Guest Post: Creating Your Own Stencil

I am back from vacation, but I have a bonus guest post for you today. I had so many submissions I couldn't narrow them down. This post comes to you from interior designer, Rachel Rossi. Rachel blogs about home design and décor on her site, Today she is sharing her stenciled side table project with us and showing you how to  create your own stencil, too. Take it away, Rachel.

Stenciled Side Table
It started with a yard sale, as most good things do. I found this tiny, adorable, and foldable table! I saw a ton of potential the moment I laid eyes on it, I had to laugh when I first saw it, it seemed so small, I wasn’t sure how it could be useful. But, once I looked over it again, I noticed that it the top folded down, making it a perfect piece for small spaces! I wanted to put a modern spin on it with some fresh colors and the shape was just begging for a stencil, so that’s exactly what I did!

I’d love to share with you how you too can create a lovely little table like this! I’ll briefly go over how I refinished it and how you can create your very own custom stencil for the table top.

What I Did
To begin, I took everything apart that I could. Then after some serious sanding and a quick wipe-down, I was ready to stain. I chose to paint the legs a lovely shade of turquoise and refinish the top in slate grey. I love how this grey water based stain went on, it’s a fresher look than mahogany stain!

The Stencil
After I stained the table top and painted the legs I was ready to stencil. I’ve blogged about using stencils before (click here to see that post), but haven’t had too much experience with making my own - it’s a pretty cool process! Here’s what I did: Supply List:    
  • Stencil burner (Martha Stewart has a great one)
  • Stencil template
  • Glass (I used a cheap picture frame)
  • Tape
  • A pattern to trace (that you drew or printed)
1) I outlined my drawing in a dark sharpie onto my paper. Then I placed it inside the picture frame.

2) I taped the stencil template to the front of the frame, lining up where I wanted the pattern on the stencil. 3) Using the stencil burner, I traced my design.

4) I placed my stencil on my table top, taping it down with painter’s tape. Then I began to dab on paint with a stencil sponge.

 This does take some practice—don’t worry if it isn’t perfect the first time. Go back through after you remove the stencil and do any necessary touch ups with a detail paint brush.

 5) Now for the final touch. I put my table back together and finished the top with polyurethane. I do one coat of poly, let it dry, and then go through with steel wool (don’t worry, you won’t ruin your table top). After that, I do one last coat on the top and let it dry thoroughly.

 That’s it! Pretty easy, eh? Look at my finished product!

Here are some tips for creating your own stencil that I learned along the way: 

1. Don’t create long, thin lines — It’s very difficult to get a clean edge on a continuous line, and paint doesn’t sink in very well on a thin opening. 

2.Take your time when cutting out the stencil — It’s a VERY slow process...don’t rush it or it will look rushed!

3. Make sure there is adequate room between openings on the stencil. It’s very hard to keep skinny pieces of the stencil in place. The paint tends to bleed if the separation between openings is too thin. I hope you enjoyed this project as much as I did. Stencils are a great way to create a cohesive feel within your space. You can add them to walls, floors, rugs, pottery, anywhere really! It was such a blast to see this worn out table get a fresh look and new function.
Thank you so much for the great tutorial, Rachel! I am looking forward to collaborating more with Rachel in the future, not only is she a great blogger but she is professional designer with years of experience and education.

Thank you to all the amazing ladies for guest posting this past week! Don't forget to check out their blogs: Hot Commoditybrepurposed, and Rachel Rossi.

