I've got a thing for old drawers covered in wallpaper and collect as many as I can for studio storage. But, they can be rare, or pricey. So, when I find a newer set for cheap, I give it a makeover. Like the one on the right. The left one is an original, old chest of drawers, the pink one is a 50 cent piece I got at a garage sale and recovered myself.
This one is old too, and it is covered in vinyl, not wallpaper like most are.
And I like this mini one too.
It is full of birds, eggs, and butterflies. These whitewashed birdies were an estate sale find that Beth passed on to me.
One thing I like about these, is that they can be tucked away into odd spots to create storage. Or sat up on top of other pieces.
When I saw this tossed away in Beth's trash can, I had to rescue it.
First step- remove the knobs. I had some glass ones to replace these plastic ones with. Which is what I also used on the previous set of drawers that I redid. That is probably not an accurate thing to do, most of these little chests sport wooden knobs.
But glass knobs are my fave and I stick them on anything I possibly can. The ones I selected for this project are vintage, but I've seen some nice ones at Hobby Lobby that go on sale for 50% off an a regular basis.
Second step- choose your paper. I have a few billion rolls of vintage wallpaper (a little addiction of mine), and knew this pink with roses would be ideal for these drawers. But the roll was not only old, it was near its end, so tore very easily. A bit of ironing helped smooth it out so I could work with it.
Too bad the existing pattern was sooooo 80s. And so shiny. It is printed cardboard.
But that could be fixed. I decided that since I was redoing this for myself, not to resale, that I would leave the interior as is. If I was passing this along to a client, I'd have either painted or covered all of the shiny, printed cardboard design.
Using Crafter's Pick The Ultimate glue, I covered the front of a drawer, getting right up to the edges, then pressed the pink paper down into the glue.
The sides were too big to try to do with a squeeze bottle, so I put a thinner glue on a plate and brushed it on. I still used the Ultimate on the very edges, though. They stick down better with a stronger glue.
I don't precut or measure. I eyeball the paper to get a size that is close, glue it down, then I crease the excess paper and use a sanding block to "cut" the wallpaper to fit. No scissors.
The sanding block should be used only in a downward motion away from the edge. It not only buffs and burnishes the paper's edge tightly to the surface, it cuts off the salvage.
When possible, I lined up the side of the paper to the edge of the drawer. Less waste of paper that way. But I still used the sanding block on it. The above photo shows why. The straight edge of the wallpaper is glued down, but doesn't look quite right.
A little buffing with the sanding block, and it looks much better.
I also discovered, that I could take the gloss off the printed cardboard on the bits like this between the drawers that didn't get covered in vintage paper.
This is the side of a drawer, with the printed cardboard left as is and the vintage wallpaper adhered to the front. One tell tale sign that these cardboard sets are not vintage, is well, that they are cardboard and it shows. The really old ones are on wooden frames.
Now, I could have wrapped my paper around the sides like I did on the one in the very first photo on this post.
But I didn't.
I squirted a lot of Ultimate glue into the crevice and weighted it down to dry, that lessened the gap and helped hide the fact that this was made of cardboard.
I'm afraid that this picture doesn't show that last step. This is the picture that made me want to do that last step, though. Those gaps bothered me.
At first it bothered me that this was a little wonky, then I looked at the old ones I was using around the room. Well, wonky seems to be the natural state of most of them.
I wish every project involved silk or velvet ribbons...
The Birdsong journal for my class needed velvet ribbons. It is really hard to find affordable velvet ribbons anywhere!!! I found them in white at Dharma Trading, and while there, fell for the silk too. And the dye, and some scarves to dye, and well, more than I should've bought.
I've been a fan of this dye for years and use it a lot, for many things (including bottle brush trees, wool roving, and tie dye).
For ribbons, I didn't bother with instructions, or presoaks. These ribbons are meant for journals, not sewing on clothing that will be washed.
I've also used koolaide or food coloring to dye ribbon, and that works fine too.
