Ok, So I use the term “baby” in the sense that Gabrielle is MY baby, but not a baby anymore. But it was so very fun to be able to say, “LOL! Surprise Baby!” to her on Christmas day.
My Lady Bug (this is what I call Gabrielle), thinks I never listen to her…to be honest, sometimes I do tune her out. But I’m sure she thinks I wasn’t listening when in October she said in passing she really wanted a vanity. But I was! I did the reveal LIVE on Facebook Christmas day, and it was all that I dreamed and more. She is still running up to everyone showing them pictures. I mean that’s always the best part of giving a gift for Christmas, is seeing the persons face light up when they see the thought behind the gift. This time there were tears ya’ll. Me, her, and anyone who watched. It was one of those priceless moments. You can watch the video here.
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What the video didn’t show, to be fair, she got me too. I am starting a YouTube channel this year, and have been looking for a GoPro that I could afford, and she went out and got me the GoPro Hero 7. So she was listening for once too!
Finding the right vanity…
This was probably the hardest part. I bought a vintage desk that I thought I could make work, but it had like 4 layers of poorly done paint jobs on it, and would have required a jackhammer and a prayer to be ready by Christmas. So it got recruited for now as a paint station for hardware and drawers. So I kept looking and looking and found this little cutie on marketplace for a song. So I had it. No bench, but I had the vanity. Still looking for the right chair or bench, but we found a little ottoman that she can use for now, that coordinates with her living room furniture too, so she can still use it when I find the right thing.
Anyway, now that I had the right vanity. I needed the right design. So first thing to know about my daughter…she does not do the popular or normal thing. EVER! She likes what she likes and that’s it. So lots of shiny black and bling. She also believes she is her own kind of unicorn. So I knew right off the bat, it had to have some glitter!
The right design….
I wanted this to speak to my daughter. So my first thought was gold paint, dripped and dipped. But the more I thought about it, that just looks like gold paint. I wanted that wow factor. So I decided glitter and epoxy resin on the top to make it shine and glisten, and gold leaf on the corners and legs randomly, on the hardware, and dripped around the mirror and down it like a unicorn horn but not so on the nose.
The paint I knew had to be spray paint. She wants super high gloss on all of her furniture, and after painting several pieces black, I know that spray paint is the easiest way to do it. So I used Krylon Fusion All-In-One Paint + Primer in Gloss Black. This is by far the best spray paint I have ever used. I use the Krylon Snap and Spray Aero Spraypaint Gun, which is an adapter that turns your spray paint into a paint sprayer basically. I LOVE IT! I usually spray my base coat down for my signs and crafts with this thing, and it never leaves drips or runs. You know what I’m talking about.
So to spray paint a piece and get a smooth finish you have got to prep it right. First step is to clean your piece. I use TSP personally. It’s cheap, works the best, and stores dry. If you use it, be sure you go behind it with water immediately. This neutralizes the chemical in it so it doesn’t mess with your finish. This step is really important so don’t forget. If you are not sure about TSP you can use Simple Green or Krud Kutter too. They both do the job too with some elbow grease. Next is to very lightly sand your piece with 320 grit sandpaper all over. This is just to give the surface a little tooth for the paint to adhere to. Then finally, clean all of the dust off with a tack cloth. If there is dust left behind, the paint will not adhere.
Now onto the paint. Two coats, two cans and I was done. I let it dry really well overnight and I was ready to make it sparkle!
Every unicorn needs some sparkle…
So I had to give Lady Bug some sparkle. I mean she is a unicorn, remember? So I started pondering how to do this. I was nervous to use resin, but I really wanted the smooth glass finish on the top. So I did what any good DIYer does. I binged YouTube videos and Pinterest posts for two days! So I did a test on a scrap piece. So two things I learned doing this. First, Use extra fine glitter. They tell you this in every post, but I always initially think I am going to re-invent the wheel and try it my way first. Wrong! They say this because there will be some movement of the glitter, not a ton, but if you use the big chunky stuff, it is super noticeable. Second, let the Mod-Podge layer dry thoroughly before you resin. And finally, do not be afraid of the resin, just pour it and use the heat. As long as you are level, it will do its job. I just used an high density foam brush to move it out to the corners, but you have to work quickly.
So this is how you do it. First, skirt your project off all the way around and seal it all with tape. This will have to be thrown away after, so I just used a large plastic painter tarp. I bought a three pack and used two. I didn’t want resin or glitter on my legs or body of my piece, so I covered it twice. Then I put down a good thick layer of mod podge on the top of the vanity. Then I let the glitter fly. It was everywhere. I let it dry really well overnight, in the morning I blew it off with the air hose, and then coated the top of it really well with more mod podge and dusted it one more time. Dry overnight. Blow off with air hose. I had good, solid coverage. I was ready for resin. It only took one box of EnviroTex Lite Pour On. I had purchased three, one for practice, and two for the real deal, so I have one for my next project. Like I said above, the secret, is high density foam brush to spread around, I bought them at Dollar General, and used the biggest one in the pack. Then I had my heat gun on high, constantly moving, going while I was doing it to remove the bubbles, but there weren’t many. Just practice before you do it, and don’t let the resin scare you.
Then everything had to cure. I waited almost a week before I moved onto gold leafing.
All that glitters needs gold….
So I also had never gold leafed anything before. So another binge session commenced while I was waiting on the resin to cure. Honestly, I probably could have stopped here, but I wanted to keep going. It wasn’t there yet. My fellow furniture artists will relate to this. Your piece speaks to you and tells you what to do and when enough is enough. I really didn’t feel it was finished. So everyone has a different way to gold leaf. One said cheese cloth, one said a stippling brush, one said a make up brush. All agree, wait for the Speedball, the adhesive for the leafing, to get tacky.
The only way to really learn this is to do it. Less is more. Some spots you can’t help it going down white, but a little goes a long way. If it is white it isn’t ready. Do small spaces at a time. So I put the adhesive down on one corner and one leg, then moved to the next, waited about 5 minutes, and it was ready. Now I got a good deal on the imitation gold leaf pack with the gold leaf sheets, rose gold leaf sheets, and silver leaf sheets, but you will use a lot of sheets. This stuff is very fragile and it flies everywhere when you start putting it down. So I used my fingers to lay it on the adhesive, a make-up brush to stipple and smooth, and then buffed it down smooth with a soft, thick sock.
Spray with a coat of Polyacrylic by Minwax, and it was done.
My daughter loves it, and I am very proud of it. I keep getting questions, and I will gladly keep answering them. And I have three custom requests already from Moms like me for daughters like Lady Bug, which just makes my insides all warm and mushy. I hope you enjoyed reading about it as much as I enjoyed doing it. As always, leave your comments or questions below and tell me what you think.
Until next time,
Olde Made New