Fast Tip Friday: No Effort Bulletin Board

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I told my partner at work that if he didn’t decorate his office, then I would. He told me to go ahead. I said I would. He thought I was joking. Dear reader, we all know I would never joke about something like that. I’ll show you more of the things I have been working on for both his and my office, but here’s the first one that I planted there when he wasn’t looking.

Our team leader always gets cheesed at him for having papers lying around on his desk (and we work in pretty much a paperless office so it boggles the mind that they’re there), so I figured if he had a place to put them then they wouldn’t be lying around.

I had a handful of cork tiles that I picked up from the dollar store at some point. I got two packages of two for two dollars each. Not bad.¬†With some painter’s tape and some acrylic craft paint, I was ready to jazz them up a little to give them some form as well as function.

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So I laid out the painter’s tape to mask off the areas I wanted to paint.

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Then I painted.

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Then I peeled.

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So satisfying.

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Then I used 3M Command Strips to attach them to his office wall (the strips ensure they can be removed later with no wall damage).

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And a gentle reminder to put his crap away. ūüôā

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Stay tuned for more quick and dirty office decor activities!

EDIT: My team leader, delightful keener that she is, took the idea and ran with it in corporate fashion in her own office:

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Busy Board

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I didn’t take as many photos of this as I should have, but it kind of came together in fits and starts when I could work on it and I may have forgotten my camera a few times. In any case, this is a great gift for the toddlers in your life, and it’s very simple to make: grab a board, paint it up, add bits of hardware and you’re set. It’s all the stuff that small children are fascinated with around the house in one convenient spot where they can play with it safely.

So I started with a wide pine board, which I cut in half. I made one for Rosa and one for Gen. Zod for Christmas.

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Drilled screw holes at all the corners so it could be mounted on the wall for added security.

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I later put felt at the corners as well so it could also lay flat on the floor without damaging anything.

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Sanded and spray painted it.

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Added stripes to make it look like a construction sign.

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They didn’t come out perfectly, but if you’ve ever seen the types of signs the construction workers make around here this is a freaking masterpiece in comparison.

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Then I gathered an assortment of hardware: slide bolt (also known as a barrel bolt), casters from my old computer desk, a padlock, spring door bumper (the kind that makes farty noises when you twang it), a hinge from a door and a security chain. I discovered that if you screw one side of a hinge too tightly to its surface the hinge won’t turn (or won’t be moveable by a toddler in any case), so make sure to adjust that accordingly if you use one.

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Then I just painted around them with some craft paint for visual interest and added a little caution sign at the top. Now it’s a toddler trap, because they can’t stay away!

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Rainbow-Dipped Wooden Spoons

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This is a great and quick gift for people who are just starting out in a new home. ¬†When I saw it over at¬†A Pretty Cool Life¬†I knew I had to do it. ¬†And maybe even jazz up my own wooden spoons while I was at it, though at present I only own two. You can never have too many spoons (especially when you’re entertaining and all is chaos), and these bright and shiny ones are a great accent for any kitchen.

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So you need some spoons, wooden ones. The Pie and I picked these up at Winners for a reasonable price. We did two sets, six spoons each. And you need some craft paint. We had six spoons, so we picked up six colours. We went with Martha Stewart Crafts‚ĄĘ Multi-Surface Satin Acrylic Paint. ¬†It had a nice finish, was easy to apply, and is guaranteed to be non-toxic and food safe. ¬†And if you let it cure for 21 days, then you can pop these babies in the dishwasher with no worries.

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I gave the spoons a quick sand with some fine-grade sandpaper to get some of the splinters and rough edges off.  Then I measured to see where I wanted the paint to go.  These self-healing cutting mats also make great ruler-like work surfaces.

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Then I used masking tape along the line I measured and pressed it down securely to make sure the paint wouldn’t bleed under.

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These are my own wooden spoons here. ¬†I originally wanted to do a set of stripes forming a rainbow on each handle, with them being the reverse of each other, so I blocked off 1″ increments for my stripes, figuring I could do a few colours at a time. ¬†Conveniently, my masking tape is also 1″ thick.

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I wedged the spoons in plastic cups with some rocks in the bottom for stability.  This way they can dry properly without touching anything else.

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Then I set up my palette in an old pie pan.  Re-use, re-use, re-use!

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Then I painted.  It was easy.  Leave an hour between coats to make sure it dries properly.  I ended up doing three coats on the spoons I was giving away, though I only did one coat on my own spoons.

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When I took the tape off my own spoons in order to mask off the already painted sections, I decided I liked the stripes just as they were.

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And if you put the spoons together it forms a rainbow!

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And of course the other spoons are raring to go, just waiting for their requisite 21 days of curing.

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If you have a glass utensil holder, you can put them handle-side-down.

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Or if not, have them handle-side-up.

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Either way, they’re a cheery addition to my kitchen. ¬†Can I keep them?

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Etching Glass

This project was probably one of the most enjoyable that we did this past Christmas.¬† Hazardous, yes, because you are dealing with a caustic liquid and its attendant dangers, but fun nonetheless.¬† This is NOT a project you can do with children.¬† You need to work in a well-ventilated area and you need to wear rubber or latex gloves as well as safety goggles while you are doing it.For etching glass I used Armour Etch, a glass etching cream that I picked up from Lee Valley.¬† You can get it at Michael’s as well, if you are prepared to pay about three times the price for it.¬† It’s good stuff.¬† Keep in mind it does not work on plastic and most Pyrex.

First, however, you need to create your stencils.¬† I printed out some images from the internet and then traced them onto clear vinyl masking (also from Lee Valley).The tracing and cutting out is really the hard part in all of this.Next, carefully peel the backing form the mask and apply it firmly to your clean and dry glass.¬† Make sure there are no bubbles or gaps.You can also use masking tape to outline certain areas.Next, very (very) carefully paint on the etching cream in a thick layer in the area you wish to be etched.¬† If you accidentally get cream anywhere else than you intended, it will leave a permanent mark.The instructions say to leave the cream on for 5 to 10 minutes, but I found it worked better if I left it on for 20.¬† In some cases you may also find that a second application is in order.When your time is up, rinse the glass object thoroughly in warm water.¬† I found the cream came off best if I brushed it with the paint brush.¬† As a side note, do not rinse off the etching cream in an enamel sink — only rinse in a metal or plastic sink or you will find yourself without an enamel sink …Peel off your masking and throw it away.¬† You may have to rinse the glass again if there was any cream caught in the crevices of the stencil.¬† Dry the glass thoroughly and you’re all done.¬† This is a jar for my brother-in-law Rusty to keep his keys and phone in so he doesn’t lose them.¬† If you don’t recognize it, that’s the Rebel Alliance insignia from Star Wars.I also used the cream on a vase for my sister-in-law Meg:Some cups and saucers for the Mtree Duo:An AT-AT jar for my brother Ando (in keeping with the Star Wars theme):And a coffee jar for the ever-caffeinated Cait, among other things:This was so much fun the Pie and I agreed we would try to think of new glass objects to give people for Christmas next year.¬† You can pick up glass items from pretty much anywhere for relatively little: IKEA (where I got the jars), Winners/Home Sense (where Rusty’s and Meg’s vases came from), and let’s not forget second-hand shops (Mtree duo’s cups and saucers came from there).¬† Get creative!