Don’t you love when you have an easy day at work on a Friday? You know… when there is not much going on, and you can actually surf on the web freely, maybe read some posts on your favorite blogs or maybe have a little bit of Pinterest time to yourself. Not that it happens often, but one of those Fridays as I was cruising on craigslist I got lucky enough to score a vintage tri-fold mirror for $20.
Last year Christmas time we received quite a lot of Christmas cards, and I didn’t have any place to put them all up. Our fridge doesn’t have a metallic surface, so I couldn’t put any magnets on to hold cards on it, nor did I have any type of card display. So when I saw this bad boy on Craigslist, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it: A Command Center! Because I knew with the right color paint and a bit of modification it could also be used as a sweet holiday decoration spot.
Normally, before I write to sellers on craigslist, I consult Greg about my finds just to see if he likes them as much as I do. But this time, having a perfect plan of what I am going to do with it, I really didn’t want to miss it, so I wrote to the seller before I could consult Greg.
Greg and I both were surprised when we went to pick the piece. It actually doesn’t look so big in the pictures, but man was it big and heavy? As soon as we got it in the car I started day dreaming about where I would put the Christmas cards and that I needed to make a nice garland and what kind of chalk art I should come up with. I bet it was the longest drive for Greg, as I even started singing Christmas Carols to go with that day dreaming. [It was July. -Greg] Poor my babes! He always has to put up with my weird excitement.
Next day when Greg left the house to go shopping, I already started unscrewing the hinges to separate the folds. Once the folds were separated, it was easy to pull out the backing and get the mirrors out. I managed to take out the mirrors intact and put them in my crafts room, as I have a future plan for those mirrors. After all that dismantling I sanded each piece so I could get rid of the peels of that old lacquer. Not that you normally need to do any sanding before painting with chalk type paint but sometimes you just want to have a smoother surface to have a better finish in the end.
I have used and I like most of the branded chalk type paints out there, but ever since I made my own chalk type paint I am incredibly addicted to it. First, I like the ability of having my chalk type paint in the color I want; and second, with branded chalk type paints, I feel the need to add some water to give them a bit more flow but my homemade one always has the perfect thickness for me. Therefore for this piece also I prepared my homemade chalk type paint, custom color-matched to Old White by Annie Sloan.
I gave 3 coats of paint to the folds and during the drying time of these 3 coats, I worked on the appliques of the main body. Ok, correction: I asked Greg to help me with gluing the appliques. If you want to have those appliques looking nice and neat trust me and ask for someone’s hand. Because that hand in fact is a “Time and Nerve Saver.” Oh also, depending on your personality you might want someone with a lot of patience. Below is how our applique gluing work went:
Greg: Where do you want them, my babes?
Me: This one will go here, this one to the middle and this will go as a mirror image to the first one.
Greg: Ok, so you the middle one here?
Me: Yes but move it tiny bit upwards.
Greg: Like this?
Me: Yeah, I guess… You know what? A wee bit towards left maybe?
Greg: Like this?
Me: No I said left!
Greg: This IS left!
Me: No I meant the other left! (Can you tell that I have left & right dyslexia?)
Greg: O-key?!? Like this?
Me: I don’t know… What do you think? Shall we put this piece here instead?
Greg: No, no. I think this one is good here…. Come on, I need you to hold it in place so I can mark its place.
At this point he was about to lose his patience so I didn’t push it further. As I was trying holding the piece in place:
Greg: Don’t move it!
Me: Oh golly!
I moved the piece and we had to start again from step one. Once we finally marked up the places, the rest was a piece of cake. I just put wood glue on the back of the appliques and let my babes clamp them, as I held them in their marked places. This was the most tedious part of this project, and I was so happy that the appliques were finally in place that I forgot to take pictures of this entire process.
Next in line was the cover of the front box. I first filled it with wood filler. After the wood filler dried, I sanded it down to have a level surface and glued the last applique on it. The next day both the main body and the front box cover were ready for paint, and I gave them also 3 thin coats of paint. Once the paint dried, I sanded all the pieces with 320 grit sand paper to have a smoother surface before waxing. I also finished distressing during this sanding process. Then as the protective coat, I put Annie Sloan Clear Soft Wax.
I am not sure how other DIYers buff but I generally use an electric buffer, as I get a perfect shine in an easy and painless way. I also recently bought a buffer brush bit for drill, but I am yet to try it so I don’t know how well that works.
This was my first project in which I used chicken wire. After cutting the chicken wire to size, I first thought that I should straighten it before stapling it on the folds. But then I thought if I stretch it enough it will end up being straight and so it did. Therefore if you are doing a similar project, I suggest you not lose time trying to straighten the chicken wire.
As for the chalkboard, we bought a metal sheet from Home Depot. I spray painted it with chalkboard spray paint and voila! I had a chalkboard which I can use magnets on. Now who needs a metallic surfaced fridge when you have a metallic chalkboard, right?
This command center turned out to be a fabulous addition to our home, and I can’t wait to decorate it for holidays!
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