Saturday, October 10, 2015

$15, 6-hour Fireplace Makeover

So, the hubs goes away for a weekend youth retreat and it helps me pass the time to have a project to work on. I was going to surprise him and not say anything about my plans to do this, but I really stink at keeping my mouth shut for surprises. So, I blabbed it to him. And now I've also posted to social media before he is even home. Someday, SOMEDAY, I will carry out a surprise. 

So, we have fireplace in our family room. Classic brick. House built in 1980.
The large room has some really cool thick beams and trim work giving it a rustic look. One whole wall is even all woody and barn-like. 
I really like the character it gives the room. 
I'm not the world's greatest decorator. Or even a good decorator. 
So, it works in my favor when a room already has some natural character/style to it. 

I did some internet research on fireplace makeovers.
We had talked about maybe covering it with some stone overlayment eventually.

But I like things that I can do. 
I still haven't worked my way up to using my husband's power tools. 
As long as he is willing to do house projects, I'll let that stay his domain. 

So, I came upon multiple sites that showed a "white-washing" technique for a brick fireplace.
I still liked the idea of the variation of the bricks showing through, so I didn't want to just straight solidly paint them. 

Within 6 hours, I was completely finished.
(A few sites said it only took them 3-4 hours. Psssshhhh. Whatever. I'll let this take into account that I took a size-able break to eat potato chips. And also that I spray painted the bronze trim on the fireplace and took a shower in between coats to let it dry. And I was watching the original "Annie" and "Sweet Home Alabama" while working....sometimes you have to stop and watch some of those good scenes)

And yes, I normally have some decorations on the mantle.



Here's what I did:
Cheap-o paint. I bought the lowest quality paint at Menard's. Had it tinted slightly to a light tan-ish color - I'm sure it had a prettier actual name. Around $10. And I only used about 1/3 of the can.
A thinner paint brush and then a bigger one. 
Rags. Multiple old rags, hand towels, shirts, etc. that you will throw away afterwards.
High-Heat Black Spray Paint. Around $5.
Cover/Paper/Tape to protect your surrounding furniture/carpet/etc.

1. Thin the paint with water. I just eyed this (That's how I do things). Some sites said they did a 1:1 ratio, but since I had really cheap paint, I might have had a little more on the paint side of the ratio. You don't want it so runny that its dripping everywhere and its hard to work with. One site said you should aim for an Elmer's glue sort of consistency. 
2. Start in a corner and begin painting. I found that I needed the thinner brush to get in between the bricks. I would do a section like that and then go back with the thicker brush and paint the actual bricks. Its kinda annoying to paint them since they are not a flat surface and are very textured. You really got to work your brush around to cover them well. Bricks are super porous and soak up a lot of paint. 
3. After I painted a bit (again, not an exact science.....maybe a 2ft x 2 ft section....maybe a bit more), I took a dry rag and blotted all of the bricks taking off excess paint. 
4. I then followed up with a wet rag (but not dripping.....but a bit more than damp). I blotted all of these same bricks a bit more......I even kinda scrubbed them because at first I felt like it wasn't taking off enough of the paint to my satisfaction. 
5. Repeat steps 2-4. Repeat. Repeat some more. You will likely experience hand cramps, shoulder cramps, and cravings for potato chips (see note above about me needing a potato chip break). And eventually you have painted and blotted all of your brickwork. 
6. I then used the high-heat black spray paint to cover the fireplace metal work area. Man, that stuff was strong smelling. I read the warning to use in a well-ventilated area. I didn't even open the slider window. Kinda reminded me of the time that I painted the inside of a closet with oil-based paint. Oh my. There was a bit of head-spinning. Must let dry for an hour. Then re-coated. Then went to bed at 2 a.m.
7. Next morning, clean up my big mess and then step back and admire. 

A day in and I'm super happy with how it turned out. The room seems so much brighter. Sorry, the pictures aren't great. Both phone pictures. Too lazy to get out my nice camera. 

And there you have it: my $15 dollar under 6-hours fireplace makeover.