber trim. I used 18mm (3/4″) half dowel.

4 Timber stain. I used water-based interior stain in Walnut.

5 Double sided tape.

6 Thumb tacks or upholstery pins.

7 Hanging string. I used twine.

8 Paper. I used good quality photo paper though you could simply use standard copier paper. Light cardstock would also be good.

9 Shipping tags. I used 108mm x 54mm (4 1/4″ x 2 1/8″) tags (from Officeworks). I wanted the simplicity of traditional buff though you can find them in lots of pretty colours. Red would be nice.

10 Bakers twine. I used traditional red and white (from eBay) though you can buy it in lots of colours.

11 Acetone. For transferring the chart title onto the fabric. There are quite a few different mediums you can use for fabric transfers (Citrasolv and Artist Gel Medium being two popular ones). I found the acetone worked really well for me.

You will also need these completely free printables (click to view and download)…

FREE PRINTABLES
Chalkboard Tag Pockets
Shipping Tag Template & Graphics
Calendar Chart Title

Free for personal use only.
Republication, reproduction or redistribution in any form is forbidden.

DIY Advent Calendar Wall Chart

STEP 1 Cut and hem your fabric.

Cut your fabric into a rectangle measuring approximately 950mm x 650mm (1 yard x 25″) then hem all four sides. As mentioned in the supplies section, I used iron bond hemming tape to fuse my hems though you could sew them, or adhere them with fabric grade double sided tape or fabric glue.

How To Make an Advent Calendar

STEP 2 Cut and stain your trim.

Cut your timber trim so it overhangs the fabric by around 15mm (1/2″) at each end. If necessary, lightly sand it then tint with timber stain.

Create a Wall Chart Advent Calendar | The Painted Hive

STEP 3 Attach your trim and create the hanging string.

Run strips of double sided tape along the rear of your trim, lay the pieces in place on your fabric then press down firmly. Flip the fabric over and push in five thumb tacks along each length of trim to secure them in position. At one end, create the hanging string by winding some twine around two thumb tack stems prior to pushing them in completely. Depending on the density of your timber trim and/or the strength of your fingers, you may need to tap the tacks in with a hammer (or, in my case, the flat end of a logistically convenient meat mallet!).

Faux Chalkboard Pocket Assembly | The Painted Hive

STEP 4 Make and attach your faux chalkboard pockets (printable supplied).

How to assemble a pocket (visual guide above):

1 Print out page one of the ‘Chalkboard Tag Pockets‘ printable.

2 Cut around the outline for the number ‘1’ pocket.

3 Fold along the dotted lines. Take care to fold a smidgen inside/outside (as applicable) the lines so they aren’t visible on the finished pocket.

4 Use double sided tape to secure the top and bottom ends first (these ends are both doubled-over to hide any white paper and reinforce the pocket opening).

5 Punch (or cut) a semi-circle in the top of the pocket front. This isn’t essential, I just think it looks nice.

6 Fold up the back and use double sided tape to secure the rear flaps.

Once all 25 pockets are assembled, lay them out in position on your fabric then attach them using double sided tape. I just eyed this process though you could measure and mark.

Christmas Advent Calendar Wall Chart (with free printable pockets & tags!) | The Painted Hive

NOTE: Double sided tape works fantastically for this project. It holds the pockets perfectly in place though can be easily peeled off the fabric if required. This is great if you need to reposition a pocket. It’s also handy if you want to remove the pockets for storage purposes – simply peel them off and stack them with a square of grease proof baking paper in between each layer. And, if in a few years time the pockets need updating, you can also easily and super cheaply create a whole new batch!

How To Print Onto Shipping Tags | The Painted Hive

STEP 5 Print onto your tags (printable supplied) and attach the bakers twine.

How to create the tags (visual guide above):

1 Print out a copy of the shipping tag template (page one of the ‘Shipping Tag Template and Graphics‘ printable). Remember, this template uses 108mm x 54mm (4 1/4″ x 2 1/8″) tags.

2 Place a tag over each tag outline and secure temporarily in place with low tack tape. If your tape is too sticky it could tear the tags when you remove it so if necessary dull the tack by pressing on a cloth.

