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Ikea Ektorp Sofa Hack

September 11, 2015

So back when I first began my #Adult journey and moved into my first apartment BY MYSELF, I did a very Adult thing and bought myself a couch. Granted, it’s from Ikea but it was a big deal at the time okay?! My apartment aesthic was what I fondly called “Pinterest- inspired mermaid grotto” and was very light and beach-y. As such, I bought a white couch. I’m sure you’re thinking I’m clearly a crazy person because who the hell thinks they can keep a white couch clean but I was like, hey. I’m an adult. A kid-less, pet-less adult. It looks perfect in the space and I love it.

So I bought a white Ektorp couch with the chaise lounge.

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LOVED IT.

It was so cute.

Then, about five months after I moved in, I did the really smart thing and adopted a black mutt furball. ( #adoptdontshop ! ) Whom I also LOVE. He is SO CUTE.

He also ruined my lovely white couch.

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To add insult to injury, about a year and half later I moved into a house with two roommates. One of those roommates also has a black mutt furball. Double whammy of couch destruction. It was beyond all hope. I’d taken to constantly covering it with blankets because it would just look terrible 10 minutes after washing it, but naturally the lovely pups like to do that weird pre-sleeping digging thing and would move the blankets all around.

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The couch ruiners in their natural habitat.

Something had to be done. I’d been looking into buying a new slipcover for the couch for a while, but they start at $200 from Ikea, and being that the couch is so unique (with the chaise) I couldn’t just use a generic cover. I was getting desperate and also I’m poor. Okay, I know $200 isn’t THAT much and I’ve probably spent that at Target in the last month but I just have a hard time justifying dropping that dime on something so boring.

Then one random day off my roommate and I were talking about the dismal state of the couch and it came to us:

What if we dyed the slip cover?

Would it work? Would it ruin the couch? Could it possibly get any worse?

Immediately left for the store to pick up a few packages of RIT dye in Navy. A nice dark color that would camouflage some of the black hairs but also still go with the rest of my nautical stuff when I move out eventually.

Wrestled all the cushion covers and slip cover off the couch and followed the package instructions to dye the covers in the washing machine. I did two loads, one of the cushions and one of the slipcover. The covers are all made of cotton so I used hot water. Due to limited quantities of dye at the drugstore near me, I used a bottle of Rit and two powder packages of Rit for each load. Not sure if its recommended to mix the two types, but whatevs. It worked out. I also put a large scoop of salt in the washing water. Not sure if it helped or if it just made it more salty – get it? Salty like grumpy? l o l.              I’m sorry about what just happened there. 

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Sorry these pictures are kind of meh. not much natural light in a basement.

Here’s the only part I would change – it was getting pretty late and I had to work the next day so I knew I wouldn’t be able to put the couch back together if I let the pieces fully air dry, so I put them in the dryer on low for a bit. I would ehnat do that again, it definitely ruined some of the lining and the bottom of the chaise cushion, but luckily those aren’t parts that you actually see. I also purchased washing machine cleaner which I recommend doing immediately after the process so you don’t ruin the machine, especially if you’re using a dark color like I am.

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And now, she’s beautiful again! I love it. I might even do the whole process again to get a deeper navy shade, it looks very denim-like right now. But for now, it’ll do!

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yep. Harry Potter throw blanket.

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Have you ever Ikea – hacked? Show me on Instagram by tagging #30thandweldon !

Make Stuff

DIY: Refinished Wood Table

May 18, 2015

I am currently in the middle of the move and was faced with a difficult decision: do I give away/sell the coffee table that I’ve had for years or do I keep it. I had gotten to the point where I absolutely loathed the aethetic—the table was worn, had a lot of nicks and rings (even though I have always been adamant about wanting to use coasters) and the blonde stain was less than appealing to me. I finally decided to be ambitious and refinish the table—I was able to keep the table but ditch the look. I did a lot of research and got a lot of help from my friend Stew in the endeavour (whom I am very grateful for—thanks Stew). I was amazed with how beautiful the wood underneath was once sanded down (Stew says it’s pine. Or oak. I can’t remember) and am really happy with how it all looked in the end. I chose a rich dark brown called English Chestnut that will look great with my darker floors and newer/more modern apartment. The instructions for this DIY are a bit more detailed and lengthy, so let’s get to it!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

Wooden table (or other wooden piece to refinish).

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Palm sander.
Sandpaper, at various grits. I used 60 grit, 100 grit, and 220 grit. If your table isn’t super stained/nicked like mine was you can get away with 80 for your coarse and 110/for your medium.

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Wood stain of your choice. I recommend MinWax Wood Finish. The color I used was English Chestnut.
Polyurethane finish in desired gloss. I recommend MinWax again and used a semi-gloss for a more natural feel.
Old t-shirt/other cotton fabric that you are okay destroying and cutting into strips (about 6 inches thick, about 12 inches long but does NOT need to be exact)
Foam brushes.

