DIY Concrete Vessel Planters

Do you guys remember when I shared some pics of this simple concrete vessel I made a few months back…

DIY Concrete Vessel Planters | The Painted Hive

Well, I received quite a few requests for a tutorial so have spent the past few weeks perfecting my process (and learning more than I will ever need to know about concrete!) so I can share a thorough ‘how to’ with you all.

Anyhoo, let’s get to it.

Make Your Own Cement Planter

DIY Cement Vessels

CEMENT
See below for further info.

WATER
Impurities in water can effect the strength, appearance, curing time and durability of concrete so using regular drinking water is recommended.

AGGREGATES (OPTIONAL)
Basically, an aggregate is any granular material, such as sand, gravel, rocks, pebbles, vermiculite, perlite, peat moss and so on, which contribute to the overall mass of your concrete. Aggregates can effect your concrete by; increasing the strength, modifying the structure, altering the texture, changing the colour and reducing the weight.
You may want to add perlite or vermiculite if you’re creating a particularly large planter as it will help reduce the overall weight. You may want to add gravel or peat moss if you’d like to create a rustic planter with lots of texture and some colour variation. It’s really just a matter of experimenting until you find which aggregates, if any, you like.

DIY Cement Planter How To

DIY Cement Planters

BUCKET OR CONTAINER
Just something to mix your cement in. You could even mix it directly in your mould – though that can be a bit fiddly.

MIXING IMPLEMENT
I used a trowel and a wooden spoon. You could just use your hands (be sure to wear gloves) or even a stirrer drill attachment if you’re super fancy.

LUBRICANT
Anything which will provide a bit of slip is fine. I used cooking oil spray, though you could use vaseline or a purpose mould release spray.

MOULDS
You need two nesting vessels to form your mould. You can use whatever you like; tupperware containers, plastic bottles, cardboard boxes, old tins, metal baking dishes, and so on.
For this tutorial I actually used a cheap ceramic bowl (for the outer mould) and a little plastic ramekin (for the inner mould) because they created the exact form I was after (plus I was on a deadline when I made my initial planters so didn’t have time to shop around).
I realise using something ceramic as a mould is a bit unorthodox due its inflexible, breakable nature, though it worked incredibly well for me. I was able to release my concrete planter with a few simple bangs and have been able to re-use the same mould over and over again!  I think I’ve made about twelve little vessels now using the exact same ceramic bowl!
When selecting your moulds, be sure to keep their shape in mind to ensure you can easily release your concrete. Of course, if the top tapers in or has an interior lip, make sure you’re willing and able to completely destroy the mould to release your planter. Also, make sure that your inner mould allows for thick enough walls. To avoid fragility, your planter need to be around 15mm/.5″ thick.

SANDPAPER OR FILE
Just to help smooth any rough or bumpy bits if desired.

 

Types of Cement

There are heaps of different cements out there so choosing the right one can be confusing. Although I don’t consider myself any kind of expert, I did a fair bit of research and experimented with a few different varieties so thought it was worth sharing what I learned.

It’s important to first note that whilst straight cement comes in many different varieties there are also products which contain a blend of cement and other substances.

Straight cement may be found in General Purpose (also known as Portland Grey), White or Off-White, Rapid Set, Extra Strength, and so on. Cement is a fine powder which hardens when combined with water. Although it is rarely used alone, it is the active ingredient in many construction mixes.

Cement blends may include Concrete Mix (a combination of cement, sand and gravel), Mortar Mix (a combination of cement, sand and lime) or simply Sand & Cement Mix.

Cement is rarely used alone because it lacks inherent strength. For construction purposes this poses a major problem, however for little crafty projects such as this, cement alone is ample strong enough. Particularly if it’s properly cured (more on that in Step 5 below).

So, which straight cement or cement blend should you use?

For this project anything should work. However the process and results may vary.

