Book Folding – The Easy Way

This is the easiest way to make master the art of  book folding that you see on Pinterest, in around an hour – with free book folding patterns! I have made a bunch of these for friends and family, and they are always well received.

First off you are going to need to find yourself an old book, hardback works best, and you will have to make sure that you have enough pages for the word you want. For the patterns I’m giving away today I used a book of around 300 pages. So long as you count up properly you can always leave unfolded pages either side of your word, but more of that in a bit.

Choose your word/shape from the patterns below and print it out onto an A4 page. If you don’t see what you want you can email me directly as I have started selling them on eBay!

Just click to download the PDF

Book Folding Template Love
Love
Heart Template For Book Art
Heart
Friend
Friend

 

folding instructions in pdf form can be found by clicking the link.

Count both the black and white stripes, to get the number of pages you will be using. If your design has spaces between the letters just ignore them. Once you know how many pages you are going to fold you simply deduct this from the number of pages in your book and divide by 2. This is the number of pages in that you need to start folding from. *Remember that you are counting ‘leafs’ and not take the page number to mean anything… and yes I made this mistake first time I tried to figure it out!

The next stage is optional but it does make the finished item look neater so go on, take a minute to do it. Measure from the spine out by about an inch and draw a light pencil line. Do this top and bottom and use this mark to guide where you fold to – this gives a nicer finish than folding right up to the spine.

I fold the top of my paper over the page to get the word at the right height.

This a good stage to grab a cuppa, go for a pee or whatever, because in 5 minutes you are going to be scared to set it down!

Book folding patterns
I changed font after I took this photo

Next is the fun part… for about 10 minutes. Then it gets a bit boring, so stick on your favourite tv show and settle in for a while. Put your pattern behind the page you want to fold (you can actually put it 3 or 4 pages back just to cut down on fiddling with it). Fold from the top of your first black line to your guide line near the spine. Do the same from the bottom of your first black line. You are now officially doing it! If you need to you can tick off the lines as you are doing it but you should be ok to keep going for a while.

Next you do exactly the same using the white line (okay it’s not really a line but you know what I mean). Then the black line, then the white line, then the black line… you get my drift?

Eventually your guide will touch the inside crease of the book so just trim it up so you can keep feeding it in and folding… and folding.

Folded book tutorial
Family

When you pattern calls for a top and bottom – like the ‘o’ in ‘love’ – simply fold one page to make the top, move onto your next line and fold the bottom.

Free book art templates

That’s about it! You have folded your first (or easiest) book. No measuring and minimal maths!

I’d love to see what you did,

Nikki x

Edit to add: You can now buy custom words/patterns to use with this tutorial from my eBay. As ebay won’t let me send electronically you get paper in the mail. OR you can email me directly for the pdf by email and a reduced buying price!

Joined my first link up at Knick of Time

Easy Jug Makeover Using Chalk Paint

Unfortunately, and for the second week in a row, Mark hasn’t been able to complete a makeover and I’ve been feeling yuk today so haven’t managed to finish the corner unit I wanted to show you. Instead I’m going to share one of those projects that’s so quick and easy you can do it while waiting for paint to cure on something else.

This is a real quick fix for a stone jug I picked up at a flea market for £2. I loved its shape but wasn’t too keen on the colours.

shabby chic flowers
Not too shabby, shabby chic flowers

I started out by lightening the whole thing using some chalk paint straight onto the very glossy finish. I’m still surprised that it covered in just 2 coats – got to love chalk paint!

Can I paint ceramic
All taped up and ready to go gold

Once I was happy with that stage I gave it 2 coats of wax varnish to seal it. You never know, one day I might actually want to put a liquid in it and I don’t want the paint running off onto my worktops.

Then I wanted to add some interest so out came the metallic gold. I knew that I could get carried away with it so taped off the section I wanted to paint. I find frog tape works great but it is a bit pricey, when you get through as much as I do. A trick my Mom showed me years ago is to rub some ordinary masking tape on your jeans so it picks up a little dust and looses some sticky.