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Beer. (optional. one an hour to keep you BAC down or whatever. not tryna be liable for your sanding-while-drunk accidents).
DIY-friendly clothing. An outfit you are okay ruining with sawdust and stain.
Outdoor space. I sanded in my backyard and finished/stained in my front yard.
Goggles. I did not do this, but if you’re practicing wood-working safety you really should.

WHAT YOU’LL DO

SANDING

  • Take one last look at the piece you are about to refinish. Prepare to be amazed at how different it is about to look.
  • Read the instructions that come with your palm sander. I am stubborn and didn’t do this and I wasted time.
  • Cut your 60 grit sandpaper (or whichever coarse sandpaper you’ve chosen) to fit the palm sander.

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  • Start sanding with your coarse grit. I started with the top of the table as it was the easiest/flattest surface to work with. Sand WITH THE GRAIN or else it will look like shit when you are finishing it.

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  • Move on to the sides of the table and legs. For curved surfaces, you can still use your hand sander but should rotate it slightly to fit the curve of the table (see gif).

  • For tighter corners, I had to sand by hand. Depending on how your table is constructed, you may or may not have to do this. Kind of a betch, but definitely worth it in the end.

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  • Cut your 100 grit sandpaper (or whichever medium grit you’ve chosen) to fit your palm sander. Sand table again WITH THE GRAIN. Repeat sanding steps above (although since finish is already removed, it’s okay to be a little lazy with sanding by hand one the finer grits. I mean you shouldn’t but it’s okay if it happens).
  • Cut your 220 grit sandpaper to fit palm sander. Sand table one more time.

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  • Look in awe at how different your table already looks. If you wanted, you could stop here. But we’re not done.

FINISHING

  • Take a rag/dish towel and swat at table to remove lingering sandpaper. You’ll swat at the table almost as if you were giving it a rat-tail (the locker room activity, not the hair style).
  • Grab a t-shirt strip. Open your stain. Get some stain on cloth.

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  • Flip table so legs stand up. Protect the top of it with a cloth. I worked with my table on top of another table.
  • Starting with the legs and sides of the table, run stained cloth along wood. Again, move with the grain. Apply an even coat and allow stain to soak into wood. Reapply stain to t-shirt when need be and grab a new t-shirt scrap of yours gets soaked. The idea is to use the t-shirt instead of brushes so you can have control over the way your coat is controlled for even coverage. Alert: your hands will get dirty.

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  • Allow legs to dry.
  • Flip table over and apply stain to top.

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  • Allow table to dry.
  • Take a look at the color. If you’re happy with it, you’re ready to apply your finish! If you want it a little darker, you can consider another coat of stain. Keep in mind that the color will become a little darker when you apply the finish.
  • Grab foam brush and dip the tip into the finish. Finish top of table and legs using quick, sweeping motions. Make sure the motions of quick as to avoid bubbles (see gif).

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  • Allow to dry. Admire your new table!

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I am overall very very happy with how this turned out. I feel accomplished and am so pleased with how it looks—it feels like a brand new table and I spent less than $30 on it!

If you tackle this project, or have refinished before, let me know in the comments below. I would love to hear your refinishing tips. Now that I’ve done it, I am looking forward to repurposing and refinishing other furniture. Tag your completed projects on instagram with #30thandweldon so I can take a look!

Make Stuff

DIY FAIL: Sea Glass Mobile

May 15, 2015

I woke up this morning (after a glorious 9 hours of sleep) feeling rested, motivated, and inspired. I hadn’t fully committed to my post for this week, thinking I would finalize it today. I bounced around a few ideas, browsed the web, and got caught up on the blogs I follow while drinking my coffee this morning. Then it came to me. In my old apartment I had made this pinterest-inspired wall hanging for above my bed using sea glass and lights. It was pretty, but it turned into a giant knot of lights and fishing wire when I moved, so I never did anything with it. If I can use the pre-strung sea glass, I could recycle it into a pretty mobile DIY to hang in my room!

So I freed the sea glass from the mess by cutting and detangling – this was a process. The sea glass was hot glued at different intervals to the fishing wire and I got a bunch of them that were still useable.
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All ya need:

– A metal hoop (or sticks/ driftwood tied together)
– Twine
– Fishing line
– Sea glass

I found a metal hoop from my stash of dream catcher supplies and wrapped it in twine. The key to this is a drop of hot glue every few inches. I could have used leather cord or raffia or really anything. If I had bits of driftwood, I would have used that tied in either a triangle or square shape. Finally, use the twine to create the hanger, for a circle three pieces of twine evenly spaced works perfect.

