The Coat Closet Paint Job.

Monday, February 12, 2018

I swear.  Where does the time go?!  I mean, wtf man.  Wake up one day, it's January, fresh and teeming with motivation and then bam, January's gone.  Now it's February and I'm not getting anything done.

I require an alternate universe paralleling my life so I can get everything done, please.  Sheesh.

And by the way?  Our baking blog is live, the one with my great friend Jenny!  Yes!  It is, I'm not kidding!  It's called Flaky Bakers and here's our first post:  Dark Chocolate Chambord Mini Bundts.  Go!  Go read!  But come back here!

But all right....onto the house.

Small closets are a pain in the a**, amiright?

Hey, lookie there, our wee coat closet.
I shouldn't complain as this is the first time I've lived in a residence with a coat closet in umm....uh, oh my, twenty-some years maybe?

And I'm not really complaining.  Closets are inherently frustrating.  Type “closet organization" into a search and behold the wonders of our collective closet issues.

Coat closets are their own brand of special hell, especially if you live in a colder climate.  They're too small, they're too full, too dark, too messy, too not functional.

We all have closet issues.

And for every closet issue, there's an expensive company or product line touting to be our saviors when all one likely needs is a few minutes to examine the closet's issues, a tape measure, and some ingenuity.

So yeah.  Ours is not even two feet square.  Yeah.  Reaaallllyyy tough.  Which is why it has taken me so long to get on it.  I open it, feel a rush of frustration, shut it, and walk away.

Now, the impetus for going whole hog on the closet is multifaceted.  I received a comment over on Hometalk about those hoodie racks I assembled.  The commenter queried, why bother putting in something cool when it's not seen?

My response?  You absolutely should -- every place you interact with at home should be special.  And why not?  If specialness abounds, you'll feel special and that's important, trust me.  Plus closets are perfect for going cuckoo for cocoa puffs.

After several drawn up iterations, I got tired of drawing up iterations so I picked and refined one.  Next?  Determining paint and all that crap which is the harder and lengthier part, if you ask me.

One day scrolling the Instagrams, a photo popped up from someone named Cowboy Kate and ah ha,

Figuring Mike would at this point shoot me off to the loony bin if I painted yet more black as much as I want to plus also making up some lame excuse, that being the practicality of an itsy bitsy closet in black, I veered, went dark gray.  Even though I know black was right and would work.

Improbable from Pittsburg Paint to be exact, figuring this would hide dirt and still work with my plan.  Black does show dirt extremely well so fingers crossed on this gray choice.

If you recall from my desk adventure, I mentioned blah blah something something silver leaf.  Cowboy Kate did black walls with gold leaf and it was ah-mazing so my quest:  emulate that awesomeness.  But with silver and gray.

First step, get everything out of the closet, all of it, out out out.  Buh bye.

And that's when I discovered more lunacy in stud finding.

I mean, that's just some major bullsh*t right there.
Really?  Really.  Ya know for like a few bucks, they make these spiffy things called a stud finder.*  Yeah.  Finds the studs in the wall.  Right?!  Who woulda thought?!  Yeah.  Sighhhh.....

Yeah so I had some patching to do, heh.

Next day, decisions to make.  What?  Liiike?  You're painting a freakin' closet, ya weirdo, you eye roll.

I know.  Possibilities rear endlessly in my beady head, ceaselessly, those poor gerbils run 24/7/365, but at some point there's a cut off.

First, where to stop the paint.

Please pardon the horrible mess at the bottom.  See, door edge where it meets the frame and then the base whoo-ha business.  I drew a straight line up from the base edge, taped and painted.
Further, I opted to paint the ceiling.  And as I went I pondered hm, I bet white trim at the bottom of a fully dark closet will be disjointing, let's try that nifty Abigail Ahern tip: paint it all.  All of it bwah ha ha!

Color looks good with the floor, yeah?
I am not a painted-in-a-color trim kinda' girl and even after I did it, I was hemming and hawing with scrunched nose.  The bestest most awesomest paint tip ever though?  You can always repaint.  So I thought to let it be and see.

After a second coat of paint for posterity with the painted trim kinda sorta eh sorta but not really but kinda growing on me but just leave it anyway, it was silver leafy's time to shine.  Ah ha, pun, shine....I'm such a dork.

C'mon spring with your daylight....drying paint here.  Oooh, exciting right, watching paint dry.  haha
So I bought that Wunda Size* as I mentioned last time.  As I mentioned last time too, it's thin-able with water even though it's an atypically larger container of adhesive.  Usually leaf adhesive* comes in wee tiny lil' containers.

Out of curiosity mostly, I opted to thin it, two parts adhesive to one and a half parts water.  Turns out it still works fantastically though for sure note it's not as slurrrrpp sticky as full strength.  Which for this project, fine, no biggie, super glue strength not necessary.


Last time I did anything major with silver leaf,* it was a wall in our bedroom at a previous residence and because I was tight on cash, I used spray adhesive.*  For smaller things, yeah sure, go ahead, use it.  For a wall?  No.  Not a good idea.  It's messy and once the spray mount is dry, it's dry.