Then I gave the lip a couple of coats of the gold. I like this Rustoleum brand because it’s not expensive and is nice to use (and dries quite quickly). I did try another brand before, that gave a lovely glossy finish but I couldn’t bear waiting 16 hours between coats!

Painted ceramic

Once I removed the tape I realised that the gold was a bit ‘stretchy’ and had peeled a bit in places where it had dried to the tape. Never matter.

new look for an old jug
New look jug!

Perfect to hold my fake porcelain flowers now.

What’s your favourite ‘quick fix’ you’ve seen recently? I’d love to see it.

Nikki x

How To Make Faux/Fake Porcelain Flowers In 20 Minutes

You were probably hoping for a Monday Makeover from Mark, what with this being Monday and all, but he’s been busy working on other stuff and just hasn’t had time to do his own makeover this week!

Instead I’m going to share this great tutorial I found over at White Lace Cottage and knew straight away that these faux porcelain flowers would be absolutely perfect for the vintage table centres I was designing for a friend. I had to have a play with it at the first opportunity, which happened to be just 12 hours after reading her blog post. Not that I don’t have anything else to do, because I really do have a ton of stuff on my list, but sometimes fun and crafty can jump to the front of the queue!

My first decision was what flowers to choose, ideally something like a rose or a peony, but as I was only practicing I took what the pound shop (the UK’s Dollar store) had to offer. I think they are supposed to be rosebuds and maybe peony?

Cheap silk flowers
Normally I wouldn’t give these house space!

Next it was the colour choice. The bride has a lovely scheme of grey and yellow, with touches of navy blue (like these pieces I worked on recently). Personally I liked the idea of a washed out pinks, greys and yellows so I just had a mess around with the paint I had to hand which happened to be a really pale lilac that Mark is was using recently.

cheap wedding flowers
These have so many uses

I tried using the hairdryer on one but be warned it can get kind of messy blowing paint around so make sure you aren’t doing it while sitting on your brown leather sofa. No photo as I didn’t want evidence of paint splashed everywhere, because I was doing it in the living room… while watching an old episode of House. It also changed the shape of the flower and exposed some bits that weren’t covered in paint so I gave it up as a bad job and left them to dry naturally.

porcelain roses
I love the different shapes they took

It took about 2 days for the paint to properly dry, due to the amount of thick chalk paint on them. I’m serious, it was at least 2 days before I could pick them up! Perhaps I should have watered down my paint a little, but I wanted them to look a bit ‘thick’,  like they were actually made of porcelain.

shabby chic flowers
Not too shabby, shabby chic flowers

Not to bad for a first attempt I thought and I imagine they would look better with slightly better flowers to begin with. And I really have to get around to fixing up that little brown jug some day soon!

See the full tutorial and to see how Anne puts her finished  faux porcelain flowers to a great use pop over to White Lace Cottage for a look.

Painting-Silk-Roses-with-chalk-paint-porcelain-effect-17-of-57
White Lace Cottage Original Tutorial

Now I really must get on, I’m supposed to be setting up an” etsy vs ebay” experiment and decorating my stairway today!

Speak soon,

Nikki x

 

Crackle Glaze Ikea Hack

I’ve had more than the odd triumph with crackle glazing furniture over the years but got a little bored with the finish so haven’t done it for a while. Remembering how much fun it could be I thought it would make a great tutorial. That and the fact that I hadn’t tried to crackle glaze with my own paints yet was enough to encourage an Ikea trip to buy their Rast drawers.

Ikea Hack
Ikea Rast Drawers £20

I started out by painting all the visible surfaces with a lovely red chalk paint. It didn’t have to be perfect so one coat was great.

Painting Ikea Furniture
It started out easy

Then, one at a time as you have to work quite fast, I gave the red pieces a generous coat of PVA glue. If you aren’t in the UK PVA is just the white school glue, cheap as chips and dries clear.

Using white glue to crackle glaze furniture
Step 2: also easy!

