Thursday, June 3, 2010

the CSI project: hardware store challenge

Click on any picture for a larger view!

Literally all of the supplies for this entire project can be found at the hardware store!

This project was inspired by the hardware store challenge for the CSI project. This was a particular challenge for me, as we have no home reno leftovers or workshop drawers to paw through like many crafters. In fact, I don't even have any tools beyond the basics (hammer, screwdriver, drill), so things like cutting wood or metal are beyond me. On that note, anyone want to donate a staple gun? :D

My first thought was to make a piece of jewelry, but I really wanted to make something more unique. That led to thinking about the shapes of findings and washers and such, many of which resemble abstract flowers to me. Then I remembered this:

I bought it at the Dollar Tree to frame a 4x6 picture for a friend (it was literally the only 4x6 frame in the store). Unfortunately, by "fits 4x6 photo" they actually meant holds a 4x6 — what shows inside the frame is only 2.8x4.7 (hello?). Needless to say, it's been sitting in my makeover pile for a while.

So I decided to paint the frame, then decorate it with a combination of abstract and realistic flowers made from hardware store supplies. Instead of blowing all my "blow money" for the month (holla, Dave Ramsey!) at an actual hardware store, I went to our local Habitat for Humanity ReStore and got all my supplies for a dime each! Hooray for repurposing someone else's junk! I probably spent an hour digging through boxes of random bits, picking up only those things that inspired me in a floral kind of way.

The burglar chain is glued to the back of the frame to hang it on the wall, but the glue hasn't dried yet, so I can't turn it over and show you. Just thought that'd be a cool touch!

I did purchase this pack of tiny washers at (gasp!) full retail, because I couldn't find any at the ReStore. A bag of 45 was 97 cents at WalMart.

  • frame (mine was plastic-coated paper, which wouldn't be my first choice — but it was "free", so...)
  • Krylon spray paint in Oil-Rubbed Bronze and Sesame Shimmer
  • various metal bits from the hardware store that resemble flowers in some way (I used washers, screws, nuts, ball chain, knobs, springs, and a lamp bulb-holder)
  • OPTIONAL: a burglar chain, if your frame doesn't have a hanger
  • masking tape and these directions
  • your store receipt or a roll of receipt paper, and this book
  • E-6000
  • toothpicks and small paper plate
  1. While carrying your supplies into the living room so you can watch Glee and HGTV online with your husband as you craft, drop your cheapo frame on the carpeted floor, thereby dislodging the portrait back from the frame. Cut it off the rest of the way OR glue it back on, depending on your preferences.

  2. Spray paint the frame using Oil-Rubbed Bronze. (Quick tip: For top-insert frames, take out the frame innards and insert a scrap piece of magazine cover that fills the space. This will save you the hassle of taping anything off.)

  3. Take the little screw out of the lamp bulb-holder and insert the big pretty screw in the top. Pretend you deliberately purchased a screw that would fit, for decorative purposes, and pat yourself on the back.

  4. Do a practice layout on a similarly-colored and -sized background while you wait for the paint to dry.
  5. Turn the now-dry frame over and spray the back.
  6. Spray paint the wooden knob and the cardboard insert from the lamp piece with Sesame Shimmer. I really liked the mixture of warm and cool metals against the black frame, so I chose not to paint any of the actual metal hardware. Depending on your preferences, they'd also look great all monochrome or even painted in pretty spring colors to emphasize the floral theme.

  7. While you wait for the paint to dry again, craft your more realistic flowers. First I folded my favorite origami flower model using some receipt paper. I was going to use the actual receipt from my hardware purchase, but then I found a fat roll of receipt paper at the ReStore for 10 cents and changed my mind.

  8. Using masking tape and following the directions for a duct tape rose, craft another flower. At first I was going to use duct tape, but the masking tape was more to scale and also fit my color palette. (Is it sad that the only duct tape I could find in the house was blue and purple tie dye?)

  9. Squish and seal all around the bottom of the masking tape rose, then cut off the stem. Carefully flatten the bottom of the rose to make it easier to glue down.
  10. SEE STEP 15
  11. Take a picture of your final layout so you have something to reference as you transfer your items to the frame itself.

  12. Reinsert the lamp thingy's cardboard, reinsert the big screw, and transfer everything to the frame.

  13. Put a small amount of E-6000 an a paper plate and use a toothpick to apply the glue to the underside of each decorative piece. Do one piece at a time, leaving everything else in place for spacing. Refer to the layout photo and replenish glue as needed.
  14. Insert your choice of artwork. I put one of my favorite quotes inside: "Be pretty if you can, be witty if you must, but be gracious if it kills you." Because the hardware was so heavy and kind of squished/closed-off the opening, I really had to work to get everything to slide in. Work the layers in one at a time. (This would be easier if your frame was more substantial than mine.)
  15. Wait 24 hours for the glue to dry, then turn the frame over and carefully glue on the burglar chain so you can hang the frame. Wait 24 more hours before hanging. (If I'd thought about this better, I would've done the chain before the decorative pieces, so nothing would squish or get knocked off. That makes this step #10, if you're working smarter than I did.)
  16. Hang in a low-traffic area so the very 3-D decorative pieces don't get knocked off. I also don't recommend hanging this above your bed or a crib, just in case the heavy pieces rip off the paper front of the frame.
I love the muted metallic color palette for this project! And a little proud of my all-hardware-store materials. :) I'm just surprised it came together almost exactly as it looked in my head! I thought about hand-painting some vines and more literal flower details but I rather like the impression of flowers given by the hardware, balanced by the two realistic blooms.

ETA: My very reason for entering last week's CSI challenge (paint) was my desk makeover...which I entirely forgot to put in the blog entry. Poo. :( I got so excited finding all other paint projects to list, the impetus for the post got left off completely! LOL Here's a link to my fabulous desk redo!



Jen @ said...

Such a fun project. And so creative. I love that you put so much thought into it! That flower you made is so cute!

Thanks so much for linking up to The CSI Project's hardware Store Challenge! We hope you will come back next week for the Martha Stewart-inspired challenge -- The MS Craft Department are our guest judges!!!


Jess @ Frugal with a Flourish said...

Super cute! Love the masking tape flower!