Friday, March 28, 2014

Painting Stone- Faux Travertine

The idea of making your home into your "dream home", seems to get farther and farther away, the longer you live at your house. Tasks get bigger, as families grow, and life passes on, and what seemed like a simple project may get overlooked for the sake of time, or money.
Unless you've custom built your home just the way you want it, you may have areas of your house that just don't work for you, and even if you custom built your home, tastes can change over time.  
Sometimes you get stuck with weird areas in your home, that you have no idea what to with.
In all my years painting, I have seen some weird things in homes. Fountains inside entryways, a sun room in the middle of the house, wall to wall teal carpet, a hot tub inside a bedroom, and life size statues in a bathroom that resembled the homeowners. Yikes!
Some times the only way to change these type of things, is to rip them out, and gut an area. That can get costly, and often times leave behind other problems, so you work around it....and hey who wouldn't mind a hot tub in their room. 
Sometime though, paint can be a good fix to a problem. Obviously not in the case of the statues, but it may have made them look a bit cooler.
Stone and tile, are one those those areas alot of my clients think you can't do anything about.
But there is a way to paint these just need the right products.
I've painted over many a fireplace, tons of columns, tiled back splashes, and even stone steps.

This house I'm about to show you, is about 16 years old. There were some dated things that I have  changed over the years, like the "pickled" cabinets, the boring walls, bland ceilings, and white stone fireplace. Originally the most of the flooring in this house, looked just like these grey stone steps, in the before picture.  They finally ripped it all out, and put down travertine in a fun pattern, paired with mosaic and metal tiled detailing. 

 It came out beautifully....except for these stairs.  To rip out the side steps, would have meant taking out stair railing, which lead to damaging the walls, and it seemed easier just to leave them. But after warming up all the areas in the house, these cool grey steps became an eye sore. 

Stone like this is really an easy fix, and you can match the look of travertine.

This technique can be mimicked on most surfaces...but I wouldn't put it on a very slick surface such as marble, or granite. This works well on a porous surface, ones the paint will really adhere to. Those other surfaces can be painted over, but they need to prepped, and painted differently. 

So where to start?
I stared by taping off all the surrounding wall area with blue tape. If the walls are freshly painted, use a light stick tape, like Frog Tape, or a light tack blue tape. 
If your surface is smooth, you can first prime it with an "oil"based primer.

These steps were raw stone, so I went straight to the base paint. 
I used "Pro Classic" by Sherwin Williams.

I used an Antique White base, but tinted it, to get the color I wanted. If you not ready to try mixing your own color just yet, grab some paint swatches, and pick out 2-4 tones from the floor, and use those colors.

I tinted the one color, into three colors, matching colors from the travertine flooring. 

I used my deepest color as the base of the step. Painting in one direction. The stone doesn't really have a direction, but I tend to go with the direction it is laying. You just don't want brush strokes that are going in a bunch of different directions.

Depending on your surface texture, and color of your paint, you may need more than one base coat. Mine covered pretty well, so I only used one. Also another layer will go on top, so it doesnt have to be perfect.

After the paint had set for about 5-10 min, I used one color at a time, and painted part of the stair. I tried to make a sort of pattern with each color, and applied it by stippling it on (lightly pressing straight down). You don't want a ton of paint, but you need enough to be able to move it around with a brush later.

Work one step at a time, so it doesnt dry to fast. I used more of one paint color on a step than another, alternate the pattern you apply to the stairs as well. You don't want them all to match.

Then taking a 3" chip brush, I started softening the colors together by stippling the paint. This is a pouncing motion, not a brushing motion. You don't want to bush the colors togther. You just need to soften the colors together. The more you touch the paint, the more the different colors will blend in together.

You can always go back and lighly add more of one paint to an area, like a vein would be, or even heavier here in the case of the travertine.

This is how the step will look after this layer. 

After a bit, the stippling brush will start to gunk up and become gooey....get a new brush (this is why I use chip brushes, they are $1). Don't try to clean it out just yet...any liquid could ruin the pattern.

The next step, is giving each step more depth. These stone pieces already had holes, and texture...but still needed this extra depth.
I used a spray bottle (one that has adujustable spray is best). You will also need paint thinner, and tints.
If you need tinit, Serwin williams will usually sell it to you by the ounce.

I poured about 1/2 cup of paint thinner into the bottle.
(You don't need much for this, unless you are working on a giant project). I then put in a couple of drops of raw umber, white, cand yellow ocher . Play with the color until you get the right shade, working with little drops at a time. It is always easier to make it darker, harder to lighten a shade.