While the glue is still wet I painted over the top with a mustard yellow, using a single stroke so as not to disturb the glue to much. Some people like to water down the top coat a little but I didn’t bother. This stage can be quite intimidating so have a practice on some scrap wood a few times until you get the look you want – the thickness/dryness of the glue and the amount of paint on top make a difference to the size of the ‘cracks’ so play around.

I forgot to take a photo here as I was completely consumed by the magic about to happen!

In warm weather you can just leave it and watch the paint dry – I promise you won’t be bored – but it’s freezing here and a little damp in the air so I pulled out the hairdryer and moved things along a little quicker!

Red and yellow crackle glaze
It takes just minutes for the cracks to appear!

Once everything was dry Mark put it together while I cooked up some dinner.

Painted wooden drawers
Hmmmmm

I loved the effect, but hated the overall look 🙁 I didn’t even get around to putting on the cute cup handles I had picked out for it before I decided I wasn’t putting my name to it in it’s current state!

What to do with ugly drawers
After one coat of clear wax, I still wasn’t feeling it

You’ll have to come back tomorrow to see what I did next!

Nikki x

Distressing with Vaseline (or My Auction Fail!)

You would think that when you spend a lot of your time trawling around auctions, looking for pieces to work on, that you would never get caught up with the excitement and buy badly, wouldn’t you? W R O N G. I was at my usual hunting grounds a few weeks back when I heard the auctioneer say ‘Large wooden mirror, heavily carved’ and my heart skipped a beat! How had I missed this piece? Why didn’t my built-in radar hone in on such a delight? So I bid. Without examining the piece or knowing what I would do with it (mirrors always sell), I bid and bid until I had won that beauty.

Scrub that.

I bid and bid until I had won that cheap, plastic framed eyesore. but you are obliged to buy so I brought it home, and when I repainted my chimney wall I put it up – simply because we needed a mirror.

How to paint plastic

When I started to research new ways of distressing wood I thought that it would be perfect to try the Vaseline (petroleum jelly) method on as I couldn’t take sandpaper to the plastic frame (been there, done that, failed!).

vaseline

I generously rubbed the petroleum jelly over the high spots of the ‘carving’ and set about it with a rich buttermilk colour chalk paint. With it being plastic I needed to give it 2 coats to get a pretty solid finish.

Once dry I wiped it gently with a sponge scourer – if you try this make sure the scourer won’t leave marks behind, I bought a white one just for this job! Nothing happened. so I put in a bit of elbow grease and the dark started to show through in tiny specks.  It took quite a bit of scrubbing to get any effect whatsoever and, to be honest, I really don’t think the petroleum jelly made any difference whatsoever!

Mirror Detail

 

Perhaps it was just the wrong piece, or maybe I didn’t use enough of the Vaseline? I have to admit I was disappointed. I may even attack it later with some vinegar to see if it has the desired effect. I haven’t given up on the piece quite yet and, when I grouped it with some other mirrors for the photo I was quite happy with the overall look of my chimney wall.

Grouped Mirrors

Now that’s where this post was going to end, but I wasn’t ready to give up on this method just yet! So out came the brushes, the Vaseline, the paint (and something to paint)…

Bare Pine Bathroom Cupboard

I put rather a lot of the petroleum jelly (Vaseline) in the areas I wanted to rub back. I had already planned for this piece to have quite a distressed effect so wasn’t too worried on the outcome.

The paint really didn’t want to stick to the greased up areas, as you can just about make out in this photo.

Vaseline under paint

Only the slightest bit of rubbing (once the paint is 99% dry) and it wipes straight off!

Paint doesn't stick to vaseline

It worked brilliantly! I imagine it could only be used when you want quite a heavy distressed look, as it’s not very controllable, but in this instance it was just what I had hoped! Success at last with this method of distressing.

How to distress with vaseline

Distressed with vaseline

Painted Bathroom Cabinet

So glad I didn’t give up after the first try of this method. I’d love to know if you have used this method and how it worked out for you? Drop me a line and let me know.

Nikki x

Distressed Paint Effect Using Vinegar

Use something we all own to get a great distressed finish
Use something we all own to get a great distressed finish

I’m an old-fashioned kind of girl who finds a method that works and sticks to it. That means I can spend hours, days even, gently rubbing back paint to get just the right distressed finish required.

