DIY Projects

Silver Leaf Paint: The Easy Way To Get The Look Of Silver Leaf!

Posted on Mar 10, 2014

mirror finished bathroom remodel product


 Master Bathroom Mirror Makeover

One thing I knew would be so important for our bathroom remodel was to have a nice large mirror over the bathtub.  A mirror would appear to enlarge the space and reflect light, both important for a small master bath.  Besides, they’re so pretty!  The trick was finding the right size and shape mirror in the right color.  Luckily, after a lot of searching for both, I found the right mirror and the right paint to get to that right color.

The secret to sanity when remodeling an old home is accept that standard sized items aren’t going to fit in your non-standard size house when it comes to replacing things.  My house was built 57 years a go and not one thing has been a standard size.  So when we remodeled the bathroom, I wasn’t surprised to find not one standard mirror size was going to work. A quest to consignment stores to find a mirror of the right size , shape and color was the answer.  When finding all three proves frustratingly impossible I found it easiest to settle for the right size and shape. I am an expert at using spray paint!


Wood frame with tape

The original finish on the mirror is fine, but not what I was looking for. I love the detailed texture and the size was perfect!


After a lot of searching I finally found a great looking mirror at a decent price with a nice size frame in the right size and shape for over my tub at a consignment shop, but it came in brown.  Knowing I wouldn’t find a better fit, I bought it planing to do a quick spray paint job to get it just right. Lord knows I’m no stranger to spray paint. So I set out to find a perfect soft, silvery finish that would make my new mirror just right for over the tub.

I started at a big box store for silver spray paint.  How hard could it be? There was not one decent silver color.  Ugh. I checked my local hardware store…same thing.  Then I headed to the local craft store- again every silver color was awful! I wandered over to the silver-leafing area and realized I love the look of silver leaf, but the process of multiple steps over such a large piece was out of my price and patience range. OK, really out of my patience range! So you can imagine my delight when I found silver leaf paint!


Liquid Leaf bottle


It doesn’t look exactly like silver leaf, but it is far and away better than any can of spray paint I could find!  It was super easy and I absolutely love the results!


4 East Steps to Refinishing With Silver Leaf paint.

1. Make sure all surfaces are clean and grease free.

2. Use a liquid sanding product to make the surface more ready to accept paint and remove any sealant.  A quick, light wipe is all you need. Dry off if necessary.

3. Tape off the mirror so you get nice, clean edges.  I covered the rest of the mirror with paper towels that I moved around as I worked.




4. Use a brush to apply.  I did it in one coat and went back to do touch ups.  The paint splatters a little (lots of little droplets) and dries really fast.  I like the texture they can add.


splatter silver leaf


That’s it! You’re done.


Silver mirror painted


It took me about an hour to clean and paint a 4’x5′ mirror. It dried beautifully and looks spectacular in my bathroom! I would use that silver leaf paint again in an instant.  Even with the steam from my baths, the paint has held up beautifully.


Master bathroom remodel tub


The finished product again.  I couldn’t be happier with my new mirror!

Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with any of the stores or products mentioned in this post.  Of any kind. At all.  Heck, I don’t even have ads!

Should you choose to do a project like this please remember to always follow the directions on the label of any paint and paint stripping products:0)




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Outdoor Living Easy DIY Concrete Stain

Posted on Feb 20, 2014

Concrete stain before and after

A DIY Outdoor Living Upscale.

As you know if you read my profile, The Mister and I bought a major fixer-upper a couple of years ago.  We have been madly cleaning, hauling, weeding, etc., etc.  It’s been a lot of work. The only redeeming quality to the house was the front porch. It’s a small porch, but charming and comfortable, out of the elements with a lovely view for watching the world go by.  We often have coffee or an adult beverage there on the weekends or after a long day.  The only drawback to the front porch was the state of the concrete.  It had been stained twice with two different colors that had long since worn thin. So we decided it was time for a DIY concrete stain project to reseal the front porch since it’s a quick and easy (as well as relatively affordable) way to spruce up tired concrete.


Concrete stain half done with can


Our porch wasn’t just worn thin. One Halloween I tried a trick I saw on Pinterest with that glow-in-the-dark liquid that comes in glow sticks.  The photo showed eerily glowing liquid oozing down a driveway. So clever and creative! I poured some down the fronts of our steps like I had seen on the post.  Bad idea.  The liquid ate through whatever stain was left where I poured it by the next morning. Lesson learned: no matter what you see on Pinterest, do not cut glow sticks open! Not only was our concrete worn thin, now it had weird drippy marks down the front of the steps.  Not a good look.


Concrete stain before


It bugged me forever to come home to that awful looking porch, but with so many other more important improvements to make, we just finally got around to re-staining the porch.  Without equivocation I can say it was the quickest, easiest, most rewarding project we have done!  I was a bit reluctant at first because of the potential need to etch or whatever they say the multi-step process needs to be. In our case, it was a matter of a quick sanding and the application of the stain.


Concrete stain with Rustoleum can


The first coat goes on quickly and is very transparent. By the third coat, a rich, deep patina develops.


First coat

First coat


Concrete stain coat 3

Third coat.


Ta da! The finished stained concrete.

Concrete stained stairs


Probably the most time consuming part was trying to match what was already there since the original color looked great with the stacked stone walls.  Finding the wrong color was really easy!  I’ll save you the gory details and get right to what worked.

Here’s the Concrete Staining Process

1. Find the right color:  If you’re trying to match what’s already there, the only way to do it is to get a bunch of samples until you find one that is closest. Most concrete stains come in very limited colors so you may have to look outside the limited pallets. Paint, concrete stain, wood stain, whatever type of product doesn’t matter. Take your perfect sample to Dunn Edwards because they can color match solid (versus transparent) stains.  I found a wood stain color from a different paint company that was closest to our color and they nailed it!  Bingo!