3 Insert the sheet complete with tags into your printer as per usual and print page two (remember, page one is the template) of the ‘Shipping Tag Template and Graphics‘ printable onto the tags.

4 Repeat with the remaining four pages until you have printed onto all 25 tags. When printing the 25th tag you need only tape one tag over the top center outline of the template.

5 Carefully peel off the tape.

6 Thread each tag with a bakers twine loop then insert into the date pockets.

DIY Shipping Tag Christmas Advent | The Painted Hive

I chose to adorn my tags with decorative snowflakes and the lyrics from ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’ for something whimsical and light-hearted.

Fabric Transfer with Acetone | The Painted Hive

STEP 6 Add the calendar chart title (printable supplied).

How to transfer onto fabric (visual guide above):

1 Print out the ‘Calendar Chart Title‘ using a laser printer or have it copied using a laser photocopier (inkjet will not work for this process) then cut out each line of text (it has been fragmented because it is larger than one standard letter sized sheet of paper) and reassemble it in position right side down on your chart. Secure temporarily in place with tape.

2 Working in small sections, brush on some acetone.

3 Whilst still damp use a hard smooth implement (such as a spoon) to burnish the text, transferring it from the paper to the fabric. Lift the corner of the paper from time to time to check the transference progress.

Advent Calendar (How to Transfer onto Fabric) The Painted Hive

This transfer method creates faded, distressed, aged looking graphics, which is just what I wanted for this project. It also leaves no visible residue so post washing isn’t required.

Christmas Advent Calendar (with free printables!) | The Painted Hive

STEP 7 Hang your chart and let the countdown begin!

On each day of December leading up to Christmas take a tag from the corresponding date pocket and hang it on your tree. I couldn’t resist sneaking in a few random sweets too and I’m also going to include a simple activity every third day (such as ‘write a letter to Santa’ or ‘choose a toy to donate’). Of course you could fill the pockets with whatever you like!

DIY Christmas Advent Calendar Wall Chart | The Painted Hive

There are so many ways you can tweak this project to really make it your own. And whilst I know super fast crafty projects are all the rage right now, occasionally it’s nice to take a little more time to create something that’s just that bit special (not that this particular project is overly labor intensive).

DIY Christmas Advent Calendar Wall Chart (with FREE printables) | The Painted Hive

Hope it helps inspire!

Signature

 

FREE PRINTABLES
Chalkboard Tag Pockets
Shipping Tag Template & Graphics
Calendar Chart Title

Free for personal use only.
Republication, reproduction or redistribution in any form is forbidden.

 

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Free Printable Vintage Coastal Illustrations

If you’re a Facebook friend, you might have seen a post of mine from last week featuring a collection of nautical images I created for a new gallery wall at my parent’s beach house.

I found the original images on The Graphics Fairy then modified them slightly to suit my needs. Now, with permission from Karen (The Graphics Fairy) I am offering them as free printables.

This collection includes twelve high resolution images on standard letter-sized paper (for easy at-home or in-store printing) to fit regular 8″ x 10″ photo frames or standard certificate/document frames (of course, you can always use larger frames with mattes or smaller frames if you reduce the image size).

Free Printables - 12 Nautical Illustrations | The Painted Hive

DOWNLOAD HERE

These lovely vintage illustrations are just so versatile. Although the images themselves are all similar in scale and would have real impact in a uniform grid, there’s no reason you couldn’t use randomly sized frames for a more collected look (any larger frames could simply be matted). I think it’s a bit of a misconception that frames and art need to be perfectly scaled and proportioned. There really are no rules, it just depends on the look and feel you’re after.

Here are a few ideas…

Gallery Wall Configurations | The Painted Hive

I like all these options though really love the simplicity of the single feature idea – using a large frame to give a relatively small print real presence.

And, on top of choosing a hanging configuration, there are also tonnes of framing options (especially if you also use mattes). How about blue frames to co-ordinate with the images, simple white or black frames with blue mattes, gold frames for a more refined look, textured mattes in a natural tone to add some warmth or double mattes to create a border, and on and on.

Of course, if you’re going for an eclectic look, you can simply use a mish-mash of frames which I think always looks great.

