DIY Painted Countertops – Big Change On A Small Budget

DIY Painted Countertops – Big Change On A Small Budget

If any of you spend as much time on Pinterest as I do, I’m sure you have come across at least one Pin about painted counters. You know the ones… “Complete Kitchen Makeover For Under $100.00”. 

You take the bait. The “new” kitchen looks like it has brand new cabinets, stone counters–the works. And you’re like–what?? How the heck did this happen on that budget?!

Well I’m here to tell ya, about the counters anyway. The cabinets we’ll save for another day.

Actually, I’m going to break it down step-by-step and show you how to get beautiful DIY painted countertops.

First let me preface this by saying, I am not an expert and I did a ton of research before I chose to head down this path.

I became obsessed. I could not believe the results I was seeing online. I kept searching for someone somewhere to say that it didn’t work for them, or it didn’t turn out like they had planned, or even that it really wasn’t as easy as they thought it would be. But  that was never the case, I only turned up success story after success story.

Having just moved into my diamond in the rough (I mean really rough) home, I had nothing to lose. I figured if it didn’t work out, I would just replace the counters. Which was my original plan, because–well look at them.

          close-up of 1972 counter

 1972 Called, They Want Their Counters Back

See what I mean? Yes, that is avocado green.

The decision was made. I just had a little more research to do before I took the plunge. I am nothing if not a perfectionist, and this research session was about different stone types, color, and pattern. I needed to know what I was going to try to recreate, or at least what color palate I tended to favor.

I already knew I liked Quartz countertops best. I have never been a Granite girl. I love the subtle sparkle and overall lighter color that Quartz contains.

I had my mental image of what I wanted. It was time to see if I could actually pull it off.

To the craft store I went. That’s right, the craft store–not the hardware store.

Supplies You Will Need

                               blowtorch for painted counters        acrylic paint and brushes

  • Acrylic craft paint (in your chosen colors)
  • Solid color base coat, opposite of the final shade you want to end up with(more on that later)
  • Natural sponges
  • Very fine grit glitter (optional)
  • Variety of paint brushes for the paint (cheap is ok here)
  • Premium paintbrush for the epoxy (you don’t want to chance it losing any hairs)
  • Large measured mixing cup for the epoxy (you will not be able to re-use this)
  • A couple clean wooden stir sticks (you can usually get these free at your hardware store)
  • Plastic drop cloths
  • Painters Tape
  • Razor Blade
  • Duct tape
  • Envirotex Lite (calculate how much you will need here Envirotex Flood Calculator)
  • Propane Torch
  • PPE (Personal Protective equipment, gloves and goggles)

A small note about the acrylic craft paint. I knew I was going to do a trial mock-up on a piece on a scrap of wood before I committed to the whole kitchen. That is why I bought so many bottles of paint. I had no idea which colors I was going to like best for the finished product (as they were about $0.79 each, I was totally ok with going overboard). By no means does a normal person need this many colors. My suggestion is to pick between 5 and 7, depending on how complex a stone sample you are trying to recreate.

Getting Started – Prep and Set Up

First you are going to want to start off by protecting your cabinets, floor, sink–basically anything you do not want to get paint on.

I do not have an under-mount sink, so I began by taping all along the edges (tape the sink, not the counter) as to not ruin it with paint.

I had already painstakingly sanded and repainted all the cabinets. In hindsight I would not have started with that step–because now I had to protect them.

With the plastic drop cloth and duct tape make sure you cover everything. Do not be tempted into skipping this step. I didn’t really want to cover my entire kitchen in plastic and duct tape either, but trust me. You are going to be making a fine mess, and this step will save you a heap of frustration later.

Before any paint touches your countertops, be sure degrease them first.

A couple tutorials I read recommended using TSP (Trisodium Phosphate), a heavy duty cleanser that is typically used to clean the outside of your house before painting. I chose to not go this route, it seemed like overkill to me. I used a normal kitchen degreaser and scrubbed everything down thoroughly. I also decided to lightly sand the surface of the countertops, for better paint adhesion.

Wipe down and dry the counters completely one last time. Make sure you remove all the dust you just created by sanding.

Now your ready to paint!