Next, spray it directly to the step area. You can try out the look of the spray, on some cardboard first. 
If you barley squeeze, you can get bigger dots, and with a full squeeze, more of a spray pattern. You don't need to cover the entire surface. It shouldn't look even, you want the irregularity. 

If need be, a dry rag can help soften areas that may be to heavy. Just lightly dab the area, you don't want to take off the color, just soften it out.  

Here is what the final product will look like. 

Much quicker and cheaper, than ripping out the steps!

I hope you'll give it a try, it's just as easy as it looks.
Any questions?
I'm here to help!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Ice Cream Birthday

Party planning for little kids, is not an easy task!
They have no idea what they really want, or like. If you asked them what kind of party they want, they would probably spout out their top 5 "favorite" things in the world. Other kids know just what they want....I think my son may be having a dinosaur party every year until he's 20, at the rate we're going....he's sorta obsessed!

Pulling together a giant bash, weather you have a "theme" or not, can be daunting. Who really wants to spend weeks organizing, planning, cooking, running around, and cleaning up, just for a 3 year old's birthday...It's exhausting!
 I vote simple. 

One of my recent customers had the right idea. She hosted a birthday celebration at a local ice cream shop....where she doesn't have to do the clean up! Hooray for that idea!
And what kid doesn't love ice cream??

I thought this was such a cute party. 
All you need is a little bit decorations to make it "custom",  a whole lot of ice cream, and a handful of kids (who will be wired with sugar, and then you can hand them over to their mothers).

For this ice cream social, I custom painted a party sign with the birthday boy's name. 
It's not to themey, so this is something that can be rolled up, and used year after year. 
The sign was painted on canvas, and I attached two grommets, for easy hanging. 

Balloons in two sizes, and lots of silver confetti, give this space some color and character, and couldn't be easier to set up.

What kid would "not" choose, a soup pot full of 20 scoops, to celebrate their birthday. 
I think I figured out my party for this's just to bad I'm lactose intolerant :(

Love this idea of giving the kids disposable cameras. I'm sure she got some hilarious shots out of it!

What a beautiful family, and a great looking party.
Happy Birthday William!

Check out more custom signs in my shop, Painted Parade.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Remodelaholic Feature!

Happy Saturday everyone! 
I have exciting news to share today, one of my favorite DIY projects, is being featured on one of my favorite DIY blogs!! 
How fun is that?!?

My son's camping tent bed how-to, is being featured over at
If you don't know Remodelaholic already, you need to! 
It is full of all sorts of project ideas, how-to's, and inspiration.....perfect for the remodelaholic, like myself. 

Check out the full feature on Remodelaholic, by  clicking here.

Also, be sure check out the rest of the camping room, and the campfire how to.

How To: Paint Cabinets (Secrets From A Professional)

Hey all, I'm super excited to share this post with you today. I've been working really hard putting all this together. If you don't know me already, let me start by telling you that I am a faux painter. I have been painting for around 14 years, and I have been doing cabinets for about 11 of those years. So I've tried it all, and I made lots of mistakes along the way, and I'm writing this very long post to fill you in on all my secrets to painting cabinets!
Painting cabinets can seem like a really daunting task,  I felt that way when I first started painting them myself. Having the right paint and tools, and being armed with lots of knowledge, is a great way to start. 
So here is all the knowledge you need, plus lots of other stuff you didn't know you needed :)

When bidding out cabinets at a clients house, I get asked two main questions...

 "Are you brushing it on, or spraying it on?"   
Brushing it, verse spraying it...
If you have a spray gun; you know how to use it; you have the perfect place to paint; you can stand covering every inch of your area with plastic; and are willing to wear a respirator, and be covered with paint dust....then go for it. 
I on the other hand, don't like to spray the cabinets . I'm not completely against spaying them, it creates a nice smooth streak free finish, which is great. The problem is how you get there. To use a sprayer with oil based paint, it needs to be thinned out, which changes the viscosity of the paint, therefore making it less durable right off the bat. I can't tell you how many jobs I have done, where I've had to cover up someone else's spray job because it has chipped or peeled of. You can spray two-three extra coats, just to get the same durability as brushing. It also makes it hard to get in the nooks and crannies without over spraying some areas, thus leaving large paint globs. 
If your a pro at a spray gun, then more power to ya. 
I think brushing and a little light sanding between, gives you a more natural look. Yes, it will take a little bit more time. But think of all the time you will save taping up, and covering every square inch of your room with plastic. By the time you do these 1-3 coats, you will have a thick durable product, that will stand up much better to everyday wear.