Straight cement produces a relatively smooth and even finish. Concrete Mix is full of grunge and texture (due to the size of some of the included aggregate Concrete Mix may not be suitable for small projects though). Mortar Mix is slightly grainy and a bit softer.

I trialed three different products; General Purpose Cement (Portland Grey), Rapid Set Sand & Cement, and Off-White Cement (Portland Off-White). Here’s what I found…

General Purpose Cement

GENERAL PURPOSE CEMENT (PORTLAND GREY)

Unfortunately, the bag I bought had been moisture effected. As soon as I opened it I noticed lots of little lumps. I actually thought I had accidentally bought Concrete Mix! I didn’t want to buy a whole new bag and luckily the lumps were all small (gravel-like in size), so I decided to use it anyway. And it actually worked really well! The cement lumps did not break down during the mixing process as I thought they might, though instead acted as an aggregate of sorts to provide texture and strength. Obviously, as a result of the cement lumps my planter has a bit more grunge than one made from normal cement might have, though you can easily reproduce the look by adding gravel or pebbles.

Rapid Set Sand & Cement

RAPID SET SAND & CEMENT

I was so excited when I read the front of this cement packet and noted that it should harden in 15 minutes! Sadly though, that did not happen. No matter what consistency I tried, it took hours for it to even partially set, and even then it still felt a little “soft” and quite grainy, almost like grout or mortar. It’s almost like the sand to cement ratio was a little off. The best explanation I can come up with is that the cement was old and had expired. You see, cement has a somewhat limited life span (opened or not). The resulting planters are quite even in colour though still have some nice imperfections and an appealing grungy appearance.

Off-White Cement

OFF-WHITE CEMENT (PORTLAND OFF-WHITE)

Third time lucky! This cement wasn’t moisture effected, wasn’t expired, and acted just like it was supposed to! The colour is a lovely soft warm white with a subtle green undertone. The finish is relatively smooth with just a few small-ish air pockets, however with the introduction of some aggregates the surface imperfections could be increased. I noticed that the exposed top dried shiny – weird, though easy enough to sand back to matte. Whilst the finish is a little more even and refined than I wanted, I do really like the overall look of this particular cement.

Note: ‘Portland’ is not a brand name, rather it is the generic title of the most common type of cement.

DIY Concrete Planters Using Different Types of Cement

If for some reason you experience problems with your planters, don’t give up or blame yourself…blame the cement – LOL! I’ve had a few failures which I now attribute to my cement being expired. Probably because I bought small bags which had likely been sitting on the shelf in the hardware store for too long. If your concrete fails to set properly, cracks or crumbles with ease, or just seems a bit wrong, maybe try a new bag of cement.

 

How to Make DIY Concrete Vessels

DY Cement Planters

STEP 1 Mix cement with water.

Based on the amount of concrete you need, place a scoop or two (or three or four) of cement in your container then gradually add water, stirring as you go. It’s really easy – just like making icing! If you add too much water, simply correct by introducing more cement. You’re after a work-able, toothpaste-like consistency. Too much water and your concrete will be weak and prone to shrinkage and cracks. Too little water and your concrete won’t bind well, resulting in crumbling.

If you’re using aggregates, add them to your dry cement and combine well prior to incorporating any water. As this concrete doesn’t need to be structural, you don’t need to worry too much about exact proportions. Just add a handful or two until you’re happy with the mix.

DIY Concrete Planters

STEP 2 Lubricate your moulds.

Thoroughly coat the contact surfaces of your moulds with your chosen lubricant. As mentioned above, I used cooking oil spray though you can use anything which will create some slip.

DIY Concrete Pots

STEP 3 Fill your outer mould with cement mixture.

Fill the mould ensuring you allow enough space for your inner mould to take-up some of the volume.

Tip: Before adding any cement mixture to your mould, first check the depth your inner mould needs to sit at by hovering it at your desired height and taking note of where it sits in conjunction with the rim of your outer mould. This will help ensure your base isn’t too thin or too thick.

