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The BEST Homemade Brass Cleaners

The BEST Homemade Brass Cleaners

Posted by on Jul 28, 2015 in Blog, Quick Tip Tuesday | 5 comments

You can check out any interior design website and it’s obvious that BRASS IS BACK!

I find this amusing because growing up, we had so many  brass tchotchkes in our home – it border lined a fetish. ;)

Well maybe childhood nostalgia was one of the reasons I swooned for these handles. Aside from the gorgeous unique shape and design, I envisioned this tarnished furniture hardware all shined up to its original warm glow.

 

brass handles on dresser

 

First things first though.

I had to make sure they were brass before I started polishing these babies up.

Is this solid brass… or not?

Before using any elbow grease to polish brass, it’s a good idea to make sure it really IS a solid brass item you’re working with. This is easy enough to do. Just grab a magnet from the fridge and place it on your hardware or item in question.

Solid brass is NOT magnetic – so if the magnet sticks, it may be brass plating or an alternative metal or mix.

 

brass is NOT magnetic

 

After my handles passed the magnet test, I tried a few DIY Homemade Brass Cleaners for the best result. These easy recipes bring your brass hardware back to its original luster by using common household ingredients you have in your kitchen!

Here’s 3 Simple Homemade Brass Cleaner Recipes

Recipe #1

1 Lemon

1 Tablespoon of Baking Soda

In a plastic container I mixed the juice from one lemon along with a tablespoon of Baking Soda. It fizzed and then turned into a paste which I rubbed in with an old toothbrush. Another fast way of doing this is to cut your lemon into wedges then dip the lemon wedge into the baking soda. Use the lemon wedge covered in the baking soda to rub down and polish the brass.

Here’s the before and after when using the lemon and baking soda recipe. Not bad but not quite as shiny as I wanted it.

 

homemade brass cleaner1

 

Recipe #2

5 Tablespoons Salt

1 Cup of Vinegar

(you can also add flour to turn this into a paste but it’s not necessary)

I added the salt and vinegar into a plastic container and rubbed the solution on with an old toothbrush.

 

Homemade Brass Polish

 

I let the hardware sit for about 45 minutes while I worked on something else and then gave it another rub. I found this recipe worked better than the lemon and baking soda.

Here’s the before and after when using the salt and vinegar recipe. Perfect!

 

homemade brass cleaner 2

 

Recipe #3

Not so much a recipe as individual ingredients. Toothpaste (a method my Mum used on occasion when she ran out of Brasso) or Ketchup. I didn’t get around to using either of these because my #2 Recipe worked extremely well. Also, the thought of spreading Ketchup all over this pretty hardware wasn’t doing it for me… but I’ve read it works really well.

 

Instructions:

All the above Homemade Brass Cleaner Recipes can be adjusted for the size of your project. Mix more or less as needed!

1.  In a plastic container, combine all ingredients and mix well.

2.  Using a soft toothbrush to get into grooves, rub the polishing ingredients onto the hardware.

3.  If additional polishing is required, allow hardware to sit in solution for 30-60 minutes.

4.  Repeat step #2

5.  Rinse thoroughly and then buff dry with soft cloth.

Doesn’t this look great! I think these brass handles look amazing all polished up!

 

best homemade brass cleaner

 

Now here’s the kicker, after this hardware was all polished pretty,  I ended up painting them for this waterfall dresser re-do. Sometimes a vision doesn’t play out as planned right..lol. I still have two of these handles left, so maybe they’ll still get to show off their original now trendy luster on another project!

How do you feel about brass hardware or home decor? Have you tried any other homemade brass cleaner recipes? Or do you have a favorite product you use to shine your brass? I love all your comments, questions and suggestions so keep ‘em coming! 

Catch last week’s Q-T-T here – and if YOU have any tips you’d like featured on the SI Quick-Tip-Tuesday-Series, feel free to send me an email!

Enjoy your day and have fun with your next project!

Denise x

_____________________________

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Waterfall Dresser – Not a Huge Fan

Waterfall Dresser – Not a Huge Fan

Posted by on Jul 27, 2015 in Blog, Milk Paint, Painting Furniture, spray painting | 22 comments

I’ve never been a huge fan of Waterfall Furniture. Growing up, I always thought the pieces my parents had picked up from yard sales and proudly displayed in their bedroom were… well… pretty ugly.

The signature rounded tops, bookmatch veneer, and the art deco design just didn’t do it for me.

That’s why I shocked myself when I bought this waterfall dresser off Craigslist!

 

Waterfall Dresser Before

 

The price was right, but what really attracted me to this dresser was the vintage handles. So feminine yet strong and interesting in shape and design. You can’t find handles like this at Hobby Lobby!

As an added bonus, since I’ve purchased this piece, I’ve been seeing some really impressive painted waterfall re-do’s on Pinterest. Perfect opportunity to challenge my creativity and work on something different right?

Well challenge me it did my friends. I’m even a little embarrassed to show you this but here’s my first take. Not pretty – so lets try this again!

 

failed attempt at furniture painting

 

After all this ugly was sanded off, my second try was a success. {If you missed my original rant on my failed attempts – you can see it here.}

So many of the waterfall dresser re-do’s I’m seeing have been distressed {and my first shot at distressing this dresser was a NO GO!} so I decided to go with a clean finish.

 

painted&stained waterfall dresser

 

This piece has been sprayed in General Finishes Linen Milk Paint – my new favorite off white! The gorgeous hardware was painted out the same color as the dresser.

General Finishes Colonial Maple and Java Gel Stain were applied directly over the existing stain after I gave it a good sanding.

On the top drawer, I decided on stained wood knobs so it doesn’t compete with the original hardware.

For the final touch; a wood applique. I painted the applique in GF Linen and I really like this look. It adds a vintage element and contrast in design.

 

GF Linen Waterfall Drsr

 

GF Linen Waterfall Dresser

 

waterfall dresser

 

Stained Wood Knobs on Waterfall Drsr

 

waterfall dresser lined drawers

 

paper lined dresser drawer

 

why not try w books

 

I’m really happy with the end result. I think my original opinion on waterfall dressers just may have changed. {big smile}

 

Waterfall Dresser ReDo

 

I hope you enjoyed reading and tell me what YOU THINK of waterfall furniture? Like it? Hate it? Neutral like Switzerland? Don’t be shy… share your thoughts!

Have a great day and see you tomorrow for another Quick-Tip-Tuesday… I’ll show you what I was ORIGINALLY going to do with these vintage handles!

Denise x

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Feature Friday – Porta Verde Studio

Feature Friday – Porta Verde Studio

Posted by on Jul 24, 2015 in Blog, Featured Shops | 2 comments

Happy Friday friends! I hope your week went well and you’ve made some fun or relaxing plans for your weekend. You deserve it!

I plan on doing yard work, dinner and a movie with M-M-M, and checking out some local theater at the Fringe Festival.  The PanAm Games are here in The Greater Toronto Area. Along with all the sporting events, there’s a ton of music fests, theater, dance and visual arts taking place in the GTA… so lots to do!

Before we start the weekend, I’m treating you to some furniture re-do’s from Jacqui at Porta Verde Studio. Jacqui and I have been chatting-it-up online for the last 2 years. I finally had the pleasure of meeting her in person! She’s been in the furniture painting business for 20+ years and really knows her craft. Jacqui’s been featured in the Toronto Star and on numerous blogs because – well – her pieces are flawless and amazing.

She’s a TRUE furniture artist.

Buffet - Porta Verde Studio

Queen Ann Sideboard - PortaVerdeStudio

Cabinet - PortaVerdeStudio

Black Sideboard - PortaVerdeStudio

Sewing Desk - Porta Verde Studio

Walnut Sideboard - Porta Verde Studio

Red Desk - PortaVerdeStudio

A big thank you to Jacqui – thanks for sharing all your beautiful pieces with us!

Feel free to stop by Porta Verde Studio’s Facebook Page to check out more furniture make-overs!

Have a great weekend!

Denise x

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Hide Ugly Screws For A Perfect Finish

Hide Ugly Screws For A Perfect Finish

Posted by on Jul 21, 2015 in Blog, Furniture Repair, Quick Tip Tuesday, Tools | 1 comment

Okay, I’ll admit today’s quick-tip isn’t the fine-woodworking way of doing things. But here’s a great little product that hides ugly screws and gives your furniture and cabinets a professional looking finish.

When working with newer furniture or cabinets, often there are visible screws everywhere! Okay, maybe everywhere is a bit of an exaggeration.

Here’s an example – a drawer from a piece my friend Terry just bought from HomeSense. It was priced “right” because the face of a drawer had fallen off… so who does he call to make sure it can be fixed before he pulls out his wallet?!

After the repair, hiding the ugly screws was easy. The self-adhesive caps were included with this drawer (personally, I think they could have been a better match!) but these sticky FastCap’s can be bought online or at any Home Depot, Lowe’s or hardware store. They’re inexpensive and you can buy them in any color or wood finish…and they can be painted too!

 

hide screws 4 professional finish

 

And I just want to point out, when I restyle old wood furniture that’s been dove- tailed and built to last, this problem rarely comes up. Mature and well built is still the way I like ‘em! ;) You gotta love those vintage pieces!

Do you have any other tips to give your furniture a professional finish? I love all your comments, questions and suggestions so keep ‘em coming! 

Catch last week’s Q-T-T here – and if YOU have any tips you’d like featured on the SI Quick-Tip-Tuesday-Series, feel free to send me an email!

Enjoy your day and have fun with your next project!

Denise x

_____________________________

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How To Prevent Sandpaper Clumps from Ruining Your Finish

How To Prevent Sandpaper Clumps from Ruining Your Finish

Posted by on Jul 14, 2015 in Blog, How To Tips, Mid Century Modern, Painting Furniture, Quick Tip Tuesday, Tools | 10 comments

Why didn’t I think of this quick-tip? There have been so many times I’ve ended up with clumps and bumps of hard paint or primer on my sandpaper. My solution – throw my sandpaper away and grab a new one!

Here’s a simple solution shared by Jennifer at Trillium Park Designs...