Guest Post: Getting a Manly, Modern Finish with Chalk Paint®

Hi guys! I'm Bre and I blog over at brepurposed, where I find those hidden furniture gems that most people would toss and turn them into something new and exciting! My journey started last year after I got married and needed a new creative outlet. I hope you'll join me on my furniture adventures and follow along as I stalk Craigslist, thrift stores and friend's basements for whatever I can get my hands on. :)
Pallet Board Topped Dresser

After I bought my first supply of Chalk Paint, I wanted to paint everything with it. I hadn't gone thrifting yet, so I figured it was time to give something we already owned a makeover. The lucky winner: my husband's dresser! I've had it since I was a baby and brought it with us when we moved into our first place together. It was serving its purpose quite well, but it wasn't much to look at. If you've read my About section, you know we live in a tiny apartment, and it's definitely not our forever home. I have a hard time decorating, because I know we wont be here for long and that's why I like to sell my pieces as well. For this dresser, I kept it relatively neutral so we can take it with us whenever we move.

Here's what the dresser looked like before I started the transformation.

I don't mind the engraved design on the top drawer, but the hubs, not so much. This thing needed to be more masculine. I used Chalk Paint in Graphite, which I never would have known was a dark grey unless I had seen it in the store. It looks like Black on the website. It's still a dark color and I wanted to give it some contrast with a white border around each drawer. Since I was using Chalk Paint, no sanding or priming needed! First step was filling in that design and the holes, for new hardware.

I used Elmer's Wood Filler and had to do about three rotations of filling and sanding to get it to be completely smooth.

Time for the paint! I did two coats and after that dried, I used Frog Tape to tape off the white border. I used some leftover white trim paint I had laying around and did two coats of that as well.


Once the white dried, I used Clear Wax to coat the drawers. I'm still getting the hang of this stuff, and feel like this time around I had more trouble than the first. After applying, and buffing off, it looked a bit blotchy to me. Not sure if this had to do with the way I painted, or the way I applied the wax. Either way, applying some more and buffing in spots that looked untouched helped to minimize the blotchiness.

Due to the cold weather, I painted this baby right where it stood. I propped it up on some wooden blocks and painted the body of the dresser.

I used the rest of the pallet board I had left over that I used for my Tray and cut the pieces to size using my circular saw, in our kitchen once again.

I followed pretty much the same process that I used for my tray. 1.) cut 2.) sand 3.) glue 4.) wood stain conditioner 5.)  stain and 6.) poly.


Once the top was dry, and the dresser was ready to go, it was time to attach. I used some wood glue first, but some of the boards were a bit warped and didn't sit very flatly. To fix that we just used some regular nails and nailed the boards to the dresser securely.

I finished this piece a while ago, but originally had chosen different hardware. Once I changed my mind, Hobby Lobby was one short of the pulls I needed. I had to wait almost a week for them to get restocked and then I could take my pictures. Note: it takes Hobby Lobby 2-3 days to unload their truck, boo.

Now this is looking more manly isn't it?! The quote is from Eric Thomas, my husband's favorite motivational speaker. I designed it in Illustrator and printed it out for a frame we had laying around.
Pallet Board Topped Dresser

Pallet Board Topped Dresser

Pallet Board Topped Dresser

Pallet Board Topped Dresser

Thanks, Bre, for sharing this amazing makeover! What a girl after my own heart. She had me at Annie Sloan and Hobby Lobby. 

As you can see, Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan isn't just for distressed, shabby looks. Thanks again, Bre, for showing us how to get a modern, manly finish with my favorite paint. Don't forget to check her out over at brepurposed to see more of her projects. I am a big fan!

Guest Post: Five Space Saving Ideas for a Small Home

Hi, Pretty Distressed readers! My name is Krissy, and I blog over at Hot Commodity. I talk about reading, decorating, sewing, and home improvement. I am so excited that Christina invited me to share this post with you today. So without further ado, here are my 5 Space-Saving Ideas For a Small Home!

My husband and I have lived in a small home (1400 sq. ft.) for the last seven years. Over the years, our family has grown, but our house has not, so we have had to come up with some ways to use the space we have as best as we can. So here are five of my favorite space-saving things we have done in our home:

1. Save Floor & Drawer Space by Hanging Things Up.
Instead of having a pantry, our home has a laundry room right off the kitchen. It didn't take long for us to realize we needed a good place for storing cleaning supplies and other non-food items that we still want close to the kitchen. We bought wall hooks to hang our brooms and mops on the laundry room wall so they don't clutter up the floor. We also bought a wall-mount basket to store our aluminum foil, plastic wrap, etc. so that it wasn't occupying any of our kitchen drawers. It's close enough to the kitchen that it is still convenient.

