On The Upcycle Revival: Vintage 1934 Lane Waterfall Art Deco Hope Chest

Every once in a while that special piece of furniture falls into your lap unexpectedly and without warning.  Now that the word is out and friends and family are aware of my blog, I have had interesting items rescued and brought to me to experiment on.  That was the case with this next project which also proved to be my most challenging yet. The same friend and co-worker who brought me my “You had me at half table” project approached me about a cedar chest she had sitting in her garage.  She needed to make room and could no longer keep it, and wanted to know if I would be interested in giving it a good home, and taking it off her hands. The outside of the chest was in rough shape, but the inside was still perfect.  After all these years, it managed to maintain its trademark cedar smell.  She inherited the hope chest from a neighbor who was about to place it out on the curbside. My friend rescued it, recognizing this diamond in the rough deserved a second chance at life. Adding to the excitement was the fact that I had always wanted a hope chest of my own.  I didn’t mind having to put some work into restoring one, and I graciously accepted the offer.  I was really excited and looking forward to working on a special piece like this.   Initially I was concerned about transport, but I was relieved when it fit in the backseat of my car.  I already had a spot for it in my bedroom. It seemed like it was fate.  For a while,  it sat untouched and the veneer began to peel, and I peeled it off little by little, while I figured out a plan to bring it back to life.

DSC_1002

I began researching the piece online. I opened the trunk and inside I found a card outlining the moth insurance policy.  The card also encouraged it’s customers to “buy victory war bonds.”  I knew from that moment on this was a vintage piece.

lane 2Lane Card

The tag also listed the maker of the piece.  The Lane Company Altavista, VA.  The name was also burned into the inside of the lid.

DSC_1058

Founded in 1912 by John and Ed Lane, The Lane Company of Virginia, became one of the leading makers of Hope chests in the United States during World War I and World War II.  During that time, it was tradition for young girls to have a hope chest to bring with them into a marriage.  The company launched a massive ad campaign which even included child star Shirley Temple  as a popular spokesperson for the company.

20c67b90a939d58165359ab106c7e366

Every piece was stamped with a unique serial number and style number. Reversing the serial numbers is what helped me determine its age. This one was manufactured on 8/18/1934.  The chest was waterfall design done in an art deco style which was also popular during this time.

The chest itself was in good shape, but the veneer was not.  It was stored in a damp place for a long time,  and much of it was peeling or bubbling up. I knew removing this would take a lot of work.  I also discovered that the original lock had been recalled. Sadly there have been cases of children suffocating inside after becoming trapped as recently as 2014. The good news is Lane still has replacement locks available on their website.  Due to safety concerns, I went online to order one here.  The lock ships in 4-6 weeks.  It is important when purchasing vintage furniture to pay attention to recalls.  I was glad to have stumbled upon this fact during my research by pure accident.

With minor cracks in veneer, it is possible to buy wood filler/puddy and “patch” and sand the areas, but in this case the veneer would have to be removed entirely in some areas. I read a few articles online, and I tried various techniques for easily removing veneer.  Let me start off by saying there is no easy way to remove veneer. I found it to be a long, risky and tedious task.  The one technique  that worked best was using a hot iron and a damp towel. I soaked the towel in warm water and placed it on the area of veneer I wanted to remove.

DSC_1004

I then heated up the iron and placed it on the area allowing it to sit for several minutes.  This softened the glue enough to allow me to use a scraper to remove large pieces of the veneer.  unfortunately, smaller pieces broke off and I ended up repeating this process many times.  The biggest challenge was scraping and removing the veneer without damaging the wood underneath.

DSC_1000

Please also note that once you use your iron for this task, it becomes designated only for this task.  The glue from the veneer burns the iron permanently and it can never be used to iron clothing again. This process was completed during the course of a few days.  I would work on a small area nightly.  The veneer removal seemed to be taking forever until it was boosted by a snow day and some unexpected free time.

20150305_222555

I used a belt sander to even out the larger areas and hand sanded the more delicate and smaller areas. The areas on the piece that still had veneer I carefully hand sanded.  Using a belt sander can cause damage to the veneer.  Once the sanding was completed, The piece was ready to stain and seal.

20150305_225309-1

20150305_175139

I trudged up to Home Depot in the snowy slush and shopped for a suitable stain and polyurethane seal for the exterior.  The colors that I initially wanted they did not seem to have in stock.  This did not make the aisle look any less intimidating to me.

20150306_093046

I decided on a color called “Cognac” and a clear semi-gloss polyurethane sealer.  I already had a small can of Minwax Jacobean at home that I was planning on using for some of the trim.

20150306_112823

I began applying the stain and it was a little darker than I expected, but it closely matched our bedroom furniture like I had hoped.

20150306_113835

I then painted the entire piece.  I was happy with the Varathane brand stains as it dried quickly and had less odor compared to other stains I have used in the past.