DIY Cement Vessels

STEP 4 Press your inner mould into the cement mixture.

Push the inner mould down into the concrete, trying to keep it as level and central as possible. Make sure you don’t push it down too far – you need the base of your planter to be around 15mm/.5″ thick. If there is too much or too little concrete in your mould, simply add or remove some.

The inner mould will want to float up, so weigh it down by filling it with sand or rocks or anchoring it with some masking tape.

Note: In order to remove your moulds with ease, ensure your inner mould sits proud enough of the cement mixture so that you can get a good grip on it. Also, if you are using an inflexible outer mould like me, ensure the cement mixture sits just below the top so it has room to “drop down” when you bang it out.

Tip: If you want aesthetic air pockets in your planter, avoid vibrating (patting, tapping, shaking or banging) your cement mixture down too much.

Tip: You can even-up the top of your planter once you release it from the mould, though if you want to create a perfectly smooth and level top from the get-go, trim a disk of cardboard to fit then press it firmly onto the exposed concrete.

How to Make Concrete Planters

STEP 5 Leave to cure for around 24 hours.

Place your mould in a protected area to cure overnight.

Note: For optimal results, it’s recommended to cure your cement over seven days whilst keeping it moist. You can do this by wrapping it in a plastic bag and leaving it somewhere cool.

Make your own Concrete Planters

STEP 6 Release from mould.

Remove the inner mould first. Depending on what you’ve used, it may take a bit of persuasion though shouldn’t be too hard to dislodge. I simply gave mine a few wiggles to release the seal then it pulled out with ease. If you’re struggling to get a good grip, use some pliers. Next, release the planter from the outer mould. Again, your method for removal will be dictated by the type of mould you’ve used. I merely dropped my bowl on a table a couple of times and the planter plopped straight out.

How to make Concrete Pots

STEP 7 Sand or file any rough areas if desired.

I find that the tops can look a little bumpy and crude so I like to even them out with some sandpaper. I just think it makes the planters look a little more “finished”. Of course, if you like the rustic effect, you can simply leave it.

Note: Concrete is porous so any moisture will likely seep through and dampen the base of your planter. Protect any underlying surfaces by attaching small felt or rubber pads to its base. You may even want to coat the interior with a water-proof sealer, like silicone. In addition, be mindful that the lime content of cement can be harmful to certain plants so you may even want to consider lining the planter with some tough plastic to ensure there is a barrier between the cement and any soil.

Tip: In addition to coating the interior of your planter, you can also paint the exterior with a clear sealer to give it a slightly smoother feel and a hint of sheen.

Tip: If you intend to use your planter to house plants which require drainage, you can use a masonry bit to drill a hole or holes in the base.

FINAL NOTES

SAFETY
Be sure to read and follow any safety directions as specified by the manufacturer as cement can be hazardous to health.

DISPOSAL
Allow any left-over wet cement to harden before breaking it up and disposing in your general household trash.

DIY Concrete Planter Tutorial

And there you have it! Super easy, affordable and kinda addictive!

In case anyone is wondering the plants are Baby’s Tears (Soleirolia Soleirolii) and Golden Club Moss (Selaginella).

How to make concrete vessels

Although I’ve filled my vessels with cascading plants, you can use these cute little bowls in many ways, from catching jewellery on your night stand to keys in your entryway. Plus, they make awesome hand-made gifts!

I guess if you’ve read all this, you’ve probably worked out that my “DIY Concrete Vessel Planters” aren’t actually concrete at all! Technically, they aren’t cement either as the definition of cement is “a powdery substance”. Maybe I could call them “set cement”? Either way, concrete just sounds better and saves from confusion!

DIY Concrete Vessel Planters

Hope this crazy, over-the-top, way too in-depth tutorial encourages a few of you to give this a go.

DIY Concrete Vessel Tutorial

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 Thought I would put together this little ‘cheat sheet’ too…

DIY: Make your own cool concrete vessels - you won't believe how  cheap and easy it is!

