painting a piano

I’ve wanted a piano for years. I grew up with a gorgeous baby grand but ever since leaving for college, I haven’t had one to play. A couple months ago I got the urge to play that just wouldn’t go away. So I did what anyone looking for a piano would do : I went to a local music store, played several used uprights, and fell in love with one. Except even at the good price of $450, I just couldn’t do it.

Craigslist is really bare here in a small town but I thought I’d at least give that a shot. If I couldn’t find anything there, then maybe I could find a way to set aside the money for the one I liked, knowing it was my best option. But believe it or not, a listing came up for a house full of furniture for sale – including an upright piano. I couldn’t tell how it looked from the dark picture so T and I went to take a look and took it home for just $25, including the bench. After a good tuning a getting a couple keys fixed, it’s totally playable and perfect for what I wanted.

Except I wasn’t in love with it’s appearance.

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It’s not BAD but it’s not my style. It’s way too dark for the room, had scratches and areas where the stain has worn off unevenly. The bench didn’t match. Parts of it are wood (with a dark cherry stain) but the majority of the surface is this weird cardboard wallpaper material with a basket weave texture on it. Staining the piano was out of the question, so I researched all over the web to find more information about painting a piano.

Some people take it all apart and even remove every key before painting it. I don’t know enough about pianos to know how to do this correctly, much less put it back together. I ended up only taking the music stand off and then taping up the insides (beneath the “lid” of the piano), taping off the keys, and taping off the pedals with plastic grocery bags and frog tape. I taped it all off before sanding to keep the piano free of sawdust.

A lot of people also take their piano out into a garage or workspace and spray paint it. You’ll get a smoother and more even finish that way, but I didn’t do that because it’s hard to move the piano, it’s cold outdoors and I didn’t want to mess with the tuning too much with sudden humidity and temperature changes, and that texture over most of the piano would be very difficult to cover with a spray. We just pulled the piano out from the wall and put a plastic tarp underneath.

Once it was all taped off, I began sanding all the wooden parts down enough to rough up the surface.

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Then I put 2-3 coats of primer on it. There were a few areas where the reddish stain would bleed through, so those are the areas with 3 coats of primer.

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When I got to the painting phase, I was still pretty indecisive about color. Yellow would be perfect with the colors in the room, and yellow is my favorite color, so I went for it. But after a coat of paint I realized just how bright it was. And how much attention it would grab. The piano is a shorter upright (technically a spinet) and somehow the combination of it’s shape and the basket weave texture made it feel too mid-century for the room with the yellow.

Instead of being patient and waiting for the next day so I could buy more paint, I realized there was still over half a gallon of turquoise blue paint from the accent wall on the other side of the living room. My 2nd choice of color for the piano would be a turquoise but I was worried about clashing with the accent wall. Since I had the exact same paint already, I went for it.

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The crazy thing about paint is how it can look SO different depending on what you’re painting and how much surface is covered. The piano looks noticeably lighter than the wall but it still looks good across the room from it.

I was pretty scared to take on such a big project but I’m really glad I went for it. I’m loving this turquoise piano even more than I did the day I brought it home.

Here’s the before & after, side by side.

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Anyone feel like painting their piano now? I’d LOVE to see pictures.

pillows

We bought our couch from Craigslist 4 years ago when we first moved to Kansas City. It was only $200, in excellent condition, and came with 4 pillows (oh how I miss Craigslist in a city). The pillows had seen much better days after our dogs got a hold of them when they were little. They weren’t ruined but looking pretty rough… That’s where an impulse Hobby Lobby fabric buy and my sewing machine come in.

Before:

After:

I was really surprised by how quickly this project went by. And I love the results – how can anyone go wrong with chevron? That exact color blue matches our blue accent wall in the living room perfectly.

summer’s over + a little bit of everything.

Today it’s only 60 degrees! And it’s raining. That’s a far cry from the sunny 110+ weather we’ve had here in OK recently. I believe summer is over and fall is officially here, or at least near…

Homemade caramel apples are a fall must – so easy to make and so delicious.

Poor Eber, he loves a brisk fall morning to run and play like a mad dog, but he’s nursing an injured paw. Paws unfortunately take a long time to heal.

With a new season comes the urge to reorganize & redecorate. Even in our last house, my desk has always been facing a window. The other day I had just had enough and needed a change.

And of course, this blank wall has to be decorated.

I know, I know, those cork boards look dumb all clean and unused. But I have been far too busy to tack anything up there since I put this up. Side note : you know you’ve been on the internet too much when you describe your cork boards to your husband as “pinterest boards, but real”.

Want to see a super quick before & after?

I thought so.

Before: A pair of matching frames with water damaged prints from the thrift store.

After: Matching cork boards with weathered white frames.

Bam. That’s my kind of DIY project.

I have some exciting projects in the works – both design related and for my Etsy store. There’s also a craft fair coming up in November that I will have a booth in. Here’s a couple teasers.

reupholstered footstool

I’ve been looking for a footstool or ottoman for my office. Mainly to set my tiny printer on so it won’t have to sit on the floor, but I also want the option to kick my feet up if I’m sitting on the futon. I found the perfect ottoman at a flea market that I was eyeing for weeks. I knew I loved it but couldn’t think of a use for it. When it suddenly hit me that it would be perfect for the office I went to buy it and it was gone. Lesson learned — you have to commit when it’s a flea market or thrift store find. You can never count on it being there later.