20150306_124502-1

I  used the Jacobean colored stain to paint the trim and highlight the grooves and detail in the lighter wood trim.  To me adding the darker color helped bring out some of the unique design qualities of the piece.  It took about two coats of stain to cover all the areas.  Once the stain was dry (It took about 24 hrs) I applied two coats of the clear semi gloss polyurethane to seal the chest.

DSC_1061

Although I could not restore the chest to its original state, I am pleased with how elegant the piece looks now.  It fits in beautifully in our bedroom and I look forward to storing special items inside it and treasuring it for years to come.

DSC_1060

Before and After

1934 Lane Hope Chest Before and After

Materials used:

Old Iron

Old Towel

Paint Scraper

Paint Brush Large and Small (for detail)

Wood Stain (color of choice) and Polyurethane Sealer

Sand Paper

Belt Sander (Optional)

Advertisements

A Decoupage Trilogy: Vintage Suitcase Number Three

I love vintage suitcases!  That may seem surprising coming from someone like me who doesn’t travel much.  The truth is suitcases aren’t just for “packing your bags”  They are also a wonderful way to store keepsakes and other items.  I was lucky enough to find three vintage blue suitcases for $5.99 at Goodwill.  This was an incredible deal, and I have not seen a suitcase purchase worthy since. My first attempt at restyling a suitcase, Travel The Old Fashioned Way I used fabric I purchased from Joann Fabric.  I chose a blue and white floral pattern, and it turned out great for a first attempt.   For the second suitcase,  Pack My Bags Fun And Easy Decoupage Vintage Suitcases I found a great pillow case with a floral red, white and blue color scheme that was perfect.  That left the smallest of the three.

decoupage vintage suitcases with fabric and Mod Podge

This suitcase is special, because inside the lid it has a built-in mirror.  The lining inside is also in perfect condition, another plus! (Please excuse the reflection of the mirror in the photograph)

DSC_0548

For this suitcase I decided to use blue and purple floral sheet that I found in a thrift shop.  I initially wanted to use a scarf, but the material was too thin and I was afraid the blue color of the suitcase would show through the material.

DSC_0533

To see a full tutorial on how to decoupage a suitcase Click Here

Now I have a wonderful set to use for travel or a decorative storage option.

DSC_0542

The search for more luggage continues….

Thrift Store Surprise: Vintage Wood Sewing Box Upcycle

When I see something at a thrift shop that is unique and catches my attention, I will often purchase it even when I am unsure of what it is.  As was with the case of this little wooden box with legs. I imagined what it could have been used for. Perhaps it was intended to hold hats, gloves and scarves, or it simply sat by the door and was used to sort daily mail.  To me it didn’t matter, it was intriguing and best of all, priced right at $3.99!

DSC_0485

Sure, I had my smart phone handy, I could have googled the item and had my answer right away, but for some strange reason,  I didn’t.  I simply brought it home and stored it in my craft room.  It patiently waited its turn to learn its crafting fate until this weekend, I blew the dust off and decided to come up with a plan of attack.  I like to utilize materials I have handy as much as can. I tend to accumulate unused fabric scraps from previous projects and I prefer to use this fabric to the last thread.  One of my favorite designs was the black and white damask fabric I purchased at Joann Fabric.  I used this fabric on previous projects including The Broken Chair Challenge, and You had me at “Half Table” Yard Sale Rescue. I still had a rather large scrap piece left and decided to use it to upcycle this item.  I began by cleaning the item thoroughly.  Once the dust and dirt had been removed, I used a latex spray on primer and spray painted it white.

DSC_0496

I cut the fabric to fit both sides of the piece. I generously applied Mod Podge to the area with a foam craft brush.

DSC_0497

I then applied the fabric and repeated this step for both sides of the box.

DSC_0498

Once this dried, I applied three total coats of Mod Podge over top allowing each side to dry thoroughly between coats.

DSC_0499

I then painted the entire piece in a black and white scheme using acrylic paint.  The piece took about three coats of paint. I allowed the piece to dry over night and applied a final layer of Mod Podge to the entire piece to seal it.

DSC_0502

I am very happy with the final result;  However, I also want to share with you my mistake during this process.  Halfway through the project, I finally did what I should have done in the very beginning, research the piece online before you upcycle!  What you discover may alter your plans.  Granted in this case, I do not believe I would have done anything differently, but it really got me thinking about these pieces and how research plays an important, but often unspoken role in crafting.  A few pieces along the way, I decided to keep in their natural state, and some purists may have done the same in the case of this vintage box.  Turns out this little box with legs is a Priscilla style sewing box most likely from the depression era 1930’s to 1940’s. I saw a few online in various states, some painted and upcycled and others in their original condition range in price between $35 and $80 dollars on Etsy. My antique radar must have been working that day!  Despite having no clue about what this items’ purpose was I sensed it was something special.

