A few months ago, I found these awesome tea cup prints at a thrift store. I originally bought them because I wanted the frames for a different project. But once I got them home, I loved the tea cups and didn’t want to throw them out.
But I hated the colors of the mats and the frames. They were really boring.
So I updated them!
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These were really old and extremely dirty, so the first thing that to do was clean them. I removed the prints, cleaned the glass, and prepared the (solid wood) frames for painting.
Looking at the prints, I decided warm colors just made them look really dull. Most of what I see is the frame, but I wanted my eyes to be drawn inward towards the prints. So the paint color I chose was dark blue.
My original intention was to get spray paint. But it’s messy and I actually really hate using spray paint. It looks nice, but I think it’s a bigger pain than it’s worth. Especially since I can buy a bottle of acrylic paint for $0.50. So I did that.
I went with Real Navy from Apple Barrel. Don’t buy this on Amazon–it’s MUCH cheaper at Walmart and Michael’s. I didn’t worry about the finish, since I knew I was going to seal it with Polycrylic anyway.
The paint only took me a few hours. Apple Barrel dries very quickly and I used thin coats. What took me so long was trying to decide if I wanted to pair navy blue with grey. I was going to do two frames in blue and two with grey and hang them in a checkerboard pattern. I bought two different bottles of grey paint and neither of them fit quite right. I started with Pewter, which came out looking olive green. And then I tried a light grey, which looked white.
So I scraped the blue/grey idea and painted all of the frames blue. I really like how it turned out. (And I’m really glad I didn’t use spray paint, considering all the repainting I had to do. What would have cost me $21 cost me less than $3, since I had my brushes and Polycrylic on hand already.)
Once the frames were finished, I got ready to put the prints back in them. But….
One of them was faded.
My first solution was to cover them all in scrapbook paper. But I didn’t want to run to the store and, after testing a few, I didn’t like how they looked on these mats.
That was the best one. It’s just way too busy and, like I said, I wanted my eyes to be drawn toward the tea cup.
So I decided to try paint. I liked the original color of the mats, so I got out the leftover paint from my bottle crap tray and settled on Champagne from Martha Stewart. I wasn’t sure about the metallics, but it actually came out very nicely!
Plus I was able to get rid of the strip of dark blue that was in the middle. I didn’t realize how much I disliked that strip until it was gone. 😛 Having the mats be just one color really made the tea cups pop, too.
Acrylic paint is meant to go on paper, so I didn’t have any trouble with painting the mats. However, the thing about Martha Stewart paint is that it is so thick. It gets all gloopy, the coverage is terrible, and it leaves brush marks. To be honest, there aren’t a lot of Martha products I’m fond of. Most of them are much more difficult to use than generic versions…and cost five times as much. Apple Barrel is a much nicer paint to work with. (I promise, I’m not being paid to say this. 😛 )
Also, do you notice how the two frames on the left are brighter than the ones on the right? That’s not just because of the lighting. The two on the left had the light grey (white-ish) paint under them. Putting on a white base coat makes colored paints go on brighter (which is one of the perks of primer). You can hardly tell the difference in my kitchen, so I didn’t bother redoing them. But it’s there.
Anyway, I used the staple gun from my upholstered dining chair to keep the prints in place. Once Zach got home, he kindly hung them on the wall for me. (Since he’s a thousand times better at it. I usually wind up with a million holes in the wall and I still can’t get them lined up right.)
I also seem to be going with a theme in my dining area, though it was completely by accident. These tea cup prints are hanging near the metal coffee cups my sister-in-law got me a couple years ago (which I’ll get a picture of another time, once my dining room is complete). Now I just need something wine-related to complete the Trinity. 😛
I’m really happy with how these turned out, though. Definitely worth the nearly six months I sat thinking about them. 😛
Any thrift store finds you want to brag about?