 

“After applying primer with a foam brush, I use a 220 grit sanding block and a fine grit sanding sponge to get a silky smooth finish. At this point, it only needs to feel smooth to the touch; it doesn’t need to look good! Be sure to occasionally knock the accumulated dust off your sandpaper with a wire brush to prevent hard primer clumps forming on the sandpaper and marring your finish. Onward to the first coat of paint!”

wire brush for sandpaper TrilliumParkDesign

TrilliumParkDesigns-sandingsponge

 

Take a look at Jennifer’s flawless finish on these MCM pieces. Absolutely gorgeous!

 

TrilliumParkDesigns - MCMDresser

 

TrilliamParkDesigns-MCM

 

TrilliumParkDesigns-MCMNightStnd

 

Do you have any sanding tips you’d like to share? I love all your comments, questions and suggestions so keep ‘em coming! 

Catch last week’s Q-T-T here – and a BIG thank you to Trillium Park Designs. If YOU have any tips you’d like featured on the SI Quick-Tip-Tuesday-Series, send me an email!

Enjoy your day and have fun with your next project!

Denise x

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When To Paint & When Not To Paint Your Wood Furniture

Posted by on Jul 13, 2015 in Blog, Mindset, Painting Furniture, Random Chit-Chat, Reader's Q & A | 4 comments

You guys send me the best emails and I always love hearing from you! I’d like to start sharing some FAQ Reader’s Mail …with the mailer’s consent of course. Whether you’re a professional furniture painter or a DIY’er, I feel featuring some FAQ is a great way to inspire and learn from each other!

 

when to paint wood furniture1

 

A question I’m often asked is “should I paint this?”… and then a pic is attached.

Believe me, I’m humbled and flattered when someone values my opinion enough to write in, but I can’t give a definite YAY or NAY on this one. Instead, my response is always the same. I ask her/him to consider a set of questions I ask MYSELF when I’m on the fence on whether or not to paint a piece.

Here’s a wonderful email I received from Pam and my response back to her. It sparks the great debate – To Paint or Not To Paint Wood Furniture!

 

Hi Denise,

I have a piece I just bought which I want to transform into my crafting station (think Martha Stewart Craft Space) and paint it white with words placed on top on the spaces on the piece.

For example, Life is beautiful, the share it, remember it, cherish it words from Creative Memories…(I am an Advisor)

It is a solid mahogany piece custom built about 15 years ago by Ethan Allen, and opens up like a secretary desk to a work space – it is really unique – I’m not even sure I should paint over such a beautiful wood.  Thoughts?  (pic attached)

Thanks, PamO’Grady CM Independent Advisor

To Paint or Not To Paint

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Hi there Pam… thanks for your email!

I get asked this question a lot. With the growing popularity of painted furniture, it can be hard to decide on what’s worth painting and what’s not.

Here are a few things I like to ask myself before painting a piece of furniture.

Will painting increase or decrease the value?

This is an important question to consider if you’re thinking of painting an authentic antique. Antiques increase in value as time goes by. Once they’re painted, re-stained or refinished, they often decrease in value unless they have been professionally restored. On the other hand, a piece that has seen better days can be salvaged from a garage sale or Craigslist for say $25-$75. Do some repairs and paint it pretty = increased value. This $75 piece can now be sold for $475+ … or make for a gorgeous statement piece in your own home!

Does it have sentimental value?

If you paint this piece, is a family member going to want to knock your Chiclets out? It’s kind of a moral thing. If I know someone I love or care about is going to be sadly disappointed in me restyling a piece… just me, but I won’t do it.

Is it going to get more use or display time if it’s painted?

Is your piece of furniture in hiding or storage? When was the last time it saw the light of day? If you can’t remember, it  may be a good idea to paint and restyle. I’m one of those people who eat off the ‘good-china’ every day and won’t save anything for a ‘special’ occasion. The way I look at it, EVERYDAY is SPECIAL! I like to make good use of the things I own and enjoy their functionality and beauty on a daily basis.

What overall condition is the piece in?

If a piece has been damaged and is in need of an aesthetic or structural repair, painting may be the best option.

The most important thing to consider when deciding whether or not to paint… Will it make you happy?

My thoughts on this piece – It’s gorgeous and must be a quality piece if it’s solid mahogany and custom built.  From what I can see, the wood looks beautiful and is in excellent condition. If you just purchased it, it doesn’t have sentimental value, so just go with what makes you happy. It’s an amazing piece to have in a crafting room … painted or not. :)

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A big thank you to Pam (Creative Memories) for sharing with our SI Readers.

Let me know if you like this Reader’s Mail idea as much as I do!  I hope sharing will demonstrate that we all have similar concerns, questions, doubts and victories when it comes to restyling and painting our furniture!

Half Painted Wood China CabinetSo where do you stand on the paint or don’t paint debate? Do you have your own set of criteria before you paint your wood furniture? Have you ever been disapproved of for painting a piece? Any regrets on a wood piece you have painted? Let’s keep this conversation going …I’m really curious what you all think!

Celebrate your day and have fun with your next project!

Denise x

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