Monday, October 12, 2015

Cabinets and doors

My hubby has been mainly doing all the wood work on our camper (other than me assemble together by using a staple gun). But then I watched an awesome YouTube video by Gene Lonergan on how to make cabinet doors (I posted it at the bottom) which made me decide to invest in a Kreg jig and try my own hand in wood working. I have never used a saw or even made anything that wasn't already pre-cut and had instructions. Well, I haven't got much finished yet but I feel I have a great start. I wanted to use all the space available and make the cabinet more structurally sound that the original, so I did not use the old cabinet for much reference other than height and depth. I also wanted to utilize the space that was in between the couch and cabinet in the original set up. I found a good deal on a rev-a-shelf pull out trash can holder and it worked perfect for that space. I will post my pictures of what I got done this weekend using my kreg jig.

This is the original cabinet while it was still in the camper...

This is what it looked like after we took it out (and had it in our garage for a bit)

This is the work in progress...

The wood on the right with white paint is the frame for the jack knife couch.

It is not really attached to the camper yet, I wanted to make sure everything worked together before attaching it. I am glad I did it this way, I know that it will support the weight (of the range). I am trying to figure out drawers and cabinet doors now, so will update after I figure my layout. I am thinking about a paper towel drawer, a cutting board drawer, two tip out drawers in front of the sink and a tall skinny drawer of some sort, and more storage than it had before.

These are my cabinet doors for the bedroom before paint (I had been given the euro hinges a few moths back so I finally got to use them.

The youtube video:

Friday, October 2, 2015

DIY Faux Slate Countertops

I wanted to do my own counters and tables and did a lot of thinking and research then I made my own samples to decide. I literally used about 15 scrap pieces of wood to do samples.

I am not certain what stone it looks like (I am either thinking slate, granite or marble) but I think they look really good.

What you need:
Gift tissue (like the one you stuff in bags) - try not to use the shiny paper, it does not let the paint seep through as well - I used black
Seafoam sponge
Accent color paint (I used grey from a sample I got at Glidden Walmart section called Garden Urn #11266)
Paint brush or foam brush
Epoxy glaze coat (I used Famowood)

First step, cut the wood into whatever shape you want for your table or counter top. We just removed the existing tables and used as a diagram for the new wood. Our table was not strong enough to hold weight so we had to replace the wood. Second step (if you wanted to) was to route the edges with a trim router and sand everything smooth. If you have any imperfections or dents in the wood fill with wood putty and let dry and sand smooth.

Get your gift tissue and lay down over your wood to measure out, if the one piece does not cover, make sure you have at least 1/8"-1/4" of other paper to cover for a seamless seam, then wad up the paper to put creases into the paper.

Next step is to get the accent paint and paint the wood. I found that if you do a thin layer of paint to let it soak up into the wood then go back over with a thicker layer of paint real quick (so it won't dry before putting on paper) was the best way. I tried to do in sections and realized that it looked better if you could paint entire section the paper will cover. See picture below to see what happened when I did in sections.

If you have edges that will show, do the edges first with thin pieces of paper and let wrap around on top so the top paper will cover. When you need to add the next sheet of paper put a little bit of paint over the end edge to "glue" the paper together. Don't pull the paper too tight, you want the wrinkles in the paper, but don't make the wrinkles too big (you want the epoxy to be able to cover without having to do more than 3 layers of epoxy). Pat the paper into the paint, don't rub the paper too much or it will tear and you will see just the under paint. If you do tear it, you can make a patch with another piece of paper, just estimate about how big it is and tear a piece to match and put on top (don't trim until everything is fully dry). See the picture for reference of my patch job.

I used a heat gun to dry everything faster, but you can let dry on it's own. The paint will come up a bit through the paper's pores which is actually what you want. I used two types of paper with my samples and the shiny did not show as well, this is the differences (the shiny paper is the one behind the other).

After it dried I got a facial sponge and sponged my accent paint lightly over the top. You can do patterns or do random pats, whatever you feel looks good, or you can leave plain. Let fully dry and if you want to trim up use a sharp razor and try to trim up the edges.

Next find a VERY level place that will not have any bugs or dust and put first layer of epoxy on (make sure you follow the instructions given with the epoxy or it will not set up correct), use wax paper to line whatever it will be sitting on so it can be easily removed after it dries. I used a heat gun on low setting to quickly go over after I did the first layer to pop any bubbles in the epoxy. Let dry over night, then get razor and try to trim the paper that is sticking up at the edges of the paper (not the wrinkles in the paper but anywhere paper overlaps).

Do 2 more layers of epoxy and let dry overnight each layer. One more note - if you have more than one table or counter to do, mix epoxy in separate batches.

This is after 2 coats and already reflecting light... Still has some wrinkles that needs covered.

Then voila, you have your table. The most expensive part of this is the epoxy, but this is what makes it look awesome so do not replace with polyurethane because it will not make smooth or have the dimensional look.

Painting and Pandora

The best thing to do while painting is to listen to a book on Audible or listen to music on Pandora.

Finally got the bedroom wall up, it is really starting to look like a camper.