The Base Coat

As mentioned earlier, you are going to start with a base coat that is the opposite of the color you want to end up with. So if you want your finished product to be white, your base coat will be black or dark grey. If you want the end result to be black, your base coat will be white or cream. If you are going for beige, use dark brown–you catch my drift.

I personally was going for a white-ish finished color, so I used dark grey. I happened to have some regular old latex paint (the kind you paint your walls with) laying around, so that is what I used.

       

    Grey base coat for painted countertops       grey base coat for painted countertops

*Note that there is no plastic wrapped around my cabinets yet–well hindsight is 20/20. What’s that saying… do as I say, not as I do? Trust me.

How To Get The Stone Look

If your anything like me this is the part you have been waiting for. All this research, prep, and due diligence–BORING. You want to get started already.

Unleash your creativity!

How exactly do we go from flat grey to fabulous? Layer by layer. Here is where those natural sponges you bought come into play. You want to build up to your desired color, so for me that was dark to light.   

            sponge painting countertops        sponge painting countertops  

Right about now, you are probably thinking what a terrible mistake you have made.

My counters weren’t really that bad. Why couldn’t I just leave well enough alone? OMG what am I doing?! –Don’t worry, I had these exact same thoughts. Just silence your inner monologue and press on. You got this!

sponge painting countertops Sponge painting countertops texture+ sponge painted countertops

 

See? I told you.

Notice the texture in the bottom picture. That comes from a lot of layering. There is no right or wrong in this step. You paint until you get a finish that feels good to you. It’s all personal preference.

When  I was almost done I used some gold and pearlescent paint (sparingly). I also chose to use glitter. I simply scattered it, like  a fairy sprinkling pixie dust. Very technical.

Put Some Shine On It

Let your handiwork dry completely for 24 hours before proceeding with the next step.

Using the Envirotex Lite was the most intimidating step for me. It had to be mixed a certain way, not too fast or you get bubbles; not too slow or it doesn’t combine properly. It had to be just right–sure thing Goldilocks.

The Envirotex Lite is what seals your newly painted countertops and also gives them that beautiful shine. Before mixing, read the instructions at least twice. You only get one shot at this. The product starts to cure in about 10 minutes, so you need to make sure you have everything ready before you start.

Envirotex Lite is a self-leveling resin. Meaning, it will drip over the sides of the counter. I taped cut up cardboard on the floor along the base of my cabinets to catch the spills. 

After you have read the instructions and prepped your work area you are ready to begin.

Mix exactly according to manufacturers directions. Begin pouring at the center and work your way out. Using the same wooden stir-stick that mixed the product with as your spreader. Smooth and level until counters are completely covered.

In about 15 minutes air bubbles will start to rise to the surface. You want to get rid of these! Grab that propane torch.

Placing the torch on low, and keeping about 6 to 8 inches from the surface gently move the torch back and forth to pop those bubbles.

Your beautiful new counters will be fully cured in 72 hours. They will be dry to the touch before then, but do not place anything on them. 

You will need a razor blade to remove the tape that you used to protect the sink. I added a nice caulk line around the sink to really make it look professional.

              Painted countertop after envirotex        adding envirotex to painted countertop

Gorgeous right? I could hardly believe it myself.

I took these pictures in May of 2015, and let me tell you they look just as beautiful today. I really couldn’t be happier with my choice to try this crazy idea of painting countertops.

The Finished Product

   

finished counters

 I hope this helped anyone who was on the fence about trying this project. If you have any questions about painting your counters, send me an email, I’d be happy to help!

 

~Heather

 

The Best Pet You Never Had

The Best Pet You Never Had

As an avid animal lover, I can not imagine not sharing my life with a pet. Most people have had a dog or cat at some point in their life, maybe even a hamster or guinea pig.

However, one of my favorite pets is slightly less conventional -Rats.

The word Rat is enough to make some people cringe. Those people just don’t know enough about them.

5 Reasons Rats Are Amazing Pets

 

5. Rats Are Super Intelligent

Baby Rat on Cabbage leaf

Don’t let their tiny size fool you, there is a lot going on inside that adorable head of theirs.  Rats are highly intelligent and naturally curious, which makes them easily trainable.