 

To Print
For convenience, I simply printed these at home using my best quality print settings onto good matte photo paper. You could also have them printed professionally (in-store or online). If so, look into using a colour document printing service (if available) over actual photo printing. It is usually heaps cheaper and for simple images like these quality is comparable. I just had a quick look at the Officeworks website and saw that 8″ x 10″ photo prints start at $2.50 whereas colour documents begin at just 88 cents (for twelve prints that’s a saving of around $20).

 

Editing Digital Images
I get lots of questions about working with free printables so I know it’s not straight-forward for everyone. I also remember just how challenging I personally found it at first. If you’d like to learn more about customising digital graphics refer to my free printables series.

For these images (which were originally found on the Graphics Fairy – as mentioned above) I simply changed the colour (they were initially black) and marginally increased the size. I did this in Photoshop (which is my preferred editing program) though simple modifications like this can be made using lots of programs (such as publishing programs, like Word, or free online editors, like Pixlr).

Of course, you can make further edits to my images if you’d like. You could change the colour, invert the background, introduce a border, add some text or play with overlays for a distressed or grungy look, and so on.

Note: If using a publishing program or free online editor, just be mindful of image quality. One of the reasons I prefer using a purpose editing programs is the control and clarity it offers in terms of resolution. Some editors are not designed to produce print quality images (they merely edit for digital purposes). If you’re confused, you can read more about quality and resolution in my series about free printables. I recommend downloading GIMP if you’re not willing or able to purchase an editing program.

Have fun!

 

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PS I know lots of my regular readers are sick to death of hearing me apologise for my sporadic absences, though I just wanted to let you know that at the mo’ I’m helping my sister finalise deets for her at-home wedding (taking place in two weeks time – eeek!) and hope to be back more frequently once it’s all done and dusted.

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A Desk Lamp Becomes a Wall Light

I’ve coveted adjustable arm wall lights from the first moment I saw one.

Adjustable Swing Arm Wall Lights

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 56

To me there’s just something so desirable about their sculptural form and subtle industrial edge. That said, I never really envisioned actually using one in my own home.

You see, despite the oft crazy price tag (and down-right unavailability – especially here in Australia, anyways) I’m just a bit too fickle to commit to the permanence of hard-wired wall lights – I simply like the flexibility of everything in a space being easily repositioned (I guess that’s the reason I’m also a fan of free-standing ‘built-ins’, like the one in our home office). I know, I know, it’s not too difficult to reposition sconce lights if required, though with the cost and work involved with installation, I’d simply rather not go to the trouble. Yep, I’m stingy and lazy like that.

So, when it came time to implement my lighting plan for Charlotte’s room I needed to think a bit outside the box.

Remember my inspiration rendering from ages ago…

Charlotte's Room Virtual Plan

Given the tininess of Charlotte’s room and the position of her bed, I really liked the idea of using sconces in place of a table lamp. My initial plan was to use two. I do still like the symmetry of this though for now have decided to opt for one over the bed head only. As already mentioned however I didn’t want to have to hard-wire it in.

So, I decided there were three main options…

1 Use a plug-in wall lamp.
Simple, right? Well, not exactly. I discovered that aside from the IKEA options there are almost NO plug-in wall lamps available here in Australia and certainly none of the adjustable arm variety. Trust me. I looked, and looked and looked, and annoyed people with seemingly perplexing emails and phone calls, and looked and looked, and looked some more. There was the option of having one shipped from overseas though with the cost of postage plonked on top of the cost of the actual lamp it wasn’t gonna be cheap, not to mention the hassle of incompatible electrics.

2 Convert a hard-wired wall light into a plug-in option.
Definitely do-able (or so my husband tells me) though I was kinda set on using an adjustable arm wall light and the minimum cost for one of those is around $250!

3 Get my décor crazy on and stick a desk lamp to the wall.
Sure, why not, hey?

If you follow me on Facebook you might remember a post (from about  a year ago now) where I shared some adjustable arm desk lamps which, at the time, were on sale from Wayfair for just $35 each (it seems they are no longer available through Wayfair though you can buy them from other retailers – here, here, here. You can, of course, also find similar ones).

