Conclusion: Plastic Isn’t Meant To Be Spray Painted

Well, outdoor plastic anyway.

A few years ago, we had one of those cheap, white plastic outdoor dining sets. The kind you find at a community swimming pool. In an attempt to spruce it up, I sprayed painted it. Since it was plastic, I used a primer for plastic and outdoor spray paint.

Within weeks, it was chipped. We ended up chucking it because it looked too horrible to even donate.

So, this time around, I decided to try something new. Krylon Fusion, specifically designed for plastic.

We have this deck box. It’s nice and beat up, the perfect candidate for painting.

I used gloss since the enamel is a bit tougher. It looked really splotchy at first, but evened out after a day of drying in the sun.

It looks so much better now. But it’s not perfect. In just a few days, chips had flecked off. Pretty disappointing.

I only prepped it by scrubbing it down. Maybe I should have sanded? Used a deglosser? Or even primed again? Who knows. I’m not calling it a total fail because it IS better looking, even with the chips. I’ll let you know how it holds up through the rest of the summer.

So there you have it. Plastic, spray paint and the elements just don’t go together.

I Painted A Handbag!

In a couple of weeks, my maternity leave ends and I’m going back to work. (Eek!) Part of that means pumping at work. I needed a bag to tote my pump and milk back and forth, so I grabbed this handbag from Target.

But here’s the problem. It’s white canvas and faux-leather. Canvas bag? Throw it in the wash when it gets dirty. But this? Not so much. Not to mention, it’s quite summery looking. So I got crafty.

GUYS. I got crafty. I don’t blame you if you did a spit-take.

Here’s my recipe for fun:

  1. Fabric purse
  2. Martha Stewart paint
  3. Martha Stewart fabric paint medium
  4. Paint brush
  5. ScotchBlue TM Painter’s Tape
  6. X-acto knife
  7. Ruler

I pulled off strips of ScotchBlue TM Painter’s Tape and, using an X-acto knife, cut them down the middle. A cork surface was great to cut on. A kitchen cutting board would probably work well too. I tried scissors for this, but it was super hard with the long strips. Hard, but not impossible.

Then I cut short pieces, three inches each.

I did the arrow pattern by sticking two short pieces together in a right angle.

Then I applied everything to the purse and gave it a good rub so the ScotchBlue TM Painter’s Tape would stick.

Next came the fabric paint. I had never done this before, so…you know. It was scary. But it turned out easy! One part fabric paint medium and two parts of paint made the acrylic paint ready for fabric.

I brushed it on, hitting the taped areas first to create a seal, then doing everything else.

Moment of truth!

And there you go. A painted fabric purse, using ScotchBlue TM Painter’s Tape.

The ONLY part that I don’t like? After the first coat of paint dried, I went back and touched up blotchy spots. Umm. It just dried blotchy. Hopefully it’ll fade into itself and blend better. Just an FYI if you try it yourself – slather on that fabric paint, and leave the tape on for the second coat and paint the whole thing again. No spot touch-ups.

Summer bag is now a year-round bag! And no more dirty canvas worries.

Disclosure: I was given ScotchBlue TM Painter’s Tape for this project. The craft and opinions are all my own.

Deck! Stained! Done!

Thompson’s WaterSeal sent me stain to use for this project. All opinions are my own.

The deck is stained and wow, does it feel (and look!) good.

A brief deck recap: Most of our decking and railing was split and starting to rot. The previous homeowner had never retouched the stain. So last summer, we ripped it apart and, using the existing foundation, rebuilt it.

After investing so much time, energy and money into rebuilding our deck, finding a stain that would protect it was very important.

We chose Acorn Brown by Thompson’s WaterSeal in a semi-transparent formula. In all, we used one and a quarter containers of the stain. One could have been enough for our small deck, but the boards absolutely sucked up the stain. For other supplies, we had several cheap polyester brushes, a couple of containers to hold the stain and tons of rags.

As I mentioned in this post, we would stain a bit, let it set, and wipe off excess. That worked perfectly for the balusters!

The decking didn’t need wiping. I just brushed it on evenly, working with a wet edge and taking care not to splatter.

So why Thompson’s WaterSeal? It prevents water damage, is UV and mildew resistant and has a good color life. A single coat of the semi-transparent lasts four years on decks and six on fences (which is good to know since that’s a on our to-do list).

The application is easy too. It only takes one coat and dries in two hours (though we found it dried much faster in 80 degree weather!). And since it’s a no-stir formula, we avoided messy paint sticks and needing to stir a can every ten minutes. (Ignore the butterfly bushes, they’re going to be planted around the side of the house)

Part of me wishes I’d gone with a transparent stain instead of semi-transparent. We had our fair share of drips and overlapping layers, particularly on the balusters and railing. A transparent stain would probably hide those mistakes better. But, I’m looking at our staining job through a critical lens. I see all the mistakes because I was there when they happened. So are they that obvious? No, not really.

Check out the waterproofing. These are our adirondacks (stained with a stain + sealant in one).

And just past that, you can see the beaded water on the decking. Yeah, I’m thinking we may have to re-stain those chairs!

So if you’re staining something that lives outdoors, or just looking to waterproof a surface, I wholeheartedly recommend Thompson’s WaterSeal. It’s easy to use, has a good reputation and, best of all, works!

In case anyone is wondering: Table and chairs are from Target, Adirondacks are from Hayneedle, pillows are Threshold from Target, small table is Room Essentials by Target, plants, pots and stands are from Lowe’s, lantern is IKEA, umbrella was a gift.

Here’s the deck saga: Deconstruction, rebuilding, railing, balusters, done with building, starting to stain

Cloth Diapering: Not Scary!

