Sometimes things don’t turn out right… Home Office Reno, part 6 of 7

I attempted two final projects in my home office renovation that I thought could easily be done with some items I already own. One was a clock, the other was a wastebasket. Turns out I was wrong. On both counts.

I attempted the clock a few months ago. Like, it was still hot outside. ( Of course that could have been yesterday in my neck of the woods.) After I broke down my desk for its upcycle, I had several pieces of wood left over. Because my clock was slowly disintegrating – as in every time I moved it, a piece would break off – I thought why not cut another clock out of one of these pieces?

The Clock Mistake

First problem: I used the glass front of my old clock as a template for the new one. I had a piece big enough for the pattern, but cutting it was a different story. This particleboard is seriously thick, and my jigsaw blade was not having it. Hence, the lopsided circle.

Second problem: After painting, I drilled a hole for the clock’s hands to fit through. After about 4 tries with estimating the size of the hole needed, I’d cut it too big – and as I would find out later – not centered. I threw it off to the side – paint still wet, so it stuck to some paper – and gave up on it for a few weeks.

Third problem (and most time consuming): A few easy-peasy YouTube videos showed me that I needed to cut a square in the back for the clock parts to fit in. Yep, easy if you have an oscillating tool. I did not, nor was I going to get one just for this job. I tried to do a workaround by creatively drilling from the place where I’d made the clock hands’ hole. Did not work. Then, I used a chisel. No go. After giving up again, I finally had my brother carve it out with his oscillating tool. Come to find out, the hole I drilled and the lines I templated for the cut out did not exactly line up. So the clock hands were off center from where I wanted them.

The finished product. This is 12:00:15. ( Notice how it’s slightly off.)

Fourth problem: Painting the numbers was a breeze. Lining them up correctly, after I had applied glue to attach them was not. So several are not in the exact right place. I figured out, too late, that I could use the clock hands to help line them up based on where the off-centered hands were.

The wastebasket #Fail

Hazmat! Sort of…

I wanted to use a weaved basket as a waste container, so I decided to get a spray sealing product to seal all the holes between the weave.

First problem: There were so many warnings on this product, I felt if I wasn’t in as close to wearing a hazmat suit as possible, I wouldn’t be safe. So, here’s me trying to get ready.

Second problem: The spray basically shellacked the interior of the basket, there was no sealing holes here. I feel I bought the wrong product for the application.

Third problem: For about $5.00, I got two good puffs of product. Even if it had been the right thing, it would not have covered the small basket much less anything else. It was a waste of money.

While I may go back and try a different product for the wastebasket, it won’t be any time soon. I’ll just make sure I have trash can liners that fit.

Lessons Learned: Sometimes projects are more about learning what not to do rather than the finished product. As long as you aren’t selling that finished product. These will be for my use only. And our education.

Coming up in a future post: Look out for a VIDEO of my finished home office reno!

Home Office Reno, part 5 of … The Little Things

For the last few weeks, this #WeekendDIYGirl has been doing a few repainting and arts and crafts projects to finish up my home office. While some upsetting life stuff a few weeks ago threw a wrench into some of my plans and fizzled a little of my motivation, it also gave me more free time to finish my projects.

Repainting Everything

My color palate here for my accessories consists of white and charcoal gray. I repainted several items that I want to reintroduce into my office for functionality:

  • Pen and knick-knack container (gray)
  • Bookends ( gray and white)
  • File cabinet (white)
  • picture frames (gray)
File cabinet before ( left-hand side or 1st image) and after (right hand side or 2nd image)

Recycled or Recreated

A few other projects I worked on (and am still working on) were done to update the item itself or to replace something I had previously

Clock (Still in the works): I took the mechanics off my broken clock and made a new one from leftover pieces of my desk and some numbers from a craft store. We’ll see how that turns out.

Wall hanger: I upgraded the craftsmanship on this project (a DIY experiment a few years ago) and repainted it to better match the current décor.

What’s next?

I still have some cleaning and organizing to do before I’m finally satisfied. I’m already using the office, however, and I love it! This has been a long journey, but it turned out great! See the finished pics on the next blog post.

If you want to see how any of these projects were done, drop me a comment below!

Home Office Reno, part 4 of…The Bookcase Debacle

In my Home Office Reno, part 4, I started off with two bookcases: a tall, 8-cubed unit in a satin maple finish, and a short, wide double shelf bookcase with an oak laminate finish that I spray painted an antique gold. Two finishes that no longer work in the space.

In a previous redesign, I painted the short bookcase (see that project here), but again, the outside paint no longer worked with the current design.

