Thursday, August 30, 2012

A little project; a little paint; a little aggravation

Did you ever start a project thinking, "this will be quick and easy."  Yeah, that was me this week.  I had this little mail organizer I bought at a yard sale for just $1.  I wanted to paint it and make it all pretty in my own Lewisville style.  It should only took me a day, just a few hours... so I thought.  But I tell you, this mail organizer had it in for me from the beginning.  What could go wrong- did go wrong.  It's a conspiracy I tell you.

But I persevered and got it done.  Here it is ...two days, painted, sanded, repainted, aggravated (that's me), but done!

So it started out like any other project-  Spray Paint!  This is easy and had I just left it here to be simply one color, it would have looked just fine.  But I wasn't going for fine.  I was going for unique, mine, one of a kind..and that's where the trouble came.

I started with painting the key holders.  They were a gold brass color and I wanted silver.  So I went tape crazy and spray painted those hooks silver.  That was easy.

Next, I taped the key hooks once they were dry and spray painted the rest of the organizer white.  Again- this was easy.

See, right there it would have been fine and this post would be over.  I had this "idea" though and wanted to design my mail organizer.  With the heat here, painting hasn't been possible during the summer.  So now that it's finally cooling off, I was just itching to get back to painting and getting a little creativity going.

I found a pack of stencils at Walmart and wanted to use one of the designs on my little project.  The stencil I wanted looked like this { }.  I was going to put the numbers inside, but the stencil was too big.  UGH.  Ok, we'll just switch it to this label looking stencil.  I can live with that.

You can see I taped off the organizer for the "other" stencil.  Oh well.  Moving on.  I used a grey pewter craft paint to fill in the stencil.

I also learned that craft paint does NOT work well on top of spray paint.  Never again will I make this mistake.  It was hard to work with, but I got through it.

The lines weren't crisp enough of the problems with working with paper stencils.  So I decided to outline it...with a black sharpie.

Now the problems really started.  I wanted to put numbers in the middle of the label space, but I didn't have stencils for this.  I prefer numbers instead of words like "mail", "bills", "misc".  I know what's in my organizer but I don't necessarily want everyone else to know who's walking through.  With numbers, I can use it differently later if I choose.  Maybe it will be for my kids schoolwork later or used for my personal files.  Either way, numbers work better for me.  So I made a 1, 2, and 3 stencil on my computer and printed it on card stock.

I cut the numbers out with a box cutter to make my own stencils.  I'm now at the point where I'm thinking this is getting to be too much.  But wait; there's more.

Now, I just had to paint the inside of my number stencils with white paint, but when it was all done....I didn't like the results- AT ALL.  The paint didn't look right.  UGH.

So I had to sand it down again, trying to stay inside the lines of the grey label.  Then I had to re-paint the label grey and wait for it to dry.  Re-outline with the sharpie was next and I still had to figure out what I was going to do for 1, 2, 3 without running out to buy number stencils.  I decided to just glue on those black printed numbers I cut out with my box cutter.  Mod Podge to the rescue.

I glued the printed numbers on and hung up my mail organizer.

Not bad, but I wanted a little pizzazz,  a little something sparkly.  I decided to add a little design to the sides.
Hello again stencils.

I tried black paint and it looked Terrible with a capital T.  I didn't even take a picture of it because it was so bad.  I know I should have used plastic stencils, but I figured I was already on roll with all my mistakes.  Why change things now.  This mistake cost me more time.  I had to sand down that black paint and spray paint that area over again.  Finally, I decided to outline it with my sharpie marker.  If I didn't like it, I could always sand, re-paint, and cry later.
I liked the results actullay...finally.  I might paint them in later, maybe not.  I'm also thinking about switching my numbers from black to white (you can see I'm testing that out here).  What do you think?  Either way, I'm done...for now.  This was supposed to be a quick, 1-2 hour project.  Instead, it took 2 days and a lot of frustration.
But it's done now...Yeah!  And I'm a little more organized...Yeah!