Before you wallpaper, make sure you prime the walls! I am a nerd and want to know how to do things before I do it, so I googled how to hang wallpaper. Did you know you have to prime the walls before hanging paper? Well now you know if you didn't before. I had to put 2 layers of Kilz multi-purpose primer on the wood because the raw wood soaked it up. After it dried overnight I started to wallpaper. My overall idea for the camper is to have white bead board at the bottom and then have grey above that. Instead of putting actual bead board up, I found some wallpaper at Lowe's that is paintable wallpaper that looks like bead board. I decided I wanted to have it about 32.5" tall so I cut all my wallpaper to size and started hanging wallpaper. It was actually easier than I thought, and I used adhesive to help make the wallpaper stick better in the temperature changes the camper will inevitably see while parked. After hanging wallpaper on the walls I wanted I started on the grey color. My couch and cushions are a dark grey color (you can see from my post about sewing them) and my cabinets are going to be white.

This is the bedroom before painting

This is after I primed and painted

My husband changed all the wood on the dinette seats because either they had wood rot, or the paint would not adhere to them (plus the whole formaldehyde issue with the paneling worried me so we really gutted everything). Then started putting wood back on, and I decided to get actual bead board to do the backs in, which I think looks good so far. The flooring looks good with the wall paper too.

The hole in the side of the seat is actually where a vent cover goes (for the heater that is under the seat). I promise when I get everything completely done I will post better pictures.

I think I see a light at the end of this tunnel...

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Cleaning the outside of your camper

I found out a great product that takes little effort to clean that is CHEAP.

LA Awesome Cleaner (you can get at the Dollar Tree for $1)... spray it on wipe it off... yes that simple!

We have taped up the holes on the outside with gorilla tape (which works, but leaves tape residue). Awesome cleaner did not get the adhesive off, but goo gone worked great (I tried other products that didn't work, goo gone got the adhesive off. The dirt under the adhesive was still there, so once again used the awesome cleaner, and it came off clean.

Now for the putty, that is just old fashion elbow grease, I haven't found anything yet to get it off without any effort.

This is a picture of the hole where the power cable goes through (I was replacing it and wanted to clean around it before installing new cover).

I took pictures as I wiped, so I did not scrub at all, just wiped off. The goo gone took some, but very little effort to get the adhesive off.

How to make an old jack-knife couch like new

The couch had been sitting in front of the window without any blinds which caused the material to breakdown and fall apart. I did not want to simply cover the couch because I thought the dust and particles would just come straight through the new material eventually. I am not an expert on sewing, I know how to sew, but consider my self a novice with sewing.

The couch looked like it was separate pieces of foam, but after taking them apart I realized there was actually 4 pieces of foam (2 long pieces of foam for top and 2 for bottom). I wanted to try to save the foam and wash it like I did with the dinette seats but when I was taking them apart they started falling apart so I had to order some from . I also ordered some dust cover upholstery fabric on amazon to match my new material. I kept the wires that helped attach the foam to the frame.

First step: TAKE LOTS OF PICTURES while taking apart of every angle and seam. There were times when I was putting it back together wishing I had got a better picture of a certain seam. Also if you can mark on the old material numbers before taking apart it may help you (I did not do this but it was my after thought wishing I had done that).

I didn't take a picture of the couch on the jack knife frame, but after we took them off the main frame I started pictures. This is the back rest and seat (the back rest is upside down, you can see the material in the center falling apart.

This is the other pictures showing the back, and how the foam was...

Laid the material out to be cut...

Make sure you pay attention to direction of pattern on the new material because you want it to be as straight as possible and match the direction of the rest of the cushions made. Follow the pattern from the old material and the pictures you took. Any thing that can be sewn before attaching to the main material should be sewn now, make sure you change tension on sewing machine for upholstery material to withstand (I didn't know I had to do this until looking up how to sew a couch. I changed it to my highest setting allowed on my machine). Also there are some holes in the material to allow the metal screws to attach to the frame, but my material frayed easy so I made button holes to reinforce the material.

The top soft foam was actually one large foam that had been cut to make grooves (I posted a picture showing this above). So I cut my foam the same way (I used a cheese knife lol).

I attached the foam to the dust cover I cut using spray adhesive.

Then I laid the material on the foam and tucked the material into the grooves to pin the sides on. If you sew just the material together first before attaching the cushion bottom it helps make things easier in the end. Then put the cushion with the dust cover on by pinning and then sew that together (it makes a sandwich basically - top material, cushion, then dust cover).

I found out if you pin all the straight parts together and have someone help you hold the cushion you can sew it in the machine and then hand sew the parts that curve around. My machine did not do well with the curved parts (from the cushion pulling the material from the foot).

After the top part of the cushion is done, you put the more dense foam in, add a little fiberfill where the curved part of the top foam curves around bottom (to keep looking full over time) then start attaching to the frame using hog rings and a pliers.

And viola you have the making of a jack knife couch. (I don't have it on the main frame yet but you can see what it will look like together). I will post a picture once it's installed in the camper.