What would you have done with this piece?  Have you ever had something special, but didn’t know it? Do you have crafting regrets? I would love to hear from you!

DSC_0509

Materials:

Vintage Sewing Box Stand

Fabric Of Choice

Mod Podge

Acrylic Paint/White Latex Primer

Scissors, Paint Brushes, Foam Craft Brush

 

 

 

Upcycled Little Girls 1970’s inspired side table

I have been blogging for over a month now and I am so thankful to you all for the encouraging words and thoughts.  I am also blown away by the amount of talent and creativity I have seen from others on here! Creativity is key!  For me, things don’t always work out as you envision them.  This forum allows me to feel free and unafraid even if I make a mistake!  For that I am grateful!

I am back from my two day hiatus; However a lot of craftiness and shopping has taken place in those days!  The family went thift shopping yesterday, two Goodwills and a Walmart! It was a very productive day!  I picked up a few future projects, and pined and dreamed over other future projects that I could not fit in our little Hyundai!

I saw this little brown, particle board,  table and I picked it up,  I am obsessed with small furniture, as I am always thinking about items that Erin can use that are perfect for toddlers just starting to utilize furniture. She also loves to imitate us and it is wonderful seeing Erin sitting at her kid’s table reading a book like the little person she is becoming.

I also found this great funky floral fabric that screamed 1970.  In it’s previous incarnation it was a window drape.  I can’t imagine! A bit too funky for curtains according to my taste, but not funky enough to use to redo kids furniture!

Materials:

$5.99 table

Fabric

Mod Podge

paint brushed various sizes

acrylic paint

black marker

scissors

First, I turned the table upside down onto the fabric and traced with a black felt tipped marker.  I carefully cut out the fabric.  I then used Mod Podge Matte finish to glue the fabric to the table top.  I set aside to dry.  I wanted the paint the table pink to match part of the fabric, but I didn’t have any pink handy.  I was able to mix red, purple, and yellow, and came up with the color you see here! I primed the piece and then covered the legs and sides with pink paint. Once dry I used Mod Podge to seal the entire piece using about three coats total.

Image

Before and After:

Image

Our cat Nucky seemed to be fascinated with what I was doing.  He was my cat apprentice as Erin was napping at the time!

Image

Upcycled Wooden Pedestal Bowl

Image

Recently I came across this great wooden pedestal bowl at a flea market.  The first thing I noticed wasn’t the bowl.  Their was a big cardboard sign stating “Everything on this table only a dollar!.”  A buck seriously? I have to admit most of the items on the table were junk, but the little wooden pedestal bowl caught my eye.  I had nothing to lose!  I had some of the scarf material left, I could use this to decoupage the inside.  I had used this same material on a side table in a previous post. I had a vision when it came to this little bowl!  First, I primed the bowl with a white latex primer.  Once dry I used black acrylic paint and painted the entire piece.  Next was the tricky part.  I couldn’t measure the fabric for the inside surface of the bowl.  Instead I took a larger piece of fabric than I needed and using Mod Podge glued it to the surface leaving the extra fabric to hang over the edges.  Once dry I carefully trimmed the fabric and applied Mod Podge to the edges to mold it to the wood.  I then sealed it with four coats of Mod Podge applying it to the entire piece.  I really liked how this turned out and will be sure to keep my eyes open for any wooden bowls that cross our path in the future!

Image

1960’s Inspired Decoupage Coffee Table

1960's Style Decoupage Coffee table

Impulsive.  That is the word I would used to describe this latest project.  This table was simply in the way.  I was storing it in my craft room and it was propped up against the wall taking up precious space.  I didn’t want to bring it up into the attic mainly because I didn’t want to have to drag it back down again.  After all, I had plans for this table what they were I wasn’t exactly sure.

I had purchased this great fabric at Goodwill, and to me it had a 1960’s style appeal. The material is made by Helen Trast Ikea of Sweden and appear originally to be drapes.  I was attracted to the bright colors.  There is nothing I love more than color.  I used this fabric for both the garden pig make over and step stool of my previous post.   I had an idea.  The coffee table was still in pretty good shape, accept for the table top.  In this case, I decided to give the paint brush a rest.  I thought the bright colored fabric would also go well in our family room/playroom. I went with it.  I flipped the table over onto the fabric and traced the table top with a black marker. I then carefully cut out trying to stay as close to the line as possible.  Once cut, I slathered the table with Mod Podge and glued the fabric carefully to the table top, spreading it out evenly. Once dry I did about 4 coats of Mod podge to the table top allowing to dry between coats.

I realize this fabric style may not be everyone’s cup of tea; However this simple coffee table makeover can be done to restore otherwise destroyed surfaces.  The fabric styles out there are endless and can be modified to a person’s individual taste. The free spirited 60’s and 70’s live on thanks to Mod Podge!

Decoupage Coffee Table