I know desk lamps like this aren’t anything new though for some reason I immediately associated these particular ones with the swing arm wall lights I’d been crushing on. Sure enough, my head was soon tilted at a right angle (looking at the lamp pic on my screen) and my noggin cogs were turning! Before committing to buy however, rather than trust my imagination alone, I had a bit of a play around with the product pic in Photoshop, manipulating the lamp into something that might actually work on a wall.

Converting a Desk Lamp to a Wall Sconce

You see, although I was planning on simply sticking a desk lamp to the wall, I didn’t really want it to look like I’d just stuck a desk lamp to the wall. I wanted it to look as legit as possible. Luckily, my rough Photoshop renderings convinced me it could work (in fact, I thought it looked just like the real ones!) so I went ahead and made the purchase.

Once the lamp arrived, I played around with the arms in person. I noticed that the beehive style “hinges” restricted the amount of angle I could achieve because they hit each other. Fortunately, this didn’t effect my desired configuration. I also felt the leading arm was a little too long though figured this was just me being overly fussy.

Anyhoo, here’s how the whole (easy and affordable) project went down…

Step 1- Wall Mounting a Desk Lamp | The Painted Hive

STEP 1 Remove base plate.

Adjustable arm desk lamps come with pretty hefty bases to balance the weight of the angled arms though for my purpose it was just making the whole lamp way too heavy. To remove the base plate, it was simply a matter of pulling off the glued-on cover, undoing a few bolts and nuts then releasing the heavy resin disk.

Desk Lamp to Wall Light (Step 2) | The Painted Hive

STEP 2 Drill mounting hole.

With the base plate gone the lamp was surprisingly light (like, lighter than a picture frame light) though I still needed to come up with an effective means of attaching it to the wall. After brain-storming a few different ideas I concluded that one long central screw was the simplest and safest method. Sure, this meant there would be a visible screw head though with the slight industrial style of the lamp I decided this wouldn’t bother me. To accommodate the screw I drilled a neat hole in the top of the base opposite the cord. For obvious reasons I did this prior to painting.

Desk Lamp to Wall Sconce Light (Step 3) | The Painted hvie

STEP 3 Mask and spray paint.

Ideally, I would have loved an antique brass lamp though they just weren’t available in my stingy price-frame. I contemplated creating a brass finish myself, though decided instead to go with something very neutral and chose Rust-Oleum Oil Rubbed Bronze. I simply taped-off the bulb socket and cord (in hind-sight I didn’t need to tape the cord though) then gave the lamp around three light coats, adjusting the arms as needed to achieve all-over coverage. I thought about doing the whole ‘colour pop’ thing on the inside of the shade (which I do love) though decided to keep things simple. Maybe I’ll hand paint it a sunny yellow or something in the future, maybe.

Of course, the original brushed chrome finish was totally fine, just not in-keeping with the scheme for Charlotte’s room.

Wall Mounted Desk Lamp (Step 4) | The Painted Hive

STEP 4 Cover exposed base.

Just to keep things neat and conceal the wires I cut a disk from the front of an old display folder (you know, those flexible plastic ones) and inserted it behind the rim. I also made sure to cut a slot for the impending screw.

Mounting a Desk Lamp to a Wall (Step 5) | The Painted Hive

STEP 5 Attach to wall.

As mentioned in Step 2, I decided that once long central screw was the best way to mount the lamp. I was lucky to have an appropriately located wall stud so my lamp is actually anchored in solid timber though given the lightness of the lamp I think a heavy duty plaster plug would also do the trick. To ensure my screw head nestled neatly into the lamp groove, I drilled into the wall on a slight downward angle and used a dome-head screw. My screw was originally black so already matched my lamp though of course you can paint the head any colour to co-ordinate.

Hiding Wall Lamp Cords and Switches | The Painted Hive

STEP 6 Conceal cord and switch.

I knew from the beginning that the visible cord and switch were going to bug me. That said, I think that in the right space the casual nature of the exposed cord can work. I just wanted something a little more ‘finished’. If it doesn’t bother you then you just saved yourself an extra process!