2.  Start with a clean surface: We pressure washed our front porch to make sure all loose debris and dirt were gone for the most uniform application.

3. Sand the surface.  The Mister used and electric hand sander to rough up the concrete surface so the stain would sink in.  This is where some surfaces, especially if they have been sealed, need to be etched. Check with your local paint store to find out if you can bypass the etching process or test a small area (after it’s been sanded) with the stain.  If the stain soaks in, you’re good to go.

4. Be sure to clean the sanded areas. We pressure washed again and let the concrete dry.

5. Apply the stain to a small area at a time, adding as many coats as needed for the desired effect. The mister simply used a brush and applied a heavy coat of stain to about 1/3 of the porch at a time.  He let the stain sink in and then applied two more coats, allowing for dry time in between.

 6. Finish in small sections. We broke the front porch into three sections plus the stairs.

It is impossible to overstate how happy we are with the finished product!  It is such a pleasure to come home to a front porch that is clean and welcoming instead of an eyesore.  I could say I wish we’d done it sooner, but then I might have poured the glow stick goo on my beautiful newly stained concrete and messed it all up. So I guess waiting was better.

Since we re-stained the porch, it has become a little slice of heaven in a very big. overwhelming, not-so-good-looking project. Now when we sit on the front porch to watch the sunset we get to relax rather than be stressed by an the ugliness of an eyesore… and pretend that the whole house is done:0)

If you have a concrete area that is an eyesore, give concrete stain a try.  Then you’ll have your own little slice of heaven.




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Save Water, Save Money: Seal Terracotta Pots With A Household Product

Posted on Feb 13, 2014

terracotta pots sealant

How To Seal Terracotta Pots With What You Probably Already Have At Home.

Terracotta pots are a staple in many gardens and landscapes and are used for everything from decorative plantings to raised gardens to fish ponds and fountains. Terracotta, or ‘baked earth” pottery is made from fired clay and gets its beautiful colors from the iron found in the material.  Its beautiful, versatile and can be cheap… which is why I like it.  The only drawback to terracotta is that it is porous so plants have to be watered a lot more frequently. A lot more. Not good if you want to save money and save water. In particular, if you get the lighter colored pots that weren’t burnished before being fired, you’ll be watering those plants every day- sometimes twice a day. Who wants to have to do that?! The clay just sucks the water right out of the soil and then it evaporates out of the pots.  The trick to saving money and having great looking plants that you don’t have to water all the time is to seal your pots with stone sealant that you probably already have.

I bought these great terracotta pots with their flat back-sides so I could have plants against the fence in a narrow concrete side yard.  They are right outside my bathroom window and frame the view.  They were a great deal because they were not burnished before firing, as their counterparts, the classic darker pots with the raised band around the top are.  But they were cheap…and they are perfect…  So I bought them.  I hadn’t bought this type of terracotta in a long time so I was shocked to find how much more water they use.  It felt like my plants might as well have been planted in a screen.  Seriously! I can’t tell you how many plants I lost in just a day or two because I didn’t water them soon enough.  Blamo! One day missed and the plant was dead.  GRRR….


terracotta pots sealant


Finally I had enough and asked The Mister (a Chemical Engineer) what would work best.  I had tried latex (and other stuff I can’t remember!) a long time ago to seal pots that didn’t work.  I figured he was going to tell me some long chemical name and it would be a bear to find and annoying to use and whaa, whaa, whaa.  Turns out I was completely wrong.  The solution was in my garage already!  He suggested I use the leftover stone sealer we used on our travertine floor.  It doesn’t even matter which brand you have.  If it’s meant to seal stone, it’s perfect! If you don’t have granite counter tops or traverine floors that you keep sealant around for, no worries.  Buy the cheapest stone sealant you can find.  It’ll be great.

Stone sealant is what you use every time you seal your granite or marble.  Granite rock and marble slabs or tiles are all stone. Whether you have stone counter tops or floors, you have to seal them from time to time and that same sealant will do wonders for your terracotta pots! Bonus: sealing your terracotta pots, even the classic kind, will help them last longer.

How To Seal Your Terracotta Pots

 1.  Always follow the instructions on the container.  Mine specified a well ventilated area so I did it outside on paper on the driveway.

2. Start with a clean dry pot.  My pots had been used so I had to empty them, clean the soil out and let them dry overnight.

3. Use a  clean, dry brush and cover the inside, outside, and bottom of the pot. You will see the pots suck up the sealant.  I made sure to coat the bottom of the inside very well since gravity makes water loss even worse there.

4.  It will dry really fast.  Add another coat as soon as it’s dry.  And a third.  Cover every square inch well for best results.  It took me about 30 minutes to put three coats on both pots.

5. Let it dry overnight and you’re ready to plant!


sealed terracotta pots  close


What’s really nice is that the sealant doesn’t change the soft texture of the pots the way a glaze would. Plus, the process is super easy and I can personally attest to the fact that the water consumption of my plants (technically pots) has gone down dramatically.  I only need to water once a week at most since I sealed my pots and my plants are thriving!  They are almost as water wise as a glazed ceramic pot aaaand, with the drought in California right now, it’s one of the easiest ways to save water and one of the easiest ways to save money!

Try which ever stone sealant you have on your terracotta pots.  Your potted plants will require less frequent watering, your pots will last longer, and you’ll save money:0).

Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with Dunn Edwards.  I’m just glad they can color match!

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Place Mats to Pillows, Pottery Barn Style for Less.

Posted on Dec 5, 2013

Pottery Barn pillows on bed


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Easy DIY Holiday Pillow Recover

Posted on Nov 7, 2013

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