We have also saved a lot of space in the garage this way. Wall hooks hold our snow shovel, push broom, kids' t-ball set, folding chairs, and kids' bikes off the floor.

One last thing that we got off the floor and hung on the wall is our bedside tables. Instead of a traditional table, we use floating shelves. Just be careful how much weight you place on floating shelves. All we kept on them were lamps, clocks, and the occasional book, so it worked for us.

2. Lose the Closet Doors.
Our kids' rooms are quite small. In a small room, you run into a problem of not having enough wall space for the furniture. In order to give ourselves more space along the walls, we simply removed the closet doors from the kids' closets.

We store things that don't have any other home up in the top of the closet. Short dresses and shirts hang from the rod, then a shelf with drawers sits below. The right-hand corner of the closet (not pictured) is filled with extra blankets and the kids' laundry basket. Losing the closet door freed up the left-hand wall for my daughter's dresser. My son's closet is the same way -- boxes of baby clothes fill the top shelf, clothes can hang, then a similar shelf uses the closet floor space to hold clothes, books, shoes, and dress-ups. Losing the closet door freed up space in his room for his bed.

3. Install a Dimmer.
This one might not sound "space-saving" right off, but it has helped us save space. Instead of getting lamps, which generally need to sit on something (be it the floor or a table), we installed dimmer switches in both of our kids' rooms. I maintain that this was the best idea I ever had. It helped during night-time feedings when they were babies and it helps today when someone is afraid of the dark. The fact that you don't have to worry about cords, plugs, or batteries is just an added bonus!

4. Elevate the Furniture.
Obviously, this won't work for all furniture, but simply lifting beds a few inches can provide storage space underneath for seasonal clothing and decor, extra bedding, or anything else that can lay flat. We took a more extreme approach when my son graduated to a big-boy bed.

We got him a low-loft bed. This leaves usable floor space beneath it. His dresser fits under one end, and we purchased it with the bed so that it would be the right size. He stores most of his toys under the bed. The loft is high enough for kids to sit underneath it, but it's low enough that it's still fairly easy to make the bed. Plus, it makes a great fort when the kids are so inclined.

5. Get Combination Furniture.
Most of the furniture that we have purchased in the last seven years has served more than a single purpose. Our entertainment center includes drawers to store movies, video game consoles, and small toys.

Our desk is an Ikea Expedit Desk that attaches to a bookcase on one side. This was a life-saver when our second child was born and we needed to move our computer out of our third bedroom. The shelf holds office stuff on the bottom two shelves (file boxes, printer paper, cords, etc). The upper shelves hold books on one side and more office stuff on the other side. It serves as an excellent room divider so it doesn't feel like the computer is in the middle of the living room.

The last combo piece we added was a combination shelf/pot rack to go over our kitchen sink. Pots hang from it and our canister set sits atop it, which saves a lot of cabinet and counter space.

Bonus Tip: Don't Be Sentimental.
One of the most important things we have learned in our space-saving endeavors over the years is to stop being sentimental about our stuff. We do store some items we never use (like my wedding dress), and some things we hope we never need to use (like our 72-hour kits), but we have tried not to get sentimental about things that don't deserve it. If it's taking up space and not serving a necessary purpose, we don't hesitate to donate or sell it!

Do you have more space-saving tips? I'd love to hear them, so please leave a comment!

Thank you so much, Krissy, for your post today. I hope you all enjoyed it! Please make sure to visit Hot Commodity and show her some love.

Come back on Thursday, when Bre from brepurposed stops by to share a manly dresser makeover with us.