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The Re-Love Project Charity Auctions are Live!

I’m super excited to announce that my Tribal Sideboard is now up for grabs!

Tribal Buffet

From now until September 4 anyone can bid for a chance to take this lovingly refurbished one-of-a-kind baby home!

Remember, this is an up-cycled piece, so isn’t perfect, though it is jam packed with personality and practicality.

All proceeds from the sale go directly to charity and bidding begins at just $1 with free national shipping! Yes, people, FREE!

DIY Tribal Style Sideboard Interior

If ever there was a time to snaffle-up that special piece, this is it! You can absolutely guarantee that no-one else will have anything quite like this in their home!

Please hop on over and place a bid. Not only will you be supporting a great cause (and giving yourself the chance to win!), you just might save me from looking like a potential bid-less loser!

In addition to my up-cycled sideboard, there are seven other fabtabulous pieces being offered by the other amazing designers involved so be sure to check them all out.

For further information about this wonderful campaign, visit the Feast Watson website.

C’mon peeps! Let’s make this thing awesome!

*UPDATE*
THE AUCTION HAS NOW ENDED

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PS Thank you all so much for the beautiful response I have so far received for my piece. I stepped outside my comfort zone with this project and was feeling a little nervous about the whole thing. Your gracious support has been incredibly uplifting and is deeply appreciated.

PPS Oh, and please share this around with your family, friends, colleagues – whoever! If it’s not the item for you, perhaps you know someone who would love to have this piece grace their home :)

 

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How to Create a Vintage Industrial Look on Furniture…using Chalk Paint & Black Wax

DIY: Learn how to give bland new wood an authentic vintage industrial finish using chalk paint and black wax

I love it when the launch of a new product provides the perfect excuse to tackle a well over-due project.

Such was the case with the release of Black Wax by Annie Sloan.

Teamed with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in “Antibes Green” it seemed like the perfect way to jazz-up some blah file drawers I bought years ago.

Used right, Black Wax produces a very authentic-looking vintage patina, which nods to industrial and has lots of grungy character. I know it’s not for everyone, though it was exactly the look I envisioned when I first spied these boring naked drawers. And achieving it was even easier than I thought!

Vintage Effect with Chalk Paint Supplies

Equipment to Paint and Distress Furniture

How to Use Black Wax - Step 1

1 Distress.

Because my wood was so new and bland, I decided to add some imperfections which would better showcase the Black Wax.

The first thing I did was removed the silver label holders and turn the drawers around to hide the finger pulls. This is just a preference thing.

I then used a regular steak knife to create dents and scratches, a meat mallet to randomly indent the wood, a circular leather punch to add some variation and a rivet to form deeper holes.

How to Distress Wood

My wood was super soft, so I didn’t need to use any heavy-duty implements. If your item is made from hardwood, you might need to get a bit more serious with your tools!

Distressing New Wood

Purposely distressed wood looks a little weird and un-natural prior to being finished because it’s so even in colour and shows no other signs of age. Trust me, the antiquing process makes it awesome.

I also rounded the corners of the boxes and drawers to mimic the wear that a genuinely old piece would naturally exhibit.

Round the Corners on New Wood Furniture to Create an Aged Look

To finish, I gave everything a light sand (just to soften any rough or splintered areas) then wiped it all clean.

Note: I wasn’t going to undertake this step initially as I know Chalk Paint can produce lovely texture unto itself. As mentioned above however, I decided I wanted to see how the Black Wax worked with texture in the actual wood. And I’m so glad I did! All of the scratches, dents and holes I produced really do help make this piece look authentically vintage. Of course, if you have a genuinely old piece then you can simply omit this step though it’s great to know that with a bit of distressing newer pieces can look genuinely old too!

How to Use Black Wax - Step 2

2 Paint.

This is the fun bit! Painting with Chalk Paint in this grungy, vintage style is so quick and easy. You can basically be as messy, haphazard and imperfect as you like!