 

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Then I began tying the sea glass strands around the hoop. I varied the lengths and amount of glass on each, just keeping it random and organic. It turned out pretty!

Then disaster struck.

See, I’m really short. I wanted to hang this baby from my ceiling in my room, which is pretty high. It’s a drop ceiling (?!) so there are corners to hang it from, but I had to get the twine up under the panels. We have a step stool in the house, but I’m still too short to reach. Of course my much taller roommates were not home to assist, but I’m also stubborn and convinced I could figure out a way. First I tried using a hanger to reach the last few inches. LOL don’t know how I thought that would actually work. Then I stacked things on top of the step stool – safety first! – and finally I just barely reach the ceiling. Supplies list for short people: Step stool, 2 yoga blocks, 2 large books.

As I’m trying to get it firmly stuck between the rail and the panel, I drop the mobile.

UGH. Below you see the result. A tangled hot mess of string, twine, and sea glass. I briefly attempted to untangle it, but realized quickly I don’t hate myself enough to attempt it.

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Even us crafty girls fail. Not every project turns out Instagram worthy. While I still think the mobile is a good little project (would be cute with shells or crystals!) – I’m gonna walk away from this one for now. I was so mad and frustrated and will <someday> find this funny, but I still felt I should share it with you, dear readers. You’re allowed to laugh.. Just not near me yet.

Maybe someday I’ll be bored enough to try to untangle it and hang it so I can show you guys. Maybe.

Make Stuff

DIY: “Hand Lettering” Poster

March 10, 2015

 

Last weekend, I ventured back to the homeland (NJ) to “surprise” my dad with a 60th birthday party. Shoulda known we couldn’t get anything past that guy, but he still seemed pretty overwhelmed by the whole thing. Our quiet, funny, Miller-lite loving Pudge got a old school Yankees themed birthday bash at the local moose lodge. People came out of the woodwork to help my mom and our family is incredibly grateful. It was a wonderful night of dancing, drinking, and being with friends and family. I loved every second.

My brother goes to school in North Carolina so the two of us arrived in town the morning of. We couldn’t help with much of the prep – though my shared Pinterest board with my mom was invaluable! One of the things I pinned was this cool poster about the year the birthday boy was born and things that happened / what things cost / etc. I saw a few variations of it from a couple different Etsy stores, but I figured I could combine my favorite parts and make my own!

The supplies are pretty simple and could easily be changed for things that go with the theme of the party. I used a black canvas so give the chalkboard effect, but since I knew I’d be packing it in the car to travel I didn’t use actual chalk, but chalk markers. Frankly, the marker looked exactly like a white paint pen, which I also used for larger lines. So skip the chalk marker. I also kept a black pen on hand for fixing mistakes, which thankfully I only needed once! You’ll also need a pencil (with a good eraser) and a ruler or straightedge.

Canvas | chalk markers The one I used was Recollections brand – can’t find online, but these are similarpaint pen

First plan out your layout on a piece of paper. Start thinking about different letter styles you can use and if you’re going to include any small pictures or art. Once you’ve got your ideas down, move on to the canvas, lightly drawing the whole thing out in pencil. I found it erased pretty easily on the black canvas, as long as the eraser you use doesn’t leave a residue. Go back over everything with the white marker, and – voila! – Insta- handwritten sign. I thought it looked kinda amateur because I’m actively learning how to do hand lettering (post on this soon, I swear) but it got rave reviews. Just keep it simple and neat – and pick interesting facts! I think this works great for milestone birthdays because people loved thinking back to those times (23 cent / gal gas? Hello!) but I think it would be cute for a kid’s birthday too, with more pop culture facts.

Obviously this technique could be applied to any kind of sign – maybe a quote you love or lines from a favorite book. I love the black canvas / white lettering look. If you make your own sign, be sure to let me see it by tagging #30thandweldon on instagram!

The party was such a wonderful time to gather together all the people who love my Dad, something we unfortunately don’t get to do very often. Below you will find the photo dump (that is only a tiny portion of the many, many pictures I took) – taken with my new Canon Rebel EOS SL1. The camera was my tax return gift to myself and I love love love love it. Still have no idea how to use it, but whatevs.

Lemme tell ya – NJ knows how to have a good time. #jerseygirlfolyfe

Make Stuff

DIY: Glitter Party Banner

February 19, 2015

30th & Weldon hosted a super successful Galentine’s Day last Friday. We made sangria, ate tons of cheese, painted beads, and hung out with some beautiful ladies. Although we planned it in a week, were still setting up while our first guests arrived, and Shae had to leave the party to get antibiotics for pink eye that showed up earlier that day, it was all-in-all a success! We also got some great shots at our photo booth which featured a white wall, some small props, and a glitter party banner.