"Do you take off the doors, or leave them on?"

As for taking the doors off, or leaving them on...I say leave them on for sure!! Especially if your doing fronts and backs. As long as you where gloves, and don't mind getting a little messy, this really is the easiest way. 
If you take off the doors, you need a large space to lay them all out at one time, to do all the fronts. The problem is, the paint tends to gunk up, on the sides of the door while drying...dang gravity! 
So when you flip them over, all the paint has pulled to the edge, and they have a gunky line of paint down the edge. You also must wait until they are completely dry to flip them...which means lots of waiting, and wasting time. I'm not that patient.
 Why not tackle both sides of the door, while they are hanging on the cabinets already. 
Another issue you can run into, especially with older cabinets, is taking off the hinges. When you screw the hinges back onto the base of the cabinet, the screw doesn't find its way back into the same threading, and alot of shifting can occur...I've spent hours fiddling with the hinges, trying to get them all lined up straight...never again! 
Not sure about painting the backs? And what about painting hinges? 
Keep reading, for what to do with all of these tricky situations.

Ok, so lets get to painting...
These photo examples already have the primer coat on them. The primer coat is applied in the exact same way as the base paint I'm about to show you.

Not sure what primer to use?
 Check out my post all about primers HERE, this will help you decide, oil vs latex, and grey primer vs white primer. On cabinets, I ALWAYS use an oil primer.
If you have unfinished cabinets, then you can use latex. But if the cabinets have any stain, paint, or sealer on them, it has to be oil!! Latex will not adhere to a sealed surface. They will most defiantly peel, and chip over time. The primer post, will tell you which are my favorite primers, for each type of project.

When base painting cabinets in an oil, I like to use "Pro Classic" by Sherwin Williams.

When painting in a Latex paint (which occasionally I will do), I use Solo, which is a contractor paint (behind the counter), so you need to ask for it.
I always prefer to use oil, because it is much more durable. I understand some of you are in parts of the country that don't sell oil paint, so maybe use three coats of sealer instead of two here.

Before priming my cabinets, I always give them a good wipe down, I like to use Krud Kutter's "Gloss Off" from Sherwin Williams. You can also use a liquid de-glosser.
Make sure and concentrate around areas that may get more build up of gunk...Vent hoods, Drawers under sinks, pantry cabinets, laundry room cabinets that are near liquid detergent. If not cleaned well, the paint may not adhere, and is much more likely to come off in these areas later..

Before you start your base paint, you'll want to lightly sand the primer coat, sanding in the direction you painted, and pressing lightly. You don't want to take the paint off, but you do want them to be smooth. A  150 grit is good for this. 

Here is a numbered guide to the steps/direction to painting cabinets.

To paint I use what is called a "Chip Brush". You want to use a natural bristle, much softer and forgiving. Make sure it isn't the synthetic plastic kind, these are terrible, though I haven't seen them in a store for quite sometime.
You can go with a fancy brush here, but they are hard to clean after painting all of your cabinets, and a chip brush, you can just throw away. They cost less than $2 for the 3" size I'm using. 
I run a new brush, roughly across my fingers to get out any loose bristles. Do it a bunch of times. There is nothing more frustrating than picking brush hairs out of your nicely paint door! 

You don't need alot of paint on your brush. Less is better here, you don't want it to glob up.

1. To start the base paint, you will want to fill in the deepest area first. Your cabinets may not look exactly like these, but most have some sort of grooved panel, that is similar. Paint this whole area first, going all the way around the cabinet, see the purple #1 in the example above. It should look like the second picture when your done. Don't worry about getting it on other areas of the cabinet. As long as you don't walk off and leave it, you wont see any of those messy spots. 

2. Next you will want to paint the flat portion of the panel. Going in the direction of the grain. Most cabinets should go up and down, but smaller doors like above a fridge or on a drawer will go left to right. See the yellow #2 in the example above. 

3. For the next step you will paint the top and bottom of the cabinet only. This will be in a left to right direction, keeping as straight as possible. You will notice that the sides of the door, and the top and bottom pieces, have the grain going in different directions. It is important to stay with the direction of the grain when doing the door. Overlap the paint just a bit onto the side pieces, like seen in the second picture below. 
This will be the red #3 in the diagram above, do the top and bottom at the same time.