I started by ensuring my paint was extremely well combined. All paint needs a good stir prior to use, though I’ve found that Chalk Paint in particular settles very thickly at the base. You really need to mix it well to ensure even consistency.

Once I was satisfied my paint was thoroughly combined, I simply began slapping it on my drawers.

I cross-hatched, stippled, dripped and dribbled!

Creating Texture with Chalk Paint

Above you can see just how deliberately messy my paint job was!

One of my favourite techniques is to lightly drag a brush over an almost dry area of thicker drops, ridges or dribbles to create, what I like to call, “tears” in the paint. I don’t know if this is a commonly done thing already, however I’ve not seen it demonstrated anywhere before, so I’m claiming ownership :)

Once waxed the “tears”  look really cool and random – very natural.

How to Create "Tears" with Chalk Paint for Authentic Vintage Texture

“Tearing” the paint by lightly dragging a brush over an area of almost dry blobby bits creates really nice random texture.

Once I was happy with the level of texture and amount of coverage I had achieved, I allowed the paint to dry thoroughly. Chalk Paint dries fairly quickly, though if you have super thick patches of paint or simply want to speed-up the process, you can use a hair-dryer.

How to use Chalk Paint

The finish looks a little flat in the above pic though there is plenty of character which you’ll see come to life in the following step!

How to Use Chalk Paint - Step 3

3 Wax.

To begin with I placed a small scoop of both Clear Wax and Black Wax on separate plates.

How to Use Annie Sloan Wax

It’s best not to dip directly into the tins to avoid tinting the wax, especially the clear wax which needs to be kept, well, clear. It’s also simply easier to charge your brush and stipple off any excess wax on a plate.

It’s recommended to apply a coat of Clear Wax prior to Black Wax to avoid the paint taking-on too much stain and to assist with the buffing process. I did a test patch on the rear of one of my boxes first and found that the Black Wax alone was indeed a little too dark for my liking. It was also more difficult to buff evenly.

Rather than Clear Wax my drawers first though, I decided to try a short-cut by combining my waxes. And it worked really well!

I simply picked-up a small amount of both Clear Wax and Black Wax on my brush then rubbed it onto my drawers. I worked in smallish sections and used reasonably forceful sweeping stokes teamed with circular motions, stippling in areas to ensure I got into all the nooks and crannies.

How to Use Annie Sloan Black Wax

If there was a patch which looked too light or too dark, I simply corrected it with a bit more Black Wax or Clear Wax as needed.

Once I had completed a section, I used a lint-free cloth (an old baby swaddle in my case) to buff off the excess wax and even-up the finish.

How to Use Annie Sloan Black Wax

Again, if after buffing I felt there were still un-even patches, I simply applied a bit more wax then buffed again until I was happy with the result. It was super quick and easy.

Below you can see the impact the Black Wax really has.

How to Use Black Wax for an Amazingly Authentic Vintage Patina

How amazing is that “vintage industrial” goodness? It’s almost like magic! Remember, this is actually brand new wood! Can you see the brush strokes, dribbles and “tears”?

Like I mentioned earlier, I know this grungy look isn’t for everyone though I was stoked with the way this was turning out!

Note: You can use a cloth or a regular paint bush to apply the wax if you don’t have a specialty wax brush. This is actually the first time I’ve used a proper wax brush and for a job this size, although it is nicer to handle and does distribute the wax with more ease, it’s certainly not essential. That said, I can imagine the benefits of using a proper wax brush for larger projects.

How to Create a Distressed Look with Chalk Paint and Black Wax - Step 4

To complete my drawers I added some label holders and small brass knobs which I had left-over from this project.

DIY Antiqued Flat File Drawers with Brass Pulls

Antique Style Label Holders

Similar hardware can be found super cheap on the D Lawless Hardware website.