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Shae had mentioned she wanted a banner that read “Who Run The World?” at our Galentine’s Day bash and I immediately envisioned a glittery-gold banner to properly pay homage to the words of Queen Bey. I ran to Party City in hopes of finding gold letters that I could purchase and assemble in ten minutes tops. After walking through each aisle three times (and picking up some other last-minute party supplies), I realized that I would need to get crafty and creative if I wanted this banner — ugh. I hopped on Pinterest and found a great tutorial that I’d hope to use as a guide in creating my banner. Devlin & I then made our way to Michaels and, as we picked up the materials needed, I immediately realized how over my fucking head I was. I do not craft. I hate crafting. My brain doesn’t think that way and my hands don’t work that way and I can barely cut in a straight line. Still, I decided I wanted to stick through it and got everything needed to make the banner. I got out of Michaels safely (although just barely – at one point I turned to Devlin and said “I am about six minutes away from crying. We need to go”) and headed home. We still hadn’t had any dinner so Devlin offered to trace and cut out the letters while I made food.

This is probably a good time for this disclaimer: I did not make this banner. My boyfriend — who happens to have a degree in design — did and it turned out beautifully. I helped, but Devlin was the hero in the completion of this DIY and in my not pulling my hair out during the entire process. I figure as long as I give credit where it is due, I still have grounds to write a post about it. To be fair, I had every intention of finishing it after he’d cut out the letters. After the letters were cut, I did a test with Elmer’s glue as the tutorial I found said to use. It turned out awful and gave up for the night. I was discouraged and considered giving up for good. I went to work the next day (at this point the day before Galentine’s Day) and was stressed as hell. I was whining to Devlin, who had the day off, about how much I had to do that night to which he replied with this photo:

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I was ecstatic and extremely surprised. Little did I know, he’d had planned this since the night before and snuck the supplies into his backpack. We finished the banner up that night and it was a big hit at the party. I promise I gave him full credit to all that asked at Galentine’s Day.

Want to make your own glitter party banner? Here’s Devlin’s DIY, which again is a take on the tutorial from Brittany Makes.

Glitter Party Banner

Materials:

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Letter stencils – we used 4” letters in Helvetica, which is by far the best typeface Michaels had to offer. Please don’t use Papyrus.
Fine glitter I searched Michaels high and low and the best I found was made by Ms. Martha Stewart herself. She’s a craft queen, I have to give that to her.
Tiny hole punch – we could not find one small enough of so I used a hammer and nail to make the holes in the banner (this is the one thing I did all by myself). It looked fine from far away and in photos but a hole punch would’ve been better.
Plastic container – for glitter.
Spray mount – this is essentially glue in a spray can and it worked much better than my school-glue test letter did.
String/yarn/twine/ribbon/etc – make sure it is pretty thin. Ribbon would probably be best because the sting we used kept unraveling and it was frustrating. Ribbon would at least prevent against that.
Bristol 4-ply – or some paper that is similar thickness that can withstand the weight of glitter/glue.
Spray sealer – Devlin used this sealer, which he got a Lowe’s, which he says isn’t for art and there is probably something better, but it worked well & looked good.
Thick cardboard – to cut and spray on, and if you can’t find the hole punch, to hammer on as well.
Scissors.
Pen knife (like X-Acto) or small box cutter.
Ruler/sharp edge.
Pencil.

Step 1: Pick your word/phrase and make sure you know how to spell it!
Step 2: Trace your letters on your Bristol 4-ply paper (or paper/board equivalent of choice) in pencil.
Step 3: Cut out letters – scissors for the easier ones and the pen knife/ruler for the more difficult cuts (apparently the letter ‘R’ was a bitch to cut out).

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Step 4: Pour glitter into plastic container and head outside. Lay out your thick cardboard.
Step 5: Spray letters two-at-a-time with spray mount.
Step 6: Pour glitter on top of the sprayed letters. Repeat steps 5 and 6 until all letters are glittered evenly. Allow your letters to dry. Devlin said they were probably good after 10 minutes but he waited an hour to be safe.
Step 7: Spray the letters with the spray sealer. Allow to dry for another hour. This step is to ensure that the glitter doesn’t get everywhere (guess what: it still got everywhere).
Step 8: Punch(/hammer) your holes into your letters.
Step 9: String letters. This was much easier with the two of us doing it. Once they are all on the string, hang it up and adjust the spacing.
Step 10: Cut excess string. Hang final product using thumbtacks or a staple gun.

Good luck. Hope you fare better than I personally did, and if not I hope you have a friend/S.O. that can help out!

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You can check out the rest of our photos from Galentine’s Day on Facebook or on instagram, #30thandweldon. Thanks to all the ladies that came out to celebrate with us! We look forward to next year’s Galentine’s Day and future 30th & Weldon events.