I know. It's another Halloween post (with a few more still to come). I'm the kid who's just discovered the holiday and can't help overdosing on it the first time. But please indulge me - I'm working on a Halloween assignment for next year and it's helping me stay in a festive, and therefore productive, mood.
Today, I bring you some thrift store finds that were begging for transformation. I tend to find beat up or badly tarnished pieces of metal or silverplate at almost every thrift store I go to. Rarely are any of these finds more than a couple of dollars apiece and they're still serviceable, just not always pretty. I decided to challenge myself with a few of these ugly ducklings and see what I could come up with. Here's what I started with:
I think the one thing all of these pieces had in common were good bones and nice detailing. I ignored excessive tarnish, broken handles on the silver stand, and thin brass plating. I figured a coat of spray point could mask all of it.
I started off by priming all of the pieces with a spray-on primer (one to two light coats). Anything that was ultimately going to end up black got two light coats of black spray paint in a satin finish. The lone piece that I glittered silver was primed and then went directly to the glittering stage. After that, some pieces were decoupaged, some glittered. Here are the details:
Working with one piece at a time and using a small foam brush, I applied Mod Podge in Matte finish as thinly as possible. If I was able, I worked with a section at a time - for instance, I glittered the pedestal first, set it aside to dry, then came back and gliittered the top segment. This allowed me to hold the piece securely while working with it and because the Mod Podge is applied so thinly, the finished result still looks seamless. I'm sure you could do this with regular white glue, but I'm partial to Mod Podge because it dried to a very hard finish (which keeps the glitter from flaking off) and didn't dry with any kind of film or clouding. I used a foam brush instead of a bristle brush because I found allowed me to work quickly and easily cover the intricate detailing. It also helped me control the amount of coverage, to get the thinnest coat possible. I sprinkled very fine glitter (Martha Stewart Crafts - Onyx & Antique Silver) over the Mod Podge and let it dry for a couple of hours before shaking off the excess.
I knew the trays called for something other than glitter and I had found the perfect graphics at The Graphic Fairy. I needed a 9-inch round for the tray above and an 11-inch round for the handled tray. I have an Epson R1900 (LOVE!) that allows me to print on large sheets of paper, so I cleaned up both of the images in Photoshop and resized them (I've included the images below for you to resize as needed). Then I printed them directly onto patterned scrapbook papers. I don't know which companies produced these particular papers, but similar types of paper are generally easy to find. One note - I used thinner (cheaper) scrapbook paper instead of the heavier papers as I find them easier to decoupage. Of course, if you're handy with Photoshop or Illustrator, you can create your own from existing graphics. And if your printer can't handle larger sheets of paper, you can take your file to a copy shop and have them print it for you there.
After I printed my pages, I centered each tray on the chosen graphic, traced around it with a pencil, and cut them out. For the hand tray, I chose to cut just inside my penciled line with pinking shears. After that, I applied an even coat of Mod Podge to the bottom of my tray and placed the graphic in the bottom and smoothed out air bubbles with my fingers. Then I set it aside to dry. (I know that conventional technique is to brush the Mod Podge on the paper instead of the base and then apply a top coat of Mod Podge immediately, but I find this technique gives me smoother results. If there are any air bubbles forming during drying time, I can smooth them out without messing up the top coat.) After my base was fully dry, I applied two or three coats of Mod Podge over the top of the graphic, letting each coat dry fully before applying another.
Graphics (courtesy of The Graphics Fairy):
Click on the image for a larger version
I'm so pleased with how these pieces came out. If you're out browsing around and see a few orphans, bring them home. Even if Halloween decor isn't your thing, it would be just as easy to transform them into other holiday decor for Christmas or Hanukkah, using different graphics and glitter.