I hope you can use this post to keep you from making all my painting mistakes.  That's why I'm make the mistakes for you so you can do it right!
And one more time just because...and for a better Pinterest  picture...


  I link all my projects with some wonderful blogs.  To visit them, go to the {Link Party Love} page found at the top of this page on the {Home} bar.
Also linking to:
Between Naps on the Porch
Savvy Southern Style

No Minimalist Here
The Shabby Creek Cottage

Saved by Love Creations 
Miss Mustard See
Funky Junk Interiors
Coastal Charm 

Restore Interiors


  1. Wow, that looks so, so nice! Very, very good job! And, a double WOW (WOW) for all the work and time you put in it!

    As for the numbers, they look great just the way they are, however (please don't throw rotten fruit at me, lol!) I think the white numbers would take it up just the notch to have it go over the top to Wow, Wow, Wow!!!

    Either way, fantastic job!

  2. Nicely done. I love your honesty, too! Great job!

  3. That's so frustrating, but the finished item looks great. I like the sharpie stencil on the side and, for what it's worth, my opinion is to stay with the black numbers.

  4. Looks great! I do prefer the white numbers, they just seem to "pop" a bit more. But the black numbers still look good if you decide to keep them :)

    -Christi Lee @

  5. Oh, you did such a great job with this! Thank you for sharing. Visiting from Beyond the Picket Fence. Would love it if you would share this at my Make it Pretty Monday party at The Dedicated House. Hope to see you at the bash! Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

  6. You did such a wonderful job on this project. I think it was well worth the aggravation. I would love it if you could share this wonderful post at our What’s it Wednesday linky party. I hope you can join us.


  7. It looks really pretty tricky to paint, but it turned out so nice! Definitely an improvement.

  8. I'm so glad that I'm following you! I love what you did with this and your pics are great too. Thanks so much for sharing on tt&j!


  9. Aggravating work, but it looks great! Thanks for stopping by for our Pretty Things Party. Hope to see you again next week!

  10. I know how you feel! Some projects just don't go as planned, but it looks so cute now! I love the stencil you added on the side - I'm working on some mail organizers right now too... :)


  11. Great job, it turned out fabulous and so worth all that time and effort. Kudos to you for seeing it through. I have a feeling I might have thrown it in a corner of the garage the halfway point. Thanks for sharing at Etcetorize this week~

  12. Love the numbers and great idea to use a stencil, I thought they were metal plates at first! xo caroline

  13. It looks great...and best of all, you did it!

  14. I'm impressed you even found such a perfect mail sorter to begin with, let alone for $1! I've been on the hunt. Came over from DIY Show Off and I love what you've done, can't wait to see more

  15. $1, that's a pretty good deal to come out with something as cute and functional as this. It reminds me of old vintage manilla file folders and really like the numbering on it. Live how you added the stencil on the side! Thanks for sharing your creative inspiration with Sunday’s Best – you helped make the party a success!

  16. What a neat idea! I love the stenciling. Found you at the Tip Junkie.

  17. Pretty and way to stick with it! Wow! :)

  18. What a classy's GORGEOUS!

  19. Nice job! It makes me want to go out and get an organizer and create one for myself.

  20. So thrifty! This is so great! I would LOVE if you would share this at my Crazy Cute Party happening right now! I've got a totally awesome giveaway that you could win just for linking up! Come on over! ;D

    Between U & Me

    Oh! And I'm your newest follower!

  21. You have done this little work beautifully by executing your skills and experience of this work. This can also be helpful with Interior Painting for playing better role in decoration of your home.

  22. "Little project, little paint, little aggravation" Love your honesty! I have really struggled with projects and been chagrined and hesitant to plunge into more projects. So thanks for freeing me up! I wouldn't have chosen "Anonymous" to send this but I didn't know what else to use and wanted to be quick about it. Thanks again, Barbara