I decided to hide the cord in a narrow concealer made to appear like part of the light itself. I actually quite like this look. I found an adhesive cord cover (D-Line Micro – $10 from Bunnings), cut it into two portions (one for above the switch, and one for below) then spray painted it to match the lamp. Of course, you could instead choose to paint the cord cover to blend in with the wall, though I think this is a look better suited to dark coloured walls. I wanted the cord cover to abut the light so it looked like part of it. This created a slight lean away from the wall where it meets the lamp due to the cord needing some clearance space. Thankfully this is only discernible upon super close inspection and the dark colour of the lamp, cord and cover really does help disguise everything.

Wall Lamp Cord Concealer

To deal with the exposed switch I decided to hang a pretty picture over it.

Wall Mounting a Desk Lamp | The Painted Hive

I know, I know, you’re probably thinking how ridiculously impractical that sounds – “A picture over the switch, how the heck do you actually use the dang thing then? Duh”. I thought this too which is why I installed a remote power switch (click the link if you’re not sure what a remote power switch is – sorry, I couldn’t find a link to my actual brand). I love this thing. Essentially, the lamp is always ‘on’ though power to it is controlled via remote. The remote is simply attached to the side of Charlotte’s chest of drawers with a 3M Picture Hanging Strip so it’s nicely hidden, completely removable and super accessible.

Remote Controlled Power Switch for Lamp

The remote is capable of operating multiple power points which is why it has so many buttons. Of course, we only need to press the top (“1″) button to operate our lamp and Charlotte has this down to a fine art.

I thought about using some kind of hinge system to hang the picture though decided that was overly complicated (and extra difficult given the fact the switch means the picture can’t sit flush on the wall). Instead I simply opted for basic picture string and two long nails hammered in on a steep downward angle. It’s easy to lever the picture without the string slipping off the nails so the switch can be accessed (if needed).

How To Lever a Picture

The length of the nails, which sit just proud of the switch plate, also mean that although the picture doesn’t sit flush against the wall it does rest neatly parallel to it. An unintended bonus is how having a piece of art below the sconce gives it the impression of being a picture light, which I like.

Adjustable Arm Wall Light from a Desk Lamp | The Painted Hive

I went with a 15 watt pilot bulb which, although very soft, throws ample reading light. I was initially concerned that the position of the light might be somewhat blinding though have laid beside Charlotte on numerous occasions to read bedtime stories and have never once found it to be a problem – on the contrary, it’s actually quite nice to have a warm back light for a change (and, of course, the tilt of the shade can always be altered to redirect the cast, if need be).

Desk Lamp to Wall Light - Budget Friendly| The Painted Hive

Although I wasn’t ever attempting a specific “knock-off”, before publishing this post I did a quick Google search and found these similar lamps…

Swing Arm Wall Light Knock Off | The Painted Hive

Bellacor | Hudson Valley

The $50 for mine includes the lamp, cable cover and paint. I know those proper wall lights are pretty gorgeous, though I do prefer my price tag!

This whole project was a total experiment and I’m really happy with how it turned out though the fact the concept is kinda weird hasn’t escaped me. So, tell me…successful or stupid?

A Desk Lamp Becomes a Wall Light | The Painted Hive

 

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Distressed Coffee Table (a revisit & rework)

Every now and again I receive questions about past projects.

It’s always a lovely surprise though also a tad embarrassing to be reminded that people still read my older stuff. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I am proud of my humble beginnings and grateful for the path my callow bloggy pavers have laid, though am still bashfully aware of just how far I’ve come (and yes, I’m also aware that in a few years time I’ll probably look back at my current posts and think they’re crappy too).

Anyhoo, one of the most asked about projects from the past is my distressed coffee table makeover (from way back in 2011).

Cottage Country Living Room with Brown Leather Sofas | The Painted Hive

Photo from my living room mini makeover 2012.

After a slew of recent questions (I guess the old post must have been freshly featured somewhere?), I re-visited the article myself and was, let’s just say, a little underwhelmed.

No wonder I kept getting so many questions. Where were the step by step instructions, detailed explanations and accompanying images I love including today? Nowhere, that’s where! :-(

So, given the apparent ambiguity of the original post I thought I owed everyone (and myself) a more complete tutorial.

Just in case you’re new here and are wondering, I originally picked this table up from eBay for around $25. It was in great condition and certainly nice enough as is though I personally felt it lacked a bit of character.

