Faux Pressed Metal Brake Fluid Drum!

I was visiting my parents recently when I happened to glance over and see this beside their garage…

Hmmm, a cruddy old brake fluid drum, how fascinating, right? Well, yes, I mean, it is cruddy and old and whilst I had probably looked at it a hundred times before for some reason that day I really saw it for the first time.

You see, my nursery lamp (shown here temporarily sitting on picnic baskets)…

…is too tall for a regular side table yet too short to stand on the floor and I figure my brain was subconsciously scouring for a solution when the proportions of the drum jumped up and slapped me square across the face.

I took some quick measurements and sure enough, proportions…tick!

Appearance…ummm, not so tick.

Luckily that is easily fixed! The fact it was tin gave me some immediate inspiration so I followed my instinct and began an experiment to create a pressed metal look.

Firstly, I gathered my supplies….

One meter of plastic table runner lace (if you’re in Australia I got mine from Spotlight though it should be readily available from most haberdashery stores and is super cheap).

A can of gloss enamel spraypaint (I chose ivory for a vintage cream look).

Strong craft glue (I used PVA).

Something to use as feet (I decided on these vintage castors I already had).

And the process….

To begin with, I made sure the drum was empty and gave it a thorough all-over clean. Next, I turned it upside down because I wanted the bottom to become the top and played around with the positioning of the plastic lace. Because the lace in its original form was too wide for the drum I created one new decorative edge at the right width by trimming around the pattern in the existing design with scissors.

Next, I wrapped it around the drum to work out where it would meet and trimmed it so it would neatly overlap just a little. To adhere it to the drum I applied a reasonably generous amount of glue all over the drum’s sides (using a paint brush) then I rolled my lace into position. I applied some additional glue to the ends to ensure they were well bonded to the drum.

I also added lace to the top of the drum (to hide a number which was pressed into the tin. I would probably have left it plain otherwise).

In the above photo you can see a faint outline where there was a slightly raised sphere though it’s far less obvious in person.

Once the glue was thoroughly dry and I was satisfied the lace was well adhered I gave the entire drum three coats of gloss enamel spray paint.

This was the moment of truth – it was either gonna look okay or like someone had just stuck some plastic lace to a crappy old tin drum….

Well, whilst beauty is subjective I gotta say that to me it actually looked kinda cool!

Once the paint dried I flipped it over and simply liquid-nailed on my castor wheels.

This project was purely experimental so I was pretty pleased with the result. Obviously, it’s a reasonably unconventional (or, as I prefer to think, ‘innovative’) makeover, and certainly not to everyone’s taste though it was fun to push the boundaries a bit.

Plastic lace and a brake fluid drum hey? Who woulda thought….

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Bird and Twig Nursery Mobile

When I woke this morning I noticed a soft golden glow creeping in from beyond my bedroom curtains and when I peered out the window saw the tree limbs dancing in the type of gentle breeze which makes you want to hang fresh white sheets on the clothes line. It was one of those mornings which reminds you of childhood holidays and made me think that Spring has finally sprung here in the lower Southern hemisphere – yay!

Just the motivation I need to finally shorten my looong ‘to do’ list – starting with the nursery of course! Though whilst it waits for some final touches before the full reveal I thought I’d share the latest addition – a sweet bird and twig mobile.

I knew from the beginning that I wanted to use twigs and timber birds and was inspired to add some filigree leaves when I came across these charming hand-carved songbirds on Etsy with this accompanying photograph of a mobile created by Hayley Duggan…

Along with the hand-carved birds I found a selection of affordable filigree leaves on Etsy too.

And I picked up two twigs from outside my back door (well, that’s putting it simply to be honest. It actually took me a good half hour to make my final selection. Being surrounded by gum trees I guess the choice was a little overwhelming!).

I decided to paint my birds musk pink. Before I attached them and the leaves to the twigs I used little round eye screws and fishing line to hang the twigs how I wanted them.

I did this first to determine their natural horizontal position (thus knowing where to place the birds so they were upright and the mobile stayed balanced). As an extra precaution I also tested the birds positions with blu-tac before I adhered them with hot-glue for good.
I know this may sound fussy (and, yes, I am fussy :-) though it was actually a real pain getting everything aligned properly. It all needed to be pretty precisely weighted and whilst I’m sure there is probably an easy way to do it, I sure as heck couldn’t figure it out! It just took trial-and-error and by the end I did almost grab the whole thing, screw it up in my hands and throw it in the air (almost).