4. Now you will be working on the side pieces,  the orange #4 on the diagram. Do the right and left side. Going in the direction of the grain, up and down.

You will want to take the brush and along the edge of these two seams you see below. Making a straight line down.

5. & 6. Lastly run th brush along the top of the door, the green #5 in the diagram. Then down the side edge, the blue #6 in the diagram. If your painting an upper cabinet, be sure and get the underneath part of the door, instead of the top.

You will want to work on only one door at a time, so not to have any drying lines. I keep both doors closed, until I finish the fronts of both, then move to the back and base of the cabinet. This keeps any splatter from getting in the cabinet.
Hold the door with one finger underneath (preferable a glove covered finger) to paint the back. For upper cabinets, hold the door from the top of the door, with a finger.

If you plan on painting the insides, of the cabinets here are the steps.

Not sure if your cabinets need a coat inside?
Are you painting a drastically different paint color on your cabinets, than whats on the inside of the door? Then do them.
If the inside of your cabinets are particle wood, and you would be left with three colors of cabinets, by painting just the front and leaving the back, then think about doing them.
If you would be bothered by opening them up and seeing the old color, paint the backs.
 If your going for a quick update, and your not really concerned about what is inside, then leave them.

If your not painting the backs, then you can skip to step 2.

1. Start with the deepest groove on the back of the door. Not all cabinets have this, some will be just plain, others will not have a raised panel in the center. Either way, paint this first.

Next, if you plan on painting the hinges, this is when you will do this. If you don't, you need to tape around the hing portion on the door, and on the top and bottom of the pieces mounted to the cabinet itself.
Painting this is a preference thing....I always paint these, I think it's a cleaner look when you open the cabinet door, and it is all the same. If you leave it, make sure and clean up the metal of any paint marks with some "Goof Off".
When painting the hinges, be sure to really get your brush down inside the hinge area.

Some older cabinets have an outside mounted hinge...This is where it gets tricky. The way these types open and close, the metal will always rub against the metal. No amount of prepping or painting will keep your paint from rubbing off in this area. If you do paint them, the paint will gunk off in that area and you will see a chunk of metal coming through.

So what to do then?
 I usually tape of these types, very carefully. A thin roll of blue tape about 1" works well for small areas. I've tried all sorts of tricks, even Vaseline, but nothing works besides tape.
Another option is to replace the hinges, to an inside mount.
If your thinking you may do it sometime...go ahead and do them now. You don't want the unpainted portion, and screw holes showing later.
Sometime this is a cheap and easy fix, other times it's not.
Take the door, with the hinges attached to the hardware store, and compare the size and style of what you have. You don't want ones that will make the cabinet sit away from the base, you'll see a big gap between the door and base when they are closed.  If you decide to go the route of replacing hinges, I would install them first, then paint around them, or over them, filling any old holes with wood putty.

Next I brush between the hinges, on the top and bottom of them, and lastly on the base part of the cabinet that the hinges area attached to.
Then continuing around the door, the same way the front was done.

2. Paint the lip surround of the cabinet. Sometimes this sits flush with the rest of the inside cabinet, if so, a line of tape will help keep your line straight. Or you you can just eyeball it if you have a steady hand.
If there is a lip, or a drop down, you have a little more wiggle room. If your cabinets are already full of stuff, be careful not to run the brush along everything :)

3. & 4. Then just finish the bottom and top portion on the cabinet base, as seen on the diagram above.

Tricky Things...

The space between the door and the base of the cabinet is a tight fit, and sometimes hard to reach from the outside. If you take your brush and smush (technical I know)  it between the two, then run it all the way up, covering any bare areas. This is only if your painting the backs. If your not, a small artist brush will get any areas that are hard to reach.

Between drawers....What I normally do with drawers, is take them all out, stacking them in order. Then I  paint the base of the cabinet, and stick them all back in. Starting at the top I paint each drawer, with the one your working on, pulled out the farthest, so paint wont drip in the other drawers. Lastly, double check the sides and top of the drawers, and leave them propped open.

When painting drawers, I run my brush around the outside of the edges first, then I get the flat portion of the drawer. The helps keep out any wonky brush streaks you may get from doing the edges second. 

If you use to much paint on your brush, this is what will happen.The paint starts to sag.
Always do a double check of the last area you painted, before the paint starts to set up. Just lightly run your bush over the area, to soften out the paint.

If you do get drips, they usually occur just underneath the corners of the door. If  the paint is already set up, wait till it fully drys, then give it a light sanding.