Rats are very food motivated, so it doesn’t take much to get them to catch on to something new. They will respond to their name –just like a dog, and can even be taught to play fetch.

My Rats are pretty boring compared to some smarties’ that I have seen. They are litter trained, know their names, will come when called and my Peanut will spin in a circle for a treat. That is about the extent of the training I have time for.

Between raising 2 energetic little men, 1 needy Pit Bull, a husband and a full-time job, I just don’t have time train my rats to play basketball… But I seriously love watching videos of those of you that do!

 

4. They Love Spending Time With You

Rat looking at Pinterest

This is Peanut. Peanut and I love Pinterest. When we let “The Girls” out of their cage, they explore the house for a hot minute, and then they come right back to us. Rats love to be with their humans. Whether it’s playtime, or snuggletime, or in our case Pinterest-time.

I was worried at first when I brought Peanut and Pumpkin home. Worried about how they would withstand my –five and three-year old, who were not exactly gentle. But the girls love their energy! They play hide-and-go-seek and other such come and get me kind of games.

Rats want to be a part of whatever is happening in their humans life, period.

 

3. Rats Are Very Affectionate

Rat snuggling teddy bear

They snuggle you, they snuggle each other, they even snuggle little rat-sized teddy bears. And nothing tickles like a tiny rattie kiss.

Need I say more?

 

 

 

2. They Are Fastidiously Clean

russian blue rat face

Banish the images of plague infested vermin roaming the sewers. Pet –or Fancy Rats have absolutely nothing in common with them.

Rats are constant groomers. They groom themselves just as much, if not more than cats do!

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Yes, I know, you still have to clean a cage. But they make that easy on you too. Rats typically designate one spot within their cage as their “bathroom”. Easy peasy. Plus they do not smell, unlike other small rodents–ahem, hamsters and ferrets I’m lookin’ at you.

 

 

 

 

1. Rats Have Personality

Rat Eating Milano Cookie

All that intelligence adds up to huge personality. Ratties are fun and natural entertainers!

While typically males are more relaxed, and females are ready for adventure –it’s not necessarily a rule. Rats are just as unique as the people who keep them. They all have their own quirks, likes and dislikes. Which makes them really fun to get to know.

I was lucky enough to have a rat as a pet growing up, and I was so grateful to be able to share the experience with my own children. Our rats Peanut and Pumpkin have also served as ambassadors, showcasing their wit and charm and scurrying  their way into the hearts of many would-be haters.

They have taught my children to keep an open mind, and not judge before you get to know something or someone. A lesson I am proud to say that they have bestowed upon on to others on their pets behalf, and that makes this Mama’s heart happy.

 

 

Do You Have Unclaimed Property?

Do You Have Unclaimed Property?

Did you know there could be money out there with your name on it? Yeah, me either.

Billions of dollars in unclaimed property is hanging out in our government, just waiting for the rightful owner to speak up. Yes, that was billions – with a B! More than $7 billion was collected in 2015 alone.

Where does this mystery money come from? Everything from old life insurance policies, annuities, stocks, bonds, uncashed payroll checks, utility security deposits and much more.

Uncashed payroll checks? How does that even happen? I have always kept pretty close tabs on my own money, and have never had so much that I didn’t know when some was missing.

I only stumbled upon this knowledge because I was trying to figure out what “letter” The Department of Treasury would have sent to my Mom’s house. My Mom sent me a text a couple nights ago, that she got a letter for me from the DOT, and she would give it to my husband at work. So, me being impatient and slightly neurotic had to find out what this mystery letter could be about. But I couldn’t do the normal thing and just ask my Mom to open it…. that would be too easy.

So I did what any other obsessive lunatic would do with an unanswered question, turned to my friend- Google. Only my search for, ‘What letter would The Department of Treasury send me’ – didn’t exactly get the answers that I wanted. But it did lead me to this knowledge nugget I am sharing with you now!

And there I was, down the rabbit hole.  Michigan Department of Treasury Unclaimed Property The search only required my last name, otherwise I probably wouldn’t have bothered. I didn’t expect it to tell me anything anyways.

No shit, my name was there. Not only there, but for something I recognized – an old life insurance policy I let lapse.

