Many of my friends know I have a love for trash picking. They may laugh about it most of the time, but when needing a special gift for someone, guess who they call?
Our sweet friends, Laura and Ken, are leaving us in a few weeks to begin a new life in ministry. Our mutual friend, Stacey, called and asked if I would turn one of my "dumpster dive" windows into something special for them to remember us all by.
I have to share with you the story of my windows. I have a bunch down in our basement (but not nearly as many as I could have had if my husband wasn't so mortified by my climbing in a dumpster) that I obtained a few summers ago in Virginia while at a teacher's conference. As we were driving through the beautiful college campus there (that will go unnamed since I am not sure if taking trash on private property is legal or not - but the college is beautiful, old, and very historic!), I spied a full dumpster next to one of the dorms they were renovating. I could see windows...beautiful, old, wooden-framed windows...calling to me from the top of the pile. I begged my husband to pull over beside it and let me climb on top of the car to get a better look at what was in there. Would you believe he did not want to??? I don't know what is wrong with him. But in the end he did it because he loves me:)
I was beyond excited to see many windows - many beautiful windows - filling that dumpster. They were throwing them away!!! I stood on top of the car to reach as many as I could, and handed them down to my not-too-happy, but consenting, husband to load into our car. He drew the line, however, when I could no longer reach them and wanted him (and his long arms) to trade places with me. He wouldn't even consent to my climbing in, which was probably good because there were most certainly nails and pieces of glass in there along with the windows and other debris. Ugh. I had to let the rest go.
Anyway, this week I was being asked to make something special out of one of my beloved windows and I was more than willing. The finished product is above. I think it (eventually) turned out nicely.
Here's how I made it:
I choose one of the smaller, six-paned windows with opaque glass. I started by cleaning the window, which was quite filthy after years in a college dorm and 2 in my basement.
|Love this cleaner: $1 at Dollar Tree!|
I wanted the bottom panes to be two magnetic chalkboards and one fabric covered bulletin board. I had never worked with magnetic paint before, but was curious to try it. I bought a small jar of Martha Stewart magnetic paint at Michael's, which only cost me $3.50 (with a 50% off coupon, of course). The instructions said to paint on 2-3 coats to achieve the desire magnetic effect, then to let cure for at least 24 hours before painting over it with whatever color you desired. It did not say priming was necessary, but I was afraid the glass was so slick that it might not adhere tightly, so opted to do it anyway.
It was dry in about 30 minutes and I was ready to go with Martha and the magic magnetic paint.
It was not so magic. In fact, I would call it a royal pain. To begin with, it is the consistency of thick mud and does not spread easily or smoothly. Secondly, 2-3 coats will not do it. I couldn't get a magnet (even my lightest one) to stay on the board after 3 coats; it took 7 coats!!! Even then, it was not incredibly magnetic.
While waiting for the paint to dry, I worked on the bulletin board. I wanted to cover it in duck cloth, but first wanted to print a quote on the cloth after seeing a tutorial here (using freezer paper and an inkjet printer). I chose a fitting quote from one of my favorite authors, typed it up in Microsoft Word on the computer, loaded the now freezer-papered fabric into the printer tray, hit print, and voilà!
Since this was to be a bulletin board, I needed some cork board to put under the fabric. I have a roll of cork, but I have no idea where I purchased it. I checked on Amazon, which does carry it if you are looking.
My window pane square was 7 1/2-by-7 1/2, so I cut the cork to fit. It was not thick enough to be the only thing to go between the fabric and glass, however. I headed back to the basement and found an old project board that one of my past students had used for a presentation (which I couldn't bear to let go to waste). After rescuing it from the trash, I brought it home and stuck down there for some future use. That time had arrived; I cut a 7 1/2-by-7 1/2 piece and put it to work.
One side got a thick coating of Mod Podge and the piece of cork applied to it.
I flipped it over and put some glasses on top to weigh it down while it dried. In 30 minutes it was good to go.
I placed it in the middle pane to check the fit. It was perfect - and even tight enough that it stayed in place without any adhesion.
Now back to that darn magnetic paint. Painting and waiting for the paint to dry seven times took two days and made me lose my 24-hour cure time (we were going to give it to them that night at a going-away party). I had to forgo painting it with chalk paint and pull out the roll of Chalkboard Contact Paper. I don't think it works as well as the chalk paint, but I had no choice. I cut it to fit and began to apply it over the now-dry, somewhat magnetic paint. It was so lumpy and bumpy underneath the Contact Paper that I had to pull it off and try to sand that cursed paint down.
The instructions on the magnetic paint said that if sanding was needed, to do so with the scrubby side of Scotch-Brite sponge. No amount of sponge scrubbing, however, did the trick. I moved on to steel wool and had a little more success, but was afraid of losing too much of that "fabulous magnetic power" I had worked so hard to achieve. I quit and put the Contact Paper back on the slightly-less bumpy surface.
Even with the paint disappointment, I loved the look of the finished piece, and so did everyone else. Now the Kunkle family has a beautiful, yet functional piece to hang in their new home to remind them of how much they are missed back here. I look forward to experiencing the "joy of meeting again" with them sometime in the future!
Go to this post to learn about the magnets, decorative thumbtacks, and chalk keeper that I made at the last minute to add an extra touch. The best part is that they were so easy!
I linked to: