Tag Archives: upcycle

Grab Your Gear

Three big and beautiful industrial gears got my wheels turning.

I knew the largest one, 17.5 inches in diameter, would become the top of a coffee table. Geared up for this big idea, I commandeered the base from an old industrial stool …

… and spray painted what would become the coffee table legs.

It looked a little boring so I broke out the Rub ‘n Buff wax, rubbing on patches of bronze and black.

The next problem was finding a way to secure the gear to the base. For this, I anxiously awaited the next meet-up of the Long Island Makerspace. It’s a group of people who, well, like to make stuff. We meet in a small industrial plant with access to, among other goodies, a 130 watt CO2 Laser Cutter.

Oh, I was itching for my turn with that baby! As a novice, circles seemed like a good start. 

With a little help, I programed the laser to cut a few perfectly perfect circles from a melamine panel.

The result:

No, I wouldn’t be rounding up all of these disks for my gear table. I just needed the six “doughnuts” I’d cut. I frosted them with wood glue and stacked them up like a layer cake.

When dry, the glued layers received the same paint and wax treatment as the base.

Four existing holes in the base made an easy job of screwing the base to the melamine from underneath.

Not only would this laser-cut-layer-cake pull the base and the gear together, it would add a few needed inches to the height of the table. 

The rough feet of the base needed rubber tips. I had to cut them with a utility knife to make them fit. Not beautiful, but they did the job.

Four screws with washers, camouflaged with a repeat application of paint and wax, secured the gear to the top.

In anticipation of the final step, I pressed eight self-adhesive plastic “buttons” around the rim.

There wasn’t a structural purpose for a center-hole design, but I liked how it looked.

For a little more bling, I iced the gear tips with Rub ‘n Buff bronze.

The final step will be a glass top, 24″ inches in diameter, that I’ll purchase from the local glass shop I used in I Can Top That. (I’ll post the real final result soon. I was too excited wait.)

All in all, a piece of cake!

www.karenraelevine.com

I Can Top That

Thrift store. Ten dollars. Need I say more?

First it got a good cleaning.

Then I took the top off…

and popped out the particle board insert. It took a little elbow grease to scrape off some of the glue it left behind.

I painted just the table top and the ball feet with Provence, and the rest with 1:1 mixture of Annie Sloan Duck Egg Blue and Provence. I tried Old White on the insert but decided to toss it all altogether. I had an idea for that gaping hole in the table top.

But first the wax. As usual, every surface got a coat of clear.  I wanted to highlight the details with dark wax but didn’t want the stark streaks it often produced. ***Before I brushed on the dark wax, I directed a hair dryer on the can, which gave me a little puddle of melted wax in the middle.***  DO NOT DO THIS! THE WAX IS FLAMMIBLE!!!

Brushing on a warmer, wetter wax helped provided a smoother effect. You can see my progress in the photo below. All but the leg on the right have a coat of dark.

Notice that I didn’t screw the top back on the base. I reimagined the tabletop as a removable tray.

I bought two of these handles on Ebay from a seller who had six of them. (I loved them so much, I went back on Ebay and ordered the remaining four, for future projects.)

Now to take care of that big hole in the tabletop:

I took the top to Cooper’s Glass and Mirror, and for forty dollars, the enthusiastic owner of the local shop had the glass cut and siliconed inside the grove. He even had it ready for me the same day! More often than not, artisans are happy, and sometimes even excited, to be a part of the creative process.

I glued felt pads (normally used for chair feet) to the bottom corners of the tray. These keep the tray from slipping around on the legs and it also protects the surfaces wherever else the tray might rest.

I love the subtle difference in the two paint colors and I also love the functionality of this table.

Imagine bringing drinks or snacks from the kitchen and having a handy place to rest the tray. Even if the tray stays put, it’s a pretty great side table. It’s hard to top that!

www.karenraelevine.com

Wood It Work?

I’m an empty-nester now and I have more time to devote to my new obsession with chalk paint. But even before chalk paint, when my nest was still full, I managed to find time for faux finishing. I had a happy reminder of those times when I came across a wood-graining tool I hadn’t used in I don’t know how long.

About the same time I had to decide what to do with an old Bombay table I’d moved from room to room over the course of three houses.

  

I started with two coats of Annie Sloan Burgundy, leaving the top for an experiment with my new old tool.

On the top, I used two coats of Annie Sloan Old Ochre for the base and let it dry.

Then I got together my other browns, Honfleur and Coco.

I made semi-haphazard strokes of Honfleur and Cocoa across the top with a chip brush, coming back with Old Ochre to tone it down when any of the spots felt blotchy.

I worked fast because the paint had to be wet for the next step.

The wood graining tool works by dragging and rocking it in horizontal lines across the wet paint. The graining will change by how much you drag or rock. For each pass, I started with a different spot on the rocker so the lines of grain it created wouldn’t line up.

I found myself holding my breath each time I made a pass with the graining tool!

When it dried, it looked too stark.

A wash of Old Ochre softened the faux grain.

Then the “wood” and the Burgandy got a coat of clear wax. I added a new knob and lined the drawer with a wallpaper remnant I bought at a garage sale for a dollar.

This beauty now has a prominent and permanent place in the living room. It’s gotten some oo’s and ah’s and I have to admit, I have fun showing off a bit by revealing that the top is actually painted.

Would you think it’s wood?

www.karenraelevine.com

The Golden Touch

My King Charles Cavalier didn’t seem impressed with the royal treatment the middle child of this nesting table family received in If at First You Don’t Succeed, so I decided to dress the eldest for a coronation.

With gold spray paint.

It looked as if King Midas had come for tea.

King Midas and the Golden Touch by Al Perkins, Pictures by Haig and Regina Shekerjian, Scholastic, 1973

To tone down the gold, I experimented with a wash of Annie Sloan Old White. The paint beaded on the glossy surface and I let it dry like that. It was an interesting effect but still left too much of a Midas touch.

Out came the Black Gel Stain. I applied it to the surfaces as if it were paint. Gel stain is oil-based and thick. I doesn’t behave exactly like paint but if you’re patient and let it cure between coats (in this case, two days), it leaves a rich and solid finish. It’s blacker than Annie Sloan’s Graphite chalk paint and it doesn’t need wax or varnish.

I learned from A Cup of Joe to Go to wear gloves and use a foam brush.

I wouldn’t take all the gold away from this rich little table. The metal base and pull, as well as the inside of the drawer, stayed golden.

The random raised pattern left by the beaded white wash gave this little prince some depth.

Quite regal.

www.karenraelevine.com