I printed the form, and filled it all out. They don’t even make it that hard for you to claim what is yours. The most difficult thing about it is you have to sign the form in front of a notary. Which is not difficult at all, since most UPS Stores have a notary.

I still don’t know how much is owed to me, and I don’t care if it is only 10 bucks. I’ll take it. That money has my name on it, and I’m not giving it away.

Every U.S. state has an unclaimed property program.

Why am I just now finding out about this? Each person I have mentioned it to in the couple of days since my discovery, was just as surprised as I was. I felt like Christopher Columbus! Like I discovered a new world. I wanted to share the wealth- literally.

Maybe this is not earth shattering news to anyone but me, and apparently my circle of friends. Maybe some of you already knew about it, and like me, didn’t think you would be a part of it.

Whether this is new News or old News- I implore all of you, check it out. You might just be surprised. It could be your money sitting in the treasury.

Share the information with your friends and neighbors. Let’s get our $7 billion dollars back! Unclaimed.org

 

 

Not The Mom I Thought I’d Be

Not The Mom I Thought I’d Be

Before kids, I had grandiose visions of what motherhood would be like, and what type of mother I was going to be. I thought I had it all figured out as I played classical music to my unborn bundle of joy. I was already making him smarter, and he wasn’t even born yet.

Cloth Diapers, homemade baby food and the PTA, that was what I envisioned in my future. Leisurely strolls through the park and baby sign language would occupy our free time. The only thing missing from my fantasy – the other Stepford Wives I hadn’t met yet.

You see, somehow I was under the impression that upon the birth of their children all mothers were granted newfound wisdom and a healthy dose of super-human energy. How else was I going to raise the next Einstein, keep my house Pinterest perfect and cook three healthy home-cooked meals every day?

Needless to say I was in for a rude awakening. I was not visited by the motherhood fairy. That infinite motherly wisdom that I was counting on…nope.   I was forced to let go of my Type A perfectionism, and wing it.

I was used to exceling in everything I took on, and not knowing what the hell I was doing was devastatingly unsettling. Those cloth diapers -never happened. I have complete admiration for those of you who are able to make that work, but my world was rocked to the core. And this motherhood thing was not as easy peasy as I daydreamed it would be, so those eco-friendly cloth diapers were the first of my lofty visions to get cut from the team.

My vision and my reality could not have been more different. I was lucky to get one meal on the table a day, who was I kidding with three? Neither me nor my house was perfectly put together. I considered it a win if I was wearing a shirt without spit-up on it.

Expectations aside, I settled in to my new role of motherhood when I wasn’t even looking. Between feedings, diaper changes and severe sleep deprivation it just happened -naturally. To my surprise the wisdom came naturally too. Just like all mothers before us promised it would.

I realized that motherhood isn’t an instant shift, it is a gradual transformation. The instinct and knowledge is hard won, and the motherhood badge is valiantly earned. I was learning just as much about myself, as I was about this little stranger. I learned to let go of my expectations and trust my gut. And that I was braver and stronger than I could have ever imagined.

Seven years and another boy later I am still learning.

I am sitting here in my living room, with Legos and Pokemon on the floor. The reflection upon the journey that has brought me here, to this moment, in this noisy, messy boy-filled house makes my heart overflow -like the laundry baskets waiting to be attended to. I barely recognize the daydream I used to have, and laugh out loud at the absurdity of it.

So, I’m not the Mom I thought I would be -I’m still me. I don’t have a Pinterest worthy room in my house. I struggle every single week with what the hell I am going to make for dinner. I didn’t suddenly discover an undying passion for jeans that reach my armpits, and never once have I cleaned my children’s face’s with my own spit. I’m a crafty mom, and sometimes a sweary mom. I’m the mom next door. My journey was not nearly what I had planned or expected, and I wouldn’t change a thing.

 

 

Hello world!

Hello world!

I am really doing this! I have wanted to start a blog for years now, but I always found a way to talk myself out of it. What would I write about? I have no idea what I am doing. You don’t need another project…. The list goes on.

But 2017 is going to be the year of change and getting shit done! So here I am world, doing it! I am learning and putting myself out there. Good things are coming.

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