How to Black Wax New Furniture for a Vintage Look

How to Realistically Age Brand New Furniture

How to create an authentic vintage look with paint and wax

I originally bought these drawers on clearance for around $10 each, so naturally they’re not craftsman built items. Though I kinda like the way the slightly wonky drawers, with their uneven gaps, seem to bolster the primitive charade!

DIY Vintage Flat File Drawers with Black Wax

Vintage Industrial Paint Effect

I was going to style these drawers really minimally, though I can never seem to master that!

Learn how to use paint and wax to give bland furniture vintage charm!

You can find further tutorials, product stockists and ALL you need to know about Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and her associated lines on the Unfolded website.

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Learn how to use paint and wax to give bland furniture vintage charm!

You can also check out my previous tutorial for creating an aged patina on new furniture using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and Dark Wax alone (no distressing!).

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How to Create a “Vintage” Wire Basket from a Plastic Coated Caddy

I have a thing for old wire baskets.

You?

Well, if you do too it seems we’re not alone.

Have you noticed how pricey they can be at old-wares stores and antique markets nowadays? Man!

Anyhoo, after I shared this pic of Charlotte’s new bedroom shelves a few weeks back…

DIY Vintage Wire Basket

…I received quite a few comments and questions about the sweet old wire basket I had used.

Wanna know a secret?

It’s actually far from old (as in, it’s completely brand new!).

Though it’s not an expensive vintage replica.

It’s simply one of these…

Plastic Coated Basket Before

…after a few toasty hours in a nice, hot fire!

I bought several of these baskets (for around $5 each) years ago with the intention of experimenting with removing the plastic in some way (I found my baskets at Kmart though it seems they may no longer sell them however they can be found in lots of other stores).

I thought I could probably melt the plastic off using either; a heat gun, a blow torch, an oven or a fire. How hard could it be, right?

Well, our domestic heat gun wasn’t hot enough, nor was our mini blow torch (a commercial grade heat gun or blow torch might do the trick though).

The oven melted the plastic to some extent though not enough before it actually began to “bake”. I don’t know, maybe I had the temperature too high or too low, or maybe I didn’t leave it in for long enough? Regardless, it didn’t seem to be the best method anyway as any melted plastic merely relocated itself elsewhere on the wire.

Note: Just in case you’re wondering, I placed the basket on a cookie sheet covered with baking paper then heated it for around an hour at 150 C (300 F).

As I’d suspected from the start, it seemed a fire would be my best – and easiest – bet!

I was going to wait until we next had a little outdoor bon-fire (I guess you could use a pit or drum fire too) though then decided to simply throw it in my parent’s enclosed wood burner.

How to Remove Plastic From a Wire Basket

Two hours later and my perfectly vintage-afied basket was revealed! And it looked so cool!

DIY Industrial Wire Basket from a Plastic Caddy

Not only had the heat melted away ALL of the plastic it had somehow given the wire a gorgeous, grungy patina.

Industrial Wire Basket DIY

The predominately dark graphite wire is accented by chalky white patches. I don’t know where the white freckles came from though they’re not plastic remnants.

DIY Industrial Style Wire Basket

I was impressed (if I do say so myself).

How awesome is it that any cheap plastic coated wire could receive this treatment and it takes absolutely no effort on our part! The fire does all the work.

Thank you fire.

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How to remove the ugly plastic coating from cheap wire baskets to reveal the "vintage" goodness beneath

Note: I did some research and discovered that fumes released from heating most plastics only become toxic if the material burns. Obviously, putting plastic in a hot fire like I did results in the plastic burning which is why I used an enclosed wood burner which vents directly outside. I wouldn’t advise using an indoor open fireplace however any outdoor pit-fire, drum-fire or bon-fire (or similar) located in a well ventilated area should be fine.

 

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“New” Blue Cane Chairs…plus how to use a paint sprayer

How to Use a Paint Sprayer

Ever since painting my Chippendale desk chair….by hand…with a brush…over the course of several hours…a paint sprayer has been high on my ‘to buy’ list.