After a few tries with the taller bookcase (see that mess-up here!) I’ve finally got these two bookcases into the design. By purchasing another tall, 4-cubed bookcase, I now have a sort-of bookcase wall in my new home office!

Lessons Learned:

  • Sand, sand, sand – but in the right way. Always sand wood and laminate pieces with finishes or old paint on them so the paint can adhere. And don’t try a harsh sandpaper (like 80 grit) and then a light sandpaper immediately afterward (like 220). You will gouge and destroy your piece that way.
  • Before spray painting, fully cover up all areas you don’t want the paint to go. This is especially true for your work area and areas on your piece. It took more time covering up the inside of this short bookcase than it did painting it, but it was worth it! The finished look needed no inside touch-ups where the white paint might have gone through.
  • Repainting is worth the effort. I love the way this new bookcase wall looks in the space. I was pretty bummed that I had wasted 2 cans of paint on a botched repaint and discouraged that I had to repaint my shorter bookcase after painting it just 2 years ago. But the extra spray paint and time and effort was worth it. I love this look!

Home Office Reno, part 3 of… Desk is finally done!

Finally! the desk I dismantled and sanded in April 2020 is finally done 3 months later! If you’ve seen my IG, you know I did have to break my quarantine to go to a home improvement store (for, among other things, a new toilet seat. Toilet seat replacement in an upcoming post). So, of course while I was there, I had to purchase everything I hadn’t in months! So let the painting begin!

Desk before Project (top), and desk after (bottom). Use slider to view each picture.

Painting a desk like this one is fairly straight forward once you have prepped your surface. This required:

  1. Cleaning it out
  2. Removing the top portion ( which required taking off the back part as well)
  3. drilling and nailing some parts together that had come apart over the years
  4. Removing the pulls (handles) and other hardware.
  5. Filling in any holes with Plastic Wood filler (This desk is laminate.)
  6. Dusting, sanding then wiping off sanding with a damp towel.

I put a piece of cardboard under the desk to protect the carpet and so I could paint all the way to the bottom. This desk doesn’t have legs per-se or even furniture risers, so for a clean finish I had to paint it all the way to the ground.

With furniture, always use at least a semi-gloss paint. It costs more, but it is more durable in the long run. There is also cabinet and furniture paint specifically for these jobs that can be tinted. Here I just used a regular water-based latex in semi gloss finish.

Installing the new pulls required me to drill more holes for screws since the pulls are a different size. Always measure if you don’t have a template, so you’ll know where to drill the holes. I did one wrong by just eyeballing and not measuring. Can you tell which one it was?

Lessons Learned

After ripping desk from cardboard, some of the paint went with it!
  • Sand lightly, even if it requires 2 or 3 passes. (This just needed a 220 grit paper to get the shine off.) Some of the areas on the desk were slightly gouged because I was aggressive with the sandpaper.
  • Be prepared for multiple coats. Here, even though my paint had primer in it, I probably should have also primed because we are going from a darker color to a lighter one. this means less actual paint coats. But I had just enough!
  • Cut away the paint before lifting it from the cardboard. Paint adheres. That is how it stays on stuff, unlike stain, which seeps into wood. So when I painted down to the end of the desk, some inevitably got on the cardboard. Which means, the cardboard is now stuck to the bottom of the desk at that point. Of course, I just ripped it up, which caused a messy bottom edge. Tip: Use a craft knife to cut a paint line and prevent the messy edge look.

Overall, I am excited to finish this paint project! It is a pivotal part of the home office renovation. Now on to next steps: hanging my new curtains, cleaning, arranging, and even some more painting. (My bookcase is getting another paint job!) And of course creating some creative accessories–like maybe a new clock?

Home Office Renovation, Part 3 of …

Even though it doesn’t feel like winter here, I have been hibernating in a sense, mostly hunkered down writing my debut romance novel. I have been working on a couple of projects off and on. One is my coffee table up-cycle, and the other is a home office renovation I’ve been talking myself into for months, step- by-step.

I say talking myself into, because with each step, I’m trying to convince myself the whole office needs to be renovated. First, I convinced myself to paint one wall and an old bookcase. Then I added a desk  space–just because I had leftover plywood. Next I painted another wall–everything was all moved around, anyway!

And the latest has been to clean up, relocate, and maybe even up-cycle my main desk area. I mean look at it. It definitely needs an upgrade. Am I up to the task? I don’t know. I have started cleaning the desk up. Whether it can be relocated or up-cycled is for another day. Stay tuned…