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drop cloth

Clothespin Sheep Ornament Tutorial

Can you resist cute farm animals? I, for one, can not. I won’t say I have a favorite, but I truly adore cows, chicken, horses, goats, pigs, and sheep – any and all. A few years ago I made each of my kids a woolly clothespin sheep ornament and that inspired me to make a larger version a while back (tutorial HERE). As a result of sharing that tutorial, many of you asked for a DIY on how to make the smaller ornament too. Well, today’s the day!

Adorable Farmhouse Sheep Made from Repurposed Materials | DIY tutorials by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

This little flock is so easy to create in a few minutes. In fact, even kids can do it! The best part is they make wonderful handmade gifts from kids of any age. You can string them up to be Read more

Farmhouse Drop-Leaf Table Updated

Do you ever do something just because you want to? Like, eat an extra cookie, or take a drive down a country road…just because you want to. Those kinda things are liberties that can break a funk we are in, but the key is limiting it so it doesn’t get out of control. Well…in the last week I managed to acquire 6 large pieces of furniture all at once. ahem. So, you can bet I’ll be firing out some furniture makeovers in the next few weeks. haha! For instance, I’ve always wanted to work on another farmhouse drop-leaf table like this, so I bought it. Nuff said.Vintage Drop-Leaf Table Before Makeover by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

However, as you can see, it was loved on and not looking top-notch as far as the finish goes. But, if you can look past that to the potential that is there, you can see time-worn wear, and those Read more

Repurposed Plant Stand with Patina Paint

It’s a fun day when I get to start my creative juices flowing with all the fantastic #trashure finds I find during city spring cleanup. One day in particular I was outside spray painting listening to all the junky trucks driving around our neighborhood as they shopped Curb le Chic. It was our quadrant’s turn and I was being a good girl staying home until the last day. My neighbor came over to ask me if I wanted seedling pots he was throwing out. As he was talking I looked at his pile and asked, “Is that a stool in your trash?” He replied, “No, an ash tray”. We walked over together to inspect his loot. Thus begins the story of my repurposed plant stand.

Curbside Ash Tray and Flower Vase Before Makeover by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

You see, he not only had this funky ash tray, but a perfectly good Read more

Antique Chest of Drawers ~ Hand-Painted Florals

It’s been a fun run or making over the stash of furniture I purchased from a storage unit. If you need to catch up, you can see the previous pieces here: (1) Mid Century Modern dresser (2) antique dresser (3) waterfall chest. Now it’s time for the last piece from that haul of goodies. Needless to say I also have more from other places, but…here is an antique chest of drawers that looks like a match to the dresser I have in my bedroom. Isn’t it a beauty?

Antique Chest Before Makeover by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

These classic pieces were built solid and will stand the test of time. That is, except their veneer. I always get disheartened to see one flaking away, but this chest was seriously parched and so very Read more

Antique Dresser Given Time-Worn Love

Little did I know one day that I would be bringing home FOUR pieces of furniture at the same time. You would think that is normal around here as it’s not the first time, but I have been trying to scale back until I can find suitable storage. However, who can blame me when I guy offers antique pieces from a storage unit for an amazing price? This antique dresser was one of them and the subject for my Trash to Treasure post today. Read through to see what my blogger friends have for you too.

Antique Dresser with Mirror Before Makeover by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

This lovely lady had a good face on front, but the sides left you wanting. See what I mean?

Antique Dresser with Damaged Veneer | prodigalpieces.com Read more

DIY Decor from Thrifted Finds

In my neck of the woods, thrifting is a sport. You have the daily divers, the grab-it-and-goers, and the first-timers (the ones looking either completely lost or in total awe). If you don’t watch your cart, someone will take your things out of it…seriously. haha! I think it fantastic that places like this are available for dropping off unwanteds as well as finding that #trashure I’m after. Ya know…one man’s trash is another one’s treasure kinda thing. Today, I’m creating some DIY decor from thrifted finds and show you how.