Some of you may recall I have sprayed furniture in the past using our air compressor, though that big, noisy, heavy piece of equipment isn’t something I like to reach for too often.

I mean, compressors are great for HUGE jobs or serious furniture refurbishers who churn out piece after piece, however for the occasional dabbler like me they can be over-kill. Call me lazy though lugging it out of the shed to complete a small or one-off project always felt too inconvenient.

My new spray system from Bosch however feels anything but inconvenient.

It’s compact, quiet and light-weight. Perfect for painting large or intricate pieces, like buffets, bookcases, dining chairs, anything carved and everything made of cane.

Just like this tired old outdoor setting of my parents…

Cane Chairs and Table Before

I love natural cane, and don’t mind a bit of weathered charm, though these were bordering on drab. Some love was definitely called for. So, here’s what went down…

 

STEP 1 | SAND & CLEAN

Step 1 Prep

I started by giving everything a light sand then a thorough scrub with warm soapy water. This setting was covered in dust and cobwebs and was ideally suited for a good drenching with a pressure washer, though the weather was pretty cold so it would have taken way too long to dry.

Note: Remember, painting furniture with a spray gun isn’t quite the same as using a brush where you almost “push” the paint into the piece. You need to take your time with any prep to ensure the surface is ready to “suck” some paint in otherwise it will merely sit on the surface and scratch off with ease.

 

STEP 2 | PAINT

First, let’s talk about this spray system.

Basically, it’s a spray gun attached to a portable motor via a flexible hose.

Bosch Spray Gun

It runs off mains power so has plenty of kick and there are only two controls to worry about; paint volume (set by the dial on the side of the gun) and spray orientation (set by the dial around the nozzle of the gun). Trust me, it’s a cinch and soooo good! The motor has a shoulder strap and ergonomic hand hold so is easy to carry (I preferred to hold it in my hand or rest it on the ground).

Bosch Spray Gun Motor

As you can see, it’s very compact and easy to carry in your hand or over your shoulder.

To get started, I laid down a drop cloth (you could use one of those fandangle “spray tents” I’ve been seeing lately) and positioned my furniture so I could work around it with ease.

After giving my paint (see note below) a thorough stir, I decanted some into the provided container using the included sieve to ensure it was free of any large particles which might clog the spray nozzle (this is particularly important if you’re working with older paint which might contain lumps and bumps).

Pouring Paint into Spray Gun

I then added around 10% water (to thin the paint slightly for smooth spraying) and stirred thoroughly again before screwing the container to the spray gun.

Stirring the Paint

Before spraying my furniture, I pumped a small amount of paint into the air just to check spray volume and orientation and get a feel for the gun. Then I simply started painting my pieces!

Painting with a Spray Gun

Painting with a Spray Gun

Excuse the fact I have paint all over my hands and the unit. Aside from the fine over-spray, it’s actually quite a mess-free process though it is tricky to take pictures and paint at the same time! Thanks go out to my mum who stepped in to pose for some of the shots :)

I held the gun around two hand spans away and lightly coated the furniture, taking my finger off the trigger from time-to-time to adjust the controls and re-position myself as needed. I like to work in sweeping motions following the lines of the furniture rather than in random continuous swirls. And I know it goes without saying, though several light coats are much better than a few heavy coats so don’t be too tempted to cover your piece entirely with the first pass.

Once I was satisfied with my coverage on the top side of my pieces, I needed to allow the paint to dry before flipping them over to complete. Rather than risk any paint drying or thickening in the gun, I decided to clean it while I waited.

I must admit, I was dreading the clean-up as I remembered it being a bit of a nightmare with our old compressor spray gun. Fortunately however, this Bosch gun was a breeze to clean! The parts unscrewed with ease and the paint washed straight off the plastic components. And to keep any left-over paint fresh between coats (or jobs), there is a container lid provided.

Once my pieces were dry, I flipped them over, prepared my gun again and then painted the undersides.