The nice thing about leaf adhesive is its open tacky sticky time of twenty four hours.  Pleeennnty of time to fix gaffes and such, walk away, have brunch, come back, leaf, snack, ponder painted trim.....

Mmk, I started by spreading the thinned adhesive in a smallish test strip, waited the requisite fifteen minutes.....
Wet adhesive.  Turns a cool blue teal color as you apply it.
...then promptly and royally screwed up my first square.  Crash, burn, royally.  Nice.


DOH!!!  Screwed the entire first row.
As I went along, I found a method that worked (enough) for me:  fan the top of the booklet ever so slightly, catch the middle of the next square with your thumb, caaaarrreeeefuullly drop the paper divider away, line up on the wall, push the top on the wall, then carefully slide the whole booklet down, schmearing the square into place.

Your mileage may vary and you might find a better trick that works for you.

In general though, silver leaf, all leaf, is heh omg so beyond delicate it has the potential to skyrocket your blood pressure.  You just gotta be patient and go slow and walk away when you feel your head about to burst.  It's not easy.  But it's definitely doable.  Truly.

Lightly, and I mean lightly, brush it to the wall.
So, got that row across and using torn leaf pieces filled in gaps.  See, the joy of the open tacky sticky time right there, gap filling.

Ok, satisfied with my direction, I goop up enough wall that I thought I could cover with an eye on the clock because now it's like six in the evening, twiddled my thumbs and waited, then leafed.  When I had time again, I wrapped it all up.

Here's the back wall leafed up.
Right so I did about a three foot wide swath around the three sides of the closet.  Next I spread the Wunda Size sort of broken up sporadically around, dab here, smear there, above and below my swath.

The darker gray is where the Wunda Size was.
Applied the leaf, brushed or gingerly peeled off the excess which I then used in other spots, then rubbed everything down with a microfiber rag* to get all the itty bitty scraps off which in turn also cleaned up a bunch of seams quite nicely.

Don't skip this step -- it tidies things up and it pushes the leaf thoroughly onto the wall.
Fyi, this sh*t makes a ridiculous mess everywhere and if you do this in the dead of winter with scant house humidity, yeah, pewwww, flakes are a'-flyin'.

Finished silver leaf.  Yeah I know, the floor reflecting at the bottom made me wish this was gold leaf.
Next, ok, don't panic, whip out your paint again.

Didn't use nor need that bucket o' water, fyi.
With a brush, dab some paint onto the leaf (don't panic!) and with a rag, dab it, smear it a bit, make it look like the paint is growing up into the leaf from below.

Dab dab dab.
Now here's where gray is kind of a fail.  Pretty much all mixed paints are white based, with the exception of some blacks.

Paint a'-dryin' again but you can definitely see how the gray is looking a tad messy as it dries.
Which is why the black worked supremely well on Cowboy Kate's wall; she surely used a black that was not white based, much like my library black and bathroom ceiling black.  Why I wanted to use black in the first place.

As the paint dried, thinner areas turned light gray and ugly smeary looking thanks to the white.

Once the paint dried, I went back and dabbed on heavier and thicker with the paint and did less smearing.

It's better.
Second bestest most awesomest paint tip ever?  Layers.

When I painted scenery, it was all about layers, and by layers I mean adding depth and character which in turn brings a paint effect to its fullest impact.  Similar to getting dressed -- you could wear a shirt and jeans but if you add a vest or a cardigan and a scarf and a necklace and .... you get the point, yes?


So what I did, and from what it looks like in Cowboy Kate's photo, after she did her paint magic, she then judiciously added spots and speckles of leaf back over the newly painted areas.  Therefore I did too.

Using the same thinned adhesive I much more selectively yet randomly dabbled spots and smears over the growing-into paint.  Once that was good and clingy, I smushed on lil' bits of leaf.

And bam, just like that, it brought the whole thing together.  Nice.  Layers.  See?

I probably could have gone on and on, tweaking and zhush-ing, more paint dabs, more leafy spots, covering over the light gray ugly smears but I had to stop myself.  It's a closet! Stuff will be in front of it!  You're good!  Walk away!

So there ya have it, my copy cat silver leaf and painted wall.  I'll definitely file this technique into the Do It Again Someday bin.

Showed it to Mike before I started down the path of wrapping up the whole closet task.

Pause.  "Interesting."  Head tilt.  Pause.  Walked away.  Not the same reaction at all as the wood lath wall, that's for sure wow.


"Yeah.  Interesting."

Then "oh yeah!  Interesting!," his tone changed, now trying to sound chipper and excited.  Mmm.  Mm hm.  Mmk babe, nice try.

That's ok.  I still love him!

(Come check out the fancy way I lit up the closet and finished it all out here!)

*The stud finder, Wunda Size, leaf adhesive, silver leaf, spray adhesive, and microfiber towels are Amazon affiliate links.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.

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