Thrifted Finds Before Repourposed Makeover by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

*post contains affiliate links so you can find the products I love to use too. (see full disclosure)

What I grabbed was a wooden bin, a Boyds Bear Tapestry wall art, and a French perfume ad with hook. Most people when they see what’s in my cart look at me funny, but Read more

Farmhouse Side Table ~ How to Update Your Look

Earlier this week I showed you I took a curbside changing table my dad salvaged for me and turned it into a cart. I promised I would be back with more of my dad’s haul for me, and today’s the day. Out of the loot below, I’m tackling that table and turning into a farmhouse side table. Let me show you how easy it can be to update your home into the farmhouse style.

Curbside Finds from my Dad | Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

Okay, so this table is not only showcasing that gorgeous orange stain (insert sarcasm), it is also standing on a broken leg. (aka. hot mess) See the back left?

Side Table Before Makeover by Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

The top was scratched to oblivion because it is made of pine with a veneer to boot, but was Read more

10 Furniture Refinishing Essentials + Tips & Tricks

You may have be wondering, but are hesitant to ask, what are my go-to tools and supplies when starting a furniture project.  Wonder no more!  I have selected the top ten furniture refinishing essentials that help me take a piece of furniture from drab to fab.

10 Furniture Refinishing Essentials + Tips & Tricks by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

Here’s my list.  Check it out… (in no particular order)

  1. Sandpaper & Sander
  2. Wood Filler 
  3. Putty Knife
  4. Brushes & Rollers
  5. Paint
  6. Stain
  7. Topcoats – Wax & Poly
  8. Safety Equipment
  9. Cloth rags
  10. Cardboard – yes, you read it right!
You might be thinking, well duh…I knew you needed those things…but let’s take a closer look at them.
 
1. Sandpaper & Sander
 
For me, not any old sander will do.  I prefer an orbital sander (though belt sanders take it off quick when working on a heavy duty project!), particularly one with adjustable speed control.  It allows you to better set and maintain speed to get that finish you’re looking for.  My favorite so far is this Dewalt 5-Inch Orbit Sander.
10 Furniture Refinishing Essentials Plus Tips & Tricks by Prodigal Pieces http://www.prodigalpieces.com
I also look for ease of use when it comes to wrist strain.  My particular sander is a lighter model and allows you to adjust your hand to different positions when sanding. When working on piece after piece your hands and wrists take a beating – no carpel tunnel for me!
10 Furniture Refinishing Essentials + Tips & Tricks by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces
As for sandpaper, I typically have 3 different grits on hand. 80 gritfor bulldozing through a terrible finish or paint, 150 gritfor the in-between stage and getting out gouges and smoothing down edges, and 220 for the finish.
~ DISCLOSURE: This post contains Amazon affiliate links. This means that I might make a few cents if you purchase an item I have recommended. Your price will still be the same, but the seller might pay me a tiny percentage.
The 220 gritgives you the glass-like feel and is also useful for hitting the poly in between coats to promote adhesion.  The first 3 levels of sandpaper are for my sander, but I also have varying grits for hand-sanding from 40 grit up to 400 grit.
 
2. Wood Filler

A furniture refinisher’s best friend!  This stuff is like magic and can solve the most ugly of situations.

10 Furniture Refinishing Essentials Plus Tips & Tricks by Prodigal Pieces http://www.prodigalpieces.com
10 Furniture Refinishing Essentials + Tips & Tricks by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces
Remember my Ugly Duckling Dressing Table?  I used an enormous amount of filler on that hacked up top.
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How to use?  Just grab a putty knife or scraper and spread some on like butter on toast.  A little tip: make a point to not put it on completely smooth, but leave a little loft to it because as it hardens it will shrink – you don’t want to have to waste time reapplying to fill a half-filled hole.  Just leave enough so that you can smooth it to surface level.  Also, try not to leave so much that it gums up your sand paper.
 
3. Putty Knife
I love my putty knife(aka scraper)!  Can you believe it’s the same one I’ve had since we purchased our home 11 years ago?  My Wal-Mart jobbie has lasted f.o.r.e.v.e.r. This baby is my putty knife, my paint remover, my glass cleaner, my screwdriver (when I don’t have one close by), my hammer (the butt of the handle works great when I’m too lazy to go get my hammer!)
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It’s very versatile and dangerous – I can’t tell you how many times I have nicked myself with it – that blade has gotten very sharp over time! Duh-factor: anything with the word “knife” in it should be used with caution.  ahem.