How to use a Spray Gun

Thanks for being my hand model again mum!

Granted, it did take a few goes to get into all the nooks and crannies evenly, though it was still heaps quicker and easier than using a brush. All up, this project took me only around one hour (plus drying time). Pretty darn good.

Note: Mum had requested a bold blue so I went with ‘Winner’s Circle’ (by Dulux) in gloss acrylic. I don’t usually go for gloss though do think it works well with cane (something to do with Chinoiserie glam perhaps?).

Tip: I didn’t prime my cane because it was bone dry and I was applying a dark colour. If you’re working with a previously coated item which might repel your paint, or if are attempting to cover something dark or tannin rich with a light colour, a primer is recommended.

 

STEP 3 | UM, THAT’S IT!

Blue Cane Chairs

Seriously, it’s that easy.

How to Spray Furniture | Blue Cane Chairs

I was planning to shoot the finished setting outside (as, well, it is an outdoor setting) though the weather wasn’t on my side so instead I set the chairs up in my parent’s breakfast nook and styled the space like a little library of sorts.

It was fun!

To compliment the chairs my mum made some simple skirted pads using one of our left-over Ikea curtains.

Spray Painted Cane Chairs

The table was a $20 eBay find I bought a year or so ago. Only just discovered last week that it’s actually an original Ercol! Awesome score!

The ceramic garden stool was saved from hard rubbish and the faux fur rug is from Kmart.

All of the books are thrift store finds, as is the artwork, and we shopped mum’s house for the blue and white vases. The roses are simply from the supermarket, bulked-up with some greenery from the garden.

Pretty Vignette with Roses

You may recognise the “coffee sack” cushion which is actually a kitchen tea towel I made into a simple lumbar pillow a few years ago.

Coffee Sack Lumbar Pillow

This was a fast, simple and fun project, though what I really took away from it, and what I hope I can make some of you realise too, is the potential beauty in imperfection.

I’m not talking about the charm of an old scratched dining table or the allure of a wonky primitive dresser, though the fact that things don’t need to be ideal to be lovely.

“Making the most” is something I’m often able to embrace, though at times the niggle of having things “just so” does become a little hurdle.

When my mum first suggested I paint her cane setting, I was skeptical about how I could make it work for my blog.

“It’s pretty generic”. “It’s not very special”. “How am going to make it look great?”.

As the project progressed, my doubt continued.

“The blue’s not quite right”. “The seat pads aren’t tailored enough”. “Is the gloss too glossy?”.

It wasn’t until I paired the chairs with her breakfast table and added a few pretty accessories that I began to appreciate the power in “making the most” again.

No, they’re not stunning designer chairs and the blue’s a touch more grey than I’d have liked and the seat pads aren’t piped, though the chairs look really lovely in that breakfast nook.

In fact, they’ve given the space such a surprising hint of charm that mum is even going to keep them there! Had I not needed to test out my new spray gun I probably wouldn’t even have looked twice at those ordinary chairs. Yet here they are.

Of course, if you have lofty decorating dreams you’re determined to chase down, then by all means, go for it! However, just remember that in the meantime you don’t need to sacrifice your present home happiness.

If, on the other hand, you’re simply pining over the impossible, then consider welcoming the potential beauty a more realistic approach might yield.

You don’t need to think of it as settling, or conceding, or failing. Why can’t it be capitlising, and overcoming, and winning? And, maybe most importantly, choosing contentment?

So, visit a few thrift stores (or shop your own house), pick up a paint brush (or a spray gun!), throw some pretty foliage in a vase and have a go at “making the most” for now.

You might just be surprised!

How to Use a Paint Spray Gun for a Perfect (and easy!) Finish

Signature

BTW Do you follow me on Instagram? I’ve just started my very first hashtag series all about made-over home decor! Be sure to check it out and follow along for heaps of inspiration.

  Sharing this project for the Link Party Palooza at I Heart Naptime.

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