Distressed Coffee Table Tutorial (Step 1) | The Painted Hive

1 Lightly sand the base using medium grit paper.

Because I planned to paint and distress the base I wasn’t too fussed about the preparatory sanding being thorough. In fact, I didn’t want it to be too thorough because it was important the paint could be distressed easily for a more authentic look. I simply wanted to create a bit of scuff to lightly grip some of the paint.

Maybe at this stage I should also apologise for the crap before shot. Another oversight from my early blogging days. It’s taken straight from the eBay listing and, no, the pen and phone were not included – false advertising or what?

 

DIY Distressed Coffee Table

2 Apply two coats of white paint to the base.

After cleaning away any sanding residue, I applied two coats (with drying time between, of course) of standard acrylic wall paint using a brush. You could use pretty much any paint though where distressing is concerned some do produce better results than others. In my experience low sheen, water based paints are great (of course there are also “speciality paints” – such as chalk and milk paint). I find glossy or oil based paints can be a bit ‘tacky’ which makes distressing trickier. Another reason I tend to use standard acrylic wall paint is because I often get it for super cheap (mis-tints) or even free (from hazardous waste depots). I didn’t apply any primer because, again, I wasn’t too fussed about the paint adhering perfectly.

 

Rustic Distressed Coffee Table

3 Distress the paint.

Once the paint was thoroughly dry I distressed it heavily by hand using a sanding block and a combination of sandpapers with varying grits (basically, I used rough paper for heavy distressing and fine paper for more subtle distressing). You could use a palm sander (I generally do) though for whatever reason I just distressed this one by hand (palm sanders can leave small scrolly squiggles – which may or may not bother you – due to the vibrations). I completed the sanding with an all-over rub of steel wool for a smooth and silky finish.

This process takes a bit of time and elbow grease and, although practise and technique can help, it’s pretty much just an ‘anything goes’ task. Play with sanding directions and depths, inspecting your progress from time to time, until you have achieved the look you’re after. From memory I also used a belt sander on the table shelf to make distressing the large, flat area quicker and easier.

Because my table was a naturally light coloured timber which had already been coated with a dark brown stain, my distressing revealed two tones of wood. This multi-tonal look makes for a really beautiful layered effect. If you’re starting with a piece that is light in colour and want the “layered” look, if at all possible, I do recommend staining it first.

 

Rustic Farmhouse Coffee Table

4 Apply a finishing glaze.

I’m not really of the opinion that top coats are always needed and am not sure if this is something I would bother with any more. At the time I think I was experimenting more than anything. I simply combined some brown craft paint with some clear acrylic sealer (around 1 part paint to 9 parts sealer) then applied it liberally with a rag before wiping it away again with another slightly damp rag. This created a subtle all-over sepia effect and a very soft sheen along with protecting and ‘finishing’ the finish (make sense?).

Just keep in mind that most clear sealers will yellow to some extent over time (some more so than others). If, like me, you’ don’t mind a bit of warmth in your whites, then this probably won’t bother you though if you’d prefer to keep them crisp ask for a non-yellowing sealer.

 

How To Distress Furniture

5 Sand, stain and seal the top.

It’s hard to tell from the before photo though the table top was simply stained veneer and for my personal taste was just a little too perfect – bordering on fake looking – and had a slight pink tone.

I sanded it back to raw, being careful not to go too far and reveal the composite board beneath the veneer, using a belt sander then distressed it slightly using a combination of hard, heavy and pointy implements (a hammer, steel chain, and prick punch). I then stained it a deep walnut colour and sealed it with one coat of danish oil. Sorry if you’re a regular visitor here and are sick to death of hearing about my love for danish oil, though for any new readers it’s my absolute fave timber sealer and totally awesome!

How To: Distressed Coffee Table | The Painted Hive

What was originally a rather plain table is now perfectly at home in my cottagey style living room. But more than that I feel its sense of personality actual injects further “life” into the space.

I’m planning to re-visit a few of my other more popular posts from the past in the hope of making my project processes a little more clear, detailed, and ultimately, achievable. I’ve also been working on getting Charlotte’s bedroom finished along with helping my parents with another room makeover at their place so, although I know at the mo’ I could probably be out-blgged by a glacier, I promise there are fresh projects in the works.

 

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