Since I bought the ribbon in bulk, but didn't want it all the same color, I had to remove it from the spool. It needed to be re-rolled up to dip dye (like I did crepe paper here). A pencil worked great to roll it back up and I stored the rolls in a plastic tub so they wouldn't unroll again.
Each roll got dipped halfway into the dye.
Some I used one color on and left the other half white.
Others, I flipped over and dyed the other half a second color.
These small bundles were left to drain on paper towels for a couple days.
The pile of ribbons in the back? Those are nicely crumpled instead of rolled, and were left all smooshed up to dry with that wrinkly effect.
For this, I just dunked a bunch of ribbon, and squeezed out the moisture, and left it to dry still scrunched up.
This is some ecru silk that was done that way. If you don't want the solid color ribbons crinkled, hang them up to dry instead.
You should wear gloves.
If you want the dye to bleed, dip the rolls in water first.
Mix your dye in small batches, it doesn't take much. And try the color very diluted first, it's easy to add more dye and re-dip the ribbon if the color is too pale. If it is too vivid, you can try dipping in clear water, or holding it under running water, but that might not take out enough of the color. Start light, work up to darker. You can dip a paper towel in the mix to see if you like the color, if you aren't happy with the shade, add more dye or more water before using the mixture for the ribbons or lace.
If you want a two color ribbon with white in the center, barely dip the edges in to the dye.
While I had the colors mixed, I might have dyed a few more things too. Newer white ribbon dipped in ecru dye sure looks nice and old afterwards.
And this fabric was a bit too gray for my purpose. I'm sewing it to these canvas bags, but I wasn't happy with the original color (right) so I dyed some in pink, some in ecru.
Both did a good job of taking out the cool tones of the gray. I knew some dye would be the solution to the cloth not matching the bag. But the cloth was such a good deal, I couldn't turn it down. I found a bunch of it for a dollar at the Victorian Trading Outlet center, they use it on their ironing board covers. And I love the roses.
I've been soaking up the grand fairy fun for the last few weeks before Dewdrop took her cross country adventure. Sleepovers, play dates, parties, and hikes.
One highlight was the Nutrition Festival at the library. There was a performance by the Last Carnival Circus School.
Two of my good friends were part of the show.
There was an interactive show by the Hoop Mamas.
Which my fairies loved.
Some exercises, some jumping.
Well, lots of jumping...
And lots of booths with learning games.
With healthy treats. And all free. You might have noticed, if there is a free kid's event around, we are THERE. I've always done things like that with my own kids,and now with these babes. My boys were raised to love to attend a grand opening of any business to partake in free hot dogs and popcorn.
For me it wasn't just the free stuff, it was the party attitude. We were very poor when the boys were tiny and free was all I could afford. I'll never forget the joy on my young son's face when he spun the wheel of fortune at a grocery store opening and won a giant jug of ketchup. It didn't matter that his prize was ketchup, it was a PRIZE and it was fun to win it. Sounds weird, but it sure was a good day for us.
But I've learned over the years that it isn't the price that matters, it is getting out there and doing something festive with your family. And with the right attitude even hot dogs in a parking lot for a used car lot grand opening can be exciting.
PS- thank you for your concerns and worries about me missing my little Dewdrop. Heck, I miss her when I don't see her daily, but I know how lucky I am to have my grand fairies on a regular basis, and how most grandparents don't have that luxury. Also, I know that it is going to be very hard for her parents to be away from her, but have to say I am quite proud of the way they are handling it and making it work. That little girl gets to spend time with all the people who love her and that is what is important.
She is going to be one happy little miniature gypsy!
My littlest fairy is in for some changes. Her mommy and some of the other siblings have moved 13 hours away. She has been here with us and her daddy til her family gets settled out there, and then we will be doing a long distance switch off every few weeks.
Between breaking out in tears at random moments at the thought of her going (but never in front of her), I get plenty of hugs and snuggles. And I have a mantra that I say to her and to myself.
"I'll be so sad to have you away from me, but I'll be glad that you are with your mommy that you love. And I'll be sooooo happy when you come back to see me again soon. I love you."
Saying that to her a lot, is what is keeping me together.