Recently I’ve been thinking that there must be an easier way? I believe in doing the job right but if there’s a way to do it right and quickly shouldn’t I be using it? Sure enough there are lots of ways people distress their furniture I hadn’t even considered so in the next few weeks I’m going to be trying them out (or some at least) and sharing my findings with you, dear reader.

 

White Vinegar for distressing
This cost pennies

This first method uses something most of us keep in the pantry… vinegar. I decided to opt for distilled or white vinegar as I didn’t want it to stain the paint in any way.  Obviously I didn’t have any distilled vinegar in my store cupboard so that meant a trip to town and another hour out of my day!

Anyway I already had this cute little shelf unit (spice rack maybe?) that I found in a charity shop a few weeks back. It is pretty featureless so will rely on having a good paint effect to give it some oomph.

Charity shop spice rack
You will often see pieces like this in charity shops

I started with a quick coat of Annie Sloan’s  Antibes Green, as I had some left over from an earlier project. As always with this colour I was tempted to stop there, but then I’d have nothing to share with you, so I gave it a quick wax using Rusto-leum clear furniture wax. Then it got 2 coats of my own deep lavender (okay, I’ve got to come up with some cool names for my paints) and left it to dry thoroughly.

Antebes Green
I just love this as a contrast colour
Little French Paint Co
My own mix over the green

Once dry, I just dipped my microfiber cloth in the vinegar and wiped it over an area. Nothing happened. I rubbed a bit harder. Nothing happened. Then, as I was showing Mark how ineffective it was, a huge streak of the lavender rubbed clean off!

Distressed with vinegar
This big chunk wiped off in one go!

I think the knack is to almost soak the paint in vinegar and give it a second to soak in. I’m really glad I took the time to wax after the green or I think it would have wiped off at the same time – the wax was just enough of a barrier to protect it.

Once I got the hang of it, it was so easy! I wouldn’t want to use it on everything because you just don’t have the same control as you do sanding by hand, but if you want a beat up, rustic look then this is great.

Vinegar distressing
You need a gentle touch until you get used to it!

In the interests of science (or maybe just because I’m still a wee bit sceptical) I’m going to try a similar experiment using plain water and another using something like lemon juice so I’ll keep you updated – be sure to follow us so you don’t miss a thing!

Finished piece after a top coat of wax varnish
Finished piece after a top coat of wax varnish

Tune in next week to see how I got on using Vaseline to distress a mirror in my lounge, and please let me know if you’ve heard of a method of distressing you’d like me to try, and review!

Soap Sock Tutorial

Easy knit soap sock
A Soap Sock!

I first published this tutorial on a now defunct craft blog but thought that it was worth bringing over here. I know that primarily this is a DIY blog but when the weather is cold you don’t always want to be in a cold workshop but your fingers still itch to do something!

This soap sock is a neat way to make your soap stretch a little further while gently exfoliating your skin. You can knit them up in half an hour and use whatever yarn you have to hand. I’m told that felting wool is great because it actually shrinks with the soap as you use it, but my particular favourite is using string! Not the horrid nylon stuff but the old fashioned 100% cotton twine. It’s a little strange, at first, knitting with something that has no ‘give’ whatsoever but it’s a simple project so doesn’t cause too many headaches!

First of you will need…

Use what you have to finish up your yarn

A ball of your chosen yarn (or string)

A pair of knitting needles – I use 8mm but play around to find what works best with your yarn.

A bar of soap – whatever you like best!

A pair of scissors and a cup of tea (all the best projects involve tea or wine and since I’m detoxing it’s tea for me!)

Start by casting on in your preferred style. I’ve always gone for the ‘Thumb‘ method myself! You’ll need to cast on enough stitches to cover 3 sides of your soap (2 short and one wide) – I have cast on 12 with this chunky string and 8mm needles. Just remember to cast on an even number of stitches.

