Thursday, October 23, 2008

Painting Formica counter top

My kitchen counters are almost 21 years old. I really wanted to see what would happen if I painted them. Two or three years ago I painted the center island and was amazed at how well it turned out and how durable it turned out to be. So...I decided to tackle the rest of the kitchen (and repaint the center island too).

The supplies I used are: Kilz primer, and various colors of acrylic/latex paint, roller and brushes, sandpaper, blue tape, a sea sponge, toothbrush or nail brush, assorted plastic plates, rubber gloves, an apron and a little patience!

The first thing I did was clean the counter top very well and dry it. I then taped the back splash (which by the way, is also 'faux tile'! see info below) and the stove top near the counter as well as the edges of the sink. Next, I sanded the entire counter with a medium grade sandpaper and cleaned it again.

Finally, it was time to paint. I used a brush to paint on the "Kilz", however, I should have used a roller as I ended up streaks from the paint brush. I waited the appropriate drying time and gave it a second coat.

Now it was time to start the fun part! I rolled on the base coat of "toasted wheat" (a Behr color) One coat covered well, so I opted to not give it a second coat.
Acrylic paint dries quickly, but being the impatient person I am, I brought in a fan and turned it on "high" to speed up the drying process. I started the project at about 5:30 PM and wanted to get it all painted and have the first coat of polyurethane before I went to bed. it's time to start the REAL fun!!

I put on my rubber gloves for this part of the process. Wet and wring out a sea sponge. Pour a little white paint onto a plastic/paper plate. Dip the sponge lightly into the paint, and dab off the excess onto paper and begin to 'pounce' onto the painted countertop.

You must rotate your hand each time you 'pounce' so you don't end up with a pattern, you just want to evenly sponge white paint onto the entire area. If you have too much in one area, you can always go back and sponge some base coat onto the area that has too much white paint.

Here's how the first coat with white sponge paint looks. Once again, I put the fan on and found that the white paint dried within a few minutes.

Next, I sponged on a color called "nutmeg". I used the same sea sponge, but washed it well, and squeezed all the water out. I followed the same directions and dipped the sponge into the nutmeg color and pounced off the extra onto a piece of newspaper before sponging the counter top. Once again, I rotated my hand often so as not to develop any kind of pattern. There was an area behind the faucet that was difficult to get to. I used a very small sea sponge for that, and also used a paint brush to 'sponge' paint in the areas where the bigger sponge wouldn't work. It was a little tricky, but with patience it worked out well.

Now, it's time for the messier part of the process. I have a nail brush that my husband uses after working on his car. (Ooops, don't tell him, I borrowed it! shhhh....) I put some acrylic paint on a plastic plate and added water to make it very thin. I dipped the nail brush into it and shook off the excess.
I used the end of a plastic knife to rub against the bristles of the brush produing a 'splattering' effect. If it 'globbed', I simply took a paper towel and blotted off the areas that splattered too much. You can't really make a mistake, because you can always sponge on base coat over the areas that have too much splattering. After splattering black paint, I splattered a little barn red paint to give it a little more color and dimension.

Now...the process is almost done. I grabbed that fan again and waited about 30 minutes to make sure everything was completely dry.

It was now about 10:30 PM...and I was determined to get the first coat of polyurethane on before turning in for the night. I had a can of high gloss poly, so I used that and decided to roll it on with a small sponge roller. I had to use a paint brush to get to the area behind the faucet where the roller wouldn't work.

I learned a trick a few years that I didn't have to clean my roller and small brush, I wrapped them tightly in aluminum foil and put them in the refrigerator. When I got up the next morning at 6 AM, I sanded the entire counter very lightly and wiped off the counter very well. I rolled and brushed on the second coat of polyurethane. Only 2 more coats to go and I'm done!!!

Ta da!! Here it is ...all finished. I ended up putting down 4 coats of polyurethane. are a few lessons I learned during this process. Make sure to roll on the Kilz/sealer and base coat.. Any ripple or brush marks from the primer or base coat will show through all the layers of sponging. Don't leave your blue tape on too long. I had a difficult time getting it off the sink and wall. I'm not sure why that is.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Halloween 2008

I looked around the yard and found 'stuff' to use in my cemetery. I made these tombstones last year from big pieces of foam. After Halloween last year, I scored an awesome 6' rubber skeleton from iParty! I reinforced her spine and sat her on my original Columbia bicycle that my parents bought me in July 1961. I made a new basket for my bike to hold seasonal flowers, gave her a festive scarf and planted her in front of the cemetery.

What cemetery would be complete without a wheelbarrow full of bones!!

This night photo was taken last year. I put out my fog machine on Halloween night to give the cemetery a creepier look!!

Halloween 2008

Halloween is quickly becoming my 3rd favorite decorating holiday (after Christmas and 4th of July!). I bought these neat crows at the local Dollar Tree. Last week while walking the dog, I came across this dead branch and made my husband carry it home. It was only 1/2 mile...he's a good guy!! I also found a "Bates Motel" doesn't light up as well as I hoped...but it's still fun!

"If you live to be 100, I hope to live to be 100 minus 1 day, so I never have to live without you"

Winnie the Pooh