Chalk Paint Antique Magnet Frame

We bought a new fridge a couple of weeks ago.  My old ivory side-by-side fridge was also my travel memory board with magnets from all my various travels in the last 10 years.  My fridge always looked cluttered and messy though, which I didn’t like.  I couldn’t bring myself to clutter the front of my shiny new stainless steel fridge.

I had thought it would be fun to take an old, ornate frame, antique patina it, and put sheet metal in it to make a magnet board.  I actually started to do this a year and a half ago when a friend gave me an old frame that was headed to the trash from her garage.  I bought the supplies and started to work on the frame last summer.  I got sidelined by a rear-end accident last August, that left me with severe whiplash and a lot of pain and headaches. It took several months to pick this project back up, and when I did I could only do a little bit of distressing at a time. In between pain relief procedures, short stints of sanding would leave me with intense headaches, sore and hurting for days.  Pressing, and back and forth movement is hard.

But I persevered, and here is the finished project.  

I like how it turned out.  I can’t point you to any particular blog or directions.  I used information from several different YouTube videos and just kind of winged it. I can tell you what supplies I used, in the order of use. 

  • Hammered Bronze spray paint
  • FolkArt Home Decor Furniture and Craft Paint in Patina
  • Sand paper, sanding blocks, 60 to 120 grit
  • Minwax Paste Finishing Wax, Special Dark (this one is thick and you work it on with a round craft brush)
  • FolkArt Home Decor Finishing Wax, clear (this one is thin and paints on, rather than rubs on)

The metal is a sheet of vent flashing from the hardware store.  Don’t buy “sheet metal” pieces, that can cost $30-$35 a piece, but go to the HVAC department.  I paid $8 for the sheet I used.  My husband did the assembly. 

I really don’t want to do this kind of project again, until I’m pain free, it was too much.  I have plenty of supplies though, just in case. 

Arbor Day

Here’s a random memory that came to me today. Way back in second grade — I don’t even remember what school I was going to — I had written a story for Arbor Day.  Somehow my story won a school wide contest and I won a tree from a local nursery.  We were homeless so I never got my tree.

I don’t know how to process this memory now, but here are some pictures from my yard today.


Japanese Maple.  I bought this on a Home Depot clearance for $10 the summer I worked part-time watering plants.


And while not trees, my bushes on the west side of the house.

Summer Wine Ninebarks.  We bought them distressed on clearance in gallon buckets, and they thanked us by thriving.

We have more, but my trees are my favorites.

Freshen your tired bathroom vanity cabinet with a gel stain makeover

Bathroom Vanity and Medicine Cabinet Makeover Project

Freshen your tired bathroom vanity cabinet with a gel stain makeover

Over my Christmas break, I decided it was time to update the bathroom vanity in our Master.  30+ years was showing on the finish.  I love the look of the General Finishes gel stain product, and we had used it over the Christmas break in 2014 in the kitchen. The Java color seems to be really in style right now as well if you pay attention to all the home flipping and DIY shows on HGTV and DIY Network.

This is not a hard project, just time consuming. So here’s before and after.


And here’s what it takes, generally, to do it.

  • 71rtztfzfsl-_sy355_General Finishes gel stain in Java. A little bit of stain goes a LONG way. This project took a fraction of a pint can of stain and topcoat.
  • General Finishes satin gel stain topcoat.
  • Tri-sodium phosphate (TSP) cleaner and a bucket of water, cleaning sponges and cleaning rags.
  • 1″ and 3″ sponge craft brushes.
  • A small water color brush to get into corners.
  • Latex gloves – a whole box. Trust me.
  • An old cotton sock.
  • Ziploc bags and and saran wrap.

Gel stain is communicable and TSP is not friendly to surfaces you are not working on, so prep first.  Really.  It travels if you’re not careful.  Cover your floor with an old sheet or painter’s tarp, tape off edges with painters tape and mask your work areas. This stuff is seriously messy if you don’t control it. Prep, prep, prep.

Clean the wood surface with a TSP solution and allow to dry several hours.  You can get TSP in the paint supplies section of your local hardware store.  It comes in a powder you dissolve in a bucket of water.  Do not get this on any wooden out painted surfaces you are not staining.  It will damage your finish.

When prepping, be sure you tape off your line inside your cabinet where you’re going to stop staining so it looks nice and neat when you’re done.  I didn’t want to stain the entire inside, just the inside of the doors, so I stained the lip inside the cabinet doors and stopped with a nice, straight tape line, leaving the rest of the interior its original wood color.

Remove hardware, doors and drawers.  I worked on them separately on sawhorses in the garage. If you’re not replacing hardware, this is a good time to clean your existing hardware. Drop your hardware into a Dawn/white vinegar and water solution and let it soak overnight. Have an old toothbrush handy to give them a bit of a scrub.

Lightly sand all surfaces you’re going to stain with a sanding block to rough up the surface, then wipe down to remove dust.  Allow to dry if you used water to wipe down.

Now you can stain. I used the sponge brushes to apply the stain, but you can wipe it on too.  An old cotton sock is great for this. Regardless of how you apply, wear gloves.  Have a box handy.  Trust me.  You will need gloves. As far as timing, the doors will take twice as long as the vanity and cabinet base since you can’t stain both sides at the same time.

Just so you know, the first coat will look like CRAP and you’ll be wondering WTF you just did to your cabinet. Don’t panic. Be patient. By the second and then the third coats, it will start to look fabulous.


1st coat.  Ack!  What have I done?!?

Allow each coat to dry 6-8 hours.

Do NOT rinse your work tools. This is stain, not paint, so it will stain your sink. Just wrap your brush in saran wrap and store in a closed ziploc bag between coats. The brushes are cheap.

Once you’ve stained the wood to the desired color and it is dry, apply your gel topcoat with your cotton sock. Wipe on, let dry, wipe on again. I used three coats. Again, a little bit goes a long way. Allow to dry 6-8 hours between coats.

If you accidentally get stain on your wall, counter top or floor, clean it IMMEDIATELY. I found water, a scrubby sponge or brush, and some Soft Scrub will remove fresh, wet stain completely.

My little project took four or five days with all the drying time. I could have done it faster if I’d have stained early morning and again in the evening every day, accomplishing two coats in one day. But I was on break after all.

After the last coat is dry, put your hardware back on, touch up where you need to, and you are DONE.

I felt so accomplished.  All grown up and everything.

If you’re buying new hinges, take one of the old ones with you to the hardware store so you buy exactly the right style. It will save you a trip. I bought mine at a store here called Locks and Pulls. Cabinet and door hardware is all they sell and they have a huge selection.