To finish, I simply hot-glued on the filigree leaves in little sporadic clusters – thankfully that part was easy.

The completed mobile is really quite adorable (if I do say so myself!) and although I’m not a ‘pink’ person the little musk birds seem just perfect.

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Classic Dining Table Revamp

As I type there’s an infant attached to my boob so just a quick one today :-)

I’ve had this boring pink-limed dining table for ages and finally got around to giving it a simple yet effective make-over. I originally picked it up for $10 off eBay.

I wanted to give it it a sleek classic feel so painted the base with satin black acrylic then sealed it with clear acrylic poly.

To give the top more character, after sanding it back to raw, I stained it walnut and added horizontal score lines to resemble planks. You can read my tutorial for that in this previous post.

For a sleek and durable finish I then sealed the top with three coats of timber floor polish.

Along with being tough, floor polish is super shiny and always tends to add a little ‘wow’.

And for those who are interested; fifteen weeks old now!

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Coastal Map Covered Coffee Table

For the first time in a long time we were lucky enough to get away for a few days and spent last week at my parent’s beach house in St Leonards, which is on the Bellarine Peninsula along Australia’s south-eastern coast.

I’d been looking forward to heading down there for ages. Yeah, sure, for the salty scent in the air, barefoot walks on the sand, laid-back evening BBQ’s and the general un-necessity for usual household chores, though also because I wanted to finally finish off their living room coffee table so I could blog about it.

I picked up this large coffee table from eBay for just $10.

The reason I was able to buy it so cheaply was because the glass top was severely scratched, which to most people is probably a major deterrent, though to me (and I’m sure many other crafty bloggers out there) was an excuse to get creative!

Soon enough I had an idea, and if you’re not new here you may be familiar with some of my previous projects, including this cabinet….

and this map….

….which both helped influence the direction I took with the coffee table.

To give the table extra interest and a personal touch, we (that’s Mum and I) decided on a map which incorporated St Leonards (the town their beach house is in). So, I searched the internet and eventually found an awesome zoomable historic yatching and excursions map of the area.

Using the same process I used to create my large map of Paris, I zoomed, copied and then pasted (into Photoshop) portions of the digital map to eventually create one large image big enough to fit the existing glass table top. This process can take some time (fiddling with size, colour, cropping, etc) until it’s just right. I then took it to my local printer and had it printed on medium weight paper. It cost around $35 (for a full colour print at over one meter square in size – not too bad).

The map had to be printed in two parts because it was too large for one sheet of paper.

Then, using the same process I used to affix the gift wrap to the top of my nautical cabinet, I attached the map of Port Phillip Bay to the coffee table glass.

Dad repainted the timber base white which gives it a fresh, coastal feel though it would also look great colour-matched with one of the muted sea-greens or sepia tones in the map.

I lightly distressed the edges of the base with a sanding block to soften the starkness of the pure white.

The map was treated with about eight coats of acrylic sealer so is really well protected and can be wiped clean with a damp cloth just like any surface.

The digital map I used is scanned from an original so shows signs of wear (such as fold lines and tears) which I personally really love.

And look, here’s St Leonards (on the Bay) – the town my parent’s beach house is in!

It’s really wonderful to have this map, not only for its aesthetic appeal, though also for its connection of place which makes it extra interesting and somewhat special.

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Nursery Elements

With everything seeming to take waaay longer than it should nowadays I’m pleased to announce that at least the cot (crib) is finished (and it only took me nine weeks – not too bad for 33 stints of five minutes at a time!).

So, while the nursery as a whole is still awaiting some finishing touches before the full reveal, I thought I’d at least share some of the elements so far.

I’ve already posted about my DIY basket light

Though now I’ve also got some of this on the walls…

…and these on the windows…

I’ve also used a bit of this…

…with some of these…

…to transform the existing built-in robe.

And I found this…

…on eBay (as previously mentioned), which has now been transformed thanks to some paint, elbow grease and the castors from these…

So, the room really is getting there!

Though I’m still undecided about this…

And am yet to create one of these…

Oh, and do you remember when I made-over my master bedroom I was going to use these…

…well, they ended up being a little too tall so now one of them has scored a home somewhere in the nursery – love!

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