February 26, 2014

DIY Garage Spray Paint Booth

It's been almost two years since my husband built me this amazing paint booth in our garage. It is one of my favorite ever DIY projects.  It makes painting so much easier than it was outdoors. Being able to contain the paint dust to a small area is wonderful!  

We are very blessed to have a garage that is 40 feet deep. It allows us a to have a workshop, a paint booth, storage for all of our junk (my husband probably says it's all my junk), (but I call all that stuff "my treasures"), and we still have enough room to park both of our cars. 

I used to paint furniture by hand with just a brush and or roller, which takes forever!  For smaller items I would use a can of spray paint in our back yard (where often half of the paint would spray into the wind and then dust and bugs would fly into the paint) which was a major pain! 


After getting the idea for a paint booth from my dads workshop, my husband (did I mention he is amazing?) built me this paint booth in our garage. He used thick painters plastic for the walls, 2" x 2" wood strips to fasten the plastic to the ceiling across the top and also wood strips stapled at the bottom of each side (plastic sheet) to weight them down... Then Duck brand duct tape was wrapped onto the edges of the plastic to reinforce the edges. We then added Velcro (sticky back) down the side edges (on top of the duct tape) to seam/stick the edges together for when the booth is in use (sealing in the dust). The Velcro easily pulls apart for entrance and exit to the booth. We put a large canvas painters tarp on the floor (to protect it from the paint mess).  When the booth is not in use the sides can be rolled up and tied to the ceiling to get it out of the way.   

In this next picture you can see how well the Velcro holds the corners together which keeps the paint over-spray (paint dust) from getting all over the garage.



The paint booth measures 10 feet wide by 10 feet across and also has a 10 foot high ceiling.  The area has good overhead lighting which makes the space great for painting any time day or night. (So now in the middle of the night, when insomnia kicks in and I can't sleep I can just get up and paint... hehe).



The first piece we painted in the booth is this old small oak round table (which was ugly golden oak from about the 80's).  A coat of paint and it already looks so much better!  I must say that spray painting without the outdoor breeze blowing my paint away makes it so so so much easier!  And I no longer waste half of my paint.




The paint booth is built around the side door of the garage which is great  because when the weather is nice (which is almost always as we live in Southern California) I can open the door for some fresh air (ventilation of the paint fumes).



Note:  When spraying paint we always wear a mask (protective gear) so not to breath the fumes.  Also we open the side door for ventilation whenever the wind isn't blowing.

Rope is used on each edge to tie up the sides of the booth when it is not in use (see below).


 

Since we added the paint booth to our garage we have painted dozens and dozens of items in it. Some with a spray gun and some with cans of spray paint. Both work wonderfully in the booth and I'm loving it!

Until next time,

Happy decorating!


February 20, 2014

Easy to Make - DIY Hand Painted Sign

My daughters roommate is in the process of finishing up medical school.  She will officially be a doctor in a matter of months.  Her life motto is "Work Hard, Play Hard".  Obviously becoming a doctor takes many years of school and tons of studying!!!  So in her off hours she likes to play and have fun.  A few weeks ago I made her this sign for her birthday. 

I started with a  6 foot x 8 inch wood board that I picked up at Home Depot.  I cut out adhesive vinyl letters on my Cricut electric cutting machine. I laid the letters across the board to make sure they would fit... and then I adhered the (repositionable vinyl) stickers to the wood board.


I had some wood stain left over from a prior project that I decided to use on this project.  After the stickers were secured onto the board, I used a paint brush and stained the board.  This is just a matter of dipping the paint brush into the stain and brushing it across the board to cover all of the raw wood. 


One coat of stain was all it needed to achieve this color.


I allowed the stain to dry for about 10 minutes and then I removed the vinyl letters. As you can see, the stain did not go through the letters. This left a stencil like outline for me to easily paint.


I used some acrylic paint that I already had in my craft supplies and a small craft brush.  Any craft paint would work for painting the letters.


I painted inside each of the letters with white (to provide a good contrast).  This is the first time I had ever made a sign and I am more than happy with the way it turned out!