Now this next stage could sound daunting if you’ve never tried double knitting but it’s unbelievably simple and so quick to do you will be a pro in no time.

Knit your first stitch. Then slip your next stitch as if to purl – this means put your needle as if you are going to purl the stitch and then just slip it over. Carry on with knit one, slip one  until you reach the end of the row. You will always finish on a slipped stitch.

Once you have worked a few rows like this you will be able to feel 2 sides to your knitting and actually be able to separate them a little!

There is a great video explaining the method:

 Turn your work around and repeat until your ‘sock’ is long enough to hold your bar of soap. Always start on a knit stitch and finish on a slip!

Once your sock is long enough you’ve reached the scary part! Leave a long tail – about 1.5 meters – and slip your work off your  needle. Yes, I said slip it right off without casting off.

Just be brave and pull the needle out!

Now gently prize your work open (like opening a bag of crisps!) and carefully thread your long tail through each of your stitches, starting with the last knitted stitch.

Gently prize work apart

Be careful not to drop any stitches as you thread your tail through them!

This is the hardest part!

Once you have caught every stitch on your tail you can turn it inside out, pop your bar of soap inside and pull the tail to tighten around the top of the bar.

Now the reason for the extra long tail…  We’re going to make a handle to hang your soap from so it can dry out and not go all squishy between uses!

Make a slip knot in the yarn, as close to the sock as you can get it. Form a loop and tuck it into the noose. Make another loop and tuck it into the previous loop. Keep repeating. When the chain is long enough, lock it by passing the end through the final loop. See here for animated instructions.

 Tie the loop to form a handle and you’re done!

Please let us know what you think, and feel free to ask questions or show us your finished soap socks!

Nikki x

Oak Stool Makeover

As I’ve mentioned, I’m really snowed under right now so don’t have a huge amount of time to blog. I’m finding it very frustrating as I really want to share a lot with you but I guess I’m just going to have to wait until the new year!

This project was something I worked on a few weekends ago, a real simple piece but a lovely one!

In fact I was so excited to get started on the project that I almost forgot to take a ‘before’ shot, but this one will do as you can barely see where I’ve started to remove the paint . I found it at an auction covered in a sticky residue and about 20 layers of white gloss paint. It was in a sorry state but fundamentally still a sound piece of furniture.

After I had washed the worst of the dirt off I set about removing the paint from the seat using a heat gun and scraper. If you are restoring an older piece of furniture make sure that you do this, or any sanding, in a well ventilated area and wear a mask as it is likely that some of the old paint layers contain lead.

Once you have scraped off the majority of the paint it’s time to break out the sander. You’ve probably realised that my weapon of choice is usually the angle grinder with a sanding disc but please do practise this on scrap wood before you take on a lovely old piece like this stool.

It was only after some serious sanding that I realised that this stool was actually made from oak and not pine, as I’d first thought! I didn’t want it to look too new so I stopped sanding while there were still some marks and dents to show its age.

Scuff up the legs a little to break up that old gloss look. Then give the seat a few coats of a soft wax. I like Annie Sloan’s Soft Wax as it smells slightly nicer then Briwax but it is a bit more expensive. (I will be reviewing both in a future post so watch out for it)

I love the finished stool and think I might use it in my new ‘corner office’ when I eventually set it up.

We’d love to see your restoration projects and tutorials so why not drop us a line?

A Gift For You… Free Printable

If you are reading this, then you probably already  know that we specialise in re-finishing furniture, what you might not realise (because we haven’t told you yet!) is that we also make lots of nice little bits and bobs that everyone has space for and find vintage treasures to make your home unique! We will shortly be putting some of these items up on our ‘et cetera’ page.

Today we’d like to thank you for reading by giving you a free printable to use as you like.! It’s full A4 size, which makes it easy to find a frame – we find Ikea and Wilkinsons very reasonable.

So, without further ado, here you go! Just click on the photo to go to the full-sized image, right-click and save as.

Love Many, Trust Few

I would love to see how you use it so please do share your photo’s. If you want to use for commercial purposes then all I ask is that you leave our web site address in situ.

Nikki x