You know what’s tough? Finding time to write with a newborn. I gave myself a goal to write twice a week, but ta-da! It’s been two weeks. Last week was basically sleepless (at one point, my husband took off work just to get the baby out so I could sleep a couple of hours in the afternoon), and now, both me and Charlie are sick. (The NoseFrida is our new best friend.)

So, in honor of the little time thief, I thought I’d talk about cloth diapering.

While he was in utero, we decided cloth diapering was a good choice for us. Less waste, cheaper, pretty cute and reusable for future children.

At our first baby shower, people were like —> :-O Whaaat. Cloth? How does that work? (Except my grandma, who was all, NBD guys this is way better than what it used to be.)

There are so many kinds of cloth diapers. Fitteds, flats and prefolds, all-in-ones, all-in-twos, pockets. A local baby boutique has a nice blog explaining the different types. After research, we decided bumGenius 4.0 pocket snap diapers were right for us.

While these dipes are one size fits all, Charlie was too skinny to fit in them at first. So for the first month, we used disposables. Now we’re in cloth diapers 90% of the time. And so far, so good.

These have vertical and horizontal snaps for adjusting the fit. As he grows, we can let out the snaps. (There’s also a velcro option, but we read the velcro ages poorly.)

The cover is waterproof. Inside, there’s a fabric pocket for a cloth insert. The diapers come with a newborn and regular insert (the regular is thicker and absorbs more). The fabric pocket is made from a material that wicks the wetness away from the baby’s body.

Gratuitous naked baby shot. He’s totally horrified.

It all sounds fine and dandy…but what about dirty diapers?

Enter, this guy. It’s a Bumkins cloth diaper sprayer, and it’s connected to the toilet’s water line. So when we have a poopy diaper…

…we just spray off the solids and flush it down. (We also have a Spray Pal splatter shield, but it’s cumbersome and more work than it’s worth, in my opinion.)

From there, I separate the insert from the diaper and both go in a wet bag, which has a waterproof liner.

I know what you’re thinking. That diaper still had some serious yellow stains on it. Not to worry though! Breast milk is water soluble, and it comes right out in the wash.

The cotton inserts usually come out of the washing machine with a little yellow on them. The power of the sun takes care of that right away.

We have enough diapers in our stash that we can do laundry every other day. We’re not using any special detergent, just homemade stuff (Borax, Fels Naptha and washing soda). The wet bag gets washed too. We have two of them, so when one is being washed, we have a bag to use. Plus we have a small travel wet bag for when we’re on the go.

We’ve had a couple of leaks, but heck, we have leaks with disposable diapers. Disposable diapers have a handy wet indicator that I kind of miss. The cloth leaks happen when he saturates the pad. No blow outs yet! Overall? We’re super happy with the cloth diapers and can’t imagine using disposable diapers all the time. And Charlie? He’s pleased!

We still have a stash of Pampers though, for night time. I avoid changing his diaper in the middle of the night, but if he has a giant poop during a 2 am feeding, I change it. And tossing a disposable into the trashcan next to our bed is much easier than getting up and putting the diaper in the wet bag.

Conclusion: cloth diapering is not scary. I’ll keep you updated on how it goes when we introduce solids and he starts going to daycare!

Anyone else cloth diaper? What’s your experience? Favorite covers?

Almost A Year Later, Deck Staining!

When I was a teenager, I worked as a lifeguard. It was a great gig, especially since North Carolina summer weather is so volatile. Almost every afternoon, there was thunder and the threat of rain. That meant kicking everyone out of the pool and playing cards with fellow guards while on the clock. Oh yeah.

As an adult trying to stain her deck, that weather has been very annoying in the past month.

Everyday, 30% chance of scattered thunderstorms. Everyday, drought (or an errant three minute downpour.)

Last Wednesday I looked at the forecast. Open skies for SIX DAYS! As soon as Hurricane Arthur got out of town on Thursday, we were set.

Friday, we prepped by cleaning the deck. Before:

After, significantly brighter:

It looks so easy in before and after pictures. But it wasn’t great.

I bought a gallon of no-scrub deck wash that was supposed to cover 300 square feet. Halfway into spraying our 12′x12′ (144 square feet) deck, I realized I was almost out of wash. Ugh! Luckily, it takes four minutes to get from our driveway to Lowe’s. Husband went and picked up another bottle.

So I finished spraying and started rinsing. As I was spraying, I noticed this pulpy, cellulose-like layer peeling off. Hmmmm. When it dried (you can see it best near the bottom of the broom, the white stuff):

And the same happened in places where I walked:

So I ended up sanding the railing and a few spots on the decking. Word of wisdom: bleach-filled deck cleaner will eat. wood. up.

I looked online at product reviews and others had the same issue. Most of the positive reviews were associated with composite decks. Oh well. In the end, we got it clean and ready for stain.

We waited two days for the wood to dry, and on Sunday, started staining. We tackled the hard part first, balusters.

I couldn’t imagine doing this alone. Two people made it so much easier. I’d paint one side, he’d do the other.

Then we’d wipe off the excess.

Rinse and repeat in the hundreds of nooks and crannies.

Our handy helper. (Side note: went for his first peds visit. He gained 10 oz in one week and is in the top percentile for length at 23.25″!)

There are several spots that don’t look great, but my parents, deck staining veterans, assured us that as soon as the sun hit it for a couple of days, any splotches would blend.

Yesterday, I stained the decking in four staining sessions during Charlie naps. I need to move the furniture back today, but Charlie is having one of those needy mornings where he cries as soon as I put him down. So it looks like I’ll have to snuggle him today. Poor me. :)