I attached basic picture hangers with a wire across the back for easy hanging.  The birthday girl absolutely loves her sign and it is now hanging in her bedroom.


Until next time,
Happy decorating!

Diana

February 11, 2014

My Biggest Challenge as a DIY Blogger

As a blogger I've found that the biggest problem I've had is the ability to consistently get good photos. Most of my photos are taken inside of my home and if the lighting isn't just right, my pictures just don't do any justice to my projects. I feel like I'm spending as much time taking my photos as I do on many of the projects themselves. Taking as many as 40, 50 or even 100 shots to try to get just a few good one's probably isn't the best use of time. Lately I haven't been posting very often because I'm so frustrated that my photos just don't look good enough. 

I currently have about five projects that I want to share... I've shot several pictures of these projects, but none of them are good enough to post. I have a fairly decent Nikon camera... and outdoors it takes beautiful photos. I feel I should be able to get better quality photos indoors. I've read all about my camera and how to use it, but I am still struggling!  

I've decided that it's time I do something to improve the quality of my photos and spend less time taking them.  At first I thought I needed a better (much more expensive) camera... but after some research I found that I actually just need to improve my lighting.  I've decided to invest in some (not too expensive) photography and video lighting to create my own home studio. I've been researching different lighting options and have found a few that are rated well for their inexpensive cost.  After reading many reviews I've decided to purchase these portable umbrella photography lights.

I can't wait to receive them and test them out.  I will show you my results of photos taken without the new lighting and then the photos taken with my new studio quality lighting.  I hope to be able to show you a huge improvement in the quality of my photos... and also be able to significantly reduce the number of photos I have to take.

Until next time...
Diana



February 3, 2014

How to Make Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Have you ever made yummy Chocolate Covered Strawberries? I've shared these before but they are so good they are worth looking at again! 

In less that a half an hour I was able to make more than a dozen of these beauties.  These are super simple and taste oh so amazing!!!  

Here is a quick tutorial on how to make them:

Ingredients: Strawberries, Chocolate Chips, Vegetable Shortening and Sprinkles (sprinkles are optional)


A double boiler method is the best way to melt chocolate.  It keeps the chocolate from burning.  I don't own an actual double boiler so I just use two sauce pans (a smaller pan inside a larger one).  Put an inch of water in the bottom pan and put the burner on low.  The hot water and steam from underneath is what melts the chocolate in the top pan... (Pictured below).  


Put one bag (2 cups) of chocolate chips into the pan, then add two tablespoons of vegetable shortening.  The shortening is what makes the chocolate thin enough for dipping.  (NOTE: Never use water to thin chocolate!  It does not work and water would ruin the chocolate!!!) 



Once the chocolate begins to melt, stir occasionally until mixture is fully melted.  Keep stove burner on low.  Once fully melted you may turn the burner off.  The hot water underneath is enough to keep the chocolate workable.


I use the green stem of the strawberry to hold as I dip the strawberry.  You can also use a spoon to spoon the chocolate on from the top.  Cover one side and then turn the berry around to cover the other side.

Place the chocolate covered berries on a plate covered in wax paper (once the chocolate cools/dries these will remove from the wax paper easily).  Apply the sprinkles while the chocolate is wet (so the sprinkles will stick easily).


Rather than cramming too many on one plate, I use multiple plates.  I guess a cookie sheet covered in wax paper would probably work well too (that is, if your refrigerator has room, since the next step is to put them in the fridge).


Once you are done applying the sprinkles.  Put the plate into the refrigerator, this is how the chocolate will harden.

Let them cool in the fridge for about an hour.  Then remove them from the wax paper and they are ready to serve.  Strawberries are best if eaten within two days of making them (Three days max). They should be kept in the refrigerator (cold) until you are ready to serve them.


You can use just about any berry or fruit and dip it in chocolate.  I have tried bananas, raspberries, maraschino cherries, and marshmallows (okay, so marshmallows aren't a fruit or berry, but they taste amazing when they are covered in chocolate.  So so yummy!  

These make a wonderful Valentines Day gift and are so special because you've made them with love!