How many coats do you need?
Depending on what color your cabinets started with, and what color your painting them, you may have to do two coats of base paint, over at least one primer coat. Each coat of paint gets easier, and will soften to a more finished look.
Be sure to prop open the doors and drawers for at least 24 hours after each coat. Also try not to use your kitchen during this process, go out to eat even, tell your spouse I said so, my clients love that! Water from sinks can make permanent marks on the cabinets.

Where to stop the paint?
If your only doing the fronts, this is where I stop. Only paint on the facade of the cabinet.
Dont paint the lip (though it is painted in this photo). This is because the lip that the hinge part sits on, cant be painted if your not painting the back of the door. Confusing I know, but it looks more finished this way.

If you are painting the fronts and backs, go to here. Like I did in this photo.

Changing Hardware?
If you know you are changing out the cabinet hardware. Make sure you have the new stuff before you start. With older handles, it is hard to find handles that line up to the same holes. If they don't, you will need to cover all, or some of the holes. Use wood putty in the hole, you may need to do two coats since it will set in a ltittle when it dries. When filling the hole, fill it up good, and make sure you have a bit extra gunked on the outside. Once dry give it a good sand until it is smooth, don't press into the hole, just over it.

When you completely finished painting wait 2 days before drilling new holes. Use a template, to make your life much easier, most home improvement stores sell them.

Door Bumpers?
Most cabinets already have these installed. You may have old gummy ones that seem to stick to the base, or plastic ones. If you are painting the backs of the doors, you must take these off. Clean the area underneath with "Goof Off". If you try to paint over the bumper, the paint from the bumper, will end up adhering ti the base of the cabinet. It's always better to start with fresh plastic, or felt pads anyways, even if you don't paint the back. If you are using felt, you can attach them 24 hours after the last coat of sealer. If your using plastic ones, you may need to wait 48 hours, for the plastic to stick to the oil sealer. Keep the doors open until the bumpers are on, this will keep the door from sticking to the cabinet base.

Cleaning up?
If you don't end up painting the back of the doors, you may end up with a gunky line like this, depending on how careful you are.

To clean this, I take a flat razor blade (buy a small box of these..super useful), and run it down the line of paint. Don't press into the wood, or you'll cut your wood. Whats left will easily clean with a rag and some "Goof Off".

When is it finished?
When you have all of your base coats on, how many ever it takes to have a good solid surface, you will want to seal them. I will dive into sealer on another post, but for oil based cabinets, I use a "Wipe on Poly" by Minwax, in oil based (gold can), satin finish. This does have a bit of a yellow tint to it, and can yellow more over the years. If your using a latex paint, you can use the latex version of this wipe on sealer (silver can).
The wipe on, gives it a natural finish, like furniture. Stay away from a gloss or semi gloss. You apply this with a lint free cloth, or a staining pad, by dousing it with the sealer, and wiping it on.

Leave the cabinet doors propped open for at least 40 hours, even if you didn't paint the backs. You want to be very careful with them for at least 2-3 weeks while the paint cures. When your using oil, it does take longer since the paint is heavier, and you have thicker layers. They will dent and scar if your not careful.
I always tell my clients to add hardware, always.
It's like jewelry for your cabinets, it finishes them off, and it keeps your finger nails, and grubby hands form messing up the cabinets.

Painting a bigger piece of furniture?

If you have alot of large flat surfaces, a small roller with a little bit of texture works well here. Don't use the foam kinds, they don't deposit much paint (which is clearly what I'm using here). 

After you make a good pass of the roller, I lightly brush out the paint in the direction of the grain.
Make sure you don't paint part with a roller, and part with a bush, you will see the difference in texture.

WELL, was that a plethora of information??? I'd say!
If your not ready to tackle your cabinets just yet, "Pin" this, so you have it for when your ready to get working.

Here is some cabinet inspiration to get you motivated.
These are all cabinets I have done over the years. Mine all have some sort of glaze, or process over the base paint. Hopefully I'll get to the how-to on that, sometime soon.

These are my Kitchen cabinets. You can see the whole kitchen makeover here.

Bathroom cabinets can always use some color.

Islands are the perfect space to add some color to a kitchen, or go neutral in a darker room. This helps it stand alone, like a piece of furniture.

Think about mixing the colors up.

You can even go dark with your base paint, do black cabinets in a kitchen, make sure you have enough light in our space, to support this decision though.

I hope I covered most everything. If you have questions about any of this, or something I didn't cover, please feel free to ask it in the comments section at the bottom of this post. I'll try to answer what I can.