4. Brushes & Rollers
I’ve had sooo many questions from followers on how I achieve a super-smooth finish when working with non-chalk based paint.  After working on a paint crew AND just plain trial and error, here is what I have found to be the best…FOAM! I use foam brushes and foam rollers. They rock!
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Let me give you a for instance.  While working on my Broyhill Brasilia, I used paint and stain.  I love the angled tip of a foam brush to get into those tiny crevices and the foaminess (is that a word?) for creating a smooth-no-bristle-mark coat for both paint and stain.  I also love that it stays firm when going near an edge so that you don’t that one stray bristle that likes to drag over the edge – that drives me crazy!
10 Furniture Refinishing Essentials Plus Tips & Tricks by Prodigal Pieces http://www.prodigalpieces.com
When working on larger surfaces, I grab the rollers.  Not your typical nap roller, but a small tightly porous roller, made for fine finishes.  The DIY stores sell these rollers and the trays for minimal expense.
 
A word of truth: There is a problem however with these when applying a poly finish with those rollers.  They can tend to make tiny bubbles…grrr.  That too is a hair-pulling problem!  The solution?  After I roll my surface even, I take the largest foam BRUSH I have and slowly drag it across without any pressure, and in one direction.  I REPEAT: Slowly and in one direction.  Since the poly is already applied smoothly by the roller, there is no need for more pressure.  It’ll shine like glass!

When using my chalk paint (my preferred method to paint with), I use a synthetic bristle brush found at Home Depot.  Natural brushes are a great choice, but I’ve found these Harris brushesto work just as well and they’re cheaper.  If you ever watch me picking out a paint brush, I’m the crazy lady who takes it out of the packaging to finger those bristles.  They have to feel a certain way because working with a funky brush is time consuming and can really take a toll on your wrist and hand.
 
5. Paint 
The best part.  Home Depot is my second home and is my main source for paint. You might be saying, “But you use chalk paint, they don’t have chalk paint for furniture?”  Aaaah.  My secret comes out.  One word: WEBSTERS.  I absolutely adore Websters Chalk Paint Powder.  If can take any paint from flat to semi-gloss and turn it into chalk paint.  It’s non-toxic (the paint still has it’s yickyness), and super easy to use.
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My clients love that they can head to their local store, send me the link of the color they chose, and match it up perfectly with their decor AND I didn’t have to set a toenail in their home to make the piece match!  Perfect.
 
I also use paint straight out of the can for gloss finishes too, but I am so drawn to chalk paint because of it’s ease of use, self-leveling attributes, and easy cleanup.  What’s not to love?

For a glamorous flair, my go-to is Modern Masters Metallic Paint.  Elegant colors, ease of use, and client favorite.  Sparkle is a girls best friend, like this leggy Queen Anne table I did.
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6. Stain 
The wood lover in me adores watching a clean slate of wood turn into a whole new creation by just adding a touch of color.
 
There are 3 stains, in particular, that have caught my fancy.  Espresso by Minwax, Sunbleached and Early American by Varathane.
 
I love the richness of the deep dark color of Espresso.  So lush and creates the most awesome contrast with white paint.
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Sunbleached allows you to create the weathered wood effect, like the floors in our master bedroom project or my beach-worthy coffee table.
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Early American was used on our faux barn beams in our master bedroom is my go-to for creating a timeless stained top with painted bottom piece.
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7. Topcoats – Wax & Poly 
My first choice for a topcoat is wax.  A hand-rubbed wax topcoat creates a lusciously soft finish that gives a time-worn feel.  At this point I use Minwax products, but am hoping to switch to a non-toxic version in the future.  (I don’t need to pay with my health while working on projects.)  Minwax offers two different colors, natural and dark.
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Natural is my preferred wax, but I also use the dark for accentuating details in woodwork, and creating an overall aged effect.  No brushes to apply, just a piece of cheesecloth (as the can suggests) to rub it on.
I also use Minwax Water-Based Polycrylic & Modern Masters for my topcoats.  In order to create a smooth-as-glass finish, I do not use it straight out of the can.  I have learned from others as well as trial and error that it is too thick to not get brush stroke marks, so I thin it a bit.  Just adding the tiniest bit of water helps it to self-level. I don’t have a specific formula to share with you because I’ve used it for so long, I just know when it’s “right”.
 