Fast forward a few more weeks and I was at the thrift store with a friend when I saw this.

It was super sturdy and a good price. All it needed was some reupholstering. Deal. I wasn’t going to let this one slip past me, too.

I still had some fabric left from the mod podge trays so I crossed my fingers it would be enough for the footstool. Amazingly, I had JUST enough. 1/8th of an inch less and it wouldn’t have worked.

Reupholstering a footstool is easy and surprisingly fast. Besides the footstool and fabric you’ll need a staple gun with staples and a hammer. That’s it.

Step 1: Turn the footstool upside down and onto the unprinted side of the fabric.

Step 2: Starting on one of the long sides, pull the fabric up to the bottom of the stool and staple. If your arms are like mine and not quite strong enough to get the staple in all the way, use a hammer to finish securing each one. Keeping the fabric tight, repeat this on the other long side.

Step 3: Starting at a corner of one of the short sides, fold and pull the fabric up like you’re wrapping a present. I had to do 2 small folds to get this to stay tight enough and not bulge at the corner. Staple in place. Repeat on the other corner of this side. NOTE: At this point you may need to remove the legs (these just twisted off) so they won’t be in your way.

Step 4: Once the corners of the short side are done, pull the fabric between the corners tight and staple in place. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for the other short side.

Step 5: Trim any excess fabric, put the legs back on if you took them off, and set the footstool upright. Voila.

You’re done! I can’t get enough of dramatic before & afters, especially when they don’t take a lot of time.

As much as I love how this looks, I’m still considering refinishing the legs a darker stain color. What do you think?

diy sunburst mirror

The DIYing continues. I’d had such a long break from projects while staying busy with work, the move, and all our transition, now it’s like I’m making up for lost time.

Lowe’s has started selling adorable paint sample jars in a line of summery colors and I decided to pick up the orange one for this project that my friend Michaela and I were going to work on. Unfortunately instead of looking cute and retro, the orange made this mirror look 80’s and southwestern. Not a good combo.

Here’s how it looked mostly orange (I bailed on painting all of the sticks when I realized it was not going to work).

Then I discovered my new love of spray paint. And not just any spray paint. Metallic.

It looks so much classier in this metallic caramel latte color, don’t you think?

I’m already working on 2 other DIY projects which I desperately need to finish before I begin any more. One of them involves high heat spray enamel, stain, and polyurethane. Any guesses?

recycled towel bath mat

This project has been sitting on my DIY pinterest board for so long and the other day I decided to give it a shot. I’d been putting it off because I knew it would take a while and unfortunately I’m the type of person who is totally willing to start a project, but if it drags out into days or weeks the likelihood of me ever finishing it goes down to almost zero.

But worth a shot, right? The video says it might take about 2 hours. Doable.

Wrong. I think I spent about 15 hours on this. So long that my cat became exhausted from watching me work on it so much.


I also think it’s important to note that this is one of the messiest projects I’ve ever worked on. These strips of old towels shed everywhere. I’ve had to vacuum the floor, table, couch, and myself each time I’ve gotten up from working on it.

But in the end, I think it was worth it. It’s probably the softest and squishiest bath mat my feet have ever stepped on.

 

EDIT: Okay, as much as I hate to admit it, this project was NOT a success. It lived in our bathroom for just a couple weeks before it was given the boot by T. It was still shedding everywhere and as much as I tried to clean up after it, it was too much of a mess. I had to hand-fluff it every couple days otherwise it looked all raggedy and flat. It has since been replaced with a light blue Martha Stewart bathmat of the same size that I found at a thrift store for $2.

two new DIYs

This yarn wreath has been a long time coming. My excuse is that I was waiting to find out the color of our new home’s front door before starting this project. Honestly I don’t know why I didn’t just make one for our little house’s red door and a new one for this house. It didn’t take long and was super fun. I’m finding myself being thankful that our house in OK has 2 doors so I can work on another.

Now that all my work is done in my home office, I needed a cute mouse pad. So I uploaded one of my Etsy designs to Vistaprint and ordered it online (shocker). And a week later this came to my door.

owl love

There’s a funky flea market nearby and both times I’ve gone there, I’ve found an adorable owl figurine for $1. All they needed was some yellow spray paint, and voila.

it’s starting to look like home

Since T has been in Colorado for training, I’ve painted an accent wall. Twice. I swear no matter how many times I paint or how many art classes I’ve taken, I just can’t get a wall color right the first time.

It looks more green in the picture than it does it real life. Thanks to the uber artsy filters on instagram.

I’m taking this time alone to try out some Pinterest ideas that have been sitting quietly on my gigantic DIY board. Hello photo clothesline.

I’ve also taken this time alone to begin a whole new addiction — online shopping. What at first started as an innocent thought about not having many shopping options in a small town in the middle-of-nowhere-Oklahoma quickly blossomed into a time money waster. I’ve been eyeing this West Elm duvet cover for months and months. And finally bought matching lamps so we can have symmetry in the bedroom.