spray paint

Revamping An Old-ish Frame

For college graduation (which is now, sadly, quite a few years ago), I gave K a special present.

We had met/bonded over cycling in the Indiana University Little 500, and during our senior year, K’s team placed in the top 5 out of 33 teams. It was a huge deal!

So I took his bike jersey he wore in the race (never even washed it), and got it framed with a little plaque underneath to commemorate it.

At the time of this gift, I was still in school, so not made of money. I went for the cheapest frame I could, which ended up being a nice glossy white. It was just fine for the time being.

The jersey and its white frame looked decent the next couple of years as it hung in K’s various bachelor pads. However, now that we live together and are trying to be adults, the gaudy white frame had to go.

For the past month since we have moved in, the jersey has been sitting on the floor because we had no idea what to do with it. It did not go with anything. Furthermore, I had the jersey professionally done, so I could not just swap out the frame.

We decided to go with my now tried and true method of fixing stuff: spray paint.

This project was going to be a little too big to accomplish on my fire escape, unlike my previous projects. Therefore, I hauled the jersey to the suburbs and painted it in my parent’s garage.

jersey frame1

I had just done this with our bathroom mirror, so I was a pro at taping up and prepping the frame.

jersey frame2

After letting it dry and cleaning up, I noticed I left a little something behind…Sorry Dad!

jersey frame3

Lesson learned: use a bigger drop cloth.

jersey frame4

Now the jersey looks 500000000x better!

Have you ever had a special piece that you loved, but it just did not fit with your decor? What did you do?

Using What We Already Have

After moving in, K still had a perfectly good IKEA HEMNES mirror that we really did not know what to do with. We were not using his HEMNES dresser anymore and already had a mirror in the bedroom. So, for the past two weeks it has just been leaning up against the wall, getting in the way of everything.

It so happens that the mirror that came with our apartment’s bathroom was in really bad shape (so bad that I am not even going to post a picture of it) and we had planned on replacing it since we moved in. I had casually perused bathroom mirrors on the internet, but really we already had a perfect mirror leaning against the wall all along.

Since the bathroom is white on white on white, the black frame was much too dark. To go with the beachy vibe of our shower curtain and bath rug, we chose to paint it a blue ocean breeze.

mirror before

This whole project was finished in just over 24 hours. Last night I taped up the mirror, using an outdated bike lane map to cover it up.

Fun Fact: You cannot buy spray paint in the City of Chicago

Over the weekend, when we asked the employee at Home Depot where the spray paint was, her response was “Anywhere outside Chicago.” At first I thought she was joking, but then we did some research and it is true!  It is an attempt to curb graffiti. With no intent but to fix up our mirror, K picked some up when he was out in the suburbs and I got started on the project last night.

I craftily brought the mirror outside on to our fire escape landing and propped it on our compost bucket (serving double duty!) Since it is not a big outdoor space, it took some maneuvering to get all sides and angles of the frame. There were multiple times I probably could have tumbled down the stairs….all in the name of upcycling.

The frame dried really quickly because I used KRYLON COVERMAXX . It dries in 10 minutes and can be handled in 1 hour! After a while of leaving outside and periodically checking to make sure a pigeon did not poop on it, I brought it inside to fully dry overnight.

Some quick touch ups in the morning and it was ready to go! I waited a full 24 hours before actually handling and hanging the mirror to ensure it was dry.

mirror drying

There was already a screw in the bathroom wall to hang the previous mirror on so we decided to wire the back of the mirror instead of screwing more holes in the wall. I drilled two small screws into the back of the frame and strung picture hanging wire between them.

And now for $3, our bathroom looks a bit more cool, and we used something we already had. 🙂

mirror finished


Upcycle: Metal Cabinet

Last year, I acquired this metal work cabinet from a family friend who was cleaning out their warehouse. When I saw it, I knew it could be something awesome again, so I snatched it up. It has been sitting in my parent’s attic until I had a place of my own, and now I do!

caibinet1The First Step: Initial Clean Up

It was DIRTY! I hosed it down with water and mild soap to get off the rust, grime, glue, and who knows what else was on this thing. I had to use a knife blade to get off drips of wax and then had to work on something sticky after that. I even peeled off a “Government Issued” sticker.

Then came the surprise! My dad walked in and noticed that this cabinet also had a pull out tray that could be used as additional work space. He thus became obsessed with trying to get it out, but it was stuck due to a combination of felty stuff and black goo. cabinet3

The Second Step: Even More Cleaning

With the discovery of this new part of the cabinet that needed some extra attention, the cleaning stage got a bit more intense. This involved scraping, using a solvent, and lots of scrubbing to get off.


Closer look at said surprise

Third Step: Rust Removal

Since I planned on spray painting, I used some steel wool to go over the rust spots. After they were smoothed, I used a rag to wipe off any access rust.

Fourth Step: Time to Paint!

When I get started on projects, I tend to want to get them done as soon as possible with disregard as to the actual best way to do it. To cut down on spray painting time, I picked a spray paint that had the primer included. I chose RUST-OLEUM Universal Hammered Paint & Primer In One in silver.

The hammered look helps cover the many imperfections that were on the cabinet.

I left plenty of time for the paint to dry before moving the cabinet so I could do the bottom. It was quite rusty under there too! After several days of the painting and drying cycle, it was finished!


Side by side of the painting door on the left and the original on the right

Fifth Step: Re-Attach Hardware and Admire Your Work!

The handles were something I originally thought I was going to paint another color, but once I put them back on, I fell in love! They looked fantastic and I would not change them.

cabinet done

The Final Product!

All in all this project cost about $16 for two cans of spray paint. The most (wo)man hours went to cleaning and then painting did not take long at all.