8. Safety Equipment

My health comes first to me and although it is quicker to just grab a rag and start working, I really feel that there are a couple items needed to protect yourself.

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A good quality neoprene chemical resistant gloves are a MUST.  Your typical thin gloves, like you see in a doctors office will not work when using chemical products like waxes and such.  Those things will eat right through them.  I purchase my gloves from a local hardware store or on eBay in bulk amount for a couple dollars, or on Amazon.
 
Dust masks are an obvious choice.  Who wants to breathe in nasty stuff you’re sanding off time and time again?  Again, these are very cheap at a hardware store and can save your lungs!
 
Eye & ear protection is also a must.  I use saws, sanders, air hoses, sprayers, drills, nail guns, etc.  It only takes one instance for you to really do a doozy on yourself.  A good pair of eye protection or goggles is a very tiny investment in your health.  As for your ears, well…I think it’s obvious.
 
9. Cloth Rags 
Ummm…you can bet you’re going to need rags when working on furniture.  I never make a mess, and if you believe that I have some swamp land I’d like to sell you. hee, hee.
 
Here goes: I use old socks and t-shirts for stain, old cloth diapers for buffing wax, and old wash cloths for wiping up drips, fingers, and kids who almost incessantly touch where they’re not supposed to.
 
10. Cardboard 
 
Boy, do I run through a whole lot of cardboard.  What a versatile medium that is from creating hide-outs for my kids to being a catch-all while painting. Thankfully, I have a resource through various places, like my hubby’s workplace, hardware stores, wherever there are boxes!!
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Seriously though, I used under my pieces to protect flooring.  Why don’t I use a drop cloth?  First, cardboard is free.  I repeat, FREE.  Second, cardboard soaks up the paint so nicely and prevents me from tracking my mess all over my shop or home.  Third, it’s lightweight and easy to store.  Fourth, it recycles – drop cloths get dirty and have to go to the dump.  Fifth…I could go on, but will stop inundating you with “th’s”.
 
Tips & Tricks 
  • To remove veneer like butter off of hot toast, just soak a bath towel in water (nothing else)like you’re trying to drown the wood, and lay on veneer overnight.  Even dump extra on.  EASY!
10 Furniture Refinishing Essentials Plus Tips & Tricks by Prodigal Pieces http://www.prodigalpieces.com
  • To hide scratches & minor blemishes wipe on Old English Scratch Cover.  BAM!  Comes in various shades to match you finish.
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See the difference below: the left without it and the right with…amazing!
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  • To remove sticky residue from stickers, grab your alcohol.  Not a drink, just your drug store Isopropyl stuff.  GONE!
  • To get rid of musty odor and smoke, just set your piece, with drawers removed, in the sun for a day or two or wipe down with vinegar.  FRESH!
I hope all this information helps you in your furniture journey.  I could seriously share more, but tried to keep it to the basics.  Please feel free to ask me any questions at larissa@prodigalpieces.com – I’d love to hear from you!
Check out more DIY goodness:
You can build this whimsical pencil holder for back-to-school, homeschool, or fun using this step-by-step tutorial. You can even take the shape and make your own character too! by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpiecesA garage sale freebie Art Deco water dresser gets a sweet Volkswagen Bus makeover by Prodigal Pieces www.prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces

Christmas Cupboard Door Projects for Kids

The holiday season is definitely fun for letting our creative side run wild. I love to get my six kids involved in gift making and creating. They all agreed they wanted to inspire you and your kids to get your craft on too. Today we are going to to show you how you can create an upcycled Christmas cupboard door project for any age. We’re all about inspiring you to get have some DIY fun. Join me and my gang for a cupboard adventure!

Salvaged Cupboard Doors Before Makeover by Kids | prodigalpieces.com

What you see above is a selection of cupboard doors that my kids picked out from my stash below. Did you read the story about how I acquired that pile o’ goodness? If not, you can get up to speed HERE.

Salvaged Cupboard Door Stash for Upcycling Projects by Larissa of Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

As soon as we got that wonderful gift of doors Read more

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