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tips

How to Fix Bleached Spots on Fabric

I’m a silver lining kinda gal that likes to see the good amidst the negative. It’s no joking matter when something you truly adore gets damaged…like your favorite bibs. sniff. I won’t say I shed a tear, but I was definitely feeling low that I ruined this pair with bleach. Has that ever happened to you? Today, I’m sharing how to fix bleached spots on fabric with a little ingenuity.

Bleached Bib Dress and How to Fix It | prodigalpieces.com #prodigalpieces #diy #fashion #howto #clothing

Here’s the backstory to my drama. I found two pairs of bib dresses at the thrift store made by Eddie Bauer. They were in like-new condition and made of some of my favorite textiles: one in linen, and this green one is Read more

Remodeling Stress ~ How to Cope During DIY Projects

Numerous shows are on television demonstrating how “easy” it can be to take a home and turn it into something fabulous. Knock out a wall (or two), put down new flooring, and even add-on…all in one episode. It all seems so glorious and begs you to give DIY a try, doesn’t it? Somehow though, it doesn’t quite prepare you for real life DIY and the reality of remodeling stress. Yep, I’m talking about that smack-in-the-face kind of “What is going on?” feeling. To aid in that journey to get that euphoric accomplishment feeling, I am going to share 5 ways to prepare and cope during your remodel.

DIY not what you thought it would be? Remodeling Stress is real and we want to help! | Prodigal Pieces | prodigalpieces.com

Being a homeowner is one of the purest joys that be found. It’s responsibility and freedom that can’t be found elsewhere. I liken it to a roller-coaster ride, full of Read more

Farmhouse Chic Dresser & Best Paint Brushes Ever

Do you know that old country tune by Gene Autry, “Back in the Saddle Again”? I told you when I work that music comes to mind. This ditty became my theme song as this is the first big project I’ve done since my shoulder injury. The challenge ahead of me was to take this damaged dresser and give it a new look to bring it back to life. This time I’m going with a farmhouse chic finish. Check it out…

Queen Anne Dresser Before Makeover by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

This was another one of those cases where I purchased something sight unseen. ahem. I had the guy deliver this and another gem I have yet to show you, and I was a bit miffed when I looked close. I was told it was in “great shape and only had minor wear”.

Damaged Dresser Top | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

*post sponsored by Zibra and does contain affiliate links so you can find the products I love to use too. (see full disclosure)

Take a look at that back right corner – that’s a whole chunk missing! Not only that, but Read more

Refresh Old Wood Easily (Faux Wood Garage Door Update)

It was almost exactly 3 years ago that I decided to do something drastic. My husband and I took on the exterior of our home in DIY form as we are known to do. He tackled the stone veneer on the front, while I took care of painting the entire house top to bottom (yep, all by my lonesome self). I decided to take our builder grade garage door to a new level and give it a faux wood look. Many have asked, “How has it held up?” So today I’m going to show you the 3 year anniversary reveal, plus give you a few tips on how to refresh old wood with my latest treasure.

If you haven’t read about our garage door makeover, you really should head HERE to not only see it in full, but I also share the steps of how I achieved it so you can too. Here it is in summation:

Before and After of Faux Wood Garage Door with Tutorial by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Boring before, but oh-so-good after, isn’t it?

Well, I won’t keep you in suspense any longer. Here it is 3 years to the day since I first worked on my garage door Read more

Custom Furniture by Mixing & Matching

Do you ever find a piece of furniture that you would love to have at a flea market, thrift store or garage sale, but it’s missing something? I mean like you find a desk, but want a vanity, or a vanity without a chair? Don’t let that stop you because I’m going to give you some tips on how to make your very own custom furniture by mixing and matching. Ooh…let the fun begin!

For instance, I had a client, Shelly, contact me who had always wanted a trifold dressing table like this one I did a year or so ago for my shop. You wouldn’t know that the bench wasn’t original to it, but I found them on different occasions. (story HERE)

An Antique Vanity Transformation by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

As I began my search for a dressing table like this one, I always find dressing tables (or vanities) without a chair or bench. Here is the one I found and she liked.

Vintage Queen Anne Trifold Vanity Before Makeover | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

The vanity had some missing veneer, and had some chemical and highlighter stains, but was solid as a rock, not to mention that gorgeous mirror! Read more

Wet Distress – The Easy Way

Who’s up for a furniture makeover? You may be saying to yourself…nah…it’s too much work. After what I show you today, you may change your mind. Earlier this week, I showed you this chest of drawers and I would like to use it to show you how to wet distress.

Featured Wet Distress Tutorial | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Okay, now you’re saying I’m off my rocker, right? Not too long ago, I showed you how to distress with petroleum jelly. If that isn’t simple enough, then you’ll love this method.

First, take a look at this piece I found a the thrift store. I went in looking for something else, but couldn’t leave without this loveliness in my possession. When I snatched the price tag off to take it to the register, I noticed a lady looking distraught. The distraught lady spoke to the saleslady and then the saleslady looked at me Read more

Kitchen Flooring Choices ~ Our Remodel Begins

Have you ever been told,”The grass doesn’t grow under your feet”? Well, that is true for me and my husband. We are always working on something, like my post demonstrated on Monday. Now that “something” is our kitchen. {{applause}} I am so absolutely excited to begin this venture that started a few years ago. Today, I want to show you the before(s) – yes, plural because there’s more than one –  and we’re going to focus on our kitchen flooring. Looking to do your kitchen too? We are sharing our tips on how you can choose the right kitchen flooring to suit your style and budget.

If you want to get caught up to speed on the rest of our home remodel, you can visit our master bedroom, bathroom, boys’ room, and patio. Let us know what you think while you’re there!

Our story begins in 2003 when we bought our house with one kid in tow and another on the way. This is what we saw in the kitchen…

Outdated Kitchen Remodel with New Flooring by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

…yes, this is before we had a digital camera – I’m dating myself. ahem. We’ve got dark cabinets, linoleum, white laminate, and a whole lotta 80’s going on. If you were to do a 180° turn, you’d see the dining area.

Ranch Home with Carpeted Dining Area "Before" by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

This used to be a screened in porch at one time, hence the outdoor light fixture and faux door where the exterior door used to be. This berber carpet ran down the steps connected to our family room and could also be found in our bathroom. yuck.

We wanted to open up the space and create more of a unified room, so we took out the wall on the left and  Read more

Natural Ant Control with Grits

I just have to share this tip for natural ant control with you today. You see, in my home, we try to make the absolute best effort to keep everything natural. What I mean by that is no chemicals, no artificial anything, but by using elbow grease and all the wonderful things nature provides. It’s that time of year again for us where the warm weather brings sunshine, flowers, green grass, and ANTS.

Close Up of Ant in Home | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

*post contains affiliate links so you can find the products I love to use too!

Gotta love those supremely strong, determined little critters. When we moved into our house over 12 years ago, one of the first things we noticed were ant traps left in corners here and there. I had a one-year-old in tow, plus a baby on the way, and didn’t want those things strewn about. Our first spring we got hammered with all sorts of ants large and small. I tried a few different things, but eventually gave in and had the house sprayed by a professional pest control company. bleck.

Never again. That would be the last time I would do that. Watching my house get coated with a nasty chemical was all I could stand, so by the next spring I was going to find a way to stop them buggers naturally. 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 [email protected] – 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

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